Too Little; Too Late
No one can disagree with or overlook the facts – FEMA and other government agencies dropped the ball when it came to Katrina. Many would argue that the complete lack of timely response was due to the enormous black population affected by the crisis. In truth, it was more a class issue than a race issue. Those with the resources to leave town left, while those that had no mode of transportation or funds to purchase a ticket out of town waited for, the worst hurricane to hit Louisiana and Mississippi – ever! Big question: if authorities knew how severe the storm would be and a mandatory evacuation was already declared for the area, why didn’t they provide transportation to those who did not have any of their own? I guess that question and countless others are moot since casualty estimates have now toppled 10,000 folks – that’s more than the September 11 terrorist attack on NYC and DC and the 60s storm that hit Louisiana combined. So far 9,788 patients consisting of seriously ill and elderly people have been evacuated from New Orleans. The pictures have been extremely graphic – bloated dead bodies floating around the Big Easy like gondolas in Venice, newborn children dying of dehydration while delirious moms plead for their lives and frightened and starving heads of households break store front windows to loot any edible substances that will sustain their families. It’s tragic, but worse even, it is intolerable for the richest country in the world to have had the paralyzing week that brought about this devastation. Natural disasters are a nightmare, but when you know that most of the human toll was preventable you should be enraged to action. "Bureaucracy is not going to stand in the way of getting the job done for the people," the president said after a meeting at the White House with his Cabinet on storm recovery efforts. I think he’s too late for the cock-and-bull save-face grandstand.
US Open in NYC; Cocoa Cheers On Blake
James Blake a wildcard entry to the US Open in NYC is taking the tennis world by storm. The half-black, half-white New York born Blake now resides in Tampa, Florida. J’Moo and I had courtside seats last Thursday and watched Blake in action. He later took on Rafael Nadal of Spain. Now Blake is set to meet legendary Andre Agassi in a Quarterfinal match that will define the beautiful Blake. On the Thursday when I watched him live, Blake appeared stout, athletic, cat-quick and on his game. "I don't think I'll be nervous because I know I've got nothing to lose," Blake said. "Andre Agassi in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open - I'm sure as heck not going to go home and say I had a bad tournament (if I lose). ... I'm going to go down swinging, giving 100 percent.” Speaking of swinging… uh, forget I said that…
Hands Across America – TV Style
Next Friday at 8 p.m. the six major broadcast networks will present a live hour-long Hurricane Katrina relief special titled “Shelter From the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast. It will feature many celebrity appearances and be on tape delay for the west coast. Presently, ABC, CBS, NBC, UPN and the WB will air the affair ala – Presidential address – live and on all channels.
In light of the fact that we can’t fix the past, we can only work on the present – what efforts should be taken to quickly alleviate the enormous distress to the Gulf Coast region? Should cities like New York be afraid of what recovery plans are in place if a large-scale terrorist attack were to occur here. Is it true, as one friend of mine pointed-out, that a rich, business-center-type city like New York would never be allowed to wallow in pitiful distress for any extended period of time?
Keep passin’ the open windows…