Ill wind may not blow to the Whitehouse

Newton Emerson is on great form in the Irish Times today. Since it deserves a much wider play on the Internet. I have permission from him to republish it on the net. It’s a rhetorical gem.

By Newton Emerson

As the full horror of Hurricane Katrina sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if this is the end of George Bush’s presidency. The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that every copy of the US Constitution was destroyed in the storm. Otherwise President Bush will remain in office until noon on January 20th, 2009, as required by the 20th Amendment, after which he is barred from seeking a third term anyway under the 22nd Amendment.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if the entire political agenda of George Bush’s second term will not still be damaged in some terribly satisfying way.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that the entire political agenda of George Bush’s second term consists of repealing the 22nd Amendment. Otherwise, with a clear Republican majority in both Houses of Congress, he can carry on doing pretty much whatever he likes.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if the Republican Party itself will now suffer a setback at the congressional mid-term elections next November.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that people outside the disaster zone punish their local representatives for events elsewhere a year previously, both beyond their control and outside their remit, while people inside the disaster zone reward their local representatives for an ongoing calamity they were supposed to prevent. Otherwise, the Democratic Party will suffer a setback at the next congressional election.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if an official inquiry will shift the blame for poor planning and inadequate flood defences on to the White House. The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody admits that emergency planning is largely the responsibility of city and state agencies, and nobody notices that the main levee which broke was the only levee recently modernised with federal funds. Otherwise, an official inquiry will pin most of the blame on the notoriously corrupt and incompetent local governments of New Orleans and Louisiana.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush contributed to the death toll by sending so many national guard units to Iraq.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody recalls that those same columnists have spent the past two years blaming George Bush for another death toll by not sending enough national guard units to Iraq. Otherwise, people might wonder why they have never previously read a single article advocating large-scale military redeployment during the Caribbean hurricane season.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnist are asking how a civilised city can descend into anarchy.

The answer is that only a civilised city can descend into anarchy.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush should be held responsible for the terrible poverty in the southern states revealed by the flooding.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody holds Bill Clinton responsible for making Mississippi the poorest state in the union throughout his entire term as president, or for making Arkansas the second-poorest state in the union throughout his entire term as governor. Otherwise, people might suspect that it is a bit more complicated than that.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush should not be concerned by accusations of racism against the federal government.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody remembers that Jesse Jackson once called New York “Hymietown” and everybody thinks Condoleezza Rice went shopping for shoes when the hurricane struck because she cannot stand black people.

Otherwise sensible Americans of all races will be more concerned by trite, cynical and dangerous political opportunism.

As the full horror of that sinks in, this columnist is simply glad that everybody cares.

  • Katie

    YOu guys are ALL stuck on stupid. Not me. Every last one of you. The sun does not shine out of bushes ass. his hiring practices are negligent… and that is the NICEST thing I can say. This stupid almost cultlike loyalty you have. What gives? It is actually Okay for people to make mistakes now and again. And learn from them. But this freaky need of the right to applaud him at any cost, is only encouraging him to make MORE mistakes. Our country is being looted, and it is not by n@#$% in New Orleans, it is by the president and his cronies.

    Mama Pajamas. not only is there less federal money for first reponse… not more but dems like to pretend it is less, (how do you fall for that btw, all ya hafta do is look it up in your citys website?) there are LESS POLICE, LESS FIREFIGHTERS and LESS PARAMEDICS, LESS NURSES, LESS HOSPITAL BEDS less as in hundreds LESS. FEWER. NOT AS MANY. SMALLER NUMBERS than there were four years ago.

    This is not liberal hyperbole, this is fact. Plain and simple. Look up the numbers in your town. There are Fewer in New York, LA, Chicago, Boston and all over the damn country. And Likely FEWR in NEW ORLEANS too. Not to mention a skeleton national guard. That is why the commander of the NOLA nat guard mobilized the NM Nat Guard. Yet Fema did not approve them until Homore did.. That is why hundreds of firefighters from all over the country flew to fema HQ almost immediately, only to be given a day long sexual harrassment seminar and the useless duty of handing out fliers.
    While they could have been first responding.
    That is why communications equipment was mobilised from all over the country, and sat waiting for FEMAS orders to copter it in for DAYS.
    FEMA did not even bring in its OWN mobile communications systems, they are kept packed in a trailer ready to go anywhere in a matter of hours, In the belly of a national guard chopper if need be. why did they NEVER get there?

    The NOLA FIRST RESPONDERS WERE OVERWHELMED AND HAD NO COMMUNICATIONS CAPACITY WHATSOEVER! Its a bloody wonder they worked as long as they did. and it is no wonder they made mistakes. And not a one of you would have done better. And absolutely they need to be investigated, BUT SO DOES FEMA For Gods sakes. Perhaps we need to revisit our isolate and control philosophy, but the alternative to that is LARGE amounts of government spending. AND NOLA CANNOT BE BLAMED FOR HAVING A FEMA APPROVED AND AUTHORED EVACUATION POLICY. Houston Evaced earlier and got a smaller percentage of its people out. How do you explain that? Nagin should have gotten the tourists out, but where in the fuck was he gonna get the poor people out to? Nobody is addressing this. LA shelters were FULL, All of them. HOuston had not offered the astrodome as a just in case shellter.
    The superdome, Convention center and hotels could have been sufficient, but crowded for five or six days until alternate shelter could have been arranged, if there were enough staff. The three thousand national guardsmen who were currently in Iraq or the ones who were packed and ready to drive in from NM would have sufficed, and made ALL the difference.

