Friday, September 02, 2005

Faith-Based Preparedness

....or, you go into a national catastrophe with the FEMA you have.

Over the past few days, I've seen scenes that make my blood boil. A disheveled girl about six years old, clutching a soaked and dirty doll, crying about her family's dead pets and asking for food. A single doctor working triage among thousands of refugees, wondering where his help was while people around him were dying. An elderly woman slumped over in a wheelchair, begging weakly for food and water. Bodies laying abandoned in the street like dead ants around a sandhill after a heavy rainstorm.

This is something one might expect to see in places like Lagos, Kinshasa, Mogadishu, Monrovia or Harare. And as tragic as it would be for people in those third-world cities, the failure of leadership would be expected. Governments there---to the extent they exist at all---don't pretend to make promises they cannot keep, and their citizens know this from long and painful experience. That's not the case here. What has happened in New Orleans and the surrounding areas is a betrayal.

In early 2001, FEMA warned about the top three most likely disasters to hit the United States: a terrorist attack on New York City, a hurricane hitting New Orleans, and an earthquake in San Francisco. The funding for FEMA and the New Orleans district of the Army Corps of Engineers was accordingly cut (HT to Josh Marshall here), a fate that befalls so many in and around the Bush administration who make nuisances of themselves by warning prophetically about something that eventually comes to pass. Two of those three disasters are now part of our recent history. And after both, we have endured the "no one could have predicted this" mendacity that in itself is predictable. If the last one happens, will we hear the same excuse?

Holding the administration and the government to account for this is not opportunistic political rhetoric. What has happened should deeply concern us all. How is it that four full years after 9/11---a period of time during which our overarching national priority should have been to upgrade and prepare for a domestic disaster on this scale---we are utterly hapless and helpless when one occurs? If you live in San Francisco or for that matter any city, are you confident that your tax dollars have bought you the minimum level of assistance you would expect if this happened to you? And, distressingly, what message does this send to terrorists who are no doubt watching, nodding to themselves, and silently taking notes?

I've said before that in this administration, carelessness and negligence wear the mask of faith. At what point does faith yield to reality? Will there ever be a moment of accountability? Or, as the president no doubt continues to tell himself, is that what the last election was all about?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure Rove is working hard to blame the Democrats rignt now.

9/02/2005 5:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked for the Fed in a disaster relief capacity back when the country actually had a leader, in the early-mid nineties. There were some mistakes early on, but you have to remember what we inherited and from whom. FEMA, the one agency in which there is no place for politics, had become a post for political appointees. The early careerists there were REALLY excited about the new President, Bill Clinton, and later the new Director, James Lee Witt. First it is was, "Wow, somebody who cares." Then, "Wow, somebody who knows what they're doing."

Cutting to the chase, and focusing on aftermath as I was not involved in the new hey-now-there's-an-idea prevention efforts: Then, people inside and outside FEMA knew who to call, when, for what. I'm neither in nor totally out of the loop now, but bottom line: Now, they don't. And if you don't even know who's responsible for what, coordination is significantly more difficult. I know, duh.

FEMA's mission is hard enough and this one is the most difficult yet, but this – I'm going to restrain myself here – "administration" has truly made things worse. The reason is the same we've all come to know so tragically well: total, inexcusable, even criminal lack of planning.

The "administration" had other ideas for FEMA, wanted to change its mission, make it part of another agency – fine. Change can be good. But declaring it doesn't make it so, and nothing should have been changed without working it all out first. You know, planning. Does that take time? Duh. Expensive? Yes, especially since you effectively have to maintain two agencies at once (the new one behind the scenes until it's ready). But if the "administration" had done it right, we'd have a working FEMA today instead of a discombobulated agency refocused on terrorism and wondering who's going to handle natural disaster prevention and relief (and with what money). It would be the old FEMA probably since its replacement is evidently not ready. But that's worlds better than half a new agency, with uncertain mission, uncertain means or method, and uncertain leadership, in this oh so uncertain time.

