Sunday, September 25, 2005
**"The battlefield this weekend will be on the homefront. The only thing that truly concerns me is that the seditionist groups will succeed in causing the American people to lose their will and the enemy will win politically the victory we have denied them militarily. Let there be no mistake: we are winning here. Morale is outstanding and we are successfully taking the fight to the enemy. You will see a successful referendum in less than 3 weeks and a successfull election in less than 3 months. I see the positive resuts of our actions everyday. The MSM ignores or denigrates almost every piece of positive news, exaggerates every negative and makes the enemy and his actions out to be more than they are. They absolutely cannot defeat us militarily and have no strategic vision except the destruction of all who oppose them. A strategy based on such a negative is doomed to fail, unless we cut and run."**
Git it? What is so obvious that it hurts--is that the MSM and the "Hate America" crowd are so blinded by their hatred of all things Bush that they are ready to spit on the graves and wounds of our best and brightest to make a political point. They actually believe that they can force Iraq to be Vietnam and win the political and PR war making the USA lose the fighting war to a bunch of rag-tag fanatics.
It is a strange commentary on our modern world that what we've got here is a Marine, facing death all the time in Iraq, trying to ensure that our morale here at home remains high. I think I can understand the worry: After years of effort and so many of our best killed, it would be criminal for the United States to lose heart at this point and betray our troops in the field - but this is the worry of our best over in Iraq and elsewhere in the War on Terrorism. There isn't a thing the enemy can do to stop the United States military - only a failure of will here at home can defeat us.
Fortunately, I don't see any lack of will to win. President Bush is determined, and his supporters are behind him 100%. 100,000 people in DC means about 1% of the hard-core anti-Americans showed up...hardly a good showing; and this is their best time...with the war becoming a grind and Katrina/Rita depressing spirits, if there was a time when an anti-war movement could tap into public dismay, this was it. It hasn't happened - and for two reasons:
1. We really do want to win - all of us who support the liberation of Iraq will do whatever proves necessary to secure absolute victory.
2. The anti-war protestors aren't really anti-war - they are actually anti-American. I feel for those who are just misguided into the anti-war movement, but one has to face the fact that if you are within a country mile of the really horrible people of ANSWER, then you are besmirched with the muck of treason. The broad mass of the American people will never sign on to a group which not only says that the war should end, but calls our efforts to date part of a criminal conspiracy.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Mary Landrieu (Dumbass-LA) has recently garnered National attention by threatening the President of the United States. This being the only thing that she has accomplished since she was voted out of Louisiana. "Her" website HERE.
Mary was elected to her first term in 1996 at a time when Republicans were being slaughtered in the streets in Louisiana by desperate Democrats. She was re-elected in 2002 when she ran on the platform of an Escalade in every driveway in New Orleans. Surprisingly enough only seventeen votes were cast in her Senate election and ALL were for her. That is odd coming from the loins of a former New Orleans mayor and U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Moon Landrieu, her DAD.
Since Mary has never had an iota of impact on the Senate or government in general, it is assumed that she is just there because no one wants her in Louisiana. Mary's committee asignments include Appropriations where she makes the coffee, which everyone complains about and she also serves on the District of Columbia Subcommittee where she is tasked with making DC's school system into the worst in the entire industrialized world. So far she has been a smashing success at that.
Since 1999, Mary has served on the Senate Armed Forces Committee where she is tasked with picking out the pillows for each Senator's chair. Most of them admit that she is less than talented at this important position. On to Part Two.
No lie, this is from the "About Mary" part of "her" website. I'm just surprised that she didn't put "There's Something" in front of the "About Mary" part. Remember when she put Ben's love potion in her hair? Ahem, nevermind. While I am almost certain this moron attended a university, I can find nothing about it on "her" website.
She was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives when she was just twenty-three years old. Who in their right mind would elect a twenty-three year old dumbass? I remember when I was that age and I wouldn't have voted for myself then. Anyway, she was elected and has never had to accomplish another thing. Please folks, don't make this a habit. Otherwise, your levee might break and everyone's stuff gets ruined. Oh, that's right, Mary lives ABOVE Pontchartrain, imagine that.
Mary is married to an attorney from Monroe named Frank Snellings. They have two kids, Connor and Mary Shannon who attend an exclusive private school in DC. This is ironic in itself since Mary makes policy concerning the public school system in the area.
The best thing that I found on "Mary's" site was the link to her staff. Forty total. I know that every Senator has a staff this large or larger, but do you have to rub my nose in it? Why in the holy Hell would a Senator need a staff of forty? This is completely outta hand.
Mary, there was a time when I considered Barbara Boxer the dumbest Senator (of the female persuasion) but alas I'm now torn. Okay----Boxer is sitll the dumbest but you are gaining.
Dan Rather finds that there is an increasing "climate of fear running through newsrooms" these days. I certainly hope that this is so -- the former monopolists in the newsrooms should fear that, unless they report with less bias, their audience will continue to decline in the face of competition. And, at a minimum, they should fear that if they present blockbluster reports based on fabricated evidence, as Rather did, they will lose their jobs.
However, the MSM's coverage of Hurricane Katrina suggests that there is no such fear factor. Indeed, Rather himself deems this coverage represents "one of television news' finest moments."
I wonder which part of the coverage Rather liked best. Perhaps it was the appearance on NBC's Meet the Press of Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish, La. He recounted for a national audience the story of a woman stranded in a nursing home who kept calling her son for help, day after day, until she finally died on September 2, ostensibly because the federal reaction to Hurricane Katrina was too slow. Only the story was false. The patients at St. Rita nursing home died on August 29, the same day the hurricane struck New Orleans. The purportedly slow federal response had nothing to do with it. How did this Ratheresque error occur? Perhaps NBC, like CNN, wanted Broussard to "get angry."
Or maybe Rather was happiest with the bogus death count estimate of 10,000 that the MSM put forth. I'm partial to this one because it springs, in part, from a central fallacy of the leftism of the MSM and others -- that people have no capacity to act without the government's help. The intitial impact of the storm could not have caused anything like 10,000 deaths, nor was this the impression the MSM wanted to convey. The estimate assumed instead that, with government not functioning, a substantial number of residents who did not evacuate the city lacked the intiative to move to higher ground (or to the Superdome, as they were told to) as the water level rose, and the decency to help the incapacitated do so. In effect the estimate assumed that a large number of residents lacked the sense, as the old saying goes, "to come in out of the rain." Only a liberal (think Bill Clinton, for example) would have such a low regard for the ability of humans to engage in minimal self-help. And, given the demographics of New Orleans, it would also help for the liberal to be a racist.
Rather says the Katrina coverage was great because reporters were "willing to speak truth to power." Putting aside the hoariness of the cliche, can Rather possibly be so clueless that he doesn't know that much of what the MSM reported turned out not to be true at all? Or is it that he just doesn't care? It's hard to avoid the conclusion that for Rather, "speaking truth to power" means "smearing Republicans with whatever means come to hand." In other words, the MSM coverage of Hurricane Katrina was fake, but accurate.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
During the past week I read story after story about how so many of New Orleans' middle and upper income residents were able to flee the city as Katrina approached, but the poor were left to fend for themselves. The difference here wasn't money. The difference here was attitude. It was the self-sufficient vs. the dependent. The evil rich and middle-income residents fled New Orleans because they are used to accepting the responsibility for their own welfare and safety. The poor stayed behind because they're mired in the sludge of generation after generation of dependency on government. The accomplished class knows that they bear the responsibility for meeting their own needs and providing for their safety. The poor by-and-large bear no such responsibility. To them, it's the government's job. Instead of taking responsibility for their own safety --- they just sat there, waiting for government to come and save them. The achievement-oriented residents of New Orleans were spared the horrors of the violence and filth that followed the flooding because they kept doing what they had been doing all along -- accepting responsibility. The poor were subjected to the violence and filth because they also kept doing what they had been doing all along -- depending on government.
Hurricane Katrina illustrated the truth behind the contention that poverty is a behavioral disorder.
