Having the heart to soldier on

March 25, 2008 at 9:17 am (POLITICS)




  1. kip said,

    Either you’re looking at the world through right-wing rose-colored glasses, or you’re on some serious drugs. How in the world can you twist the facts so completely that right becomes wrong, and up becomes down?
    If you really believe what you wrote, you might be considered to be a danger to yourself or others.

  2. Jersey McJones said,

    America has always been a violent, over-armed society. There’s nothing new about that. And with the highest incarceration rate in the world (a disgusting and shameful fact), we can safely say that locking ’em all up doesn’t work. Niether does the death penalty, the drug war (a huge cause of the violence), and the vile Felony Universities known as prisons. In fact, it is quite plain that conservatism has completely and totally failed to do anything to reduce crime in America. In fact, conservative governance – from the racist and classist drug laws, draconian sentencing guidelines, puritanical drinking laws, to the racist and classist economic, trade, and regulatory policies – it can safely be said to be the cause of a great amount of American crime. On top of that, if the religious right had their way, there would be no abortion – the number reason for the reduction of crime since the early nineties.

    And what does Bush want to do? Eliminate the COPS program!

    Oh, and our failure in Afghanistan has now turned that nation into the worlds greatest heroine prodcuer! Yeah, that’ll be great for crime.

    And worst of all, the conservative-packed SCOTUS seems poised to ondue over 200 years of gun regulations! Just what we need.

    This was the most disagreeable post I’ve ever read here.

    “David Dinkins had run New York City into the ground. Rudy Giuliani saved the city, and was magnificent on 9/11.”

    Nonsense. Dinkins inherited the mess that was post-industrial, post-white-flight, Reagan-ruined New York. Giuliani, like almost every other mayor in the 90’s, was in the right place at the right time.

    “When Katrina hit, Haley Barbour, the Governor of Mississippi, took charge. His counterpart in Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, threw up her hands and said “I’m so overwhelmed.””

    No, Haley Babour took adbvantage of the hurricane to bring in casinos to pay for the mess – the people on the coast are furious with him for that. And the didn’t have to deal with anywhere NEAR the problem Blanco faced with New Orleans. The Missippi Gulf coast is nothing compared to the Lousiana Gulf Coast when it comes to population, development, logistics, etc.

    “Tim Pawlenty was magnificent during the Minnesota bridge crisis. The rebuilding is happening, without endless time spent on blame.”

    Oh, you can bet they’re blaming, alright. And they’re blaming the cheap, laizzez faire crowd that allowed our interstate infrastructure to crumble. Just watch the Franken/Coleman race.

    “In 1994, the Northridge Earthquake rocked California. Pete Wilson hired a contractor to rebuild who made two promises to him. The job would be done on time, and within the allotted budget. The left was threatening bloody murder unless minority contractors were hired. They were concerned with appearances. Pete Wilson went with his gut. Yes, the guy was a white male, but more importantly, he had a track record of successful work.”

    A famous contractor who always gets his work done on time. If you recall, there wasn’t much complaining about that deal. We only wish all contractors were that honest and efficient. Most “conservative” contractors are not. Just look at the thieves the GOP has contracted inrecent years.

    “This was typical Pete Wilson. A man who was told he was leading a state that was ungovernable rolled up his sleeves and governed. The fact that he was a former marine is no surprise. Military men are disciplined, and Wilson’s discipline was enough to get California through floods, fires, Earthquakes, riots, and a monstrous budget deficit that was a surplus when he left.”

    All the states had surpluses than. Then came the GOP one-state majority and all that was lost to history.

    “Contrast this with Detroit today.”

    California has grown exponentially since WWII. It is the fifth largest economy in the world. Mississippi has had among the greatest economic expansions in years – thank to cheap-labor crowd moving their jobs to the South. Minnesota is among the most progressive states, and it’s wealth and tech-sector success are a testament to that. Detriot was RUINED by the cheap labor crowd and their beloved “Free Trade.” The city is a ghost town, populated by roving gangs in full dress uniform (I used to visit quite often). And Chicago – the most racially segregated and racist city in America – continues that legacy.

    The police state authoritarians, afraid of their own shadows, known as “conservatives” are a big part of the reason for all the problems we have today. We need sensible national gun regs (especially on the over-producing manufacturers), decriminalization of non-violent victimless crime, and America-first trade and economic policies. The conservatives just want more police and prisons to lock up the darkies and make them feel safe under the skirt of big momma government. They only want to make things worse and then blame “liberals” who have politically powerless in America for well over a generation. Real nice. Conservatives just can never, never, never take responsibility for anything ever. You guys ran this country – from the states ot the courts to the federal government, and yet during that time, crime is up, poverty ios up, disparity is up, and you all act surprised when something aweful happens and blame it on people who are not in power nor have any considerable weight in the halls of that power. Amazing.


