The scandal of Katrina

There is a rising chorus demanding that President Bush fire FEMA head Michael Brown and replace him with someone who can do this job, which he clearly cannot.

NPR this morning reviewed his background, which prepared him not at all for this job: He spent almost a decade at the International Arabian Horse Association, though his FEMA biography says nothing of this. Knight-Ridder does likewise:

From failed Republican congressional candidate to ousted “czar” of an Arabian horse association, there was little in Michael D. Brown’s background to prepare him for the fury of Hurricane Katrina.

But as the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brown now faces furious criticism of the federal response to the disaster that wiped out New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast. He provoked some of it himself when he conceded that FEMA didn’t know that thousands of refugees were trapped at New Orleans’ convention center without food or water until officials heard it on the news.

Bush says: “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”

The Times-Picayune calls for his firing in a strong and eloquent editorial and open letter to the President on its newsblog:

Dear Mr. President:

We heard you loud and clear Friday when you visited our devastated city and the Gulf Coast and said, “What is not working, we’re going to make it right.”

Please forgive us if we wait to see proof of your promise before believing you. But we have good reason for our skepticism….

… the people trained to protect our nation, the people whose job it is to quickly bring in aid were absent. Those who should have been deploying troops were singing a sad song about how our city was impossible to reach.

We’re angry, Mr. President, and we’ll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry. Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That’s to the government’s shame….

Every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be fired, Director Michael Brown especially.

In a nationally televised interview Thursday night, he said his agency hadn’t known until that day that thousands of storm victims were stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. He gave another nationally televised interview the next morning and said, “We’ve provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they’ve gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day.”

Lies don’t get more bald-faced than that, Mr. President.

Yet, when you met with Mr. Brown Friday morning, you told him, “You’re doing a heck of a job.”

That’s unbelievable.

There were thousands of people at the Convention Center because the riverfront is high ground. The fact that so many people had reached there on foot is proof that rescue vehicles could have gotten there, too….

Hear, too, the emotional appeal from Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard on Meet the Press:

MR. AARON BROUSSARD: We have been abandoned by our own country. Hurricane Katrina will go down in history as one of the worst storms ever to hit an American coast, but the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history. I am personally asking our bipartisan congressional delegation here in Louisiana to immediately begin congressional hearings to find out just what happened here. Why did it happen? Who needs to be fired? And believe me, they need to be fired right away, because we still have weeks to go in this tragedy….

It’s not just Katrina that caused all these deaths in New Orleans here. Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area, and bureaucracy has to stand trial before Congress now….

Let me give you just three quick examples. We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn’t need them. This was a week ago. FEMA–we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. The Coast Guard said, “Come get the fuel right away.” When we got there with our trucks, they got a word. “FEMA says don’t give you the fuel.” Yesterday–yesterday–FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, “No one is getting near these lines.” Sheriff Harry Lee said that if America–American government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn’t be in this crisis….

The guy who runs this building I’m in, emergency management, he’s responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, “Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?” And he said, “Yeah, Mama, somebody’s coming to get you. Somebody’s coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Friday.” And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night….

Nobody’s coming to get us. Nobody’s coming to get us. The secretary has promised. Everybody’s promised. They’ve had press conferences. I’m sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody.

And he cried.

Find a real manager for this vital job, not a crony. Fire Brownie, Mr. President.

And the people of Louisiana will decide which of their elected officials should be fired in due time.

  • So,

    Lemme get this right. An old woman in a nursing home calls her government-connected son, who is the director of Emergency Management for a very large Louisiana Parish, on Tuesday, and begs him to come get her.

    “Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?” she pleads of him.

    Then she calls him on Wednesday, and begs him to come get her.

    “Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?”

    And then she calls him on Thursday, and begs him to come get her.

    “Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?”

    And then she drowns on Friday.

    And we’re supposed to be mad at Michael Brown?

    Some son she had there.

    Assuming this actually occurred.

  • I saw you taking over the last thread because, apparently, you have nothing better to do. I think you made your point.

  • Maria Fernanda

    I realize that the people of NO are in deep trouble and my family, as many american families will over the next few days, are giving as much as we can for the relief effort. But we are discusted, discusted with the blame game.

    If you, Mr. Jarvis, whose blog I read regularly, and whom I respect, have not taken the time to read the New Orleans hurricane preparedness plan and the FEMA plan which indicates that cities and towns should be prepared to hold on for at least 72 hours before adequate aid arrives, then I don’t really think you should be ranting.

    Like you did when you questioned if New ORleans should be rebuilt I will make a comment that maybe will be thought insensitive, but I am deeply embarrased for NOrleans, they are an embarrassment to this Nation of people who take care of themselves.



  • Jeff,

    I’m sincerely interested in furthering the discussion you began.

    That’s the beauty of blogs. It’s about the conversation, right?

    That thread that I “took over” was the most commented thread on your site yesterday. I think by the end of it, there were over 200 comments by many readers of your site (myself being one of them).

    We can’t have a conversation on your site without it appearing that we’re “taking over” threads. If there’s a better way to do it, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts.

  • Clara from Paris, France

    Hello Jeff,

    The exceptional context of the events of New Orleans sharpened my curiosity and pushed me to post some contributions, of which part of them attracted me some excessive answers on behalf of nationalists who hopelessly seem to still wanting to defend their fanaticism until on your blog. But I especially benefited from information, comments and testimonies that you were publishing on line and which were commented and supplemented by the participants who joined you.

    From France, the perception I have of this natural disaster is positively revolting. Indeed, if one can nothing or almost against the God’s hand, our modern techniques of forecast and prevention of the natural risks cannot justify that a State, even among poorest of the first world economic power, was delivered to its own resources to answer a hurricane of force 4 or 5 which had been clearly identified several days before it does touch edges of your country. My feeling of revolt is all the more poked that your country is however usual of this kind of cataclysm and that it proved, in the past, in other States, that it was able to counter. What I find particularly revolting through my eyes of citizen from an old country which fights dearly to defend the concept far from profitable of public services, it is the discrimination which this catastrophe have emphased. However, I know that it is not a racial discrimination. It acts, in my eyes, it is more about a discrimination of caste.

    Thus, the liberal system of which you have the paternity, non glad to play a wild competition between the human beings that initially make your fellow-citizens in the access to the work (which remains the first key of human dignity) but also in the social recognition of the individuals who results from this and by there, their administrative recognition; your country whose leaders claim since the beginning of the twentieth century to arbitrate any type of regulation throughout the world without saving any continent if ever it presents some resources or economic outlets; your country whose official line is to preach liberalism and its virtues; your country let deliberately die them his. I well say “deliberately” because people will not make me believe the opposite.

    In the facts and beyond spectacular and event, your country is shown driven back with such a brutality inter human by a system which delivers its citizens to their selves and single individual resources that some of saved citizens feel obliged to buy weapons in order to protect themselves and protect their goods vis-à-vis a perceived wave of savages, deportees who will invade their cities without money, roof, food… Of course, some will propose their assistance, but this help is mainly a Community aid, religious, ethnics or a marketing one. The savages are however not those which one believes. And good help means preventing.

    It is so simple to accuse the others, the foreigner, other ethnos groups, and other caste, of its own diseases. As well as it is easy Europe to point the United States and the United States to point Europe or Islamism. However, behind these doped young people armed, as behind these kamikazes, it should not be forgotten that there are human beings to whom society cannot offer another worthy perspective only that of the escape in drug, products of entertainment or hopeless fanaticism. Behind each one of those mothers who give life to a child without knowing if she could provide its elementary needs nor its future, there is a young girl who one day nourished dreams of happiness. Those, part of our societies who describes as savages are not other than those who reveal the brutality of our societies. I speak mainly to United States citizens here but the situation is on the way to become the same in our European countries; it gains Asia and the rest of the world which we describe as civilized. It does not have anything of reassuring. But we therefore are not condemned to undergo this established fact.

    I know that the consequences of this catastrophe will be sanctioned by the next votes because everyone will be able to get identified with the direct victims or with the indirect victims of this socio-economic catastrophe. But what will happen about the human catastrophe at this time when we are increasingly numerous to militate in favour of a durable development of our planet?

    I know that like very often afterwards such crises, people will be tempted to show the tree which hides the forest, to see only the finger which shows the direction. And it is what worries me as a citizen of our planet. What worries to me is to see our countries questioning only their leaders and the inoperative procedures when it would be necessary to deeply question the very bases of the whole socio-economic system; what became the single democratic paradigm of our societies, this finally that our leaders do not have of cease to want to impose everywhere in the world under the name of progress.

    I do not think that we are facing a social crisis, nor economic or political as it is usual to ear it when an unspecified crisis appears. I do not think that the raised events by Katarina these last days in your country are of the order of the scandal, nor the incompetence, discrimination or anything so simple. Neither don’t I believe that this crisis is the panacea of your country. I believe that they are only consequences and taking a good look at them, one will be able to note that they are worldwide. I believe that we are, the Western world, is confronted with a true civilisational crisis.

    This crisis, from my point of view, is caused by the systematic eradication of the social relations between the human beings since the beginning of the nineteenth century. Indeed, how to push a brother, a sister, fathers and mothers, a whole family to dedicate their whole energy to the only service of the benefit of financial performances and inexorable inhuman system. How to push them to fight against their similar? How to push them to be unaware of the value of a human life? Quite simply; by making them savages. And frankly, without intention neither to insult you collectively nor to want to attack you in your dignity, it is the image I have today of your country. It is the image which has already taken shape where the purchasing power moved back of almost 40% for 20 past years when the results of the companies proportionally increased.

    It is necessary to go to the obviousness. We survive in the spectacular, the immediate. Abandoned to our only senses, our only instinct of survival. Deprived of any capacity of reasoning since this one cannot find applications because of the social disorganization of our societies. Thus, after the sanctions which will be only very partial, the economic reason and its political servant will keep going on. The next elections will not be carried by GWB; the machine will find a substitute to him; it already found a substitute to him who it is already setting up and to prepare: a poor puppet with the pay of the machine; nothing else. We have the same ones. The events caused by Katarina will be the principal elements of the show during the political arena of 2006; they will be also the promotional elements of our own politicians who can handle terror very well. And the things will again take their course without to have almost been disturbed. Waiting for next show supply…

    What worries me today, it is that rather than to use Internet to organize us socially, we use it mainly to nourish this explosive device. We maintain the show. If we want that Internet fills the fantasia role of which it is praised, I think it is necessary that we make it the first link of the media ultra sphere (beyond the media, performance in act). I think that it is necessary that this formidable tool for diffusion enables us to meet collectively to organize us.

    I think that one cannot claim any more to hide behind the hellness of the system, claiming that this one does not have any face, or physical existence. It exists, since it is us who without knowing since we have neither eyes, nor ears, nor voice, make it up collectively. The system, it is us; it is in fact produces by our cowardice. And there is of more frightening enemy to fight only our cowardice. I think that it is not sufficient and that it is especially very hypocritical to delegitimate systematically our representatives. Freedom is the most significant engine of the anguish and precariousness. We know it and we also know that we are so loose individually that we prefer to delegate our destiny and thus to voluntarily let our control to representatives who only have in mind the economic interests of the financial system; representatives who only represent the interests of the system. We only are agreeing slaves but we do not want to admit our level of responsibility.

    To control us more and more, one don’t ceases repeating us that only if economic health is maintained, then the benefit of this collective performance will produce the social progress. We know that this is false. Remainder, one does not try even any more to make us believe in the collective social progress, it is not already any more question than about individual social progress which is only one myth, which is a lure. The economy was never as rich and our purchasing power as weak as these last years. The system is a compulsive eater but we let it make so because that arranges us, because we do not have courage to take our responsibilities. How to tolerate countries as rich as ours still maintaining human misery that our cathode ray tubes currently diffuse? How to affirm honestly that one can continue to believe in the social virtues of this economic progress?

    We know that all of which we are able is to howl with the incompetence, to howl with the scandal. However, we do not do anything to change the things, so that the things change. We can do nothing, because we are not organized, because we are inefficient to make hear our collective voice across those of the servants of the system. Because we became savages, agreeing slaves. We became it because we are just able to defend our immediate individual interests, to fight for our survival, against exclusion, for our maintain within the system…

    The errors which we make or which we let us undergo always led our societies to evolve/move if ever that one is able to analyze them, systematizing them and drawing the benefit from them to apply them. The defect of progress is that it can only push ahead, to progress. The force of human being must be to be able to reconsider its errors to allow the evolution, which is not linear. I do not claim that it is necessary to reject in block the whole capitalist system. But I affirm that it is more than time to reaffix him its original purpose, that to allow men and women of living free in happiness to be able to open out with dignity; that to serve them and not to use them as assets. I affirm that it is more than time to withdraw with the economic leaders the hand put on the social regulatory instruments of our societies.

