Rudy, George ... Or Someone:

Not to belabor the point, but my point, and I believe Orin's point too, is that there appears to be a leadership vacuum in New Orleans right now. For the past few days it has seemed like no one is in charge, making tough decisions, setting priorities, ensuring accountability, etc. They seem to be simply paralyzed and just responding according to no coherent plan. So regardless of who gets put in charge, the point is that someone needs to be in charge. In part, I think this perception that no one is in charge helps to explain the violence, the video of looting police officers looting, and the rage by the victims that nothing seems to be happening. The point is not to assess blame on anyone, but to simply acknowledge the fact that there seems to be a leadership vacuum that has been generating paralysis and undermining morale among both rescuers and those to be rescued. (One Commenter stated that Haley Barbour is exercising leadership in Mississippi, but I haven't seen enough news coverage of what is happening there to express an opinion.)

I suggested (and still believe) that Rudy is the man to take over the situation in New Orleans, even though I acknowledge those Commenters who note that this is not his home turf and that he does not have the advantage he had in New York of having planned in advance for this. Nonetheless, my instinct is that if anyone could reverse the paralysis and fill the leadership vacuum, it is he. And it is not just public leadership (although as Orin notes, that is an important part of it), it is leadership over the whole process of responding to the situation, such as logistics, decision-making, and accountability.

If the Governor and the Mayor aren't up to the job, maybe Orin is right that by default it becomes the President's job. On the other hand, of course, given the President's other responsibilities, he cannot be the hands'-on guy collecting the information sufficient to make detailed hour-to-hour and day-to-day decisions, although he could provide a public leadership role. My understanding of the bureaucratic chain of command is that this is supposed to be FEMA's job, but FEMA has also demonstrated that it also is not up to the challenge. As I understand it from talking to people in the government, the way this is supposed to work is that FEMA is supposed to direct other federal agencies on how to allocate resources, but has fallen down badly on the job. If FEMA's director can't do the job, get someone in there who can.

Personally, I'm still willing to put Rudy in charge for at least the short term--better late than never. The Governor and the Mayor appear to be down for the count. From what I can tell, is no reason to believe FEMA can collect information about New Orleans logistics better than someone else could, and he sure as heck would provide greater leadership. But, more importantly, Rudy, George, or someone needs to be in charge and exercising both real and apparent leadership right now.

On the other hand, there are now scenes that things are getting back on track. So maybe someone, somewhere is starting to take control of the situation.

People get used to waiting for the government to take action; eventually, people in the government start waiting for the government to take action, too.
9.2.2005 4:43pm
Paul Gowder (mail):
Lets hope so. My sense is that nobody below the federal level has anything approaching the resources to deal with this. E.g. Blanco has to BEG for troops rather than ORDER them in. She might not be down for the count so much as just strapped. Nagin, on the other hand, is clearly down for the count.

At this point, we should just find anyone who can command enough resources and PUT THEM IN CHARGE ALREADY, I agree with you. I don't care who: an army general, Guliani, Blanco with actual resources under her command, hell, put Orin in charge.
9.2.2005 4:55pm
Alice Marie Beard:
The response of the Mayor or New Orleans was disappointing. It is HE who was to know his city well. He gave an order to evacuate, knowing that many of the poorest in his city were just a few days before their next welfare of Social Security check. He told the people to get out, and he should have known that many would have NO way to get out other than to walk out. Would it not have been appropriate for him to have contacted the Governor of LA when he gave the evacuation order, and asked her to mobilize the Louisiana National Guard, who could have come in with people-moving vehicles of some sort to get the folks out? Instead, the Mayor didn't do his job well, and the LA governor didn't do her job appropriately; the hurricane hit, and now it's time to blame someone because they built their houses of straw. I have sympathy for the poor who were left stranded in New Orleans. I have no sympathy for the Mayor of New Orleans or the Governor of Louisiana. They screwed up big time.
9.2.2005 4:55pm
Justin Kee (mail):
I absolutely disagree with the points raised in the parent posts by Todd and Orin. CNN is hosting a radio interview with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and he had some very insightful and profane commentary about the Federal and State response to the disaster, as well as specifics as to his requests to outside and higher authorities. I would not consider the effort of the Mayor of the City of New Orleans, with limited local resources, as a "leadership vacuum". The issue is whether anyone is listening.
9.2.2005 4:58pm
TIA Daily (mail) (www):
An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State by Robert Tracinski

It has taken four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it has also taken me four long days to figure out what is going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.

If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.

Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists--myself included--did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.

But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.

The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over the past four days. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

The man-made disaster is the welfare state...

Link to the full article
9.2.2005 5:13pm
Uncle Fester (mail):
I agree that the governor and mayor are completely uninspiring.

That said, have you noticed that you've seen absolutely no one with disaster recovery experience make a negative remark? The probable reason behind that is because this effort is actually a massive success. Anyone with disaster planning experience knows that while a little help will come right away, it takes 72 hours for the real help to arrive.

It's all about logistics, and it takes time.

The TV people show downtown NO, and the beachfront in Biloxi and Gulfport. The states were decimated. Trucks needed to come from TN and TX. Those trucks move on interstates,which are closed in lots of places. What takes 12 hours may now take 36..... and the drivers have to sleep etc.

Odds are there a National Guard brigadier general calling the shots now. A celebrity leader like Rudy will help calm the masses.
9.2.2005 5:21pm
Remember the ethnic make-up of New Orleans: Jesse, not Rudy.
9.2.2005 5:25pm
Tom Perkins (mail):
Justin, the Mayor or someone very local left his school system buses in their depots to flood instead of getting people out of the city with them, why was that? Whay wasn't is assumed by the Mayor that the city would flood and that he had to get his people out? Why didn't he use his resources?

I'd love to hear what resources he asked for, from whom, and what he didn't get.

Which still doesn't explain why he didn't use the resources he had, and why he didn't use the mouth he's using now to tell people to get out sooner. I don't think the "Mandatory Evac" order was given 'til, what, late Saturday, Sunday?

I still don't think he did what he could, even if what you say he says is perfectly true.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.2.2005 5:31pm
Tom Perkins (mail):
"Whay wasn't is" /= "Why wasn't it" Sheesh. TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.2.2005 5:33pm
Goober (mail):
Remember also that Rudy doesn't even have the phone number of NOPD or the fire department on his phone, not to mention never having spent any time in the New Orleans transportation system, etc. I understand the urge to canonize Rudy Giuliani as well as any New Yorker (especially one who lived here while he was America's Mayor), but he was effective in September 2001 because he had been mayor and had developed police programs for the eight years leading up to that. To be blunt, I find the point of appointing Giuliani, if intended literally, rather bizarre. (It intended rhetorically, a different matter, of course.)
9.2.2005 5:36pm
Lyle (mail):
What people are not even talking about (I am a law student at LSU in Baton Rouge) is that there are people east and south of New Orleans, from St. Benard and Plaquemines Parish, that are trying to get to New Orleans. Some of whom are trying to get to the Superdome because it is the big landmark. I am going to be sheltering some people who are working their way up from New Orleans right now.

People need to give some of these politicians a break because there isn't anybody who could have figured this out and fixed it immediately. Nagin told the projects to go to the Superdome and lots of them didn't. And then the floodwater came and you have disaster. Then there are the people who just staid in their homes in Jefferson, Orleans, St. Benard or Plaquemines who live nowhere near downtown New Orleans. All those copters are saving these people. You can't just drive a bus to these people. I don't even know how the people who are coming to me got out. The were flooded into a last minute shelter at Chalmette High in St. Benard which is east of New Orleans. The whole world thinks everybody is at the Convention Center (people who didn't evacuate) or the Dome.

It is just so fucked up. I don't think Giuliani could have done much better, although Blanco is not a leader like Jindal or Landrieu, and Nagin is just a suave businessman who doesn't know much else.
9.2.2005 5:40pm
Barry Dauphin (mail):
I wanted Rudy in there from day one, because it was apparent before the storm even hit that Nagin would not be up to the job. His evacuation press conference was not only uninspiring, it was downright lethargic. He was literally reading the regulation numbers granting him the authority. The sheriff of the Parish next door, Jefferson, told people to "get your assess out of here" at his press conference.

