the "can't-do" folks, and lessons lost - or never learned

Winslow Homer Hurricane, Bahamas 1898-99 watercolor 14.5" x 21"

I have two more stories which should be read more widely than they are likely to be. Like the tip on the previous post, both were sent to me by Steve Quester (who, as these things work, of course was himself tipped by his friends). The first is a description of an American state which was the target of a Category 4 hurricane last week; the second is a picture of a very different state which endured a Category 5 hurricane one year ago. Louisiana is an incalculable physical and human catastrophe; Cuba lost 20,000 homes, but no one died.

The Ugly Truth: Why we couldn't save the people of New Orleans by Errol Louis

Bubbling up from the flood that destroyed New Orleans are images, beamed around the world, of America's original and continuing sin: the shabby, contemptuous treatment this country metes out, decade after decade, to poor people in general and the descendants of African slaves in particular. The world sees New Orleans burning and dying today, but the televised anarchy - the shooting and looting, needless deaths, helpless rage and maddening governmental incompetence - was centuries in the making. [continued]

The Two Americas by Marjorie Cohn

Last September, a Category 5 hurricane battered the small island of Cuba with 160-mile-per-hour winds. More than 1.5 million Cubans were evacuated to higher ground ahead of the storm. Although the hurricane destroyed 20,000 houses, no one died.

What is Cuban President Fidel Castro's secret? According to Dr. Nelson Valdes, a sociology professor at the University of New Mexico, and specialist in Latin America, "the whole civil defense is embedded in the community to begin with. People know ahead of time where they are to go." [continued]

[image from theweathernotebook]