No one is in charge

I’ve started writing a post under that headline a half-dozen times this week. But new evidence to back up that line keeps pouring in.

The leaders we have give us pap (from Bush, who didn’t have the guts to set foot in New Orleans itself, and Blanco), excuses (from Chertoff and Brown), or anger (from Nagin). But none of them gave us action commensurate with this terrrible tragedy. They didn’t give us decisive and effective management. No one is in charge.

Where is Rudy when we need him? (And I’ve said long since that he should have been appointed head of Homeland Security.)

I agree with what Fred Wilson said today about government and management:

I hope and believe that we are on the cusp of a new political order. We’ve had the liberal excesses of the democrat’s run from the depression through Vietnam. We’ve had the conservative excesses of the republican’s run from Vietnam through Iraq.

It’s time we get back to electing people to govern who know something about leading, operating, and managing. We need pragmatic moderates who make the hard decisions without caring about the political impact. We need civil servants in the mold of George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower. We need people who care about the details of governing rather than the details of getting elected.

I don’t want elected officials who think they are moral leaders — because they are not and because that’s not their job. I don’t want leaders who are driven by ideology — when they should be paying attention to their job.

The job of government is to keep us secure. The job of officials in charge of government is to manage that. Period.

I wish I were as optimistic as Fred, but I agree that we must return to standards of civil service and management. The criteria for election is competence. But, of course, that’s up to us. It is also up to media, who goad politicians into fighting over the bullshit that doesn’t matter.

Katrina is a scandal more profound than any ‘gate. It isn’t about cheating or lying or ideology or infighting. It is a scandal of incompetence.

We can only hope that this changes the way we govern.

: LATER: Andrew Sullivan in the Sunday Times of London:

Like many seismic events, Katrina’s true impact might take a while to absorb. What started as a natural disaster soon became an unforeseen social meltdown and potential political crisis for the president. The poverty, anarchy, violence, sewage, bodies, looting, death and disease that overwhelmed a great American city last week made Haiti look like Surrey.

The seeming inability of the federal or city authorities to act swiftly or effectively to rescue survivors or maintain order posed fundamental questions about the competence of the Bush administration and local authorities….

There seems to me a strong chance that this calamity could be the beginning of something profound in American politics: a sense that government is broken and that someone needs to fix it….

: And David Brooks in tomorrow’s NY Times:

As Ross Douthat observed on his blog, The American Scene, Katrina was the anti-9/11.

On Sept. 11, Rudy Giuliani took control. The government response was quick and decisive. The rich and poor suffered alike. Americans had been hit, but felt united and strong. Public confidence in institutions surged.

Last week in New Orleans, by contrast, nobody took control. Authority was diffuse and action was ineffective. The rich escaped while the poor were abandoned. Leaders spun while looters rampaged. Partisans squabbled while the nation was ashamed.

The first rule of the social fabric – that in times of crisis you protect the vulnerable – was trampled. Leaving the poor in New Orleans was the moral equivalent of leaving the injured on the battlefield. No wonder confidence in civic institutions is plummeting….

As a result, it is beginning to feel a bit like the 1970’s, another decade in which people lost faith in their institutions and lost a sense of confidence about the future….

  • http://unbeknownst.net KirkH

    The media is breaking down. They’re supposed to be strong. They have a responsibility to impart information to regular citizens as well as FEMA, etc. but they’re weeping, irrational, babbling and vengeful. It’s as pathetic as the government “leadership”.

  • http://smallbusinesses.blogspot.com Anita Campbell

    I gave similar sentiments about the need for leadership in the relief effort.

    I have not followed closely enough the events before the hurricane struck, to know whether those in charge all took the right actions.

    But just looking at the relief efforts makes me feel ashamed as an American.

    I’m just stunned by the lack of any visible leader in charge on the ground in New Orleans leading relief efforts. The left hand doesn’t seem to know what the right hand is doing. The Coast Guard plucks people from rooftops and brings them to land, but there is no one on the land to provide them food and water so they die anyway? What kind of relief effort is that?

    Somehow journalists can get in and can communicate at ground level and with the rest of the world, but FEMA can’t?

    My thoughts here: http://www.smallbusinesses.blogspot.com/2005/09/new-orleans-needs-leader.html

  • joefrommass

    Tell me Jeff, what good would it have done if GWB had gone into N.O. city? The security to accomplish this would have disrupted the rescue operation among other things. There is no doubt in my mind his critic would then be blasting him for that. Hey I got An Idea, instead of using your resources play the politics of division with this natural disaster, how about using them to help bring Americans together so we can show the world what we can do as a county when the chips are down. Probably too much to ask, you seem to be having too much fun bashing everybody while they are busy trying to help.

  • Michael Savoy

    I hope and believe that we are on the cusp of a new political order.

    What makes you believe that?
    Once upon a time, I was an unflinching Bush supporter, holding him in the highest reverenc as the man that could do no wrong, a president that history would record as being one of the greatest ever. Not anymore. The Katrina disaster has turned into a national disgrace, the worldwide reaction to America’s ineptitude and incompetence in the face of this tragedy one of shock, astonishment, loss of respect on the grandest scale.

    I hope and believe that we are on the cusp of a new political order.

    I don’t think so. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

  • chuck

    Good,

    You seem to be settling down a bit. Now let’s wait a month or so and *then* make a judgement as to competence when we know the facts. Meanwhile, I don’t see what guts has to do with Bush setting foot in NO. What purpose would it serve besides a photo op? It’s not like it would help the locals or anything. Perhaps there are more useful things for him to do then play the media game.

  • billg

    KirkH: Seems to me I’ve seen a lot of information being reported, most of it video of dead, dieing, hungry, thirsty and angry storm victims held captive in big concrete buildings after their “leaders’ told them to seek safety there. Just what kind of information do you need to see before you understand the near-total abdication of responsibility and effectiveness by public officials in New Orleans and up and down the Gulf coast?

    For anyone who’s been paying attention, and not morphed into an unthinking slogan-spouting Bush bootlicker, the disgraceful federal response should come as no surprise. Whether you agree with them or not, they just haven’t been good at their jobs. Combine that with the Republican sellout to institutionalized bigotry disguised as Christianity and you have a certain recipe for disaster.

  • http://hrsuccess.blogspot.com Tom O’Leary

    I agree, non-partisanly, that neither blame nor excuses will help in any practical sense in the midst of this tragedy. We must, however, as a community that wants the best for our children and grandchildren, transparently and objectively assess our local, regional and national response after we have done everything necessary for those remaining in the gulf States that require assistance.

    We will certainly need to re-examine our National Disaster Preparedness Strategy in the wake of this horrendous, historical catastrophe and see how we can make our strategy more implementable and responsive in the future. There were severe deficiencies in communications, logistics, security, and operational chain-of-command on every level and we should not be afraid to learn from our weaknesses in order to improve our future reactions to catastrophic events.

    I think that it’s also time that we re-examine our political system as a whole. The whole 2 party system is not only divisive within our society (as evidenced here by those either ardently defending Bush in the New Orleans fiasco or by those using the situation to denounce the entire Republican party), but unproductive in selecting competent leaders every 4 years. If candidates ran independently, without party affiliation, then mass consumers of “republicanism” or “democratism” would be forced to actually base their vote on individual candidates rather than their affiliation. Obviously, in the near future, we would know to which party each candidate was affiliated with in the past; but eventually, party alliances would fade and leaders would step forward.

    Historical allegiance to a “party” overshadows individual capabilities to lead us (us being the American people rather than the American Republicans or the American Democrats). To many “Republicans” no Democrat has served the country well, and vice versa. This is simply party-centric nonsence and it’s time that we all stood together and put historical agendas to the side. The fact is that a good leader, left to his own devices rather than a party mantra, will demonstrate left, center and right views on various issues. To be left on everything or right on everything is not natural. We need to make decisions based on what is best in a given situation rather than standing firm in party allegiance regardless of the outcome. I agree wholeheartedly that we need real leaders who love our country more than they love their party. Leaders who will do their best for every segment of our population and for the welfare of our people, all of our people.

  • joefrommass

    Michael Savoy said

    “Once upon a time, I was an unflinching Bush supporter, holding him in the highest reverenc as the man that could do no wrong, a president that history would record as being one of the greatest ever.”

    Sure you were.

  • John T

    BillG- “up and down the gulf coast”?

    Granted, New Orleans is in the worst shape because of the flooding and the masses of unevacuated victims, by I think that if you look more closely, you will find that relief efforts are proceding relatively smoothly in MS, AL, & FL, as well as at the relief centers in TX.

    What is different about the planning and execution that occured in FL, AL, MS, & TX, and that which may or may not have occured in LA?

  • http://oodja.blogspot.com Jersey Exile

    From the DHS Website:

    “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. The new Department will also prioritize the important issue of citizen preparedness. Educating America’s families on how best to prepare their homes for a disaster and tips for citizens on how to respond in a crisis will be given special attention at DHS.”

    (Hat tip to Daily Kos)

    They blew it. After 9/11 they wanted to Federalize the responsibility for disaster relief and despite the sum total of prior government history suggesting that this was probably not too bright an idea they did it anyway and patted themselves on the back for it. And they blew it. End of story.

    Why does the Department of Homeland Security’s website hate America?

  • http://www.varifrank.com Frank Martin

    Now is not the time. Every bit of devisive critique you offer makes the work of rescue and rebuilding that much harder.

    You lived through 9/11 and that was tough but lets try doing 9/11 while under the island of mahattan is submerged under 20 feet of water. Lets try it while the hudson river gets a category 4 hurricane running up to albany. Now lets cream everything up to boston. Now lets talk about speed of response.

    Your corrosiveness and baseless statements about their leadership while their homes are under water and their constituents are underwater is doing nothing but making the situation worse. How does this help?

    Are you on your way to new Orleans? Are you helping anyone who is?