  3. micky2 said,

    Oh, and our failure in Afghanistan has now turned that nation into the worlds greatest heroine prodcuer! Yeah, that’ll be great for crime.”

    We dont get our dope from Afghanistan Jersey. Most of it comes right up from Mexico. Afghanistan does not export heroin, it exports raw opium to Europe where it is processed to heroin.
    It needs to be processed from opium to heroin, doing this in Mexico is easier
    Afghanistans contribution street drug related crime in America is almost nothing except for a few small batches that get through to the east coast for the “bohemian” style user who likes to smoke opium in raw form.

    “Nonsense. Dinkins inherited the mess that was post-industrial, post-white-flight, Reagan-ruined New York. Giuliani, like almost every other mayor in the 90’s, was in the right place at the right time.”

    Nonsense, the right time is always there when theres a problem. You need the right man.

    “Most “conservative” contractors are not. Just look at the thieves the GOP has contracted inrecent years”

    BS. “Most” liberal contractors using illegal labor for decades are not either.
    The rest of your post is just a big “kumbaya ” wish tank.

  4. Jersey McJones said,

    Micky, you don’t know anything about NYC.


    As for heroine, yeah, I know, most of the Afghan stuff goes throughout the East and Europe. But still, it increases the worldwide supply and thus affects us here.


  5. micky2 said,

    The proceeds from Afghan opium are spred within the Europoean community and has little to do with us and our crime rates which is the point in this post.
    If you would like to discuss the effects of global addiction I would be glad to thrash you on the subject since it is my forte`
    Liberal contractors may nave been the wrong and inaccurate description I was looking for.
    But any contractor hired under a liberal administartion is just as guilty of using illegal labor as any hired under conservative administartions.
    This is simply why either administration is dragging its feet on our immigration problems

  6. ChicagoCannonball said,

    Where to begin… where to begin.

    Luckily Jersey has been so kind as to do a point-by-point analysis, so that saves me the trouble of wasting my entire lunch hour.

    So just a few other points. First, my dear, you are a finance guy. You are not a social science guy. I could sit here and cite literature that suggests (not proves) that higher incarceration rates do not correlate with lower crime rates, same for the death penalty. I’m sure if I looked a bit harder, I could find support for (but not proving) the contrary as well. Social science does not yield absolutes as the problem is not a dichotomy. It is not about “roaming free” versus “locking up”, it is not about “good in people” versus the lack of it. Human behavior is not dictated by some binomial code and that is why a single intervention, whether it appeals to a conservative or liberal nature, will ever answer any social problem.

    I know your personal aversion to social workers as dinner companions, but there are social scientists (and I include myself in this category as a Public Health researcher) who are intelligent, who are capable of sound research design and qualified to draw conclusions from observations. When one performs valid research, you earn the right to make an inference. Even the ability to judge what qualifies as sound research puts you in a better position to agree or disagree.

    I resent that you feel an entire field of study can be reduced into the simple declarations you have made. I may not have very strong political views, but it’s mostly because I know I don’ t have the right information to back up a visceral opinion.

    Second, depicting Chicago as a lawless no-man’s land is a bit fanciful. You’ve been here, besides the weather, is it really that bad? I refuse to believe you’ve had a negative interpersonal experience walking from the hotel you stay at to the office building where you work. Did anything besides your overactive imagination make you feel unsafe when you were staying with me? And if you do honestly feel that this is a war zone, you’d better get used to it because I’m not going anywhere for the near future.

    Bad things happen. And you cannot associate every single bad thing that happens with politics or policy. The argument could be made that had the thugs been locked away previously…. had the butterfly not flapped its wings….had a million things been different, the outcome could change. But in saying that Ricky was taken too soon, you are meshing politics with spirituality and destiny, so I’d like to ask you this: you’ll recall the Jewish part between Republican and Coalition? That “Book of Life” stuff that we prattle on about every year? Where does that fall in to your perception of this situation? I don’t mean to be accusatory… just interested in how you draw conclusions.

    Don’t worry, after a few deep breaths, a drop in blood pressure, and repeating a few times that this is all intellectual, I’ll go back to just adoring you.


  7. micky2 said,

    This is better than “All in the family”

  8. Joshua Godinez said,

    “Something about liberalism believes that good can be found in everybody, and if we wait long enough, the light will shine through and everything will be fine.”