    I guarantee you that the only thing going through the first responders’ heads was “I have to maintain the illusion of authority until more help gets here.” Meanwhile, hundreds of people a day were being plucked from thier rooftops, some of them in thier underwear, all of them hungry and scared and set down in front of the superdome, or the convention center and adding to the chaos. And to the challenge to the first responders of maintaining the illusion of authority.
    The first responders themselves were hungry, terrified and worried about thier own homes, families and survival, and did not have the luxury of sleep for days.

    Now you have spent days patronisingly insulting me and accusing me of blindly hating bush at any cost. of being a crazy moonbat, a nutcase and on and on. You rant and rant about the left politicising this, but I did not politicise this, I am calling it like I see it. And I see it from a pretty realistic perspective.

    Bush could brobably poke your moms eye out on purpose with condi’s stilletto heel and you’d still love him, but we have spent over 120 BILLION dollars on emergency preparedness in the last 4 years in this country, And Billions more on security. and we have moved BILLIONS more emergency preparedness dollars from local jurisdiction to federal. WE CAN AND SHOULD EXPECT MUCH BETTER. WE BOUGHT IT, IT IS OUR MONEY.

    Honore came in and patched things up before Blanco ceded any authority more than what she had given orally and in writing while Brown and FEMA were supposedly constitutionally paralyzed, why was he able to do it? Bush did not invoke the Riot act. NO LEGAL CHANGE WAS MADE PRE HONORE AND IMMEDIATELY POST HONORE. yet Honore did not seem to be strangled by the constitution, unable to do anything. Why is that? Perhaps it is because that is a flimsy excuse? Because our constitution is not simply a dead document, it is a document on which we BASE our laws, and we try to discern the intent the framers had in mind when we make those laws. And we can all pretty much assume that Hancock and Paine and his buddys did not mean that it was government interference to give food to a person in another state if they were hungry. And we made and legislated FEMA to do just that.

    And there were more than fifty non drowning deathts. when the autopsies are through we can speak of this again.

    And for the last time, yes food could have been dropped, on high ground, or on floats, there were dry patches all over the city. We dropped food after the Tsunami did we not? Both on Dry patches and on floats in heavily flooded areas.

    I really wish more evac had been done, And if I had my way, every city and town would have an evac grid, ample transport and alternative shelters ready to occupy at all times. This is all very expensive and is pie eyed liberal talk in this day and age. I am familiar with american disaster planning, and I can smell scapegoat here a mile away. There plan was actually typical. Better than typical. because it had FEMAS input ev ery step of the way. Except in implementation. Those soggy Buses took those who wanted to go, to the superdome. That is what florida does. The superdome did not flood.

    FEMA knows they screwed up so they are determined to make NOLA take the fall. And I think NOLA has been through enough.

  • 6countyprod

    CNN : Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, a Republican, said Sunday he was “very supportive” of giving the military a lead role in response to major disasters.

    “After Katrina, the moment we began to turn the corner was the moment we had thousands and thousands of uniforms and boots on the ground,” he told CNN.

    Vitter’s Democratic counterpart, Sen. Mary Landrieu, said the military “has a key role to play” but was more cautious about diminishing local and state control.

    “I’m not sure the governors association or all the mayors in America would be willing to sort of step aside,” she said.

    “After Katrina, the moment we began to turn the corner was the moment we had thousands and thousands of uniforms and boots on the ground,” he told CNN.

    Vitter’s Democratic counterpart, Sen. Mary Landrieu, said the military “has a key role to play” but was more cautious about diminishing local and state control.

    “I’m not sure the governors association or all the mayors in America would be willing to sort of step aside,” she said.

    When governors and mayors are as incompetent as the Democrats in NO and LA, surely it is quite appropriate for those with a bit of sense to take over. Thank goodness for the US military and the federal agencies.

  • Katie

    Michael Brown is still on the FEMA payroll, even after forced resignation… Brwnie it seems, Is now doing a “Heckuva” job in his new capacity, which is according to himself in his sham of testimony before congress, Investigating what went wrong.

    That is not what happens in the real world when one is forced to resign for incompetence. But it is I am afraid, fairly typical of this administration.

    And 6cprod, I agree that the Army does play an important role in disasters of this magnitude, but The US national guard plays a MUCH MORE important one. In fact that is thier purpose. And thier reason for existence. And the reason for thier lack of Presence In NO earlier, aside from LANGs presence in Iraq. Is Micheal Chertoff, Browns Boss, not approving thier presence inside NO city limits, citing that troops from other states lack preparedness to go into such a dangerous situation. Apparently, Iraq is a safe enough place for the US homefront Militias, but disasters back home can ONLY be run by our elite international forces? Strange world you think works correctly.

