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the cavalry is coming, the cavalry is coming
September 4, 2005 9:50 AM   Subscribe

"The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?" And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday." And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night." Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish in New Orleans damns FEMA on Tim Russett this morning. (WMV clip)
posted by madamjujujive (202 comments total)

 
uhm, link?
posted by mrplab at 9:53 AM on September 4, 2005


Fixed link
posted by caddis at 9:54 AM on September 4, 2005


found it here.
posted by mrplab at 9:54 AM on September 4, 2005


ugh, so sorry about the link screw up... my apologies
posted by madamjujujive at 9:56 AM on September 4, 2005


Holy shit.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:57 AM on September 4, 2005


wow.

these are disgusting times.
posted by mrplab at 9:58 AM on September 4, 2005


2006 and 2008 elections are coming up. Make them pay for their incompetency.
posted by Rothko at 10:00 AM on September 4, 2005


I have my tinfoil hat in hand, wavering a bit, but it almost seems like the federal government is actively trying to retard efforts to save people.
posted by nightchrome at 10:01 AM on September 4, 2005


The garbage keeps flying out of their mouths:

Grover Norquist, blamed the chaos on "looting in a Democratic city run by a Democratic mayor and a Democratic governor."
posted by psmealey at 10:01 AM on September 4, 2005


God, how poignant.
posted by caddis at 10:01 AM on September 4, 2005


Here is a full transcript of the show which was very powerful. Broussard spoke longer than the excerpted clip above. Also, clips are now available on the NBC Meet the Press site.
caddis, mrplab, thanks for your help
posted by madamjujujive at 10:03 AM on September 4, 2005


damn, damn, damn ... i never thought i'd live to see the day when people would rather see WALMART running the show than the federal government

this just sucks
posted by pyramid termite at 10:05 AM on September 4, 2005


There are thousands upon thousands of others who can tell this same story or some variation and I'll still be moved in the same way. What is almost as shocking is what he said about FEMA cutting lines of communication and turning back trucks of bottled water/supplies. It just boggles the mind to think of what rationale FEMA could have for doing this. Man oh man, I'm just dumbfounded.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:08 AM on September 4, 2005


Quoting Broussard:

Let me give you just three quick examples. We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn't need them. This was a week ago. FEMA--we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. The Coast Guard said, "Come get the fuel right away." When we got there with our trucks, they got a word. "FEMA says don't give you the fuel." Yesterday--yesterday--FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, "No one is getting near these lines." Sheriff Harry Lee said that if America--American government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn't be in this crisis.
posted by Rothko at 10:09 AM on September 4, 2005


I didn't think I had any tears left. I've been at the Astrodome the last couple of days, and I honestly didn't think I had any tears left.

Damn.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:09 AM on September 4, 2005


NY Times is reporting 31 dead in that nursing home.
posted by amber_dale at 10:12 AM on September 4, 2005


I think part of the problem is that FEMA was optimized and streamlined to deal with terrorist attacks, not natural disasters, so their basic rulebook was fucked. And they followed it.

Remember on the old WKRP when there are tornadoes approaching the city and Les Nessman adapts his prepared Russian invasion speech on the fly? "Cincinnati is under attack by the godless... tornadoes..."
posted by fleetmouse at 10:12 AM on September 4, 2005


Brutal. Just brutal. The more I read and see, it seems like they've been actively trying to PREVENT anyone from helping the people in New Orleans.

Thanks for posting this.
posted by Melinika at 10:14 AM on September 4, 2005


their basic rulebook was fucked. And they followed it.

One can only wonder how turning away water and fuel and cutting phone lines figure into the rules.
posted by mediareport at 10:15 AM on September 4, 2005


Here is another tale of FEMA fuckup - I posted this in another thread this morning, but it is perhaps more relevant here. FEMA turned away 500 experienced boaters from Lafayette:

On Wednesday morning a group of approximately 1,000 citizens pulling 500 boats left the Acadiana Mall in Lafayette in the early morning and headed to New Orleans with a police escort from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department. The flotillia of trucks pulling boats stretched over FIVE miles. This citizen rescue group was organized by La. State Senator, Nick Gautreaux from Vermilion Parish. The group was comprised of experienced boaters, licensed fishermen and hunters, people who have spent their entire adult life and teenage years on the waterways of Louisiana.

The State Police waved the flotillia of trucks/boats through the barricades in LaPlace and we sped into New Orleans via I-10 until past the airport and near the Clearview exit. At that time we were stopped by agents of the FEMA controlled La. Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries. A young DWF agent strolled through the boats and told approximately half of the citizens that their boats were too large because the water had dropped during the night and that they should turn around and go home.

posted by madamjujujive at 10:15 AM on September 4, 2005


WHAT THE FUCK!!!
posted by McGuillicuddy at 10:15 AM on September 4, 2005


Wow.
posted by ericb at 10:16 AM on September 4, 2005


WTF America?
Turning away fuel, water, help? Gross incompetence & negligence that would be a scandal anywhere, but in the USA?

I don't get it. It seems impossible. In the Uk, these clowns would be sacked. A commission would be set up. Ministers would have to apologise via Parliament.

Will they?
posted by dash_slot- at 10:17 AM on September 4, 2005


The whole world is watching!
posted by ericb at 10:17 AM on September 4, 2005


"One can only wonder how turning away water and fuel and cutting phone lines figure into the rules."

Secure the area, cut off communications that could be used to plan further attacks, no one gets in or out, treat all brown-skinned people as potential enemy combatants.
posted by fleetmouse at 10:17 AM on September 4, 2005


damn. they just played this clip on cnn.
posted by atom128 at 10:18 AM on September 4, 2005


I think part of the problem is that FEMA was optimized and streamlined to deal with terrorist attacks, not natural disasters, so their basic rulebook was fucked. And they followed it.

If this is true, it only happened recently. When my dad was in FEMA, I remember back in 1986 seeing documents that he had talking about what would be done if New Orleans ever had a direct hurricane hit. This has been "prepared" for years.
posted by ColdChef at 10:19 AM on September 4, 2005


i just completely fell apart.
posted by moonbird at 10:19 AM on September 4, 2005


> I think part of the problem is that FEMA was optimized and streamlined to deal with terrorist attacks

> i never thought i'd live to see the day when people would rather see WALMART running the show than the federal government

Washington Post

Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state’s emergency operations center said Saturday.

The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law.

Louisiana did not reach out to a multi-state mutual aid compact for assistance until Wednesday, three state and federal officials said. As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.

posted by dand at 10:19 AM on September 4, 2005


Secure the area, cut off communications that could be used to plan further attacks, no one gets in or out, treat all brown-skinned people as potential enemy combatants.
posted by fleetmouse at 1:17 PM EST on September 4 [!]


You have to wonder if it isn't true...
posted by Rothko at 10:19 AM on September 4, 2005


Does anyone else, besides me, think that they're doing this in purpose?
posted by jsavimbi at 10:20 AM on September 4, 2005


The boats that were turned away contained MetaFilter's own hero, atchafalaya, who took matters into his own hands. He's the shit.
posted by ColdChef at 10:20 AM on September 4, 2005


If you haven't viewed the clip and have only read the transcript, view the clip. The transcript doesn't do it justice. FEMA needs to have every top level position fired. All of them.

Sickening.
posted by Justinian at 10:21 AM on September 4, 2005


.
posted by blendor at 10:22 AM on September 4, 2005


How can they have such little commen sense? Of course these people need water. What the hell?
I was reading in the paper yesterday about a woman whose husband was on oxygen and very ill, so she put him on a board and started pushing it in an effort to find him medical help. He died, right there on the street, on that makeshift stretcher she made for him. There was a picture of her sitting beside his (covered) body. That's when it really hit me.
There are people dying, suffering, and they are preventing them from getting help. I don't understand.
posted by aclevername at 10:22 AM on September 4, 2005


Oh Jesus, I'm with WolfDaddy. I thought I was cried out after my friend finally got word yesterday that her dad died on Wednesday (and her brother's still missing). But seeing that -- god, the tears just keep coming.
posted by scody at 10:22 AM on September 4, 2005


I don't even know what to say anymore. What is beyond outrage? What is beyond horror?

Sickened and disgusted don't even come close to being adequate.
posted by clubfoote at 10:23 AM on September 4, 2005


I'm trying desperately to keep in mind that all of these are initial reports, and trying to remind myself that there's another side to every story, and trying with all my strength to reserve judgment and realize that folks are in a tight spot trying to do their best, but *fuck* the evidence of utter incompetence just keeps piling up and up and up...madamjujujive, that story is just stunning.
posted by mediareport at 10:24 AM on September 4, 2005


Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state’s emergency operations center said Saturday.

and this would have prevented federal agents from turning back boat rescue teams and walmart trucks full of water, how?

what disingenuous bullshit
posted by pyramid termite at 10:25 AM on September 4, 2005


The part that bothers me most is the knowledge, deep in my gut, that not a goddamn person at the top who is responsible for this will suffer any consequences at all.
posted by nightchrome at 10:25 AM on September 4, 2005


I really thought I'd achieved some level of numbness, after all these horrors, but watching this left me shaking and in tears. I'm very glad to hear they're running it on CNN; they should broadcast it on the half-hour on every fucking network on the air.
posted by Kat Allison at 10:25 AM on September 4, 2005


omg, read the NYT article that amber-dale linked.


Here is one excerpt:
Sheriff Stephens, interviewed on the Cajun Queen, also said federal assistance had been minimal. "I have Royal Canadian Mounties who have gotten here faster than the federal government," he said. "I have made more life-and-death decisions in the last four or five days than I have in 22 years."

The Canadians were actually members of a 47-member search-and-rescue team sent from the municipal government in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Its members have gone from house to house, extracting survivors who have weathered the storm and its bitter aftermath. At least 200 were identified yesterday, said Terry Nikolai, a member of the Canadian team.


... and another ...

Mark Melancon, a firefighter who has been living with colleagues in the BellSouth building, said they had begun shaving their heads at night, in an act of mourning, despair and distraction. "The number of bodies we're finding is unbelievable," he said.

