Interview with Mayor Nagin of NOLA

Dave Roberts over at Grist points us to this interview with Mayor Ray Nagin of NOLA (mp3 alert).  Dave says:
Everyone, and I mean everyone, should listen to this interview with the mayor of New Orleans. Any hint of political tact is gone -- he's just angry and confused by the criminal indifference and incompetence that are consigning thousands of his constituents to disease and death.
Amen brother.  Technorati Tags: , , , ,
stuck in the car today, listening to AM radio, I heard both Roger Hitchcock (filling in for Rush Limbaugh) and Sean Hannity place blame squarely on the "Democratic mayor and Govenor of LA" for the problems and poor response to the crisis, saying that "the federal goverment only does the job it is asked to do by those at the state and local level"

I listened for 30 seconds, looking for an update on the recovery and evacuation effort.  I had to turn it off, because, literally, I was getting sick to my stomach about it.

Haven't I heard the mayor begging for help the past 3 or 4 days?

This is their tact, don't blame the Federal government and Bush, blame the mayor and govenor.

Like I said, nauseating.

Hey, the President did his part, he ended his month long vacation two days early!

(okay, I'll try and stay above political pot shots like this one from now on.  But I'm pissed that more hasn't been done at ALL levels. This operation shows just how much we have to do to have any real disaster preparedness)

I think the right wing are going to quickly realize that is the most pathetic defense imaginable, and that the federal performance here was inexcusable. What was Nagin supposed to do with 1500 police officers and a couple of hundred thousand refugees? I think the Bush administration is going to experience permanent political damage from this. If these guys had a clue, as soon as they realized the levies had broken Tuesday lunchtime, the head of FEMA should have called the President back to Washington and it should have been action, action, action from then on. Large scale airborne mobilization of troops and resources to arrive within the critical first 72 hours, not dribbling in days and weeks later. There should have been a contingency plan for exactly this situation (if I knew about it from Scientific American, there is no excuse whatsoever for FEMA not to have known about it).

It's symptomatic of the whole Bush administration approach to life: too little, too late. Too few troops to secure Afghanistan, too few troops to prevent looting and an insurgency in Iraq, no recognition of global warming till the arctic is half melted, too little armor on Humvees for IEDs, no useful engagement of North Korea until after the latter has nukes, utterly clueless response to energy supply issues, too slow to respond to New Orleans. They aren't learning from their mistakes. They're a dangerous bunch of incompetents.

I found myself screaming at my radio yesterday when Cherthoff was being interviewed on NPR. I am sick of the stream of dishonest platitudes coming out of this crew. I can no longer watch a senior member of the administration on TV without wanting to puke.

No kidding.  This morning when I got up I really didn't care any more about how many oil rigs were missing, how much the production is down, or what the gas prices were.  Those problems are real, and will affect us all, but the national disgrace taking place in NO seems to have crossed a threshold for me.  Day after day all we got was more bungling and excuses, and in the meantime people were dying from a lack of medication, a lack of water, or a lack of food.

There was a story over at dKos about how the head of FEMA is basically an imcompetent screwup who got fired from his last job, and landed this one because of political patronage.

It isn't just him either.  

Cheney is still on vacation in an undisclosed location.

Condi Rice was busy shopping for shoes in New York - someone got up in her face and asked her how she could shop for shoes when New Orleans is in serious trouble.  Her response was to have her security people throw the woman out.

This entire crew has repeatedly demonstrated a complete lack of competence in quite a number of areas.  The only job requirement in this administration seems to be an unwavering loyalty to Bush.  Competence and experience don't seem to be relevant - just an ability to repeat the talking points over and over.

I was glad to see the convoy arrive there today.  Better late than never, I guess.  They should have been arriving on Tuesday morning.

On the news they just said they thought there were 50,000 people still in NO that they need to go and find.  Who knows how long these people have gone without food or water.

Thanks for linking to the stuff about Brown. That explains a lot.
Every son of a bitch in government in LA (aside from Nagin), "Brownie" from FEMA, and the goddamn piece of shit PREZ, should either step down or be booted out.

This is a national disgrace.

Well, Bush flew down and hugged a few women for the cameras today, so clearly Karl Rove has everything under control.  You can all go back to sleep now.

