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Firefighters to dispense fliers, not fight fires
September 6, 2005 10:19 AM   Subscribe

"As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded on national television for firefighters - his own are exhausted after working around the clock for a week - a battalion of highly trained men and women sat idle Sunday in a muggy Sheraton Hotel conference room in Atlanta. Many of the firefighters, assembled from Utah and throughout the United States by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, thought they were going to be deployed as emergency workers. Instead, they have learned they are going to be community-relations officers for FEMA, shuffled throughout the Gulf Coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number: 1-800-621-FEMA."
posted by mr_crash_davis (148 comments total)

 
They're also looking for doctors and nurses to conduct telephone surveys.
posted by fleetmouse at 10:23 AM on September 6, 2005


What happened to those Cuban doctors?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:24 AM on September 6, 2005


Flierfighters.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:25 AM on September 6, 2005


But as specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas

Awe-inspiring.
posted by aramaic at 10:26 AM on September 6, 2005


But as specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.

Good god.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:27 AM on September 6, 2005


"The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it. "

- P.J. O'Rourke
posted by jperkins at 10:29 AM on September 6, 2005


Democracy is nothing without education. The administration knows that attempting to hide their Machiavellian tactics might endanger them - instead they display them openly, knowing that the majority of voters will be none the wiser.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:29 AM on September 6, 2005


The only thing that really surprises me about this is that FEMA still doesn't have a clue that this is really a Struggle Against Worldwide Bad Press, not a disaster.

They're losing this war, too.
posted by leftcoastbob at 10:30 AM on September 6, 2005


At this point, I can only assume that FEMA, and the federal administration as a whole, from Bush on down, are actively trying to make themselves look as incompetent and/or downright evil as is humanly possible.

Perhaps someone could come up with a conspiracy theory explaining how this could be to their advantage?
posted by jack_mo at 10:31 AM on September 6, 2005


jack_mo, they're trying to make government agencies look bad so they can hand contracts out to private companies run by their old frat buddies instead.
posted by fleetmouse at 10:32 AM on September 6, 2005


Yes, that's what the people need rescue workers for. To hand out a phone number.

I can see how the sex discrimination course will help, too. Fox will report this as "Liberals force firefighters to take sex discrimination classes".

jack_mo: What is beginning to strike me is that the Republican base enjoys watching the President play golf while black people die. Just as they enjoy watching raghead civilians in Iraq die.

It proves to them that Bush is one of the good ol' boys.

I wouldn't be surprised if support for Bush remains unchanged in the next poll.
posted by cleardawn at 10:34 AM on September 6, 2005


What is beginning to strike me is that the Republican base enjoys watching the President play golf while black people die. Just as they enjoy watching raghead civilians in Iraq die.

Huh?
posted by dhoyt at 10:36 AM on September 6, 2005


"Now watch this drive"
posted by bashos_frog at 10:36 AM on September 6, 2005


they're trying to make government agencies look bad so they can hand contracts out to private companies run by their old frat buddies instead.

So we should be screaming for a FEMA that works, under a President that works.
posted by jperkins at 10:37 AM on September 6, 2005


ignore cleardawn
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:38 AM on September 6, 2005


They neutered FEMA and now they have a neutered scapegoat.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:38 AM on September 6, 2005


Can someone please alert me when we assemble to tar and feather the FEMA director? Becuase if we don't, something is seriously wrong.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:43 AM on September 6, 2005


[this stings]
posted by NinjaPirate at 10:45 AM on September 6, 2005


Ignore me if you will. But check out the rightwing blogs.

Zero compassion. Zero shame.

100% politics and attacks on anyone who criticises Bush.

The only way I can explain that is that Bush's supporters are the kind of people who support racist murders because they enjoy racist murders.

It's hardly a new idea.
posted by cleardawn at 10:45 AM on September 6, 2005


Are there any states where negligent homicide is subject to the death penalty?
posted by fleetmouse at 10:46 AM on September 6, 2005


It's hardly a new idea, but for most of us, we forget it over and over again, and are surprised every time reality slaps us in the face and reminds us: Most Republican voters are so racist that they are completely unmoved by the sight of dying black people.

Or perhaps just so completely callous that they're unmoved by the sight of dying people, period?

Fair enough, I'm so angry I'm going to stop posting now.
posted by cleardawn at 10:49 AM on September 6, 2005


i saw mayor nagin on television last night, and he did something no one of consequence in the bush administration will ever -- EVER -- do: he admitted that he shares some of the blame for what has happened, and not in the "mistakes were made" punk ass bitch manner that thrills bush apologists so much.

I wouldn't be surprised if support for Bush remains unchanged in the next poll

unchanged? i'm expecting a boost. brownie's doing a heck of a job! trent lott's house will be rebuilt! that's ratings gold!
posted by lord_wolf at 10:49 AM on September 6, 2005


From cleardawn's link:

Everybody from the feds on down has been tossing around "estimates" of "thousands," or "more than ten thousand," as the NOLA death toll from Katrina.

Has anybody seen an actual body count to date? The last one I saw, several days ago, was 161. I realize that rescue and evacuation efforts are ongoing, and that body counting and removal will come later, but in the meantime, this 10,000 dead notion is being set in stone by the feds, the locals, and the national media.


I guess that this whole thing has been overblown and we can all go back to sleep now.
posted by leftcoastbob at 10:49 AM on September 6, 2005


The only way I can explain that is that Bush's supporters are the kind of people who support racist murders because they enjoy racist murders.

Huh?
posted by dhoyt at 10:50 AM on September 6, 2005


Does anyone else see the contrast to the preparation and response to this hurricane, and the same to Hurricane Ivan last year? Check out the release on the FEMA site:

http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/display?content=4007

Does it have antything to do with the fact that the President is related to Florida's governor?

The people in charge of this (and I use the term loosely) have no understanding of the human pain and suffering. "Damage control" is a PR term to them. The "underpriviledged" as Barbara (the bitch) Bush called them are totally expendable. It is utterly contemptable and immoral what is happeneing here.

It is further proof that for these wing nuts, "compassionate conservative" is an oxymoron.
posted by birdhaus at 10:53 AM on September 6, 2005




It can't be both? Because from where I'm standing, if ever there was a poster child for disaster, this is it. If this is not a disaster, what is? Seems to me a competent FEMA (you can stop laughing now) would be able to handle both. Then again, I expect to get DVDs from Netflix that don't skip..so my point of view might be worthless.

posted by spicynuts at 10:54 AM on September 6, 2005


what is fema thinking?

