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September 06, 2005

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TexasToast

I have a couple of quibbles - however strong the case may be that New Orleans did not have a responsible emergency plan, that does not excuse FEMA and Washington.

Thank you, Tom

TexasToast

BTW, I understand that Nagin was a republican Cable TV executive who switched parties to run for mayor.

millco88

Does Nagin's party affiliation really matter except to those that want to assign partisan blame? Incompetence is pretty bipartisan.

boris

if New Orleans was not ready, FEMA shoud have written some CYA memos

Oh please. Really? That's going to work so great (not).

Hey let's start right now and have the admin DHS go around writing CYA memos for every Democrat controlled part of the country and see just how much cooperation and support they get.

Sheesh. Throw the moonbats a bone on your own blog if you're going to post crap like that ...

what ...

oh, nevermind

Cecil Turner

"I understand that Nagin was a republican Cable TV executive who switched parties to run for mayor."

The apparent fascination with partisan politics undercuts most of the criticism. An assessment of his performance (in this case: dismal) ought to be more important than his party affiliation.

"however strong the case may be that New Orleans did not have a responsible emergency plan, that does not excuse FEMA and Washington."

No, but planning is (and ought to be) a local issue. And while I'm sure FEMA could've performed better, the most obvious problems were clearly local as well:

  • late evacuation
  • Superdome fiasco
  • looting/order breakdown
The federal bureaucracy's strengths are deep pockets and sustainability . . . not rapid response. Frantic cries for federal help 24-48 hours into a crisis is a pretty good indicator of local fecklessness.

Black Jack

There's only one "emergency plan" when a cat4 storm approaches New Orleans. Since the levee system is likely to fail, the plan is to get out of harm's way, the sooner you leave, the better.

For those who refuse to leave in time there must be a shelter of last resort, and for those lacking the ability and/or means to leave, there must be public transportation. Those with medical needs also must be attended and transported. However, the unencumbered must look after themselves, their families, friends, and neighbors.

Depending on others, especially distant federal officials, is as unlikely to produce satisfactory results as it is to prevent future storms. The Boy Scout Motto has it right, "Be Prepared."

TexasToast

">http://www.intel-dump.com/archives/archive_2005_09_04-2005_09_10.shtml#1125846248"> Phil Carter has an interesting post on this – pointing out that “all disasters are local”. He argues that “consequences management” is primarily a state and local issue and that “…disasters remain local, with local officials in charge of most facets of the consequences management response.”. He goes on to say;

Without a doubt, those local officials in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast were immediately overwhelmed by this disaster. So we should not heap a lot of blame on their shoulders. They were, quite literally, swamped.

My great worry here is this: if you set aside the causal mechanism, from a consequences management perspective, there is little difference between a terrorist attack and a major natural disaster. Whether a pocket nuke or a Cat V storm, the devastation is the same, although there are different HAZMAT and casualty issues for each type of event. We have had 4 years since 9/11 to get our act together with respect to responding to a major attack. We know a major attack is on the horizon. We must be ready.

Carter has an interesting paragraph on improving the Federal response.

PS I only mention the party in the light of Tom’s observation regarding criticizing a black democratic mayor (even though the current spin campaign shows that Karl is not at all hesitant to pin the tail on the soaked, flooded out, starved people of Louisiana).

inmypajamas

From a purely common sense and logistical viewpoint, I don't see how the federal government can effectively be considered the first line of defense for all the major US cities, just in case they have incompetent management. The major cities, especially with this lesson staring them in the face, can and must develop and implement their own plans. The federal government just can't play the role of Superman, ready to swoop down in any emergency and fix everything. The responsibilities are spread out, as they should be, with the locals, who supposedly are most familiar with their area's weaknesses and strengths, in charge on the front line. From what I have read, this is how it works, with the locals doing the assessments and requesting available back-up from the feds as needed. Bush seems to have been forced to tread a fine line between pushing the LA officials to do what they were supposed to do and keeping to legal guidelines as to when federal assistance can be moved in. Blanco is still pushing back against federal control, according to what I have read. The MS and AL officials seem to have been up to the task. FL seems to be able to work within the available system. Why are we not examining what those states do right in order to give all the other states good info they can use? Why can't we look at this as an opportunity to learn some real lessons on evacuating large areas and dealing with suddenly uninhabitable real estate?

I propose a modified "chickenhawk" meme for those who wish to whine about Bush's "evil incompetence" in front of their computers all day - you are a "Wendy Whiner" (remember her?) with no moral authority to speak on this issue unless you are out there donating money, rounding up donations or putting your keyboarding butt behind the wheel of a car and driving said money/donations to people who need it. My family (along with scores of others) has been busy all weekend donating money, time and groceries to our local church and scouts and my husband leaves tomorrow with a bunch of "Christers" to deliver what we have and help cut down trees. I have completely lost patience with people whose only concern is exposing the evil Bushitler and who can't lift their heads up off their keyboards long enough to see the world is a little bit bigger than they are.

boris

were immediately overwhelmed

Define immediately. They waited until the day the storm made landfall to mandate evacuation. So yeah, at that point the overwhelming was pretty immediate. Nobody to drive the buses and nowhere to go so why even try. All this would be a little easier to swallow except for the vilification of the feds for taking longer than 24 hours to arrive in force.

Cecil Turner

"Without a doubt, those local officials in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast were immediately overwhelmed by this disaster. So we should not heap a lot of blame on their shoulders."

Not sure that makes a lot of sense. Do the feds get the same pass by claiming they were "overwhelmed"? Besides, much of the blame is for things they should have done before the storm hit (e.g., a timely evacuation order; ensuring survivable police communications . . . sending people to a shelter without food and water was particularly inept).

"from a consequences management perspective, there is little difference between a terrorist attack and a major natural disaster."

Yeah, except for all the water, wanting people to stay put instead of move, and one being a federal responsibility while the other is local, it's pretty much the same as a bio attack.

SteveMG

Interesting sidebar story to this is that Blanco defeated Bobby Jindal in the gubernatorial race. A close one at that as many northern conservative Louisianans (but mostly Democrats) didn't want to vote for an Indian-American.

