Aww, Man, I Got My Medal Today

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Andrew Sullivan is seconding Brendan Loy's call for the ouster of FEMA head Michael Brown, who by most accounts is a minimally-qualified lawyer who landed the job by dint of having picked the right college roommate. Since he's been lauded by Bush for the bang-up job he's doing, he may have to get a Presidential Medal of Freedom before he goes, a-la George Tenet—if so, let me be first to suggest that "Presidential Medal of Freedom" be appropriated as a slang synonym for the (increasingly outdated) "pink slip." As in: "Man, after that account fell through, I got called into the boss's office and handed my Medal of Freedom."

NEXT: Rehnquist Full Coverage

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  1. Mr. Sanchez, you're no Dan Savage.

  2. Perhaps it should be the George W Bush Medal Of Freedom, in the case of snarky usage. I mean, presumably other grantors of the award have used it more wisely.

  3. The other problem is that getting a pink slip means you are fired, getting a medal from Bush for incompetence means you get promoted.

  4. Medal of Freedom doesn't verb easily. "They're closing the plant and we're all going to get Medal-of-Freedomed". Contrast with santorum: "Damn! We just santorumed the sheets! What a mess!"

    I don't think Medal-of-Freedom will fly.

  5. Even Michelle Malkin is calling for Brown's head. No word on whether she thinks he ought to be kept in an internment camp for a few months for his own safety.

  6. Boy, that FEMA guy sure pulled a Munson.

  7. I don't know. You can read the National Weather Service warnings about perfectly ordinary thunderstorm predictions every day and they're no more alarming than the hurricane predictions. Basically they pull out all the stops all the time.

    If you can even hear thunder, it's a wonder you're not dead already if you're outside, to the weather bureau warning people.

    Radio stations echo it.

    This is just for the daily afternoon thunderstorm every day.

    It holds audience, they think; and increases the budget.

    It's not exactly a cry-wolf effect. It's a soap opera effect. If you're not into soap opera, you tune it out.

    Soap operas are not warnings. It's a genre.

    It is of course possible you'll get hit by lightning, just not worth the expense of worrying about under the circumstances.

    It's possible you'll die in traffic from exceeding 10 mph too. Nobody worries about that either.

  8. It's a damn shame - the Medal of Freedome used to mean something. Truly great people, people who achieved great advances for humanity, whether in liberating their fellows from bondage, or just excelling in their chosen field, used to characterize MoF recipients.

    Now it's just a cheap joke. All those decades building up credibility and significance, and Bush cashes it all out to try to gain an ephemeral electoral edge.

    You know, sort of like Colin Powell's credibility.

  9. I think it's high time we take the advice of Don Imus (as well as George Carlin) and turn over homeland security to Rudy Gulliani (or, as Carlin put it, "ya wanna get things done, put it in the hands of an Italian from Brooklyn...").

  10. Fire someone for incompetence? I'd never do that. Why that would be almost as bad as vetoing a bill. Besides I believe in the golden rule.

  11. Hey, we can all take heart in that perhaps, maybe, someone will get a disciplinary letter for 9/11 failures FOUR YEARS LATER:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050826/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/cia_sept_11_report

    My jaw dropped when I saw that in the paper. All this time, and they are finally going to merely decide whether to have disciplinary reviews!?!?!?

    So maybe in 2010 Vice President Brown will get a letter saying "Shame on you. Bad job." Ugh.

  12. I just had a thought- A supreme court vacancy just opened up, and Michael Brown is in need of a promotion...

  13. My prediction is that Mr. Brown will continue in the great tradition of right-wing fuckups and get his own nationally syndicated radio talk show.

  14. Congress couldn't agree on funding amount for shoring up New Orleans:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/latimests/20050904/ts_latimes/despitewarningswashingtonfailedtofundleveeprojects

    "In late May, the New Orleans district of the Army Corps of Engineers formally notified Washington that hurricane storm surges could knock out two of the big pumping stations that must operate night and day even under normal conditions to keep the city dry."

    ...

