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Judy G. Russell
September 1st, 2005, 07:10 PM
In an interview with ABC this morning, George W. Bush said: "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

Huh? That's the one thing I heard over and over and over, in the hours and days while Katrina was bearing down on NOLA. "The levees." "The levees might give way." "If the levees go, the city will be under water." "All that stands between New Orleans and disaster is the levees." To quote a CNN piece from the 28th: "After Betsy these levies were designed for a Category 3," said Sheriff Jeff Hingle of Placquemines Parish, just southeast of New Orleans. "You're now looking at a Category 5. You're looking at a storm that is as strong as Camille was, but bigger than Betsy was size-wise. These levies will not hold the water back. So we're urging people to leave. You're looking at these levies having 10 feet of water over the top of them easily." From USA Today on the 28th: For years, forecasters have warned of the nightmare scenario a big storm could bring to New Orleans, a bowl of a city that's up to 10 feet below sea level in spots and dependent on a network of levees, canals and pumps to keep dry from the Mississippi River on one side, Lake Pontchartrain on the other.

The fear is that flooding could overrun the levees and turn New Orleans into a toxic lake filled with chemicals and petroleum from refineries, as well as waste from ruined septic systems. Even Fox News said it: "This is a once in a lifetime event," Mayor Ray Nagin (search) said. "The city of New Orleans has never seen a hurricane of this magnitude hit it directly."

The mayor said a direct hit by Katrina's storm surge would likely top the levees that protect the city from the surrounding water of Lake Pontchartrain (search), the Mississippi River (search) and marshes. The bowl-shaped city must pump water out even during normal times, and the hurricane threatened electricity that runs the pumps.

Nagin said he spoke to a forecaster at the hurricane center who told him that "this is the storm New Orleans has feared these many years." Maybe everybody was HOPING the levees wouldn't fail, but c'mon: there wasn't any reason to evacuate the whole city EXCEPT the fear that the levees would be breached or would fail. So... why weren't we more prepared? Why wasn't the federal government gearing up, big time, over last weekend? Why weren't troops and supplies on the move towards the region as the residents were being asked to move out of the region?

It looks right now as though literally thousands of New Orleanians are going to lose their lives to hunger, thirst, heat and disease because we couldn't get help to them in time.

Appalling. It's just appalling.

Wayne Scott
September 1st, 2005, 07:36 PM
OK, W isn't as fluent as you and I.
I keep being impressed by the ignorance of most of the talking heads discussing this. Most seem to think that Lake Ponchartrain is a lake. It isn't, it's a bay or inlet filled with sea water. New Orleans is only 7 feet under mean tide level, but, mor importanly, it is 42 feet or so beneath the BOTTOM of the Mississippi River. When the Sieur de Bienville's expedition sailed up the Mississippi, he liked the site at a bend of the river, so he ordered the "Crescent City" to be built there. The engineers and builders on the ship pointed out that he had selected the worst place in many miles to built a city. The autocratic nobleman, refused advice, and built his city there. Now is is underwater, filled with sewage and dead bodies.
He doesn't care, of course.

Le Curm

RayB (France)
September 1st, 2005, 08:06 PM
**So... why weren't we more prepared?**

And what would have been your solution, who should have been resposnible and when?

Judy G. Russell
September 1st, 2005, 08:36 PM
The autocratic nobleman, refused advice, and built his city there. Now is is underwater, filled with sewage and dead bodies.
He doesn't care, of course.
But the rest of us care... too much, right now. This is waaaaaaay painful, Wayne.

Judy G. Russell
September 1st, 2005, 08:38 PM
I'd say it would have to be FEMA (part of the Department of Homeland Security), which should have authority to begin movements of men and materiel as needed.

Bill Hirst
September 2nd, 2005, 12:04 AM
**So... why weren't we more prepared?**

And what would have been your solution, who should have been resposnible and when?
Adequate funding for upgrading the levees would have prevented much of the destruction, pestilence and death. "Since 2001, the Louisiana Congressional delegation had pushed for far more money for storm protection than the Bush administration has accepted." -NYT


http://tinyurl.com/8rz7u from the New York Times (September 1)

http://tinyurl.com/cdf4e from the New Orleans CityBusiness (June 6)

If those links don't work, try http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/01/national/nationalspecial/01levee.html and http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4200/is_20050606/ai_n14657367

Lindsey
September 2nd, 2005, 12:29 AM
So... why weren't we more prepared? Why wasn't the federal government gearing up, big time, over last weekend? Why weren't troops and supplies on the move towards the region as the residents were being asked to move out of the region?
Because it's not an election year, and because Mississippi and Louisiana are not Florida? But mostly because FEMA is being gutted: http://www.indyweek.com/durham/2004-09-22/cover.html

As to Bush's remark: When I heard that this morning, I wanted to give the guy a dope slap. But that remark is on a par with his contention (made several times) that the reason we invaded Iraq was that Saddam wouldn't allow the weapons inspectors in. In both cases, I think Bush just said what he thought fit the moment, and I don't think he really cared whether what he said was actually true. Did I mention that New Yorker article from a couple of weeks ago entitled something like "On Bullshit"? Bush is a bullshitter--he has no real regard for the actual truth.

--Lindsey

Lindsey
September 2nd, 2005, 12:41 AM
OK, W isn't as fluent as you and I.
I don't think it's a question of fluency; I think it's a question of being totally out of touch. It seems to run in the family.

When the Sieur de Bienville's expedition sailed up the Mississippi, he liked the site at a bend of the river, so he ordered the "Crescent City" to be built there.
Interesting piece in Slate on how New Orleans came to be located where it is: http://www.slate.com/id/2125346/nav/tap2/

--Lindsey

RayB (France)
September 2nd, 2005, 08:00 AM
I'd say it would have to be FEMA (part of the Department of Homeland Security), which should have authority to begin movements of men and materiel as needed.

