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September 2, 2005

Another term for it would be “lying sack of shit”
Posted by Patrick at 10:25 AM * 65 comments

From CNN:

The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Thursday those New Orleans residents who chose not to heed warnings to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina bear some responsibility for their fates.

Michael Brown also agreed with other public officials that the death toll in the city could reach into the thousands.

“Unfortunately, that’s going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings,” Brown told CNN.

“I don’t make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans,” he said. […]

Asked later on CNN how he could blame the victims, many of whom could not flee the storm because they had no transportation or were too frail to evacuate on their own, Brown said he was not blaming anyone.

“Now is not the time to be blaming,” Brown said.

Summing up:

If you didn’t leave New Orleans before the storm, your problems are your own fault. Not that we “make judgements”, of course. And remember, “now is not the time to be blaming.”

Michael Brown is a man who has no idea what words mean.

Comments on Another term for it would be "lying sack of shit":
#1 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:30 AM:

Michael Brown also didn't know people were sheltering in the convention center until last night.
Nor did Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff

And don't forget Bush's imfamous "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."

#2 ::: Joy Freeman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:36 AM:

The quote in that article that got me was "And to find people still there is just heart-wrenching to me because, you know, the mayor did everything he could to get them out of there." Yeah, right.

In other words, "Now is not the time to be blaming" the authorities. The people, on the other hand, are fair game.

#3 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:37 AM:

IJWTS:

I miss Richard Nixon.

Oh, dear. Things ARE bad.

#4 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:44 AM:

Michael Brown is a man who has no idea what words mean.

No, I think he knows exactly what the words mean. I think he's deliberately doing those things with those words.

#6 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:46 AM:

Atrios found a new Michael Brown quote from last night:

Director Brown, thanks for joining us. As things stand, what is your biggest challenge tonight as we speak?

BROWN: Stone, I think it's conveying to the American public just how catastrophic this disaster is.
We know! Right now the administration's ignorance is greater than the general public!

I can come up with a half-dozen more important immediate challenges off the top of my head, and all he wants is to spew more hot air before the cameras

#8 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:50 AM:

I don't think this is true, either, but I can't disprove it:

"Before the hurricane struck I came down here personally and rode the storm out in Baton Rouge," he said. "We had all of our rescue teams, the medical teams, pre-deployed, ready to go. ... The lawlessness, the crime that is occurring, did surprise us."

But even if it is true, it never occurred to anyone that people who will die without assistance, might get a bit testy if that assistance didn't arrive within a couple of days?

I guess the world of horse raising must be a genteel business.

#9 ::: Jack Womack ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:51 AM:

Excerpts of a letter sent to a UK friend this morning. Feel the need to get it out there -- and so, not blogging myself, I thank P & T for allowing this outlet to be here --

Hi Paul,

Said this to Bill, this morning:

>I look at this non-reality-based crowd in power and I was reminded, yesterday, of the Men In Black -- not the more recent movie-related figures but the originals, the UFO MIB -- the ones who were simultaneously overbearing, wildly threatening, utterly incapable of some things and always slightly off -- the ones warning that your entire family will be killed if they decide to kill them, the ones wearing freshly-pressed suits fashionable three years earlier and brand new 1948 Buick Roadmasters; the ones who ask "what are birthdays?" as they try to drink Jello. I think the Men In Black are in control. I think they're going to make Argentina look good.


Have never been more disgusted in my life than when I woke up this morning and heard the Mayor of NO pleading for soldiers to come in, even as the visuals were of what might be chemical plants -- they don't know, for sure -- exploding and burning. Meanwhile one administration flak was quoted on CNN as saying that Bush would be going to the coast region near Biloxi to "show concern and that the government is on the job." Taking a helicopter flight over N.O. supposedly but considering that they were shooting at all helicopters yesterday, that strikes me as unlikely -- as unlikely as his actually going anywhere NO ever, himself.