Seriously though, this is a national disgrace that can not be spun.  It makes me sick to my stomach.  We can air drop pallats of food, water, and medicine on the other side of the globe but need days to get a National Guard convoy into New Orleans?  Give me a break.  

I can't help but wonder whether the response might have been entirely different had the disaster occurred after Labor Day.  Nothing happens in Washington in August, and Bush clearly couldn't be bothered to start kicking ass last weekend WHEN WE KNEW N.O. was going to be screwed with a cat 5 hurricane bearing down on it.  This scenario has been exercised...we knew the levies were unlikely to hold...we knew that not everyone would be able to get out...but yet the ships set sail from Norfolk and the troops mobilize DAYS after the hurricane.  

It's a disgrace.  

I agree very much with this. The DLC throttled his effort in 2004, but he's the only real man I see for 2008:

Floor Statement of Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich:
The Supplemental for Hurricane Katrina  

WASHINGTON - September 2 - Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) gave the following speech today on the House floor during a special session to provide relief money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina:
"This amount of money is only a fraction of what is needed and everyone here knows it. Let it go forward quickly with heart-felt thanks to those who are helping to save lives with necessary food, water, shelter, medical care and security. Congress must also demand accountability with the appropriations. Because until there are basic changes in the direction of this government, this tragedy will multiply to apocalyptic proportions.

"The Administration yesterday said that no one anticipated the breach of the levees. Did the Administration not see or care about the 2001 FEMA warning about the risk of a devastating hurricane hitting the people of New Orleans? Did it not know or care that civil and army engineers were warning for years about the consequences of failure to strengthen the flood control system? Was it aware or did it care that the very same Administration which decries the plight of the people today, cut from the budget tens of millions needed for Gulf-area flood control projects?

"Countless lives have been lost throughout the South with a cost of hundreds of billions in ruined homes, businesses, and the destruction of an entire physical and social infrastructure.

"The President said an hour ago that the Gulf Coast looks like it has been obliterated by a weapon. It has. Indifference is a weapon of mass destruction.

"Our indifferent government is in a crisis of legitimacy. If it continues to ignore its basic responsibility for the health and welfare of the American people, will there ever be enough money to clean up after their indifference?

"As our government continues to squander human and monetary resources of this country on the war, people are beginning to ask, "Isn't it time we began to take care of our own people here at home? Isn't it time we rescued our own citizens? Isn't it time we fed our own people? Isn't it time we sheltered our own people? Isn't it time we provided physical and economic security for our own people?" And isn't it time we stopped the oil companies from profiting from this tragedy?

"We have plenty of work to do here at home. It is time for America to come home and take care of its own people who are drowning in the streets, suffocating in attics, dying from exposure to the elements, oppressed by poverty and illness, wracked with despair and hunger and thirst.

"The time is NOW to bring back to the United States the 78,000 National Guard troops currently deployed overseas into the Gulf Coast region.

"The time is NOW to bring back to the US the equipment which will be needed for search and rescue, for clean up and reclamation.

"The time is NOW for federal resources, including closed Army bases, to be used for temporary shelter for those who have been displaced by the hurricane.

"The time is NOW to plan massive public works, with jobs going to the people of the Gulf Coast states, to build new levees, new roads, bridges, libraries, schools, colleges and universities and to rebuild all public institutions, including hospitals. Medicare ought to be extended to everyone, so every person can get the physical and mental health care they might need as a result of the disaster.

"The time is NOW for the federal government to take seriously the research of scientists who have warned for years about the dangers of changes in the global climate, and to prepare other regions of the country for other possible weather disasters until we change our disastrous energy policies.

"The time is NOW for changes in our energy policy, to end the domination of oil and fossil fuel and to invest heavily in alternative energy, including wind and solar, geothermal and biofuels.

"As bad as this catastrophe will prove to be, it is in fact only a warning. Our government must change its direction, it must become involved in making America a better place to live, a place where all may survive and thrive. It must get off the path of war and seek the path of peace, peace with the natural environment, peace with other nations, peace with a just economic system."

Kucinich is one of the few brave, real Democrats left.  i hope he can win in 2008.
Read also this article by Greg Palast

 The National Public Radio news anchor was so excited I thought she'd piss on herself: the President of the United States had flown his plane down to 1700 feet to get a better look at the flood damage! And there was a photo of our Commander-in-Chief taken looking out the window. He looked very serious and concerned.

