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President Bush and the Katrina Response

The Looney Left has been on fire trying to pin all the problems with Hurricane Katrina on Bush. Remember all the "Bush Stayed on Vacation" nonsense? From Reuters

bushmap.jpg
U.S. President George W. Bush is handed a map by Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin (R) during a video teleconference with federal and state emergency management organizations on hurricane Katrina from his Crawford, Texas ranch on August 28, 2005.


The Looney Tunes know he is never "on vacation" but it sells well to the gullible... Maybe the power of the picture can refute the idiocy. More...

Bush declares La. emergency
8/27/2005

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 assistance in a number of Louisiana parishes, or counties.

For the first time in (I heard) 34 years the President actually declared a state of emergency before the storm even hit. Then he went a step further...

Bush urges safety from Katrina
8/28/05

CRAWFORD, Texas -- President Bush, as he readied the federal government for a massive relief effort, on Sunday urged people in the path of Hurricane Katrina to forget anything but their safety and move to higher ground as instructed.

"We cannot stress enough the danger this hurricane poses to Gulf Coast communities," Bush said as the storm roared across the gulf toward New Orleans and other communities. "I urge all citizens to put their own safety and the safety of their families first by moving to safe ground."

With forecasters warning of a category five storm, the president made sure the federal response would not be delayed by already declaring emergencies in Mississippi and Florida just hours after a similar declaration for Louisiana. Such declarations make federal aid available to assist with disaster relief, but they are rarely made before a storm even hits.

Sorta weird to read that the way history unfolded huh?

Lastly, as has been widely reported, Bush even called Blanco personally and urged her and Nagin to declare a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. Anyone who says Bush was not on top of this is either lying or delusional.... Bush was far more on top of it than the mayor of New Orleans who had to be reminded by the National Weather Service that hurricanes were dangerous.

Of course FEMA, and the idiot who runs it, are a different matter.


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Comments (147)

Oops! It's those darn facts... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Oops! It's those darn facts gettin' in the way of a good yarn ag'in.

Unless the picture is really a composite of a stuffed manikin and background projected on bluescreen... in which case it's another signature Rove. Ah, another masterpiece. He really should start a gallery.

So perfect. Love this post... (Below threshold)
JimK:

So perfect. Love this post.

Paul, I have been reading y... (Below threshold)
conor:

Paul, I have been reading your blogs with interest and am glad that you are safe and well. However I am amazed by your unwavering support of your President. Whether its blind patriotism or a radical hatred of the media, Bush can appear to do no wrong on this site, be it Kevin, Jay Tea or yourself who authors the story. I was hoping for some pragmatic and unbiased news from a man on the ground, such as yourself. However showing a picture of Bush looking at a weather report to suggest that he has been on top of the situation from the outset is quite possibly one of the funniest things that I have ever read!

Similarly if you take solace thinking that Bush et al have done their jobs in dealing with Katrina, then you are without doubt truly a model citizen.

conor, your judging the fac... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

conor, your judging the facts, Bush' picture, based off you own conclusions. It should work the other way around if you are worried about being unbiased.

You know, I think one could... (Below threshold)

You know, I think one could put together a fairly blistering anti-Bush post regarding the Katrina response ... without dragging Bush's vacation and fundraising into it.

--|PW|--

The facts are clear. There ... (Below threshold)
Conor:

The facts are clear. There was a hurricane, a city was destroyed, inhabitants were displaced and there was no official response from local authorities or the national executive.

On the other hand, any criticism of the government is seen as moonbattery. What is complete moonbattery to me is that there are so many people who will defend their government at any cost when all the evidence suggests that there has been a catastrophic failure from every level of government from the mayor right up to the president, the cabinet and his advisors.

By all means be a good patriot, love your country and your president but be big enough to accept that he is capable of making mistakes. There are fanatics on both sides of the political divide that would accept verbatim the spin that falls from their leader's mouthes. However such is life and as we all know they are enough suckers out there gullible enough to believe everything their government tells them.

This is a picture only some... (Below threshold)
Bull:

This is a picture only someone as dumb as Jimk could love.

Keep on trying boys. Soon enough something will stick. And then your boy can get back to work ruining this country.

I can hardly wait until it affects you guys personally, for you to finally realize you've been hitting the koolaid too hard and have been duped.

The facts are clear. Th... (Below threshold)

The facts are clear. There was a hurricane, a city was destroyed, inhabitants were displaced and there was no official response from local authorities or the national executive.

That is about the most unrealistic statement of a bold-faced lie I have ever read. The fact that you say it so unashamedly proves how unflinching you are before evidence that contradicts your wild-eyed assertions.

FWIW, Paul, I also blogged about this AP report here, and noted that "officials" from the government were in Baton Rouge on Monday! So much for that "no official response" lie.

Connor,There are a... (Below threshold)
NtvAmrcn:

Connor,

There are also fools out there who have been raised from childhood to believe that the government is the answer to all their woes in life. A little common sense and a modicum of personal responsibility could have alleviated much of what we are seeing on TV today. It amazes me too, that so many do not give a thought about what we are not seeing that is the pride of simple everyday people in this country. The MSM focuses on the worst in everything. If you would sit down and really thing about this dissaster, you could come to no other conclusion than this has been a fantistic success, the likes of which the planet has never seen. Even with the obvious fact that so many have died and so many others are having to deal with the facts of being alive on the face of this planet. Thank god I do not live it the area which was so devastated, but if ever I find myself in that situation, I couldn't think of another country in which I would rather be than right here in the USA!! Even with all the idiots who are more concerned with the blame game than actually focusing their efforts on doing something constructive!

It is easy to say something... (Below threshold)
Rachel:

It is easy to say something false (the looney left is trying to pin all of the problems on Bush) and then disprove it. I think almost everyone knows there is a lot of blame to go around. To protect the Bush Administration on this one is wheels' off. They have to take a lot of blame and they know it. Why else would they say, "Don't play the blame game" and, yet, have people including Tom Delay and the always exciting "senior Bush official" quoted in so many newspapers blaming the state and the city? They are concerned and should be.

It is pretty disingenuous to say that someone was on top of a situation when that same person goes on national TV with a line that nobody anticipated the concept of the levees breaking. It didn't wash and he was given a new set of talking points (including, don't play the blame game).

Moreover, from a public relations standpoint, honoring commitments for a Medicare speech after the storm hits, going to a fundraiser at a golf resort in Arizona, and having a photo op with a country singer after the levees have given way does not show a President really in touch with the pulse of the nation. I don't want to argue about whether or not anything better would have happened had he actually done his flyover earlier and started to sense a real crisis. To his credit, things happened, but only after that point.

And your case might be a smidge more effective had this President not been so bullheaded or resolute in honoring his commitments to donors and to issues that could have waited until after he tended to the thousands whose lives were in jeopardy and forever changed in the Gulf region.

But that guitar with the Presidential seal was pretty cool. I guess that just couldn't wait.

"A fantastic success the li... (Below threshold)
Conor`:

"A fantastic success the likes of which the planet has never seen"?!!!!! In the words of a great tennis player " you can not be serious"! What success are you talking about? Don't you remember St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day, the day after Christmas Day, whatever day you call it? There was a tidal wave of biblical proportions. The international response was immediate. Without detracting from the severity of Katrina, the Asian Tsunami affected hundreds of millions of people, continents. Katrina is a local issuse, the type of which could have been planned for. To say that execution of the recovery and rescuse operation was a success is an insult to the families and friends of those whom have perished.

The people of New Orleans are blaming the politicians, the media are blaming the politicians and the politicians are blaming each other! Blame game? Get real.

As for "a modicum of personal responsibility" well, they do say that hindsight is 20/20. How unfortunate that the citizens of New Orleans did not possess more responsible civic minded people like yourself! I'm sure had you been there the disaster would have been avoided and we'd all be laughing about it!!

Apologies for any typing er... (Below threshold)
Conor:

Apologies for any typing errors and spelling mistakes

Connor,I agree tha... (Below threshold)
robert:

Connor,

I agree that calling this thing a great success is a bit of a stretch.

Nevertheless, if one lives 8 feet below sea level, and between two levies designed for a "fast moving cat 3" - with a cat 5 heading your way - it doesn't take a lot of civic responsibility to figure out that it is time to act. If you can walk, you can get to high ground. A great majority did just that.

I have less sympathy for the able, but unwilling, than for the willing, but unable. The failure to invoke the evacuation plan left hospital and nursing home patients stranded. This was intollerable. Busses rusted in the lots and many died.

Similarly, the failure to deploy the 7000 National Guard to NO, and the blocking of Red Cross food and water trucks to the Superdome was probably criminal.

These were failures of the City and State, not Bush or FEMA.

Conor, you should be asking... (Below threshold)
Krusty Krab:

Conor, you should be asking why Mayor Nagin waited until a week after the hurricane to forcibly remove people from the city who lived in high flood-risk areas, and failed to provide the transportation to those without transportation that his own emergency planning had called for for. You can keep denying it as long as you want, but the facts say that it was Bush who pushed Nagin and Blanco to act before the storm struck, and not the other way around.

If you don't have the 120,000+ people left in the city, you don't have the same scale of human disaster. And there is no doubt who had the legal authority to make this happen, and who failed to do so... Mayor Nagin.

Now Nagin is forcing evacuation in dry parts of the city as water and power are being turned back on in those areas, after there is no fucking point. And he still isn't letting the Red Cross into the city. What a complete fucking moron.

'there was no official resp... (Below threshold)
ICallMasICM:

'there was no official response from local authorities or the national executive. '

WTF?

What Bush should be blamed for is deferring in any way to completely incompetent assclowns like Ray Nagin or Kathleen Blanco.

It is pretty disingenuo... (Below threshold)

It is pretty disingenuous to say that someone was on top of a situation when that same person goes on national TV with a line that nobody anticipated the concept of the levees breaking. It didn't wash and he was given a new set of talking points (including, don't play the blame game).

This is another LIE that seems to not die. The facts are that EVERY DISASTER SIMULATION speculated that the storm surge would "overtop" the levees, NOT that the levees would break. See, for instance this NYT article titled "Government saw flood risk, not levee failure."

To quote:

Army Corps personnel, in charge of maintaining the levees in New Orleans, started to secure the locks, floodgates and other equipment, said Greg Breerwood, deputy district engineer for project management at the Army Corps of Engineers.

“We knew if it was going to be a Category 5, some levees and some flood walls would be overtopped,” he said. “We never did think they would actually be breached.” The uncertainty of the storm’s course affected Pentagon planning.
It didn't wash because people like you ignore the facts. EVEN THE INFAMOUS TIMES-PICAYUNE SERIES about the big one posited the levees being overtopped, NOT BREACHED.

If you don't think there's a difference, try a little experiment: Fill your bathtub to overflowing.

Now, fill your bathtub and knock a hole in the side of it. See which one fills your bathroom quicker and is more difficult to deal with.

"You can keep denying it as... (Below threshold)
Dave G.:

"You can keep denying it as long as you want, but the facts say that it was Bush who pushed Nagin and Blanco to act before the storm struck, and not the other way around."

The facts do not say this. He spoke with them a half-hour before their press conference when they announced the evacuation. He spoke with Blanco, not Nagin. So could he have seconded the notion? Sure - definitely. But to say he "pushed" for action is just silly. And this is the federal government, remember? In times of crisis, they're supposed to respond. And they didn't. National disasters of this type are FEMA's priority, and they were completely baffled, and Bush's response was halting, confused and insensitive.

Could much have been done before that wasn't? Yes. And that's on the feds, the locals and the state, all together. Buses, sure -- Nagin coulda grabbed as many as possible. The Feds could have come in and done the same with Greyhound. I give just about everybody involved prior to the storm about a D+, at best.

But people were told to go to the Superdome. And they were left there for days while the federal government fiddled. They were evacuated Saturday. Five days later! This unquestioning need to circle the wagons, no matter what, is ridiculous. Doesn't this stuff make you angry? If a society cannot band together to help its most needy at a time like that -- when they're sleeping in their own crap in a stadium -- what good is the government? Why have a government at all? Don't give me that BS about people expecting too much of the government. Expecting food and water after you went to the area you were told to go to after a hurricane is about the lowest possible expectation anyone can have of the government -- and this one didn't even do that. Unacceptable.

Conor:I never said... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Conor:

I never said the entire government was blameless... What site have you been reading? FEMA has been a debacle. (go read my posts) The Governor should be held criminally liable. (and Nagin is 50/50 in my book)

But the loony tunes keep saying Bush was on vacation and not paying attention. If you believe that, you are believing a delusion. Contemporaneous reports prove otherwise.

You are welcome to enjoy your Bush hating delusions, just don't expect me to join you.

Golly, Bush signed a piece ... (Below threshold)

Golly, Bush signed a piece of paper put in front of him. Wow. Now there's bold, decisive leadership. I suppose that it's technically true that it was hands-on, assuming he didn't use an auto-pen, but really...

And I love that bogus overtopped versus breached controversy. A man who hasn't met an English sentence he couldn't scramble more thoroughly than the eggs at Joe's Diner suddenly knows the difference between breached and overtopped. A man so obsessed with non-existent weapons of mass destruction, he can't be bothered protecting the citizens he swore on a Bible to protect from genuine, real, predicted catastrophe.

Bush strummed, New Orleans drowned.

Yea Bush did a wonderful jo... (Below threshold)
neologic:

Yea Bush did a wonderful job, everything just right, and its Bush haters and media who just dont get it. Mike Brown is the best FEMA director ever, and the people who died were lazy and stupid anyway.

One little problem with your central idea: Clinton declared many areas disasters BEFORE hurricanes struck- can you do even basic fact checking before you spew your talking points ?

Sadly stating an opinion co... (Below threshold)
Conor:

Sadly stating an opinion contrary to the editorial line is a kin to pissing against the wind. There will be apologists for the powers inadequacies and failings as there always has been. Perhaps in years to come history will reveal what really happened, until then, the rest is just speculation and hyperbole.

All this is almost funny, i... (Below threshold)
NtvAmrcn:

All this is almost funny, if it weren't for so many people who are dying. I live in a hurricane prone area. I have been in at least 5, don't remember exactly how many, but I DO remember when they are above Cat 3 I got the hell out. That is just a slight , and I mean slight, amount of personal responsibility.

I am not even a native of the area in which I live but I learned pretty dam quick that I must be a little bit prepared for something like we are witnessing today in LA and the Gulf Coast. I have evacuated my home only once in the past 10 years due to a hurricane.

But what I am seeing today really discusts me. Cause I see a multitude of people who are ignoring our "leaders" and just helping their neighbors. I see a military who is doing a fantastic job in spite of a beurocracy that is totally incompetent. Sadly, I see a bunch of politicions who care more about "the blame game" to save their incompetent asses than they care about taking care of a disaster which is killing thousands.

I'll put my faith and survival into the hands of myself and my neighbors anytime over those I am watching on TV anytime.

According to the National R... (Below threshold)
tubino:

According to the National Response Plan, which Bush accespted without apparently understanding, DHS/FEMA OWNED the problem from the day Bush declared an emergency and invoked the Stafford Act. That was August 27.

The utter failure of FEMA is underscored by Bush failing to appear the least bit concerned about the deterioration. Why wasn't he angrily making phone calls, demanding explanations and solutions? Did he ever ask why the Red Cross was barred? Did he ever ask why offers of trucks, water, and buses was refused by FEMA?

Answer: he didn't care. He chose to politicize it rather than solve it.

His only actions have been to assure that the feds will award lots of nice fat no-bid contracts to fix the the oil industry, and probably Trent Lott's house. Halliburton has had contracts for almost a week now.

Hey he's getting away with it in Iraq, why not here?

$100 billion spent on DHS, and now the whole relief effort depends on charities and additional spending legislated by Congress. Even today there is no coordinated federal response.

It's worse than disgusting. It's evil.

<a href="http://www.thinkpr... (Below threshold)
jen:

http://www.thinkprogress.org/katrina-timeline

here is a pretty accurate and detailed timeline about the events that happened prior, during and after katrina hit.

i know there is enough blame to go around but the blind defense of bush and refusal to criticize or even listen to criticism is crazy. why didn't you post the picture of bush playing guitar after katrina hit? or condi shopping for shoes? or cheney house-hunting?

