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The political legacy of Katrina

With natural disasters, there is a logical progression, a hierarchy, to the response. It goes from local to county to state to region to national, with the order determined by those who are closest and most familiar with the area afflicted to those more removed -- but have access to greater resources.

In the case of the Greensburg, Kansas tornado, the local response was largely moot, as the whole town was pretty much destroyed. The county did what it could, but it quickly became apparent that this was something that needed the attentions of the state -- and beyond.

Kansas' governor, Kathleen Sebelius, responded in much the same fashion as Governor Blanco of Louisiana did after Katrina: blame the Bush administration. The state's National Guard was unable to respond as effectively as it could because of its involvement in the war in Iraq.

This time, though, the Bush administration was prepared. They immediately answered her charges with facts, spelling out just what equipment and staffing the Kansas Guard had on hand, just what Governor Sebelius had requested from the federal government, what the federal government had already provided (which was above and beyond what she had requested), and what more they intended to do.

And the response to Sebelius did not slow one whit of that response.

The fundamental principle here, politics aside, is that the federal government is not -- and should not -- ever be the first responder to disaster. It's too big, too remote, too inefficient. It should always be the lowest level of government that responds, that coordinates, that runs the whole shebang. They are the most familiar with the area, the people, and the circumstances. The higher officials should -- and do -- place themselves at the disposal of these lower officials, giving them the resources they need, as requested.

And the whole notion of finger-pointing and assigning blame should be held off until after the crisis has passed.

Nice try, Governor Sebelius. But I'm afraid that Governor Blanco already used the "blame Bush" tactic, and that's the sort of thing that tends to not work well more than once.


Comments (53)

Heaven save the Union from ... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

Heaven save the Union from female democratic governors named Kathleen.

There can be no comparison ... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

There can be no comparison between Katrina and Kansas...
...and yes..the continued lack of Bush other than photo ops on Katrina...is an issue...
wife and I went down to NOLA for the Blues/Jazz fest...you don't have a clue...multiply that Kansas town..and to say the Gov and not our President should lead there?
Our failure not only in NOLA but elsewhere on the coast is a disgrace...
Bush wants to rebuild Iraq...
..how about here at home?
But of course the Republican landslide in 2008 will prove me an idiot...

I'd be more worried about a... (Below threshold)
89:

I'd be more worried about a MALE governor named Kathleen.

OF courst if the Federal Go... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

OF courst if the Federal Government entered a state without permission to take over command of a disaster, the dimmers would be yelling "police state", "Nazi" and other hyperbole. Everyone with a brain knows the governors of La. and Ks. screwed up. Using this disaster to play politics is disgusting. ww

But of course the Republ... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

But of course the Republican landslide in 2008 will prove me an idiot...

You do that quite well on your own.

hey nogo...Care to... (Below threshold)
Bo:

hey nogo...

Care to speculate why Mississippi is getting rebuilt and New Orleans isn't?

Keep in mind, too, that approximately 35% of our state's economy came from the Gulf Coast casinos, NONE of which survived the storm.

It's called "leadership." Some folks really ought to look into it.

There can be no comparis... (Below threshold)
cirby:

There can be no comparison between Katrina and Kansas...

Blanco claimed that the Katrina response was due to Iraq, and Sebelius also claimed the same thing for the tornado response, and in both cases, it was a lie. Not just a lie, but a stupid, easily-disproven lie.

How is that NOT comparable?

"Our failure not only in... (Below threshold)

"Our failure not only in NOLA but elsewhere on the coast is a disgrace..."

Oh shut up. And you'd do well to leave us Floridians out of your little finger pointing snit. Your refusal to place what blame should be placed where is just a disgrace...

Rather than agree (God no! Can't do THAT!) that Jay is absolutely right about the chain of responders, you go off on another tangent which invariably includes some reference to Iraq. I've seen people, conservatives and independents, here time and time again admit that there were failures at all levels in N.O., but it's all about Bush for you and other lefties, ain't it?

What are you going to do when Bush is out of the White House?

Postal, the visitors here d... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Postal, the visitors here do not need a benchmark as proof you are an idiot. Those that come here regularly have come to accept that as fact, needing no verification.