    That is all that matters.

    I was once stuck evacuating costa rica on a long miserable bus ride with no air conditioning and no food that lasted 36 hours over rough jungle roads. what was the worst part of the trip? the jackass who sat next to me and complained about the heat and the bus driver for the entire trip.

    Dont be that guy jeff. Youre better than that.

  • http://www.feedwriter.com Greg Burton

    Jeff,

    It isn’t just the people involved, it’s the system. We have (as has now been shown) a really poor institutionalized decision-making process, including a budget process that moves with campaign contributions. Going back a ways to the discussion about “cash cows” and the Pentagon, it also relates to jobs and economics across the board. As far as who is supposed to be in charge (because it truly did appear to be completely uncoordinated, I’m reposting this paragraph from the DHS website. (Note also that technically FEMA doesn’t have a director, Brown is an undersecretary in DHS):

    http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/theme_home2.jsp

    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. The new Department will also prioritize the important issue of citizen preparedness.
    ———————–
    That says “primary responsibility”. That should make it very clear, shouldn’t it?

  • Bill Henry

    The current Republican establishment in Washington is preoccupied with about 5 things: Protect every embryo, save the fetus, force life support on people in a vegetative state, require prayer in the public schools, and make sure the 10 commandments are prominently displayed in public buildings. Remember how FAST Bush came back from Texas and how quickly Congress convened in the Terry Schiavo case? I rest my case……BH

  • joefrommass

    The 5 things the current dummycratic establishment in Washington is preoccupied with; 1 Hate Bush, 2 Hate Bush, 3 Hate Bush, 4 Hate Bush, 5 Hate Bush.

  • http://http:www.rightnumberone.blogspot.com RightNumberOne

    Sheesh Jeff,

    Are you so uninformed as to really believe nobody is in charge?

    I’m watching live a virtual air bridge of Chinnock helicopters ferrying people FROM the place where Democrat Ray Nagin and Democrat Cathleen Blanco sent them to die of starvation, heat stroke and dehydration.

    I’d say George W. Bush is now in charge, because things are now getting done, people are getting out and nobody is holding expletive filled whiny press conferences. Work is getting done.

    When’s the last time you saw Blanco or Nagin? They are in hiding right now trying to figure out how to save their political careers and not be impeached for gross incompetence and criminal negligence.

    The corrupt party of Democrats which have run Louisiana since the Reformation caused this national tragedy.

    We now have to make certain that can’t happen every again; not by building higher levees, but by making certain Democrats in Louisiana are stripped of their remaining power.

  • ajf

    John T,

    There was an absolute collapse of the LA government. Everyone in a leadership role there seems to be incompetent and hysterical. Blanco, Nagin and the Police Chief have behaved shamefully under pressure. As have the citizens, I might add. I have yet to see any demonstration of leadership from any inhabitant of NO.

    Hell, FEMA was there on day one and they found local officials who had done nothing.

  • http://www.feedwriter.com Greg Burton

    Gov. Kathleen Blanco has appointed former FEMA Director James Lee Witt as a special adviser to help her manage the recovery and restoration efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
    —————————————–
    That’s real news.

  • RR Ryan

    You can point fingers in a lot of directions but the fact is Bush did more in advance of landfall than the locals. Remember, he’s the one who pleaded with the mayor to evacuate. I grew up in Florida, so I know what a pain it is to pack up the pets and get out of town. As with New Orleans, many of our coastal areas have only one or two egresses, so if you don’t get out early, you can expect to sit out the storm in traffic. As for those without transport, it’s useful to know that the City of New Orleans hurricane preparedness plan specifically requires local authorities to deploy public buses 72 hours in advance of an expected strike. In Florida, Jeb did just that. New Orleans didn’t. That in and of itself prevented thousands from getting out. There are lots of questions that require answers, but let’s stay focused on helping the survivors in Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama as well as those in Louisiana.

  • CalDevil

    The LA state government and local New Orleans administration failed so quickly and in such a spectacular fashion that few, if any, could have anticipated such dereliction of duty.

    The feds didn’t fail to utilize the abundant resources available to the state and city to carry out a true (not a sham) mandatory evacuation in the 2 days before an anticipated Cat 5 hurricane was expected to strike direclty ate the city. No thanks to Blanco or Nagin, thousands of NO residents are alive only because Katrina (unexpectedly) weakened and turned east in the immediate hours before land fall.

    In fact, the feds might reasonably blamed only because they apparently gave too much respect to the incompetent and corrupt LA/NO governments and did not federalize the relief operations sooner.

    Neither Bush, nor Honore or Chertoff will come out and say so, but this effort is now fully federalized. LA/NO pols are now irrelevant in this matter, and, for the poor citizens of New Orleans and surrounding parishes, that’s clearly a very good thing.

  • billg

    >>”…relief efforts are proceding relatively smoothly in MS, AL…”

    Then why do I keep seeing residents and officials of the Gulf coast saying they’ve yet to see any federal presence?

  • http://acrosstheatlantic.com shell

    It’s obvious that Blanco and Nagin monumentally failed the people of New Orleans. I don’t know enough yet to say whether Bush did everything he should have done. But regardless of whether he screwed up, staying out of New Orleans was the absolute right decision. A presidential visit anywhere always creates security problems, and it wouldn’t have helped alleviate the suffering of a single person. After 9/11, the buildings were down and the terrorists dead within a few hours. The dangers in New Orleans from thugs, floodwaters, and disease are still very much present. Bush has no business going there until the evacuation is over.

  • billg

    Well said, Bill Henry.

    Meanwhile, Reuters (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050903/ts_nm/weather_katrina_helpless_dc) tells us some more about what hwas going on in the Superdome and the convention center while Bush was either vacationing or doing his flying photo op tour (and also closing down food/water shipments, bus evacuations and helicopter resuce missions until he’d left town):

    >>’ “Last night at 8 p.m. they shot a kid of just 16. He was just crossing the street. They ran him over, the New Orleans police did, and then they got out of the car and shot him in the head,” Batiste said.’

    >> “People here said there were now 22 bodies of adults and children stored inside the building, but troops guarding the building refused to confirm that and threatened to beat reporters seeking access to the makeshift morgue.”

    >>”People trying to walk out are forced back at gunpoint…”

    >>’The Louisiana National Guard soldier said, “We are doing the best we can with the resources we have, but almost all of our guys are in Iraq.” ‘

    >> “One police officer told Reuters there were 100 people in a makeshift morgue at the Superdome…”

    This is Bush’s badge of shame.

  • Snarking David

    What we need are scientists, doctors, engineers going into politics not just these damn legacy ivy schoolers and their lawyer pals.

    If I see Blanco or Landrieu making another stupid comment on the tv I am liable to break the damn thing. These people have to go.

    >Bush has no business going there until the evacuation is over.

    They won’t be able to find enough republicans to fill a small room so
    Bush will never go to NO and meet the “people” at least not the kind who are trapped in the Superdome or didn’t have money or cars to get out of dodge.

  • Jim

    And the Bush haters continue their madness. The Mayor and Governor of New Orleans La respectively failed. They first and foremost have responsibility in this situation. Interesting that the billg(s) of the world go right for Bush…and Bush is the only one making things happen. Billg go check out the pictures of HUNDREDS of buses now under water that COULD have been used to get people out WHAT A FAILURE OF ANOTHER LARGE democrat controlled city.

    Funny you do not see the ineptness of democrat led large cities…..take CLeveland , Philly etc. Cleveland celebrating as they are no longer the poorest large city. But I know your motive.

  • Snarking David

    # joefrommass Says:
    September 3rd, 2005 at 4:59 pm

    The 5 things the current dummycratic establishment in Washington is preoccupied with; 1 Hate Bush, 2 Hate Bush, 3 Hate Bush, 4 Hate Bush, 5 Hate Bush.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

    The democratic establishment is preoccupied with only one thing…getting re-elected. Screw them all.

    Paul Wellstone must be crying his eyes out as we speak.

  • http://www.feedwriter.com Greg Burton

    Jim, DHS had primary responsibility in this situation. They claimed that responsibility for natural disasters 3 years ago.

    That’s not blame or finger pointing, that’s what their website says. See my link above.

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    Jeff, take the weekend off, pack the kids, go to the beach. Turn off the TV. Take 5 mg of Valium. You’re having flashbacks.

    It’s completely understandable: 9/11 is stil sharp in your memory, it’s another catastrophic moment, it’s almost exactly the anniversary of the one you had to live through in person.

    But you’re losing it. You need the down time. If you don’t take it now, you’ll take it later, when you can’t choose the time off.

  • ajf

    Greg,

    Is anyone disputing that FEMA, now under DHS, is the agency in charge of the Federal response?

    FEMA was in NO on Monday, ready to direct national resources into the local system for the immediate response and setup for the long term rebuilding. They found that the local response was nonexistent. The didn’t even have anyone who could tell them where all the shelters were. The Mayor abdicated, the police deserted and the Governor is a dingbat.

    Still the Feds got to work and are getting to people faster than they did during Andrew.

  • JMD

    I just can’t agree with Jeff on this one. The federal response wasn’t perfect, but it was, in general, appropriate to the disaster (and it was a response that started before the hurricane made land-fall).

    The horror we’re seeing is due to very, very poor city and state responses. Not poor planning–oh, they had a plan. They apparently just didn’t read their own plans–at least not in time.

    I fully admit my ire for Mayor Nagin grows in proportion to how much of an ass he makes of himself on television. One day could have made a major difference for the health of tens of thousands of people. It was Mayor Nagin that dropped the ball first and foremost.

  • http://engrm.com/blogometer/index.html Alan Gutierrez

    Stop carping. Start helping.

    http://thinknola.com/wiki/index.php?title=Mission_Statement

    God bless New Orleans.