    Katrina was SO huge that the Regular Army was maybe necessary either way, but we will NEVER know if the lawlessness could have been avoided with the early presence of national guard from states neighboring LA. Or the Full presence of LA forces. And we will never know if Federal Emergency assets could have been marshalled effectively enough to make a difference, because the moment is gone. And those assets were not directed competently. I can only imagine the frustration of Louisianas National guard troops, stuck in Iraq, watching thier home state being destroyed on the news, coming home on a short leave, and being informed that the protection of thier state, the very REASON they enlisted in the guard in the first place. Should not be thier duty. That should be left to the elite regular army, being paid more and not busy fighting overseas. How bizarre a reality is that? If this is what this “Investigation” nets, there is no reason AT ALL to have a national guard and we need to stop wasting our tax money on it. Immediately. And pay the guardsmen currently serving in the army in Iraq, Regular Army wages, and Full fledged army benefits and retirements. And the choice to say no, I joined the National Guard to protect MY nation, not someone elses, so I since I will no longer do that, I quit.

    Not being an american, you may see it differently, I do not know if your armies are seperated between home and away troops like ours, but to the americans reading this… Does that seem like supporting our troops? Typical right wing troop supporting, it just does not go beyond the yellow ribbon bumper sticker on your car.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Katie:

    “YOu guys are ALL stuck on stupid. Not me.”

    Uh-huh… its all of us and all of our citations and limks that are wrong, not you…

    “The NOLA FIRST RESPONDERS WERE OVERWHELMED AND HAD NO COMMUNICATIONS CAPACITY WHATSOEVER!”

    This, two years anfter a multi-million dollar grant to upgrade thier communication capacity…

    “Not to mention a skeleton national guard.”

    There are ~12,000 National Guardsmen in Louisiana. ~3,000 were on duty out of state. Gov. Blanco could have activated those in remaining three bigade’s worth of personnel at any time, on her own authority with no one else’s say so. Had she been smart, she would have activated them prior to the storm, based on the emergency plan i posted that acknowledged anything freater than a Cat 2 storm could be disasterous.

    “Now you have spent days patronisingly insulting me and accusing me of blindly hating bush at any cost. of being a crazy moonbat, a nutcase and on and on. You rant and rant about the left politicising this, but I did not politicise this, I am calling it like I see it. And I see it from a pretty realistic perspective.”

    Yes, all your insults and CAPTIAL LETTERS make you “realistic perspective” much clearer…

    “Bush could brobably poke your moms eye out on purpose with condi’s stilletto heel and you’d still love him”

    Are you sure this isn’t moonbat hyperbole on your part?

    “And for the last time, yes food could have been dropped, on high ground, or on floats, there were dry patches all over the city. We dropped food after the Tsunami did we not? Both on Dry patches and on floats in heavily flooded areas. “

    And how, pray tell, are the locals going to get from their rooftop perches and the like to the food? Likewise, Blanco and Nagin, who had control – there was no unified comand per-Honore – put a higher priority on getting / forcing people out, not making their lives more comfortable inside the city. It was the same reason *state* authorities did not allow the Red Cross and the Salavation Army into the city to provide food and relief at the Superdome.

    “I am familiar with american disaster planning, and I can smell scapegoat here a mile away. There plan was actually typical. Better than typical. because it had FEMAS input ev ery step of the way. Except in implementation. Those soggy Buses took those who wanted to go, to the superdome. That is what florida does. The superdome did not flood.”

    Taking your statement at face value, anwer me this, since its only the third time I’ve asked it. Why does FEMA’s plans and the leaders Bush’s selected work so well in Florida these past five years and so poorly in Louisiana?

    “Except in implementation.”

    Which is, for the first 72 hours (FEMA’s typical response time) the LOCAL and STATE authorities responsibility.

    “FEMA knows they screwed up so they are determined to make NOLA take the fall. And I think NOLA has been through enough.”

    Contrariwise. Nagin and Blanco know they screwed up and want FEMA to take the fall. Its politics eight hands around. If you listen to the folks who were in the Superdome who were interviewed, their anger is toward Blanco and Nagin, not FEMA. The biggest reason Nagin and Blanco want to shift blame is they want to be re-elected.

    “And 6cprod, I agree that the Army does play an important role in disasters of this magnitude, but The US national guard plays a MUCH MORE important one. In fact that is thier purpose. And thier reason for existence. And the reason for thier lack of Presence In NO earlier, aside from LANGs presence in Iraq. Is Micheal Chertoff, Browns Boss, not approving thier presence inside NO city limits, citing that troops from other states lack preparedness to go into such a dangerous situation. Apparently, Iraq is a safe enough place for the US homefront Militias, but disasters back home can ONLY be run by our elite international forces? Strange world you think works correctly?”

    Actually, the LANG answers first and foremost to Governor Blanco. As for other units, the initial focus was not LA, but Mississippi and Alabama and their NG units would have been deployed accordingly. Lastly, there was the small matter of the trifurcated, then bifurcated chain of command — Nagin and the city forces, Blanco and the state and FEMA and the Feds. Nagin came around and started to cooperate but Blanco wanted “more time to think about it.” Paralysis by analysis.

    “Katrina was SO huge that the Regular Army was maybe necessary either way, but we will NEVER know if the lawlessness could have been avoided with the early presence of national guard from states neighboring LA.”