What you missed was that the good governor of Kansas misstated the problem. Seems she had all the equipment necessary to respond to that disaster. But then who would ever believe democrats would attempt to politicise a tragety. I for one, am shocked! All I can say is she had better watch her crowing. Seems the people are not as stupid as the dems think they are. Notice who will be and who will not be elected in Louisiana. Just a word to the unwise. As to 2008. If you think the House and Senate Dems are doing anything that would endear them to the majority that is going to vote in the next Presidental election. Better read you tea leaves again (polls) that have proven so accurate in the past. Dems won the majority claiming the republicans were corrupt, it was not about Iraq. The Democrats made no promises about Iraq. Now they claim differently. All that shit is on tape. To be trotted out in the next election cycle. Put you money down Nogo.

Re: WildWillieYeah... (Below threshold)
89:

Re: WildWillie

Yeah I remember reading, at least 10 years ago, some alarmist screed about how scary this shadowy agency called "FEMA" was, and all their scary emergency powers. Seems like FEMA is desperately needed - the same can't be said for all local figures of authority.

>The fundamental princip... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>The fundamental principle here, politics aside, is that the federal government is not -- and should not -- ever be the first responder to disaster.

Ummm.. not to burst your bubble but you are factually incorrect.

When it is determined that the local authorities are overwhelmed, then yes BY LAW the feds become the fist responders.

The problem is the determination when the locals are overwhelmed. In the case of Katrina, a FEMA guy by the name of Marty (something) called Washington MONDAY AFTERNOON and tried to explain the situation was out of control and the folks in DC did not belive him.

When questioned by the Senate why (the guy in charge of making the call that it was the Feds job) he did not believe the local FEMA guy, he cited 2 bits of info.

1) CNN reports that the city was spared. (video of the French Quarter)

And the biggie,

2) The folks at the Corps IN WASHINGTON told him the levees IN NEW ORLEANS where fine. The Corps hadn't even sent anybody out there and they lied.

But getting back the the larger point you're also wrong.

The political legacy of Katrina is that people are partisan assholes who will do or say anything to make their side look good.

Welcome to real life.

Our failure not only in ... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

Our failure not only in NOLA but elsewhere on the coast is a disgrace...

Where is it written down that it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to rebuild anything damaged in a natural disaster?

Further, where is it the responsibility of the US to rebuild in very high risk situations?

And, why?

Your repeated rants n posts... (Below threshold)
Gianni:

Your repeated rants n posts have already proven you an idiot....

I have goddam insurance to ... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

I have goddam insurance to cover the loss of my house, nogo. It is MY responsibility to see that I am properly covered. If my house is burned down I do NOT expect the Feds to rebuild it. If it is damaged in a flood I do NOT expect the Feds to rebuild it.

Why the freaking hell do YOU expect the Feds to rebuild all those houses?

I EXPECT the local government to clean away the debris from the roads.

I EXPECT the utility companies to re-establish facilities.

I DO NOT EXPECT the Feds to come in and hold my hand, kiss my boo boo ass and make it all better.

Nogo, you are a bloody dumb... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

Nogo, you are a bloody dumbass.

One day you arre going to have to grow up and really work for a living.

Better yet, start your own business! See how many "paid sick days" you get. See how many "paid personal days" you get.

Stop sucking off of everyone else and SEE for yourself what life really is all about.

I absolutely loathe leeches like you.

Jay, you need to take this ... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Jay, you need to take this up with your boy Chertoff:

"In the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will provide a coordinated, comprehensive federal response and mount a swift and effective recovery effort. The department assumes primary responsibility for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation."

From the DHS website.

Jay,I would disagr... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Jay,

I would disagree with your assessment that, "the local response was largely moot."

The local government response was pretty good considering they had nothing left. They did everything they could, and managed to evacuate the survivors that wanted to go reasonably quickly. The surrounding towns that hadn't been hit responded with emergency crews, bus transportation, heavy equipment etc. The local POPULATIONS responded immediately with emergency aids, heavy equipment etc. One responder reported that he thought it was quite erie that when he he got there the next morning that most of the roads were clear. They were cleared by the residents, people from neighboring towns and local farmers that showed up with bulldozers, pick-up trucks and loaders. Don't discount farmers with heavy equipment. The number one request for help by saturday and sunday was for the beurocrats to go away so the residents could get on with recovery efforts. Outside of local agencies the only state agency that truly helped was the National Guard. They showed up with heavy equipment to help their freinds and neighbors.

Recovery in the area will succeed and it will be accomplished by freinds and neighbors, not the government.

