Recently in Katrina Category

Dateline: Home Study

Finally, 51 police workers in New Orleans have been fired according to today’s story in the Washington Post, and reported on several news channels yesterday. What took so long? Earlier fifteen officers resigned and some 228 are still under investigation for abandoning their posts. The article points out that some investigations have also exonerated officers who were stranded on rooftops or could not get to work. That’s fine, it’s the others who need to not only be fired but need to be taken to court. Our society can function unless public servants are held to higher standard than the average citizen. A police officer not reporting to work, just like a soldier not reporting for duty, is vastly different from a cashier not showing for the breakfast shift at Hardee’s.

Question is, do you have to actually not show up at the office to be fired? If not then Mayor Nagin (D) and Governor Blanco (D) should be fired too because, while they have been present at work, their leadership has certainly been AWOL.

Dateline: Home Study

The Washington Post reports today the Senate has passed a bill that requires the Inspector General to investigate the $237 million Carnival Cruise Lines ship deal. In the aftermath of Katrina, at a time when the news media and the public were screaming that the government was not doing enough to provide relief and that they were dragging their feet, the government entered into this deal. The three ships were to provide berthing for 7,100 people but it turned out that most emergency workers used the rooms.

If there was any impropriety involved then an investigation should certainly be conducted but there are a few things must be considered. First, you can reserve a room a ship. If you want the ship to stay at port and turn away cruise customers then you get the whole thing or nothing. Second, the need was immediate; there was not time to send a request for proposals and review bids. Third, the investigation of the actions of any official working in crisis must be conducted with caution lest you cause greater problems for the future crises. There is a very simple rule to be remembered here: if you want every “t” crossed and every “I” dotted, then you need to take time for review. If you want to handle a crisis then you sacrifice a few crossed “t”s in exchange for speed. In the end I suspect we will learn that even in spite of this deal, Carnival lost money compared to what it could have earned from cruises.

Dateline: Home Study

Well events of today make it clear that Mayor Ray Nagin is a complete and total idiot incapable of running even the smallest of dog shelters. He was oh so quick to criticize the federal government for not stepping I nearly enough to do his job and save lives in New Orleans and now that he has federal help, he thinks he is too good to take it. Yep, after all of his whining, crying, and complaining like a little spoiled kid, the federal government sends in Vice Admiral Thad Allen. The Coastie takes charge and along with Lt. Gen. Honore kicks a little butt and takes back control of the city the Mayor lost.

Now Nagin wants to appear Mayoral and trick his followers that he is in charge and to do this he wants to bring people back into the city. Okay, I suspect there are two reasons for this: 1) Nagin is just plain stupid and has no idea what in the hell he is doing, and; 2) he is desperate to get some tax money back in the city (I think more of #1 than of #2). Well there are a couple of problems with the plan, namely there is no reliable 911 service, electricity is spotty, water is uncertain, the levees are still only patched and not fully repaired, and there is another storm coming.

Most people, people with half a brain that is, could see that these were problems. Idiot-Nagin sees no such thing so Vice Admiral Allen tells him the idea is hosed from the git-go. Nagin wants to prove his are bigger than Allen’s so he pushes forward and refers to Admiral Allen as "the new crowned federal mayor of New Orleans". Admittedly Allen is probably a little self-serving here too, namely he has already pulled Nagin’s dumbass out of the flood waters once and he doesn’t want to have to do it again.

Fortunately by the end of day idiot-Nagin had backed off his plan. At least we, the federal taxpayers, will not have to pay pull his royal idiot Nagin’s butt out of the waters again. If Nagin had any courage at all he would resign his post now and cite the reason as incompetence. Of course people that damn dumb are too dumb to know they are dumb. I feel for the citizens of New Orleans…but then again they are the ones who elected such an idiot as mayor.

Dateline: Home Study

Vice Admiral Cotton said he gives the federal government an A+ for their response to Katrina according to this news story. I'm a big admirer of the good Admiral. His speeches are invigorating andmake you want to go do something. He also exhibits the core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment.

His announcement in this story merely shows the courage he has. It is oh so easy ot blame everyone and give grades of F to everyone involved in the response. No one argues about that, you simply become one of the many. But to say the government did a good job, and not just a good job but an A+ job, ahh, that takes courage.

Admiral Cotton.jpg

I'm not going to argue the A+ grade because that would be just plain dumb. Admiral Cotton sits in a office in the Pentagon, I don't. He obviously has a better picture of what was done and what was not. I must admit however, I do tend to lean more towards his grade of A+ than the pundits' grades of F.

WILL THE FEDS TAKE OVER

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Dateline: Home Study

Recent arguments have been that the federal government was too slow to repsond to Katrina. This ignores the fact that 1) the federal governemnt did prepare to repsond but it takes time, and 2) the local and state governments are the first responders and should have made better plans.