If you think all of that sounds like common sense, you're right. Too bad George Bush doesn't appear to have any. Is he personally responsible for the weather? Of course not. But George Bush is responsible throughout the "administration" for what I learned in engineering circles to call P3: Piss, poor, planning. A phrase no honest man ever applied to President Clinton or Director Witt.

Every good citizen has a duty to know what's going on. After all, you paid for it. But not as much as the people affected by Hurricane Katrina are paying for it. God help them because George W. Bush surely cannot:

Homeland Security in a Perfect Storm, Christian Science Monitor

Federal Government Wasn't Ready for Katrina, Fort Wayne Indiana Sentinel

9/02/2005 5:31 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

This story smells. I swear Michael Brown is lying about something. Just watch him.

FEMA ranked a hurricane in Louisiana as a top three all time potential disaster yet it only sent 39 medical teams and some search and rescue teams in preparation for a category five storm.

Governor Barbour said he urged people to evacuate Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, he begged them to leave.

Barbour chaired Bush's presidential campaign advisory committee in 2000. He had to have called Washington to request help over the weekend and he has the clout to get through to the top.

What did guys like Karl Rove and Michael Chertoff do when they heard about the evacuation before the hurricane? Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the day Bush gave his "major policy" speech.

I don't believe that for four days, no one in the federal government gave any thought to water, ice, food, generators, all the things people usually need after a hurricane. Preparing to call out the national guard is not an unusual move in an emergency.

The Bush administration went through what? three hurricanes last year. They know the drill.

Something's wrong with this picture. I just don't know what it is.

9/02/2005 7:25 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

"They're doing a good job," one former FEMA executive says of the Bush administration's response efforts. "And the reason why they're doing that job is because it's so close to the election, and they can't fuck it up, otherwise they lose Florida--and if they lose Florida, they might lose the election."

9/02/2005 7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beyond outrage!!

9/02/2005 8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have not had much respect for this administration and but I thought they were doing a so-so job. But what I am seeing and reading is that there is NO LEADERSHIP, PLANNING, OR SIMPLY AND IDEA how to go about supplying WATER.
So now we are going to see the BOZO COMING TO GET A CLOSER LOOK, what the hell for - photo-ops. That is what they need down there. Not water, help and civil order, and they need that Bozo like they need another hurricane.
At least Bozo junior has stayed in Wyoming, at least he is out of the way.

9/02/2005 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is also indicative of what happens when government appointments are based on politics/loyalty, rather than knowledge/ability. FEMA used to have some of the best emergency managers in the country, now it just has some of the best emergency managers who are loyal to the Bushie.

Combine such cronyism with lack of funding, and this is what we get. I would guess most other government agencies are in a similar state, they just haven't had their mettle tested so obviously.

9/02/2005 8:39 AM  
Anonymous scott_api said...

"Or, as the president no doubt continues to tell himself, is what thew last election was all about?"

Sounds like a line out of Pedragons keyboard. Isn't this what he keeps saying?

How is it we can have troops on the ground, combat ready, in under 48 hours, but 4 days later, we can't get food and water into New Orleans?

It falls to FEMA, and that falls to this administration. The right-wing talkers and FOX will shoot it down the memory hole soon enough.

One last question, where is the outrage over the Republican leader of the house saying that New Orleans isn't worth saving?

9/02/2005 8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Maybe the outrage isn't there because it's what a sizable number of people are thinking about. Deciding not to rebuild a city below the waterline in a place that gets powerful hurricanes after the city has been largely submerged after a hurricane is not such a crazy idea. We might decide to rebuild anyway, but abandoning those areas of flooding that are most at risk isn't exactly a wild plan.

Didn't we stop building on some of those outer banks islands because of hurricane risks?

9/02/2005 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Didn't we stop building on some of those outer banks islands because of hurricane risks?"

Have you been to the Outer Banks lately? It's more built up than ever. As long as the government pays for people to rebuild, there's no disincentive to not build.

