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September 1, 2005

Posted by Patrick at 09:44 PM *

Belle Waring:

Say what you like about casting blame for the unfolding tragedy in NO, the bare facts of the matter are these: America suffered a serious attack on Sept. 11, 2001. That was four years ago. I think we had all assumed that in the meantime a lot of wargaming and disaster-mitigation planning and homeland security gearup had been going on. If this is what the Federal and State governments are going to come up with when the suitcase nuke goes off in D.C., then we are well and truly fucked.
Comments on Precisely:
#1 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 09:57 PM:

Saw this similar sentiment in the Washington Post earlier this evening:

If this is what happens when the nation has two days of advance warning, imagine the aftermath of a surprise attack using a chemical, biological or nuclear device.

#2 ::: Saucyworchester ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 09:59 PM:

Our problem is that we have a category 5 administration.

(Sorry, repeat comment...but true)

#3 ::: dichroic ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 10:04 PM:

Nah. I'm *sure* they've done much more planning for a *DC* attack. After all, the important people are there.

But I wouldn't venture a guess as to how many of the plans include taking care of people in those slums not so far from the White House.

Bitter? Me?

#4 ::: enjay ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 10:08 PM:

After watching the news tonight, all I can say is that my jaw may be permanently dropped. I would have expected a better response in a third world country.

#5 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 10:16 PM:

Hey, the FEMA chief seems to think that everyone who stayed in New Orleans CHOSE to be there:


Interestingly, an awful lot of news articles today report that no one from FEMA is on the ground yet in New Orleans (at least no "low level" people).

#6 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 10:26 PM:

From what I've been reading, FEMA's operations have been slowly subsumed by Homeland Security. While they haven't been totally castrated, it seems like a lot of things that we depended on FEMA for were supposed to be picked up by Homeland Security and evidently haven't been.

If, for example, the levees in Louisiana had been caused by terrorist bombings, would we be looking at the same level of federal involvement? Would we be looking at the scenario unfolding and say, "Wow, I can totally see the hand of Homeland Security at work"? Is this chaos going to be endemic to any tragedy, terrorist-instigated or otherwise? Because if so, I'd say Homeland Security has a hell of a way to go. Call this your stage debut, boys. What are you doing?

#7 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 10:27 PM:

Well, I have a twisty sort of mind, and I'm finding this particular set of responses disturbingly consistent with the Vice-President's incapacitating indisposition.

Since Mr. Cheney's obsession with oil supplies has been driving the only consistent thread of will this administration has possessed -- the desire to attack Iraq being much more like lust -- and a quarter of the US domestic supply has just been removed from consideration, and since a quarter of the US domestic consumption is way less than the global available oil supply slack, we've just hit, not peak oil, but -- at a minimum -- a year or more of having the oil demand sharply exceed the supply.

I can see that giving Dick Cheney a heart attack.

I can very easily see the Veep's absence removing all will and direction from his minions, rather like orcs shrieking in all directions when Sauron is destroyed.

And yes, the administration is inept and yes, most of these people are just useless for anything practical and yes, little arrogant indifference goes a long, long way towards explaining not giving a damn about some several tens of thousands of dead poor people.

But still... this looks like a leadership vacuum, the kind of thing you'd get if the puppet strings were slack.

#8 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 10:48 PM:

This is exactly the blow-out Mrs. NH predicted in this space not long ago.

#9 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:04 PM:

And I saw the phot of the Shrub with his two immediate predecessors. Shrub had all the appearance of 'It's not my fault!' while the others looked grim and embarrassed -- at the same time. George sr looked like he was thinking of a way to disinherit the Shrub.

And what kind of idiot CinC can't figure out that you can order the military to do things like prepare to aid in relief/rescue/cleanup before the thing actually hits the fan? (He could have had the hospital ship on the way Sunday night, if he'd given the word when it hit Cat5.)

Jesus wept.

#10 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:08 PM:

The amount of incompetence here is staggering. The reason New Orleans collapsed is simple -- the leadership was a disaster.

The mayor spent his time either pretending there weren't problems, or panicking about them. Thus the "we can't stop looters, we've got lives to say, holy shit, we can't save lives, looters!" I know guys who served under those kinds of officers.

He quickly, and utterly, lost control of the situation and his forces. All he could do was spout off how bad thing were, meanwhile, the police, without any central command, dissolved into uselessness.

FEMA was a utter clusterfuck. Here's a little tidbit.

"FEMA director Michael Brown said the agency just learned about the situation at the convention center Thursday and quickly scrambled to provide food, water and medical care and remove the corpses."

Really? Four days after the strike, and you aren't watching the refugee centers? WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU DOING, ASSWIPE?

Then there's this charming tidbit.

"I don't want to alarm anyone that New Orleans is filling up like a bowl," Michael Brown, FEMA's director, said. "That isn't happening."

Uh, pardon me, fuckwad, but you are WRONG.

The Homeland Security director, Terry Ebbert, was wrong so often that is it almost comical. Apparently, he retired out as a Colonel. This is a hint.

Fuck, of the four, at least Bush was only absent. These three were incomptent, and Mayor Nagin, the obvious point guy, completely and utterly failed. He's exactly the sort of person you find in Aubrey and Hornblower novels -- the incompetent martinet they make our hero suffer through, to show how much better our hero is as a commander.

Time and time again, you here about some stupid problem that somebody with a clue and the willingness to lead would have solved with, at most, a thirty word rant on stupidty, ending with "Now fix this!" But nobody with any authority stood up.

You want to hear a chickenshit commander? This is a chickenshit commander.

According to the mayor, Black Hawk helicopters were scheduled to pick up and drop massive 3,000-pound sandbags in the 17th Street Canal breach, but were diverted on rescue missions. Nagin said neglecting to fix the problem has set the city behind by at least a month.

