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Ray Nagin lays it down: you must hear this
September 2, 2005 5:29 AM   Subscribe

They are feeding the public a line of bull, and they are spinning, and people are dying down here: A post with a link to MP3 of an explosive WWL radio interview in which New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has a message for politicians: "I don't want to see anybody do any more goddamned press conferences... put a moratorium on press conferences, don't do another press conference until the resources are in this city, and then come down to this city and stand with us... Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here - they're not here; it's too doggoned late. Now get off your asses and let's do something..."
posted by taz (560 comments total)

 
Thanks to mefite amuseDetachment for getting a torrent of this interview. Note to Matt and Jess; please feel free to change the main link to any other place that ends up hosting this... We cobbled it together at MetaChat just so that we could get it out, as there are no online links to the audio available at this time, and we knew we could change the site hosting for that mp3 if we needed to for bandwidth emergencies.

Everybody: Nagin is asking that you flood your elected representatives with phone calls, letters, emails, etc. demanding action. This is something you can do.
posted by taz at 5:30 AM on September 2, 2005


wow
posted by Substrata at 5:33 AM on September 2, 2005


That's an amazing interview, thanks taz. Good to know he's communicated with GWB - I wish we had that exchange on mp3. Heh.
posted by peacay at 5:38 AM on September 2, 2005


This guy is posting to his Livejournal account from the DirectNIC data center in a high-rise in NO.

He's the hosting company's crisis manager, and they're still up and running, unbelievably.

The blog is pretty much required reading if you want to get a sense of what things are like on the ground in the city.
posted by killdevil at 5:38 AM on September 2, 2005


And here's a live cam feed from the same source...
posted by killdevil at 5:42 AM on September 2, 2005


Yeah, even with the NPR interviewers being nice, I've gotten the feeling that every official statement I've heard coming out of there is a load of crap.

Hearing bush's statement that everyone has to be patient while food and water arrives just pissed me off. It's like there is no acknowledgment of what is happening there.
posted by 517 at 5:43 AM on September 2, 2005


During the interview, he says he's going to get into a lot of trouble for speaking up, but I can't remember ever hearing a politician so desperate, so honest or so courageous.

There's a related AskMeFi thread with other sources for the interview. If you can, spread this around.
posted by grabbingsand at 5:44 AM on September 2, 2005


Thanks--taz and everyone--for making this interview available. I just heard snippets of it on NPR and was wondering where I could hear the rest. Is a transcript available?
posted by josephtate at 5:57 AM on September 2, 2005


I tried to transcribe some of it... but at my rate, it would probably take all day. I'm hoping it will spread all over and that there will be transcriptions soon.
posted by taz at 6:01 AM on September 2, 2005


Smackdown. Thanks taz, and amuseD for your efforts.
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 6:04 AM on September 2, 2005


The view of America from abroad is not pretty.

Sweden is offering help with water purification and temporary housing (two areas where Sweden has special expertise in disaster relief.)

The response: "Vi har inte fått någon signal från USA om vad man konkret är i behov av." - We haven't received any indication of what the concrete needs are.

Pathetic.
posted by three blind mice at 6:05 AM on September 2, 2005


Nagin for president!

I gather many countries have offered aid, but the official response goes something like: "thanks but we don't need help with this internal matter". Pathetic.
posted by Meccabilly at 6:08 AM on September 2, 2005


props taz (in a 90's sorta way)
posted by tellurian at 6:11 AM on September 2, 2005


"We haven't received any indication of what the concrete needs are."

I just get angrier and angrier. When this is all said and done a lot of people are going to have a hell of a lot to answer for.
posted by LeeJay at 6:13 AM on September 2, 2005


I just get angrier and angrier. When this is all said and done a lot of people are going to have a hell of a lot to answer for.

You would think so wouldn't you... Similar things have been said in regard to other recent events....
posted by Meccabilly at 6:14 AM on September 2, 2005


We haven't received any indication of what the concrete needs are.

We need shoes. Lots of them.
posted by grouse at 6:15 AM on September 2, 2005


Nagin for president!

Seconded. You know what, yesterday I wasn't prepared to lay the entirety of the blame for this on the government's doorstep, but I spent last night and this morning reading all I could about this and I've completely changed my mind. This is a clusterfuck of epic proportions precisely because our government at all levels has failed the people of New Orleans. The fact that it takes bodies floating in the streets to get one single politician to ignore the party line is pretty sad. Here's an interesting exchange between Anderson Cooper of all people and a Senator from LA for precise perspective on what the current party line is.
posted by spicynuts at 6:16 AM on September 2, 2005


Right around 8:50, 8:55. Nightmarish.

you have drug addicts that are now walking around this city looking for a fix, that's why they were breaking in hospitals, drugstores
posted by bhance at 6:21 AM on September 2, 2005


I heard the whole thing this morning on CNN... unedited, unbleeped, raw and powerful. (I'd vote for Nagin, but later for that...)

taz said: Everybody: Nagin is asking that you flood your elected representatives with phone calls, letters, emails, etc. demanding action. This is something you can do.

Contact information: From First Gov: Federal Legislative Branch, State and Territorial Governments

Do it. Start making calls. Put serious heat on your elected officials RIGHT NOW.
posted by Corky at 6:22 AM on September 2, 2005


Thanks for this interview. What's happening over there is a damn shame. We recently had some floods here in Bavaria / Germany - of course not as bad as New Orleans and other areas were hit.

Most people here in Germany are stunned that the richest and most powerful country on earth is so slow and incompetent to save it's own citizens.

Plus the USA has so far not requested / refused any help. Bundeskanzler Schröder just offered some of our strategic oil reserves to the USA if it is any help.
posted by homodigitalis at 6:23 AM on September 2, 2005


Bundeskanzler Schröder just offered some of our strategic oil reserves to the USA if it is any help.

Ah well if you are offering oil, the authorities will probably be a bit faster in taking it up...
posted by Meccabilly at 6:24 AM on September 2, 2005


Wow.

I mean.

wow. Time to start writing people.
posted by dig_duggler at 6:25 AM on September 2, 2005


It really does suck to be black...

Nagin for president!
posted by j-urb at 6:27 AM on September 2, 2005


There is faeces on the walls. There is faeces all over the place.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:27 AM on September 2, 2005


That's what I really love about humanity, uncanny. Horrible situation, and then you've got some guy or girl in the place go mad and declare they're the poopsmith.

<-- will never understand humans above the age of 8 who put poop on walls.
posted by cavalier at 6:28 AM on September 2, 2005


dig duggler..... there's no time to write! We still have phones and email. Call them. Send them emails. Pass this around. Get the word out. Please.
posted by Corky at 6:28 AM on September 2, 2005


Yeah man, they need some maps on TV with blammo balloons everwhere there's some kind of broken dike or submerged pump, they need some engineers on helicopters with pumps and sandbags, pretty much a Madden play by play on how they're fixing it, and what they're doing. They need some Dutch engineers with blueprints for concrete and steel locks. Put all that on TV with a continuing saga of the actual problem.

Some religious nutbags are of a mind that all the problems exist in the space of thought, or even, if you hold them to it, maybe, dialog. By the time you have flood waters and dead bodies, Moses has already failed, Jesus has already died, and there is no fixing the hail of brimstone.

You have millions of people who used to do practical hard work laid off in this country because they weren't praying right. They were working though, on physical, real systems. Which the current administration could not care less about. So pray harder, and maybe a giant sponge monster will descend from on high to soak up the problem.
posted by nervousfritz at 6:28 AM on September 2, 2005


Ah well if you are offering oil, the authorities will probably be a bit faster in taking it up...

They sure are. Apparently the US administration is currently asking select European countries for aid - specifically for some of their reserve Oil supplies.
posted by twistedonion at 6:29 AM on September 2, 2005


you've got some guy or girl in the place go mad and declare they're the poopsmith.

Inappropriate I know but what the hell: LOL@cavalier.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:30 AM on September 2, 2005


Mary Landreiu: Our levee system has failed. We need a lot of help. And the Congress has been wonderful to help us, and we need more help. Nobody’s perfect, Anderson. Everybody has to stand up here. And I know you understand. So thank you so much for everything you’re doing.

Another senator from the Democratic party whose career is over. She's up for re-election in 2006.
posted by three blind mice at 6:31 AM on September 2, 2005


Nervousfritz: Dutch government has a dike inspection team ready for departure to New Orleans.
posted by Pendragon at 6:32 AM on September 2, 2005


I heard parts of this on NPR this morning. This is so depressing.

The response has been too anemic. Where was all the planning prior to the storm? Weren't we planning for terrorist acts of this magnitude? Where is the coordination? Who is in charge?
posted by caddis at 6:33 AM on September 2, 2005


I just saw Bush live on TV and you have to wonder if he really understands what's going on. Is someone feeding him lines? Then I listened to Ray Nagin and it's heart breaking. Thank you for posting this taz.
posted by Tarrama at 6:35 AM on September 2, 2005


Another senator from the Democratic party whose career is over. She's up for re-election in 2006.

I was all for Kerry to win the election, but this is an example of the sorry state of the Democratic party.. Please sort yourself out before the republicans put Pat Robertson up for election.

Weren't we planning for terrorist acts of this magnitude? Where is the coordination? Who is in charge?


Let's hope the terrorists arn't watching any of this...
posted by Meccabilly at 6:36 AM on September 2, 2005


taz, can you post a link to the torrent file you mentioned earlier?
posted by 40 Watt at 6:37 AM on September 2, 2005


I just saw Bush live on TV and you have to wonder if he really understands what's going on. Is someone feeding him lines? Then I listened to Ray Nagin and it's heart breaking. Thank you for posting this taz.

Nagin is exactly the sort of guy who should be running the country.
posted by Meccabilly at 6:37 AM on September 2, 2005


Weren't we planning for terrorist acts of this magnitude?

Obviously NOT.
posted by three blind mice at 6:37 AM on September 2, 2005


Is someone feeding him lines?

That's a rhetorical question, right?
posted by spicynuts at 6:39 AM on September 2, 2005


Just heard the BBC news there - George Bush is now saying that the way the relief operation has been handled is unacceptable - no shit George.

Really hope America sorts this out asap. Reading the stuff coming out about this disaster is bringing tears to my eyes. America really needs to find it's sense of community again. For far too long there seems to have been a culture of competition that really brings out the worst in people in situations such as these.

And if ever there was a reason to bring in proper gun control laws to the US this is it. Shooting at rescue services. That's disgraceful. It may be in desperation but it's still a fucking disgrace. Take the guns out of the equation and the police forces wouldn't need to be dealing with this shit. You can't blame the looters imo, just the culture they've been brought up in.
posted by twistedonion at 6:40 AM on September 2, 2005


Apparently the US administration is currently asking select European countries for aid - specifically for some of their reserve Oil supplies.

That's not really what these people need. You can't eat oil.
posted by bshort at 6:40 AM on September 2, 2005


bshorts: Sure - you can't eat oil - but how do you power your SAR helicopters and trucks?!
posted by homodigitalis at 6:42 AM on September 2, 2005


If I may self-link for a moment...

The article discusses problems with aid, which are just as applicable here as they are in Africa or elsewhere:

The biggest problem is that the rich people paying the bills do not share the same goals as the poor people they are trying to help. The wealthy have weak incentives to get the right amount of the right thing to those who need it; the poor are in no position to complain if they don’t. A more subtle problem is that if all of us are collectively responsible for a big world goal, then no single agency or politician is held accountable if the goal is not met.

These are essentially the problems being faced in NO. What is needed as opposed to what can be provided? Who is in charge? Who is responsible? Until those questions can be definitively answered, donating money or aid is effectively a waste of time, like dumping dollar bills into the water. At the very most, the rescue and recovery process will be far less efficient than it can be. In New York, after 9/11, it was at least cosmetically apparent that Guliani was in charge of both the rescue and evacuation efforts and the short term recovery and aid distribution. Here, I have no clue. Certainly not the mayor, he seems to be completely impotent, despite his efforts. I'm not clear on what the governor's doing. FEMA does not seem to be involved at all yet. Somebody needs to take charge and co-ordinate all efforts through one office. No inter-agency co-operation. One agency directing the others. This, I believe, has been the major failure post-hurricane in NO. As the mayor said, too many chefs in the kitchen.
posted by loquax at 6:42 AM on September 2, 2005


Caddis: It seems nobody is in charge, which is why Nagin is begging to be put in charge... or else the one General who seems to be on top of things. But it seems that the main problem overall has been a lack of coordinated leadership for what aid does exist in New Orleans, and the same for the outside efforts. Nobody is in charge. Nobody that we can discern, anyway.

40 Watt: amuseDetached came up with it in this askme thread. (Since I don't know anything about torrents, I don't know if that's something that's going to gobble his/her bandwidth.)
posted by taz at 6:44 AM on September 2, 2005


Weren't we planning for terrorist acts of this magnitude?

Of course we were. Don't you remember those funny stick-figure drawings? The color-coded alert levels?

What, you wanted more?

Anyway, I also lack a sound card and am waiting/hoping for a transcript. But thanks, taz, for putting this on the blue. (I probably wouldn't have even clicked on it if it hadn't had your name attached.)
posted by soyjoy at 6:44 AM on September 2, 2005


torrent
posted by mr.marx at 6:45 AM on September 2, 2005


(sorry loquax, stepping on your point, but I didn't preview)
posted by taz at 6:47 AM on September 2, 2005


I fuckin hate it that Bush is now saying that the "federal response is not acceptable". After all he's done and gotten away with, I honestly dont have faith in the public to see this guy for what he is.. The media would never let this president fall.. Even after this, the biggest failure of leadership I've seen in my life.. It'll all be spun away.. There's no outrage on CNN, MSNBC and certainly not Fox News.
posted by pez_LPhiE at 6:47 AM on September 2, 2005



Are the powers-that-be in Southern California and other potential disaster areas paying notice? Will lessons be learnt?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:48 AM on September 2, 2005


Let's hope the terrorists arn't watching any of this...

they, like a great number of people on the planet with televisions and internet connections, are probably closely following every aspect of this event.

i wish our federal officials were paying as much attention.
posted by lord_wolf at 6:48 AM on September 2, 2005


From cnn.com:

Bush: "We'll get on top of this situation"

I hope that means he'll fly over New Orleans again.
posted by tpl1212 at 6:49 AM on September 2, 2005


Yes, it appears that the federal response has been slow, inefficient, and deadly.

But why would we want Nagin for president just because he finally reached a point of desparation about this? It was his city that was apparently completely unprepared for the initial needs of evacuating and protecting his constituents in case something like this should happen.

And as we've all learned in the other bash Bush threads (not inappropriately it is increasingly obvious) this happening eventually was known to everybody in the world, but particularly to the people and government of New Orleans and yet Nagin was slow to call for a mandatory evacuation and had know plans for assisting in the evacuation of the poor before the storm or maintaining even a modicum of order in the immediate aftermath.

Nagin has contributed to the clusterfuck as much as Bush, he just has someone higher up he can pass the buck too.
posted by obfusciatrist at 6:49 AM on September 2, 2005


bshorts: Sure - you can't eat oil - but how do you power your SAR helicopters and trucks?!

You could have accepted the help from Canada two days ago when they had planes loaded with supplies sitting waiting to fly down.
posted by twistedonion at 6:51 AM on September 2, 2005


Well done, obfusciatrist. I didn't have the guts to say that. And not being American, wasn't sure if I had the right.

[golf clap]
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:52 AM on September 2, 2005


Meanwhile, Michael Brown (director of FEMA) claims, 'Things are going relatively well' and says victims bear some responsibility.

Can the bullshit stack any higher?
posted by NationalKato at 6:55 AM on September 2, 2005


Nagin has contributed to the clusterfuck as much as Bush

He was in charge of the city and so abosolutely should accept some responsibility - although he did call for extra funds to support the levees - and had funding taken away. I was merely pleased to see someone actually calling it as it is and finnaly getting outraged.
posted by Meccabilly at 6:56 AM on September 2, 2005


spellcheck!
posted by Meccabilly at 6:56 AM on September 2, 2005


The cool thing I like Nagin is that he sounds like a real person... Bush more like a robot.
posted by j-urb at 6:57 AM on September 2, 2005


anybody remember the scene in starship troopers -- yes, i know, it's a really wretched movie -- where the sky marshal publicly resigns after a colossal fuck up?

wouldn't it be awesome if we had officials in real life with that much decency?

why is that a great many americans work at jobs where as little as 5 minutes of tardiness four times in one month is grounds for dismissal, or disciplinary action at the very least, but nobody in the bush govt or any federal agency is held accountable for their negligence and incompetence?

on preview, Nagin was slow to call for a mandatory evacuation and had know plans for assisting in the evacuation of the poor before the storm or maintaining even a modicum of order in the immediate aftermath.

it's my understanding -- and i could be 100% wrong here -- that the ability to call up the resources to move those people is beyond the mayor's ability and deal with those problems ; this is what the federal agencies are created for in the 1st place.
posted by lord_wolf at 6:58 AM on September 2, 2005


Very powerful.

pez_LPhie writes:
There's no outrage on CNN, MSNBC and certainly not Fox News.

I was at a loss for words when it was reported that the president "personally visited" the area by flying over at a lower altitude in his plane to "survey the damage". Disgusting.
posted by prostyle at 6:58 AM on September 2, 2005


Bush more like a robot.

smug robot
posted by Meccabilly at 6:58 AM on September 2, 2005


If ever there was a need for a zombie flash mob, this is it.
posted by mecran01 at 6:59 AM on September 2, 2005


Not a good look for America. Not a good look at all. There are some things unfettered capitalism is not good at and disaster relief is obviously one of them.

Heads should roll.
posted by dydecker at 7:05 AM on September 2, 2005


I wish there was some way to pass a "rumor meter" over the various statements of refused foreign aid, etcetera, to try and deduce what is true. Just because I read it on a blog doesn't mean it really happened. In the old days there were these people called "journalists" who "researched events" and "reported on it". I wish we still had some that handled the foreign desk. So far, every statement about a foreign country is getting a weird beeping noise from my rumor meter.
posted by cavalier at 7:09 AM on September 2, 2005


So far, every statement about a foreign country is getting a weird beeping noise from my rumor meter.

While there is no official word from anyone in the admin, it is pretty clear that they have neither asked for nor accepted aid.
posted by Meccabilly at 7:10 AM on September 2, 2005


Comedy is so deliciously interpenetrated with tragedy.

(I am genuinely sorry for your pain, though, Americans. I hope your officials learn useful things from the death and horror they face through their proxies, and that the hard lessons revitalize your dying republic.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:12 AM on September 2, 2005


Meanwhile, Michael Brown (director of FEMA) claims, 'Things are going relatively well' and says victims bear some responsibility.

Can the bullshit stack any higher?


Those people with the ability to leave who simply chose to stay and ride it out certainly bear some responsibility for their present predicament.
posted by caddis at 7:13 AM on September 2, 2005


spicynuts writes "You know what, yesterday I wasn't prepared to lay the entirety of the blame for this on the government's doorstep, but I spent last night and this morning reading all I could about this and I've completely changed my mind. This is a clusterfuck of epic proportions precisely because our government at all levels has failed the people of New Orleans."

I completely agree. I was much too sanguine about the faults of the Federal Govt (particularly the Executive Branch) even yesterday.
posted by OmieWise at 7:14 AM on September 2, 2005


Those people with the ability to leave who simply chose to stay and ride it out certainly bear some responsibility for their present predicament.

And those without the ability most likely comprise the vast majority of those left. It is also both enlightening and sad to see the wealth divide along racial lines so vividly.
posted by Meccabilly at 7:14 AM on September 2, 2005


A thousand fucking beaurocrats, all running around with their heads cut off. Nobody wants to take responsibility. That's the problem. You've given these people power, and they're too fucking afraid to use it. It's absolutely astonishing.

I mean, if you're the president, just how fucking hard would it be to make things happen? Call up Greyhound. I'm the fucking president, and we're commandeering your bus system. Call up Hertz. I'm the fucking president, and we're commandeering your rental cars. Call up Marriot. I'm the fucking president, and we're commandeering your hotels.

Does no one understand the concept of "state of emergency"? You think anyone's going to raise a ruckus because their precious bottom-line might be slightly affected by saving a few thousand people? Yeah, let's see 'em try to complain--the negative PR would hurt them more than cooperation could.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:14 AM on September 2, 2005


Oh, and thanks taz, for your work at putting this interview out there.
posted by OmieWise at 7:15 AM on September 2, 2005


Sorry, cavalier, Can't hear you above the squawk of my Beltway Bullshit® meter. It's been red-lining every five minutes since Tuesday.
posted by hal9k at 7:15 AM on September 2, 2005


Civil_Disobedient writes "I mean, if you're the president, just how fucking hard would it be to make things happen? Call up Greyhound. I'm the fucking president, and we're commandeering your bus system. Call up Hertz. I'm the fucking president, and we're commandeering your rental cars. Call up Marriot. I'm the fucking president, and we're commandeering your hotels."

Yeah, but Bush can't do that because he's proven time and again that corporate profits outweigh human concerns, and all the money to pay those companies is already in Iraq.
posted by OmieWise at 7:16 AM on September 2, 2005


Those people with the ability to leave who simply chose to stay and ride it out certainly bear some responsibility for their present predicament.

I think we need to start a FAQ about this crisis, because these same ideas keep coming up again and again and are pretty frustrating.

How far do you want to go in blaming poor and otherwise disadvantaged people for not being able to leave New Orleans to escape? If you can't blame them for not having transportation out of the area, or for not being able to walk, would you like to blame them for living in New Orleans in the first place?
posted by VulcanMike at 7:18 AM on September 2, 2005


Keep in mind too what the pre-storm forecasts that have been linked to so often were calling for in the event of a disaster such as this - most pegged the death toll at 50,000+. As disgusting as it may be, the current scenario may actually represent a success of some sort, given a limited set of conditions. After all, the 80% evacuated represented an increase from 1998 when only 60% evacuated, and apparently, noone planned for such a wide geographic area to be affected, limiting help from neighbouring counties and cities.

I would argue that the post-hurricane situation cannot be considered Bush's fault yet. The default, I would imagine, is for control to be given to local officials first, before the federal government steps in. Local officials would theoretically best know the terrain, the needs of the people and how to deliver resources to them. The problem appears to be that destruction occurred on such a wide swath, cutting through two states and several large cities that there is no local official that can claim responsibility for the whole area. Contrast with 9/11, where the problem was localized, and affected a fixed number of people. Where Guiliani ran an operation that probably involved 100,000 people or less, and 10 billion or less, the Mayor of NO or even the governor is running an operation that affects millions of people and tens of billions. And where Guiliani was previously responsible for the huge budget and resources of NYC, the Mayor of NO was responsible for far fewer people and resources. He, and the governor are likely totally incapable of dealing with this disaster, the scope is just far too big for their skillset. Which begs the question, who can deal with this? The longer anarchy reigns and recovery efforts are delayed, the more responsibility Bush will have to assume directly. If things don't get better by the weekend and he hasn't totally taken charge, I will join the chorus condemning him. Until then, I don't really know that you can blame anyone for not recovering from this sooner. It's just too massive.
posted by loquax at 7:18 AM on September 2, 2005


I wish people would get off the chose-to-stay thing; I am convinced that there is no major (and probably no "minor") city in the world that could convince/bribe/threaten 100% of the occupants to leave. I really don't think this is a major point in the discussion, and I doubt any disaster relief strategic plan has ever based its reactions on the assumption that everyone evacuates.
posted by taz at 7:19 AM on September 2, 2005


caddis, yes the people who chose to stay do - but the statement doesn't take into account the thousands of poor, infirm, disabled, etc. Sure, they could've just all walked a hundred miles out of the storm's path, right? We don't all have easy, reliable transportation in this world...sometimes it's hard to remember that sitting in a Starbucks.

cavalier, sometimes you don't need a beeping 'meter' to tell that aid is not getting in after four days. all you need is common sense.
posted by NationalKato at 7:19 AM on September 2, 2005


Fast mover, this'un. But not good. Not good at all.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:20 AM on September 2, 2005


Does no one understand the concept of "state of emergency"?

This concept does not apply when the majority of the victims are poor and black. The fact of the matter, Civil_Disobedient, is that New Orleans is not the NY financial district.
posted by three blind mice at 7:21 AM on September 2, 2005


Yeah, but Bush can't do that because he's proven time and again that corporate profits outweigh human concern

This is what the American people really need to learn from this situation. People are more important than any corporation. It's sickenng.
posted by twistedonion at 7:22 AM on September 2, 2005


Also: it was nice to hear this part:
Now, I will tell you this--and I give the president some credit on this--he sent one John Wayne dude down here that can get some stuff done, and his name is General Honore. And he came off the doggone chopper, and he started cussin' and people started movin'. And he's getting some stuff done. They oughta' give that guy--if they don't want to give it to me--give him full authority to get the job done, and we can save some people.
That's the kind of decisive action we need from our pussy president. It must burn the military to hear all those "no-bullshit" qualities improperly ascribed to our Commander in Queef.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:22 AM on September 2, 2005


If things don't get better by the weekend and he hasn't totally taken charge, I will join the chorus condemning him.

i'm sorry, but wasn't part of bush's platform that he and his admin. have big, fat swinging dicks that enable them to respond to any sort of crisis far more skillfully and commandingly than the limp-wristed liberals?

i'm sure the dead, dying and suffering people in the katrina-ravaged areas are appreciative that, in the age of nearly instant information and communication, bush should get a whole week before he has to do anything. i also love this whole "all of the credit, none of the blame" thing he, like the ceo's he venerates and aids whenever possible, gets to enjoy.
posted by lord_wolf at 7:24 AM on September 2, 2005


lord_wolf writes "i'm sorry, but wasn't part of bush's platform that he and his admin. have big, fat swinging dicks that enable them to respond to any sort of crisis far more skillfully and commandingly than the limp-wristed liberals?"

I don't think Bush sees the macho opportunities in this yet, although it's interesting to hear that General Honore does.
posted by OmieWise at 7:27 AM on September 2, 2005


loquax, I don't think the scope of this is beyond Nagin's skillset; in fact I truly believe the entire thing would have played out differently if he had actually been allowed to be in charge, but he wasn't. He didn't have control of the resources that existed; scattered personnel were responsible to scattered bosses, and nobody had any communication with anybody else.

And I shouldn't use the past tense there, because it's still the case. In addition to this, there are bureaucratic layers of signing-off bullshit that have totally hampered efforts and supplies and aid across the board. Skillset isn't the problem.
posted by taz at 7:28 AM on September 2, 2005


Thanks for the post, taz. I cannot believe how badly this has been handled. I know Canada's had several urban S&R teams ready to go for a couple of days, and I heard on the news today that one from Vancouver is finally on its way. It baffles me that it took so long for them to be allowed into the US. The Canadian PM, Paul Martin, was working on this yesterday, even though he was in Edmonton for Alberta's centennial. If the leader of another country can manage to keep on top of our relief contributions while away from his office, surely Bush could have managed to cut his vacation short, roll up his sleeves and get down there asap?
posted by fossil_human at 7:29 AM on September 2, 2005


But why would we want Nagin for president just because he finally reached a point of desparation about this?

I think maybe you're being too literal. In my case, the sentiment was more "Finally, someone has reached the breaking point...we need that at the highest level."

Does no one understand the concept of "state of emergency"?

This is what really baffles me. Bush declared a state of emergency two days before the hurricane hit. What in god's name was everyone doing after this declaration? Was it sort of taken as a joke??
posted by spicynuts at 7:29 AM on September 2, 2005


He looks like a scared puppy in this shot, pissed that someone caught a photograph of his coward-face.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:29 AM on September 2, 2005


But why would we want Nagin for president just because he finally reached a point of desparation about this? It was his city that was apparently completely unprepared for the initial needs of evacuating and protecting his constituents in case something like this should happen.

I listened to this twice, tears streaming down my face, and then read this comment... and you know obfusciatrist - you're right. Still, very moving. Thanks taz.
posted by WaterSprite at 7:31 AM on September 2, 2005


lord_wolf: My point was that I would imagine that it would take a week before the responsibility for such a disaster would filter its way through levels of incompetence (in the nicest sense of the word) to reach the President's office. It's horrific that it would appear that it's gotten so bad. In general, the President directly should never have anything to do with a (relatively) localized natural disaster, beyond kind words and long term federal aid. Certainly it would not have been appropriate for the federal government to take over immediately, usurping the responsibility of local officials (although in hindsight, perhaps that would have been preferable). Put in the terms of a corporation, how often does the CEO actually get directly involved in a project, or a disaster recovery operation? When he or she does, you know that the situation is so bad and so many people have been incapable of resolving it, that the company has no other choice but to hold everything and deal with the situation. That assessment and process takes time, no matter what.
posted by loquax at 7:32 AM on September 2, 2005


no, Civil_Disobedient, that's the 'Hey, issat Miss'ssippi down there?' look.
posted by NationalKato at 7:32 AM on September 2, 2005


How far do you want to go in blaming poor and otherwise disadvantaged people for not being able to leave New Orleans to escape? If you can't blame them for not having transportation out of the area, or for not being able to walk, would you like to blame them for living in New Orleans in the first place

I would agree with you about the disabled; but aparently they have enough money for guns as they are shooting at food aid helicopters. There's also shoot outs in the dome.

