Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

I’m walking on sunshine

I remember a song with that title by Katrina and the Waves. Yes, you read that right: a mid-80s pop band that had a big hit in Toronto and, I’m sure, elsewhere.

Well, after Katrina’s hit, I may well be walking. I was at a reception at the President’s house when my wife called to tell me to tank up on the way home, as gas prices were approaching $5/gallon and lines were quite long. It seems that much of Atlanta’s gas comes through two pipelines from Texas and Louisiana; service was obviously interrupted.

Well, I paid $4.30 a gallon (mid-grade, which was all that was available) at a station that closed soon thereafter.

It will be interesting to see how long this price bump lasts. As a short-term phenomenon, it won’t affect people’s behavior. If it persists, those who have an axe to grind or who are less well-informed will blame the President, who needs to respond much more effectively than did his predecessors in the 1970s.

But let me hasten to add that our quite trivial problems in Atlanta pale before those in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Our thoughts and prayers are with the folks down there.

Update: If you must read more about crass political attempts to exploit the misery spawned by Katrina, go here (hat tip: The Politic).

Discussions - 79 Comments


The failure to end the looting (shoot to kill) is something that should be exploited politically. It is huge, TV events like this that get the masses’ attention. And conservatives shouldn’t shy away from this horrible example of liberal failure.

Shoot to what? To kill? Over produce and property? When no one’s life is being directly threatened? Please, by all means, exploit away. I have no problem with the conservatives going on national television and saying that they want those people shot dead for stealing. I doubt many other liberals will. It’s those stinkin’ independents and moderates who might be a little weirded out . . .

I’ll tell ya what Mr. Mingus, if they put me in charge of the Nawlins P.D. the looting problem would be solved in 24 HRS!
Letting them get away with that stuff is just another form of "affirmitive action!
I would love to hear some bleeding heart liberal debate Bill Buckley on this looting issue!

Mack Sandpaper: Your posts are excellent and I enjoy them very much. Please keep up the good work.

Sorry, Libs, but looting and other forms of public disruption quickly lead to anarchy and violence...such disruption must be met severely and in a timely fashion. "Shooting to kill" might actually save a few lives because it would put an end to this criminal nonsense PDQ.

Case in point, the "student protests" calmed down considerably after Kent State. Successful violence breeds more violence...you absolutely have to put a stop to it.

No responsible police department in America is going to gun down unarmed perps who aren’t committing or threatening lethal violence. (Firing warning shots whenever possible might be a good tactic, though, as it announces that the authorities are on the scene and are serious about keeping order.) Looting is by definition a highly "opportunistic" crime in which the perps see what they’re doing as risk-free, so looters are usually fairly easily scared away once authorities do show up. Deadly gunfire from cops or Guardsmen would almost certainly not be necessary.

Nobody in a responsible position that I’ve heard of is apologizing for or excusing this looting . . . it’s simply a case of the authorities being overwhelmed and crippled by the fact that they’ve had to throw all their meager resources into search-and-rescue operations.

I hope that all the pics and video footage being taken of looters are gathered as evidence, and that as many as can be ID’d later get the book thrown at them once the current crisis conditions have passed. But shooting unarmed folks for taking goods out of stores? It’s not going to happen, nor should it.

If it persists, those who have an axe to grind or who are less well-informed will blame the President, who needs to respond much more effectively than did his predecessors in the 1970s.

How about blaming the "wacko" envirnomentalists who pushed regulations to the point that no refineries have been built in the last 30 years. I might add that these are the first people to complain about high gas prices.

Joseph:

The TCS piece is probably politically motivated and misleading. Frequency is not necessarily a good measure of the relationship between global warming and hurrican production; destructiveness might make more sense. See Kerry Emanuel’s article in nature here.
At some point, it will probably be the case that global warming will no longer be politicized, but in the meantime it is prudent for rational individuals to keep an open mind about it.

Probably the way to think about the debate around global warming is to take Dan Kahan’s arguments about cultural cognition into account. (See his posts at Jack Balkin’s blog for more details.)

Brett -- there isn’t any correlation over time between industrial activity and hurricane severity. Check it out.