Even some people who were able to get to the parish's evacuation centers did not survive. Representative Charlie Melancon, a Democrat who represents the area, said in an interview in Baton Rouge that 100 people in St. Bernard Parish had died while trying to leave, which he attributed to a lack of water and food.

posted by madamjujujive at 10:26 AM on September 4, 2005


Sheriff Stephens, interviewed on the Cajun Queen, also said federal assistance had been minimal. "I have Royal Canadian Mounties who have gotten here faster than the federal government," he said.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:26 AM on September 4, 2005


The part that bothers me most is the knowledge, deep in my gut, that not a goddamn person at the top who is responsible for this will suffer any consequences at all.
posted by nightchrome at 1:25 PM EST on September 4 [!]


2006 and 2008 elections are coming up. Make the politicians pay for their incompetency with their livelihoods.
posted by Rothko at 10:27 AM on September 4, 2005


.
posted by matteo at 10:27 AM on September 4, 2005


You say that as though elections actually determine who runs things anymore...
posted by nightchrome at 10:27 AM on September 4, 2005


Two days I learned that the Red Cross was barred from entering the city. I've since learned that boaters who came in to rescue victims have been turned away.

Now, the president of Jefferson Parish has said they turned back trucks with water? They turned back fuel? FEMA cut emergency communications?!?!

If it's true that FEMA cut emergency communications on purpose....this is not incompetence or underwhelming response, this is MURDER. This isn't rank abandonment and carelessness, but an active threat to the people of this country. The implications of this!

Broussard said: "Bureaucracy has committed murder here"
posted by edverb at 10:28 AM on September 4, 2005


You say that as though elections actually determine who runs things anymore...
posted by nightchrome at 1:27 PM EST on September 4 [!]


The alternative is apathy, and helplessness. Apathy is what leads to hopeless situations like NO in the first place.
posted by Rothko at 10:29 AM on September 4, 2005


> I remember back in 1986 seeing documents that he had talking about what would be done if New Orleans ever had a direct hurricane hit. This has been "prepared" for years.

Yes, there are plans:

City of New Orleans Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan Hurricane Preparedness

The person responsible for recognition of hurricane related preparation needs and for the issuance of an evacuation order is the Mayor of the City of New Orleans...Evacuation notices or orders will be issued during three stages prior to gale force winds making landfall.

V. TASKS

A. Mayor

* Initiate the evacuation.

* Retain overall control of all evacuation procedures via EOC operations.

* Authorize return to evacuated areas

D. Regional Transit Authority

* Supply transportation as needed in accordance with the current Standard Operating Procedures.

posted by dand at 10:29 AM on September 4, 2005


You say that as though elections actually determine who runs things anymore...

It's easy to be cynical about politicians, but the FEMA director under Clinton had a plan to predeploy hospital and pumping ships, ready to come in after a major hurricane in New Orleans. Elections DO make a difference.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:30 AM on September 4, 2005


Jesus, what an outrage.

Excuse my ignorance here, but can someone explain the role of a Parish? I'm only familiar with the phrase in a religious sense. Is it the same in this case?
posted by btwillig at 10:30 AM on September 4, 2005


Yes, what is up with that WaPo story? Didn't DHS already have authority to go in and consolidate lines of command? If the WaPo line is true, it would be damning for Blanco and would somewhat vindicate the federal bureaucracy. However, it smacks of the federal government acting six days late to file a legal brief "requesting persmission" for authority they already had - a convenient way to deflect more of the blame onto state authorities.
posted by nyterrant at 10:30 AM on September 4, 2005


evidence of utter incompetence

My apologies for reposting this from another thread ... but, just two examples of incompetence of the federal government (and I expect we will learn about even more over the next days, weeks and months)
"New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco help from his state's National Guard last Sunday, the day before Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Blanco accepted, but paperwork needed to get the troops en route didn't come from Washington until late Thursday....In addition to Guard help, the federal government could have activated, but did not, a major air support plan under a pre-existing contract with airlines. The program, called Civilian Reserve Air Fleet, lets the government quickly put private cargo and passenger planes into service." [Associated Press | September 3, 2005]
posted by ericb at 10:31 AM on September 4, 2005


This is absolutely heartbreaking--and made even more so by the inevitable partisan politics that will masquerade as retrospective investigation into this and other tragedies. nightchrome is unfortunately 100% right.
posted by Ricky_gr10 at 10:31 AM on September 4, 2005


Make the politicians pay for their incompetency with their livelihoods.

That's what sucks. The worst that can happent to them is that they loose their jobs.

The alternative is apathy, and helplessness.

That's not the only alternative..
posted by c13 at 10:31 AM on September 4, 2005


"Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state’s emergency operations center said Saturday."

So... I dunno... you're saying that cutting comm lines, turning away aid and keeping people from walking away from the convention center was an act of revenge on the part of the feds?
posted by fleetmouse at 10:32 AM on September 4, 2005


Let's not forgot the now oft-posted mandate of the DHS from their website:
"In the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume primary responsibility...for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation. This will entail providing a coordinated, comprehensive federal response to any large-scale crisis and mounting a swift and effective recovery effort.
posted by ericb at 10:33 AM on September 4, 2005


I, too, had thought I was cried out.

Kat Allison is right: air that fucker every hour on the hour.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:34 AM on September 4, 2005


V. TASKS

A. Mayor

* Initiate the evacuation.

* Retain overall control of all evacuation procedures via EOC operations.

* Authorize return to evacuated areas


* Turn into a giant magical bird and fly people to safety
posted by fleetmouse at 10:35 AM on September 4, 2005


madamjujujive, here's another "boats turned away by FEMA" story, from Florida:
Florida Airboaters Assistance turned down by FEMA
posted by Melinika at 10:35 AM on September 4, 2005


The sad truth is that the professionals will spin this and spin it and spin it some more, until the average citizen doesn't know what to think or who to blame, only that something horrible has happened and no one knows why.
I suspect that in a few days, PR teams will take the few success stories, stories of true heroism, and put a nice political sheen over them to promote unity and faith in the system and all that jazz.
posted by nightchrome at 10:36 AM on September 4, 2005


If you don't commit to [a massive coastal restoration project] which is this $14 billion, costs of the Big Dig in Boston, or two weeks of spending Iraq, you shouldn't fix a single window in New Orleans. You shouldn't pick up a single piece of debris because to do one without the other is to set the table for another nightmare."

My emphasis.
posted by RichLyon at 10:37 AM on September 4, 2005


The WaPo story has a different spin on why the boaters were turned back:

Outside New Orleans, frustration boiled over among the boatmen who spontaneously left their homes in central Louisiana to rescue stranded residents in the first hours after reports of flooding hit the airwaves. For the past two days, many have been turned away because of security concerns in a city that had turned violent and chaotic...The boatmen who made it in came back with harrowing memories. Kenny, who did not want to disclose his last name, said friends were shot at by stranded people who wanted to steal their boats. "It's total chaos," he said.

And thanks, ericb, for that AP article. Paperwork? They waited four days for fucking paperwork?
posted by mediareport at 10:39 AM on September 4, 2005


Video from a guy that went to help by boat but eventually had to leave. Worth watching.
posted by shoepal at 10:39 AM on September 4, 2005


Excuse my ignorance here, but can someone explain the role of a Parish? I'm only familiar with the phrase in a religious sense. Is it the same in this case?

Louisiana calls its counties parishes.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:39 AM on September 4, 2005


Disgusting... phony leaders who spend too much time pretending to lead and posing for cameras...nightcrome, I hope the media will not accept the spin after these terrible events.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:40 AM on September 4, 2005


Thanks, monju...
posted by btwillig at 10:41 AM on September 4, 2005


Also - Daley 'shocked' as feds reject aid
"A visibly angry Mayor Daley [of Chicago] said the city had offered emergency, medical and technical help to the federal government as early as Sunday to assist people in the areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina, but as of Friday, the only things the feds said they wanted was a single tank truck.

...Daley said the city offered 36 members of the firefighters' technical rescue teams, eight emergency medical technicians, search-and-rescue equipment, more than 100 police officers as well as police vehicles and two boats, 29 clinical and 117 non-clinical health workers, a mobile clinic and eight trained personnel, 140 Streets and Sanitation workers and 29 trucks, plus other supplies. City personnel are willing to operate self-sufficiently and would not depend on local authorities for food, water, shelter and other supplies, he said."
posted by ericb at 10:42 AM on September 4, 2005


(thanks for the clip/post madamjujujive. Un-effing-believable.)
posted by shoepal at 10:44 AM on September 4, 2005


I don't even know what to say anymore. What is beyond outrage? What is beyond horror?

Torches and pitchforks.
posted by jmgorman at 10:44 AM on September 4, 2005


ok all . . . time to put on the tin foil hats for a moment - but i think it's due time to discuss some research i've been doing in the world of "conspiracy theory" - whatever that may mean in a situation like this. the horrors are so offensive, so blatant, that i feel like i at least need to note my findings here. please take these as you will - but i'm starting to see the lines connect in a rather disturbing way.

from David Ickes recent Newsletter
------------------------------------------

THE REAL REASON FOR FEMA

It is clear that the response to the unbelievable carnage and suffering in the wake of Hurricane Katrina has been pathetic. This is not surprising when you look at the real agenda behind the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA. Once again I have been exposing the background to this organization for a decade in books like … And The Truth Shall Set You Free and The Robots’ Rebellion. In the latter I wrote:

‘FEMA’s public face is presented as an organization that reacts to national emergencies – everything from a nuclear attack to an earthquake or urban riot. Strange then, you might think, that only six per cent of its budget is spent on national emergencies. The rest is used to construct underground facilities for the government in time of ‘foreign or domestic’ emergency, and to build ‘holding facilties’, prisons and ‘refugee facilities’, none of which have ever been used for such purposes. So, why are they building them? FEMA has around 3,600 employees, and yet only 60 work on natural disasters or prepare plans in case of nuclear attack. What are the rest doing?’

The Robots Rebellion is available by clicking here

The lack of response to the suffering in those southern states can now be understood when you realize that FEMA is not there to mount such a response. Reporters from the world media can get in and out of there, so can the military, but they can’t do the same with food and water?? I wrote in … And The Truth Shall Set You Free:

‘… government organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are fronts for the creation of holding areas (concentration camps) … FEMA was created under an Executive Order (which requires no debate in Congress), and signed by president Jimmy Carter, the Trilateral Commission front man. This allows FEMA to take control of the United States during any ‘national emergency’ declared by the president. These powers include marshall law and the right of the military to enforce whatever FEMA decides. All the laws are already in force which allow a military takeover of the United States. They have been passed by Executive Order and any time a president calls a state of emergency they can be invoked.’

