September 03, 2005

Required Viewing

You absolutely must watch this Fox News video of Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera describing how the refugees at the New Orleans superdome were locked in – locked in by the government – when they could easily have walked out on their own and received food, water, medicine, and proper shelter in Jefferson Parish. Unbelievable.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 3, 2005 03:45 PM
Comments

Which government - municipal, state, feds?

Posted by: David Fleck at September 3, 2005 04:59 PM

I was going to write a post bemoaning people who view the worst natural disaster in American history through a narrow partisan lens. But what’s the point, really? Boys will be boys – or hacks will be hacks as the case may be.

Posted by: Irony at September 3, 2005 05:28 PM

David Fleck: Which government - municipal, state, feds?

I don't know.

Irony - which party line am I supposedly following here? You'll have to tell me, because I have no idea.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 3, 2005 06:01 PM

Irony - which party line am I supposedly following here? You'll have to tell me, because I have no idea.--MJT

I can't get the accursed thing to play but I can answer your probably rhetorical question to the Irony doofus.

Even talking about Faux-News, never mind actually using them as an approved source automatically sends you to the dark side to reside with the rest of us.

You are doomed as far as Irony is concerned. Only the 'objective truth tellers' at CNN can possibly be believed. Faux-News in merely an instrument of the VRWC.

Hope this helps.

Posted by: dougf at September 3, 2005 06:07 PM

I had trouble viewing the file. Could someone describe it?

Posted by: MarkB at September 3, 2005 06:10 PM

Perhaps the hacks you were lambasting weren't hacks afterall. Perhaps they were rightly criticizing the authorities for a massive dereliction of duty. A dereliction of duty so great that even reporters at FOX News felt compelled to speak out.

Nah, they - along with Shephard Smith - were probably consumed by Bush-hatred. Such hacks!

Posted by: Irony at September 3, 2005 06:24 PM

A dereliction of duty so great that even reporters at FOX News felt compelled to speak out.

Bush gave the order so that we could kill all the negroes obviously.

Posted by: Bush Derangement Syndrome at September 3, 2005 06:39 PM

Irony,

A dereliction of duty so great that even reporters at FOX News felt compelled to speak out.

Could be anything from an ingrown toenail to the end of the world.

Michael,

Any more information on this?

Posted by: chuck at September 3, 2005 07:05 PM

Right-click the link and select "Save Target/Link As" from the menu. That will enable you to download the file to your computer. Then you should be able to watch it.

Be patient. The server is getting a lot of traffic right now.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 3, 2005 07:09 PM

As Steyn has written, anytime you rely on the govt, you're probably going to be disappointed. The citizens of NO abdicated personal responsibility & stayed in a sub-sea level city in the path of a Cat 5 hurricane, because ... the govt will magically handle it. Tragic mistake.

Nagin should be arrested for criminal negligence. Just compare his miserable performance with Giuliani after 9/11 (something that DIDN'T have 2 days warning).

Posted by: beautifulatrocities at September 3, 2005 08:45 PM

Speaking of Geraldo, he also remarked that “... the Berlin Airlift that took place in the Kennedy administration back in the 1960s.” Really. Sometimes I wonder if these things are just brain farts or if some famous media folks really are completely clueless about history. I don't feel much one way or the other about Geraldo -- I don't watch TV -- but really.

Posted by: chuck at September 3, 2005 09:14 PM

Apparently everyone's out of the Superdome now.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 3, 2005 09:18 PM

"The citizens of NO abdicated personal responsibility & stayed in a sub-sea level city in the path of a Cat 5 hurricane..."

Oh yes, they CHOSE their fate.

Such Limbaughesque cluelessness is not worth dignifying with a response.

Posted by: Vince at September 3, 2005 09:19 PM

Oh, and I caught a bit of Shepard Smith's meltdown last night -- where he was ranting about the bridge to Gretna (that's what he said) having a checkpoint set up where "the authorities" were not letting anyone through. I suppose this is where he also mentioned the locked-down Superdome. You know, I'm thinking there must be a reason they didn't want people leaving the Dome and wandering around New Orleans in the pitch black (the interview I saw was at night), not to mention getting over the bridge to places where people were probably sitting on their front porches with guns, but I just can't put my finger on why.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 3, 2005 09:21 PM

Interesting article in the Washington Post. Teaser:

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

Hmmmm.

Posted by: chuck at September 3, 2005 10:44 PM

Irony: Perhaps the hacks you were lambasting weren't hacks afterall.

There's a big difference between being critical and being a hack.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 4, 2005 12:43 AM

If you aren't outspokenly critical of the way the Bush administration handled this you have to be a) a partisan hack or b) completely stupid. It's hard to see how an honest person could have any other response. This has nothing to do with ideology, it is all about competence. The fact that Bush supporters could even try to spin this as "it's the mayor's fault" is breath-taking. At one point do you stand up for your country and realize that we are being led by an incompetent man who seems not to understand the difference between the national interest and his personal interests? Bush actually complimented Brown for the job he is doing. Once upon a time people were held accountable for their failures. Bush's problem is that he never holds anyone accountable - he is a mediocre boss and a mediocre manager. We've all worked for bosses like W - the kind where if you are his buddy you can get away with all kinds of crap on the job and never get fired. The results in the public sector are no different from the private.

Posted by: vanya at September 4, 2005 04:05 AM

There's a big difference between being critical and being a hack.

Yes there is. A hack decries valid critics for "view[ng] the worst natural disaster in American history through a narrow partisan lense."

Posted by: Irony at September 4, 2005 04:42 AM

Geraldo's segment was embarassing, he really did look like he was doing an infomercial for the Christian children's fund, but Shepard Smith has integrity. If Shephard was that pissed, he probably had something to be pissed about.

Posted by: Dustin Ridgeway at September 4, 2005 04:46 AM

"As Steyn has written, anytime you rely on the govt, you're probably going to be disappointed. The citizens of NO abdicated personal responsibility & stayed in a sub-sea level city in the path of a Cat 5 hurricane, because ... the govt will magically handle it. Tragic mistake.

