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  • superdestroyer

    So what is the point of the video? Did it discuss the problems that FEMA has based its policies on middle class white American suburban values and that the policies fail when they are applied to urban black America?

    Look at the lessons that emergency planners refuse to face. That disaster planning is virtually impossible when the local government is dysfunctional. What FEMA is built around the idea of helping homeowners instead of renters. That it is much harder to rebuild apartments and rent houses instead of single family occupant owned housing. That government laws can and do compete against each other. That it is hard to get a loan to rebuild in a flood zone. And one of the last lessons, that it is very hard for white, middle class suburb living government workers to function ins an all black urban setting.

  • T-Steel

    I have never just blamed the Katrina respone on FEMA and President Bush. I’ve always maintained that the local and state government is equally accountable for all the failures. I don’t give a rat’s arse about the racial angle. The mess is the complete and utter DESTRUCTIVE division between city, county, state, and federal government where coordination is as foreign as a Klingon opera (obligitory Star Trek reference). All of us in the USA from the rich enclaves to the ghetto slums will be equally helpless in the face of a disaster.

    We spend incredible amounts of money on foreign policy and waste incredible amounts of money on domestic non-issues and earmarks. We look at potential disasters sarcastically. And those who warn are scorned with large amounts of style. This isn’t about race SD. This about taking an enema to the current attitude of “we will deal with it eventually”.

    And speaking of race in Katrina situation, those white people in Mississippi are still in a daze. Katrina destroyed entire counties and they aren’t getting attention either. Race be damned.

  • kritter

    If you think of the two major disasters that occurred during the Bush administration- 9/11and Katrina, it is striking to see the contrasts in the president’s response. In both instances, he ignored warnings, but has used 9/11 as the basis for his foreign policy- relentlessly politicizing the event in countless speeches, while barely mentioning the second after the initial bungled response.

    I disagree with SD’s assertion, because it lets the feds off the hook. The local response to Katrina was poor, but that doesn’t excuse FEMA’s dismal performance, or the disconnectedness of a vacationing president. Every American with a TV knew that Katrina, a category 5 storm (before being downgraded to a 4) was an enormous threat to NO and the Mississippi coastline. For days we watched helplessly while American citizens cried out for their government’s help.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the Bush administration overreacted after 9/11 by attacking Iraq, while allowing the destruction of an irreplaceable part of America.

  • superdestroyer


    It was not the hurricane that destroyed large portions of New Orleans. It was the flood. I heard a talk from the emergency medicine director at University Hospital in NO. He stated that the morning after the Hurricane went through everyone throught that N.O. had dodged the worst portion.

    The racial aspects is that FEMA has to have a model to plan for disasters. That model is based around middle class nuclear families because they is how most of the planners live. It is much harder to plan for people who do not have cars, credit cards, or extended families outside the towm area.

    Also, FEMA, by law, has to coordinate and work with state and local authorities. If those authorities are dysfunctional, it makes the job harder. FEMA and DHS also was affected by its new doctrine, the National Response Plan instead of the older Federal Response Plan. Brown,by his actions and statements, demonstrated that he did not understand the new doctrine and was unable to implement it. However, all of the civil servants below Brown seemed not to understand the new policy and doctrines. The local and state government definitely did not seem to understand or even want to use the new plan.

    However, to complain about the results years later demonstrates to me the hyprocricy of the left. Modern planning, contracting, and environmental laws are intentionally design to make government actions slow and difficult. That may be great (from the leftist activist POV) when the government is trying to build a new high highway but it does not seem so great when the government is trying to rebuild after a disaster.

    I wonder if people would be so concerned about NO is they were told that the only way to rebuild would be to violate NEPA, the CWA, the CAA, and wetlands protection laws?

  • Rudi

    In another post MvdG talks about the Bush PR machine, well the machine was in full force after the public had the picture of the Bush NO fly over. Color lights run by generators don’t fix the problem.

    I wanted to bring up the ex-FEMA official as a good example but the smacked me in the face.

    Ex-FEMA chief profiteering on Katrina?

    Witt was held up as an example of how FEMA worked under Clenis.

    Witt’s firm charges Louisiana double its costs for subcontracted services

    Seems no bid contracts don’t work for Demonacrats either.

  • Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath was both tragedies of monumental proportions. But I think these tragedies have been politicized far too much. Given that the Democrats controlled the government at both the state and local level, it’s hard to see why so much of the blame is shifted towards the Bush administration.

    I do think, however, that these tragedies so that all that money that was poured into the Department of Homeland Security did little good. Just one more level of bureacracy added to a federal government that already has too much bureaucracy already.

  • kritter

    SD- I watched a lot of the Katrina coverage, so I get what you’re talking about. Its true that right after the hurricane most thought NO had dodged a bullet. But FEMA had performed an exercise the year before in disaster response—-of what the agency would do if a severe hurricane hit NO. So they were aware that flooding was a possibility.

    I’m not saying the local and state govts performed well- but that doesn’t let Brownie and Bush off the hook for an abysmally slow federal response. Brown admitted much was his fault and also blamed Chertoff, and the decision to merge FEMA into DHS in congressional hearings.

  • domajot

    I was nodding in agreement with SD about how the programs don’t fit the profile of communities. It was, in a sense, the same kind of reality blindness that lead to our mishandling of Iraq.
    NO is not just all renters, though. Many were/are homeowners, but poor homeowners. They got caught between needing to use assistance money to pay off mortgages, but then having nothing left
    for rebuilding.

    Much of the allocated money has been spent in ways that hinder rather than help NO-as it was/is in its own right, not another city or another place.
    I part company with SD entirely, when the comment veers off into how it’s all the left’s fault.

    I agree with Nick that the NO tragedy has become overpoliticized. ‘Whatever it takes’, though should have included a serious look at the needs as they are specifically in NO, not in some think tank, party strategy meeting or developers’ club house.

    As long as a lot of money was going to be invested, it makes a lot of sense to look at environmental issues before spending it unwisely.
    With schools, too, it makes sense to reform the system rather than just resurrect the broken one they had. There, again, one failure seems to follow another,as a prime charter school managed to waste its money on an inept contracted provider of an education progaram.

    Failures left and right and at all levels. A major city in destoyed in the ‘richest country on earth’, and we can’t fix it.

    It’s kind of scary, when you add this to the list of other things we can’t do:
    provide health care
    maintain infrastructure
    extricate ourselves from Iraq

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