Thursday, 8 September 2005
The Curious Case of the Thousand Firefighters.
One thing that is certain about Katrina is that information, is incomplete at the best and purposely slanted at the worst.
I will admit when I first glanced at the following my reaction, was, typically stupid.More on the Idiots at FEMAI’m sorry. I was going to stop posting about politics and Hurricane Katrina at the same time, but I can’t resist at least one more. Is this
or is this not self-evidently idiotic? (Somehow I missed it the last time around.)
Not long after some 1,000 firefighters sat down for eight hours of training, the whispering began: "What are we doing here?"
As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded on national television for firefighters - his own are exhausted after working around the clock for a week - a battalion of highly trained men and women sat idle Sunday in a muggy Sheraton Hotel conference room in Atlanta. . . .
The firefighters, several of whom are from Utah, were told to bring backpacks, sleeping bags, first-aid kits and Meals Ready to Eat. They were told to prepare for "austere conditions." Many of them came with awkward fire gear and expected to wade in floodwaters, sift through rubble and save lives.
"They've got people here who are search-and-rescue certified, paramedics, haz-mat certified," said a Texas firefighter. "We're sitting in here having a sexual-harassment class while there are still [victims] in Louisiana who haven't been contacted yet."
(Hat tip: Instapundit)
But then I did an uncommon thing, it seems there is a lack of these last few days, I looked for more information, because it seemed SO dumb. I followed
the link. I found some interesting details.Many of the firefighters, assembled from Utah and throughout the United States by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, thought they were going to be deployed as emergency workers.
Instead, they have learned they are going to be community-relations officers for FEMA, shuffled throughout the Gulf Coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number: 1-800-621-FEMA.
On Monday, some firefighters stuck in the staging area at the Sheraton peeled off their FEMA-issued shirts and stuffed them in backpacks, saying they refuse to represent the federal agency.
Federal officials are unapologetic.
"I would go back and ask the firefighter to revisit his commitment to FEMA, to firefighting and to the citizens of this country," said FEMA spokeswoman Mary Hudak.
The firefighters - or at least the fire chiefs who assigned them to come to Atlanta - knew what the assignment would be, Hudak said.
"The initial call to action very specifically says we're looking for two-person fire teams to do community relations," she said. "So if there is a breakdown [in communication], it was likely in their own departments."
One fire chief from Texas agreed that the call was clear to work as community-relations officers. But he wonders why the 1,400 firefighters FEMA attracted to Atlanta aren't being put to better use. He also questioned why the U.S. Department of Homeland Security - of which FEMA is a part - has not responded better to the disaster.
Let me repeat a portion of the above for those who may have missed it.
"The initial call to action very specifically says we're looking for two-person fire teams to do community relations,"
Now I am going to step back and pretend I am a FEMA officer in Atlanta.
We have a Disaster Area. We are trying to ship in food, supplies, shelter and materials to render aid to the victims. We ALSO have to ship in all of the above to support the Recovery Workers. There are some tedious, on the surface not too important jobs that still need to be done, going around giving information to the victims. It sounds like a bit more is involved than just telling folks how great FEMA is.
I will admit there seems to have been an attempt to trivialise the task more than it is.
Anyway you have a task, you have send out a specific
request to fill the need for this task, You have supplies in place to support the tasking 3000 meals a day, so many gallons of water, cots, shelter etc etc. This is called LOGISTICS.
Your volunteers show up and promptly inform you that they do not WANT
to perform the function that you sent out a volunteer request for.
That their training will be wasted
if you use them for that purpose.
As it turns out they are quite correct their valuable training will be wasted in this function.
Where exactly does that leave you? You STILL need the task performed.
And of COURSE
it is all YOUR
fault for being SO
stupid as to ask for volunteers to perform a specific role and expect them to do so.
Its a real mixup and these firefighters talents WILL be wasted, but for those who have gotten so hysterical and decided that this is a perfect example of how stupid FEMA is?