As noted here two days ago, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision to ask evacuees to call (800) 621-3362 or browse to www.fema.gov to start the process of filing a claim for disaster assistance was greeted with disbelief by most relief workers we talked to, who noted that most of these people don’t have ready access to telephones.

It turns out, according to a Red Cross worker here, the response is even a bigger Catch-22 than I realized.

It turns out, according to the worker, who like the other aid workers spoke on condition of anonymity, that the call to the FEMA number does not open a claim; it results in a package containing the claim form being mailed to the address of the evacuee.

Since the evacuee is in a shelter, mail service has been suspended in many of the hardest hit areas and some of the homes are likely still under water, it seems clear that those claim forms won’t be mailed back any time soon.


"hi ... i'm from the federal government and i'm here to help"
posted by pyramid termite at 10:55 AM on September 6, 2005


I'm still waiting for the inevitable collection of news footage clips that will indict the administration's handling of the event as it unfolded. I don't think they had a clue, they pretty much acted like it would be just another hurricane.

* Bush: playing his geetar.
* Condi: Playing Imelda, shopping for shoes.
* Cheney: Fishin'.

This, and the director of FEMA (which Bush gutted) couldn't even hack it at his previous job: playing with horseys. This event will be in the history books, and hopefully what these assholes were doing as it unfolded will be in there, too.
posted by mullingitover at 10:55 AM on September 6, 2005


CAN'T THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DO ANYTHING RIGHT?
posted by mkultra at 11:00 AM on September 6, 2005


CAN'T THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DO ANYTHING RIGHT?

That depends on who is running the federal government at the time.
posted by jperkins at 11:02 AM on September 6, 2005


AGH! F*** F*** F*** F*****!!!!!!!

And the worst part is that there will most likely be little to no accountability for this.
posted by redbeard at 11:03 AM on September 6, 2005


Damn -- you have to work to be this incompetent. It is criminal the way the US government seems to be behaving. I'm surprised they don't just send in the military to shoot everyone. Death from neglect is probably more inhuman.
posted by chunking express at 11:07 AM on September 6, 2005


Next up from FEMA, fiddle and kerosene distribution.

Why an angry mob hasn't sacked somebody, I've no idea.
posted by bhance at 11:09 AM on September 6, 2005


Does that number even work? I tried it and got an "All Circuits are Busy."
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:09 AM on September 6, 2005


Huh?
posted by matteo at 11:09 AM on September 6, 2005


It's more shocking to me that people expect the government's response to huge problems like these to be competant than the pitiful response itself.

The US has proven over many years of history capable of fucking up in myriad ways. Why should this be any different?
posted by fet at 11:11 AM on September 6, 2005


Give FEMA a break, people!!

You make them sound like they didn't do anything at all to prepare for this!

I think you'd be singing a different tune if you heard their "FEMA for Kids Rap". Geez Louise!
posted by billysumday at 11:11 AM on September 6, 2005


Strategy: keep telling people that now is not the time for pointing fingers and for blame. There will be plenty of time to investigate this in the future.

Result: general public forgets, media moves on to other issues, a few lower-rung hands are slapped and/or cut off, and there is no accountability.
posted by NationalKato at 11:14 AM on September 6, 2005


And the worst part is that there will most likely be little to no accountability for this.

There will be plenty of time for accountability when this disaster is behind us. No, not yet... not yet... ah, you missed it, now stop dwelling in the past and playing the blame game, Bush has to get on with his life.
posted by queen zixi at 11:15 AM on September 6, 2005


My seething anger over this whole debacle knows no bounds. Does anyone else feel they are going insane, and that this just CAN"T BE HAPPENING?

For the sake of my own sanity, I'm posting one comment that will just have to do.

My god, my god.
posted by Sharktattoo at 11:16 AM on September 6, 2005


SO we are all left in a place where the government agencies do not do what they are supposed to do. We are all in aplace where the phrase "of the people, by the people and for the people" has lost it's orginal meaning. Perhaps we should start an armed revolution and overthrow the government. But that would just play into their game plan and speed up the process of fascist oppression.
posted by N8k99 at 11:17 AM on September 6, 2005


Damn that fascist oppression, it is a tricky beast.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:17 AM on September 6, 2005


WHAT
THE
FUCKING
FUCKITY
FUCK
FEMA?!
posted by loquacious at 11:20 AM on September 6, 2005


Most Republican voters are so racist that they are completely unmoved by the sight of dying black people.

I can't quite tell if you're a troll or just looney but that's one of the more idiotic things I've ever read on metafilter. What makes me sad is that no one calls you on it.
posted by justgary at 11:22 AM on September 6, 2005


And the worst part is that there will most likely be little to no accountability for this.
Oh yes, there will be accountability.
posted by mazola at 11:22 AM on September 6, 2005


WTF???????????
posted by Edible Energy at 11:25 AM on September 6, 2005


Oh yes, there will be accountability.

I'm sure that will ferret out who is accountable. Just like the 9/11 probe. And the Plame probe. And the WMD probe. Yup. The fox does an excellent job investigating the deaths in the henhouse.
posted by redbeard at 11:28 AM on September 6, 2005


justgary - his comments have been called repeatedly over the last few days, in this thread and in MetaTalk.
posted by chill at 11:31 AM on September 6, 2005


justgary, cleardawn already has his or her very own metatalk thread.

billysumday, that rap link is quite a find. Dear, sweet zombie jebus.
posted by glenwood at 11:31 AM on September 6, 2005


My worst nightmare is that meanwhile, we get another hurricane in the Gulf -- or anywhere, really -- this season. (Not that FEMA doesn't need the practice.)
posted by alumshubby at 11:31 AM on September 6, 2005


Hello, I'm an Independent investigation into government screwups, I am currently homeless and unemployed, can anybody help?
posted by funambulist at 11:33 AM on September 6, 2005


WHAT
THE
FUCKING
FUCKITY
FUCK
FEMA?!


By laying all the blame at FEMA's feet, you're playing right into the administration's hands. They can scapegoat FEMA, and completely ignore the ineffectuality of DHS and the administration's reponsibility in all of this. FEMA was, once upon a time, a capable, credible, well-respected federal agency. It's personnel and budget, however, have been gutted by the Bush administration, and it's mission has been completely changed.