Check -

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/02/national/nationalspecial/02response.html?


Note that the critics are off-site 'Experts'. I choose to believe those on the front line.

Somehow I just can't seem to understand living in a deep hole in the ground between a massive river and what amounts to a salt water bay.

Peter Creasey
September 2nd, 2005, 09:48 AM
Judy, I question your presentation of the sequence of events. Yes, when Katrina was "bearing down on NO", there was great concern about the levees.

Once Katrina abated slightly, veered to the east, and got past NO, then everyone, as President Bush said accurately, felt that NO had dodged the bullet with respect to the levees. I can remember having a sigh of relief and mentioning same to JoAnne.

Then subsequently the breach of the levee began to be an unexpected factor.

I suggest that everyone take a deep breath and try to be fair and constructive when dealing with this tragedy.

Judy G. Russell
September 2nd, 2005, 10:24 AM
There's more than enough blame to go around -- but there had better be some accountability here as well.

If we want to believe the people on the ground, then from CNN:
But there was perhaps no clearer illustration of the disconnect between how emergency officials view the situation at a distance, and how it is viewed by those actually living it on the ground, than [FEMA Director] Brown's comments to CNN's Wolf Blitzer Thursday evening about the evacuation of hospitals in the city.

"I've just learned today that we ... are in the process of completing the evacuations of the hospitals, that those are going very well," he said.

Shortly after he made those comments, Dr. Michael Bellew, a resident at Charity Hospital, where more than 200 patients were still waiting to be evacuated, described desperate conditions. The hospital had no power, no water, food was running out and nurses were bagging patients by hand because ventilators didn't work.

Earlier in the day, the evacuation from Charity had to be suspended for a time after a sniper opened fire on rescuers.

At another local hospital, Memorial Medical Center, a small fleet of helicopters was brought in to evacuate patients and staff after hospital officials were told "by officials on the ground to take the matter into our own hands," said Trevor Fetter, president of Tenet HealthCare Corp., the hospital's owner.

Judy G. Russell
September 2nd, 2005, 10:26 AM
I guess we're all supposed to accept that there is some fundamental difference between the levees being breached and the levees failing or flooding over the top of the levees. Somehow I don't think it matters one damned bit to the dead and the dying in New Orleans.

Judy G. Russell
September 2nd, 2005, 10:29 AM
There is no excuse -- repeat, no excuse -- for the failure of response, timely response, adequate response. There are towns in Mississippi that haven't gotten any assistance either. So if the reason why nobody helped New Orleans better is that the storm went to Mississippi, what's the excuse for not helping Mississippi better?

The fact is, the Department we now rely on for domestic response (the Department of Homeland Security) is so damned busy trying to make sure little kids don't get to fly on airplanes because their names are on some secret list of potential terrorists that we're unprepared in a very fundamental way for a real disaster at home.

If I were al Qaeda, I'd be gleeful beyond belief.

ndebord
September 2nd, 2005, 11:18 AM
Adequate funding for upgrading the levees would have prevented much of the destruction, pestilence and death. "Since 2001, the Louisiana Congressional delegation had pushed for far more money for storm protection than the Bush administration has accepted." -NYT


Bill,

Fifty states and 100 senators, many rural who care less about urban America...some of whom have made a career denigrating urban life. They were the ones who refused to rebuild the infrastructure. Meanwhile this from Holland:

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/12543574.htm

Six dyke builders in Holland are waiting for word that their expertise would be welcome in the United States. About a quarter of Holland is below sea level.

Jeff
September 2nd, 2005, 01:51 PM
The Dutch are watching all of this in total disbelief at the stupidity involved.

- Jeff

Jeff
September 2nd, 2005, 02:10 PM
Six dyke builders in Holland are waiting for word that their expertise would be welcome in the United States. About a quarter of Holland is below sea level.

I lived there for more than 20 years. It's more than a quarter below sea level; a quarter is *seriously* below sea level. Sea level at Schipol, the Dutch international airport, is about even with the windshield of a 747.

- Jeff

Judy G. Russell
September 2nd, 2005, 02:54 PM
We Americans are watching all of this in total disbelief at the stupidity involved.

Dick K
September 2nd, 2005, 03:11 PM
Adequate funding for upgrading the levees would have prevented much of the destruction, pestilence and death. "Since 2001, the Louisiana Congressional delegation had pushed for far more money for storm protection than the Bush administration has accepted." -NYT
Yeah, but even appropriating the money in 2001 would not have done anything for New Orleans in time for Katrina. Strengthening the levees and putting in place other necessary flood control measures is not simply a question of flipping a switch; it is a project that would take decades.

Pick any conceivable disaster in the "not a matter of if, but when," category. How about a major earthquake (aka "The Big One") in the heart of Los Angeles? When--not "if"--it happens, you can bet the Monday morning quarterbacks will be hot off the mark with their we-told-you-so recriminations and will loudly wonder why we were too "blind" to spend the X trillion dollars to build an earthquake-proof L.A. before The Big One hit.

So, we now presumably have time. Are you prepared to see several zillion federal tax dollars put in to earthquake-proofing Los Angeles, starting now? (I am sure you would have the backing of the Southern California congressional delegation.)

This Administration made mistakes, Previous administrations made mistakes. But instead of trying to turn a national disaster into a political football, let's put our energy into recovering from this one and seeing what we can do to mitigate future ones.

RayB (France)
September 2nd, 2005, 03:11 PM
We Americans are watching all of this in total disbelief at the stupidity involved.

Please speak for yourself and your ensemble, Judy. Not all of us share nor respect your opinions of this dreadful situation.

