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The "unglamorous" floods
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, June 18, 2008

You can't help but remember Katrina. The news reports (hyped as we learned later) were deeply disturbing. And the size of the devastation seemed overwhelming. As the picture was painted, incompetence, racism and plain old mean-spiritedness were claimed to rule the day. Finger-pointing, whining and crying were ubiquitous. Foreign news services used New Orleans as an example of America's decline.

Now comes Iowa. Flooded across a much larger area, and just as devastating to those flooded out, not a bit of whining, crying, blame or finger-pointing seems to be going on.

As Lucianne.com subtitled a featured article about the flood, "no looting, no shooting, no one blaming Bush". Huh.

What's up with that? Joe Soucheray of the St. Paul Pioneer Press asks whether the fact that Iowans aren't complaining about the flood, but instead just dealing with it make it a less glamorous story for the usual suspects?
Maybe I missed it because I have been doing my best to not watch CNN, but I don't think Anderson Cooper has rented a rowboat and paddled around Cedar Rapids or Des Moines with a concerned look on his face. If it wasn't Cooper who paddled around New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina, I apologize; but even if he didn't go out in a boat, he was at the edge of the water with a concerned look on his face.

[...]

n any event, maybe it wasn't Cooper; maybe it was one of the always-available movie stars who showed up in New Orleans with a rowboat. Sean Penn? That rings a bell. I think Sean Penn brought a boat with an outboard motor and he went around New Orleans acting concerned.
Hey, good question, where is Capt. Penn and his intrepid crew? Is Iowa just not good enough a disaster for a star filled rescue regatta to set sail?
The floods in Iowa must not be glamorous enough to attract the usual gloom-and-doom crowd. Then again, nobody in Iowa is complaining or blaming. Nobody has left his or her post. Nobody is crying foul. A large congratulations might be sent to Iowa, or Iowans, who seem to be dealing with their floods the only way possible, by dealing with them.
How refreshing. People actually doing for themselves and not waiting on someone else to do it for them. I'm sure the foreign press is disappointed it's unable to document the floods as the latest chapter in America's decline.

Now I've seen the complaints that these floods aren't comparable to Katrina and that the devastation in the wake of Katrina was far greater than Iowa will probably suffer. Well that's easy to say sitting high and dry in your home a few hundred or thousand miles away - but for those Iowans who have lost everything, I'd bet they'd disagree.

And I'd also point out that where Katrina actually made landfall - Mississippi - and literally scrubbed towns off the face of the earth, the recovery was much swifter (and the drama considerably less) than in New Orleans.

Nope, I think it comes down to culture. And no I'm not using "culture" as a code word for "race". It has to do with a culture of dependency, which, frankly, doesn't care what color you are. The culture in Iowa (just like Mississippi during Katrina) doesn't lend itself to the pitiful pictures and stories that came out of New Orleans.

And because of that, apparently, there's no incentive for the press to have the presence it had in New Orleans or for the "blame Bush" weekend sailor Hollywood types to journey out there either. What a surprise.

Meanwhile, a tip of the hat to Iowans and a prayer for their continued health and safety. They know as well as anyone they can rebuild. Given the culture that survives there, they will. And, they should take immense pride in that spirit.
 
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Comments
Midwesterners have always been made of sterner stuff...

We deal with tornadoes constantly. A little water isn’t going to bother anyone.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
The overall destruction here in Iowa is certainly less than it was on the Gulf Coast so that may account for some of the difference; however, the culture here (and in the Midwest) is not generally one of complainers and people who feel they aren’t getting their share of attention from the government (some urban areas should be excluded from that assessment). Midwesterner’s just pick themselves up and go about doing their thing. The local media has been doing their best to hype this like it was Armageddon but most of us don’t take them that seriously. It is a mess but we’ll be fine, thank you very much.

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
What happens two weeks after floods in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana?

The floods reach the mouth of the Mississippi. (though often diverted down another river, the Red, IIRC)

There is still time for New Orleans, redux

 
Written By: newshutz
URL: http://
Yeah. There is so much the same between an event that caused 81 billion dollars in damage and one that caused 1.5 billion dollars in damage. Still to the person that lost all, it is the same. We in the Gulf South know exactly what they are facing and the hard tear filled road ahead. My heart goes out to them. I hope America has learned a lesson from Katrina and give them a hand up, not the back of their hand (as you continue to demonstrate.)
 
Written By: doctorj2u
URL: http://
Yeah, it’s all bucks huh Doc? Bigger is worse until you realize that both disasters are simply a collection of individual and family disasters and in both cases a whole lot of people lost everything.

And naturally the difference between how the two groups handle the same sort of loss has nothing to do with attitude, fortitude, culture or spirit, does it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
And naturally the difference between how the two groups handle the same sort of loss has nothing to do with attitude, fortitude, culture or spirit, does it?
It’s not culture, fortitude, attitude or any of those things - it’s geography. It’s the Upper Midwest and, for the most part, the Upper Midwest is blue. Blue states tend to take in less federal revenue than they fork over. As a consequence, they come to expect less from the federal government than other states do.



