The More Things Change…

You just have to laugh, or cry if you live there:

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A mock evacuation that was supposed to be part of a two-day statewide hurricane preparedness drill was canceled after a misunderstanding about who had jurisdiction over a Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer park.
The two-day statewide drill that began Tuesday was aimed at avoiding the chaos that followed last year’s deadly Hurricane Katrina…

Tell me again that we can trust that all the billions being given to these incompetent fools is not going to be flushed away?

42 Responses to “The More Things Change…”

  1. Mike Rentner says:

    It amazes me how the republican party is so incompetent at handing out pork to political enemies. FEMA started its current huge size from the first Bush deciding to help out Florida after his political enemies demanded money after Andrew.
    Now, Louisiana demands money after Katrina, money that will fill the coffers of his enemy. What was he thinking?

  2. Mr. Bingley says:

    It’s just disgusting the billions and billions that are being wasted.

  3. Rob says:

    Well, guys, whose jurisdiction is it? If no one knows if the jurisdiction is the Fed’s or the State’s, why does the state get the blame for incompetence here? Why not the Fed’s? Furthermore, why does politics have to enter this? This isn’t about Bush and his enemies.
    Corruption and incompetence is not extraordinary in or unique to Louisiana. Not even sure I would call that piece incompetence. It was a glitch that no one had thought of. Shine a light as bright as the one shone on the Gulf Coast anywhere else and the result would be about the same. I wouldn’t mind seeing a few of those billions supposedly being wasted making there way here. Nine months in and recovery has hardly begun, not just in New Orleans, but all along the Gulf Coast.

  4. Mr. Bingley says:

    I think it’s fair to call it incompetence when something like this was not worked out before the drill began, no? Despite the wealth of history and frankly constitutional precedence showing that first response to hurricanes fall under powers reserved for the states we’ve had, what, 8 months now of finger-pointing and blame-shifting? And as you say the recovery has hardly begun. I’m calling them all incompetent, Rob.

  5. Rob says:

    I always thought drills were FOR finding glitches. Well, they found one before they even began. Sorry if I misunderstood. I have no objection to calling all of them fools. The time for that was 8 months ago or 5 years from now.

  6. Mr. Bingley says:

    Well, they are for finding glitches, but they shouldn’t be the same old ones they’ve known about for months, fer crimney’s sake.

  7. Mike Rentner says:

    Have you ever been to Louisiana? How can someone imply that this is not one of the most corrupt states in the Union?
    You don’t have the same finger pointing and failure to be held responsible in even their neighboring almost as corrupt states.
    This “glitch” is the same garbage they whined about during Katrina, while people were dying, and no one from the state stepped up and took the lead. It is not, nor has it ever been a federal job to even do anything. It’s patently unconstitutional, by some arguments, to even HAVE a FEMA, let alone make it the lead agency responsible for telling people how to safeguard their cities.
    Some people just aren’t paying attention.

  8. Rob says:

    I’m sure you know best, Mike.

  9. Cullen says:

    Have you ever been to Louisiana? How can someone imply that this is not one of the most corrupt states in the Union?
    In comparison to where? I agree that Louisiana has a long history of nepotism and political fraud, but I think plenty of other states have those issues. Louisiana’s fraud has always been a lot closer to the surface than many other states.
    But, we can look into the history of, say, New Jersey, or, say, Illinois and find plenty of corruption.

  10. Mr. Bingley says:

    Exactly. We certainly have more than our share of corruption here in NJ; La just happens to be in the spotlight because of the bungled response to Katrina and seemingly outrageous demands for funds that some of her politicians made, coupled with the balloning of pork that the bastards in DC added to the relief bills. Everybody’s cranky about this stuff these days.
    I don’t see ‘politics’ per se enter into this, except for both parties seeming to bend over backwards to shovel as many dollars towards NOLA as possible (as to how many dollars actually arrive is another question and I will trust Rob’s on-scene experience more than most other sources) to appease the MSM.
    But to me the fact still remains that this particular ‘glitch’ is one that has been there since the begining, and if they (local/state/federal officials) haven’t resolved that, than wtf have they been doing?

