Home > Community Lounge > Politics > The legitimate complaints against Bush regarding the response to Hurricane Katrina

The legitimate complaints against Bush regarding the response to Hurricane Katrina

  1. Sulong wants to discuss this issue (further) to a great extent, but hasn't figured out how to start a thread in ET.

    So I have done it for him.

    Your welcome, Su.
  2. Do you actually have anything to contribute to this thread? What do you think are legitimate complaints? Or you're only willing to discuss "illegitimate" complaints?
  3. What are you getting testy with me for? This thread was started for Sulong's benefit, after all, a clearinghouse for his grievances against Bush re: Katrina. When is he going to list his points? A tad ungrateful, if you ask me...

    As for moi, if you ask nicely, I may respond.
  4. Nah, it was not meant to be testy, really. Just kind of funny, you're so obviously unwilling to discuss real issues using any excuse imaginable. Wrong thread, right thread but created for someone else's benefit, right thread but someone is (allegedely) testy with you... As long as you don't have to say that Bush fucked up big time. As big as Iraq, maybe bigger.

    You and Malkin would rather keep refuting minor irrelevant points that virtually nobody is making and nobody cares about with a noble purpose of muddying the waters and obscuring real major fuckups of this administration.
  5. That's not asking nicely. That's making assumptions and jumping to conclusions. Typical. Kind of funny, actually.

    I guess you're not up to speed with the statements of your leftist brethren, then.
  6. Please keep this thread on topic, if you have nothing to contribute don't post. You can start another thread "dddooo is mean to me" if you wish.

    Frankly I don't really care what Bush apologists like yourself have to say about it, the fact that you can't even spin it and use every excuse do divert the discussion to minor unrelated issues is quite telling. Your silence is golden.

    PS Let me guess though, you have not received latest talking points from Karl Rove yet, right? Rest assured he's working on them and they are going to be good. It will be (gasp) Clinton's fault.
  7. Help was requested on August 28th, one day before the landfall, never received.

    State of Louisiana
    Military Department

    August 28, 2005

    The President
    The White House
    Washington, DC

    Based on predictions we have received from the National Weather Service and other sources, I have determined that this incident will be of such severity and magnitude that effective response will be beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments and that supplementary Federal assistance will be necessary.
    I am specifically requesting:

    http://gov.louisiana.gov/Disaster Relief Request.pdf
  8. July 8, 2005: Brendan Loy on Hurricane Dennis: "A direct hit on New Orleans by a major hurricane would, as we've discussed before, be very, very, very bad. Like 100,000 deaths bad. Like the complete destruction of an entire city bad."

    August 25-26, 2005: Katrina hits South Florida.

    August 26, 2005, 5:23 p.m.: Meteorologist Jeff Masters: "The threat of a strike on New Orleans by Katrina as a major hurricane has grown... It would be no surprise if later advisories shift the forecast track even further west and put Katrina over New Orleans."

    August 26, 2005, 11:25 a.m.: Masters: "I'm surprised they haven't ordered an evacuation of the city yet. While the odds of a catastropic hit that would completely flood the city of New Orleans are probably 10%, that is way too high in my opinion to justify leaving the people in the city. If I lived in the city, I would evactuate NOW! There is a very good reason that the Coroner's office in New Orleans keeps 10,000 body bags on hand. ... New Orleans needs a full 72 hours to evacuate, and landfall is already less than 72 hours away."

    August 26, 2005, 1:57 p.m.: Brendan Loy: "At the risk of being alarmist, we could be 3-4 days away from an unprecedented cataclysm that could kill as many as 100,000 people in New Orleans.

    August 26, 2005, 9:44 p.m.: Governor declares state of emergency.

    August 26, 2005, 11:22 p.m.: Loy: "f I lived in New Orleans, I would definitely leave at this point. Tonight. Barring a major change in forecast, I expect the evacuation orders to come tomorrow." The order would not come for another 24 hours.

    August 27, 2005, afternoon: Mayor Nagin says "this is not a test," "batten down the hatches" – but evacuation is still voluntary.

    August 27, 2005, 7:34 p.m. Loy: "I can't emphasize enough what a bad decision I think it is for New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to delay the mandatory evacuation until tomorrow morning... Will Ray Nagin go down in history as the mayor who fiddled while New Orleans drowned? Could be."

    August 27, 2005, evening: Governor Blanco interrupts Mayor Nagin at dinner after President Bush appeals for a mandatory evacuation of the city, telling him to call the National Hurricane Center. He subsequently orders a mandatory evacuation for Sunday, 24 hours before landfall.

    August 27, 2005, 9:16 p.m.: Masters: "New Orleans finally got serious and ordered an evacuation, but far too late. There is no way everyone will be able to get out of the city in time..." He places New Orleans' chances of being destroyed at 20 percent.

    August 28, 2005, 4:31 p.m.: Loy says it may be too late for those who waited for the Mayor's order to evacuate.


    August 29, 2005: Hurricane Katrina makes landfall.

    August 30, 2005: New Orleans levees fail, flooding the city.
    machavel RedState
  9. A detective you shall never be. A true Bush apologist would not have acknowledged that legitimate complaints exist.

    As for calling it a "minor, unrelated issue," please convey that message to the many Left pundits, journalists, and blogmasters who would disagree with you.

    Very appropo for good dialogue. You see, that's why "discussing" issues with you is not a good investment - in time or energy.
  10. Fuck Bush. I knew he was bad but I would've never expected this. I regret voting for him.
  11. What's this spam about? The thread is called "Legit complaints against Bush", not "Legit complaints against Katrina".

    If you have complaints about Bush's response - post them here. If you believe Bush did everything right, what the heck, post it here too, make a fool of yourself once again.
  12. September 3, 2005
    United States of Shame

    Stuff happens.

    And when you combine limited government with incompetent government, lethal stuff happens.

    America is once more plunged into a snake pit of anarchy, death, looting, raping, marauding thugs, suffering innocents, a shattered infrastructure, a gutted police force, insufficient troop levels and criminally negligent government planning. But this time it's happening in America.

    W. drove his budget-cutting Chevy to the levee, and it wasn't dry. Bye, bye, American lives. "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees," he told Diane Sawyer.

    Shirt-sleeves rolled up, W. finally landed in Hell yesterday and chuckled about his wild boozing days in "the great city" of N'Awlins. He was clearly moved. "You know, I'm going to fly out of here in a minute," he said on the runway at the New Orleans International Airport, "but I want you to know that I'm not going to forget what I've seen." Out of the cameras' range, and avoided by W., was a convoy of thousands of sick and dying people, some sprawled on the floor or dumped on baggage carousels at a makeshift M*A*S*H unit inside the terminal.

    Why does this self-styled "can do" president always lapse into such lame "who could have known?" excuses.

    Who on earth could have known that Osama bin Laden wanted to attack us by flying planes into buildings? Any official who bothered to read the trellis of pre-9/11 intelligence briefs.

    Who on earth could have known that an American invasion of Iraq would spawn a brutal insurgency, terrorist recruiting boom and possible civil war? Any official who bothered to read the C.I.A.'s prewar reports.

    Who on earth could have known that New Orleans's sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy's uneasy fishbowl.

    In June 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, fretted to The Times-Picayune in New Orleans: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."

    Not only was the money depleted by the Bush folly in Iraq; 30 percent of the National Guard and about half its equipment are in Iraq.

    Ron Fournier of The Associated Press reported that the Army Corps of Engineers asked for $105 million for hurricane and flood programs in New Orleans last year. The White House carved it to about $40 million. But President Bush and Congress agreed to a $286.4 billion pork-filled highway bill with 6,000 pet projects, including a $231 million bridge for a small, uninhabited Alaskan island.

    Just last year, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials practiced how they would respond to a fake hurricane that caused floods and stranded New Orleans residents. Imagine the feeble FEMA's response to Katrina if they had not prepared.

    Michael Brown, the blithering idiot in charge of FEMA - a job he trained for by running something called the International Arabian Horse Association - admitted he didn't know until Thursday that there were 15,000 desperate, dehydrated, hungry, angry, dying victims of Katrina in the New Orleans Convention Center.

    Was he sacked instantly? No, our tone-deaf president hailed him in Mobile, Ala., yesterday: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

    It would be one thing if President Bush and his inner circle - Dick Cheney was vacationing in Wyoming; Condi Rice was shoe shopping at Ferragamo's on Fifth Avenue and attended "Spamalot" before bloggers chased her back to Washington; and Andy Card was off in Maine - lacked empathy but could get the job done. But it is a chilling lack of empathy combined with a stunning lack of efficiency that could make this administration implode.

    When the president and vice president rashly shook off our allies and our respect for international law to pursue a war built on lies, when they sanctioned torture, they shook the faith of the world in American ideals.

    When they were deaf for so long to the horrific misery and cries for help of the victims in New Orleans - most of them poor and black, like those stuck at the back of the evacuation line yesterday while 700 guests and employees of the Hyatt Hotel were bused out first - they shook the faith of all Americans in American ideals. And made us ashamed.

    Who are we if we can't take care of our own?
  13. You are welcome to the club who knew Bush was anything but a "compassionate conservative" from the start. No hard feelings that you were duped and were on the wrong side of what will be known as the history of Bush supporters who finally saw the light, it happens to the best of us some times...

    As you slowly come out of the right wing Matrix and go back and look at what Bush has said and done, everything will make a lot more sense.

    Follow the money, follow the money....

  14. Editorials, Including Those at Conservative Papers, Rip Bush's Hurricane Response

    By E&P Staff

    Published: September 02, 2005 12:30 PM ET

    NEW YORK Editorials from around the country on Friday -- including at the Bush-friendly Dallas Morning News and The Washington Times -- have, by and large, offered harsh criticism of the official and military response to the disaster in the Gulf Coast. Here's a sampling.

    Dallas Morning News

    As a federal official in a neatly pressed suit talked to reporters in Washington about "little bumps along the road" in emergency efforts, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin issued an urgent SOS. The situation near the convention center was chaotic; not enough buses were available to evacuate thousands of survivors, and the streets were littered with the dead.

    Moments later, President Bush took center stage and talked at length about the intricacies of energy policy and plans to keep prices stable. Meanwhile, doctors at hospitals called the Associated Press asking to get their urgent message out: We need to be evacuated, we're taking sniper fire, and nobody is in charge.

    Who is in charge?

    Losing New Orleans to a natural disaster is one thing, but losing her to hopeless gunmen and a shameful lack of response is unfathomable. How is it that the U.S. military can conquer a foreign country in a matter of days, but can't stop terrorists controlling the streets of America or even drop a case of water to desperate and dying Americans?

    President Bush, please see what's happening. The American people want to believe the government is doing everything it can do -- not to rebuild or to stabilize gas prices -- just to restore the most basic order. So far, they are hearing about Herculean efforts, but they aren't seeing them.


    The Washington Times

    Troops are finally moving into New Orleans in realistic numbers, and it's past time. What took the government so long? The thin veneer separating civilization and chaos, which we earlier worried might collapse in the absence of swift action, has collapsed.

    We expected to see, many hours ago, the president we saw standing atop the ruin of the World Trade Center, rallying a dazed country to action. We're pleased he finally caught a ride home from his vacation, but he risks losing the one trait his critics have never dented: His ability to lead, and be seen leading.

    He returns to the scene of the horror today, and that's all to the good. His presence will rally broken spirits. But he must crack heads, if bureaucratic heads need cracking, to get the food, water and medicine to the people crying for help in New Orleans and on the Mississippi coast. The list of things he has promised is a good list, but there is no time to dally, whether by land, sea or air. We should have delivered them yesterday. Americans are dying.


    Philadelphia Inquirer (and other Knight Ridder papers)

    "I hope people don't point -- play politics during this period." That was President Bush's response yesterday to criticism of the U.S. government's inexplicably inadequate relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina.

    Sorry, Mr. President, legitimate questions are being asked about the lack of rescue personnel, equipment, food, supplies, transportation, you name it, four days after the storm. It's not "playing politics" to ask why.
    It's not "playing politics" to ask questions about what Americans watched in horror on TV yesterday: elderly people literally dying on the street outside the New Orleans convention center because they were sick and no one came to their aid.

    The rest of America can't fathom why a country with our resources can't be at least as effective in this emergency as it was when past disasters struck Third World nations. Someone needs to explain why well-known emergency aid lessons aren't being applied here.

    This hurricane is no one's fault; the devastation would be hard to handle no matter who was in charge. But human deeds can mitigate a disaster, or make it worse.

    For example: Did federal priorities in an era of huge tax cuts shortchange New Orleans' storm protection and leave it more vulnerable? This flooding is no surprise to experts. They've been warning for more than 20 years that the levees keeping Lake Pontchartrain from emptying into the under-sea-level city would likely break under the strain of a Category 3 hurricane. Katrina was a Category 4.

    So the Crescent City sits under water, much of its population in a state of desperate, dangerous transience, not knowing when they will return home. They're the lucky ones, though. Worse off are those left among the dying in a dying town.

    The questions aren't about politics. They are about justice.


    Minneapolis Star Tribune

    But whatever the final toll, the wrenching misery and trauma confronting the people of New Orleans is much greater than it should be -- as it is, in fact, for tens of thousands of people along the strip of Mississippi that was most brutally assaulted by the storm. The immediate goal must be to ease that suffering. The second goal must be to understand how we came to this sorry situation.

    How do you justify cutting $250 million in scheduled spending for crucial pump and levee work in the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project (SELA), authorized by Congress in 1995?

    How do you explain the almost total lack of coordination among federal, state and local officials both in Louisiana and Mississippi? No one appeared in charge.


    Des Moines Register

    The devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina was the first practical test of the new homeland-security arrangements and the second test of President Bush in the face of a national crisis.

    The performance of both has been less than stellar so far.

    Katrina was a disaster that came with at least two days of warning, and it has been more than four days since the storm struck. Yet on Thursday, refugees still huddled unrescued in the unspeakable misery of the New Orleans Superdome. Patients in hospitals without power and water clung to life in third-world conditions. Untold tragedies lie yet to be discovered in the rural lowlands of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
  15. August 30, 2005


    President Bush plays a guitar presented to him by Country Singer Mark Wills, right, backstage following his visit to Naval Base Coronado, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Bush visited the base to deliver remarks on V-J Commemoration Day. (AP Photo/ABC News, Martha Raddatz)


    In this image provided by ABC News, President Bush holds up a guitar presented to him by Country singer Mark Wills, right, backstage following his visit to Naval Base Coronado, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005.

  16. That's "you're" btw. Since you're a genius, it must have been a keyboard malfunction.
  17. I assume you don't type 100% accurately at all times, either, but I don't know you.

    Thanks for calling me a genius (which I have never claimed to be). By doing so, it is revealed that you are most definitely not one.

    Have a nice weekend.

  18. so what is "your" point with this thread, i haven't read any defense yet?
  19. This bickering is pretty lame ass. Most of you must not have anything better to do than point their finger and blame someone for what has happened. GWB is the first president in the last century to have to gone through this scale of disaster, so I'm not about to point my finger at him or anyone else. Learn from the mistakes of this effort and hopefully changes will be implemented for future catastrophes.

  20. It's an outrage that Bush didn't consult with the UN prior to sending in troops. This unilateral relief effort has obviously brought the world together against America.

    As for Katrina, who has suspiciously disappeared without a trace, does anyone here doubt that she has been illegally imprisoned at Guantanamo? You just know she is being forced to pose for CIA torture masters on her hands and knees, wearing only a dog leash, and forced to have sex with Andrew (who disappeared last year, also under mysterious circumstances)!

    I think I speak for all progressives in demanding that they RELEASE KATRINA NOW!!!

    Furthermore, the fascist government's assault on the brave members of the People's Front for the Liberation of Plasma TVs and Assorted Non-Survival Merchandise is absolutely horrific!

    Rise up now against the Bush-Israel Junta occupying military forces and do not cease until free products are made available to all the good "refugees" (yet another regressive term that I hate!).
  21. The point is politics.

    If the constant attacks on Clinton during his second term, when the republicans knew that they did not have the votes in the Senate to impeach him taught us anything, it was that influencing public perception to even the slightest degree can have a monumental impact on the next set of elections.

    Had the republicans simply not tried to fight a battle they could not have possible won, i.e. to remove Clinton from office.....had they kept their mouth shut and not generated such negativity toward Clinton, Gore would have been president in 2000.

    This is politics, and the seeds planted now reap rewards in the future.

  22. ush: "This Is Your President Speaking"

    What Should Have Been

    by James Boyne


    Bush: “This Is Your President Speaking”
    (What Should Have Been)

    By James Boyne

    This is your President speaking: Katrina is on the way. It will hit the Gulf Coast in two days. I’m canceling my vacation and all other business and flying back to the White House. I’ve called Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld, Condolezza Rice off from their hiding places and told them to man their posts.

    This is your President speaking: Katrina has hit. I’ve ordered the entire military to converge on the Southeast US and prepare for the evacuation of ½ million people.

    This is your President speaking: The levee has been breeched and the situation is much worse than anticipated. Every helicopter, every army bus (and we have 10,000 available), every cargo plane, and every other piece of rescue equipment has been ordered to locations in the Southeast to standby for immediate use. General Schwarzkopf, General Tommy Franks and the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff will be cocoordinating the rescue efforts.

    This is your President speaking: I’ve ordered all commercial planes from Delta, US Airways, American and other airlines (airlines that the US taxpayers have footed their bill for their continually bankruptcies) to maintain all planes that are in the Southeast US to stay their for immediate Federal use in the evacuation. The CEO’s of those airlines will all meet and provide all services requested by the President or my Cabinet members or the military. Disruptions in all domestic flights can be minimized if the cooperation of the CEO’s.

    This is your President speaking: Day two: All buses operated by Greyhound and other buses will now be under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government and the US military for use in the evacuation. All buses available from anyone are urged to converge at a staging point just west of New Orleans for ample gas will be available that is being commandeered from Exxon, Mobil, Shell, etc.

    This is your President speaking: I am announcing what is called a “price delay”. All gas prices for gas can only reflect the situation and market demands that were in effect two months ago. I am rescinding the $15 billion Energy Bill that was basically just a tax gift to Exxon, Mobil, Shell, Citgo, etc.

    This is your President speaking: 50,000 Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Air Force personnel are being sent to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast to help with security and evacuation. Haliburton will NOT be part of any private enterprise contracts.

    This is your President speaking: I have authorized the immediate cash give-out of $100 to all residents from New Orleans for their immediate use in their most immediate attempts to survive. It will be handed out by US soldiers on the streets to the crowds of people. The purpose is to just get some immediate cash in the pockets of the people. Much more help is on the way.

    This is your President speaking: Bottled water and sandwiches are being rushed to New Orleans by every available means right now----by helicopter, by ship, by plane, by bus and by donkey cart. We used donkey carts and horseback transportation in Afghanistan. We can use it here. I’ve ordered AirForce I and my helicopter to be made available in this relief effort. AirForce I is being loaded right now with bottled water and food for New Orleans. On the trip back it will pick up as many evacuees as possible and transport them to my ranch in Crawford where temporary housing will be set up on part of my 1600 acres. I encourage all Americans who can take in homeless people to do so on a temporary basis until we can get more permanent housing ready.