    I think you’d need to redo that sentence. All political groups seem to believe that good can be found in everybody… that shares their politics. Liberals don’t tend to believe in the good of corporate executives or NRA members although quite a few of both of those are liberals. And they tend to think that Republicans are just evil.

    Liberals define themselves as struggling against something else: Republicans, racism, ignorance, lobbyists. They are constantly on the hunt looking for a fight even if they have to start one which is why you see them demonstrating at almost any kind of event, even a peaceful Catholic mass.

    I think the reason liberals are so poor at governing is because once they have defined their struggle that’s all they care about. Collateral damage to other more important things doesn’t matter to them or just escapes their notice. This is exacerbated by the natural tendency of politicians to promote and protect themselves. Kathleen Blanco cared more about escaping blame than helping her state. Liberal policies have promoted welfare far past minimum levels, but the struggle against poverty doesn’t care about the destruction of responsible fatherhood and the family unit in low income communities. The struggle against bigots doesn’t care that their polcies of unequal treatment in favor of minorities makes it impossible to know if someone actually has talent or if they’ve been privileged and also plants the seed of doubt within the minds of the assisted.

    The irony to me is that liberals feel that conservatives don’t care about collateral damage to groups other than the ones they promote, but don’t realize that the collateral damage liberals cause actually further hurts their own groups. Policies to help blacks hurts blacks. Policies to help the poor cause more poverty.

    I don’t know Chicago, but if the argument here is that it is run by liberals and they result in more violence then that would be consistent with my theories. It’s like they say. You always hurt the ones you love.

  9. Eagle 6 said,

    Eric, Great post. One of the reasons this particular message received so much negative backwash is because you took a stand and identified yourself as a target. Most constructive thinkers figured out what your message is – take a stand and do something – don’t abdicate responsibility and blame others.

    Joshua – great post!

    Chicago: I think you missed Eric’s point. He is NOT advocating building more prisons or killing more people. His comment is: “We should work on prevention and dialogue, rather than actually building more prisons and locking criminals up.”

    How anyone can defend New Orleans’ leadership during that fiasco is beyond me. I was working at FORSCOM at the time, and I know for a fact there were about a thousand Guardsmen from Tennessee and several hundred from other states standing by, waiting for Louisiana’s governor to give the go-ahead for them to help. What many citizens don’t realize is that each governor is in charge of his/her Soldiers, and until that government either gives permission or signifies that the problem may need Presidential intervention, it is against the law for outside Guardsmen to assist. Interesting how high the crime rate shot up in Texas where a number of “helpless” newly homeless people were relocated… which is just one example of the many that Eric implies in his post.

    This isn’t necessarily a conservative versus liberal issue but more of an accountability issue. Right, wrong, or indifferent, President Bush has maintained accountability for all his decisions. I don’t agree with many of the domestic ones, but I applaud his foresight to declare war on terror now rather than wait until too late.

  10. Jersey McJones said,

    No kiddin’, huh Micky? Wild stuff!

    CC, that got my blood up too, but Eric always seems to find a way to assuage me. He reminds me of my ol’ GOP buddies from back home. They’ll drive you nuts, but they’re still good guys, huh?

    Joshua, could you define “liberal,” because I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Do you think the Daley’s are “liberals?”

    Do you have a particular “liberal” governing body in mind?

    I’m a modern American liberal, and I have no clue to whom you refer. Now, if you mean Establishment Democrats, then okay, maybe you have a few points here. but “liberals?” Really???


  11. micky2 said,

    Jersey would be ” Meathead”

  12. Jersey McJones said,

    “How anyone can defend New Orleans’ leadership during that fiasco is beyond me.”

    I’ve never once heard anyone ever “defend New Orleans’ leadership during that fiasco,” not once ever. But to compare what Barbour faced to what Louisiana faced is inane. And then to say that Louisiana should be held accountable but NOT the Bush administration, or that the Bush Administration somehow held itself up as accountable for that “fiasco,” is appalling. It was a national disaster. The interstate river known as the Mississippi, is the responsibility first and foremost of the federal government, as per the constitution – as are the interstate highways and bridges.


  13. Jersey McJones said,

    Oh man, I hated when Meathead turned to a jerk and left Gloria. I wanna be Frank Lorenzo. But you’re the cook. Maybe I could be the Jefferson’s kid. He was great.


  14. ChicagoCannonball said,


    Taken in context, the statement is:

    “The same people that refuse to let us win in Iraq are the ones that will not let us win in the cities in America. We should crack down on crime, but no ethnic profiling is allowed. We should work on prevention and dialogue, rather than actually building more prisons and locking criminals up. As for the death penalty for violent felons, heaven forbid we actually prevent recidivism.”

