Let it stumble ...:
You know FEMA is screwed up when its only non-screw-up accomplishment is the direct result of its own screw-up. Exhibit A: The NYT
seems genuinely alarmed that FEMA, which has earmarked $2 billion for temporary housing for Katrina victims, has placed only 109 people in temporary housing. ... But that's actually good. Sticking people in trailers and mobile homes is a man-made disaster in the making. So thank goodness for the screwed up FEMA's latest screw-up. ...
FYI -- Two billion dollars would pay for 10,000 permanent homes priced at a generous $200,000 each. Do the math and you'll find you can build an awful lot of homes for well under $200 billion.Update
-- But of course: Bechtel
has landed a contract to provide temporary housing. ... Incredible.
'No Direction Home':
Managed to see the second half of the PBS 'No Direction Home'
documentary on Bob Dylan. Listen, I like Bob Dylan. A lot. But the show's uncritical contemporary interview and film clips from the early '60s merely confirm to me that he was really a musical bridge from uppermiddle-class folk (not to be confused with country) to uppermiddle-class rock (not to be confused with the boys from Liverpool). That's important. But it's not profound. ... There was a hilareous scene in last night's installment in which a very earnest looking hippie dude is asking profound questions of Bob at a '60s press conference. Bob looks tempted to insult the guy with a line like, 'Get a life!' But at the same time Bob performs the Distant Wise Man Artist routine to perfection. ... Is it possible Martin Scorsese has never seen Rob Reiner's 'This is Spinal Tap'
? Maybe he doesn't see the ironic connection. ...
More on the Hyper Parents Front.
'Equating money with speech':
Here's hoping the Supreme Court throws out 99.9 percent of all financial prohibitions
within political campaign laws. ... The word 'prohibitions' is apt. It conjures up, well, Prohibition and all of its unintended debacles. ... Hub Blog's preferred 'campaign finance reform': Every single penny donated to a campaign has to be reported. And, yes, legislators, that includes alleged 'ticket sales' at clambakes. No other limits or rules. I call it the Fat Cat Disclosure Act. Through transparency, we'll know who's bought. ...
Can someone figure out the following NYT sentence (nothing againt the article -- it's more about the courts and the lunacy of current finance laws/rulings and how it's impossible to follow them):
"The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which includes Vermont, endorsed the state's approach in a 2-to-1 ruling last year that concluded that Buckley v. Valeo was not a complete prohibition on spending limits and that such limits could be justified by rationales the Supreme Court had not considered at the time, including public cynicism about the impact of money on politics."
So the courts are now trying to regulate "public cynicism"?
Great street-sweeping campaign, mayor, Part III:
Much better! Almost the complete opposite of last week
: Nine empty spaces out of 12. Still not good enough. But at least most of the street got swept. ... I'M STILL WATCHING YOU, MAYOR.Update
-- 9.28.05 - Maybe the mayor KNOWS that I'm WATCHING. There were two street sweepers brushing their way down Anderson Street this morning -- and on a non-street-sweeping day. ... Gotta love election season. But I'm not complaining!
'He's the man':
Pittsburgh's Hines Ward
: "They're the Patriots. That's why they're champions. ... They just have Brady back there. He's the man. He's definitely the best in the league." ... What a game
. ... There were definitely a lot of mistakes. Quite disturbing. They can't keep this up. ...
Pedophile Mafia Apologists resort to Lame Lefty Arguments: Domenico
thinks he's got a winner on Fr. Walter Cuenin
, who was forced out
of his parish duties, allegedly because of his big $400-a-month expenses: Comparing Cuenin to Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski. Well, well, well. What would you rather have? A priest riding around in a subsidized car or riding on your son, brother, nephew, grandson etc.? ... Isn't it amazing how right-wing kooks end up sounding like left-wing kooks, sort of like how defenders of, say, the Confederacy resort to Marxist rhetoric ('it was all about industrial economics') or how, conversely, defenders of Palestinians resort to anti-semitic rhetoric? Fascinating. ... Via Adam
. ... P.S. - Made some slight changes to the post from last night. Also check out the comments over at Domenico's site. They're quite revealing.Update
: Smear tactics, pure and simple. ... Margery
(sub. req.): 'Not even my dog believes that story.' ... More here
Brown Paper Bag Over Head Time:
Whenever the MSM elite writes flowery accounts of 'antiwar protests,' it's usually Brown Paper Bag Over Head Time for the rest of us MSM grunts. More than two years ago, I ranted about coverage of these obviously left-wing promoted and backed protests
-- and stories that deliberately strip out any hint that the vast majority of protesters bring distinct political agendas to these events. So what do we get more than two years later? Accounts of yesterday's antiwar rally that say, among other things, that protesters represented a "broad cross section of the United States by age, geography religion and ethnic group," according to WaPo
. Well, gee, thanks. That's technically true. The same could be said about shoppers in Boston's Downtown Crossing on any given day. But if it's also a 'political demonstration,' as the Globe
notes, don't you think it'd help if they described the obvious 'political' dynamics at work, not to mention the world views of the 'organizer'
of the event, as the NYT
blandly describes it? The AP
, needless to say, also doesn't use words like 'liberal' or 'left-wing' or 'conservative' or 'right-wing' in its antiwar accounts flashed to other papers across the country. ... It's just embarrassing to see the MSM cover up the political dynamics of 'antiwar' events -- while at the same time denying it has a liberal bias. I happen to be one who thinks the media isn't as liberal as righty critics say. Knee-jerk media bashing has become the all-purpose duck tape holding together a lot of flimsy conservative arguments. But there is indeed a MSM liberal bias. And politically shallow and sympathetic coverage of antiwar events regularly confirms that conclusion. ...
How bad was coverage of yesterday's 'antiwar' rally? Aljazeera
also strip out all political connotations in an attempt to make the movement look 'broad based.' ... Now where's that brown paper bag? I'll try not to ralph in it before wearing it. ...Update
-- Great brown paper bag selection here.
... And FYI disclosure: I am a reporter at the Herald.
'There, I've said it': Brett
asks the Big Question about the Big Easy after the city is flooded for the second time in less than a month: "Are we really sure we want to rebuild New Orleans? There, I've said it." And he adds:
"The city had a population of around 600,000. So this $200 billion boondoggle would work out at $333,000 a head. Even the cheapest estimates put the rebuilding cost at $70 billion – or $117,000 per inhabitant. If we're going to spend all this money, can’t we just cut everyone there a check? Think of the advantages. Quick. Simple. They can start getting their lives back on Monday. No bureaucrats. No 'cost overruns.' No local guys in shiny suits buying a new Cadillac on the taxpayers’ tab. Everyone person stands in line, gets a check, and hops the Greyhound out of town."Hub Blog's response
-- I guess I'm sentimental, but I'm still not persuaded. Yet Brett's point that 'rebuilding' really means rebuilding landlords' homes to rent back to poor people is a compelling argument for making sure poor people become true land owners after all of this is done. I'd rather see the cash in poor people's pockets than politically wired contractors' pockets...Update
-- Reader No. 1 and I were talking about rebuilding New Orleans
back in early September. Remember: Valmeyer.