  11. John says:

    The glitch has been there since the beginning, and it’s one that should have been ironed out before even beginning an exercise – to Rob’s point – drills are for finding out tactical glitches – strategic ones should be worked out before physical assets are deployed in training.

  12. Rob says:

    The drill was canceled before anyone wasted any time.

  13. The_Real_JeffS says:

    I think it’s fair to call it incompetence when something like this was not worked out before the drill began, no?
    People, building trailer parks for temporary housing is a long standing mission within FEMA. A decade, at least. If this sort of glitch shows up, it’s because FEMA, the State, and local governments ain’t talking to each other. I can’t say for sure who is at fault, but I do know this is covered by policy and procedure.
    I say this because the exercise was cancelled….which bespeaks of a major jurisdictional dispute. Which arises because of state sovereignity. Which the President has to deal with, unless the Constitution is cancelled, or Louisianna suceeds, and joins up with Cuba or Mexico.
    As much as I’d like to erase this problem, it exists because of our system of government. I deal with it on a daily basis.
    And Rob is right, this is why we have these exercises. I’m going through one today, myself, separate from this particular cluster in NOLA.

  14. Mike Rentner says:

    There is certainly corruption in all states. But to say the corruption in Louisiana is simply on the surface is absurd. It is so apparent because of the obvious reason that it is more wide spread, and deep.
    This place is a cess pool, as is evidenced by the recent elections, the hurricane reaction, and the past 150 years. Or longer.

  15. Rob says:

    You have evidence of corruption in the recent elections, Mike? And corruption was evident during the hurricane reaction? I think maybe you confuse Tammany Hall with Saint Tammany Parish. Party on.

  16. Mike Rentner says:

    Evidence? Mayor Nagin.
    Isn’t that enough?
    How about corrupt, incompetent, police deserting, stealing, etc.
    I don’t think anyone was surprised to hear that the police were the primary looters in New Orleans. They’ve always been the worst thugs there.

  17. The_Real_JeffS says:

    Pre-Katrina, the Louisianna Emergency Management Division was under investigation for mis-spending some $45-60 million of disaster mitigation funds…on trips to Europe, cars, etc. The sort of money that would have moved people out of the flood zone, or maybe improved flood protection. That’s not quite in your ballpark, though.
    So you might consider the rampant looting immediately after the hurricane by NOLA police officers as well.
    And I especially liked where NOLA was confiscating firearms illegally, without even a probable cause.

  18. Rob says:

    “Evidence? Mayor Nagin.”
    Absolutely not. You can’t just cite someone’s name and say he was not elected fairly or there was corruption involved.
    I’ll concede to JeffS that looting is a form of corruption but looting, even by police officers, only occurs under specific circumstances and is not at all limited to or unique to Louisiana.
    Being “under investigation” isn’t sufficient evidence, either, JeffS.
    As for confiscating firearms, I think that was a mistake but those were trying times. Maybe a misinterpretation of their powers under emergency orders but not curruption.

  19. Rob says:

    One other thing: Misconduct by the police department was wildly exaggerated by the media. I’m sure we don’t believe everything we read in the media here, do we? The cases of desertion were tough and are being dealt with case by case and very severely. A corrupt police force might look the other way.

  20. Mike Rentner says:

    Rob, have you ever been to this dump?
    It’s the people that are corrupt, they elected Nagin, just like DC elected Barry. This place is rotten through and through. There are no good things to say about it. That anyone defends it is preposterous.

