Features
9.24.18: a rebel alliance of quality content
our facebook page our twitter page intrepid media feature page rss feed
FEATURES  :  GALLERYhover for drop down menu  :  STUDIOhover for drop down menu  :  ABOUThover for drop down menu sign in

is impeachment an option?
choosing the least of the evils
by lucy lediaev
9.2.05
general

Can we impeach George W. Bush for incompetence? It seems to me that if Bill Clinton could be impeached for sexual misconduct, Bush’s failure of leadership, failure to fund critical projects essential to health and safety in the Mississippi Delta, and failure to respond to a major disaster in a timely manner ought to be grounds for impeachment.

Does dereliction of duty provide grounds for impeachment? Clearly, Bush was still on vacation even after his sightseeing trip along the Gulf Coast as he returned from Crawford to the White House. His flyover initially encouraged victims to believe that the president had seen the disaster with his own eyes and that help was imminent. Imagine their disappointment when little or no aid manifested.

While all of us could see a major human disaster unfolding before our eyes by simply turning on our television sets, Bush and his staff seemed to be wearing blinders as they kept reassuring the nation that everything was under control and that relief was flowing into the area.

Today, after public criticism from Mayor Nagin of New Orleans (my hero!) and thousands of e-mails and calls to the White House (I wrote one of the e-mails), Mr. Bush finally decided that he should take a close-up look at the disaster. I can only imagine the reception he may get in New Orleans, but that won't happen because his handlers will keep him away from “real” refugees.

I think it’s time for a regime change. Impeachment, though, worries me because we would end up with Bush’s evil alter ego, Dick Cheney. Maybe it’s better to wait for the next election (assuming our nation survives that long) and make a clean sweep of the dead and rotten wood in Washington, D.C.


ABOUT LUCY LEDIAEV

A freelance writer and full-time grandma, Lucy Lediaev retired recently from a position as web master, tech writer, and copy writer in a biotech firm. She is enjoying retirment more than she ever dreamed and is now writing about topics that are, for the most part, interesting and fun. She also has time to pursue some of her long-time interests, such as crafts, reading, sewing, baking, cooking, and the like.

more about lucy lediaev

IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...

looking backward
forward looking solution to unemployment
by lucy lediaev
topic: general
published: 9.16.11


belt tightening
surving the recession (depression?)
by lucy lediaev
topic: general
published: 11.12.08





COMMENTS

russ carr
9.2.05 @ 4:43p

Hm. You know, Congress was still on vacation for another day after Bush left Crawford and made an aerial tour of the area. Just sayin'.

I know everyone wants a scapegoat, and the President, as leader of the nation, is First Scapegoat. Believe me, I'm not letting him, or his administration, off the hook. But honestly... there are bigger issues at stake than one man's action. There's a whole bureaucracy to blame, to say nothing of a percentage of the remnant of New Orleans making life difficult for those attempting to bring in aid.

This is not the kind of thing you can just toss a handful of money or troops or whatever at. This is an unprecedented catastrophe. The pre-hurricane mobilization didn't fathom the extent of damage possible, and so was caught unprepared. This is not Star Trek; you can't just beam stuff in to all the right areas, nice as that would be. It takes time to move people and trucks and food and everything else, particularly into an area where airports and streets and rail lines are covered in water, debris and refugees.

Venting is cathartic, and I understand the need. But pointing fingers doesn't relieve anyone's suffering, and only contributes to the further degradation of the national morale. Channel your frustration into something positive — organize a food drive for a local food bank, or contributions to one of the many charities collecting for relief funds. Don't dwell on your anger. Save the politics for the next election, when it matters.

[edited]

robert melos
9.2.05 @ 5:01p

I would love to blame Bush for the hurricane itself, as if his existence caused the storm, but this is because I disagree with everything he says or does.

Personally I like it when he's on vacation because he does less damage to America and the world when he's off playing golf.

That said, I saw a photo of Bush playing the guitar at some function the day after the hurricane. Didn't Nero fiddle while Rome burned? I guess Bush is a modern Nero. Both fall into the party boy category.

Second guessing at this point isn't worth it. Bush dropped the ball on this disaster, but nows he's attempting to pick it up. Sure his team is blaming everyone from the Gov. of Louisiana to the people of New Orleans themselves for not leaving (so what if they couldn't afford the price of gas to fill their tanks to leave, or couldn't afford a car to begin with, the poor could've walked out, the invalids could've crawled out), but he's making the attempt to look like less of a bumbling fool.

Even the dimmest bulb occasionally flickers.

Besides, he's got Jeb to tell him what should be done after a hurricane. "Call Dad and get him to beg the public for money. And get Laura talking about education and improving the school systems, once they are re-built. And divert the attention back to the war and the importance of taking care of the Iraqi oil, er, people ahead of taking care of our own people."

lucy lediaev
9.2.05 @ 6:46p

Believe me, I've been actively involved in taking steps to rally contributions, among other activities. I'm not just sitting back and complaining. Nonetheless, I think any American citizen who has watched events unfold over the last few days is rightfully angry. Now the challenge is to turn that anger into action, which is my intention.

As to pointing fingers, I think we need to point at the top. I have been dismayed by the statements of the both the head of Homeland Security and the Director of FEMA, who says he didn't know until Thursday that there were people in need at the Convention Center.

I think it is also interesting that today, when Mr. Bush was slated to visit New Orleans, the National Guard suddenly rolled in well supplied and ready to work in large numbers.

dan gonzalez
9.2.05 @ 7:50p

I'm as close to speechless as I can get. Russ made some good points above, but everyone seems to have missed the point that there was a mandatory evacuation ordered for the entire region, AND PEOPLE CHOSE TO STAY. New Orleans itself is built 15' below sea level and protected by two levees which were directly in the projected eye-path. It's called freedom of choice, and those who are callously exploiting this as anti-Bush propraganda seem to think that means 'Freedom from Responsibility.' If I were in a position to help, I voluntarily would, but that is my freedom of choice. As for tax money, if you could explain to me why I'm legally bound to support the idiotic dice-rolling that these free individuals chose to partake in when they refused to leave, then I'll support you in your anti-Bush wrath.

anya werner
9.2.05 @ 7:52p

There is a difference between dwelling on the anger and being angry.

I am angry that the gov't is letting people starve and dehydrate because they weren't properly prepared to respond to an emergency - if they can't handle this, what will they do in response to the next terrorist attack?

Today, I found myself -- for the first time EVER, I might add -- agreeing with something Newt Gingrich said:
"I think it puts into question all of the
Homeland Security and Northern Command planning for the last four years, because if we can't respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?" said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.


This CNN article is also interesting on the different perspectives offered by the admin vs. the people actually in the trenches:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/02/katrina.response/index.html


anya werner
9.2.05 @ 8:05p

Dan,
First, the whole city was NOT told to evacuate. Many were told the superdome would be fine and to go there - it was an official shelter. Other tourists arriving in town were told they would be fine.

But, even supposing people should have all evacuated...

And how do you think that all those people were supposed to get out of town?

There were countless people there living in poverty who didn't have cars, or fuel or bus tickets or places to go.

I am disgusted by the number of people who say "well, why don't they just use their credit cards to buy gas or pay for a motel?" Some of them don't have credit cards. Some have maxed out cards. Do you have ANY idea what it is like to not have enough money? To not have credit? Obviously not.

And then... Some weren't strong enough to leave - do you think the patients stranded in the hospitals want to be there?