Oliver North, of Iran-Contra fame, was heavily involved in the creation of FEMA, so say no more. We have all seen the scale of suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but away from the mainstream media it will be far worse. In Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster I detail the real background to Hurricane Andrew that devastated parts of Florida in 1992. This was another highly suspect hurricane and what you read here in this extract from the book is what will now be happening amid the devastation of Katrina:

FEMA and Hurricane Andrew

I have spoken with survivors of Hurricane Andrew, which struck South Dade County, Florida, in 1992 and anyone who wants to know what the world will be like under organizations like FEMA and their masters should listen to what they say. The horror stories they tell about the actions of FEMA beggar belief. Far from helping the hundreds of thousands of homeless and injured victims, FEMA cordoned off the area and left the people to fend for them selves. They were given no food, no water, no medical supplies, no shelter and no help whatsoever when the disaster struck. One of the victims was K.T. Frankovich who suffered serious injuries in the hurricane. She tells of her horrific experiences in her book, Where Heavens Meet. About three days after the hurricane had devastated the region, she said that a long line of police cars, about 12 to 15, arrived in her area. Each car was driven by a man dressed in a dark police uniform and they had three other plain clothes men riding as passengers, she said. K.T. had a broken jaw, eight teeth knocked out and huge pieces of glass embedded in her body that only a scalpel could remove. She begged this FEMA convoy for help and this was the exchange that followed, as described by K.T. in Where Heavens Meet.

“Please Sir, I need medical help,” I begged, barely able to speak. The officer sitting behind the wheel sighed heavily. He turned his head away from me and gazed out his windshield. The other three men in the car quietly looked at me. “Please Sir, I need to get to a hospital,” I begged franticly. The officer took his time about reaching over and switching off the engine. With another sigh, he slowly opened the door and climbed out. He then proceeded to close the door and stood there with his legs astride.

“Lady, do me a favour,” he answered. “Find yourself a piece of paper and a pencil. Write down your name and social security number next to the phone number of your nearest living relative. Tuck the piece of paper in your pocket so tomorrow, when I find your body, I’ll know who to contact.”

“No! No!” I cried out. “You don’t understand. I need to get to a hospital. I’ve been badly injured.”

“No! You’re the one that doesn’t understand,” he hissed back.

“With that, he reached over to his holster and took out his gun. He grabbed me, forcing me up against the side of the car, and proceeded to put the barrel of the gun against my temple. I heard the hammer cock. From the position he had pushed me into, I could see directly into the car. The man sitting in the front passenger seat looked away from me immediately, glancing down to the floor. The two passengers in the back turned their heads quickly, staring out the window on the other side of the car. My son and the other survivor watched as the officer had pulled back the hammer on his gun. So shocked out of their minds by what they were witnessing, neither one could move!

“You don’t belong here!” the officer growled, pressing the barrel into the side of my head. “Now you get the hell outta here before I blow away your ass!”

“He shoved my face into the car window and then released me. Someone grabbed me from behind and whirled me around so fast I didn’t have time to think! Before I knew it, I was being thrown over a shoulder. My rescuer took off running as fast as he could! I caught a brief glimpse of my son running next to me. With one gigantic leap, he and the survivor who carried me down behind a pile of debris. All three of us crashed on top of each other in one tangled up heap.

“I’ll shoot your damn asses!” the officer’s voice rang out.”

This is the mentality behind FEMA, the US military, the Office of Homeland “Security” and leaders of government. That mentality would not orchestrate what happened on September 11th to advance its agenda? The official death toll of Hurricane Andrew was 26, but K.T. Frankovich says she saw at least 71 bodies taken away from one small area alone. She estimates the dead to have numbered thousands. But how many people know that? Only those involved and no one is listening to them. As always, the media told us what the official sources told them and they had no inclination to investigate further because it’s easier that way. When you consider how 8,230 mobile homes and 9,140 apartments disappeared in the wake of 200-300 miles an hour winds, it is obvious that the official death toll of 26 is insane. K.T. Frankovich recalls:

“The National Guard along with the Coast Guard, the Army, FEMA, Metro Dade Police, state police and local police removed dead bodies and body parts as quickly as possible during those first ten days of the aftermath. Horrified survivors watched as both uniformed and civilian-clothed men searched the rubble and filled body bags, which they then stacked in military vehicles or huge refrigerator trucks normally used to transport food, only to drive off and leave the stranded injured to fend for them selves.

“Not until I managed to escape the aftermath did I discover that the ‘thermo-king’ sections of these same refrigerator trucks, jam packed with wall to wall body bags, ended up being stored at Card Sound Navy Base, located in an isolated area just above the Florida Keys. The inside temperature was kept cool by portable generators until the bodies were either incinerated or just plain dumped into huge open grave pits.

“Those working on the body pick up operation were forced to take what is known as the Oath of Sworn Secrecy, which is strictly enforced by the government. Many of them plunged into shock, once exposed to the ghastly devastation and countless mutilated bodies. The horrors were way beyond human comprehension. I can vouch for this, as I accidentally stepped on the severed hand of a young child when I initially crawled out of the debris, only to witness shortly thereafter two dead teenagers and the decapitated body of a baby girl.”

K.T. says that when she lectured at the Clearwater Convention in Florida in 1999, a man in the audience introduced himself as Chief Petty Officer Roy Howard and said he had spent 9 weeks on active duty working in South Dade County amid the devastation. He said he learned that at least 5,280 people had died and that the bodies had been ‘confiscated’ by the National Guard and secretly disposed of in incinerators in a joint operation with FEMA. At least another 1,500 bodies were ‘confiscated’ from lakes and other water. This is the America that the population doesn’t see, but it soon will if people don’t wake up fast. FEMA, the organization behind all this and with all those fascist powers to take over America, is a 100% Illuminati creation funded by the profits from the CIA-Bush family drug operation. It is no surprise to learn, then, that it was during Father George’s time at the CIA and in the White House between 1980 and 1992 that this “emergency management” network was established in the name of fighting terrorism and … drug trafficking! You have to admire their cheek if nothing else.
posted by nyoki at 10:44 AM on September 4, 2005


The sad truth is that the professionals will spin this and spin it and spin it some more

I fervently pray that the Sean Hannitys will continue to be met with Shep Smiths and Geraldo Riveras. That the attempts to polish this turd is met with the descriptions of very real stench from survivors and witnesses to the devastation.

Everyone knows the slick PR operatives will try.

We must not accept this. We must not let them get away with it this time, not again.

SPIN KILLS. We the people must have the fortitude to say "enough".
posted by edverb at 10:45 AM on September 4, 2005


Nyoki, that ain't helpful. The Illuminati? Come on.
posted by Justinian at 10:48 AM on September 4, 2005


from David Ickes recent Newsletter

Isn't he the guy who thinks many world leaders are really extraterrestrial lizards sent to enslave us, and that the queen is really the head of a worldwide satanic religion with secret torture rituals? Can you maybe find a link from a slightly more credible source for this information?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:51 AM on September 4, 2005


nyoki, we have enough trouble right now, so take your David Ickes, conspiracy theory, loony toon bullshit somewhere else.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:51 AM on September 4, 2005


nyoki, some of what you're quoting may well be based on fact but it's coming from David Icke, a guy so batshitinsane he makes Lyndon LaRouche seem calm and measured.

Do we want to be quoting a guy who thinks that world leaders are secretly shapeshifting lizards?

No, we Do Not.
posted by fleetmouse at 10:53 AM on September 4, 2005


The links listed in the first few posts are giving me a 404 error now, though they worked about 10 minutes ago. Any links to other sites hosting this file? I'd like to save a copy of it.
posted by voltairemodern at 10:53 AM on September 4, 2005


Plus, over 5000 people died in Hurricane Andrew? You're an idiot.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:54 AM on September 4, 2005


Is there a mirror for that video? I'm just getting 404s, even from the links posted in the comments.
posted by dazed_one at 10:55 AM on September 4, 2005


The link above is fubar now. Crooks and Liars has a copy of the Broussard clip posted.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:58 AM on September 4, 2005


Torches and pitchforks.

Off to the shed (or Home Depot), to procure gardening tools and kerosine.

Though I fully expect a new breed of dog bite to grab the headlines all too soon, I hope against hope that Nagin's and Broussard's — and the countless others' — pleas are never forgotten.

How this colossal fuck up could happen is beyond belief. Our country is broken and heads should roll...
posted by triptychrecords at 10:58 AM on September 4, 2005


Links are dead. Anyone have an active one?
posted by iamck at 10:59 AM on September 4, 2005


How the wingnuts at Free Republic see the same clip:

"he's reading, did anyone else notice he's reading from a script????..got to wonder who wrote it for him.
He's lying, he's making up shit. He's thanking Governor Blanco????? Oh dear He's even thanking the Levee Board. oh my Lord!! this is high high drama.....
AND FAKE!!!! He's crying about somebody else's Mother???? Like that?????? I don't think so!!! What a dramatic tale of woe.. "this is a well-written dramatic reading!!! If Donna Brazille didn't write this, I bet she knows who did!!!"

The mind reels.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:59 AM on September 4, 2005


Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state’s emergency operations center said Saturday.

The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law.

Louisiana did not reach out to a multi-state mutual aid compact for assistance until Wednesday, three state and federal officials said. As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.
posted by dand at 1:19 PM EST on September 4 [!]



Well, apparently, according to this document from the Louisiana state government, formal help was requested of the President of the United States on Friday, August 26, 2005, not Wednesday, August 31:

"Dear Mr. President:

"...In response to the situation, I have taken appropriate action under State law and directed the execution of the State Emergency Plan on August 26, 2005, in accordance with Section 401 of the Stafford Act. A State of Emergency has been issued for the State in order to support the evacuations of the coastal areas and remainder of the state to support the State Evacuation and Sheltering Plan."


The Washington Post evidently did not do proper research, or is allowing the Bush administration to finagle the wording of "evacuation" after the fact.
posted by Rothko at 11:00 AM on September 4, 2005


Bittorrent here.
posted by iamck at 11:01 AM on September 4, 2005


Hold on, I'm rapidsharing it...