Now here's something you probably didn't know about Louisiana and Hurricane Katrina. At the very time Katrina was bearing down on New Orleans, there were several top-level officials in the very department of Louisiana government that prepares for emergencies such as Katrina sitting around and waiting for their trial. Trial, you say? Trial for what? Let's try corruption and throw in a bit of fraud.
It seems that these Louisiana officials either misspent or misplaced or ... worse ... about 60 million federal taxpayer bucks. Here are some details ...
In March of this year -- that's about five months before Katrina -- FEMA was asking for the return of $30.4 million that the federal government had sent to Louisiana for emergency planning and preparedness. Most of this money was sent to some state office called the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Wait .. it gets worse. According to the Los Angeles Times, much of that money was sent to Louisiana under some federal program called the Hazard Mitigation Grant program. That is a program that is, in part, supposed to help states improve flood control facilities. Flood? Did someone say flood?
Hazard mitigation would have been a great idea in New Orleans, don't you think? Especially that "improve flood control facilities" part, but nobody seems to know where the money went! OK ... let's follow the trail of $15.4 million dollars that was spent by the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. The $15.4 million was part of a $40.5 million grant of your money that was sent to Louisiana for the Hazard Mitigation Program. You know ... flood control and all that. Oops! Hold on a second here. My bad. It seems we can't follow that $15.4 million.. You see, the Louisiana officials say that they awarded that money to subcontractors for 19 major hazard mitigation programs, but they just can't seem to find any receipts to account of 97% of the funds. Ninety-seven percent of $15.4 million, my friends. No receipts. That's $14.94 million .. gone, and nobody can trace it.
Do any of you think that something good might have been done with some of this money? Lives saved? Flooding prevented? If you're thinking that, remember ... we're talking Hurricane Katrina here, and we all know that every bad thing that happened in Hurricane Katrina was --- all together now ---- Bush's Fault!
Perhaps if these Louisiana officials ever actually go to trial now they will be able to use the "Blame Bush" defense.
Let's see ... what else have we learned in the past week about the response to Katrina.
Doctors from across the United States poured into Louisiana to offer their services in shelters and hospitals treating Katrina's victims. They could do nothing. They just sat. You see, they weren't licensed to practice medicine in Louisiana. It took the amazing Governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, five days to sign a waiver to allow these doctors to practice medicine in Louisiana. Five days, while people were suffering and dying. Don't blame Blanco, though. It was clearly Bush's fault.
In 1997 the U.S. Congress appropriated $500,000 of your money -- not federal money, taxpayer's money -- to the State of Louisiana. The money was set aside to create a "comprehensive analysis and plan of all evacuation alternatives for New Orleans." Now correct me if I'm wrong, but that's the big deal here, isn't it? New Orleans didn't get evacuated, right? Well, for two years nothing happened. Then the Congress demanded of Louisiana a plan for evacuation in the event of a category 3 story, a levee break, a flood or some other natural disaster. The $500,000 of your money got to Louisiana .. but then what? It was spent by the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission, not on an evacuation plan, but things that needed to be done to the Lake Pontchartrain causeway over the next fifteen years or so. What does the incredible Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness have to say about the funds and the causeway study? The spokesman says that they can't find any information. Actually, we shouldn't be holding the Louisiana emergency preparedness folks or the state responsible for this ... not when we all know it was Bush's fault.
Speaking of flood control. You did know, didn't you, that in 1996 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was going to raise and strengthen the very levees that failed in New Orleans. They were going to, but they didn't. And why not? Because of a lawsuit, that's why. The plaintiff in the lawsuit didn't want the work done until extensive and expensive environmental impact statements were prepared by the Corps of Engineers and approved by the EPA. And who filed that lawsuit? Why .. it was the Sierra Club. The very same Sierra Club, by the way, that listened with rapt attention in San Francisco on September 9th while Al Gore told them that the leaders of this country ought to be held accountable for the flooding in New Orleans. Now, some of us might be so twisted as to think that the very Sierra Club that was so enthralled by Gore's rantings should bear some of the blame here ... but that's only because we just don't realize that it was all Bush's fault. Oh .. and by the way. Why haven't we heard more about this Sierra Club lawsuit in the mainstream media? Remember the template.
Mayor Ray Nagin is inviting residents of some areas of New Orleans to come back to their homes and businesses and begin the cleanup process. There's another possible hurricane bearing down on the Florida Keys --- a tropical storm that could become a hurricane and could head toward New Orleans. Now it's possible that if over 100,000 residents return to New Orleans and are further victimized by another hurricane and another flood .. will it be Mayor Ray Nagin's fault? Of course not, you idiots! It will be George Bush's fault! Haven't you been paying attention?
HOLD IT---STOP THE PRESSES---Mayor Nagin has changed his mind and now agrees with Bush that folks should not come back to New Orleans just yet. So they will stay in Houston which is on target for a direct hit and will suffer another major strike and it will all be------------------------------------ you got the idea!
Monday, September 19, 2005
Bumped: Another Katrina Myth: Aaron Broussard's "Emotional" Appearance on MTP (Updated: MSNBC/NBC Correction(?))
In yesterday's Chicago Sun-Times [9/12/05], Richard Roeper called Jefferson Parish, LA president Aaron Broussard's tearful outburst, shown September 4th on Meet the Press, "One of the defining media moments of all the hurricane [Katrina] coverage":
"The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in a St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, 'Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?' And he said, 'Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday.' And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night.""
Like a lot of people, I didn't think Broussard's story passed the "smell test". We were right: He was lying.MSNBC's Dateline web site, September 5th:
On Sunday, America met 56-year-old Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard in an extraordinary display of raw emotion on NBC’s “Meet the Press” when he talked about a colleague whose mother was trapped in a nursing home awaiting rescue.
The man he was talking about is Thomas Rodrigue, who told “Dateline” that his 92-year-old mother was one of 32 elderly people found dead at the St. Rita’s nursing home.
September 7th, New York Times reported on the deaths at St. Rita's:
St. Bernard Parish officials say that 32 of the home's roughly 60 residents died on Aug. 29, more than a week ago.
August 29th was a Monday. Was Broussard confused about the day on which Rodrigue's mother died?
Susan Candiottoti, reporting on the September 8th broadcast of Newsnight With Aaron Brown:
CANDIOTTI: Sunday night [ed: August 28th], as Katrina struck, Rodrigue was 30 miles away directing emergency personnel for Jefferson Parish. He called the nursing home in St. Bernard Parish again, pleading with officials to get the residents out. He was told they were going to try.
RODRIGUE: I called the St. Bernard officials again and, you know, told them that, you know, they've got to get, you know, these people out. And they said they notified them, and that they weren't -- they refused to leave. And I said, "Well, you need to send the sheriff's office down there and make them leave." And he said, "I'm doing everything I can."
So, Thomas Rodrigue says he was calling the St. Rita's nursing home, and St. Bernard Parish officials on Sunday, August 28th, asking them to send the local sheriff to evacuate the nursing home. Katrina hit St. Bernard Parish on Monday, August 29th, killing his mother.
Broussard claims Rodrigue was talking to his mother for four days after she died, promising her some nebulous "cavalry" was on the way. His story doesn't jibe with the reporting of CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, or even Thomas Rodrigue's own account.
Why would he lie about such a thing?
Aaron Broussard's crocodile tears came at the tail-end of a tirade against FEMA, in response to a question from Tim Russert asking whether the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Loisiana could have been "more forceful, much more effective and much more organized in evacuating the area." Just before his "breakdown," Broussard said:
Who is the "they" he's referring to? It's worth noting that, according to the State of Loisiana's Emergency Preparedned Plan (PDF warning)local officials are responsible for evacuating residents of the various parishes before and during the early stages of the aftermath of a hurricane.
"Sir, they were told like me, every single day, "The cavalry's coming," on a federal level, "The cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming.""
