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Author Topic: Rita & Katrina: the Aftermath continues
Transplant
rabble-rouser
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posted 26 September 2005 04:00 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
From now on I will post all my Rita And Katrina aftermath posts here.

Response to Rita illustrates how government failed after Katrina

Yahoo/Knight Ridder - The speed with which the federal government marshaled significant military and other resources to evacuate, rescue and care for victims of Hurricane Rita raises new questions about why Washington was so slow to respond to Hurricane Katrina less than four weeks earlier.

The Bush administration says it's researching whether the federal government needs to have greater authority to respond to disasters - and whether the military should be in charge.

The response to Rita, however, suggests that the government had plenty of authority to respond to Katrina and that what was lacking during Katrina was an understanding of when to use that authority.

[ 26 September 2005: Message edited by: Transplant ]


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Transplant
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posted 26 September 2005 04:01 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
How Many More Mike Browns Are Out There?

Time - A TIME inquiry finds that at top positions in some vital government agencies, the Bush Administration is putting connections before experience

In presidential politics, the victor always gets the spoils, and chief among them is the vast warren of offices that make up the federal bureaucracy. Historically, the U.S. public has never paid much attention to the people the President chooses to sit behind those thousands of desks. A benign cronyism is more or less presumed, with old friends and big donors getting comfortable positions and impressive titles, and with few real consequences for the nation.

But then came Michael Brown.


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Transplant
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posted 26 September 2005 04:01 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hurricane Exposes Evacuation Problems

Wash Post/AP - The 14-hour lines of traffic fleeing Houston -- complete with cars that ran out of gas -- show that four years after the Sept. 11 attacks, it is difficult to evacuate a major metropolitan area.

Experts say the consequences could be far more deadly in the event of a radiological or other terrorist strike.

"The nightmare that we all have is that, God forbid, there's a terrorist attack of some kind on a major American city that requires evacuation without warning," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn.


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Transplant
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posted 26 September 2005 04:01 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Many Contracts for Storm Work Raise Questions

NY Times - Topping the federal government's list of costs related to Hurricane Katrina is the $568 million in contracts for debris removal landed by a Florida company with ties to Mississippi's Republican governor. Near the bottom is an $89.95 bill for a pair of brown steel-toe shoes bought by an Environmental Protection Agency worker in Baton Rouge, La.

The first detailed tally of commitments from federal agencies since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast four weeks ago shows that more than 15 contracts exceed $100 million, including 5 of $500 million or more.


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posted 26 September 2005 04:02 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Bush Weighs Giving One Official Oversight of Rebuilding Effort

NY Times - President Bush said today that he was considering naming a federal "czar" to oversee the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast after the one-two punch of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, but only after he heard more from state and local officials about how they would like to see their communities rebuilt.

And...

Bush prepared to tap oil reserve

CNN/AP - President Bush said Monday that the government is prepared to again tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to alleviate any new pain at the pump caused by Hurricane Rita's assault on the center of the nation's energy industry.

He also implied he will likely name a federal czar-like official to oversee the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. But he said that local officials must first produce a vision for how they want their rebuilt communities to look.


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Contrarian
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posted 27 September 2005 12:33 AM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Article about contamination in New Orleans. Concern that EPA is holding back information.

Now if they could just require the vulture contractors like Halliburton to move their head offices there...


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Transplant
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posted 27 September 2005 01:02 AM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
In Two Storms, Two Worlds Seen

Yahoo/AP - Whatever the reasons, residents of heavily Republican Texas seemed to get better treatment from the government during Hurricane Rita than the mostly black, poor and Democratic victims of Katrina in Louisiana. The issue of race is likely to linger in the aftermath of the two big storms.

Government mistakes in the first storm, including failure to provide a means of evacuation for tens of thousands of New Orleans residents stranded in flooding low-lying areas, exposed racial and social fault lines.

These divides may be reinforced, rather than diminished, by the government's far more robust response to Hurricane Rita.


