A Rant about Katrina

and Robear, to address one of our fav topics here - how can you honestly say after this week the media is not seething with liberals? I mean, every story on making the disaster a disaster only because the feds are so inept. I'll give you the poor fed response, but where'd the honest reporting...anywhere. Its pathetic watching the news - nothing but spittle about the feds and Bush - the media finally have an issue they can sink their jaws into Bush on, and they are showing that the media is a thinly veiled group of partisans, and the partisan forces belong to the liberals...imho

What you are asserting here, then, is that the media is liberal because even Conservative outlets have nailed the Feds? Isn't it easier to assume there are some things that piss off both liberals *and* conservatives? It's either that or you have to claim that the WSJ, Washington Times and various hard-right columnists are actually part of the Liberal Media Conspiracy...

If ever there was a bipartisan reason to bash the Feds, Katrina is it. It so happens Bush is the boss. Is that then liberal bias?

To me, this speaks more to what I called you on earlier - even when you disagree with a conservative, you'll defend them before admitting it. "This is all a liberal media conspiracy" seems to be easier to swallow than "4 years after 9/11, our disaster recovery infrastructure sucks, and Bush did not make it better as he promised to."

Not true Robear on your claims. I'll admit the failure at ALL levels of gov't to respond completely - but if you watch the news, all you'll see is how bad GWB messed things up - no word at all that the gov't of N.O. had NO plan at all to evacuate their poor in a contingency that they knew would occur. Nothing about the failure of the LA governor to act and pull in the guard quicker. Nope, this whole mess is because of Bush according to the press...and I call BS on that outright.

There's no inconsistency in my position - I just see pure bashing of Bush because they can...not factual at all...let me repeat - in this case, they are going more on public sympathy and hearsay than any factual basis. I'm not defending the fed response, although, having knowledge of what it takes to do a response like this, I give them a C grade, where the news organizations all give them a pure F grade. The liberal media has no eye for the truth (and yes, the hard conservative types don't either...I'll give you that) - but this rant that the media has been taken over by neocons is malarky...just turn on the news...there is no objective reporting...its all sensational 'the fed's are inept' response.

They need to step back and view all the contributing factors at ALL levels that contributed to the problems we have. For instance, where was the busing plan for NO massive numbers of poor. For instance, Nagin staying in NO where he had no C2 at all, and letting the situation get out of hand. How bout having only about 1/3 of the police force avail, and no Nat'l Guard callup to support. At the local and state level, they tabletopped this exact scenario - so how could they not be prepared. No stocks of material to fix a levee, and no real plan for it when it happened (at the local, you work to devise and review the fed solution, and ensure they have the resources allocated to support the plan). I can on for days...but this isn't getting but a wisp of coverage...all about GWB not having an immense disaster at the state level fixed in 24 hours...which could not have been done under the circumstances...and I can elaborate ad nauseum.

If ever there was a bipartisan reason to bash the Feds, Katrina is it. It so happens Bush is the boss. Is that then liberal bias?

How bout some facts from you all to defend this...actual facts (aside from the fact that the Home Sec and FEMA director seem to be overmatched (which I will give you as a stipulation)). Something that says the feds bungled this massively, and the feds alone.

Not true Robear on your claims. I'll admit the failure at ALL levels of gov't to respond completely - but if you watch the news, all you'll see is how bad GWB messed things up - no word at all that the gov't of N.O. had NO plan at all to evacuate their poor in a contingency that they knew would occur. Nothing about the failure of the LA governor to act and pull in the guard quicker. Nope, this whole mess is because of Bush according to the press...and I call BS on that outright.

What can I say to that? I've seen each of those points in just about every media source I have checked this week. Each one you cite has been covered in the mainstream media.

For instance, Nagin staying in NO where he had no C2 at all, and letting the situation get out of hand. How bout having only about 1/3 of the police force avail, and no Nat'l Guard callup to support. At the local and state level, they tabletopped this exact scenario - so how could they not be prepared. No stocks of material to fix a levee, and no real plan for it when it happened (at the local, you work to devise and review the fed solution, and ensure they have the resources allocated to support the plan). I can on for days...but this isn't getting but a wisp of coverage...

And yet none of that is new to me. How did I find it out? Mainstream media.

I don't maintain the Feds bungled this alone. I have never said that, and I have said this should not be a partisan issue. I think the people trying to make it that are wrong. And I see your position in that light as well. There's blame enough for everyone, but to claim this is a pile-on on Bush ignores that fact that yeah, his team *also* screwed up, in addition to the local folks. Just check out the recent interviews with Chertoff, where he makes claims that are obviously at odds with reality, to see this in action.

