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September 3, 2005

The otters return, and they’re on fire
Posted by Patrick at 11:27 AM *

Welcome back, Rivka:

The Red Cross has been ordered not to enter New Orleans with relief.
Hurricane Katrina: Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?
  • Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

  • The state Homeland Security Department had requested—and continues to request—that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.
“Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.” See, and here you thought that tens of thousands of people spent the last few days trapped in the Superdome or the Convention Center without food, water, medical care, electric power, or basic sanitation, in constant fear of violence, surrounded by the unburied corpses of their fellow victims, because they couldn’t evacuate. But all this time, they’ve been there by choice. If they had a Red Cross station distributing fresh water and sandwiches, they’d choose to stay in their fetid, corpse-riddled, life-threatening, lawless swamp of a city indefinitely. You know what those people are like, always sitting around waiting for a handout. Humanitarian aid just encourages them.

Yes, clearly, it’s far better to evacuate Katrina’s victims than to leave them in place in New Orleans. But when you can’t get them all out right away—and they haven’t even been able to finish evacuating the hospitals, much less the lower-priority evacuees—you need to provide aid in place. Immediately, not five days later. To willfully withhold basic life support from tens of thousands of desperate people because you think it will discourage evacuation is—actually, I have no words strong enough for what it is. Unconscionable. Morally depraved. A crime against humanity. Nothing seems strong enough.

Comments on The otters return, and they're on fire:
#1 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 11:46 AM:

I think it IS a crime against humanity. Time to call the Hague.

I'm serious. This is an outrage. Those bastards.

#2 ::: Rich Magahiz ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 11:50 AM:

So they're saying that the Red Cross would be flypaper?

#3 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 11:51 AM:

This is a revolving clusterfuck.

#4 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 11:56 AM:

I think calling this a revolving clusterfuck is an insult to relatively respectable revolving clusterfucks.

#5 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:07 PM:

...the FUCK?

Did I really just wake up a few minutes ago or am I still fucking asleep and having a nightmare?

Okay, I knew our government was full of fucktards but this really...

....I don't even have words here.

#6 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:13 PM:
Protecting the city from Category 4 and 5 hurricanes "would cost, at a minimum, many, many hundreds of millions of dollars — and likely a lot more than that," says Corps spokesman John Hall. "We're talking about a tremendous effort at enormous expense at a time when the nation is strapped." -- USA TODAY


Cost of the Iraq War: Over $1 billion per week.

#7 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:15 PM:

So all the money we've been giving the Red Cross is essentially useless? Those of us who are too ill to help any other way have done nothing to help at all? I can't bear this.

What can we do? Will calling our representatives and demanding that the Red Cross be allowed to help do any good? Of course it is a three day weekend, we can't get through.

This could be the final straw for me. My sanity could go.

#8 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:16 PM:

And what about the report of a checkpoint on one of the intact bridges turning people back? Preventing people from leaving the city? People who were doing their damndest to evacuate?

I just, I, I—

#9 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:18 PM:

I'd already posted this in another thread here, but ...

----------------

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.

#10 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:24 PM:

*sputters*
*gibbers*
*points, unbelievingly*
*sputters*

....

....

!!!!!!!!!

#11 ::: Tom Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:24 PM:

This cartoon from An-Nahar newspaper (generally pro-American Beirut daily) seems to me to caputre the relationship between Iraq spending & Katrina pretty well.

#12 ::: enjay ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:27 PM:

Today's paper says that a specialized search and rescue team arrived from Vancouver, Canada, on Friday and set to work. Apparently the mayor of NO burst into tears upon seeing them because this was the first such team to arrive.

Friday. From Canada.

#13 ::: windypoint ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:29 PM:

Sandwiches and water! The Red Cross throws the best parties don't they, and no-one ever wants to leave.

#14 ::: del ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:38 PM:
So all the money we've been giving the Red Cross is essentially useless? Those of us who are too ill to help any other way have done nothing to help at all? I can't bear this.

Georgiana, I think the Red Cross has been active in the many other places devastated by Katrina, north of NOLA, in Mississippi, and in Alabama, so it's hardly useless. Just... not as useful as we'd like to be.

#15 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:46 PM:

oh...gawd, no. I don't even have words.

Are they actually trying to trap and kill these people?

The worst part is knowing that the complete despair I feel at this news is NOTHING in comparison to the despair felt by the people left to die.

#16 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:52 PM:

Del, you're absolutely right.

When I was a little girl we were evacuated from our house after an earthquake because the dam above our house cracked and we were in danger of being flooded out. The Red Cross took very good care of us and I think part of me still sees them as, well almost superheroes so when I read that they couldn't do the same thing for other people, and for such stupid, evil reasons, I just fell apart. Thanks for pointing out that they are doing a lot of good.

#17 ::: Jaime ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:56 PM:

To willfully withhold basic life support from tens of thousands of desperate people because you think it will discourage evacuation is—actually, I have no words strong enough for what it is. Unconscionable. Morally depraved. A crime against humanity. Nothing seems strong enough.

I have a word for it. Murder.

Which is a gut instinct, totally emotional response, but that is exactly how it strikes me.

I lurk here almost everyday. I want to thank you for gathering all this information. I get more sick at heart each day and more disgusted with how inept the response to this disaster is -- but I need to know what is going on, to stay informed, so I keep following links and reading.

And I keep wishing there was a way to totally bypass FEMA and all the other Federal agencies. They have f*ck*d this up beyond redemption. I wish they would just get the hell out of the way and let people who would actually do something in there.

Which will never happen. So yeah, murder sounds right to me.

#18 ::: Merlin Missy ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 01:02 PM:

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the end result of the thought process "If you give people Welfare, they'll never want to get jobs."

This is the mindset in action that is incapable of believing people don't want handouts, that people will accept what they need to survive in the moment but do in fact want to get out. It starts with the well-meaning "Teach a man to fish" and ends with "If you give them food, they won't want to leave the gulag."

Remember this. Take this home with you and write it down in permanent ink. Make the people who helped caused and are continuing this clusterfuck pay for it with their jobs next November. And if you pray, keep praying.