Hurricane Severity Over Time

So now the shootings at Kent State were justifiable? Taught those long-haired hippies a lesson, huh? What an incredibly scummy thing to say. In the case of the New Orleans looting, how do you figure it’s worth killing over? Stolen merchandise is going to be a drop in the bucket when you consider the overall cost of this hurricane, yet you’re arguing that people should be shot to death for it? And if "successful violence breeds more violence," wouldn’t that be an argument AGAINST killing?

"...." - Where is your evidence that "environmentalist wackos" are the first to complain about high gas prices?

You’re right Dain. But think about this as well when trying to estimate that they are more destructive. The dollar value of the the destruction has increased. But why?

In the early 1900’s the U.S. was running about a 30 or 40% of its population urbanized. (I realize these may be wrong to an extent, so anyone with the actual figures feel free to post them.) Today we are about 75% urbanized. The plain and simple fact behind this all is that there is simply more "stuff" in the cities to be destroyed and more people who live there that are affected.

I agree. Killing people for looting is absurb. However, when things die down and resources spent on arresting these people I think they should get harsher prison sentences.

Phil, Kent State is different. Let’s not forget the town was under marshall law and they were burning buildings. I am sorry that people there died, I really am. But it was hardly the National Guards fault.

Phil, come on. Your whole party is complaining about high gas prices.

I’ve just read that military choppers have been fired on at the Superdome, and the ambulance service hired to ferry out infirm refugees has suspended operations there b/c they feel it’s unsafe for their staff. Now HERE is a circumstance where lethal force might well be called for, subject to all the usual tactical cautions and caveats of course. The MPs are said to be on the way.

The irony of the blame game by these secular leftists is that they sound a lot like OT jeremiad prophets. Perhaps The Guardian also thinks Sodom and Gemorrah got what was coming.

A lot of the problem that the police are facing in New Orleans is that they no longer have any convenient place to detain criminals. Watch the footage of how the looters are being handled--their haul is being confiscated, and then they’re basically being sent on their way.

That said, I’m not comfortable with the order that’s been given to local law enforcement--to abandon search and rescue efforts in favor of cracking down on looters. I love property rights as much as anyone around here, I imagine, but I should think that any government’s primary resonsibility is to save lives.

I’ve just read that military choppers have been fired on at the Superdome, and the ambulance service hired to ferry out infirm refugees has suspended operations there b/c they feel it’s unsafe for their staff.

This is appalling. They are putting the lives of 25,000 people at risk to fire on the helicopters. Something with these people needs to be done.

Having said that, they need to also give their full effort to saving lives, but with 28,000 troops and local law enforcement they should be able to do both.

Once again, maybe if other countries would the us (the first country to help others and the country that provides the most resources to others) then maybe we could use our own forces to "police" seeing as how it is more dangerous and the help from other countries can be used to search for people. Make no mistake WE DON"T need the money, but extra man power could help.

I just can’t help but think that at least in the back of the minds of other foreign leaders this is more of a move of cowardice than anything else. (being that they don’t want to at least offer help because they don’t want to be seen in the terrorist’s minds as helping the Americans.) I am not saying this is a main reason but I can’t help but think is not a factor.

I’ve just read that military choppers have been fired on at the Superdome, and the ambulance service hired to ferry out infirm refugees has suspended operations there b/c they feel it’s unsafe for their staff.

I rest my case. Anarchy quickly escalates to random violence, and "shooting to kill" ultimately saves lives but bringing an end to anarchy. What you folks don’t understand about human nature scares me...it’s no wonder our social order is in such a sad state (compare crime rates today with 100 years ago, for instance).

Scummy, Phil? This is the second time you have come close to breaking our agreement on not insulting one another. If you can’t live up to it just say so.

Kent State demonstrates a social dynamic, nothing more. Armed force will dissipate unorganized violence very quickly. I was not saying that those deaths were justifiable. Why do liberals always read morality into every statement?

Once again, maybe if other countries would the us

should read. Once again, maybe if other countries would help us

That said, I’m not comfortable with the order that’s been given to local law enforcement--to abandon search and rescue efforts in favor of cracking down on looters. I love property rights as much as anyone around here, I imagine, but I should think that any government’s primary resonsibility is to save lives.

No, I’m not at all comfortable with that, either. Sounds like a teachable moment regarding the "to protect and to serve" motto typically connected to the police. I’m sure it’s reassuring to some kid trapped in the flooded remains of a building that the cops are tracking down people who raided all the crap from a Rite Aid.