  • http://www.feedwriter.com Greg Burton

    ajf – actually, yes. FEMA doesn’t actually have a directory – Brown is an undersecretary of DHS. FEMA is in a precarious situation, anyway:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/29/AR2005082901445_pf.html

    “This year it was announced that FEMA is to “officially” lose the disaster preparedness function that it has had since its creation. The move is a death blow to an agency that was already on life support. In fact, FEMA employees have been directed not to become involved in disaster preparedness functions, since a new directorate (yet to be established) will have that mission.”

  • http://robertdfeinman.com/society Robert Feinman

    Just because FEMA was unready does not mean that local officials were doing a good job.

    Just because local officials were incompetent does not mean that FEMA is doing a good job.

    There is plenty of incompetence for everyone to share.
    Louisiana has long been known to be the most politically corrupt state in the US. Remember Huey Long?

    What seems true is that the response was too theoretical with federal officials looking at the big picture rather than the immediate hardships. Local officials had a poor evacuation plan which was implicitly biased against the poor.

    How about looking forward. The plan for putting people in stadiums is another indication of minimal support for the poor.
    How about setting up tent housing or using military bases.
    Semi-permanent housing is going to be needed for 250,000 people. Where is the planning for that?

  • http://engrm.com/blogometer/index.html Alan Gutierrez

    More info: thinknola@engrm.com .

  • http://www.marketanomaly.com Adam Saunders

    Jeff,

    I share your dream of having competent political leadership that only cares about governing well. However, members of the media are going to have to seriously consider their part in creating a culture that is so totally focused on momentary hype and buzz. Buzz is a very powerful and influential tool for manipulating public opinion and winning elections. However, buzz has very little to do with careful planning, thinking about the future, and intelligently governing a nation.

    -Adam

  • http://divedi.blogspot.com/ Dimitar Vesselinov
  • http://www.cnn.com Verity Snob

    There is plenty of incompetence for everyone to share.
    Louisiana has long been known to be the most politically corrupt state in the US. Remember Huey Long?

    Indeed. If local politicians and the Lousiana public were serious about protecting themselves, they would have voted in unison and gotten their act together decades ago. This disaster has been predicted for *decades*.

    The plan for putting people in stadiums is another indication of minimal support for the poor.
    How about setting up tent housing or using military bases.

    People got put in stadiums during the hurricane. Tent housing, in case you didn’t know, gets blown away during a hurricane. That answer your question?

  • John Robb

    I agree Jeff. Nobody is in charge. This is a scandal. The media has finally done a good job getting us the information we need.

    Anybody that defends the actions of the President over the last week will reveal themselves to be either woefully ignorant of the situation, or something worse: a person activiely willing to put party politics ahead of the national interest. There is a name for that type of person.

  • Jim

    Since you got your new job Jeff you have just become another MSM whiner. Get off your ass and go south if you can do better. Your pathetic writings show you have absolutely no understanding of the breadth of the problem. By the way, you got a new job, get a new picture.

  • http://engrm.com/blogometer/index.html Alan Gutierrez
  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Charlie:
    Don’t condescend to me.

  • http://engrm.com/blogometer/index.html Alan Gutierrez

    RSS Feeds of NOLA.com forums

    Scan these feeds for real news of Hurricane Katirna. This is where everyone in New Orleans goes to post. It is swarming with information.

    Add it to your feed reader, please. Residents are taking control the situation for themselves.

    http://thinknola.com/wiki/index.php?title=NOLA.com_Forum_Feeds

    Read through and you’ll find ways to help.

  • Michael Savoy

    # joefrommass Says:
    September 3rd, 2005 at 4:02 pm

    Michael Savoy said

    “Once upon a time, I was an unflinching Bush supporter, holding him in the highest reverenc as the man that could do no wrong, a president that history would record as being one of the greatest ever.”

    Sure you were.
    ===============================
    To:joefrommass

    uhhhh…… Sure, Whatever you say, Joe.

  • ajf

    WTF Greg? Some partisan hack rambles on about his love for that loser Witt and I’m supposed to take him seriously? FEMA has been doing what it does and doing it well, and certainly better than under Witt.

  • Grray

    Leadership missing? You got what you deserve. Bush and Blanco were elected, turns out that they are sunshine warriors without the necessary nerves when the going gets tough. Chertoff and Brown were appointed by Bush who was well known for his preverence for buddies and yessayers, no matter if they are qualified for the job, in 2004.
    What you see are the consequences. Maybe this will be the turning point for the american people so that they’ll judge ‘leadership’ by different parameters than just the ‘tv presence’ in the future.
    Voters beware: The future starts 2006.

  • http://www.feedwriter.com Greg Burton

    Robert F – there’s no doubt more to it, but your points are very well taken. As of yesterday “Aides arranged for a hurricane briefing to be the first item on Bush’s daily agenda for the future.” I note that this is from a news report dated today, but I remember it from yesterday. This is progress, I think – the implication is that it wasn’t his top priority until then, but is now.

    Federal funds have been released for some job creation, largely cleanup-related. I believe I also saw yesterday that they were “starting long range planning for emergency housing” on the Federal level. Again, the implication was that they hadn’t done any yet. Unfortunately, I can’t find that link, sorry.

  • George Carl

    From the DHS Website:

    “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. The new Department will also prioritize the important issue of citizen preparedness. Educating America’s families on how best to prepare their homes for a disaster and tips for citizens on how to respond in a crisis will be given special attention at DHS.”

    This does NOT mean that when a situation arises, Homeland security steps in. It DOES mean that if and when a request from the GOVERNOR of a state is made, Homeland Security responds. They send in FEMA.
    Having FEMA under the auspices of DHS is little more than a new pecking order.
    If the governor doesn’t ask for help soon enough, it doesn’t matter anyway. The STATE dropped the ball on this one. Period. End of story.

  • ajf

    Jeff,

    You’ve been as hysterical as Andrew Sullivan lately, even before the hurricane. Sure sign is the posts without links to facts, or resources. You have fallen down as a blogger.

  • billg

    Jim, my motive is open a crystal clear: assert the reality of the national embarrassment that is George Bush. I’m tired of being ashamed of my president.

    Yeah, I saw those schools buses, probably before you did. Yeah, I’m not impressed with the mayor and the governor.

    But, the mayor and the governor didn’t hire the incompetent who runs FEMA. The mayor and the governor did not sign the legislation that gives FEMA primary responsibility rescue and recovery efforts after disasters anywhere in the country. The mayor and the governor did not stand at the airport and joke about drink- and drug-laden vacations in New Orleans or make assinine remarks about a rich white racist Senator (all the while blocking the medivacing sick poor black people laying on floors a few hundred feet away).

    The mayor and the governor and all the rest of us had every reason to expect a strong federal presence on the ground within 48 hours, because that’s FEMA’s job. FEMA failed, the man who runs FEMA failed, and the man who runs the country failed.

    If you want to regurgitate the spinning parcel of lies told by Republicans and their talk show lackies, go right ahead. Those of us who can still recognize reality know that Americans died while Bush dithered.

  • Bill

    City of New Orleans Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan:

    http://www.cityofno.com/portal.aspx?portal=46&tabid=26

    ANNEX I: HURRICANES

    RESPONSE (PHASE II: WARNING, EVACUATION, AND SHELTERING)

    City of New Orleans Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.

    PART 1: WARNING

    I. GENERAL

    Evacuation planning and actual implementation has to be based upon certain assumptions. It must be understood that the need to evacuate elements of the population can occur at any time, events resulting in evacuations occur with various amounts of lead time and every evacuation will be unique and offer unexpected challenges to those conducting the evacuation. Evacuations in response to hazardous material spills or sudden severe weather are provided with little or no warning, and often have to be accomplished after the fact, and in a disaster response environment. Throughout the Parish persons with special needs, require special consideration regarding notification, transportation, and sheltering. Resources of equipment, facilities and personnel are more difficult to locate and coordinate when an evacuation is required during late night or early morning hours. If possible, advance warning should be given so an evacuation can be coordinated. Adequate provisions should be maintained at all times in order to conduct a warning or alert of an area.

    Certain hazards, such as a hurricane, provide some lead time for coordinating an evacuation. However, this can not be considered a certainty. Plus, the sheer size of an evacuation in response to an approaching hurricane creates the need for the use of community-wide warning resources, which cannot be limited to our City’s geographical boundaries. Evacuation of major portions of our population, either in response to localized or citywide disasters, can only be accomplished if the citizens and visitors are kept informed of approaching threats on a timely schedule, and if they are notified of the need to evacuate in a timely and organized manner. If an evacuation order is issued without the mechanisms needed to disseminate the information to the affected persons, then we face the possibility of having large numbers of people either stranded and left to the mercy of a storm, or left in an area impacted by toxic materials.

    In this day of high-speed communication and wide-spread availability of information, mechanisms do exist to transmit emergency related information to the vast majority of the community. For our most serious threat, hurricanes, information from the National Hurricane Center in Miami and our local office of the National Weather Service, can reach the general population through local governments and mass media outlets. It is the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Preparedness to guarantee that not only is the public alerted, but that other emergency response organizations and personnel are alert and in position to meet the real or potential threat.

    Warning for an emergency requires notification at two levels: notification of public officials and response organizations and the warning of the general public. The mechanisms chosen to accomplish these critical events must be rapid in execution and comprehensive in application. This annex outlines the procedures which will be implemented for notifying the emergency response network of its activation, and of informing the general public of the potential or actual occurrence of life threatening events and hazards.

    The extent and methods of warnings issued will be determined by the Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, and are based upon the geographic area impacted. When events necessitate the immediate evacuation of threatened individuals, these decisions may be made by the on scene Incident Commander. Decisions affecting larger geographic areas will be made by the Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness in conjunction with the Superintendent of Fire and Superintendent of Police.

