Thursday, September 8

There's never a Keystone Kop around when you need one.

Here's an interesting question from -- wait for it! -- a conservative blogger:

Why must the federal government get involved in the Schiavo case, while abdicating resposibility for those stranded in New Orleans?

Like JohnMcG, I don't buy the idea that the disconnect is because Schiavo was white and (most of) the hurricane victims were black, nor the idea that the government prefers the "mindless" to the "poor," but, well, you've got to admit that today's so-called conservatives have some unbelievably bizarre priorities if they think one incapacitated woman in Florida is worth flexing the muscles of the entire federal government, but when it comes to helping one of the nation's largest metropolitan areas from maybe the country's worst natural disaster since the San Francisco earthquake, they're like, "Yo, that's a state and local responsibility, man." (And allow me to propose that "foul weather federalists" immediately become part of our national political lexicon.)

Look, I'm not going to sit here like some brain-dead DU robot declaring that everything in Louisiana is Bush's fault and the state and local people are 100-percent pure-as-the-driven-snow blameless. I have a lot of questions in particular about what precisely the N.O. mayor was doing in the days and hours leading up to the storm, and when I see that picture of the hundreds of city school buses sitting unused in a parking lot full of stagnant water, it makes my heart break to think of all that could've been done. But let's make one thing very clear here: The primary responsibility to act quickly in preparing and providing relief rests with the federal government, not those at the state or local levels. That's the way it works not because shifty-eyed New Orleans civic officials say so, or because big-government liberals say so, but because Bush's own "National Response Plan" says so. Furthermore, when people like Tom DeLay shrug their shoulders and sniff that the emergency-response plan is supposed to work from the bottom up" -- with state and local authorities bearing primary responsibility, and then being responsible for going to the federal government for help if they don't think they can prepare in time with their own resources -- he is apparently ignoring the fact that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco did ask for that help, days before the hurricane made landfall, by requesting that Bush declare a federal state of emergency in her state. Of course, that hasn't stopped the Bushies from attempting yet another Rovian through-the-rabbit-hole turnabout and saying it was actually Bush who begged -- begged! -- Blanco to ask for federal help, not the other way around -- apparently unaware that even if their fakakta story does check out, it opens up a whole new cornucopia of questions as to why, if Bush was so concerned about the impending catastrophe, FEMA's relief efforts were still so slipshod.

Again, it goes back to what I said in my earlier post: Bush and his people just don't seem all that concerned with the actual work of running a country and making sure that its needs are met. He's spent more time over the last three years taking better care of Iraq than he has America, and (again due to his lack of concern with how things actually get done) he hasn't even been able to get that right.

Look, I don't expect you conservatives to suddenly get a big FDR light bulb over your heads, smack your foreheads and say, "Oh! You're right! I've been wrong all this time, and will now become a Democrat!" But isn't it about time that someone on the right put left-right, red-blue considerations aside just long enough to ask whether Bush is even competent at his job? If Bush isn't even bright enough to get a handle on what "didn't go right," what on earth is he still doing in the most important office in the country?


Anonymous said...

Don't you find it ironic and disheartening that all those public transportation buses and school buses are parked and under water? Talk about poor execution. 72 hours to react and what did they do? Park the buses in a flood plain. Just maybe the mayor or governor could have put them to good use transporting all those future victims to safety. I listened to the Rev. Jackson telling Lou Dobbs how stupid it was to send the thousands to the Superdome where they could have become entombed. Earlier the mayor claimed it was a stroke of good fortune that the dome was available. Now the mayor and governor don't agree on further forced evacuation of New Orleans.
Meanwhille over in Republican-led Mississippi, people are quietly going about helping people. Black, white, Vietnamese, Republican, Democrat. All pulling together. While all the evacuees at the Houston Astrodome just want to know when and where they can get their check.
And, Doug, a retraction is in order regarding your comments about Barbara Bush and her meetings with the evacuees in Houston. Once again you've taken comments out of context and twisted them to meet your shameless liberal-ass blame game needs.
Hey, when you liberals are through with the blaming, will you have any constructive ideas?

Anonymous said...

Mon Sep 05 2005 18:57:15 ET

Before residents had ever heard the words "Hurricane Katrina," the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE ran a story warning residents: If you stay behind during a big storm, you'll be on your own!