Be sure to catch the revise... (Below threshold)
tubino:

Be sure to catch the revised timeline!!!
http://tinyurl.com/b7389

The short version is that the National Response Plan (NRP) + the WH invocation of the Stafford Act on Aug. 27 made Katrina an "Incident of National Significance." This is significant! It means all this mewling and claims of federal powerless (because Blanco didn't say pretty please etc.) are just self-serving and misleading BS.

It means FEMA had full authority and responsibility to do all in its power TWO DAYS BEFORE Katrina hit. It also means it had full power and responsibility to put in place resources PRIOR to the hit, and that included getting medical and food/water resources to the Superdome, which had already been designated as a refuge. Note that this WAS done in Florida (in an election year, though!).

more here from a fact-laden post at Kos (see http://tinyurl.com/79jym).

The bitter irony is that the NRP was crafted by DHS to eliminate the very bureacratic snafus that DFS is trying to hide behind now -- which largely didn't exist anyway. If state and local politicians weren't up to the job, if one of the poorest states in the union didn't have adequate resources, or if all the local resources were obliterated in a nuclear attack, FEMA was empowered and obligated to take charge.

If state and local pols were incompetent, MIA, or AWOL, then all the more reason for FEMA to have taken charge -- as Blanco made possible on Aug. 26!

I believe the federal non-response was criminal, and resulted in the unnecessary loss of thousands of lives.

Agreed with jen and turbino... (Below threshold)
Dave G.:

Agreed with jen and turbino. Bush was so involved he was fiddling around for two days before even saying anything. And now they're shifting blame, as usual. Never an eye towards responsibility. We needed a leader and he wasn't there. If it's not running right - which it was clear early on that it wasn't - you step in. As a president. You don't have the authority to control the state Nat'l Guard? Then work with other people. Kick their asses to make it run right. Lead decisively and others will follow. Guiliani did it in NYC when Bush was hiding in Kansas. Simply making a phone call to "express concern" that morning wasn't enough. I agree -- not everyone knew of the ramifications, and Bush was right to declare the state of emergency, and Nagin was right to call for the first evacuation in the city's history. They all did a little, but not enough beforehand, but they did some. But the largest failure after rests in FEMA and the Administration's hands.

BTW, that photo of Bush get... (Below threshold)
tubino:

BTW, that photo of Bush getting the briefing is really a smoking gun. The guy who called the conference essentially said he was doing his best to let everyone know that THIS WAS THE BIG ONE, and the president needed to know about it.

IOW, he was running around with his hair on fire, and did his best to get the president to cope with the seriousness of it, by ensuring that the proper response was in place BEFORE the disaster!

And once again, Bush ignored the warning!

I'm glad you posted this, because the DHS and FEMA heads are trying to claim they couldn't have known etc. Even Bush LATER claimed no one thought the levee might break -- but he was briefed otherwise days before!!!

I'm telling you, when you see what he knew and when he knew it...

and what his own National Response Plan says he promised to do when he signed the Aug. 27 declaration...

it absolutely looks like criminal negligence.

How to tell when an anti-Bu... (Below threshold)

How to tell when an anti-Bush meme is collapsing: the BDS sufferers emerge from the woodwork.

What, exactly is collapsing... (Below threshold)
Dave G.:

What, exactly is collapsing? Huh? That Bush, was, what? In charge? Leading with conviction? Are you honestly proud of your president at this time? I mean, seriously. This response/situation doesn't make you upset? He didn't return to Washington until Wednesday. Yes, he can still work from Crawford. But he was off doing campaigning on Monday and Tuesday, essentially. This entire 'meme-buster' rests on the idea that he gets updates at his ranch in Texas. Well, bully for him. As we've seen in the past, it doesn't mean he's actually really doing much of anything. So is he "technically" on a vacation the way, say, someone goes on a honeymoon? No. Congrats. You've won that incredible argument. But was he still on vacation, in the figurative sense, as in, "out to lunch"? Yes.

I see the latest "gotcha" K... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

I see the latest "gotcha" Katrina talking point is "You're an apologist for Bush, in your eyes he can do no wrong."

Incorrect, of course. Bush does lots of things wrong. Immigration. Not vetoing huge spending bills. Et cetera.

But he really didn't do anything wrong in this case, except possibly to trust the people he hired. And, in my book, that's not wrong.

The problem is that in the moonbats' eyes, he can't do anything right. No matter what bad thing happens, it's Bush's fault. If something good happens, though, Bush gets no credit at all from these same people.

But hey, knock yourselves out guys. You're not getting any traction with the spittle-flecked, googly-eyed, hyperactive tirades. More spew from you, more moderates for us. Thanks!

"More spew from you, more m... (Below threshold)
Dave G.:

"More spew from you, more moderates for us. Thanks!"

Are you watching what's going on? Do you see that people are upset? And yet, you continue to couch it as if it's just a bunch of loons, and otherwise, things are going well, or as you put it, "he didn't do anything wrong." Open your eyes.

Jump up and down and shake ... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

Jump up and down and shake that little fist. Stick out that little lower lip. You'll show us! You'll show us good!

Put your little hands on yo... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

Put your little hands on your little hips and scream your little screams of indignation! MOMMY, PEEPUH ARE UNHAPPY AND IT'S ALL DAT BUSHIE'S FAWT!

So essentially, the ... (Below threshold)
Dave G.:


So essentially, the argument boils down like this:

US: "Bush screwed up."

YOU: "Lalalalalalalalai'mnotlisteninglalalalala."

Well played.

More like - YOU: [... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

More like -

YOU: [trips and falls] BUSH SCREWED UP!

YOU: [jams finger] BUSH SCREWED UP!

YOU: [gets something in eye] BUSH SCREWED UP!

MODERATES: What the hell is wrong with that kid?

ME: Nothing that the school of hard knocks won't fix in a few years. In the meantime, have my spare ear plugs.

"There are also fools out t... (Below threshold)
mmmm ... sultry:

"There are also fools out there who have been raised from childhood to believe that the government is the answer to all their woes in life."

geez louise ... this is not an issue of "Government will solve all our problems" ... this is an issue of "it's the Federal Government's JOB to help in a catastrophe of this magnitude!!! It is FEMA's JOB to get in there BEFORE the event (if it's as predictable as this one was) to set up relief so that they can help those in need AFTER.

As for Bush being on vacation - frankly, I find it more offensive that he went out to San Diego and celebrated John McCain's birthday before addressing the crisis in the Gulf ...

... nuttin' like playing guitar and eating cake while people are dying in the street ... frankly, if I was one of you on the Right, I'd be questioning Dan Bartlett's sanity for letting those photo ops take place ...

... but that's just me, I'm funny that way ...

Sultry has it right. A cate... (Below threshold)
Dave G.:

Sultry has it right. A category-4 hurricane isn't the best example of a "character-building" exercise in self-reliance. There's times when relying on government is silly (demanding retribution for spilling a cup of coffee on yourself), and times when its not (a hurricane drowning a whole city).

I'm with you liberals. The... (Below threshold)
moseby:

I'm with you liberals. The next time I see someone jump into the tiger pit at the zoo, I'll be timing the rescue attempts and god help them if they're a second late and the person gets mauled....

While I agree with Paul tha... (Below threshold)

While I agree with Paul that FEMA's performance has been less than stellar, focusing all responsiblity on President Bush for the incredible shortcomings of the government at the local and state levels is ludicrous.

FOR DAYS all we saw on TV was a huge and strengthening hurricane approaching a city that is below sea level. Any responsible local and state official unconcerned about political ramifications or the opinions of their constituents, and concerned moreso about the welfare of said constituents, would have acted prudently and according to the meticulously laid out plans for the evacuation of that city. You simply cannot leave hundreds of thousands of people in a city that MIGHT be underwater. There really is no sane argument to the contrary beyond that.

And harping on about whether the POTUS was in Crawford or in the Oval Office at the time of the hurricane is political caterwauling. You simply cannot expect the POTUS to be at the center of the activity when there are those directly responsible for that activity.

Im sure taht if President Bush had been on the ground the very next morning after the hurricane, all those that are criticizing him now would have been whiny to no end about him using the hurricane as political propaganda.

For the love of life, is there no end to the gutteral depths that the anti-Bush crowd will descend to?

Clinton declared emergencie... (Below threshold)

Clinton declared emergencies for Andrew and Floyd and the right wing smear machine criticized him for it.

The scapegoating of the mayor and gov. are disgusting. Bush isn't to blame for this specific response, but he is to blame for putting such incompetent people in such important positions.

I'm with you liberals. The ... (Below threshold)
mmmm ... sultry:

I'm with you liberals. The next time I see someone jump into the tiger pit at the zoo, I'll be timing the rescue attempts and god help them if they're a second late and the person gets mauled....

gosh, Moseby ... interesting strawman you got there ...

so, you think that the act of living in LA, MS or AL is akin to jumping into a tiger pit at the zoo? do you feel the same about the hard-working, salt-of-the-earth folks who live in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas(tornado alley)? What about the farmers who live near the Mississippi? How about the folks who live near a forest? should they be to blame if the forest catches fire?

... if that is what you truly think, please let us know where we should live so that we can ALL move there and, therefore, "take personal responsibility" to your standards ...

Val, first off: thanks for ... (Below threshold)
Dave G.:

Val, first off: thanks for actually, like, engaging the argument.

1. The state and local officials suck too. And the performance of all three (State, City, Feds) prior to the hurricane hitting ground is about a half-notch above failing. They issued an order to evacuate. Good. They declared an emergency. Good. They (and that's all three) didn't really think about 120,000 people with no real means to leave the city. Bad. Real bad.

2. Nobody here in the comments anyway is carping about whether he was in the Oval Office or in Crawford. And sure, for him to go to the hurricane on like, Sunday or Monday woulda been just plain stupid and would have impeded rescue efforts. But the Mon-Tues campaign whistle-stop nonsense, compared with scenes from the Superdome, his seeming unawareness (and that of Chertoff and Brown) and the duh-duh-duh response from Tues. through Friday is what's unacceptable.

3. "For the love of life, is there no end to the gutteral depths that the anti-Bush crowd will descend to?" And what depth is that? Explain. Leaving out the most extreme, ridiculous thoughts (Bush intentionally killed black people, Bill Clinton murdered Vincent Foster, LBJ killed like everybody), the main theme is really that we see a lack of overall responsibility, and a lack of leadership at a time when it was most needed.

Hey, Dave. You forgot to i... (Below threshold)

Hey, Dave. You forgot to include, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." That would've made your sophomoric ranting complete.

Jinx, do you know how to re... (Below threshold)
Dave G.:

Jinx, do you know how to read?

"And harping on about wheth... (Below threshold)
mmmm ... sultry:

"And harping on about whether the POTUS was in Crawford or in the Oval Office at the time of the hurricane is political caterwauling. You simply cannot expect the POTUS to be at the center of the activity when there are those directly responsible for that activity"

Val - I second Dave - we don't care that he wasn't in LA, MS or AL on Monday or Tuesday. (although, one could point out that he high-tailed it to FL last year the day after the hurricanes there).

While I wouldn't presume to speak for everyone on the Left, I will say that *I* found it offensive that, while people had no food and no water - not just in New Orleans, but across the Gulf - Bush found time to fly out to San Diego, eat birthday cake with John McCain and play guitar with some country singer.

You gotta admit - it just LOOKS BAD. It looks callous.

Especially when you compare it to the "fire in the belly" he had to leave Crawford and sign legislation to prevent the removal of Terry Schaivo's feeding tube.

Like I said in an earlier post, if I was the WH Chief of Staff, I'd be reaming out Dan Bartlett but good for letting those photo ops happen.

Picture/thousand words and all that ...

Anyone who takes the time t... (Below threshold)
tubino:

Anyone who takes the time to read the documents will see that as of Aug. 27, the federal govt claimed responsibility for the hurricane response effort. FEMA should have been in place PRIOR.

It wasn't. FEMA has been systematically disempowered, defunded, and put in control of political hacks. The top THREE positions were filled by Bush with unqualified political hacks.

It's really pretty simple. The Feds, under the 2004 plan designed by THIS administration, had full responsibility -- and completely failed.

The failure of state and local officials is one possibility that is why the National Response Plan was devised.

That Nagin (a DINO who switched from lifelong Repub to Dem to get elected) didn't have a plan to evacuate the poorest is just typical class warfare in this country.

MOdels had shown that the 25-30% of NO without cars would need a big plan for evacuation. And it's not just BUSES -- it's where do you put them, and for how long? Who feeds etc?

Did Bush get on the phone and demand a solution? Of course not.

Did FEMA spot this problem and come up with a solution?

Of course not.

Did they fail, and so thousands died needlessly?

Sure seems like it.

Is Bush annoyed? Of course not. Asked if he would fire Brownie, he asked, "Why would I do that?"

Connect the dots.

Your "Loony Left" brush has... (Below threshold)
al:

Your "Loony Left" brush has become obselete. The positions you're deriding are held by the majority of reasonable people around the world based on an overwhelming and undeniable torrent of facts and experiences, broadcast to us by the very same networks that have for so long been nothing but a laughable propaganda arm for the GOP. The world is recoiling in disgust from Bush and the deformed and ugly American character that he represents, that he has indeed deliberately bred and nurtured. You can't defend him without taking on some of his stench. You can't make this go away with lies and spin and spiteful ridicule and hate. You and your ideological allies are looking more and more ridiculous, delusional, and "looney" to the rest of the world. America is waking up to the fact that it has been co-opted by small-hearted, mean-spirited, fascist jackals, by smug and smirking juveniles. It's crushing that New Orleans had to sink, and then descend into a sub-Iraq horror house, for this to happen. Are you proud of your president? Are you honestly prepared, intellectually and emotionally, to defend your president in the face of the unnecessary deaths of so many thousands? Because of his blinkered and hateful ideology, his lust for power, his contempt for truth, his stunning parochialism, his massive incompetence? Are you, really? If so, count yourself among the legion of yes-men, gladhanders, and syncophants who accompany every historical wave of fascism. And understand that if America has a future, it's future historians will look back at you and yours as victims of a kind of social sickness, a warped and delusional ideology that almost sank the nation.

Wow, the sheer level of moo... (Below threshold)
Robert Modean:

Wow, the sheer level of moonbattery and ignorance on the left is just stunning, but I think I get it.

Just to clear things up, the Whitehouse did not invoke the Stafford Act, Governor Blanco did pursuiant to her declaration of a state of emergency on the 26th. This was neccessary to receive Federal assistance. Also the President's declarations of intent (made on the 27th and 28th) with regard to FEMA's coordiation of disaster relief and mitigation did not empower FEMA to take over relief efforts two days before the hurricane hit, merely to coordinate relief efforts between State and Federal agencies.

There are exceptions to the Stafford Act that allow for direct Federal intervention. Those include drug interdiciton efforts, attacks on U.S. soil involving nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, and a general insurrection.

With regard to the National Response Plan that so many moonbats think is a "silver bullet", sorry - ain't so. A basic premise of the NRP is that incidents are generally handled at the lowest jurisdictional level possible. State and local authorities retain the principal first-response obligation with respect to disaster relief and mitigation even with the invokation of the NRP. What the NRP actually does is give DHS and FEMA the authority to coordinate all federal assistance.

State and local authorities retain the principal first-response obligation with respect to disaster relief and mitigation even with the invokation of the NRP. What the NRP actually does is give DHS and FEMA the authority to coordinate all federal assistance. Even then it cannot be activated until local and state authorities indicate they can no longer manage the emergency on their own.

I'd like to keep this at an actual adult level, unfortunately too many Bush-Bashers would rather engage in mental masturbation as they display their copious ignorance.

Picture/thousand words a... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

Picture/thousand words and all that ...

Yes.

I, for one, am not too keen... (Below threshold)
Ryan A:

I, for one, am not too keen on furthering the politicization of this tragic event. AT ALL.

There are thousands of people who have died, and thousands of people who are now ruined because of what happened.

I am fully aware of the fact that local, state, and federal agencies and officials made plenty of mistakes. I think that those mistakes should be investigated, and appropriate measures should be taken in cases of negligence.

