Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ignoring the Floods in Lousiana

What if they had a flood—a flood of Biblical proportions—and no one noticed?

Yes, the people of Louisiana have noticed that large parts of their state are suffering a massive inundation. But, the rest of the country does not seem to have noticed and certainly does not seem to care. On the great Louisiana flood the press has lost its voice.

The Atlantic reports:

Wide stretches of southern Louisiana are once again flooded with more than two feet of water. Downpours have again damaged or ruined tens of thousands of homes, driving thousands into shelters and leaving many people homeless and some dead. State leaders have declared the situation “historic” and “unprecedented,” and the federal government has, yet again, declared a major disaster in the region.

The images coming from Baton Rouge and its surrounding low-lying areas, of submerged homes and streets turned into rivers, inevitably call to mind the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Only this time, most people might not have heard about it.

The Louisiana floods, which the American Red Cross on Wednesday labeled “the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Superstorm Sandy,” have not dominated cable news nor the front pages of newspapers. President Obama, other than signing a disaster declaration, hasn’t bothered to interrupt his Martha’s Vineyard vacation of golf and fund-raisers to address the suffering residents of the Gulf. Hillary Clinton has mentioned the floods only in a single tweet, and Donald Trump has said nothing about them at all.

Why has no one noticed?

Let’s put aside the notion that everyone is distracted by the Olympics. The answer is so easy that it is barely worth mentioning.

No one has noticed because the media and the politicians have not yet found a good way to blame it on Republicans. The governor of Louisiana is a Democrat. The president is a Democrat. We are in the midst of an election campaign that the media is trying to give to the Democrats. So, we cannot have any stories suggesting that Democrats do not care about the flooded out people of Louisiana. Or that they are not competent to manage the catastrophe.

If George W. Bush had been happily playing golf in an upper class vacation venue the press would be apoplectic. Since it’s Obama, a man who, in the eyes of the press, can do no wrong, the press has downplayed the story. It has not been clamoring for a presidential visit. Or even a presidential flyover.

Of course, we might expect a few words from the Republican standard bearer. Good luck with that. If no one raises the issue or makes it an issue it will not be an issue.

One caveat: those members of the media who have been looking for someone to blame have, for now, lit on climate change. Surely, they will attack all Republicans and all scientists who do not believe that humans are causing the climate to change.

As soon as the press finds a way to blame it on someone other than a Democrat they will be on the story.


Ares Olympus said...

Epic rain isn't as scary as a hurricane, but clearly results as bad. Myself I'll go with the climate change argument and accepting this as the new normal.

And apparently multibillion $ storms are good for gnp, easy to joke at distance.

Perhaps Trump would like to play partisan outrage? But someone has to tell him first I guess.

But other than claims of apathy against Obama, it seems a hard spin. Maybe if a sports stadium col!based, that would add to the drama?

AesopFan said...

"As soon as the press finds a way to blame it on someone other than a Democrat they will be on the story."

Nail. Head. Some assembly required.

It's getting so the MSM has to ignore most of what happens in America and the world because most of it can be laid at the feet of Democrats in office.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

More irrelevant human interest stories, please. They've really helped NBC's Rio ratings. I'm sure they can dumb down weather events that might affect Democrats.

Sam L. said...

Ares, you are so cynical.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @August 18, 2016 at 8:17 AM:

I thought the scary hurricanes were caused by climate change. It's been 130 months since we had a hurricane make landfall in the U.S... a record.

I guess the rise of the oceans has begun to slow. as Obama predicted. Yes, he can even tame the seas!

Please send any and all Wikipedia references and other associated web links explaining this dearth of extreme climate phenomena!

Perhaps Trump can make climate events great again.

Ares Olympus said...

Sam L, I'm cynical about GNP growth as a measure of a!l progress. And I'm cynical about parties blame games while I accept they often work, and Trump ought to milk every bad event he can if he can stay on message.

I'm a!so cynical about smart urban growth in flood plains, and allowing people to build where private insurance isn't affordable.

Trigger Warning said...

Anyone who builds in a "floodplain" is, well, stupid. Floodplains flood. And private-sector flood insurance is not only unaffordable, it's virtually unavailable except for high value mansions of the very wealthy. Individuals living in flood-prone areas are a suck on the taxpaying public, plain and simple.

That said, Obama is no more - or less - guilty of "mishandling" this flood, or "callousness", than Bush was during the Katrina event. Hence, Trump should drive a stake in his heart with a sledgehammer, grabbing photo opps visiting the area in a hard hat and gazing thoughtfully into the devastation.

There is no flood insurance in the Peruvian Amazon basin, and the riverbank is dotted with private shanties... elevated shanties. Since the locals assume the risk, they build accordingly. How butt-ugly ignorant does one have to be to build ground-level dwellings next to waterways that flood?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @August 18, 2016 at 10:38 AM:

You're cynical about blame games? HA! Ares, you blame people all the time.

"I'm cynical about GNP growth as a measure of a!l progress."

Then what is a better measure? It's easy to be a critic. What's your solution? How do you propose we measure progress?

Ares Olympus said...

IAC, there are various measures besides GDP. Good measures ought to separate renewable resources vs depleting ones. If success is measured by your increasing rate of consuming one to an capital, that's a bad system.

A good indicator of health isn't how fast your bmi is increasing, or your debt.

Debt is a real problem, but growth hides that truth. Increased debt is good if you're reducing the cost of living in the future. But risky if you demand future work to pay for past consumption.

All mainstream economists justify themselves never by reducing debt, but increasing GDP to make debt smaller in proportion. Both parties are required to be true believers because any other story would require we cancel a large fraction of our debt, which will end the illusions of prosperity we're living.

PS wired has an article , talking of 500 or 100 year flood standards failing, and how to predict future risks when benchmarks are changing.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @August 18, 2016 at 1:41 PM:

Lots of great platitudes, aspirations and intentions, but you still didn't point to a superior metric. You continued to criticize. Just like every other liberal... great critics, lousy creators.

And if you think the Wired article is so wise, have you invested your own money? All ideas are great until you have to throw down.

Ares Olympus said...

IAC, I don't have ocean from property or near flood zones, if thats what you're asking.

I do bank at my local credit union over a bank, and invest in two local cooperative businesses.

I don't think its my job to define economic indicators, but reducing individual total debt is a good plan. And a carbon tax would help ween us off fossil fuels.

You could also adjust GNP by separating components so some might want to grow and some shrink, even if you still ad them a!l up.

Gdp is already full of lies, hedonic adjustments mainly.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus: "I don't think it's my job..."

Of course you don't. That's the point. You criticize, but you do not enter the arena. There's a word for that.

You have no solutions, just more technocratic adjustments to support your nutty climate ideas, and reducing the debt caused by supporting politicians who spend money we don't have. How can a government that spends and spends and spends more than it collects possibly encourage individual total debt reduction?

Don't you see? You want to feed the beast that oppresses you! The third party payer Santa Claus solution of GOVERNMENT -- the grand money pile up in the sky -- is what you favor in all things. A bunch of experts who will make everything better for us. Ares, they've done a lousy job, and will continue to do a lousy job. Government isn't anything. Government is human beings. There is no free lunch.

Wake up, man!