Monday, September 12, 2005

Faster than Hugo

I have had at least two individuals with journalistic backgrounds say something to the effect of, (and I'm paraphrasing)...."Bush really screwed up this Katrina response, but hey the Republicans don't care anyway because it's just black people in the South and they don't vote for Republicans anyway." (as they barely contain their glee at the prospect of personally pinning the disaster on Bush)

The press, in near perfect synchronicity has denounced the relief efforts as terrible, ineffective, fatally misguided, etc....

The reality on the ground does not match the rhetoric. The predictions of 10,000+ dead are (thankfully) way overblown. It appears the official toll will be around 200 (in New Orleans), and while 200 dead is a tragedy, it has been known for years (over one hundred) that if the levees were to be breached there would be catastrophic loss of life and property. That is why Louisiana was awards more federal dollars than ANY OTHER STATE.

What Government is Doing (as of September 9, 2005)
Federal disaster declarations are covering 90,000 square miles of affected areas.
National Response Plan mobilizes resources of the entire federal government to support response and recovery.
71,100 unified federal personnel have been deployed
More than 48,500 lives have been saved and rescued
248,431 people have been evacuated and safely housed in shelters in 22 states and the District of Columbia.
Commodities delivered to date include:

o 18 million MREs

o 40 million liters of water

o 1.7 million pounds of ice

o 32 tons of basic first aid supplies

o More than 600 buses to transport evacuees

The United States Coast Guard rescued more than 23,800 lives in the wake of Katrina.
More than 17,000 volunteer medical personnel have registered with Health and Human Services to assist in recovery.
The American Red Cross, in coordination with the Southern Baptists, are serving nearly 500,000 hot meals each day.
43,000 National Guard are on the ground in three states.
U.S. Corps of Engineers civilians and soldiers have closed the 17th St. Canal levee breach in New Orleans and are now discharging water. Several small pumps throughout the city are also now online, and the Corps anticipates bringing more online as the week progresses.
All patients and staff from the 11 top priority hospitals in the New Orleans area have been fully evacuated. Three other hospitals in the area are fully functioning with fuel and power and have no need to evacuate.
15 Disaster Recovery Centers open in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas to gain assistance from recovery specialists of local, state, federal and volunteer agencies.
List of Government Waivers and Dispensations Authorized for Hurricane Katrina Response

Jason van Steenwyk is a Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief. He notes that:
"The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne."
For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla. after Hurricane Andrew hit in 2002. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three.

The fact that the response has been unprecedented, the loss of life minimal-- considering the damage, and the rescue efforts have been amazingly well executed, the press will continue to attempt to hang an albatross around any republican they can blame...because Bush bungled, Brown botched, and Chertoff is a jerkoff...

Besides it makes a better story to have Geraldo saving an old lady, and Matthew McConeghy saving poodles and Kanye West and Jamie Foxx denouncing Bush as a racist, then to actually report the truth.

(Update....Brown has resigned. And for anyone not aware of the pop culture spin, Kanye and Jamie recently cut a track together, so while their public denunciations have happened at different times and in different venues, there is no question that they are coordinated to get their names in the press---to sell more records. After all, if you can't profit off of the backs of people suffering through a natural disaster's aftermath, then why bother making records?)


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