KATRINA: Indexed Quotations etc. | September 5, 2005
| FEMA |
| Flood Prevention |
Douglas Drenkow, "Progressive
are not acceptable." -- President
George W. Bush
almost see Mr. Bush's political base starting to crumble at its
very epicenter, Fox News, by Thursday night." -- Frank
political culture is about to undergo some big change. We're not
really at a tipping point as much as a bursting point." -- David
cronyism of that appointment [of Bush's first FEMA director, with
no experience] showed the contempt the
administration felt for the agency; one can only imagine the
effects on staff morale. That contempt...reflects a general
hostility to the role of government as a force for good. And
Americans living along the Gulf Coast have now reaped the
consequences of that hostility." -- Paul
combine limited government with incompetent government, lethal
stuff happens." -- Maureen
as culpable, criminal, and loathsome as the Bush Administration
is, it is only the apotheosis of an overarching trend in American
society that has been gathering force for decades: the destruction
of the idea of a common good, a public sector whose benefits and
responsibilities are shared by all, and directed by the consent of
the governed." -- Chris
"We're going to
have to ask why it took almost two days of people being without
food, shelter, and water for Mr. Bush to get back to Washington."
unmistakable conclusion one would draw from this was this was a
massive administration failure." -- Donald
P. Green, professor of political science at Yale University
once famous for its can-do attitude, now has a can't-do government
that makes excuses instead of doing its job. And while it makes
those excuses, Americans are dying." -- Paul
"I think it
puts into question all of the Homeland Security and Northern
Command planning for the last four years, because if we can't
respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf
for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a
nuclear or biological attack?" -- Newt
"Three out of every four dollars the agency provides in local
preparedness and first-responder grants go to terrorism-related
activities, even though a recent Government Accountability Office
report quotes local officials as saying what they really need is
money to prepare for natural disasters and accidents."
"Did they not
have a contingency for a disaster of this magnitude?" -- John
Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org
"FEMA has known this for 20
years. Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent,
in studies, training and contingency plans, scenarios, all of that."
Madden, Louisiana secretary of environmental quality from
had been humbled by failures in Iraq saw that the authorities
could not quickly cope with a natural disaster at home." -- New
York Times Editorial
"More than 950
people were killed and hundreds more injured Wednesday morning
when rumors of a suicide bomber provoked a frenzied stampede in a
procession of Shiite pilgrims as they crossed a bridge in northern
Baghdad...Most of the dead were crushed or suffocated...but many
drowned after falling or jumping into the Tigris River after the
panicking crowd broke through the bridge's railings. The disaster
was by far the greatest one-day loss of life since the
American-led invasion in March 2003." -- New
"Who are we if
we can't take care of our own?" -- Maureen
"We are not
sewage." -- Doug
scenes of horror that seemed to be coming from some Third World
country flashed before us, official Washington was like a dog
watching television. It saw the lights and images, but did not
seem to comprehend their meaning or see any link to reality...This
was just survival of the richest." -- Bob
"...a replay of
the sinking of the Titanic. New Orleans's first-class passengers
made it safely into lifeboats; for those in steerage, it was a
horrifying spectacle of every man, woman and child for
himself." -- Frank
"When they were
deaf for so long to the horrific misery and cries for help of the
victims in New Orleans -- most of them poor and black, like those
stuck at the back of the evacuation line yesterday while 700
guests and employees of the Hyatt Hotel were bused out first --
they shook the faith of all Americans in American ideals. And made
us ashamed." -- Maureen
confines stood in stark contrast to those of people nearby in the
restricted-access New Orleans Centre and Hyatt Hotel, where those
who could get in lounged in relative comfort. A few blocks farther
away, guests were being fed 'foie gras and rack of lamb' for
dinner, according to a photographer who stayed there, while the
masses, most of them poor, huddled in the Dome." -- The
economic growth last year, 1.1 million more Americans slipped into
poverty in 2004, while household incomes stagnated and earnings
fell...The number of Americans without health insurance rose...The
poverty rate climbed in 2004...the fourth year in a row that
poverty has risen." -- Washington
Frist will move forward with a vote to permanently repeal the
estate tax next week, likely on Tuesday." -- ThinkProgress.org
"In 1889 in
Pennsylvania, a great flood washed away much of Johnstown...