    This is your President speaking: New Orleans and the devastated areas will be rebuilt. Homes will be reconstructed, fast. I have asked President Jimmy Carter to coordinate the most massive rebuilding effort the nation has ever undertook with the ideas from Habitat for Humanity and with Federal money and assistance we will make New Orleans home once again to the millions that have been devastated.

    This is your President speaking: I’ve just announced that I will rescind the Bankruptcy Reform Bill. Many tens of thousands will be declaring bankruptcy. The Bill which I originally signed which takes affect this October, I admit was just a gift to the credit card, financial services and banking industry. It was designed to kick people when they are down. That’s not right. So the Bankruptcy Reform Bill is being rescinded. It was a bad bill.
  23. Continued:

    This is your President speaking: I’m and rescinding any and all future tax cuts. The $350 billion tax cut for the wealthy was not a good idea. We could use that money now. I encourage all wealthy people, possibly people who make over $200,000 a year, to send as much cash as possible to the relief effort.

    This is your President speaking: I’ve ordered all National Guard locations that for the most part are empty most of every month to open up their doors to take in refugees.

    This is your President speaking: Estimated destruction for Katrina may be over $100 billion. That sounds like a lot of money. But I’ve already spend over $300 billion in Iraq and I have nothing to show for it. I guess I made a slight error in judgment. So, signal or no signal, I am pulling the troops out of Iraq.

    If the Iraqis aren’t ready to march to the beat of Freedom and Democracy now, they never will be. We’ll continue to help them but at a much, much reduced level. I am diverting the money to the Southeast where people will be given, not loans, but cash payments for their property that was destroyed. I have introduced a bill in Congress that will make it mandatory for insurance companies to insure all people in need of flood insurance at a price that is affordable. If the insurance companies refuse to work with me, I’ll work out the details for them. For decades, they’ve been making a fortune off the backs of the American people anyway. We have to get real.

    This is your President speaking: I’ve announced a plan for Universal Health Care for all citizens of New Orleans as a pilot program for Universal Health Care for all Americans. Prescription drugs that can save lives and that can stave off chronic diseases, illnesses, and injuries will be available for free to all that require them. Drug companies will be reimbursed by the Federal Government to provide them with a reasonable profit, and no more. It’s a matter of national security to have healthy Americans. If the drug companies don’t like it, they can go to hell and get into the business of making potato chips or something else.

    This is your President speaking: We certainly need prayers. But what do prayers and God have to do with raising oodles of money to build mega churches. Any church that can afford to buy an entire stadium and spend $95 million to renovate it-----well, there’s something askew there. So I am calling on all churches to distribute their donations back to the people for food, clothing, medical help, utilities, and education. I am sure God will still accept us in Heaven even if we don’t build huge, multi-million dollar monuments to Him. Let’s back to reality.

    This is your President speaking: After this disaster has been resolved I will be asking my entire Administration and Cabinet to offer me there resignations and I will be choosing a new team to get America moving again. “We haven’t turned any corner and aren’t near any corner to even turn”. “Small businesses will never be able to ban together to get cheap health insurance. That’s a crock of shit.” “The economy isn’t strong, it’s teetering on the edge. I’ve spent way to much money”. “The tax cut for the wealthy was a big mistake. It accomplished nothing and didn’t create a single job.”

    This is your President speaking: Fidel Castro of Cuba and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela have offered to send help to the hurricane victims. That’s great. We can use all the help we can get and it will be much appreciated. Castro has offered to send 1600 doctors and medical personnel as well as medical supplies. We sure can use that kind of help. I hope I can return the favor to Cuba when they experience their next hurricane.

    Mr. Chavez has offered to sell some oil at a reasonable price----a price much more reasonable than we can get from other sources. We’ll take it. And thanks to all who have offered help

    -----------While I’m at it, I think I’ll end that ridiculous 45 year embargo against the island of Cuba. How absurd. What does it accomplish other than adding misery to one of our neighbors. The embargo is hereby ended by Presidential decree. I’ll sign it into law today. The people of Cuba and all Americans can now freely travel to that nation to visit relatives, to vacation, and to conduct business. Thanks Fidel. We’ll work out the details in the coming months.

    This is you President speaking: Lastly, I’m concerned about the pets---family pets. Pets, dogs and cats, are part of people’s families. They should not be abandoned. I’ve instructed all rescue personnel to evacuate pets with their owners. I am arranging the ASPCA to arrange for special facilities for pets where they can be cared for if separated from their families. I have instructed special relief supplies of pet food, fresh water, leashes, pet cages, muzzles, pet mediations, and hundreds of veterinarians in order to help the many dogs, cats and other animals that are suffering, that are homeless and that are in distress. A registry of lost pets is being set up so people can find pets that are lost.

    “This is hardly the ownership society. If I don’t get unemployment and gas prices under control it’s going to be the foreclosure and bankruptcy society soon.”

    “I tried to stay the course on the fight against terrorism but it’s proved to be the wrong course so I am going to change course.” “The troops will be coming home soon. That’s the signal.”

    We can do it together. May God bless ‘merica.

    James Boyne
  24. When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities- Hume

    Like that of appointing a total fuck up like Brown to a position where he would potentially be responsible for thousands of peoples lives in a disaster situation, and then praising him for a job well done while people are still dying because of his massive failure to do his job.
  25. Im kinda glad that actually wasnt a serpents tongue, sticking out of dubyas mouth in that photo of him playing guitar.
    It might have well have been though.
  26. SERPENTS tongue, people!!!!
    Look at the shot!!!!!!!!
  27. This is ZZZzzzzzzz speaking: I am an obfuscating moral relativist idiot having a Depends moment.
  28. Hap, from here in ET to DC the right is out of it. This is not and will not be your finest hour. Should have been too.

    10B for the Gulf
    13.5B for Israel.

    Here's 118, 447 beds arranged already by Guess Who?.


  29. An Angry 'Times-Picayune' Calls for Firing of FEMA Chief and Others in Open Letter to President On Sunday

    By E&P Staff

    Published: September 04, 2005 10:40 AM ET

    NEW YORK The Times-Picayune of New Orleans on Sunday published its third print edition since the hurricane disaster struck, chronicling the arrival, finally, of some relief but also taking President Bush to task for his handling of the crisis, and calling for the firing of FEMA director Michael Brown and others.

    In an "open letter" to the president, published on page 15 of the 16-page edition, the paper said it still had grounds for "skepticism" that he would follow through on saving the city and its residents. It pointed out that while the government could not get supplies to the city numerous TV reporters, singer Harry Connick and Times-Picayune staffers managed to find a way in.

    It also cited "bald-faced" lies by Michael Brown. "Those who should have been deploying troops were singing a sad song about how our city was impossible to reach," the staffers pointed out. "We’re angry, Mr. President, and we’ll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry."

    Here is the text.


    We heard you loud and clear Friday when you visited our devastated city and the Gulf Coast and said, "What is not working, we’re going to make it right."

    Please forgive us if we wait to see proof of your promise before believing you. But we have good reason for our skepticism.

    Bienville built New Orleans where he built it for one main reason: It’s accessible. The city between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain was easy to reach in 1718.

    How much easier it is to access in 2005 now that there are interstates and bridges, airports and helipads, cruise ships, barges, buses and diesel-powered trucks.

    Despite the city’s multiple points of entry, our nation’s bureaucrats spent days after last week’s hurricane wringing their hands, lamenting the fact that they could neither rescue the city’s stranded victims nor bring them food, water and medical supplies.

    Meanwhile there were journalists, including some who work for The Times-Picayune, going in and out of the city via the Crescent City Connection. On Thursday morning, that crew saw a caravan of 13 Wal-Mart tractor trailers headed into town to bring food, water and supplies to a dying city.

    Television reporters were doing live reports from downtown New Orleans streets. Harry Connick Jr. brought in some aid Thursday, and his efforts were the focus of a "Today" show story Friday morning.

    Yet, the people trained to protect our nation, the people whose job it is to quickly bring in aid were absent. Those who should have been deploying troops were singing a sad song about how our city was impossible to reach.

    We’re angry, Mr. President, and we’ll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry. Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That’s to the government’s shame.

    Mayor Ray Nagin did the right thing Sunday when he allowed those with no other alternative to seek shelter from the storm inside the Louisiana Superdome. We still don’t know what the death toll is, but one thing is certain: Had the Superdome not been opened, the city’s death toll would have been higher. The toll may even have been exponentially higher.

    It was clear to us by late morning Monday that many people inside the Superdome would not be returning home. It should have been clear to our government, Mr. President. So why weren’t they evacuated out of the city immediately? We learned seven years ago, when Hurricane Georges threatened, that the Dome isn’t suitable as a long-term shelter. So what did state and national officials think would happen to tens of thousands of people trapped inside with no air conditioning, overflowing toilets and dwindling amounts of food, water and other essentials?

    State Rep. Karen Carter was right Friday when she said the city didn’t have but two urgent needs: "Buses! And gas!" Every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be fired, Director Michael Brown especially.

    In a nationally televised interview Thursday night, he said his agency hadn’t known until that day that thousands of storm victims were stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. He gave another nationally televised interview the next morning and said, "We’ve provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they’ve gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day."

    Lies don’t get more bald-faced than that, Mr. President.

    Yet, when you met with Mr. Brown Friday morning, you told him, "You’re doing a heck of a job."

    That’s unbelievable.

    There were thousands of people at the Convention Center because the riverfront is high ground. The fact that so many people had reached there on foot is proof that rescue vehicles could have gotten there, too.

    We, who are from New Orleans, are no less American than those who live on the Great Plains or along the Atlantic Seaboard. We’re no less important than those from the Pacific Northwest or Appalachia. Our people deserved to be rescued.

    No expense should have been spared. No excuses should have been voiced. Especially not one as preposterous as the claim that New Orleans couldn’t be reached.

    Mr. President, we sincerely hope you fulfill your promise to make our beloved communities work right once again.

    When you do, we will be the first to applaud.
    Despite Warnings, Washington Failed to Fund Levee Projects
    To cut spending, officials gambled that the worst-case scenario would not come to be.
    By Richard A. Serrano and Nicole Gaouette
    Times Staff Writers

    September 4, 2005

    WASHINGTON — For years, Washington had been warned that doom lurked just beyond the levees. And for years, the White House and Congress had dickered over how much money to put into shoring up century-old dikes and carrying out newer flood control projects to protect the city of New Orleans.

    As recently as three months ago, the alarms were sounding — and being brushed aside.

    In late May, the New Orleans district of the Army Corps of Engineers formally notified Washington that hurricane storm surges could knock out two of the big pumping stations that must operate night and day even under normal conditions to keep the city dry.

    Also, the Corps said, several levees had settled and would soon need to be raised. And it reminded Washington that an ambitious flood-control study proposed four years before remained just that — a written proposal never put into action for lack of funding.

    What a powerful hurricane could do to New Orleans and the area's critical transportation, energy and petrochemical facilities had been well understood. So now, nearly a week into the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, hard questions are being raised about Washington officials who crossed their fingers and counted on luck once too often. The reasons the city's defenses were not strengthened enough to handle such a storm are deeply rooted in the politics and bureaucracy of Washington.

    With the advantage of hindsight, the miscues seem even broader. Construction proposals were often underfunded or not completed. Washington officials could never agree on how much money would be needed to protect New Orleans. And there hung in the air a false sense of security that a storm like Katrina was a long shot anyway.

    As a result, when the immediate crisis eases and inquiries into what went wrong begin, there is likely to be responsibility and blame enough for almost every institution in Washington, including the White House, Congress, the Army Corps of Engineers and a host of other federal agencies.

    For example, Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the Corps commander, conceded Friday that the government had known the New Orleans levees could never withstand a hurricane higher than a Category 3. Corps officials shuddered, he said, when they realized that Katrina was barreling down on the Gulf Coast with the vastly greater destructive force of a Category 5 — the strongest type of hurricane.

    Washington, he said, had rolled the dice.

    Rather than come up with the extra millions of dollars needed to make the city safer, officials believed that such a devastating storm was a small probability and that, with the level of protection that had been funded, "99.5% of the time this would work."

    Unfortunately, Strock said, "we did not address the 0.5%."

    Corps officials said the floodwaters breached at two spots: the 17th Street Canal Levee and the London Avenue Canal Levee. Connie Gillette, a Corps spokeswoman, said Saturday there never had been any plans or funds allocated to shore up those spots — another sign the government expected them to hold.

    Nevertheless, the Corps hardly was alone in failing to address what it meant to have a major metropolitan area situated mostly below sea level, sitting squarely in the middle of the Gulf Coast's Hurricane Alley.

    Many federal, state and local flood improvement officials kept asking for more dollars for more ambitious protection projects. But the White House kept scaling down those requests. And each time, although congressional leaders were more generous with funding than the White House, the House and Senate never got anywhere near to approving the amounts that experts had said was needed.

    What happened this year was typical: Local levee and flood prevention officials, along with Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), asked for $78 million in project funds. President Bush offered them less than half that — $30 million. Congress ended up authorizing $36.5 million.

    Since Bush took office in 2001, local experts and Landrieu have asked for just short of $500 million. Altogether, Bush in his yearly budgets asked for $166 million, and Congress approved about $250 million.

    These budget decisions reflect a reality in Washington: to act with an eye toward short-term political rewards instead of making long-term investments to deal with problems.

    Vincent Gawronski, an assistant professor at Birmingham Southern College in Alabama who studies the political impact of natural disasters, said the lost chances to shore up the levees were a classic example of government leaders who, although meaning well, clashed over priorities.

    "Elected politicians are in office for a limited amount of time and with a limited amount of money, and they don't really have a long-term vision for spending it," he said.

    "So you spend your pot of money where you feel you're going to get the most political support so you can get reelected. It's very difficult to think long-term. If you invest in these levees, is that going to show an immediate return or does it take away from anything else?"

    Gawronski said flood control projects do not have the appeal of other endeavors, such as cancer research and police protection. At the same time, Congress habitually approves billions of dollars for highways and bridges and other infrastructure that politically benefits individual congressmen.

    Gawronski called it inexcusable for the United States to have been "gambling so long" that the old levee system in New Orleans would hold.

    "Disasters are often low probability, high consequence events, so there's a gamble there," he said. "It's not going to happen on my watch, there's the potential it might, but I'll bet it won't."

    In the case of New Orleans and flood control, another factor was at work: the reputation of the Corps of Engineers. Over the years, many in Washington had come to regard the Corps as an out-of-control agency that championed huge projects and sometimes exaggerated need and benefits.
  31. Continued:

    The Corps began as a tiny regiment during the Revolutionary War era; it now employs about 35,000 people to build dams, deepen harbors, dig ditches and erect seawalls, among other things. But critics say some projects are make-work boondoggles.

    In 2000, Corps leaders were found to have manipulated an economic study to justify a Mississippi River project that would have cost billions. The agency also launched a secret growth initiative to boost its budget by 50%. And the Pentagon found in 2000 that the Corps' cost-benefit analyses were systematically skewed to warrant large-scale construction projects.

    As a result, said a senior staffer with the Senate Appropriations Committee who spoke on condition of anonymity, requests by the Corps for flood control money were especially vulnerable to budget cutting. "A lot of people just look at it as pork," said the staffer.

    The Bush administration's former budget director, Mitch Daniels, was known as an aggressive advocate for Corps reform who cast a skeptical eye on its budget requests.

    "The Army Corps of Engineers has a very large budget, and it has grown a lot over recent years," Daniels, now the governor of Indiana, said. "To the extent there's been any limitation of [the Corps'] budget, it has to do with previous tendencies to build marinas and things that don't have much to do with preparing us for disaster."

    The Bush White House maintains it never ignored the security needs of the Gulf Coast. "Flood control has been a priority of this administration from Day One," said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

    He said hundreds of millions of dollars were spent in the New Orleans area in recent years for flood prevention, and he said the failure of the levees was not a matter of money so much as a problem with drawing the right plans for the dike work and other improvements.

    "It's been more of a design issue with the levees," he said.

    Other administration officials said there were not enough construction companies and equipment to handle all the work that had been proposed.

    John Paul Woodley Jr., assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, who has responsibility for the Corps of Engineers, said: "It's true, we cannot accomplish all of our projects at full funding all the time. I think that's true of any agency, particularly any public works agency, but we had a lot of work underway in New Orleans, and I was personally supportive of it.

    "As a native of Louisiana," Woodley said, "I understand the problems associated with flooding in New Orleans. I don't think there's any lack of support for flood control projects in New Orleans, particularly within the context of other projects around the country."

    On Capitol Hill in recent years, several Democrats warned that more money should be marked for the protection of New Orleans. For instance, in September 2004, Landrieu said she was tired of hearing there was no money to do more work on levees.

    "We're told, can't do it this year. Don't have enough money. It's not a high enough priority," she said in a Senate speech. "Well, I know when it's going to get to be a high enough priority."

    She then told of a New Orleans emergency worker who had collected several thousand body bags in the event of a major flood. "Let's hope that never happens," she said.

    But in May 2004, then Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he had visited the levees as a guest of Landrieu and believed them adequate.

    He praised the ancient water pumps for keeping the waters from cascading into the city, proclaiming them "these old, old pumps that hadn't been changed since before the turn of the century, that still keep New Orleans dry."

    "It was as clean as a restaurant," he added. "These big old pumps work."

    Today, eight of those 22 pumps are underwater and inoperable.

    Over the years, several projects either were short-changed or never got started. The Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project was authorized by Congress after a rainstorm killed six people in May 1995. It was to be finished in 10 years, but funding reductions prevented its completion before Katrina struck.

    The Army Corps of Engineers did spend $430 million to renovate pumping stations and shore up the levees. But experts said the project fell behind schedule after funding was reduced in 2003 and 2004.

    The Lake Pontchartrain Project was a $750-million Corps operation for new levees and beefed-up pumping stations. Because of funding cuts, it was only 80% complete when the hurricane hit.

    The project that never was started was an examination of storm surges from large hurricanes. Congress approved the study but did not allocate the funds for it.

    In May, Al Naomi, the Corps' senior project manager for the New Orleans district, reminded political and business leaders and emergency management officials that a Category 4 or 5 hurricane was always possible. After that meeting, Walter Brooks, the regional planning commission director, came away shaking his head.

    "We've learned that we're not as safe as we thought we were," he told the local newspaper, the Times-Picayune.

    Last week, Corps commander Strock defended past work, saying, it was his "personal and professional assessment" that work in New Orleans was never underfunded. What he meant by that, he explained, was that no one expected such a large disaster before all the renovations and other improvements could be completed.

    "That was as good as it was going to get," he said. " We knew that it would protect from a Category 3 hurricane. In fact, it has been through a number of Category 3 hurricanes."

    But, he said, Katrina's intensity "simply exceeded the design capacity of the levee."

    Asked whether in hindsight he wished more had been done, Strock said: "I really don't express surprise in my business. We don't sit around and say 'Gee whiz.' "
  32. September 4, 2005
    The Bursting Point

    As Ross Douthat observed on his blog, The American Scene, Katrina was the anti-9/11.

    On Sept. 11, Rudy Giuliani took control. The government response was quick and decisive. The rich and poor suffered alike. Americans had been hit, but felt united and strong. Public confidence in institutions surged.