What we cant forget is that this was a freaking catagory 5 hurricane!!! I certainly wouldnt want to be some official in charge when mother nature sends one of those MY way. I mean, there IS a limit as to what we humans can do when natural disasters occur.

People made mistakes, we all know it. Bush quite possibly made mistakes, some of them being more political than anything, some of them tactical. Many people made mistakes, all the way down the ladder. Is this really the time to be laying blame??? All of us screaming at each other about who did what doesnt really accomplish very much. I dont think this needs to be another political wedge...unfortunately here we are again, Liberals and Conservatives fighting, unable to overcome the political divide yet again.

The gulf region was smashed by a hurricane, and all hell broke loose. People died, looting was rampant, people are homeless and in horrid conditions. FUCK POLITICS, lets do all we can to help the people in that region.

It'd be really nice to know... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

It'd be really nice to know what the hell would satisfy you kneejerk anti-Bush imbeciles. If Bush somehow had made Katrina disappear before it made landfall, you jerkoffs would be screaming about his dictatorial control of the weather. If he had pleaded with God to make it disappear or to make it go back out to sea, you'd scream about the separation of church and state.

Really, nothing would ever satisfy any of you drooling mouthbreathers.

Exactly, Ryan. Well said.</... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

Exactly, Ryan. Well said.

oh I forgot to mention...if... (Below threshold)
moseby:

oh I forgot to mention...if the person who jumped into the tiger pit gets mauled...its obviously President Bush's fault...

yeah, I do think pictures s... (Below threshold)
mmmm ... sultry:

yeah, I do think pictures show the PRESIDENT'S priorities:

President Bush plays a guitar presented to him by Country Singer Mark Wills, right, backstage following his visit to Naval Base Coronado, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005.
http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/050830/480/capm10208301856

U.S. President George W. Bush (R) licks frosting off his fingers after presenting Arizona Senator John McCain with a birthday cake on the tarmac at the airport in Glendale, Arizona, August 29, 2005.
http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/050829/ids_photos_ts/r3345646180.jpg

people have no food or water ... and W is licking frosting off his fingers ... not good.

Moseby:I understan... (Below threshold)
Ryan A:

Moseby:

I understand the point that you are making with your tiger pit analogy, but I dont really think that works for what happened here. You cant really compare the people who lived down there to someone who jumped willingly into a dangerous situation. That would be like blaming the citizens of Pompei for their deaths, or blaming the people of SF for being on the freeway in 89 when the earthquake struck. When something this big hits, people are going to die, and there isnt always someone who can be blamed.

"It'd be really nice to kno... (Below threshold)
mmmm ... sultry:

"It'd be really nice to know what the hell would satisfy you kneejerk anti-Bush imbeciles. If Bush somehow had made Katrina disappear before it made landfall, you jerkoffs would be screaming about his dictatorial control of the weather. If he had pleaded with God to make it disappear or to make it go back out to sea, you'd scream about the separation of church and state.

Really, nothing would ever satisfy any of you drooling mouthbreathers.

Posted by: Sue Dohnim"

... Sue - just a word of advice - ad hominem attacks show desperation ... all of us here have been reasonable and respectful to you guys, and we get this invective in return???

... again, I don't speak for everyone on the Left, but *I* would like a little accountability - and, yes, that means from EVERYone - from the President on down.

I would like for ONCE for the buck to actually stop somewhere:
- FEMA prohibited the Red Cross from providing food and water to the folks in the SuperDome - I would like accountability for that decision.
- the Bataan was sitting off the coast waiting for orders (which can only be given by the CiC) - I would like accountability for the decision to wait nearly a week
- firefighters have been sitting at Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta, being put to use as props rather than getting in and helping people in need. I would like accountability for that decision.

I don't blame W for everything that has happened. But, you gotta admit, his appointment of Mike Brown - a man with NO emergency management experience - NOT a good decision. His decision to go ahead with a trip out west and the photo ops there - NOT a good decision.

I'd like the "party of personal responsibility" to start showing some ...

Sultry:people h... (Below threshold)
Ryan A:

Sultry:

people have no food or water ... and W is licking frosting off his fingers ... not good.

Politically, yes, that doesnt look good and we can sit here and harp on all sorts of things like that. We can show pictures of Bush sleeping while some house in NO is being flooded, etc. But thats all sensationalism...we could juxtapose images like that until the sun goes supernova and that doesnt mean that its an accurate assessment of what happened, or what he was doing.

I agree that it wasnt all that wise to do some of the things that Bush did at the time, but that doesnt mean that he wasnt apprised of the situation, and that doesnt mean that he didnt give a damn about what was going on. What you're asking for is purely political and photo-op related. This is the same kind of shit that Bush was hammered on for 9/11, and I'm not sure if its very important.

In these days of our insane and intense media coverage, I think we get a little hyper critical about what humans, even the president himself, are able to do at all hours of the day.

Dave G,Here in Mia... (Below threshold)

Dave G,

Here in Miami, in the event of a hurricane making landfall over us, local and state officials are all over the evacuation procedure. School board buses to Metro-dade buses and every other local and state agency vehicles are used, and effieicently I might add, to evacuate those in harms way. And we arent below sea level. the Florida Keys, for example, have only one way in and one way out, and while some of the locals choose to stay and weather the storms, the evacuations begin way before the storm's landfall and work almost perfectly. this is because our local government's dont dilly dally. If people need to get out, they get them out.

One of the most troublesome images I have seen in the wake of Katrina is that of the local NOLA school bus yard filled with buses parked next to each other and underwater. In miami, those buses would have been used immediately and up until the point where driving through the storm would be more dangerous than staying within the storm.

There is noone to blame for those buses being wasted but the local government. perhaps they would not have been enough to remove the 120,000 you mention, but 150 buses at 50 persons per bus is 7500 people per trip. Lets say two hours per trip with evacuation beginning just one day before landfall you get 90,000 peopl eout. That is exactly waht the local and state governments are supposed to do.

As for the Presidents actions directly after the hurricane I can only say that I would be hard pressed to imply that he was not on top of things from the get go. There really isnt much one can do directly after a hurricane but assess the damage and instigate the prepared plan.

We see all the images via TV from helicopters and see the devastation, but when you are in it, on the ground, it is a completely different story. Ive lived in Miami my emntire live, know the city like the back of my hand, and after Andrew, while out in the affected areas helping out, I got lost I dont know whow many times. There's no street signs, crap all over the streets, no landmarks, nada. Now imagine sending a bunch of troops that have never been to the affected cities without local authorities there to guide them. It would be anarchy.

As to your thrid point, I truly dont see a lack of leadership. What I see is an overwhelming and unprecedented catastrophy and a system in place that needs work.

Wow, where to start? The co... (Below threshold)
Eno:

Wow, where to start? The comments of Tubino, Dave G. and Conor began as some constructive criticism, and eventually devolve into the puerile name calling that we see the Cindy Sheehan types fall into when questioned. Nonoe of the aforementioned commentors have told us how FEMA's "slow" response was afffected by the path of the hurricane or the disaster's effect on local roads, bridges and railroads. What we do know (See Sue's picture above) that local authorities had the ability to move far more people as the disaster began, and failed to act. We also know that FEMA (who made many mistakes by the way) was on the scene within the 72 to 96 hour window their regulations allow.
We know that Mayor Nagin's "plan" did not provide transportation to the poor and needy. The Feds do not run or regulate local evacuation plans, guys.
We know the National Guard and the Red Cross were delayed by the Mayor and Governor.
We know that local law enforcement was non-existant at the Mayor's Superdome Center.
I would refer you to a number of different websites and newspaper articles from the last several years to prove your "its all Bush's fault!!!!" meme to be silly.

What's really pathetic about you three is that FEMA could have done a better job in spite of those screwups by the idiot Mayor and Gov. But we are so determined to find fault with leadership we're going to argue the most ridiculous points to assert our position, and fail to constructively discuss a resolution to shortcomings of FEMA.

It is FEMA's JOB to get... (Below threshold)

It is FEMA's JOB to get in there BEFORE the event (if it's as predictable as this one was) to set up relief so that they can help those in need AFTER.

If you'd have read the article listed above, you'd have noted that FEMA was moving supplies at least on Sunday, and that the hated Michael Brown was in Baton Rouge on Monday.

As to supplies, you'd have to be a dramatic idiot to move needed relief supplies directly into the path of a hurricane.

One other thing that needs to be kept in perspective here was that the situation on the ground Monday evening was thought to have been stable. N.O. officials are even quoted saying things were "relatively quiet." Then the levee breaks, water starts rising, and all hell breaks loose. Get it through your heads people that the disaster changed its face a day after the hurricane hit.

Allow me to summarize this ... (Below threshold)
Robert:

Allow me to summarize this website:

Bush is doing a bang-up job.
Nothing that goes wrong is ever his fault.
Republicans are the party of accountability.
Lefties have an irrational hatred of Bush.
(It's not because everything he touches turns into a disaster).
The media is liberal.
(Even though they are responsible for putting Bush in office).

It cracks me up when the left talks about Bush's smirk.
If I got away with saying some of the crap that comes out of his mouth, I'd bust a gut laughing.

In these days of our insane... (Below threshold)
mmm ... sultry:

In these days of our insane and intense media coverage, I think we get a little hyper critical about what humans, even the president himself, are able to do at all hours of the day.


Posted by: Ryan A

... Ryan - it demonstrates priorities. I hope the posting that followed clarified my issue - it's not that he can't be kept apprised of the situation wherever he is. It's what he decides is important enough to show up for.

- 100,000 people die in a tsunami and he can't be bothered to leave Crawford or even make a public statement about it for 2 days.
- Brain-dead woman getting her feeding tube removed and he high-tails it back to the Oval Office to sign the bill.
- 3 states' coastal regions levelled by a Category 4 hurricane, and he jets out to the Left Coast to talk about retirement and eat birthday cake.

yeah, I'm sure he was kept up to speed the entire time on what was going on on the ground - but where was the leadership? where were the commands to mobilize the Bataan? "our thoughts and prayers are with you" doesn't cut it.

Sultry:Ok. So Bus... (Below threshold)
Ryan A:

Sultry:

Ok. So Bush appointed Mike Brown, and the guy wasnt a good choice. It's true. Bush could have made a different choice. But, seriously, a catagory 5 hurricane is going to kill people, alot of people, when it slams into a vulnerable city like NO. Bashing Bush for the choice he made is fine, but dont forget that the major CAUSE of all this is the hurricane. Bush's choice of Brown isnt the cause. MAYBE another person would have done better, but thats pure conjecture.

And as I said above, the decision to attend the photo-ops, at least in my opinion, wasnt the greatest of all time. But thats all political bullshit in my mind, and not really indicative of what Bush was doing during the crisis. It's spin more than anything. Bush could have been doint the same amount, whether he was actually in the gulf region, in san diego, or wherever. Pictures of him in NO, for instance, may comfort certain people, but that doesnt mean that he's doing anything beyond making a political appearance.

bryan, who I'm sure is an e... (Below threshold)
tubino:

bryan, who I'm sure is an emergency management specialist, squeezes this out: "As to supplies, you'd have to be a dramatic idiot to move needed relief supplies directly into the path of a hurricane."

No. That's what you do, because we have these big things, called buildings, with protected basements and stuff.

Prior placement of resources is EXACTLY what FEMA has done -- to great success -- prior to many hurricanes. It was done last year in Florida, a key state in an election year.

Idiot.

Never "on vacation"???? Tha... (Below threshold)

Never "on vacation"???? That's the biggest joke I've ever read. I saw Jesse Jackson actually rescuing people in New Orleans. I saw Bush playing guitar, eating cake, and riding his bike during the disaster.

You people sicken me.

Robert tosses out this nons... (Below threshold)
tubino:

Robert tosses out this nonsense: "Just to clear things up, the Whitehouse did not invoke the Stafford Act, Governor Blanco did pursuiant to her declaration of a state of emergency on the 26th. This was neccessary to receive Federal assistance. Also the President's declarations of intent (made on the 27th and 28th) with regard to FEMA's coordiation of disaster relief and mitigation did not empower FEMA to take over relief efforts two days before the hurricane hit, merely to coordinate relief efforts between State and Federal agencies."

Obviously you haven't read the document the president issued, which did indeed invoke the Stafford Act. But here's the language you don't understand:
-----------------------
From the NPR:
"The President leads the Nation in responding efficiently and ensuring the necessary resources are applied quickly and effectively to all Incidents of National Significance." (NHP, 15)

"The Secretary of Defense authorizes Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) for domestic incidents as directed by the President or when consistent with military readiness operations and appropriate under the circumstances and the law."

Federal departments and agencies are EXPECTED to provide:
initial and/or ongoing response, when warranted, under their own authority and funding;

alert, notification, pre-positioning and timely delivery of resources;

proactive support for catastrophic or potentially catastrophic incidents using protocols for expedited delivery of resources. (NRP, 6)
------------------------
I'll post the President's declaration in next post.

Tubine:Actually, i... (Below threshold)
Ryan A:

Tubine:

Actually, in my opinion, what Bryan said makes some sense. It doenst sound very wise to me to put alot of valuable supplies right in the path of a catagory 5 hurricane.

"Protected basements and stuff" dont always hold up under the stress of such a massive hurricane. Did you see the photos of Biloxi? What good would those supplies do under a pile of rubble?

More lies, lies, lies from ... (Below threshold)

More lies, lies, lies from stupid conservatives.

Take a look at REAL timelines that show what occurred when, instead of repeating what you saw on some other idiot's blog.

http://movies.crooksandliars.com/Countdown-Timeline-Katrina.wmv
or
http://www.basetree.com/articles/katrina-versus-bush.html
or
http://www.thinkprogress.org/katrina-timeline
or
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Hurricane_Katrina
or
http://www.dkosopedia.com/index.php/Hurricane_Katrina_Chronology


You, like King George, are a LIAR.

Okay, take a deep breath an... (Below threshold)
tubino:

Okay, take a deep breath and look at what President Bush declared on Aug. 27, and then ask yourself why you believe a lot of BS instead of just reading this. It makes "inoperative" half the post above.
LINK:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/08/20050827-1.html

Statement on Federal Emergency Assistance for Louisiana


The President today declared an emergency exists in the State of Louisiana and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the parishes located in the path of Hurricane Katrina beginning on August 26, 2005, and continuing.

The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives, protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the parishes of Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, Claiborne, Catahoula, Concordia, De Soto, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Pointe Coupee, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, St. Helena, St. Landry, Tensas, Union, Vernon, Webster, West Carroll, West Feliciana, and Winn.

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

Representing FEMA, Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Department of Homeland Security, named William Lokey as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: FEMA (202) 646-4600.

Hmm, take a look at a map o... (Below threshold)

Hmm, take a look at a map of the Parishes you mention- they're all in NORTHERN Lousisana. I don't see Orleans parish listed, or any other southern parish. Kinda weird, no? Odd they'd focus on the North, unless they don't give a shit about the people in the South, directly in the Hurricane's path!

http://www.bobharris.com/content/view/637/1/

Compare FEMA in Florida, in... (Below threshold)
tubino:

Compare FEMA in Florida, in an election year:

Locally, top sustained winds the day the storm struck only reached 47 mph and did minimal damage to just a handful of buildings. Just 5 percent of county residents even lost power, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, which uncovered FEMA's unusual largess. The newspaper reported that within two days of Frances' arrival FEMA officials knew Miami-Dade had been unscathed, and yet the checks soon flowed into the county. "They were just doling out this money like it was Christmas," a spokeswoman for Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., told the Sun-Sentinel. (Eventually, 14 Miami-Dade residents who received assistance were indicted on fraud charges.)
. . . The Miami-Dade financial windfall came courtesy of President Bush who, following the request of his brother, declared the county a disaster area as the hurricane began to strike the coast. But Miami-Dade officials never even asked for disaster designation, for a very simple reason: Frances came ashore 120 miles to the north.

Want more?
http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2005/09/05/hurricane_track_record/index.html

Sheesh, people. Use some go... (Below threshold)

Sheesh, people. Use some gottdamn common sense. You do not send more people into an area that will soon be hit by a category 5 hurricane. You also do not send supplies into the area as well, not in a city like New Orleans that is below sea level.