And what about these gangs of young men stalking the streets looking for rape victims? What about the raped children in the convention center? No, I don not think the people of NOLA have handled this well at all. it's a shit situation and they are making worse on themselves.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 7:36 AM on September 2, 2005


I hope that means he'll fly over New Orleans again.

He is, even though he said less than 24 hours ago that it'd just be a distraction. The White House web site's Hurricane Relief section has already Photoshopped him onto the scene.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:37 AM on September 2, 2005


My last comment here, unless there's anything that someone else can't answer:

Please don't forget, the ultimate point of this post, and what Nagin asked is:

CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES BY ANY MEANS POSSIBLE, AND DEMAND ACTION.

This is not a partisan request.
posted by taz at 7:37 AM on September 2, 2005


Bush declared a state of emergency two days before the hurricane hit. What in god's name was everyone doing after this declaration?

There were stories, on the local DC area TV stations at least, about FEMA trucks loading up with supplies and driving to staging areas outside of the areas expected to be hit.
posted by probablysteve at 7:37 AM on September 2, 2005


Does it occur to anyone that this is just Ray Nagin trying to pass the buck?

This is fundamentally a local disaster, the responsibility for response should rest with the local authorities, who are best equipped to handle it, and who are already on site. This seems to me like the actions of someone who doesn't want the voters to hold them accountable for the disaster in the city.

Note, I'm not saying he IS responsible. The scale of this disaster is unprecedented in recent memory, and the particular combination of flooding and civil unrest are particularly difficult to combat. And, there are plenty of problems on the federal level, especially the lack of a coherent plan for dealing with large displaced populations, although once again, that is not a problem we've ever had to deal with.

My point is, every single politician is trying to spin this one into someone else's court, don't buy any of it, just because it jives with your political biases. Let the whole situation playout, and once we've picked up the pieces we can start trying to figure out how to prevent this from happening in the future.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:38 AM on September 2, 2005


I would agree with you about the disabled; but aparently they have enough money for guns as they are shooting at food aid helicopters. There's also shoot outs in the dome.

According to the FAA, there have been NO reports of shots fired at helicopters.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:39 AM on September 2, 2005


taz: I don't know about the mayor. I (and certainly most people posting here) had never heard of him before the storm. That's the other element in this, the politics of the operation (not in the partisan sense, but in the bureaucratic sense). It's possible that the mayor is a petty crook, or corrupt, or who knows what, and perhaps that's why FEMA, or the state government had no interest in giving him command of a mutli-billion dollar operating. Also, given that NO looks like it will need to be retaken from the loot mobs, does the mayor have the required military training to know how to command the forces that will need to reestablish order? Does the governor? I'm not saying they don't, but the repercussions of this and the problems being faced are so varied in nature, that I would be shocked if anyone had the complete skillset to effectively deal with them, making the problem even worse, because no one person or agency can claim responsibility.

Again, as horrific as it sounds, maybe this is a best case scenario. Losing control of the city for months, and getting as many people as you can out, sacrificing what needs to be sacrificed, then regrouping and moving back in. Imagine if fewer had evacuated, or if they had allowed people back in, or if they didn't open the superdome, or if they didn't mobilize the resources they have as quickly as they did. It's impossible to say at this point.
posted by loquax at 7:39 AM on September 2, 2005


"Certainly it would not have been appropriate for the federal government to take over immediately, usurping the responsibility of local official"

Wasn't a problem to get involved when the wanted to "save" a brain dead woman.
posted by Yer-Ol-Pal at 7:40 AM on September 2, 2005



According to the FAA, there have been NO reports of shots fired at helicopters.


Not that I know who to trust at this point, but there was a direct quote from a Lieutenant in the Air National Guard in the NY Daily News this morning saying helicopters had been fired upon. Give me time I'll go get a link. I believe it was an AP story.
posted by spicynuts at 7:43 AM on September 2, 2005


Bulgaroktonos writes "This is fundamentally a local disaster, the responsibility for response should rest with the local authorities, who are best equipped to handle it, and who are already on site."

Well, yes and no. The local area affected is roughly the size of the UK. That's a pretty big neighborhood.

From the BBC (my emphasis):
According to the White House, nearly 155,350 sq miles (250,000 sq km) has been affected by the hurricane - an area roughly the size of the UK.

posted by kirkaracha at 7:46 PM EST on September 1

posted by OmieWise at 7:43 AM on September 2, 2005


Again, as horrific as it sounds, maybe this is a best case scenario

You are a bloody fool.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:43 AM on September 2, 2005


This post from the DirectNIC blog linked above is one of the most powerful things I've read about what's really happening there:
Three days ago, police and national guard troops told citizens to head toward the Crescent City Connection Bridge to await transportation out of the area. The citizens trekked over to the Convention Center and waited for the buses which they were told would take them to Houston or Alabama or somewhere else, out of this area.

It's been 3 days, and the buses have yet to appear.

Although obviously he has no exact count, he estimates more than 10,000 people are packed into and around and outside the convention center still waiting for the buses. They had no food, no water, and no medicine for the last three days, until today, when the National Guard drove over the bridge above them, and tossed out supplies over the side crashing down to the ground below. Much of the supplies were destroyed from the drop. Many people tried to catch the supplies to protect them before they hit the ground. Some offered to walk all the way around up the bridge and bring the supplies down, but any attempt to approach the police or national guard resulted in weapons being aimed at them.

There are many infants and elderly people among them, as well as many people who were injured jumping out of windows to escape flood water and the like -- all of them in dire straights.

Any attempt to flag down police results in being told to get away at gunpoint. Hour after hour they watch buses pass by filled with people from other areas. Tensions are very high, and there has been at least one murder and several fights. 8 or 9 dead people have been stored in a freezer in the area, and 2 of these dead people are kids.

The people are so desperate that they're doing anything they can think of to impress the authorities enough to bring some buses. These things include standing in single file lines with the eldery in front, women and children next; sweeping up the area and cleaning the windows and anything else that would show the people are not barbarians.

The buses never stop.
That paragraph about trying to "impress the authorities" speaks volumes. I read that and I seriously wonder if any of those people are thinking: this is like being a slave; no power, no rights, living like animals at gunpoint, but if I put on a nice dance for the master, maybe he'll let me live a bit longer. Unbelievable.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:44 AM on September 2, 2005


Livewire, there are these things called 'gun stores' in our country, where you can buy guns - or just loot them when all hell breaks loose.

As has been reported several times, New Orleans police have looted ammunition in order to keep it off the street, and I heard on CNN this morning that one precinct has hung a sign reading, 'Fort Apache' on their building as they defend it. One officer said it reminds him of Somalia, as armed gangs roam the streets.
posted by NationalKato at 7:46 AM on September 2, 2005


The quote:

“There are people just taking potshots at police and at helicopters, telling them, ‘You better come get my family,’” said Lt. Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Iesan of the Coast Guard.

In the context of the article it isn't certain whether this is a response to being asked about rumors of this happening or whether this is a comment from direct experience, however, the statement is phrased in a way that would reflect direct experience.

Here is the article.
posted by spicynuts at 7:47 AM on September 2, 2005


Certainly it would not have been appropriate for the federal government to take over immediately, usurping the responsibility of local officials (although in hindsight, perhaps that would have been preferable).

Of course it would. He decalared a state of emergency. You have a disaster spread over multiple states, you want them to run the situation by triumvirate or something? FEMA was designed for this, they're supposed to take over immediately, the locals expect them to.
posted by queen zixi at 7:47 AM on September 2, 2005


This is fundamentally a local disaster, the responsibility for response should rest with the local authorities, who are best equipped to handle it, and who are already on site.

No, this is much a bigger disaster than any one city can handle. This is why cities and states are part of larger entities, so that if something horrible happens they have larger resources to draw on.
posted by bshort at 7:49 AM on September 2, 2005


What about the raped children in the convention center? No, I don not think the people of NOLA have handled this well at all. it's a shit situation and they are making worse on themselves.

Who's "they?" Yeah, those children really blew it...
posted by johngoren at 7:49 AM on September 2, 2005


OmieWise, the total area hit by Katrina is huge, but that's not the scope of the current problem. The current area at issue is New Orleans. Relief is proceeding slowly in areas of Mississippi and other parts of Louisiana, but that's to be expected. Most everyone is out, and they're mainly looking at cleanup. The real problems now are pretty much limited to New Orleans and the area around it.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:49 AM on September 2, 2005


queen zixi writes "FEMA was designed for this, they're supposed to take over immediately, the locals expect them to."

Exactly. If we didn't have FEMA then it would be different, but the expectation of FEMA helping is not some kind of buck-passing, it's part of emergency planning.
posted by OmieWise at 7:50 AM on September 2, 2005


Nagin is exactly the sort of guy who should be running the country.

Bullshit. Nagin is just as responsible as Bush, and the governer. Just because he's a good polictictian and knows when to be honest, dosn't mean he would make a good leader. NO itself should have had a better evacuation plan to start with. It never should have come to this.
posted by delmoi at 7:52 AM on September 2, 2005


I've mirrored the interview right here in case the first goes down.
posted by vanadium at 7:55 AM on September 2, 2005


Bush does know they have oil in Louisiana, right? I'm surprised he doesn't have invasion plans all ready to go.
posted by bshort at 7:55 AM on September 2, 2005


Bulgaroktonos writes "Relief is proceeding slowly in areas of Mississippi and other parts of Louisiana, but that's to be expected. Most everyone is out, and they're mainly looking at cleanup. The real problems now are pretty much limited to New Orleans and the area around it."

I'm not sure that this is true (I'm not sure it isn't either.) On NPR this morning a report from Mississippi (?), well, it was definitely not NOLA, suggested that there may still be people trapped in destroyed towns, and that the only relief agency at work was the Salvation Army. There was a shortage of food and clean water. The quote from the SA Commander in charge went something like (close paraphrase): "We're used to being first responders but this is a little surprising. I imagine that there is just so much damage that other groups aren't sure where to go to help."

I suspect that NOLA is getting the press, that the pictures there are dramatic, that the place NOLA occupies in the national imagination gives it pride of place in this tragedy. I know that most of the threads on MeFi are about New Orleans. I'm not at all convinced that that means that other areas do not continue to suffer considerable shortfalls of basic necessities. People may not be stranded on highways, but that's a poor indicator of overall health.
posted by OmieWise at 7:56 AM on September 2, 2005


You are a bloody fool.
posted by sonofsamiam


Thank you for saying this so politely. Ever since I read that particular post, I have been swearing and trying very hard to refrain from replying in anger and haste.

"bloody fool" sounds ever so much nicer than "dumb motherfucker" and I really didn't want to resort to that sort of insult.
posted by leftcoastbob at 7:56 AM on September 2, 2005


No, I don not think the people of NOLA have handled this well at all. It's a shit situation and they are making worse on themselves.

I'm sure that the majority of people from New Orleans are handling this admirably considering. You always get evil bastards and opportunists.

I'll say it again, the failing here is community. How is someone able to rape in a huge crowd? No-one seems to be looking out for each other. Again, you can't blame the people for that, simply the culture they've been brought up in.
posted by twistedonion at 7:56 AM on September 2, 2005


NO itself should have had a better evacuation plan to start with.

Yeah—apparently, the biggest mistake was relying on the federal government to respond to a disaster they knew was coming for 36 hours by doing a goddamn thing.
posted by oaf at 8:01 AM on September 2, 2005


It's too bad we don't have some kind of agency, at the federal level, that could be called in to manage emergencies such as this.
Or maybe a department that would work to keep this land, our home, secure during disasters such as this.
If we had something like that in place and functional, we wouldn't be in this position right now.
But then again, golly, who knew?

sheesh.
posted by Floydd at 8:01 AM on September 2, 2005


Sorry to jump threads but after listening to that intervew, I just find myself getting more and more pissed off about the Condoleeza Rice thing. Maybe it's not her job but for god sakes, she's one of the most powerful people in the country and should be on the phone trying to help the process. God knows this administration needs every able person working on this regardless of whether or not it falls under their particular responsibility.

As the old saying goes,if you're not busy, grab a fucking broom.
posted by gfrobe at 8:03 AM on September 2, 2005


This is fundamentally a local disaster, the responsibility for response should rest with the local authorities, who are best equipped to handle it, and who are already on site. This seems to me like the actions of someone who doesn't want the voters to hold them accountable for the disaster in the city.

Jesus. What the fuck. That's about the most cynical thing I could have imagined. The guy needs help for his city, and he's seemingly the only one in authority telling it like is. By all accounts I've read, all the people of NO are getting from the president and the feds is a bunch of empty talk. This is NOT local: this is a disaster spread across four states, with national implications (at least from public health and economic perspectives.)

I know others have replied to this comment above, but it deserved at least a little bit of a pile-on.
posted by psmealey at 8:03 AM on September 2, 2005


He, and the governor are likely totally incapable of dealing with this disaster, the scope is just far too big for their skillset. Which begs the question, who can deal with this?

Is this supposed to be a fucking joke? How about FEMA? You know, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:04 AM on September 2, 2005


I would've been willing to place some blame on Nagin, but then I heard the interview. How can he be responsible when he's told that FEMA and 40,000 people are on their way, and then they're not? How is it his fault that when he's told the levees will be patched with 3000 lb sandbags and then they're not? He's asking to take responsibility, fer Chrissake.

Fucking goverment's going down. The stunned silence at the end of the interview was the most impressive part.
posted by fungible at 8:05 AM on September 2, 2005


Rick Barthelme on the situation in Hattiesburg, Mississippi
posted by muckster at 8:05 AM on September 2, 2005


looks like the talking points have been distributed. so far, they seem to be:

1) blame the people of new orleans
2) blame nagin
3 never refer to or acknowledge specific instances of suffering; refer only in broad terms to a "disaster" or a "situation"; if hard-pressed, acknowledge only that people need water, and it's on its way.
5) wrap up by pointing out that things will be taken care of very soon.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:07 AM on September 2, 2005


This is fundamentally a local disaster

You are American right? And these New Orleans... they are American too?

Well then it's fucking local. You Yanks are brilliant at being all patriotic when the Financial Institutions are attacked or you go to war for oil. Bunch of poor people... fuck em, they were warned. They could have left. Not our problem. Everything about this disaster is pathetic.
posted by twistedonion at 8:09 AM on September 2, 2005


Comedy is so deliciously interpenetrated with tragedy.

WHAT
THE
FUCK
STAVROS?

How would you have appreciated a comment like that in the Bali thread? You're letting your hatred for America get in the way of your humanity.
posted by languagehat at 8:12 AM on September 2, 2005


This is fundamentally a local disaster, the responsibility for response should rest with the local authorities, who are best equipped to handle it, and who are already on site. This seems to me like the actions of someone who doesn't want the voters to hold them accountable for the disaster in the city.

The real problems now are pretty much limited to New Orleans and the area around it.

Bulgaroktonos in two separate posts you've managed to say two of the most ridiculous statements I've read in this thread.

A local disaster? 9/11 was a local disaster. Here's part of a mail I received from a friend in Mobile, Alabama:

Mobile is a shambles ... there's no power from the Florida line all the way to Louisiana. Downtown Mobile is under water, the southern part of the county is under water, Dauphin Island (at the mouth of Mobile Bay) is now Dauphin Islands .plural ... nothing but pilings left of the homes there. The Mississippi Gulf coast has been utterly destroyed ... looks just like the pics of carpet bombing from WWII. New Orleans is under water, power is out as far as Pensacola, Florida. Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan are under water ... debris everywhere ... driving at night is like running a mine field.

Mobile is 150 miles from New Orleans. As bad as the situation in New Orleans is, the situation in the rural areas in between cannot be any better. This is a HUGE disaster covering thousands of square miles.
posted by three blind mice at 8:13 AM on September 2, 2005


My point was that I would imagine that it would take a week before the responsibility for such a disaster would filter its way through levels of incompetence (in the nicest sense of the word) to reach the President's office

Ugh. you don't have to wait for the event to happen before you fucking start working on it.

Yeah, they had 'staging areas'. In Texas. They should have been prepaired for this. Really prepared to evacuate the city POST-FACTO when people are sarving like they are now. This is horrible and bush is responsible for hiring the idiots who are running things now.

Terrorist arn't the only problem facing our country.
posted by delmoi at 8:15 AM on September 2, 2005


Does no one understand the concept of "state of emergency"?

This is what really baffles me. Bush declared a state of emergency two days before the hurricane hit.

The phrase apparently means something in management-speak but had little practical effect at the time. The whole affair has this flavor. It's like everyone's in middle management, including the pres, and nobody does anything. Nobody does any leading, nobody does any work. It's all interviews, conferences, reassurances, protocol, hold the party line, and avoid assuming responsibility by actually doing anything at all costs.

Put in the terms of a corporation, how often does the CEO actually get directly involved in a project, or a disaster recovery operation?


Yes well, exactly. Government as private corporation. The whole thing looks like some dysfunctional corporate entity unable to respond effectively to a novel problem.
posted by scheptech at 8:16 AM on September 2, 2005


Thread recap:

1.) The governments representing New Orleans and Louisiana bear responsibility for not proactively protecting the city from this disaster. Its their backyard, they are responsible for it.

2.) The individuals in the city bear some responsibility for not leaving. Poor/disabled is not an excuse. You can't really start blaming government officials for not having a plan when the victims themselves didn't have a plan. ('Can't help those who won't help themselves')

3.) Once the hurricane hit and the levees broke, FEMA is in charge. Its job is not to figure out who is to blame, but to save lives and restore stability. Its job is to handle the aftermath, regardless of how/why the situation was created and whether it could have been prevented. FEMA's entire existence is to handle these situations and it's unbelievable how incompetent it has proven to be.
posted by wabashbdw at 8:17 AM on September 2, 2005


Hey twistedonion, some us "yanks" have taken our heads out of our ass long enough to have a look around. There has not been a week gone by since the current administration has been in office that I haven't thought of the line in the preamble of the declaration of independence. "When any form of government becomes obstructive to these ends it is the power of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute a new government" That is unless this line has been struck out due to national security.
posted by Yer-Ol-Pal at 8:26 AM on September 2, 2005


I believe this, posted to another thread by amberglow, bears repeating:

It’s moments like this when you need a party in power that actually believes in the affirmative power of government to help its citizens, rather than the party that sees government’s role as protecting the property of the well-off from the predations of the underclass. It’s when the true ugly soul of American conservatism is borne out for what it is: a rationalization of selfishness and the hysterical denial of community. America is about to see what happens when the government is staffed by people appointed to their jobs precisely for their disdain for the whole notion of policy in the public interest. It’s won’t be pretty. --Rob Salkowitz
posted by muckster at 8:27 AM on September 2, 2005


Yelling and screaming and attempting to assign blame at this point is useless. The problem must be properly analyzed, and responsiblity must be taken. Hard choices must be made, and yes, the levels of horrors must be prioritized. Saying this might be a best case scenario is not complimenting officials, it's acknowledging the immense scope of the problem. People were certainly going to die. People were certainly going to lose their homes and possessions. There were certainly going to be problems saving survivors and distributing aid given the devastation, which was unprecedented in reality if not theory. The question is to what degree should these things have been expected to occur. Until a complete analysis of the last week is conducted, showing breakdowns and mistakes and wrong decisions, it's impossible to determine the extent of preventable hardship post hurricane. As horrible as it is, when confronted with something like this, only losing a thousand people may be a blessing. Righteous indignation without informed, concrete analysis is not helpful at this point.
posted by loquax at 8:27 AM on September 2, 2005


Crooks and Liars has some excellent links, including the link to the video of Anderson Cooper going off on Mary Landreau.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:28 AM on September 2, 2005


Salkowitz = major, major, MAJOR schmuck.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:30 AM on September 2, 2005


At least if you live in an area disrupted by the hurricane you can get a bit of discount on an Apple Mac.
posted by twistedonion at 8:30 AM on September 2, 2005



2.) The individuals in the city bear some responsibility for not leaving. Poor/disabled is not an excuse. You can't really start blaming government officials for not having a plan when the victims themselves didn't have a plan. ('Can't help those who won't help themselves')


How is not being able to leave not an excuse for not leaving? That's like saying having a broken back is no excuse not walking. Maybe some of the people who stayed were healthy enough to walk hundreds of miles, but I doubt it. What are you supposed to do when you only have $40 to your name and gas is $3 a gallon?

I don't think you understand what poverty really means.

The only help the city offered was to take you to the superdome. That worked out well, eh?
posted by delmoi at 8:30 AM on September 2, 2005


My point, National Kato, which you seemed to have missed in your desire to condescend me, is that there have been several statements about supposed foreign aide that has purportedly been denied or refused. These have all come from blogs, and nothing from media. I was lamenting 1) the lack of clarification as to whether these really were refused, and if so, 2) the lack of basic fundamental journalism that would allow that information to be refuted or accepted and published.

There are rumors everywhere. Rumors we are running out of gas. Rumors that nations have forces ready to go but we have said go. Rumors that helicopters have been shot at. etcetera. It's all rumor, there's no corroboration. That's what I was getting at.

How is common sense affecting any of the above? Or are you trying to imply "hey, it still sucks there, so by common sense it means all the rumors are right!"
posted by cavalier at 8:31 AM on September 2, 2005


I have a question. Does anyone remember Grenada? We had med students down there that were in danger. We invaded Grenada in 1983 to rescue them, right? A successful rescue, I might add.

Canada and other foreign nations have citizens trapped in New Orleans. I just heard the story of tourists told to leave the relative safety of hotels and head for the SuperDome. They spent the night on the streets, frightened for their lives. One guy from Canada said that he wasn't sure he was going to survive...

C'mon, Canada! Come rescue your folks! Show us how it's done. We seem to have forgotten.
posted by Corky at 8:31 AM on September 2, 2005


Check out the map between New Orleans and Mobile. Waveland was completely flattened. It no longer exists.

Sure New Orleans is a major disaster, but what's happening in Bay St. Louis, Long Beach, Gulfport, Gautier, Pascagoula, Gulf Shores cannot be any less severe for the people who live there. Focusing on New Orleans - as bad as it is - minimizes the true extent of this tragedy.
posted by three blind mice at 8:32 AM on September 2, 2005




Number one, before you get all frothingly and generically anti-american, remember that only 51% of us voted for this administration and a lot of us are very vocal in our opposition to things this administration does, so let's maybe put away that broad brush.

Number two, I believe the poor people affected by the tsunami were treated to a large scale outpouring of cash from us crappy insensitive shitty Yanks so again, let's put away the broad brush. I'm sure the regular people in this country, myself included, will be opening their pocketbooks again for ALL the people of NOLA.

posted by spicynuts at 8:33 AM on September 2, 2005


Argh. We have said no. :p
posted by cavalier at 8:33 AM on September 2, 2005


I must admit I'm somewhat confused as to why it was so controversial to assert that the disaster in New Orleans is a local one or that the real problems are currently in New Orleans.

Just because two things have the same cause does not mean that they are the same or that they should be treated as a single event. The effects in New Orleans are quite different from the ones in other places, and to suggest that we should response to them together is just illogical.

The crisis in New Orleans is quite distinct from the problems elsewhere. Alabama and Mississippi might have been destroyed, but they do not face the same sort current evolving crisis that New Orleans does. New Orleans is a major urban area facing starvation, and anarchy. The flooding and destruction in Alabama and Mississippi are bad, but they are standard hurricane damage, they should be handled as part of clean up and are not a crisis of the same scale as what is going on in New Orleans.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:33 AM on September 2, 2005


oh crap...the above was supposed to be directed at this statement:

You Yanks are brilliant at being all patriotic when the Financial Institutions are attacked or you go to war for oil.
posted by spicynuts at 8:33 AM on September 2, 2005


No props for this asshole, he's got more blame at his feet than anyone else.

It was his job to get the city evacuated, his job to make sure the city remained under the rule of law and he fucked it up.

He acted slow and wrong on every count.
posted by Mick at 8:33 AM on September 2, 2005


From Jalopnik, car makers are announcing their hurricane relief efforts. Most are in the 6-figure range; Toyota (in another embarrassment to the US): $5 million.
posted by jalexei at 8:34 AM on September 2, 2005


Anyone defending the inaction and trying to place blame on local goverment instead of being outraged that out national goverment isn't doing jack shit is a heartless bastard.

The only thing we should be concerned with is helping these people. They are NOT getting help. Our national govermnent HAS THAT RESPONSIBILITY.

Whether they want it or not.
posted by dig_duggler at 8:35 AM on September 2, 2005


As horrible as it is, when confronted with something like this, only losing a thousand people may be a blessing. Righteous indignation without informed, concrete analysis is not helpful at this point.
posted by loquax at 8:27 AM


Let us know when there's enough informed, concrete analysis for us to be righteously indignant. I realize that we shouldn't be placing any blame at this point except at the feet of the victims where it obviously belongs.

Thanks for setting us straight--some of us were under the impression that this situation was a bad thing, not a--how did you phrase it?--" blessing."
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:38 AM on September 2, 2005


Bush is talking on C-SPAN. He is talking to a set of response professionals and asked to say something. One of the things he said, in the context of rebuilding, was this (paraphrased):

"Trent Lott's gonna rebuild his house! Trent Lott lost his whole house. And he's gonna rebuild it and it's gonna be fantastic and I'm gonna sit on the porch!"

Yeah. Poor Trent Lott.
posted by Miko at 8:39 AM on September 2, 2005


Per an email:

Thanks to all of you who have sent your notes of concern and your prayers. I am writing this note on Tuesday at 2PM . I wanted to update all of you as to the situation here. I don't know how much information you are getting but I am certain it is more than we are getting. Be advised that almost everything I am telling you is from direct observation or rumor from reasonable sources. They are allowing limited internet access, so I hope to send this dispatch today.

Personally, my family and I are fine. My family is safe in Jackson, MS, and I am now a temporary resident of the Ritz Carleton Hotel in New Orleans. I figured if it was my time to go, I wanted to go in a place with a good wine list. In addition, this hotel is in a very old building on Canal Street that could and did sustain little damage. Many of the other hotels sustained significant loss of windows, and we expect that many of the guests may be evacuated here.

Things were obviously bad yesterday, but they are much worse today. Overnight the water arrived. Now Canal Street (true to its origins) is indeed a canal. The first floor of all downtown buildings is underwater. I have heard that Charity Hospital and Tulane are limited in their ability to care for patients because of water. Ochsner is the only hospital that remains fully functional. However, I spoke with them today and they too are on generator and losing food and water fast. The city now has no clean water, no sewerage system, no electricity, and no real communications. Bodies are still being recovered floating in the floods. We are worried about a cholera epidemic. Even the police are without effective communications. We have a group of armed police here with us at the hotel that are admirably trying to exert some local law enforcement. This is tough because looting is now rampant. Most of it is not malicious looting. These are poor and desperate people with no housing and no medical care and no food or water trying to take care of themselves and their families. Unfortunately, the people are armed and dangerous. We hear gunshots frequently. Most of Canal street is occupied by armed looters who have a low threshold for discharging their weapons. We hear gunshots frequently. The looters are using makeshift boats made of pieces of styrofoam to access. We are still waiting for a significant national guard presence.

The health care situation here has dramatically worsened overnight. Many people in the hotel are elderly and small children. There are ID physicians in at this hotel attending an HiV confection. We have commandered the world famous French Quarter Bar to turn into an makeshift clinic. There is a team of about 7 doctors and PA and pharmacists. We anticipate that this will be the major medical facility in the central business district and French Quarter.

Our biggest adventure today was raiding the Walgreens on Canal under police escort. The pharmacy was dark and fulll of water. We basically scooped the entire drug sets into gargace bags and removed them. All under police excort. The looters had to be held back at gun point. After a dose of prophylactic Cipro I hope to be fine.

In all we are faring well. We have set up a hospital in the the French Qarter bar in the hotel, and will start admitting patients today. Many with be from the hotel, but many with not. We are anticipating to dealing with multiple medical problems, medications and and acute injuries. Infection and perhaps even cholera are anticipated major problems. Food and water shortages are iminent.

The biggest question to all of us is where is the national guard. We hear jet fighters and helicopters, but no real armed presence, and hence the rampant looting. There is no Red Cross and no Salvation Army.

In a sort of cliché way, this is an edifying experience. Once is rapidly focused away from the transient and material to the bare necessities of life. It has been challenging to me to learn how to be a primary care phyisican. We are under martial law so return to our homes is impossible. I don't know how long it will be and this is my greatest fear. Despite it all, this is a soul edify experience. The greatest pain is to think about the loss. And how long the rebuild will. And the horror of so many dead people .



posted by dig_duggler at 8:39 AM on September 2, 2005


dig, doesn't the local government have that responsibility too? Why do they get off the hook? Can't I been outraged that the local government isn't doing enough?

I mean if all that matters is helping these people and they are not getting help shouldn't I be mad at everyone?

Rather, wouldn't a more prudent course of action be to wait until we know the full scope of the disaster(i.e in several months) and assess rationally where changes could have been made, and whether or not we could reasonably expect those in charge to know and anticipate the needed response?

