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This was posted by a Clarkie over at the Securing America:

Just to give you a sense of just how badly FEMA has f*cked up.
Posted by Clark Warner on September 3, 2005 - 2:23pm.
This is beyond my comprehension and after spending two frustrating days trying to just get someone to let us help we've FINNALLY been told we can conduct "renegade" boat rescues via the just concluded press conference that Gov. Blanco just held.

Why is this JUST NOW being allowed? Well let's start from the very beginning.

On Wednesday morning a group of approximately 1,000 citizens pulling 500 boats left the Acadiana Mall in Lafayette in the early morning and headed to New Orleans with a police escort from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department. The flotillia of trucks pulling boats stretched over FIVE miles. This citizen rescue group was organized by La. State Senator, Nick Gautreaux from Vermilion Parish. The group was comprised of experienced boaters, licensed fishermen and hunters, people who have spent their entire adult life and teenage years on the waterways of Louisiana.

More below the fold

The State Police waved the flotillia of trucks/boats through the barricades in LaPlace and we sped into New Orleans via I-10 until past the airport and near the Clearview exit. At that time we were stopped by agents of the FEMA controlled La. Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries.

A young DWF agent strolled through the boats and told approximately half of the citizens that their boats were too large because the water had dropped during the night and that they should turn around and go home.

They were pulling a large (24ft) shallow draft aluminum boat that can safely carry 12 passengers and had ramp access which would allow the elderly and infirm to have easier access to the boat. They then politely informed the DWF agent that the local and national media had consistently reported that the water level had risen during the night which contradicted his statement to them that the water was dropping and no boat over 16ft. in length would be allowed to participate in rescue operations.

They then specifically asked the DWF agent that they (and other citizens in the flotillia) be allowed to go to the hospitals and help evacuate the sick and the doctors and nurses stranded there. They offered to bring these people back to Lafayette, in our own vehicles, in order to ensure that they received proper and prompt medical care.

The DWF agent did not want to hear this and ordered them home -- ALL FIVE HUNDRED BOATS. They complied with the DWF agent's orders, turned around and headed back to Lafayette along with half of the flotillia. However, two friends were pulling a smaller 15ft alumaweld with a 25 hp. The DWF agents let them through to proceed to the rescue operation launch site.

They were allowed to drive to the launch site where the FEMA controlled La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries were launching their rescue operations (via boat). They reported to me that there were over 200 DWF agents just standing around and doing nothing. They were kept there for approximately 3 hours. During that time they observed a large number of DWF agents doing absolutely nothing. Why? Because FEMA would n ot let them HELP! After three hours had passed they were told that they were not needed and should go home. They complied with the DWF's orders and turned around and went home to Lafayette.

Watching CNN later that night, there was a telephone interview with a Nurse trapped in Charity Hospital in New Orleans. She said that there were over 1,000 people trapped inside of the hospital and that the doctors and nurses had zero medical supplies, no diesel to run the generators and that only three people had been rescued from the hospital since the Hurricane hit!

I can't come up with one logical reason why the DWF sent this large group of 500 boats/1000 men home when we surely could have rescued most, if not all, of the people trapped in Charity Hospital. Further, we had the means to immediately transport these people to hospitals in Southwest Louisiana.

On Tuesday afternoon, August 30, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee asked for all citizens with boats to come to the aid of Jefferson Parish. A short time later Dwight Landreneau, the head of the La. Depart. of Wildlife and Fisheries, got on television and remarked that his agency had things under control and citizen help was not needed. Apparently, Sheriff Lee did not agree with that assessment and had one of his deputies provide the Lafayette flotillia with an escort into Jefferson Parish.

Sheriff Lee and Senator Gautreaux - 1000 of Louisiana's citizens responded to the public's pleas for help. They were prevented from helping by Dwight Landreneau's agency, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries which had been taken over by FEMA. When I learned that Charity Hospital has not been evacuated and that no one has been there to attempt a rescue, I became angry.

It was because of this that my friend and I have been trying launch boats both yesterday and today but to no avail. It looks like FINALLY the Governor has just said SCREW FEMA, get those boats in the water and help save my citizens.

So I think we'll be in the water tomorrow to help but for now I'm immensely frustrated.

If there is anyone on the CCN that is in the Baton Rouge area we are meeting today at the LA State Dem Party HQ at 2pm CST to game out tomorrow.

Originally posted to pelican on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 02:17 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Important Story (4.00)
    It is important that eyewitnesses tell their stories.  That is the only way that the history of this disaster can be told.  Thanks for posting.
    •  The computer folks... (4.00)
      ...who were wondering over the last couple of days what they should do?  They should be creating a database/clearinghouse for eyewitness reports, non-sanctioned photos, citizen video, etc...because otherwise these stories will be hastily swept under the rug.
      •  Seconded.... (4.00)
        An EXCELLENT idea. The facts, the evidence, is all on our side. We need to the Republican Noise Machine with maximum firepower - everything we've got - hard.
      •  One timeline started here....... (4.00)
        Timeline of Reaction of Katrina News

        rba is trying to construct a timeline of the reaction (or non reaction) to the official announcements in the run up to Katrina's landfall on the Gulf Coast.

        Come help construct that timeline or start another on  another Katrina related topic. We need to establish the facts in a concise fashion to counteract the propaganda machine.  

      •  Furthermore... (4.00)
        There needs to be a collection of all news stories, official reports, professional assessments, and eyewitness accounts of each and every step of the hurricane.

        The buildup, the pre-strike, the evacuation, the strike, the so on and so forth.

        We here at DKos don't have any special secret info that isn't publically available (more or less) and the only challenge is aided greatly by computerization: collecting and organizing the data.

        I would propose (though i'm not really available to assist) a single "DKos issue analyzer" program be built that can be adopted to other things. For example: Iraq, the DSM, electoral fraud, and so forth.

        The Shapeshifter's Blog -- Politics, Philosophy, and Madness!

        by Shapeshifter on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:21:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely (none)
        I recently read a new book about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake/fire... Apparently during the 1920s students one of the local colleges (Stanford?) interviewed hundreds of survivors and stored cabinet- and closet-sized archives of primary accounts of that calamity. A few years later, all of it was inadvertently thrown out. So let's start getting firsthand information and begin SAVING IT PERMANENTLY.
      •  This reminds me of the EIRS (none)
        (Election Incident Reporting Survey), run by a coalition of groups, including Verified Voting Foundation. Same kind of issues. We're in the process of gearing up for a handful of November elections and we're very short on resources. But you could at least contact us (especially the people more knowledgable than I am) for advice on what could be done in that amount of time -- names of software packages that could be used, etc. Send me e-mail (Yahoo address: alanfordean) or contact VV directly via their site.

        "There's more than one answer to these questions, pointing me in a crooked line" - Indigo Girls

        by AlanF on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 05:05:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's happening... (none)
        It's already happening...

        Who needs a custom database when you've got google?  If you want a custom database at some point, just have it spider google's search results and process them down.

        •  This is short-sighted and presumptuous (none)
          That may be "the solution: for YOU and other highly tech-competent people, but I assure you, most people are not that savvy with the web, and many not even on the web.

          While google most definitely IS the greatest search resource around, as someone else said, stuff expires on sites, and not everything gets spidered.

          I agree that more formal infrastructure needs to be built now. If we all recall, this was done for 9/11 - and yet 9/11 was so big, with so many facets, that there is no one source for it all. There must be 1000 relevant and unique sites related to 9/11 , people's stories, the unfloding of the events, the annotated timelines, etc.

          THIS IS AN INFORMATION DESIGN task, not a "click on Google" insta-solution.

 | portal for connecting, info

          by rhfactor on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 08:38:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Complexity (none)
            The problem is that creating a single system for tracking such information is not trivial.  I mean creating the code and the data structures and all of that is all well and good.  The problem is getting all of these people to put their information there and making sure that the information is well vetted, organized, etc.