  21. The_Real_JeffS says:

    Rob, if I had conclusive proof of corruption in NOLA, I’d be in the FBI, and making arrests. You asked for evidence, not a indictment.
    And as for the police officers, well, I guess if you want to apologize for them being thieves, this being “special circumstances” and all, go right ahead. But that doesn’t mean that looting is right.
    If you’re going to move the goalposts, expect to look like an idiot.

  22. Rob says:

    You didn’t offer proof or evidence, JeffS. The golaposts stand. You were wide right. I’m not apologizing for the thieves in the police department. There weren’t that many and they can all go to jail or at least find something else to do. I’m saying it’s not any different here than elsewhere. I heard reports of theft at Ground Zero. Are all of the people of New York corrupt? New Orleans cops are mostly stand up guys, not thugs as has been characterized here. I’ll admit there are bad apples but I won’t accept that the whole barrel is bad or that all or even most of the people are corrupt like Mike says. It’s simply not true.

  23. Rob says:

    One other thing, Jeff:
    http://neworleans.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/2006/no040506.htm

    NEW ORLEANS – Two Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) officials working in New Orleans, Andrew Rose and Loyd Holliman, plead guilty in federal court to soliciting bribes as public officials, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana Jim Letten announced today. According to the indictment, Rose and Holliman, both residents of Colorado, are FEMA Disaster Assistance employees who were charged with managing the FEMA base camp located in New Orleans and are public officials in their capacity as employees of FEMA, an agency with the United States Government.

    Federal Agency, Colorado residents. Let’s smear New Orleans with that one, too, why don’t we?

  24. The_Real_JeffS says:

    Sigh.
    I’ll concede to JeffS that looting is a form of corruption but looting, even by police officers, only occurs under specific circumstances and is not at all limited to or unique to Louisiana.
    Whatever. Your standards of evidence keep on moving, so I suppose I should have said “moving target” instead.

  25. Dave E. says:

    Does La have more corruption than most states? That’s the reputation here at least (Mn), though that doesn’t necessarily make it worse there than NJ, NY, or IL. I don’t think it can be objectively measured and I don’t know enough about any of them to offer an opinion.
    As far as incompetence goes, I think some people at all levels of government have been unfairly tarred as incompetent. A lot of police, firefighters, La NG and state employees performed heroically and have not been given the credit they deserve in my opinion. Ditto for the Coast Guard and other Feds, military and civilian.
    There are two tragedies, one current and one future, with the politicization of post-Katrina efforts. La is now partly paying the price of indifference by some people who have recoiled at the vitriol and the pure bull, launched while people were still being rescued and that continues to this day.
    The second, the future one, is that both sides have now focused much more effort on spin than on fixing the very real problems that did occur. When the next disaster of this scale or worse occurs, I think people are going to die needlessly because instead of an honest and corrective review of what went right and what went wrong, we got hysteria from the media and attack messages from the politicians. I bet that very little in terms of corrective actions have been taken to date. Except by the military, where they know how to do “lessons learned” without chopping people’s heads off…….for the most part.

  26. Mr. Bingley says:

    Rob, have you ever been to this dump?
    I had to laugh out loud at that one.
    Rob, I believe you that most New Orleans cops are stand-up guys, I think that’s true even in our most poorly run cities, a category that unfortunately New Orleans, along with Detroit, Washington and several others inhabit. You certainly have far more local knowledge than I do, but it seems to me that New Orleans has excessively bad leadership, in both the mayor’s office and the police department, and that affects the morale and efficacy of the police no matter how stand-up they are; in fact it may affect the good ones even worse. And sadly they have little example from their state officials on proper civil discharge of duties. I don’t think the citizens of New Orleans are ‘corrupt’ in and of themselves but by their tolerance of corrupt officials, by their ‘pride’ in being the “Big Easy” they have to take a portion of the blame for it, and the re-election of Nagin is seen as a symbol that nothing will change. Nagin seems to be a nice guy and I have no knowledge that he is corrupt, but there is indisputable evidence that he at best a horrible leader, and his re-election I think flabbergasted the rest of the nation. The politicians of New Orleans and Louisiana are going to be under a microscope like they’ve never been before, and until the citizens show some desire to clean house they’re going to have to expect a growing skepticism from the rest of the country.
    I had a friend who’s apartment in Battery park city, just a few hundred feet from the WTC, got robbed after 9-11, so yes, there are bad apples everywhere. But in New Orleans and La it seems like there are more of them at the top, and that taints the rest a lot quicker then the rotten ones at the bottom of the barrel.

