Friday, September 16, 2005

Bush Vows Disaster Review for U.S. Cities

Wow. That's some kind of leadership. Four years after 9-11, and untold billions of dollars spent on homeland security and emergency preparedness, now he decides it might be a good idea to look at how to respond to a disaster.

If you voted for Bush, you owe me a public apology.

21 Comments:

Blogger Tony said...

I don’t know, something just seems so un-presidential about a guy reading phone numbers like a salesman on the at home shopping network. It might have been one of the worst speeches ever for one of this country’s worst disasters.

9/16/2005 8:50 AM  
Blogger Brian Stayton said...

I didn't watch. But, somebody please tell me what "responsibility" means. Will he commit hari-kari? That's "taking responsibility" that I understand. Will somebody get fired? Will he resign?
Before Dubya accepted his failed responsibility, I was seeing a lot of traffic blaming the mayor and the governor. Certainly there's plenty of abominable planning and action to go around. But at least, I guess, the right wing apology machine will quit saying the feds had nothing to do with the disaster.

9/16/2005 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan,your post leads me to believe that intellectual honesty is not a priority for you.

No one will disagree that the immediate hurricane response is almost entirely a result of slow and ineffective governmental response. One cannot argue that FEMA was asleep at the switch, but what you conveniently fail to mention is that New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin had an evacuation plan he failed to implement and proceeded to blame everyone else. Governor Blanco completed melted down amid the crisis and neglected to deploy the National Guard effectively to protect those stranded at The Superdome and Convention Center. She continues to blame everyone else.

FEMA was most certainly overwhelmed by the severity of the storm, but it should be noted that their response was actually faster that the two previous hurricanes in Florida.

9/16/2005 12:47 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous -

You really need to work on your apologies.

Aside from your apology, I feel like Reagan - "there he goes again". Shift, shift, shift the blame and attention from your hero. And insult the messenger, for good measure.

The funny thing is that the shift tactic doesn't really work for those of us who are love our country more than our party. Go ahead, investigate, and if there are democrats who deserve to be spanked alongside Bush, bring me the paddle.

All I'm saying is that 4 years after 9-11 is absurdly late to undertake the actions Bush is now trying to act are leadership. If that's intellectual dishonesty, then okay, but I don't see it.

9/16/2005 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Help me out here. 2 months before Katrina hit, who, including those who study the weather, would have predicted the horrible destruction of New Orleans (or any major US city)? Shortly before the hurricane hit, did you think the city would be devastated so completely? Maybe you are smarter than everyone else, but I've been alive for a lot of hurricanes and I was surprised at the outcome. I expected extensive damage, but nothing like this. What would you and your back seat driver buddies have said if Bush and company had spent $100 million on a plan of action for the potential destruction of an entire city due to a weather catastrophe? I have a pretty good idea - "Look at those Republicans wasting money on a speculative need when there are so many hungry in our country."

I'm not slamming you when I make that supposition because I might have joined you in saying that.

Criticize the administration all you want about how it responded to what happened. There is room for that. But you have a lot of nerve suggesting that they should have forseen this. The fact is they have been spending billions of dollars (some of it unwisely I am sure), but they spent it where they thought it was likely to be needed. It's tough to plan for a Katrina situation - you never know if it will happen, where it will happen or how it will happen. If you saw this one coming, I'll vote for you in 2008.

9/16/2005 3:04 PM  
Blogger dolphin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/16/2005 6:22 PM  
Blogger dolphin said...

Help me out here. 2 months before Katrina hit, who, including those who study the weather, would have predicted the horrible destruction of New Orleans (or any major US city)

Here's what Scientific America had to say regarding a hurricane hitting New Orleans. Not 2 months, but rather 4 YEARS before it happened.

"New Orleans is a disaster waiting to happen. The city lies below sea level, in a bowl bordered by levees that fend off Lake Pontchartrain to the north and the Mississippi River to the south and west. And because of a damning confluence of factors, the city is sinking further, putting it at increasing flood risk after even minor storms. The low-lying Mississippi Delta, which buffers the city from the gulf, is also rapidly disappearing. A year from now another 25 to 30 square miles of delta marsh -- an area the size of Manhattan -- will have vanished. An acre disappears every 24 minutes. Each loss gives a storm surge a clearer path to wash over the delta and pour into the bowl, trapping one million people inside and another million in surrounding communities. Extensive evacuation would be impossible because the surging water would cut off the few escape routes. Scientists at Louisiana State University (L.S.U.), who have modeled hundreds of possible storm tracks on advanced computers, predict that more than 100,000 people could die. The body bags wouldn't go very far."

That's one prediction, there are plenty of others. How many would you like.

9/16/2005 6:24 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous -

No, I would not have criticized the Bush administration for spending $100,000,000 on emergency preparedness. I truly would not. First off, I would not have heard about it, because we have a kiss-ass press and an administration spending money like a drunken sailor. They could spend a hundred million on presidential toilet paper and we wouldn't even hear about it.