    So as I read it, this would be mocking the liberal stance on violent crime prevention. I do not believe there is credible research to back up the stance that more prisons or the death penalty are beneficial. Ethnic profiling I don’t know enough about to say one way or the other.

    My point is that when one puts absolutely no effort into the formation of one’s opinions, that it’s irresponsible to propose a causal relationship.

  15. micky2 said,

    It was not the destruction of the levee jersey.
    Its the way those incompetent state reps reacted. In a disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake whatever the first line of responsability falls on the state.
    People died !
    If they ask for Fed assitance that is another subject. With the info at hand per the state the president will determine if it is worthy of federal natural disaster assitance.
    They waited forever to ask and were not able to give proper directive to apply fed. assitance effectivly.
    And I will admit, Michael brown did not help in that Keystone cop scenario

  16. Jersey McJones said,

    Micky, I don’t know where you’ve been your entire life here in America, but I’ve got news for you, Sunshine – Louisiana has ALWAYS been a poltical insane asylum. And New Orleans? One of my closest friends was mudered for a lousy $20 right there on Bourbon Street. Do you want to know what I think of Louisiana?

    It is what it is.

    Read “Kingfish.” You can get it cheap – http://www.amazon.com/Kingfish-Reign-Huey-P-Long/dp/0812973836 – My dad turned me onto it. Great story about Louisiana politics.

    The point is simple, Micky, and I’m quite sure I’ve made it clear to you before:

    I was not the least bit surprised by Louisiana and New Orleans failing to deal with Katrina, but I was horrified by the federal response – especially considering it was well long enough after 9/11. It was just absurdly irresponsible.


  17. micky2 said,

    Read things in the order I wrote them Jersey.
    First of all New Orleans long history was not the issue but rather the state administration in place at the time passing the buck.
    When fed aid was implemented it was almost too late due to no fault of the Bush administration. With the exception of Brown, who was basically ineffective but dismissed in a timely fashion.
    Its like waitng a hour to call the fire depeartment because you were too busy bickering with your wife and then blaming them when your house is in ashes.
    When the feds did arrive is when things finally started to take a better turn.
    In fact, a Survey USA poll of 1,200 Americans this week voted General Honoré as the most effective leader of the relief operation, ahead of Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and, at the bottom of the list, Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
    So with that it might be a good idea for you to put away your “guilt by association with Bush” complex attached to your “BDS” complex.

  18. Joshua Godinez said,

    Well, JMJ, I thought I went into a rather in-depth description of what I think liberals are. I think what you’re looking for are names, but I was talking policies. I know the Daley’s are reputed to be political manipulators, but I don’t really know specific policies which is why I said I don’t know Chicago. Liberals: Barbara Boxer, Jackie Goldberg, Al Franken, Gavin Newsom. Outcomes: raise minimum wage – restricts hiring of low-income works, statewide ban of native American mascots – redirects money for education into unnecessary rebranding, advocacy of more gun laws – leaves citizens at greater risk of death and injury, illegal issuance of marriage certificates to same-sex couples – backlash against the issue and personal heartbreak to those same couples. Groups: NAACP, ANSWER, some would say the U.S. State Deptartment, but so far I’m resisting the inclination to agree.

    Gotta run. My son was just elected Senior Patrol Leader of his Boy Scout troop and I have to go open the office for his monthly leader meeting and I have to make an agenda for my monthly parent committee meeting. Have fun.

  19. Eagle 6 said,

    CC, Nice catch. I have no excuse for not recognizing the mockery…and now that I have read it in its proper context, I understand your point but don’t agree with your assessment. Eric has had his whole life to form his opinions, and at least two or three of them are likely the result of great effort, pain, or a life-changing situation. The whole thread is about causal relationships – accountability (i.e. doing something) versus making noise about why things aren’t the way we want them. Molly Ivens, bless her heart, was my all time favorite…”…the Bushies are evil and somebody ought to do something”… For what it’s worth, I think you are too close to the situation to be fair. If Eric can’t make a general statement about Chicago without getting blasted by someone he adores, it could lead to his second-guessing every sentence…

    It took me years to figure out that my wife didn’t want me to solve problems when she talked about them – she just wanted to unload. Liberals are like that, but they are playing in real life – not family time – which is why we have a Republic versus a Democracy.

    The media can fill people’s heads up with all kinds of falsehoods – to include the crap about New Orleans and the President’s role – but Mickey laid it out pretty well – we have local, city, state, and federal laws – and a hierarchy for handling things. A Civil War was fought over states rights a few years back. The federal government sent millions to New Orleans to supplement their banks, and they spent the money elsewhere. Bush’s fault for not holding them accountable (tongue in cheek).

