"The looters you saw on TV were criminals before Katrina. One would have to be a moron not to realize what happens when no fathers are around, and when kids grow up undisciplined and uncivilized. I recall the term 'Liberal Plantation' being used, and believe a book with that title was published some years ago ("It's OK to Leave the Plantation," Clarence Mason Weaver, 1998) and am convinced that the residents you talk about in your column, and the people I saw in the inner city of New Orleans, are, generally speaking, no different when it comes to their mental outlook, than the plantation slaves who waited for the 'Massa' to feed them and clothe them...
"We lived in the Garden District and heard machine gun fire nearly every night. I said back in the early 1990s that martial law should have been declared. If you lived in New Orleans and did not have a weapon to protect your family you were insane. The police were notoriously corrupt and incapable of protecting anyone or anything but their interests in the slot machines, which had just been approved at that time. We used to joke that the sound of a siren meant a slot machine had been disabled somewhere...
Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco wants to create a one-stop-shopping organization to help the hurricane refugees. It would receive $2 billion per year and would provide all the information they needed, assistance getting public assistance, etc. etc.
She's contacted the Bush administration with her idea, but hasn't heard back yet.
The plan, released to reporters late Saturday, said Blanco would appoint a senior executive from the private sector to lead the group, along with an advisory board, whose members will help with management and fundraising.
Its staff would work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Red Cross and other agencies to get help for refugees needing housing, health care, counseling, job training and other assistance, said Ann Williamson, head of Louisiana's Department of Social Services.
If Blanco weren't a complete incompetent, one might think that she thought this up in an attempt to maintain political and fiscal control over her former constituents. Leading me to ask, who thought up this idea for her?
The AP discovers poverty:
Before Hurricane Katrina, they were among the poorest of America's poor. In the hardest hit counties, some 305,000 people not only lived in poverty, their families' income fell below 50 percent of the poverty line about $7,500 for a family of three. Now, many live in strange towns with only a few dollars in their pockets.
They've become a new class of poor, one that makes the old class look well off by comparison. They have not only lost their jobs and their homes; they're also isolated from family and friends, putting them at great risk for depression and substance abuse...
"Bunching poor people together in the same neighborhood has enormous implications for education, business investment and the health of families," [Bruce Katz, a scholar at the Brookings Institution] said. "The issue in New Orleans is not only about rebuilding a great American city, but it's also about undoing 50 years of mistakes of federal housing policy."
The WSJ offers "The GOP's New New Deal. The bill for Katrina may fall due next November", which contains this shocking stat:
To put that $200 billion in perspective, we could give every one of the 500,000 families displaced by Katrina a check for $400,000, and they could each build a beach front home virtually anywhere in America.
Dozens of other reasonable proposals to offset Katrina's tidal wave of deficit spending have been similarly repelled. Mike Pence of Indiana suggested a one-year delay on the multitrillion dollar new prescription drug benefit for senior citizens. For 220 years, seniors have managed without this give-away; one more year of waiting would hardly be an act of cruelty. It would save $40 billion, but there were no takers. Then there was the well-publicized idea by Republicans and several Democrats in Congress to cut $25 billion for bike paths, train-station renovations, nature trails, parking garages, auto museums and 6,000 other such pork projects in the just-enacted highway law. It was torpedoed by the powerful committee chairmen who patched this abominable bill together in the first place...
The government has just allocated $250 million for "counseling and legal services." After 9/11, the federal government authorized tens of millions of dollars for "counseling" to traumatized families of the victims. A Republican Study Committee audit discovered that millions went for "peace" and "diversity" workshops, a "yearlong celebration of trees, gardens and other healing places," theater workshops, anger-management classes and multiculturalism programs to discuss "who we are and why we are here." (Isn't that what churches are for?)
...We all want to see New Orleans rebuilt, but it does not follow that this requires more than $100 billion in federal aid...
...Alas, in the world of compassionate conservatism, the quaint notion of limited federal power has fallen to the wayside in favor of an ethic that has Uncle Sam as first, second and third responder to crisis. FEMA, despite its woeful performance, will grow in size and stature. So will the welfare state. Welcome to the new New Dealism of the GOP...
Failed former vice-presidential candidate and Wendy's customer John Edwards wants to bring back FDR's WPA, WRAL reports:
He said a Bush relief proposal would give victims money in bank accounts that most don't have.
"He's talking about putting this money into people's bank accounts," Edwards said. "Most of these people don't have bank accounts."
Well, let's get them some bank accounts then! Even illegal aliens can get bank accounts, why not Americans? Speaking of which:
Edwards said Bush also has suspended laws that require that the prevailing wage be paid on reconstruction projects.
