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Thread: The Katrina Catastrophe

  1. #1
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    Default The Katrina Catastrophe

    As the absolute horror of American refugees continues to unfold on the nightly news, I can't help feeling heart-breaking sympathy for the tens of thousands of victims who are still, 5 days later, trapped in a dying city.

    I did a little research, to try to understand how the defenses of one of the North American continent's oldest cities has fallen to this dire condition. It ain't pretty.


    January 2001: Bush appoints Joe Allbaugh, a crony from Texas, as head of FEMA. Allbaugh has no previous experience in disaster management.

    April 2001: Budget Director Mitch Daniels announces the Bush administration's goal of privatizing much of FEMA's work. In May, Allbaugh confirms that FEMA will be downsized: "Many are concerned that federal disaster assistance may have evolved into both an oversized entitlement program...." he said. "Expectations of when the federal government should be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level."

    2001: FEMA designates a major hurricane hitting New Orleans as one of the three "likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country."

    December 2002: After less than two years at FEMA, Allbaugh announces he is leaving to start up a consulting firm that advises companies seeking to do business in Iraq. He is succeeded by his deputy, Michael Brown, who, like Allbaugh, has no previous experience in disaster management.

    March 2003: FEMA is downgraded from a cabinet level position and folded into the Department of Homeland Security. Its mission is refocused on fighting acts of terrorism.

    2003: Under its new organization chart within DHS, FEMA's preparation and planning functions are reassigned to a new Office of Preparedness and Response. FEMA will henceforth focus only on response and recovery.

    Summer 2004: FEMA denies Louisiana's pre-disaster mitigation funding requests. Says Jefferson Parish flood zone manager Tom Rodrigue: "You would think we would get maximum consideration....This is what the grant program called for. We were more than qualified for it."

    June 2004: The Army Corps of Engineers budget for levee construction in New Orleans is slashed. Jefferson Parish emergency management chiefs Walter Maestri comments: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay."

    June 2005: Funding for the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is cut by a record $71.2 million. One of the hardest-hit areas is the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, which was created after the May 1995 flood to improve drainage in Jefferson, Orleans and St. Tammany parishes.

    It keeps coming back to actions and consequences. The CEO President made a series of bad decisions, including his bootless war of conquest in Iraq, and now the consequences are being borne by those least able to bounce back from the destruction of their city. 5 days after the storm passed, we're still watching New Orleanean families drag the bodies of their dead through the streets. And I can't help but wonder how many of the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama National Guard currently in Iraq are watching the destruction of their homes from bases in Iraq, when in years past they would have been home to help, to rescue, to preserve.

    And I truly hope that those in power whose decisions set the stage for this biblical disaster at least pay the price of regret for their choices.

    Donate to the Red Cross. They can sure use the cash.

    Take Care, and hug someone you love tonight -

    ZC
    "The founding fathers, in their wisdom, devised a method by which our republic can take one hundred of its most prominent numbskulls and keep them out of the private sector where they might do actual harm." -- P.J. O'Rourke

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    Default History goes back waaay farther than that

    Try researching a little deeper than that. They've known they were in trouble down there from the day they first started building those retaining walls to hold back the lake and the ocean. When was that? Well before you and I were born. They've known there was a problem when they noticed that the city was slowly sinking in the delta mud. Maybe they shouldn't have built all those sky scrapers. They knew they were below sea level and in the path of a hurricane someday. They have just spent the better part of the last century in denial that it could happen to them.

    Blaming Bush for the whole problem is a copout. Clinton didn't do anything either. Nor did Bush Sr., Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, LBJ, or Kennedy. I don't see you trying to cast blame on any of them. You bias against Bush is embarrassingly transparant.

    Maybe you should try blaming the mayer of N'awlins for not having a working evacuation plan in place. Or how about the Governer? It's his state. He should have had a plan in place as well. Everyone knew it wasn't an 'if' but a 'when' it happens.

    OH OH OH!!!! I got it. Let's blame their ancestors for being stupid enough to build a city in a place with no foundation. They knew because they couldn't even bury their dead underground because of the high water table. Reverse raparations in action.

  3. #3
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    Default This was the "Gentle" warning!

    For over 40 years, knowlegeable engineers, and many others have warned of the perilous situation New Orleans was in, and with the continous growth, the situation got worse every year . .

    The odd thing about the current situation is that the flooding currently seen is "Minor" to what can happen! For over 40 years, the Corps of Engineers have worked at containing the Atchafalaya River and keeping it from joining the Mississippi just northwest of N.O. Over the years they have built a system of levees and dams to keep the Atchafalaya River in it's own channel . . But, most engineers contend that in a flood situation, only ONE of the elements that they have constructed would need to fail to put 85% of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico with the loss of life in the thousands . .