  27. Rob says:

    Thanks, Dave. That’s the original point I was trying to make when I said the time for all of this nonsense was 8 months ago or 5 years from now but I didn’t have the discipline to leave it at that. I’m sure this issue will perforate my spleen someday because I only engage the debate in safe places. I think I need more of an outlet.

  28. Mr. Bingley says:

    In a few months you can root against the Giants or the Jets again, Rob….

  29. Rob says:

    As long as we don’t have to play another Saints “home” game at the Meadowlands against them.

  30. Mr. Bingley says:

    Where are the Saints playing this year, btw? Baton Rouge?

  31. Rob says:

    All of their home regular season games will be at the Superdome. The Superdome will be ready in time for a Monday night home opener vs the Falcons on September 25.

  32. Mr. Bingley says:

    Really? Wow, that will be…strange for some people. But good, I’m glad they are reopening it and not turning it into some sort of ‘memorial shrine.’

  33. Rob says:

    I hope to be there for the Falcons. Look for me. If I get tickets, I’m sure they’ll be just below that brand new roof.

  34. Nightfly says:

    Rob – agreed, that was rather cockamamie. They should have just admitted it was a road game, and swapped some of the schedule around. It wouldn’t have been hard. In fact, I could do it right now…
    Minnesota played the Giants at the Meadowlands and the Saints at home. All you do is swap those games, so Minnesota plays the Saints in Baton Rouge (restoring NO’s 8 home/8 away) on 9/25, and then the Giants at the Metrodome on 11/13. Gee, that took five minutes. Way to go, Tagliabue!

  35. Cullen says:

    Rob, have you ever been to this dump?
    I had to laugh out loud at that one.

    Me too.
    On the Superdome/Saints: I certainly hope some of that disaster relief money finds it’s way to Mississippi’s stretch of I-10. Last I heard there was still a huge chunck missing around Bay St. Louis, and there’s always a huge amount of Saints traffic coming from the East.

  36. Rob says:

    Yes, there’s a huge chunk still missing, Cullen. We were there a few weeks ago:
    http://www.crabapplelane.net/roblog/archives/2006/05/08/monday_monday_m_1.php

  37. Cullen says:

    The wife and kids are heading that way mid-June. She’s going to Biloxi to see her dad for a couple of days and is then heading out to El Paso along I-10.
    What do you think is the best detour? Can you just get off I-10 onto a service road for a few miles and then get back on?

  38. Rob says:

    Yes, she’ll be able to follow the signs. I can’t believe anyone will drive to El Paso from the east. Did it back in the early 80s when the speed limit was still 55. Never, ever again.

  39. Cullen says:

    Her best friend in the world lives there and she wants to make too many stops to fly.

  40. major dad says:

    Had one of my guys who just retired go to work for FEMA, he tells me it is amazing how little the higher ups know about getting anything organized. He worked a few years in maintenance control at a squadron (Mike I think you know him) and when he was hired he made a few simple suggestions on how to keep track of things (a VIDS board)like we used in aircraft maintenance in the old days and he was declared a genius. They need to hire more guys who know something vice these political appointees. On the corruption topic, yeah they are corrupt, a lot of states are but they just do it more flamboyantly than anyone else. Corrupt, look at our boys and girls in Washington. Anybody know someone who can point me in the right direction on some Indian casinos?

  41. Mike Rentner says:

    Oh, who is it? I love hearing about people I know!

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