    Last week in New Orleans, by contrast, nobody took control. Authority was diffuse and action was ineffective. The rich escaped while the poor were abandoned. Leaders spun while looters rampaged. Partisans squabbled while the nation was ashamed.

    The first rule of the social fabric - that in times of crisis you protect the vulnerable - was trampled. Leaving the poor in New Orleans was the moral equivalent of leaving the injured on the battlefield. No wonder confidence in civic institutions is plummeting.

    And the key fact to understanding why this is such a huge cultural moment is this: Last week's national humiliation comes at the end of a string of confidence-shaking institutional failures that have cumulatively changed the nation's psyche.

    Over the past few years, we have seen intelligence failures in the inability to prevent Sept. 11 and find W.M.D.'s in Iraq. We have seen incompetent postwar planning. We have seen the collapse of Enron and corruption scandals on Wall Street. We have seen scandals at our leading magazines and newspapers, steroids in baseball, the horror of Abu Ghraib.

    Public confidence has been shaken too by the steady rain of suicide bombings, the grisly horror of Beslan and the world's inability to do anything about rising oil prices.

    Each institutional failure and sign of helplessness is another blow to national morale. The sour mood builds on itself, the outraged and defensive reaction to one event serving as the emotional groundwork for the next.

    The scrapbook of history accords but a few pages to each decade, and it is already clear that the pages devoted to this one will be grisly. There will be pictures of bodies falling from the twin towers, beheaded kidnapping victims in Iraq and corpses still floating in the waterways of New Orleans five days after the disaster that caused them.

    It's already clear this will be known as the grueling decade, the Hobbesian decade. Americans have had to acknowledge dark realities that it is not in our nature to readily acknowledge: the thin veneer of civilization, the elemental violence in human nature, the lurking ferocity of the environment, the limitations on what we can plan and know, the cumbersome reactions of bureaucracies, the uncertain progress good makes over evil.

    As a result, it is beginning to feel a bit like the 1970's, another decade in which people lost faith in their institutions and lost a sense of confidence about the future.

    "Rats on the West Side, bedbugs uptown/What a mess! This town's in tatters/I've been shattered," Mick Jagger sang in 1978.

    Midge Decter woke up the morning after the night of looting during the New York blackout of 1977 feeling as if she had "been given a sudden glimpse into the foundations of one's house and seen, with horror, that it was utterly infested and rotting away."

    Americans in 2005 are not quite in that bad a shape, since the fundamental realities of everyday life are good. The economy and the moral culture are strong. But there is a loss of confidence in institutions. In case after case there has been a failure of administration, of sheer competence. Hence, polls show a widespread feeling the country is headed in the wrong direction.

    Katrina means that the political culture, already sour and bloody-minded in many quarters, will shift. There will be a reaction. There will be more impatience for something new. There is going to be some sort of big bang as people respond to the cumulative blows of bad events and try to fundamentally change the way things are.

    Reaganite conservatism was the response to the pessimism and feebleness of the 1970's. Maybe this time there will be a progressive resurgence. Maybe we are entering an age of hardheaded law and order. (Rudy Giuliani, an unlikely G.O.P. nominee a few months ago, could now win in a walk.) Maybe there will be call for McCainist patriotism and nonpartisan independence. All we can be sure of is that the political culture is about to undergo some big change.

    We're not really at a tipping point as much as a bursting point. People are mad as hell, unwilling to take it anymore.
  33. It is George W. Bushes fault Katrina got so God damn strong. After all he has been the President since 2000 and we have been hearing about this global warming thing for like 20 years. Certainly he could have done something about it where all of those before him did not. If we had only elected Al Gore in 2000 mother nature would have rejoiced and reversed its trend. The Gulf of Mexico would be cold like the Pacific Ocean off the California coast and we wouldnt have any God damn hurricanes at all.
  34. The concept is contributory negligence....

    "The rule of law under which an act or omission of plaintiff is a contributing cause of injury and a bar to recovery."


  35. Somewhere in here it says Time Mag back in 2000.

    >>> So much for those in government who say -- and I saw Clinton and Bush
    >>> senior say it today -- that no one ever saw this coming...
    >>> PARAGRAPH!!!
    >>> I am aghast at my president and at the entire federal government
    >>> response, not to mention the local/regional response--but for different
    >>> time-place-race considerations, that could be us down there. I would
    >>> retrack my vote for Bush if I could. He has just lost me.
    >>> July 10, 2000 Vol. 156 No. 2 Special Issue/The Pulse of America
    >>> The Big Easy On the Brink
    >>> If it doesn't act fast, the city could become the next Atlantis
    >>> If a flood of Biblical proportions were to lay waste to New Orleans, Joe
    >>> Suhayda has a good idea how it would happen. A Category 5 hurricane
    >>> would come barreling out of the Gulf of Mexico. It would cause Lake
    >>> Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans, to overflow, pouring down millions
    >>> of gallons of water on the city. Then things would really get ugly.
    >>> Evacuation routes would be blocked. Buildings would collapse. Chemicals
    >>> and hazardous waste would dissolve, turning the floodwaters into a
    >>> lethal soup. In the end, what was left of the city might not be worth
    >>> saving. "There's concern it would essentially destroy New Orleans," says
    >>> Suhayda.
    >>> Suhayda, a water-resources expert at Louisiana State University, is the
    >>> kind of guy who could have given Noah a computer model of all 40 days
    >>> and 40 nights of rain, including the Ark's soft landing on Mount Ararat.
    >>> So it is real cause for concern that he has joined the chorus of
    >>> scientists and environmentalists who are saying that the watery threat
    >>> to New Orleans is extreme--that in the worst-case scenario, in fact,
    >>> there might not be a city of New Orleans left standing by the end of the
    >>> century.
    >>> New Orleans has always had a complicated relationship with the water
    >>> surrounding it. Everyone told the first settlers this was the wrong
    >>> place to build a city. It is wedged precariously between the mighty
    >>> Mississippi and Lake Pontchartrain, and most of it was once swampland.
    >>> Aggravating the problem is the fact that much of New Orleans is below
    >>> sea level, so that after a good rain, the water just settles in. There
    >>> is now a decent pumping system, which helps. Old-timers, however, still
    >>> talk of the days when, after a bad storm, bodies washed out of the
    >>> cemeteries.
    >>> What is threatening New Orleans is a combination of two man-made
    >>> problems: more levees and fewer wetlands. The levees installed along the
    >>> Mississippi to protect the city from water surges have had a perverse
    >>> effect: they have actually made it more vulnerable to flooding. That's
    >>> because New Orleans has been kept in place by the precarious balance of
    >>> two opposing forces. Because the city is constructed on 100 feet of soft
    >>> silt, sand and clay, it naturally "subsides," or sinks, several feet a
    >>> century. Historically, that subsidence has been counteracted by
    >>> sedimentation: new silt, sand and clay that are deposited when the river
    >>> floods. But since the levees went up--mostly after the great flood of
    >>> 1927--the river has not been flooding, and sedimentation has stopped.
    >>> The upshot is that New Orleans has been sinking as much as 3 ft. a
    >>> century. That's bad news for a city that is already an average of 8 ft.
    >>> below sea level. Making things worse: sea levels worldwide are rising as
    >>> much as 3 ft. a century on account of global warming. The lower New
    >>> Orleans plunges, the worse it will be when the big one hits.
    >>> New Orleans' other major man-made problem is that its wetlands and its
    >>> low-lying barrier islands are disappearing. The Louisiana coast is
    >>> losing 16,000 acres of wetland each year, mostly as a result of
    >>> population expansion into once pristine areas, destructive oil and gas
    >>> drilling, pollution and land loss through lack of sedimentation. As it
    >>> turns out, wetlands and barrier islands aren't just nice to look at;
    >>> they are also a key natural barrier to hurricanes. (Every 2.7 miles of
    >>> wetland absorbs a foot of storm surge.) As the wetlands go, the chance
    >>> of a hurricane blowing the city away grows.
    >>> So environmentalists and engineers are frantically coming up with plans
    >>> to save New Orleans. One idea is to raise levee walls to increase their
    >>> effectiveness against storm surges. Another is to create large-scale
    >>> diversions that would allow the Mississippi to flood in a controlled
    >>> manner--and through sedimentation add thousands of acres a year of new
    >>> land. Yet another would be to take immediate steps to reverse the loss
    >>> of sensitive wetlands. Adding land through sedimentation is one of the
    >>> best ways of restoring wetlands. Among other possible schemes: cutting
    >>> back on shipping routes that harm marshes, installing wave absorbers to
    >>> reduce wetland erosion and rebuilding damaged barrier islands.
    >>> The big sticking point, not surprisingly, is money. The price tag for a
    >>> complete solution could be as much as $14 billion in federal and state
    >>> money--which may be more than Washington wants to spend, and more than
    >>> Baton Rouge can. But experts are also working on scaled-down remedies,
    >>> including construction of a "curtain wall" that would bisect the city,
    >>> creating a safe haven to which residents could evacuate.
    >>> So far, little has been done. Part of the problem, of course, is that
    >>> excessive worrying and planning are radically at odds with the spirit of
    >>> the Big Easy. Despite the damage inflicted by Hurricane Betsy in 1965
    >>> and the near miss of Andrew in 1992, New
    >>> Orleans is still a place where the primary meaning of hurricane is a
    >>> fruity rum drink the law lets you carry openly as you carouse in the
    >>> French Quarter. While the grimmest of the doomsayers warn that New
    >>> Orleans could be the next Atlantis, some laid-back residents are saying
    >>> that it could just as easily become the next Venice and that after the
    >>> deluge, the good times won't roll--they'll float.

    SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) - Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans
    will probably cost more than $100 billion in total economic losses, Risk
    Management Solutions, a leading catastrophe risk-modeling firm, said on

    Wouldn't if have been nice not to have PISSED AWAY $200,000,000,000 ++ dollars in the illegitimate war in Iraq? Sure would be nice to have some of that (admittedly borrowed) money to spend in THIS COUNTRY.

  37. Contributory negligence is a defense to negligence, not available to a plaintiff. As President Bush is the putative defendant, whereas the People are the putative plaintiff, contributory negligence is inapplicable.

    The correct legal theory is simply to prove that the President was negligent. Regardless, under federal law, the President of the United States is absolutely immune from personal liability for negligence associated with actions/omissions taken within the scope of his official duties. Therefore, the President cannot be held liable for failing to recognize and prepare for hurricanes, actually or reasonably likely to have occurred as the result of global warming, under any legal theory, even assuming that those hurricanes were, in fact, caused by global warming.

    Note: President Clinton was sued for things that he had done prior to becoming President, therefore he was not immune from liability, because his actions were not taken within the scope of his official duties.
  38. "But for" principle.....

    Actually I would argue that it is still contributory negligence.

    "An injured person's failure to exercise due care, which along with another person's (the defendant's) negligence, contributed to the injury."


    The people who voted in this mentally injured numbskull of a president are the defendants who are ultimately negligent of the needs of the American people, and Bush's contributory negligence to the situation is obvious.

  39. Coulda woulda shoulda. Yes, it would have been. But, its not. So what do we do?
  40. Simple.

    Replace the incompetents.

  41. What about the people who continue to put them in office and support them in the first place? I doubt Mississippi and Lousianna will be so "red" after the way the Fed's have handled this..but you never know. I think a bigger problem is that people in both parties are more worried about covering their asses and blaming the other side. When Clinton was in office every Republican would scream and howl that the world was going to shit while Clinton sat around and got blow jobs in the White House. Now, whenever anything bad happens all the Dems howl that the world is going to shit while Bush sits in Crawford on vacation. Both major parties are equally incompetent.

    In the mean time one thing we can all do is offer aid to the victims. Groups like the Baton Rouge Foodbank, the Salvation Army and Red Cross are all doing what they can to help and could use all the help we can give.
  42. Here's the point that just now is being raised. It's great to say "evacuate 'em." But where? You think it's easy finding shelter for a million people in the rural south? Keep in mind that Katrina was worse wind wise in many places besides New Orleans. In other words it's not like going to Biloxi or Mobile was the appropriate option. I heard someone say "the army could have built a tent city." LMFAO! A tent in a hurricane was a better venue than the Superdome?!

    Bottom line: These storms are going to repeat, and evacuation is NEVER going to be possible. My folks live in South Florida. (in fact they were hit by Katrina as it came through Fl). My parents are old and know that the 5,000,000 people that live in Dade, Broward, and PBC will never be able to evacuate. What are they going to do? Call Disney World and ask if they have lodging available in Orlando for several million. Yea, the conditions in those shelters must have been indescribable. I can't imagine living in the piss, shit of thousands, little food, little water, and death. Guess what? Thats the FUCKING DOWNSIDE TO BEING CAUGHT IN A CAT 4 HURRICANE! It's not a movie!! No the Superdome was not the Ritz. But what the hell was the option
  43. I don't disagree that the politicians dropped the ball on this one.

    When I saw Bush on Friday morning, right before he was going to fly out to Missippi and NO, he said "The situation is not acceptable down there."

    My first reaction was, well it is about time he showed he was pissed off. I thought for a brief moment he was going to act like a leader.

    If you had friends/relatives, etc. and saw what we had seen over the past several days, wouldn't you be pissed off too?

    So it took Bush 4 days to finally get pissed off. He is a very slow thinker, but better late than never.

    Then I see he goes down there and falls back into spineless politician.


    This man should have fired someone on the spot.

    People want to see some leadership who will actually lead, which at times means to be pissed off and fire someone for incompetence.

    Bush does neither. He just "prays" and hugs.

    As if that solves the problem, or replaces the boneheads in his department who contributed to the problems in their own way.

  44. You want to sue everyone who voted for Bush? That's a novel lawsuit. Nevertheless, you are miscomprehending a legal tort theory that is completely inapplicable. Just because it's called "contributory" negligence, doesn't mean that you can advance the theory against anyone who has contributed to the negligence. Contributory negligence is a theory only available to a defendant to prevent a plaintiff from obtaining compensation for damages that were caused by the plaintiff's own failure to use due care. PERIOD!

    What you are attempting to argue is called, "equitable contribution," i.e., the theory that a person should fairly contribute to satisfying a judgment for damages on grounds that they have some responsibility, even though they cannot be held legally liable. This is exactly the situation that you are describing. The President is immune from civil liability, however he is an agent of the electorate who voted for him, and "but for," the electorate's negligence, President Bush would not have been elected.

    The question, then, is whether the electorate was negligent in voting for Bush. Negligence requires an existing duty of care, the breach of that duty, and proof that the defendant is the actual and proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries.

    The electorate has a fundamental right to vote, however, it has no legal duty to vote. Once a person chooses to vote, it is possible that they may have a duty to use due care in their decision. If you could prove that a voter failed to educate themselves in any meaningful way prior to casting a vote, then you could possibly show that they violated their duty to vote responsibly. Unfortunately, you cannot do this, because no person can be forced to state their choice in an election. So, you have a "proof of facts" problem. You cannot prove your case, because your witness cannot be compelled to testify, and that would end the lawsuit.

    But, let's say that you could get voluntary testimony from every person who voted for Bush, now how will you prove, that "but for" the electorates' breach, the hurricane would not have occurred? Hurricanes as big as Katrina have been recorded in occurred in the past, before the idea of global warming was ever contemplated. So, here the evidence fails again. There is not a preponderance of evidence to demonstrate that global warming is the direct, or even a clear and convincing cause of hurricane Katrina, and that "but for" Bush's election Katrina would not have occurred.

    Judgment for the defendant (Bush and the Republicans).
  45. Is this message board a court of law?

  46. You raised the issue of contributory negligence, and you did so incorrectly -- twice. So, instead of trying to act like you know what you're talking about and I'm the schmuck for trying to educate you -- instead, try and learn something from the free education and say "thank you."
  47. Did I say Bush's contributory negligence was a legal term to be used in a court of law in a lawsuit against Bush?

    We do agree, you are $300 an hour schmuck.

  48. Yes. You referred to a law dictionary to support your argument, and then when I tried to correct you the first time, you found a second legal source to try to rebut my correction.

    Now, say "Thank you."
  49. I referred to an insurance website, not a legal dictionary.

    If the people are the plaintiff, and the Bush's lackeys in FEMA and other agencies are the defendants who did not exercise their duties, then Bush contributed to the negligence of the people in NO and their stupidity as a red state to vote in this moron by Bush's constant efforts of dumbing down of America.

    Did I ever say Bush was the defendant in a lawsuit?

    You continue to prove Shakespeare to be prescient....

  50. What law dictionary?

    Did they teach you in law school to throw away Black's Law Dictionary or Westlaw and consult insurance websites instead?

  51. You cited: http://www.thelawencyclopedia.com/term/contributory_negligence as the source for your definition of contributory negligence.

    Keep trying to escape from your own words. It just makes you seem more and more disingenuous to everyone -- assuming that could be possible.
  52. You continue to use the term "contributory negligence" incorrectly. If ignorance is bliss, then you are in heaven already.

    As for your comments re Shakespeare, I don't know what you're talking about, so feel free to enlighten me and the rest of the world.
  53. You continue to think this is a court of law.

    What a numbskull.....

    You are so goddamned easy to hook.

    Just play to your "expertise."

    Fish Head, Fish Head, Fish Head......

    Oh, which you claim to be law, biology, quantum physics, and who knows what else.

    Classic internet moron.....you are.

    Kent delcares victory:

    <img src=http://www.chocolatecityweb.com/arguing.jpg>

  54. This is not a court of law bonehead. I can use any term any way I wish.

    Someone did not die and appoint you thread monitor....

    Your ego, out of control.....

    p.s. Playing stupid about Shakespeare, while it fits you, is just another of your boorish tricks.

  55. Shakespeare said lots of prescient things. If you don't want to explain yourself, that's ok. In fact, it's sort of refreshing.
  56. Don't have a clue?

    Call the FBI.....

  57. The Lost City
    What Went Wrong: Devastating a swath of the South, Katrina plunged New Orleans into agony. The story of a storm—and a disastrously slow rescue.

    Sept. 12, 2005 issue - It wasn't exactly a surprise. "This ain't gonna last," New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas told his security guard as they watched the waters of Lake Pontchartrain rising and racing and eating away at the dirt levee beneath the concrete floodwall built to protect New Orleans from disaster. It was 4 o'clock on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 28. Hurricane Katrina was still 14 hours away, but the sea surge had begun. Thomas returned to the city's hurricane war room and announced, to anyone who was listening, "The water's coming into the city."

    Thomas was asleep on his office couch early Tuesday morning when he was awakened by the sound of banging on his door and someone yelling, "The levee broke!" Thomas stood up on his soaked carpet and felt as though he were standing in concrete. He was paralyzed, he later said, by the fear of predictions coming true. Thomas, who had been rescued off the roof of his house in New Orleans during Hurricane Betsy in 1965, had been a city councilman for a dozen years. His specialty is water. He knew all about the studies and reports and dire warnings stacked up on the desks of bureaucrats, he knew about all the relief and reconstruction and restoration projects that had been discussed but never paid for or carried out, and he knew his beloved old city was doomed.