I'm not surprised they're no longer capable of managing disaster relief. But place the blame where it appropriately lies.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 11:37 AM on September 6, 2005


Sweet Jesus. These people really are dumber than day-old ratshit, aren't they? The only good by product is that will turn firefighters and law enforcement off from the Republicans hopefully. Wish it wasn't at such a price, though.
posted by jonmc at 11:37 AM on September 6, 2005


Well, judging from the linked article, we can put you to work handing out fliers if you're hazmat certified.
posted by alumshubby at 11:38 AM on September 6, 2005


er, "its personnel"
posted by ereshkigal45 at 11:38 AM on September 6, 2005


Also - Right now I'm listening to an NPR story about hurricane victoms who are desperately looking for work. Too bad they don't have the skills and training required to hand out fliers to their fellow victoms.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:42 AM on September 6, 2005


Perhaps someone could come up with a conspiracy theory explaining how this could be to their advantage?

I was trying to think of this with a friend, since it's apparently intentional at this point. here's what we got so far:

- they want to destroy government. Norquist wants government so small they can drown it in a bathtub. that's why they keep blaming "red tape", so they can blame it on government and encourage private industry to handle natural disasters

- Kill the poor. I don't particularly believe this one, but maybe they actually are so evil to think it could be best for the country's economic fitness to kill off poor people.

- they hate new orleans. all that jazz music leads to sin.

Really, i'm having a hard time thinking of what else it could be.
posted by destro at 11:43 AM on September 6, 2005


By laying all the blame at FEMA's feet, you're playing right into the administration's hands.

See? See how big government Liberal bureaucracy has screwed up our ability to effectively govern? Forget that we completely stripped that government of all funding and management ability, let's just focus on what a morass it is at this moment!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:43 AM on September 6, 2005


posted by Pretty_Generic: What happened to those Cuban doctors?

Oh, is Castro emptying his jails again?
posted by fandango_matt at 11:43 AM on September 6, 2005


What makes me sad is that no one calls you on it.

Why do I get the feeling that over the next few weeks, we're going to see a lot of this cherry-picking extreme comments and making accusations about how people aren't getting "called on it", while ignoring the actual topic at hand?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:45 AM on September 6, 2005


justgary, you do have a point, my claim was too extreme.

Perhaps "most" is the wrong word, because it's impossible to accurately verify.

In my defence, I'd just been reading the insane crap on a rightwing blog, and I was angry. One guy claimed that liberals were digging up bodies and floating them in New Orleans to make Bush look bad.

Do you deny that some Republican voters are extremely racist, and welcome the killing of black people?

The only question is how many. I guess that's something we'll find out in the coming days and weeks.
posted by cleardawn at 11:45 AM on September 6, 2005


Maybe they are having FEMA do so terribly so they can phase it out and have it all DHS, so then when something bad happens and DHS works properly they are like, "DHS is great without FEMA, Bush is love!" ...Or something... I'm having trouble believing FEMA (or rather, DHS) is this inept. They can't be this inept can they? It is all an act right? I live in earthquake territory, Californians are scared enough by driving under overpasses, I can't take the idea that there would be no adequate protection from the federal government, it brings me to ideas like it being an act. Since, is it one? They cannot be this inept.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:47 AM on September 6, 2005


I thought the Department of Homeland Security was created in part to handle disasters like this. Where are they?
posted by Jatayu das at 11:48 AM on September 6, 2005


"I'm going to stop posting now"
posted by dhoyt at 11:49 AM on September 6, 2005


Jatayu das Pulling the marionette strings of FEMA
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:50 AM on September 6, 2005


3 Duke Students Tell of 'Disgraceful' Scene
"A trio of Duke University sophomores say they drove to New Orleans late last week, posed as journalists to slip inside the hurricane-soaked city twice, and evacuated seven people who weren't receiving help from authorities.

The group, led by South Carolina native Sonny Byrd, say they also managed to drive all the way to the New Orleans Convention Center, where they encountered scenes early Saturday evening that they say were disgraceful.

'We found it absolutely incredible that the authorities had no way to get there for four or five days, that they didn't go in and help these people, and we made it in a two-wheel-drive Hyundai,' said Hans Buder, who made the trip with his roommate Byrd and another student, David Hankla....

At 2 p.m., the trio decided to head for New Orleans, Buder said. After looking around, they swiped an Associated Press identification and one of the TV station's crew shirts, and found a Kinko's where they could make copies of the ID.

They were stopped again by authorities at the edge of New Orleans, but this time were able to make it through.

'We waved the press pass, and they looked at each other, the two guards, and waved us on in,' Buder said....

'Anyone who knows that area, if you had a bus, it would take you no more than 20 minutes to drive in with a bus and get these people out,' Buder said. "'hey sat there for four or five days with no food, no water, babies getting raped in the bathrooms, there were murders, nobody was doing anything for these people. And we just drove right in, really disgraceful. I don't want to get too fired up with the rhetoric, but some blame needs to be placed somewhere.'"
posted by ericb at 11:51 AM on September 6, 2005


I suspect that New Orleans has to be downplayed so that
the vast number of dead does not compete with the upcoming
September 11 celebration and Freedom Walk in the Capitol.
The cognitive dissonance induced by attending a celebration
of American Freedom for 3000 dead when at least twice that
are stinking in the streets in New Orleans would be kind of a
downer.

And it has been shown over and over again that if news of
the consequences can be sufficiently delayed then Americans
will forget about it. Right now the alligators
and snapping turtles are working to erase the exact death
toll of Katrina.

I would be glad to be wrong.
posted by the Real Dan at 11:51 AM on September 6, 2005


Oooh good one dhoyt! Burn!
posted by fleacircus at 11:51 AM on September 6, 2005


Funambulist: call our hotline and we'll send a package containing our latest FEMA Kids Rap song, a little green bible and a claim form out to you via Media Mail, 4-14-day delivery. We'll also throw in a leftover bottle of water from Wal-Mart, too...lots of those sitting around doing nothing. Drink up!

(Acceptance of these items constitutes your agreement for future photo opportunities with Barbara Bush and her favorite Arabian horse. Tears, hankies and hugs will be made available for a nominal fee.)
posted by diastematic at 11:55 AM on September 6, 2005


Can someone please alert me when we assemble to tar and feather the FEMA director?

It might not be a bad idea to venture up a bit on the food chain. I believe that FEMA now falls under the Department of Homeland Security. As a cabinet position, that is where the buck should stop at the very least. But it probably won't.
posted by SteveInMaine at 11:58 AM on September 6, 2005


A bit late to the party here, but:

cleardawn: "Most Republican voters are so racist that they are completely unmoved by the sight of dying black people."

Idiot. And before you cast aspersions my way, I'm pretty far left from center and am pretty sure race did play some role here.

