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September 2, 2005

Wheel, Re-invention of
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 01:57 PM * 107 comments

Incident Command System

How it’s supposed to work.

So, how do you deal with major disasters? The answer is: We already know that answer.

Way back in the 1970s, when Emergency Medical Services were first being invented, when the 9-1-1 national emergency telephone number first came online, when the Jaws of Life was patented, when the Star of Life was trademarked, some folks out in California noticed that the response to disasters (in their case, wildfires) was a clusterfuck.

At that time, too many people reported to one supervisor, different emergency response organizational structures were used, incident information was lacking or unreliable, radio systems were inadequate and incompatible, coordinated planning between agencies was practically non-existent, terminology differed between agencies, lines of authority were unclear, and probably the worst problem was that incident objectives were unclear or unspecified.

Well, what with this and that, some clever buggers came up with the Incident Command System as an answer. Like Herman Wouk once described the US Navy: A system designed by geniuses to be operated by idiots. ICS allows multiple agencies over multiple jurisdictions to work together and actually accomplish something useful. Wildfires don’t wait while you get your act together.

Notice that the word “Command” is part of the name of the system. You have to take command early. How the first five minutes go can determine how the next five hours will go, and how those five hours go can determine how the next five days go.

ICS scales up and down as the situation develops. You always have a measurable objective or goal in a specific timeperiod. You put that goal in writing. That way you can track what’s happened, and what’s happening. Goals can change as the situation develops.

The ICS is based on three principles: First, somebody has to be in charge. One person.

Second, No one can keep everything in their head. In fact, experimental evidence (confirmed by years of experience) is that one person can direct three to seven others with five people being optimum.

Third, no man can serve two masters. You only get orders from one person, and you know who that person is.

[Note—military structures reflect this; so do Boy and Girl Scout troops. A squad leader gives orders to three fireteam leaders, each of whom has three members in his fire team. The squad leader reports to and gets orders from the platoon leader. The platoon leader orders three squad leaders, and reports to one company commander. The company commander orders three platoon leaders (four in a reinforced rifle company). In Caesar’s legions, each cohort had ten centuries, each centurion ordered ten decurions, and each decurion ordered ten men. This is known tech.]

For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. (Luke 7:8)

Smallest incident, at a minimum, there’s always an Incident Commander. There’s always an Incident Command Post, and there’s always a Staging Area. Largest incident: There’s still one Incident Commander, in one command post. His or her identity is known to everyone, and that person is only getting reports from, and giving orders to, a bare handful of subordinates. Each of those subordinates is getting information from, and giving orders to, three to seven subordinates.

Everyone reports to just one person (and knows explicitly who that person is) and commands just a few subordinates. And so on, down the line.

Who’s the incident commander? The first responder on scene. As other responders arrive, the Incident Commander may change, but everyone still knows who it is.

Authority can be delegated. Responsibility can not.

The IC has a command staff and a general staff.

The priorities are, in order:

    Life safety
    Mitigating the situation
    Securing property

Given limited resources, you save life. With more resources, you save lives and keep the incident from expanding. With all the resources you want, you save lives, put out the fire, and protect other property.

“I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensible.” —Dwight D. Eisenhower

I’m going to talk about the Medical sector on a smaller event—say train vs. school bus—because that’s the area I’m most familiar with.

The Medical Branch commander will most likely be the senior paramedic on scene. He or she will report to the Operations Officer or directly to the IC.

The Medical Branch will have his or her own subordinates: The Triage Officer, the Transportation Officer, the Treatment officer, the Logistics officer, and the Staging officer.

Triage identifies numbers and severity of patients, and reports back to the Medical Branch Commander: “We have forty patients; Six red tags, twelve yellow tags, twenty green tags, and two black tag.”

The Medical branch commander passes the numbers of patients to the Treatment officer (who passes it on to the Red Sector, Yellow Sector, Green Sector, and Black sector team leaders—the Red Sector leader doesn’t need to know, or care, how many Green tags are on scene).

The Medical Sector commander then turns to the Transportation officer and says “I need three helicopters, six ambulances, a bus, and the morgue wagon. Go get ‘em.” The Transportation officer goes off to find, get, or obtain the transport. He or she doesn’t care about treating the patients, just transporting them.

Meanwhile, the various sectors (with the aid of the firefighters, coordinated up and down the chain of command) have gathered into their various casualty collection points the sick and injured. They determine the supplies they need, pass the lists up to the Treatment officer, who consolidates and prioritizes them, then passes the list to the Medical Sector Commander. The Medical Sector commander turns to the Logistics officer and says (for example), “Get six bags of normal saline to the red sector, three backboards to the yellow sector, and a teddy bear to the green sector.” The Logistics officer does so, or directs subordinates to make it so, bringing supplies from where they have been placed by the Staging officer.

Information and orders move up and down the chain, not side-to-side. The folks who are providing treatment don’t go off freelancing scrounging the supplies they need—they ask up the chain, supplies are provided, as available and in order of priority.

Meanwhile the Transportation officer is finding hospitals to take all the patients, in order of priority (red first, then yellow, then green, then black).

The idea is to maximize efficiency and minimize confusion in a chaotic, fast-moving situation.

Who talks to who is defined. Only the transportation office talks to hospitals: “Rampart General, this is Hill Street Transportation sector. How many patients are you prepared to handle?”

“Hill Street, this is Rampart. We can take one red tag, two yellow tags, and six green tags.”

“Roger that. I am sending you one red tag, patient #224098, elderly female, decreased level of consciousness, at this time. ETA plus six minutes.”

“Hill Street, Rampart, roger, out.”

And so it goes, right the way through debriefing, cleanup, restocking, lessons learned, continued training for the next time.

Anyway, that’s the way it’s supposed to go. The system is scalable: From a national-level emergency down to a nasty car wreck. (In fact, since you fight the way you train, it’s a good plan to use ICS for everything, including the Memorial Day Parade and your kid’s birthday party.)

One thing that Logistics can do prior to an event is figure out what all the need-to-have, good-to-have, and nice-to-have items are, and make out undated purchase orders for the lot of them. Put the purchase orders in a folder. Then, when the world is collapsing around you at two in the morning, and the mayor says “Anything! Anything at all! Say the word!” you just slap that folder into his hand and say “Start signing.”

You have to have the system in place, everyone trained, reading off the same page, using the same terms. It’s really good to find out in advance whether your radios can talk to the radios of the folks you need to coordinate with before the day you need to talk with ‘em.

Several states have adopted the ICS as their standard. ICS is required by federal law in all HAZMAT incidents. Natural disasters, however, don’t require ICS.

Right now, I’m told, Homeland Security, through FEMA, is trying to impliment ICS nationwide as NIIMS: National Interagency Incident Management System. And that might point out a problem: Notice the difference between “Command” and “Management.”

Anyone who wants to learn all about the Incident Command System can take FEMA’s independent study course:

Take this online course and you personally will be more qualified than FEMA director Michael Brown to manage the Hurricane Katrina response.

Copyright © 2005 by James D. Macdonald

I am not a physician. I can neither diagnose nor prescribe. This post is presented for entertainment purposes only. Nothing here is meant to be advice for your particular condition or situation.

Creative Commons License
Wheel, Re-invention of by James D. Macdonald is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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Comments on Wheel, Re-invention of:
#1 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 02:59 PM:

One of my great-uncles, another Bell, was a senior police officer in Yorkshire, 70-odd years ago, and family tradition is that he started the Incident Commander concept here, pretty much as you describe.

It's a small world.

#2 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:06 PM:

Notice that the word “Command” is part of the name of the system. You have to take command early. How the first five minutes go can determine how the next five hours will go, and how those five hours go can determine how the next five days go.

Note—military structures reflect this; so do Boy and Girl Scout troops

This post of yours reminds me of something you (I think was you anyway) said way back when we were discussing Abu Ghraib on this blog. You said that one of the chief concerns about Abu Ghraib, aside from the human rights violations, was that it showed either a lack of control in the command structure or a loss of accountability. Other posters, military wives and military personnel, also commented on that lost command structure.

I think we have a clear pattern emerging here regarding how the Bush administration works. We don't have a Commander-in-Chief in anything other than name, because the man refuses to make mistakes and take accountability for them. As soon as anything bad happens, the command and the responsibility for what happened under his command have gone out the window.

September 11th: We are the victims of a major terrorist attack. Suddenly the White House declaims all knowledge. The chain of command flows as far as the CIA, apparently, but no further. All errors are attributed to "communication issues" between the FBI, the CIA, and our other security agencies. Heads roll, but only at the CIA/FBI level. George and Co blame everybody beneath them.

Abu Ghraib: Our chain of command in the Middle East mysteriously goes AWOL, resulting in the worst PR disaster for the US regarding their war in Iraq. Again, heads roll, this time in in the military, and again George and Co. get off scott-free.