    To leave this civilisational crisis, one would need that the debates which take place within this mother of all the communication networks can be diffused beyond this media, in the public sphere which access is confiscated to us by the monopoly of the great medias, power servant, which first benefit of the current system. It is necessary that this tool becomes the engine of the “recivilisationing” of our society.

    The democracy is a paradigm (para: against; digme: plural voices, so against the plurality of voices of expression for the benefit of the voice which can impose itself). According to Darwin who conceptualized the keys of the evolution of the species, the communities made up of a great number of individuals of small size always knew to supplant the power of the species of big size, for so if they can communicate the ones with the others… In this direction, Internet is probably a key of the next evolution of our societies if ever we are attentive not to let us dispossess of this tool of communication, diffusion, access to the knowledge and organization to let it become only one planetary network of entertainment diffusion which maintains us controlled.

    In these periods of crises which are intensifying, it is necessary for us more than ever to show ourselves civilized, responsible, committed and active if we do not want to be maintained at the infantile stage in which the system pushes us to take sufficient pleasure. More than ever, it is necessary for us to refuse terror, to refuse to stay immobilised by fear, fear of the other, and fear for oneself, them and his, its own goods. It is necessary for us to grow, urgently; to stop hanging mothers and fathers…

    What makes the force of Internet, it is that soon we will know that we are not alone; soon we will be able in addition to overpass the communication thru media then to meet each others, to organize us and make us heard.

    I hope, Jeff, you and your community, that you will not consider me as intrusive. When I want to know what occurs to France, I inform myself near the foreign medias. Indeed, thanks to God, the globalisation did not arise yet at its globalisation ends but it is moving fast. Our only chance today, is to be faster than it!

    At the hour when I complete this contribution, the official American authorities seem on the way to take again the media leadership on the events which have just shaken your country. Soon the show of judgement of Saddam Hussein will make possible your government to orchestrate a spectacular media execution; so auto justifying its acts. They are the virtues of the media calendar there… Show must go on!

    When will we stop this planetary show that only our collective human disaster remains able to fulfil?

  • Jim

    Maria, I agree. Mr. Jarvis seems to get his fingers going before his brain engages on this whole thing. He thinks he is still fighting Dell. Get some knowledge Jeff before you start screaming for peoples heads. It demeans you othewrwise because you are smarter than that.

  • Maria Fernanda

    To the lady from Paris, does she remember that they had 15,000 dead from a heat wave last year. Please if there are people who should not comment should be people from France. Well, of course, they can comment this is a free country, thank GOD and the USA.

  • Maria Fernanda

    To the lady from Paris, does she remember that they had 15,000 dead from a heat wave last year. Please if there are people who should not comment should be people from France. Well, of course, they can comment this is a free country, thank GOD and the USA. Not really

  • Like Jim, I agree with Maria. There will be plenty of blame to go around later and it will start at the bottom (the Mayor) and go up through all the incompetents (Governor, FEMA, Homeland Security, and finally the President). It will cross both parties, yes, your beloved democrats are just as incompetent. This shouldn’t be partisan as you’re making it, it should be about leadership and there was very little at any level in either party.

  • Clara from Paris, France

    Maria: Our national response to this drama has not been to launch marketing solidarity action but to vote a law that dedicace 1 national day of work to those fragil persons. First point. Then, but I understand it is difficult to remember so far in this immediat society and so far accross the world, if you can find the info, you will know that Europe has been ravaged by a huge kind of cyclone with more than 200km/h winds at the very end of 1999 during Christmas hollydays. Despite it was hollydays, every single public worker as well as individual came back or get out their home and we fixed electricity as well as all the disaster within a few days, even in our very desertic area.

    At least, I don not thanks america form freedom, you’re too fast to forget that we offer you more than your NY Liberty Statu… Please, don’t push me to your so small nationalism. Try to look away, try lo get your dignity up. Thanks in advance. Thanks for your as well as for our human proudness.

  • John

    I doubt there will be an early dismissal of Brown, though what you may see is someone like Giuliani or Colin Powel appointed to oversee all the area relief and recovery operations, basically taking FEMA control in the Gulf Coast affected areas out of Brown’s hands.

  • Mick H

    That comment from Clara of France….brilliant. One of the funniest things I’ve read in ages.

    “We know that all of which we are able is to howl with the incompetence.”

    How very true.

  • Clara from Paris, France

    Mick: so what about tempting some large analyze and writing down a list of social long term recomandations? Don’t you think it might be more useful than to arbitrate the next sanctions, than to comment what would have been done, then entertaining entertainment?

  • I was in Paris when old people were dying in the apartments and the public officials were mostly on holiday out of town. Folks there shouldn’t be pointing fingers at us.

    As for Brown, if he’s the weak link, lose him. I’ve gotta say, if it’s between him and Chertoff, by all means keep Chertoff who has a good record as an adminstrator who can get things done.

  • If the Times and Newsweek are correct, the whole danged cabinet sat around trying to figure out how to take control rather than how to help people. And we’re now going to be treated to dueling “anonymous leaks” as the whole DC crew plays CYA. At least with the Louisiana folks, we know who’s saying what.

    Brown and Chertoff are the direct lines, and they probably need to go. But as you implied the other day, Jeff, it’s beyond questions of individual competence. The priority and budget systems are broken. We need a major change in the way we decide our priorities, and while firing a few people here or there may be a good idea, what’s needed is a way to fix the system.

  • -C

    Mr. Jarvis et alia,

    I happened to see Broussards performance on ‘Meet The Press.’ I have seen better from junior high-school thespians…

    The man was a 100% fake. I shut off the TV in disgust.

    This does not alter the substance of your views. But, to be blunt, I am not trusting ANYTHING that those involved say. There will be an investigation- and I will judge the players by their actions, not their words.

  • Clara from Paris, France

    What it seems to be the more urgent now is to stop whith impressing spectacularity. What about Republicans or Democrats; French or Americans?! Only a lure.

    Wake up! A so small little human fight for inoperative power… Have a break! Think ahead, all together. Think with your head and your earth, no more with your revanging blood or fanatisms.

    The point is not to fix who is more risponsible than the other one. The point is not to get satisfied by the spectacular show of some public representatives assasinations.

    Everybody is risponsible, we all are letting it hapens. So now lets demonstrate how we can be risponsible fighting this non sens, not its muppets.

  • owl 1

    No, the funniest, was Jeff quoting the Jefferson Parrish president.

    Never since Jimmy Swagg have I seen such a demonstration. Knew someone like this once, that good at it. This person let his partner in an aircraft decide to use it as an ambulance. Needless to say, the Feds objected and when called to his hearing, he cried. He told them his wife was going to divorce him if he didn’t sell his plane. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a couple of hundred dollars and begged them to take them. I heard he got down on his knees begging. He walked out of there without criminal charges or thousands in fines. Now as to President Broussard…..

    1. I do not believe him. 2. If I did, I certainly wouldn’t be telling it. Not unless I personally tried to swim the flood to get her. 3. What exactly is his duties to his office? 4. He truly deserves at least a honorable mention for the Jimmy S Award.

    I sure hope some of the people I read never experience a disaster. Nix that. I sure hope some of the people I read are never in a postion that they have any power over my local government.

  • With all the precedents we’ve seen to date, we can look for Brown to be awarded a medal at the White House any day now.

  • This is the proof that the Federal Government dropped the ball, not the local and state folks. That’s the spin that Karl Rove/Bush want to put on it and are doing their damndest to promote in their never-ending press appearances and photo-ops.

    Here are links to the full text of the National Response Plan.

    Memorize Page 43-44 like your life depends on it.

    Basic gist:

    In times of catastrophe when local and state resources are overwhelmed – the feds are to step in immediately.

    First order of business: save lives and protect infrastructure.

    The protocol of coordinating with state and local governments should not delay the deployment of federal resources.

    This the Katrina August 6th PDB. Learn this, memorize this and spread it around PRONTO!

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  • kat

    Clara. F- off and go preach to those people who genocided the old and infirm in France. Go smoke your French pot and make some peace necklaces.
    Broussard was a better actor than the hysterical Celine from Canada was. Phoney as a three peckered dog,both of them.

  • Clara from Paris, France

    Jeff: Refering to your comment on the vertues of weblog concerning lists of missing, or maintening the information dispite supports had disapered, what would you think about initiating a network of bloglists of constructive long term social propositions in regard to compil them and then make them nationaly public over the Internet and till send them to the Congress?

  • Clara from Paris, France

    Kat: maybe you need… I don’t, but I can understand that it sometimes helps…

  • Liam

    I have a little difficulty (as a Brit) in listening to people from France doing America down, I think France needs to look at itself in the mirror a little more:

    1. African immigrants are routinely burnt to death in hopeless conditions. But that’s nothing when one looks at France’s reputation in Africa after the genocide in Rwanda. It was France that backed the hutu slaughter. Can I quote from the respected Human Rights Watch NGO: ” Some governments, particularly France and several African governments, continued to support the Rwandan government throughout the genocide.” I hope you American’s read this and stop feeling so bad about yourselves. About 1,000,000 people were slaughtered and France knew what was going on and stood by and watched. .Just as the Vichy French did during world war II.
    2. Reports of attacks on synangogues are routinely suppressed so as not to rile France’s massive muslim population.
    3. Large areas of Paris have been surrended to Sharia law.
    4. Jean Marie le Pen is still very, very popular.
    5. French farmers receive massive subsidies through CAP – denying poor farmers throughout the world a chance to compete with them in European markets.
    6. Between 1981 and 1985 40% of French arms exports were to Iraq. Not only that the quality of arms sold was very high: mirage fighter jets and exocets to name but a few. It was these sales that provoked the taking of French hostages by Iranian backed groups in the Lebanon.
    7. The French political elite is corrupt. Alain Juppe, Chirac’s right hand man and French prime minister was found guilty of a party funding scam. He got an 18 month suspended sentence and was barred from taking political office for 10 years.

    Oh and this is not an anti-French rant. I visit France regularly and like it very much. I also holiday in the US at least twice a year. Funnily enough I have been told I am not welcome in one of those countries……………

  • Gunther

    You people are pigs. Glad to see that the mask has finally slipped off. Whine and howl all you want, but it was FEMAs reponsibility to respond to this situation — that’s what “emergency management” means. It was Bush who appointed a useless political hack to run the agency, a horse lawyer who was fired from his previous job, Broussard was acting? What abouty the staged photo op at the levy, with the equipment and men removed as soon as the cameras disappeared? What about the many “hug a negro” moments that were carefully arranged for His Excellency? There isn’t a hot enough place in hell for people like you.

  • kat

    Clara, it would help if you pulled your head out of the ostrich hole.

  • Clara from Paris, France

    Liam: so, any constructive proposal? I have never pretend our representatives were more valuable than yours. I neither pretend our philosophy is better thant yours. I can confirm publicly here that these deseases are international ones, thanks globalisation… So once again: do you have any constructive proposal, not only fanatic words?

  • Clara from Paris, France

    Kat: that’s I am doing, what about you?

  • Liam

    Gunther I agree and I am a Bush supporter. People seem to be content to apportion blame based on fine distinctions as to jurisdiction. The plain truth is that citizens of the US were in grave danger, the nettle needed to be grasped at the highest level. All needed to pitch in to the fullest extent, if that caused problems let the lawyers and the beaurocrats argue about that later. Indeed the apportionment of blame as between state and federal levels sounds in some of these theads brings to mind the USSR:

    “…ah but comrade it was for the local commisariat to see that the peasants did not drown..”

    “No, no I beg to differ comrade the rules of the party dictate that it was for the Party in general congress and through the general secretary to make sure they did not..”

    Give me a break, people dying… you yanks wrote the book on sorting things out and getting things done. What worries me most about this disaster is we seem to seeing the US losing it’s nerve. You better get it back or the west is done for.

  • Clara from Paris, France

    I will not let it down to a competition for worse. Not so far as we all are concerned by the example your country will give to the rest of the world.