"That's insane," he said. "What these people need is a decent wage. It's the reason so many of them are living in poverty to begin with."
Yes, Bush's move is somewhat insane. But, so is the Democratic support for allowing illegal alien labor to take jobs that could go to Katrina victims. Some reporter really should ask Edwards about that, but, of course, they won't.
...Most of the looters look bitter, angry, resentful, and vengeful as they go about what British burglars are inclined (in all seriousness) to call their "work." The gangs are reported to have used racial taunts during their depredations. In all probability, the looters believe that, in removing as much as they can from stores, they are not so much stealing as performing acts of restitution or compensatory justice for wrongs received. They are not wronging the owners of the stores; on the contrary, the owners of the stores have wronged them over the years by restricting their access to the goods they covet and to which they believe they have a right. The hurricane has thus given them the opportunity to take justice into their own hands and settle old scores.
If this surmise is right, it is a terrible indictment of all the efforts undertaken in recent years by government welfare programs and institutions that practice affirmative action, such as universities, to ameliorate the condition of underclass blacks. It implies that the nihilistic alienation of the looters and gang members is as great as that to be found in Soweto at the height of the apartheid regime. Far from ameliorating the situation, then, the billions spent on welfare programs, and the intellectual ingenuity expended on justifying the unjustifiable in the form of affirmative action, have resulted in a hatred that is bitter and widespread enough among those condescended to in this manner to result in the scenes for which New Orleans will now long be remembered.
If Hurricane Katrina had struck New Orleans in 1950, when the black population could justly have complained of severe oppression and injustice, would we have witnessed what we have witnessed there in recent days? I cannot prove it, but I think the answer is no. And if this is the case, then we must ask ourselves what has lit the fire in the minds of men that they are prepared to shoot at their neighbors' saviors.
George F. Will offers "The type of thinking that Katrina didn't sweep away":
...Released during the post-Katrina debacle, scant attention was paid to the National Center for Health Statistics' pertinent report that in 2003, 34.6 percent of all American births were to unmarried women. The percentage among African-American women was 68.2.
Given that most African-Americans are middle class and almost half live outside central cities, and that 76 percent of all births to Louisiana African-Americans were to unmarried women, it is a safe surmise that more than 80 percent of African-American births in inner-city New Orleans - as in some other inner cities - were to women without husbands. That translates into a large and constantly renewed cohort of lightly parented adolescent males, and that translates into chaos, in neighborhoods and schools, come rain or come shine...
...Liberals are now blaming small-government conservatism for cutting "antipoverty" programs. That's a tune a surprising number of people are starting to hum, from NAACP chairman Julian Bond to New York Times columnist David Brooks, who speculated recently that the storm will probably spark a new progressive movement in America. The lyrics are still being written, but the refrain for this ditty is a familiar one: Small government conservatives did it to us again.
There is, however, another explanation: The welfare state failed the residents of the Lower Ninth Ward and other flooded New Orleans neighborhoods long before the levees gave way. This gets us back to the question Sen. Kennedy wants Judge Roberts to answer about whether to adopt a narrow view that prevents real progress from taking place. And it also explains the role Mayor Ray Nagin and Gov. Kathleen Blanco--both Democrats--played in leaving mostly poor, minority citizens in a city that was clearly descending into chaos...
From libertarian - but don' t hold that against him - Vin Suprynowicz:
What cameramen found at and near the Superdome the next day, as the floodwaters rose, were members of a mostly black underclass with no resources of their own, a people who over a period of generations have come to expect someone else -- through the cash redistribution agency known as "government" -- to provide them with or heavily subsidize their housing, their transportation, their health care, even their children's schooling...
...And those who were not busy looting were not merely pleading for help. They were angry. They were shouting into the cameras, addressing someone out there -- the government? Us? -- who they believed owed them an obligation to "get on down here" and bring them some stuff. Food, water, whatever they needed. Bring it to us -- the message seemed clear -- or we're just going to take it.
Americans were once a people proud of their relative self-sufficiency. Yes, we lend our neighbors a helping hand. But my family and the families of most Americans were essentially penniless 70 years ago. Since the Great Depression, we have worked and saved until we have some assets. We set aside for the future...
...Self-sufficiency has survival value. Applied over a period of generations, the welfare state can breed self-sufficiency out of a people.
Look at the fate of the mendicant classes in New Orleans -- the ones who trusted government to "provide." Look at what happened to the property of the merchants who trusted their taxes were buying them "police protection." And beware.