    A few rescuers were ready, but precious few. On Monday morning, as the storm slammed into the Gulf Coast, Col. Tim Tarchick of the 920th Rescue Wing, Air Force Reserve Command, got on the phone to call every agency he could think of to ask permission to take his three rescue helicopters into the disaster zone as soon as the storm abated. The response was noncommittal. FEMA, the federal agency that is supposed to handle disasters, told Tarchick that it wasn't authorized to task military units. That had to come from the Defense Department. Tarchick wasn't able to cut through the red tape until 4 p.m. Tuesday—more than 24 hours after the storm had passed. His crews plucked hundreds of people off rooftops, but when they delivered them to an assigned landing zone, there was "total chaos. No food, no water, no bathrooms, no nothing." There was "no structure, no organization, no command center," Tarchick told NEWSWEEK.

    Only despair. The news could not have been more dispiriting: The reports of gunfire at medical-relief helicopters. The stories of pirates capturing rescue boats. The reports of police standing and watching looters—or joining them. The TV images of hundreds and thousands of people, mostly black and poor, trapped in the shadow of the Superdome. And most horrific: the photographs of dead people floating facedown in the sewage or sitting in wheelchairs where they died, some from lack of water. For many across the city and the Gulf Coast, prayer seemed one of their few options. On CNN, Mayor C. Ray Nagin asked the country to "pray for us," a plea repeated by survivors who needed that, and much more.

    New Orleans has long been an inspiration to soulful writers and artists who sing the blues. But there was nothing romantic about Katrina's wake. Most of the poets had headed for higher ground (although legendary R&B man "Fats" Domino stayed, was reported missing, then found alive). Left behind were the poor who couldn't get out, a few defiant members of the local gentry and gangs of predators.

    No one seemed to have any idea how many people died, but it was clearly the worst natural disaster since a hurricane wiped out Galveston, Texas, in 1900, killing 6,000 to 12,000 people. No major American city had been evacuated since Richmond and Atlanta in the Civil War. The economic cost will be enormous, starting with gasoline prices jumping to more than $3 a gallon. The political cost to President Bush could also be stiff. When Air Force One dipped below the clouds on Tuesday so the president could peer out the window down at the disaster, the image was uncomfortably imperial. A folksier Bush toured the wretched region on Friday, hugged some victims and did a rare but necessary thing: he admitted that the results of the relief effort had been "not acceptable."

    Day after day of images showed exhausted families and their crying children stepping around corpses while they begged: Where is the water? Where are the buses? They seemed helpless, powerless, at the mercy of forces far beyond their control. The lack of rapid response left people in the United States, and all over the world, wondering how an American city could look like Mogadishu or Port-au-Prince. The refugee crisis—a million people without homes, jobs, schools—hardly fit George W. Bush's vision of the American Colossus.

    What went wrong? Just about everything. How the system failed is a tangled story, but the basic narrative is becoming clearer: hesitancy, bureaucratic rivalries, failures of leadership from city hall to the White House and epically bad luck combined to create a morass. In the early aftermath, fingers pointed in all directions. The president was to blame; no, the looters. No, the bureaucrats. No, the local politicians. It was FEMA's fault—unless it was the Department of Homeland Security's. Or the Pentagon's. Certainly the government failed, and the catastrophe exposed, for all the world to see, raw racial divisions.

    (Full story here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9179587/site/newsweek/ )
  58. What's the FBI, got to do with what Shakespeare said?
  59. That's was my thought exactly.....

    Then I realized what a tool you were.....

  60. What was your thought, exactly?
  61. That you are a tool....

  62. Tell me how I continue to prove Shakespeare prescient. Everyone here is just dying to know.
  63. Prove that everyone is just dying to know, I will consider it then.

  64. No, I'll pass on your most disingenuous offer.

    So, how do I continue to prove Shakespeare prescient?
  65. By doing exactly what you are doing right now.....

  66. You mean, asking the same question over and over in the hope of obtaining a direct answer?

    Hmmm...I suppose that I'd need to read the exact Shakespeare quote to which you are alluding. I doubt you'll be posting it, though.
  67. That's what you are doing? Asking the same question over and over again?

    You can read the exact quote, it is nothing new. No need for redundant posting....

  68. I can? Well, then what is the quote?
  69. Yes you can.

    Seek, and ye shall find....

  70. kent, you will never get a direct answer from Zzeal10. If you receive a semblance of one, it will be laced with the detritus of other issues designed to make you ask even more direct questions that he will again evade and obfuscate on ad infinitum.

    ZZZ doesn't get out much, and his social isolation drives him to do battle just for the human contact.

    This is what you're up against:

  71. Evidently, whatever you're referring to, is one step beyond freedom of expression.

    Maybe it's better that you don't post it.
  72. You're probably right. Only time will tell.
  73. You are too lazy to exercise your power to seek, so you don't find.....so?

  74. With respect to this thread I believe zzz is negligent with respect to his contribution.

    In fact his explanation and twisting of facts was so disingenuous I belief he manifested a depraved heart.

    Consequently instead of mixing metaphors I have mixed legal frameworks.

    Finally, if the electorate were to be sued for negligence, I strongly believe they would have a strong case for summary judgment. As not rational voter could have have voted for Kerry it was not negligent to vote for Bush.
  75. Depraved heart! That's a killer, thanks! LOL!
  76. He could be referring to this line from Henry VI:

    The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.


  77. Guardsmen 'played cards' amid New Orleans chaos: police official

    Sat Sep 3, 5:58 PM ET

    A top New Orleans police officer said that National Guard troops sat around playing cards while people died in the stricken city after Hurricane Katrina.

    New Orleans deputy police commander W.S. Riley launched a bitter attack on the federal response to the disaster though he praised the way the evacuation was eventually handled.

    His remarks fuelled controversy over the government's handling of events during five days when New Orleans succumbed to lawlessness after Katrina swamped the city's flood defenses.

    The National Guard commander, Lieutenant General Steven Blum, said the reservist force was slow to move troops into New Orleans because it did not anticipate the collapse of the city's police force.

    But Riley said that for the first three days after Monday's storm, which is believed to have killed several thousand people, the police and fire departments and some volunteers had been alone in trying to rescue people.

    "We expected a lot more support from the federal government. We expected the government to respond within 24 hours. The first three days we had no assistance," he told AFP in an interview.

    Riley went on: "We have been fired on with automatic weapons. We still have some thugs around. My biggest disappointment is with the federal government and the National Guard.

    "The guard arrived 48 hours after the hurricane with 40 trucks. They drove their trucks in and went to sleep.

    "For 72 hours this police department and the fire department and handful of citizens were alone rescuing people. We have people who died while the National Guard sat and played cards. I understand why we are not winning the war in Iraq if this is what we have."

    Riley said there is "a semblance of organisation now."

    "The military is here and they have done an excellent job with the evacuation" of the tens of thousands of people stranded in the city.

    The National Guard commander said the city police force was left with only a third of its pre-storm strength.

    "The real issue, particularly in New Orleans, is that no one anticipated the disintegration or the erosion of the civilian police force in New Orleans," Blum told reporters in Washington.

    "Once that assessment was made ... then the requirement became obvious," he said. "And that's when we started flowing military police into the theatre."

    On Friday, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin denounced the slow federal response as too little, too late, charging that promised troops had not arrived in time.

    "Now get off your asses and let's do something and fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country," the mayor said in remarks aired on CNN.

    Blum said that since Thursday some 7,000 National Guard and military police had moved into the city. President George W. Bush on Saturday ordered an additional 7,000 active duty and reserve ground troops.

    Blum said any suggestion that the National Guard had not performed well or was late was a "low blow".

    The initial priority of the Louisiana and Mississippi National Guard forces was disaster relief, not law enforcement, because they expected the police to handle that, he said.

    The police commander was unable to give a death toll for New Orleans.

    "We have bodies all over the city. A federal mortuary team was supposed to come in within 24 hours. We haven't seen them. It is inhumane. This is just not America."

    Riley said he did not even know how many police remained from a normal force of 1,700.

    "Many officers lost their homes or their families and there are many we have not heard from. Some officers could not handle the pressure and left. I don't know if we have 800 or thousands today."
  78. September 5, 2005
    Killed by Contempt

    Each day since Katrina brings more evidence of the lethal ineptitude of federal officials. I'm not letting state and local officials off the hook, but federal officials had access to resources that could have made all the difference, but were never mobilized.

    Here's one of many examples: The Chicago Tribune reports that the U.S.S. Bataan, equipped with six operating rooms, hundreds of hospital beds and the ability to produce 100,000 gallons of fresh water a day, has been sitting off the Gulf Coast since last Monday - without patients.

    Experts say that the first 72 hours after a natural disaster are the crucial window during which prompt action can save many lives. Yet action after Katrina was anything but prompt. Newsweek reports that a "strange paralysis" set in among Bush administration officials, who debated lines of authority while thousands died.

    What caused that paralysis? President Bush certainly failed his test. After 9/11, all the country really needed from him was a speech. This time it needed action - and he didn't deliver.

    But the federal government's lethal ineptitude wasn't just a consequence of Mr. Bush's personal inadequacy; it was a consequence of ideological hostility to the very idea of using government to serve the public good. For 25 years the right has been denigrating the public sector, telling us that government is always the problem, not the solution. Why should we be surprised that when we needed a government solution, it wasn't forthcoming?

    Does anyone remember the fight over federalizing airport security? Even after 9/11, the administration and conservative members of Congress tried to keep airport security in the hands of private companies. They were more worried about adding federal employees than about closing a deadly hole in national security.

    Of course, the attempt to keep airport security private wasn't just about philosophy; it was also an attempt to protect private interests. But that's not really a contradiction. Ideological cynicism about government easily morphs into a readiness to treat government spending as a way to reward your friends. After all, if you don't believe government can do any good, why not?

    Which brings us to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In my last column, I asked whether the Bush administration had destroyed FEMA's effectiveness. Now we know the answer.

    Several recent news analyses on FEMA's sorry state have attributed the agency's decline to its inclusion in the Department of Homeland Security, whose prime concern is terrorism, not natural disasters. But that supposed change in focus misses a crucial part of the story.

    For one thing, the undermining of FEMA began as soon as President Bush took office. Instead of choosing a professional with expertise in responses to disaster to head the agency, Mr. Bush appointed Joseph Allbaugh, a close political confidant. Mr. Allbaugh quickly began trying to scale back some of FEMA's preparedness programs.

    You might have expected the administration to reconsider its hostility to emergency preparedness after 9/11 - after all, emergency management is as important in the aftermath of a terrorist attack as it is following a natural disaster. As many people have noticed, the failed response to Katrina shows that we are less ready to cope with a terrorist attack today than we were four years ago.

    But the downgrading of FEMA continued, with the appointment of Michael Brown as Mr. Allbaugh's successor.

    Mr. Brown had no obvious qualifications, other than having been Mr. Allbaugh's college roommate. But Mr. Brown was made deputy director of FEMA; The Boston Herald reports that he was forced out of his previous job, overseeing horse shows. And when Mr. Allbaugh left, Mr. Brown became the agency's director. The raw cronyism of that appointment showed the contempt the administration felt for the agency; one can only imagine the effects on staff morale.

    That contempt, as I've said, reflects a general hostility to the role of government as a force for good. And Americans living along the Gulf Coast have now reaped the consequences of that hostility.

    The administration has always tried to treat 9/11 purely as a lesson about good versus evil. But disasters must be coped with, even if they aren't caused by evildoers. Now we have another deadly lesson in why we need an effective government, and why dedicated public servants deserve our respect. Will we listen?
  79. A flood of Bush bashing

    Debra Saunders

    September 5, 2005

    It is only a matter of hours now that, after any catastrophe anywhere in the world -- a tsunami, a hurricane, a terrorist bombing on the London tube -- Bush haters find ways to blame President Bush. Hurricane Katrina? Bush haters have pointed their fingers at global warming, the war on terror, the Bush tax cuts, the national dependence on oil -- and in every category, Bush is the root of the evil.

    Forget nature. George W. Bush is more powerful.

    The German environment minister and U.S. enviro Robert F. Kennedy cited global warming as a cause for the hurricane. It doesn't matter if data show, as James Glassman of TechCentralStation pointed out, the peak for major hurricanes came in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Columnist Molly Ivins criticized Bush for cutting $71 million from the New Orleans Corps of Engineers -- even though the levee that broke had just been upgraded.

    Are National Guardsmen in Iraq? Yes, some 35 percent are, but more are in Louisiana, and nearby police and firefighters can pitch in.

    Bush haters who want to appear less rabid than their quick counterparts wait a whole day or so. Thursday, The New York Times editorial page hit Bush for delivering a bad speech about the hurricane's aftermath, for grinning while he spoke and for asking Americans to donate cash but not asking them to sacrifice.

    The day before, the paper opined, "This seems like the wrong moment to dwell on fault-finding, or even to point out that it took what may become the worst natural disaster in American history to pry President Bush out of his vacation."

    It's not as pithy as some of the other anti-Bush slogans, but here's an idea for a T-shirt slogan: "Clinton vacationed at Martha's Vineyard, and nobody died." Others have lighted on left-leaning targets.

    They blame residents of New Orleans for living in a city built largely below sea level. They fault homeowners who live near the beach. Of course, industries like shipping and tourism exist because of those locations. When you think about it, every locale has its hazard, be it hurricane, blistering heat, blizzard, earthquake or tornado.

    Some blame families that did not heed the call to evacuate -- including families that didn't have cars, money or places to go to.

    On the right, there is triumph in how the left should be held accountable for America's failure to build more refineries -- as the hurricane damage drives up the price of gasoline.

    Some gloat that if the left had allowed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the nation's oil supply would not be an issue. And what about all those liberal Californians who drive SUVs?

    Say what you will, but all of the above arguments are a luxury. Alabama families are dredging water from their living rooms. In the Big Easy, women have had to wade through the nasty liquid clutching a few belongings.

    And for them, the big issues were: Where do I go? What will I do for work? Where is my dog? Did my neighbor make it? How long will I have to sleep in a shelter? Do I even want to go back to the town that I call home? They aren't stranded because of politics, SUVs or climate change. They are stranded because a planet that graces us with sunshine and warmth also makes storms.

    They are stranded because a powerful storm cut a swath through their universe. They thought they could handle it. They survived Camille, or some other storm, and they thought they'd be better off at home. They wanted to be near their families and their pets.

    They never knew it could get this bad. They had made the same choice before, and it worked for them.

    This time, what worked before failed. At times like this, Americans need to help each other.
  80. September 5, 2005
    White House Enacts a Plan to Ease Political Damage

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 - Under the command of President Bush's two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan this weekend to contain the political damage from the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.

    It orchestrated visits by cabinet members to the region, leading up to an extraordinary return visit by Mr. Bush planned for Monday, directed administration officials not to respond to attacks from Democrats on the relief efforts, and sought to move the blame for the slow response to Louisiana state officials, according to Republicans familiar with the White House plan.

    The effort is being directed by Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, and his communications director, Dan Bartlett. It began late last week after Congressional Republicans called White House officials to register alarm about what they saw as a feeble response by Mr. Bush to the hurricane, according to Republican Congressional aides.

    As a result, Americans watching television coverage of the disaster this weekend began to see, amid the destruction and suffering, some of the most prominent members of the administration - Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Donald H. Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense; and Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state - touring storm-damaged communities.

    Mr. Bush is to return to Louisiana and Mississippi on Monday; his first visit, on Friday, left some Republicans cringing, in part because the president had little contact with residents left homeless.

    Republicans said the administration's effort to stanch the damage had been helped by the fact that convoys of troops and supplies had begun to arrive by the time the administration officials turned up. All of those developments were covered closely on television.

    In many ways, the unfolding public relations campaign reflects the style Mr. Rove has brought to the political campaigns he has run for Mr. Bush. For example, administration officials who went on television on Sunday were instructed to avoid getting drawn into exchanges about the problems of the past week, and to turn the discussion to what the government is doing now.

    "We will have time to go back and do an after-action report, but the time right now is to look at what the enormous tasks ahead are," Michael Chertoff, the secretary of Homeland Security, said on "Meet the Press" on NBC.

    One Republican with knowledge of the effort said that Mr. Rove had told administration officials not to respond to Democratic attacks on Mr. Bush's handling of the hurricane in the belief that the president was in a weak moment and that the administration should not appear to be seen now as being blatantly political. As with others in the party, this Republican would discuss the deliberations only on condition of anonymity because of keen White House sensitivity about how the administration and its strategy would be perceived.

    In a reflection of what has long been a hallmark of Mr. Rove's tough political style, the administration is also working to shift the blame away from the White House and toward officials of New Orleans and Louisiana who, as it happens, are Democrats.

    "The way that emergency operations act under the law is the responsibility and the power, the authority, to order an evacuation rests with state and local officials," Mr. Chertoff said in his television interview. "The federal government comes in and supports those officials."

    That line of argument was echoed throughout the day, in harsher language, by Republicans reflecting the White House line.

    In interviews, these Republicans said that the normally nimble White House political operation had fallen short in part because the president and his aides were scattered outside Washington on vacation, leaving no one obviously in charge at a time of great disruption. Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush were in Texas, while Vice President Dick Cheney was at his Wyoming ranch.

    Mr. Bush's communications director, Nicolle Devenish, was married this weekend in Greece, and a number of Mr. Bush's political advisers - including Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman - attended the wedding.

    Ms. Rice did not return to Washington until Thursday, after she was spotted at a Broadway show and shopping for shoes, an image that Republicans said buttressed the notion of a White House unconcerned with tragedy.

    These officials said that Mr. Bush and his political aides rapidly changed course in what they acknowledged was a belated realization of the situation's political ramifications. As is common when this White House confronts a serious problem, management was quickly taken over by Mr. Rove and a group of associates including Mr. Bartlett. Neither man responded to requests for comment.

    White House advisers said that Mr. Bush expressed alarm after his return to Washington from the Gulf Coast.

    One senior White House official said that Mr. Bush appeared at a senior staff meeting in the Situation Room on Friday and called the results on the ground "unacceptable." At the encouragement of Mr. Bartlett, officials said, he repeated the comment later in the Rose Garden, the start of this campaign.
  81. Clinton: Government 'failed' people

    HOUSTON, Texas (CNN) -- Former President Bill Clinton on Monday said the government "failed" the thousands of people who lived in coastal communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and said a federal investigation was warranted in due time.

    "Our government failed those people in the beginning, and I take it now there is no dispute about it," Clinton told CNN. "One hundred percent of the people recognize that -- that it was a failure." (See interview -- 2:32 )

    He and former President George H. W. Bush have launched the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund to help raise money for those left homeless by the storm. (Full story)

    Clinton is just the latest in a long line of critics who have blasted the federal government for not moving fast enough to help people in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, which slammed into the Gulf Coast one week ago as a Category 4 hurricane.

    He said that the utmost priority was saving people now -- and evaluating the mistakes in the months to come.

    "We've got the departments on the ground, we've got the military on the ground, we've got a chance to do it right now, and we should do it right," he said. "And then in an appropriate time we should analyze what went wrong and why and what changes should be made."

    As with the 9/11 commission charged with looking at the events leading up to and after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Clinton suggested a bipartisan Katrina commission be formed. It would investigate what went wrong and determine "what is the best structure and what are the best personnel decisions" to make in emergency management, he said.