    "What a powerful hurricane could do to New Orleans and the area's critical transportation, energy and petrochemical facilities had been well understood. So now, nearly a week into the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, hard questions are being raised about Washington officials who crossed their fingers and counted on luck once too often. The reasons the city's defenses were not strengthened enough to handle such a storm are deeply rooted in the politics and bureaucracy of Washington."

  15. I'll spare our conservative posters the trouble: Kerry would be worse!

  16. Maybe the free market should go down there and do something for those people.

  17. Well, a free-market solution couldn't possibly be any more of a screwup than the governmental one.

    And even if it was, you'd see people fired, fined, and prosecuted.

  18. "Medals are hard evidence I'm a uniterer, not a dividerer. And all that mountain bike riding have give me thighs of medal to."

    Dubya

  19. And Christine Amanpour is asking if our problem is in not having a big enough government. Would you like to super-size that Homeland Security?

  20. Christine was the roomy of a turd who was clueless about airplane flying.
    Could I get a Amen?

  21. "Andrew Sullivan is seconding Brendan Loy's call for the ouster of FEMA head Michael Brown, who by most accounts is a minimally-qualified lawyer who landed the job by dint of having picked the right college roommate."

    Yeah, that'll happen just as soon as Gonzales and Rumsfeld get fired for Abu Gharib. ...Any word on whether we're gonna get that second batch of photos?

    "Since he's been lauded by Bush for the bang-up job he's doing, he may have to get a Presidential Medal of Freedom before he goes, a-la George Tenet--if so, let me be first to suggest that "Presidential Medal of Freedom" be appropriated as a slang synonym for the (increasingly outdated) "pink slip."

    The Administration elevated Messrs. Gonzales and Bolton despite their incompetence. Considering that, as well as the clean out at the CIA subsequent to Tenet's departure, I suspect Tenet got the axe to facilitate the clean out of people with philosophical differences at the CIA rather than for incompetence per se. Loyalty appears to trump competence in the Bush Administration.

    ...Now that doesn't mean Tenet wasn't incompetent, of course.

  22. It's a damn shame - the Medal of Freedome used to mean something. Truly great people, people who achieved great advances for humanity, whether in liberating their fellows from bondage, or just excelling in their chosen field, used to characterize MoF recipients.

    You tell 'em, Joe. It's not like Bill Clinton ever handed 'em out to Labor Leaders when he needed support, or activist friends of his Wife, or some guy known mainly for screwing Nixon, or some off the wall pick like the Chancellor of Germany. Or even Colin Powell. No siree, nobody's ever gonna remember that.

  23. "You tell 'em, Joe. It's not like Bill Clinton ever handed 'em out to Labor Leaders when he needed support, or activist friends of his Wife, or some guy known mainly for screwing Nixon, or some off the wall pick like the Chancellor of Germany. Or even Colin Powell. No siree, nobody's ever gonna remember that."

    If it's good enough for the goose, it's good enough for the gander--now where's my blue state hatin' hat?

  24. Free elections fail as a check on government whenever the ruling faction realizes that 51% is the most they'll ever need.

    And when the supporters of that faction conclude that all of the sins of their side can be excused by the sins of the 49%, then we're truly on the road to things far worse than a government that's merely incompetent.

  25. I don't know thoreau. I guess incompetence is a pet peeve of mine.

    ...and free elections may save us yet--we're gonna have another one pretty soon you know. It's just that the checks and balances got a little wacky with one party rule. ...One party rule puts us all at the mercy of the leader's character, and this leader ain't got much in the ol' character department.

    Has anyone seen the President's numbers lately? He was already laggin' in the polls. ...And I haven't seen anything from New Orleans or Mississippi that leads me to think those numbers have gone higher.

    ...I wouldn't be surprised to see his numbers fall--in the South. ...Heck, I wouldn't be surprised to see Southern Republicans distance themselves from the President in the next election.

  26. Tom-

    They may distance themselves from the President to keep power, but that will still leave us with single party rule. And single party rule might be OK if that single party had very broad support. But they know they only need 51%.