#19 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 01:04 PM:

Among the other news I'm finding this morning, in addition to the Red Cross story:

  • FEMA wouldn't give permission to airdrop food. Northern Command has been ready for days just waiting on orders. I don't blame the military for not acting without orders -- that way lies anarchy -- but why aren't the orders being given!?
  • Feds delayed the paperwork for other states to send their Natl Guard troops for days and here
  • rumors that all helicopter flights were grounded during Bush's visit (that means moving patients, food delivery, search & rescue)
  • Damn, but I hope this administration goes down hard for this criminal incompetence. It won't make up for any of the loss and suffering, but... damn

    #20 ::: Rachel Brown ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 01:10 PM:

    I am a trained Red Cross disaster relief volunteer. I've offered to go wherever they feel like sending me. No one's gotten back to me yet. If anyone knows of any organization that will fly out trained volunteers (I'm in Los Angeles) please email me at Rphoenix2@hotmail.com.

    (I am not trained in search-and-rescue or medicine, but in working at shelters, damage assessment, and family service, ie, sort of like post-disaster social work.)

    #21 ::: Christian Griffen ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 01:23 PM:

    Are they actually trying to trap and kill these people?

    The rich white people in charge are afraid of thousands of poor black people "being let loose" on the country, you can bet your ass they are.

    This is the worst thing Americans have done to each other in a long time.

    #22 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 01:26 PM:

    Is this what's technically known as genocide? Or is that taking things a little too far, I'm really not sure. This news is sickening.

    #23 ::: Elusis ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 02:00 PM:

    Genocide is the word I used this morning. And murder.

    This is when I almost wish I weren't a gun-hating socialist progressive. Because I'm just about angry enough to join a militia bent on tearing a corridor into that city through whatever means necessary just to get relief in and people out.

    #24 ::: Elusis ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 02:02 PM:

    Oh, and I can personally attest to the National Guard delays. My mother's husband is a supply master with the Indiana National Guard, mobilized down in Ft. Hood for nearly a year last year. He just got shipped out yesterday, FRIDAY, to go to the hurricane zone. For five days he and his unit have been sitting in Indianapolis and thereabouts, waiting to be made use of. Five days.

    #25 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 02:07 PM:

    The rich white people in charge are afraid of thousands of poor black people "being let loose" on the country, you can bet your ass they are.

    While white people of varying income levels over in Texas are welcoming them with open arms. These people, mind you, are not the ones making decisions about relief being flown in or whether people are allowed out of NOLA.

    #26 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 02:12 PM:

    Elusis--A local organization sent a semi-truck caravan that left from Issaquah this morning, because they concluded the goverment has no intention of doing anything real.

    Do you suppose they'd fire on civilians who run the blockade?

    Because I'm awfully close to that point myself. I have a big 4-wheel drive pickup. I'm right on the verge of taking my credit card to Costco and heading south from Seattle.

    #28 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 02:15 PM:

    enjay, you know why the canadians didn't come until Friday?

    The canadians didn't come until Friday because Homeland Security refused them entry into the country before then, that's why. They started trying on Monday.

    #29 ::: scapegoat ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 02:22 PM:

    Can somebody tell me how in the fuck this is any different than warlords in Somalia? Maybe the U.N. should send peacekeeping troops with those oil ships coming from Venezuela.

    #30 ::: enjay ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 02:39 PM:

    Julia,
    The canadians didn't come until Friday because Homeland Security refused them entry into the country before then, that's why. They started trying on Monday.

    And yet they evidently still managed to get there before the American specialists. (Have any specialized American S&R teams arrived yet?)

    #31 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 02:42 PM:

    I'm a good little liberal Anglican. I have been brought up to believe that it is bad of me to wish people in hell. I normally feel guilty after episodes of wishing that I believed in the medieval torture chamber so beloved of Pat Robertson and his ilk, rather than my own view of hell as the absence of God. Vengeance is the Lord's, not mine.

    I'm having a lot of trouble remembering that right now.

    #33 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 02:55 PM:

    Christian ("This is the worst thing Americans have done to each other in a long time."): No, it's not. It's the worst thing the American government has done to its people, pretty much ever.

    #34 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 02:57 PM:

    What the hell is going on in New Orleans? I just don't understand what the hell is going on down there. Why won't they let the Red Cross in? It doesn't make any sense to say it would keep people from evacuating, especially since the government is not making any provisions to help people evacuate. And what's with that report (linked above by Kip Manley) that there is a checkpoint preventing people from leaving? Why won't FEMA give permission for any help to come in?

    I don't want to believe someone is deliberately trying to kill these people, but that's what it's starting to look like. I'm more scared by this than by anything else that has happened since September 11.

    What the hell is happening?

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

    I think the diarist at Kos missed the most obvious answer - that the White House is paralyzed by the political implications of letting hundreds of thousands of poor black big city people go freely into the suburban and rural areas of a red state.

    #36 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 03:05 PM:

    It sounds like an impeachable offense to me: "high crimes and misdemeanors". Letting people die when aid is sitting a few miles away, and is not being allowed to reach them, is a really good "high crime and misdemeanor". It makes Bill C and his consenting-adult intern look like ... well, adult behavior. Minor. Bill C didn't let people die because he couldn't get his act together.

    Impeach the lot of them, including the people who v/o/t/e/d/ rubberstamped the Shrub's Iraq money, and his no-money-for-repairs-and-maintenance budget.

    (And try to get MBAs and politicians to understand the research and maintenance are not frills, but necessities: long term survival moves.)

    #37 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 03:08 PM:

    and this would seem to me to suggest that I might be onto something.

    #38 ::: elizabeth bear ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 03:10 PM:

    enjay, a specialized search and rescue team left Nellis AFB in Nevada on Thursday with, IIRC, three helicopters.

    Last I knew they were sitting in Texas, denied access to the disaster zone. This may have changed: that information was as of 12 pm Pacific time 09/02/05, via an imbedded reporter from our local CBS station, KLAS.