But, more importantly, I wouldn't have objected to planning disaster response for major US cities. I'm disappointed that you would have.

And, as Dolphin points out, if they had spent a nickle on emergency preparedness, they probably would have been able to guess that what happened to NO was a strong possibility. It was listed as one of the top three foreseeable catastrophes.

Thank you for your support. What I need now, though, even more than your vote, is money to launch my campaign. Please get started on the fundraising for my campaign, and give me a status report in a few weeks. Now get to work.

9/17/2005 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan:

Is hard to speak clearly when you talk out of both sides of your mouth?

On August 31, Dan said, "For example, a right-wing blogger recently emailed me about how he and one of his cohorts were eagerly anticipating "the extreme left" blaming Bush for Katrina. (I had jokingly pointed out to him that God directed the hurricane's fury at the red states.) This fellow was looking forward to using such a statement (made seriously by some fringe character) as evidence of just how nutso the far left (which, to him, is probably anybody in favor of personal freedoms other than the right to bear Scud missiles) can be.

But it's not just a right-wing trick. I, the untiring champion of political honesty and integrity, am guilty of it, too. . . .

Fact is, if you look far enough, I am willing to bet that you will, indeed, find people blaming Bush for the catastrophe of Katrina. Certainly, you will find people blaming him for not having enough national guard troops available, and probably for diverting money to Iraq that may have otherwise been used for levee maintenance, etc. And then you get to go on a rant about how the left is a bunch of insane Bush-haters, and you get to make that national rift a little wider."

On Sept. 2, Dan said,"Saturday morning, Ali instant messaged us and told us she wanted to come home. We had heard from a friend with connections that an evacuation order would be issued later in the day. We called around, and got her a direct flight to Kansas City, to return on this past Wednesday. Personally, I was happy to have her come home, but a part of me thought it made just as much sense to stay there and either go with the rest of the university or mosey on over to the Superdome to ride it out. I am such a stupid midwesterner, and I'm truly blessed that my daughter is smarter than I am."

.....

Now Dan remembers he knew all along when he said, "And, as Dolphin points out, if they had spent a nickle on emergency preparedness, they probably would have been able to guess that what happened to NO was a strong possibility. It was listed as one of the top three foreseeable catastrophes."

I hear the San Andreas fault may drop some cities into the sea . . . and the New Madrid fault may devastate the Midwest. Maybe someday I'll be a prophet like you, too.

I don't mind you having fun by stirring the pot, but try to be consistent.

9/17/2005 8:08 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous - Glad to know someone reads me so attentively. As for your attempt to catch me in inconsistency - nope, you lose.

I did not know that this particular hurricane was going to be as bad as it turned out. What can I say - I'm an optimist. But, yes, indeed, I knew that it was a possibility. On the Sunday before the hurricane, I noticed a place where a tree had buckled the sidewalk upward, and even joked with Ali that she should head for that high ground if the big one hit. So, yes, indeed, I was aware of the possibility, and, if I were in charge of planning for catastrophes in the United States, I would have had a more detailed plan than heading for buckled sidewalks. Our President and his horse lawyers did not.

As I pointed out, I'm a dumb midwesterner. I thought that the dumb Texan some gullible and uncaring voters put into the White House would have used some of the 4 years after 9-11 to educate himself on emergency preparedness. He failed us.

Congrats on your insight into New Madrid and San Andreas. You are absolutely right, and I am outraged that it is only now that our President is rousing himself to think about those things.

9/18/2005 10:25 AM  
Blogger dolphin said...

Anonymous,

I believe it's you who is talking from both sides of your mouth.

First you said,
Help me out here. 2 months before Katrina hit, who, including those who study the weather, would have predicted the horrible destruction of New Orleans (or any major US city)?

I have to assume that this means you felt it was impossible for anyone to predict that such large scale devestation would be possible, however after I pointed out one (of many) such predictions, you come round with this:
I hear the San Andreas fault may drop some cities into the sea . . . and the New Madrid fault may devastate the Midwest. Maybe someday I'll be a prophet like you, too.

Presumably this is your sarcastic way of claiming that anybody can predict natural disaster. So which is it? Can anybody predict a disaster or can nobody predict it?

I have to say, I don't mind you having fun by stirring the pot, but try to be consistent.

9/18/2005 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps I wasn't clear about my point. I could probably find articles discussing dangers for a number of US cities. I am not suggesting that the government should refuse to prepare generally for disasters. My point is that we do not have the ability to pinpoint when a disaster will happen. Specific federal preparation is difficult if not impossible because we don't what will happen or when. To pour billions of dollars into preparing for a specific disaster that may or may not happen is foolish. General planning for what to do when there is a disaster somewhere is not foolish. Local planning for what to do in a disaster that a local area is susceptible to is a great idea.

Hindsight is perfect. It's easy to be a critic. . . . but there's lots of blame to go around. You just have a hard-on to pin it all on Bush.

9/19/2005 4:42 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

So, anonymous, you now agree with me. Bush failed to exercise leadership, and the fact that he now, four years after 9-11, is finally calling for a disaster review for US cities is absurd. I accept your apology, conditional on you making a sizable donation to the Bush-Clinton Katrina fund.