            This is not an information design task, the design is trivial.  It's coordinating a large group of people to do something in a consistent way.  Furthermore, even as far as the design and building goes, it would take some time to do that and by the time it's done, the moment is past.

            Frankly it would be far more useful to design a system that searches and archives the useful information from countless other sites in a generic way.  So then you can have a system that will catalog useful stories on Google, and countless other places.  

        •  Suppose Google is crashed? (none)
          Suppose it's bought by Republican strategists?  Suppose it's seized by the FBI, or an "eminent domain" argument is made to have it taken over by the <strike>Gestapo</strike> Department of Homeland Security?  Suppose a suitcase nuke takes out their servers?

          Don't just depend on Google like it's a public repository.  Regardless of how unstoppable they look right now as a company, in 20 years they might not be there at all.

          I don't think anybody anticipated what a colossal fuckup Bush would be as President of the United States.

          by slippytoad on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 03:38:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Please spec it out and post in a diary (none)
        And then send me a link so that I can forward it to the people over at Drupal, CivicSpaceLabs and other open-source projects that are working on HK database initiaves

      •  database/clearinghouse for eyewitness reports, (4.00)
        database/clearinghouse for eyewitness reports, non-sanctioned photos, citizen video, etc.

        I have the beginnings of such a centralized resource, and in the days ahead it will have  a portal front page. I also have a programmer who's been recruited, and other kossacks have helped get the ball rolling.

        I am New Orleanian born & raised -- but live in Bay Area now.. But my family were all down there. I am fortunate, they are fortunate. They all got out and were in friend's homes before the Monday storm hit. Now they are franctically working on logistics for "Life moving forward" -- including where to live for time being, and where to send the kids to school.  I have a brother who's now settling his family in Lafayette, LA. And another brother was planning for Houston, but not have arranged for housing and schooling on the Florida Gulf Coast.

        THEY ARE THE LUCKY ONES. FORTUNATE ONES. They have means.  Their property may be damaged in N.O., we don't know yet.

        But it's the others, as it turns out, that I am most concerned about. I have a friend who's infirmed Mom was missing for days, and wasn't sure if she had been taken to baton Rouge or not. Now we know she's safe. Another friend's mom is still in New orleans and not sure how to get out.

        I aksed for Kossacks' help here 2 days ago and instantly got it. And have started what I intend to be a portal site that directs people to all resources: . At the moment, it has no database registry -- because that is a bit redundant re existing registries. But it is built on mySQL database written in PHP.  Issue is: I am not a tech; I am however an information designer -- and in this case I have a good idea about the needs of some -- and at same time clueless about the needs for others.

        Cell phones are still intermittant -- largely STILL not working in areacode 504 (new orleans).

        But that's just new orleans.  As shitty as BushCo has treated New Orleanians -- essentially allowing them to be locked in cages while they order the red Cross NOT to enter the city, we have ALL THESE OTHER CITIES needing attention too.

        There is a place for "CUTTING EDGE firtst with every snippet of news."  That is not what I am seeking to do. This whole thing needs a wraparound that can be a front-end to directing people to ALL the resources, online and off.

        What I need is CONTENT HELP. The gleening of info and resources from around those states,,, etc, and the reposting of that info in this ONE-PLACE portal site.

        If you can help, email me please.  rh at deanport dotcom | portal for connecting, info

        by rhfactor on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 08:32:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (none)
        If anyone would like to work with me on creating some type of database for the disaster, let me know.  I've already started one with newspaper articles, pics, etc.  
        This administration did not sit around 'unaware' of the crisis at hand.  To know what they were thinking you have to follow the money.
          We have a gig national disaster billions are gonna be spent.  Halliburton is already the 'chosen' one.  First priority, remove all refugees, dead or alive.  Halliburton/FEMA goes in and declares the city not inhabitable for 100 years.  Halliburton sucks off more of our federal treasury, plus they get to reap the spoils of war.

        its a non-stop disco betcha its nabisco betcha didn't know

        by kharma on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 05:23:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  MSM (4.00)
      Please forward this to CNN, MSNBC, Faux News, your local newspaper, your family - eveybody needs to know this.
    •  SEND THIS TO MEDIA!! (none)
      So why was FEMA preventing this and preventing Red Cross to go in and rescue boats.  Then suddenly after Bush visit they now allow everyone.

      Stop Corporate Influence; buy DEMOCRACY BONDS!!!

      by timber on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 03:54:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A note about the author: (4.00)
      Clark-Warner who wrote this piece, and posted earlier this week about this same rescue effort, is in LA because he is an activist organizer working for a union consortium to stop the privatization of Social Security.

      He really is a special person, a great Democrat, and an exceptional Clark supporter.

      A big thanks goes out to alexm who cannot be stopped.

  •  This also needs to be publicized (4.00)
    I commented somehwere in the threads that the idea that assistance is being REFUSED should be big news.  The public does not know that help is being offered from all over America, and all over the world.

    But Bush and his cronies are too arrogant/stupid/ selfish to accept the help.  Please post alink to this diary in other threads where appropriate.  There is more than one diary about the refusal of help, and this one instance needs to be added to the list.

    And thank you for all of your attempted help, and future help if they let you in this time.  Good luck, and tell any refugees that you help that America does care about them.  Just certain administration people don't

    •  Yes!! (4.00)
      And that these people have been PREVENTED from picking up and leaving New Orleans on their own.

      I was appalled and astonished to watch the video over at Crooks and Liars from Shep Smith and Geraldo that said the people in the convention center were locked in (?) and that the people on the overpass were prevented from just walking out of the city by a police check point.  Jim Crow lives and reigns!    

      When you are going through hell, keep going! - Winston Churchill

      by flo58 on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 02:35:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Say what you will about Fox (none)
        But Shepard Smith's reporting has been great. He and Keith Olbermann have done some quality work. Did anyone see the Countdown when they showed 15 minutes of unedited video from a copter ride, Gulfport to Biloxi? Amazing.

        When your dad dies, and hands you a country/ my dad dies and I'll get the Chevy- MK Ultra

        by Diego on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 06:12:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree....... (4.00)
      ....these first hand accounts need to get out!!

      'The true axis of evil in America is the brilliance of our marketing combined with the stupidity of our people.' Bill Maher

      by pelican on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 02:36:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Madness (4.00)
      On one hand you've got the rabid Dear Leader worshippers screaming that this is the state's fault, the local government's failt, and even whispering that people need to learn to help themselves and each other with "big government" coming to their aid.

      Then, on the other hand - you have all these examples of people trying to help without waiting for bad government to respond, and they're being told to go home.

      I mean, what's next?

      Is this a nightmare I can't wake up from?

    •  this is about turf and kudos (4.00)
      and if FEMA comes on your turf, they want all the kudos, and NO help from any rag-tag citizen rescue mission stealing the limelight from their orchestrated PR event.

      Recommended and a half

      don't always believe what you think...

      by claude on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 03:31:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just can not believe what is happening (4.00)
    I don't want to say it, but....

    when is this genocide by negligence?

    How is this different from trail of tears or other evens

    "I don't want to name names, but they know themselves." Koffi Annan

    by Sue in NH on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 02:24:02 PM PDT

    •  What makes us think that there was ever any (4.00)
      desire to do something to help these people?  

      There is no emperical evidence.  All of the evidence goes in quite the opposite direction.

      The only on thing I have seen is a keen desire to save political lives and thank God those became endangered or they certainly wouldn't be saving any real lives now.

      Pleaes tell those good boater-people thank you and I hope they don't give George Bush the time of day when he returns to the area on Monday - yes - he will be coming back people - for more photo-ops - don't give them to him.

      •  He's going back? (none)
        Does he have a death wish?