In any case, I saw that callout of you by jonmc the other day. I thought it was undeserved and was on your side. Now I'm embarassed to have agreed with you and find that this post grants retroactive credibility to jonmc's claim.
posted by Sinner at 11:58 AM on September 6, 2005


the vast number of dead
"'DMort is telling us to expect up to 40,000 bodies,' Dan Buckner said, quoting officials with the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team, a volunteer arm of Homeland Security....The 40,000 estimate does 'not include the number of disinterred remains that have been displaced from ... mausoleums,' Buckner told the Times-Gazette Monday." [Shelbyville Times-Gazette| September 6, 2005]
posted by ericb at 11:59 AM on September 6, 2005


the upcoming September 11 celebration and Freedom Walk in the Capitol

Under the circumstances, wouldn't that put the c in chutzpah? Nothing like a triumphal parade to distract the populace.
posted by alumshubby at 12:00 PM on September 6, 2005


But as specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.


Well, at least he didn't wear a firefighter suit...
posted by c13 at 12:00 PM on September 6, 2005


Condoleezza Rice: ""The Lord is going to come on time — if we just wait."
posted by ericb at 12:01 PM on September 6, 2005


What a complete breakdown in the the functions of government. The local authorities failed to make the evacuation mandatory and bus their people out. The state failed to give the Feds the ball early enough in the game to save lives. And the Feds, once they have the ball, can't seem to help but fumble it. How very sad.

Not sad. I'm fucking infuriated.
posted by BrandonAbell at 12:04 PM on September 6, 2005


Chill - his comments have been called repeatedly over the last few days, in this thread and in MetaTalk

Glenwood - justgary, cleardawn already has his or her very own metatalk thread

This matters because ...? Seems ad hominem and without any substence. Was the Metatalk thread someone's "private soapbox for airing minor personal disputes arising from political threads?" or a "useless callout" and will it make you "ten minutes dumber for having read it"?

Nice way to bash someone without any argument to back it up. Way to not point out that jonmc and cleardawn made up with each other in the thread in a civilized manner.
posted by mahniart at 12:04 PM on September 6, 2005


Why isn't there an organized protest being planned to disrupt/coincide with the "Freedom Walk"? Seems like people are pretty mad. I bet quite a few would go to Washington to tell the government they're doing a lousy job.
posted by billysumday at 12:05 PM on September 6, 2005


Same thought I just had, billysumday. I was wondering if there was one or if there is one being planned already?
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:06 PM on September 6, 2005


What happened to those Cuban doctors?
"More than 1,500 Cuban doctors are ready to leave for the United States to help Hurricane Katrina victims but Washington has yet to accept the offer of help from its longtime nemesis....Venezuela, which also has testy relations with the United States, has offered one million gallons of gasoline for Katrina victims and five million dollars for a field hospital, water and other essential supplies for the tens of thousands of victims. [Caribbean Net News | September 6, 2005]"
posted by ericb at 12:06 PM on September 6, 2005


"The Lord is going to come on time — if we just wait." After He has a chance to take in a Broadway show and buy some new shoes.
posted by ericb at 12:11 PM on September 6, 2005


In my defence, I'd just been reading the insane crap on a rightwing blog, and I was angry. One guy claimed that liberals were digging up bodies and floating them in New Orleans to make Bush look bad.

If you're referring to the comment in this link you posted, note that he does nto say that liberals are digging up bodies and floating them in New Orleans to make Bush look bad. He says:

"How many floating corpses were already buried once?"

Now as you may be aware bodies buried in New Orleans will float during floods. This is why they don't generally bury people there. This is most likely what the comment refers to. Now does that explain the bodies floating in New Orleans now? No, of course not. But dont' accuse people of inventing conspiracy theories that are in fact your own invention.
posted by duck at 12:12 PM on September 6, 2005


mahniart, just calm down will you? It was said that nobody had called cleardawn on his comments, I pointed out for the record that they had. Jesus Christ, is there anything you can say on this site without someone bitching at you as if you're the fucking anti-christ?
posted by chill at 12:23 PM on September 6, 2005


Good job, Brownie. You'll get a medal for this, a big shiny one. Oh yeah.

When do the hearings begin?
posted by fenriq at 12:25 PM on September 6, 2005


That sounds like "Antichrist talk" to me.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:25 PM on September 6, 2005


Why do I get the feeling that over the next few weeks, we're going to see a lot of this cherry-picking extreme comments and making accusations about how people aren't getting "called on it", while ignoring the actual topic at hand?

Because that's the MO that we've seen repeated ad nauseum over the past five years?
posted by jperkins at 12:26 PM on September 6, 2005


Sinner, I agree with you.

As I said earlier, my point was too extreme due to my (justified) anger.

I hereby apologize to any former Republican voters who DO care passionately about dead and dying black people, and are ready to do something about it. I recognize that you exist, and I'm sorry I insulted you in the heat of the moment. I hope you can forgive me, as I forgive you for having previously voted for George Bush.

My statement that "Most Republican voters are so racist... or perhaps so callous..."

should read

"An as-yet-unknown number of Republican voters are so racist... or perhaps so callous...."
posted by cleardawn at 12:28 PM on September 6, 2005


Swiped from the Daily Kos:
Meanwhile, back at the Howdy Doody Command Center...
Bill in Portland Maine

Tue Sep 6th, 2005 at 05:41:56 MST


Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff and FEMA director Michael Brown make headway...


Chertoff: All I'm tryin' to find out is what's the guy's name in charge of food and water.

Brown: Oh, no, wait a minute, don't switch 'em around. What is in charge of evacuation.

Chertoff: I'm not askin' you who's in charge of evacuation.

Brown: Who is on food and water.

Chertoff: I don't know!

Brown: He's in charge of media spin...now we're not talkin' 'bout him.

Chertoff: Now, how did I get on media spin?

Brown: You mentioned his name!

Chertoff: If I mentioned the media spin guy's name, who did I say is in charge of media spin?

Brown: No...Who's in charge of food and water.

Chertoff: Never mind food and water, I wanna know what's the guy's name in charge of media spin.

Brown: No, What's in charge of evacuation.

Chertoff: I'm not askin' you who's in charge of evacuation!

Brown: Who's in charge of food and water.

Chertoff: I don't know!

Brown: He's in charge of media spin.

Chertoff: Aaah! Would you please stay on media spin and don't go off it?

Brown: What was it you wanted?

Chertoff: Now who's in charge of media spin?

Brown: Now why do you insist on putting Who in charge of media spin?

Chertoff: Why? Who am I putting over there?

Brown: Yes. But we don't want him there.

Chertoff: What's the guy's name in charge of media spin?

