I Am Out of Touch

It is becoming increasingly clear that I am simply out of touch with the vast majority of the American public. I really am. I just guess I have different expectations for what government can and can’t do, and what government should do.

I am sitting here listening to a CNN reporter (Miles O’brien) sitting there arguing with Haley Barbour that the federal government didn’t do enough to prepare for the storm. Haley Barbour pointed out that Katrina was a category 1 hurricane when it hit Florida, Miles interrupted him, and stated that the Pentagon failed to pre-position enough amphibious vehicles, helicopters, etc. In short- the disaster is several days old, and apparently the relief efforts are a failure according to the prevailing opinions in the. Soledad O’Brien is harping at Michael Chertoff because cell phone lines are down. Seriously.

And I guess I just don’t get it. I look at what has been done, and what has happened, and I am shocked the death toll is not higher. The entire coastline from New Orleans to 150 miles+ eastward was wiped out. Wiped out. Storms knocked out power, flooded cities, knocked down trees, caused flooding dozens of miles inland. The entire city of New Orleans is under water. Large parts of the country simply no longer exist as they did a week ago, and to make this even more frustrating, the same people claiming not enough is being done are the ones who keep drilling home how big this disaster is.

The size and the scope of this thing are amazing- mind boggling. This is the largest natural disaster I have ever seen in the United States, and somehow, people just expect everything to be fixed. No acknowledgement of the difficulty and the chaos. No understanding that it just takes a while (no matter what is pre-positioned) to get to some places and get these types of operations up and running.

Christ- when it snows heavily here in WV, it sometimes takes 3-4 days to get the hollows plowed so people can get in and out and get food. People go days without power. From snow. Snow. Which is a touch more predictable than the a category 4-5 hurricane. In fact, I am going to go out on a limb and predict that West Virginia will get hit with snow numerous times from December-March. Just a hunch.

So again, I guess I am just out of touch with the rest of America. I look at the unprecedented response, and I think it is amazing we are able to mobilize so much so quickly over such a large area. I am a little upset about the lack of preparedness by the local and state officials regarding the evacuation and levee in New Orelans, but for the rest of the response, I guess it is just too early for me to declare everything is a failure.

And before a couple of you knuckleheads accuse me of being a ‘Bush apologist,’ this isn’t about Bush. Well, for me it isn’t, but it is for the NY Times, the dKos, and a lot of Democrats. Personally, I am never going to vote for Bush again and have expressed enough supreme dissatisfaction with his choice of priorities over the past few years that my days of defending him are over. I will suspend my judgement until the post-mortem is written months from now.

This is about me looking at what I think are just completely unrealistic expectations for responses to disasters of this magnitude. In fact, if disaster were being defined today, the definition would no longer be “An occurrence causing widespread destruction and distress; a catastrophe.” Apparently, a disaster would now be defined as ‘a slight inconvenience that can be immediately overcome with adequate planning and really convincing speeches by political figureheads.’

From where I sit, it looks like the same people who think you can lose weight without diet and exercise are now in charge of defining what a disaster is and what the response should be. So there you have it- I am out of touch with the rest of you guys and gals.






146 replies
  1. 1
    ape says:

    JC – the Government WAS doing something about it before Bush decided, in his journey from surplus to deficit, the flood defence funding had to go:

    http://www.editorandpublisher......1001051313

    key quotes:

    “The 2004 hurricane season was the worst in decades. In spite of that, the federal government came back this spring with the steepest reduction in hurricane and flood-control funding for New Orleans in history.”

    “In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain”.

  2. 2
    Bruce From Missouri says:

    Wow… Never going to vote for Bush again. I’m proud of you John. That’s a pretty meaningless declaration. He will never run for anything again.

    The real question is, are you going to vote Republican in ’06? If you do, all your p*ssing and moaning about republican stupidity is less than meaningless.

    Bruce

  3. 3
    John Cole says:

    None of that matters a whit, from what I can see. Thanks for bringing up that new old hoary canard. The projects wouldn’t have been finished for years. And, even as planned for cat 3, the levees would not have been able to handle this torm, it appears.

    I have no explanation for why the budget was cut, but I have seen little evidence that this had any impact on events as they have unfolded.

  4. 4
    John Cole says:

    Wow… Never going to vote for Bush again. I’m proud of you John. That’s a pretty meaningless declaration. He will never run for anything again.

    Quit being such a partisan idiot. I mean, just try to control yourself for a minute and comprehend what I mean. Just try.

    The point was I am not saying this because I am defending Bush, I am saying this because I simply do not understand the expectations for what should be done in unprecedented disasters like this.

    Again, I know this may be asking a bit much, but just try to understand my point before boring me with your dull, predictable, and stupid responses.

  5. 5
    Doug says:

    I have no idea what the government could or couldn’t do better. Mother Nature’s a bitch with all kinds of blood in her hands, and there is only so much we can do about it. But there is a sense that Bush’s priorities resulted in doing less than we would have done previously. I don’t know if that’s actually true. But, when we cut domestic disaster spending so we can pursue a policy in Iraq that is, frankly, of little or no practical use to Americans; it becomes yet another source of anger when a disaster strikes. And those on the left are afraid that this will be yet another round of “Bush gets a pass, because, golly, he couldn’t possibly have done anything about it.”

    On the other hand, that discussion should really, really wait a couple of weeks.

  6. 6
    StupidityRules says:

    We could argue forever about if Bush cutting the money to New Orleans made a difference or not.

    But one thing that’s totally clear is that most of New Orleans is under water, there might be people trapped in houses without food or water and Canadian search & rescue teams are not allowed into the country.

    So there is some rather pressing things right NOW, that Bush will have to answer for.

  7. 7
    KCinDC says:

    Yes, it’s a huge disaster. How does that mean that the response is automatically as good as it could possibly be and beyond criticism? How does that mean that it would be useless to have additional help from the National Guard — help that’s not possible when the Guard has been used as a substitute for the regular military and is tied down in Iraq? How does that mean that having the federal government do *something* as the hurricane was approaching, or in the day after it hit, would have been no better than doing nothing as it did?

    No doubt there are a lot of Republicans out there now spreading the idea that nothing could have been done and what the people in the affected area are getting is more than they should expect. And maybe it will work. After all, on September 11 and the days following I felt about Bush’s complete lack of leadership much as I do now. But within a week, even liberal friends of mine somehow decided that he was a leader after all. With a little more PR, people will forget the cake and the guitar, and Katrina can give Bush’s (and by extension, Republican) ratings a big boost as 9/11 did.

  8. 8
    John Cole says:

    How does that mean that having the federal government do something as the hurricane was approaching, or in the day after it hit, would have been no better than doing nothing as it did?

    Louisiana was declared a disaster area several days before the hurricane hit. The federal government was not just sitting around doing nothing.

    Again, time will tell if the response was adequate.

    And your hatred of Bush is duly noted.

  9. 9
    Mr.Ortiz says:

    I’m sorry, John, but “It probably wouldn’t have helped anyway” is not the most convincing defense of those budget cuts, especially when the engineers involved seem to agree that it would have helped a little bit. You can find the links and quotes all over the comments on this very blog, I don’t feel like digging them up and reposting them.

    As for the emergency response, I don’t expect miracles but it’s hard not to think we could do better. Most frustrating are the looters, who are hindering search, rescue and evacuation operations, but I blame that on the looters. That’s one point where we probably agree.

    Finally, there’s the president’s personal response. Again, I don’t expect a pretty speech to save lives, but who knows? Any good commander knows the importance of keeping morale high. Bush’s speech just perpetuated feelings that he is out of touch.

  10. 10
    Tim F says:

    I am shocked the death toll is not higher.

    It is far too early to make that assessment. As Kevin Drum pointed out, one modeler with relevant experience predicted that one-third of the people who stayed did not, or will not, survive.

    That seems like a high number, but the death toll count has not slowed down its rise. ‘Confirmed dead’ will eventually merge with ‘confirmed missing and unaccounted for’ as the identifiable bodies are processed and a census of the survivors can be taken.

    Until then the best we can say is that many people survived.

  11. 11
    Dennis says:

    It seems the punditocracy has 20/20 hindsight and can easily predict any event hours after it occurred. They wonder incredulusly why the Governments chrystal ball consistantly fails. Why is the Governments pre-response to any event so poorly planned?

  12. 12
    Tim F says:

    As I’d said before, the defenders and the critics are making two completely different arguments. People who defend Bush want to refute the claim that the improvements that were cut absolutely, positively would have saved New Orleans. Some people really are making that argument, but those people are stupid. At this point we don’t know and can’t know what would have saved New Orleans.

    A much more relevant point is that once again Bush decided to de-prioritize a potential danger in favor of his monomaniacal pet obsessions, war with Iraq and tax cuts for Americans who scarcely need them. Obnce again it turns out that Bush was wrong. Just like terrorism in fact turned out to be more dangerous than the threat from iraq, we discover New Orleans really is in danger of hurricanes and catastrophic flooding.

    This should hardly surprise anybody since even Bush’s supporters will happily praise his all-or-nothing risk-taking style. Decisive! Never second-guesses himself! Well, there’s a flip side to that coin. Bush gambled at least twice with America’s well-being and he lost both times.

  13. 13
    Another Jeff says:

    Look, I voted for Bush in 2000, I didn’t vote for him in 2004 (i didn’t vote for Kerry either. Actually, I didn’t push anything for President because the Democratic machine in Philly was gonna make sure Kerry had enough votes to win PA anyway. I was more concerned about the senate and making sure Specter beat that idiot Hoeffel).