Who has experience coming into an unfamilar place and trying to restore order? Paul Bremer. But a lot of people are down on him at this point.
9.2.2005 6:02pm
Ron Hardin (mail) (www):
The media is a very unreliable source, in that it's interested at all times, before and after the hurricane, in holding its core audience.

They will report exclusively things that are consistent with the laws of soap opera.

For a couple of nights the coverage of WWL radio 870 was superb, and audible in most of the Eastern US at night, until the studio went under water or something and they linked up with all the radio stations in the area and imported hosts.

It was very level-headed stuff, and some broadcasting awards will certainly come of it, but unfortunately it will not be an example because it won't hold ratings.

The reason blogs are great is not that they're not biased but that they're not interested in ratings, and so have no reason to cater to the soap opera demographic.

Anyway, the thing to factor out of news coverage is not political bias but soap opera bias.

Things might be going better than you think, mostly, and probably are.
9.2.2005 6:14pm
Grand Old Poster:
The main reason to send in Rudy -- one that gets me pretty damned excited -- is that it's a great way to raise his profile going into 2008. We've got to be thinking long-term here, and I suspect that the administration was thinking that way, too, when they let things get bad before going in. The image that needs to be there is that the leader is necessary to save the people -- Bush on a helicopter is okay, but I'm thinking we should send Rudy in on a boat manned by soldiers.

The US can weather a hurricane or even the loss of a city, but not someone in the White House who won't fight the war on terror (i.e., a Dem). Getting Rudy down there now -- now, when things are at there worst -- is the best way to make sure he gets into the White House three years from now.
9.2.2005 6:15pm
spencere (mail):
My understanding that the standard operating procedure, enacted into law, is that once the area is declared a federal disaster -- that happened on Saturday before the storm even hit -- the single person in charge is suppose to be the head of FEMA.

This is a law blog someone should be able to easily confirm or disprove that -- I am not a lawyer.
9.2.2005 6:18pm
Sammy Finkelman (mail):
What's important here is the political background of New Orleans. Apparently nobody knows, but New Orleans has the highest homicide rate for any city in the country - even higher than Washington, D.C.

See here

Table 291 (which gives states and only hints at the problems) and esecially Table 292 (page 7 in the PDF file) which gives cities. Notice also how low the rape rate is compared to the homicide rate which probably indicates massive underrporting

It is hard to find out any information through easy searches, but I found this in Google groups:

(From 1996 so you need something that updates this)

<< I am outraged by all elements of the current administration including the management of the police force. We have policemen here murdering citizens and
other cops.

The current New Orleans Police Dept. is a result of 20 years of neglect and racial emnity. The Mayor's handling of the police pay raise issue gives little hope that things will get much better, although Pennington is making
an effort to raise standards and get rid of the obvious criminals on the force. >>

So the policemen are NOT also looting? Why should we believe that?
9.2.2005 6:41pm
Glenn Bridgman (mail):
"The main reason to send in Rudy -- one that gets me pretty damned excited -- is that it's a great way to raise his profile going into 2008. We've got to be thinking long-term here, and I suspect that the administration was thinking that way, too, when they let things get bad before going in. The image that needs to be there is that the leader is necessary to save the people -- Bush on a helicopter is okay, but I'm thinking we should send Rudy in on a boat manned by soldiers.

The US can weather a hurricane or even the loss of a city, but not someone in the White House who won't fight the war on terror (i.e., a Dem). Getting Rudy down there now -- now, when things are at there worst -- is the best way to make sure he gets into the White House three years from now."

Uhh, this must be a joke. Please, tell me it is a joke. Or you are a deep undercover operative from DU or something. If not, good god almighty.
9.2.2005 7:13pm
Shelby (mail):
Grand Old Poster:

I'm with Glenn. I don't care which party wins the White House in 2008 (at least, until I know who the candidates are), but this is pure political poison for W. It will be enormously difficult after a week of disaster coverage for him to turn around a perception that any federal official is the hero of the day.

This is independent of how well anyone actually does in disaser management from here on out; I hope they do a great job.
9.2.2005 7:27pm
Anonymous Jim (mail):
I think they have found the "Rudy" for NO. He is Lt. Gen. Russel Honore. ( There are, of course, philosophical and practical drawbacks to having the figure be a military man but he is probably the best hope. Not only is he from LA, in everything I have read about him in this situation, he has the exact right approach (e.g. telling guardsmen that "this is not Iraq, point your weapons to the ground").

With regard to Grand Old Poster's comments, I would point out that a big part of why Rudy was effective was the fact that he was somewhat removed from the "politics" of it. He was no longer going to be mayor. Plus, prior to 9/11, there were few Republicans who were more critical of Republicans than Giuliani. Many people thought of him as an honest broker. I am not sure he would be given that deference at this point.
9.2.2005 7:43pm
TDPerkins (mail):
"philosophical and practical drawbacks to having the figure be a military man"

Practical only if the Posse Comitatus statues ewre in effect, and I can only hope you will email me cogent reasons why anyone would have philosophical problems with his uniform.

My first thoughts on reading about your philosophical problems were frankly profane.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.2.2005 7:56pm
Some Jarhead:
You can't respond to a disaster until after it happens.

Consider food relief. Domestic stockpiles of disaster supplies (food, medicine, water, clothing, etc.) are held in climate-controlled, strategic facilities. It takes time to unpack those supplies, load them onto trucks, and move them to the site of the disaster; a day or two from the moment the order is given, minimum. Once they're loaded, they must be used. Exposure to the elements makes these supplies unfit for further long-term storage.

The same goes for military-type rescue equipment, which is spread around the country as part of the training fleet but available for relief efforts as circumstances require, with some additional equipment as dedicated rescue units (such as Coast Guard assets). This equipment takes time to move, and moving it leaves the place of origin without that particular asset. This creates the catch-22 of sending equipment to a place it eventually isn't needed, and having a second disaster hit in the place where the equipment came from.

I don't think I need to explain the dangers of transporting blood and plasma reserves without knowing that they are actually necessary - for these types of perishables, it's a one-way trip.

Anyone who says that the New Orleans situation was clear from before the storm made landfall is either a liar, or has somehow learned to predict the future.

Finally, there's the important question about the legality of federalizing the National Guards of surrounding states and deploying them to a place with a functioning and independent government on a hunch that things are about to get much, much worse.

The blame for New Orleans rests squarely on the Mayor and the Governor. Today, the people of New Orleans wish they had Rudy Giuliani as Mayor and George W. Bush as Governor.
9.2.2005 8:13pm
Grand Old Poster:
"[Y]ou are a deep undercover operative from DU or something."

"I don't care which party wins the White House in 2008."

You guys just don't get it. We are in the midst of two wars -- a domestic cultural war and a war on terrorism -- that are just like WWI. They cannot be won by a "decisive battle." They can only be won by understanding supplies, by using attrition to your advantage, and, most of all, by keeping the edge on morale.

This week, Bush did a few very smart things. He reminded people that *civilian* government -- the Nanny state model that the lefties think can win the war on terror -- can't save people. You need the *military* to save people. The image people will remember is American soldiers saving the day, and President Bush -- a helicopter and uniformed soldiers around him -- comforting the lost. That is a critically powerful image. This is how you teach people that you need a stronger military, not a more bloated FEMA.

Second, Bush has stepped back and let people think of Rudy, even if he doesn't even go down there. The left is fighting the last war -- trying to hurt Bush -- whereas Bush is fighting to win 2008 for the GOP.

Finally, Bush helped remind people about the importance of the domestic cultural struggle. Like O'Reilly said -- the people in (blue) New Orleans stayed behind so they could cause havoc. The (red) soldiers who came in to save them did so to restore the peace. You think you would've had chaos like this somewhere conservative, like Dallas? You wouldn't and you haven't. Just look at Mississippi.