9/02/2005 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

looking at how the consequences of this disaster have not been managed from this side of the atlantic i can say that i am astonished to say the least.

to take away moneys needed to repair/strengthen new orleans protection dikes (dykes ?) and to obviously not prepare for something that was forseeable is irresponsible beyond comprehension, plain and simple treason as somebody else posted.

but, while the immediate consequences of the storm are horrible, i think that the consequences of these consequences will be far worse for all of the US. the "powers that be" have commited a colossal error in allowing what is happening. from what others say here and elsewhere, the black (or "colored") people of southern US have been kicked in the arse once again by the white haves, perhaps once too often. if cops are being shot at and running from their jobs, and helicopters supposedly helping in rescue operations are being shot at things are beyond bad, beyond "normal" disorders and looting following any disaster.

i think that already the disorder goes beyond manageable, and sending in soldiers with orders to kill will make the whole thing far worse. what now is public disorders and looting could rapidly escalate into a sublevation, a full-blown insurgency, iraq-style, which could conceivably extend to the disenfranchised and repressed underlings in other regions of the US.

they could have contained it with fast and adecuate help but they didnt do that. a somewhat wise regime will always take care that most people have more to loose that to gain if they rebel. your current regime has only one response to anything: more force, more disenfranchisement, less rights, less jobs, less participation.

the first cracks in american society are coming to light.

9/02/2005 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If things keep getting out of hand, I can see racial tensions exploding and it'll be another Summer of '68.

9/02/2005 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting article from Molly Ivins. Maybe we are just seeing the result of Republican policy - they are tearing down our institutions, making everything political; was this the Newt Gingrich Contract with America plan or the Bush plan.

By the way, has anyone seen or heard from our VP Cheney?

"Our friends at the Center for American Progress note the Office of Technology Assessment used to produce forward-thinking plans such as "Floods: A National Policy Concern" and "A Framework for Flood Hazards Management." Unfortunately, the office was targeted by Newt Gingrich and the Republican right, and gutted years ago.

In fact, there is now a governmentwide movement away from basing policy on science, expertise and professionalism, and in favor of choices based on ideology. If you're wondering what the ideological position on flood management might be, look at the pictures of New Orleans - it seems to consist of gutting the programs that do anything."

9/02/2005 10:01 AM  
Blogger TheAlGuy said...

Our government failed and is failing the people they promised to protect and to serve ... the people at the NO convention center did as they were told ... and they were promptly forgotten about ... 4 days with no food or water ... we were air dropping food and water into Iraq faster than that ...

9/02/2005 10:06 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

I have a feeling that we are going to see a lot of horrible spin soon. Lots of hacks want to save their jobs and their good names. Chief Hacks: Mike Brown, Cherthoff... Hmm, Hack Watch idea... anywho, don't let them get away with it TCR.

Those people...

9/02/2005 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

agree with above post! TCR we look to you to not let the bastards get away with any crap, so keep it up!!!

9/02/2005 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't imagine what it must be like to live in this situation for 5 days.
The president needs to set his ass down at Fort Polk in Louisiana and if not manage, at least oversee the management of an effective rescue. He should not leave until New Orleans has been evacuated.

9/02/2005 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is necessary is a massive march on Washington. I am talking about millions.

9/02/2005 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look like America's own ennemy is more within than elsewere, maybe time to regroup and start cleaning house before teaching the rest of the world.

9/02/2005 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Cunning Realist!

If I may, I believe this is the result when you vote for people who believe as Grover Norquist believes.

If you are going to make the government so small you can drown it in a bathtub, then drowned cities must necessarily follow....

- oddjob

9/02/2005 11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anybody remembered that 5 day is just about the limit for a human beings to survive WITHOUT WATER.
I would say that if they don't get to them with water by nightfall, they will only find corpses when they get to them finally if ever.
Hey, what they hell they are only poor blacks and they don't vote republican anyhow. Easy come, easy go.
Another example of compassionate conservatism, brought to you by our saved again christian, ETHICAL President.

9/02/2005 11:05 AM  
Anonymous scott_api said...


We are the United States of America. We don't just write off a city that has stood where it is longer than the USA has existed. DC is built on a swamp, would we write it off? Maybe a sizeable number of people are thinking it, that doesn't make it right. I can't agree with you on this. I find it appalling that anyone would give voice to it.

