FEMA Boss Sent to his Room; Keeps Job

Breaking news right now, will update as it rolls. Sploid has it and so does the AP:

Michael Brown is being sent back to Washington to do paperwork.

Coast Guard Vice Adm. Allen will head relief efforts in New Orleans.

Brown is not fired. He keeps his title, his job, everything. He is just being moved from public view.

Homeland Security boss Chertoff will make this announcement shortly.

All they are doing is hiding this incompetent jackass from political view… talk about sleazy ass-covering by this administration.

Update (1:05 PM Eastern): From Sploid:

Michael Chertoff says the military needs to be in charge, that’s why Brownie is being sent home. But Brown’s second-in-charge from FEMA will remain second-in-charge in New Orleans.

“Brown has done everything he possibly could … ”

Guess “everything” wasn’t quite enough.

No admission of Brown’s failure, or FEMA’s total failure. More self congragulation. No mention of the deliberate efforts of FEMA to keep water, food, rescue workers, fuel and equipment away from the scene.

More political nonsense.

Is this the Bush administration’s attempt to “fix” the problem?

Update (via Hit & Run): Waaah, it’s the Democrats fault for confirming the incompetent idiot. The Republicans are about as good at building levees around Brown sheilding him from criticism — as Brown is to reponding to them breeching.

Update: Brown isn’t the only one with no experience. In fact him and the next five people in charge are utterly devoid of any emergency management skills and were picked largely because of their political ties to president Bush’s 2000 campaign or to the White House advance operation.


Ophelia downgraded to Tropical Storm, media sighs

Am I the only one that noticed, but I could swear that I detected a hint of disappointment in the voices of every weatherman and news anchor I happened to see this morning announcing that Ophelia was downgraded to a Tropical Storm and is predicted to float off into the Atlantic. Or am I just that cynical?

Maybe it’s just me…

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FEMA Chief’s Resume: Rife with Lies

From grossly exaggerated job titles (“administrative assistant” inflated to “assistant city manager with emergency services oversight”) to magical elevation from lowly student at Central State University to the self-awarding of “Outstanding Political Science Professor,” FEMA Director Michael Brown’s resume has more bullshit than substance.

In an exclusive exposé by Time Magazine, Brown’s resume was fact-checked and the gaping holes in credibility and competence were blown wider as it became clear that incompetence was now compounded by lies.

Radley Balko explains how this revelation might play out:

It would be absurd — but rather predictable — if his handling of Katrina didn’t get Brown fired, but lying on his resume did. Seems to be how things work in the Bush administration. Incompetence gets rewarded. But disloyalty will get you canned. Don’t be surprised if this comparatively minor transgression is what brings Brown down.

Update (9/9): AP is breaking that Brown has been removed demoted after the news firestorm picked up on the resume stuff this morning. Details here.

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Remixed: “George Bush Don’t Like Black People”

What has surely got to be the feel-bad hit of the summer, Kanye West’s quotable tirade against George Bush has been remixed by The Legendary K.O, Words by Big Mon and Damien a/k/a Dem Knock-Out Boyz.

The incisive lyrics are some the the most politically charged to hit the hip-hop scene since the days of N.W.A.:

Five days in this motherfucking attic
I can’t use the cellphone I keep getting static
Dying ’cause they lying instead of telling us the truth (…)
Screwed ’cause they say they’re coming back for us, too
but that was three days ago and I don’t see no rescue(…)

Swam to the store, tryin’ to look for food
Corner store’s kinda flooded so I broke my way through
Got what I could but before I got through
News say the police shot a black man trying to loot

link to MP3 (8.7 MB) [via Boing Boing]

Reader Michael Nelson sends a link letting us know that FEMA and its staff have soured on KAMP, a non-profit working to set up a low-power radio station at the Houston Astrodome. One of the likely reasons for killing the project may be an inability to censor what’s played:

Rita Obey, a local official from Harris County Public Health Services, gave them a laundry list of prerequisites.

She made us promise not to play any rap music, because she thought it might incite some of the evacuees to violence.