    Again, look at the time line. Bush declared early and all Blanco had to do was ask. She received what she asked for. If she didn’t ask for the 40,000 men she later thought she needed, whose fault is that? You want to put the full blame on the Feds and, while their is plenty of blame to go around, the Feds were not the only problem. There were a number of things that Nagin and Blanco could have done better, starting with not diverting monies from levee work to other jobs, not putting in courrupt cronies into local and state emergency positions, activating the plan in a much more timely fashion and actually following the plan. Y’know, the little things.

  • 6countyprod

    Katie, looks like Michael is getting his revenge! Roll on the independent inquiries.

    Dysfunctional Democrats. Catchy…, and true!

  • 6countyprod

    Sorry, Katie, forgot the link. Just in case you missed the report: DD’s

  • Katie

    6cprod…
    I believe that LA has only 7,000 plus national guard troops. 3 thousand plus are in Iraq, that leaves about 4 thousand. They were deployed. That is what I have read. from several different sources. I could be wrong, but 12000 troops for a state that small, geographically, and populationwise homestly does seem like a lot.

    I am watching on Cspan right now, the live feed of the sham of a hearing as it relates to the Katrina Disaster, and a speech/question has intrigued me, and you too may find it interesting. It answers better than I can a question you have chosen not to approve of the answermy own answers to. A questioner has asked Mr Brown, or Brownie, and I will paraphrase, but it will undoubtably be covered in its entirety in the LIBERAL media tomorrow. It is not likely that powerline will cover it, they may but chances are, only to smear the questioner.

    He said basically, Why did my first responders have to work for ten days without any FEMA relief whatsoever, Why did they have to survive on Food looted from grocery stores, clothing looted from walmart and never have any fuel delivered. Why was there never any communications delevered? Why is it that my people survived for a nearly a week week with one single personal satellite phone as thier only communications? Why are the residents of my state still to this day living in Tents looted from walmart? Never mind trailer accomidations? Why has’nt Fema delivered livable tents by now?

    The Questioner is the rep from southern MISSISSIPPI.
    like I have said before, perhaps it is not all peace love and naked bunnies there? Maybe I was not lying to you that there are reports of VALID complaints from other states too.

    That questioner also vocalized his concerned that nola was being made the scapegoat.

    Brown has stated that the thing he would do differently, if he could is to give MORE FREQUENT PRESS UPDATES!!!??? and to force Blanco and Nagin to coordinate. And those were his first two excuses. He also has blamed lack of budget, bad contractors, unreliable subcontractors, and his staff being tired and overwhelmed, he has said that FEMA has been bled dry since allbaughs appointment, and since the melding of FEMA into the DHS umbrella. He said his trucks lacked Global positioning systems so there is no way he can possibly know what supplies he has and where. He stated that he has privately predicted a meltdown of this magnitude for some time. He said if he were braver he would have retired and went public with his fears (apparently he had not even gone so public as to email the approprations committe of his fears, and was chastised for that) But he has yet to say he has ANY PART OF THE BLAME.

    All the while he has steadfastly spouted his standard federalist rhetoric, About how even though his department is penniless and completely lacks resources, the NO officials should not have lacked the resources to commandeer trains riverboats airplanes and buses to organize a full scale evac to god knows where. Because it is thier responsibility to handle the disasters, and his to stand there and look pretty until given orders.
    Lack of resources is apparently a completely rational excuse for the FEDERAL government, but not for the sates.

    He has stated he was given all he needed, and then at other times denied he had what he needed… He is a joke. Even the SUPER partisan republicans are tripping him up, and they are trying to lead him AWAY from recriminating himself, and by osmosis, the bush admin.

    There have been some valid points about NOLAS involvemnet brought up, but there is nobody from Nola there to defend themselves, so we will see what they have to say.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    “I believe that LA has only 7,000 plus national guard troops. 3 thousand plus are in Iraq, that leaves about 4 thousand. They were deployed. That is what I have read. from several different sources. I could be wrong, but 12000 troops for a state that small, geographically, and populationwise homestly does seem like a lot. “

    From the National Guard website:

    “Today’s Louisiana Army and Air National Guard consists of 74 units spread among 43 cities and towns of the state and numbers some 11,500 Army and Air Guardsmen. As a result of various reorganizations the present Army Guard is composed of a State Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 204th Area Support Group, the 256th Separate Infantry Brigade, the 225th Engineer Group and various Medical, Maintenance, Aviation, Military Police, Armored Cavalry and Special Forces units and the 156th Army Band. “

    Its amazing what you can find, factually speaking, with just a little effort.

  • 6countyprod

    Katie, I’ve just listened to Brown testifying before the committee.

    The liberal media ought to be ashamed of itself. They talk a lot of what comes out of a horse’s ass, and they have succeeded in sacrificing a good man for the sake of scoring a few political points. May God forgive for them for such hatred and animosity.

    Ramble on Katie, I’m not listening anymore.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Katie, I’ve just listened to Brown testifying before the committee.

    The liberal media ought to be ashamed of itself. They talk a lot of what comes out of a horse’s ass, and they have succeeded in sacrificing a good man for the sake of scoring a few political points. May God forgive for them for such hatred and animosity.

    Ramble on Katie, I’m not listening anymore.

