Monday, September 12, 2005

Fact over fiction

Lefty calls anyone who doesn't blame President Bush for the disaster that was New Orleans outright liars. Or morans (sic) (Side-note: I keep coming back to a central question: which political affiliation is the mean-spirited one?? -- See update below).

Well, Lefty is entitled to that opinion, however few people in the country share it.

Now that Newsweek's Evan Thomas has weighed in with his decidedly partisan report, it is time for some facts. Read More...

  • Largess in Louisiana
    Money Flowed to Questionable Projects
    State Leads in Army Corps Spending, but Millions Had Nothing to Do With Floods - Washington Post
    In Katrina's wake, Louisiana politicians and other critics have complained about paltry funding for the Army Corps in general and Louisiana projects in particular. But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.

    The Bush administration's funding requests for the key New Orleans
    flood-control projects for the past five years were slightly higher than the Clinton administration's for its past five years.

  • Red Cross blocked from helping... by the State: <>

  • "In New Orleans, those in peril and those in power have pointed the finger squarely at the federal government for the delayed relief effort. But experts say when natural disasters strike, it is the primary responsibility of state and local governments - not the federal government - to respond." (Dan Harris, "Who's to Blame for Delayed Response to Katrina?" ABC News, 9/6/2005)


    FACT: Available Buses Were Not Used To Evacuate Before The Hurricane: "Some 200 New Orleans school buses sit underwater in a parking lot, unused. That's enough to have evacuated at least 13,000 people. Why weren't those buses sent street by street to pick up people before the storm? A draft emergency plan, prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and obtained by NBC News, calls for "400 buses to ... evacuate victims." Yet those 200 buses were left in Katrina's path." (Lisa Myers, "What Went Wrong In Katrina's Wake?" MSNBC, 9/6/2005)

    "New Orleans' own comprehensive emergency plan raises the specter of 'having large numbers of people ...stranded' and promises 'the city ... will utilize all available resources to quickly and safely evacuate threatened areas.'" (Dan Harris, "Who's to Blame for Delayed Response to Katrina?" ABC News, 9/6/2005) Well, all but the buses I suppose!

    "The city's evacuation plan states: 'The city of New Orleans will utilize all available resources to quickly and safely evacuate threatened areas.' But even though the city has enough school and transit buses to evacuate 12,000 citizens per fleet run, the mayor did not use them. To compound the problem, the buses were not moved to high ground and were flooded.

    FACT: Additional Personnel Was Not Recruited To Move The Disabled: "The plan also states that 'special arrangements will be made to evacuate persons unable to transport themselves or who require specific lifesaving assistance. Additional personnel will be recruited to assist in evacuation procedures as needed.' This was not done."

    FACT: Lessons From Past Failures Were Not Addressed Or Were Repeated: "A year ago, as Hurricane Ivan approached, New Orleans ordered an evacuation but did not use city or school buses to help people evacuate. As a result many of the poorest citizens were unable to evacuate."

    "Fortunately, the hurricane changed course and did not hit New Orleans, but both Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin acknowledged the need for a better evacuation plan. again, they did not take corrective actions." (Bob Williams, Op-Ed, "Blame Amid The Tragedy," The Wall Street Journal, 9/6/05)


    Mayor Nagin Ordered The Superdome To Be Used As Shelter: "Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation for the city's 485,000 residents and opened the Superdome as a shelter of last resort, bluntly warning those who stayed that they would be at the mercy of Katrina's high winds, 28-foot storm surge and 15 inches of rain that threatened to overwhelm the city's protective levees." (Brett Martel, "New Orleans Flees, Braces, Prays As Monstrous Hurricane Katrina Bears Down," The Associated Press, 8/29/05)

    "Instead of evacuating the people, the Mayor ordered the refugees to the superdome and convention center without adequate security and no provisions for food, water and sanitary conditions." (Bob Williams, Op-Ed, "Blame Amid The Tragedy," The Wall Street Journal, 9/6/05)

    "Plenty of missteps at the local level contributed to last week's disaster too, from a failure to take basic steps to protect the telecom infrastructure to inadequate food and water at the superdome. New Orleans may be able to stage events such as Mardi Gras and Jazzfest and provide parking, crowd control and adequate toilets for millions of visitors, but its hurricane plan was more rudimentary."

    “Get people to higher ground and have the feds and the state airlift supplies to them - that was the plan, man,' Mayor Ray Nagin said in an interview ..." (Robert Block, Amy Schatz, Gary Fields and Christopher Cooper, "Power Failure" The Wall Street Journal, 9/6/05)

    Lessons From Past Failures Were Not Addressed Or Were Repeated: "In 1998, during a threat by Hurricane George, 14,000 people were sent to the superdome and theft and vandalism were rampant due to inadequate security. Again, these problems were not corrected." (Bob Williams, Op-Ed, "Blame Amid The Tragedy," The Wall Street Journal, 9/6/05)
  • POLLS AGREE: A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of 609 adults taken September 5-6 shows:Blame Game -- 13% said George W. Bush is "most responsible for the problems in New Orleans after the hurricane"; 18% said "federal agencies"; 25% said "state and local officials"; 38% said "no one is to blame"; 6% had no opinion. -- 29% said that "top officials in the federal agencies responsible for handling emergencies should be fired"; 63% said they should not; 8% had no opinion. That 13% would probably claim President Bush was on the Grassy Knoll the day JFK was shot!
  • Sen. Mary Landrieu, (D - LA):

LANDRIEU: We know the president said quote, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." Everybody anticipated the breach of the levees, Mr. President, including computer stimulations in which this administration participated. Even the clay figurine Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live anticipated the breach. His creator, a friend of mine, has used him in public service announcements for over two years, public service announcements, saying this will be the effect if this happened. How can it be that Mr. Bill was better informed that Mr. Bush?

Senator, I'd simply like to ask you, where is the legislation that you sponsored to upgrade the levees from category three to category five? Where is it? Is Bush supposed to have done that, too? Yeah, everybody's reading all these articles written years ago about the dangers of what could happen, and, yeah, they look awfully prophetic. Well, you could have read them, too. The mayor could have read them. That governor down there could have read them.

And you all could have demanded that something be done about the levees, lifting their capabilities from cat three to cat five, but I don't see anybody producing legislation saying, "See? We asked for it, and we didn't get it." I see you getting more than any other state gets on these types of projects, but I don't know how, senator, you can go from where you are to blaming President Bush for this, and somehow portray yourself as an innocent bystander. You're a member of the US Senate. You did nothing.

Fact over fiction; it always leads to the truth.

UPDATE: When I am wrong, I admit it. Thanks to Lefty, I realize that his use of 'Morans' was because some radical Right winger used the misspelling in a poster that was photographed. He was merely using that spelling in the same satirical manner as when I use the rhetoric of the radical Left (most recently, here); I can't argue with him for using a good example of ignorance.

Lest there be any doubt, click here for some of my chronicling of the Left's frequent use of mean-spirited rhetoric, mostly by Democrats who hold office. I welcome the opportunity to read of those on the Right who are in positions of power who use similar mean-spirited words. I'll criticize them as I criticize those on the Left; I am nothing if not fair.

I also welcome any one who can compare Evan Thomas' hit piece to the facts above, and still justify their lambasting of the Bush Administration's overall handling of Katrina.

H/T Blogs For Bush for media quotes above.

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