... At the least some neighborhoods can and should be moved to higher ground. Throw in first-time home ownership offers, and you'll have a lot of enthusiastic takers. The last thing we need is tired liberal/compassionate conservative 'housing' programs.
'The high point of Mobility Week':
Anyone who visited, lived or worked in Boston during last year's DNC noticed and enjoyed one thing: The lack of car traffic. The city never looked better. So I'm all in favor of encouraging (not requiring) use of subways, bikes, scooters and anything else to relieve traffic. I'd love to see new tramways, bike lanes, expanded T lines etc. ... But there's something profoundly annoying about the EU's 'Mobility Week'
program. A giant Brussels bureaucracy clicks its fingers and Europeans hop to it. Don't get it. ... The CSM story is raw red meat, I assume, for an unleashed Carpundit
to bite into and tear apart. Go, Carpundit! Get the Euros!Update
responds with a good point: "Sorry, Jay. I think the problems of sprawl and congestion need creative, non-car solutions. Even if they are French." But I was hoping he'd really tear into the Euros for the sport of it. ... For some reason I can't quite explain, I'm in a real anti-Euro mood these days. Maybe it ties into the BBC's snotty Katrina coverage, etc. ... P.S. A fine example of snotty BBC coverage here
Not counting the Sox out yet
. But I am starting to take solace in the fact the Pats stumbled the year after their first Superbowl win. ... I didn't want to point out this Tony 'They're cooked'
column the other day because it was too depressing. Now it's impossible to ignore. The Sox seem so exhausted. ... The only good news: The NY media
is still talking 'curse.' As long as they
wallow in it, there's hope. ... 'Reminded us of the old waffler himself': Sissy Willis
calls up the offices of Michael Capuano, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry as part of the porkbusters campaign. Guess who gets an 'F' for poor constituent service? ... Granted, Mike and Ted win style-over-substance points. But Kerry's office comes through with typical arrogance over style and substance. ... Via Instapundit
'Benefit for Louisiana Blues Community Relief':
It's for a good cause.
Great street-sweeping campaign, mayor, Part II:
Hey! A few moments ago a mini 'Green Machine' street sweeper just buzzed by outside my apartment -- the type you see in Paris late at night. The 'Green Machine' couldn't get in between cars, but it was doing a fine job sweeping intersection curbs where trash tends to collect. I like it! ... I also think our 'Green Machine' looks sharper than the Paris type. The one I just saw had shiny stainless steel trimming mixed with green fiberglass. Tres hip. ... I'm still WATCHING YOU, mayor.
Is the Katrina 'chad' moment approaching?:
is reporting that fundamental problems with levee designs and construction could be the ultimate cause of the New Orleans flood disaster. ... Armchair Gen. Savin Hill and Hub Blog
were speculating on this way back when. Here's an excerpt from what the general wrote on Sept. 3:
"* Engineering mystery: Why did the 79th street canal levee break? It's not as simple as anyone thinks - it broke AFTER Katrina had long passed over the city. Why? The chain of events leading to that key break need to be understood. Don't assume there was no human error involved. There's almost always something surprising once we learn the real facts on an engineering disaster."
To which I had responded: "Hmmm. What will be the ideological 'chad' argument of Katrina? It's got to be A.) something no one knows about B.) something people will have passionate opinions about when it surfaces. C.) it's got to be really mundane. ... My bet is it will have something do with levee materials or pumping station lubricants."
And it's now looking like the material in question just might be concrete. If in fact concrete is the 'chad' of Katrina, imagine the ideological know-it-all reactions:
Righty: It's the 3-XZ Grit Concrete favored during the Clinton era!
... Lefty: That's a lie! Everyone knows that 3-XZ Grit Concrete is an alleged non-absorbing material tested by NOAA in 1972 -- at the time Nixon was bombing Haiphong Harbor and draining resources away from domestic spending!
-- Quickie Blame Game Trench Warfare Update: Not much has changed in recent days, as is usual in boring trench warfare slugfests. But there has been a somewhat intriguing development. Notice how conservatives are now lobbing reverse #4 rounds (i.e. praising local officials in Mississippi, constrasting it with Louisiana officials' hapless response). What can liberals counter with? Reverse-reverse #4s (i.e. Mississippi didn't do all that well -- therefore it's still Bush's fault)? More #5s? I don't think so. The Katrina Gap is slowly being pinched closed by conservatives.
FYI: Following is an abbreviated argumentative points list for those still keeping track of the Katrina ideological blame game: 1.) Act of God. 2.) Blame pols for pre-storm levee work etc. 3.) Post-storm fair-game criticism. 4.) Blame locals 5.) Blame Bush.
Reader No. 1 ponders post-Katrina ideas and rhetoric:
"1. That there is not much difference between 'compassionate conservatism' and Big Government Bureaucracy
. And given what is likely to happen with the Rebuilding of N'Awlins
, you ain't seen nothing yet.
"2. That there are heretofore unexplored local government angles to Katrina that no mainstream reporters will explore (too complicated / too embarassing to take a look into the sausage factory
)... again, as the site of the previously largest public works project in American History, Mass residents should watch and learn...
"3. That the most compassionate President in American history would throw shameless cheapshots
at his successor."
Germans are so dumb:
It's payback time
for 2000: Germans are soooooo dumb. ... Why can't Europeans run a simple election? ... Why do those little parties have so much say over the final outcome despite having received so few votes? ... Why is the loser claiming to be the winner? ... I don't understand why one German district votes weeks after everyone else. ... I don't understand this and that. ... This isn't the way for Europe's largest democracy to behave. ... We're soooo much better.
... There. I've waited five long years to get that out of my system.
'I cannot get a unified command,' Part III:
And yet another smart piece
flagged by John
, this one on why Mississippi seems to have handled Katrina a bit better than those in neighboring Louisiana. ... Hint: They literally threw out the rule book -- not to mention a few laws on the books. ... That makes two calm but critical looks
at key Katrina players, with two more to go.
‘This was the Patriots – Clive Rush era’: Ouch.
... Champs Town? Try meltdown.
... Remember: 'Stay calm! All is well!'Great street-sweeping campaign, mayor:
Moments ago a city street sweeper brushed its way down Anderson Street on Beacon Hill. Down the middle of the street. That's because nine of the approximately twelve spaces between Revere and Phillips were filled with cars that weren't moved. The sweeper touched the curb in only one spot -- and that was for about six inches before it had to take a hard-angle turn out to avoid hitting a parked Jeep Cherokee. ... What was that about towing cars that owners refused to move on cleaning days? ... I'M WATCHING YOU, MAYOR.
'I cannot get a unified command,' Part II: John
flags a good column by John Tierney
, who writes about one company that showed initiative outside 'the plan' and how FEMA actively tried to block initiative and anything else outside 'the plan.' ... Individual initiative? ...