Was Broussard (a Democrat) trying to score political points (and possibly deflect blame away from local government officials) by blaming federal agencies for failing to respond in a timely manner when people's lives were in danger?If that was his intention, it worked (at least at first). Russert didn't challenge him, even when he made wild accusations of FEMA "cutting [his parish's] emergency [communication] lines" and ordering the Coast Guard not to give them badly needed fuel. Since any blame for this should be placed on Lousiana state and/or local government officials, any OUTRAGE or RIGHTEOUS indignation should be directed toward them. But don't hold your breath waiting for Tim Russert to issue a correction.
To their credit, even Lies.com issued a correction after initially reporting on Broussard's accusations:
So, assuming the MSNBC story is accurate, Broussard’s story was at least significantly embellished... Broussard, for all the apparent sincerity in his emotional on-air breakdown, was willing to lie in order to make his story work better as political theater, which in turn makes it harder for me to credit the rest of the slow-FEMA-response anecdotes he described.
I won't be as kind. At best, I think Aaron Broussard is the political equivalent of a price gouger; taking advantage of a tragedy in order to gain political capital. He may very well be purposely trying to blame someone's death on an innocent party (or parties). Either way, it's despicable.
See also: Heh.
In recent years, the Democrats have violated many of the tacit conventions of civility that have enabled our political system to work for more than two centuries. Yesterday another barrier fell, and once again, we entered uncharted waters: former President Bill Clinton launched a vicious attack on President Bush on ABC's "This Week" program.
This has never happened before. Until now, both parties have recognized a patriotism that, at some level, supersedes partisanship. Consistent with that belief, former Presidents of both parties have stayed out of politics and have avoided criticizing their successors. Until now. The Democrats appear bent on destroying every element of the fabric that has united us as Americans.
Clinton's vicious attack is even worse in the context of his wife's Presidential bid: it is fair to assume that he was motivated not only by partisanship, but by his own desire to re-occupy the White House, and, most likely, wield once more the levers of power.
Breaking with tradition under which US presidents mute criticisms of their successors, Clinton said the Bush administration had decided to invade Iraq "virtually alone and before UN inspections were completed, with no real urgency, no evidence that there were weapons of mass destruction."
This attack was false in every respect. The invasion of Iraq had the support of dozens of nations. The UN's inspections could never be "completed," but the UN itself had reported that large quantities of WMDs remained unaccounted for. On the other hand, Clinton's suggestion that there was "no real urgency" about the situation in Iraq was probably sincere, as it typified Clinton's approach to terrorism: he perceived no urgency after the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, or after al Qaeda's attempt to simultaneously destroy a dozen American airplanes over the Pacific in 1995; or after the attacks on American embassies in Africa in 1998; or after Saddam's attempt to assassinate former President Bush; or after Saddam repeatedly tried to shoot down American aircraft; or after the Cole bombing in 2000; or after the Taliban took over Afghanistan and converted it into a training ground for anti-American mass murderers; or after any number of other provocations. So, naturally, Clinton saw no urgency with respect to dealing with Saddam's regime. Of course, had Saddam facilitated a post-9/11 attack on the U.S. using chemical or biological weapons, you can imagine how harshly Clinton would have criticized Bush for his lack of foresight.
Clinton's assertion that there was "no evidence that there were weapons of mass destruction" is a flat-out lie. The Consensus Estimate of the American intelligence agencies has been made public, and we have quoted from it and linked to it on many occasions. America's intelligence agencies said, with a "high degree of confidence," that Saddam possessed both chemical and biological weapons. These were the same intelligence reports that Clinton received as President, so he is well aware of them. His statement was not a mistake, it was a lie.
Clinton goes on:
Clinton said there had been a "heroic but so far unsuccessful" effort to put together a constitution that would be universally supported in Iraq.
A ridiculous standard, of course. No nation has ever adopted a constitution that was "universally supported," least of all, our own.
The US strategy of trying to develop the Iraqi military and police so that they can cope without US support "I think is the best strategy. The problem is we may not have, in the short run, enough troops to do that," said Clinton.
Someone tell me: what did Clinton ever do, during his eight years in office, to build up America's armed forces or increase our power? He continues:
On Hurricane Katrina, Clinton faulted the authorities' failure to evacuate New Orleans ahead of the storm's strike on August 29.
People with cars were able to heed the evacuation order, but many of those who were poor, disabled or elderly were left behind.
"If we really wanted to do it right, we would have had lots of buses lined up to take them out," Clinton.
Note that when Clinton faulted the "authorities," he meant the Bush administration--although, as AFP points out, he "agreed that some responsibility for this lay with the local and state authorities." In fact, the entire responsibility lay with state and local authorities. Here, Clinton is simply playing on the ignorance of his listeners--a time-honored Democratic tactic. And speaking of "buses lined up to take them out," readers of this site are well aware that buses were "lined up," and that the City of New Orleans' hurricane plan contemplated that those buses would be used to evacuate residents. But, due entirely to the incompetence and fecklessness of local authorities, hundreds of buses that were "lined up" were never used. Clinton knows this; again, he is baldly attempting to deceive his listening audience.
Clinton finished up with some budget commentary:
On the US budget, Clinton warned that the federal deficit may be coming untenable, driven by foreign wars, the post-hurricane recovery programme and tax cuts that benefitted just the richest one percent of the US population, himself included.
More lies. As Clinton well knows, the Bush tax cuts benefited all taxpayers. And by historical standards, the current deficit is relatively small as a proportion of GDP, and is dropping.
Again and again, President Bush has tried to work with the Democrats as if they were loyal Americans first, and partisans second. He has treated Bill Clinton with a friendship and respect that, candidly, is disproportionate to Clinton's meager accomplishments. Again and again, the Democrats have rebuffed Bush's overtures and taken advantage of his patriotism and good faith. Clinton's politically-motivated tissue of lies and distortions is just the latest example out of many. But it is unprecedented, coming from a former President. That is a sad thing: the latest wound inflicted on the body politic by the Democratic Party.
UPDATE: Reader Steve Tefft sends this Clinton quote from July 23, 2003:
[I]t is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons.
That was then, I guess; this is now. And 2008 is just a few short years away. So it's time, apparently, to revise the historical record.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Spiders are ancient animals with a history going back many millions of years. They have always been with us, an ancient source of fear and fascination. They are abundant and widespread and are natural controllers of insect populations. Wherever you live, you're always close to a spider.
Then there are the human spiders especially those human spiders from
Human spiders aren’t really spiders of the arachnids; they are in the insect category. Some have even been known to wear “beer holsters”. I would post a picture of a human spider but I refuse to put pornography on the site. However if you have the stomach for complete and total intellectual dishonesty and the highest level of ignorance you too can correspond with a human spider at:
Good luck and don’t say you weren’t warned.
What it means to be pro-Iraq war and anti-Iraq war was brought into crystal clear relief two nights ago in a nationally broadcast debate from New York City between writer Christopher Hitchens and British MP George Galloway. It was not a good night for neo-libs. Hitchens, a writer and lecturer with long and deep ties to the socialist left, calmly, humorously at times and with scholarship, spoke of the coalition and Iraqi forces struggle against Baathists and Al-Queda as a battle against the real imperialists and fascists. He spoke of Sharia law that would be imposed in an Al-Queda Iraqi state. He spoke of Casey Sheehan who was murdered while assisting his comrades in restoring water to Sadr City by the very people his mother would later acquit. He talked candidly about his own change of heart from 1991 to the present having seen for himself in Kurdistan the wasteland Saddam left there. He pointed out the politicizing of so-called facts, the now discredited figure of "100,000 people killed by coalition forces." Saying "you are no longer allowed to mention Iraq and WMDs in the same sentence," he cut through the rhetoric by pointing out Saddam's clear maneuvering to acquire these weapons, his extensively and indelibly documented use of them and the fact that these actions had made Iraq, prior to the war, a virtual "ward of the international community." He asked the audience to consider how anyone would want to be taken seriously making statements to the effect that imported murderers are "freedom-fighters." And, exposing himself with candor for his opposition to the Gulf War (I was also among those who opposed that war and it seems these days having a mind open enough to reassess one's views is a war crime) he stated that had the anti-War movement of the last 15 years gotten its way, murdering regimes in not just Iraq but in the Balkans and Rwanda would have expanded their efforts at liquidating neighboring states as well as their own people.
