Behind Enemy Lines
27 September 2005
Nearly 15% of NOPD was AWOL during / after Katrina
This according to a New Orleans Times-Picayune article: NOPD says 249 officers were AWOL after Katrina.

Apparently Chief Compass is going to establish tribunals to "...distinguish out-and-out deserters from those who had compelling reasons to be AWOL"

I will post more on this later, but let's just say that I can only think of one or two "compelling reasons" to be AWOL.
26 September 2005
But that would mean the media was lying about post-Katrina New Orleans!
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the supposedly rampant killing, raping, maiming and violence in post-Katrina New Orleans was, summed up eloquently by a National Guard soldier, "99% bull****".

Apparently there were a total of six (6) dead in the Superdome. Four of natural causes, one overdose and one suicide. Not the mass killings and rapings and such that Mayor Nagin and Chief Compass reported.

"After five days managing near-riots, medical horrors and unspeakable living conditions inside the Superdome, Louisiana National Guard Col. Thomas Beron prepared to hand over the dead to representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.Following days of internationally reported killings, rapes and gang violence inside the Dome, the doctor from FEMA - Beron doesn't remember his name - came prepared for a grisly scene: He brought a refrigerated 18-wheeler and three doctors to process bodies."I've got a report of 200 bodies in the Dome," Beron recalls the doctor saying.The real total was six, Beron said."
And the "bodies piled high" at the convention center? A total of four.

"At the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, just four bodies were recovered, despites reports of corpses piled inside the building. Only one of the dead appeared to have been slain, said health and law enforcement officials."

This is not to say that some bad crap may have happened, but that the media, in it's normal "if it bleeds it leads" style did *NO* investigation and just reported rumours and stories. Apparently stories that were widely reported as fact were in point of fact, stories.

Let's see if the media corrects itself shall we?

[Edited @19:40 hrs to correct typo. "bodes" changed to "bodies"]

25 September 2005
How to write a biased media article 101 (You listening Brian?) (a.k.a. The San Francisco Chronicle) is running a piece titled (by SFGate) "Pro-War And Anti-Sheehan" about the recent "Families United For Our Troops And Their Mission" rally in Washington D.C. The piece is not so subtly biased (I mean, the SFGate title alone shows the slant), but let's break it down:

1) In the first paragraph, talk about how few people were there, make a reference to the large number of people at the "anti-war" rally the day before:
"Support for U.S. troops fighting abroad mixed with anger toward anti-war demonstrators at home as hundreds of people, far fewer than organizers had expected, rallied Sunday on the National Mall just a day after tens of thousands protested against the war in Iraq."

2) At every opportunity, mention Cindy Sheehan and her message (disguise it as backgrounder information) also mention the other protest...bump up the attendance numbers this time though:
"Many demonstrators focused their ire at Cindy Sheehan, the California woman whose protest near President Bush's Texas home last summer galvanized the anti-war movement. Sheehan was among the speakers at Saturday's rally near the Washington Monument on the western part of the mall, an event that attracted an estimated 100,000 people."

3) Quote someone who was at the rally, but only one sentence of what they said...but mention Cindy Sheehan again first:
"Melody Vigna, 44, of Linden, Calif., said she wants nothing to do with Sheehan and others at nearby Camp Casey, an anti-war site set up to honor her son, Casey, who was killed in Iraq.
'Our troops are over there fighting for our rights, and if she was in one of those ountries she would not be able to do that,' Vigna said."

3) Now mention one of the speakers and refer to her as "one of the many military wives who spoke during the rally", don't mention the parents, siblings and spouses of fallen troops who also spoke at the rally and who were countering Sheehans statements and claims:
"The husband of Sherri Francescon, 24, of Camp Lejeune, N.C., serves in the Marine Corps in Iraq. One of the many military wives who spoke during the rally, Francescon said that the anti-war demonstration had left her frustrated.
'I know how much my husband does and how hard he works, and I feel like they don't even recognize that and give him the respect he deserves,' Francescon said. 'I want him to know and I want his unit to know that America is behind them, Cindy doesn't speak for us, and that we believe in what they are doing.'"