Here.
posted by fleetmouse at 11:01 AM on September 4, 2005


Damn, link fudged at C&L too.
posted by dazed_one at 11:01 AM on September 4, 2005


On (non)preview: thanks.
posted by dazed_one at 11:02 AM on September 4, 2005


The problem with a post like nyoki's is that it is batshit crazy, a legitimately screwed and absurd "conspiracy theory" that tarnishes any decent question about quiet alliances and hidden motives.

Aid in all forms from various sources is being denied, turned away, delayed. This just seems to go beyond incompetence, so what's up? What's really up? And if the questions go deep into motives of profit or attempts to command more power for federal agencies, I don't want anyone to mutter conspiracy theory and connect legitimate questions with space lizards.

(However, if someone had footage of Dick Cheney feasting on a bowl of flies I wouldn't blink an eye.)
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 11:04 AM on September 4, 2005


What the hell is going on in this country?

Is this just practice for martial law or what? And exactly what is going to happen at their Freedom March in DC? You know and I know and They should know that it's bound to turn into a melee so once again--What in the hell is going on in this country????
posted by leftcoastbob at 11:04 AM on September 4, 2005


I can mirror the file for a while.
posted by dobbs at 11:04 AM on September 4, 2005


CunningLinguist, the mind behaves in all sorts of odd ways to avoid cognitive dissonance.

It's taken me a long time to realize that, for example, the LGF people will never, never admit that Iraq was a mistake. Not while they can paper over reality with Cox and Forkum cartoons.
posted by fleetmouse at 11:05 AM on September 4, 2005


dazed_one: I just sent you a WAV copy. Anyone else want one or know a place I can upload it? I'd do it at my site, but I don't have the bandwidth.
posted by ?! at 11:07 AM on September 4, 2005


Batshit crazy is what has been going on in Louisiana over the past week. After that, everything else in merely unhinged loon.
posted by leftcoastbob at 11:07 AM on September 4, 2005


My thanks to you, mirror people.

I'm afraid this is another in a long line of events that leaves me speechless. I'm hoping to look at this clip again at some later date and work up some kind of intelligible response. For now, emotions are all that come.
posted by voltairemodern at 11:08 AM on September 4, 2005


The link's also now up on the MSNBC main page.
posted by Kat Allison at 11:08 AM on September 4, 2005


Ok, download here while you can.
posted by ?! at 11:09 AM on September 4, 2005


If anyone still had any doubt the the Freepers (and the rest of the Dubya Uber Alles crowd) are anything less than sociopaths, all doubts should now be laid to rest.
posted by scody at 11:09 AM on September 4, 2005


exactly what is going to happen at their Freedom March in DC?

A highly-scripted affair and off-bounds for those who do not pre-register:
"The Freedom Walk is free and open to anyone who registers. Registration closes at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, 2005. There will be no on-site registrations the day of the event."
posted by ericb at 11:10 AM on September 4, 2005


To follow up on Rothko's comment with a link to the Disaster Relief Request by Gov. Blanco, here is a comment on MoFi by Fes.

Note in the .pdf Blanco is asking for the 75% federal assistance to be 100%, and in Fes's comment he explains the 75% federal/25% state assistance deal. So it looks like because Louisiana wouldn't/didn't want to (or to my mind it's more likely they couldn't) foot 25% of the disaster assistance costs, the feds didn't go in.
posted by Melinika at 11:12 AM on September 4, 2005


(Yet another mirror.)
posted by muckster at 11:12 AM on September 4, 2005


(and a yousendit link)
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:15 AM on September 4, 2005


The story in the OP is a horrible one, but it also doesn't quite scan right for me. She was somewhere that she had a working telephone connection for five days and then somehow ended up in the water on the sixth?

I can see dying of thirst if aid doesn't come but unless she was in the water the whole time I don't see how she would have come to drown. And if she was in the water the whole time it doesn't seem likely she would have had a phone.

This one just doesn't ring true for me (though I could be wrong) but there are enough horrible stories being told that they don't all have to be true for it to be an amazing screw up.
posted by obfusciatrist at 11:15 AM on September 4, 2005


listen - i don't fall in line with believing that the world is controlled by lizzards - but you're wholy discrediting his assertion that FEMA is up to no good, backed by our own government. it's relavent information at the moment - i just don't know how else one could put this together than those at the top are creating a disaster on purpose. look at all the crazy shit linked above. food, water, assistance, supplies - all turned away. why?? that's what we all want to know. attack me all you want.
posted by nyoki at 11:16 AM on September 4, 2005


How much would it cost the US government to feed and house thousands of survivors for months on end until their city can be rebuilt? A lot. How much would it cost to simply let them die where they are? Absolutely free. It's not conspiracy theory, it's economics.
posted by hazyjane at 11:18 AM on September 4, 2005


> Turn into a giant magical bird and fly people to safety

Or, you could use the 500 busses sitting idle downtown:

DHS can assist in making plans for evacuation, but local officials did NOT follow them:

http://www.dotd.state.la.us/maps
Web_StateMap.pdf

http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/plans/STATE%20OF%20LOUISIANA%20EOP%202005.doc

5. The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. **School and municipal buses***, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating.

205 school busses sitting downtown:



New Orleans regional Transportation Authority has 364 busses that were not used to get any poor out of town:

american transportation association

Prior to the arrival of Katrina in New Orleans, Judge said, RTA operated buses Aug. 27 and 28 from various locations around the city to the emergency relief center at the Superdome. "Our practice is to run buses until we have tropical storm-force winds," he said. "Once that starts, we pull everybody in; the operators and central staff are basically at our Canal facility." NORTA operates a fleet of 364 buses and 66 streetcars.
posted by dand at 11:18 AM on September 4, 2005


Thanks for the copies and mirrors people. That clip just left me... speechless. Jesus, what's going on down there is a disgrace, and everything I've seen so far just compounds that fact.
posted by dazed_one at 11:20 AM on September 4, 2005


Note in the .pdf Blanco is asking for the 75% federal assistance to be 100%, and in Fes's comment he explains the 75% federal/25% state assistance deal. So it looks like because Louisiana wouldn't/didn't want to (or to my mind it's more likely they couldn't) foot 25% of the disaster assistance costs, the feds didn't go in.
posted by Melinika at 2:12 PM EST on September 4 [!]


Because the federal government would not cover the 25%, they ignored or would not honor Louisiana's formal declaration of a State of Emergency? Were the feds holding out for the 25% until Saturday, explaining the motivation for the senior Bush official's phrasing? I respect Fes a lot, and have no reason to doubt what he's saying, but I'm genuinely confused about how this explanation relates to how this formal declaration was originally treated by the Bush administration.
posted by Rothko at 11:20 AM on September 4, 2005


ok, shape shifting lizards are certainly out of the question ... but i've really got to wonder ... is the government trying to hide something? ... whitewash this? ... undercount the bodies?

it ain't gonna work
posted by pyramid termite at 11:22 AM on September 4, 2005


More incompetence.

In an interview with Tim Russert today Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff said he didn't know that the 17th Street Canal levee until he read about it in the newspaper on Tuesday morning. See video #2 here. The levee broke late Monday morning!
"A large section of the vital 17th Street Canal levee, where it connects to the brand new 'hurricane proof' Old Hammond Highway bridge, gave way late Monday morning in Bucktown after Katrina's fiercest winds were well north. The breach sent a churning sea of water from Lake Pontchartrain coursing across Lakeview and into Mid-City, Carrollton, Gentilly, City Park and neighborhoods farther south and east." [Times-Picayune]
posted by ericb at 11:24 AM on September 4, 2005


Rothko sez: The alternative is apathy, and helplessness. Apathy is what leads to hopeless situations like NO in the first place.

Rage Against the Machine sez:
"Hungry people don't stay hungry for long
They get hope from fire and smoke as they reach for tha dawn
Hungry people don't stay hungry for long
They get hope from fire and smoke as they reach for tha dawn"

Some others may say: Make the politicians pay for their incompetency with their livelihoods.

Voting doesn't mean hope. Voting means putting more people in office who do jack shit for us, instead of us taking action in our own hands.

I have complete and utter sympathy for the people who are trying to do things on their own initiative, but what pisses me off is that we're so trained to "obey" authorities, that when they tell us to turn around while people are dying, we do it. We need to get the moral courage to say "fuck you! if you don't have the compassion to do the right thing we, the people, will..."

Every single American should be able to agree on this. If someone wants to take the responsibility on theirself to enter a dangerous situation to help, why are they being turned away? What we need is to raise consciousness to a level that learns to rebel against authority in honor of a higher purpose of humanity.

I was ready on Wednesday night to just drive to LA, but I have no money and I'd run out of gas, so I know that I couldn't do a damn thing. But I honestly feel that if I had the ability I would've gone in there and told those fuckers to shut the fuck up and march in.

If they shoot me, or any of these people going in, you KNOW it's gonna look like a massacre, you KNOW it's gonna make them look bad. Would they shoot you to prevent you from delivering water? How could they explain that? Force the issue. People are fucking dying.

But we are so good at being compliant while pretending we're so brave and make sacrifices and are a "personal responsibility" society, yet we just obey...
posted by symbioid at 11:25 AM on September 4, 2005


At this point I would rather believe in the existence of shape shifting lizards than what seems to be actually occurring.
posted by leftcoastbob at 11:25 AM on September 4, 2005


Why would the federal government want any of these people to survive? To be "nice"? Give me a break. What are they going to do for George Bush and the Republican party? Nothing. So what are they worth to George Bush and the Republican party?
posted by hazyjane at 11:26 AM on September 4, 2005


he didn't know that the 17th Street Canal levee *had been breached*
posted by ericb at 11:26 AM on September 4, 2005


"This is not mere incompetence, but dereliction of duty. The press should call it by its proper name."
posted by ericb at 11:30 AM on September 4, 2005


You may be right, hazyjane. Guess Bush & Co can do things right when there is something in it for them.

FEMA was impressivley prepared for 2004 pre-election hurricanes. Billmon documents FEMA's rapid pre-positioning and deployment of aid to help the victims of Charley, Frances and Ivan, and the subsequent 8 point boost Bush got in the polls.

