Friday, September 09, 2005
Richer, who was one of CIA Director Porter J. Goss's key personnel choices, made his announcement last Friday at a meeting of the Directorate of Operations leaders, according to some of the officials.
Some of them said Richer's decision revolved around an ongoing debate over how to improve human intelligence and the direction of the CIA. The agency's role and influence have waned with the appointment of John D. Negroponte as the overall director of national intelligence.
FEMA pens Katrina survivors like diseased cattle.
Bushville, DC will force politicians and reporters to see them every day.
We may be few on 9/11, but Bushville, DC will grow.
Bushville, DC isn’t an organization - it’s a vision.
Everyone come to the Mall and join the crowd.
You don’t need to be a Katrina survivor, all Bush survivors are welcome.
This stance is neo-colonialist and neo-imperialist, which goes hand in hand with the desire to control the world's resources, which do not belong to the USA, but rather to mankind and the citizens of the countries in which they are located.
Gone are the days when one could tame the wilderness with the gun and the bullet, civilizing savages and teaching them the power of the cross through acts of torture, rape and murder. In a civilized international community, there has to be a greater degree of balance in decision-making processes. To exclude a Latin American nation and to exclude Africa from the process is the same as telling the countries of these continents that they do not have the same rights as those who had the power to impose their will by force six decades ago.
Statements from prisoners in the camp which were declassified by the US government on Wednesday reveal that the men are starving themselves in protest at the conditions in the camp and at their alleged maltreatment - including desecration of the Qur'an - by American guards.
The statements, written on August 11, have just been given to the British human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith. They show that prisoners are determined to starve them selves to death. In one, Binyam Mohammed, a former London schoolboy, said: "I do not plan to stop until I either die or we are respected."
"The exceedingly important question before us is whether the president of the United States possesses the authority to detain militarily a citizen of this country who is closely associated with al Qaeda," wrote Judge J. Michael Luttig in the opinion for the three-judge panel.
"We conclude that the president does possess such authority," wrote Luttig, a conservative whom the Bush administration has been considering for a possible Supreme Court nomination.
The ruling by the court based in Richmond, Virginia, was a major victory for the Bush administration. Andrew Patel, an attorney for Padilla, said he thought the ruling would be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
These planners were not involved in the frantic preparations for Katrina. By coincidence, they were working on a yearlong project to prepare federal and state officials for a Category 3 hurricane striking New Orleans.
Americans may never have understood or even believed the horrors that African Americans faced in the Deep South.
In an exemplary exercise of what might be termed "public intelligence," the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) has published a new account of nuclear explosive materials around the world.
The ISIS database provides estimates of national inventories of plutonium and highly enriched uranium (as well as neptunium-237 and americium) for countries from Argentina and Armenia to Vietnam through the end of 2003. More than 50 countries were found to possess five kilograms or more of these materials. Such information is ordinarily very closely held, not only by the foreign governments themselves but also by U.S. government agencies.
"Some agencies would classify all of this stuff," observed a State Department intelligence official seated next to me at the ISIS briefing on September 7 presenting the new estimates. But of course classification renders information unavailable for public deliberation. The purpose of the ISIS publication, in contrast, is "to create a set of data that everyone can use," said ISIS President David Albright.
"We need a common language to discuss this," he said, particularly in light of the threat of diversion of nuclear materials by terrorists. "There is a lot of fissile material in the world," Albright said, noting that ISIS had estimated the production of nearly 4000 tonnes of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, enough for more than 300,000 nuclear weapons.
See "Global Stocks of Nuclear Explosive Materials," Institute for Science and International Security, published September 2005: http://www.isis-online.org/global_stocks/end2003/tableofcontents.html
Media provide forums for administration officials and conservatives to spread falsehoods about hurricane relief efforts
Such was the news that most Americans received. Although the tone was scientific, “realistic,” skeptical, and “middle-of-the-road,” the explanations offered by the press were weak and immaterial. It was as if they were reporting from inside a forest fire without acknowledging the fire, except to keep insisting that there was no fire. Since Kerry has conceded, they argued, and since “no smoking gun” had come to light, there was no story to report. This is an oddly passive argument. Even so, the evidence that something went extremely wrong last fall is copious, and not hard to find. Much of it was noted at the time, albeit by local papers and haphazardly. Concerning the decisive contest in Ohio, the evidence is lucidly compiled in a single congressional report, which, for the last half-year, has been available to anyone inclined to read it. It is a veritable arsenal of “smoking guns”—and yet its findings may be less extraordinary than the fact that no one in this country seems to care about them.