RayB (France)
September 2nd, 2005, 03:15 PM
Yeah, but even appropriating the money in 2001 would not have done anything for New Orleans in time for Katrina. Strengthening the levees and putting in place other necessary flood control measures is not simply a question of flipping a switch; it is a project that would take decades.

Pick any conceivable disaster in the "not a matter of if, but when," category. How about a major earthquake (aka "The Big One") in the heart of Los Angeles? When--not "if"--it happens, you can bet the Monday morning quarterbacks will be hot off the mark with their we-told-you-so recriminations and will loudly wonder why we were too "blind" to spend the X trillion dollars to build an earthquake-proof L.A. before The Big One hit.

So, we now presumably have time. Are you prepared to see several zillion federal tax dollars put in to earthquake-proofing Los Angeles, starting now? (I am sure you would have the backing of the Southern California congressional delegation.)

This Administration made mistakes, Previous administrations made mistakes. But instead of trying to turn a national disaster into a political football, let's put our energy into recovering from this one and seeing what we can do to mitigate future ones.

Thank you, Dick, you are absolutely right! I am happy to see some common sense prevailing

Dick K
September 2nd, 2005, 03:26 PM
There's more than enough blame to go around -- but there had better be some accountability here as well.
Amen to that, as from what I can see, one of the first heads on the block should be that of Secretary of Homeland Security Chertoff. Faced with questions by NPR yesterday on what was being done to relieve the horrible conditions at the New Orleans Convention Center, all he could do was plow through a script on how food, water, and evacuation assistance was being delivered to the Superdome. When the interviewer insisted on bringing the talk back to the Convention Center (where on-the-scene NPR journalists were reporting scenes of apocalyptic degradation), Chertoff finally mumbled that he had received no official reports of any problems there! It later turned out that there were between 15,000 and 25,000 refugees at the Convention Center, with no official presence whatver! (How much effort or common sense would it have taken for Chertoff to respond to the Convention Center inquiry with, "Let me check that out immediately, and I'll get back to you right away"?)

Further, Chertoff (or his people) appear to have no PR sense whatever. On national television, we are seeing scenes of thousands of desperate people who have not bathed or changed their clothes in several days. The camera switches to a Homeland Security press conference, and there is Secretary Chertoff, impeccably dressed in a well-pressed hand-tailored suit, beard neatly trimmed, shoes shined to a high luster, standing on a podium, flanked by his equally well-dressed agency chiefs, including the Coast Guard commandant in immaculate dress blues. For Chrissakes, don't these idiots know that if you want to show the country and the world that you are hard at work, you don't dress as though you were going to a society wedding? Shirtsleeves (for the civilians) and working fatigues (for the Coasties) would have been much more appropriate!

Dick K
September 2nd, 2005, 03:33 PM
I guess we're all supposed to accept that there is some fundamental difference between the levees being breached and the levees failing or flooding over the top of the levees. Somehow I don't think it matters one damned bit to the dead and the dying in New Orleans.
Judy -

I dunno. Flooding over the top(s) of the levees would have been messy, but it would not have resulted in Lake Pontchartrain draing into the bowl that is New Orleans and bringing the water level in N.O. up to the level of that in the lake.

Judy G. Russell
September 2nd, 2005, 04:44 PM
Part of the task of mitigating the effects of future problems is choosing leaders who will make the right decisions...

Judy G. Russell
September 2nd, 2005, 04:47 PM
Chertoff has looked terrible in his responses, second only to FEMA head Brown. Both of them should be dumped and competent people brought in. Alternatively, and perhaps more appropriately, FEMA needs to be taken out from under the Department of "Homeland Security" umbrella since DHS appears to care only about terrorism. Remember that Chertoff was a prosecutor and then a judge: he has no emergency management experience whatsoever -- and not a clue how to proceed.

Judy G. Russell
September 2nd, 2005, 04:50 PM
Except that that very scenario -- Lake Pontchartrain draining into the NOLA bowl -- is exactly what every single news report I saw or read about in the days leading up to the hit was focusing on. If the news media could figure out that it was a risk, we're supposed to believe the emergency managers couldn't?

Judy G. Russell
September 2nd, 2005, 04:51 PM
I don't have an ensemble, Ray, and I never purport to speak for anyone other than myself. But anyone who doesn't think there has been unspeakable stupidity involved in this entire fiasco may need to change his/her/its medications.

Dick K
September 2nd, 2005, 05:49 PM
Chertoff has looked terrible in his responses, second only to FEMA head Brown. Both of them should be dumped and competent people brought in.Judy -
The public behavior of both Chertoff and Brown has been appalling. For them to insist that everything is going smoothly and that they have no "confirmation" of lawlessness, deaths, and pandemonium while we are seeing on-the-spot pictures and hearing/watching testimony from journalists and bloggers on the scene is simply unbelievable. Do these guys really think we will accept the pablum they are spooning out in the face of undenaible evidence to the contrary?

Bill Hirst
September 2nd, 2005, 06:02 PM
If I were al Qaeda, I'd be gleeful beyond belief.
They may have already won. They have us so afraid that we gallop around tilting at windmills, blissfully ignorant of global warming, defecit spending, millions of citizens denied health care... I could go on and on. But if/when the USA fails, it won't be due to al Qaeda, it will be our own decadence.

So crank up those I-Pods, doodz, and live for the moment.

-Cowering cynically under a rock in Carlsbad Caverns.

