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This WaPo story doesn't pull many punches, and doesn't bury the lede:

The killer hurricane and flood that devastated the Gulf Coast last week exposed fatal weaknesses in a federal disaster response system retooled after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to handle just such a cataclysmic event.

Despite four years and tens of billions of dollars spent preparing for the worst, the federal government was not ready when it came at daybreak on Monday, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former senior officials and outside experts.

Read the whole thing for a small sense of just how utterly gutted FEMA capabilities became under the Bush administration, and specifically under the political appointees involved.

And there's this, from FEMA head Michael Brown, discussing the Cat 5 hurricane arcing directly towards the city of New Orleans...

Brown, the agency's director, told reporters Saturday in Louisiana that he did not have a sense of what was coming last weekend.

"I was here on Saturday and Sunday, it was my belief, I'm trying to think of a better word than typical -- that minimizes, any hurricane is bad -- but we had the standard hurricane coming in here, that we could move in immediately on Monday and start doing our kind of response-recovery effort," he said. "Then the levees broke, and the levees went, you've seen it by the television coverage. That hampered our ability, made it even more complex."

But other officials said they warned well before Monday about what could happen...

Yeah, you know, category 5, no big deal. It's not like anyone could have foreseen that would cause levee failures and major flooding, despite, you know, having been predicted for decades.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:27 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm scared (4.00)
    It's horrifying to know that the DHS is completely incapable of handling a large-scale disaster like a nuclear or biological attack with any degree of competence.  And I may have to admit some error on this one: I was a fan of creating the department when the idea was raised by Joe Lieberman.  I thought it would help to shuffle these disaster relief agencies under one roof.  Apparently, that was a mistake on my part, because the President didn't agree that such a department would be extremely important and would require the highest level of expertise and professionalism at the top levels.

    My bad.

    Florida Democrats: Learn how to WIN at the polls! www.victoryfordems.com

    by JR on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:26:45 AM PDT

    •  Seriously. (4.00)
      We are so utterly screwed. If a large-scale terrorist attack occurs, we are going to be so screwed. It appears (lo and behold) that the entire post-9/11 reshuffling of the chairs accomplished nothing more then the insertion of incompetent Bush politicos in key emergency management positions, coupled with bureaucratic buck-passing and catfights among national teams who don't want to have any actual responsibilities for coordinating disaster response.

      We're going to have Bush officials parading around saying "I don't think anyone could have foreseen terrorists setting off a dirty bomb in an American city," or "I don't think anyone could have foreseen New York would be a terrorist target again," or "I don't think anyone could have foreseen that Bush would have continued to keep an incompetent bunglefuck like me in a position of power after that whole Katrina thing."

      •  We are seeing.... (none)
        So many stories now pointing out the reality of what's happening. Conservatives are trying, but they won't succeed, in spinning their way out of this. Here's a few excerpts from a conservative website:
        KATRINA COVERAGE AND BLAME GAME:

        8/28 FLASHBACK: Bush called LA Gov., personally appealed for mandatory evacuation for New Orleans...

        Army Corps of Engineers: Funding levels are not to blame for flooding; Levees that gave way were completed and in good condition before the hurricane...

        MALKIN MUST-READ: THE 'OTHER SIDE' OF THE STORY YOU ARENT HEARING ABOUT...

        I can supply the link if you really want to go see for yourself. They can spin all they want, but they're not going to win. We can see the pictures and the reality unfiltered.

        •  Where did you find that? (none)
          No way Bush called anyone and demanded anything.

          If I had a nickel for everytime Bush mentioned "9/11" I could raise enough reward money to go after Binladen-Jon Stewart

          by Blakbelt on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:37:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Everyone Knew A Category 5 Storm (none)
          was coming. The governor knew. The Mayor most surely knew. Apparently everyone knew, except Bush et.al.

          So why then, do you suppose, that after spending 40 years and billions of dollars did the city and the state and the corps of engineers design and construct the NO levee system to withstand only a category 3 storm.

          Everybody knew. But no one did anything about it.

          Clearly, to properly allocate the blame for the levee breech amongst the players, you've got to head back to 1965 and work your way forward. A task for a hardy Kos researcher to get started on.

      •  See my above post Hunter (none)
        A shitstorm from HELL awaits Bushco.

        If I had a nickel for everytime Bush mentioned "9/11" I could raise enough reward money to go after Binladen-Jon Stewart

        by Blakbelt on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:35:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  So you are saying (none)
        That Bush put all the inmates in one big asylum?  When can we get the trucks and the nice men in white coats to take them all to nice padded rooms?
      •  EVERY American.... (4.00)
        should be pissed about this.  Billions.  Billions of our dollars have gone into DHS and now it is exposed as a total sham.  As a boondoggle, it may top Iraq.

        Taxpayers unite against Bush!  He has stolen and/or squandered your money.  

        For all the talk about DHS, the American people have gotten nothing except reduced liberty, a la CAPPS II, PATRIOT ACT, and intrusive searches.

        What an absurd joke!

      •  WaPo and ducking the blame (none)
        I love that the WaPo article quotes Chertoff arguing that the levee break and the hurricane are TWO disasters - again, falling back on the implicit argument that surely no one could have foreseen the levees breaking.

        Citation: [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/03/AR2005090301653_4.html]

        "Federal authorities say there is blame enough to go around. In a news conference yesterday, Chertoff cautioned against "finger-pointing" and said no one had been equipped to handle what amounted to two simultaneous disasters -- the hurricane and subsequent levee break."

      •  Seriously (none)
        The sad part is that while these fuckheads are giving excuses(radiation levels are higer than allowable Gov't standards to enter the area), we'll be laying there dying a slow death.

        Perhaps we should all carry a Gov't issued cyanide pill... that way we limit our own suffering and we won't have Frist monitoring the news and telling the prez "I think he/she/it can make it a few more days.

      •  The only positive thing to come from Bush (none)
        Is an unprecidented expansion of the English language in America.

        "Incompetent Bunglefuck" indeed.

    •  imaginif (none)
      Pray that there won't be another strong hurricane then.

      Do you remember that time last year when there were 3 hurricanes in September?

      If another storm or two hits in the next 3 weeks we are all (excuse me)royally fucked.

      •   I shudder (none)
        at the thought and pray it does not happen.
        But, you raise an excellent point.

        Another Day, More Recycled Republican Rubbish-- PA Democratic Committee

        by wishingwell on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:33:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If that happens... (none)
          ...I wonder what the national ramifications would be? Where would the "faith and credit" of the US Dollar go? Will the FDIC stop guaranteeing banks? What other safeguards has the Bush administration siphoned off of the New Deal & Great Society? Will our foreign debtors want to collect??
    •  It is frightening ... (4.00)
      as it is too horrid to imagine that incompetency of this administration worse than we have all ready seen. If they cannot handle something that was forecast, predicted with warnings and scientists talking about this possibility for decades..I cannot even begin to imagine how this administration could handle another terror attack...shudder..

      Another Day, More Recycled Republican Rubbish-- PA Democratic Committee

      by wishingwell on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:32:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Kinda like Clinton telling Bush (4.00)
        before he left the WH that the number on thing to beware of Was National Security and Osama Bin Ladin. August 6th '01 PDB. Bush is our Disaster. Worst President in the History of the United States.

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

        by Chamonix on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:36:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'll say it again (4.00)
      Mike Brown and Sec. Chertoff should both do what's right:  

      1. Apologize to America, Americans, folks of the Gulf Coast, and victimes of the hurricane.

      2. They should both then resign in disgrace.

      3. Congress should investigate the failures.

      4. Wrong doing should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

      5. Bush needs to go on national tv and apologize to the nation for his failed leadership. (under the right circumstances, he would resign).

      6. The good people of this country should rightfully vote those lawmakers (Vitter, Landrieu, Blanco, Barbour, Lott, etc) all out of office.

      7. vote for a sea of change in '06.  time for the GOP to relinquish power.

      This isn't extreme---it's called ACCOUNTABILITY.

      I wan't to see more of John Edwards...this is about 2 America's and I'm tired of living in the part Republicans don't care about (because of my class status).

      •  Chertoff is a Judge...Brown is a Lawyer (none)
        Bush loves to reward loyalty and I wouldn't be shocked if one of them replaces Rehnquist.
        •  No, Brownie is toast, and probably Chertoff too.. (none)
          Once the Dems demand accountability!

          Whoops, the Dems demand accountability? Luckily Lieberman and Collins are bipartisan in calling for investigations and hearings.

          Anyone want to bet as to the faux history that will be shoved down our throats?

          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 Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:58:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Dems' demand for accountability (none)
            should not merely concern recent fuckups, but should focus on the future.  

            The Repubs have proven themselves unfit to govern.  Beyond any doubt.  It is the responsibility of Dems in Congress to obstruct them at every turn.  Filibuster Roberts.  Filibuster the estate tax, filibuster Rehnquist's replacement--I don't care who it is.

            They'll scream obstructionism.  But we can say:

            "The levy of government has broken.  It is our civic duty to sandbag."

            "Just as Democrats would do their utmost to protect citizens from external danger, we must protect them from further harm from within.  This isn't obstruction, it's protection."

        •  well (none)
          that would be ridiculous...

          but that is what this administration is about. the more you fuck up, the bigger your reward.

          bush calls in accountability...

          what do we call it?