Yes, hindsight is easy, and it's particularly easy to pin blame on Bush. I assure you that I'm totally flaccid at the moment, though - he disgusts me, as do his apologists. Especially when they resort to weakness like "hindsight is perfect", when, in fact, foresight was pretty damned close to perfect in this case, and the fact that there is plenty of blame to go around - which I have been saying all along.

9/19/2005 9:09 PM  
Blogger les said...

Has no one noticed that FEMA, prior to firing all of it's disaster preparedness experts so that they can be replaced (someday) by terroroist preparedness political hacks, had in fact modeled and "game planned" exactly what happened in New Orleans? And the current "leaders" still managed to utterly screw the pooch.

9/20/2005 11:22 AM  
Blogger dolphin said...

To pour billions of dollars into preparing for a specific disaster that may or may not happen is foolish.

What in the world are you talking about "may or may not happen." There was no question as to whether a powerful hurricane would hit New Orleans. The only question was when. Similar to the "Big One" earthquake that WILL hit California. We know it's going to happen and we ought to be ready for it to minimize the loss of life when it occurs.

Let's say, just for the sake of argument, that you are right and (despite numerous exact predictions), there was no way anyone could have possibly predicted a powerful hurricane hitting New Orleans. As Katrina actaully approached New Orleans, you'd think even the densest disaster relief specialist coudl have predicted the disasater. You'd think that when Gov Blanco turned control of the LA national guard over to Bush on the 28th, he could have at least started to mobilize them so that their would be some kinda of preparation when the storm hit the next day. You'd think that FEMA might have turned on their TVs to see the same forecast we were seeing and least start to prepare to do their jobs.

9/20/2005 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big Fish,

When will the BIG ONE hit California? What resources should be mobilized? When? Be sure to let the government know. Oh, call the Psychic Friends Network, too. They have a job for you.

9/21/2005 9:01 AM  
Blogger dolphin said...

Anonymous,

First things first, a dolphin is not a fish (big, small or otherwise). A dolphin is a mammel not unlike you or I.

When will the BIG ONE hit California?

The "big one" will hit California when it hits California. When one says, "it's not a matter of if, but when," that more precisly means that the question that should be asked is WHEN. We don't know exactly when it will happen so we should be doing what we can to set up the political and physical infrastructure of California to deal with a major earthquake. In otherwords, we ought to be making new construction more earthquake resistant, locating and indentifying the areas that are most at risk, setting up emergency plans, etc. Further, should seismologists tell us that such a quake is immenent (which they can do with far less warning that what proceeds a hurricane), those plans should go into efect then and not days after the quake hits.

Be sure to let the government know.

One would hope the government would be capable of taking such common sense precautions on it's own though all things considered, perhaps you're right and they need to be reminded about what most people already know.

Oh, call the Psychic Friends Network, too. They have a job for you.

I'm curious why you find the need to be insulting. Were I interested in exchanging insults I could easily attack the fact that your understanding of science is so weak that you think dolphins are fish and that only a psychic could know information taught in elementary school science classes, but I'm more interested in sharing factual information than insults. Why can't you do the same?

I'm further curious why you refuse to answer the second paragraph of my last comment.

9/21/2005 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A dolphin is a mammel"

I'm a mammal, don't know about you.

"... not unlike you and I."

Did you take grammar at Sea World? Do you know about spell check?

I get insulting when I see your continued refusal to recognize the lack of logic in your argument. The point is simple, so I'll use short declarative sentences like Bush. Criticize the response. Mistakes were made. Criticizing the advance planning by the feds makes less sense. Disasters are inevitable. When and where is the question. Got it? Good.

9/25/2005 8:52 PM  
Blogger dolphin said...

Did you take grammar at Sea World? Do you know about spell check?
The point is simple, so I'll use short declarative sentences like Bush.

They say the quickest way to recognize when you have conclusively and undeniably won an argument is when the other person falls back on insults because they are unable to produce factual/logical information to back their claim. In this case I'd say since you've been hurling insults from the beginning and have yet to even try to refute even a single one of my statements, I'll just take my victory and move on. Let me know if you think you can argue like a grown-up and I'll be happy to pick up where we left off.

9/26/2005 8:58 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Dolphin - Thanks for taking the time to respond to the anonymous guy. You're correct - if he's down to complaining about spell-check, and he doesn't believe that the government should plan for emergencies, he's acting like a child.

9/27/2005 7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's right. You tell that anonymous guy how stupid he is. Dolphin was careful not to make an insult when he said, "Were I interested in exchanging insults I could easily attack the fact that your understanding of science is so weak that you think dolphins are fish and that only a psychic could know information taught in elementary school science classes, but I'm more interested in sharing factual information than insults. Why can't you do the same?" That was nice of him - sticking to the issues and letting anonymous know that he could have made an insult, but didn't.

I think you won. Your insults were more artful.

9/27/2005 10:32 AM  

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