Obey, speaking to Wired News, explained that the JIC couldn’t see a use for the radio station when they had the ability to communicate via the loudspeaker system and newsletters.

It boils down to controlling the airwaves, and the government saw that censorship might be a problem with this outside group. Looks like a steady diet of baseball organ music for the next few months.

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Gulfport Residents to Cheney: “Go F&%k Yourself… We’re Libertarian Now” — video

Ok, ok, so the raw video of Cheney getting his just desserts at a press conference in Gulfport, MS is pretty funny (video: link 1 link 2). Because how many times do you get to tell the veep to take his own advice when it comes to political posturing:

The vice president was not uniformly welcomed in Gulfport. During a press availability in the middle of a street, a young man twice shouted obscenities at him before walking away. (He yelled: “Go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney. Go fuck yourself.”)

But what really caught my eye was the pool reporter’s account of one of the residents he spoke to while touring with the vice president:

Earlier, as the vice president walked along debris-strewn 2nd Street, a block inland from the Gulf of Mexico, a resident, Lynn Lofton, criticized Cheney’s visit as “a media opportunity that is a complete waste of time and taxpayer money.” She said: “They should have been here last week.” Loften first identified herself as a former Republican and now Democrat, but later changed that to “libertarian.” She said the neighborhood was a largely upscale, Republican neighborhood.

Democrat policy failed long ago and they paid the price with the conservative revolution of the late 1990s and early 2000s, I can only say that it’s about damn time people woke the hell up to the fact that Republican government is just as chock full of bureaucratic holes and hypocrisy and it’s time to stop rewarding incompetence.

Previously: Cheney to Sen. Leahy: “Go Fu*k Yourself”

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More FEMA Bureaucracy: TSA Screeners/Air Marshalls Were Needed to Check Evacuees

If it’s not one thing it’s another. Apparently the evacuation from the New Orleans airport ran into a snag because there weren’t enough air marshalls and passenger screeners available to make sure that the people being flown out weren’t terrorists (via Hit & Run):

Because of worries that terrorists could take advantage of such chaos, FEMA now must abide by post-9/11 security procedures, such as putting air marshals on flights. That meant stranded residents couldn’t be evacuated from the New Orleans airport until FEMA had rounded up dozens of Transportation Security Administration screeners and more than 50 federal air marshals. Inadequate power prevented officials from firing up X-ray machines and metal detectors until the government decided evacuees could be searched manually.

Technically, helicopter rides also fall under the TSA’s domain, so you just know that there’s some brain-dead paper-shuffler in Washington salivating at the prospect of putting metal detectors on helicopter rescue baskets and forming special lines on flooded roofs for suspicious-looking evacuees.

Of course, when an altercation erupted aboard an evacuee flight from Houston to Denver, it wasn’t the TSA or air marshalls that duct taped the idiot to his seat, it was other passengers.

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Will Someone Please Feed His Kidney Stone?

A mistranslation by a French news agency reporting on New Orleans turns out hilarious:

Voiceover: “Un homme a terre, qui dans un souffle parvient peine dire une quipe de reporters.” [a man on the ground, barely manages to tell a team of reporters]

Offscreen (in English): “Are you alright?”

Man on the ground (in English): “I got a kidney stone“

Voiceover (allegedly translating from English): “qu il est affam.” [that he is starving.]

You gotta wonder if stupidity is contagious in NOLA right now. (via Unknown Genius)

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Declared Emergency Regions were Backwards

Is this becoming a game? Did I wake up to opposite day? Honestly. I can’t say anything else, I’m completely speechless. Here’s the original article, which is where the picture info-graphic came from.

No wait. I can say something. This is a perfect webpage to send to your friends that think FEMA was on top of their shit. Because they were not. They had their collective heads up their collective asses.

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Trucker Strike Imminent?