"I had laid out like an eight-week to ten-week timeline where we could get the city back in semblance of order. It's probably been pushed back another four weeks as a result of this," Nagin said.

"That four weeks is going to stop all commerce in the city of New Orleans. It also impacts the nation, because no domestic oil production will happen in southeast Louisiana."

Yeah, well, fuck you too, sir. Christ the only thing he didn't say was "Thanks to you, Lieutenant, we may have just lost the war."

There damn well better be a god, because there damn well better be a hell for these assholes to spend eternity in.

#11 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:21 PM:

I was boggled today when on a newsgroup I was told seriously that bringing in more troops to stop the looting wouldn't help because, well, you'd then have to feed and house the troops themselves.

I don't know. Our army is used to caring for its needs and in addition providing water, food, bedding, etc. to people in disaster areas.

While we haven't ever had disasters quite on this scale (several major erthquakes, though, and a couple of biggish floods taking in biggish cities) it's also true that the Italian Army is not reknown throught the world for its merciless efficiency.

#12 ::: CD318 ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:24 PM:

Y'all don't understand. There were shoes to buy.

#13 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:25 PM:

Bush…urged patience, saying relief is on the way.

Is he insane? People are trapped and dying and he counsels patience? How does he sleep at night? Why doesn't he care? Are other people even real to this guy?

Graydon I have been thinking similar thoughts about Cheney. The idea of all that beautiful oil going to waste could very well have given him another heart attack.

Erik I second the God/Hell thing. And they should be forced to watch the consequences of their choices over and over again until they finally understand.

#14 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:13 AM:

Speaking of FEMA foulups (and blogosphere to the rescue) take a look at this account from a DailyKos diary.

The diarist is quoting a letter he received. Here's the critical paragraph:

FEMA called in a company that owns and operates a fleet of air boats, to aide with the search and recovery of citizens trying to survive the disaster and who are still in their homes, etc. A friend of mine (from Arkansas) is one of the owner/operators of an air boat in that fleet. He responded to FEMA's request and went down to assist, all at his own expense. When there, he reported to a FEMA manager or supervisor who told him, and I quote: "We need your assistance and can use your help every day, there's a lot of folks who have not been found. But, you will have to pay for your own gasoline for your air boat."
The guy in question was more than willing to donate his time, but can't afford gas in the quantities needed (particularly with rising prices).

It looks like DailyKos readers are offering to wire funds so this person can contribute to the rescue efforts, but Dear Gd!

#15 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:15 AM:

I can't believe this, but it's true.

As seen on Boing-Boing, FEMA is specifically recommending cash donations for Katrina go to Pat Robertson's personally controlled organization, 'Operation Blessing'.

See for yourself.

It's like something straight out of W.S. Burroughs. "There's no limit to what they'll do!"

#16 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:25 AM:

Josh Marshal has more to say about the oddly non-secular choices made by FEMA on their web page.

#17 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:27 AM:

Yes, we are truly fucked. But we are not helpless.

I've had a really interesting problem posed to me, and if we can come up with the answer, maybe we can unfuck thinks a little. A woman who is contact with her stranded family in New Orleans wants direction in how she can best plot an escape route for them using information available on the internet. Can you help me come up with better suggestions for her than the ones I've come up with on my own?

In fact a general set of suggestions for this would probably actually save a few lives.

#18 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:28 AM:

should read "unfuck things"

#19 ::: will Shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:32 AM:

enjay, there's at least one third-world country where you'd clearly get a better response: Katrina: anecdote on civil defense in Cuba (often sans phones, power).

It helps if you don't think of the US as a mediocre first-world country. Just think of it as a pretty good third-world country. On average, you'll live longer and get better health care in places like Cuba, of course, but this doesn't have to be the best third-world country to still be a pretty good place to live.

#20 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:37 AM:

The fucking Astrodome has been declared full and is no longer accepting refugees. CNN

#21 ::: Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:03 AM:
PiscusFiche: From what I've been reading, FEMA's operations have been slowly subsumed by Homeland Security.

That actually explains things, rather well, doesn't it? Homeland security is about brown-skinned enemies who come from oil-producing countries on the other side of the world. HS can find 'em and deal with them... But it is not an agencey which is about actual *security* for actual *humans* living in the territory described by the word "homeland".

It's one of those linguistic things that comes up when you try to talk with a fundamentalist; those people use language SO differently as to be entirely unintelligible to the non-fundies.

#22 ::: Allat ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:20 AM:

I think that this was allowed to happen, the entire scenario. The basic needs are still not being met. I'm seeing not only disorder but the small amount of food supply is being dropped without guards to control the receivings.

"The powers that be" are holding back still, waiting for something.

I say this was deliberately done, to depopulate the area - to bring down the American people - to break our pride.


But this is a lesson to us that we cannot depend on government - we can only depend on ourselves.

We have to, because I get a feeling that this is only the beginning.

Ever heard of weather control? Manipulation of storms? Katrina was guided exactly to hit the oil rigs and NO. The original path started out different, it would have gone further west. Instead it was a perfect arc. SEE:

Do you remember the hurricane last year, Jeanne - doing strange 90 degree turns and looping around itself? SEE ANIMATION:

Jeanne was a test.

#23 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:25 AM:

"Deliberately done" implies too much competence.

Re: Homeland Security. Watch the name "Katrina" be added to the no-fly lists.

#24 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:36 AM:

Anna, why do you think the US Army needs all thois contractor in Iraq?

They're running the mess halls. The US Army can't even feed itself.

(And any navy which can put a couple of British battleships on the bottom of Alexandria harbour is worthy of respect.)

#25 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:42 AM:

A crazy question just occurred to me, and maybe somebody here has the answer.

Everybody's been bandying around the "fact" that 80% of New Orleans was successfully evacuated, which is really impressive. But...

How do we know that's true?

