My blog partner Chris Regan is tirelessly researching all of the angles of the sad story of the buses that were never used. It’s a pity that local journalists who live and work in the city that was New Orleans still aren’t. If they were, they would have found the state’s disaster preparedness plan and its calls for using buses to shuttle residents to safety. They would have found that the city’s emergency manager is actually supposed to manage emergencies by setting up local command and control for the feds to augment. They would have noted the effect that the city’s police department’s meltdown has had on relief efforts. But instead, the local journalists are just playing the same one-note political song that the national MSM is playing: It’s all Bush’ fault, la la la, can’t hear anything else.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune has published an open letter to the President. It reads as though it was ghost written by Mayor Ray Nagin and Gov. Kathleen Blanco:
Dear Mr. President:
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 it right.”
Please forgive us if we wait to see proof of your promise before believing you. But we have good reason for our skepticism.
What is the President supposed to do–fire all of the city’s inept officials and replace them with FEMA bureaucrats? The editorial doesn’t call for that, but it sounds like a good idea to me, even if it is legally impossible.
Bienville built New Orleans where he built it for one main reason: It’s accessible. The city between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain was easy to reach in 1718.
How much easier it is to access in 2005 now that there are interstates and bridges, airports and helipads, cruise ships, barges, buses and diesel-powered trucks. (my emphasis)
Buses, huh? As long as we’re talking about buses, why not mention the hundreds and hundreds of city-owned buses now sending oil slicks half way across the city?
Despite the city’s multiple points of entry, our nation’s bureaucrats spent days after last week’s hurricane wringing their hands, lamenting the fact that they could neither rescue the city’s stranded victims nor bring them food, water and medical supplies.
Meanwhile there were journalists, including some who work for The Times-Picayune, going in and out of the city via the Crescent City Connection. On Thursday morning, that crew saw a caravan of 13 Wal-Mart tractor trailers headed into town to bring food, water and supplies to a dying city.
And journalists on the ground in New Orleans could have gotten close enough to see lots full of waterlogged buses that should have ferried the city’s most vulnerable residents to safety, but it was up to bloggers and blog readers half a continent away to see it for them. Had the local journalists seen those buses, they might have asked the mayor a question or two about them. Had those journalists broken out the city’s disaster prep plans, they would have seen on page 13 that those buses should have been on the highways, not bumper deep in flood waters.
But it’s easier to do no research, never mention the buses, and blame the President. That’s what everyone else is doing.
The fact is, as brilliant as the Times-Picayune’s coverage was during the storm, it’s been blinded by delusional local politics afterward. The T-P is engaged in the same local cover-up as the local officials whose incompetence created a death trap for the poor:
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.
Be angry. Most of the death and mayhem was entirely preventable. That’s worth a whole lot of righteous fury. But be angry at the people who failed your city. Their names are Nagin and Ebbert and Blanco, not Bush and Chertoff.
And be angry at yourselves for wasting the year after Ivan not holding your local politicians’ feet to the fire to get the disaster plan updated to reflect the lessons learned after that near disaster.
New Orleans is dead because before the storm it overdosed on “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” an attitude that it’s now clear extended beyond city hall to include the great newspaper that is supposed to challenge officials and be a voice for the voiceless. The whole city’s elite class are complicit in turning the Crescent City into Thunderdome. They failed their own people, and failed the most vulnerable the most horribly.
The delusional local journalists (or ghost writing local officials) give the game away at the end of this awful, blind editorial:
Mr. President, we sincerely hope you fulfill your promise to make our beloved communities work right once again.
They have it entirely backwards. The President isn’t supposed to “make our beloved communities work right again.” He’s supposed to find beloved communities already working right and assist them in recovering from disaster. That’s how FEMA works–bottom up, not top down. Mississippi and Alabama apparently understood that before Katrina struck, as they haven’t had anywhere near the level of chaos that New Orleans has had. It seems none of the elites in Louisiana understood the basics of federalism. And they still don’t.
HEY OFFICER! YOU’VE JUST HAD YOUR CITY FLOODED, YOUR HOME DESTROYED AND YOU LET LOOTERS MAKE THE ENTIRE COUNTRY LOOK LIKE A LAWLESS BANANA REPUBLIC! WHERE ARE YOU GOING NOW?
NOPD Officer: Mayor Nagin says I’m going to Vegas!
(thanks to Chris)blog comments powered by Disqus
May 19, 2013 04:13 PM by Michelle Malkin
November 6, 2012 09:31 AM by Michelle Malkin
January 28, 2013 03:13 PM by Doug Powers
November 20, 2012 09:17 PM by Doug Powers
December 26, 2012 10:39 AM by Michelle Malkin