Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sick and Abandoned: A Story About the chaotic ineptitude of FEMA

If your anger at what happened in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is subsiding you need to read this story in today's New York Times. It will make your blood boil.

In his Times article, columnist Bob Herbert describes the horror that unfolded at one New Orleans hospital. The patients were condemned to several days of fear and agony by bad decision-making in Louisiana and the choatic ineptitude of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Some of the patients died.

Read the story.

Note: This is the last week you will be able to read Herbert and other Times columnists on-line for free. Beginning Monday, September 19 the newspaper will be charging a subscription to read their op-ed columnists.

Update: I just had an email from a former colleague expressing the view that nothing has changed over the past 30 years in regards to issues of race, class and poverty. As someone who was an active participant in the "war on poverty" in the Sixties and early Seventies I tend to agree with this cynical view. Actually, some of the problems have gotten worse.

We now have a higher percentage of the population living in poverty than any other industrialized country. The Census Bureau reports that 17% of the nations children live in homes below the poverty level. And we have 37 million citizens who are considered as living in poverty.

My response to my former colleague who sent me the email is to say that we must learn to speak out and not be intimidated by those dominant voices that advocate greed and selfishness. This is what Maxine Waters so eloquently said on the floor of the US House of Representatives last night.