9/02/2005 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheney is rumored to be in his "last throes"---seriously. He has been on "vacation" in Wyoming for weeks, with not a peep from him, even since the hurricane. Americblog has some coverage on the missing president story.

9/02/2005 11:34 AM  
Blogger Roy said...

It truly is amazing that the response has been so weak especially in the era of large scale terror attacks. I will not blame this all on Bush because for years and years people have been saying the levees were not safe but noone did anything because a category 4&5 are so rare. Our system is a reactionary system only acting when something bad happens.

As for oddjob you wrote "If you are going to make the gov. so small you can drown it in a bath tub, then drowned cities must necessarily follow..." Where have you been? Bush has grown this gov. exponentially. It is just nonsense to imply Bush has actually been a fiscal conservative.

9/02/2005 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am afraid the chicken has come to roost to us BIGTIME.
He will go home to Crawford and wallow in his money and privilege of being an ex-President, while we are left to slowly pick up the pieces of this country that once was a working and careing nation.

Curse on him and his family in eternity.

9/02/2005 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First let me say that like most people who love this blog, I'm a democrat also.

Now, I'm not entirely sure why everyone is so upset with FEMA and the Federal Government. Yes, they could be more prepared. Yes, their efficacy has been reduced during the Bush administration. However, you have to ask, "Who has ultimate responsibility for New Orleans?"

The people that I'm totally incensed by are the local leaders, especially Mayor Nagin. He goes around spouting of things like the Feds need to "get off their asses." He constantly complains that "they [FEMA] don't know anything." Did this guy not implement a single disaster plan as Mayor? Did he not know that the third most likely disaster to hit America was the destruction of his city? How is it possible that there weren't a million contingency plans for the flooding of the city?

I also want to comment on the rising perception that Bush should be impeached (or blamed) for reducing the funding for the Corps of Engineers in New Orleans. Yes, it is pathetic. Yes, it was the worst outcome for America to have him elected (twice)! However, the strengthening of these levies should have been non-negociable. If the Feds didn't fund it, then the state should have. If the state wouldn't have funded it, then New Orleans should have paid for it. This is their city, for crying out loud. Don't they care? Louisianna has had oil money flowing into their coffers for decades now. The people most responsible for this mess are the Governor, the Mayor, and their predecessors.

I might get blasted for this post, but it has to be said.


9/02/2005 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think the problem is that so much of the money that rolls through that area ultimately impacts interstate commerce. It's very difficult for cities to tap into that - they have very narrow jurisdictions. States have an easier time of it, but there are a LOT of restrictions imposed by Congress to prevent cities and states from tapping into that flow. NYC has struggled with this for decades, as LA currently is with the local port situation. Maintaining and improving the services that these cities provide to the nation to preserve commerce flow require funding far beyond their means. Money that went to Iowa to build a rainforest out in the sticks should have gone to NOLA or the port of LA or any of a number of critical national infrastructure projects. That said, the city and state need to bear much of the blame as well for not doing their part in evacuating and preparing for this.

Bush bears a great deal of blame here for screwing FEMA/DHS up, but ultimately we should be pointing our fingers at every member of Congress as well - Republican and Dem. These parties have turned into ther own special interest groups, far more concerned with political power and capital than serving their constitutents and the nation as a whole. Surely the representatives from IA and NJ opposed funding to LA preferring to bring it home themselves, but now their constituents are facing gas shortages as a result of wholesale myopia on the part of our legislators.

Unfortunately, this will only secure us another round of partisan BS with the Reps being blamed because they're in power right now. But ultimately, I'm not sure that a Dem. controlled govt. would have been spectacularly better. I think it's a crapshoot depending on who's actually elected in. Historically, both parties have shined and both have failed us. Right now, this power fixation by the parties has to end. My thinking is that the next two elections should focus on voters taking control back - demanding that congress and the executives serve us rather than themselves. In 2006, vote all congressional incumbents out - both parties. Clear the decks. Make clear that raising money instead of leading won't ensure your seat. Make clear that gerrymandering won't save your ass. Let those queued up for reelection in 2008 see what is expected of them and show that government can start serving the right people again.

This is simply a failure of government at many levels (local, state, national - executive and legislative), and it's not just the executive branch that should be held accountable for this catastrophe.