    So, I’ve voted for Bush in the past and I’m far from a “Bush hater”. That being said, he’s really handling this bad. I’m not big on symbolism. When Clinton bit his lower lip and felt everyones pain, it didn’t mean a tinkers dam to me. Also, when Bush was Governor of Texas, but everyone knew he was gonna run for President, and he was getting grief for not going to Jasper, TX after the James Byrd murder, I agreed with his approach that he spoke privately with the family and did everything he could, but that he didn’t wanna run to Jasper for some photo op and he preferred to let the family grieve in private.

    There, all that being said, he really has to fucking do SOMETHING here to reassure the people down there that every possible thing that can be done is being done. Now, the President of the United States isn’t gonna go down there and hop in an air boat and look for survivors, and at this point, even taking an on-the-ground tour of the area would probably do nothing but get in the way of people doing their jobs, but he should’ve cancelled that little swing to CA and AZ, and every fucking second he’s on camera, he should be huddling with his advisors and reassuring the people down there that he’s being kept up to speed and everything possible is being done.

    I mean, ooooh, he’s cutting his vacation short two days. Even before the hurricane, does he realize how it looks that he needs to take a fucking five-week vacation in the first place, when we’re at war. I understand with the communications systems at his disposal that there’s nothing he can’t do in Crawford that he could do in Washington, but, in his own words, it’s “hard work” being President. So, for eight years out of your like, take a fucking two week vacation. You have the rest of your life to spend on that fucking ranch.

    OK, end of vent. Sorry about all the “F” bombs.

  14. 14
    Shygetz says:

    During Hurricane Andrew, we mobilized 29,000 troops (a combination of National Guard and federal troops) to respond to the disaster. The numbers I’ve seen so far have the response at about one third of that. We need probably closer to 50,000 to ensure order and an effective rescue effort. Like John said, this isn’t just New Orleans. The MS coastline is gone. I work for a federal research agency, and they are trying to scour our ranks for anyone with an MD. None of us are practicing medical doctors (even most of the MDs don’t have their license), but the government doesn’t have enough practicing MDs for disaster response. Considering that Homeland Security (including natural disaster response) was supposed to be Bush’s strongpoint, we should expect a better response now than we had a decade ago. So far, I am not impressed.

  15. 15
    Trent says:

    So again, I guess I am just out of touch with the rest of America. I look at the unprecedented response, and I think it is amazing we are able to mobilize so much so quickly over such a large area.

    Hey John, how about describing to us what has been mobilized?

    And then break that down between the local response and the federal response.

  16. 16
    iocaste says:

    It’s not like there aren’t enough links in the comments, but here’s another:

    Around the country, some local officials said the emphasis on terrorism had bitten into the time and resources they could devote to preparing for threats they considered more likely to occur. Eric Holdeman, director of the King County Office of Emergency Management in Washington state, said his staff spent the bulk of its time trying to sort through the paperwork that Homeland Security generated.

    “Prior to 9/11, we were spending 75% of our time planning, training and exercising for natural hazards,” mostly earthquakes, he said. “Today, that’s down to 25%. The rest of the time is spent administering Homeland Security grants. If we had that type of event here, we wouldn’t be nearly ready.”

    Under its new organization chart, Homeland Security has assigned FEMA’s preparation and planning functions to a new Office of Preparedness and Response, which is slated to be bolstered by a chief medical officer and a fire division. FEMA will focus on response and recovery.

    “Focusing narrowly is going to be vital,” said Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke, who said the approach would allow for great focus. “We’re talking about improving our response to acts of terror or natural disaster.”

    But Holdeman said that because FEMA no longer dealt with preparedness he had no reason to be in touch with the agency. “They have no relevancy for me anymore,” he said.

    For some outside experts, who say preparation and planning are cornerstones for effective response and recovery in disasters, dividing the two functions and possibly reducing communications among officials responsible for them is a major problem.

    It’s not just about construction projects; it’s about basic preparedness.

  17. 17
    John S. says:

    The point was I am not saying this because I am defending Bush, I am saying this because I simply do not understand the expectations for what should be done in unprecedented disasters like this.

    John,

    Bush is irrelevant in this equation, other than the fact that he currently represents ‘the government’. And it is the government that has had decades to soften this sort of blow, but hasn’t heeded the call to action that has been issued by so many scientists for decades. I’m not going to repost the same links I already have dozens of times here (just do a Google on ‘effect loss wetland New Orleans’).

    The simple fact of the matter is that the Gulf Coast has been shedding wetlands at an appalling rate since the 1930s. And in the time since, scientists and ecologists have been bemoaning the negative effects of it, while state and federal governments have ignored their warnings. The simple fact is that for every 2.7 miles of wetland lost, the ability of the land to absorb 1 foot of storm surge is diminished (according to the Louisiana Governor’s own coastal expert).

    If you want to claim this wouldn’t have helped, fine, ignore the statements that have been made on record. And if you want to sit there and tell me nothing could have been done over the last 70 years to abate this disaster, then I can’t stop you from shirking man’s responsibility for the detrimental effect he is having on his environment.

    But when the next catastrophic natural disaster occurs, don’t be surprised if there are plenty of folks lined up to lament and say, “I told you so.”

  18. 18
    Krista says:

    But one thing that’s totally clear is that most of New Orleans is under water, there might be people trapped in houses without food or water and Canadian search & rescue teams are not allowed into the country.

    Whoa…I just logged on and saw this. Why the flying hell is Canadian Search and Rescue not allowed in?

  19. 19
    Bob says:

    I like the logic, John. The project to fix the levees couldn’t be finished for years. The hurricane that might destroy New Orleans couldn’t have been predicted. Here are the choices for the Bush Administration:

    1. Continue to work to fix the levees at the same rate.

    2. Direct even more funds to ensure that the levees would be fully repaired sooner and do all possible to prevent a disaster in the interim.

    3. Cut funds for the levee reconstruction by over 80%, redirecting the money either to Iraq for the continuation of a war based on lies or in the form of tax cuts for the ultra-rich.

    Gee whiz, what can the government do?

    I don’t want the government to make personal decisions for me. But I expect a government to provide for the common good. There is a kind of self-imposed stupidity with a certain segment of the right. It’s demonstrable throughout the world that a centralized healthcare system provides more coverage for more people for less money. In the US business interests block that benefit for the majority in order to provide huge profits for a slim segment of the minority. People don’t have to provide their own armies in order to defend their homes. People don’t build their own roads to go from home to work.

    The Bush Administration’s decision was to redirect funding away from fixing those levees. It’s not unrelated to the core philosophy of these selfish greedheads running our country. Usually the cause and effect isn’t so clear, or so quick to appear.

    I think the real question is how long the MSM can stay away from the story while the rest of world is awash in it. Can they put it on the shelf next to the Downing Street Memo, Jeff Gannon’s sleepovers, or Plamegate?

  20. 20
    Trent says:

    During Hurricane Andrew, we mobilized 29,000 troops (a combination of National Guard and federal troops) to respond to the disaster. The numbers I’ve seen so far have the response at about one third of that. We need probably closer to 50,000 to ensure order and an effective rescue effort.

    ….

    Considering that Homeland Security (including natural disaster response) was supposed to be Bush’s strongpoint, we should expect a better response now than we had a decade ago. So far, I am not impressed.

    Bingo. Argue about the levee and budgets all you want. But the point of substance that Bush cannot get away from is that the military response at the federal level has been appallingly lacking. The area needs to be flooded with personnel to maintain order and perform rescue missions. Those resources should have been called up last week, preparing to deploy and being pre-positioned.

    But none of that was possible because some many are in Iraq. The writing is on the wall: The Guard and Reserve are broken.

    It’s amazing: Billions have been spent on Homeland Security to deal with a situation just like this. And there’s no plan.

    I’ll tell you the reason: With few exceptions, the Bush Administration appointments are filled with incomptent, partisan, do-nothing hacks. Few were hired for ability, most were hired for loyalty.

    This is what we get.

  21. 21
    norbizness says:

    Remember, bemoaning a lack of Homeland Security/FEMA preparedness is like blaming gay people for the hurricane, as shown by the last post. It’s like a thousand Phelpseses up in here, apparently.

    As for the recurring strain of “well, they were just class 3 levees anyway”… I mean, why reinforce levees at all if class 4 hurricanes are theoretically possible? Why bother reinforcing buildings in California to withstand a magnitude 7.5 earthquake if a 10.5 earthquake (as shown by television) is possible? In the words of Homer Simpson: “if something’s too hard, then it’s not worth doing.”

  22. 22
    Tim F says:

    Whoa…I just logged on and saw this. Why the flying hell is Canadian Search and Rescue not allowed in?

    We’d all like to know the answer to that. Canada has teams and supplies sitting on the tarmac but Homeland Security won’t ok the mission.

    It could be that the more help we get the more this administration looks unprepared. We already know that the admin is pathologically obsessed with image so it’s not that much of a stretch. If so it would be example #95,000 why a great campaigner can make a spectacularly lousy leader.

  23. 23
    Hippie Doug J says:

    I am a liberal Democrat and this is all Bill Clinton’s fault. Because of that so HELP ME GOD, I will NEVER vote for him again!

  24. 24
    Davebo says:

    Katrina was a category five hurricane in the Gulf after brushing Florida and was going to hit somewhere.

    Frankly, I was flabergasted when yesterday afternoon the head of Homeland Security announced that he had just met with the president and had been authorized to use any assets he needs to provide assistance.

    This was Weds. afternoon. The hurricane hit Monday morning and by Tuesday we knew it was going to be perhaps the worst disaster in US history. Yet more than 24 hours passed before our this man had been given the authority he apparantly needed to call out all available assets.

    I would have hoped he would have that kind of authority while the category five storm was still in the gulf. We knew it was going to hit somewhere between East Texas and the Panhandle of Florida.

  25. 25
    pmm says:

    selfish greedheads

    Even though I don’t agree with many of the commenters here, I must admit that this is one of the more charming insults I’ve come across lately.

