A Rant about Katrina

Quote:
Don't worry JMJ, the Fed's will be bailing out the insurance companies once they cry poverty after this. So it does not matter as long as the Fed's have zero fiscal discipline.
On the first Mayfield...very true. Just not sure how that relates to the second point?

Somehow passing out subsidies to companies that don't need it translates to no fiscal discipline in my mind. I may have used the wrong wording sir!

No worries Mayfield...just didn't see the connection. Thanks for clarifying And yes, I think all administrations have this particular lack of fiscal discipline

Pigpen, you say you'd shoot the male looters on sight, but not the female? Why is that? Are women incapable of the same evils as men? I can understand your point of view (though I highly disagree with it), though this inconsistancy stands out to me.

And what about how people are dressed? If someone's wearing gang colors, is their motive automatically less valid than someone in a business suit? What if someone's naked? Maybe their clothing was torn off by the winds (which has been reported in numerous cases), or maybe they're just a naked nutcase.

I won't insult you by asking if you'd have a white treated differently than a black; I'm going to assume you aren't racist.


And yes, I think all administrations have this particular lack of fiscal discipline

Because, after all, there is no reason yet to blame Bush for anything that happened on his watch. Sigh... Even at his worst, even knowing that he's the first President in decades - since James Garfield - to fail to veto a single bill, his fiscal discipline is just average, pretty much like any other administration. That's the story, eh?

Sorry, it's just frustrating. NB: Garfield was in office for just over 6 months. Before that it was Fillmore and Harrison.

Ok, Robear - I'll AGREE with you on the lack of fiscal discipline, I'll hedge that the war in Iraq may not be the right thing, and I'll blame Bush for an attitude that has pissed off many allies, and sometimes spitting in the wind on issues...

BUT - Blaming Bush for anything to do with the disaster down in NO has no merit in my book, and I don't see the linkage. Just because you don't like the man, and think he's been crap as a President is fine, but that doesn't mean everything is because of him...not by a long shot.

Lobster - I'll admit a personal bias to the women - not on race or attire - I'd shoot white, black, asian, etc looters, dressed in whatever...I don't care on color or how they look - a looter is a looter. But when you hear of the gangs roaming the city, its rare that you see any women in that. So yeah, I focus on the male looters. Doesn't mean I wouldn't shoot a female looter toting a shotgun...just less likely.

There has been some talk about the port of New Orleans and some insinuation that its temporary loss is a disaster. Please keep in mind that the Port of Houston is just down the street. The port of Houston is ranked first in the United States in foreign waterborne commerce, second in total tonnage, and sixth in the world. Believe me, the port of Houston can make up for most of the Port of New Orleans and it is within hours of just about every refinery on the gulf coast, unlike the Port of NO, which is on the east edge of the refineries.

I have to agree with much of what JMJ and Pigpen have said in this thread, especially JMJ's comments about the difference between charity and government funding. Too often we look to the federal government to be some macigal solution to all our problems.


Blaming Bush for anything to do with the disaster down in NO has no merit in my book, and I don't see the linkage. Just because you don't like the man, and think he's been crap as a President is fine, but that doesn't mean everything is because of him...not by a long shot.

I'm not doing that. I'm reacting to the saint's halo he wears even in conversations like this, is all. Do you really believe this came about because of Federal fiscal irresponsibility? I don't, I agree with you there. But you saw it necessary to pre-empt a defense of Bush in this regard, even when it's obvious that he's less fiscally responsible than any recent President. That's what frustrated me - you are not the only one doing this. There's this huge echo chamber around the guy that covers his butt in a myriad of ways, with lots of off-the-cuff common sense wisdom and the like that's actually wrong. The belief that Bush is just a run-of-the-mill President on fiscal matters is one of them, and it's fair to point that out.

And here's my next piece of the pie that I blame on NO gov't.

From MSNBC article:

Louisiana, a center of the oil, gas and chemical industries, "was known for its very weak enforcement regulations," Kaufman said, and there are a number of landfills and storage areas containing "thousands of tons" of hazardous material to be leaked and spread.

"On top of that, you have dead bodies that are going to start to decompose, along with the material that was in industrial and household discharge, sewage, gasoline and waste oil from gas stations," he added. "You've got a witches' brew of contaminated water."

Given New Orleans's desperate straits, recovery teams will not be able to do anything with the toxic mess except pump it into the Gulf of Mexico, ensuring that the contamination will spread to a larger area, he said. "There's just no other place for it."

...even then, he added, authorities will be monitoring levels of water toxicity along the coastline for years: "There is no magic chemical that you can put in the Gulf to make heavy metals or benzene go away. You're stuck with it."