Go to a job interview sometime, and if you are hired, on your first day of work, tell your new boss you don't feel like doing what you were hired to do, but are willing to inform him of what he SHOULD have you work on.
There was one other factor.But Louis H. Botta, a coordinating officer for FEMA, said sending out firefighters on community relations makes sense. They already have had background checks and meet the qualifications to be sworn as a federal employee. They have medical training that will prove invaluable as they come across hurricane victims in the field.
Wow they wanted to send out teams that could actually also respond with emergency treatment if needed.
How shortsighted of them.
Wednesday, 7 September 2005
Military Support to Katrina Relief Continues to Grow
What you will NOT read in the New York Times!
Not while they think Journalism is spelled Krugmania
Military Support to Katrina Relief Continues to Grow
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2005 – The thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines supporting relief efforts along the Gulf Coast "are doing a great job" as they focus on what the commander of Joint Task Force Katrina today called their top priority: rescuing and evacuating victims and providing them food and water.
The 38,000 National Guard troops and almost 13,000 active-component forces in the region are working feverishly to wrap up search-and-rescue operations and get the hurricane victims to safety, Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore said today during an interview with CNN.
As of Sept. 4, more than 63,000 people had been evacuated from New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, U.S. Northern Command officials said today.
"Right now, we're still in the crisis phase of this because we have not gotten people out of the destroyed area," Honore said. "We are still looking for them...and getting them."
Honore, based at the joint task force headquarters at Camp Shelby, Miss., but spending much of his 20-hour workdays in the afflicted area, said the current force, which is increasing in size daily as more Guard and active forces continue arriving in the region, appears to be large enough for the immediate mission.
"We still have local officials to get the job done, and if we need more troops, they will flow," he said.
What's not as clear at this point, Honore acknowledged, is how many troops will be required for the next phases of the operation, after the evacuation is complete.
Removing floodwaters from New Orleans, La., providing shelter for thousands of displaced residents and the long-term recovery efforts "might be harder" than the current search-and-rescue mission, Honore said.
Army Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said today during an interview with C-SPAN that Corps workers on the ground are working with local authorities to pump water from New Orleans, repair pumps knocked out of operation, bring in additional pumps and repair levees.
"Every hand is down there working," he said. "It's a challenge. It's a very complex thing and there are lots of variables."
Honore dismissed questions today about what's being criticized by some as a slow government response to the disaster.
"We might be at the half time of this game. We might be losing 50 to nothing," The general said. "But I am going to focus on this next half. We are going to win this half. We are going to get it done and we are going to get it done as quickly as we can...The second half is yet to come."
Just returned from a visit to the stricken area Sept. 3 with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Northern Command's top officer described the magnitude of the military support mission.
In addition to 38,000 Guard troops and 13,000 active-duty forces on the ground and more from Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Hood Texas, Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Camp Pendleton, Calif., on the way, the military is performing a Herculean support effort, Navy Admiral Timothy J. Keating told Pentagon reporters today via satellite from Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
"We have over 300 DoD helicopters performing search-and-rescue missions and providing humanitarian assistance," Keating said, and naval forces in the area now number 21 ships.
"The USS Harry S. Truman, an aircraft carrier, is in the waters just south of Mississippi. We've got an amphibious ship pierside in New Orleans. Another one, a big-deck amphib(ious vessel), the USS Iwo Jima, ... should be pierside downtown New Orleans by about noon today," Keating reported.
In addition, the Air Force, operating through U.S. Transportation Command, is providing critical airlift for equipment and humanitarian supplies.
"We have delivered by air and land 6.5 million meals to Louisiana so far (and) over 2 million to Mississippi," Keating said. "Another 3.5 million meals (are) in the pipeline flowing forward (and) 15 million gallons of water are coming. And we've got 116 million pounds of ice."
Keating said he's not sharing these numbers simply to tout the military's logistics capabilities. "I don't give them to you necessarily to impress how much we can move stuff," he told reporters. "I want you to understand how hard the Department of Defense is working to assist the National Guard, (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the Department of Homeland Security Secretary (Michael) Chertoff in providing the assistance to those folks who have been hit so hard in Louisiana and in Mississippi."