FEMA's top three leaders -- Director Michael D. Brown, Chief of Staff Patrick J. Rhode and Deputy Chief of Staff Brooks D. Altshuler -- arrived with ties to President Bush's 2000 campaign or to the White House advance operation, according to the agency. Two other senior operational jobs are filled by a former Republican lieutenant governor of Nebraska and a U.S. Chamber of Commerce official who was once a political operative.
Meanwhile, veterans such as U.S. hurricane specialist Eric Tolbert and World Trade Center disaster managers Laurence W. Zensinger and Bruce P. Baughman -- who led FEMA's offices of response, recovery and preparedness, respectively -- have left since 2003, taking jobs as consultants or state emergency managers, according to current and former officials.
"Just think of the catastrophic impact it's had in a country that's pretty well organized, pretty rich. Transfer that to a country that isn't and may not have the same level of capacity to deal with these sorts of things," Johnson said in an interview.
"Katrina is a terrible tragedy, but maybe it is a wake-up call to all of us to begin understanding what catastrophic events, what damage can occur," he added.
In addition to fostering talks on emissions and promoting clean energy products, Johnson said the World Bank is working with private industry to find ways to protect poor nations from the expected environmental shifts linked to global warming.
At that same fire scene, a police officer from out of town raised the muzzle of her weapon and aimed it at members of the media... obvious members of the media... armed only with notepads. Her actions (apparently because she thought reporters were encroaching on the scene) were over the top and she was told. There are automatic weapons and shotguns everywhere you look. It's a stance that perhaps would have been appropriate during the open lawlessness that has long since ended on most of these streets. Someone else points out on television as I post this: the fact that the National Guard now bars entry (by journalists) to the very places where people last week were barred from LEAVING (The Convention Center and Superdome) is a kind of perverse and perfectly backward postscript to this awful chapter in American history.
Before joining FEMA, his only previous stint in emergency management, according to his bio posted on FEMA's website, was "serving as an assistant city manager with emergency services oversight." The White House press release from 2001 stated that Brown worked for the city of Edmond, Okla., from 1975 to 1978 "overseeing the emergency services division." In fact, according to Claudia Deakins, head of public relations for the city of Edmond, Brown was an "assistant to the city manager" from 1977 to 1980, not a manager himself, and had no authority over other employees. "The assistant is more like an intern," she told TIME. "Department heads did not report to him." Brown did do a good job at his humble position, however, according to his boss. "Yes. Mike Brown worked for me. He was my administrative assistant. He was a student at Central State University," recalls former city manager Bill Dashner. "Mike used to handle a lot of details. Every now and again I'd ask him to write me a speech. He was very loyal. He was always on time. He always had on a suit and a starched white shirt."
The not-so-hidden agenda is to weaken the United Nations by depriving it of political and financial investment and then deride it for the very weakness that results. The United States has pursued a cover strategy, stretching back at least to the early years of the Bill Clinton administration, of seeking to free itself from such tiresome constraints as the need for a United Nations mandate for military action.
...In the New York Daily News, Juan Gonzalez provides some background for Pat Robertson’s Operation Blessing by recounting how in 1999, the Virginia attorney general concluded that, while Robertson raised millions from viewers of his 700 Club to aid Rwandan refugees, the Operation Blessing “humanitarian” supply planes were used primarily to transport mining equipment for a Robertson-owned diamond mine.
In a notice to Congress, Bush said the hurricane had caused "a national emergency" that permits him to take such action under the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act in ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
..."President Bush should immediately realize the colossal mistake he has made in signing this order and rescind it and ensure that America puts its people back to work in the wake of Katrina at wages that will get them and their families back on their feet," Miller said.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
"Decisions about running photos are up to members of the news media," said Mark Pfeifle. "Out of respect for the deceased [and their families] ... FEMA has asked that images not be shown. But it's up to the media whether they're shown or not."
"There's not a directive," he said. "It's just a request that FEMA people have made to members of the media."