Jindal is now a Congressman representing Metairie. And served in the Bush Administration.

Might this whole thing have turned out differently - e.g., Governor Jindal allowing Feds to take control of the military - if Blanco had lost.

If's and but's.

Quick note: I live just outside of Mobile and have traveled extensively on the Gulf Coast. Been through about 12 hurricanes. This one just destroyed Gulfport and Biloxi and severely damaged the I-10 highway. That road, believe it or not, is four lanes (yep, 4) from roughly Mobile through Mississippi. My guess is part of the delay for FEMA/DHS was just getting the material around the mess down there.

SMG

Lesley

Those who wish to do us harm must be rubbing their hands together with delight watching our great country tear itself apart with partisan politics during these dangerous times in which we live. Enough of this hysteria and finger-pointing - the first and last refuge of the little man. Disasters happen, both natural and man-made. Its how we go forward from tragedy and destruction which shall mark our character and, thus, our destiny as a nation.

Strick

Check this out. It's been covered less fully by other bloggers. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune dated June of this year:

http://www.pnionline.com/dnblog/attytood/archives/002339.html

"By the way, here (from Nexis -- no link) is more of the Times-Picayune story from July 24 this year about the city's DVD warning. The story begins: 'City, state and federal emergency officials are preparing to give the poorest of New Orleans' poor a historically blunt message: In the event of a major hurricane, you're on your own.'"

"'You're responsible for your safety, and you should be responsible for the person next to you,' local Red Cross executive director Kay Wilkins explained to the Times-Picayune just six weeks ago. 'If you have some room to get that person out of town, the Red Cross will have a space for that person outside the area. We can help you. But we don't have the transportation.'

Ironically, the Red Cross has run a network of shelters in New Orleans in the event of hurricane warnings. But it decided several years ago not to open them for a Category 3 or stronger storm that it was more important to get people out of the below-sea-level area - despite the lack of any organized system for transporting them.

Indeed, as Katrina bore down on New Orleans last weekend, Mayor Ray Nagin marshalled a fleet of city buses - not to take the city’s poor out of town but to the large shelter at the Superdome, where civil order would fall apart as the week progressed.

'Keep in mind, a hurricane, a Cat 5, with high winds, is most likely will knock out all electricity in the city, and, therefore, the Superdome is not going to be a very comfortable place at some point in time,' Nagin warned on Sunday. 'So we're encouraging everyone to leave.'"

Forbes

The quibbling over politics is getting a little tiring, but I'll try to weigh in one more time to see if anyone understands how this works.

Emergency preparedness and response planning is a local responsibility. That's why these folks are called "first responders" (a recent term), and it's why they have the responsibility and authority to act in emergencies. Local authorities know their local conditions, at risk populations, mapping and topography, infrastructure networks, hazards, resources and facilities--both public and private, medical care, shelters, private charity emergency responders, etc.

It is disaster recovery--recovery in the aftermath of the disaster--that the feds share responsibility with the state and locals, due to resources (money, manpower, materiel) available outside the effected area that can be brought to bear AFTER the disaster (even if pre-positioning and readiness alerts are made before hand).
See for example this story on efforts:
www.csmonitor.com/2005/0830/p01s02-ussc.html
Disaster response times will be wholly dependant on infrastructure damage (which limits access) caused by the severity of the disaster. In this instance, massive infrastructure damage covered tens of thousands of square miles.

Whether as a result of a snowstorm, tornados, flooding, or other disaster, natural or man-made, the resulting blackout power outage can be expected to last weeks (creating a life-threatening hazard) when damage is across a widespread area. It will take days for rescuers to arrive if you have not been able to be evacuated to a safe and secure location--on your own, or with local assistance.

When people do not act to evacuate in the face of a well-forecast Cat-4/5 storm, they have nobody to blame but themselves. When those with first responder responsibility do not execute evacuation plans for their at risk populations, they have nobody to blame but themselves. These storms happen every year, all along the Carribean, Gulf, and Atlantic coast region. The death and distruction experienced by those in its path is known. It is not possible to make anyone free of this risk unless you remove yourself from the path of the storm.

If you think it is the government's responsibility to keep you free of risk, you need to grow up, because you're acting like a child.
;-)

kim

Hey, New Orleans has a charm against hurricanes. Haven't you heard?
====================================================

sam

If the federal government and agencies become "first responders" fot emergency preparedeness, why do we even have state and local governments?

cathyf
I have a couple of quibbles - however strong the case may be that New Orleans did not have a responsible emergency plan, that does not excuse FEMA and Washington. At a minimum, I would expect the Federal role to be that of Preparedness Auditor - if New Orleans was not ready, FEMA shoud have written some CYA memos and an appropriate Federal official should have noted their lack of preparedness in a CYA speech.

Having read parts of the NOLA disaster plan, I disagree that it was inadequate -- they just didn't follow it.

sending people to a shelter without food and water was particularly inept

The superdome was provisioned with 3 tanker trucks of water and 7 semi-loads of MREs. (I myself think that was a mistake -- they should have brought less food and more water. Dehydration kills in a couple of days, while starvation takes weeks.) So that shelter was provisioned. As for the convention center, nobody with any significant authority made it a "policy" to send people there. Virtually no one in charge seems to have even known that there were large numbers of people there until Thursday or Friday. Maybe the local government can be criticized for not guessing that people would go there, but that's a pretty big stretch. Of course the government not knowing that they were there for 2 days is directly attributable to the NOLA government not equiping their police with satillite phones, or at least nextel phones with the walkee-talkee feature.

cathy :-)

richard mcenroe

Let me get this partisan stuff out of my system.

Vote Democrat and Die.

There, that was easy.

boris

Vote Democrat and Die.

Plus ... you can still vote Democrat even after your dead !

syn

Difficult to show up to a business meeting expecting a particuliar agenda to be discussed only to find those in charge of the meeting offered an entirely different agenda.

FEMA is not designed to do the work that city officals were hired to do. FEMA showed up in NO only to find FEAM must now organize an entirely new plan on a moments notice.