Hurricane Katrina: After George and Co. pillage FEMA, subsume it under Homeland Security, cut funding for the SELA-levee projects, and take Louisiana's National Guard troops to Iraq, Katrina hits, wipes out the city. Where'd the chain of command go again? Where's the accountability going to rest?

The Inner Eye tells me that the heads of FEMA and Homeland Security should start watching their backs. I hear their voices and it sounds like the bleating of sacrificial goats. (Not that they don't deserve it, mind you, what with their sloppiness and negligence definitely contributing to this horrible situation. But I bet George and Co. are already sharpening the ax.)

#3 ::: pcomeau ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:23 PM:


Just went to the link (is195)... It says it will be taken down around 9/16 as the new system will be replacing it. So if you want the materials, and to take the test, get it before the 16th.

#4 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:28 PM:

Chertoff knows where too many bodies are buried, but Michael Brown was the first ever Undersecretary of Emergency PREPAREDNESS and Response.

As I've griped elsewhere, when your first major "rescue" team arrives showing not food and water, but how well-armed it is, "what we have here is a failure to communicate."

John M. Barry noted that Louisiana 1927 led to Herbert Hoover getting the Republican nomination. It looks as if Haley Barbour is ready for his close-up; Fox is pounding the "lawlessness" aspect and Barbour is emphasizing the need to restore order (which 2005-speak for 1927's use of the National Guard to keep the [black] people who built sandbags at the levees in the path of the flood).

#5 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:29 PM:

we stumble about and reel around as a great, blindfolded giant, bashed upon the head whilst sleeping.

I assume that the people currently in the trenches are doing what they can according to "incident commander" concepts. But I think that there is a serious missing component to the the chain of command at the white house. While the first cop on the scene can take command, they can't mobilize the national guard or the air force or the coast guard.

#6 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:30 PM:

I see that you need a US Deliverable Address if you want to take the exam on that ICS course...

And a Social Security Number...

The first is within the range of possible fannish shananigans, but I have my doubts about the second.

#7 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:39 PM:

You know what FEMA uses as UserID and password?

Last name, and last four digits of SSN...

This is something less than competent.

#8 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:40 PM:

The first cop on the scene becomes the Incident Commander. As things scale up, she hands off command to someone senior. Eventually, as things scale up, the Incident Commander's liaison officer gets with someone who can call out the National Guard. (By then the Incident Commander might be the Deputy Governor for Emergency Services or some such person.)

(The Liaison Officer is part of the Incident Commander's command staff whose job is to talk with other agencies to mobilize resources and response.)

It really is a beautiful system and does work when when it's used.

(Oh -- you know the definition of "Chaos," don't you? Chief Has Arrived On Scene.)

#9 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:41 PM:


I read this post and could not stop thinking, after almost every paragraph: "Dear God, how I wish Jim Macdonald had Michael Brown's job."

#10 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:53 PM:

I work in a very large food processing plant out west, and there are a variety of major problems that can occur -- if nothing else, we have a lot of ammonia for our chillers. Incident Command is a standard part of training here, even if you are a programmer. Everybody has to be able to be an incident commander here.

#11 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:06 PM:

Take this online course and you personally will be more qualified than FEMA director Michael Brown to manage the Hurricane Katrina response.

This made me LOL. Thanks.

I am reminded of what Nagin said:

Now, I will tell you this -- and I give the president some credit on this -- he sent one John Wayne dude down here that can get some stuff done, and his name is [Lt.] Gen. [Russel] Honore.

And he came off the doggone chopper, and he started cussing and people started moving. And he's getting some stuff done.

They ought to give that guy -- if they don't want to give it to me, give him full authority to get the job done, and we can save some people.

#12 ::: Luthe ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:10 PM:

Thank you very much for posting this. My main question about the chaos in Louisiana has been that of how the system was supposed to work, in contrast to how it actually is (not) working. This is a nice, clear explanation, with the added bonus of giving me a new way of thinking of command structures for things like say, city planning.

#13 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:13 PM:

The system however can't deal with "leaders" whose level of hubris, narcissicism, arrogance, self-aggrandizement, delusionality, and incompetence won't use the system or allow it to be implemented.

#14 ::: Mary R ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:19 PM:

One of the things about the looting. It struck me that on the news they kept talking about more police. But what they really needed was someone in charge who the survivors could trust to give them accurate information. To tell them where to go, what to do, how to be useful. It really hasn't sunk in with law enforcement that the police need to be someone the community can trust, not hated and feared.

Trying to remember my sociology course here - over 150 people, you really need to have someone in charge of the group or things just fall apart.

#15 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:43 PM:

The key phrase in Mary R's post being "who the survivors can trust." One of the quotes that struck me from this article in the Washington Post was "But then I said, 'If we do take the car, some of us would be sitting on one another's laps.' And the state troopers were talking about making arrests."

That's from a black father of four who decided not to drive out of New Orleans because of a fear of racist cops.

More police are not going to cut it. And if the Army and Guard units being deployed are overwhelmingly white, that's not going to cut it either. Too much legacy to overcome.

#16 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:48 PM:

Is there any reason those air force boys playing basketball weren't knee deep in sewer water helping out? Is there any reason the nearby military bases didn't each load up a couple of deuce-and-a-halfs with water and truck it down there? Is there any reason why an airforce base with cargo planes anywhere in the states hasn't drop-chuted some goddamn water? What the fuck does it take to call in the fucking marines with an amphibious assualt ship with helicopters, and amphibious landing craft to patrol the streets that are underwater? Is every available military person over in Iraq right now? If an army landed at new orleans to invade america, is this our fucking best response? What does it take to activate the military on this?

#17 ::: TH ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 05:02 PM:

Jim, this is a serious question:

»There's one thing I don't get.
If you declare a mandatory evacuation of a city, isn’t it standard operating procedure to provide transport and shelter for the evacuees? I’d even say you try to keep individual evacuation traffic down to get everybody out in the fastest and most efficient way. Wouldn’t you?

So what the hell went wrong in New Orleans? Or is USanian reality and rationality really so different?«

(I asked this on my blog, but not too many USanians come there)

I'm serious. We have a lot of nature striking, not hurricanes, but floods and avalanches and so on. Nature hits, levees break, it's in their nature to do that. Dams break and rivers to like to promenade and go see the sights of the cities in their path.

Most of the time, you can see it coming, you can prepare, maybe not perfectly, but as much as possible. Loss of material goods is normal, it may be catastrophic, but ultimately it's irrelevant. Loss of life and civilization can be prevented. And I don't believe that people are so different on the other side of the water.

So what the hell went wrong?

#18 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 05:18 PM:

So what the hell went wrong?

My opinion? Command failure. Right at the very top and extending down from there.

#19 ::: David Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 05:36 PM:

One of the few organizations that hasn't come under attack for being late on the scene is the Coast Guard.

It redeployed aircraft from all along the East Coast (as far as from Cape Cod) and was in there rescuing people right away. The CG did this while still covering its other responsibilities (and it is an agency that is stretched thin.)

In the finest traditions of the Lifesaving Service.

#20 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 05:40 PM:

Greg London:

Is there any reason those air force boys playing basketball weren't knee deep in sewer water helping out? Is there any reason the nearby military bases didn't each load up a couple of deuce-and-a-halfs with water and truck it down there? Is there any reason why an airforce base with cargo planes anywhere in the states hasn't drop-chuted some goddamn water? What the fuck does it take to call in the fucking marines with an amphibious assualt ship with helicopters, and amphibious landing craft to patrol the streets that are underwater? Is every available military person over in Iraq right now? If an army landed at new orleans to invade america, is this our fucking best response? What does it take to activate the military on this?


#21 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 06:10 PM:

Having read the transcript of Mayor Nagin's radio interview, I have only sympathy for him. He comes across as genuinely caring about the citizens, and deeply frustrated about his inability to help. Yes, he could have been more effective evacuating the city before the hurricane, and afterwards responding to the flooding. But we can't expect every small-city mayor to already know this stuff, even for a small city in such an obviously precarious situation as New Orleans. Preparedness and disaster response are skills that require training and practice. In San Francisco, the city has an earthquake drill every year on the anniversary of the 1906 quake. That's probably not enough. How much training does the NOLA city government get in hurricane and flood preparedness, from the mayor on down to the cops on the street? Whatever it was, it clearly wasn't enough.

Yes, hats off to our Coast Guard and its excellent service members. But I think there are equally fine men and women in our other services, plus civilians in government and fire houses and police stations across the country, standing on the sidelines frustrated because their organizations can't put them in a position to help. I would guess that the Coast Guard is doing better than most because they are relatively mobile, and they are used to responding to emergencies with whatever they've got. It probably would be a good idea to learn from them and try to replicate their abilities in our emergency response organizations. They probably deserve a budget increase too.