Dain, etc.:

Emanuel uses a measure of hurricane power dissipation, which is not the same as damage in monetary terms. Hurricanes may be becoming more powerful due to global warming; if this is true, that is something to be concerned about. If you like, think of the required policy solutions in terms of constructing better houses and more storm-proof urban areas. The net effect on commerce may be positive. But at the end of the day, it’s not a partisan issue; nature won’t check your party ID before it flattens your house.

I hate to ask the question because people will twist around what I said. (just look to Mark Ibold’s response in other threads.) Did the order have anything to do with 10,000 MORE troops being deployed there? Meaning that the troops were added to assist in the rescue so that the police could do their jobs.

Regarding comment 12, what exactly is "marshall law"?

think of the required policy solutions in terms of constructing better houses and more storm-proof urban areas.

This statement makes me nervous. It just adds to the mounting regulations the government puts on private citizens. That said, the house and infrastructure should be better equipped to deal with these problems, however, the market should decide this not the government. (i.e. the people should decide the best way to improve the durability of the house based within their own budget.) The people in that area know best how to protect for themselves not the government. Adding regulations could and will make the cost of housing in that area become to expensive for some people and doom them to a life of repaying huge loans at the expense of goods. Furthermore, any such policy proposed would do nothing if another event happened like it did specifically in New Orleans. In this situation added regulations would only take money away from their possibility of purchasing flood insurance which can/will restore them with new furniture etc.

Anarchy quickly escalates to random violence, and "shooting to kill" ultimately saves lives but bringing an end to anarchy.

Yes, Dain, I agree that this can be the case, but only under certain circumstances. We need to take care and make distinctions. Capping a middle-aged woman coming out of a downtown shop with an armload of stolen clothing isn’t going to end the shooting at the Superdome. But if the MPs spot a gunman there or anywhere behaving in a criminal manner and the perp won’t lay down his weapon immediately and give up, then by all means, aim at center-body mass and let him have it, assuming there’s a clear shot.

I don’t think wanting to reserve lethal force only for certain circumstances is a sign of naivete about human nature--I just think it’s prudent.

my bad. Martial law.

PJC...the people doing the shooting are (mostly) professionals. I think they will use discretion. Unfortunately, it’s possible to have too many qualifiers in situations like this one. What is needed is a very simple message -- you steal, you die (even if the probability of that actually happening is rather low). It’s not the actually number of shootings that matter, but rather convincing the criminals that you have the will and determination to do just that. The only way to convince them is to do some of it, I’m afraid.

And no, I disagree with you. Shooting a looter or two WOULD put a stop to the SuperDome nonsense.

Dain, if you’re going to make nasty remarks like, "Case in point, the ’student protests’ calmed down considerably after Kent State. Successful violence breeds more violence...you absolutely have to put a stop to it," then I’m going to call them what they are. Why do you have "student protests" in quotes?

Well, Phil, when you agree to something you don’t put conditions on it after the fact. Nothing I said directly insulted you, but you responded with an ad hominem description of the comment. So, you won’t insult me unless I really anger you, is that it? Not much of a deal, partner.

"Student protesters" transcend their status as students when they begin to burn, loot, and commit other assorted acts of violence. They become simple criminals in my book. Sorry that distresses you, but universities are suppose to represent learning and reason, not violence and intimidation. Those students (not necessarily the ones who ended up shot) abrogated their rights as students when they engaged in adult acts of a criminal nature. Indeed, I can’t think of a single good reason to allow such hoodlums to use their protected status as students to shield themselves from rightful authority.

One more insult of any kind from you and I will consider our agreement at an end.

you responded with an ad hominem description of the comment.

By definition, a remark about a comment cannot be ad hominem. If he had called you "scummy" or "nasty," then that would be ad hominem.

the house and infrastructure should be better equipped to deal with these problems, however, the market should decide this not the government.

Unfortunately, the market decided that I would live in an apartment, not a house. Interestingly, though, the market also decided that I would have toast and eggs for breakfast, and that I would wear my brown shoes, not the black ones, to work today. Thanks, market!

Well, what a nosey, ill-bred comment, John. How’s that...didn’t call you a thing, but I’m suggesting that you can’t mind your own business and you are impolite. I guess you would take solace in the fact that I was characterizing your comment rather than your character...that’s not how we do things down South.