Imagine FEMA commanding the Battle of Lexington and Concord: You there, Danvers militia! You haven't reported to us yet! Stop that firing right now! Take your Minutemen to the Respect Thy Neighbors' Papist Faith Seminar and await further orders. ... Menotomy Minutemen! Where do you think you're going? Who authorized you to defend that village against Redcoats? It's not even on the map. It says here "Arlington." You haven't even filled out a Sparsely Populated Urban Warfare AQ-207-1 form!!! Get back to the stonewall!
'58 is clearly just a number':
Elton John's concert at the Garden
last night sounds like another awesome performance by Sir John. Elton has such an infectious stage presence. ... Maybe it's because I'm getting older and can't stand being jostled at concerts, but calm audiences and a performer's strong stage presence are much more important to me now. A girlfriend once had to drag me to a Mel Torme
concert in the early '90s, saying it would be 'good for you.' It was. I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed the old crooner's command of the stage and audience. ... God help me, but I probably would have enjoyed Neil Diamond in Boston.
-- Obvious point: Isn't it great to call the Garden the Garden again? We owe it to TD Banknorth
, whose decision to stick 'Garden'
in the name shows it's in touch with local mores and sentiment, despite knowing full well people would just casually refer to it as the 'Garden.' There's hope yet for Corporate America.
Update -- Englebert Humperdinck
is in Lowell later this month. ...Connect-the-dots time:
So liberal groups are mobilizing to connect the dots
between Katrina and Iraq. OK, now that we're connecting the dots, let's extend the dot line. ... True
: The war now doesn't look "winnable in the short term." ... True
: Al Qaeda is expanding its recruitment in Iraq. ... True or false: Would it be wise to now just pull out U.S. troops with Al Qaeda establishing a foothold in Iraq? Until liberals answer that question and present a convincing non-Cindy Sheehan strategy to deal with it, they're not going to win support from me on the national security front -- and I'm a skeptic about the war and a harsh critic of the president's handling of it. ...Update
- Michael Yon
has an update on an officer recently injured in an Iraq battle. LTC Erik Kurilla: "I wanted to be there with my soldiers until the end, keeping our boot on the enemy's neck and pushing his back up against a wall, right until the very last minute." ... That's what's needed: 'keeping our boot on the enemy's neck' while Iraqis get ready to fend for themselves. There's simply no other short-term alternative to sticking it out at this point.Cool interactive graphic alert: Cool.
... Click on 'extent of flooding' in tool chest at left, then click to declick 'points of interest' for a great view of the extent of flooding in New Orleans. ... The 'protecting New Orleans' section is also interesting. Notice how few escape routes there are out of the city.
'I cannot get a unified command':
There are generally two types of leaders in crisis: A.) those who adapt plans to events B.) those who try to ram events back into a plan. The former usually succeed by improvising and taking initiative. The latter are like Mike Brown.
This is an incredible story, overplayed for the wrong reasons. The first half is typical NYT spin (locals vs. prez). But the second half
takes off as it focuses on Brown and just lets him yap away. He literally was begging others to take leadership. He was helpless without 'the plan.' ... Picture a panicking Kevin Bacon in Animal House yelling, 'Everyone stay calm!' and you have Mike Brown. ... I'm being quite serious: I think there's a great case study here for Harvard Business School, Center for Quality of Management or West Point on how not to lead. ... P.S. - I know the story is a day old and Mike Brown is old history in the 24/7 news cycle. But read the article from a management standpoint, not from a political standpoint, and it's fascinating.
'Mr. Bush probably needed a humbling ...': Peggy Noonan
writes one of the best pieces on the president I've seen yet. ... Next up, please: An equally calm but critical look at the governor of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans. Throw in the governor of Mississippi. Things seem to have run somewhat better there. Why? ...
‘Any ... takers?’:
One last copy of John Farrell’s
lost Great American Novel has been found. … Should we bid the price up?Did you hear the one about the Pope?:
You may have already heard this BLOHARDs joke.
But I hadn't. It's really stupid and therefore funny. Here goes:
"On a tour of New England, the Pope took a few days off to visit Cape Cod for some sightseeing. He was cruising along the beach in the Popemobile when there was a commotion just off shore. A helpless man, wearing an Yankee hat, was struggling frantically to free himself from the jaws of a massive shark. As the Pope watched in horror, a speedboat pulled up with two men, both wearing Red Sox hats, inside. Without a moment's hesitation, one of the men commenced to beat the shark with a stick, while the other hauled the Yankee fan from the water. Shortly thereafter, the men pulled the now-dead shark into the boat too.
"Immediately the Pope shouted and summoned them to him. 'I give you my blessing for your brave actions. Even in the Holy See, I had heard that there was a bitter hatred between Red Sox fans and Yankee fans, but now I have seen with my own eyes that this is not true.' Having said this, he threw the Popemobile into gear and disappeared over a nearby dune.
"Back on the boat, the silence was broken by one of the men who asked 'Who was that?'
" 'That was the Pope,' the other replied. 'He is the conduit through whom God communicates His infallible wisdom to the hundreds of millions of Catholics around the world.'
" 'Well,' the first said, 'he doesn't know s*** about shark fishing. How's the bait holding up?' "
I like BLOHARDs
. Plenty more bad jokes over there.
'No way I was going to run out': Roger Clemens
is a machine. And I mean that in a positive way. ... Speaking of machines: Papi!
Blame Game Trench Warfare Update, Part II:
Interesting developments in the Katrina ideological trench warefare front: This liberal op-ed
is firing #2 and #3 volleys ('we will only have ourselves to blame') in a clever high-ground attempt to relieve pressure on those firing relentless #5 rounds. ... Meanwhile, this conservative columnist
comes right out and says -- 'in the interest of balance' -- that his #4 rounds are in direct response to the constant #5 fusillades. I'm not sure telegraphing your ideological strategy is a good thing, but its honesty is quite refreshing. There's also this column
that mixes #1s and #4s (media bashing) grapeshot. ...
FYI: Following is an abbreviated argumentative points list for those keeping track of the Katrina ideological blame game: 1.) Act of God. 2.) Blame pols for pre-storm levee work etc. 3.) Post-storm fair-game criticism. 4.) Blame locals 5.) Blame Bush.P.S.
snags this WaPo story
on the horror within the N.O. convention center. The story will surely attract lots of ideological attention. Does it mean the media originally overstated or underestimated the convention-center nightmare? Did the relative inaction of police and Guard troops reflect poorly on local authorities -- or merely reflect the fact federal troops should have arrived sooner? Stay tuned. The ideologues will have answers soon.
'I take responsibility':
I think the president's slide in the polls just ended.
