Saturday, September 03, 2005


From Yahoo news. Evacuation center at sunset yesterday.

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Up at dawn. Sad, disturbing dreams of being a refugee. For a million people, the dream is their waking reallity. So I slog onwards, in my own, much more protected way. Watching and witnessing. I read the Mayor of New Orlean's interview. He was stonewalled from above, you know. Why do the right wingers pretend people have to call for help when it is obvious they are screaming for help? This deliberate cluelessness is why right wingers make hideous leaders. They are so used to filtering out the sounds of humans dying, wailing for help..."Time for her to get on with her life and for me to get on.." as Bush likes to say, his chill out comments now have to be switched to him holding destitute people.

Note that Bush hasn't reamed out his team. He smiles as he coddles the suffering. But he has not one strong word for his own team. Instead, he goes around seeking praise and love from his own cronies who lavish it upon Bubble Boy. From the WP:
"Today was a turning point, I think," he said. "My philosophy is never get too high, never get too low. ... I always try to keep my emotions in check and yesterday I kind of went off a little bit. I was worried about that, but it maybe worked out.'"'

Nagin said Bush gave him a hearty greeting and did not seem at all offended by Nagin's earlier outburst. Bush spent Friday on a daylong tour of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

"I do think the pleas for help basically got the nation's attention, and the nation's attention got everybody to stop and re-evaluate what was going on, including the president. ... He basically said, 'Look, our response was not what it should have been and we're going to fix it right now.'"
NOTE: Bush went to his old family friend, Haley Barbour a day before going to New Orleans. This was not the correct way to do things. He should have gone to the city first!
But he couldn't. He needed to be stroked, first.
Astrodome in Texas: no one should stay here more than three days.

From Yahoo:
college student stuck in a flooded New Orleans hospital described desperate conditions in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, telling his father of dozens of dead patients and describing a makeshift morgue in an operating room.

Erik McCall, 23, spoke with his father for the first time late Thursday from Methodist Hospital, where he and his mother have been since she was called in to work there last weekend as a nursing administrator.

What attorney Terry McCall heard from his son was heart-wrenching. McCall provided a recording of the phone call to The Associated Press on Friday.

His son, a University of New Orleans student recovering from appendix surgery, told him patients were just starting to be evacuated by helicopter Thursday night. At least 40 had died since the hurricane made landfall, and food and water were scarce.

"We're just dying of dehydration and exhaustion," Erik McCall told his father by cell phone. "There's not much else to do and, you know, we're working our asses off. I'm working on about six hours of sleep over the past three days."

The younger McCall said corpses had been stacked in a second-floor operating room, and patients on ventilators were being kept alive during power outages by people taking turns squeezing manual breathing devices.

The first days after water from Lake Ponchartrain flooded the hospital's first floor, Erik McCall said he feared they wouldn't be rescued because they had no contact with anyone.
Back to the stuff about asking for help: how can people do this when huge catastrophes hit? Eh? Just knowing a catastrophe has hit, one must assume the worst and hope for the best not the other way around. One has to go out and check. We had a tornado hit our village once. No one was killed, thank god, but as soon as it swept by, we all ran off to see if anyone was hurt! Heads were counted, people went to the back hill roads to see if anything was wrong!

In this case, it was obvious before the hurricane that it was going to be terrible.

From the Atrios forums, unconfirmed information, make of it what you will, we will see if it is real or not:
Tidbit from Washington Week in Review: NO surgeon contacted Al Gore (yes,that Al Gore-he'd worked on Al's son after that awful accident) to get help in getting himself and others (patients, staff) out of NO.

Gore, on his own dime, arranged for two planes to come for everyone who needed to get medical care and staff.

Then he called FEMA and was not given "permission" to come to the airport, to transfer patients, etc. Told him he needed a "number" to transfer patients; Gore asked how to get one; told number can come only from a local government's request.

Didn't catch outcome. Anyone?

I'd earlier commented that what was needed was a Dunkirk type rescue, with local sportsmen, boaters, fishermen, etc., using their boats to rescue stranded people in the flooded areas.

Today read here (or on Americablog-things begin to merge) that small flotillas of boats have been trying to do just that--all turned away by-- guess who? FEMA! Ding, ding, ding! We have a loser agency!

Where is the common sense of the people running FEMA? Stymied by Chertoff and FEMA Brown? Colored by the focus on terrorism and that stupid colored warning system?

People are not stupid--they tried to do something effective.

This is about as stupid as Bush mindlessly saying zero tolerance for "looting," that stealing water and food for dehydrated babies and old people, for anyone in this hideous septic soup, is the same as stealing a plasma TV or guns.

Republicans CANNOT govern and they're giving governance a bad name. They cannot feel, at least today's version of Rethugs.

If Bobo is right, that terrible catastrophes lead to major political shifts, the Dems better step up for this soft ball. The Repigs don't pitch very many.
jawbone | Email | 09.02.05 - 10:02 pm | #
Heard on the radio.