Common sense. Look it up if you dont remember what the hell it means.

Want to compare how FEMA ca... (Below threshold)
tubino:

Want to compare how FEMA can do its magic in Florida, in an election year?

http://billmon.org/archives/002125.html

GREAT STUFF.

And blows away you guys who think the govt can't pre-position, can't be there right after a hurricane, etc.

It can -- WHEN DIRECTED BY THE PRESIDENT.

tubino,Do you live... (Below threshold)

tubino,

Do you live in Florida? Cause if you dont, then an "opinion" column from salon, of all places, doesnt quite cut it.

oh, fercryingoutloud, peopl... (Below threshold)
mmmm ... sultry:

oh, fercryingoutloud, people ...

GO LOOK AT THE FEMA SITE!!! (www.fema.gov) bop on over to the press section and click on archives - click on August and you will find announcements BEFORE the hurricane that they had deployed people to the Gulf (including - GASP - New Orleans) ...

Yes, Bryan - you DO put emergency personnel and materials into the path because, after the fact, they might not have hours to wait for these folks to mosey on into town.

it's the corollary to "ships are safe in harbors, but that's not what ships are built for" ... FEMA's emergency personnel might be safe in Idaho, but that's not what they're there for ...

When the worst president ev... (Below threshold)
T:

When the worst president ever made his declaration on the 26th, he said right there that FEMA wass in charge. They failed miserably and should be held accountable.

Why did they fail miserably? Because W. decided to appoint all his friends to FEMA, rather than Commerce or Labor, where politicians like him usually send their cronies. It's probably a good idea for him to appoint idiots, they can always serve as scapegoats when something goes wrong. Then George doesn't have to take any responsibility for anything.

This is the president who's supposed to be making us more secure? What a laugh.

I hate to get off topic but... (Below threshold)

I hate to get off topic but I'm just DYING to know what Mike Myers had to say about Kanye's blurb the other night....Watching the video of that, you can't help but feel for Mike Myers....

His whole "get-me-off-stage PUH-LEEZ" looks off camera were classic....

The Video clip over at PutFile

Val,FEMA does pre-... (Below threshold)
tubino:

Val,

FEMA does pre-position supplies, in areas and buildings that are extremely low-risk. It's what you do in emergency management. Read what FEMA did in Florida (okay, in an election year):
http://billmon.org/archives/002125.html

FEMA could have had food water and medical resources in the superdome, which is low-risk, and for that reason had already been designated a refuge in plans drawn up months ago. Which is why FEMA SHOULD HAVE DONE SO.

C'mon, wise up.

... on a happier not... (Below threshold)
mmmm ... sultry:


... on a happier note - check out the guardsman on the front page:
http://www.nola.com/

... thought we could all use a breather and a rescue pic ...

mmmm ... sultry wrote:</... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

mmmm ... sultry wrote:

I would like for ONCE for the buck to actually stop somewhere:
- FEMA prohibited the Red Cross from providing food and water to the folks in the SuperDome - I would like accountability for that decision.

Blanco's people blocked it. Accountability right here. Try reading the website you're on, please.

- the Bataan was sitting off the coast waiting for orders (which can only be given by the CiC) - I would like accountability for the decision to wait nearly a week

This isn't a video game; ships like the Bataan don't instantaneously teleport to where they're needed. They were being loaded up on August 31. Read about how slow these ships are from a Navy guy. Once again, right on the very website on which you're posting.

- firefighters have been sitting at Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta, being put to use as props rather than getting in and helping people in need. I would like accountability for that decision.

I can't find this story you seem to be talking about here. I searched for "firefighters Hartsfield airport" in Google News and got nothing.

Besides, I don't know why the federal government should be responsible for directing some firefighters sitting in Georgia when the feds already have the military in the disaster area. Your complaint makes no sense.

As for my descent into ad hominem, people who go onto opposing websites and don't bother to actually read the content before cutting and pasting the usual assortment of logical fallacies and outright lies deserve whatever insults I pile on them.

Sue, try searching a little... (Below threshold) Val,Obviously you'... (Below threshold)
tubino:

Val,

Obviously you're new to this whole reading-literacy-critical thinking game.

See, you read a piece, and you note the sources. ARe they credible? Does the Salon article cite govt documents? Are its sources credible, and can they be verified?

Or does it cite anonymous officials, blogs, Fox News reporters, and comments of people without last names?

What's really weird is how few people are willing to face the implications of this disaster for an actual terrorist attack.

An explosive-laden boat could have taken out the levee prior to any warning or evacuation. A nuke can take out all the local pols and the gov too.

That's why the NRP was devised -- so that the feds can manage the whole thing, no matter what.

Which is what was signed off on Aug. 27.

And the resulting disaster should be a warning to you!

FEMA didn't coordinate, didn't even know what was going on on the ground, adn was REFUSING offers of aid!

yeah, adn you want to blame that on the locals.

It's moronic, and dangerous.

And expenstive too. We already paid DHS over $100 billion, and now we have to pay again?!?!?!

Conservatives: doing less with more, and disclaiming any accountability.

More proof of Bush's active... (Below threshold)
DUDACKATTACK:

More proof of Bush's active involvement while on vacation:

http://news.yahoo.com/photo/050830/480/capm10208301856

-And the public is right behind him.
http://www.gallup.com/poll/content/default.aspx?ci=18148

Ah. A KOSsack invasion.... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

Ah. A KOSsack invasion.

Speaking of bad leadership, what happened to that "plan" of Kos's to destroy the DLC?

To Ryan A: I... (Below threshold)
moseby:

To Ryan A:

I see your point. However, SF 1989 and Pompeii were sudden and there was no warning. And my use of the word "jumped" may have been a bit crass, but some folks in NO elected to stay and ride out a CAT 4 hurricane. For the rest of the citizens of NO, I should have covered them in my analogy by saying, "The next time I see Mayor Nagin throw someone into a tiger pit, etc....."

Oh, Sue ... you're actually... (Below threshold)
mmm ... sultry:

Oh, Sue ... you're actually throwing up a radio report in which a FOX reporter was the source - NOT a Red Cross official, a reporter??? and you expect us to take that as Bible???

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported this story over the weekend - WITH a Red Cross spokesperson:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05246/565143.stm

As the National Guard delivered food to the New Orleans convention center yesterday, American Red Cross officials said that federal emergency management authorities would not allow them to do the same.

Other relief agencies say the area is so damaged and dangerous that they doubted they could conduct mass feeding there now.

"The Homeland Security Department has requested and continues to request that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans," said Renita Hosler, spokeswoman for the Red Cross.


As for the firefighter story, try the Salt Lake Tribune (originally reported on the 6th, picked up internationally yesterday):
http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_3004197

ATLANTA - Not long after some 1,000 firefighters sat down for eight hours of training, the whispering began: "What are we doing here?"
As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded on national television for firefighters - his own are exhausted after working around the clock for a week - a battalion of highly trained men and women sat idle Sunday in a muggy Sheraton Hotel conference room in Atlanta.
Many of the firefighters, assembled from Utah and throughout the United States by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, thought they were going to be deployed as emergency workers.
Instead, they have learned they are going to be community-relations officers for FEMA, shuffled throughout the Gulf Coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number: 1-800-621-FEMA.

Wow, tubino illustrates tha... (Below threshold)
Robert Modean:

Wow, tubino illustrates that reading comprehension is not a strong suit among the asshatted left. Actually read what the declaration says, "...The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts...". Somehow in the loony left world that means ASSUMES all disaster relief efforts.

And for cryin' out loud - could you idiots finally read something other than the DU and Billmon and maybe actually find out what it is that FEMA and the state EMAs actually do before you make such assinine satements as "It is FEMA's JOB to get in there BEFORE the event (if it's as predictable as this one was) to set up relief so that they can help those in need AFTER." That's total crap. FEMA has 2500 employees, they're job is to COORDINATE you dumbasses. But what do I know? I've only been working with my state EMA for about 12 years now - obviously a know-nothing jackass such as tubino is imminently more qualified to pontificate on disaster relief than someone who's actually done it.

"FEMA is authorized to iden... (Below threshold)

"FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency."

They didn't provide those things in a timely manner at all. What will they do if there's another attack?

tubino,Read Paul's... (Below threshold)

tubino,

Read Paul's post at the top as to FEMA supplying the Dome. And the personnel that FEMA deploys prior to an event are there to coordinate with local and state efforts prior to the event and if the local and state infrastructure isnt in place, then its a moot point.

I have stated before that the FEMA response has been less than stellar in this case.

But your innuendo that the POTUS picks and chooses one area over the other to assist more promptly is cynically absurd at best.

I have lived through quite a few hurricanes and dealt with FEMA reps more than I care to remember, but this conspiracy theory bullshit some here are expounding does absolutely nothing to address the situation the folks up in the Gulf States are in.

Moseby:I agree tha... (Below threshold)
Ryan A:

Moseby:

I agree that the timetable of SF 89 etc. was alot more sudden.

And I understand what you are talking about when referring to the people who chose to stay there, although I wonder if some people stayed because they werent sure where to go. Maybe they were panicked; I dont know. But in a region with so many people, it doesnt surprise me that alot of people were there when it hit.

For the rest of the citizens of NO, I should have covered them in my analogy by saying, "The next time I see Mayor Nagin throw someone into a tiger pit, etc....."

Ya...I agree that analogy works alot better.

oh, yeah - the Bataan ... <... (Below threshold)
mmmm ... sultry:

oh, yeah - the Bataan ...

... it was IN the Gulf already, then it came in right behind Katrina to the New Orleans area for the sole purpose of supporting emergency personnel - but were not activated for 3 days:

http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=91338&ran=100459

and

http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=19798

they can not act without commands - not from the governor, not from the mayor - but from the Commander in Chief.

Sue said, "Besides, I don't... (Below threshold)
tubino:

Sue said, "Besides, I don't know why the federal government should be responsible for directing some firefighters sitting in Georgia when the feds already have the military in the disaster area."

Sue, it's because the federal govt, including the prez, and sec of defense and many others, agreed to the NRP. Bush invoked it Aug. 27. I cited the language above in which FEMA is supposed to coordinate.

That's how it is, and it works when competently directed.

I didn't make it up. Liberals didn't make it up. The current administration invented the NRP, and signed off on it.

Try this:
http://tinyurl.com/79jym

DUDACKATTACK, you forgot th... (Below threshold)

DUDACKATTACK, you forgot this image from the White House's site that also shows Bush hard at work on his vacation.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/08/images/20050829-5_p082905pm-0125-515h.html

The comments of Tubino, ... (Below threshold)
Dave G.:

The comments of Tubino, Dave G. and Conor began as some constructive criticism, and eventually devolve into the puerile name calling that we see the Cindy Sheehan types fall into when questioned.

Actually, they don't. Comb all my words if you like, but I haven't done much in the way of name-calling other than to spit back at a couple of people who "questioned" people by using words like moonbat, et al, and otherwise just engage in acting like an idiot.

As to your thrid point, I truly dont see a lack of leadership.

Val, I guess we have to agree to disagree then. I see a lack of leadership, indeed. As for the "before" parts of the storm, I've already said -- everyone involved gets about a half-notch above failing for doing about the bare minimum that could be done - at best. State, Feds, and Locals. It's the Tuesday-through-Friday part that is appalling to me, and where I feel the Feds have been incompetent - and where a good manager starts slapping some people around or starts firing people, instead of telling the most incompetent person that he's "doing a heck of a job."

And to this..."It'd be really nice to know what the hell would satisfy you kneejerk anti-Bush imbeciles."

A little leadership would have been nice at this time. He doesn't have to be a deity. Just be the president. Are you satisfied with his response? Can you really say that? We're not up here arguing about a random off-hand comment Bush said during the 2004 campaign, or his "smirk" or "putting food on your family" statement. It's a little bigger than that, so please, if you can, turn off your "Praise Dear Leader" switch for a second.


"A little leadership would ... (Below threshold)
mmmm ... sultry:

"A little leadership would have been nice at this time. He doesn't have to be a deity. Just be the president."

Dave ... I'll second your request for leadership ... with a side of accountability, please ...

Sultry, got the firefighter... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

Sultry, got the firefighter story, thanks to your friend above. Okay, some volunteer firemen are not being utilized. Typical big government garbage. FEMA also screwed up by sending evacuees to Charleston, WV instead of Charleston, SC.

Oh, Sue ... you're actually throwing up a radio report in which a FOX reporter was the source - NOT a Red Cross official, a reporter??? and you expect us to take that as Bible???

Fox is more reliable than most of your sources. It wasn't just on the radio, it was on TV as well, though why that makes a difference only moonbats know.

As far as the source being a reporter, your Post-Gazette info is filtered through a reporter too. Do you have a statement straight from the Red Cross website that supports your argument? No? Then shut the hell up about "reporter" this and "reporter" that. Non-Fox reporters are not somehow more holy and righteous than Fox reporters.

But keep up the talking point bullet list pasting thing. It's won you guys a lot of elections so far. And for Pete's sake don't start thinking for yourselves anytime soon. You might wake up and realize how much damage guys like Kos, DU, and the MoveOn crowd are doing, not to speak of more mainstream voices like Howard Dean and whatnot.

Val,So you dismiss... (Below threshold)
tubino:

Val,

So you dismiss the evidence of FEMA's selective involvement because... it's icky?

NOTE THE SOURCES:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/09/20040906-1.html

http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease_print.fema?id=13745

http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/newsrelated/ivanclose.htm

Those are the links provided in
http://billmon.org/archives/002125.html

You want to argue about the political difference? Right, bring it on.

Oh, you just want to declare it too awful to comtemplate, and dodge it? LalalalalalalalaI can't hear you lalalalalala

Okay, your choice.

Sue - PRIMARY VS. SECONDARY... (Below threshold)
mmmm ... sultry:

Sue - PRIMARY VS. SECONDARY SOURCES!!!
re: the "major garret" story on the Red Cross - the difference is someone SAYING that the Red Cross said something (the Garret version) and going to the proverbial horses mouth.

THAT's the difference between the Post-Gazette story (WITH an official Red Cross spokesperson) and the Garret story echoing around the right-wing-blogosphere.

If you'd like additional proof that it was the Feds not the Governor that prohibited the Red Cross from having access, try the Red Cross FAQ area on their site, itself:

http://www.redcross.org/faq/0,1096,0_682_4524,00.html

"Acess [sic] to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city."

... and, before you get all in a tizzy, there is no Louisiana Homeland Security Department -

I'm a lefty liberal. Let me... (Below threshold)
Pete:

I'm a lefty liberal. Let me give you my opinion.

I absolutely fault local and state government for not having in place, and not executing, a plan to evacuate people out of NO who could not evacuate themselves. Of course, I have always known that Louisianna is probably the most incompetent of the states. That's one problem with "small government" - you still have to bail out the incompetent governments. Sometimes big government can just do a better job.

As to whether the levees would just overtop or would breech - SO WHAT? Beforehand, they knew there was a problem with the levee system overtopping that needed fixing. If the dikes on the levees had not overtopped, the levees would not have been undermined and the dikes would not have collasped.

After the levees broke, the ball was pretty much in FEMA's court. And they did a horrible job. And, I feel, a lot of their performance problems are due to the "small government" dismantling of FEMA by the Bush administration, as well as cronyism by Bush in the appointment of its leaders ( which I partly blame on Democrats for not performing their duties in opposing the poor choices).

I also blame Bush for a poor show of leadership. Not only was he slow in prodding FEMA into action, he was tone death in his public appearances. Rather than pull us all together to help overcome disaster, he left me feeling more worried than before. Yes, we all feel for the loss of Trent's home and I'm sure the government will make it good as new.

As for me, even though I'm a lefty liberal, I always know that I better not depend on the government for anything! I hear a flood is acoming, I'm hopping on my bicycle and pedaling as fast as I can.

Sue said: " You might wake ... (Below threshold)
tubino:

Sue said: " You might wake up and realize how much damage guys like Kos, DU, and the MoveOn crowd are doing..."

I am only hoping that some folk wake up and realize the damage done by turning FEMA into a shadow of its former effectiveness (except for in Florida, in an election year).