"wife and I went down to NO... (Below threshold)
J-Ho:

"wife and I went down to NOLA for the Blues/Jazz fest...you don't have a clue...multiply that Kansas town..and to say the Gov and not our President should lead there?"

nogo - You're an idiot.

Must be painful to be stupid and so stupid, that you aren't even aware of your own stupidity.

I live here in New Orleans. Everyday I see Ray Nagin come out with some plan, some committee, some "tsar" to handle Katrina rebuilding, all things that should have been done BY HIM 18 MONTHS AGO!!!! Things Bush doesn't have the authority to do. Bush doesn't have the authority to make desicions about Lakeview (a neighborhood). But yet in your genius you see it as his fault.

And Democrat Blanco did such a great job that she won't even run for re-election because she knows there's no way she can win. There's a lot of blame to go around, but Bush's responsibility in this ended at least 16 months ago if not earlier.

Talk about rebuilding Iraq all you want. But it's not the president's fault that NOLA isn't being rebuilt. The rebuilding of New Orleans is being held up for three reasons. 1) Ray Nagin is not a leader and has no vision. 2) The Corp is still screwing things up with the levees. 3) The Road Home Program is being horribly mis-managed (and it is overseen by the state, i.e. BLANCO).

Hope you enjoyed Jazz Fest and saw the good side of New Orleans.

Other than that - Shut The Hell Up!!!

nogo postal Bu... (Below threshold)
marc:

nogo postal

But of course the Republican landslide in 2008 will prove me an idiot...

Baw..hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!! (as if we need it)

'nough said on that subject.

Let's see if we can clear up Gov. Sebelius' mess in a clear and decisive way:

Two plus weeks before a tornado wiped Greensburg off the face of the earth she publicly stated her concerns in comments related to her support for current efforts to pullout of Iraq:

But Sebelius, a Democrat, said, "The sort of never-ending story with additional troops being sent on a regular basis, additional guardsmen and women, additional equipment, does not seem to be working very well."

OK, fine she expresses a legit concern.

However, then the tornado swooped down and said "Greensburg, I don't think we are in Kansas anymore."

Right out of the box, and fully in line with previous thoughts, she pulled the "it's Bush's fault" card and claims her NG force is depleted and at only 40%.

Just as quick it was demonstrably proven her "40%' figure was pure unadulterated BS (actually 88%), that 24 hours AFTER her comments she had only called up 110 Guardsmen and had not asked for help for her "depleated force" from neighboring states and she had at her disposal 352 Humvees, 94 cargo trucks, 72 dump trucks, 62 five-ton trucks, 13 medium-haul trucks and trailers and 152 2 1/2-ton trucks for a town of 1600.

Simply, and due to her stated defense of her NG, (again, a legit concern) and her anti-Iraq war stance predisposed Gov. Sebelius to state idiotic and unsupportable nonsense.

And soon enough... she back-peddled faster than a cat with a turpentined ass.

Paul:Ummm.. no... (Below threshold)
marc:

Paul:

Ummm.. not to burst your bubble but you are factually incorrect.

When it is determined that the local authorities are overwhelmed, then yes BY LAW the feds become the fist [sic] responders.

That makes about as much sense as some of the nogo postal's crapola, and BTW my bubble is just fine.

First means FIRST Paul. I.E. EMT's, police and firemen and any and all people on hand at the time of the event.

Question Paul, if it takes local authorities 24-72 hours to determine they are "overwhelmed" and call in Federal help how can that Fed help be anything close to "first responders?"

jp2:Where in the ... (Below threshold)
marc:

jp2:

Where in the quotation from the DHS website does it say they are first responders? And more to the point, can you provide any evidence the Feds didn't respond in a timely manner?

OR, as is your normal mode of ops, drop your little turd of wisdom and scurry away from the thread like a cat leaving it's smelly poopy-pile.

At least the cat has enough sense to cover its pile, you on the other hand leave it for all to see.

Our great Governor Sebelius... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Our great Governor Sebelius better watch what she says. There was transportation and firefighter unit drilling in Dodge City that weekend which is less then an hour away. The firefighters are trained for search and rescue of destroyed buildings and had two trucks on hand. Granted they were reservist and not National Guard but that is just an extra phone call. They were told they could not go and help unless the Governor requested help. She did not. The units were pushing to go help and were rebuffed.

I have a meme I try to post... (Below threshold)

I have a meme I try to post whenever I see blog commets falling into two partisan groups.

Democrats believe every war is Vietnam, every Republican is Nixon, and every Democrat is JFK.