NORTHCOM officials also reported today that USS Bataan, which has been serving as a platform for search-and-recovery missions, is now ready to accept patients into its hospital.
USS Altrair arrived in New Orleans carrying 130 tons of water and USNS Pollux, with 1.5 million gallons of fuel to support relief operations by National Guard troops and emergency service workers, NORTHCOM officials said.
In addition, two military water purification units have been ordered to Pascagoula and Bay St. Louis, Miss., and DoD is working to fill more requests for high-water vehicles for police and soldiers on the ground, NORTHCOM officials said.
Additional active-duty troops continue to arrive in the region. More than 1,500 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division arrived in New Orleans from Fort Bragg, N.C., with another 1,000 to arrive today, officials said. About 1,600 1st Cavalry Division arrived in Hammond, La., from Fort Hood, Texas, late Sept. 4.
The National Guard presence in the region continues to grow. National Guard Bureau officials said today they expect 41,000 Army and Air Guard forces to be supporting relief efforts during the coming days. Collectively, they represent 42 states and make up 74 percent of the uniformed military response, officials said. Four thousand Coast Guard members are also providing support. Defense officials reported these additional operational highlights today:
? 374 DoD, Coast Guard, and National Guard helicopters and 76 DoD and National Guard fixed-wing aircraft are supporting the operation;
? 963 total search-and-rescue, evacuation and supply delivery missions have been flown by DoD, more than 500 of them during the past 24 hours. Collectively, they have moved more than 15,000 people and almost 5,000 tons of supplies in Mississippi and Louisiana; ? 75,000 people have been evacuated from the disaster area as of Sept. 4;
? Air medical evacuation and search-and-rescue operations in New Orleans are now focused on the Algiers section of the city, where approximately 3,000 individuals need to be evacuated;
? Total DoD rescues, evacuations and patient treatments in New Orleans now total more than 8,000 patients transported, more than 2,000 people rescued and more than 5,000 patients treated;
? Maritime units supplied 78,000 gallons of fuel to hospitals, law enforcement, National Guard and other critical government services;
? Nearly one-fourth of the 21 million Meals Ready to Eat ordered by FEMA have been received;
? The Army Corps of Engineers is performing de-watering operations in New Orleans with pumps and controlled levee breeches;
? Two National Guard C-130 firefighting aircraft were diverted from wildland fire fighting in the Northwestern United States to Pensacola, Fla., to support New Orleans fire fighting operations;
? Seven helicopters also preparing to conduct fire fighting operations in New Orleans;
? The secretary of transportation is seeking DoD concurrence to use four Maritime Ready Reserve Fleet ships as temporary housing for relief workers;
? DoD is working to fill a FEMA request for communications support for the New Orleans Police Department;
? The military has provided 745 hospital beds at New Orleans International Airport, with additional beds available aboard USS Bataan and USS Iwo Jima and 500 more beds en route to New Orleans;
? The Air Force will provide an 85-bed mobile hospital unit and air logistics support at Alexandria Airport, La., currently a staging area for rescue operations;
? Ten 250-bed Federal Medical Shelters have been established at DoD installations: two at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla; four at Fort Polk, La.; and four at Meridian Naval Air Station, Miss.; and
? DoD medical personnel have treated more than 5,000 patients to date.
Related Site: Military Support in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina
4 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.
5 So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.
6 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.
7 And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.
From the Book of Judges
Some things NEED to be said. Somethings about the New Orleans Police Dept and I do NOT mean about the two thirds who disappeared.
I mean about the one third who STAYED.
There has been so much finger pointing and blaming that I am afraid the true heroism of these brave men and women has been lost in the wash.
It is one thing to man your post when all Hell is breaking loose around you but when you can still count on the people on each side of you.
It is another thing entirely to STAY at your post when those on each side of you are not there when you look to each side.
Too bad we do not have a Order of the Wounded Lion in this country.