Judy G. Russell
September 2nd, 2005, 06:02 PM
The public behavior of both Chertoff and Brown has been appalling. For them to insist that everything is going smoothly and that they have no "confirmation" of lawlessness, deaths, and pandemonium while we are seeing on-the-spot pictures and hearing/watching testimony from journalists and bloggers on the scene is simply unbelievable. Do these guys really think we will accept the pablum they are spooning out in the face of undenaible evidence to the contrary?
I wish I knew what they were thinking. I wish I was certain either of them WAS thinking. But neither of them is an emergency management expert. Both of them are lawyers, and lawyers with no experience in this area. Why in the world the FEMA director is anybody other than an emergency management expert is beyond my capacity to even imagine. Oh Lord, what I would give for a James Lee Witt right about now...

Bill Hirst
September 2nd, 2005, 06:39 PM
Bill,

Fifty states and 100 senators, many rural who care less about urban America....

Fifty states and 100 senators, many...who care less about...ordinary citizens.

RayB (France)
September 2nd, 2005, 07:24 PM
I don't have an ensemble, Ray, and I never purport to speak for anyone other than myself. But anyone who doesn't think there has been unspeakable stupidity involved in this entire fiasco may need to change his/her/its medications.

**We Americans are watching all of this in total disbelief at the stupidity involved.**

Which part of the above was misquoted? Dick covered my sentiments.

Lindsey
September 2nd, 2005, 07:35 PM
Somehow I just can't seem to understand living in a deep hole in the ground between a massive river and what amounts to a salt water bay.
It wasn't always a deep hole in the ground; the city started out above sea level, then as it grew, gradually expanded into the marshes near the lake, and as water was pumped out of those wetlands leaving the ground perpetually dry, the ground level slowly began to sink.

There was a good discussion of this on Science Friday (http://www.sciencefriday.com/pages/2005/Sep/hour1_090205.html) this afternoon. The part directly related to your question starts at about 3:30 into the segment and runs for 2 or 3 minutes.

I do hope you're not blaming the people of New Orleans for being victims of a disastrous storm.

--Lindsey

Lindsey
September 2nd, 2005, 07:51 PM
So if the reason why nobody helped New Orleans better is that the storm went to Mississippi, what's the excuse for not helping Mississippi better?
Because, of course, the storm was initially predicted to pass directly over New Orleans; "nobody" expected the direct hit to be on Mississippi. (Not that there seems to be a single thing about this whole mess that "anybody" anticipated.) It's Katrina's fault for not filing an acurate flight plan with FEMA. :cool:

--Lindsey

Lindsey
September 2nd, 2005, 08:00 PM
Part of the task of mitigating the effects of future problems is choosing leaders who will make the right decisions...
Or who will pay attention when you try to tell them something vitally important.

In early 2001, FEMA gave Bush a list of the three most likely big disasters to affect the United States:

1. A terrorist attack on New York City.
2. A direct hit on New Orleans by a major hurricane.
3. A major earthquake in San Francisco.

Of those three, they said, the hurricane hit on New Orleans would be the most devastating. And what did the Bush Administration do? Consistently cut funds for projects that might have mitigated hurricane damage along the Gulf Coast.

Maybe nothing that was proposed would have made a huge difference in time for this hurricane. But that doesn't get this Administration off the hook as far as I am concerned, because one thing for goddamned sure: doing nothing sure won't prevent anything.

--Lindsey

rlohmann
September 2nd, 2005, 08:03 PM
Remember that Chertoff was a prosecutor and then a judge: he has no emergency management experience whatsoever -- and not a clue how to proceed.I spent 16--frustrating and frustrated--years on the management side of the government's house before I was a lawyer. I spent considerable time after that trying to explain to lawyers what "management" meant.

I failed, of course.

Lindsey
September 2nd, 2005, 08:10 PM
Why in the world the FEMA director is anybody other than an emergency management expert is beyond my capacity to even imagine. Oh Lord, what I would give for a James Lee Witt right about now...
Why, you ask? What do you think?

President Bush replaced Witt with Joe Allbaugh, whose main qualification was that he was one of the president's main political fixers (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/wh2000/stories/allbaugh072399.htm) from Texas.

When Allbaugh left FEMA in 2003 to cash in (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2003_09_21.php#002003) on the Iraqi contracts bonanza, he was replaced by Michael Brown (http://www.fema.gov/about/bios/brown.shtm). Allbaugh originally brought Brown to FEMA as General Counsel. His qualification was that they were college buddies (http://www.indyweek.com/durham/2004-09-22/cover.html).

When Allbaugh bailed, he apparently gave the top job to Brown.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2005_08_28.php#006374
But there is a long history of cronyism at FEMA; Witt was a happy exception to that unfortunate rule.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
September 2nd, 2005, 09:28 PM
there is a long history of cronyism at FEMA; Witt was a happy exception to that unfortunate rule.
Sigh... and boy could we ever have used an exception right now...

Judy G. Russell
September 2nd, 2005, 09:29 PM
I hear you. You know I'm not anti-lawyer. I'm about as far from anti-lawyer as there may be in this anti-lawyer society of ours. But putting lawyers into positions like these is criminal.

Judy G. Russell
September 2nd, 2005, 09:31 PM
But preparing for disaster in New Orleans doesn't get votes and it doesn't keep people from asking tough questions like "what the hell are we doing in Iraq anyway?" Telling everyone we're "fighting a war on terror" does... even if, obviously, we're no more prepared for a terrorist attack than we are for a hurricane.

Judy G. Russell
September 2nd, 2005, 09:32 PM
It's Katrina's fault for not filing an acurate flight plan with FEMA. :cool:
That would be funny... if it weren't so true...

Judy G. Russell
September 2nd, 2005, 09:33 PM
Dick's comments also covered the absolute idiocy of the behavior of the DHS appointee and the FEMA appointee. So are you going to let Dick speak for you about that too? In which case, what do you disagree with me about?