    General evacuations that may result from an approaching hurricane will be ordered by the Mayor of the City, upon the recommendation of the Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness. The area affected by the warning may range from blocks and portions of neighborhoods, to the entire city.

    II. CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS

    The Office of Emergency Preparedness has the overall responsibility for reception and dissemination of warning information through the city.

    If the EOC is rendered unusable, the City of New Orleans Mobile Command Center can be utilized to serve as a temporary Emergency Operations Center. Warnings of potential or actual emergencies can be received at the Parish Warning Point from the following sources:

    1. National Weather Service (NWS) maintains its office in Slidell, LA. The NWS forecasts weather conditions and originates severe weather bulletins concerning the area. This information is received at the OEP via weather teletype, NOAA radio, and telephone.

    2. Emergency Alert System – Replacing the former Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), the EAS can be used by numerous agencies not only to warn the public, but to receive information from other emergency warning and response organizations.

    A. Types of Warnings

    1. Severe Weather: Severe Weather warnings are issued by the National Weather Service when severe thunderstorms are expected to affect an area producing winds in excess of 57 mph, or hail 3/4-inch or greater.

    2. Tornado Watches and Warnings: Tornado Watches and Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop or one has been sighted/reported respectively.

    3. Marine Advisories: Marine Advisories are issued on a regular basis by the National Weather Service. Those related to tropical weather systems are issued every 6 hours to report the location and strength of a tropical depression, tropical storm or hurricane. In addition to this information, the Marine Advisory provides predicted strength and forecast positions of the storm at 12, 24, 36, 48 and 72 hours.

    4. Tropical Storm/Hurricane Watches and Warnings: Tropical Storm/Hurricane Watches and Warnings are issued as part of the Marine Advisory when a storm may, or is expected to affect a land mass. A Watch is generally issued when a storm might affect an area within 36 hours, while a Warning is issued when a storm is expected to affect an area within 24 hours. Since Hurricanes contain both hurricane force winds (74 mph or greater) and Tropical Storm force winds (40-74 mph), both may be established for a coastal area. The Hurricane Watch/Warning will be issued for the area where the hurricane force winds are expected or are possible, whereas the Tropical Storm Watch/Warning will be issued for areas on either side of the Hurricane Watch/Warning.

    5. Localized Evacuations: Localized Evacuations may be ordered or recommended when an emergency occurs, which affects a relatively small area, such as a Hazardous Materials release or a large fire. Localized Evacuation would also include river or lake flooding caused by strong, sustained easterly winds in low lying areas outside the levee protection system.

    B. Methods of Notification

    1. Officials and Organizations: The notification of key officials and organizations in the City can be accomplished by several means. Upon notification of an emergency, the Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness will determine who is to be notified based upon the severity, type, and location of the occurring emergency.

    a. Emergency Hotline Telephone System: The “Mayor’s Hotline” is a pre-programmed telephone system which connects the EOC.

    b. Emergency Preparedness FAX: Situational updates and messages of a non-immediate nature can be transmitted to city/parish agencies, other municipalities, emergency operations centers, and the State EOC.

    c. Landline and Mobile Telephone Systems: EOC keeps a comprehensive listing of telephone numbers to be called for varying situations. Key officials and personnel are listed by business phone, home phone, mobile phone, and electronic pager number. The general public will be notified of emergencies by all means possible when it is determined to be necessary by the Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness. Warning bulletins will be disseminated by the Office of Emergency Preparedness, coordinated with the Office of Communications. Warnings will generally include areas affected and precautions to be taken.

    d. Emergency Alert System (EAS): The Emergency Alert System is the primary means of advising the public of a localized emergency. The primary EAS stations for New Orleans are WWL (870 AM) and WLMG (101.9 FM). The EAS can be contacted by telephone and radio.

    2. Media: The broadcast media provide a major part of the city’s capability to warn the public in a timely manner.

    a. A combination of Live Media Statements and Pre-recorded Messages will be used as a disaster situation develops. Once the Emergency Operations Center is activated, the task of updating the media falls to the Office of Communications.

    b. Mobile Public Address Systems: New Orleans Police Department personnel can be called upon to use the public address systems built into their vehicles.

    PART 2: EVACUATION

    I. GENERAL

    The safe evacuation of threatened populations when endangered by a major catastrophic event is one of the principle reasons for developing a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. The thorough identification of at-risk populations, transportation and sheltering resources, evacuation routes and potential bottlenecks and choke points, and the establishment of the management team that will coordinate not only the evacuation but which will monitor and direct the sheltering and return of affected populations, are the primary tasks of evacuation planning. Due to the geography of New Orleans and the varying scales of potential disasters and their resulting emergency evacuations, different plans are in place for small-scale evacuations and for citywide relocations of whole populations.

    Authority to issue evacuations of elements of the population is vested in the Mayor. By Executive Order, the chief elected official, the Mayor of the City of New Orleans, has the authority to order the evacuation of residents threatened by an approaching hurricane.

    Evacuation procedures for special needs persons with either physical or mental handicaps, including registration of disabled persons, is covered in the SOP for Evacuation of Special Needs Persons.

    Major population relocations resulting from an approaching hurricane or similar anticipated disaster, caused the City of New Orleans Office of Emergency Preparedness to develop a specific Hurricane Emergency Evacuation Standard Operating Procedures, which are appended to the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.

    The SOP is developed to provide for an orderly and coordinated evacuation intended to minimize the hazardous effects of flooding, wind, and rain on the residents and visitors in New Orleans. The SOP provides for the evacuation of the public from danger areas and the designations of shelters for evacuees.

    II. CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS

    The Hurricane Emergency Evacuation Standard Operating Procedure is designed to deal with all case scenarios of an evacuation in response to the approach of a major hurricane towards New Orleans. It is designed to deal with the anticipation of a direct hit from a major hurricane. This includes identifying the city’s present population, its projected population, identification of at-risk populations (those living outside levee protection or in storm-surge areas, floodplains, mobile homes, etc.), in order to understand the evacuation requirements. It includes identifying the transportation network, especially the carrying-capacity of proposed evacuation routes and existing or potential traffic bottlenecks or blockages, caused either by traffic congestion or natural occurrences such as rising waters. Identification of sheltering resources and the establishment of shelters and the training of shelter staff is important, as is the provision for food and other necessities to the sheltered. This preparation function is the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Preparedness.

    Conduct of an actual evacuation will be the responsibility of the Mayor of New Orleans in coordination with the Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, and the OEP Shelter Coordinator.

    The SOP, in unison with other elements of the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, is designed for use in all hazard situations, including citywide evacuations in response to hurricane situations and addresses three elements of emergency response: warning, evacuation, and sheltering.

    1. Warning: Formulates a comprehensive system for public information, early recognition of impending storms, and dissemination of emergency warning.

    2. Evacuation: Formulates an effective procedure for orderly evacuation of residents and visitors within available warning time.

    3. Sheltering: Formulates a comprehensive system of accessible shelters of adequate size.

    The SOP is limited as it is not designed to address the protection of personal and real property, yet is developed to cover the total New Orleans geographic area. The timely issuance of evacuation orders critically impacts upon the successful evacuation of all citizens from high-risk areas. In determining the proper time to issue evacuation orders, there is no substitute for human judgement based upon all known circumstances surrounding local conditions and storm characteristics.

    Information received from the National Hurricane Center concerning the storm’s tract will allow the focusing on either a landfall, paralleling or exiting storm scenario. Information involving local conditions such as pre-hurricane rainfall, tide schedules, and the amount of pre-storm publicity, must be taken into account, as are the various known circumstances that are explained in the information summary portion of the Hurricane Evacuation Plan, in determining when an evacuation order should be issued. Any assumption regarding where and how the storm will likely make landfall involves clear and constant communication with the National Hurricane Center, the local office of the National Weather Service, State OEP and various local agencies that are monitoring either the storm’s progress or other elements of the city’s preparedness to weather the storm’s passage.

    The City of New Orleans will utilize all available resources to quickly and safely evacuate threatened areas. Those evacuated will be directed to temporary sheltering and feeding facilities as needed. When specific routes of progress are required, evacuees will be directed to those routes. Special arrangements will be made to evacuate persons unable to transport themselves or who require specific life saving assistance. Additional personnel will be recruited to assist in evacuation procedures as needed.

    Slow developing weather conditions (primarily hurricane) will create increased readiness culminating in an evacuation order 24 hours (12 daylight hours) prior to predicted landfall. Disabled vehicles and debris will be removed from highways so as not to impede evacuation. In local evacuations involving more than fifty (50) families (i.e. 50 single dwelling units), staging areas may be established at the closest available public area outside the threatened area. Upon arrival at the staging area, evacuees will be directed to the appropriate shelter facility. Evacuees will be encouraged to stay with friends or relatives in non-threatened areas whenever possible. Security measures will be employed to protect the evacuated area(s) in accordance with established procedures and situations.

    The use of travel-trailers, campers, motorcycles, bicycles, etc., during the evacuation will be allowed so long as the situation permits it. Public information broadcasts will include any prohibitions on their use. Transportation will be provided to those persons requiring public transportation from the area. (See Special Needs Transportation, ESF-1). An orderly return to the evacuated areas will be provided after the Mayor determines the threat to be terminated. Transportation back to the evacuated area after threat termination will be provided as available.

    III. EVACUATION ORDER

    A. Authority

    As established by the City of New Orleans Charter, the government has jurisdiction and responsibility in disaster response. City government shall coordinate its efforts through the Office of Emergency Preparedness

    The authority to order the evacuation of residents threatened by an approaching hurricane is conferred to the Governor by Louisiana Statute. The Governor is granted the power to direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from a stricken or threatened area within the State, if he deems this action necessary for the preservation of life or other disaster mitigation, response or recovery. The same power to order an evacuation conferred upon the Governor is also delegated to each political subdivision of the State by Executive Order. This authority empowers the chief elected official of New Orleans, the Mayor of New Orleans, to order the evacuation of the parish residents threatened by an approaching hurricane.