Wouldn't that be a more rational course of action, instead of just blaming the people Mr. Nagin wants us to blame?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:40 AM on September 2, 2005


I've transcribed the interview for those who can't hear it. You can find it here.
posted by LeeJay at 8:40 AM on September 2, 2005


Miko:
You beat me to it. I cannot believe I just heard him reassure all of America that Trent is gonna get a fabulous new house.
WTF?
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:40 AM on September 2, 2005


Ok, seriously. I usually like to stick to the edges on Metafilter, but I can't on this one. First off, obfuciatrist, this is an emergency, a tragedy, a time of national mourning. Lives have been lost and now it's time to heal and start shopping. You remember those concepts, right? They elected your dopey f***ing mascot the second time, right?

And also being that he is the president, he doesn't need you to rush to his defense when someone impugns the least little bit, on the f***ing internet of all places. Sometimes being in the top slot means you gotta take some heat from the people who got you there when you screw up and even sometimes when you don't. There's republicans in Louisiana as well.

Do something to help these people now. You can cry about who said "mean stuff" about your little retarded friend later.

Now somebody make fun of my spelling or grammar.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 8:40 AM on September 2, 2005


To say I'm unimpressed with Nagin is an understatement. Lord knows the colossal fuckups above him haven't helped, but I haven't seen *any* evidence of any sort of leadership.

He complains, he blames others, he cries, he begs -- but the only order I've actually seen him give was ordering the cops to stop rescuing and start fighting looters.

The state of the NOPD stands as a direct condemnation of his leadership. I don't know which is worse, the desertion, the looting by police officers, or this:
In contrast, some residents of the French Quarter appear comfortable, well-fed and relaxed. About 150 New Orleans police officers have commandeered the Royal Omni Hotel, part of the international luxury chain of Omni hotels that is housed in an elegant 19th century building, complete with crystal chandeliers and a rooftop pool. "All of the officers that are here, I can tell you in a classical sense, are gladiators," says Capt. Kevin Anderson, commander of the Eighth District of the NOPD (French Quarter). "To be able to put your family's concerns aside to protect the citizens of New Orleans, it's just an awesome job," he says.

Across the street from the Royal Omni at the Eighth District police department, several police officers keep a wary eye on the street with shotguns at the ready, while some fellow officers grill sausage links over charcoal barbecues. They are under strict orders not to communicate with the media. Capt. Anderson does confirm, however, that locations where officers were housed came under gunfire on Tuesday night. No officers were injured. "It is a very dangerous situation that we're in," Anderson says.
Well, they've secured New Orleans, at least, the only part they care about. The rest of the city can go fuck itself.

History will not be kind to this mayor. Guiliani made mistakes, but he was, at least, leading. Nagin is doing everything he can to *not* lead, and the result is that the first line defenders of New Orleans were worse than useless.

One person with some authority standing up and giving clear orders could have made a big difference. Instead, we get a blamefest. Leaders don't go on TV and blamestorm. Leaders spend very little time on TV, because they're busy. Leaders compliment the ones who are doing well, and kick the shit out of the people who aren't -- and, if they start doing well, they compliment them.

Nagin for President? Fuck that. Nagin is clearly out of his league here, and the people of New Orleans are paying for it. The only reason he gets any credit is the other people involved are such fuckups. Hell, by those standards, Goofy looks presidential.
posted by eriko at 8:42 AM on September 2, 2005


Hey twistedonion, some us "yanks" have taken our heads out of our ass long enough to have a look around.

Apologies for the yank statement, I'm just so angry today. I know there's plenty of dissent in the US, just not nearly enough. The problem for me, as a member of the rest of the world, is that I feel helpless. America defines the way in which the rest of the world moves and does business.

Americans are the only people who can create the changes that some of you desire. The problem is that it requires such a major shift in public opinion. A desire to get back to caring about society in general. I still think there's far too much greed for that to happen though.
posted by twistedonion at 8:43 AM on September 2, 2005


cavalier there have been several statements about supposed foreign aide that has purportedly been denied or refused. These have all come from blogs, and nothing from media.

Sigh, did you even look? Quotes from The Canadian Prime Minister, The Defence Minister, and The Chief of Defence, all from "legitimate media".

I suspect the US government hasn't asked for support because a) they aren't organized enough to make use of it, and b) they think it would look like an admission of incompetence. Image is much more important to these guys than actual success.
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:44 AM on September 2, 2005


Until a complete analysis of the last week is conducted, showing breakdowns and mistakes and wrong decisions, it's impossible to determine the extent of preventable hardship post hurricane.

Then why did you say that it was "maybe a best case scenario"? How did you determine that? And when has this administration ever conducted a "complete analysis" of anything? There aren't going to be any rich white widows around to shame them into holding an inquiry for this one.

On preview: oh good, Mick showed up with Lord Wolf's talking point #2. Can't you apologists just post the number in future and save the keystrokes?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:44 AM on September 2, 2005


The effects in New Orleans are quite different from the ones in other places, and to suggest that we should response to them together is just illogical.

I don't believe that anyone suggested anything of the sort. You said that the crisis was "fundamentally" a local one, and suggested that the Mayor's plea for help was a ploy to pass the buck and gain political points.

In order to understand why this is most definitely not a local crisis, I would ask you to re-evaluate your thinking process. Understand (1) that the US Army Corps of Engineers were responsible for maintaining the main levee or levees that failed and in 2002 issued a report (based on info from 1940) saying they levees would stand up to a major hurricane, and (2) a crisis of this magnitude is beyond the capability of any city or locale to manage it by itself (re: NYC 9/11/01). The fact that this has resulted in an entire city needing to be evacuated (to where, an imaginary mirror image of itself floating in space?) to somewhere else, should tell you that it's most definitely NOT "fundamentally" a local problem.
posted by psmealey at 8:48 AM on September 2, 2005


doesn't the local government have that responsibility too? Why do they get off the hook?

The locals didn't have the resources to handle the situation. How does the NOLA-PD force 100,000+ people to evacuate? The domain may be restricted to the city, but the scope of the problem required extraordinary resources, which the locals don't have. They wouldn't need to call outside personnel, if the city had the internal manpower to handle the situation. And as Nagin points out, he does NOT have the authority or the resources at his disposal. It's the state and Feds job to provide it. At most, Nagin can be blamed for how the PD was used.
posted by daksya at 8:49 AM on September 2, 2005


This is not an anti-war statement, that's a whole other separate topic imo, but I'm still not seeing why it's impossible for a country capable of sending armies around the world, and feeding them while there, to go ahead and bring civil order and supplies to one of their own cities? Why can't the military invade NOLA, bomb 'em with sandwiches? Why not 2 or 3 days ago?
posted by scheptech at 8:49 AM on September 2, 2005


Seems as good a place to vent as any.

This has to go straight to the top. They've looted the treasury of hundreds of billions of dollars and granted themselves unprecedented authority, demanding no oversight, in perpetuity, all in the name of protecting us from the unthinkable. When the unthinkable happens it is clear that they aren't prepared to do shit. If this had been Osama himself in a surprise attack blowing up the levees to try and kill everyone in New Orleans it is clear that they weren't prepared to respond.

What makes it so farcical is that this exact scenario in New Orleans has been predicted, wargamed, studied etc. for years AND they had ADVANCE NOTICE. You have ADVANCE NOTICE that one of your all-time worst case disaster scenarios has ratcheted up into the 90+% likelihood range and they weren't prepared to respond.

How can anyone now reasonably believe that Federal agencies would be prepared to handle a major event in any other city? Forget about the uniqueness of New Orleans geography...they seem to be incapable of dropping pallets of water out the back of an airplane into this town. The American people have bent over and let these fuckups grant themselves unlimited resources and unlimited authority and this is the result.
posted by well_balanced at 8:49 AM on September 2, 2005


i'm so fucking pissed that i can't think straight.

why the fuck did bush, the fema/horse ass, chertoff, etc. need to waste time having a "briefing" on live TV that could have been done aboard AF1 on the way down? do you think they'll visit the convention center and help the 10 yr old girl who's been raped and had her ankles broken, or can she just wait?

why do the various communications gear used by disparate law enforcement officials and fema not work? isn't this the same problem that they had 4 yrs ago on 9/11? did they learn anything from that?

why can't they just take water from every piggly wiggly or whatever and bring it in to the people?

why does my 10 yr old son understand this better than our government? i caught him up last night past his bedtime trying to figure out how to use the free ticket he's earned on SW airlines to bring water to the people in N.O.

god fucking damn these rich fat white pricks.
posted by Shike at 8:50 AM on September 2, 2005


Canada prepares to help Katrina victims

Canadian warships are being prepared in case the U.S. calls for help. Defence Minister Bill Graham said a destroyer and two frigates are being packed with supplies and equipment in the aftermath of Hurrican Katrina.

The ships should be in a position to leave Halifax in three or four days.

Canadian military officials stressed that despite ongoing discussion, U.S. couterparts have made no requests for assistance.

That won't stop the military from preparing water purification units and other supplies, so that Canada can move quickly should the call for help come.


WTF???
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:51 AM on September 2, 2005


If Bush flew overhead in a helicopter pissing on the survivors and laughing, someone would crop up to excuse that behavior. I do not want to believe it but you equivocating sophists are clearly showing yourselves to be more concerned with your party's image rather than American lives. You have already betrayed your country in your hearts.

Your loyalties are clear and they are not to America.

I don't know if I should post this, but what does it matter anymore.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:52 AM on September 2, 2005


LeeJay writes "I've transcribed the interview for those who can't hear it. You can find it here."

Thanks LeeJay.
posted by OmieWise at 8:53 AM on September 2, 2005


i'm so fucking pissed that i can't think straight.

why the fuck did bush, the fema/horse ass, chertoff, etc. need to waste time having a "briefing" on live TV that could have been done aboard AF1 on the way down? do you think they'll visit the convention center and help the 10 yr old girl who's been raped and had her ankles broken, or can she just wait?

why do the various communications gear used by disparate law enforcement officials and fema not work? isn't this the same problem that they had 4 yrs ago on 9/11? did they learn anything from that?

why can't they just take water from every piggly wiggly or whatever and bring it in to the people?

why does my 10 yr old son understand this better than our government? i caught him up last night past his bedtime trying to figure out how to use the free ticket he's earned on SW airlines to bring water to the people in N.O.

god fucking damn these rich fat white pricks.
posted by Shike at 8:53 AM on September 2, 2005


Shike, at least the CNN anchor had the balls to question just that, and admonish the politicians for standing around congratulating each other.

Speaking of Sweden, has anyone aggregated other offers of foreign aid? I'd be interested to see just how many offers have been rebuffed.
posted by blendor at 8:55 AM on September 2, 2005


Little Rock is packed full of refugees. People who drove until they could find a hotel. People who can't go back because they have nothing to go back to. Sitting on my couch watching Anderson Cooper last night tear into that Democratic Senator, ..i dropped my spoon into my cereal, mouth wide open, ..he'd seen too much to be nice.
posted by thisisdrew at 8:55 AM on September 2, 2005


Then why did you say that it was "maybe a best case scenario"? How did you determine that?

Because it may be. Of course I don't know that, but the prevailing assumption appears to be that this has been a complete, unmitigated disaster from an organizational and co-ordination perspective, and I only posit that perhaps this is not the case. It's easy to assume that, of course, from the horrific images and suffering being endured, but in order to properly deal with this situation, or any situation like this I believe that it's critically important to deal in sober analysis rather than emotional rushes to judgement. I am also agreeing with the vast majority of posters here that it is (now) Bush's responsibility, and that those who have attempted to deal with the issues so far have failed. It appears we may disagree over the extent of the failure, and whether or not there was a chance of "success" (however that can be defined in this context) in the first place.
posted by loquax at 8:55 AM on September 2, 2005


re: foreign countries and aid... I don't really know shit about politics but it seems to me like Bush requested aid post-9/11 because he needed other countries to be sympathetic to the cause so that he would have an easier time invading Iraq.

Offers from other countries during this crises are falling on deaf ears for exactly the opposite reason--denying the help gives the impression (though I don't know who is buying it) that the USA is in control.

C'mon, Canada!

I believe there was a link in another thread to Canuck politicians offering to head south and help out. They'd yet to hear back.
posted by dobbs at 8:56 AM on September 2, 2005


CNN immediately caughty the staged BS angle of the President's Alabama "briefing." Anchorwoman immediately asked the poltical analyst guy why did the POTUS have to be briefed on issues he should have known from watching TV, why had this been staged, why all the congratulations.

Oh, and Bush promised to help rebuild Trent Lott's damaged home.

Hope Condi likes her shoes.

Will Nagin be giving Bush a piece of his mind when the President makes his PR photo-op stopover at New Orleans Airport? I would not want to miss that.
posted by zaelic at 8:56 AM on September 2, 2005


America defines the way in which the rest of the world moves and does business.

Well, in certain respects, but after this farce there will be a lot of people around the world questioning whether what is on offer is worth the sacrifices. America has suffered a loss of moral authority here. Who wants to live in a society which abandons its underclass to drown?
posted by dydecker at 8:58 AM on September 2, 2005


Who here thinks that if Bush had actually made an appearance, dressed in mountain-man gear, began assessing things, making desicions, interacting with people, that his currently dismal approval ratings would have shot up significantly?
posted by protocool at 9:00 AM on September 2, 2005


First of all, my comment was aimed at those who responded to my claim that it was a local problem by saying "four states!" "Size of UK!". Those were suggesting exactly what I said.

As for whose responsibility it is or should be, the fact that the Federal government probably should assume part of the responsibility does not mean Nagin can place all the blame on them. Responsibility for these sort of events rest with both the local and federal officials, and the fact that Nagin is spending his time covering his ass and complaining about the Feds while his city falls apart is sickening. The crisis calls for cooperation, and he's not cooperating. The time for placing blame is not now, but later. Nagin picking now to start his attacks smacks of buck passing to me.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:00 AM on September 2, 2005


dig, doesn't the local government have that responsibility too? Why do they get off the hook? Can't I been outraged that the local government isn't doing enough?

I mean if all that matters is helping these people and they are not getting help shouldn't I be mad at everyone?

?


Sure you can. But who has resources right now and for the past few days and haven't done anything? Be mad at everyone. But anger at your national goverment NOW might save lives.
posted by dig_duggler at 9:00 AM on September 2, 2005


What I mean is, could'nt he see this as an opporitunity?
posted by protocool at 9:01 AM on September 2, 2005


sheptech: Why can't the military invade NOLA, bomb 'em with sandwiches? Why not 2 or 3 days ago?

Because disaster relief is an entirely different challenge than warmaking. Just dropping supplies out the back of a truck is ineffective.

This is why the Canadian military has a dedicated disaster-relief unit (which has been offered), and groups like the red cross and Medecins-sans-frontieres are so respected. This is also the reason your government created FEMA, apparantly.
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:01 AM on September 2, 2005


God dammit. Maybe all the people in DC should take a walk down to the Whitehouse and ask the President to wake up.
posted by Stuart_R at 9:02 AM on September 2, 2005


i'm so fucking pissed that i can't think straight.

why the fuck did bush, the fema/horse ass, chertoff, etc. need to waste time having a "briefing" on live TV that could have been done aboard AF1 on the way down? do you think they'll visit the convention center and help the 10 yr old girl who's been raped and had her ankles broken, or can she just wait?

why do the various communications gear used by disparate law enforcement officials and fema not work? isn't this the same problem that they had 4 yrs ago on 9/11? did they learn anything from that?

why can't they just take water from every piggly wiggly or whatever and bring it in to the people?

why does my 10 yr old son understand this better than our government? i caught him up last night past his bedtime trying to figure out how to use the free ticket he's earned on SW airlines to bring water to the people in N.O.

god fucking damn these rich fat white pricks.
posted by Shike at 9:03 AM on September 2, 2005


why does my 10 yr old son understand this better than our government? i caught him up last night past his bedtime trying to figure out how to use the free ticket he's earned on SW airlines to bring water to the people in N.O.

You are doing a good job as a parent, sir. That is an amazing anecdote. I don't have much to say about the actual disaster that others here have not already said, but I've been stunned by the reactions of those too far away, too poor, or otherwise unable to help directly. The expressions of anger are predictable; the desperate attempts at finding some, any way to help, those are fragile and beautiful.
posted by voltairemodern at 9:03 AM on September 2, 2005


a transcript.
posted by taz at 9:05 AM on September 2, 2005


OK Shike. We get it.
posted by trey at 9:05 AM on September 2, 2005


why does my 10 yr old son understand this better than our government? i caught him up last night past his bedtime trying to figure out how to use the free ticket he's earned on SW airlines to bring water to the people in N.O.

Your son has the right idea. Why aren't the cruise ships in the Gulf heading over there to provide some food, water and shelter for people?
posted by Stuart_R at 9:07 AM on September 2, 2005


Compare and contrast: CNN, MSNBC and Fox home pages as of noon.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:10 AM on September 2, 2005


My state's governor called up National Guard units and sent them heading towards New Orleans yesterday. In Wisconsin, that's never been done before, but that's leadership.
posted by drezdn at 9:12 AM on September 2, 2005


Bulgaroktonos writes "I must admit I'm somewhat confused as to why it was so controversial to assert that the disaster in New Orleans is a local one or that the real problems are currently in New Orleans.

"Just because two things have the same cause does not mean that they are the same or that they should be treated as a single event. The effects in New Orleans are quite different from the ones in other places, and to suggest that we should response to them together is just illogical.

"The crisis in New Orleans is quite distinct from the problems elsewhere. Alabama and Mississippi might have been destroyed, but they do not face the same sort current evolving crisis that New Orleans does. New Orleans is a major urban area facing starvation, and anarchy. The flooding and destruction in Alabama and Mississippi are bad, but they are standard hurricane damage, they should be handled as part of clean up and are not a crisis of the same scale as what is going on in New Orleans"


I'm not by any means suggesting that Nagin shouldn't bear some responsiblity, but your comments have me confused. You admit that the scope of this problem is huge, so large that it may, in fact, call for separate responses across the various jurisdictions, and yet instead of making it seem to you that the situation exceeds the local, you insist that this means that it is more local than not. I don't understand. I agree with almost all of your intermediate points, but draw the opposite conclusion. I'm not sure if this is a philisophically different understanding of Federalism or what, but to me, this is precisely the kind of problem that the Federal government has a role in solving.
posted by OmieWise at 9:12 AM on September 2, 2005


Thanks for the transcript. Everything I could say now has been said already - some of it three times in a row...
posted by soyjoy at 9:15 AM on September 2, 2005


Armitage: Thanks. I just sent that to my managing-editor Mom.

Whatever soma they are taking over at Fox, let's airdrop some of that shit on NoLa, because then all the dying people will feel allll riiiight.
posted by Miko at 9:17 AM on September 2, 2005


local disaster with no local means or resources available.. our own citizens.. other Americans need help and people are still saying they brought it on themselves for looting, for not evacuating, not having a plan, not organizing, having a bad mayor...

It's all of our problem. This happened on Monday and Today's Friday.. NoLa is in driving distance.. we're all connected to NoLa through paved roads.. It's accessible.. Walmarts can still get shipments on time and I still got my laptop from dell On time but we can't send them water? Should I order some water from OfficeDepot and ship it to NoLa? Would that work? Or maybe if we put as much energy into our help effort as we put into our media coverage effort, there'd be no problem?
posted by pez_LPhiE at 9:18 AM on September 2, 2005


"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

"...Out of the rubble of Trent Lott's house will come a fantastic house, and I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch...."

GWB, Mobile 9/2/05

Now there are plans that he will do a walking tour in New Orleans Can't wait to see that.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:18 AM on September 2, 2005


Armitage Shanks writes "Compare and contrast: CNN, MSNBC and Fox home pages as of noon."

That is batshit crazy.
posted by OmieWise at 9:20 AM on September 2, 2005


why does my 10 yr old son understand this better than our government?

because:

1) your son has the ability to empathize with people
2) his desire to help is not predicated on scoring political points, having his back scratched at some point in the future, or placing his family and cronies in important positions
3) your son pays attention to events, analyzes them, and comes to his own conclusions rather than waiting for aides to tell him what happened, how he should feel about it, and what he should say
4) you've taught him well and shown him what it is to love and be loved.

that's just my guess.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:21 AM on September 2, 2005


Just listened to the interview.

I think history will be much kinder to Nagin than to Bush. His past accomplishments show he's not someone to take things lying down. If he's feeling helpless right now, then there's probably a good goddamn reason for it.

Also found it interesting that before his election to mayor, he was a lifelong Republican who donated money to W's campaign and other Republicans. He switched parties only so he could win the mayor's race in predominantly Democratic NO.

So his condemnation of Bush's efforts doesn't come from a partisan source.

Other sources: a 2003 NPR profile, a National Review profile, and a (pre-Katrina) assessment of his term so far.
posted by pandaharma at 9:23 AM on September 2, 2005


So we're all frustrated, I get that, and I appreciate that everyone keeps replying to me to condescend me. It really makes the difference between "Thanks for helping" and "Hey, go fuck yourself!"

Now, dude, did you notice that none of your links said anything about the US refusing help?

sigh.. next round I'm gonna MeTa..
posted by cavalier at 9:23 AM on September 2, 2005


Armitage: I don't believe I've ever seen a clearer demonstration of why some people hate Fox. Wow.
posted by aramaic at 9:24 AM on September 2, 2005


Does anyone have a direct link to the video or transcript of Bush's comment about Trent Lott's house?

pez: Or maybe if we put as much energy into our help effort as we put into our media coverage effort, there'd be no problem?

I agree. Has everyone made the phone calls or sent the emails to their elected officials that were requested at the top of this thread? If you haven't, take a break, and do it now. Regardless of what you think of Nagin, or anyone else, do what you can to help get relief efforts into the city from the people we pay to do exactly that - our government.
posted by Corky at 9:25 AM on September 2, 2005


OmieWise, of course the federal government has a role in solving this, I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. My only problem has been with Nagin's behavior. He is lashing out angrily at a federal government which has been trying to work at the problem instead of dealing with his own problems. My problem is with him and with the anti-Bush people who are trying to canonize him because he's attacking a government they don't like.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:25 AM on September 2, 2005


That is batshit crazy.

Thanks Armitage for posting that. That pretty much sums it all up. If there was ever any doubt that Fox news is the media arm of the Republican party, that one comparison puts a stake in the heart of it.
posted by three blind mice at 9:26 AM on September 2, 2005


Does it occur to anyone that this is just Ray Nagin trying to pass the buck?

How does asking for troops to handle the shit himself equal passing the buck? In what plane of reality is your brain vacationing in?

And at least Nagin is there, in the shit along with his fucking constituancy, instead of toasting martinis with the fucking governor in his air conditioned office, or flying around the country telling the cameras how awful everything is... tsk, tsk... just awful. Boy, I tell ya', it's gonna take months for poor Trent to have a new mansion built. DICKS. ASSHOLES!

Three hundred years ago, these motherfuckers would be tarred and feathered.

I would just like to take this opportunity to second the motion that the refugees be bussed to the Washington Mall and set up some tents there.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:29 AM on September 2, 2005


He is lashing out angrily at a federal government which has been trying to work at the problem instead of dealing with his own problems. My problem is with him and with the anti-Bush people who are trying to canonize him because he's attacking a government they don't like.

I can't speak for the other MeFites, and certainly I am no fun of Mr. Bush, but I don't think his statement has anything to do with partisanship. However he got there, his city is in a bad situation with little help on the horizon, and he's using, as a public official, the means available to him (i.e. the media) to remedy the situation and light a fire under someone's ass. I am not sure why this is so difficult to grasp. The rest is just armchair bullshit.
posted by psmealey at 9:30 AM on September 2, 2005


They're broadcasting a bit of the mayor's interview on BBC news right now.
posted by funambulist at 9:30 AM on September 2, 2005


"a transcript."

Ummmm...... I'm sorry to say, but this guy is a fruit cake. I suddenly understand why New Orleans is in trouble. If people like this clown are in charge, we're lucky it wasn't worse.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:31 AM on September 2, 2005


"...Out of the rubble of Trent Lott's house will come a fantastic house, and I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch...."

We definately won't be seeing the President sitting on the porch of any angry New Orleans resident screaming for help in front of the convention center.

Watching the Bush media circus reality-television episode of "The President's Briefing" makes me even more nauseous than before. Bush is running a political spin machine. He's been in Washington meeting with Rove and other spin doctors for days instead of coordinationg relief efforts. The media has finally lost its fetters and are acting like a free media should and demanding answers. These are the days we can remember as marking the end of the Republican Oil Cartel Mafia rule of the United States.

I really doubt that in this atmosphere of staged briefings that the White House folks are going to allow Mayor Nagin to get anywhere near Geroge Bush.
posted by zaelic at 9:31 AM on September 2, 2005


Maybe someone should start thinking about how to handle the refugees?

1 million displaced people. Thousands of poor and angry. This disaster will unfold even after NOLA is cleared.

Refugee camps are tricky business.
posted by srboisvert at 9:32 AM on September 2, 2005


did you notice that none of your links said anything about the US refusing help?

cavalier, The problem does not seem to be that the US is REFUSING help, the problem seems to be that there is no one in the US government to RECEIVE help. The Swedish emergency relief services - who are pretty damed good in the few things they can do and who can be on the ground in 12 hours with emergency water purification equipment - have made repeated offers of help, but they are getting NO RESPONSE. That it is the problem.

It seems to me that that is EXACTLY the sort of help needed in New Orleans. It is ready and waiting to come, but no one in the US government is there to make it happen.

Perhaps if they had shoes to sell the Secretary of State, they might at least get a phone back.
posted by three blind mice at 9:32 AM on September 2, 2005


I just showed that comparison to a Republican friend.. he says "I see the difference but it's just that Fox isn't going overboard with the sensationalism and they both show appropriate headlines on what's going on".. There's just NO HOPE in this country anymore.. The same people that voted Bush in just can't get the Bill O'Reilly angel off their shoulder whispering in their ears.. And they're a majority in this country.. I hate my friend..
posted by pez_LPhiE at 9:33 AM on September 2, 2005


cavalier: did you notice that none of your links said anything about the US refusing help?

"Canadian military officials stressed that despite ongoing discussion, U.S. couterparts have made no requests for assistance."

I agree that the frustration is probably overwrought, that people are working hard, and that aid will come as quickly as it can be arranged. But geez, are you going to argue semantics that "not requesting offered assistance" is different than "refusing help"? Regardless, the equipment and personnel are still sitting in Kingston.
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:36 AM on September 2, 2005


y6y6y6: Ummmm...... I'm sorry to say, but this guy is a fruit cake. I suddenly understand why New Orleans is in trouble. If people like this clown are in charge, we're lucky it wasn't worse.

I am so confused, did we read the same transcript?
posted by cyphill at 9:36 AM on September 2, 2005


y6y6y6:

WTF? What are you talking about?
posted by fondle at 9:38 AM on September 2, 2005


Ummmm...... I'm sorry to say, but this guy is a fruit cake.

Why do you say that, y6? He clearly isn't using the elevated patrician rhetoric that one might hear on the Senate floor, and his language is coarse, but it is both eloquent and appears genuine.
posted by psmealey at 9:39 AM on September 2, 2005


A local disaster? 9/11 was a local disaster. Here's part of a mail I received from a friend in Mobile, Alabama:

Mobile is a shambles ... there's no power from the Florida line all the way to Louisiana. Downtown Mobile is under water, the southern part of the county is under water, Dauphin Island (at the mouth of Mobile Bay) is now Dauphin Islands .plural ... nothing but pilings left of the homes there. The Mississippi Gulf coast has been utterly destroyed ... looks just like the pics of carpet bombing from WWII. New Orleans is under water, power is out as far as Pensacola, Florida. Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan are under water ... debris everywhere ... driving at night is like running a mine field.

Jesus, things are bad enough without hype. Pensacola was barely touched. We lost power for a day, and most never lost power. Mobile is not in shambles, not under water. Getting fuel is the biggest problem. Gulf shores and fort morgan are not under water. Drove through there yesterday and businesses were already getting ready to open. Most residents already had power.

New Orleans and Mississippi are another story.
posted by justgary at 9:42 AM on September 2, 2005


cavalier, The problem does not seem to be that the US is REFUSING help, the problem seems to be that there is no one in the US government to RECEIVE help.

You're not getting it. Directly offered help is being directly declined by those in a position to accept it. Has been for days now.

Today, in a further attempt to gain permission to provide assistance to the people in the Gulf states crisis, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, in a telephone call with the American President, George Bush, offered help.
posted by scheptech at 9:43 AM on September 2, 2005


I hate my friend..

don't.

don't let these assholes ruin your relationships with people you care about, friends, family, whoever. please don't.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:44 AM on September 2, 2005


He is lashing out angrily at a federal government which has been trying to work at the problem instead of dealing with his own problems.

There's something about the scale of this that you're not getting. Local governments are supported by state, National Guard, and federal resources because they could never be expected to mobilize the needed resources by depending upon their own systems. That's how it's supposed to work! It is much more efficient to structure disaster relief on a state and national level than for each city to maintain fleets of trucks, storehouses of water and medicine, and reserve police and fire personnel. Every city in this situation would call on federal resources.

Comparisons to Giulinani and New York after 9/11 are not quite appropriate with New Orleans. Some reasons:

1. New York is at the center of a major metropolitan area that extends for hundreds of miles in all directions. On the morning of 9/11, police and fire resources from hundreds of communities in New York State, New Jersey, and COnnecticut immediately mobilized to flood into the city, and were able to be there, in many cases, in under two hours. New Orleans has no such outlying resources. There are no other major metropolitan areas nearby -- its surroundings are undeveloped. The infrastructure is entirely different. Many people on 9/11 were rescued from Lower Manhattan by independent companies who ran ferries and supply boats from wharves only an hour away. The wharves and docks were not damaged and people could easily be lifted off. No such situation exists in New Orleans -- there is no urban fleet of ferries an hour away. The dockages have been destroyed.

