today in horror show news

"Go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney!" (Quicktime) The guy in question is a doctor who lost his home in the hurricane. He was arrested for this. He had an ebay auction of the tape, but eBay took it down.   Update: It's back, here.   Update: No wait, it's down again. Update: There's a Wired interview with the guy.

Compassionate Conservatism

Rep. Baker of Baton Rouge is overheard telling lobbyists: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."

DeLay to evacuees: 'Is this kind of fun?'

U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay stopped to chat with three young boys resting on cots. The congressman likened their stay to being at camp and asked, "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?" They nodded yes, but looked perplexed.

FEMA head's resumé is full of lies:

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.

Private Security Contractors Head to Gulf

Companies in the Gulf Coast area hit by Hurricane Katrina are turning to an unusual source to protect people and property rendered vulnerable by the storm's damage -- private security contractors that specialize in supporting military operations in war-torn countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke said he knows of no federal plans to hire private security, though he would not rule it out. "We believe we've got the right mix of personnel in law enforcement for the federal government to meet the demands of public safety," Knocke said.

That's right, the government response has been so pathetic that, in a Libertarian dream come true, the market has responded by hiring mercinaries to do what the National Guard should be doing. You may remember these Blackwater guys as the mercs working in Iraq who your tax dollars are paying 10x as much as soldiers make, and with 1/10th the accountability.

You wouldn't want the insurgents messing up the astroturf!

It was after midnight by now, and I realized sleeping upright in a stadium seat was going to be neither easy, nor comfortable. [...] The field before us, which would have been ideal to lay down on was empty, but off bounds. The field was manned by National Guardsmen who would not allow people on it. I was told by those around me that it was a multi-million dollar field which the stadium management did not want ruined.

So the second function of the National Guard (after controlling the press) is to protect the property interests of the owners of the Superdome. Nice.

Bush orders FEMA to protect Upsidedownland

Welcome to upside-down-land: the areas at risk for Katrina were quite remarkably the areas not included in Bush's declaration of emergency. What the hell?

Account from an EPA rep

The plan going forward for New Orleans is to demolish all the houses and burn them. There is nowhere to bury the waste in the region so they will incinerate it all. Before that can go on, they will have to search every house for chemical hazards.

The entire Gulfport region is blocked by National Guard and only authorized contractors can get in. An RV campground has grown up outside the roadblock of 80 or more contractors hoping to get a piece of the action. These people have signs outside saying, "Mold Expert," "Asbestos Contractor," etc. They are having cookouts at their RVs just to try to get people to come and talk to them.

This contractor has been organizing reverse osmosis (RO) water purification units from all over the country since last Tuesday. He has over 100 units of various sizes available to move into the region, but no one will give the go ahead. No one will sign their name to a piece of paper for fear recriminations later. He says that over 80 million pint bottles of water have been purchased at $0.75 each. The RO units can produce a gallon of water from contaminated water for $0.01 and they can produce thousands of gallons a day. Two are staged near the zone and these alone can produce 250,000 gallons per day. The Army has RO units, but every functional one, and every operator trained to use them, is in Iraq or Afghanistan.

(I'm still waiting for the shoe labelled "eminent domain" to drop.)

The Bradshaw/Slonsky story that I linked to the other day (but was a little skeptical of due to its source and lack of attribution) has finally made it into the SF Chronicle and the Washington Times. This appears to be an account from someone else who was in the same group.

Tags: , , ,

35 Responses:

  1. relaxing says:

    It does seems likely, as noted further down the page, that the coastal parishes could have already been covered by some previous emergency declaration. But don't let that keep you from stocking up on tinfoil for protective headgear! (I hear it makes great weatherproofing as well.)

    • sfritz says:

      If you could read, you would note it does not seem likely. But tinfoil is the defense of this president in all situations. It's really getting kind of tired.

      • relaxing says:

        No one's defending the president here.

        On the other hand, I don't put much weight in a reality some dude made out of surfing the web and a few unsuccessful phonecalls.

        Additionally, he doesn't make any claims as to what harm was actually caused by the botched order. The relief efforts did eventually get underway. Were the missing counties later amended?

        • jwz says:

          Whatever the reason or outcome, it's still an idiotic state of affairs, and just another example of the incompetence in the handling of the whole situation that goes all the way to the top. (Note that I said "incompetence", so save your knee-jerk "tinfoil" barbs for when I say "malice".)

          • relaxing says:

            You're right of course; it's just human nature to want a logical explanation when in reality it's probably all meaningless chaos and beauraucracy.