    B. Issuance of Evacuation Orders

    The person responsible for recognition of hurricane related preparation needs and for the issuance of an evacuation order is the Mayor of the City of New Orleans. Concerning preparation needs and the issuance of an evacuation order, The Office of Emergency Preparedness should keep the Mayor advised.

    IV: HURRICANE EVACUATION PROCEDURES

    It must be understood that this Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan is an all-hazard response plan, and is applicable to events of all sizes, affecting even the smallest segments of the community. Evacuation procedures for small scale and localized evacuations are conducted per the SOPs of the New Orleans Fire Department and the New Orleans Police Department. However, due to the sheer size and number of persons to be evacuated, should a major tropical weather system or other catastrophic event threaten or impact the area, specifically directed long range planning and coordination of resources and responsibilities efforts must be undertaken.

    A. Evacuation Time Requirements

    Using information developed as part of the Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Task Force and other research, the City of New Orleans has established a maximum acceptable hurricane evacuation time standard for a Category 3 storm event of 72 hours. This is based on clearance time or is the time required to clear all vehicles evacuating in response to a hurricane situation from area roadways. Clearance time begins when the first evacuating vehicle enters the road network and ends when the last evacuating vehicle reaches its destination.

    Clearance time also includes the time required by evacuees to secure their homes and prepare to leave (mobilization time); the time spent by evacuees traveling along the road network (travel time); and the time spent by evacuees waiting along the road network due to traffic congestion (delay time). Clearance time does not refer to the time a single vehicle spends traveling on the road network. Evacuation notices or orders will be issued during three stages prior to gale force winds making landfall.

    > Precautionary Evacuation Notice: 72 hours or less

    > Special Needs Evacuation Order: 8-12 hours after Precautionary Evacuation Notice issued

    > General Evacuation Notice: 48 hours or less

    B. Evacuation Zones

    Evacuation (vulnerability) zones provide a base to model traffic movements from one geographic area to another. It is necessary to revise the evacuation zones from time to time due to data generated by new generations of storm-surge modeling .

    Evacuation zones are designed to meet several functions: (1) In coastal areas they must reflect the areas in each storm scenario which will need to be evacuated due to storm-surge inundation; (2) They should relate as closely as possible to available population data information, such as enumeration districts, census tracts, zip code areas, transportation analysis zones, etc.; and (3) They need to be describable in a manner that persons in the area will be able to understand.

    Evacuation zones will be developed pending further study.

    C. Evacuation Routing and Traffic Control

    New Orleans is surrounded by water. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway leads to the north, the I-10 twin spans head east, I-10 runs east-west and the Crescent City Connection and the Huey P. Long bridges cross over the Mississippi River. Evacuation presents unique and distinct challenges.

    Principle traffic control is provided by the New Orleans Police Department. The movement of evacuating vehicles during a hurricane evacuation requires specific traffic control efforts to insure the maximum roadway capacity and to expedite safe escape from hurricane hazards.

    1. Bridge closures will be announced as necessary.

    2. NOPD officers will be stationed at critical intersections and roadway segments

    3. All available tow trucks shall be positioned along key roadway segments, and disabled vehicles will be removed from traffic lanes. No repairs will be done to vehicles along the evacuation routes.

    4. Manual direction of traffic will be supplemented by physical barriers that are adequately weighted and which are placed to channel traffic and prevent unnecessary turning and merging conflicts.

    5. The movement of mobile homes and campers along evacuation routes will be banned after a hurricane warning is issued. A disabled mobile home could block the only escape route available. Such vehicles are difficult to handle late in an evacuation due to sporadic wind conditions.

    6. Boat owners must be made aware of time requirements for moving or securing vessels. Optimally, industrial and recreational vessels should be moved to safe harbor during or before a hurricane watch.

    7. Emergency Response to Accidents/Breakdowns – The intensity of traffic during a hurricane evacuation will always be accompanied by a certain number of traffic accidents and breakdowns. Although roadway shoulders are available for vehicles in distress, the movement of such vehicles to these areas is often difficult and disruptive. It is recommended that at least two traffic control personnel be positioned at each key roadway link/intersection so that one can assist disabled vehicles as needed. Two vehicles should also be positioned at each critical link to facilitate the removal of immobilized vehicles, however, as resources (two vehicles) are available.

    8. Safe evacuation is predicated upon the movement of vehicles over critically low points on evacuation routes prior to the occurrence of flooding. Route blockages can happen prior to the arrival of a hurricane. Those roadways that historically experience flooding due to rainfall alone should be monitored for vehicle distress and help.

    D. Evacuation Clearance Times

    Clearance time is the time required to clear the roadways of all vehicles evacuating in response to a hurricane situation. Clearance time begins when the first evacuating vehicle (as defined by a hurricane evacuation behavioral response curve) enters the road network and ends when the last evacuating vehicle reaches an assumed point of safety. Clearance time includes the time required by evacuees to secure their homes and prepare to leave (referred to as mobilization time). Clearance time DOES NOT RELATE to the time any one vehicle spends traveling on the road network. Clearance time allows for the last vehicle leaving to reach its destination or the parish line, whichever comes first.

    Assumptions – Clearance time is based on a set of assumed conditions and behavioral responses. It is likely that an actual storm will differ from a simulated storm for which clearance times are calculated in this report. Key assumptions guiding the analysis are grouped into five areas: 1. Population Data

    2. Storm Scenarios

    3. Behavioral Characteristic of the Evacuating Population

    4. Roadway Network and Traffic Control Assumptions

    5. Evacuation Zones

    The clearance times facing Orleans Parish for a severe hurricane will necessitate proper traffic control and early evacuating decision making. The evacuation must be completed before the arrival of gale force winds. Evacuation should also start when school is not in session and when there is at least eight (8) hours of daylight included in the evacuation time allowed. Provisions must be made for the removal of disabled vehicles. Flooding of roadways due to rainfall before a hurricane arrives could close off critical evacuation routes rendering evacuation impossible.

    V. TASKS

    A. Mayor

    * Initiate the evacuation.

    * Retain overall control of all evacuation procedures via EOC operations.

    * Authorize return to evacuated areas.

    B. Office of Emergency Preparedness

    * Activate EOC and notify all support agencies to this plan.

    * Coordinate with State OEP on elements of evacuation.

    * Assist in directing the transportation of evacuees to staging areas.

    * Assist ESF-8, Health and Medical, in the evacuation of persons with special needs, nursing home, and hospital patients in accordance with established procedures.

    * Coordinate the release of all public information through ESF-14, Public Information.

    * Use EAS, television, cable and other public broadcast means as needed and in accordance with established procedure.

    * Request additional law enforcement/traffic control (State Police, La. National Guard) from State OEP.

    C. New Orleans Police Department

    * Ensure orderly traffic flow.

    * Assist in removing disabled vehicles from roadways as needed.

    * Direct the management of transportation of seriously injured persons to hospitals as needed.

    * Direct evacuees to proper shelters and/or staging areas once they have departed the threatened area.

    * Release all public information through the ESF-14, Public Information.

    D. Regional Transit Authority

    * Supply transportation as needed in accordance with the current Standard Operating Procedures.

    * Place special vehicles on alert to be utilized if needed.

    * Position supervisors and dispatch evacuation buses.

    * If warranted by scope of evacuation, implement additional service.

    E. Louisiana National Guard

    * Provide assistance as needed in accordance with current State guidelines.

    F. Animal Care and Control

    * Coordinate animal rescue operations with the New Orleans SPCA.

    G. Public Works

    * Make emergency road repairs as needed.

    H. Office of Communications

    * Release all public information relating to the evacuation.

  • billg

    George, Louisiana formally requested assistance and an expedited state of emergency declaration while the storm was still in the Gulf.

    Still, I’m sure that lie will be trotted out ad infinitum by Bushies and the talk show droids. It’s well mated to Bush’s lie about no one expecting the levees to break in a Cat 4 storm or the FEMA chief’s continuing denial that flooding is part and parcel of a hurricane.

    The entire incompetent Bush adminstration has been premised on self-serving lies, so why should now be any different?

  • http://www.feedwriter.com Greg Burton

    George Carl – The governor asked for an emergency disaster declaration on 8/28. That was granted on 8/29. Was that too late? I could make the argument either way.

    But from that point on, by any standards, the Feds had the ball.

  • Glenn

    “It is a scandal of incompetence”

    And clearly predictable from the time the Baby Boomers came into positions of (lack of) leadership. Watching govenor Blank—o spout new age fluff last Saturday anyone with a brain could see trouble brewing.

  • http://www.feedwriter.com Greg Burton

    Landrieu said that her “greatest disappointment” is the lack of progress fixing the breached 17th Street levee.

    “Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast – black and white, rich and poor, young and old – deserve far better from their national government,” Landrieu said.

    — from the Times-Picayune

    Remember, please, that the Mayor thought there was an agreement on Tuesday to fix that, and gave a time estimate of 12 hours max to avoid the issues we see now. The sandbag delivery helicopter was pulled off that to do rescue instead. Work began, finally, on Thursday. And now, apparently, it’s stopped again.

  • DonP

    Mr. Jarvis,
    I admire you and your work greatly. I read your blog every day and have for a long time. I think you are perhaps over reacting. The federal response has been considerable if not flawless given the scale of this tragedy. I am amazed that the convoys reached downtown NO when they did given the state of the highways.

    Reading the comments above makes me afraid that the divisions in our society have become lethally toxic. Both sides strive only to undermine the other while Rome (or NO) burns.

  • http://www.drcookie.blogspot.com JennyD

    I wonder, Jeff, if you an obligation to lead….or just post.

    Imagine that blogging is about more than the conversation.