    Unfortunately, American news is a lot like McDonald’s food — processed, pre-packaged and generally a little overheated.

    F’r’instance, how many retractions have been seen re: the “Lord of the Flies” stories they were circulating??

  • Katie

    I am not understanding you guys, Are you thinking I have just seen a polluted liberal media ACCOUNT of the hearings? Actually I watched them. Uncut and unadorned by talking heads, it is a very handy way to get ones news actually. It makes it much easier to form ones OWN opinions. We have a network that does very little commentary, just shows events, speeches and deliberations live.

    Or are you thinking that it was liberal media REPORTERS doing the questioning of Mr Brown?? It was eleven republican senators and I believe 2 0r 3 Democrats. By far the meanest bulldog, Shays is a republican.

    The only part were brown sounded credible at all was his theatrical monologue at the beginning, the rehearsed pre written part.

    And I have to say, having watched or listened to EVERY minute of the 9/11 commission hearings as well as reading the report, I am even more certain now that there needs to be an independant commision. While the senators are doing thier level best I am sure, they are not prepared or thorough enough to have done even a cursory background investigation before starting the hearings. This is a waste of time. Politicians cannot investigate other politicians.

    And Dread, I stand corrected on the number of LANG troops, however the br Gen of the LANG has publicly stated that ALL available bodies were deployed, and that he had arranged with other states to get more ready, packed and minutes from the road at FEMAS okay. And other states NG commanders have verified this.

  • JohninLondon

    The tipping point was the failure to properly organise the evacuation of NO, or even to properly organise even basic safety at the Superbowl and then the Convention Centre. Everything else pales in comparison.

    There was far worse physical devastation east of NO where the eye of the hurricane eventually struck, but relatively few deaths. By far the mjority of the deaths were concentrated in NO, and the subsequent suffering of tens of thosnds of people at the holding centres/de facto prisons.

    Primary failure of the First Responders to operate their own evacuation plans.

  • Katie

    John, All those points are completely valid, until you actually realize, that a full evac was not possible in the 56 hrs from the nat hurricane warnng til landfall, with the limited resources that nola had.
    seriously. We just finished watching houstons botched Rita Evac.
    Every single mayor I read interviewed said that thier town was 90 percent evacuated, yet the area they were talking about has a combined population of about 5 million and the highest estimates of evacuees I have seen was 2.9 million. That is a little under 60 % so either the media has lost a few sizeable towns that did not evacuate at all, or the Rita mayors are exxagerating just a bit to cover thier arses.

    Now you must take into consideration, that once communications go, all disater planning goes to. The primary goal has to become crowd control until communications can begun again.

    We all watched on TV and read our Newspapers as Texas did EVERYTHING Except grid evac and contraflow RIGHT, They made evac mandatory THE second they realized the storm was huge and coming thier way. they evaced ALL the vulnerable, they canvassed door to door to get an Idea who needed help, they recieved federal resources for evac amounting to millions of dollars in the form of Buses from all round the country, helicopters, paramedics and army personell carriers. There are at least 4 MAJOR freeways running out of the affected area. They did not do it alone and they did the best they could, yet people were stuck in massive gridlock for hours in the hot sun, many giving up and driving back home. some catching fire on the highway due to the overstrtched buses and still only about 60% were evaced. This is because , Our number of drivers has increased about twice as fast as our road capacity for the past few yrs. And public ond mass transport in our country is NIL when outside a metro area.

    New orleans was projected to have 300,000 people left in it after Pam, yet the estimates I have seen range from 50-150 thousand after Katrina. Kathleen blancos blunder, of strongly urging evac saturday morning and making it mandatory the next, had the effect of an organized grid evac, which is what she should have done. and the fact that all the while there was contraflow, actually evaced a huge amount of people faster. I kind of hope for her sake it was planned that way.It is a sin that evac of the poor was not planned and paid for, federally, immediately upon learning of the dire nature of thier situation, which is actually years before any of the current officials were in office. But ESPECIALLY after the Bush first 4 years. Besides energy, the only TRULY robust part of our economy is real estate, financing has been deregulated so much that moddle class people think we can afford Bigger Newer houses than ever before, and in the past four years we have built like crazy all over the country. And in the nOLA area, that meant a whole lot less drainage land. and a whole lot more flood danger.

    Nola could not have afforded a well organized ful evac on thier budget. And likey NEVER could.

    Now a question that NOBODY in the media is asking, in fact I seem to be the ONLY person who is asking it, is where were they to be evacuated to? Those shelters of last resort that popped up in houston are COSTLY… not only in dollars but in lost revenue when being used for humanitarian reasons.During the pam test there were many discussions on what to do, but the Pam exercise was only funded through the exercize phase, the final phase of that exercize, the one where they were supposed to figure those things out, was never funded. I daresay a competent FEMA director would have raised holy hell with the media, senate and congress in regards to that particular funding cut. I think its important that we figure who cut it and why via investigation. I think the blame there lies squarely with FEMA as it was a FEMA project, not a new orleans one.

    I really am not trying to be partisan, but fer f#$%cks sake! we can do much better than this.