Bush may dip slightly, but in the end, he'll get through the policies he want and put a Republican back in the White House. He knew exactly how this battle fit into the larger war, and thought *strategically* rather than *tactically*.
9.2.2005 8:15pm
Anonymous Jim (mail):
If you took my "philosophical problems" as some sort of slam on the military, I can only assure that that was not what I intended. I have no "philosophical problems" with his uniform. Not being well-versed on the posse comitatus statutes, I will avoid discussing them.

I see two primary "philosophical" drawbacks with a military leader being in charge rather than a civilian. First, I believe that competent local, state and/or federal civilian authorities should marshall adequate and appropriate resources to address situations such as this. In this case, there were either insufficient resources (as the Mayor seems to claim) and/or incompetent civilian leadership (take your pick of levels). If my choice is between a group of incompetent leaders or leaders with insufficient resources, and military control of the situation, I would choose a military leader with appropriate resources every day and twice on Sunday. In a perfect world, the civilan leaders would be in control; this situation is far from perfect.

My second concern is that he is not independent. He has a boss that it would be inappropriate for him to disagree with publicly. Both on a looking backwards basis (e.g. "should you have gotten to NO sooner") and a looking forward basis (e.g. "do you have sufficient resources") he is constrained in terms of what he can answer if asked.
9.2.2005 8:25pm
Grand Old Party,

What are you talking about, I know that maybe you can find away to fit all of your idealogical priorities into this disaster but it just seems silly. People stayed to cause havoc. Many of those people who you think stayed to cause havoc are DEAD know from drowning and disease and starvation and dehydration. In your idealogical world, it may seem that everyone benifits from the estate tax and people are most concerned with the cultural (or did you mean race) struggle, but these people had nowhere to go, no way to get them to that nowhere and nothing to get a way (sorry to channel Jesse Jackson). I don't know who you see on the news accounts but there aren't 70 year women in wheelchairs looting a Bloomingdales. I don't know why people can't be concerned with what should be important and that saving lives that are worth every bit as much as yours Grand. Don't discount them just because they don't vote Republican.
9.2.2005 9:22pm
Glenn Bridgman (mail):
Just to add on to Jim, we also want to avoid the public perception that the military is the miricale fix-it for every crisis. In the short term, it weakens the military by diverting it from its primary mission. In the long term, the military leadership should be kept seperate from the political leadership. We may be a long way from ancient Rome, but human nature is human nature and we would be stupid not to learn our lesson from history.

As for Grand Old Poster, you are insane. WWI had tens of millions of deaths. As important as defeating terrorism is, can we please keep a semblence of perspective? Also, the idea that most of those people stayed to cause havoc is stupid and insulting. Most of them stayed because they were poor, elderly, sick, or perhaps just a bit dumb. Not only that, but the mere suggestion that Bush let this crisis stew to set the stage for the 2008 Presidential race is a caricature of the worst lefty straussian nightmare. Shame.
9.2.2005 9:40pm
Anonymous Jim (mail):
Grand Old Poster is making it tough to adhere to the Conspiracy's request that we remain civil in our discussion. If George Bush, Karl Rove, or Rudy let one person die so that Rudy can get elected, may God have mercy on his soul.
9.2.2005 9:46pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Hello Anonymous Jim,

Please note what is not requested here:

"First, I believe that competent local, state and/or federal civilian authorities should marshall adequate and appropriate resources to address situations such as this."

There are no competent local authorities, or their buses that flooded would have been used during the "mandatory" evacuation on Thursday and Friday (when it wasn't declared yet) to get people without vehicles out.

I took your "philosophical objections" to be a willingness to see the chaos continue rather than the military be employed. The Gov. of La. evidently only allowed the national military to go in sometime yesterday.

SomeJarhead wrote:

"Anyone who says that the New Orleans situation was clear from before the storm made landfall is either a liar, or has somehow learned to predict the future."

True to a degree, however, Katrina was a Cat 5 storm when it was bearing down on them, and it was so wide it would not have missed NO with Cat 4 winds. It was agreed that NO could not take Cat 4 winds, let alone Cat 5. What do you think we would be saying about Mayor Nagin and his last second evacuation if Katrina had stayed a Cat 5? We wouldn't be worrying about tens of thousands of survivors, I'll tell you. Not evacuating whomever they could is just bizaare, and that was a local responsibility. I never heard of a hurricane that far north and northbound on the gulf heading back south.

It doesn't take prognostication.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.2.2005 10:14pm
The Drill SGT:
The blame for the initial problems lies on the shoulders of the Mayor and the Governor.

1. "New story on Sunday Aug 28: Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said that President Bush had called and urged the state to order the evacuation. " The locals didn't start early enough. The AP Photos of 300-500 school buses in New Orleans sitting flooded in their yard is criminal. That is 15,000 to 25,000 evacuation seats.

2. The NG. This is a 4 tiered process. The Governor got started very late. Tier 1: Activate the LANG. The Governor didn't call up enough, fast enough. Tier 2. use reciprocity agreements with other states to get NG in. Why is this important? State NG operating under the Governor can be used in law enforcement. If Bush federalizes the LANG (tier 3) or brings in active troops (tier 4) "POSSE COMITATUS ACT" prevents their use in this fashion.

3. Rather than Rudy, who I do like, Bush has sent a guy who's gonna provide some leadership and get some air time in the next days. LTG Russel Honore. Honore is in charge of the DoD response Task Force. He rolled in to the SuperDome today in the first Army truck. He's Black, He's Louisiana, he's experienced, and he's good. I served under his father.

The Drill SGT
9.2.2005 10:28pm
frank cross (mail):
TD, you got a source about them only "allowing" the feds in yesterday?

The evacuation was actually remarkably successful. My NO friend looked at the situation on Friday, Katrina was a middling size storm in the Gulf of which there are several every year. You don't empty the city for all of them. By Saturday morning, it was a huge storm heading for NO, evacation began in earnest, and it was very successful in getting a huge number of people out.
9.2.2005 11:06pm
pat (mail) (www):
Homeland Security automatically grants authority for emergency management to the "lowest possible organizational and jurisdictional" level", in this case to the City of New Orleans. Every major city is responsible for developing its emergency disaster plans, for rescue and recovery, for evacuation, etc. and to conduct drills. New Orleans obviously hadn't adequately planned or drilled.

State and federal resources can be poured into the disaster area, but they are rendered ineffective if they can't plug into the city's emergency planning. They don't know the city; the locals do. But the locals failed to develop any sort of a plan based on the city being hit by a category 4 or category 5 hurricane. They left their emergency service vehicles, such as school buses, ambulances, and fire trucks in vulnerable areas instead of moving them to higher ground. They had no communications systems that survived Katrina. They gave little thought to what to do with the thousands of people who would or could not evacuate the city. The hospitals were unprepared for the disaster.

The key to success in warfare is logistics. You can have all the troops in the world and all the material, but you can't win if you can't get your resources to the battle-field. The state and federal resources lacked the local intelligence that a proper emergency plan would have provided. So they were blundering around, guided, to some extent by the media.

It looks like the corner has been turned; the failure of the local authorities to plan properly cost the people 3 or 4 days, and many more people died as a consequence.
9.2.2005 11:28pm
The Drill SGT:
To expand on a couple of Pat's military analogies. Military organizations have a Plan for everything, yet Clausewitz accurately predicted that: "No Plan survives contact with the enemy", meaning that once in combat, exigencies quickly overcome any Plan.

However, what planning does is provide both critical mental drills to consider "what ifs" and contingencies as well as provide little snippets of the Master Plan that are useful even when things rapidly change course. In this case, Planning and access to both the local school system and Transit authority buses, combined with rosters of drivers. Just think of the impact on survivability if local school buses and transit buses had driven their normal routes on Sunday and picked up the old and poor for transport to surrounding county shelters. Getting access to both the local Pepsi and Coke bottling company warehouses for potable fluids, etc.

These guys had no Plan to start with. If they had, you would have been able to see little effective snippets that still worked. You can tell because everything they did was completely ad-hoc.
9.2.2005 11:51pm
Nagin has already stated that he thinks full authority should be given to LTG Russel Honore if they don't want to give it to him personally. Audio available here:
9.3.2005 12:27am
Brian G (mail) (www):
Let's speculate for a moment, shall we:

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Less than one minute after the levees broke, flooding New Orleans, President Bush announced that he was appointing Rudy Guiliani as leader of the recovery effort. "Tough times call for tested leadership," the President stated. "Mayor Guilani has experience in coordinating recovery efforts and I know he'll do a fantastic job."