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Transplant
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posted 27 September 2005 03:31 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Storm Victims May Face Curbs On Bankruptcy

NY Times - When Congress agreed this spring to tighten the bankruptcy laws and crack down on consumers who took on debt irresponsibly, no one had the victims of Hurricane Katrina in mind.

But four weeks after New Orleans flooded and tens of thousands of other residents of the Gulf Coast also lost their homes and livelihoods, a stricter new personal bankruptcy law scheduled to take effect on Oct. 17 is likely to deliver another blow to those dislocated by the storm.

[Yep, that's right, they're still on the hook for their mortgages, rent payments, car payments, medical bills, etc, etc, et.]


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Transplant
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posted 27 September 2005 03:31 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
N.O. Police Say 249 Officers Left Posts

Yahoo/AP - The New Orleans police chief says 249 officers — nearly 15 percent of the force — could face a special tribunal because they left their posts without permission during Hurricane Katrina and the storm's chaotic aftermath.


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posted 27 September 2005 03:32 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Reality TV Show May Help Both Bush, Victims Recover

LA Times - 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' episode will feature the first lady at a Mississippi shelter.

Facing criticism that he appeared disengaged from the disaster wrought by Hurricane Katrina, President Bush has been looking for opportunities to show his concern. But the White House will take the effort a step further today, venturing into untested waters by putting the nation's first lady on reality television.

Laura Bush will travel to storm-damaged Biloxi, Miss., to film a spot on the feel-good, wish-granting hit "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." Mrs. Bush sought to be on the program because she shares the "same principles" that the producers hold, her press secretary said.


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Transplant
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posted 27 September 2005 03:32 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Katrina Takes a Toll on Truth, News Accuracy

LA Times - Rumors supplanted accurate information and media magnified the problem. Rapes, violence and estimates of the dead were wrong.

Maj. Ed Bush recalled how he stood in the bed of a pickup truck in the days after Hurricane Katrina, struggling to help the crowdoutside the Louisiana Superdome separate fact from fiction. Armed only with a megaphone and scant information, he might have been shouting into, well, a hurricane.

The National Guard spokesman's accounts about rescue efforts, water supplies and first aid all but disappeared amid the roar of a 24-hour rumor mill at New Orleans' main evacuation shelter. Then a frenzied media recycled and amplified many of the unverified reports.

"It just morphed into this mythical place where the most unthinkable deeds were being done," Bush said Monday of the Superdome.


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Transplant
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posted 27 September 2005 03:32 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
To Conserve Gas, President Calls for Less Driving

NY Times - With fears mounting that high energy costs will crimp economic growth, President Bush called on Americans yesterday to conserve gasoline by driving less. He also issued a directive for all federal agencies to cut their own energy use and to encourage employees to use public transportation.

"We can all pitch in," Mr. Bush said. "People just need to recognize that the storms have caused disruption," he added, and that if Americans are able to avoid going "on a trip that's not essential, that would be helpful."


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Transplant
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posted 27 September 2005 03:33 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Concern over urban disaster plans

BBC - When Hurricane Rita appeared on the weather maps, the US vowed to get things right second time around.

Traffic queuing on Interstate 45 leaving Houston
Traffic leaving Houston came to a stop while other lanes were empty
Scarred by Hurricane Katrina, officials at all levels of government moved quickly to implement new and improved evacuation plans, disaster relief procedures and search-and-rescue efforts.

Rita was not as devastating as Katrina, and neither was Houston as vulnerable as New Orleans.

Yet thousands were trapped for hours on end on baking hot highways as they tried to flee the path of the storm.

Twenty-four hours before Rita came ashore, Texas officials cancelled evacuation orders for towns along the western Gulf coast.

Almost simultaneously, those in the path of the hurricane but still at home were told not to bother leaving, but to hunker down and ride out the storm.


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posted 27 September 2005 03:33 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oil industry struggling back after storms

Reuters - Roughly a quarter of U.S. refining capacity and oil production remained paralyzed on Tuesday in the wake of hurricanes Rita and Katrina, rekindling worries that the world's biggest energy consuming nation could face fuel shortages in the coming months.

