My opinion is that the problem was mainly that FEMA kept following the plan they had on file even when it was apparently not working. I think both key failures, the bad plan and bad leadership in response, come from the scale of the problem. The disaster caused by Katrina was different in kind and was treated as only being different in degree.
From early childhood we’ve all experienced consternation with being shut out of the conversation, say defining circles of friends, that would have been very important to us to feel part of.
There are even exclusive story loops within families, between mom and the kids separate from between dad and the kids, for example. Sometimes it’s very funny, and sometimes very sad, what remains hidden from the adjacent conversation. Continue reading
The curve of murder rates in New York State, from the 1960 to 2004 shows the great US crime wave, a little more dramatic in New York than elsewhere. Notice the shape of the sudden decline at the end.
It’s an exponential decay curve, (collapse to fading away) that continues. We knew the abrupt decline of the crime rates was mysterious. This is why. Continue reading
Islamic Terrorists – 60’s Radicals – Neo-conservative fundamentalists
These three great mass movements, as strangely different as they are, each multiplied from almost nothing to represent huge open communities of interest only because they struck some true chord in human experience.
It’s an obvious fact. Actual fraud by an evil wizard wouldn’t have the success each of these have had, because huge cross sections of people are just not that stupid. Continue reading
It’s very telling that healthcare costs have been soaring at 3-4% above inflation since the 60’s, and no one seems to be talking about the underlying cause.
Its share of GDP has grown from 5.1% in 1960 to 7.0% in 1970, 8.8% in 1980, 12.0% in 1990, 13.3% in 2000 and 15.3% in 2003. It has actually tripled, and is still heading higher (1). That’s perfectly unsustainable.
All the restraints we’ve struggled to put in place have slowed it but failed to change it, and the impact on businesses large and small are visible everywhere. On the public side the Medicaid funding crisis is far larger and sooner than that of Social Security, and more and more individuals are losing their benefits. Major change is about to happen. Continue reading
One of the strange long held ideas of the conservatives is that if you take money away from the federal government it will help restore old ways and simpler times.
The supposed connection is that “tax tax spend spend liberals” were inventing needless government activity to meddle with business and private lives. The solution? Give away the money and budget pressure will force reducing the needless expenditure. Giving away money is always popular anyway.
I’m an architect and loose money every day providing mandated services I can’t sell, so you’d think I’d be jumping up and down in support. What I think kills the design business these days is redesign. The requirements are so complex that the solutions are less and less flexible and small changes force rethinking complex issues. We can’t sell that. Continue reading
Two years ago President Bush said “Bring them on”, but we still haven’t asked where the terrorists are coming from.
That’s a real insult to the 1500 American dead and many more Iraqis who have been sacrificed to the cause since then. President Bush’s heroic myth of Iraqi liberation ignores the question, speaking as if the terrorists are just some band of criminals and losers. Our great free press mentions almost nothing about it except maybe that some of them are Suni and some come from abroad. Continue reading
Thomas Friedman made a very good point in his op-ed column on CAFTA in the Times today (6/24/05).
The hazard of protectionism in a rapidly growing global economy is shutting yourself out, proverbialy cutting off your nose to spite your face. With China on the make, particularly, it is almost certain that trade barriers between the US and Central America would undermine joint ventures between US designers and Central American producers. Competiton with China is going to be nip and tuck and we shouldn’t let protectionist urges do that.
First, though, let’s take a moment and celebrate the problem. It’s been a hundred years or so that the developed economies, the US and old Europe mainly, have been doling out a few fish and unsuccessfully trying to teach the rest of the world how to catch their own. It was a largely disappointing enterprise, save for easing our guilt for being rich and not knowing how to share it. Continue reading
Call this a draft, maybe I’ll come back to smooth it out.
I try to be daring, pure in heart and completely honest. It’s not easy, but it sure does feel good when I am able. Some people seem to have chosen to simplify the problem, to have either their faith or their reason shut out the other half. I find each needs the other, without reason, faith has no relevance and without faith reason has no purpose.
My dad was a physicist, the ultimate staid rationalist and a very regular old fashioned Protestant. Life was rather dull, and then I smelled a rat, actually lots of them, conventional thinking that simply didn’t have the ring of truth. That was a long time ago.
Trying to be considerate, of course, there’s now no idea I wouldn’t still gladly smash to bits if it does not have it. It’s not, for example, quite truthful to harden individual sites to protect them against terrorism. Continue reading
It’s curious that the Republican’s new twist on the Social Security reform ignores both the long run solvency of the system and the long run solvency of the people who rely on it.
Yes, the new idea makes a tiny bit more sense than for the federal government to borrow the life savings of its citizens (that was the last great idea)! Now the idea is to give away the trust fund surplus that future generations will need. Fortunately people are really stupid and it endears them to you to abuse their trust.
Once upon a time if you wanted to be taken seriously you’d try to actually address the problem. Continue reading