Reaction to this announcement was swift. "New Orleans has their own perfectly competent leader," civil rights leader Jesse Jackson angrily replied. "Of course, Bush can't have a black man, especially a former Republican who changed parties, looking good on TV."

Howard Dean, DNC chairman accused Bush of putting politics over saving lives. "In a time of dire need, Bush instead chooses politics over lives in an attempt to annoint his successor rather than let the Democrats in charge of New Orleans and Louisiana get all the glory."

With Bush seeing some of the lowest approval numbers of his Presidency, others have suggested his overeagerness is to deflect attention from his failures in Iraq. "He must think we're stupid," claimed a poor, lesbian, African-American woman who refused to give her name. "He is getting our people killed over there for oil while he does nothing when black people are dying by the thousands."

Is there any doubt this would be the story if Bush took charge from the first minute?
9.3.2005 12:56am
John T:
Brian G,

As long as we're engaging in hypotheticals: If Bush had performed as you indicated, do you think the overall outrage in the country over the response efforts would have been less, the same, or more than it is now? Would the number of deaths be less, the same, or more than it is now? Would the citizens have been evacuated sooner, at the same time, or later than they are currently being evacuated?

I realize that it's more important to think about what Jesse Jackson and Howard Dean think than to consider my hypotheticals but owing to your willingness to speculate I'm sure you'd love to speculate further on these much smaller and far less significant matters.
9.3.2005 1:20am
Tom952 (mail):
A major part of the problem is the presumption that the government response to the New Orleans situation developed too slowly. An examination of the timeline reveals that it wasn't all that bad. The hurricane came ashore Monday morning, and there was no report of the situation on the ground until Monday evening. At that time, it was known that N.O. had escaped the worst of the wind and storm surge and looked pretty good, while some communities to the east of the storm were demolished by the storm surge and the higher winds. Sometime Tuesday, news trickled out that the levee in New Orleans was failing, and the water continued to rise thru Wednesday before anyone knew how bad it would be.

The first to bear the blame are those in charge of managing the precariously located city. The Superdome shelter plan was apparently nonexistant, with no emergency supplies stored, and maintenance of the sanitation facilities completely neglected - even street water could have been used to keep them flushing and operating.

Some major media reporters have used this disaster to fan the flames of partisanship and racial divide by severely blurring the timeline involved and demonizing their favorite target. ABC reported victims left without aid for "almost a week" on Thursday. The global warming contingent has been fully vocal, cause-and-effect evidence not required by members of that circle.

The victims display an amazing lack of initiative to help themselves. The first few days following a major hurricane, you are on your own. There is no convoy of trucks and helicopters staged on the highway 100 miles away ready to rush to your aid. Wandering around seeking out cameras to sing the blues to doesn't accomplish much. Find water, find food, find cover, and find transportation out, which may mean packing and walking. In our case, we had jugs of water purchased days before the storm; we ate everything in the fridge before it spoiled, regardless of culinary preferences; and the daylight was used to forage for gasoline, propane, and a few days later, replacement food and water.
9.3.2005 2:23am
Kenneth (mail) (www):
In 1927, when the southern Mississipi River flooded, the Rudy figure that came and and took the leadership position was Herbert Hoover, known as the Great Humanitarian. He was Secretary of Commerce at the time and a successful mining engineer. He not only organized evacuation and relief, but innocculation against the various swamp fevers, new engineering works to prevent subsequent flooding, and some of the rebuilding effort. Its largely on the basis of his success in the Flood that Hoover was elected President in 1928.

Of course there is more to the Hoover story to consider. Some disasters, or market crashes, as the case may be, are going to make anyone look bad, no matter how mach prperation you have or how capable you are at your job. Hoover had organized relief during the Boxer Rebellion, helped organize transportation of Americans out of Europe in 1914, organized Belgian relief during WWI, organized aid to Europe after WWI, organized aid to Russia during the civil war, and then organized the responce to the 1927 flood. There is no one comparable in terms of his humanitarian organization who might have been in a position to responce to the Great Crash of 1929. Hoover's responce to the Crash and onset of the Depression was energetic, imaginative, and informed by all the prior efforts he has made. Nevertheless, the scale of the problem is such that his efforts do not spare him the approbrium of the American people, and perhaps of history. Its possible that a catagory five hurricane striking a city below sea level is another such crisis, so severe that its capable of destroying the reputations of modern day Great Humanitarians.
9.3.2005 2:37am
Buck Turgidson (mail):
The leadership vacuum is not in New Orleans--although that vacuum has sucked up the leadership from New Orleans as well. It is much further up the food chain. Some radio talk show host reminded us of Truman's desk decoration--the buck stops here. In this administration, there is no buck! No one within the chain of command wants to take responsibility. The closest thing to the Administration's response to Katrina is the local officials' response to Chernobyl.

As for "Rudy", the only likely outcome from his involvement would be lots of dead bodies--mostly shop by overzealous cops. Remember where Rudy was on 9/11? I'll give you a hint--he was not in New York. What has he done following 9/11? He certainly had the visible presence--and that is a big part of leadership. But no one seems to be able to put his finger on what it is that Rudy did in response to 9/11 that we should view as so positive. He was visible, firm and confident--qualities one wants in a leader. But he also was dictatorial and hardly decisive--qualities one does not want in a leader. The fact that he's been noted to have admired Mussolini sheds some light on the latter point.

Here are a couple of quotes that make another point about "Rudy":

"Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is now bracing for a whole other order of urban treachery and cataclysm by building a $15.1 million emergency control center for his administration...bullet-proofed, hardened to withstand bombs and hurricanes, and equipped with food and beds for at least 30 members of his inner circle." -NY Times 6/13/98 Giuliani's $15.1 Million 'Emergency Control Center.

"With only 30 beds, who stays and who goes? Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who one day could face such a decision, said he had not made up his mind. "People admitted would depend on the nature of the emergency," he said. "It has nothing to do with my family." "He has made arrangements for his wife and children to come into this bunker with food and water for days," complained former Mayor Ed Koch. "What are the other people in this town supposed to do?"- Newsday 6/14/98.

There is plenty more where this came from. Giuliani tried to run New York as a personal fiefdom, stifling discent and harassing opposition. His policies had been viewed by most New Yorkers as hostile to non-whites. And, on top of it all, the mayor's office was rife with corruption and cronyism--just ask Bernard Kerik. This is not someone we should want to put in charge of a disaster relief effort.
9.3.2005 2:45am
Splunge (mail):
Ah, some level-headed informed commentary from (if the monikers are indicative) a couple of folks with some experience actually moving men and materiel (Drill SGT and the jarhead).

Say, how 'bout we send you to Washington in a pinstripe suit and a $150,000 a year salary, and send all them gasbag know-it-all Congressmen and Senators to Iraq? Tough on Iraq, I know, but home comes first...
9.3.2005 7:31am
TDPerkins (mail):
FrankD wrote:

"The evacuation was actually remarkably successful."

When no attempt was made to employ such a well enough suited means of evacuation as the school buses at that drowned depot--when that means was never offered to the vehicleless poor, then the evacuation, never mind it's lateness, did not even begin to be successful.

I cannot comprehend your statement.

Buck Turgidson made me laugh, and thanks, I could use a laugh:

"The leadership vacuum is not in New Orleans--although that vacuum has sucked up the leadership from New Orleans as well. It is much further up the food chain. Some radio talk show host reminded us of Truman's desk decoration--the buck stops here. In this administration, there is no buck!"

No. What have you been smoking? The buck stops at Mayor Nagin's desk first and foremost. If he asks for help the buck goes to the Governor. If she asks for help, then it goes to the President. Show me one thing the Governor asked for Bush didn't give her. Bush even had to prompt her to declare the disaster area, for God's sake!