    I am VERY relieved to read that much of the crime and lawlessness was a manifestation of paranoia during a panic situation. Every thing that I have read about major disasters says that rumours mushroom in frightened crowds to mammoth proportion instantaneously. I was very angry all along that so many people were so squarely condemning the victims for looting, and suspected that more of the looting was for survival than the media was letting on. And suspected that the reason that so many of us were so willing to believe it was that we are racist.

    I still think that the actual death toll that is not from drowning will be higher than we think, and am curious about what all the autopsies will say.

    Hopefully this will be a lesson to us, and hopefully we will realize, that while New Orleans should have had a full evac plan, Katrina did happen after the city was nearly evaced. Not all disasters can be planned and anticipated, when a truly unexpected disaster happens anywhere else, we will be even more screwed. Because we will ALL be there. Not just the poor. And what happened in New orleans, if it happened in a full city, would be MUCH MUCH worse. Unless we invest in some true homeland security.

    And hopefully we will realize that had the minimum wage been raised even once in the past eight years, many more people would have been able to afford to leave on thier own, without government help. Minimum wage increases affect not only minimum wage earners but all those jobs that are just a bit above minimum, and those are the wages of the folks who got left behind n NOLA.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Katie: “I really am not trying to be partisan, but fer f#$%cks sake! “

    Yes, yes you are, from the very start of the thread, you have.

    Katie, upon reading your last post, I have come to the conclusion that all your rants about not being a liberal partisan are just so much smoke. If nothing else your I’m the only one right and asking all the right questions” pap makes it obvious.

    You openly ignore any facts that do not agree with your political end of sticking the Feds with 100% of the blame. The local and state level blunders, the corruption, the offers ignored (Amtrak trains, for one), the transfer of funds from levee to non-levee projects — this is all of no weight in these discussions, since it gets in the way of your Bush-bashing.

    “And hopefully we will realize that had the minimum wage been raised even once in the past eight years, many more people would have been able to afford to leave on thier own, without government help. Minimum wage increases affect not only minimum wage earners but all those jobs that are just a bit above minimum, and those are the wages of the folks who got left behind n NOLA.”

    Been reading the ACORN fliers again, eh? No tragedy to big to be turned into political grist. The fact is is that no evacuation is 100% and short of going door to door and making folks exit at gunpoint, you’re never going to get one. But to suddenly whipsaw a hurricane aftermath into supporting the fallacious notion that atrtificially inflating the minimum waage is specious at best.

  • Katie

    Dread, I’m sorry, but ARTIFICIALLY inflating Minimum wage? In a civil society, you actually do have to raise the minimum wage once in a while, nothing artificial about it. My own salary has gone up considerably in the past 8 yrs. As has yours I imagine. In low wage jobs however, salaries do not increase on thier own.
    If you started working at a corporate nursing home as a certified nusing asst for 5.25USD an hour eight yrs ago, right after the last minimum wage increase and you have been an exemplary employee, your superiors like you and you are lucky enough to have gotten all of your annual optional 10c per hour Merit increases, your salary is now only 6.05 pr hour. That is hardly enough to keep up with inflation.

    And say one nursing home closes, and you must go work for another, you start over at 5.25 again.

    Like it or not, many of our most profitable and largest employers have pay structures like this, they are unnaturally profitable BECAUSE they pay thier employees as little as they can get away with.

    Middle class taxpayers then, are stuck picking up the slack. We pay for the health care that those employees cannot afford, we pay for thier childrens school lunches as well as our own, we pay for thier day care and thier heating in the winter and the rent subsidies that they need, even though they work full time, and the jobs they do need doing AND are highly profitable for the company owners. And now we pay by watching them suffer in the NO heat and mold. with no water or food 5 days after a hurricaine that has been predicted for years. 8 yrs ago, when we last raised the minimum wage, they could have provided much of this for themselves. and its not that they do not work hard, they do. shouldn’t hard work be enough to at least survive without taxpayer assistance. I am not saying that a walmart clerk should earn as much as a neurosurgeon, but shouldn’t they earn enough to live?

    And I am very sorry to dissapoint you dear, I have never heard of acorn. this is common sense. and common decency. and would mean that we could save a lot of tax money on social programs. and I am all for paying less taxes.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Stuff and nonsense. Outside of restaurant / bar jobs(where tips are part of the renumeration), try *finding* a minimum wage job. Even the fast food jockeys are at $7-9 and hour to start.

    When you increase the labor rate, you are, essentially, inflating costs. What a given price bought yesterday will not buy the same today, not because supply and demand shifted, but by legislative fiat. This, in turn, has ramifications up and down the economic chain. Increased minimum wage generally ends up in a wage inflation not quite across the board, but across all wage earners, with a bit of delay. This, in turn, increases employer costs, both in tax contributions and in wages. This, in turn, raises prices, since the labor component has been inflated. Similarly, small business, along with the retail and service sector, usu. look to downsize their staffs, to maintain profitability. A small increase in unemployment results.

    Being someone who audits HHA cost reports, among others, I have *never* seen a home health aid what made $5.25 an hour — sorry, doesn’t happen, thak you for playing.

    Several cities have instituted “living wage” regulation and I know for a fact this sort of legislation has killed a chunk of Baltimore’s economy. Liberals get all happy when they want to create these “living wage” zones, then never shop there because, as economic individuals, the legendary “rational man” of econ classes everywhere, they shop based on price.

