What we‘ve said, for days now. I’m not bitter. Just feeling our little blog has been validated and vindicated. (As walkie-talkie size operations go.)

He’s joined by Jesse Jackson, who said the squalor in New Orleans “looks like the hull of a slave ship.” Oh, please.

Damn! This is a good one. The truth is soooo ugly. That may account for the mayor’s recent reticence in incendiary fault finding. Now that a week has passed and people have had time to look closely, the refuse thrown into the wind is all being blown right back on the local/state government, where it belongs. Even, to our eternal amazement, by the ABC Evening News last night. In their ‘A Closer Look‘ (‘Who’s to Blame for Delayed Response to Katrina’) segment, they started off with the rote anti-govt/Bush line but, in an absolutely stunning admission, followed that with…

But experts say when natural disasters strike, it is the primary responsibility of state and local governments — not the federal government — to respond.
New Orleans’ own comprehensive emergency plan raises the specter of “having large numbers of people … stranded” and promises “the city … will utilize all available resources to quickly and safely evacuate threatened areas.”
“Special arrangements will be made to evacuate persons unable to transport themselves,” the plan states.
When Hurricane Katrina hit, however, that plan was not followed completely.
Instead of sending city buses to evacuate those who could not make it out on their own, people in New Orleans were told to go to the Superdome and the Convention Center, where no one provided sufficient sustenance or security…
…Shortly before Katrina hit, she (Gov. Blanco) sent President Bush a request asking for shelter and provisions, but didn’t specifically ask for help with evacuations. One aide to the governor told ABC News today Blanco thought city officials were taking care of the evacuation

Wowsahs. I mean, WOWSAHS!!
A NOTE :The Bob Williams* named in the ABC News piece.
*In extended section, for those w/o WSJOJ subscriptions.