In years to come there can be no greater tribute, which could be made, than to point at one of these valiant police officers and say.
"They were on the Levee in New Orleans in '05 and they Stayed at their Post!"
Tuesday, 6 September 2005
What We Can Expect Next
I will not be surprised to find sometime soon in my email inbox, a letter asking my help to relocate funds from Accounts in New Orleans.
Dear Sir, I am the personal assistant of X who was a resident of New Orleans, there exists a Bank Account in the amount of X million dollars, that I would like your assistance relocating.
The Vultures alway circle around disasters in this manner, why should Katrina be an exception?
Though truth be told, compared to the Political Vultures circling these frauds are a minor nuisance.
To see REAL Vultures?
Just check out DailyKos's plans to reave political advantage from this Tragedy.The Perfect Storm: Strategies for the Coming Weeks
Mon Sep 5th, 2005 at 08:01:50 PDT
I keep seeing discussion about the "strategy" Dems and progressives should be adopting in re the Katrina/FEMA/BushCo disaster. The problem is, you won't get the right answer because you're not asking the right question.
The question is, What are the strategies we should be using?
bmaples's diary :: ::
On the one hand, some people are griping because Dr. Dean and leading Dems in government are not holding press conferences, demanding impeachment, or pushing for investigations. Others claim that doing those things would actually take the heat off the BushCo crowd by "politicizing" the tragedy. Finally, still others respond that it's not right to let this administration off the hook, yet again. And through it all, we continue to be concerned and agitated about the people who need help actually getting it.
The answer is found in all of these comments, and it is simple: a multi-pronged, multi-level strategy. What you do depends on who you are and where you are.
1. Everyone, everywhere. Find a way to help: donate money, donate supplies, open your home. whatever you can do. I read more than one poll yesterday where 40% or more had yet to do anything. If we care as much as we say we care, the donation rate among Dems and progressives must be 100%.
This is actually a very worthy statement. I really don't care WHO gets credit for donations as long as they are made. I have. Have YOU?
2. Everyday folks, inside the disaster: Share your stories, good and bad. All that is needed is the truth. If, as Haley Barbour said, the situation on the ground in Mississippi is much better than NO, we should hear that. If you were at a checkpoint and they turned away relief supplies, we should know that, too. There is nothing more powerful than first-person. (I started to put something like "Take care of yourself" at the top of this section, but everything I wrote sounded trite. In no way do I mean to imply that people affected by this tragedy should first think of politics; their first task, and our first wish, is for them to be safe and cared for. But, the country still needs to hear from them, especially if there is beginning to be a media blackout.)
3. Everyday folks, outside the disaster: Continue to raise hell. Write LTEs, contact your reps. Be direct, be concise, be respectful, but also be up front about your anger and disgust. Be sure to ask your reps, when are THEY going to speak out? As one state senator told me, "I've often wanted to speak out, but based on the lack of communications from my , I figured no one had my back." Let them know we have their back.
4. Mid-level politicians: Keep the buzz growing. Begin to call for action, change, investigations. When interviewed, raise the tough questions. Start some buzz in the halls of power, even with your Repub counterparts. Focus on "competence" and "lack of national security." And, be sure to ask the local leaders in the areas you represent, how well are WE prepared, and how do we feel about counting on FEMA after this?
Well since FEMA followed the Emergency Blueprint while New Orleans and did not? What's the beef? Notice above they admit
"Haley Barbour said, the situation on the ground in Mississippi is much better than NO"
Well DUH! Mississippi DID live up to their . Recall that it was THERE that the MAIN FORCE of hit. Same FEMA worse impact, Local Authorities.
5. Top-level politicians: Wait for the moment, then strike. Focus for now on the relief effort, and be quiet for now on the political ramifications. Give the nation's anger a little more time to build. Hold back, hold on, hold it, hold it -- then in one large, joint press conference (I can see Reid, Pelosi, Nagin, Blanco, and about twenty more), call for the resignation of Chertoff and Brown, and the censure of the President by Congress. List the reasons (should be a fairly hard-hitting list) and have a handout with sourcing and documentation.