Brown: What is in charge of evacuation.

Chertoff: I'm not askin' you who's in charge of evacuation.

Brown: Who's in charge of food and water.

Chertoff: I don't know.

Brown & Chertoff: MEDIA SPIN!!

Chertoff: You got someone in charge of fixing the levees?

Brown: Oh yes!

Chertoff: The guy's name?

Brown: Why.

Chertoff: I don't know, I just thought I'd ask you.

Brown: Well, I just thought I'd tell you...


posted by taosbat at 12:28 PM on September 6, 2005


Rice later echoed the call for patience.

"The Lord is going to come on time — if we just wait," she said.


I WANT TO DISEMBOWEL HER
posted by Pretty_Generic at 12:32 PM on September 6, 2005


Ooops! Daily Kos
posted by taosbat at 12:38 PM on September 6, 2005


Pretty_Generic, that's a bit extreme, isn't it?

I'd prefer to see a fair trial for negligent and/or premeditated mass homicide, followed, if she is convicted, by a fairly lengthy term in a clean, safe, but not very luxurious prison cell.

But then, maybe it's best to just ignore me...
posted by cleardawn at 12:39 PM on September 6, 2005


Disclaimer: The comments of member Pretty_Generic are his and his alone and do not reflect the opinions of MetaFilter, it's management or it's membership. Thank you.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:39 PM on September 6, 2005


The state failed to give the Feds the ball early enough in the game to save lives.

This logic really pisses me off. Look, if it's a crisis situation, it's completely arrogant of the top of the food chain to claim ignorance. Seeing as they clearly understood what was transpiring, it's their responsibility TO TAKE THE BALL.

Under the circumstances, wouldn't that put the c in chutzpah? Nothing like a triumphal parade to distract the populace.


Or... the perfect opportunity to announce the Global Struggle Against Meteorological Extremism.
posted by mkultra at 12:43 PM on September 6, 2005


mkultra writes "Global Struggle Against Meteorological Extremism"

GSAVE -> GSAME

Cute.
posted by taosbat at 12:48 PM on September 6, 2005


AP: Congress Likely to Probe Guard Delay; 09, 03, 05:
Several states ready and willing to send National Guard troops to the rescue in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans didn't get the go-ahead until days after the storm struck — a delay nearly certain to be investigated by Congress.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco help from his state's National Guard on 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.

...

Among those headed in were several hundred from Wisconsin, where the governor took the unusual step of declaring a disaster outside his state to activate his Guard.

"This was the first time a governor ever declared a natural disaster in another state and activated to that other state," said Gov. Jim Doyle, who issued his order Wednesday. "We were ready to be deployed within 24 hours of that order."

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.
Newsweek: The Lost City, from page 5:
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.
Iraq Vets Deploy from Taos to Hurricane Katrina Rescue
22 National Guard soldiers from the Taos-based 1115th Transportation Company, all veterans of the recent year-long deployment to Iraq, joined the New Mexico National Guard's 720th Transportation Company in Las Vegas, NM, to deploy to the Hurricane Katrina rescue effort.
posted by taosbat at 12:58 PM on September 6, 2005


cleardawn: I can see PG's point. I *want* to disembowl her, but I know that as a member of a civilized society I must put aside that desire and settle for a long stay in a clean and safe, if not too luxurious prison cell. Being civilized means you sometimes don't do what you want to.
posted by sotonohito at 12:59 PM on September 6, 2005


More compassionate conservatism:

"I mean, you have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving."

(Of course, this is no time for finger-pointing.)
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:03 PM on September 6, 2005


Nice way to bash someone without any argument to back it up. Way to not point out that jonmc and cleardawn made up with each other in the thread in a civilized manner.

mahniart,

I didn't bash anyone at all. justgary expressed annoyance with Cleardawn and I directed him somewhere that the grievance had already been discussed - with resolution. I did this to prevent derailment in this very thread because there was no use discussing it here. It wasn't my job to then explain the entire contents of the metatalk thread I subsequently linked to.

Seriously - why are you such an ass?
posted by glenwood at 1:05 PM on September 6, 2005


I wonder what would happen if these firefighters choosed to disobey orders and start doing the job they're best at : saving lifes in very dangerous situations.

Actually I wouldn't be surprised to see them indicted of everything including

* breach of some kind of national security smokescreen bullshit

* interfering with police activity

*generally being good at what they're doing and doing it almost for free and in favor of both Poor Joes and Rich Joes and black and white as if *double horror gasp* they were human beings !

The latter being the most hideous crime of them all !

I wonder where the fuck is the outrage in those who chanted firefighters as "heroes" and don't move a finger to let them do their job ? Where the f*ck are the chickenhawks, too busy defending some politico ?
posted by elpapacito at 1:24 PM on September 6, 2005


FEMA to Mac, Linux users: drop dead
posted by If I Had An Anus at 1:25 PM on September 6, 2005


Every idiot who voted for this corporate stooge is culpable in the death of thousands, both here and abroad.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 1:33 PM on September 6, 2005


the call to the FEMA number does not open a claim; it results in a package containing the claim form being mailed to the address of the evacuee. - pyramid termite

Damn -- you have to work to be this incompetent. - chungking express

they didn't go in and help these people, and we made it in a two-wheel-drive Hyundai,' -ericb

I just don't see any other way of looking at the Bush administration's reaction to this disaster other than trying to minimize survivors. Poor survivors, that is. Ones who would be a drain on the economy if they lived. Ones whose ongoing plight could turn the country in a more socialist direction (i.e. a new New Deal). Better that they become a number on a spreadsheet instead of a walking, talking, complaining victim.
posted by hazyjane at 1:35 PM on September 6, 2005


Rick Santorum wants to impose penalties on hurricane victims:
"There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving."
Compassionate conservatism!
posted by ericb at 1:39 PM on September 6, 2005


Bush resists immediate probe into Katrina response.
posted by ericb at 1:40 PM on September 6, 2005


ericb, that's hardly surprising.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:56 PM on September 6, 2005


Jt Chiefs Chairman General Myers is a liar. ... ... Actually, General, the headlines were atrocious Tuesday morning. And the levee had not just broken, they'd broken 24 hours before, on Monday morning, you complete idiot. Not to mention, the head of the strongest military in the world gets his news from the morning papers? Putting aside the fact that important people get their news from the Internet, not the morning papers that are at least 12 hours old, you GET YOUR NEWS FROM THE MORNING PAPERS? Is that how you handled 9/11 general? Is it how you make decisions in Iraq - you pick up the Miami Herald and decide who to invade today? Fucking idiot.