For his part George Galloway could only speak of the past.(I should say he could only shout of the past since he spent most of his time extolling at the high end of the VU meter) He talked about America's arming of Iraq. He talked of America's "imperialist" march into Lebanon in 1958. He invoked the names Cheney and Rumsfeld as well as Bush Sr. as the real, historic culprits. He time and again used the anti-War manual for meekly acknowledging the horror of mid-east fascism while declaiming its root causes. To that end, he claimed 9/11 was some kind of logical reaction, as if fascists are people that can be reasoned with. (Hitchens tried to tell him New york City wasn't the best place to say something like that) He resorted to faux indignation. When Hitchens pointed out that the Johns Hopkins report on the so-called 100,000 killed in Iraq was, by its writers own admission, faulty and inconclusive, Galloway retorted that Hitchens was calling the academicians of Johns Hopkins "fabricators," saying it with an almost wide-eyed astonishment. He also had to be continuously reminded that the war in '91 was not against Iraq proper but it's invasion of Kuwait, a war given international sanction and support.
For me, the knockout came early when Hitchens told the assembled that, recently, Galloway had stood with the dictator of Syria, Assad, and praised his support of the insurgents in Iraq. Galloway then traveled to America to give comfort to Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed by the very people he had just given approbation to. The audience was stunned for a split second before some of the idiots actually started booing Hitchens. The truth hurts.
I listened to the stream at kpftx.org but it was a little out of sequence. However, there are a great many links to be found. CSPAN2 will air it Saturday night at 7.p.m. central (that's tonight boys and girls).
Any Supreme Court nominee should be expected to demonstrate a commitment to the constitutional & legal principles that protect Americans’ rights, liberties & legal protections. John Roberts started his confirmation hearing with two major obstacles to overcome: a long record of advancing legal positions that would undermine protections for Americans’ rights & liberties; & the White House’s refusal to release information about Roberts’ role as the powerful second in command at the solicitor general’s office in the first Bush administration at a time when the office worked to undermine legal protections for privacy, civil rights, women’s rights & religious liberty.CORRECTION: Any Supreme Court nominee should be expected to demonstrate a commitment to the Constitution, its Amendments, the laws of the land & international treaties we're signatories to. PERIOD. It isn't a justice's duty to advance protections for Americans’ rights & liberties. It's their job to adhere to the aforementioned Constitution.
I think Mr. Roberts put it best when asked if he'd side with the "little guy". Mr. Roberts stated that he'd side with the little guy when the laws & the Constitution was on his side.
Roberts had an opportunity, dozens of opportunities actually, to address both his troubling record & the lack of clarity about his role & positions on critical cases. But he chose instead to evade, mislead & stonewall. He refused to answer over a hundred questions posed by Senators from both sides of the aisle, unacceptable obstructionism from a Chief Justice nominee.TRANSLATION: John Roberts answered with a precision never seen before in confirmation hearings & he answered more questions than any other Supreme Court nominee, too, if my information is right. Even hyper-partisan Chuck Schumer called him the "most brilliant legal mind" to ever come before the Judiciary Committee.
Quite frankly, he manhandled 'Goofy' Joe Biden & 'Angry' Ted Kennedy in such a way that I almost felt sorry for them. ALMOST. Biden's performance was as pathetic as Howell Heflin's in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, which is speaks volumes. Judge Roberts was like that of the well-respected Dean of a law school & Biden & Kennedy were like freshmen law students.
He repeatedly distanced himself from his own record by claiming to have been just doing his job, but often without telling senators what he thought then or thinks now about the positions he was advocating. Silence is normally golden, but in the case of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, it’s downright ominous, especially given his long record of using his political positions to weaken Americans’ legal protections.TRANSLATION: Judge Roberts simply pointed out that he was a zealous advocate for his client, whether his client was at the Solicitor General's office or if it was at the Justice Department. There's nothing ominous about that, Mr. Neas. You just don't like that he isn't a reactionary liberal. That's what happens when you can't win elections.
This week we’ve been watching the classic hidden ball trick. John Roberts has spent the last three days trying to hide the ball from senators who are charged by the Constitution with evaluating whether to entrust him with the nation’s most powerful legal job for the rest of his life. No American can expect to be hired for a job if he refuses to answer questions in the interview & Roberts is no exception. As Chief Justice, John Roberts would have a huge impact on Americans’ lives & legal protections, for decades to come. His record, his silence & the power of the position to which he’s been nominated, make John Roberts a dangerous bet, one that senators shouldn’t take.TRANSLATION: Mr. Neas's cronies in the Senate were stumped the entire time. That doesn't, however, translate into being Judge Roberts being evasive. It just translates into Kennedy, Biden, Leahy & Feinstein being inferior legal minds compared with soon-to-be Chief Justice Roberts.
In the past, Sheehan has called for the US to move out of Afghanistan and Iraq, but today she upped the ante by calling for them to move out of the United States, too...well, New Orleans at least:
One thing that truly troubled me about my visit to Louisiana was the level of the military presence there. I imagined before that if the military had to be used in a CONUS (Continental US) operations that they would be there to help the citizens: Clothe them, feed them, shelter them, and protect them. But what I saw was a city that is occupied. I saw soldiers walking around in patrols of 7 with their weapons slung on their backs. I wanted to ask one of them what it would take for one of them to shoot me. Sand bags were removed from private property to make machine gun nests.
The vast majority of people who were looting in New Orleans were doing so to feed their families or to get resources to get their families out of there. If I had a store with an inventory of insured belongings, and a tragedy happened, I would fling my doors open and tell everyone to take what they need: it is only stuff. When our fellow citizens are told to "shoot to kill" other fellow citizens because they want to stay alive, that is military and governmental fascism gone out of control.
...If George Bush truly listened to God and read the words of the Christ, Iraq and the devastation in New Orleans would have never happened. I don't care if a human being is black, brown, white, yellow or pink. I don't care if a human being is Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, or pagan. I don't care what flag a person salutes: if a human being is hungry, then it is up to another human being to feed him/her. George Bush needs to stop talking, admit the mistakes of his all around failed administration, pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq, and excuse his self from power. The only way America will become more secure is if we have a new administration that cares about Americans even if they don't fall into the top two percent of the wealthiest."
I think the overwhelming majority of Americans, as opposed to moonbats like Cindy Sheehan, think the military came to New Orleans, and is still there, to clothe, feed, shelter, and protect people after the disaster.
But see, that's the difference between most people and anti-war wackos like Cindy Sheehan.
The average person who's still in New Orleans probably takes a great deal of comfort in having all those troops around after a disaster like Katrina. On the other hand, Cindy Sheehan and her anti-war ilk view the troops as "occupiers" who are to be feared, even when they're aiding other Americans.
That, as much as anything else Cindy Sheehan has said so far, should tell you how out of touch she is with reality.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
If Bush is to blame for such a high death toll, then shouldn't he also get the credit for the number of casualties being so low?
That's the question my neo-con niece asked me yesterday afternoon right before I dropped her off on the turnpike. Naturally, I blew it off as the ignorant bleatings of a brainwashed Nazi larvae. But as her wailing visage grew smaller in my rear view mirror, I couldn't help but wonder if she had clumsily stumbled onto something.
The staggeringly high body count in the latest of Bush's hurricanes was a monument to his incompetence, if not his intense hatred for blacks. Compassionate democrats had looked forward to surfing the tide of human suffering all the way to the 2008 elections. Now, with the number of casualties significantly lower than the 10,000 we had counted on, many of us are left wondering where it all went right.
Granted, 279 dead is nothing to sneeze at. Democrats might be able to milk it for a few votes, but nowhere near what they need to repeal Bush's tax cuts and put the Hillary-Obama ticket over the top in 2008. Sadly, we soon may have to face the undeniable truth that a good deal of people survived Hurricane Katrina.
Very convenient for the Shrub, isn't it?
