Imperial Requiem

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Louisiana and the Hurricane: What went wrong? Part 1

Before I say anything, I want to say that there are things that DID go right in the whole Katrina disaster, and that they should never be overlooked. The police and emergency services in Louisiana who stayed on their job in the midst of one of the worst disasters in US History deserve applause. Same as for the National guardsmen and military personell who are risking life and limb to do their job. Same as for the doctors, nurses, and others who did their jobs. And to cities like Dallas who took in many Louisiana residents after all hell broke loose in that state. And to the many others who did good and I haven't mentioned them; you know who you are, and that's what matters, and counts. Thank you.

Now, as for what went wrong- since the media is so adamant that something DID go wrong, I should tackle that. Only what I know is radically different from what the media wants it's viewership to know.

First and foremost, nearly all states have contingency plans in place in case there is a disaster, natural or man-made. I've lived in New York for most of my life; and I'm now in Florida. Those are two states that have long histories of planning ahead for storms and the like, and have dealt with diasters on a wide scale- the hurricane season last year for Florida, and September 11th in New York (actually, twice in New York, if you include the first WTC bombing). And yes, New Orleans had a contingency plan in place to deal with diasters/hurricanes :( In the plan, the Mayor has the authority to order evacuations in the event of a oncoming diaster, as well as facilitate the means for the evacuation (specifically: buses) . For the people who would be stuck behind, they would have the availability of some secure shelters- mostly well reinforced schools (and nowhere on the list, is the Superdome). Those facilities were meant for handling large numbers of people, and for more than a few hours in a given day. What's even better, is that New Orleans had dry runs for disaster planning in the case of a hurricane, and found out that their actual infrastructure was wholly unsuited to the 2004 ( They never took the necessary time nor measures to fix the problems, afterwards.

There's only thing- Mayor Nagin didn't follow it. There was no mandatory evacuation of the city well in advance of the Hurricane, (even though the President asked both Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin for one, and there was a voluntary evacuation-, ) and there were far too many people who refused to leave the city. That's where the contingency plan that I mentioned earlier, should have come into play. Those that could leave New Orleans, did. Those that couldn't or refused to leave, either stayed at home or went to the Superdome. Oh, and in all of this, it was the President's idea to push for a mandatory evacuation. Not Blanco. Not Nagin. Someone totally outside the loop in the contingency plan of Louisiana. Who they subsequently began to blame for all their problems, I might add.

Now, out in New York, on Long Island, if you're a resident of Fire Island (or anywhere on the coastline), you're told point blank by the emergency services: get out or we're not coming to rescue you. They will assist you in getting your and your family out of harm's way if you comply, but otherwise, they mean what they say. They have no time nor inclination to want to rescue people who've unnecessarily put themselves in harm's way when they have damage assessment and real search and rescue operations to undertake. They didn't do this in New Orleans. Admittedly, New Orleans is a big city. But no effort was made to initiate any form of evacuation in this matter. The "mandatory evacuation" that was issued, was basically meant to be "if you can get yourself out, do so. We're not going to do anything."

On top of that, the buses that they would have used to evacuate anyone from New Orleans.....never left their lots. And when the flooding began, they were wrecked (, The emergency plan that was designed for New Orleans DID call for use of buses in the case of an impending disaster to be used to take people who don't have transportation or are unable to drive (sick, elderly). Now, to be fair, some people were bused to Baton Rogue, and others to the Superdome. But both were half-attempts to move people around, and they didn't even follow the actual plan that was designed. Plus, the buses- and fire trucks and the like- were supposed to be moved to higher ground, as per the contingency plan, anticipating future need for them, and the need to keep them from getting damaged within the danger zone. That wasn't done, either. But Florida (and New York) always does that- it's standard policy. And that's why the buses were stuck in the middle of all this, unable to be used. And Blanco, the governor, takes 3 days to finally realize they screwed up about the buses.

Also, Amtrak asked Mayor Nagin if he wanted to use the last trains that they had in the city(to get some important equipment out of NO) as a way to get people out of the city- but he refused. With those trains, they could have taken quite a bit of people out of harm's way- and he refused( If the busing system was intact, and coupled with the Amtrak offer of assistance, not all, but alot of people who were stuck in NO would have escaped the disaster area. Not all- but more than enough to reduce any problems that would later develop. It would also have reduced the strain on relief efforts after the hurricane had left. But, once again, he refused.