    LTG Honore was First Army commander – and ONCE FEDERALIZED – the National Guard troops fell under him and were able to do something. As I mentioned previously, there were thousands of STATE assets standing by who could not legally assist until the governor asked for federal assistance. And as a side note, Obama’s innocuous statement about the majority of LA’s Guardsmen being deployed elsewhere during this time was just that –

  20. Jersey McJones said,

    “First of all New Orleans long history was not the issue but rather the state administration in place at the time passing the buck.”

    Micky, history is everything that leads up to now. Interpreting it’s effects is the key. Again, I was not the least bit surprised that Louisiana – that famously poor, stratified, odd notion of a state – failed to deliver for the victims of Katrina. I don’t know anyone who knows anything about Louisiana that would disagree with that.

    But the federal response? After 9/11? After all that fear-mongering and all the subsequent obligatory reassurances? That was okay with you, huh? Amazing. you call that “guilt by association?” Association? It was his job, Micky. It was Bush’s job and he failed at it as usual.


  21. Jersey McJones said,


    “I know the Daley’s are reputed to be political manipulators, but I don’t really know specific policies which is why I said I don’t know Chicago.”

    They’re like Chi-Town’s version of a modern Tammany Hall. Look ’em up. It’s required reading.

    This is what you call “Liberals:”

    Barbara Boxer – Yeah, I guess she’s good.

    Jackie Goldberg – Yeah, well we’ll see.

    Al Franken – No, he’s a Dem. He’s not all that “liberal.” But he’s okay, I guess.

    Gavin Newsom – From what I know of him, he’s pretty mainstream for San Fran, but hey, so is Pelosi and the rest, silly scandals included.

    You know. You’re list doesn’t exactly include people who make big waves in our way of life. When you look at people who really make and enforce policy in our nation, just how many real “liberals” could you name? Boxer? Maybe. Any more?

    You cant blame America’s problems on “liberals” unless you can name a few who had the power to make the problems in the first place.


  22. micky2 said,

    Liberals are a problem in itself.

    “It was his job, Micky. It was Bush’s job and he failed at it as usual.’

    It was not his job untill governor Blanco picked up the phone and asked him for help.
    It was a state problem at first and did not require the feds unless deemed neccessary by the state.
    They simply couldnt get their sh** together Jersey.
    And it has nothing to do with Bush subsequent obligatory reassurances that we would be safe from terrorism ! Not natural disasters that are the responability of the state first.

    Try for once in you life, just once man, to leave Bush out some failed attempt that is even remotely connected to him.

    History is only relevant to certain point.
    And it was not the point in Erics post . The point was the failures of the present administration.
    As much as you would like to trace history all the way back to the first republicans and blame it on them , it wont work

  23. Jersey McJones said,

    Micky, it was his job and he failed at his job. Period. This recession is the GOP’s. Period. They didn’t do their jobs. Period. The war was horribly mishandled and we still can’t predict an outcome. Period. They should take the responsibility. For Rightness sake, even McCain admits the failures. When will you come around?


  24. micky2 said,

    ” This recession is the GOP’s. Period. ‘

    It has absolutly nothing to do with Katrina

    “The war was horribly mishandled and we still can’t predict an outcome. ”

    This also has nothing to do with Katrina.
    But while were at it can I ask you what war in history has anyone been able to predict the outcome ?
    That was lame dude, LAME !

    “For Rightness sake, even McCain admits the failures. When will you come around?’

    Pleeeease dont force me to dig up my own quotes proving to you that I have consistantly acknowledged the mistakes.
    I believe it was the right thing to do. That is where we differ, dont forget it.

    As far as it being Bushs job to aid in Katrina, yes, it is.
    But not untill he is asked by that state !

    Here , read this, I hate to be “wordy” as you call it, but its the only way to get through to you..

    The Lesson of Georges
    The story of buses has become the seminal tale of dereliction in New Orleans. Though the city owned hundreds of buses, it failed to use them to move its most vulnerable citizens — vulnerable either because of poverty or physical infirmity — out of the bowl-shaped city to safe higher ground. Initially it seemed as if the city that knew the levees protecting it would one day break just didn’t have a plan to move so many people to safety. But it turns out that emergency-preparedness officials in New Orleans did have a plan, and they did think to use buses to evacuate the city before a major hurricane. They just decided not to fully implement it as Plan A. The plan was developed as a hurricane Georges lesson learned. This appeared in an article that appeared in November 2004 in the Natural Hazards Observer:
    Residents who did not have personal transportation were unable to evacuate even if they wanted to. Approximately 120,000 residents (51,000 housing units x 2.4 persons/unit) do not have cars. A proposal made after the evacuation for Hurricane Georges to use public transit buses to assist in their evacuation out of the city was not implemented for Ivan. If Ivan had struck New Orleans directly it is estimated that 40-60,000 residents of the area would have perished.