... Blame Game Trench Warfare Update:
Not to be confused with the now ended
Blame Game Battlefield Update, the Blame Game Trench Warfare Update is merely to show that you’re not missing much as the ideologues continue to lob post-Katrina #5
grenades (knee-jerk media bashing falls into the #4 category since it serves the purpose of pushing blame away from Bush). … Didn’t the locally produced death estimates in the days after 9/11 also hit as high as 10,000 and then drop? Same thing is happening now. Except this time Bush is facing trouble – so you have to blame the media somehow for the 10,000 figure. ... 'BLOHARDS Stand Firm Against Persecution': Alex
is on his very own 'How New York Can Be More Like Boston Tour' and tips us off to the BLOHARDS site
and a terrible tragedy of persecution
in New York: "Some people may find this little tale amusing, but not us. We're the Benevolent Loyal Order of Ancient and Honorable Diehard Red Sox Sufferers ("BLOHARDs") and to us there's nothing funny about breaking a child's heart." ... I don't think Bostonians appreciate how tough the NYC mission is each and every damn day for people like Manhattan WMD Spy
and the BLOHARDS.
'Weis isn't carried away by start': Charlie's
off to a big start at Notre Dame but he's rightly downplaying it. ... Romeo
is going to have a little tougher time in Cleveland.
'We're going to increase our patrols': Carpundit
demands action on needle park -- and gets it
. ... Carpundit
demands resignations -- and gets one.
Notice a pattern forming here? ...P.S.
-- Agree with the commentator over at Adam's site
that other city parks shouldn't be ignored. But the idea that we should wait and attack the problem all at one time sounds awful FEMA-like to me. ...
'A patrol takes up a position on Bourbon Street': John
has more photos from New Orleans. ... There's so much we can't sort out: the death toll, the extent of looting, the responsibility. But there's one thing we're sure of: What a hell of a catastrophe. John's posts prove it. ... 'A patrol takes up a position on Bourbon Street'
'The Echo I heard this weekend ...':
Reader No. 1 and I were trading emails yesterday about Katrina management, plans and bureaucracy in general. Here are three Reader No. 1 points:
"1. David Brooks
(whom I greatly respect) is surely right by pointing out the failure of government. But he does us no favors by blaming The System. 'Endemic failure' is good rationale for bureaucratic tenure. People should be held responsibile.
"2. The Governor of Louisiana and Mayor of New Orleans are doing a better job skating by the press than is the President
"3. The Echo I heard this weekend most was 'how could so many fail to react to the most anticipated disaster in American history?' Is it possible that when the behavioral and decisionmaking experts at Harvard write the book on Katrina, this will be exactly the point: one reason people failed to act is BECAUSE knowing in advance, they expected someone else to take responsibility? This will contrast with the amazing heroics of 9/11, a disaster which no one had time to anticipate - only time to react. Alternative possibility: between fear of lawsuits, fear of ceding control from state to federal government, it's all the lawyers' fault."'Let it go! Let it GO! LET IT GO!':
It's all Reader No. 1 this morning, with the following message slugged 'Let it go! Let it GO! LET IT GO!':
"Congratulations to Drew Bledsoe on winning his Cowboys opener. But how many Superbowls does Tom Brady have to win before Globe NFL Beat Writer
stops writing drivel like this?
" ''(Quote from Keyshawn Johnson) 'Even though Tom Brady has won three championships, if Mo Lewis doesn't hit Drew in the sternum, do we ever hear of Tom Brady in the NFL?'
''One would imagine so, but who knows?
"Let's see... Bledsoe was the QB of a Patriot team that was 7-18 in the prior 1 1/2 seasons. Since his departure, the team has let go of two Pro Bowl defensive backs who were still above-average at their position because their salaries were out of line with their value to the team. Why would Bledsoe, on a $103 million /10 year contract, have fared any differently than Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy? And who would have succeeded Bledsoe?
"I also like Borges pulling the emphatic Keyshawn quote 'Even though Tom Brady has won three championships...' Three championships merits an '...even though.' For Borges, this sentiment from Bledsoe seems to be the difference-maker:
" 'I'm happy for them but I'd be lying if I didn't admit it's hard to see the organization have all that success after I've gone. It's OK to acknowledge I helped dig that organization out of mediocrity, but that's bittersweet now.'
"Believe it or not, it is possible to be grateful, and not hypocritical, for:
"1. what Bledsoe and Parcells (and others) did to dig the organization out of mediocirty;
"2. what Brady and Belicheck (and others) did to win 3 championships.
"P.S. -- Who will be first to dub the homeless New Orleans Saints 'America's Team?' They deserve it.
Should we be thinking a little more about Hurricane Ophelia? Damn right. No sky-is-falling warning. But it's there
'I try to bring you the REAL news': The domestic front
: "I am not exactly the little tailor in the fairy tale who killed seven with one blow, but vengeance is mine as I flush their stripey little bastard bodies down the toilet." ... Via Adam
'We don't have to get approval to execute':
Here's a great overview
of Katrina events and the bureaucratic breakdown at almost every governmental level -- except at the U.S. Coast Guard. ... David Brooks
on the pre-storm emergency response plans: 'The quality of the facilitating must have been surpassed only by the magnificence of the interfacing!' ... At this point, I see no reason to change my prior
descending-order humanoid culpability list: 1.) the governor of Louisiana 2.) the mayor of New Orleans 3.) the president of the United States -- all bunched tightly together. ... 'In dire need of reasons for optimism': A very satisfying win.
'New Orleans by night': John
is patrolling the streets of New Orleans and has spectacular photos and comments. The eerie barrenness really brings home the scope of the tragedy. ... They really did abandon an entire American city.
Hmmm - not so bad:
Watched Oliver Stone's 'Alexander'
and was surprised how much I liked it, considering the rough criticism it received. It did strike me more as a very good made-for-TV movie/series than a great work of film art. ... As noted last fall
, I suspect Stone read Valerio Massimo Manfredi's classic novels
on Alexander or something similar. If you haven't read Manfredi or other Alexander tomes, I can see where a lot of people found Stone's flick confusing and slow-paced. ...
'A Yankee reserve that sometimes ...':
When George Bush does well, it's all Texan. When he screws up, it's all New England.
... Did USA Today and James Kilts share playbooks? ... I'm putting on my Romper Room headgear and trying to make sense of LBJ. ...
FYI: The online edition of USA Today was tame compared with the print edition, whose headline was all about 'Yankee' reserve and negativity. ... Has anyone else brought up Red State-Blue State bullshit about Katrina? Have we sunk so low as a nation?
-- Sometimes a blogger wakes up and wonders, 'Why did I post that?' ... That's what I was wondering this morning about the above rant. Even I don't quite understand it. ... I'm keeping it up as a museum piece and as yet another reminder not to blog after normal bedtime hours. ...
'In descending order of culpability':
Agree with most of Charles Krauthammer's
Katrina responsibility assessment, especially the role of God. His list of humanoid culprits: 1.) The mayor of New Orleans 2.) The governor of Louisiana. 3.) Mike Brown 4.) The president 5.) Congress 6.) The American people. ...