According to our agreement, Phil and I would refrain from insulting one another. It is only because comments like "scummy" are borderline that I gave Phil yet another chance.

Thank you Bill! I will trust you that you are being sincere and not a wise-acre. I’m learning new stuff every day and all of it makes me proud to be an American. Learning should never stop! That’s why I’m reading a William F. Buckley and that new book by Bernard Goldberg. Both great thinkers in their own ways. As for this situation in New Orleans I think Dain is making good sense. If the police would have shot the first few looters dead that would have ended that nonsense right away! I think a similar policy would be a good idea with vandalls too! Never forget (9/11)!!

Mack, it’s hardly necessary to keep reminding us about 9/11 all the time. I’m pretty sure that everyone remembers what happened, ok? And do you suggest that we actually shoot kids who are caught spray painting a building?

Dain, you can be mad at John Moser all you want, but he does have a point. I’m not calling YOU scummy, and while I suppose we could get into a debate about whether or not making a scummy remark means the commentor himself is scummy, I’d really rather not. You’re reacting as though you’re Mr. Polite n’ Cordial all the time, yet you make all kinds of rude comments about liberals, libertarians, and any others who dare to disagree with you. I have really made an effort to avoid the ad hominem attacks you get so upset over, but I don’t want to take the further step of being limited to only polite statements, especially when you don’t impose such rules upon yourself. And really, are your feelings all that hurt because a guy you’ve never met (and an admitted liberal guy, at that) says your remark was scummy?

So, Phil, "scummy" thoughts don’t require a "scummy" author? I’m not being overly sensitive, we just have an agreement. If perjorative terms are allowed, where do we draw the line. I just don’t see much use in having an agreement if insulting our comments takes the place of insulting our character.

But no, my feelings aren’t hurt at all. I just want people to live up to their agreements...seems reasonable to me.

I’m afraid that no one has mentioned a few things about this "you steal, you die" mentality a few of you had.

You are expecting a large population of people who have just had their whole lives ripped away by one of the worst natural disaster to ever hit U.S. soil to stay calm and not panic. I’m not necessarily excusing their actions, but they certainly shouldn’t be shot for it.

And how do you determine the motives of each looter? What is some guy runs into a supermarket to grab his family some food or clothes because they now have none? Do you shoot him too? Will he be the one we start "making our point" with?

Why don’t we make our point with rubber bullets or tasers? Why don’t we incapacitate people rather than simply kill them? Isn’t that something we learned from the already-cited Kent State incident (something that was definitely the National Guard’s fault, by the way, in my opinion)?

I can’t believe that you are suggesting we kill people who are scared, confused, and just had their whole world turned upside down? Do they deserve jail-time and heavy fines? Absolutely. Do they deserve to die? Certainly not.

Man . . . excuse the poor tense and grammar mistakes. I get typing so fast . . . *sigh*

I can’t believe that you are suggesting we kill people who are scared, confused, and just had their whole world turned upside down? Do they deserve jail-time and heavy fines? Absolutely. Do they deserve to die? Certainly not.

Well, Matt, the problem with that is, as I said above, there are no longer functioning jail facilities in New Orleans. The available options right now are either to shoot looters or to let them go. And surely it’s worth noting that there are plenty of people in New Orleans who are "scared, confused, and just had their whole world turned upside down" who are not looting (and now, according to today’s newspaper, raping as well).

The available options right now are either to shoot looters or to let them go.

Frankly, I’m not buying that those are the only two options. If, as you implicitly noted above with some distaste, law enforcement are putting all of their resources into going after the looters, then they should have some means of hauling looters away. How are the cops getting in to spot looters? Or are they simply guessing who is and who isn’t a looter from a distance and picking them off sniper-style? If they wanted to, if they had the will, they could haul looters to some other location beyond New Orleans. My guess is this either-or scenario has just been contrived to push the shoot-to-kill policy.

I think some of those looters and anarchists should possibly face manslaughter charges as they are impeding the progress of rescue and evacuation of the desperately ill.

Okay, how many evacuees should get bumped from buses so that criminals can be shipped out of New Orleans?