2. The New Orleans police force is one of the worst paid in the nation. When my brother was living in NoLa back around 2000, the base annual salary for an officer was about $16000. The force was corrupt. Is that the mayor's problem? Yes. But where is the money coming from to solve it? Was there enough of a tax base to raise police wages? Hell, no. New Orleans is POOR! Where was the Homeland Security funding that would raise the pay and allow the force to professionalize? I can't answer that because I don't know -- but I want to find out.

In comparison, New York has a highly paid and highly professional system of emergency personnel. Even firefighters are well paid. These people make a decent living wage and are well supplied with materiel.

3. When 9/11 happened, the National Guard, Army, Navy, and Marines were here.

I'm sure I could go on -- but the blame on a disaster of this scale simply cannot rest with the local government. There is NO local government in the WORLD that could manage this.
posted by Miko at 9:45 AM on September 2, 2005 [1 favorite]


oops, yesterday offered help
posted by scheptech at 9:45 AM on September 2, 2005


CNN is now hosting the interview - I don't know if it's the full thing, but it includes the end.
posted by jb at 9:45 AM on September 2, 2005


"Why aren't the cruise ships in the Gulf heading over there to provide some food, water and shelter for people?"

I heard on NPR on Wed. that Carnivale and other cruise lines are trying to get their cruise ships in to act as floating refugee/rescue camps, but there's a lot of red tape. I'm searching for a link.
posted by zerokey at 9:46 AM on September 2, 2005


The people are so desperate that they're doing anything they can think of to impress the authorities enough to bring some buses. These things include standing in single file lines with the eldery in front, women and children next; sweeping up the area and cleaning the windows and anything else that would show the people are not barbarians.

The buses never stop.


Oh Jesus, this just broke my heart. Again. I have to stop reading about this for a while.

It's very difficult for me to get away from the sense that the (poor, black) people of NO are considered expendable.

Also, every single one of you in this thread who have sat in your comfortable living rooms or dens or bedrooms and posted things like "being poor or disabled is no excuse for not evacuating", deserve to find yourselves in exactly the same situation for a few days-- with an infirm parent who you won't abandon, say, or small children, and no clean water and no food. These people are human beings, not object lessons for some fucking ideology of strict individualism.
posted by jokeefe at 9:47 AM on September 2, 2005


These people are human beings, not object lessons for some fucking ideology of strict individualism.

Amen.
posted by Miko at 9:48 AM on September 2, 2005


agreed, jokeefe. fucking agreed. smug bastards.
posted by NationalKato at 9:48 AM on September 2, 2005


Mayor Nagrin is venting that help that is required to do ANYTHING is not being sent. I believe he's doing his best with whatever he's got. Which is a depleted police force. There's no food and water. Barely any buses running. He's doing what he can with the police he's got. He tries to get the levees fixed, it's been promised but not done. What else can one man do? He needs national help and resources.. His only option is to make a public plea.

He was honest and gave really good insight.. who knew that there are STILL people in their attics and water to their necks? I didnt know that.. Who knew that a lot of the small minority looting and causing anarchy are the drug-addicted poor that are armed and literally out of their minds.. I didnt know that.. I didnt know that the levee situation is exactly as it's been since Monday.. How disgraceful.. Buck Fush
posted by pez_LPhiE at 9:50 AM on September 2, 2005


don't let these assholes ruin your relationships with people you care about, friends, family, whoever.

No, by all means, hate your friend. Their willfull, prideful stupidity is actively hurting your country, yourself, and millions of others in the process.

And Armitage Shanks, thanks for the picture.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:52 AM on September 2, 2005


The only way this could be worse is if there were zombies involved.
posted by bshort at 9:55 AM on September 2, 2005


You make an important point Miko. New Orleans is one of the poorest major cities in this country, in one of the poorer states in the country. Even if the mayor had done everything perfectly (which, who knows at this point maybe he has) the city and surrounding areas would still be in a lot of trouble due to lack of resources.
posted by pitchblende at 9:57 AM on September 2, 2005


Agreed, ptichblende. This was exactly my point earlier.
posted by loquax at 9:58 AM on September 2, 2005


don't let these assholes ruin your relationships with people you care about, friends, family, whoever.

It is getting very, very hard to interpret certain people's positions in the best light. It is getting very hard to believe that certain people just do not understand the state of things in this country. They have read countless articles outlining corruption, negligence, and outright lies on the part of this administration, and nothing changes their position of irrational loyalty. If anything, they seem to cling to it ever more tightly.

I am losing all respect for the integrity of some of the dearest people to me; all they seem to care about, since 9-11, is that their party stays on top. Everything is seen through a distorted glass of propaganda. They seem to have lost all capability for self-reflection. It is disturbing on a very deep level, to watch some of these guys, who used to philosophise and argue logic all night, reduced to parroting lines straight off of the television.

I do not know what is going to happen to my country.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:58 AM on September 2, 2005


Thank God. On CNN, watching a large convoy of army trucks pulling in - the kind of impressive array that should have happened days ago. Supposedly heading to the convention center with relief. They are armed, but have been told to keep weapons pointed down.

OK, I bet you Bush is going to show up for a photo op. Heh, we probably could have got him to do this days ago if we had positioned it as a photo op instead of a rescue mission - they are great as staging those cecil b demille moments.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:58 AM on September 2, 2005


Here's Carnivale. From that, it sounds like it's just a vague idea, and far from going anywhere.
posted by Harry at 9:59 AM on September 2, 2005


Thanks for the transcript, LeeJay.

Here are some quotes from a long, enraged e-mail from a friend of mine who used to live in New Orleans:
At that time [the '60s], the mayor [Vic Schiro] used to spill the beans to us about future plans for New Orleans, especially the ambitions of the Army Corps of Engineers, who back after WWII decided they knew more about the Mississippi River and the wetlands around New Orleans than Nature--they literally came down to Southern Louisiana and began building dikes, channels, canals, recoursing rivers, damming the hell out of a lot of the natural run offs, totally changing the drainage abilities of the Mississippi into the Gulf below New Orleans on the true Delta. The Corps of Second-rate Engineers--they were activated to build air bases, army bases, etc, in WWII--and they have a history since of fucking up most of the nation's biggest waterways with huge dams--they fucked up the Colorado River, for instance; and they also began building levees all up and down the Mississippi, and you see a few years ago when the Mighty Riv flooded the hell out of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, etc., and the levees broke open as easily as those plastic bags they give you in the delis do--the COE was gonna stop all flooding in America, the idiot politicians trumpeted and they gave the Corps billions to practice their second-rate army-style engineering efforts with. These fools totally screwed up the Southern Louisiana natural drainage system of swamps, bayous, rivers, creeks, wetlands, marshes, as a result, they left New Orleans sitting like a sink drain, claiming these huge expensive pumps under the city--made by Halliburton's pump subsidiary I'm sure-- and really what they were actually doing was making arable land available to the big oil developers and land developers... What that idiot mayor told me at those breakfasts drove me eventually out of New Orleans as these crooked assholes's plans for New Orleans were despicable to me; they were intending to destroy the French Market with a super highway system...--they literally ripped up the New Orleans trolley system in a matter of a night or two in spite of a huge petition by NOLA citizens to stop them... Anyway, I loved New Orleans, it was so different an American city and even a different kind of Southern City, but the problem, it was becoming more and more, as more and more of the US Gulf Coast is becoming, a majority of minorities, especially blacks. Check out whose stranded in NOLA today; it ain't no white folks, or if they are, they're white trash, I gar-ron-tee you. When New Orleans is rebuilt, I am quite sure they will eliminate the black majority and like Manhattan, it will become a haven for filthy rich white folks.
I'm omitting some intemperate comments about individuals and institutions that might constitute libel, but you get the idea.
posted by languagehat at 10:05 AM on September 2, 2005


Yeah -- Love that headline "Carnival Cruise Lines Mulls" rescuing the dying.

In the first graf, they're also 'weighing' it. They're, you know, thinking it over. It's hard work!

It's a measure of how crassly profit-oriented our society has become that they are doing cost-benefit analysis on preventing mass death.
posted by Miko at 10:06 AM on September 2, 2005


Thanks, Harry.
I may have twisted it into something more hopeful in my head.
But reading "mulling it over" tells me that it will either never happen or happen WAY too late.
posted by zerokey at 10:06 AM on September 2, 2005


These people are human beings, not object lessons for some fucking ideology of strict individualism.

I just wanted to see that one more time. Well said, jokeefe.
posted by mr.marx at 10:06 AM on September 2, 2005


why the fuck did bush, the fema/horse ass, chertoff, etc. need to waste time having a "briefing" on live TV that could have been done aboard AF1 on the way down?

I'm pretty sure it's so the briefing can be on live TV. "See, the president is doing something!"
posted by kirkaracha at 10:07 AM on September 2, 2005


and kudos to mr Shanks for the jpg.
posted by mr.marx at 10:07 AM on September 2, 2005


"I am so confused, did we read the same transcript?"

I'm not sure how you intrepreted it, but here's my take:

You have someone foaming at the mouth over all the things not being done. And this is the person who should have made sure they got done. Did he not know that sooner or later his city would become part of the lake? I did. So did everyone else.

But he seems to be thinking about these things for the first time. Seriously. This should have been a transcript from the day before the hurricane hit!!!!. He's getting blue in the face screaming over things which are on their way as fast as possible. Yes, it's too late. Why wasn't he asking for them last week?

He should have known all of these things would be happening. Anyone with a topo map and a weather report could have predicted this. In fact they did. I know I did. But what I hear is a man genuinely surprised at what he sees.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:09 AM on September 2, 2005


Man, that interview got me choked up at the end.
posted by bshort at 10:10 AM on September 2, 2005


So y6, it's Nagin's fault the National Guard showed up so late?
posted by caddis at 10:12 AM on September 2, 2005


Hey, folks -- Here's the Carnival Cruise Lines "Contact Us" PAge.

http://www.carnival.com/contactus.aspx

I'll admit that I am enraged and not being too polite or well spoken, but I just sent them this (below). Maybe some of you could write too, and forward the link to others. They might catch the hint.

SHAME ON YOU.

I just read the following story. I am SHOCKED that your company would have to "mull" and "weigh" requests that you help save the lives of dying Americans. Your government, which makes it possible for you to operate in a generous business climate and to make profits, has called on you to help people in need. DO NOT embarrass America by doing a cost-benefit analysis on the saving of human lives. Your name will never recover. GET YOUR BUTTS TO NEW ORLEANS.

NEW YORK, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL.N: Quote, Profile, Research) on Friday said it was weighing a federal government request to use some of its 21 ships to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.

posted by Miko at 10:13 AM on September 2, 2005


Well my statement about I hate my friend.. For purposes of conversation, I said friend. You can replace that with co-worker.. and I never really liked him anyways.. I'm from NYC.. He's from the countryside Buffalo, NY.. My parents are immigrants, I grew up poor, moved into middle-class around HS, visited the homeland which is 3rd World. I know what it is like to be DIRT poor (literally dirty with dirt at home). I know the obstacles people face. I know the mentality these people have. Him growing up as a have all his life(versus a have-not). He just doesn't have that perspective of people's lives. Bush clearly doesn't have that either. At a time like this when you're more concerned about a photo-op for the media, then your heart is stonecold. He feels nothing for these people. They're too poor and too black for him to relate to them. But he can relate to Trent Lott which is why he sympathized Lott's house (God forbid, a rich white politician's house is affected). Never the plight of the poor blacks DYING slowly and TERRIBLY.
posted by pez_LPhiE at 10:13 AM on September 2, 2005


Miko - I've never been wealthy, much less the head of a multi million or billion dollar corporation. But I can't help to think that, in such a situation, there would be no "thinking".

"Here. Take what you need." Right now, what else matters? I'm over 1500 miles from NO, but it's still local. I'm not a flag waving patriot. Just a left-leaning centrist who happens to love my country. America is my hometown. It sounds cheesy, to be sure. Humanity should come before money. Period.
posted by zerokey at 10:15 AM on September 2, 2005


I wonder if Michael Moore is thinking of making a documentary film about this?
posted by alumshubby at 10:15 AM on September 2, 2005


Thanks languagehat.
posted by loquacious at 10:15 AM on September 2, 2005


almshubby: He probably could. Gutted FEMA, Army Corps of Engineers, diverted National Guardsman overseas, money diverted overseas instead of spent on the levee.

Oh, you were being sarcastic? How clever.
posted by loquacious at 10:17 AM on September 2, 2005


feels nothing for these people. They're too poor and too black for him to relate to them. But he can relate to Trent Lott which is why he sympathized Lott's house
+1. That was the kind of revealing statement that will turn up in Bush's biography years from now.
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:17 AM on September 2, 2005


y6y6y6:

That doesn't excuse the fact that it has taken almost a week for a significant amount of relief... there is no excuse for that.
posted by cusack at 10:18 AM on September 2, 2005


I am appalled at these goddamned republican fanatics who are joyfully jumping at the chance to make smartass comments digging at the overwrought liberals.

How can you act like this? How have so many people become so utterly disconnected?
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:20 AM on September 2, 2005


loquacious, I absolutely wasn't being sarcastic. Somebody ought to document this, an if anybody does, I hope it's Moore. Especially after that classic Trent Lott mansion remark of W's.
posted by alumshubby at 10:22 AM on September 2, 2005


On the "Chose-to-stay" crowd: I would agree with you about the disabled; but aparently they have enough money for guns as they are shooting at food aid helicopters. There's also shoot outs in the dome

I think you're missing a bit of scale here. A handgun can be bought for less than US$50, and I'm sure the people that didn't loot or borrow (depending on racial identity, of course) their guns post-flood had them for a while before hand.

On the other end of the scale, there's packing up everything you own including your family and physically vacating the city in which you live for an indeterminite amount of time.

Assuming you have a car (a perhaps poor assumption for an urban population with a median income of $US11,000/year), and you can get everything & everyone into it... where do you go?

I know where I would go... but I have a station wagon, an AMEX and a 2-professional income family. I could get somewhere.

But when I flash back to when I was 19, broke and carless... where would I have been able to evacuate to? I could only get places by bus or walking, and I generally had less than US$100 available to me (my paycheck minus what I had spent money on).

And say I walked out of the city... great! I'm OUTSIDE OF THE CITY AND A FUCKING HURRICANE IS COMING!

Great plan, no?
posted by illovich at 10:22 AM on September 2, 2005


From WWLTV's blog:

The Reverend [Jesse Jackson] said he went into the city last night on a bus, and was surrounded by evacuees begging for a ride out of town. Jackson said the people tried to form a human chain around the bus in order to stop it so they could board it.

So did he take them with him? Did he rescue them? Did he get them out?
posted by youarejustalittleant at 10:22 AM on September 2, 2005


Hm, Bush is talking sympathetically to actual people right now. It's a great photo-op. I wonder if he knows he's only seeing a fraction of the damage.
posted by Miko at 10:23 AM on September 2, 2005


pez, ah, ok. i had a friend who, for years, refused to believe anything bad at all about bush and spouted every talking point. i considered not speaking to him and ending our friendship, but i decided that since we were good friends before bush, i wasn't going to let bush "break us up." i'm glad i kept him in my circle, b/c he eventually came around.

anyone at the acquaintance level or below, that's a different story. if they can't remove their lips from the bush admin's posterior even after the pattern of malfeasance, corruption, and incompetence, i want nothing to do with them.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:24 AM on September 2, 2005


I really wish people would stop claiming that the fault for this lies in the fact that Bush diverted the National Guard to Iraq. We have 700,000 troops stationed in the US, and about half of those are guardsmen. That sounds like enough people to do the job to me. Furthermore, the National Guard responded quickly to the initial crisis, their were units respond within the first 24 hours.

The real problem has been that no one expected to scale of the problem in New Orleans, especially the civil unrest. That requires mobilizing a different sort of force than one merely designed to do basic relief work.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:28 AM on September 2, 2005


alumshubby: Guh! Sorry. :( *kicks self in pants*
posted by loquacious at 10:28 AM on September 2, 2005


Bush: too little too late..
if NOLA had a stock market there, if Sex and City was shot there, if celebrities lived there, if they shot morning shows there.. would this crisis exist?

"I am appalled at these goddamned republican fanatics who are joyfully jumping at the chance to make smartass comments digging at the overwrought liberals."

You dont have to be Liberal to be overwrought.. just human..
posted by pez_LPhiE at 10:29 AM on September 2, 2005


y6, I lived in New Orleans for 15 years, and I totally disagree with you; I would have been so relieved to have him in charge while I lived there. It's a miserable political job, one almost positive to win you condemnation from all sides because the money is so scarce and the needs are so great - when everything is humming along just fine.

It's a weird, long, twisty, complicated story, but if anyone views New Orleans as a major metropolitan center with funds comparable to the money that other major, important cities use to operate, they are totally wrong.

Despite the importance of New Orleans as a port and as a tourist destination, it struggles to keep schools open and just operates on the most basic level. A major element of this is the huge number of people who work in the city, but don't live in the city, which skews the tax base. There is more, much more... From what I can tell, Nagin was the best thing to happen to the city in decades.
posted by taz at 10:30 AM on September 2, 2005


Also from the WWLTV blog, and this is not good news, folks:

12:16 P.M. - (AP): State officials said Friday they have spotted a huge oil spill near two storage tanks at the town of Venice, on the Mississippi River downstream from New Orleans.


A flyover by the Department of Environmental Quality revealed what was described as a major oil spill.


"Two tanks with the capacity of holding 2 million barrels appear to be leaking," the statement said.


No further details were given.
posted by Corky at 10:30 AM on September 2, 2005


I agree that local officials including Nagin need to take responsibility for what is happening in NO but I'm pretty sure they've been punished enough for it, considering that many of their friends, family and neighbors are dead. How much more would those of you quick to blame Nagin and defend the inadequate federal rescue effort like Nagin and the folks who stayed behind to suffer? Their city is dying, their homes are destroyed, chaos reigns around them and many of them have lost hope completely. Whatever they may have done or not done to exacerbate this situation has been more than made up for by now, no?

The same cannot be said however for those in congress and in the administration who pat each other on the back and act like they're great humanitarians just for doing their job (and doing it poorly in this case).
posted by LeeJay at 10:32 AM on September 2, 2005


loquacious, don't worry about it...everybody's pretty on edge around here lately, and is it any wonder? I'm already cringing over a couple of things I've typed on the blue myself.
posted by alumshubby at 10:33 AM on September 2, 2005


Bulgaroktonos: no one expected to scale of the problem in New Orleans, especially the civil unrest. That requires mobilizing a different sort of force than one merely designed to do basic relief work.

Really? You're telling me 500 thousand, to a million people are stranded in a city without clean water for five days, and no one expected civil unrest?

So... is anyone planning for the cholera outbreak?
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:34 AM on September 2, 2005


illovich: Good points. I feel like I've been refuting the blame-the-victim mentality since Monday. I just want to add one thing, and it kind of relates to languagehat's friends' points as well.

When my brother lived in NoLa, he and his wife left the city in advance of Hurricane Mitch. Now, you should know that there was no mandatory evacuation, and they left more than two full days in advance of predicted landfall.

When they drove out of the city and onto I-10, traffic ground to a halt. The limited number of highways that leave the city all cross water. Many are two lanes, two directions. Cars were overheating. Shitty cars (you know, the kinds of cars poor people own if they are lucky enough to own a car) were breaking down and blocking the road. THey got stuck and couldn't move for hours. People were roaming up and down the highway, in the now-familiar situation of running out of food and water. Sure, most people had packed enough for, say, a 5-hour escape drive, but after seven hours on the highway, they didn't have any more water or food. It was hot. People were backed up for 100 miles trying to leave the city, and more were trying to push their way out every hour. Police were patrolling, yelling at the stranded and scared folks. They realized that the highway was built over the long, open marsh, and if they were unfortunate enough to still be there when the storm struck, they were fucking dead.

After 11 miserable hours, a lane was opened up and they made it to Houston (it's five hours away, normally). They had had one of the more gruelling, frightening ordeals of their life. They decided that night to leave New Orleans, though it was a city they loved. They simply realized, by going through that, that New Orleans' infrastructure simply did not make an effective evacuation possible.

And Mitch did not even hit.
And no one had been told to evacuate.

Now, think of people who went through that exact experience -- probably several times, given the frequency of Gulf hurricanes that threaten New Orleans. Is it so crazy that, when ordered to evacuate, they might weigh their options and say "OK -- I can die on the highway from exposure, starvation, and highway looting -- or I can hole up in my house and ride it out?" Given the alternatives, it would be quite possible for a reasonable person to conclude that they might be better off at home than enduring a harrowing experience when a highway became impassable and people started killing each other for food in their cars.

It would be SO nice if we could rationalize that everyone who's stuck there deserved to be because they're just too dumb to live. But it's shortsighted, ignorant, smug, heartless, and wrong, so those who are trying to say that: please shut up.
posted by Miko at 10:34 AM on September 2, 2005


The real problem has been that no one expected to scale of the problem in New Orleans

Sure, Bulgaroktonos, no one saw it coming. Go back to sleep.
posted by NationalKato at 10:34 AM on September 2, 2005


This has been an utterly shameful display of incompetence by people who are or should have been trained better.

That we rebuffed other nation's offers of help is insanity. We have Americans dying needlessly and our "leaders" are having press conferences and "assessing" options. Its so surreal and grotesque. I would have never thought this government could be this absolutely terrible in the face of a disaster and I already had absolutely zero faith in their ability to get anything worthwhile done before Katrina hit.

And Michael Brown blaming people for not evacuating tells me he needs to get smacked upside the head with a two by four a few times to maybe knock some sense into him. Blame the victim? Nice work.
posted by fenriq at 10:36 AM on September 2, 2005


"So y6, it's Nagin's fault the National Guard showed up so late?"

There's plenty of blame to go around. But this thread is about Nagin. Did he ask for assurances the National Guard would stage 10K troops inland before the hurricane hit? No? Then yes, he gets part of the blame for it. Was part of his disaster plan really assuming the National Guard would "save" the city? Yes? Then yes, he gets part of the blame for it.

Why was his city not prepared for this predictable event? And if the National Guard was really the basket they put all their eggs in, then why didn't he stay on top of that?

I think a lot of this is his fault, and what I'm hearing is a man who should have known better, and apparently didn't.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:40 AM on September 2, 2005


Someone asked for a link to the Trent Lott quote.
posted by soyjoy at 10:41 AM on September 2, 2005


The real problem has been that no one expected to scale of the problem in New Orleans

Surrre. "No one" expected a plane to crash into the world trade center. "No one" expected so many troops to be necessary in Iraq. "No one" expected an insurgency.

I've always meant to ask: what flavor is the kool-aid you're all drinking?
posted by scody at 10:41 AM on September 2, 2005


Popular Ethics, I don't think anyone was expecting 500,000 to 1,000,000 people being stranded in New Orleans, and since there weren't nearly that many people stranded in New Orleans I don't know why they would be expecting it. There are 1,300,000 people in the area, how many do you think didn't get out.

This was outcome was not unthinkable, but that doesn't mean it is inevitable. Disaster planning does not provide for every possible outcome, not can it. It has to balance probability with seriousness and it's far from cut and dried. This is unlike any experience we've had in recent memory and that makes planning for it extremely difficult, it's not surprising that we've run into some problems.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:42 AM on September 2, 2005


Let's say you're right, for purposes of seeing what you think should have happened. In that case, why didn't the governor, the state disaster officials, and the federal authorities recognize it and step in to relieve him of his responsibility and take command?
posted by Miko at 10:43 AM on September 2, 2005


As far as I can tell, the States hasn't rebuffed a single offer of assistance. What they've been saying is, "thanks for the offer, we'll get back to you when we know what we need."

I don't know if that's better than "no, we don't need your help," or worse.
posted by chrominance at 10:43 AM on September 2, 2005


Sorry for the long post here.

I just tried sending something through Carnival's Contact Us link. It only allows 1000 characters. I did a whois and found admin and tech@carnival.com. Both bounced. So I tried bdickinson@carnival (Bob Dickinson is the president). And it did not bounce.

I'm not the most well spoken person. I can be bumbling and naive, but here's what I wrote:


First off, I apologize for sending to these addresses. The "Contact Us" link only allows for 1000 characters.

Please forward the following to President Bob Dickinson ASAP regarding Hurricane Katrina relief:

Mr. Dickinson,

I am sure that you are well aware of the situation in the Gulf Coast region. I have read news reports stating that Carnival is "mulling over" the idea of sending cruise ships for relief work.

Sir, I feel that, as Americans, nay, as human beings, we all need to do everything possible to help the people who need it. You and your company are in a unique position. There are many thousands in desperate need in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The ships that you have in the region could provide immense relief and support to these people.

I beg of you, stop thinking and just do. I understand the potential financial impact. I understand the potential insurance risks. But people are actively dying. Please, you can help them.
I do not have any direct connections to the people affected by Hurricane Katrina. I live 1500 miles away in Boston. But this is my country, and wherever there is pain, I can feel it. Every town is my hometown. As an individual, I do not have much in this world, but I am stretching myself so that I can give to these desperate people. Your corporation has a great deal, and the appreciation would surely be astounding.

Personally, I dislike thinking this way, but if it helps you solidify your decision, think of the amazing press you and your corporation will receive. You, sir, can be a hero. But you must act before the situation grows more dire.

I am asking you in the only way I know how. I would get on my knees and beg for this, if I could. Please, stop mulling it over and just do it. America and the humans on the Gulf Coast would be forever thankful.


posted by zerokey at 10:44 AM on September 2, 2005


I agree with the people that said they didnt anticipate the problem as large as this. But Monday night, it SHOULD HAVE occured to everyone the scale of the problem. It should've been handled on Tuesday. Convoys are only now arriving. I know that it's only because of public uproar too.. They wouldn't be able to stand another day of bad press (god forbid).. I'm not mad at the Hurricane or people there.. Not even the looters.. It's the government that MUST help but did not.. Local officials couldn't do anything, but they got no help at all till today.. Should've helped on Tuesday, waited 4 more days.. 4 meaningless days of people dying.. good one.. the gap between rich and poor is too great.. they lost touch of what's important..
posted by pez_LPhiE at 10:44 AM on September 2, 2005


"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

y6, he called for troops and federal help immediately, and then again, and then again, and then again, and then again, and then again. This is what you do--you direct people to shelters, and you call in the Feds and RedCross and FEMA and for immediate assistance. They're only coming now, 5 1/2 days later!!! FEMA and Bush are in charge of protecting our welfare in disasters like this--they didn't do it. How many will die even now that they're starting to roll in? How many are still trapped in their houses or on highway overpasses or roofs? How many are starving in the places they were directed to go? Nagin could pull food for 50,000 out of his ass? It's a Federal thing.
posted by amberglow at 10:44 AM on September 2, 2005


My question above was directed at y6y6y6. Sorry for confusion.
posted by Miko at 10:45 AM on September 2, 2005


I think it's a great letter zerokey. I hope they take the advice to heart and stop mulling it over.
posted by LeeJay at 10:46 AM on September 2, 2005


Bulgaroktonos, there have been previous statements in this thread about the drills in the past for just this type of levee break issue. That tells me they have actually considered this outcome - perhaps not in the state it is in now, but that's mainly because of incompetence in the first three days. This is not a freak accident that no one predicted. Weather models, topo maps, and documentaries have hypothesized a disaster like this in New Orleans. The lack of preparedness is at issue here.
posted by NationalKato at 10:46 AM on September 2, 2005


Nice letter zerokey -- probably much more effective than mine. I hope others write too.
posted by Miko at 10:47 AM on September 2, 2005


it's not surprising that we've run into some problems.

A short delay in getting a convoy of relief trucks into the city is "running into some problems."

Not coordinating the convoy in the first place -- by an administration who sold themselves on being the only ones capable of dealing with disaster in the first place, no less, and then taking trillions of our dollars to supposedly get organized to do the job ahead of time in anticipation of precisely such a disaster! -- is criminal incompetence of the first motherfucking order.

See the difference? No? Have another sip.
posted by scody at 10:47 AM on September 2, 2005


Precisely, Miko; I have been on those narrow, narrow pipelines out of New Orleans in front of a hurricane quite a few times myself, and it's hard to fathom if you don't have a firsthand grasp of the geography.
posted by taz at 10:47 AM on September 2, 2005


Sorry, transcription error: Nagin estimated 50000 to 100000 people remained in New Orleans, a city of nearly half a million people.

We were talking about what would happen if the levies broke on Sunday night. Surely the outcome was predictable.
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:49 AM on September 2, 2005


[*very foul swearing deleted*] Have you not read the dozens of links posted over the week that clearly show that this problem WAS anticipated, it was the #2 most likely disaster that could befall the United States, and they STILL cut FEMA funding, appointed their inept cronies to serious positions of authority, and DID NOT make any serious provision for the KNOWN THOUSANDS of NO residents with no transportation!!!!

The levees were known to be inadequate to the impact of a Cat 4 storm, and they did not reinforce them.

