Democrats & Liberals Archives

Thoughts on "Category 5"

The subtitle of this book is: The Story of Camille, Lessons Unlearned From America’s Most Violent Hurricane., and I think it speaks volumes. Within this book, we see what is perhaps the most intense Hurricane every to strike our shores, and the confused, paralyzed response in the aftermath. I’ve always maintained that it is better to learn from somebody else’s mistakes than your own. Let us take an opportunity to do so here.

One issue was the scientific accuracy of the forecasting. To some extent, this is one lesson learned. In fact, the very title comes of the scale that National Hurricane Center Meteorologist Robert Simpson and Civil Engineer Herbert Saffir created together.

There was a time when Hurricanes would literally be lost to forecasters, who in times past had to rely on communcations from ships and from telegraphs. It is only in our time, with eyes literally in the sky, that we could track these monsters without misplacing them.

Camille was one of, the first Hurricanes to be tracked by satellite from birth to death, but as this was 1969, tracking this monster was an imprecise affair, and the uncertainties of atmospheric physics were only just beginning to be understood. Edward Lorenz had only six years previously presented his paper on his eponymous mathematical attractors, which he had discovered while trying to model atmospheric phenomenon. We would come to know of his work in popular culture in the concept of The Butterfly Effect. Predictability was a problem then as now, moreso then for the lack of supercomputers and theories able to process some sense out of the data.

Even getting observations of the monster was problematic, though not always for natural reasons. Even then, people from the government flew planes into the Hurricanes to drop sensors and take readings. With Camille, according to the book, a major opportunity was lost because the Navy, in charge of such flights, was using the crafts as part of an experiment to attempt to weaken hurricanes by seeding them with Silver Iodide, a program called Operation Stormfury.

This would not be the first time that Civil Defense orientation would get in the way of disaster preparedness and mitigation.

Camille was devastatingly powerful, with storm surges as high as 28 feet, winds clocked at over 170(estimated to be as high as 201mph, and barometric pressure of 26.84 inches. It fits every defining characteristic of a Category 5 hurricane. For those wondering why Category 5 is the limit, the people who invented the scale basically responded that past that point, you just basically had total destruction in its path. Also, the theoretical limits on the lowness of pressure at the center ensure that the storm can't get much more powerful.

It doesn't need to be. Pass Christian was one of the memorable victims of Katrina, and it was one here, too, in fact one of the prominent ones. This was the location of the Richilieu Apartments, a three story apartment complex which was scraped of its foundations by the storm surge and the catastrophically high winds. Couples trying to escape off the roof were swatted off of it like flies, ripped from their feet into the waters by the sheer velocity of the winds. The Hurricane party is largely an urban legend, but the fact that a number of people died waiting out the storm in the building is true. The descriptions of the devastation of that town in general talk in terms of it being like an atomic bomb or a WWII air raid had hit. We are all too familiar with that level of destruction now.

New Orleans, though spared inundation or a direct hit, had its shipping severely disrupted. The storm surge, with a glancing blow, pushed back the Mississipi river, a river moving 2 billion cubic feet of water downstream every hour over a hundred miles back on its course. Ships that were firmly anchored when the water was going downstream suddenly found themselves in strange currents heading in the complete opposite direction, their anchors dragging the river bottom.

As close observers of Katrina would likely guess, the storm's business wasn't over. It would subsequently move up the Appalachians, collided with a front around Virginia, and dump enough water on the region to produce a 10,000 year flood, scraping hillsides clean of soil, destroying towns, killing whole families, destroying bridges and roads, and producing enough runoff to get the James River running backwards in places.

There as then, the Alphabet Soup problem became a factor, as different federal state and local agencies came into conflict. Those familiar with the FEMA situation will get what was going on. Ironically enough, the original purpose of FEMA was coordination. That, the book seems to say, is the big lesson that the government unlearned.

In disasters like Katrina or Camille, expecting localities and even states to be self-sufficient may be a pipe-dream, or at the very least an undue burden on folks who have often been hit the hardest by events. Also , stinginess in these times might not only be bad form, but bad economics, leaving previously productive cities, towns, and industries to limp along without sufficient economic muscle to fully recover. This burden passes to the rest of us through increased used of other kinds of need-based aid. The more the economy can recover, the fewer people have to be on economic assistance.

The point of disaster mitigation is to get people back up on their feet as fast as possible so the losses that come from degeneration of the communities and destruction of property and capital in the near term don't translate into a long term mess. All that said, if aid is provided without the right level of coordination, then we will see all too many resources go to waste, and all too much effort go into raising bureaucratic stumbling blocks to recovery, rather than channelling the help where it's needed.

