These are simply additions to The Status of the Blame Game, items from the news wires, Friday, September 9, as the supporters of the administration maintain Bush acted heroically, and in a timely manner, and appropriately, to events as they unfolded with Hurricane Katrina, the devastation of the Gulf Coast and the flooding and abandonment of New Orleans.
Blame Assigned: The National Weather Service
This comes from ranking senate Republican, Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania. From WTFI in central Pennsylvania, this:
The audio of the interview is here in MP3-QuickTime format.
Santorum has critical words for forecasters in the wake of Katrina
Damon Boughamer, Friday, September 9, 2005
(Washington) - U.S. Senator Rick Santorum is suggesting that early mistakes in predicting the path of Hurricane Katrina may be a symptom of lost focus at the National Weather Service.
Santorum, who introduced legislation earlier this year to curb the output of government weather forecasters, says tracking life-threatening weather must be central to what the agency is doing.
Asked about Katrina by WITF, Santorum described weather service warnings for Florida, where the storm first made landfall, as "not sufficient." Santorum's bill instructs the government to abandon weather prediction and data reporting efforts that duplicate private-sector activity. He came under fire when it was revealed that the head of State College-based AccuWeather, which would benefit, has given his campaigns thousands of dollars.
The National Weather Service, really its unionized members, responds:
Hey, he just wants to privatize the weather service to make it more efficient, and the AccuWeather folks gave him all that money to help him in that effort.
The National Weather Service Employees Union issued the following statement today in response to Rick Santorum's misguided comments about the performance of the National Weather Service concerning Hurricane Katrina.
"The bottom line is that we did our job well and everyone knows it. By falsely claiming that we got it wrong, Rick Santorum is continuing his misguided crusade against the National Weather Service. It’s unfortunate that Senator Santorum would try to use this tragedy to push his own agenda. Senator Santorum's comments are aimed at jumpstarting his bizarre stalled legislation to undermine the mission of the National Weather Service, legislation that has failed to garner the support of even one of his colleagues in the U.S. Senate.” said Paul Greaves, President of NWSEO.
The early warnings about Hurricane Katrina issued by the National Weather Service have been praised for their accuracy by news organizations such as NBC News, The New York Times and even internationally by The London Times.
"The fact is that we issued several warnings about the oncoming storm. Sadly, many of those warnings fell on deaf ears.
"We urge Senator Santorum to retract his remarks about the National Weather Service. Senator Santorum would be providing a better service to the nation if he focused his efforts on helping the victims of this hurricane, instead of lashing out against the hardworking men and women of the National Weather Service who prove their worth each day." said Mr. Greaves.
Did the government weather service deceive Americans and tell them this storm was nothing much? Use your memory, if you hate America, Bush and free enterprise. Otherwise, trust Rick on this.
Blame Assigned: The Press Got All these People Killed
This one comes from Hugh Hewitt, prominent commentator, patriotic defender of the administration. His contention: Reporters are directly responsible for the deaths of all those people in New Orleans because they did not convey the severity of the hurricane before it hit.
Note this from an interview Hewitt gave Jay Rosen of New York University:
Again, use your memory, if you hate America, Bush. Otherwise, trust Hugh on this on this.
Again, I've got a proposition for you, because they [reporters] did not do their homework, because they did not understand the levees were the threat, they ended up killing hundreds of Americans. I'm not going to say thousands, because I don't know the number. But I know hundreds are dead, that they did not communicate the severity of this storm.
Forget this list:
That's just a few, from Blogoland, the "radio blogger" monitoring conservative talk radio so you don't have to. There are links to the stories, but Hugh might be maintaining these things were never said. Who do you trust?
CNN: August 28, 2005 Sunday
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: The city is preparing for up to 15 inches of rain and a storm surge of up to 28 feet, a wall of water that would overwhelming the city's levee system. Worst case scenarios predict the bowl-shaped city could be submerged under as much as 30 feet of water.
ABC News: Good Morning America: August 28, 2005 Sunday
DAVID KERLEY, ABC NEWS(Off Camera) Good morning, Kate. New Orleans is waking up on this Sunday, realizing it is still the bull's eye for hurricane Katrina. This is Lake Pontchartrain. This is the north side of New Orleans. And this is one of the big concerns, as well as the Mississippi on the south, is that when the storm surge comes, a lot of water and the winds is going to push the water over the dikes and levees and flood New Orleans. That's why residents are being told to leave town.
CBS NEWS: August 28, 2005 Sunday
LEE COWAN: (Voiceover) Now the main worry, Charlie, of course, is the water. The storm surge from Katrina is expected to be anywhere between 15 and 20 feet, with waves on top of that. The levees that were built around this city after Betsy in 1965 are only 13 feet high.
NBC NEWS: August 28, 2005 Sunday
SAVIDGE: For New Orleans, Katrina is the nightmare that's haunted officials for decades.
Mayor C. RAY NAGIN (New Orleans): This is not a test.
SAVIDGE: The "Big Easy" is a giant bowl below sea level, dependent on levees and pumps to keep dry, and water isn't the only thing the city can trap. There are over 100,000 people with no car and no real way out.