Witnesses watched hundreds of people trapped on a burning bridge,
forced to choose between burning to death or throwing themselves
into the churning waters to drown.
"The flood was
so abnormal that the country seemed to have trouble grasping what
were let loose...'Drunken Hungarians, Dancing, Singing, Cursing
and Fighting Amid the Ruins' a New York Herald headline blared.
"Then, as David
McCullough notes in 'The Johnstown Flood,' public fury turned on
the Pittsburgh millionaires whose club's fishing pond had emptied
on the town. The Chicago Herald depicted the millionaires as Roman
aristocrats, seeking pleasure while the poor died like beasts in
the flood, public resentment was building against the newly rich
industrialists. Protests were growing against the trusts, against
industrialization, and against the new concentrations of wealth.
The Johnstown flood crystallized popular anger, for the fishing
club was indeed partly to blame. Public reaction to the disaster
helped set the stage for the progressive movement and the
trust-busting that was to come...
"Then in 1927,
the great Mississippi flood rumbled down upon New Orleans. As
Barry writes in his account, 'Rising Tide,' the disaster ripped
the veil off the genteel, feudal relations between whites and
blacks, and revealed the festering iniquities. Blacks were rounded
up into work camps and held by armed guards. They were prevented
from leaving as the waters rose. A steamer, the Capitol, played 'Bye
Bye Blackbird' as it sailed away. The racist violence that
followed the floods helped persuade many blacks to move north.
intentionally flooded poor and middle-class areas to ease the
water's pressure on the city, and then reneged on promises to
compensate those whose homes were destroyed. That helped fuel the
populist anger that led to Huey Long's success. Across the country
people demanded that the federal government get involved in
disaster relief, helping to set the stage for the New Deal."
deathly ill patients were left without power, with ventilators
that didn't work, with floodwaters rising on the lower floors and
with corpses rotting in the corridors and stairwells. People
unable to breathe on their own, or with cancer or heart disease or
kidney failure, slipped into comas and sank into their final sleep
in front of helpless doctors and relatives. These were Americans
in desperate trouble.
"The president didn't seem
"Death and the stink of
decay were all over the city. Corpses were propped up in
wheelchairs and on lawn furniture, or left to decompose on
sunbaked sidewalks. Some floated by in water fouled by human
"Degenerates roamed the
city, shooting at rescue workers, beating and robbing distraught
residents and tourists, raping women and girls. The president of
the richest, most powerful country in the history of the world
didn't seem to notice.
"Viewers could watch
diabetics go into insulin shock on national television, and you
could see babies with the pale, vacant look of hunger that we're
more used to seeing in dispatches from the third world. You
could see their mothers, dirty and hungry themselves, weeping.
"Old, critically ill
people were left to soil themselves and in some cases die like
stray animals on the floor of an airport triage center. For days
the president of the United States didn't seem to notice.
"He would have noticed if
the majority of these stricken folks had been white and
prosperous. But they weren't. Most were black and poor, and
thus, to the George W. Bush administration, still invisible...
"And when the president is
so obviously clueless about matters so obviously important, it
means that the rest of us, like the people left stranded in New
Orleans, are in deep, deep trouble."
reflection of what has long been a hallmark of Mr. Rove's tough
political style, the administration is also working to shift the
blame away from the White House and toward officials of New
Orleans and Louisiana who, as it happens, are Democrats. 'The way that emergency
operations act under the law is the responsibility and the
power, the authority, to order an evacuation rests with state
and local officials,'" Mr. Chertoff said in his television
interview. 'The federal government comes in and supports those
officials.'" -- New
"'They can't do
that,' former agency chief of staff Jane Bullock said of Bush
administration efforts to shift responsibility away from
Washington. 'The moment the president declared a federal disaster,
it became a federal responsibility….The federal government took
ownership over the response,' she said. Bush declared a disaster
in Louisiana and Mississippi when the storm hit a week ago."
"Yesterday, I was
hoping President Bush would come away from his tour of the
regional devastation triggered by Hurricane Katrina with a new
understanding for the magnitude of the suffering and for the
abject failures of the current Federal Emergency Management
Agency. 24 hours later, the President has yet to answer my call
for a cabinet-level official to lead our efforts. Meanwhile, FEMA,
now a shell of what it once was, continues to be overwhelmed by
the task at hand...