Anybody know where that figure came from?
Were people monitoring the exit routes that closely before the storm hit? Or did somebody just pull it out of hir ass?

#26 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:43 AM:

I listened to an interview this morning with the state directory of emergency services in Louisiana. He says that they cannot figure out why help is so slow in coming from FEMA and FEMA is NOT doing the things that FEMA and the state agency worked out for just this sort of contingency. Let me go back over that one. This state agency and FEMA had worked out contingency plans for just this sort of situation and FEMA are not doing the things they said they would do. Why is that do you suppose?

This evening over dinner I formulated the wish that the people responsible for deciding to spend levee maintenance funds on The War on Terror should have nightmares every night for the rest of their lives. Those nightmare should be about their best beloveds drowning while they can do nothing. I am not a nice person when I'm pissed off. No.


#27 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:51 AM:

So, this may be a silly question, but I'm curious and don't know much about NOLA geography. How easy was it for people to actually get into their cars and leave if they had the available financial resources? I mean, I'm trying to imagine a need to evacuate the island of Manhattan - it just wouldn't be physically possible to get all the cars away in time. Was that a problem in New Orleans? I know there were traffic jams, but how bad were they?

My point in asking this is the perhaps point out another flaw in FEMA's emergency preparedness: if a city that seems to have a reasonably large number of highways leading from it couldn't be evacuated, what would they do for places like NYC or Long Island that have a very, very finite number of exits?

#28 ::: sara ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:59 AM:

It helps if you don't think of the US as a mediocre first-world country. Just think of it as a pretty good third-world country. On average, you'll live longer and get better health care in places like Cuba, of course, but this doesn't have to be the best third-world country to still be a pretty good place to live.

You mean the New Russia.
Billionaire kleptocrats.
Elitny dyevushka (think Paris Hilton).
Geologic strata of incompetent government agencies.
Endemic poverty.
Unassimilable minorities (see terrorism).
Bankrupted by military overstretch and an unwinnable war in the Middle East.
A former Union (of Soviet Socialist Republics).

Of course, the American right wing was obsessed with fighting the Cold War, with opposing Communism in every respect; that is how they went up their ideological blind alley of libertarian Randoid capitalism and privatization.

In Bill Gison's Pattern Recognition Stella Volkova speaks of the New Russian elite's being permitted "ignorance of traffic regulations." They drive like bats out of hell.

Our New American elite is permitted ignorance of emergency management, it seems.

#29 ::: sara ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 02:02 AM:

In fact the Iraq War seems to be a case of the Republican and neocon elite's still fighting the Cold War. They were all too eager for an enemy that would galvanize the nation the way the USSR's first nuclear test did.

They merely shifted the enemy to another foreign people with an indecipherable language and alleged "anti-Western" outlook.

They didn't realize -- in fact denied -- that we are fighting a new war: with the planet.

#30 ::: Thel ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 02:13 AM:

I regard some of the interdictor's opinions with a lot of skepticism, but the conversation he just had via cellphone with a New Orleans resident stuck at the convention center just kills me.

Although obviously he has no exact count, he estimates more than 10,000 people are packed into and around and outside the convention center still waiting for the buses. They had no food, no water, and no medicine for the last three days, until today, when the National Guard drove over the bridge above them, and tossed out supplies over the side crashing down to the ground below. Much of the supplies were destroyed from the drop. Many people tried to catch the supplies to protect them before they hit the ground. Some offered to walk all the way around up the bridge and bring the supplies down, but any attempt to approach the police or national guard resulted in weapons being aimed at them.

There are many infants and elderly people among them, as well as many people who were injured jumping out of windows to escape flood water and the like -- all of them in dire straights.

Any attempt to flag down police results in being told to get away at gunpoint. Hour after hour they watch buses pass by filled with people from other areas. Tensions are very high, and there has been at least one murder and several fights. 8 or 9 dead people have been stored in a freezer in the area, and 2 of these dead people are kids.

The people are so desperate that they're doing anything they can think of to impress the authorities enough to bring some buses. These things include standing in single file lines with the eldery in front, women and children next; sweeping up the area and cleaning the windows and anything else that would show the people are not barbarians.

The buses never stop.

And how can the FEMA director get away with claiming to have had no idea anyone was at the convention center? After four days?

#31 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:07 AM:

Lis Reba:

That airboat story is very reminiscent of what the British government did during and after the Foot and Mouth epidemic, a few years ago. Lots of contractors working for the government, expecting to get paid when the paperwork got through. Some of them not yet paid, four years later.

This doesn't do anything to speed the response to future disaster, not unless Tony Blair turns up with a suitcase of cash.

#32 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:11 AM:

Anna, why do you think the US Army needs all thois contractor in Iraq?

They're running the mess halls. The US Army can't even feed itself.

The Army formerly fed itself, but Schmuck and Cheney and Rumsfeld's cronies weren't getting enough pork from the trough filled by the US taxpayer, and Schmuck/Cheney/Rumsfeld contracted out all the "support" positions. Just think what ONE malicious civilian cook could do....

(And any navy which can put a couple of British battleships on the bottom of Alexandria harbour is worthy of respect.)

#33 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:17 AM:

I'm beginning to have doubts about the Mayor of New Orleans, though it doesn't astonish me that somebody in his particular position seems to be failing.

It maybe doesn't matter that he was a strong supporter of the Republican Party, until switching sides before running for election (apparently on his own money). It maybe doesn't matter that he's been reluctant to support the party he claims affiliation to.

After all, Churchill "crossed the house", though not in an effort to get elected.

But if Mayor Nagin's hung out to dry in the political backlash, made the scapegoat, it's a safe bet he'll be labelled a "Democrat"

#34 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:37 AM:

Is anyone else having the cheerful thought that just occured to me? There's a week or so until the next anniversary of 9-11, our government is running around like chickens with their heads cut off, and we just had a huge swath of country flattened with the result that currently it's probably impossible to verify right away that anybody is who they say they are? (I'm just a right little ray of sunshine tonight, according to my boyfriend.)

