Mary, Mary, Quite to the Contrary

On Face the Nation this morning.

(Bob Schieffer)Of course, Senator Landrieu, let me ask you the question that a lot of people are asking: Do you think that some of these casualties could have been averted had control been turned over
to the federal government sooner?
Sen. MARY LANDRIEU (Democrat, Louisiana): Well, that is a very important question, but I can tell you on the ground in Louisiana that the local elected officials, governor, local parish president and mayors, did everything they could to save lives, to issue a strong evacuation plan¹. That was carried out. An emergency declaration was issued, Bob, before the storm, asking for full federal resources². Why those resources didn’t come, why they were stopped in Washington, I don’t know, but what I do know is that we will all be held accountable, from the White House down, and blaming local elected officials is not the way to get the rebuilding
process under way.

Let’s take a look at this impressive opening salvo from the senator.
¹ “Get out, you’re on your own” does not constitute ‘a strong evacuation plan’. NOLA/LA officials completely blew it during Ivan and didn’t learn a thing. Although, to give them credit, they did pen a very spiffy Disaster Plan, complete with bitchin’ website. It’s just that no one implemented the plan. Then again, maybe they did

But the most recent Louisiana emergency operations plan doesn’t address how to evacuate in the case of flooding from storm surge, saying simply that “The Greater New Orleans Metropolitan Area represents a difficult evacuation problem due to the large population and its unique layout.”
It continues, “The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating.”
Buses were unable to transport New Orleans citizens for days following Katrina’s landfall. The plan acknowledges that, in the event of a catastrophic hurricane, “the evacuation of over a million people from the Southeast Region could overwhelm normally available shelter resources.” But it doesn’t include a solution to the shelter issue.

²President Bush declared a State of Emergency for Louisiana prior to landfall, to facilitate the federal response, and ‘have stocked supplies and emergency rescue crews in areas expected to be affected’. Then he had to call and beg your Governor for God’s sake to get those people out of there. She did, but on September 1st. That was helpful. You all sure do a lot of declaring, but you just as surely don’t do anything.

SCHIEFFER: Do you think the White House is trying to put the blame on local officials?
Sen. LANDRIEU: I am unfortunately aware that, yes, they are. While the president is saying he wants to work together as a team, I think the White House operatives have a full-court press on to blame state and local officials, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats, whether it’s Haley Barbour or Kathleen Blanco, whether it’s Mayor Nagin or a Republican mayor from Mississippi³. And it’s very unfortunate. This federal government has an obligation to support our local and state officials particularly in times of tragedy and distress, not to pile on them, not to make their suffering worse, but to lighten their load, and I hope the federal government will do that. It’s been years of neglect from not investing*, and as Susan Collins will tell you, one of the big lack of investments is in a communications system that would allow locals to communicate with each other, and that’s a lesson that we should have learned after 9/11 and we will learn again, unfortunately, this week.

³ Well, no. It’s mostly just you LA types. But it’s not just the Whitehouse, Senator. The State of Florida thinks you’re all pretty sorry, too:

Florida emergency planners criticized and even rebuked their counterparts — or what passes for emergency planners — in those states for their handling of Hurricane Katrina. Gov. Jeb Bush, the head of Florida AHCA and the head of Florida wildlife (which is responsible for all search and rescue) all said they made offers of aid to Mississippi and Louisiana the day before Katrina hit but were rebuffed. After the storm, they said they’ve had to not only help provide people to those states but also have had to develop search and rescue plans for them. “They were completely unprepared — as bad off as we were before Andrew,” one Florida official said.

* About that NOT investing thing…um, NOT.

But over the five years of President Bush’s administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.

As far as Homeland Security ~ funding, radios, FEMA funds,stuff like that ~ maybe if you’d answered the survey they sent you…

Survey Methodology
The survey requested information on funding provided to states through the Office for Domestic Preparedness for fiscal years 1999-2002. Thirty-seven states** and 2 territories provided data.
The survey also requested information on funding provided to states through the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the fiscal year 2002 Supplemental. These funds were made available in recent months and states are at varying stages of the grant application/approval process. Consequently, not all states provided data on the FEMA funding. Responses were received from 33 states and 2 territories. The survey analysis attempts to place the FEMA funding information in the appropriate context.
It is important to note that funds provided through HHS for Bioterrorism Preparedness are not included in this survey. Also, the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters is a separate grant program that provides funds directly to local fire departments.
For the purposes of this survey, the term “expended” means actual money spent. The term “obligated” means sub-awards made to local governments, contracts executed, funds earmarked for state use, etc. The combined use of the two terms expended and obligated represents the states’ commitment of the funds for a specific purpose and actions underway or completed to spend the funds in accordance with federal guidelines
** I guess the folks in charge of Louisiana were busy that day, since they’re NOT on the list of respondant states.

Bob Schieffer then asks the good Senator for PROOF. Wait. Not even proof; for a simple, single EXAMPLE bolstering her claims.

SCHIEFFER: That’s a very strong charge you’ve just leveled. What are some examples of that?