  • Liam

    Clara: I am not a fanatic. Wy should I be? Just because we disagree? I think globalisation is a red herring: it would seem that globalisation may be the cure for the ills of the world. The internet for instance is a global resource, would you dispense with it? The poor need globalisation as they have a chance of throwing off the yoke of the west. take for instance the Indian call centre, it has put many in my country out of work. How do you see the world? I like globalisation, it allowed me to visit France as a child and will ensure I have a place in my heart for it, always. Turning inward is not a solution. Yesterday I bought some violet garlic from a French farmer who had loaded up his truck and driven over to England. What is wrong with that? I fear we may descend into a UK/France argument. This is not the appropriate forum for that. I adore the US and France for different reasons and I wish the comments you made were not couched in national terms. I personally find both France and America finer places than England.

  • Clara from Paris, France

    Liam: we partialy agree together. Thanks. So what about globalisating the social progresses instead of globalisating social competition such financial markets are so able to do? What about to beggin talking about reasonable development first for human conditions of life?

  • Liam

    Back to the topic at hand. I heard an English tourist interviewed on the radio today. He and some girls he had been travelling with got caught up in Katrina. After four or five days of being trapped in their hotel they finally saw a bass boat approach. The boat had some NOPD officers on board. When the girls shouted for help they were told to “show us what you got”… that is the NOPD officers wanted them to show their breasts. They refused and remarkably the boat with the officers on board left them where they where. Now that report was on the BBC, and although it is not as tragic as some stories I have read and heard about it somehow sums this whole disaster up.

  • Liam

    C – that is the conumdrum. I fear we might be straying into areas not appropriate for the present discussion. After all this is about Katrina. perhaps you can link to a blog more suited to this ?

  • Clara from Paris, France

    Liam: Not so far as we all are concerned by the example this country will give to the rest of the world.

  • Clara from Paris, France

    Liam: Not so far as we all are concerned by the example this country will give to the rest of the world. I am afraid we all have to wait this example from the country which first give us the opposite one… Don’t you think so?

  • Liam

    I think it was just a mess, confusion between what the federal and local authority was reseponsible for. Who knows. I maybe go back to trusting my old English instinct that government is a useless device:- anybosy who wants to be in government should be debarred from taking office in the first place. Discussion c’est d’accord, oui? (poor french)

  • kat

    Here’s another British account:
    {ANARCHY USA: Brit survivors tell of horror


    By Neville Thurlbeck & Sarah Arnold

    SURVIVING Hurricane Katrina was the easy bit.

    Dozens of Brits stranded by the floods endured an even greater terror as New Orleans descended into total anarchy.

    Young British holidaymakers MARISA HAIGH and CLAIRE WATKINS were among those who took refuge in the Louisiana Superdome. The terrified girls went through “a living hell” as mob rule swept the stadium.

    Thankfully, they were among the first Brits bussed to the safety of Dallas, Texas.

    It was there that graduate Marisa, 23, told us: “There were crazies, crack junkies, robbers going mad inside there.”

    Marisa, from Guildford, Surrey, said: “White tourists were getting picked on by the locals.”

    The horrors even included a suicide. “One guy jumped from the gantry,” said Marisa. Pal Claire, also 23, from Bradford, West Yorks, said: “It was like a war zone.”

    On Thursday, amid fears for their safety, all the white girls were moved to a nearby medical centre.

    Marisa said: “We saw bodies coming into from the dome. One person had six or seven stab wounds.”

    Claire added: “I saw the body of a soldier. The mob had shot him with his own gun.” The girls and the other foreign tourists were finally evacuated to Dallas’ Holiday Inn in buses.

    Another terrified British couple still stranded in New Orleans have sent desperate messages home begging for help. }
    However, I am not concerned with what the French or anyyone else thinks of the USA. When all is said and done, NO will be rebuilt and the proper levees constructed. As the Dutch learned 40 years ago, NO will learn now, and in the meantime the displaced persons will be looked after. Churches are being asked to adopt families or support them. I am looking forward to doing my part. We won’t lock them in hot buildings and kill them off.

  • Linda Edwards

    I also saw the gentleman from the Jefferson Parrish when it first aired yesterday morning. To all you dispicable, low-life, poor excuses for human beings who are accusing this man of acting, you need to look at yourselves and ask, “when did I become this cold, calleous, calculating freak?” Your comments expose the monsters you really are. Have you no shame?

    No wonder you conceal your real names. I would too if I were you!

  • Juris Curious

    Sorry, I’m late to this thread, but I hope everyone reads it. Because it is very important regarding, Mr Brown. I was in the Emergency Services for a long time, being a part of the NVFA-Washington, DC. I think that I can speak with knowledge regarding that horse trader. All during his hearing nomination as FEMA Director, both the Volunteer and Paid members of the EMS screamed that this man was not qualified to hold that position and no one listened. It was without a doubt a political payback, POLITICS DOES NOT BELONG IN THE EMS AT ANY TIME AT ANY LEVEL OR ANY PLACE. This person must resign, NOW! In fact he should face criminal charges of murder.

  • rick_d


    This administration has more than three years left on the clock. I strongly feel it’s necessary to ask whether they’ve got the correct personnel and plans in place to handle whatever disasters lie ahead between now and January 2009. There’s compelling evidence they don’t.

    Like a lot of people I’d though that as a result of creating HLS we–the federal government–would respond to such a major event like a well-oiled machine. Instead we’re clearly far, far from that goal. I take zero comfort from the notion that a different suite local and state personnel would have resulted in a significantly better response. At some point, the people in charge of the resources must shoulder the burden of responsibility and, indeed, blame. How many additional people died needlessly from Tuesday onward because of slow and poorly coordinated response?

    Heaven help us if an 8.2 hits Los Angeles or a dirty bomb goes off on the Loop anytime soon.

  • Liam

    Kat: I hope no offence. I think my worry is that if you, the US that is, does not get it right it sends a massive signal out. Either: “my god if they can’t cope how can we” or ” let’s not bother coping”. Small nations like mine kind of look westwards for a bit of hope when it seems to disappear it’s scary.

  • kat

    The US will cope and NO will rise like a Phoenix. It will be better than before and the displaced persons will be accommodated and taken care of till they can rebuild their lives. We won’t put our tails between our legs and run from the challenge–that’s the French way, not the American way. I have a meeting to go to.
    No offense was taken.

  • Liam

    That’s it. That’s how the response should have been from day one.

  • Ravo

    You have to have local governments that are up to the immediate aftermath, and will federalize the situation without delay

    ….or you do away with city and state control altogether. A slippery slope, but in the case of a corrupt lawless places like NO that scenario would have been better THERE.

    In the NO case, if Bush had actually done this:

    “Bush seizes power from Louisana Democratic officials” would have been the headline, and we would have been inundated by claims that Bush was using the Patriot Act and DHS trying to turn the country into a police state.”

  • Maria Fernanda

    It is amazing the amount of misinformation out there. Please read NO hurricane preparedness plan. Learn how our government works, local, state and federal chain of order. LA authorities were the disaster. And if we get another hurricane, I wouldn’t stay there. Not with Governor Blanco at the helm.

  • Liam

    “Bush seizes power from Louisana Democratic officials” would have been the headline, and we would have been inundated by claims that Bush was using the Patriot Act and DHS trying to turn the country into a police state.”

    So what? Short term headlines. Forget politics, get on with the job in hand, f*ck what the press say or what the chattering classes think, don’t get caught up in it – be American show destain for convention and do the right thing. That’s your heritage, being a nation of people confident in themselves not a people confident in a nation.

  • Ravo

    Clara’s criticisms are misplaced. Surely you can go find another country’s crisis to plague for a while. There are many of them.

    The events in New Orleans are the exception in America…scenes of death and destruction are the NORM for much of the world.

    Those with logs are focusing on our splinters.

  • Ravo

    “nation of people confident in themselves not a people confident in a nation.”

    And the breakdown occurred in a city trained to depend on others, rather than the former.

    The situation is much different in all the other stricken areas.

  • Liam

    “The events in New Orleans are the exception in America…scenes of death and destruction are the NORM for much of the world.”

    Agreed, to an extent. The US is a target for islamo-nut jobs money than sense. Plus you have the Alec Baldwin types in positions of control. My sense is you need at least to be shown as beng able to cope, BTW I will take odds on a bet that some of the NO snipers have links to islamic groups.

  • Jim S

    FEMA had a job. FEMA has been screwing up big time. An inexperienced political hack is in charge at FEMA. George Bush put him there when the previous inexperienced political appointee moved on to the private sector. The person in charge of that department under the previous administration did an excellent job, whatever other problems the last administration had. All of the blame shifting in the world does not change those essential facts.

  • Ravo

    excerpts from an emergency worker:

    “The FEMA Director on the scene is a lot less in charge than most people think. He has coordination control over all the national assets that have been brought in, as well as control of the military assets. …

    ….The biggest problem FEMA’s encountered is that there was absolutely no security in place at all – even at the Superdome. They can’t move civilians in there to feed, water, and treat survivors until they are absolutely certain those civilians arne’t going to get shot, mugged, or raped. Were I the FEMA guy on the scene, I wouldn’t have let a single truck move until I had police and troops in place to assure that my other people weren’t going to get killed by the gun-toting maniacs.

    Had Mayor Nagin or Governor Blanco bothered to simply secure the Superdome – and only the Superdome – relief efforts would be much farther along than they are now.

  • jeff,

    so if Brownie should go because of his incompetence… what say you about the man who 1) hired him 2) supports him, and 3) as you quote here, complimented him?

    the president went to california and played guitar the day after the hurricane struck, he flew over it on his way to DC two days later… four days later he took part in a staged photo op

    then instead of visiting red cross facilities in the south, he pressed hands with red cross facilities in DC!?!?

    he cut funding for the flood plain, the levees, and the wetlands to play war with iraq – which also decimated the national guard which was meant to be in this country for these sorts of issues.

    he didnt take charge of the worst natural disaster to hit this nation even when he saw the local, state, and fed leaders fighting over who would OT handle it – and he still isnt.

    you say that now is a good time to lay blame, but am i to think that all of this is at the hand of the man at the top of FEMA? didnt the president demote FEMA from a cabinet level position by Bush? didnt FEMA have to get approval by the Dept of Homeland Security because of Bush’s restructuring? how has the DHS stepped up lately?

    its fine to fire Brownie, but how about firing the man who set Brownie up to fail and then complimented him?

    what will it take for you to just say it man?

  • kl

    “Back to the topic at hand. I heard an English tourist interviewed on the radio today. He and some girls he had been travelling with got caught up in Katrina. After four or five days of being trapped in their hotel they finally saw a bass boat approach. The boat had some NOPD officers on board. When the girls shouted for help they were told to ‘show us what you got’… that is the NOPD officers wanted them to show their breasts. They refused and remarkably the boat with the officers on board left them where they where. Now that report was on the BBC, and although it is not as tragic as some stories I have read and heard about it somehow sums this whole disaster up.”

    If George Bush hadn’t turned America into Jesusland, those girls wouldn’t have been ashamed to show off the beautiful bodies that nature gave them, and they would have been rescued. IMPEACH GEORGE BUSH!!

  • Eileen

    For those all too ready to chop off a few federal heads, including Satan himself:

    We are missing a wholelotta FACTS at this juncture.

    1. How many people did we/do we *still* need to save across the affected region – NOT JUST NO – all at once?
    2. What safety issues had to be overcome in order to deliver aid in sufficient quantities such that mass stampeding and rioting would not occur? Anyone want to be responsible for causing a whole lot of deaths due to rioting or being killed by pallets crushing people? Anyone here volunteer to drive a truck or busload of water in while you’re getting shot at? Anyone here want to work on the levee and get shot at? Anyone here want to fly in a chopper and get shot at?
    3. What specific assets of the military were deployed when and from what locations? Were they adequate?
    4. What was the scope of communication system failures and why?
    5. What infrastructure obstacles had to be overcome, including debris removal from roadways, flooded or destroyed roads and bridges, downed power lines, gas mains, inoperable airports, clearing of debris for staging areas, etc.?
    6. What distances had to be crossed from outside the hurricane zone, overcoming the above obstacles, in order to deliver aid? What distances did aid workers have to travel and what storm related obstacles/delays did they face? What impact did the remnants of Katrina in the entire Eastern U.S. have on their ability to rapidly deploy? How did airport closures impact deployment?
    7. Does the federal government have the authority to overcome state and local jurisdictions to *enforce* and *effectuate* an evacuation order *in advance of* – or even *in the aftermath of* – any known threat? [Apparently NOT, since the Prez had to encourage Nagin to issue the order, and because the Feds are *still* requesting the transfer of such power from Blanco.]
    8. How did failures at the state and local levels impede/hinder/delay/impact federal response? [This *might* be a sizeable area of inquiry. Ahem.]
    9. If outside aid was offered and declined, what was the rational for doing so in each specific instance?
    10. What is the time line of actual events in mobilizing and activating resources from outside the disaster zone?
    11. Given the answers to 1. through 10., how quickly *in fact* did FEMA respond? In light of the *facts*, was it ‘fast enough’? And btw, I’m sure this list isn’t the least bit exhaustive in terms of overall areas of impact.