When the head of our military is a blatant bald-faced liar, or worse a total idiot, where does that leave us?...

posted by amberglow at 2:10 PM on September 6, 2005


I just don't see any other way of looking at the Bush administration's reaction to this disaster other than trying to minimize survivors.

Stalin had that schtick going. Amazingly there was only party in-fighting instead of any sort of revolt or anything. Odd isn't it? Not that Bush is Stalin, but that similar patterns reiterate even in microcosm when it comes to whatever fearless leader.

'Anyone who knows that area,if you had a bus, it would take you no more than 20 minutes to drive in with a bus and get these people out,' Buder said."'They sat there for four or five days with no food, no water, babies getting raped in the bathrooms...'

Later (sampling)

Oooh good one dhoyt! Burn!
posted by fleacircus at 11:51 AM PST on September 6 [!]

Now I'm embarassed to have agreed with you and find that this post grants retroactive credibility to jonmc's claim.
posted by Sinner at 11:58 AM PST on September 6 [!]


Etc.

Metafilter: is there anything you can say on this site without someone bitching at you as if you're the fucking anti-christ?
posted by Smedleyman at 2:11 PM on September 6, 2005


ericb: "Bush resists..."

"Bush expressed sympathy with the evacuees and essentially agreed with civil rights leader
Jesse Jackson that the survivors should not be considered refugees.

Jackson has complained that some news organizations have referred to the storm survivors, many of them poor and black, as refugees.

"The people we're talking about are not refugees. They are Americans," Bush said while receiving an update on the contributions of volunteer and charity organizations."


That's how you play into the devil's hands when you call a spade a rake. These folks lost everything in a natural disaster, were bussed to refugee centers in other states...but they're not refugees. Why? Because it's impolite?

If we deny that they're refugees, what does that imply for the help these folks can expect to recieve?

That's a real question & TIA if anyone has an answer.
posted by taosbat at 2:12 PM on September 6, 2005


Perhaps someone could come up with a conspiracy theory

Ever see the movie Trading Places? I (almost) believe there is some possibility that the lack of adequate response is/was a political long-play experiment, letting lawlessness brew up to crystallize opinion about the underclass. But this is tinfoil hat stuff.

Another angle is that N.O. voted 80% for Kerry. The Bushistas may be inept at governance, but nobody denies they play a mean game of politics.

At any rate, the non-response has been eerily similar to the lack of immediate police reaction in L.A. in 1992 when the police stood down and let the city run wild.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:12 PM on September 6, 2005


From ericb's above link:

"I think one of the things that people want us to do is to play a blame game," Bush told reporters. "We've got to solve problems. We're problem solvers. There will be ample time for people to figure out what went right, and what went wrong. What I'm interested (in) is helping save lives."

That's almost verbatum the line used by Bush apologists here.

F'ing creepy. I'm picturing lobotomy zombies sitting at terminals staring eyes wide attempting to spread the party line like a mental virus.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:15 PM on September 6, 2005


You know, now that there's an opening for Gilligan, maybe Bush will move over to that. Less pressure. In fact, fucking up is sort of an actual job requirement.
Gilligan: What time did you say this levee breach was, Professor?
Professor: Shortly after 11.
Gilligan: Oh well then, me or Skipper Cheney couldn't help because we were both sound asleep.
Professor: Both of you?
Gilligan: Well yes, eh...
Professor: Well then, if you were asleep how could you know that Skipper Cheney was?
Gilligan: Becasue he told me when he woke up.
Professor: Well if Skipper Cheney was asleep, how could he know that you were?
Gilligan: Well because I.... a... well...... oooo! If there's anything I can't stand is logic!
I'd love to see Cheney slapping him with his yachting cap.
posted by umberto at 2:22 PM on September 6, 2005


"There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving."

I detected some mockery about the idea that evacuees were worried about not having a "ticket" to get medivac'd off the roof of their homes (or being otherwise unable to afford the rescue expense), but to me the idea didn't sound that chowderheaded since we do charge to rescue people who get themselves lost in the backcountry.

And lemme tell you these rescue flights are COSTLY. IIRC a $6M helicopter only has about 6000 of flight hours in it. That's $1000/hr just for the capital cost of the helicopter, not counting the 1000 gallons of fuel it will burn on a mission, or the salaries of the ~20 people involved in operating and servicing it.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:30 PM on September 6, 2005


Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine:
"It is difficult to understand the lack of preparedness and the ineffective initial response to a disaster that had been predicted for years, and for which specific, dire warnings had been given for days."
and ...
"If our system did such a poor job when there was no enemy, how would the federal, state and local governments have coped with a terrorist attack that provided no advance warning and that was intent on causing as much death and destruction as possible?"
posted by ericb at 2:33 PM on September 6, 2005


In case people really think Bush's sychophants are going to desert him, here an objectivist's take on things:
What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider "normal" behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the government hasn't taken care of them. And they don't use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.
No surprise, really, but crap. Virtue of selfishness indeed.
posted by umberto at 2:40 PM on September 6, 2005


we're going to see a lot of this cherry-picking extreme comments and making accusations about how people aren't getting "called on it", while ignoring the actual topic at hand?
posted by Armitage Shanks


Ignoring the actual topic? I'm reading the thread just like you. Because I don't respond doesn't mean I'm ignoring the topic. It means I don't have anything to add. For what it's worth, my family is getting ready to take in a family who lost their home in new orleans. So you see, I'm not "ignoring" anything. I'm doing something about it.

If such a drastic statement would have been made about african americans, muslims, gays or any other 'group', shit would have hit the fan.

Do you deny that some Republican voters are extremely racist, and welcome the killing of black people?
posted by cleardawn


I'm sure you're correct cleardawn, but I have many republican friends and I don't put up with racism. It was the extreme example you used that I objected to, which you already explained.
posted by justgary at 2:47 PM on September 6, 2005


"We're problem solvers"

a) How's that Iraq Stabilization Group coming along, btw?

b) Here's the current national debt:

09/02/2005 $7,940,458,909,255.82

Where Bush's responsibility begins:

09/28/2001 $5,807,463,412,200.06

TWO FUCKING TRILLION DOLLARS in just 4 years!

c) Gas prices in January 2001: $1.50/gallon.

d) Here's what the NY skyline looked like in Jan 2001:



e) Home price appreciation has been accelerating since 2001, and for the top 10 states home valuations have doubled since 2000. Bubbles are never a good thing, and home affordability is a fundamental element of the American Dream; the big winners in the housing bubble are the mortgage companies, speculators, and rentiers.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:05 PM on September 6, 2005


umberto: as a lefty-libertarian I am somewhat sympathetic with the Objectivist mentality.

