Thursday, September 08, 2005

not late-breaking, just heartbreaking

Louisiana Senator Mary L. Landrieu implores the President to "relieve unmitigated suffering" and end FEMA's "abject failures."

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.

In The New Yorker, David Remnick takes a look at the political ramifications of Katrina.

And yet, to a frightening degree, Bush’s faults of leadership and character were brought into high relief by the crisis. Suntanned and relaxed after a vacation so long that it would have shamed a French playboy, Bush reacted with fogged delinquency, as if he had been so lulled by his summer sojourn that he was not quite ready to acknowledge reality, let alone attempt to master it.

My roommate's been wondering where Dick Cheney's been. Apparently, in Mississippi, being told to go f*ck himself.

Firefighters sent to Atlanta to help instead sat around a hotel and learned how to answer phones under FEMA's orders.

On Monday, some firefighters stuck in the staging area at the Sheraton peeled off their FEMA-issued shirts and stuffed them in backpacks, saying they refuse to represent the federal agency.

A trio of Duke University sophomores say they drove to New Orleans late last week, posed as journalists to slip inside the hurricane-soaked city twice, and evacuated seven people who weren't receiving help from authorities. A teenager commandeered a bus to evacuate people to Houston before officials could get their act together.

The Martian Anthropologist breaks it down.

  • The type of devastation and loss of life that Hurricane Katrina has inflicted on New Orleans was predicted. And not by crackpots. By FEMA and a host of others.
  • Despite that, earlier this year, President Bush cut funding to major hurricane and flood protection projects in New Orleans. Also because of this, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane was shelved.
  • Because of President Bush's pet War in Iraq, the National Guard is stretched way too thin. The National Guard is supposed to protect the homeland and help with local disasters, not go fight wars.
  • Because of Katrina and the nation's lack of preparedness, you will soon be paying $4.00 a gallon for gas.
Donna Tartt: The levee breaking was always the terror of the Delta.

The recent hurricanes in Jeb Bush's Florida were handled briskly, there was immediate on-the-ground help, delivered with military efficiency. But these people in New Orleans are poor, they're elderly, they're African-American, they aren't important to politicians: they've waited for days, they're sick and dying, and the help still hasn't come. It's an emergency and a disgrace.

An interview with a New Orleans resident on the situation at the Convention Center before evacuation.

I didn't vote for him.

Tingle Alley and Maud Newton provide some additional links.

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