    Based on that, they got off easy Monday . . most of the inhabitants, actually, if they were smart enough, could've walked out of New Orleans on one of the thruways . . instead they chose to wade around in flood waters, and rob and loot . . or sit . . some chose to sit in their attics, which were, in a lot of cases, "Below Sea Level" . . . rocket science, here . .

    New Orleans is basically a Ghetto in a Ditch . . . No federal money should be spent resurrecting a place that should be the West end of a Lake . . . In the best of conditions, the physical location is basically untenable . . while we criticise those in California for living on a "Fault Line" . . We feel sorry for those who choose to live not on an island, but "Below Sea Level" and defy physics everyday to do so! I think we're wasting compassion here . . get all those people anyplace else, and forget it . . .

    If we're going to "Build a Better New Orleans", and we're gonna do it with our tax and insurance Moneys . . let's do it someplace they don't have to worry about inundation from any one of three sources, Lake Ponchartrain, the Mississippi, or the Atchafalaya River, or as the case is now, all three of them!
    "A man with a firearm is a citizen... a man without one is a subject"

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    Default

    Large! I have this poll of www.pueblocoloradocasino.com with your name on it. I know that you would be a great city manager for the great town of Pueblo Colorado. You have understanding for what needs to be done. I sure hope Pueblo Colorado has someone like that in City Government with a mind as your. If I live there I would run of office but that is just me. James










    Quote Originally Posted by large
    For over 40 years, knowlegeable engineers, and many others have warned of the perilous situation New Orleans was in, and with the continous growth, the situation got worse every year . .

    The odd thing about the current situation is that the flooding currently seen is "Minor" to what can happen! For over 40 years, the Corps of Engineers have worked at containing the Atchafalaya River and keeping it from joining the Mississippi just northwest of N.O. Over the years they have built a system of levees and dams to keep the Atchafalaya River in it's own channel . . But, most engineers contend that in a flood situation, only ONE of the elements that they have constructed would need to fail to put 85% of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico with the loss of life in the thousands . .

    Based on that, they got off easy Monday . . most of the inhabitants, actually, if they were smart enough, could've walked out of New Orleans on one of the thruways . . instead they chose to wade around in flood waters, and rob and loot . . or sit . . some chose to sit in their attics, which were, in a lot of cases, "Below Sea Level" . . . rocket science, here . .

    New Orleans is basically a Ghetto in a Ditch . . . No federal money should be spent resurrecting a place that should be the West end of a Lake . . . In the best of conditions, the physical location is basically untenable . . while we criticise those in California for living on a "Fault Line" . . We feel sorry for those who choose to live not on an island, but "Below Sea Level" and defy physics everyday to do so! I think we're wasting compassion here . . get all those people anyplace else, and forget it . . .

    If we're going to "Build a Better New Orleans", and we're gonna do it with our tax and insurance Moneys . . let's do it someplace they don't have to worry about inundation from any one of three sources, Lake Ponchartrain, the Mississippi, or the Atchafalaya River, or as the case is now, all three of them!

  5. #5
    Forum Royalty large's Avatar
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    Default And they blame Bush . .

    I love it! The Democrats, the Black Caucus, the Mayor and the Chief of Police of New Orleans have all pubicly blasted the President of the United States for doing "Nothing" for two days . . . He's been called a Racist, a slacker and a "Bad president" . . .

    Aw, c'mon . . now again, I have my complaints about some of the things the Current administration has said and done, as I did with the preceding administrations . . BUT: When you choose to blame people for not doing their jobs, lets put it where it belongs . . the people who have been elected by the local people because they are the first people to make decisions and who will tell the people up the chain what they need in the way of resources . .

    I say that comfortably, because . . Do you see the same problems in any other place except New Orleans? No, the local people took command of the situation, the police and fire departments have responded quickly and kept the outlying towns from even resembling the situation in N.O. . . The Mayor, the Police Chief, and all the rest of the "First Responders" had no leadership, neither before, during, of after the storm . . . and the local "First Responders" still aren't doing their jobs a full week later . . it took the active military first, because the Louisana Governor sat on her wide A** and did nothing for 2 days, she never even alerted the N.G. until after the storm! She only sent in the N.G. after the rescue helicopters were being shot at!

    At Noon today, Mountain Time, FEMA announced that ALL ports that had been closed, were open to shipping, with the exception of New Orleans . . Tell ya something?