Where is your compassion? Your very viewpoint is shared by our government - the government that is allowing people who SURVIVED the hurricaine to die from the horrible conditions that now prevail in New Orleans. I am sad to see a real person with such a lack of humanity.

I'm sure the next time an earthquake takes out some of us Californians you'll decide we deserved it for living near a fault. And, those pesky Iowans live right in the path of all those tornadoes - they should clearly know better.

There but for the grace of god go all of us. That I know for sure.

russ carr
9.2.05 @ 8:24p

The Superdome was, according to city officials, a "shelter of last resort." It was meant for those who, for whatever reason, could not evacuate.

The city of New Orleans had hundreds of school buses sitting in their parking lots. Yahoo/AP is running a picture right now that shows all those school buses, now sitting in several feet of water. Those buses could have been dispatched throughout the city to carry as many people as they could hold to higher ground...AT NO CHARGE to the evacuees. But the city did not apparently consider that an option. In fact, I haven't heard of ANY city-funded or city-directed evacuation of its citizenry, rich or poor. Evacuation seemed to come down to, "If you've got transportation, use it; you're on your own." The mayor is eager to curse about state and federal ineptitude after the hurricane; I wonder how responsible he'll be held for his office's ineptitude PRIOR to the hurricane, when they could have brought thousands out but chose not to.

lucy lediaev
9.2.05 @ 8:48p

I was initially lauding Mayor Nagin's remarks in regard to the relief/recovery efforts. But, yes, it's clear that his office failed to do anything proactive to get the poor and weak out of harm's way. He shares in the blame. In fact, we all share in the blame, because we've put people in office who don't have sufficient compassion or competence. Clearly, many are not in touch with the huge gap between the haves and the have-nots in this prosperous country.

Dan, clearly you've never had to make hard choices such as:

  • Do I buy my child new shoes or pay the winter heating bill?
  • Do we eat or pay the rent?

These are common choices among even the working poor. I hope for your sake and the sake of your children you never have to make those choices, but I hope you raise your awareness to see what is happening around you.

Finally, not only do I want to see my taxes go to help these people--much better to them than to support a war--I'm happy to stretch my personal budget to help.

[edited]

tracey kelley
9.2.05 @ 9:10p

I lived in New Orleans. I am familiar with the 9th Ward, and the poverty-stricken streets mere blocks off glorious St. Charles Ave. I often miss the mystery and beauty of the city and its people. But the city was riddled with problems long before this hurricane struck, and only now are the layers peeling off.

Make no mistake - the city, county and state governments there are some of the most corrupt in the nation. That is not Bush's fault. Huey Long, Edwin Edwards, David Duke - these people were running that state long before any Bush took office. The roads, the school, the assistance for the poor - all have been in complete chaos for decades.

Louisiana is refusing National Guard support unless it's free of charge. If its not given, the Mayor is crying racism, when he himself turned his back on his city's people. He could have made sure that city and school buses transported those without transportation to military bases throughout the state -

- but he didn't, and neither did the governor. So whose fault is it? I know many people in those areas couldn't have left without help. And yes, the Superdome, with proper bracing, could have been an adequate shelter. But little to any forethought was given, even though the City knew for 3 days the path Katrina might take. A hurricane is quite different from a tornado or earthquake only in that you have a little time to prepare for the attack.

The mayor is accusing the President and America of favoritism when he, a black man, managed to evacuate just fine. If the city is 32% poor and mostly black, whose fault is that? If martial law had to be declared, whose fault is that? No one is so devastated by tragedy that they steal TVs, Milky Ways and shoot at rescue helicopters.

Jesse Jackson managed to roll into town and survey the situation, but he did not bring forces with him, nor did he stay long enough to create positive change. He did a profile, like he always does, then played the race card. And we put up with it because he stood next to MLK on the same balcony the day those shots were fired. For once, I would like to see Jesse Jackson not announce his visit, slip into town with food and diapers, then quietly leave.



stacy smith
9.2.05 @ 9:21p

I'm probably going to end up having my claws & knives stuck in my head for this, but here it goes.


What ever happened to states being held accountable for their own issues?

These places made millions of dollars through their casinos. Instead up upgrading their leevies and such, they just continued to push for more tourist attactractions which helped create jobs. Fine. All of which is fine & dandy as long as you have an enviroment that is safe for residents and tourists to be.

All that money geared towards tourist attractions/ gambling obviously isn't working in their favor now. Everything is gone because they were hit with the north east side of Katrina, and these states were not keeping up with what they needed to do to make sure if something really ugly like Katrina came along, it wouldn't completely destroy everything in it's path.

This is not to say that New Orleans would have survived without any damage had they reinvested back into the state, but I think the outcome would have been alot better than what it is.

Depending on the federal goverment to bail a state out after the damage is really stupid in my humble opinion.

Wait for something nasty to happen, then fix all the problems? Shouldn't it be the other way around so we don't have to hear and read about what is starting to feel like a endless death count?

My heart goes out to everybody that has had to deal with Katrina.

But I also think it's really sad that things like this have to happen before people take the blinders off to that little harsh thing called reality.

[edited]

russ carr
9.2.05 @ 10:42p

No claws and knives from me, Stacy. I'd say that's an entirely valid assessment of the problem. Sad to say, but the biggest economic resource in MS — the floating casinos — might as well have had big red targets painted on 'em. Sadder still to think that the state was dependent on something like those, rather than working harder to foster other economic anchors throughout the state, and in so doing bring up its citizenry.

robert melos
9.3.05 @ 1:25a

Even with mandatory evacuation, if you don't have money to buy gas to leave the area, or a car, and maybe can't walk for whatever reason, and the city doesn't offer a way out such as buses or a ride, or someone to push your wheelchair out through the rising water, how do you leave?

Like I said earlier, I'd blame Bush for my getting a hangnail, I hate him so much. But the blame goes beyond Bush and his need for war that took money from hurricane relief and invested it in death and destruction of the manmade variety. The governor and the mayor and even the people who stayed in the path of the storm do deserve some of the blame for their situation.

However placing blame is useless. Asking why the national guard wasn't there right from the beginning doesn't make a difference. They are there now.

The violence one human being commits against another is not surprising. Not every human being is geared toward helping their fellow man. The gas station owners who raised the price of gas in my area, and all across the country, from $2.19 to $3.49 in a matter of a few hours are looting the American public just as survivors of Katrina looted Wal-Mart.

In our world we have victims, heroes, and opportunists.

lisa r
9.3.05 @ 1:48a

Lucy,

Asking for Dubya's head on a platter (silver, pewter, cardboard bbq tray or otherwise)is pointless. This problem began many years ago, and New Orleans is reaping the reward of the greed of a nation in general.

This disaster is the result of endless dredging of shipping channels and destruction of wetlands along the Mississippi from the Gulf to the mouth of the river--the need of a nation to move more and more goods with ever-increasing speed.

It is a result of the desire of developers to offer prime riverfront properties to fat cats who had more money than environmental sense.

It is the result of colossal engineering blunders by the Army Corps of Engineers.

It is the result of our insistence on protecting (and don't get me wrong, I'm all for protecting nature whenever possible) the pristine wilderness of Alaska at the expense of the Gulf, where the drilling of shallow oil wells affected the slope and depth of the Gulf basin floor---which means that every person in this country that insists on driving mammoth-sized Hummers and Expeditions and Escalades and Mercedes SUVs bears their fair share of culpability.

