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Katrina Required Reading

Slowly but surely the national media is getting the story right. In the first few days of the story, 95% of what they said was wrong. Some reporters (in the print media) are digging enough to get a working understanding of the politics in my bizarre city and state. Unfortunately, I don't have time to write this stuff but I can point you guys to the people who are getting the facts right.

Don't blame only feds
Crime rate, inept pols leveled New Orleans before the storm

Let's take a break from the joy of Bush bashing to reveal the dirty little secret of New Orleans: Its local government deserves an F for its planning and response to Katrina. And one other thing: The New Orleans police force would be a joke if it weren't a disgrace.

Yes, I know it's impolitic to say such things while the suffering in the Big Easy is fresh and many cops risked their lives to save others. But now is the time to blow the whistle on the story line being repeated by rote across America: That the federal government ignored New Orleans because most of its residents are black and poor.

That narrative has all the accuracy of a historic novel: it takes two undisputed facts - the feds were slow and New Orleans is largely black and poor - and weaves in pure fiction to make the desired link.

The charge of racism-inspired foot-dragging isn't just nonsense. It's pernicious nonsense, as in destructive and malicious. You know that's a fact because loony Howard Dean, the Democratic Party boss, is now peddling it. He's joined by Jesse Jackson, who said the squalor in New Orleans "looks like the hull of a slave ship." Oh, please.

If even a smidgen of the racism charges are true, President Bush should be shot. But before we give him his blindfold, let's look at New Orleans before Katrina.

Start with crime. That looters ran unchecked after the hurricane isn't surprising when you consider that criminals have had the run of the city for years.

It is a perennial contender for Murder Capital. The 264 homicides last year were a drop of only 11 from 2003 - and the first decline in five years.

New Orleans, with fewer than 500,000 people, had almost half the murders of New York, which had 570 homicides last year in a city of more than 8 million. Put another way, if New York had New Orleans' murder rate, we would have more than 4,200 murders a year.
...
Then there's Mayor Ray Nagin, a Democrat, who has blamed everybody but himself. Maybe he has forgotten his plans for dealing with Katrina.

Last July, his office prepared DVDs warning that, if the city ever had to be evacuated, residents were on their own. According toa July 24 article in The Times-Picayune (spotted by the Web's Drudge Report), "Mayor Ray Nagin, local Red Cross Executive Director Kay Wilkins and City Council President Oliver Thomas drive home the word that the city does not have the resources to move out of harm's way an estimated 134,000 people without transportation."

"You're responsible for your safety, and you should be responsible for the person next to you," one official said of the message.

And how's this for preparation? Cops were told not to work on the day Katrina hit, one officer told The New York Times, but "to come in the next day, to save money on their budget."

By all means, let's investigate what went wrong in New Orleans. Let's start in City Hall.

Bush declared a state of emergency before the storm even hit and he personally lobbied local officials to call for a mandatory evacuation. He was not the one behind the curve on this one. (But he still needs to fire that FEMA idiot)


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Comments (20)

Meanwhile, people are compl... (Below threshold)
cirby:

Meanwhile, people are complaining about the slow Federal response, while at this time last year they were complaining that the overly-fast Federal response to the Florida hurricanes was an election year ploy - even though the response then was slower than the response was for a disaster larger than all of last year's storms, *combined*.

Paul, I understand that you... (Below threshold)
Levans:

Paul, I understand that you've been under a lot of stress over the last week plus, but I'm getting whiplash watching what I perceive as your position changes. How does your extensive quote from the NY Daily News commentary mesh with your view (of a few days ago) that Mayor Nagin's idea to send NOPD officers on R&R to Las Vegas was righteous? Is that the same NOPD spoken of in the Daily News piece?

Do you think it might be wise to wait for the perspective and clearing picture offered by a few weeks' passage before deciding how Brown and FEMA performed in the circumstances? Do you really think you already have a full and reliable picture of their performance and the proper perspective from which to view it?