  • Grray

    Oh, there are people in charge. FEMA officials, DWF agents. And they are using their authority. What do they accomplish?
    Well, for instance, they were turning 500 boats of Lafayette volunteers away who wanted to assist the rescue operations under the command of a senator!
    http://securingamerica.com/ccn/node/357#comment-6515

    Turns out that those 500 boats could have easily accomplished the evacuation of a hospital where nurses were crying for help for days without answer. 200 DWF agents near, doin nothin.

    Dunno if the patients and the nurses got some help yet.
    FEMA = FUBAR

  • owl 1

    Jeff, I would vote for Rudi. No problem and actually my pick of the litter.

    The Feds were slow……but……..the incompetence of the state and city government was breathtaking.

    Robert, Huey Long was a legend! That was a point I tried to make earlier about southern LA politics. It was mafia and kickbacks. As a Democrat that grew up in LA and TX, you don’t guess what happened in NO. You know.

    Billg….”bigotry disguised as Christianity is a recipe for disaster”? Now just whose bigotry is that? You tell me why Democrats can have a politician come into a church and preach? Huh? I watch it all the time. Then I listen to that crap you just spewed. I listened to Cummings read scriptures in his political tirade against the other party on TV. Nada? You don’t see something wrong with this pic? Bigotry? Would that be that Bush let it happen because they were black? I absolutely refuse to sit quietly and listen to someone who would vote for the preaching politicians, accuse. And I especially don’t want to hear from the PC acceptable Revs. Those preaching politician Revs that preach for their votes. You darn right. I am talking that Chavez buddy Jackson and the preaching presidential Rev Al. This is the crap that set me off last night and I am still going. I do not ever intend to listen to this again without responding. Ever. So I guess politics are changing because decency would have kept my mouth shut before. I would have thought we should all just be helping but after listening for 5 years about how one person managed to mislead an entire world……..ahhhhh the poor babies. These are real victims that need help. Real. And no way in hell was GWBush able to get behind Katrina and blow hard enough to make it go into NO.

    BTW, has anyone spared a single thought for the miles of destruction and the dead in the other places besides NO? If you know south LA, you know they had to be wiped off the face of the earth.

  • http://www.feedwriter.com Greg Burton

    owl 1 – I’ve been trying to find out anything about the bayeau and other rural folks that I could – nothing I can find. I’m assuming – and only assuming – that haven’t been able to get to them yet. I’m afraid there’s no one there to get to, but that is also just a fear, not a fact.

  • Robert Swaim

    billg
    Where did you find any informatin that President Bush sent anyone to the Superdome or the Convention Center, then didn’t provide police protection, medical assistance, food, water or information on how they were going to be evacuated. In all the massive radio, television and internet information that I saw, read and listened to I don’t remember a single report to that effect. If you have references that confirm the President’s involvement in either, please post them, if not then file your post under Nonsense – sub category Bush Hater.
    John Robb
    I guess in your haste to post your failed to notice that there are roughly 11 layers of responsibility (incompetence in your words) that must claim their part in this debacle before you critique the President. How about giving us some insight into the stellar job those other points of responsibility did and then we may be able to evaluate your point about the President’s failure.
    Last but Certainly not least.
    Mr. Jarvis,
    While the great city of the “Big Easy” dies before our very eyes it’s impossible to sort the gnat crap from the pepper, but it is our challenge to honestly record and remember the leadership (or lack of), the actions (or lack of) the compassion (or lack of) demonstrated by those we elect to do the business of our cities, states and country. From the City Council to the Mayor to the Governor to the President, fair honest and unbiased critique may, as you stated, damn well change the way we govern and are governed.

  • sick in los angeles

    the damage and need is so wide spread, you cant think the feds can be everywhere at once. how about a local plan that could get you through a few days until help arrives. obviously LA didn’t have this, the mayors’/govs only plan was to get everyone to the superdome, and then what??!!! what type of behavior did you expect there…the same thing you see in the neighborhoods is what you got. the LA govt is to blame, you didn’t see that type of despair in the other areas hit hard by the hurricane.

  • joefrommass

    I don’t know if anybody could have done a better job than our president did and neither does anyone else know. We are all just guessing. We weren’t part of the meetings, we weren’t listening to his phone calls. None of us know the obsticals he faces or the logistics involved. Anyone who says they know better is just a liar. I’m prepared to give him the benifit of a doubt. It took 9 days after Andrew for Bush 1 to get relief to Florida, this is a big improvement over that in considerably more difficult circumstances.

  • Grray

    sick in los angeles, guess you didn’t read my post. 200 DWF agent (that’s a fed agency, right?) are just standing around in the desaster area and poking their noses. And they turned 1000 volunteers from Lafayette away who arrived with 500 boats and a senator in command. In the meantime, there’s a hospital in the flood where the nurses are begging for help and evacuation for days:
    http://securingamerica.com/ccn/node/357#comment-6515

  • billg

    Owl, if you’d had the decency to quote me accurately, I’d respond to your incoherent rant, but since you distorted what I posted, I won’t bother.

    Robert Swaim, the mayor ordered an evacuation and opened up the dome as a safe haven for protection from the hurricane. If the levees had held, those people would have gone home the next day. I’m not defending the mayor, but the mayor is not responsible for the failure of FEMA to respond in time. FEMA should have been on the ground in force within 48 hours but was not. The mayor and governor had nothing to do with that. Complete responsibility for that failure and for the lives lost in the interim rests squarely on Bush and the incompetent horse show scheduler he hired to run FEMA.

    When Bush and Brown claim that no one could have expected the flooding or that no one could have expected looting they are either lieing or exhibiting their ignorance.

  • joefrommass

    Michael Savoy

    So are you a liar or a turncoat? Doesn’t matter either way you have no credibility.

  • Lupe Smit

    The faul lies with the Mayor of New Orleans, and the Governor of LA.. They had NO PLAN. NONE……

  • Grray

    Nagin and Blanco did s*** up indeed. There only excuse can be that they have multiple other tasks besides flood prevention, very limited resources and that they begged Washington several times to better fund the corps of engineers, whose task is the maintenance of the levees.

    FEMA, on the other hand, hasn’t any other duty than desaster prevention, preparation, and emergency management…
    Wonder what Michael Brown will tell congress in the hearings to come: ‘OK, I was asleep at the wheel, but only when it comes to leading the emergency efforts. Pls note that I never missed a talkshow or a TV date!’

  • Pingback: CaNN :: We started it.

  • Linda Edwards

    I find it interesting that many wingnuts are so desperate to blame the NO mayor and LA governor (both dems, of course). Yet they have no explanation about why the people in MS and AL are complaining about the same thing, woefully slow and inadequate response from the Feds.

    I would suppose that’s the mayor and governor’s fault too.

  • Townleybomb

    Amen, Jeff. Thousands of people are dead tonight in a city I love because everyone from Nagin on up was completely unprepared for a disaster we’ve known was coming for a generation. This almost happened a year ago, and the Democrats didn’t say a word (too busy trying to pretend Kerry’s 12 reluctant weeks in country made him the next U.S. Grant), and as for the Republicans? Try to even get them to admit that Bush flubbed a photo op…. The water’s barely stopped rising, and the dittoheads on both sides are already full of passionate intensity, as the phrase goes. God damn, but the sane silent majority of us need to take over from the fucking children before it’s too late….

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    I just deleted the first comment I have deleted in the post-Katrina discussions. Be civil, people. Especially now, be civil. (That commenter is no longer welcome here; three or more strikes.)

  • http://www.chicagoboyz.net/ Ken

    “Still, I’m sure that lie will be trotted out ad infinitum by Bushies and the talk show droids. It’s well mated to Bush’s lie about no one expecting the levees to break in a Cat 4 storm or the FEMA chief’s continuing denial that flooding is part and parcel of a hurricane.”

    Lots of people expected the levees to break – if the hurricane hadn’t missed and, more importantly, the levees would have broken during the storm, leaving very few survivors.

    In that scenario, the massive response we see gearing up would have been pointless.

    When the storm passed and the city was unflooded, everyone thought that the situation was ok. It took a day for the levees to break, and it left many cut-off survivors that needed security, water, food, transport, etc, and way more of it than anyone thought would be needed under any scenario.

  • Grray

    Excuse me pls, but the levee DID break during the storm:
    http://news.com.com/Katrina+rocks+New+Orleans,+heads+ashore/2100-1028_3-5844122.html
    Didn’t you watch TV?
    This was not considered serious at that moment since FEMA told he mayor that the breach would be repaired with 3000lb sandbags. Nagin was the first to alert the population that NO would be flooded after the operation failed because the helis didn’t show up.
    This was just 6 days ago and already you try to spin the truth?

  • Grray

    ‘the levees would have broken during the storm, leaving very few survivors. In that scenario, the massive response we see gearing up would have been pointless.’

    Ken, so this is your argument in short form:
    – there has been no massive response because NO wasn’t initially flooded
    – if NO would have been flooded during the storm, a massive response would have been useless.

    Hey, I did like that movie ‘Catch 22′, too. Let’s rename NO to ‘Yossarian’.

  • Ravo

    Grray said: they begged Washington several times to better fund the corps of engineers, whose task is the maintenance of the levees.

    Just the opposite I think.

    The Feds match local funds for leeves. NO chose to spend it’s funds on the Superdome rather than commit funds for levees that were guaranteed to be matched by the Feds.

  • Robert Swaim

    billg
    Who is the duly elected official in charge of New Orleans, President Bush, don’t think so, it’s Mayor Ray Nagin. The Mayor designated the Superdome and the Convention Center as Safe Places for those unable to evacuate and then failed to provide police protection, medical services and Food/Water for those He sent to these “Safe Places”. There was no police protection in either because he chose to protect the bars, tee shirt shops and gentlemens clubs in the French Quarter. The reality of this debacle is Mayor Nagin’s Emergency Plan – failed, Mayor Nagin’s Evacuation Plan – failed , Mayor Nagin’s Communication Plan – failed, In order to assign this failure to President Bush you have to totally ignore the realities of the situation OR be so politically biased that the facts don’t matter.