It is the desire of a world to have plastic disposables of every conceivable shape, size and texture instead of renewable and/or hard recyclable (glass, metal)products, because plastics start out as petroleum.

It is the callous destruction of barrier islands and coastal wetlands in pursuit of vacation palaces. Every channel dredged and marshland cleared increases the velocity and amount of water that can enter the region during a hurricane. As Newton so aptly pointed out in his second law of motion, force = mass times acceleration, and acceleration is a change in velocity. Slowing velocity thus decreases the force with which a wall of water can move. Anyone who's ever been sliding at Stone Mountain in the North Carolina mountains has seen that water flows more slowly over moss than bare rock. The water plants in a wetland serve the same purpose on a grander scale.

And lastly, it's partially a factor of the normal ebb and flow of coast/ocean interaction--the sea constantly takes sand away and brings it back.

People are bitching that Dubya and Congress are the bad guys because they didn't approve funding for improving the levees and protective walls--but that was only a few months ago. Those sort of improvements take years. Not only that, but earthen levees can only be built so tall before they, like the rest of New Orleans, begin slowly sinking and settling. Earth absorbs water, develops liquid tendencies as the grains of soil become surrounded by thin films of water, and slowly spreads--especially with the type of soil found in the coastal regions.

[edited]

lisa r
9.3.05 @ 1:55a

Tracey,

I think I saw Al Sharpton doing his best blowhard, do nothing useful routine as well. I'm sure Louis Farrakhan and Quannell X (shouldn't take him long, he just lives over in Houston) can't be too far behind.

New Orleans reminds me of Aunt Pittypat in GWTW after the end of the war. She's a genteel Southern belle with good breeding and gracious airs that are but a thin veneer over the underlying poverty. She dresses in her best finery, but if you look closely her raiments are oft mended and worn.

She's like so many other tourist hotspots--the money is in the hands of a select few while the remainder of the city's denizens skate along a thin line between solvency and pennilessness.

To quote a popular country band, "God Bless Texas". They've opened their arms, facilities and hearts to an unfathomable number of evacuees. The governor demanded, and received, federal emergency disaster aid to help handle the influx, and he's suspended hospitality taxes for at least 2 months--and at 10+% those taxes can add up to a significant chunk of change in a very short amount of time. He's opened the state's schools to evacuee children, so that they can have some shred of normalcy in a world that suddenly is filled with unquestionable horror.

I can't help wonder, though--will all those countries who've held their hands out return the favor now that we're in need?

[edited]

[edited]

anya werner
9.3.05 @ 2:40a

Many countries have been offering aid - even Venezuela. Let's hope our government is not too arrogant to take some of these countries up on their offers for assistance.

I don't think this is really an exercise in finger pointing - rather, it is a time to look and ask how we can keep this from going so badly next time. There will be other disasters, and I for one, hope I am not the victim of one -- especially under this administration's watch.

robert melos
9.3.05 @ 4:55a

To address the question posed in this column, I believe impeachment would require a congressional vote. The republicans are the majority in control. Ain't gonna happen.

lisa r
9.3.05 @ 10:13a

Impeachment wouldn't solve a darn thing. It wouldn't put roofs over people's heads. It wouldn't put food in people's mouths. It wouldn't save people who are dying for lack of medical care because snipers with nothing better to do than be mental midgets keep them from being loaded up and moved to safety.

And it wouldn't dry out the Gulf Coast and return everyone's lives to normal.

Disasters turn political pundits and grandstanders into even worse jackasses than they already are. Everyone who's anyone on the political scene in the region and in the black political community is far too busy flapping their gums in front of microphones in preparation for the 2006 political season to do anything truly helpful.

Yes, the majority of the people who were in the Superdome were black. But you know what? First and foremost they are people, and NO one should have to be suffering like this. Local government needs to stop pointing their finger at the feds and get their heads out of their anatomically impossible positions. There's work to be done and they aren't doing it.

stacy smith
9.3.05 @ 11:21a

I'll second what Lisa said, but since everybody is on this Bush bashing bandwagon...

Why do people think that somehow this situation would be better if somebody other than Bush was in office?

I'm not looking for answers like "Because he sucks" or "I don't like him". I think they all suck, but that's just me.

Helicopters still couldn't be flown in with 140 mile an hour winds.

Local goverment couldn't force people to leave that had the ability to do so, but were too stubborn to hear "Get the %$#@ out! NOW!!" and act on it.

Just as navy ships couldn't be brought in with a 25 foot storm surge.

For any politican to say that they can get over 1 million people out of an already cramped city without any kind of chaos is beyond absurd whether they have a plan or not. This fact is given more substance by the simple fact that they have 2 major highways sitting practically on top of the Gulf Of Mexico.

What good is an evacuation plan, when two major routes to get of there are wiped out by water?

Then as it as already been mentioned, you have people shooting at planes, other people, explosions, ect...

So who could do better and why?


[edited]

robert melos
9.3.05 @ 7:20p

Guiliani. While I don't particular like his politics, I think he could organize the aftermath better.

Bush seems to lack any real concern for anything other than his war. I believe he has festivities planned for Sept. 11th to try to link Iraq in the minds of Americans with the terrorists who destroyed the WTC and Pentagon.

I wonder what excuse will be used for not having the national guard ready to go in the day after the hurricane hit, when the national guard was sent into Florida one day after hurricane Andrew?

Personally I don't care who takes the blame for fumbling the ball. I do see racism, but also don't care. The situation is beyond that. 90,000 square miles of America has been turned into a third world-like country. I would hope something is done about that, but seeing how this was handled also makes me wonder exactly how well prepared we are to handle a major terrorist attack?

dan gonzalez
9.4.05 @ 1:17a

I hope you raise your awareness to see what is happening around you.

I see it, it's as plain as the noses on any of our faces. I chose not to have kids until I could be fully responsible for them. Everyone makes choices, that's all life is, it's just that some of us refuse or are otherwise permitted to avoid responsibility for the inevitable conseqences of every waking decision we make.

Some people didn't have the choice to evacuate. I sympthasize with them. I sympathize with absolutely no one who voluntarily stayed and begrudge them every tax dollar they take from someone who was truly defenseless. If I were there, I would have packed up my car and taken anyone I could convince to go with me.

Initially, I didn't think about anything politically and find it crass in light of what's going on. But now that I'm compelled to by the outrageous zealots in our media, here I come a-rantin':

I've decided I'm actually primarly angry at all of the rest of us, particulary the viciously racist democrats, for sponsoring the stagnant welfare system that has quite obviously captivated these individuals into abject helplessness.

In fact, I think this, along with the massive economic problems in France since we stopped them from looting the Iraqi Oil-for-Food program, and all the problems in Africa, are obvious signs of the death knell of Social Democracy. It's never really worked, has it? Throw money at the needy, but never give them the means to be self-sufficient nor the incentive to take resposibilty. Katrina seems to be proof positive that it's broken.

Why did we ever listen to all that happy but baseless horsehit that MLK said instead of the carefully derived truth that Malcolm X said? Why did we give the fuckin' creep a holiday? Look at the cost these people paid to be slaves to socialist scum like him and Jesse Jackson. And the NAACP too! They haven't measurably helped a single person do anything but assume 'default societal victim' status. Nice one, assholes! See what you get? A few thousand actual dead victims to use for your personal political game!