Nagin should be arrested for criminal negligence. Just compare his miserable performance with Giuliani after 9/11 (something that DIDN'T have 2 days warning)."

This may not be of much concern to you, with your law of the jungle ways, but a whole lot of those people were poor, and couldn't leave. I guess they're all expendable in your view. BTW, it is the responsibility of government to provide for the general welfare and the common defense.

Man I hope you never lose your house to a hurricane.

Posted by: Rafique Tucker at September 4, 2005 05:09 AM

This is more pathetic than usual. Those of us who happen to support GWB are not sitting here saying that the performance was acceptable. GWB has himself said that the performance was un-acceptable.If the Feds screwed up and were the prime cause of this poor response, then heads must roll. If you find anyone who is defending the administration carte blanche simply because it is the BUSH administration, please feel free to abuse that individual to your heart's content.

What we are saying is that the system was predicated on the LOCAL authorities actually DOING SOMETHING. All systems run on bureaucracies. I don't like it,and I don't really like 'rules and regulations' but without structures vast systems simply can't function. As far as I can see the NO and the Louisiana authorites FAILED almost totally in their duties. Their failures led directly to a chain of delay that had the consequences we see. Anyone who can deny that Nagin has performed poorly in all this is simply not looking at the facts. As for Blanco--- get real folks. She is SUPPOSED to be the LEADERSHIP on the ground. Have you even heard from her?

You partisan idiots who can only think to blame Bush are not part of the solution; you are part of the problem. When Bush is gone the problems will not disappear. Who will you blame then?

Oh yeah, there won't be any problems then will there. Natural disaster of unprecedented proportions;crumbled road systems;un-expected communication failures; un-expected CRIMINAL meltdown. It will be a miracle that you are able to cope at all,and what a great job is being done by all(considering).

Yeah right .

Pathetic partisan HACKS !!!

Posted by: dougf at September 4, 2005 05:41 AM

While all this coverage and talk is about NO, what about Gulfport, Biloxi, and the rest of MS and LA? One of the results of all the bitchin' by Nagin et al has been to distract attention from everyone else that needs help. The rule of the squeeky wheel holds true.

Posted by: chuck at September 4, 2005 06:37 AM

I find this posting from a guy actually working his ass off to bring relief to the area worth a read. Link. It is so refreshing to hear about the nuts and bolts and not a word about all the political crap floating about. Have I ever said how much I admire those folks who are out there doing the real work. Let's spare a moment of appreciation for these people on whose sweat all else depends.

Posted by: chuck at September 4, 2005 06:50 AM

Thanks for the link, chuck, I'll drink to that.
(I generally need a drink after reading the comments thread these days)

Posted by: alec truist at September 4, 2005 06:53 AM

It's true many people couldn't leave N.O. But many more people simply chose not to leave, and that's a fact.

They had heard the worst case predictions on two previous hurricanes (Dennis and another one, I forget the name) and nothing bad happenned happenned. So Katrina comes along and many if not most people who stayed figured it was just another false alarm. Plus, it costs money to leave town for a day or two. They gambled and they lost. They have nobody to blame but themselves.

That doesn't mean that every effort shouldn't be expended to rescue them, but when you fuck up and you ask for help, you receive it gratefully-- not go around blaming people for your own stupid shit.

Posted by: Carlos at September 4, 2005 08:31 AM

Louisiana disaster plan, pg 13, para 5 , dated 01/00

'The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating'...

Nagin failed to follow his own disaster manual, and that's why folks who couldn't get out didn't get out. But it's easier to blame whitey, and "Bush".

Posted by: Carlos at September 4, 2005 08:37 AM

vanya, there's probably not a cluebat hard enough to provide the jolt into reality you need.

If you look at the timeline of events, the federal declaration, and the fact that Ray Nagin literally sat on his ASS until the Governor interrupted his dinner to get him moving, you would realize that those most seriously affected in N.O. were abandoned by their first official line of defense: The New Orleans City Government (before the storm hit) and the New Orleans Police Department (after the storm hit). Nagin had the time, the means and the information he needed to help AT LEAST those who most needed help in evacuating when HE WAS TOLD to evacuate N.O. He blew it. Then he had the unmitigated hubris to blame the feds for his screwup. Ignoring these facts and Nagin's criminal negligence is the only way to place blame somewhere else.

The .MOV video is not viewable by Quicktime. I'll leave speculation that the doors were locked to prevent a mass-exodus-stampede that could have killed hundreds (uhm... like in Baghdad) until I've actually seen it.

Posted by: goy at September 4, 2005 08:41 AM

This is the kind of story I find frustrating. It simply doesn't give enough background. Wasn't Jefferson Parrish flooded? Don't they need to evacuate citizens out of NOLA entirely? It's going to take months to pump the water out? It's an ecological disaster. Cholera and dynsentary are a real threat. Does it make sense to allow the entire population of the Superdome to disperse into the city when you are at most hours (days) away from bussing them out-of-state? Yes, they were miserable, their health endangered, but they're alive. And, yes it could have been better handled. The deaths of 3 infants due to dehydration is terribly tragic but entirely predictable. Infants and small children should have been segregated to ensure water would be available to them.

Sometimes what's quickly labeled incompetence may be the best decision under the circumstances. The problem with television is that it gravitates towards the human drama without clarifying the logistical limitations.

Posted by: mimi at September 4, 2005 09:39 AM

Vanya,

I agree with you 100%. Bush is totally responsible. The election of Demcorats to positions of responsibility is prima facie evidence of a general incompetence that must be dealt with by the Executive branch of the federal government. The President bears the full burden for not declaring the state of Lousiana a disaster are immediately subsequent to the election of Kathleen Blanco. He should have federalized the Guard in adjacent states, mobilized the 101st, 82nd and 173rd Airborne Div/Brig. and ordered them dropped into NO and Baton Rouge on the Wednesday after the elelction last year. Martial law should have been declared, everyone suspected of voting for Blanco should have been examined by pyschiatric professionals and those failing to recant of their vote should have been instituionalized.

Think of the lives that might have been saved had Bush simply declared Lousiana a federal dependency at the moment when its people demonstrated their inability to self-govern.