(As I recall, toward the end of the campaign in 1932, Hoover was no longer able to go out in public for campaign appearances -- there was a genuine threat that Depression-stricken crowds would swarm the train and kill him -- I'm sure they've studied that much history, at least, since employing simple common sense is clearly beyond any of them.)

Rice cut short her vacation yesterday and headed back to DC, to meet with the reps of foreign nations offering the help her boss said "we wouldn't need" yesterday, or the day before -- the similarities between this gang and Brezhnev's USSR are also remarkable...

In the Times this morning:

>>While his agency is facing harsh criticism, Patrick Rhode, FEMA's deputy director, defended its performance as "probably one of the most efficient and effective responses in the country's history."

>>He recalled that after Mr. Brown, his boss, returned from his tsunami
>>tour, he asked if the United States was better prepared for a disaster
>>than the ravaged countries he had visited. "We felt relatively
>>comfortable that this country could mobilize the response necessary,"
>>he said

The head of FEMA, old pal of Bush and former lawyer for the International Arabian Horse Association or whatever the hell it is, spent his time yesterday making one TV appearance after another, saying that everything is under control and everyone is getting food and water...*even as every news channel including Fox is reporting, and showing, otherwise*

Also in the Times this morning:

>>White House officials, already sensitive that Mr. Bush is suffering the lowest approval ratings of his presidency and under pressure to manage a catastrophe of what they called biblical proportions, reacted with frustration.

>>"Seventy-two hours into this, to be openly posturing about this, to be attacking the president, is not only despicable and wrong, it's not politically smart," said one White House official who asked not to be named because he did not want to be seen as talking about the crisis in political terms. "Normal people at home understand that it's not the president who's responsible for this, it's the hurricane. This will get better, hour by hour and day by day."

As if it's been getting better, hour by hour, the first five days. "It's not politically smart." They can't ever say anything without a threat. As said, Men In Black or the Politburo -- you decide.

Cheney, as it happens, is on vacation, it was announced yesterday. The rumor is (and trying to really figure out the actual goings-on in the Administration is, again, like Kremlinology)that he has had a heart attack and that as such, the real *leader* of the country is out of commission, which is why they're literally running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Can you believe that such can come over the aether and you find yourself actually *weighing the likelihood?*

And otherwise -- not much of anything done overnight, save for the fact that they've announced that realistically, the Astrodome can only safely hold 11,000, and not 25,000 refugees (and those are lined cot to cot, and nearly head-to-head, packed onto the field. Seeing the visual I was reminded of the old diagrams of how slave ships were stocked). Some hospitals have apparently been evacuated.

Meanwhile, a number of the usual suspects are already trying to take pre-emptive strikes to prevent their big number one from being taken away:

>>Do some on the anti-war left have to keep minimizing what happened on 9/11?

That's gay Tory Andrew Sullivan, formerly editor of the New Republic, upon noting a left of center site noting that this is going to be much bigger than 9/11 in terms of its immediate effect on people. This isn't going to go very far, either, though. *One million refugees.* And the place from where they've been driven uninhabitable now and possibly in the future. The place being the entryway to the Mississippi River and the fifth largest port in the world. Near which most of the US's oil is refined and a good part of it drilled, all now interrupted.

And all they can say is "don't take my 9/11 away from me!"

Depending upon the reaction of the people -- whose reactions I have to say I am in doubt about -- what takes place in the next few days, few weeks, and after, will show the true nature of the country as it stands today (as we've seen the true nature of the administration, repeatedly):

Will the people of the US swing around to the notion being proffered by the Administration (and by its enablers -- James Carville, the Democrat, has pretty much said the same thing; which is more than most Democrats have said, those being pretty much invisible throughout this)i.e. that the people who died in NO died because they chose to stay there? Ergo, *they deserved it?*

Or do they need to be swung -- are they already there?