    So the question after dodging the Georges bullet seemed to be, “Do we figure out a way to use buses or do we allow 50,000 people to die for the crime of not having a car?” They chose Plan B.

    Hurricanes come in cycles of frequency and activity. Meteorologists don’t really know why, other than that it might have something to do with solar activity and shifting deep sea currents (but responsible scientists do know the hurricane cycle has nothing to do with humans burning fossil fuels). We are currently at the cusp of an intensification of hurricanes. We can expect more of them, and we can expect more of them to be strong.

    As the hurricane cycle kept building in the last decade or so, there were increasing calls to create a real evacuation plan. Many of those who pleaded for the use of buses will come forward soon, but for everyone who does, there are others who do not have the strength to come forward. They can’t hack their way out of their attics right now to tell us their side of it. And the journalists at the New Orleans Times-Picayune are no longer interested in speaking on their behalf. As their “Open Letter to the President” shows, they’re now the spokesmen for other political interests. It didn’t used to be that way until the inevitable happened. Now they have circled the wagons to protect the guilty and accuse the innocent.

    Each hurricane season Louisiana officials decided to play a game of Russian roulette with those lives. They knew disaster would eventually strike, but gambled that it would happen on someone else’s watch. They did take the action that nervous officials typically take: They formed a working group to reassure themselves and look busy to everyone else. According to that Natural Hazards Observer article from November 2004, here’s what the hard-charging working group came up with:

    Unwilling to merely accept this reality, emergency managers and representatives of nongovernmental disaster organizations, local universities, and faith based organizations have formed a working group to engage additional faith-based organizations in developing ride-sharing programs between congregation members with cars and those without. In the wake of Ivan’s near miss, this faith-based initiative has become a catalyst in the movement to make evacuation assistance for marginalized groups (those without means of evacuation) a top priority for all levels of government.

    So a working group decided that the workable solution to the problem of thousands of stranded citizens was to ask churches to set up a giant car-pool system. The plan further called for a DVD to get the word out, which was still in production when Katrina struck. A cynic might say that such a plan was drafted so city officials could say they had a real evacuation plan, written down on official letterhead and signed and announced and all of the other things that make bureaucrats swoon, but was in point of fact yet another exercise in passing the buck to the next schmuck to occupy the conference-table chair. If it was a real plan, it doesn’t seem a stretch to say that as hurricane Katrina bore down on the Big Easy, the real plan really failed.

    More hurricane lessons from Georges and actions for Ivan, from the Natural Hazards Observer:

    To aid in the evacuation, transportation officials instituted contraflow evacuation for the first time in the area’s history whereby both lanes of a 12-mile stretch of Interstate 10 were used to facilitate the significantly increased outbound flow of traffic toward the northwest and Baton Rouge. The distance of the contraflow was limited due to state police concerns about the need for staff to close the exits. And, although officials were initially pleased with the results, evacuees felt the short distance merely shifted the location of the major jams.

    You read it right: “for the first time in the area’s history.”

    So not only did officials keep putting bus-utilization plans on hold, they only began using an ineffectively implemented contraflow system last year. The contraflow plan was to turn both sides of the highways into outgoing lanes, but all that did was move traffic tie-ups from nearer the city to the points where the contraflow was ended. And they couldn’t make the entire highways contraflow for miles and miles because some lanes were needed to get things into the city (rescuers, etc.). City officials barely even scratched the surface of what could have been possible in competently evacuating that city using an early-warning system, buses, and contraflow.

    Third Time’s a Disaster
    The result was that in the worst-case scenario. The Natural Hazards Observer again:
    Regional and national rescue resources would have to respond as rapidly as possible and would require augmentation by local private vessels (assuming some survived). And, even with this help, federal and state governments have estimated that it would take 10 days to rescue all those stranded within the city. No shelters within the city would be free of risk from rising water. Because of this threat, the American Red Cross will not open shelters in New Orleans during hurricanes greater than category 2; staffing them would put employees and volunteers at risk. For Ivan, only the Superdome was made available as a refuge of last resort for the medically challenged and the homeless.

    It was to take ten days for rescue to get everyone out, not counting the dead. And city and state officials knew it would take ten days. For them to cry in the current crisis that 72 hours is unacceptable rings more than a little hollow.

