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September 20, 2005



Some timeline review is in order, I think. The media started hyping the whole looting, rape, pillaging, cannibalism meme on Wednesday. The NOLA police had no communications system. Remember the head National Guard guy said he didn't know about the 25,000 people at the Convention Center until Thursday. The Guard waited until Saturday, when they had amassed an overwhelming force, to move into the Convention Center. When they got there, they had virtually no resistance just a bunch of people really happy to see them.

Could the Guard have gone in alongside the cops on Wednesday, with just the few dozen troops they had to spare from rescue efforts and taken back the Convention Center three days earlier than they did? In hindsight, perhaps they could have. Why didn't they have the information on Wednesday that could have allowed them to make that decision?

The NOLA police communications system collapsed totally, so there was no way for the cops around the city to communicate with each other or with their commanders. The TV news spent those days hyping the looting and anarchy and lawlessness, and did not try to show the slightest journalistic sense of context that would allow viewers to know how much lawlessness there really was. Since no one had any other sources of information, the Guard and FEMA and the city and state governments based their decisions on the only information that they had -- cnn, etc. Sure they had to know it was more or less hype -- but it was the only information that they had and they didn't know if it was more hype or less hype.

From what I have seen, the governor had the legal authority during the state of emergency to expropriate private property. If she had expropriated all of the network satellite trucks in NOLA and used them for emergency communications things might have gone WAY better. Maybe that's something to think about in the next disaster where government communications get knocked out but journalists are still on the air.

cathy :-)


It's a complex story. The whole thing. It's just so much easier to blame Bush for all of it. And the usual suspects always take the easy way out.

When I told Joe that the Guard heard reports of a civil breakdown and waited til they had amassed enough troops to control the situation, he said he'd fire whoever depended on the media for their information.

Problem was, that was the only data available.


couldn't someone have talked to the guard who were actually stationed at the superdome? Weren't there about 100 or so?

I mean, drop some guys in to assess the situation?


Superdome is NOT the Convention Center.

I think this was part of the media confusion from day 1.


The superdome was the situation that people knew about, but it was the Convention Center that seems to have been the real center of chaos. It was not a designated shelter, there was no police, no supplies, the tiny staff fled when the hordes started showing up. The rescuers with helicopters saw the crowds and assumed this was a safe place to drop off people who they had just plucked from rooftops and then they sped off to rescue more people. And the crowd grew and grew. Some of the TV reporters had some reports about the chaos there, but they were long on hysteria and short on actual geography (since their national viewers would probably not recognize NOLA geography anyway) And besides the TV people were out-of-towners too.

Hence the National Guard chief who says he didn't even know about the Convention Center until Thursday afternoon. If the cops had expropriated the TV trucks and their comm gear they could have gotten information out a lot earlier.

cathy :-)


Welch later updated his story to note an arrest in the helicopter case.

John Thacker

New Orleans Chess Master Jude Acers appears to confirm reports of at least shooting at helicopters.

One horror I witnessed: people firing at military helicopters. Why?
Pierre Legrand

Sorry to rain on the parade of the Meme that the crime was overstated inside the Dome that looks to be starting up here but the Superdome was a terrible place where assaults, rapes and murders did in fact happen. Mother in Law served as a Pediatrician inside the Superdome from day one and she personally talked to one of the rape victims, indeed the foreign students took refuge with the Doctors after the rape.

Would the police have a record of it? Why would you expect them to? They had zero control of the situation, matter of fact several times they attempted to regain control of the Superdome and were rebuffed each time. It wasn't until the National Guard arrived in Force that the Dome was brought back into control....indeed my Mother in Law was more scared for her life on day 4 than day 2.

Was the Convention Center worse I would expect so since it was even less prepared, if that is possible to control the sorts of people running into it. But then that the Convention Center was worse doesn't make the Dome less dangerous. Both were absolutely out of control and the main players with responsibility for preventing the slide into the nightmare are the same folks that some of you believe you should ask about the crimes that happened there. Can anyone say "Conflict of interest"?

I know its hard to believe that a Major US City can descend into the sort of nightmare chaos described but get over it. Also get over asking the Police Department to comment on their failures, this is not to insult the many fine officers who went above and beyond the call of duty to help people, but it wasnt the leadership it was the rank and file who performed heroically. Remember that much of what was reported was based on first hand reports from the only sources that were on the scene, people like you and I who at times were alone to face the worst of humanity.

We musn't allow the Government officials to downplay the extent of their failure. The City and State Governments failed us terribly here in Louisiana...they placed us all in danger with their incompetence.

Pierre Legrand


If the media were really interested in doing their job, they would have allowed/encouraged local reporters to report on the city and use their airwaves to give an hourly update the nation. They would have offered those services to the governor.