        I really, really want somebody to throw something at them. At ALL of them.

        Why didn't the Sheriff's with you just handcuff the DWF agent and take him with you?

        Why didn't ANYBODY do that at any point? Why do you listen to these morons?

        They would have taken the credit. Who cares? The people would have been rescued.

        Or there would have been an armed revolt.

        Or just lie to them? Tell them you have been cleared, they just don't know yet, and their boss is going fire their ass when he finds out they didn't let you through.

        I know, Monday morning quarterbacking. And you assume they know what they're doing.

        I don't think anybody is going to assume that anymore.

        •  They are not conniving devious evil people (4.00)
          They are completely unprepared to think that anyone would do what BushCo has been doing.  They believed them and they thought they should comply.  Now they know and that is the politically dangerous thing for this administration.  I am glad they didn't get into a gun battle - we need their eye-witness accounts and thier boating skills now.  

          Interestingly, I think there is a real cultural divide here that people aren't quite keyed into unless they are from the South.  We are less agressive - more prone to being polite.  I think if the Superdome denizens had been New Yorkers the scene there would have been quite different.  It is pretty mind-blowing how compliant 99% of the people there have been.  Really you see them sitting in chairs waiting in an oddly patient way... If that were New York, there wouldn't be a single car left in the city that could run - EVERY abandonded bus would be taken... it is a different culture - it is a trusting culture and we have done them wrong.

          •  Great point (none)
              That is quite true in my experience. People are trusting, especially of authority. This almost seems like a Bugs Bunny - Elmer Fudd type of relationship, the trickster and the befuddled and misguided but trusting Fudd.
        •  I'd give anything to see some local... (4.00)
          ...(preferably an older woman for more impact, I think) just haul off and slap him hard enough to leave a mark for a few days.  Let's see his makeup folks cover that one up. ;)

          That filthy SOB needs to be publicly humiliated by an "average citizen".

      •  Our nation is like a bitter Alcoholic (4.00)
        Lashing out.

        Being hurt.

        Refusing help.

        Denying anything is wrong.

        Blaming others.

  •  Bless you! (4.00)
    We need to get this word out.  The spin machine will soon be insisting that all of these stories are "urban myths"...that none of this happened.

    We'll hear it all blamed on "lack of communication" between agencies that "no one could have known".

    Bullshit.  That's what the government was SUPPOSED to be prepared for.  That's what happened in NYC.  That's what this money poured down the Homeland Security rathole was supposed to be making sure never happened again.

    I'm damned tired of seeing the "little people" die.  Maybe one of the turning points is that first the first time in history, we are seeing it and hearing  No chance to "embed" the media to get a sanitized version.  This is Vietnam-type reporting but without having to go through editing before the people get it.

    Go for it!  Get affidavits from those who witnessed what happened right now, dated now, so later it can't be denied and whitewashed.

    Tell me.....all the rest of us....if there is a terrorist attack in your city, will YOU trust the government to tell you to evacuate, or stay put, or how to protect your family, or where to go for shelter and evacuation?   I sure as hell won't.

    "I came to see that news is what people want to keep hidden, and everything else is publicity". ...Bill Moyers, 5/15/05

    by revsue on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 02:29:41 PM PDT

  •  It's Now Officially Reasonable (4.00)

    to discuss the genocidal policies of the Bush Administration.
  •  Shit. I KNEW IT, I KNEW IT, I KNEW IT. (4.00)
    I was telling people yesterday that I just knew there would be hundreds of people who were being kept out.  Citizens who were unconcerned about their own safety, but had the skills and facilities to make things better.  

    I told people that I'm sure those people were being kept out, probably under threat of being shot.

    •  Of course they are kept out. (none)
      Many of the same people who rail against the private security folks interfering with military operations in Iraq - now all of a sudden think private/civilian teams, with even less coordination and organization than any PSD in Iraq, should be free to enter the danger zone.

      What the official coordinators fear is that the civilian rescuers will soon themselves need to be rescued.

      Remember, these are the same officials who can barely keep track of their own units and missions -- the last thing they want are another 500 boats bringing victims here and there, who may likely/possibly become victims themselves.

      and so on...

      •  What you just said is bullshit... (4.00)
        According to your fucked up logic, you shouldn't dive into a swimming pool to save a drowning kid, unless you are a certified lifeguard?

        When you are that overwhelmed, and obviously short manpower, you take all comers.

        New Orleans-- 72 hours later no communications, no drinking water, not enough police/troops. Bottomline, we're not prepared for another 9/11.

        by DeanFan84 on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:59:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  sorry for the late reply. (none)
          Using your analogy:

          If the police and fire department are at the scene of the drowning - you do not want to interfere by jumping in the water yourself.

          not that I am arguing that everything was well handled but

          The problem with "off-the-grid" rescuers is that they add even more chaos to an out of control situation. For example, JOC dispatched missions will arrive at their targets and not find anyone, because  the unmanaged rescuers have already been there. The dispatched mission will be wasted, and it will be delayed while it looks for the victims they were dispatched to collect.

          What the volunteer organizers should have done, as many others have, is to work with FEMA to get themselves on the net. I know that this sounds like uneccessary red-tape but that's the way it has to be to keep things as sane as possible.

          Another problem with off the net rescuers is that they will not have a designated place to bring the victims. More than once the officials have been surprised by finding hundreds of people at a pickup point when they were expecting 10's of people. So in some cases the victims may be better off waiting at their homes rather than at some exposed field pickup point - one where the officials do not expect, and are not equipped to find 100's of victims.

          In this case, the problem seems to be the people organizing/collecting the 500 boats were not coordinating with FEMA. And/or FEMA was not prepared, at that time, to absorb another 500 boats into their rescue operations.

      •  What part of ..experienced (none)
        lifelong boatsmen did you fail to understand?

        Bring them home. Now.

        by nargel on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 05:45:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Obviously you don't know shit (4.00)
        about Cajun outdoors people, hunters and fishers. They can get places no one else can and get back, regardless of the conditions. You don't savvy how in their element they are and would have been. Of all the people there, those people would have been the ones who knew exactly what they were doing.
        •  ditto: you don't know shit about cajuns (4.00)
          More expert opinions from the peanut gallery.. (the guy you were REPLYING to, not you. They may be "stupid" to some, but they are a resourceful people, always have been.

          I want to also echo that if anyone didn't see the video that more or less demonstrates that they locked people inot these places and left them stranded, and sat on their asses with federal aid somehow inexplicably detained, take a look, at of ALL things -- this Fox News segment.  As Crooks & Liars said, they gave Hannity a real slapdown -- and you could see there was no posturing by the on the ground reporters. When you cut to Hannity in his dapper suit in the comfortable studios, pontificating as though he's got the perspective of being clear headed while the reporters are just too caught up in it to see the bigger picture, you want to take that guy out.

          Amazing footage never again to be seen on Fox News. They'll probably demote the guy for violating the talking points.

          WATCH VIDEO:


          N.O. native needs help w/ | portal

          by rhfactor on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 09:03:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'll second that... (none)
          The folks that get out and really live in the outdoors (Translation: Navigate without the latest in space-age GPS gadgets, hunt with bows & arrows, and hunt wild boar on foot with their dogs) are the ones you'd want doing this.

          In the same fashion, if I had to go through a storm at sea with my choice of a 50-year old uneducated sailor or a 22 year old Naval Academy grad... well, I'd gladly take the old salt any day.

          Book-learnin' only goes so far.

        •  Cajun Coast Guard (none)
          Here is a link to an article on one of the strangest military outfits of WW2. It is an good example of the abilities of the Cajun people on the water.

          The present administration is rolling back the Great Society, the New Deal, the Enlightenment, and the Renaissance.

          by JohnInWestland on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 08:24:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Swamp Angels (none)
              That's a fine story. Really enjoyed it. I do a lot of history wrt my position at a history museum. That's a rich legacy and once again reinforces the idea that the good people of Lafayette could have saved many lives in NO.