As for shooting people who are stealing food, I think the armed forces on the ground will make distinctions (as I noted in #26). And being "confused" etc. doesn’t translate to stealing TVs and DVDs, much less raping other people and shooting at relief helicopters.

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here...this politically-correct flinching away from what is necessary holds dire consequences. Is refraining from racial/ethnic profiling worth another 9/11? Is "tasering" rather than shooting worth yet another rape or murder? Liberals need to stow their narcissistic moral standards and face the truth...restoring social order is generally a nasty business. A failure of nerve on the part of the authorities costs lives in the long run. Feeling better about ourselves shouldn’t always be the *^&%&*( priority!

Well, anyone with a gun shooting at helicopters and ambulances should be shot. This can be justified on "normal" grounds anyway.

"Once again, maybe if other countries would the us (the first country to help others and the country that provides the most resources to others) then maybe we could use our own forces to "police" seeing as how it is more dangerous and the help from other countries can be used to search for people."

Here you go, "...."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050902/bs_nm/energy_katrina_europe_wrap_dc

Dain don’t you have anything to say about the anarchy and chaos relating to the racial composition of New Orleans??? I know you’re just chomping at the bit on that!

Why belabor the obvious, MES? Besides, I’m not the one who’s obsessed with racial theories of society. That would be you and your buddy Fung.

D’oh!! Ya got me again, Dain! What’s so "obvious" by the way???

I had assumed you were referring in #43 to the obvious fact that New Orleans is predominately African-American?

Dain, I said I don’t want to get into a pointless debate about whether or not saying something scummy means the speaker is scummy, so you if you want to pretend that you don’t see any difference between me insulting YOU or me insulting your REMARK, that’s your problem.

If I make any comment that you feel breaks our agreement, then respond in the manner you feel is necessary. But I still say I didn’t break the agreement.

Oh great MES, let’s make this about race. Yes there are a lot of black people in New Orleans and yes they are doing a lot of the looting, so what do we do? Give them a free pass because they’re black so God forbid we say anything about them doing something bad, or else we must be racist? I think any and all looters should be shot TO DEATH no matter what their race and then we’d see an end to the looting PDQ!! And MES, Phil, Jamie and Matt Mingus, I’m sure you would feel the same way if it was YOUR store that was getting looted. So go on sipping your lattes and typing your sarcastic comments and whining about how it’s not fair to shoot looters because they’ve been through a hard time, but you wouldn’t be that way if this was affecting YOU.

I did notice that Phil and was about to post a statement about that but you beat me to it. However, I will point out a comment I did make. It is not the money we need but other things. As it has come to light just this morning, other countries have pledged their support for the U.S. and I for one am grateful. It could and should have come a lot sooner but nonetheless It should be appreciated.

from "...":

They are putting the lives of 25,000 people at risk to fire on the helicopters. Something with these people needs to be done.

and

Well, anyone with a gun shooting at helicopters and ambulances should be shot.

and from Dain:

And being "confused" etc. doesn’t translate to stealing TVs and DVDs, much less raping other people and shooting at relief helicopters.

Hmmm...

not sure that shooting-at-helicopters thing is necessarily true:

"Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard said other evacuations were continuing and were not affected by trash fires burning outside the Superdome. Law enforcement officers will ride with the school buses, he said.

"At the Superdome, we have a report that one shot was fired at a Chinook helicopter," Schneider said, adding that the Chinook is "an extremely large aircraft."

Laura Brown, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman in Washington, said she had no such report.

"We’re controlling every single aircraft in that airspace and none of them reported being fired on," she said, adding that the FAA was in contact with the military as well as civilian aircraft."

Sandra I am afraid you talking to brick wall. The left wants to make this about race as they always do even though it is not. They can’t help themselves, not even in a time of extreme need.

Phil, refering to comment 47, why do always get so angry? I don’t get it. At the time I posted that it was completely true. After 9-11 it took Chirac mere minutes to pledge his support for the U.S. As a result I think my post at the time I made it is still valid. Once again, don’t get me wrong I believe they are doing what they can and will do more if asked but why did it take days if they have pledged support before in a matter of moments?