Go figure.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:31 AM on September 4, 2005


Worse than that, hazyjane, the poor of NO were obstacles toward the gentrification of the city. Naomi Klein had fascinating things to say about the rebuilding effort in the countries hit by the tsunami--it was apparently seen as a great opportunity because of all the newly available beachfront property. I'm curious to hear her take on what happened in NO.
posted by muckster at 11:34 AM on September 4, 2005


"Washington...was slow to react to the crisis. The Pentagon, under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was reluctant for the military to take a lead role in disaster relief, a job traditionally performed by FEMA and by the National Guard, which is commanded by state governors. President Bush could have 'federalized' the National Guard in an instant. That's what his father, President George H.W. Bush, did after the Los Angeles riots in 1992. Back then, the Justice Department sent Robert Mueller, a jut-jawed ex-Marine (who is now FBI director), to take charge, showing, in effect, that the cavalry had arrived. FEMA's current head, Michael Brown, has appeared over his head and even a little clueless in news interviews. He is far from the sort of take-charge presence New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani conveyed after 9/11.

Up to now, the Bush administration has not hesitated to sweep aside the opinions of lawyers on such matters as prisoners' rights. But after Katrina, a strange paralysis set in. For days, Bush's top advisers argued over legal niceties about who was in charge, according to three White House officials who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. Beginning early in the week, Justice Department lawyers presented arguments for federalizing the Guard, but Defense Department lawyers fretted about untrained 19-year-olds trying to enforce local laws, according to a senior law-enforcement official who requested anonymity citing the delicate nature of the discussions.

While Washington debated, the situation in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast deteriorated." [Newsweek | September 12, 2005 issue]
posted by ericb at 11:37 AM on September 4, 2005


Hey Dand,

I know! Lets point fingers with the politicans and figure out who's more at fault.

Oh wait, I have a better idea, lets not.
posted by clubfoote at 11:40 AM on September 4, 2005


I want to throw up. Somebody tie Bush to a chair and make him watch that clip on repeat until he fires Brown and Chertoff. The poor, poor people.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:40 AM on September 4, 2005


For days, Bush's top advisers argued over legal niceties about who was in charge

You'd think that when in doubt, the president would be in charge.
posted by dazed_one at 11:41 AM on September 4, 2005


I don't even know what to say anymore. What is beyond outrage? What is beyond horror?

Torches and pitchforks.


Seriously. Is anyone else ready to take it to the streets yet? I've donated money - as much as I can - and to see that the resources are not evev getting in - makes me want to puke.
What are we going to do about this?!

It also bothers me that I just came back from downtown. Saw many happy tourists enjoying their labor day weekend. Everyone appearing oblivious to the death and agony that is still going on. HAppily consuming. Saw nobody collecting $ for this effort, nobody with a sign, nothing. Where are the Americans? Where are we?
posted by Miko at 11:43 AM on September 4, 2005


You'd think that when in doubt, the president would be in charge.

Where's Jed Bartlett when you need him?
posted by Miko at 11:44 AM on September 4, 2005


She was somewhere that she had a working telephone connection for five days and then somehow ended up in the water on the sixth?

Phone lines work under water. There's nothing "incongruent" about her story, which, even if it weren't true (which is is), is identical to dozens of other identical stores that are.
posted by odinsdream at 11:48 AM on September 4, 2005


(which is it is)
posted by odinsdream at 11:49 AM on September 4, 2005


stores stories

I'm sorry. I am blinded by anger.
posted by odinsdream at 11:50 AM on September 4, 2005


The part that bothers me most is the knowledge, deep in my gut, that not a goddamn person at the top who is responsible for this will suffer any consequences at all.

We have guns, and there are more of us than there are of them. All these muderous bastards should be made into examples. Flay their skins into a patchwork of banners, written on with their own blood, hung all around Washington, declaring "This is what happens to traitors of civilization." Take back our society, by force if necessary.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:53 AM on September 4, 2005


Chertoff's behaviour is absolutely unexcusable. Nobody predicted it?!!? The exact scenario was described in The National Geographic a year earlier.

WTF America?
posted by McGuillicuddy at 11:56 AM on September 4, 2005


That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Preferably one that doesn't cut the emergency communications and turn back food, water, fuel, rescue boats and relief organizations during a disaster.
posted by edverb at 12:01 PM on September 4, 2005


Miko, I was a little reluctant to post this, but it's not all bad, and so I'm going ahead and saying this to hopefully offer a small glimmer of light in all the dark.

Here in Houston, there's a ton of support being offered to people who have been able to make it here from New Orleans. There's so many people down at the Astrodome helping, it's amazing. Everyone has a horrific story to tell and many people are not going home after their volunteer shifts to just talk to everyone they can, hold their hand, give them a shoulder to cry on. Churches, doctors, nurses, veterinarians, local government, cops and constabales and firemen and paramedica, charities, big business, small business, and just plain individual people have all thrown their weight towards helping these people just deal with the misery and suffering that everyone from the Gulf Coast has had to endure. I'm really amazed at all the goodwill coming out of this city right now.

There's been some confusion, to be sure, and mistakes have been made, but I've never felt like there were too many chefs and not enough cooks. People are getting the help they need, and in a fairly organized fashion.

I have to wonder if it's because FEMA's not here in full force (whatever the hell that means according to their lights) yet.

Anyway, if anyone would like to help out those helping in Houston, this website has got a list of a bunch of local resources that are pitching in to help deal with this catastrophe.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:02 PM on September 4, 2005


Another mirror of Aaron Broussard video.
Coral Cache of the same.
posted by odinsdream at 12:02 PM on September 4, 2005


OK, this is kind of off topic, but how much stuff has to go completely wrong before mere incompetence can't be to blame? ...it really makes one wonder.

Had the Bush administration taken office with the intended goals of completely eroding the national infrastructure, crippling critical national institutions through underfunding and the appointment of grossly incompetent leadership, destroying America's reputation in the world, poisoning our national discourse, etc. etc., he could hardly have done a better job.

How bad does incompetence really have to be before it can't be accidental? A lot of this sure does seem like it's on purpose...I might be drifting off into conspiracy land, which I usually never do (I think people are too selfish to sustain any real conspiracy for long), but this disaster really hits home--I grew up in Lafayette, and New Orleans was for a long time my weekend backyard....

Can this many mistakes really be accidental? Or am I talking crazy, frustrated, shock talk?
posted by LooseFilter at 12:05 PM on September 4, 2005


Miko: I'm feeling the way you're feeling. Totally spur of the moment, I've organized a gathering in my city for tonight, and it would be great if other mefites would help to get public gatherings going too. We're going to do a candlelight vigil and dove release. It's totally symbolic, but I think that giving the money and continuously infosurfing needs an answer in the real world. What we're doing online is good, but it's important to gather physically as communities, to honor the dead and suffering with a local response and to mobilise to do something about this rank ineptitude.

Folks, everyone, do something.
posted by moonbird at 12:06 PM on September 4, 2005


WolfDaddy, thank you so much for that link. I'm a native Texan (from Beaumont, actually!) and have spent the last few years being a bit quiet and shy about that fact because of the Resident. But I must say, I am really, really proud of Texas right now. I mean, really.

I still wish that, up here in New England, I saw more folks acting like they did around 9/11 -- like the problem was in their backyard. Because it is.
posted by Miko at 12:07 PM on September 4, 2005


it's important to gather physically as communities, to honor the dead and suffering with a local response and to mobilise to do something about this rank ineptitude.

Folks, everyone, do something.

Worth repeating.

It's powerful when Americans see their neighbors, physically present, making a stand.
posted by Miko at 12:10 PM on September 4, 2005


don't want to jump to conclusions, because the only thing I have knowledge about is FEMA's incompetence and Bush's idiotic photo-ops. That said, my first impressions of Blanco's actions are not positive.

However, it is beginning to look like the federal government tried to arm-twist Louisiana into a federal takeover of the state, and when they didn't go for it, the feds decided to let the state twist in the wind. It's just the sort of petty thing the bush administration has been known for, though they probably didn't realize that the consequences would have been so severe.

Phone lines work under water. There's nothing "incongruent" about her story,

On that note, let me make a plug for the POTS -- Plain Old Telephone System. It's extremely resilient and self-powered, so make sure to have at least one old-style, connect-it-and-go telephone. Those fancy cordless phones and cell phones might not work in a disaster, but a regular probably will.
posted by deanc at 12:10 PM on September 4, 2005


I was in NYC for 9/11, a disaster whose scale paled in comparison to what's going on in LA right now. Yet within hours, half of the country was there to help. The National Guard was asking me to show ID to get to my house below Houston St. It is painfully obvious to me that the rhetoric of the administration does not match reality in t his case. I heard the govvernor pleading for help at a press conference with tears in her eyes, backed by Senators Vitter and Landrieu. If that is not genuine then I don't know what is. This has been bungled so badly.... and the top dogs are trying to lay blame back on the state officials. I don't think that any amount of spin can erase the images of people dying on the street from anybody's minds. Hell, even Fox News has started to question all of this. The media has awakened from what seems like 5 years of silence and are FINALLY asking questions that should be asked. NEWT GINGRICH is asking "WTF?"

It does feel deliberate. It's disgusting. And if it's not deliberate, it's certainly criminally negligent.
posted by aGreatNotion at 12:11 PM on September 4, 2005


here in New England

And with 2,000 evacuees arriving at "a triage and medical evaluation center at Logan International Airport and a temporary shelter at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center" here in Boston, hopefully more folks will take notice of this horrific event.
posted by ericb at 12:12 PM on September 4, 2005


What are we going to do about this?! - posted by Miko.

I say, we get organized fast, take food and water, and go get any people out of there that want to leave. How about a massive car and SUV caravan heading over there from the nearest large cities, such as Atlanta and Houston? FEMA can't shoot all of us if we refuse to turn back. I'm sorry (no offense moonbird), but fuck candles and doves.

We are nearing the last moment that something could be done to help the starving and the dying. Wait any longer and it's going to be too late.

Set up a certain time and place to meet in each large city, just a few hours from now. Those that are willing to go, go. Others that can't, meet there and give money, water, energy bars.

I can't go (am in France, dammit) but I could email friends in Atlanta to publicize this and post it all over the internet.

Meet where? I'm thinking parking lot of midtown Marta station in Atlanta. What time?
posted by hazyjane at 12:14 PM on September 4, 2005


A standoff between a citizen army and FEMA.

Hm.
posted by Miko at 12:16 PM on September 4, 2005


dand, you omitted without ellipses an integral part of your quote of the WaPo article:
Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state’s emergency operations center said Saturday.