We are now supposed to accept that even before the bodies are recovered, corporations are hiring lobbyists to help them get fat contracts. (Halliburton got its first one days ago.) It's in the WSJ today, and elsewhere. Billmon has a great parody here:
http://billmon.org/archives/002142.html

We're supposed to forget that we're growing the national debt (see http://zfacts.com/p/318.html)to fund DHS/FEMA with between $100-$200 B since 9-11, but don't have the preparedness???

We're supposed to be satisfied with an emergency response that can't even clean up the corpses after a week. I'll say it again, the coordination is FEMA's job.

I think it was in a newspaper yeesterday that I read a former FEMA official comparing how it worked under Witt and Clinton with now. Before, the FEMA heads were all in the same control room with the local folks to make sure that aid was directed where needed.

Now, there's no coordination at all.

Why would anyone defend that? It's our tax money. It's our citizens. It's our country that looks like a third-world hellhole in its response.

Bush will be out of office someday. Will we get FEMA back? Will we get back a competent govt that prides itself on earning the respect of its citizens?

Or will all disaster management be turned to an opportunity to give no-bid contracts to political cronies?

(Yes, I have links for that last jab.)

Fine, all of you win. You a... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

Fine, all of you win. You are absolutely right. I agree with you that we should abolish all local and state governments, since they are not responsible for anything that happens in their regions. Why should they exist if they have no responsibilities? They don't have any ships or legions of soldiers or anything like that, so what good are they?

That'll improve things a lot. The troops march in, take over, then that stupid Bush won't be able to pass that buck then, will he? Well have him right where want him then! Can't run and hide and blame other people then!

Wow, now I don't have to worry about anything any more! I'm free! If I had known how liberating this mindset was, I wouldn't have resisted it so much. Thanks guys!

as for me, I would like to ... (Below threshold)
mmmm ... sultry:

as for me, I would like to pose one question to the class ... you don't have to answer it out loud ... just answer it honestly ...

... if the events of the last 10 days had happened EXACTLY the same but for one change - Bill Clinton was in the White House - would you be so quick to assign blame to the Louisiana Governor and Mayor?

would you be so quick to defend his decision to fly out to California and share birthday cake with, say, Sen. Daschle?

would you still say that emergency response is a local issue and that the president really isn't involved?

would you still be saying that his decision to wait until Friday to visit the area was okay?

like I said, you don't have to answer out loud (although, of course, I'd be interested in your response) ... I'd just like for you to answer honestly.

So, a lot of the left, and ... (Below threshold)
jim:

So, a lot of the left, and the mainstream, and also such wacky hippies as Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan, all feel Bush and FEMA dropped the ball and thousands died.

We must all hate America.

So, how's this:

How about a full, independent counsel and bipartisan commission, with subpoena powers investigate this at all levels? From the Mayor all the way up to the President?

That'd be fine, right guys? After all, you feel that Bush is not to blame for anything, so you have nothing to fear.

I love the selective interp... (Below threshold)
Dave G.:

I love the selective interpretation of comments to fit your own worldview without actually engaging in reading comprehension, Sue. That's so awesome. Can I have a turn?

Fine, all of you win. You are absolutely right.

Yay! We win! Yaaaay!

I agree with you that we should abolish all local and state governments, since they are not responsible for anything that happens in their regions.

Hmm. That's not like anything we said, but heck, let's try to re-interpret it. I think you were saying here that potato chips are bad, and actually, they taste good! Yay, we win again!

Why should they exist if they have no responsibilities?

Yeah, you tell em! Now watch this drive!


The troops march in, take over, then that stupid Bush won't be able to pass that buck then, will he? Well have him right where want him then! Can't run and hide and blame other people then!

Yes, that's right! We won't be able to! Because the ruling power in Washington never, ever blames other people. They'd never do that, would they? Nah...wait, what was I saying. Oh yeah, Liberals are bad or something, and Kos failed America because he didn't clean up the hurricane, and, um, something, wait, let me find my bonkers book to consult first...hold on...

Do you think it's possible ... (Below threshold)
jim:

Do you think it's possible for a Republican to fail at something?

Do you think it's possible for a Republican to lie about something?

What would you accept as evidence that Bush has failed at something, or that Bush has lied at something? What would be your criteria?

Dave - GREAT respo... (Below threshold)
mmmm ... sultry:

Dave -

GREAT response ... it was only missing 2 things:
George Soros and Michael Moore.

yay!!! we win!!!

(rolling eyes and rummaging for aspirin)

It's really quite simple:</... (Below threshold)
jim:

It's really quite simple:

Bush is the head of the Federal gov't. FEMA is a federal agency.

Federal gov't exists to protect and provide for national citizens, in ways that state and local gov'ts cannot. We can think that's good or bad, but that's irrelevant: that's the Fed's job.

When at the LA governor's request, Bush declared LA a disaster area, Bush accepted that commitment. He owned it. FEMA owned it.

Bush then failed utterly at that job for days, while thousands of Americans who were depending on him to follow through on that commitment - that Bush accepted of his own free will - DIED.

Do you get it? DIED! THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE!

While Bush dallied for days. All it would have taken was for him to watch the news, and he could have ordered in Nat'l Guardsmen into the Superdome . Airlifted in water, food, medical supplies. Sent in troops to evacuate, to restore order.

And don't give me any of that crap about Blanco not turning over LA's Nat'l Guardsmen. So what? Even if true, Bush has the guardsmen of 49 other states at his disposal! Not to mention the rest of the entire military! Troops and ships all set to go in, just waiting for the call - NO CALL CAME!

Meanwhile FEMA screws everything up. Bush appoints men with no experience to FEMA, doesn't watch him, doesn't even replace him with someone competent now. Therefore Bush owns his mistakes too.

Say what you want about Nagin and Blanco - but they were THERE. Bush couldn't be arsed to leave his playtime ranch, except to be photographed.

Has he even seen some of the drowned US Citizens' bodies yet? I'll guess no. That's not the kind of thing he could bear to see: the bad results of his failures.

Face it. Your boy and his administration blew it. Blew it at a level that far surpasses the extroadinary destructive power of even simple incompetence. Blew it in a way that rises to criminal negligence.

They were warned about it, they knew it was coming for days, and they waited until people were yelling at them to do anything afterwards.

And you, you refuse to accept that Bush failed.

Why is that?

I ask you honestly: what evidence will it take for you to see this?

Nice work, Jim. And Sultry?... (Below threshold)
Dave G.:

Nice work, Jim. And Sultry? Gotta leave 'em laughing, as that Seinfeld episode said, so I'm outta here.

What I find incredibly ridi... (Below threshold)

What I find incredibly ridiculous is that all of you Bush bashers, mmmmm, Dave G, tubino, etal... are all now experts in hurricanes and emergencies and their aftermath. Experts by proxy that is.

I suspect, had any of you actually had to deal with a hurricane and its aftermath, your take might a bit different. But, alas, there's no arguing with those that have made up their minds from the onset, regardless of how sane an argument someone puts forth.

Personally, I welcome any unbiased investigation.

Who knows, it might even prove it was GW himself who donned the scuba gear and pulled the plug out of Sean Penn's boat.

If it was only the FEMA res... (Below threshold)
pete:

If it was only the FEMA response, I might agree with you. After all, it's probably the worst natural disaster we've had in 100 years. As Bush always says in any situation, "It's hard, it's very hard". But this is part of a train of poor planning and executions by the administration. It makes a pattern.

BTW - I AM a bit of an expert, having lived through several and done relief work on others. Based on what I have seen, I find the post-hurricane performance SHOCKINGLY bad.

okay, Val, since you are th... (Below threshold)
mmmm ... sultry:

okay, Val, since you are the expert in emergency response, please answer the following (reposted from above) :

as for me, I would like to pose one question to the class ... you don't have to answer it out loud ... just answer it honestly ...

... if the events of the last 10 days had happened EXACTLY the same but for one change - Bill Clinton was in the White House - would you be so quick to assign blame to the Louisiana Governor and Mayor?

would you be so quick to defend his decision to fly out to California and share birthday cake with, say, Sen. Daschle?

would you still say that emergency response is a local issue and that the president really isn't involved?

would you still be saying that his decision to wait until Friday to visit the area was okay?

like I said, you don't have to answer out loud (although, of course, I'd be interested in your response) ... I'd just like for you to answer honestly.

There's too much crap being... (Below threshold)
acassa:

There's too much crap being spewed to here to even know where to begin.

I however am going to take on Sultry (turbino is hopeless as he keeps trying to maintain that the NRP actually overrides constitutional law - marvelously idiotic to say the least.)

So, Sultry, let me help you here with a little bit of that accountability you are so interested in.

"- FEMA prohibited the Red Cross from providing food and water to the folks in the SuperDome - I would like accountability for that decision."

Wrong. Dead wrong. You have obviously been to the Red Cross FAQ page; you quoted them very nicely above. As it says, undeniably, it is "National Guard and local authorities" and the "state Homeland Security Department" responsible for refusing to allow the Red Cross in.
Where do you get FEMA from that, and how can you refuse to acknowledge that those two statements are an irrefutable indictment of the state authorities - who are commanded by Blanco?
Although, your final statement in the post – “and, before you get all in a tizzy, there is no Louisiana Homeland Security Department – “- makes it clear that you are clueless yet again. Allow me to redirect you the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Website.
http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/default.htm
Facts are a bitch, aren’t they?

“- the Bataan was sitting off the coast waiting for orders (which can only be given by the CiC) - I would like accountability for the decision to wait nearly a week”

They were given orders on Tuesday. This was a nasty lie spread by you lefties, so much so that the damn Lt. Commander had to personally clear it up. Quit spreading the lie, you make yourself look foolish.
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2005_09/007054.php


As for those firefighters, not enough info yet to know what was going on with that. I agree, that if they were slated to be used in NO for rescue efforts then “sexual harassment” seminar is beyond ludicrous. I withhold judgment on that until all facts are known.

At this time, the only official that looks to be criminally negligent in this situation is Governor Blanco.

We will see…

Oh, one last thing Sultry i... (Below threshold)
acassa:

Oh, one last thing Sultry in regards to this blather...
"... if the events of the last 10 days had happened EXACTLY the same but for one change - Bill Clinton was in the White House - would you be so quick to assign blame to the Louisiana Governor and Mayor?
would you be so quick to defend his decision to fly out to California and share birthday cake with, say, Sen. Daschle?
would you still say that emergency response is a local issue and that the president really isn't involved?
would you still be saying that his decision to wait until Friday to visit the area was okay?"

I don't care what asshat is in the White House and I don't care if they had tea and cupcakes with Harvey the rabbit. It is irrelevant.
As a resident of Florida, I can't swing a dead cat without knocking over a newsstand full of "Hurricane Preparedness" brochures.
You see, here Florida, we have a Governor and local officials who understand what their duties to their citizens are. They understand they and the infrastructure they govern are the First Responders.
They also make sure that each resident of this state understands without question, that they are responsible for caring for themselves for 3-5 days after a hurricane – as that is the amount of time in can take for the Feds to get into the area – depends on the extent of the catastrophe.

So spare me your holier than thou, sanctimonious tripe.

P.S. I voted for Clinton… and Bush. I’m one of those odd birds; know as an “independent thinker” . When’s the last time you had a thought…without marching orders first?

Oh no, I have backslid into... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

Oh no, I have backslid into rightwingism again.

Hey Sultry, remember when you told me that Fox was not a good source and you used some other MSM news source to blame FEMA for not letting the Red Cross into New Orleans? I then told you that your source wasn't original either; the original source would be the Red Cross itself.

Guess what I found? Fox was right.

Hurricane Katrina: Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?

The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

Sorry about you believing lies and all.

FEMA had enough bungles without some being invented. When you're handling disasters in four states and you're dealing with all of the governments involved, perfection is hardly a reasonable expectation. But who expects people with so much blind hatred to be reasonable?

acassa got to the Red Cross... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

acassa got to the Red Cross FAQ before I did. Good show! :)

WP09/08/05Fac... (Below threshold)
Ann:

WP
09/08/05
Facts and Rumors: Federal Power in a State of Emergency

First, a note to all the Debaters: Ordinarily, Wednesday would mark the beginning of a new week for The Debate -- it's the day a fresh topic would be introduced for discussion until the following Tuesday. But this is no ordinary week. So we're bending the rules to make room for a few more days of Hurricane Katrina, and we'll introduce next week's issue, the Roberts nomination, on Monday -- just in time for the start of his hearings.

But for now, we're still talking about the hurricane, and all the false assertions that have been floating around with regard to who had the power to do what in Louisiana have got to be put to rest. Please allow me to use the text of federal laws and some other reputable sources in order to set the record straight. (My very basic conclusions based on those facts appear in parenthesis.)

Fact: Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco declared a State of Emergency for her state on Friday, Aug. 26. Full disclosure: The Post reported last week -- erroneously, it turned out -- that Louisiana had not issued such a declaration. A correction was published on Sept. 5.

Fact: President Bush declared a State of Emergency the next day Saturday before Hurricane Katrina hit.

Fact: Presidential declarations of emergency are made after a request from "the governor of the impacted state, based on finding that the disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the ability of the state and affected local jurisdictions."
[Update: The link above doesn't seem to be working anymore, so here's a copy of the page as it appeared on Aug. 14, 2004, courtesy of archive.org's Wayback Machine. The page does not appear to have changed between when it was archived and when I looked at it yesterday.]

Fact: Blanco sent a letter dated Aug. 28 to Bush -- via the FEMA regional director -- requesting that he "declare a major disaster," and Bush responded by wisely declaring an emergency. There is a very slight difference, funding-wise, between declaring a major disaster and declaring an emergency -- the difference is explained here -- but both authorize "emergency protective measures."
[Update: Thanks to the astute anonymous reader who provided the link to the letter.]

Fact: A declaration of emergency "unleash[es] the support of any or all of 27 federal agencies. It also authorizes reimbursement of emergency work, such as debris removal and emergency protective measures."

Fact: There is a FEMA program called the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System (US&R) -- now part of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate (EP&R) of the Department of Homeland Security. According to federal legislation, it "provides specialized lifesaving assistance during major disasters or emergencies that the President declares under the Stafford Act. US&R operational activities include locating, extricating and providing on-site medical treatment to victims trapped in collapsed structures, victims of weapons of mass destruction events, and when assigned, performing incident command or other operational activities."

(I think we can all agree that such teams would have been immensely helpful on the two to three days immediately following the hurricane. The Coast Guard did a great job, it would seem, of airlifting people out of drowning homes very soon after the flooding happened, and New Orleans police devoted a great deal of time that to performing search and rescue as well. Yes, some deserted, but others stayed and did everything they could to help the city and its residents recover. Perhaps if more search and rescue professionals had been sent in in the immediate aftermath, the police could have spent that time maintaining order in the city.)

Fact: In the Rules and Regulations section of the US&R legislation, "emergency " is defined as "any occasion or instance for which, in the determination of the President, Federal assistance is needed to supplement State and local efforts and capabilities to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in any part of the United States."

Fact: In the supplementary information for the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System legislation, it says (I've taken out some of the extraneous numbers and some unnecessary phrases for ease of reading, but the meaning is unchanged):


Section 303 of the Stafford Act authorizes the President of the United States to form emergency support teams of Federal personnel to be deployed in an area affected by a major disaster or emergency. The President delegated this function to the Director of the FEMA under Executive Order 12148. Under E.O. 13286 of February 28, 2003, the President amended E.O. 12148 to transfer the FEMA Director's delegated authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and under Homeland Security Delegation No. 9100, delegated the Secretary's authority under Title V of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which includes the Stafford Act, to the Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response (EP&R).

Fact: The Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response is Michael Brown.

(So, EP&R director -- the head of FEMA, the guy the New Orleans Times Picayune said should "especially" be fired -- had the authority to dispatch specialized rescue squads right away. Where were they? Why didn't the president, under whose direction the Department of Homeland Security ultimately falls, insist on getting those teams on the ground -- or in the air -- as soon as the levees were breached and the flooding began?)