 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Who did Iowa go to again? I forget...

And I’m pretty sure that if you looked by country, those places hardest hit trend red.

But thanks for playing...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
It’s the Upper Midwest and, for the most part, the Upper Midwest is blue.
And New Orleans is what? Oh, I remember, it’s ’chocolate’.

Cripes MK - you used to come with game.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
I hope America has learned a lesson from Katrina and give them a hand up, not the back of their hand (as you continue to demonstrate.)

My own town flooded here in Indiana. Suggest we can’t take care of ourselves and our own, Doc, and it’s the back of our hands YOU will be getting. It’s called character and self-reliance.

It’s not culture, fortitude, attitude or any of those things - it’s geography. It’s the Upper Midwest and, for the most part, the Upper Midwest is blue. Blue states tend to take in less federal revenue than they fork over. As a consequence, they come to expect less from the federal government than other states do.


Not even close enough for a cigar. Pathetic, mk, just flat out lame-@$$ and wrong.

But riddle me this, Batman:

From N.R.O.

Where are all of the Hollywood celebrities holding telethons asking for help in restoring Iowa and helping the folks affected by the floods?

Where is all the media asking the tough questions about why the federal government hasn’t solved the problem? Asking where the FEMA trucks (and trailers) are?

Why isn’t the Federal Government relocating Iowa people to free hotels in Chicago?

When will Spike Lee say that the Federal Government blew up the levees that failed in Des Moines?

Where are Sean Penn and the Dixie Chicks?

Where are all the looters stealing high-end tennis shoes and big screen television sets

When will we hear Governor Chet Culver say that he wants to rebuild a "vanilla" Iowa, because that’s the way God wants it?

Where is the hysterical 24/7 media coverage complete with reports of cannibalism?

Where are the people declaring that George Bush hates white, rural people?

How come in 2 weeks, you will never hear about the Iowa flooding ever again?
 
Written By: The Gonzman
URL: http://
Who did Iowa go to again? I forget...

And I’m pretty sure that if you looked by country, those places hardest hit trend red.

But thanks for playing...
Pretty sure are you?

Check out this electoral map.

It actually shows the exact opposite of what you are pretty sure of. The east part of the state - where the floods are - trends blue.

But then if you knew even the first thing about Iowa, you would know that. But you don’t.

I was in Cedar Rapids in March. Visited with a lot of people there. Older people, union people, etc. Work at the mills there. Good people. Informed people. They don’t trust Bush or the Republicans. They don’t trust McCain. Linn County went blue last election. You should visit somtime, it’s nice.

You don’t know jack about Iowa. Neither does McQ, apparently. He wouldn’t like it there. Down to earth, hard-working people who don’t buy into the extremist right-wing agenda and demonization of Democratic politicians. Are they left-wing radicals? Hardly. But the know bullsh*t when they smell it. And they know Southern conservatives peddle alot of it. A lot. I don’t think wingnuts in the South really get the Midwest.

So I suggest you take another look at the map you claim to understand. And I would suggest that the reaction of the folks in Iowa to the floods and the fact that they are occuring in the blue part of the state is not a coincidence.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Oh - and thanks for playing.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Down to earth, hard-working people ...
Don’t care what their political persuasion is and given your track record, certainly not buying your characterization of the area either.

However, and as usual without knowing it, you hit on the "cultural" aspect and point of the post ... thanks for playing.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
And I would suggest that the reaction of the folks in Iowa to the floods and the fact that they are occuring in the blue part of the state is not a coincidence
So, your suggesting that there’s a reason the floods are occuring in the blue part of the state.

I mean, your seriously suggesting something is afoot, and it’s not just a coincidence.

OK then, I think someones jumped the shark.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Culture, schmulture. Political correctness gone amuck.

St Bernard parish in La is (and was) roughly 60% minority. The 3 coastal counties in Ms plus Pearl River county are about 20% minority. The river counties in Iowa are about 1% minority.

Katrina was a 1-in-a-100-year event. Severe floods on the upper Mississippi are a 1-in-15 or 20 year event.

Where would you have thrown your money if you sold news?
 
Written By: Arcs
URL: http://
Check out this electoral map.

It actually shows the exact opposite of what you are pretty sure of. The east part of the state - where the floods are - trends blue.
Nice electoral map, but you missed a step in your argument. Now compare it to the maps of the area designated as disaster area due to the flood. Seems like most of the counties involved are actually red counties. Doesn’t actually help your thesis much.

And, of course, you utterly ignore the fact that NO, which was the other half of your original comparison, is deep, deep blue. So, even if you are correct about the entire area affected by the flooding being blue, the original argument is still complete and utter rubbish.