Bill Hirst
September 2nd, 2005, 10:00 PM
I hear you. You know I'm not anti-lawyer. I'm about as far from anti-lawyer as there may be in this anti-lawyer society of ours. But putting lawyers into positions like these is criminal.
I think the word you need here is "oligarchy," a government of the few, by the few, for the few. It is becoming painfully obvious that governent has not been acting in the public's best interest.

RayB (France)
September 3rd, 2005, 08:21 AM
Dick's comments also covered the absolute idiocy of the behavior of the DHS appointee and the FEMA appointee. So are you going to let Dick speak for you about that too?

Short answer - Yes.

I just read this -

http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/09/02/hurricane.drill/index.html

Staggers the imagination as to what might have happened, or not, as the case seems to be. Supposidly everything was in place. Where the breakdown (s) ocurred will be scrutinized to death and hopefully not happen again. Ranting and raving about it now is of no help. Let's get on with operation. Politicizing of the situation is disgusting and not from my kind of American.

Carry on if one must but deal me out.

Peter Creasey
September 3rd, 2005, 10:15 AM
>> Ranting and raving about it now is of no help. Let's get on with operation. Politicizing of the situation is disgusting and not from my kind of American. <<

Ray, You're correct. Besides the tragedy that was Katrina, one of the most distressing things in Katrina's aftermath has been the way some people have leaped at the opportunity to obsessively bash President Bush. This is neither constructive nor encouraging!

Judy G. Russell
September 3rd, 2005, 10:39 AM
It is not "politicizing" to hold all those responsible accountable for their actions. The idea that people in positions of trust should get a pass on the decisions they've made because otherwise it's politicizing is ridiculous.

Dan in Saint Louis
September 3rd, 2005, 10:51 AM
I choose to believe those on the front line.

Here is a message from a man on the front line:

Sorry Jim, I have to answer this. For those of you who do not know, I fly an Emergency Services helicopter out of Houma, LA about 45 miles SW of New Orleans. I have spent the last two days flying patients out of hospitals with their lower floors under water. The news reports you have heard cannot do this disaster full justice. In fact, the news reports I have seen have if possible down played the magnitude of this. It is not the tsunami but is the next worst thing. I personally have seen many people sitting on top of car roofs. I have personally seen people wading through the water with kids on their heads to get to high places. I personally know of medical personnel who I evacuated from the super dome heliport due to the danger of staying there (sniper fire into the heliport). I know of one helicopter operator who found bullet damage on one aircraft when the daily inspection was done. Remember, these people who are stranded in the super dome or on cars or roof tops are the ones who had no way to evacuate. No money or transportation. New Orleans has never had a sufficient public transportation system.

Oh, BTW there are no trucks driving by with loads of food and water. It would require submarines with wheels to drive down the Interstate 10. So for those 30,000 people in the super dome, and all the other people in the upper floors of buildings or on cars or on overpasses (where they went to escape drowning), the only way to get them water or food is by helicopter or small flat bottom boats. And the only way out is the same. When you think of most helicopters as able to carry 3-5 people at max, or boats which can carry the same, that is a lot of helicopters and flat bottom fishing boats isn't it??? And when you have to dodge gun fire and angry mobs, it doesn't make things better. Then you have to remember also, those same helicopters which could carry even up to 10 passengers can only carry 2 or 3 patients.
So those thousands of patient which must be evacuated will require thousands of flights.

Do not get me wrong. There are any number of instances of people and organizations which are doing Herculean efforts to help. I talked to one pilot from an EMS operation in Texas yesterday who said his wife is a pediatric nurse in a hospital in his home town. Her hospital got 45 pediatric patients yesterday morning alone. David, massive efforts are in action. The Georgia Air Guard has C-130 aircraft at New Orleans airport taking patients and refugees out of the area. There is an assembly line of helicopters bringing loads of people to the airport. But the magnitude of this is nothing you can see on TV reports. This is not a few blocks of buildings which are under water or inaccessible. This is square miles of inaccessible areas. At least, off the top of my head, 6 or 7 major hospitals in the downtown area alone with access only by air or boat.

Charity hospital, one of the largest in the US, has no heliport. It is only accessible by boat, I assume through windows. Malls which are on fire and no way to deal with it. No power for over a million people. So even the hospitals not surrounded with water are evacuating their patients. And many of them are not accessible by road due to damage to the roads of surrounding areas under water. Hospitals with armed military surrounding them to keep it safe to get patients out.

So Please let's not under rate the efforts going into this disaster. But please, let's not down play the magnitude
either.

Sorry, off my soap box now.

Coleen, Belle, Jerrie and Fitz
From down the Ol' Bayou

Jeff
September 3rd, 2005, 02:00 PM
For Chrissakes, don't these idiots know that if you want to show the country and the world that you are hard at work, you don't dress as though you were going to a society wedding? Shirtsleeves (for the civilians) and working fatigues (for the Coasties) would have been much more appropriate!

Yes. And that would have been pure PR, as well as fraud. They were properly dressed for the work they were doing, which as near as I can tell was damned close to nothing. I did see the Bush in shirtsleeves. I saw PR and fraud, and no work being done by him either.

- Jeff

Dick K
September 3rd, 2005, 03:04 PM
Yes. And that would have been pure PR, as well as fraud.
Uh, in case you did not notice, I prefaced my remarks by saying,
Further, Chertoff (or his people) appear to have no PR sense whatever.What we are talking about here is public relations. Putting it less judgementally, we are also discussing perceptions, and there are times when those perceptions are almost--if not fully--as important as the realities behind them.

fhaber
September 3rd, 2005, 03:07 PM
>His qualification was that they were college buddies.

Why, how can you say that? He'd been the head of the Arabian purebred horse association, or some such. What better qualification could there be for someone who must manage quickly, with knowledge and authority, in times of great stress?

