Really good little article. Give it a read, politics and Firefly... how could it suck!
Kid and Otter,
Haven't been over in a while. I'm going to briefly mention the carnivore vs. herbivore debate before I discuss New Orleans.
What strikes me as funny is the way that for this argument -- as with most arguments -- we select the extremes on either end as our foundations. "Meat is Murder" vs. "Animals are happy, relaxed, and listening to Mozart (or, God help them, Barry Manilow) as they travel down that comfy conveyor belt." Both are true, but neither is an honest representation of the overall situation. Yes, there are absolutely ghastly slaughterhouses, and yes, there are slaughterhouses that maintain extraordinarily humane conditions for their animals in life and death. But somewhere in between the paint-throwing PETA extremists and the bow-hunting Ted Nugent extremists lies the true conditions that most animals face.
Just for fun, pick a topic about which you have strong feelings. Now, pick the extreme opposite argument of your feelings, and go research it. I guarantee that you can find some sort of Person Of Authority who will give you lots of Facts that back up this point of view. But in the overall scheme of things, it's just extremist bullshit that has little to do with the true conditions facing the relevant parties.
Likewise, it's easy to look at a few fuck-ups in New Orleans and use them to paint a picture of how America is going to hell. But if you're going to make an honest argument based on that fact, you need to determine how many people actually did take responsibility for themselves and evacuated before the storm; then determine how many people did the best they could with the resources they had, and still civilly followed directions when the shit hit the fan; then determine how many people used the opportunity to loot, rape, and pillage. I'm completely making up numbers here, but I imagine that they'd look something like 300,000 to 100,000 to 2,000.
Can you really declare that America is going to hell because there are 2,000 (or however many) assholes amidst the 400,000 (or however many) people who took responsibility for themselves in the best way that they were able?
On my site, I often discuss that Baltimore is a Horrible Place because we have about 300 murders a year. But let's look at Baltimore: There are about 650,000 people living here. About 10% of that population is estimated to be involved in some sort of drug addiction. So that means 585,000 people are not drug addicts. 300 people get murdered, which means there are about 300 murderers, which means that about 649,700 people in Baltimore did not commit murder last year.
We can spin the facts any way we choose. But we have to remember to be careful as we spin them, for pretty soon they stop being spun and start being nothing more than lies.