Democrats & Liberals Archives

Failure Matters

There’s no longer a Republican party. There are the Bush supporters and everybody else. The party has become a cult of personality. We provided good evidence that Bush is responsible for cutting FEMA’s funds, shelving public works projects and studies intended to reinforce the levees that so disastrously failed, and for adding whole layers of bureaucracy and red-tape on top of an agency that was always supposed to be more agile than that.

But still, we get targeted as Bush Bashers. It doesn’t seem to matter how right our criticism is, we’re wrong for even suggesting that he’s done wrong.

They're always willing to accept the latest excuse. It doesn't matter how harebrained or even outright false it is, they'll take it as gospel without a second critical thought about it. And why not?

To support a president and a party is easier than supporting principles, asking for results. Those things can be failed at. We can always rationalize away things, if it keeps us our leader, our stable political order. We tell ourselves enough that these things are true, and maybe they will be.

In our minds at least. Locked away in our heads is a world all to itself, a world that can reinterpret everything it sees to its own ends, if we let it. It's meant to be able to do that to some degree because our experience doesn't always tell us the full truth of what we see and hear. Appearances can deceive, so sometimes our minds must set our perceptions right, so we can get past the illusions and react to the truth.

But our imaginations can deceive us, too. Worse, they cannot change anything by themselves in the real world. If we deceive ourselves that adequate help is on the way in a disaster when its not, our imaginations will not save the people our actions fail to rescue.

The Bush supporters aren't thinking that way. Anytime there's a crisis or a downturn in events, they go on the defensive, charging people with politicizing things when they call for Bush's accountability. To some extent, when you are of the rival party, that is unavoidable. But there is more to this than just politics.

On the second day after landfall, this was my entry on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. My attitude then was pretty plain, what my standards were:

This is not the time for half-measures.

You know the places, you know the situation. Major U.S. Cities are flooded, in ruins, and that is no exaggeration. These are the kinds of disasters that make history, and not always in stories that yield happy endings.

Let me make one thing clear- This situation could not be graver, nor the need for leadership greater.

And:

First and foremost, we have a humanitarian crisis on our hands, people stranded and trapped in the flooding neighborhoods, and a major U.S. City quickly turning itself into the lake. Earnest measures are not enough. Heroic measures are necessary.

The administration's heroic measure? Getting the troops in two days later, despite images in the media of disgusting squalor. My response? Disgust

People are waiting. Some die as they wait. As Americans watch the helpless wait, politicians all over the place say they're doing all they can. They should have bitten their lips.

You never tell people watching folks die and drop off the radar of civilization that you're doing all you can. Unfortunately, in this day and age, politicians are trained to go on the defense against claims of inadequacy. This is one time when that is purely an unacceptable response. Now is not the time to say that you are doing all you can. Now is the time to take heroic measures.

Only after having been blasted by the Mayor of New Orleans, does Bush's relief finally get going.

A really proactive, responsible president wouldn't wait until a national crisis became a political one to take heroic measures. He would also admit to the failures, and let that matter be settled, as he expiates the sin by expediting things and delivering on reforms to the system. He could defend himself on the political issues later, take care of his image as a leader by being one.

But no, it's ass-covering all the way, it seems. A White House Official spread false information about Governor Blanco's response. It seems like spin is the order of the day.

That, and deception.

From a press release by Senator Landrieu:

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

Still, some might suggest that the failure is over, that things are getting where they need to go. They would suggest that wrongly. This was Meet The Press on Sunday:

Yesterday--yesterday FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, "No one is getting near these lines." Sheriff Harry Lee said that if America--American government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn't be in this crisis.

This will not be an easy disaster for our country to recover from. Take it from this Wall Street Journal reporter:

MR. DAVID WESSEL: It's going to be big, Tim. Of course, at first--the first blush is it's a horrible tragedy for the people there and the economy. Rebuilding there is going to be just a massive undertaking, as the mayor said. But this is like having a heart attack and then having problems with your circulatory system. The United States' economy depends on oil and gas and refineries that are in this region. They've been damaged, and it's going to be a shock to the economy if those things don't come back soon.

Our will and our imagination will not save the country from the consequences of this terrible Hurricane. In my previous posts, I spoke of heroic measures, and I still believe they are needed. Even if fewer people are left now that still need to be saved, we still have the economic and infrastructural consequences of this storm to deal with. We have a major center of commerce and industry to rebuild, and rebuild right.

The results of what the president does in the next few years will matter, as will the failures. History will already record the shame and the failures that have marked the first few days of this recovery effort, and the federal government under Bush will bear much of the responsibility for those failures.

The question is: how much longer will you let people suffer for the President's mistakes, before you add your voices to the dissent, to putting the pressure on this president to do his job, to ensure that he's pushed into the kind of heroic measures he seems too much of a coward to initiate on his own.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at September 5, 2005 11:19 AM
Comments
Comment #78189

The administration’s heroic measure? Getting the troops in two days later, despite images in the media of disgusting squalor. My response? Disgust

Have at it, but what have you accomplished.

Only after having been blasted by the Mayor of New Orleans, does Bush’s relief finally get going.
A really proactive, responsible president wouldn’t wait until a national crisis became a political one to take heroic measures. He would also admit to the failures, and let that matter be settled, as he expiates the sin by expediting things and delivering on reforms to the system. He could defend himself on the political issues later, take care of his image as a leader by being one.
But no, it’s ass-covering all the way, it seems. A White House Official spreaded false information about Governor Blanco’s response. It seems like spin is the order of the day.
That, and deception.

Show me any indication that the Mayor had a plan to evacuate those in the hospitals or the nursing homes.

Still, some might suggest that the failure is over, that things are getting where they need to go. They would suggest that wrongly. This was Meet The Press on Sunday:

Also on meet the press was Chertoff, saying to Russert now is not the time to look for blame. We have many things on our plate yet.

The question is: how much longer will you let people suffer for the President’s mistakes, before you add your voices to the dissent, to putting the pressure on this president to do his job, to ensure that he’s pushed into the kind of heroic measures he seems too much of a coward to initiate on his own.

Where will the dissent get you, what heroic measures are you asking for?
Seems to me there is plenty of dissent, it is disorganized. Has no focus except hate Bush.

Posted by: George at September 5, 2005 2:22 PM
Comment #78193

There is more to this story than mere failure. There is willful neglect, and opportunism.

“But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast — black and white, rich and poor, young and old — deserve far better from their national government.
http://landrieu.senate.gov/releases/05/2005903E12.html

That’s right, the president flew into a disaster area for a photo op with a staged appearance at an “emergency feeding station”, which was taken down again right after he left. It was just a prop, staged for his appearance, nothing more. This is the way our Commander in Chief is responding to a national tragedy. Free publicity for him.

And there’s more still. The Red Cross is being blocked from the area by FEMA. 500 rescue boats were turned away. Aid from the city of Chicago was refused. The US Forest Service offered to put fires out in NO but was refused.