If we-re going to fire peop... (Below threshold)
frankr:

If we-re going to fire people, along with the FEMA idiot, lets include the people responsible for sending DVDs to poor people, because we all know poor people all have 6 disc DVD players attached to their wide screen TVs with surround sound. How about those 250 + school buses that are sitting in water now. How about firing the idiots that didn't use this resource to FORCE evacuation of the city. I guess it's easier to blame President Bush than to take responsibility for a piss-poor evac plan. Typical "the dog ate my homework" mentality.

I work in the field of bio/... (Below threshold)
Craig:

I work in the field of bio/chem warfare detection so have been involved in a number of disaster scenario planning exercises, and like the fog of war there always will be a fog in disaster response since disasters never seem to go exactly as planned. I have also been the victim of two major hurricanes, the eye walls of both Fran and Floyd made landfall at my front porch at the tip of Cape Fear --I reject the notion that the Feds were slow with Katrina or that FEMA shares a lot of blame -- that just seems like the politically correct thing to say, even by conservative boggers and pundits.

In fact, the Feds seem a lot quicker quicker now than in 1996 and 1998. And performance really is a testable hypothesis (and a far better approach than a "hindsight" analysis) -- with Katrina calculate the number of personal, tons of supplies, and material moved in a window of time after the state gives authorization, and compare it with Fran, Andrew, and Florida hurricanes. I am guessing that the Feds moved faster this time than ever before -- if not, then spread the blame around. In fact, I am positive that FEMA has internal performance standards that can be compared and contrasted.

From my experience facts really are the demise of liberal nuttiness. How many NO cops really showed up for work? -- looks like about 40%; how many busses were used for evaculation as per the NO disaster plan -- about 25 out of 2,000 from what I can tell. We need more data, then build opinion -- and the data so far points clearly to the absolute collapse of local and some state institutions as the real cause of the extended pain and suffering in NO.

Okay, whocares, you can't b... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

Okay, whocares, you can't be that much of a mindless puppet of the extreme left. 'Fess up, you're really McGehee poking fun at the Loony Left, right?

I gotta hand it to you, Kevin, you managed to hit all the Left's mindless talking points. You even got Halliburton in there! You really managed to sound like a brain-dead, "I parrot everything my idols at DU, MoveOn, and so forth, tell me to say, without letting a single whiff of rationality or critical thought enter my echoing head." My hat's off to you.

Oh, and if whocares really believes what they typed there, none of the above applies to you. Honest. Really.

I don't think anyone should... (Below threshold)

I don't think anyone should be making excuses for the horse judge running FEMA. The FEMA response has been disgraceful and Brown should show some moral fortitude and resign as soon as the relief effort is over out of shame.

Same for Nagin and Blanco whose prior proper planning could have prevented their piss poor performance.

The media should shut the fuck up as well in their longstanding effort to not hold anyone in NOLA accountable at all. Ray Nagin gets nice softball interviews by Oprah and Katie Couric while Chertoff gets shit all over by no talent ass clowns like Russert and Stephalopols. And don't get me started on the unwatched retards like that idiot on CNN and Olberman who never met a kkkonspiracy theory they didnt instantly run with.

Cirby,You're absol... (Below threshold)
beloml:

Cirby,

You're absolutely right! Why hasn't this gotten more attention?

Still waiting for someone t... (Below threshold)
Charlie (Colorado):

Still waiting for someone to actually propose something that FEMA could have done (both legal and physically possible) that it didn't do.

Brown managed four big hurricanes last year with much acclaim. This would suggest the failure lies elsewhere.

I'm not understandin... (Below threshold)
jc:


I'm not understanding what FEMA did wrong. Like Brown said, they have no police or anything. Rumsfeld hit the nail on the head: that it's not FEMAs job to be first responders, but maybe, in retrospect, it should be.