    #39 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 03:17 PM:

    Julia, NOLA permalinks aren't the greatest (tip: use the 'print' link instead of the permalink), but the top story right now is that Gov. Kathleen Blanco has appointed former FEMA Director James Lee Witt as a special adviser to help her manage the recovery and restoration efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina."

    To which I can only pump my fist and say "yes!"

    [By the way, NOLA also confirms earlier rumors that the city was declared a no-fly zone during Bush's visit.

    #40 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 03:30 PM:

    by the way you might like to change the link on your blogroll to the new Respectful url...

    #41 ::: Lin ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 03:36 PM:

    Remember this at voter registration time. The true "term limits" is the next election. Some say "why vote? You just change one crook for another?" Yes, but if we keep changing them, eventually we'll get a diaper that isn't dirty.

    #42 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 04:04 PM:

    A few days ago, I said this privately to Teresa:

    . . . but there was a moment, watching the radar, when I really wanted a helicopter to dump Mr. "Jury is still out on climate change" Bush in the center of the Vieux Carre with a sou'wester, a liter of fresh water, and three MREs. If he broke an ankle landing, awww; he shoulda finished his bailout training.

    The thing is, of course, that the way the majority of people are, somebody would have picked the drowned rat up and hauled him to the Superdome, where he could have had a nice cup of coffee and a Red Cross donut. Can't tell if he would have been able to get on with his life then, but there probably would have been some interesting questions before morning.

    At the time, I asked her not to quote it; it seemed, after it had been typed, to be crude and hateful, written with the stupidity of anger, that no one is helped by wishing someone else ill.

    Which is all still true, but there's a point at which one ceases to mind sounding stupid.

    #43 ::: Rebecca Ore ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 04:08 PM:

    Check the *current* Red Cross site -- that FAQ question and reply isn't available now though the link Nancy Lebovitz passed on to me works.

    #44 ::: David Looney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 04:10 PM:

    Can't it be constituted as criminal negligance? Especially in the case of the FEMA fuckups.

    #45 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 04:20 PM:

    Who is actually providing relief in New Orleans? Besides our sorry government, and I don't care if it's with permission. A link for donations would be appreciated.

    #46 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 04:25 PM:

    Evacuations have "temporarily" haulted. My apologies if this link has already been posted.

    #47 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 04:29 PM:

    Isn't there a 9/11 march coming up. I can see really good possibilities for that march. oh yes.

    #48 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 04:41 PM:

    I was just musing to Spousal-type about the potential of just, you know, walking on down there, with maybe a sign and a wagon full of bottled water and diapers, and seeing how many people I might pick up along the way. Could turn into an interesting little parade, with enough publicity and assuming that everyone feels as helpless and angry as we all seem to feel. At least I'd be DOING something more than I've done. Obviously more in the manner of a protest than actual assistance (with my little red wagon) but hey, at least everyone would know how ANGRY I am.

    Spousal-type mused, in response, about the likelihood that I'd get fired from my (necessary) job, his skepticism about my actual ability to WALK from Ann Arbor to New Orleans, and the issue of just how much asthma medication I'd need to carry and how many diapers that would displace. Spoil sport.

    #49 ::: will Shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 04:54 PM:

    The thing is, of course, that the way the majority of people are, somebody would have picked the drowned rat up and hauled him to the Superdome, where he could have had a nice cup of coffee and a Red Cross donut.

    Mike, that's exactly why he should have that experience. Because he won't get it until he's having the coffee and the Red Cross donut. Oh, and if he had that experience? He might let the Red Cross in.

    #50 ::: jane ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 05:04 PM:

    Is this true?

    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/business/3335685

    Haliburton is already profit--eer-ing by this disaster?

    Jane

    #51 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 05:11 PM:

    Jane--yep. It's apparently true.

    #52 ::: Kayjay ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 05:21 PM:

    November 2006 can't come fast enough. Midterms, schmidterms. Who's for impeachment?

    #53 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 05:23 PM:

    A natural disaster threatens! People might be at risk, or something bad like that, but pundits disagree on details!

    Richard Cheney, bad-mannered Vice President of a greed-motivated kleptocracy, says the mystic word "GOBEPOHESO!*" and becomes . . .

    Unbid Contract Man!

    *Gotta Be Pork Here Someplace

    #54 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 05:24 PM:

    I'm for impeachment. So's my family. My neighbors. My co-workers. Of course, we're all dry and safe and hydrated in Michigan. All we can do right now is donate and yell.

    #55 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 05:28 PM:

    GOBEPOHESO!

    I don't have access to the WSJ to read the article, but yesterday Think Progress included this entry:

    Senate Appropriations staffers are warning that “business lobbyists are maneuvering to tack on special-interest amendments” to the hurricane emergency supplemental, WSJ reports.

    #56 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 05:28 PM:

    A Virginia county's people & dog search & rescue team has been waiting at our border for four days now because they can't get permission to go from FEMA.

    #57 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 05:47 PM:

    Marilee, do you have an attribution on that?
    I think folks are trying to collect an authoritative list of these accounts.

    Here's another: 500 boaters turned away...

    #58 ::: T.W. ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 05:48 PM:

    I would say at this point F* the permision and paperwork and go in anyways. Take ownership and just do what must be done.

    #59 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 06:07 PM:

    I would say at this point F* the permision and paperwork and go in anyways. Take ownership and just do what must be done.

    And have your cameras of all types up and running. Otherwise the #$%^&* r/u/n/n/i/n/g/ in nominal charge of the mess will try to claim that you might, frex, be looters. Or something else.

    I don't know why they're worried about terrorists this week; seems that Katrina has done more damage to this country than Al Qaeda dreamed of.

    #60 ::: Plaintext ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 06:33 PM:

    Always sitting around waiting for a handout? Did you read that post? He spoke of the perceptions those images of looting-real looting, not food or drugs, but luxury goods- will have. I did click on your link. But we did not read the same blog. He spoke with love and compassion.
    With sympathy and concern. How did you mistake it for bigotry?

    #61 ::: Thel ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 06:45 PM:

    Mac,

    Do you have any more details about that caravan that left from Issaquah?

    #62 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 06:52 PM:

    I'm not calling it genocide, but it's definitely mass murder, in general by slow torture. Now that I think about it, it's even torture by that very stringent definition which had something to do with major organ failure.