You might be right about the helicopter situation. However, It should be noted that they have I do believe 72 hours to report the incident under FAA regulations. Since this is a military helicopter I would assume that they would be reporting to their military superiors up the chain of command and not to the FAA. The FAA is most likely getting its information from the Generals or Colonels. Remember that the FAA can only communicate to aircraft through an airport terminal and the radio system is set up very different than the military’s system. Meaning that it would be very hard for them to sustain the amount of radio traffic this would bring about. As a result I would the military aircraft are communicating to the military and then to the FAA. Furthermore, in aviation talk the word controlling means that they are following it on radar and providing assistance on the position of other planes and DOES NOT mean that they are "controlling" the aircraft in the terms of telling them where to go and how to do it. Lets wait and see what further reports come out.

I have still seen no solid evidence to say that snipers haven’t been shooting at ambulances like reported. If have any information on that I would be more than happy to read it and adjust my opinions accordingly.

Sandra,



LOL! That really is an interesting argument . . . I’m angry at someone, so I should shoot them. The more involved I am in a situation like that, the more objective I’m sure I’ll be. And what kind of crazy country would ever base laws on objectivity? Certainly not our good and great United States of America . . .



Look, it doesn’t matter if it’s my store or anyone else’s. I think it’s wrong to kill people for stealing. What kind of person would I be if that changed as soon as someone stole from me? Not a very good one . . . So, no, I would not feel the same way as you if it were my store being looted. It isn’t just unfair to shoot looters . . . it’s morally wrong.



Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a few more lattes to drink today if I’m ever going to meet today’s quota (not to mention a few more sarcastic comments to write) . . . and a few classes to attend.

"...." Where do you get that I’m angry about this? All I did was give you a link about an issue that you’d expressed concern over.

Also, comparing Chirac’s reaction to 9/11 to Europe’s reaction to this situation is a little unfair. It wasn’t clear that the aftermath of this hurricane would be quite this bad, nor was it immediately evident that we would have such a struggle getting control of the situation. Furthermore, it’s not usually America’s custom to ASK other countries to come help us with our natural disasters.

You go Sandra! Kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out, right? You’re just SO charming!

As a result I would the military aircraft are communicating to the military and then to the FAA.

Sorry it should say that I would assume the military aircraft are.....

I should also add that the Colonel did receive such a report (true or not) which adds support to statement that the military aircraft are communicating to other military and then to the FAA.

Phil, point taken and apologies for assuming (incorrectly) that you were upset. I also realize it is not our custom to ask but there I was pointing out the fact that they offered to help more if asked. I just trying to illustrate their support by pointing out that were willing to do even more if it was needed.

I thought this statement was interesting. Given that people are complaining (and rightfully so it appears) that the National Guard is to slow in getting there.

Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, also called for the immediate deployment of regular US combat troops in New Orleans, saying the build-up of National Guard troops was too slow to quickly restore order.

Such a step would require Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco to formally request the dispatch of federal army soldiers

Now it appears to me that the Regular army can get there quicker than the National Guard according to this account. The Lousiania Governor is complaining that the response by the Federal Gov’t (i.e. Bush) is too slow. But the regular army can’t go there until SHE SAYS SO. SO WHY IS SHE COMPLAINING THAT THEY CAN’T GET THE IMMEDIATE HELP THEY NEED WHEN SHE WON’T REQUEST IT. Here is idea for the Governor. Drop your political motivation and ask for the regular army NOW!!!!!!!!!

The fact that the regular army is ready to go there and can not because she won’t request it in my opinion should be treated the same as telling them they cannot come.

Go Hereto see a picture of all the buses the Democratic Mayor could have used to bus the poor people out during his MANDATORY evacuation. But wait does his incompetence not count.

I actually counted and you can see from the picture alone around 200 buses and there are more there not shown I am sure. Lets see 200 buses multiplied by 50 per bus (they could probably fit 66 if you had 3 per seat but we will got with 50) that is 10,000. No doubt there are more buses not shown. We haven’t even gotten into whether there are more bus garages.

Let’s not forget that 78% of these whiners in New Orleans voted for Kerry so they should be glad that they did’nt get blown up by Islamofacists that Kerry would have let roam around freely. 78% - how can so many dumb people be packed into one city? Of course its going to take the leadership of President Bush to get things sorted out there. They should be thankful he’s stepping in now! Never forget (9/11)!!