Editors at TIMES-PICAYUNE on Monday called for every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be fired. In an open letter to President Bush, the paper said: "Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That's to the government's shame."

But the TIMES-PICAYUNE published a story on July 24, 2005 stating: City, state and federal emergency officials are preparing to give a historically blunt message: "In the event of a major hurricane, you're on your own."

Staff writer Bruce Nolan reported some 7 weeks before Katrina: "In scripted appearances being recorded now, officials such as Mayor Ray Nagin, local Red Cross Executive Director Kay Wilkins and City Council President Oliver Thomas drive home the word that the city does not have the resources to move out of harm's way an estimated 134,000 people without transportation."

"In the video, made by the anti-poverty agency Total Community Action, they urge those people to make arrangements now by finding their own ways to leave the city in the event of an evacuation.

"You're responsible for your safety, and you should be responsible for the person next to you," Wilkins said in an interview. "If you have some room to get that person out of town, the Red Cross will have a space for that person outside the area. We can help you."

Anonymous said...


NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 6, 2005 ? In New Orleans, those in peril and those in power have pointed the finger squarely at the federal government for the delayed relief effort.

But experts say when natural disasters strike, it is the primary responsibility of state and local governments ? not the federal government ? to respond.

New Orleans' own comprehensive emergency plan raises the specter of "having large numbers of people ? stranded" and promises "the city ? will utilize all available resources to quickly and safely evacuate threatened areas."

"Special arrangements will be made to evacuate persons unable to transport themselves," the plan states.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, however, that plan was not followed completely.

Instead of sending city buses to evacuate those who could not make it out on their own, people in New Orleans were told to go to the Superdome and the Convention Center, where no one provided sufficient sustenance or security.

'Lives Would Have Been Saved'

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said "80 percent" of the city was evacuated before the storm hit, but Bob Williams says that's not good enough.

Williams dealt with emergency response issues as a state representative in Washington when his district was forced to deal with the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980.

"If the plan were implemented, lives would have been saved," Williams said.

There's no question the federal government plays a major role in disaster relief. But federal officials say in order to get involved, they must first be asked to do so by state officials.

As one FEMA official told ABC News, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco failed to submit a request for help in a timely manner.

Shortly before Katrina hit, she sent President Bush a request asking for shelter and provisions, but didn't specifically ask for help with evacuations. One aide to the governor told ABC News today Blanco thought city officials were taking care of the evacuation.

Facts, Doug, just the facts.

Anonymous said...

yeah, everything sounds just heavenly in mississippi. why don't you go down there yourself and help out?

billy pilgrim said...

I like your way with the trolls, Doug. They don't seem to get nearly so pissed off at me on my blog.

But then, I don't really even pretend to be reasonable towards them any more.

I like how the arguments above really have, you know absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the federal failures in responding to a catastrophe. Emergency management is supposed to take over when planning, foresight and basic resources fail.

For instance, those famous buses. Yes, they absolutely could have taken people to safety. Was there fuel for them, or was it being reserved for police and ambulances? Were there drivers available, and who was paying for them? And obviously Mr. 'Nonnamuss up there had a list of names and addresses of all the people, including elderly, sick, infirm and homeless, who needed transportation. Not to mention having a Time Dilator to stop the hurricane long enough to man, fuel, and drive all those buses around to get all those people.

It's also hilarious to see how effectively the 'blame game' phrase has dissipated through RightWingLand. All the kewl kids are using it. It's hip lingo, like 'shizzle'.

Anonymous said...

I just love it when dipshit liberal bloggers refer to other dipshit liberal bloggers for their "news." Cut and paste liberals. What a pathetic bunch.

Anonymous said...

temp, are these the best excuses for not using the transportation resources available that you can conjure ? Did they have gas? Did they have drivers? How to find the needy? (Hell, you libshits claim that you could have found Osama by now, so, what's with a few 100,000 needy?)We don't have time, so let's not do anything? What a lame-ass, brain dilated idiot.

When you get through with your blame game and whining, why don't you give us some solutions. People hate whining. People like solutions.

Anonymous said...

solutions huh? heres an idea, try paying attention sometime.

now, can you provide us with a single example of ANY solution you have EVER proposed to anything, here or anywhere else ???

Anonymous said...

Ain't that great. We gotta go to a liberal PETA site for liberal ideas? What a moron.