Oil companies struggled to restart their crippled refineries, pipelines and platforms, as the White House called on Americans to conserve energy to help ease the impact of the worst disruption to energy supply in decades.


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posted 27 September 2005 03:34 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Bush may find it hard to resist Katrina commission

Reuters - The White House and Republicans may find it difficult to resist mounting pressure for an independent commission to examine government failures in the response to Hurricane Katrina, experts said on Tuesday.

Only two Democrats showed up as a House of Representatives committee began investigating the response to the devastating August 29 hurricane. The Democratic leadership argues that an inquiry controlled by the Republican majority in Congress lacks credibility and cannot be trusted to honestly probe failures of the Bush administration.

Republicans have so far rejected calls for a bipartisan commission similar to the panel that investigated the September 11, 2001, attacks, even though polls show an overwhelming majority of the public supports such a probe.

A Gallup Poll last week found 81 percent of respondents in favor of an independent investigation with only 18 percent backing a congressional investigation.


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Transplant
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posted 27 September 2005 03:34 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
La. gives back much of FEMA money

Times-Picayune - NOLA News

- NOPD says 249 officers were AWOL after Katrina

- Engineers examining why floodwalls failed

- The Department of Health and Hospitals has declined the bulk of $352 million in disaster assistance handed to the state by the Federal Emergency Management Agency late last week, with agency officials saying that they spent only about $10 million during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

- Response tapes show plans taking shape, then unraveling


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posted 28 September 2005 02:23 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
New Orleans police chief resigns

BBC - New Orleans police chief Eddie Compass has unexpectedly resigned, four weeks after law and order broke down in the city following Hurricane Katrina.


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posted 28 September 2005 02:23 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oink Oink: Lobbies Line Up For Relief Riches

Wash Times - Groups Portray Projects as Storm Aid

With Congress dangling as much as $200 billion in hurricane-related aid, lobbyists for oil companies, airlines, manufacturers and others are clamoring to get their share.

"It's been all Katrina all the time, and now it's Rita, too," said J. Steven Hart, chairman of Williams & Jensen PLLC, a top lobbying firm in the capital. "Except for the Supreme Court, hurricane recovery is what Congress will be up to so we have no choice but to adapt."

[The feeding frenzy is on.]


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posted 28 September 2005 02:24 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
When Storm Hit, National Guard Was Deluged Too

NY Times - The morning Hurricane Katrina thundered ashore, Louisiana National Guard commanders thought they were prepared to save their state. But when 15-foot floodwaters swept into their headquarters, cut their communications and disabled their high-water trucks, they had their hands full just saving themselves.

For a crucial 24 hours after landfall on Aug. 29, Guard officers said, they were preoccupied with protecting their nerve center from the waves topping the windows at Jackson Barracks and rescuing soldiers who could not swim. The next morning, they had to evacuate their entire headquarters force of 375 guardsmen by boat and helicopter to the Superdome.


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Transplant
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posted 28 September 2005 02:24 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
In One Parish, Divide Over Housing Newcomers

NY Times - GREENSBURG, La., Sept. 27 - The federal government, straining to find temporary housing for thousands of evacuees from New Orleans, has generally encountered hospitality in cities and towns in the gulf area. But the reception has been very different in the small parish of St. Helena.

Here, 80 miles northwest of New Orleans, white residents have spoken up at public meetings to oppose vehemently the construction of temporary housing for the evacuees, most of whom are black. The tension could complicate tentative plans by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to buy land in the parish for trailer lots.

"The only thing we see about these people on the news is what happened in the Superdome," said Philip Devall, 42, a white resident of Greensburg, at a recent meeting of the parish government. "They're rapists and thugs and murderers. I'm telling you, half of them have criminal records. I've worked all my life to have what I have. I can't lose it, and I can't stand guard 24 hours a day."

[And race has nothing to do with it.
Yeah, right!]