9/02/2005 1:50 PM  
Anonymous semper fubar said...

What is necessary is a massive march on Washington. I am talking about millions.

Already planned. Sept 24 in DC. Hope you'll be there. Bring your pitchforks and torches.

As for the FEMA guy, Brown -- I'm sure you've alredy heard this, but his qualifications for this job are as follows:

Friend of Bush supporter.

Until his FEMA job, he was an estate planner.

Yes, that's right. That's it. Absolutely NO experience in disaster and emergency mangement. Surprised?

Oh, and while he lists on his resume as one of his other qualifications, being on the board of the International Arabian Horse Association, what he didn't bother to reveal was that he was fired from that job for....

wait for it..


Seems he left in a flurry of expensive litigation and financial disarray.

My my my.

Life in the Bush Leagues.

9/02/2005 1:57 PM  
Blogger Almighty Blog said...

We also haven't heard a peep outta Laura. So much for her concern about children....

9/02/2005 2:54 PM  
Anonymous howard said...

Ben, perhaps you have missed the point: New Orleans is a poor city. It's trying to hold onto the population it has. Pushing all the costs of levee repair down to the city level is simply not on, nor should it be.

As we are reminded by the economic spinoff of this disaster, the port of New Orleans is a national resource, not a local one.

as for the bigger issue, i honestly ask myself sometimes: what do many of the bush administration appointees do all day? It's certainly not clear that they do any work.

After all, suppose this was an AQ attack on the levees: it's clear that DHS wasn't prepared (which, of course, was preditable from the start and why i opposed the DHS. Even Jack Welch couldn't have pulled this monstrosity together in three years...).

9/02/2005 3:04 PM  
Anonymous EWK said...


I think the Governor bears blame for not adequately preparing to evacuate people; the city gets more of a pass from me, first they don't have many resources to begin with and secondly their entire infrastructure has pretty much been rendered useless.

9/02/2005 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you all that the responsibiity for maintenance of the levies should have been a shared by all levels of government. As you have said, the whole area is critical to our national economy (and our national security as it has so much to do with oil). I never meant that the federal government should get a pass on that. Bush and the congress (R and D) should be held accountable for their budget cuts.

I guess my main frustration has been with the response after the levies broke. This was going to happen eventually and anyone except for the most blind would have emergency plans for such an occasion. They would know that all electricty would be out. They would know that there would be no drinking water available. How hard is it to set up command and control so that all of the emergency responders can act in that situation. Every cop should be on the job and have a radio than can be charged via a solar cell or hand crank. Large water trucks (100 or more) would immediately enter the city. The city would know where people were gathering and be able to deliver supplies withing hours (not days).

The suffering wouldn't have been so acute if people had a few supplies and a little knowledge. They could wait for rescue if they knew they weren't going to die in the meantime.

That is the responsibility that I believe falls squarely on the sholders of the mayor of the city. His police and fire departments should have been the first responders. He should have been in charge of coordinating the efforts of the National Guard in New Orleans.

The mayor seems to want to play the victim in this disaster and blame every other agency for his own lack of planning.

Thanks again,

9/02/2005 3:49 PM  
Anonymous scott_api said...


I hear the mayor is getting ready to give the fire and police chiefs the N.O. equivalent of the freedom medal...

Snark aside, you are right. Local gov't. bears responsibility. They should have had plans in place. They should have been able to say to eveyone else, we need trucks at point A, boats a point B, Food and water at point C, etc. They clearly could not. When local management failed, the Govenor should have stepped in, etc. Unfortunately, we are 5 days in, and only now is anyone stepping in. There is plenty of blame to go around. My fear, and alot of peoples fear, is that the Mayor and the Govenor may be thrashed by the people, the press and the feds, but it's a foregone conclusion that ANYONE in a federal capacity will get a pat on the back, a medal and a promotion for this nightmare.

9/02/2005 4:05 PM  
Anonymous semper fubar said...

So, after four years of spending jillions on Homeland Security, how secure does everyone here feel? If this had been a major terrorist attack, would the federal government have responded any better? Clearly not.