Republicans believe every war is WWII, every Republican is Reagan, and every Democrat is Carter.

Guess I'll have to add "Democrats believe every disaster is Katrina, Republicans believe every disaster is Greenburg."

No need to worry about the ... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

No need to worry about the federal government being the first, second, or last responder in an emergency. When President Bush commented on the "mid-western' grit, I thought to myself, they better have it because NO HELP is ever going to be coming. Ask anyone on the GulF Coast how "helpful" this government was.

Hey Bo, Come visi... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

Hey Bo,
Come visit my mom's house in Pass Christian, MS and tell them all how great the recovery of Mississippi is going. You will be laughed out of the house. Keep drinking that Kool-aid though. It is cool and re-freshing.

drjohn, You obviou... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

drjohn,
You obviously are not the musician Dr. John. He knows that the destruction of New Orleans was a man-made, not a natural, disaster. Poorly designed flood walls broke under forces they were designed to withstand. And when your insurance company hands you your check for $10,000 on your destroyed $350,000 house you paid premiums on for 30 years, don't come whining to me. You are a tough independent soul and I know you will do just fine.

marc, you're in way over yo... (Below threshold)
Paul:

marc, you're in way over your head.

The you're trying to tell us that the law isn't the law. It's not up for debate, it's a matter of law. I write about it and jp2 quoted it.

We've spent umpteen billion of dollars on "Homeland Security" and have nothing to show for it.

(can you say we're honestly ready for a real terrorist attack on a wide scale?)

You can babble all you want, being a clueless partisan hack... You won't change reality, you'll just make yourself look foolish.

good day.

If I were the republicans, ... (Below threshold)
Judith:

If I were the republicans, I would campaign on the basis of watching TWO DEMOCRAT WOMEN GOVERNORS, who appear to have not prepared in any way for a crisis, incompetently handle said crisis when it occurs, then look to Bush and the feds to bail them out of their predicament, all the while blaming the "father" figures for their problems! I (unfortunately) have a demo (I love to imply they belong to the demolition party) for a governor who has botched some extremely simple problems in his few months in office....I dread to think what this idiot will do when something big strikes (oh thats right-he's a friend of bills). After Katrina hit, the press visited Mississippi and we saw the natives of that state cleaning up and helping each other. We then traversed to Louisiana and saw the natives WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO CLEAN THINGS UP and blaming the feds for all their problems. There is one basic difference in that situation. The other item I noticed was blanco shelling out millions to re-decorate her office instead of taking care of her constituents. Someday the report will be written that Louisiana and Kansas played politics while their people suffered, and I hope to be alive when that report is published.

Paul:The you'r... (Below threshold)
marc:

Paul:

The you're trying to tell us that the law isn't the law. It's not up for debate, it's a matter of law. I write about it and jp2 quoted it.

What "law" would that be?

What "law" did jp2 quote? He quoted a passage from the DHS website that says nothing resembling a law.

Your original quote was:

When it is determined that the local authorities are overwhelmed, then yes BY LAW the feds become the fist [sic] responders.

Quote the "law." My dispute with you, and jp2 as well, is not with any spurious "law" but with it's ability to be a "first responder."

It's physically impossible logistically for the Feds to be on scene "first."

It's is impossible for the Feds (barring a presidential takeover) to be on scene prior to the locals to requesting assistance.

Pftttt... and YOU have the nerve to say I'm over my head. Thanks for the comedic gold.

marc, as a first responder ... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

marc, as a first responder I have to agree with you. Most of the people are just writing fairy tales. Nogo has never been and never will be worth two cents to himself or anyone else. Poke him with a pin and he'd blow BS over half a state.

I want to see the first president take over a state. They won't be impeached, they will be shot at dawn.

Speed of response. I have several friends that make hundreds of thousands of dollars doing disaster cleanup and they'll tell you one of the worst responses by the federal government occured on the East Coast during Slick's regime. Help was requested from the feds and took forever to show, if it ever did in places. They made big money and didn't have to do squat for it. Cleanup finally got going after a month on the government dole. If there had not been a take charge governor in a couple of states there would still be a disaster there. Call the feds only when needed and it must be done by the governor or all hell will break loose, a worse disaster will follow the natural disaster.