Judy G. Russell
September 3rd, 2005, 03:20 PM
Putting it less judgementally, we are also discussing perceptions, and there are times when those perceptions are almost--if not fully--as important as the realities behind them.
I couldn't agree with you more. If people think you really care and that you're really doing your best, they're willing to accept (or at least accept better) the idea that your best may still not be enough. But when the general consensus is that you could do a lot better and you're just not trying hard enough, you get what we have in New Orleans...

Wayne Scott
September 3rd, 2005, 03:37 PM
What we really need is a wonderful honest man like William Jefferson Clinton, a man who always looked us right in the eye and told the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Soon you can elevate the Junior Senator to the White House and everything will be perfect again as it was from 1991 to January, 1999.

Judy G. Russell
September 3rd, 2005, 04:50 PM
What are you folks going to do if Hillary doesn't run? Will you ever recover from the pain of not being able to blame the Clintons for everything since Franklin Roosevelt died?

Dick K
September 3rd, 2005, 05:01 PM
What are you folks going to do if Hillary doesn't run? Will you ever recover from the pain of not being able to blame the Clintons for everything since Franklin Roosevelt died?Judy -

Ah feel yore pain.

Judy G. Russell
September 3rd, 2005, 06:55 PM
Ah 'preciate dat.

Judy G. Russell
September 3rd, 2005, 07:49 PM
You'd think by now they'd have learned... but nope... from CNN today:
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told reporters on Saturday that government officials did not expect both a powerful hurricane and a breach of levees that would flood the city of New Orleans.
Er... so how come everyone else except "government officials" has been expecting this and warning about this for years???

Lindsey
September 4th, 2005, 12:15 AM
I just read this -
As long as you're into CNN, be sure to read this as well:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/02/katrina.response/index.html

Also not to be missed: http://www.andrewsullivan.com/index.php?dish_inc=archives/2005_08_28_dish_archive.html#112576191403113173

I'm with Judy: We should be able to hold this Administration accountable for its performance in a national disaster. And we know from experience that unless we keep the heat on, they'll avoid accountability. Remember that report that the Senate Intelligence Committee was supposed to issue after the election regarding the Administration's use of the intelligence they got in the months before the Iraq War? Have you seen it yet? No, neither has anyone else. It was going to be embarrassing to the Administration, and shortly after the election, the Committee Chairman said, "Ooops, you know what--we really don't have time for this any more. We're tabling it indefinitely. Better luck next time!"

--Lindsey

Jeff
September 4th, 2005, 02:41 PM
Uh, in case you did not notice, I prefaced my remarks by saying, What we are talking about here is public relations.

I know. I read it. What's needed here is the truth, not the trash talk of PR and appearances. Except insofar as that trash talk shows itself and its speakers for what it is and they are. And that's all that happened. No help, no work, was done.

- Jeff

Dick K
September 4th, 2005, 06:50 PM
And that's all that happened. No help, no work, was done.Was the response inadequate? Yes; no argument. "No help, no work, was done"? Come on....

As Judy and I have tried to point out, perception can be as important as reality in such a situation, and there was clearly a major failure there, as well. You may dismiss it as "public relations trash talk," but that does not obviate its importance.

Jeff
September 5th, 2005, 01:48 PM
Was the response inadequate? Yes; no argument. "No help, no work, was done"? Come on....

As Judy and I have tried to point out, perception can be as important as reality in such a situation, and there was clearly a major failure there, as well. You may dismiss it as "public relations trash talk," but that does not obviate its importance.

Posturing has importance? There once was a guy with a fiddle...

- Jeff

Dick K
September 5th, 2005, 03:11 PM
Posturing has importance? There once was a guy with a fiddle...No, not posturing, but rather, the public perception of what is (or is not) being done.

I really don't see the relevance of the story of Nero and his lyre (the fiddle part is a legend), but if you want to use that as an example: The public--historic and contemporary--perceived Nero as not caring that Rome was being destroyed. Had Bush continued his vacation (let alone strummed a guitar/lyre/fiddle), there would have been a perception that he did not care about the fate of New Orleans, something which anyone, reagardless of their location on the political spectrum, must admit is absurd. You and I both know that in this age, the physical location of the President is pretty much irrelevant to the conduct of the office, but every President, Republican or Democrat, will quickly return to the Oval Office at a time of national crisis. Why? So they can be perceived as being concerned and taking charge.

MollyM/CA
September 6th, 2005, 07:21 AM
Judy -
Do these guys really think we will accept the pablum they are spooning out in the face of undenaible evidence to the contrary?

Why not? I'm sure they're well aware of the large percentage of newswatchers who now believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 (which includes at least half of the town outside of which we live and all our immediate neighbors).

Judy G. Russell
September 6th, 2005, 08:58 PM
The PR campaign is out in full swing -- it was everybody else's fault and anyone who says otherwise is "playing the blame game".

Jeez Louise: what will it take to make this Administration, even once, just stand up like a man and admit the government failed, big time, and will do what it has to to make things right for the future. Just once.

Lindsey
September 6th, 2005, 10:58 PM
Jeez Louise: what will it take to make this Administration, even once, just stand up like a man and admit the government failed, big time, and will do what it has to to make things right for the future. Just once.
Never fear--our fearless leader has promised there will be an investigation. And just to be sure it is done right, he is going to lead it himself. Gee, that makes me feel a whole bunch better. :mad:

Meanwhile, the Rove slime machine seems to be gearing up. Republican Congressmen from Louisiana who were originally critical of the federal response are suddenly singing the happy talk song. And a "senior Bush official" (where have we seen that formulation before?) misled the Washington Post (and possibly Newsweek as well) about whether or not Governor Blanco had declared a state of emergency. (The official said she had never declared one; in fact, she declared a state of emergency on August 26th--three days before the storm hit.) The Post soon issued a retraction. Dunno about Newsweek.


