Hurricane society

August 31, 2005 § Leave a comment

For the hurricane:

There are a number of pictures from a New Orleans Which together paint a complex picture of the society.

There are the large trophy tract homes on small lots with architectural details lifted off of textbook English mansions. these houses are for the young professionals, with high mortgages and probably to family salaries.

Then there are the miles upon miles of small sometimes well kept, sometimes not, houses of the much poorer more marginalized people in lower lying land.

One can see that these two sets of living conditions are interconnected.

Several other pictures help round out the system. There is the large downtown with its many office buildings of financial and legal infrastructure. And there are the large warehouse areas for all oil and materials coming in as part of the globalization which is probably hollowing out the country. That infrastructure and the port’s create the jobs for the high salary people to buy their often a loser a homeless a five to 7000 square feet of a holding container for a few TV sets and not much sociability. The costs of running the city are spread in taxes on the million poor people who are struggling to get by.

From any sane point of view this is probably miss-allocation of resources. Over generations, but most in our watch, the last decade, or, say starting with Clinton, who might have helped.. The corporate form is able to organize money for careers and mortgages And those who can find a place on that ship can ride out the life cycle of the human condition. Those who cannot get a place on the ship must live in the wake, surrounded by pollution and if lucky having a job feeding and servicing those who got the salaried jobs.

An alternative would have a number of elements.

The vigorous economy that employs everybody
Lots of education
A vision of the beauty of the city That would support a vital economy for an engaged population.

The political will to get there is clearly lacking.


new orleans now and tomorrow – garden world

August 31, 2005 § Leave a comment

New Orleans is never going to be the same. Are there any bright spots? Well, even they don’t seem so bright: contractor jobs as far as the eye can see, jobs for native-born architects, federal funding about to wash over NO’s corrupt patronage system, real estate prices to plummet, fewer tourists — at least in the short term. New Orleans will emerge out of this smaller, poorer, and newer (with awful housing). The party continues, but without the beautiful props. ‘

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The reality might be that the water should not be pumped. It is too dirty. That the recover will be really slow, not in our lifetime. The beauty is lost, the old houses, the trees and parks. Real leadership could seize this as an Olmstead moment, but where is that leadership? This should be a model garden world reclamation and creative time.

new orleans

August 29, 2005 § Leave a comment

What is to learn about New Orleans is how awkward the prediction process is when something difficult is happening. Who to evacuate, when, … the costs are tremendoues. What risks should be accepted? Like the tsunami, it felt like information was not terrific, and the lags were tremendous. The goodwill and professionalism of the locals was exemplary.

White House Briefing  News on President George W Bush and the Bush Administration

August 29, 2005 § Leave a comment

White House Briefing  News on President George W Bush and the Bush Administration:

My worry is that the apparent lull is really a time of intense whitehouse planning – perhaps Iran, Cuba, Venezuela. The press is too passive, as of course are the democrats. It reminds me of what I have seen so often in corporations, prefer a slow death that is predictable to risk taking to make a real advance. One of the key reasons for this is it allows people to manage their careers, which is not a bad thing. But when the country is at stake – and even there perhaps a slow decline in americna leverage is what is really happening, and it is easier if not mentioned.

“‘So what’s the White House plan? There really isn’t much of one. If anything, there’s a certain sense of fatalism among Bush staffers, a belief that the difficult moments in Iraq just have to be toughed out and that there is no ready cure at hand other than to make the case to stay the course as he did last week when he addressed National Guard troops in Idaho. As for the president himself, Bush is hyperresolute about the situation in Iraq according to advisers. ‘One of the things that’s real consistent about this President is that he doesn’t spook,’ says Bush’s media advisor Mark McKinnon.”


August 26, 2005 § Leave a comment

The problem is that incomes for 90% have not kept up with inflation.Dollars per gallon (7811 Bytes)


August 24, 2005 § Leave a comment

Be sure to look at the link blog for the really rough unedited stuff from reading, see link to the right lower down. I will probably post there more frequently than here.


August 24, 2005 § Leave a comment

The tough view is..

Bush led us into the wrong war, with the wrong culture of national prerogative rather than international cooperation.

My own belief is that even Afghanistan was the wrong war. And Afghanistan today is not a good place to be, for anyone. The history is against intervention,a and we entered into its politics as part of the end game of the cold war.


Iraq, which has been pushed to split, is now a mess, and it is not at all clear what the consequences are of staying, or pulling out. Juan Cole at has laid out a view for staying, and published an opposite viewpoint. Gary Hart in todays Washington Post is another get out advocate.

Bush should be punished for going in. Clinton, Kerry and others should not get any of the benefit, since they were supporters of the war. Bush created more US animosity and blew apart a secular regime in the ME that was in many ways its most modern. Saddam, brutal, may have been an adaptation to the ungovernability of this complex antagonistic grouping of irreconcilables put together by the Brits and supported by the US. Saddam was a kind of Tito who did what was necessary to keep it from exploding. Nasty job, nasty person doing it.

The situation now is almost unredeemable. Civil war that involves other nations, pulling in Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia – and Israel, Turkey.. is all too possible.

So what to do? There is also the problem of internal US politics and Civil Rights. Could we actually end up with an insurgency here? Fighting over Cindy could lead to a confrontation. Deeper criticism of Bush could lead to threats against “critics.”

And there is the Bush threat, made again to day to go on further expeditions. Iran most likely, but Cuba and Venezuela are also possible.

At the same time, the economy is, oil, and lack of home production, in terrible shape from an employment and savings point of view.

We face a multi-faceted problem with narrow minded options. We do not know the history of the issues we face. Trouble.

What really is the situation of the US, internal and external, in the post cold war period? What is the position of Europe and the West? Is this a Spenglerian moment? Is Japan now really part of the west along with parts of Asia? Can the West be reconfigured as a civilizational entity? Is Islam lurching toward a new power? How can it, when all it has to sell is oil to the west?

Is the new world order China, Iran and Europe?

The path for the US should be to be the best example to the world possible, on how to do democracy, economics, education, health… and we have lost our lead, if not quantitatively (which we have for most, like education and health), then in intellectual leadership. in most of these.

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