        •  Poor Brownie (none)
          Brown will be the scapegoat.
          He's not good for much else anyway.
          Then again, none of them are good for anything.

          I'm curious. How many of you actually thought the DHS would be able to protect you in any way shape or form?

          Anyone else sick to death of hearing how the National Guard just couldn't get into NO?
          I guess it was more dangerous than Iraq.  

          Feel safe yet?

          I'm so angry that I don't think I'll ever be
          calm again. I feel like those old cartoon characters - remember the steam that would come out of their ears?

          Maybe I'll see if I can wait out this regime. If I life that long.

      •  Medal of Freedom (none)
        <snark>Oh, come on. I see at least two medals of freedom coming down the pike for them.
        </snark>
    •  I was right there with you (none)
      I can't believe how the DHS has not improved it's capabilities and capacity beyond where it is now and I can't believe the gaps in their knowledge of the situation unfolding and studies BY THEIR OWN PEOPLE that predicted exactly what happened.  It seems the chain of command wasn't streamlined, it became non-existent.
    •  My message (none)
      To Michael Chertoff: DROP DEAD, You fucking incompetent moron and take your paymaster BUSH with you!!
    •  Don't be scared! (none)
      Just move to a nice wealthy white neighborhood and everything will be A-OK!
  •  But we'll see a change from WaPo soon enough... (4.00)
    ...this paper has been pretty efficient at shilling for the administration. I would not be surprised if in a week they joined the "blame Nagin" or "blame Blanco" bandwagon.

    No high profile national Democrats are at bat for them. The right wing echo chamber is at the precipice.

    •  Come on, get a grip (4.00)
      A shitstorm from hell will fall on Bushco this coming week. HELL. This will change America as we know it, and politics as we know it. Do not underestimate what has happened here (not suggesting you are dumb, btw) There are minimum 20,000 dead humans here, a horrendous tragedy on the scale of WW2. The details I have read here on Kos are clearly the most damming things I have ever read in my 38 years, and they still have another 30 or 40 thousand to find and evacuate. The rage over this is just beginning, its a small fire right now, an inferno by Tuesday. We will witness some unprecedented shit in the next couple weeks for sure.

      If I had a nickel for everytime Bush mentioned "9/11" I could raise enough reward money to go after Binladen-Jon Stewart

      by Blakbelt on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:34:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And who's to say (none)
        that these horrific numbers won't be placed squarely on the shoulders of Blanco/Nagin, courtesy of the right-wing spin machine?
        •  Come ON (none)
          NO AMOUNT OF SPIN CAN CHANGE WHAT HAPPENED. You cannot spin the footage we have all watched this week. Americans suffering while the administration VACATIONED and bought shoes and gave bogus goddman speeches. Their collective incompetence is exposed permanently. They are DONE, DONE, DONE. America will not listen to lies anymore after this, because thats all they have ever had is lies and mind games.

          If I had a nickel for everytime Bush mentioned "9/11" I could raise enough reward money to go after Binladen-Jon Stewart

          by Blakbelt on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:48:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I just don't know (none)
            That's what I was thinking when we were in the thick of things, but now I swing back and forth. The people of this nation very desperately want to stick their heads back in the sand, you know... it's good enough for many that the President eventually looked on top of things.
          •  spin (none)
            listen, i respect your comments, but let's remember one thing.

            PERCEPTION is far more powerful than reality.

            Bush fucked up. Reality.
            People Died. Reality.
            Bush fucked up. Reality.

            but as noted, there is nothing more powerful than perception.  the propaganda machine, spin machine (whatever you want to call it), has the potential to make the perception different than what we know to be reality.

            they did it with iraq. they did it with abu ghraib.  they did it with plame/rove.  they will continue doing it.

            perhaps one day the people of this great nation will awake, and demand change.  but that change takes time.  and this my friend, is another hick-up. but for our sake, i hope it is much more. i hope this is the quiet before the storm.

            and the storm, when it comes, shall dethrone the GOP and Bush administration from power for good.

          •  Easier to blame it on the Blacks, and (none)
            their inept Black mayor.

            Gosh, I apologize, but this last week has made me so cynical. If all those abandoned people had been White, the outrage would have been astronomical and revolutionary.

            But they were black. And I still can't dimiss the conspiracy theories that this was all about solving New Orleans' poverty and freeing up some prime developable land for our "American Venice".

            Billy Tauzin-ex-R is already out pimping his redevelopment schemes.

            Someone should tell him that not all the bodies, trapped in attics, are yet dead.

            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 Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 02:10:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  somebody give me a poll... (none)
            betting shit for brains is about 29% positive in the next one.
          •  I've been asking myself (none)
            Why am I watching so much?  Somone reminded me that people can get PTSD from watching this on TV.  I then realized it's because I don't want to forget what happened when the spin machine starts flinging out the bush-shit.
      •  Wishful thinking? (none)
        I really, really want to believe you are correct. However, I heard on the Laura Flanders show today (Air America) that the TV news networks are already force-feeding us a new (bullshit)message: Everything's OK now. All the Katrina victims are being taken care of and all is well.

        This, as anyone NOT following the msm knows, is a sack of shite.

        It's like the White House took them (the TV news networks) all out to the woodshed because of their Katrina coverage on Wed. and Thurs. which went, "off message"; so now they have to get back on track or face the wrath of Rove and Co.

        So anyway, if things do actually change, and Bush is by some miracle held accountable, it will be with no help from the msm, despite the tiny crack of reality that peeked through earlier this week.

      •  The coverage has just begun (none)
        People inside had cameras -- I suspect some had video cameras. There will be images and stories so horrendous, that we haven't even seen the misery yet.
      •  Dysentery outbreak (none)
        has now been reported in Biloxi, Mississippi. Authorities fear cholera may soon appear.
        The stench of decay - human and animal - was growing stronger in flattened neighborhoods where cranes would be needed to untangle the debris. Bodies swept out to sea in the storm Sunday are still coming back, authorities said.

        Fear of a cholera outbreak caused emergency officials to order that areas south of the CSX Railroad in Long Beach and Pass Christian be evacuated.

        No federal or private relief agency had erected tents or other temporary housing for the homeless.

        While this inititial outbreak does not seem catastrophic, the death toll on the Gulf will inevitably go higher due to these epidemics.

    •  I think it's all ready happened (none)
      A joint WaPo-ABC News poll says that 46 approve of how Bush handled destroying NOLA, while 47 disapprove.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/03/AR2005090301164.html

      Amateurs talk strategery, professionals talk logistics

      by Young Freud on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:36:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Story made me sick and sad (none)
        I diaried it here
      •  Those aren't good numbers (none)
        People are shaking their heads wondering how so many  people could still support the President.  It is well established that there is always a post disaster bounce. Just remember where Bush's polls went post 9/11. People want, really want, to support the President.  In such times supporting the President is viewed as supporting the Country. That Bush's favorable polling is below 50% is an indication that he is in very, very serious trouble.

        Playing the blame game is just compounding his problems, because his problems are with the perception of his resolve and strength.

        On Thursday he should have fired Brown. He didn't. That is his greatest failing. He just doesn't demand much from his subordinants and that is what he gets from them, not much. In this case he got a moron who thinks a Category 5 hurricane is just another typical hurricane, no biggie.

    •  three points stop this shite dead in its tracks (4.00)
      a)  FEMA's own website says

      Preparing America

          In the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume primary responsibility on March 1st for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation. This will entail providing a coordinated, comprehensive federal response to any large-scale crisis and mounting a swift and effective recovery effort.

      b) FEMA had the authorization to do their thing as early as saturday - at least 2 days before katrina hit.  which puts their response time at one week.  and squarely in the "pathetic" column.

      And just as importantly, why are the White House and FEMA now claiming that they had no idea Katrina was going to be this bad when the president declared an emergency in Louisiana last Saturday, two days before the storm even hit?

      Note the specific language from the White House Web site:

          Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding.

      c) Bush can't have it both ways

      1. Bush, through the director of FEMA, FOX News, and other surrogates, is pushing the spin that the people of New Orleans brought this disaster on themselves by NOT evacuating the city.

      1. But Bush is also pushing the spin that no one could have known the disaster would be THIS BIG, so it's unfair to blame Bush for not preparing adequately for the disaster.

      2. But if no one could have known the disaster would be this big, then why should we have expected people to evacuate the city?
      •  But you know what they'll do (none)
        is create a so-called "controversy" about the proper role of the FEMA. That's how they operate -- it doesn't matter if they're wrong -- they still win if there is a debate about whether they are wrong or not. That debate will be raged on the MSM.  

        That is, if we let me. That's why I loved the idea someone posted yesterday on the DK to start creating timelines and links to every story and website that will give us a truthful picture of what the governors did and what FEMA did. We have to do the research and gather the information -- and not leave it up to Fox and Drudge to do it for us.

        And let's hope CNN keeps doing its job.

         

  •  yes that is their mantra (4.00)
    Who could have known...who could have foreseen...that is all they do, is try to pretend that tragedies cannot be predicted and they will do anything to escape responsibility.

    By the way, two friends of mine donated to the Hurricane Relief in memory of my mother who died 3 weeks ago today. My mother was so compassionate and spent her life helping others. My friends thought this would be a way to honor her.  I am quite touched by this gesture.
    My parents were both compassionate and generous people who did spend their lives helping those in need. I think giving to the Red Cross or Salvation Army for the Katrina flood victims is such a great way to donate but also to honor those who have gone before us.