    Now we see belatedly that there never was a reasonable local evacuation plan or shelters with a hope of withstanding a real hurricane. And the communication process before the storm was as atrocious as the plan itself. It was no different for hurricane Ivan:

    As Ivan charged through the Gulf of Mexico, more than a million people were urged to flee. Forecasters warned that a direct hit on the city could send torrents of Mississippi River backwash over the city’s levees, creating a 20-foot-deep cesspool of human and industrial waste.

    Residents with cars took to the highways. Others wondered what to do.

    In this case, city officials first said they would provide no shelter, then agreed that the state-owned Louisiana Superdome would open to those with special medical needs. Only Wednesday afternoon, with Ivan just hours away, did the city open the 20-story-high domed stadium to the public. Mayor Ray Nagin’s spokeswoman, Tanzie Jones, insisted that there was no reluctance at City Hall to open the Superdome, but said the evacuation was the top priority.

    “Our main focus is to get the people out of the city,” she said.

    Callers to talk radio complained about the late decision to open up the dome, but the mayor said he would do nothing different.

    “We did the compassionate thing by opening the shelter,” Nagin said. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t have a repeat performance of what happened before. We didn’t want to see people cooped up in the Superdome for days.”

    When another dangerous hurricane, Georges, appeared headed for the city in 1998, the Superdome was opened as a shelter and an estimated 14,000 people poured in. But there were problems, including theft and vandalism.

    Katrina was a three-peat major hurricane failure in planning. City and state officialdom didn’t do enough after Georges warned them, kept hoping against hope when Ivan spared them, and have now reaped the mighty whirlwind of Katrina. When compassion is defined as delay and the subject is hurricanes, you are asking for a serious catastrophe. President Bush’s call during the height of Katrina interrupted that compassionate liberalism. The goal of the locals was to avoid a mandatory evacuation that would cause trouble by having too many people in the shelter of last resort with too little security and no food or water. The goal was to fool more people to stay home or leave so that the city didn’t look bad or descend into violent chaos if it took a direct hit. The mayor knew the danger of mass chaos with too many stuck in the Dome and planned for none of it.

    Now we know that had Katrina held its strength and course at Cat 5+ it would have probably ripped most of the roof right off the Superdome. And the roof in that design is what holds the walls up. That was the other part of the scam. Nobody really knows if the Dome could take over 130MPH sustained, though they claimed a 200MPH design.

    So the Louisiana state governor and emergency-preparedness officials allowed them to get by all these years with a sham plan that doesn’t appear to even meet state standards. And guess what? Oh yeah, the state didn’t even measure up to the federal requirements either:

    Other federal and state officials pointed to Louisiana’s failure to measure up to national disaster response standards, noting that the federal plan advises state and local emergency managers not to expect federal aid for 72 to 96 hours, and base their own preparedness efforts on the need to be self-sufficient for at least that period. “Fundamentally the first breakdown occurred at the local level,” said one state official who works with FEMA. ‘Did the city have the situational awareness of what was going on within its borders? The answer was no.”

    This is why every city must have sharp leadership, and a disciplined, non-corrupt police force that won’t melt away into the population when under attack, like Saddam’s army. And every state must have a governor who, when under pressure to perform, will not freeze and cry before consulting with lawyers and advisers before freezing up again in a passive-aggressive way that shifts blame to those trying to help. That’s what we’re all supposed to get in exchange for the big salaries, fancy dinners, 24-hour security, and other perks that go with the powerful political jobs. We give our politicians quite a lot. Is it too much to ask them to prepare for disasters in ways that won’t get us all killed?

    New Orleans is a major port of entry and exit for commerce. It’s sinking into a bowl and is threatened by a gulf, a lake, and a river. It needed leadership, but what New Orleans had was an old political machine, a corrupt police force, and no real disaster leadership. Since the state knew of the problems with that police force though, the Louisiana National Guard could have had a dedicated special force with a plan to secure the city after the big one. A whole team of fast boats and such could have been training for years and deployed immediately to not just rescue but to keep order. That’s the governor’s job to think up something creative like that, not the feds. Coulda, shoulda, woulda. And here come the ghosts.

    When you’re clearly vulnerable to a nuke-sized catastrophe every summer, and you fake your emergency preparation like you’ve got it all under control, and then you still pretend that you have things under control even after it’s perfectly obvious that everything has spun out of control, then you shouldn’t blame others for being angry at the negligence. Who would want to have that many dead on their watch? You have to assume they had done everything humanly possible to save lives. But Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin did not even come close. Neither did others before them. Local leaders kept pulling the disaster trigger, but got empty chambers. Blanco and Nagin were just the unlucky pair who got the bullet.