But instead, the media choses to view this event as a third-world catastrophe where they all sit back and shake their collective head at the stupidity of such poor, dumb bastards. They've become too good to be one of us: American citizens. The people who give and the people who drop what they're doing to help others. The people who are ready and willing to sacrifice for another. The American citizens.

Pierre Legrand

Its hilarious to consider that I am defending the media but for once they got it right. Attacking the incompetence of the Government was EXACTLY the right way to report this tragedy. Anyone who believes that not reporting events like this needs to review.
1. Designate Superdome as Refuge of Last resort but don't supply it with food and water to last.
2. Don't correct the corruption of the Police Department then act surprised that many of them desert.
3. Don't correct the corruption of the Police Department then act surprised that they loot.
4. Designate Superdome as Refuge of Last resort but don't supply it with enough security even though the last time 14,000 refugees gathered for a hurricane they trashed the place.

On and on and focusing on the idiocy was EXACTLY what they should have done. We were a 3rd world nation for a week. It bears putting some focus on that aspect for a variety of reasons all having to do with making sure we wake up and realize that our governments don't function well on auto pilot and that we all have to have active roles in controlling that collection of thieves.

What the press did wrong was ignore all of that incompetence for the last 20 years.

Pierre Legrand


All the Old Gray Mare wants to do now is be the fact-based Democracy Now.


Les Nessman

One of the biggest hypes was that blubbering political hack, parish president Broussard. He got national media attention on Meet The Press when he hypocritically blasted the Feds with his lyrical "They're comin'on Tuesday ma. They're comin' on Wednesday ma..." Anyone else think his story was BS when they first saw it?
Turns out the 'icon' of N.O.'s woes was grossly exaggerating, some say lying, about his dramatic nursing home story. MSNBC is finally issuing a 'corrected' story, called it BS from the beginning.

Les Nessman, I meant.


Broussard has shamed his mother.


So FEMA's shipping ice to Maine:

"Rick Benn, who had been shepherding his load of ice from Indianapolis for two weeks, said he's worked disaster relief before but this was the worst. He couldn't understand why he trucked a load of ice all the way to the Deep South, waited for a week in Alabama, then hauled it to Northern New England.
"It's the government. What do you expect?" he said.

Still, he's being paid $800 a day. He would normally spend almost half that money on fuel but when he's waiting instead of hauling, his operating expenses are minimal.

Reeves, who is from New York, said he's gone from feeling upbeat about his disaster work, to feeling guilty.

"I thought I was doing some real good," he said.

The head of federal procurement was just arrested, Chertoff's chief of staff's new wife is nominated for head of immigration (and even Michelle Malkin calls bullshit), Iraq is a goddamn disaster, and you're advocating email sto the NYT.

At least you have your priorities straight.


Iraq's doing great. Check it out.

And Calame sounds worth writing to.


"Iraq's doing great. Check it out.

In one of the most lethal stretches for Americans in Iraq in recent months, nine soldiers and security officers were killed in four attacks in the past two days. British military officials in Basra, in the south, also faced harsh criticism from the Iraqi government on Tuesday over their siege of a police station there.

That's the duly elected purple finger Iraqi government there criticising Britain for rescuing British soldiers being held by local militiamen, reportedly part of el Sadr's organization....Yup. Great.


They got the two hostages.

Don't read MSM headlines if you want to know what is going on in Iraq. The al-Qaeda leadership is being rolled up. Stop living from one lethal attack on Americans to another.


And I thought the standard leftist thesis is that the Iraqi government is a pawn of the occupying forces. So how come they are criticizing them? That sounds a lot like autonomy.


Don't read MSM headlines if you want to know what is going on in Iraq. The al-Qaeda leadership is being rolled up. Stop living from one lethal attack on Americans to another.

US casualties for yesterday have now been updated. 12 Americans just yesterday. But pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Come live in kim-land instead. The water's fine.


My, you repeat your error.

Read Iraqi blogs and read what American armed forces members say about the war. Read how Sunni religious leaders are urging their followers to vote. Read about how the criminal terrorists in many places are no longer being given refuge. Read how suicide attackers are less and less willing.

You are myopic, and you can blame your news sources.

Information, the growth industry. Not in NYT land.


The media is stuck on stupid. New Orleans has been a haven for felons for several decades. Felons will be felons.


They could have used a governor on the model of De Witt Clinton.

I wish Bush could run again. My bumper sticker? Stuck On Stupid!



Sorry to rain on the parade...

I think the better metaphor would be "Wash out your Mardi Gras..."


I'm gonna wash that man right out a my bush, er, I mean, I'm gonna wash that Bush right out a my Mardi Gras.

To what extent is Bush's announcement to rebuild New Orleans higher and better influenced by his desire not to appear classist or racist? Is that desire, at least partly forced by warped MSM coverage, pushing us all into the wrong decisions about rebuilding? I don't know how to factor out that influence in the equation except to have an honest press or marginalize them completely.


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