    The elder Bush echoed Clinton's sentiment, telling CNN's Larry King that he is "not satisfied" with the handling of the hurricane's aftermath.

    Nonetheless, he defended his son's performance.

    "What can he do? He can just go out and do what he's doing today, showing that the federal government's involved, has been involved, will continue to be involved ... He cannot listen to every critic from the editorial page of The New York Times," the elder Bush said.
  82. They wouldn't let people take animals out? :mad:

    If true, bad policy. :mad:

    Very bad. :mad:

    I know it would take an AWFUL LOT for me to leave my people behind. In fact, I can foresee almost no set of circumstances that would have me do that. :mad:

  83. Id have to say city officials should have made a better effort in providing transportation to a mandatory evacuation of the city.....but nontheless the fed gov ( meaning BUSH since he is the top of the food chain ) is to balme for the many deaths that occured after the hurricane struck...so in short they all F**ked this one up...all of them....all their heads should roll....including the mayor...as much as he pleaded for help he copuld have saved many many lives by just providing the transportation neeeded....
  84. This is
    06/09/05 - News section

    Penn accuses Bush amid rescue chaos

    The US government was accused of "criminal negligence" as hopes of finding survivors faded and the death toll from Hurricane Katrina continued to rise.

    Holidaymakers returning to the UK spoke of the scale of the misery while one said leering police officers demanded young women flash their breasts in return for help.

    Oscar-winning Hollywood actor Sean Penn, who has been assisting rescue efforts in New Orleans, said the US government did not "seem to be inclined to help".

    "We were pulling drowning people out of the water, it's the ultimate distress and human suffering ... dead bodies," he told GMTV.

    Penn said he had spent nine hours on Monday searching the water for people and during all that time he saw just three boats carrying US officials.

    "There are people that are dying right now and I mean babies and old people and everybody in between - they're dying. There are people dying and (the US government are) not putting the boats in the water, I think that's criminal negligence. I don't think anybody ever anticipated the criminal negligence of the Bush administration in this situation."

    The US authorities were also castigated by British bus driver Ged Scott, from Wallasey, Merseyside, who was on holiday in the New Orleans area.

    He stayed in the Ramada Hotel during and after the devastation with his wife, Sandra, and seven-year-old son Ronan. At one stage, Mr Scott, 36, had to wade through filthy water to barricade the hotel doors against looters.

    He told the Liverpool Daily Post: "I couldn't describe how bad the authorities were. Just little things like taking photographs of us, as we are standing on the roof waving for help, for their own little snapshot albums.

    "At one point, there were a load of girls on the roof of the hotel saying 'Can you help us?' and the policemen said 'Show us what you've got' and made signs for them to lift their T-shirts. When the girls refused, they said 'Fine' and motored off down the road in their boat."
  85. Interesting how the left expects Bush to clean up in 48 hours what it took the Dems over 48 years to create.

    Their glee at this trajedy and suffering is becoming clearer each day.
  86. What response?
  87. A co-owner of Shelbyville-based Gowen-Smith Chapel has been deployed to Gulfport, Miss., to help with recovery since Hurricane Katrina, and his business partner here has described the grim task there.

    "DMort is telling us to expect up to 40,000 bodies," Dan Buckner said, quoting officials with the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team, a volunteer arm of Homeland Security.




  88. Close to 10% of the population!
    I really don't want to believe it. It's almost unbearable.

    I was thinking "maybe the administration will attempt to hide the real numbers as to not distress the survivors and family members". Among other reasons.
  89. It would be 10% if the number was for NO only but it likely covers all victims in LA, MS and AL. Still it's huge.
  90. Anyone who cares about responsible budgeting and the health of America's rivers and wetlands should pay attention to a bill now before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The bill would shovel $17 billion at the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and other water-related projects -- this at a time when President Bush is asking for major cuts in Medicaid and other important domestic programs. Among these projects is a $2.7 billion boondoggle on the Mississippi River that has twice flunked inspection by the National Academy of Sciences.
    The Government Accountability Office and other watchdogs accuse the corps of routinely inflating the economic benefits of its projects. And environmentalists blame it for turning free-flowing rivers into lifeless canals and destroying millions of acres of wetlands -- usually in the name of flood control and navigation but mostly to satisfy Congress's appetite for pork.

    This is a bad piece of legislation.

    The hypocracy of the left is absolutely astounding.
  91. Bush is cooking with gas now. I don't know if it's the "liberal media", fear, politics, that we look like aholes worldwide or whatever and I don't care.

    I see a reporter showing me a water level down a foot. That's how you start moving a mountain!

    Bush has raised holyolehell and that's what those people down there need.

    For now, I'm going to agree with Chertoff on this one - rolling a head won't help them right now in NO.

  92. Bush is a uniter. He has shown great leadership yet also a surprising amount of compassion and emphathy. I am sure Dick Cheney has played an important role behind the scenes.
  93. :D Thanks for the laugh, AAA.

  94. AAA,

    Please don't tell me that you don't question his appointment of a person who was fired from his last position for incompetence, to head of FEMA.

    A job, btw that was infinitely simpler, requiring very little management skill and where a mistake doesn't cost lives.

    Say what you will about GWB's character...he's a uniter, he's fuzzy wuzzy, he's a leader....etc. This decision was a major, major, major blunder.

    I don't blame the idiot in charge of FEMA as much as GWB for putting him in charge. After all, the dolt can't help but be who he is. The responsability lies on Bush's shoulders for appointing someone so incredibly, incredibly incompetent.

  95. The blame game never fed a hungry child. I am sure the head of FEMA is doing his best and he is supported by an outstanding staff. In most of these agencies the actual work is done by the career staff. The political appointees are there mainly to talk to the press and congress. As for this man's achievements in the private sector, I don't know the facts but i do know it is easy for people with a grduge to backstab.
  96. wow...now I understand how someone like Bush can be voted into power...twice.
  97. I think you're right on this AA. All you and I can do is send $.
    Only the gummint can put that big gear and the big size food and water on the ground Right Now.

    We gotta be behind W to pull this out - however delayed.

    Besides, it's getting boring kicking a guy with kick me written all over him and I need rest to get my annual screech frenzy ready for 9/11. :D


    Boy that Slick Willy was slick. See his comments? How on earth did anyone ever get a hook into that rascal. :p
  98. The blame game never fed a hungry child, but this event illustrates how poverty is a problem ignored by this administration.

    One fifth of our society lives at or below a poverty level while we spend billions overseas fighting a ghost?

    Tax cuts for the rich, tax breaks for oil companies, tax breaks for other corporations, exporting jobs that result in lower paying jobs in the US, offshore accounts to shield US corporations from taxation.....and poverty increasing.

    Why is this situation acceptable?


  99. Say whaaaaaat??? AAA, I always figured you for one who doesn't drink heavily. Or maybe your child got on your computer without your knowledge.(?)
  100. Actually when bush got blamed for being stingy over the tsunami, he got off his ass.
    When he got blamed for americans dieing by the thousands in the "homeland", he got off his ass.

    Blame is very effective for getting a drink of water and a bite to eat.
    It's just sad that that the man refuses to "step up" until he discover's a little encouragement.
  101. Just so we're clear here. I don't subscribe to an ideology and I'm neither pro this or con that. I just examine things on a case by case basis and see what makes sense.

    As you said, you don't know the facts. Neither did I, until I read them.

    FACT: The head of FEMA has no competence in this field.

    FACT: The previous job he held was running a horse breeding association.

    FACT: He ran it into the ground.

    FACT: He was fired for running it into the ground.

    These are all facts. Not sourgrapes, grudges, backstabbing, etc. Facts.

    So with those facts arrayed on the table...one has to wonder at the sanity of the Commander in Chief that would place someone like that at such a vital department where literally lives are at stake.
  102. assuming for argument's sake that the superdome was the proper place, it doesn't address the error: you can't put 20k people in a stadium, bar them from leaving, then leave them there for a week in august without food, water, communication, or laws. this is obvious. there is simply no excuse for that level of mistreatment.
  103. Then why wasn't the SuperDome stocked with food, water, communication, and security?

    Knowing they were going to be hit, and realizing their own emergency plans weren't going to be followed, why didn't local authorities prepare for the influx of non-evacuees?

    Or should Bush have done that, too?
  104. Officials Say Red Tape Hindered Relief
    Sep 06 12:06 PM US/Eastern


    From all corners of this country, hundreds of would-be rescuers are wending their way to the beleaguered Gulf Coast in buses, vans and trailers. But government red tape has hampered many who ache to help Katrina's victims.

    Louisiana's Jefferson Parish is desperate for relief, but parish President Aaron Broussard says officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency turned back three trailer trucks of water, ordered the Coast Guard not to provide emergency diesel fuel and cut emergency power lines.

    An outraged Broussard said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the agency needs to bring in all its "force immediately, without red tape, without bureaucracy, act immediately with common sense and leadership, and save lives."

    The government says it is doing the best it can in the face of a massive and complicated disaster.

    "Even as progress is being made, we know that victims are still out there and we are working tirelessly to bring them the help they need," said Michael Brown, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    Some of the delays can be explained by the need to control a volatile situation. FEMA spokeswoman Natalie Rule said Monday she had not had a chance to research what happened at Jefferson Parish, but unsolicited donations and services have been hard to manage.

    "You can imagine some of the actual problem of everyone just driving toward the disaster zone," she said.

    Long lines of volunteers are being stopped on freeways on their way into New Orleans.

    "Anyone who self-responded was not being put to work. The military was worried about having more people in the city. They want to limit it to the professionals," said Kevin Southerland, a captain with Orange Fire Department in Orange County, Calif., a member of one of eight 14- member water rescue teams sent to New Orleans at FEMA's request.

    Even skilled volunteers with the best intentions can be more trouble than help if they arrive needing food, shelter or fuel, some say.

    "Our biggest problem has been trying not to put more stress on the community, particularly with regards to gasoline. We want to make sure we've got enough gas for chain saws and transportation," said Larry Guengerich of the Mennonite Disaster Service, a Pennsylvania-based relief organization that has three small crews currently working along the Gulf Coast, cutting and clearing downed limbs and covering damaged roofs.

    There are, at this point, several federal emergency command centers, as well as state and local command centers where coordinators are working to match nonstop requests with the appropriate nonstop offers of help.

    From the first hours of the disaster, FEMA has been using the National Incident Management System, a command structure to get millions of dollars worth of government resources and thousands of workers ranging from firefighters to public health teams to places in need. FEMA also has teams designed to support smaller communities.

    FEMA is urging individuals and corporations to contact nonprofit organizations if they want to volunteer or donate.

    It was FEMA's management system that brought in members of the Nebraska Air National Guard to deliver 66,000 MRE meals and extra fuel to hard-hit areas, and rescuers from Hamilton County, Ohio to search the rubble of Gulfport, Miss. for survivors.

    And it was that system that dispatched a nine-member Disaster Medical Assistance Team from Hawaii to the New Orleans Airport where they triaged people evacuated from hospitals, nursing homes, the Convention Center and the Superdome.

    The federal government actually wrote a "How To" book for national catastrophes after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The 426-page document, called the National Response Plan, was released in December, 2004.

    Frank Cilluffo, director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University, said Hurricane Katrina is the first real test of the plan, and has exposed its strengths and weaknesses.

    "Quite honestly, at the federal level, the coordination was quite robust," he said. "It's just the interface between federal, state and local where clearly we need to look to ways to improve the process."

    But others were more critical. Beth Sharer, CEO of Washington County Memorial Hospital in Salem, Ind., said she was frustrated by a federal plan to create 40 new emergency medical centers with 250 beds each.

    "It's not any one person's fault, but the system failed," she said.

    Hospitals around the country were standing by with empty beds, staff, triage centers and air transportation to fetch patients, she said. But they couldn't launch the rescue flights without requests for help, and those requests never came.

    "These victims could have been here a week ago, and now they're spending a lot of time and money making triage centers? In situations like this every minute counts, not every day counts. Why not get them to these open beds?" she said.

    Frank Russo of the Chicago Ambulance Alliance said his organization was ready to send help immediately. But the request didn't come until Thursday, three days after the hurricane struck.

    "We didn't want to just up and go like everyone did after 9-11. We learned from that. After 9-11 everybody just went to New York and then they just sat there, they had no where to go."

    Early Saturday, ten Chicago ambulances and their medical staff finally headed south with orders to report to a command center set up outside of New Orleans. By Sunday the Chicago ambulances were delivering patients from the New Orleans airport to regional hospitals.

    "It makes sense to go through the government and have things set up," said Russo.

    Others were still waiting for the official request. In New Jersey, for example, Gov. Richard Codey said he had a task force of 105 police officers and 55 vehicles and a medical task force of 55 physicians and 43 nurses standing by.

    But other rescuers simply couldn't, or wouldn't, wait.

    Early Sunday morning, for example, a convoy of more than 35 fire, police, transportation and public works vehicles left Baltimore for an 1,100-mile drive to Gretna, La.

    Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley decided to send the help, including 40 firefighters and 28 police officers, without consulting FEMA "as a direct response to a direct request from the mayor of Gretna," said O'Malley's spokesman.

    On Friday, Gary Maclaughlin of Santa Cruz, Calif., flew to Nashville, Tenn., where he bought a diesel-powered 1990 yellow school bus for $2,000. He charged $1,500 worth of water, diapers, granola bars and peanut butter crackers on his credit card and headed straight for the shelters.

    By Sunday evening he was driving loads of evacuees from the New Orleans Airport to a rescue shelter in Covington, La.
  105. I think it's fair to say that all three levels of government federal, state and local authorities failed to plan and execute very during this disaster, despite the fact that only 13 months ago, they were all involved in an evacuation drill in New Orleans, intended to test their preparedness.

    Part of that plan was to use city and school buses to evacuate those who couldn't evacuate themselves. But, when the real disaster came, the busing contingency plan was forgotten.

    So, I'm not gonna blame Bush alone. I think that the entire chain of public officials should share the responsibility together.

    Madame guillotine awaits!
  106. It mostly depends on state level bureaucracies.

  107. Not according to US law.

    "In the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume primary responsibility..."

    credit to Babak: from: http://www.elitetrader.com/vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=55019
  108. Yes, but that's all about federal jurisdiction following a time of crisis, not about timely decisions made prior to a known disaster that minimizes the consequences of that disaster.

    When it comes to pre-disaster timing, it's up to the states, because they know better than anyone else what is vulnerable and what is not vulnerable in their territories.
  109. Legally, I don't know....

    But, I would think that evacuating a major city is something uniquely suited for the Feds. Or, at minimum, 'taking responsibility' should include reviewing the local gov'ts plans to make sure no obvious major errors are included in said plans like shelters in the predicted path of a biblical level storm.
  110. Prior to 911, you would be correct, but not anymore. The Dept. of Homeland Security and the President of the United States have developed extremely comprehensive protocols for just about every conceivable situtation, including natural disasters. Under the Dept. of Homeland Security Emergency Support Function #13 -- Public Safety and Security Annex (ESF #13), "The President may also use the military in a state to enforce Federal law or to protect constitutional rights."

    Constitutional rights include any likely deprivation of life, liberty and property, and a Category 4-5 Hurricane approaching an area of the nation where it is known by the federal and state authorities that the local levee system is incapable of withstanding the expected wind force, easily triggers the President's authority under the above-described national emergency plan.

    Note, that the regulation's language is permissive, i.e., the President's authority is discretionary, and he is not required to use that authority. Which is exactly what happened in the case of Hurricane Katrina. President Bush, called Governor Blanco and urged her to evacuate New Orleans, instead of directly declaring a national state of emergency and ordering implementation of ESF #13, so as to force the evacuation and utilize city and school busing capabilities, as well as military force to get the citizens out of their homes before the hurricane struck.

    This was President Bush's decision to make, and he made the decision to not act. Instead, he went to a concert and played guitar.

    You can listen to Hannity, Rush, O'reilly, Savage, Elder, Larsen, and the rest of the right leaning talk show hosts until the cows come home, and it will not erase the information that I have provided above, as published in the Federal Register, which is the official publication of the law of the United States of America.

    Bush makes bad decisions -- one after the other, and this will, almost certainly, be the legacy of his Presidency.

    See National Response Plan, ESF #13, for the full text of the Federal regulations.
  111. not sure, but as a guess, a mix of incompetence, stupidity, shortsightedness, fear, buck-passing, and CYA. obviously they all failed miserably at providing for the well-being of their constituents.

    but their failure doesn't justify bush's -- the administration has enormous resources and could have provided aid within hours -- and it certainly doesn't justify shoe shopping on 5th ave., going to fundraisers and photo-ops, snickering and telling jokes while americans are drowning in sewage and dying of thirst.

    the least they could have done would've been to stage a photo-op with a thoughtful expression or something, maybe something with a flag and some actors portraying grateful victims. instead they played it like iraq, mocking and deriding the suffering of their servants.
  112. Actually Savage is down on Bush these days for his extended vacation and lack of expediency in NO.

    He also blames the local officials, but even to a hack like Savage it is obvious that Bush and company dropped the ball on this one.

  113. Really? Stunning display of opportunism.

    Cheney, too, while I'm at it. He really knew when to disappear from view.
  114. Savage plays to his audience, who is always looking for someone to be pissed at.

    Savage however is against having all the displaced people go elsewhere and live in any degree of comfort and be taken care of. He thinks they should stay in NO and help to clean up the mess.

  115. Funny. Savage is such a totalitarian. His first move is always to use force to achieve the means to an end. What a grenade thrower.

    Actually, a majority of the displaced citizens would probably like to go back and get paid to restore the city. Government will pay good money for it, so I doubt that any use of force would be necessary.

    The only people who wouldn't want the work are the same people who didn't work before Katrina struck. And, those people won't be working in TX, or wherever else they're relocated.
  116. Krugmania, Continued

    John Hinderaker

    September 6, 2005

    The New York Times is in full hysteria mode, trying to turn the human tragedy associated with Hurricane Katrina into political fodder for the Democrats. Paul Krugman is one cog in the Times' wheel; on cue, he chimed in with a strident denunciation of the Bush administration's response to the hurricane. It was, of course terrible; Krugman begins:

    Each day since Katrina brings more evidence of the lethal ineptitude of federal officials. I'm not letting state and local officials off the hook, but federal officials had access to resources that could have made all the difference, but were never mobilized.
    Characteristically, Krugman avoids facts whenever possible. His columns consist almost entirely of invective; he grudgingly throws in a fact only when it can't be helped. Yesterday's column included exactly one fact, one instance of a "resource" that "could have made all the difference," but was "never mobilized." Krugman's one such example was the U.S.S. Bataan:

    Here's one of many examples: The Chicago Tribune reports that the U.S.S. Bataan, equipped with six operating rooms, hundreds of hospital beds and the ability to produce 100,000 gallons of fresh water a day, has been sitting off the Gulf Coast since last Monday - without patients.
    Experts say that the first 72 hours after a natural disaster are the crucial window during which prompt action can save many lives. Yet action after Katrina was anything but prompt. Newsweek reports that a "strange paralysis" set in among Bush administration officials, who debated lines of authority while thousands died.