All of this (and a great deal more besides) is being archived on this livejournal community. Many of the posts there are unabashedly partisan, and critical of the administration, but in light of the facts that are coming to light I think it’s easy to see why that would be the case. And the sources referenced are generally credible, or themselves tend to link directly to ones which are.

Posted by: Jarandhel at September 5, 2005 2:38 PM
Comment #78194

I posted a comment, but it looks like it got caught by the spam filter due to number of links. I’ll repost if need be, perhaps broken into parts.

Posted by: Jarin at September 5, 2005 2:40 PM
Comment #78195

There is more to this story than mere failure. There is willful neglect, and opportunism.

“But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast — black and white, rich and poor, young and old — deserve far better from their national government.
http://landrieu.senate.gov/releases/05/2005903E12.html

That’s right, the president flew into a disaster area for a photo op with a staged appearance at an “emergency feeding station”, which was taken down again right after he left. It was just a prop, staged for his appearance, nothing more. This is the way our Commander in Chief is responding to a national tragedy. Free publicity for him.

And there’s more still. The Red Cross is being blocked from the area by FEMA. 500 rescue boats were turned away. Aid from the city of Chicago was refused. The US Forest Service offered to put fires out in NO but was refused.

All of this (and a great deal more besides) is being archived on this livejournal community. Many of the posts there are unabashedly partisan, and critical of the administration, but in light of the facts that are coming to light I think it’s easy to see why that would be the case. And the sources referenced are generally credible, or themselves tend to link directly to ones which are.

Posted by: Jarin at September 5, 2005 2:42 PM
Comment #78196

Stephen, it’s unfortunate that some valid criticisms you’re making here are likely to be drowned in the rest of the post, which is a Katrina-like flood of partisan baiting and willful avoidance of the actual facts.

If you wonder why Bush-supporters stand by their guy, look no farther than your own post.

To cite one egregious error, I’ll begin with your very first paragraph.

Funding played no part in this tragedy. In fact, the section of levee which broke had been recently modernized and reinforced.

And, as for the evacuation, Bush plead with New Orleans officials to force evactuation, which was their responsibility to carry out.

If you don’t hear a flood of criticsm directed toward NO officials (yet), it’s because the rest of us have the decency to refrain from making rash accusations in the midst of an ongoing tragedy. Too bad the same can’t be said of Democrats.

Posted by: sanger at September 5, 2005 2:46 PM
Comment #78197

Stephen,

The present administration and a certain radical segment of our society might be fairly described as irrational Bush supporters. It is not true that there is no longer a Republican Party, that everyone who cast a vote for Bush or that all Christians are irrational, narrow-minded or delusional.

Progressive links from this side of the blog are as mordacious and biased as those from the Republican camp. Your side is more united and imo, that makes it far more dangerous—even in light of the horrendous far-reaching catastophe that is the response to Katrina.

As much as our society responded after 9-11 with giving away powers and freedoms to the Republican administration and the resulting abuse of that trust, so will the progressives continue the oppression; only imposing a different set of standards and morals (secular humanist) when in power.

The progressives’ unanimity of anti-christian, pro misuse of powers by anyone or means available exponentially increases the danger to society. None broke rank to call out against such actions as did many Republicans to decry abuse and misuse by other Republicans.

While the Republicans being in power threatens the subjugation of half our society, progressive democrats being in power would guarantee subjugating and alienating another half.

Until one side can muster the moral courage to stand up for the rights of all americans, i continue to choose the lesser of evils if unable to vote my conscience on the third party and independant sides.

Posted by: jo at September 5, 2005 2:47 PM
Comment #78198

Never mind about approving the earlier post, I realized i included stuff you already covered that I’d skimmed over… here’s the revised version:

There is more to this story than mere failure. There is willful neglect. The Red Cross is being blocked from the area by FEMA. 500 rescue boats were turned away. Aid from the city of Chicago was refused. The US Forest Service offered to put fires out in NO but was refused.

All of this (and a great deal more besides) is being archived on this livejournal community. Many of the posts there are unabashedly partisan, and critical of the administration, but in light of the facts that are coming to light I think it’s easy to see why that would be the case. And the sources referenced are generally credible, or themselves tend to link directly to ones which are.

Posted by: Jarin at September 5, 2005 2:50 PM
Comment #78200

Also, as for the public on this issue breaking down into Bush supporters and everybody else, this poll tells the story.

55% of Americans don’t blame Bush personally, though the vast majority (myself included) don’t think that any of the authorities at all levels of government were adequatly prepared or equipped to deal with an event of this magnitude.

That’s why do we DO need answers here, and we need to see some reforms. Unfortunately, those answers and reforms become LESS instead of more possible as the result of partisan liberals trying to turn everything into yet another round of self-indulgent and ill-founded complaints against a single man. Whose real crime, I’m afraid, was defeating THEM in two elections. This is truly the heighth of selfishness—putting partisan bomb-throwing ahead of public safety.

Posted by: sanger at September 5, 2005 3:07 PM
Comment #78201

There’s more to this story than mere failure. This is willfull neglect. The Red Cross is being blocked from the area by FEMA.

Posted by: Jarin at September 5, 2005 3:07 PM
Comment #78215
The progressives’ unanimity of anti-christian, pro misuse of powers by anyone or means available exponentially increases the danger to society.

I just can’t believe this. Progressives are anti-christian? Absolutely amazing. Guess this christian (and many others) better change parties quick.

What a bunch of crap.

Posted by: womanmarine at September 5, 2005 4:08 PM
Comment #78219

womanmarine,

Sorry, i should have said, anti-anything- other-than-what-humanists-define-as-acceptable-Christianity.

This imo, would be similar to the oppression of Christians in the Middle East who must have their heirarchs approved by Muslim governments.

Posted by: jo at September 5, 2005 4:20 PM
Comment #78220


It’s very sad to see all the apoligist for this administration. While NO was flooding and people were dying he was playing a guitar and a round of golf in CA. Chertof is a complete embarassment as is Brown. Had anyone in this administration had a clue hundreds if not thousands of lives would have been spared. When you find Nov 06 that you will once again be the permanent minority you will awake to a new america. Your leaders will be impeached, Iraq will be past history and americans will have well paying jobs and health insurance. The strong nation that Bill Clinton built in the 90’s will reappear in the second decade of the 21st century. No longer will the poor be 2nd class citizens they will be productive members of our communities. The lunies from the right will be a sad part of history and America will once again be a nation at peace with the world.

I’m old enough to remember Nixon and Reagan’s lies and now from a man that all he knows how to do is CHA and yet some of you apoligizes for him. He is a discrace to this nation and if you support him you are also.

Posted by: jim at September 5, 2005 4:20 PM
Comment #78227
The progressives’ unanimity of anti-christian, pro misuse of powers by anyone or means available exponentially increases the danger to society.