Posted by: Rick Ballard at September 4, 2005 10:06 AM

Carlos-

I suppose people who choose to stay in a city after it's been hit by a terrorist attack are blameworthy if they die in another?

No, this hurricane was not premeditated murder, and yes, city and state government could have done more, and can, but how much? This is a disaster of such massive proportions that the Feds MUST stay at the plate on this one.

How good a job they're doing, however, is subject to debate. Have you read Andrew Sullivan lately? Have you heard David Brooks? Brooks is a Bush supporter, and Sullivan leans that way, yet both are irate about Bush's response. Sullivan ran an e-mail along the lines of: "I am a conservative because I believe there are just a few things the Federal Government should do, but not many. THIS is one." Sounds reasonable, right? For the most part, I believe the reactions of the reporters on the ground; state and federal officials had years to secure against this kind of disaster, and while this all sounds like so much hindsight from an armchair critic like me, that's irrelevant now. We EXPECT our elected officials to make tough choices.

P.S. What's with the "blame Whitey" line? That's one of the cheapest and shallowest phrases I have ever heard. The vast majority of criticism currently aimed at Bush has nothing to do with race (Save for, say, Kayne West's, but are you going to tell me he's some serious liberal statesman? He's a rapper, for Christ's sake.).

Posted by: Vince at September 4, 2005 10:31 AM

People do ignore hurricane warnings, even those who should know better.

Katrina came through Miami as a Category 1, and even then there was considerable destruction and power interruption. Lots of people didn't bother putting up their shutters or buying supplies (batteries, water, non-perishables, etc.), because it was only a Cat 1, and the storm wasn't expected to come through here anyway. But it did.

Every year, and while each hurricane forms out in the Atlantic, we, locally, are bombarded with public service messages about preparedness, what to do, what to buy, where the public shelters are, and every year, lots of people ignore these messages or complain about "overkill". But this time, after Category 1 Katrina, there were complaints about not enough warning. Go figure.

Another thing: before, during, and after hurricanes here in Florida, it's Jeb Bush in charge and that we see on TV and hear on the radio. Not George, but Jeb --our governor.

Posted by: E Rey at September 4, 2005 12:15 PM

Chuck links to WaPo,

As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said

You see Chuck? You just cant trust the ol' MSM to fact check the spinners / liars. And yes, you do have to come to grips with the fact that the Bush administration lies, constantly.

Fact. Blanco declared a state of emergency on Friday, three days before the storm hit.
http://gov.louisiana.gov/Press_Release_detail.asp?id=973

Fact. Blanco wrote a letter to the president asking him to declare a federal emergency on Saturday, two days before the storm hit.
http://gov.louisiana.gov/Press_Release_detail.asp?id=976

Fed emergency declared later that day.

Posted by: at September 4, 2005 12:46 PM

Oh, and I caught a bit of Shepard Smith's meltdown last night -- where he was ranting about the bridge to Gretna (that's what he said) having a checkpoint set up where "the authorities" were not letting anyone through. I suppose this is where he also mentioned the locked-down Superdome. You know, I'm thinking there must be a reason they didn't want people leaving the Dome and wandering around New Orleans in the pitch black (the interview I saw was at night), not to mention getting over the bridge to places where people were probably sitting on their front porches with guns, but I just can't put my finger on why.

The point was that federal authorities were blocking the exit for four days (not one night). FEMA also prevented the Red cross from servicing the Superdome for four daysas well.

I think there are many of us on the right who want to know how this incredible cack up occured. I don't think laying the blame of this massive fiasco at the feet of local or state authorities is going to pass muster. The fact the police lasted 72 hours is quite astoundinding.

Posted by: JJ at September 4, 2005 12:46 PM

I suppose people who choose to stay in a city after it's been hit by a terrorist attack are blameworthy if they die in another?

How silly. Why would you suppose such a thing when hurricanes are random acts of nature, while terrorists attacks are premeditated attacks on innocent people? Your analogy is poor to say the least.

In the case of a hurricane, I do blame the bozo who decides to gamble with his own life and that of his rescuers. He has put several lives in danger by his moronity. And then he complains? I would drop him right back in the water.

Some people stayed because they HAD to, others stayed because they CHOSE to. Those people that chose to stay are the victims of their own dimwittedness as much as they are of the hurricane.

Yes, such dimwits should be rescued, but also told to shut their big fat pieholes and stop complaining. It's his own damn fault.

Of course, you'd rather blame "Bush" than the people on the ground in N.O. with the most responsibility for this calamity.

Posted by: Carlos at September 4, 2005 12:46 PM

at,

Shrug. Yes, I saw that and have moved on. I always consider news provisional, don't you? Doesn't mean I won't link it or comment though. I also consider all the bashing and other news provisional. Life's like that, caveat emptor. Now, suppose you were in charge of actually getting something done and had to deal with all these rumors. Can you begin to appreciate how well MS and AL have been doing? LA, too, if you look past the publicity hogs and see what some of the towns have been doing for the refugees.

Posted by: chuck at September 4, 2005 01:00 PM

"The point was that federal authorities were blocking the exit for four days (not one night). FEMA also prevented the Red cross from servicing the Superdome for four daysas well."

You might want provide a cite for that. Make sure it includes the cession of executive authority by Gov. Blanco and and acceptance of responsibility and authority by FEMA.

There is a difference between coordination and control. It may be worthwhile to explore the extent of FEMA's authority before assigning complete responsibility.

Posted by: Rick Ballard at September 4, 2005 01:13 PM

Carlos,

As I said, a hurricane is NOT premeditated murder, but you would agree that, following 9/11, New York City is at very high risk for a terror attack, no? Wouldn't it follow that, since New York is more on edge and armed-to-the teeth in preparation for such an attack than, say, Billings, all New Yorkers should just bolt out of their city to save themselves?

Posted by: Vince at September 4, 2005 01:15 PM

Vince,

if some due knew that a terrorist was going to nuke NYCity in two days and he decided to stick around and chance it hoping he was safe in his bomb shelter, then I'd blame both the terrorist and the careless jerk who stuck around.

In the case of N.O., you can't blame a hurricane, so that only leaves the idiot who decided to stick around in the face of dire warnings.