            Botched order == face on Mars.

    • My understanding was they hurriedly copied the text of an emergency declaration from a years-ago storm which was taking a different path, and no one bothered to double-check the parish names. I chalk this up to understandable sloppiness rather than gross incompetence.

  2. inoshiro says:

    "No one will sign their name to a piece of paper for fear recriminations later. He says that over 80 million pint bottles of water have been purchased at $0.75 each. The RO units can produce a gallon of water from contaminated water for $0.01 and they can produce thousands of gallons a day."

    I think this displays most the disconnect that is crippling the US government. If the only way to keep your job is to not be responsible for anything, then it must be seniority based, and right up there with Stalinism in terms of market inefficiency and corruption.

    If there was some way to make the government more directly accountable to the people; if the government's performance was more quickly evaluated and acted upon (but not too quickly, then you get the US corporation short-sightedness), at least some of this could've been dealt with better.

    I think I just made a succesful argument for smaller government. Canada works well with a strong federal government, but has a population about 1/10th that of the US. The US does not work well with a strong federal government. I'm sure there's a good political science paper in there.

  3. fo0bar says:

    The Superdome's field is not AstroTurf, it is FieldTurf, a material that feels a closer to real grass than Astroturf, and hence can also be broken/pulled out. And yes, a typical installation can easily cost $1 million.

    That being said, fuck them. $1 million is the least of their worries, considering it looks like the Superdome has already sustained at least $100 million of damage. What, did they think they could put a tarp over the holes in the ceiling, and host a football game a week after they got those pesky refugees out of there?

    • strspn says:

      In retrospect, though, they are lucky that they didn't let people on to the field -- when the storm blew six holes in the roof, the field quickly drenched.

  4. sachmet says:

    The auction's back up here, and was supposedly pulled for having the word "fuck" in the title.

  5. rzr_grl says:

    The judge who wrote the recent decision allowing American citizens arrested on American soil to be held indefinitely without charges or legal council - if they're declared "enemy combatants" of course - is on the short-list for the second Supreme Court vacancy.

    Hooray!

  6. decibel45 says:

    A friend of mine is volunteering at the Austin Convention Center. He told me tonight that the kids down there are having a blast. It makes sense; not only is it a huge adventure, they're also in this building with hundreds if not thousands of other kids to play with.

    Of course not all kids will be like that, but most will.

    As for the "kids looking perplexed", that's some reporter with an agenda opining.

    On another note, there's plenty of blame to go all the way around at all levels, but so what? Instead of everyone pointing fingers we need to be looking at what went wrong and how to fix it.

    But I'll settle for cutting our government in half...

    • jwz says:
        Instead of everyone pointing fingers we need to be looking at what went wrong and how to fix it.

      Heavens no, let's not play the BLAME GAME, or as it is sometimes known, RESPONSIBILITY. Here's how to fix it: prosecute these fuckers for their corruption and incompetence so they don't do it again. And again. And again. If you don't point fingers, nothing will ever change.

    • seide says:

      I'd say the "looking perplexed" thing is quite possibly some little kids responding to a manipulative and leading question, from an adult authority figure: "now tell me the truth, boys, isn't it [like this]?" Little kids will often try to tell you what they think you want to hear or be agreeable because they have been taught to respect adult authority, even if it defies their own perception or common sense.

      And that's not to say none of them are having any fun, because kids are resilient, thank goodness.

    • Instead of everyone pointing fingers we need to be looking at what went wrong and how to fix it.

      I'm curious as to how we look at what went wrong without assigning any responsibility. I'm sure it can and will be done, but the mechanics are beyond my imagination.

      But I'll settle for cutting our government in half...

      Was it Grover Norquist who said, ""I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drown it in the 9th Ward"?

  7. recrea33 says:

    it seems the neutering of fema didn't particularly help.

  8. assistant city manager ... assistant to the city manager ... more like an intern

    "I can take care of myself! I've been in a firefight! Well, I've been in a fire. Well, actually, I was fired from a fry cook opportunity."

  9. uy says:

    They removed it again! And it had over 2k in bids on it.

  10. sheilagh says:

    Rape, then Pillage, THEN Burn, right?

    "The plan going forward for New Orleans is to demolish all the houses and burn them. There is nowhere to bury the waste in the region so they will incinerate it all. Before that can go on, they will have to search every house for chemical hazards."

  11. solarbird says:

    It's still not getting better. FEMA finally shows up in Lafayette, Louisiana on Friday the 9th - completely empty-handed. They don't even have computers for their office, so they're having to do everything on paper.