That's not some politician's ego, that's the law. You want Pres. Bush to break it, is that what you are saying?

I think this is what you would hear if he did, "The measured and locally informed response of locally elected, minority and Democratic politicians has been grotesquely upstaged by the Administration which is running roughshod over the law in a shameless bid for good press to offset the horrible situtation it caused in Iraq."

I'll only agree with you it is silly to propose that Giuliani be put in charge of anything to do with this.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.3.2005 8:38am
Buck Turgidson (mail):
The Mayor has been begging for the feds to send help from day one. He's done several interviews saying things like, "Let's put a moratorium on press conferences," and "I wish some of these people would get off their asses and do something about it instead of talking about it." So the Mayor has actually been doing his job.

The Governor has about half of his National Guard available, because the rest are in Iraq. Worse still, this only accounts for personnel, not for equipment--most of the equipment is also in Iraq. The same holds true for most Southern states, with between 30 and 50% of the states' National Guard being stationed in Iraq.

But all this is minor. First, New Orleans is not the only disaster area, although it's been hit the hardest because of the flooding. Flying into Mississippi is all fine, but joking about "sitting on Trent Lott's porch" is not. This is no laughing matter.

Let's put it this way, if this were a man-made disaster (e.g., a terrorist attack), you'd be demanding action and an immediate response--and I don't mean invading another Muslim country and blaming the French. There is not a whole lot that city and state level politicians can do other than asking for disaster relief from the feds. All we hear from Washington, to paraphrase Ross Perot, is the giant sucking sound. Do you really think that repealing the estate tax is a higher priority than disaster relief? Apparently Ken Mehlman thought so because he sent out propaganda letters requesting help on the estate tax repeal, not on the disaster relief (Howard Dean did the opposite).

It's all about priorities. And here's another indication of priorities in Washington. AP yesterday morning: "President Bush has used a constitutional provision to bypass the Senate and fill a top Justice Department slot with an official whose nomination stalled over tactics at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, naval facility." As Josh Marshall put it, every crisis is an opportunity. Let's face it--we've elected a boob with virtually no emotions that make us human. And he's surrounded by sycophants and ideologues who have many opinions and theories but not practical competence. Don't forget that the reaction to the tsunami was quite similar and that was in another part of the world. This one hit home and nothing changed. So we know it has nothing to do with geopolitics.
9.3.2005 11:11am
Buck Turgidson (mail):
More on the same subject. Take a look at one reason why there is a problem. Guess what! The state did its job, but the paperwork got stuck in Washington. The wheels grind all too slowly. And the military was ready for food drops, but someone had to issue the order and that had to be cleared with FEMA.

Someone referred to Mike Brown as "horse lawyer". So I was wondering what was going on there. I thought he simply meant that the FEMA commissioner was a horse's ass for suggesting that the victims of the flood only had themselves to blame. Well, it turns out his incompetence extends far beyond FEMA.

Add to that Bill O'Reilly's opinion that people who stayed behind did so because they knew they would have an opportunity for looting. All this coming on the heels of a Bush calling for "personal responsibility". RRRRight!
9.3.2005 11:47am
Those attempting to shift blame to the local officials might want to retreat to the argument that now is not the time to be a critic — I don't think blaming the locals will fly. Witness:

The military was ready to begin food drops, and was waiting on FEMA.

Gov. Blanco was trying to get NM National Guard troops on the ground, and was stymied by Washington.

This was not a failure of capacity or resources, or of local leadership. This was a failure, at the national level, of leadership and coordination.
9.3.2005 5:48pm
"This was not a failure of capacity or resources, or of local leadership. This was a failure, at the national level, of leadership and coordination."

Oh, really?
9.3.2005 10:38pm
Mike Maddox (mail):
There is a lot of blame to go around, but Nagin's shameless attempt to divert it from himself, as Mayor of the city, is nothing short of disgraceful. How did this clown get elected? Please don't tell me he is a Republican.
9.3.2005 11:56pm
Is there any doubt this would be the story if Bush took charge from the first minute?

Man, that's cool. Can I be prez? Apparently, you don't have to do anything; just direct party funding hither and yon rubberstamp spending bills (oh, and cut taxes), and what happens if, well, leadership, or something, is required, I'll have apologists like this explaining why there are good reasons to let people die. Good lord.
9.4.2005 12:28am
Mike Maddox: Nagin has been trying. He's been blocked by many at the federal level. It might help to listen to him, if you're interested in what's going on. No, he hasn't parted the waters and worked miracles. But yes, he's doing the best he can in the face of a crippled federal government.

Challenge: My first impulse was to play image ping-pong with you - lord knows there's enough to go around. But consider the fact that the National Guard (once the Feds actually found a flashlight and a couple of hands) is suppressing video and camera reporting. My first reaction is to wonder why they might do such a thing. I wonder what your's is. I know - clearly, it is for the good of all of us to suppress images of people dying in our own borders, for... um, some reason. Where's my prompter?

Somolia in middle-america only captures part of the problem. I'm betting senators in 2006 are starting to get the message.
9.4.2005 12:42am
TDPerkins (mail):
Turgidson wrote:

"The Mayor has been begging for the feds to send help from day one." Which would be all well and good if it were true, and if Nagin had followed his own plan.

Those who are attempting to shift the the blame from the local authorities to Pres. Bush should read the page at the link above.

Mr. Turgidson may think think he has found some sort proof positive that Pres. Bush is partly to blame for the state of NO. But I think the timeline proves him wrong.

If Pres. Bush hadn't prodded them, the local authorities wouldn't even have declared the belated evacuation as soon as they did. Why weren't the school buses used to get people out? Why does Turgidson think these are trivial questions?

"There is not a whole lot that city and state level politicians can do other than asking for disaster relief from the feds."

About all the feds are set up to do is sign checks and (with the military) shoot people. If the locals don't perform, the feds are left with their tumbs up there a$$es, like finding out from NPR their were people at the convetion center because nobody told them.

""President Bush has used a constitutional provision to bypass the Senate and fill a top Justice Department slot with an official whose nomination stalled over tactics at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, naval facility."

And why shouldn't he do that?

"As Josh Marshall put it, every crisis is an opportunity."

Yes. I think the Democrats and the left are lucky the Administration isn't taking this opportunity to mention that Nagin and Blanco are Democreats who caused the severity of this crisis by not following the plan.

"Let's face it--we've elected a boob with virtually no emotions that make us human."

"Don't forget that the reaction to the tsunami was quite similar and that was in another part of the world."

Similar how? You the US doing what it could with the resources it had. I seem to remember the locals hung the Navy up from doing some good there too, local politics--not wanting supplied dropped to rebel areas. Some truces held, some didn't.

"The state did its job, but the paperwork got stuck in Washington."

The state didn't do it's job, because it's job was to make the request in time to do some good. It took three days, as has been pointed out before, before federal resources got really moving with Andrew, it took nine days. I guess you don't call that improvement.

NCYer, you wanted to use this page as evidence of incompetence at the national level, and the AP flack does say it took up to six days for the orders to come from the Pentagaon. Trouble is, the quotes from people in the article lower down the page don't back up that interpretation. Did you think no one would read this?

And from the article, boldface is my emphasis:

"Maj. Gen. Thomas Cutler, who leads the Michigan National Guard, said he anticipated a call for police units and started preparing them, but couldn't go until states in the hurricane zone asked them to come.

"We could have had people on the road Tuesday," Cutler said. "We have to wait and respond to their need."

The Michigan National Guard was asked for military police by Mississippi late Tuesday and by Louisiana officials late Wednesday. The state sent 182 MPs to Mississippi on Friday and had 242 headed to Louisiana on Saturday.

Typically, the authority to use the National Guard in a state role lies with the governor, who tells his or her adjutant general to order individual Guard units to begin duty. Turnaround time varies depending on the number of troops involved, their location and their assigned missions.

One factor that may have further complicated post-Katrina deployment arose when Louisiana discovered it needed Guardsmen to do more law enforcement duty because a large portion of the New Orleans police force was not functioning, according to Lt. Gen. Steven H. Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau at the

Because the agreement that was already in existence for states to contribute Guard troops to Louisiana did not include a provision on their use in law enforcement, Blum said, Gov. Blanco had to get separate written agreements authorizing Guardsmen to do police-type duty.

