Monday, August 28, 2006

Something Conspicuously Missing

This Modern World has a Katrina Timeline up, including YouTube videos of various news coverage of Katrina from a year ago. I remember what I was doing a year ago, as Katrina swept down on the Gulf Coast -- I was sitting here at my desk, studiously ignoring my "real work" in favour of ultra-intensive media monitoring. I was collecting literally hundreds of newspaper articles, wire photos, and other miscellania, plus perusing the boards at Weather Underground and I couldn't really get too close to the actual action, as I'm quite physically far away, although Katrina did spin off a really nasty band of thunderstorms that wound up marching across the continent in a diagonal and pummeling the hell out of us here in Southwestern Ontario, the Deep South of Canuckistan.

In any case, in the first video in Saunders' timeline (as opposed to, say, NPR's timeline), there is a segment of film taken at what is presumably a briefing room at Bush's Crawford "ranch." During part of that video, Bush promises assistance to state-level officials:
I want to assure the folks at the state level that, uh, we are fully prepared to not only help you during the storm, but we will move in whatever assets and resources we have at our disposal after the storm, to help you deal with, uh, with the loss of property and, uh, we pray for no loss of life.

The nuance of speech doesn't come across very well in this low-bandwidth format, and since YouTube seems to screw up people's blogs so they take forever to load, I'm going to suggest you go over to Tom Tomorrow's pad and watch the video for yourself. Nevertheless, notice something conspicuously missing?


He doesn't mention moving people into the area to help, only "assets and resources," and he mentions that he will assist with "loss of property," catches himself, realises that he's put his foot in it (I think if he hadn't done that, he would have stopped talking after "loss of property"), and then makes a lame platitude about praying for "no loss of life." I think that may have been a faux pas at the time, but it's become strategy since.

Digby points out a column by Frank Rich (courteously reprinted by jurassicpork). I think the real money quote (literally or figuratively) in the Rich column (no pun intended) is:
"I don’t think anybody’s getting the Bush strategy," [Douglas Brinkley, the Tulane University historian who wrote the best-selling account of Katrina, "The Great Deluge,"] said when we talked last week. "The crucial point is that the inaction is deliberate — the inaction is the action." As he sees it, the administration, tacitly abetted by New Orleans’s opportunistic mayor, Ray Nagin, is encouraging selective inertia, whether in the rebuilding of the levees ("Only Band-Aids have been put on them"), the rebuilding of the Lower Ninth Ward or the restoration of the wetlands. The destination: a smaller city, with a large portion of its former black population permanently dispersed.

Callous disregard for life, especially any life that isn't rich, white, and Republican (what New Orleans may look like when all is said and done, thereby reducing itself to a Main Street, USA Disneyfied version of itself), seems to be a hallmark of the current Bush Administration. This is what happens when amoral corporatists who literally don't believe in government take the helm.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Katrina Glass Ceiling

Over at Feministe, zuzu had a very nice article on a study issued by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research on the socioeconomic status of women in post-Katrina New Orleans. It's not pretty.

What jumped out at me from zuzu's piece specifically were these two statistics:

  • The median earnings for men in their lowest-paid occupations range from $15,150 to $23,500 annually, compared with women’s earnings of $11,400 to $20,000 in their lowest-paid occupations.

  • At the high end of the scale, men’s median earnings range from $38,700 to $130,000, compared with a high range of $30,000 to $63,000 for women.

  • So, we can break down these ranges by their respective values. We'll call them Low-Wage Low-Earning/High-Earning Men and Women, and High-Wage Low-Earning/High-Earning Men and Women, respectively, just so we can hang a handle on them. Let's look at the disparity between these four values.

    At the low end, LWLE women make 75.24% of what LWLE men make ($11 400 versus $15 150).

    LWHE women make 85.1% of what LWHE men make, putting them at the least gender-based disadvantage of any group ($20 000 versus $23 500).

    In the high-wage group, HWLE women make 77.5% of what their male counterparts do ($30 000 versus $38 700).

    On the other hand, HWHE women make just 48.46% of what HWHE men make ($63 000 versus $130 000).

    Based on these median figures, that actually means the higher-earning women are actually at more of a comparative income disadvantage by gender. I know the usual income disparity generally is that women earn between 75-80% of what men earn, but I don't have good figures on how that breaks down once you get into the top 1% of income earners or so.

    Nevertheless, New Orleans seems to have a serious glass ceiling problem.

    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    Annoy Antonia Zerbisias

    According to her article here:

    Meanwhile, with very few exceptions, the left/liberal blogosphere remains silent. Not just about "Reutersgate," but also about the Israel-Lebanon conflict.

    I know people were talking about that bad Photoshop job on DKos today. Other than that, I've been kind of out of the loop. Thing is, at least according to stats I've seen, Kos is bigger in terms of audience than the entirety of Right Blogistan, and bigger than cable news.

    On the other hand, I do know most of the major left blogs, including Kos, Eschaton, Crooks&Liars, and Firedoglake have talked about the Israel/Lebanon thing. Quite a few of the second-tier blogs, including Pandagon, Orcinus, Digby's Hullaballoo, Glenn Greenwald, Echidne of the Snakes and First Draft have talked about it quite a lot. I also know a lot of the smaller blogs, including this one, No Capital, The Gods Are Bored, Hecate, and Aron's Israel Peace Weblog have also talked about it.

    Juan Cole (Informed Comment) and Billmon have done practically nothing but talk about it.

    I kind of missed the whole Reuters thing, because I was offline for most of the weekend, out in the sticks house-sitting for my parents, and didn't read really any news except for the local rag, which is useful only for starting fires and emergency toilet paper. (You can't even wrap fish in it, because the damned vegetable-based inks they use these days rub off all over the place.)

    If you have written about this, or you have some good article cites, please post them or send a nice polite note to Zerbisias, who is usually suffering from a balky clue server, definitely has her head up her ass this time. Just because Left Blogistan isn't All Israel, All The Time doesn't mean we aren't talking about it. (All Israel, All The Time sounds like one of my Winamp playlists, and I know for damn sure I have a mix CD called "Kol Israel, Kol Ha'zman," but that's tangential.)

    Context: For those of you not here in Soviet Canuckistan, The Toronto Star is usually one of the good guys -- a nominally left-leaning paper in Canada's overwhelmingly right-wing mediasphere, and a paper which spends prodigious amounts of money maintaining international bureaux that do real reporting from overseas, instead of just relying on wire services like everyone else. Not too bad for what's ostensibly a "local paper." Personally, I think they're what the NYT only wishes it were these days.