They had almost a week's warning that this storm was building in the Gulf, and they knew it was going to hit somewhere. By Sunday morning, every TV station I watched was talking about an almost certain probability of a Cat 5 hurricane making a direct hit on New Orleans. Every TV station talked with almost certainty that the levees would fail under these circumstances. How much more warning do we expect to get? And THIS is the best our government can do? For shame. For shame.

The entire world is either laughing at us, or merely shaking their heads in dismay. First in Iraq, and now here at home, Bush has made this country look weak, like a paper tiger. And that is a dangerous situation for all of us, in and of itself.

Bush should resign immediately. He is not capable of leading this country in a crisis. We need someone who can lead, not make excuses and do photo ops.

9/02/2005 4:41 PM  
Anonymous ruffian said...

What really pissses me off is Fox & O'Reilly blaming folks for not eveacuating.....

Hello-and justhow do you do that with no car or monry for plane tickets????

Blaming the victim-its just so digusting.....O'reilly saying people did this on purpose....

where are these folks brains?????

9/02/2005 4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott APi:

"We don't just write off a city that has stood where it is longer than the USA has existed. DC is built on a swamp, would we write it off? . . . I find it appalling that anyone would give voice to it."

There's a difference between a city on a swamp and a city below sea level. And I find it appalling that you find it appalling for anyone to give voice to the idea. As the saying goes, it's a free country. Deal with it.

9/02/2005 6:17 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

I live near San Francisco and I have no confidence whatsoever after this terrible episode in America's history. I am seriously going out to buy a gun this weekend so I can protect myself and loved ones as best I can should something like this happen to us. America's brand of capitalism (each man to himself) has taken a deadly turn.

9/02/2005 7:01 PM  
Anonymous PenDragon said...

Nice try at Bush Bashing, unfortunately, for you, not based on fact. You foolishly talk only about the 2001 study that named the three worst natural didasters, as if this suddenly arose during the Bush Administration. Camille was so devastating that people down there mark time in relation to whether an event was before or after Camille. No sense letting facts get in the way of a desparate attempt a Bush-bashing. The truth is that New Orleans was recognized as a major problem when Hurricane Camille hit in 1965! Lyndon Johnson was President, he didn't do what was needed to be done back then, other Democrats, Carter and Clinton with democratically- controlled Congresses (Part of the time in Clinton's case) did nothing. Now, suddenly, we lay it all at Bush's doorstep because the problem everyone knew about was restated during his term. What about state and local governments? What did they do. There's a photo of hundreds of buses, mired in water, that were never ordered into action by local officials when that needed to be done.

Now, I know that the usual, well-informed contributor to this blog will not confront my facts, they never do. They will just say, what they always say,something like "PenDragon, if you believe what you are saying, you need serious help." VERY CONVINCING. They never dispute any facts, they just regress into their womb of security where you can blame Bush for everything and go unchallenged by their support network of Starbucks cronies.

As for Nathan's nonsense, those looters in NO were capitalists. What we needed are leaders that don't put up with catastophie socialists and shoot to kill.

Also for all the left-wing nut jobs that always resort to saying Bush did this or that for money, in the last Presidential Election, Bust was by far the least wealthy, and there is no evidence of any kind that he profited from any of the nonsense you guy allege. Just another case of not letting facts get in the way of venom.


9/02/2005 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it doesn't matter if folks knew that this was an isssue in other administrations-what matters is how THIS administration handled thi-and it has done a poor job (to be kind). It took a few days for it even to occur to them that there might be an issue....not to mention stripping FEMA of its ability to respond-after all, we have home land security to take care of us now.....
Does anyone feel safer under this administration?

9/02/2005 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PenDragon ... you sound like a pretty passionate kind of person. We could really use more like you performing duties for Bush's "noble cause(s)".
Your pick ...Iraq or Afganistan. Forget NOLA .. after 5 days the calvary and the photo-ops have arrived.

9/02/2005 9:28 PM  
Blogger prorata said...

Have you seen this? The CEO of the company is, surprise, surprise, a big Republican supporter.

9/02/2005 11:24 PM  
Blogger stickler said...

