• Katrina,  Personality,  Wal-Mart

    Reactions to Katrina

    A person’s reaction to Katrina seems to vary in direct proportion to their average daily time spent with people. The more time with people, the more likely one will see it as a human problem, either with Bush or the N.O. Residents. The less time one spends with people, the more likely to see it as an engineering (both physical and social) problem.

    Oddly, I’ve been hearing the idea that we should not rebuild New Orleans (at least nowhere near as it was) from some surprising quarters, including me. For a good summation of the main argument, see Josh Trevino’s article.

    For more literal reactions, see the Agitator’s post on what WalMart has done so far. It’s quite staggering. The business community has done a great deal already.

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  • Katrina

    History in the making

    I think we’ll be learning the “lessons” of Katrina for years. The chief one being to take care of the low-hanging fruit of pump maintenance and levee inspections. Most of it will be of this variety. I’m sure there will be a left wing version of the same list soon.

    I think some of the unobvious lessons of the current New Orleans debacle will be

    • Failure to show a police and National Guard presence in the early hours
    • Allowing the perception of preferential treatment to go unanswered (I’ll have a much longer post on self-selection in who stayed and who left when this is all done)
    • No mass communications, either through megaphones on boats, or Donald Sensing’s leaflet idea. This gives the impression that society has ceased to exist, hence more lawlessness and looting. For a lot of these people the more “social” people left, which altered the composition of the folks remaining. More thoughts on this later.
    • Leaflets could also be used to convey simple instructions on how to survive in this situation. This would let people do something to improve their situation instead of just waiting there (specifically the people waiting at the convention center) feeling like suckers. Much disease prevention could be handled in this manner, for that matter a solar still (for water) seems quite possible as well.
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