Jo,

This is simply wrong. Most progressives, like most Americans, are Christians. And, in fact, most of us believe we represent truly Christian values much better those who often seem to simplistically believe only in power, greed and violence rather than love, charity and sacrifice.

sanger,

In the article to which you allude, it states that 46% of Americans approve of Bush’s handling of the crisis, while 47% disapprove. Let’s be honest. These numbers are much too big to indicate these are a bunch of partisan liberals who disapprove. People are frustrated because so many frustrating things are happening.

In regard to Katrina, while I’ve seen a number of writers with Democratic leanings criticize state and local officials from their own parties on this blog, I have yet to see a Republican leaning writer criticize Mr. Bush at all. I think that fact alone illustrates who the true partisans are. No matter what Mr. Bush does or fails to do, he is never held even remotely accountable for his actions. I don’t think this is rational or moral, and I think it’s leading the nation into ever more ruinous times. If Republicans actually spoke up against Mr. Bush occasionally, he would be forced to be a much better leader. And then only the true partisans would be shouting against him. Instead, we have a nation divided.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at September 5, 2005 4:49 PM
Comment #78228

What has been the task of Homeland secutity besides making sure that shoes get checked at the airport? It is incredible to think that there were no scenario models developed for this very real and identified danger. It is incredible that no one asked about communication when the electricity and cell phones are knocked out. It is incredible that no one pro-actively planned to determine whose in charge in a multi-state disaster. How does a mayor or governor coordinate resoucres that cross state lins. Forget blame…lets talk about the dangers of incompetence. What have they been doing if not “warming chairs” at the taxpayers expense. The buck stops with Bush. Thats the way it is.

Posted by: solara at September 5, 2005 4:52 PM
Comment #78229

My sentiments for the most part are along the same line as sangers.

I am not willing to absolve the City officials of NO nor the State officials of LA of responsibility in this issue. It is obvious that they were late in insisting on a mandatory evacuation and unreasonable in their criticisms of government response time.

That said, preparedness at most levels was not what it could have been and needs to be improved.

Under any circumstances you cannot provide relief fast enough to all people and, depending upon the pre-storm condition and location of many people, you cannot provide relief at all.

It’s a matter of fact that people who need oxygen are going to die without it, people in wheelchairs are going to be in dire straits, people in hospital beds have a 50-50 chance, people on heart monitors, diabetics, etc. are very likely going to die. People who are shut ins due to old age or mental disability have little hope.

You cannot simply drop stuff from helicopters to people on the ground. what do you drop and to what groups of people. People in need do not share what falls from the sky.

Why are people appalled that there have been dead people laying around for several days? Guess what, if I am doing my job as a rescuer, I am going to get the living people first. A relief effort has to be coordinated so that items dropped in from above go to people on the ground who are trained in how, when and where to distribute it.

The levees were breached after the storm hit, not before. These levees and related water abatement systems are installed with Federal Funds under the umbrella of the Army Corps of Engineers with much of the work sub-contracted to local companies. Let’s direct some of the focus on the quality of the work.

The Democrats and Liberals blame President Bush as if he and he alone could have prevented this disaster.

If you live on a sandbar exposed to water on three (3) sides, you better have a plan of your own.

Posted by: steve smith at September 5, 2005 4:53 PM
Comment #78231

Sanger,

And most Republicans are Christians. The point is either party is promising to subjugate the other with their own ‘acceptable’ form of Christianity… which mirrors the Middle East control of Christian Churches. And with the progressive’s unanimous support for activist legislation from all angles, it is the most dangerous to individual liberty.

Posted by: jo at September 5, 2005 4:59 PM
Comment #78233
It is incredible that no one asked about communication when the electricity and cell phones are knocked out. It is incredible that no one pro-actively planned to determine whose in charge in a multi-state disaster.

Yes, I find such failures to be mind boggling. I was watching the coverage today and they were saying all the various agencies had no way of communicating with one another during the rescue efforts. These are the same problems - except on a more massive scale - that we saw during 9/11. What exactly has the government been doing for the last four years? And why do we keep voting for these pork-spending incompetents who put us ever more deeply in debt without solving any of our real problems?

Posted by: Reed Sanders at September 5, 2005 5:03 PM
Comment #78234

George-
Please do something to format things so I know the difference between my words and yours.

The Mayor, from what I hear, actually was pretty proactive in creating the plans for dealing with an evacuation like this. Additionally, here’s a trained meteoroligists opinion on this:

I don’t understand how Brendan expected Nagin to act some 48 hours ahead when the science just is not there. He knows darn well (although it seems he is brushing it aside for the convienence of his argument) that the average error of a 48 hour hurricane forecast is 150-200 miles.

Secondly, he knows darn well that the logistics of getting busing for the estimated 100,000 left behind was impossible. There would have been no way to get that many people out in the 48 hours he claims the evacuations should have been carried out.

My good friend and coworker says “People who blame Nagin just show their ignorance,” and it’s very true. The fact that he got over 30-40,000 of them to shelters is amazing. Add that to the fact that if Nagin wouldn’t have bitched to the media, nothing would have happened.. we’d probably still be waiting for food, water, and troops.

Others say lets call for an evacuation on Thursday or Friday. That’s ridiculous. In this day and age, you just can’t call for evacuations 48 hours out period. Because if you’re wrong, YOU DO MORE DAMAGE TO THE WHOLE SYSTEM, and next time people won’t take the evacuation orders seriously.

Besides, when disasters like this occur, where the disaster overwhelms the cities and states ability to operate, FEMA and the president should not be asleep on the job. We knew the day before that a Category five hurricane was heading for the Gulf Coast, a Gulf Coast considerably more densely populated than the one the last CAT 5 hurricane, Camille slammed into.

This was the kind of disaster FEMA was formed to take on.

Chertoff can say it’s wrong to look to whose responsible, but damn it, how do you motivate people without accountability in the system? Where will dissent get me? How about where will dissent get the victims of this disaster in the wake of the federal governments failures?

Again, you circle the wagons. It’s got about be about hating bush, not not seeing thousands of your fellow countrymen die in another preventable Bush failure.

Sanger-
This is a stretch of quotations from that article. I will highlight the relevant points:

Several critics, including a former head of the Corps of Engineers, suggested in a Tribune story Thursday that the flooding in New Orleans could have been less severe had the federal government fully funded projects to improve the levees and drainage in the city.

Congress in 1999 authorized the corps to conduct a $12 million study to determine how much it would cost to protect New Orleans from a Category 5 hurricane, but the study isn’t scheduled to get under way until 2006. It was not clear why the study has taken so long to begin, though Congress has only provided in the range of $100,000 or $200,000 a year so far.

Al Naomi, senior project manager in the corps’ New Orleans District, said it would cost as much as $2.5 billion to build such a system, which would likely include gates to block the Gulf of Mexico from Lake Pontchartrain and additional levees. If the project were fully funded and started immediately, Naomi said it could be completed in three to five years.