    Another Day, More Recycled Republican Rubbish-- PA Democratic Committee

    by wishingwell on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:29:14 AM PDT

  •  They didn't think the test would come... (4.00)
    ...they were wrong. They humiliated a nation with their laziness, or incompetence, or bureacracy, or whatever the hell it ends up being. Whatever their excuses, the fundamental fact remains that this should not have happened. The planning should've been there. This should not have happened. Before and after the hurricane hit there were things that should've been done that weren't. Federal, state, and local they all know it. Americans know it. Hell will be the payment for our collective anger.

    (-4.38, -5.18) | If you're not mad you're insane

    by Addison on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:31:28 AM PDT

  •  "We had the standard Hurricane (4.00)
    Coming in here."  He Must Be Fired. I called Boxer and left word on Thursday to stand up and call for his resignation. We must call our Senators and get him to quit or be fired. This is beyond a political issue. He Failed..plain and simple. He is a failure. It is not even up for debate. This will probably become known as the biggest loss of life EVER in US History by any hurricane. (Deadliest so far on record is 8000, they were lost in A Galvaston Hurricane in the 1900's.) IF he thought this was just a "Standard Hurricane" All Dems must call for him to step down NOW. Call them and demand it. If our minority leaders cannot do this NOW...I have lost all faith in them. We need leadership NOW.

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

    by Chamonix on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:33:13 AM PDT

  •  We cannot let them live this down. (none)
    Or let the media fall asleep again. Keep writing LTEs, keep calling your elected officials, and keep telling everyone you come across the truth. Conservatism must die now. They have smeared liberal thought for too long. We must motivate the opposition we have even if its not the opposition we want and it will save us as surely as the truth will set us free.
  •  What Bush did in FEMA funding (none)
    (and in his deployment of national guard troops) is much like buying a home with all of a family's money in a hot, heavily-forested area where lightning tends to strike, and not bothering to buy any fire insurance.

    Like most wild-cat oil men, Bush is a gambler.  Unfortunately, he gambled with our money and our safety...the bastard.

    "We do know of certain knowledge that he [Osama Bin Laden] is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead."--Donald Rumsfeld

    by sunbro on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:34:02 AM PDT

  •  If it's not too much to ask... (4.00)
    I'd like for some prominent Democrats to go on a media blitz calling for Michael Brown's resignation.

    Oh, and while we're at it, I'd like Congress to pass the following laws:

    • FEMA to be reconstituted as an independent Cabinet-level agency, with funding restored to 1999 levels or higher
    • Effective immediately, the head of FEMA must be an accredited emergency-management professional with at least 10 years experience

    But hey?  What do I know?  I'm just some guy ranting on the Internets.

    -AG

    You are so evolved it boggles my fragile little mind. Now give me a 4, fucker. (Bill In Portland Maine, to Meteor Blades)

    by AlphaGeek on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:36:37 AM PDT

    •  I don't know about making FEMA ... (none)
      ...Cabinet level, but I sure would like to see a united Dem front calling for some heads to roll. But then, of course, the head that ought to be already lopped off and in the basket is parked with a smirk in the Oval Office.

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

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:45:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You don't understand. (none)
        Making it a cabinet-level position would ensure its success in all future catastrophes (See: Department of Homeland Security).
        •  WTF? (none)
          Please explain precisely what you meant by this.

          -AG

          You are so evolved it boggles my fragile little mind. Now give me a 4, fucker. (Bill In Portland Maine, to Meteor Blades)

          by AlphaGeek on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 02:08:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here's what I think about your comment, (none)
            since I can't exactly explain what I meant. I agree that FEMA should regain the prominence it had during Clinton. My sarcasm was directed at no one in particular, but my general point was that a cabinet-level position would be appropriate, except that creating the DHS has obviously been an abject failure under this administration.
      •  Clinton elevated FEMA to Cabinet in 1992 (none)
        And appointed James Lee Witt, a thoroughly qualified professional emergency-response manager, to head it.  This was in reaction to FEMA's tepid response to Hurrican Andrew.  (WaPo article you've probably already seen.)

        Bush used the post-9/11 corporate-style reorg to remove FEMA from the Cabinet, though he had already set its evisceration into motion with the lackluster management he appointed in Jan 2001.

        Regarding your second point: I would not consider it excessive for Congress to vote 'no confidence' and force the resignation of the entire Bush administration.  It's distressing to contemplate that there's another year to go before the American people can finally repudiate these lying, thieving bastards at the ballot box.

        -AG

        You are so evolved it boggles my fragile little mind. Now give me a 4, fucker. (Bill In Portland Maine, to Meteor Blades)

        by AlphaGeek on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:59:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Agree Alpha (4.00)
      this was also included in my message to Senator Boxer here in California..I asked her to start a bill getting Fema out from under the Homeland Security Umbrella. This disaster proves once and for all, what we have been screaming for 5 fucking years...Worst President in the History of the United States of America. He is peerless now. He cannot ride a bike and everyone is dying. He is a fucking Moron..GGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRFUUUUUUUUUCK.......Fuck you Coward...you mother fucking Murderer..You pathetic piece of Bile. He are not worthy of human breath. You have the blood of Thousands of Americans on your hands. You are the lowest of the lows. The worst of the worst. You shouldn't be allowed to even walk by the White House let alone live in it. You are nothing But a LOSER..You have been one your entire life. Everything you touch turns to SHIT. You are a Jinx. You have done more harm to the United States than any terrorist could ever do. You should bow your head in shame, admit your mistakes and walk away before American dies and breathes it's last breath. You smirk and smile and joke while souls are dying because of your fuck ups. Fuck off you miserable piece of Human waste.

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

      by Chamonix on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:52:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Forgot to mention above (4.00)
        The Governor of Louisiana has hired James Lee Witt to advise her on managing through this crisis.  She did this in conjunction with her decision to reject a request from the Bush misadventure administration to authorize a federal takeover of relief efforts in her state.

        And yes, you're right -- he has damaged the country more thoroughly than any terrorist could ever hope to.  Today there are bodies in the streets of a destroyed American city, and those deaths are directly attributable to the defective thinking prevalent throughout his administration.

        -AG

        You are so evolved it boggles my fragile little mind. Now give me a 4, fucker. (Bill In Portland Maine, to Meteor Blades)

        by AlphaGeek on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 02:05:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  She did what? (none)
          I heard about Witt.  But when the boys in white hats come riding up and say "Okay, ma'am, we'll take it from here." she tells them basically to take a hike and waves Witt in front of their face.  "Get out of here, you worthless yahoos.  I've just hired a new sheriff.  He knows how to get a job done!".

          Ouch!  That's gotta hurt.

          •  Agree (none)
            To let chertoff take control of Louisiana relief efforts is to use Iraq as a good model for restoring services.  NOT.  Witt will get the job down and contracts to rebuild the state wil NOT go to Halliburton.  Thank goodness.
  •  Brown is a moron (4.00)
    I woke up Sunday morning and literally (I mean literally) the first thing I said to my boyfriend was "I guess I never get to see New Orleans."
  •  BTW on CNN... (none)
    There was a little aside I caught in one segment where one family caught a ride with Security Contractors...

    They had white SUVs with tinted windows...  I can't reference it exactly it was on earlier on Saturday.

    I wonder if they are doing organized looting missions...

  •  Terrorism is so sexy (4.00)
    But did it really never dawn on anybody that the results of a terrorist attack could be exactly the same as a natural disaster?  Where has all the Homeland Security money gone?

    And did you notice the list of other oh so boring natural disasters that, given our experience with Katrina, have probably been left un-planned too?  They include flu pandemic.  Lots of news the past two years about new strains of flu, you know.  This quite frankly terrifies me.

    I live in Los Angeles, and it's long been clear that nobody has been thinking about attacks at our port.  Despite the damage that could be done to the city by explosions at the port, has anybody realized that if container ships from China can't get in through the port Los Angeles, it means no "goods" on the shelves at your average midwestern Wal-Mart?

    No preparation for boring old earthquakes either.

    These dangerous morons have stolen our money and left us less safe than we were before 9/11.  My god.

    •  Exactly and didn't Cheney say: (4.00)
      That if people didn't vote the right way there might be a disaster?

      Can someone dig this video up so we can hang them with it?

    •  I live in Los Angeles, too, and while ... (4.00)
      ...I wonder what would happen if we had a 7.5 seismic event, I also wonder about this from the story Hunter linked:

      But Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said yesterday that his department had failed to find an adequate model for addressing the "ultra-catastrophe" that resulted when Hurricane Katrina's floodwater breached New Orleans's levees and drowned the city, "as if an atomic bomb had been dropped."

      If an atomic bomb had been set off in the Los Angeles/Long Beach port on Sunday, would we just now be seeing federal troops and supply convoys? Not being prepared for a natural disaster persuades me they aren't ready for any disaster, despite all the dough they've spent. Not, of course, that anybody could have predicted terrorists would strike a major port with a nuke (or dirty bomb).

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

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:50:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Martial Law (none)
        I'm beginning to think that all Homeland Security contingency plans post-9/11 for major disasters were predicated on imposing martial law. Absent that condition FEMA flailed around in a legalistic haze and failed to comprehend the scope of the death and dying along the Gulf.