4) Mention again how small the rally was:
"Organizers of Sunday's demonstration acknowledged that their rally would be much smaller than the anti-war protest but had hoped that as many as 20,000 people would turn out."

5) Mention the "anti-war" protest from the day before...again...and use some glowing praise this time:
"On Saturday, demonstrators opposed to the war in Iraq surged past the White House in the largest anti-war protest in the nation's capital since the U.S. invasion. The rally stretched through the night, a marathon of music, speechmaking and dissent on the mall."

6) Just to make sure everyone believes that only a small percentage of people could possibly be in support of the troops and their mission, mention some "national polls"...but only provide data about one...and don't actually link to it or anything (not that I can either, AP/Ipsos charges for their polls, unfortunately yours truly is not considered a member of the media so I can't get them for free either), don't talk about the margin of error or the sample size (not that most Americans are taught basic statistics anymore (thanks liberal education system!):
"National polls have found steadily declining support for the war in Iraq, with a majority of Americans now believing the war was a mistake.In an AP-Ipsos
poll this month, only 37 percent approved or leaned toward approval of how Bush has handled the situation in Iraq; strong disapproval outweighed strong approval
by 2-1, 46 percent to 22 percent."

7) Just to make sure your message gets out there, provide links to websites for more know, sites about the groups that were in the rally. What? International ANSWER wasn't in the rally nor mentioned in the article? Pishaw! Provide a link anyway! Don't forget to link to Cindy Sheehan as well! Just to present "objectivity" give the actual organizers of the rally a link as well...just put it last after the other two who have nothing to do with the rally.
"On the Net:
ANSWER Coalition:
Gold Star Families for Peace:
United for our Troops:"

See Brian, that's a classic example of not so subtle media bias. Let's debate that a bit shall we? Not that I expect you'll mention this posting on TBAIT
15 September 2005
Oops, Brian, a wee bit of bias showing?
Brian Shields over at The Bay Area is Talking might have let slip a tad bit of bias with this one:

"...within the context of trying to define good and bad news coming from the US Occupation..."

Invasion, conquest, and control of a nation or territory by foreign armed forces.
The military government exercising control over an occupied nation or territory.

Sorry Brian, but unless I am completely mistaken the "occupation" ended when the Iraqi people elected their government and became sovereign on January 30th of this year. Technically we're visiting forces at this point. And before we argue semantics, let me point out that capitalizing the word "occupation" in the middle of a sentence gives it an air of a proper title rather than an action therefore further biasing the sentence.
Bad reporting or biased? SFGate report doesn't understand how the government works
They are just coming out of the woodwork today. Biased or uninformed? Cecilia M. Vega (apparently very important to get the "M" in the byline) reports in the San Francisoo Chronicle; "The Parish That Feds Overlooked" today about St. Bernard Parish and completely bungles it. Her slanted piece lays plenty of blame at the foot of the federal government (and one must assume President Bush), but illogically it contains plenty of information on who really had responsiblity.

"At first, the only rescuers on hand were the residents and officials of St. Bernard Parish. Two days after Katrina hit, a team of Canadian Mounties from Vancouver showed up to help, and a sprinkling of officials from neighboring parishes paid visits, but it would be days before there was any sign of assistance from the U.S. government.
'I'm saying, where's the Department of Defense?' said parish Sheriff Jack Stephens. 'The Canadians can show up, but the Department of Defense can't get to St. Bernard Parish?'"

The DOD does not have responsibility in this case. It was a matter of the Lousiana National Guard who were and still are (even right now) under the command of Governor Blanco.

"'It was the worst response to the worst catastrophe ever,' said Stephens, sitting in his department's new command post, a floating barge on the Mississippi that deputies commandeered because they had nowhere else to go. 'While all of this s -- is going on here, the Louisiana National Guard is right on the other side of the parish border, and they weren't here because they were evacuated.' "

See, Ms. Vega apparently knows that the Louisana National Guard has authority in this instance, but blames the federal goverment.