It was known that thousands would be stranded, and NO WATER OR FOOD was dropped to these people for half a week.

They have NO OTHER JOB. They have NO OTHER OBLIGATION. This WAS anticipated. And now their primary priority is apparently preparing to shoot American citizens dead on the street.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:51 AM on September 2, 2005


Bush just said "We're hearing rumors of people who don't have any food or any medicine. We'll see if it's true when we get to New Orleans".

What the fuck are they telling him?!
posted by Miko at 10:51 AM on September 2, 2005


Does anyone actually think accepting foreign aid would help people? There is no shortage of food, water, buses and other supplies in America. The problem is ACCESS to the area. Unless somehow the Canadians have a secret road to New Orleans we don't know about, I doubt there's much they could do.

BTW, the WSJ reports Army Corps of Engineers says funding cuts have nothing to do with the current situation. Supposedly the project would not be finished or the scale would not have been enough anyways.

The real question is why were ships not deployed earlier, as a 1990s emergency scenario planned. Could have something to do with Katrina turning from Cat 1 to Cat 5 in a few days, but I don't know much about hurricaines.

So BEST case, you'd have some supplies that could get to the city a little earlier, but the people stranded there would still be stranded, waiting for buses to arrive. Large scale evacuations are beginning today.

Once that is done, we can assess fuckups and point fingers. Until then, we really don't know shit, so I don't think you can blame anyone (Bush, Nagin, Brown, etc) unless you want to blame everyone.

Now is the time to pitch in and help out. There will be plenty of time to bitch later on. Thanks.
posted by b_thinky at 10:53 AM on September 2, 2005


and he's talking about fuel and refineries?????

and he just said it'll be years to rebuild, but days to feed people????

DAYS??????
posted by amberglow at 10:53 AM on September 2, 2005


he's satisfied with the response???
posted by amberglow at 10:53 AM on September 2, 2005


Bush just said "We're hearing rumors of people who don't have any food or any medicine. We'll see if it's true when we get to New Orleans".

What the fuck are they telling him?!


He actually said that? Jesus fucking Christ.
posted by Chrischris at 10:56 AM on September 2, 2005


"y6, I lived in New Orleans for 15 years, and I totally disagree with you"

Well, I'm fully willing to admit I know zero about NO politics. And that being the case I could be 100% full of crap. This would surprise no one, including myself.

But the thread seemed to start as a high five for a man who was standing up on his desk and screaming The Truth. As if he was the honest one who points out the emperor has no clothes. But it seems to me this guy had a rater substantial role in the emperor's wardrobe.

Granted, the region is plagued with poverty, and the mayor just didn't have the disaster funds that are available to, say, San Francisco. But still, there should have been a plan, and the plan should have accounted for the lack of funds, and it should have made sure the proper resources were lined up.

Again - This was all predictable. Especially for city officials.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:56 AM on September 2, 2005


He's a monkey, I no longer am surprised at the verbal diarhea that he spews.. Pay him no mind, people.. he's just a monkey, nothing more
posted by pez_LPhiE at 10:56 AM on September 2, 2005


Bush just said "We're hearing rumors of people who don't have any food or any medicine. We'll see if it's true when we get to New Orleans".

We'll SEE IF IT'S TRUE?!?!??!

My god.

He might want to check in on those "rumors" about people being beaten and raped and starving and dying while he's down there.
posted by youarejustalittleant at 10:56 AM on September 2, 2005


I don't really know where to put this, but I just read this article from the July 18th issue of U.S. News and World Report. It seems pretty relevant now.

The issue was one that I had taken from my office's waiting room, and it freaked me out a little to unexpectedly come upon it today. Apologies if someone has already linked to this.
posted by Ruki at 10:57 AM on September 2, 2005


Bush just said "We're hearing rumors of people who don't have any food or any medicine. We'll see if it's true when we get to New Orleans".

What the fuck are they telling him?!


You're kidding, right? Is that on tv? I'm at work (heh).

Somebody roll him right up to that dead granny in the wheelchair at the Convention Center!

I thought I was numb before. I'm getting over being numb. Now, I'm just so angry I can't stand it.
posted by Corky at 10:57 AM on September 2, 2005


"We're hearing rumors of people who don't have any food or any medicine. We'll see if it's true when we get to New Orleans".

Please tell me you're kidding.
posted by LeeJay at 10:57 AM on September 2, 2005


Okay there is a lot of Monday Morning Quarterbacking going on here and a lot of people are doing it without any real facts, so let's think a little bit shall we?

Fact: The National Guard arrived long before today, they were there within 24 hours, it's an arrival in force that is happening today. This is 4 days after landfall, not 5 1/2. It's a little thing, but it indicates the kind of phony facts some people are working from.

Furthermore, it's worth noting, once again, that this is the worst disaster we've faced in at least a 100 years. Looting was expected, people firing on helicopters trying to rescue people was not. The relief that arrived earlier was insufficient, but not intrinsically. It was made insufficient by those people in the city who prevented them from doing their jobs. They prevented the National Guard from evacuating the city, they prevented the Superdome from being evacuated.

Was this factor foreseeable? Perhaps, but it stands that this level of civil unrest hasn't been seen in situations like this in the United States. We've seen plenty of looting, but armed gangs of men firing on rescuers?

A lot of this was foreseeable, we knew the levees might break, but all levees can break. The problem was, when the levees broke those remaining behind could not be evacuated because of people firing on the National Guard. My anger is directed at them, they are the ones who fucked this up.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:57 AM on September 2, 2005


Now is the time to pitch in and help out. There will be plenty of time to bitch later on. Thanks.

Speaking for myself, I AM helping out (have donated $$, written to my state officials, senators, and rep, and have asked everyone in my address book to donate, write to their reps, and offer housing if they are in the region --what have you done?) , and any bitching I am doing is directed at increasing the pressure on the people who have the power to be effective. We must watch, we must critique, we must know what's happening, we must pool information, we must keep the pressure on these people to RESPOND.
posted by Miko at 10:57 AM on September 2, 2005


I agree, nicely put, zerokey.

I'd say that, if Carnival continues to mull it over, they be held liable for deaths they could have prevented. Isn't there some kind of corporate good samaritan law on the books or something?

I'm going to write to my reps and demand action. Because I'm in California, I'll be sure to use small words so Herr Gropinator can follow along.

b_thinky, maybe you've heard of these things called planes and helicopters? The Canadians have some of them too and they were planning on using them to bring supplies into the city. Why wouldn't we want all the help we can get?

And thanks but I believe I'll maintain my blame finger being pointed at the people in charge who are, obviously, not doing what they are paid to do.
posted by fenriq at 10:58 AM on September 2, 2005


Miko, did he actually say that in public? Are you exaggerating? Because if you aren't, well, wow.
posted by aramaic at 10:59 AM on September 2, 2005


Looting was expected, people firing on helicopters trying to rescue people was not.

Was this ever actually confirmed? I have heard so many conflicting reports about this little tidbit.
posted by LeeJay at 11:00 AM on September 2, 2005


From his election to the morning of the hurricane, Nagin has been mostly ineffectual. After a few simple attacks on corruption (the bust on the Taxi Cab Bureau, the break tag debacle, etc.) there hasn't been a whole lot done.

A good amount of the reason for that is the corruption in New Orleans is codified into the system. An example : Jeff Parish computer systems are built with holes present to allow people to purge criminal charges from the system - people who should not have this kind of access. This was done to protect the bribery that pervades the traffic courts of New Orleans. Just one example, true, but it illustrates my point : this is how deep this stuff goes.

Add on top of this a 30+ year history of inertia on almost any subject and you see what Nagin was up against. (The inertia included the impending doom of the city - it was celebrated, seen as inevitable, and as a young, car-owning white male in New Orleans, I was occasionally vaguely aware that most of the poor residents I met and worked with would be totally ignored in case of a hurricane. I am personally complicit in this. I made token attempts to contact people but I fled town alone, with three empty seats in my car.)

But on those counts he was still ineffectual. I was hoping that I would help vote him out of office, if there was a viable candidate to replace him. (I did help vote him into office - he successfully challenged then-Mayor Marc Morial, who was totally corrupt and supposedly still has decent control of the city's political machinery.)

My personal verdict is still out as to how Nagin performed in this crisis. From my view, I seem to agree with loquax - the scope of this far outstrips what little Nagin controlled, and I have no idea how one would even begin to strip others of their power in an effort to consolidate a chain of command, all in one place. I do support what appeared to be his priority list at the times that they were - focusing on search and rescue until lawlessness prevented search and rescue, and attempting to focus on the repair of the 17th St. Canal over search and rescue. But he wasn't successful in getting these priorities followed.

In an aside - mad props to Boh Brothers Construction. Now, these guys were part of the corrupt structure of New Orleans - handed contracts w/ no bidding, protected from competition and criticism, etc., but while FEMA and the Corps of Engineers kept on dickering, they fucking DROVE to the levee hole and started trying to repair it. There was a hole that needed to be filled with shit and they started tossing whatever they had into it.
posted by suckerpunch at 11:01 AM on September 2, 2005


Here's an interesting tidbit from today's WSJ article "Man-Made Mistakes Increase Devastation Caused by Storms."

In New Orleans, the worst-hit parishes were the lower incomes ones. But the city also ignored the power of nature. More than one million acrs of Louisiana's coastal wetlands, or 1,900 square miles, have been lost since 1930, due to development and the construction of levees and canals. Barrier islands and the stands of tupelo and cypress also vanished. All of them absorb some of the energy and water from storm suges, which more than the rain falling from the sky, caused the current calamity. "If these had been in place, at least some of the energy in the storm surge would have been dissipated," says geologist Jeffres Mount of the University of California, Davis. "This is a self-inflicted wound."

Studies estimate that for every square mile of wetlands lost, storm surges rise by one foot.


posted by b_thinky at 11:02 AM on September 2, 2005


Looting was expected, people firing on helicopters trying to rescue people was not.

Was this ever actually confirmed? I have heard so many conflicting reports about this little tidbit.


For the third time, the FAA has reported that NO HELICOPTERS HAVE BEEN FIRED UPON to their knowledge, and they are the ones who should know.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:02 AM on September 2, 2005


Brown's comments ("the victims must bear some responsibility") leave me gasping for breath. From his lips to God's ear, as the saying goes.

It doesn't matter why people stayed. It really doesn't. At what point do you figure that they've learned their lesson? How much suffering is appropriate? Or do they just deserve to die because they didn't have the resources to leave?

All that matters right now is saving lives, and I cannot tell you the contempt I feel for Bush and his hirelings at this moment. The idea of "society"-- i.e. mutual support and aid-- seems to be degraded to the point of utter dysfunction to these people. I know none of this is news, but seeing the consequences in such dramatic form is still shocking.
posted by jokeefe at 11:02 AM on September 2, 2005


people firing on helicopters trying to rescue people was not

Hey, I've been meaning to ask, does anyone have a link that substantiates that this happened? I've been hearing it for a full day or more now, but I have yet to see the interview or fact sheet where this tidbit came from. I really suspect it of being battlefield rumor. I know there are looters with guns and all that, but so much has been made of this "firing on rescue helicopters". I want to know where it came from.

In any case, firing on helicopters hould have done all of nothing to stop the relief efforts. People in the National Guard and police are trained to handle being fired on. I fail to understand why trained first responders to a disaster were allowed not to go in because of these reports. Quell the damn yahoos and go in. Secure one finite area and let people start coming to you for help. Yes, it means risking your life. That's what service is.
posted by Miko at 11:03 AM on September 2, 2005


LeeJay, I've heard the FAA got no reports of it, but I've heard the Guardsmen on scene confirm, and I believe them. Especially given that it fits the other reports coming out of the city.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:03 AM on September 2, 2005


Miko, did he actually say that in public? Are you exaggerating? Because if you aren't, well, wow.

I'm not exagegrating; it was just now on MSNBC, and I don't type quite as fast as people talk, but it's essentially what he said. I may have not gotten the "rumors" part word-for-word, but the "we'll see if it's true when we get to NO" part is a direct quote which I will stand by verbatim.
posted by Miko at 11:04 AM on September 2, 2005


Since this whole business I am beginning to cast envious glances at the foresight, efficiency, and organizational transparency of the Russians.
posted by furiousthought at 11:04 AM on September 2, 2005


For the third time, the FAA has reported that NO HELICOPTERS HAVE BEEN FIRED UPON to their knowledge, and they are the ones who should know.

Thanks. I thought as much. I keep seeing that thrown about as a "fact" to excuse the inadequate relief efforts.
posted by LeeJay at 11:06 AM on September 2, 2005


and the plan should have accounted for the lack of funds, and it should have made sure the proper resources were lined up.

Since you know so fucking much, y6y6y6, please, for the love of god, don't keep it to yourself: precisely how does one "make sure" the resources are lined up in A) the poorest major city in the country, and B) at the exact same time when state and federal funding has been slashed for exactly this sort of thing?
posted by scody at 11:06 AM on September 2, 2005


Can anyone come up with any motivation why someone on the ground would fire at a helicopter?

It is plausible that someone with a gun might attempt to commandeer a helicopter after it landed, but it is very difficult to imagine what could be gained by firing at it while it was in the air.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:06 AM on September 2, 2005


He's a monkey, I no longer am surprised at the verbal diarhea that he spews.. Pay him no mind, people.. he's just a monkey, nothing more

The most powerful monkey in the world
posted by twistedonion at 11:07 AM on September 2, 2005


In New Orleans, the worst-hit parishes were the lower incomes ones. But the city also ignored the power of nature. More than one million acrs of Louisiana's coastal wetlands, or 1,900 square miles, have been lost since 1930, due to development and the construction of levees and canals. Barrier islands and the stands of tupelo and cypress also vanished. All of them absorb some of the energy and water from storm suges, which more than the rain falling from the sky, caused the current calamity. "If these had been in place, at least some of the energy in the storm surge would have been dissipated," says geologist Jeffres Mount of the University of California, Davis. "This is a self-inflicted wound."

Guess who allowed those wetlands to be exempted from the Wetlands Act and built on? George H. W. Bush, in an act he signed as an outgoing lame duck. Remember, "no net loss?"

I've heard the FAA got no reports of it, but I've heard the Guardsmen on scene confirm


Can you give us a source where we can verify this?
posted by Miko at 11:07 AM on September 2, 2005


For what it's worth, here's another link for the mp3.
posted by taosbat at 11:07 AM on September 2, 2005


furiousthought writes "Since this whole business I am beginning to cast envious glances at the foresight, efficiency, and organizational transparency of the Russians."

heh heh.
posted by OmieWise at 11:07 AM on September 2, 2005


fenriq: sorry, I forgot the United States has a major shortage of planes and helicopters. Thanks for the reminder.

miko Noble of you to help out. The point I'm making is we don't know why the response is slow. We don't know what the problem is. The good news (I think this is good news) is that nobody's telling us why. Hopefully this means they're too busy working on the problem to explain the challenge to us.

I'm sure you know this, but the disaster zone is about the size of Idaho. Nature is stronger than any man-made weapon. If the solution was easy, there would have been one by now.
posted by b_thinky at 11:08 AM on September 2, 2005


Actually, fenriq, I think good samaritan law is about exempting people from liability in rescues. Also, I think in most states, you aren't legally required to rescue someone in a life threatening situation unless it's your job to do so.

What is ETHICAL is an entirely different issue!!
posted by muppetboy at 11:09 AM on September 2, 2005


The problem was, when the levees broke those remaining behind could not be evacuated because of people firing on the National Guard. My anger is directed at them, they are the ones who fucked this up.

Bulgaroktonos, this is still to be confirmed, as is the firing at helicopters.
posted by jokeefe at 11:09 AM on September 2, 2005


b_thinky: It's the failure of our government to do what's not easy that is most concerning me at the moment. Because it's the not-easy stuff that really is kind of important, you know?
posted by Miko at 11:10 AM on September 2, 2005


Bulgaroktonos writes "LeeJay, I've heard the FAA got no reports of it, but I've heard the Guardsmen on scene confirm, and I believe them."

Why? Because this makes you feel better about the lack of response? Your list of reasons why the response has indeed been adequate is specious. In essence you say that the response was there but the victims are to blame for it not getting delivered. Now, I can understand your frustration that some people see the inadequate response as Bush's fault, I can understand why that pisses you off. You seem to be offering simply the flip side of the coin: none of it was Bush's fault, it's all the locals and the victims who are to blame. Many many news reports counter your confidence in the Federal response.
posted by OmieWise at 11:11 AM on September 2, 2005


Miko: The wetlands have been lost SINCE 1930!!!! and you blame one guy who was in office for four years!!!????

At least you don't hide your agenda.
posted by b_thinky at 11:12 AM on September 2, 2005


Studies estimate that for every square mile of wetlands lost, storm surges rise by one foot.

This was much discussed and every educated person in New Orleans was fully aware of this. Organizations dedicated to saving the wetlands constantly mentioned this, as well as emphasizing the hunting and fishing opportunities that were being lost. Restoring the wetlands is a decades-long process and a little bit of progress was being made on it (or so I was told while I was in Lafayette). I hope that more progress can be made on it before a catastrophic hurricane hits Evangeline and Iberia parishes.
posted by suckerpunch at 11:13 AM on September 2, 2005


If corporations will be designated as humans by the law, then it goes that corporations must BE humans when it is needed.

It needs to go both ways.
posted by zerokey at 11:13 AM on September 2, 2005


It's worth noting that the specifics of whether or not helicopters have bee fired on is somewhat meaningless, There is plenty of confirmed violence in the streets down there, and that is complicating relief efforts.

On the helicopter issue, however, screaming that the FAA has said they have no reports settles nothing. There have been plenty of reports from people on the scene that rescue workers are being firec upon when trying to rescue individuals, and they are at least as reliable as what has been reported to the FAA.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:13 AM on September 2, 2005


On the helicopter issue, however, screaming that the FAA has said they have no reports settles nothing. There have been plenty of reports from people on the scene that rescue workers are being firec upon when trying to rescue individuals, and they are at least as reliable as what has been reported to the FAA.

Yeah, I'll believe they're reliable if you can give me a source.
posted by Miko at 11:15 AM on September 2, 2005


I wonder if Michael Moore is thinking of making a documentary film about this?

Vacation is Over... an open letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush
posted by ericb at 11:15 AM on September 2, 2005


Bush just said "We're hearing rumors of people who don't have any food or any medicine. We'll see if it's true when we get to New Orleans".

What the fuck are they telling him?!


Bush does not read newspapers, or presumably watch news on television, and I doubt he reads it on the internets. Of course he's clueless. His yes men tell him everything is proceeding according to plan and he feels well informed.
posted by caddis at 11:16 AM on September 2, 2005


I think it's worth mentioning that the violence may get worse as the city is evacuated. Those who are looting for gain (as opposed to survival) probably won't like leaving their stashes of goodies behind and may even be salivating at the thought of an even emptier city.

This is just speculation on my part, but it seems to make sense, at least on the face of things.
posted by b_thinky at 11:16 AM on September 2, 2005


At least you don't hide your agenda.

Hey, I'm just pointing it out a contributing fact. Certainly wetlands development has been occuring for a long time, but, being fairly familiar with the region, I can confidently state that wetlands development exploded in the early 90s following the wetlands deregulation I spoke about it. Listen to today's Diane Rheim show for details.
posted by Miko at 11:17 AM on September 2, 2005


b_thinky: Oh, at this point, I have no doubt whatsoever that the violence is going to escalate.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:17 AM on September 2, 2005


The real problem has been that no one expected to scale of the problem in New Orleans, especially the civil unrest.

That's absolutely flat-out, straight-up wrong. I attended a conference about five years ago where a USACE engineer outlined this exact scenario, down to, and including the flooding of the city by the lake. These were the disaster preparedness people. FEMA was also involved. Your government has planned for this exact event for at least a decade.
posted by bonehead at 11:18 AM on September 2, 2005


It's worth noting that the specifics of whether or not helicopters have bee fired on is somewhat meaningless

It's also worth noting that the significance of this is equally meaningless, in the grand scheme of this disaster/rescue operation.
posted by psmealey at 11:19 AM on September 2, 2005


t's also worth noting that the significance of this is equally meaningless, in the grand scheme of this disaster/rescue operation.

You know, this is a court of opinion, and its results are not without effect. It's easy to chastise people for posting opinions in the internet, and yet, it has its ripples. On this thread alone we've unearthed resources and put people into contact with decision makers. Once we've done everything reasonably possible to do from our locations and given our limitations, why not try to build the number of people who are motivated to take action by dismantling opinions that are really being convenientyl employed as obstacles to concern and support?
posted by Miko at 11:22 AM on September 2, 2005


Excuse me, Bulgar, but isn't it the job of the National Guard to risk their lives? Or is all that stuff about citizen-warriors and citizen-soldiers bs? You're telling us that you have personally spoken with National Guardsmen who told you "people shot guns at us so we couldn't do anything and we ran away"?

I find that incredibly hard to believe.

And. regardless of the level of civil disorder, the fact that the head of FEMA stated that he was unaware that the people in the superdome needed food and water when it was being widely reported 2 (3?) days ago on the news points to a shocking level of incompetence that has nothing to do with partisanship. There is no excuse for the poor organization of this relief effort. None.
posted by miss tea at 11:22 AM on September 2, 2005


OmieWise, you seem to be under the impression that I'm a Bush support, I'm not. I just feel like people need to take a balanced look at things, and since you only get one side on this site, I try to provide the other.

I never said "It was the victims fault", I said it was the fault of people who were hampering the rescue efforts through violence. These people might be victims in a technical sense, but when they start shooting people they cease to be victims and become part of the problem. I am NOT making a "why didn't they leave" argument.

As for why I tend to believe the guardsmen, it's because they are on the scene and the FAA is not. The FAA can only tell us what was reported, given the situation in the city it seems unlikely that these incidents are getting reported.

I'm sure that in the final analysis some blame will be placed at the feet of the federal government, but to make the assessment now that it's the federal governments fault, or that they're responding too slowly is foolish. We don't have nearly enough facts or perspective to make any real judgement.

On preview:
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:23 AM on September 2, 2005


Carnival is destroying my good name. Goddamnit.
posted by mullingitover at 11:24 AM on September 2, 2005


And the first shot is fired:

12:58 P.M. - WASHINGTON (AP): Rep. John Sweeney, R-N.Y., urged President Bush to appoint former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani or two former military officials to run the ground response in the Gulf Coast, saying local authorities are not up to the task. Sweeney suggested Giuliani or retired generals Colin Powell and Tommy Franks could take charge of the much-criticized hurricane relief efforts.

http://www.wwltv.com/topstories/stories/wwl090205giuliani.1b2eeaa4.html
posted by lyam at 11:24 AM on September 2, 2005


And. regardless of the level of civil disorder, the fact that the head of FEMA stated that he was unaware that the people in the superdome needed food and water when it was being widely reported 2 (3?) days ago on the news points to a shocking level of incompetence that has nothing to do with partisanship. There is no excuse for the poor organization of this relief effort. None.

Yeah that one blew me away. It was mighty interesting to watch little Soledad OBrien rip into him this morning about that. She asked him why CNN's intel was better than FEMA's and why they had known about the people at the convention center when he had not. His answer? "We were busy performing live saving duties and we rely on the state for that sort of information." That is not a direct quote but it's close enough.
posted by LeeJay at 11:26 AM on September 2, 2005


er okay this was supposed to go on the end of the last post obviously, but here goes:

miss tea, I agree that National Guard should be willing to accept the danger, but I suspect(although I don't know) that they're pretty much flying blind on how to handle this one. Being fired upon by people you're trying to rescue is an incredibly weird situation, and I don't really know how they should handle it. Should they keep evacuating people even under threat of being fired upon? That puts a lot of people at risk. Should they attempt to retake the streets first? That requires more men than they initially had, and is full of problems. The truth is, this is not an easy situation to sort out and it poses problems that our people just aren't used to dealing with in America.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:27 AM on September 2, 2005


and since you only get one side on this site

Untrue. I am as conservative as they come, as are many other longtime MeFites. There is a relatively small (compared to most other sites, which tend to swing far one way or the other) liberal demographic bias in the membership.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:27 AM on September 2, 2005


mullingitover, you could always change to justdoit (ew!) ;)
posted by zerokey at 11:28 AM on September 2, 2005


Once we've done everything reasonably possible to do from our locations and given our limitations, why not try to build the number of people who are motivated to take action by dismantling opinions that are really being convenientyl employed as obstacles to concern and support?

I'm not quite sure why you called me out on that, because I agree with you, and that was precisely the point I was trying to make.
posted by psmealey at 11:28 AM on September 2, 2005


"I wonder if Michael Moore is thinking of making a documentary film about this?

Vacation is Over... an open letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush"

Yup. Michael Moore is going to have a field day with this.

And if the Democrats can't manage to gain serious political advantage here, they really are finished. I mean COME ON, the Republicans would be having impeachment hearings by now if a Democrat had allowed something like this to happen!!

This IS all about race and poverty and Republican failure and George W Bush in particular! If the Democrats can't shape a political message around this, they might as well throw in the towel.
posted by muppetboy at 11:28 AM on September 2, 2005


This IS all about race and poverty and Republican failure and George W Bush in particular!

Damn, and here I was thinking it was about a storm of biblical proportions!
posted by b_thinky at 11:31 AM on September 2, 2005


"Since you know so fucking much, y6y6y6, please, for the love of god, don't keep it to yourself: precisely how does one "make sure" the resources are lined up"

As the hurricane approaches, and all news services are predicting New Orleans will soon be under 20 feet of water, surely the mayor can call someone at FEMA and the Guard and say, "Not even worst case - We're looking at 50K people flooded with no access to food, water, or medicine for several weeks. Please give me hard numbers and specifics on what your plan is right now. Because if you don't already plan on having convoys able to feed 50K people coming into the city within 24 hours we're going to need to escalate this."

He, and many others who should have known better, escalated it after the storm hit. Yes, FEMA and a long list of others who should have had there head out of there ass should have also done more last week. But this thread is about the mayor. And I think he should have freaked out last week.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:31 AM on September 2, 2005


"Damn, and here I was thinking it was about a storm of biblical proportions!"

If that's the best you've got, any decent political strategist could shred you into little tiny pieces right now on a wide range of issues. I won't bother to iterate through all of the obvious issues because they are so obvious.
posted by muppetboy at 11:33 AM on September 2, 2005


surely the mayor can call someone at FEMA and the Guard and say

How did you know that he didn't, y6? He called for the evacuation of the city in advance of Katrina's arrival, how can you be so sure that he didn't do these other things you suggest as well?
posted by psmealey at 11:34 AM on September 2, 2005


He did do that--they called everyone as early as Friday night. That's why the state of emergency was declared even before the storm hit---DECLARED BY BUSH IN DC, fyi. You think he was playing guitar while a major hurricane swept in???
posted by amberglow at 11:36 AM on September 2, 2005


Yeaarrgh.

I said it this morning, , I clarified it this shortly thereafter, yet still people can't seem to wrap their heads around this simple series of statements:

1. There has been no official refusal or denial of assistance by the US Government. Please read very carefully -- just because the PM of Canada says he is offering something does not mean that it is being refused. I'm sure he or someone in the US will say something if this actually happens.

2. The reports of shots fired at aircraft is unconfirmed. That's it. Period. Not confirmed. It's a rumor. It's exciting. It's dramatic. It's still a rumor. My cousin at the Dairy Queen last night swears he saw it happen. That means it's a rumor. I'm not denying that it COULD have happened, but it is not confirmed.

3. There is terrible tragedy and chaos occuring right now. People are dying. People are in pain. People are praying. People are preying each other. It's so horrible. Yet at the same time we have to remember that there ARE responders on the scene, there ARE processes to follow, and with any luck there are at least a handful of people with a clue shoved halfway up their behind that will help steer this through.

Am I against discussion? Fuck no! Am I pro Bush? Fuck him! Am I saying everything's fine? For fuck's sake, NO!

All I'm saying is people repeatedly quoting RUMORS as TRUTH and stirring more people to reaction due to these RUMORS should QUALIFY THEM that they are *RRRUUUMMOOORRSSS*.

Ok. Done now, carry on. I know I said MeTa, but fuckit, I had lunch that had to cool.
posted by cavalier at 11:39 AM on September 2, 2005


*insert rant about axe grinding*
posted by cavalier at 11:39 AM on September 2, 2005


Bush Declares State of Emergency--President Bush declared a state of emergency in Louisiana on Saturday because of the approach of Hurricane Katrina and his spokesman urged residents along the coast to heed authorities' advice to evacuate. ...Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency continue to coordinate with state authorities in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, and have prepositioned supplies in areas expected to be affected, he said. ...

Obviously and tragically, that last part about prepositioned supplies was a clear and blatant lie.
posted by amberglow at 11:39 AM on September 2, 2005


How can you/he be sure President Bush is to blame? Because President Bush is to blame for everything on Metafilter.

This is a disaster (NOLA; not Metafilter), and the blame allocation is as follows: NO government 40%; LA government 50%; federal government: 10%
posted by ParisParamus at 11:40 AM on September 2, 2005


1. There has been no official refusal or denial of assistance by the US Government.

Of course not. The Secretary of State shopping in NYC. Apparently, unreachable and with her cell phone turned off.
posted by psmealey at 11:41 AM on September 2, 2005


"how can you be so sure that he didn't do these other things you suggest as well?"