That was yesterday. Today he played golf. No kidding.

I'm sure the people of New Orleans would have liked to show their appreciation for the official Presidential photo-strafing, but their surface-to-air missiles were wet.

There is nothing new under the sun. In 1927, a Republican President had his photo taken as the Mississippi rolled over New Orleans. Calvin Coolidge, "a little fat man
with a notebook in his hand," promised to rebuild the state. He didn't. Instead, he left to play golf with Ken Lay or the Ken Lay railroad baron equivalent of his day.

In 1927, the Democratic Party had died and was awaiting burial. As depression approached, the coma-Dems, like Franklin Roosevelt, called for balancing the budget.

Then, as the waters rose, one politician finally said, roughly, "Screw this! They're lying! The President's lying! The rich fat cats that are drowning you will do it again and again and again. They lead you into imperialist wars for profit, they take away your schools and your hope and when you complain, they blame Blacks and Jews and immigrants. Then they push your kids under. I say, Kick'm in the ass and take your rightful share!"

this is disgusting.  thanks for posting this clip PG.  now we have sanctioned genocide on our own people.  on the poor and black.  fuck this shit.  incompetence is just a hollow excuse, like it was for 9/11 and Iraqi intelligence.  
Check out this link which shows before and after satellite photos of New Orleans.

One look at this explains why Nagin is so upset and shows how bad the flooding is.

I don't know where the Convention Center is but you can see the water around the SuperDome.

Like everyone else, I have been affected deeply by the heartbreaking scenes of suffering on TV. The hurricane hit Monday morning, the flooding was apparent by Tuesday mid-day, and yet it seemed that there was not significant relief in place until today, or at best last night. Now we hear that most people are out of the Superdome area, and that food, water and medicine, plus troops to distribute them, have arrived at the Convention Center where there are several thousand people. Other large groups of people are also seeing their first significant help.

It took four days since the hurricane, three days since the flooding, three to four days of suffering for the victims. This seems like a long time; I'm sure it seemed like an eternity to those affected. It doesn't seem like it should have taken so long.

But how long should it have taken, really? Things take time, after all. How long does it take, or should it take, to get aid and transportation to people stranded in the middle of a flood, with communications down and difficult transport? How long do such things take?

It's hard for the layman to know. It's not like we have lots of other similar catastrophes to compare it with. If American cities were being flooded and destroyed constantly, and "boots on the ground" usually happened in two days but this time it took 3.5, then we might have good grounds to complain. But we don't have any such basis for comparison.

How valid are our uniformed layman's estimates of how long it "should" take? I doubt that they are particularly valid at all. How long "should" it take to fix a levee? How long "should" it take to fix a bridge? How long "should" it take to bring a mass of troops into a particular area with damaged infrastructure? For that matter, how long "should" it take to invade a country? Who would claim expertise on these matters?

The truth is, maybe it just takes three to four days to get significant aid into an area with the kind of instrastructure damage seen along the Gulf coast. How fast, after all, did significant tsunami aid arrive? I'll bet it took much longer than that.

The other thing about aid like this is that the flow has momentum. Today for the first time we see significant help coming to the city. Tomorrow, there will be more. The day after that, even more. In two weeks, the area will be crawling with aid workers and FEMA officials. Everyone who has survived these first few days on their own will be in much better shape by then.

Once again, your superior tone and callousness make me puke.
I agree that some of these things take time. I'm quite willing to grant that blocking those levees might have been impossible. But I'm completely unpersuaded that the federal government was doing everything possible. When I heard a few thousand national guard troops were being mobilized, my reaction was "We have a whole huge standing army, and most of it isn't in Iraq." We have huge numbers of C5 galaxy planes specifically designed for airdropping supplies. Where the hell where they? We couldn't manage to fill and launch *one* of them over New Orleans in *four* *days*? We have large numbers of Chinook helicopters How come we weren't airdropping supplies to hospitals and convention centers? How come we weren't using these things to transport troops and national guard into New Orleans on Tuesday/Wednesday? FEMA has stockpiles of food and water, and if they weren't enough, there is no CEO in the country that wouldn't take Bush's phone call, and I'll wager not one of them would have refused the contents of his warehouses with payment to be sorted out later.