The only way to solve such confusion is to insist that State and Local governments fulfill their part of the bargain. FEMA should be given the authority to check without giveng notice State and City evacuation policy and if those policies have been in drill. If State fail to assume responsiblity they lose Federal funding for disaster response. The State need to be held accountable to upholding their end of the bargain.

For example, the State of California must be having some sort of drill in place to make sure their populace understands the evacuation plan when a natural disaster, like an earthquake, hits California. Do they drill or are officals going to wait until after the disaster hits to inform the populace of proper evacuation procedure.

Actually, in the NO's evacuation plan it clearly states that NO run a yearly evacuation drill. So how come the last time NO actually practiced was in 2001?

Another suggestion is to insist that every member of Congress both Federal and State, plus the Governors and Mayors should all be required to read, as a monthly practice, the Consitutional law regarding separation of State and Federal powers.

Of course, the naysayers will insist that The Government spend billions to study questions which have such an obvious answer.

richard mcenroe

Boris -- That's Nawlins' largest constituency now. Nagin's work is done!

Seven Machos

Just my two cents -- I think Mickey Kaus (who I read every day) and his ilk are making a logical error of hurricane proportions here.

First of all, if the mayor of Louisiana can't make good decisions, or if the Louisiana governor can't make good decisions, what makes people think that the head of FEMA or -- heaven forfend -- that our idiot, moron, nincompoop, retard president would make better decisions?

I don't know if this fallacy has a name. I would call it the fallacy of the dictatorial chain of command. The idea seems to be that, somehow, if the decisions could have been made at the very tiptop of government, they would have been made well.

Secondly, was saving people really a question of resources? In a way, yes. You don't build a city in a G*ddam bowl next to a body of water that floods and produces hurricanes every year. But that was done, a long time ago, long before any of us were even around. In the short-term, in the days leading up to the flooding and death, could more resources really have helped?

What resources can prevent a hurricane? I posit that Louisiana did not lack resources. We've all seen the idle buses, for example. To the extent that resources were lacking, it was long-term engineering done over decades that trapped people and short-term absence of a plan and the local political will to get people the hell out.

How can the federal government provide the short-term resources that would have helped Louisiana? It can't. Had a good plan been in place, people could have been saved. If you can imagine a good plan, why should have the federal government have to or even be able to make it? State government is capable of this task. Moreover, what makes anyone think that federal planning WOULD BE any better? Have you dealt with the postal service lately?

The fact of the matter is this: because of fears of terrorism and natural disasters, people are willing to give away federalism, which means giving away limits on the power of central government. An unlimited central government almost always turns into a tyranny.

TM

Here is a pretty inclusive finger-pointer from the BBC.

Cecil Turner

"The superdome was provisioned with 3 tanker trucks of water and 7 semi-loads of MREs . . . So that shelter was provisioned."

Yes, should have specified "sufficient" food and water (especially water).

"As for the convention center, nobody with any significant authority made it a "policy" to send people there."

Wasn't aware of that, various news reports suggested they were (e.g., MSNBC: "They were told to go to the convention center"; and CNN: "The convention center is a place that people were told to go to because it would be safe. In fact, it is a scene of anarchy.")

kim

The BBC report points out two big bugaboos at which little of the current blame is being directed. One is the innate New Orleans belief that they were charmed against hurricanes and the other was the idiocy of building in a bowl below sealevel. Those two errors must be avoided in the future, or there'll be a recurrence.
=============================================

boris

Here is a pretty inclusive finger-pointer from the BBC.

the locals responded that Fema had been obstructive - it had, for example, stopped three truckloads of water sent by the store Wal-Mart
Actually in their effort to spread blame all about they blew this one.

From Redstate:

UPDATE: Sharon Weber of Wal-Mart called back. She said that last week, FEMA diverted those water trucks to "another location, which [FEMA] felt was in greater need than where they were headed." Weber emphasized that Wal-Mart would not override any FEMA decisions made in emergency situations. So Broussard, who claimed that Wal-Mart's aid was ourtight rejected, was wrong. Based on Wal-Mart's information, their trucks were taken where FEMA thought they were needed most. It would appear that the same story occurred with the Coast Guard fuel issue. Broussard said that FEMA wouldn't release the fuel to Jefferson Parish - but surely that fuel went somewhere else it was needed. Thanks to Wal-Mart's Sharon Weber for tracking down this information.
You all can be nice and evenhanded if y'all want. As far as I'm concerned it's the TANG memos all over again only this time lives were on the line when the blame game politics played out.

TexasToast

The city I grew up in - Houston - has just added 100,000 citizens. I left it 30 years ago, but they will probably stay. These are the people left behind when the people with the wherewithal to follow the evacuation order left- and they are my family's new neighbors.

My brother who leases space and lives in downtown Houston says that the reality is not an Oprah lovefest down at the Astrodome. Oprah came to the Astrodome, and they would only take her inside wearing gear suitable for chemical warfare. Jim says that there is a two tiered society down there - the pink wristbands of the volunteers and the orange wristbands of the refugees. He and his wife spoke to a "volunteer" who came from California to help and couldn't take the smell of feces and human bodies that haven't bathed in a while - a liberal with a big heart but a weak stomach.

I have never had much good to say about our governor – Rick Perry but he, Mayor White in Houston, and the rest of Texas – have stepped up like no one else. There are thousands of people in Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin – all over Texas. Don’t even try to find a motel room.

Etienne, you folks in New York may have the best government in the country – but we in Texas have the biggest hearts (and I seem to recall that there was similar anarchy in Queens when the power went out in one of those blackouts). So chill with the Yankee superiority.

Barbara Bush said a politically incorrect thing – that these people are better off after the storm. That is disgusting, but the ugly truth is they have nothing to go back to. They are staying. New Orleans is not the only city changed forever. Houston, and Texas, will never be the same.

TexasToast

So Boris - are you saying FEMA was in charge?

Your attemts to protect GWB are pathetic. BTW, very funny joke about the dead - you ane Richard are a real vaudaville act.

Cecil Turner

The BBC piece also implied FEMA had some say in the evacuation timing (surprising, since they noted the President lacked the authoriy to order one).