And then there's the New Orleans Police Dept. As their cars and trucks stayed in the did they. They never had a chance to regroup, and go to higher ground and wait out the storm (or at least a significant portion of them didnt) and the levees breaking. And, as will be discussed later in another column, they were effectively forced to supervise the city in their police fashion (both law and order, and resue ops all at once) by themselves. The slow trickle of military aid were not in place to help them restore order yet. And then the levees broke, and the police had to deal with areas that were heavily flooded, their cars useless, and years of neglect on the NOPD took it's toll. At least 30% of the police force left New Orleans for good, and some of them engaged in the same looting they were supposed to stop. And at least two officers committed suicide ( So the mayor's police department was already dysfunctional, and the cracks just burst out into the open with the disaster. To be fair, the police would have had things under control if it was just the storm that hit them, and not the flooding. But expecting rain and not flooding is effectively wishful thinking. Even in their dry run, they anticipated heavy flooding (and they did expect to see flooding) and they should have responded prior to the storm with a comprehensive plan to deal with it. But they didn't.

This stands in stark contrast to the NYPD and NYFD in New York, which on September 11, 2001, were faced with the worst man-made disaster this country has ever faced. Sure, they had problems (their radios didn't work, dooming at least 350 firefighters and police officers to their deaths), but they regrouped and dealt with it, as much as they could. And they did it for months on end, until the last piece of rubble was sifted from Ground Zero, and the last body was given a proper burial. They followed their WTC plan (designed from the previous WTC bombing in 1993), and it worked- they got nearly everyone that they possibly could, out of the building in time. No one quit on them; no one deserted their station; and they proved why they're among the best trained emergency force in the world (they're also highly underpaid for their jobs, but they do it anyways).

Compare that with the New Orleans emergency response. Yes, they did good. But when you have at least 30% of your police force bugging out on you, something's wrong. It says that there's an endemic problem within the system that existed previously, and the hurricane was the breaking point. It was a broken system, waiting for the final snap.

Think about how devastating that is when you've got a serious looting problem and anarchistic gangs running around in NO. Actually, since there's a high crime and unemployment rate in New Orleans, this shouldn't have been that hard to forsee. That's why in LA, when they had their blackout a few days ago, the police were immediately patrolling the streets.

Plus, Mayor Ray Nagin is no Mayor Rudolph Guiliani. Heck, he's no Mike Bloomberg. On 9/11, Guiliani was there, on site, and in fact was tuck in a building's basement do to the collapse of the South Tower. Nagin? He did the exact opposite.He bellowed for federal help, all the while complaining that it was the federal government's fault.And he went for every sound-bite imaginable. Plus, he kicked people out of a hotel in order to give their rooms to him and his staff, during the crisis. And then he announced plans to give NOPD officers vacations to Las Vegas (all on the tab of FEMA) ( And he's now bought a house in Dallas (

Hardly what I'd call Churchillian. He doesn't compare with a Guiliani.

I'll do the State response in the next post, and how they hampered the military assistance from coming into the state- and in light of the problems with the mayor not following his plan, nor having the resources to fight the aftermath of the hurricane- became cruicial.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Katrina: The end of the left's media

This will probably be the first in many posts about Katrina, the Category 4/5 Hurricane that slammed into the Gulf Coast a week or so ago. Now, I feel somewhat guilty talking about it at all, since I live in Tallahassee, and it bypassed me completely. Not TOO guilty, mind you, but just a little. I will be donating to charity when I get money (should be happening soon, at least), but I don't know which one yet.

Anyways, to start things off: the media, as a whole, has completely bungled the storm. You've got MSNBC and CNN taking time to harangue the President about what he should or should not do; nevermind the fact that they're NOT contingency or Hurricane experts. NOR are they dealing with a complete set of facts, either. It was pure and simple, an attempt at bashing the President, because they think they caught him with his pants down, on this one. And the Media goes hand in hand with their leftist cronies that are prevalent throughout the fringes of the media-sphere. What total bullshit.

