August 30, 2005

New Orleans.

Sorry I don't know how to link to this properly, but go to CNN.com and click on "Watch: Screams for help," an emotional and detailed description of the efforts at rescuing people trapped in flooded New Orleans. [LATER: Look for the "unanswered screams" video here.]

NOTE: This is not a link to a video of people screaming for help. It is a phoned in report from the CNN reporter Jeanne Meserve, who is very articulate. The video shown is of property damage, not of human beings suffering.

UPDATE: I'm watching a lot of news shows tonight, seeing all the people being rescued from rooftops. How many people are out there, stranded and afraid, unrescued as night has fallen? How many people are spending the night on rooftops, waiting for the daylight before they have a chance of being helped? So sad!

45 comments:

leeontheroad said...

I heard this last night, while watching News Night. It was the first I heard (yes, I channel surf news) of reporting about that ward, rather than the French Quarter, which is at a higher elevation and where film footage (also CNN, but it may have MSNBC) showed folks eating pastries beneath some bits of fallen plaster.

SteveR said...

I saw the segment last night on CNN and it was a small look at what turns out to be a big disaster. It will be months before we understand the scope of what has happened and it will be a much longer time, if ever, for the area to recover.

Unfortunately thee will be a lot of maney spent trying to go back to the way it was before but this disater will surely happen again.

Eddie said...

I sincerely hope they are able to recover.

On a side note, isn't it nice not to hear about Aruba, 24/7, anymore?

Monty Loree said...

One thing I thought was noticeably void in the CNN commentary was any outpouring of other nations willing to pitch in and help out.

Also I haven't noticed other nations outpouring of financial donations to help.

I will watch the afternoon news tonight but I haven't seen anything so far.

Jenny D. said...

I saw this on the website, and it hit me hard. I think about the human suffering. I think about the disintegration of law and the lack of order, and how innocent people get hurt. If you haven't seen this, look.

ALH ipinions said...

Does anyone know why they're relying so much on helicopters to rescue people from roof tops - one by one; instead of deploying an armada of wave runners and similar more maneuverable watercraft to get those people out?

Elizabeth said...

There is a lack of order, a lack of communications, a lack of National Guardsmen to keep control. There aren't enough helicopters, which may have doomed the city--they can't both rescue people and work to plug the breach in the levee. Where's Bush? On vacation still. Where are the Guard? Where is their equipment? Guess. I'm not an irrational Bush hater. He's fiddling while my city burns, dammit.

SteveR said...

The logistical problem of getting boats, etc near enough, along with people knowing what to do is quite difficult, also there are many dangers to boats, snags on wires, and objects just below the water's surface. I imagine there are tens of thousands of watercraft within a 100 miles but where are the owners and how to get them close to the action?

Brendan said...

Sigh. Bush Derangement Syndrome claims yet another victim. On behalf of sane people everywhere, fuck you Lizzie. How dare you politicize this tragedy. Where's W, you ask? Hightailing it back to DC before assholes like yourself can accuse him of being "insensitive" or "cavalier." Guess you were too entranced by Saint Cindy Sheehan to notice. I'll give you a little bit of credit, however: at least you didn't blame the hurricane on global warming. Or were you saving that gem for your next post?

Elizabeth said...

The communications problem is key to all of this; emergency workers and strategic planners can't communicate. The people currently within the city will not be able to stage the actions needed to stop the levee flooding, rescue stranded people, control looting, rioting and carjacking, evacuate the injured, and find a way to deliver water and food to the people who remain. The city and state are overwhelmed, and unable to coordinate actions, with no phones, and no power.

Elizabeth said...

Brendan, you ignorant ass. I'm a New Orleanian, and I'm surely not focused on Sheehan. Can you even open your narrow little mind to the possibility that Bush is not showing leadership? Why is he still in Crawford? The hurricane hit Monday morning--what's he waiting for? He's had time for photo ops today. Your kneejerk love for this ineffective man is mindboggling. And your cliches grow old. In a time of natural disaster, other presidents have actually gotten down to business--including Bush pere.

k said...

I am sorry, Elizabethhh. What the president does is totally inconsequential.

What about the Mayor? It's his city. What about the Governor? ... It's her state. Oh wait ... they are Democrats, aren't they? So they can't possibly be at fault!! They are only closer to the people there and the situation.