The libertarian side of me sees that treating people as if they're helpless tend to actually make them helpless -- reliant on government aid to survive -- to some extent.

The lefty side sees we need to develop better self-help / life-support infrastructure in this country (education/child-care, skill-training, more efficient public transportation, health maintenance and care) so people can develop their own talents and become more productive members of society.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:12 PM on September 6, 2005


I'm going to head over to LGF and see if they've started quoting cleardawn as handy liberal strawman. I would I if I were them. (Actually I'd commit suicide if I were them, but that's different sort of hypothetical.)

Meanwhile, Bush intends to personally lead the inquiry into what went wrong. Yeah, baby. He'll get straight to the bottom of those staged "potemkin village" relief photo ops and the blundering (if not far, far worse than blundering) of his campaign worker and crony FEMA appointee. Mmm-hmm. Yeah. Lid to be blown off shortly. Count on it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:23 PM on September 6, 2005


Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish, La.:
"Bureaucracy has murdered people in the greater New Orleans area. And bureaucracy needs to stand trial before Congress today. … So, I'm asking Congress, please investigate this now. Take whatever idiot they have at the top of whatever agency and give me a better idiot. Give me a caring idiot. Give me a sensitive idiot. Just don't give me the same idiot."
posted by ericb at 3:26 PM on September 6, 2005


we do charge to rescue people who get themselves lost in the backcountry.

Unless you buy a Hiking Certificate (looks just like a hunting license), and pay the $.75 for the S&R insurance. Then the flight out is free. Best 75 cents insurance you can buy.

But this whole national disaster just keeps getting worse and worse. I can't wait for the indictments. and the long prison sentances.

It's interesting that the right winger posters in this thread don't have anything to say except calling people names, and belittling the responses of those that just can't take it anymore. I guess that's better than trying to defend this crap.
I'm vibratingly mad right now, and my neocon ex-step-father-in-law is comming for a visit this weekend.
If he opens his trap to defend Bush's response to any of this, I'm kicking him out. Persona non grata.
posted by Balisong at 3:29 PM on September 6, 2005


Heywood Mogroot: I understand the point of view. I've (gasp!) given money to Cato in the past. I'm sympathetic to a a lot of the libertarian viewpoint.

But libertarians believe the government is around for a few, very few, basic purposes. One of them is taking care of its citizens in crises of this nature. I also cannot stress strongly enough that if you refuse to go and help people for days because you are fearful they are turning into animals, then --in a very few days-- you will have yourself a tasty self-fulfilling prophecy. And it seems to me that's what happened in this case.
posted by umberto at 3:40 PM on September 6, 2005


Metafilter: Give me a Better Idiot.
posted by umberto at 3:41 PM on September 6, 2005


MetaFilter: a tasty self-fulfilling prophecy.

justgary: I've known a few very rightwing people over the years, too. I argue with them, sometimes violently, but their more-or-less overt racism doesn't necessarily prevent me socialising with them. In fact, if we genuinely want to end racism, then talking to racists about racism is probably one of the best things we can do.
posted by cleardawn at 4:33 PM on September 6, 2005


I can't wait until Bush starts Probing himself. I like to imagine he is going to write on his own report card:

Works hard. Room for some improvement.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:37 PM on September 6, 2005


Oh, is Castro emptying his jails again?

Speaking of emptying jails, doesn't the United States have a larger percentage of its population behind bars than any other industrialized nation in the world ? I suspect we have Castro beat in terms of per capita prisoners just as we have him beat in infant deaths per one thousand births--more babies dead! more babies dead! USA! USA!--
posted by y2karl at 4:42 PM on September 6, 2005


MetaFilter: More babies dead! USA! USA!
posted by cleardawn at 4:57 PM on September 6, 2005


FEMA to Mac, Linux users: drop dead

Okay, now I'm REALLY angry!
posted by Turtles all the way down at 5:01 PM on September 6, 2005


White House Press Briefing: Angry Reporters Hit McClellan Hard on Hurricane, Ask if Heads Will Roll .
posted by ericb at 5:14 PM on September 6, 2005


Bush: Major Rescue Operations are Over--Hours after making an historic landing aboard a moving aircraft carrier in the waters of the Gulf Coast, President Bush told reporters aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln Thursday that “major rescue operations in New Orleans have ended.”

“Operation Cover Our Asses was carried out with a combination of precision, speed and boldness the American people did not expect,” Bush told a select group of Gannons standing on the flight deck. “We set up an array of emergency photo ops and Potemkin villages with a can-do spirit that dazzled the world. I personally have hugged black people in the Gulf Coast, and the photos are now available on the White House website.”

Fox news analyst Sean Hannity praised Bush’s speech, saying, “I will say anything my leader tells to say. That’s what a journalist is supposed to do.” ...

posted by amberglow at 5:20 PM on September 6, 2005


Oh, is Castro emptying his jails again

The 1500 doctors & nurses Castro offered to send to New Orleans were also involved in tsunami relief. In terms of percentage of population & GDP, Cuba's contribution to tsunami relief far, far exceeded that of the US. This from a country that has suffered economic hardship under embargo from the US, an embargo not supported by the world community.

But hey: your comment, and your ignorance, are exactly what we in the rest of the world have come to expect from the current generation of Americans.

As to the US jailing the largest percentage of its population among industrialized nations, that's true only if you count the non-white prisoners as "population". Which -- so far as we can tell -- you don't.
posted by lastobelus at 5:21 PM on September 6, 2005


Looka has really good stuff too, including a list of musicians.
posted by amberglow at 5:29 PM on September 6, 2005


my point was too extreme due to my (justified) anger.

So, you read something idiotic on a right-wing blog, respond *here* instead of there, insulting MeFi's Republican-leaning members in the process, and you consider that "justified" anger? Puh-lease.

Look, cleardawn, we have enough problems keeping the signal-to-noise ratio manageable in discussions here. The least you can do is not fuck things up by bringing your oh-so-righteous uncontrolled rage at *other* sites over to us.
posted by mediareport at 6:05 PM on September 6, 2005


stop it already, mediareport. flag it, take it to meta, and don't derail.
posted by amberglow at 6:16 PM on September 6, 2005


stop it already, amberglow. flag it, take it to meta, and don't derail.
posted by Kwantsar at 6:44 PM on September 6, 2005


This just in...