    Didn't Hastert say something like "the majority of my majority"?

  27. Tom,

    I think you are probably wrong about the fallout for Bush. Check out this link.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/HurricaneKatrina/story?id=1094262&page=1

    A lot of people I have talked to in the past couple of days who are relatively apolitical don't seem to connect the failures of FEMA to Bush. Some are actually more supportive of Bush because of the attacks on him from the Nagin and others.

    I guess political hacks like joe have trouble convincing people that Bushhitler eats babies.

    As for checks and balances, it would be helpful if the Democrats could get there act together. Dean is leading the party. A lurch to the left, yeah that will work. Maybe Bill Clinton should test the Constitutionality (SP?)of running again.

  28. "I guess political hacks like joe have trouble convincing people that Bushhitler eats babies."

    You have some good points there, and thanks for the link. Too bad you had to tack that on.

    joe ain't a hack, he doesn't conflate terms and I don't think he makes charges without references. I disagree with joe on a lot of issues, but I've learned a lot from joe over the years.

    ...You could learn a lot from joe.

  29. Tom,

    On the issue of the Katrina, there is nothing I can learn. Reflexive bush-bashing without any reference to the many areas of government failure starting with mayor of New Orleans delayed mandatory evacuation, to not having evacuating those willing but unable to evacuate. Not having supplies ready at the Superdome for those who couldn't evacuate. Those are clear local failures. There was ample warning that Katrina was likely to hit New Orleans or very near. Katrina was a category 4 hurricane with a predicted landfall somewhere between eastern LA and western FLA. Knowing New Orleans unique and vulnerable topography, local officials should have begun mandatory evacuation sooner than 24 hours.

    I will not let joe let Nagin and Blanco off the hook just to score political points against Bush.

    Sorry to rehash a discussion I have already had with you, but it pisses me off. If Nagin is a hero to the left and Democrats because he told off Bush, the Democratic party is in deep trouble and we will have one party rule for a long time. Nagin is not a hero. He f'd up and people died because of it.

  30. Punch a hole in your monitor next to the most preposterous bald assertion ever leveled on Hit & Run:

    R- Free elections may save us yet.

    D- You could learn a lot from joe.

    L- [Quote from Mises about fucking underage zombies].

  31. I think its time to impeach the mayor and governor of La. for dropping the ball. They had to ask for help, they waited too long!!!

  32. "Sorry to rehash a discussion I have already had with you, but it pisses me off."

    Good, then I'll just mention, once again, that being critical of President Bush doesn't make anyone objectively pro-Nagin or pro-Blanco and keep movin'.

  33. "Punch a hole in your monitor next to the most preposterous bald assertion ever leveled on Hit & Run:"

    They all look reasonable to me. ; )

  34. Look at it this way...

    If being critical of President Bush makes me objectively pro-Nagin, did being critical of Saddam Hussein make you objectively pro-Iranian?

    ...That's something joe taught me.

  35. Julian Sanchez, you very funny guy.

  36. Punch a hole in your monitor next to the most preposterous bald assertion ever leveled on Hit & Run...

    Oops - I accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan...

  37. Sorry to rehash a discussion I have already had with you, but it pisses me off. If Nagin is a hero to the left and Democrats because he told off Bush, the Democratic party is in deep trouble and we will have one party rule for a long time. Nagin is not a hero. He f'd up and people died because of it.

    Bullshit. Here's a president whose ONE and ONLY priorty has been blabbing vacuously about national security. Five years' worth of issues down the shitter in favor of empty rhetoric about how Superhero Bush was going to Save and Protect the People of America against Everything.

    And here we had several days' advance warning about Katrina -- UNLIKE WHAT WE WOULD HAVE HAD IF, FOR EXAMPLE, AL QAEDA HAD BLOWN THAT LEVEE WITH A BOMB, INSTEAD OF A HURRICANE BLOWING IT.

    So what is the response to it, given that its been 4 years since 9/11... and that we're 5 years into a presidency that has had NO substance other than "we're about security"? Let us review:

    Where is Rumfucker's North American Command?

    ummmmmmmm..... huh, what's that?