So I'm not accused of pulling a snide-from-the-sidelines punch, here's my own descending list of culpable humanoids: 1.) Governor of Louisiana 2.) Mayor of New Orleans. 3.) The president (and he's a very close third) 4.) Mike Brown and Homeland Security chief 5.) Congress. ... No 'American people' relativist copout from me. ... The reason for 1.) and 2.) is that it was the responsibility of the locals to get those people out in the hours before the storm hit and secure the area in the immediate aftermath, while awaiting the fed cavalry. The reason for the president being so high (and arguably as bad) is he allowed FEMA to be gutted, appointed cronies to head the agency and failed to take charge in the aftermath. Worse: He doesn't know what 'the buck stops here' means. ... The performance of all three was abysmal.'Below is a photo FEMA doesn’t want you to see': Joe Dwinell
is posting photos of Hurricane Katrina victims. ... FEMA has apparently dropped its shameful anti-photo crusade. I happen to be one of those who favors some restrictions on the showing of dead GIs and their coffins during times of war. There's an enemy counting on propaganda wins and demoralizing the homefront. It's a weapon we shouldn't hand lightly to those trying to kill us or our troops. But who's the enemy in Katrina? Where's the national security argument? Some say a photo ban is appropriate to protect the sensitivities of victims' families. Baloney. The censorship is about protecting the administration's domestic political butt. ... P.S.: Joe's photos show only tarp-covered victims.
Here's another link
in case the first doesn't work. Scroll to 'hallowed ground.'
'A familiar ring':
The only thing that makes me nervous about the Pats
is that they might get infected with our high expectations and overconfidence about another Superbowl win. ... No doubt: We are living in a Golden Age of a professional sports team's glory, almost right up there with the Russ-Cooz Celts. Almost. ...
'Sometimes the soft sell sells best':
Sound advice from Left Center Left
on how gay-marriage supporters should approach the referendum. ...
'Divided (by 9/11) we stand'?:
Thinking we might have a local Cindy Sheehan poseur on our hands, I was all set to blast this op-ed by Carie Lemack
until, well, I read it. It's a moving and deft appeal to end the 'internal warring.' ...
Then there's this op-ed appeal by Carla Seaquist
for moderates to be more assertive. I started to roll my eyes at yet the latest ode to a third way, but then I thought, 'Do I really want to live in a world in which debate is set by the blowhard likes of Sean Hannity
and Michael Moore
?' So good for Carla. ... FYI: Sean has a 'poll' (see bottom left of above link) asking who's doing the most post-Katrina political finger pointing. Three of his named suspects are African-Americans. It just kind of jumped out at me. ... FYI II: Mikey is heading to Louisiana
and praising Sean Penn. God help us. Everyone's got to get into the center-stage act. ... FYI III: You know people are getting sick of politics as usual when Yeats' 'The Second Coming'
is quoted in abundance. Here's a pretty good quickie analysis
of the often misunderstood poem (and don't forget to 'use down arrow or vertical scroll bar'). ... And that's Hub Blog's very own Poetry Corner Moment for the day.
P.S. -- Why I've suspended the Blame Game Battlefield Updates (also see post below): Yep, it's ideological trench warfare: The administration is lobbing #4 grenades
while Paul Krugman fires another #5 cannonade.
... The only good thing to come from Katrina is that the talking classes have been utterly exposed by Katrina. I mean, this was a tragedy ultimately caused by God and compounded by literally centuries of engineering mistakes and hubris, and yet the political classes predictably saw the issue through their 2005 political goggles. I've waited some time, lurking in the cynical background, for an event like this to chronicle. It was perfect. To RFK Jr., Sean Hannity, Sean Penn, Michael Moore, Paul Krugman, Daily Kos, Rightwing Nuthouse et al, thank you! You acted as if on cue. ...
The 'envelop strategy' unfolds:
This will be Hub Blog's last Blame Game Battlefield Update, for it's pretty obvious this is going to be a protracted variation of a #4 vs. #5 ideological Katrina slugfest (i.e. right vs. left blather). Where's the fun in following that? The fun was the process of watching how the ideologues marshalled their facts, arguments, biases, ommissions and worker-bee forces while dramatic events unfolded over the past two weeks. ... Still, seeing that I missed updates yesterday due to a head cold, a quickie overview of the last 36 hours is in order:
-- Conservatives, out of necessity, clearly employed an 'envelop strategy,' allowing liberals to stream unopposed
into a #5 pocket, with conservatives then pinching the gap closed and lobbing #1s, #4s and even #3s grenades (via the 'enough blame to go around' sermons) into the surrounded liberal forces.
-- Liberals, perhaps sensing the trap, are now invoking #2
again, ignoring #1, while still relying overwhemingly on #5 fusillades to keep any and all other arguments at bay.
-- Both sides dig in.
FYI: Following is an abbreviated argumentative points list for those keeping track of the Katrina ideological blame game: 1.) Act of God. 2.) Blame pols for pre-storm levee work etc. 3.) Post-storm fair-game criticism. 4.) Blame locals 5.) Blame Bush.
Thanks to Reader No. 1 and Armchair Gen. Savin Hill for their intrepid contributions over the course of the dramatic Katrina argumentative campaign.
'Sean Penn Relief Fund':
I was moved to tears by this Armchair Gen. Savin Hill appeal:
"Please won't you help? Sean Penn has sunk in New Orleans. We don't know where he is, or how many days he's gone without punching a paparazzi. Only by making a contribution can you help us find Sean Penn -- and any other Hollywood actor who doesn't know the first thing about water, boats, and why a hole in one is a bad thing."'Chad alert'
: Meanwhile, Reader No. 1 is still trying to pinpoint the hanging-chad of Katrina. He thinks it may be embedded somewhere in noncompatible and nonrechargable mobile radios and cellphones:
"The big story in today's WSJ
(sub. req.) trails Sunday WaPo in details on the reorientation of FEMA and its' big points will surprise no one. ... But there's a whole bunch explaining various communications problems and the potential lethal downside to conducting life and death operations in today's technology environment."
Reader No. 1 also notes the Pentagon's bungled juggling of active-duty troops "as another wonderful example of how bureaucracy trumps common sense."
He adds: "For balance, please check out Bob Williams' op-ed
eviscatering the Mayor of New Orleans and Governor of Louisiana." 'Here's my initial short list': Carpundit
is zooming past the fire-Mike-Brown campaign. ... 'Opportunity for us to show our compassion':
Looks like Massachusetts is rising to the occasion (stories here
). ... Mitt is everywhere. Should we care if his actions are an extension of his ambition? Nope. Ambition often serves as a positive and powerful motivator for the public good. ... Other pols -- such as Mayor Menino -- are shining or will shine, as are everyday citizens. ... Of course this being Massachusetts, we'll inevitably have our share of Brownie hack moments. Speaking of Mike ... 'Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job,' Part II:
Criticism of Brownie mounts. Jeff Jarvis
has the roundup.
