Saturday Open Thread

I've been dominating the conversation. It's your turn now, I'll be back tonight.

Update: One more on FEMA's ineptitude: When they finally sent supplies, they sent those intended for a chemical attack:

" After the authorities in Baton Rouge had prepared a field hospital for victims of the storm, Fema sent its first batch of supplies, all of which were designed for use against chemical attack, including drugs such as Cipro, which is designed for use against anthrax. "We called them up and asked them: 'Why did you send that, and they said that's what it says in the book'," said a Baton Rouge official. "

[hat tip Patriot Daily.]

Update: Commercial airlines are beginning evacuations from New Orleans. And Carnival Cruise ships will house thousands.

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    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#1)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:09 PM EST
    I wonder whether Mother Bush is allowing her "beautiful mind" to consider what is going on in NO.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#2)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:09 PM EST
    Now is a good time for everyone to take a deep breath and give some hard consideration to what kind of things you can help out with. Giving money to the Red Cross is a good gesture but if you are like me you will only be able to afford one or two modest donations of money, but lots of time and essentials. Last night my city received a bit over 5,000 refugees from the Gulf Coast, which opened up a lot of opportunities to spend some labor. Volunteer med. clinics have been set up here (I’m sure my city isn’t exceptional) for anyone with medical experience. Donate some blood, it’s always needed and it doesn’t have to be the Red Cross. In an emergency like this the Red Cross inevitably draws donations away from local hospitals; after 9/11 the place I donate was a ghost town. If you don’t have skills in need (I don’t) you can give away some clothes to the refugees coming to your city. And consider this; in six or ten months from now everyone will be preoccupied with the same crap we were last week. When was the last time anyone around here sent some money to the folks still suffering from the Tsunami; last I read 250,000 folks were living in tents in Banda Aceh, six months after the catastrophe. You could always save your money for a good donation to Habitat long after everyone is preoccupied with other crap.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:09 PM EST
    Cipro, or ciprofloxacin is a floroquinolone antibiotic of broad spectrum. It was not “designed for anthrax”, it is just very effective against it. It is also effective against many other agents. The drug will have broad applications in fighting the kinds of infectious agents present in New Orleans as enterics ( organisms from feces and other waste products) are probably a number 1 or 2 concern and Cipro nails them. Lots of incompetence in N.O., no doubt about it but Cipro is not a part of it and!!!!! if you go after it you are opening an avenue to be discredited. Ever heard of that? Bloglodyte

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:09 PM EST
    Chicago Mayor Daley 'shocked' as feds reject aid FEMA REFUSES City of Chicago's offer of trucks and aid [text of article deleted, please use this space for your comments rather than reprinting works of others. See comment policy. Thanks]

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:09 PM EST
    The San Francisco Chronicle has an article today called "In New Orleans' French Quarter, a tale of two cities. They compare and contrast the conditions at the upscale Royal Sonesta Hotel, in which the 31 staff and 2 remaining German guests are living it up eating grilled tilapia, T-bone steak, pasta, and red wine prepared by the 2 chefs, while less than half a mile away, at the New Orleans Convention center, people are living in hell on earth. "We're eating like kings" said Gary Davis, the hotel's electronic technician. The security guards swim in the pool during the day and guard the entrance with firearms at night. "Yeah, we have it pretty rough" says security director Joel Smith. "All we need is the pool bar opening up, and we'll be great." I almost tore my paper to shreds while reading this. Obviously, the people at Royal Sonesta are living in Bushworld, completely oblivious to the suffering and horrors of the poor folk living in Bushhell just down the block. The National Guard should evict these morons, and open up this hotel, and all others to those who need clean sheets and a soft bed for at least a few nights before they can be evacuated! At the very least, this hotel should be reserved for families with young children and the elderly ;500 rooms can go a long way to making the wait for evacuation easier!!