    If anyone can answer ALL of the above questions cogently at this point, have at it.

    If not, head chopping might be considered premature in sane circles.

    Jeff says:

    “And the people of Louisiana will decide which of their elected officials should be fired in due time.” Right, after a measured analysis of their legal duties and how well they fulfilled them.

    I say:

    And the people of the United States will decide which of their elected officials should be fired in due time.

    After we have the facts, and when cooler heads prevail.

  • Its seems most of you have missed the point in the attempt to protect your hero George Bush. And others have missed it to protect the democrats. The chain of blame starts at the President and ends with the average citizen that didn’t leave. All need to be held accountable for their part in this disaster and no one is innocent.

    The citizens, poor and otherwise often ignored the advice to leave. Everyone asks like everyone that stayed behind couldn’t leave. Many could have and didn’t. Many could have taken a stranger with them when they left and didn’t. Many lives could have been saved by leaving and helping before the disaster struck. Also, its never pointed out but should be thats its intersting that while everyone else in the world and the US, when a natural disaster struck, the effected areas didn’t breakdown into lawlessness like New Orleans did. Throwing out the poor excuse all the time doesn’t excuse that level of behavior. The citizens of New Orleans do server some of the blame.

    The state and local government also deserve blame. They clearly where not prepared, they clearly didn’t take the situation seriously until it was too late. Their plan was mostly to let the federal government handle which doesn’t seem much of a plan to me.

    Finally the federal government deserves the blame for also not being prepared. Thats their job. The response of FEMA and Homeland Security is rephrensible. By extensive this alone makes Bush responsible for he is the enforcement arm of the federal government. Its the nature of being the leader to take the blame when those you are in charge of fail.

    He is also responsible for other reasons. One is for putting a clearly underqualified crony in charge of FEMA. We have seen him time and time again do this but this time it cost lives. He also approved the plan to reduce the money and power of FEMA. He was the one that promised that Homeland Security, in the “war on terror” would be prepared. They where not. He was the one that diverted the troops, supplies, and money to Iraq. If the national guard had been here rather then there as they are supposed to be, many lives would have been saved. He also reduced the funding to the levees and other resources again because of the cost of Iraq. We can actually rebuild the entire city of New Orleans in the cost of three months of the Iraqi War. That is just sick, especially in light that he clearly doesn’t like the idea as the money was earmarked for Iraq. Finally he is to blame for trying to play the blame game. He is the president failing to be presidential in a time of crisis. As a leader, he has been embarrasing. His contrived press conferences are a disgrace. He should be above it. He should take a que from his collegues and recognize that right now is not the time for poltics, its simply the time to get the job done.

  • Liam:
    SpamKarma caught your comment in its web. I freed it; didnt’ free all the others that asked what was going on.

  • This is a perfect post as to why a centralized system is never a good idea. Everyone wants to help but everyone has a different opinion about how to help and can’t agree. So everyone sits around arguing while the fire burns the building to the ground. As I mentioned in Jeff’s more recent post, we need systems that let people do whatever they feel is best from their point of view (with a central command and control). Everyone doing their own thing collectively together will still make a big impact (i.e. small pieces loosely joined).

  • owl 1

    A few things puzzle me. I refuse to defend Browne. Since I am the rural, save yourself person here, I also want to know how many of those people could have left and did not. I see several still refusing to go. No flak….not talking sick, old or babes.

    Have a question. Any of you ever set up a trade show at a convention center? How many layers of tape did you go through to have your electricity hooked up? Think it took 4 union electricians to plug in a plug 3 foot away. And an hour’s wait.

    So I think, if I am a governor and mayor, sitting as close as Baton Rouge, and I know I have all those sick, poor, hungry people Tues and the water is coming, what do I do? I send everything that has gas in to take them out. School buses must have been available. I send in every state trooper. Baton Rouge is not that far away.

    What I don’t do is sit and wait on a Nanny to come save me. I still can’t get my head around those buses in NO. If the gov or mayor had sent word to let 300 of the adults in the dome drive those things…..
    Anyone see the young man that stole a bus, loaded it with about a 100 and drove that sucker to Houston? I want HIM as mayor or governor.

  • Riverclaws
  • Gold Star for Robot Boy

    Am I really reading accusations that the Jeff. Parish president was _acting?_
    That can’t be, right? Nobody can stoop that low, right?

  • Link
    In a sign of the political pressure facing Bush, Mississippi Republican Sen. Trent Lott, a former Senate majority leader, said he has been battling the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its Mississippi counterpart for help for his state and urged Bush to cut red tape.

    After a one-on-one meeting with Bush in Poplarville, Lott said: “I am demanding help for the people of Mississippi to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.”

  • SheRa

    I really am curious. Even if one makes allowance for massive incompetence on the part of state and local officials, do Bush supporters believe that Bush’s performance was all that it could have been? How would you rate his performance on a scale of, say, A to F? One reason I’m asking is because the President sought and received extra powers after 9/11, presumably because he wanted to be able to take charge in case of terrorist attack or other emergency. Leaving aside the issue of state and local officials, are you satisfied with George Bush’s performance this past week? Is there anything he might have done differently in your opinion? This is not a rhetorical question–I really would like your thoughts.

  • Jim

    As is clear from the many of the comments here, there are some on the right who will defend anything…anything..the Bush admin. does. No matter how supremely they f–k up, in Louisiana or in Iraq. Well, I hate to tell them, but there are others of us on the right who have had enough of their sheer incompetence.

  • D Pecan

    Does anyone feel safer, or fear for their lives more, post Katrina?

    Let’s pick a random scenario – a Dirty Bomb in San Francisco (could be an 8.5 earthquake) The damage extends through the region, either radioactive plume extending to Berkeley and San Jose, cutting evacuation routes. (or with the earthquake, overpasses collapsed) With both of these there is the element of surprise missing from Katrina.

    People react with panic. They loot stores for no known reason. They steal guns and shoot at police who are not in uniform and at rescue people. This behavior is commonly seen in disasters that are enormous in scale. How they manifest depends upon the cohesiveness of society, cultural norms, and their interaction with the nature of the tragedy.

    Add a dirty bomb in Sacramento, Monterey, and rumors of one in Monterey and LA.

    Is FEMA / Homeland Security playing these scenarios?

    The head of the National Hurricane Center briefed Chertoff and Brown days before landfall. Here’s the link

    What type of preparedness do we want? I for one feel grief for the victims of Katrina, and feel afraid that we are lost in a blame game and have lost a vision that will create a cohesive society that is more likely to weather the next challenge.

    The debate and flaming make me sick to my stomach. Is this what America has become – a good place for an argument? Let’s restore the America that led the world in hope! Anyone contributing to the vision, a powerful vision, is welcome. All others – we know your sickness. We are tired of your cynicism. It’s the last minute of the eleventh hour. Let hopeful vision take us back from the brink of despair.

  • kat

    And to leave old and poor people in places that were not secure was a fault of the mayor. And what idiot has 5 days to plan and when he chooses the Superdome it is unsecured, bedlam reigns, there is no food or water, and the criminals take charge. A soldier is killed with his own gun. People are raped.
    These were the conditions at the very onset. What the F was going on?? He waited too long to evacuate and did not make plans for people who couldn’t leave. Everyone with an ounce of sense stocks a hurricane closet or tornado supplies. The Superdome and Convention Centre were a stinking disorganized mess. The people were simple herded there and left to fend for themselves. Meanwhile the water rose over the buses and then Mr. Mayer came on TV and screamed give me god damned buses. He had them all along.
    I wish the Feds had gone in sooner–but not at the risk of losing their own lives.
    Even today that idiot Parish president is hampering efforts by blocking roads, etc. as he has his own selfish personal agenda in ‘Jeffersonia’. Also some 10 thousand refuse to leave…they may change their minds tomorrow, but today they refuse. If they get some disease or don’t get clean water, we will blame Bush.
    I think Bush should have taken control of Louisiana and put that Honore guy in charge and kicked everyone out till it was safe to return.

  • Jim

    >>I wish the Feds had gone in sooner–but not at the risk of losing their own lives.

    I guess I give the US military and the National Guard more credit than you do. They can’t handle a few looters in a US city — and Americans should be left to starve and drown — because you don’t want to endanger their lives? I think if we are comfortable having them risk their lives for the sake of Iraqis half a world away, we should be willing to send them into one of our OWN cities to rescue AMERICANS.

  • Steve

    Just curious: What really stopped the powers that be of the United States from shipping every able-bodied American soldier to New Orleans within hurs of the disaster being known? What’s stopping them now? Why wan’t/isn’t anyone playing ‘better safe than sorry’. In addition to all of the troops stationed throughout the world, I’m sure that there are more than just the few thousand troops in Louisiana. I’m not trying to be combative, but trying to answer the previous poster who asked what we thought of Bush’s performance/response.

  • kat

    You should tell that to the 500 NO police who fled when things got tough.

  • Kat–even conceding that the state and local governments messed up big time, do you think the President has done a good job in the last week? Does it appear to you that he has done everything in his power to improve the situation? Are you satisfied that this the kind of leadership that you like to see in a president? I’m not talking about governors or mayors now–obviously we agree they should have and could have done now. The question is: were you pleased with the way President Bush handled the crisis in New Orleans?

  • kat

    I’m pleased with the way it is being handled now that Blanco has allowed him in. I think the governments took too long to begin–the right hand didn’t know what the left was doing–but I think the Government is doing a good job now. “Shortly before midnight Friday [August 26], the Bush administration sent Blanco 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.”
    Bush’s offer to have the federal government aid in the evacuation was rejected. He should have insisted.

  • clamflat

    I can already see Sean Hannity counting off on his fingers all the reasons that the debacle in NO should be blamed on the locals.

  • beverins

    Not only Brown, but Chertoff needs to go too. Fired. Simply and succinctly. No excuses, no debate.

  • beverins

    “You should tell that to the 500 NO police who fled when things got tough.”

    They dont have armored Hummvees and night-vision goggles and training for random sniper fire from drugged out people looking for a fix, or NRA crazies who think they’re living Mad Max.

  • beverins

    “How would you rate his performance on a scale of, say, A to F?”

    An F. An F-, even. His role is as leader. For him to not actually do any leadership until three days after things go from the frying pan into the fire, is unconcionable. Even if your role is symbolic in this, you have to LEAD, not strum a guitar and make a fundraising party. Inexcusable. Simple as that.

  • beverins




    It was DHS and FEMA’s job the moment the hurricane became a CAT 4 – 5, and it was Bush’s job to be a leader to organize and tell people to get their asses in gear.

    Simple as that. CAT 5 = disaster. FEMA = Disaster first responders. End of story.

    Not to say Nagin and Blanco aren’t guilty of criminal negligence either, of course, but FEMA and DHS are even more culpable because of the role they play.

  • You know, about two years ago we had a three or four day power outage in the middle of February. The whole city was knocked out, and most of the surrounding area. Transformers went up like firecrackers. It was freezing, and people with wells had no water. Made me realize that when the shit hits the fan, government doesn’t come bail you out. You need to be prepared yourself. Anyone who doesn’t realize that is stupid and has allowed the government to infantalize them. Truth is, when there’s a dirty bomb, or some other catastrophic failure, you are on your own. No one to sue, or blame, when you’re dead.

    Several neighbors bought a generator. I now keep canned goods in the house. I know where there is clean, fresh water. It sounds stupid until you’ve spend three freezing nights in a house with no power in the middle of the winter. But interestingly, no one rioted. And FEMA didn’t show up.