Solutions on the table:

SS reform
Fair tax proposal
Flat tax proposal
DOD reorg
Education vouchers

Just to name a few.

Also, remember welfare reform?

Anonymous said...

good job anon. if you're too dumb to debate someone elses idea, just ignore it, that'll show em.

Anonymous said...

I see you read the democrat ideas? I call it the "litany of common sense." I must admit, I was concerned that there was a dearth of common sense in the demo party. Good to see there is a glimmer of hope. BUT, there are no new ideas here.

Want a new idea? How about a moratorium on building in hazard prone areas? How about ending the stupidity of federal flood insurance? Here's a good one: let's let Gitmo detainees cleanup New Orleans. Better yet, let's give Reverand Al a shotgun and send him in to control the thugs.

Better yet, let's recall the foul-mouthed mayor of New Orleans and the governor on grounds of gross negligence.

billy pilgrim said...

Crap, I'm the only guy arguing here who's actually signed in?

Ya been infested with Ghost Trolls, Doug.

Who ya gonna call?

Doug said...

How do you define "hazard prone areas"? Are you saying we can't build in Southern California or south Florida, either?

I have no problem if the voters decide to hold Blanco and Nagin accountable for not doing a good enough job of preparing; that's their prerogative. Unfortunately, they don't have the option of doing the same for Michael Brown, who wasn't qualified to hold the job of FEMA director to begin with. If Bush won't fire him, how do we hold him accountable?

ACG said...

Yes, let's think about the Flat Tax and the Fair Tax, shall we? 'Cause the best way to deal with all of these thousands of people who've just lost their homes and all of their property is to load 'em up with the business end of the tax burden and let the most affluent ten percent of the population skate.

And Anon, liberals don't have to find Osama. According to the Bush administration, they know exactly where he is. They just don't want to go in and get him. Something about sovereignty, which seems to bother them all of a sudden.

Bill from jc said...

well well well, I see we are back to constructive engagment,,, cool.

SS reform? by that you mean George's scheme to divert contributions to the market and replace them with either tax dollars or expanding debt in a plan that does nothing to save Social Security? Are you still trying to sell that pig? Is anyone buying that crap anon?

Fair tax proposal? So you want to replace the income tax on everyone with a flat 24% sales tax? Doesnt that just shift the burden of the national debt you and your heros have built onto those currently not paying a 24% income tax while reducing the tax of those in upper bracket to 24% of whatever they feel like spending here? what is fair about that? And since corperations would not pay it at all the national debt swells even further! Way to go Anon! (what flavor was that kool aid??)

Flat tax proposal? See above, similer results. Don't you guys ever think about anyone but yourselves?

DOD reorg? You want the same guys that reorganized FEMA to reorganize the DOD? You sure about that Anon?

Education vouchers. Riiiight... let's give a voucher to poor folks f to send thier kids to private school,,,, except that good private schools cost a hella lot more than what the voucher would be, so those poor sods get the shaft while GOP backers get yet another government handout.. man, you guy's greed never ceases to amaze me.

Were there any other stupid ideas you wanted to chat about?

bill from jc said...

Wouldn't "Brain dilated" mean open minded?

Anonymous said...

I say if you want to live on a beach, on a fault, under sea level or in a flood zone, tornado alley or hurricane zone, you do so at your own risk. Get rid of Federal disaster insurance and let private insurance set the market rate to cover your ass. Government does nothing well. Personally, I'm tired of my tax dollars bailing-out both rich and poor who expect us to let them to keep rebuilding future disasters.

Likewise, the politicians. Let the market say who stays or goes. Win an election and you can fuck things up your way. Remember Waco?

Bill, is all you can do is piss on someone else's idea? Try not to be such the moron and offer a solution to a problem instead of whining about someone else's. By what you've written, you don't understand squatay about any of the proposed solutions to the house of cards you liberals have built. Take the Fair Tax. You're already paying 18% in imputed sales tax on everything you are buying today. That means you would be left with only 6% in tax on your purchases. Food, drugs, education, etc. are exempt. More "poor" would not have to pay any taxes, also. Learn before you puke up those talking points. You must be a racist to want to maintain the SS status quo. Blacks have been screwed by SS forever. And none of us get to pass on our contributions. What the fuck does "similer" mean?

Baby sis, stick to hemlines and hairdos. You're totally incoherent.