    Riddle me this, why not eliminate this raising the minimum wage to $20 USD an hour? If a small hike is so good, why not a big one?

  • Katie

    HA HAHAHAHA!!!! you are funny darlin’ seriously.

    Look up Santa Fe NM, Almost completely low paying hospitality economy.
    They instituted a 7.50 an hour living wage act.

    Unemplyment is down close to a percent, Job Growth is up, faster than anywhere else in the state, and emergency public assistance requests are down almost 10% I JUST read that today.

    If baltimores stats are not similar, I will eat my shorts.

    EVERY SINGLE TIME MINIMUM WAGE HAS GONE UP IN THE USA THE ECONOMY HAS GROWN, NOT SHRUNK. That is because pwople at the lowest end of the pay scale, SPEND thier money, and put it back into the economy, usually into the lowest wage economic sectors, because that is what they can afford, this creates more jobs, and more profits. Emplyees AND employers win. It is a myth that raising the minimum wage hurts emplyers. Find me some data that says otherwise.

    And I think that you are quite unaware that certified nursing assts in most of the country do not get much higher than 2 dollars an hour over minimum. and that is at best, and only experienced ones.All over the south, they start at the minimum wage, unless forced by a living wage act to start higher. In Large trauma centers, highly experienced ones can hope to make 10 or 11 dollars an hour, but that is at the VERY top of the pay scale, and requires years of service, in the same hospital. And CNAs are laid off very often, sometimes just to avoid moving them to the top of the pay scale. And those jobs are highly coveted amongst career CNAs. (Yes they do exist, you see sometimes poor people with children cannot EVER afford to go to school to better thier lot) Perhaps Baltimore is a highly unionized city and offers better pay than the rest of the country, but considering that baltimores cost of living is about medium, I highly doubt your figures are not anomalous. not that I think you are lying but maybe the organisation you work for has much better than average wage policys built in it. Because not all companies are greedy, they do not need a minimum wage. Minimum wage is for the people who without it, take advantage.

    now that is not the same thing as saying that minimum wage should be 20 dollars an hour. not in the least. But every once in a while minimum wage HAS to go up. because everything else does. If we make it twenty to appease lil ol liberal me, why dont we make it 25 cents for you? People would still work for that you know. Because people need jobs. If for no other reason than to be eligible for welfare.

    if you calculated min wage along with the inflation rate from about 72 on, it would be at least 19 an hour today. But that would likely hurt the economy, but maybe a dollar every few years? Is that unreasonable?

    Wages need to keep pace with inflation, or poverty grows. end of story.

    And yes Genious ADULTS, with CHILDREN do work at the very bottom of the pay scale. and they are not always upwardly mobile. Sometimes they stay near the minimum wage for thier entire careers.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    “If baltimores stats are not similar, I will eat my shorts.”

    How would you like them prepared.

    “EVERY SINGLE TIME MINIMUM WAGE HAS GONE UP IN THE USA THE ECONOMY HAS GROWN, NOT SHRUNK. That is because pwople at the lowest end of the pay scale, SPEND thier money, and put it back into the economy, usually into the lowest wage economic sectors, because that is what they can afford, this creates more jobs, and more profits.”

    Uh-huh… the last time the minimum wage was raised was in the middle of the tech bubble, which distorted the data. Also, while overall employment went up, those sector of employment most sensitive to minimum wage hikes(teens, unskilled labor, etc.) were adversely affected. The overall employment level is not a good indicator of the impact of a minimum wage hike, since it looks at *ALL* employment, not just those sectors sensitive to the minimum wage rate. On a lesser point, if the economy is going gang-busters, employment is typically low and the minimum wage isn’t an issue, since there is competition for workers by employers. What good is a booming economy if you don’t have a job? For specific percentages for impact of the 90-91 wage hike on those economic classes most sensitive to changes in the minimum wage, here is a link:

    http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/reg18n1c.html

    “Emplyees (sic) AND employers win. It is a myth that raising the minimum wage hurts emplyers (sic). Find me some data that says otherwise. “

    Please see above; The tables you want will be most of the way down the page. Data for several years and several minimum wage hikes is included.

    “And I think that you are quite unaware that certified nursing assts in most of the country do not get much higher than 2 dollars an hour over minimum. and that is at best, and only experienced ones. All over the south, they start at the minimum wage, unless forced by a living wage act to start higher. In Large trauma centers, highly experienced ones can hope to make 10 or 11 dollars an hour, but that is at the VERY top of the pay scale, and requires years of service, in the same hospital. And CNAs are laid off very often, sometimes just to avoid moving them to the top of the pay scale.”

    Been auditing too many hospitals for too many years to let this one slide. Hospitals are sucking wind for qualified personnel, esp. care-givers. Like I said, a home health aid, who doesn’t have nearly the training you are discussing, makes more than what you’re saying CNAs do. I have audited HHAs all over the country, Katie. Not a one I’ve gone to is as low as you describe.

