Here in California as many as half a million people have fled their homes as wildfires advance. The disaster is spread over multiple counties and cities in Southern California.
Have you heard Governor Schwarzenegger wringing his hands and blaming the President for not sending in the National Guard and FEMA? Nope. He's handling the disaster like most responsible governors would. He called in the National Guard -- because that's the Governor's responsibility, not the President's.
Funny thing, I bet you won't hear anyone in the mainstream media mention that this week.
Compare the scene at Qualcomm Stadium with the Super Dome (click on subject link). State governments never know when hurricanes or massive wildfires will hit, you just know they will, and you're supposed to plan for it and take care of your state's citizens. 10,000 people are being safely fed and housed at Qualcomm, with the National Guard and police standing watch. No one's screaming to the media that FEMA hasn't shown up to handle it.
A 90-year-old evacuee said, "Everyone's so friendly. I guess it's making us all feel secure at a time when we all feel so insecure."
The words of one evacuee about his personal situation could also be used to describe how governors deal with emergencies: "You can deal with it, or you can whine about it."
California chose to deal with it -- as the state has during past disasters -- and the difference from Louisiana is stark.
Update: The latest figures I've heard on TV this evening -- which I have not yet been able to verify elsewhere -- are one million evacuated and 20,000 at Qualcomm Stadium. It's said to be the biggest evacuation in California history.
The weather and air in Orange County today can only be described as nasty. It was extremely hot -- nearly 100 -- and the air quality is terrible. People who have to work outdoors, like our mail carrier, are often seen wearing masks. P.E. and sports are cancelled. The Trojans practiced at USC -- scroll down to see the eery photos at Trojan Ticker -- but then complained of breathing troubles and sore throats.