In 1995, the Washington Monthly wrote about FEMA's miraculous turnaround after its abysmal performance dealing with Hurricane Andrew. In that story was this tidbit from Jeffrey Itell, who conducted a massive study of FEMA's operations, which uncovered that FEMA had extensive powers according to the Stafford Act that, to everyone's detriment, it was not exercising:


We found that without state requests, FEMA could assess the catastrophic area, assess what assistance the state needed, start mobilizing that relief, present its recommendations to the governor, and, if necessary … get in the governor's face to force the issue of accepting federal help.

This should all still apply -- unless the Department of Homeland Security nullified these common-sense FEMA powers when it subsumed the agency a couple years ago. (If it did, DHS has a lot of explaining to do.)

Again, that's without state requests. (This is not to say the the local authorities couldn't have done more. For starters, they could have taken into account the substantial number of poor Now Orleans residents who wouldn't have the means to evacuate. But they were right in the middle of it all, their resources overwhelmed, whereas the federal emergency management professionals are likely to have vastly more resources (how many helicopters did the New Orleans Police Department have? I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing not as many as the federal government.)

What's important to remember here is that misinformation is swirling, as is not unusual after unprecedented disasters. (David Brooks of the New York Times recalls the news accounts of [insert then-feared minority group here] cutting off the fingers of the dead in order to steal their wedding rings.)

Don't get me wrong, the Debate loves and encourages a wide variety of opinions. But many opinions you'll hear from pundits on both sides of the aisle are based on false assertions. Before buying into one of these logical-but-inaccurate arguments -- many of which probably originated in a spin machine belonging to someone or another -- it makes sense to check that the facts are solid.

By Emily Messner | September 8, 2005; 09:23 AM ET | Category: Facts
Previous: Dealing With Disaster: When Optimism Makes Things Worse | Main Index

"FEMA had enough bungles... (Below threshold)
jim:

"FEMA had enough bungles without some being invented. When you're handling disasters in four states and you're dealing with all of the governments involved, perfection is hardly a reasonable expectation.

Sue, no one is expecting perfection. All that we're expecting is that people DO THEIR JOBS.

Bush's job, as head of the Federal Government, is to make sure that the Fed's commitments are being properly followed through on.

Ignoring warnings of the levees breaking, cutting FEMA's budget while Halliburton 'loses' $9 billion in Iraq...then designating LA as a disaster area and taking federal authority, but remain on his 5-WEEK vacation, breaking off only to go to photo ops, play guitar, and eat cake (!!) rather than making ten minutes' worth of phone calls to military WAITING FOR HIS CALL to fly in, means Bush did not do his job!

Bush appointing Brown, a failed lawyer and incompetent who couldn't run a horse association, with no background of any kind in disaster management, to head a disaster agency - means Bush did not do his job!

FEMA not having a single person in ahead of time, the head of FEMA only finding out from the TV news (!!!) several days later (!!) that the Superdome is running out, means Brown is NOT doing his job!

If you conservatives and Republicans are really all about accountability and personal responsibility, then you will find this unnaceptable.

Or is it only Democrats who must be held accountable?

Hi all,Just consid... (Below threshold)
tubino:

Hi all,

Just consider this: we have FEMA because it is not possible or practical for all local and state govts to redundantly stock everything needed for a major disaster.

Instead, they do what they can, but at the national level our tax money funds an agency that can go anywhere in the country on very short notice to coordinate and supply, with coordination of materials from all over the country, nat'l guard, etc.

Does anyone disagree with that notion? The Bush admin does NOT disagree, at least not in theory.

I've provided links above if you want to read the National Response Plan.

Here's a chart:
http://tinyurl.com/9w3fv

Sue, this is the product of the Bush administration. I don't understand how you can attack the Bush admin policy while claiming to defend the Bush admin.

You see, here Florida, w... (Below threshold)
jim:

You see, here Florida, we have a Governor and local officials who understand what their duties to their citizens are. They understand they and the infrastructure they govern are the First Responders.

There in Florida, you have a Republican governor who's the President's brother, and has presidential aspirations of his own.

Last hurricane, Florida was a swing state in an election year.

Last year, when Florida was hit, FEMA and guardsmen were already in place, on the ground, waiting to move in, help out, assess damage, maintain order. Supplies were allocated. The Fed acted efficiently.

Strangely enough, that was not the case with New Orleans here.

Why is it, that the Fed responded differently here than in Florida last year? Hm?

I didn't explain this prope... (Below threshold)
tubino:

I didn't explain this properly. A chart has been devised, and called "Overview of initial Federal involvement under the Stafford Act":

http://tinyurl.com/9w3fv

I want everyone to see the diamond that says President Declares Major Disaster or Emergency.

Then see what follows that.

If you look at that, and realize that this was the plan devised and agreed to by this administration just LAST YEAR (!!!), signed into effect in DECEMBER 2004 (!!!), there is NO WAY that you can say the Bush admin did its job.

There is no way you can honestly say that.
http://tinyurl.com/9w3fv

RE: mmmm ... sultry's one q... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: mmmm ... sultry's one question (September 8, 2005 02:18 PM)

...one question to the class...

... if the events of the last 10 days had happened EXACTLY the same but for one change - Bill Clinton was in the White House - would you be so quick to assign blame to the Louisiana Governor and Mayor?

In a word - YES! Credit is overwhelmingly local as is blame. That's the way state sovereignty works. We may buttress local response utilizing pooled national resources but such logistics take time, material, and manpower - resources that must be analyzed and shifted according to a dynamic triage based on degrees of need. In this case, a humongous hurricane and its multistate and multijurisdictional swath of devastation needed to be assayed and traversed - no small feat. It is imperfect but that is the paradigm under which we operate for better or for worse. Appropriately, locals have the best grasp of their particular dynamics and, if those dynamics are inadequately recorded and reported to a second(plus)-responder, then delays ensue. Quite expected and logical really. To not expect such scenarios is unrealistic and superficially partisan.


would you be so quick to defend his decision to fly out to California and share birthday cake with, say, Sen. Daschle?

Admittedly an untimely picture that does NOT represent everything that the President accomplished that day. This isn't preschool where, after cake and ice cream, the kiddies run around the room for a while and then take a nap for the rest of the day. Would I have presented some snark to the picture? Probably. But I would also recognize that there was a heckuva lot going on behind the camera too. To presume otherwise is as childish as those sugar-eating children. No doubt that some might even criticize Bush for redirecting his focus on Katrina and away from the troops in Iraq for a week (or two). Such is the folly of partisanship and the disingenuous proclamations that Bush is not a very busy man with lots of coals in the fire. Maybe you need for him to shed a tear on cue or throw a tantrum behind a podium. I don't. As chief administrator he appoints and lets others work. He assesses performance and adjusts accordingly (NOT reflexively, accordingly). If he works in a happy event or two during the course of his endless litany of responsibilities, then fine. I'm afraid I don't find the photograph particularly damning though I certainly see the partisan opportunism of such a visual.


would you still say that emergency response is a local issue and that the president really isn't involved?

Yes, I would say that that emergency response remains a predominantly local issue with national ripples and overtones. That is how the system is set up whether it is Bush, Clinton, or other are at the helm. They both steer using the same map. If that upsets some people, then ask your representatives in charge to change the map.


would you still be saying that his decision to wait until Friday to visit the area was okay?

Yes. In fact I've commented previously (the day after landfall IIRC) that such visits are more PR than anything. Some believe such PR is necessary. In this case I think it to be a waste of resources. I don't need someone to "feel my pain" by putting on a front. Were I in the morass, I would want only the most expeditious and directly usable resources available to mitigate them. Ease my pain, don't osmotically feel it.


Now, "I'd just like for you to answer honestly" the following:

Besides resigning from office what exactly would you want Mr. Bush to do to ameliorate the perceived problems along the Gulf Coast keeping in mind the legal framework under which he operates?

It occurs to me that a lot ... (Below threshold)
ElvenPhoenix:

It occurs to me that a lot of issues could be resolved by looking at a timeline. The best I've seen is this one:

http://rightwingnuthouse.com/archives/category/katrina-timeline/

If someone has access to a better, more complete one, please let me know.

PS The chart is in the Nati... (Below threshold)
tubino:

PS The chart is in the National Response Plan.

"Floridians had good reason to be grateful. In the summer of 2004, FEMA handed out hurricane relief checks with wild abandon, doling out nearly $30 million to residents of Miami-Dade County to replace TVs, computers and microwaves, even though that county suffered little or no hurricane damage."

Gosh, how did that happen?
http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2005/09/05/hurricane_track_record/index.html

As a new orelans resident r... (Below threshold)
nolares:

As a new orelans resident reading this..
it seems you are more interested in defending someone(s) who didn't do anything when needed, than you are with what ended up happening.
they evacuated, they did everything they could in new orleans... it was all over television to "get out"

From the perspective of a resident, there is a chain of responsibility to be taken and it starts with locals who, even though strapped of cash, could have done better, to state people (who have been complaining about new orleans for years because NOLA is not the capital city of LA, similar to NY and that dynamic) to the surrounding regions all the way to the president and to FEMA they all dropped the ball in one way or another.
The state, in case you didn't know, is a red state, so are the others hit by this. Nagin, after the hurricane had his entire department and staff decimated.. city hall was underwater and everyone was homeless or gone, things got out of control fast.

The basic issue is you are going to be hearing from the people who are actually involved is this, the rest of the country sat around and watched the city drown while trying to figure out who was 'responsible' to help them .. whose fault is that? where was the leadership?

Here is a timeline. The sou... (Below threshold)
Ann:

Here is a timeline. The sources are duly quoted. You can go back and check every one of them.

Of course, you can always use delusion and keep on repeating that Bush, DHS, and FEMA, did a "heck of a job", and keep on blaming Blanco and Nagin.

By the way, Alabama and Mississipi have also suffered thousand of deaths, and are in terrible shape too. How come no one blames the governors of those two states? Could the reason be that it is because they are Republicans?


KATRINA TIMELINE
Comment on the timeline here.

Friday, August 26
GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN LOUISIANA: [Office of the Governor]

GULF COAST STATES REQUEST TROOP ASSISTANCE FROM PENTAGON: At a 9/1 press conference, Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, commander, Joint Task Force Katrina, said that the Gulf States began the process of requesting additional forces on Friday, 8/26. [DOD]

Saturday, August 27
5AM — KATRINA UPGRADED TO CATEGORY 3 HURRICANE [CNN]

GOV. BLANCO ASKS BUSH TO DECLARE FEDERAL STATE OF EMERGENCY IN LOUISIANA: “I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments, and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a disaster.” [Office of the Governor]

FEDERAL EMERGENCY DECLARED, DHS AND FEMA GIVEN FULL AUTHORITY TO RESPOND TO KATRINA: “Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.” [White House]

Sunday, August 28
2AM – KATRINA UPGRADED TO CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE [CNN]

7AM – KATRINA UPGRADED TO CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE [CNN]

MORNING — LOUISIANA NEWSPAPER SIGNALS LEVEES MAY GIVE: “Forecasters Fear Levees Won’t Hold Katrina”: “Forecasters feared Sunday afternoon that storm driven waters will lap over the New Orleans levees when monster Hurricane Katrina pushes past the Crescent City tomorrow.” [Lafayette Daily Advertiser]

9:30 AM — MAYOR NAGIN ISSUES FIRST EVER MANDATORY EVACUATION OF NEW ORLEANS: “We’re facing the storm most of us have feared,” said Nagin. “This is going to be an unprecedented event.” [Times-Picayune]

4PM – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUES SPECIAL HURRICANE WARNING: In the event of a category 4 or 5 hit, “Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer. … At least one-half of well-constructed homes will have roof and wall failure. All gabled roofs will fail, leaving those homes severely damaged or destroyed. … Power outages will last for weeks. … Water shortages will make human suffering incredible by modern standards.” [National Weather Service]

AFTERNOON — BUSH, BROWN, CHERTOFF WARNED OF LEVEE FAILURE BY NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER DIRECTOR: Dr. Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center: “‘We were briefing them way before landfall. … It’s not like this was a surprise. We had in the advisories that the levee could be topped.’” [Times-Picayune; St. Petersburg Times]

LATE PM – REPORTS OF WATER TOPPLING OVER LEVEE: “Waves crashed atop the exercise path on the Lake Pontchartrain levee in Kenner early Monday as Katrina churned closer.” [Times-Picayune]

APPROXIMATELY 30,000 EVACUEES GATHER AT SUPERDOME WITH ROUGHLY 36 HOURS WORTH OF FOOD [Times-Picayune]

Monday, August 29
7AM – KATRINA MAKES LANDFALL AS A CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE [CNN]

8AM – MAYOR NAGIN REPORTS THAT WATER IS FLOWING OVER LEVEE: “I’ve gotten reports this morning that there is already water coming over some of the levee systems. In the lower ninth ward, we’ve had one of our pumping stations to stop operating, so we will have significant flooding, it is just a matter of how much.” [NBC’s “Today Show”]

MORNING — BUSH CALLS SECRETARY CHERTOFF TO DISCUSS IMMIGRATION: “I spoke to Mike Chertoff today — he’s the head of the Department of Homeland Security. I knew people would want me to discuss this issue [immigration], so we got us an airplane on — a telephone on Air Force One, so I called him. I said, are you working with the governor? He said, you bet we are.” [White House]

MORNING – BUSH SHARES BIRTHDAY CAKE PHOTO-OP WITH SEN. JOHN MCCAIN [White House]

10AM — BUSH VISITS ARIZONA RESORT TO PROMOTE MEDICARE DRUG BENEFIT: “This new bill I signed says, if you’re a senior and you like the way things are today, you’re in good shape, don’t change. But, by the way, there’s a lot of different options for you. And we’re here to talk about what that means to our seniors.” [White House]

LATE MORNING – LEVEE BREACHED: “A large section of the vital 17th Street Canal levee, where it connects to the brand new ‘hurricane proof’ Old Hammond Highway bridge, gave way late Monday morning in Bucktown after Katrina’s fiercest winds were well north.” [Times-Picayune]

11:30AM — MICHAEL BROWN FINALLY REQUESTS THAT DHS DISPATCH 1,000 EMPLOYEES TO REGION, GIVES THEM TWO DAYS TO ARRIVE: “Brown’s memo to Chertoff described Katrina as ‘this near catastrophic event’ but otherwise lacked any urgent language. The memo politely ended, ‘Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities.’” [AP]

2PM — BUSH TRAVELS TO CALIFORNIA SENIOR CENTER TO DISCUSS MEDICARE DRUG BENEFIT: “We’ve got some folks up here who are concerned about their Social Security or Medicare. Joan Geist is with us. … I could tell — she was looking at me when I first walked in the room to meet her, she was wondering whether or not old George W. is going to take away her Social Security check.” [White House]

9PM — RUMSFELD ATTENDS SAN DIEGO PADRES BASEBALL GAME: Rumsfeld “joined Padres President John Moores in the owner’s box…at Petco Park.” [Editor & Publisher]

Tuesday, August 30
9AM – BUSH SPEAKS ON IRAQ AT NAVAL BASE CORONADO [White House]

MIDDAY – CHERTOFF FINALLY BECOMES AWARE THAT LEVEE HAS FAILED: “It was on Tuesday that the levee–may have been overnight Monday to Tuesday–that the levee started to break. And it was midday Tuesday that I became aware of the fact that there was no possibility of plugging the gap and that essentially the lake was going to start to drain into the city.” [Meet the Press, 9/4/05]

PENTAGON CLAIMS THERE ARE ENOUGH NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS IN REGION: “Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said the states have adequate National Guard units to handle the hurricane needs.” [WWL-TV]

MASS LOOTING REPORTED, SECURITY SHORTAGE CITED: “The looting is out of control. The French Quarter has been attacked,” Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson said. “We’re using exhausted, scarce police to control looting when they should be used for search and rescue while we still have people on rooftops.” [AP]

U.S.S. BATAAN SITS OFF SHORE, VIRTUALLY UNUSED: “The USS Bataan, a 844-foot ship designed to dispatch Marines in amphibious assaults, has helicopters, doctors, hospital beds, food and water. It also can make its own water, up to 100,000 gallons a day. And it just happened to be in the Gulf of Mexico when Katrina came roaring ashore. The Bataan rode out the storm and then followed it toward shore, awaiting relief orders. Helicopter pilots flying from its deck were some of the first to begin plucking stranded New Orleans residents. But now the Bataan’s hospital facilities, including six operating rooms and beds for 600 patients, are empty.” [Chicago Tribune]