FEMA's original role was coordination. Ultimately coordination is a necessity in all different sectors of government, but especially here. The book relates the story of how Werner Von Braun, then heading up what is now the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, took up the task of coordinating and providing relief in the wake of the disaster. The Red Cross, famed as it was, often did a terrible job, giving people vouchers to local supermarkets that often no longer existed, and which couldn't be used outside the community. We found echoes of that in our time, too.

One of the main points of the book was that local knowledge of the territory was invaluable to dealing with disasters. Plaquemines Parish, despite being almost totally destroyed and overwhelmed by Camille saw only several deaths occur in a population of tens of thousands, due to the quality planning of folks like Luke Petrovich, who knew from the experience of oil rig workers when it was time to get people moved out. Even as some conservatives criticized Mayor Nagin's evacuation of New Orleans, we forget that he did something pretty unprecedented: he evacuated 80% of a city to a safe distance on very short notice. He and the political leadership in Louisiana did much better than we Texans did, with jammed freeways for hundreds of miles in the face of Hurricane Rita.

My family didn't evacuate in the face of that, but taking a surface road home (my community is within a few miles of the local interstate), we might have been able to walk home faster than we drove: six miles required over two hours of travel. No treat for the person who drove, since this was a standard, not an automatic.

If we had wanted to go, we would have had to fight that traffic for hundreds of miles. Rita might have caught us before we found shelter. Having experienced that, I have very little sympathy for those who look down on those who failed to get out in time with Katrina. Sometimes luck is not on your side. Do you want to die because some government official has gotten snippy about your lack of initiative, bad timing, or worse, your lack of means? Being poor or unlucky shouldn't be a one way ticket to the graveyard for people caught in disasters. Our policies need to deal with realities, not ideals. By all means, crack down on fraud and corruption. since that will yield positive real world results. But don't assume starting out that every disaster victim is a con artist or a loafer. That kind of condescension will hardly yield postive results for anybody. People who have been through hell hardly deserve disrespect and humiliation heaped on top of their other troubles.

I think a disaster is a good means for measuring the integrity of a civilization. When a nation starts cutting its losses, rolling back populations, industries, economic progress and other things in the wake of disasters, that's a good sign that the country is weakening. Robust, functional societies can recover from misfortune, fix mistakes, hold on to past progress, and recover the economies and industries in question. To see our response to Katrina is to come to the awful conclusion that we may be a nation in decline.

That is not acceptable to me. It is not acceptable to me to see our standards for everything from war, to labor, to disaster relief slip into the toilet thanks to expectations lowered by years of cynicism, mistrust, and laziness from our leaders. Now's the time for this country to start having the guts to get out of this groupthink funk it's been in these last few decades and start showing the world what we're really capable of. There should not be a third lesson necessary in the face of a lesson like Katrina. We should not have to scream at our televisions "Is this all that America's good for?" We are better than this. We know we're better than this. That is perhaps why Katrina spelled such a turning point for our country in relation to the Republican leadership and President Bush. Whatever words they may feed us about things being done the best they could be in the face of a terrible natural disaster, we know that America was capable of doing things better than their leadership allowed us to.

When you know you yourself could do better than the folks in office, that is the time to start shopping for new leadership. America knows they can do better than the current lot in power. We should not settle for less than the best, especially when our nation's fortunes are on the line.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at August 31, 2006 8:27 PM
Comment #178669


What role do you think FEMA or Homeland Security should play in preparation for and response to emergencies like Katrina? I definitely agree that there should be some feds on the scene to coordinate efforts, and there should be contingency plans in place (and effectively carried out) to prepare for foreseeable possibilities. But how much of the work and financing should they facilitate? Katrina provides an excellent case study to work with.

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 31, 2006 9:52 PM
Comment #178677

The Feds should coordinate themselves and let locals on the ground coordinate efforts, only taking over management when locals are falling behind badly or letting things get out of control.

Homeland Security? It would help if somebody had defined what the department was supposed to do rather than Frankenstein a bunch of agencies together and call it a department.