    So, according to Krugman, the Bataan, with its hospital and fresh water, constituted a resource that was "never mobilized," apparently because of "paralysis" on the part of the administration. In citing the Bataan as his best example of federal ineptitude, Krugman relied, as he so often does, on an urban legend that circulated on left-wing blogs: that the Bataan, which had been cruising in the Caribbean when Katrina struck, was ready and able to aid the hurricane's victims, but was prevented from doing so because the Defense Department never gave the order authorizing it to act. This rumor became so persistent that one of the ship's officers, Lt. Commander Sean Kelly, wrote to one of the left-wing sites to debunk the myth:

    USNORTHCOM was prepositioned for response to the hurricane, but as per the National Response Plan, we support the lead federal agency in disaster relief — in this case, FEMA. The simple description of the process is the state requests federal assistance from FEMA which in turn may request assistance from the military upon approval by the president or Secretary of Defense. Having worked the hurricanes from last year as well as Dennis this year, we knew that FEMA would make requests of the military — primarily in the areas of transportation, communications, logistics, and medicine. Thus we began staging such assets and waited for the storm to hit.
    The biggest hurdles to responding to the storm were the storm itself — couldn't begin really helping until it passed — and damage assessment — figuring out which roads were passable, where communications and power were out, etc. Military helos began damage assessment and SAR on Tuesday. Thus we had permission to operate as soon as it was possible. We even brought in night SAR helos to continue the mission on Tuesday night.

    The President and Secretary of Defense did authorize us to act right away and are not to blame on this end. Yes, we have to wait for authorization, but it was given in a timely manner.

    Poor Paul, always a day late and a dollar short, apparently didn't get the memo.

    Still, if I were writing a column that I expected to be read by many thousands of people--oh, wait, I do--and if I were going to rest my column on a single "example" on the basis of which I intended to charge government officials with "lethal ineptitude," I would do a little fact-checking. Sadly, however, research is something of which Paul Krugman is simply incapable.

    Perhaps Krugman doesn't know that large naval vessels like the U.S.S. Bataan all have web sites. Perhaps he doesn't know that there is a tool called "Google" that would enable him to find the Bataan's web site in less than ten seconds. Or perhaps he just didn't care enough to go here and read up on the Bataan's contributions to hurricane relief efforts.

    If Krugman had taken the trouble, he would have found that on August 30, the same day on which New Orleans' levees burst, precipitating the crisis, men and women from the Bataan were already in action, and by the following day they were busy saving lives:

    The crews flew off Tuesday night towards New Orleans and were tasked by the on-scene rescue coordinators. “Our first mission was to provide food and water and to take some people to a safer haven and to help with the levee by providing sandbags,” said AS2(AW/NAC) Johnny Ramirez, MH-53 Aircrewman for HM-15. “We weren't able to complete our assigned mission Tuesday night because it got too dark and it was too risky to land anywhere with all of the water and power lines. Instead, we just flew Tuesday night to survey the area.”
    On Wednesday, a crew from HM-15 assisted with lifting numerous stranded citizens in a very short period of time. “My crew and I airlifted nearly 100 people from the roof of a building and onto a field where ambulances and busses were waiting for them,” said LCDR David Hopper, detachment Officer in Charge of HM-15. “Ten of those who we rescued couldn't even walk; my crewmen had to carry them.”

    One of the missions of the MH-60 aircraft is search and rescue. HSC-28 personnel have rescued 71 people in their first two days of operation, seven in the first 30 minutes. HSC-28 has three crews and two aircraft and is alternating flight and crew rest time.

    Here is a summary of the Bataan's efforts as of yesterday, when Krugman's column implied that the ship was a "resource" that was "never mobilized":

    “We've been extremely busy this past week with more tasks than there are hours in a day,” said Cmdr. Jeffrey Bocchicchio, Bataan 's Air Boss. “The shortest day the department has had was 16 hours long, but they understand that everything we do is critical to the mission.”
    "All of the divisions and Combat Cargo working together allows the ship to have a 24-hour flight deck with the manning for 10-hour days,” said Bocchicchio. “Military units are the nation's biggest assets and what better use for them than to save our own people.”

    To date, the two squadrons have transported 1,613 displaced people and delivered more than 100,000 pounds of cargo. Bataan also provided 8,000 gallons of fresh drinking water to the ravished Gulfport, Mississippi area. Sailors filled eight 500-gallon water bladders with the ship's potable water and HM 15's MH-53 helicopters transported them from the flight deck of Bataan to land.
  117. (Continued)

    How about the unused operating rooms and empty hospital beds? It seems not to have occurred to Krugman that the most efficient way to get medical treatment to hurricane survivors is not to helicopter them, individually or in small groups, to a ship at sea. Instead, what happened was that medical personnel were assembled and equipped on board the Bataan, then flown to shore where they could treat the sick and wounded:

    Two medical fly-away teams from the Navy's Casualty Receiving and Treatment Ship Team (CRTS) 8, based at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Fla., left the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2005 , to provide medical support to Hurricane Katrina survivors at the New Orleans International Airport and a high school in Biloxi , Mississippi .
    A 26-member primary care treatment team consisting of a pediatrician, family practice physician, an obstetrician along with seven nurses and 16 hospital corpsman departed early Sunday morning for New Orleans International Airport . They expect to return to the ship on Monday.

    The second flyaway team, which consisted of an internal medicine physician, two nurses, a respiratory therapy technician and two general hospital corpsman, flew to Biloxi High School to take care of patients with respiratory illnesses. The team's main mission is to provide treatment for those who have respiratory problems. They are expected to return to the ship in two or three days.

    The diversity of CRTS 8's composition allows the flexibility of establishing multiple mission-specific medical teams within a short time period. “The CRTS 8 team is glad to be onboard Bataan participating in the relief efforts,” said Cmdr. Michael Illovsky, MC, USN, Director of Medical Services for CRTS 8. “We are ready and willing to help out in any way possible. We are enthused about the opportunity to send groups into the affected areas where they are needed most.”

    The 24-member medical team who left Saturday for the New Orleans Convention Center returned to Bataan Sunday afternoon.

    This all happened during the three days prior to the appearance of Krugman's column describing the "hospital beds" "without patients" aboard the Bataan.

    We never go after Maureen Dowd anymore, because there isn't any sport in it. Poor Paul Krugman is rapidly getting into the same category.
  118. 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.

    Nonetheless, some experts argue that the federal government should have been more proactive.

    "If the city and the state are stumbling or in over their head, then it's FEMA's responsibility to show some leadership," said Jerry Hauer, director of public health preparedness at the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Both the president and Congress have vowed to investigate questions of blame. It may already be safe to conclude that there will be plenty of it to go around.
  119. I think this is a pretty accurate article -- it's evidence of classic after-the-fact political apologetics and fingerpointing at every level. Probably worth emphasizing that the only person who you can depend on in an emergency to help you -- is yourself!
  120. The article is not completely accurate.

    Federal officials don't have to asked to be involved in a disaster like this, not since the edict that as of March 1st the Department of Homeland Security is responsible primarily.

    We do need to hold the government agencies accountable, don't we?

  121. Just so I don't leave a misleading impression, I was not implying that you had a grudge or were backstabbing, Babak. I was referring to the people from the horse association. I have no idea what went on there, but I know those kinds of people can be very hard to deal with.

    Certainly, we can all agree that none of our government entities at any level has covered themself in glory in this tragedy. Hopefully, local governments can learn from the horrifying ineptitude of the NO and LA authorities.
  122. Yes, we do need to hold government accountable. The article is 100% opinion, and because the opinions all point to each other as worthy of blame, it shows that no one at the Federal, State or Local level, is quite certain how the emergency laws apply.

    The Federal government has discretionary authority to take action "where it appears likely that State or Local resources will be overwhelmed." However, the law also states that the Federal regulations "are not intended to usurp or overrule" subordinate authorities. This conflicting language is typical of Federal agency rules -- it's designed to keep the regulation legal so as to avoid running afoul of State sovereignty, and simultaneously, it affords the federal government a means to avoid legal responsibility for damages in the event that it chooses to refrain from action.

    Now in this present case, I think it's safe to say that the fed's forbearance was not the result of some intentional desire to see New Orleans sink into the Gulf of Mexico. George Bush is just a reactive personality type, and routinely fails to act until after our nation's interests have been harmed -- then he usually overreacts.

  123. Interesting wikipedia article detailing Brown's background...

    In my experience wikipedia is very good about sticking to facts and keeping liberal/conservative bias to a minimum...

    Michael Brown

    One fact i didn't know:
    In January 2005, U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler publicly urged President Bush to fire Brown, citing reports that FEMA disbursed $30 million in disaster relief funds for Hurricane Frances to residents of Miami, Florida, a city which was not affected by the hurricane. Brown admitted to $12 million in overpayments, but denied any serious mistakes, blaming a computer glitch. [9] Wexler repeated his call in April to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, citing new reports that FEMA sent inspectors with criminal records of robbery and embezzlement to do damage assessments. [10]
  124. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2005 1:41 p.m. EDT

    1999 Hurricane Swamped Clinton's FEMA

    Democrats led by Sen. Hillary Clinton are blaming the Federal Emergency Management Agency for failing to respond adequately to the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

    But FEMA didn't do much better under much less taxing conditions, when the floods that followed Hurricane Floyd left tens of thousands stranded up and down the Eastern seaboard, wondering what happened to federal rescuers. New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida were hit hard when Floyd slammed the coast on Sept. 16, 1999. It was the worst storm to hit the U.S. in 25 years - yet it killed only 61 people. That death toll expected to be dwarfed by Katrina.

    Clinton FEMA Director James Lee Witt won high marks for hurricane preparation, but the flood that followed swamped his agency.

    A full three weeks after the storm had passed, Rev. Jesse Jackson interviewed Witt on his CNN show "Both Sides Now" - and complained that flood victims were still suffering from a "misery index."

    "It seemed there was preparation for Hurricane Floyd, but then came Flood Floyd," Jackson began. "Bridges are overwhelmed, levees are overwhelmed, whole town's under water . . . [it's] an awesome scene of tragedy. So there's a great misery index in North Carolina."

    Witt explained that the storm's devastation was unparalleled, prompting Jackson to ask what was being done for the thousands of families left homeless by Floyd.

    Though nearly a month had passed since the storm first hit, Witt said his agency was just beginning to address the problem.

    "We're starting to move the camper trailers in," he explained. "It's been so wet it's been difficult to get things in there, but now it's going to be moving very quickly. And I think you're going to see a -- I think the people there will see a big difference over within this next weekend."

    The Clinton FEMA Director came in for more criticism during another CNN interview - this time for failing to do a better job with Hurricane Floyd evacuation efforts.

    "I hate to do this to you so early in the morning," host Carol Lin began apologetically.

    "But I want to show you some video of Hurricane Floyd. This was the evacuation scene out of Florida last year. And you can recall, some three-million people in three different states were hitting the highways, jammed back-to-back trying to get away from the danger. And much of the local as well as the federal government was criticized for this backup. What is being done this year to prevent something like this from happening again, keeping people out of harm's way?"

    Witt explained that evacuation problems were to be expected under such dire conditions. "It was very unusual when you had multiple states all evacuating at the same time," he told CNN. "It was the first time that that has happened that way and it did clog the highways."

    While Witt's reputation remained largely intact after the Floyd fiasco, more than a few of the storm's thousands of flood victims complained that the agency had failed them.

    "I had heard FEMA was going to be downtown, so I got up early to get down there and get in line," one North Carolina woman told the Associated Press, recounting her ordeal months after Floyd had passed. "The time came and nobody was there, just all these people waiting in line."

    FEMA's sorry performance left her overwrought.

    "I had been let down so many times, I just lost it," the flood victim said. "A friend of mine came walking up, and I just started toward her. She said, 'Robin, what in the world is wrong?' I was just standing there in the middle of the street crying, totally disoriented, practically hysterical."

    Weeks after Floyd's floodwaters subsided, the suffering for many had yet to be addressed.

    "We passed hundreds of families sitting outside their now-uninhabitable homes, with their water-soaked possessions spread out on their lawns," the Raleigh's News & Observer noted on Oct. 3, 1999.

    "Desperately picking through the mess for anything to salvage, most people - particularly the elderly - seemed to be in a state of shock."

    And where was FEMA?

    "The larger towns had a visible FEMA and Red Cross presence," the paper said. "But in smaller towns it looked like utter confusion and despair - no one in charge, no one knowing what to do or where to go for help."
  125. That cheap bastard Clinton didn't hand out any government $2000 debit cards either.
  126. :D :D

    Right on time, the Rove machine is kicking into high gear. Same strategy: blame those that bring up legitimate concerns and attack with innuendo, false reports and media manipulation. Good to see that atleast Rove can hit the ground running after a vacation.
  127. Look in the mirror.
  128. beltway is a classic byproduct of beastality.
  129. FEMA accused of censorship
    Email this Story

    Sep 7, 4:27 PM (ET)

    By Deborah Zabarenko

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - When U.S. officials asked the media not to take pictures of those killed by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, they were censoring a key part of the disaster story, free speech watchdogs said on Wednesday.

    The move by the Federal Emergency Management Agency is in line with the Bush administration's ban on images of flag-draped U.S. military coffins returning from the Iraq war, media monitors said in separate telephone interviews.

    "It's impossible for me to imagine how you report a story whose subject is death without allowing the public to see images of the subject of the story," said Larry Siems of the PEN American Center, an authors' group that defends free expression.

    U.S. newspapers, television outlets and Web sites have featured pictures of shrouded corpses and makeshift graves in New Orleans.

    But on Tuesday, FEMA refused to take reporters and photographers along on boats seeking victims in flooded areas, saying they would take up valuable space need in the recovery effort and asked them not to take pictures of the dead.

    In an e-mail explaining the decision, a FEMA spokeswoman wrote: "The recovery of victims is being treated with dignity and the utmost respect and we have requested that no photographs of the deceased by made by the media."

    Efforts to recover bodies continued on Wednesday. Out in the city's filthy waters, rescue teams tied bodies to trees or fences when they found them and noted the location for later recovery before carrying on in search of survivors.

    Rebecca Daugherty of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press found this stance inexplicable.

    "The notion that, when there's very little information from FEMA, that they would even spend the time to be concerned about whether the reporting effort is up to its standards of taste is simply mind-boggling," Daugherty said. "You cannot report on the disaster and give the public a realistic idea of how horrible it is if you don't see that there are bodies as well."


    FEMA's policy of excluding media from recovery expeditions in New Orleans is "an invitation to chaos," according to Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a part of Columbia University's journalism school.

    "This is about managing images and not public taste or human dignity," Rosenstiel said. He said FEMA's refusal to take journalists along on recovery missions meant that media workers would go on their own.

    Rosenstiel also noted that U.S. media, especially U.S. television outlets, are generally reluctant to show corpses.

    "By and large, American television is the most sanitized television in the world," he said. "They are less likely to show bodies, they are less likely to show graphic images of the dead than any television in the world."

    There is also a question of what the American PEN Center's Siems called "international equity," noting that American news outlets cover stories around the world showing the effects of natural disasters and wars in graphic detail.

    "How is the world going to look at us if we go into their part of the world and we broadcast these images and we do not allow ourselves to look at such images when they're right in our own midst?" Siems said.

    Mark Tapscott, a former editor at the Washington Times newspaper who now deals with media issues at the Heritage Foundation, said the FEMA decision did not amount to censorship.

    "Let's not make a common decency issue into a censorship issue," Tapscott said. "Nobody wants to wake up in the morning and see their dead uncle on the front page. That's just common decency."
  130. September 03, 2005

    If he could go to Baghdad, why didn't Bush go to the New Orleans Superdome or the Convention Center? It was bizarre for all of the country and much of the world to be watching those scenes for days on our TVs and news reports, and for Bush's photo ops to be in areas that were far less critical. I know there are security considerations but his visit seemed extraordinarily hollow even by this administration's standard of ultra-stage managed events.

    Dutch viewer Frank Tiggelaar writes:

    There was a striking dicrepancy between the CNN International report on the Bush visit to the New Orleans disaster zone, yesterday, and reports of the same event by German TV.

    ZDF News reported that the president's visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time.

    The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF.

  131. I think it is an outrage that FEMA does not view accommodating the press as its first priority. Doesn't that idiot Bush appointed to run FEMA know how important these journalists are to our way of life? How dare he put the interests of stranded survivors over their need to get some shocking pictures. It will be an important step in their recovery for refugees to see pictures of relatives bloated by drowning and halfeaten by gators.
  132. Now NBC News Anchor Brian Williams writes about the efforts to block NBC's coverage:

    While we were attempting to take pictures of the National Guard (a unit from Oklahoma) taking up positions outside a Brooks Brothers on the edge of the Quarter, the sergeant ordered us to the other side of the boulevard. The short version is: there won't be any pictures of this particular group of guard soldiers on our newscast tonight. Rules (or I suspect in this case an order on a whim) like those do not HELP the palpable feeling that this area is somehow separate from the United States.

    At that same fire scene, a police officer from out of town raised the muzzle of her weapon and aimed it at members of the media... obvious members of the media... armed only with notepads. Her actions (apparently because she thought reporters were encroaching on the scene) were over the top and she was told. There are automatic weapons and shotguns everywhere you look. It's a stance that perhaps would have been appropriate during the open lawlessness that has long since ended on most of these streets. Someone else points out on television as I post this: the fact that the National Guard now bars entry (by journalists) to the very places where people last week were barred from LEAVING (The Convention Center and Superdome) is a kind of perverse and perfectly backward postscript to this awful chapter in American history.

  133. Times-Picayune

    Saturday, September 03, 2005

    Bush visit halts food delivery
    By Michelle Krupa
    Staff writer

    Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon as air traffic was halted because of President Bush’s visit to New Orleans, officials said.

    The provisions, secured by U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville, and state Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom, baked in the afternoon sun as Bush surveyed damage across southeast Louisiana five days after Katrina made landfall as a Category 4 storm, said Melancon’s chief of staff, Casey O’Shea.

    “We had arrangements to airlift food by helicopter to these folks, and now the food is sitting in trucks because they won’t let helicopters fly,” O’Shea said Friday afternoon.

    The food was expected to be in the hands of storm survivors after the president left the devastated region Friday night, he said.
  134. It is clear here that Bush told the Governor and Mayor to order the state National Guard troops to bar access to the media and point their rifles at them.

    The Governor at first didn't agree, stating she would need another 24 hours to consider Bush's words.

    As for the Mayor, he thought the Governor had already approved it.
  135. Cenk Uygur Bio Blog Index RSS
    Four Years After 9/11 -- We Still Have No Results

    What has the Bush Administration been doing these last four years? If they weren’t busy preparing for a national emergency or busy catching Osama bin Laden – the perpetrator of the last great catastrophe in America – what on God’s green earth have they been up to?

    This is incompetence that borders on indifference.
    Do they not care about people’s lives? How can you have a Department of Homeland Security that hasn’t prepared to defend the homeland?

    What if it was a terrorist who blew up the levees of New Orleans instead of a hurricane? Would the response have been any different? If the answer is yes, then why? Why should it make any difference to the people whose lives were on the line what caused the levees to break? They should get help either way.