Needless to say I've seen no polls on this, because we're getting back, with this, to the ever-present heart of the American matter: if the population left behind was predominantly white, would they even be trying to use this reasoning so fervently? Will the public say, in so many words -- well, they *are* black -- so --

I hope not, but I would not be surprised. That would, though, confirm me in the remainder of my worst beliefs about human nature (having been confirmed now as to what would likely happen, if a city is for all intents and purposes suddenly cut off from the rest of the world).

Lisbon earthquake, indeed.

#10 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:54 AM:

I've been missing Tricky Dick for years. He was mean-spirited and vindictive and did some really nasty things to various "blue states," (there were lots of good reasons for the bumper stickers "Massachusetts the One and Only," and "Let Teddy take Dickie for Ride," but at least he was competent at being President nd protecting some rights and the lives of the US citizen, and the jobs of them, and arranging peace and not international hostilities, etc.

Brown got chewed on by Ted Koppel, and came off as an utter incompetent fool. Koppel did apologize to him saying the Brown was the ONLY federal representative who had made himself available to be interviewed and as such got -all- the hard questions with no one else to ask them face to face representing the US Government.

#11 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:13 AM:

From CNN:

Insisting that aid is coming as fast as possible, Chertoff said, "You can't fly helicopters in a hurricane. You can't drive trucks in a hurricane."
Hurricane's been over for days. The man's either a bare-faced liar or completely incompetent.

#12 ::: Ivan ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:13 AM:

It is not the government's fault that some citizens were too stupid to leave. The goverment and the national gaurd is CLEANING UP THE MESS they didn't create.

Only liberals could ignore that fact that these "victims" had free choice and had enough of an advanced warning literally walk to higher ground before the storm hit. I've hitch hiked with no money across the entire country with less warning than they had.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't pitch in and help them, I have. I'm am saying that people should take responsibility for their own inaction.

The government had the guts to officially announce and evacuation. What did you expect them to do drag them out kicking and screaming? Show some common sense.

Now people are complaining that food and water are nowhere to be found. Well duh. It isn't that people aren't sending it or that it isn't available, it is that the freaking roads that you should have used before the storm are now washed out.


-I

#14 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:20 AM:

Fake email address, too.

#15 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:39 AM:

You know, posts like Ivan's are what gives me such pause. I disagree with everything contained therein, but according to one of the best tenets of our nation, everyone's got the right to be wrong.

#16 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:44 AM:

I assume Ivan will shortly be disemvowelled (I love that term), but Josh Marshall independently just wrote the perfect rebuttal:

One might note as an aside that the administration is putting a lot of weight on the claim that it simply wasn't foreseeable how bad things were going to be, even though people knew there was going to be a major storm. And yet a similar lack of foresight apparently leaves many of the victims with primary responsibility for their own deaths.
I'll let the logicians pick that one apart. But let's note that, as we mentioned yesterday, a not-insubstantial number of people who did not evacuate did not do so because they didn't have the cash on hand to do so. Several papers mention this this morning. Others were sick or invalids. And, yes, there were some who probably just figured they'd get lucky and paid a big price.

#17 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:48 AM:

"Now people are complaining that food and water are nowhere to be found. Well duh. It isn't that people aren't sending it or that it isn't available, it is that the freaking roads that you should have used before the storm are now washed out."

It's too bad we don't have machines that fly, or perhaps some kind of fixed-propellor device that can hover above the ground. Perhaps someone will invent that.

If we had that, we could have been dropping MREs or sandwiches, and perhaps bottled water, several days ago. Alas, such technological achievements must be accounted as possible accomplishments of the distant future.

#18 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:54 AM:

I love how a lot of the media are seizing on Bush's noting that the emergency response has been "not acceptable."
Bush hasn't responded acceptably, to any situation, since, well. Ever.

#19 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:57 AM:

As a sort of follow on to what Lis quotes Josh Marshal as noting, you want personal responsibility for choices?

Great.