--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
September 7th, 2005, 12:16 AM
Sigh... this is so frustrating! Infuriating even!

ndebord
September 7th, 2005, 02:01 AM
Why not? I'm sure they're well aware of the large percentage of newswatchers who now believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 (which includes at least half of the town outside of which we live and all our immediate neighbors).

Molly,

I'm quite sure they think they can get away with it. The next words out of their lips will probably be that it was "intelligent design" to hold off rescue efforts until Friday.

Jeff
September 7th, 2005, 01:57 PM
Never fear--our fearless leader has promised there will be an investigation. And just to be sure it is done right, he is going to lead it himself. Gee, that makes me feel a whole bunch better. :mad:

--Lindsey

Indeed. Our fearless liar is about to have two bites of that apple. He lied us into Iraq and lied us out of New Orleans. Lord how I wish for three bites and you're out, because sure as God made little green apples the Bush is gonna do it to us again.

- Jeff

Lindsey
September 7th, 2005, 11:47 PM
Lord how I wish for three bites and you're out, because sure as God made little green apples the Bush is gonna do it to us again.
I heard this evening--I think it was on Countdown--that after the good showing FEMA made in the wake of the Florida hurricanes, there was talk of promoting Brown from head of FEMA to Secretary of Homeland Security. Can you imagine? Of course, it's possible we wouldn't have been any worse off. It would be hard, I think, to have been any worse off.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
September 7th, 2005, 11:51 PM
there was talk of promoting Brown from head of FEMA to Secretary of Homeland Security. Can you imagine?AIEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!

Dick K
September 7th, 2005, 11:58 PM
Never fear--our fearless leader has promised there will be an investigation. And just to be sure it is done right, he is going to lead it himself.That has got to be one of the most insensitive and boneheaded decisions made in a long time. I suppose that the idea is to demonstrate the importance of the issue by making the investogation a top-level (i.e., "Presidential") one, but this brings us right back to perceptions. And the perception here is that the fox has named himself investigator-in-chief of the chicken coop disaster. Isn't anyone telling the President that he is being blamed for a lot of the mismanagement?

What was needed, IMHO, was a blue-ribbon bilateral panel of high reputation and unquestioned probity, a sort of Warren Commission. The natural person to head such a panel, of course, would have been the Chief Justice of the United States <sigh>. Alas, I am not too optimistic about a Congressional investigation, as I think it would be driven by partisan political interests on both sides.

About the only thing the President can do now if he insists on keeping his nominal role as head of the investigation is to name an investigatation commission to do the real work and to guarantee both the appearance and the reality of their independence. But then the question arises of whom to name to such a group--obviously, one wants people who are tough, honest, good communicators, and have some real experience in or with disaster management. One name that comes to mind is that of Rudy Giuliani, but I am at a loss for others. (No; I don't think Michael Moore really qualifies....)

Judy G. Russell
September 8th, 2005, 12:16 AM
One name that comes to mind is that of Rudy Giuliani, but I am at a loss for others.James Lee Witt. People like Ellis M. Stanley, Sr., head of emergency preparedness for Los Angeles. Folks from the Emergency Information Infrastructure Project. People from the American Society of Professional Emergency Planners.

ndebord
September 8th, 2005, 12:54 AM
That has got to be one of the most insensitive and boneheaded decisions made in a long time. I suppose that the idea is to demonstrate the importance of the issue by making the investogation a top-level (i.e., "Presidential") one, but this brings us right back to perceptions. And the perception here is that the fox has named himself investigator-in-chief of the chicken coop disaster. Isn't anyone telling the President that he is being blamed for a lot of the mismanagement?

What was needed, IMHO, was a blue-ribbon bilateral panel of high reputation and unquestioned probity, a sort of Warren Commission. The natural person to head such a panel, of course, would have been the Chief Justice of the United States <sigh>. Alas, I am not too optimistic about a Congressional investigation, as I think it would be driven by partisan political interests on both sides.

About the only thing the President can do now if he insists on keeping his nominal role as head of the investigation is to name an investigatation commission to do the real work and to guarantee both the appearance and the reality of their independence. But then the question arises of whom to name to such a group--obviously, one wants people who are tough, honest, good communicators, and have some real experience in or with disaster management. One name that comes to mind is that of Rudy Giuliani, but I am at a loss for others. (No; I don't think Michael Moore really qualifies....)

Dick,

Will the American public care? The latest polls suggest that only 13% blame the President and Rove's latest dirty tricks campaign is spinning this disaster as totally the fault of the Louisiana Governor.

Bill Hirst
September 8th, 2005, 01:06 AM
James Lee Witt. People like Ellis M. Stanley, Sr., head of emergency preparedness for Los Angeles. Folks from the Emergency Information Infrastructure Project. People from the American Society of Professional Emergency Planners.

Even the NYFD could do a more believable investigation than Bush at this point. I don't think administration "blame fixing" will be believable. Most of America saw one heartwrenching story after another of people's suffering, days after the storm, with no idea when or if help was coming.

ndebord
September 8th, 2005, 12:52 PM
Even the NYFD could do a more believable investigation than Bush at this point. I don't think administration "blame fixing" will be believable. Most of America saw one heartwrenching story after another of people's suffering, days after the storm, with no idea when or if help was coming.

Bill,

Remember when Bush interrupted an earlier vacation to fly down to Florida in the middle of the night to "save" brain-dead Shiavo (sp) from her husband? But he couldn't be bothered with Katrina until much, much later:

Take a look at this Tuesday picture of our President. Almost 3pm on Tuesday and the levees broke more than 24 hours earlier (This from the New Orleans Times-Picayune -- dated August 29, 2 p.m. CT -- reported, "City Hall confirmed a breach of the levee along the 17th Street Canal at Bellaire Drive, allowing water to spill into Lakeview."