    If the answer is “no, the response would have been the same,” then four years after 9/11, we are not even remotely prepared for a terrorist strike inside the United States.

    What was FEMA doing all this time, preparing for an emergency that might hit Honduras or Iceland? New Orleans was the most vulnerable city in America for a natural disaster. Every expert in the field knew it. FEMA is not an association of dentists. Federal emergencies are their forte. It is one thing for a grocery store clerk or an accountant to say they couldn’t foresee a hurricane causing this big a problem in New Orleans, it’s another for FEMA to say the same thing. This is what we pay them for. Their claims of ignorance are pathetic and inexcusable.

    Another excuse the Department of Homeland Security and the Bush administration were making is that they were having trouble responding because of the scale of this emergency. Well, we’ll just have to tell natural disasters or terrorists to keep their planned destruction to a minimum next time, so that the lightweights at DHS can handle it.

    Or perhaps we can petition Mother Nature to pull her punches. It’s just not fair how tough she is on us. We’re just not ready for her big wallops. Next time, let’s just order heavy rain showers and see if FEMA can handle that. Besides, I thought President Bush was supposed to have some pull with the Big Guy upstairs. Couldn’t he have put in a good word for New Orleans?

    I know the president has his hands full with his bike rides and naps and vacations, but does he oversee anything? Does he ever ask anyone working underneath him to be accountable? Does he have any idea what they’re doing and whether they’re doing it right? Does anyone have confidence that President Bush knows what FEMA’s plan of action is supposed to be in cases of emergency? Does anyone think President Bush knows the Pentagon’s plans for heeling the rift between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq? How about just knowing what the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite is?

    You’re all shaking your heads right now because whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, you know he doesn’t know any of these things. And that would be fine if he was a plumber or a professional brush-clearer. But he’s not – he is the President of the United States of America.

    Has there ever been a man so overmatched for the job?

    Is it normal to expect so little from the man who is The Leader of the Free World?

    Hurricane Katrina touched down on land and the New Orleans levees were breached on Monday morning. On Tuesday, our fearless leader was still on vacation and still playing the fiddle … I’m sorry, the guitar.

    People were still not being rescued on Friday. The mayor put out a “desperate S.O.S.” because he could not get help from the federal government. There was anarchy in the streets. We had lost another city to looters, death, mayhem and chaos. But this time it wasn’t Fallujah or Ramadi – it was New Orleans.

    How bad at the job do you have to be before you get relieved of your command?

    How about – so bad that you still can’t bring to justice the people who committed the greatest crime in American history after four long years? Our priorities are all wrong. We got Saddam Hussein who didn’t attack us, but we didn’t get Osama bin Laden who did. We got to Baghdad quicker than we got to New Orleans.

    If the President cares to do something, he does it (usually with devastating incompetence, but he does it). If it doesn’t capture his attention, he’d rather go on a bike ride. So, there’s nothing left to conclude but that the people of New Orleans are just not that interesting to the President. And the victims of 9/11? He can’t be bothered to catch the man who ordered their cruel deaths, he’s got guitars to play and brush to clear.
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  136. ^ that pretty much sums it up.

    (The ID'er told me to say that.)
  137. Katrina Hatches New Breed of Chickenhawk
    "How can these people sleep at night and how can they choke down their food knowing it is purchased off of the flesh and blood of others?" Cindy Sheehan, War Mom

    As the floodwaters slowly recede to reveal a thick layer of dead democrat voters, a new breed of chickenhawk has risen from the toxic muck, demanding our children be sent into harm's way without ever having served themselves. This time, the cowardly warmongers are not the bloviating Nazi propagandists of right-wing hate radio, but outstanding members of the progressive community. Brothers, sisters, and sexually ambiguous political comrades they may be, they have nonetheless taken it upon themselves to volunteer our young tots for hazard duty in the devasted gulf region.

    Our beloved Maureen Dowd, for instance, thinks the 82nd Airborne should have parachuted into New Orleans through the eye of the hurricane, yet she sat out the entire Vietnam War with a convenient case of chlamydia. The profoundly flatulent Oliver Willis spent Desert Storm shovelling pastries into his porcine cakehole, but he has no problem sending someone else's kid to wade chest deep through raw sewage. Even the saucy Arianna Huffington has joined the neo-chickenhawk brigade, insisting that Bush should have pulled the troops out of Iraq and sent them to Louisiana - a state that poses no imminent threat, and where they'd be welcomed with "flowers in the streets". But I doubt we'll see ol' Zsa Zsa chasing armed looters down Bourbon Street any time soon. She's got a blog to run!

    Don't get me wrong. I love these progressive icons as much as abortion itself. Perhaps this sudden spurt of fascism is just a temporary case of insanity, like when the entire political left became flag-waving jingoists for about 10 minutes after 9/11. Michael Moore helped us get through our patriotic dementia, and were back to sneering at the Stars & Stripes before Bush could finish milking his Pet Goat. I only hope liberal intellectuals like Arianna, Oliver, and MoDo quickly regain their senses, lest people start to think they're all a bunch of blubbering hypocrites.
  138. In Katrina's wake, Louisiana politicians and other critics have complained about paltry funding for the Army Corps in general and Louisiana projects in particular. But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.

    Much of that Louisiana money was spent to try to keep low-lying New Orleans dry. But hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate. Despite a series of independent investigations criticizing Army Corps construction projects as wasteful pork-barrel spending, Louisiana's representatives have kept bringing home the bacon. . . .

    Pam Dashiell, president of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, remembers holding a protest against the lock four years ago -- right where the levee broke Aug. 30. Now she's holed up with her family in a St. Louis hotel, and her neighborhood is underwater. "Our politicians never cared half as much about protecting us as they cared about pork," Dashiell said.
    Washington Post via Instapundit

    Damn! The truth hurts.
  139. By Kelly Brewington
    Sun National Staff
    Originally published September 7, 2005
    NEW ORLEANS - When their homes began to sink in Katrina's floodwaters, elders in the quarter here known as Uptown gathered their neighbors to seek refuge at the Samuel J. Green Charter School, the local toughs included.

    But when the thugs started vandalizing the place - wielding guns and breaking into vending machines - Vance Anthion put them out, literally tossing them into the fetid waters. Anthion stayed awake at night after that, protecting the inhabitants of the school from looters or worse.

    "They know me," he said. "If a man come up in here, we take care of him."

    In the week after Katrina pummeled the Gulf Coast, Anthion and others created a society that defied the local gangs, the National Guard and even the flood.

    Inside the school, it was quiet, cool and clean. They converted a classroom into a dining room and, when a reporter arrived Monday, were serving a lunch of spicy red beans and rice. A table nearby overflowed with supplies: canned spaghetti, paper towels, water and Gatorade, salt, hot sauce, pepper.

    At its peak last Wednesday, 40 people called the second and third floors home. The bottom floor was under water. Most of those taking up residence at the school were family, friends and neighbors of the poor, forgotten niches of this community.

    As the days passed, most chose to be evacuated by the Coast Guard who, they said, came every day to help ferry out the elderly and sick, and to leave water, food and clean clothes for whose who preferred to stay.

    By Monday, just 10 diehards remained at the school.

    Disillusioned, maybe. Disoriented, perhaps. Determined, without question.

    In the week after Katrina devoured the Gulf Coast they ate, slept and bathed here, aided by the Coast Guard supplies. Men slept on the third floor, women on the second, using blankets and cots they brought from home.

    It all worked out according to the plan of Allen Smith, 55, a Persian Gulf war veteran known to the group as "Sarge." Before Katrina pummeled the area, he advised neighbors to seek shelter in the school.

    Sarge said he knew the school he had once attended would be safe and at least the third floor would remain dry. That's what happened when Hurricane Betsy devastated New Orleans in 1965. Sarge, who was 15 at the time, joined his family and about 200 other people who used the school for shelter.

    "I just took the idea from them," said Sarge. "And it worked."

    So as Katrina made its approach on New Orleans, they gathered blankets and canned food, bleach and cleaning supplies, a radio and a good supply of batteries, and began moving their stash to the school. They decided to rely on the building's supply of paper towels and toilet paper.

    In the days after the storm, the Samuel J. Green school also served as their base for helping others in the neighborhood.

    They waded through filthy water to bring elderly homebound neighbors bowls of soup, bread and drinks. They helped the old and the sick to the school rooftop, so the Coast Guard could pluck them to safety by helicopter - 18 people in all.

    All the while, they listened to radio reports of the calamity at the Superdome and the Convention Center. They heard that evacuees were dying and left to rot. There were reports of looting, gunshots, rapes, and no food or water. "There was no way we were going down there, to be treated like that," said Sarge.

    Life at the school seemed far more civilized.

    Clad in a white apron and plastic gloves, Greg Avery, a 53-year-old photographer on normal days, scooped hot beans onto a plate. Sierra Smith, an 8-year-old boasting a head of perfectly combed ponytails, handed them out to her neighbors with a smile.

    She had been Avery's helper all week - between card games of Old Maid and Crazy Eights with her grandmother.
  140. By Kelly Brewington
    Sun National Staff
    Originally published September 7, 2005
    << Previous
    She arrived at the school with her mother, grandmother and grandfather. Her mother was airlifted earlier in the week, to find lost relatives. Sierra could have gone with her, but she wanted to stay with her grandmother and the community of exiles in the school.

    "I eat food, I play games, I have fun here and I have people to take care of me," she said. "I get to pick out my own clothes and I take a bath every day, with some water and baby wipes and lotion and powder."

    She pays special attention to her neighbor Anthion, 57, a 6-foot-5, weathered Vietnam veteran, whom she calls "survivor."

    He might be known as the enforcer, but he is also a broken man.

    "Don't ask him about his wife," Sierra warned, "or he'll start crying."

    When the storm hit last week, he carried his wife, Angela Gwinn, 49, to a nearby vacant laundromat. Anthion, his wife and son Glen Gwinn, 34, climbed to the roof seeking higher ground. Hours passed, and no helicopters came to their rescue.

    A neighbor on a nearby roof said he heard people were being rescued from St. Charles Avenue, so they all waded to the tony section of Uptown that remained dry while the poor neighborhoods all around it flooded.

    Hours later a rescue convoy arrived. Anthion loaded his wife on the truck. But when he tried to jump in, a guard told him only women and children were being evacuated.

    "They took my wife and made me stand there looking like a punk," Anthion said, his voice rising with anger. "It's my job to take care of my wife."

    He paused.

    "I don't know where my wife is," Anthion starts. "We've been together 29 years and ... " then he walks out of the room and lets out a cry.

    "I told you," said Sierra.

    All those in the group have been separated from their families.

    Sarge sent his mother, brother and children to live with relatives in Houston before the storm hit. But he remained to protect their homes and to feed J.J., their Labrador-German shepherd mix.

    "People ask us why didn't we leave, well, somebody has to stay here and protect our homes from vandals," he said. "This neighborhood is rough. There's also a lot of elderly people who need to be taken care of."

    He's proud of the way they communicated with the Coast Guard to evacuate the elderly and sick.

    "Eventually, I'd know when it was time for us to leave," said Sarge. "The Coast Guard said, 'When it's time to go, we will come and get you.'"

    But by midafternoon Monday, other authorities decided that time was now.

    A group of armed officers entered the school, demanding that everyone leave. The group included a couple of sheriff's deputies from New Mexico wielding M-16s, New Orleans police officers and some volunteers.

    The scene quickly turned chaotic.

    "They coming, they cussin', they got guns," Sierra whimpered, alerting a reporter. The authorities search the school, demanding everyone round up their possessions.

    "You have to leave now," an officer yelled at no one in particular. "I can't believe you had this child in here like this. Let's go."

    The group was allowed a few minutes to grab their belongings before boarding a motor boat.

    When Anthion began to explain how the group had sustained elderly people in the community, the officer yelled: "Shut up. I don't want to hear you talking [expletive] no more." In the boat, authorities recorded each person's name, offered cold water and everyone relaxed a bit. "It's going to get better than this," said one officer. "We appreciate what you've done. But you can't live like that."

    The boat took the temporary residents of Samuel J. Green school several blocks away to a waiting amphibious truck.

    Anthion grumbled. Sierra, now calm, began chatting with a National Guard soldier, telling him she would like to be in the Army when she grows up. Sarge was upset.

    "The thing about this here is they are embarrassed," Sarge said. "They all know we did a better job than [the shelters] did. We took care of ourselves. We survived."

    After a brief ride, they arrived on dry land and transferred to white vans. A police officer said they were going to the Convention Center and later would be bused to Texas. Another officer promised to return to tend to the rest of the neighbors and to J.J., the dog left behind.

    Sarge vowed to return to rebuild his community. "Hey, look," he said, getting everyone's attention. "No matter what, we stay together."
  141. Howard Dean's Constructive Solution: Even Killing Field

    9/8/2005, 4:31 pm

    While Senator Clinton has proposed a commission to determine just how racist the hurricane and Government have been, Howard Dean seeks to cut out the middleman. "We don't need a commission to know that this is really about race," chairman of the Democratic Party said in a speech to the National Baptist Convention of America, one of the nation's largest black church groups. "Natural disasters never kill this many white people. Well, if the natural disasters don't want to play fair, we will."

    Tired of hearing that the Democrats are a party of baseless finger-pointing without constructive solutions, the former presidential candidate Howard Dean offered an undeniably constructive solution in his Wednesday speech in Miami, Fla. "I suppose rescue operations do serve a purpose, but they do not address the main question of what to do about the racial makeup of the dead. We owe the answer to the victims, to the world at large, and to our children who will judge us by how we treat the old, the young, and the poor."

    Dr. Dean then put on his Doctor's cap and sketched equations on a board:

    "The first step is to calculate how many are dead, and the racial makeup of the dead. As a sample problem, lets say 8000 people of color died (excluding people from India, of course) and 2000 white people died, and let's further assume a one-to-one value for people of color and whites (although people of color may be valued above whites in the final formula):

    8000 POC - 2000 M = 6000 POC
    (where POC = people of color and M = miscellaneous)

    "Obviously there is an inequality of 6000 people of color. To rectify the situation, all those whites who evacuated submerged homes must be returned to those homes and drowned immediately," Dr. Dean said.

    "Since skin color played a deadly role in who survived and who did not, the solution to this must be as ugly as the truth itself. We must do it if we want to replace bureaucracy and entitlement with hope and opportunity for our constituents. So instead of considering estate tax breaks, I say the Senate should start busing the whites back to New Orleans!"

    While the proposal may seem radical, several authorities agree that this is the only option. Jesse Jackson stated, "We all mourn loss of life, especially when it is racially uneven. The sacrifice of 6,000 whiteys would lessen the blow immensely, I think."

    Democratic Mayor Nagin of New Orleans has been furiously mobilizing buses for a "Busing in" program to return the 6000 hapless whites to their rightful place in the murky depths. "It's a dirty job, but I've never shunned my responsibilities as a Democratic mayor and this would be a bad time to break away from that tradition."

    Direct quotes:

    Dr. Dean: "To rectify the situation, all those whites who evacuated submerged homes must be returned to those homes and drowned immediately."

    Jesse Jackson: "We all mourn loss of life, especially when it is racially uneven. The sacrifice of 6,000 whiteys would lessen the blow immensely, I think."

    Rep. Nancy Pelosi: The outpouring of donations to the Red Cross and religious relief organizations, offers of housing for those displaced, and other relief efforts are nothing but a partisan smoke screen created by the Republicans to cover up their racist attitudes towards the victims."

    Ray Nagin: "It's a dirty job, but I've never shunned my duties as a Democratic mayor."

    Democratic Governor Blanco of Louisiana: "We have a moral responsibility to not ignore the damage that our inaction or indecisiveness in this issue may cause to the nation's self-image."
  142. How about reading the very recent reports of how the LA/N.O.'s levee funding and projects by the Army Corp Of Engineers was BLOCKED over the last few years by several environmental groups that sued the A.C.O.E's. I was also just about to read again the new reports of how LA received much more funding under the Bush administration {for flood control/water/levee projects} then the previous administration --- and how the state used all the funds for pork barrel projects that did not do anything to help the potential flooding issues for N.O.'s

    Washington Post has some of the stories and also I see Brit Hume from Fox News is reporting this tonight also ----

    http://www.foxnews.com/ {check out the Brit Hume "Grapevine" video link from the front page Fox News 24/7 section}
  143. September 9, 2005
    Political Issues Snarled Plans for Troop Aid

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 - As New Orleans descended into chaos last week and Louisiana's governor asked for 40,000 soldiers, President Bush's senior advisers debated whether the president should speed the arrival of active-duty troops by seizing control of the hurricane relief mission from the governor.

    For reasons of practicality and politics, officials at the Justice Department and the Pentagon, and then at the White House, decided not to urge Mr. Bush to take command of the effort. Instead, the Washington officials decided to rely on the growing number of National Guard personnel flowing into Louisiana, who were under Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco's control.

    The debate began after officials realized that Hurricane Katrina had exposed a critical flaw in the national disaster response plans created after the Sept. 11 attacks. According to the administration's senior domestic security officials, the plan failed to recognize that local police, fire and medical personnel might be incapacitated.

    As criticism of the response to Hurricane Katrina has mounted, one of the most pointed questions has been why more troops were not available more quickly to restore order and offer aid. Interviews with officials in Washington and Louisiana show that as the situation grew worse, they were wrangling with questions of federal/state authority, weighing the realities of military logistics and perhaps talking past each other in the crisis.

    To seize control of the mission, Mr. Bush would have had to invoke the Insurrection Act, which allows the president in times of unrest to command active-duty forces into the states to perform law enforcement duties. But decision makers in Washington felt certain that Ms. Blanco would have resisted surrendering control, as Bush administration officials believe would have been required to deploy active-duty combat forces before law and order had been re-established.

    While combat troops can conduct relief missions without the legal authority of the Insurrection Act, Pentagon and military officials say that no active-duty forces could have been sent into the chaos of New Orleans on Wednesday or Thursday without confronting law-and-order challenges.

    But just as important to the administration were worries about the message that would have been sent by a president ousting a Southern governor of another party from command of her National Guard, according to administration, Pentagon and Justice Department officials.

    "Can you imagine how it would have been perceived if a president of the United States of one party had pre-emptively taken from the female governor of another party the command and control of her forces, unless the security situation made it completely clear that she was unable to effectively execute her command authority and that lawlessness was the inevitable result?" asked one senior administration official, who spoke anonymously because the talks were confidential.

    Officials in Louisiana agree that the governor would not have given up control over National Guard troops in her state as would have been required to send large numbers of active-duty soldiers into the area. But they also say they were desperate and would have welcomed assistance by active-duty soldiers.

    "I need everything you have got," Ms. Blanco said she told Mr. Bush last Monday, after the storm hit.

    In an interview, she acknowledged that she did not specify what sorts of soldiers. "Nobody told me that I had to request that," Ms. Blanco said. "I thought that I had requested everything they had. We were living in a war zone by then."

    By Wednesday, she had asked for 40,000 soldiers.

    In the discussions in Washington, also at issue was whether active-duty troops could respond faster and in larger numbers than the Guard.