Almost TOO convenient.
An infantry marine talks back to the NYTimes' Frank Rich (published in yesterday's NYTimes letters section):
To the Editor:
I am an infantry marine with 12 years of service, and I am presently stationed in Falluja, Iraq. I am also a New Orleans native and my parents live in Mandeville, which is on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain. They have lost everything.
I take issue with "Falluja Floods the Superdome," by Frank Rich. Falluja is doing quite well. I know because my marines are out on the streets every day. We've been here for almost seven months, and the difference is night and day since we got here.
Secondly, I have 20 other marines in my battalion who are from Louisiana, and not one of us considers himself a "have-not." In fact, every marine in this battalion is proud of what we have accomplished, and we are proud to be marines. Military service was a choice, not a last resort for us.
(Staff Sgt.) Jeff Harilson
Falluja, Iraq, Sept. 5, 2005
FRIDAY, AUGUST 26
Dozens of local, state, and federal disaster officials meet to discuss FEMA Disaster Declaration No. 1601 that was issued as a result of tropical storm Cindy damages that occurred in July.
They also briefly discussed Katrina – although not quite in the context you might think:
“We’ve got this one storm we’re clearing up, yet we have another in the Gulf,” he said of Katrina, a rapidly strengthening storm that crossed south Florida on Thursday night and is expected to make a second landfall as a strong Category 3 hurricane somewhere between Louisiana and Florida late Sunday or Monday.
The subject of Friday’s meeting was serious, but as is often the case, participants relied on a bit of humor to ease the tension.
“Shouldn’t we just apply for Katrina money now? It would save time and taxpayers’ money,” joked Jim Baker, operations superintendent for the East Jefferson Levee District, one of the public agencies in line for a FEMA check.
Wonder what the group thought about this?
Off and on throughout the morning, Smith and Col. Steve Dabadie, Louisiana National Guard chief of staff, used a hand-held device to keep a check on Katrina’s track.
When the storm began a slight shift to the west, the device was passed from hand-to-hand for others to get a look.
Bet that room sobered up quite a bit after that.
The Mississippi Valley Division of the Army Corps of Engineers activates teams along the Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf Coasts to prepare for a potential response to Hurricane Katrina. (HT: Random 10)
Governor Blanco declares a State of Emergency for all of Louisiana. The President also issues a State of Emergency declaration and directs DHS and FEMA to coordinate disaster relief efforts. Revised 9/8.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 27
Overnight, Katrina strengthened and was drawing a bead on the gulf coast, moving west-northwest at 15 miles an hour and packing winds of 115 MPH.
A press conference with Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco sounded the alarm. The Mayor urged residents to take the storm seriously saying to residents of low lying areas, “We want you to take this a little more seriously and start moving — right now, as a matter of fact,” Nagin said he would open the Superdome as a shelter of “last resort” for people with “special needs.”
He advised anyone planning to stay there to bring there own food, drinks and other comforts such as folding chairs, as if planning to go camping.
“No weapons, no large items, and bring small quanties of food for three or four days, to be safe,” he said.
Nagin spokeswoman Tami Frazier stressed that the mayor does not want citizens to plan on staying in the Dome—instead, they should make arrangements to leave the city if possible.
Police Superintendent Edward Compass said that looters would be “dealt with severly and harshly and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
By mid-afternoon, officials in Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, Lafourche, Terrebonne and Jefferson parishes had called for voluntary or mandatory evacuations.
Mayor Nagin issued a voluntary evacuation order at 5:00 PM.
Nagin said late Saturday that he’s having his legal staff look into whether he can order a mandatory evacuation of the city, a step he’s been hesitant to do because of potential liability on the part of the city for closing hotels and other businesses. “Come the first break of light in the morning, you may have the first mandatory evacuation of New Orleans,” Nagin told WWL-TV.
The National Hurrican Center warns officials that Katrina is strengthening and will probably make landfall as a Category 4 or 5. This is really scary. This is not a test, as your governor said earlier today. This is the real thing,” said Director Max Mayfield. “The bottom line is this is a worst-case scenario and everybody needs to recognize it,” he said.
National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield calls Mayor Nagin at his home telling him that a mandatory evacuation was needed. He also calls Governor Blanco informing her of the strength of the Hurricane and its potential damage. Revised 9/7
SUNDAY, AUGUST 28
By 8:00 AM, Katrina, a category 5 hurricane, is headed straight for New Orleans. According to this peice in Editor and Publisher FEMA Director Brown, DHS Secretary Chertoff as well as local and state officials are informed by National Hurricane Director Max Mayfield via electronic briefing that the storm will cause massive damage and flooding – including levee toppings (not breeches) – in New Orleans 32 hours before the eye of the storm makes landfall. Mayfield briefed the President later in the day via video conference.
“Mayfield said the strength of the storm and the potential disaster it could bring were made clear during both the briefings and in formal advisories, which warned of a storm surge capable of overtopping levees in New Orleans and winds strong enough to blow out windows of high-rise buildings.” Revised 9/10
The Superdome opens at 8:00 AM and begins to take people in.
In the face of a catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, a mandatory evacuation was ordered Sunday for New Orleans by Mayor Ray Nagin.
Gov. Kathleen Blanco, standing beside the mayor at a news conference, said President Bush called and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation. The President’s call came just prior to the news conference and occurred after the decision had already been made. for the low-lying city, which is prone to flooding. Revised 9/6 (HT: Jay) Lexis-Nexis Subscription needed to access link.
“There doesn’t seem to be any relief in sight,” Blanco said.
The Mayor’s office announces at 9:30 AM that RTA (Regional Transit Authority) busses will pick people up at 12 locations throughout the city and take them to shelters – including the Superdome. This is in accordance with both the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan for the city of New Orleans and The State of Louisiana Emergency Operations Plan Supplement 1B which clearly states that people who cannot be evacuated will be taken to “last resort” shelters such as the Superdome.
At 11:30 AM the President delivers a statement vowing to help those affected by the hurricane.
Governor Blanco requests that the President declare an “expected major disaster” for the state of Louisiana under the auspices of the Stafford Act. The declaration is designed to start major relief supplies flowing immediately to the affected area. Revised 9/8
By noon, the city puts its contraflow traffic system in effect so that both sides of major highways will allow for traffic out of the city.
The Coast Guard Auxillary was preparing to deploy. “William Crouch, Vice Commodore of the Auxiliary Eighth District Central Region stated this afternoon that “units from outlying areas are preparing to depart for the disaster area as soon as the situation becomes clear.”
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco help from his state’s National Guard on Sunday. Blanco accepted, but paperwork needed to get the troops en route didn’t come from Washington until late Thursday. Revised 9/7
National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield holds a video conference call with President Bush in which he outlines the strength of the hurricane and potential damage. Revised 9/8
By 3:00 PM, more than 10,000 people had either made their way into the Superdome or were standing outside. Those with medical problems were shuffled over to one side of the dome. Everyone else went to the other side:
“The people arriving on this side of the building are expected to fend for themselves,” said Terry Ebbert, the city’s homeland security director. “We have some water.”
About 150 National Guard soldiers, New Orleans police and civil sheriff’s deputies were patrolling the facility. Some weapons were confiscated.
Officials were settling in for what they predicted would be an incredibly hot and uncomfortable night. They expected flooding on the field and loss of power early today.
But officials were confident they could care for those with special needs.
“I’m not worried about what is tolerable or intolerable,” he [Ebbert] said. “I’m worried about, whether you are alive on Tuesday.”
Mayor Nagin ordered a curfew for the city beginning at 6:00 PM.
Louisiana Senators send a joint letter to the President thanking him for his actions and requesting that he visit the storm ravaged area “as soon as practical.”
The Coast Guard closes the ports and waterways into New Orleans. “The Guard also moved 40 aircraft and 30 boats and cutters in positions surrounding the expected strike zone, such as Houston and Jacksonville, readying to conduct search and rescue and humantarian missions, the Guard release said. ”
A 10:00 PM Katrina advisory by the National Hurricane Center has the storm moving slightly to the east and weakening.
