Andrew Sullivan launches a scathing attack on Bush’s reaction. Andrew is still clinging to the levee repair meme, which, suffice it to say, I am unimpressed with to date, but a lot of what he says otherwise is a pretty fair assessment.
In other news, Mark Kleiman and I have been having an ongoing email conversation, and he and I both agree about several key failures in this tragedy. One of those failures was what I would call an inexcusable breakdown- a breakdown in communication equipment. I simply fail to understand how Feds, state, and local governments were unable to communicate in the early hours of the disaster. As Icommented in our conversation, didn’t we lose hundreds of fireman and learn a lesson from this on 9/11? Apparently not. At any rate, Mark has a novel suggestion- the reverse embed:
Why not just embed FEMA officials with the news media? CNN doesn’t seem to have any problem getting to the scenes of disasters and maintaining communication to the outside world. Glenn Reynolds suggested a couple of days ago that the media should bring in symbolic amounts of relief supplies. Why not have them provide non-symbolic amounts of emergency communications capacity instead? After all, they’re in the communications business.
Makes sense to me.
I am unimpressed with your lack of being impressed with the levee repair meme. At best, the other side of saying that it would’ve failed anyway in its current condition was that he was cutting funds so that it would fail at some future time. It’s the “I’ve got mine” philosophy, stupid.
Grover Norquist’s baby is drowning in the bathtub called New Orleans.
BTW, did you read about the military ship that’s been floating offshore for a week, ready to come in to help, but never told to do so?
Chicago Trib via BoingBoing
While federal and state emergency planners scramble to get more military relief to Gulf Coast communities stricken by Hurricane Katrina, a massive naval goodwill station has been cruising offshore, underused and waiting for a larger role in the effort.
The USS Bataan, a 844-foot ship designed to dispatch Marines in amphibious assaults, has helicopters, doctors, hospital beds, food and water. It also can make its own water, up to 100,000 gallons a day. And it just happened to be in the Gulf of Mexico when Katrina came roaring ashore.The Bataan rode out the storm and then followed it toward shore, awaiting relief orders. Helicopter pilots flying from its deck were some of the first to begin plucking stranded New Orleans residents.
But now the Bataan’s hospital facilities, including six operating rooms and beds for 600 patients, are empty. A good share of its 1,200 sailors could also go ashore to help with the relief effort, but they haven’t been asked. The Bataan has been in the stricken region the longest of any military unit, but federal authorities have yet to fully utilize the ship. (…) The role in the relief effort of the sizable medical staff on board the Bataan was not up to the Navy, but to FEMA officials directing the overall effort.
John Cole..I agree with what I read about this discussions about failures like the communications. In the fallout after everyone that can be saved can be..I hope that, aside from Brown being removed and someone with some experience is put in there, that the largest change will be a thorough revamping so that this can never happen again. We have to learn from this and I hope that every city in this country is going through it’s disaster planning and it’s relationship to Fema/HDS.
The Bataan’s helicopters have been involved in rescues since the first ot second day . I remember this, because it is the only ship in the region, and the Captain is a female who I heard interviewed on CNN. I don’t believe that report.
Apparently there are some Constitutional limits involved. We apparently cannot deploy active-duty troops that are not state National Guard on our own soil without the approval of Congress.
“The Bataan’s helicopters have been involved in rescues since the first ot second day”
As the report above mentions. But that’s a small part of what they could do. And as I mention elsewhere, 100 people have been “rescued” off their rooftops only to be left to die waiting for the rest of the help they need.
I think it’d be pretty obvious if the Bataan were further involved. If there were survivors being treated on board, it would have been covered, don’t you think?
Well, actually, there are statutory limits to deployment of active-duty troops (which includes the activated Guard). However, the governor issued the necessary declarations, including declarations that would allow the deployment of troops as early as the 26th of August. After all, even if the NWS had been wrong about NO, the rest of the state would still have been affected.
You we ran into the same problem during the Wild Fires here in California. The local fire firghters perated on a different system then the California Dept. of Forestry & the Military. Very few had the means to communicate w/ all 3. You would figure that after all of the issues raised between 911 & the wild fires something would have been changed. But then again I cannot even imagine how long it would take to change over the entire commuication relays for & make compatible, local, state & federal resources. Hopefully one day this will be worked out.
Sounds like another of those walnut brained nit wits blabbering their usial hogwash why dont ANDREW SULLIVAN keep his piehole shut and have his fat foolsh face
FEMA embedding with CNN is actually a pretty good idea. CNN had more knowledge about Katrina’s victims and the status of rescue operations than FEMA did.
As a side note, when my nephew was in Iraq the press was very helpful regarding the use of telephones. Many times, a reporter would lend my nephew their phone so he could call his parents and let them know that he was ok. For some reasons, the press phones worked better than the ones the military had. Or it could have just been harder to get to a military phone.
Gold Star for Robot Boy
If that’s the case, then Congress should act like Terri Schivao’s life is at stake.
I work in the National Mobilization System that primarily deals with wildfires. Unlike the Dept of homeland security and FEMA, we do more than just practice emergency responses as there are tens of thousands of wildfires in the U.S. each year. We can move hundreds and even thousands of federal, state and private personnel from one end of the country to the other, sometimes overnight if the need arises. We are geared up to support several thousand-person fire camps that can spring up virtually overnight from California to Alaska to Montana to Florida to Colorado and everywhere in between.
James Lee Witt recognized this as the head of FEMA in the 1990s and the agency started using our mobilization system for flood, earthquake, hurricane and other emergency responses. While FEMA was kinda tough to deal with, Witt still built an effective organization. FEMA was never a “response” organization, meaning that FEMA people weren’t really doers. They couldn’t do much themselves but a least under Witt, they knew the capabilities of other federal and state government agencies whose primary duties were emergency reponse and emergency reposnse support. Witt, under the Clinton administration, was able to effectively use these other federal, state and private resources.
