Posted by R. Neal

The latest from NOAA: ...POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC CATEGORY FIVE RITA OVER THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO...

I'm not sure how much more folks down there on the Gulf Coast can take. Fortunately, the storm is expected to weaken some before making landfall, but still.

This is going to be pretty bad. Again. It appears that the Katrina wake-up call has local, state, and federal officials better prepared. But FEMA said they were prepared last time, too.

All the posturing by Texas officials and FEMA about how they're going to do a better job this time is a little disheartening, though. This isn't a competition. The entire Gulf Coast needs to come together and help each other survive. The scale of the problem in New Orleans was inversely proportional to the amount of preparation, as appears to now be the case in Texas except in the opposite. I saw on the news last night that there are 300,000+ National Guard available to respond in Texas. There were 10,000 available to respond in Mississippi and Louisiana for Katrina.

The bottom line, though, is that Texas is better prepared. People are being evacuated, including the poor and those without means. And that's a good thing. And maybe the only good thing to come out of Katrina. Let's all hope and pray for the best.