Thursday, September 08, 2005

By SIMON WINCHESTER :Before the Flood -

~~ In 1906 --- during a time when the

telegraph & telephone where young ,

and still more rare than common-

--- the emergency response to the

San Fancisco earthquake

is a model for

what could have been

in New Orleans 2005.

Mr. Bush there are no excuses.

Our modern system of digital instant communication ,

proved useless,

in the fumbling hands of your Administration.

The big mystery now is whether you Mr. Bush

even understand your failure.

If you do ,

just 'fess up.

It is the only way to re-gain any respect at home and abroad.

I can forgive my President's mistake.

But now I live with the horror of my

President under delusions

that nothing more could have been done.

~~ ~ TP


"Before the Flood"

Sept . 8, 2005

THE last time a great American city was destroyed by a violent caprice of nature, the response was shockingly different from what we have seen in New Orleans. In tone and tempo, residents, government institutions and the nation as a whole responded to the earthquake that brought San Francisco to its knees a century ago in a manner that was well-nigh impeccable, something from which the country was long able to derive a considerable measure of pride.

This was all the more remarkable for taking place at a time when civilized existence was a far more grueling business, an age bereft of cellphones and Black Hawks and conditioned air, with no Federal Emergency Management Agency to give us a false sense of security and no Weather Channel to tell us what to expect.

Nobody in the 'cool gray city of love,' as the poet George Sterling called it, had the faintest inkling that anything might go wrong on the early morning of April 18, 1906. Enrico Caruso and John Barrymore - who both happened to be in town - and 400,000 others slumbered on, with only a slight lightening of eggshell-blue in the skies over Oakland and the clank of the first cable cars suggesting the beginning of another ordinary day."