[ 28 September 2005: Message edited by: Transplant ]


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posted 29 September 2005 04:02 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
With Aid Slow to Come, Texas Towns Are on Their Own

Wash Post - EVADALE, Tex., Sept. 28 -- For more than two days after Hurricane Rita laid waste to this small East Texas town, volunteer Fire Chief Steve Conner watched the relief convoys roar up State Road 105. But Conner's early hopes turned to frustration and finally to anger when truck after truck did not stop.

Evadale residents were sweltering in scorching heat without power or water. Meanwhile, tons of ice and food rolled through town at highway speeds.

"These FEMA trucks have to pass right by our fire station and go to the farthest end of the county, and we couldn't get any help," Conner said. "We just had to do what we could on our own."


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posted 29 September 2005 04:02 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
FEMA's Brown Was Warned Early of Shortages

AP - Former FEMA director Michael Brown was warned weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit that his agency's backlogged computer systems could delay supplies and put personnel at risk during an emergency, according to an audit released Wednesday.

An internal review of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's information-sharing system shows it was overwhelmed during the 2004 hurricane season. The audit was released a day after Brown vehemently defended FEMA for the government's dismal response to Katrina, instead blaming state and local officials for poor planning and chaos during the Aug. 29 storm and subsequent flooding.


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Transplant
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posted 29 September 2005 04:03 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Fear Exceeded Crime's Reality in New Orleans

NY Times - After the storm came the siege. In the days after Hurricane Katrina, terror from crimes seen and unseen, real and rumored, gripped New Orleans. The fears changed troop deployments, delayed medical evacuations, drove police officers to quit, grounded helicopters. Edwin P. Compass III, the police superintendent, said that tourists - the core of the city's economy - were being robbed and raped on streets that had slid into anarchy.

A month later, a review of the available evidence now shows that some, though not all, of the most alarming stories that coursed through the city appear to be little more than figments of frightened imaginations, the product of chaotic circumstances that included no reliable communications, and perhaps the residue of the longstanding raw relations between some police officers and members of the public.


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Transplant
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Energy Supply Concerns Elevate Futures

Wash Post - Storms May Have Lasting Effect On Operations

Gasoline and natural gas prices soared on the futures markets yesterday as traders grew concerned that energy operations damaged by hurricanes Rita and Katrina could be hobbled longer than expected.

Analysts said that if futures prices remain at elevated levels, national pump prices for a gallon of regular could move above $3 a gallon, as they did following Hurricane Katrina. They added that a run-up in natural gas prices likely will mean increases for winter heating bills.


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Transplant
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posted 29 September 2005 04:03 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Military failed on Katrina communications: admiral

Reuters - Reuters) - The U.S. military failed to provide adequate emergency communications for Hurricane Katrina response, contributing to days of confusion after the storm devastated Mississippi and Louisiana, the admiral in charge of domestic defense forces said on Thursday.

"The devastation was so complete, so comprehensive ... that we couldn't figure out how bad it was," Adm. Timothy Keating said of the lack of satellite telephones or working cellphones carried by aid troops sent to the U.S. Gulf Coast last month.


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posted 30 September 2005 03:33 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Katrina Takes Toll, Consumer Spending Dips

Wash Post - Hurricane Katrina caused $100 billion in uninsured losses in August while consumer spending plunged by the largest amount since the September 2001 terrorist attacks, the government reported Friday.


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Times-Picayune NOLA News

- Hobbled city opens doors to some
As thousands of residents return to New Orleans today, one month after Hurricane Katrina, they will find a city that is recovering but still short of adequate goods and services. For much of what they need, they will have to leave again.

- Shortest cleanup estimate is one year

- Four officers suspended, acting police chief says
Looting is focus of one investigation

- Corps critics want probe to be independent

- First FEMA trailer town to open Monday

- Many voices should be heard in rebuilding, coalition agrees

- Cost to repair roads, bridges may soar
More damage found after estimate done

- After the Storm: Louisiana Death Toll 923


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Transplant
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posted 01 October 2005 05:35 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
HUD chief foresees a 'whiter' Big Easy

Wash Times - A Bush Cabinet officer predicted this week that New Orleans likely will never again be a majority black city, and several black officials are outraged.

Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development, during a visit with hurricane victims in Houston, said New Orleans would not reach its pre-Katrina population of "500,000 people for a long time," and "it's not going to be as black as it was for a long time, if ever again."


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Critics raise the roof on post-storm federal spending

Mercury News (via michaelmoore.com) - Across the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, thousands upon thousands of blue tarps are being nailed to wind-damaged roofs, a visible sign of government assistance.

The blue sheeting -- a godsend to residents whose homes are threatened by rain -- is rapidly becoming the largest roofing project in the nation's history.

But it isn't coming cheap.

Knight Ridder has found that a lack of oversight, generous contracting deals and poor planning mean that government agencies are paying as much as 10 times what the temporary fix would normally cost. The government is paying contractors an average of $2,480 for less than two hours of work to cover each damaged roof -- even though it's also giving them endless supplies of blue sheeting for free.


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Transplant
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posted 01 October 2005 06:16 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Stumbling Storm-Aid Effort Put Tons of Ice on Trips to Nowhere

When the definitive story of the confrontation between Hurricane Katrina and the United States government is finally told, one long and tragicomic chapter will have to be reserved for the odyssey of the ice.

Ninety-one thousand tons of ice cubes, that is, intended to cool food, medicine and sweltering victims of the storm. It would cost taxpayers more than $100 million, and most of it would never be delivered.


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Transplant
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posted 01 October 2005 06:16 PM      Profile for Transplant     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Smaller Towns Bore the Brunt of Rita's Force

NY Times - CAMERON, La., Sept. 30 - There used to be a hardware store here, as evidenced by the paint scrapers, copper pots and pans, random power cords and plungers that are buried in the muck and branches.

There were homes, too, where bedsheets are now strung through the trees like Christmas ribbon. There is a disembodied roof, a shrimp boat smashed to bits against a live oak tree, a file cabinet wedged in black mud, its tiny, color-coded tabs intact amid the rubble.

They are all that is left of Cameron and nearby Creole.

[ 01 October 2005: Message edited by: Transplant ]


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Iraq war delayed Katrina relief effort, inquiry finds

The Independent - Relief efforts to combat Hurricane Katrina suffered near catastrophic failures due to endemic corruption, divisions within the military and troop shortages caused by the Iraq war, an official American inquiry into the disaster has revealed.

The confidential report, which has been seen by The Independent, details how funds for flood control were diverted to other projects, desperately needed National Guards were stuck in Iraq and how military personnel had to "sneak off post" to help with relief efforts because their commander had refused permission.


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rockerbiff
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posted 03 October 2005 06:43 PM      Profile for rockerbiff   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Did anyone catch this on video

Police Looting Wal Mart

The most casual looting I have ever seen.


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Transplant
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Population Loss Alters Louisiana Politics

NY Times - The two recent gulf hurricanes may result in a significant loss of population for Louisiana, and state officials are now virtually certain that Louisiana will lose a Congressional seat - along with federal financing and national influence - after the 2010 census.

Having dislodged more than a million people in southern Louisiana alone, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita are also likely to alter the state's political landscape, demographers and political experts say, reducing the domination of New Orleans over the State Legislature and increasing the influence of suburban and rural areas.


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Some Experts Say It's Time to Evacuate the Coast (for Good)

NY Times - As the Gulf Coast reels from two catastrophic storms in a month, and the Carolinas and Florida deal with damage and debris from hurricanes this year and last, even some supporters of coastal development are starting to ask a previously unthinkable question: is it time to consider retreat from the coast?

Yes, said Howard Marlowe, president of Marlowe & Company, a lobbying firm that represents counties and local governments, often in seeking support for coastal infrastructure, like roads, sewers and beach replenishment. "I think we need to be asking that and discussing that, and the federal government needs to provide leadership," Mr. Marlowe said.