A project to build up the levees to withstand a Category 3 hurricane was launched in 1965 after Hurricane Betsy and was supposed to be completed in 10 years, but it remains incomplete because of a lack of funding.

In recent years, funding has dropped precipitously, which some officials attributed in part to the escalating costs of the Iraq war. Funding for a drainage project in New Orleans went from $69 million in 2001 to $36.5 million in the current fiscal year, while funding for such hurricane-protection projects as levees around Lake Pontchartrain declined from $10 million in 2001 to $5.7 million this year, according to figures provided by the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).

Funding for these projects has generally trended downward since at least the last years of the Clinton administration. Congressional records show that the levee work on Lake Pontchartrain received $23 million in 1998 and $16 million in 1999. It was not clear how much the drainage project received in 1998, but records show it received $75 million in 1999.

Neither the White House nor the Corps of Engineers would confirm the numbers, nor would they provide funding levels dating to previous administrations.

Strock was just saying that funding hadn’t been a problem. That in itself you should not have taken as proof that there were no funding cuts by the Congress or by this President. And yes, if funding cuts were made under Clinton, he deserves some of the responsibility, too. I’m not going to ride on Clinton so much because he’s no longer in charge. Besides, under Clinton, FEMA was prepared for this, and was a distinct entity that directly reported to the president.

As for the Mandatory evacuation call, that’s nice. Except the president kept on his vacation until the day after Katrina hit. If there’s anything that should bring a halt to a president’s vacation, it’s the impending landfall of a CAT 5 hurricane. His own people had told him that this was one of three nightmare scenarios.

The NOLA officials could not function in the midst of this cataclysmic of a disaster. Their communications were cut, their ability to transport people was wiped out, their infrastructure reduced to a shambles. You can’t expect them to deal with this disaster on their own, and Nagin at least had the decency among many other politicians to call for much need action, instead of congratulating themselves on the progress which Americans could clearly see wasn’t good enough.

Yes, I’m angry. I’m angry that people can’t see the problem for the politics. You can’t see that we are deeply concerned about the victims of this disaster, and have reasonable cause to worry further. Bush does not need to be protected. He needs to be accountable. He needs to know that even his most loyal supporters will desert him if he doesn’t get this right. I’m sorry people like me have to be so strident over this, but I’m sick of this administration’s feckless behavior when American lives are on the line.

The poll you link to does in fact blame the Federal government strongly for the bungling of the operation. Liberals like me are simply applying the principle that the buck stops with the President. Are we wrong to assume that the Chief executive is responsible for leading the executive branch in the appropriate direction, that it is his approval and recommendations that shape budgets and policies?

If nothing else, Bush could have personally gotten on this issue, and set up some kind of war room on this to keep up on the progress of the efforts. If tens of thousands remained stranded at a place, he should be seeing the footage himself and taking foot to ass to get those people unstranded immediately. Your folks talk about leadership- where was it? Where was the informed, driving personality who was supposed to get things done, cut the red tape, and resolve the crises before they evolved into bigger, worse ones? That is what I meant by heroic measures- A president actively working the problem, and getting things moving immediately. This president should have had a sheaf of executive orders ready to be signed to get things expedited as it was required.

Instead, he took another day of vacation.

Jo-
Look, I don’t care about the politics here, except in how they get people rescued, and the devastated areas restored. I’m just sick to death about the other side making it entirely about our obvious dislike for Bush, while ignoring the far more substantial issues of a government that’s not serving it’s people well. I don’t know how Bush could do a better job simply because people aren’t criticizing him. I don’t think the world works that way, and I can tell you don’t think it works that way either. The pressure needs to be put on these people that if they screw it up, they will feel it when it comes time to return for reelection.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 5, 2005 5:03 PM
Comment #78236
It’s a matter of fact that people who need oxygen are going to die without it, people in wheelchairs are going to be in dire straits, people in hospital beds have a 50-50 chance, people on heart monitors, diabetics, etc. are very likely going to die. People who are shut ins due to old age or mental disability have little hope.

Am i to understand the the compassionate conservative plan for disasters is to thin the population of those undesireables which no longer have reasonable ability to feed the parasitic elities?

Posted by: jo at September 5, 2005 5:07 PM
Comment #78237
And with the progressive’s unanimous support for activist legislation from all angles, it is the most dangerous to individual liberty.

Jo,

Please check the historical record. By far the most activist influential judge of the 20th century was Rehnquist, a conservative. I believe some people are using the term “activist judge” to mean judges with whom they don’t agree. It should be used to mean those who radically change the way law is interpreted. If you honestly don’t care for activist judges, then please let the Republicans know so they’ll stop nominating such individuals to high office.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at September 5, 2005 5:10 PM
Comment #78239

Stephen,

i think my revulsion to the Bush bashing is that it is nothing new or unusual and imo, the Katrina response deserves more than the usual knee-jerk resopnse. Rather it deserves to completely overlook Bush because he is inconsequential. Nothing will move him or his administration and so i would much rather people target the systems, agencies, and politicians which will be here after Bush is long gone and actually have a hope of responding to the people.

Posted by: jo at September 5, 2005 5:15 PM
Comment #78241

September 1, 2005 the Head of Homeland Security, Mr Michael Chertoff enacted for the first time National Response Plan by declaring an Incident of National Significance as a result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina* http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/interapp/press_release/press_release_0727.xml

This legal move opened the flood gates to Lawyers from Local, State, & Federal Agencies that has never been addressed before and will most likely become the major stumbling block noted in up coming investigations. Good, Bad, or Ugly the fact that this action caused every part of our government to stop until The Lawyers could get their act together places the blame of the Respone squarely at the President’s Doorstep. The reason, Prsident Bush order Mr. Chertoff to take charge. However, I can not believe that President Bush, himself, knew what tangled political web would be spun by his People’s actions and the wording of The Law when they attempted to take away The State’s Rights.

For the Republican Party to say they are for State Rights and want to use a Law that takes away the Right of the State over the NG and other Agencies is a shame even in this National Emergency. However, the real shame and stupidity is those Spin Doctors that want to blame the Governor of LA for standing up to the Federal Government. To bad the Republican Governors are to scared to protect their political party’s stance on State Rights.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 5, 2005 5:25 PM
Comment #78242

Steve Smith-
A voluntary evacuation was called in front of that. The mandatory one was called fairly late, but then, the margin of error on Hurricane forecasts two days in advance is pretty bad. To quote that Weather Blog fellow above once more:

I don’t understand how Brendan expected Nagin to act some 48 hours ahead when the science just is not there. He knows darn well (although it seems he is brushing it aside for the convienence of his argument) that the average error of a 48 hour hurricane forecast is 150-200 miles.

Further along, you said:

You cannot simply drop stuff from helicopters to people on the ground. what do you drop and to what groups of people. People in need do not share what falls from the sky.

Why are people appalled that there have been dead people laying around for several days? Guess what, if I am doing my job as a rescuer, I am going to get the living people first. A relief effort has to be coordinated so that items dropped in from above go to people on the ground who are trained in how, when and where to distribute it.