    Bush could've, probably should've just gone to Washington and waited for the calls . . he's supposed to have people who take care of things like this . . and if he doesn't, then he'd better Damn well fire the people who're supposed to do that and hire some who will . . if it's up to him to micro manage something the Federal Government isn't even by Constitution, obliged to do actually, it's a "State" thing y'know . . . then he really has a problem!

    Chertoff is his guy to do the FEMA thing . . FEMA can't do much until they know what is required and being a bureaucracy, it doesn't move too fast . . th' military gets it done quick . . But it's still the people on th' ground at the point of need who knows what needs are to be met and the priority in which they're met! . . .

    So let's not blame the Feds . . they can only react intelligently when there's intelligent requests made!
    "A man with a firearm is a citizen... a man without one is a subject"

  6. #6
    Digger Dan
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    Default Natures Priorities

    Nature's continues, as it always has, to inform. It is a far better predictor of the future than anything we humans do. To make the world a better place for human habitation--or just human survival, we have to listen to its messages. There is only one group that is responsible for the disaster in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast--humans--we need to all share the blame and the cost--put our backs to the task of immediate relief for those who are hurting the most and analize every tick of Nature's warning clock--tens of thousands ticks that generations have ignored--the task is mindboggling, but our choices are coming very close to the point of no return for civilization.

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    Default Lost in Translation

    After 9/11 the Administration created the Department of Homeland Security, a super-sized Cabinet agency that enfolded FEMA. DHS produced a National Reponse Plan in December 2004 that specifies how all levels of government are expected to function in the event of a catastrophe, such as Katrina. You can read the entire 90-odd pages at the link below. I have pasted a couple of selections.

    http://www.dhs.gov/interweb/assetlib...RPbaseplan.pdf

    From President Bush's introduction to the NRP:

    ". . .The end result [of the National Response Plan] is vastly improved coordination among Federal, State, local, and tribal organizations to help save lives and protect America's communities by increasing the speed, effectiveness, and efficiency of incident management."

    The Plan allows the DHS to act without invitation from the onsite governments, but at the least,

    ..."Notification and full coordination with States will occur, but the coordination process must not delay or impede the rapid deployment and use of critical resources. States are urged to notify and coordinate with local governments regarding a proactive Federal response."

    One of the selling points for the creation of the Dept of Homeland Security was the claim of improved efficiency, among other things. It appears that benefit has not been realized.

    It also appears that President Bush badly overestimated the ability of DHS to respond to imminent threats to American lives, and DHS failed to follow its own written plan.

    Take Care -

    ZC
    "The founding fathers, in their wisdom, devised a method by which our republic can take one hundred of its most prominent numbskulls and keep them out of the private sector where they might do actual harm." -- P.J. O'Rourke

  8. #8
    Digger Dan
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    Default World Press reviews of Katrina Catastrophe by the BBC

    China's Renmin Wang
    If the US could shift part of its astronomical military spending to counter-terrorism, guarding against natural disasters, epidemic disease control and other aspects, then the 9/11 attack, Hurricane Katrina, the spread of Aids and other tragedies could be avoided or mitigated.

    Malaysia's Berita Harian
    When the tsunami hit Asia last December, Bush succeeded in showing off his abilities by offering appropriate and well-organised humanitarian aid, but it seems he has been unresponsive, disorganised and discriminatory in dealing with the Katrina disaster.

    Indonesia's Suara Merdeka
    People may hate the selfish US stance. They may also condemn its military invasion of Iraq or criticise Washington's threats to Iran, Syria and North Korea. But, it is inhuman to be grateful for the American people's disaster. Indonesia, in particular, must not forget the services of the US military when the tsunami devastated Aceh.

    Singapore's The Straits Times
    The dead are only beginning to be gathered up. In Aceh and Thailand's beach resorts, those killed by the tsunami last December received the due respect of swift recovery, followed by identification. New Orleans people will not let Mr Bush forget this.

    Australia's The Age
    President Bush is increasingly seen as out of touch with ordinary people and with reality on the ground - in New Orleans and Iraq - and also on issues such as climate change. The president and, by association, Republicans are highly vulnerable for the first time in years. How the Administration responds has broader implications, too - a deeply unpopular, lame duck president could alter the balance of global leadership.

    Afghanistan's Eslah
    President Karzai has pledged 100,000 dollars for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. America has helped Afghanistan in various ways. Even if the assistance promised to the victims of Hurricane Katrina seems a symbolic act, it nevertheless shows that our country has credibility and authority in the international community.

    Nahum Barnea in Israel's Yediot Aharonot
    Just as 11 September 2001 changed the American agenda from internal matters to foreign policy and the war on terror, so Katrina is liable to take America back to its internal agenda: dealing with the environment, society, and the gaps between whites and blacks and between rich and poor.