Bad reporting or biased reporting? I am going to vote both in this case.
Katrina Response: Brown blames state, but media turns it into condemnation of President
Ok, maybe I am being a little sensitive to media reports on Katrina because I think they have been biased, but someone tell me I'm wrong here.

In an AP report on titled "Brown blames state for flawed Katrina response" it is reported that:
"The former FEMA director who became a lightning rod for the sluggish federal response to Hurricane Katrina put the blame on state officials in an interview with the New York Times newspaper

Within hours of Katrina’s attack [hurricanes actually plot and 'attack' us? Ed.] on New Orleans Michael Brown said he told the White House that state officials couldn’t get their act together. 'I can't get a unified command established,' he said he told Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and a White House official."

Pretty clear right? Micheal Brown said that the State of Louisiana was dropping the ball and couldn't get it together. Ahh, but wait a second...

"His account suggested the White House knew right away that the storm was leaving the coast in shambles."

WTF? Well, it's a synopsis right? I mean, they might have jumbled it a bit, right? I mean, that's not really editorializing his words right?

Read the NY Times version of the story. [Regisitration possibly required]

"He focused much of his criticism on Governor Blanco, contrasting what he described as her confused response with far more agile mobilizations in Mississippi and Alabama, as well as in Florida during last year's hurricanes."

"Mr. Brown's version of events raises questions about whether the White House and Mr. Chertoff acted aggressively enough in the response. New Orleans convulsed in looting and violence after the hurricane, and troops did not arrive in force to restore order until five days later."

Either the New York Times hasn't done it's homework about the National Guard and the fact that we are a federal republic (under which the National Guard is controlled by the state government (in this case, Governor Blanco)) or they are just out and out writing biased, editorialized "news".

The rest of the article continues on in a similar vein, they accurately report (well, I assume accurately, I mean, I wasn't there) what Mr. Brown says but then throw in a little jibe about the federal government response.

11 September 2005
Fascinating New Orleans Slide Show
This fascinating slide show of New Orleans before and after Katrina presents an amazing record of the disaster.

What I find really stunning is the pictures of the city before and after the levee broke. Just how calm and collected everyone seemed and then...wildness.

Source: LGF
08 September 2005
Where were you Senator?
Senator Harry Reid (D - Nevada) has requested to waste the time of Congress investigating "How much time did the president spend dealing with this emerging crisis while he was on vacation?"

Let me ask a counter question Senator: Where were you on August 30th / 31st? According to the Senate schedule, you (and all the other Senators) have been off work since August 1st. In fact, the House was off doing "Summer District Work" from August 1st through September 2nd. Did your lengthy four week vacation have any effect on the federal response? What were you working on during your time off Senator? While I understand you had a medical issue and I do hope you are recovering well it doesn't excuse your complaining about the President taking time off when you (and the rest of Congress) were doing the exact same thing.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Senator.
Are those really buses flooded out in New Orleans?
Well, decide for yourself. A commentor stated that they looked like "16 wheeler trucks". As I replied to them, "16 wheeler trucks" wouldn't be parked like that as you wouldn't be able to manuever them. If that were an aerial shot of a container yard, then I would be more cautious in my claim that they are buses. However, the location is 2817 Canal Street... a.k.a. the RTA A. Phillip Randolph Facility [Note: Link is to the "Wayback Machine" on as the RTA site is still offline.] which makes it exceedingly likely they are buses.

[ed note: I modified the last sentence to make it a little more clear]
06 September 2005
"There is no such thing as an objective point of view"
This is a statement relayed via The Bay Area Is Talking in regards to media bias and I couldn't agree more.
What there certainly is though is an objective way of reporting the news and that is to be free of a "point of view" or to at least represent a "neutral point of view." Unfortunately what most of the media have fallen victim to is the need to spice up the news by presenting it from a particular viewpoint in order to add "depth" or "human interest" to the story. The "mainstream media" has fallen victim to the concept of news as entertainment, rather than news as information.