I think the central point here should be pragmatism. Doing is more important than organizing; half of the coordination should simply be not putting silly barriers inbetween agencies, or allowing them to develop in the first place.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 31, 2006 10:30 PM
Comment #178681

I agree about homeland security. If they need to exist, then I say they should be all about traffic in and out, coordinating information from outside the US (old CIA) with the information from inside (FBI), and making sure that everyone knows what they need to know. But I was thinking part of this should very well be information about levies and other water systems, power systems, and transportation routes. So why shouldn’t they be the ones to coordinate the sharing of that information as well as planning emergency responses via the contingency plans or via sending in heavy equipment from other places on which they have information.

I just can’t imagine it being THAT hard where the spending power of the federal government cannot at least provide this within 24 hours. With all that personnel, computers, and mobile technology allowing people to work on the move it is inexcusable. THAT is more frequently the kind of homeland security Americans need.

So I’m getting off point a bit. I think they need to make these guys the best, most well trained, and most versatile workers in the federal government. I think we, as Americans, deserve that after these wars have cost so much and produced so little. I would be willing to allow for survelliance without my knowledge of any of my activities, BUT I need to know there is transparency in the procedures and the program’s management. AND there must be some continued threat beyond 9/11. I think if we keep discovering terrorists coming into the US with ill-intentions, that we should begin cracking down in an effective way. I don’t think you would disagree, although I grant you it gets tricky with the detainment part of the equation.

But again I digress. Natural disasters are just as threatening, and we need to take them seriously. Global warming is far from a distant fantasy. It is going to get worst.

Everything that has happened in the last decade (CA/AZ/CO wildfires, Hurricanes in FL and the gulf and atlantic coasts, etc) have all been foreseeable. Very soon, a big earthquake will likely hit LA. I’m getting at this: What happens, and who does what, how fast, etc. are questions that, in an emergency, even the private sector should have some guidelines about. Everyone wants to help, so let them. I am not for having a bunch of federal agencies be involved up until every resident is happy, but I am for having a fast, and effective response that helps promote a fast mass-private effort.

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 31, 2006 11:08 PM
Comment #178691

Stephen, that is the very best articles I have read on any of the national catastrophes that have happened.
I think this is the place to start. You have made a great beginning to put things in a progress that should be started.There should be a fund set aside for disaster relief. Ten years ago there was a place where they stored used mobile homes that were ready to be moved to any place they were needed.They were stored in Palo Pinto county in Texas. There were hundreds there, then they advertized a sale and sold them all. And these were never replaced. I think they were there in preparedness for a war with Russia.
When the cold war was over they shut down any plans for any major disaster , like they thought one would never happen again.
Yes our govermant gets paid taxes to prepare for just such an event as Katrina and at that time they had disaster relief planned for.
Then some where along the way someone said , we don’t need the goverment to provide these things for the citizens of America. That was a great mistake . As I said we pay enough in taxes to have plans in place to cover disasters such as these.
That is what the national guard was for originally. Not to go to a foreign war. They were for external for our own country or nation.
Or so I always thought. And our armed services were to fight abroard.
If we were attacked here we had the national guard for that reason and for national disasters.
Had our national guard been where they were supposed to be they could have been on the scene , as soon as they could get into NO.
So that needs to be started up again and so much confusion could have been avoided. Because they have their leaders are already in place.And one person could have had things planned out .Our Coast Guard could have been brought in with boats to carry people out to waiting buses, and triage could have been setup as soon as they knew there was a need.
Any thinking person can do wonders in times of need. If our goverment could plan things in advance of disaster, instead of being a disaster.
We could be the country we once were. I was so shocked to see things being handled like they were.
Our politicans are going to have to take a cut in pay and start working for the citizens instead of for the large corporations of this country.When they finally learn this lesson this country will finally get back to where it is a nation that can handle any thing that is thrown at us.
Other wise we are going to go down, that is where we are headed now.I have never seen this country in the condition it is in now. Bad and sad.

Posted by: Sue McAvoy at September 1, 2006 1:04 AM
Comment #178693

“Being poor or unlucky shouldn’t be a one way ticket to the graveyard for people caught in disasters.”

BAM! That is why we’re Democrats. There seems to be a mentality among both Republicans and Libertarians that basically amounts to “survival of the fittest”. Of course they’re always handy at pointing out their charitable nature.

Unfortunately very few would be truly willing to walk a mile in the others shoes. They’d rather spend their breath explaining how they would never have allowed themselves to get in those shoes to begin with.

Everything else aside, this is IMO your best article in weeks, purely damn fine work! (Although I very much enjoyed what I recall was a four part semi-fiction/ semi-factual short story that you left my imagine to solve).


Posted by: KansasDem at September 1, 2006 2:10 AM
Comment #178697

A couple of comments.

