Local perspective

I am actually very fond of the online site for the local newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I’ve found over time that the site tends to provide a more balanced viewpoint on issues than not. And usually covers news with a strong sense of humanity. I think this is a mark of home town newspapers.

Anyway, I’ve just read several very interesting articles related to Katrina I wanted to point out.

A division of the Missouri national Guard has been assigned to New Orleans for a month, beginning with escorting folks to their homes in a parish that isn’t flooded, to pick up what belongings they can. While there, they got a surprise:

About noon Sunday, east of Baton Rouge, the Missouri National Guard soldiers saw a familiar sight: At least seven buses emblazoned with a big, blue “M” were westbound on Interstate 10, heading toward Baton Rouge. The buses were packed with people and accompanied by a police escort and several church vans. Metro sent the buses to New Orleans on Friday to assist with the evacuation.

Another story discusses the intercom system at the Astrodome and gives a glimpse into life at this shelter. Included also is a discussion of the work of Technology for All.

This article discusses how local, state, and federal governments have been ignoring a report that came out of the 1993 floods. Though this would not have stopped the flooding, if the report had been adhered to, the damage would have been much less. What is the good of having experts give advice if elected officials refuse to act on said advice.

The paper ran a poll asking people what they thought of the federal government’s handling of Katrina. The following is a screenshot of the reactions of this solidly red state. Solidly red in the last election that is.


Sylvester Brown, my favorite columnist, had some pithy, sharp words for those who focused on the ‘race’ issue and looting:

No, I’m not up in arms about the recent charges of the media’s “racial insensitivity.” The accusations rise from two photos circulating on the Web showing people wading through waist-deep water carrying groceries. The caption under the black person describes him as “looting,” while another describes a white couple “finding bread and soda.”

I don’t give a rat’s patooty about “looters” – black or white. As we discuss the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, “looting” should be far, far down America’s list of concerns.

I was knocked for a loop after reading Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s warning to the “hoodlums” in her state. National Guardsmen had arrived, she boasted. Their M-16s are “locked and loaded.” They know how to kill; they are more than willing to kill, and they will kill, she told reporters.

Excuse me. “More than willing?” Oh yeah, Blanco, that’s just what New Orleans needs – more dead bodies floating up and down the streets.

Brown made me rethink my earlier opinion of Nagin. Perhaps I haven’t given Nagin the slack he deserves, considering he’s only been mayor less than two years. But a mandatory evacuation only 20 hours before the storm hit–he doesn’t deserve medals for his actions.

Here’s another perspective on stories about hotel people being evacuated before those at the Superdome. A St. Louis lawyer and his wife and several guests from two hotels paid 45.00 each for tickets on buses leaving the city. However, when the buses arrived, they were confiscated for the Superdome evacuation effort. As easy as people could get in and out of the city, why did it take so long to evacuate the people?

Anyway, I thought you might find a St. Louis perspective on the events to be interesting. Missouri is one of the states that is opening up shelters for those currently in Texas, as well as schools, and colleges for students who can’t attend Gulf state colleges.

Then there’s the Texas privileged perspective. (Thanks to Dori.)

I hadn’t noticed but St. Louis Today has a weblog. Just started August 31st. It’s based in WordPress.

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