No. It's not that we don't have the assets, it's that we were too disorganized to use them. The fault for that has to go to the leadership of the federal government.

The administration just hasn't shown a sense of urgency. Bush should have been on the job immediately. The regular military should have been mobilized immediately (particularly since they aren't as dependent on civilian communication infrastructure). There should have been a clear commander on the ground in charge by Tuesday evening. Yes, it would have been a mad scramble. Many would have died anyway. But at least we would have known that everything possible was done. That is certainly not the case today.

The need should have been completely obvious as soon as it was known that the levees broke on a city that still had hundreds of thousands of people in. And it's just appalling to see the administration still reciting statistics on how much they have done and assuring people help is on the way - they still don't get it.

I, for one, have no difficulty whatsoever saying that a five day response for food and water is totally unacceptable when there are copters and C-130s six hours away.  This is going to set the standard for incompetence for quite a few decades.

The strict minimum was randomly dropping crates full of drinking water around the city and let the victims find it for themselves. That's what would have taken a minimum of time and effort and given the biggest result as far as keeping them alive longer.

I agree that we don't know how long it "should" take.  It's painful to see, that's for sure.

I also think that we have to admit that any human operation on this scale will have mistakes.  I'm not writing them off, just sort of establishing that there must be a dividing line between "normal" mistakes and collossal ones.  And no, I don't know which side of that line we are on.

It does occur to me now that terms like "snafu" and "fubar" come of of this scale of mobilization and response.  They got to be commical phrases, but I'm sure they were not funny at the time.

I've made one donation.  I'll make more, but ... it drives home what you hear in sailing circles - by all means call the Coast Guard and activate your EPRIB, but don't expect them to show up. You are responsible for saving yourself and your crew.

Here is what a NewBie to this site sees,  
Human Crisis in New Orlands.
Energy Crisis, increasing in days to weeks.
Trade Crisis as Crops have nowhere to go on the Mississippi with no one to make the port work.
Transportation crisis with a Rail Yard out.
Financial Crisis on hold, and comming soon.
Political Crisis building up just like a Huricaine in the Atlantic, first small, and then much bigger.  

Anyone East of the Rockies is going to have a much tougher time with this.  Everyone West of the Rockies will be horrified by what takes place on T.V.   If we are lucky, everyone will have the shit scared out of them after this and have a lot more common sense about them.  

These things are in motion right now, and growing each day stronger.  

How is that Prof G for a first comment?  Do you think I am on the Mark?

People west of the Rockies can draw this conclusion:  In the event of a west coast natural disaster (earthquake, or volcanoe come to mind as logical possibilities), that FEMA is likely to again completely bungle the operation.
Well, I have to agree with Stuart. On Sunday when I saw the weather forecast for New Orleans I walked downstairs and told my wife the city would be destroyed. It was common knowledge in New Orleans -- and not exactly secret elsewhere, that the city could not withstand a hurricane stronger than Category 3.

Before the fact, tt was criminal to have not fortified the levee system the way the Netherlands fortifies its dikes. It was insane to downgrade FEMA and starve it of funding. It was criminal not to have contingency plan in place with prepositioned personnel and equipment.

It was derelict for Bush not to have flown to the Gulf Coast as soon as the Weather Service knew what was coming to New Orleans last weekend to begin directing a 24/7 rescue effort with everything we had, imperfect though it may have been. And I have no words for the way the Administration seems to be trying to blame the mayor and the governor. Navigation and flood control have traditionally been Federal responsibilities and that is that.

After Andrew in 92 Bush senior's response was even slower than Junior's. Two month's later he lost a close one with Clinton. What I hope happens is next year enough GOP congressmen and senators will get fired and this rubber stamp Congress is no more. But then people tell me I often have irrational expectations.
I just finally heard now the statements of Mayor Nagin about the situation in New Orleans. We are going to hear a lot of spin in the next few days about the heroic rescue effort. I notice that spinmeisters are not much in evidence in this thread. Halfin gave it a shot and I would hope that if he re-reads what he said, he is now embarrassed by telling us that these things take time.