OpinionJournal's "Best of the Web" had links to an ABC poll which they summarized:

The results, which ABC News released Sunday, will be highly disappointing to the Angry Left: 55% of those polled do not blame President Bush for the storm's devastation, and although 67% think the federal government wasn't "adequately prepared," 75% say the same thing about state and local government.
They go on to quote John Podhoretz's take on the partisan divide on the issue:
Once again we see the gigantic divide in this country--not between Right and Left, but between people who live and breathe politics and those for whom politics are only an incidental part. You need to look at the world through political glasses to assume that THE key aspect of a natural disaster is the response or lack thereof of the authorities--whether they be local, state or federal. The president doesn't MAKE hurricanes, therefore he will not be blamed FOR hurricanes. Nor do the governor and the mayor.

TexasToast

Cecil

Thats an early poll. I'm curious to see the later results. Time to check out Mystery Pollster.

boris

are you saying FEMA was in charge?

Blanco was in charge and remains in charge. FEMA and active duty military serve at her pleasure. The LA national guard remains under her command. Her problem all along has been not getting what she wanted before she asked for it or even knew what to ask for.

As far as FEMA goes I simply pointed out a correction for just one out of the multitude of vile accusations from desperate clowns.

Apparently you consider such corrections pathetic and misguided. Figures.

boris

Thats an early poll. I'm curious to see the later results

Yes, I'll bet you were hoping the TANG memos would do their dirty work too. The corrosive effect of BDS on Democrat's judgement has very likely cost lives this time. But it's all good if W's numbers go down.

Geek, Esq.

The President doesn't get blamed for hurricanes.

But he does get blamed for an absolute lack of leadership.

And appointing incompetent political hacks like Brown and his underlings at FEMA to positions which make life and death decisions for thousands reflects a man more concerned with promoting the Republican party than saving American lives.

And then there's this story:

http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_3004197

That's right--George W. Bush's FEMA flew 1000 firefighters from across the country to Atlanta to do P.R. work for the agency.

To be fair, they did wind up flying some into Louisiana to help protect the President's #1 priority:

"Firefighters say they want to brave the heat, the debris-littered roads, the poisonous cottonmouth snakes and fire ants and travel into pockets of Louisiana where many people have yet to receive emergency aid.
But as specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas. "

The people of Louisiana will get the chance to hold their leaders accountable at the ballot box. I find it hilarious that many on the right whine that the morally bankrupt child they follow be held to account for his abominable conduct.

MaDr

Geek

What's your assessment of Nagin and Blanco? Referals to your earlier assesments would help.

As the vast majority have agreed, the overwhelming problem was all the citizens that couldn't leave NO. Who's responsibility was this?

Of all the citizens that couldn't/wouldn't
leave, who was responsible for providing sanctuary with adequate food, water, and security for 72 hrs until Fed resources, as per emergency planning, could be mobilized? Not what should have been, but who was responsible? Your Congress decided these things.

Who took FEMA out of directly reporting to the President and buried it in the biggest(most sluggish), bureacracy?

Who has primary responsibilty?
Secondary?
Is FEMA a "first responder?
Compare this FEMA response to previous FEMA responses. You do not need to point out the greater magnitude of this disaster.

I could go on, and on, and on, but start with these.

Jim Rockford

Geek -- what would you have had Bush do different? Personally go down to the Convention Center and pass out water bottles?

Bush and FEMA do not now or then control the National Guard, or command troops, or rescue helicopters, or anything else of that nature.

http://www.fema.gov/about/history.shtm

Basically, FEMA is a co-ordinating agency. Despite it's rather large budget it does not do search and rescue, or feeding lots of people on it's own. For Arms and Legs it depends on the Federal Govt; mostly military resources, and state and local resources.

ONCE Nagin (and Blanco by her demurring) made the decision to leave all those people in Katrina's path, death was inevitable. The State's own plan predicted it. Bush could not affect that.

The problem was Blanco's cowardice, unwilling to have white National Guardsmen shoot African American thugs who were shooting at rescue helicopters, medics, evacuating hospital patients, etc. It was Blanco that kept the City in "Escape from New York" mode with refugees prevented from walking out.

The main problem with FEMA is that the State did not talk to them (quite literally) or the City. There was no co-ordination and in that you are correct that Bush failed to provide leadership by not flying in Wed and forcing a "come to Jesus" meeting with the FEMA, Blanco, and Nagin. Staying on site and if it broke down as likely, using whatever thin legality (or acting extra-legally) to take control from Blanco and make decisions.

Photo ops or none; handing out water bottles or vacationing back at the ranch, all are irrelevant to the question of leadership. At BEST Bush could have affected things on the margins, by intervening on Wed. He should have done so. Firing Brown and Chertoff in the middle of the effort might have satisfied partisans but would be unlikely to have saved a single life (in fact, cost some as people get spun up on what's happening at a time when speed equals lives saved). It would have made Partisan Dems happy for Partisan reasons but nothing else. The problem was Blanco's paralysis and dithering. Which continues to this day.

patd95

Who cares what the GD BBC says. SOBs give aid and comfort for everyone from the IRA to radical islamic terrorists. As for Nagin and Blanco, these poor sods are just symptoms of the greater ill of banana republic politics of my beloved New Orleans. It's time to pay the fiddler. Every admin, every LA Rep/Congressman from 1960 to now needs to be in front of Congress for accountability. Disaster preparedness is an inheritence from subsequent administrations. There are scores of Corp of Engineer projects unfinished. There are billions of dollars misspent and abused by LA for levee protection. It's time to pay the fiddler, folks. It won't be pretty!

MaDr

Jim Rockford

Since the Left, predictably, started the finger pointing, then escalated to divining intents and motivations, let me disagree slightly with you on thre reason for Blanco's paralysis, etc. Blanco is the victim of her environment (not her fault). Graft and corruption is the LA way - don't worry, be happy. Long before Katrina hit, she was fighting the payment to FEMA of 30 mil, that LA lost/misspent/poor book keeping/etc.