Who will stop the freakin' looters? Who are just waiting to ... what was the quote I read... take back over what The Man had oppressed him from??? WHAT???

Oh, and the National Guard? Controlled by the Governor. Not the President.

Let's just stop the Bush-bashing. I know it's tempting. But stop. Now.

Art said...

Monty Loree asked if other nations had offered help.
Yes. Venezuela.

Your joke about Pat Robertson goes here.

The political angle on this has nothing to do with President Bush (though the buck does stop on his desk.)
The United States has shortchanged its infrastructure for years. We build new roads but let our old ones deteriorate. We keep power plants around after they are long past retirement. Conservatives don't want to spend the money it. Liberals don't want it built because it rewards growth past resources.
(There's a connection there. Discuss.)

I'm not saying a brand new bridge would have held up any better than the ones wiped out on the Gulf coast. When your number's up, it's up.

But we're going to learn a hard less on in what it's like to do without it.

leeontheroad said...

Bush 41 was blamed for a supposedly slow response to Andrew, Elizabeth.

FEMA is on scene: CNN reports that Haley Barbour, Miss. Gov., told Bush 43 to wait a while. The LA Gov. points out there are only two places a helicipter could land near new Orleans, and the levy failure means water is rising again, as you surely know.

IOW, there's nothing the pres. himself can do that he isn't doing-- or, arguably, should do.

The Governors are in charge, capable and working with the feds. A pres. photo op would not help; and I credit him with media restraint, actually.

There's plenty wrong, but needless politicking would be a distraction.

And Brendan's correct about the problems of using boats. In addition to unseen objects and wires, as of last night, there were live electrical lines to contend with, submerged in water: a death trap.

Freeman Hunt said...

Might give her a little leeway on this one, Brendan. She may have lost her home.

Elizabeth, I hope that everything is worked out quickly and that your friends and neighbors are all okay.

ploopusgirl said...

You're all so quick to point out and take down the lefty trolls (whom I would define as unnecessarily antagonistic to the point of going off topic--me ;)), and yet you say nothing to righties like Brendan who are consistently, and unnecessarily antagonistic (and certainly to the point of going off topic). An asshole is an asshole, regardless of political leaning. That being said, Brendan doesn't deserve a pass here and you were far too kind to him, Freeman.

Hope everything works out for the best, Elizabeth. Stay well.

Elizabeth said...

K--the governor and mayor have mistakes to own up for to, but they're also struggling under dire circumstances. But the governor didn't send our National Guard units to Iraq, did she? Their heavy equipment is there, too. Louisianians have been dreading such a disaster, knowing that our Guard units are undermanned in the state.

Every president has faced criticism, true, for the timing of their responses. But Louisiana needs federal help, right now, no waiting. Haley Barbour told Bush to hold off on a visit, not on coordinating a federal-state response.

I don't blame Bush for the hurricane. Did you hear that from Rush, Brendan? But he has ignored our need to rebuild our wetlands--research it. And he has cut money to the Army Corps of Engineers for exactly what's missing right now--planning for how to survive a direct hit with major category hurricane. That's what happens when you have to cut domestic budgets to allow tax cuts and wage a war. Inconventient facts for Bush worshippers. It's weird how Bush lovers turn any question, any complaint, any legitimate critique of this president in an irrational screed about "derangement" and "politicizing." What a cult of personality.

Freeman Hunt said...

I think it would be good if, for one day, there was a filter on all blog comments that changed the word "Bush" to "Carrot Top."

As to Ann's Update: That is just awful. It would be so frightening to sit on your roof all day waiting for help and then watch as night fell. I hope that everyone is rescued by tomorrow night.

Wave Maker said...

Elizabeth, would you have a link or something to a fact-based article about the cutting of ACE funds for hurricane preparation work in the Louisiana area?

The city is built 6 feet below sea level and surrounded by water. What herculean engineering is going to thwart Mother Nature under these circumstances anyway?

Hope you come out okay.

Brendan said...