  26. 26
    Alexandra says:

    I disagree with you, John. As a New Yorker, I saw firsthand what a massive government effort could do to move and improve a situation. What is going on now is poorly organized chaos–chaos that is killing innocent men, women, and children who are our citizens.

    It is clear that there were things that could have been done before the hurricane hit, for example.
    1. finish building/fixing that damn levee.
    2. get buses to take the poor people out of New Orleans
    3. bring an adequate supply of portapotties, food, and water to shelters like the Superdome.
    4. alert and prepare National Guard troops from Louisiana and other states in case they are needed.

    The list goes on and on. Unfortunately, it seems that a big part of what is going wrong here–why people are left on highways for several days with no food, water, or anywhere else to go, is that no one seems to be in charge. There is no clear leadership. I really am shocked that you or anyone would say “oh well, it’s good enough.” There is no “good enough” in this kind of crisis. It requires all hands on deck, 100 percent effort, mutual, national sacrifice. This is a crisis. Lives can be saved NOW. A boy or girl on a roof, a pregnant woman in labor, a beloved grandmother–all of these people who could be dying in the heat or the water right now are people who might go on to live productive, valuable lives for years if they can just get through this crisis. What kind of people are we if we do not do EVERYTHING possible until they are saved?

  27. 27
    pmm says:

    Tim F, as a firm supporter of this President, I’d say image is the least of their abilities–the lag time in various “official” responses over the past few days hasn’t been particularly inspiring. Anybody can do good imagery with time & heads up–witness the political conventions–but when it’s unscripted? Not these guys. I think they count on being vindicated by events and let their imaging go to hell as a result, even when a proper image is required by our leadership.

  28. 28
    ppGaz says:

    The only large government failure I can see here involves the state and local authorities in New Orleans who didn’t seem to be very concerned about the fact that many thousands of people would be trapped in the city in a worst-case storm hit.

    There are people without transportation, without means to pay for transportation, people who are sick, people who feel they have to stay and care for people who are ill … I haven’t listed every reason here, there are many. But the point is, given the situation that the city is in …. it was well known that it could fill up with water in a matter of hours …. why the hell didn’t those governments create a plan to get all those people out of there? It’s going to cost a lot more to get them out now, and the failure to do this planning can be directly blamed for many deaths.

    As for the Federal government …. I am not very impressed with the timeliness of the response here, but I don’t know enough about the disaster business to criticize them just now. Let’s see how they perform going forward.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    Tim F says:

    I’d say image is the least of their abilities

    I didn’t say that they were necessarily good at image in unscripted occasions, I said that they are pathologically obsessed with it.

    They can’t control the president’s petulant attitude any more than they can take back their gutting of FEMA, but they can keep the Canucks away from American TV cameras.

    John Dilulio called them the Mayberry Machiavellis for a reason.

  31. 31
    Tim F says:

    The first line in my post should have been a blockquote.

  32. 32
    Trent says:

    In the context of massive tax cuts, bloated energy and transportation bills and runaway Homeland Security and military expenditures, what is the rationale behind Republican cuts in disaster prevention budgets? I don’t just mean the levee. Bush has cut things across the board, most notably gutting FEMA.

    I’m serious about this. I would like to understand the thinking behind it. i don’t get the rationale behind denying the funds for these programs. It’s part of the fundemental role of government that even libertarians agree on.

  33. 33
    Joe Albanese says:

    John, you are out of touch with America. You see most of America depends on their government at times like this to step in and take charge to mitigate the ongoing horror that I see on my TV screen. No the government couldn’t have PREVENTED the hurricane and no reasonable person is suggesting that , but the government’s response to the hurricane is nothing short of disgraceful. You ask, what could the government do in light of such a natural disaster? Well isn’t that what HOMELAND SECURITY is supposed to figure out? Aren’t they planning for a terrorist attack? How is the natural disaster of Katrina substantively different than that of a terrorist setting off a suitcase nuke in the French Quarter? Would the federal government’s response been any better?

    So what is the government’s plans to deal with large numbers of refugees after a terrorist’s attack? Their plan to supply food and water to the survivors? Emergency communication? Troops to prevent anarchy? Jesus there is not even enough officials at the Super Dome to tell the people what the hell is going on. This was the shelter the government set up and they are woefully unprepared to even communicate with those showed up. Have ANY of these issues been planned for when EVERYONE says its just a matter of time before we have a terrorist attack? What have they been doing since 911 if they haven’t planned for such a HUGE disaster.

    I just heard that the President Bush has appointed a cabinet level task force to coordinate disaster relief. Huh? You mean to tell me there is not a mechanism in place for the government to IMMEDIATELY deal with a disaster? You mean Homeland Security doesn’t have a task force, trained, and ready to go IN ADVANCE of just such a circumstance?

  34. 34
    Demdude says:

    Time will tell if the initial response was all they could do. We know that this administration is incompetent when it comes to leadership, as evidenced by the last couple of days.

    I think the governors did an outstanding job in leadership. Even Haley Barbour, who I think is one of my least favorite politicans on the planet, did a good job of presenting a calming influence on his state.

    I am still amazed that Federal Troops were not dispatched to the hard hit areas immediately. Natl Guard and local police are not able to respond effectively in this kind of disaster. People forget in “survival mode”, these folks have families to protect and look after. I can’t believe we can’t send at least 40-50,000 troop there. Are we that depleted?

    If we get anything out of this disaster, I hope to God that we learn how to handle these situations. A terrorist with a nuclear weapon can create widescale carnage. Maybe not as much as this, but you always train for X times the situation you expect.

  35. 35
    ppGaz says:

    I just heard that the President Bush has appointed a cabinet level task force to coordinate disaster relief. Huh? You mean to tell me there is not a mechanism in place for the government to IMMEDIATELY deal with a disaster? You mean Homeland Security doesn’t have a task force, trained, and ready to go IN ADVANCE of just such a circumstance?

    Legitimate questions.

    My two cents worth would be to let the story unfold some more before jumping to any conclusions.

  36. 36
    Narvy says:

    The point was I am not saying this because I am defending Bush, I am saying this because I simply do not understand the expectations for what should be done in unprecedented disasters like this.

    The President’s role in a catastrophic situation could be, and historically has been, to come before the people and, with the aid of a good speechwriter, offer words of inspiration and comfort. What I’ve seen of President Bush’s response has been neither inspirational nor comforting.

    Which brings me to this quote from The Gawker:

    This horrific act of nature has even forced the president to leave his marathon vacation. Which made us realize: This “God” fellow Bush likes to talk about so much? It doesn’t seem the feeling is mutual.

  37. 37
    Joe Albanese says:

    (continued)

    Sorry John but I am baffled that our federal government, after 911, hasn’t been better prepared and this is one time that people are going to DEMAND accountability. This is not theory anymore but life and death You just watch over the next days, weeks, and months how OUT OF TOUCH you really are.

  38. 38

    […] I Am Out of Touch […]

  39. 39
    Trent says:

    ppGaz, you say:

    As for the Federal government …. I am not very impressed with the timeliness of the response here, but I don’t know enough about the disaster business to criticize them just now. Let’s see how they perform going forward.

    right after criticizing the local and state response:

    The only large government failure I can see here involves the state and local authorities in New Orleans who didn’t seem to be very concerned about the fact that many thousands of people would be trapped in the city in a worst-case storm hit.

    Did brain cells die during that mental gymnastic act? It’s like the collision of matter and anti-matter!

    I’m not trying to flame you, but c’mon, this argument is becoming downright silly.

  40. 40
    DougJ says:

    I think that there probably isn’t much that could have been done in the past week to change any of what happened. And I’m afraid that maybe nothing could have helped in Gulfport or Biloxi. But I think that if they (and I’m not sure who “they” are, whether it be the city, state, or federal government) had restored the wetlands that buffered New Orleans, the damage might have been much less. I don’t understand the mechanics of this yet, but it seems that is what all of the hurricane experts are saying.

    So maybe shouldn’t be throwing charges around willy-nilly, but if by doing so, they arrive at something that will help prevent future disasters, then it is all for the good.

  41. 41
    Bob says:

    ppm: “Greedhead” was a term used by Hunter Thompson decades before he checked out of here. Sort of like “crackhead,” but with the acquisition of wealth being the primary motivator. It’s a kind of social disease you catch from hanging out with the wrong people.

  42. 42
    DougJ says:

    I guess all the people they talk to in this article must be part of the angry, incomprehensible left, John
    http://www.realcities.com/mld/.....528233.htm

    Come to think of it, I guess I must be too.

    John, your posts on this issue have been simply awful.

  43. 43
    capelza says:

    So what is the government’s plans to deal with large numbers of refugees after a terrorist’s attack? Their plan to supply food and water to the survivors? Emergency communication? Troops to prevent anarchy? Jesus there is not even enough officials at the Super Dome to tell the people what the hell is going on. This was the shelter the government set up and they are woefully unprepared to even communicate with those showed up. Have ANY of these issues been planned for when EVERYONE says its just a matter of time before we have a terrorist attack? What have they been doing since 911 if they haven’t planned for such a HUGE disaster.

    This is what is bothering me. What if it was terrorists who breached the levees? What if terrorism had caused some cataclysm in another city. God, I’d hope the level of preparedness would be better than this. The feds aren’t looking too good right now, even out here amongst my Republican friends. The logistics must be an utter nightmare, but something IS fubar. I’ll add my voice to the questioning of why the Vancouver, BC Urban Rescue Team wasn’t allowed to go help.

    And, yeah, Bush did really screw up image wise by dithering.
    It only served to further the impression that noone was really doing anything about it. Fair or not. You know, at this point, the guy should get out in a gator boat and start helping. Screw the security, give him a bullet proof vest and a boat load of water and get his hands dirty. I tell ya, I’d be impressed and I think he is a..well never mind about that.