    I have no words adequate for this--I never thought to see the US government this bad.

    It's a good thing people have been yelling. If they hadn't been, this would have been infinitely worse.

    #63 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 07:16 PM:

    More and more, I want to lock the officials responsible in the Superdome or convention center to experience the conditions they subjected others to.

    Make the sentence fit the crime. Minor bureaucratic delays get a few days, and for those most responsible, throw away the key...

    #64 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 07:26 PM:

    hmm, well my cynicism is kicking in again. I notice nobody has remarked overly much in the last couple days about this not being america and so on.

    So, if there is indeed a massacre in N.O, what happens then?

    because there just does seem to be an inexplicable undercurrent of menace in the reports coming out, menace directed against the people still left in New Orleans. I am reminded about the Fallujah exercise, people weren't being let out of there either before they went and cleaned out the insurgents.

    http://www.boingboing.net/2005/09/03/alcajun_army_times_c.html

    #65 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 07:27 PM:

    I think the lesson here is that when you're a baby-making theocracy, you don't have to do better.

    #66 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 07:29 PM:

    According to WWLTV, everybody (living) has finally been evacuated from the Superdome.

    #67 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 07:48 PM:

    NOLA.com (the online Times-Picayune) also says the Superdome has finally been evacuated, but adds that there are still an unknown number of people trapped in and around the city--there are numerous items there about individuals and small groups trapped in various places.

    There are also still a few thousand people at the airport, including hundreds at the triage center.

    Also from NOLA.com, Sen. Obama says that he expects his Gulf Coast colleagues to hold hearings into how badly this was handled, but if they don't, he will.

    #69 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 08:03 PM:

    "Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away."

    It doesn't have anything to do with Katrina, but on the whole, this is the line that makes me the angriest, and causes me to characterize the US as in some ways a Third World country. Partly because I know so many people that it applies to personally.

    I've sometimes thought that if we can't have national health care, national dental care might be a reasonable first step that would give us a tremendous payoff for the expense.

    #70 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 08:24 PM:

    ...I mean, when the president can't learn from 9-11, there may as well have been no lesson at all. Why push for any historical perspective?

    #71 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 08:49 PM:

    For what it may be worth, Frist has been in NOLA, volunteering at the airport. He's shocked by the disorganization. And wants to hold hearings. At least he's doing something useful. And I don't mean the hearings.

    #72 ::: Henry Richardson ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 09:04 PM:

    Apparently FEMA now means Feeble Emergency Management Attempts.

    A point that people seem to have missed - the American Red Cross is not really a first response organisation. They don't go into an area until after the disaster is over. As Rachel indicated above, their volunteers are not trained for emergency response, but for aftermath services.

    From what I've pieced together, the ARC deployed all around the anticipated emergency area, preparing sites for an influx of casualties and refugees and did so with reasonable competence and efficiency. The local city and parish first response teams were so overwhelmed by the onslaught of the hurricane and subsequent flooding that they could not properly do their jobs, and FEMA failed utterly and catastrophically to do theirs.

    The Coast Guard and the LA State Fisheries and Wildlife people moved in and began rescuing people from the water, but their job is to take evacuees to pickup points and then go back to rescue more. FEMA still did nothing to get people to shelter and then to get them out of the city. FEMA did not get the National Guard units moved into the city, FEMA did not get additional Guard and Regular military deployed, FEMA apparently didn't even watch sufficient television to see what was happening in the city. Most damning of all, FEMA even failed to fill out paperwork to get things moving. Never mind an emergency, FEMA can't even manage the paperwork for their own bureaocracy.

    So the ARC people are likely sitting there feeling helpless. They have food and water and social services, exactly what the citizens of New Orleans need. The National Guard still has not made it in to secure the city due to criminally incompetent delay on the part of FEMA, so the ARC offers to send in food and water and gets rebuffed by FEMA.

    What can they do now? What if they ignore the rebuff and try to send in a convoy only to be prohibited from entry, and meanwhile the first convoy of evacuees gets out only to find a partially staffed Red Cross center? Meanwhile, FEMA keeps assuring the ARC that the Nat Guard is on the way and just sit tight.

    The duty of the Red Cross groups in this type of disaster is to setup in a safe spot and wait for the emergency services to bring people out. It would be extremely difficult for a Red Cross commander to ignore the plan, take matters into their own hands, and risk making things worse.

    Of course I wasn't there, and I'm only guessing as to what went on the last few days, but I place the blame squarely on FEMA for failing to plan better for a foreseeable disaster, for failing to prepare for it during the warning period, and for utterly failing to act when decisive action would have made a difference. Ultimately the responsibility resides with Bush. (Foaming at the mouth expletive laden rant deleted.)


    On a slightly lighter note, a commenter at Eschaton posted a nice email received from Netflix detailing how his account would be paused and recent charges refunded until such time as he wanted to resume the service, plus the promise of a gratis month upon resumption. Netflix had already received notice from the USPS that mail was not deliverable to his address. Apparently the oft maligned US Postal Service is the only part of the Federal Government that is capable of operating efficiently and effectively during a disaster, despite the fact that their role usually ceases to exist in a disaster area. Maybe next time we should simply mail food and water to the victims. It would be more likely to get there.

    #73 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 09:18 PM:

    Science News has a note on their page that they've been asked to suspend service to their subscribers in the affected areas, and they'll resume delivery as soon as they get the word that it's okay.

    #74 ::: John Lansford ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 10:17 PM:

    FEMA is just the whipping boy here. They now operate under Homeland Security, and are definitely the fair-haired stepchild there. The competent people in FEMA are gone, replaced with yes-men and bean counters, while their budget has been slashed in the name of making sure that old women get searched at airports and nail clippers confiscated.

    #75 ::: Henry Richardson ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 10:22 PM:

    True enough John, but DHS hasn't even organized the division that's supposed to replace FEMA. Widespread catastrophic incompetence. Heads would roll all the way to the top if I had my way.

    To go along with Feeble Emergency Management Attempts I would also propose redefining DHS to mean Don't Help Survivors.