The Age of Aquarius is over. Done. FINIT!. It's Real Life - 3000+, Liberal Idealism - 0. It's not time to rebuild anything. It's time to build something entirely different.


Ah, yes, well, harsh? Perhaps, but fish in an increasingly rickety barrel. Socialists are so charmingly dogmatic, they make Christians, Muslims, and Jews seem logical. Half of us, or maybe more, will vote Democrat the next time around really believing Nirvana is right around the corner. But life, or nature, or the world, whatever you want to call it, doesn't really give a shit what we think, does it? Only what we do. And we did a lot of this to ourselves, and we are spoiled and cannot afford to be any longer.

[edited]

robert melos
9.4.05 @ 2:14a

Dan, it looks like we're on the edge of anarchy and that is the new age.

People are gullible if they ever expect help from government officials in any disaster. It sounds crass or horrible, but you have to be well enough physically, emotionally and financially to take care of yourself because it is rare that people will help one another. And those few who will help other human beings do so at their own risk.

We are at the beginning of a new century, and this is the world we are building. A natural disaster occurred, and the aftermath has proved to be overwhelming. Imagine had this been a terrorist attack of some sort, a suitcase nuclear weapon or bio terrorism unleashed in a jet stream.

We are obviously not prepared for the worst. It won't matter who is president.

Bush hasn't had a easy presidency in either term, given that in the first year of each term a disaster of global magnitude has occurred. I think people are more annoyed not with his actual handling of the disasters, but the perpetual smirk on his face with every speech. He comes across as a frat boy/party boy. Not everyone can identify with that image.

So Bush played guitar akin to the image of Nero fiddling, and Condi Rice went shopping, making her the Marie Antoinette with a 'let them buy Prada' image.
In the long run, historically Bush, Condi and Cheney will be little more than names in a history book a bored eighth grader draws in while wondering how his grandparents ever listened to such boring music as the classical Britney Spears or Madonna, and lived without interactive holodecks ala the Star Trek universe we might morph into in 100 years.

Okay the eighth grader won't be drawing because the book will be on a screen in LCD or some other futuristic reading material.

[edited]

dan gonzalez
9.4.05 @ 10:04a

More rant, because this is the most fun one can have during a week like this:

I can't believe my virtual ears. The liberals are masters of projection and denial, if they have people believing that Bush is the frat boy/party boy, and Clinton (who was convicted for the constitutional crime of perjury before a federal grand jury after sexually harassing, or at least getting head from, a subordinate female) is just some good old boy with a big heart instead of the vicious swine he was. And bashing Condi's wardrobe, only democrats could bash a black females' stereo-typical fashion extravagence and claim not to be bigotous pigs. Yet Boxer and Feinstein can wear whatever they want, and were, in fact, on vacation while Bush was hugging hurricane victims.

You know, there's thousands upon thousands evacuated now, and dollars are flowing from many sources down there, and Bush signed a 10.5 BILLION dollar relief bill, probably because he's a racist and hates all those people. (That must also be why he nominated Rice, and Powell before her, and Mineta, and Janice Brown, and that damn Mexican guy too.)

Or maybe it's not Bush. Maybe it's us? Unfortunately it seems that all what we're prepared to be, in the face of everything anymore, are HELPLESS WHINING WUSSIES. "I need HELP. WAH!"

We're spoiled and we only work a little harder than France, the laziest bunch of jack-offs in the world. We're not tough anymore and the onus for that is on the left which has softened everybody up with the cancerous mutation of the individual into the victim, the PC opium that has seduced us into hallucinating about Bush instead of facing the painful truths about themselves, the ultimate bigots, who have us divided by race, gender, and however many things now, and are bent on denying any progress that doesn't expand their party's governance over us. The joke is on us! MLK said "free at last." If he was not a bold-faced liar, why are we still not free of his and his party's flawed reasoning?


Whee. Who knew, the ACLU is onto something. Random verbal assaults on reverends and other religious-type tyrants actually is hella fun!


[edited]

lisa r
9.4.05 @ 12:30p

You know--a big part of the problem with Americans in general is that we all have that "it won't happen to me" attitude. How many people who stayed behind that had the ability to leave stayed because "I've ridden out others, I can ride out this one", or had the attitude that "the evacuation orders apply to everyone else--I don't have to go if I really don't want to."

How many of those failed to put aside adequate provisions for multiple days?

The blame cannot, and should not, apply strictly to the government. Yes, they've failed to act repeatedly over the years to make important changes in the way the Mississippi Delta engineering decisions were made. But here's something else that no one's acknowledging--everyone along the Mississippi from Lousiana all the way to the origins of that waterway is responsible for the problems associated with the engineering decisions. Yet no one north of the affected states is admitting that they share any culpability. This whole situation with the way the water flowed in during landfall and then back out and into Lake Ponchartrain is caused by a collection of decisions made to dredge the Mississippi repeatedly to increase the amount of draw that river traffic could have. Failure to understand (or more likely simply ignoring) the importance of natural wetlands and flood plains in a watershed of the magnitude of the Mississippi river watershed is unconscionable in a day and age where ecological science so strongly has demonstrated that importance.

For years, governments, developers and corporations have ignored the warnings of ecologists because of this attitude that they're all mouthpieces for environmental do-gooders, if the advice ran contrary to increased income and tax revenues. You reap what you sow.

Should help have arrived sooner? Absolutely. However, one could argue that our very governmental structure in which states must first ask for help before the feds can offer it is a significant part of the problem. People have been whining because the national fire gear supplies haven't been mobilized, and troops weren't sent in soon enough. The hands of federal agencies are in many ways tied by the fact that they cannot simply say--trouble's coming, we're moving in. The Constitution forbids it. There are too many diplomatic dances that have to occur before mobilization.

Then, too, the right troops and resources have to be mobilized. Qualifications of the troops are even more important in many respects than numbers, and their locations are also an issue. You could have a tank battalion stationed within 50 miles of a disaster....but their expertise and equipment would be of limited use when medical supplies and experts, and MPs are what's needed.

If all the talking heads had spent as much time doing what they could to expedite the assistance as they have spent criticizing and posturing, thi

lisa r
9.4.05 @ 12:31p

The blame cannot, and should not, apply strictly to the government. Yes, they've failed to act repeatedly over the years to make important changes in the way the Mississippi Delta engineering decisions were made. But here's something else that no one's acknowledging--everyone along the Mississippi from Lousiana all the way to the origins of that waterway is responsible for the problems associated with the engineering decisions. Yet no one north of the affected states is admitting that they share any culpability. This whole situation with the way the water flowed in during landfall and then back out and into Lake Ponchartrain is caused by a collection of decisions made to dredge the Mississippi repeatedly to increase the amount of draw that river traffic could have. Failure to understand (or more likely simply ignoring) the importance of natural wetlands and flood plains in a watershed of the magnitude of the Mississippi river watershed is unconscionable in a day and age where ecological science so strongly has demonstrated that importance.

For years, governments, developers and corporations have ignored the warnings of ecologists because of this attitude that they're all mouthpieces for environmental do-gooders, if the advice ran contrary to increased income and tax revenues. You reap what you sow.

Should help have arrived sooner? Absolutely. However, one could argue that our very governmental structure in which states must first ask for help before the feds can offer it is a significant part of the problem. People have been whining because the national fire gear supplies haven't been mobilized, and troops weren't sent in soon enough. The hands of federal agencies are in many ways tied by the fact that they cannot simply say--trouble's coming, we're moving in. The Constitution forbids it. There are too many diplomatic dances that have to occur before mobilization.

