Misc Hurricane Commentary For Sept 2, 2005

— As each day passes, the staggering incompetence of the local government in New Orleans becomes more and more glaringly apparent. From the very beginning, it was obvious that they were either unwilling or unable to enforce order after the hurricane.

Now, it has also become apparent that they had massive numbers of buses that could have been used to get people out of the city before or after the hurricane. Where are those buses now? In the water.

But, the thing that really proves the ineptness of Ray Nagin & Company is the Superdome. They set the building up as a storm shelter, yet they apparently didn’t stock food, they had no way to evacuate people from the building, and they haven’t even been able to maintain order in the building. Not only are there people being killed in the Superdome, they’re stuffing them in a freezer, for God’s sake.

It’s almost as if they thought they could announce that the city needed to be evacuated, open up the Superdome, and then they were done….

— Despite many complaints, I don’t think the Feds have been slow to help at all. The reason that perception is there is because the government of New Orleans has been so tragically useless. Anywhere else, the city government would have been competent enough to hold things together at least for a little while, whereas the local government in New Orleans collapsed from the getgo.

James S. Robbins has more:

“The New York Times has called the military response “a costly game of catch up.” Catching up compared to what, one wonders. National Guard units were mobilized immediately; 7,500 troops from four states were on the ground within 24 hours of Katrina — a commendable response given the disruptions to the transportation infrastructure. The DOD response is well ahead of the 1992 Hurricane Andrew timetable. Back then, the support request took nine days to crawl through the bureaucracy. The reaction this time was less than three days officially, and DOD had been pre-staging assets in anticipation of the aid request from the moment Katrina hit. DOD cannot act independently of course; the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the lead agency. Requests for assistance have to be routed from local officials through FEMA to U.S. Northern Command and then to the necessary components. In practice, this means state officials have to assess damage and determine relief requirements; FEMA has to come up with a plan for integrating the military into the overall effort; DOD has to begin to pack and move the appropriate materiel, and deploy sufficient forces. This has all largely been or is being accomplished. Seven thousand mostly Navy and other specialized assets are currently in the area directly supporting hurricane relief, and a much larger number of other forces are en route. The process has been functioning remarkably smoothly under the circumstances.

It is hard to understand what more should, or realistically could have been done up to this point. A disaster of this magnitude is certain to be politicized, but it seems early in the game to be assessing blame for a response effort that has only been underway a few days in a crisis that is still developing; particularly such a rapid response.”

— There has been some talk of opening New Orleans back up in 3-4 months and that may be the case for certain parts of it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we’re a year or two out — at least — before the city can really start getting back on its feet.

Keep in mind that they’re saying it may take a month (*** I’m now hearing 80 days ***) to pump all the water out of the city. Then after that’s done, you’ll still have a combination of rotting flesh, chemicals, gas, and sludge on top of everything. Plus, a good portion of the city will need to be bulldozed.

Then, it’s not as if you can build houses, bridges, restaurants, gas stations, hospitals and all the other things that make a big city work overnight. Heck, we haven’t even started building back the WTC and that was knocked down in late 2001.

On top of all of that, you have to wonder how many people and businesses are even going to want to come back. A lot of them, after getting money from insurance or the government, may just decide to “take the money and run” rather than wait, let’s say 12-18 months, to resettle.

“Does anyone doubt that if 1,2,3… a dozen looters had been shot the first day New Orleans would be a better place today?” — Jonah Goldberg

Spot-on!

— These comments from rapper Kayne West are just particularly disgusting and inappropriate: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people… They’re saying black families are looting and white families are just looking for food…They’re giving the (army) permission to shoot us.”

First of all, let’s just clear some things up.

The Bush administration didn’t choose the racial make-up of New Orleans, they didn’t pick out where the hurricane came to land, and they didn’t decide who was going to ignore the order to evacuate. So, if it turns out that mostly black people happened to be in New Orleans when the hurricane hit, the Bush administration had nothing to do with that.

If the city government has failed the people of New Orleans in the midst of this crisis, well, they’re Democrats from top to bottom, so again, that has nothing to do with the Bush administration.

As far as federal aid goes, this isn’t a fairy tale. Bush doesn’t have a magic lamp and he can’t wish the National Guard troops onto every corner and bottles of water into every hand. That being said, the federal government is absolutely pouring manpower, equipment, and supplies into the region. Many of them are there now and more are coming.

Last but not least, when it comes to the gangs of thugs out terrorizing people in the street, yeah, they might get shot. But why does Kayne West identify with the black thugs, not with their victims who are almost certainly black as well? Getting the gangs under control isn’t just some excuse to harm black people, it’s about protecting the citizens remaining in New Orleans, the majority of whom are black.

— A couple of days ago, Henry Copeland from Blogads contacted me and suggested I help set up a free Blogad for hurricane relief.

Henry had tried to get in touch with the Red Cross, but had no luck. So, I decided to try the fine folks at Mercy Corps. After talking with some of their people, they got me the info for an ad, Henry helped set things up on the back-end, and the rest is history.

This week, Mercy Corps will be getting millions of free page views all across the right side of the blogosphere from blogs like Instapundit, Power Line, Michelle Malkin, & Polipundit, among many other conservative blogs.

As we get ready to head into what will be for many of us a vacation week-end, I’d like to encourage you to chip in some money to Mercy Corps. Not only are they experienced, they actually hand out 92 cents on the dollar and eat up only 8 cents in overhead. There aren’t many charities you’re going to find that are more efficient at using donations.

Furthermore, it’s great if you want to give them a bundle, but every little bit counts. If you want to give Mercy Corps $5, $10, $20, hey, that’s fantastic. It may not seem like a lot of money, but if it buys dinner for some poor guy who lost his house in New Orleans, you’ve done a good thing.

*** Update #1 ***: You can actually see video of Kayne West moronically muttering the quote mentioned above here

Poor Mike Myers is standing beside him and trying to be professional, but ever so often he looks over at Kayne and you gotta believe he’s thinking, “How did I get stuck on stage with this idiot?”

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