The President is personally responsible for cutting the Corps of Engineers' funding, for taking the Guard and the SELA funding away, and for not giving any good orders in the five mortal days since the disaster struck.

He's had a lot more freedom of choice and action than most of the folks, hale or halt or soon to be keeping company with Phlebas the Phoenician (they that are them not yet a fortnight dead, though no least droplet less drowned), who are still there in what was New Orleans.

Doesn't matter if someone's been stupid; he's the Commander in Chief. It's still his job to make sure that someone's there to fish them out of it, and someone else is there to keep things from getting worse.

He's failed utterly and contemptably at both of those things.

#20 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:57 AM:

And, you know, even discounted the fact that these are people who might not have private transportation, funds, anywhere to go, or did have extended families which didn't fit into a car or whose older members just wouldn't budge, like old people are wont to do, I just heard that 160,000 residents of New Orleans had a high school diploma. That's right, over a population of just under 500,000.

I am willing to cut them some slack if they didn't know, if they didn't grasp the full impact of the fact, that the levees might breach and drown them all, given as college graduates like the current incumbent were blissfully ignorant of the fact as well.

#21 ::: d ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:01 PM:

you know what? this post made me cry. i am a long-time lurker on this site, and i've been especially glad to come here over the past few days and bask in timid anonymity in a like-minded community of strangers. thank you for that. at this point, though, i'm feeling overwhelmed by the horribleness of both the situation and the people supposedly in charge of trying to deal with it. it's just so fucking awful.

#22 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:02 PM:

Paula said:
"Brown got chewed on by Ted Koppel, and came off as an utter incompetent fool".

I was sad to have missed this, but apparently one of the NPR hosts went off on Chertoff yesterday evening, with similar results (this was according to my husband, who was surprisingly cheery when I got home from work). Apparently the host didn't take kindly to the insinuations that NPR correspondents, ones who have reported accurate information in foreign war zones, were "spreading vicious rumors".

I think it's a rare case of losing objectivity being a GOOD thing.

#23 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:07 PM:

Have there been any polls taken/announced regarding the feeling of US Citizenry regarding Schmuck popularity and level of confidence in him, and how many of him want him, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the head of FEMA ousted -now-?

Is it the Mayor of New Orleans who has started publically excoriating Bush?

I wonder if "Ivan" were to be an insulin-dependent diabetic with circulation problems or in a wheelchair how successful and alive today he'd be trying to hitchhike across the USA? And what does "Ivan" look like--skin color, hair color, eye color, height, weight, build?

Did "Ivan" see the pictures of the people in wheelchairs and the covered over body in the wheelchair from New Orleans, of the live and formerly live who had taken "refuge" at the Superdome and the Convention Center?

Not everyone is able-bodied. Not everyone can "walk" in hundred degree heat and what is probably the usually August-September oppressive Gulf Coast humidity--and those who did, were waiting hour after hour for promised transportation out of New Orlean, the mayor exploded "~We keep being told Help Is on the Way. I don't see any of it~"

#24 ::: Mostly Lurks ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:07 PM:

Why won't the American government accept help?

People are dieing, the UN among others has offered, so why won't your government say yes?

Every day I'm watching people die in the wealthiest country on earth. We want to help. I know we can donate individually to the Red Cross, but our governments have greater resources, and you're welcome to them.

#25 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:11 PM:

It's nice to know, however, that we'll always have those ready to remind us that the unfortunate are responsible for their condition.

#26 ::: Jesse ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:12 PM:

Hurricane's been over for days. The man's either a bare-faced liar or completely incompetent.

How about both? Maybe with a side order of malicious?

#27 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:15 PM:

Well, there you go. More showing of guts.

#28 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:17 PM:

The govt has reversed itself and said it would accept international aid. [I can't find the link now, but the statement was released by a State Department aide... probably because Condi Rice was still vacationing in NYC after the President got back.]