#35 ::: Dave Klecha ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:53 AM:

FWIW, some places seem to be in better shape than others, as far as non-Federal preparedness goes. Here in Grand Rapids, MI (about half the size of NO), the city, local, and state folks seem to have their coordination down pretty well. The example I saw was in response to a massive multi-car freeway pile-up.Within an hour of the incident, buses had been commandeered to get the stranded and un-injured off the freeway, all towing services in the city had been put under police control, and the injured had been triaged and portioned out to multiple area hospitals.

Certainly smaller scale, by several orders of magnitude, but doing the little things right tends to lead to doing bigger things well.

#36 ::: Rich Magahiz ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 06:32 AM:

On the bright side of things, the next time there's a need for humanitarian aid somewhere else in the world, and the contribution from the U.S. is slow in coming, people will know not to take it as a personal slight against their country. It's just that we're just not good at fixing what is broken, even if it's our own stuff.

#37 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 06:36 AM:

okay now, we know that a good deal of homeland security money has been going to places where it was not especially needed while New York and other major Metropolitan areas have been effectively ignored. It has been observed that Metropolitan areas tend to vote Democratic. It seems to me the current situation is just the policy of you didn't vote for me so screw you writ large. New Orleans is a democratic city, so it was killed.

#38 ::: Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 07:00 AM:


Leadership is damned hard. Nagin ordered the breach to be filled first; others diverted the helicopters to rescue terrified stranded people with no water. He is a modern, consensual, civic leader, and the piece you quote above is his way of saying 'it was the wrong decision but we don't have a blame culture round here'.

Of course, this is probably not the right time for consensual leadership. But the other way might not work well either.

Oddly, the UK has got incomparably much better at handling domestic emergencies over the last four years; we've done a lot of work and we take it very seriously. Could we cope with a city the size of Birmingham being taken out? I don't know.

#39 ::: ladytiamat ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 07:03 AM:

It seems to me the current situation is just the policy of you didn't vote for me so screw you writ large. New Orleans is a democratic city, so it was killed.

My first reaction upon reading this was to laugh to myself: "Who kills an entire city out of spite?" Then I realized I was thinking too small. This administration kills whole countries out of spite.

But at the end of the day I believe incompetence, not malice, to be the root of this tragedy.

#40 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 07:16 AM:

that whole never ascribing to malice what you can to stupidity is a wonderful dodge for these people, because they are both at the same time. If you accuse them of malice, a la Cheney, then their defenders rush in with an 'say what you want, but at least he's not stupid', if you accuse them of stupidity, like Bush, then the defence is 'perhaps he's not as bright as some, but the president is a good man'.

There have been so many things in this administration that can only be ascribed to malice, and which have been backed up by testimony, that to give them a pass on the grounds of incompetence is to move from good will to getting fooled. Meanwhile in all their malicious dealings there are such measures of incompetence that one must always keep in mind that one is dealing with Dracula as played by Leslie Nielsen.

#41 ::: Deanna Hoak ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 07:57 AM:

People might be interested in China Miéville's excellent posts on this subject over at Lenin's Tomb:

The company that was hired to come up with the "Catastrophic Hurricane Management Plan" for New Orleans has "misplaced" their press release about it.

#42 ::: Mark Wise ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 08:43 AM:

*psst* Pass it on. NOLA is now called "Lake George" in honor of its root cause.

#43 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 09:00 AM:

A friend is in the Air National Guard unit here in Nashville, and has been sent down to work on evacuations. His LJ entry is here:

This, BTW, is the unit Rummy is relocating, and our governor is suing to keep in place.

#44 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 09:05 AM:

I completely agree with Graydon's characterization of Bush's lack of direction here. Suddenly, his advisors are out of ideas and he's stuck. Remember the footage of Dubya on 9/11, gazing from the Pet Goat book, utterly stupified by news of the attack? That was 7 minutes, this is four days.

He's still waiting for someone to tug at his sleeve and whisper instructions in his ear. The tiny microphone that he used during the debates is just emitting static and the commander-in-chief is in standby to standby mode.

Meanwhile, Rumsfeld may be finally figuring out that if 40,000 troops can't restore order on our own soil, then maybe, just maybe, lowballing the troop numbers in Iraq was a bad idea after all. Nah, Rummy's looking at the refugees and wondering why they just can't love freedom.

#45 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 09:36 AM:

Sarah asked, So, this may be a silly question, but I'm curious and don't know much about NOLA geography. How easy was it for people to actually get into their cars and leave if they had the available financial resources? I mean, I'm trying to imagine a need to evacuate the island of Manhattan - it just wouldn't be physically possible to get all the cars away in time. Was that a problem in New Orleans? I know there were traffic jams, but how bad were they?

There are basically four ways to get out of New Orleans by car:

1. I-10 eastbound to Slidell
2. The Ponchartrain Causeway directly across the lake
3. I-10 westbound to Baton Rouge
4. US 90 west to Lafayette.

The problem with all of these routes is that they all go over significant amounts of water, which means that they are constricted (as far as I know all routes are two lanes in each direction) and subject to very bad traffic. The answer has been to make all four lanes outbound lanes, i.e., making the whole interstate one-way. Nevertheless, traffic was horrendous; my dad mentioned meeting someone who had made the NO-Houston drive -- normally a six-hour trip -- in sixteen hours. (Once the interstates are one-way, of course, nothing else gets in by road, so busses can't make multiple trips, rescue units can't come in, and so forth.)