#22 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 06:15 PM:

Thanks for the pointer to the online course. I took it in about an hour. A good refresher.

(I was volunteer search-and-rescue AND a fully-trained-up Red Cross disaster volunteer some years ago. This led once to a situation where I ran a Red Cross feeding station for the search-and rescue crew.)

#23 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 06:19 PM:

TomB: The Coast Guard always needs and deserves a budget increase.

A large part of "replicating their abilities" would be fully implementing ICS for all first responders.

#24 ::: T.W. ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 07:44 PM:

I think the coast gaurd also do not wait for permission from the powers that be to help. They hear the call they go, no if, or, and, but.

#25 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 08:13 PM:

Macdonald was in the the military longer than I was, but since he didn't go into speculative details...

There used to be, may still be, a law limiting the use of active duty troops for "domestic operations." The President could in emergencies and certain other conditions call on active duty military troops for domestic operations, as Commander-in-Chief of the US military and President of the USA. Troops could also volunteer or work as assigned to things like delivering Toys for Tots.

Local commander discretion I don't know the limits of, HOWEVER--Schmuck and his buddies did a
"decapitation" of the general officer ranks of the US military regarding Iraq--anyone who objected to the inane incompetent stupid lame etc. plans of Rumsfeld and Bush and Cheney for invading Iraq and replacing the government and s/i/n/g/i/n/g K/u/m/b/a/y/a having Western Democracy spring full-grown and mature turning Baghdad into Austin and Iraq into a Texas clone, got involuntarily retired. Anyone willing and able to go toe-to-toe against Schmuck and his slimeball buddies to look out for the well-being of the US soldier and taxpayer and the well-being of the people of Iraq and giving an honest rationale analysis of troops strength and operations and personnel and training etc. necessary to having successfulling invaded Iraq and REPLACED the governance of a couple generations of vicious dictatorship with a country with a peaceful properous harmonious place, where there weren't jihadi runing around blowing up the landscape and vehicles any two-footed protoplasmic live beings, where there weren't Iranian-backed religious extremists, where Saddam's pet goon squad troops with their taste for casual violence and atrocity wouldn't be off committing atrocities for the fun of terrorizing others, where women had any -rights- and financial and economic and political and social self-determination and freedom.... those generals were all axed and removed from authority positions. Most of the rest were varying mixes of idiot, lickspittle, liar, a political slimeball, brownnose, slick operator, or someone with a slick hide looking out for #1 and arrangming matters for maximum sefl-interest.
"principles" which weren't in consonance with Schmuck and Cheney and Rumsfeld Fantasyland Belief were inconvenient things causing one to wind up on the losing side of trying to tell Rumsfled things he wasn't going to hear and wasn't interested in hearing/acceding to/was averse to an killed the messenger for delivering a message contrary to what he wanted to hear.

The Base Commander at Keesler is probably an 0-6 -- a colonel. If that colonel wants to get promoted to general, doing anything with "initiative" that involves taking any responisbility or authority for ordering people out to do things that the masters in DC havne't ordered, is likely to kill the colonel's career--don;t become more popular than the tyrants or the tyrants will chop your head off. Or, if it makes the masters look back, that gets your head chopped off, too.

Turtles, on the other hand, don't get their heads chopped off with their head and tails and feet firmly pulled inside the shell... surviving malevolent vicious vindictive shitheads like Schmuck & buddies involves playing turtle unless they say "jump," when they say jump, mutate into a jackrabbit and -jump-, do what they tell you to, no more, no less, obey orders, be LOYAL, and be rewarded for the loyalty. Disagreement = disloyalty to Schmuck.

Until Schmuck ordered troop movements, no troops were going to go -anywhere-.

Regarding the Coast Guard, the Coast Guard is not the US military. Its misson includes operations in sovereign US waters, and rescue work. There was never a law against Coast Guard domestic operations. So...

#26 ::: Stephanie ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 08:43 PM:

turning Baghdad into Austin and Iraq into a Texas clone

Paula, I'm sorry to pick out one insignificant phrase from your post, but have you ever been to Austin? It may be surrounded by ultra-conservative Texas cities, but it's a pretty liberal place, full of college students and funky little coffeehouses. The idea of this administration wanting to turn Baghdad into that made me laugh out loud.

#27 ::: Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 09:37 PM:

Finally, some good news from N.O.

(CNN) -- New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin calls Lt. Gen. Russel Honore a "John Wayne dude" who can "get some stuff done."

"He came off the doggone chopper, and he started cussing and people started moving," Nagin said in an interview Thursday night with a local radio station.

The three-star general directed the deployment of an estimated 1,000 National Guard troops from a New Orleans street corner Friday, making it clear that it was a humanitarian relief operation. Getting food and water to the people at the city's convention center was a difficult process, Honore said.

"If you ever have 20,000 people come to supper, you know what I'm talking about. If it's easy, it would have been done already.

And the best of it is, it sounds like he didn't stand still long enough for an interview. They had to look him up and ask around and stuff.

I *knew* they had someone like that stashed away somewhere! (They're manufactured by a special process that tempers grains and steel into pure gold).

#28 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 09:37 PM:

What Paula's alluding to above is the Posse Comitatus Act. The Coast Guard, which reports to the Department of Transportation rather than the Department of Defense, isn't affected.

#29 ::: Kayjay ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:11 PM:

Have any of you had problems taking the test online? I click the link and it just gives me a mostly blank page every time.

#30 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:42 PM:

No problem at all with the form here, Kayjay.

You might try closing your browser and restarting it, or trying another browser. Make sure Java is turned on.

#31 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:42 PM:

Turtles, on the other hand, don't get their heads chopped off with their head and tails and feet firmly pulled inside the shell

On the other hand, if a big enough dog gets hold of one, it's dead whether it's tucked up or not. And it's just as dead if it gets run over by a vehicle.

With luck, Katrina will fix a lot of turtles of the human variety.

#32 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:07 AM:
What Paula's alluding to above is the Posse Comitatus Act. The Coast Guard, which reports to the Department of Transportation rather than the Department of Defense, isn't affected.

Nitpick - the Coast Guard was moved from Transportation to Homeland Security.

#33 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:15 AM:

PJ: I hope that it's not turtles all the way down, in that case.

Stephanie: Baghdad has a reputation I think for "liberal" over the centuries... on the other hand the Thousand Nights and One Night were set there on the worldwide traditional principle of "given stories an exotic far away setting, for reasons including sounding far away exotic, and perhaps also to avoid too close a direct resemblance to local conditions one is satirizing. (I don;'t know that that work was sartizing anything in anyone in Fustat (Old Cairo) where it was constructed, but I wouldn't be against it).

Things in common--Baghdad and Austin are both capital cities, on rivers, in the middle of country that isn't the wettest around, and that is hot and dry, and surrounded by social conservatives, though the cities are bastions of learning and culture and relative multiculturalism. Oh, and I left out -OIL-.

#34 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:40 AM:

An odd thought struck me as I read this:

Isn't the structure of the Incident Command System Jim describes -- the person on top having only a few people working directly under his command, with only a few more people each directly under the command of those people -- essentially the same "cell" structure used by spies and Resistance fighters during WWII?

Not sure if that means anything....

#35 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 03:55 AM:

If there's any connection, it's in our capacity to keep track of people as people. The more people there are in a "cell", the harder it is to spot the signs of betrayal.

Now, you might speculate that this clusterfuck has arisen because of a failure of organisation, and that the senior officials are somehow defective in their understanding of interpersonal relationships. You might come to believe that the upper reaches of the US government are run by individuals who have difficulty in seeing others as people. You might even think this is evidence of government by psychopaths, as such megafrauds as Enron are evidence of business management by psychopaths.

You might think that, but I couldn't possibly comment.

#36 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 11:29 AM:

Firefighting gear stockpile unused

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Nine stockpiles of fire-and-rescue equipment strategically placed around the country to be used in the event of a catastrophe still have not been pressed into service in New Orleans, five days after Hurricane Katrina, CNN has learned.

Responding to a CNN inquiry, Department of Homeland Security spokesman Marc Short said Friday the gear has not been moved because none of the governors in the hurricane-ravaged area has requested it.

#37 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:53 PM:

Responding to a CNN inquiry, Department of Homeland Security spokesman Marc Short said Friday the gear has not been moved because none of the governors in the hurricane-ravaged area has requested it.

*rolls eyes*

That's the lamest justification I've heard. Did they know or remember that it was available for them? I somehow bet not.

#38 ::: Solynna ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 03:35 PM:

I heard what happy in New Orlean and i fee so sad to see those people who hasn't done any thing wrong to have to live thrue that shit.