    It seems as though emergency planners in New Orleans gave up serious disaster preparedness a long time ago, even as the hurricane cycle swung toward intensity. They counted on luck and instantaneous “rescue welfare.” Only the recent hurricane cycle woke them up. Slightly. They were still half asleep, under a strong spell of complacency any New Orleans voodoo witch would have been proud of casting. Anyone left out of the evacuation plan was given a massive overdose of false hope. It was playing Russian roulettewith 50,000 people, first fearing, then knowingthis time that the fatal bullet had moved into the chamber offshore, just praying that it didn’t actually go off when the trigger was pulled at the shoreline and hoping to blame the world’s universal scapegoat, George Bush, for racist genocide if it did.

    The levees were designed to protect against hurricanes only in the lowest three of five categories of intensity, Strock said. Katrina was Category Four when it hit the U.S. Gulf Coast on Monday.
    “We figured we had a 200- or 300-year level of protection. That means that an event that we were protecting from might be exceeded every 200 or 300 years,” Strock told reporters. “So we had an assurance that 99.5 percent, this would be OK. We, unfortunately, have had that 0.5 percent activity here.”

    “The intensity of this storm simply exceeded the design capacity of this levee.”

    Plans, working groups, more plans, an in-progress DVD, a near-miss, a relieved sigh, a folding of the hands, and then back to sleep. The city and state had directives to plan the planning session to start the process of making a plan, but little in the way of any real plan to deal with a real disaster. So the buses sat in their lots. The winds and the floods came, the unlucky local officials kicked in Plan B, and the city of New Orleans drowned with its least fortunate trapped inside. The evacuation plan was a plan, but it was really just a ghost plan with ghost buses and ghost drivers, with ghost emergency supplies kept in ghost “shelters” under control of a ghost police force with a ghost emergency communications system overseen by a ghastly governor.

  25. micky2 said,

    My bad, I keep trying to put in the link but it wont take.
    Its a National Review article done in September 06, 2005, 2:39 p.m.
    “Ghost Plan for a Ghost Town
    Ghastly oversight in New Orleans.”

    By Chris Regan & Bryan Preston

  26. No Runny Eggs » Blog Archive » The Morning Scramble - 3/26/2008 said,

    […] also done “That Smell” from Lynyrd Skynyrd; Mary sniffed out a stinky-money bust. – Eric explores why Iraq is improving while Detroit, DC and Chicago are getting worse. The same can be said for […]

  27. Jersey McJones said,

    The National Review?

    Look, we all agree that Louisiana failed with Katrina – so did the Bush administration. As usual.


  28. micky2 said,

    I would trust the nNational review before I trusted the NYT or Huffington post, or Wash. Post.
    And that is all really beside thepoint as usual here.
    People died in New Orleans beause of the State level failures. Not because of Bush or any of his administration.
    The only thing the Bush administration failed at was not being able to bring them back to life.
    Had it not been for the federal response I shudder to think what the death toll would of been.
    It sounds to me like you did not even read my last post. It is full of nothing but examples of failure on behalf off two utterly useless liberals who did nothing but parade around and grandstanding on how keen they were on the needs of their community. And when push came to shove they failed on a level so grand it is no where near any of the percieved failures you place on Bush.
    Bush took the situation by the balls as he has done with many things and fired Michael Brown whithin days of his appointment mostly because he lied on his resume and it was becoming clear that he didnt know what he was doing.

    Had the state even began to do its job there would of been no reason at all to even call the feds.
    Thank god that one of the positive things to come of Katrina was the exposure of just how huge a failure liberals can be in a time of disaster.

  29. Kwame said,

    Haiti and Zimbabwe are the national equivalents of Detroit and DC. Well run bureaucracies of efficient civil servants. Selfless, prosperous and true.

    We laud the total absence of corruption seen in Detroit, Haiti, Zimbabwe. The lack of crime, the lack of poverty. These are truly paradises on earth.

    Everyone yearns to live in these safe havens of delight!

  30. Pamela Reece said,

    I couldn’t agree more with this post. You have made some excellent and honest points. Liberals are frightened to address these issues because it is the liberal party that refuses to accept any accountability for these issues.

    Traveling through Chicago, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio are not to be taken lightly. Not if you care about coming out alive. As I head to down-town Chicago tomorrow, I know exactly where to steer clear of. Isn’t it ironic that all of these Wards are under the guide of liberals……..

    P.S……Thanks for coming by my website, strange we haven’t met before. I included your website on my website. Great job!!

  31. Jersey McJones said,

    Ya’ know, Pamela, did it ever occur to you why people live in those conditions? Where did these people come from? Oh yeah! The racist South! Gee, I guess conservatives caused all this after all, huh?


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