3PM – PRESIDENT BUSH PLAYS GUITAR WITH COUNTRY SINGER MARK WILLIS [AP]

BUSH RETURNS TO CRAWFORD FOR FINAL NIGHT OF VACATION [AP]

Wednesday, August 31
TENS OF THOUSANDS TRAPPED IN SUPERDOME; CONDITIONS DETERIORATE: “A 2-year-old girl slept in a pool of urine. Crack vials littered a restroom. Blood stained the walls next to vending machines smashed by teenagers. ‘We pee on the floor. We are like animals,’ said Taffany Smith, 25, as she cradled her 3-week-old son, Terry. … By Wednesday, it had degenerated into horror. … At least two people, including a child, have been raped. At least three people have died, including one man who jumped 50 feet to his death, saying he had nothing left to live for. There is no sanitation. The stench is overwhelming.”" [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/05]

PRESIDENT BUSH FINALLY ORGANIZES TASK FORCE TO COORDINATE FEDERAL RESPONSE: Bush says on Tuesday he will “fly to Washington to begin work…with a task force that will coordinate the work of 14 federal agencies involved in the relief effort.” [New York Times, 8/31/05]

JEFFERSON PARISH EMERGENCY DIRECTOR SAYS FOOD AND WATER SUPPLY GONE: “Director Walter Maestri: FEMA and national agencies not delivering the help nearly as fast as it is needed.” [WWL-TV]

80,000 BELIEVED STRANDED IN NEW ORLEANS: Former Mayor Sidney Barthelemy “estimated 80,000 were trapped in the flooded city and urged President Bush to send more troops.” [Reuters]

3,000 STRANDED AT CONVENTION CENTER WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER: “With 3,000 or more evacuees stranded at the convention center — and with no apparent contingency plan or authority to deal with them — collecting a body was no one’s priority. … Some had been at the convention center since Tuesday morning but had received no food, water or instructions.” [Times-Picayune]

5PM — BUSH GIVES FIRST MAJOR ADDRESS ON KATRINA: “Nothing about the president’s demeanor… — which seemed casual to the point of carelessness — suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis.” [New York Times]

8:00PM – CONDOLEEZZA RICE TAKES IN A BROADWAY SHOW: “On Wednesday night, Secretary Rice was booed by some audience members at ‘Spamalot!, the Monty Python musical at the Shubert, when the lights went up after the performance.” [New York Post, 9/2/05]

9PM — FEMA DIRECTOR BROWN CLAIMS SURPRISE OVER SIZE OF STORM: “I must say, this storm is much much bigger than anyone expected.” [CNN]

Thursday, September 1
8AM — BUSH CLAIMS NO ONE EXPECTED LEVEES TO BREAK: “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” [Washington Post]

CONDOLEEZZA RICE VISITS U.S. OPEN: “Rice, [in New York] on three days’ vacation to shop and see the U.S. Open, hitting some balls with retired champ Monica Seles at the Indoor Tennis Club at Grand Central.” [New York Post]

STILL NO COMMAND AND CONTROL ESTABLISHED: Terry Ebbert, New Orleans Homeland Security Director: “This is a national emergency. This is a national disgrace. FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can’t bail out the city of New Orleans.” [Fox News]

2PM — MAYOR NAGIN ISSUES “DESPERATE SOS” TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: “This is a desperate SOS. Right now we are out of resources at the convention centre and don’t anticipate enough buses. We need buses. Currently the convention centre is unsanitary and unsafe and we’re running out of supplies.” [Guardian, 9/2/05]

2PM — MICHAEL BROWN CLAIMS NOT TO HAVE HEARD OF REPORTS OF VIOLENCE: “I’ve had no reports of unrest, if the connotation of the word unrest means that people are beginning to riot, or you know, they’re banging on walls and screaming and hollering or burning tires or whatever. I’ve had no reports of that.” [CNN]

NEW ORLEANS “DESCEND[S] INTO ANARCHY”: “Storm victims were raped and beaten, fights and fires broke out, corpses lay out in the open, and rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers were shot at as flooded-out New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday. ‘This is a desperate SOS,’ the mayor said.” [AP]

CONDOLEEZZA RICE GOES SHOE SHOPPING: “Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, ‘How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!’” [Gawker]

MICHAEL BROWN FINALLY LEARNS OF EVACUEES IN CONVENTION CENTER: “We learned about that (Thursday), so I have directed that we have all available resources to get that convention center to make sure that they have the food and water and medical care that they need.” [CNN]

Friday, September 2
ROVE-LED CAMPAIGN TO BLAME LOCAL OFFICIALS BEGINS: “Under the command of President Bush’s two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan…to contain the political damage from the administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina.” President Bush’s comments from the Rose Garden Friday morning formed “the start of this campaign.” [New York Times, 9/5/05]

9:35AM — BUSH PRAISES MICHAEL BROWN: “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” [White House, 9/2/05]

10 AM — PRESIDENT BUSH STAGES PHOTO-OP “BRIEFING”: Coast Guard helicopters and crew diverted to act as backdrop for President Bush’s photo-op.

BUSH VISIT GROUNDS FOOD AID: “Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon as air traffic was halted because of President Bush’s visit to New Orleans, officials said.” [Times-Picayune]

LEVEE REPAIR WORK ORCHESTRATED FOR PRESIDENT’S VISIT: Sen. Mary Landrieu, 9/3: “Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment.” [Sen. Mary Landrieu]

BUSH USES 50 FIREFIGHTERS AS PROPS IN DISASTER AREA PHOTO-OP: A group of 1,000 firefighters convened in Atlanta to volunteer with the Katrina relief efforts. Of those, “a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew’s first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.” [Salt Lake Tribune; Reuters]

3PM — BUSH “SATISFIED WITH THE RESPONSE”: “I am satisfied with the response. I am not satisfied with all the results.” [AP]

Saturday, September 3
SENIOR BUSH ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL LIES TO WASHINGTON POST, CLAIMS GOV. BLANCO NEVER DECLARED STATE OF EMERGENCY: The Post reported in their Sunday edition “As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.” They were forced to issue a correction hours later. [Washington Post, 9/4/05]

9AM — BUSH BLAMES STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS: “[T]he magnitude of responding to a crisis over a disaster area that is larger than the size of Great Britain has created tremendous problems that have strained state and local capabilities. The result is that many of our citizens simply are not getting the help they need.” [White House, 9/3/05]

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I saw on Fox New that on th... (Below threshold)
ConservativeLiberal:

I saw on Fox New that on the 6th day there were still thousands and thousands of starving and dying people, bodies littering the streets and no help in sight.. oh oops! what am I talking about, that was Fox News, a part of the evil liberal media agenda!!
You are correct Wizbangers, Republicans can do no wrong. Ever.

The looney left? Check out ... (Below threshold)
Ann:

The looney left? Check out the Washington Times headlines below!


The Headlines Speak for Themselves
by Mike Liddell
Thu Sep 8th, 2005 at 01:54:31 PM EST

Below, in no particular order, are just a few of the headlines from the past week:

Not Acceptable
(New Orleans Times-Picayune, 9/3/05)
Bush shows indifference, incompetence
(Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 9/7/05)

Waiting for a Leader
(New York Times, 9/1/05)

Bush and Katrina: A time for action, not aloofness
(Manchester Union Leader, 8/31/05)

Haunted by Hesitation
(New York Times, 9/7/05)

FEMA's response was itself a national disaster
(Sacramento Bee, 9/4/05)

Mr. Bush's Storm
(Washington Post, 9/8/05)

Cataclysmic failure
(Los Angeles Daily News, 9/7/05)

FEMA fails its core mission
(Washington Times, 9/7/05)

The 'Stuff Happens' Presidency
(Washington Post, 9/7/05)

After Katrina fiasco, time for Bush to go
(Baltimore Sun, 9/8/05)

A Failure of Leadership
(New York Times, 9/5/05)

The disaster at FEMA
(San Francisco Chronicle, 9/7/05)

It's Your Failure, Too, Mr. Bush
(Washington Post, 9/6/05)

Brown must go. Now.
(Fort-Worth Star-Telegram, 9/8/05)

A Can't-Do Government
(New York Times, 9/2/05)

Monumental failure by the government
(San Antonio Express-News, 9/7/05)

Where was George W. Bush in relief effort?
(Detroit News, 9/4/05)

Killed by Contempt
(New York Times, 9/5/05)

Exposed by Katrina, FEMA's flaws were years in making
(USA Today, 9/7/05)

Building cities like there's no tomorrow
(LA Times, 9/7/05)

Osama and Katrina
(New York Times, 9/7/05)

Where's Dick Cheney?
(Boston Globe, 9/7/05)

Katrina's truths
(Boston Globe, 9/5/05)

A CEO's Weaknesses
(Washington Post, 9/7/05)

From Bad to Worse
(Washington Post, 9/2/05)

FEMA's Disaster
(South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 9/8/05)

BUSH: FIRE THE HEAD OF FEMA
(Philadelphia Daily News, 9/7/05)

FEMA – What Happened?
(Charleston Gazette, 9/7/05)

Whither FEMA?: Special commission is needed to understand what happened
(Salt Lake Tribune, 9/6/05)

RE: nolares post (September... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: nolares post (September 8, 2005 05:51 PM)
The basic issue is... this, the rest of the country sat around and watched the city drown while trying to figure out who was 'responsible' to help them .. whose fault is that? where was the leadership?

I sympathize with your plight and those who conscientiously tried to evacuate prior to the hurricane; however, your comment is hyperbolic and irresponsible itself. The rest of the country DID NOT "[sit] around and [watch] the city drown"; vast resources and personnel mobilized in both intra- and interstate locales to restore lives and order. Was it spontaneous? No. But spontaneous is not possible; neither is it done, and preparing for a catastrophe's wake after the fact is exceedingly difficult. As a consequence of that truism, emphasis need be placed on preventing catastrophes to the best extent possible and not depend on what will always be inadequate rescue. The country continues to pour vast sums of money and empathy toward those misplaced. Leaders of many stripes are performing under incredible duress and impossible expectations driven by partisan rancor. Your exhibit of frustration is understandable but somewhat misguided.

RE: Ann's headline (Septemb... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Ann's headline (September 8, 2005 06:26 PM)

Could you provide the link to that story? I went to the Washington Times website but could not find the story. Is there no context to that list? Was it just a list of other headlines? What do you suppose that list of headlines indicates? What headlines were excluded from that list? Who publishes those headlines and do the authors and/or editors have particular leanings? Who wrote those stories and what can be discerned from the text following those headlines? Your post presents many more questions than answers and is not some legal indictment or paper trail as it is presented. I'd like to see the bigger picture rather than look through the straw (sorry, couldn't resist a good poke).

<a href="http://www.washtim... (Below threshold)
Ann:
RE: Ann's link (September 8... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Ann's link (September 8, 2005 07:19 PM)

Thanks for the link. I misunderstood your previous "headlines" post. I thought Mike Liddell wrote an editorial at the WaTimes and the editorial was excerpted to illustrate that list sans context.

Anyway, from that particular editorial, this was reported:
"Mr. Brown insisted that the federal government in general and FEMA in particular had no idea until that very day [+3d post Katrina landfall] that tens of thousands of New Orleans residents and tourists had assembled at the city's convention center."

Awareness like that seems unlikely. The response, however, was not. FEMA generally doesn't actually start appearing on the scene until a ~96 hours post event. They may try to pre-coordinate from afar but do not actually send bodies in. That they were unaware in this tiny corner of the catastrophe shows a breakdown in coordination nonetheless. I'd like to know where the source of "failure" was as well despite the timely influx of resources given FEMA's overall logistical limitations. Did the governor intercede and delay? Did the mayor do the same? Did they not communicate their local particulars before landfall to FEMA's chiefs? Did they underreport their needs? Did they disclose exact needs or just some nebulous concept of aid? Did they ask for anything other than just money? Did FEMA have everything in a nice laundry list or did the dog eat their homework? Yes, I have lots of questions here too, but that's enough for starters.

As for the abbreviated list of uniformed MSM response, let's see what we have.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer
New York Times
Sacramento Bee
Washington Post
Los Angeles Daily News
San Francisco Chronicle
Fort-Worth Star-Telegram
LA Times
Boston Globe

Um, I can't account for every source but these are, o', what's the word... ah yes, liberal bastions of literary print. I'm not accepting a word from them at face value. The other sources I'll need to review at some point. I hope I have both the time and stomach for them.

"As to whether the levees w... (Below threshold)
Ken:

"As to whether the levees would just overtop or would breech - SO WHAT? "

So no one anticipated trying to supply that many survivors in a city full of water. The storm surge was supposed to overtop the levees, flood the city with fast-moving water with 140+ mile-per-hour winds behind it, and leave a lot fewer survivors.

Instead, the city floods the next day, and leaves hundreds of thousands of survivors cut off from their regular supply lines. A completely different scenario calling for an enormously larger response than anyone had anticipated.

"Last year, when Florida was hit, FEMA and guardsmen were already in place, on the ground, waiting to move in, help out, assess damage, maintain order. Supplies were allocated. The Fed acted efficiently.

Strangely enough, that was not the case with New Orleans here.

Why is it, that the Fed responded differently here than in Florida last year? Hm?"

Maybe because all the roads didn't stay submerged for weeks or months after the storm passed? Maybe because there weren't also a lot of completely flattened areas across parts of two other states? Maybe because none of the Floridians shot at relief workers?

Ken,Last year was ... (Below threshold)
Ann:

Ken,

Last year was an election year. FEMA is run by a political hack who is a frnd of a friend of Bush. It would have looked very bad, would it have not, had FEMA not been on the ground in Florida? Bush went to Florida and made sure he was visible, as in being filmed handing out cases of bottled water to the Floridians affected by the hurricanes. Florida was (is) a swing state, and most of its residents vote.

In this case, there was no political capital to be gained. Bush is in his second term. Moreover, the residents most affected by the disaster -- the poor blacks -- would not vote for 2006 GOP candidates anyway, if they bother to vote at all. So, what was the point? Let them starve, die of dehydration, lack of medication, or drown. Who cares? Not this Administration.

This is an Administration that is only concerned with politics, and not all with governance.

Keep on making excuses for the humanitarian crisis that this country now faces. No amount of spin, disinformation, or even outright lies, will erase what a horrified nation saw in the past week or so.

Dismal,i am referr... (Below threshold)
Ann:

Dismal,

i am referring you to the timeline that I posted. Again, the sources are identified and can be checked.

It is now up to you to choose your stance. The information is out for everybody to see. So, hopefully, you will sift through the information and make up your mind. This is a free country still (or is it?). So, as far as I am concerned, if you come to different conclusions, as long as you have done honest research, i.e., you have read all sides of the controversy, and come up with an informed position, I am fine with that.

If you only react to soundbites, and only watch -- and listen -- (to) the media that caters to your political bias, then I shall disregard your opinion.

I think that George bush co... (Below threshold)
baymis:

I think that George bush could have done more to help the people but I also think that he is racist and doesnt care about black people

RE: Ann's slander (Septembe... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Ann's slander (September 8, 2005 09:04 PM)

[Alert to the genteel: Profanity at beginning of my response]

...It would have looked very bad, would it have not, had FEMA not been on the ground in Florida? Bush went to Florida and made sure he was visible, as in being filmed handing out cases of bottled water to the Floridians affected by the hurricanes. Florida was (is) a swing state, and most of its residents vote.

In this case, there was no political capital to be gained. Bush is in his second term. Moreover, the residents most affected by the disaster -- the poor blacks -- would not vote for 2006 GOP candidates anyway, if they bother to vote at all. So, what was the point? Let them starve, die of dehydration, lack of medication, or drown. Who cares? Not this Administration.

This is an Administration that is only concerned with politics, and not all with governance. [emphasis mine]


I probably wouldn't mind debating some political point about timing during an election season and whether or not it was truly selfish, but your continued slander makes it apparent that you are full of sh*t. And I mean that in the sincerest way possible. Let's review some documents, shall we?