        I think FEMA was all primed to hand over TOTAL control to the military and get out of the way. When Louisiana asked for FEMA to fulfill it's disaster response role instead of ceding absolute sovereignty to the Feds the whole FEMA response fell apart as lawyers in Washington haggled about how to procede.

        I said it. I meant it. I stand by it. - Major Paul Hackett

        by joejoejoe on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 02:18:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Federalized martial law (none)
          I understand Louisiana declared martial law but that only allows National Guard to be used for policing purposes. I'm talking about turning over the management of the State of Louisiana to the Federal governent.

          I said it. I meant it. I stand by it. - Major Paul Hackett

          by joejoejoe on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 02:23:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  If an Atomic Bomb went off... (4.00)
        Chertoff would explain the lack of response by complaining about the complexity of dealing with two disasters:

        "Really, were dealing with two catastrophies."

        "First, you have the nuclear blast. But then, we had this radioactive fallout. I don't think anyone could have predicted a nuclear bomb would be followed by the separate fallout disaster."

        "I might also mention that we have been warning that such a disaster could occur in a major metropolitan area, and the people who didn't evacuate were obviously not paying attention."

    •  There's a volcano out in the Azores... (4.00)
      ...with a loose flank that just might, without much warning, drop about five hundred cubic KILOMETERS of stone into the Atlantic one day.

      The result, according to some computer simulations, would be a thirty to seventy-five foot tidal wave ALL THE WAY ALONG the US east coast (north and south of the US too, of course).

      There would be about eight hours warning before the wave hit.

      Luckily, that's worst case. There are credible doubts that first, the whole block of stone would dump at the same time, and second, that it would produce a real tsunami instead of even more violent but much shorter-ranged waves.

      But if it did happen?

      Eight hours to evacuate the east coast. Ugh.

      Bush is a weapon of mass destruction all by himself.

      But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

      by sagesource on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 02:05:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Inside out (4.00)
      If Hurricane Katrina represented a real-life rehearsal of sorts, the response suggested to many that the nation is not ready to handle a terrorist attack of similar dimensions. "This is what the department was supposed to be all about," said Clark Kent Ervin, DHS's former inspector general. "Instead, it obviously raises very serious, troubling questions about whether the government would be prepared if this were a terrorist attack. It's a devastating indictment of this department's performance four years after 9/11."
      I've seen this logic a few times in the last week. Even the critics seem to still be so bewitched by the threat of terrorism that it doesn't occur to them that death and destruction are bad regardless of the cause. As if we were somehow lucky that this particular disaster wasn't caused by terrorism.

      . . . solutions emerge from [our] judicious study of discernible reality.

      by realitybased on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 02:17:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (4.00)
        and thank you...

        Shame on anyone who writes or talks about Katrina and the aftermath in NOLA and the Gulf and introduces the idea of terrorism into the conversation.

        This is worse than terrorism, the impact is far greater and much more long term.  This exaggerated fear that the terrorism boogey man has created in the nation is also a contributing factor to this particular disaster, but we'll never get this nation to see or understand that.

        Its a very good example of why cultural and discursive politics do, in fact, matter; they can and do have very real world consequences.  

        In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

        by a gilas girl on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 08:55:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I wrote a letter to the editor for next week (none)
      Comparing this to a Dirty bomb, saying "It could have been us" and "Do you feel safer now?"

      Finished with if you don't, vote for change in the next election.

      "Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines" Steven Wright

      by wrights on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 05:55:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  DHS would have been ready (4.00)
    if they had watched their own ads on TV:

  •  My most fucking paranoid nightmare (4.00)
    Is that terrorists, determined to commemorate the 4th anniversary of 9/11/2001, will attempt another attack this 9/11, and will take advantage of the fact that the fucking incompetent idiots that are running our government now, have diverted the Border Patrol from our borders. Border Patrol agents who are taking the place of National Guardsmen who should've been doing the job in their states, but are instead off in Iraq, pursuing their cocksucker-in-chief's stupid fucking fool's errand of invading a country that had no relation to the attacks of 9/11/2001. It seems to me, that if we don't survive this administration, (or even if we do), there is going to be one hell of a lesson drawn from this in the history books.

    If you're looking for love in a looking glass world, it's pretty hard to find

    by patop on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:43:28 AM PDT

  •  Just think of the aftermath of this (none)
    tens of thousands of funerals. This is so sad and such a disgrace. I have been desperately angry all week. I predict this ends Bush's Presidency. FIVE FUCKING DAYS TO GET TO THESE PEOPLE IN AN AMERICAN CITY. BUSH IS DONE.

    If I had a nickel for everytime Bush mentioned "9/11" I could raise enough reward money to go after Binladen-Jon Stewart

    by Blakbelt on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:43:39 AM PDT

    •  Been mentioned (none)
      by Carol Mosely-Braun I believe that there is talk of mass graves.  Probably only meant for those in New Orleans, as there are mortuaries dealing with identifying the dead in Mississippi and Alabama.

      If they only have mass graves for those in New Orleans, people should be screaming about racism.

  •  Requinst Died (none)
    I just read the MSN posting, Requinst died tonight.  
    •  yeah....we talked about it Meta meta... (none)
      and moved the fuck on..like the rest of the press and public should do. He is dead..there are people who are dying in NO and we can save them...Let's tend to the living.

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

      by Chamonix on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:54:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  they know what they're doing (none)
    Am I missing something here?
    How come people keep talking about how we're unprepared?
    THEY DIDN"T DO ANYTHING FOR TWO DAYS.
    Things went alright last year in Florida didn't they?
    I know this is much bigger than Florida but I'm talking about REACTION TIME. This is a premeditated lack of response is it not? You've heard it - if this was a city of Nancy Holloways then there would have been jet planes with f-16 escorts and fleets of Greyhounds coming from everywhere. Hotels would be commandeered and Bush would wearing a hard hat. C'mon.

    What do you think of the idea of a MILLION AMERICAN MARCH.
    Demonstrating 24-7. Each participant has a designated day they show up and so no one has to stay for more than 24 hours yet the numbers remain MASSIVE. Imagine that noise. I think it would be international front page stuff. And would scare those villians outta there.

    Should I stop dreaming?

    the darkest hour is just before the dawn...

    by batgoat on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 01:48:28 AM PDT

    •  FEMA press releases - Mike Brown is a madman (3.66)
      8/29 - First Responders Urged Not To Respond To Hurricane Impact Areas Unless Dispatched By State, Local Authorities

      8/29 - Volunteers Should Not Self-Dispatch

      Did this asshole know all communications were knocked out? He killed how many people with these orders? What a fucking sadistic bureaucrat.

      I said it. I meant it. I stand by it. - Major Paul Hackett

      by joejoejoe on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 03:32:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Katrina is FishWrap (4.00)
    "The Conversation" will be all SCOTUS. Rove and FOX will do everything in their power to throw all kinds of big-time outrageous, DIVISIVE, attention-diverting issues at us now...

    ...Here comes ABORTION (dividing the women) and GAY-BAITING (freaking out the sub-urbanites) and GUN CONTROL and outrageously unacceptable BOLTON/BORK type nominees (can you say CLARENCE THOMAS as Chief Justice?) and EVOLUTION and Ten Commandments UNDER GOD, yadda yadda yadda: We'll be desperately trying to get the country / party to focus and end up playing slime/swiftboat sky full of flack "Whack -A- Mole" yet again --- while the wingnut media "mop up" whatever shame / doubt remains in the aftermath of the flood = Act Of God that nobody could predict anyway, wasn't it a shame, y'all? And youknow afterall it was all the victims' fault anyway and howzabout all them crazy niggaz runnin' wild in the streets lootin' and shootin' BULLSHIT.

    And the DLC = Band Played On {sigh} So Condi was SHOE SHOPPING? Where The Hell Was Hillary during Katrina: FUND RAISING?? Bubba? WITH DUBYA!!

    jeebus!

    WTH happened to Plame/Rove/Libby? FishWrap: ROBERTSON.

    damn!  WE ALMOST HAD THE BASTARDS :-(

    nous sommes celui qui nous feignons pour etre

    by MonsieurGonzo on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 02:10:48 AM PDT

  •  Too tired, but about Michael D. Brown ... (4.00)
    I'm too tired to get into this kind of research at 3:45, but I have done some research and this is what I've found.

    Mike Brown, under secretary for negligently allowing thousands to die, was confirmed by the Senate in his previous position as deputy director. This is the transcript of Brown's confirmation hearing (reload the page if it doesn't load) in which Sens. Allard and Campbell (both R-CO) shower glowing praise on this loser. Sen. Lieberman also has kindly things to say to this clearly unqualified man.

    So, uh, Sen. Lieberman is supposed to be investigating this mess? After reading some of his comments, I have serious doubts about Lieberman being the Democrat's point man on investigating Brown and his dealings.

    I have found no record of Brown's confirmation to the top spot following Allbaugh's resignation as director. Maybe my research is faulty, but it seems to me that this position -- under secretary for emergency preparedness and response in the DHS -- was not a Senate-confirmable position. It appears, basically, that he was grandfathered into the position. (After some Googling -- this is true (PDF). "The Homeland Security Act of 2002 provides that reconfirmation by the Senate is not required for "any officer whose agency is transferred to the Department pursuant to this act and whose duties following such transfer are germane to those performed before such transfer."14 Michael D. Brown was appointed as Under Secretary of Emergency Preparedness and Response under this provision.15 He had previously been confirmed as deputy director of FEMA.")