  • francis

    Curious how it is mostly Blanco’s fault and that FEMA was hindered because she did not surrender. PLEASE

    Local failure caused by FEMA

    That is the meme we need to push to counter the latest Bush PR campaign.

    In the case of Katrina we need to make clear that we are not complaining that FEMA did not arrive in NO. Clearly, the leadership of FEMA was on the scene immediately and took charge of the situation. The problem was that the leadership was so incompetent that it succeeded in interfering with local relief efforts but failed to provide any federal relief efforts. It kills me to see that the meme of “local failure” could take hold when story after story indicates that “local failure” was large caused by FEMA.

    Over the past week I’ve read of the following:

    1000 folks from the Lafayette area with 500 boats head to NO to aid the rescue get turned back by FEMA.

    Wal-Mart trucks with food and water get turned back by FEMA

    The USS Bataan off the coast of LA ready to help, but underused by FEMA. See also here

    Shipments of diesel fuel being turned back by FEMA

    firemen from Houston turned away by FEMA

    More fire fighters turned away.

    Angel Flight South Central seaplanes getting a run around from FEMA

    DMAT Teams available but still on call.

    Red Cross kept out of New Orleans. Note: this is actually attibuted to the state Homeland Security department. More information on who is responsible for this decision would be helpful. See also here

    Northcom ready to act, but not given needed orders.

    Mobile medical lab stalled in Mississippi. Doctors and hospitals offering aid but not getting response. This article is a bit confusing as to whether the problem is at the state or federal level or both.

    NYT article discusses the controversy and provides additional claims of FEMA interfering generally and some specific examples.

    Florida airboaters stalled by FEMA.

    Water tanker aircraft for fire fighting and Amtrack trains for evacuation. See here.

    Morticians turned away.

    Maryland fire fighters blocked by FEMA.

    Generators turned away by FEMA in Slidel.

    Nevada law enforcement volunteers put on hold.

    Additional stories of the same type.

    The local disaster response was fine. That effort, however, was screwed up by FEMA.

    The item on the Red Cross appears to be a more complicated item than merely FEMA failing to lead. However, the problem does appear to be outside the contol of the local governemnts. As said, more information on that issue would be helpful. Perhaps there exists a diary or blog that is capturing that issue in all its detail. If such a thing exists, I’d like to get a reference. Thanks.

    This link to an LA times article on FEMA is quite relevant as well.

  • Patrick Lane

    Hell Yes! Fire that incompent SOB ASAP! Can anyone make an honest case to keep him on?

  • Devem MacKay

    I checked out the link to the 2004 National Response Plan in a previous post. It states that during a time of any natural or manmade incident, including terrorism, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the population, infrastructure, environment, economy, national morale, and/or government functions,

    If the Bush admin put this together in 2004, why didn’t they follow it? Federal government pre-empts local and state government in an event like Katrina. So, when Blanco refused to sign an agreement allowing federal control of the LA National Guard, why didn’t the Feds just take control per their plan? I trusted the Bush admin after 9-11 to make us safer, and not just from terrorists.

    To blame Blanco is to ignore that fact that the federal government was empowered to do what was necessary to save lives. A incompetent horse trainer with NO EMERGENCY MANGEMENT CREDENTIALS was at the wheel and AMERICANS people die. Americans Kate, not “descendants of the French” who got what they deserved, but Americans. (You can’t really mask you glee that it was Democratic city that was destroyed, but why should you?)

    No matter how hard the knee jerk Bush loyalist try they cannot deny the fact that an ill-prepared crony was in charge when the 2004 National Response Plan was supposed to be put into effect.

  • Andrew Dressel

    The bottom line is this, the federal government’s most basic job is to protect the lives of American citizens (remember life, liberty, pursuit of happiness). In one President’s time in office we have had two events, on American soil, which have caused the deaths of thousands of Americans. This has not happened to my knowledge since the Civil War.

    This alone should cause Americans to doubt the competence of the current administration. I don’t want to hear about the culpability of state or local authorities. The chief executive of this country is elected to prevent these catastrophes from happening. Advance warning was given on Katrina and yet our President could not tear himself away from vacation time and fundraisers. This is one of the nadirs of American history and nothing anybody says can change that

  • John T

    I have heard that the NOPD had only 1500 men and couldn’t possibly have dealt effectively with this catastrophe. I have tended to agree with this assessment. I have just learned that 400-500 of New Orleans’ finest are MIA. Why does it say about the municipal command structure to have a full third of it’s police force go offline?

    I believe that President Bush is an honest man. I believe that he is an excellent administrator. I also believe that he will come clean at the appropriate time about any shortcomings in the federal response.

    American Liberalism has been in decline. The sixties style anti-poverty model has failed. The Democrats have been losing votes among the middle class for decades, when they were once the party of the middle class. Their single most loyal voting block today are African Americans, the poorest of whom comprise a majority of the individuals who have suffered much as a result of this disaster. People who had been in the past maintained on virtual life support, subsisting on government benefits, and looking toward their local political infrastructure and it’s compatriots in Washington to provide for their well being and safety. They have been ill served. Ironically, some of these individuals will find Katrina a blessing, as doors are opened for them in their new locales that they never imagined could open.

    Who’s responsibilty is it to provide basic protection to a populace who vote reliably, locally and enbloc?

    I don’t doubt that improvements will be made in the governance of Federal response to this disaster and God forbid, worse.

    But, as others have stated before, all politics are local, and ultimately, that is where we should begin our inquiries in this instance.

  • kat

    I heard that the Red Cross was not in NO because they want people to leave the area. They feel if the Red Cross provides for them, they will think they can stay. Therefore the Red Cross is helping evacuees as they arrive in places which are providing shelter for them. Makes sense to me.
    Andrew–are you a moonbat or what the hell are you? A leftist lunatic?? Are you suggesting the President is responsible for 911 and the hurricane? Do you also believe that they opened the levees so they could drown some Blacks? Just curious. I read that on some lefty site today.

  • Linda Edwards

    Exactly Patrick. They can’t make an HONEST case. That’s why they don’t even try.

  • Andrew Dressel

    kat, I believe neither of those things. I do however believe that when a Category 5 hurricane is predicted well in advance for a major metropolitan area, which has already been identified as prone to catastrophic flooding that the leader of the free world has a responsibility to call the press junket short and make sure that his people are secure.

    Moreover, I believe that after the President helps to create a Cabinet department he has the responsibility to make sure it is staffed by people who can do their jobs.

    And to address John T, whose post I can only take as facetious, you belive that George W. Bush is an “excellent administrator”? What action in the past four years has given you that impression? You also expect him to come clean about shortcomings? Again, I ask you for any precedence in regards to that.

  • John T


    You have seen as much in the last couple of days.

    Life is dynamic. We move in a direction, make adjustments.

    We correct, and demand action. We reflect and improve.

    Are you freakin’ blind?

    Let me ask you this, how were those without means in New Orleans to be provided for?

    Do we need to create a new Federal agency whose purpose is to evacuate the occupants of Democrat vote plantations when their patrons choose to abandon them?

  • Steve

    Sigh. No one really answered my most basic question. Why didn’t they just send in every able-bodied military man and woman that was available? I hear lots of piddling justifications about jurisdictions and sign-off, but we all know that Bush and company had a choice. Why didn’t they make the right one? Perhaps we need Al Queda to claim responsibility for the hurricane. Then we’ll get all kinds of action.

  • Andrew Dressel

    John T, is this your way of saying “Stuff happens”? If so, it is not much of a governing philosphy, or incentive to vote for a particular party. We “reflect and improve”? Shouldn’t we have reflected and improved after our last disaster in which thousands of people died?

    As to how those without means were to be provided for, I knew on Saturday there was a major storm headed to New Orleans, a city that could possibly be catastrophically flooded. Call me crazy, but I may have sent troops there. Or maybe after I saw the damage I may have sent troops there. Or at least I would have stopped doing photo-ops.

    As to federal agencies, it was Bush who created Homeland Security. If you are happy with the way it performed, I can understand how you feel he’s an excellent administrator. But hey, it’s easier to complain about the New Orleans police who actually had to respond.

    BTW, I’m still waiting o hear examples of excellent administration or times this administration came clean about shortcomings.

  • Ben

    Andrew Dressel,
    You are correct sir. One of the problems with our lack of preparedness, for this and other catastrophes, is that Congress is focused on social issues like FMA, abortion, Schiavo, etc. There is a finite amount of time for public policy debate and action and the tough, unsexy stuff like disaster preparedness falls to the wayside as the politicians pounce on cowardly, irrelevant issues and ignore the important ones.

  • Andrew Dressel

    And that, Ben, is the most troubling part of all of the Katrina fiasco. It shows us how broke our political system truly is. Our government is clearly being focused simply on the things that can promote politician’s careers and not on the threats we have to face. I hope Katrina serves as a wake-up call to the American populace that through our apathy and ignorance we have gotten the government we deserve.

  • John

    Steve —

    Unless Bush was willing to take extrodinary action prior to Blanco’s request for military aid on Wednesday, he could not have sent in every able-bodied military man and woman.

    If he was willing to delcare before Katrina hit shore than Blanco was not capable of handling a post-hurricane relief effort, then he could have used his presidential authority to federalize the Louisana National Guard and begin sending troops into the area. But since one of the major complaints about the federal role in releation to emergency management post-Patriot Act is that the federal government is trying to take too much power, a pre-emptive action like that would have met with howls of protest about Bush turning southeastern Louisiana into a police state (and even if that action had saved hundreds of people who eventually drowned or were killed by thugs, the complaint then would have been that Bush didn’t have to do that, because Blanco could have done the job just as well if the area had been left under the governor’s control).

  • kat

    Yup, truly broke–Washington should have drawn up an evacuation plan for NO–the local leaders were either incompetent or plain dumb.

  • Maria Fernanda

    I never comment because I enjoy more the ranting. However, this time the stakes are higher. I am from Miami, Florida, and I don’t think we count on the federal goverment in the event of a hurricane, I thiink we need to be prepared. We count on the fest ,Maybe!?, as a last resort. I know a lot of you hate bush, hate america, hate government, hate the democrats, the republicans, etc., etc., etc., whatever, but the reason, (at least I love this counry) is because it is based on rules, civil society, to me the chain of command, and the local, state and federal governmetns make so much sense,

    unlike were I come from (Cuba).

    Count thyself lucky. I do….

  • Mr. Obvious

    If local govt. had gotten the people out of the city then the feds wouldn’t have had to attend to the people super dome, and they wouldn’t have had to spend time saving people from their homes or bringing in food, water, medicine, and they wouldn’t have to spend time looking for bodies. There wouldn’t be the looting, and the shooting. The whole process would be much simpler.

    Why doesn’t anyone put the blame where it belongs? The local authorities were incompetent and people died because of that.

  • John T: “I believe that President Bush is an honest man. I believe that he is an excellent administrator. I also believe that he will come clean at the appropriate time about any shortcomings in the federal response.”

    John T, you are a fucking idiot.

  • Jim

    Children, I have only one thing to say at this point: if John Kerry or Bill Clinton were president right now and the federal government had fumbled its response to this hurricane as badly as the Bush administration just did, all of you defending Bush and trying to shift the blame everywhere else would be the first ones calling for impeachment. It’s that simple. Hannity and Rush would be foaming at the mouth right now. How about a reality check? I don’t care what goddamn party is in power — the goverment – at all levels – FAILED this country. If you can’t see that through the spin, you are blind.

  • roland

    This is what happens when people who haven’t the slightest clue about science make scientific decisions. It was a known fact that a hurricane hitting NO would be catastrophic by anybody who can read a paper, this leaves out Georgie boy since he doesn’t read papers. What little faith I had in our gov’t has been taken from me. To think four years after 9-11 this is our response to an event we knew was coming a week in advance. Hey, Osama if you were planning an attack, now would be the perfect time. We are no more prepared to handle a terrorist attack now than we were four years ago. George Bush makes me ashamed to be a human being.

  • scott

    This really isn’t as complex as all you ideologues are making it out to be.

    The state/local authorities are completely responsible for the disgraceful number of people who perished in the flood.