#29 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:23 PM:

The govt has reversed itself and said it would accept international aid.
They were saying they would for a while. And yet, reports keep coming in from major foreign governments and allies (Australia, Canada) that the USGov is simply stonewalling them or, at best, refusing to offer any coordination.

#30 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:29 PM:

This may be a stupid question, and I am open to correction on this, but --

Why didn't they evacuate the patients who were hooked up to machines (ventilators et alia)?

The people in charge HAD to have known that the power was going to fail.

Please don't tell me it was because the hospitals had generators...surely someone must have anticipated that those might run out of fuel?

I find myself wondering how this will change other hurricane-prone areas emergency plans...

And another thing -- every church I know of here in Ohio seems to have at least one bus. Did any of the churches around 'ground zero' have buses? Did they volunteer to evacuate people?

Lori Coulson

#31 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:33 PM:

What, foreign troops on American soil? What could THAT mean? The Canadians can probably get food faster to New Orleans than our government could.

Could you imagine Cuba sending food aid?

Oh, and y'wanna know where a bunch of federal troops are in New Orleans. They're heavily fortifying federal buildings, and chasing away anyone that gets close. Can't help PEOPLE, can help BUILDINGS (I wish I'd linked to the page with the pictures of this because it was a real eye-opener).

Beyond, beyond, beyond disgusted.

#32 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:34 PM:

Lori, that's been confusing me for days. I thought hospitals had emergency generators that actually worked in emerencies and lots of extra supplies. I guess not in New Orleans.

#33 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:35 PM:

Could you imagine Cuba sending food aid?
More interestingly, given the current political climate, Pat Robertson's assassination target Hugo Chavez has offered his country's assistance...

#34 ::: Nomie ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:41 PM:

Lori and Laurie - emergency generators are designed to keep power going when the power system goes down. But many, many structures, including generators, are going to fail when submerged in several feet of filthy water.

I just keep trying not to cry as I hear about everything that goes on. I love this country, and I no longer have faith in the administration to take care of even the simplest problems.

#35 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:53 PM:

And what kind of [fill in your own term] could have missed the non-stop coverage of the approaching disaster last Sunday? Were they all watching NFL pre-season football? Basking in their sense of invulnerability? Excuse me, that was twelve hours of notice when orders could have been given to get the federal act in gear! (Mobilize the troops and supplies from outside the affected area, at least; why didn't they?)

Cat3: get out the intensive-care patients, the people dependent on power or skilled care, the disabled, the elderly, the people without cars or money (including the tourists). Voluntary evacuation of the rest.
Cat4: Mandatory evacuation of all non-essential (non-emergency) personnel. (After this, there may be less argument.)
Cat5: Mandatory evacuation of everyone who hasn't already left. Anyone who refuses, tell them that they're on their own for the next week at least, because it's going to be that long before anyone can get back in.

Yes, it's going to be a pain doing it this way. But it might be less mess afterwards.

#36 ::: Lou ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:53 PM:

A person of soulless nature like dear Ivan said something similar on Terry Neal's live chat at the Washington Post, noting that a Greyhound bus ticket is $10. Of course, Greyhound closed down on Saturday, so that was out. And even if Greyhound was open, please explain to me where these folks were supposed to *go?* Would you have taken them in, Ivan? Some other soulless soul said "people could walk" to evacuate. yeah, you can get *real* far in 12 hours on foot, especially with small children and elderly folks. It's as if these "haves" have absolutely no concept of what it's like to be poor and living paycheck to paycheck. Katrina also struck at the end of the month, you know, about the time cash was running out....

#37 ::: MLR ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:57 PM:

CNN is reporting a convoy of trucks bringing relief supplies to the New Orleans Convention Center. The reporter on hand called it an "extraordinary sight." We should have been seeing this days ago, and it should have been an ordinary sight by now, but I'm grateful, so grateful, that this help has finally arrived.