    In that confirmation hearing transcript, you'll find that there was no mention of 'hurricane', but it's chock full of NBC talk. My first impression was that the war on terror actually diverted resources from preparedness for and response to natural disaster. That's in addition to the obvious issues raised in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath -- the war in Iraq diverted domestic resources expected to respond in times of disaster, crisis, or other emergency.

    I hope to attack the document with a highlighter tomorrow -- or later than that? -- but in the mean time, someone should do a thorough read and post a diary if they find anything relevant.

    Here's are a couple parts that stood out:
    Chairman Lieberman. Do you know of anything personal or otherwise, that would in any way prevent you from fully and honorably discharging your responsibilities as Deputy Director of FEMA?
    Mr. Brown. No, sir. (Editorial comment: Are you sure that being unqualified might be a little problem?)
    Chairman Lieberman. And do you agree without reservation to respond to any reasonable summons to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of Congress if you are confirmed?
    Mr. Brown. Absolutely.

    Would it be too much to hope for answers?

  •  The man at the top (none)

    GWB's mask is falling off.

    Ah don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees- GWB, 9/01 2005

    by Agathena on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 02:31:58 AM PDT

  •  An imperative. (4.00)
    It's absolutely necessary that all Democrats focus their efforts on pinning the Bush administration down on this one.

    The Bush admin. can't be allowed to shift blame to Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin, as they are furiously attempting to do at the moment. That radio interview with Nagin screaming obscenities down the phone to get resources should be recounted ad nauseum in every medium we can possibly get our hands on. We need to get experts to show how the onus of coordinating a proper response to the catastrophe lay with the federal government.

    More than anything, this moment must be used to show how a strong yet efficient central government is necessary for protecting and properly leading countries in the 21st century. It's the Republican tactic of 'starving the beast' that has lead to this frankly dismal response to the hurricane.

    We must point out that Bush knew it was going to be a disaster, and was playing guitar during the height of the tragedy. That he only cut his vacation short days later. That any disaster of that nature required the federal government to act IMMEDIATELY (no nonsense about the state level needing to 'request it' - I can't believe such fatuous nonsense even gets printed; the scope of the diaster alone meant it was immediately a national - federal - emergency and had been recognised as such in the days before it happened). That it was his policies that lead to the gutting of FEMA and proper disaster response.

    Above all, we need to point out that the victims of the Asian tsunami had food and water within 48 hours. That Americans didn't get it for days and days. That's completely unacceptable in the richest country in the world, and can only be seen as gross - even criminal - negligence.

    This is the moment when we can turn the Bush administration into a lame duck joke. We can destroy his second-term agenda, make it impossible for him to pack the Supreme Court with conservatives and make it a landslide for the Democrats in 2006. Or we can fritter away this opportunity and allow Bush to come out of it smelling of roses (as a hero in a time of crisis, as he was ridiculously portrayed following 9/11), while the blame falls on Blanco and Nagin and the Democrats.

    The world has seen the worst sides of America over the past few days: class and racial conflict spilling over into absolute anarchy in the city of New Orleans. We've seen a first world country behave in response to a diaster in a way that would shame the dictator of a third world backwater. Bush MUST be held responsible. This MUST work to our advantage.

    (Just a note: I know I've looked at this from a very overtly political POV and haven't dwelled much on the humanitarian side of the disaster. I have spent time on that elsewhere, but I think it's time - now that people are being properly rescued from New Orleans - that we put the Bush administration's feet to the fire).

    The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one - George Bernard Shaw

    by Mephistopheles on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 02:41:50 AM PDT

  •  Field Hospital NOLA Airport - 800 patients /hr (none)
    .
    Field Hospital NOLA Airport - 800 patients /hr

    However, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Carter told CNN that its rescue efforts had been suspended in some areas, although they continued in other parts of the city. "We're having to hold off going in until we're assured that the areas are safe to transit. We're following the lead of FEMA on that."

    At Armstrong airport, a field hospital set up by FEMA was overwhelmed with patients. Equipment normally used to move luggage was instead ferrying patients to a treatment center and to planes and buses for evacuation.

    Ozro Henderson, a medical team commander with FEMA, said staff was "so overwhelmed, it's not funny."

    "I do not have the words in my vocabulary to describe what is happening here," Henderson said. "Catastrophe and disaster don't explain it."

    One bright spot Thursday was news that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to complete the sealing off of the 17th Street Canal, in western New Orleans, where a flood-control levee breached, sending floodwater cascading into the downtown area.


    Evelyn Turner cries alongside the body of her common-law husband, Xavier Bowie, after he died in New Orleans. Bowie and Turner had decided to ride out Hurricane Katrina when they could not find a way to leave the city. Bowie, who had lung cancer, died when he ran out of oxygen Tuesday afternoon.   AP Photo/Eric Gay    

    Breaking - NG | DHS Orders :: Red Cross Not Allowed In NOLA ◊ cross-posted by Oui @BooMan

  •  frist volunteering medical care (none)
    and roundly criticizing the government's emergency response.

    Frist also said the federal government had acted too slowly in dealing with the hurricane's aftermath.

    "Given the escalation of catastrophe that occurred over the first three days, absolutely I would have liked to see the federal government respond quicker, more rapidly, with better command and control centers and much improved communication," Frist said.

    "I'm not going to get into finger-pointing now. I did call for oversight hearings -- I wouldn't have done that if I weren't concerned. We've got to do better."

    i think katrina can help put the estate tax in perspective for a lot of people.  please click the link - i go into more detail there.

  •  Lies (3.75)
    So, if the flooding is Brown's excuse for not getting help to New Orleans quickly enough how does he explain the fact that Biloxi didn't get any assistance either...they didn't see any authorities or receive any supplies from the government until Bush showed up to tour the area five days later.  
  •  Upcoming video? (none)
    So do y'all think we'll see a "humorus" video in a few months, where Bush searches through the Oval Office mumbling, "Now where did I put that City of New Orleans?  It's got be around here somewhere."

    Callous evil bastard.

  •  Sky News report (none)
    I'd like to share a news report I saw about 12 hours ago on Sky News, a British cable channel. One of their reporters somewhere on the Gulf coast, Andrew Rossi, was interviewing a group of people who had come in a car convoy with boats towed to try to reach a small town nearby submerged under 10 feet of water where thousands of people were trapped. And, guess this, they were being prevented by authorities from even attempting the rescue. According to one of the persons involved, who had received a desperate message from trapped relatives, the conditions there were "a living hell" -- no food, no water and a co9mplete breakdown of social order ("Everyone's carrying a gun"). I didn't quite catch the town's name, but it was something like "Shamatal". If anyone is interested in more details of what I saw, I'll be glad to provide them. Oh, and by the way, it was said in the piece that situations like this are very common up and down the coast.
  •  Incompetence or intentional? (none)
    I truly hate to wear the tinfoil hat, but it is getting hard to keep it off my head.

    For most of the past week, I have, like most people, looked at the New Orleans situation and concluded that the failures were caused by the incompence of crony appointees combined with a misguided GOP ideology that opposes governement assistance in principle.

    However, the past couple of days have caused me to question exactly how "incompetent" these people are.  Stories of the Red Cross and other private aid workers being denied entry to N.O. have been stunning.  Literaly turning away assistance.

    But the most shocking stories have been of the photo-ops.  If this crew is so inept then how are they able to put together relief-looking photo-ops?  They clearly know what rescue and relief looks like...they are just choosing not to provide it.

    One almost has to wonder whether someone doesn't wish that N.O. would explode into a chaotic, looting festival; justifying a Fallujahesque repression of the "criminal element".  Perhaps they are shocked that 4-5 days without help wasn't sufficient to trigger mass panic and chaos.

    I know this sounds like crazy conspiracy theorizing but is there a non-crazy explanation for aid not being allowed in and people not being allowed out?  For levee repair being halted?  For Coast Guard helicopter crews sitting idly by?  At some point, incompetence is insufficient to explain what we have witnessed the past week.

    •  calling republicans "racists" (4.00)
      isn't a conspiracy theory- it's the truth. suggesting they aren't might be.
      •  No it isn't the truth (none)
        Calling Republicans racists is a self-defeating tactic on the part of Democrats.

        Most Republicans are not racists.  Most are ordinary people who looked upon the events of the past week with as much disgust as you or I.  They may be slower to point the finger at those who deserve it, but they take no joy in seeing people of whatever color suffer.

        If there is a small group of individuals in our government who actively work to repress blacks and/or foster racial tensions to serve their own cynical purposes it does us no good to accuse the entire party of participating in the conspiracy.  Non-racist Republicans will be offended at the accusation and defend the actual racists out of solidarity and denial...at least the GOP isn't accusing them of being bad people.

        •  gop (none)
          Racism is one of the pillars of the GOP philosophy. Remember the shift after the civil rights era and how Reagan kicked off his campaign. The people voting for Republicans may not consider themselves racist, ok-- but they are supporting it with their votes; and they're supporting the rest of the destructive and hateful elements of the conservative ideology.

          But I agree, don't blame the victims.

        •  Kevin Phillips... (none)
          The Republican party is the party of southern white supremacy. The strategy was conceived after the defeat of Goldwater in 1964. The southern strategy was a result of Lyndon Johnson's civil rights laws and war on poverty. In 1969, Kevin Phillips wrote a book about the strategy as applied to the Nixon candidacy, "The Emerging Republican Majority."