  44. 44
    pmm says:

    I don’t claim to know what the appropriate level of funding for FEMA or the Corps of Engineers projects should be, or the proper disposition and mix of National Guard troops. I don’t know if the plans in place at the local, state, and federal level were sufficient. I don’t know if the response to this disaster was as timely as it should’ve been. I do know that, once the situation has been stabilized and we can conduct an after-action review of the disaster, we’ll have a better idea. But assuming right off the bat that because everything possible wasn’t done to prevent this disaster therefore indicts the decision makers strikes me as premature and setting the bar rather high. At least for now, I agree with those who’ve noticed that the federal response hasn’t appeared timely nor inspiring.

  45. 45
    Joe Albanese says:

    This morning, about 7:05 am Eastern time, George Bush was interviewed by Diane Sawyers on ABC’s Good Morning America. This is what he said:

    “I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees.”

    (shades of Condi Rice saying that no one could have EVER imagined terrorists flying airplanes into buildings) I’m not even going to post the VOLUMINOUS documentation where the President is proved to be a complete LIAR yet once again but here is just one:

    “I can’t tell you exactly what that could mean this hurricane season if we get a major storm,” Naomi said. “It would depend on the path and speed of the storm, the angle that it hits us.

    “But I can tell you that we would be better off if the levees were raised, . . . and I think it’s important and only fair that those people who live behind the levee know the status of these projects.”

    .

  46. 46
    docG says:

    I like the real DougJ better.

  47. 47
    Trent says:

    This is the Republican accountability moment and they have failed.

    They own the government. They call the shots. They set the agenda and push forth their vision. Their only mandate in the past 4 years was to prepare for this moment. They have proven that they have neither the competence nor the will nor the integrity to protect the American people.

    It’s time to restore the concept of “public servant” to politics.

  48. 48
    John Cole says:

    I guess all the people they talk to in this article must be part of the angry, incomprehensible left, John

    Come to think of it, I guess I must be too.

    John, your posts on this issue have been simply awful.

    I don’t know about angry, and I am pretty sure you are not on the left, but you sure as hell have the incomprehensible part down. And for the love of everything holy, you post 50 comments a day here. Have you still not figured out how to hyperlink things?

    Look, everybody, I have to run, but let me say this-

    I don’t know if enough was done, and I would agree with PMM’s assessment that it does look like the response is slow. But lost in this pile-on is the scope and the magnitude of this event.

    I choose to try to figure out how to help, rather than sitting around sniping from the edges about what should have been done. If there are as many dead as I fear- there will be accountability, trust me. And it isn;t going to be just your hated George Bush who gets zinged. The entire state government and Democratic New Orleans government is going to get HAMMERED with what they failed to do.

    But now is not the time to take bits and pieces and anecdotal evidence and build a case for or against them or the feds. We simply do not know (I don’t, at least)what is going on to any degree of certainty, and while people are saying this is a huge disaster, I don’t think people comprehend what a huge mess this is.

    So just slow the hell down and go donate.

  49. 49
    ppGaz says:

    Did brain cells die during that mental gymnastic act?

    I don’t see your point. I’m criticizing the local and state authorities for what appears to me to be a rather obvious lack of planning.

    On the Federal level …. I don’t see any massive failures, but I also say, let’s wait and see. The fact that I don’t see a massive failure should not be taken to mean that there was no massive failure, or that I am asserting no failure. It means, I don’t see them. I’m not a disaster preparedness expert, and don’t care to become one. If there were failures at the federal level, I’m sure that they will be exposed in time. I don’t see the rush to start barking about them today.

  50. 50
    Joe Albanese says:

    Cole:

    I choose to try to figure out how to help

    How wonderful of you.

  51. 51
    ppGaz says:

    This morning, about 7:05 am Eastern time, George Bush was interviewed by Diane Sawyers on ABC’s Good Morning America. This is what he said:

    “I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees.”

    Heh. Just when I am ready to cut these guys some slack, Spud has to go and say something like that. Amazing.

    People were anticipating the levee breach right here on this blog before the hurricane hit. CNN had a rather comprehensive assessment of the likely scenario online days before the hurricane hit.

    Maybe the White House should watch more tv?

  52. 52
    Ancient Purple says:

    I think my disdain for the federal government’s response is because it has been lackluster at best. And I accuse all levels of the feds, not just Fearless Leader.

    I just about lost my lunch when I heard Sen. Shelby of Alabama said that he was in contact with Sen. Frist and Speaker Hastert and that this item would be number one on their agenda when Congress returned to work on the Tuesday after Labor Day. Why am I out of line in thinking that Frist and Hastert should have summoned all of the Congress back to DC to handle this emergency now, not six days from now?

    Meanwhile, Bush was too busy pickin’ and grinnin’ in the West and got back to DC in time to have a news conference telling us that rebuilding is going to be “hard work” and that he told people in the federal government to play nice and help the little people in the Gulf Coast out. Why am I out of line in thinking that Bush should have been back in DC on Monday, had naval ships on their way to the Gulf on Monday, had task forces and play nice policies in force on Monday, had a prime time, Oval Office address to the nation on Monday?

    Instead, everything is just getting started and relief supplies and labor is sitting on a tarmac in Vancouver, BC, because the brain-dead people at Homeland Security won’t let them into the country to help. Why am I out of line in thinking that you get let assistance from Canada in and cut the red tape nonsense?

    I guess I am as out of touch as you are, Mr. Cole.

  53. 53
    Trent says:

    On the Federal level …. I don’t see any massive failures

    Please describe the planning that occurred on the federal level.

  54. 54
    Blue Neponset says:

    …people just expect everything to be fixed. No acknowledgement of the difficulty and the chaos. No understanding that it just takes a while (no matter what is pre-positioned) to get to some places and get these types of operations up and running.

    People don’t ‘expect everything to be fixed’. They expect the Gov’t to do everything it can to aleviate deaths and damage. From the lumpy couch in my living room it doesn’t appear that the Gov’t is doing this.

    It worries me to think you are right and what is happening now is the best case scenario if I ever have to ride out a natural disaster or terrorist incident. If this is the best the Gov’t can do, it needs to tell us how many days we will be on our own before help arrives the next time there is a hurricane warning or earthquake.

    P.S. I assume that you don’t believe this is the best the Gov’t can do in response to a disaster, but I saw your ‘everything fixed’ hyperbole and responded in kind.

  55. 55
    Trent says:

    I just about lost my lunch when I heard Sen. Shelby of Alabama said that he was in contact with Sen. Frist and Speaker Hastert and that this item would be number one on their agenda when Congress returned to work on the Tuesday after Labor Day. Why am I out of line in thinking that Frist and Hastert should have summoned all of the Congress back to DC to handle this emergency now, not six days from now?

    I could not agree more.

    And i feel that way about the Democrats too. They would do themselves a world of good by returning to Washington now.

    Public Servants, forsake your Labor Day and get to work!

  56. 56
    ppGaz says:

    Please describe the planning that occurred on the federal level.

    Please explain why the fact that I don’t see something inspires you to speak as though I have to prove that it wasn’t there?

    It’s a little early to be holding a trial here, even for the usual kangaroos who are anxious to get to court.

  57. 57
    jobiuspublius says:

    Christ- when it snows heavily here in WV, it sometimes takes 3-4 days to get the hollows plowed so people can get in and out and get food. People go days without power. From snow. Snow. Which is a touch more predictable than the a category 4-5 hurricane. In fact, I am going to go out on a limb and predict that West Virginia will get hit with snow numerous times from December-March. Just a hunch.

    Awe, how romantic, a winter wonder land, and, when spring arrives, WVer rise out of their homes putting an end to their hibernation, singing BORN FREEEEEEE AS FREE AS THE SNOW BLOWSSSSSSS.

    Other states have learned to deal with snow. But, when people like Allen get to be governor …

    Don’t worry until recently, about half the country was out of touch. I’m sure some will insist on remaing that way. They can always repopulate the gulf coast and continue to enjoy their lackadaisical ways in grand style.

  58. 58
    Tim F says:

    I disagree with Joe’s more cynical take, in that John has been out front for the Red Cross and other relief organizations in the rightwing blogosphere. Tirades against Bush may be appropriate, and I believe that they are, but John’s doing a lot more immediate good promoting the Red Cross than pushing recriminations. Let’s at least acknowledge that the tangible good that’s being done can outweigh the completely intangible damage of not yet jumping into the Bush-bashing crusade with both feet. And I say that as a crusader.

  59. 59
    ppGaz says:

    Let’s at least acknowledge that the tangible good that’s being done can outweigh the completely intangible damage of not yet jumping into the Bush-bashing crusade with both feet. And I say that as a crusader.

    I agree.

    I have a hunch that the next year is going to be a dark time for the Spuds. There will be plenty of time and opportunity for piling on these feckless bastards later.

  60. 60
    Boo says:

    I don’t know about the Republicans, but Pelosi has called for a special session.

  61. 61
    SomeCallMeTim says:

    John-

    Read href=”http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/12528233.htm”>this, from maybe the best Washington Bureau around. I think you’re right – we should wait and see. But seriously, why is “accountability” such a hard concept for Republicans? Cripes, you guys own all three branches of the federal govt.

  62. 62
    jobiuspublius says:

    And it’s not just the gutting of the wetlands. It’s the gutting of FEMA’s responsibility for preparedness. FEMA has, essentially, been told to forget about preparedness. It seems that this non-sense runs in the family. Dear Leader SR.’s FEMA was a big basket of fat plums.

    The idea of a Homeland Security department ala Dear Leader’s “vision” is just plain old unamarican. I just think that people do not understand what a disaster this government is.

    As for everybody blaming Dear Leader, of course! That’s what happens when you make someone out to be a savior and he fails. Wasn’t that the plan? As long as he has access to the presidential pardon, his supporters will “stay the course” to ruin.