Because he is now - right now - shocked - SHOCKED - to find out that the convoys are taking 96 hours to get to those in need. He keeps talking about the things he asked for (after the storm passed BTW), and how they aren't coming. I'm not sure what transcript you're reading, but the one I read seemed unambiguous about his lack of knowledge regarding the resources reaching the city.

More pointedly - I know it because he's saying as much.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:41 AM on September 2, 2005


As for why I tend to believe the guardsmen, it's because they are on the scene and the FAA is not. The FAA can only tell us what was reported, given the situation in the city it seems unlikely that these incidents are getting reported.

WHAT IS YOUR SOURCE? Did you have a personal conversation with these guys on a street corner? Show us the evidence upon which you're basing your opinion! If your next post doesn't contain a link to some citation of a Guardsman describing this, then I'm officially dismissing it as some hearsay you'd like to believe.

Being fired upon by people you're trying to rescue is an incredibly weird situation, and I don't really know how they should handle it.

You don't, but they do. It's part of their training.

Should they keep evacuating people even under threat of being fired upon? That puts a lot of people at risk.

There ARE a lot of people at risk. Some sacrifice might have to be made by the service personnel who have been paid and trained to do it.

it poses problems that our people just aren't used to dealing with in America.

And after four years and billions of Homeland Security dollars, we should damn well be ready for it. This is what all the time, money, training was supposed to be for. We just shouldn't settle for the excuse "It was too scary!"

PSMEALEY: I'm not quite sure why you called me out on that, because I agree with you, and that was precisely the point I was trying to make.

I'm sorry -- I misunderstood your meaning there. Apologies.
posted by Miko at 11:42 AM on September 2, 2005


The USS Bataan has been on site, just off the coast of NO since Tuesday. Why the hell haven't they used one or more of their goddam LCACs to evacuate people?
posted by Pliskie at 11:42 AM on September 2, 2005


It's funny that everyone blasts the feds for lack of planning, but no one blasts LA and NO for not building a more effective long-term hurricane defense. It's not like a tornado struck Boston, or an Earthquake struck Minnesota. This is a hurricane and flood that occurred in an area prone to hurricanes and floods.

Certainly a levee is a better example of a public good than is disaster relief.

So, blame Bush (which is appropriate) all you want, but lionizing Nagin when he is one of the two people who had the the most direct responsibility to defend the area is just fucking stupid.
posted by Kwantsar at 11:43 AM on September 2, 2005


amberglow, there's no reason the statement about supplies needs to have been a lie. The people in the Superdome survived for the most part, what do you think they were eating? or drinking? The fact that some people ran out of supplies does not mean that supplies were never there, having supplies does not mean having enough for every possible contingency nor does it mean necessarily being able to deploy them to the people who need them.

There's enough bad here without you going and accusing the government of lying about the plans it did make.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:44 AM on September 2, 2005


This is a disaster (NOLA; not Metafilter), and the blame allocation is as follows: NO government 40%; LA government 50%; federal government: 10%
posted by ParisParamus


Linkage, PP? Or did you just now make that up??
posted by Floydd at 11:44 AM on September 2, 2005


The FAA can only tell us what was reported, given the situation in the city it seems unlikely that these incidents are getting reported.

Why did they stop rescuing people? The pilots act under orders from their superiors. They would have had to report it, and receive those orders, no?
posted by amberglow at 11:45 AM on September 2, 2005


Kwantsar, have you read any of this thread?
posted by Miko at 11:45 AM on September 2, 2005


Great. Now it's complete. PP has officially weighed in on behalf of the Federal Government. Shove that 10% up your ass and like it, NOLA!
posted by psmealey at 11:45 AM on September 2, 2005


muppetboy, thanks for the clarification on the good samaritan law.

It appears that help is arriving at the convention center according to the Interdictor site.

cavalier, I saw an interview with the CEO of one of the helicopter ambulance companies operating in NO now and he confirmed that his helicopters had been fired at from the ground.

Hey Paris, thanks but I have no interest in how you see the laying of the blame since I'm already well aware of your allegiances. Of course Bush isn't to blame in your rose-tinted little world, he couldn't be to blame.

kwantsar, its a little thing called governmental funding? Or the lack of it.
posted by fenriq at 11:46 AM on September 2, 2005


cavalier writes "I know I said MeTa,"

What's been callout worthy? People not agreeing with you or RTFA?
posted by OmieWise at 11:46 AM on September 2, 2005


How can you/he be sure President Bush is to blame?

Because he's the goddamn Commander-in-Chief.

You know, where the buck stops.

This is a national disaster and his administration has royally fucked this up.
posted by bshort at 11:46 AM on September 2, 2005


cavalier, I saw an interview with the CEO of one of the helicopter ambulance companies operating in NO now and he confirmed that his helicopters had been fired at from the ground.

Saw an interview where? Link?
posted by Miko at 11:47 AM on September 2, 2005


Watching Laura now on MSNBC. She's handling her press op very well.
posted by Miko at 11:50 AM on September 2, 2005



Of course not. The Secretary of State shopping in NYC. Apparently, unreachable and with her cell phone turned off.


Oh MAN.. don't get me STARTED on that... [expletives deleted]. The very audacity made my eyes roll back when I read it and it took an hour for them to come back down.

Prison's too good for those creatures.
posted by cavalier at 11:50 AM on September 2, 2005


Miko, you're assuming all the risk is being assumed by the soldiers. If a soldier is evacuating a group of civilians and comes under fire who do you think is going to get hit, the trained professional or the old woman in the wheelchair?

We might have been planning for situations like this, but planning and experience are entirely different. I don't think we have a coherent policy for dealing with both a natural disaster and urban warfare at the same time. Maybe we need them, but I can't really fault anyone for not being able to come with something on the fly with limited resources.

This is kind of like Somalia only on a smaller scale, and our solution there was far from perfect. These bands were less well organized, and not as well armed, but the friendly forces were as well. Add to that the fact that it was in an American city? It makes the situation incredibly complex.

Now that the other guard units have reached the city hopefully they can make enough of a show of force to quiet down the hostile elements within the city.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:50 AM on September 2, 2005


"Carnival is destroying my good name. Goddamnit.
posted by mullingitover at 11:24 AM PST on September 2 [!]"

You know, that's actually pretty interesting. If people wanted to hit Carnivale where it hurts, there must be people around the country who actually have a surname similar to Carnivale. It would sure make a hell of a point if they all went to court and changed their names!
posted by muppetboy at 11:50 AM on September 2, 2005


and they only bring her out when they're in trouble too.

FEMA chief: Victims bear some responsibility
Brown pleased with effort: 'Things are going relatively well'

posted by amberglow at 11:50 AM on September 2, 2005


Kwantsar writes "So, blame Bush (which is appropriate) all you want, but lionizing Nagin when he is one of the two people who had the the most direct responsibility to defend the area is just fucking stupid."

It strikes me that one thing going on here is that there are so many different threads talking about different aspects of this that 1) People privilege certain aspects of the situation according to the thread; 2) Opinions change; 3) Heightened emotions make comments less equivocal than they might otherwise be. For instance, I know that I argued just yesterday that blaming the Feds on general preparedness was probably wrong, and that local officials bear a lot of responsiblity. That was about general hurricane abatement pre-planning, though. As for poor response, I think the feds deserve more blame (although I don't think Nagin is any kind of saint.)
posted by OmieWise at 11:53 AM on September 2, 2005


NO government 40%; LA government 50%; federal government: 10%

The state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans did not and do not have the resources in manpower, funds, or equipment to accomplish the task at hand. That's why we have FEMA - the FEDERAL Emergency Management Agency in charge. And despite the best efforts of the people who are actually there making a difference, the mismanagment of this response by appointed and elected officials is asontishing.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:54 AM on September 2, 2005


Oh shit, Laura just contradicted the hubby (paraphrasing):
This is not the response we want, not the kind of response the federal government should have
Earlier press conference with W (paraphrasing):
I'm happy with the response. The response was good. I'm just disappointed with the results


Some handler somewhere is putting his fist through a wall.
posted by blendor at 11:54 AM on September 2, 2005


NO government 40%; LA government 50%; federal government: 10%

The state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans did not and do not have the resources in manpower, funds, or equipment to accomplish the task at hand. That's why we have FEMA - the FEDERAL Emergency Management Agency - in charge. And despite the best efforts of the people who are actually there, on the ground, making a difference, the mismanagment of this response by appointed and elected officials is astonishing.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:54 AM on September 2, 2005


CNN today: ...However, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Carter told CNN that its rescue efforts had been suspended in some areas, although they continued in other parts of the city.

"We're having to hold off going in until we're assured that the areas are safe to transit," he said. "We're following the lead of FEMA on that." ...

posted by amberglow at 11:55 AM on September 2, 2005


Thanks for proving my point, Bulgar -- you don't have a source.

And you're wrong about 'urban warfare' (a rather extreme term in this situation) not being part of a disaster plan. Resistance and chaos is part of every city disaster plan. It's part of the disaster plan where I work, for heaven's sake, and we're not the feds. Opinion hereby dismissed.
posted by Miko at 11:55 AM on September 2, 2005


Exactly, Omie. That's why it's still here. :)

fenriq, yes, see, I want to believe that too. But I need a goddamn corroborated source. I'm picky like that. I can be -- I'm in an armchair in Florida, so I can choose to get freaked out by every possible scenario, or I Can choose to get freaked out by what's happening. That's my sole point I think, in this whacky internet age, while it's really awesome at spreading info quickly, it can also spread dis-info just as quickly.

And for the record, I believe the choppers probably HAVE been shot at. Lot of guns in NOLA, and lots of unhappy people. Not denying it. Just saying until I see some corroboration, I can only treat it as an r word.
posted by cavalier at 11:56 AM on September 2, 2005


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the basic point of the whole thing (Nagin's radio appearance) was his basic call for the Feds to get off the dime and step up their effort.

As to who's to blame. Fuck! Who gives a shit? We can figure that all out later.

What I've been taking issue with is this senseless armchair quarterbacking/sniping/blame throwing that's been going on in here. That's not the fucking point. Every hour help is delayed, PEOPLE ARE FUCKING DYING. That's the point he was making, and it has motivating people to do something about it.
posted by psmealey at 11:57 AM on September 2, 2005


miko, here's one, New Orleans evacuation halted as shots fired. The guy quoted in the story, Richard Zeuschlag, is the guy I saw interviewed.
posted by fenriq at 11:57 AM on September 2, 2005


cavalier - It's ok. I see your point that we shouldn't leap to conclusions.
I would argue that, were this effort properly organized, foreign aid would have been accepted and put to use as soon as it was offered, since every day the victims spend without food, water and shelter worsens the crisis.
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:57 AM on September 2, 2005


the lack of clarification as to whether these really were refused

The burden of proof is on anyone who claims that there's no problem getting and accepting foreign aid in the region. You show me some guy in a uniform with a maple leaf patch on his shoulder unloading a truck full of bottled water, and I'll know it was accepted. We know it was offered, that's very well documented at this point.
posted by gimonca at 11:59 AM on September 2, 2005


This is a disaster (NOLA; not Metafilter), and the blame allocation is as follows: NO government 40%; LA government 50%; federal government: 10%

Thanks Paris, you find those figures while your head was stuck up Georges ass. Any WMDs up there?
posted by twistedonion at 12:00 PM on September 2, 2005


I don't realling a few isolated shooint-at-choppers stopped people from being evacuated from the superdome. The problem was there were no trucks or busses to take people out of there.

Shooting at helicopters may have prevented some people from being rescued from rooftops, but it's not stoping anyone from rescuing the tens of thousands from the superdome and convention center.

Anyway, they're (finaly) being evacuated at this point.
posted by delmoi at 12:00 PM on September 2, 2005


There has been no official refusal or denial of assistance by the US Government.

No official refusal = unofficial refusal, because as any idiot knows, you don't go waltzing into U.S. lands without permission. No response is just a nice way to CYA so that later on they can say, "We never refused anyone permission!"
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:01 PM on September 2, 2005


But, fenriq, isn't it reasonable for cities and states to pay for prevention and mitigation of their own localized problems? Not as a political matter, but as a practical one. Should people in Southern California subsidize heating oil for people in Maine? Should people in Massachusetts subsidize Nevada crop irrigation? By the time it's all said and done, we've pissed away a lot of resources for no good reason whatsoever.

*It's completely fucking stupid, of course, that US taxpayers foot the bill for the Big Dig and the Ted Stevens Memorial Bridge.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:02 PM on September 2, 2005


Ireland Online?

OK then - . there's one report. It hardly makes you feel better, though, that it says our military responders were too scared to land.

I have to wonder, too, why there's only this one account. There should be thousands of eyewitnesses to this, since the story says it happened at the Superdome.
posted by Miko at 12:02 PM on September 2, 2005


ParisParamus - So do you still think Bush should be impeached?
posted by bshort at 12:04 PM on September 2, 2005


Kwanstar - Yeah, see, we have a nation here, not just a collection of individual cities. We're able to do things by working together to get shit done. The Federal government pays for things like massive infrastructure improvements that cities couldn't pay for because it benefits everyone.

Pay attention.
posted by bshort at 12:05 PM on September 2, 2005


Pop Ethics- I've got this idea for a pad. You jump.. to concl... sorry, office space reference.

Anyway. I agree, from the outside it appears organization has been sort of piss poor. Except this Honore guy, he is shining at least in the media right now.

Quote

Honore said getting food and water to the people at the convention center was a difficult process. "If you ever have 20,000 people come to supper, you know what I'm talking about," the general said. "If it was easy, it would have been done already."

CNN's Barbara Starr, who is traveling with the three-star general, said Honore is "very determined to keep this looking like a humanitarian relief operation." (See the mayor's order to stop the talking and send soldiers to help -- 1:00)

"A few moments ago, he stopped a truck full of National Guard troops ... and said, 'Point your weapons down, this is not Iraq,'" Starr reported.
Me likies.
posted by cavalier at 12:06 PM on September 2, 2005


grrrind. C_D, totally, I believe, and I respect your opinion. However.. the Canadian offer.. happened... wait for it.. yesterday! Less than 24 hours ago! Can we at least give a a day or two to see, I don't know, if maybe the form hits the right desk and some dude stamps it and voila aid comes? Am I happy it hasn't already happened? No!! Am I sure it is not going to happen at all? No!!
posted by cavalier at 12:08 PM on September 2, 2005


Miko, I'm glad you got to be glib and dismissive of someone in an internet discussion, did that make you feel good about your self? You seem like a very small person, indeed.

I'm also glad you could bring some useless personal experience to the table as well. Oh, does your organization have a plan for dealing with "chaos and resistance"? Does that plan include having to retake a major metropolitan area from armed gangs, all while operating in six feet of water? You just don't get it do you?

On Preview: demoi, there were reports of shots being fired at the Superdome as well, which is what halted the initial evacuation.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:08 PM on September 2, 2005


mullingitover writes "Carnival is destroying my good name. Goddamnit.
""
Ok, now that had me laughing.
posted by peacay at 12:09 PM on September 2, 2005


Miko, yeah, Ireland Online picked it up, I don't know why it hasn't been picked up stateside, I saw the guy interviewed on CNN or Fox or MSNBC, probably MSNBC because the blond lady on CNN was creeping me the hell out with how excited she was about talking to people whose entire lives had been washed away.
posted by fenriq at 12:13 PM on September 2, 2005


OK -- goodnight and god-bless, as they say on the 700 Club. Remember -- you can e-mail your Congresspeople to urge more support (long-term, too). You can email your governor and state reps to see what state resources they can mobilize. You can donate some cashola -- I chose NAACP because I think I'll like how they'll use it, but you can choose whichever charity you like, a Jeebus one, an animal one, a food one, whatever. You can go on Craigslist and cross-correlate the 'lost' and 'found' listings to try to link people up. And you can e-mail any friends or relatives you have in the Southeast and let them know that any shelter anyone can make available can be used.

This has been interesting. So long and let's hope for better now. It's good to see those trucks.
posted by Miko at 12:14 PM on September 2, 2005


Miko, I'm glad you got to be glib and dismissive of someone in an internet discussion, did that make you feel good about your self? You seem like a very small person, indeed.

Sucks to be wrong. But watch out who you're calling a small person. I'm not the one making excuses for allowing people to die.
posted by Miko at 12:16 PM on September 2, 2005


Here's a few more links though,
CBC: Evacuation of New Orleans Superdome halted after shots fired at helicopter and Fights and gunfire break out as New Orleans slips into anarchy.
posted by fenriq at 12:17 PM on September 2, 2005


fenriq: Tx for links.
posted by Miko at 12:19 PM on September 2, 2005


This thread is one of the reasons I'm seriously thinking of departing Metafilter for good. The level of hatred is disgusting.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:22 PM on September 2, 2005


I think that Bush's cavalier treatment of the catastophe in NO has been explained by Bush himself. He claims to be the "war president." Maybe if we just declared war on Louisiana he'd feel more at home with the decision-making.
posted by leftcoastbob at 12:22 PM on September 2, 2005


Should people in Southern California subsidize heating oil for people in Maine? Should people in Massachusetts subsidize Nevada crop irrigation?

Yes! To some degree, yes they should! What the hell makes you think we shouldn't be helping eachother out? Am I too used to paying high taxes as a Canadian that I don't mind that some of my tax money is spent on local and distant compatriots?

On Preview: what bshort said.
posted by Evstar at 12:24 PM on September 2, 2005


This thread is one of the reasons I'm seriously thinking of departing Metafilter for good. The level of hatred is disgusting.
posted by ParisParamus


Please say good-bye in MeTa so we can all watch the flame-out.
posted by Floydd at 12:26 PM on September 2, 2005


And to think, I'm supposed to take such a statement seriously coming from someone who elects to call himself "leftcoastbob."
I guess Bush isn't a good leader after all.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:27 PM on September 2, 2005


I treated who!? Argh!!
posted by cavalier at 12:27 PM on September 2, 2005


This thread is one of the reasons I'm seriously thinking of departing Metafilter for good. The level of hatred is disgusting.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:22 PM EST on September 2 [!]


Your trolling will be genuinely missed, PP. I wish you luck in your future endeavors.
posted by Rothko at 12:28 PM on September 2, 2005


fenriq: You've misattributed that story to the CBC, who merely reprinted it from the associated press. I would have been surprised to see a report from the CBC, since they're still in labour disputes.
posted by Popular Ethics at 12:28 PM on September 2, 2005


I have never "made excuses." I merely try to provide an explanation for why things might have worked out the way they did as an antidote to all the armchair generals who are so sure they could have done it better.

This was not an easy situation, it was an incredibly bad one and was going to be no matter what. A lot of people died, and we need to to figure out why so we can try to prevent it in the future. The truth is, however, that person who figures that out is not going to be me and it is not going to be you, it's going be a lot of people smarter than we are, and it's not going to be for a while..
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:28 PM on September 2, 2005



Your trolling will be genuinely missed, PP. I wish you luck in your future endeavors.


Drama queen.
posted by Evstar at 12:29 PM on September 2, 2005


Popular Ethics, just noting where the story was coming from since Miko wanted something a little closer than Ireland. But you're right, I should have been clearer.

Bye ParisParamus, I can't say you'll be missed because you won't be.
posted by fenriq at 12:31 PM on September 2, 2005


Spicynuts writes:

You know what, yesterday I wasn't prepared to lay the entirety of the blame for this on the government's doorstep, but I spent last night and this morning reading all I could about this and I've completely changed my mind. This is a clusterfuck of epic proportions precisely because our government at all levels has failed the people of New Orleans.

It was big of you to say this -- and I sincerely apologize for coming down on you the way I did. I was (and, well, still am) hopping mad.
posted by Toecutter at 12:33 PM on September 2, 2005


Jack Cafferty on CNN: Do you suppose, Wolf, that the relief trucks and the photo ops happening at the same time were a coincidence?
posted by madamjujujive at 12:33 PM on September 2, 2005


Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project (PDF)

• Project FY06 Funding Required: $62.5 Million
• FY06 President’s Budget: $10.49 million

These numbers are clear to me that the local and state authorities have tried/are trying to fix the problem. Likewise, the Federal government giving them 1/6th of the funds that they REQUIRE shows me where the blame belongs.
posted by afx114 at 12:34 PM on September 2, 2005


This thread is one of the reasons I'm seriously thinking of departing Metafilter for good. The level of hatred is disgusting.

Waiting for a spectacular flameout. Don't let the door ... ya' know the rest.
posted by ericb at 12:35 PM on September 2, 2005


PP says insensitive, partisan things on an emotional topic and then blames level of hatred on others: priceless.
posted by psmealey at 12:36 PM on September 2, 2005


Do you suppose, Wolf, that the relief trucks and the photo ops happening at the same time were a coincidence?
Someone else said that the trucks were halted for a while too.

And i'm still waiting for pictures of food and water actually being handed out.

Doctors Without Borders page on Shelters (stadiums are not a good plan)
posted by amberglow at 12:37 PM on September 2, 2005


afx114, careful, facts are scary to the Republican, they're all like factual and stuff. It upsets their warped reality.

I know where my blame's going.
posted by fenriq at 12:37 PM on September 2, 2005


As far as allocating blame, clearly level of taxation is the one measure of governmental responsibility.

Here in California, we see 5% local, 10-15% state, and 15-20% federal taxation.

As a lefty-libertarian I would like to see PP's formulation become reality, but as things stand now the feds are taking the biggest slice of the funding pie and thus earn the biggest slice of blame.

Plus it's harder to respond at the state level when half your state NG is deployed overseas, not to mention the callups of first-responders, many of whom are also overseas.

Local government just doesn't have the resources to tackle a major disaster. This is why we have higher levels of government in the first place; it's highly inefficient for every local jurisdiction to fund disaster preparations.

I do think more and better planning could have been done. School busses are a reasonably good public resource. Every major city should have an evacuation plan.

I was somewhat impressed with Tokyo's disaster planning. I knew where the closest collection point was, knew they had some relief stuff cached there, and also knew that thanks to their largely middle-class country that people would get through it together.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:37 PM on September 2, 2005


ParisParamus writes "This thread is one of the reasons I'm seriously thinking of departing Metafilter for good. The level of hatred is disgusting."

Hatred for what, exactly? Seriously, I'm really asking.
posted by OmieWise at 12:41 PM on September 2, 2005


It just occurred to me that Boston's Duck Boats would be wonderful additions to the relief force.

/me goes to write to DuckTours and Mayor Menino.

I'd write to our bucket of cocks governor, but he's too busy playing a political game of nondescript outrage for a bid in the 2008 election.
posted by zerokey at 12:46 PM on September 2, 2005


Kwantsar: But, fenriq, isn't it reasonable for cities and states to pay for prevention and mitigation of their own localized problems? Not as a political matter, but as a practical one. Should people in Southern California subsidize heating oil for people in Maine? Should people in Massachusetts subsidize Nevada crop irrigation? By the time it's all said and done, we've pissed away a lot of resources for no good reason whatsoever.

Actually, I think the reports regarding the long-term economics of this disastermake it fairly clear why some (wealthier) parts of the country end up subsidizing some (poorer) parts of the country, especially when they are a vital part of our economy:

Katrina will have broad reach -- 10% of US Oil Refining capability is in the Katrina carnage zone

Economic reach of Katrina's wake to stretch nationwide -- I don't think the figure is in there but on NPR this morning it was reported that a large percentage of our grain exports go through New Orleans. I think it was 60%.

Economic blow huge -- Fallout goes far beyond gas prices -- "New Orleans is the nation's second-largest port for incoming coffee shipments. But redirecting those shipments doesn't solve all the problems, because the city is also a major coffee production center. About one-fourth of the entire U.S. stock of unprocessed coffee is stored in New Orleans. More than half of the Folger's and Millstone brand coffees sold by Procter & Gamble Co. have been coming from two plants in New Orleans."

I found those three links in 5 minutes. While not the whole story, those links illustrate why people in one state subsidize people in another.

Meat production is a great example-- I've heard the real cost of beef should be around US$20-30/lb. (more for expensive cuts). You only pay part of that when you buy meat in a US supermarket, you pay the rest on April 15th.

And if you don't eat meat... I'd like to thank you for subsidizing the very delicious kofta kebab I had for lunch today. =)

posted by illovich at 12:46 PM on September 2, 2005


Pay attention.

Classy, bshort. I thought you guys were opposed to pork.

Enjoy Chuck Grassley's Rainforest.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:46 PM on September 2, 2005


Kwanstar - how is working together the same thing as pork?

I hope your town gets wiped off the map. I'll shed one tiny little tear for you and then get on with my business.
posted by bshort at 12:48 PM on September 2, 2005


For those still in doubt about why some people did not evacuate, here's a quote from a post-mortem report on Ivan posted by Postroad as an FPP.
Residents who did not have personal transportation were unable to evacuate even if they wanted to. Approximately 120,000 residents (51,000 housing units x 2.4 persons/unit) do not have cars. A proposal made after the evacuation for Hurricane Georges to use public transit buses to assist in their evacuation out of the city was not implemented for Ivan. If Ivan had struck New Orleans directly it is estimated that 40-60,000 residents of the area would have perished.
posted by OmieWise at 12:52 PM on September 2, 2005


This thread is one of the reasons I'm seriously thinking of departing Metafilter for good. The level of hatred is disgusting.

It's not like you've done anything to help mitigate that hatred before. Ciao!
posted by moonbird at 12:56 PM on September 2, 2005


It's hilarious that people are blaming federal authorities for failure to respond. Hello! The warnings were there several days ahead that the shit was going to hit the fan. This warning was provided by the feds and it was all any sane person needed.

So guess what happened? The educated, non-criminal, middle class departed for high ground. 80% of the population left! This left a city with a homicide rate already TEN times higher than the national average further enriched in the criminal class. Now you have armed, drug-starved illiterates roaming the streets feeding upon each other.

At this point, I'm not sure I favor relocation. Only half facetiously, I suggest that we might want to build a fence around New Orleans and call it a federal prison. I don't blame federal authorities for this mess. I blame the remaining citizens and their local race-baiting politicians.
posted by paleocon at 12:58 PM on September 2, 2005


And, Heywood, as a left-libertarian, you probably think that government-owned roads are fine, but that they should be exclusively paid for by user fees (like gas taxes). If that's your position (and I'm merely guessing that it is such), it's reasonable.

What's not reasonable is paying for people to live in harm's way for no good reason,watching them refuse to protect themselves (How quaint to build the Superdome while the levees are weak) and then bailing them out when they hit a rough patch*. From a utilitarian perspective, encouraging and enabling these deadweight losses hurts everyone.

ilovich-- I'm delighted that I can subsidize your meat. I'm especially enjoying subsidizing the pollution caused by your taste for animals!

*Yes, of course, they pay federal taxes, and are thus entitled to whatever FEMA deems appropriate.
posted by Kwantsar at 1:01 PM on September 2, 2005


you are a fucking buffon.
"I blame the remaining citizens and their local race-baiting politicians."
--you blame poor mothers with small infants, and child rape victims, for not having transportation, or FOR having invalid relatives?

die already you sick fuck
posted by das_2099 at 1:02 PM on September 2, 2005


Paleocon: So guess what happened? The educated, non-criminal, middle class departed for high ground. 80% of the population left! This left a city with a homicide rate already TEN times higher than the national average further enriched in the criminal class. Now you have armed, drug-starved illiterates roaming the streets feeding upon each other.



Oh, I see. Your name is paleocon. I get it. I get it. Paleo -- stone, stone age, neanderthal. Con -- conservative.


posted by illovich at 1:07 PM on September 2, 2005


...must resist racist flamebait
posted by Popular Ethics at 1:07 PM on September 2, 2005


Great, Paleocon's here. That means that the property values on this thread are going through the floor. There goes the neighborhood, I'm out of here.
posted by psmealey at 1:08 PM on September 2, 2005


Are you fucking kidding, paleocon? You must be. That, or you're not even a human fucking being.
posted by blendor at 1:09 PM on September 2, 2005


CNN: what was said vs. what was happening. Each section begins with a quote from FEMA chief Mike Brown, and is followed by the perspective of people actually there. This is far beyond spin, it's breathtaking disconnect from reality even from an administration already notorious for it.

On preview: all by himself, paleocon can do to a thread what it takes 20,000 refugees without working toilets a week to do to a convention center. Goodbye.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:09 PM on September 2, 2005


paleocon's just happy that it's just those criminal darkies that are starving, and not upstanding white folk like himself.
posted by amberglow at 1:10 PM on September 2, 2005


Kwantsar: ilovich-- I'm delighted that I can subsidize your meat. I'm especially enjoying subsidizing the pollution caused by your taste for animals!

Cheers, mate!

The pollution is actually manageable if your meat is grown the old fashioned way on traditional farms (hey, the manure makes great fertilizer!), but how to reform the meat industry back to the right size and shape is a talk for another thread. =)
posted by illovich at 1:11 PM on September 2, 2005


Jesus, bshort. You hope my town gets wiped off the map? Quite a little prick, aren't you?

Certain places are more prone than others to natural disasters. People who choose to live there (and voluntarily assume these risks) should bear the necessary cost of preparation for these risks. There are plenty of inexpensive places to live that aren't below sea-level.