    Everyone is responsible for the anarchy that ensued. The citizens, because a.)there was clearly a high degree of degenerate thuggery when disasters ordinarily bring out the best in people and b.) I’m sorry but for those who either chose or had no choice but to remain in New Orleans, no matter how poor, it is stupidity of Darwinian proportions to not have had a few days supply of food and water and their medicine in tow. I just don’t get the compulsion to infantalize people who are adults. I mean is it not doctrinal among those who are hyper-conscious with regard to race and class that the only difference between rich and poor, black and white is opportunity? If this is true, as I believe it is, then it is reasonable to expect at least a minimum of smart choices. There’s a subtext to the criticism of the feds that they should have rounded up everyone and coddled them like children. And that it did not happen because the people were poor and black and thus the feds didn’t care. So I blame the left because it is at its core, an unholy marriage between those who profit by or merely propagate a mindset of victimology and whites who at their core are consumed by a guilt-ridden, crippling and paternalistic form of latent racism. And it makes it very easy for me to picture a republican federal government being exceedingly timid about an immediate and massive show of military force in a beleaguered and volatile black community. And if the suggestion is that the feds should have been proactively paternalistic in the poor communities pre-storm because the people had limited faculties for acting in their own best interests, then that should be openly on the table for discussion when forming a critique. Because, as always, the left likes to structure the deck in such a way that the right can never win in matters of race.

    And the republicans are to blame for the chaos in the aftermath as well, if this is true. Because leadership is having the balls to do what is right. And that’s just weak. There is no one to blame for the fact that it took so long to get things under control except for the federal government. Conservatives are of the belief that big government from afar doesn’t work. I agree with them. But its pretty infuriating that they manage to get elected and go about proving just how right they are. You either fund and empower localities to the extent that they need it and then stay the hell out of the way or plow through the bureaucratic infighting between city, state and take command immediately.

    So, in summation. Flood victims/ lack of evacuation are the city and state’s fault.

    The chaos that ensued is everyone’s fault.

    The fact that it went on for so long and that there was so much suffering in the Superdome, etc. is Bush/FEMA’s fault.

  • John T

    Steve, “John T, you are a fucking idiot.”

    Actually, at this time I am celibate, but thanks for sharing!

    Liberals are the only folks who believe that they have a life-long entitlement to act in ways contrary to both good sense and logic, and at the same time blame others for not saving them from themselves.

  • kat

    He called me in that office after that. And he said, “Mr. Mayor, I offered two options to the governor.” I said — and I don’t remember exactly what. There were two options. I was ready to move today. The governor said she needed 24 hours to make a decision.

    S. O’BRIEN: You’re telling me the president told you the governor said she needed 24 hours to make a decision?

    NAGIN: Yes.

    S. O’BRIEN: Regarding what? Bringing troops in?

    NAGIN: Whatever they had discussed. As far as what the — I was abdicating a clear chain of command, so that we could get resources flowing in the right places.

    S. O’BRIEN: And the governor said no.

    NAGIN: She said that she needed 24 hours to make a decision. It would have been great if we could of left Air Force One, walked outside, and told the world that we had this all worked out. It didn’t happen, and more people died.

  • Jones

    The local officials may or may not have been competent. Bush may or may not have messed up. But let’s put it this way: would you want Brown as the head of the FEMA by the time of the next major national emergency?

  • BadLiberal

    To the commenter above: I voted for Bush, and I’d have to give him an “F” on this one.

    To me the most exhausting part of this is that the blame game is turning this catastrophe into the same clusterf**k that the 9/11 Commission became — a useless exercise in mutual recrimination, rather than an accurate self-analysis.

    It really doesn’t matter whether the state and local officials get 51.5% of the blame or 48.2%. What matters is that there was catastrophic failure across the board, at all levels of government. FEMA officials have shown themselves to be more concerned with paperwork than getting things done, NO police have shown themselves to be cowards, the city officials didn’t follow their own plan, and on and on and on.

    The only heroes I can find are people like my cousins. Their church is spending $10,000 a day to house Katrina refugees in Houston hotels.

  • scott

    I wouldn’t want Brown to be head of FEMA for the next cataclysmic event any more than I’d want janet Reno as Attorney General (if I was a child in Waco, Texas/Little Havana) or I’d want Madeline Albright as Secretary of State ( when she was being heckled in Columbus, Ohio while Clinton was trying to sell invading Iraq she looked like a scared little rabbit.)

    But its just so disingenous when lefties rank on his resume when in contrast to a run of the mill FEMA operation, the situation in New Orleans required a specific personality type. I live in New York and the left HATED Giuliani with a passion here. He had balls. He was a doer. Then, all of a sudden, they needed a daddy on 9/11 and he’s now a hero. I’ll bet John Bolton would have kicked ass last week as well. But if they were to fill the position based on the best person for the worst case scenario, its rather comedic to suggest that it would be someone whom the left would embrace let alone enthusiastically confirm.

    Put his head on a stick. I don’t care, he certainly failed. But let’s not pretend that this situation didn’t transcend the ordinary functions of FEMA.

  • Patrick Lane

    Maria, we ain’t feelin’ too lucky these days. The devastation of Katrina has been exacerbated by Bush’s failure of leadership and timely response. The level of incompetence from our Commander in Chief and public embarrassment/shame due to his performance is simply unprecedented in American history. Does this mean if we feel this way that we hate our country? Check yourself Maria, this is America, we’re supposed to have the highest standards. When those standards aren’t met, responsible Americans don’t want to ignore problems, we want to know why and do something about it. As far as taking personal responsibility for being prepared….it makes sense. But Maria, what happens when individuals and local governments are overwhelmed? New Orleans was flooding on Monday morning while the President remained on vacation until Wednesday when he finally returned to the White House and addressed the nation. This fact alone is demoralizing.

  • sally

    Damn, conservatives are hateful people. Reading many of the above posts makes me absolutely sick. The aftermath of Katrina has caused me to give up on this country, both the government and the people.

    FEMA screwed up and they’ve got blood on their hands. Bush
    declared a federal state of emergency Saturday the 27th. If you give them the generous 72 hour window, they still should have been there Tuesday en masse. It’s a disgrace. But the bigger disgrace is that the koolaid drinkers are out in full-force, blaming poor people for not having money, the mayor for not evacuating, (like he is able to create time out of thin air), or the governor for not bending over and taking it like Bush wanted her to do. Disgusting.

  • sally

    Read it for yourself, especially the 4th paragraph-“coordinate all disaster efforts.” Can it be any clearer?

    Bush declares emergency in Louisiana
    August 27, 2005

    CRAWFORD, Texas –President Bush declared a state of emergency in Louisiana on Saturday because of the approach of Hurricane Katrina and his spokesman urged residents along the coast to heed authorities’ advice to evacuate.

    Bush, vacationing at his ranch, was being regularly updated about the storm, which is expected to hit land early Monday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

    Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency continue to coordinate with state authorities in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, and have prepositioned supplies in areas expected to be affected, he said.

    The president’s emergency declaration authorizes the FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts and to provide appropriate assistance in a number of Louisiana parishes, or counties.

    Authorities told residents of low-lying coastal communities to head for higher ground. The storm was expected to strengthen as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico and could become a Category 4 hurricane with wind of at least 131 mph.

    “We urge residents in the areas that could be impacted to follow the recommendations of local authorities,” McClellan said.

  • Angelos

    Jim, Jim, Jim.

    You expect them to understand the concepts of logic and hypocricy?

    Hell, they impeached Bill for trying to conceal an affair. And as I recall, no one died because of his terrible, terrible actions. And THEN, when we sent troops abroad to try to help a suffering people, he was accused of wagging the dog.

    The immorality and incompetence exhibited by this administration on a DAILY basis has eclipsed any of the bad things the Clenis did during his two terms combined. And cost us thousands of lives, and bankrupted the treasury…

    But in yet another test of his “leadership”, Bush has shown his true form – shift the blame. 9/11? Clinton’s fault (huh?!?!). While Bush was on vacation. Abu Ghraib, the rogue grunts did all of that on their own. NOLA? Everyone else should have fixed it. While Bush, Cheney, Condi, et al were on vacation, and half of FEMA was in Greece for a staffer’s wedding. Hell, those from FEMA where were around actually PREVENTED help.

    Leaders, you brain-less right-wing asshats, they LEAD. They take charge. They don’t continue reading children’s books with confused looks on their faces, then fly around for 12 hours, avoiding the crisis. They don’t stay on vacation 2.5 days while a major American city gets destroyed, and THEN come back and put on photo-ops with STAGED aid stations, hug two black women, and fly off again. They don’t let the governor of freaking Louisiana tell them what to do!!!!!!!!

    It’s OK to step back and say to yourselves, “You know, my Boy George, he doesn’t really inspire much confidence, does he?” It’s OK, they won’t come and take you away.

    Hell, from 1992-2000, even while I was enjoying a hugely prosperous nation, and a booming stock market, and some policy that was actually good for AMERICA, not just some connected Americans, the political listserv discussion group I was on had questions, had discussions, honest debates, pro and cons. Exactly what the Bush administration tries to squash at every turn. Even though, it’s telling that the people who were MOST vociferous about the “SHAME of the BJ”, the ones who had to write something about Ken Starr’s 3-year boondoggle every single day, soon disappeared when it became apparent that there would be nothing to write in support of Bush. So now there 2 or 3 lonely people, still yammering about religion, and morals, and 9/11. Nothing new to say, I guess. Terra, madmen, and 9/11.

  • daniel

    I think it all stands and falls with the evacuation. If that had been handled well, if the people without transportation had at least been able to leave town none of the ugliness we witnessed later would have occured.

    Now I know the levees could have been stronger, martial law could have been declared earlier, Bush could have visited sooner. But for a city that sits below sea level in a region where hurricanes are not uncommon, would it not make sense to make sure you got a fully functioning evacuation plan?

    Talk about sea level, I live in Amsterdam.

  • How much are citizens responsible for themselves?

    Like, if you live in a known flood plain, are you responsible for taking steps to ensure your safety before, during, and after a flood?

    Are people who live on faultlines responsible for taking precautions?

    Should citizens living in areas prone to natural disasters be fully dependent on the government to protect and save them when the disaster hits?

  • Jeff Jarvis: And the people of Louisiana will decide which of their elected officials should be fired in due time.

    This is what makes this response political. Republicans and Democrats alike should be concentrating on what needs to be done right now, and affixing blame and punishment “in due time”. However, our friends on the left (and this apparently includes the usually more sane moderate left) are barking for the heads of Republicans in the administration while giving local Democrats free passes based on their ability to perform histrionically and cuss in front of cameras.

    Nagin has suddenly become the Democratic frontrunner for president because he appears on TV more than anybody else, does nothing, and blames everybody else. Barbour, meanwhile, I hear is performing admirably… and not, btw, appearing on TV interviews every five minutes.

    So who does Jeff finally take a swipe at? The Republican who’s doing his job, of course. Nagin, by contrast, is a hero by virtue of his ability to be inept and ineffective. But, damn, does he have that self-righteous bit down pat!

    And how about Sean Penn for VP? He floated a small boat full of photographers and staff in effort to help “save” people. A witness reportedly taunted Penn about how he was going to get anybody else in the boat. And then it sprang a leak because it had a hole that Penn forgot to plug up. Is that the kind of competence and quick response that the left prefers?

    Nagin/Penn in 2008! Good luck, because you’re going to need it.

  • Somebody’s totally crazy. From today’s Dallas Morning News: “The 83 members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Urban Search and Rescue team from Orange County, Calif., have been told to stay downtown at the Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion.

    Since Friday, FEMA rescuers have been stuck in Dallas, waiting for the call to head to New Orleans. From left: John Belles, Bill Lackey and Andy Ogren watch TV reports. Since Friday, they have been sitting tight at the luxury hotel with members of five other teams of specialists from California, Nevada and Washington state – about 500 people all diverted to Dallas on the way to the Gulf Coast.”


  • Jim

    I didn’t hear much of this blame-the-victim routine on 9/11: What the hell were those idiots doing in the World Trade Center after the planes hit? Were they just waiting for the federal government to save them? The WTC was a known target; it had been bombed before. How could each individual there not have an escape plan of their own? And anyway, that is the local government’s job. I wouldn’t want to send the feds into a situation where they could lose thier lives, with those buildings burning and whatnot!

    You people need to wake up.

  • Jim, this isn’t 9/11. It is something different. Bad comparison.

    Think San Francisco earthquake, as a better example.

  • Angelos

    “A trio of Duke University sophomores say they drove to New Orleans late last week, posed as journalists to slip inside the hurricane-soaked city twice, and evacuated seven people who weren’t receiving help from authorities.