In the last 24 hours, I've noticed that reporters have been showing an edge of anger as they interview officials. Anger I've felt myself to see people suffering, while officials tell us they are doing "all they can." You cannot provide any services to 10,000 people gathered in a known location 4 days after the disaster? No wonder we are angry, we have a right to expect better than this.

#38 ::: eyelessgame ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:05 PM:

...their own fault, yadda yadda personal responsibility, yadda yadda I regenerate 5 hp/round, yadda yadda...

Yes, that's nice, Ayn, sit up and beg and you can have a dollar. But now, after the disaster, we have a ruined city of refugees, looking remarkably similar to a city that has undergone a major terrorist disruption, e.g. dirty bomb, chemical or biological attack.

And this is the federal response? Five days later we have tens of thousands without food or water?

Four years after 9/11 our Department of Homeland Fuckup can't do a better job than this? Has no one pointed out the similarities to a response to a terror attack -- what HS was supposed to be ready for?

#39 ::: Emily ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:09 PM:

To add on to the comment about other countries giving aid, I read about a group of Jamaican college students who are starting a fund for the victims. That sort of thing gives me hope for humanity, even in the face of all the horrible things that are happening with anarchy in New Orleans.

#40 ::: Jenny K ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:10 PM:

Until all this happened I don't think I had completely realized how many people still agree with crap like "The Bell Curve." Or maybe, Ivan, our president, and all the other idiotic people talking about the tens of thousands of people who "chose" to stay behind have yet to actually watch any of the TV coverage and so have failed to notice that the vast majority of those who "chose" to stay behind are black. Or maybe they think it's just a coincidence. Or maybe they just don't think.

#41 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:17 PM:

Eyeless: Check out the thread that starts off quoting Belle Waring. That's exactly the point being made: IF NOLA had been caused by terrorist attack, AND this was the level of response we could expect, we're all totally screwed.

#42 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:19 PM:

This is from Susie Bright's blog (and she just doesn't write about sex!)

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2005_09/007023.php


September 1, 2005

CHRONOLOGY....Here's a timeline that outlines the fate of both FEMA and flood control projects in New Orleans under the Bush administration. Read it and weep:


.....

December 2002: After less than two years at FEMA, Allbaugh announces he is leaving to start up a consulting firm that advises companies seeking to do business in Iraq. He is succeeded by his deputy, Michael Brown, who, like Allbaugh, has no previous experience in disaster management.

....................

#43 ::: Wrye ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:26 PM:

The Canadians can probably get food faster to New Orleans than our government could.

not faster than your government could, but possibily faster than your goivernment will, at the rate things are going.

Anyway, our navy is on the way, and Canadian S&R crews are already on-scene. Not that this will stop the "nobody ever helps the US" idea that always gets trotted out. There's an old Vietnam era article that gets re-circulated from time to time by a [in reality long since dead] Canadian journalist wondering why Canada never helps the states...watch for it.

#44 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:28 PM:

I KNOW that I shouldn't feed the trolls, but Ivan the Troll noted that

these "victims" had free choice and had enough of an advanced warning literally walk to higher ground before the storm hit.

It should no longer surprise me how narrow the life experience of some people is: not everyone can walk, you idiot.

I don't have New Orleans demographic stats at my fingertips, but, for the country as a whole, fully 1/3 of the population is either under 14 or over 65. Of those between 14 and 65, something like 5% are dealing with some form of disability.

It's been know that an evacuation of New Orleans would take on-the-order-of 72 hours. The evacuation order was given about 24 hours before the storm made landfall. And the order was given AFTER the bus station was closed. 'Ivan' is suggesting that people should start walking as a Category V hurricane roars into town. (Idiot!) The emergency plan for the city was apparently: "Get in your car and get out of town: if you don't have a car, swim for the Superdome."

Under those circumstances, it's rather a surprise that "only" 20% (or whatever the official estimate is) of the city didn't get out.