          In the early 1960s, Michael Harrington wrote a book called "The Other America"---it was a catalyst in Democrats' acceptance of social responsibility.

          •  I don't need a history lesson (4.00)
            There is no question that the GOP attracts racists (they certainly aren't going to join the party that promotes civil rights for blacks!).  

            But guess what?  The Democratic party attracts communist sympathizers.   But just because you are more likely to find someone who supports Fidel Castro in the Democratic party, it doesn't mean that wingnut accusations that we are "Marxists" are accurate.  

            Imagine 2 types of Republican voters.

            First is the pro-civil rights Republican.  This guy abhors racism.    He acknowledges that there are racists in the party.  But considers the problem overblown and would have happily voted for Colin Powell in 2000.

            He believes that there are huge racial problems in America and believes that the GOP is better suited to solve them because they are more willing to discuss the problems openly and because the Democratic party enjoys the status quo becuase they have a large constituency locked up.  He believes that events like Trent Lott's comments are trumped up by the Democratss to piss off blacks and keep their votes.

            He is pro-welfare reform, not because he does not like blacks, but because he believes perpetual welfare creates a dependency relationship that keeps blacks from succeeding.  He resents being called a racist for saying this.

            He is pro-school voucher because he believes competition among schools will improve the educational opportunities for the less privileged.  He resents being called a racist for saying so.

            He disapproves of black communities celebrating ghetto culture.  He believes that if blacks choose to wear their pants around their knees, walk with a limp, and speak in unintelligible ebonics, then they should not be surprised if they cannot find a decent job.  He also believes that if blacks celebrate/rationalize/defend the worst aspects in their communities then he shouldn't be expected to pay to fix them.   He resents being called a racist for this.

            He opposes and ridicules "political correctness"  because he feels that one cannot discuss racial issues without being unfairly stereotyped and attacked as a racist.  He resents this.

            In short, a garden-variety conservative.  A person who is judgmental and skeptical of other cultures and wary of govermental attempts to fix racial problems.  He was a Republican (literally or metaphorically) before Nixon's Southern Strategy attracted the segregationists and resents being lumped in with them.

            Second is the racist Republican.  He is pro-welfare reform because he believes that blacks are sub-human and cannot be helped, particularly with his tax dollars.  He is a racist.

            He is pro-school voucher because he doesn't want his kids mixing with blacks in public schools and wants a helping hand to get his kids out.  He is a racist.

            He is a Republican not because he believes the Democratic Party  is less able to solve racial problems but because the Democratic Party wants to solve racial problems.   He believes that the leaders of the GOP feel the way that he does, even if they are afraid to say so.

            He opposes "political correctness" because he resents that his racist views are not socially acceptable.  He believes that most people are racists like he is and if he could remove the social stigma of expressing racist views, he would be in the majority.

            Bottom Line.  Until the Democrats stop lumping all Republicans in together by calling them all racists and until Democrats stop pushing people into the GOP by making them feel that they cannot discuss racial issues with liberals without espousing a "politically correct" opinion then the Democratic Party will never truly regain majority status.

            •  Excellent points, space (none)
              Sure there are pointy-headed, sheet-wearing sub morons who call themselves Republicans celebrating the plight of Black Americans in this disaster.  They do not represent mainstream party ideology.

              I do believe, though, that it is mainstream party ideology to be classist.  That is, poor people (whether black, white, yellow, red, or plaid) are poor because they "deserve" it--because they have not seized the opportunities that America offers to everyone.  I do not want to over-generalize by saying that perhaps they do not understand that the opportunities they think others should seize might not be readily available to persons of certain ethnicities; however, it does fit with their attitude toward affirmative action.

              As for wondering about whether delays might be something more than incompetence, I do not think it is necessarily the stuff of tin foil hats.  As has been said by ones smarter than I, "Follow the money."  Some will profit from this diaster.  Would anyone care to engage in conjecture about who it might be?  I vote for Big Oil and large-scale construction firms like Halliburton.

              "It's been headed this way since the World began, when a vicious creature made the jump from Monkey to Man."--Elvis Costello

              by BigOkie on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 11:05:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  But the real truth is (none)
          that most "ordinary people" in the United States do carry -- if not racist -- at least racialized ideas about the world and our society embedded in their worldviews.  Certain political philosophies and ideologies exacerbate those embedded understandings about race and racial politics and guess which political philosophies and ideologies those are?

          We have to give up this idea that not paying attention to the history of structural and institutionalized racism in this country isn't racism, because it is.  

          In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

          by a gilas girl on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 09:15:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, but (none)
            there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it.

            Saying that X is a policy or institution that disproportionately negatively affects blacks is perfectly valid.  Saying that "Republicans are racists" is not.  The latter is simplistic, unproductive, and wrong.

            The choice of which approach to take depends on whether you want to improve things or whether you are satisfied pointing fingers and wrapping yourself in a blanket of smug self-righteousness.

            •  The latter isn't wrong (none)
              its just incomplete.  The complete truth is we are all racists (not a statement of so-called liberal guilt at all, but an objective analysis of collective consciousness of the US throughout history).

              There is really no WRONG way to make this point, given how long it has been ignored.  People sometimes NEED to be made uncomfortable because it is from discomfort that both learning and political change come from. (This alone is the reason we need the left, because the center is too uncomfortable with making people uncomfortable and they require some radical thinkers and speakers to get the necessary ideas out.  They can then "temper" them, but you'll never get the necessary truth from the center, only a final, digestible product).  

              Politics isn't about any one position, but how the different positions work together and against each other.  This is the other problem that the centrophilia of US society and political culture seriously misses: it completely misunderstands the larger dynamics of politics writ large.

              In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

              by a gilas girl on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 09:47:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  these whitehouse boys (none)
      have tried to kill Medicaid, are trying to kill Social Security and severely cut back or eliminate social programs that help the poor, regardless of race.  BUT, if in the "natural" order of things, all these persons needing all this help died, in one of those "natural" disasters; oh dear, so sad.

      On a planetary scale, habitat and life are interchangeable.

      by libbys mom on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 10:36:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jeez, Watching Larry King Repeat (none)
    Celine Dion was FREAKING out! It was quite a tirade that lasted a good five minutes.

    Unfortunately, she stopped ranting and started singing.

  •  did michael brown just say (none)
    he ignored science in favor of his "beliefs"
  •  I guess we can't take anything for granted... (none)
    ...so I'll type real slow and real loud so that even the fucktards at FEMA will understand:

    If you have a plan to deal with any other catastrophe that might occur in the near term, PLEASE REMEMBER that many of your resources are otherwise committed and NOT AVAILABLE for deployment.

    Please check your plans and make sure you're not counting on resources that are occupied elsewhere.

    I don't want my mom to die in a pool of her own shit because you morons dropped the ball yet again.

    Anyone who can distill this into terms even "Brownie" can understand is welcome to take a shot at it.

    Every word from Bush's mouth is a lie, including "and" & "the."

    by roxtar on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 03:45:23 AM PDT

  •  Hey! (4.00)
    Look at what a nice picture that photo-op produced at the White House website!!

    •  There's not enough (4.00)
      vomit in the world to respond to that.
      •  look at how clean and neat they are (4.00)
        not a hair out of place. How could stranded people having been through floods and wind and living in hellish conditions for 5 days be so clean?

        He wouldn't have hugged anyone dirty and smelly. And it wouldn't have looked very pretty on the website.

        Staged, staged, staged.  Just like they brought in the Iraqi woman.

        And the MSM traveling with them didn't see the staging because they were part of it.

        "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little safety will deserve neither and lose both." Benjamin Franklin

        by glynis on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 04:49:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Billmon compares FEMA response in FL in 2004 (4.00)
    This from www.billmon.org needs wide circulation -

    ".....

    It's instructive, on that score, to compare the current response to Hurricane Katrina (in which the Three Stooges apparently have seized control of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in a bloodless coup) with the administration's efforts on behalf of the voters of Florida following last year's triple storms -- Charley, Frances and Ivan.

    True, the 2004 disasters didn't completely take down a major metropolitan area by turning its urban center into a bowl of shit soup. But the difference in the federal goverment's performance before, during and after those storms had passed is stlll rather striking. It appears there's something special about years divisible by two -- and particularly every other year divisible by two -- that can inspire amazing feats of bureaucratic energy and competence, at least in large, populous swing states.

    Here then, are some of the highlights from last year's relief efforts in Florida:

    Gov. Jeb Bush sought federal help Friday while [Hurricane] Charley was still in the Gulf of Mexico. President Bush approved the aid about an hour after the hurricane made landfall.
    By Monday afternoon, the cavalry seemed to be in place . . . Cargo planes were shuttling FEMA supplies from a Georgia Air Force base to a staging area in Lakeland, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had shipped 11 truckloads of water and 14 truckloads of ice. The first assistance checks to victims were to be shipped Monday night.

