A Little Understanding, Please…

· dKo journal, Katrina

Aside from the very slight chances of a hurricane and a flood occurring coincidentally, planners had to identify and assign personnel according to their skills. It must be remembered:
–Every hurricane or flood is different. Some call for public-safety skills, boats and sandbagging, while others require clockmakers and paleontologists.
–The records had to be, by definition, antediluvian. [Def: “Bible. Occurring or belonging to the era before the Flood.”]
–Hence, they were written in cuneiform. [Def: “Characters formed by the arrangement of small wedge-shaped elements, used in ancient Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian.”] Many of our cuneiform translators are currently on assignment overseas.
–Finally, we know from President Bush’s own case, the Guard keeps its records in unmarked cartons, distributed at random locations throughout the country

Is the national guard stopping aid from getting in to New Orleans?

· Katrina

That’s the word on indymedia.org and getyouracton.com.
One show-stopping excerpt:

Also heard that part of the reason our house flooded is they dynamited part of the levee after the first section broke – they did this to prevent Uptown (the rich part of town) from being flooded. Apparently they used too much dynamite, thus flooding part of the Bywater. So now I know who is responsible for flooding my house – not Katrina, but our government.

Donate to Habitat for Humanity

· Bloodless Predictions of Global Catastrophe, Katrina

Help Hurricane Victims Rebuild Their Lives

The situation on the Gulf Coast is grave. Reports of devastation are staggering. Thousands of families are left homeless or with homes that are severely damaged.
Katrina was nothing short of catastrophic–especially for families in low-income housing and mobile home parks. In a disaster like this, families who were hanging on by a thread before the hurricane will sadly suffer the most in its aftermath.
They have lost so much. We must help them piece their lives back together.

Please respond without delay.

Click to donate by mail.
Help rebuild the lives of the victims of Hurricane Katrina, piece by piece, house by house. The sooner we know how much support we can count on from partners like you, the sooner we can get to work.
Make your online donation now.

What took so long

· Katrina, Republicans

Can anyone verify the following assertions (from a mailing list I’m on)?

Halliburton hired for storm cleanup 01 Sep 2005:
The Navy has hired Houston-based Halliburton Co. & Roof Installation Newton repair roofs, restore electric power and remove debris at three naval facilities in Mississippi damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Halliburton subsidiary KBR will also perform damage assessments at other naval installations in New Orleans as soon as it is safe to do so.
Halliburton gets contract to repair damage from Hurricane Katrina (HalliburtonWatch.org) 01 Sep 2005:
The US Navy asked Halliburton to repair naval facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina, the Houston Chronicle reported today. The work was assigned to Halliburton’s KBR subsidiary under the Navy’s $500 million CONCAP contract awarded to KBR in 2001 and renewed in 2004. The repairs will take place in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Blackwater USA Joins Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort:
On September 1, 2005, Blackwater USA joined the ongoing relief effort in the Gulf Region devastated by Hurricane Katrina by dispatching a SA-330J Puma helicopter to help assist in evacuating citizens from flooded areas…. The following services are available: Airlift Services, Security Services, Communication Support, Crowd Control, Humanitarian Support, Services Logistics, and Transportation Services.

Have these people NO SHAME?
BTW, Mike ***** reports that Homeland Security FORBADE the Red Cross to enter New Orleans.

Government by photo-op

· Katrina

Is this really the best way to help the relief effort?

It goes to show how overwhelming things are here right now that I encountered the First Lady yesterday and I almost forgot to put it in this e-mail. It actually couldn’t have been a worse experience; a team of us were working to put up a website with directions to every Red Cross shelter in the region when we were evicted from the computer room by the Secret Service.
There’s only one room in the Cajundome with telephones and internet access for refugees, and Laura Bush shut it down for eight hours (along with the food service rooms to the side and the women’s showers). You may have seen it on CNN; apparently seven refugees were allowed back so Laura could help them in front of the cameras. If you saw that footage, that’s where I put in half my volunteer hours.
Not knowing Bush was still back there later I tried to insist on being allowed back into the room to a “Red Cross” guy who must have been a Secret Service agent undercover. A hint for future Secret Service agents: The real Red Cross guys don’t look like they want to break your legs for walking too close to the barricade, because they’re too busy passing out food and helping people. They’re also less likely to use phrases like “Stand fast, sir!”
Now, I know this is the sort of thing that happens whenever a VIP tours a disaster site, and maybe Laura Bush handing out that loaf of bread really will lead to an increase in donations. All I can say is, to have paralyzed a third of a day of operations at this stage of the game, it fucking well better. And I tried to position myself to say this to her in front of the television cameras too, but instead I only got a wave and a smile as she hurried past me. Looks like I’m going to have to become nationally infamous another day.

Katrina Comments are off for this post.

FEMA Chief Brown: An Unqualified Success

· Katrina

Talking Points Memo on the qualifications of FEMA chief Michael Brown (aka “Brownie”):

The news out today about FEMA Director Michael Brown tells the ugly tale. So let’s just review what we now know — with key new details first from a diarist at DailyKos and now confirmed in more depth in this morning’s Boston Herald.
Michael Brown is a lawyer and GOP party activist. Before he came to FEMA in 2001, he had a full-time job overseeing horse-shows as the commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association. He started with them in 1991. But he was eventually fired because of what the Herald describes as “after a spate of lawsuits over alleged supervision failures.” (The Kos diary has some more details.)
But the stars were shining on Brown because President Bush had just been elected. And he appointed his chief political fixer Joe Allbaugh to replace James Lee Witt as head of FEMA.
That was a good break for the recently-canned Brown, because, as we learn from the Herald, he and Allbaugh were college roommates. He hired Brown as his General Counsel at FEMA in February. And then, by the end of the year, he promoted him to Deputy Director.
Then, little more than a year later, Allbaugh left FEMA to set up New Bridge Strategies, a consultancy to cash in on the Iraqi contracts bonanza. On Allbaugh’s departure from FEMA, Brown became Director, in charge of federal domestic emergency management in the United States.
So, just to recap, Brown had no experience whatsoever in emergency management. He was fired from his last job for incompetence. He was hired because he was the new director’s college roommate. And after the director — who himself got the job because he was a political fixer for the president — left, he became top dog. And President Bush said yesterday that he thinks Brown is “doing a helluva job”.

Katrina Comments are off for this post.