I remember last Saturday and Sunday, looking at that astonishing picture of Katrina over the Gulf. You could hardly see the water. Category 5. And it was headed right for New Orleans. I remember reading the NHC bulletins that weekend. They were accurate on every count. The emergency relief should have begun Saturday before the storm hit!.

How smart do you have to be to see something like that storm approaching NOLA and Gulf Coast and not anticipate that relief would be needed? I'll ask this again, how smart to you have to be to see that there would be major problems down there -- even if the levees held?

I'm not a lawyer but I'll tell you that I know Criminal Negligence when I see it. And worse. Poor, black people... who cares about them?
There are only a few national leaders who are notorious for letting their own people die because that's more convenient than keeping them alive. Stalin comes to mind.

There was once a great empire that ruled the known world, and it fell into decadence, and its leaders eventually stopped caring about even the worst disasters. Will George Bush's guitar be legendary two thousand years from now, as Nero's fiddle is remembered today?

This isn't about politics. This is about a national "leader" who goes golfing while thousands of people are dying. This is personal now. Indict and prosecute Bush, and the clueless ineffective head of FEMA, and whoever else has earned it, for criminal negligence, reckless endangerment, malfeasance of duty, and possibly mass homicide. Do not let anyone have immunity in exchange for testimony. Throw the book at them, lock them up, and let them rot.

A hundred thousand people have spent five unnecessary days in hell. That's about thirteen hundred years of hell. Let's make the prison terms of those responsible add up to that number.

Leave it to so many of you to pimp the poor souls in N.O.

Like it or not, this is all happening because of an inefficient and poor leadership structure of FEMA and the Homeland Security department. Does responsibility inevitably end up at the top of the chain? Yes. But in reality the President needs to depend on those beneath him.

I don't think the President has done a very good job in reacting. Truth is, Presidents can inspire and motivate, but when it comes to recovering from this disaster, it is those at the top of emergency organizations that run the show. I don't care if it's Clinton or Bush or Carter or Reagan.

I've heard Jesse Jackson pimp the poor souls insinuating all of this is racism - I've heard Democrat after Democrat use it as a way to attack the President on the levee issue (I don't care if CLINTON had gotten it signed, it wouldn't even have been enough most likely by now - levees take years to build). I've heard Democrat after Democrat use it as a reason to attack the war on Iraq.

I was listening to the Patriot, as I'm a conservative, a couple days ago, and Hugh Hewitt was encouraging people to send money to this particular aid organization. Every caller was encouraging this line of thought.

I turned on Air America... I don't even have to say what I heard but I will - I heard attack after attack on the President.

Like minded people tend to aggregate with each other, which is obviously why I don't plan to visit this site any more, but I just wanted to write this message w/ respect to my disgust at all of this. When one looks around the landscape of the country (and there are many exceptions) I see a bunch of people thinking that the recovery process isn't going well and wants to help out any way they can, and I see a bunch of people thinking that the recovery process isn't going well and wants to see who they can blame or who they can take down.

Disgusting. For those whom I'm not describing, please don't consider this directed to you.

Feel free to delete this post, I won't be back to notice.

Re: "pimp the poor souls...." and "won't be back to notice"

We're somehow pimping the poor as they are neglected by the rich white folks that run this country. Golfing as Rome Burns. See Michael Chertoff's Failure Of Imagination. Sometimes I'm embarrassed to be in the species Homo Sapiens. This is one of those times.

Goodbye, skagen.
I'm very glad that many conservatives agree that the President is not handling it well and FEMA/DHS are incompetent. I'm sorry you feel that many of us who are not conservatives don't have a right to be very angry that that incompetence and lack of urgency is costing a lot of lives and suffering. Personally, I feel like we have an absolute right to be extremely angry, and what you are seeing is a genuine outpouring of rage, and not cynical posturing for political advantage. Your assumption that no-one here is contributing or trying to do anything constructive is completely false. Just trying to get the truth out and analyze the situation is a contribution. I, and I'm sure many others, have also made significant contributions (those who haven't yet, please go do it now.
It's very important to keep in mind here that the president appoints the head of FEMA. Therefore, if he appoints someone incompetent, the blame does lie with him. Or if he made an honest mistake, he should fire the guy now and get someone who CAN do the job.
I agree. But with many thousands dead down there, people who could have been evacuated or protected, I think it goes a little beyond incompetence, don't you?