Now one poster discusses what is being talked about at Daily Kos:
And, to my surprise, the nice lady answering the phone said it was true and they told/asked/ordered not to enter NO. She then went right into her spiel about all the other work the Red Cross was doing across the region. I said that's nice, but I still didn't understand why they weren't in NO. To my amazement, she patiently explained it to me. I even called back to verify what she said. This time she asked if I was media, I said no, just a concerned and confused contributor.

So here goes: Homeland Security (her term, not mine) told the Red Cross DO NOT enter New Orleans and says this still now. And why, you may ask? Not Security. Not worker safety. Not lack of access. It was because people would be drawn to the Red Cross food and they wouldn't want to go to be evacuated. So I asked: "The people starving and dying at the convention center yesterday couldn't get Red Cross food and water because they would be drawn to the food at the convention center, where they were, and not want to be evacuated from the convention center where no evacuations were going on or planned and all the while they are dying". (Actually, it was a couple questions.) She went back into her spiel about all of the other good work they were doing. When I asked again, she said yes, that was true. She seem relieved to admit it.

In closing, I asked if she asked this question before since she was very familiar with the answer she gave. She said yes. And I promised another donation. Which they will get after this post.

So, the question for Bushies, why was the Red Cross banned from NO when they knew people were starving? Could it be they were saving the convention center rescue until Bush's visit today? It certainly seems like it. Doesn't it?

Red Cross National Affairs number (202-303-5551)

View Comments | 308 comments
If this is true, it is a crime. I seriously mean, people should be arrested. Depraved indifference. Here is another, and trust me, I read similar stories elsewhere on the web! Daily Kos:
This morning I got a call from a friend in Kentucky. He told me that a bunch of his buddies from a search and rescue crew had left for New Orleans with their boats and trucks to lend a hand. When they got there, the FEMA guys wouldn't let them in. Instead they were sent to a "staging" area with other volunteers, FEMA said they were all going in "together"

DWKING's diary :: ::
Needless to say they were pissed off, having to spend the night hanging around while people were dying. They were there to save lives not march in a parade.

Sure enough, as I watched Bush make his tour this morning, the parade started in New Orleans, in time to get the people good and grateful before BUSH'S arrival.

And right on cue, as he made his way through the devastated areas, his minions provided freshly bathed and fed black girls to hug him. Click! Click! I suspect some serious scrubbin' is happening in a shelter in New Orleans right now!
FEMA seems bent on preventing access rather than getting aid in. Canada offered giant helicopters days ago, they should have had priority transport to the scene of disaster.

Hell, these are helicopters America used to have but doesn't anymore since we parked nearly every one of them in the Middle East! Ridiculous.

The housing of the refugees is an ongoing mess. They opened one base that was closed by the Pentagon. Great. They need more than that. The people stuck in the new developing hell hole, another stadium, are not being processed out, they are being parked there!

Is the government moving them to hotels? I read that hotels in Tallahassee are ordering refugees with money to leave so they can accomodate fans of the local college for the first game of the season! Have people no hearts, no souls? Is rah-rahing for the old home team more important than helping the helpless? What ails people? Ever hear the word "sacrifice"? Where is Jeb? Shouldn't he issue an executive order, telling the hotels they can't evict ANYONE for ANY REASON? Think I wouldn't issue such an order?

I don't run America. Mostly Republicans run this joint.

From the NYT, a letter from Old Europe:
To the Editor:

Much of the Netherlands, like much of New Orleans, lies below sea level. On Feb. 1, 1953, a similar disaster happened here. Close to 2,000 people lost their lives. This was not long after World War II, and many of our dikes had been neglected. Even so, some portions had been brought up to date. It was there that death was kept at bay.

The whole country vowed that nothing like that should ever happen again, and the politicians followed suit. In the next 25 years, the government spent tens of billions of dollars building the most magnificent sea-defense system to be found anywhere in the world.

Some may find it ridiculous to see those structures against a backdrop of a calm and peaceful sea. They are meant to protect us against something that happens maybe once in a century.

I suggest that a group of United States politicians visit the Netherlands and look at what has been done here in the way of prevention from disasters like the one that befell New Orleans.

I am sure that our minister of public works and her technical people will be glad to show them around. It will be amazing what they will see in a country that is the size of Connecticut and Massachusetts put together and has fewer inhabitants than New York State and yet had the foresight and sheer will to spend those tens of billions of dollars.

Let the responsible politicians in your country vow, as we did in 1953, that this may never happen again. Meanwhile our hearts go out to those bewildered people who roam the flooded streets of what was once a happy city.

Henk Kuiken
Veldhoven, the Netherlands
Hell, Japan has tsunami walls protecting towns. We don't. Perhaps, since we are unable to run New Orleans ourselves, hand it over to the Netherlands and have them run the place. Hell, turn over NYC to them again! From the belly of the beast:
To the Editor:

As the horror in New Orleans grows, a common refrain is that this cannot be America.

Sadly, after a generation or more of shredding our social safety net and slighting domestic public investment, this is America in 2005.

I hope that we all awaken to our common, collective humanity and responsibilities to rebuild a better, more inclusive America for ourselves and our children.