I’ve waited on this story for about a day, because I’m still not sure just how legitimate the concern is or if it will actually play out. However, fundamentally it makes sense and could have some serious consequences for the USA economy. Truckers are getting reamed by high gas prices and long waits at the pump. Of course, the question of “What do they hope to accomplish?” arises. I don’t feel I have a clear answer on it. I imagine they are having some pent up rage as it may be cutting deeply into their paychecks. There is some speculation that oil companies intentionally closed refineries in an effort to hike profits, much like De Beers clamps down on the diamond supply. This happens in any situation where there is no competition. I’m not bashing the profit motive, it’s their right to do so as long as there is no strong arming people out via illegal means. But, it’s also the right of the truckers to protest. Will it prove anything? Well, it will certainly magnify the impact that gas prices have had on the American worker.

Now why is this important? Why do I even bother to bring this up? Well, our economy is already teetering on the edge of a housing bubble bursting, the “Death of the Dollar” on the minds of many, and Katrina sending anywhere from 300,000 to 1,000,000 to the unemployment line. A truck strike could be a further blow and cause price of food to rise considerably. Even if it didn’t, even the fear of such an occurrence would cause people to jam up the lines at Costco in no time flat.

If anyone knows any truck drivers that could weigh in on this situation, please call them and post updates under the comments section. If it turns out to be bunk, we’ll update it as a false alarm (because I’m not trying to be a sensationalist. I’m skeptical right now, but feel this would be a legitimate reaction). It’s also unclear at the present time what the scope of the strike would be, and that all depends on its momentum within the unions. If it is occurring, well, brace yourself for the media storm and “blame games” that will unfold.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Snopes currently has the strike threat categorized as ‘undetermined’ so it seems there’s some legitimacy, just not enough to know if this will actually happen.


The Daily Show Gives Much Needed Katrina Humor

We all need a laugh from time to time, to help alleviate the pain of the tragedy that is unfolding right before our very eyes. Here is a clip from The Daily Show. It’s amazing that one still has to turn to a fake news show to hear people actually tell it like it is.

From correspondent Ed Helms:

Ed Helms: The Rove… many feel he can fix the gaping breech in the President’s approval raitings… Today we saw the president armed with a fresh supply of talking points.
Bush: We gotta solve problems. We’re problem solvers.
Ed Helms: He is back! We got to A-B, because we are B-A’ers. We got to each zucchini because we are zucchini eaters.

And then… the allusions to Iraq.

Ed Helms: While everyone is busy setting up commissions and finding fault. Through the presidents leadership, he’ll end up building a billion dollar dam in Arkansas.
Jon Stewart: Why would he build a damn in Arkansas?
Ed Helms: His plan would be to fight the water there, so we don’t have to fight it here.

And what about the blame game?

Jon Stewart: So no one is going to be held accountable for any of this?
Ed Helms: Um, no. In fact, if history is any indication they’ll be hard pressed finding enough medals to place on these guys. My sources tell me the head of FEMA may actually be dipped into bronze and turned into an award which will then be given to other officials.

And then, le pièce de ré·sis·tance

Jon: In your judgement, is this the worst crisis the administration has ever faced?
Ed Helms: Well Jon as you know administration fiascos are named alphabetically. As you can see, Katrina is their 11th out of what could be 26 colossal failures. I don’t know if you see the last two on the list their Jon, but by the time zero people left on earth rolls along, that Yam shortage will be long forgotten.

Daily Show, Katrina, Ed Helms

It wouldn’t be so funny if it wasn’t so horrifically true.

Update:This flash video says it all. It starts off semi funny, but quickly gets serious. Another good link to send around to folks.

Update2: This is an amazing clip from The Daily Show. Jon Stewart holds little back and let’s the administration have it, pointing out just how ridiculous their lies have become.

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Katrina Cover-up: First Locked In, Now Locked Out

That’s one of the pictures the U.S. government doesn’t want you to see. That and any pictures of the dead, the aftermath of the Superdome or Convention Center, and other things that shows how criminal our government behaved when it forcefully kept people from leaving.