In the words of Instapundit, "It's sad to see such lame political opportunism at a time like this." So true. Is every National Guard unit in Iraq? No. Is all of their heavy equipment stationed there? No. Is the Iraq mission compromising the relief effort in any way? Hell no. Bush flies back to DC--unnecessarily in my view-- but that's still not good enough for the haters. All he can do on his end is coordinate. What does geography have to do with that? Are you a big fan of empty symbolism? Do you want him bailing water or serving concessions at the Superdome? Ridiculous. And if he did show up, you'd cynically deride him for the "photo op." BTW, W ain't just sending the Guard, he's sending THE FRICKING NAVY:

NAVY SHIPS AND MARITIME RESCUE TEAMS SENT TO REGION
Tue Aug 30 2005 21:33:11 ET

The Pentagon late Tuesday ordered five Navy ships and eight maritime rescue teams to the Gulf Coast to bolster relief operations as worsening conditions overwhelmed the initial response.

The NEW YORK TIMES plans to report later tonight: One Navy amphibious assault ship, the Bataan, with six Sea Stallion and Sea Hawk helicopters that could be used for search and rescue missions.

The ships will carry food, fuel, medical and construction supplies, as well as hovercraft that can be used for evacuation and search-and-rescue missions.

The Navy was also considering sending the hospital ship Comfort.


Surely this qualifies as a serious response, no? Iraq has nothing to do with this. Tax cuts have nothing to do with this, esp since those cuts did nothing to impede defense spending or disaster relief. Hell, I'm shocked you didn't try to squeeze in abortion somewhere. Instead of wasting valuable time typing out libelous screeds against Bush, I suggest you pick up a mop or sandbag and get to work.

Elizabeth said...

Wavemaker,

You raise a great question about what can be done with a city shaped like a bowl, and in fact there have been many debates over the years whether the Army Corps of Engineers makes things better or worse. They've actually changed the path of the Mississippi River over time. And it's up for debate whether levees make the city safer, or if it would be better to rely on outlying wetlands to slow storms and absorb their surge. But here's an article from you, from that wildly leftwing rag, New Orleans CityBusiness: www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4200/
is_20050606/ai_n14657367

As far as partisanship, our mayor is only nominally a Democrat. He endorsed Republican Bobby Jindal in the recent governor's race over the Democrat candidate, for example. And when Bush reneged on promises to do more for coastal restoration in this year's budget, our Republican Senator David Vitter and U.S. Rep. Jindal were both stunned, dismayed, and expressed feeling betrayed. It ain't all about Demo and GOP, even if you want it to be.

Nagin, the mayor, will face other critiques as well. Many now believe--and the role of rumor in a crisis can't be underestimated--that because the FQ was relatively unflooded, the city started directing water there from other more flooded zones. That's going to come back to him if it's true.

My first post had nothing to say about the Coastal money or Corps funding. I am dismayed because I believe in a disaster of this size, our president ought to be focused, and exercising visible leadership. It's the Bush partisans that dragged in all the red herrings and cliches.

Elizabeth said...

Brendan--political opportunism, indeed. If Bush takes a squat you think he's laying golden eggs.

Your logic is lousy. So not every guard unit is in Iraq. What does that have to do with the unit based at Jackson Barracks, 1 mile or so from the French Quarter, and smack next to the parish hardest hit by the flooding? Here's what their commander has to say: (from the local ABC news station:)

"LA National Guard Wants Equipment to Come Back From Iraq

Yunji de Nies

August 1, 2005, 9:07 PM CDT

JACKSON BARRACKS -- When members of the Louisiana National Guard left for Iraq in October, they took a lot equipment with them. Dozens of high water vehicles, humvees, refuelers and generators are now abroad, and in the event of a major natural disaster that, could be a problem.

"The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission," said Lt. Colonel Pete Schneider with the LA National Guard."

It's not a lot of help to us if somewhere in Nebraska there is heavy equipment at a Guard unit's base. It would help a lot to have OUR equipment, within the city limits, where it's needed. We can't get stuff in from outside easily.

Is the Iraq mission compromising the relief mission? Hell yes. And as for an unneccessary return, what's unneccessary about it? I am a big fan of some symbols--the White House is a great one.

The Navy is a great idea, and as you'll notice in my first post, my complaint is about how long it's taking. The hurricane was on course Friday. As of Sunday, it was imminent, and at unthinkable strength. The response you cite comes "late Tuesday." The key word is late.