... Blame Game Battlefield Update: Could a new conservative 'envelop strategy' be unfolding? While continuing to hammer away with #4s, conservatives appear to be conceding more and more of #5 out of necessity -- letting liberals stream past and into a #5 pocket. The door could be then slammed shut with #1s, #4s and reverse #2s (such as damaging Clinton-era levee memos) and ...
... A subsection of #4 is tried and true media bashing on the right. Here's a Rightwing Nuthouse
fisking of a Paul Krugman column. But notice the nutcase doesn't fisk the part about Brownie. ... Powerline
also selectively fisks Krugman, ignoring Krugman's mention of Brownie. ...
FYI: Following is an abbreviated argumentative points list for those keeping track of the Katrina ideological blame game: 1.) Act of God. 2.) Blame pols for pre-storm levee work etc. 3.) Post-storm fair-game criticism. 4.) Blame locals 5.) Blame Bush.'On the road'
: John Daley
is sending dispatches from the road. ...
Hit the beach!: Sean Penn
tries daring but futile #5 beach landing (via Instapundit
"Movie star and political activist Penn, 45, was in the collapsing city to aid stranded victims of flooding sparked by Hurricane Katrina, but the small boat he was piloting to launch a rescue attempt sprang a leak.
"The outspoken actor had planned to rescue children waylaid by the deadly waters, but apparently forgot to plug a hole in the bottom of the vessel, which began taking water within seconds of its launch. . . ."Hub Blog's response
-- Too much, too much. Shouldn't be laughing. ... But sarcasm is usually better than anger. ... Gen. Paul Krugman must be pulling his hairs out at this point.
FYI: Following is an abbreviated argumentative points list for those keeping track of the Katrina ideological blame game: 1.) Act of God. 2.) Blame pols for pre-storm levee work etc. 3.) Post-storm fair-game criticism. 4.) Blame locals 5.) Blame Bush.
'Bo-bo-bo nonsense': Adam
catches yet another So- and Bo- outbreak in Boston. I'm sick of hipster hucksters. They think they're so open and artistic and creative. The amazing thing is that they're just plain banal. ... This is just an idea: bus the hipsters on Fung Wah to Camp Edwards and give the city housing to Cajuns, who can add a little genuine life, spice and culture to Boston. ... Hey, free housing in Boston! Bring recipes!
... Take the hipsters' property by eminent domain? Now that would be an irony I could support.
'The thrust and parry...':
Reader No. 1 wonders if we can reconcile seemingly opposite arguments about Katrina:
"Excellent summary on the thrust and parry so far, except you left out that the spearpoint of the bleeding edge of the Liberal attack was Point #2 (It's All Bush's Fault), and I imagine we will see that again now that school is back in session and respected science professors at large universities are back from summer vacations in Wyoming and Tuscany. Respectable mainstream Washingtonians didn't blame Bush 43, but remember the pacesetters
and the first few days of FEMA response gives the argument weight it would not otherwise deserve.
"Today's pair of duelling op-eds (c/o excellent Real Clear Politics) is the blueprint for how it will probably play out 1 and 3 years from now. Is it possible that both Krugman
are right in the essential ways? Can we reconcile them (and us)?"Hub Blog's response
-- The first liberal volley was indeed a #2, followed by classic #5s. Remember: I'm only writing the first blog draft of history here.
'Ready to help you':
Mass. pols seems to have a good handle on what lies ahead with thousands of refugees poised to arrive soon on the Cape (stories here
). ... The switch to Camp Edwards was smart. Moving people from the Superdome to the Astrodome to the Convention Center would have merely compounded the initial mistake of putting people in one mass room. ... This is Mitt's moment -- and he seems almost itching to replicate his 2000 Winter Olympics success. I'm pretty confident he'll handle it well -- as will the people of Massachusetts.Update
has a great aerial shot of Camp Edwards. Barracks? I'm beginning to have second thoughts. The first and thusfar lone comment on Adam's page does make sense. ... At the least, it's important that evacuations so far from home should be voluntary decisions by refugees. ... I'm still pretty confident authorities and citizens will do everything to make it work.'Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job': Daily Kos
and Paul Krugman
are firing point-blank Point #5 rounds at the president. Conservatives are trying to regroup at Point #4. But Mike 'Brownie' Brown is getting in the way. Michelle Malkin
is saying he's got to go. ... The KC
papers are confirming most of the horse's ass story and adding more hack details. More to come. ... Mickey's
covering the lefty paranoia angle: "Rove thinks of everything, I tell you."
FYI: Following is an abbreviated argumentative points list for those keeping track of the Katrina ideological blame game: 1.) Act of God. 2.) Blame pols for pre-storm levee work etc. 3.) Post-storm fair-game criticism. 4.) Blame locals 5.) Blame Bush.
'Our old friend hyperpartisanship':
The Katrina ideological battle lines are in the last stages of forming. Skirmishers have been firing for a few days now to gauge enemy argumentative strengths as the main bodies of troops have been brought up. Devastating fusillades are now imminent. ... Using my reality-check list
from the other day is MANDATORY to understanding the following battle sequence. An abbreviated argumentative list is available immediately below. Here's how the battle has played out so far:
-- Liberal skirmishers immediately fired classic Point #5 volleys.
-- Conservative skirmishers were ready and countered with Point #1 and a reverse #2.
-- Liberals had to acknowledge Point #1 and almost got dragged into a Point #2 quagmire before resuming #5 volleys.
-- Conservatives started attacking with #4 but wisely pulled back in case they looked like meanies while complaining Point #3 was invoked too early.
-- Liberals bring up more brigades and focus all fire on Point #5.
-- Conservatives conceded some of Point #5 and curse Mike Brown and DHS, while abandoning #3 violation claims.
-- Liberals, sensing victory, typically go all with Point #5 frontal assault.
-- Conservatives, seeing excellent Sunday WaPo articles and a softening up of sympathy for locals, start hammering at #4 flank.Battle lines at end of Week 1
: Liberals fully committed to Point #5. Conservatives rallying late but in formidable numbers at #4.
But the key is: What's the hanging-chad component? Damn it, where's my Manhattan WMD Spy when I need him??!!
Abbreviated argumentative points list
: 1.) Act of God. 2.) Blame pols for pre-storm levee work etc. 3.) Post-storm fair-game criticism. 4.) Blame locals 5.) Blame Bush.
Conservative sympathizer but always rational Reader No. 1's observations:
"I don't know if these are exactly hanging chads but there were a couple of clues in the WaPo article:
" -- '(FEMA's) response to crises such as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing received high marks, though some Republicans complained that it was used as a pot of money doled out to bolster Clinton's political standing. '
" -- 'Allbaugh's quote was 'You don't get it,' " recalled the senior FEMA official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. 'If you brought up natural disasters, you were accused of being a pre-9/11 thinker.'
"Here's a hypothesis: if the levies had been detonated by Al Qaeda terrorists, there would have been troops in New Orleans in 2 hours because that would have been a NATIONAL DEFENSE problem. Katrina is not the same kind of national defense. Again, not an excuse, just an attempt to explain.