    What is its role here?

    We have no idea.

    Who/Where is the 4-star officer who should have taken command of this situation AS IT WAS DEVELOPING?

    Who? What?

    Where is the Louisiana National Guard?

    uhhhhhh, not in Louisiana

    So... is it ok to fuck up this royally because it was a hurricane that did this, and NOT al qaeda? How much of Chimpy McHitlerburton's stupid face would we have plastered all over our tv's right now had this been a terrorist attack instead of a natural disaster?

    Admit it. Bush is a one trick fucking pony, and he can't even do his one trick worth a god damn shit. Yeah, maybe he might have gotten off his ass over this if he could have blamed Saddam Hussein for it, but since his advisers have reluctantly admitted that he can't score any points with his "base" by declaring War on Hurricanes, this whole disaters simply does not fucking matter to him.

  38. From the NYTimes...

    What a godforsaken, corrupt city gov't NO has.

    "The crisis put enormous pressure on many police officers and firefighters, pressure some could not withstand. P. Edwin Compass III, the New Orleans police superintendent, said on Saturday that 200 of the 1,500 members of his force had walked off the job and that two others had committed suicide. He said yesterday that the city had offered to send all members of the police and fire departments and their families on vacations to Las Vegas.

    "When you go through something this devastating and traumatic, you've got to do something dramatic to jump-start the healing process," Mr. Compass said.

    The notion of a vacation in the midst of disaster struck some as unusual. But officials likened it to an R&R break for combat troops. Military reinforcements, who arrived in the thousands over the weekend, will take over the search and rescue work temporarily, though New Orleans officials said they would remain in charge."

  39. "And peradventure there is one righteous man left in the city, wouldest Thou then spare the city?"

    HELL FUCKING NO!!! There isn't one.

  40. Christine was the roomy of a turd who was clueless about airplane flying.
    Could I get a Amen?

    Power to the turdle, Brother.

  41. And you guys thought "The Peter Principle" was just theory!

  42. I think its time to impeach the mayor and governor of La. for dropping the ball. They had to ask for help, they waited too long!!!

    This is a lie. A state of emergency was declared by the governor on 8/27; the governor accepted offers of NG troops from other states on 8/28 and immediately faxed the Feds asking for the necessary authority to take command of them and deploy them. She did not get a response from the Feds until 9/1.

    It's also a lie that "They had to ask for help." See here.

  43. There's no way a local government could evacuate a city of that size by itself. Where are the people going to go? Getting them on buses is just the first step. Putting 100,000 or more people somewhere is an enormous task.

    Bush downsized FEMA and put a hack in the job who was fired from his last job with a horse association. This is typical of much of Bush's presidency and his political career in general. Cronyism has generated virtually all his wealth and he loves to sprinkle Uncle Sugar around to his buddies.

  44. Phil,

    When you point out that people lie on H&R, you drag the level of discourse down to the gutter and destroy America. Do you want to destroy America?

    The right thing to do is leave those lies unchallenged. It's for the children, after all.

  45. Phil,

    Linking to a leftwing blog doesn't help the credibility of your points. Neither does linking to a post on NRO or any rightwing blog.

    The State of Lousiana also had a plan:

    http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/plans/EOPSupplement1a.pdf

    I think the discussion is actually, when does the disaster become a federal issue? When do you want the federal government to take over for state governments? How hurricane's hit the U.S. every year? How many days before landfall before the feds can take over?

  46. In the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume primary responsibility on March 1st for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation. This will entail providing a coordinated, comprehensive federal response to any large-scale crisis and mounting a swift and effective recovery effort. The new Department will also prioritize the important issue of citizen preparedness. Educating America's families on how best to prepare their homes for a disaster and tips for citizens on how to respond in a crisis will be given special attention at DHS. [source]

  47. Emphasis on Local Response
    From the same site:

    Emphasis on Local Response

    All incidents are handled at the lowest possible organizational and jurisdictional level. Police, fire, public health and medical, emergency management, and other personnel are responsible for incident management at the local level. For those events that rise to the level of an Incident of National Significance, the Department of Homeland Security provides operational and/or resource coordination for Federal support to on-scene incident command structures

    http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/interapp/editorial/editorial_0569.xml

  48. I suppose you're going to split hairs over "primary responsibility"?

    They surely haven't done their job, no matter that NOLA's local response was sub-par. After an investigation, the reason things went down the way they did will inevitably point to local response, but the DHS has assumed primary responsibility for making sure they knew what to do in the first place.