  • Grray

    Ravo, we have discussed this several times now. There were some links posted. For your convenience, here is just one report on the slashing of funds:
    http://www.mediainfo.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001051313

    Now pls post a link to your source of information.

  • Grray

    While I’m positive that Nagin could have done more in preparation and in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, I’m a bit surprised by this statement:
    ‘There was no police protection in either because he chose to protect the bars, tee shirt shops and gentlemens clubs in the French Quarter.’
    I’ve been following several NO blogs, nobody reported police activity in the Quarter. Where did you find this?

  • Eileen

    Grray,

    All over the place. Try getting off your computer and turning on the TV?

    Had to protect the protection racket – now more than ever.

  • Eileen

    Let’s face it. NO’s bread – aside from the port – is buttered in the FQ.

    Surprised by people getting raped and pillaged a few blocks over? Surprised that *NO ONE* in NO was there to keep the peace? A Democratic legislator was interviewed by Tucker Carlson tonight. He didn’t even know that part of the 9th (?) Ward was now dry.

    Even if you aren’t *aware*, it’s still ALL going to be Bush’s fault, trust me.

  • Eileen

    Correction: make that a LOUISIANA Democratic Legislator from NEW ORLEANS!

    Where was he? Who knows. Not in NO.

  • Grray

    Must have missed that. I somehow lost interest in TV after watching always the same people in superdome and on the bridge for some days.

    If you find a link, pls post it. I can’t find anything about NOPD guarding French Quarter businesses in google news search. But there are fires at the river near the Quarter and I’d expect police to be there looking for arsonists:
    http://www.livejournal.com/users/interdictor/48343.html

  • Eileen

    Well, I’m not trying to be critical of you for not watching tv. Every time I go there I cry.

    Sometimes the web’s the best for news. I definitely grant you that one.

    This one is too horrific to really comprehend. I’m saddened that I jumped on the blame game wagon from one direction or another.

    Violating my own resolve…

    G’night.

  • Grray

    ‘He didn’t even know that part of the 9th (?) Ward was now dry.’
    You don’t seem to be really sure about the 9th(?) Ward either. Besides, is it important that a lawmaker knows that? I guess it would be more reassuring if it was clear that the FEMA agents have this info.

  • Eileen

    Just not sure of the number. I believe I regurgitated it correctly. The 9th Ward is ‘the po side of town’. YES, of COURSE it’s important! That’s where the “refugees” (what a Godawful term) were “left behind” by Bush.

    Just like FEMA was NOT NOTIFIED of the thousands who needed rescuing at the Convention Center until THURSDAY.

    If the local emergency management agency, police, mayor, governor, ETC. don’t communicate with FEMA, how the hay can they HELP? And if the local police and politicians aren’t even there to know the status of their own town, how the hay can they communicate to FEMA???

    Like I said, no matter what, the MSM will make *sure* this is all Bush’s fault. The bile that spills over their levee is unimpeded. And it’s flowing at flood proportions.

  • http://oodja.blogspot.com Jersey Exile

    Grray,

    Please don’t listen to Eileen or Robert Swaim — they don’t know what the heck they’re talking about. Mayor Nagin didn’t have enough police to protect anything, let alone implement a disaster plan. It’s being reported that 2/3’s of the 1500-member police force have been MIA during the crisis. He couldn’t do diddly-squat with five hundred souls, not in a city with a hundred thousand people still left in it, and to his credit he knew it and was hollering like holy hell for assistance since the very beginning. To blame him for this crisis while organizations like FEMA — whose sole purpose is to assume command and control in the case of a natural or man-made disaster — twiddled their thumbs for days after being activated isn’t just disingenuous, it’s sick.

    So let’s take another look at the apologists’ talking points, shall we?

    1. There were two disasters, not one (that’s why we f***ed them both up)

    2. The disaster area is the size of Great Britain — apparently some magical unit that makes relief efforts hard

    3. The rest of the city was destroyed because there was a secret order to protect the French Quarter

    4. Mayor Ray Nagin’s 1500 police officers are more culpable than FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security because the former tried to do something and failed whereas the latter didn’t even try

    5. New Orleans somehow deserves its fate because it couldn’t afford to buy levee protection

    6. Something about gnat crap and pepper

    7. If only Jeff Jarvis would calm down, we could convince him that black was white and that there was no gnat crap in his pepper

    8. We can’t know what really happened, so we can’t blame anyone (except Ray Nagin, because Rush told us to)

    and my favorite…

    9. The media’s crying because they’re weak, not because they can’t believe sh*t like this is going down in a First World country

  • Eileen

    Don’t listen to Jersey Exile. He is toxic sludge.

  • Robert Swaim

    Grray
    CNN, MSNBC and Fox have all reported that damage and looting in the French Quarter is minimal to non-existent due to the overwhelming presence of the New Orleans Police Department. Fox’s Shepard Smith commented that he (while reporting from the top of the Convention Center) was looking forward to returning to the “tranquility” of his hotel in the French Quarter. Sad but true, a total loss of perspective by those charged with protecting the citizens of New Orleans.

  • http://oodja.blogspot.com Jersey Exile

    Eileen,

    If the local emergency management agency, police, mayor, governor, ETC. don’t communicate with FEMA, how the hay can they HELP

    Learn about your government. It wasn’t FEMA’s job to “help,” it was their job to assume (and maintain) command and control as soon as they were activated by the President… two days before Katrina hit. FEMA’s not a bunch of candy-stripers. They’re not a volunteer organization. They don’t get points for just “being on the scene”. If there were no communications in New Orleans after the hurricane, it was FEMA’s responsibility to restore them for the purpose of coordinating the relief effort. FEMA blew it. It’s not their job to sit back and be informed by local police and fire — they’re supposed to be the proactive ones. My God, that’s their only job. If FEMA didn’t know that there were tens of thousands of people in the convention center, then they didn’t just blow it. They f***ed up royally. Heads should roll, starting with the director’s.

  • Eileen

    OF COURSE, JE. According to YOU It’s ALL Bush’s fault! The state and local government has Nothing to do with any iota of any fact in reality.

    Mmm hmmm.

    Like I said, g’night. Bash away.

  • http://oodja.blogspot.com Jersey Exile

    Eileen,

    I did not blame Bush, I blamed FEMA. Attempt for a moment to disconnect your knee-jerk instinct to defend the Great Leader against any and all disparagement and ask yourself this simple question: do you feel more or less safe having seen the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA in action over the past week, and would you have so much as an iota of trust in either organization if disaster befell your town? Sleep on that, why don’t you…

  • http://oodja.blogspot.com Jersey Exile

    The French Quarter didn’t need police to protect it — each hotel has been a virtual walled city during the crisis, as have many of the tonier residences. The Quarter also had the largest percentage of people who remained to ride out the storm, allowing neighborhoods to retain some semblance of law and order as they formed makeshift militias to supplement what police protection there was. Not surprisingly, there are also a lot of guns in this area as well.

    Correlation does not imply causation, despite whatever they may tell you on Fox News.

  • Grray

    ‘CNN, MSNBC and Fox have all reported that damage and looting in the French Quarter is minimal to non-existent due to the overwhelming presence of the New Orleans Police Department.’ Sounds good. After all, one day ago the most pressing problem seemed to be to get the armed looters under control, right? I don’t really see a problem with this. If there was shooting and looting reported from other parts of the city without police presence, that would leave another impression.

    OK, discuss this with Jersey, I’m away for a break. cu l8r

  • Robert Swaim

    Jersey Exile
    Whether you run a business or a city,if as you claim (and I personally doubt this since I have heard it no where else) 2/3rds of your employees don’t show up for work at the most critical time in your history that is an absolute failure of leadership. Listening to Eileen of myself is your choice but ignoring facts is not not.

  • http://www.drcookie.blogspot.com JennyD

    Here’s a clip from Sunday’s Washington Post story on the power struggle between LA officials and the feds:

    “Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state’s emergency operations center said Saturday.

    The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. “Quite frankly, if they’d been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals,” said the source, who does not have the authority to speak publicly.

    A senior administration official said that Bush has clear legal authority to federalize National Guard units to quell civil disturbances under the Insurrection Act and will continue to try to unify the chains of command that are split among the president, the Louisiana governor and the New Orleans mayor.

    Louisiana did not reach out to a multi-state mutual aid compact for assistance until Wednesday, three state and federal officials said. As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/03/AR2005090301680.html

  • http://marginalizingmorons.blogspot.com/ CaptiousNut

    I read through the comments quickly so forgive if someone already made this point.

    But am I the only one who sees no comparison to 9/11?

    The fallout from 9/11 was a much smaller geographical area. They had power, telecommunications, and the area was not flooded. People took ten minutes to walk to safety.

    I think it is a stretch to say Juliani would have been New Orleans salvation.

    I agree with Glenn who mentioned something about the baby boomer generation failing america. Their level of whining self-absorbtion is nauseating. When the heck did cheap gasoline become an entitlement?

  • Lupe Smit

    I don’t think it is an issue of failure of all our institutions, but I do think that all politics is local and the city of NO and the state of LA have failed their residents. I think they should be prosecuted for not acting on their own hurricane preparedness plan.

    A question: Why wasn’t there water and nonperishable foods stocked piled at the Superdome starting in May through November, as all of us who live in Hurricane areas are supposed to do? I have lived in Miami for 23 years and every years it is all you hear starting in May. Whether it is tv news, newspapers, etc. I don’t buy it. How about the hospitals?

    I think it is fine and dandy to feel bad for this people and help, give money, etc. but the blame lies with their local leadership and themselves. No one else.