              THere was a small German submarine (which my local buddy said) which ran aground just south of St. Louey pass between Galveston and Freeport. Out in the surf about 75 yards, it was a good fishing spot I frequented. It's not visible anymore.

              I live in Central Texas and we have always gotten a lot of Louisiana hunters up here. They are very effective hehe, which I've always respected due to my coming from hard-scrabble, depression-era country families. And I married a woman from Orange who was part of a large cross border family, so my kids are half-Cajun.

            •  U 171 Found? (none)
              You may know the location of an unknown U Boat. There is supposed to be only one U boat sunk in the Gulf, the U 166, which is shown on this map.


              This page references there being only one U Boat in the Gulf.


              It is thought that the U 171 was lost off the coast of France returning from the Gulf of Mexico...

              The present administration is rolling back the Great Society, the New Deal, the Enlightenment, and the Renaissance.

              by JohnInWestland on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 06:19:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Will check definitive source (none)
                  I don't remember exact details, but I know someone who will. My fishing buddy is a native to the area. He's in Ohio now and I have emailed him. Will check back when he replies, probably tomorrow.

                  The ship was metal, with just the superstructure showing and not big. Most of it was embedded in the sand about 150-200 yards off shore, around the third sand bar. You could get relatively close at a real low tide.

              •  Civil War blockade runner (none)
                  My buddy wrote back that it had always been known as a Civil War blockade runner and was probably wood hull construction. What we saw in the surf was the boiler and even some upper structure which was part of it.

                  I first saw this in the 1960s, so it would have been 100 years old by then. Don't know when it finally disappeared from sight; no direct beach road now but you can drive down the beach from San Luis pass, about a mile or two, or up the coast from beach access roads. There's a grove of small trees, a relatively rare occurance at that part of the coast, at the place where the wreck was. It may be buried or just moved up the coast.

                  Heck, it may have been salvaged or moved, even though I never heard such a news report. I have another person I can contact in Freeport to see if there is additional info.

                •  very neat! (none)
                  Thank you for following up. I grew up in Fla., and know that some really strange things can show up in the beach/surf from time to time.

                  The present administration is rolling back the Great Society, the New Deal, the Enlightenment, and the Renaissance.

                  by JohnInWestland on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 03:44:41 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  I wonder if it has to do... (none)
      ...with the crazy no-looting bullshit.  They probably want everyone out of the area because Bush cares more about protecting moldy television sets than saving American lives.  
  •  Recommended (4.00)
    We need to get these stories out, documenting specifically what has gone wrong.

    This is infuriating.

    Of science and the human heart, there is no limit. -- Bono

    by saucy monkey on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 02:38:01 PM PDT

  •  Please Recommend (none)
    I'm going for a walk now.  Before I start screaming my head off.

    Which minority group would Jesus hate?

    by NorCalJim on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 02:38:41 PM PDT

  •  Perhaps FEMA was checking on the (none)
    insurance liability issues related to the volunteers. Seems they are a very procedure oriented organization-life and death be damned.

    Most Americans are a lot dumber than we give them credit for- George Carlin 2004

    by maggiemae on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 02:38:43 PM PDT

  •  45 Thousand are unaccounted (none)
    Right now they just reported that there are 45 thousand people in NOLA at the moment unaccounted for. This is early, but this is a scary number. I want to find out if anyone else has heard better news- that the number of missing hopefully is lower than this?
  •  Needed: Gonadal Fortitude (4.00)
    There are people trapped in attics by the flood, without water, food, or light=no windows trapped=and most of them are probably dead by now.

    What is needed is for the volunteers of Louisiana to have the gonadal fortitude to realize that they do not ask governmental permission to do what is right.

    They should go ahead to the rescue.

    If rescue is being blocked so that the poor blacks of New Orleans, it being the African American area that flooded so horribly, there is a Federal Crime being committed against the poor people of New Orleans.  It is called "Genocide".

    •  Yes, please. (4.00)
      My reaction too--civil disobediance to an insane authority seems like exactly the right thing to do in cases like this.

      Strong prejudices in an ill-formed mind are hazardous to government, and when combined with a position of power, even more so.--Barbara Tuchman

      by lahke on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 03:30:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Document all of this! (4.00)
    It will become important in the class action suit.
    •  Hell...document it (none)
      so changes in the present goverment (D and R) and parts of Americas opinions and perceptions can be changed! A whole LOAD of changes need to be made in the coming weeks, months, and years.

      People voted for these politicians. It doesn't matter if you voted D or R... democracy rules. The whole WORLD has watched the American bureaucracy in action this week and they seem to be as taken aback as I am.

      I have always voted democrat. "The party that supports the people". From now on I will look at each individual running. I will NOT look at the party. I will especially be looking at incumbants in the 2006 vote. Going into that race I will probably give preference to the new comers. The status quo has not worked and is not working. I hope I'm not the only one who... upon reflection... has learned.

      It isn't about being a D or R... it's about common sense and human decency!

      "We will no longer suffer in silence this continued assault that has now passed beyond intolerable"----A True US Patriot

      by khloemi on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 03:12:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  History (4.00)
      Must have this information -

      This must serve as a warning to Americans for centuries to come.

      Democracy must be managed constantly and diligently from the bottom up.

      Leave elected officials to their own devices and this is the outcome.

      Remember- you are always voting for the most palatable of two or more people, none of which you would invite into your home.


      'Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it'. - GBS

      by stevej on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 03:44:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  God Speed (none)
     Be safe and good luck. I wish I could be there with you, helping those people. I just feel so frustrated by this, and I can't imagine how angry you must feel.
  •  Did anyone else see... (4.00)
    ... the ABC (?) interview of the FEMA contracted truck driver, who with several others, loaded water on MONDAY, and still had not been ordered to the crisis area on Thursday afternoon?

    Unbelievable.  We need a real commission, and not a repeat of the 911 fiasco to get ALL such stories out in the open after this crisis is stabilized.

    For now "Leave No New Orleanian Behind" - and mean it.

  •  Categorization (3.33)






    Check out all the Catorigized Diaries.  Just click on one of the links on that page.  You can make dKos more helpful by contributing to the effort to categorize diaries.


    PS: Readers, please consider adding appropriate Katrina related information to:
    Compile Info re Help Offered-Rejected/Delayed  


  •  This doesn't seem real (none)
    Even though I know it's real, it just doesn't seem real. Welcome to Bush world.
  •  Wow (4.00)
    Mayor Nagin just said on CNN that he was afraid the CIA would come in and take him out!
  •  Something similar happened (4.00)
    to 22 deputies from Virginia who headed down there to help. Sent back home by FEMA.
  •  Landreneau... (none)
    Dwight any relation to Bennett Landreneau, head of the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, the fellow who wouldn't let the Red Cross into New Orleans?
  •  Un*FUCKING*believable (4.00)
    I have forwarded this to some friends at California Healthcare Association, who deal with issues such as hospital evacuation during disasters.

    If all this is true, I am sure they will be on the phone to some folks in DC wanting answers.

    If FEMA would be so ineffectual in this horrific disaster, what sort of things would they do to hinder CA hospitals in trying to evacuate their patients during a major earthquake.

    May Mary Laveau, the Queen of Voodoo, come back to curse these morons for the rest of their pathetic little lives.

    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 03:04:52 PM PDT

    •  Marie...she'll be very busy! (none)

      The truth always matters.

      by texasmom on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 03:08:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did you happen to see (none)
        the blond and brunette Barbie dolls tied with shell chains hanging from a lamp post, there was a green cloth underneath with what looked like a palm frond...I was kind of wondering about this.  I've seen it a lot in the past few days and every time I have seen it I couldn't help but wonder exactly who the blond and brunette represented...