  49. "You tell 'em, Joe. It's not like Bill Clinton ever handed 'em out to Labor Leaders when he needed support, or activist friends of his Wife," Labor leaders and political activists like, say, Lech Welesa? Like I said, people who contribute to human freedom

    "...or some guy known mainly for screwing Nixon," Yeah, the Watergate prosectutions were certainly not worthy of our esteem

    "...or some off the wall pick like the Chancellor of Germany. Or even Colin Powell." What's wrong with the Chancellor of Germany? What's wrong with honoring a citizen solider who contributed decades of service to his nation?

    Absolutely pathetic that you'd try to equate these actions with George "Slam Dunk" Tenet's medal. Do have any example of politicized screw ups who were so honored by Clinton, or would like to have a nice frosty mug of STFU?

  50. Hey, Flyover, would you finding a single kind work I've ever written about Nagin or Blanco?

    We'll be waiting.

  51. Linking to a leftwing blog doesn't help the credibility of your points. Neither does linking to a post on NRO or any rightwing blog.

    Eyes on the prize, kiddo. The material excerpted from DHS's own NRP is neither right- nor leftwing. The facts aren't biased. The point of the link was the excerpts, not TMP's interpretation.

    For those events that rise to the level of an Incident of National Significance, the Department of Homeland Security provides operational and/or resource coordination for Federal support to on-scene incident command structures

    The same link also says that any natural disaster of this magnitude automatically rises to the level of a nationally significant event, and that that scale of disaster will quickly exhaust all resources at the local level.

  52. Today's NYT:

    "Under the command of President Bush's two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan this weekend to contain the political damage from the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.

    It orchestrated visits by cabinet members to the region, leading up to an extraordinary return visit by Mr. Bush planned for Monday, directed administration officials not to respond to attacks from Democrats on the relief efforts, and sought to move the blame for the slow response to Louisiana state officials, according to Republicans familiar with the White House plan.

    The effort is being directed by Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, and his communications director, Dan Bartlett."

    And propped up by legions of willing whores on blogs all across America.

  53. Of course, those of us who've been paying attention for the past few years realized that such a strategy was being pushed days ago.

    Hi Flyover.

  54. Joe,
    What was the New York Times' source for the above quote? Just asking.

    ps. Guess who just got his DSL hooked up?
    Yahooooooooooooooooo!

  55. joe,

    Bush visited the American Red Cross HQ yesterday for some boosterism. Check out how far away ARC Pres. Marty Evans is from Bush in all the pictures:

    http://www.redcross.org/news/photoessays/katrina/two

    Evans is a pretty loyal Republican, like a lot of ex-military people, but the inside word has it that she thinks Bush is toxic on this one. It's apparently not by accident that Evans didn't appear on NBC's concert/telethon Friday.

  56. At the risk of injecting facts into this debate, I do have to ask: Does anybody know for sure that the FEMA response was in fact much slower than anticipated? Everybody seems to assume that a faster response was obviously possible but was it really?

    The reporters don't seem to be asking that question but from what I can glean for comments buried in various news stories, FEMA advised local officials that in the event of a major hurricane, no significant assistance could be expected for 72 to 96 hours (3 to 5 days) after the storm. FEMA conducted a simulation exercise in Louisiana last year called Hurricane Pam that modeled exactly this event and that exercise seems to have set the 72 hour expectation. (FEMA also advised against using the Superdome as a shelter because it would be cut off if the levees failed.)

    We could hold FEMA and the Federal leadership responsible for failing to perform to the standards of their planning but up until now I have seen no concrete evidence that this is the case.