Let's look at the "headline" on for today, Sept. 6th, 2005: [The image might change throughout the day but I hope it won't]

Notice the headline "It's Going To Be Awful", superimposed over flooding and fire. Granted, Mayor Nagin's statements are important, however, taking some of the darkest statements and using those as your "lead in" implies a leaning towards the famous "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality of the media. There are very few stories presenting the "good" that local, state and federal agencies are doing, but plenty of stories on the "bad."

Why is the media biased, or at least, why is there a perception of media bias? Could it be that the "point of view" of the media is slanted towards a particular viewpoint? Studies have pointed to various political affiliations / beliefs that seem prevelant in the media, but does this affect their reporting? It depends on your point of view.

I will be posting more about this later today.
05 September 2005
An Odd Little Test for The Bay Area Is Talking
Hi Brian
Are these more buses that could have been used to evacuate New Orleans?
Are these more buses that Mayor Nagin could have used to evacuate New Orleans?

Oh yeah, here's a pulled back shot. Notice the Superdome down at the bottom of the frame.
Chip Johnson makes claims of racism in Katrina response...but points the finger at the wrong people
Chip Johnson makes some very confusing claims in the San Francisco Chronicle today. He makes claims against the federal government and echoes statements and sentiments by Barabara Lee, stating that she was "...right on in her description of the New Orleans situation."

"If anyone ever doubted that there were two Americas, this disaster has made this division clear,'' she said in a statement. "Is this an example of the administration's idea of homeland security? If so, we are in trouble.''

-Representative Barbara Lee, D-California

But presents information that is to the contrary to that opinion as it lays the blame (rightly in large part) on the local and state government. For example:

"The Category 4 hurricane ripped through the Gulf Coast on Monday, leveled buildings, ripped oil rigs from their moorings and collapsed some of the levees that had protected the below-sea-level Dixieland city from flooding.
When the levees broke, about 80 percent of the city was submerged and the scene on the streets quickly descended into chaos. Local officials directed stranded residents to the Louisiana Superdome, only to discover there were no emergency supplies to handle the crush of humanity. By Thursday, an estimated 25,000 people had gathered in the stadium -- many languishing, some dying. "

Notice that Mr. Johnson is apparently very aware that local officials directed people to the Superdome (of course he has the timeline more than just a little off, Mayor Nagin directed people to the Superdome before Katrina struck and told people to bring food, water and blankets.) but he implies that it's a federal problem.

Mr. Johnson continues:
"Federal officials have said that the vast flooding in the city has slowed the pace of the rescue efforts, and apparently the city's own hurricane preparedness was just woeful."
At least Mr.Johnson admits that the "city's own hurricane preparedness was just woeful", however the overall slant of his piece is that the federal government is to blame somehow.
As I've discussed before, the local and state governments are the "first responders." It is up to them to bridge the gap until the feds can step in.

Mr. Johnson appears to be aware that the local and state governments are hugely to blame but seems to gloss over it in his willingness to lay blame on the President and to cry racism.
Why is it that the media is so willing to place blame on the federal response (and by extension or directly President Bush) but not examine the many failures of the local and state government. Is it because Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco are Democrats?

Why did Mayor Nagin take so long to order an evacuation when the New Orleans emergency plan calls for an evacuation 72 hours in advance? Why didn't Mayor Nagin use the various school and municipal busses that were available to him (and are now lying flooded in New Orleans?)? Why didn't Governor Blanco activate the multi-state mutual aid program before Wednesday? Why didn't Governor Blanco send in more National Guard troops before Friday?

Why isn't the MEDIA asking these questions?
04 September 2005
Wait a second
Ok, so the Washington Post states that Governor Blanco had not declared a state of emergency as of Saturday. However, what is this?


Is there a difference in states of emergency? Meaning, is there a different state of emergency requirement for the state and federal level? Or are wae looking at a difference in timelines? Meaning, was the Washington Post article referring to Saturday September 3rd? Or Saturday August 27th? I mean, I know the 27th date makes no sense, seeing as how the "state of emergency" was declared on the 26th, but I am trying to be fair.
More failure on the part of the Louisiana state government? has an article about a "state-of-the-art mobile hospital" that has been kept out of action in New Orleans due to red-tape.