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:09 PM EST
    There's another story on the Senesta Hotel here. It's a little disturbing.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#7)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:09 PM EST
    i think we can all agree that the response, both pre and post katrina has been, at best, abysmal. not being there myself, and only having access via tv, newspapers and the net, the incompetence is stunning in its near completeness. why aren't the hotels being used? beats me. why are the guests eating all that fine food? because if they don't, it will rot, due to a lack of electricity for the fridges. on an entirely different note, i see that a judge in aruba has ordered the three (two brothers and other) released, again, due to a lack of actual evidence of a crime having been committed, in the case of the missing natalie holloway. i believe TL and i suspected this to be the case, and their having been taken into custody again was but a sham, intended for the tv audience, with no real prospect of breaking the case. ms. holloway's mother is just absolutely certain they know what happened to her daughter, but offers no evidence to support her contention, other than gut feeling. the fact that, so far anyway, not one shred of physical evidence has been located, makes me wonder if she didn't just take off, and these guys don't have the slightest clue.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:09 PM EST
    Suggested reading about natural disaster and race relations in the US. Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America. By John M. Barry This is a book I already have on hold at the library. I had NEVER heard of this flood until learning about it this morning on NPR's Weekend Edition. It was a catastrophic flood of almost biblical proportions in the southern US. During the interview, the author of the book said one of the most striking things about the 1927 flood was that NOT ONE PENNY of guvmn't money was spent on food/water/shelter/clothes. That precedent is one Norquist, Cheney and others would well like to emulate. As an aside, the 1927 flood response, which was handled by Hoover, helped to propel him into the Presidency.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#9)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:10 PM EST
    An answer to why they didn't leave by Anne Rice:
    Well, here's an answer. Thousands didn't leave New Orleans because they couldn't leave. They didn't have the money. They didn't have the vehicles. They didn't have any place to go. They are the poor, black and white, who dwell in any city in great numbers; and they did what they felt they could do - they huddled together in the strongest houses they could find. There was no way to up and leave and check into the nearest Ramada Inn. What's more, thousands more who could have left stayed behind to help others. They went out in the helicopters and pulled the survivors off rooftops; they went through the flooded streets in their boats trying to gather those they could find. Meanwhile, city officials tried desperately to alleviate the worsening conditions in the Superdome, while makeshift shelters and hotels and hospitals struggled. And where was everyone else during all this? Oh, help is coming, New Orleans was told. We are a rich country. Congress is acting. Someone will come to stop the looting and care for the refugees.
    [big snip]
    But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us "Sin City," and turned your backs. Well, we are a lot more than all that. And though we may seem the most exotic, the most atmospheric and, at times, the most downtrodden part of this land, we are still part of it. We are Americans. We are you.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#10)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:10 PM EST
    Steve Gilliard really vents his spleen.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#11)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:10 PM EST
    It's a little disturbing.
    \ The most disturbing thing is that tourists were taken out of there pretty quickly, while the citizens of the city were left to die.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#12)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:10 PM EST
    A truly excellent piece by the Faithful Progrssive
    Hurricane Katrina is literally a watershed moment in American history. It has revealed the grim reality of an America that is deeply divided by race and class. We need a new War on Poverty in this country or our society is a failure by any measure that matters, including the religious values that many falsely claim guide us. Perhaps the first key to changing this reality is for all of us to admit that America is not a perfect place.
    Shortly after the storm struck, President Bush said that the people who stayed behind in the city had made a poor choice. Our leader once again demonstrated how out of touch with reality he is. "We get paid on Fridays," one woman said. "I couldn't afford a bus ticket until it was too late." She was just one of the hard-working neighbors that America left behind both before and after the tragedy of Katrina struck. For the past several days we have helplessly watched what happens when a nation is too blind and too greedy to tend to its neediest neighbors. We flinch when we see these good family people, concerned for their babies and aged parents and neighbors--we flinch because they are better neighbors than we are, and because we know we have let them down. This must come to an end. The greed of the wealthy, our own self-centeredness, must be tempered with more compassion.
    Highly recommend reading the whole piece. Pretty much nails it.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#13)
    by aw on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:10 PM EST
    Soccerdad: Click. Another lightbulb just went on out there somewhere in somebody's head. Lots of somebodies. The lights are coming on all over.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#14)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:10 PM EST
    We need a new War on Poverty in this country
    Sorry...we already waved the white flag on that one. We can only afford the War on Drugs and the equally effective War on Terror. soccerdad...Thanks for the Steve Gilliard blog. I liked this part the most:
    Say 9/11 changed everything now, motherf---s. Ooops, 9/11, 9/11. 9/11. Doesn't work anymore? Gee, maybe the sea of alligator MRE's once known as the citizens of New Orleans has something to do with that. Now you can shut the f--- up about 9/11. Bush just proved what would happen with another 9/11. Dead Americans as far as the nose can smell.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:10 PM EST
    et al - As we listen to the blame game being played, let's return to last Sunday. August 28, 2005. Now what happened that day? Who was taking the initative? Who was pushing for action? Who was taking the lead? Was it the Mayor? No. Was it the Governor? No.
    Gov. Kathleen Blanco, standing beside the mayor at a news conference, said President Bush called and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation for the low-lying city, which is prone to flooding.
    Link Now, after the Mayor did call for an evacuation, did he use school busses and other city vehicles? No. Hundreds of school busses were left to be under water. Estimates that 6000 people could have been evacuated have been made by using the school busses alone. (100 x 60 people each.) Did the Governor call for the airlines to dispatch every available aircraft? No. Did she ask for all available busses? No. What did they do. Well, the mayor said go to the Superdome.
    He told those who had to move to the Superdome to come with enough food for several days and with blankets. He said it will be a very uncomfortable place and encouraged everybody who could to get out.
    So who created the Superdome hell hole? His Honor, who didn't even staff it with police. How's that for planning? The problem was clearly created by the local and state government who can do nothing now but blame someone else and play the race card.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#16)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:10 PM EST
    PPJ - Truly scary how you can just blame the vicitims and try and divert our attention with miniscule details. The evacuation and coordination needed for an effort of this magnitude cannot be done by the mayor. You keep carping about the school buses is beyond pathetic. This is the basic fact; The federal government who has agencies with multi million dollar budgets whose sole charter is to deal with these kinds of diasters did nothing and they continue to do less than they should. We can argue about the why's, but there is no disputing the facts. There should be a place in hell for those who ignore the welefare of our most vulnerable in a time of great stress. There should also be aplace right next to those leaders for the morally bankrupt apologists such as yourself who do nothing but blame someone else. You epitomize what is ailing this country right now, you and the souless neocons and the fraud christian right. Answer these questions. Why wasn't the hospital ship pre-positioned. There are stashes of emergency equipement prepositioned at 7 different sites around the country why aren't they being used. Why wont FEMA accept help from Al Gore, the city of Chicago, etc. Why wouldn't FEMA approve the use of the tanker aircraft for putting out the fires. Go ahead bore us with your miniscule crap. Keep apologizing for the these despicable leaders and poor excuses for human beings. After all they are your kind..