Posted by: Carlos at September 4, 2005 01:26 PM

VodkaPundit knows New Orleans and has a lot of interesting posts. Keep scrolling down. And yes, I did donate to the Mennonite Disaster Relief, I figured folks who livef that close to the land would know how to get stuff done.

Posted by: chuck at September 4, 2005 01:37 PM

that's: "if some dude knew"

Posted by: Carlos at September 4, 2005 01:38 PM

Carlos,

With all due respect, if someone stuck around NYC eventhough a nuclear terrorist attack was imminient, I'd call the person brave, not stupid. The fact is, another attack on a major city is inevitable, so every day we carry on our lives as we see fit, we are sticking it out. For all Bush's faults, he was right about one thing when he justified the invasion of Iraq with the question: since when do terrorists give a warning? If someone wants to flee from disaster, that's fine, but don't call someone who chooses to stick it out stupid.

As for those on the ground in N.O. and elsewhere currently blaming their government, I can't fault them all for being high-strung like that. Hell, I am in Connecticut and those images still make me cry.

The fact is, stay or go, no one deserves to live under threat of being washed away like a sea creature. As has been said so many times ebfore, this is America. We can, and must, rebuild the Gulf Coast to be bigger, better, and safer.

Thankfully, even the President has said this, so as a critic who supports his Iraq policy but has been floored by his weakness in confronting Katrina, I can only hope he lives up to his own goals.

Posted by: Vince at September 4, 2005 01:45 PM

Vince,

As for those on the ground in N.O. and elsewhere currently blaming their government, I can't fault them all for being high-strung like that.

They ain't got time for that. Most of them are too busy trying to get things working. The exceptions are the politicos, who seem to have altogether too much time on their hands. The poor folks in LA have just got to be terribly embarrassed whenever those hand wringers show up on TV.

Posted by: chuck at September 4, 2005 01:52 PM

With all due respect, if someone stuck around NYC eventhough a nuclear terrorist attack was imminient, I'd call the person brave, not stupid.

What can I say, that's dumb, beyond dumb.

You would blame distant bureaucracies while excusing the personal moronity of the individuals who were in the best position to save themselves. That pretty much says it all about Liberals as far as I'm concerned. Abdicate personal responsibility and blame in on whitey, or "the system", etc.

The people who CHOSE (the vast majority) to stay in N.O. are no more brave than the people who chose to flee the hurricane are cowards. The people who fled showed wisdom, while the people who CHOSE to say showed folly and paid dearly for it.

Posted by: Carlos at September 4, 2005 02:02 PM

And here is a link I picked up from VodkaPundit to a site run by a guy still in NO. Link. Good stuff, and don't miss the photos.

Posted by: chuck at September 4, 2005 02:22 PM

It may be worthwhile to explore the extent of FEMA's authority before assigning complete responsibility

So read the Natonal Response Plan.

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

Posted by: at September 4, 2005 02:42 PM

"at",

Is this the part you're referring to:

Governor

As a State’s chief executive, the Governor is responsible for the public safety and welfare of the people of that State or territory. The Governor:

-- Is responsible for coordinating State resources to address the full spectrum of actions to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from incidents in an all-hazards context to include terrorism, natural disasters, accidents, and other contingencies;

-- Under certain emergency conditions, typically has police powers to make, amend, and rescind orders and regulations;

-- Provides leadership and plays a key role in communicating to the public and in helping people, businesses, and organizations cope with the consequences of any type of declared emergency within State jurisdiction;

-- Encourages participation in mutual aid and implements authorities for the State to enter into mutual aid agreements with other States, tribes, and territories to facilitate resource-sharing;

-- Is the Commander-in-Chief of State military forces (National Guard when in State Active Duty or Title 32 Status and the authorized State militias); and Local Chief Executive Officer

or maybe this:

A mayor or city or county manager, as a jurisdiction’s chief executive, is responsible for the public safety and welfare of the people of that jurisdiction. The Local Chief Executive Officer:

-- Is responsible for coordinating local resources to address the full spectrum of actions to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from incidents involving all hazards including terrorism, natural disasters, accidents, and other contingencies;

-- Dependent upon State and local law, has extraordinary powers to suspend local laws and ordinances, such as to establish a curfew, direct evacuations, and, in coordination with the local health authority, to order a quarantine;

-- Provides leadership and plays a key role in communicating to the public, and in helping people, businesses, and organizations cope with the consequences of any type of domestic incident within the jurisdiction;

-- Negotiates and enters into mutual aid agreements with other jurisdictions to facilitate resource-sharing; and

-- Requests State and, if necessary, Federal assistance through the Governor of the State when the jurisdiction’s capabilities have been exceeded or exhausted.

Because both of them fit and the total incompetence of both of the people holding the positions did play a part in the cascading failure that the Fed's are having to correct.

So, who do you think more incompetent - the Dem mayor or the Dem governor?

Posted by: Rick Ballard at September 4, 2005 03:19 PM

Rick,

So, who do you think more incompetent - the Dem mayor or the Dem governor?

I'm not sure that is even the right question. Louisiana has a long history of corruption and incompetence, it is not just one person. Think Huey Long. As I understand it, Nagin was unusually honest for a NO mayor. But he didn't clean house thoroughly enough and it is not clear to me that he could have. What is needed is a major change of political culture and maybe we will begin to see that.

Posted by: chuck at September 4, 2005 03:32 PM

Carlos: "The people who CHOSE (the vast majority) to stay in N.O. are no more brave than the people who chose to flee the hurricane are cowards. The people who fled showed wisdom, while the people who CHOSE to say showed folly and paid dearly for it."