Right under our very noses, this attempt to cover-up the worst U.S. government malfeasance against its own citizens is now being played out:

At that same fire scene, a police officer from out of town raised the muzzle of her weapon and aimed it at members of the media… obvious members of the media… armed only with notepads. Her actions (apparently because she thought reporters were encroaching on the scene) were over the top and she was told. There are automatic weapons and shotguns everywhere you look. It’s a stance that perhaps would have been appropriate during the open lawlessness that has long since ended on most of these streets. Someone else points out on television as I post this: the fact that the National Guard now bars entry (by journalists) to the very places where people last week were barred from LEAVING (The Convention Center and Superdome) is a kind of perverse and perfectly backward postscript to this awful chapter in American history.

What’s most amazing is the sheer brazenness with which they expect us to swallow last week’s criminal behavior and now censorship of its ever taking place. And of course they want to hold their own internal investigations on what went wrong, most likely in private, with no coverage. What people don’t realize is that it’s the U.S. government on trial here for its handling of the post-flood crisis it perpetrated, from Mayor Nagin (blasé towards evacuation) to Governor Blanco (blasé towards asking for help) to President Bush (blasé when initially asked for help, though true blame here lies with FEMA director Brown, the buck needs to stop somewhere). They shouldn’t be allowed to run their own investigation to determine who gets the fall on the government sword. Let the media back in, stop the censorship, and we’ll decide for ourselves based on the facts, not some stupid commission.

Yeeesh, who in their right mind lets a suspected murderer be his own trial judge?

Update: The new lie: there were no bodies at the convention center (and everything else was just a rumor).

New Orleans police chief Eddie Compass said last night: “We don’t have any substantiated rapes. We will investigate if the individuals come forward.”

And while many claim they happened, no witnesses, survivors or survivors’ relatives have come forward.

Nor has the source for the story of the murdered babies, or indeed their bodies, been found. And while the floor of the convention centre toilets were indeed covered in excrement, the Guardian found no corpses.

Oh, you mean these bodies?

Arkansas National Guardsman Mikel Brooks stepped through the food service entrance of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Monday, flipped on the light at the end of his machine gun, and started pointing out bodies.

“Don’t step in that blood – it’s contaminated,” he said. “That one with his arm sticking up in the air, he’s an old man.”
Then he shined the light on the smaller human figure under the white sheet next to the elderly man.

“That’s a kid,” he said. “There’s another one in the freezer, a 7-year-old with her throat cut.”

And these rapes?

They witnessed scenes of murder and looting, women were threatened with rape and racial tensions grew daily.

Jane Wheeldon, 20, a student from Carmarthen, South Wales, said: “We were the prime target. Guys would come up and stroke your back and your tummy and your bum to find any money you had on you. Everyone was staring and it was so intimidating.

Or these rapes?:

There were not only rapes, but gangrapes of children who were then killed. My female cousins were assaulted and barely escaped as some kind bystanders tried to help them only to then be beaten by the gangs. They finally left and hid around the city wherever they could and YES, they heard the gunfire and SAW gangs of mostly young boys with assault weapons who not only fired at each other, but anything that moved including aircraft.

Another Update: BuzzMachine echoes our sentiment about the cover-up, saying:

If there were ever a story that demands the bright light of public scrutiny, this is it. And that is not just so people can be fired – though I’m still waiting for Brownie to get the axe — but so we can keep watch on dangerous government incompetence on behalf of our fellow citizens and so we can learn and prevent it the next time.

This is a story in which we can play some part: The survivors will soon start telling their stories. And we should be flooding the government with FOIAs.


Government Waits Until After Storm

I know this has already been reported here but I wanted to expand on it.

“WASHINGTON – The top U.S. disaster official waited hours after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast before he proposed to his boss sending at least 1,000 Homeland Security workers into the region to support rescuers, internal documents show.”

Read more.

And one of the former members of FEMA went on television and said they needed more money. How hard is it to call up someone and say “Hey, there is a chance that New Orleans may be wiped out and more people die then did in the 9/11 attacks but again nothing may happen so to be safe could you send some supplies to New Orleans before this event occurs.”

Now I am not going around blaming the President for this but I am saying that FEMA is paid a lot of money to keep us safe and they work for us and when someone works for you and fails you cut their pay or fire them.