    St. Petersberg Times
    Unlike Andrew, aid's right on Charley's heels
    August 17, 2004

    ___________
    Just weeks after Hurricane Charley tore through Florida, Hurricane Frances aimed for the Sunshine State Saturday morning [September 4, 2004] packing winds of 105 mph and bringing the potential for up to 20 inches of rain.
    CNN
    Hurricane Frances weakens slightly
    September 4, 2004

    ____________
    FEMA has positioned a powerful list of disaster response personnel, equipment and supplies to help those who are displaced or suffer losses after Hurricane Frances continues to move across Florida. The advance preparations include:

    FEMA's [national and regional operations centers] are operating around the clock, coordinating the pre-positioning of assets and responding to state requests for assistance.

    FEMA has deployed an advanced emergency response team to the Florida State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee to facilitate state requests for assistance. In addition, three rapid needs assessment teams have been pre-deployed to Florida.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at FEMA's request, is coordinating the staging of 100 truckloads of water and 100 truckloads of ice at operational centers in Florida.

    A first shipment of 30,000 tarps is en route to Atlanta, Ga., to be pre-staged for delivery to areas affected by Frances once the storm has cleared.

    FEMA is working to provider 10 trailers of generators at the request of Florida that will be used to provide power to critical facilities affected by the hurricane . . .

    Four urban search and rescue teams are deployed to Florida -- two in Miami and two in Jacksonville. Four teams are on alert.

    Two disaster medical assistance teams (DMAT) have been deployed to Florida to support medical facilities and hospitals that are not fully operational following the storm . . .

    Five pharmaceutical caches, containing emergency medical supplies, are being pre-positioned, and are currently en route to Atlanta and Tampa.

    FEMA's Mobile Emergency Response Services (MERS) communications staff and equipment are available to provide telephone, radio and video links in support of response and recovery efforts . . .

    . . . FEMA is working with the General Services Administration to analyze vacancy rates of various safe housing options . . . as part of pre-planning temporary housing strategies for those whose homes are severely damaged or destroyed.
    FEMA
    Press release on advance
    preparations for Hurricane Frances
    September 4, 2004

    ____________
    As of noon Monday [two days after Frances made landfall] FEMA and other Federal response agencies have taken the following actions:

    About one hundred trucks of water and 280 trucks of ice are present or will arrive in the Jacksonville staging area today.

    900,000 Meals-Ready-to-Eat are on site in Jacksonville, ready to be distributed.

    Over 7,000 cases of food (e.g., vegetables, fruits, cheese, ham, and turkey) are scheduled to arrive in Winter Haven today.

    Disaster medical assistance teams (DMAT) are on the ground and setting up comfort stations. FEMA community relations personnel will coordinate with DMATs to assist victims.

    Urban search and rescue teams are completing reconnaissance missions in coordination with state officials.

    FEMA is coordinating with the Department of Energy and the state to ensure that necessary fuel supplies can be distributed throughout the state, with a special focus on hospitals and other emergency facilities that are running on generators.

    The Army Corps of Engineers will soon begin its efforts to provide tarps to tens of thousands of owners of homes and buildings that have seen damage to their roofs . . .

    The Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and Defense together have organized 300 medical personnel to be on standby. Medical personnel will begin deployment to Florida tomorrow . . .
    White House
    Responding to Hurricanes Charley and Frances
    September 6, 2004

    ____________
    The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency . . . is preparing for Hurricane Ivan's landfall, which could affect multiple states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.
    Intense planning and immediate actions are underway today in anticipation of Hurricane Ivan, including:

    FEMA personnel remain in Florida working with the victims of the two previous hurricanes. However, some staff has been repositioned to respond to state requests for assistance with Hurricane Ivan.

    In addition to the supplies provided for the two earlier hurricanes, the Army Corps of Engineers is standing by with 100 refrigerator trucks of ice and 500 trucks of water to meet immediate needs as part of the Hurricane Ivan response.

    FEMA is using every available means to move supplies to where they are most needed, including pre-positioning supplies and using alternative means of transportation such as ships, air transport, and railroad.
    FEMA
    Hurricane Ivan Preparations Underway
    September 14, 2004

    _____________

    As I'm sure you can imagine, this display of the good old American can-do spirit didn't go unnoticed by the people of Florida -- nor did the millions of dollars in disaster relief and damage insurance checks that were cut by various federal agencies with record speed. FEMA officials must have been deeply gratified to see the effect their heroic efforts had in the place where they were most desperately needed -- Bush's poll numbers:

    Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan may count as some of the biggest political contributors to President Bush's reelection campaign, according to a poll.
    The post-hurricane survey shows Bush surging ahead of his Democratic challenger by 49 to 41 percent -- an about-face from August, when Bush trailed Sen. John Kerry 41-47 percent, Quinnipiac University reported Thursday.

    ''The ill winds of the hurricanes have blown some political goodwill for President Bush,'' said Clay F. Richards, a pollster for the independent Connecticut university.

    ''You can't underestimate the impact of a president coming down and promising all this federal aid to people who need it,'' said Richards, noting that Bush toured hurricane-ravaged parts of Florida three times.

    "It's like Rudy Giuliani at ground zero on 9/11. The commander in chief is there, on the ground, saying help is on the way.''

    So you can see that when the chips are down, and the need is absolutely dire, this administration can still deliver the kind of coordinated emergency response that once made the U.S. government the envy of the world -- just as it cooly and capably protected the Iraqi Oil Ministry from the chaos and looting that trashed every other government office in post-invasion Baghdad. As is usually the case in public service, it's just a matter of having the right incentives.

    The comparison between the TLC showered on Florida last year and Bush's initial "What, me worry?" response to this year's disaster no doubt will go unnoticed by the amnesia patients in the corporate media. And since I'm lucky enough to live in a swing state that is also coveted by GOP political strategists, I probably don't have to worry about it either -- that is, as long as any future disasters around my neck of the woods happen in one of those years divisible by two.

    But for the citizens of staunch, deep red Mississippi and slightly less staunch but still red Louisiana, the lessons are painfully obvious. If you're going to insist on living in a hurricane alley, then you need to take personal responsibility for your own actions, stop whining about government incompetence, and embrace the free market solution to your problems -- by moving to Florida."

  •  What I don't get (none)
    is this whole 'we couldn't have anticipated the levees failing' thing and the discussion about reports that are two years old and who read them.
    I have to admit that prior to last Weekend I didn't know how vulnerable NO was.  However, over last weekend, and way prior to the hurricane hitting, either the Weather Channel or CNN or BOTH were discussing theeffect that the hurricane could have on the levees and that their failure could lead to NO being completely under water.  

    I mean, this was not just something that was buried in some report gathering dust.  It was on TV hour after hour to the point that, when the hurricane hit, I, who truly knew nothing about the situation in NO prior, was well aware of the 'worst case scenario'.  Why is no one bringing up the fact that this scenario had been being broadcast(and BTW with full graphics and diagrams) for a full 48 hours prior to landfall?

    I didn't imagine this, did I?

    •  No you didn't imagine it. (none)
      The potential disaster has been known for a long time. National Geographic did an article on it last year. It has been listed as one of the most likely city killing disasters for a long time.

      Michael Brown is not a disaster professional. He is the friend of a Republican fundraiser. I wouldn't have minded if Bush had made him ambassador to Latvia, but putting a total novice in charge of FEMA is unforgivable.

    •  48 hours? Feh! (none)
      This has been common knowledge for decades. A city, built on pudding, below sealevel, surrounded by water and protected by substandard defenses. This didn't happen overnight. It's the same sort of mindset as found in the quake-zones of California.
  •  What part of Catagory 5 doesn't he understand (4.00)
    "Brown, the agency's director, told reporters Saturday in Louisiana that he did not have a sense of what was coming last weekend.

    "I was here on Saturday and Sunday, it was my belief, I'm trying to think of a better word than typical -- that minimizes, any hurricane is bad -- but we had the standard hurricane coming in here, that we could move in immediately on Monday and start doing our kind of response-recovery effort," he said. "Then the levees broke, and the levees went, you've seen it by the television coverage. That hampered our ability, made it even more complex.""

    This is the guy in charge at FEMA? Catagory 5 is not a typical hurricane. Bells should have been going off in his head. His people should have been him demanding he act.

    I guess this is what you get with the social promotion presidency.  

  •  The Democrats had better..... (none)
    Start screaming about the ineffectiveness of this administration while they have the nation's attention.  If they continue to sit back and watch, the BushCo. machine (that realizes the president's vacation was a half a week too long) is going to sweep that slow response under the rug, as it spends its way out of this potentially fatal political crisis.  In a month, if they have their way, it will have been GW's prompt and effective action that saved thousands of lives.  Halliburton will have the no-bid contracts to rebuild the gulf coast wrapped up, and things will be better for the GOP than before Katrina.  Karl who?  

    There has never been a better time to hammer home the difference between the Democratic view of government's role, and the GOP's.  It is right in front of us to see.  I'm afraid Dem leaders will sit on their hands, and let BushCo. squirm out from under the harsh spotlight that has exposed the ineffectiveness a their approach.

    When the middle class is gone, who will support the Republicans in the manner to which they have grown accustomed?

    by keepinon on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 06:23:00 AM PDT

  •  Another Debacle (none)
    After witnessing this Administration and the Federal Government's non-responsiveness to a major disaster, I have decided to name this lack of leadership and readiness "Preparation H" in recognition of everyone in and connected to this Administration sitting on their fucking asses for a week, while people succumbed to the horrid conditions and abandonment.

    This incompetence is far worse than 10, 000 blow jobs in the Oval Office.
    My reasons for impeachment list have quadrupled this last week!