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Local Governments Face Bankruptcy, Layoffs or Both

NY Times - Officials in this stricken city are considering laying off as many as 3,000 employees - nearly 40 percent of city hall's workforce - to balance the budget. In nearby St. Bernard Parish, 120 municipal employees have already lost their jobs and the parish president is begging for federal assistance to make payroll.

The proposed cutbacks and pleas for aid illustrate one legacy of the two hurricanes that lashed the Gulf Coast: with storm losses crippling the economy, municipal governments in southern Louisiana are quickly running out of money and are now seeking federal aid to avoid bankruptcy or huge layoffs and reductions in city services.

"We are asking for help to survive," said Henry Rodriguez, the president of St. Bernard Parish, where some 80 percent of the houses are likely to have to be knocked down because of damage. "We have to let our workers go. Those people that are coming back into the parish will have no services whatsoever."


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New Orleans ends widespread search for bodies

AP - Officials ended their door-to-door sweep for corpses finding far fewer bodies than once feared, and school children returned to classes as New Orleans revved up efforts to recover from Hurricane Katrina.

The search for Katrina victims ended in Louisiana with a death toll substantially less than the 10,000 victims some officials feared.

The toll Tuesday stood at 972, eight more than Monday, the state health department said.

[I can't quite call this 'good news', but it is indeed good that far fewer died than was at first feared.]

[ 04 October 2005: Message edited by: Transplant ]


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FEMA pledges to reassess contracts

AP - Federal contracts for Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts that were handed out with little or no competition will be rebid to prevent any waste or abuse, FEMA chief R. David Paulison said Thursday.

"I've been a public servant for a long time, and I've never been a fan of no-bid contracts," Paulison told a Senate panel investigating the Federal Emergency Management Agency's response to the hurricane. "Sometimes you have to do them because of the expediency of getting things done. And I can assure that you we are going to look at all of those contracts very carefully."

"All of those no-bid contracts, we are going to go back and rebid," he said of pacts that were worth millions of dollars.

In the weeks after the storm, more than 80 percent of at least $1.5 billion in FEMA contracts were awarded with little or no competition, or had open-ended or vague terms that previous audits have cited as being highly prone to abuse.


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Liberal Hopes Ebb in Post-Storm Poverty Debate

NY Times - As Hurricane Katrina put the issue of poverty onto the national agenda, many liberal advocates wondered whether the floods offered a glimmer of opportunity. The issues they most cared about - health care, housing, jobs, race - were suddenly staples of the news, with President Bush pledged to "bold action."

But what looked like a chance to talk up new programs is fast becoming a scramble to save the old ones.

[Business as usual returns.]


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Peninsula below New Orleans just beginning to clean up

Knight Ridder - This odd peninsula curbing the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico is a still life of destruction and wonder even six weeks after Hurricane Katrina.

People in the little towns that speckle the peninsula 70 miles southeast of New Orleans said it was hard to believe that it had been six weeks. Most of Plaquemines Parish has no running water and about 30 percent of it is still without electricity. Officials said anyone who returned did so at his or her own risk.

If you're wondering why oil prices have spiked, a trip to this parish down State Road 23 - through the petrochemical spine of rural Louisiana - is instructive. There's goo from breached pipelines and a scene straight out of a Steven Spielberg movie: a tangle of trawlers set noses up in the middle of a four-lane road.


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Louisianans get few post-Katrina contracts

USA Today - A Department of Homeland Security official tasked with helping local businesses get post-Hurricane Katrina contracts resigned in frustration last week because he could not secure catering work for local vendors.

Gulf Coast lawmakers, such as Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and other critics have complained about the federal government's failure to steer recovery dollars to businesses in the areas affected by the storm. A list of contracts awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency showed that as of Oct. 3, two of 140 agreements had gone to Louisiana prime contractors.