In 2001, the New Orleans district spent $147 million on construction projects. When fiscal year 2005 wraps up Sept. 30, the Corps expects to have spent $82 million, a 44.2 percent reduction from 2001 expenditures. ... Unfunded projects include widening drainage canals, flood-proofing bridges and building pumping stations in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. The Corps also wants to build levees in unprotected areas on the West Bank.
In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding. It would be the largest single-year funding loss ever for the New Orleans district, Corps officials said. ... The cuts mean major hurricane and flood protection projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now.
"It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us." -- Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 8, 2004.
FEMA will not allow any of the kitchen facilities in any of the cabins to be used by the occupants due to fire hazards. FEMA will deliver meals to the cabins. The refugees will be given two meals per day by FEMA. They will not be able to cook. In fact, the "host" goes on to explain, some churches had already enquired about whether they could come in on weekends and fix meals for the people staying in their cabin. FEMA won't allow it because there could be a situation where one cabin gets steaks and another gets hot dogs - and...
it could cause a riot.
It gets worse.
He then precedes to tell us that some churches had already enquired into whether they could send a van or bus on Sundays to pick up any occupants of their cabins who might be interested in attending church. FEMA will not allow this. The occupants of the camp cannot leave the camp for any reason. If they leave the camp they may never return. They will be issued FEMA identification cards and "a sum of money" and they will remain within the camp for the next 5 months.
Last night, one of my friends joined our regular Sunday chat. He had just come home from New Orleans with his group of volunteer firefighters from Houston, after they had waited outside New Orleans for since Tuesday for FEMA to let them help in New Orleans, or use them somewhere else in the stricken region.
FEMA's "reason" -- they wouldn't let anyone in "until the National Guard has secured the city."
One sign of the continuing battle over who was in charge was Governor Blanco's refusal to sign an agreement proposed by the White House to share control of National Guard forces with the federal authorities.
But they aren't being allowed in. And they're growing frustrated.
"We cannot get deployed to save our behinds," said Robert Dummett, state coordinator of the Florida Airboat Association. He said the pilots, who range from commercial airboat operators to weekend pleasure boaters, "are physically sick, watching the New Orleans coverage and knowing that the resources to help these poor people is sitting right in our driveways."
Sheriff Steve Simpson and his staff spent 12 hours trying to get the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the State of Louisiana Emergency Operations Center to act act. They didn't, and the 20 deputies and six emergency medical technicians - all volunteers -- turned around and came back to Loudoun.
The group, led by South Carolina native Sonny Byrd, say they also managed to drive all the way to the New Orleans Convention Center, where they encountered scenes early Saturday evening that they say were disgraceful.
"We found it absolutely incredible that the authorities had no way to get there for four or five days, that they didn't go in and help these people, and we made it in a two-wheel-drive Hyundai," said Hans Buder, who made the trip with his roommate Byrd and another student, David Hankla.
The report also highlights shortcomings in developing countries. It notes that India's and China's progress in reducing the easily preventable deaths of children has slowed even as their economic growth has surged. India has 2.5 million deaths of children a year, while China is second, with 730,000.
The new document, the annual Human Development Report, calls on India and China to tackle health inequalities aggressively. It also maintains that rich countries must significantly increase aid if the goals they agreed to five years ago - to halve extreme poverty and reduce deaths of children by two-thirds by 2015, among others - are to be met.
As a result, the State Department is pressing countries that are offering the use of helicopters, water purification equipment and telecommunications gear, among other items, to provide cash or ready-to-eat meals instead.
"The worst thing we could do, the worst thing, is to take things" and "have them sit on the ground and not be utilized, to have something rot," said Harry K. Thomas, the State Department's executive secretary, who is coordinating with other governments.
The Dallas Morning News notes that Allbaugh himself is currently under fire himself for his work as a "strategic consultant" for Halliburton.
The Canadians beat both the Army and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. disaster response department, to St. Bernard Parish east of New Orleans, where flood waters are still 8 feet deep in places, Sen. Walter Boasso said.
"Fabulous, fabulous guys," Boasso said. "They started rolling with us and got in boats to save people."
"We've got Canadian flags flying everywhere."
The stricken parish of 68,000 people was largely ignored by U.S. authorities who scrambled to get aid to New Orleans, a few miles (km) away. Boasso said residents of the outlying parishes had to mount their own rescue and relief efforts when Hurricane Katrina roared ashore on August 29.