Blame Amid the Tragedy
Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin failed their constituents.
Wednesday, September 7, 2005 12:01 a.m.
As the devastation of Hurricane Katrina continues to shock and sadden the nation, the question on many lips is, Who is to blame for the inadequate response?
As a former state legislator who represented the legislative district most impacted by the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, I can fully understand and empathize with the people and public officials over the loss of life and property.
Many in the media are turning their eyes toward the federal government, rather than considering the culpability of city and state officials. I am fully aware of the challenges of having a quick and responsive emergency response to a major disaster. And there is definitely a time for accountability; but what isn’t fair is to dump on the federal officials and avoid those most responsible–local and state officials who failed to do their job as the first responders. The plain fact is, lives were needlessly lost in New Orleans due to the failure of Louisiana’s governor, Kathleen Blanco, and the city’s mayor, Ray Nagin.
The primary responsibility for dealing with emergencies does not belong to the federal government. It belongs to local and state officials who are charged by law with the management of the crucial first response to disasters. First response should be carried out by local and state emergency personnel under the supervision of the state governor and his emergency operations center.
The actions and inactions of Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin are a national disgrace due to their failure to implement the previously established evacuation plans of the state and city. Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin cannot claim that they were surprised by the extent of the damage and the need to evacuate so many people. Detailed written plans were already in place to evacuate more than a million people. The plans projected that 300,000 people would need transportation in the event of a hurricane like Katrina. If the plans had been implemented, thousands of lives would likely have been saved.
In addition to the plans, local, state and federal officials held a simulated hurricane drill 13 months ago, in which widespread flooding supposedly trapped 300,000 people inside New Orleans. The exercise simulated the evacuation of more than a million residents. The problems identified in the simulation apparently were not solved.
A year ago, as Hurricane Ivan approached, New Orleans ordered an evacuation but did not use city or school buses to help people evacuate. As a result many of the poorest citizens were unable to evacuate. Fortunately, the hurricane changed course and did not hit New Orleans, but both Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin acknowledged the need for a better evacuation plan. Again, they did not take corrective actions. In 1998, during a threat by Hurricane George, 14,000 people were sent to the Superdome and theft and vandalism were rampant due to inadequate security. Again, these problems were not corrected.
The New Orleans contingency plan is still, as of this writing, on the city’s Web site, and states: “The safe evacuation of threatened populations is one of the principle [sic] reasons for developing a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.” But the plan was apparently ignored.
Mayor Nagin was responsible for giving the order for mandatory evacuation and supervising the actual evacuation: His Office of Emergency Preparedness (not the federal government) must coordinate with the state on elements of evacuation and assist in directing the transportation of evacuees to staging areas. Mayor Nagin had to be encouraged by the governor to contact the National Hurricane Center before he finally, belatedly, issued the order for mandatory evacuation. And sadly, it apparently took a personal call from the president to urge the governor to order the mandatory evacuation.
The city’s evacuation plan states: “The city of New Orleans will utilize all available resources to quickly and safely evacuate threatened areas.” But even though the city has enough school and transit buses to evacuate 12,000 citizens per fleet run, the mayor did not use them. To compound the problem, the buses were not moved to high ground and were flooded. The plan also states that “special arrangements will be made to evacuate persons unable to transport themselves or who require specific lifesaving assistance. Additional personnel will be recruited to assist in evacuation procedures as needed.” This was not done.
The evacuation plan warned that “if an evacuation order is issued without the mechanisms needed to disseminate the information to the affected persons, then we face the possibility of having large numbers of people either stranded and left to the mercy of a storm, or left in an area impacted by toxic materials.” That is precisely what happened because of the mayor’s failure.
Instead of evacuating the people, the mayor ordered the refugees to the Superdome and Convention Center without adequate security and no provisions for food, water and sanitary conditions. As a result people died, and there was even rape committed, in these facilities. Mayor Nagin failed in his responsibility to provide public safety and to manage the orderly evacuation of the citizens of New Orleans. Now he wants to blame Gov. Blanco and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In an emergency the first requirement is for the city’s emergency center to be linked to the state emergency operations center. This was not done.
The federal government does not have the authority to intervene in a state emergency without the request of a governor. President Bush declared an emergency prior to Katrina hitting New Orleans, so the only action needed for federal assistance was for Gov. Blanco to request the specific type of assistance she needed. She failed to send a timely request for specific aid.
In addition, unlike the governors of New York, Oklahoma and California in past disasters, Gov. Blanco failed to take charge of the situation and ensure that the state emergency operation facility was in constant contact with Mayor Nagin and FEMA. It is likely that thousands of people died because of the failure of Gov. Blanco to implement the state plan, which mentions the possible need to evacuate up to one million people. The plan clearly gives the governor the authority for declaring an emergency, sending in state resources to the disaster area and requesting necessary federal assistance.
State legislators and governors nationwide need to update their contingency plans and the operation procedures for state emergency centers. Hurricane Katrina had been forecast for days, but that will not always be the case with a disaster (think of terrorist attacks). It must be made clear that the governor and locally elected officials are in charge of the “first response.”
I am not attempting to excuse some of the delays in FEMA’s response. Congress and the president need to take corrective action there, also. However, if citizens expect FEMA to be a first responder to terrorist attacks or other local emergencies (earthquakes, forest fires, volcanoes), they will be disappointed. The federal government’s role is to offer aid upon request.
The Louisiana Legislature should conduct an immediate investigation into the failures of state and local officials to implement the written emergency plans. The tragedy is not over, and real leadership in the state and local government are essential in the months to come. More importantly, the hurricane season is still upon us, and local and state officials must stay focused on the jobs for which they were elected–and not on the deadly game of passing the emergency buck.
Mr. Williams is president of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, a free market public policy research organization in Olympia, Wash.
Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

24 Responses to “Yeah”

  1. WunderKraut says:

    I totally understand how you guys feel. The Washington Post ripped off one of my posts the other day…..well, ok, they did not rip it off, but it sure sounded like things I had been saying for a week…Oh well.
    Back to the shadows for me.

  2. WunderKraut says:

    If this double posts…sorry..
    I understand how you guys feel. The Washington Post ripped off one of my post the other day, well, ok, they did not “rip” it off, but is sure sounded like things I had been saying for the past week. Oh well.
    Back to the shadows for me

  3. WunderKraut says:

    dammit…..sorry guys

  4. Mr. Bingley says:

    Argh, is the comment screen loading slow Wunder?

  5. Mr. Bingley says:

    I think Hosting Matters or some server along the way was bogging down this morning.