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New Orleans: Leaving the Poor Behind Again!
quote:
There are 28,000 people still living in shelters in Louisiana. There are 38,000 public housing apartments in New Orleans, many in good physical condition. None have been reopened. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimated that 112,000 low-income homes in New Orleans were damaged by the hurricane. Yet, local, state and federal authorities are not committed to re-opening public housing. Louisiana Congressman Richard Baker (R-LA) said, after the hurricane, "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."

New Orleans public schools enrolled about 60,000 children before the hurricane. The school board president now estimates that no schools on the city's east bank, where the overwhelming majority of people live, will reopen this academic school year. Every one of the 13 public schools on the mostly-dry west bank of New Orleans was changed into charter schools in an afternoon meeting a few days ago. A member of the Louisiana state board of education estimated that at most 10,000 students will attend public schools in New Orleans this academic year.
....
Renters in New Orleans are returning to find their furniture on the street and strangers living in their apartments at higher rents - despite an order by the Governor that no one can be evicted before October 25. Rent in the dry areas have doubled and tripled.
....
People are making serious money in this hurricane but not the working and poor people who built and maintained New Orleans. President Bush lifted the requirement that jobs re-building the Gulf Coast pay a living wage. The Small Business Administration has received 1.6 million disaster loan applications and has approved 9 in Louisiana. A US Senator reported that maintenance workers at the Superdome are being replaced by out of town workers who will work for less money and no benefits. He also reported that seventy-five Louisiana electricians at the Naval Air Station are being replaced by workers from Kellogg Brown and Root - a subsidiary of Halliburton.



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Bush’s Slow, Piecemeal Katrina Recovery Plan Criticized By Republicans

LA Times [via Huffington Post]- Almost two months after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast and a month after promising in a nationally televised speech to help rebuild the region "quickly," President Bush has settled on a cautious, piecemeal approach that even many members of his own party fear will stall reconstruction and sow economic disarray.


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Old emails strike again....

Messages Depict Disarray in Federal Katrina Response

Wash Post - As Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans on Aug. 29, Michael D. Brown, then director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, appeared confused over whether Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff had put him in charge, senior military officials could not reach Brown and his team became swamped by the speed of the unfolding disaster, according to e-mails to and from Brown.


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Chertoff says 'I'm not a hurricane expert'

No shit sherlock.

AP - Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff defended his actions before and after Hurricane Katrina, telling lawmakers Wednesday he relied on Federal Emergency Management Agency experts with decades of experience in hurricane response.

"I'm not a hurricane expert," Chertoff said several times in responding to criticisms from members of a special House panel set up to investigate the dismal federal response to Katrina, which killed more than 1,200 people, flooded New Orleans and forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands.


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Republicans target Big Bird to pay for Katrina recovery
quote:
If an influential group of House Republicans gets its way, Big Bird will have to pay his own way to Sesame Street, and Masterpiece Theater will begin searching for product placement opportunities - all to fund the Hurricane Katrina recovery.

The Republican Study Committee, a conservative group within the House GOP caucus, has launched Operation Offset to cut spending by $102.1 billion in this year's budget to help pay for rebuilding New Orleans and other devastated environs. Among the targets in the group's bull's-eye: The National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

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Michael Brown needed his dinner before helping NOLA

Crooks and Liars - NBC Nightly News and Countdown ran this story last night involving FEMA's Marty Bahamonde pleading for help with Michael Brown, and getting an email reply straight out of the "Twilight Zone."
QT video


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More bodies found in New Orleans' Ninth Ward

Knight-Ridder - Nearly two months after Hurricane Katrina struck and more than two weeks after the official quest for bodies was abandoned, corpses of Ninth Ward residents are being found every day.

The discovery of new remains shows no sign of slowing down: Workers hired by the state remove several ossified bodies each day, many of them discovered by residents returning home.

As of Wednesday, the death count from the hurricane was 1,053. That includes 20 more bodies than the total counted five days earlier, and 80 more than were discovered by Oct. 4, when the search was officially called off.


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