The document constitutes a stinging attack on US policies at home and abroad in a fightback against moves by Washington to undermine next week's UN 60th anniversary conference which will be the biggest gathering of world leaders in history.
The annual Human Development Report normally concerns itself with the Third World, but the 2005 edition scrutinises inequalities in health provision inside the US as part of a survey of how inequality worldwide is retarding the eradication of poverty.
... "There is an urgent need to develop a collective security framework that goes beyond military responses to terrorism," it continues. " Poverty and social breakdown are core components of the global security threat."
The document, which was written by Kevin Watkins, the former head of research at Oxfam, will be seen as round two in the battle between the UN and the US, which regards the world body as an unnecessary constraint on its strategic interests and actions.
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Democrats said no one had even seen a copy of the legislation.
Voting along party lines, Republicans denied a measure that would have allowed for two hours of discussion and opened up the measure to be amended.
The Republican leadership pushed through a Suspension Rule in the House Rules Committee that blocked any members from offering amendments to the bill. Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the Committee, led opposition to the rule.
On Wednesday, journalist groups protested the move.
"It's impossible for me to imagine how you report a story whose subject is death without allowing the public to see images of the subject of the story," Larry Siems of the PEN American Center told Reuters.
Rebecca Daugherty of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press said: "The notion that, when there's very little information from FEMA, that they would even spend the time to be concerned about whether the reporting effort is up to its standards of taste is simply mind-boggling. You cannot report on the disaster and give the public a realistic idea of how horrible it is if you don't see that there are bodies as well."
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
The effort is being directed by Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, and his communications director, Dan Bartlett. It began late last week after Congressional Republicans called White House officials to register alarm about what they saw as a feeble response by Mr. Bush to the hurricane, according to Republican Congressional aides.
And while many claim they happened, no witnesses, survivors or survivors' relatives have come forward.
They later told them they would be secretly smuggled out in groups of 10 under cover of darkness as it had become too dangerous for them to remain in the stadium, she told BBC News.
"When we were leaving, people were going 'Where are you going?' and giving us looks.
"But the military got us out, which we were all thankful for."
Human embryonic stem cells accrue changes in their genomes that could make them unusable therapeutically when cultured at length, an international team of scientists report in the October Nature Genetics.
"Some of the early embryonic stem cell passages were relatively aberration-free, at least using the technology we have access to, even at passage 30 or so, which would be unusual for most adult stem cells," coauthor Anirban Maitra of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore told The Scientist. Still, "over time, it appears that the majority of even embryonic stem cells do accumulate genetic and epigenetic changes."
During calmer times, the ad-hoc culture of open-source wireless, mesh networking and free municipal Wi-Fi is often seen as outside of the industry mainstream.
But those alternative approaches are perfect in crises where conventional infrastructure is damaged, said Sascha Meinrath of the Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network.
Last week, CUWireless launched the "Katrina Community Wireless Rapid Response" project to funnel grass-roots offers toward areas in need.
"We have a breakdown in many of the things that people rely on to deploy these systems, and then we have people whose expertise is in rubber-banding and bubble-gum-sticking and pulling together things with whatever's at hand," Meinrath told Wired News. "That's very much what we need right now -- people with that level of improvisation and expertise."
Rumsfeld has come under increasing criticism for the military's lack of early intervention in the rescue.
Before then, FEMA had positioned smaller rescue and communications teams across the Gulf Coast. But officials acknowledged Tuesday the first department-wide appeal for help came only as the storm raged.
Brown's memo to Chertoff described Katrina as "this near catastrophic event" but otherwise lacked any urgent language. The memo politely ended, "Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities."
Since Friday, as criticism has mounted against the administration for its perceived failure to act sooner, officials have sought to tangibly catalog crucial results, such as "lives saved," "people assisted" and "citizens evacuated."
But a closer look at the administration's claims shows some of the most important numbers seem to contradict each other, including assertions made as recently as Tuesday afternoon about the number of people rescued from life-threatening situations.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Mr Blair, speaking during his visit to Beijing, said: "It's been really tough for people, I know that, but it's been tough for our officials on the ground."
His comments came as the Foreign Office claimed that British diplomats had been unable to get into New Orleans until Sunday. A spokesman said more than 20 diplomats had been willing to go but requests for permission from the US state department and the Louisiana state government had been repeatedly rebuffed.