If you live in San Francisco or for that matter any city, are you confident that your tax dollars have bought you the minimum level of assistance you would expect if this happened to you?

Bwahhahha. I live about 60 miles from a volcano which erupted with some force in 1980. The Carter administration managed that far, far better than the current Administration.

And I know that there will be, in my lifetime, at least one catastrophic earthquake in my region, and probably one volcanic eruption to boot.

Since this week, I also know what to expect from my Federal government. Bupkis.

9/03/2005 12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Have you seen this? The CEO of the company is, surprise, surprise, a big Republican supporter.'

The WallStreet Journal Editorial Page on PBS wants to replace FEMA with Wal-mart - "Is there a way in which the private sector here, the big companies, the Home Depots, the Wal-Marts, could be better able to provide this kind of public service?"

9/03/2005 12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are really a senseless,obtuse person.
Your mind does not function. You are brain dead. How can you not see the obvious? And then you are blaming the incompetence from way back to the Lyndon Johnson, Carter and Clinton administration. Are you having amnesia or what? Where then Reagan and Bush I come into play? Oh! they do not count there are Republicans, I get it.
This is just but one thing now I wanted
to challenge you about. You are blind and do not see and will never see what
Bush has done to this country, as a matter of fact you and people like you in the GOP are incapable of thinking, narrow minded, that's what you are.

9/03/2005 5:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what I saw this week shocked me. This is not America!!

9/03/2005 5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The levees in Louisiana should have been considered as important in matter of Homeland Security, as the Nuclear bases, that still need to be protected. If we had been attacked by terrorists in
New Orleans, we would have been in the same situation we are now in.

The billions of dollars that have been appropriated for Homeland Security each year for 3 years now, could very well have funded the reconstruction of the levees. Besides, Bush and his congress
have gutted the funding for the levees in 2004 and 2005 budget. I do not believe this is the responsibility of the city or the State of Louisiana to
upgrade those levees. That's why we do have a federal government.

Bush prides himself and in each speech he would say that his responsibility is for the american people. He ran on Homeland security in 2000 and 2004, and the people were gullible in believing him. The misconception that only the republicans can protect the homeland is false and desingenuous. We now see how
responsible they are. Where did the money go? Are you safer now than you were in 2000?

9/03/2005 5:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9/03/2005 5:54 AM  
Anonymous ctbill said...

Stunning, just outright stunning.

9/03/2005 7:05 AM  
Anonymous jay said...

somebody wrote:

"The president needs to set his ass down at Fort Polk in Louisiana and if not manage, at least oversee the management of an effective rescue. He should not leave until New Orleans has been evacuated."

Better not, because when the Prez is in town, all air traffic - including rescue 'copters - is suspended - security, y'know?!

"Posted on Fri, Sep. 02, 2005
Congressman can't get Bush on the line

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Thousands of people stranded in two swamped parishes south of New Orleans are just as desperate for supplies as those trapped in the city but can't get the attention of federal disaster relief officials, their congressman said Friday.

And to make matters worse, says Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-La., he was unable to deliver that message to President Bush during his visit to New Orleans because the president's security detail couldn't clear him to board Air Force One.

After waiting 90 minutes Friday while a U.S. marshal using a satellite phone repeatedly tried, and failed, to contact Bush's plane - located just 300 yards away at New Orleans' Armstrong airport - a disgusted Melancon left. (...)

And for the entire time Bush was in the state, the congressman said, a ban on helicopter flights further stalled the delivery of food and supplies. (...)"

Meanwhile, in the business district:

"Halliburton gets Katrina contract, hires former FEMA director
1 Sept. 2005

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 ( -- The US Navy asked Halliburton to repair naval facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina, the Houston Chronicle reported today. The work was assigned to Halliburton's KBR subsidiary under the Navy's $500 million CONCAP contract awarded to KBR in 2001 and renewed in 2004. (...)

Earlier this year, the Navy awarded $350 million in contracts to KBR and three other companies to repair naval facilities in northwest Florida damaged by Hurricane Ivan, which struck in September 2004. (...)