  6. Keep a spot open for us.

  7. The Real JeffS says:

    Jesse, maybe you should kick in a million or two in cash for the victims living in squallor, hmmmmm?
    [crickets chirping]

  8. Lisa says:

    Are you still watching ABC? I would’ve thought Primetime Live would’ve put you off them for good.
    On CBS The Early Show this morning, they were STILL foaming at the mouth, blaming the president and FEMA. Jeff Goldstein has an EXCELLENT post up this morning about the Blame Game — I sent it to a friend I thought was a reasonable liberal and he was STILL blathering on about delayed response and racism.
    I give UP.

  9. Nightfly says:

    Yeah, over at Dawn Patrol, Ms. Rachel put up a poetic little reminder that blame can wait – and it took five replies for the bashing to resume. I’m no fan of Gov. Blanco (who should have had a little more gravitas when her citizens needed it) but let’s hold off until the dead are buried, for crying out loud.
    BTW – how in holy hell does Jesse Jackson know what a slave ship’s hull looks like? Full of barnacles? Was he keel-hauled as a boy?

  10. Lisa ~ we don’t watch any ABC at all, except WNT and football. So it’s not as painful as one might think, lol!
    Diptera ~ do not agree one iota. In the words of Eddie Murphy “You brought that sh$t on yourself, man!” I refuse to let the LA/NOLA officials off the hook/stand idly by while they throw Molotov Cocktails at everyone else and THEY STARTED doing so from Day One. A good part of it is fed by our experience here ~ Escambia is one of the biggest but poorest counties in all of FL, yet our local officials were MAGNIFICENT during Ivan and our Emergency Preparedness gurus acted as if they did Cat 4’s all the time, when, in fact, there hadn’t been a major hurricane through here in 30 some odd years. Our neighboring county, in contrast, was abysmal in their response. Utter and complete collapse. And they answered for it and learned from it.
    NOLA even had Ivan as a wake-up call, a chance to address obvious flaws in their disaster response, and did NOTHING but write up a very pretty plan to get more federal funding. And did NOTHING to implement the plan. Oh no. Those bodies in the street, in the attics and in the Superdome coolers deserve fingers being pointed at the folks in whose charge their lives were held. Who were entrusted with the safekeeping of the city and it’s people. And those scurrilous bastards don’t rate getting to blame anybody but who’s in the mirror. If the Mayor/Gov and their Jesse coat tail riders’ charges go unanswered and the true facts remain unknown because it’s ‘unseemly‘ to argue, then who speaks for the bodies? And what happens the NEXT time?

  11. Mr. Bingley says:

    I would agree that the bashing and finger pointing should not have started, ‘Fly, but since it did start what seems to me the correct version of events needs to be vigorously defended so that the “Blame Bush!” mantra does not become permanently embedded in the public’s psyche.

  12. Cullen says:

    Anyone hear any Rush today? He makes an interesting point about how New Orleans’ city officials have been misspending (sp?) federal funding for the levees for the past 10 years.
    He cites CNSNews and it’s right there on the front page. Good stuff.

  13. Cullen says:

    Weird. The URL isn’t working. It’s for those who don’t know.

  14. Lisa says:

    Hey, want the top of your head to blow off?
    Read this:
    I’ll wait.

  15. Nightfly says:

    I don’t dispute that we need to find out what went wrong, but like we say on the rink, that’s primarily to stop it from happening again. It already happened now and there’s no undoing it – having the proper proportions of guilt fixed in the public mind will not help the suffering.
    We have every right to get angry about the sudden eruption of “Bush doesn’t care about xxxxxx” and seek to correct it before it becomes “common knowledge.” Ugly reality, I suppose, that once the mud starts flying one can’t ignore it until the important jobs are done. (It would be a fine thing for someone to say, aloud, “Can we at least drain the city first, you ghouls?” It just wouldn’t work on those who already have no shame.)
    And that’s the key – “while they throw Molotovs,” as Ms. Sister said. A long obsession with ducking responsibility before Katrina is hardly a precursor to the dawn of reason once it strikes, and it doesn’t surprise me to hear the same folks long accustomed to mooching the Feds now blaming them when the response isn’t instant enough. I confess to foolishly hoping that this would be an occasion to rise to, forgetting about human nature – a sudden crisis doesn’t usually improve or destroy a person’s character, it merely reveals it.