Nice...thanks for that New Orleans

Robear, my defense of Bush and the feds was based on this from Kat

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin expressed his frustrations with the Army Corps of Engineers yesterday, in that they hadn't patched up the levees yet. Well, what does he expect? They have no money, no resources, no people. There aren't even enough Black Hawk planes to do both rescues and transport for materials to patch the levees; those that were going to transport materials are now being redirected for rescue (see article linked above). Not to mention that the Corps' federal funding has been cut, again, for the 2006 fiscal year. Indeed, that budget cut made it so that a study specifically dealing with how to prepare for a Cat. 5 hurricane would be scrapped. Good job, government.

The National Guard and the Coast Guard have been dealing as best they can with the disaster.... but they're crippled right now too. Why? Because most of their people, resources, and attention has been focused on Iraq. This is why the National Guard should never have been called out to duty in Iraq - we need them here!

The federal government's just now getting involved. What in the hell were they waiting for?

I think that quote directly linked blamed to the feds, and thus, Bush. That was where my defense of him came on this issue.

Pigpen wrote:
And here's my next piece of the pie that I blame on NO gov't.

From MSNBC article:

Louisiana, a center of the oil, gas and chemical industries, "was known for its very weak enforcement regulations," Kaufman said, and there are a number of landfills and storage areas containing "thousands of tons" of hazardous material to be leaked and spread.

"On top of that, you have dead bodies that are going to start to decompose, along with the material that was in industrial and household discharge, sewage, gasoline and waste oil from gas stations," he added. "You've got a witches' brew of contaminated water."

Given New Orleans's desperate straits, recovery teams will not be able to do anything with the toxic mess except pump it into the Gulf of Mexico, ensuring that the contamination will spread to a larger area, he said. "There's just no other place for it."

...even then, he added, authorities will be monitoring levels of water toxicity along the coastline for years: "There is no magic chemical that you can put in the Gulf to make heavy metals or benzene go away. You're stuck with it."

Nice...thanks for that New Orleans

Here is the story in case it wasnt linked..

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9150429/

certainly paints an extremely bleak picture for the future (if any) for a rebuilt NO... sounds like it should simply become a huge swamp/landfill and a permenant reminder on what we NEED to start doing to avoid complete breakdown.

the loss of a complete City is a mind boggling thing to try and comprehend.. the idea of a complete City never coming back is even more so.

Someone mentioned it before but they could always make a New New Orleans just like in Futurama, although that is highly doubtful.

Thanks for the link GG - forgot that one

And you are right - I hate to say, but the best bet may be to bulldoze anything below sea level, fill it in, and move on. Think its this article where they even say they might be being optimistic on the timeline. Whereas 9/11 boggled many a mind at the sheer epic scope of that event, this almost outpaces that - a city of near a million people, with a long and live history in the US, being destroyed, poisoned, and in effect abandoned. How do you come to grips with that?

Again, whether "all administrations" are fiscally irresponsible is not material to that. What is, is related to the above - Bush's fiscal irresponsibility is worse than usual.

Now, could he have *known* this particular thing was coming? No. Are his administration's choices in spending problematic? Yes...but not just in this area. This is just a case of making the target - poor fiscal choices - so large that occasionally a dart will hit into the affected areas. Heck, if this had been an earthquake in San Fran, people would be nattering about some completely different set of funding shortfalls. To ascribe any individual cut as directly caused by Bush, with a deliberate ignorance of the consequences, is wrong, unless it's clear that he championed the cuts.

What is also wrong is the philosophy of getting the Federal government small enough "to strangle the baby in the bathtub", as Grover Norquist puts it - at least as it is being practiced. The big target for Bush, even in a time of seriously large spending, has been anything to do with social support - even emergency services. Just take a look at the reforms to emergency services promised after 9/11, that were not delivered. That criticism, that we spend too much on propping up industries and cutting taxes while pulling services, is perfectly valid and lies at Bush's feet. He does it so that he can claim to be cutting government - well, at least he used to claim that. But that does not mean that the cuts to FEMA were anything other than business as usual, for his administration.

I don't recall a huge fight to save this money, back when it was cut. LA is a red state and with the pork that's shovelled around, they could have had it if they wanted it badly enough. But as we've seen demonstrated on this board, there is an attitude that this is not in general the Fed's area of interest, they should not be in it, the states should do it all, that Louisiana did this to themselves and welcome to it. And that's shortsighted and wrong, in my opinion. This is a classic case where the resources of the country should be brought to bear, and unless the Catholic Church and the Red Cross can surge dozens of helos, 30,000 armed paramilitaries and international rescue teams into the area to restore order, Federal programs will be useful in times like this. Even the welfare programs will help out.

GameGuru wrote:
the loss of a complete City is a mind boggling thing to try and comprehend.. the idea of a complete City never coming back is even more so.