OK let's keep the public school system the way it is. It's doing such a great job. Take Bill, for example. (similer?) Another couple of generations of public school product and you'll all be working for Asians and Indians. Take Bill, for example.

Good to see that the latest polls show only 13% hold Bush accountable for the response issues, 25% blame the city and state. All those parked buses. What a shame. By the by, let's dismiss another liberal myth...Bush has spent more on public works than any other administration and Louisiana receives the greatest share! But somehow, the Lousiana funds have been diverted by the local liberal politicians to their pet projects. Also, environmental groups shut down an effort to install regulatory dams that would have come in handy last week.

You liberals shouldn't shit where you eat.

Doug said...

Oh, Anonymous, we were so close to actually having a rational debate. But then you had to start in with the unfounded accusations and name-calling.

Sigh. It's off-the-rails so-called "debates" like this that makes me just want to tell everyone -- liberals and conservatives -- "everybody, just shut the fuck up."

Bill from jc said...

If you really feel Anon, like the Federal Government can't do anything, then please don't drive on the Interstate, stick to state or county roads. Also if you are ever in a plane feel free to ignore what ATC is telling you, those damn Feds can't do anything right, who are they to tell you where to land? As to the failure of the public schools, it's really a matter of perspective, sure public schools like UGA turn out a few good grads, but other schools systems fall short. If you looked at the schools in say, Canton, Ga. you might be shocked at the grads they turn out, but don't fly off the handle and blame the schools,,, look first at the quality of student you get there...

Anonymous said...

Whatever. Just too many truths for one liberal to handle.

Bill from jc said...

BTW anon, the money that was budgeted for upgrading the levees in NOLA? They were diverted for the war in Iraq. Is that what you mean by liberal programs? Are Bush and Rummy who you are refering to as local liberal politicians?

Bill from jc said...

Oh and anon? If you lived outside Atlanta, the electricity that runs your computer is most likly coming from one of those liberal tax and spend programs.... you better unplug it! We would want anyone to think you were taking handouts from the liberals!

Anonymous said...

I see, its the students, stupid? I'm not familiar with the demographics of Canton, GA but I would suspect it's like the rest of suburban Atlanta, very diverse with a growing hispanic and asian population. Yet, the school outcomes vary widely across the region. It tells me that there are good schools and bad schools regardless of incoming skills. Public schools are a crap shoot.

Anonymous said...

doug, i'm curious. How do you and yours feel about eliminating the federal flood insurance program?

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing: I don't vote in Louisiana, but I do vote in national elections. The local officials did screw up, but that's not as much my concern.

My concern is that four years after 9-11, Bush's government still doesn't have a plan for a mass casualty event in a major American city. And the guy he put in charge of FEMA is apparently some kind of policial hack, whereas Clinton's FEMA chief was an experienced emergency manager.

So here's my suggestion: Appoint qualified people to FEMA, rather than hacks. Then, develop a plan to deal with a mass casualty incident.

And one other question: Why is it called "accountability" when the subject is inner-city schools, but "the blame game" when it's the safety and security of this country?

ACG said...

Anonymous, how is that you can come so close to an actual reasoned, intelligent debate, but you always manage to screw it up by turning into such a flaming asshole? Is it completely beyond you to put down the insults and the immature name-calling for just a second and a half and try to argue your point on its merits?

Anonymous said...

I'll bite. We'll see how long this lasts.

Regarding, Brown, the FEMA chief. It appears that there may be a little resume inflation going on here. If so, fire him. There's enough blame to go around but I do believe that the locals strayed from their plan too far and when the poop hit the fan, they started their CYA crapola and a willing liberal media went right along for the ride - as usual.

Victims didn't heed advanced warnings, the city didn't follow its own disaster plan, so FEMA and Bush get the blame for what followed? How can you make that case with a straight face?

ACG said...

I won't argue with you that the city and the state both fell down on the job, from what I can see in my amateur-detectiveness. However, Michael Brown seems to have fallen down on a lot more points than just not delivering aid fast enough. Whether or not Blanco asked for help one day or two or three days before landfall, the fact remains that Brown insists he had no way of knowing that the levees wouldn't hold, despite the fact that he had numerous reports going back donkey's ears of that very fact. He also claims that he had no idea that the levees had broken until Tuesday afternoon, although it was all over the news Tuesday morning. He also claims that he had no idea that people were taking shelter in the convention center until Thursday, when Harry Connick Jr. was doing stand-ups for NBC all week saying exactly that.