Turns out, virtually none of this was the Administration’s fault. The levees that broke were the ones that had been recently upgraded (with Federal funds). Evacuations that were strictly in the hands of the governor and the mayor of New Orleans were clearly botched. The hurricane itself was not generated by global warming, but by a cyclical warming of the Atlantic that is fairly predictable. And to top it off, sounds like there is miscommunication between the DoD and the governor.

I wish liberals would stop passing out blame/guilt and try to deal with the real problems of real people. They might win a few national elections if they did.

Dain, referring to comment 64, can you please provide some sources. That’s been a pretty weak spot in your repertoire for...oh, about as long as I’ve been visiting this godforsaken blog. Cite some sources for your facts.

Why should I do your homework, Chris (or whoever you are)? Claims of the Left in this situation are the extreme claims, and they are the ones that require proof. The fact is, I’ve seen documentation/reports for everything I’ve claimed here, but what’s the point of posting them on this "godforsaken" blog when pinheads won’t believe me anyway?

So, go fish, mate.

Ok, perhaps he was harsh there Dain, but I too would like to see your sources for that stuff. Any chance you could share those with your old NLT pal?

Since you asked politely:

For the broken levee being one of the upgraded one see here.

For the Atlantic current and hurricanes, see here.

As for my statements about the evacuation and the local and state authorities, the fact that the evacuation order was issued less that 24 hours before landfall...well, that speaks for itself. It wasn’t like that you would get half a million people out in such a short time.

Dain - First, I’m surprised that you’ve opted to place your trust in That Liberal Rag, The New York Times! Second, I fail to see how the article you linked to exonerates the Bush administration. It appears that you focused solely on these two particular sentences:

"No one expected that weak spot to be on a canal that, if anything, had received more attention and shoring up than many other spots in the region. It did not have broad berms, but it did have strong concrete walls.

Shea Penland, director of the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of New Orleans, said that was particularly surprising because the break was "along a section that was just upgraded."

but you overlooked THESE, from the same article:

Weaknesses in the levee system were foreshadowed in a report in May on the hurricane protection plan for the region and the budget gap.

The district headquarters said, "The current funding shortfalls in fiscal year 2005 and fiscal year 2006 will prevent the Corps from addressing these pressing needs."

They also meant that there was far too little money to study thoroughly an upgrade of the protections from the existing standard, enough to hold back a hurricane at Category 3 on the five-step intensity scale, to a level to withstand floods and winds from a Category 5 storm.

Hurricane Katrina was on the high end of Category 4 and, despite the extreme flooding, is still seen by many hurricane experts as a near miss for New Orleans.

Since 2001, the Louisiana Congressional delegation had pushed for far more money for storm protection than the Bush administration has accepted. Now, Mr. Naomi said, all the quibbling over the storm budget, or even over full Category 5 protection, which would cost several billion dollars, seemed tragically absurd.

"It would take $2.5 billion to build a Category 5 protection system, and we’re talking about tens of billions in losses, all that lost productivity, and so many lost lives and injuries and personal trauma you’ll never get over," Mr. Naomi said."

So, they had been "upgraded," yes, at least in part with federal dollars, but they were only upgraded as much as their limited budget would allow, and clearly more than a few experts thought that the upgrading was far from adequate. To put it in simpler terms, yes, if they had a budget for the equivalent of 200 sandbags, they’d use it and hope it would suffice, but the experts knew that what they needed was 200 THOUSAND sandbags. FEMA - part of the now-sacrosanct Homeland Security Admin. - considered a hurricane hit to NOLA to be one of the 3 most likely disasters to hit the U.S., and yet the Bush administration did not make it a funding priority. That’s a problem. Perhaps because a hurricane is difficult to sell as an impetus to invade a country which the President had been wanting to attack long before the disaster occurred? Bush exhibited minimal, arguable signs of being a national leader in times of crisis after 9/11, but here there was no sign of presidential leadership whatsoever. Not to mention the predictability and lack of preparation and funding for this. Completely appalling, and all the ignoring and wagon-circling in the world as exhibited in fine form here at NLT will not cover up this massive and utter failure from the White House.

Whoops! Forgot to put a quotation mark in front of the word "Weaknesses" in the 5th paragraph. That’s where I resume quoting the NYTimes article.

I wish liberals would stop passing out blame/guilt and try to deal with the real problems of real people.

Well, for several days there, it appeared that president bush wasn’t even trying to "deal with the real problems of real people."