I'm not saying all those people could have been saved. However, if everything had been done that could have been done, if there had been even a semblance of effort on the part of Homeland Security and FEMA, then some of our so-called "finger pointing" would be out of line.

This is Friday! The hurricane hit early Monday morning! The strength and direction of the hurricane were known 48 to 72 hours before that! Incompetence? How about Heartless Criminal Neglect?

This makes the terrorism on 9/11 look like a walk in the park.
Feel free to delete this post, I won't be back to notice.

The guy backs The Patriot radio station.  That thing spews garbage each day, I listen to them only to find out how long they will continue to ignore everything about oil depletion concerns.  Go ahead and run away with your fingers in your ears, screaming "I don't heeeear yooooo, I don't heeear yoooo"

The Bush administration has their priorities. Disaster relief and the welfare of Americans other than the wealthy and politically connected obviously are not among them.

If there had been no foreknowledge of the disaster a response such as we have witnessed by the federal government would be more understandable.  This was instead a hurricane that was forecasted to hit New Orleans with great intensity days before the event.

The Bush administration's response to this catastrophe has been incredibly weak and pathetic. It is unfortunate for this country and indeed for the world that Mr. Bush does not have an occupation more in line with his qualifications such as Village administrator.

It fills me with a deep sense of foreboding that as the world enters the Peak Oil era which will be marked by a period of recurring crises the government of this country is found again and again to be incompetent and unable to surmount it's self imposed ideological blinders.

Good call, marcus. I urge everyone reading here to look that the NY Times article from Krugman that marcus cites.
Arbusto the prez, the failed oil man and hapless politician extraordinaire goes to LA and hugs a woman. Wow! And the national tee vee network cameras are right there, giving the guy and his PR handlers the exact thing they hoped for: free advertising; a chance to suckup to a few folks would fall over any celebrity. This president, this administration, this Congress are absolute screwups. They all ought to be thrown out as just another gang of thugs who will do anything to get elected, then re-elected.
did you all see Ruppert's piece over at FTW?  wow.  he's pissed off today.  good stuff, and it demonstrates that the LOOP/Fourchon may be f---ed.

I don't which is funnier, the people who don't face the truth or those who imagine that placing blame is easier than dealing with reality.

All the comments on this thread show a complete lack of reality for dealing with the logistics of moving thousands of people and tons of supplies to an area. As I read it I thought someone must watch a lot of science fiction or play a lot of fantasy football. The whole idea of the Oil Drum is to deal with the reality of peak oil. You should try to apply the same logic when dealing with natural disasters. The flood occurred on tuesday. This is Friday, 48 hours later. All ships which could have provided help had been moved out of the area to avoid the storm, New Orleans was cut off from the outside by the flooding. I-10 was under water. The helicopters were being used to rescue people. The airport was unsafe for landing planes. The only option which was not exercise would have been to comandeer tugs and barges and haul supplies down the Mississippi. The national guard, under the command of the Louisana governor who btw did nothing but wring her hands, was not mobilized. The mayor who had 48 hours notice of a major problem ordered an evac but did nothing on his own to evac the poor whom he talks so much about caring for. Now the crisis has come. None of the parties reponsible want to step up to the plate so they blame the people they are asking for help for not acting faster. A good thing would be for those of you who hate or dislike the President priot to your post to say so because agendas spoil honest discussion. Did FEMA drop the ball, yes and no. They had stuff in place but the logistics of the situation stumped them and as a bureauracy, they were loathe to take authority and do something thus losing their cushy government jobs. Bush is to blame because why, I am guessing because he is President and those of you posting don't like him to begin with. Having said all this, the question comes up, what are you doing to allieviate the situation other than ushering critcism.

FEMA/National Guard etc. were not being deployed near New Orleans or the Gulf Coast in the inland areas up by Baton Rouge or anywhere else as the storm developed over GOMEX.

Significant help only arrived today, 72 to 96 hours after the storm hit.