Still, Blum said, this took only minutes to execute."

Now from this link, this sounds worth an investigation:

" He said he was told that the military was prepared to begin, but that it was awaiting a request from FEMA.

"We know very well how to do this, and it's just incomprehensible that we're not," Wattenburg said."

But if that claim of federal incompetence has merit, I can only think you are shrill pathetic party hacks to not admit that if the Democratic Mayor of New Orleans and the Democratic Governor of Louisiana had followed the plan the feds expected them to follow, no one would have been in a position to need survival packs dropped to them, now would they?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl &pfpp
9.4.2005 1:06am
TDPerkins (mail):
NCYer wrote:

"I'll have apologists like this explaining why there are good reasons to let people die. Good lord."

NCYer, Mayor Nagin set them up to do the dying by being unimaginably, farcically incompetent. Here's a paragraph from the plan he was supposed to follow:

"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."

You tell me how he followed that plan. He didn't, neither did Blanco. Tell me how that didn't cause both a larger and very differenct set of issues for the feds than the ones they thought they would handle.

"But consider the fact that the National Guard (once the Feds actually found a flashlight and a couple of hands) is suppressing video and camera reporting."

Huh. Then everybody I see on the Internet and the TV must be CGIing all those images, who'da thunk it!

Yours, TDP,ml, msl, &pfpp
9.4.2005 1:19am
TDPerkins (mail):
Hey NCYer, you claimed the National Guard is supressing video and camera reporting. Here is a guy liveblogging the mess and linking to his pictures of it. He's even been searched and still they let him blog and photoblog (well, post images).

What other stuff are you making up?

Yours, TDP, ml, mdl, &pfpp
9.4.2005 1:38am
Buck Turgidson (mail):

There was a striking dicrepancy between the CNN International report on the Bush visit to the New Orleans disaster zone, yesterday, and reports of the same event by German TV.

ZDF News reported that the president's visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time.

The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF.

Similar reports appeared in other places, including Senator Landrieu's press release.
9.4.2005 2:08am
TDPerkins (mail):
Question, is ZDF a news agency like the Gaurdian is a British news agency? Oh, wait, it's a public televison channel. We've already had people here cite the Daily Kos as an information source, and found interesting interpretations of reality on the AP, ones contradicted in large measure by the quotes in the same article further down the AP page (they must not have thought anyone would read their drivel completely).

Since the actual visible, physical evidence--drowned buses and newscast they made before the storm, and the timing of them--all point to massive incompetence on the part of the Democratic machine in Louisiana--the Mayor and Governor not having followed or overseen the following of the plan they agreed to with the feds, since these things are incontrovertibly true THE LOCALS WHO ARE DEMOCRATS DID NOT FOLLOW THE PLAN, why should I trust Dem. Sen. Landrieu's interpretation of events?

If the left spins this successfully, you might be able to cripple the President's agenda, force an ignominious premature withdrawal from Iraq and blame it on Bush, and possibly retake the Senate and the White House--but you have to your spinning in the face of reality, that the locals didn't follow the plan, and the locals are Democrats. I think this may be a true test of whether the left is able to manufacture a political reality by connivance of the media, and I hope you fail.

People were trapped without supplies in the Superdome and the convention center because Mayor Nagin did not order their evacuation from the city at a reseaonable time, and he did not use the resources at his disposal to accomplish as agreed to in the plan he was responsible for executing.

When will Mayor Nagin get his tough quesitons? Will NCYer and Turgidson ever ask them or admit they should be asked?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.4.2005 10:35am
Tom Perkins (mail):
Until someone mentions something fundamentally new, this will be my last post on this topic:

These links can be found at

I hope no one will mistake the significance of what even the Democratic party organ called the Washington Post sees fit to write and quote.

First Article

"Other federal and state officials pointed to Louisiana's failure to measure up to national disaster response standards, noting that the federal plan advises state and local emergency managers not to expect federal aid for 72 to 96 hours, and base their own preparedness efforts on the need to be self-sufficient for at least that period. "Fundamentally the first breakdown occurred at the local level," said one state official who works with FEMA. 'Did the city have the situational awareness of what was going on within its borders? The answer was no.""

Second 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."

And given the failure of the locals to follow the plan, I ask why it shouldn't be blamed on the locals, since as the first paragraph quoted shows, even as late as they have been moving, the feds have been doing pretty much what they said they could do before hand.


"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.
"The federal government stands ready to work with state and local officials to secure New Orleans and the state of Louisiana," White House spokesman Dan Bartlett said. "The president will not let any form of bureaucracy get in the way of protecting the citizens of Louisiana."
Blanco made two moves Saturday that protected her independence from the federal government: She created a philanthropic fund for the state's victims and hired James Lee Witt, Federal Emergency Management Agency director in the Clinton administration, to advise her on the relief effort."

CYA Blanco, babies died of thirst and you and Nagin are CYA.

That's leadership.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.4.2005 3:49pm
Buck Turgidson (mail):
Question, is ZDF a news agency like the Gaurdian is a British news agency? Oh, wait, it's a public televison channel.

From the man who questions the biases of "public television stations" (hint: "public television" in Germany is not like the one in the US), we get this gem:

These links can be found at

WOW! Now there's an unbiased source! Why not just ask the Wall Street Journal OpEd writers?

But the funny thing is that the source need not be left-biased to want to take W behind the woodshed on the relief effort.

Manchester Union-Leader, possibly the most conservative editorial team in the country, took the administration to task on Thursday. National Review--that bastion of liberal ideology--has been expressing deep dissatisfaction all week. But, of course, they probably got their news from a German "public television channel"!

How can you argue facts with someone so deeply conceited?
9.4.2005 4:03pm
"How can you argue facts with someone so deeply conceited?"

He gave you facts, you responded with empty rhetoric.
9.4.2005 4:16pm
Tom Perkins (mail):
The ZDF is a public television station, and in Germany, that means the GREEN party has a hand in what it says and how it says it.

Turgidson, the links I found at Instapundit, who is in fact remarkably evenhanded, are links to the Washington Post, aren't they?

What facts have you given to support your claims, what fact have I stated which you can show is mistaken?

The tragedy of preventable human deaths in this natural disaster must be laid at the feet of the local authorities, who are Democrats. Let the Manchester Union-Leader find out why the local authorities didn't follow the plan, then I think they'll have soemthing different to say.

Do you have any facts to dispute the import of the quotes from the Washington Post I have posted above?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.4.2005 4:22pm
Lyle (mail):
Local officials are definitely to blame for not moving the poor and stranded of New Orleans out of New Orleans. It was Mayor Nagin and the local black officials jobs to move the people out of the projects and they failed to do that. Mayor Nagin's first outburst at the Federal Government was a political move, I think, to deflect criticism away from him and at the Federal and State governments.

I'd also like to say that Louisiana could not have dedicated 2.5 billion out of an 18 billion dollar budget to increase the levee system in New Orleans. That is just asinine and unthoughtful. Louisiana is one of the three poorest states in the Union and we don't even have an adequate public education system and have tons of people on welfare. Not to mention our past history of banana republicanism under the Longs and Edwin Edwards.

Let me also say that anybody not in the affected region doesn't know jackshit about the relief efforts. Incompetent tv reporters fail to appreciate what is actually happening as far as the relief efforts. Superman would have been hardpressed to rescue every soul across three parishes. People are still being rescued south and east of the city, which has gone totally unreported. All those people are mostly going to be white people as well. I am in fact waiting for a group of people from St. Benard to make it up to Baton Rouge, where I and others will help house them.
9.4.2005 4:33pm
Why, of course. The evil communist Germans are behind it all. Now it makes sense.

Challenge and Mr. Perkins have yet to actually refute anything I said. They have batted a couple of straw men.

In the mean time, I'm refreshing my emergency first aid (taking a course), dusting off my ham radio, and assuming the ~40% of my income I pay is just a gift to Republican donors. Merry non-denominational gift giving event. Not like the federal government can do anything, you know.