Or do you enjoy a moral hazard every now and then? Do you think we should pay to irrigate the desert when we have miles and miles of perfectly good farmland?
posted by Kwantsar at 1:12 PM on September 2, 2005


I guess on the way out, ParisParamus must've told paleocon, "I need a break. Your turn."
posted by alumshubby at 1:12 PM on September 2, 2005


"This thread is one of the reasons I'm seriously thinking of departing Metafilter for good. The level of hatred is disgusting.

Please go, maggot.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:15 PM on September 2, 2005


paleocon remark would be better described as "classist," rather than "racist," amberglow, but feel free to keep slinging the mud.
posted by Kwantsar at 1:16 PM on September 2, 2005


'Casual to the point of careless' - Bush under fire for slow reaction.
posted by ericb at 1:18 PM on September 2, 2005


George_Spiggott writes "CNN: what was said vs. what was happening. Each section begins with a quote from FEMA chief Mike Brown, and is followed by the perspective of people actually there. This is far beyond spin, it's breathtaking disconnect from reality even from an administration already notorious for it."

This is a devastating article. Thanks for posting it.
posted by OmieWise at 1:19 PM on September 2, 2005


What's not reasonable is paying for people to live in harm's way for no good reason,watching them refuse to protect themselves (How quaint to build the Superdome while the levees are weak) and then bailing them out when they hit a rough patch*. From a utilitarian perspective, encouraging and enabling these deadweight losses hurts everyone.

We gotta solve stuff in parallel. (I never made the argument of "Why Saddam first?)". Without the Superdome built 30 years ago perhaps there wouldn't ever be sufficient taxbase to secure the levees.

As a libertarian I respect the powers of local government and think social order would perhaps be better structured at the state & local levels.

But as a lefty I see that wealth and poverty mix like oil and water, and that both comfortable wealth and endemic poverty are heritable, and we need to figure out some way of moving our underclass into the middle class.

Doing this without incurring moral-hazard consequences is an interesting question.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:19 PM on September 2, 2005


Is your President the head of the country or what? The buck stops with him. You choose him to lead and he has obviously failed to serve the interests of the electorate.

If the evacuation had been a total success do you not think that he and his administration would take full credit?

Why this interest by individuals to protect their President? He doesn't give a damn about you individually, or collectively it appears. As long as he has his Ranch and his oil, he couldn't care less.
posted by twistedonion at 1:24 PM on September 2, 2005


So guess what happened? The educated, non-criminal, middle class departed for high ground. 80% of the population left! This left a city with a homicide rate already TEN times higher than the national average further enriched in the criminal class. Now you have armed, drug-starved illiterates roaming the streets feeding upon each other.

At this point, I'm not sure I favor relocation. Only half facetiously, I suggest that we might want to build a fence around New Orleans and call it a federal prison. I don't blame federal authorities for this mess. I blame the remaining citizens and their local race-baiting politicians.


The only race-baiting I see around here, paleocon, is found in every word of this instance of projectile vomiting which you probably refer to as a "post".
posted by jokeefe at 1:24 PM on September 2, 2005


This thread is one of the reasons I'm seriously thinking of departing Metafilter for good. The level of hatred is disgusting.

Wait, don't go. I haven't tried out the greasemonkey killfile extension yet.
posted by milovoo at 1:27 PM on September 2, 2005


paleocon remark would be better described as "classist," rather than "racist,"...

Absolutely correct Kwantsar. People who criticize observation of the obvious differences of behavior by class for racism, only invite conclusions about race determined behavior. One can only hope this is not their actual objective.
posted by paleocon at 1:29 PM on September 2, 2005


you know, i don't understand why bush supporters get so upset when we express anger and frustration over the actions of his administration.

it's not like anybody in charge is ever going to be held accountable. bush will come out of this looking no worse in the polls than he did before katrina. brownie's doing a heck of a job, so he's got nothing to worry about.

why do you get so upset when we vent about the bush admin? neither our venting nor our actions (letters, calls, protests) will ever do so much as make bush, cheney, rove, etc. spend even 5 minutes reflecting on what they've done with their time in the driver's seat. we're still going to have george w bush internat'l airport, george w. bush blvd., etc in a few years. the history books (below the college level) will be fawning and generous when they discuss him, especially in the south and midwest.

he's golden; he's going to sleep as soundly as ever, and you know it.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:30 PM on September 2, 2005


Get your facts straight Kwantsar, the levees were a federally funded project overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers. Funding for the levees has been severely cut back in the last several years and there has been much documentation regarding these facts in other threads.
posted by monkeyman at 1:35 PM on September 2, 2005


So guess what happened? The educated, non-criminal, middle class departed for high ground. 80% of the population left! This left a city with a homicide rate already TEN times higher than the national average further enriched in the criminal class. Now you have armed, drug-starved illiterates roaming the streets feeding upon each other.

At this point, I'm not sure I favor relocation. Only half facetiously, I suggest that we might want to build a fence around New Orleans and call it a federal prison. I don't blame federal authorities for this mess. I blame the remaining citizens and their local race-baiting politicians.
posted by paleocon at 12:58 PM PST on September 2


What the hell is wrong with you?


posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:42 PM on September 2, 2005


Get your facts straight monkeyman, the levee that failed was recently upgraded with concrete slabs. It would have been at the bottom of any new work that you claim was denied funding.
posted by paleocon at 1:42 PM on September 2, 2005


Tell me where I stated that the levees weren't federally-funded before you imply that I don't know what I'm talking about.
posted by Kwantsar at 1:43 PM on September 2, 2005


[I originally misposted this to a thread that's all about Bush. Will it fit better here? I spent the day in bed with a migraine, there's no way I can catch up on 400-comment threads.]


I don't know which thread to put this in, or whether anybody's already posted this, but I just saw (thanks to DSL) an in interesting (if tiny) view clip from BBC News.

At the end of a "typical" (GACK) segment showing mothers weeping and bodies rotting, the reporter refers to what we've just seen -- and then the camera turns up the street and he says something like "All these people are suffering down here, and up there there are dozens of police, all concerned about one looter in that store over."

I could taste his disgust that the shoot-to-kill-looters policy took precedence over all these suffering people. And yes, most of the "refugeees in their own city" were black, and it looked to me -- again on a TINY inline Realplayer window, from a video camera's zoom lens -- that the cops shown being all concerned with one looter were white.
posted by davy at 3:55 PM EST on September 2 [!]
posted by davy at 1:45 PM on September 2, 2005


And by the way, who ordered up the 'shoot-to-kill-looters policy'? Was it, oh, the Mayor or New Orleans?
posted by davy at 1:48 PM on September 2, 2005


Davy I saw that on the news - thought to myself at the time - "that's not like the BBC" - that reporter was seriously pissed off with what he was seeing.

There was a segment after that showed three or four police with these huge guns trying to get into some pickup where a looter was sitting. Disturbing stuff. The street was lined with already terrified people.
posted by twistedonion at 1:53 PM on September 2, 2005


how the hell you can Defend Bush after so many BLATANT offenses is beyond me.. It's outright denial.. and it's fuckin' dangerous..

I gotta clear my head. I need to know how Bush does it.. *off to read "My Pet Goat"*
posted by pez_LPhiE at 1:53 PM on September 2, 2005


Oh dear...it keeps getting worse. WWLTV just reported that one of the buses carrying evacuees overturned on I49 (hwy 49?) in Appaloosa (sp?) and there are reports of one fatality. As if these people haven't suffered enough!
posted by ramix at 2:17 PM on September 2, 2005


"This thread is one of the reasons I'm seriously thinking of departing Metafilter for good. The level of hatred is disgusting."

Aww, poor bunny. You get disgusted by all the important stuff, don't you PP?

Door, arse, hit, way out. You know the drill, I'm sure.
posted by Decani at 2:19 PM on September 2, 2005


omg, ramix
posted by amberglow at 2:23 PM on September 2, 2005


More than one levee failed and the fact remains that levee improvement projects were underfunded by the federal government. Budget planners gambled and lost.

KWantsar: It's funny that everyone blasts the feds for lack of planning, but no one blasts LA and NO for not building a more effective long-term hurricane defense. It's not like a tornado struck Boston, or an Earthquake struck Minnesota. This is a hurricane and flood that occurred in an area prone to hurricanes and floods.

New Orleans does not and and has never had the ability to fully fund for all of the necessary hurricane damage prevention infrastructure.
posted by monkeyman at 2:24 PM on September 2, 2005


Oh, dear! I promised myself I wouldn't post here again, but the idea that the New Orleans police are all white while the majority of the people they are dealing with is all black is just wrong.

I'm not at all in agreement with a blanket shoot-to-kill-looters policy, or even necessarily with a deal-with-looters-first policy, and there are a lot of disturbing issues regarding the NOPD - but don't go imagining an SS-style all-white New Orleans police force as one of the many problems facing the city. The police may be bad - but they are bad together, black and white.
posted by taz at 2:25 PM on September 2, 2005


It's quite simple really. Anybody who sees the federal response to this problem as sufficient (without consideration for all the partisan bullshit) is either a total fucking asshole or a total fucking idiot.

I don't have to name names.
posted by drpynchon at 2:30 PM on September 2, 2005


"the blame allocation is as follows: NO government 40%; LA government 50%; federal government: 10%"

Shame on you, ParisParamus! You forgot Orleans Parish, surrounding parishes, and local representatives and senators to the state legislature.

Oh, and spare a parcel or two of blame for those Louisiana congressmen elected to DC for not campaigning hard enough for their share of federal pork.

10% for the feds, though, sounds about right.
posted by mischief at 2:31 PM on September 2, 2005


Here's a few links that have been posted before regarding the well-documented cuts in funding. Here's a link that says the levees weren't so great anyway (Found with little effort searching Google). Local officials were well aware of the dangers after all they live in New Orleans. Federal officiasl chose not to fund the necessary work.
posted by monkeyman at 2:35 PM on September 2, 2005


"Even Republicans were criticizing Bush and his administration for the sluggish relief effort. 'I think it puts into question all of the Homeland Security and Northern Command planning for the last four years, because 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?' said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich." [source]
posted by ericb at 2:51 PM on September 2, 2005


Christ, this thread has gotten depressing. ParisParamus, I'm sorry I tentatively defended you in your obviously insincere MeTa thread; good luck with your future endeavors. Paleocon, please return to your cave. I hope you're feeling better, davy. And now hello, I must be going.
posted by languagehat at 2:53 PM on September 2, 2005


I never said the N.O. police force was all white, I said the handful of cops I saw in that video clip looked white as far as I could tell.

The video is on BBC's front page now (the front of the World edition anyway), under the headline "Bush vows to step up Katrina aid", titled "Victim's desperation".
posted by davy at 2:54 PM on September 2, 2005


Bush to women: "There's a Salvation Army center that I want to, that I'll tell you where it is, and they'll get you some help. I'm sorry.... They'll help you.....


Woman 1: "I came here looking for clothes..."

Bush: "They'll get you some clothes, at the Salvation Army center..."

Woman 1: "We don't have anything..."

Bush: "I understand.... Do you know where the center is, that I'm talking to you about?"

Guy with shades: "There's no center there, sir, it's a truck."

Bush: "There's trucks?"

Guy: "There's a school, a school about two miles away....."

Bush: "But isn't there a Salvation center down there?"

Guy: "No that's wiped out...."

Bush: "A temporary center? "

Guy: "No sir they've got a truck there, for food."

Bush: "That's what I'm saying, for food and water."

Bush turns to the sister who's been saying how she needs clothes.

Bush to sister: "You need food and water."
posted by lord_wolf at 3:03 PM on September 2, 2005


you are a fucking buffon.
"I blame the remaining citizens and their local race-baiting politicians."
--you blame poor mothers with small infants, and child rape victims, for not having transportation, or FOR having invalid relatives?

die already you sick fuck
posted by das_2099


I SECOND THAT!

paris as far as this situation goes you can keep your mouth shut , last year when ivan was about to hit new orleans you bemoaned the "histrionics" of those claiming thousands killed due to a direct hit by said storm, you spoke out without having any knowledge of the city or it's situation. now that new orleans is being washed away and thousands may be dead , how dare you even show your face on this thread. no response is need from you shame on you.
posted by nola at 3:04 PM on September 2, 2005


I would start weighing in here with my opinions, many of which chime with many things already said in this thread, but at the end of the day I know it won't do any good or make me feel better and I just want to see those people brought to safety and their homes restored to them.

I hope that there will be a commission of some kind, whatever the hell it's going to be called, about this disaster.

Of course, Bush and co. didn't listen to the 9/11 commission but as a commission it seemed to work well: it was able to hold people to a public questioning, find out EXACTLY what the procedures were, EXACTLY where there weren't procedures for recognised risks, EXACTLY what the power structures were, EXACTLY how everything SHOULD have been done. And then it published it for the entire world, for free, online.

Clearly there's a need for an investigation like that. With as much money and more independence given to it. And I know I'm not the first to think that Los Angeles and Florida officials will be dusting off their emergency plans right now. Hard questions and constant investigation and pressure over *this* tragedy might get them to do a little more than some light dusting, as well.

Back to Louisiana and Mississippi: all the information we need, and all the censure we want, will be forthcoming in time. Right now, I'm just watching from the UK and trying not to blub.
posted by paperpete at 3:05 PM on September 2, 2005


Sure, they could afford it. A 2,500,000,000 levee for 500,000 residents would cost $5000/head. At a discount rate of 6%, amortized over 30 years, that's $30/person/year. And that doesn't account for insurance savings and the benefits (for you Keynesians) of all the local economic stimulus.*

Sounds like NO/LA just wanted someone else to pay for it.

*bonds would likely be issued serial with staggered maturities, these are estimates, I hope I didn't drop a zero, etc...
posted by Kwantsar at 3:07 PM on September 2, 2005


These LA politicians should be strung up. IT WASN"T EVEN A LOCAL OFFICIAL WHO SUGGESTED THE EVAC! BUSH HAD TO CALL AND ASK THEM!

They could have evacuated EVERY single person out of that city. The "Those people were too poor" line is total bullshit. They just didn't want to pay with their budget; local or state... they wanted federal money but without asking or calling a state of emergency. And this bastard has the gall to pass the blame after he fled?
posted by TetrisKid at 3:28 PM on September 2, 2005


ParisParamus: Fare thee well. At least we no longer have to waste further MetaTalk space debating whether you are a troll or not.

Why wasn't Mayor Nagin allowed to speak while standing next to Pres. Bush during the New Orleans Bushco! Photo Op PR Blitz? Sure, the man has a GOP background, but why didn't the POTUS allow him to speak to the nation? Maybe because Bush's ass doesn't like god damned profanity....
posted by zaelic at 3:29 PM on September 2, 2005


This thread is one of the reasons I'm seriously thinking of departing Metafilter for good.

Is there no subject that you will refrain from making all about you?
posted by cytherea at 3:29 PM on September 2, 2005


FYI I work for a TX state agency that received an urgent teletype from Louisiana today. They asked for "thousands" of cops to come help out, two to a car. They said the cops should bring their own water, food, sleeping gear, etc, enough to last four days.

This tells me they can't even keep the friggin cops fed and watered.

Are the people at the convention center and superdome getting these things now, or is today just more of the same?
posted by beth at 3:32 PM on September 2, 2005


Kwantsar, give it up. You are wrong. New Orleans is the ninth poorest city in the country. Do you seriously think the city can get bonds just for the asking? You have repeatedly shown that you do not have a clue how government really works in America. It would be nice if we all lived in self-sufficient city-states, but we don't. We live in a country based on a system of federal government. Imagining otherwise is fantasy.
posted by monkeyman at 3:32 PM on September 2, 2005


Miko: A shit load of links to articles noting that shots were fired at helicopters. You could have easily found these yourself.

Also, keep in mind that we are talking about the same city where 700 shots were fired and not a single person though it was a reason to call the police. I grew up there. It's a very dangerous city even on a good day.
posted by Carbolic at 3:35 PM on September 2, 2005


At this point, I'm not sure I favor relocation. Only half facetiously, I suggest that we might want to build a fence around New Orleans and call it a federal prison. I don't blame federal authorities for this mess. I blame the remaining citizens and their local race-baiting politicians.

Fuck you.
posted by SweetJesus at 3:40 PM on September 2, 2005


Are you in high school, monkeyman? Municipalities don't "ask" for municipal bonds-- they issue them. An underwriter arranges a syndicate, which distributes them to retail and institutional investors across the country.

I'd also advise you not to argue capital markets with investment bankers, because we know a little more about these things than you do.

PS-- I understand how government works quite well. What have I written that leads you to believe otherwise?
posted by Kwantsar at 3:43 PM on September 2, 2005


Neat how we airlifted enough supplies to sustain an entire city for months on end... Berlin, I believe.

As far as survival; people living in a zone as unsafe as NOLA, and not even having water purification tablets?
NOLA media routinely running articles on how bad off the retaining wall and pump system is and how they need to be improved, and the people (politicians and voters) never take action to do so?

For the generationally disadvantaged, they have had opportunity to use the public school system to learn trades or skills. Failing that, the military would be a second ticket (free again) to escape the spiral. They both work better than lottery tickets.
It is way too late now to expend energy on some idiotic 'who's fault' city:county:state:federal government exchange. NOLA knew this was coming sooner or later.

How we got from a Berlin Airlift to our current oh-so-botched fiasco...
posted by buzzman at 4:07 PM on September 2, 2005


Okay so I guess you know that New Orleans bond rating is BBB+? I'm not an investment banker, but I think that's a bad rating. However I think the bond thing is a red herring. Historically the ACOE has been charged with flood prevention along the Mississippi river which includes New Orleans. Numerous links have shown that in recent years, funding has been reduced. You respond to these facts by blaming the victims.

Certain places are more prone than others to natural disasters. People who choose to live there (and voluntarily assume these risks) should bear the necessary cost of preparation for these risks. There are plenty of inexpensive places to live that aren't below sea-level.

What's not reasonable is paying for people to live in harm's way for no good reason,watching them refuse to protect themselves (How quaint to build the Superdome while the levees are weak) and then bailing them out when they hit a rough patch*. From a utilitarian perspective, encouraging and enabling these deadweight losses hurts everyone.

It's completely fucking stupid, of course, that US taxpayers foot the bill for the Big Dig and the Ted Stevens Memorial Bridge.

You seem to be arguing from some lofty, ideological viewpoint regarding how federal funds are distributed. You think it's stupid to use federal funds for local projects. Apparently the government has not been consulting you because federal funds are used for local projects all the time. That's where my remark about you not understanding how government works comes from. You're arguing about how things should be, not how they are.
posted by monkeyman at 4:24 PM on September 2, 2005


Are the people at the convention center and superdome getting these things now, or is today just more of the same?

All day, since they showed the trucks roll in, i haven't seen one live report from either the SuperDome or Convention Center. Are they getting food and water??? Who knows. I think the reporters have been pushed away.
posted by amberglow at 4:30 PM on September 2, 2005


I saw a report a couple of hours ago showing interior shots of now empty Superdome. I think it was on Fox.
posted by Carbolic at 4:35 PM on September 2, 2005


It was refreshing to watch Anderson Cooper from CNN tear a new asshole for Trent Lott five minutes ago. Lott was blaming the media for "these statements that the Federal government has not reacted fats enough". Anderson kept driving the point home that local people on the ground have been making that statement, not the "media."

Goodbye Trent Lott. Enjoy your porch.

Now CNN is addressing the racial disparity among victims and giving full coverage to the Congrssional Black Caucus' grievances.

The press has found its real American idenity! CNN - I'm so very impressed.
posted by zaelic at 4:38 PM on September 2, 2005


and the Convention Center? was the Superdome filled with garbage and stuff? was it from before? or now?

I heard just recently a 2-year-old was trampled to death in one of them, and a baby was stillborn there today.
posted by amberglow at 4:40 PM on September 2, 2005


Sorry - I meant "fast enough". Damn I miss the spell checker....
posted by zaelic at 4:40 PM on September 2, 2005


Boy, I was just watching the Cooper/Lott interview and I must have blinked. I didn't see anything approaching asshole tearing.
posted by Carbolic at 4:42 PM on September 2, 2005


Miko: A shit load of links to articles noting that shots were fired at helicopters. You could have easily found these yourself.

I wasn't looking for links; obviously there are hundreds of links that will say something like "with looters running rampant and helicopters being fired on..." I was looking for a direct citation. Where someone, mentioned with a name was willing to have an observation or fact attributed to their name. And we did find one, though I think his statement is still in question until we have some other reports from eyewitnesses corroborating his story.

I'm not saying it didn't happen; I just want to know where, when, to whom, and how much before we start slinging it around as though it's happening on every street corner.

Having worked in journalism, I'm painfully aware that there's a tendency to report what you've seen other people reporting, or what 'everyone is saying.' But all you have is hearsay until you have people willing to go on record.
posted by Miko at 4:45 PM on September 2, 2005


For the third time, the FAA has reported that NO HELICOPTERS HAVE BEEN FIRED UPON to their knowledge, and they are the ones who should know.

Pencil me in as another who doesn't think this is conclusive proof that shots weren't fired. The FAA wants to know all kinds of things, and the way they find out is that you contact them and tell them. Say you hit a deer on your landing roll, for example. You are encouraged to fill out FAA form 5200-7... conveniently you can fill it out online now. Except not, since your plane ground looped after hitting the deer and you're in the hospital. Maybe you'll get around to it.

Now imagine that you fly a helicopter for the coast guard. Your main concern is lifting people off of rooftops and dropping supplies. You're a busy guy/gal. Is it really going to help anyone to mail a form in to the FAA? Maybe they'll put out a NOTAM, but to me it seems more helpful to let your CO know and let the info percolate through whatever coordination structure is in place for relief operations. You can bet that the FAA isn't running that.

Note carefully that the FAA says they haven't received any reports of the gunfire.

I did have fun imagning this conversation, though:
Me: Altoona Radio, Skyhawk 13231 receiving the Allegheny RCO at 122.9.
AR: Skyhawk 13231, Altoona, go ahead
Me: Yeah, Altoona, Skyhawk 13231 would like to file a pilot report.
AR: Stand by 231, OK... go ahead.
Me: OK, 231 is a Cessna 172... We're 10 miles south-southeast of the Allegheny VOR on the 150 radial, at three thousand seven hundred... reporting few clouds at four thousand two hundred, ten miles visibility, negative turbulence, and light to moderate gunfire.

posted by tss at 4:46 PM on September 2, 2005


Amber: The shots of the Superdome were after it had been emptied. They interviewed on of the news people who was with the camera operator. They only had shots of the playing field (which was a sea of trash). The person they interviewed said they wanted to get other shots but no one could stand the smell.
posted by Carbolic at 4:46 PM on September 2, 2005


Pencil me in as another who doesn't think this is conclusive proof that shots weren't fired.

We don't know. All we know now is that a couple of staffers from Acadian Ambulance said that shots were fired, and then many, many other people repeated that they had heard that had happened. We may know more when more accounts based on direct observation come out.
posted by Miko at 4:52 PM on September 2, 2005


thanks Carbolic--the longer i don't see live shots of the people, the more worried i get about them. if they're yelling on tv, or just visible, at least i know they're still alive. I want to know why there are no reporters with them anymore.
posted by amberglow at 4:52 PM on September 2, 2005


The comments about NO's black thug crime culture are well founded here. It is a very dangerous place on a good day - the crime there is much higher than else where in the US. This not a racist observation. To dismiss it as so it part of the problem we face in these ghettoized communities. But since when is the US free of criminal culture? For christ sake it was pirates and thieves that helped FOUND this country - as well malcontents and religious freaks.

Looting, disorder? All of that could have been dealt with BEFORE the serious problems materialized. There should have been 40,000 guard troops in NO on fucking Saturday. I mean, hell, ain't we into "pre-emptive warfare" these days?

There is no excuse for this - having no potable water or food available to desperate and dying American Citizens less than three hours drive from other major metro areas. Areas NOT at all affected by the storm surge.

Who is to blame? Well I feel this mayors frustrations. But LA and, NO in particular, are notorious for neglecting slums, poor government and corrupt police. So the seeds of mistrust in the poor communities had been sewn years ago.

But there is no way a poor state like LA could deal with this level of catastrophe without massive federal support from the very beginning. No way. And how many LA and MS guard units are serving in Iraq? That HAS to have an impact. Guard units also deplete local first responders because many guard guys are already LEO's or firemen etc. Double whammy.

He can't stand the heat? Then he can resign the POTUS and go back to his frat Alum parties and snort coke again. It's his fucking job to take responsibility for what happens here. I don't care if it's a hurricane or a terrorist attack. The mother fucker is paid to deal with this shit. And when he can't he's got accept the blame.

And. God Fucking Damn it.

Anybody blames the victims one more time I swear I will find a way to kick you in the nuts over the cyberspace.
posted by tkchrist at 4:56 PM on September 2, 2005


what tkchrist said.

The failures are at every level of government, but the buck stops at the top, and with FEMA--and Homeland Security, which we now know isn't.
posted by amberglow at 4:58 PM on September 2, 2005


BBB+ is investment grade, not a bad rating, and people buy BBB paper all the time*-- GM and Ford carry nearly half a trillion in debt, much of it issued at BBB+ and worse. If NO/LA's selling group had a hard time finding buyers and the issue was undersubscribed, a quick phone call (and a percent or two) would get Ambac, FGIC, FSA or MBIA to insure the bond, raising the rating.

You seem to be arguing from some lofty, ideological viewpoint regarding how federal funds are distributed.


No, its pretty fucking clear that I'm not arguing how funds are distributed. I'm arguing how they ought to be distributed. There's a big difference. It's not like Federalism is some flashy, brand-new concept that I'm premiering for everyone in MeFi. You're free to disagree with the doctrine, but not everyone who subscribes to it is ignorant or stupid.

I don't see you going around to other threads where people call for government reform and telling everyone that they don't know how government works, and I'm not sure why you're doing so here.

Last, I am not blaming the victims individually, but I am blaming them collectively. It's been said that people get the government they deserve, and IMO, the saying isn't entirely untrue, especially in reference to democracies. I'm sure that the state and local governments have pissed away $30/person/year for some time now. The residents, voters, and politicians of the area could have afforded to prepare for and mitigate the effects of this disaster, but they didn't. No big surprise, considering the smartest politico in the state lost for being brown. So, no one "deserved to die," but the elephant in the room is that very few had to die, and that many of those who are dead and or homeless have their local elected officials (and those who put them in office) to blame. And our children (won't someone think of them!) will be poorer thanks to the coming deficit-funded bailout that recipients will use to build brand new homes on the same old sinking floodbowl. Brilliant example of man learning from his mistakes.

*.18% of BBB-rated borrowers default in a given year. BBB+ borrowers likely fare even better. Is there anything more you'd like to teach me about finance? Really, I'm all ears.
posted by Kwantsar at 4:59 PM on September 2, 2005


I suspect the US government hasn't asked for support because a) they aren't organized enough to make use of it, and b) they think it would look like an admission of incompetence. Image is much more important to these guys than actual success.

c.) They don't want to accept help from us at the same time as fucking us over on the softwood lumber decision that was in our favour.
posted by zarah at 5:01 PM on September 2, 2005


Wow, tkchrist. Exactly. Thank you.
posted by psmealey at 5:04 PM on September 2, 2005


NEW ORLEANS & THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION CHRONOLOGY

"Here's a timeline that outlines the fate of both FEMA and flood control projects in New Orleans under the Bush administration:
January 2001:
Bush appoints Joe Allbaugh, a crony from Texas, as head of FEMA. Allbaugh has no previous experience in disaster management.

April 2001:
Budget Director Mitch Daniels announces the Bush administration's goal of privatizing much of FEMA's work. In May, Allbaugh confirms that FEMA will be downsized: 'Many are concerned that federal disaster assistance may have evolved into both an oversized entitlement program....' he said. 'Expectations of when the federal government should be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level.'

2001:
FEMA designates a major hurricane hitting New Orleans as one of the three 'likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country.'

December 2002:
After less than two years at FEMA, Allbaugh announces he is leaving to start up a consulting firm that advises companies seeking to do business in Iraq. He is succeeded by his deputy, Michael Brown, who, like Allbaugh, has no previous experience in disaster management.

March 2003:
FEMA is downgraded from a cabinet level position and folded into the Department of Homeland Security. Its mission is refocused on fighting acts of terrorism.

2003:
Under its new organization chart within DHS, FEMA's preparation and planning functions are reassigned to a new Office of Preparedness and Response. FEMA will henceforth focus only on response and recovery.

Summer 2004:
FEMA denies Louisiana's pre-disaster mitigation funding requests. Says Jefferson Parish flood zone manager Tom Rodrigue: 'You would think we would get maximum consideration....This is what the grant program called for. We were more than qualified for it.'

June 2004:
The Army Corps of Engineers budget for levee construction in New Orleans is slashed. Jefferson Parish emergency management chiefs Walter Maestri comments: 'It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay.'

June 2005:
Funding for the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is cut by a record $71.2 million. One of the hardest-hit areas is the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, which was created after the May 1995 flood to improve drainage in Jefferson, Orleans and St. Tammany parishes.