Dain - Here is some more good info for ya:

"Corps officials said the floodwaters breached at two spots: the 17th Street Canal Levee and the London Avenue Canal Levee. Connie Gillette, a Corps spokeswoman, said Saturday there never had been any plans or funds allocated to shore up those spots — another sign the government expected them to hold.

Nevertheless, the Corps hardly was alone in failing to address what it meant to have a major metropolitan area situated mostly below sea level, sitting squarely in the middle of the Gulf Coast’s Hurricane Alley.

Many federal, state and local flood improvement officials kept asking for more dollars for more ambitious protection projects. But the White House kept scaling down those requests. And each time, although congressional leaders were more generous with funding than the White House, the House and Senate never got anywhere near to approving the amounts that experts had said was needed.

What happened this year was typical: Local levee and flood prevention officials, along with Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), asked for $78 million in project funds.
President Bush offered them less than half that — $30 million. Congress ended up authorizing $36.5 million."

Yikes!

Jmont...the Federal government has spent half a billion dollars on this place over the last few years, and it wasn’t enough. That report in May, which is always typical of such reports (e.g., we need more money), could not have been acted on in time to prevent this. Again, you are desperately trying to affix blame where it doesn’t belong.

Did you realize that ALL the evacuation/emergence drills that have been held in New Orleans ASSUMED that the levees would hold? It’s hard to blame Bush for local/state incompetence. Moreover, the reason the MANDATORY evacuation order was finally issued was at Bush’s prompting...even the LA Governor says that! It was the LA democrats who were sitting on their hands...why do you assign more blame to the Federal executive than to these people, whose prime responsibility it was (which can be proven)?

Moreover, there were plenty of troops on hand...here’s a source more along the lines you would expect from me (let’s see how quickly you dismiss it!).

Since you don’t mention the Atlantic current, I guess you at least conceding that Bush didn’t cause the hurricane. I guess that’s something!

You libs have become increasingly hysterical since we blasted you in 2004. Go ahead, keep fixating on Bush...he’ll be our lightening rod while we prepare for 2006 and 2008.

And please don’t pretend that had Bush been "Johnny on the spot" you would have given him any credit. The last time he reacted quickly to a situation like this he was accused of politicing. So please, save the "outrage." This is about affixing blame to Bush, nothing else.

As for presidential leadership, this is from a news report dated August 28:

"Gov. Kathleen Blanco, standing beside the mayor at a news conference, said President Bush called and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation for the low-lying city, which is prone to flooding."

From the same report:

"The mayor called the order unprecedented . . ."

Full story here:

http://www.nola.com/newsflash/louisiana/index.ssf?base/news-18/1125239940201382.xml&storylist=louisiana


And as for the flood-control money, the New York Times was editorializing against "shovel[ing]" money at the Corps of Engineers as recently as April, in part because environmentalists don’t tend to like flood-control projects. You wonder if these NYT folks ever do a Nexis search of their own editorials.

Just in case anyone is scanning quickly and doesn’t get the point of what I just posted above, the local authorities do not appear to have pulled the trigger on a mandatory-evac order until Bush pushed them off the dime. Decisions about evacuations, whether advisory or mandatory, are primarily local matters. In this case, the local decisionmakers on the spot appear, for whatever reason, to have misgauged what was about to happen. Thank God President Bush intervened and gave a fillip to these befuddled local officeholders.

Another wrinkle in the story: In a CNN interview on Sunday, Sept 5th, Mayor Nagin recalled that Blanco couldn’t make up her mind about a unified chain of command for the disaster-response effort even while meeting personally with the president on Air Force One:

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0509/05/ltm.01.html

Another interesting tidbit from the interview is this Nagin quote:

"there are no buildings in this city [built] to withstand a category 3, a category 4 or a category 5 storm, other than the Superdome."

This may explain why NOLA’s flood walls were engineered to Cat 3 specs: If the city in general is a sub-Cat 3 entity, it would seem reasonable to have Cat 3-level safeguards around it.

To build off of comment #76 go here to read one of the best articles I have seen about the issue. One must not forget that the first place New Orleans citizens should look is to the mayor and then to the Governor not to the federal government. Both the mayor and the governor let down their citizens and they now it. That is why they are the first to blame someone else.

Sorry, I think the link to the WSJ is for subscribers only.

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