Carl Myers
Arlington, Va., Sept. 2, 2005
Virginia's wealth is due 100% to tax money raised elsewhere. We subsidize that state humongously, we NYers in particular. In return, the voters of that state nearly always vote to destroy us. DC can't vote and like New Orleans, is very minority and very poor. They have 0% say in Virginia's elections not to mention, any elections outside of Mayor.

Now for a word from our insane, monstrous right wing pundit: Tierney

Why is New Orleans in so much worse shape today than New York City was after the attacks on Sept. 11?
Nincompoop, only the WTC was destroyed, not the entire city! Duh! And America poured in billions in aid!
The short answer is that New York was attacked by fire, not water. But then why are urbanites so much better prepared to cope with fire than with flooding?
Another duh moment. Obviously, the WTC which burned for weeks, did not spread because huge office towers that surrounded it were not made of wood!
Mostly because they learned to fight fire without any help from the Army Corps of Engineers or the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

For most of history, fire was far more feared than flooding. Cities repeatedly burned to the ground. Those catastrophes occurred sporadically enough that politicians must have been tempted to skimp on fire protection - like levee maintenance, it was a long-term investment against a calamity that probably wouldn't occur before they left office.

But urbanites learned to protect themselves through two innovations Benjamin Franklin introduced to America. He started a fire department in Philadelphia, as well as its first fire insurance company. Other cities followed, often with the firefighters organized by insurance companies with a vested interest in encouraging public safety.

Their customers had a vested interest, too, because they had to pay higher premiums if they lived in homes or neighborhoods that were prone to fire. As fire insurance became a standard requirement for homeowners, they and their insurance companies kept pressure on politicians to finance firefighting and tighten building codes.

As a result, the risk of a fire leveling a city like New York is lower than ever. Although the number of fires has dropped so much that experts routinely advise cities to close firehouses, voters' fondness for the stations makes local politicians loath to close any.

But as we've learned this week, few people seem to care passionately about maintaining levees or preparing for a predictable flood. They've left that to Washington, which promised to hold back the waters and absolved coastal dwellers from worrying about hurricanes.
This insane clown lives not too far from me. I want to visit him with my horse whip. Cities don't worry about water????? Huh? Obviously, this man is a Bubble Boy, too. The stupid fool can't go to lower Manhattan and see the sea walls there??? Or Brooklyn's sea walls???? Cities fret about flooding all the time! It is why the ancient saying, "Pestilence, fires, FLOODS and famine..." represent the end of the world! Over and over, cities have been destroyed by floods and these are greatly feared! We just witnessed floods destroying towns and cities in Central Europe!

Fires: unless the USA is dropping firebombs on civilians or nuking them, usually fires start small and then grow. Keeping them tamped down is a local problem. But pray tell what happens when a forest fire attacks a town?

The feds start fighting it! Not the state, not the town! For a century, this has been so! DUH. I don't need to bore everyone explaining why. When NYC was attacked, it was a federal problem (caused by the feds goofing off). Asking a city that is filled with poor people to fund protections of a great harbor, THEMSELVES, a harbor that services the entire fucking hell of the USA, is VICIOUS.

Why the Times keeps this evil moron on board puzzles me. I am seriously pissed at him. He and his fellow GOP criminal gangsters are directly responsible for the huge death toll and suffering happening right now. He is pure evil.

What's more, it appears that the federal government did not follow up on an exercise last year that mostly predicted what happened in New Orleans — devastating flooding and hundreds of thousands stranded.

The scenario was dubbed Hurricane Pam: 120 mph winds, a massive storm surge, 20 feet of water in the city, 80 percent of buildings damaged, refugees on rooftops, possibly gun violence that would slow the rescue.

"What bothers me the most is all the people who've died unnecessarily," says Ivor Van Heerden, a hurricane researcher from Louisiana State University who ran the exercise.

Van Heerden says the federal government didn't take it seriously.

"Those FEMA officials wouldn't listen to me," he says. "Those Corps of Engineers people giggled in the back of the room when we tried to present information."

One recommendation from the exercise: Tent cities should be prepared for the homeless.

"Their response to me was: 'Americans don't live in tents,' and that was about it," recalls Van Heerden.

However, others say it's unfair to blame the federal government, that no amount of planning could have prepared for this.

"We have trained against similar scenarios, but it's not the same as a crisis unfolding before your eyes," says Frank Cilluffo, a former Bush administration aide for homeland security.
My family lived in a tent for TEN YEARS. I am not the only one. Second, we always have homeless people in America. They live in tents or cardboard boxes. Third, over and over again, when the people responsible for protecting us, are reported laughing when doing their jobs. Bush laughing about building houses after hurricanes. These clowns. The idiot, Van Heerden, and his fellow GOP ilk..."no amount of planning could have prepared for this.." in a rat's fat ass!

If these clueless, stupid, unimaginative people can't figure out the obvious, what the hell are they doing, running America? Furthermore, Homeland Security should be run by people who can imagine WWIII and other horrors and thus, warn people about starting goddam wars like the ones we are in, and more soldiers were blown up this week and got zero mention, aren't the rulers happy!

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