At the very least, the very least, this is a sign that, in an emergency situation, Brown can't even be bothered to pay attention to the news. Granted, he had more important things to do during those days than sit in front of the TV all day, but to claim that Harry Connick had better access to emergency information than FEMA did is ridiculous. For a week, they'd known that a category 4 of 5 hurricane was going to make landfall on the Gulf Coast, and that a cat 4 or 5 would be FEMA's responsibility (per their charter), and yet it caught him with his pants down. That's incompetence at the very best.

A question was raised by someone this morning (I'm afraid I don't know who) that when hurricanes were hitting Florida left and right last fall, FEMA was up and running and delivering aid within hours. Understanding that the hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast were more serious than anything that hit Florida that season, and understanding that the flooding seriously complicated the relief efforts, why was it that FEMA was ready for Frances et al but not for Katrina?

billy pilgrim said...

Okay! Let me try!

Because, umm.. liberals suck?

and... the Media! The Media!

Besides, Clinton! Once got a parking ticket! And Michael Moore is Fat!

dang, wingnuttin' is hard.

ACG said...

As for further responsibility of the federal government, I'll just have to again point to the fact that, notwithstanding the performance of the city and state government, if a state of emergency had been declared before the hurricane hit, there was no reason that FEMA should only be ready to offer aid four days after landfall. Brown said that when he heard about the levees breaking, he gave his team 48 hours to get ready. Why did they not start preparing to intervene when they got the word on Sunday? And when independent groups who had prepared in advance tried to offer their aid, why were they turned back when the feds had no aid of their own to offer?

I guess that's all it boils down to, for me. They knew a week before landfall that the hurricane would be more than the city or state could handle on their own, and by Sunday, they even had official permission to intervene. There was no reason that the government had to wait until Thursday to help.

ACG said...

Oh, and one more bit of government accountability is that Brown was obviously underqualified, according to his actual, un-inflated resume. Time was able to find this out just by calling his previous employers, just like any prospective would do. Brown was appointed, unqualified, obviously without any kind of a background check, and the result of that is that the agency he headed was unprepared for the kind of disaster that could follow a terrorist attack as easily as it could a hurricane. If a medical director hired a doctor without checking his references, and it turns out that the "doctor" was actually just a former pharm student with an inflated resume, and a patient died, the medical director would be held responsible.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Brown is old news, now and the governor continues to resist federalizing her national guard. Brown's resume shows a long history of public service including emergency services oversight and post 9/11 planning at the federal level. It doesn't appear that he was unqualified, maybe incapable to execute when the chips were down. You can lay as much of the blame as you want on the federal bureaucracy and leadership but most of it, according to the polls (you guys love polls, so why not reflect on them now) only 13% think the feds are the problem while 25% point to local and state leadership.

The real lesson here is that depending on government to save us is a false notion. Governments do nothing well. (costello pointed to roads as something they do well, every hear of the "Big Dig?") As the Times Picayune article so eloquently pointed out in its warning: "In the event of a major hurricane, you're on your own." Further, Kay Wilkins, the local Red Cross Director said, "You're responsible for your safety, and you should be responsible for the person next to you." This has nothing to do with FEMA. This has everything to do with personal responsibility.

ACG said...

Nicely put! That wasn't so hard, now, was it?

Anonymous said...

So, we agree?

billy pilgrim said...

Did I say roads were done well by the Feds? If so, My bad. State gov't does the roads, with the exception of the Mighty Interstate.

We live in Wisconsin, where road-building was just an avenue to inancially reward the Governor's supporters... Building roads while the lakes fill up with effluent and the schools fall apart.

Well, in the past tense. Just during the twenty years or so Tommy Thompson was guv.

But then, he was a Republican wasn't he?

But anyway, I would advance the opinion that the road system overall is something the government (anomalies like the Big dig, for which I have no personal knowledge, notwithstanding) actually does relatively well.

And BTW, it appears that all that oversight of emergency management that Brown had? Turns out, not so much. Like none. It DOES appear that he was appallingly unqualified, and if the administration was truly being run like a business, the person responsible for his hiring should be gone. As well as anybody responsible for vetting his background. After all, this isn't just ordering the wrong coffee filters her, or accidentally insulting a client; this is having absolutely no idea where to start in his job, and people died.