A further problem is that two of these routes were not helpful. Eastbound I-10 runs to Gulfport, Biloxi, Mobile and Pensacola. That was basically right across the path of the storm. Anyone pulling out of NO into Biloxi was told to keep going. The I-10 bridge across Escambia Bay at Pensacola is still being rebuilt from a previous hurricane (Ivan, perhaps) and may be only two lanes, one in each direction. In normal times, Pensacola is about a five-hour drive. So this was not a good route to take. Going up I-59 from Slidell (half of which was underwater after the storm) was a better choice, but I've heard that all the hotel rooms up to Birmingham were full, so again, we're talking about a distance of 350-400 miles before people could find accommodations.

The Causeway is just as bad, as it deposits people on the north shore, half of which was underwater after the storm. Interstates from there are 10 and 59 (see above) and 55 to Jackson and thence to Memphis. Katrina was "merely" a category 2 storm by the time it reached Jackson, so this route was a good option only in the comparative sense.

Highway 90 runs across country that is, if anything, flatter and wetter than New Orleans. It's also not an interstate, with clear consequences for traffic flow and may have been closed earlier than other routes.

I-10 to Baton Rouge was the most obvious, and as a result BR is now the largest city in Louisiana. Civic services are under extreme strain, even as the city becomes the home of all NO media and staging ground for state and federal efforts.

At some point, however, it was no longer safe to travel any of these routes, and they had to be closed. For reference, out of the I-10 Twin Spans linking New Orleans with Slidell across the mouth of the lake, 40 percent has been wiped out. Interstate bridges fallen into the sea.

So what you have is a window of time between when you know the city is threatened enough to call an evacuation and when the bridges have to be shut so that people are not on them when the storm comes. It's not an easy problem. Furthermore, each time an evacuation is called for and disaster does not strike, people become less likely to evacuate. That's just human nature. Katrina was, I think, the third evacuation in the last eighteen months.

Disaster planners have known that even under the best of circumstances tens of thousands would not be able to leave New Orleans. That was a basic assumption of any relief plan. Every single problem that is happening now was completely foreseeable. Anyone saying otherwise, including the president of the United States, is lying or ignorant.

(I'm not just whistling Dixie about the foreseeable nature of the problems: I worked in one of the Miss. River refineries back in the late '80s, and we specifically discussed the dangers to New Orleans during our hurricane training. And that was just a one-day seminar.)

The Manhattan comparison is a good one. New Orleans had basically a 36-hour window before landfall, of which the first 24 could be used to get people out, the next six to eight could be used to move within the city, and the remaining four to six were too dangerous to go out. How fast could New York be emptied? Who would keep order once almost all residents were gone?

#46 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 09:44 AM:

Remember Jim's rule of threes?

Three days with no water, and a lot of the people still in the city are dead. It's coming up on five, for some of those folks in New Orleans, and more in outlying areas; it's at or past three for almost all of them.

Anyone wanting to point out that they're flooded, and thus oversupplied with water, is advised that they're flooded with sewage diluted with toxic waste and corpses, or maybe the other way around. Potable water it isn't. Boiling won't make it potable, either, given the "toxic waste" half of the problem. (The ability to make hundreds of thousand of litres per day of it potable sits on a runway because Bush doesn't want help from DART.)

By the usual 'reasonable man' test of English Common Law, the present administration knows, or ought to know, that lack of water is killing people; any idiot knows that.

To know and do nothing, while having the power to act, is to chose that the thing should happen.

The people dying are American citizens; fellow countrymen. Those whom the President and his administration swore to protect and defend and succor in disaster.

I can see no reason why the President and Cabinet should not have to answer to the American people for this, for their names and lives and such honour as they may yet protest to possess.

#47 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 09:49 AM:

"(The ability to make hundreds of thousand of litres per day of it potable sits on a runway because Bush doesn't want help from DART.)"

What's DART, and what's this situation? I haven't heard about this.

#48 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 09:55 AM:

DART is the Canadian Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team; one of the things they do is provide potable water by providing and running some high-capacity portable (for 'can be moved on an airplane' values of portable) osmotic water filters.

Paul Martin, the Prime Minister of Canada, offered the President of the United States a blank cheque -- whatever you need for as long as you need it. (This would have included DART as a matter of course.)

He was told, effectively, 'no'; the newspaper quote I saw this morning was something to the effect of "we're still concentrating on life saving".

This is very, very far from the only offer of help the President has turned down.

#49 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 09:58 AM:

Remember Jim's rule of threes?

Actually, I don't, but yesterday's Washington Post contained the ominous warning:

"With no hand-washing, and all the excrement," said Sgt. Debra Williams, who was staffing the infirmary in the adjacent sports arena, "you have about four days until dysentery sets in. And it's been four days today."

BTW, I'm seeing more articles now that the "laissez-faire" evacuation wasn't just poor planning.
Specifically, Kevin Drum and Will Bunch describe pre-Katrina disaster planning meetings where questions about the carless and infirm were raised... and ignored.

#50 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:04 AM:

The Canadian Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team -- it's a special unit designed for helping in major disasters of this sort, providing medical aid, water purification, and humanitarian aid generally. It was deployed after the Tsunami last year, for example. It's been on standby for the last several days, but the US has turned down assistance.

See for an overview.

#51 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:18 AM:

Graydon: Ah, okay. When I googled DART, I got some Dallas Road Transit, and couldn't figure out how it might correlate. Now I see.

"He was told, effectively, 'no'; the newspaper quote I saw this morning was something to the effect of "we're still concentrating on life saving"."

Rhetorical question: does he not realize that *You Can't Save Lives Without More Potable Water*?

I'm so disgusted/angry/frightened by this whole situation, and all its implications, that I cannot think coherently. I hate when I can't think coherently.

