There's a lot to say about Katrina and the response after. I'll do it in bullet points and try to avoid the emotional response this demands:
* Bush is showing his typical distance. Flying over is not the dramatic, stand-with-the-troops moment he had after 9/11. No one hears you in New Orleans, Mr. Bush.
* Chertoff and Brown are simply incompetent. They'll catch more blame than they should, because they're replaceable. Still, they're in positions of massive responsibility and failed. Rebuilding FEMA and re-directing certain assets from terrorism back to disaster -- and aren't they really the same thing in the end? -- has to come but ...
* The response to this, by government and public, is likely to be absolutely wrong. Instead of more government and regulation, we should get government out of this business. The Red Cross and other similar agencies do this far better. Local government should be given more say in how they prepare. Distributing the response and the responsibility would work better. It's a Libertarian response, but ...
* Expect Rudy Giuliani's presidential aspirations to crank back up. They'll think crisis, think of Giuliani's handling versus what we've seen - a crackup that's causing even Fox News anchors to question the RNC talking points - and his law and order background and he'll look good again. Haley Barbour, former RNC Chairman and current Mississippi governor, also came out well and could be an interesting VP possibility if Katrina remains a campaign issue.
* People have said that the Red Cross and other shouldn't be allowed into New Orleans, that Gen. Honore's Mogadishuization of New Orleans is the right response. The fact that there's even a need for an armed response speaks to the utter failure of everyone, top to bottom. Add in the creation of an internal refugee class that is already causing tension in Houston and we face a major situation that will demand new solutions.
How about we use the unemployed residents of New Orleans to rebuild the levees to withstand the next hurricane, to fill and raise the level of the sub-Pontchartrain sections of the city before rebuilding, and set a WPA-type skills acquisition program to both reduce costs and give people who are among the least-educated and abjectly poor people in America a better life. (Yes, that's a big government program, but it's short-term (a few years) and has a positive effect on the community.)
*Give. And encourage giving. We all have our pet charities and I'm no one to say where your money should go. Over the past five years, Americans have given over and over - Sept 11, tsunami, Katrina, that kid selling chocolate bars at the office - but what do we get besides karma? Simple solution - make charitable giving tax deductible. More paperwork is seldom good, but with the web driving most gifts, receipts are easy and if you give five bucks or drop some change in a bucket, you don't really need a receipt, do you?
See - this can be addressed without politics entering the discussion. I'll let history take care of the rest of them.