Then, too, the right troops and resources have to be mobilized. Qualifications of the troops are even more important in many respects than numbers, and their locations are also an issue. You could have a tank battalion stationed within 50 miles of a disaster....but their expertise and equipment would be of limited use when medical supplies and experts, and MPs are what's needed.

If all the talking heads had spent as much time doing what they could to expedite the assistance as they have spent criticizing and posturing, things might have proceeded at a faster pace.

And while we're at it--newspeople (no offense to Matt Kelley or others in the industry) are hindering efforts. I can't count the number of times I've seen reporters and cameramen getting in the way of rescue personnel. And why on earth are they taking up valuable space on helicopters that could be devoted to victims?

robert melos
9.4.05 @ 5:48p

I saw an interesting interview last night on Real Time with Bill Maher. He interviewed Anderson Cooper and mentioned how it seems the media has regained its spine by asking the hard questions such as why it took so long for the National Guard to be sent in, and such.

Maher went on to say some politicians feel now is not the time to point fingers, and Cooper disagreed. He said now is the best time to point fingers of blame because now is when the world is watching. If we wait to point blame no one will care after the fact.

That made a lot of sense. It may come across as petty to point blame, but when this kind of natural disaster shows us how well prepared we are for future disasters, it makes you think about the possibilities of worse terrorist attacks and how prepared the US is for such things.

stacy smith
9.4.05 @ 6:32p

Why wouldn't it be a time to point fingers?

I just finished reading a person's blog that said that people that are being refused from the Astrodome are breaking into people's houses and cars. Then if that wasn't bad enough, they are also threatening citizens of Texas to hand over their money or else.

We still have the issue of looters and all that stuff going on in New Orleans.

Hell's Bells! I realise that not everybody that has been sucked into this mess is the problem, but WTF? How are people supposed to feel compassionate with all this shit going on?

The politicans alone are being enough of a pain in the ass, and all the other asses just continue to come out from under their little rocks.

I thought I was scattered brained sometimes, but damn! Steal a TV set that you don't have A) Any place to plug it into and B) Don't have any electricity.

I don't care if these people are white, black, green, or purple. I think every single form of dysfunction that this country has, is now being worn on it's sleeves.

Bah!



dan gonzalez
9.4.05 @ 11:04p

Unless TV sets somehow serve as flotation device, what we're seeing is crass ignorance. It makes no sense, but I have to forgive it for now.

I'm with Melos and Smith. Fingers should be pointed. But we need to point them in the mirror too, because George Bush didn't single-handedly render all those people helpless and deprave.

And if Bill Fuckin' Maher wants an answer as to why it took so long for the NG to be called in, he might do his audience a favor by dropping his mean nut for Bush for 2 seconds to ask why Louisiana refused to pay the tab for other states' NG resources. You see, the fed is there to back the states, not to act in their stead, and no one would let Lousiana go bankrupt because of debts to their neighbors. Why didn't they accept the help and worry about the tab later? We're pouring money down there now, like we always do.

dan gonzalez
9.4.05 @ 11:08p

I think every single form of dysfunction that this country has, is now being worn on it's sleeves.

This sentence bears repeating because it is the most truthful and accurate that I've read or spewed about this whole thing.

lisa r
9.5.05 @ 12:18a

I'm starting to think a part of the problem is our very own Constitution, which forbids the federal government from stepping on state and local governments' toes. Our founding fathers had a nice idea, but it just doesn't work in crisis situations.

We now have hundreds of doctors who are trying to volunteer, even a mobile hospital set up for just such an emergency (all 53 tractor-trailers of it) being forced to sit and twiddle their thumbs while the tireless beaurocratic machine grinds on.

Doctors accepted by the feds are held up by state officials. State officials say "come on in", and federal and local nitwits say --"not yet, you have to pass muster". I'm all for making sure Dr. Death clones don't get involved, but this is ridiculous.

Did Katrina wash away all common sense among government officials when she blew through?

dan gonzalez
9.5.05 @ 1:39a

Interestingly enough, the essay "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine is one of the key essays against tyrannical federal government, in terms of the federal government having power OVER the states as opposed to properly arbitrating interstate affairs. Paine was a true republican (little r there, talking anti-federalist, not todays' pathetic party) in terms of democracy, insofar as democracy meant keeping power closer to individuals, and far from an inherently insensible collective.

I agree the problem is the Constitution, but largely because of semantics. The constitution doesn't and never has assumed that we are all equal, because that is an obviouisly flawed premise in reality. Instead, it only presumes that we are all equal, and derives from that presumption that any random person, from whatever walk of life, when given freedom, will take responsibility for their fate and assume whatever risk needed to go forth and do great things. What the document doesn't take into account, and really couldn't considering its origens as a rebellious document against tyrannical England, is the fact that people would mutate it's principles into some kind of permission slip/insurance policy for insolence and indolence. Another thing it never assumed, and in fact, made concessions against in the form of the Bill of Rights, is that people would use it as a basis to justify the federal level's meddling in local and personal affairs.

lisa r
9.5.05 @ 8:43a

"inherently insensible collective"

That phrase should be government's mantra at ALL times, not just in crisis.

There's talk about adding yet another Cabinet-level position to deal with this situation. Unless they're planning on appointing a Secretary of Common Sense, I don't see how another cabinet position (and thus beaurocratic boondoggle) is going to do any good. FEMA got swallowed up into the Department of Homeland Security, and look how badly that's turned out. They had their faults before 9/11, but at least there wasn't that additional layer of micromanagement going on.

tracey kelley
9.5.05 @ 1:48p

Bingo. That's what another Intepid member and govt. worker said to me just yesterday.

But, as was pointed out above, when do states have 'rights' and when do they stick palms out? Louisiana is blaming the lack of federal funds as to why the levees weren't fixed last year. Oh. Poor babies. Maybe some of tax abatements given to Harrod's in the Warehouse district could have helped to fund such "best interests" projects such as protecting the people of the region. It's like school systems stating it "has" to take money from Coca-Cola and Frito-Lay to install vending machines in schools, while cutting PE. If true responsibility is demonstrated, the people will respond: they will appreciate and support the common good.

Look what happens when they don't.

Meanwhile, while the mayor of N.O. bitches and moans and looters there step over dead bodies to get to tvs and jewelry boxes, Gulfport and Biloxi are pulling together as a community and trying to make do, under the same if not worse conditions.

The attitude of the people is not, in this case, the fault of the federalgovernment, but a city, parish and state meltdown. Even with 32% of Louisiana's National Guard in Iraq, even with high-water machines in Iraq, there are still acres and acres of military bases throughout the state that could have easily and safely housed thousands of N.O. residents. It wouldn't take a full-staff guard to monitor and supply those refugees...

....but only a few were bussed north. Sounds like total miscalculation to me. And now, instead of paying for prevention, we'll have to pay for damages. I believe our health care system has been built the same way.

[edited]

lisa r
9.5.05 @ 2:00p

Interesting that you bring up all the bases that could be used as housing. It made me think about all the closed bases (like the one at Myrtle Beach) that have housing in place. Now, that one was closed several years ago and those houses may otherwise be occupied---but if we must close bases, why not keep some of them in abeyance for just such a situation?

They've got medical facilities, kitchen facilities designed to handle large numbers of people, family housing and barracks housing. They've got other buildings that could also serve as temporary housing. Many, such as the Myrtle Beach example, also have air strips and helipads.

