Bloggers discuss Hurricane Rita as it threatens the Gulf Coast. They also attack the Vatican for banning celibate homosexuals from the priesthood and bat around a new Forbes 400.
The Houston Chronicle has assembled Stormwatchers, a group blog updated by those who have elected to stay behind. "Houston, get ready to rumble," writes one contributor. (Radio host Hugh Hewitt says the paper is acting irresponsibly by encouraging civilians to hole up at their own risk.)
Texas bloggers have begun to assess the evacuation procedures that largely cleared the cities of Houston and Galveston in advance of Rita. At group effort blogHouston, Anne Linehan praises the efficient leadership of the local authorities, who, she says, faced the daunting task of mobilizing a massive metropolis of terrified citizens. At BeldarBlog Lawyer Bill Dwyer blames Katrina and an overzealous local media for the evacuation gridlock, which he says is largely the result of panicked residents fleeing safe areas all at once. (Fellow lawyer Tom Kirkendall of Houston's Clear Thinkers notes that current models forecast a Rita landfall safely east of Houston and Galveston.) Eminent libertarian Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit suggests that, after Katrina, overhype was probably inevitable.
At A Certain Slant of Light, B. Austin Higgins writes that what is good news for Houston and Galveston—it appears they'll be spared the worst—is bad news for those in other areas, particularly nearby petrochemical centers. At PoliPundit, DJ Drummond notes that, because oil refineries in Rita's path are closing in self-defense, 27 percent of domestic oil production will be unavailable for the next week—at a time when most of metropolitan Houston is having difficulty staying fueled through the extended evacuation gridlock.
There are, of course, other areas even less lucky. "New Orleans is flooding again," notes Jonah Goldberg at the National Review Online's conservative clubhouse The Corner. "The levee broke, again." Watching television coverage, colleague Rich Lowry adds that the outlook for the Crescent City, and particularly St. Bernard Parish, is bad. Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin rounds up coverage of the "new levee problems."
At liberal salon TPMCafe, former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt takes the long view on Rita, calling for the establishment for a federal agency, independent of FEMA, to manage the reconstruction of devastated areas. Washington MonthlyPolitical Animal Kevin Drum also shares doubts about current reconstruction plans for New Orleans.
The new Catholic Church:"Homosexuals, even those who are celibate, will be barred from becoming Roman Catholic priests, a church official said Wednesday, under stricter rules soon to be released on one of the most sensitive issues facing the church," the New York Times reported yesterday.
"So Much for Loving the Sinner," quips New York snark factory Gawker. Many agree the announcement stinks of hypocrisy. "Nothing like a little scapegoating," writesAmerican Queery's Victor Chudnovsky, who wonders how many men have entered the priesthood to suppress their own homosexuality.