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Monday, September 01, 2008


Apples and oranges, socialism and capitalism

[Updated; see below]

Following up on a post from a few days ago, here's where we stand today with Hurricane Gustav:


Gustav earlier killed 81 people by triggering floods and landslides in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
HAVANA - Cubans returned from shelters to find flooded homes and washed-out roads Sunday, but no deaths were reported after a monstrous Hurricane Gustav roared across the island and into the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico.

About 250,000 Cubans were evacuated before Gustav made landfall on Cuba's Isla de la Juventud, then again on the Cuban mainland in the region that produces much of the tobacco used to make the nation's famed cigars.

It was just short of top-scale Category 5 hurricane with screaming 140 mph (220 kph) winds as it moved across the island, toppling telephone poles and fruit trees, shattering windows and tearing off the tin roofs of homes.

A Cuban television reporter on the Isla de la Juventud said the storm had felt like "the blast wave from a bomb."

"Buildings without windows, without doors," he said. "Few trees remain standing."

Cuban Civil defense chief Ana Isa Delgado said there were "many people injured" on the island of 87,000 people. Nearly all the island's roads were washed out and some regions were heavily flooded.
And yet - no deaths. Not one. When New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina, it was only a Category 3 storm. More than 2000 lives were lost. We all certainly hope the experience isn't repeated in a few days. We really don't need another lesson in the differences between socialism and capitalism. Quoting Barack Obama, who like many Democrats is perfectly capable of talking a good game if not following through, the operative phrase governing this country has been "the ownership society" - you're on your own.

Update: The death toll elsewhere in the Caribbean has risen to 94. In Cuba, an astonishing total of 86,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, and 80 electricity towers were downed across the island. And despite that ferocious assault, only 19 Cubans were injured, none gravely.

Second update: For more perspective, Hurricane Gustav hit Cuba with sustained winds of 149 mph with gusts up to 186 mph. Indeed, a Cuban record was set with winds measured up to 211 mph. And still not a single life lost.

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