    Adli Sadiq in the Palestinian Al-Hayat al-Jadidah
    After Hurricane Katrina, a new section of the American public is waking up to the wretchedness of the administration's policies and to the disasters that have hit Americans as a result. Today's Iraq is worse than yesterday's, and there are not enough helicopters to tackle the hurricane. Bush and his administration will be judged by history.

    Iran's Resalat
    Katrina was a natural catastrophe, but many experts believe America's policies have deepened the roots of the disaster. America had allocated the budgets for these areas to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Nick Reimer in Germany's die tageszeitung
    New Orleans has already become a symbol: never before in human history has a natural disaster been predicted in such exact detail. Despite this, the prediction had no effect. It's as if mankind has lost the power to correct its own mistakes: In New Orleans, it slid into catastrophe submissively and with eyes wide open. Climate change has already arrived.

    Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda
    [Russian] Emergencies Ministry planes have been under starter's orders for several days. But the go-ahead from the other side of the ocean never came. It leads you to think: Is Washington afraid of having US citizens rescued by people who are not flying the stars and stripes? Are they trying to preserve the prestige of a state that does not take easily to accepting aid from a "third-world" country? But isn't the saving of human life more important than PR or ideological considerations?

    South Africa's Star
    The death and destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina also revealed the racial fissures in American society. Most of the hapless survivors who filled New Orleans' Superdome were black. Bush's other weaknesses are his poor environment record and his management of the US economy.

    Zimbabwe's Herald
    The fact that New Orleans is a southern town predominantly populated by African-Americans explains why President George W. Bush did not see the need to cut short his holiday. All that Bush has done so far is to issue threats against the victims, and deploying trigger-happy American troops - fresh from abusing Iraqi prisoners - to go and "restore order".
    Last edited by Digger Dan; 09-06-2005 at 07:15 AM. Reason: Add source of article

  9. #9
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    Default If It Keeps on Rainin', Levee's Gonna Break

    http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_3004197

    Frustrated: Fire crews to hand out fliers for FEMA
    By Lisa Rosetta, The Salt Lake Tribune

    ATLANTA - Not long after some 1,000 firefighters sat down for eight hours of training, the whispering began: "What are we doing here?"

    ...Many of the firefighters, assembled from Utah and throughout the United States by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, thought they were going to be deployed as emergency workers.
    Instead, they have learned they are going to be community-relations officers for FEMA, shuffled throughout the Gulf Coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number: 1-800-621-FEMA.

    ...Federal officials are unapologetic.
    "I would go back and ask the firefighter to revisit his commitment to FEMA, to firefighting and to the citizens of this country," said FEMA spokeswoman Mary Hudak.

    ..."There are all of these guys with all of this training and we're sending them out to hand out a phone number," an Oregon firefighter said. "They [the hurricane victims] are screaming for help and this day [of FEMA training] was a waste."
    Firefighters say they want to brave the heat, the debris-littered roads, the poisonous cottonmouth snakes and fire ants and travel into pockets of Louisiana where many people have yet to receive emergency aid.
    But as specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.

    "You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie" in repairing the President's PR levee. After all, no one anticipated this levee would break.

    Take Care -

    ZC
    "The founding fathers, in their wisdom, devised a method by which our republic can take one hundred of its most prominent numbskulls and keep them out of the private sector where they might do actual harm." -- P.J. O'Rourke

  10. #10
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    Talking Some facts . .

    Once again, I'll say, the feds could've done better . . But they must have help from the cities and states affected . .

    The President nor his agents can act in any capacity until the STATE has asked for Help, unless he "declares Martial Law during an Insurrection". That is a passage read by a Constitutional lawyer this afternoon . . no insurrections there!

    And the Governor of Louisana has failed to agree with any of the things the federal government has asked to be allowed to do . . and yet She and the Mayor of New Orleans bleat and cry like they were the only area affected!

    As far as Corps of Engineers budget cuts . . . The cuts were made at the behest and recommendation of several congressmen and knowledgeable engineers, BECAUSE . . the money previously had been either spent on other things unaccountable or the contracts were not being let by the Corps for a myriad of reasons . . one of them local corruption. Funding on several Corps projects have been halted and are currently being investigated both by congress and several Law enforcement agencies. Also a large share of the funding that has been cut affects not the Mississippi projects nor the Ponchartrain, but the Atchafalaya River Project . . which has had more money thrown at it than both of the others!

    Do your homework on an objective level or it will appear to be slanted . . as it does
    "A man with a firearm is a citizen... a man without one is a subject"

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