        There is no way to peace. Peace is the way. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by otis704 on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 03:19:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  One hospital (none)
      My son's best friend Dave worked at a hospital in NOLA as an emergency med tech.  He was evacuated yesterday to Atlanta  BY THE HOSPITAL.  He says everything you see on the news is true.  No one at his hospital was evacuated by FEMA-he only got out because the hospital evacuated him.

      He had no rent insurance, but did have car insurance.  His car is under water.  

      I wonder whether the insurance company will pay on the car policy; whether they will claim if Dave left when the city was ordered evacuated, his car would not have been destroyed?

      We are so glad he is still alive.

  •  I'm seeing a (4.00)
    repug meme in the future crowing about how under bush's administration 1000s of people were lifted out of the poverty level.

    Not acknowledged however will be that unfortunately and tragically they had to die a painful, slow and humiliating death to escape that poverty.


  •  damnit! (none)
    This is criminal negligence!

    Thousands of people who did not have to die have perished because of their incompetence.

    If the director of FEMA is not fired, then we must take to the streets and demand it. I will NOT sit idly by while my fellow Americans are left to die in the streets because of the catastrophic incompetence of these people. It is our duty to hold our government accountable.

    This will not stand.

    If Chertoff and Brown get medals for this, then George Bush will damn sure have to bring our troops home from Iraq - he'll need every last one of them to prevent us from taking his head and mounting it in New Orleans.

  •  Add one more to the list (none)
    They are not trying to rescue people, they are into containment and news blackouts.

    What happens when diseases breaks out? Who will be able to leave?

    The MSM must be there to show us what's happening otherwise it would be pure spin.

    •  The threat of disease will be the excuse (none)
      to get the media out of there. It won't be long!
      They aren't going to want the MSM to start telling stories of all the dead bodies trapped in attics, etc.
      •  It will also allow (none)
        them to quarantine people in the big city shelters with no media.   If I were at the Astrodome and had any means whatsoever I would get the heck out of there.  At some point you will be better off on the streets begging.
        •  Nope, won't work (none)
          This is the country with the wonderful healthcare system, remember? We can handle anything!

          Besides, reporters can get shots for cholera, typhoid, yellow fever, etc.

          Hell, if they can go to Africa, they can go to NO.

          And they have to let them have medical care, or they're going to have a real revolution on their hands. Even the prisoners at Gitmo get medical care.

  •  EMail this story to Health Reporters (none)
    at newspapers.

    Maybe THEY'LL take notice!

    I just emailed off to the San Francisco Chronicle

    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 03:12:03 PM PDT

  •  This explains what I (4.00)
    kept asking myself on Tuesday and Wednesday, "why aren't there more boats rescuing people."  Always after a disaster we see ordinary citizens with  equipment and skills out helping and rescuing people.  Where were the boats?  I knew there were lots of boats in LA and MS and they couldn't have all been destroyed in the hurricane.  Never did it occur to me that our government would have stopped them from helping.  That would be appropriate if only a few people needed to rescued and the they had adequate resources to handle the rescues.

    I'm reasonably sure that other people with boats that were ready, willing and able to help were also turned away.

    This isn't negligence, this is murder.

    What FDR giveth; GWB taketh away.

    by Marie on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 03:13:29 PM PDT

  •  am watching FEMA official (4.00)
    being interviewed by ritaruba crosby on MSNBC. first of all, he asks "How are you rita?" And she says with huge enthusiam "I'm great!"

    Then the both of them get into this nearly steroidal exchange about how great things are going with the relief efforts!

    And the FEMA guy actually used the phrase "our Federal family, along with our local counterparts..."


    next Barney will be hired to sing about our happy federal family....

  •  More Help Refused: (4.00)
    Miles O'Brian was talking to John Breaux and this is what he said:

    BREAUX: Somebody has to say look, we're sending food. We're sending troops. We're sending boats. We're sending helicopters because we can see that it's a big disaster. I had an example of an ambulance, American Ambulance Association said, look, we have 300 ambulances three days ago they wanted to send down there from a Florida area. They said, well, we were told we had to have GSA's permission. GSA said they had to have FEMA ask for it. As a result they weren't sent.

    Miles just went - for God's sake or something like that, you could tell he was just pissed - they edited that out of the transcript though.  


    There is no way to peace. Peace is the way. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by otis704 on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 03:16:39 PM PDT

    •  Miles O'Brien (none)
      Before this week, I never watched much cable news, so I haven't seen much of Miles O'Brien's work, but he must be part of the Fox-ification of CNN.

      I notice he twice asks Breaux about Democrats trying make political hay with the botched reaction to this disaster, even calling it "reprehensible."

      Another voice from the "liberal media."

  •  FFFFFUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (none)

    Jesus: "Destroy this Temple" - Gospel of John

    by The Gnostic on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 03:17:00 PM PDT

  •  Joanna was the first,, I posted it (none)

    and the diary plummeted like the space ball in "Contact" - Joanna (Anntichrist S. Coulter had the premier first-hand account over at Blondesense)- copied over at Kos:

    and I knew how vital it was - but thank the good Lord it moved forward -

    Maybe these 7 habits of effective people might come from the top down:
    (1) Be Proactive
    (2) Begin with the End in Mind
    (3) Put First Things First
    (4) Think Win/Win
    (5) Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.
    (6) Synergize
    (7) Sharpen the Saw

  •  I don't have cable (none)
    but I've been reading and hearing about reporters even on Fox speaking out in outrage and actually telling truth. That it took a disaster of this magnitude to wake some of them up is sad, but apparently necessary...

    I do have C-Span1 and today listening to Brown (from FEMA) then Chertoff, it was the typical spin and lies. I don't know if the corporate press is ever going to completely turn against their sugar daddies in DC, but maybe, just maybe, some of the journalists and reporters won't be willing to go along just to keep their jobs anymore?

    Reports like this one need to be spread far and wide - letters to the editor, to our reps and senators, to the tv "news" reporters who have been reporting FACTS for a change, on more blogs, etc.

    Thanks for posting pelican!

  •  It's the body count, stupid. (4.00)
    That's what FEMA and DHS are about right now.

    They're trying to hide the bodies.

    Where are they going, from the airport?  Where else are they going?  They're talking about burning them in the interests of public health (which is admittedly a valid point).  But who's keeping count?  THEM?

    A huge number of the citizens in the affected areas are among the most poorly educated in our country, and have been kept that way for generations - they are easily impeachable witnesses.

    But bodies don't lie.

    Who's keeping count?


  •  My god. (none)
    We need to get this to the MSM.  These should be top stories.  I hope that anyone involved in something like this contacts CNN, NYTimes, etc. and grants interviews.  

    Not only did FEMA not do anything, but they actively made the situation much worse.  

    If FEMA prevented rescue crews from trying to save people, if they LOCKED DOWN the convention center, if they forbade people from leaving while watching them starve/die of thirst in the hot Louisiana sun, that is equivalent to murder.   That is beyond negligience.  


  •  Chicago help offer was refused, too. (4.00)
    (Credit to RawStory for the link):

    From Chicago Sun-Times

    A visibly angry Mayor Daley said the city had offered emergency, medical and technical help to the federal government as early as Sunday to assist people in the areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina, but as of Friday, the only things the feds said they wanted was a single tank truck.


     Daley said the city offered 36 members of the firefighters' technical rescue teams, eight emergency medical technicians, search-and-rescue equipment, more than 100 police officers as well as police vehicles and two boats, 29 clinical and 117 non-clinical health workers, a mobile clinic and eight trained personnel, 140 Streets and Sanitation workers and 29 trucks, plus other supplies. City personnel are willing to operate self-sufficiently and would not depend on local authorities for food, water, shelter and other supplies, he said.

    Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I say... (from "Creatures of Light and Darkness", R. Zelazny)

    by SadEagle on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 03:33:32 PM PDT

  •  The People of New Orleans are fine now.. (4.00)
    Yup...The propaganda coverage has started..But if you look really closely you will see a town that has been emptied..and if you look closer you will see food, water, cots, porta potties, blankets..thousands of the necessary means that people need to survive..Only problem is there are no people left to take these things. I saw stacks and stacks of pallets of water, food..everything...Just sitting there in the streets of New Orleans. So the people are just about gone and all the supplies have arrived. Maybe FEMA will bus them back in so they can eat, drink and sleep and finally use the porta potties.  

    *"I went to protest Dobson, and all I got was this damn feeding tube*

    by Chamonix on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 03:39:14 PM PDT

  •  I hope there are (none)
    video and/or pictures of this.

    String 'em up

    Anybody got some string?

    "Telling the truth is a noble cause".

    by BOHICA on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 03:45:15 PM PDT

  •  Send the evacuees (none)
    to Crawford!
  •  Patrick Rhode (none)
    Was just on CNN belligerently defending FEMA.  He told the  New York Times  that this was "probably one of the most efficient and effective responses in the country's history."

    My opinion would be that he's a significant part of  the problem.

    Let's see what we can find out about him before he becomes the next FEMA Director.Here's a couple of starting points. Note his recent role as the deputy director of National Advance Operations for the George W. Bush Presidential Campaign, in Austin.  I wonder if he when to Miami to help stop the vote count.  

    From the Washington Post Section 2

    Deputy Chief at FEMA -- or Maybe Not?

    Michael D. Brown , who runs the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the Department of Homeland Security, sent around a memo a couple of weeks ago saying "effective immediately," his chief of staff, Patrick Rhode , was the acting deputy director.

    This caused some head-scratching, because there is no official deputy director position at FEMA, because there is no official director. The last person to hold such a post was Brown, before FEMA got folded into DHS. (Brown is now officially DHS undersecretary for emergency preparedness and response.)

    A recent strategic review called for naming a deputy director, but Congress hasn't approved that plan and agencies don't usually go ahead without congressional blessing. Even more curious, it's not clear whether DHS or the White House, which approves such personnel moves, had signed off on Brown's move. FEMA says its general counsel approved the action.

    Brown is widely expected to be leaving soon, and there has been some FEMA speculation that this is his way of trying to pave the way for a successor. Rhode had been associate administrator of the Small Business Administration.

    From his  FEMA Bio What the heck are his credentials to run FEMA?

    Patrick Rhode was appointed chief of staff for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, part of the new Department of Homeland Security, by President Bush in April 2003. As chief of staff, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the agency and for directing the implementation of Under Secretary Michael Brown's priorities and policies. FEMA coordinates federal disaster relief activities, including the response and recovery operations of 26 federal agencies and departments and the American Red Cross. FEMA's responsibilities also include initiating proactive mitigation activities, training first responders and overseeing the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the Department of Homeland Security in March 2003.

    Before joining FEMA, Mr. Rhode was associate administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration and White House liaison for the Department of Commerce. His first position with the Bush Administration was as special assistant to the President and deputy director of National Advance Operations, a position he assumed in January 2001.

    Previously, Mr. Rhode served as deputy director of National Advance Operations for the George W. Bush Presidential Campaign, in Austin, Texas. His other professional credits include serving in communications and public affairs roles in the Texas Department of Agriculture, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, and Entergy Corporation. Earlier in his career, Mr. Rhode was an anchor/reporter with network affiliated television stations in Alabama and Arkansas.

    A native of Hot Springs, Ark., Mr. Rhode holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Arkansas, in Fayetteville.

    •  Wow. (none)
      FEMA Director has more turn-over than professor of the Dark Arts class in the Harry Potter books.

      Speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act. - Orwell

      by TracieLynn on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 05:02:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  His credentials? Master of not answering (none)
      direct questions. I had to change channels after he started to reply to the first question a reporter asked today (wording is my recollection): "If you had a chance to do this over again, what would you do differently?" His reply started with something like "Well, that's highly hypothetical, and there's no point in answering a hypothetical question now. We are BLAH BLAH BLAH [litany of how great FEMA's response has been]."
  •  Patrick Rhodes on CNN (none)
    FEMA Deputy Director Patrick Rhodes was on CNN a little while ago: He answered every question put to him with irrelevant talking points.

    The anchor (don't know his name) didn't buy a word of it. I just wonder if the media will be able to maintain their skepticism as the Bushies continue to repeat the Big Lie over and over.

    Based on the past five years, I have my doubts.

    This has to be a tipping point somehow. Either the MSM and the general public now pay attention and demand accountability; or it's back to business as usual within a few months and we can officially declare America a one-party state.

  •  read this: (4.00)
    This message was forwarded to me by email - I don't know the origin of it, so can't provide a link: I'm just giving you the intro and most immediately pertinent extracts:


    "Malik Rahim, a veteran of the Black Panther Party in New Orleans, for decades an organizer of public housing tenants both there and in San Francisco and a recent Green Party candidate for New Orleans City Council, lives in the Algiers neighborhood, the only part of New Orleans that is not flooded.
    They have no power, but the water is still good and the phones work. Their neighborhood could be sheltering and feeding at least 40,000 refugees, he says, but they are allowed to help no one. What he describes is nothing less than deliberate genocide against Black and poor people. - Ed.

    Orleans, Sept. 1, 2005 ....

    "People were told to go to the Superdome, but they have no food, no water there. And before they could get in, people had to stand in line for 4-5 hours in the rain because
    everybody was being searched one by one at the entrance. ....In the three days before the
    hurricane hit, we knew it was coming and everyone could have been evacuated. We
    have Amtrak here that could have carried everybody out of town. There were
    enough school buses that could have evacuated 20,000 people easily, but they
    just let them be flooded. My son watched 40 buses go underwater - they just
    wouldn't move them, afraid they'd be stolen.
    People who could afford to leave were so afraid someone would steal what they
    own that they just let it all be flooded. They could have let a family without a vehicle borrow their extra car, but instead they left it behind to be destroyed....There are gangs of white vigilantes near here riding around in pickup trucks, all of them armed, and any young Black they see who they figure doesn't
    belong in their community, they shoot him....
    Many people are getting sick and very weak. From the toxic water that people are
    walking through, little scratches and sores are turning into major wounds. People whose homes and families were not destroyed went into the city right away with boats to bring the survivors out, but law enforcement told
    them they weren't needed. They are willing and able to rescue thousands, but they're
    not allowed to. Every day countless volunteers are trying to help, but they're turned back. ...People from Placquemine Parish were rescued on a ferry and dropped off on dock
    near here. All day they were sitting on the dock in the hot sun with no food, no water. Many were in a daze; they've lost everything.They
    were all sitting there surrounded by armed guards. We asked the guards could
    we bring them water and food. My mother and all the other church ladies were cooking for them, and we have plenty of good water. But
    the guards said, No. If you don't have enough water and food for everybody, you can't give anything. Finally the people were hauled off
    on school buses from other parishes. ....The
    people who could help are being shipped out. People who want to stay, who have the skills to save lives and rebuild are being forced to go to Houston. ....There's military right here in New Orleans, but for three days they weren't even mobilized. I'm in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, the only part that isn't flooded. The water is good. Our parks and schools could easily hold 40,000 people,
    and they're not using any of it. These people are dying for no other reason than the
    lack of organization. ...The Republicans and Democrats didn't do anything to prevent this or plan for it and don't seem to care if everyone dies...."

  •  What would Jesus do? (none)
    I suspect he'd turn over the DWF officials' desks and begin conducting rescues in spite of the government.

    No one needs to follow orders that are so obviously in contradiction with basic standards of human decency!

  •  Insider Red Cross Commentary (3.66)
    So it turns out that the guy who does my color every month is the son of a former (really recent former) CEO of the Red Cross of a major metropolitan area.