I live in Houston and the problem with the evacuation of Houston was that the News media was being alarmist. People left that should not have. I live in Northwest Houston near the loop. There was no need for people not in danger of storm surge to evacuate. By Thursday morning it was obvious that Rita was headed more northerly, yet not any news agency had the balls to say so. There was also fighting among the City, County and State as to how to react. The government, news media, and Katrina horrors led to panic.

In a real disaster you are on your own. In the real world you are on your own. All government is local. They should be held accountable.

Homeland Security is another government cover up and propoganda move to pretend they can respond. If there were responsibilty for 9/11 Tenet would have been fired instead of being given a medal. Bush should have been impeached, not reelected. Nitrogen should have been added to Jet Fuel tanks years ago. The people who died in Lexington would probably be alive. Maybe there is a reason Airlines are not economical. I know, lets deregulate them and ignore real safety cocerns. We can fool these morons into flying on them. The towers would not have collapsed then. There would have been no fire. Notice they still are flying around as Jet fuel bombs. I know I want to strap myself into one of these flying bombs. Are they any safer because you can’t take nail clippers aboard or wear T-shirts with Arabic writing on them?

Instead, they have created thousand of patronage jobs on your taxes, done nothing to increase security or safety, and screwed up FEMA with more beaurocracy. Maybe if we bomb a bunch of Arabs we can fool the public into thinking its the Islamofacists who are the real threat, instead of Corporate and Government whores sucking America dry that is the real threat. Didn’t Stalin do this?

NOAA satellites and radar are real science and real progress with regard to Hurricanes. This is the good of goverment. Don’t be fooled into believing that we know a lot more. We can watch them more now. We still can’t predict tornados or earthquakes or volcanoes, or Tsunamis. Science will eventually help us. Government should fund science, build roads and sewer and water systems. They should build power grids, set energy policy and provide coordinated basic healthcare. They should assure a steady food supply. They should provide defense and law and order.(Not read as an offense is the best defense). Then they should get the hell out of the way.

Thank You, I feel better now. But it is the truth.

Posted by: gergle at September 1, 2006 2:58 AM
Comment #178705

Stephen -
Great article. As someone who lived through both Katrina and Rita, down here in SE Louisiana, I have always felt that there was a certain portion of our govt and society which affixed blame to everyone that they could think of, without having a real clue as to what went on before and after. Instead of trying to find the most efficient means of achieving results, much effort was wasted on shifting the blame away from those in their same party, or their side of the issue.
We got the winds of Katrina, and the floods of Rita. So it was a double hit for us. The winds did their part, then the floods came along and did the rest a couple of weeks later. We watched as Texas overreacted to Rita, due to the bad press from Katrina. In both cases, the governments could not get out of their own way. Each agency tried to get things rolling, but it was clear that they had no clue as to how to fast-track anything. The beauracracy had set in long before these storms.
Meanwhile, we listened to how it “served us right” to be suffering, because New Orleans was below sea level (I live 60 miles away from New Orleans, and above sea level), or that if we didn’t evacuate, we deserved what we got. Forget the fact that you can’t take your home with you when you evacuate. Most of us DID evacuate, and still had to come home to floods and homes destroyed by rising waters or winds where neither had ever occurred before. Yet it was still somehow “our fault”.
Then we were accused of blaming George Bush for a hurricane; as if we actually thought that he could conjure up a storm with the waving of his hands. (having two degrees myself, I am pretty sure that this is not possible) When all of the aid went to New Orleans (albeit poorly managed aid), we just shrugged and rebuilt as any responsible person would. Yet, we were lumped in with those who were undeserving because of poverty, race, or whatever else some people wish to blame our “lack of planning” on. So we still got very little from any agency and have held our heads up.
Still, we hear how we should be forsaken and left to die if there is ever another storm, because we’re so stupid to live here. Meanwhile, these same people rely on the oil industry which dominates this area, the gulf seafood which they enjoy, and the commerce which traverses the Mississippi River on an hourly basis. If we all left here, they would be “shit out of luck” for all of these things, and we would be blamed for “cutting and running”, or whatever other phrase they choose to throw upon us.
Disasters can happen anywhere, and all should know this and learn from the huge problems experienced by those that live in this area. This hurricane season this year is supposed to threaten the eastern US coast more than the gulf. So I suppose we will next hear that those in North Carolina or Virginia were wrong to choose to live there. Meanwhile, more and more people are moving to coastal areas, and the problem will get worse.
I suppose that when California falls off into the Pacific from the great earthquake; New York City is wiped out due to some storm, and Yellowstone’s volcano wipes out most of the midwest, those people will also be blamed for choosing to live there.
Let’s all realize that these problems are universal, and we can only overcome them if we all unite and work for the good of all. Then and only then will we be able to say that the good ol’ USA can overcome anything.