#39 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 03:58 PM:

hmm, I wonder exactly how specific a request from governors have to be. I would expect it to be something very broad like: We really need some help down here.
But it seems it is instead: Can you send us the ten dumptrucks you have parked over on Lexington Ave., 15 cops named Murphy with red whiskers, and a tax cut pulled from the president's ass?

Who knew.

#41 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 05:15 PM:

Oh, and this, which is the writer, not General Jackass (emphasis added):

While some fight the insurgency in the city, other carry on with rescue and evacuation operations. Helicopters are still pulling hundreds of stranded people from rooftops of flooded homes.
#42 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 05:22 PM:

I guess taking care of the "insurgency" in NOLA is higher priority than rescuing the people who are stuck there.

Any rescuers going in need to have live cameras (including cellphone cams) with them, because this government is going to do its best to keep the bad news under wraps. And it needs to get out.

#43 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 05:36 PM:

Perhaps they don't want the Red Cross in there because they might see the massacre. OK, I'm probably the Mayor of Tinfoil Hat City right now (and I hope I am), but putting Bush's talk about "zero tolerance" for looters, evacuees on foot being turned back to the city, the Red Cross embargo and that Military Times article together, it really does sound like the Bushies are afixin' to go kill themselves some black folk. (Who, if they vote, vote Democratic.)

#44 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 06:05 PM:


George Bush surveying destruction from plane "oh that's horrible, just horrible"
"Some of the residents have taken to calling it Lake George, sir."
"Send in the Guard, kill them all!"

#45 ::: Janine ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 08:24 PM:

I would like to thank Mr. Brown for taking on the role of this scandal's Disposable Underling with such gusto. Normally, I feel a tiny twinge of sympathy for the person who’s chosen. Given the level of competency and empathy the gentleman has shown so far, this time I’m not having that problem.

#46 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:14 AM:

I'm the wimpy unmilitary member of my generation in my family. (Hey, with a brother flying MEDEVAC helos and a cousin in the USMC....)

I didn't make Eagle Scout, either.

How come I can think of such arcane ideas as having prepositioned supplies in the Shelter of Last Resort?

Heck, the Tenderfeet that I had in my patrol could do better than FEMA has; these are people that I convinced that a slug near our campsite could spit acid at them, and that the only way to neutralize the threat was to pee on the slug first. (Yes, there was a slug-in-a-puddle shortly thereafter.)

#47 ::: Craig ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:21 AM:

According to the Boston Herald, the head of FEMA was forced out of his previous job, commissioner of judges and stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association. He was hired by FEMA because he's a friend of Bush's campaign manager. Totally incompetent and totally lacking in experience.

For an example of how one could handle such an emergency, there's Darwin in 1974. A category 4 or 5 cyclone took out a city with a similar proportion of Australia's population as Greater New Orleans is of the US population. The Director of National Disasters Organisation arrived with a medical team on the night of the day the cyclone hit. 1/5 (by number -- much more by size) of the Australian Navy was on its way the next day. The entire transport fleet of the Air Force was sent in.

The US has not committed more than a tiny fraction of the resources required to deal with the current tragedy, nor allowed others to help.

#48 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:23 AM:

The Coast Guard, which reports to the Department of Transportation rather than the Department of Defense, isn't affected.

Alas, no more. USCG is now DHS, not DOT. May God Have Mercy On Our Souls.

Oh, yeah -- who was the Incident Commander in New Orelans? Answer: Apparently, until Friday, Mr. Nobody.

#49 ::: FishSticks ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:09 AM:

The U.S. Coast Guard *IS* an armed service. USCG people have served in all of our nation's conflicts. It is most definitely a military organization; but it's unique in the fact that it also performs civil law enforcement.

With respect to ICS; the Coast Guard adopted ICS in the early to mid 90's for oil spill response operations, and then adopted it for all operations in the mid-to-late 90's. You can go to to see the Coast Guard's Incident Management Handbook to get a sense of the CG's implemenation of ICS for their mission areas. You can also get a good understanding of how the CG operates by reading CG Publication 1 available at

The CG has played a key role in developing the new DHS National Response Plan; which defines a new standard for incident management - NIMS aka "One-eyed NIMS"; the National Incident Management System (as opposed to NIIMS ("two-eyed NIIMS") the National Interagency Incident Manangement System (aka the fire-services' ICS).

Right now, the NRP is a relatively brand new document that is sort of a plan of plans over top of legacy plans like FEMA's National Response Plan, the EPA/USCG National Contingency Plan for oils spills and hazmat incidents, and other like plans. Lots of good folks have been working towards refining and exercising these new plans and structures post 9-11 (and after the formation of DHS); but there is still a lot of work to do and a lot of the legal and organizational knots are being untied and re-tied. Unforunately; Katrina has shown how far behind the eight ball we still are- particularly in the area of the National Guard-States-FEMA interface and other issues of organization, authority and funding. One reason that Katrina ops started off so badly (beyond the sheer physics of the meteorlogical event, which is the main reason for this nightmare) is that a lot of people didn't now how to "properly" request Federal assistance in a timely manner.

#50 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 03:58 AM:

"One reason that Katrina ops started off so badly (beyond the sheer physics of the meteorlogical event, which is the main reason for this nightmare) is that a lot of people didn't now how to 'properly' request Federal assistance in a timely manner."

Damn, that is pretty funny. Hey I wonder how many other countries require people to properly request the assistance in a timely manner in the case of natural disasters. In terms of Western Cultures I'm betting none. Of course the rest of Western Civilization is a bunch of commie liberals so that may have something to do with it.

Second of all, why is it that people during the Clinton Administrations all knew how to make timely requests from aid.

#51 ::: Eric Jarvis ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 07:36 AM:

"Louisiana, Louisiana, they're trying to wash us away, they're trying to wash us away" - Randy Newman "Louisiana 1927.

The song I can't get out of my head at the moment.

Firstly, people seem to misunderstand what Michael Brown's job is. As head of FEMA he has not been appaointed to deal with the emergencies following a natural disaster. He was appointed to cut the budget of FEMA at every opportunity whilst doing his best to get good PR for the administration. So far as I can see he'd done his job very effectively. To the extent that he's got rid of such unnecessary things as radio equipment to allow FEMA staff to communicate in situations where land lines and cell phones are not available. This is, from the administration's POV a feature and not a bug. As is the fact that the people who are likely to die as a result will largely not be Republican voters.

"Some people got lost in the flood, some people they was alright." Louisiana 1927 again.

There's another thing that strikes me is typical of the current US administration (and something it has in common with the government here in the UK). The whole system seems to be built around staying "on message". This leads to a President surrounded by people who are determined to say only what he wants to hear. The pattern devolves down the scale and you end up with everyone hoping for the best and ignoring anything unpleasant. Since it's also run by people who put a premium on being "people of faith", you also have all this being done by people who are psychologically attuned to believing their assumptions even in the face of contradictory evidence. This makes it VERY hard for them to anticipate and prepare for problems, and it makes them slow to recognise when something is going wrong.

"President Coolidge he come down here on a railroad train, with a little fat man with a notepad in his hand. President Coolidge he say "Little fat man isn't it a shame, what the river have done to this poor cracker's land." Louisiana 1927.

#52 ::: John Lansford ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:35 AM:

New Orleans held a disaster exercise last year, called "Hurricane Pam". It simulated almost exactly the problems that have arisen from Hurricane Katrina, with evacuation problems, looting, flooding, supplies, coordination, levee protection, assistance, etc. Problems were noted and ways to address them were identified.

Except, neither the local government, nor the state, nor the Federal agencies involved (and all of the ones now down there were involved) did anything, as demonstrated by the sluggish and incompetent actions taken last week!

New Orleans' own emergency evacuation plan calls for using school buses to get the poorest segment of their population out of danger. This was not done. Supplies were supposed to be stockpiled; this too was not done. Instead, a seat-of-the-pants, panic response was used, as in "get out of town now any way you can", and everyone else go to the Superdome (without any supplies) and bring food with you.

#53 ::: DM SHERWOOD ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:48 AM:

Words to put on godknows how many New Orleans graves. 'God don't forgive them .They Knew EXACTLY what they were doing'

#54 ::: Observer ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:00 PM:

"a lot of people didn't now how to 'properly' request Federal assistance in a timely manner."

From a FEMA press release, dated August 27:

"Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, today announced that Federal resources are being allocated to support emergency protective response efforts response efforts in the parishes located in the path of Hurricane Katrina.

Brown said President Bush authorized the aid under an emergency disaster declaration issued following a review of FEMA's analysis of the state's request for federal assistance. FEMA will mobilize equipment and resources necessary to protect public health and safety by assisting law enforcement with evacuations, establishing shelters, supporting emergency medical needs, meeting immediate lifesaving and life-sustaining human needs and protecting property, in addition to other emergency protective measures."

So, if they didn't request things properly, how come their request had gone all the way to the top and down again two full days before the hurricane hit the city?