    Apparently this recent former CEO of the Red Cross of a major metrolpolitan area is so upset at how the government is handling this thing that he literally can't watch tv or talk about it any more.

    When his son asked what he would be doing right now if he were still heading the Red Cross, he basically just hinted that he'd be afraid of what he would do to the incompetent fucks at FEMA.

    Small, sad world.

  •  Keep watching FEMA for next round: (none)
    State records show Bush re-election concerns played part in FEMA aid

    Consultant predicted a `huge mess'

     As the second hurricane in less than a month bore down on Florida last fall, a federal consultant predicted a "huge mess" that could reflect poorly on President Bush and suggested that his re-election staff be brought in to minimize any political liability, records show.

    Two weeks later, a Florida official summarizing the hurricane response wrote that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was handing out housing assistance "to everyone who needs it without asking for much information of any kind."

    The records are contained in hundreds of pages of Gov. Jeb Bush's storm-related e-mails initially requested by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Oct. 13.

    The governor's office finally released the documents Friday, after threat of a lawsuit by the newspaper. ...

    FEMA officials, the governor and the White House have steadfastly denied suggestions that politics played a role in the distribution of hurricane aid in Florida.

    "The men and women at FEMA don't give a patooey about who the president is or who the governor is," FEMA Director Michael D. Brown told the newspaper's editorial board in October. "Whenever people say stuff like that ... we're just offended by that because that's just not how we operate."

    But politics was foremost on the mind of FEMA consultant Glenn Garcelon, who wrote a three-page memo titled "Hurricane Frances -- Thoughts and Suggestions," on Sept. 2. ...

    Garcelon said he gave the report to his colleagues at Fluor and to Ted Litty in FEMA's recovery division in Washington.

    "I never got any response from FEMA," Garcelon said. "I don't know if anybody in a position of authority ever got it."

    Dan McLaughlin, spokesman for U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla, said he was not surprised "that a consultant for the Bush administration would consider politics before the needs of hurricane victims."

    "The very first points [of Garcelon's memo] have to do with shirking blame and calling in the president's re-election experts," McLaughlin said. " It only serves to underscore why we have to investigate how FEMA spent the hurricane money because there are just too many questions."

    FEMA has been under scrutiny since the Sun-Sentinel first reported in October that the agency was awarding millions of dollars in disaster funds to residents of Miami-Dade County, even though the county did not experience hurricane conditions. At Nelson's urging, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is investigating. Earlier this month, 14 Miami-Dade residents who received assistance were indicted on fraud charges.

    As of March 16, FEMA had given $31 million to 12,891 applicants in Miami-Dade for damage claimed from Frances.

    The grants are intended to help people find temporary housing, repair damage to homes and replace personal items, such as TVs, microwaves, computers and furniture.

    "The President wanted to go into Iraq in the worst possible way. And he did." -- Nancy Pelosi

    by Meteor Blades on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:30:10 PM PDT

  •  branching out with this... (none)
    What Red state blogs can we work with? Post this information?
    Ranting here is fine, but we are all on the same page.
    Move forward. See the big picture.
  •  organization (none)
    coordination is needed. Who is in charge? Where is the hierarchy? Ranting is fine - and we get charged with everyone's anger - but we still have 49%.

    I would like someone to coordinate this. Kos has written a book about what exists. Time to find a new leader to take it forward.

  •  Dwight Landreneau (none)
    I seem to recall a Dwight Landreneau being a 4-H agent for St Landry Parish back when I was in school in the mid to late 80's.  He was a bit of a prick then.  Wonder if it's the same guy?
  •  I recommend (none)
     a blog counsel composed of Atrios, Kos, TalkingPoints, TalkLeft, Talking Points, Jesus General (ok, we all have our favorites) - and they are all ready organized. They meet - they discuss (ethics - give me a break).
    Take the ball and go with it. Help me here, folks.
  •  I tried to start a student council last year (none)
    nothing happened. Teachers ignored memos. Denials everywhere. It stopped at the xerox machine.
     We were evaluated by a group of people from Cambridge (with clipboards) who came in and we flunked - and the lack of a student council was the first problem. Busted.
     Yesterday the math specialist had teachers vote in a student council. She told them what they would do. She proposed the reason for the next meeting. There was no campaign, nothing
     I give this student council a month, max. It doesn't come from a leader, and it certaintly hasn't been developed within the team. We'll be lucky if we can get a penny drive going.

    Kos and other bloggers have strength, anger, rules and a working community. A leader/group must be chosen to take it further, decide direction and provide a way to make it happen.

  •  Something Big Was Going Down. (none)
    An FBI employee at a press conference at the Baton Rouge Office of Emergency Operations disclosed that drug trade related violence, which was alluded to have involved a carjacking, had compromised, or threatened to compromise, an evacuation operation that involved something that could have wiped out the entire "Southeastern United States". I don't know if that byline is related, but it apparently was a hit or miss thing, judging from the indigant righteousness of the FBI agent briefing the herd of press, who failed to follow-up the bombshell disclosure.
  •  Overseas offers of aid (none)
    This may not have come through to you in the US, but the BBC 24-hr News just reported that over 60 countries and organisations have offered immediate aid & rescue services. Your State Department is "considering which offers, if any, that it will accept".

    Unflattering comparisons are being drawn between US government response and that of, say, Bangladesh!

    •  Last Night ABC Radio (none)
      had POTUS saying that all offers were being accepted. But the guy who was doing the CoasttoCoast AM show said that Russia's offer'd been turned down.

      What's the deal?

      "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

      by kredwyn on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 08:31:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's Another Example... (none)

    A visibly angry Mayor Daley said the city had offered emergency, medical and technical help to the federal government as early as Sunday to assist people in the areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina, but as of Friday, the only things the feds said they wanted was a single tank truck.

    That truck, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency requested to support an Illinois-based medical team, was en route Friday.

    "We are ready to provide more help than they have requested. We are just waiting for their call," said Daley, adding that he was "shocked" that no one seemed to want the help.

  •  Isn't Landreneau their Homeland Security dude? (none)
  •  More unbelievable Whitehouse & FEMA tales (none)
    This diary has is incredible. As if any more evidence damning FEMA is needed, I've posted an interview on MSNBC in which an LSU professor states he warned the White House and FEMA, and even personally gave a WH official a cd with details about a simulated hurricane hitting New Orleans.
  •  500 boats and no where to go? (none)
    The fact someone organized a flotilla during a national emergency is not surprising.  What is surprising is that some dimwit FEMA official was going "by the book" in refusing these people to go out and help.

    And to say, as another post said, that they are not govt and would need rescuing is BULLSHIT. Most of these guys were highly experinced boaters, fishermen, what have you. I'll even wager that alot of those guys/gals were experienced former military people, volunteer firefighters etc who knew EXACTLY what they were doing.

    I'm reminded of an event in British history when almost ALL of the British marine craft were ferrying troops back from France when England(or was it France?) was forced to retreat from the Continent.(Was it World War-One or two? French troops or Brits?, I forget!).  My point is that private craft were going across the channel, some were small dingy's, some were larger etc. They just volunteered and got it done. As polite as the English are, I doubt hardened Englsih fishermen and sailors would be so polite if asked to turn away.


  •  Wonder if they will fudge the numbers (none)
    on the body count?

    Everything seems so outlandish and out of control.

    inspire change...don't back down

    by missliberties on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 06:29:45 PM PDT

  •  Dunkirk evacuation done by irregulars (none)
    DUNKIRK WW2 = Evacuation by all the little volunteer boats.  

    Why not New Orleans?

    •  "Dunkirk" (none)

      [ It seems to be an output of the Hurricane Pam simulation project (I'm unclear on the exact relation; it is linked from )]

      Emphasis mine.