Now why, with LA's (and her's) biggest payday ever coming, would you expect that she would do anything that would allow any Fed control with the inevitable Fed scrutiny, to occur? Believe me; I never use to be this cynical/critical/expecting the worst, but after 5 yrs of being tutored by the Left ....

Etienne

I've been wondering what boris is blabbering about with the TANG memos, but now I get it. With TANG, you had the truth - Bush's failure to serve honorably - and it became instead a story about typewriter fonts. Now we have a new truth - that our "starved beast" of a government is no longer capable of responding even as well as a Third World government to a disaster- and we are going to spend our time instead talking about parked school busses.

We deserve the government we get. I'm sorry to Texas Toast if he thinks I'm boasting about Yankee superiority. My point all along is not addressed to the human beings involved, but to the governments that failed them. It has been beyond frustrating these past five years to listen to cackling, patronizing lectures from "drown the government " conservatives who belong primarily to states where the governments simply DO NOT function. They don't educate their kids. They don't pull their people out of poverty. They don't support their infrastructure. They don't keep their people healthy. They don't provide basic security from gun violence. They should be modeling themselves after our successful Northeastern governments, not ridiculing them. Now once again, the wealthy blue states will be bailing out the impoverished red ones. Because the government the red states forced on the US did not secure the infrastructure, did not create a wholesome society for its poor, did not oversee realistic escape planning (as we will also need in the case of an attack). Whether you call it Dem or Repub, I call it red state incompetence, the same incompetence that now permeates our ruined federal government.

kim

By golly, you're marvelous, Etienne. You've re-invented racism and left out the color.

And the TANG memos represented the truth? Fly back, little winged monkey, you got the message wrong.
========================================

Etienne

Respond to the salient point: Starving the beast of government creates a government less capable than a Third World nation of responding to a disaster. Whether through defunding the infrastructure, or ignoring the reality of the masses of poor it has created, or not being able to negotiate bureaucracy to the point of airdropping pallets of water...If you don't PAY for government, you don't HAVE government services. This is not difficult.

Tom Friedman had a nice image today in his editorial of Grover Norquist sitting on his rooftop in a drowned house expecting to be rescued by a government helicopter. Too bad that karma is rarely so tidy.

kim

Here's a hint, Etienne. It was a Rovian plot.
===================================================

kim

Starving the beast of Louisiana government? Do you have any idea of the money squandered there, meant for disaster protection?
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syn

Etienne

With the highest city tax rate in the country, you are deluding yourself into believing NYC is anywhere near perfect. Yeah, Bloomberg is a RINO but the city is in Democrat control. If our city government continues to waste Guiliani's economic expansion plan by stealing more of the tax payers money, more from small business, more from landlords you are going to be Left with a city vacant of people who actually PAY these high taxes. Our economy in NYC is moving backwards to the days pre-Guiliani, and this ain't good. After Socialism drives out the income earners(ie tax payers) who will be Left to pay taxes for your Socialist Utopian services.

Me, I'm going to a State and City which are against the ravaging criminal effects of Utopian Socialism. A city which openly protects hate-American, social anarchists while leaving law-abiding citizens defendless unable to obtain a gun permit for self-defense.

I am sure you won't miss me, but I am confident you will miss having my tax dollars to maintain your Utopian lifestyle.


syn

Should had read "Leaving a city which opening protects hate-American, social anarchists while leaving law-abiding citizens defenseless unable to obtain a gun permit for self-defense"

kim

She still hasn't explained why the bluest cities have the highest taxes and the lousiest schools.
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Cecil Turner

"My point all along is . . . states where the governments simply DO NOT function. . . . They should be modeling themselves after our successful Northeastern governments . . . Because the government the red states forced on the US . . ."

Couple logical disconnects there: if the problem is the federal government (that the red states "forced" on the US), it ought to be dragging down your Northeastern governments as well, no? And the gist of your argument appears to be an unsuccessful attempt to convince others to adopt your preferred style of government, rather than a complaint over having a distasteful style of government forced upon you. (It's also hard to imagine how anyone could resist such a masterful bit of marketing.)

boris

logical disconnects

In order to have a logical disconnect there first needs to be a logical connect. Aint never been none no how.

boris

The connection to the TANG memos is partisan professionals destroying themselves with blinkered judgement to get W. In this tragic disaster the words and behavior of Blanco and her advisors have that distinct aroma of political mistrust and preemptive self defense. At every critical juncture we find out that W was in the wings calling out the proper play and Blanco was second guessing based on political considerations and partisan suspicion.

There's no proof that a single life would have been spared had she listened but since things turned out rather badly she has a lot to answer for.

Maybe governor Jeb has the advantage of more experience or his president brother, but there sure has been a big difference in the result. Blanco should have relied on the experienced advice.

Geek, Esq.

"Bush and FEMA do not now or then control the National Guard, or command troops, or rescue helicopters, or anything else of that nature."

You're right. Some idiots out there are assuming that the Commander in Chief has the ability to command troops.

Amazing the hoops that people will jump through to defend the indefensible.

"It's a national crisis--what more can the President and federal government do besides stage photo-ops? What more do you libruls want--he already canceled THREE WHOLE DAYS of vacation time?!?!?"

boris

Amazing the hoops that people will jump through to defend the indefensible.

Like pointing out that the TANG memos were fake. The hysterical hyperbole is getting stale.

syn

Geek, Esq

The President does not have the power to command the National Guard unless given authorization (executive order) by the Governor. Nor is the President allowed by law to send in federal military unless authorized by the Governor. In case of LA, Gov. Blanco failed to issue her Executive order. Though the Governor allowed federal military to come in providing ONLY humanitarian assistance while leaving law enforcement duties to her National Guards members.

Great, so now soliders who are not LA Guardsmen are left open to attacks because they are left unable to defend themselves because Gov Blanco can't make up her mind as to what to do about the out-of-control situation she created.

National Guards are commanded by the Governor. Governors authorize the President to use National Guard members, not the other way around.

Gov. Blanco is at this very moment in charge of her State's National Guard, not the President.

Geez, do you even understand the basic concept of separation of State power and Federal power? Or, do you believe we are living in the State of America in which we are all governed by one centralized government run by The Man.