Newsflash, to the media at large: the local and state governments failed Louisiana utterly. If you take a look at how things were done in Alabama and Missisippi, it's a whole different world. In those areas, the people there were able to get at least some assistance from the local and state government's emergency services. Why? Because they had good plans in place. In Louisiana, the gov't forgot to do basic stuff. Like remove the elderly and sick. Like bring buses and emergency trucks to higher ground. Along with gas provisions. Moving generators (or backups) to upper floors of buildings, so that they can still function. Oh, and the emergency services were kept IN New Orleans- so that when the shit hit the fan, they'd need just as much help as those stuck in New Orleans. I'll get into all this at a later moment.

But what the media wanted was it's pound of flesh. And they misfired badly. They're attempting to reduce Bush to a caricature, in the very moment that they really need him to act- because the local gov't in Louisiana failed. The only ones who HAVE responed were the Federal government, and they did so largely WITHOUT the help of the LA. gov't. I mean, if you really want to take it to it's logical conclusion, Bush could easily say "Y'all know, if you really need my help, just ask. But since you're all too busy being partisan hacks towards me, in the most vilest sense possible, I'll just sit this one out until you apologize. And mean it." And he can walk off the stage, with the world having to turn it's focus on the vile nature of the media, and their supporters.

Don't get me wrong, the media in the US has always been a nasty affair. It was nasty during the American Revolution. It was nasty during the Civil War. And through the Gilded Age with Hearst and all that. However, back then they never made bones about things- if they were going to be nasty towards Abraham Lincoln, they'd say so. And why. They wouldn't hide behind a facade that's called "MAINSTREAM MEDIA" and pretend they're not partisan. Or that they care about the American people- when all they really care about is power. And they're being cheerleaded on by their friends from the left- be it the Michael Moore types, Sidney Blumenthal types, or the oddball leftist blogger.

The stuff that Bush and the American public have had to deal with is sick-

- Firstly, I really don't need to say that the Democratic Underground (DU) blogs are especially vile in their reaction to all this. If you dare go there, you'll see the true face of the modern democratic party there. I warn you, it's not pretty and Oh, and the GOP website? Nary a nasty word, towards anyone because of the hurricane.

-Mayor Ray Nagnin ranting that the whole thing's Bush's fault, and plays the race card...and the media not calling him on it, one iota.,

- Air America basically repeating the type of whine that Kayne West gave:
and this

Reuters: more

- CNN and MSNBC taking time out to bitch about how they think that the war in Iraq has kept the Feds from mobilzing to help out in New Orleans. (MSNBC; Chris Matthews, and more) stuff on CNN, comparing it to Fox's work . (more on CNN) And to make matters worse, even BILL CLINTON yelled at CNN for their red meat attitude:

-New York Times using the race card to effectively try to say that Bush doesn't want to help New Orleans out because they're mostly black.

- Bush caused Global Warming and therefore caused the Hurricane.

- Bush was away playing golf while the hurricane hit land; no wait, they disproved that, so he was playing guitar instead

-E.J. Dionne being, well, E.J. Dionne. At least the Washington Post still has Charles Krauthammer. ( )

-And Sid Blumenthal being, wel, Sid Blumenthal. Hey, it's great he's doing this OVERSEAS. Assmunch.,1518,372455,00.html

- Kayne West- a lame hip hop artist who will be forgotten in two years, using his alotted airtime on a NBC disaster relief show to bitch about how the gov't gave blacks crack, and how Bush hates black people and is intentionally dragging his feet with the Federal response because of that (,2933,168387,00.html). Oh, newsflash, Mr. West: maybe somewhere in your pathetic little rant, you could tell me a little something: how come in all of that crap, you never ONCE ask the African-American community to get some goddamn well earned RESPONSIBILITY? Grow up, assclown.

- The AP taking cheap shots at the US:

- Democrats wanting to physically assault Bush:

- Robert F. Kennedy, JR. writing from the Huffington Post, proving that the Kennedy family legacy is dead, once and for all:

I think that will do, for now. But the left in America is sick. Someone put it out of it's misery already. I've had enough of this damn garbage.