    #76 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 11:13 PM:

    My fiancé asked me yesterday what FEMA stood for, and I told him it was the "Federal Emergency Mismanagement Agency".

    #77 ::: enjay ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 11:20 PM:

    I've been struck by the feeling of perfunctoriness of the Administration's response to this crisis, and in particular that of Bush. It's rather like yes, yes, of course it's an emergency; now we will go through Process A so that Result B will happen. Ah, and this is such an excellent photo op, I mean tragedy, yes, tragedy, let me hug a refugee. After all, that's all that is really needed.

    It's as if it's a movie set, not reality. Maybe that is what they think it is: a disaster movie, where things are terrible but will all turn out right in the end, as per the script.

    Or maybe it's simply another example of how they believe their own rhetoric.

    "Such things cannot happen in the USA. We are givers, not takers; we provide relief, we don't need it. We don't need to spend money on emergency planning, either; those agencies are bloated and overfunded and don't really do anyone any good, compared to the sexiness, I mean, usefulness, I mean, imminent danger of the terrorist threat—let's slash those budgets. Managing an emergency is simple, requires no particular skills, and can be done by anyone (hey, let's put our buddy in this position)."

    Sounds like the same thinking that just knew that you only need a tiny army to win in Iraq, because the Iraqis would all welcome the Americans with open arms and democracy would flower.

    Rhetoric, meet reality.

    #78 ::: Madeleine Reardon Dimond ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 11:28 PM:

    Your donations are not wasted! Please keep them coming. We're sheltering thousands in Austin, and we opened a service center today to start distributing. (I have no idea why it's taken a week to get this point.)

    I too volunteered to go to New Orleans, and here I thought it thought it was concern for my little pink hide that made them say they weren't sending teams yet.

    We'd love to have you, Rachel--we're WAY short on caseworkers. I was told yesterday that "national support" was going to be money and advice, not trained bodies.

    The prez-dropping scenario sounds nice, but I wish he'd come do my job for a day or sixteen and listen to all the grief, when all you have to offer is pack of peanuts and a few bucks. In the end, it's not about the money, which is not to say we don't need an ocean of it. Thanks for what you've sent, from me and a bunch of grateful folks, the lucky ones who escaped with their lives (but not much else).

    Peace,
    Madeleine

    #79 ::: marty ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 11:32 PM:

    From someone's Live Journal

    But wait! There's more! From a statement issued by Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu:


    "But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment.The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast – black and white, rich and poor, young and old – deserve far better from their national government."

    #80 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 11:52 PM:

    A point that people seem to have missed - the American Red Cross is not really a first response organisation.

    Usually, by the time they show up, the first responders are ready for them, and eager to see them.

    #81 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:48 AM:

    Who has standing to sue - who can bring a case for mass murder or crimes against humanity in the world court?

    #82 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:07 AM:

    And remember--should anything else bad happen on this continent, like an actual terrorist attack, a flu pandemic, or another hurricane (two months left!)--these are the people who will not be pulling your chestnuts out of the fire either.

    This is the most incomprehensible incompetence I've ever seen.

    #83 ::: Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:33 AM:

    Mina, as far as I can tell, only other countries have standing in the ICC.

    And the US has backed away from it. Apparently, we can do no wrong.

    Other venues: Belgium used to be willing to try cases of genocide performed outside its borders (legal theory tested in the bringing of justice to some murdeours nuns in Rwanda), but it has stepped back in horror once the issue of Israel's mass murders by the current Prime Minister were brought to the court. (His role in the Qibia massacre is not disputed; it's just that no court seems to have jurisdiction.)


    We're probably stuck with US-internal procedures. And it is just a good thing that so many people want to move up in the world - Barak Obama and the despicable Frist both seem willing to push the issue. I do not believe Frist has any sort of acceptable (to a sentien being) motivation, but Obama... ...he may be just the ticket. US courts. US lawyers.

    It's something to hope for, in any event.

    #84 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:34 AM:

    I am writing this while staying up way too late from the shelter I work at in Baton Rouge. So much for response technology, what the Red Cross had to fall back to was the very basis of our mission. Food, Shelter. I'm part of the management team for a shelter.Roof over our guests' heads, food in their stomachs, at least two meals a day (we've managed three most of the time but we haven't gotten our breakfast stuff or a couple of days). Medical support (we're not a special needs shelter, but we keep all but the most hardcore of the special needs that arrive -- in some ways we have better resources). Were managing to run a clinic, keep our population healthy, and secure. Despite the bad decisions around us that we have to live with. Part of our police security is being replaced by National Guardsmen. We don't need a defensive perimeter. As the Red Cross we own the shelter, but we can't keep the outside from affecting us with bad decisions. We have success. Two of our residents have delivered healthy babies, we've got the blood sugar down in our diabetics (breaking rules to buy food in the atkins aisle in the supermarket -- orange juice and honey buns for breakfast isn't good for a sedentary diabetic). We have heartbreaking failures -- learning from TV that your father is dead is devastating to a child. Managing the "stuff" that good meaning people with clue deficiances deliver to our door (or call and try) eats up too much resources.
    Day by day we try to make the lives better for our guests, while fighting a clogged supply line.
    Here at the pointy end of the operation we do what we need to do to make it work, we'll ask for forgiveness later.
    I cry myself to sleep some nights, I manage to get out of the shelter every other day -- mostly to run errands. I get a real meal every few days (real=macdonalds). I don't get to see much of the news, thankfully. Southern University is great host, and even our guests think that this is the best run shelter in the Baton Rouge area.
    We are the American Red Cross. We have to make this work.

    #86 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 05:15 AM:

    A small point re FEMA, from someone who lived in Britain when British Rail was being privatised:

    This is how you sell the case for shrinking governmental functions. You run a facility down, de-fund it and strip it of its best people. Then when the populace notice that it doesn't work any more, you say, "True. It's a waste of government money, and the private sector could do it better and cheaper." Send out the contracts for bid (or not...*cough*Halburton*/cough*), and voila! Privatisation. You're even doing it by public demand.

    By the time the cost savings don't materialise, you're already onto the next privatisation project.