Loose translation, pretend to care then lie to the American People, rabble rouse with baseless agit-prop. I would expect a new Moore Fiction.
If this builds like I think it might, and if we follow the steps above, it could be a political Perfect Storm.
It's all in the marketing
I think (without any first-hand knowledge)
Oh I am rolling in the floor laughing, yes the most important requirement for DailyKos polemics,
NO first-hand knowledge!
that something like this is what has kept the Reids of the world quiet for now. They can't make a big play until they feel that the national political will is ready to be moved in that direction. That preparation work is up to us, and to the mid-level pols.
That's what you call real leaders, if the marketing poll say no, fold.
So, keep up the groundswell, and let's hope that when the mayors and governors and back-seat/middle-seat congressfolk give their statements to the media, that along with the "here's what we're doing" and "here's what you can do" parts, they also have a "Why?" part, definitely an "I'm concerned for what this lack of federal competence means for our community/state/region" part, and maybe even an "I'm angry and I want action" moment as well.
Loose translation. This President we keep calling Fascist, did NOT overstep his Constitutional Authority!
We want a Democratic President who will DO THAT!
Picture a pyramid. The people at the point can't take action until the base is wide enough and the middle has followed. Keep making the base bigger, and start trying to get the middle to follow -- that's our tasks for the next few weeks.
Monday, 5 September 2005
Wir sind Berliner nicht
We are not Berliners, not to some Germans, not anymore
During the Berlin Airlift, President John F Kennedy stood facing East and said "Ich bin ein Berliner."
Times have changed. West Germany faced threat and destruction, by human power. We have faced destruction by the power of Nature.
There are many Germans who feel the same as most might have all those years ago, but some Germans feel differently. To them we are no longer Berliners.
President Bush has been accused of losing us Allies.
I read the following and I think, such Allies we are better off without. Let them go their way, and we will go ours. We do not have to be enemies, but we are no longer friends.
But then I remember that this website in Germany IS our friend, The people they quote are not by a long shot. But they still do not speak for the whole.
So read the following, I would expect your reaction will be fury, but keep in mind not they do not speak for ALL Germans.
TAZ on Hurricane Katrina: Philipp Mausshardt's Sick Schadenfreude
(By Ray D.)
We knew this would happen. We knew some sick member of Germany's extreme left-wing media would express their deep joy at the tragedy in New Orleans. Of course, we hoped that such twisted outbursts of Schadenfreude would simply never happen. But this is Germany. This is the same country where 31% of Germans under 30 believed the US government could have been behind September 11. So, in a way, we weren't shocked to see the following piece by Philipp Mausshardt in the Tageszeitung (taz). But the article, entitled "The True Catastrophe" is shocking nonetheless. The concluding paragraphs read:
"Yet joy and sympathy beat simultaneously in my chest. I am, for example, joyful at the moment that the latest hurricane catastrophe hasn't again hit some poor land, but instead the richest country in the world.
Yes, I even see in that a form of balancing justice for that which the inhabitants of that country have done to others through their war in Iraq.
I would, however, be even more happy, if I knew that only the houses of Bush voters and members of the Army had been destroyed.
I feel genuinely sorry for all the rest."
What an enlightened thing to think: It's just fine if people suffer, suffocate and starve, as long as they are political opponents or have a different worldview. It's just fine if people lose their homes and drown in their own feces, as long as they are members of the US military and red-state Bush voters. It isn't so bad that an entire city has been flooded and thousands killed and displaced because it is somehow "balancing justice" for this to be happening to the United States and not some poor nation.
One last thought. This author has people who agree with him, HERE in this country.
You know who they are, the ghouls who are trying so hard to put this tragedy to use to gain more political power.
So don't spend too much energy railing about the spiteful words in publications from other lands.
Let's put our energy into cleaning our own house
60 in '06 is my motto.