"The North Carolina mobile hospital stranded in Mississippi was developed through the Office of Homeland Security after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. With capacity for 113 beds, it is designed to handle disasters and mass casualties.
Equipment includes ultrasound, digital radiology, satellite Internet, and a full pharmacy, enabling doctors to do most types of surgery in the field, including open-chest and abdominal operations.
It travels in a convoy that includes two 53-foot trailers, which as of Sunday afternoon was parked on a gravel lot 70 miles north of New Orleans because Louisiana officials for several days would not let them deploy to the flooded city..."

Someone needs to seriously investigate what the state of Louisiana (and Governor Blanco) was doing / thinking during this whole process.
Well thank goodness someone else noticed
via LGF:

Buried in the Washington Post

"Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state's emergency operations center said Saturday.

The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. "Quite frankly, if they'd been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals," said the source, who does not have the authority to speak publicly.
A senior administration official said that Bush has clear legal authority to federalize National Guard units to quell civil disturbances under the Insurrection Act and will continue to try to unify the chains of command that are split among the president, the Louisiana governor and the New Orleans mayor.
Louisiana did not reach out to a multi-state mutual aid compact for assistance until Wednesday, three state and federal officials said. As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.
"The federal government stands ready to work with state and local officials to secure New Orleans and the state of Louisiana," White House spokesman Dan Bartlett said. "The president will not let any form of bureaucracy get in the way of protecting the citizens of Louisiana."
Blanco made two moves Saturday that protected her independence from the federal government: She created a philanthropic fund for the state's victims and hired James Lee Witt, Federal Emergency Management Agency director in the Clinton administration, to advise her on the relief effort."

03 September 2005
Newsweek needs a civics lesson
Newsweek has published "WEB-EXCLUSIVE COMMENTARY" by Eleanor Clift titled "A Colossal Failure of Leadership" in which she proceeds to make a mangled mish mash of history and responsiblity coming to the decision that the problems in New Orleans are all President Bush's fault (sound familiar?) . It's a colossal failure in reporting and fact checking, but an amazing success in partisan politics. Bravo.

Let's start:

"But this was a moment for national leadership, and nobody rose to take charge
the way Giuliani did in New York."

You're right. Mayor Nagin, the Rudy Guilliani equivalent in New Orleans didn't step up to the plate the way Giuliani did. Notice how you blame President Bush ("national leadership") but give credit to Giuliani, a local mayor. Why don't you blame Nagin? Oh, right. He's a democrat.

"Things were so bad “you almost wonder if Donald Rumsfeld is in charge,” said
Marshall Wittmann, an analyst with the Democratic Leadership Council. "

Ah, yes, include pointless politcal rhetoric soundbite from the Democrats. Always critical when discussing an important issue.

"One third of the National Guard from the affected states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they’re the ones trained to perform the police functions that restore civil order. Instead of declaring a national emergency and deploying the military from all those nearby Texas bases, Bush deployed his father and President Clinton for a photo op at the White House as a prelude to a fund-raising tour. "

Whoops. Someone didn't do there research before flying off the handle.
1) President Bush *did* declare the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana disaster zones...before Katrina hit. This enabled FEMA to act faster and begin to get funding. In fact, President Bush was pushing Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco to evacuate the city of New Orleans well before Nagin issued his evacuation order (48 hours after the New Orleans emergency plan said he should have)
2) The President does not control the National Guard troops unless he mobilizes them (here Ms. Clift, watch the slideshow). When he does that, they can no longer do the job that you wanted them to do (you're ambiguous "police functions") due to restrictions in the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. The only way that the National Guard can enforce civil law is if they remain under the command of their Governor (you know, Governor Blanco, the Democrat you described as "fighting to hold back tears. ") therefore it's Governor Blanco's fault that the troops weren't deployed.

You really ought to do your research a bit better before you launch your political hit pieces Ms. Clift, although I sincerely doubt you will.
The Guardian actually did some research?
Wow. I mean, it's still slanted as hell, but they tried. It seems to imply that one should blame President Bush (big surprise) but (as you will see later) people should really be asking Governor Blanco what she was doing / thinking.