#55 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 05:56 PM:

Observer: it turned out that nobody had said "Simon Says".

#56 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 07:52 PM:

Eric, at the end of Meet the Press today, they showed pictures of NO & area while playing part of Aaron Neville's version of "Louisiana 1927."

#57 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:07 PM:

Y'all remember back in 1981, the day Ronald Reagan was shot?

Remember all the negative comments when someone asked "Who's in charge?" and Al Haig said "I am"?

Who was in charge when this current mess started? George Bush was cutting brush. Dick Cheney was fishing. Condi Rice was shoe shopping.

Boy, howdy, do I wish Al Haig was back.

#58 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:40 PM:

BTW, I don't want anyone to think that I'm claiming to be some kind of ICS Ghod or anything.

In my town, by definition, the senior firefighter on scene is the Incident Commander when fire services are present.

In my career (ten years so far in EMS) I've only been the IC twice (only police and EMS were on scene and no medic senior to me) and both times -- things could have gone better. Nobody died but that was more through good luck than good judgment on my part.

Still, the system worked, and made what could have been a real horror show ... better.

And when people who are good at it are running things (and I've been Medical Sector commander more than once, reporting to the IC or the Operations Officer), things have gone very well indeed.

I do wonder why some old firedog from the Emergency Services who's been Incident Commander more times than anyone can count, who's done everything from forest fires covering three states to derailments with HAZMAT spills to Lost Hiker search and rescue, isn't head of FEMA.

#59 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 12:18 AM:


Wouldn't you want a couple dozen of them who reported directly to the head of FEMA, and were dispatched with full authority to disaster sites, instead?

(Given a FEMA head with the requisite character, that is.)

#60 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 12:29 AM:

I would expect the head of FEMA to have a staff fully as proficient and knowledgeable as anyone in the country on the subject of disasters.

I'd expect it to be full of the most most ass-kicking got-their-shit-in-one-sock mean-mother people in the world because when the world falls apart that is not the time for on-the-job training.

Instead, what do we get? A guy who was fired from his last job, who got this one because he was someone's campaign manager's college roommate.

#61 ::: Steff Z ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 01:49 AM:

The ol' Red Cross doesn't call it ICS in lifeguard class, but they train it anyway. The lifeguard is in charge of an incident until it's over, or the EMS people take over -- usually with a pretty clear statement about the change of command, and a report from the previous incident commander. So this system is everywhere. Because it works.

#62 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 08:51 AM:


I didn't mean to suggest that the current bozo on top (in charge? my ass) could handle the job if only he had good people under him. (I bet he does.) What I mean is that someone with ability and character to kick ass administratively in Washington and the confidence in the person sent to work from the spot to do so for them on their word that it's needed could.

Part of what I gathered about the ICS is it's on-the-spot and allows for frequently being subsumed under a higher authority when it shows up--not the situation in Washington.

#63 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 09:03 AM:

Jim said I do wonder why some old firedog from the Emergency Services who's been Incident Commander more times than anyone can count, who's done everything from forest fires covering three states to derailments with HAZMAT spills to Lost Hiker search and rescue, isn't head of FEMA.

That's pretty much the situation under Bill Clinton, reversing the policy of his predecessor, Dubya's Daddy. At that time, FEMA reestablished a reputation of being effective in its mission.

Unfortunately, the current Administration's policy seems to include a large helping of largesse for its donors and sponsors, and little to no critical thinking with regard to the actual mission of agencies. (This without imputing, as I would prefer to, actual malice in establishing inefficient structures and agencies, so that they can be dismantled after their inevitable failure.)

Which is how we get a total, unmitigated, fucking disaster as head of FEMA, echoed through the executive ranks of the agency, perpetrated on the innocent taxpayers of the Gulf Coast.

#64 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 09:04 AM:

Jim: But you knew that. Sorry, I needed to blow off steam; it was a difficult week (weekend nights, my shift) at work, and your post caught my eye first.

#65 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 09:36 AM:

Darn right, this shouldn't need saying. We as a species have developed several ways of Getting Things Done - the disaster/military model overhead (also applicable to minor emergencies such as birthday parties, apparently, but I never get invited to that sort of party); the collegiate/committee model, in which you have a lot of highly informed people in a fairly free-form way arguing with each other (also works for juries, going to movies, organising conventions, the Clinton White House, etc); and the bureaucratic model, in which you have a lot of people all following highly complex and specific rules.
All are useful. Which one is best for governance is a subject of some debate. Any of them, historically, can lead to (in order) authoritarianism, post-revolutionary chaos, or a sort of Soviet awfulness.
Which one is best for highly evolving, dangerous situations is not a subject of debate.
Which one is currently in use by the people who are running the US is, frankly, a mystery. I don't see any method at all here, sir.

#66 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 10:00 AM:

Apologies for the length, but this came in through my ISP's news line.

Soldiers: Storm-Ravaged Areas Are No Iraq
September 05, 2005 2:47 AM EDT GULFPORT, Miss. - For some soldiers back from Iraq and now helping the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort, serving in the Middle East doesn't seem so bad after all.

"We had it made in Iraq, absolutely had it made," said Col. Brad MacNealy of the Mississippi National Guard, who spent a year commanding the 185th Aviation Brigade's 134 helicopters there.

"In Iraq, we had TV, communication, sleeping quarters, showers," MacNealy said Sunday. "Here, these people haven't had a shower. They're using baby wipes. They can't use cell phones... The year we spent in Iraq, the creature comforts were fantastic. I mean, people were complaining there because they didn't have exercise equipment."

The group is now flying 42 choppers out of the Trent Lott National Guard Training Complex here, delivering food, water, ice, diapers and baby food to people stranded in the bayou.

Communication is a mess here, pilots say. Crews are flying into areas with chopper loads of bottled water and MRE's - meals ready to eat - and finding supplies have already been delivered.

"If they say they've already got stuff, we just fly around until we find someone who needs it," said pilot Michael Fair, a chief warrant officer with the Ohio National Guard.

The helicopter crews are given drop locations, then they're on their own.

"There's no communications out there. We don't know much until we get on the ground," said pilot Michael Bess, also of the Ohio National Guard. "If they've already got something, we just circle around the area looking for people who are stranded."

MacNealy said planning for aid drops is intense and confusing because very few messages get from the outlying areas where folks are stranded with the base's main operation center.

"In Iraq, we had to and did a lot more detailed planning because we were being shot at," he said. "Here, it's touch and go."

But one thing truly separates this mission from Iraq, where commanders are constantly giving "a lot of motivational speeches, slapping soldiers on the backs," MacNealy added.

"I have never seen the morale any higher anywhere in the world. You don't have to motivate anybody here. They know their mission. We're here to help our neighbors," he said. "Every time they go out and see a woman crying because she just got food and water for her children, they come back fired up."

And troops here share at least one other thing in common with the stranded, hungry and thirsty masses.

"These guys are subsisting on the same rations we're bringing out to the people," said the Mississippi National Guard's Col. Greg Kennedy. "Even so, as tough as it is, not one complaint, not one single complaint from anyone."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

There's no communication out there, so they fly around looking for people who need the supplies.
The Guard should be capable of handling that. So should FEMA.

#67 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 10:53 AM:

TomB: Having read the transcript of Mayor Nagin's radio interview, I have only sympathy for him. He comes across as genuinely caring about the citizens, and deeply frustrated about his inability to help. Yes, he could have been more effective evacuating the city before the hurricane, and afterwards responding to the flooding.

How much power does the mayor have to (e.g.) commandeer equipment to get more people evacuated?
In Boston, about all I know the mayor can do is declare a snow emergency, requiring the too-many cars to find off-street parking. Boston may be an extreme case -- when the Yankee Republicans lost control of the city, they still had enough clout in the state legislature to make it difficult for the mayor to blow his nose without approval, and those laws are still in effect -- but I suspect that a lot of cities are in similar positions.

Eric Jarvis: There's another thing that strikes me is typical of the current US administration (and something it has in common with the government here in the UK). The whole system seems to be built around staying "on message".

Wasn't that the first point to come out of those ~20 years of conservative think-tanking -- that the most important thing was not what to say, but to say it so constantly that the party could roll over any more-nuanced arguments? Cato would be so proud his delenda-est-Carthago stunt is still seeing use.

Jim: Can ICS skills be taught, practiced, and/or selected for? You point at this in a later post (on how the FEMA top people should be experienced), but I don't know whether there's a more effective practicum than the link in your original. In conventions and shows, I see people who can run an existing organization, or develop one from scratch, first principles, or prior experience; some of these can think on their feet well enough to handle crises and some of them can't. IME, it's not easy to keep the skills but resist putting them to use unnecessarily; witness the phenomenon of overgrown convention operations departments.