    “(Yes they do exist, you see sometimes poor people with children cannot EVER afford to go to school to better thier lot)”

    Free schooling to age 18… programs ranging from student loans to Pell grants to scholarships to military training… Any kid willing to finish high school with a decent GPA has the opportunity to go on to higher education — they may have to start somewhere less fun and less glamourous, but it can be done, by anyone who is willing to work at it.

    “Perhaps Baltimore is a highly unionized city and offers better pay than the rest of the country, but considering that baltimores cost of living is about medium, I highly doubt your figures are not anomalous. not that I think you are lying but maybe the organisation you work for has much better than average wage policys built in it.”

    Waht happened in Baltimore was the following: an organization called ACORN, pushed for a law requiring businesses in the waterfront district to pay a “living wage.” I seem to recall is being $12 / hr, but don’t quote me. (Ironically, ACORN doesn’t pay its people minimum wage, arguing they can hire more people if they are exempt.) Anyway,the money to pay the wages doesn’t come out of thin air, it comes out of business operations. Prices in the district are higher, fewer people shop there, thusly fewer people are hired and the whole situation is a bust.

    “Because not all companies are greedy, they do not need a minimum wage. Minimum wage is for the people who without it, take advantage.”

    The minimum wage is typically earned by unskilled labor, teenagers and the like. Its essentially a training wage. Very few people stay at the minimum wage for very long.

    “now that is not the same thing as saying that minimum wage should be 20 dollars an hour. not in the least. But every once in a while minimum wage HAS to go up. because everything else does. If we make it twenty to appease lil ol liberal me, why dont we make it 25 cents for you? People would still work for that you know. Because people need jobs. If for no other reason than to be eligible for welfare.”

    Like I asked — why not. If a small increase is good, why isn’t a large one better? Allow me to enlighted you: simply stated, the minimum wage is a price control. If the government coercively raises the price of some good (such as labor) above its market value, the demand for that good will fall, and some of the supply will go unused. Unfortunately, in the case of minimum wages, the “unused goods” are human beings. The worker who is not quite worth the newly imposed price loses out. Typically, the losers include young workers who have too little experience to be worth the new minimum and marginal workers who, for whatever reason, cannot produce very much. First and foremost, minimum-wage legislation hurts the least employable by making them unemployable, in effect pricing them out of the market. Teenagers suffer most from the adjustments required by an increase in the minimum-wage rate. These workers are generally the least experienced, least skilled, and least productive. The damage done to teenagers is twofold. First, they lose income immediately. Second, because minimum-wage legislation has rendered them unemployable, teenagers cannot gain the ex- perience and skills that would make them employable at higher wages later. If there were no floor price on labor, teenagers could offer to work for a lower price until they had gained the training, experience, and skills they needed to command a higher wage. The damage done to minority teenagers is far worse. By establishing an arbitrary minimum, government reduces the costs of discrimination. In The State against Blacks, economist Walter Williams described how minimum-wage legislation alters the incentives of employers: “Suppose that an employer has a preference for white employees over black employees. And for expository simplicity, assume the employees from which he chooses are identical in terms of productivity. If there is a law, such as the minimum wage law, that requires that employers pay the same wage no matter who is hired, what are his incentives? His incentives are [those] of preference indulgence. He must pay the black $3.35 an hour and he must pay the white $3.35 an hour. He must find some basis for choice. The minimum wage law says that his choice will not be based on economic criteria. Therefore, it must be based on noneconomic criteria. If he wishes, the employer can discriminate against the black worker at zero cost.”

    “if you calculated min wage along with the inflation rate from about 72 on, it would be at least 19 an hour today. But that would likely hurt the economy, but maybe a dollar every few years? Is that unreasonable?

    Wages need to keep pace with inflation, or poverty grows. end of story.”

    Your grasp of economics is tenuous, at best.

    “And yes Genious ADULTS, with CHILDREN do work at the very bottom of the pay scale. and they are not always upwardly mobile. Sometimes they stay near the minimum wage for thier entire careers.”

    Economic research doesn’t bear out your arguement. As a rule, the only persons who are at that wage strata are teens and other “new entries” into the market and those without skills. That said, to work a whole lifetime and not gain the skills to move up a rung or three suggests some other limiting factor on their economic mobility. You are wrong on the facts and you are wrong on the theory — there are negative impacts to increases in the minimum wages, as demonstrated by the economic analysis at the link. As I said, its amazing what you can find if you but expend a wee bit of effort and look.

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  • 6countyprod

    Another zinger from Mark Steyn: Media deserve blame for New Orleans debacle

  • jmc

    Maybe someone should email

    andrzej_wozniak@gem-studio.com

    and tell him we dont appreciate his spam.

    Or how about someone contacting godaddy and shutting down all the fake domains..

  • 6countyprod

    Katrina is back with a vengeance. At last, some objective editorials.

    Politicians, media combine to create disastrous coverage

    and

    Too many reporters went way overboard in hurricane coverage

    What’s the saying, ‘you can fool all of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.

    The lies and propaganda of liberals and the anti-Bush media are coming back to haunt them. There needs to be a full investigation into the naked political agenda of the mainstream media, in coordination with liberal politicians, in relation to events surrounding Katrina.

    The media’s irresponsibility and abdication of objective and factual reporting during the Katrina crisis seems to be good grounds for the administration to restrict media activities during other times of national crisis.