About 26,000 people are taking refuge in the Superdome. “To help keep them fed and hydrated, the Louisiana National Guard delivered three truckloads of water and seven truckloads of MREs — short for “meals ready to eat.” That’s enough to supply 15,000 people for three days, according to Col. Jay Mayeaux, deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Preparedness.
Wes McDermott with the Office of Emergency Preparedness reports on conditions inside the Superdome. There are between 8,000 and 9,000 (later reports put the number at 26,000) people with more than 600 people with medical needs on hand.
Also, General Ralph Lupin, who commands the 550 National Guardsmen at the Superdome, reports that an additional 400 people have been sent to area hospitals before the 11:00 PM curfew. Revised 9/10
Louis Armstrong Airport closes late Sunday night.
MONDAY, AUGUST 29
Overnight and Morning
More than 4,000 National Guardsmen are mobilizing in Memphis” to help police New Orleans streets.
The city’s director of homeland security said tonight that officials hope Katrina gets through the region Monday with several hours of daylight left so they can get up in the air and assess the damage.
“We are going to have very limited communication,” Terry Ebbert said. “The first order of business will be life-saving operations.” That may mean relocating thousands of people in the Superdome once power goes out and temperatures start to rise above 100 degrees, he said
At 3:00 AM the National Hurricane Center reported Katrian three hours from landfall with winds of 150 MPH.
Aircraft in position to help assess the damage and carry out rescues:
Aircraft are positioned from Hammond to the Texas border ready to fly behind the storm to check damage after it passes over New Orleans, said Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau, head of the Louisiana National Guard.
Search and rescue operations are being coordinated by the Guard with the state Wildlife and Fisheries Department and Coast Guard poised to help search for survivors stranded by the storm. Guardsmen are also deployed at the Jackson Barracks ready to head into the city using high-water vehicles, Landreneau said.
Director Ebbert said rescue priorities would be given to those stranded in their homes and those hospitalized. “If the storm passes by 2 p.m., Ebbert said, “we have a few hours to get these people out before dark. It may involve some airlifts.’’
Hurricane Katrina strikes New Orleans at 8:00 AM with winds at 120 MPH and a storm surge of 18 feet. Revised 9/8
As the Category 4 surged ashore just east of New Orleans on Monday, FEMA had medical teams, rescue squads and groups prepared to supply food and water poised in a semicircle around the city, said agency Director Michael Brown.
Brown, in a telephone interview with The Associated Press, said the evacuation of the city and the general emergency response were working as planned in an exercise a year ago. “I was impressed with the evacuation, once it was ordered it was very smooth.”
Levee break at 17th street floods about 20% of the city.
At 11:00 AM, FEMA Director Brown arrives in Baton Rouge at the State Office of Emergency Preparedness.
FEMA Director Brown sends a memo to DHS Secretary Chertoff requesting the additonal 1,000 FEMA employees engaged in victims assistance (aiding residents in filling out disaster relief forms) and community outreach be dispatched to Louisiana. Brown indicates that the employees have two days to report to LA Homeland Security headquarters. Revised 9/7
FEMA issues a statement urging first responders from other states not to come to disaster area unless there’s coordination between state and local disaster management officials. Revised 9/6
At 1:30 PM, boil order goes into effect for water.
At 1:45 PM, President Bush declares the states of Louisiana and Mississippi “Major Disaster Areas.”
Midafternoon: First reports of looting. TP terms it “widespread.”
At midafternoon Monday, a parade of looters streamed from Coleman’s Retail Store at 4001 Earhart Blvd. The looters, men and women who appeared to be in their early teens to mid-40s, braved a steady rain and infrequent tropical-stormforce winds to tote away boxes of clothing and shoes from the store.
By 2:00 PM, “Wes McDermott, from the office of emergency preparedness in New Orleans, said officials have fielded at least 100 calls from people in distress in the Lower 9th Ward and eastern New Orleans.”
At 3:00 PM President Bush said in a speech in Arizona “the federal government has got assets and resources that we’ll be deploying to help you.”
At 3:00 PM, Director Ebbett said “Everybody who had a way or wanted to get out of the way of this storm was able to. For some that didn’t, it was their last night on this earth.’’ He also said that the city had 100 boats to carry out search and rescue operations.
At 3:45 PM Louisiana Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown said this afternoon that it’s too early to give an estimate on damage in New Orleans, because he is unable to get a team into downtown. The water level in St. Bernard Parish had reached the second story of the courthouse. Revised 9/8
At 6:50 PM, more reports of looting.
Search and Rescue teams work through the night to bring people to safety.
[Wildlife Secretary] Landreneau said by dawn he will have more than 200 boats in the water, 120 more than he had Monday. He said he has a commitment from Texas for another 50 boats.
American Red Cross spokesman Victor Howell said 750 to 1,000 Red Cross personnel are now at work on hurricane recovery in Louisiana, and 2,000 more volunteers will be here in the next few days.
The Red Cross will bring in three large mobile kitchens to prepare 500,000 meals per day. There are 40 shelters statewide, housing about 32,000 people, “and you’re going to have more,” Howell said.
Mayor Nagin, in an interview with TP relates a conversation with federal disaster officials. “FEMA said give us a list of your needs,” said Nagin, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “And let me tell you, we’re giving them a hell of a list.”
TUESDAY, AUGUST 30
Overnight, New Orleans city officials consider whether or not to use the Ernest E. Morial Convention Center as an additional refuge for survivors:
City officials said they might open the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center as a temporary refuge to shelter an estimated 50,000 people made homeless by the storm.
This is the first mention by city officials of using the Convention Center, a shelter not listed in the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan nor listed in any other public statements as a place of refuge for residents. As of 9/7, there is no evidence city officials ever told FEMA or LA Homeland Security officials that they planned to use the Center to house evacuees. Revised 9/7
My Way News reports 4725 LA National Guardsmen deployed on Tuesday. Revised 9/6
DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff activates the National Response Plan and declares Katrina an “incident of national significance”:
The National Response Plan (NRP) fully mobilizes the resources of the entire federal government to support response and recovery efforts for state and local authorities – particularly in the event of a catastrophic incident. Secretary Chertoff has declared the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina an incident of national significance – the first-ever use of this designation. Revised 9/7
Water continues to rise with officials at a loss how to explain it.
It is announced that 500 “special needs patients” at the Superdome will be moved by the end of the day “by whatever means necessary.” Also, Director Landenreau says that 350 boats are in the water looking for trapped residents with 60 more on the way from Texas.
By midmorning it is confirmed that 4 people have died at the Superdome; 3 sick patients and one probable suicide.
Prisoner evacuation from two jails begins.
President’s statement on Katrina devastation.
In an interview with Hugh Hewitt on 9/7, Fox News Correspondent Major Garrett reports that the American Red Cross was ready to go to the Superdome “on Monday or Tuesday” to assist in the relief of the 25,000 people who had taken refuge there but were prevented by the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security from doing so. According to Garrett and this FAQ at the Red Cross website, the reason given was because their presence “would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.” Revised 9/8
At the request of FEMA, the military begins to move additional ships and helicopters to the region. (HT: Jay) Revised 9/6
TP evacuates - moves to Houma.
In an interview with Tim Russert on 9/4, DHS Secretary Chertoff reveals that the first he heard of the 17th street levee break was “midday on Tuesday.” Revised 9/8
Pentagon spokesman Di Rita issues statement saying “the states have adequate National Guard units to handle the hurricane needs, with at least 60 percent of the guard available in each state. He said about 6,500 National Guard troops were available in Louisiana, about 7,000 troops in Mississippi, nearly 10,000 in Alabama and about 8,200 in Florida.
At 4:30 PM, officials send out a call for anyone with boats to help in the rescue effort.
TP reports that police and firefighters are joining in the looting:
At the Wal-Mart on Tchoupitoulas Street, an initial effort to hand out provisions to stranded citizens quickly disintegrated into mass looting. Authorities at the scene said bedlam erupted after the giveaway was announced over the radio.