Do some people really believe we live in Cuba, or what?

Etienne

Nice points by none other than Christopher Hitchens this morning:
Well, in terms of political psyche, shall we say, it's good for the Democrats in about five different ways. One, it reminds people of the existence of the underclass, which tends to be downplayed, shall we say, by the Republican Party. Second it reminds people of the importance of government spending and government services, again, I think the same intuitive or subliminal point applies. Third it makes it at a populous level anyway harder to make a solid case for Iraq, though it doesn't really alter the case about whether you think the war is a just or necessary one. And then fourthly, it reflects very badly on the personality of the President himself. So this is not, I think, a transient story. This is not something that is going to be confined to the Weather Channel, shall we say. I think it will be remembered as a hinge event in the second term.

I'll leave off defending my beautiful region. These points are now making themselves. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

(although gotta ask kim, what world are you living in when it comes to schools? You don't even graduate HALF of your high schoolers down there. Wake up.)

Steven J.

Incompetence is pretty bipartisan.

Posted by: millco88

The top 3 FEMA officials are incompetent.

Brown was an estate planning lawyer who previously spent 11 years overseeing judges and stewards for the Internation Arabian Horse Association.

The Chief of Staff is a guy named Patrick Rhode. He planned events for President Bush’s campaign. Rhode has no emergency management experience whatsoever.

The Deputy Chief of Staff is Scott Morris. He was a press flak for Bush’s presidential campaign. Previously, he worked for the company that produced Bush’s campaign commercials. He also has no emergency management experience.

Steven J.

I don't see how the federal government can effectively be considered the first line of defense for all the major US cities,

Isn't that one of the justifications for the war in Iraq?

Etienne

Reflects very badly on the personality of the President...mmmm, I'll say. Prancing around in California for three days, praising his Arabian Horse lawyer, whining about blame, diverting volunteer firefighters for photo ops to make himself look manly. I'd say last week's "CEO of the world" is looking rather pansy ass this week.

Steven J.

They waited until the day the storm made landfall to mandate evacuation.

Mayor Nagin issued a mandatory order on Sunday, Aug. 28th, a day before Katrina hit.

Steven J.

And the TANG memos represented the truth?

Did you ever find anyone who saw Bush train in Alabama?

Didn't think so.

Steven J.

SYN - Nor is the President allowed by law to send in federal military unless authorized by the Governor.

Wrong again -

Bush had the legal authority to order the National Guard to the disaster area himself, as he did after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. In addition to Guard help, the federal government could have activated, but did not, a major air support plan under a pre-existing contract with airlines. The program, called Civilian Reserve Air Fleet, lets the government quickly put private cargo and passenger planes into service.


Congress likely to probe Guard delay
By SHARON THEIMER
Associated Press Writer
Sep 3, 9:51 AM EDT
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/K/KATRINA_NATIONAL_GUARD?SITE=AZTUS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Steven J.

Starving the beast of Louisiana government? Do you have any idea of the money squandered there, meant for disaster protection?
Posted by: kim

Do you have any links for this remarkabla claim?

Steven J.

AMAZING -

FEMA tells city to prepare for planeload of evacuees. City prepares. Plane lands at a city with a similar name 500 miles away.

(NPR)

Why does Michael Brown still have a job?

Steven J.

it is especially tricky for the Bush folks to find a graceful way to tell the world that a black Democrat is incompetent

The last hurricane evacuation in NO only managed to get 60% out. This one managed to get 80% out.

richard mcenroe

Steve J — Because he can only fly one airplane at a time.

richard mcenroe

Steve J. — "Bush had the legal authority to order the National Guard to the disaster area himself..." Under what legislation? And did Bush send in the Guard, or Governor Pataki?

And let's say, for shits'n'giggles, Bush activated the CRAF. Given than Katrina was still disrupting air traffic across the south days after it hit New Orleans, where were they going to fly? And where in New Orleans were they going to land?

richard mcenroe

Steve J. — Governor Pataki. Like I thought. You have no idea what you're talking about.

Geek, Esq.

Syn:

Did Michael Brown need Blanco's permission to do his job?

Also, please note that federal troops may be deployed without the consent of the governor--they just can't be used in a law enforcement capacity.

syn

Actually Geek
Michael Brown needed LA State's disaster plan to be fully implemented by both State and Local adminstrations BEFORE Brown arrived. Since the LA State government failed to implement their disaster plan due to disasterous indecision and inept leadership, Brown was left scrambling to formulate an entirely new plan under absolutely dire conditions.

Forcryinoutloud, tell me how it possible for one person (or one organization) to have the ability to fully understand the inner workings of each and every State and all their cities. This is why we have Governors and Mayors as first responders, to direct FEMA assistance!

And yes, I pointed out the law enforcment issue in my comment.

Steven J.

Steve J. — Governor Pataki. Like I thought. You have no idea what you're talking about.

Posted by: richard mcenroe
---------------------------------

LOL - Pataki called out the NYS National Guard. Bush added the National Guard of ther states.

Steven J.

SYN - "Michael Brown needed LA State's disaster plan to be fully implemented by both State and Local adminstrations BEFORE Brown arrived."

LMFAO - not at all. If you look at page 43 of the NRP at the DHS site, you will see all the pro-active steps FEMA can atke.

DHS MASTER PLAN --

http://www.dhs.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/NRP_FullText.pdf

Cecil Turner

"Mayor Nagin issued a mandatory order on Sunday, Aug. 28th, a day before Katrina hit."

Perhaps technically correct, but since Katrina made landfall at 6:10 am Monday, evacuation had to be complete by Sunday evening. Starting noonish on Sunday was obviously not optimal. As Brendan Loy put it on Saturday:

Traffic isn't terribly bad on the roads leading out of New Orleans right now, according to Jeff Morrow on The Weather Channel. Specifically, he says the road to Baton Rouge is pretty clear. So now is still a good time to evacuate. When the idiot mayor finally announces the mandatory evacuation order tomorrow morning, that will change. [emphasis in original]
And even at that, Nagin had to be prompted:
In an interview on Eyewitness News, Nagin said his Saturday night dinner was interrupted by an urgent call from Governor Kathleen Blanco who asked Nagin to call the Hurricane Center.
Though that was probably all Bush's fault as well:
Gov. Kathleen Blanco, standing beside the mayor at a news conference, said President Bush called and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation for the low-lying city, which is prone to flooding.