I'll be in New Orleans with mop and more as soon as the authorities open the roads, you moron. Right now I'm NOT one of the many people that brave emergency workers are risking their lives to save.

Simon Kenton said...

Elizabeth -

The knowledge of how to respond to a disaster, and scale that response up or down as the conditions warrant, has been learned from the successes at very large western wildfires, and tempered in the response to 9/11. Under FEMA, every emergency worker in the country is receiving, or has received training in those forms of response, in the last couple of years. This is called the National Incident Management System, and it draws on 2 millenia of military experience and more than 100 years of fire experience. It has a corps of trained commanders whose level of expertise varies from bossing squads of 10, up to a demonstrated, practiced ability to run operations with 10,000s of rescue workers and their support. It has regular training and testing for the workers. Many of these operations, incidentally, are networked with corporations who maintain parallel expertise and stockpiles of materiel which they donate; and with the Guard.

With regard to communications, the radios we use are self-replicating as to channels; you can clone the channels radio-to-radio, or you can dump the channels into the radios via a PC: every radio in a disaster can be brought to communicate with all other radios in a matter of seconds. This was a terrible lesson learned in 9/11, but it has been learned, and is being practiced as fast as modern radios can be purchased.

We got a nation-wide email this afternoon telling emergency workers to stand down until specifically requested: no self-dispatching, please. Elizabeth, it is cold comfort when all the solidity of your life may be liquified, but the system works, and will work here. It just doesn't work instantly; you have to give it a few days. This is understandable, though doubtless not very comforting, when you consider that something approaching, in size and complexity of function, a medium-sized city will be set up and brought to full efficiency by the end of the week. And because the system allows for up-scaling response, its operations can begin on a small basis immediately and be merged into the greater efforts as they are brought on-stream.

Elizabeth, strength to your arm.

leeontheroad said...

Here's a link to a 2005 Pres. budget proposal analysis, from the Am. Soc. Civil Enginners.

"President Bush has proposed to cut approximately $500 million from the Army Corps of Engineers civil works budget in FY 2005 while boosting funds for some environmental programs, including an increase in spending for a plan to reverse the major erosion of the Louisiana Coastal Area."

"Congress appropriated about $4.5 billion for the corps in FY 2004 and Bush's FY 2005 proposal would provide the agency with $4 billion. Lt. Gen Robert Flowers, the corps commander, defended the Bush plan by noting that "19 percent of the civil works budget goes to support the environment."

"Still, the corps' $4 billion budget would provide only $125 million for the Everglades, a drop of $25 million from what Congress enacted in 2004. Overall, the proposal would reduce the agency's budget by roughly $500 million from what Congress enacted last year. The plan reflects 'the frugal priorities of an agency serving a nation at war,' Army Assistant Secretary for Civil Works John Woodley said yesterday."

"Funding would be zeroed out for potentially hundreds of beach and shoreline restoration projects that the corps has funded in the past. Woodley said 'nonfederal entities should carry out the renourishment and ecosystem restoration projects' not funded in FY 2005."

You won't find Woodley saying today that the war has any connection to this funding, I would venture.

In any case, as Elizabeth suggests, the solution isn't an easy one. Some of LA coastal erosion is natural. Restoring LA wetlands will impact both shipping and the petroleum industry (whose refineries ship from there anyway).

Similarly, the Everglades project-- proposed by ACE, in fact-- was opposed by big sugar, because cane fields would be flooded.

Hydrologic systems are not a sexy policy topic, but we're just going to have to make choices. We know seas are warming, for whatever reason(s). We know hurricane seasons have had a pattern of being especially bad for the US mainland about every thirty years. We're all good at hindsight, but the longer term solutions are not going to make partisans happy, no matter what choices we make. All choices will change "business as usual," as we've come to know it-- just as Katrina has.

Elizabeth said...

Simon, thanks for the wish for strength. I appreciate your information, but I have my doubts about how well the communications process you describe has been implemented in the city. I've heard city and state officials, police and Coast Guard and fire fighters, say in interviews that they are unable to contact one another, so that when say police come across people who need evacuating, they can't get the Coast Guard to them. The worst example is that today, the absolute main task was to get helicoptors with 3000-lb. sandbags to the breach in the 17th St. canal. The attempt failed due to problems with communications--not all the helicoptors turned up, because they didn't know they were supposed to be there. They were rescuing people from rooftops.