Update: Don’t miss this Keith Olbermann comment on the matter:

[M]ost chillingly of all, this is the Law and Order and Terror government. It promised protection — or at least amelioration — against all threats: conventional, radiological, or biological. It has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water.

Link to video, via dailyKos.


KATRINA: The National LP Speaks!

Yesterday, the Libertarian Party website finally issued a statement on the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Their online press release described how they contacted LP leaders in the effected areas, gave condolences and provided a link to a list of charitable organizations.

The list of charities is on their blog section which allows for comments. In the comments a Kara Tyson, who claimed to be from Mobile, provided a list of her thoughts on what organizations came through in their time of need, which were a waste (FEMA & Red Cross) and finished with some suggestions to the institutions and politicians involved. Here are a few snippets from her comments:

Another organization who was in New Orleans & Biloxi the next day – again, despite the fact that the Red Cross said you couldn’t get into the area. They donated trucks filled with items and hired people on the spot who were left unemployed.

In Baton Rouge, those who had fled the hurricane in advance were kicked out of a private hotel by FEMA to make room for their own Reps (staying in non air conditioned facilities is apparently beneath them).

No Child Left Behind Act. Many of these children are coming from impoverished areas with poorly performing schools. Their standardized testing will follow them. Any school taking in these children will no longer be ‘highly qualified’. Communities will then be punished for helping.

If you want to donate, please consider donating goods vs. money. There is less chance that this type of donation will be ‘diverted’ for other uses. Some legal (going to other projects), some not so legal (such as thugs stealing the donations at gunpoint).

Anyway, I’m baffled as to why it took this long for the national LP to say ANYTHING about this disaster. Then again, maybe their actions say a lot about the national LP.

» Kara Tyson’s Comments (About 2/3’s of the way down)
» LP Press Release

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Executive Order 12148

Read this executive order regarding FEMA.

With an executive order from July 20, 1979, FEMA can basically take over the President’s job and the country. Now the problem is that FEMA can’t control this disaster why do they need more power not given to them in the Constitution.

Make your own opinions about this but with this Executive Order the Constitution would be suspended and welcome police state martial law.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Some clarification may be in order here. EO 12148, signed by then-president Carter, established FEMA as a government organization. This is part of a larger picture called Continuity of Operations Plans, which was put in place during the Cold War to ensure that if Washington D.C. was hit by a nuke or something, government would still exist. In light of the recent bumbling by FEMA, I’m sure some lawmakers are going to be turning a critical eye towards FEMA’s power and abuses in future months.

While we hope they won’t reward incompetence with more funding and power … don’t hold your breathe.

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Another Heart-Wrenching Video

Katrina EvacueeTo everyone who claims that these people should have just packed up and left. To everyone who claims that FEMA was doing their job. I demand that you watch this video, which is an interview of Charmaine Neville, an evacuee of Katrina.

And this was 5 days ago…

Update: Apparently FEMA has now hopes that since the media can’t say anything nice about their botched operation, they won’t say anything at all. From operationflashlight blog (via Boing Boing):

“We are in Jefferson Parish, just outside of New Orleans. At the National Guard checkpoint, they are under orders to turn away all media. All of the reporters are turning their TV trucks around.”

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FEMA Sends Evacuees to Right City, Wrong State

FEMA sends evacuees to wrong CharlestonAdd geography to the list of FEMA’s bumbling screw-ups:

A South Carolina health official said his colleagues scrambled Tuesday when FEMA gave only a half-hour notice to prepare for the arrival of a plane carrying as many as 180 evacuees to Charleston.

But the plane, instead, landed in Charleston, West Virginia, 400 miles away.

Oh, and can I shout a big fuck you to the talkings heads asking us to stop the “blame game.” Yeah, fuck them… this is not blaming, this is demanding responsibility and accountability and calling it like we see it. Stepping up and calling FEMA, the Louisiana Governer, and the New Orleans Mayor incompetent was the only thing that got the government’s ass in gear, and we’re only going to keep riding them now until this is over. Because we’re fed up with incompetence and now is the time to call bullshit as we see it and not be placated by talking heads asking us not to play some “blame game.”