Judith, I live in... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

Judith,
I live in SE LA. My mother lives in SW MS. I cannot even tell you how disgusting I find your comments about the two states. You are ignorant of the facts on the ground, yet you sit from on high and make sweeping pronouncements from your TV WATCHING? I have seen and lived the situation in both states. Wake up to the fact that you don't have a clue. To you it is all about politics; to me it is about real people being heroic in just facing each day. Can you understand that? The people of MS and LA are strong and resilient and have shown unbelievable character in the last 20 months. It is the reaction of people like you that make me wonder about the future of this country. Disgusting.

Wayne, wail that to the wor... (Below threshold)
kim:

Wayne, wail that to the world. What a disgrace.
===========================

Paul is absolutely correct ... (Below threshold)

Paul is absolutely correct on his points. Marty Bahamonde is the FEMA guy he was thinking of, and Matthew Broderick was the incompetent director of Homeland Security Operations Center who sat in his hotel room watching CNN coverage to find out what was going on in the city drowning below him. (More here. )

And J-Ho: You can't say the Army Corps of Engineers is "still screwing things up with the levees" and then say President Bush (the "Commander in Chief") has no responsibility over his own Army. Plus, President Bush made commitments after Katrina to "do what it takes" to rebuild New Orleans. New Orleanians said that it would take Cat 5 storm protection and Richard Baker's Housing Bill-- the White House submarined both initiatives.

(Btw, I'm the liberal, lower case "oyster", and I live in New Orleans.)

drjohn,You obviou... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

drjohn,
You obviously are not the musician Dr. John. He knows that the destruction of New Orleans was a man-made, not a natural, disaster. Poorly designed flood walls broke under forces they were designed to withstand. And when your insurance company hands you your check for $10,000 on your destroyed $350,000 house you paid premiums on for 30 years, don't come whining to me. You are a tough independent soul and I know you will do just fine.

Posted by: doctorj at May 9, 2007 07:46 PM

Wow. Creative name.

I really am a doctor and I do know what my insurance policy covers.

If I pay for wind coverage I wont demand the insurance company cover flood like the idiots in NOLA. It's all so unfair- them not covering what the policy doesn't cover.

Katrina was man-made, was it?

Dr. John, I am a r... (Below threshold)
docotrj:

Dr. John,
I am a real doctor too and you would be surprised as to the "exemptions" of your policies. One man in Slidell, LA had 12 huge pine trees fall on his million dollar home and was denied any payment because the slab was cracked. They said it was due to subsidence which was not covered by the policy. Another story. Basements wee exempted from coverages. Did you know that any room that has a stepdown to it in your house is considered a basement? True story. New Orleans had the 2nd highest coverage of federal flood insurance than any other metropolis but Miami. These reports are very common. The insurance industry is a scam. You are fooling yourself if you think you are going to collect on what you "know" you are covered for.

I just saw that last commen... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

I just saw that last comment about "Katrina being man-made". I don't know how you can read this blog and not have read Paul's great reporting on the negligence of the Army Corps of Engineers. If you didn't know, Katrina skirted NOLA and hit the Mississippi gulf coast full force. New Orleans survived "Katrina" battered but whole. What happened afterwards was the "largest civil engineering disaster in the history of the USA "as described by the head of the Corps of Engineers himself. The bulk of the flooding in the city was due to design flaws-pilings not deep enough, being left in soft soils. Federal designs, federal levees and flood walls. We were told they would stand up to a cat 3 storm surge. Since NOLA was on the weak west side, we got cat 1 or low 2 and the levees failed. It was not Katrina that destroyed my hometown but faulty federal levees. And you wonder why people complain? Mississippi had a hurricane, New Orleans had a flood.

Its a tragedy that levee mo... (Below threshold)
Gianni:

Its a tragedy that levee money sent to NOLA, etc was used to build a casino, a marina, and even to buy a plane.

Anyone ever hear any dimmies call for the prosecution of the (D) levee board for their failure??

Where did that high dry air... (Below threshold)
kim:

Where did that high dry air come from, deflecting Katrina east and weakening her?
=======================

drj, no sympathy from me. ... (Below threshold)
Judith:

drj, no sympathy from me. I am so very sorry that you and your family have suffered, but the info I have researched (and no, you silly goose, not from your kos or du sites) tells a different story. And your nonsensical shot at me about politics is....well, I'll call it hyprocrisy, not to hurt your delicate sensibilities. I'm a product of the post-war (WWII) adults, who were one tough bunch. The stories my parents told me about the hardships that occurred in this country, and how their generation handled them, puts shame to modern day. The foolish games that were played by incompetent POLITICIANS, and then the political games played by the same individuals, puts either a bad face on your arguments (you're either ignorant or stupid)or you have decided to play POLITICAL games with the facts...neither of which furthers the debate or in any way helps the situation in LA. I'm glad the people of the states involved are taking care of things (as it should be). And it is sensitive, waiting for daddy-types like you that make me wonder about where our country is headed...with delicate fellows like yourself, I assume to "h in a handbasket".