  57. Phil,

    It's actually getting tedious to nitpick these online documents that appear to not be worth crap.

    I disagree with you on many points, but I do agree with you that it is a tragedy that many many people without the means to get out of harms way were not assisted.

    Where I think I differ with you and joe is that I think the responsibility for getting them out begins with local and state officials. If they had been more prepared and proactive, we would be talking more about an economic and material disaster than the human catastrophe we have.

    FEMA is still largely a reactionary organization. How fast they can be expected to react to a disaster of this magnitude, I don't know. It's fun to Monday morning quarterback the relief effort, however does anybody really know the situation in the whole gulf region. How fast can relief get to area with road, power, communications destroyed? I don't read a lot of posts from people who are experts on large scale relief efforts or logistics.

    I'm not one either. I'll try to remember that and be more conciliatory.

  58. Thoreau,

    Judging from the general run of comments posted on H&R I doubt very much that there are many conservatove or libertarian readers coming to H&R. There are, however, a lot of left libertarians. Whatever that is.

  59. Where are you drawing the line between left and right libertarians, Jack?

    ...Is it support for the Iraq War? ...Is it support for President Bush? Is that the right way to draw the line?

    I still think of left libertarians as more concerned with civil rights and right libertarians as more concerns with property rights--as if there were real differences between them.

    September 11 didn't change everything; in fact, I think it changed very little. ...least of all, perhaps, the differences between left and right libertarians.

  60. Tom-

    I think of left-libertarians as more concerned with non-economic issues and right-libertarians as more concerned with economic issues.

  61. If it's any help, thirty years ago the line between left and right libertarians was drawn at the boundary of rational anarchists and limited government supporters. But I suppose times have changed?

  62. government sucks man. its just fucked up. i wish people were smart and had some fucking self respect and respect for each other. then we'd fucking being to privatize everything and live in damn near utopia. robots doing menial labor, people educated, cultured, accomplishing shit that'll push the human race further down our path of intellectual evolution faster than we can imagine. spiritualized people that have compassion, that have restraint, that understand the implications of technology and the need to keep pushing the limit till we have clean limitless energy and the ability to go off planet. a heterogeneous population with new crazy eccentric ideas popping up every second and a culture that embraces thinking outside the box and then fucking getting your ass out of the box! all is not failed yet, just fucking wake up and do it!!! these people in new orleans are either sitting their dead in a flooded basement, in a refugeee camp or have their asses in a bar getting fucked up, and can u fuckin blame em? why weren't the levees better engineered, this is the 21st fucking century? why was the emergency response so slow? nobody saw this shit coming? it just hit one day when nobody was looking? goddamnit, u need to be fucking prepared and if u arent, u dont bitch about it, u fucking get out there and do something. then u bitch about it once u can say hey, well at least we resolved the situation, so how can we do it better next time? yeah we all gotta bitch and moan cause we are powerless, but its time to usurp power and do it right next time.
    peace

  63. Shannon, that's 3-4 days. And it took them seven. And, despite the fact that they've found serious problems in every disaster relief test that they've run, they've always characterized every one of them as a complete success to the media. For example, they ran a bioterror simulation in Seattle a few years ago, and when it was all said and done they issued press releases talking about how everyone did very well and how the whole matter was a complete success. But, the official report issued months later had almost nothing good to say about the simulation. They're just not forthcoming with information that might be damaging to branches of their organization. I'd like to think that this attitude they take is just part of that moronic "everyone who participates gets a trophy" mentality that pervades the society, and not an attempt to cover for gross incompetence. But, even if it was, isn't it reasonable to suppose that these statements would color local authorities thoughts about what to expect in a negative fashion?

  64. That is to say, in an overly positive fashion. Misspoke there.

  65. You are such dolts - go read EJECT, EJECT, EJECT, to see how real Grey Americans think. I'm taking you off of my "favorites" list.

    Karen

  66. Karen-I thought to myself, I'll bite. So I went there. If that pseudo-intellectual crap is what passes in your mind for insightful thought or what "real Americans" think then I have to say that I think we'll find some way to continue without you.