This isn’t some “blame game,” this is demanding government that doesn’t suck.

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Fire Fighters Arrive, FEMA Says: “Hand Out Fliers”

fireman picture at KatrinaWords… cannot convey just how upsetting this is. Are we to believe that FEMA is really this stupid. Fire fighters coming from all parts of the USA to help stop the suffering are put into 8 hour training seminars, which includes topics such as “sexual harassment”? HELLLLLOOOO. There. are. people. DYING. Right now, in the streets. Everyone is bitching in moaning how there are not enough troops, not enough supplies, and basically how they need more of everything, yet it is all right there! FEMA just wont’ let it in.

FEMA. You suck. You have been given every chance to save the people in this city. You are failing.

Private charities have offered you money. You’ve turned them away.

Private citizens have showed up with food. You’ve turned them away.

Private companies, like Walmart, have offered supplies like water and fuel. You’ve turned them away.

Citizens have tried to leave the FEMA concentration camps. You’ve turned them back… sometimes at gun point.

FEMA. You have failed. You have failed your mission. You have failed the American people who actually thought you might do something. YOU HAVE FAILED AT LIFE.

And now. Fireman show up at your door to save the few people that might be left alive and trapped in their houses, and you train them as PR agents to hand out fliers?

This is intolerable. I wouldn’t care so much if FEMA was just stupid. Private companies, organizations, and citizens have been outpouring support to make up the difference. So why is FEMA sabotaging everything? I refuse to believe that all of this is just incompetence. Cutting emergency phone lines is not an “accident” folks.

I will say this again, and will not take it back. FEMA. You have not only failed, but your actions demonstrate clear criminal intent. This is not an accusation I make lightly. Every upper level manager in your organization should be tried for treason.

Please spread the word people. This needs to end.

Update: Still not convinced? How about a quote from this article.

WASHINGTON (Sept. 7) – The government’s disaster chief waited until hours after Hurricane Katrina had already struck the Gulf Coast before asking his boss to dispatch 1,000 Homeland Security workers to support rescuers in the region – and gave them two days to arrive, according to internal documents.

Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, sought the approval from Homeland Security Secretary Mike Chertoff roughly five hours after Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29. Brown said that among duties of these employees was to “convey a positive image” about the government’s response for victims.

Well sir. You have a 10,000+ death toll coming your way. I’d like to see how “positive” you’ll feel after that.


Katrina Aftermath Editorial Cartoons

While I’m still waiting for the cartoon depicting FEMA as the only levee that didn’t break (against the flood of private aid they kept turning away and keeping out of New Orleans), there’s been a few stand-out cartoons that I’ve seen. Here’s a few of them (more after the jump):

Katrina aftermath editorial cartoon

see more…


Katrina: Want Rescue Help? Show us your Tits

I don’t know about all of you reading this blog, but just when I think things couldn’t possibly get more degrading and unacceptable, I read this story from World Net Daily.

From the story:

“I could not describe how bad the authorities were, taking photographs of us as we are standing on the roof waving for help, for their own personal photo albums, little snapshot photographs,” Scott told BBC News.

Scott said there was a group of girls standing on the lobby’s roof, calling out to passing rescuers for help.

“[The authorities] said to them, ‘Well, show us what you’ve got’ — doing signs for them to lift their T-shirts up. The girls said no, and [the rescuers] said ‘well fine,’ and motored off down the road in their motorboat. That’s the sort of help we had from the authorities,” he said.

What kind of sick fuck is trying to get turned on by girls wading through shit filled water while trying to get rescued? I hope this later turns out to be a complete hoax story, but based on what I’ve been reading, it’s just another “oops” moment on behalf of the rescue efforts. It’s almost impossible to get shocked anymore. This whole travesty is UNACCEPTABLE people. And people want a bigger and stronger FEMA? HELLO? They have had every opportunity to remedy this situation and have failed. Failed failed failed!

I need some air. Hopefully I won’t have to flash someone along the way for the privilege.


FEMA Response: Incompetence or Malicious?