    Don’t worry. I’m an equal opportunity indicter. I know that behind Dear Leader there scurries a plague of accomplices, sycophants, and enablers.

  63. 63
    Accountability is a dirty word says:

    Republican says that funding was inadequate:
    http://www.dallasnews.com/shar.....f298f.html

    Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-La., recalls knocking on doors on Capitol Hill, making the case that it would be cheaper to fund hurricane protection projects rather than a huge disaster payment tab.

    “Tragically, that’s turned out to be the case,” he said Wednesday, just back from a helicopter tour to assess the devastation in New Orleans. “We fought very hard for this. We argued very hard for this, and it’s an absolute tragedy.”

  64. 64
    Darrell says:

    I hope I’m wrong, but this looks like a clusterf*ck in the making. Where is Rudi Guilliani when you need him?

    BTW, notice how the leftist kooks are repeatedly referring to Bush as “Dear leader”. I bet I’ve read that phrase 10 or 20 times on Balloon Juice alone in past couple of days… the kooks are just following marching orders I suppose.

  65. 65
    pmm says:

    But seriously, why is “accountability” such a hard concept for Republicans? Cripes, you guys own all three branches of the federal govt.

    Honestly, I’d say knee-jerk defenses of the administration are borne from a fear that reasonable criticisms will be exploited by the less-scrupled of the President’s critics. That means that folks who refrain from criticizing the President justly are being just as unprincipled as those who criticize him unjustly.

    Dean Esmay’s new guy has a solid take on how the right shouldn’t be any more reflexive than the left on this disaster here: an excerpt that summarizes the post, though it ought to be read in full:

    George W. Bush bears absolutely no blame for the devastation left by Katrina, and the efforts to lay the tragedy at his feet are odious and vile. But the efforts to evade any kind of accountability – especially when the entire government is controlled by a single political party – and to label any attempt at finding answers as “evil” – does damage to our nation, too.

  66. 66
    Anderson says:

    Yglesias nails it. After pointing out that the consequences of a major storm’s hitting N.O. were well known:

    As soon as the National Weather Service predicted that Katrina was headed for New Orleans and assessed its strength — i.e., over 36 hours before the levees were breached — people should have been assuming that the city would flood. As witnessed by the evacuation order, the preparation of the Superdome for refugees, and so on, people were assuming the hurricane would hit the city. But insofar as people anticipated a hurricane that exceeded the levees’ design specifications, they should have been anticipating levee failure, and they obviously didn’t. All the stuff that started happening after the city flooded — vacations cut short, federal task force assembled, National Guard mobilization, emergency fire brigades dispatched, hospital ships mobilized, helicopter and small-boat rescue teams assembled, etc., etc., etc. — those should have been done over a day earlier when the hurricane was predicted.

    Of course the state & city gov’ts failed too. That, in my experience, is what state & city gov’ts do. That’s why we’re supposed to have a serious federal disaster agency that’s got a plan for incredibly obvious things like this that everyone knew would happen eventually.

    (Everyone, that is, except George “I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees” Bush.)

  67. 67
    Anderson says:

    Fuck, close tag.

  68. 68
    ppGaz says:

    I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees

    I think he meant, “I don’t think anyone in my administration anticipated the breach of the levees.”

    I guess they just had faith that the levees would hold.

    Question: Should Faith in Levees be taught alongside hydrology?

  69. 69
    Tim F says:

    the leftist kooks are repeatedly referring to Bush as “Dear leader”.

    It works on so many levels.

  70. 70
    ppGaz says:

    referring to Bush as “Dear leader”

    It’s more congruent with reality than my own monikers for him, which include “Spud” and “Cowardly Asshole.”

    Dear Leader is borrowed from Kim Jong Il, of course, and in many ways, it fits Bush better than it does the North Korean.

  71. 71
    Darrell says:

    Question: Should Faith in Levees be taught alongside hydrology?

    now that is funny

  72. 72
    Anderson says:

    I think he meant, “I don’t think anyone in my administration anticipated the breach of the levees.”

    Right, and we have a cabinet-level department that is supposed to anticipate such things.

    Or, to quote myself:

    Right, except for EVERYONE WHO THOUGHT ABOUT IT FOR FIVE SECONDS. This has been a topic for DECADES. “Will this be the hurricane that sinks New Orleans?” was my thought every time a storm came close. And it’s not even my g.d. *job* to look out for the American people.

    You can e-mail your contributions to “Anderson for Dictator-for-Life” at the above address. No Amex or Discover, please.

  73. 73
    jobiuspublius says:

    “I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees.”

    It’s offical. Katrina is the new 9/11. Dumbass, again.

  74. 74
    Jeff Alan says:

    I’m a conservative by any measure, or maybe a conservative-libertarian. I’ve defended Bush until I’m hoarse, but I just do not understand how this man can be such an inept communicator. I never agree with the NYT; in fact I almost always laugh out loud at their blatant bias as just the usual lefty drivel, but the NYT’s editorial (the one you linked to) is actually one that I have little difficulty argueing with (at least when you wade past the usual horseshit–like Bush is responsible for global-warming). The first paragraph, in fact, is right on target.
    I think everyone focused on this disaster (six New Orleans family-member refugees arrived at my Dallas home yesterday and will likely be here for months (okay, seven including the cat)) knows that this IS the worst disaster in American history. I certainly get that; New Orleans is/was my second home. What I don’t get is why the American President, who demonstrated so much sober leadership in his address to the nation from the Oval Office after 9-11, and prior to Afghanistan and Iraq, just seemed so–well "casual" is the word the NYT used–about the aftermath of Katrina. It’s a cliche but it’s true: perception IS reality.
    Does this disaster exceed any President’s ability to respond within a timeframe that would satisfy any reasonable person? Of course. But great leaders always seem to be able to fake their way through it.
    I think George Bush is a good man–not the sinister Hitler figure the morons like to vilify–, but with regard to communication skills and salesmanship (crucial components of being a great leader), AND with regard to his ability to hire people who are supposed to fill these gaps in his skill set, this disaster demonstrates more than any example that I can think of, that he is mediocre at best.

  75. 75
    jobiuspublius says:

    BTW, notice how the leftist kooks are repeatedly referring to Bush as “Dear leader”. I bet I’ve read that phrase 10 or 20 times on Balloon Juice alone in past couple of days… the kooks are just following marching orders I suppose.

    My work here is done. :)

    But, it was fun. I think i’ll do it again, and again, and again, ……

  76. 76
    ape says:

    ppGaz. i also like the ‘Dear Leader’ honorific in relation to Dubya. but I don’t think it ‘fits Bush’ so much as it fits his supporters.. they have passed their affection to the useless dimwitted son of their former leader, and admit of no criticism no matter how plainly true.

    John S – totally agree about man’s effect on his environment. it is sickening how many GOP/ rightists have immediately come out with statements of cast-iron certainty that this incident has not been affected by man’s actions, or that there is no scientific evidence for it.

    how can they know? they certainly seem not to have read all the relevant papers.

    i find this worse than the Theoplicans who come out with the ‘Wrath of God’ crap. at least they are irrelevant. people actually believe Rush’s drivel. anti-environmentalism actually influences Government policy.

  77. 77
    Oh,Boy.Stupidity! says:

    Why is the Left so in love with PLANNING? As if some magic exilir of planning was out there, but was never achieved. How the F— does anyone here know what was going on behind the scenes? Same thing goes for the insurgency in Iraq. As if a good plan always = success.

    As far as Bush’s budget cuts — wait, I thought Bush broke the budget. Which is it? Spend too much or too little? Furthermore, since when is it the Fed. Govt.’s job to protect everyone from everything. So let’s say the Feds did underfund NOLA, and NOLA’s politicians and citizens did just what to rectify that?

    So when will George Soros and T Heinz Kerry start writing checks?

  78. 78
    Oh,Boy.Stupidity! says:

    ” people actually believe Rush’s drivel. anti-environmentalism actually influences Government policy.”

    Why does Lefties equate conservation/environmentalism with govt. funding? No serious person on the right is against environmentalism, just don’t want the fed. govt. to do something which is not in their jurisdictions. Enviro concerns should generally be handled by states and local govts.

    Oh, and by the way, find me a quote from Rush where he’s “against the environment.”

  79. 79
    jobiuspublius says:

    many GOP/ rightists have immediately come out with statements of cast-iron certainty that this incident has not been affected by man’s actions

    ROFLMAO I’m sure the insurance industry begs to differ.

  80. 80
    Darrell says:

    GOP/ rightists have immediately come out with statements of cast-iron certainty that this incident has not been affected by man’s actions, or that there is no scientific evidence for it.

    The right has ID kooks. The left’s kook religion is environmental extremism. “How dare you suggest that Katrina wasn’t caused by man. Where is your evidence!”.. “Repubs are destroying mother earth!”.

  81. 81
    jobiuspublius says:

    John Cole is not the only one out of touch. “We” all are. “We” tolerate our politicians. About half of us don’t even bother to vote and fewer still bother to keep tabs. We’re under the spell of Consumerism. It we can’t consume it, it makes no sense to us. Why else are politicians products?

  82. 82
    Hippie Doug J says:

    I’m sure glad Alasaka got that $250 million dollar bridge to connect a town of 50 people to the mainland :-)

  83. 83
    Laura says:

    One of the big issues here is the lack of leadership and inter-agency response.

    New Orleans is one of the (or the) largest ports in the US. It is the 5th largest port in the world. This is a terrorist target. There should have been plans and contingency plans for dealing with problems. There should have been infrastructure in place to coordinate evacuation and rescue efforts. There should have been drills.

    This incident is, to my mind, evidence that 4 years after 9/11 the US is completely unprepared for a terrorist strike. We even had warning about this, not much, granted, but important cities like NO should be better prepared for disasters like this.