I realize that the worst is yet to come in the city, and time is all we have now. But that levee operation was critical to saving the city. With its frustrating failure, the luck we had in the storm moving slightly east is meaningless. The city will fill to the level of the lake now. It's probably the single worst factor of the whole crisis, and will contribute to many, many deaths, not to mention loss of property that had made it through the actual storm.

I realize I'm more tuned in to the details of exactly to what chaotic, even barbaric, depths the city is sinking than people who don't have a stake in the outcome. But I think you'll see over the next day or so just how bad this is, how unlike other natural disasters. We will get to the other side of it, the system will eventually start to work. And I pray that from strategic planners learn from it, from the city level up to the national.

Brendan said...

The Navy is a great idea, and as you'll notice in my first post, my complaint is about how long it's taking. The hurricane was on course Friday. As of Sunday, it was imminent, and at unthinkable strength. The response you cite comes "late Tuesday." The key word is late.

Holy shit. The hurricane ended a mere 24 hours ago. Eighty percent of the city is underwater. Damage assessment is still in its embryonic stage. What the hell did you expect? Passable roads and dry homes in two days? Get a grip. Bush and FEMA have many states to address and help, not just Louisiana. Cleanup and recovery will take several months, minimum. Is help, food, money, and supplies on the way? Yes. Your lack of patience and gratitude is appalling. And every test you can conceive of is rigged for Bush to fail. I have sympathy for the average victim, but not you. Some people just plain earn comtempt.

Elizabeth said...

I expected a plan to protect the levees. You obviously have no inkling, not a clue, of what is necessary to deal with flooding. It isn't a question of assessing, it's a question of being prepared, and equipped, to respond. And until the breach in the canal occurred, the percentage of the city under water was nowhere near 80 percent, Brendan. That's the point. That's why handling the levee breach was critical, and timely. Cleanup and recovery are waaay down the road. We're still in rescue mode.

You have a weird obsession with Bush, Brendan. And I welcome your contempt. You're a lunatic, and I wouldn't feel comfortable if you agreed with or respected me. Go wipe the foam off your mouth, it's dripping down your chin.

Elizabeth said...

Check out the top story at Editor and Publisher:
http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/index.jsp

or go to Nola.com and look for the update log. There's a Bruce Nolan story if you scroll down covering some of the very problems I'm worried about. Yes, money and planning have been redirected toward Iraq and Homeland Security, and away from natural disaster planning and preparedness. These are facts, not partisan screeds. You'll find our Republican legislators raising the same objections I do.

Sloanasaurus said...

On the bright side, places ususally end up better than they were before after an event like this occurs (it is just hard to see at the moment). Although a disaster is not a good way to order a face lift for a city (hosting the Olympics is much better), who can deny that New Orleans was in need of a major overhaul.

In the meantime apparently we will all be paying for Katrina in higher gas prices, lower growth, and higher unemployemnt. Maybe Greenspan will stop raising rates....

Elizabeth said...

I think Bush will tap the oil reserves, and kudos to him when he does. There's question of do we have the capacity to refine it, but according to former La. Sen. John Breaux, we do, in a Lake Charles refinery that's actually adjacent to the reserves, and that is working under capacity right now. If I recall, the oil that's in there was purchased at slightly above $27 a barrel--can you even remember such a price?

The whole economy will take a hit from this, true. NOLA is an important port, and the Gulf's oil production is critical to the nation.

I hope you're right about some improvements. It won't be an improvement to lose our buildings and streets dating back to the 18th century. And since our major industry is tourism, we need the French Quarter--it's what draws tourists here. We have a burgeoning film industry but God knows what will happen with that now.

On the personal side, I suppose your prophecy could be true. It's certainly interesting to be starting over at 45. Perhaps all the consequences haven't sunk in yet, but I'm trying to approach this with a sense of opportunity, of new beginnings. At least my clutter problem is gone. But I'm praying looters don't destroy what I have left. They're in my neighborhood now, but I'm hoping they're after businesses, and, sadly, drugs. Apparently, they're beseiging Children's Hospital, just a few blocks from my home. The police and Guard can't get there due to flood waters (no explanation on how the looters got there). Anyone who wants it is welcome to any food and drink I have in the house. But I fear the mob mentality won't stop at simple needs.

