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February 01, 2006

Louisiana Just Said "No"

Why didn't the federal government help Louisiana out earlier, in anticipation of Katrina? We now know (with a hat tip to Captain's Quarters), that it's partly because Louisiana told them to stay away.

A ranking Louisiana health official turned down federal offers to help move or evacuate patients as Hurricane Katrina bore down on New Orleans, a newly released document shows.

But the state's top medical officer said Louisiana coordinated with the federal Health and Human Services Department in evacuating hospitals and nursing homes after Katrina hit.

Two days before the Aug. 29 storm, HHS was told by the state's health emergency preparedness director that the help was not needed, according to an e-mail released Monday by a Senate panel investigating the government's response to Katrina.

The state official, identified in the Aug. 27 e-mail as Dr. Roseanne Pratts, "responded no, that they do not require anything at this time and they would be in touch if and when they needed assistance," wrote HHS senior policy analyst Erin Fowler.

The more evidence that comes out, the more it becomes clear that the state abrogated many of its responsibilities, and then proceeded to blame others. Yet we still hear from the media and the liberal pundits about problems with the federal response, as if that is the only place any failures occurred. To be sure, they could have done a lot better, but when the feds deferred to the state, that was their proper role. Would folks that are all up in arms about the feds listening in on Americans talking to terrorists, contrarily, yawn over the military barging in and taking over whenever the feds thought they knew better? If not, then more notice needs to be taken of Blanco's and Nagin's failure in responding. But you can bet that, in the future, the media will continue to try to Blame Bush(tm).

Posted by Doug at February 1, 2006 02:53 PM

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Tracked on February 1, 2006 10:23 PM


Why not just come out and say you think it's all the fault of Blanco and Nagin and that the President and his FEMA appointees are utterly blameless? It's painfully obvious that's what you want us to believe. Why won't you say it?

Now, of course, I don't live in Louisiana, so I'm personally leaving the criticism of the performance of officials in Louisiana to the people who live there are elected them. The main reason I'm peeved about the Federal response to the hurricane disasters is that these are the same pinheads who are spending my tax dollars to be prepared to help out when the millennial temblor hits San Francisco, and the lesson of New Orleans seems to be that FEMA and the rest of the Federal government will happily withhold the assistance they are obligated to provide if the recipients in question live in districts that were insufficiently prostrate before the Republican Party in the last election cycle.

Now, here you come complaining that I'm paying too much attention to the failures of the people who were actually on the ballot in my state, and not enough to the failures of the people who have nothing to do with where I live.

I'm sorry, Doug— but Blanco and Nagin are not my problem. I didn't elect them, and they don't serve the people in my city, county and state. Bush and his FEMA are supposed to be accountable me and my neighbors. Why are you telling me not to care about their failures?

Posted by: s9 at February 1, 2006 07:03 PM

Please re-read Doug's post, there's plenty of blame to go around.

FEMA and DHS failed in many areas, but FEMA's responsibility in taking action is AFTER the storm has passed and AFTER it's services have been requested by the governor. Loss of life could have been greatly reduced if Blanco and Nagin had mobilized the National Guard, asked for FEMA’s assistance and evacuated BEFORE the storm.

Our state and city officials need to LEAD and not wait for Daddy in Washington to tell them what to do. Watch the Weather Channel, listen to NOAA Weather Radio, take charge and evacuate the city when a storm comes!

The Federal Government is NOT our babysitter or our Daddy. The prime role of the Federal Government is to provide for our defense against enemies, regulate interstate commerce and to coin money.

The ineptitude of FEMA is demonstrated by the thousands of trailers ready to be occupied but are still sitting in storage.

However the ineptitude of Blanco & Nagin are clearly seen in the hundreds of school busses, that you and I paid for with our Federal tax dollars, sitting in floodwater up to their windows.

Ineptitude is seen in the Army Corps of Engineers in the slow construction of improved levees.

Ineptitude and corruption in the state of Louisiana are seen in the state and city officials constantly skimming off Federal grants to line their own pockets while delaying construction of an improved levee system.

Why should I have to pay twice for an improved levee system in New Orleans? Blanco and Nagin should be run out off office for stupidity and for dereliction of their duties. Those who have screwed up at FEMA should be fired immediately. Some have and probably more will follow.

Blanco and Nagin ARE your problem. No, you can't vote for them but they are stealing our tax dollars through their ineptitude and corruption.

Posted by: Mark Triplett at February 1, 2006 07:48 PM

Indeed. Thank you, Mark. I did not make, and did not not intend, any of the points that s9 assigned to me.

Posted by: Doug Payton at February 1, 2006 09:19 PM

No. Blanco and Nagin are not my problem, because it is not my place to decide who should represent the people of Louisiana and New Orleans.

So far, both Doug Payton and Mark Triplett have put a lot of effort into trying to sell me that my dissatisfaction with the Federal response to the hurricane disasters should be directed entirely toward the Governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans. They would both have me completely forgive the Bush administration in general, and FEMA in particular, for their amply documented gross incompetence and obscene negligence.

It's all the fault of those evil Democratic politicians in Louisiana, is it? Well, fine guys— suppose, for the sake of giggles, I grant you that. What, in the nine million names of all that is hallowed, do you recommend I do about it? Hmmmm?

I'll be sure not to vote for Blanco and Nagin when they run for reëlection. Assuming their names ever show up on my ballot here in San Francisco...

Meanwhile, the body of damning evidence showing Bush administration incompetence in handling the hurricane disasters is growing with each passing day. But that's okay— it's not like Republicans should ever be held accountable for their fsckups.

Posted by: s9 at February 2, 2006 04:09 AM

Are you commenting on this blog, or reading someone else's and commenting here?

Posted by: Doug Payton at February 2, 2006 09:09 AM

Does the "s" in s9 stand for strawman?

Posted by: eLarson at February 2, 2006 10:07 AM

I'm reading this blog, though I have to say: the other members of the editorial panel are more enjoyable to read. This blog would do well to invite Mr. Payton to leave and start up his own show somewhere else.

Posted by: s9 at February 2, 2006 02:05 PM

Posted by: Doug Payton at February 2, 2006 02:25 PM