April said...

You're right Anon *shudder*, it IS all about personal responsibility. It is PERSONALLY GEORGE W. BUSH'S responsibility to take care of his country. It is also (or was)PERSONALLY MICHAEL BROWN'S responsibility to do his job. Conservatives like to say that Bush is a good president. A good president would've had help down there immediately. And a good president would've appointed a qualified person to the head of FEMA. But since I don't see Bush as a good president, all of this hasn't come as a surprise for me.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, April. And the rest of us can do whatever feels good. We can meander through life without a care in the world. The president and the FEMA director will just lift the burden of personal resposibility off of our shoulders.

It doesn't matter that the mayor didn't follow his own disaster policy. It doesn't matter that the mayor sent 20,000 citizens to the Superdome without any police or medical assistance or food. It doesn't matter that the mayor called for the evacuation of the city only 24 hours before landfall even though the landfall models put NO in its path. It doesn't matter that the governor told Bush that she didn't want to invoke the federal disaster plan - she had it under control - and then asked for help two days later. It doesn't matter that local politicians diverted much of the $40 million allocated to levee development to other pet projects. It doesn't matter that environmentalists halted flood control gate construction. It doesn't matter that Brown was praised for his agency's exemplary response to 4 hurricanes the year before. It doesn't matter that this was a disaster unlike any before.

All that matters is that people died from an act of God followed by a disaster that was an act of man and the anti-administration whiners are giving a pass to their local leaders and their constituents to make political points, facts be damned.

It's interesting that we don't blame a governor/mayor for a DUI death. After all they are responsible for safe roads, and emergency response in their communities. Yet we know that the responsibility lies with the individual and their poor decisions to drink and then drive.

People in NO were warned a week in advance by the local newspaper and the Red Cross that they "were on their own" in the event of a major hurricane. They chose to depend on what we now know was incompetent government. They chose unwisely.

I am waiting to see who wants to rebuild housing in the flood plains of NO.

ACG said...

Anon - for the record, hells no, we don't agree, and when I have ten minutes shoved together to type a complete reply I'll tell you exactly how we don't agree. But I really do appreciate you making your point without the insults and the name-calling.

April said...

I didn't mean that the rest of us don't have to do anything for the hurricane victims. I'm just saying that the president of the united states should've been doing more. Instead he continued his vacation. God forbid a hurricane that wiped out an entire U.S. city should interrupt his vacation! We all are doing our part by giving money and supplies. But the majority of help should come from the government. And the government would've been able to do more but they didn't. And I don't know why they didn't and I don't think its a matter of racism or whatever. But you know that if L.A. or New York or Boston had been hit there would've been a lot more help on its way.

Anonymous said...

April, what the hell does Bush's vacation have to do with FEMA response? If he had been anywhere you libs would have complained that he should have been somewhere else. Do you really think he needs to be in the oval office to execute a state of emergency?

You're like every liberal that thinks that we need government to survive. That is a false sense of security that 50 years of failed social programs have created.

Why aren't you equally incensed with the NO mayor and the LA governor? Because they weren't on vacation? Get real.

Bill from jc said...

No, it is because they appeared to be doing something. Bush appeared to be raising money for politics and struming guitar with country singers. Because he was doing those things. That was more important than taking care of his citizens when they were drowning.

You cons are all the same, you blame big governement even when you are the ones running it. Here's a trivia question for you Anon: What happened to the money that was budgeted to the Corp of Engineers to upgrade the levees in New Orleans?

Heres a hint: It went to rebuild Iraq. Those folks were more important to you cons than your own citizens.

Anonymous said...

Tim Russert asked NO mayo Nagin what became of $18 million in federal funds targeted for levee improvements. He said that it "probably" went to insure that people were delivered to safety in the event of a disaster like Katrina.

Hint: He was clueless. If you saw him, he was clueless about everything.

Iraq had nothing to do with this.

Louisiana is the greatest benefactor of the largest federal public works budet in history. It has been estimated that in order to make NO flood-proof it would cost $30 billion. No politician, republican or democrat, have been willing to bite this bullet.

Anonymous said...

The federal response to Katrina was not as portrayed

Jack Kelly is national security writer for the Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio (, 412-263-1476).

"It is settled wisdom among journalists that the federal response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina was unconscionably slow.