And sidenote: I just want to thank you, Teresa, for providing this sort of forum. Making Light became my most reliable source of information, and when people have asked how I know what I know about Katrina, I mention these two editors at Tor, a science fiction publisher, and the weblog they run, and how it's about politics and religion and writing and gardening and knitting. And thanks to all of you, too, because without you commenters, I simply don't want to imagine how I'd be coping with this.

#52 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:24 AM:

So, basically, Bush turns down help to maintain his pride and the impression that we don't need help, we've got it under control. Meanwhile people are dying because of these sorts of decisions.

#53 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:26 AM:

Yes, leadership is damn hard. This what the NOPD is doing now.

I see these comments on Kos that we're supposed to conteract the spin that Mayor Nagin is no Rudy Guliani. Fuck that. He's not fit to lick Guliani's shoes clean. Lord knows that Rudy screwed up a few things in trying to sort out Manhattan, but, by god, he was leading.

This fuck is hiding in a corner, and his troops are futzing around, grilling goddamn sausages in the French Quarter.

I keep hearing this story about how the military copters aren't flying supplies in because somebody shot at one of them. Really? Military helicopters don't have to fly into fire? Gosh, there's at least three generations of chopper jockeys who would have loved that one.

So, the choppers at Ft. Rucker stand idle, as the LA NG commander does, well, who the fuck knows, and the US military commander -- you know, Shrub -- does, well, who the fuck cares, it ain't going to help.

That's what we have. We have a bunch of incomptent fools playing at leadership, we have a bunch of people trying to help, but who don't have the resources, and we have a bunch of people dying. Bush has managed to even fuck up the Peter Principle.

My, what a great fucking country this is.

#54 ::: ElizabethVomMarlowe ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:30 AM:

I heard that DART was turned back at the border by Homeland Security. Don't remember where I read it, Atrios maybe.

Graydon, Yes, I woke up this morning and thought--"depraved indifference."

I still don't get why we haven't called in the Air Force pararescue jumpers, the Navy SEALs, not to mention the Marines; they could get people out, random thugs or no.

#56 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:54 AM:

Ipmpeachment on grounds of criminal incompetence, for every official who stands around wringing their hands and whining about how they 'didn't know it was going to be like this' and they 'can't do anything about it' and 'we don't need help'?

Bush wants to compare himself to Roosevelt? I'm thinking of the generalwho had all the fighters at Hickam Field parked close together to protect them from saboteurs, before December 7. Don't remember his name, but he wasn't a general afterward. Demoted. For good reason.

#57 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:54 AM:

Elizabeth --

It takes orders.

Given the orders, and some competent brigadier to see they got executed on the ground, there's a whole lot that could be done, that should have been done, that should be being done, by the US Military and other parts of the the USG.

They're not getting the orders. They're not getting any orders.

I mean, look, Dubya could go to the Joint Chiefs with a table napkin with 'Get that hurricane mess straightened out ASAP' written on it over his signature, and a whole lot would happen very quickly.

He hasn't. He hasn't appointed anybody, done anything, given any orders; all he's actually done comes down to four things:

  1. Give refineries oil from the Strategic Reserve without any obligations (like keeping the gas price within certain bounds)

  2. Relaxed environmental regulations for gasoline quality, so the refineries can produce gasoline with more toxins in it and sell it

  3. Made a public announcement to the effect that Americans have to understand that gas prices are going to be high for a long time

  4. Turned down offers of help from -- at least! -- Canada, Holland, Russia, China, and Iran.

#58 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:04 AM:

Graydon: you forgot to mention his helicopter ride today over some disaster zones (though he seems to be avoiding New Orleans)

#59 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:14 AM:

Lis -

Taking a helicopter ride over the affected areas is pointless, fuel-wasting grandstanding.

If he wants to know what's going on, he's the President -- he tells the commanding general of the Air Force to get him intelligence that's not more than twelve hours old by sunset.

Said general says 'yes sir!', puts down the phone, and gets his staff to picking reconnaissance assets. (Well -- commands with said assets. This is what a chain of command is for.)

Dubya gets his maps; if he's anything like a real president he makes those public and gives a 'we've got some big jobs to do' speech. The chopper ride only counts for something if he lands and talks to the people doing disaster relief on the ground, so he can be sure that what they need is filtering back to the command authority. He doesn't get points for being upset or waving from the windows.

#60 ::: Allat ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:15 AM:

You must know by now that the gov. doesn't have any real intention to help these people - or any other. Haven't you seen that?

I think the government's broke- they're just not saying it. Any oil supplies left - is going to be held back - as all the oil supplies have been accummulated in the last few years - for the use of the military. Not civilians.

I woke up this morning with the realization - and that in this era - NO is no more.

In truth we are on our own. That Bush's speech yesterday was a form of washing of hands. The people in NO have been abandoned - they are on their own. And as you can also see, the oil corp. are greedier than ever. Charging 6,00/gal. in the South.

Why do they do it, you ask? If there is no longer dollars available. for POWER AND CONTROL of people - for control over life and death.

You don't really want a military control - not now - not EVER. Ever read "The Gulag Archipelago?"

Anyone here - with or without children - start developing plans on how to get out cities.
With and/or without a car. Get a walking stick and backpacks for each of you. Find out how to survive in the wilderness - there are books.

Learn First Aid, and any other type of healing - and teach it to others. Any type of Reiki Healing,whether with herbs or hands-on healing or vibrational healing. This will be worth MORE THAN GOLD.

Get Emoto's " Secret Message of Water" - wherein he tells how water is influenced BY THOUGHT. Water purifying tablets are fine, but they are used up, and you can purify water by thought vibrations.

You can also take it, that one can avoid trouble in emergencies, by sending out thought vibrations.

Whether you believe in a GOd - and at this moment - I am shaking my fist at Her/Him - call It the Ultimate Force, or whatever,learn to medicate and contact this Force. So that at the drop of a pin, you can communicate with this FOrce and be directed to a place of safety.