It is a logistical nightmare but no one anticipated the obvious as the storm approached. Perhaps the vaunted human capacity to plan ahead is not something you are familiar with. About 20 or so posts on various threads on TOD lately have dealt with the long-anticipated scenario where a big hurricane (> Category 3) hits NOLA and surrounding areas. Read Krugman's article, from which I now quote:
Even military resources in the right place weren't ordered into action. "On Wednesday," said an editorial in The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss., "reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics. Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!"
Finally, this final outrage from you:
The mayor who had 48 hours notice of a major problem ordered an evac but did nothing on his own to evac the poor whom he talks so much about caring for.
The Mayor? You mean the Mayor of New Orleans? With a budget of about $200? That guy? Is that who you mean? Maybe he should have carried them out of there one by one on his back? Is that what you mean?

Tell me this, if you're going to blame the victim: Do you still beat your wife?
From the Guardian:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) has been accused of being so concerned about the possibility of a terrorist attack that it failed to prepare properly for a much more inevitable natural disaster.

After the authorities in Baton Rouge had prepared a field hospital for victims of the storm, Fema sent its first batch of supplies, all of which were designed for use against chemical attack, including drugs such as Cipro, which is designed for use against anthrax. "We called them up and asked them: 'Why did you send that, and they said that's what it says in the book'," said a Baton Rouge official.

That's how organized the Feds were.

As for the locals, again from The Guardian:

Local officials also seem to have grossly underestimated the needs of those who did not own cars. Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco yesterday defended the state's actions saying they had requisitioned many school buses to evacuate those without cars. Residents, however, complained that many of them were left stranded, unaware of any such service.

There's plenty of blame to go around.  What I can't get over is why there wasn't an immediate air-drop of food and water.  

Where Bush must be faulted is for his tax-cut policy which put several hundreds of billions of dollars of tax cuts into the pockets of the wealthy. At the same time in order to partially fund the tax cuts, he made massive cuts to programs such as Fema (Fed. Emergency Management Agency), which Bill Clinton had raised to a level which could rapidly have responded to the NO debacle. Another thing Bush should be faulted for is the waste of some 300 billion dollars and the deployment of 150,000 troops and National Guard to invade Iraq on utterly bogus pretexts. Those several thousand local Guardsmen would have been most useful in helping out in NO.

The runways at the airport were undamaged and not flooded. It was open for humanitarian missions by early Wednesday morning.

52 DoD helicopters are on the scene as of today. I imagine that leaves a few to spare for airlifting food and water.

The Forest Service stands ready to help fight the fires, but DHS can't manage to answer the phone and say yes:

The Forest Service has offered fixed plane aircraft used to fight forest fires to help extinguish blazes in New Orleans, according to two congressional sources. But the sources said the planes, which can pour large amounts of water on fires, remained grounded in Missouri Friday because the Department of Homeland Security hasn't authorized their use.
Ships could have been sailing into the Gulf on Sunday behind the hurricane (which was projected at that time to be a Category 5 bulls-eye on New Orleans). Instead, they are sailing now. The administration is acting like it never heard of this scenario before.

Personally, what I have done so far besides criticize is donate a fair chunk of money to the Red Cross hurricane fund. My wife and I are discussing what more we might do. Politically, I'm somewhere between a Schwarzeneger Republican and a Clinton Democrat (ie both hard-core liberals and conservatives annoy me, but the latter a little more than the former). I value competence and honesty over ideology any day.

This is turning into a plutonium thread, so I'll just cautiously ask a question in an area I know something about at least technically - electronics and communications. Over and over on TV reports I heard that there was a huge communication problem because "the cell phones are down."

Well, duh.

Commercial infrastructure sometimes goes down on rather little provocation, and certainly may not withstand a hurricane or flood. Cell phone infrastructure is notorious for becoming overloaded and useless in any situation that generates lots of calls.

We seem to have had a massive failure at all levels. Are emergency responders at any level no longer provided with police/fire radios or something similar? (This is reminding me of reports that U.S. Navy officers are no longer taught actual navigation, so that if for some bizarre reason - and it will be bizarre - pushing buttons on the GPS doesn't work, they're done for.)

You  may want to read Sidney Blumenthal's article in the Guardian.