doctorj: your argument has... (Below threshold)

doctorj: your argument has shifted from the fed's responsibility to the insurance companies' responsibility. I'm asking out of pure curiosity: what do the two have to do with each other? Are you implying that because insurance companies have odd wording or exemptions in their policies that the feds should pick up the tab? It seems that way because you complain about the rebuilding in Miss. and shift immediately to insurance companies not paying out the worth of one's home as if they are directly in conjunction with each other.

We ALL worry about our insurance policies from health to homeowner's. But that's a separate issue to be handled in the courts and through regulation from what responsibilities the feds have should those policies not be what we thought they were.

Two years ago we had four hurricanes hit our state, Florida. One was right on the heels of another with hardly time to draw another breath. Many insurance companies immediately dropped our policies when renewal time came up, but I fail to see what it has to do with federal assistance. My policy was dropped and I never made a claim and paid for all repairs out of my pocket (several thousand dollars). I also watched with utter dismay as some people started complaining that they had no drinking water merely hours after the first one passed as if the state or feds had failed them rather than admit they had not planned more than five minutes ahead.

That is indicitive of my (and many people's) largest complaint following these disasters. It is also the gist of Jay Tea's post. Responsibility has a chain of command. It starts with the individual.

There is still, and will be for a while to come, rebuilding. As a matter of fact, there are parts of Miami still waiting for materials to fix homes because N.O. and Miss. have taken so much priority. Do we hear people in Miami screaming about the feds? Please point me to those headlines.

I just saw that last com... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

I just saw that last comment about "Katrina being man-made". I don't know how you can read this blog and not have read Paul's great reporting on the negligence of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Prior to the purchase of your home did you happen to know that New Orleans was below sea level?

And Paul's great reporting notwithstanding, Katrina is still not man-made. Everyone knew that at some point this was going to happen, but no one acted on it.

I would never have bought there.

Oyster, Insurance a... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

Oyster,
Insurance and government are connected because these are the things we need to make us whole again and both have failed miserably. Now this is my own opinion: In a natural disaster, I feel you should rebuild through insurance and the help of charities. I feel government has a hand also to supply temporary housing, emergency medical help, water and food. Here is where we differ. In a disaster caused by the government, I feel the government needs to compensate the people for the losses they caused. This was not a case of levees being overwelmed by a disaster it wasn't engineered to handle. The forces were WELL below what they were built to withstand. (For Kim, Katrina was a 3 by the time it hit the coast. New Orleans is well inland and on the weak west side of the storm. Independent engineers have proven it was a 1 or weak 2 by the time the forces hit Lake Ponchatrain. It was the forces from the north of the city that caused the flooding.) If you don't agree that the government should have to correct the mistakes it caused, it is useless for us to talk. To me it is a question of right and wrong, black and white. If the levees had been overwelmed by a cat 4, I would not have the anger that I have. It would still be a disaster, a terrible thing, but God doesn't promise you an easy life. I would pick up and move on. Then I would only complain about the evil of insurance companies. The citizens of New Orleans had their lives and city destroyed by government incompetence. (incompetence of decades and several administrations.) The local levee board does not design levees, it cuts the grass on the levees. In fact, last week the President of St. Bernard Parish was on TV. They wanted to fix a section of levee themselves because it was obviously subpar. The Corps told them they would be arrested if they touched them. THESE ARE FEDERAL LEVEES. They were put here to keep the commerce of the Mississippi River rolling for America. The government has failed its citizens. Nothing is going to change that. All we can do now is get them to live up to their promises and FIX the levees. So far AGAIN they are failing. National Geographic has an excellent web site about this. Its August magazine will cover the story. I will put the link in another post because the spam killer here usually doesn't let me put links in. For those that don't care about their own fellow citizens, their answer is don't build below sea level. Besides the FACT that 50% of the city is at or above sea level, the city is here for a reason -commerce and oil-both things America likes. If a tiny country like the Neatherlands can make their citizens safe, how come a giant rich country like ours do the same? I am a conservative that has had my heart broken by the reaction of this country and the reaction of Americans themselves to the true suffering of its own citizens. I have seen horrible governmental incompetence, ineptitude, arrogance, and yes lying. I will not rest until this is changed. I do this in the name of my city and family and my fellow citizens that have suffered needlessly. I do it in the name of my father, a WWII veteran, who taught me to love this country. I HATE what this country has become and will do what I can to get her back on the right track.