  16. Cullen says:

    Wow. That site is amazing. Wow. I have no words for how amazed I am at the total lack of rationale there.
    Apparently they don’t want a leader who can duck emotion and deal with a situation in the most logical manner. They want a leader who cries along with the people and remains ineffectual as they “feel their pain.”
    And I agree about the blame game. But I’m a Louisiana native and I was just waiting ’til folks started talking about Louisiana’s LOOOOOOONG history of shady politics. It should surprise no one that there was no plan, no effective leadership in place. This is the state of the “Shifty 50.” The Huey P. Long state. The state that when Duke was running against Edwards there were bumper stickers floating around that read “Vote for the crook, it’s important.”
    There are a lot of us who can’t be down there to help. So it kind of falls on us to analyze. Pundits will fall on both sides of the coin. What we’re seeing a demonstrable lack of are facts presented without an agenda-laced bias.
    As much “proper proportions of guilt fixed in the public mind will not help the suffering” is true — the polarization of America continues.

  17. Lisa says:

    I sent that same link to Jeff Goldstein, and he posted it, along with blistering commentary.
    ::pinky to corner of mouth:: Mmmmmmmm, what shall I incite next?

  18. The Real JeffS says:

    From the comments section of the frothing moonbat website Lisa so thoughtfully provided:
    People want a president who feels their pain and Bush has failed to communicate that sentiment throughout this whole episode.
    These goofballs are serious! Virtual headshaking here, folks. From the original post (emphasis is by the author):
    “I want to hear about how he sent his lawyers into a room — he had four days, you know — and demanded that they come back in an hour with a plan for him to send the Marines into New Orleans with 100 trucks of food and water, posse comitatus(/i> or not. I want to hear that he was panicked. Because I was panicked.”
    They don’t want a leader, they want a friggin’ actor. Who panicks. Or a talk show host that will incite a fight in studio. Because, y’know, I want to see a sense of urgency.
    And this cretin wants Bush to admit that he contemplated breaking the Posse Comitatus Act! This is from the same sort of people who whine and whinge on how civil liberities are being eroded away by the evil Chimpy McBusHitler and his Digital Storm Troopers. The exact same reason why the Posse Comitatus Act came into being in the first place.
    If Bush had done that for, say, 9/11, or Ivan, these same touchie feelie leftards would be freaking out, tearing their hair, and screeching that Howard Dean needs to Do Something.
    Pathetic. God, the Republicans need to win in 2008. Maybe all those exploding heads on the left will clear the decks for the rational people who still align themselves with classic liberal values, and not this drug enhanced fuzzy memory of how things should have been in the 1960’s.

  19. Cullen says:

    I don’t even think these folks have a rationale, Jeff. They simply hate Bush and his administration so much that regardless of the event, they will find an argument against. Regardless of logic.
    The problem is, they don’t know what they want. They don’t even really seem to know what they don’t want. They feel anger and hatred toward something because they’re told to feel anger and hatred by their leftist hierarchy. So they make arguments that make no real sense.

  20. The Real JeffS says:

    The insecure, spoiled and pampered cretins want a hug, that’s what they want. The gist of their comments can be summed up as, “Make me feel good, Bush, or I’ll…..I’ll….I’ll SCREAM!!!, that’s what I’ll do!!”

  21. That’s the best explanation for it I’ve ever seen, JeffS. What the hell ever happened to the Pat Moynihans of the world. True to their liberal roots, but gentlemanly enough to acknowledge the facts. And work with everyone.
    I am so sick of shrieking eels.

  22. Cullen says:

    Don’t you love to see how red faced Democrats get if you tell them that by today’s standards JFK would be a conservative?
    Of course, one would imagine he would have followed his party down this path along with the rest of the clan. I just love making the comment every time I hear some “Evil Conservatives” comment.

  23. Nightfly says:

    Cullen – make them madder and tell them that by sixties standards Bush would be a liberal.
    JeffS – in other words, these commenters want a President who acted in the selfsame fashion as Governor Blanco. How did that work out for them?

  24. Mr. Bingley says:

    Folks, what they really want is Alpha Gore to throw a lispy temper-tantrum in the Oval Office and fly to the rescue!

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