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#17)
    by chupetin on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:10 PM EST
    Some light reading for you here and here Enjoy.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#18)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:10 PM EST
    If a nation is centered in the Tao, if it nourishes its own people and doesn't meddle in the affairs of others, it will be a light to all nations in the world. Tao Te Ching from Lyn Davis Lear at HuffPo via robot wisdom

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:10 PM EST
    SD - My comments were rather pointed and backed up by an article from the Times - P NO's premier newspaper. Rather than devoting yourself to answering them you start changing the subject. But the fact is that it is the business of the state and the local mayor to ask for the NG. To ask for aid. To decide to evacuate the city. Why did they not do so? You are quick to call Bush a war criminal. You are quick to call him dumb. So why wait for this dumb guy? Why did they have to wait for him, SD? Fact is, of course, they did not. But they did. And they did it for one reason. They were afraid. Because if they had made the decision to evacuate, and then called the President for help, they would have had to acknowledge the responsibility for closing down the city and costing it millions of dollars. And if the hurricane had swerved even more, and if the levees had not collapsed, their political careers would have been dead. No one would ever support them again. No one would ever give them a dime of financial support. So they waited until Bush called. And note how the Governor positioned herself. Bush didn’t “suggest.” Bush didn’t “recommend.” Bush “appealed.” He was practically begging her. What a neat way to pass the buck. Only in this case it didn’t work. The hurricane did hit, almost dead on. The levees did break, and the hours lost now become critical. So now the game becomes, blame the Feds. Blame FEMA. Blame the NG. Blame anyone except the folks who had the power. The folks who dithered while Katrina struck. And now, just for fun, I’ll do what you can’t do, or won’t do, and answer some of your questions. The hospital ship. I seem to remember there was a hurricane. Guess you would position that ship in harms way. The tanker planes. Water dropped on oil fires do no good. And what help from Al Gore? All he has to do is provide a couple of aircraft for their use. But he doesn’t do that. He wants to send them to pick up specific people. Tell me, just how many people do you want coordinating this thing?