Wait, they're good at photo-ops. Forgot that.
9.4.2005 4:50pm
TDPerkins (mail):
"The evil communist Germans are behind it all."

No; but they are definitely anti-Bush and a slanted source of information. That they are more than good enough for you says a lot about you. I notice you didn't touch the idea the Daily Kos is a good information resource.

"Challenge and Mr. Perkins have yet to actually refute anything I said."

Everything you've said has been refuted or shown to be irrelevant, in some cases even by the pages you posted thinking they would support you. When you said the requests for troops were stymied in Washington, one of the pages you claimed supported you had this quote on it:

"Because the agreement that was already in existence for states to contribute Guard troops to Louisiana did not include a provision on their use in law enforcement, Blum said, Gov. Blanco had to get separate written agreements authorizing Guardsmen to do police-type duty.

Still, Blum said, this took only minutes to execute."

Minutes to execute, where's the stymieing?

You said of myself and Challenger:

"They have batted a couple of straw men."

What, that Nagin and Blanco didn't follow the agreed upon plan is a strawman argument? If they had, there would have been no people stranded en masse in the Superdome or the convevtion center, do you agree or disagree? Did they make use of the resources they had (like the buses) to get people out? Did they make evacuation orders in a timely fashion? Did they make requests for support in a timely fashion?

If you think they did, show us. If you think those aren't reasonable questions, explain why.

I completely agree with you this needs an answer, re dropping survival packets:

""We know very well how to do this, and it's just incomprehensible that we're not," Wattenburg said."

But it still doesn't explain why the local government didn't keep people from being in that position in the first place, you aren't explaining that either, and no that isn't a strawman argument. The problem droppin packets might have helped is one the Local Democrats failed to prevent in the first place, and you've given no reasonable explanation as to why.

The feds said far in advance--the agreed upon plan--they could be doing useful things in 72 to 96 after the storm hit, and that relief before that was a local responsibility. Did the locals appropriately meet that responsibility with the resources they had? Were they even miminally competent, if so show me how!

"Wait, they're good at photo-ops. Forgot that."

So if no one was taking pictures, you'd have no problems with Bush viewing the area, is that what you're saying? You're still saying it was an attempt at a Potemkin village?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.4.2005 5:47pm
NickM (mail) (www):
I didn't see the press conference, but I've now been told by 3 people who did, that Nagin was asked at one of his press conferences why the school and municipal buses were not used to evacuate people, and that his response was that they did not have drivers. In a situation severe enough to call for a mandatory evacuation, you get drivers by whatever means you can. If that means you turn your personal staff into bus drivers for a couple days, so be it. 200 buses will get you somewhere in the neighborhood of 12,000 people PER TRIP, and if you are shuttling these people out of the city to areas where they can then be spread out further (perhaps coordinating with the Governor to have other state agencies pick them up in Baton Rouge and take them to several places), you can make multiple trips. This had to be done before the hurricane. No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy - Clausewitz was right; but the enemy didn't hit until early Monday morning, and most of the time before first contact was wasted.

Blanco's performance has been miserable. As an article already linked to and commented on pointed out, she waited a day longer than Haley Barbour to request NG MPs from Michigan. That day mattered a lot.

Here's something else from

Nine stockpiles of fire-and-rescue equipment strategically placed around the country to be used in the event of a catastrophe still have not been pressed into service in New Orleans, CNN has learned.

Department of Homeland Security spokesman Marc Short said Friday the gear has not been moved because none of the governors in the hurricane-ravaged area has requested it.

New Orleans Fires

While Mayor Nagin is upset that the federal government only releases people and materials upon a formal request, that has always been FEMA practice (I'm not going to spend the time to look up the CFR sections making it a requirement). Plenty of other mayors and governors have figured out how to make those requests.

By the time FEMA gets involved, the evacuation effort is supposed to be over, and their job is about rebuilding and recovery. Add in the immense logistical challenges of one-at-a-time rescues in a flooded city, and it would have been shocking if rescuing people in New Orleans had gone smoothly after Katrina hit. [It would have been really nice if somebody in the FEMA chain of command had been watching TV news at work or reading the Times-Picayune online and noticed the huge problems at the Superdome and Convention Center, but since those were planned shelters before Katrina hit, why weren't they stocked with food, water, and supplies?]

As for the Presidential appearance, I wish someone on the scene had had the brains and guts to tell him to stay away from New Orleans until after they have emptied the city. A Presidential appearance here only gets in the way. It shuts down helicopter flights (both rescue and food/water drops) when he's in the area. The ground security requirements divert people who could be working on moving refugees out of the public buildings and onto buses/trucks.

FEMA is designed to be on call for local/state government. It appears to be working well in Mississippi and Alabama.

Nagin and Blanco made the key mistakes in disaster planning and in plan execution before the hurricane here. Everyone else's mistakes are minor in comparison and in consequence.

As for our favorite teller of tall tales, who said "Remember where Rudy was on 9/11? I'll give you a hint--he was not in New York.", pick a new place to troll:
Rudy on 9/11

9.4.2005 5:58pm
Hey, it is a big internet. I'm sure we'll figure out how well the current regime fared in the 06 elections. Meanwhile, people are dying. That's the thing that makes me really emotional about this: I was here for 9.11. I watched the second tower fall. This is a slow, drawn out failure, where federal officials are failing to do anything, while the locals are pleading for help. Brown and Bush are mugging for the cameras, while blaming locals for technical failures ("you didn't answer in the form of a question", or something). What's so hard to understand?

For what it is worth - I agree. At this point, turn FEMA off. Stop giving federal money to the Red Cross. Send the Guard to Iraq, or disband it, or whatever. At least then, people will understand that they have to count on themselves, and the "leaders" for a photo-op won't get in the way, which is what they seem best at right now.
9.4.2005 7:03pm
Nick for governator! Seriously. Clearly he'd do better, in the face of a pliant federal response that wishes to do nothing but good, and a pile of resources that levitate themselves to those in need, and military who isn't stopping people from leaving, nor stopping supplies.

Nick Rocks! But he rocks slightly less than Bush. But much more than those LA democrats. Seriously. But now is not the time to play politics. Weight Gain 2000!
9.4.2005 7:51pm
Mike Maddox (mail):
Nagin: "If the CIA slips me something and next week you don't see me, you'll all know what happened."

Anyone still want to defend this guy? Was he chosen by lottery to be Mayor?
9.4.2005 10:43pm
NickM (mail) (www):
NYCer, thank you for the extended non sequitur.

BTW, I'm not sure if I rock, but I do play a mean air guitar. :-)

9.4.2005 10:57pm
Quaker (mail):
Buck Turgidson: "As for "Rudy", the only likely outcome from his involvement would be lots of dead bodies--mostly shop by overzealous cops. Remember where Rudy was on 9/11? I'll give you a hint--he was not in New York."

"[Rudy] arrived at the World Trade Center just after the second plane hit, watched human beings drop from the sky and--when the south tower imploded--nearly got trapped inside his makeshift command center near the site. Then he led a battered platoon of city officials, reporters and civilians north through the blizzard of ash and smoke, and a detective jimmied open the door to a firehouse so the mayor could revive his government there. Giuliani took to the airwaves to calm and reassure his people, made a few hundred rapid-fire decisions about the security and rescue operations, toured hospitals to comfort the families of the missing and made four more visits to the apocalyptic attack scene." (Time)

Buck, please stop injecting easily-debunked falsehoods into this discussion.
9.5.2005 4:28am
Quaker (mail):
Lyle: "I'd also like to say that Louisiana could not have dedicated 2.5 billion out of an 18 billion dollar budget to increase the levee system in New Orleans. That is just asinine and unthoughtful."

If I understand correctly we are not talking about "$2.5B out of a $18B budget."

We are talking about $2.5B total spread out over perhaps 30 years. That's $83M/year on average out of a $18B/year budget, or a mere 0.46%.
9.5.2005 4:33am
Buck Turgidson (mail):
What facts have you given to support your claims, what fact have I stated which you can show is mistaken?

OK, let's take one little fact that you cited.