Just popping back here briefly: The city's coming back, I'm sure of it. It will be rebuilt. People like their beignets, bourbon, and boobies too much to let the city drown forever. Had this been two hundred years ago, maybe it would be done with - but I'm fully confident we're gonna see a New New Orleans in the future :).

I just hope they either surround it with bayous, or settle for a city 20 miles upriver with a nice, walled historic district for the partiers.

About the looters- I cant claim to know the situation on the ground, but isnt it that most of the "looters" are simply people "shopping" in supermarkets for some food and bottled water? That`d hardly be looting in my book, since it seems those supplies are crawling kinda slowly to victims. Of course, if the guy is taking color TV along with pack of chips, it kinda changes everything..

Most wrote:
About the looters- I cant claim to know the situation on the ground, but isnt it that most of the "looters" are simply people "shopping" in supermarkets for some food and bottled water? That`d hardly be looting in my book, since it seems those supplies are crawling kinda slowly to victims. Of course, if the guy is taking color TV along with pack of chips, it kinda changes everything..

There are lots of reports and video documentation of people stealing luxury items ... tv's, guns, cars, etc. Its hard to say how widespread it is but it is happening.

Considering the scope of the event and the priorities involved, pardon me, but who gives one flying crap about looting? How about we stop people from dying and drowning first before we worry too much about whether Wal-Mart is getting ripped off.

Unfortunately, looters who steal guns go on to shoot at people with them, including people who are attempting to rescue other people. Anarchy is a terrible, insidious thing, and to suggest that you can just work around rampant lawlessness is, I'm afraid, a bit ridiculous. The looting and the rescuing are not unrelated concerns.

Police officers are in on the looting. There are gangs of people breaking into everything. There is no communication, no organisation, no help for people except what they are getting for themselves. I can't even imagine the fear and anger that people are feeling right now as they try to survive. Fear and anger translate very easily into violence.

They've declared martial law in the city, but has there been any real influx of soldiers to back it up? What is really being done? There are dead people lying in the streets. There are dead children in the Superdome. Where is the massive, organised effort to help these people? It's been days.

Elysium wrote:
Considering the scope of the event and the priorities involved, pardon me, but who gives one flying crap about looting? How about we stop people from dying and drowning first before we worry too much about whether Wal-Mart is getting ripped off.

The looters are stealing food from people who need it, weapons that they are using to kill and shoot at people, and it is criminal activity.


They've declared martial law in the city, but has there been any real influx of soldiers to back it up? What is really being done? There are dead people lying in the streets. There are dead children in the Superdome. Where is the massive, organised effort to help these people? It's been days.

Congress is the only body that can declare military martial law, which may need to happen.

hoochie wrote:
They've declared martial law in the city, but has there been any real influx of soldiers to back it up? What is really being done? There are dead people lying in the streets. There are dead children in the Superdome. Where is the massive, organised effort to help these people? It's been days.

Good question, and I believe all three layers of American government (local, state, and federal) can equally share blame for not swooping in faster. While some would argue that the president declared all three states to be disaster areas before the hurricane struck, that was the extent of what the administration did in advance of the disaster, or immediately after it struck. The federal government didn't order FEMA or any other disaster relief efforts or military units into action until well after Katrina past. The administration slashed the budget for Louisiana flood control and shipped potential rescue equipment (planes, helicopters, rescue vehicles) over to Iraq. The NYT was right in calling this situation "Waiting for a Leader" in the editorial pages; there's been damned little inspirational or motivational leadership coming out of Washington, and the best that the administration could do was to call in former presidents to rally public aide.

Now, as I said, the feds aren't alone in this poor response. Governor Blanco of Louisiana has direct control of what National Guardsmen the administration has left available to her and it's obvious that she was too slow in calling them up. With roadways sunk in New Orleans, it'll take a lot longer for them to get into any position to render assistance and all the while, the armed gangs will continue to entrench themselves like insurgents in Iraq. And where the hell is New Orleans mayor? With exception to a press release or two, he hasn't been seen since the storm. At least get in front of a camera or two to let people know you're still there.

Ulairi, you are correct. According to these guys martial law has not been declared. Shockingly, FoxNews reported that it had been and then later apologised for doing so. I guess what really surprises me is that anyone is still using FoxNews as a source....

Stay out of it... stay out of it... stay out of it...