"Kaus got the money paragraph in the other WaPo story
. But the problem isn't federalism, it's our old friend hyperpartisanship:
"-- 'The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. 'Quite frankly, if they'd been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals,' said the source, who does not have the authority to speak publicly.' "
'Spelled out in numbing, acronym-filled detail':
WaPo has found the fed side of the problem: DHS.
... Katrina threw a head fake, slamming farther east than anticipated and creating a false sense of crisis avoided. But not declaring a full emergency until Tuesday afternoon? ... Is there any way to dismantle DHS and start all over? ... A great article that sometimes only a capital-city paper with deep bureaucratic sources can do. ... P.S. Mickey
spotted the same Washington Post article and is all over DHS.
-- Reader No. 1 on the Post piece:
"Very good work which makes one question whether there ever will be a 'hanging chads' argument, or more likely, the simpler explanation of what happens in complex organizations when:
"- the external environment changes (in this case from a natural disaster focus to terrorism), AND
"- the organization is significantly restructured, AND
"- there is no management continuity in place that remembers how things should be done.
"This situation can be improved by better leadership and management if it is properly understood. The ways NOT to improve it are congressional hearings (the modern-day equivalent of public beheadings) and creating more bureaucracy. Maybe we should ask that new Cabinet level Secretary of Disaster Preparedness can oversee Homeland Security.
"Or maybe we should just hire back a lot of the folks who worked at FEMA in the 80s and 90s on natural disasters, recreate that capability, and figure out how it interfaces with terrorism. (Please don't tell me I just agreed again with Professor Krugman lest I have to remind you how university bureaucracies would deal with much less serious problems.) Hub Blog's response
-- The quick WaPo analysis does indeed lessen the threat of an ideological hanging-chad outbreak. But I'm not discounting it. ...'Preview of what it's going to be like'?: Charlie Weis
is still torturing poor Dave Wannstedt. ... Notre Dame just pounded and bamboozled Pitt.
Horse's ass, Part II:
Slate's Bruce Reed
wrote yesterday about FEMA and Bush handing it over to Joe Allbaugh, his former campaign manager. But I'm not sure Reed knows that Allbaugh, in turn, turned FEMA over to his college roommate and stellar horse-show director Mike Brown
. ... Surely DHS deserves more than 'honorary status' as a hack department. This is a deliberate insult! ...Update
-- Andrew Sullivan
and Josh Marshall
are on the Herald's horse's ass story. ... But he was a good college roommate!
'As the partisan bickering starts ...':
Armchair Gen. Savin Hill poses questions before the partisan hacks drown out other voices:
"Our country will NOT get the answers it needs if the questioning devolves to the predictable partisan hack level in record time. The mainstream media will attempt to affix all the blame in the White House. The Democrate partisan hacks will drone on, simply replacing '9/11' and 'Iraq' with 'Katrina' in their latest Bush-bashing speeches. The Republican apologistas will gin up their talking points (wait for the first mention of blaming Clinton), and none of us will be the wiser.
"Nonetheless: Here is what needs to be answered:
"* Planning mystery: Before Tuesday, August 30th, the disaster recover was in its usual swing -- when all plans had to go out the window due to the delayed levee break early Tuesday. That break changed everything. Plans had to change - the relief effort had to switch from "business as usual" relief ... to 'worst case scenario' relief. They obviously didn't switch plans fast enough - why? Did they not have a worst-case plan? Or is the government/bureaucracy model simply too slow to react?
"* Communications mystery: At some point, then, the command and control to redirect the relief effort failed. Maybe it was mission confusion and bickering at the top, maybe it was physical failure of communication nets. Maybe it was both. Who knows? But from Tuesday to Thursday, the relief effort was in confusion/paralysis mode. Relief buses stayed outside the city out of fear amid rumors and genuine anarchy inside the city. It was clear there was no communication or command and control happening. We need an answer why.
"* Engineering mystery: Why did the 79th street canal levee break? It's not as simple as anyone thinks - it broke AFTER Katrina had long passed over the city. Why? The chain of events leading to that key break need to be understood. Don't assume there was no human error involved. There's almost always something surprising once we learn the real facts on an engineering disaster.
"* An obvious lesson: Once the Guard and military showed up in force - they started to solve the problems. It appears the brains needed to solve a disaster problem like New Orleans are all in the military, not the civilian government. Americans don't like ceding control to the military -- but we need to learn this lesson. In a worst-case scenario, the civilian/bureaucracy complex needs to move aside. A bitter, and unpopular pill for Americans to swallow. I doubt they will, frankly."Hub Blog's response
-- Hmmm. What will be the ideological 'chad'
argument of Katrina? It's got to be A.) something no one knows about B.) something people will have passionate opinions about when it surfaces. C.) it's got to be really mundane. ... My bet is it will have something do with levee materials or pumping station lubricants.
'Sense of order and peace': At last.
'Welcome to Valmeyer':
Reader No. 1 brought up a very important topic about rebuilding after a flood. Here's a town
that was uprooted and moved to higher ground after the '93 Mississippi floods. ... FYI: I covered the Mississippi floods 12 years ago while working out in Illinois. I like to think I know something
about floods. ...
'When called, we'll answer':
God bless the Boston Police
for heading to New Orleans. ... They better be prepared: Another group of Massachusetts emergency personnel
stopped in their tracks when other relief workers were attacked by mobs. Repeat: attacked.
FYI: I made a quickie correction to the post. It was other relief-worker groups that were attacked. Same difference though: It's dangerous down there.'Irreparable damage'?:
The criticism is mounting. But I happen to agree with Harvard's Barbara Kellerman
that people are writing Bush off way too early. He came through in 2001. He can do it now. ... FYI: As frustrated and angry as I get over the bungled response
to Katrina, I keep having to remind myself about the following:
1.) This catastrophe was an act of God.
2.) Therefore placing blame for the damage is mind-boggling. New Orleans was a doomed city waiting for centuries for a tragedy like this to happen. Criticizing President Bush and others for inadequate pre-storm levee work etc. is akin, in my mind, to dragging Andrew Jackson and Huey Long into the argument.
3.) Criticism of post-storm ineptness is fair game.
4.) Local authorities, while clearly overwhelmed by the magnitude of the carnage, clearly had grossly inadequate response plans in place. The Superdome and stranded school buses are now monuments to that failure.
5.) The overall federal response, while understandably slow in the initial stage (and we were all caught off-guard as the 'slow motion' drama began to unfold Monday and Tuesday morning), is a disgrace. Mike Brown is a walking and talking monument to negligence. For this, Bush can and will be rightly blamed.
So that's my reality-check checklist, for what it's worth. 'Leaves one speechless':
Reader No. 1:
"The FEMA head story you cite below leaves one speechless. To answer your question, yes, the President will hold someone responsible - but it won't make anyone feel any better about the whole situation.