Those are all practical concerns, and I agree with much of that. The dead in particular. At this point, I do believe taking care of the dead is a job best left to the dead themselves.

What’s outrageous to me is the fact it took four days to get on the ball as it was. I don’t think I’d be off base in asserting that it’s likely thousands are dead because of that delay.

The funds and plans issue, I addressed in my last comment. Refer to it on those issues.

As for the blame? Bush downsized the agency and considerably complicated it’s operation by making it a part of the Bureaucratic mess that is the DoHS. This is the agency that is supposed to respond in the case of a terrorist attack. Does this response seem to you to be a positive development in homeland security? I don’t care if you think I’m just a loudmouthed Democrat, or whatever. I just want you guys to start looking at this unrestrained by the need to be apologists for Bush’s policy. Something went wrong here that wasn’t simply a levee or an evacuation plan. When you have to put armed guards up to stop FEMA from cutting communications, something is getting fucked up, and we need to know what.

It’s time for the Right-Wing Blogosphere to start operating independent of the GOP’s lead, and start looking after the real self interests of the Red States. Without that independence, you’re only slaves to the spin.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 5, 2005 5:28 PM
Comment #78243

As a former EMS workeri was regularly involved in mass casualty drills. My husband is still in this profession but has never had any drills with representation from the new DHS. Is this a local anamoly? Has DHS ever participated in drills with the rest of the emergency managment networks?

Posted by: jo at September 5, 2005 5:43 PM
Comment #78244

It is very unfortunate that the discussions on all topics featured on Watchblog have become expressions of partisan positions.

This is obvious when reading the posts of contributers from every political belief or stance. Topic knowledgable individuals with varying levels of education and far above average communication skills representing both sides of the aisle are continually at odds with each other. (Beyond the spirit of the format)

As well, there is the (for want of a better word) “renegade” contributer such as myself who often misses the target/topic mark, expresses himself with his heart rather than his head sometimes (OK most of the time) and, has been known to have some radical ideas but, maybe just smart enough to make a valued contribution once in a while.

The sad thing is, and I know that many if not most will take a defensive position on this, the discussions are now rife with anger/hate, all too often get personal, respondents infer that they are right just because they say so, etc.

References from those of us who are Conservative and/or favor the right are from articles and/or sources that are known to be of that ilk and, references from the Democrat/Liberal side are from articles and/or sources that are known to favor that position. It becomes a stand-off.

There is almost always bitterness in the text of the posts.

I would really like to see more constructive exchanges in the Watchblog format.

Go ahead, whack away, I’m used to it.

Posted by: steve smith at September 5, 2005 5:43 PM
Comment #78245

steve,

i am as guilty as the next guy of venomous posts. Having ethical standards is a lot easier than living by then. i will try to do better…

IF you tune up my weed-whacker for me. ;)

jo

Posted by: jo at September 5, 2005 5:48 PM
Comment #78246

Steve Smith:

You say “The levees were breached after the storm hit, not before.”

It wasn’t exactly a surprise. “This ain’t gonna last,” New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas told his security guard as they watched the waters of Lake Pontchartrain rising and racing and eating away at the dirt levee beneath the concrete floodwall built to protect New Orleans from disaster. It was 4 o’clock on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 28. Hurricane Katrina was still 14 hours away, but the sea surge had begun. Thomas returned to the city’s hurricane war room and announced, to anyone who was listening, “The water’s coming into the city.”

Newsweek
Sept. 12, 2005 issue

Jo:

Sorry, i should have said, anti-anything- other-than-what-humanists-define-as-acceptable-Christianity.

It’s still crap, whatever words you use. I really suspect you know it’s not true. And why should any form of christianity or any religion be forced on any one else? How are what the progressives do any different than what’s going on now?

Posted by: womanmarine at September 5, 2005 5:50 PM
Comment #78249

womanmarine,

Not all people who call themselves Christians believe the state should have the right to define our Sacraments, the viability, acceptable dignity or support the husbandry of human life. This is the half of Christians (and Muslims) being oppressed (and presently ridiculed) by progressives.

Posted by: jo at September 5, 2005 6:01 PM
Comment #78251

Steve Smith,
NO is not a political issue; however, it is a cold hard fact that the Director of Homeland Security screwed up by opening all kinds of Legal concerns over doing what it took to save lives.

Saying you are Right and doing what is and will be known to be Unalienable Right Regardless is an act that most Americans try to do without thought.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 5, 2005 6:20 PM
Comment #78253

I’ve been trying to think this one through. I don’t think anyone can say that Bush was completely at fault with the poor performance of FEMA, pre or post Katrina.

The issue that keeps turning in my head is that he has been partially incompetent in every single fiasco - from WMSs and Abu Gharib - to New Orleans.

I know he can point to the director of FEMA, to the director of the CIA… but after his first speech given to bring the nation together after Katrina… I’m just utterly disappointed - and embarrassed to call him our leader.

I know people still want to support him, and will continue to point out minute issues with whatever people bring against Bush… but… when do you get tired of making excuses and start demanding performance at a level deserving the most powerful office in the free world.

Posted by: tony at September 5, 2005 6:25 PM
Comment #78260

Steve Smith-
I was under the impression that half the point of this blog was to get Partisan points of view from all sides on an issue. Then having done that, the other side comes into play: the intense grilling that Watchblog readers bring to those they don’t agree with.

I’m bitter. I admit it. The past four years have been hard years, and I fear they’re going to get much harder. I think Bush deserves a great deal of the responsibility for that.

Just a little over a week ago, the Republicans were cheering because they believed that their wartime tax cuts were succeeding in improving the economy. Now they have to face that among the spending cuts those tax cuts forced were funds to our ability to keep disasters like Katrina from spiralling out of control.

America is now showing weakness to the rest of the world that our enemies will rejoice to see. Our inability to manage a disaster of this size will encourage their grandiose plans for more spectacular attacks.

And the War in Iraq? Even if that didn’t make as much of an impact on Katrina efforts as some of my fellow Liberal Bloggers claim, the reverse is undeniable: fighting a war in Iraq will become a very dear cost in the wake of Katrina, and we may have to choose between honoring our commitment to Baghdad and our commitment to New Orleans.

Worse yet, our friends among the insurgency might just decide it’s time to make our continued presence in Iraq very expensive in terms of dollars and souls.

If Bush hadn’t gone for the tax cuts, we might not be now facing such a tough and economically ruinous situation around the world.

So am I bitter? Yes I am. This president, through his unwise decisions, has made the crisises of the last few years worse. We needed better leadership than this.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 5, 2005 7:13 PM
Comment #78261

Thank you for the article Stephen, it was well written. I am amazed at how the Bush cult still defends his actions and ignores his lack of action during a crisis.

Well after 911 Bush showed up for his photo op as did most of the politicians (Guilliani, Pataki, and so on). Later on, the Guilliani Administration was honored for their handling of the WTC cleanup efforts.

