On Friday, the UN Human Rights Committeebitch-slapped the W administration about their performance during and after Katrina for failing "to ensure the rights of poor people and in particular African-Americans are fully taken into consideration in the reconstruction plans with regard to access to housing, education and health care".
In 1987-1988, in a galaxy far, far away (Los Angeles), I was a stand up-comedian. Before my lucrative (note deep sarcasm) career with Digital Equipment Corporation started, I was working in LA as a stand-up.
Some people (Hi Silverstein!) hated my act, and I would heckle them as well. Some people were astonishingly nice, some were exceedingly funnyand/or stoned, but in general, I would categorize stand-ups as the single most unhappy group of people I've ever been around.
Point 1) Note that the 9th Ward of New Orleans was odd demographically in that a majority of the people there owned their own homes, yet over a third were under the poverty line, and 14% were unemployed. This numbers seem to contradict themselves, but can be explained by the fact that many extended families lived under the same roof.
"There was a lot of extended families in New Orleans," Jacks says. "And the mother and father lived there, and their older children lived there, and their children, and so you had all these family groups under one roof. Well, the father or the mother who owned the home were really, technically, the only ones who were eligible for disaster assistance."
Point 2) If we look back to the 1995 Chicago Heat wave, we see that approximately 600 people died in the heat. An additional 739 died the following week. Most of these were elderly, who had no air conditioning, and were often hesitant to even open windows and doors at night because of crime.
Eric Klinenberg: Hundreds of Chicago residents died alone, behind locked doors and sealed windows, out of contact with friends, family, and neighbors, unassisted by public agencies or community groups.
Klinenberg goes on to theorize that many of these elderly died because of the dissolution of the family unit. In earlier days, Mom and Pop also had Aunt Millie, Uncle Rufus, Cousin Kermit, Grandma Moses, and plenty of extended family all within walking distance, if not the same neighborhood, street, or even house. Because of this scattering of the extended family, many elderly people felt that they would be an imposition on their families, and rather than doing that, they died a lonely, horrible death.
It routinely gets that hot in New Orleans, but we never have the catastrophic death toll of 1995 Chicago.
If Klinenberg is right, then it's partially due to the fact that New Orleans has an incredibly strong extended nuclear family.
So, what about Katrina?
Well, we've shown that in New Orleans, the family unit is still intact, as is the extended family unit. That's not the case in most of the United States.
During the evacuation, many of the relief agencies intentionally separated these families, and to this day, many parts of these extended families are scattered across the country.
Now, because of the strength of the extended family unit in New Orleans, many Katrina and Flood victims will be without money to live on, or even a place to live. They will be made homeless through the carelessness and bureaucracy of the federal government.
This is an outrage! Why haven't the airstrips been refurbished? Why aren't the terminals in order? Why haven't the staff been deployed?
Oh, sorry, it's not New Orleans fault. It's the motherfucking we're greedier than the fucking oil companies and we got bailed out after 9/11 fuck off and die New Orleans airlines.
Every week during the school year, I have to fly from MSY to Chicago. Every week I have to make at least one trip into New Orleans and one trip out. And every time since January, the planes have been packed to the gills. Not another person could be crowbarred in, no matter how much WD-40 the airlines applied to us.
Now, the airlines (henceforth part ot them) use the smallest friggin commuter planes they possibly can to shoehorn as many as they possibly can into and out of New Orleans.
Note: the Embraer planes used by United Express are actually roomy and comfortable, unlike everything used by Delta and American. Delta does use some Embraer planes, but not many.
They could simply up the size of the planes! But fuck no! Why show any kind of fucking commitment to New Orleans at all?
Well, Southwest, always a renegade (and an airline that did not get a 9/11 bailout), is fairly committed to New Orleans, and now has direct flights to Chicago. They were the biggest NOLA airline pre-K, and they're the biggest now, although at 42% of pre-K flights. 17 cities pre-K, 10 now. They say they want to increase load, but listen to this politician-business-speak: "We'd love to grow in New Orleans. We'd love to be bigger than we were in New Orleans," Berg said. "Our desire is there, but it will be conservative growth."
As a polyglot, let me translate that for you: "When we're at 95% capacity, we'll add more flights, one by one. Right now, you poor bastards are lucky we still fly there at all. Oh, and we're a discount airline in every market except New Orleans. Fuck you."
So who are the good guys now? Continental is close to 100% of pre-K capacity and American (with whom I will never again fly, if I can help it) is around 89% to destinations from New Orleans (they only fly to 5 destinations from NOLA now, before it was 6...so figure around 70% overall).
Who are the bad guys? One big ass word: Delta. As God is my witness, I will try to never fly Delta again. Less than 48%. Fucking fucks.
An example would be the old drug commercial: "I work harder...so I can make more money...so I can buy more cocaine...so I can work harder..so I can make more money...".
Another example may be this: "We tax the oil revenues...so we can maintain the wetlands...which we destroy when drilling for oil...which we need the money from so we can tax the oil revenues...so we can maintain the wetlands..."