I've gotten to be a reasonably good straw boss for art show hangings setup, but it's taken a lot of practice; I'm also remembering a mundane costume show where a professional stage manager showed me what being prepared for the unexpected actually means. I suppose part of ICS is having the experience to recognize both the standard pieces that get handed to each subordinate and the pieces that are about to drown you that have to be pushed upstairs. (It also helps to have a system that doesn't punish asking for help -- maybe that writ large is part of the problem with the current administration.)

Minor note: judging by what I read in exhibits at forts on Hadrian's Wall, the 10:1 ratios were not consistent, but the hierarchical organization was there. Unlike the current administration, they were also willing to adapt to reality; the rules against common legionaries being married seem to have been relaxed considerably as troops became harder to find.

#68 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 11:59 AM:

No communications. The incompetent malicious ignoramuses in the Chain of Command.... the US Govenment -has- satellite radios, which aren't affected by terrestrial infrastructure devastation (that is, satellite radios can operate off batteries and generators). The military has long had such equipment, and some other branches of the US Govenment, have it. Ships have it via international communications satellites, names of some those systems having beem MARISAT and INMARSAT.

There are line of site radio systems that can put put up, and then there's "put an AWACS in the sky your ignorant malicious jackass shitheads in FEMA, they have all sorts of communications relay systems. But you're obviously lacking any useful intelligence, cognizance, creativity, willing to ask for assistance, ability to read, or anything else use for directions disaster operations. Shithead moron polical hack slime cretin flunky slime!

There may be things like balloons and other aerostats that could be sent up with a comm payload--rent the Goodyear Blimp, for example.

But these incompetent apparatchiks make lemmings look like Einstein.

#69 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 12:06 PM:

Which one is currently in use by the people who are running the US is, frankly, a mystery. I don't see any method at all here, sir.

Brownian motion near absolute zero.

That is, random happenstance motion with no "bias" as in directing, and lacking energy that moves things around quickly.

Another possibility: Additive White Gaussian Noise, possible Pink Noise.

Another: "Baffle with Bullshit" (BWB)

A less likely example: "When in danger, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shot."

#70 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 12:16 PM:

"When in danger, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout."

The original of that was "When in danger or in doubt, port your helm and come about."

That is, when you don't know what's happening, turn to starboard and head in a different direction." (Under the International Rules of the Road the give-way vessel comes right.)

If you aren't sure who's the give-way vessel, you are the give-way vessel.

This way, everyone knows what the other guy is going to do. No surprises. A collision at sea can make your whole day suck.

(Back in the Old Days "port your helm" meant "come right" because when you pushed the tiller arm to port, the rudder went starboard.)

#71 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 12:58 PM:

the fact is on Aug 28th 2005,..from top to bottom, the fedral response was,..."Asleep at the switch.
it seems to have had a remarkable rest

Sept 05, 2005 upon the passing of Chief Justice Renquist,.."we found a plan of action"
the future chief justice,...JOHN ROBERTS
this will be know as the greatest american tragety,...until,..some other UNFORSEEN event occurs. let's all pray Mother Nature's kind to all, the rest of this huricane season.

personally, i think both parties of this administration sould be glad to donate all the money in the Democratic and Republician election campian funds to those poor people who couldn't afford bus fare to get out of the way of Katrina

#72 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 05:12 PM:

Sunday's editorial from the Times-Picayune.

Someone should nominate these guys for a Pulitzer:

An open letter to the President

Dear Mr. President:

We heard you loud and clear Friday when you visited our devastated city and the Gulf Coast and said, "What is not working, we're going to make it right."

Please forgive us if we wait to see proof of your promise before believing you. But we have good reason for our skepticism.

Bienville built New Orleans where he built it for one main reason: It's accessible. The city between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain was easy to reach in 1718.

How much easier it is to access in 2005 now that there are interstates and bridges, airports and helipads, cruise ships, barges, buses and diesel-powered trucks.

Despite the city's multiple points of entry, our nation's bureaucrats spent days after last week's hurricane wringing their hands, lamenting the fact that they could neither rescue the city's stranded victims nor bring them food, water and medical supplies.

Meanwhile there were journalists, including some who work for The Times-Picayune, going in and out of the city via the Crescent City Connection. On Thursday morning, that crew saw a caravan of 13 Wal-Mart tractor trailers headed into town to bring food, water and supplies to a dying city.

Television reporters were doing live reports from downtown New Orleans streets. Harry Connick Jr. brought in some aid Thursday, and his efforts were the focus of a "Today" show story Friday morning.

Yet, the people trained to protect our nation, the people whose job it is to quickly bring in aid were absent. Those who should have been deploying troops were singing a sad song about how our city was impossible to reach.

We're angry, Mr. President, and we'll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry. Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That's to the government's shame.

Mayor Ray Nagin did the right thing Sunday when he allowed those with no other alternative to seek shelter from the storm inside the Louisiana Superdome. We still don't know what the death toll is, but one thing is certain: Had the Superdome not been opened, the city's death toll would have been higher. The toll may even have been exponentially higher.

It was clear to us by late morning Monday that many people inside the Superdome would not be returning home. It should have been clear to our government, Mr. President. So why weren't they evacuated out of the city immediately? We learned seven years ago, when Hurricane Georges threatened, that the Dome isn't suitable as a long-term shelter. So what did state and national officials think would happen to tens of thousands of people trapped inside with no air conditioning, overflowing toilets and dwindling amounts of food, water and other essentials?

State Rep. Karen Carter was right Friday when she said the city didn't have but two urgent needs: "Buses! And gas!" Every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be fired, Director Michael Brown especially.

In a nationally televised interview Thursday night, he said his agency hadn't known until that day that thousands of storm victims were stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. He gave another nationally televised interview the next morning and said, "We've provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they've gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day."

Lies don't get more bald-faced than that, Mr. President.

Yet, when you met with Mr. Brown Friday morning, you told him, "You're doing a heck of a job."

That's unbelievable.

There were thousands of people at the Convention Center because the riverfront is high ground. The fact that so many people had reached there on foot is proof that rescue vehicles could have gotten there, too.

We, who are from New Orleans, are no less American than those who live on the Great Plains or along the Atlantic Seaboard. We're no less important than those from the Pacific Northwest or Appalachia. Our people deserved to be rescued.

No expense should have been spared. No excuses should have been voiced. Especially not one as preposterous as the claim that New Orleans couldn't be reached.

Mr. President, we sincerely hope you fulfill your promise to make our beloved communities work right once again.

When you do, we will be the first to applaud.

#73 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 05:53 PM:


I skimmed though a couple newspapers in the supermarket. One of them was the Boston Herald, a peculiar mix of reporting, screed, and Murdoch propaganda. It had an article on page 4 or 6 or something like that, the column next to the fold. Seems that there is a team from Massachusetts which was sent to the Gulf for body recovery operations. Seems that one of them didn't go, and is doing PR and perhaps some control and coordination from Beverly, Massachusetts, via ta-dah, satellite radio.

This is, a body recovery recovery team which has ties for being called on by FEMA, has satellite radio communications capability including communications back with Beverly, Massachusetts, a Massachusetts North Shore community with the North Shore Theater facility (which had a fire or other damaging events and its performances have been relocated to Boston during repair/reconstruction), may have the Copyright Clearance Center, and otherwise is mostly a residence community. It might have cemeteries in it, someone around there is fairly considerable cemetery acreage.

But, there are satellite radios with the morticians sent from eastern Massachusetts to the Gulf Coast, but the people involved in emergency operations for search & rescue and food and water and medical supplies delivery, do not have working communications.

This is very strange and inconsistent, does FEMA have some explanation for how it is that morticians get satellite radios for communications, and people who are supporting the living and trying to keep them from turning into corpses, weren;t equipped with them?!

#74 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 06:23 PM:

I think the people who are doing the SAR and the food delivery and such have all the comms they need. The folks who don't have comms are the folks on the ground -- the civilians who need the food and the rescues. They don't have satelite phones or ways of calling out more advanced than building smokey fires or painting SOS on rooftops.

#75 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 06:32 PM:

There have been lots of reports of rescue and aid workers lacking communications systems--they'd gotten reliant on cell phones, and the cellular systems are down in that part of the USA.

#76 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2005, 05:10 AM:

Right. So lessons learned will (I hope) include: compact mobile phone base stations, held at various air bases around the country, ready to be loaded onto a C-130 or similar, hooked into the onboard power, and flown in big slow circles 24 hours a day over the disaster area. (Yes, I know people are talking about HALE UAVs and blimps and so on, but the point is we don't have those yet. We do have base stations - which in terms of power demand and size can easily fit on a C-130 - and everyone has C-130s.) And some sort of lockout for emergency-service-only use to stop people tying up the network with their own calls - the same thing they have in the UK that cut in on 7/7. Pre-specified phones work to allow the emergency services comms if their radios are out. Everyone else's phones only work to 999. (or 911. Whatever.)