"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." -- US
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), one of The Group of 14
senators key to "the nuclear option" in the
upcoming Supreme Court nominations
"I think he's
really undermined his credibility at this point, and it really
saddles him with the kind of problems that Johnson and Nixon
faced. These crises are such a heavy burden, and they are so
self-inflicted, except for the court vacancies, that if he is not
very careful and tries to put across someone who is seen as an
ultraconservative, he is going to touch off a conflagration in the
Senate." -- Robert
Dallek, a presidential historian and Johnson biographer
Open Letter to the President, from The Times-Picayune
"We heard you
loud and clear Friday when you visited our devastated city and the
Gulf Coast and said, 'What is not working, we're going to make
"Please forgive us if we wait to see proof of your promise
before believing you. But we have good reason for our skepticism...
"We're angry, Mr. President, and we'll be angry long after
our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry.
Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not.
That's to the government's shame...
"In a nationally televised interview Thursday night, he [FEMA
Director Michael Brown] said
his agency hadn't known until that day that thousands of storm
victims were stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
He gave another nationally televised interview the next morning
and said, 'We've provided food to the people at the Convention
Center so that they've gotten at least one, if not two meals,
every single day.'
"Lies don't get more bald-faced than that, Mr. President.
"Yet, when you met with Mr. Brown Friday morning, you told
him, 'You're doing a heck of a job.'
"We, who are from New Orleans, are no less American than
those who live on the Great Plains or along the Atlantic Seaboard.
We're no less important than those from the Pacific Northwest or
Appalachia. Our people deserved to be rescued.
"No expense should have been spared. No excuses should have
been voiced. Especially not one as preposterous as the claim that
New Orleans couldn't be reached.
"Mr. President, we sincerely hope you fulfill your promise to
make our beloved communities work right once again.
"When you do, we will be the first to applaud."
make sense to me." -- Speaker
J. Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois), about re-building New Orleans
with federal money
"The whole coastal area of
the state has been destroyed, virtually destroyed. It was quiet.
It was eerie. It was horrible to behold." -- US
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)
on post-disaster re-construction] compared it to the 1995
earthquake that struck Kobe, Japan, killing 6,000 people and
running up more than $150 billion reconstruction costs. More than
100,000 buildings were destroyed and 300,000 people were left
homeless. Kobe took up to 10 years to rebuild...
"Housing will be a long-term problem -- especially for New
Orleans' sizable low-income population, which will find it
harder to secure resources to rebuild. Apartments are always the
last to be rebuilt...and low-income housing lags behind that. The
result could be an explosion in the homeless population.
"'In Japan people lived in temporary housing for eight
years.'" -- The
domestic relief and security effort in US history...
"The US Senate
approved a $US10.5 billion ($A13.8 billion) emergency funding bill
requested by Bush to speed help to Katrina's victims, and the
House of Representatives is expected to pass identical legislation
refineries on the US Gulf Coast shut, retail petrol prices soared
to new records.
disaster declarations covered 234,000 square kilometres along the
US Gulf Coast, an area roughly the size of Britain.
"As many as
400,000 people had been forced to leave their homes...
"Much of the
city was still under several feet of water and officials said it
could take a month to get the water out."
as reported in "The Age" (Melbourne, Australia)
expect retail gas prices to rise to $4 a gallon soon, but whether
they stay there depends on the long-term damage to oil facilities
from Hurricane Katrina..." -- CNN
"Join me, if
you will, in shedding a tear for the plight of Big Oil, which
earned so much money in 2004 -- the 10 largest companies had sales
of more than $1 trillion, with profits of more than $100 billion
-- that they can't find enough places to invest it." -- Delta
1976, almost 40 years ago, has a major new refining facility been
built in the United States. That ain't all: As best anyone can
tell, no new refineries are on the drawing board in this country.
Nada. Zip. Zilch." -- Delta
operators to close more than a tenth of the country's refining
capacity and a quarter of its oil production..." -- CNN
global recessions since World War II were all driven by spikes in
oil prices, and although the world economy is currently very
strong, the current jump in oil prices looks pretty serious."
| FEMA |
| Flood Prevention |
| Editor | Values
| Legal | Links