NPR: August 28, 2005 Sunday
Dr. SUHAYDA: The reason the Red Cross has elected not to open shelters in the city is that there are hurricane conditions, such as the one we're facing, that everyone knows would overtop the levee, that is the levees are only designed - or are designed - for about a Category 3 storm. This is a Category 5. It's not going to be any surprise if you put 10 tons on a bridge that tells you it can only hold five tons, you know.
But There WAS Looting
Unfortunately, it was done by FEMA contract employees - see this from the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Three Texas truck drivers under contract with the federal government to bring in storm relief supplies for Plaquemines Parish have been arrested for allegedly looting toys, dolls, women's lingerie and other merchandise from a Belle Chasse Family Dollar store, authorities said.
Booked late Wednesday night with one count each of looting were Gerald W. Thomas, 47, of Tyler, Texas; Thomas Sherman, 39, also of Tyler; and Lasharon Lemons, 36, of Dallas, said Major John Marie with the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office.
Well, there's a silver lining to the whole business. Note this from the Wall Street Journal's "Washington Wire" -
Two shaky House incumbents, Democrat Melancon and Republican Boustany, hope response to hurricane rallies voters behind them. House Republican campaign chief Reynolds touts chance to market conservative social-policy solutions; 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."
Baker explains later he didn't intend flippancy but has long wanted to improve low-income housing.
Blame Assigned: It's Hard Work Figuring Out Who Has What Authority
Digby over at Hullabaloo can explain this one:
Seems so. If it wasn't cheerleading or attacking, well, you had to think things through. Hard work.
has a full rundown on the various implications of this NY Times article
, which seems to indicate that while hurricane victims were dying on national television, the Justice Department was debating the fine points of posse commitatus
and worrying about whether it would look good to take command from a female governor. This is the same justice department that has declared torture to be legal and asserted a previously unheard of doctrine that the president has unlimited powers during wartime.
... Leaders prove their mettle in times of crisis. And 9/11 was a fairly simple crisis to manage. It was a terrible tragedy and a shocking act of violence but it happened quickly in one small area and then was over. The primary response required by the federal government was to figure out how it happened and take steps to prevent it from happening again. The only immediate decision the president had to make was an easy one - whether to depose the Taliban and break up al Qaeda. And even that decision didn't have to be made on the spot in the midst of a rapidly changing situation on the ground and ongoing death and destruction. During the event itself and its immediate aftermath he was famously reading "My Pet Goat" and then flying all over the country like a chicken with his head cut off stopping only to make timorous speeches about how we were going to find "these folks" who had done this.
His reputation for great leadership and crisis management consists solely of going before the American people with a bullhorn and saying "... and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear from all of us soon." That's not leadership - that's cheerleading. Bush and his minions have never understood the difference.
Blame Put Aside: The March Will Take Place, As Scheduled
Tight Constraints on Pentagon's Freedom Walk
Event Remembering 9/11, Troops to Be Kept 'Sterile,' Limited to Preregistered
Petula Dvorak - Washington Post - Friday, September 9, 2005 - Page A01
What? Are they afraid of something? Blame for most everything has been assigned. What's the problem?
Organizers of the Pentagon's 9/11 memorial Freedom Walk on Sunday are taking extraordinary measures to control participation in the march and concert, with the route fenced off and lined with police and the event closed to anyone who does not register online by 4:30 p.m. today.
The march, sponsored by the Department of Defense, will wend its way from the Pentagon to the Mall along a route that has not been specified but will be lined with four-foot-high snow fencing to keep it closed and "sterile," said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense.
The U.S. Park Police will have its entire Washington force of several hundred on duty and along the route, on foot, horseback and motorcycles and monitoring from above by helicopter. Officers are prepared to arrest anyone who joins the march or concert without a credential and refuses to leave, said Park Police Chief Dwight E. Pettiford.
The event, the America Supports You Freedom Walk, is billed as a memorial to victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks and a show of support for those serving in the military, topped off with a concert by country singer Clint Black, known for his pro-troops anthem, "Iraq and Roll." Organizers said they expect 3,000 to 10,000 participants.
Barber said that organizers would rather not have such stringent measures on their event but that police had requested them.
... What's unusual for an event on the Mall is the combination of fences, required preregistration and the threat of arrest.
Park Police officials said security and safety were concerns, especially because Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld will participate in some of the day's events. They said they have approved a permit for a small group of protesters that plans to stand along Independence Avenue.
Barber at first said this week that event organizers would rather not be so strict but that they were complying with police orders. But yesterday she said Park Police offered two options: Screen participants at the Mall, as police did for the Fourth of July fireworks and concert, where bags would be searched and restricted items such as alcohol, weapons, animals or glass bottles would be seized; or screen them at the Pentagon and, by restricting access throughout the march, "make sure the same people who were screened at the Pentagon are the same people going to the concert," she said.
... One restricted group will be the media, whose members will not be allowed to walk along the march route. Reporters and cameras are restricted to three enclosed areas along the route but are not permitted to walk alongside participants walking from the Pentagon, across the Memorial Bridge to the Mall.