"Free choice", indeed. I'm having uncharitable thoughts about how long 'Ivan' will be fortunate enough to remain able-bodied.


#45 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:30 PM:

I'm of two minds here: either they really are so insulated from day to day living that they are clueless or they are evil-minded bastards.
I just heard one jackass from, I think, HHS, saying that the people in New Orleans had to at least take some responsibility for personal hygiene. "I know it's difficult" the SOB says. How I wished for a competent host who would have shot back: there's no clean water anywhere in New Orleans, Mr.!"

#46 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:44 PM:

I am glad that the post by "Ivan" wasn't disemvowelled, so we can see just what a jckff he is, and tear him a new sshl.

#47 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:56 PM:

I saw someone say something similar about Greyhound at another site. That they were only charging thirteen bucks to get out of the city and you could ride for free if you didn't have the money.

I can't imagine that the normal Greyhound service into/out of NO was prepared to carry 100,000 people.

If I were being evacuated I certainly wouldn't have thought of the buses, even if they were still running.

As for hygiene someone else posted about looters taking diapers and how their own mother washed their cloth diapers out in the toilet and then used ivory flakes. That's grand, just lovely. I know there is nothing more I would like to put on a tender baby bottom than a diaper that's been rinsed out in TOXIC SLUDGE!

I have decided these people are blind. They don't want to see, they don't want to believe. They are blinded by their own complacency and since deep down the believe they deserve the pampered lives they lead why then everyone else must deserve the lives they have too.

I weep for humanity.

#48 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 02:16 PM:

They're not blind, they're wearing blinders. They're keeping their eyes firmly fixed on coverage of the looting, and listening to the talking heads who are blaming the victims.

Bruce Sterling wondered, in his blog, whether this disaster would finally make people take global warming seriously.

I suggested that that would probably require a situation where white people were reduced to sacking a Wal-Mart for beer and Huggies.

#49 ::: Kirsten Corby ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:10 PM:

We are going through hell down here in South Louisiana. It's good to know other people, safe people, are upset too. And yes, it is clear to all that the emergency response has been slow and sluggish because the citizens of New Orleans are mostly poor and black. Who cares about them?

#50 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:51 PM:

It's true that not everyone can walk. But even pointing out that fact gives the trolls too much credit.

Most people can walk. Most people can't walk 40 miles at a stretch---not in ordinary shoes, anyway, and not without a lot of practice walking long distances. Most people can't walk far enough, fast enough, to get out of range of a hurricane. (Is there anyone who can? Maybe. I sure wouldn't want to try.)

When it became clear that a major city was in danger of being destroyed, the government told people with cars and money that they should leave. The people who didn't have cars and money were just left behind to drown. Probably that sort of thing shouldn't shock me anymore, but it still does.

#51 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:56 PM:

Just a thought . . .

Consider Chernobyl and the political fallout from it.

#52 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:09 PM:

What, foreign troops on American soil? What could THAT mean? The Canadians can probably get food faster to New Orleans than our government could.

Could you imagine Cuba sending food aid?

Oh, and y'wanna know where a bunch of federal troops are in New Orleans. They're heavily fortifying federal buildings, and chasing away anyone that gets close. Can't help PEOPLE, can help BUILDINGS (I wish I'd linked to the page with the pictures of this because it was a real eye-opener).

What do you expect from the same set of schmucks that provided a detail to guard the Oil Ministry in Baghdad and was completely uninterested in providing any sort of police patrolling of streets, security for libraries, museums, schools, and suppressing looter and vandal and rapists out in the streets?


Beyond, beyond, beyond disgusted.

#53 ::: enjay ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:17 PM:

They're not blind, they're wearing blinders. They're keeping their eyes firmly fixed on coverage of the looting, and listening to the talking heads who are blaming the victims.

If the victims are at fault, then the observer has no culpability.

Not MY fault if the things I ignored/accepted/supported have led to this. Nope. No way. Never.