While many people carried out food and essential supplies, others cleared out jewelry racks and carted out computers, TVs and appliances on handtrucks.
Some officers joined in taking whatever they could, including one New Orleans cop who loaded a shopping cart with a compact computer and a 27-inch flat screen television. (Um…read the whole thing. You won’t believe it. Ed.)
Director Ebbert announces that work has begun to plug the 17th street levee. (Note: Work on plugging the levee did not begin at this time. It is unclear whether he was told that it was beginning or whether he assumed it was from a conversation with the Army Corps of Engineers who said work would begin that afternoon. Ed.)
Levee repair timeline uncertain. This from National Guard Commander Jeff Smith:
Col. Jeff Smith with the Louisiana National Guard said the Corps has informed the state that they are beginning to plan how exactly to fill the holes in the levee, which observers described as several hundred feet long.
Ebbert says work has started. Smith says work has started on planning. This would be a possible explanation for both Ebbert and the Mayor’s frustration. Could they have misunderstood?
Also, hospitals are being evacuated and rescue operations continue. The Governor made it clear that search and rescue was the highest priority:
Blanco said that while search and rescue operations continued that officials were also getting supplies to hospitals and people who sought refuge at the Superdome, which is receiving more residents as people are rescued. After officials have completed all of their rescue operations, they will begin to assess how to evacuate other people in the city who are in high, dry locations.
People being rescued and others looking for food and water are told to go to the Convention Center by local officials. When they get there they find no food, no water, and just a few police. (First mention of Convention Center shelter by TP at 11:09 PM on Wednesday)
A man in a passing pickup truck from the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries finally directed Wallace and the 50 other evacuees under the overpass to the convention center.
But they would find little relief there.
New evacuees were being dropped off after being pulled from inundated eastern New Orleans and Carrollton, pooling with those who arrived on foot. Some had been at the convention center since Tuesday morning but had received no food, water or instructions. They waited both inside and outside the cavernous building.
The influx overwhelmed the few staffers and Louisiana National Guardsmen on hand. Added 9/5.
At 5:50 PM Bush announces he is cutting short his vacation and returning to Washington.
As of Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the storm had passed over the area, this represented the federal response to date as publicized to the disaster. Here are some highlights: Revised 9/8
FEMA deployed 23 Disaster Medical Assistance Teams from all across the U.S. to staging areas in Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, and Louisiana and is now moving them into impacted areas.
Seven Urban Search and Rescue task forces and two Incident Support Teams have been deployed and propositioned in Shreveport, La., and Jackson, Miss., including teams from Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Three more Urban Search and Rescue teams are in the process of deployment.
FEMA is moving supplies and equipment into the hardest hit areas as quickly as possible, especially water, ice, meals, medical supplies, generators, tents, and tarps.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) dispatched more than 390 trucks that are beginning to deliver millions of meals ready to eat, millions of liters of water, tarps, millions of pounds of ice, mobile homes, generators, containers of disaster supplies, and forklifts to flood damaged areas. DOT has helicopters and a plane assisting delivery of essential supplies.
The National Guard of the four most heavily impacted states are providing support to civil authorities as well as generator, medical and shelter with approximately 7,500 troops on State Active Duty. The National Guard is augmenting civilian law enforcement capacity; not acting in lieu of it.
At 6:30 PM Mayor Nagin issued an urgent bulletin:
Nagin said efforts to stop the flow of water at the breach on the 17th Street Canal are failing, which means the floodwaters will rise again.
Nagin said the waters will soon overwhelm the pump, shutting it down. He said the water will rise to 3 feet above sea level – or 12-15 feet in some places of east Jefferson and Orleans parishes.
The additional flooding causes 80% of the city to be underwater.
At 8:10 PM, TP reports that more than 24 hours after it started, looting is now city wide.
“People are leaving the Superdome to go to Canal Street to loot,” Thomas said. “Some people broke into drug stores and stole the drugs off the shelves. It is looting times five. I’m telling you, it’s like Sodom and Gomorrah.”
At 8:55 TP reports that the Army Corps of Engineers is working frantically to try and fix the breach in the 17th street levee.
Mark Lambert, chief spokesman for the agency, said that a convoy of trucks carrying 108 15,000-pound concrete barriers – like those used as highway construction dividers—was en route to the site Tuesday night
The USS Bataan deploys two helicopter squadrons for search and rescue operations in New Orleans. Revised 9/6
At 9:02 PM TP reports that the State Attorney General’s office is denying that martial law has been declared.
At 10:40 PM TP reports that 40 additional state troopers have been deployed more than 28 hours after initial reports of looting.
At 10:15 PM, Governor Blanco releases a statement calling for the evacuation of the Superdome.
She set no timetable for the withdrawal but insisted that the facility was damaged, degrading and no longer able to support the local citizens who had sought refuge in the Dome from Hurricane Katrina.
“It’s a very, very desperate situation,” Blanco said late Tuesday after returning to the capital from her visit, when she comforted the exhausted throngs of people, many of whom checked in over the weekend. “It’s imperative that we get them out. The situation is degenerating rapidly.”
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31
My Way News reports an additional 700 National Guardsmen from TX, OH, and OK are deployed in LA. Revised 9/6
“Early Aug. 31, an MC-130P Combat Shadow from Hurlburt’s 16th Special Operations Squadron flew a team of combat controllers to the New Orleans airport to set up lights which would allow reopening the runway for nighttime operations. The airport has no electrical power.” Revised 9/6
Governor Blanco called for a total evacuation of the city of New Orleans.
In an interview on Good Morning America, the Governor said “We’ve sent buses in. We will be either loading them by boat, helicopter, anything that is necessary.”
When asked about looting the Governor said “We don’t like looters one bit, but first and foremost is search and rescue.”
Blanco said she wanted the Superdome — which had become a shelter of last resort for about 20,000 people — evacuated within two days, along with other gathering points for storm refugees. The situation inside the dank and sweltering Superdome was becoming desperate: The water was rising, the air conditioning was out, toilets were broken, and tempers were rising.
Governor Blanco asks the President to send federal troops to conduct law enforcement activities.
At 10:00 AM TP reports that a spokesperson for the Texas Governors office says refugees from the Superdome will be put up in the Astrodome:
FEMA is providing 475 buses for the convoy and the Astrodome’s schedule has been cleared through December for housing evacuees, a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry said.
A spokseman for Homeland Security:
Mark Smith, a Louisiana Department of Homeland Security spokesman, said 3,000 Louisiana National Guard members are helping with the rescue effort and that more guard troops are on their way from other states. The main focus Wednesday morning is to evacuate patients from hospitals and to evacuate the Superdome, where conditions are deteriorating for the estimated 15,000 people sheltered there. (HT: Blueguitar guy) Revised 9/6
Gov. Kathleen Blanco said she has asked the White House to send more people to help with evacuations and rescues, thereby freeing up National Guardsmen to stop looters.
“We will restore law and order,” Blanco said. “What angers me the most is that disasters like this often bring out the worst in people. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior.”
Governor Blanco announces that Superdome evacuation will begin Wednesday evening.
Department of Social Services Secretary Ann Williamson said the buses should start rolling later Wednesday. About 475 vehicles have been arranged to ferry the evacuees to Houston.
State officials said they hope that bringing in the Army to help with search, rescue and relief efforts will allow National Guard troops to redirect their efforts to restoring order and curtail the widespread looting taking place in New Orleans and elsewhere. “We’re trying to shift our resources,” said Denise Bottcher, a Blanco spokeswoman.
“This is one of the largest, if not the largest evacuations in this country,” said Col. Jeff Smith, deputy director of the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
“This (plan) buys us some time so we can figure things out,” said FEMA spokesman Bill Lokey.
At 1:40 PM State Secrertary of Transportation and Development Johnny Bradberry said Lake Pontchatrain has receded by two feet since yesterday as water levels equalized between the lake and the flooded city interior.
“The good news here is that we’ve stabilized. Water is not rising in the city,” Bradberry said.