"The private sector certainly can play - must play - a role in disaster recovery (not just rebuilding everything). But expecting that to happen contradicts the inherent longstanding Democratic Faith in government to solve all ills (and faith is the right word), and it contradicts the 20+-year-long Republican strategy to control state and federal government (which gives us Deficits As Far As the Eye Can See, Compassionate Conservatism, No Child Left Behind supervision in the leafy suburbs, the 'Intelligence Czar,' patronage appointments, and we have seen where that all leads...)
"Very bad sign: just overheard a Fox anchor say that someone in Congress has called for a Federal Secretary of Disaster Relief. Book the Rose Garden ceremony now for Thanksgiving week...
"One other point: a Compassionate Conservative might propose this compromise on people who lost their homes in the flood
: if you didn't have flood coverage (most don't), we'll cover you anyways if you agree to MOVE to high and dry land (of which there is plenty in the United States outside of the Blue States). This would be a less objectionable way to subsidize risky behavior and shafting policyholders. Of course, Liberal Dems will oppose increasing population (and therefore Congressional seats) in the Red States, and Compassionate Conservatives probably don't want to ask people to leave their homes."FYI
-- After the Mississippi floods in the early '90s, the government did just that: flood insurance to rebuild homes -- somewhere else. Entire towns were relocated to higher ground.
'And now for a brief relapse into sarcasm': Adam
has flagged an awesome local blog by W. David Stephenson
, a UMass-Lowell watchdog of Homeland Defense who's blogging up an analytical storm on Katrina and its aftermath. ...
The lead says it all
: "The federal official in charge of the bungled New Orleans rescue was fired from his last private-sector job overseeing horse shows." ... For the record: Mike Brown was 'asked to resign' as head of the Arabian Horse Association over 'alleged supervision failures.' ... You can't make this stuff up. ...
President Bush appointed him head of FEMA in 2003 -- after 9/11. Why couldn't he have just given Brown a patronage ambassadorship to some podunk country like other good political hacks? Oh well. People who live in Massachusetts glass homes shouldn't be throwing hackerama stones, I suppose.Update
-- Hackerama decisions at every level
, needless to say. Via Reader Barry.'The results are not acceptable':
Do you think President Bush
will finally and actually hold someone responsible? ...
'I, too, have started to wonder ...':
Armchair Gen. Savin Hill has his own thoughts on 'can't-do government':
"I, too, have started to wonder if government needs to get out of the way, or at least supplement itself in emergencies by outsourcing the really hard stuff to the private sector. It occurred to me last night watching Fox's O'Reilly factor, where earlier this week the host contacted a 77 year-old-woman and her 98 year-old-mother who were trapped in their home, and getting sicker and weaker by the day. They were contacted, of course, to get a 'desparate' person in a phone interview - but O'Reilly decided they would get rescued. They got together a private rescue mission of former special forces to go get her this a.m. - no word on if they went yet. La. Fish and Wildlife employees may have rescued them last night.
"But here's the point. It all made me think: Private contractors could have gone into the key 'security gap' that occurred in the last 72 hours. The whole reason for the horrible suffering and dying was that convoys did not go into the 'dangerous' parts of the city - either due to lack of communications (and hence, coordination), or lack of manpower for security (policy, Nat. Guard, etc.). Surely this is a text book example where teams of 'flying security detachments' perfectly suited a private sector solution. We know these teams exist in Iraq. Civilian contract workers have their own security details there - consisting mostly of former highly trained military personnel. We needed something like that here."'It never gets smarter':
Things are bad when Reader No. 1 and I agree that Paul Krugman is right:
"Krugman actually makes a couple of good points which may (or may not) define the 2006 midterm election campaign. And Sid Blumenthal
gives us a preview of 2008 Hilary Clinton stump speeches.
"But there is something strange about advocating more Government to address the problem given what we're seeing in the various government today, and how government has led us to this problem. Excellent overviews in the WSJ today on the problem with Government's essential character - and why for all of our griping, it never gets smarter, by Dan Henninger
, and on the particulars of New Orleans by Tom Lifson.
As a water-facing region where we inevitably look to government first to solve our problems serious and otherwise, we should be particularly chastened by Katrina."Update
-- Reader No. 1 writes back in: "Thanks for posting - but a clarification, I don't agree with most of Krugman. I think Krugman has come up with an effective label, but I think he's mostly wrong and especially on the underlying root causes." ... I should add that yours truly is not too keen on Krugman's federalist analysis and approach to every problem. But I liked his 'can't do' sentiment.'Can't-do government':
Blaming national and local leaders for damage caused by Katrina is absurd and even cruel, knowing how vulnerable New Orleans has been to the "big one" for centuries. ... But what's fair game is criticism of post-storm plans and general inept action that have actually exasperated and prolonged the misery. There's no excuse for some of what we're seeing -- the lack of security, emergency housing, food and medical resources, evacuations. I can't believe it, but Paul Krugman nails it
this morning: "can't-do government." Krugman, naturally, is looking at it from an anti-Bush federal perspective. But an equally culpable party appears to be state and local governments that were closer to the long projected ground zero, for lack of other words, and failed to have workable plans in place. ...
... The much ballyhooed journalism/blogging "convergence" has finally arrived in the wake of Katrina, in case you haven't noticed. John Daley
has pointed out a lot of great N.O. blogs -- here
, for example. The Herald has dispatched Peter Gelzinis
, who's best reporting is in his blog. I could have sworn I saw a Globe N.O. blog but can't find it. But the point is that the MSM is now using blogs and the 'net as indispensable tools of the trade, while citizen journalist bloggers chip in with their own awesome posts. Combine the two together and you have, folks, "convergence." ...
... Speaking of blogs, here's a sad thought of loss from one blogger at the CSM
"In the almost 15 years that I've been living in the US, the past few as a citizen, I have come to feel most at home in the South. Not that I hate my new hometown of Boston, or despise the hustle and bustle of New York, or the laid-back endless summer of Los Angeles. They have their charms. But the pace of life, the way people treat each other, the connection to the land (all often expressed in music and folklore) -- these were the things I missed the most when I left Nova Scotia, and the South was the place I found them in abundance. Especially in New Orleans ..."
'Willful suspension of disbelief':
Interesting but highly predictable debate is breaking out about New Orleans' levees and whether more could have been done to prevent this week's tragedy in the Big Easy. Not surprisingly, President Bush, born centuries after New Orleans was improbably founded under sea level, is starting to catch flak from Josh Marshall
and others. Incredible. ... Take a look at this terrific NYT graphic
and you tell me whether it was possible to create a 100 percent foolproof system of levees to keep out the frigging ocean
. Remember: New Orleans didn't even take the brunt of Katrina. ... Excellent Slate piece
on New Orleans' founding and the 'willful suspension of disbelief' that perhaps partly explains the city's famous and lovable care-free attitude (via Josh). ... John Daley
is rocking on the Katrina blog posts. ...Update
-- Holy Christ ... They're shooting at helicopters and the gangs are out.
New Orleans had better get its act together quick. As New York showed after 9-11, nothing beats strong local leadership. Nothing.