#54 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:22 PM:

CNN: 'what was said vs what was done'

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/02/katrina.response/index.html

Let's just say that the suits are not coming off real well in this comparison.

If they knew that people were dying because aid was not getting in, can we charge them with manslaughter? How about violating the Constitutional mandate to 'promote the general welfare', or do they think that the Constitution doesn't apply to people who don't agree with their views?
Is their a president in this country?

#55 ::: neotoma ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:24 PM:

I just checked Mapquest. Given their directions, taking I-10, the trip from New Orleans to Baton Rouge is *80* miles.

Can *anyone* do that in a day's walking, except maybe The Flash?

Ivan apparently wants to win a Darwin's Award.

#56 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:31 PM:

MattAustern: Most people can't walk far enough, fast enough, to get out of range of a hurricane.

I just looked it up: the barometer began to fall within AN HOUR of the Sunday morning evacuation order. The winds were already at Beauford 5. With a Cat V hurricane bearing down within hours, hunkering down becomes the CORRECT decision.

And, as I said in another thread, the people who stayed turned out to have made the correct choice: I don't think anyone who hunkered down in New Orleans was killed by Katrina. (A few on the road were killed by falling trees &c.)
Monday afternoon, New Orleans had survived Katrina.

What killed New Orleans was four years of conscious decisions by the Bush administration to starve work on the levees.

And that's why they don't want this catastrophe "politicized".

#57 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:53 PM:

Ah, yes, Ivan, the hundreds of thousands of people now suffering, dying, and dead in the Gulf were all just too stupid or stubborn to get out. You, of course, would never end up in a situation like the one they're in. You're different. You're better. You have money and resources and an able body and (dare I say it?) almost certainly you have light skin. It could never happen to you.

Dck.

#58 ::: melissa ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 05:10 PM:

In addition to all these, IMHO, exactly right comments:

Right after the hurricane, I heard that 80 percent of the city evacuated. The mayor (?) had said that they had considered 60 percent to be an excellent result.

If they, in their best estimate, thought they'd have AT LEAST 40% of the population still there, they should have expected them to be sick, injured and possesion poor (at least when they hit emergency shelters):

- Why was there no medical care on site at the main evac. center (or so I'm taking the stadium)?

#59 ::: melissa ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 05:12 PM:

Oh... and since I read the FEMA directors comments, I've been waiting for someone more nimble than words than I to evicerate him.

Thanks.

#60 ::: Jasper Janssen ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 07:01 PM:

Also, emergency generators (especially ones big enough to feed whole hospitals, and with enough electronics and battery power for seamless switchover) tend to be big freaking heavy things. Where do you put heavy, smelly, nasty things? Right, in the basement. When the water level is up over the floor of the first floor.

#61 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 08:12 PM:

And besides the emergency generators, the hospitals now have sewage flowing in, just like everywhere else. Nothing like having sick people with bacteria rushing into their room.

#63 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 09:33 PM:

CNN: Chertoff claims there wasn't any scenario for Katrina, the levees weren't rated only for Cat3, and they didn't know it could happen.

Chertoff: Katrina scenario did not exist

And everyone else says ...

#64 ::: Eric Jarvis ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 07:48 AM:

It's a repeating pattern. "Nobody could have forseen...". Meaning that a whole bunch of people predicted something that the right didn't want to believe but could safely be discounted since they were obviously only making the prediction in order to cause trouble.

If I was told last week that London would be flooded within a few days then I could not have left the city. I didn't have the train fare or the bus fare and I wasn't physically capable of walking or cycling any distance. For the next few days I would be able to get out of town, but there won't be enough money again by next weekend.

#65 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:31 PM:

And, in the category of 'we couldn't have predicted it' excuses for not doing anything, Kingsbury's Psychohistorical Crisis has a near-throwaway line about NOLA being buried overnight by a hurricane. Published late 2001. (I think flooding is close enough.) So why couldn't DHS see the possibility?

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