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Zoethe

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FEMA - because we care [Oct. 20th, 2005|01:29 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |bitchyappalled]

For everyone who was sucked in by the accusations that the local officials were the ones at fault during the disastrous cockup of a response here's an article about the testimony of a FEMA officer who was on the ground in New Orleans at the beginning of the disaster.

Some choice excerpts:

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials did not respond to repeated warnings about deteriorating conditions in New Orleans and the dire need for help as Hurricane Katrina struck, the first FEMA official to arrive conceded Thursday.

Marty Bahamonde, a FEMA regional director, ... [said] that he gave regular updates to people in contact with then-FEMA Director Michael Brown as early as Aug. 28, one day before Katrina made landfall.

...

[A]n Aug. 29 phone call to Brown informing him that the first levee had broke ... received a polite thank you from Brown, who said he would check with the White House.

...

The testimony ... contradicted Brown, who has said he wasn't fully aware of the dire conditions until days later and that local officials were most responsible for the sluggish response.

...

Later, on Aug. 31, Bahamonde frantically e-mailed Brown to tell him that thousands are evacuees were gathering in the streets with no food or water and that "estimates are many will die within hours."

"Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical," Bahamonde wrote.

Less than three hours later, however, Brown's press secretary wrote colleagues to complain that the FEMA director needed more time to eat dinner at a Baton Rouge restaurant that evening. "He needs much more that (sic) 20 or 30 minutes," wrote Brown aide Sharon Worthy.

"We now have traffic to encounter to go to and from a location of his choise (sic), followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc. Thank you."


Because, hey, it's more important that Mikey get his dindin. In a restaurant. Some distance from headquarters. As opposed to, say, ordering in and staying on the job. And what's more, the casual willingness of these people to lie about what happened. They don't even have the smarts to consider whether they will get caught in the lies.

This is no longer just the he said-she said of the governor, the mayor, and FEMA. This is hard evidence, documenting the utter lack of interest in doing the job for which he had been appointed.

Yes, I know that he has been replaced. But when you look at the "buddy" appointments Bush has made and the number that have been less than competent...

What does that say about Harriet Mier?
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: channonyarrow
2005-10-20 05:39 pm (UTC)
There's an interesting article in Newsweek about Miers' appointment - including a sidebar discussing the reaction of noted conservative think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute, which is, afaik, entirely neo-con.

The conservatives are not pleased with her selection. Among other things, they've said that the charge of cronyism will stick if she's nominated because it's very obviously true. And another group, the same three dozen legal scholars who paved the way for John Roberts' confirmation, have split on the issue of whether to stay quiet or take their dislike of Miers' selection to the media - and after the group's leader said that they would stay quiet, someone in the group leaked their emails anyway.

I honestly think that she has a chance of not being confirmed - and if that's the case, Bush's presidency will be lame-duck for the next two and a half years.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-10-20 05:49 pm (UTC)
My very cynical friend suspects the conservatives of making a fuss so that the liberals will think that she's not so bad, but that strikes me as a wee bit paranoid.
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[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2005-10-20 07:33 pm (UTC)
They are quite cynical, because Harry Reid said he approved of her before all the right-wing windbags started screaming bloody murder.

I'm sure the letter that she wrote about abortion will ruffle the feathers of a few libs.
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-10-20 06:27 pm (UTC)
Let's not forget that the state and local officials are hardly blameless here. We shouldn't whitewash their screwups just because the federal level screwed up as well.

What this does, and I think this is the way I'd have worded your first sentence, is provide a harsh wake-up to those who were sucked in by the assertions (by some) that FEMA and the federal government were blameless, or essentially so. They screwed up as badly as the locals, if not more so, and the already-weak excuses of "we didn't know" and "nobody could have guessed" are pretty much destroyed, front to back and all the way through. Even if they didn't bother to turn on a single news channel the whole time, their own people were telling them how bad things were getting, and were going to get.

One of the worst parts of it all, for me personally, is that I'm totally unsurprised to hear all this.

-1em
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-10-20 06:46 pm (UTC)
Valid point - it certainly was not just the FEMA officials who blew it. But they did blow it.
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-10-20 06:48 pm (UTC)
Yes, exactly.

Now you need to get Ferrett to make a similar post, just so we can watch his right-wing readers do The Twist.

-1em
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-10-20 06:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, but he's a right-winger, haven't you heard?!

[eye roll]
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2005-10-20 07:35 pm (UTC)
What does that say about Harriet Mier?

I did hear one commentator say that she was a big middle finger from Bush to all the folks who told him who he could, or couldn't, nominate for the position.

I also heard that he wanted to nominate Gonzalez, but he was told he shouldn't because it would be too controversial.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-10-20 07:46 pm (UTC)
Gonzalez would have been a disaster, politically. When you've already resigned in disgrace, it's hard to argue that you are the best person in the entire country for a job of such import.
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From: genericrick
2005-10-20 07:46 pm (UTC)
What perturbs me (and you can call me outrageously cynical for this, as it's probably deserved) is the fact that even a person with qualifications exceeding that of a horse association president would still be just as indolent. People are so quick to cite his past work when it's something I view as largely irrelevant: put a smart guy in the position, and he'll recognize the gravitas of his job and do his best at it. Shove a crony into the same seat, and you're begging for federal indolence. Cronyism is a moot point if the person is well-prepared (in faculties outside simple past work experience), but is a more truculent charge when the people are less so.

This isn't necessarily a push for Mier, though. Yeah, she may have the basic faculties to offer decent judgment despite past work experience, but she's also in an inherently ideological position, despite what the right says about levying "amoral" decisions. There are probably better people.

This would be better crafted, but I'm kind of late for class!
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[User Picture]From: bbwoof
2005-10-20 09:08 pm (UTC)
when you look at the "buddy" appointments Bush has made

Not to bring up old news or anything, but this is old news.

The people of Missouri made it quite plain that they would rather be served by a dead man than by John Ashcroft. So what did Duh* do? He appointed that same unemployed John Ashcroft to the one post in the entire Federal government where he could do the most damage.

I tried to make this a talking point in 2004, but nobody listened. It still burns me.

* Since he seems unable to follow words of more than one syllable, I have taken the liberty of shortening his nickname so that he won't get confused.
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[User Picture]From: lordindra
2005-10-20 10:17 pm (UTC)
"check with the white house"??

Ok, that is bothersome. As a freaking private in the Marine Corps, I was taught that if something needs to be done, do it. You shouldn't have to check with your superiors to get permission to simply do your job. Someone who is so high up that they directly discuss things with the President certainly has the authority to take action without prior approval. If he didn't have that authority, then Bush is more incompetent than I thought...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-10-20 10:56 pm (UTC)
I think he honestly had no idea what to do. He was completely without experience and clueless.

He was going to dinner, Condi Rice was shoe shopping in New York. These people don't let running the country get in the way of their priorities, that's for damned sure.
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