It’s shameful what has become of FEMA under President Bush. Homeland Security? We never had homeland security, just the illusion of homeland security. With FEMA devoured by Homeland Security, we don’t have an effective federal emergency response agency, just the illusion of one.
The current FEMA director and his Homeland security boss just never seemed to have interest in the way James Lee Witt did things. That was just too “Clintonesque”.
Just heard that my Uncle George down in Gulfport is okay and his house is intact. A relief.
Way cool!!!! Sleep well tonight!
On the communications front, I saw a report earlier today where the General in charge, while walking in NO, was using a cell phone that was dying on him. Huh? I don’t understand this. After 911, where communications was sighted as one of the main problems highlighted and we haven’t, in four years, done ANYTHING to improve on that?
What exactly has Homeland Security been doing? Isn’t part of what they are tasked to do is prepare for a terrorist attack? If this is any indication of their response when they had days and days of advanced warning, how would their response be in a surprise terrorist attack?
Very disappointing to say the least.
I know there were problems up and down the line and there will be controversies about those problems, but, to me, the bottom line is this: Bush appointed an obvious inompetent to be head of FEMA. Brown was fired from his last job, working for some outfit relating to Arabian horses. He had nobackground in disaster management, or mangement of anything, and a trackrecord of incompetence. The buck stops with Bush for putting such a bad person in such an important spot.
Brownie has done a good job turning Katrinas aftermath into a man-made disaster. I hear the insurers don’t have to payout for man made disasters. I imagine that was a sweeping statement. So, some in the insurance industry have been saved by Brownie. He will be removed via golden parachute.
How one spends money says alot about their priorities. Considering the defunding of New Orleans hurricane defenses, I have to wonder what other relevant funding cuts were made? If Katrina had not struck this year, but instead next year, 5 years, 10 years into the future, the question is raised, how would New Orlean’s defenses hold up. Was New Orleans able to afford to comply with Homeland Security and the new FEMA.
Bob the Builder in Chief has a history of mandating to the states but not funding those mandates. For instance No Child Left Behind. Some schools are not able to afford the mandatory testing. To do such a thing with emergancy management seems deadly irresponsible to me. Especially when pre-2001 FEMA seems to be much more sucessfull than the USS Brownietoff. The levee failure symbolizes all this.
Remember, New Orleans is ringed by levees. There were only ~2 breaks, but, this raised the flood from 6 feet to 20 feet. To many people it seems that for want of a few dollars, many died. 250 million for a bridge for 50 people in Alaska. None to save lives. That is tragic.
Well, they are. Unfortunately, the item they will be dealing with that demands their immediate attention is repeal of the Estate Tax.
Oh, it is not simply tragic, I feel betrayed.
Looking back at past disasters. I don’t remember hearing the language of war used. For this disaster, I hear it comming from this administration. Isn’t Rummy touring New Orleans? So much talk of looters, rebuilding, and war. Not enough about rescue. This is not Iraq.
Jobius- Are you 12 or a special needs commenter?
Who the hell is Bob the Rebuilder?
Why can’t you have a coherent comment that doesn’t have some stupid comment like ‘dear leader’ or ‘bob the rebuilder?’
And why do you feel the need to post 20 comments in a row, all one sentence long?
I think he’s 12.
He was doing the same thing last night. 300 posts in a row,
always fulminating about “bob the rebuilder”
Apparently, “bob the rebuilder” is a double top secret moniker for GWB.
Lol, you have something against special needs commentors? Google doesn’t know what that is.
Bob the Builder is a doll, a construction worker with little plastic tools. Now do you get it? Maybe, I should have said Fucktard in Chief, being that this is an adult forum.
As for the names, I think they’re more decriptive than their given names.
I post as things come to mind. If I had and edit option I could do stuff.
The levee repair meme is stupid.
Chertoff and Brown need to go, though. Chertoff must be a sociopath to be able to lie that well.
Here’s a little something spicy.
He was on yesterday’s Laura Flander’s show. What he said there was even scarier.
Communications went down in NO because the generators operated on natural gas and the property owners wouldn’t allow the installation of liquified gas tanks. Or so I read, I had a link… Mississippi didn’t have this problem because they had fuel tanks and communications stayed up throughout. I really think LA is going to carry most of the blame for this, and is that really a big surprise? Centuries of ingrained political corruption have reached their natural conclusion.
Andrew Sullivan? Haven’t bothered in over a year; far too ethereal for my taste and he really hasn’t a clue about this country outside of the cities.
Where from in WV, BTW? My dad was born in Hinton, between the railroad tracks and a whorehouse, as he puts it, and I still have cousins in the area.
I live in Morgantown but grew up in Bethany.
It’s 7 pages long. I haven’t read it all. I’m ging to sleep. Have fun.
Would have been nice if you had left a link that worked.
I’m sure you’ll a learn a little HTML as you enter high school in the next year or so.
I live in Morgantown but grew up in Bethany
Ah, that’s a bit closer to civilization, isn’t it? These days Morgantown means MEPIS ;) To me, anyway.
Please tell us oh jobiuspublius, whom we must hate to make things better…
Well, you seem available. Let’s atart with you, as an appetizer.
Speaking of ’embedding’, I think southern government officials should embed with northern city officials during big snowstorms.
I can’t help but think that evacuating New Orleans wouldn’t have been much more difficult than clearing snow out of Manhattan or Chicago through an 18 hour snowfall.
In either case it would involve following routes repeatedly, until the work is done. Only instead of driving dump trucks and garbage trucks with plows attached, they’d be driving vans and buses.