"You're patting each other on the back, while people here are dying."
The woman is not a victim of Hurricane Katrina. She is a reporter with US television network MSNBC who is so affected by the misery she has witnessed she can hold back no longer.
"Katrinagate" is the term being used by the media to describe the biggest challenge facing the political establishment in the US since the Watergate affair in the 1970s toppled Richard Nixon.
Not for decades has there been such merciless questioning of the president and his administration by the US media.
New Yorker editor says Bush 'failed in every respect;' And more: 'Cavalier, delinquent, self-deluded'
The New Yorker editor's piece is as unflinching and scathing as any written about the crisis, saying Bush "failed in every respect," and declaring the mismanagement of post-Katrina chaos mirrored the Bush Administration's work in Iraq, where Remnick sees: "the cavalier posture, the wretched decisions, [and] the self-delusions."
Remnick, who was named editor of the magazine in 1998, had previously worked as a Moscow correspondent for the Washington Post and recently wrote an eloquent portrait of politically vanquished former Vice President Al Gore. Selected excerpts follow.
Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., leaders of the Senate Homeland Security committee, will discuss their committee's plan for an inquiry into the response by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The agency is the disaster-response division of the Homeland Security Department...
"We intend to demand answers as to how this immense failure occurred," the senators said in a statement.
...Zaid al-Ali, a legal expert who also oversaw the drafting process in Baghdad, made a similar case at a meeting at the International Association of Contemporary Iraqi Studies in London.
"There are three ways in which the occupation intervened in the context of Iraq's constitution-writing process," he said. "Firstly, the occupation authorities selected and affected the makeup of the commission that was charged with drafting Iraq's transitional law, and its permanent constitution. Second, the occupation determined the limits and parameters within which the constitution was to be drafted. Third, the occupation authorities intervened directly in order to safeguard its interests in the context of the constitutional negotiations."
Funding for flood prevention was slashed by 80 per cent, work on strengthening levees to protect the city was stopped for the first time in 37 years, and planning for housing stranded citizens and evacuating refugees from the Superdome were crippled. Yet the administration had been warned repeatedly of the dangers by its own officials.
In early 2001, at the start of Mr Bush's presidency, his Government's Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) warned that a hurricane hitting New Orleans would be the deadliest of the three most likely catastrophes facing America; the others were a massive San Francisco earthquake and, prophetically, a terrorist attack on New York.
Fema's then director, the Bush appointee Joe Allbaugh, said that the warning caused him "great concern". But the President emasculated the agency, subsuming it into the Department of Homeland Security set up after the 11 September 2001 attacks, which concentrated on the terrorist threat.
This was only one of a series of warnings that predicted what happened last week, including the storm surges brought by the hurricane, the breaching of the levees, the floods covering the city, and the "toxic gumbo" of sewage, oil and chemicals.
One thing is certain: if President Bush and his Republican Congressional leaders want to deal responsibly with a historic disaster of this scale, they must finally try the path of honestly shared national sacrifice. If they respond by passing a few emergency measures and then falling back on their plans to enact more tax cuts, America will have to confront the fact that it is stuck with leaders who neither know, nor care, how to lead.
The pre-Katrina plan for this Congressional season was to enact more upper-bracket tax cuts for the least needy, while cutting into the safety-net programs for sick and impoverished Americans. These are the very entitlement programs most needed by the sudden underclass of hundreds of thousands of hurricane refugees cast adrift like Dustbowl Okies. Will Congress dare to go forward with these retrogressive plans in the face of the suffering from Katrina? Its woeful track record suggests that, shockingly, the answer may be yes. [Thanks Tom P]
His top officials continued to be pilloried on television talk shows by liberals and conservatives alike, but the White House began to show signs of an evolving strategy to prevent the relief fiasco from eclipsing the president's second term.
An Angry 'Times-Picayune' Calls for Firing of FEMA Chief, and Others, in Open Letter to President Bush
In an "open letter" to the president, published on page 15 of the 16-page edition, the paper said it still had grounds for "skepticism" that he would follow through on saving the city and its residents. It pointed out that while the government could not get supplies to the city numerous TV reporters, singer Harry Connick and Times-Picayune staffers managed to find a way in.