Within the 1st day or 2 of NO flooding I heard that LA does not accept pets at its shelters and I realized that a lot of the people who stayed put may have had pets. That assumption was somewhat reinforced by the number of people I have seen rescued carrying dogs in their arms. I have 2 dogs and 4 cats and fortunately I have a car and could pile them all in and sleep off the side of the road somewhere in the car. But if I didn't have a car, I very much doubt I would have left either. I read somewhere days ago that other states had realized that shelters being unwilling to take pets were a major cause of people failing to evacuate in hurricanes and that some shelters had changed their policies for that reason. (No reason the pets can't be caged and you bring your own pet food and water). Anyway, there was news footage today of dogs standing on the porches of abandoned houses floating in water and there must be thousands of animals left to die of thirst and starvation in people's homes. I know that sounds trivial in the face of so much human suffering but it is simply inconceivable for me to imagine locking my animals in my house and walking off not to return for months, knowing that they would die like that. Anyway, the Humane Society and other animal rescue groups are now heading in to NO in response to owner calls and emails to rescue some of these animals. (They need money too :-)

Posted by: Caroline at September 4, 2005 04:00 PM

Chuck,

I agree that Nagin was peculiarly honest for a NO mayor. I'm sure Mrs. Blanco is kind to children and is an accomplished LA politician.

I'm positive, however, that neither has given sufficient attention to their primary responisbility. I'm also positive that 90% of the people writing about this disaster and 98% of those reading what is written are absolutely clueless as to the function of HSA and its adjunct FEMA. Resource coordination and logistics aren't particularly sexy topics. I would imagine that most people don't even know that Blanco has retained executive authority - and therefore responsibility - through today. Oddly enough, the Constitution does not permit the President to casually usurp that authority.

I would note that the next phase of operations is going to involve logistical problems in Baton Rouge within 48 hours if refugees are not disbursed. I hope that Gov. Blanco realizes that fact.

Posted by: Rick Ballard at September 4, 2005 04:00 PM

Oh - but I should have added - in the context of your original comments - that of course I wouldn't be blaming anyone else if I decided to stay put for that reason. I just wanted to point out one of the probable reasons that many people didn't evacuate.

Posted by: Caroline at September 4, 2005 04:05 PM

Things are getting rough:

N.O. Deputy Chief Warren Riley: Law enformcement officials shot eight people carrying guns on the Danziger Bridge today - killing five.

Don't know what that was about. Eight people sounds organized. Crime or neighborhood patrol? Guess we will see.

Posted by: chuck at September 4, 2005 04:12 PM

Or maybe Army:

I hope these are false rumors, but we're hearing that the people who were shot on the bridge were Army Corps of Engineer.

Maybe Blanco has decided to declare war on the government. I joke, but this sort of crap is not going to look good on someones resume.

Posted by: chuck at September 4, 2005 04:20 PM

Caroline,

I'm glad to hear from the pet owners now. And if they don't allow pets in the shelters, is that Bush's fault? Or the fault of the notoriously inept and corrupt local authorities. And why didn't Mayor Nagle evacuate them on that fleet of buses as per the city's disaster manual. This "poverty" excuse doesn't fly because the city had already made provisions to evacuate the poor but failed to implement it. Pathetic.

And please let's stop pretending that the vast majority of people that stayed aren't lazy morons that simply didn't want to be hassled again. Now they're blaming everybody and God because they're up to their jaws in sewage.

Posted by: Carlos at September 4, 2005 04:26 PM

Carlos,

I have heard very, very few complaints from those who were rescued. Neither in NO nor from those in the Astrodome. Talking heads and pols are the ones whining - you know - the group that you wouldn't hire to organize a walk in the park? Those are the ones with the big mouths.

Caroline,

Sissy Willis has some good posts up on pets. She even has an Animal Rescue League up as her designated charity. I agree with you completely about many of those who stayed doing so because of pets. There are worse reasons.

Posted by: Rick Ballard at September 4, 2005 04:37 PM

Nother update:

6:06 P.M. - Police shot and killed at least five people Sunday after gunmen opened fire on a group of contractors traveling across a bridge on their way to make repairs, authorities said. Deputy Police Chief W.J. Riley said police shot at eight people carrying guns, killing five or six.
Fourteen contractors were traveling across the Danziger Bridge under police escort when they came under fire, said John Hall, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers. They were on their way to launch barges into Lake Pontchartrain to help plug the breech in the 17th Street Canal, Hall said.
None of the contractors was killed, Hall said.

And this:

OMG. Report now on WWL of a cheaper hotel that still has victims stranded inside (the reporters waded through hip-deep water)--and 10 NOPD "officers" who looted and then commandeered the upper floors. On camera, one of the men brandished a pistol and admitted to being NOPD.

So, who is law and order here?

Posted by: chuck at September 4, 2005 04:38 PM

I know that sounds trivial in the face of so much human suffering but it is simply inconceivable for me to imagine locking my animals in my house and walking off not to return for months, knowing that they would die like that.--Caroline

You and me both. Were I to be in that situation I guarantee that I would not leave. Just couldn't do it. Anyone who took their lives in their hands to stay with their 'friends' in NO is OK in my book. Society has to reward not punish the people who at least try to do the right thing.

Posted by: dougf at September 4, 2005 04:59 PM

Carlos - at this point I am very far from the blame Bush camp. And it isn't because I love Bush or anything cause I don't. I have no particular emotions about the guy. I just don't think that real problems are solved unless real causes are properly identified. And I also try to keep my expectations realistic. (Well - it's probably more accurate to say that my expectations tilt generally to the lower side - a personality trait that leads to less disappointment with life generally I might add).

Nagin screwed up big time - with the buses, with the failure to stock the superdome and provide either a working generator or port-a-potties, the scenes of violence and mayhem revealed long (semi) buried local problems of corruption and the sorry state of the NO police Dept and local justice system, apparently much of NO was under the control of local criminal forces, Blanco appears to have been in a fog of sorts and so on. I saw Honore on TV this morning as well explaining how the military response was hindered by the aftereffects of the storm that shot up through MS and Ala, hindering mobilization. Sometimes I wish we didn't have this totally new and radical round the clock cable news coverage beaming every human emotion instantaneously into our living rooms. I love to watch it as drama, yes, but when it comes to making judgements I'd rather just see the after-the-fact statistics to put the whole thing in perspective. Give me the facts and the numbers which put everything into perspective and then sort out the blame and leave the emotions out of it.

Posted by: Caroline at September 4, 2005 05:10 PM

Right on, Caroline. Much of what we're doing is second guessing, in real time, the decisions of people who are there, actually dealing with the situation --and they know a hell of a lot more than we do at the moment.