"Mr. Bush's performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever during a dire national emergency," wrote New York Times columnist Bob Herbert in a somewhat more strident expression of the conventional wisdom.

But the conventional wisdom is the opposite of the truth.

Jason van Steenwyk is a Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief. He notes that:

"The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne."

For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla. after Hurricane Andrew hit in 2002. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three.

Journalists who are long on opinions and short on knowledge have no idea what is involved in moving hundreds of tons of relief supplies into an area the size of England in which power lines are down, telecommunications are out, no gasoline is available, bridges are damaged, roads and airports are covered with debris, and apparently have little interest in finding out.

So they libel as a "national disgrace" the most monumental and successful disaster relief operation in world history.

I write this column a week and a day after the main levee protecting New Orleans breached. In the course of that week:

More than 32,000 people have been rescued, many plucked from rooftops by Coast Guard helicopters.

The Army Corps of Engineers has all but repaired the breaches and begun pumping water out of New Orleans.

Shelter, food and medical care have been provided to more than 180,000 refugees.

Journalists complain that it took a whole week to do this. A former Air Force logistics officer had some words of advice for us in the Fourth Estate on his blog, Moltenthought:

"We do not yet have teleporter or replicator technology like you saw on 'Star Trek' in college between hookah hits and waiting to pick up your worthless communications degree while the grown-ups actually engaged in the recovery effort were studying engineering.

"The United States military can wipe out the Taliban and the Iraqi Republican Guard far more swiftly than they can bring 3 million Swanson dinners to an underwater city through an area the size of Great Britain which has no power, no working ports or airports, and a devastated and impassable road network.

"You cannot speed recovery and relief efforts up by prepositioning assets (in the affected areas) since the assets are endangered by the very storm which destroyed the region.

"No amount of yelling, crying and mustering of moral indignation will change any of the facts above."

"You cannot just snap your fingers and make the military appear somewhere," van Steenwyk said.

Guardsmen need to receive mobilization orders; report to their armories; draw equipment; receive orders and convoy to the disaster area. Guardsmen driving down from Pennsylvania or Navy ships sailing from Norfolk can't be on the scene immediately.

Relief efforts must be planned. Other than prepositioning supplies near the area likely to be afflicted (which was done quite efficiently), this cannot be done until the hurricane has struck and a damage assessment can be made. There must be a route reconnaissance to determine if roads are open, and bridges along the way can bear the weight of heavily laden trucks.

And federal troops and Guardsmen from other states cannot be sent to a disaster area until their presence has been requested by the governors of the afflicted states.

Exhibit A on the bill of indictment of federal sluggishness is that it took four days before most people were evacuated from the Louisiana Superdome.

The levee broke Tuesday morning. Buses had to be rounded up and driven from Houston to New Orleans across debris-strewn roads. The first ones arrived Wednesday evening. That seems pretty fast to me.

A better question -- which few journalists ask -- is why weren't the roughly 2,000 municipal and school buses in New Orleans utilized to take people out of the city before Katrina struck?"

Anonymous said...

Governor Defends Louisiana's 'Exit Plan'
Sep 12 10:18 AM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writer


Louisiana had a "well thought-out exit plan" in the days before Hurricane Katrina, and many more lives would have been lost without it, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said Sunday.

"There was not a single individual taking a slow step in our state," Blanco said at the Reliant Center, where more than 2,000 evacuees are living after fleeing the devastation in New Orleans.

City, state and federal governments have been criticized for delays in evacuations and delivery of supplies, widespread communication difficulties, and law enforcement breakdowns in New Orleans that led to looting and violence.

Blanco insisted the state had an evacuation-and-rescue effort that prevented thousands more deaths.

"Were there lessons learned? You bet," she said in a tense 14-minute explanation after being asked to elaborate on Louisiana's storm plans.

"We did a massive evacuation, and if we hadn't we would have had thousands of deaths. Right now, the numbers are minimal when you consider the amount of damage."

As she has before, Blanco, a Democrat, refused to blame President Bush, a Republican.

"Help in those critical moments was slow in coming, not through any fault of the president," she said.

Blanco is scheduled to meet with Bush on Monday on the USS Iwo Jima off New Orleans. They were then expected to take a walking tour of the historic French Quarter.


Associated Press reporter Derrill Holly contributed to this report.

Anonymous said...

And you're worried about Iraq's new constitution?