  •  Hurricane? Who is in charge? (none)
    You know, the good ole' boys gettin' Nawlins back on her feet (with confidence!!!) are the same morons who sent our troops over to Iraq and determine how to proceed there. Now I am really worried about BOTH places. The News coverage is so in your face that even FOXs people are having a hard time lying for Bush about how badly bungled the rescue effort is. You can just bet we are seeing here what they come home from Iraq and talk about - then get called liars.

     Oh yeah, somebody should send Condi over to Saudi to get it done for once.

  •  An Open Letter to Democratic Congressional Members (none)
    Dear Democratic Congressional Representatives,

    I would ask you to try and bring every Democrat in your house together and, if need be, refuse to do any further business until full congressional investigations are made to determine the failures of FEMA and the New Orleans disaster. In addition to failures to prevent this tragedy, and of rescue and aid arriving days late, there are even charges being made that FEMA was refusing to take action to deliver water, fuel, of cutting emergency communication lines, and more.

    The Washington Post, on Sunday, September 04, 2005, points out that after 4 years and tens of billion of dollars spent to prepare us for any potential catastrophe, including terrorist attacks, we have seen a catastrophic failure with our Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, a former cabinet level department which has been made a subsidiary of the DHS. And these blunders occurred after days worth of advance notice about the hurricane, and in particular, after years worth of notice about the potential inadequacies of the levees around New Orleans. Inadequacies that were liable to occur under a range of circumstances. In particular, the failure of the levees were listed by FEMA as one of the three greatest potential dangers facing the United States in 2000, including a prescient prediction of the potential danger of a terrorist attack on New York City.

    I hope that the Democratic Party will accept nothing less than investigations that can be thoroughly and independently confirmed. I would assume that any good American, on either side of the aisle, would support these investigations in the face of such an obvious breakdown of FEMA's mission. It is now the Democratic Party's responsibility to determine who in our Congress is such an American, and which ones have other interests that they put ahead of their country.

    This is a time for leadership, and I know that you have the good will of America on your side. I hope that the Democrats will take bold action and show such leadership to guide the planning that will bring recovery from this disaster, make the crucial changes that must be made to fix the system, and to ask the American people to help make the sacrifices needed to keep us safe the next time we encounter similar perils.  

    Thank you.

    •  Please contact your representatives... (none)
      ...and encourage others to do so. This is the Democratic Party's hour to establish itself as the protectors of America and to expose the neoconservatives for what they are. It is our responsibility to call for it.
  •  A Pattern Becomes Painfully Obvioius (none)
    Bush and company decide to go into Iraq to rid us of a despot and promote democracy in the Middle East.  Oops, they didn't forsee the unleashing of hatred and divisions of religious sects in the country as a result.  We are now mired in street-to-street warfare in Iraq.  And we lost the respect of much of the rest of world with our heavy handed approach.

    Katrina, a cat 4 or 5 hurricane, was predicted to hit the Gulf Coast, most likely New Orleans, but we could rest assured our emergency planners were ready. Oops, FEMA has been rendered inadequate and unresponsive in the new improved emergency preparedness program known as Homeland Secuity.  And what a surprise.  The levees didn't hold!  Despite years of warnings that they were inadequate, despite days of warnings that New Orleans was likely to be hit by this massive storm, we now - a week later - still see people being rescued and bodies lying along the streets.  We see soaring gas prices which will impact all goods we buy.

    This administration only reacts to crisis..too little, too late, and without much analysis.  They can't view the larger picture in the Middle East or even in Louisiana and Mississippi. Is it any wonder the rest of the world may start to view the United States with feet of clay?  That is frightening!

  •  Please contact your representatives... (none)
    ...and encourage others to do so. This is the Democratic Party's hour to establish itself as the protectors of America and to expose the neoconservatives for what they are. It is our responsibility to call for it.
  •  i dont have (none)
    a car -- i live in manhattan
    i am white

    do i get rescued?

    America needs you, Harry Truman

    by distributorcap on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 10:26:17 AM PDT

    •  No (none)
      If you were responsible you would have a plan. . .and move to Flushing or White Plains, or even Jersey!

      Only devil-worshipping heathens live in Manhatten.  For chrissakes it's OK to work there, but not live there.  What are you some kind of theatre homo or a pimp?

      </snark>

      "It's been headed this way since the World began, when a vicious creature made the jump from Monkey to Man."--Elvis Costello

      by BigOkie on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 11:10:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Brown needs a CT Scan of the head (none)
    He seems to be brainless.  Maybe Congress should require all Bush appointees have head CT's, just to assure they actually have brains.  

    Brown is a moron.  

    The concept of war is outdated. Dalai Lama

    by x on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 10:57:52 AM PDT

  •  Article plays the blame game (none)
    Lots of emphasis on beaurocratic red tape and "how could we have anticipated such a disaster".  

    Nothing on how the cuts to FEMA affected the NOLA levies.

    This article is another whitewash.  I fear that Americans will yet again give that asshole president another pass.

    "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize." -James Madison

    by Subterranean on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 04:15:27 PM PDT

  •  Disasters (none)
    Well, if I were a MMA (Major Metropolitan Area) dweller, I'd be scared shitless.  New Orleans has a very heavy concentration of poor people, mostly of color.  But it also has thousands of tourists normally too.  So, there are probably stats somewhere in the U.S. Census bureau that would allow planners to see which MMAs have the highest percentages of poor AND, mass transit dependent people.

    It is clear now that all of the planning for New Orleans (and here, I DO have to fault locals, too) evacuations and disaster preparedness, do not seem to have contingencies for moving large numbers of people OUT of their city.  It may be that there ARE some funds available for this, but probably not many.  So, there are also plenty of folks down in that region who've not only ridden out hurricanes themselves, but have heard generational stories of such rides to victory.

    So, the Time Picayune apparently showed that a 2002 study demonstrated 136,000 people would not leave, one way or another, one reason or another.  And the way they're pulling people out of New Orleans, I'd say closer to 250,000 must not have left.  And I wonder how many were tourists or visitors in town for the upcoming Labor Day holiday.

    250,000 people, obviously, need massive transport to get them out.  But what about, say, Chicago? Or LA? San Fran?
    And Boston, New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, where urban poor and functional mass transit actually care for lots of people's transportation needs?  This is at least one of the crucial factors that HSA apparently hasn't got a jerk-off's clue about ... how to mass evacuate hundreds of thousands of poor and vehicle-less citizens.

    So, regardless of whether terror, bio, nuclear, radiological, chemical, flood, fire, earthquake ... urban dwellers are pretty screwed, as far as I can see.  The evacuation of New Orleans took the better part of two days, and in retrospect, I sure as shit didn't see many trucks, buses, trains, or C-5As hauling folks out.

    In reality, with what happened, i.e., that Katrina did NOT hit New Orleans full on, as expected, one can see why hurricane watchers more often than not wait out/sit out hurricanes.
    And if 250,000 New Orleans did sit it out ... then the city, state and feds simply haven't been realistic about how to handle the flood/heavy rain/40 days and 40 nights of Biblical proportions rainmonsoon/hurriances so far as sheltering the "stay behinds."

    Nope.  There really isn't enough money in the budget to preposition the particular or peculiar items necessary for safety and survival for various cities. Cleveland can handle 12-14" of snow like a champ.  Been there.  In one full day, they got the highways cleared enough for me to drive down town, check it out, and drive back to my  hotel, when, the afternoon before, the parking lot was at least a foot and a half of drifting snow.  LA ... what if they had massive fissures due to an earthquake? Seattle, or Portland: what if a massive volcanic eruption up there took place?

    Seems like the old "fallout shelter" is a realistic proposition for many situations.  There seems to be evidence that had those 250,000 people in New Orleans known where there were shelters at least fifteen feet above the street level, with multiple levels above, there might have been lots of wisdom in storing food, water, sanitation kits, something.

    The two major places where approximately 50,000 took shelter, apparently, had no backup power. So why weren't porta potties ready?  I expect the answer is: there wasn't enough money for New Orleans to get those porta potties reserved and in place on short notice ... even if they had wanted them, or been able to get them.

    New Orleans could easily become a major disaster yet.
    According to CDC's webpage, Louisiana has the highest death toll for West Nile virus.  And there are now some very very frightening scenarios for spread of disease in that "soup" that the water has become.  It would seem that scenarios need to include projections of how much money will be needed to handle those poor and unvehicled folks in each MMA if we are really to ever protect urban populations from what has happened in NO.

    I doubt that most MMA populations will have a chance, if, say, a full Category 5 hits ... or a magnitude Richter 8 or 9 point earthquake happens, or one of the Pacific NWs volcanoes blows it's top and equals the Columbia River volcanic eruption of many hundreds of thousands of years ago. I think one alone covered 100,000 square miles in lava.  My state of New Mexico is 96,000 square miles.  And the area blasted by Katrina, I believe, is 90,000 square miles.

    The urban poor, it would seem, are gonna die in massive numbers unless we can decide whether contingencies to save lives is more important than having 20 B-2 Bombers at 2 BILLION each.  Time for us on the Left to PUSH THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF THAT DEBATE.  Screw the Right.  We need to force this debate, and to be none too delicate and polite about it.

    If this means raising the specter of CLASS WARFARE, fuck it!
    Let's raise it.  The poor and those without transportation are depending on us to do that!

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