    The thing that scares me is, what other pieces of essential governmental function have been de-funded and run down, with us all still unaware? What other foundations of the house have been left ready to collapse?

    #87 ::: Duncan M. Clark ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 07:20 AM:

    Another note on the Red Cross:

    ARC is now training "spontaneous" (i.e. inexperienced) volunteers to serve in their Katrina relief effort. Here's the session I attended:

    http://www.sqvalleyredcross.org/chapterinfo/katrina.htm

    Minimum 3 week rotation, working (and living) in a shelter (somewhere) distributing food/goods. (Was supposed to fly out w/in 24 hrs.; postponed until Tuesday, so at least now I'll have wicking socks and DEET.)

    Apparently, using untested volunteers is not S.O.P.: normally, ARC expects volunteers to have had some local experience before they're sent out on national disaster relief.

    Anyway, as we endured a super-compressed version of the obligatory "make no assumption / pass no judgment" homily, we were reminded that none of us had any way of knowing, for a fact, whether the people we'd be serving had actually "chosen" to stay behind.

    Thus - slightly more than halfway through a 4 hr. session - were we rendered potentially more qualified than Michael Brown.

    Potentially, because it was clear from the subsequent chuckling that (a) plenty of the people in that room personally believed Katrina's victims HAD made that choice, including (b) the ARC instructor. Also, while we were assured of discomfort and exhaustion, we were also assured of safety: no, we would NOT be going into N.O. proper. "Not to get shot at." Lotsa folks expressing worry about this, relief at instructor's response.

    Still, despite the apparent FauxNews Weltanschauung, these people are going down there anyway.

    #88 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:05 AM:

    thank you, John.

    #89 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:49 AM:

    John, thank you, both for what you are doing and for posting your comment.

    #90 ::: John Lansford ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:59 AM:

    The Washington Post this morning has an excellent article on how DHS has defunded and minimized FEMA's disaster response mission. Here's the link:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/03/AR2005090301653.html

    When the director of DHS is quoted as saying "on Saturday and Sunday I expected a standard hurricane", he has demonstrated gross incompetence or negligence and should be fired immediately.

    Won't happen, though. He's a Bush selection.

    #91 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:07 AM:

    Those of you thinking of starting an underground railroad to get those poor people out of there -- if you can get them to Montreal, we have room for three.

    #92 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:54 AM:

    Mike ::: [wrote on] ::: September 03, 2005, 07:27 PM:

    I think the lesson here is that when you're a baby-making theocracy, you don't have to do better.

    Sarcasm Alert

    Yeah, just rape women of the proper phyiologicaly charateristics to try to maximize the probabilty that the offspring will have the desired physical characteristics and treat them like breeder animals requiring surveillane to make sure they dont abort or drop the fetus too early or commit suicide with a pregnancy -they- don't want, etc., and don't let them do any activity besides eat for junior and get mild exerise and be prevented from any activitie or actions potentially interfereing with the pregancy...

    Time to republishe Suzette Haden Elgin's dystopia novels, and The Handmaid's Tale, and Walk to the End of the World, perhaps?

    #93 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:06 AM:

    There was a story last night on CNN.com - it's disappeared, surprise! - where Sen. Landrieu return to the levee breach visited by Bush the day before, and - surprise! - most of the equipment that had been there was gone. Apparently they'd done a 'photo-op' with the repairs. Landrieu was not happy.

    #94 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:12 AM:

    enjay ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 11:20 PM:

    I've been struck by the feeling of perfunctoriness of the Administration's response to this crisis, and in particular that of Bush...

    It's as if it's a movie set, not reality. Maybe that is what they think it is: a disaster movie, where things are terrible but will all turn out right in the end, as per the script.

    Potemkin Disaster Planning and Potemkin Crises Operations. Set up the site for Political Ad video footage shot and Media Photo-Op, and archive for post-production for future Public Information Dissemination Spin Operations. Note the US Goverment and its parasite Robber Baron Outfits (once upon a time there was the term "Beltway Bandits"--that is to IEM and Halliburton and such as few grasshoppers in the yard are to a locust invasion) advertising for Public Information Officers--now WHY is there a need for massive numbers of Official Mouthpieces? Whatever ever happened to "write press release, hold press conference inviting mass of reporters, tell them to get the hell out of the way of the people trying to deal with the emergency, there will be updates. Remember how the press conferences were handled during the Gulf War?!

    Or maybe it's simply another example of how they believe their own rhetoric.

    "...(hey, let's put our buddy in this position)."

    Sounds like the same thinking that just knew that you only need a tiny army to win in Iraq, because the Iraqis would all welcome the Americans with open arms and democracy would flower.

    Rhetoric, meet reality.

    Reality? The delusion and True Belief and I Am The TRUTH, I HAVE NO DOUBTS AND NEVER MAKE MISTAKES! quotient of the Schmuck, Cheney (and where has Cheney been?), and their Good Buddies is so great, "Six cats couldn't make them see." ["My mistress has such a desire [not to see] so strong that six cats [witch familiars for a powerful witch] couldn't make her see [what she didn't want to see." -- The Rescue of Ranor.

    #95 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:34 AM:

    Thank you John and Madeleine. Thank you also Duncan, for going and also for the information.

    #96 ::: cakeordeath ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:35 AM:

    here's that story on Sen. Landrieu returning to the levee breach

    #97 ::: enjay ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:40 AM:

    enjay:

    Rhetoric, meet reality.

    Paula:

    Reality? The delusion and True Belief and I Am The TRUTH, I HAVE NO DOUBTS AND NEVER MAKE MISTAKES! quotient of the Schmuck, Cheney (and where has Cheney been?), and their Good Buddies is so great, "Six cats couldn't make them see." ["My mistress has such a desire [not to see] so strong that six cats [witch familiars for a powerful witch] couldn't make her see [what she didn't want to see." -- The Rescue of Ranor.

    Exactly. They will see only what they want to see, and will find ways to see it even when it is contradicted by what is before their eyes.