But, at any rate, whatever, I say, we have brains enough to depend on our selves for survival - not the gov. or the military (shudder).

In this country, it is NO LONGER business as usual.

#61 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:17 AM:

Taking a helicopter ride over the affected areas is pointless, fuel-wasting grandstanding.
Agreed. Not to mention, don't I keep hearing about a need for helicopters for rescue operations?

How many people will be needed for the President's security who would be better allocated elsewhere?

#62 ::: Allat ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:19 AM:

Ha, ha, I didn't mean "learn to medicate" but LEARN TO MEDITATE."

I didn't mean take drugs or marijuana or ayahuasca or anything like that.

#63 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:26 AM:

One thing all this has taught me is that "third world" isn't so much a matter of geography as a matter of money.

#64 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:32 AM:

Allat, your heart may be in the right place, but positive thoughts and sympathetic magic are not going to fix this, and I have limited patience for being preached to about it.

#65 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:46 AM:

"Loaning" oil from the Strategic Reserve isn't going to do much, when the refinery capacity isn't there. What part of destroyed ports and refineries does this oil-drilling-promoting idiot con man not understand?

#66 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:46 AM:

Avram --

Well, no, not really.

Civilization is trading immediate direct benefit for indirect benefit. This is incredibly counter-intuitive to an East African plains ape -- give up band status in return for unspecified future considerations? Are you insane? -- but it works.

What we're seeing isn't so much a matter of money, as a matter of having barbarians in charge, people totally unwilling to ever do anything that isn't to their immediate personal benefit.

They can't actually understand why people want them to really help the folks in NOLA; not 'say they're being helped', but to really help them. The ideas of peace, order, and good government are things they really and truly hate and despise, because the core of those things is not getting what you, personally, most want.

That many of them want things that are truly vile -- the subjugation of women, to be free of personal responsibility for their actions, to institute a permanent aristocracy, to impose a racist insistence on their own supposed superiority on everyone around them -- is, woefully, secondary.

The primary thing is that they don't see any value in authority; there is nothing, to them, in the idea of government but a machine for looting on a truly grand scale.

#67 ::: Allat ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:52 AM:


500 airboats are ready to go in, and FEMA won't allow them to.

There are helicopters that are gigantic - powerful enough to hover while people are rushed on. Or supllies are lowered down - NOT thrown down.

My God! There are infants there!

What is going to happen when 1/2 million people are dead in this heat? The Souls will transcend but the rest....

#68 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:56 AM:

Allat, do you have a link for that comment about the airboats?

#69 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:57 AM:

That's more gently than I would have put it, Teresa. I admire you.

Not that I didn't before of course.

#70 ::: Allat ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:02 PM:

All you need is one air boat pilot tograb their cojones and say: "Screw you! FEMA" ANd the rest will follow - And go in anyway. Of course, someone will have to man the guns - unfortunately.

This isn't anarchy, it's using our human brain.

But I don't think the city is out of control- or descended into chaos - I think the people are decent, law abiding- and heat exhausted. But the Warriors and the youth are watching over the families, need a lifeline.

#71 ::: Allat ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:04 PM:

So, can't we try? I'm asking you what else can we do that. We're here and can't even get into the city - won't be allowsed in?

Do you have another solution?

#72 ::: Joy ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:06 PM:

"Turned down offers of help."

*stunned silence*

That goes beyond stupidity, malice, criminal negligence... I thought nothing that this administration could do would ever surprise me again, but I was so, so wrong.

#73 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:06 PM:

Maybe NO will become a ghost town in more ways than one.

#74 ::: Allat ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:07 PM:

From Rivero's,0,4766048.story?coll=sfla-news-florida

#75 ::: Allat ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:12 PM:

Well, well, we're don't even know each other - each trying to send out a call forhelp in the Universe - AND WE'RE SNIPING AT EACH OTHER.

How primitive. We really are primitive. If there are any beneficent ET's out there, no wonder they don't answer.


#76 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:14 PM:

Thanks for the link.
Last night, somebody on DailyKos reported an airboat volunteer being told to pay for his own gas, but this goes far beyond that tale.

Also, Majikthise has reports that Vancouver's Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) arrived, but found the situation too dangerous to operate.

#77 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:56 PM:

Don't we have enough to impeach Bush on incompetence and negligence yet? I'm really really really really really pissed off.

The thing with DART boggles my brains. The US has always seemed so scornful of Canada's peacekeeping and logistics troops, but the one time we could really use their help, the pres says No.

My bf and I were talking--he doesn't want to accept their help, because THAT would make it difficult to justify why they aren't helping us with the war. That would make it difficult to talk them up as the guys standing in the way of freedom.

I'm sitting here, collating information to send to my family in Utah--the REDDEST state in the nation. (They voted for the man--they need to see where their chickens have roosted.)

#78 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:15 PM:

Shakespeare's Sister has quotes showing the contradictory response the administration had towards foreign aid.

Meanwhile, the WWLTV Blog reports Kofi Annan has requested other countries offer what assistance they can.

#79 ::: Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 03:04 PM:

following up (late) on my previous comment:

This does not sound like the pronouncements of a chickenshit leader. I think Nagin is one of the people who will emerge from this with some credit, in fact.

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

enjay, there's at least one third-world country where you'd clearly get a better response: Katrina: anecdote on civil defense in Cuba (often sans phones, power).

Will, I was blackly amused to see on the news coverage last night the entire Cuban parliament standing in a minute of silence as a gesture of respect and solidarity for the victims of Katrina.

I have been told that Hugo Chavez has offered assistance as well.

From the New York Times:

Even as administration officials pledged vast resources to the region, however, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Republican of Illinois, told a local newspaper, The Daily Herald, that he was skeptical about using billions in federal money to rebuild New Orleans, given its vulnerability. "It doesn't make sense to me," Mr. Hastert said. "And it's a question that certainly we should ask."