To set the record straight. The NYC Department of Design and Construction’s Commissioners headed up the cleanup efforts, that same agency’s engineers surveyed the remaining buildings and determined that the other four buildings (World Trade Center 3 through 6) would also need to be demolished; which they were. 7 WTC collapsed 5 hours after towers 1 & 2 (home to the FBI, IRS, and where Guiliani had his command center).

The disaster area was sectioned into four work zones. The four largest contractors were called in and told they would be paid ten million dollars each up front and could requisition for additional money when they had used up the initial 10M. They would mobilize all their cranes, caterpillers, equipment and manpower in their assigned workzone and agree not to take on any other work until they were done. The operation would run 24-7 until the cleanup was complete and all surrounding buildings secured. DDC, EPA, DEP and OSHA personnel would be on-site at each workzone 24-7 overseeing the operations.

Con Edison Electric and AT&T Telephone were instructed to restore service by running their lines and cables across the tops of sidewalks, which were then enclosed under a plywood walk-way until the infrastructure was repaired; the Department of Sanitation would move debris with their trucks as well as private carting company trucks to landfills.

Express highway lanes from the workzones to landfills were coned off for these dumpster trucks which made continuous round trips to and from their zones. Iron workers cut the steel members, caterpillers loaded dumpsters with steel, pulverized concrete and debris non-stop.

The Fire Department used their water cannons to continuously douse work areas with water to keep down dust and put out fires.

The Red Cross and the Salvation Army set up mobil medical facilities and food service pantries to feed the thousands of volunteers and workers as well as centers for the distribution of work clothing and boots, water, respirators, etc.

The police and military kept order and kept all other persons and reporters out of the work areas.

BTW, the World Trade Center was also built in a giant tub behind the East River. The Towers had several sub-basements. The sea walls were repaired and tied back during the cleanup.

FEMA showed up and observed the operations set up by the DDC and stated that the DDC took the appropriate steps and then sat back for 8 months.

FEMA estimated that with the cleanup efforts operating 24-7 that it would be complete in 2 years. The DDC did it in 8 months.

When Bush showed up to make his speech he promised billions to pay for the cleanup and to rebuild. He promised that those responsible would be hunted down and caught, everyone cheered. New York is still waiting for the money and Osama Bin Laden is still free.

My advice to New Orleans, Depend on yourselves. Bush is only there for the photo op, don’t believe he will keep up the support or efforts for “as long as it takes.”

BTW, the head of the EPA (a Bush appointee) declared that the air at Ground Zero was safe to breathe… we found out that wasn’t true either.

Posted by: Pat at September 5, 2005 7:21 PM
Comment #78263

A point of good news: CNN is reporting that the Army Corp of Engineers has successfully patched the 17th street Canal Levee breach. I think all sides in this debate can cheer that kind of progress, and hope that those managing this crisis will encourage more of these successes as time goes on.

Good news- the pause that refreshes.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 5, 2005 7:34 PM
Comment #78270

Jo:

I don’t know where this comes from:

“Not all people who call themselves Christians believe the state should have the right to define our Sacraments, the viability, acceptable dignity or support the husbandry of human life.”

It’s not the progressives that want to legislate religion. We want choice, not to have it forced on us or anyone else. I truly have no idea what you are talking about with these grand phrases that are so general as to be useless.

Posted by: womanmarine at September 5, 2005 8:37 PM
Comment #78279

Jo-
We generally complain about the beliefs of the Religious right, rather than dispute their right to say what they do. It is entirely possible to complain about somebody’s beliefs and not advocate taking away their freedom to believe as they may.

With the Religious Right, you do have to watch out for something- the separation between church and state is part and parcel of what keep America a very religious society. We make religion a matter of choice, without government artificially rewarding those who make a profession of faith arbitrary to their true beliefs, or forcefully punishing those who fail to do the same. We allow free will, God’s gift to man, to work as it will.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 5, 2005 9:17 PM
Comment #78286

There’s a lot more to the story than just failure. There is willful neglect and opportunism, as your mention of Bush’s photo-op at a FAKE emergency feeding station shows.

Further, the actions by FEMA at this point are not just negligent, they actually are hindering rescue operations: 500 rescue boats were turned away. Aid from the city of Chicago beyond a token amount was turned away, inexplicably. The US Forest Service offered to put fires out in NO but was refused.

All of this (and a great deal more besides) is being archived on this livejournal community. Many of the posts there are unabashedly partisan, and critical of the administration, but in light of the facts that are coming to light I think it’s easy to see why that would be the case. And the sources referenced are generally credible, or themselves tend to link directly to ones which are.

Posted by: Jarin at September 5, 2005 9:37 PM
Comment #78293

(1) Not everyone that refused to evacuate, did so because they could not.
Tens of thousands foolishly (bordering on criminal) stayed, which endangered those that really couldn’t evacuate in time, and those trying to subsequently rescue and help victims.
(2) The levees were never designed to withstand a category 5 hurricane.
(3) The levees were poorly designed. Levees should have been built to separate several zones (like the bulk heads of a ship) with bridges between zones, so that a failure of one levee doesn’t cause a flood of all zones (or, similarly, compartments of a ship). Such systems can be found in other cities.
____________________________________________
Now that disaster has occurred (as many predicted for many years), there are obvious ways to help that should be considered such as: [a] use abandoned military bases, barracks, living quarters, and houses,
[b] create paying jobs to clean up the disaster areas,
[c] transport victims and families to other cities of many states that can absorb the influx, and enroll children into schools,
[d] plan and build a better levee system (before rebuidling other structures),
[e] provide immediate assistance and loans to victims,
[f] design and enforce new building codes for all new and rebuilt structures,
____________________________________
One other thing. Perhaps, this is already underway…but, have churches opened their doors and coffers to victims of this tragedy. Perhaps they have. Perhaps, it just hasn’t been widely publicized?

Posted by: d.a.n at September 5, 2005 10:06 PM
Comment #78294

Stephen quotes meteoroligist

{I don’t understand how Brendan expected Nagin to act some 48 hours ahead when the science just is not there. He knows darn well (although it seems he is brushing it aside for the convienence of his argument) that the average error of a 48 hour hurricane forecast is 150-200 miles.
Secondly, he knows darn well that the logistics of getting busing for the estimated 100,000 left behind was impossible. There would have been no way to get that many people out in the 48 hours he claims the evacuations should have been carried out.

Others say lets call for an evacuation on Thursday or Friday. That’s ridiculous. In this day and age, you just can’t call for evacuations 48 hours out period. Because if you’re wrong, YOU DO MORE DAMAGE TO THE WHOLE SYSTEM, and next time people won’t take the evacuation orders seriously.} Sitting below sea level And if you are right?

This is just more BS. If you have a nursing home with 150 patients and you are sitting below sea level , You move your patients to higher ground before the storm hits. Same with all those in the hospitals.