    Our hope is not that they will see, it is that we do—the critical mass of people who will hold them to account. After seeing the anger out there (from the media, from commentators like David Brook), I have some hope that this will happen. If the weasels who normally support them and are angry now don't backtrack for reasons of political expediency.

    #98 ::: J Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:20 AM:

    Maybe I'm just projecting, figuring they're thinking the way I'd think if I was in their place, but....

    Suppose that they know they're going to win the 2006 and 2008 elections. Then this could be the first of a series of graphic lessons.

    If you don't vote republican, you get nothing.

    We haven't seen yet how much better alabama and mississippi and red louisiana are having it. If they're almost as bad off then it doesn't fit. But why should Bush do anything to support people who don't support him? "If you're not for me, you're against me."

    I wouldn't have thought this country could be turned into a water empire. But if they think they have a decent shot at it, why wouldn't they try?

    #99 ::: anonymous ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:45 AM:

    Well, to be fair I think that you may have misinterpreted the quote: "...would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.”

    I think what they meant is that there are not many roadways/passageways in and out of New Orleans and if tons of Red Cross workers are coming in, they may block the roads or cause delays for those coming out.

    That was the way I read it at first, anyway.

    #100 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:48 AM:

    Plaintext, I don't think Rivka was disagreeing with the post she linked to; I think she was underlining its point.

    #101 ::: Eric Jarvis ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:51 AM:

    I keep getting the impression that this is some sort of parallel universe thing. I see TV pictures of the devastation and interviews with ordinary people and I see one universe, then it's journalists in studios and politicians and they are discussing some other universe entirely. I'd love to know how TV pictures from that other universe are breaking through into ours and I'd like to know which of the two I'm living in.

    #102 ::: bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:01 PM:

    PJ Evans, the story is all still here on dKos, with the original German station breaking it, someone translated it and put it up.

    #103 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:45 PM:

    The Washington Post reported on Friday:

    "For three days, Corps officials had lamented the difficulty of gaining access to the canal, but yesterday a local contractor, Boh Bros. Construction Co., apparently drove to the mouth of the canal and started placing a set of steel sheet pilings to isolate the canal from the lake. This job was finished yesterday afternoon."

    I assume that the canal takes discharge water from currently flooded-out pumps, and so the actual breach needs to be closed, but it isn't urgent.

    There's other aspects of the story which lead me to wonder if the USACE is being set up as a scapegoat.

    #104 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 03:17 PM:

    Re: the 'no-fly'zone when the President's in town.

    It used to be that air space was kept clear around the President's plane when it was in the air, and all air traffic stopped at the airport it would be landing at for approximately an hour before said landing.

    The no-fly over a city where the President is speaking seems to be the result of 9/11. I'm going to do some digging on this, I'd think it causes one hell of an ATC problem...

    Lori Coulson

    #105 ::: John Lansford ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 03:36 PM:

    The canal connects to Lake Pontchartrain, and the water level in it is about 4' above the ground, which is why the levees are there. The contractor placed the sheet piling just upstream from a bridge crossing the canal, blocking the flow of water from the lake to the breach. However, since by then the water in the city had equalized elevation with the lake, all the sheeting did was to minimize any tidal actions.

    #106 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 06:23 PM:

    To whoever said "Rememeber that the Red Cross isn't a first responder": Five days after the event isn't exactly a first response, either.

    Anonymous: Your interpretation works well as far as "keep people from evacuating" goes, but how would Red Cross's traffic "encourage others to return"?

    I have tried very hard, but I cannot come up with any interpretation that doesn't boil down to "you know how those po' folk will do anything for a handout".

    Anyone who hasn't read/watched the interview with my Parish President posted over at ThinkProgress, please do. I think this was the interview that, along with the scandal of keeping the Red Cross away from the stranded, starving folks awaiting rescue, finally broke down all barriers to my assuming actual malice on the part of FEMA, Homeland Security, and Bush.

    We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn’t need them. This was a week ago. FEMA, we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. When we got there with our trucks, FEMA says don’t give you the fuel. Yesterday — yesterday — FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards and said no one is getting near these lines...

    Gods bless Harry Lee and Aaron Broussard.

    #107 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 06:44 PM:

    Nicole, that makes it intentional on the part of the government. I've been told that DHS took "natural disaster" stuff away from FEMA two years ago, but if they want to be called "emergency management" then they have to deal with nature. And if they are turning away emergency relief, and cutting the emergency communications lines, then they are engaged in criminal actions, and the responsibility goes all the way up.

    #108 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 07:08 PM:

    John --

    Blocking flow is absolutely vital, though. If the back of the levees get much eroded, you're looking at an unrecoverable problem. (If the whole thing stays waterlogged for a year or so, very likely the same.)

    #109 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 07:45 PM:

    The video is heartbreaking. It's like FEMA is at war with New Orleans. Cutting the lines of the enemy's communication, that's something you do in a war, right?

    #110 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:17 PM:

    Lis, it's a report from the NBC-owned local station.

    #111 ::: colin roald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:55 PM:

    What FEMA *is* doing:

    Three Carnival cruise ships to aid Katrina relief

    WASHINGTON, Sept 3 (Reuters) - The U.S. government has chartered three luxury cruise liners -- Ecstasy, Sensation and Holiday -- for the next six months to provide temporary housing for victims of Hurricane Katrina, Carnival Cruise Lines said on Saturday.

    Two of the ships, the Ecstasy and Sensation, have a maximum capacity of 2,606 each and will be based in Galveston, Texas, while the third boat, the Holiday, has a maximum capacity of 1,800 and will likely be docked in Mobile, Alabama, the Miami-based company said.

    The word "luxury" makes it sound suspicious, but I have no actual reason to think it's not a good idea.


    #112 ::: Thel ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 12:43 AM:

    Jo's comment made me wonder if there's any way to link up volunteer transportation for any of the evacuees who want to take someone up on a free housing offer but can't afford to get there. I'd be willing to pick someone up and drive them a few hours closer to their destination; has a system like this been set up somewhere yet? Something along the lines of hurricanehousing.org, but with available rides instead of available housing?