New Orleans needs help, in every corner of the city, on far too many fronts.

Elizabeth said...

Hey Sloan, is this what you had in mind? The Saints' owner Tom Benson has been wanting to scrap the Superdome for a new, retractible top stadium. He's halfway there--got the top already! And the Dome may be scrap after the 30,000 refugees are done with it. I've been through denial (it won't hit us, I don't have to bring all my stuff), bargaining (please let it move east!), grief (obvious), and anger (THIS SUCKS). What's left? I'll try humor.

Sloanasaurus said...

Here is the relavent quote from E&P that Elizabeth cited:

"On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: “It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.”

As we have heard in the past day, everyone knew that New Orleans was seriously at risk. The article below discusses this risk in 2002.

http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_neworleans.html

It's not just the feds who are redirecting cash from the levies, the web site below discusses a plan by Maestri himself to spend money on a one stop social services program in 1998:

http://www.naco.org/cnews/1998/98-02-02/tech.htm

The example above, however, is an exception. Maestri has been out talking about this pending disaster for years and using colorful languague to boot ("New Orleans will cease to exist; "we have 10,000 body bags") In everything I read he didn't really offer a solution though, other than getting out of the city.

The problem with New Orleans has been around for 200+ years. It didn't just appear in 2003 when The Iraq war started.

Sloanasaurus said...

"Hey Sloan, is this what you had in mind..."

Certainly not that specifically. I was just trying to point out the bright side to the disaster (if there is one).

In Minneapolis they have been trying to build a new stadium for years. They never give up.

Elizabeth said...

Sloan,

You're cherrypicking what you call "the" relevant quote. You left out some relevant quotes from the Corps' project manager about levee reconstruction--Maestri is a politician, and a gasbag to boot by the way--nor is he a New Orleans politician but that's not relevant so much--but this guy's an engineer.

I'm not sure what your argument is. That the criticism of the feds' diverting funds from hurricane protection isn't valid? If so, trying to support that by pointing out that New Orleans has been around 200 years isn't logical; what has 200 years ago got to do with now? Was New Orleans a major port 200 years ago? Did it have a population of 1 million in its Metro area? Did it host oil and chemical industries? No--it was a trade center, of agricultural goods, grown on plantations that made up much of what is now the city area. Flood control would have occured through the means of the greenlands and wetlands that made up the terrain. Undoubtably there were weather tragedies. Part of the cool thing about modern, post-agricultural era life is that we engineer better living conditions. NOLA 200 years ago was below sea level, but it wasn't a bowl, which comes as a result of being surrounded by levees. Those were built over some decades beginning in the early 1900s (anyone who wants to get the dates, good for you; it's late and I'm not doing research). Once we decided on them as our primary means of flood protection, then we committed to keeping them viable. That's done in partnership with the federal, state, and local governments, and should be approached with a big picture vision. The articles I mentioned address problems with that partnership, and with the big picture view.

Goesh said...

- as if New Orleans is the only place suffering and as if New Orleans is the only place that has ever had a disaster and is if a sitting President is personally responsible for there not being an instant fix to a city sitting below sea level in an area often hit by hurricanes - give me a damn break!

Maria said...

This is what I don't understand:

"[N]ot all the helicoptors turned up, because they didn't know they were supposed to be there. They were rescuing people from rooftops."

What part of MANDATORY evacuation did those people now on the rooftops not understand? If my home were underwater, and efforts to repair the levees were being impeded by people who disregarded this order, they would be the target of my anger.

Sloanasaurus said...

Elizabeth, I didn't have much of an argument, I was just pointing out that the potential flooding of New Orleans has been talked about for a while.

Anyway, as I have seen in past disasters, people will be amazed at how quickly the area recovers and for the better.

DaveG said...

The Guard has a unique dual mission, with both Federal and State responsibilities. During peacetime, the Governor through the State Adjutant General commands Guard forces. The Governor can call the Guard into action during local or statewide emergencies, such as storms, drought, and civil disturbances, to name a few. In addition, the President of the United States can activate the National Guard to participate in Federal missions. Examples of this are the many Guard units that have deployed to support operations in Bosnia. When federalized, Guard units are commanded by the Commander in Chief of the theatre in which they are operating.