  84. 84
    ppGaz says:

    “Repubs are destroying mother earth!”.

    Yes, I think it was a Republican who cut down the last tree on Easter Island.

    But destruction of the planet will take a lot of time.

    Meanwhile, Republicans are destroying my country.

    That, I’m more worried about.

  85. 85
    jobiuspublius says:

    BTW, the “noone expected the levees to break” has an even funnier sibling. Something like “Noone expect a seriouse storm”. ROFLMAO

  86. 86
    jobiuspublius says:

    Hippie Doug J, spot on. Perfect.

  87. 87
    ppGaz says:

    Relevant to nothing we’ve said so far …. but I am sitting here watching what is certainly large eruptions of natural gas from beneath the water in New Orleans … at least one has caught fire. But these are BIG eruptions, a failed gas main, one would think.

    Question: Why are we still pumping natural gas into the system in that city? Does that strike anyone besides me as being somewhat beyond crazy? The city didn’t have a plan to cut off electrical and gas service to areas that were likely to flood and remain flooded for weeks?

    Hoo boy.

  88. 88
    DougJ says:

    So just slow the hell down and go donate.

    I already have. I’m glad, John, that are shifting the focus from the people that have lost their homes and loved ones to the real victims of the hurricane — the elected officials who have to answer difficult questions on CNN. Why don’t you post some links on ways we can help these poor people, too, while you’re at it?

    Gee, libruls, I’m glad to see you have so much understanding of human nature that you think anyone who cares about disaster victims couldn’t be an actual conservative and in fact must be a hippie. Way to be tolerant.

  89. 89
    ppGaz says:

    Way to be tolerant.

    Yes, DougJTheImposter, or course.

    Did you think, when you decided it would be fun to talk half of the country into declaring war on the other half, that “tolerance” would be one of the results?

    Fuck you.

  90. 90
    DougJ says:

    The entire state government and Democratic New Orleans government is going to get HAMMERED with what they failed to do.

    And you think I have a problem with this?

  91. 91
    Darrell says:

    BTW, the “noone expected the levees to break” has an even funnier sibling.

    I’m not familiar with the design of the levee. Was it really so ridiculous to say that no one expected it to break? Are there numerous engineers who have said that the levees were a disaster waiting to happen or something similar? I haven’t read anything like that. The leftists seem to think it was ‘obvious’ that the levees would break/leak and use this to criticize Bush. But was it really so obvious? I honestly don’t know.. but I sure as hell wouldn’t take the word of dishonest leftists with no background in levee design

  92. 92
    DougJ says:

    Ppgaz, I’m just going to let all your cheap shots go. I don’t care what you think of me as long as you donate.

  93. 93
    Joe Albanese says:

    I just saw an incredibly horrible report on CNN. Seems like thousands of people have made it to the Convention Center where I imagine they had hoped they would find some help. Thousands. And they are dying right there on the spot. There is NO one from governement there. No one. Not federal, not state not local. No one. How many days after the hurricane is this? No food. No water. Nothing but death and despair for these American citizens. I can’t belive what I am seeing.

    I can understand authorities not being able to get to every part of the city as they are overwhelmed but the Convention Center? on dry land? .. where THOUSANDS of citizens managed to get to and no authorities there? Why? Where are they? Same at the domed stadium, not very many officials, not very many national guard, not very many police officers. Women getting raped inside. Men with guns running the show. Why is this happening DAYS after the hurricane hit?

    Yes, I understand it is an overwhelming disaster but I still dont ‘understand why we could drop pallets of food by helicopter in Sri Lanka but we can’t get food and water to our own citizens DAYS after the hurricane hit.

    Homeland Security? yeah….

  94. 94
    Aaron says:

    I will have to vote Democrat in the future. Not because I believe they will do any better. But because I will not have to hear all the bullhockey.

    Jimmy Carter took the least vacation of any president. Let me know where you think he will rank in history.

  95. 95
    ppGaz says:

    Are there numerous engineers who have said that the levees were a disaster waiting to happen or something similar?

    Oh, brother.

    I didn’t think you could embarrass yourself more after yesterday, but I was wrong. There seems to be no bottom to the depths of you, Darrell.

  96. 96
    ppGaz says:

    Ppgaz, I’m just going to let all your cheap shots go.

    I don’t care. None of yours will be overlooked.

  97. 97
    Aaron says:

    Oh, and we dropped pallets of food in Sri Lanka probably 5 days after it hit. and how many pallets?

    I lived through a 7.6 earthquake in Taiwan…when it’s that big of a disaster NOTHING makes you ready.

  98. 98
    DougJ says:

    Are there numerous engineers who have said that the levees were a disaster waiting to happen or something similar?

    Actually, Darrel, yes. I followed the hurricane that almost hit New Orleans last year and they talked a lot about the possibility of this. They also talked about it n the days leading up to this one, too.

    Look, it would have been expensive to shore up the levees, restore wetlands, etc. but Blanco and the people at FEMA should have been on it. This should be the end of Blanco politically, and a fire needs to be lit under the White House’s ass to get FEMA moving in the right direction.

  99. 99
    Darrell says:

    I didn’t think you could embarrass yourself more after yesterday, but I was wrong. There seems to be no bottom to the depths of you, Darrell

    No doubt the levees were designed for the possibility of strong hurricanes. I’ll ask again – was it obvious to people in a position to know (civil engineers?) that the levees would break or leak or was it common opinion that the levees were so overdesigned that they would never break short of a nuclear bomb? Lefties here seem to think it was obvious the levees would breach… all I’m asking is was it soo unreasonable to say “no one expected the levees to breach”?

  100. 100
    Joe Albanese says:

    wonder if John still thinks the government is doing the best job it can?

    Spellman: Right now, and for several hours, a stream of people have been heading down Canal street heading for the the convention center looking for help. The Convention Center is along the Mississippi river on the southern side of town. They’lll be shocked at what they see when they get there. It’s thousands and thousands of people who hav ebeen there all nigth sleeping out on the streets on the sidewalk wherever they can find a spot.

    There’s no one in control. No national guard. no police. And certainly no FEMA.

    Inside we’ve gotten disturbing news of many dead bodies and nothing to be done with them. CNN’s Chris Lawrence got word to us that right in front of him an infant died. That’s where people are going for help and there’s simply none for them.

    Kagan: And Jim, when you were talking to us earlier you were saying among these thousands of people who are there, they’re there with perhaps a false hope of immediate helpd, that they believe they are standing by waiting for a bus or a boat or someone to come get them. There’s really no indication that’s going to happen anytime soon.

    Spellman: Indeed… it’s rumors spreading throughout the group. The convention center sits on an area called the riverwalk which is a sort of promenade along the river. There’s two riverboats, the last time I checked down there, that are sitting there, the Cajun Queen and another one I didn’t get the name of. They’re sitting there empty with no activity around them and many people believe these boats will take them away to safety and where they can start to regroup. Also buses, they think that buses are coming for them but there’s been no indication that any buses are coming to the convention center. The only buses that we’ve seen leaving the downtown area are buses provided by hotels only for their guests.

    .

  101. 101
    Darrell says:

    Actually, Darrel, yes. I followed the hurricane that almost hit New Orleans last year and they talked a lot about the possibility of this. They also talked about it n the days leading up to this one, too

    thanks. If you’re correct, then it appears it really was a dumbass thing to say that “no one expected the levee to leak”

  102. 102
    ppGaz says:

    Actually, Darrel, yes. I followed the hurricane that almost hit New Orleans last year and they talked a lot about the possibility of this. They also talked about it n the days leading up to this one, too.

    Correct you are, DougJTheMysterious. In fact, I first heard of the “worst case” scenario a good twelve or so years ago, maybe longer. In fact, CNN had a rather detailed description of exactly what is happening now …. on their website LAST WEEK, complete with the aftermath of this widespread flooding.

    It has been known for a very long time that a direct hit on New Orleans by a major hurricane would cause just this disaster. The levees were not intended to prevent this. They were intended to provide protection against much more “ordinary” weather and flood events. Noone expected them to protect against Katrina.

    Except Darrell, and apparently, the people in the White House.

    Nice to see you on the side of truth, there, Dougie.

  103. 103
    ppGaz says:

    then it appears it really was a dumbass thing to say that “no one expected the levee to leak”

    Your apology is accepted. I take back almost every rotten thing I’ve said about you. Which ones exactly, we can discuss later.

  104. 104
    capelza says:

    Darrell..you never watch the Discovery Channel? Shows about the levees and New Orleans flooding have been common for quite some time.

    You can call them liberal shows and even ..gasp..scientists, but what they have been saying for a long time has come to pass.

  105. 105
    DougJ says:

    Darrell,

    I’m going to include a little bit about predictions about the levee a friend sent me (I think from Howard Kurtz’s column on the Washington Post). I don’t know if you feel the same way I do about New Orleans, but it makes me sick to think this could have been prevented. Again, our energies should be focused on helping those in need, but we should also think about how to stop this sort of thing from happening again.

    Just for starters, how about Sunday’s New Orleans Times-Picayune , which described a computer model run by the LSU Hurricane Center. “It indicated the metropolitan area was poised to see a repeat of Betsy’s flooding, or worse, with storm surge of as much as 16 feet moving up the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet and topping levees in Chalmette and eastern New Orleans, and pushing water into the 9th Ward and parts of Mid-City.”

    Or Monday’s New York Times , in which New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin is quoted as saying that “Hurricane Katrina could bring 15 inches of rain and a storm surge of 20 feet or higher that would ‘most likely topple’ the network of levees and canals that normally protect the bowl-shaped city from flooding.