The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. "Quite frankly, if they'd been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals," said the source, who does not have the authority to speak publicly.

A senior administration official said that Bush has clear legal authority to federalize National Guard units to quell civil disturbances under the Insurrection Act and will continue to try to unify the chains of command that are split among the president, the Louisiana governor and the New Orleans mayor.


Louisiana did not reach out to a multi-state mutual aid compact for assistance until Wednesday, three state and federal officials said. As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.
posted by cytherea at 12:17 PM on September 4, 2005


Whew. I'm going to want to see some good analytical journalism when this settles down. Some hour-by-hour, who-was-where stuff. WIth the context of what was supposed to be happening vs. what was happening.
posted by Miko at 12:21 PM on September 4, 2005


A standoff between a citizen army and FEMA.

Hm. -
Miko

Exactly. Aux armes, citoyens!
posted by hazyjane at 12:21 PM on September 4, 2005


Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco today issued Proclamation No. 48 KBB 2005, declaring a state of emergency for the state Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina poses an imminent threat, carrying severe storms, high winds, and torrential rain that may cause flooding and damage to private property and public facilities, and threaten the safety and security of the citizens of the state of Louisiana The state of emergency extends from Friday, August 26, 2005, through Sunday, September 25, 2005, unless terminated sooner.

GOVERNOR BLANCO DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY

The President today declared an emergency exists in the State of Louisiana and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the parishes located in the path of Hurricane Katrina beginning on August 26, 2005, and continuing.

The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives, protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the parishes of Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, Claiborne, Catahoula, Concordia, De Soto, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Pointe Coupee, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, St. Helena, St. Landry, Tensas, Union, Vernon, Webster, West Carroll, West Feliciana, and Winn.


Statement on Federal Emergency Assistance for Louisiana

The roots of last week's failures will be examined for weeks and months to come, but early assessments point to a troubled Department of Homeland Security that is still in the midst of a bureaucratic transition, a "work in progress," as [former DHS official Suzanne] Mencer put it. Some current and former officials argued that as it worked to focus on counterterrorism, the department has diminished the government's ability to respond in a nuts-and-bolts way to disasters in general, and failed to focus enough on threats posed by hurricanes and other natural disasters in particular. From an independent Cabinet-level agency, FEMA has become an underfunded, isolated piece of the vast DHS, yet it is still charged with leading the government's response to disaster.

"It's such an irony I hate to say it, but we have less capability today than we did on September 11," said a veteran FEMA official involved in the hurricane response. "We are so much less than what we were in 2000," added another senior FEMA official. "We've lost a lot of what we were able to do then."

...."The federal system that was perfected in the '90s has been deconstructed," said [former FEMA chief of staff Jane] Bullock. Citing a study that found that the United States now spends $180 million a year to fend off natural hazards vs. $20 billion annually against terrorism, Bullock said, "FEMA has been marginalized....There is one focus and the focus is on terrorism."


Storm Exposed Disarray at the Top

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin predicted Sunday that there would be that many deaths in his city alone. "Thousands. If you do the math, there's 500,000 people in the city," the clearly weary mayor said. "We probably evacuated 80 percent" during the mandatory evacuation last Sunday. "We probably moved about 50,000 people out as it relates to -- 50,000 to 60,000 -- these shelters of last resort. So you probably have another 50,000 to 60,000 out there. You do the math, man. What do you think? Five percent is unreasonable (as a death toll)? Ten percent? Twenty percent? It's going to be a big number." A senior military commander on duty in New Orleans was no more optimistic. "Maybe 3,000, maybe 5,000. God, we hope it's no more than 10,000," he told CNN.

Officials predict thousands of deaths
posted by y2karl at 12:24 PM on September 4, 2005


2006 and 2008 elections are coming up. Make the politicians pay for their incompetency with their livelihoods.

See, this is another thing that Americans are going to have to fix. In 2004 over 30 million citizens voted using unauditable, paperless, proprietary, closed-source electronic voting machines and more are on the way. While it is true that there is no way to prove that any of those 30 million votes were manipulated in any way, there is no way to prove that they were not! Do you understand the implications of this? Elections, all over the world and throughout history, are conducted with the *assumption* that one or more individuals or groups may try to manipulate the results, and every process and procedure from beginning to end is designed to logically and transparently prevent manipulation. The results need to be provable.

Except in America, where citizens trust their government to *not fuck them over*. Every computer security expert in the country has been screaming about these machines for years - once you press the button, you have no way of knowing what happens - it may be accurate, it may not, but *you don't know* either way, and you have no way to find out. So if you want to do something about this at the ballot box, make sure it's a real box, not a bit-bucket, make sure your ballot is paper, not an entry in an insecure database with multiple backdoors and no audit log. I'm fucking serious! This is not a partisan issue, nor is it off-topic, but it is a rant so I'll stop now...

and on preview, symbioid's got it - if democracy isn't about what you do, and how you participate as a citizen, on all the other days when you're not voting, then it isn't worth much...
posted by dinsdale at 12:26 PM on September 4, 2005


http://www.cwhughes.com/projects/nw.mov
posted by icetaco at 12:27 PM on September 4, 2005


America: the cavalry ain't coming.
posted by dinsdale at 12:28 PM on September 4, 2005


Had the Bush administration taken office with the intended goals of completely eroding the national infrastructure, crippling critical national institutions through underfunding and the appointment of grossly incompetent leadership, destroying America's reputation in the world, poisoning our national discourse, etc. etc., he could hardly have done a better job.
posted by LooseFilter

I am not a conspiracy person, either, but this seems to go beyond gross incompetence. FEMA is actually impeding rescue. WTF?
posted by leftcoastbob at 12:31 PM on September 4, 2005


Miko and Civil_Disobedient: This is on the minds of many. moonbird is right, we need to get together in our communities.

Unfortunately, I disagree that mere dove releases and candlelight vigils is what we need.

We need to plan, we need tactics, we need to be ready to resist... This will take time. A little uprising or insurrection won't do. We need to not do this in haste. Find people in your community who feel the same way and talk. Discuss. Work with others online who you can trust. Build trust networks. Learn encryption and secure communications. I'm stupid for even posting this. But we need to have connections forged and to be prepared. I have seen way to many people feeling these things to not realize that there is something going on deep under the skin of society. People from many different sides of the spectrum. Get out there in your communities and build these connections up.

I'm working on that here in my town. Read and learn tactical organization. Self-defense is of utmost necessity. I don't know how to go about doing this totally, but I know there are people out there who can help us, and we can work together.

Don't settle for mere revolt here or there, thing long term. Voting IS a part of this just as much as protest and civil disobedience and candlelight vigils. But these are just the starting points. That's all I will say. Since I don't know any of you in person, I can't suggest anymore nor give or take advice on any other topics. I'm trying to learn myself, but ultimately it's about the local community.
posted by symbioid at 12:36 PM on September 4, 2005


Can he be impeached for gross negligence or whatever else? He needs to go. Now.
posted by leftcoastbob at 12:38 PM on September 4, 2005


Someone find that senior admin official who lied to the Post about the emergency declaration, and just throw his ass in the fucking Potomac, OK? He's no use to anyone, and was probably trying to manufacture shit for(God help him) the Sunday freaking talk shows.

Seriously, what kind of twisted brain attempts such a naked and craven act in the middle of all this.

So, in the river with him, and quickly, before rage is conquered by reason and we give that fuck what he really deserves.
posted by dglynn at 12:43 PM on September 4, 2005


I posted this over here:

"Chertoff just said he's getting his news on the disaster from the newspapers."

I guess they don't have them newfangled Marconi sets over there at DHS, huh?

Seriously, WTF. This is an effete, disconnected aristocrat who can't be bothered to even use modern means of communication, nor have subordinates who do so and keep him informed.

How repugnant, alien and inhuman.

REMOVE THESE ASSHOLES FROM POWER. NOW!!!

What does this say about what the government thinks is the REAL chance of terrorists mounting a major attack on the US?

It says they believe the chance is ZERO! And therefore they don't NEED to put capable people in charge of dealing with it, they just need to put on a good PR show.

I'll say that again: having a man like Chertoff in charge of the agency responsible for preventing and/or handling massive terrorist attacks on the United States means this government believes the chances of an actual attack are ZERO.

Run that through your heads a while, please?

"On that note, let me make a plug for the POTS -- Plain Old Telephone System. It's extremely resilient and self-powered, so make sure to have at least one old-style, connect-it-and-go telephone. Those fancy cordless phones and cell phones might not work in a disaster, but a regular probably will."

My grandfather was one of the engineers who helped design and build it. I feel some family pride about that contribution, thanks for reminding me. :)

Oh, and Miko, Civil_Disobedient: It's great to see the Maine Yankees still have that old fire and spirit which belies the "laid back" demeanor the state usually puts out (I used to live Downeast). I'm with you, it's time for more than talk. Torches and pitchforks are rather quaint, though, we do have more modern implements.
posted by zoogleplex at 12:44 PM on September 4, 2005


negligible genocide, you mean???
posted by symbioid at 12:44 PM on September 4, 2005


The thing about the boats being turned back is just plain criminal. We're damn lucky FEMA wasn't in charge at Dunkirk.
posted by words1 at 12:45 PM on September 4, 2005


You know that big, government-sponsored 9/11 "Freedom Walk" on the Mall next weekend? As many people who can get there as possible should crash it and demand some answers. It may be registration only, but if 100,000 angry citizens marched on Washington, there wouldn't be much they could do to stop it.
posted by nyterrant at 12:46 PM on September 4, 2005


dand, will you stop your administration-defending partisan bullshit and answer my question? I have grave doubts about your reading-comprehension skills, except for when you're excising bits you don't agree with from Washington Post stories.
posted by Vidiot at 12:47 PM on September 4, 2005


It may be registration only, but if 100,000 angry citizens marched on Washington, there wouldn't be much they could do to stop it.

It is reg-only. Last night I checked out the link, and while I was posting it, I noticed the status bar at the bottom of my browser: Transferring data from http://www.asyfreedomwalk.com/

Am I paranoid to be concerned about that?
posted by Miko at 12:59 PM on September 4, 2005


The fact that it's reg only shouldn't stop concerned citizens from organizing counter-march.
posted by nyterrant at 1:02 PM on September 4, 2005


A 4:00 p.m. press conference with Mike Brown, head of FEMA was just cancelled. It would have been interesting to see his performance before the press. However, as many have said, isn't it about time to stop the press conferences and photo ops ... and get to work!
posted by ericb at 1:04 PM on September 4, 2005


FEMA needs to have every top level position fired. All of them.