    By last Wednesday, Pentagon officials said even the 82nd Airborne, which has a brigade on standby to move out within 18 hours, could not arrive any faster than 7,000 National Guard troops, which are specially trained and equipped for civilian law enforcement duties.

    In the end, the flow of thousands of National Guard soldiers, especially military police, was accelerated from other states.

    "I was there. I saw what needed to be done," Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said in an interview. "They were the fastest, best-capable, most appropriate force to get there in the time allowed. And that's what it's all about."

    But one senior Army officer expressed puzzlement that active-duty troops were not summoned sooner, saying 82nd Airborne troops were ready to move out from Fort Bragg, N.C., on Sunday, the day before the hurricane hit.
  144. Continued:

    The call never came, administration officials said, in part because military officials believed Guard troops would get to the stricken region faster and because administration civilians worried that there could be political fallout if federal troops were forced to shoot looters.

    Louisiana officials were furious that there was not more of a show of force, in terms of relief supplies and troops, from the federal government in the middle of last week. As the water was rising in New Orleans, the governor repeatedly questioned whether Washington had started its promised surge of federal resources.

    "We needed equipment," Ms. Blanco said in an interview. "Helicopters. We got isolated."

    Aides to Ms. Blanco said she was prepared to accept the deployment of active-duty military officials in her state. But she and other state officials balked at giving up control of the Guard as Justice Department officials said would have been required by the Insurrection Act if those combat troops were to be sent in before order was restored.

    In a separate discussion last weekend, the governor also rejected a more modest proposal for a hybrid command structure in which both the Guard and active-duty troops would be under the command of an active-duty, three-star general - but only after he had been sworn into the Louisiana National Guard.

    Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, director of operations for the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the Pentagon in August streamlined a rigid, decades-old system of deployment orders to allow the military's Northern Command to dispatch liaisons to work with local officials before an approaching hurricane.

    The Pentagon is reviewing events from the time Hurricane Katrina reached full strength and bore down on New Orleans and five days later when Mr. Bush ordered 7,200 active-duty soldiers and marines to the scene.

    After the hurricane passed New Orleans and the levees broke, flooding the city, it became increasingly evident that disaster-response efforts were badly bogged down.

    Justice Department lawyers, who were receiving harrowing reports from the area, considered whether active-duty military units could be brought into relief operations even if state authorities gave their consent - or even if they refused.

    The issue of federalizing the response was one of several legal issues considered in a flurry of meetings at the Justice Department, the White House and other agencies, administration officials said.

    Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales urged Justice Department lawyers to interpret the federal law creatively to help local authorities, those officials said. For example, federal prosecutors prepared to expand their enforcement of some criminal statutes like anti-carjacking laws that can be prosecuted by either state or federal authorities.

    On the issue of whether the military could be deployed without the invitation of state officials, the Office of Legal Counsel, the unit within the Justice Department that provides legal advice to federal agencies, concluded that the federal government had authority to move in even over the objection of local officials.

    This act was last invoked in 1992 for the Los Angeles riots, but at the request of Gov. Pete Wilson of California, and has not been invoked over a governor's objections since the civil rights era - and before that, to the time of the Civil War, administration officials said. Bush administration, Pentagon and senior military officials warned that such an extreme measure would have serious legal and political implications.

    Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said deployment of National Guard soldiers to Iraq, including a brigade from Louisiana, did not affect the relief mission, but Ms. Blanco disagreed.

    "Over the last year, we have had about 5,000 out, at one time," she said. "They are on active duty, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. That certainly is a factor."

    By Friday, National Guard reinforcements had arrived, and a truck convoy of 1,000 Guard soldiers brought relief supplies - and order - to the convention center area.

    Officials from the Department of Homeland Security say the experience with Hurricane Katrina has demonstrated flaws in the nation's plans to handle disaster.

    "This event has exposed, perhaps ultimately to our benefit, a deficiency in terms of replacing first responders who tragically may be the first casualties," Paul McHale, the assistant secretary of defense for domestic security, said.

    Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security, has suggested that active-duty troops be trained and equipped to intervene if front-line emergency personnel are stricken. But the Pentagon's leadership remains unconvinced that this plan is sound, suggesting instead that the national emergency response plans be revised to draw reinforcements initially from civilian police, firefighters, medical personnel and hazardous-waste experts in other states not affected by a disaster.

    The federal government rewrote its national emergency response plan after the Sept. 11 attacks, but it relied on local officials to manage any crisis in its opening days. But Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed local "first responders," including civilian police and the National Guard.

    At a news conference on Saturday, Mr. Chertoff said, "The unusual set of challenges of conducting a massive evacuation in the context of a still dangerous flood requires us to basically break the traditional model and create a new model, one for what you might call kind of an ultra-catastrophe.""

    Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker reported from Washington for this article, and Eric Lipton from Baton Rouge, La. David Johnston contributed reporting.
  145. washingtonpost.com
    Leaders Lacking Disaster Experience
    'Brain Drain' At Agency Cited

    By Spencer S. Hsu
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, September 9, 2005; A01

    Five of eight top Federal Emergency Management Agency officials came to their posts with virtually no experience in handling disasters and now lead an agency whose ranks of seasoned crisis managers have thinned dramatically since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    FEMA's top three leaders -- Director Michael D. Brown, Chief of Staff Patrick J. Rhode and Deputy Chief of Staff Brooks D. Altshuler -- arrived with ties to President Bush's 2000 campaign or to the White House advance operation, according to the agency. Two other senior operational jobs are filled by a former Republican lieutenant governor of Nebraska and a U.S. Chamber of Commerce official who was once a political operative.

    Meanwhile, veterans such as U.S. hurricane specialist Eric Tolbert and World Trade Center disaster managers Laurence W. Zensinger and Bruce P. Baughman -- who led FEMA's offices of response, recovery and preparedness, respectively -- have left since 2003, taking jobs as consultants or state emergency managers, according to current and former officials.

    Because of the turnover, three of the five FEMA chiefs for natural-disaster-related operations and nine of 10 regional directors are working in an acting capacity, agency officials said.

    Patronage appointments to the crisis-response agency are nothing new to Washington administrations. But inexperience in FEMA's top ranks is emerging as a key concern of local, state and federal leaders as investigators begin to sift through what the government has admitted was a bungled response to Hurricane Katrina.

    "FEMA requires strong leadership and experience because state and local governments rely on them," said Trina Sheets, executive director of the National Emergency Management Association. "When you don't have trained, qualified people in those positions, the program suffers as a whole."

    Last week's greatest foe was, of course, a storm of such magnitude that it "overwhelmed" all levels of government, according to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). And several top FEMA officials are well-regarded by state and private counterparts in disaster preparedness and response.

    They include Edward G. Buikema, acting director of response since February, and Kenneth O. Burris, acting chief of operations, a career firefighter and former Marietta, Ga., fire chief.

    But scorching criticism has been aimed at FEMA, and it starts at the top with Brown, who has admitted to errors in responding to Hurricane Katrina and the flooding in New Orleans. The Oklahoma native, 50, was hired to the agency after a rocky tenure as commissioner of a horse sporting group by former FEMA director Joe M. Allbaugh, the 2000 Bush campaign manager and a college friend of Brown's.

    Rhode, Brown's chief of staff, is a former television reporter who came to Washington as advance deputy director for Bush's Austin-based 2000 campaign and then the White House. He joined FEMA in April 2003 after stints at the Commerce Department and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

    Altshuler is a former presidential advance man. His predecessor, Scott Morris, was a media strategist for Bush with the Austin firm Maverick Media.

    David I. Maurstad, who stepped down as Nebraska lieutenant governor in 2001 to join FEMA, has served as acting director for risk reduction and federal insurance administrator since June 2004. Daniel A. Craig, a onetime political fundraiser and campaign adviser, came to FEMA in 2001 from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he directed the eastern regional office, after working as a lobbyist for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

    Department of Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said Brown has managed more than 160 natural disasters as FEMA general counsel and deputy director since 2001, "hands-on experience [that] cannot be understated. Other leadership at FEMA brings particular skill sets -- policy management leadership, for example."

    The agency has a deep bench of career professionals, said FEMA spokeswoman Nicol Andrews, including two dozen senior field coordinators and Gil Jamieson, director of the National Incident Management System. "Simply because folks who have left the agency have a disagreement with how it's being run doesn't necessarily indicate that there is a lack of experience leading it," she said.

    Andrews said the "acting" designation for regional officials is a designation that signifies that they are FEMA civil servants -- not political appointees.

    Touring the wrecked Gulf Coast with Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff yesterday, Vice President Cheney also defended FEMA leaders, saying, "We're always trying to strike the right balance" between political appointees and "career professionals that fill the jobs underneath them."

    But experts inside and out of government said a "brain drain" of experienced disaster hands throughout the agency, hastened in part by the appointment of leaders without backgrounds in emergency management, has weakened the agency's ability to respond to natural disasters. Some security experts and congressional critics say the exodus was fueled by a bureaucratic reshuffling in Washington in 2003, when FEMA was stripped of its independent Cabinet-level status and folded into the Department of Homeland Security.

    Emergency preparedness has atrophied as a result, some analysts said, extending from Washington to localities.

    FEMA "has gone downhill within the department, drained of resources and leadership," said I.M. "Mac" Destler, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. "The crippling of FEMA was one important reason why it failed."

    Richard A. Andrews, former emergency services director for the state of California and a member of the president's Homeland Security Advisory Council, said state and local failures were critical in the Katrina response, but competence, funding and political will in Washington were also lacking.

    "I do not think fundamentally this is an organizational issue," Andrews said. "You need people in there who have both experience and the confidence of the president, who are able to fight and articulate what FEMA's mission and role is, and who understand how emergency management works."

    The agency's troubles are no secret. The Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit group that promotes careers in federal government, ranked FEMA last of 28 agencies studied in 2003.

    In its list of best places to work in the government, a 2004 survey by the American Federation of Government Employees found that of 84 career FEMA professionals who responded, only 10 people ranked agency leaders excellent or good.

    An additional 28 said the leadership was fair and 33 called it poor.

    More than 50 said they would move to another agency if they could remain at the same pay grade, and 67 ranked the agency as poorer since its merger into the Department of Homeland Security.
  146. September 7, 2005
    Haunted by Hesitation


    It took a while, but the president finally figured out a response to the destruction of New Orleans.

    Later this week (no point rushing things) W. is dispatching Dick Cheney to the rancid lake that was a romantic city. The vice president has at long last lumbered back from a Wyoming vacation, and, reportedly, from shopping for a $2.9 million waterfront estate in St. Michael's, a retreat in the Chesapeake Bay where Rummy has a weekend home, where "Wedding Crashers" was filmed and where rich lobbyists hunt.

    Maybe Mr. Cheney is going down to New Orleans to hunt looters. Or to make sure that Halliburton's lucrative contract to rebuild the city is watertight. Or maybe, since former Senator John Breaux of Louisiana described the shattered parish as "Baghdad under water," the vice president plans to take his pal Ahmad Chalabi along for a consultation on destroying minority rights.

    The water that breached the New Orleans levees and left a million people homeless and jobless has also breached the White House defenses. Reality has come flooding in. Since 9/11, the Bush administration has been remarkably successful at blowing off "the reality-based community," as it derisively calls the press.

    But now, when W., Mr. Cheney, Laura, Rummy, Gen. Richard Myers, Michael Chertoff and the rest of the gang tell us everything's under control, our cities are safe, stay the course - who believes them?

    This time we can actually see the bodies.

    As the water recedes, more and more decaying bodies will testify to the callous and stumblebum administration response to Katrina's rout of 90,000 square miles of the South.

    The Bush administration bungled the Iraq occupation, arrogantly throwing away State Department occupation plans and C.I.A. insurgency warnings. But the human toll of those mistakes has not been as viscerally evident because the White House pulled a curtain over the bodies: the president has avoided the funerals of soldiers, and the Pentagon has censored the coffins of the dead coming home and never acknowledges the number of Iraqi civilians killed.

    But this time, the bodies of those who might have been saved between Monday and Friday, when the president failed to rush the necessary resources to a disaster that his own general describes as "biblical," or even send in the 82nd Airborne, are floating up in front of our eyes.

    New Orleans's literary lore and tourist lure was its fascination with the dead and undead, its lavish annual Halloween party, its famous above-ground cemeteries, its love of vampires and voodoo and zombies. But now that the city is decimated, reeking with unnecessary death and destruction, the restless spirits of New Orleans will haunt the White House.

    The administration's foreign policy is entirely constructed around American self-love - the idea that the U.S. is superior, that we are the model everyone looks up to, that everyone in the world wants what we have.

    But when people around the world look at Iraq, they don't see freedom. They see chaos and sectarian hatred. And when they look at New Orleans, they see glaring incompetence and racial injustice, where the rich white people were saved and the poor black people were left to die hideous deaths. They see some conservatives blaming the poor for not saving themselves. So much for W.'s "culture of life."

    The president won re-election because he said that the war in Iraq and the Homeland Security Department would make us safer. Hogwash.

    W.'s 2004 convention was staged like "The Magnificent Seven" with the Republicans' swaggering tough guys - from Rudy Giuliani to Arnold Schwarzenegger to John McCain - riding in to save an embattled town.

    These were the steely-eyed gunslingers we needed to protect us, they said, not those sissified girlie-men Democrats. But now it turns out that W. can't save the town, not even from hurricane damage that everyone has been predicting for years, much less from unpredictable terrorists.

    His campaigns presented the arc of his life story as that of a man who stumbled around until he was 40, then found himself and developed a laserlike focus.

    But now that the people of New Orleans need an ark, we have to question the president's arc. He's stumbling in Iraq and he's stumbling on Katrina.

    Let's play the blame game: the man who benefited more than anyone in history from safety nets set up by family did not bother to provide one for those who lost their families.
  147. Boy is she behind the curve on this one, he isn't stumbling in either case. He has fallen and can't get up and no lifealert for the American people available until 2006/8.
  148. ....
  149. AAA, Brilliant! Thanks for the laugh, and nice to see that you have a good sense of humor.
  150. September 10, 2005
    Neigh to Cronies


    I understand that politicians are wont to put cronies and cupcakes on the payroll.

    I just wish they'd stop putting them on the Homeland Security payroll.

    Can't they stick their pals who failed at business in the Small Business Administration and their tomatoes over at the Oilseeds and Rice Bureau of the Ag Department?

    At least Bill Clinton knew not to stash his sweeties in jobs concerned with keeping the nation safe. Gennifer Flowers said that Mr. Clinton got her a $17,500 job in Arkansas in the state unemployment agency, though she was ranked ninth out of 11 applicants tested. And Monica Lewinsky's thong expertise led her to a job as an assistant to the Pentagon press officer.

    Gov. James McGreevey of New Jersey had to resign last year after acknowledging that he had elevated his patronage peccadillo, an Israeli poet named Golan Cipel, to be his special assistant on homeland security without even a background check or American citizenship. Mr. Cipel, however, was vastly qualified for his job compared with Michael Brown, who didn't know the difference between a tropical depression and an anxiety attack when President Bush charged him with life-and-death decisions.

    W. trusted Brownie simply because he was a friend of a friend. He was a college buddy of Joe Allbaugh, who worked as W.'s chief of staff when he was Texas governor and as his 2000 presidential campaign manager.

    It sounds more like a Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson flick than the story of a man who was to be responsible for the fate of the Republic during the biggest natural disaster in our history. Brownie was a failed former lawyer with a degree from a semiaccredited law school, as The New Republic put it, when he moved to Colorado in 1991 to judge horse judges for the Arabian Horse Association.

    He was put out to pasture under pressure in 2001, leaving him free to join his pal Mr. Allbaugh at an eviscerated FEMA. Mr. Allbaugh decided to leave the top job at FEMA and become a lobbyist with clients like Halliburton when the agency was reorganized under Homeland Security, stripping it of authority. Why not, Mr. Allbaugh thought, just pass this obscure sinecure to his homeboy?

    Time magazine reported that Brownie's official bio described his only stint in emergency management as "assistant city manager" in Edmond, Okla. But a city official told Time that the FEMA chief had been "an assistant to the city manager," which was "more like an intern."

    Ever since W. was his father's loyalty enforcer, his political decisions have been shaped more by loyalty than substance or competence. Mr. Bush never did warm up to his first secretary of state because Colin Powell rebuffed appeals to help out in the Tallahassee recount of 2000.

    The breakdown in management and communications was so execrable that the president learned about the 25,000 desperate, trapped people at the New Orleans convention center not from Brownie, who didn't know himself, but from a wire story carried into the Oval Office by an aide on Thursday, 24 hours after the victims had been pleading and crying for help on every channel. (Maybe tomorrow the aide will come in with a wire story, "No W.M.D. in Iraq.")

    "Getting truth on the ground in New Orleans was very difficult," a White House aide told The Times's Elisabeth Bumiller. Not if you had a TV.

    As Mexican troops arrived in Texas to help with Katrina refugees, Brownie was recalled to Washington, where he said he wanted to get "a good Mexican meal and a stiff margarita." Yeah, it was hard to get any good étouffée in New Orleans given the E. coli. The president should find that little bullhorn from ground zero, put it right on Brownie's ear and yell at him to get the heck out of there.

    FEMA was a disaster waiting to happen, the minute a disaster struck. As The Washington Post reported Friday, five of the eight top FEMA officials were simply Bush loyalists and political operatives who "came to their posts with virtually no experience in handling disasters."

    While many see the hideous rescue failures as disaster apartheid, Barbara Bush and other Republicans have tried to look on the bright side for the victims. The Wall Street Journal reported that Representative Richard Baker of Baton Rouge was overheard telling lobbyists: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."

    Even those who believe in intelligent design must surely agree that Brownie and Representative Baker weren't part of it.
  151. The following information, according to Harry Shearer's blog, appeared in Popular Mechanics.


    For those who chose to believe the early, fevered rumor-filled reports on New Orleans during Katrina Week, the facts have caught up slowly, if at all. Here's the latest attempt to correct the record, in, of all places, Popular Mechanics, part of their large takeout on Katrina myths and facts. The gist:

    In reality, although looting and other property crimes were widespread after the flooding on Monday, Aug. 29, almost none of the stories about violent crime turned out to be true. Col. Thomas Beron, the National Guard commander of Task Force Orleans, arrived at the Superdome on Aug. 29 and took command of 400 soldiers. He told PM that when the Dome's main power failed around 5 am, "it became a hot, humid, miserable place. There was some pushing, people were irritable. There was one attempted rape that the New Orleans police stopped."

    The only confirmed account of a weapon discharge occurred when Louisiana Guardsman Chris Watt was jumped by an assailant and, during the chaotic arrest, accidently shot himself in the leg with his own M-16.

    When the Superdome was finally cleared, six bodies were found--not the 200 speculated. Four people had died of natural causes; one was ruled a suicide, and another a drug overdose. Of the four bodies recovered at the convention center, three had died of natural causes; the fourth had sustained stab wounds.

    Anarchy in the streets? "The vast majority of people [looting] were taking food and water to live," says Capt. Marlon Defillo, the New Orleans Police Department's commander of public affairs. "There were no killings, not one murder." As for sniper fire: No bullet holes were found in the fuselage of any rescue helicopter.

    Popular Mechanics. A magazine NASCAR fans believe. Maybe.