I think Brown should be judged by the merits of the job he's doing and not by the way he fell bassackwards into his job. Even if he's not qualified (in which case he should be fired) he shouldn't be a scapegoat for the governor who I think deserves the Lion's share of the blame in all this.

Paul, I enjoy reading this ... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Paul, I enjoy reading this Blog. But, why oh why do you allow these pages to be soiled by the unsavory language that "whocares" uses. I don't mind the opinion; he is entitled. However the way he feels the need to express himself is unnecessary. I don't consider myself a prude but if this is the nature of his discourse then I think you should ask him to take it elsewhere. Or maybe he expresses himself this way to get a rise out of people like me and I am not clued in to his little joke.

You really managed to so... (Below threshold)

You really managed to sound like a brain-dead...

Trust me, I can manage that without signing somebody else's name to my comments. ;-)

The 'so-called' slow respon... (Below threshold)

The 'so-called' slow response was due to safety concerns for aid workers (see post).


Think about the recriminations for Brown if he had sent in aid workers to the Convention Center and the Superdome (where aid workers were being shot already) and they were taken hostage or killed without the proper security in place.

When this story fully unfolds, everyone will know that the feds actually saved New Orleans from its self-inflicted wounds.

People didn't get out! Why ... (Below threshold)
Moley:

People didn't get out! Why can't the left just admit that the people killed or left behind should have just gotten out. Yes the mayor messed up by not providing buses to ship people out, but he probably couldn't find anyone willing to risk their life in that area of town. This is really being made more complicated than it has to be. Alot of people decided they were staying and now they are paying the price or they paid already. I don't want to sound cold, but why do we have to find fault, even though it is the Mayor and Governor's fault.

whocares:I can under... (Below threshold)

whocares:
I can understand why you're tolerated here, to some point. The largest reason is that you echo the infantile rants that have become so characteristic of modern liberals. You give us a reason to keep on countering propaganda with facts. You inspire us to do research to stay ahead of the idiotic groupthink fostered by DU, Kos, and others. You serve to remind us that our adversaries are devoid of shame, lacking even the most minimal auspices of tact, and suffer from an uncontrollable aversion to truth, logic, and reason.

Even so, I fear that you're doing more harm than good here. You may actually lull us into a sense of complacency, because if all we were up against were the brand of lunacy you flaunt, we could all relax. Many people in America barely have enough common sense to fill a thimble, but even that's enough to recognize the disjointed view of reality expressed in your comments.

I'll leave you with a little advice. First, drop the vulgarity. It's not impressive, no matter who is using it, and it's only marginally "cute" if the user is about 18 months old. That type of language is somtimes permissible for making a point, but when it's every other word, its attention-getting value is lost. Second, if you would take the time to look up the big, hard words like "disseminate" before you use them in a comment, you'd spare yourself the embarassment of misusing them (FYI, "disseminate" has a meaning very close to "distribute," not "deduce" like you seem to think).

To the others here: I do feel a little guilty for wasting the time it takes to respond to someone who, if he had a brain, would probably take it out and play with it. I would like to second the motion by DaveD, however, that if whocares and his ilk insist on being vulgar (not simply obnoxious, arrogant, and ignorant--that's all allowed), that they should be warned, then banned. I know this isn't necessarily a "family-friendly" blog, but I should think that gratuitous vulgarity should be dealt with.

Gratuituous nudity, however, will be appropriately praised and appreciated. :-)

I think Bush is responsible... (Below threshold)
Mike from Mississippi:

I think Bush is responsible for the federal government's deplorable response to the crisis. I agree with what Kayne West said 5 days ago on NBC that Bush does not care about black people, and I think that influenced the miserable failure that is Bush's response to this disaster.