When it is determined th... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

When it is determined that the local authorities are overwhelmed, then yes BY LAW the feds become the fist responders.

And who is that makes said determination?

That would be the Governor. The idiotic, incompetent Kathleen (there's that name again)("I don't know what day it is") Blanco.

And by that definition the Feds CANNOT be first responders, they would be the second responders.

<a href="http://magma.natio... (Below threshold)
doctorj:
<a href="http://magma.natio... (Below threshold)
doctorj:
I hope you are able to have... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

I hope you are able to have the deficiencies with the insurance company and the levees addressed.

It still remains that the Feds aren't the ones to have to rebuild everyone's house.

It still remains that the locals are the first responders.

The buses were under water instead of on the road removing evacuees.

And Blanco did tell Bush that no levees had been breached on Monday morning.

And by Tuesday she had not made up her mind about giving up control.

It's not our fault that you have idiots for leaders. I am sorry you have to endure it.

We do have our share of idiots.

>Paul is absolutely correct... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Paul is absolutely correct on his points. Marty Bahamonde is the FEMA guy he was thinking of, and Matthew Broderick was the incompetent director of Homeland Security Operations Center who sat in his hotel room watching CNN coverage to find out what was going on in the city drowning below him. (More here. )

EXACTLY- That's why dumbass knowitalls like marc wear me so thin... the guy is a clueless moron who has no idea what he is talking about but he's going to lecture me and anyone else who knows what they are talking about..

It's like a kinder gardener trying to correct the teacher.

He won't read your link because he'll realize what a colossal moronic dumbass he is.

but anywho...

Marty Bahamonde should get a gold metal and Matthew Broderick should be on trial for malfeasance in office. (and then hung)

Of course dumbasses like marc don't even know who these people are... sigh.

If a tiny country like t... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

If a tiny country like the Neatherlands can make their citizens safe, how come a giant rich country like ours do the same?

How many hurricanes have struck the Netherlands in the last decade?

Two words: Ray Nagin

Two more words: Kathleen Blanco

The Netherlands has investe... (Below threshold)

The Netherlands has invested in flood protection that will survive a 1 in 10,000 year storm event. They are not satisfied with that, and are improving their protection to withstand 1 in 100,000 year storms. They don't get hurricanes, they get wicked storms off the North Sea.

Most of New Orleans is above sea level.

The flooding and death in New Orleans was due to the breach of faulty federal levees.

And the Bush administration... (Below threshold)

And the Bush administration has committed to repairing the levees up to WEAK CATEGORY 3 strength, which "might" withstand a 1 in 100 year storm event.

Jay says: "With natural dis... (Below threshold)

Jay says: "With natural disasters, there is a logical progression, a hierarchy, to the response. It goes from local to county to state to region to national, with the order determined by those who are closest and most familiar with the area afflicted to those more removed -- but have access to greater resources."

Not so fast my friend! Here's an excerpt from the book, "Disaster", which I linked to previously:

At the Department of Homeland Security, federal efforts following disasters were dictated by the newly minted National Response Plan. Though billed as a plan for all disasters, it made a sharp distinction between garden-variety calamities such as Gulf hurricanes and more severe catastrophes -- generally terrorist attacks. By the department's reckoning, standard disaster response fell to local governments, backstopped by FEMA, while a catastrophic event assumed the states would be immediately overwhelmed and required a massive response from the federal government.

In the run-up to Hurricane Katrina's landfall, there were calls within Homeland Security and the White House to pre-emptively declare the tempest a catastrophe and put the federal government on heightened alert -- "leaning forward," as department officials liked to say. But senior Homeland Security officials resisted, arguing that FEMA was perfectly capable of handling a hurricane. "I did not feel it was imperative," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said later.


One last link. Colbert is ... (Below threshold)
doctorj:
Dean and Durbin told Kathle... (Below threshold)
kim:

Dean and Durbin told Kathleen Sebelius to lie about the Kansas National Guard to trash Bush and delegitimize the war.

That's not popular in the Land of Oz. Or anywhere.
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