I think I'll unplug my outrage-o-meter for a while.

Posted by: E Rey at September 4, 2005 05:20 PM

Rick - thanks for that link. Looks like she's a big fan of Animal Rescue of Boston. I hope I didn't make a mistake giving my money to the Humane Society but I understood that they had an actual animal rescue operation up. Look at that pic of that dog on the steps. Scenes lke that everywhere :-(

Dougf - actually this whole thing and the horrible choices people have had to make has made me think of something I should add to my serious disaster-preparedness kit - syringes and whatever it is that vets use to put animals down. In the event of a major evacuation due to radiation caused by a terrorist attack, the only way I could leave (knowing we'd be leaving for good) would be if I could put my animals down myself, with no suffering on their part. Cause even in that scenario - leaving them there to starve and die of thirst, wouldn't, as you say, be an option. In the end, you have to be able to live with yourself, wherever you go.

Posted by: Caroline at September 4, 2005 05:56 PM

Carlos,

You are absolutely right. People who flee are not cowards, and I did not mean to infer that they are. Obviously we have a fundamental split in values and there isn't much point in carrying on like this.

However, my thoughts have nothing to do with race or "the system," yet you raise those words again and again, using them to bash anyone who does not follow your thinking. Governments, local and national, should protect their citizens to the last, no matter their apparent thickheadedness; it's called leadership, and I pray that this president regains his footing.

Posted by: Vince at September 4, 2005 06:35 PM

Caroline,

Tick-tock with all pertinent official doc links. As the death toll climbs in coming days this will be good info to have on hand.

A Sunday morning evac order was simply unconscionable.

Posted by: Rick Ballard at September 4, 2005 07:31 PM

In the end, you have to be able to live with yourself, wherever you go.---Caroline

Interesting that you would say this. As I progress ever more rapidly to a state of cluelessness, I become ever more convinced ot the truth of ;" Wherever you go --- there you are".

Now perhaps if you have no real idea of what you are then it is a feasable idea to believe that you can take a 'permanent vacation' from your existence. Maybe you can , but I have never really believed that. I think you will be the same person no matter where you physically locate yourself. I am probably delusional once again, but perhaps a lot of our problems result from the constant attempts to 'escape from ourselves' rather than trying to make the most of what we are.

That's why it is easy for me to say that I simply would not leave my pets. I don't have to walk a mile in anyone else's shoes. I just know that. I guess you do as well.

Thanks for raising this sad issue and getting my mind off the lunatics for a short while. I find some of the responses to this tragedy to be extremely depressing. Thank the Gods for Fox as if I had to watch CNN all the time for my information, I think I would break my TV.

Posted by: dougf at September 4, 2005 07:43 PM

"In the end, you have to be able to live with yourself, wherever you go."

Ditto to that; simply, stay behind, get sick and possibly perish. Go: Leave all belongings, as well as any remaining family and friends who can't or won't get out for a totally uncertain life.

Both those who have left and those who have stayed to help, or just try their best to carry on, have showed great guts.

P.S. Apologies if this has been answered, but how are religious organizations doing in getting to the victims? Are parishioners and their leaders from outside the affected states being allowed in? I'm going to be in touch with my Lutheran minister in the next few days to see what my parish is doing, if anything.

Posted by: Vince at September 4, 2005 08:51 PM

One day, Michael, you may become a hack, until then it can only be your dream. But by the by, I am 99.99% sure that John at Crooks and Liars would really prefer that you link to his post, and NOT to his video. He has told others that that his stealing his bandwidth.

As someone not even able to lick a hack's boots, you may appreciate John's efforts and help his business model.

Posted by: jerry at September 4, 2005 10:47 PM

Huey Long may deserve some name-association with corruption, but not with inefficiency. He stuck up for the poor and actually accomplished very tangible things for them.

He was a populist, and as such rather a demagogue, but he refrained from the racial politics common back then down South. At that time you supposedly couldn't get elected without the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan, but Huey never had anything to do with them. Bill Russell (the Boston Celtic great, who grew up in Louisianna) has said that Huey Long did more for blacks in the state than any other politician, for one thing because he made schoolbooks free and distributed them to the poor regardless of race.

An example of his style is that there was a toll bridge to enter New Orleans, and Huey could not get local politicians to quit charging the toll -- which was a great burden on the poor. So Huey had a bridge built right next to the toll bridge -- a new bridge which was better and was free.

He fought Standard Oil and the aristocratic families of New Orleans all his life, beginning as a workman's comp lawyer. His "Share Our Wealth" program, which he spoke about on his nationwide radio program, would've put a cap (of $10,000) on personal inheritances and provided a "grubstake" to help people get started... this during the worst years of the Depression. Some called him an American Mussolini -- I know this was the official Communist Party line -- but he was an original thinker, one whom I'm not sure we can so easily sum up. He was going to run against FDR for president in 1936, from the left, but he was assassinated in late 1935.

The novel "All the King's Men" by Robert Penn Warren (and eponymous film) did much to set in stone an image of Huey which does very little justice to the far more complex creature that he was.

Posted by: Todd Grimson at September 4, 2005 10:49 PM

jerry,

As someone not even able to lick a hack's boots

I assume that you are one of the elect permitted to perform this exulted service.

Posted by: chuck at September 4, 2005 11:16 PM

Todd,

Agree, he was an interesting guy who came from the same populist side as Father Coughlin. However, I think his dominance of Louisiana politics and positioning his supporters all through the government led inevitably to corruption. It is one of the chief faults of the dictatorial style. And wasn't one of his election pluralities something like 92,000 - 1,200. Something ain't quite right there. He also ran the state deeply into debt.

Posted by: chuck at September 4, 2005 11:26 PM

JJ -- you need to buy a clue. And recall this is Louisiana not the United States we are talking about. The state that elected Edwin Edwards over David Duke.

Ray Nagin had tourists from the Hyatt picked up by special buses (Hyatt is near the Convention Center, only a few blocks) and taken to the Superdome where they were evacuated AHEAD OF the people waiting there.