I see criticism of all levels in the mainstream media, from both sides. This is not partisan bashing, this is an honest, bipartisan reaction of dismay and anger.

This is not partisan bashing, this is an honest, bipartisan reaction of dismay and anger.

On that note, I think we can both agree.

I believe so. Again, this is not a red/blue issue, and both sides are pretty disgusting on that regard right now. I'm with you, Pigpen, believe it or not.

Pigpen wrote:

The only place I deferred blame from the feds is on the prevention. That is NOT a fed responsibility - they do it, but its not their job.

I totally disagree. The feds's main role is to maintain civic order and protect their citizens. Hell, this administrations policy in the war againts terror is preventive strikes. Taken a step further, had the Bush administration been given the option, they would have launched the dollar equivalant of a new levy in cruise missiles at the hurricane. Bush is the boss and will be required to take the heat for this botched relief effort. Hell, my church, the Salvation Army, responded by housing and feeding 200,000 people. FEMA didn't get close to this until Thursday.

FEMA is screwed. They're on the record pre- and post- Katrina with opposite messages. For someone to be caught off gaurd, they sure warned the hell out of NO and the gulf states. They did this for days. What they didn't do is prepare.

Pigpen wrote:

I'll give you the poor fed response

Regardless of opinion, this is a fact. The question is now how many died that could have been saved.

Pigpen wrote:

Its pathetic watching the news - nothing but spittle about the feds and Bush

I've been watching Fox news, MSNBC and CNN and for the most part, they have their sights fixed on a couple of pretty solid targets;
(1) The Bush Administration funneling funds to Iraq and not ACoE.
(2) FEMA getting caught with their pants down
(3) Anyone willing to rant about racism in this whole thing which is rediculous
(4) The staggering scope of this diaster

While not palitable all the time, our media is what it is. The Bush Administration screwed up and will now have to deal with the ramiications of it. He's got some tough questions to answer.

NOTE: I'm sure the BBC is doing a much less dramatic and more accurate reporting job of this whole thing.

NOTE: I'm sure the BBC is doing a much less dramatic and more accurate reporting job of this whole thing.

I don't think they are. I think the BBC is far less accurate but has a good anti-American narrative going. The best reporting I've seen is from Sephard Smith and NBC news.

The Bush Administration screwed up and will now have to deal with the ramiications of it. He's got some tough questions to answer.

As do the state and city.

While not palitable all the time, our media is what it is. The Bush Administration screwed up and will now have to deal with the ramiications of it. He's got some tough questions to answer.

Does the Bush administration really care at this point? He got his second term. At this point all he needs is a teeny, tiny piece of Democracy to exist in Iraq after the US pulls out. He will then be given a chapter in the History books. However, anything related to Katrina and the failure of his adminstration to protect the people will be nothing more than a footnote in the same book. I suppose his political party will care alot if the majority of public opinion strays too far. But that is something to worry about at the next election.

My prediction (at Federal Level):
1) Make token gestures and proclamations.
2) Bring Halliburton into NO to fix the infrastructure.
3) Leave National Guard in state to squalch the insurgents, err I mean citizens.
4) Focus on Iraq for teh win!

I don't think they are. I think the BBC is far less accurate but has a good anti-American narrative going.

You may not like what they're saying, but that doesn't make it biased or 'anti' anything. Even the more credible American news stations (such as NBC) are wary of being TRULY critical of anything American. They claim that they're being 'compassionate' when they choose not to report some of the things that have gone on surrounding this hurricane. I say they're being pussy. They're afraid of being labelled in exactly the same way you just labelled the BBC.

Vid. As you can see, it's getting hard to filter these sorts of things out, and I think that outrage at the rediculous botch-job that's been made of everything surrounding this incident is beginning to wear at many in the media.

feds's main role is to maintain civic order and protect their citizens

I missed hurricane relief as a primary role (especially for a city that builds on the sea below sea level) as a constitutional main role of the fed gov't. Please advise.

FEMA messed up and looked like an idiot at the higher echolons of its organization.

BUT - to any and all of you that say the response has been one huge disaster - too little, too late, too slow, etc...I would continue to argue that your knowledge of actual disaster response/preparedness/relief efforts (wrt to both military and civilian NGO's) is minimal at best, and that minimal knowledge, I would argue, comes from the 'ever credible eyes' (hint: sarcasm) of the media, who's job is to sell copies, and thus sell drama and scandal - "Gov't goes to sleep on disaster, billions die of starvation in first 6 hours, cats and dogs no longer living together as result" sells a hell of a lot better than "NGO's and FEMA involved in largest relief operation ever, things progressing well, albeit slow"

Pigpen wrote:

FEMA messed up and looked like an idiot at the higher echolons of its organization.