Steven J.

CECIL -

You were wrong. Just admit that and slink away.

Etienne

This really puts it all in perspective: Katrina Timeline. Wow.

Blithering incompetence, apathy and neglect. And now they've got their drones out here spouting "Blame the locals." What cowardly little weasels.

Cecil Turner

"You were wrong. Just admit that and slink away."

In case you missed it, we're discussing a quote from Boris. And if we're being picky, "a day before" is no more correct than "the day the storm made landfall" since 24 hours had not elapsed ("the day before" would be accurate from your standpoint, and "within 24 hours of landfall" from Boris's). In any event, it was "too late."

Steven J.

CECIL - In case you missed it, we're discussing a quote from Boris.

My bad.

spencer

Texas Toast -- did you interview the California volunteer?

How do you know she was a liberal?

Can you document that she was not a Republican?

boris

Flower girl, that timeline is bogus.

On Friday night before the storm hit Max Mayfield of the National Hurricane Center took the unprecedented action of calling Nagin and Blanco personally to plead with them to begin MANDATORY evacuation of NO and they said they'd take it under consideration. This was after the NOAA buoy 240 miles south had recorded 68' waves before it was destroyed.

President Bush spent Friday afternoon and evening in meetings with his advisors and administrators drafting all of the paperwork required for a state to request federal assistance (and not be in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act or having to enact the Insurgency Act). Just before midnight Friday evening the President called Governor Blanco and pleaded with her to sign the request papers so the federal government and the military could legally begin mobilization and call up. He was told that they didn't think it necessary for the federal government to be involved yet. After the President's final call to the governor she held meetings with her staff to discuss the political ramifications of bringing federal forces. It was decided that if they allowed federal assistance it would make it look as if they had failed so it was agreed upon that the feds would not be invited in.

Saturday before the storm hit the President again called Blanco and Nagin requesting they please sign the papers requesting federal assistance, that they declare the state an emergency area, and begin mandatory evacuation. After a personal plea from the President Nagin agreed to order an evacuation, but it would not be a full mandatory evacuation, and the governor still refused to sign the papers requesting and authorizing federal action. In frustration the President declared the area a national disaster area before the state of Louisiana did so he could legally begin some advanced preparations. Rumor has it that the President's legal advisers were looking into the ramifications of using the insurgency act to bypass the Constitutional requirement that a state request federal aid before the federal government can move into state with troops but that had not been done since 1906 and the Constitutionality of it was called into question to use before the disaster..

More documentation that at every critical juncture W was calling in the proper play and Blanco was second guessing based on political considerations and partisan suspicion.


boris

Thanks Cecil, that was the context of my comment. I was assuming general knowledge of the basic timeline and the fact that the mandatory evac came only 14 hours before landfall.

Etienne

No, boris, that timeline is accurate and 100% sourced to original sources. It deals entirely in objective fact, unlike your unsourced quote, which I am guessing relies entirely on that font of propaganda, "the anonymous senior administration official".

Geek, Esq.

Got a link for that, Boris?

boris

It's bloq scuttlebutt. Like the fakeness of the TANG memos. Coming from those who still claim the memos were fake but accurate and those who say the swiftboat vets should be shot, I'm just not very concerned with establishig veracity to moonbat demanders.

Geek, Esq.

Boris gets the chutzpah award for making stuff up and then calling a fully sourced article bogus.

Geek, Esq.

And, FEMA apologist Syn and Bush hagiographer Boris need to get on the same wavelength. According to Boris, FEMA was fully authorized to act well before Katrina hit.

What say you, Syn?

Etienne

This one also bears repeating, Bush using Firefighters as Props, to pretend he's a real man. Gee, it worked the first time.

On Monday, some firefighters stuck in the staging area at the Sheraton peeled off their FEMA-issued shirts and stuffed them in backpacks, saying they refuse to represent the federal agency.

Federal officials are unapologetic.

A false front PR job in lieu of responsible government leadership.

boris

making stuff up

You mean like the TANG memos?
It locks in a lot of bits picked up elsewhere (WaPost for example) and looks coherent and verifiable. We'll know soon enough, but in the meantime it makes more sense than the constant hysteria coming from moonbat central talking points.

Etienne

Keep up the insults, boris. You got nothing.

To put it another way, if you didn't have RNC talking points, you wouldn't have no points at all.

Steven J.

BORIS - "Coming from those who still claim the memos were fake but accurate "

Do you an eyewitness who claims Bush trained in Alabama?
.
.
.

Didn't think so.

Steven J.

BORIS - In frustration the President declared the area a national disaster area before the state of Louisiana did

1) LA can't declare itself a NATIONAL disaster area.

2) Blanco declared a state of emergency (SOE) in LA on Aug. 26th. http://gov.louisiana.gov/2005%20%20proclamations/48pro2005-Emergency-HurricaneKatrina.pdf

3) Bush declared an SOE on the 27th
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/08/20050827-1.html

Steven J.

Thanks Cecil, that was the context of my comment. I was assuming general knowledge of the basic timeline and the fact that the mandatory evac came only 14 hours before landfall.

Mayor Nagin issued the mandatory at 10 AM Sunday, Katrina hit land 7 AM Monday.

I count 21 hours.


Steven J.

Saturday before the storm hit the President again called Blanco and Nagin requesting they please sign the papers requesting federal assistance,

The declaration Blanco signed on Thursday the 26th was sufficient to trigger federral assistance:

http://gov.louisiana.gov/2005%20%20proclamations/48pro2005-Emergency-HurricaneKatrina.pdf

Appalled Moderate

Though it won't change the closed minds talking past each other in this thread, I would suggest taking a look at belgravia dispatch's take on this. I don't see why anyone is wasting pixels defending any of the elected executives who collectively mismanaged this thing. There are a number of available excuses for each wrong choice made, but, c'mon folks, everyone knew that something like this was going to happen to New Orleans some day, and the lack of planning at all levels of government is something that should sober all of us.