Posted by: Cole at September 1, 2006 5:13 AM
Comment #178722

On the matter of detainment, we should do so when the evidence warrants it. Suspicion and information gained by questionable methods can often lead to the detainments being false positives, which you could say are a waste of time and money.

There’s this woman named Temple Grandin who designs slaughterhouses, who worked with agribusiness to come up with a short list of control points to ensure the humane treatment of the animals. With Chickens, for example, there’s a problem with them growing so fast that their legs won’t support them. The solution to this is to leave lights off for a time, which somehow slows their growth. Instead of asking for documentation, though, on people switching off the lights, she proposes that the test is simply whether the chickens can walk.

In slaughterhouses, which she helps design, similar strategies are employed. A whole mess of questions about floors and procedures for maintaining them is reduced to one question: Are the cattle taking falls? Cattle rarely do so if something isn’t wrong with the floors.

Results is the name of the game. We should have checklists of conditions by which we seek to detain foreigners and citizens if there is evidence that they are involved with a plot. These conditions should be based on past experience with terrorists.

The real thing, though, is, if you’ve got enough good evidence to detain somebody, why not simply arrest them? The value of probable cause and arrest warrants is that they are a good control point, at least for citizens. If you have reason to believe a crime is being committed and that these folks are involved, then you’ve likely already answered many of the questions necessary to make such detainment justified.

As for private efforts, I don’t mind them, I just think the typical situation after a disaster is that business are often in bad shape.

I live nearby to Houston as well. I guess I can’t blame people for clearing out after seeing New Orleans wiped out. I remember at one point Rita was going to overtake Galveston and hit Houston as well. Even in my neck of the woods, that was going to mean worse than Category two conditions.

The problem wasn’t necessarily with the evacuation, it was with the management of things. Lanes weren’t made contraflow until far into the evacuation. I recall Nagin and the governor did almost the exact opposite.

Ultimately, I think the botched Rita evacuation was what happens when you try and do something big on short notice without organization.

On the topic of weather forecasting, there will always be a degree of uncertainty in our calculations. You see, the smallest little error in our calculations can lead our forecasts way off track in just a matter of a week or two. That, essentially, is the Butterfly effect, and its unavoidable. We can neither get the required resolution or precision necessary to predict the outcome. The system is too sensitively dependent on the intial conditions.

That said, we can look for patterns that can allow us to extend our ability to better predict what’s going on, and I’m all for that.

Your response reveals a crucial point that I think many of the folks arguing the social darwinist angle should consider.

People would not inhabit such risky areas if there was not some interest in doing so. The Commerce, the oil reserves, the seafood, all contribute to the endurance of communities in that area.

There’s more to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast than simply the risk of hurricanes. In nature, animals will take risks to survive, if gets them access to resources that let them multiply fruitfully. People have to look at the benefits along with the risk, or else economies and societies wither away by excessive risk avoidance.

The Real way to mitigate risk is to help take the pressure off of risk prone areas. Start thinking ahead. We gain something by having a port near the mouth of the Mississippi. That should not be underestimated in the quest to minimize risk.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 1, 2006 9:18 AM
Comment #178724

Good article Stephen, but I disagree about feds taking over if they feel the local/state aren’t doing it right. The feds should help supply the supplies, equipment and manpower to help in the clean up, rebuilding, but since the local/state have a more intimate knowledge of the area, and local people then the local/state authorities should be in charged, and that is where a lot of the problems come into play. Too many chiefs and not enough indians. It seems when the feds come in it is their way or the highway, and their way is not always the right way. Their plans are based to be standard over a wide range, but every state, area, city has a different need, that is why in my opinion feds should back the local/city authorities instead of trying to run them

Posted by: KT at September 1, 2006 9:26 AM
Comment #178742

We agree almost entirely, actually, on the question of how the feds should interact with locals. I’m only saying that the Feds should be expected to takeover if that local response is sufficiently dysfunctional due to bad personnel or bad luck in terms of the storm’s damage to the local government.