Sen. LANDRIEU: Well, I think that there are journalists throughout town that can give you those examples, and I’ll be happy to provide more detail as the week unfolds.

Once again, lobbing Molotov Cocktails, with nothing to back it up. She has to wait to get details?? In the meantime, ask a reporter?? All this suffering, black-eye, punch in the nose threatening death and diss-truction, and you can’t think of a single thing off the top of your HEAD??
How about you keep your mouth shut unless you have the goods at hand.
You know, I’m really familiar with this strategy. You probably are, too. It’s the


…method of blame shifting. Works evey time.

14 Responses to “Mary, Mary, Quite to the Contrary”

  1. GetALifeAgain says:

    Anyone who defends a faulty position so vehemently, is obviously deep in it. Very good article THS.

  2. The Real JeffS says:

    Excellent post, THS! More and more, what I am reading tells me that:
    1. The city of NO kinda sorta tried to do something right, but only in a half-assed, “What, me worry?” manner.
    2. The state of Louisiana didn’t make a serious attempt to do their job. They likely went through the motions, not really understanding the National Response Plan, let along whatever Louisiana had for their own Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP).
    3. The Federal goverment did at least an adequate job. I’m not saying “outstanding” simply because my experiences with disaster responses tells me that there will be screw ups. The only question is, “Who really made the mistakes?”
    What a lot of people do not understand about the National Response Plan, the CEMPs put out by a state, and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, is that these attempt to make contradictory laws and regulations work for multi-jurisdictional incidents, and not inhibit mutual aid.
    For example, by “contradictory laws”, I refer to the act that formed FEMA, the Posse Comitatus Act and the Constitution of the United States.
    All of this ranting by Blanco and Senator Landrieu is exactly that: ranting. Blanco screwed the pooch in a major way, and all of this is a smoke screen to cover her tusch.
    The only legal way (that I see) to resolve this issue is to enact new legislation that allows the President of the United States to unilaterally pre-empt the sovereignity of a state if, in the opinion of the President, the State is not following their own CEMP closely enough.
    That’s exactly what all of the lefties have been scream about all along (i.e., the erosion of civil liberties, and Bush trying to build an empire). So, tell me, all youse people complaining about Bush’s response to Katrina….would you be willing to relinquish state powers in the manner that I describe above?
    [crickets chirping]
    I thought so!
    And for the record — I am not so willing. We have a disaster response system, and it works. The state and local leadership merely needs to take it seriously. Based on the survey above, I’d say that (37/52)*100 = 71.2% take it seriously. What say the remaining 28.8%, hmmmmmmm?

  3. And thoroughly enlightening comment, JeffS!

  4. The Real JeffS says:

    Jeff Goldstein over at Protein Wisdom made a similar comment, in response to some airhead leftie on his web site. I congratulate myself that he and I had similar thought processes although separated by time and space.

  5. A Vulcan mind meld, as it were?

  6. Mr. Bingley says:

    New York didn’t answer either. Great…

  7. Can someone please explain…

    …why Mary Landrieau is not currently hanging by her tongue from a lamppost? Seems to me that’s a failure on the part of federal officials. I caught that part on Face the Nation. I wanted to reach into the TV…

  8. The Real JeffS says:

    A Vulcan mind meld? Only if I can meld with this Vulcan.

  9. ACK!!!! Your mind is MELTing from the heat…
    (At least we’re not back to the Kirstie Alley brouhaha…)

  10. Mr. Bingley says:

    Yeah, who’d have thought that a Vulcan chick could transform into a Hutt?

  11. Nightfly says:

    Ko cha tiaa ni chi chopa, Kirk!

  12. The Real JeffS says:

    Oh, come on, THS! We are discussing a Vulcan mind meld here. I’m only interested in her mind. Honest!

  13. Dave J says:

    “The only legal way (that I see) to resolve this issue is to enact new legislation that allows the President of the United States to unilaterally pre-empt the sovereignity of a state if, in the opinion of the President, the State is not following their own CEMP closely enough.”
    And Congress would get the power to grant such authority to the President by legislation from…where, exactly? They already granted the President the authority to unilaterally federalize the National Guard under the Insurrection Act, relying on their express powers in Article I, s. 8, “[t]o make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; [and] provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions”. But there’s nothing in there about the federal government depriving the CIVILIAN officials of a state of their sovereign powers, nor (I would suggest) should there be.
    There’s a real lack of understanding, both in the country and especially, it seems, in the media, of the basics of American federalism. The federal government is one of limited, specifically enumerated powers: if it’s not in the federal constitution, they can’t do it. The states, by contrast, are the general repository of their people’s sovereignty, capable of exericising plenary “polce powers,” i.e., they can do anything they are not specifically FORBIDDEN from doing, either by valid federal law or by their own state constitutions.

  14. The Real JeffS says:

    Yes, Dave, you’re correct. I suppose that the Constitution could be amended to make this possible, but as you note, that would violate the principles of American federalism.
    But some people (and the media) are behaving as though Bush should have such authorities. God knows why. But it’s clear that they ain’t thinking things through whilst in fit of hysteria. Again.

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