Kathleen Blanco controlled the Guard, and still does. SHE ultimately gave the orders to keep the refugees in deplorable conditions instead of allowing them to walk out of where they were. I will leave it to you to determine why. Feds blocked NOTHING. THAT was Kathleen Blanco. Red Cross by their OWN statement said the NATIONAL GUARD (which is Blanco, ultimately) told them not to go into the City because it was not SAFE. Wise decision. Med Teams in the Superdome had to leave, fearing for their safety and the 200 National Guardsmen there were unable to prevent the rape/murder of a seven year old girl, one was shot with his own M-16. Evidence suggests that those who abandoned the poor of New Orleans were Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco. Particularly since the FEMA plan tells local authorities (First Repsonders) they will be on their own for a min of 72 hours.

Nagin deserves about 80% of the blame. EVERYTHING we saw except the levees failing happened in various degrees during Georges in 1998 and Ivan in 2004. Nagin and Blanco in 2004 gave a press conference where they PROMISED to develop a plan that would fix the problems particularly the issue of those without cars getting OUT. Nagin didn't even stock the Superdome and Convention Center with food, water, emergency generators, and portable toilets. Not to mention security. Pathetic since he had a near-miss LAST YEAR with Ivan.

Simply put, have 100,000 plus people in a city with no water, power, food, or sanitation and definitely no police (thugs in the projects were destroying the city in slow motion for half a century) and it is a guarantee that lots of people will die. Nagin's a New Orleans Native (and sadly, as good as it gets there, a former Cox Communications Exec and founder of the New Orleans Brass Minor League Hockey Team). Nagin gave to Bush and endorsed Jindal over Blanco. He should have known that I-10 would be just GONE, so would the Ponchartrain bridge, cutting off New Orleans from everything except South.

Blanco deserves about 15% of the blame, National Guard troops were held out of the City because Blanco feared political fallout from shooting African American looters, rapists, murderers, etc. Without security helicopter and boat rescues had to be suspended and people died. Without security the Red Cross could not enter the City and people died. Without security Tulane Univ and Charity Hospitals could not evacuate critically ill patients because of snipers. Without Security rapes, murders, and other things could not be prevented in the Superdome and Convention center. Without Security food and water could not be delivered. All that is on Blanco's head. GWB legally cannot declare Martial Law and the Army cannot enforce laws or do more than search and rescue.

Bush deserves blame for not realizing late Wed that Blanco and Nagin were totally incompetent and politically cowardly. He needed to fly into Baton Rouge then and personally take charge by whatever means and restore law and order so that all the things (food and water, security, medical evacs, med teams and rescues) could be done. For this (and because he pressed Blanco and Nagin to make the evac in New Orleans MANDATORY late Sat) I assign him only 5% of the blame.

Mississippi was harder hit, but Barbour declared Martial Law immediately (something Blanco STILL refuses to do) and thus the widespread murder/rape spree that destroyed the ability of aid groups to help people never got started. Mob action (1992 Los Angeles riots) are very hard to snuff out once started.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at September 4, 2005 11:59 PM

Chuck, yeah, some of Huey's methods were questionable at best. Like the time he had 42 bills passed in one day in the state legislature, without even the names of the bills being read. Just each one's number. The legislature had always been corrupt -- but now it was corrupt in his favor instead of bought by the wealthy and big oil.

When I first found out about him I contrasted him, on a kind of class-warfare basis, with such contemporaries of his as Senator Robert La Follette, who always looked good, gave eloquent speeches, with his patrician profile, but never got his hands dirty or accomplished one thing.

Closer to home, one might think of Eugene McCarthy, who seemed to see fighting for the Democratic nomination of 1968 as beneath him or something... he couldn't be bothered. And after Bobby Kennedy had been killed two months earlier, the nomination seemed very important to me right then.

I have to admit that in reality Huey Long might've been hard to abide, but he was entertaining. Such as how he never let the mayor of New Orleans (a Standard Oil paid-off hack) ever forget that he was known to fart in public, referring to him as "Old Whistlebritches" from then on. Or, having taken an instant dislike to what he knew of the Nazis, receiving the German ambassador an hour late, wearing polka dot pajamas and a bathrobe while smoking a cigar. (The Foreign Service apologized, but Huey refused.)

Posted by: Todd Grimson at September 5, 2005 12:03 AM

Jim Rockford,

Sorry if my Huey Long historical maunderings seemed to hijack the thread from your very interesting post, which so far as I can tell cuts through a lot of the bullshit out there.

When you mention Blanco not wanting NG to be seen shooting black looters I thought "Yeah, and why haven't we heard this calculation talked about before?"

Look at all the shit thrown at the British cops after they shot the Brazilian guy, as if they were just triggerhappy -- this after terrorism struck right there.

Posted by: Todd Grimson at September 5, 2005 12:13 AM

Jerry is banned. Bye, Jerry.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 5, 2005 12:53 AM

This one of Wolf Blitzer is classic, 'they are so poor and so black...'..
http://www.crooksandliars.com/2005/09/04.html#a4792

And even more powerfully explaining the situation and the level of failure from the Bush administration, Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard broke down in tears on Meet the Press:
http://www.crooksandliars.com/2005/09/04.html#a4783

Posted by: at September 5, 2005 03:42 AM

Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard broke down in tears on Meet the Press...

Not to be overly brutal but the thing that Louisiana officials seem to do best is 'break down in tears'.

I really do understand that and it is sort of understandable, but when it is substituted for competence in actually DOING something, it wears more than a little thin. If we had the tears AND the results that would be a different matter entirely. I don't want some doofus 'feeling my pain'. I want some guy who will start to relieve it.

Less histrionics; more accomplishment.

Posted by: dougf at September 5, 2005 05:58 AM

dougf, I agree. I watched that breakdown and was almost with the guy, right up until his very last tearful statement: "Send money..."

Posted by: Undertoad at September 5, 2005 07:02 AM

Its all about hatred of our president.

When hurricane Andrew blew through south florida, I was mobilized to help out. I volunteered with another guy to take a forklift from camp blanding down to homestead three days after the storm (of course we had to bring personal firearms with us). We were able to drive right into the devastated areas, no problem.