    The group, led by South Carolina native Sonny Byrd, say they also managed to drive all the way to the New Orleans Convention Center, where they encountered scenes early Saturday evening that they say were disgraceful.

    “We found it absolutely incredible that the authorities had no way to get there for four or five days, that they didn’t go in and help these people, and we made it in a two-wheel-drive Hyundai,” said Hans Buder, who made the trip with his roommate Byrd and another student, David Hankla….”

  • Jim

    JennyD, That is where you are wrong. If terrorists blew up the levees in New Orleans, what? You would have a different reaction to the government’s inept response? Would people still be blaming the victims for not having an escape plan? Homeland security is homeland secuirty. The results of a disaster are roughly the same whether the disaster is caused by a terrorist or a hurricane, and the response of the government should be the same: rescue Americans and provide security. The one major difference: you get less milage politically out of a disaster caused by nature. So, for example, you can’t use a hurricane to stoke nationalism and direct it at an unrelated thrid party, like Iraq.

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  • owl 1

    The absolute best comment I have ever read ….”.Liberals are the only folks who believe that they have a life-long entitlement to act in ways contrary to both good sense and logic, and at the same time blame others for not saving them from themselves”…..JohnT

    SheRa asked questions on grades. I think Bush was slow to get the facts. I refer you to the transcript that Kat referred to…..CNN O’Brien/Nagin. I have laid most of the blame for the whining and poor planning at his feet but, I say read what he says took place between himself, the president and governor of LA. Bush was my state governor. He does understand power of command at state level. You really must read the interview over at CNN.

    Back to John’s quote…..when 9/11 happened, the LEFT stomped their feet and DEMANDED a 9/11 Commission. Like yesterday. Now they ignored 10 years of people attacking us in small doses, and building. This happened under that man that stole their election. Do the hearings. They gave us things like Clarke, that great terrorism czar. They DEMANDED that all the things that crazy commission said to do……be done……yesterday. This I do blame Bush. Nuts. He caved as far as I was concerned. This smart group (see John T’s quote) created another layer of tape. Great.

    If you set up a trade show in a convention center. a)you put your name of a list to be connected to electricity (half dozen people for this) b)you can see the plug slot in front of your nose c)You also paid a couple hundred dollars for that $5 of juice d)If you plug in your plug, yourself, they will disconnect you permanently e)you wait at least an hour for the pluggers f)2-4 people come by with their list… of them reaches over…..and plugs in a plug.

    If you consider what the law is concerning the above mentioned plug, you might understand why I was against another layer of red tape. I do not understand why I can not reach over and plug in that darn plug.

    I heard Nagin and the governor’s press conference to evacuate. About the weakest appeal possible. The governor went so far as to blame it on Bush, saying that he had called and begged for this.

    I also heard the governor’s interview this morning on FOX. She said quite plainly that the lines of power are clear. She said that “she was in charge, all the National Guard were under her authority.” Well, I knew that. Nagin didn’t. Quite a few on this thread do not know this. Read her interview this morning and Nagin’s at CNN. And yes, I believe every word I hear about FEMA. Something like this would only work well for regular disasters. Those 4 people plugging that plug, doncha know?

    Linda Edwards, point at me when you say disgusting, because I did not believe one word of Jefferson’s president. What kind of man would sit up there and tell such as that? Why the hell didn’t he go get a boat and go get her? And that’s the real crunch of the matter. Many who read here do not understand the distance between Baton Rouge (the capital of LA) and New Orleans. The governor sits in BR. Her state troopers sit in BR. Nice city with hundreds of buses in BR. The state authority for the state of LA is in BR. Now Nagin says that when he saw the president and the governor on AirForce1, the governor needed 24 hours to “make a decision”. This jives with what WaPo reported.

    How far away is Baton Rouge? Approximately 73 miles, or an hour and half from the New Orleans. I give FEMA a low grade, but what do you expect from pluggers that are not even in charge? Now put it to music…..”Do you know the way to Baton Rouge”

  • Jim: I didn’t hear much of this blame-the-victim routine on 9/11

    Jim, Nagin and Blanco are not the g-ddam victims! They are the Katrina equivalent of Giuliani and Pataki. When 9/11 happened, those men *acted*. They didn’t spend all of their time telling reporters that somebody in Washington isn’t doing enough!

    Tiresome: the left, from moderate to fringe start pointing fingers at *everybody*. Everybody else must respond, not happily, because this is not the time, but respond they must because charges continue to escalate. This response is then turned around and characterized as the accused leading an attack on “victims”!!! I repeat: Nagin and Blanco are not “victims”, and neither are you or Jeff Jarvis!!! It is asinine, repugnant, and self-aggrandizing to try to pretend you represent the actual victims more than anybody else. Those people are my brothers, sisters, friends, and family, just as much as anyone in the nation. What you want here is not justice or help for the helpless — what you are seeking is the ability to browbeat your sworn political enemies while silencing them from responding. To the left: this is *your* compassion! You don’t care about those people, you’re f-cking using them!!! You’re standing on the backs of the victims in the most pathetic attempt I’ve ever seen to try to build back power and respect.

    At the end of my last post, I almost reported a little off-topic aside that I was happy with my city’s incredibly effective response. No more. I am now at the limits of my outrage because in a city (Dallas) that was pouring out a massive volunteer effort to help Katrina transplants, the volunteer effort has just been ordered shut down by the city’s wonks (the city itself is like many major cities… the suburbs are conservative, but the central government is liberal). It’s being shut down because of concern over the city’s LEGAL F-CKING LIABILITY!!! The volunteers are being told to leave so the “professionals” can take over. The volunteers are shaking their heads, because they know its a mistake. Our transplants have been some of the luckiest in the nation — until now.

    Don’t give me this crap about “gee, conservatives sure are compassionate, aren’t they?” The people working to help are compassionate, conservative and liberal alike; a bureaucracy by *definition* is not! And people seeking political gain by exploiting a tragedy certainly are not.

  • Linda Edwards

    Mr. Obvious, you conveniently didn’t take it one step further back. If Bush hadn’t cut the funds that were appropriated for the maintenance and improvement of the levees to divert to Iraq in the first place, the entire sorry episode wouldn’t have happened.

  • Spending on that increased in 2003 over 1991, Linda.

    I also posted in another thread a recent NYT editorial claiming that efforts by the administration to send more funds that way was “pork” and a “boondoggle”. I’m off to work, so somebody will have to go find that. They confidently cited environmentalists who said that this work would harm the wetlands, which, as I understand was supposed to be enough to hold back such storms.

    If we only had more wetlands!

  • Linda Edwards

    JennyD, how about Florida. Remember how the feds jumped in with swift and overwhelming aid after last year’s hurricanes. Kind of made your head spin. In a good way (not Linda Blair way).

    Of course, last year was, well, last (election) year.

    And yet, brother Jeb’s state gets hit over and over, every year, by hurricanes. And people don’t evaculate when told. And I’ve not heard of Jeb ordering school buses to cruise the cities looking for people to pick up. I’ve never heard anyone say it was Jeb’s responsibility to make sure every citizen was out of harm’s way. I’d like to know what Jeb’s evacuation plan is, short of telling people to get in their cars and drive away. What are his plans for gathering up all the poor people who don’t have cars, the sick, the elderly, etc. I mean, isn’t this a state where hurricanes are a way of life?

    I didn’t hear anyone from the right griping that the feds shouldn’t have been counted on to take charge.

  • Jim

    Carson Fire: Please point out where I defended any local official or said that Nagin and Blanco were victims. If you read this entire thread, you would see many instances of people blaming the people (i.e., the victims) for relying on the government to, oh, i don’t know, show up.

    It isn’t rocket science. FEMA and the federal government according to their own policy are ultimately responsible for responding quickly to a national disaster (4 states were involved, by the way). This does not mean that local and state officials aren’t also at fault. Did you read that last sentence?

  • Linda Edwards

    Carson, there are so many articles that contradict whatever the point is that you’re trying to make about the funding issue, that I couldn’t possibly list them all there. So please start here, the first four that came up:

    Please let me know when you’re through and I’ll send you the next four links.

  • owl 1

    Well Carson, you just got your education from Linda. Problem is, of course, they READ it. I understood your snapping point. I had my wire snapped over this one because of the Race Card. When I heard that idiot on TV say “Bush doesn’t care about blacks” after I had just heard it from the Congressional blacks, enough.

    When you hear Dallas shut it down, people that don’t know the politics of Dallas and Austin think “oh those mean rich people”. Shame. But the real shame is that lousy red tape that keeps the best of the best from happening for the victims. Typical. A state government with all it’s resources, 70 miles away, and this is the best they can do……waiting for the professionals……. They finally had some real victims and this is what they do.

  • Ravo

    Linda asked: “I’d like to know what Jeb’s evacuation plan is, short of telling people to get in their cars and drive away. “

    A commenter from Florida wrote: “Last year, Florida faced two huge hurricanes. Jeb Bush had everyone from southern to central Florida evacuate (my Mom was one of them).

    Well, both storms bypassed southern Florida–& he was subjected to much harping & politically motivated criticism from media for being too “alarmist.”

  • Linda Edwards

    Ravo, I’m interested. How did Jeb arrange to have everyone from southern to central Florida evacuated? By what means was the state able to move all those millions of people who didn’t have their own transportation?

    Or did he only issue an evacuation order and those with the means/ability moved themselves out? My granddaughter lives just north of the Miami area. She managed to drive herself and her son out (luckily, she had a car), but the roads were choked with traffic and she just bearly made it out before the storm hit to meet us in Norfolk.

    There were people who died in those storms. You didn’t see me pointing the finger at Jeb and blaming him because he didn’t pick up everyone in a bus and move them out. That would have been logistically impossible in such a short period of time. But I want to know why Fema didn’t respond to New Orleans in the same urgent manner as they responded to Florida.

    And it just came out in the news that Brown didn’t even issue his orders to move FEMA into position until after the storm.

    Owl 1, you bet your sweet ass, I’m pointing at YOU! With all DUE respect, of course, since you seem to be so proud of it.

  • Linda Edwards

    I’ve been looking for Florida’s evacuation information. I found this:

    Basically, it says if Jeb has ordered an evacuation, they you are instructed to get yourself out.

    In the case that you can’t get yourself out, there’s a list of shelters that you need to get yourself to. Please note, you have to get yourself to that shelter. I haven’t found anything that says buses are going to be driving around the neighborhood looking for people to evacuate.

    I don’t even find anything saying who you should call if you’re handicapped, elderly or whatever, though I’m sure there must be some kind of provision. At least I hope there is.

    The question, why are you holding the LA officials to a higher standard than Jeb?

    Another gentleman on an earlier thread posted a linked to the Red Cross site, where they advise the original plan to evacuate to points outside the city was changed to evacuating to the Superdome. The Red Cross (not some leftist organization) commended the city officials for that decision and that it probably SAVED lives.

    My primary issue with FEMA was this. The declaration was made by Bush on Saturday Aug 26, which gave FEMA 72 to 96 hours to respond. That means FEMA should have been in high gear no later than Wed Aug 31. They weren’t even close to ready, even though they were busy turning away organizations that could have helped (Walmart with water, etc). I haven’t found anyone that can tell me why food, water and medicines were not air-dropped starting on Wed. There are millions of those ready-to-eat meals already packaged and available.

  • Elaine Hagan

    I applauded, then sat down to do some thinking when Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard said on CBS’ “Early Show.””, “Bureaucracy has murdered people in the greater New Orleans area,” he said. “ Take whatever idiot they have at the top of whatever agency
    and give me a better idiot. Give me a caring idiot. Give me a sensitive idiot. Just don’t give me the same idiot.”
    American voters should give this quote some serious thought. Many politicians disappoint us with the idiotic things they do, but those who preach the gospel of “up by my bootstraps alone” self interest first, are the worst. If Katrina and her aftermath teach us nothing about our leaders’ lack of preparedness and total fiscal irresponsibility, she should at least remind us of the interdependence of human beings. This was the original gospel of Christ, and those who pervert it to excuse their self-centered avoidance of social responsibility have just shown us what their policies harvest: the whirlwind.
    I call these guys the “Penthouse Pirates.” They delude themselves and many Americans into believing that they made it on their own effort or because their god rewards virtue with wealth. This old crap has been around as long as selfishness. Strange thing, though, when too many people with too much power gorge at the expense of the hungry, the society founders. Industriousness and ambition are great, and sometimes even result in wealth. Sometimes illness, natural or man made disasters like Katrina and Iraq can take all that away in a moment. If you don’t believe it look at our national debt. Those who begrudge a poor man 1 TV when there are five in his sprawling mansion are very likely to take graft instead of using tax dollars for hurricane preparedness. They are likely to sit in their leather recliners and watch storm warnings with a good little wine in their hand rather than getting on a phone and ordering out the National Guard and emergency pumps down to New Orleans to pump out the water. Remember next time you stand in that voting booth which idiot is really likely to care instead of pounding a Bible he doesn’t ever read.