So what next? Amid all the calls for the federal government to take a more active role, will they be allowed to? Are the local mayors and state governors willing to sacrifice their power and be told what they need to do by the federal government? I think not, but that be what's coming. It will be interesting to hear the charges then, after Katrina has faded from memory some. And yes, katrina will soon be forgotten for crying out loud! Remember Camille? If you do then apparently you do not live in New Orleans or the Mississippi Gulf Coast because there were a lot people who wanted to "ride out Katrina". The results were much the same...death.

Heritage has a interesting article that points out that the current block grants are not working. Much of the federal money given to New Orleans used to buy equipment now sits under water at the fire stations. How would the now indignant Mayor Nagin of New Orleans have responded if the feds had tried to tell him what equipment he could buy and further, where he could put it?

As the song says, "you better careful what you ask for, becasue you just might get it." Take heed local and state leaders. Before you complain too loudly make sure you are willing to live with the solution.

WE WANT YOUR HELP BUT...

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Dateline: Home Study

It seems the Dems in LA want the Feds help with Katrina but only on their terms. According to MSNBC the Bush Administration tried to get Louisiana governor Blanco, to turn over the evacuation of New Orleans to them. She didn't want to.

According to MSNBC's article entitled White House shifts blame for Katrina response

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

The administration had sought control over National Guard units, normally under control of the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request, noting that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. State authorities suspected a political motive behind the request. "Quite frankly, if they'd been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals," said the source, who is an adviser and does not have the authority to speak publicly.

Blanco made two moves Saturday that protected her independence from the federal government: She created a philanthropic fund for the state's victims and hired James Lee Witt, Federal Emergency Management Agency director in the Clinton administration, to advise her on the relief effort.

Apparently she can't do it on her own but she wants to stay in control. Wouldn't be bad if she were a leader but...she's not.

Dateline: Home Study

The Good Captain has done an admirable job of summing up my thoguhts on the problems in New Orleans in his post. This was a local and state failure. They had no plan, they took no action, they had (have?) no leadership.

Leadership is more about talks and about appearances. The older I get and the more I see the more I realize that many people in leadership ositions are far from leaders. Disasters such as Katrina drive this point home.

Dateline: Home Study

I've been asked several times or heard comments several times, over the last day or two, asking why the military did not respond faster to the hurricane. The answer is really quite simple--Title X of the US Code. To make it plain and simple: this is the United States of America, not Iraq. We have civilians who control civil law, not military.

Compound the problem further by the New Orleans Police Department officers who resigned. They certainly have no honor, no courage, no commitment. If the Mayor and Governor have any leadership qualities, they will pass a law forbidding those cowards from ever holding a public job again.

The National Guard can essentially be deputized by their respective governors and can then enforce laws, but the active duty can not.

Why didn't they get there sooner to provide humanitarian relief? Again, you have to first ask and then it takes time. From what I've seen the Navy actually began executing a plan before the storm hit but it takes times. If you put troops close, they become casualties. If you put ships in the Gulf of Mexico, they sink.

There was also a lot of damage. When the storm moved on and the winds died down there was very little infrastructure left. Roads were blocked, bridges washed away. I heard last night that some National Guard trucks were stranded in Meridian, Mississippi because they didn't have fuel. Why? It was a combination of the lack of electricity to pump fuel and the freaking idiots in the state (and now surrounding states) who panicked and made a run on gas.

Will it be better in the near future? Certainly. Will we have fuel here soon? I hope. Of course all the fans who came to town to see a football game that should have been canceled have surely consumed what little there was available earlier today. I wonder, is "I can't get gas" an excuse to miss work? I would not be surprised if we did not hear that reason in the next few days, particularly for those who commute to work from out of town.

Dateline: Home Study

My wife just got back from running a few errands and had a 30 minute wait in line at a gas station. Compared to what is happening in other places perhaps that is not that long of a wait. Compared to the people on the Coast who can't even get gas, or don't have cars to put it in, it is nothing. But the question I have is, why are we playing a football game, encouraging people to come to town in their SUVs, when there obviously is not enough gas for the residents? Where is the University leadership and why could they not call off the game?

As Gregg Ellis said in his article yesterday, there are reasons to have the game but there seem to be many more reasons to not have the game. I think this is yet another decision that will come back to bite some people.

PARENTS ARE SAFE

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Heard from my parents neighbor that they are safe and all is well. They live south of me and I knew they would have felt the effects of Katrina more than we did. They are not so far that an evacuation was in order for dafety but they do live in a very rural area and I wish they had evacuated simply to avoid the inevitable communications gap that would result from falling trees.

They have water but no electricity nor phone. Cell phone? Did I say rural? They have one but reception out there is limited under the best of conditions and I suspect some cell towers in the area are down or without power.

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