It also cited "bald-faced" lies by Michael Brown. "Those who should have been deploying troops were singing a sad song about how our city was impossible to reach," the staffers pointed out. "We’re angry, Mr. President, and we’ll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry." [Includes text]
U.S. and European Union officials have warned they will push for Iran's nuclear case to be sent to the Security Council -- which could impose sanctions -- if Tehran does not halt all nuclear fuel work and resume negotiations with the EU.
"In these circumstances we see no reason why the question should be sent to the U.N. (Security Council)," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its Web site www.mid.ru.
Gibson drove the bus from the flooded Crescent City, picking up stranded people, some of them infants, along the way. Some of those on board had been in the Superdome, among those who were supposed to be evacuated to Houston on more than 400 buses Wednesday and today. They couldn't wait.
The group of mostly teenagers and young adults pooled what little money they had to buy diapers for the babies and fuel for the bus.
That truck, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency requested to support an Illinois-based medical team, was en route Friday.
"We are ready to provide more help than they have requested. We are just waiting for their call," said Daley, adding that he was "shocked" that no one seemed to want the help.
Other relief agencies say the area is so damaged and dangerous that they doubted they could conduct mass feeding there now.
"The Homeland Security Department has requested and continues to request that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans," said Renita Hosler, spokeswoman for the Red Cross.
"Right now access is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities. We have been at the table every single day [asking for access]. We cannot get into New Orleans against their orders."
Calls to the Department of Homeland Security and its subagency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, were not returned yesterday.
I understand that the U.S. Forest Service had water-tanker aircraft available to help douse the fires raging on our riverfront, but FEMA has yet to accept the aid. When Amtrak offered trains to evacuate significant numbers of victims — far more efficiently than buses — FEMA again dragged its feet. Offers of medicine, communications equipment and other desperately needed items continue to flow in, only to be ignored by the agency.
But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast — black and white, rich and poor, young and old — deserve far better from their national government.
I'm almost worn out with anger reading about the decimation of FEMA under Bush's watch; the pathetic lack of response to Katrina from the federal government; the relentless television images of human degradation; and the endless excuses from administration hacks pretending that nobody could have predicted Katrina's devastation. I realize that it's no different from what's been happening in Iraq for the past two years, but Iraq is 8,000 miles away and the truth is that no matter how angry we are at what's going on there, it's to some extent an intellectual anger. What's happening in New Orleans is like a punch in the gut.
S. 517: A bill to establish a Weather Modification Operations and Research Board, and for other purposes
Introduced (By Sen. Kay Hutchison [R-TX])
|Introduced:||Mar 3, 2005|
|Last Action:||Mar 3, 2005: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. (text of measure as introduced: CR S2025-2026)|
|Sponsor:||Sen. Kay Hutchison [R-TX]|
Cosponsorship information sometimes is out of date.
|Full Text:||Text or PDF|
See also: H.R. 2995
The former head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that handles the infrastructure of the nation's waterways, said the damage in New Orleans probably would have been much less extensive had flood-control efforts been fully funded over the years.
"Levees would have been higher, levees would have been bigger, there would have been other pumps put in," said Mike Parker, a former Mississippi congressman who headed the engineering agency from 2001 to 2002.
"I'm not saying it would have been totally alleviated but it would have been less than the damage that we have got now."
Eighty percent of New Orleans was under water after Katrina blew through with much of the flooding coming after two levees broke.
A May 2005 Corps memo said that funding levels for fiscal years 2005 and 2006 would not be enough to pay for new construction on the levees.
MR. BROUSSARD: Sir, they were told like me, every single day, "The cavalry's coming," on a federal level, "The cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming." I have just begun to hear the hoofs of the cavalry. The cavalry's still not here yet, but I've begun to hear the hoofs, and we're almost a week out.Video here. Haley Barbour came on afterwards, clean, showered, powdered. Make-up has never made anyone look worse.
MR. BROUSSARD: I'm telling you most importantly I want to thank my public employees...
MR. RUSSERT: All right.
MR. BROUSSARD: ...that have worked 24/7. They're burned out, the doctors, the nurses. And I want to give you one last story and I'll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me. The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?" And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday." And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night. . . Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us. The secretary has promised. Everybody's promised. They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody.
Transcript for September 4, Michael Chertoff, Mark Fischetti, Marc Morial, Mike Tidwell and David Wessel [MSNBC]
UPDATES: Transcripts and video also at Think Progress and C&L