Steven J.

APPALLED - everyone knew that something like this was going to happen to New Orleans some day, and the lack of planning at all levels of government is something that should sober all of us.

I think the locals did about the best they could although SYL linked to a Red Cross FAQ that stated local emergency officials kept them out of NO in the days immediately after. That is inexcusable.

In addition to the lack of planning, I am also disheartened by the Administration. First there was Bush claiming that no one could have foreseen the levess breaching despite several reports saying this is exactly what could happen.

Second, Chertoff and Brown don't even watch television or read newspapers. Both of them made many statements that were clearly false to anyone following the news. A great example of this is Chertoff's claim that he read the headline "NO dodges a bullet" in the papers Tuesday morning. I don't know what papers Chertoff is referring to but that was not how the WaPo, the NYT and even the WashTimes covered the story.

boris

The declaration Blanco signed on Thursday the 26th was sufficient to trigger federral assistance:

Funding.

Steven J.

Though it won't change the closed minds talking past each other in this thread

This is a false and immoral equivalency. Posters like Boris are notorious for ignoring any and all facts that make Bush look like the Fredo he really is.

Steven J.

BORIS -

No, much more than funding. This is from DHS's National Response Plan:

The NRP establishes policies, procedures, and
mechanisms for proactive Federal response to
catastrophic events.
A catastrophic event could result in sustained national impacts over a
prolonged period of time; almost immediately exceeds resources normally available to State, local, tribal, and private-sector authorities in the impacted area; and
significantly interrupts governmental operations and emergency services to such an extent that national security could be threatened.

Guiding principles for proactive Federal response include the following:

¡ The primary mission is to save lives; protect critical infrastructure, property, and the environment;
contain the event; and preserve national security.
¡ Standard procedures regarding requests for assistance may be expedited or, under extreme circumstances, suspended in the immediate aftermath of an event of
catastrophic magnitude.

dmc

What movitation would New Orleans (or any U.S. city) have to prepare for disasters if it knew the federal government would pick up the slack? And keep in mind, such a federal "backup" is not cost-free; it takes money to keep federal disaster teams and infrastructure idle on the scale you're suggesting.

Geek, Esq.

Though it won't change the closed minds talking past each other in this thread, I would suggest taking a look at belgravia dispatch's take on this. I don't see why anyone is wasting pixels defending any of the elected executives who collectively mismanaged this thing. There are a number of available excuses for each wrong choice made, but, c'mon folks, everyone knew that something like this was going to happen to New Orleans some day, and the lack of planning at all levels of government is something that should sober all of us.

I agree. And if I was living in the area, there's no way Nagin or Blanco would get my vote in the future.

I'm just stunned by the folks on the right who think that Bush's tendency to rely on excuses makes him a strong and effective leader.

boris

he Democratic governor, who has clashed behind the scenes with the Bush administration since the storm hit, refused.

There it is. WaTimes and WaPost agree on this basic element. They must have been clashing about something. Somehow I don't think Jeb and W do much clashing during disasters so it's reasonable to suspect one was playing partisan politics.

The overwhelming evidence of BDS on this blog and elsewhere leads me to suspect it in Blanco as well. All reports of her reasons sound defensive and political.

Etienne

I'm just stunned by the folks on the right who think that Bush's tendency to rely on excuses makes him a strong and effective leader.

The time for being stunned is long past. It's a fact that the cultish love for the Pansy Ass-ed One has become unnatural at this point. Historians will need degrees in psychology to even begin to explain it.

Lurking Observer

So, w/ all the folks who are arguing that the Federal Government should, if it feels it necessary, step in and remove the reins of power from local authorities, I have to inquire:

How many folks here believe in DC-statehood? Given the longstanding history of incompetence and mismanagement, not to mention outright criminality, on the part of the top DC leadership (Marion "the b***h set me up!" Barry, anyone?), is it reasonable to say that DC has not yet earned the right to self-government?

Conversely, if local autonomy is sacrosanct, whatever the level of competency, at what point is it no longer interference for the Feds to take over?

Etienne

Somehow this became a discussion about whether or not the feds should have taken control of the rescue operation out of the hands of the state. Is that the only question here? What about all the other operations the fed could have been providing - primarily transport, communications, medical care and ferchrissake, WATER!

It's about realizing that four years after 9/11, and one year after Cheney promised his one party rule would "need no permission slip to defend America", we have come to understand the federal government has not coordinated with the states, on even the most primitive level, a plan for dealing with catastrophic disasters, and that our federal government, in this new age of "small" government, is so clogged in red tape that it required hoops of permission slips just to get people water.

It's also about the fact that the pansy ass who was sold to us as the ultimate leader felt it was appropriate to prance around California for three days after declaring an emergency,playing politics as usual, rather than marshalling the nation's resources and ensuring the safety of his citizens.

This "leader" has not been since able to come up with any more compelling response than crudely staged photo ops and unleashing his media attack dogs on the local authorities, so long as they are Democrats.

State and local executives will hear from their constituents in the days to come. But we are ALL constituents of this oblivious pansy ass. He works for us. We all have the right to put him on the hot seat, because his failure in New Orleans could be revisited on your own hometown at any given moment. His failure reminds us how much we are all at risk, with him as our hollow, PR managed "leader".

For Truman, the buck stopped HERE. With Bush, it always stops THERE. The mark of an incompetent, a charlatan and a coward, which we had all received ample warning that he was.

Steven J.

PRES. FREDO IS PSYCHOTIC:

At a news conference, Pelosi, D-Calif., said Bush's choice for head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency had ''absolutely no credentials.''
She related that she had urged Bush at the White House on Tuesday to fire Michael Brown.
''He said 'Why would I do that?''' Pelosi said.
'''I said because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week.' And he said 'What didn't go right?'''
''Oblivious, in denial, dangerous,'' she added.

http://nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-Katrina-Washington.html?hp&ex=1126152000&en=4af1952a8a967c88&ei=5094&partner=homepage

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