      Public Health Outcomes, Phase One - Immediate Impacts

      Present Corps of Engineers predictions are that if the New Orleans bowl fills, it will take 9 weeks to pump all of the water out, assuming the necessary permits are obtained.  There will likely be a strong push by commercial fishing interests to restrict the out pumping for fears the contaminated water will severely impact the harvestable marine and estuarine species.  Air evacuations by helicopter will ensure the evacuation of thousands a day, but at the same time there will have to be mechanisms set up to get food, water and medicines to those trapped.  An "Operation Dunkirk" effort will have to be launched from the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, utilizing sport fishing and recreational boats to collect stranded New Orleans residents from the levees on the north side.  On the south side, barges and commercial vessels will do their own river evacuations to centers such as Baton Rouge.  Within the flooded city, where water levels in many areas will reach the eaves of houses, another small craft operation will have to be set up moving people and supplies to and from their places of refuge to the levees (high ground) and vice versa. This "Operation Dunkirk" evacuation and supply operation, using mostly volunteers, is going to require significant planning.  Each crew will need emergency supplies and radio/cellular phone communications, a stock of medicines, and medical experts with whom to communicate.  Insurance issues and waivers will have to be negotiated.

  •  I'm curious... (none)
    After the magnitude 6.8 Nisqually quake hit Seattle on 2/18/2001, I thought that FEMA was amazing. We live right on the fault line and there was a lot of earthquake damage in the area.

    The next day there were inspectors knocking on our door. They did a damage assessment of our home, gave us a check to fix the immediate problem (a damaged foundation, sidewalk and chimney) and put us in contact with the Small Business Administration who, in an expansion of their charter that I was unaware of, gave us a low-interest loan to fix the remaining $30,000+ worth of damage.

    Neighbors in the area suffered much more. There were houses ultimately condemned, collapsed eaves, shattered windows and fallen chimneys all over the neighborhood.

    I know our earthquake was nothing, absolutely nothing, in comparison to what's happened to the gulf states. And I know that each disaster has its own unique challenges.

    But all this talk about paperwork and intra-governmental agencies needing specific requests and approval just makes me harken back to the earthquake and how well things seemed to work (from my perspective). Perhaps putting FEMA in the Homeland Security department decreased its organizational agility.

    •  Decreased organizational agility (none)
      That's a very beautifully drawn phrase. I commend your ability to give the benefit of the doubt.

      The phrase I would use is: "Putting FEMA in the Homelnd Security department created a massive funnel for public monies to be handed around in the biggest slush fund in human history."

      FEMA was raped, strangled and executed and the FEMA we are witnessing today is like the serial killer from Silence of the Lambs who wears the skins of his victims.

    •  Wasn't Witt (none)
      still in charge back then?
    •  Krugman answered the question for me (none)
      In his NY Times column, A can't do government:
      Third question: Did the Bush administration destroy FEMA's effectiveness? The administration has, by all accounts, treated the emergency management agency like an unwanted stepchild, leading to a mass exodus of experienced professionals.

      Last year James Lee Witt, who won bipartisan praise for his leadership of the agency during the Clinton years, said at a Congressional hearing: "I am extremely concerned that the ability of our nation to prepare for and respond to disasters has been sharply eroded. I hear from emergency managers, local and state leaders, and first responders nearly every day that the FEMA they knew and worked well with has now disappeared."

  •  Humane Society kept out too (none)
    I heard that on one of the cable news channels today. I believe the society's representative said they have 100 volunteers waiting to rescue people's trapped pets. People have been calling them and giving them the exact addresses where their pets are and begging them to rescue their animals. So they are there, they have the equipment, they know exactly where to go, and they are not being allowed access. I know that animals come second to saving human lives, but to people who have lost everything else, being reunited with a beloved pet would mean a lot.
  •  Hello. (4.00)
    I exiled myself from Kos awhile ago.

    I'm back. I need a place to scream.

    I need to say: Why is anyone surprised that Bush is letting poor black people die?

    Do they vote for him? No.

    Do they give him money? No.

    To him, that's the end of the inquiry.

    He'll pay for this. And whatever payment it is - it won't be enough.

  •  This negligence (none)
    is criminal.

    "My job is to protect the American people." George W. Bush Let's remember his promise...

    by PAprogressive on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 07:31:44 PM PDT

  •  Has anyone heard the 'rest of the story' (none)
    about the kid that commandeered the bus & got the first evacuees to the Astrodome?  I heard they eventually let the people in (they were initially turning them away), but they were considering arresting the HEROIC kid.  Any news there?  Did they let him go?
  •  What a coincidence (none)
    Early On Thursday morning I was talking with some of the students who run our newspaper at the University. I posed this question: If the Brits were able to remove an entire army off the beach at Dunkirk with a flotila of small boats, why couldn't we do the same thing with new Orleans? That entire region is awash in boats. Get in get the people out. Not an imposible scenario. Now I discover that they tried a Dunkirk style rescue and were turned back. Not only that but the Red Cross was in positon to take in Water and Food and they were held back on the flimsiest set of excuses imaginable.  Earth to George, This wasn't your finest hour.

    Stay with me for a second on this one; a little imagineering fellow mouseketeers. On Wednesday as the evidence of wide spread suffering and US government inaction becomes more evident French President Chirac announces that all French flagged cruise ships in the Carribean will off load passengers and converge on NO at top speed. Once off shore the ships will send in their lighters to begin mass evacuation of stranded NO residents. He sighted the long standing Historical  kinship between France and NO as his basis for exercisng direct aid. (If I had been Chirac I would have done it in a heart beat. I would also have pulled in every other available EU flagged vessel as well).

    How long do you think that it would have taken georgie boy to get serious about moving forward with the rescue?

  •  Unbelievable! (none)
    Have these people lost their minds? This is criminal!

    Attend the Washington D.C. anti-war/impeachment march on September 24.

    by vlogger on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 08:58:49 PM PDT

  •  Al Gore's offer of help refused too (none)
    I heard this morning on the radio that Gore was contacted for help by a doctor at a NO hospital, who had operated on Gore's son. Apparently Al Gore organized two American Airlines planes to go in and evacuate the hospital at his own expense. The report said the FEMA blocked the effort.

    There is now a snippet at AlGore-08 saying that Gore landed a plane in Kenner tonight and reference to a Fox news link. The link did not work for me. Perhaps someone else can verify this.

  •  LA's governor not clueless. (none)
    Bill O'Reilly called the LA governor clueless. Then why did she send a 4-page letter on August 28 to the White House asking for immediate declaration of a federal disaster, $5 million dollars and a list of detailed items the state needed.

    The White House never answered.

    A LSA hurricane expert and professor and participant in a hurricane worst scenario exercise last year was on MSNBC and told Tucker Carlson that they compiled the findings of their exercise (which were grim) and presented the CD to a White House official along with a briefing. Can some investigative reporter  find out what happened to that CD?

    I'm so mad I could spit. As a Christian, I try to forgive George Bush for his incompetency. Ever time I get close to forgiveness, he goes and does something even stupider. God save us from his non-recovering dry drunk state, his obsession with trying to win approval from his parents, and his moral vacancy.

  •  Keep Saying it: FEMA CONTROLLED (none)
    LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

    The beneficiaries are likely to be...large corporations and development firms. (O'Connor, J. dissenting in Kelo). God bless you, J. O'Connor.

    by xanthe on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 05:26:46 AM PDT

  •  Libertarian Solutions? (none)
    I've read a several comments over the last few days saying that the convention center is what libertarianism looks like.  I beg to disagree.
    The 500 boat rescue mission is what libertarianism looks like.
    FEMA, is what gov't looks like.

    I'm donating time, goods and $$ to the victims and hope you are too.

    W - all boots & hat, no cattle

    by Mosquito Pilot on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 04:50:03 AM PDT

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