But such is the course of argument on the internet. Make a big claim, get subsequently bogged down in the minutae surrounding the claim, and then claim your opponent is a moron each time you think you’ve won one of those minor points, ignoring the fact that the original argument is crumbling like a house of cards.
 
Written By: Terry
URL: http://
Yeah, and let’s not forget there’s more then just Iowa that’s been hit by these floods.

After being hit with several days of tornadoes around Indiana, we then had those same massive rains come through.

Currently 30 Indiana counties have been declared eligible for disaster assistance.

It will be interesting to see when the price of agriculture commodities catches up with the loss already experienced.

Also have a look at this map of current flood conditions from the USGS.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
"Work at the mills there."
What ARE you talking about? What mills?

Too bad I didn’t know you were there MK, I would have loved to meet you in person to see exactly what a west-coast liberal buffoon looks like.

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Sure culture is important. But let’s not forget a couple of things. First, 70% of farmers and ranchers in Iowa collect government subsidy payments. $16 billion worth in the 1995 to 2006 period. Tell me again about that culture of dependence...

Second, plenty of that supposed shooting and looting was imaginary. Which certainly says something about our culture, but not perhaps what you meant.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Let’s not kid ourselves here - Cedar Rapids and Iowa City are full of blue-state liberals (and plenty of left-wing radicals too, esp. Iowa City) and the votes tend to go liberal for all offices. (There’s an idiot south of C.R. with a "This is John Edwards Country" sign next to the interstate.)

And for sure, there are plenty of farmers on the subsidy dole as well (who undoubtedly vote both ways), though I can hardly blame them for taking what the government offers. It’s required to remain competitive, such is the screwed up marketplace we’ve created.

I don’t think the difference in the responses between Iowa and New Orleans is political. That doesn’t explain much at all. South Dakota tends to vote GOP consistently and they have the same no-whining, get-er-done attitude of most other Midwesterners - liberal or not. I also suspect that there are plenty of N.O.’ers - the ones we never heard complaining - who looked upon the post-Katrina circus with contempt and did their best to go about their business rebuilding their lives.





 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
"It’s required to remain competitive"

No, it isn’t. That is the whole point of federal subsidies, you don’t even have to produce, much less compete.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I live in Cedar Rapids. (Northeast part of the city, so our
home was not affected.) Thank you for your kind words.

Please consider giving a few dollars to the Grant Wood
Chapter of the Red Cross, or to the United Way of Eastern
Iowa. It is going to be a mess in Iowa for a while, long
after the national media have dissappeared. We will carry on
and rebuild, but your contributions can help.

A few things to note, from the perspective of one who lives here.

1) There are maps of the 500 year flood zone for CR. Those maps will
need to be redrawn, since this flood exceeded it. The crest was
over 9 ft above the previous all time record. To say that this was
a 1 in 20 year event is incorrect.

2) Iowa is more purple than either red or blue. We have
both flavors of senator, Harkin and Grassley. The congressional
delegation is also split. The state government is also relatively
evenly split. It wavers from bluish to redish from election to
election. It is bluish now.

One commenter above stated that the Iowans he visited don’t trust
Republicans, etc. I think he’s half right. We don’t trust
Democrats much either. Trust in God, trust in family, trust in
your neighbors - absolutely. Trust in Washington politicians?
Not so much.

3) Iowa is a net receiver of federal funds. We get more than we pay.
All those farm subsidies. Plus both senators have been in office since
the last ice age, and are very good at ummm, pork. (eg. Grassley and the
silly rainforest idea, Harkin and the silly electric bus fiasco.)

Thanks again.

 
Written By: cr resident
URL: http://
That’ll teach those b@stards to vote for....oh dang, the state went for Bush in 04! Waaaaaaahhhhhh Bush! (Blame Bush, because Bush is to blame for everything)

And since we’re no longer talking about the self reliance of that blue state on the gulf, let me say, those BLUE counties in Louisiana did a self reliant wonderful job during and after Katrina, led by that genius, and democratic governor, Kathleen ’Babling’ Blanco.

MK, you’re such a clown.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The difference is how the two populaces responded to adversity. I remember Geraldo Rivera reporting in front of the New Orleans convention center and in the background there was this rising crescendo of voices shouting, "Help us. Help Us. Help us". I was embarrassed, as I was one who had called New Orleans home for 28 years. I have since moved.
 
Written By: John personal trainer Austin TX
URL: http://www.kellypersonaltraining.com/method.html
"2) Iowa is more purple than either red or blue. We have
both flavors of senator, Harkin and Grassley. The congressional
delegation is also split. The state government is also relatively
evenly split. It wavers from bluish to redish from election to
election. It is bluish now."

I disagree. The Republican’s that are elected around here (Grassley, for one) are hardly conservative. More like liberal-light.

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://

 
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