Friday, September 16, 2005

Katrina again

Dr. Clam said...
You can't avoid (3) without tearing up the Constitution and jumping up and down on the pieces. The United States still operates on a Federal system, to a much greater extent than Australia, and the states concerned in particular have a long tradition of telling the Federal government to bugger off and leave them alone, to the extent of being reduced to rubble over it. Normally this decentralisation of power is a good thing: in this particular case it was a bad thing. But a counterfactual that says 'don't inolve the states' is as silly as a counterfactual that says 'send in the cloned super-soldier penguins to rescue survivors'.

This is the whole point of "State of Emergency". Emergency powers have been abused in some countries, it's true; however, surely there are provisions for it in the US constitution. Levee breach in New Orleans = temporary suspension of decentralisation of power, just as I would hope it would have been had Cyclone Katrina hit us after Sid.

Incidentally, I have seen research regarding storm surges, and the figure was, any particular point on the tropical East coast of Aus gets a storm surge of average 4 m once in every three hundred years, based on geological time scales.

4 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Don't pay attention to those spammers, they are way lame.

What you really want to do is talk like a pirate.

Arrrrrrr!

Dr. Clam said...

I don't think there is an emergency powers provision in the US constitution. Emergency powers only get pushed through in wartime with lots of argument and demonisation of the civil-liberties-abusing pseudo-dictators like Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Delano Roosevelt who impose them.