Katrina is unprecedented. There's been a total breakdown of leadership at the state and local levels. We are bombarded with images from the underclass all-stars in NO, but the media fails to keep a proper perspective on the severity of the storm and how our government does things.

Its all about hyperemotional liberals and their pure hatred of this administration.

Posted by: Raymond at September 5, 2005 09:11 AM

Shep and Geraldo did sound over the top, but they were watching people die. I personally think that their coverage helped to force whoever was in charge to evacuate those people. Geraldo did rescue one lady and her dog the next day--and god love him for it.

Blitzer and Cafferty meanwhile are on a full court press to exonerate the Democrats. Today Wolf "just happened to catch up with" Clinton (in a suit, sitting in his hotel lobby for an obviously scheduled interview) who then proceeded to criticize FEMA only, not his partisans Blanco and Nagin, and ask that the estate tax (death tax) not be repealed this week but set aside for victims. More money is needed now? Jeez, slow down! There is so much money floating around, it's a feeding frenzy.

Clinton should be fired from his fundraising efforts NOW and CNN should give equal time to a Republican.

Posted by: Patricia at September 5, 2005 12:52 PM

CNN should give equal time to a Republican.--Patricia

In CNN world, Clinton IS a Republican.

Posted by: dougf at September 5, 2005 12:58 PM

"Send money"? OMG, I missed that.

Blubber and Blame--that's what I call the Democratic strategy in this debacle.

Posted by: Patricia at September 5, 2005 01:38 PM

80 - 15 - 5% seems about right: Dem, Dem, Rep.

Humans are so woefully ignorant about probability and decision analysis.

Who would stay in a 1 in 6 chance of Russian Roulette? What about after two blanks, without knowing how many chambers the gun has?

Pets were a huge issue; but Nagin and the unused busses are truly terrible.

The levees were designed for Cat 3; Cat 4 prolly would cost twice as much to "properly" prepare for. The NYT was, in April (?), complaining about Bush's (pork filled?) big bill to do such stuff.

Security looks like pork -- until it's not there but needed.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 5, 2005 06:09 PM

80 - 15 - 5% seems about right: Dem, Dem, Rep.---Tom Grey

I was just this moment thinking about this exact formula. With respect I think you are assigning too much resposibility to Nagin. Blanco had the authority to override him at any and all times and get things operational in NO. She is by all appearances virtually USELESS. It is HER National Guard Problem.

Also the images were on TV for crying out loud. Even had the Feds watched TV and rushed in 500 troops for urban security until the relief showed up, it would have made a big difference.

Therefore;

45-40-15 looks a little better to me. But what do I know( well apart from MORE than most of the MSM critics anyway). This is an example of civic decay of the worst order. Instead of taking a deep breath and trying to pull together, the 'elite media' are continuing to pull down society in their manic desperation to 'get' GWB. They are a disgrace.

Posted by: dougf at September 5, 2005 06:34 PM

Caroline,
1) Would you risk the lives of your children, spouse, et al, to save your cats? I doubt it.

2) When the evacuation was ordered, there was no anticipation that the damage would take months to clean up, so it is unlikely that would have been considered by most people.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at September 6, 2005 12:44 PM

Hey no worries about Huey Long. He WAS interesting. Sadly Louisiana has had very few effective politicians since then. Even hard core Dems have longed for the somewhat Neanderthal Mike Foster (cut off state aid to Tulane when the Law School clinic sued the state over marshland development and pollution to poor communities). At least Foster would have done things.

Dougf -- the main reason I assign most of the blame to Nagin (who is really a Republican btw) is that it was HIS responsibility to get folks out of New Orleans. He promised last year after the Ivan Fiasco that he would come up with a plan to evacuate the poor, elderly, disabled OUT OF THE CITY. He came up with one using buses, city and school.

NAGIN DID NOT FOLLOW HIS OWN PLAN, which required evacuation of the poor, elderly, disabled etc 60 hours out from landfall. That was the PLAN. He called for mandatory evacuation a little less than 24 hours out and that was it. He just GAVE UP.

Secondly, he did not protect his own assets from destruction so he could get around the city. We saw with heroes like Jabbar Wilson (got a School bus started and picked up 70 people, got them out to Baton Rouge) that buses saved lives. The Convention center is literally blocks from the ferry landing, and the Crescent City connection over to Gretna. West Bank had power, sewage, water and food where AT LEAST the critically ill, disabled, elderly, and infants could have been evacuated. I'd expect the Mayor to organize just that not run off to Baton Rouge and just give up.

Blanco had by Tue 7,000 National Guardsman outside the City. Too few to maintain order over the ENTIRE CITY but able to, with the assistance of State Police, to go into either the Superdome or Convention Center and rescue the most critically ill/sick/etc. There was no need to let it deterioriate into Lord of the Flies.

Bush according to Nagin on CNN met with Blanco and offered her two option last Friday, she dithered and put off the decision for 24 hours. In this instance Bush should have asked Nagin which one he wanted and headed IMMEDIATELY to the microphones and cameras and announced the decision and blasted the Gov. for delaying while people are dying, ask Congress for an emergency declaration of Martial Law and in advance of that take complete control.

One of the lessons learned here is that when State Govt collapses completely as it did here, one guy has to take charge and thats the President. Delays and dithering and political battles just kill people, when time is critical. Bush should have known that. But, contrary to the image of Bush he's usually too timid. He has not AFAIK for example vetoed a single bill.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at September 6, 2005 02:12 PM

I agreed, Jim. Bush's biggest failures come as a result of his failure to be an SOB: Fallujah, now New Orleans.

Posted by: Patricia at September 6, 2005 04:19 PM

I heard Broussard's tape today, and he ended with "send us somebody" I believe.

Posted by: Patricia at September 6, 2005 08:24 PM

I believe it was the Gretna sheriff who turned back the Convention Center evacuees. And it had a lot to do with race. The West Bank is white. Most of Jeff Parish is white. They didn't want a bunch of black people from New Orleans running through their parish. That's the story I've seen from people who were actually on that bridge. It wasn't State police or National Guard who turned them back.

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