Bush has never agreed to meet with the NAACP, and is the only President since Herbert Hoover in the 1920s that has been so insensitive to this organization for black people. He has nominated some extremely ideological conservative judges to federal district courts who have been hostile to civil rights and civil liberties such as:

a.) Terrence Boyle, 4th circuit court judge who ruled for whites and against blacks in two voting rights cases-reversed both times.
b.) Janice Rogers Brown, DC circuit court judge who voted to protect racist speech in the work place.
c.) D. Michael Fisher, 3rd circuit
court judge who voted to protect racist speech in the work place.
d.) William Pryor, 11th circuit court judge who voted to promote states? rights over the rights of blacks who have been discriminated against.

Bush has also repeatedly passed tax cuts that mostly help his rich 1% upper class friends while at the same time he has cut social services to help the very poor. Bush?s much-touted No Child Left Behind Act is inadequately funded and does not address the soaring number of poor, under funded, racially segregated public schools nationally. The Bush administration also backed white students in their effort to torpedo the University of Michigan?s affirmative action program. Bush backed so called ?race neutral alternatives? that cripple the fight for workplace diversity.

In short, Kanye West is 100% right when he says that Bush doesn?t care about black people. Maybe if Bush did care about minorities he would have responded more appropriately to this disaster rather than commenting on how much he hopes that Senator Lott's mansion would be rebuilt so that he could BBQ on the porch.

Is it alright to curse in r... (Below threshold)
JD:

Is it alright to curse in responding to Mike "I am a barking moonbat" in Mississippi?

>Paul, I enjoy reading this... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Paul, I enjoy reading this Blog. But, why oh why do you allow these pages to be soiled by the unsavory language that "whocares" uses. I don't mind the opinion; he is entitled. However the way he feels the need to express himself is unnecessary.

Dave I just walked in the door. But I'll fix it for you.

I love those misplaced ques... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

I love those misplaced question marks in Mike's off-topic post, which show that he obviously cut and pasted the entire thing from a typical lefty propaganda site.

Low quality driveby troll. I deduct 20 demerits.

Mike, don't forget how Bush... (Below threshold)

Mike, don't forget how Bush did so much to make sure that blacks are concentrated in certain areas through the use of housing projects, which in the case of New Orleans were apparently built in the lowest part of the flood-prone city. No, wait a minute, that wasn't Bush, was it?

Oh, what about all the programs he initiated to reward unemployment and illigitimacy within black communities, knowing that he would destroy any impetus for upward motivation with the hand-outs? Hmm, not him either, was it?

Hey, what about his refusal to appoint any black Americans to cabinet and judicial positions, despite having nearly 100% support from the black community when he was elected, both times? Oh, sorry, that was Clinton. My bad.

But still, we know that Bush hates blacks, right? I mean, he's a Republican, and we all know that they're all racists, right?

Get a clue. Quit screaming "race" at every woe and look at the facts for a change. Attitudes like yours do nothing but foster the victimhood mentality and further the entitlement culture. You are content to stand idly by while Democratic elected officials establish housing projects that serve as nothing more than containment facilities for minorities (especially blacks) in which the authorities can allow crime to run rampant as long as the residents continue making babies and raising democratic voters. When will you wake up and see that the welfare state is the new slavery, that total dependence upon the government destroys self-esteem and that the cycle of poverty can never be broken by endowing money, only by empowering people--not by training them to be victims.

Yes, there's a racial slant to the tragedy in the wake of hurricane Katrina. But it happened decades before the storm struck. It happened when white elitists in the Democratic party discovered a legal way to buy votes, with no regard to the demoralization, degradation, and dehumanization it brought to the once-proud people upon whose backs the nation was built; the people who fought so valiantly for equal standing as Americans; the people whose leaders gave their lives for the gains of the Civil Rights movement. Gains that have now been pulverized to better pave the DNC's road to power.

9/9/05 - From Associated Pr... (Below threshold)
Jack:

9/9/05 - From Associated Press

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said that radio equipment and portable generators she requested from the federal government a week ago had yet to arrive. Federal officials said they were tracking down the status of the items.




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