And why are all the good, logical ideas coming from average citizens like us instead of the powers that be?????



[edited]

lucy lediaev
9.5.05 @ 2:07p

Here's some background on Bush's appointee, FEMA head Brown:

Brown ran for Congress in 1988 and won 27 percent of the vote against Democratic incumbent Glenn English. He spent the 1990s as judges and stewards commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association. His job was to ensure that horse-show judges followed the rules and to investigate allegations against those suspected of cheating.

Here's a comment on his recent service:

He's done a hell of a job, because I'm not aware of any Arabian horses being killed in this storm," said Kate Hale, former Miami-Dade emergency management chief.

Source: Knight Ridder Newspapers



anya werner
9.5.05 @ 2:12p

I have no doubt that the government screwed up at all levels. However, I still say that in the face of this type of emergency, the parts of the govt that are *supposed* to be ready to assist -- ie, FEMA, Natl guard etc -- failed in their efforts. They should have had a plan at the ready and been able to get help to people. Many individuals (groups of medical personnel, rescuers) who wanted to help couldn't because the gov't didn't know what to do with them. ANd, frankly, if there had been a terrorist attack, we would have seen the same lack of response and disorganization. I am glad they are working on prevention (if they are, as they claim), but they need to be able to deal with the problems that do occur, too, in order to minimize damage.

And, while I don't fault people who are taking food/water/necessities where they can get them (I certainly would if I needed to feed my baby in an emergency), I am appalled at the people who are taking advantage of the lawless situation and stealing big screen tvs. What a horrible reminder that some people are just ...bad.

[edited]

lisa r
9.5.05 @ 2:12p

And one other question: why must celebrities insist on traveling into these areas to "help"? If they have no particular skill that is needed, they'd serve their fans in need far better by staying home, and sending and/or raising money. CNN.com is reporting that Macy Gray helped at the Astrodome. Dr. Phil's arrived in Houston, and Oprah's on her way.

Celebs on site create more problems than they solve. They require personal security, they draw the media like honey draws flies, and generally just get in the way. Underlying their visits, too, is the faint air that their publicists are constantly reminding them: "This is good publicity for you. Remember to smile for the camera! Here, memorize these sound bites in case a microphone may be nearby." Enough, already.

tracey kelley
9.5.05 @ 2:15p

Okay. Yeah. You're right. That's some pretty high absurdity right there.

lisa r
9.5.05 @ 2:21p

Lucy--I think any head of FEMA should have to be a 4-star, combat command vet. Generals get things done. Politicians just talk about getting things done.



tracey kelley
9.5.05 @ 2:24p

Regarding the FEMA creditials, that is.

Celebs should not set foot near ground zero of any disaster unless
1) they are qualified to assist, like Steve Bushemi, a former NYC firefighter, was during 9/11

2) They load up semis full of supplies, and spend 5 hours passing 'em out from the back end of the truck.

Otherwise, donate your money and stay home.

What the hell is Dr. Phil going to do? "Motivate them?"

Back to your point, Lisa, it doesn't take much to put in place a plan that enlists all municipal and military buildings into emergency service centers and all public transportation into emergency mobility units. I think that's what disgusts me about the N.O. situation completely - herd people into the Superdome and Convention Center and you create a mob mentality. But set up strategic points of operation and execution and hopefully, even though the circumstances and conditions may be dire, people will feel like something has been done.

How fucking hard would it have been to line up all those school buses and city buses (hell, even streetcars to outlying base points for mass transit pickup) with a public address system that said "Take a change of clothes and any medication - this is it, folks."? On Sunday, they could have easily moved 20,000 people out of N.O.

I've done event management. I know how hard it is to move some people. But if within 20 minutes, I can move 350 people, very few who speak English, into 10 buses to tour Mexico, I know it can be done.

ETA: In theory. :)

But that's the rub. Every community should have a clear cut disaster plan. This isn't the responsibility of the federal government - every community should have the answers that will best support the community itself.

But when you don't have a community before disaster, you're certainly not going to have one afterwards.


[edited]

russ carr
9.5.05 @ 2:33p

Found at the Herald-Sun website:

Efforts by Hollywood actor Sean Penn to aid New Orleans victims stranded by Hurricane Katrina foundered badly overnight, when the boat he was piloting to launch a rescue attempt sprang a leak.

Penn had planned to rescue children waylaid by Katrina's flood waters, but apparently forgot to plug a hole in the bottom of the vessel, which began taking water within seconds of its launch.

The actor, known for his political activism, was seen wearing what appeared to be a white flak jacket and frantically bailing water out of the sinking vessel with a red plastic cup.

When the boat's motor failed to start, those aboard were forced to use paddles to propel themselves down the flooded New Orleans street.

Asked what he had hoped to achieve in the waterlogged city, the actor replied: "Whatever I can do to help."

With the boat loaded with members of Penn's entourage, including a personal photographer, one bystander taunted the actor: "How are you going to get any people in that thing?

What! A! Fucking! Asshole!

ETA: Dumb Man Bailing

[edited]

russ carr
9.5.05 @ 2:37p

As posted:

"Louisiana disaster plan, pg 13, para 5, dated 01/00

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

The picture of all those buses and how well they were put to use is at the top of this column.

lisa r
9.5.05 @ 2:38p

They're still trying to get people out. If I were the mayor, I'd long be past the point of allowing rescue personnel to try to "persuade" people to leave. They either would be leaving willingly or in handcuffs, but they'd be going, period. I don't give two hoots about them wanting to protect their property--Every time a rescue boat or chopper has to go out to these people the rescuers lives are endangered. Boats could hit submerged debris and capsize. One chopper's already crashed. Now they're at the point of saying "Fine, stay. But we're not bringing you any more water if you do."

I also think there should be a new law---gun retailers MUST take all weapons and ammo out of an area when it's being evacuated from now on. THat means they can pack them up and ship them out, or they can destroy them. Leaving them behind for looters to take should no longer be an option.

russ carr
9.5.05 @ 2:40p

Or at least lock them in a safe. Duh. A glass cabinet ain't enough.

lisa r
9.5.05 @ 2:40p

Russ, I bet it's only a matter of time before Tom Cruise shows up with a Scientology tent.

[edited]

russ carr
9.5.05 @ 2:43p

Oh...and here's your bureaucracy, rushing to the scene like an ambulance-chasing lawyer.

lucy lediaev
9.5.05 @ 2:44p

Lucy--I think any head of FEMA should have to be a 4-star, combat command vet. Generals get things done. Politicians just talk about getting things done.

I agree although Lt. General seems to suffice. The general now in charge of operationsin New Orleans--Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, commander of the 1st Army, based at Fort Gillem, outside Atlanta--is being referred to by Louisiana locals as a "John Wayne dude."

He's come in, ordered "rifles down" and insisted on focusing on coordinated humanitarian activities.



lisa r
9.5.05 @ 2:51p

Oh...and here's your bureaucracy, rushing to the scene like an ambulance-chasing lawyer.


I've said it before--duct tape. A marvelous multi-tasking tool, guaranteed to both seal airducts and politicians' mouths in one fell swoop. I like the idea of our leadership being of a single mind---unfortunately, that single mind's solution to everything is to throw more bureaucratic micromanagement into the works. Instead of creating yet another commission or cabinet department, let's try cutting some of the useless dreck loose for a change.