Fired. Shot.



dand: As I posted in other thread:

Our own ColdChef said Oh, and also, as far as evacuations go, this is probably the smoothest and most well organized evac that New Orleans has ever seen. I don't know if he still thinks that, though.

Later, he said: While it is true that there was no clear plan of evacuation (at least to the everyday citizens of New Orleans), on-the-fly plans involving buses and the Superdome fell into place quickly. Saturday and Sunday were beautiful, clear days and even though police drove around with bullhorns, begging people to at least head for higher ground, many people never even attempted to evacuate or seek shelter.... I know people involved in the evacuation effort and NO ONE was denied help if they asked for it. So, yes, while the plans were lacking and they relied heavily on self-preservation, there were alternatives. Alternatives that were, for whatever reason, ignored.

There certainly were some residents removed by bus. And indeed, ColdChef again: The local nursing home was taking elderly refugees from New Orleans and they needed help unloading them when they got there.... Five large tourbuses from New Orleans showed up with at least fifty patients on each. For the next four hours we carried these old folks off the buses, put them into wheelchairs and brought them inside.

So it seems clear that buses were used to bring nursing home residents out of town, and buses were also used to bring residents to the Superdome. Some sort of bus evacuation plan, in other words, was in place and used. Whether the buses that are in the image TetrisKid posted were part of that evacuation plan is unknown and unproven. Whether they should have been is a different question.

Sorry, ColdChef, for bringing you into this, but you were our man on the scene.


In this thread, I'll add: Nagin organized a bus evacuation in under 24 hours. (Then, of course, his fleet and roads were hit by ... what was it again? oh, yes, a hurricane.) FEMA took until Friday to get people out of there. Friday. Who the fuck is incompetent?
posted by dhartung at 1:05 PM on September 4, 2005


The fact that it's reg only shouldn't stop concerned citizens from organizing counter-march.

And how can they have their parade without spectators?

I hope that this is just paranoia on my part, but imho that is going to turn into a disaster. Is that what the feds are counting on?

(God, I don't want to get used to this conspiracy-theory mindset because it's not any fun at all!)
posted by leftcoastbob at 1:07 PM on September 4, 2005


"MetaFilter: i don't fall in line with believing that the world is controlled by lizzards"

the perfect tagline for a such a deeply, deeply fucked-up time
posted by matteo at 1:10 PM on September 4, 2005


Hey Miko, I am in Portland Maine and I have spoken with my state rep, who is actively working on fundraising for the disaster and who is also planning on going down with the Red Cross. If your community in Portsmouth isn't doing the same and you want to get involved, email me off-list-- right now I am about to help with a restaurant fundraiser. Maybe you could organize something at the same time down there?
posted by miss tea at 1:12 PM on September 4, 2005


Someone should start some kind of recruiting blog for the forthcoming revolution, so people have each others contact details when it happens.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 1:14 PM on September 4, 2005


Rothko: "2006 and 2008 elections are coming up. Make them pay for their incompetency."



Wait and see Bush changing the law so he can be reelected ! If not changing it to a kingdom !
posted by zouhair at 1:14 PM on September 4, 2005


FEMA needs to have every top level position fired. All of them.

Fired. Shot.


Decapitated.
posted by fleetmouse at 1:19 PM on September 4, 2005


People are starving, dying of thirst, drowning, right now. STILL.

And that's in New Orleans, never mind Africa (for the moment).

Perhaps HazyJane is right: the only thing Americans can actually do right now to help is to get in their cars, load up food and water, and go try to get past the National Guard and help.

How effective that might be at saving lives is difficult to say.

But at least it would show that some people genuinely care.

This is a huge mass killing, occurring through a combination of bad weather, racism, poor planning, political nepotism, the "war on terror", and longer term factors such as the individualistic, anti-socialist, gun-owning, fuck-the-environment, I'm-all-right-jack attitude so many Americans apparently have, right through to capitalism itself - a whole lot of factors.

Go look at the rightwing blogs and try to find a hint of compassion for dying black people. It just isn't there. They're not interested.

For them, the story of the hour is that "lefties" are trying to "blame Bush". That's all they have to say. What is wrong with this picture?

For those who oppose such views, realistically, the only plan is to decide to commit long-term energy and resources to preventing this from happening again. Fight racism. Fight capitalism. Fight so-called "conservatism". Fight to reduce the number of guns on the streets.

Here's a link to a group of intelligent Americans who've been working on that for some time. I urge you all to become sustainers.
They have some good articles about Katrina up there too.

This disaster is something that will stay with every American for life. In time, those who expressed no compassion and did nothing to help might come at least to feel some shame.

For the rest of us, we need to get off the fence, off our asses, and start being politically active in our communities.
posted by cleardawn at 1:25 PM on September 4, 2005


It should be noted that Broussard is the one that's been having the can-do attitude on the air. He's been relentless positive and trumpeting achievements like opening the parish up to individuals on Monday and the closing of the canal breach at Airline Highway. He was looking for solutions and generally avoided blaming others. To have him break down like this and finally admit the incompetence of the feds is an event in itself, for anyone following this story closely.
posted by calwatch at 1:40 PM on September 4, 2005


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

- George W. Bush congratulating FEMA director Michael Brown on his response to Katrina.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:41 PM on September 4, 2005


"Fight to reduce the number of guns on the streets."

No, cleardawn, not now. We're going to need them.
posted by zoogleplex at 1:44 PM on September 4, 2005


Yeah. If we reduce the number of guns on the streets, what will people use to shoot the bastards?
posted by Justinian at 1:49 PM on September 4, 2005


I was there for Andrew (working the night through day shift at a hospital). The post-management of Andrew was bad. I can not claim to sort out how much of that was FEMA's responsibility or others. However, 145 people died because of Andrew. There's nothing partisan about this. If this (Katrina/post Katrina) happened and Kerry was president, I would be saying impeach Kerry.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:55 PM on September 4, 2005


symbioid: I totally see your point and agree. What we're doing tonight is for the grief over this. People are very saddened, and have been giving money, volunteering at the Red Cross here, and basically pouring themselves out but haven't really had a time to come together and mourn. We need a day for that. After the tears are dried, it will be time to roll up the sleeves and work and work until all of these motherfuckers are thrown out of power onto their lily white asses. The current for accountability is so strong right now, but at least here in this town, people are begging for a time to grieve together. Tomorrow, we fight and fight like hell.
posted by moonbird at 1:57 PM on September 4, 2005


As far as getting involved in this country's government (or lack of it these days) Plato has something to say:

The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. --Plato

And so here we are . . .

Ruled by Mayberry Machiavellis and their deluded, ignorant treasonous bretheren.
posted by mk1gti at 1:59 PM on September 4, 2005


I think the real purpose of extreme, david ickes-ian conspiracy theories is to erode the credibility of those who expose the *real* conspiracies--the perfect storm of apathy, banality, misdirected resources and even malice that leads to the death of thousands of Americans.
posted by mecran01 at 2:01 PM on September 4, 2005


Ruled by Mayberry Machiavellis

Why are you dissing Mayberry? Andy Griffith's a long-time Democrat, for what that's worth.
posted by mediareport at 2:05 PM on September 4, 2005


Uh, maybe this isn't the best venue for organizing the armed overthrow of the government. Just a thought.
posted by mecran01 at 2:07 PM on September 4, 2005


The CNN homepage is starting to look like a bad Onion parody:

"On CNN TV: Dr. Phil on healing after Katrina, 9 p.m. ET"

and stories about pets and shelter weddings.
posted by mecran01 at 2:13 PM on September 4, 2005


Our own ColdChef said Oh, and also, as far as evacuations go, this is probably the smoothest and most well organized evac that New Orleans has ever seen. I don't know if he still thinks that, though.

Well, yes. I do. 90% of New Orleans got out under their own power. Smoothly and orderly. I've never seen a New Orleans evac that has worked so well. The last time the city was "emptied" nowhere NEAR that number of people left or were able to leave.

And in that case, the hurricane turned and New Orleans was unharmed.

And therein lies the problem.

If the city would have spent the time and money getting that last 10% out (of which, I garon-fucking-tee you 5% would have stayed no matter what), and the storm had turned, it would have bankrupted important civic programs, which New Orleans just cannot afford. Had they spent that money for "nothing", they wouldn't have been reimbursed by ANYONE and Nagin would have been labeled a pussy who ran at the first sight of rain.

No one congratulates you for putting out fires, when no one has lit them yet.
posted by ColdChef at 5:58 PM on September 4, 2005


In retrospect, EVERYone should probably get out EVERYtime.

That, of course, would never happen. Too expensive, too time consuming, and you look like a pussy.

I, however, have no problem looking like a pussy when it comes to hurricanes. Many many people do, though.

I know this seems ridiculous. It seems ridiculous to me, too.

I'm just saying that's the way it is.

Or maybe the way it was.
posted by ColdChef at 6:02 PM on September 4, 2005


This Picture is a nice little point about cleaning guns off the street.

moonbird, thanks for the information. I didn't want to sound like I was dissing you. I agree that grieving is important. ANY community involvement (well most any) is good at this time.

mecran01: you're right. That's why there's no organizing of anything, let alone armed overthrow. Just peoples own personal opinions and fears. Yeah, that's it... But no, this isn't the place for organizing... mefi shouldn't be caught in the middle of anything potentially illegal.

that's why i suggested getting involved in your communities and working together (both for relief and whatever else people may decide to work on together).
posted by symbioid at 6:10 PM on September 4, 2005


Also, sorry for the frequent posts, but, please let it be known that just because I posted that jpeg link doesn't mean that I think people should shut up about gun control.

I may disagree with them, but I don't want them to feel that I'm attacking their views. The important thing is that we take community action in whatever way and whatever level we can.

Voting is even a part of that, protesting, letter-writing... and other things.
posted by symbioid at 6:16 PM on September 4, 2005


Hey symbioid, you put a "normal"-sounding (and so probably false!) name on your User page but no contact info.

But other folks have asked for (or called me a coward for not providing) my email address anyway, so now I've tacked up the same Yahoo address I use over at Monkeyfilter in case people want to get in touch.