The truth of the matter is that for years, decades you didn?t do your job when a storm came, but the dikes held. You just cleaned up the debris and went on. This time you were caught with inadequate preparation

Posted by: George at September 5, 2005 10:08 PM
Comment #78299

Stephen,

We make religion a matter of choice, without government artificially rewarding those who make a profession of faith arbitrary to their true beliefs, or forcefully punishing those who fail to do the same. We allow free will, God’s gift to man, to work as it will.

i disagree that what you state is the position of the progressive democrats. i will try to explain to both you and


womanmarine,

The American government knew marriage to be a Sacrament of the Church by originally requiring it to be performed by a priest. It was wrong then and is still wrong today. Yet rather than solve the issue by removing the state from the affairs of the Church, both the radical right and the progressive left want to exacerbate the problem by prescribing the conditions and definitions of the Sacrament. You by declaring it discriminatory not to marry gays define it as much as the right does by defining it between one man and one woman. i do not go to your church. i do not want to go to Pat Robertson’s church. (shiver). i do not want to force you or anyone else to join my church. i simply want to be able to freely practice my own religion alongside other citizens at liberty to practice or not as they so choose.

My Church recently left the National Council of Churches because it has been co-opted by political activists. It is not my practice to be so mixing faith and politics, i don’t like it nor do i think it is required in this country— but that the opposite is prescribed in law, the seperation of church and state.

My faith is that God is the source and Creator of life and human’s created in His image. It is not my belief that man creates life or is to judge the viability (unborn) of a life, to judge one life greater than another (abortion) or a human so undignified that his life should be ended (euthenasia). Others believe differently. That is okay. Please however do not force your beliefs on me or my children (so long as you require me to be responsible for them) or force me to contribute to the practice and instruction of your beliefs (federally funded research of farmed embryos and school taxes without benefit of vouchers).

You said, “How is what we are doing any different than what is happening now?” It’s not. Both sides are doing the same thing forcing their beliefs on others. Your side is merely more threatening because while the Republicans have dissenters speaking out against their fellow party members misusing civil authority, the progressives support and encourage the activist misue of power unanimously. And so Ralph Nader lost a vote as i reluctantly cast mine against the Democratic Party in a weak attempt to protect individual rights and liberties granted American citizens in the constitution.


Stephen,

Freewill.. for all, please.


d.a.n.,

Yes, churches of all doctrines have been working quietly as is their general nature. An article and sporadically throughout the day we have reports on the internet radio from my church. Note: television is not a church.

Posted by: jo at September 5, 2005 10:31 PM
Comment #78300

Bush apologists are the same people that 8 years ago would have called for Clinton’s impeachment over this overt beaurocratic failure of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. But in this world of Republican thuggish politics, shifting the blame is the rule of the day.

Blame those people that lived there in a city below sea level.
Blame those poor people that didn’t have a car to get out.
Blame those old and sick people for not being able to get up and leave.
Blame the Mayor for… well… the buses, I guess.
Blame the Governor for… well.. she did ask for help on the 28th, but hey, the President wasn’t there! I guess she should have flown down to Crawford.
Blame the Police Department for not securing the area before the US ARMY would come in. They were concerned for their own safety, I guess.

The crime here is the rescue operation that FAILED. FEMA failed because the appointment of Chertoff and Brown and the cutting of money happened BEFORE the Hurricane hit.

Louisana has been PLEADING for money for years. Go look it up. Instead, this Administration put money into some bridge in Alaska.

If anyone wants to defend Bush, they should go ask the people that have been on the ground. They will tell you FEMA is one screwed up group of beaurocrats that haven’t a CLUE. And FEMA, ladies and gentlemen, was destroyed by President George W. Bush.

Thanks, George. Really.

Keith Olbermann said it best tonight:

For him[Bush], it is a shame in all senses of the word. A few changes of pronouns in there, and he might not have looked so much like a 21st Century Marie Antoinette. All that was needed was just a quick “I’m not satisfied with my government’s response.” Instead of hiding behind phrases like “no one could have forseen,” had he only remembered Winston Churchill’s quote from the 1930’s. “The responsibility,” of government, Churchill told the British Parliament “for the public safety is absolute and requires no mandate. It is in fact, the prime object for which governments come into existence.”

In forgetting that, the current administration did not merely damage itself, it damaged our confidence in our ability to rely on whoever is in the White House.

I cannot comprehend the poll numbers I read. I cannot comprehend how ANYONE can approve of his actions here. I cannot comprehend people that somehow have forgotten what a leader of a country is supposed to do. To lead.

Bush apologists are going to send this country so far down a horrible path, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to find our way back.

Posted by: Chris at September 5, 2005 10:32 PM
Comment #78302

Jo:

“You by declaring it discriminatory not to marry gays define it as much as the right does by defining it between one man and one woman.”

You have no idea what I believe or don’t believe. I am for freedom of religion and freedom from religion that I don’t believe in. Wish I could say the same for what you express.

I allow you your beliefs, please allow me mine. Your implication is that if I can have mine you can’t have yours. That is amazingly wrong.

“Please however do not force your beliefs on me or my children (so long as you require me to be responsible for them) or force me to contribute to the practice and instruction of your beliefs (federally funded research of farmed embryos and school taxes without benefit of vouchers).”

I am not forcing my beliefs on you or anyone else. I have no idea how you can say otherwise.

Posted by: womanmarine at September 5, 2005 10:47 PM
Comment #78306
This is just more BS. If you have a nursing home with 150 patients and you are sitting below sea level…

George,

I think you’re right about this, but I’ve lived along the Gulf coast and know that Stephen has a point also. Evacuations are confusing and expensive, and they can occur multiple times in any given hurricane season. In the case of New Orleans, I think the local government should have done a better job, but doing so would probably require a combination of state and federal funding agreed on in advance.

What’s clear to me is that the contingency planning was badly lacking. For a strategically important and astonishingly vulnerable city like New Orleans, the feds and locals should have had a sophisticated plan in place. We need to do better at all levels and whatever our political ideologies. Let’s make sure our politicians are held more accountable for doing this kind of coordination in advance, which will make both proactive reactive responses more efficient.

Let’s also praise those folks who are working their butts off right now to help the peoples of Louisanna and Mississippi. Even Mr. Bush is out there now, showing some leadership. He’s late but at least he finally got it.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at September 5, 2005 10:58 PM
Comment #78314

Reed,

He {Bush} got it alright. He woke up to the
fact that he was looking more and more like the
antithesis to a “compassionate” conservative
with every passing hour. So, blame everybody
that’s handy and not in the administration.
You wonder why I’m disgusted?