Let's send in that guy from TLC's Clean Sweep--Peter Whatsisname. Maybe he could succeed where others have failed in getting rid of the excess bureaucrats.

[edited]

anya werner
9.5.05 @ 2:53p

Hmm, maybe the While you were out team could renovate some of the houses, too...

lisa r
9.5.05 @ 3:04p

Seriously--the home improvement celebs would be useful. Ty Penninton, Amy Wynn Pastor, the dude from Clean sweep, Carter Osterhouse, the folks from In a Fix, and all the PBS and TLC experts are celebs I hope to see show up, and most likely will. Even Bob Vila, as annoying as he is.





russ carr
9.5.05 @ 3:43p

No doubt. Think of the potential!

Ty: "Tonight on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, we've got just SEVEN DAYS to competely rebuild the entire town of Gulfport! ARE YOU READY!?"

Ratings blockbuster.

anya werner
9.5.05 @ 4:59p

As long as they don't bring in that designer who covers everything with feathers and fake flower petals - Hildy?

dan gonzalez
9.5.05 @ 5:36p

Here's an interesting quote:

Officers will no longer be handing out water to people who will not evacuate, the mayor said.

Hmm...

lisa r
9.5.05 @ 8:11p

The art of not-so-gentle persuasion (aka coercion)?

It comes off sounding harsh, but I'm interpreting it (hopefully correctly) to mean that the people involved in the distribution are needed for more valuable work than babysitting people who have been told repeatedly to leave. There are far more important tasks those officers could be doing. The hold-outs have no business tying up resources just to appease their self-centeredness.

[edited]

lisa r
9.5.05 @ 8:14p

No doubt. Think of the potential!

Ty: "Tonight on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, we've got just SEVEN DAYS to competely rebuild the entire town of Gulfport! ARE YOU READY!?"

Ratings blockbuster.


Only if cameras were allowed. Put me in charge, and cameras would be banned.


Speaking of cameras--wonder how long it will take Hollyweird to make the definitive "made for TV" movie on Katrina?

robert melos
9.5.05 @ 8:19p

...only democrats could bash a black females' stereo-typical fashion extravagence and claim not to be bigotous pigs.

Dan, I am a bigotous pig. Although I think it's bigoted pig.

CNN.com is reporting that Macy Gray helped at the Astrodome. Dr. Phil's arrived in Houston, and Oprah's on her way.

Well Macy Gray can sing to them and Dr. Phil can tell them why the shock from the disaster will turn their children into psychopaths. And are we up to the O's on the hurricane name list already?

Seriously, the blame for this mess is shared by the entire county. How prepared are any of us for this kind of disaster? The government is to blame for a large portion of the lack of action in a timely fashion, but too the people who stayed in the face of danger are responsible for themselves. The city is to blame for not supplying them with a means with which to escape.

The people of America are to blame for accepting wages that keep them at poverty levels, and not demanding more from top heavy corporations. We have corrupt government officials that get voted into office again and again, and the people are doing the voting. So when it comes right down to it, even if I were living below the poverty, had I been warned of the impending disaster, and knew the history of the are in which I was living, if I couldn't drive out I would've started walking before the storm him, and gotten myself as far out of harm's way as possible. Of course that's just me.

As for looting and lawlessness, that is human nature. We force ourselves to follow rules each day. We are not law abiding creatures by nature. We are the wild feral beasts of the prehistoric times, and in our nature to survive we know no rules or boundaries.

russ carr
9.6.05 @ 1:33p

Yes, we're up to the O name; Ophelia is threatening Florida's east coast.

Hey, Louisiana?

The Sept. 4 New York Daily News reported: "Louisiana and New Orleans have a long, well-known reputation for corruption... Adjusted for population size, the state ranks third in the number of elected officials convicted of crimes (Mississippi is No. 1). Recent scandals include the conviction of 14 state judges and an FBI raid on the business and personal files of a Louisiana congressman." One former governor from the 1990's recently completed a prison term for tax fraud and the one that followed him, reports the Daily New, "is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for taking bribes from casino owners".

The Daily News goes on to note that in the 1990s the New Orleans Police Department "had the dubious distinction of being the nation's most corrupt police force and the least effective: the city had the highest murder rate in America. More than 50 officers were eventually convicted of crimes including murder, rape and robbery; two are currently on Death Row."

I don't know which is worse: that the media is having a field day exposing the dirty laundry of the Gulf States' corrupt governments, or that such corruption is there to BE exposed. The more I read, the more it becomes obvious: the Heart of Darkness conditions were always there; it only took a storm and a couple of video cameras to push it from Conrad to Coppola.

tracey kelley
9.6.05 @ 2:30p

Erhm, see my post, eight from the top, and my rant on the boards.

I think it's important that people know what has happened/will happen to their money and why this particular catastrophe reached pandemic proportions. There is NO WAY that any relief money should go unchecked, unmonitored and sent willy-nilly for LA to handle on its own.

robert melos
9.6.05 @ 4:56p

The more I read, the more it becomes obvious: the Heart of Darkness conditions were always there; it only took a storm and a couple of video cameras to push it from Conrad to Coppola.

But even as corrupt as they apparently are, they still deserve more help then they got up front. Although, after reading a lot more on the corruption, I am less inclined to rush out and give to a charity for relief.

That said, I decided to give to Hearts United For Animals, and animal rescue organization that is a no-kill shelter. I'll give to save the actual animals, not the criminal animals.


anya werner
9.6.05 @ 8:29p

And, then today I read a story of a six year old boy alone with 6 toddlers and babies. All of them were clearly well fed and had been well-taken care of. No one knew where they came from. The 6-yr old little boy was holding the youngest, making them all hold hands and keeping them together.

Turns out, rescuers in a helicopter had told the parents they could only take the kids and they were simply dropped off at a rescue junction, with no one knowing who they belonged to. The parents were told the helicopter would be right back for them and it never came back. Much later, they were evacuated to a different state.

Regardless of who is corrupt, and who would be better off judging horses, those children did not need to be wandering the streets alone. If my donation can help one child find her mother...

lisa r
9.6.05 @ 8:41p

Anya,

I couldn't help but read that story and be amazed by the fortitude of that little fellow.

However, the fact that they got separated at all when it could have been avoided was sad. Why couldn't they have at least allowed one adult on with the kids--they were all under 6 years old. The weight of the 7 of them together couldn't have equaled the weight of 2 adults.

That was clearly a bad choice on the part of the chopper crew. I hate to be critical of those particular men and women--but that situation shouldn't have happened, and is additional evidence that communication issues were not addressed.

I was listening (for kicks) one night to Coast to Coast on AM radio. One of the weekend hosts is a member of a ham radio club. His group went down there to help with communication, and they were stonewalled by officials. Ham radio is essential after a hurricane--they can communicate when no other forms of communication will work. How can that many government officials have their heads where the sun doesn't shine at one time?

russ carr
9.6.05 @ 8:56p

From CNN: "BREAKING NEWS: New Orleans mayor issues order authorizing the forced removal of people refusing to leave the city. More soon."

Um. Where was this "forced" removal back during the "mandatory" evacuations? Y'know, back when everyone was alive.

lisa r
9.6.05 @ 9:56p

It gets worse. FEMA can't even send evacuees to the right state. They notified Charleston, SC to expect a plane load of them...the plane landed in Charleston, WV.

I bet, if I looked in my big doorstop of a dictionary, I'd find the FEMA seal as the picture next to the definition of "gross incompetence".