The feds declare a Public Health Emergency:
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt Wednesday declared a federal public health emergency and accelerated efforts to create up to 40 emergency medical shelters to provide care for evacuees and victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Working with its federal partners, HHS is helping provide and staff 250 beds in each shelter for a total of 10,000 beds for the region. Ten of these facilities will be staged within the next 72 hours and another 10 will be deployed within the next 100 hours after that. In addition, HHS is deploying up to 4,000 medically-qualified personnel to staff these facilities and to meet other health care needs in this region.
Mayor Ray Nagin ordered 1,500 police – or however many officers were still on the force – to leave their search-and-rescue mission Wednesday night and return to the streets of New Orleans to stop looting. Revised 9/8
Governor Blanco issues an Executive Order allowing the National Guard to seize school busses in order to help in the evacuation:
National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Pete Schneider, said the order, signed by Gov. Kathleen Blanco late Wednesday, means “we are going to take the buses. We need to get people out of New Orleans.. . . .Either they will give them up or we will take them.’’ It is unclear whether the Governor is referring to the hundreds of school busses in a New Orleans city parking lot 1.2 miles from the Superdome that contained 255 busses, all underwater. She was also procuring busses from around the state. In an press conference the next day, General Honore says that busses from FEMA have also arrived. (HT: Tony & Junkyard Blog) Revised 9/6
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1
My Way News reports 6500 National Guardsmen from AR, CO, KS, MO, NV, OH, OK, and TX are deployed in Louisiana. Revised 9/6
At 12:30 AM evacuees from the Superdome begin arriving in Houston.
Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard said this morning that the evacuation of the rest of New Orleans was in full swing. At least 70 buses had picked up refugees from the Superdome, and officials were considering using trains and boats to ship people to safety.
At 4:15 AM TP reports that the Coast Guard says it has rescued 3,000 stranded victims from the city.
President Bush calls for “zero tolerance” for looters or price gougers in an interview with Diane Sawyer.
More snafus in attempts to fix the levee at 17th street:
Spokeswoman Cleo Allen of the state Department of Transportation and Development said the agency is coordinating with railroads and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to raise the Seabrook bridge, the Almonaster Ave. bridge and the Danziger Road bridge. Farther southwest, authorities are also trying to raise a bridge at Larose so that a barge loaded with relief supplies can get through Bayou Lafourche.
More National Guard troops on the way:
Lt. Col Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard also said 7,500 guard soldiers from around the country are en route to Louisiana to complement the 3,000 from Louisiana who have been helping with search and rescue operations and security since Katrina struck on Monday.
President Bush agrees to have the federal government pick up the entire tab for relief efforts.
In an interview with NPR’s Michael Seigel, DHS Secretary Chertoff admits he knows nothing of the people stranded at the convention center. Revised 9/6
Governor Blanco announces at a press conference that there are less than 2400 people left at the Superdome.
The Defense Department announces the deployment of an additional 30,000 troops to the Gulf region.
State and Federal authorities begin the evacuations of Charity and University Hospitals. They are halted briefly when shots are fired at helicopters evacuating patients.
In an article on Thursday afternoon, Brian Thevenot of TP reports that officials are starting to get control of the city.
As military and humantarian efforts finally began to take hold, the anarchy that has consumed New Orleans over the past two days, making the city resemble a Third World war zone, had not fully subsided but authorities appeared to have amassed sufficient numbers to seize the upper hand.
Neighborhoods that had been populated by bands of wanderers and armed thieves looked nearly empty, save for police patrols that were non-existent a day earlier. In Uptown, the Central Business District and the French Quarter, substantially smaller crowds of refugees and potential looters found themselves surrounded by ever increasing numbers of National Guard troops and police officers.
Mayor Nagin explodes on live radio, railing against federal relief efforts. If you’ve come this far with me, all I ask is that you read his comments and compare them to what has been reported in this timeline previously.
“You know the reason why the looters got out of control?” Nagin said. “We have most of our resources saving people. They were stuck in attics, man, old ladies. You pull off the doggone ventilator and look down and they’re standing there in water up to their fricking neck.”
“I need reinforcements,” he said. “I need troops, man. I need 500 buses.”
The relief efforts made so far had been pathetically insufficient, Nagin said.
“They’re thinking small, man, and this is a major, MAJOR deal,” Nagin said. “God is looking down on this and if they are not doing everything in their power to save people, they are going to pay the price. Every day that we delay, people are dying, and they’re dying by the hundreds, I’m willing to bet you.”
Rolling now, Nagin described distress calls he’d heard. Nagin mocked the efforts to block the 17th Street
“I flew over that thing yesterday and it was in the same shape it was in after the storm hit,” he said.
“There is nothing happening there. They’re feeding the public a line of bull and they’re spinning and people are dying down here.” (HT: Ghosty) Revised 9/6 – moved from Friday to Thursday.
In an interview with Paula Zahn, FEMA Director Brown says he just heard about people stranded at the convention center “a few hours ago.” Revised 9/6
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2
My Way News reports that an additional 3000 National Guardsmen from 15 states are deployed in LA. Revised 9/6
In the early morning, 20 deputies and six emergency medical technicians from Loudon County, Virginia were turned away because “neither FEMA nor the Louisiana authorities was willing to act on the request from Jefferson Parish.” (HT: Jay) Revised 9/6
At 9:35 AM in a speech given in Mississippi, the President praises FEMA Director Brown saying “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”
State Rep. Karen Carter, D-New Orleans, made an urgent plea Friday morning for gasoline and buses to ferry victims to safety who have been stuck in New Orleans under deteriorating conditions since Hurricane Katrina struck the city four days ago.
“If you want to save a life get a bus down here,” said Carter, whose district includes the French Quarter. “I’m asking the American people to help save a wonderful American city.” Her voice cracking with emotion and her eyes bloodshot from fatigue and distress, Carter said pledges of money and other assistance are of secondary importance right now to the urgent need for transportation.
“Don’t give me your money. Don’t send me $10 million today. Give me buses and gas. Buses and gas. Buses and gas,” she said. “If you have to commandeer Greyhound, commandeer Greyhound. … If you donn’t get a bus, if we don’t get them out of there, they will die.”
Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, who is coordinating federal relief efforts on behalf of the National Guard, could not say when people can expect to be rescued. â€œIf you’re human you’ve got to be affected by it, Blum said. “These people, their heartstrings are torn as are yours. (But) the magnitude of this problem is you cannot help everybody at the same time.”
The Coast Guard announced it has rescued more than 4,000 victims of the hurricane and flood.
President Bush visits New Orleans, taking a helicopter tour with Mayor Nagin. According to the Mayor Bush tells him that “he [the President] was fully committed to getting us the resources we need,” Nagin said in the tattered Hyatt hotel next to the Superdome. “I told him I knew we could work together, and he said he understood.”
In an interview with CNN on 9/5, Mayor Nagin says that Governor Blanco resisted a request from the Federal government to nationalize the relief effort when meeting with President Bush aboard Air Force I. Blanco is reported to have asked for 24 hours to “think about it.” (HT: Sue Hanley) Revised 9/6
In a special briefing on efforts to repair the damaged levees carried out by Lieutenant General Carl Strock, Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Chief of Engineers, the General summarized the difficulties he was experiencing in closing the breaches, including the difficulty in reaching the site of the breach by land (land ops couldn’t start until a causeway was built), by water (bridges couldn’t be raised to allow for the huge cranes to pass), and air (helicopters were being used to rescue people). Revised 9/7
NOTE ON MILITARY OPS: It has not been my intention to slight the contributions of our nation’s military in saving lives and relieving suffering during this disaster. The fact is, our armed force’s contributions have been so numerous and so widespread that listing them would double the length of this timeline. Their selfless dedication to our nation’s well being has been on display this past week as dozens of ships, aircraft, medical and rescue teams, and other supporting personnel have taken part in disaster relief. I am in awe of their professionalism and courage.
Rather than detail each operation, I will link to each service’s website where you can find plenty of information detailing their efforts. Revised 9/8US Navy
US Coast Guard
US Air Force