I also argue that when the Feds do take over, they should not make things worse by doing so in an uncoordinated matter. It should be a relief that the feds take over when they have to, not an added burden.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 1, 2006 11:17 AM
Comment #178756

I’m just a lurker here. I am always impressed with these well researched and written posts. I am the disaster coordinator for a school district in Cal. In regards to disaster preparedness, the federal government (by way of FEMA) is requiring public agencies adopt and train first responders in the “National Incident Management System (NIMS)”. NIMS is patterned after California’s “Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS)”. These are meant to be disaster planning and management systems. Basically, the local first reponders are in charge of pre-disaster planning and post-disaster recovery. The state is next in line. The Feds get involved only when multiple agencies are involved (FBI, NTSB, Coast Guard) or the disaster is of such magnitude that Federal resources will be required. There is a lot of pre and post disaster money to be had but its tied up in a lot of red tape.
The thing that I find most outrageous with Katrina was the fact that the Superdome and convention center were designated assembly areas but apparently no plans were made to provide food, water and sanitation to the mass of people for any prolonged period of time. These people could not go back to their homes so what were they supposed to do? The local planners obviously overlooked the fact that a flooded New Orleans could not be quickly drained nor would the houses be liveable. Think of it: if you were a disaster planner how would you house tens of thousands of people displaced from their homes? To make matters worse Brownie was unable to react. I am sure the Coast Guard could have airlifted water and MRE’s to the crowd very quickly had someone had the presence of mind to order it. But this would have been counter to Bush’s YOYO mentality (you’re on your own).
I saw the Spike Lee documentary on HBO. Katrina response at all levels was pathetic, and I am embarassed as an American when Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela have to send aid (where did all that go, anyway?)
Hopefully this administration will be held accountable come November. Steve

Posted by: Steve at September 1, 2006 12:15 PM
Comment #178759

I think that the government should get out of the disaster recovery analysis business altogether and leave it to people like Steve to tell them what to do.

I’m sure between a group of paid professionals who had the right software to create any number of disaster situations, we could come up with a predefined plan for just about any scenario, from hurricane, to nuclear blast.

Outsource the “thinking” part of it, it’s not the governments role. They need to be told what to do, they do in fact work for us.

Posted by: DOC at September 1, 2006 12:23 PM
Comment #178813

Actually, I think they should hire people like Steve (Meaning the guy who posted right behind you, as a I am a Steve, too!), people who know what they’re doing, rather than hire folks who happened to have contributed a lot to a campaign.

There are too many useless SOB’s in Bush’s White House whose primary talent is organization and management for its own sake. That kind of thinking, left to itself, contributes to situations where bureaucracy and wirecharts reign supreme.

The real problem, when you come down to it, is that the Republicans do not have a results-oriented culture. They have an organization-oriented culture where you hire the people who best back the play of the leaders and the organization. Result? Failure on almost every level as each part of the system degenerates into groupthink, butt-covering, and useless bureaucratic wrangling.

Such a system has benefits: it often serves to shield elected officials from blame, protects their egos and their doctrines from internal disruption. Unfortunately, such a system has a liability: it talks and makes excuses better than it acts.

I’ll come right out and say it: when organization comes before results, regardless of party, stuff like the response to Katrina will happen. At the end of the day, we have to acknowledge that we are responsible for delivering results, even if it hurts us, because the alternative is a constant state of crisis and neverending screwups.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 1, 2006 4:24 PM
Comment #178828

SD - I’m certain that you would add value to the mix, but I was speaking of the previous poster.

The fact is, we can learn from past catastrophies, and I would bet that some people actually study them as an aid to their profession. We are just not demanding that the govenment use our most talented resources.

Corporations will pay six figures to an expert consultant. Let’s take their lead and pay the same consultant to work for us. (Notice I didn’t say “work for the government”)

Posted by: DOC at September 1, 2006 5:36 PM
Comment #178904

Actually, talking about experts and evacuation plans, I did not put this information into my post on Katrina (link at the end of this post), but there was a specialist involved with the State University of LA. who did come up with a great emergency plan. He submitted his plan to the U.S. Government. The response was to turn up their noses at it.

The real problem here is that most people do not fully realise the time line with Katrina, and exactly what the true lack of Government response was all about. I am afraid that my post is quite long, but for you devout readers, and for some of you that might want to know more about our Governments actions in the time of an emergency like Katrina?

You can find my post here:

Or, for those of you who may not want to wade through “a book”, the point is:

FEMA did exactly what this Administration wanted it to do.

Posted by: PlayNice at September 2, 2006 9:08 AM
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