Ah hell, we agreed on something.

Pigpen wrote:

I would continue to argue that your knowledge of actual disaster response/preparedness/relief efforts (wrt to both military and civilian NGO's) is minimal at best

While I doubt I could argue that point, however the political stone walling and BS from both the Dept of Homeland Defense and FEMA was unacceptable. Pile on top of that, the BS from the Whitehouse that no one was going to loose their job over our inability to reach people that needed help as quickly as we could have done.

Face it, we still have a lot of work to do. The estimates are that we now have 10,000+ bodies to clean up in the areas that have been affected by this storm. We have entire metropolitan area that needs to be drained, repair the infrastrucutre (water, power and telephones) and then begin rebuilding the city. The issue of rebuilding is even complicated further by the fact that the Port of New Orleans was one of the few ports that could handle and process building materials such as cement. These materials now have to be routed somewhere else and then transported to NO. The fact that cooler heads can prevail and maybe look at re-engineering this city before rebuilding is a hope that I have but will be crushed by the same government that failed it in the first place.

Now, don't get me wrong here, the City and State need to be held accountable for their inability to help their own citizens. There's reportedly photos of hundreds of school buses that could have been used to evacuate the city. One thing that should be a stark reminder is that we do not have the ability to evacuate a city or metroplitan area in a timely fashion. NO missed a couple hundred thousand people after being given several days notice. Imagine what would of happened if they had been given a day to evacuate due to an NBC attack?

I hate to admit it, but I like the idea of a comission investiagtion into this. Sen. Clinton has my support on this. Hell, I hung up on the GOP guy who wanted me to rally behind a political party that ignores a couple of key issues of mine (*cough* immigration and spending *cough*) while trying to instill outrage over a Hillary Clinton presidental campaign. Screw 'em.

So here's an interesting piece from the Saturday before the storm:

http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpa...

This is just one of many items that points up the disconnect between what Bush and Brown and Chertoff unfortunately claimed, that this was unforeseeable. Please note that it describes a scenario that closely
resembles reality.

Walter Maestri, Jefferson Parish's emergency management director, gauged the threat in terms that chilled New Orleanians old enough to remember the summers of 1965 and 1969: Katrina was following Hurricane Betsy's track, he said, with the strength of Hurricane Camille.

A computer model run by the LSU Hurricane Center late Saturday confirmed that. It indicated the metropolitan area was poised to see a repeat of Betsy's flooding, or worse, with storm surge of as much as 16 feet moving up the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet and topping levees in Chalmette and eastern New Orleans, and pushing water into the 9th Ward and parts of Mid-City. High water flowing from Lake Pontchartrain through St. Charles Parish also would flood over levees into Kenner, according to the model.

Also flooded would be much of the north shore below Interstate 12, including Slidell, Madisonville, Mandeville and Lacombe, according to the model.

And the model doesn't take into account the 5- to 10-foot waves that would be on top of the surge, which could top levees all along the south shore of the lake.

Not only was this foreseen in the 60's, but it's been periodically addressed in major public fora since then. There were similar forecasts before Ivan hit, in 2004, for example. And I heard an interview this morning that asserted that Chertoff, Brown and other high-level Feds had a conference call on Saturday with state and local officials in which the scenario was accurately described. That is, they participated in a *discussion* of an event they later described as "unforeseeable".

This is not going to look good when it's finally investigated. Again, I don't consider this a partisan failure. It's ass-covering. It has nothing to do with politics, but it has everything to do with incompetence and information failure, and ultimately a failure of leadership for days. Investigating it is not a witch hunt, it's an attempt to figure out why the response was delayed for days while resources were poised and ready to go in.

So, they keep talking about rebuilding NO but...the only way that makes sense to me is if they demolish the city, fill it in, so it's above sea level and THEN rebuild it...why do I get the feeling that that wont happen and in 10 years, we'll be doing this dance again.

belt500 wrote:

So, they keep talking about rebuilding NO but...the only way that makes sense to me is if they demolish the city, fill it in, so it's above sea level and THEN rebuild it...why do I get the feeling that that wont happen and in 10 years, we'll be doing this dance again.

Humans are stupid creatures of habit that really only like to do what they know.