  67. Karen, have you met Mona?

    ...You two would have a lot to talk about--maybe the two of you should go bowling!

  68. I went there too, it was a well written over simplification that appeals to those who only see 2 colors, black / white, pink / grey, whatever. Personally, I think barn yard animal analogies should be left to the professionals like Orwell, etc. Sorry about the triple post.

  69. Incidentally, I've been waitin' for new millennium replacement for "silent majority" to make itself apparent, and, over at Eject!, I saw an add for a book titled "silent america"...

    ...Now I'm not sayin' that's gonna be it, but it sure seems a likely candidate.

  70. These days there are always enterprising companies rushing to have thier names above various stadiums and in front of sporting events. The naming of disasters could also be implemented to offset the costs of recovery as well as getting that all important media exposure. It is not very politically correct, but it is fun to think about. Maybe we could find an insurance company to name this disaster, like say All-State or State Farm, whichever. I also thought that naming Iraqi Freedom to Halliburton Iraqi Freedom would be a good name and kind of catchy.

  71. Has anyone else had the feeling the Mayor of NOLA and George W. Bush were, like, separated at birth?
    They're both yammering and photo-opping excessively.
    They both have been caught red-handed being who they are... not pretty.

    Come to think of it, they and the looters in NOLA were likewise separated at birth.
    (Threw that last in for Jennifer.)

  72. Shem,

    " that's 3-4 days. And it took them seven."

    Actually, the first federal units arrived in NO late wednesday early thursday which would put them in the expected time window. The screaming from the local authorities strongly suggested to me that they had good reason to expect a much swifter response. However, it appears that they did not. If FEMA had set the expectation that it would take 3-4 days before significant aid began to arrive, then it is clear they were engaged in CYA squawking and trying to hide their own grievous mistakes.

    This is not to say that FEMA is blameless. FEMA only gets tested about once a decade. Their performance in Andrew was slow and bureaucratic and I don't have a lot of confidence that they have improved.

    But it looks to me that the critical failure in NO was the lack of evacuation of those at risk for of catastrophic flooding. Remember that this was not the worse case scenario. The worse case scenario would have been a direct hit on the city which could have resulted in the complete swamping of the levees causing a 40 ft wall of water to wash over the entire city. Anyone not in a few higher areas of the city would have been killed instantly. Had that happened the slowness of the federal response would have been a moot point.

    In short, we were lucky that the disaster was mild enough that it left enough people alive that we can complain about the slowness of their rescue. The people of Louisiana need to think real hard about why so many people were needlessly left in danger.

  73. fuckin a man,
    I axed for an "amen" earlier. Not sure if urine was it, but thank you for commenting.
    We all need to face it that Hit and Run is still just a pup tent.
    Come/cum one. Come/cum all.
    Welcome to the Sealtest Big Top!

  74. "The worse case scenario would have been a direct hit on the city which could have resulted in the complete swamping of the levees causing a 40 ft wall of water to wash over the entire city."

    Why didn't they address the worst case scenario and fix the ever lovin' levees? ...so they could take a force five hurricane? ...like years ago?

  75. I'm no civil engineer, but I'm guessing that sturdy levees would be harder for terrorists to bomb.

  76. thoreau,
    You're off base on that theory, but it brings to mind many ways in which terrorists could exploit our weak spots.
    Maybe they already are.
    Our hypersensitivity to racial divisions.
    Our concern about the divide between rich and poor.
    Our dependence on gasoline.
    Our hysteria about global warming a la Robert Kennedy, Jr.

    Food for thought, Osama? I thought so.
    (You are a bad person. You could play us like a violin, if you weren't as dumb--culturally challenged--as Dubya.)

    You know the weak spot of Osama and his ilk? The, so far, pent up fury of Muslim women!
    Come in here kwais!

  77. Found this article at The Carpetbagger Report:

    When the BBC noted the criticism of the government's slow response, Lt. Commander Kelly explained that NorthCom was ready to go well in advance of Katrina making landfall, but suggested the president didn't make the right call at the right time.