THEN we can tackle 2008
Bush Kills Rehnquist,
US chief justice dies
Washington - William Rehnquist, chief justice and a leading conservative voice on the US Supreme Court, died on Saturday after losing a battle with thyroid cancer, setting up a new political battle for President George W Bush over the makeup of the judiciary.
I am taking odds on where this Outcry will come from and how long it will take.
I mean we have from such intellectual luminaries as
Robert Kennedy Jr.
Michael- Fat Stupid Whiteman- Moore
and the assembled caste of the
That George Bush is responsible for
All International Terrorism
So I expect the Democratic Underground to break the News that The Chief Justices demise is part of a Sinister Plot to stack the Supreme Court.
Could not POSSIBLY have been Cancer. No way it is
the Karl Rove puppet Bush!
You know one thing I have never been able to understand?
On one hand Bush and Crew are defamed as stupid slow thinking hicks.
While at the same time the other side seems to be ALSO convinced that they are plotting masterminds and that ALL of the problems of the Democratic Party are Karl Rove Machinations.
How can both of these be true simultaneously?
Or are Democrats merely like the Red Queen and can believe "as many as six impossible things before breakfast".
Sunday, 4 September 2005
Do You Know Your Neighbors?
I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the last week or so.
When fractured, bone heals back stronger, when you exercise, muscle tissue breaks down and the body builds IT back stronger.
Those who spend their lives only avoiding mistakes, never learn.
Those who blame their mistakes on others or try to justify their actions, never grow.
Life is choices, decisions and actions, some wise, some foolish, but it is always about change and growth.
That which changes, grows. That which never changes withers and dies.
One odd thing about the bulk of the coverage of the effects of Katrina, is that it has mostly been about Louisiana and New Orleans. I say that because it was Mississippi which got hit with the brunt, the full force of the storm.
But we don't hear as much about Mississippi, Maybe because the actions taken, were by those who did not wait for the Government to do something.
That is the difference between those who say and think , "They need to do something" and then wait for it to happen, and those who say and think, "WE need to do something." then do what they can.
That first group has forgotten something very important. There is a hint in the first three words of the Constitution of the United States.
"We the People"
We ARE the Government. So when we say, "The Government should DO something." What we are really saying is "WE should do something."
Mississippi remembered. Some people in Louisiana, forgot. That may be the difference.
There are things the Federal Government needs to do.
There are things the State Government needs to do.
There are things the Country and City Governments need to do.
There are SOME things WE need to do.
Are we doing them?
Now is the time to start.
It does not have to be complex. elaborate or cover every detail.
All it has to be is a first step.
Talk to your neighbors.
You don't have to make fancy or elaborate plans.
It can be as simple as,If that happens here, we need to all gather together, leave together, and make sure no one on this block gets left behind.
That is where the lessons of Katrina need to start folks, not in finger pointing, placing blame, but at home.
Now while it is all fresh we need to start and that is why I began this and I end this with a very important question.
Do you know your neighbors?
Saturday, 3 September 2005
Bus Drivers Go To Work
The image of hundreds maybe thousands of buses
sitting in flooded areas that could have been used in the New Orleans evacuation continues to prey on my mind.
In my last post, I suggested that all of us need to see that the Local Authorities in our own communities do not do something SO pathetic, if it is US who need to be evacuated.
Still there is a truism about dealing with City Hall and I do not have to repeat it, we all know it.
So let's take this down one more notch closer to us.
School boards. Yes that is who we can contact. Schools use buses on a daily basis, these buses go to the same places everyday. Where they go is derived by the population of the area and everyone knows where the local schools are don't they.
In Captain's Quarters
I read the following.
"Because a rapid organization of so many buses would have been impractical,"
I had already compiled the basic ideas for this essay, but reading that made me see red. Confirmed in my mind the basic tunnel vision we face with the bureaucracy.
Let me repeat it.Because a rapid organization of so many buses would have been impractical,
Now somebody explain to me what is so difficult about have school buses go to the SAME PLACES that they go to EVERY DAY they run?
What is so difficult about telling people in an Emergency, "Go to the nearest School, Buses will be there to evacuate you."