WING TV lisa - vicLet’s not mince words. I can understand human error. I can understand that in times of crisis, things will not always go as planned. However, at what point do we stop considering mere incompetence and start questioning whether there is something more to the story? It’s not just me, but many others around the blogsphere are starting to wonder why FEMA is not only failing at their job, but why do they appear to be hampering the rescue efforts of relief organizations and private citizens? They obviously need the help and are even crying for help, yet they have turned away almost all assistance. WTF?

WING TV’s online newscast on September 5th may help shed some of the more gruesome details. Also, the last 7 minutes of this episode is an sound clip from an interview with a resident in New Orleans who is NOT allowed to leave. He offers a first hand account at the horrors that he is facing, including the death of a baby in his group and the unlivable conditions that they are faced with. It’s heartbreaking. Worse yet, I bet there are thousands of stories just like his.

Before you make any judgments, watch the show and at least consider the possibility that people are not just stupid when they do things like
cut emergency lines. To me, that’s not incompetence, that’s attempted murder.


And Now… The Coverage of the Coverage

Slate readers responded to a call for comments asking what they hated most about the Katrina disaster recovery (part 1, part 2). The qualms seem to accurately identify how the media reacts and covers almost every story, so no big surprises:

hate the fundamental dishonesty of 24/7 coverage. Because it’s in their economic interests to keep you watching as long as possible, the networks never allow the possibility that the story has zenithed and that you can stay informed if you check back in a couple of hours. Instead, every new fire and helicopter mission — anything that looks “disastery” is treated with the same urgency as the first news of the levee giving way. Today, Sunday, Sept. 4, the networks are panning the empty streets with the same intensity as they did the crowds of victims lined up outside the Convention Center a couple of days ago

Titles that announce a news story, such as “America Responds” on Fox.

In 10 minutes of watching Telemundo, three of which covered New Orleans, I really got a better depiction of being there than I did on all the major U.S. networks that I had been watching for several hours, and I don’t speak any Spanish.

Previous coverage of the coverage: Crisis News Networks: Sloganizing Katrina, Hurricane Katrina Spares Sensationalist Media

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Rehnquist Dead; Roberts Promoted to Replace

SCOTUS Roberts nomination promotionIt’s hard to really focus on something as contextually trivial as the SCOTUS right now, but we’ve had our ears to the ground none the less. In fact the jokes tying the two together are already flowing:

[Rehnquist]’s actually been dead for 4 days but FEMA just found him.

Bush moved so quickly in nominating John Roberts to replace Chief Justice William Rehniquist, but others seem bent on raising questions about Roberts’s qualifications. [No experience, too young, no leadership] may be a problem, but there’s a resume fix, an experience so profound that it magically qualifies one for any federal appointment available. The Bush administration just needs find a horse association for the guy to run for a couple weeks. . .

On a more serious note, it seems that the most pissed recipients of Roberts as Chief Justice may be… the other Justices, as some of the other experienced Justices may feel slighted for not being chosen for promotion. SCOTUSblog thinks there may need to be a new nomination and confirmation process due to the de facto and legal differences of the two position, even if Roberts is still the nominee.

Regardless, this probably will be back-burner news for a while unless there’s some really interesting twist.

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Coast Guard Launches “Request a Rescue”

Note: this article contains dead links, the url is still in the hover/alt text. Keep the web working, curate content well!

The Coast Guard now has an automated website to request a rescue of friend or relative you know who may still be trapped in NOLA floodwaters or elsewhere on the Gulf coast. You can also get online updates once you are assigned a case ID. This should come in handy for the rare spots that still have phone service, but there’s still going to be a lot of roof cutting, door-to-door knocking and evacuation spray-painting to do considering the poverty levels here. [via Boing Boing]

As a side note, would someone from the media please get into the FEMA operations center and see just how they are mapping the rescue grid and to get an idea of what progress is being made? It would be awesome if the city map was on a giant projection screen with green and red dots denoting checked or not and water depths as varying topographical shades of yellow, but uh… I’m gonna actually bet on a big paper map with pushpins.

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