    And as Andrew C. Revkin and Christopher Drew write in today’s New York Times: “The 17th Street levee that gave way and led to the flooding of New Orleans was part of an intricate, aging system of barriers and pumps that was so chronically underfinanced that senior regional officials of the Army Corps of Engineers complained about it publicly for years.”

  106. 106
    Joe Albanese says:

    but what happens when experts tell Bush things he doesn’t want to hear? well.. they get fired right? Think Shenseki. Think Paul O’neil…. Think Richard Clarke. So why is any surprise that this guy got fired:

    The assistant secretary of the Army, Mississippi’s former U.S. Rep. Mike Parker, was forced out Wednesday after he criticized the Bush administration’s proposed spending cuts on Army Corps of Engineers’ water projects, members of Congress said.

    “Apparently he was asked to resign,” said U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a member of the House Appropriations Committee’s energy and water development subcommittee that oversees the corps’ budget.

    Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, also said Parker was dismissed.

    Parker’s nomination to head the corps drew heavy criticism last year from environmental groups pushing to downsize the agency, calling its flood control projects too costly and destructive.

    Parker earned the ire of administration officials when he questioned Bush’s planned budget cuts for the corps, including two controversial Mississippi projects.

    “I think he was fired for being too honest and not loyal enough to the president,” said lobbyist Colin Bell, who represents communities with corps-funded projects.

    Bell said Parker resigned about noon after being given about 30 minutes to choose between resigning or being fired.

    Just business as usual for the Bush Team

  107. 107
    Joe Albanese says:

    and back to the Convention Center:

    CNN’s Spellman on conditions in the Convention Center:
    We’ve just gotten word that there are many, many dead bodies, and while they were there they even saw a baby die.

  108. 108
    Trent says:

    Honestly, I’d say knee-jerk defenses of the administration are borne from a fear that reasonable criticisms will be exploited by the less-scrupled of the President’s critics.

    Oooo, we’d hate to offend your smear-centric, kill-the-messenger scrupled morals.

  109. 109
    ppGaz says:

    Well, I have to go out and about for several hours, but CNN, as I write, is telling a story of the complete collapse of the situation in New Orleans. It’s a tale of massive failure of government on a large scale.

    There will be a political price to pay for this, one hopes, down the road when it can all be assessed.

    I don’t have any more money to give the Red Cross. What I am wondering right now is …. where is the relief? Where is the military?

  110. 110
    Joe Albanese says:

    Disgraceful performance by our elected leaders, city, state and federal:

    “We are out here like pure animals. We don’t have help,” the Rev. Isaac Clark, 68, said outside the New Orleans Convention Center, complaining that he and hundreds of others were evacuated, taken to the convention hall by bus, dropped off and given nothing.

    People outside the center, some holding crying babies or elderly barely able to stand up, shouted for help as TV news crews passed by.

    Other parts of the city saw similar desperation. “We need help,” Polly Boudreaux, clerk of the St. Bernard Parish Council, told WAFB-TV in a phone interview in which she broke down crying.

    “We’re just been absolutely devastated,” she said, and many residents still need to be rescued.

    Little outside aid has reached the parish, she added. “We are not seeing it.”

    .

  111. 111
    Tim F says:

    Not because I believe they will do any better.

    The Earth revolves around the sun too. You don’t have to ‘believe’ it because it’s fairly well-proven.

  112. 112
    ape says:

    Ohboy asked for an example of when Rush Limbaugh has been ‘against the environment’.

    Rush is a radio presenter. Not much of what he says is available to search.

    However, I have heard him many times celebrate extinction, or at least demand that no effort be made to prevent it. I have heard him make this argument in relation to (i think) condors, toads and native Hawaiian birds. and i don’t listen to him often. this is one of his most frequent themes.

    his theory on such matters is summarised in one of his books:

    “If the owl can’t adapt to the superiority of humans, then screw it.”

    so the argument runs through the scale: ‘(1) it isn’t true that animals are facing extinction. (2) animals are facing extinction but legislation makes things worse. (3) animals are facing extinction but there’s nothing we can do. (4)animals are facing extinction but humans come first (Rush often compares a SPECIES with property rights: e.g. ‘why should the law care for this stupid toad? which matters first, the toad or property rights’? as though the tiny accommodation to protect the species was a destruction of property rights, and the toad were an individual toad only) to (5) animals are becoming extinct but screw ’em.

    Rush uses all these arguments (despite their mutual incompatibility). i think it’s fair to call this anti-environmentalism. it’s a good lesson on the way the right think about science. do you think scientific observation and theory is the driving force behind this philosophy?

    the right runs through exactly the same scale on anthropogenic climate change. the key point to note is that that they sing in harmony with each other wherever they are on the scale, assuming that the arguments are mutually reinforcing; ie, they dont give a shit about the facts.

  113. 113
    Trent says:

    Look, it would have been expensive to shore up the levees, restore wetlands, etc. but Blanco and the people at FEMA should have been on it.

    It wouldn’t have been expensive. All of the numbers that i’ve seen are in the 10-20 million dollar range. That’s bubblegum money for our government.

    One might call it a slam dunk…

    Guys, this is more than partisan bickering. This is the Left’s worst fear. Democrats have always been terrified of the damage that Bush was doing to this country. And now the consequences of his incompetence, arrogance and cronyism have hit us full force.

    This is more than making political hay of a situation. This is outrage. America-loving, patriotic, flag-waving, Red/Blue be-damned, we’re-all-Americans outrage at a man who has taken our country from it’s highest point to one of its lowest in a short five years.

    And outrage at the Right for demonizing us for being reality-based, for thinking in nuance, for actually caring about the effects of our nation’s actions. Demonized for just being Democrats.

    So don’t cry victim and whine when the backlash comes. It’s long overdue and fully deserved.

  114. 114
    Joe Albanese says:

    This was written in December of 2001:

    KEEPING ITS HEAD ABOVE WATER
    New Orleans faces doomsday scenario

    By ERIC BERGER
    Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle Science Writer

    New Orleans is sinking.

    And its main buffer from a hurricane, the protective Mississippi River delta, is quickly eroding away, leaving the historic city perilously close to disaster.
    So vulnerable, in fact, that earlier this year the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most castastrophic disasters facing this country.

    The other two? A massive earthquake in San Francisco, and, almost prophetically, a terrorist attack on New York City.
    The New Orleans hurricane scenario may be the deadliest of all.

    In the face of an approaching storm, scientists say, the city’s less-than-adequate evacuation routes would strand 250,000 people or more, and probably kill one of 10 left behind as the city drowned under 20 feet of water. Thousands of refugees could land in Houston.

    Economically, the toll would be shattering.
    Southern Louisiana produces one-third of the country’s seafood, one-fifth of its oil and one-quarter of its natural gas. The city’s tourism, lifeblood of the French Quarter, would cease to exist. The Big Easy might never recover.
    And, given New Orleans’ precarious perch, some academics wonder if it should be rebuilt at all.

    Read the whole article it will send chills up your spine. But according to our president:

    “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.”

    What a lying sack of dog manure.

  115. 115
    Joe Albanese says:

    and back to the Convention Center:

    Kyra: Do you get a sense at all, Chris, that I mean… Is anything getting through with regard to food or water. Is anything… where are the supplies? We’ve been talking so much about food and water being dispatched. Are there absolutely no trucks getting in to New Orleans at all?

    Chris Lawrence: They say that there have been National Guard units that have come by. Tossed some MREs out. Very little. Here and there. People have been eating potato chips that they can scrounge up, looting some of the stores that are nearby for food and water, for juice, for drinks. Not the kind of food that you need to feed these thousands of people. What these people are saying basically is give us some water, give us some food, don’t leave us here to die or get us out of here. They’re saying we’re stuck here. We cant leave. They don’t send the buses. They won’t take us out of here and yet they won’t come in with truckloads of water and food to feed us. You’ve got sick people there, sick You’ve got old people there, these young babies there. What are they going to do? Are they going to leave us here to die?

    Oh, btw, the hurricane hit land early Monday morning. It is now Thursday afternoon. Four days and we can’t get food and water to our citizens in the middle of one of our great cities. My heart is broken and my anger is seething.

  116. 116
    Joe Albanese says:

    but they should stop their complaining, dont’ they know what Scotty McCellan is telling the press?

    That’s why we have a massive effort underway to continue getting food and water and ice to those who are in need. There are ways for them to get that help.

  117. 117
    ape says:

    Trent – superb summary.

  118. 118
    Trent says:

    God help this Administration if this is true. From AmericaBlog, Drudge and PageSix:

    According to Drudge, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has recently enjoyed a little Broadway entertainment. And Page Six reports that she’s also working on her backhand with Monica Seles. So the Gulf Coast has gone all Mad Max, women are being raped in the Superdome, and Rice is enjoying a brief vacation in New York. We wish we were surprised.

    What does surprise us: Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!” Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman.

  119. 119
    DougJ says:

    It wouldn’t have been expensive. All of the numbers that i’ve seen are in the 10-20 million dollar range. That’s bubblegum money for our government.

    I heard more like $100 million or more for the wetlands. Still, a slam bunk IMHO.

  120. 120
    Joe Albanese says:

    who was it that, when told the people had no bread to eat, said, “let them eat cake then”? Condi Rice?

  121. 121
    Joe Albanese says:

    and back at the Convention Center:

    It’s hard to describe. It’s something I never could conceive of ever seein gin a major city like New Orleans. It is hard to believe. This is New Orleans Louisiana we ware talking about. We spent the last few hours at the convention center where There are thousands of people just laying in the street. They have nowhere to go. These are mothers. We saw mothers. We talked to mothers holding babies. Some of these babies are 3, 4, 5, months old living in these horrible conditions. Putrid food on the ground. Sewage, their feet sitting in sewage. We saw feces on the ground. These people are being forced to live like animals. When you look at some of these mothers your heart just breaks. We’re not talking about a few families or a few hundred families. Thousands of people are gathered around the convention.