  • DiFromLA

    Yes the relief effort was, and still is, slow. People were told to leave—the gov should have brought the buses in pre-storm. The dome was opened as a shelter of LAST resort. Many local politicians begged for people to leave, but they couldn’t force it. Perhaps if the laws changed and the gov could force evacuations—there would be less dead and we could hold them more accountable. I am not a fan of giving the gov more control, but in some cases maybe we should. The news is so focused on New Orleans, that many of the smaller communities are being ignored. There are MANY good things happening in these communities. The people are really coming together, so don’t put all of your focus on the negatives. Another suggestion, don’t spend so much time blogging—-get active. We need lots of help down here. Send whatever you can—I have some damage, but consider myself blessed and am helping all I can–with limited resources. Many of these people have nothing–no home, no clothes, no money, no job, and no prospects. Normal is being redefined in Southeast Louisiana.

  • owl 1

    I don’t know what has happened to all those other people who were wiped out, because we can only hear NO from the media. It seems to be what the media does.

    I say again. Politics are local. I would never have been screaming like I have been the last couple of days except for the whining I hear from LA officials. Some of the very officials that are responsible for some of the problems. But I was really set off with the RACE bait politicing.

    Who’s in charge? I live in tornado country. When we get a warning, I am in charge. That simple. Now I can choose to travel a few blocks to a storm shelter (underground) or gamble. I normally gamble. Yes, I know about tornadoes. They can strip the pavement off the highway, but I am in charge. A lot of those people that are going to die, gambled. No, I am NOT talking about the sick, disabled, old or children. Those people are NOT in charge. But no one can give me a promise that I will get up tomorrow, either. Now being a rural person, I don’t care if China is bombing on my head, I better not plan for the government to save me. I lasso a horse and ride it out, and no I don’t ride. For decades, the LA officials knew where they lived. They nurture the idea that government will take care of you. It’s a lie. So if I lived in NO, after myself, who is in charge? The mayor with his officials. Knowing you have a minimum of 100,000 poor people trapped into bowl, you better darn sure have your PLAN on the ready when you hear there is a CAT5 storm coming and you only have a CAT3 levee(maybe). Now can you “make them go”? I doubt it. But if you are going to make people think that government will take care of them, you needed to have those 400 school buses lined up in front of the Astrodome and Convention Center on Monday night. You need a group of LOCALs that are in immediate charge. Then you have the governor.

    FEMA is probably a joke except in regular disasters. This is not a normal disaster in any form. When you have state officials so scared of “giving up power” that they will not relinish it, this is sick. So is the state government in charge or not?

    Some of the laws got changed with our dear HLS. If you think I believe HLS can take care of me…..get real. Bush’s mistake ….the biggest…..is not shouting to that mayor and governor. If you know south LA, you know there is only one way in and out. Anyone figure how to get all that in there across LA…..without roads, phones, etc in a couple of days? LOCAL. You want it done, you better know local and local routes. Otherwise it aint happening. I agree that the Feds were too slow. Too slow to communicate that it would be several days and they were overruling everything and taking charge. This was the mistake. And this is the biggest natural disaster in USA history. Yep, it’s Bush’s fault.

  • Gray

    ‘So is the state government in charge or not?’
    Afaik state government are in charge. In fact, this is part of GWBs ideology: ‘Responsibility for the states’.

    FEMAs job is to prepare and plan for emergency measures and to organize that all available federal resources will support the governments in the desaster situation. Since this catastrophe is too huge to be handled with state resources alone, it looks as though FEMA utterly failed. The cavalry arrived too late.

  • owl 1

    Gray
    LOCAL. local. LOCAL. Sure you want to sue somebody, fine. Get your lawyer, get in line and sue from the top down.

    But if you want to survive…….I am talking survival here……..you need every able bodied person trying to save every unabled body person. Do you know the roads in LA? For years you could not even go North to South unless you were on a pig trail.

    You want to live, you better be in charge and hope you have friends, neighbors and local government that are “can dos”. I still assume that the State of LA was in charge until???who knows exactly when. For all I know, they may still be in charge. Those darn lawyers, doncha know.

    FEMA job is to support….yep. “The cavalry arrived too late”……says who? And arrived where too late? MS? AL? Maybe the other parts of LA besides NO. One way in and out. First you have to have a working airport to support the cavalry. How many people were rescued off roofs, etc those first days? I do not think the Feds handled this thing as well as possible. They should have had their “crier” out and in front, since that seems to be the game.

    I agree that it should have been the state and when they failed, they should have turned it over to the FEDS. The local, state and then Fed government should have provided quicker and better for the disabled, old, sick and the young. Someone with boots on the ground, in that spot, should have been able to pull some type of evacuation on Tuesday. If that mayor had not done his crying, I would not be pointing to those unused 400 school buses. Not when people are trapped in attics and dead all over 3 states…..still….and will still be this time next week.

  • Roy Hobbs

    someone asked what does TX, AL, MS and FL have that LA doesn’t? The answer quite simply is Republican leadership.

    A Dem asked why didnt Rudy take charge like he did in NY? My friend, and you are my friend, remember that feeling in ’08 when he is asking for your vote.

  • Nahanni

    I have to agree with you, Roy.

    One thing I have learned is to save any news articles/video from as close to the event as possible. That way you see the truth of the matter before the media tries to spin it.

    Blogs do a wonderful job on this.

    Here are three links that cut to the chase.

    http://www.brendanloy.com/page2.html#112520219285629654

    http://www.brendanloy.com/2005/09/its-busses-stupid.html

    http://junkyardblog.net/archives/week_2005_08_28.html#004757 (If it isn’t working keep trying, he is having bandwidth problems.)

  • Gray

    ‘someone asked what does TX, AL, MS and FL have that LA doesn’t? The answer quite simply is’ no flooding.

  • Gray

    owl 1,
    ‘LOCAL. local. LOCAL. Sure you want to sue somebody, fine. Get your lawyer, get in line and sue from the top down.’
    ??? what’s this blabber about? I wasn’t talkin about sueing at all ?

    ‘Do you know the roads in LA?’ I’ve been there. You too?
    And NOs newspaper states the traffic situation is ok:
    ‘Despite the city’s multiple points of entry, our nation’s bureaucrats spent days after last week’s hurricane wringing their hands, lamenting the fact that they could neither rescue the city’s stranded victims nor bring them food, water and medical supplies.
    Meanwhile there were journalists, including some who work for The Times-Picayune, going in and out of the city via the Crescent City Connection. On Thursday morning, that crew saw a caravan of 13 Wal-Mart tractor trailers headed into town to bring food, water and supplies to a dying city.’
    http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001054586

    ‘And arrived where too late? MS? AL? Maybe the other parts of LA besides NO.’ Biloxi hasn’t received any significant help yet. Bush stopped there for a PR TV shooting, but he took the rescue workers with him as he left:
    ‘The President brought with him vehicles to cut though the debris and rescue search teams, for which Biloxi had waited for days. But they did not go to work where the victims were, but only served as photogenic background props in remote areas of the town, she reported.’
    http://www.livejournal.com/users/insomnia/604683.html

    ‘First you have to have a working airport to support the cavalry.’
    There are at least 4 military airbases in La:
    http://www.globemaster.de/cgi-bin/bases/db.cgi?db=default&uid=default&view_records=1&so=ascend&keyword=louisiana&submit=Search
    Military airbases are generally well equipped with generators and all kinds of communications and can operate independent of external power sources and telephone lines.

    ‘I agree that it should have been the state and when they failed, they should have turned it over to the FEDS.’
    Imho, the state didn’t fail. FEMA failed them. More than 80% of NOs population were evacuated, most of the rest were in temporary shelters when the hurricane hit. Nagin and Blanco relied on FEMAs promisses that wholescale federal support would be available after the hurricane, providing supplies and transports for the victims. FEMA didn’t deliver, even though they had time for preparation, since Bush signed their orders on Saturday. Blanco was in charge, but her assets were drowned, communication lines and power grid destroyed, and she didn’t get the federal reinforcements. That’s not a failed leadership, this is a case of FEMA disobeying the presidents orders.

    And if you want to say that Nagin should have been prepared for a situation where most of his city would be drowned one story high on Tuesday, remember what Bush, Brown, and Chertoff said: ‘Nobody anticipated the breach of the levees’.

  • sick in los angeles

    heard on the news that temporary PAYING jobs will be set up for people who want to help clean up NO once they fix the levees and begin to drain the water. lets see how many of these people who were evacuated and stood / stand there with their hand out return to the city to work / help….and earn their check for once!!!!

  • JimG

    Well the city of new orleans’ web site is still running. Searching for document ESF-1, I find no results.

    Document ESF-1 is the addendum document to the city’s hurricane disaster preparedness plan, which is on the web site. It details the component of the plan regarding “Transportation will be provided to those persons requiring public transportation from the area.”

    This means that A. the document was never put on the web site, or B. the document never existed.

    Even if A. is the answer, the Mayor, IMO, was negligent for not providing that transportation “from the area.” It’s his city. He is the first responder. His plan states that he (city of new orleans) will provide transportation out of the city.

    Therefore I objectively agree that the Mayor of new orleans is just as guilty if not more guilty, then his Federal counterparts.

    One day perhaps an insider to the city of new orleans government will produce document ESF-1 (the mayor’s smoking gun?) and post it on the Net.

    In the meantime it sounds to me that he is passing the buck, shifting the focus from his not being able to follow his own plan in terms of getting residents of the city out who did not have the wherewithall to get out, prior to Katrina coming ashore, to “where are the Feds, where are the Feds?”

    If anyone has details regarding if document ESF-1 and the procedure to provide transportation out of the area for residents was actually followed, but didn’t work for any reason, or if the residents declined to evacuate even provided the public transportation, please let us know.

    As a footnote, the Mayor this evening pronounced another order for the city – anyone remaining will be forced to leave.

    Seems to me that order should have been made a week ago.

  • JimG