Note that I'm not guaranteeing I'm going to start conspiring to overthrow the government anytime soon. I'm also totally uninterested in kiddy porn, get-rich-quick schemes or death threats, and my "SO" tells me to add that my penis is big enough already (and in my opinion so are my breasts).
posted by davy at 6:19 PM on September 4, 2005


the smoothest and most well organized evac that New Orleans has ever seen

How many official evacuations have there been? When were they? I have heard that this was the first- ever mandatory evacuation of the city. Were the others presented as optional?
posted by Miko at 6:23 PM on September 4, 2005


Go look at the rightwing blogs and try to find a hint of compassion for dying black people. It just isn't there. They're not interested.

For them, the story of the hour is that "lefties" are trying to "blame Bush". That's all they have to say. What is wrong with this picture?

For those who oppose such views, realistically, the only plan is to decide to commit long-term energy and resources to preventing this from happening again. Fight racism. Fight capitalism. Fight so-called "conservatism". Fight to reduce the number of guns on the streets.


What the christ does gun control have to do with the rest of that?
posted by cmonkey at 6:24 PM on September 4, 2005


I'm just a hick from a Welsh hillside so could someone kindly explain why Bill Clinton can be impeached for a blowjob yet Bush will undoubtedly remain in office following genocide through negligence?
posted by ceri richard at 6:31 PM on September 4, 2005


I have heard that this was the first- ever mandatory evacuation of the city. Were the others presented as optional?

Well, yes. This is the first mandatory evacuation, but there are suggested evacuations yearly.

Even today, as I just heard on the news, people are refusing to leave their flooded homes. Some people WILL NOT LEAVE.
posted by ColdChef at 6:44 PM on September 4, 2005


Nope, even if there's 9 feet of water in their downstairs.

Humans are masters of self-deception. :)
posted by zoogleplex at 6:45 PM on September 4, 2005


Some people won't get out.

(Great story, by the way.)
posted by ColdChef at 6:51 PM on September 4, 2005


"Video from a guy that went to help by boat but eventually had to leave. Worth watching."

shoepal, I've managed to hold it together until that video. I dunno why it struck me so hard, but it was devastating.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:54 PM on September 4, 2005


Decapitated.

It only works if you put the heads on pikes, distributed around the central squares of major cities. Otherwise people forget.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:10 PM on September 4, 2005


Has Michelle Malkin had a change of heart, or has the right simply found an acceptable fall guy in Michael Brown? Besides the LA democrats and Brown, it should be interesting to see who else the right will offer to throw into the volcano to protect their golden pretzel boy.

Hey, I'm all for firing incompetent patronage boy Michael Brown yesterday. And let's also fire Michael Chertoff too - pretty frightening to learn that he waited for the headlines in the morning papers on Tuesday to decide how to react to developing events. (How is it that we knew about the breech in the levee at around 1 am and our Homeland Security Czar didn't learn until mid-day, by his own admission. Doesn't that make you feel secure?)

Michael "you're doing a heck of a job" Brown and Michael Chertoff are Bush's boys all the way, just two more sickening examples of political agendas and political patronage trumping competence, expertise, and science. So, yes, fire Brown and fire Chertoff. But firing these criminally incompetent bureauocrats is simply not sufficient.

More importantly, fire their boss. Fire George Bush.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:17 PM on September 4, 2005


thanks for pointing that out, mr_crash_davis - it is an extremely powerful clip that somehow I missed earlier in the day. Here is a link to shoepal's post with a link to the boat guy who went to help.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:30 PM on September 4, 2005


FEMA needs to have every top level position fired. All of them.

Fired. Shot.

Decapitated


Drowned.

Another mirror of the Broussard interview, although I don't know how long she can host it for.
posted by zarah at 7:45 PM on September 4, 2005


Hey, I'm all for firing incompetent patronage boy Michael Brown

FEMA Head Mike Brown Judged Horse's Behind
"Mike Brown, FEMA head responsible for the completely bungled federal rescue efforts in New Orleans, worked for 11 years prior to becoming head of FEMA managing and ajudicating horse shows. Aside from membership in the Republican party, no other significant work experience which would have prepared him to manage FEMA is noted on Brown's resume. To add insult to injury, Brown was reportedly 'let go' from his position overseeing horse shows, which perhaps explains why FEMA appears to be so far in over their heads in assisting flooded New Orleans.

Brown virtually blamed New Orleans residents for their misery for failure to evacuate in the face of Hurricane Katrina, apparently failing to realize that in New Orleans, as in many other metropolitan areas, large numbers of residents don't own cars and can't simply pack up and leave at a moment's notice. 'Brown apparently lives in the suburbs, drives a Suburban, and buys gas with a government credit card' said one 'narlens resident.'

According to the Herald's writer, 'It's so nice to know that [the Bush] administration looked for the "best and the brightest" in filling a vital, life-and-death post such as FEMA chief.... Perhaps that has something to do with the quality of job performance so far:

Lawyer-turned GOP activist Mike Brown reportedly got his job through an old college friend [and reported on NBC Nightly News as his roomate] who at the time was heading up FEMA, Louis Allbaugh, who realized any man with that much horse experience would be 'good at shoveling shit' -- a useful skill in DC.

The agency, run by Brown since 2003, is now at the center of a growing fury over the handling of the New Orleans disaster. 'I look at FEMA and I shake my head,' said a furious Gov. Mitt Romney yesterday, calling the response 'an embarrassment.'

Brown - formerly an estates and family lawyer has made several amazing public admissions, including interviews where he claimed FEMA was completely unaware of the misery and desperation of refugees stranded at the New Orleans convention center. Apparently Brown doesn't watch TV, or know how to use the internet. Or listen to those people who do.

Before joining the Bush administration in 2001, Brown reportedly spent 11 years as the commissioner of judges and stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association, a breeders' and horse-show organization based in Colorado. Brown was forced out of the position after numerous lawsuits over alleged failures of supervision.

`We hold classes to train people to become judges and stewards...' explained a spokeswoman for the IAHA commissioner's office. 'This was his full-time job . . . for 11 years,' she added. 'What happened to Brown's prior law career is unclear, but it can't be good if he ended up evaluating horse's behinds.'

'He was asked to resign,' Bill Pennington, president of the IAHA at the time, confirmed last night. 'The man doesn't know a horse's posterior from a hole in the ground.' [source]

Brown pushed from last job: Horse group: FEMA chief had to be `asked to resign'.

Brown's credentials questioned.
posted by ericb at 7:59 PM on September 4, 2005


I've just finished reading the New York Times' timeline story in the special Storm and Crisis section. It's online. It's told in vignettes. Though it's not a comprehensive timeline, it's still too early to compile an accurate one anyway. This gives you an excellent overview of the Louisiana situation. Landrieu is pretty insistent and looks like she's going to keep up the fight to get FEMA and the DHS to take some accountability. Personally, I don't think she'd be so bold if she knew it wasn't true. She's confident the record will bear out these accusations.

I'm watching these last few people refuse to leave NoLa. They are a very mixed-up bunch, looks like some junkies, some befuddled elderly, some mentally un-gifted. I wouldn't have a problem with them being forced to leave at all; it's now a fully government-occupied region. It's sad for them, I know, but there is no alternative. But in most cases, they are not being forced because the task is so monumental that rescuers' time is better spent looking for others who need to get out. Also, someone mentioned it would be bad to bring someone into a boat who then started a struggle, possibly hurting a rescuer or tipping the boat.

And, finally, it's still so horrifying, but there are still people trapped in the attics of their houses and calling their relatives and asking for help. It's heartbreaking. Many of them aren't even within the boundaries of New Orleans, so they can't even be blamed for not heeding the evacuation warnings. They weren't within the levees, they were just plain flooded.
posted by Miko at 8:40 PM on September 4, 2005


You know that big, government-sponsored 9/11 "Freedom Walk" on the Mall next weekend? As many people who can get there as possible should crash it and demand some answers.

footnote proposed this on Sept. 1, as a MeFi meetup no less. Anyone serious about meeting up to crash the "freedom march" should check in on that MeTa thread.
posted by realcountrymusic at 8:44 PM on September 4, 2005


Well, some people are just plain ornery... throw 'em a few days worth of food and water, ask them one last time, tell them they may not get any more food and water... and then leave 'em be until the people who need and want to be saved are saved. Like those in the attics still waiting.

That really sucks, but there's only so far you can go with people who are uncooperative to the point where they are endangering their own welfare. Unless of course it's clear they're operating under diminished capacity, in which case there's a legal basis for removing them against their will.

I wish they'd leave... and I wish them luck.
posted by zoogleplex at 8:53 PM on September 4, 2005


Don't just fire Brown and Chertoff. Prosecute them for gross criminal public negligence. We lost a city here and the reports are beginning to show that the evidence is there to build a real criminal case. And if these two Republican toadies don't like being examined then they can point the finger at the man that told them do do things this way - the chief executive.

Everybody will tell me that things simply won't work this way. The Republican administration did not have to face the music for stealing an election, flying Saudis home after 9/11, starting the Iraq War, or Abu Ghraib, so why would anybody think they would be held accountable now?

Simple. I watched Bush on TV. That man could crack Teflon even if it were reinforced with steel rods.
posted by zaelic at 1:06 AM on September 5, 2005


> FEMA took until Friday to get people out of there. Friday. Who the fuck is incompetent?

Um, I'm just guessing, but I suppose it might be easier to provide transportation for evacuation, as the state plan prescribes, before the flood and complete breakdown in law and order, such as shooting at contractors on levees, than before these events?

Only a guess, I can't be sure of some facts, such as who sent tour busses to the nursing home (private company? nursing home? mayor? NORTA? FEMA?) as you are.
posted by dand at 8:06 AM on September 5, 2005


Um, I'm just guessing, but I suppose it might be easier to provide transportation for evacuation, as the state plan prescribes, before the flood and complete breakdown in law and order, such as shooting at contractors on levees, than before these events?

You know, that evacuation was effective for some people. There were others who couldn't or didn't get the pre-evacuation, for reasons still being examined. That's one problem. But mentioning that the evacuation would have been easier beforehand does nothing to explain why the several federal agencies were unable to evacuate after. Nothing.
posted by Miko at 8:35 AM on September 5, 2005


Just remember--he's the war president;
not the buck stops here president.
posted by leftcoastbob at 9:17 AM on September 5, 2005


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