Claims to the contrary, the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina was a great equalizer for our city. ... We are all in the same boat now. We're all cleaning up. We're all renovating." ("What's Good for New Orleans," Commentary, Sept. 9)
How can you say this? We are not all in the same boat, figuratively or literally. I do not live in a rich neighborhood but was lucky enough that nothing happened to my apartment. My job is also intact. I slipped right back into the life I had before Katrina. Others lost family homes and treasured possessions -- some even lost their families. Entire neighborhoods were flooded up to the eaves of the houses and in others, the water didn't make it up over the sidewalk.
You set this story up, of course, as a lead-in to the first of two slams against Mayor Nagin. This is a city where, before Katrina, even the school board meetings degenerated into partisan finger pointing, and you claim he has single-handedly divided us?
Besides his tendency to put his foot in his mouth, which I appreciate more than slick political doubletalk, he's messing with the big boys -- the federal government -- which, rebuilding plan or no rebuilding plan, honestly wants to forget this ever happened and could care less about a Democratic enclave in a deep red state.
Down With This Modern World
I read Gambit. (Clancy) Dubos' recent editorials on our feckless mayor have been brilliant. There is much in the paper to like. For the life of me, however, I cannot understand how an apparently well-educated, politically insightful writer like Clancy, who is also the owner of the paper, could abuse his readers by printing the cartoon This Modern World by the pseudonymous Tom Tomorrow.
There is a world of difference between irony, satire, wit and leaden sarcasm and political tendentiousness. Stendahl said that politics in a novel is the equivalent of a pistol shot at a concert. That's how this heavy-handed political diatribe feels when one has to skip over it. We get it: the cartoonist's screed against Republicans, President Bush and conservatives is now a one-note commentary. Surely, your readers deserve better.
Over the Rainbow, Maybe
Money magazine published its list of "America's best places to live." The magazine showcased 100 small and large cities throughout the United States. Sadly, not a single Louisiana town made the cut. Meanwhile, usual suspects like Cary (Concentrated Area of Relocated Yankees), N.C., and "Blandiego," Calif. topped the list.
How could this be? As it turns out, the "researchers" used arbitrary, if not trivial, criteria. They based their ranking on random trifles like economic growth, education, ease of living and safety. Factors of real merit, like access to adult beverages, grams of fat per serving, political intrigue/folly and sheer adventure (Dodging potholes, bullets and debris) obviously were not taken into consideration. Our only consolation: As they say of happy hour, our fair city has to be at the top of a top 10 list somewhere.
Call Out the Big Guys
Another uncontrolled fire season is upon us, bringing terrible destruction and loss of life and fire officials again are expected to continue restricting the only effective tool against uncontrolled wildfires -- namely, the 747, DC-lU (now in limited use), and Ilyushin-76 Super Tanker-type aircraft that corrupt government aviation and firefighting officials have restricted from service since 1995.
A 747 pilot told me a Supertanker can control massive wildfires in one day when used. We should demand the Boeing 747 -- supertanker aircraft -- be used to save lives now. Supertankers mean the end of uncontrolled wildfires in America!
Our Evil Ways
The fighting in Israel should wake up the United States, but it probably won't. The relative peace we have enjoyed the past 40 years could easily transform into World War III.
Islamic fundamentalism with the subtle backing of Russia and China could start a gigantic conflict between East and West. I pray it does not. But America, sitting on her comfortable sofa, should think about (how we live) our lives. ... Could we actually rise to the occasion to make it through a major war?
I am sorry to say we are nothing like our grandfathers. We are weak, lazy and immoral as a nation. ... Many are naive to think we are safe. History always repeats itself.
Dr. Thomas Messe