    #113 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 07:31 AM:

    Colin, all vacation cruise ships are luxury, which is defined in this case as 'much more amenities and personal attention that you get at a Red Roof Inn'. The only ads I've seen that didn't market the "floating four-star hotel" aspect are the historical and "safari" cruises, which instead play up the credentials of the archaeologists or naturalists who come on board to act as tour guides and give lectures during the between-port cruising time.

    #114 ::: colin roald ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 08:08 AM:

    Colin, all vacation cruise ships are luxury

    Yeah, I know. It's probably no different than putting people up in a Holiday Inn. Actually, scratch that -- ship staterooms are tiny. The only "luxury" involved is probably carpeting and chrome in the dining room.

    #115 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 08:28 AM:

    The only "luxury" involved is probably carpeting and chrome in the dining room.

    Nah, the luxury is the always-open entertainment and dining, plus lots of little things like laundry service. Really, though, the luxury ships are the big ones, and the ones best equipped to ferry people any substantial distance.

    #116 ::: anonymous ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 11:47 AM:

    Don't stop criticizing the government. It's our only hope.

    #117 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 04:55 PM:
    CHORUS:
    Chertoff, Bush, and Brown
    Drowned New Orleans town.
    You may think it was Katrina,
    But these three were much, much meaner:
    Chertoff, Bush, and Brown.

    Marie Antoinette said "Let them eat cake;"
    Michael Brown said "For heaven's sake,
    They all were told to evacuate!
    If I heard that I wouldn't wait,
    I'd get in the back of my long black car
    And tell my driver to take me far
    Away."

    And when somebody hollered "Shame!"
    He said "It isn't the time to blame
    Chertoff, Bush, and Brown."

    CHORUS.

    I'm workin' on it.

    #118 ::: PD ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 03:24 PM:

    Might want to wait for the facts. The transcripts are being typed up from an interview with a Red Cross official.

    In acutalty, the Red Cross was kept out of NO the day before landfall by Katrina. They wanted to stock the Superdome and were told NO by Nagin.

    Now, today, it is simply too dangerous to go in.

    #119 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 03:36 PM:

    PD: I don't know if you are being disingenous, or simply repeating something you've heard.

    Here is the American Red Cross page:
    http://www.redcross.org/faq/0,1096,0_682_4524,00.html

    Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.
    The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

    Note that it says specifically, "back into New Orleans following the hurricane". Not before, following. Not because it's not safe for them, but because their "presence would keep people from evacuating".

    That's what the Red Cross says they were told.

    As to too dangerous to go in, you realize that the International Red Cross, of which the American Red Cross is part, goes into refugee camps in war zones in third world countries. Are you saying that the United States at peacetime is more dangerous than a war zone in the Congo or Sierra Leone, say? Because that's really saying something.

    #120 ::: kelley ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 11:10 PM:

    "It's such an irony I hate to say it, but we have less capability today than we did on September 11," said a veteran FEMA official involved in the hurricane response. "We are so much less than what we were in 2000," added another senior FEMA official. "We've lost a lot of what we were able to do then."
    Fema sent several messages to Bush. But sadly since the president thought that an independent company worked better under the miles of government tape. I do not condone FEMA's actions in turning away supplies but I do not believe that they should become the whipping boy just because they tried to follow procedure.

    Here is my real question Why the Hell did Bush not cut short his vacation until days after this catastrophe. Am I the only person who is more angry at this than anything else. He could have easily given Fema the all clear but he didn't and so they waited before the national guard which i am sure they will be blamed for.

    #121 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 11:26 PM:

    A first-person account from a doctor, Scott Delacroix, doing triage on I-10: Federal Emergency Mis-Management Agency, Part One

    A couple of quotes from it:

    Thursday, Dawn

    About 3-5000 people still in our location. I received word that the FEMA official said that they were pulling out. Until this point, FEMA was providing no medical assistance, but they were helping to obtain transportation for these people. The transportation was inadequate, to say the least, and now they were pulling out? I approached the official and asked him whether it was true that they were pulling out and, if so, why. I was told that, yes, they were leaving, and he was unsure why. His comment, as he shrugged his shoulders, was that the decision had been made by "people above my pay grade." Rumor was that shootings in New Orleans had spurred someone higher up in FEMA to pull back. This was ridiculous. We were 1.5 miles outside of New Orleans proper. At that time, we had no security problem. We did not have a security problem until later that day when transportation slowed almost to a standstill. No more FEMA. Very little transportation. No coordination. It is Thursday -- three days post storm! There was no gunfire at our location. Only people in dire need of medical assistance and transportation. The lack of transportation for the people caused more of them to become medical patients. Dehydration and exhaustion. The FEMA official walked away leaving our crew, the local EMS crew from Austin City, and a mass of people -- patients lying on the interstate in their own urine and feces.

    Late Thursday night/Friday morning (About 1 am)

    (after moving from I-10 to the airport)

    Why did FEMA leave us? I was told "off the record" that the official statement would be this:

    'When city planners (Dr. Maestri) had discussed this doomsday scenario in New Orleans, FEMA officials had told them that the city would have to hold out for 48 hours. Then the Feds would be on the ground to provide support. The excuse for taking so long was going to be that the hurricane hit on Monday, but because of the 17th Street Canal break, which happened Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, this would be classified as an evolving disaster. Not until the lake equilibrated with the water in the city (hence, not until the city was 80 percent underwater) and the water stopped rising did FEMA consider to be on the clock. This did not happen until early Thursday morning.'

    #122 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 12:10 AM:

    Not until the lake equilibrated with the water in the city (hence, not until the city was 80 percent underwater) and the water stopped rising did FEMA consider to be on the clock. This did not happen until early Thursday morning.

    Something comes to mind involving fair trials before capital punishment. Start at the top and work down until you find someone who knew it was wrong and protested it.

    #123 ::: Luthe ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 12:49 AM:

    I just read the doctor's report.

    ...I think I'm going to be sick now.

    #124 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 04:41 PM:

    Have you heard the one about Katrina?

    Laughter is not a bad idea. (re Jay Leno's line: I was told FEMA's attitude in 1994 was along the lines of "Here's a check, here's water, here's food; what else can we do for you? Please, let us help you.")

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