So, they keep talking about rebuilding NO but...the only way that makes sense to me is if they demolish the city, fill it in, so it's above sea level and THEN rebuild it...why do I get the feeling that that wont happen and in 10 years, we'll be doing this dance again.

I don't know about that. I know we're all emotional about it, but bulldozing New Orleans and building New New Orleans over it will effectively destroy the last great monument to the French Colonial presence on the Gulf Coast and erases our connection to the heritage of millions. If we're going to go that far, then rather than go to the expense to cart however many cubic feet it would take to bring the entire area up to sea level, why not just abandon the city and either expand Red Stick's port facilities or relocate the city to a more sensible site?

Everybody that's not from a hurricane prone area seems to think that these things hit the same areas constantly. The last two seasons notwithstanding, Hurricanes usually hit the same area rarely enough that the most recent one becomes woven into the fabric of local legend, its like is not to be seen again for decades. Sure, we've had some increased activity recently, but that's no guarantee that we're going to be dealing with seasons of this caliber from here on out. Miami hasn't suffered a direct hit from a catastrophic one since '92, and it's just dangling out there daring one of them to take a shot. Charleston hasn't had a bad one since '89. Mobile hasn't suffered from a bad one since '79 (though there have been some close calls). I don't even know offhand when the last time was that Galveston took one on the chin.

FEMA wants to protect us from the dead people:

Thanks LA Times

God forbid the American public sees the results of local, state, and federal government incompetence.

Meanwhile, FEMA puts good use to the manpower they have:

Thanks Salt Lake Tribune

Thank goodness that there were enough firefighters around for photo ops.

More spin and more PR, just no results.

Everybody that's not from a hurricane prone area seems to think that these things hit the same areas constantly.

Very true, but I do not think that the problem with NO is that it gets hit with hurricanes. The problem is that most of it is in a flood plain and below sea level that is the issue.

For the record: I live on Long Island, last hit by a Hurricane in '86 (Gloria, a cat 3). I grew up near the shore, and my street was flooded numerous times from hurricanes, nor'easter's, etc. Many of the houses on my old block were flooded, except for mine because it was built on a foundation that extended 2 feet above the ground. If it was not for this my house would have been destroyed.

My point is that if you are building a house in a flood prone area, you better build it correctly. It is obvious that the houses in NO were not.

Take out the important stuff from old new orleans, build a massive scafolding, and build New New Orleans with tube transport system. Leave the mutants to Old New Orleans.

belt wrote:

So, they keep talking about rebuilding NO but...the only way that makes sense to me is if they demolish the city, fill it in, so it's above sea level and THEN rebuild it...why do I get the feeling that that wont happen and in 10 years, we'll be doing this dance again.

If they were to level out New Orleans and rebuild it, it would simply sink again. It used to be the case that the Mississippi river would periodically deposit silt across the entire region, but the Army Corps of Engineers built a levee system to tame the river. As a result, Louisiana's coastal wetlands have eroded away and the city has sunk into the earth. If more earth were to be piled on top, the city would continue to sink, as usual.

Edwin wrote:

Take out the important stuff from old new orleans, build a massive scafolding, and build New New Orleans with tube transport system. Leave the mutants to Old New Orleans.

Seconded. All in favor?

Seriously, this is like a civil engineering thesis. What would you do differently if you could rebuild a city from scratch?
I sure as hell hope someone with a touch of common sense has something to do with what gets rebuilt and when. It'd be nice if their pumps worked while the city was under water.

CEJ wrote:

Seriously, this is like a civil engineering thesis. What would you do differently if you could rebuild a city from scratch?

Not let the politicians micromanage things.

BTW...to bring us back to one of the original points, about how the president cut the corps budget, and hence, contributed to this disaster...I bring you...

In Katrina's wake, Louisiana politicians and other critics have complained about paltry funding for the Army Corps in general and Louisiana projects in particular. But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.

So, in lieu of this, please explain how the president's decision to cut some of this pork contributed to the levee's being insufficient.

Read the article to find out about the 750$M project to increase the canal for traffic...NOT fix the levee...based on politician's desires from LA.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9245122/...

But hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate. Despite a series of independent investigations criticizing Army Corps construction projects as wasteful pork-barrel spending, Louisiana's representatives have kept bringing home the bacon.
...
The Industrial Canal lock is one of the agency's most controversial projects, sued by residents of a New Orleans low-income black neighborhood and cited by an alliance of environmentalists and taxpayer advocates as the fifth-worst current Corps boondoggle.

I believe, if you check, this is what I alluded to in my comments that criticizing a cut in the corp's budget had NO correlation to the disaster in NO...as in NONE.