August 2005:
While New Orleans is undergoing a slow motion catastrophe, Bush mugs for the cameras, cuts a cake for John McCain, plays the guitar for Mark Wills, delivers an address about V-J day, and continues with his vacation. When he finally gets around to acknowledging the scope of the unfolding disaster, he delivers only a photo op on Air Force One and a flat, defensive, laundry list speech in the Rose Garden.

A crony with no relevant experience was installed as head of FEMA. Mitigation budgets for New Orleans were slashed even though it was known to be one of the top three risks in the country. FEMA was deliberately downsized as part of the Bush administration's conservative agenda to reduce the role of government. After DHS was created, FEMA's preparation and planning functions were taken away.

Actions have consequences. No one could predict that a hurricane the size of Katrina would hit this year, but the slow federal response when it did happen was no accident. It was the result of four years of deliberate Republican policy and budget choices that favor ideology and partisan loyalty at the expense of operational competence. It's the Bush administration in a nutshell."

- an e-mail message from Professor Henry Breitrose, Stanford University.
posted by ericb at 5:04 PM on September 2, 2005


--He can't stand the heat?

I was talking about Bush.
posted by tkchrist at 5:09 PM on September 2, 2005


Bush Declares State of Emergency ...Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency continue to coordinate with state authorities in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, and have prepositioned supplies in areas expected to be affected, he said. ...

For those saying that this is not the time to lay blame, you'll be sure to remind us when it's time to find out what happened to those prepositioned supplies, right?
posted by dreamsign at 5:13 PM on September 2, 2005


The runway at NOLA is above the water, is it functional? Landing an M-1 tanks weight worth of food or water (70 tons) seems better than long distance truck drives.

Hmmm. How did we get all that heavy metal to Iraq anyway? Pfff... this whole scenario is a operation of idiocy.

Drudgereport.com has an interesting pic of hundreds of partially submerged school buses. What kept them from being used to evacuate?

I mean; what ideas have people been living with as far as assumptions of what to do in case of emergency? Take the pins out of the voodoo dolls? Last time I was in NOLA the idea of disaster was some bizarre cause for a celebration... have a hurricane and drink up.
I don't blame the victims, but if something is wrong in hometown USA, it is hometown USAs responsibility to make sure it gets fixed. I mean, other states are not going to lobby to have other states problems issued; to wit, can you picture Wisconsin trying to pass a bill to deal with upstate NY water polution in the thousand lakes region? Is Iowa going to get involved in California coastal erosion? North Dakota take means to ensure that the Gypsy Moth doesn't spread? These are local issues, and if the local populace and elected oafficials (oaf + official) don't make enough of an issue about it... then the fed gov't is going to Give the money elsewhere...
How much did those off shore casinos make anyway? And the Superdome? All the hotels? The French Quarter? NOLA generated a lot of money. What did it do with all of it?
posted by buzzman at 5:27 PM on September 2, 2005



7:03 P.M. - CNN's Barbara Starr reports that there is "no indication" the convention center in New Orleans is secure. She reports there is still much unrest.

posted by amberglow at 5:27 PM on September 2, 2005


Are you in high school, monkeyman? Municipalities don't "ask" for municipal bonds-- they issue them. An underwriter arranges a syndicate, which distributes them to retail and institutional investors across the country.

I'd also advise you not to argue capital markets with investment bankers, because we know a little more about these things than you do.

PS-- I understand how government works quite well. What have I written that leads you to believe otherwise?


It's not investment banking or government you don't get Kwantsar. It seems to be basic fucking human decency you lack.
posted by stenseng at 5:30 PM on September 2, 2005


Was FEMA ready for a disaster like Katrina?
"...it appears that the federal government did not follow up on an exercise last year that mostly predicted what happened in New Orleans — devastating flooding and hundreds of thousands stranded.

The scenario was dubbed Hurricane Pam: 120 mph winds, a massive storm surge, 20 feet of water in the city, 80 percent of buildings damaged, refugees on rooftops, possibly gun violence that would slow the rescue. [NBC Nightly News | September 2, 2005]
posted by ericb at 5:38 PM on September 2, 2005


No, stenseng, I don't lack decency-- I lack restraint. He started it with:

Kwantsar, give it up. You are wrong... Do you seriously think the city can get bonds just for the asking? You have repeatedly shown that you do not have a clue how government really works in America... Imagining otherwise is fantasy.

posted by Kwantsar at 5:40 PM on September 2, 2005


Like I said before the bond/finance issue is a red herring you keep throwing out as a way to ignore the fact it was the ACOE, a federal agency, that is largely responsible for flood prevention in N. O. Was that the best way to handle flood control? I don't know, I'm just saying that that's the way it is. Discussing imaginary bond issues doesn't change the fact that the ACOE is responsible for flood prevention and FEMA is responsible for disaster relief.

Have you read any of the links about the levee funding? Some of the projects that were affected by lower funding was work on the first levee that failed, the Industrial Canal at 17th, installing new pumps (old pumps failing were largely responsible for the initial flooding), and a study regarding preparation for a class 5 hurricane. Should the whole nation bear collective responsibility for electing an official who allowed funds for the ACOE and FEMA to be drastically cut? You continue to blame the locals who have paid for significant portions of the flood control projects which you would know if you read some links, for a problem that was also being handled at the federal level.

Also your repeated assertions that people in New Orleans shouldn't live below sea level is ridiculous. Should people in L.A. fund their own earthquake damage prevention? How about Florida? The coast of North Carolina? St. Louis is on fault line. Where do you draw the line?

What's your point about government reform anyway? Are you saying that all your quoted comments were just abstract points about reform? If that's the case start your own thread about how the government should change the way disasters are planned for and relief is handled because this thread is about the shitty response from the federal government.
posted by monkeyman at 5:49 PM on September 2, 2005


Something bothers me about this picture....






No white people. None. At. All.
posted by jaded at 5:50 PM on September 2, 2005


Really? What bothers me is the sad child's face as the mother breaks down.
posted by cavalier at 5:56 PM on September 2, 2005


jaded: No white people. None. At. All.

Odds are you and I are on the same side of this. But it does bear mentioning that Whites are a heavy minority in New Orleans. If the numbers I saw were accurate, Blacks are a 67% majority. So that explains some of it, at least. Not all, I realize, but some...
posted by Sinner at 5:56 PM on September 2, 2005


it's a majority-African-American city to begin with, and very poor.
posted by amberglow at 5:56 PM on September 2, 2005


Oh. I started it. A little thin-skinned are we? I thought you started it with this asinine statement.

It's funny that everyone blasts the feds for lack of planning, but no one blasts LA and NO for not building a more effective long-term hurricane defense. It's not like a tornado struck Boston, or an Earthquake struck Minnesota. This is a hurricane and flood that occurred in an area prone to hurricanes and floods.

I don't give a shit about bond issues, it's your callous attitude towards the city of N.O. that's so offensive. Every post you have made you continues to blame the victim without acknowledging the signifficant part the federal government played. That's why you are wrong.
posted by monkeyman at 5:57 PM on September 2, 2005


There are a few white people there. I saw them on CNN earlier. Maybe about 5.
posted by monkeyman at 5:59 PM on September 2, 2005


It's not a red herring. The local police are responsible for patrolling my neighborhood, but if they're doing a poor job or I don't trust them, I buy a gun, get a dog, or contract a private security firm. If the neighbor kid who is supposed to cut my grass doesn't show up, I don't just let the weeds grow-- I find someone else to cut it. The fact of the matter is that local and state government could have done something about the problem, but did not. Swim in your sea of alphabet soup if you'd like, but it won't change a thing. The locals may have paid "a significant portion" of the projects but (as many of the links show) what had been bought was inadequate.

As to your what-about-these-guys questions-- I don't think Federal tax dollars should be spent reconstructing destruction prone areas. Period. Don't you understand how futile it is to build on, say, the Outer Banks of NC, when your building floods or blows away every five years? You sure as shit wouldn't do it with your own money unless you were a blithering idiot. Why is government money any different?

If you can't see that poor local planning and management created/magnified the problem of a poor federal response (and necessitated federal response), and you don't understand why my point is germane to the other, you're being willfully obtuse. I'm off.
posted by Kwantsar at 6:07 PM on September 2, 2005


Geraldo is on Fox news, on Hannity & Colmes, losing it and kind of crying. Hannity starts in "tell us objectively-- " and Geraldo says: 'this is not about objectivity, this is about reality."

REporter Shepard Smith, who has been there since the beginning, has been preaching reality for hours now, angrily and patiently. He did a bit better with Bill O'Rielly, forcefully insisting that things were still not going to well. But Hannity just interrupted his description of conditions by saying "Let's get some perspective here," to which Smith responded "This IS perspective. This is all the perspective you need."

I admit it is good to see reporters kick over the traces and talk about reality.
posted by Miko at 6:11 PM on September 2, 2005


Oops. Too well.
posted by Miko at 6:11 PM on September 2, 2005


I don't think Federal tax dollars should be spent reconstructing destruction prone areas. Period.

Even if there is a net economic benefit to doing so? Didn't you just claim to be an investment banker?
posted by cell divide at 6:14 PM on September 2, 2005


I used to cut Bush a great deal of slack. I was no compulsive hater. And I have a conservative streak in many ways.

But now. NOW?

Any illusion of compassion and competency that guys like Bush and Hastert had before this event must certainly be shattered now.

Liberal or conservative: If you a shred of principle. A molecule of morality. An ion of intelligence. You cannot possibly support this man.

You think this is the only Natural disaster that can happen over the next four years? Or terrorist attacks? This is what we have government FOR?

Blame the victims? What about when it happens to YOUR town? Who you blaming then?

My god. Anybody in this country still supporting this administration now must simply be insane or have Downs syndrome.

My own brother. A republican. A born again christian. A retired army major. A prison guard trainer for the Florida Corrections system. A Bush supporter.

He grew reluctant after the last hurricane recovery effort in Florida was handled so politically - and then seeing how the Iraq war was prosecuted. But now. AS of yesterday. He has turned completely. And the gloves are off.

He has joined my father and myself. We are patriots and veterans against this the most terrible threats to our republic: Incompetence.

What Sheehan could not do - a wind of fury has done.
God help us.
posted by tkchrist at 6:15 PM on September 2, 2005


so many of us are furious--and helpless beyond donating. This is not how America is supposed to be.
posted by amberglow at 6:17 PM on September 2, 2005


Rhetoric Not Matching in Relief

"The Iraqi insurgency is in its last throes. The economy is booming. Anybody who leaks a CIA agent's identity will be fired. Add another piece of White House rhetoric that doesn't match the public's view of reality: Help is on the way, Gulf Coast.

As New Orleans descended into anarchy, top Bush administration officials congratulated each other for jobs well done and spoke of water, food and troops pouring into the ravaged city. Television pictures told a different story.

'What it reminded me of the other day is "Baghdad Bob" saying there are no Americans at the airport,' said Rich Galen, a Republican consultant in Washington. He was referring to Saddam Hussein's reality-challenged minister of information who denied the existence of U.S. troops in the Iraqi capital.

To some critics, President Bush seemed to deny the existence of problems with hurricane relief this week. He waited until Friday to acknowledged that 'the results are not acceptable,' and even then the president parsed his words.

Republicans worry that he looks out of touch defending the chaotic emergency response.

'It's impossible to defend something like this happening in America,' said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

'No one can be happy with the kind of response which we've seen in New Orleans,' said Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.

Bush got himself in trouble by trying to put the best face on a horrible situation. The strategy is so common in Washington that operatives have a name for it, 'spin,' and the Bush White House has perfected the shady art."
posted by ericb at 8:05 PM on September 2, 2005


“Two key U.S. senators said on Friday they will open a bipartisan investigation into what they described as an ‘immense failure’ of the government response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who heads the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, the panel's top Democrat, said they plan to begin an oversight investigation next week when the full Senate returns from a summer recess.” [source]
posted by ericb at 8:05 PM on September 2, 2005


Kwantsar: Federal response would have been necessary no matter what. It's the quality of the response that leaves something to be desired. It's nice that you waited until your last post to read the linked articles. I would've hated for facts to affect your opinions. I guess your little grass mowing analogy is as close as you are going to come to admitting that the feds did not do their job. Willfully obtuse? Hi pot. Nice to meet you. I'm kettle.

This is the first time someone on Metafilter has said something so aggravating that I felt compelled to waste my evening arguing and clogging the blue. I feel like a real mefite now.

On a positive note, it looks like the ACOE is getting the levee break under control. Of course, it will still take 30-60 more days to get the water out.
posted by monkeyman at 8:06 PM on September 2, 2005


Only half facetiously, I suggest that we might want to build a fence around New Orleans and call it a federal prison. I don't blame federal authorities for this mess. I blame the remaining citizens and their local race-baiting politicians.

Man. I keep thinking that no one really thinks this way. No one really could think this way. But they do. What an ugly life that must be, to be able to boldly, confidently, gleefully hold this kind of opinion. What an ugly life, ugly thoughts, ugly relationships, ugly deeds, and ugly existence. And not to know it's ugly. Like living in an outhouse and never realizing you're surrounded by the stink of shit. The rotten, decaying, self-involved stink of shit.

Jeez, people really do think this way, don't they? Damn.
posted by umberto at 8:10 PM on September 2, 2005


Ericb -- nice posts here. Well done.
posted by Toecutter at 8:15 PM on September 2, 2005


Man. I keep thinking that everyone knows the meaning of the word facetious. No one really could think that this is in any way related to the word fascist. But, they do. What an ignorant life that must be. Ignorant thoughts, relationships, deeds and existence.

And, they don't even know that they're ignorant. They don't know that they're blathering on in a vacumn of knowlege. My gosh, people don't actually get paid in real life for this quality of analytical analysis do they? Of course not.

Nothing personal umberto.
posted by paleocon at 8:23 PM on September 2, 2005


This is not how America is supposed to be.
posted by amberglow at 6:17 PM PST


This is so true and disheartening. I used to have this picture in my mind of Americans working together when the chips are down. Adversity brings out the best in the American people.

We have proven to the entire world that this is not true. It breaks my heart.
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:24 PM on September 2, 2005


Thanks taz. I was looking for a transcript of this interview after hearing it on CNN. It is true that as the mayor, Nagin bears a good measure of responsibility especially in planning ahead on what to do after the hurricane passes.

But his frustration, honest frustration, really struck in cord in me. This is a desperate city leader who lacks the resources that has been promised, but simply isn't getting to him even after four days. Meanwhile, his people are dropping like flies and the city sinks into lawlessness.

The entire handling of Hurricane Katrina on a federal level is representative of how ineffective the Federal government is. (Nothing surprising though.)

The extensive looting and anarchy is what makes me wonder... Off the top of my head, I can't think of a natural disaster striking a city of New Orleans size that went out of control this way.
posted by slf at 8:34 PM on September 2, 2005


So that explains some of it, at least. Not all, I realize, but some...

Whites have 3x the median income of blacks, and also largely live in the unflooded suburbs to the west.

Walking about 1/4 mile north from the convention center, through the Quarter, puts you in (what seemed to me) the 'hood.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:35 PM on September 2, 2005


paleocon - You're a disgusting individual.
posted by bshort at 8:37 PM on September 2, 2005


NYT on Ray Nagin -- and it makes another important point that I had not considered in thinking through the allotment of responsibility:
"No matter how great a mayor is, and this mayor is great, they cannot function well without good communication," Senator Landrieu said. "No mayor could have kept control of this city without a functioning communication system. He couldn't call a press conference or the chief of police."
posted by Miko at 8:38 PM on September 2, 2005


Tell you what, Paleocon: if you'll try to rephrase your 'facetious' parody of my post in some way that makes a lick of fucking sense, I'll try and take offense at it. That should float your boat.
posted by umberto at 8:59 PM on September 2, 2005


Heywood the flooding from the lake levee inundated white neighborhoods first but became more integrated as the waters rose. The initial flooding on the east side was in largely black area and the canal break was in a black area. West of downtown is many neighborhoods, some mostly white, some mostly black.

New Orleans racial distribution doesn't break down that neatly into large areas of single races. Poor neighborhoods border mansions sometimes on other sides of the street. I had an urban sociology professor who was fascinated by the phenomenon.

Also there is an element of racism in NewOrleans that often goes unmentioned in that there is a seperate class of black creoles that are characterized by lighter skin and french sounding names. Good explanation here. As a group, creoles have retained much of the political power in N.O. and added to the discrimination against dark-skinned blacks.
posted by monkeyman at 9:10 PM on September 2, 2005


Only half facetiously, I suggest that we might want to build a fence around New Orleans and call it a federal prison. I don't blame federal authorities for this mess. I blame the remaining citizens and their local race-baiting politicians.

Man. I keep thinking that everyone knows the meaning of the word facetious. No one really could think that this is in any way related to the word fascist. But, they do. What an ignorant life that must be.

Might I half-facetiously suggest that you go throw yourself on the nearest sharpened spear. No. I did not just call you a fascist. I'm saving that for later.
posted by dreamsign at 9:15 PM on September 2, 2005


Any illusion of compassion and competency that guys like Bush and Hastert had before this event must certainly be shattered now.

You mean his dull smirk in the face of previous tragedies wasn't enough for you?

I'm sorry, but you guys are the reason he is in charge TODAY.
posted by dreamsign at 9:16 PM on September 2, 2005


Only half facetiously, I suggest that we might want to build a fence around New Orleans and call it a federal prison.

Yep. And then put you in the middle of it. Without any butt putty...
posted by c13 at 9:22 PM on September 2, 2005


The 82nd Airborn Division of Ft. Bragg can be anywhere in the world in 48 hours or less. . . . Except NOLA. . . .
posted by buzzman at 9:22 PM on September 2, 2005


"There are a few white people there. I saw them on CNN earlier. Maybe about 5."

Exactly! But where in this hell are the hispanics?
posted by mischief at 9:23 PM on September 2, 2005


... They would move heaven and earth to save the life of one White Woman in Florida to combat the very idea of euthanasia (which technically it was not). A woman that a decade earlier had lost her ability to so much as ask for help, much less have coherent thoughts about the quality of her own life.

And they would sit on their ass and watch as tens of thousands of poor men, women, children, babies, and elderly bake in the New Orleans heat surrounded by water, sewage, gasoline and an abandoned city, now devoid of anyone with the means to have escaped ahead of the storm.

This is the culture of life. The culture of life wants to save brain dead white women and unborn children. The culture of life wants you to watch endless non-news about the disappearance of one white teenager in Aruba. The culture of life wants you to support your nation as it kills tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians in its Quixotic quest against a non-threat. The culture of life wants a zero-tolerance for looters policy to sound authoritative as babies die of dehydration. The culture of life expects you to take care of yourself, and if you can't, then it is your own fault for getting into that situation in the first place. Fuck off. You had your shot. ...

posted by amberglow at 9:36 PM on September 2, 2005


I personally would like to see that "culture of life" refrain stick to Bush like friggin crazy glue after this debacle. Any and every letter written to media should use this phrase.
posted by dreamsign at 9:57 PM on September 2, 2005


i think the baby jesus is REALLY crying now.
posted by brandz at 9:57 PM on September 2, 2005


monkeyman: the creole "layering" of race identifiers is in fact common--we had it in Cape Town (South Africa) where it is still rather divisive. So NO is not (was not? Hell, I still cannot stand the moment of recognition required in using the correct conjugation--it makes me well up every time) unique in that regard.

I wish there were more that I could do. Living in metro NYC, I watched towers fall on NYC powerless--but even then, anxious as I was to try and do something, I feel that this now is even more important and my frustration is even greater.

For those who suggest that everyone still trapped in NO is a criminal and should simply be abandoned, or is somehow addled or "unfit" for having stayed or being unable to leave: fuck you and your middle-class, smug assumptions about the world. I've encountered it before relative to suffering in Africa that I have witnessed firsthand; but to see it at home disgusts me in a way I thought I was incapable of being disgusted. If we had half the sense of civic responsibility as a society that every first-world nation besides ourselves on Earth has we would have ensured that every city has a plan adequate to get every single citizen out in such a scenario. It took the Titanic to require enough lifeboats for everyone including the steerage class; the only positive I can imagine coming out of this is a legacy of competent emergency management, required by law, and enforced by open public oversight. I thought we had it; now I see that the rhetoric of preparedness was all for the cameras, with even less substance than I had believed.

Yet for all its foulups, the government's failure is less maddening to me than my fellow middle-class Americans' attempts to explain the suffering and the victims away while they bitch about gas prices. GRRRR freakin' R.
posted by trigonometry at 10:00 PM on September 2, 2005


we won't get competent emergency management, trig, until this crew is out of office. we had promotions after 9/11, and after peddling all the lies about Iraq too. this won't be any different.
posted by amberglow at 10:07 PM on September 2, 2005


Well, if the gov't did choose an incident to examine emergency response and mob behavior; did you really think they would wait until San Fran had the big one, or wealthy Miami had the mega-cane, or Chicago heat... ooops. Damn trends.
posted by buzzman at 10:27 PM on September 2, 2005


we won't get competent emergency management, trig, until this crew is out of office.

Well maybe it's just me, but somehow I wouldn't have thought that the head of FEMA should be a strictly patronage appointment. A few skills might be nice.
posted by dreamsign at 11:19 PM on September 2, 2005


I'm beginning to think that neither Bush, nor any other federal bigwigs, will be able to speak to a crowd of those who are now suffering.

Bush will never set foot in New Orleans with real people within a mile. Not even to say 'Mission Accomplished' with that retarded smirk.

The crowd would kill him. They would at least try.
posted by blasdelf at 12:45 AM on September 3, 2005


A woman outside New Orleans Convention Centre cries for help for a patient in her care. Photo: Melissa Phillip/AP
posted by cytherea at 1:07 AM on September 3, 2005


There's your race relations. Nice find, cytherea.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:00 AM on September 3, 2005


I've seen a lot of that kind of thing in the coverage - adults carrying children of different races, younger people tending elderly of different races, groups of people huddled to protect others of different races, people of different races sharing food.

Black people in NO outnumber whites on a normal day, it's true; and the disaster has further separated the races so that there is a concentration of black people in the city now. But if you start watching even a little closely, you'll see that most of our cut-and-dried assumptions about race relations aren't necessarily expressing themselves here.

There is an important racial element to what's happened, of course. But I also think we may be projecting our own life experiences onto what we think is probably happening in NO. But this is different from our own life experiences. This is a disaster.
posted by Miko at 6:24 AM on September 3, 2005


i still can't believe that after the wind and rain had subsided that no one came to new orleans rescue . . . for days . . .days .

those people , many of which i spent mardi gras 04 , and 05 shoulder to shoulder with in a joyful occasion , now dying with no help.
i remember many faces from those nights, i remember families crowed in canal street arms stretched out at passing floats, children on their parents shoulders,
old men sitting to one side watching the young people.
men who had seen many celebrations in their city. what a change , what a waist.
posted by nola at 7:52 AM on September 3, 2005


Bush's gross incompetence at a time of national peril.
posted by ericb at 8:00 AM on September 3, 2005


Superdome Evacuations Temporarily Halted
...At one point Friday, the evacuation was interrupted briefly when school buses pulled up so some 700 guests and employees from the Hyatt Hotel could move to the head of the evacuation line — much to the amazement of those who had been crammed in the Superdome since last Sunday.

"How does this work? They (are) clean, they are dry, they get out ahead of us?" exclaimed Howard Blue, 22, who tried to get in their line. The National Guard blocked him as other guardsmen helped the well-dressed guests with their luggage.

The 700 had been trapped in the hotel, near the Superdome, but conditions were considerably cleaner, even without running water, than the unsanitary crush inside the dome.
posted by missmerrymack at 8:34 AM on September 3, 2005


"At the end of an unforgettable week, one broadcaster on Friday bitterly encapsulated the sense of burning shame and anger that many American citizens are feeling.

Flood victims were left virtually to their own devices for days

The only difference between the chaos of New Orleans and a Third World disaster operation, he said, was that a foreign dictator would have responded better." [BBC News | September 3, 2005]
posted by ericb at 8:51 AM on September 3, 2005


I'm thankful for paleocon's remarks, it's a nice time capsule for those of us who weren't there during the good old times and don't really know about some law-abiding white folks' love for law and order
posted by matteo at 9:21 AM on September 3, 2005


and I'm also happy that Kkkwantsar defended him
posted by matteo at 9:22 AM on September 3, 2005


I'm sorry, but you guys are the reason he is in charge TODAY.

You deserve to be bitch slapped for such a stupid statement.

What "guys"? I never voted for Bush? Ever. I argued myself blue in the face in 2000 against my idiot friends who were going to vote Nader.

My brother? Yeah. He voted for Bush in 2000 - but he is a conservative christian. But Nader voters knew better. Don't get me started.

You wanna lay blame? The DNC is responsible for fucking Bush. Kerry? C'mon. I puked in my mouth a little pulling the lever for that dipshit. It was the DNC - the Left - who failed us in 2004.

Dude. I called this. I saw a Republican sweep in 1998 and called both 2000 and 2004. To the friggin margin. But my caucuses would not listen.

Anyway we can make up for it now. It's obvious the power-right's compassion is empty. And now joe conservative recognizes that - the left has a real opportunity to show the way and heal this fucking country.

Lefties. Don't blow it.
posted by tkchrist at 1:23 PM on September 3, 2005


Mr. Dickinson,

I am sure that you are well aware of the situation in the Gulf Coast region. I have read news reports stating that Carnival is "mulling over" the idea of sending cruise ships for relief work.


Just wanted to come back and post the great news that Carnival Cruise lines will participate in the rescue efforts with three ships! They're sending the Ecstacy, the Holiday, and the Sensation.

Just one catch -- the government has to pay a charter contract fee for it.

Can you believe that shit?! All this time, they weren't 'mulling', they were negotiating a price.

"We sincerely apologize to those guests whose vacations have been impacted by these voyage cancellations," Carnival CEO Bob Dickinson said in a news release ...."I can't put a number on it, but we are displacing people to accommodate the FEMA charter," he said. "You're looking at tens of thousands."
posted by Miko at 2:13 PM on September 3, 2005


No surprise here. Shameful.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:45 PM on September 3, 2005


Secretary Chertoff, Department of Homeland Security: “It is a source of tremendous pride to me to work with people who have pulled off this really exceptional response.”
posted by ericb at 2:50 PM on September 3, 2005


Plenty of white tourists in there. I bet the treatment of tourists is putting a whole lot of people outside the US off of going there. Get ready to grow trade deficit!
posted by wackybrit at 2:56 PM on September 3, 2005


5,000 people stuck in the Superdome for another day?!
posted by cell divide at 2:59 PM on September 3, 2005


Nader voters knew better.

Absolutely.

The DNC is responsible for fucking Bush.

Way to push the responsibility away from the actual GOP voters. Two weeks ago, support for the Iraq debacle fell to an all-time low of 56%. Look where you're at, and we're talking 56%. And don't kid yourself -- that's because of American casualties. Any amount of dead (insert nationality here) wouldn't have made a shred of difference. And that's why this has.
posted by dreamsign at 11:49 PM on September 3, 2005


Just one catch -- the government has to pay a charter contract fee for it. Can you believe that shit?! All this time, they weren't 'mulling', they were negotiating a price.

If it's a requisition, under the Merchant Marine code they are required to offer just compensation. It's probably a voluntary charter, though.

(This is not an opinion on whether they sought this quickly enough or are using taxpayer monies wisely.)
posted by dhartung at 11:51 PM on September 3, 2005


Looks like much fewer fatalities in New Orleans than the incompetent government thought: several hundred v. 10,000? Does this mean everyone on this site will apologize to President Bush? Guess not.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:14 AM on September 12, 2005


They are still counting the bodies. More will emerge from drowning deaths. Not likely 10,000, but I wouldn't be surprised at a few thousand.

I believe the 10,000 was the high estimate for the region - Mississippi and rural Louisiana are reporting many deaths from houses and buildings coming down.
posted by jb at 11:23 AM on September 12, 2005


Actually, I think a fair interpretation of media would be a possible high of 10K, but most or all in the immediate NO area; not spread along the Gulf coast.

One of the reasons I don't a television is the television news makes me ill. And one of the reason it does that is it's culture of exageration; because exageration towards the horrific side seems to have no down side: people are happy when fewer are dead; when the im pending 18" of snow is only 8, etc. I still remember how multiple tv corrrspondents insisted that the building directly across from the WTC was about to buckle and fall (US Steel Building?) But, it was completely, structurally sound.

Snow storms may not be liberal or conservative, but death tolls in hurricaines are--at least when the media is super ready to blame the federal government (R), even though the local and state government are mostly, overwelmingly to blame for floods and levees that fair, and evacuation places created and (not) executed.

I think I'll keep that outlet in my livingroom tv-unplugged.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:37 AM on September 12, 2005


Then there's this fun thing...
posted by ParisParamus at 11:43 AM on September 12, 2005


"Shortly after Katrina devastated New Orleans on Aug. 29, breaching levees and flooding the city, Mayor Ray Nagin said the death toll could reach 10,000. Federal officials also prepared for a high toll, making 25,000 body bags available." [Reuters | September 9, 2005].

Looks to me like the Feds were estimating a higher death toll than the locals.
posted by ericb at 11:54 AM on September 12, 2005


That being said, PP, exactly what number of dead is considered acceptable and what number unacceptable?
posted by ericb at 11:55 AM on September 12, 2005


ParisParamus -- the silence is deafening!
posted by ericb at 9:53 PM on September 12, 2005


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