Is there something I am overlooking here? Some facet that I just don't see?
Or are Bureaucrats really as STUPID as I think they are? After thought
Some people may be a fair distance from the Evacuation Points. What about them? You run the City Buses on their regular routes. That is how those without cars get around normally, most know where the local schools are, ALL know where the nearest Bus Stop is.
The simplicity is ALL the means are already in place and the Bus Drivers will be doing the same thing that they normally do when working.
In my next post I will take evacuation one more notch down to the neighborhood level and Libertarian voluntary associations.
Depend on FEMA
Not entirely, there are SOME things we need to tend to ourselves.
Experience from past hurricanes was invaluable in the recent crisis. Earlier traffic jam experience prompted the authorities to make all lanes of traffic
connecting to the affected areas of evacuation outbound, As a result 80% of the 1.4 million population was evacuated without much incident.
This left those without access to vehicles stranded. There have been voices raised in contempt at the Federal Government for not providing buses in a more timely manner. Only 4 days after the catastrophe this has been a cause celbre in from some talking heads.
The obscene part of this is that some of those who rant the loudest left thousands of municipal vehicles City transport buses, School buses and other vehicles SITTING IDLE, until they were flooded by the rising waters.
They were NOT in this condition during the evacuation!
We CANNOT depend on the Federal Government of Fema in these matters, not entirely. The affected area of the storm is some 90,000 square miles this almost equal to the total land area of Louisiana and Mississippi combined. How many cities are in this country? How many counties?
National Guard Units left prepositioned locations as soon as the wind velocities dropped below 50 mph. They had to CUT their way through blocking debris in some instances. Rather than a source of derision, scorn and contempt these young people are real heros, BUT how many counties and cities are in the Area of Disaster?
Do we want a Federal Government with the Power and the Ability to assume total control of such vast areas in almost no time at all?
When WE should be taking care of these matters? When it can actually BEST be done at the Local level?
If the Libertarian point of view means anything it means that WE should take steps to cease control of our own destinies,
This task is best attacked on the local level. How many vehicles can be called upon in an Emergency to evacuate those without access to them? City buses, school buses, church buses, private buses and vans? Where are reasonable assembly points to gather to be evacuated? What is the probable number of the population that will need this service.
I make an individual pledge to try to start, or determine if this has been addressed in my community.
We have a real opportunity here to start instilling Libertarian values and ideas at the local level.
Now some may stand on purity of principles and maintain that the State should not interfere in the individual whether to stay and die or be evacuated.
I do not live in a pure politically theoretical community. I live in one with a lot of women and children who might be rendered helpless in a situation such as in New Orleans now.
Heinlein said that a Society that does not say "Women and Children First" deserves oblivion (paraphrase from memory) Since the means are at hand I am determined that I will help see to it that those resources are not wasted as they were in New Orleans should they be needed in my home community.
The question is what are YOU going to do? Complain about the Federal Government, what FEMA did or did not do or take care of your own where you live?
Now I am not saying we need to disband FEMA and not call on the Federal Government for aid in a Catastrophe that would be ludicrous.
I am saying letting thousands of vehicles stand idle until destroyed by nature, and then wait for someone else in the Federal Government to take care of everything is even more ludicrous.
Waiting for Godot
The play is in two acts.The plot concerns Vladimir (also called Didi) and Estragon (also called Gogo), who arrive at a pre-specified roadside location in order to await the arrival of Godot. Vladimir and Estragon appear to be tramps: their clothes are ragged and do not fit. They pass the time in conversation, and sometimes in conflict. Estragon complains of his ill-fitting boots, and Vladimir struts about stiff-legged due to a painful bladder condition. They make vague allusions to the nature of their circumstances and to the reasons for meeting Godot, but the audience never learns who Godot is or why he is important.