As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.
"The federal government stands ready to work with state and local officials to secure New Orleans and the state of Louisiana," White House spokesman Dan Bartlett said. "The president will not let any form of bureaucracy get in the way of protecting the citizens of Louisiana."

Guess what, WaPo has issued a correction because they've been hoodwinked by a "senior White House official"--in other words, they've been lied to. Louisiana declared the state of emergency on August 26, BEFORE Katrina hit, and asked the feds to do the same. They've also agreed to Bill Richardson's offer of NM National Guard troops, but it took another week for the paperwork to clear Washington even though the National Guard is under state control (but their interstate movements are not).

As for mutual aid, this is completely overblown. Whom are they going to ask for mutual aid? Normally, this is neighboring states. Mississippi? Arkansas? Guess what--they've got their own hurricane problems. All are short on equipment, which is half-way across the world. And anything further than that has to be cleared through Washington and we know what that means.

I am not trying to put Blanco and Nagin on a piedestal--they fucked up royally, which is what you would expect from locals in a state like Louisiana, where you have to look long and hard to find a fairly honest politician in any party. But all that is incidental. FEMA is supposed to serve as a unifying force and offer first response--something that would be very hard to do for a local community hit by the disaster. Sure, not the whole state is under water, but the question remains, where's FEMA? Why did it take a week to get the troops into the city? Power grab by Blanco? That makes no sense.

There is a complete vacuum all the way up the line. This is what happens when you appoint incompetent cronies into positions of power. What's Brown's qualification to run FEMA? Being a college roommate of another blowhard?

I know there is a bunch of True Believers here, so I have no intent of getting any of them to admit to problems. The blinders never come off.

And if you think I have some kind of Democrat loyalty, think again--I have always registered either Republican or independent and I have no love lost for the Democratic Party. But there is a difference between a mayor of a devastated city dropping the ball and the President doing a duck-and-cover routine. Nagin's been on the ground, crying, and trying to correct his mistakes, while this moron jokes about Trent Lott's porch (is this really the only thing he could think of saying, under the circumstances?).

And all the local incopetence in the world does not excuse blaming the victim (or, for that matter, trying to come up with excuses for NOT helping them). It's actually quite ironic that you brought up the trouble with aid in Ache because of local interference as being similar to what happened this time. If you are comparing the two, you are suggesting that 1) the US is a third-world country that is 2) in the midst of a civil war.

And one more thing. It seems you did not follow the link I gave for Landrieu's statement and focused on ZDF instead. You may not trust the Germans (although you argument is quite feeble), but it is rare that a sitting Senator would offer a similar comment about the events being staged. It makes no sense for the relief setup to be dismantled after W's departure, but it would be par for the course for this administration--photo ops count more than the actual relief effort.
9.5.2005 12:03pm
Buck Turgidson (mail):
For TDP's benefit:

MR. RUSSERT: And we are back.

Jefferson Parish President Broussard, let me start with you. You just heard the director of Homeland Security's explanation of what has happened this last week. What is your reaction?

MR. AARON BROUSSARD: We have been abandoned by our own country. Hurricane Katrina will go down in history as one of the worst storms ever to hit an American coast, but the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history. I am personally asking our bipartisan congressional delegation here in Louisiana to immediately begin congressional hearings to find out just what happened here. Why did it happen? Who needs to be fired? And believe me, they need to be fired right away, because we still have weeks to go in this tragedy. We have months to go. We have years to go. And whoever is at the top of this totem pole, that totem pole needs to be chain-sawed off and we've got to start with some new leadership.

It's not just Katrina that caused all these deaths in New Orleans here. Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area, and bureaucracy has to stand trial before Congress now. It's so obvious. FEMA needs more congressional funding. It needs more presidential support. It needs to be a Cabinet-level director. It needs to be an independent agency that will be able to fulfill its mission to work in partnership with state and local governments around America. FEMA needs to be empowered to do the things it was created to do. It needs to come somewhere, like New Orleans, with all of its force immediately, without red tape, without bureaucracy, act immediately with common sense and leadership, and save lives. Forget about the property. We can rebuild the property. It's got to be able to come in and save lives.

We need strong leadership at the top of America right now in order to accomplish this and to-- reconstructing FEMA.

MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Broussard, let me ask--I want to ask--should...

MR. BROUSSARD: You know, just some quick examples...

MR. RUSSERT: Hold on. Hold on, sir. Shouldn't the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of New Orleans bear some responsibility? Couldn't they have been much more forceful, much more effective and much more organized in evacuating the area?

MR. BROUSSARD: Sir, they were told like me, every single day, "The cavalry's coming," on a federal level, "The cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming." I have just begun to hear the hoofs of the cavalry. The cavalry's still not here yet, but I've begun to hear the hoofs, and we're almost a week out.

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.

But I want to thank Governor Blanco for all she's done and all her leadership. She sent in the National Guard. I just repaired a breach on my side of the 17th Street canal that the secretary didn't foresee, a 300-foot breach. I just completed it yesterday with convoys of National Guard and local parish workers and levee board people. It took us two and a half days working 24/7. I just closed it.

MR. RUSSERT: All right.

MR. BROUSSARD: I'm telling you most importantly I want to thank my public employees...

MR. RUSSERT: All right.

MR. BROUSSARD: ...that have worked 24/7. They're burned out, the doctors, the nurses. And I want to give you one last story and I'll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me. 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?" [He starts crying.]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.

MR. RUSSERT: Mr. President...

MR. BROUSSARD: Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us. The secretary has promised. Everybody's promised. They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody.
9.5.2005 12:24pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Turgidson should have read the "State of Emergency" before he cited it, it referenced the Stafford Act and only requests federal money, not personnel like Army or federalized National Gaurd. He also still hasn't said why it's ok by him the Governor of Louisiana didn't use her own Gaurd forces in NO, or even the State Police until Friday.

The feds did what they said they could do. The state and city did not do what they said they would do, and I'm talking about due diligence before landfall, or reasonable actions afterwards. The incompetent state of LA maintains control, authority, and responsibility for relief. This is still their baby.

"That makes no sense."

Yup. But unitl the Governor or the Legislature of LA says otherwise, it is so.

Yours, TDP, ml, ml, &pfpp
9.5.2005 12:42pm
TDPerkins (mail):
"only requests" should read "primarily requests". The act also authorized FEMA/the feds to coordinate on a voluntary basis the local government activities, but the locals have to be, you know, active.

To the best of my knowledge, the State of Loiusiana is still supposedly "in charge" of who is doing what.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.5.2005 12:56pm
TDPerkins (mail):
From Sec. 306 of the Stafford Act. "In carrying out the purposes of this Act, any Federal agency is authorized to accept and utilize the services or facilities of any State or local government, or of any agency, office, or employee thereof, with the consent of such government."

The local are still in charge, and the feds can't fart without the locals' say so.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.5.2005 12:59pm
Buck Turgidson (mail):
From Lt. Commander Sean Kelly, Northcom spokesperson:

Northcom started planning before the storm even hit....We had the USS Bataan sailing almost behind the hurricane so once the hurricane made landfall, its search and rescue helicopters could be available almost immediately So, we had things ready.

The only caveat is: we have to wait until the president authorizes us to do so. The laws of the United States say that the military can't just act in this fashion; we have to wait for the president to give us permission.

Perhaps TDP will be kind enough to tell us when the order was issued by the President.

What the True Believers don't get is that no one is actually defending the "leadership" in Louisiana (neither Blanco nor Nagib have offered commendable performance). But this is not an excuse to shift blame from the federal incopetence. In fact, the White House got off their asses only after several Republican congressmen complained about their inaction. Just repeating the Rovian talking points (orders have been issued to blame the locals for any problems, which, for the most part, has been immediately debunked by the media) will not score you any points this time. The ratings are so low that lies won't help any more. But, the usual 35-38% will believe any propaganda coming out of the WH. Not surprising, really, but disturbing nonetheless. I doubt the approval ratings will sink any lower because the slogan for this bunch might as well be "Mind is a terrible thing to change." :-)
9.5.2005 11:43pm