Katrina comes home to roost

Re: Peak Oil and A Lesson Learned This Week

Back to Peak Oil. Well, we all just learned a big lesson about the ability of the US government to anticipate "peak oil" supply problems over the next few years, didn't we? Thus:
  • A situation like a hurricane hitting NOLA, which has been anticipated for decades, was adequately prepared for -- Not!
  • Our leaders are keeping a sharp eye on the oil supply situation -- Not!
  • We have plans (outside the SPR) for mitigating long-term supply disruptions -- Not!
  • Processing (refinery, pipelines) infrastructure has secondary backup -- Not!
We're all on our own, people, buy a Prius, live close to work, try to get your food close to where you live, etc.
I was taken aback by Daniel Yergin's story in today's Wall Street Journal actually stating that the world was facing an energy crisis.  It seems like only yesterday he was stating there will be plenty of oil in the future and 'peak oil' was not in his vocabulary.

Looks like he had an epiphany on the road to Damascus, I mean, New Orleans.  

Charles, do you have access to that?  If so, can you send me a copy...bugmenot doesn't work at, damn it.

(or just post it in this thread, someone!)

I heard that piece on Air America Radio 3 times today in the span of a few hours. AAR is giving kudos to CNN and to a few people at Fox, Shepard Smith in particular.  Hannity and O'Reilly got the smackdown from Smith. For once some broadcast journalists are showing the gumption of DemocracyNow!
Re: "I heard that piece on Air America Radio 3 times today in the span of a few hours"

What piece are you referring to?
The interview Nagin did with Garland Robinette of AAR affiliate WWL in New Orleans. The one in which both got really choked up at the end.
National disgrace? HELL YES! the govt of Louisiana has never had nor will ever have a disaster contingency plan. New Orleans source of revenue is Tourism and Casinos. They make lots of money each year. mardi gras draws in how much? The saints football team draws in how much? various other events like Poker, conventions etc bring in how much money?

  There was no money set aside for any upgrade to infra-structure. This city has been here over 200 years, designed and built by the French. with lots of history. pirates and all,  but besides that, how old are the water pumps designed to extract water from the city? 30 years? no plans to replace them? where is the money? probably in some ones back pocket! You mean to tell me the money that came into the city was never appropiated towards protecting it or repairing it?
Louisiana State Government never intended on creating a plan. It's all about the money. Even though hurricanes (have the potential to)come around there for about 6 months of every year? for the past how many thousand years?
Hmmm.... elect me, i'll fix our state and city problems. (i don't really care to fix our problems, that would be politically incorrect and cost money, and more money means i can't keep my job), but we'll do the best we can. Tourism and casinos give New Orleans lots of money, but since we are also on the "take" we will look the other way.
Hurricane? what hurricane? we ain't been hit yet. what makes you think we are gonna be hit by a hurricane? Besides, I ain't here to be no saviour, i just wanna get paid for doing absolutely nothing.

American Government is nothing more than a PAPER TIGER!

You can't tell me the terrorist are not "High Fiving each other?"
they only wish they had thought of "blowing the levee".

Now they truly know that America is so weak that it's really a PAPER TIGER!
So where is the money? in some ones pocket!

Now that is better. We are dealing with the reality of a natural disaster on a national scale. There have been failures at the local and national level. Forget blame and go forward to correct the situation. Next question is Do we rebuild New Orleans on the same site and if we do should we fill in the area below sea level or simply make the dams or levees stronger(seems a a little stupid to me)
On a more positive note, I think that the Texas and Houston administrations have just been excellent. Truly awe-inspiring. I really hope the other states don't leave them holding the bag (I've already written to my governor letting him know my view that we aren't doing enough in CA yet)
I've never been so ashamed of America. WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS. I'd be mad even if a Democrat were in office, but Bush's track record isn't the best. I don't lump all the blame on him, though I do blame him to the extent that he has put unqualified people in cabinet positions and given them orders to replace "non-believers" with "true believers and supporters". I also blame him and his pals in both houses who are CHEAP ABOUT ALL THE WRONG THINGS.

Even the people that live there share some responsibility, but as I've researched the issue more... it seems that a lot of the people who were most affected lacked education, economic status, transportation, and other resources that would've allowed them to flee with everyone else. Yet it's not the smartest thing to live up to 18 feet below sea level, but if you are born and raised there... and aren't that smart or educated in the first place, what are your options?

New Orleans Poor Told They Are On Their Own....