Tuesday, December 28, 2004


It can escape nobody that most of the victims of natural disasters are poor folk. Correction: It did escape the Times, which blames geology for the tidal waves that devastated the shores of South Asia. In other words, blame God. Well, he's done it before.

But it's poor folks who settle in where disaster has a way of striking, and they keep going back. In fact, survivors are already scavenging in the wreckage for shelter and for gravesites. Where would they go? Safer areas are out of their reach.

Our local media took pride in the $40 million that some zillionaire we never heard of paid for a penthouse in midtown. Not of course for safety from tidal waves, though we do often have watermain breaks. The price does, I guess, reflect the vitality of our town, which sparkles despite its atrocious mismanagement. Check the cultural listings.

Just now I will not dwell on New York housing and wages. Those millions in South Asia get far less, and very few public services. Lord, they didn't have sirens to warn them about the earthquake. They fled the first wave, came back and were hit by the second. We've had much better warnings of all the bad things that are happening to the environment. What are we doing about it?