They are soon interrupted by the arrival of Pozzo, a cruel but lyrically gifted man who claims to own the land they stand on, and his servant Lucky, whom he appears to control by means of a lengthy rope. Pozzo sits down to feast on chicken, and afterwords throws the bones to the two tramps. He entertains them by directing Lucky to perform a lively dance, and then deliver an ex tempore lecture on the theories of Bishop Berkeley. After Pozzo and Lucky depart, a boy arrives with a message he says is from Godot that he will not be coming today, but will come tomorrow. The second act follows a similar pattern to the first, but when Pozzo and Lucky arrive, Pozzo has inexplicably gone blind and Lucky has gone mute. Again the boy arrives and announces that Godot will not appear, also confessing that Godot beats him and makes him sleep in a barn. The much quoted ending of the play might be said to sum up the stasis of the whole work:
Vladimir: Well, shall we go?
Estragon: Yes, let's go.
They do not move.
I recall seeing that play in College when I was MUCH younger, in the first scene taking place in the Spring one Tramp takes off his boots with a sigh of relief and comfort. In the second scene the same Tramp returning spies the boots still sitting there and is delighted that they fit.
What we have witnessed in New Orleans is Waiting for Godot/Fema.
According to an article I read in the Wall Street Journal Marketplace, in many respects the New Orleans Evacuation could be a model for other Major Metropolitan Evacuations. Of 1.4 Million residents over 80% were evacuated without much trouble. Those were the ones with access to vehicles and the lessons of past traffic jams exiting Large Cities were used to good advantage by making all of the lanes outbound.
Those who did NOT have access to vehicles were another story, they sat in collecting points Waiting for Godot/Fema.
What we experienced is a complete breakdown of Local Authority. I do not want a Federal Government with the Power to Arbitrarily assume total control in any area of the United States it wishes to at its own whim. We MUST learn from this experience and spread the Libertarian values of Individual Responsibility and Local Authority, instead of Waiting for Godot.
Convoy greeted with applause and anger
NEW ORLEANS- More than four days after Hurricane Katrina struck, the National Guard arrived in force Friday with food, water and weapons, churning through the floodwaters in a vast truck convoy that was met with both catcalls and cries of “Thank you, Jesus!” from the suffering multitudes.
But 46-year-old Michael Levy said, “They should have been here days ago. I ain’t glad to see ’em” — words that brought shouts of “Hell, yeah!” from those around him. He added: “We’ve been sleeping on the ... ground like rats. I say burn this whole ... city down.”
National Guard Troops started out from pre-positioned points as soon as the wind velocities dropped below 50 miles per hour in many places they had to cut through debris and downed trees blocking the roads. This is the thanks they get?
"This is a national disgrace," said New Orleans' emergency operations chief Terry Ebbert. "We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans."
Ebbert's job is to coordinate New Orleans' response to emergencies. Somebody should show him this picture and tell him to stop blaming everyone but himself:
And finally this from Mayor Nagin himself:
"I need reinforcements," he pleaded. "I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man. ...
I've done it all man, and I'll tell you man, I keep hearing that it's coming. This is coming, that is coming. And my answer to that today is BS, where is the beef? Because there is no beef in this city. "
Nagin said, "Get every Greyhound bus in the country and get them moving."
Some need to ask these two men WHY they let ever City Vehicle. every City Transport Bus, every School Bus sit waiting to be covered by flood waters instead of USING them to move people!
Then they should be horsewhipped.
If they had to, they should have loaded people onto dump trucks to move them out of the reach of the storm.
What can we learn from this debacle? We learned good lessons the last few times about how not to clog the roads during an evacuation. Now if we
are lucky we have learned like Charity, Emergency Planning MUST begin at HOME.
Does your City have a Plan in effect to use City Vehicles and Buses to evacuate your City in an emergency? If not then maybe YOU had better do something about it.
I read in the WSJ about a family who went back to their house as SOON as the Storm passed, the woman complained they had no electricity, they had no water and they had no food. They also did not seem to be in too much of a hurry to get to where these things were.
So the question is are we going Take Responsibility for our own future and see to these matters OURSELVES? Or are we going to Wait for Godot
Vladimir: Well, shall we go?
Estragon: Yes, let's go.
They do not move.
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