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

Dick K
September 8th, 2005, 02:50 PM
Remember when Bush interrupted an earlier vacation to fly down to Florida in the middle of the night to "save" brain-dead Shiavo (sp) from her husband?Nick -

No; I don't remember that. When did it happen?

(What I do remember was that Bush returned to the White House to sign a Schiavo bill that had just been passed by the House and Senate. The whole thing was a pretty sorry example of ideology-driven fundie politics in action, and I was on the side of the husband, wanting to let the poor woman die in peace, but as far as I know, the Presdent did not "fly down to Florida in the middle of the night.")

ndebord
September 8th, 2005, 08:52 PM
Dick,

Ah, I got it slightly wrong. Bush did interrupt his vacation, but he didn't fly down to Florida to save Schiavo from her husband; instead he flew to Washington D.C.

Still he got off the proverbial dime to immediately take care of something near and dear to his base. Can't say he did the same for a major American city, albeit not one in a state run by say, his brother.

This story about the shooting up in Minnesota and relatedly Schiavo in Florida provides yet another example of the disconnect (my depiction) the President shows when he is not dealing with an issue close to his heart or perhaps his beliefs.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64317-2005Mar24.html

Judy G. Russell
September 8th, 2005, 10:59 PM
Bottom line here: public confidence in government's ability to do the one thing government is really supposed to do (save lives after catastrophes) is really shaken. A white wash ain't gonna cut it in restoring that.

Lindsey
September 8th, 2005, 11:54 PM
That has got to be one of the most insensitive and boneheaded decisions made in a long time.
Well, I'm glad we can at least agree on something.

I suppose that the idea is to demonstrate the importance of the issue by making the investogation a top-level (i.e., "Presidential") one, but this brings us right back to perceptions. And the perception here is that the fox has named himself investigator-in-chief of the chicken coop disaster. Isn't anyone telling the President that he is being blamed for a lot of the mismanagement?
Now see, I figured it was precisely because he is being blamed for a lot of the mismanagement that he wanted to be able to control the investigation...

As for who would be good to serve--I'm not sure I'd choose Rudi Giulianni. Not because he doesn't have some experience in handling sudden disasters, but because he is not entirely clear of partisan suspicion himself, seeing as how his name has been mentioned as a possible 2008 presidential candidate. I think one of my picks for such a commission would be Norman Schwarzkopf. He's tough, he's honest, he's a good communicator, and while he doesn't have direct experience with disaster management, he certainly knows a thing or two about logistics, organizing and leading people, and forming and executing a plan of action. And I think he is seen as non-partisan. I'm sure there are plenty of retired politicians that could be pulled in, too, who are generally seen as fair minded. George Mitchell and Alan Cranston are two who come to mind. You'd want some former governors, I think. Lowell Weicker, perhaps, and I've always liked Gerald Baliles, but he doesn't have a national name. And maybe some emergency preparedness and disaster response professionals.

--Lindsey

Lindsey
September 8th, 2005, 11:57 PM
James Lee Witt. People like Ellis M. Stanley, Sr., head of emergency preparedness for Los Angeles. Folks from the Emergency Information Infrastructure Project. People from the American Society of Professional Emergency Planners.
Witt would have been great except that he is now working for Governor Blanco, so I'm not sure he'd be seen as unbiased, even thought he'd be judging what happened before he came on the scene.

--Lindsey

Lindsey
September 9th, 2005, 12:14 AM
The latest polls suggest that only 13% blame the President
A new Zogby poll (http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1020) out today has the president's overall job approval rating at an all-time low of 41%, and only 36% give him what Zogby calls "passing marks" on his handling of the hurricane crisis. (What appears to have hit him even harder than Katrina, though, is the question of gas prices, where he gets positive ratings from only 21%, and negative ratings from 73%. And the greatest mortification of all: In a head-to-head hypothetical election, Zogby finds he would at this point lose to every president since Jimmy Carter, including to Carter himself.)

--Lindsey

Lindsey
September 9th, 2005, 12:21 AM
Bottom line here: public confidence in government's ability to do the one thing government is really supposed to do (save lives after catastrophes) is really shaken. A white wash ain't gonna cut it in restoring that.
But of course, that might really be what they want: one of the mantras of the right is that people shouldn't rely on the government to be able to help them. They should only look to themselves. O'Reilly was certainly hammering away at that in the last week. And there were those in the early days of the Bush Administration that argued that FEMA had been too successful, that it was encouraging people to depend on government to bail them out of difficulty, and they were some of the ones arguing for cuts in its funding and downgrading of its status.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
September 9th, 2005, 05:09 PM
I understand the argument. I simply disagree with it so strongly I can't begin to convey just how strongly...

Judy G. Russell
September 9th, 2005, 05:10 PM
I know, but he'd still be a good choice because of the scope of his experience.

Lindsey
September 9th, 2005, 11:21 PM
I understand the argument. I simply disagree with it so strongly I can't begin to convey just how strongly...
The argument made by O'Reilly & co., you mean? Oh, absolutely, I disagree with that point of view as well, but it certainly is true that hard-line conservatives hated FEMA and they apparently set out to emasculate it when they gained the White House. (That FEMA was a Clinton success story made it an even more tempting target.) But of course, they were happy to have FEMA on the scene in Florida in September of 2004, handing out checks right and left. Somewhere I saw that some recipients were awarded checks for snow and ice damage. In Florida. In September.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
September 10th, 2005, 12:20 AM
Somewhere I saw that some recipients were awarded checks for snow and ice damage. In Florida. In September.
Oh good grief...