It's becoming more and more obvious that mobile phone coverage is not an optional extra in a disaster.

#77 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2005, 12:21 PM:

the answer is,... a CLOSED door hearing from this adminstrations cabinet.....i'd almost sacrifice my freedom to be a fly on the wall ....
it will be, the greatest story ever told,
gezz they've got it looking like Iraq already,..wonder if they think the residents oppsss insurgents are going to attact them with roadside bombs and pick up trucks with machine guns,...12 to 15 armed personel standing at checkpoints while people suffer,.... calous calous unforgivabily calous

#78 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2005, 05:40 AM:

Oh, I forgot: the other thing that happens is that every mobile phone in the area receives a text message saying "Please do NOT use your phone except to call the emergency services. If you want to let your family or friends know you are OK, please text your name to this number, and we will post it on the Home Office disaster recovery website where your family will be able to see it."

#79 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2005, 06:58 AM:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House majority leader late Tuesday tried to deflect criticism of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina by saying "the emergency response system was set up to work from the bottom up," then announced a short time later that House hearings examining that response had been canceled.

Emphasis mine.

#80 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2005, 12:34 PM:

Oh how i long for that, "Greatest Generation"

60 plus years ago,
i watched the recent flood for video clips, showing the Japanesse attacts on Pearl Harbor, i didn't see one soldier waiting for a Presidential order to shoot back. i don't think those aircrews needed approval to start their planes and take off

4 years ago
i watched as planes crashed into the World Trade Center and was waiting to see helicoptors flying people off the tops of the World Trade Center towers, then thought to myself,.. the NYC police and fire depertments don't have those kind of aircraft to airlift hunderds people. someone had 90 minutes to react but no one came
i then listened to three years of buracracy trying to shield itself, "in the intrest of National security concers,.....the answer of,. "who would have thought something like this could happen?" was about their best defence all the while spending this countries rescorces to pork barrel politices i believe it's called. i won't even go into the Iraq War reasoning and funding methods

Last week
i watched the ultimate breakdown in the way this adminstration has handled this crisis situation along with many many life changing decicions. i believe this adminstrations ICS started with deflecting it's culpibality , to being unaware of the very situation they were informed of a year ago,.... too bad Mr Bush didn't read the Huricane Pam report FEMA put out, while he was enjoying his vacation,...
he might have said,.... "hey, Brownie, what ever happened to the follow up report" but i guess not since he would have known he had cut funding to it
i thought i saw a photo op of Mr Bush signing something many hours before Huricane Katrina
came ashore. (kind of makes things hard to deflect after doing that)
giving this administration 40 billion dollars and not expecting the same thing at occoured in the Oil for Food program makes about as much sense as watching the weather channel telling you that a bad storm of biblical proportions is coming your way and saying. "No Problem i closed my windows"

#81 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2005, 01:34 PM:

James D. Macdonald:
The folks who don't have comms are the folks on the ground -- the civilians who need the food and the rescues. They don't have satelite phones or ways of calling out more advanced than building smokey fires or painting SOS on rooftops.

Or that old 'abandoned in a flood' stand-by of firing a gun into the air. I'm annoyed that this perfectly reasonable cry for help was played in the media as "people so insane/depraved that they're firing at the rescue helicopters."

Greg: four years ago, the hospital ship Comfort was under steam for NYC with 36 hours of a surprise attack. This time - with days of notice that Katrina was coming, and that it was going to be bad - the Presidential order didn't arrive for over 48 hours, and she didn't get under way for over 100 hours after Katrina made landfall. I'm waiting for an explanation of THAT little detail.

#82 ::: Avery ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2005, 01:44 PM:

And the best of it is, it sounds like he didn't stand still long enough for an interview. They had to look him up and ask around and stuff.

I *knew* they had someone like that stashed away somewhere! (They're manufactured by a special process that tempers grains and steel into pure gold).

They probably had him stashed away because he was considered too hot a property to deploy in Iraq. Might start asking the wrong questions.

#83 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2005, 02:03 PM:

Let's talk about that Greatest Generation:

The first hearings into the Pearl Harbor attack were the Knox Commission Hearings, December 9-14, 1941. That is to say two days after the attack, before the smoke had fully cleared on Oahu.

The second hearings were the Roberts Commission Hearings, December 18, 1941 - January 23, 1942. Four days after Knox's report, the major hearings started.

Admiral Kimmel and General Short lost their jobs. They were the head honchos. Their job description was pretty much "Protect the Fleet and Hawaii," and they hadn't.

Let me quote the first few paragraphs from the Roberts Commission report:

SIR: The undersigned were appointed by Executive order of December 18,1941, which defined our duties as a commission thus:

"to ascertain and report the facts relating to the attack made by Japanese armed forces upon the Territory of Hawaii on December 7, 1941.

"The purposes of the required inquiry and report are to provide bases for sound decisions whether any derelictions of duty or errors of judgment on the part of United States Army or Navy personnel contributed to such successes as were achieved by the enemy on the occasion mentioned, and, if so, what these derelictions or errors were, and who were responsible therefor."

The Congress speedily supplemented the Executive order by granting the Commission power to summon witnesses and examine them under oath.

It's been more than a week. Where are the hearings?

#84 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2005, 03:30 PM:

Don't forget that the US Coastguard did react immediately. A lot of their work was out in the Gulf, with the oil platforms, but their helicopters took off and went, from all over the USA.

I've asked the obvious question before: what did the USAF combat rescue squadrons do? Or whatever they call them now. Are they all in Iraq?

#85 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2005, 04:19 PM:

The USAF was sitting around at air bases in the vicinity thumbs up asses waiting for direction from Schmuck with delusions of Great War Hero and the Chain of Command and the worse-than-Jubilation-T.-Cornpones of FEMA to do anything constructive, and so was the Army, and so were the CBs at Gulfport, etc.

Macdonald and I pointed out that legally as organized services the US active duty military cannot under posse comitates is it, take unilaterally action as an organized military force in the USA without civiilian direction including state/local authorization, and direction from Higher Headquarters.

The National Guard within a state is when it is in-state as opposed to bogged down in Baghdad making enemies out of civilians at the disposal of the governor of the state, but half the Louisiana National Guard and more than half of its equipment is on the other side on the planet in Wargasm's personal imperial war.

The Guard of other states aren't directly available, perhaps their Governors can send them in for support--but that means FEMA coordination, and the only thing FEMA seems able to coordinate these days is getting itself filled with rectocranial political hack no-emegency-operations-cognizant patronage-appointed appartchiks, and giving contracts to stinking Halliburton.

Keesler has the most pathetic excuse for an airstrip of anything in the USA that has the temerrity to call itself an Air Force Base, and I doubt that it's in full commission anyway. The Hurricane Hunters I think are C-130s but they['re equipped for flying into hurricanes, not tactical delivery operations. And Keesler is not a place to store supplied for a disaster on the Gulf Coast anyway, since in any hurricane hitting the area, Keesler's a sitting duck target. The place should be shut down.

#86 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2005, 04:52 PM:

Military rescue helicopters are at particular bases, I don't know which ones. Coast Guard rescue helicopters went to New Orleans from all over the USA, including the Coast Guard in Massachusetts--good thing there were no distress calls from swamped fishing boats around here.... [I had a picture, which was on the trashed hard drive, showing three fishing boats in parallel docked in Hyannis. I can never reproduce that picture, because one of the those vessels, The Lonely Hunter , sank with all hands; even today, fishing is a dangerous way to earn a living. My aunt watched a New Bedford fishing boat last winter or the winter before come into Hyannis Harbor to take refuge from a storm at see, looking "like a snowball" covered completely above waterless in a very thick coating of ice, and listing severely.]

The Coast Guard didn't require specific authorization from Schmuck to take official action, the US military did.

#87 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2005, 06:44 PM:

"Decapitation attacks"

Back when I was in the defense industry, there was something called "a decapitation attack," in which the idea was that the attack was aimed at the command and control and communications and leadership.

Ideas like "continuity of operations" and "survivability' and "endurance" and "redundancy' were among the magic terms involved for trying to have the ability to keep going.

Those seem like alien ideas to the Oval Office Oaf's coteries of patronage-fed hogs incompetently masquerading as civil servants in particularly FEMA.

In the case of this past week and a half, there was no decapitation attack needed, when it comes to intelligence, analysis, "connecting the dots," cause and effect, effective command and control, the Bush Boobies Bunch do't have any sapience to decapitate, it wasn't there to need to cut off.

The response... to 9/11 when the hijackings started was a no-op. The invasion of Iraq cause more destruction of books and records than the Mongols' intentional sacking and destruction in Baghdad--all because Cheney and Bush and Rumsfeld were ostentatiously uninteresting in having any sort of policing and civil order done by the Coalition troops, or anyone else. The attitude was to ignore the looting, the vandalism, the US scientists and scholars who tried to plead months earlier to the US Government to please protect the libraries and museums and archaeological sites.