    I want to warn you. Some of these images that you will see they’re very very graphic. But people need see this. The people that are down there have been down there for days. People need to see what it is really like here. We saw dead bodies. People are dying at the convention center and there’s no one there to come get them. We saw an older woman, someone’s mother someone’s grandmother, in a wheelchair. Her dead body pushed up against the side of the convention center with a blanket over it. Right on the ground next to her another dead body wrapped in a white sheet.

    People are literally dying. Right in front of us as we were watching this a man went into a seizure on the ground. It looked like he was dying. People tried to prop his head up. No one has medical training. No ambulance can come. It is just heartbreaking that people are just sitting there without food or water waiting for the buses to come tak ehtem away. People keep asking us – when are the buses coming. And I just have to say, I don’t know.

    .

  122. 122
    Kathleen says:

    You are out-of-touch sir. Everything is pointing to a massive disaster BECAUSE of the poor planning. AND that things are getting worse by the minute for the people stuck in New Orleans. No food, no water, no transportation out of there. And FEMA et al should be there now, and should have been better prepared. I am not saying you are a Bush-apologist at all. But your expectations for disaster relief are shockingly low. What have they been doing for two years? as Josh Marshall pointed out – this isn’t that much different from a dirty bomb scenario. WHAT HAVE THEY BEEN DOING?

  123. 123
    Kathleen says:

    oops – meant four years.

  124. 124
    Narvy says:

    Was it really so ridiculous to say that no one expected it to break

    An engineer or local official interviewed on NPR this morning said the levees were designed to withstand a category 3 storm. Katrina was a 5. So yes, it appears reasonable to have expected the levee to break.

  125. 125
    Mike says:

    “Trent Says:
    God help this Administration if this is true. From AmericaBlog, Drudge and PageSix:

    According to Drudge, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has recently enjoyed a little Broadway entertainment. And Page Six reports that she’s also working on her backhand with Monica Seles. So the Gulf Coast has gone all Mad Max, women are being raped in the Superdome, and Rice is enjoying a brief vacation in New York. We wish we were surprised.
    What does surprise us: Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are d”

    Bad form maybe, but what exactly is the SECRETARY of STATE supposed to do in this situation? Negotiate with the looters?

  126. 126
    Mike says:

    “Trent Says:

    So don’t cry victim and whine when the backlash comes. It’s long overdue and fully deserved.”

    Careful, the “glee” in your voice is showing…

  127. 127
    Narvy says:

    Re the President saying

    “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.”

    and the comment

    What a lying sack of dog manure.

    I don’t think he was lying, I think he really believes it.
    I know, I know, it’s hard to believe that anyone in this administration, let alone the President, would ignore evidence to the contrary, but there you are.

  128. 128
    Trent says:

    Bad form maybe, but what exactly is the SECRETARY of STATE supposed to do in this situation? Negotiate with the looters?

    How about get clearance for the Canadian Search and Rescue team to enter the US?

    Or how about doing what i have learned at all my jobs: You help out people in other departments when it’s crunch time!

  129. 129
    Mike says:

    “ape Says:

    how can they know? they certainly seem not to have read all the relevant papers.”

    How do you know otherwise? You certainly seem not to have read all the relevant papers.

  130. 130
    Narvy says:

    Bad form maybe, but what exactly is the SECRETARY of STATE supposed to do in this situation?

    Oh, I don’t know, maybe refrain a bit from conspicuous consumption as a sign of respect for the suffering of others?

  131. 131
    Mike says:

    “Narvy Says:
    Bad form maybe, but what exactly is the SECRETARY of STATE supposed to do in this situation?
    Oh, I don’t know, maybe refrain a bit from conspicuous consumption as a sign of respect for the suffering of others?”

    What part of “bad form maybe” did you not understand?

    Anyway, none of this matters, I’ve had it with listening to crap from the Leftists on this site. You guys enjoy yourselves, you’ll be glad to know I’m done here, there’s no point in it.

  132. 132
    Narvy says:

    What part of “bad form maybe” did you not understand?

    I guess it was the part that said

    what exactly is the SECRETARY of STATE supposed to do in this situation?

    which I thought deserved an answer.

    I’ve had it with listening to crap from the Leftists on this site. You guys enjoy yourselves, you’ll be glad to know I’m done here, there’s no point in it.

    I’m sorry you feel that way. I rather enjoy these constructive, well-reasoned dialogs. So long, and have a nice life.

  133. 133
    jobiuspublius says:

    Mike Says:

    “Trent Says:

    So don’t cry victim and whine when the backlash comes. It’s long overdue and fully deserved.”

    Careful, the “glee” in your voice is showing…

    It’s relief in our voices. We wish for glee.

  134. 134
    DougJ says:

    Anyway, none of this matters,

    I agree — who cares what Condi did or didn’t do yesterday? Does she work for FEMA? I thought not.

    I’m all for critiquing the government’s response on this at all levels (local, state, federal) but when you start picking on the shopping habits of someone whose job is mostly foreign policy, you’ve gone too far. If the head of FEMA or Homeland Security were buying shoes and going to shows, you’d have a point. But they’re not, and you don’t.

  135. 135
    jobiuspublius says:

    Condi is just living it up before she devotes the rest of her life to appologizing for Dear Leader and trying to mop up after him.

  136. 136
    DougJ says:

    The talk about Condi is just cheap shots, people. There are plenty of real failures here, including those of the administration of your favorite whipping boy, George W Bush. Why don’t you focus on those instead of taking childish cheap shots at Condi? Or are you really as lacking in substance as I’ve always though? I’m trying to charitable these days, but you’re not giving me much help.

  137. 137
    Oliver says:

    When it snowed in Massachusetts it got plowed up before it even got settled in the ground. Damn northeastern libruls.

  138. 138
    Leslie says:

    I’m with you on this one, John. Shit happens, plain and simple. Be glad you’re out of touch with these clowns.

  139. 139
    DougJ says:

    Shit happens, plain and simple.

    Let’s get rid of seatbelts, air bags, vaccines, and hospitals, too, then, while we’re at it. After all, s**t happens, why take the basic safety measures necessary to prevent death and destruction when it does?

  140. 140
    jobiuspublius says:

    DougJ Says:

    Or are you really as lacking in substance as I’ve always though? I’m trying to charitable these days, but you’re not giving me much help.

    You have no idea how much we’ve help you. You should be grateful.

  141. 141
    Narvy says:

    The talk about Condi is just cheap shots, people.

    Well, as something worthy of criticism it certainly doesn’t compare with “I do not remember any reports to us, a kind of strategic warning, that planes might be used as weapons.” But I think it shows a lack of [pick one or more] sensitivity, humanity, sympathy, empathy, understanding, thoughtfulness, …

  142. 142
    DougJ says:

    Narvy, maybe it looks insensitive, but don’t we have bigger things to worry about right now? And again, if she were the head of FEMA or Homeland Security, I wouldn’t be saying this. But she’s not.

  143. 143
    Narvy says:

    DougJ Says: don’t we have bigger things to worry about right now?

    We certainly do. The New Orleans catastrophe, its consequences, President Bush’s war in Iraq, Secretary Rice’s conduct of foreign policy, government failure to fund obviously needed safety programs, disregard of threats to the environment, the monstrous ineptitude of the Department of Homeland Security…
    You win this one, no more talk about Secretary Rice’s shopping trips.

  144. 144
    Jess says:

    maybe it looks insensitive, but don’t we have bigger things to worry about right now?

    DougJ,
    You’re right, we shouldn’t get sidetracked–but this is so symbolic of this administration’s apparent indifference to the misery of our fellow Americans that it’s hard not to get enraged. I have friends in NO, and I’m praying that they got out in time (haven’t heard anything yet), and my frustration and concern is compounded by the fact that I’m too broke to donate anything significant to Red Cross, so hearing about Condi’s shopping spree is infuriating right now. But as you point out, we need to stay focused on practical issues. And if we’re going to be critical, let’s at least criticize the right people for real failures.

    I get the sense from the tone of your comments that you have connections in NO as well–if so, I hope they’re okay. This just makes me sick; I hope this will shock some sense into people regarding intelligent long-term planning and allocation of resources, but it probably won’t.

  145. 145
    carot says:

    “Careful, the “glee” in your voice is showing…”

    No one seems to complain about Republican gee in their voices every time something bad happens in “socialist” Europe.

    The problem here is more than accountability, it is deterrence. Police give people larger sentences to prison not just to punish them, but so other people thinking of committing the same crime might think twice about it. Conservatives should know this, it’s their main policy towards crime.

    In the same way government runs by deterrence, you punish politicians and bureaucrats so other will think twice about screwing up their jobs. The Bush administration though is deterrence free, nothing bad ever happens to a Bush appointee not matter what they do.

    So other conservative bureaucrats and politicians have a natural expectation that they will not suffer if they screw up, as long as they appear loyal.

    The only way things will change from this disaster is if heads roll with those in charge. It doesn’t matter so much whether it is completely fair or not, only that the message gets through to the others screwing things up right now, preventing the next disaster.

    People might think all this criticism against the ruling conservatives is unfair, filled with glee, said in the heat of the moment, whatever. The point is this is the only incentive these people ever get to do their job better, if people light a fire under their asses whether they are conservative or liberal.

    When in the last 5 years has any Bush official been made to pay for their screwups? So why on Earth would they feel more motivated to avoid screwups next time?

  146. 146
    Fred says:

    Why oh why ape (first post) is it the feds responciblilty to give money to New Orleans to help them prepare for a hurricane? How come “hurricane and flood-control funding for New Orleans” is not New Orleans’ problem to solve? If they thought that it was underfunded and needed more money, why didn’t they fund it?

    I am sorry to break it to you but not everything that goes wrong is GWB’s fault.

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