He later sought to clarify his comments, saying in a statement: "I am not advocating that the city be abandoned or relocated. My comments about rebuilding the city were intended to reflect my sincere concern with how the city is rebuilt to ensure the future protection of its citizens.">/i>

(This is from the NYT article titled "New Orleans mayor, in tears, blasts Washington's response" but the links currently are not working properly and lead to a different article.)

I see this as a trial balloon of sorts. If they can save money by abandoning the city and building a new one somewhere safer, I think that's what they'll push for. And as the city slides into more chaos and destruction that decision will become easier, won't it?

#81 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:34 PM:

I don't know much about Nagin, but for the moment I'm not sure I agree with Erik's negative take on him.

He was recently elected on a reform platform. And New Orleans' city government and (particularly) police department are famously underfunded and corrupt. Saddling him with full responsibility for all the sins of NO governance may be a bit harsh. He certainly comes across as someone who's been killing himself trying to cope with the last few days.

I'm open to contrary input, of course.

#82 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:58 PM:

Before I jump on top of Nagin, I have to ask myself: How well would I cope in his shoes?
I don't expect a mayor to deal with massive flood control and protection issues; I don't expect him to manage massive disaster relief efforts; and I don't see why I should. There are things I can fuss over, like the failure to utilize all available forms of transportation to evacuate people, but our laws do limit how far our elected officials can go in such takings. I suspect he himself has a list of things he wishes he'd done better, but he was working on fairly short notice, and was working with the plan that was in place when he got into office, more or less. He's also new to politics, and there's a learning curve on "how things get done in government vs. business" that's beset many another person who's switched over to government work from the private sector. This is a helluva a time to try and sort that out, with a nearly-nonexistent communication system to boot.
He's not the one resposible for coordinating things once Federal aid has been requested. If the governor's requests for aid were not placed properly, simple sense would suggest that the Feds should tell her "This is how you ask for tha." Of course, simple sense is not in large supply in this administration.

#83 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 05:24 PM:

And if they really did get 80% of the people to leave New Orleans, Nagin deserves a good part of the credit because he was pretty much jumping up and down going get the hell out of town right now. Given that people had left for Ivan and, I think, another storm earlier this summer, overcoming natural inertia is a significant feat. Imagine the situation with two or three times as many people still within the city limits...

#84 ::: enjay ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 05:34 PM:

Nagin himself can be heard here:

#85 ::: JessieSS ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 05:48 PM:

Re: Nagin: It seems like a lot of the negative commentary about Nagin is that he's not a good commander. God knows NO could use a good commander right now, but I sure don't want my mayor to run my city like a military organization. I can't fault Nagin for being a city official rather than an officer.

For instance, Erik V. Olson objected to Nagin's ignoring looting and focusing on search and rescue, then reversing himself. But I'm looking at Jim Macdonald's post mentioning that the three priorities in ICS are life safety, mitigating the situation, securing property. Looks to me like Nagin ignored people stealing food, water, and yeah, even jeans and TVs ("securing property") in order to pull people off rooftops ("life safety") until the looting turned into something much more violent, something life-threatening. That sounds like responding to the situation, not flip-flopping.

#86 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 06:16 PM:

Allat, I thank you for pointing out the airboat story, but please add "beneficent aliens" to the list of things I really don't want to hear about right now. This is Making Light. Our consciousness is into concrete data and a relatively limited latitude of interpretation.

#87 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 08:45 PM:

I don't think there is any way we can emphasize this enough: There is a huge overlap between what we need to do to be prepared for and possibly prevent natural disasters, and what we need to do to be prepared for and possibly prevent terrorist attacks in the US. The administration's complete disdain for disaster preparedness and their utter incompetence at it should be a wakeup call for everyone who voted for Bush because of the war on terror. About the only hope the Republicans have is to talk up the looters. That is, the ones in New Orleans, not the ones in suits on Capitol Hill.

#88 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 04:35 PM:

"I think we had all assumed that in the meantime a lot of wargaming and disaster-mitigation planning and homeland security gearup had been going on."

I can only wonder why Ms. Waring thought this; it's been clear that just about everything Homeland Security was doing was being mismanged from the inception. Why did anyone except for political loyalists believe this?

#89 ::: chuk ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 01:05 PM:

Department of Homeland Security exists ONLY to handout lucrative contracts to giant conglomerates as part of the continued class war on Americans and the world by BushCo. It is part of the tax rerouting system in which the middle class pays a back breaking level of tax and costs for everything while the ownership society laughs in their fists as that money is redistributed to them.
(See Lockheed Subway Services and Halliburton Storm Clean Up for starters.) DHS has nothing to do with security or emergency management. That would be far too costly. Now you see why FEMA was gutted and that mindless idiot put in charge of it.

#90 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2005, 06:03 PM:

Actually, if the suitcase thingy is placed properly a lot of the real problems will be up there letting God sort 'em out. The black population of DC can get away from the downwind portion in not much worse shape than those in the Gulf area are leaving their ruined homes.

"Emergency management" now seems to mean spin and foot dragging, leavin one to wonder what those useless incompetents in Homeland Security were doing all these years.

#91 ::: Naomi parkhurst sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 09:02 AM:

Breaking out all over.

#92 ::: Naomi parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 09:04 AM:

The gnomes are too fast for me!

#93 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 11:48 AM:

When you're a gnome
You're a gnome every day
From your first green card spam
To your last pay-to-play.

When you're a gnome
If the poster says "WoW"
Then you check it real close
'Cause it's crooked somehow.

You need an au pair
If you're DUI in Dallas
Then straighten your hair
With Viagra and Cialis
That's some big phallus!

When you're a gnome
Sitting high in the tower
You block bad URLs
And you cackle with power
When you're a gnome
You stay a gnome!

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