Ontario Shariah law plan protested
Fears move would threaten rights of women

Melissa Leong; with files from Joseph Brean, Jessica Wilsonand Jeff Heinrich
National Post; with files from CanWest News Service

Friday, September 09, 2005

More than a thousand Canadians joined protesters in Europe yesterday to condemn the Ontario government's plan to legalize an Islamic arbitration system.

Opponents in five Canadian cities and five European countries charged that allowing shariah courts would threaten equal rights and the rights of women.

''This is a slap in the face to all of those who've immigrated to this country in search of a safe haven,'' Samira Mohyeddin told a crowd of several hundred people in front of Queen's Park in Toronto.

The 30-year-old spokesperson for the Canadian Committee for Democracy in Iran, said her parents left Iran when she was five because they did not want their daughters to live under ''a system where they would, at best, be treated like second-class citizens.''

The proposed changes to a law that allows religious principles to be used to settle family disputes ''will only serve to hinder integration and further the insulation and ghettoization of the Muslim community in Canada,'' Ms. Mohyeddin said.

''The victims of these laws will be ones we will never hear from.''

Michael Bryant, Ontario's Attorney-General, released a statement saying the government will protect women's rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

''We have heard loud and clear from those who are seeking greater protections for women. We must constantly move forward to eradicate discrimination, protect the vulnerable, and promote equality,'' he said.

He said he and Sandra Pupatello, Minister Responsible for Women's Issues, have been reviewing the report by former NDP attorney-general Marion Boyd. She recommended Shariah -- a code of living based on the Koran that Muslims adopt as part of their faith -- principles for potential use in arbitrating family disputes.

Jewish and Christian-based arbitration already exists in Ontario.

A spokesman for Mr. Bryant said the Attorney-General has made a decision and will make a formal announcement in the next few weeks.

Homa Arjomand, Co-ordinator of the International Campaign Against Sharia Court in Canada, said a few women were willing to speak about being victimized by shariah law; but safety concerns precluded them from addressing the public.

Mubin Shaikh, a supporter of faith-based arbitration, appeared at the Toronto rally with his wife, Joanne Sijka. He had heated arguments with several protesters and was in a brief shoving match with one man.

''You don't have to do it. Why do you have to impose your laws on me?'' asked Ms. Sijka, 27. She was the only woman in the crowd wearing a burka.'

The arbitration process is voluntary and women should have the right to choose, Wahida Valiante, vice-president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, said in an interview.

''Take these women who don't know the law. They are put into our mainstream courts, what happens to them then? They are at a great disadvantage.''

In Montreal, about 100 people held a noon-hour vigil in the rain outside the federal Guy Favreau building on Rene Levesque Blvd. W. , and in Ottawa, on Parliament Hill, almost 200 people braved the rain to protest the proposed law.

Doug said...

Dude, if you're going to post random news articles that have no relevance to the topic at hand, why not just, you know, start your own blog?

Anonymous said...

Well, like uh, you know, dude, like uh, fer sure. Peace.

April said...

And to think we were actually getting Anon to a higher maturity level. Too bad.

Bill from jc said...

From today in New Orleans"

"Q Can you tell us, have you accepted the resignation of Michael Brown, or have you heard about it?

THE PRESIDENT: I haven't -- no, I have not talked to Michael Brown -- or Mike Chertoff; that's who I'd talk to. As you know, I've been working. And when I get on Air Force One, I will call back to Washington. But I've been on the move.

Q Our understanding is he has resigned, he's made a statement. Would that be appropriate --

THE PRESIDENT: I haven't talked to Mike Chertoff yet, and that's what I intend to do when I get on the plane. You know, I -- you probably -- maybe you know something I don't know, but as you know, we've been working, and I haven't had a chance to get on the phone. "

So now he doesn't even know who works for him? The President doesn't even know who the head of FEMA is in the middle of a fucking hurrican recovery operation? The fuck???

Anonymous said...

And we were getting along so well. So, baby sis, tell big bro to play nice. I know that opposing truths that challenge the liberal blogtalk can be painful but it's all part of the cure.

Kevin said...

I keep reading Republican/Conservative comments everywhere that basically state, "It's not President Bush's responsibility" and "It's not Bush's job too..."

What I want to know is, what IS his job? What exactly IS his responsibility. Do you guys expect him to do ANYTHING? I mean, clearing brush benefits the country in SO many ways...but besides that?