Posted by: Disgusted in GA at September 5, 2005 11:25 PM
Comment #78326

I understand people criticizing people on the left for partisan politics, but what are we suppose to do. Change is needed. The facts, as unfortunate as they are, are the Bush administration may have multiplied the deaths from the devestation of Katrina through their negligence(and I’m taking my critisms down ten fold from what I feel) into the thousands. I know we are being partisan but it is with the best intentions. The way I feel about this is that every policy that conservatives have put into place have hurt us. The evidence is there. If there is a better way to handle this, let me in on it. I believe the majority of people don’t wish to divide this country, but the evidence primarly shows that these conservative policies don’t work. Liberalism is a collective idea and cannot work if we divide, so someone come up with something that unites becuase this apparently isn’t working.

Posted by: What do you want at September 6, 2005 12:15 AM
Comment #78332

Any one for debating about how much fuzz God allowed on a tennis ball?


Posted by: dtom21 at September 6, 2005 12:30 AM
Comment #78351

George-
You know what the difference between a mandatory evacuation and a voluntary one in this country is? If you choose to stay behind in a mandatory evacuation, they might have you sign a waiver saying you understood that should you call for emergency help, nobody might be on the other end of the line.

People rarely call for evacuations because making them effective requires that people be convinced that it’s no joke. There had already been one false alarm, and that evacuation had had some serious complications. It’s no good to have people evacuate, and then get stuck on the highway with the storm surge, rain and winds bearing down on them

With a nursing home, other complications arise because of the patient’s frailty, and the fact that some of these folks are on equipment that isn’t as portable as desired.

As for preparation, when the storm is as massive as Katrina, you don’t mess around with state governments, because a storm like Katrina can take out the communications on that level. You get the feds in and get a clear chain of command.

Jo-
When I said we, I meant the United States in general. Let me take your example of marriage.

Marriage in the legal sense is of course the province of the state and local governments. If somebody qualifies for an and receives a license for marriage, they can be so wed. The law doesn’t speak to or require sacraments. That’s a matter for people who belong to churches.

The law cannot tell you what sacrament may be involved. It cannot, for example, force the Catholic Church to treat a gay marriage as sacramental. The Government also can’t show favor to an anti-gay marriage church or to a pro-gay marriage church on the matter of taxes. That would be a kind of establishment.

The law and religion does come into conflict, but the conflict is usually decided along secular lines. Abortion was decided along the lines of medical privacy. School Prayer was decided by a case that didn’t involve atheists, but instead Jehovah’s Witnesses. The pattern of these decisions was that nothing was ever forced on people, at least which the law would support.

A child can pray before classes silently. A person can choose not to have an abortion on the same ground they are allowed one.

We must remember that the realms of our faith and our worldly life intersect in certain places, and we are often put into conflict with that world. This is nothing new. If folks believe that they are besieged in our time, they should have lived during the first three centuries of Christianity, among the Romans. Today’s world may be full of temptations, but there’s a great amount of choice in what ideas we follow.

Neither our free will nor yours is abrogated by the other’s arguments. It is your choice to believe what people say or not. Whether it’s a wise choice? another matter.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 6, 2005 2:44 AM
Comment #78369

Stephen Daugherty,

Your September 5th at 5:28 post in response to my earlier post is appreciated as it actually discusses the issues posted as my opinions. As well your responses are as humanitarian and rational as my questions.

Posted by: steve smith at September 6, 2005 9:36 AM
Comment #78437

This reminds me of a couple of girlfriends.

The first girl I took out all the time. I gave her money. I helped her to housework. I always complimented her looks. I noticed when she changed her hair. I was always there to listen. I even cooked often. But she didn’t like my food. She never had much to say. She never asked how my day went. She never wanted to fool around. Everything I did was a mistake to her.

I didn’t take the second girl out that much. I never cooked. I didn’t give her money even if she begged for it. I never complimented her looks and I never bothered to listen to her. I never considered her feelings before I said anything or made any decision. Never, ever did I help her with her housework. I often left my dirty clothes laying around. She always picked up my clothes and washed and folded them. She always wanted to shared her day’s experiences. She always wanted to fool around. She came on to me as much as I came on the her. No matter how big a jerk I was, to her everything I touched turned to gold.

The first girl hated me and everything I did, even though I treated her like a queen; The second girl loved me and everything I did, even though I treated her like crap.

My point is…

If they hate you, you can’t do anything right. If they love you, you can’t do anything wrong.

Devout Bush supporters are just like that. They are on Bush’s side and they will support him no matter what, PERIOD. He could burn their house down, and they will see a good reason for it.

Many of the same people hated Clinton. Clinton lies about cheating on his wife, and attacks terrorists. They see him as a liar and a murderer who would kill people to deflect attention from his lies. Bush lies about why he thinks we should go to war, and send the country to war based on those lies. They see him as an honest man acting in defense of the country.

To be fair some Democrats and Clinton supporters are like this, but they don’t have this sort of unconditional dedication.

Posted by: Darrius at September 6, 2005 3:24 PM
Comment #78476

Steve Smith,


“Why are people appalled that there have been dead people laying around for several days? Guess what, if I am doing my job as a rescuer, I am going to get the living people first.”

The corpses were surrounded by suffering and scared people who were very much alive. Remember the ones shouting “help us.”“Our government does’nt care about us.”
Nice try at spinning our governments newest failure

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at September 6, 2005 5:28 PM
Comment #78478

No, it’s just that so much Bush-bashing went on that, even if you ARE right now, it’s going to be relegated to the “More Bush-Bashing” file no matter what.

Bring honor and civility into politics and people might pay more attention when you’re critical.

Posted by: Eric at September 6, 2005 5:31 PM
Comment #78522

Eric-
So, you’re essentially saying you refuse to put any blame whatsover on Bush for what’s been done? Why would you want to say that, with hard evidence out there that Bush underfunded and made a bureaucratic tangle of these important agencies?

The facts support a negative view of the president’s policies here, and lay the responsibility for the slow response at his doorstep. At the very least he set a bad tone as an executive by not dropping everything in the days before the disaster and coming back to Washington to manage the response.

He should have been there to say “I’m seeing people stranded by the thousands at these shelters. This is unacceptable! Get some transport there immediately!”

Instead, the day after Katrina hit, the day we knew the levees were collapsing, Bush was getting a guitar with a presidential seal at a fundraiser. Not only that, but it would be four days after the Hurricane before the effort kicked into gear, and people were gotten out of that city. Is the behavior we’ve come to accept out of a president? When did the Republican party become a party with such low standards for leadership? Heroic measures, not political cowardice, should have been the order of the day from the start.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 6, 2005 7:05 PM
Comment #78589

Looks like the majority would just head out to Baton Rouge and leave the defenseless people in wheel chairs and on oxegen to find their own way.

Posted by: George at September 6, 2005 10:22 PM
Comment #78614

George-
No, I would just roll them down a ramp into Lake Ponchartrain. You see, we Democrats are silly like that- we like seeing old people die.

Really, though, you seem to figure its easy to move these folks, or always a good idea to to do so. It’s a matter of calculated risk, especially when you have a structure over two stories tall. Moving people on respirators, on oxygen, etc., etc, is not something to be done without support. No sense in killing people in the process of saving their lives.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 6, 2005 11:59 PM
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