  • Ravo

    Linda I don’t live in Florida, so I don’t know how Jeb does it.

    Here’s an url from someone who describes Florida evacuation planning….

    A few excerpts: “I’m not a government official at any level, just an ordinary citizen. But in Florida, we try to take hurricane season rather seriously. All our schools drill the mechanics of hurricanes into science classes and TV stations repeat the basics of hurricane safety endlessly, even during the dry months. (“It’s never too early to establish your hurricane plan!” yadda yadda)…

    …..We now pack a hurricane kit on June 1, and we won’t touch it until we need it or November, whichever comes first. Gasoline is always filled in the car tanks between 24-48 hours before approach of a storm. When we get storm warnings, the hurricane shudders go up. (Actually, that part is fun, because it makes for great movie-watching, even in the middle of the day.) There’s a thousand other steps involved, but the point is, we don’t mess with Mother Nature.

    One more thing: some people seem confused by the idea of “mandatory evacuation”. No one is usually forced to evacuate by the sheriff. “Mandatory evacuation” means basically “don’t come blaming us when you’re dead”, and “if you’re caught in a fire, you’re going to burn to death, because we ain’t sending the fire department out to save your stupid ass.”

    There’s usually no actual force involved. It’s the force of the word itself that usually gets people moving, as in: “Oh, you mean it’s so dangerous and imminent, I really don’t have a choice?” Right – you don’t have a choice if you want to be sure you’ll be alive tomorrow.”

    As far as FEMA…this url may be deals a bit with their timeline…(just scroll down to FEMA)

  • PJ

    I am a news junkie, but due to the fact that I am now a refugee (oh, I think that’s not a politically correct term for my situation- right Jessie?) but I am displaced and am seeking refuge – I haven’t seen or heard the news lately, and now that I’m able, I cannot believe what I am reading!

    It sucks that things might’ve been done differently, that more people might have been saved, that many people have behaved like animals… but there is a lot to be done right now.

    Let’s fight about this later, for now, if you want to do some good, grab a bag of ice, some jugs of water and go help someone. If, for whatever reason you are unable to help, then shut the hell up.

  • Thank you, PJ, and good luck.

  • Angelos


    Swift FEMA Action

    You know, it’s become so fashionable to beat up on the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the lack of accountability therein. In reality, the agency has acted swiftly on some occasions to quell bad actors in its ranks. Why, just look at how promptly it addressed the conduct of Nicole Rank, a Corpus Christi-based FEMA administrator who was dispatched to the Charleston, West Virginia site of a flood last year. It so happened the president turned up in town at the same time, for a Fourth of July speech, and Rank turned up at the event with her husband Jeff. Both were wearing a T-shirt that read “Love America, Hate Bush” and “Regime Change Starts at Home”; the Charleston police told them to “cover [the shirts] up, take them off, or leave completely.” When the Ranks refused they were forcibly removed from the premises and briefly imprisoned, so that the president could proceed with his speech declaring the Fourth an occasion to celebrate “the freedom for people to speak their minds, the freedom for people to worship as they so choose. Free thought and free expression, that’s what we believe”.

    And within two days, FEMA informed Ms. Rank that because of the incident, she was being released from the Charleston assignment. That’s some rapid action to protect the security of the homeland. A heck of job, you might even say.

  • sick in los angeles

    thank god we even have a FEMA to resopond to these types of emergencies. other countries offer their citizens no help and rely on countries such as ours to come bale them out. Just because people had to get by on their own for a few days, all of the sudden FEMA is to blame. Do you think FEMA was really prepared to deal with a such wide spread damage, I mean how many FEMA people do you think it would take to effectively and quickly manage this type of incident. The numbers most likely are stagering! We are so quick to blame, since you cant sue MOTHER NATURE you have to fine someone to blame and sue, [email protected] happens, even to good people, its life… with it!!! and be thankful you live in this country and not in India or the South Pacific when they have an incident such as this

  • PJ

    I have never left my home for a storm before. There are several evacuations every year and we have never left. This storm was too strong and headed straight for us.

    We have always known what the ”worst case scenario” was. I’ve heard it all of my life. I’ve heard stories of Betsy (I was just a babe then) and Camille.

    I purchased all of my supplies to ‘hunker down’ as usual, but by Saturday morning, I was packing us up.

    Now, I hate to bash the people who stayed, like I said, I’m typically a stayer, but ultimately, each individual (or family) needs to take responsibility for their own safety.

    We have been told over and over that a ‘mandatory evacuation’ means that you need to go… that if you stay, you may be endangering the lives of rescue workers that will potentially have to rescue you.


    Now New Orleans is a poor city, and I am sure that there were a number of people who couldn’t get out (financially) – but I saw interviews with some of the people who ended up sheltered in the dome and they just didn’t want to deal with the traffic leaving town.

    If everyone who could’ve left WOULD’VE left… then perhaps the resuce operations could’ve been more effective… there would’ve been far few people who needed saving.

    There are STILL people waiting to be saved. There are STILL people who refuse to leave. There are SO SO SO Many people who are unable to locate loved ones.

    I understand the desire to stay…. I want to be home right now so so badly… but not if it will hamper the efforts of others to get my city up and running again.

  • Personally, I think this Blog is about the most polarized I have seen on this issue so I’ll keep my reply brief. In defence of the French (BTW, I’m an American living in Canada). Having speant more than half my life living in the desert in the southwest. I have been appalled when I’ve read how many people have died in the U.s> during heat waves, cold snaps, etc. the vast majority because there electric was cut off either for lack of ability to pay or due to rolling blackouts. Heat waves don’t normally fall under the auspices of FEMA nor should they. The victims are too widely spread to assist on that kind of scale. Therefore, why not, at the very least, attempt to keep this in the context of Federal emergency response. I can also tell you that having lived in New Orleans and Florida and having dealt with hurricanes that this was bungled on ALL levels. But it doesn’t end with the president. Look to the senate who confirmed these incompetants. They were the “checks & balances” that were supposed to represent the American people and insure that the President, in his bid to repay those who worked so hard to put him in the white house, would, in fact, not be able to put people into essential positions who were not qualified. I normally defend the American system of checks and balances to my Canadian neighbors in comparison to the Parliamentary system of appointing any elected member as a minister of a department. This time I am left with nothing to defend. That system has failed us. The appointees have failed us. The Senate has failed us. The President has failed us. I also believe that the Mayor of New Orleans has failed his city. For now, the jury is still out on the governor of Louisiana.

  • Jeff,

    I’m breaking my personally imposed comment silence on your website so that I can direct your attention to this story today on MSNBC’s website:

    This story totally debunks as a complete falsehood everything Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard “cried” about on NBCs Meet The Press, and everything you posted here.

    He was able, successfully I might add, to deflect his own culpability in the deaths in his parish off to Michael Brown and others in FEMA.

    You helped him get away with it.

    At the very beginning of the comments on this post, I questioned the credulity of this story. Any media member worth his salt, I believed at the time, could see right through this charade.

    Rather than search out the facts, the MSM tends to take as an article of faith everything that comes out of “grieving” Louisiana politicians, who are desparately seeking to deflect the cricitism for their criminally negligent failure to act in the days before Hurricane Katrina.

    The man whose mother died in that nursing home is none other than a Louisiana government official responsible for emergency management in Jefferson Parish, Thomas Rodrigue.

    Rather than order that nursing home evacuated, which his MOTHER was in, and rather than go pick his own mother up OUT OF THAT NURSING HOME when he knew it wasn’t being evacuated, he left her there to drown.

    He admits that now.

    He also admits that Aaron Broussard made up the entire story of his mother calling frantically for a week before she drowned. She never called once, because she died in the flooding caused by the hurricane.

    This is a tragedy, not for Aaron Broussard or that sick, sick son who left his mother to drown in a nursing home he knew wasn’t being evacuated, but for that poor old woman.

    Her death is now being used by those Democrats in power in Louisiana who should have prevented her death to cover up their scandal. Democrats will stoop to nothing to retain their political grip on the state.

    If you are a resposnible blogger, then I believe that you should revisit this post on your blog and address the poor reporting of it, since you passed this tirade off as established fact as a way of criticizing the Federal response to the aftermath of the hurricane.

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  • Earl Lee

    I wonder if people are aware of the fact that every time Bush flew over the area to view the devastation from Air Force One and every time he got on a helicopter to move from place to place, all of the air rescue helicopters were automatically grounded for security reasons. This is standard practice. All aircraft are grounded when the President is in the air. All of the helicopters trying to rescue people from rooftops and even the cargo helicopters trying to plug the levees had to land and wait for the President to land.
    I’m sure it was important for Bush to get down to New Orleans for his photo ops, but there were a lot of desperate people who needed food and water a lot more than they needed to see Bush slapping backs and kissing babies. It points out again that the only rescue Pres. Bush was really interested in was rescuing his political career. As it is said, “By their fruits ye will know them.”

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  • The absolute best comment I have ever read ….”.Liberals are the only folks who believe that they have a life-long entitlement to act in ways contrary to both good sense and logic, and at the same time blame others for not saving them from themselves”…..JohnT

    SheRa asked questions on grades. I think Bush was slow to get the facts. I refer you to the transcript that Kat referred to…..CNN O’Brien/Nagin. I have laid most of the blame for the whining and poor planning at his feet but, I say read what he says took place between himself, the president and governor of LA. Bush was my state governor. He does understand power of command at state level. You really must read the interview over at CNN.

    Back to John’s quote…..when 9/11 happened, the LEFT stomped their feet and DEMANDED a 9/11 Commission. Like yesterday. Now they ignored 10 years of people attacking us in small doses, and building. This happened under that man that stole their election. Do the hearings. They gave us things like Clarke, that great terrorism czar. They DEMANDED that all the things that crazy commission said to do……be done……yesterday. This I do blame Bush. Nuts. He caved as far as I was concerned. This smart group (see John T’s quote) created another layer of tape. Great.

    If you set up a trade show in a convention center. a)you put your name of a list to be connected to electricity (half dozen people for this) b)you can see the plug slot in front of your nose c)You also paid a couple hundred dollars for that $5 of juice d)If you plug in your plug, yourself, they will disconnect you permanently e)you wait at least an hour for the pluggers f)2-4 people come by with their list… of them reaches over…..and plugs in a plug.

    If you consider what the law is concerning the above mentioned plug, you might understand why I was against another layer of red tape. I do not understand why I can not reach over and plug in that darn plug.

    I heard Nagin and the governor’s press conference to evacuate. About the weakest appeal possible. The governor went so far as to blame it on Bush, saying that he had called and begged for this.

    I also heard the governor’s interview this morning on FOX. She said quite plainly that the lines of power are clear. She said that “she was in charge, all the National Guard were under her authority.” Well, I knew that. Nagin didn’t. Quite a few on this thread do not know this. Read her interview this morning and Nagin’s at CNN. And yes, I believe every word I hear about FEMA. Something like this would only work well for regular disasters. Those 4 people plugging that plug, doncha know?

    Linda Edwards, point at me when you say disgusting, because I did not believe one word of Jefferson’s president. What kind of man would sit up there and tell such as that? Why the hell didn’t he go get a boat and go get her? And that’s the real crunch of the matter. Many who read here do not understand the distance between Baton Rouge (the capital of LA) and New Orleans. The governor sits in BR. Her state troopers sit in BR. Nice city with hundreds of buses in BR. The state authority for the state of LA is in BR. Now Nagin says that when he saw the president and the governor on AirForce1, the governor needed 24 hours to “make a decision”. This jives with what WaPo reported.

    How far away is Baton Rouge? Approximately 73 miles, or an hour and half from the New Orleans. I give FEMA a low grade, but what do you expect from pluggers that are not even in charge? Now put it to music…..”Do you know the way to Baton Rouge”

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