---Florida Hurricane Charley and Tropical Storm Bonnie Declared August 13, 2004---

President Orders Disaster Aid For Florida Storm Victims
Release Date: August 13, 2004
Release Number: HQ-04-115

"WASHINGTON – The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Bush has ordered the release of federal disaster funds and emergency resources for Florida to aid people battered by Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Charley."

"Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the President took the action under a major disaster declaration issued this afternoon immediately after receiving FEMA's analysis of the state's expedited request for federal assistance. The declaration covers damage to private property from the storms beginning on August 11..."


---Florida Hurricane Frances Declared September 4, 2004---

President Bush Declares Major Disaster For Second Florida Hurricane Strike
Release Date: September 4, 2004
Release Number: HQ-04-152a

"WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Bush has ordered the federal government to provide all necessary resources and assets for Florida to aid people victimized by the second hurricane to strike the state in less than a month."

"Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the President took the action under a major disaster declaration issued for Florida in response to Hurricane Frances that began affecting the state’s eastern coastline on September 3. The declaration follows the major disaster declared for the state on August 13 due to Hurricane Charley..."


---Florida Hurricane Ivan Declared September 16, 2004---

President Bush Declares Third Major Disaster For Florida Due To Hurricane Ivan
Release Date: September 16, 2004
Release Number: HQ-04-179

"WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Bush has ordered the release of all necessary federal disaster aid resources for Florida pummeled for the third time by a hurricane in little over a month."

"Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the President took the action under a major disaster declaration issued in response to Hurricane Ivan that struck the Florida Panhandle this morning. The declaration covers damage to private property from the storm that began affecting the state on September 13. It follows the major disasters declared for the state on August 13 for Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Charley and September 4 for Hurricane Frances..."


---Florida Hurricane Jeanne Declared September 26, 2004---

President Bush Declares Fourth Major Disaster For Florida Due To Hurricane Jeanne
Release Date: September 26, 2004
Release Number: HQ-04-209

"WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Bush has ordered the release of all necessary federal disaster aid resources for Florida, lashed for an unprecedented fourth time by a hurricane in last six weeks."

"Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the President took the action under a major disaster declaration issued in response to Hurricane Jeanne that struck Florida’s east coast early Sunday morning. The declaration covers damage to private property from the storm that began affecting the state on September 24. It follows the major disasters declared for the state on August 13 for Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Charley, September 4 for Hurricane Frances and September 16 for Hurricane Ivan..."


---Florida Hurricane Katrina Evacuation Emergency Declaration, September 5, 2005---

President Approves Emergency Declaration For Florida
Release Date: September 5, 2005
Release Number: HQ-05-210

"WASHINGTON, D.C. - Michael D. Brown, Department of Homeland Security's Principal Federal Official for Hurricane Katrina response and head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced today that federal disaster aid has been made available to Florida to supplement its efforts to assist evacuees from areas struck by Hurricane Katrina."

"Assistance is available in response to a declaration by President George W. Bush to state and eligible local governments for emergency protective measures that are undertaken to save lives and protect public health and safety. Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 100 percent federal funding."

"This action provides emergency assistance and funds to those areas beginning on August 29, 2005, and continuing. All 67 counties of Florida are included in the designation."

In summary:
Hurricane Charley (FL). Aid declared at Landfall +2d
Hurricane Frances (FL). Aid declared at Landfall +1d
Hurricane Ivan (FL).... Aid declared at Landfall +3d
Hurricane Jeanne (FL).. Aid declared at Landfall +2d
Hurricane Katrina (FL). Aid declared at Landfall +7d

And who was the operational FEMA head during these successes? Michael D. Brown

So, let's review the LA end of Katrina:


---Louisiana Hurricane Katrina Emergency Declaration, August 27, 2005---
---Louisiana Hurricane Katrina Declared August 29, 2005---

Emergency Aid Authorized For Hurricane Katrina Emergency Response In Louisiana
Release Date: August 27, 2005
Release Number: HQ-05-169

"WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, today announced that Federal resources are being allocated to support emergency protective response efforts response efforts in the parishes located in the path of Hurricane Katrina."

"Brown said President Bush authorized the aid under an emergency disaster declaration issued following a review of FEMA's analysis of the state's request for federal assistance. FEMA will mobilize equipment and resources necessary to protect public health and safety by assisting law enforcement with evacuations, establishing shelters, supporting emergency medical needs, meeting immediate lifesaving and life-sustaining human needs and protecting property, in addition to other emergency protective measures."

Hurricane Katrina (LA). Aid declared at Landfall -2d

The administration declared an emergency and approved aid 2 days prior to landfall in LA which was quicker than any of the Florida assistance. Kinda shoots a hole in the "let-them-poor-black-folk-die-whatta-we-care" meme. Furthermore, Bush appeared in LA just as he had in FL and not atypically considering these storms stuck during a contentious campaign season. He would campaign in that state among many others, and to excoriate his campaign in view of the 2000 election would be idiotic. Are you suggesting he just skip it because it might appear unseemly to the farthest Left who care only to demonize him no matter what his response? Or lack of response? Or just because he exists? Yeah, right.

Your race baiting is damned offensive. Congratulations. You are the first person to whom I've felt compelled to curse publicly here. Check that - anywhere.

Baymis,Duh! Poor, ... (Below threshold)
Ann:

Baymis,

Duh! Poor, black, people, are of no interest to the GOP. They either do not vote for GOP candidates, or they do not vote at all because they do not think it would make one iota of difference to their lot.

They were invisible until Katrina actually made them news. They are the evacuees with nothing more than the shirt on their back; the dead people in attics; the dead in the nursing homes; the bloated cadavers floating in the fetid waters, etc...

Although New orleans has been getting the most attention, one should not forget about the plight of Alabama and Mississipi, where thousands also died, and many more are homeless. No one is blaming the governors of those two states, though... They are Republicans, therefore, they can do no wrong. And the spineless media is again going along with this idiocy.

Maybe because all the ro... (Below threshold)
jim:

Maybe because all the roads didn't stay submerged for weeks or months after the storm passed? Maybe because there weren't also a lot of completely flattened areas across parts of two other states? Maybe because none of the Floridians shot at relief workers?

Nix on all three of your excuses. Read what I said more closely: in Florida, the personnel were in place and the command structure and decisions were ready BEFORE the hurricane hit.

Everything you mention happened in New Orleans AFTER the hurricane hit. And your excuse number three, is a *result* of there being no people or resources in place, after the hurricane hit.

Why do you keep trying to defend Bush?

Honestly, is it really just that hard to admit that you're wrong, and that liberals maybe were just a little bit right?

Besides resigning from o... (Below threshold)
jim:

Besides resigning from office what exactly would you want Mr. Bush to do to ameliorate the perceived problems along the Gulf Coast keeping in mind the legal framework under which he operates?

a) fire Brown as the head of FEMA, immediately.
b) fire Chertoff.
c) rehire the previous head of FEMA, under Clinton.
d) get FEMA to put all the firemen to work.
e) get down there in a tent, get real experts, listen only to experts, do only what experts recommend. This includes listening to Bill Clinton. (Yes, I'm cruel when I'm angry.) And it includes not returning to his ranch until the last New Orleans survivor has been situated, the last oil leak has been capped, and the last levee has been rebuilt until it can't overflow again.
f) sell his ranch that Bush partied on for five days while thousands of people drowned to death, and give the proceeds to the victim's survivors.
g) commence a full independent counsel investigation, into exactly what went wrong here and why, from the President all the way to the Mayor.

FWIW, the polls out today s... (Below threshold)
tubino:

FWIW, the polls out today show pretty high disapproval for Bush. Even his most ardent supporters aren't trying to claim that he was demanding action, calling people with orders to get water delivered, get Natl Guard in there...

There isn't even photo-op evidence that he made any effort to speed anything up, or question why things weren't being done. And even when he did staged photo-ops, he seemed so insulated from the event. Joking about his younger days carousing in the city? Just inappropriate, no??? He never appeared to really CARE about the disaster unfolding day after day.

Nancy Pelosi asked if he would fire Brown (head of FEMA, political hack with no relevant experience), and Bush asked, "Why would I do that?"

He doesn't see the problem. He doesn't see cronyism and political favoritism as a problem. He apparently didn't see a problem with corpses being eaten by rats.

That's not to say that there weren't major problems in management locally -- but did Bush try to DO anything? Did he ask, "what the hell is going on there? why isn't the nat'l guard in place? who's in charge there? what's the deal with blocking the Red Cross? Don't we have a ship near that can help?"

As far as anyone can tell, Bush was okay with all this, and said Brown is doing a great job. (Just out: Brown padded his resume:
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1103003,00.html

A great deal of energy WAS expended, but it was just to manage the "emergency" of bad PR. So there were plenty of staged photo-ops -- even though those grounded rescue helicopters while Bush was there.

FEMA made some recent hires -- of PR flacks. See http://www.warandpiece.com/blogdirs/002560.html

FEMA took decisive action -- to ban photos. See
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2005_09_04.php#006449

Pelosi was right. Bush is delusional, and dangerous.

Read here how FEMA was screwed up. This is the detailed version from last September:
http://www.indyweek.com/durham/2004-09-22/cover.html

From way up: someone claims that my reading of the NRP would somehow violate the constitution. Care to explain??? My understanding of it is based on what the admin says it means. Why don't you take it up with them?

If you go to that TIME link... (Below threshold)
tubino:

If you go to that TIME link above, you see a photo from a set of staged photo-ops. If you want a laugh at how these guys wasted time instead of working, read this expose about the maps used in the photo:

http://uggabugga.blogspot.com/2005/09/this-is-why-response-is-slowover-at.html

Criminal. Chertoff, Bush, Brown, all wasting time on photo-ops -- during a real crisis!

RE: jim's recommendations (... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: jim's recommendations (September 9, 2005 12:33 AM)

a) fire Brown as the head of FEMA, immediately.

On what basis? Where was he derelict? As of June 22, 2005, Brown had successfully directed 164 presidentially declared disasters and emergencies under a newly formed infrastructure that had no historical precedent in this country with which to relate. There have been other natural disasters and incidents since to boost that count. He has directed many hurricanes with nary a criticism. Now, he's an incompetant boob? Try again.


b) fire Chertoff.

Why? Where did he fail?


c) rehire the previous head of FEMA, under Clinton.

James Witt might be OK and his previous experience at the state level would be useful. However, from the link, "he initiated sweeping reforms that streamlined disaster relief and recovery operations, insisted on a new emphasis regarding preparedness and mitigation, and focused agency employees on customer service." I like the beginning of that synopsis, but that customer service bit gives me pause. What does that mean? At this point I don't think Brown failed and replacing him is too reflexive. But I don't think I'd have any reservations to having Witt as an advisor or waiting in the wings barring someone else's disclosure that he had an egregious failure during his tenure, that he would still have interest in FEMA, and that "customer service" doesn't mean presenting a happy face while Rome burns. I don't mind maintaining optimism in the face of tragedy, and I don't want dour pessimism either. Straight, honest talk that inspires would be preferable.


d) get FEMA to put all the firemen to work.

What do you mean? Which ones? Are they not first responders and working now? Is that even something that FEMA can do since they are state employees? I don't believe Blanco has relinquished such control, so maybe that suggestion would best be directed to the Governor's office.


e) get down there in a tent, get real experts, listen only to experts, do only what experts recommend. This includes listening to Bill Clinton. (Yes, I'm cruel when I'm angry.) And it includes not returning to his ranch until the last New Orleans survivor has been situated, the last oil leak has been capped, and the last levee has been rebuilt until it can't overflow again.

Bush listens to experts. Some appointees are political but the vast, overwhelming majority on staff are top-notch experts in the field. The entire team is not some fly-by-night team of gypsies that gets rotated in on some ad hoc basis. These are professionals and very specialized ones at that. I hate to break it to you but Mr. Clinton is not an expert on disasters. He is not an asset here. As far as Bush staying on until those items you mentioned are completed - I guess you want him reelected about four more times because it's going to take at least that long to achieve them.


f) sell his ranch that Bush partied on for five days while thousands of people drowned to death, and give the proceeds to the victim's survivors.

Now this is just idiotic partisanship. I understand you are angry and seem to exhibit signs of BDS, but c'mon. This empty talking point just diminishes everything you present.


g) commence a full independent counsel investigation, into exactly what went wrong here and why, from the President all the way to the Mayor.

As much as I think it would be a bunch of opportunistic, buck-passing, spittle-spraying, unctuous blather, I'd almost endorse it as long as we don't have a repeat of that 9/11 Commission. Don't count on a commission settling anyone's opinion or mending any fences though.

Bush declared state of emer... (Below threshold)
eddie:

Bush declared state of emergency on the 27th.
At what point thereafter did it become a national priority?

At what point after days of FEMA incompetency should the President have simply cut through the bureaucratic red tape.

FEMA is a part of the executive branch. Who else should be responsible if not the President.

IF he and the republican congress could make a special effort for Terry Schiavo, would a little bit of that intensity and can-do immediacy have been useful where thousands of lives were at stake? Why did this administration stand around for several days watching such incompetence without acting? That in itself speaks volumes.

The real blame game is the deflection of any accountability for this president. Pure and simple: He cannot stand there and say mistakes were made without immediately owning those very mistakes. He is more intent on appearing to be infallible and almighty than to be human and caring and accountable. Does accountability disappear once you win an election? Is political capital like money spent on indulgences (remember the Luther and the reformation?) which absolve one from all sin?

When Bush took office, FEMA... (Below threshold)
tgibbs:

When Bush took office, FEMA was headed by James Lee Witt, a man with years of experience in disaster management at both the federal and state level, who was credited for building FEMA into a model of efficiency that had responded successfully to numerous emergencies. Many Republicans as well as Democrats urged Bush to retain Witt, but Bush chose instead to replace Witt with his campaign manager, Joe Allbaugh. When Allbaugh left the position, Bush awarded the job to Brown, another crony with no real experience in emergency management.

While cronyism and patronage are almost a way of life in Washington, misusing a critical post such as manager of FEMA for this purpose reveals an almost unimaginable contempt for the public safety.

"And your excuse number thr... (Below threshold)
Ken:

"And your excuse number three, is a *result* of there being no people or resources in place, after the hurricane hit"

How is shooting at relief workers a result of desperation for relief supplies?

Jim said above"...Th... (Below threshold)
Mary in LA:

Jim said above
"...There in Florida, you have a Republican governor who's the President's brother, and has presidential aspirations of his own. ..."

I don't think Jeb has any presidential aspirations to speak of.

a. If he had, IMHO, he would have handled the Terry Schiavo case differently.
b. The ABCnews.com story Jeb Bush Rules Out 2008 White House Run was the first link that came up when I Googled "jeb bush run for president". And if Jeb doesn't run in 2008, I don't see why he would run later, especially after seeing the pounding his brother is taking... and in 2012 he'll be almost 60 -- not too old to be Prez by a long shot, but noticeably older than W was when first inaugurated, and he would be running against (in all likelihood) an incumbent Democrat.

So I think you've got yourself a red herring, there, Jim! :-)

Well, well, well ...<... (Below threshold)
Martin A Knight:

Well, well, well ...

It seems that the BDS afflicted (tubino, Dave G., Sultry, etc.) have thoroughly infested this thread with a huge mass of talking points and spin impervious to reason or fact, and permeated with a thorough misunderstanding about the limits of Federal power viz-a-viz the States and the logistics and planning in response to a natural disaster.

At no point did any of these idiots really make a case against the President's actions in response to Katrina. Everything was a subjective rehash of everything they have said since 01/21/2001. The most damaging accusation is really that he did not bite his lip and feel their pain. In other words, he did not set up photo-op of himself and his cabinet looking distraught.

So much of what these guys have written is pure fabrication and directly contradicting of the reports from people on the ground, I'm looking forward to the investigations that are certain to take place after all is settled. The truth will out. The reckless abandonment of the New Orleans own Emergency Management and Evacuation plan will be answered for as well. All those flooded buses would be answered for. The 24 hour delay so that Blanco can make a decision will be answered for as well ...

Of course, there are things that cannot be known now. But the one thing I do know is this; tubino and his league of trolls and others of their ilk have already made up their minds. So when it comes out that what they believe is actually wrong, as sure as day follows night, they will claim a coverup.

Idiots.




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Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

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