Hurricane Katrina Brings The Best and the Worst

By September 1, 2005Miscellaneous

It is true that huge calamities bring out the best and the worst of society. Happily, the worst are dwarfed by the best. The better angels always prevail, thank God. But there are looters and scam artist who will instantly try to take advantage of the victims of nature’s wrath.

And then there are people like Robert Kennedy, Jr who will just try to make political hay out of a national disaster. He is no better than the looter, or our friends over at the UFCW who tried to gain from the tragedy of a double murder. Unfortunately, turning someone else’s personal tragedy into personal gain is as old as the hills.

A post on Arianna Huffington’s blog-it-yourself site by Kennedy fils entitled, “For They That Sow the Wind Shall Reap the Whirlwind” begins, “As Hurricane Katrina dismantles Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, it’s worth recalling the central role that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour played in derailing the Kyoto Protocol and kiboshing President Bush’s iron-clad campaign promise to regulate CO2.” (Is this the same Kyoto Protocol that India and China didn’t sign and that most all European nations that did are way behind on their complaince…?)

Could this be? Is he really headed down this path? Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has been on the TV virtually non-stop for the past several days, dealing with the enormous hardship in Biloxi and elsewhere that Hurricane Katrina has wrought. Though it all, he is earnest and compassionate, who like his fellow governor Blanco in Louisiana, has as their first concern the welfare of the people, of their state. To be sure, this is no time for politics. But read on. Apparently Robert Kennedy, Jr. thinks it is.

After citing a memo written by Barbour to the White House when he was Republican National Committee Chairman opposing caps on CO2 emissions and criticizing global warming, Kennedy invokes a recent study linking “the prevalence of destructive hurricanes to human-induced global warming.” How’s that? Is he really blaming Haley Barbour for this hurricane?!? An article about that study says, “Even without global warming, hurricane cycles tend to be a consequence of natural salinity and temperature changes in the Atlantic’s deep current circulation that shift back and forth every 40 to 60 years.” So at least this is an arguable point, no? Doesn’t seem that clear cut to us, or to science for that matter. The story adds, “Most forecasts don’t have climate change making a real difference in tropical storms until 2050 or later.” Is he really blaming Haley Barbour for this hurricane?!?

So let’s see if we’ve go this right: Haley Barbour had the temerity to doubt the theory of global warming and the wisdom of capping CO2 emissions and for that he is being punished in some cosmic way? As Kennedy concludes, “….Pat Robertson warned that hurricanes were likely to hit communities that offended God. Perhaps it was Barbour’s memo that caused Katrina…” Yup, he’s really blaming Haley Barbour for causing the hurricane.

Out of the context of all the mayhem and destruction we see on TV these days, this would be just flat nutty. But unfortunately we have context, all too much of it, the faces of the stranded, the bodies of the dead floating as the rescuers try to reach and save the terrified living. Against this backdrop for Kennedy to make a cheap political point is, well, disgusting.

If Pat Robertson’s right, a storm may be headed for Hyannis.