    "Northcom started planning before the storm even hit. We were ready when it hit Florida, because, as you remember, it hit the bottom part of Florida, and then we were planning once it was pointed towards the Gulf Coast.

    "So, what we did, we activated what we call 'defense coordinating officers' to work with the states to say, 'OK, what do you think you will need?' And we set up staging bases that could be started.

    "We had the USS Bataan sailing almost behind the hurricane so once the hurricane made landfall, its search and rescue helicopters could be available almost immediately So, we had things ready.

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

    Sounds to me like the Prez dropped the ball.

  78. I'm no civil engineer, but I'm guessing that sturdy levees would be harder for terrorists to bomb.

    This gives me an idea- the main discussion the last few days has been how the Army Corp of Engineers was short changed funds (and why). But a more interesting discussion might be, if this kind of disaster is falling onto (besides FEMA) the Department of Homeland Security, why wasn't it funded it as anti-terrorism? Why was money diverted from levee strengthening to buy bomb-sniffing robots for the North Platte police department?

  79. "Come in here kwais!

    I asked this before, but when was the last time anybody saw kwais? ...Kwais?

  80. Shannon- I don't know if it's exactly fair to say that Federal units were there on Wednesday. Some had arrived, certainly, but the Feds didn't arrive in significant enough numbers to make a difference until really a few days ago when the marines arrived. The Congress didn't even draft an aid package to pay for anything until six days after it happened. The Mayor and Governor could have made matters much better, but given the fact that the DHS has been saying for a year now that they would handle any issue that came up, I'm somewhat reluctant to lay the blame at the State's feet.

  81. I think a snappier catchphrase would be to blurt out: PersonX does not care about black people, at an inopportune moment.

  82. Shem,

    From everything I have read it appears to be SOP that significant Federal aid will arrive 3-5 days following a disaster. Local officials are told to plan on that time window. I have read several comments from local disaster officials in Florida and Texas that support this idea. If that is indeed the case, then it appears that the local planning in NOLA was wholly inadequate.

    I think you are falling prey to the idea that post-9/11 that all disaster relief was somehow Federalized. This did not happen. The Federal response was beefed up, especially in the areas associated with terrorism but the basic command structure did not change. The system for dealing with natural disasters did not change at all. Why should it? It has worked well in the past. Look how well Florida has handled hurricanes since Andrew.

    My technological background drives me to look for the critical failure i.e. the one failure that would have caused a calamity even if everything else went perfectly. Clearly, the critical failure in this disaster is the woefully inadequate evacuation of NO. If Katrina had struck NO directly and a storm surge had come over the levees then virtually everybody in NO would have been killed on Monday before the storm had even passed and the speed of the Federal response would have been moot. The fact that the local officials knew this and yet appeared to do absolutely nothing to evacuate those who wanted to leave but couldn't do so with their own resources, simply horrifies me.

    My chief complaint at this point is while there is much shouting about the slow response, nobody seems to be asking what the planned speed of the response actually was. If FEMA told local officials to expect significant aid at T-plus 12 hours and they actually showed up at T-plus 72 then that is a big problem. If they said t-plus 72 and showed up at t-plus 80 then its nowhere near as bad.

    If the planned response itself was far to slow, the time for local officials to make noise about it was months ago, not hours after the disaster.

  83. I thought Andrew Sullivan died last year, is there some new Andrew Sullivan blogging now?

  84. Why does Bush take blame
    if locals are more guilty?
    Does he mimic Christ?

  85. Doug Fletcher,

    I'm not sure if you were going for humor there or what, but Andrew Sullivan is alive and blogging away. He was on Meet This Week's Nation on Sunday.

    Did I not get the joke?

  86. Given the fact that Bush had to personally call the Governor of Lousiana to implore her to issue a mandatory evacuation order, it seems a bit of a snap judgement to fire the head of FEMA for the inaction of locals. But, Sullivan never makes snap judgements and stupid pronouncements, now does he?

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