Where is the massive, organised effort to help these people? It's been days.

it's happening and has been from before Katrina hit. rat Boy is wrong. resources were moved into the area before the storm hit. there's a city of over 1,000,000 people under water and 90,000 sq miles of disaster area with hundreds of thousands still in the disaster area. i think the expectation that this could be resolved in "days" is a little unrealistic.

over the last few days the federal govt has moved 7 million meals to the area, millions of gallons of fresh water and millions of pounds of ice, tens of thousands of tarps and rolls of plastic sheeting, 50 medical teams and 28 search and rescue teams with helicopters and boats. plus a new force of guardsmen the size of the entire NO police force is arriving every day.

its a tragedy but the reports I see say that there are a half dozen or so dead bodies at the superdome and the convention center, both of which had 20,000-30,000 refugees from a major disaster in horrible conditions. those numbers of dead are pretty miniscule.

the big problem has been the looters which have been shooting at civilian and govt relief workers. I'm not going to address the continued "its GWBs fault for rising out of the sea like a titan and swamping the gulf coast whie waving his trident" blame on the feds which is nonsense.

for those of you who want to blame diverted funds in 2004 for not stopping this disaster: in 1965 hurricane Betsy hit NO with 125 mph winds and flooded large parts of the city. Betsy drove storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain pushing water over the levees. Flood water reaches the eves of houses in some places in the city. (sound familiar?)

Betsy caused $8 billion in adjusted dollars in damage and killed 75 people. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Web site says:

Betsy prompted Congress to authorize a ring of levees 16 feet high around the city "” a project the Corps of Engineers is completing today. This level of protection was based on the science of storm prediction as it existed in the 1960s. The question remains, however, whether this level of protection would be sufficient to protect the city from a category 4 or 5 hurricane today "” or even a category 3 storm that lingered over the city.

that's 40 years this project has been going on, and it still wasn't even going to protect NO from a storm of Katrina's power. I don't think a slightly lower funding level one year ago is the problem here.

The federal government didn't order FEMA or any other disaster relief efforts or military units into action until well after Katrina past. The administration slashed the budget for Louisiana flood control and shipped potential rescue equipment (planes, helicopters, rescue vehicles) over to Iraq.

Gonna go out on a limb and say this statement is a complete red herring. There is not one shred of truth in it my friends...not one.

No fed organization has showed any signs of not being able to do the job because of funding or lack of personnel. Not one...not one...not one!!!

Blaming the current admin for a 40 year old problem is beyond naive when viewing the issue, and shows that the individual is blind to everything but pure hatred for the current admin...something I can understand but it bears not a wit of reality wrt this response to the disaster.

Iraq...give me a break...we already have the largest callup of military troops to a disaster ever...so you are saying we don't have enough? Please reconcile that for me.

Listen folks...I'm in the disaster response business. Here's the simple facts. The scope of this disaster is massive...truly. Its made worse by massive breaches in the levees, no receding water in the city (in a bowl, etc.), and major highways that are no longer usable. Toss in the factor that the local police allowed looting to get way out of control (which is ALWAYS shortsighted as looters now take pot shots at helicopters and rescue boats) - and you have a recipe for disaster.

FEMA, Red Cross, etc - all have record levels of involvement and activity - how can you claim no one is doing anything? How? The fact is, there are unique problems involved here (environmental, lawlessness, levee's, etc) that make this response almost more difficult than the tsunami, which devastated, but the water's rolled back.

Thats all there is folks - while I decry the local and state gov't's failure over the last 40 years (I have to reiterate - please find ANYWHERE in the constitution/bill of rights, etc that says the feds are responsible for fixing a problem when people choose to live in a bowl under sea level...by the sea?) - the response is the best that can be done under circumstances - and anyone who says differently - quite frankly and bluntly, is showing that they have little awareness or knowledge of what it actually takes to perform disaster response, rescues, mitigation of environmental hazards, emergency infrastructre repairs, etc. And for the record, thats my business, and they are busting their ass doing what they can...but these are the toughest of situations that you could EVER devise.

I'm surprised about how many people are shocked at the complete incompetence of the government on both the state and federal levels. This is why I'm more of a libertarian and favor business interest over government intervention. If a business was this incompetent, they'd go out of business, the government doesn't have to compete.

Pigpen wrote:
What I generally see is an "Oh well...its the U.S."

Belgium has 30 medical helpers as well as military trained aid (which is our army's specialty, providing help in times of crisis) on standby, as soon as the US gives green light they're off. Belgium has also offered our petrol reserves to bridge the gap until the refineries are up again. Of course, this is more symbolic then anything else, but not because of lack of will, but because we're a petite country.
I wouldn't say we don't care, it's all over the news everywhere. Of our 30m news broadcast, 20m were adressed to the NO disaster. I know this isn't a scientific way to prove we're not bleh-ing over the US, I can't speak for the ten million of us. I nearly cried looking at the afwul NO pictures, I would have if only I wasn't too damn macho about me as a man wheeping.

This is not a red/blue issue, and it should not be.

"The results are not acceptable."

Now if only the governments of Louisiana and New Orleans would admit that they hadn't been successful in the relieve effort. A lot of people's jobs in all three layers of the government are on the line over this botch job, from Homeland Security to FEMA to Governor Blanco to Mayor Nagin. To further quote from the article, "if we can't respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?"