FEMA director waited to seek Homeland help
" The government’s disaster chief waited until hours after Hurricane Katrina had already struck the Gulf Coast before asking his boss to dispatch 1,000 Homeland Security employees to the region — and gave them two days to arrive, according to internal documents....Brown said that among duties of these employees was to 'convey a positive image' about the government’s response for victims....Brown’s memo to Chertoff described Katrina as 'this near catastrophic event' but otherwise lacked any urgent language. The memo politely ended, 'Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities.'"
posted by ericb at 7:12 PM on September 6, 2005


Brown has to be fired immediately.
posted by amberglow at 7:13 PM on September 6, 2005


Also -- "...the airline industry said the government’s request for help evacuating storm victims didn’t come until late Thursday afternoon. The president of the Air Transport Association, James May, said the Homeland Security Department called then to ask if the group could participate in an airlift for refugees."
posted by ericb at 7:14 PM on September 6, 2005


flag it, take it to meta, and don't derail.

I'm responding directly to the arguments presented in the thread, amberglow. It's legit to deal with those here, sorry.
posted by mediareport at 7:32 PM on September 6, 2005


Average daily population/number of prisoners.
By 1990, the prison population in Cuba had dropped
to around 19,000 as a result of the liberalized
penal code that went into effect in 1988. This
number yields a rate of imprisonment of
approximately 190 per 100,000 population.


World Factbook of Criminal Justice Systems - Cuba

Summary findings
On June 30,2004,

-- 2,131,180 prisoners were held in Federal or State prisons or in local jails -- an increase of 2.3% from midyear 2003, less than the average annual growth of 3.5% since yearend 1995.

-- there were an estimated 486 prison inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents -- up from 411 at yearend 1995.


Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics

Then, to be fair, there is this:

Over the past forty years, Cuba has developed a highly effective machinery of repression. The denial of basic civil and political rights is written into Cuban law. In the name of legality, armed security forces, aided by state-controlled mass organizations, silence dissent with heavy prison terms, threats of prosecution, harassment, or exile. Cuba uses these tools to restrict severely the exercise of fundamental human rights of expression, association, and assembly. The conditions in Cuba's prisons are inhuman, and political prisoners suffer additional degrading treatment and torture. In recent years, Cuba has added new repressive laws and continued prosecuting nonviolent dissidents while shrugging off international appeals for reform and placating visiting dignitaries with occasional releases of political prisoners.

This report documents Cuba's failures to respect the civil and political rights enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as well as the international human rights and labor rights treaties it has ratified. It shows that neither Cuban law nor practice guarantees the fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration. Cuba's obligation to respect the declaration arises from its incorporation into the United Nations Charter, rendering all member states, including Cuba, subject to its provisions. The UDHR is widely recognized as customary international law. It is a basic yardstick to measure any country's human rights performance. Unfortunately, Cuba does not measure up.


Cuba's Repressive Machinery - Human Rights Forty Years After the Revolution
posted by y2karl at 9:33 PM on September 6, 2005


They neutered FEMA and now they have a neutered scapegoat.

Oh, like the U.N.
posted by dreamsign at 9:39 PM on September 6, 2005


posted by lastobelus The 1500 doctors & nurses Castro offered to send to New Orleans were also involved in tsunami relief. In terms of percentage of population & GDP, Cuba's contribution to tsunami relief far, far exceeded that of the US. This from a country that has suffered economic hardship under embargo from the US, an embargo not supported by the world community.

But hey: your comment, and your ignorance, are exactly what we in the rest of the world have come to expect from the current generation of Americans.

As to the US jailing the largest percentage of its population among industrialized nations, that's true only if you count the non-white prisoners as "population". Which -- so far as we can tell -- you don't.


Sally Struthers, is that you?
posted by fandango_matt at 10:04 PM on September 6, 2005


The worst thing about 1-800-621-FEMA is that if you call and no one can pick up the line, instead of being placed on hold, you are disconnected. Even the IRS has the ability to place people on hold. Why not FEMA?
posted by calwatch at 10:56 PM on September 6, 2005


Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics

Didn't Bush just fire the head of stats there for insisting that they not excise the bit in a report on racial profiling where the data suggests that racial profiling was demonstrated? (it was considered an "unnecessary" part of the report) He evoked his right as former senior official to be given replacement work, as he was mere months from retirement. Ended up in prison stats, I think.

Sorry, derail, but don't you hate it when reality gets in the way of a good report.

Speaking of emptying jails, doesn't the United States have a larger percentage of its population behind bars than any other industrialized nation in the world ?

Yes. Aren't you up to 2 million, now?
posted by dreamsign at 11:02 PM on September 6, 2005


fandango, you simply revealed your own severe ignorance.

I am no fan of Castro -- see y2karl's last link -- but making doctors is possibly the only thing that Castro's Cuba does really well. That, and hurricane evacuations ...
posted by dhartung at 11:44 PM on September 6, 2005


They have doctors in Cuba? Really? Well, land o' goshen! I thought all they did down there was pick bananas and roll cigars.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:55 PM on September 6, 2005


NYT: Navy Pilots Who Rescued Victims Are Reprimanded
posted by amberglow at 6:13 AM on September 7, 2005


You can find a registration-free link to that article below:

According to the pilots and other military officials, they rescued 110 people.

The next morning, though, the two crews were called to a meeting with Commander Holdener, who said he told them that while helping civilians was laudable, the lengthy rescue effort was an unacceptable diversion from their main mission of delivering supplies. With only two helicopters available at Pensacola to deliver supplies, the base did not have enough to allow pilots to go on prolonged search and rescue operations.

"We all want to be the guys who rescue people," Commander Holdener said. "But they were told we have other missions we have to do right now and that is not the priority."

...

Dozens of military aircraft are now conducting search and rescue missions over the affected areas. But privately some members of the Pensacola unit say the base's two available transport helicopters should have been allowed to do more to help civilian victims in the days after the storm hit, when large numbers of military helicopters had not reached the affected areas.


Navy Pilots Who Rescued Victims Are Reprimanded - New York Times

If I could, I would strip that commander of his command and make sure that his career in the Navy was over that day. Holdener has clearly lost all perspective on what the US Navy was there to do in the first place.

Why do I have to read yet another heartbreaking story of the incompetence, ignorance, or criminal negligence of our government or military? I am getting TIRED of being angry.
posted by gen at 9:39 AM on September 7, 2005


Is that all? I'd keelhaul the heartless son of a bitch, US Navy regulations notwithstanding. He's exactly the sort of mangement-minded nonleader the Navy doesn't need.
posted by alumshubby at 1:39 PM on September 7, 2005


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