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#20)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:10 PM EST
    OOJ-you relish the blame game and even the blamers get blamed when you play. Racism, irresponsibility and utter failure are the currency in todays game. Passing the boomerang buck is the wild card this time around. The Chimp King Emissary always wins as he alone makes up his rules.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#21)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:11 PM EST
    PPJ-The Chimp King Emissary is so predictable.
    Tens of thousands of people spent a fifth day awaiting evacuation from this ruined city, as Bush administration officials blamed state and local authorities for what leaders at all levels have called a failure of the country's emergency management.. .
    The earpiece must still be working. from: Armando at dailykos

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#22)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:11 PM EST
    PPJ...the real problem to look at is why the levees failed. New Orleans didn't even get the worst of the storm, they barely got Cat 2 winds. But the levee improvement project was brought to a dead stop because Bush took the money and sent it to Iraq. Spin all you want, but that's why New Orleans is underwater now.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#23)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:11 PM EST

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#24)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:11 PM EST
    prepositioning the hospital ship means bringing it close but keeping it out of harms way and then sending it in when the storm passes. Tanker planes can trop chemical fire retardenst which do work. What we are supposed to believe that an administration that ignored the UN and the rest of the world and went to war in Iraq is now stymied by a mayor, a govenor and protocol. Pleeezzeeee. There is no doubt that there were failures on the local level. But the Feds, FEMA and Bush who are supposed to handle such large diasters did nothing. Oh i forgot, Bush flew over and waved from his jet.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#25)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:12 PM EST
    “is now stymied by a mayor, a govenor and protocol.”
    The political reality is that no one will give a $hit about protocol or lawful procedure when the full death toll is known. If, in fact, nothing could have been done I don’t see why the full resources of the feds weren’t positioned on the Louisiana boarder 12 hours after the levies broke, waiting for the Governors request. The Republicans are FUBAR for midterm.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#26)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:12 PM EST
    pig - I'm happy that we agree on this. I think this discussion has brought out some of your better points and beliefs.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#27)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:12 PM EST
    Squeak - Good morning. That must have been a vile cup you were drinking last night. But blame game? No, just facts. And don't you know? The WP is now saying that the Feds were offering help around midnight 3/26. But the Governor turned'em down. Ernie - As JR noted in another thread, the latest study wasn't even complete, so what did not having construction money have to do with anything? But wait! They had $300 million in 05. I would think they would have moved some dirt, but I don't see any. Surely they didn't spend it on company picnics. SD - Thankfully, that isn't your call. ;-) BTW - Whenever I lay the facts out you just start personal attacks and changing the subject. Loosing your grip? BTW - What we don't know is if any chemical retardants were available, and if so, how much and if so, were they suitable for dropping into water that just might backflow into areas where people could be. SD, I take the position that the people on the scene are smart and are trying to do their best. That has been my experience over the years. Now, if you can prove otherwise by answering the above questions, please do so. As for the ship, yes it probably was positioned east and north of the east coast of FL. I don't have any facts. Neither do you. Maybe it was taking on supplies. Mayabe it wasn't. Got facts? Now, let us examine your compalint that the Feds didn't just take over. Are you telling me that you want the Feds to automatically substitute their authority for the state and local officals? Good heavens. Are you the same SD that has raged over the Patroit Acr and how Bush is trying to take over the US? On 8/26 all the Governor had to do was say, yes. She didn't. Now you want to blame Bush for not siezing power. Good heavens!

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#29)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    Does anybody have a link to the full article in the San Fran chronicle about "the tale of two cities" that was discussed in a comment posted by "ljwilse" on 9/3/05? I would like to read the full article about the Royal Sonesta conditions vs. the N.O. convention center.

    Re: Saturday Open Thread (none / 0) (#30)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:18 PM EST
    Jim, Planes also can drop chemical fire retardants. Also, according to a former merchant marine that I know, a hurricane at sea is no big deal. no flying objects