From the Guardian:

"Maj. Gen. Thomas Cutler, who leads the Michigan National Guard, said he anticipated a call for police units and started preparing them, but couldn't go until states in the hurricane zone asked them to come. 'We could have had people on the road Tuesday,' Cutler said. 'We have to wait and respond to their need.'"

"Bush had the legal authority to order the National Guard to the disaster area himself, as he did after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks . But the troops four years ago were deployed for national security protection, and presidents of both parties traditionally defer to governors to deploy their own National Guardsmen and request help from other states when it comes to natural disasters. "

That last quote is a little misleading. The President can't just "order the National Guard to the disaster area", and he didn't in the case of New York.

In order for the Guard to deploy under the Presidents orders, they have to be mobilized under USC Title 10 or Title 32 as this nifty little graphic from the National Guard Bureau slide show "The National Guard 101" clearly shows:

What this shows us is that Governor Blanco of Lousiana was the one who had the actual authority here.

This is so much the same arguement that I have made before about many people not understanding that the United States is a REPUBLIC and that the states are independent entities.

See, New Orleans didn't even provide food or blankets for people that...

...their Mayor told to go to the shelters:

"He [Nagin] told those who had to move to the Superdome to come with enough food for several days and with blankets. He said it will be a very uncomfortable place and encouraged everybody who could to get out."

-Associated Press

(Hat tip: BlogCritics)

Democrats recommend using Katrina pain for political gain
Some excerpts from

"Use FEMA's disastrous behavior in N.O. TO ESTABLISH A PLATFORM RE: What DEMS do better...."

"Be sure to emphasize that Bush cut funding for items that would have increased their flooding prevention.
ALSO please please do not let our Governer Dean dare say as did Bill Clinton just now..."there is no way they could have known." Don't say it, it is a lie. We all knew it was crisis time. So please don't pander to Bush and say there is no way he could have known. Bush did not prepare and he cut FEMA. When Bill Clinton said that today, I wanted to scream. He should not have said was a lie."

[emphasis added]

"Keep up the Discussions, peeps. Use this, use Gas prices, Use Cindy Sheehan, "What noble cause"."
Ok, maybe I'm harping...
...but Mayor Nagin's comments really ticked me off. Why? Because of things like this:

"Katrina's threat was so acute that President Bush joined the chorus of officials who urged New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to order a mandatory evacuation, issued Sunday morning after lower-lying areas outside the city were cleared Saturday."
"Leon Moore, 55, the left side of his body paralyzed for the past 12 years because of a stroke, pulled his weathered red truck up to the Superdome and angrily decried Mayor Nagin. "The mayor of the city didn't make preparations for the handicapped," he said.

The criticisms of Nagin came from above as well. Numerous officials urged him to evacuate the city, but he worried about the legality of ordering people out when New Orleans has few safe hurricane shelters for them to evacuate to.
Also, National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield in Miami called Nagin at home Saturday night and told him: Get people out of New Orleans.

-Contra Costa Times, August 29th, 2005

Update: Almost forgot about this:

Those are probably Mayor Nagin's "500 buses" that he demanded that federal government send him. Odd how they are already in New Orleans and hadn't been pre-positioned in an area that they wouldn't get flooded out.
02 September 2005
New Orleans municipal government continues to get a free pass
The Chronicle's "Culture Blog" has posted the radio interview that Mayor Nagin of New Orleans gave to WWL radio. From the rest of the linkages posted in and around it, I have to assume that they (SFGate / The Chronicle) support the story that the slow response was due to race and not simpler things like engineering difficulties, the unexpected breakage of the levees and New Orleans own piss-poor disaster planning.

In the posting they link to a Neva Chronin article where she continues to echo the misstatements and half truths that have so far characterized this disaster. Amongst them:

"Which brings us around to the real criminals in this scenario. Forget the looters. New Orleans' levees have been at the breaking point for a long time now. The federal government knew this, but deflected money meant for repairs to fund the war in Iraq. This is its interpretation of "homeland security." Behold the consequences. "

Except Neva that the Army Corps of Engineers says that they (the levees) were never designed to withstand a category 4 hurricane and would have failed no matter what. Or that President Clinton also cut levee funding for New Orleans, stating that it was a "local" not a federal problem.