The 'National' in 'National Guard' has obvious implications. I suspect the angry cries about the Guard being in Iraq instead of here "doing what they're supposed to do" is a canard for "I oppose Bush's War."

The Guard is a shared resource between state and Federal government. You may or may not agree with the war, but there is clearly justification for using Guard units to fight in it. And, as with all shared resources, sometimes you have it, sometimes you don't. The local government of Louisiana should have planned accordingly, especially after their near miss last year.

DaveG said...

Another interesting canard is the "if we hadn't spent all that money on Iraq, we'd have more for things like better flood protection."

That seems to be countered with the fact that as of 1999, 53% of the federal budget went to social welfare programs ("Entitlements") while 18% went to military expenditures, at least according to this source (which may or may not be accurate):

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Launchpad/5577/philo/fedbgt2.htm

Brendan said...

Elizabeth: There is a lack of order, a lack of communications, a lack of National Guardsmen to keep control. There aren't enough helicopters, which may have doomed the city--they can't both rescue people and work to plug the breach in the levee. Where's Bush? On vacation still. Where are the Guard? Where is their equipment? Guess. I'm not an irrational Bush hater. He's fiddling while my city burns, dammit.

Cindy Sheehan: Well, George and I are leaving Crawford today. George is finished playing golf and telling his fables in San Diego, so he will be heading to Louisiana to see the devastation that his environmental policies and his killing policies have caused. Recovery would be easier and much quicker if almost ½ of the three states involved National Guard were not in Iraq. All of the National Guard's equipment is in Iraq also. Plus, with the 2 billion dollars a week that the private contractors are siphoning from our treasury, how are we going to pay for helping our own citizens in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama? And, should I dare say "global warming?" and be branded as a "conspiracy theorist" on top of everything else the reich-wingers say about me.
----------------------------------
You're certainly in good company, Liz. I guess you and your gal pal got the same talking points.

Freeman Hunt said...

Brendan, I totally disagree with Elizabeth on blaming Bush. However, I don't understand the level of vitriol you're directing her way. I can understand saying, "That's a load of crap," or, "I don't agree with you at all," but why be snide? Elizabeth may have lost her home and neighborhood. Allowing a little breathing room would be nice.

DaveG said...

I agree with Freeman. I've had discussions on this board with Elizabeth, and while we don't agree, she has always been civil and polite. I think following her example, particularly while she has been displaced from her home and has no idea when she will be able to return or what she will be returning to, would go a long way.

Jenny D. said...

For the record, this is a DISASTER!! If you could truly prepare for it, then it wouldn't be a disaster.

Stop bickering, stop blaming people thousands of miles. You guys in NO need to get your shit together, and fast. There's looting and lots of death. You've got bigger problems than where Bush takes his next photo-op.

As for the rest of us, it might not be a bad idea to mount a little aid for the South. How much money did we send to Southeast Asia after the tsunami? (Money that probably ended lining the pockets of some local dictator.) How about we get some resources down to LA, MS, and AL?

Brendan said...

Freeman, I have all the sympathy in the world for people who refuse to politicize this tragedy. I have no doubt that Liz is suffering, but in the midst of it all she took the time to a post a bizarre non sequitur regarding the Iraq War. If she has problems with the war, and wants to argue its merits, fine. But don't shamelessly couple it with New Orleans. Hate, it seems, never takes a holiday.

ploopusgirl said...

Goesh: You're an asshole. The main difference between this disaster and September 11th is that this was natural and that was human-caused. The world stopped when September 11th occurred; this shouldn't attain all our focus and attention because terrorists didn't plan it out? Sunny southern California can survive the week without attention from the government. No, Louisiana isn't the only state in the country and it's not the only state ever to have been slammed with a hurricane, but it is the state that was just hit with a gigantic hurricane. Yes, it is the only state (well, Mississippi and Alabama as well) with problems that matter right now.

You would demonize a person who attempted to claim that September 11th wasn't that big a deal and that there are other states with problems so all the government's focus shouldn't be on New York, and rightfully so. However, you're just as evil, idiotic, and anti-friggin American for the comments you made. Talk about hating America; there's your culprit, Sloan.