But, the only site that Rumself and Cheney and Bush, the triumverate from Hell, could bother to provide with guards, was the Oil Ministry--no protection for water treatment and distribution, none for patrolling the streets to prevent looting and arson and rape and murder, none to protect the power generation and distribution system, none to protect the banks, schools, libraries, museums, archeological digs.

I loathe Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld, and their collaborators and syncophants. And each day, they make the world a worse place and spread more misery, than the world held the previous day.

#88 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 01:44 PM:

i just called the RNC to findout how much money they have contributed to the relief efforts so far,
i got, "let me check and see if i can get an up-todate figure for you", "sir i don't have that figure avaible now but i know that we will match our employies contributations 100%" "let me connect you with our Constitistuant Services Department, they'll be able to tell you more, hold on while i'll transfer you over"
i thought, must be lunch time there ringing stops and voicemail
i bet FEMA has alot emergency phone lines providing services like this,..
i imagine that the "2000 dollar credit Card" for the refugies,.... oppps insurgents idea, must surly be playing big havoc with their GOP buddies, leaving them wondering were their money is going

#89 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 01:51 PM:

Thoughts on the $2000 debit card, in increasing order of cynicism:

(1) $2000 per person will buy a lot of clothes.
(2) $2000 per person will not go far toward jobs and housing.
(3) Will it get cut to $2000 per adult, or worse $2000 per family?
(4) Will they actually come through on this promise at all?
(5) That money, if spent on the levees and wetlands, would probably have reduced the size of the disaster considerably.

#90 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 03:28 PM:

all the planning was "outsorced"

It's no wonder Mayor Ray wasn't sure what to do and ran around screming for help

I would love to see the FBI seize all their records to show how far 500,000 bucks had gone in 14 months wonder whose campaign they gave their money to?? can we say, 250 gift cards

#91 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 03:43 PM:

i sure hope it doesn't take Congress and the House as long to clean up the disaster that is in power Washington as it is going to take to fix one tenth of the disaster in the Gulf Coast region

#92 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 03:55 PM:


FEMA has worked very hard to keep the Communication down,..just ask that Jefferson parish dude who had his lines cut by ?????
he had to post an armed gaurd to protect is own recsorces

wonder if that was before or after Mr Bush said things were going well
i think it was very astute of the sheriff to post a guard after having heard the Presidents promise,
"the things we do well, we will replicate"

#93 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 08:59 PM:

new news,
VP Cheney tours the disaster area, and gets cursed by a heckler (must be one of those impacient residen ,....opppsss insurgents), tells the press "that's the first he's heard of anyone complaining".(amazing that they've got all their Republician buddys looking so far the other way that their necks might stay twisted till the clean up is done) Oh the incredible incredible world of spin that these guy exude doesn't have any place in Goverment, nice to see freedom of speech has been repeled as of yet and that it didn't get this guy shot by the secert service ,...well not yet anyway

i know i'd like to nominate, FEMA director "Good ole Browine" for disaster czar,..... if anybody knew how to be a proficient king of disaster he's fully shown he's more than fully capable

#94 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 09:32 PM:

P J Evans --

It was announced as 2000 USD per adult.

I could, maybe maybe maybe, feed, clothe, and house myself and two kids with that for a month in Toronto, which I know well, have been very poor in, and which has good public transportation.

Doing that in a strange city, some of whose inhabitants will see you was helpless, a mark, or someone to whom they are hostile, and without effective public transportation? Not a prayer. It's just enough to sound like a lot of money, so there will be no public sympathy when the complaints start.

#95 ::: Aquila ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 10:17 PM:

And we can look forward to a media fuss when it turns out that some people didn't spend the money wisely and some people tried to apply for the money twice.

"See it was a waste even giving them that"

#96 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 10:57 PM:

that's only the idea,..but it really is 2000 usd per household to those housed only in the Astrodome and will not be avaiable for another 2 days, it will take FEMA that long to figure out how to do it,.., i believe they wanted to deposit the funds directly in their banks but found that most were so poor they didn't have bank accounts.(shame on them)so since they told the press and the rumor spread, while they were getting that done over the next 2 days,why not,..let the Red Cross set up a desk to distribute aid,..the lines form and wait begins,....when Red Cross says,..we've got 350 usd for an individual and 1000 usd for a household and we're here to sign up the first 500 applicants, Red Cross is asked by the line thousands,.."where's the 2000 usd we heard you had",..they say,....that's all we have, can we say,...riot...and everybody is shocked as to why,
the poor people think they're always getting screwed. and yet in the face of all this abuse,...violence doesn't break out, deffinetly unforseen by FEMA senior offices whom are beyond clueless, still can't figure a way to communicate with the masses(communicate = state clear facts by any means) this stuff must all be in that outscorced IEM contract for the disaster plan Mr Bush paid 500,000 usd 15 months ago, wonder how much progress IEM has made on that to date

#97 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 01:44 PM:

11 days and 6 hours later,..FEMA director Mike Brown gets removed from the Katrina refief effort,
someone with a brain is finally getting close to the top of the command and control structure now

#98 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 03:56 PM:

Now if he can get removed from FEMA entirely!

#99 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 07:29 PM:

Homeland security director Chertoff should resign for taking 11 days to recoginizing that FEMA was being led incompitently as well

#100 ::: Tonya ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 09:14 PM:

I think this article posted on on Sept 7 fits in well with this thread:

There are some really great insights from George Haddow, the Deputy Director of FEMA under the Clinton administration. Specifically, the 2nd half of the article which starts with this excert:

Haddow says that these requests should have been enough -- more than enough -- to prompt a full-scale federal response. Under the Clinton administration's FEMA, with Witt as the head, a storm of Katrina's magnitude would have prompted federal and state officials to actually meet in order to coordinate their response. "You were all working together to anticipate needs," Haddow says. "You're all sitting in the same room when the things happened -- the Midwest flood, the Northridge quake, the Oklahoma City bombing and all the disasters we responded to. We were in the same room together and nobody had to point fingers."

Close coordination with state officials was key to the Clinton administration's capacity to act quickly in the heat of a disaster, Haddow says. "We had a really solid partnership, so we received solid, timely information from the ground. Then we managed that information and turned it into a mission assignment." In other words, when people on the ground needed something, they knew who in the federal government to ask, and when the federal government had extra resources at the ready -- cops from Chicago, say, or water from Wal-Mart -- it would know where to send them. Contrast that situation to what happened after Katrina, when both Michael Chertoff, the secretary of Homeland Security, and Michael Brown, the FEMA director, admitted to several reporters that they had no idea that people were starving at the New Orleans Convention Center, even though the grim scene there had been played and replayed on television all day.

#101 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 10:07 PM:

i think it's time the United States Attorney General needs to step up and organize one of those black ops intelengence squads and go see, where the Fema funds are and what rescorces are left in the entire FEMA department, can't believe i just heard former FEMA director Mike Brorn doesn't see why he was removed from his post. so he's saying he was just staying the course he was told to???(where have i heard that line before) is that like following orders?? now who was it gave him that position??

#102 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 11:16 PM:

this does not paint a pretty picture

wonder if those prayer kids remember this when they ask "why nobody's helping those people"
and then Mike Brown got to work with a staff like this,

i see serious conquences if someone in Washington had the balls to stand up, that job goes to the Attorney General but alas he too is,.. a Bush appointee

#103 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 11:29 PM:

i guess the ICS was too small and efficient for it's new purpose, sure looks like the new NIIMS was needed to create enough positions for the President to fill them with all of the highly qualified election campain staff that got him elected. i bet they even thought when the President signed the emergency declaration, they all thought someone was bringing actual working voting machines into Gulf Coast region and panic set in

#104 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2007, 02:38 PM:

Interesting update from the link at the end of the original post:

FEMA Independent Study Program: IS-195 Basic Incident Command System

Please Note:

IS 195 has been pulled from the web(9/30/2005)It is being replaced with NIMS compliant IS 100 and IS 200.

#105 ::: Benja ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 09:51 AM:

...and from abovesaid IS 100:

National Incident Management System (NIMS)

In response to attacks on September 11, President George W. Bush issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 (HSPD-5) in February 2003.

HSPD-5 called for a National Incident Management System (NIMS) and identified steps for improved coordination of Federal, State, local, and private industry response to incidents and described the way these agencies will prepare for such a response.

The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security announced the establishment of NIMS in March 2004. One of the key features of NIMS is the Incident Command System.

#107 ::: Tom Whitmore sees a spam probe ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 01:00 AM:

And the poster has several previous posts which read exactly like intelligent spam (with contractions!). Perhaps they should all be checked?

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