She also quotes a "Lousiana resident from" as saying "The planners knew full well that the poor, who in New Orleans are overwhelmingly black, wouldn't be able to get out. The resources -- meaning the political will -- weren't there to get them out." "

The "planners" in this case would be...Mayor Ray Nagin and his administration.

Update: Odd how SFGate posts the interview with Mayor Nagin from last night...but ignores these comments Mayor Nagin made today:

"Nagin said Bush was "very serious" and "very engaging" during his time in
New Orleans. "He was brutally honest. He wanted to know the truth," Nagin
said. "... And we talked turkey. I think we're in a good spot now.""

And the race card continues to be played
In case you missed it, Kanye West, appearing on NBC's "Concert for Hurricane Relief" made a number of political statements, most notably: "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

Nicely done Kanye. You've taken a neutral, apolitical fund raiser and turned it into a political soap box to raise unsupported racial bias claims. Well done.

Update: Satellite Candy has a video
How insane is Huffington...
...or at least her posters?
According to Randall Robinson on "The Huffington Post":
"It is reported that black hurricane victims in New Orleans have begun eating corpses to survive. "

No citation of course, nothing to back up this audacious claim.

No news agency (even the crackpots via is reporting that.

But Huffington allows it on her "blog".

I call BS on the whole thing and shame on Huffington and Robinson.
New Orleans and FEMA
I just wanted to jot down a quick thought / rant. Why are people so quick to bash the federal government for the failings of the municipal government of New Orleans? The New Orleans city government is the one primarily responsible for the city of New Orleans no? Why is Mayor Nagin so quick to condemn the feds when his OWN forces are so obviously failing?

I am sure that some people are going to say "Oh but it's FEMA's responsiblity!" How so? The NOPD can't respond to criminal acts? Well, based on crime statistics for New Orleans they can't even without a hurricane. It has one of the highest crime rates in the country normally, the murder rate is ten times the national average. New Orleans has chronic budget problems, an apathetic populace and lies in a tenuous position (it's below sea level after all).

FEMA is responding to at least three states. In some of these states entires towns have completely disappeared. There is massive damage across the Gulf states and tens of thousands of refugees. But FEMA is supposed to concentrate all of its resources on New Orleans?

"Oh but Bush cut funding to the levee programs that would have prevented this disaster!" How exactly? The funding would have what? Magically strengthened levees designed to withstand a Cat 3 hurricane to protect against a Cat 4 / 5? The funding that was cut to the SELA projects would have gone to areas that WERE NOT AFFECTED BY THE HURRICANE and the flooding was unavoidable. Therefore logic dictates that the funding cuts had nothing to do with this situation.

Try telling that to Mayor Nagin of New Orleans though. His city screwed up, pure and simple. He issued an evacuation warning (good), the city set up "shelters of last resort" (good), the city didn't plan on the possiblity of the levee's breaking (even though they weren't designed to withstand a Cat 4 hurricane), Bad. The city didn't lay in emergency supplies for the people at the "shelters of last resort", Bad. The Superdome (a "shelter of last resort") filled up and the city of New Orleans told people to go to the convention center...and didn't provide them with food or water or tell FEMA that they were there (very very very bad).

Now Mayor Nagin is blaming the feds. Obviously when the fecal matter hits the rotary impeller it's the feds fault that the city can't manage themselves.

Update: Wellsie wellsie, looks like someone found the dirty laundry about flood control monies for New Orleans. Eu Rota points out that federal funds for New Orleans Corps projects were cut numerous times by the Clinton administration
A Republican in San Francisco (Yes, he's under deep cover) relays his tales of interest... ...ok, "interest" is a strong and subjective word but you get the point.
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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

I shall know but one country. The ends I aim at shall be my country's, my God's and Truth's. I was born an American; I live an American; and I shall die an American. -Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

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