In March, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is tasked with responding to hurricane disasters, became a lobbyist for KBR. Joe Allbaugh was director of FEMA during the first two years of the Bush administration. (...)

Allbaugh managed Bush's campaign for Texas governor in 1994, served as Gov. Bush's chief of staff and was the national campaign manager for the Bush campaign in 2000. (...)"

9/03/2005 12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush ran two corporations into bankruptcy. He can't 'MANAGE' anything except Texas brush. I suggest he stay as far away from Louisiana as humanly possible and let the EXPERTS do the heavy lifting.
Give the field personnel BLANKET AUTHORITY and, LEAVE.
BUSHCO is the ultimate terrorist.
"We've met the enemy and they are US".

9/03/2005 2:15 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

By Friday, 8/26, officials from the the Pentagon, the National Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA and the Homeland Security Department were taking steps to prepare for the hurricane's arrival.

What f**king steps were they taking? The "officals" knew days in advance that a catastrophe could happen. On Friday, 8/26, 7.000 National Guard troops were mobilized. Why weren't thousands of troops put on standby at the same time?

The New Orleans Picayune-Times reported that, late morning on Monday, 8/29, the levees breached (not Tuesday as the NYT reported).

On Monday ,8/29, the National Guard put additional troops on standby. That's right - standby, after NO was flattened.

Here's some excerpts from a 9/2/05 NYT story:

"Though its path remained uncertain, the Gulf Coast was clearly threatened, with New Orleans a possible target. Officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA and the Homeland Security Department said they were taking steps to prepare for the hurricane's arrival.

Some 10,000 National Guard troops were mobilized, 7,000 of them in Louisiana and Mississippi. But the Defense Department could not put soldiers and equipment directly in the possible path of the storm, General Blum said...

But on Tuesday, when the levees breached, a desperate situation became catastrophic. There was no fast way to fix them, Mr. Breerwood of the Army Corps said, because delivery of heavy-duty equipment was hindered by the destruction.

The National Guard was having similar troubles. While troops were stationed in the region, they could not move quickly into the New Orleans area. And in Mississippi, the zone of destruction was so widespread, it was difficult to cover it all quickly, officials said."

8/29/05 National Weather Service report:

1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005





The 8/30/05 New Orleans Times-Picayune:

A large section of the vital 17th Street Canal levee, where it connects to the brand new "hurricane proof" Old Hammond Highway bridge, gave way late Monday morning in Bucktown after Katrina's fiercest winds were well north. The breach sent a churning sea of water from Lake Pontchartrain coursing across Lakeview and into Mid-City, Carrollton, Gentilly, City Park and neighborhoods farther south and east.

As night fell on a devastated region, the water was still rising in the city, and nobody was willing to predict when it would stop. After the destruction already apparent in the wake of Katrina, the American Red Cross was mobilizing for what regional officials were calling the largest recovery operation in the organization's history...
From the National Guard website:

"WASHINGTON (8/30/2005) — Twenty-four hours after Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast, an estimated 7,500 National Guard troops from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi were on duty today, supporting civil authorities, distributing generators, providing medical care, and setting up shelters for displaced residents.

In addition, National Guard units and members in 17 more states were on standby, ready to provide assistance as required in the wake of extensive damage, rising floodwaters, and power and communications outages throughout the region, Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a DoD spokeswoman, said..."

9/03/2005 3:38 PM  
Anonymous susanpet said...

The only thing this can be called is criminal negligence. I am astounded, ashamed, outraged.

9/03/2005 4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

susan pet, E&P news service called it right. It's dereliction of duty-- might add, really a capital offense.

9/06/2005 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pendrago Camille was 1968 - it was Betsy that hit New Orleans in 1965. You can't even get the spin doctors talking points correct.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pendragon - yeah if I was a cop with NO FREKING BACK-UP and NO COMMUNICATION I would just be so gung-ho to go up against looters ALL BY MY FREAKIN' SELF. Hell after a week they still can't find most of the NOPD and that doesn't count the 2 that suicided. And the National Guard/military weren't in the city Tuesday and Wed. Who was official that was keeping order? Of course those that were there couldn't even freaking communicate with each other.

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