Y'know, a reasonable number of mistakes during a disaster of this magnitude is to be expected, but the blunders go on and on and on. Did anyone read the article on CNN.com regarding when Brown requested 1000 DHS employees to be sent? Not until after Katrina made landfall, then allotted 48 hours before they had to arrive (to allow for "training"). Their primary goal? Put FEMA's best foot forward with state and local officials.



[edited]

anya werner
9.7.05 @ 2:58p

I read it and I read it and the sick feeling in my stomach just gets sicker and sicker.

Anyone want to put a bet on the day and time Brown steps down "voluntarily" from FEMA..

tracey kelley
9.7.05 @ 4:07p

Come on, people!

Ya got'cher A-rab horses and ya got'cher people needing mass evacuation!

There's a difference!

russ carr
9.7.05 @ 5:49p

Last thing I'll post about this debacle, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

anya werner
9.7.05 @ 6:32p

From a Yahoo story:
But, for now at least,
President Bush is standing by his embattled FEMA chief.

"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," the president told him last week.

A heck of a job, indeed.

tim lockwood
9.8.05 @ 2:50a

President Bush is standing by his embattled FEMA chief.

"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," the president told him last week.


Somehow, I see a connection between Brown and Palmeiro, the baseball player who was caught with steroids in his system after proclaiming he never used the stuff. Bush said something to the effect of "He's my friend and I believe him."

Give Bush credit on this one - he'll stick by his buds even after it's obvious to everyone else that they're embarrassing to be around.

lucy lediaev
9.8.05 @ 3:33p

Today during Dick and Lynn Cheney's tour of Gulfport, MS:

Most of the people Cheney met with were friendly. Lynne Lofton, whose house further down the street was completely destroyed, was an exception.

"I think this media opportunity today is a terrible waste of time and taxpayer money," she said. "They've picked a nice neighborhood where people have insurance and most are Republicans."




[edited]

robert melos
9.8.05 @ 6:30p

I give Bush credit for his loyalty to his friends, but he also should have loyalty, or at least an obligation to to the American people. If this had happened to the Iraqi people there would've been no question of getting help to them as fast as possible or spending billions of dollars.

drew wright
9.8.05 @ 7:21p

I just finished reading everyones posts (it took awhile), and I think everyone has really good points. No matter how you cut it, there were people that physically, financially or logistically could not leave New Orleans, and 30 of them were just found dead in a nursing home.

Maybe, the City, State or Fed should have helped more before Katrina hit landfall. However, 2 or 3 days to evacuate a whole city and account for all residents is not really possible. So some people had no choice but believe that they would be able to ride this storm out like so many others.

Now in the aftermath, the blame should rest simply on everybody. Only the people that stayed behind for reasons that are too complicated for us to understand are blameless. Now the question is really what do we do about it.

Do we give these people $2000 debit cards. I mean why not just open up a Best Buy and let these people who have no food or clothing, buy themselves a 50" TV to take over to the Astrodome. These people dont need money, they need jobs, shelter, food and clothes. Then when they have thier essentials, give them a little spending money.

And then for all those people that recieved assistance, we put them to work.

That would make too much sense right? To make the people work for thier money. Bush is going to hand over 40.5 billion dollars into the clean-up and recovery effort. Well why not divide half of that into creating jobs to help with the rescue, recovery, clean-up and restoration of New Orleans. Instead of hiring Haliburton, how about we hire the people of New Orleans. Sure I know its not entirely possible, but a good idea right?

[edited]

lucy lediaev
9.8.05 @ 7:36p

I think the best thing we can do is to put people to work. Local employers near shelters need to hire people and assist them in getting into more permanent housing. Government needs to set up programs like the old Works Project Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). My grandfather helped plan and lay out many of the public parks in Los Angeles and kept food on the family table while working for WPA during the depression. My father managed to complete high school and send money home to his mother and younger siblings while working as a teen-aged CCC fire fighter in Los Padres National forest. Those are the kinds of programs we need now; only we need them to rebuild the infrastructure and public facilities destroyed by Katrina. Give people meaningful work and get the job done at the same time!

robert melos
9.8.05 @ 10:14p

I heard about the nursing home last night on the news. The employees left the patients because they supposedly thought rescue workers were coming for them on Tuesday. There's a lawsuit from the patients families, or even charges of involuntary manslaughter for the employees who just left the invalids there to drown. That was really unforgivable. Not surprising, but unforgivable.

erik myers
9.8.05 @ 10:44p

I'm just thankful that Bush has declared a day of prayer for all this, because otherwise people might have forgotten to pray for the hundreds of thousands of people that are currently homeless because they have raw sewage and corpses floating around in their living rooms.

From the SFGate:

At a news conference, Pelosi, D-Calif., said Bush's choice for head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency had "absolutely no credentials."

She related that she had urged Bush at the White House on Tuesday to fire Michael Brown.

"He said 'Why would I do that?'" Pelosi said.

"'I said because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week.' And he said 'What didn't go right?'"


I agree - the local Lousiana politicians bear the brunt of the blame for the immediate catastrophe. The federal government, however, hasn't done much more than exacerbate the problem. Forward progress are being made despite them rather than because of them.

anya werner
9.9.05 @ 11:52a

Lovely.

From reuters:

"Bush also issued an executive order on Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of the hurricane to pay below the prevailing wage, drawing rebukes from two congressional Democrats who said stricken families need good wages to rebuild their lives."

So, lets make sure we rebuild but keep everybody in the area below the poverty level

lucy lediaev
9.9.05 @ 2:10p

Just released on the news wires:

Director Michael Brown is being removed from his role in managing the Bush administration's Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and is returning to Washington.

drew wright
9.9.05 @ 3:42p

Fall Guy? I think so.

So now that Brown has been ousted like Anya somewhat called in an earlier post. Anybody want to take bets on when the threat level is raised again?

russ carr
9.9.05 @ 3:57p

Clarification: Brown is still head of FEMA; he has simply been replaced as the on-site official in charge of relief efforts in the Gulf Coast states. Don't pop the champagne all at once.

lucy lediaev
9.9.05 @ 4:09p

He's definitely a fall guy, albeit a deserving one. The Time article is giving the administration plenty of fuel to make him the primary scapegoat--relieving some of the pressure at the top.

drew wright
9.9.05 @ 4:44p

Want to see something funny type in failure in Google!!!

lucy lediaev
9.9.05 @ 6:49p

It would be interesting to figure out how the Google "spiders" placed the entries for "failure." I looked at the source code for the #1 entry, and the metatags don't account for the positioning. Are hackers at work, or is Google much smarter than we ever imagined?

[edited]

robert melos
9.10.05 @ 2:42a

Are hackers at work, or is Google much smarter than we ever imagined?

It's alive.


jael mchenry
9.12.05 @ 3:25p

And he's out. AP:

Federal Emergency Management Agency director Mike Brown said Monday he has resigned "in the best interest of the agency and best interest of the president," three days after losing his onsite command of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

Even his resignation is slanted and weird. Why should he take this action because it's in the "best interest of the president?" It just shows the hollowness and hypocrisy of allowing political appointees into positions that require more than mere figureheadery.

dan gonzalez
9.27.05 @ 12:53p

Out but not done just yet. Interesting how receptive the dems are to criticism that's not directed at Bush throught this ongoing cluster.



Intrepid Media is built by Intrepid Company and runs on Dash