Monday, September 26, 2005

Two From Think Progress

This post summarizes the options available for evacuees succinctly:

Guess who is being talked about:

"They’re in Washington," Gov. Bush said. "Their house (in Houston) is all boarded up."

The storm’s march toward land sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the nation’s fourth-largest city in a frustratingly slow, bumper-to-bumper exodus.

Local officials said public housing residents are not being evacuated.

The last line is the giveaway.

And, following their link, we find out that wingnuts are capable of learning, although their, um, progress (pun intended) should raise eyebrows...three weeks ago the whole 'nut crowd was insisting that disaster response was a state/local concern:

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.

"The atmosphere here is very, very different than it was in the days following Katrina," said John Pine, Louisiana State University Disaster Science and Management director. Pine was in Louisiana's emergency operations center in Baton Rouge on Sunday and said that nearly as many federal officials were present as those from state and local agencies...

To be sure, the devastation wreaked last month by Katrina appears to have been far greater than that caused by Rita. But experts say the threat posed by both should have prompted similar preparations and responses - and similar high-level attention from the Bush administration.

Both storms barreled through the Gulf of Mexico toward large population centers. Both reached Category 5 strength before weakening slightly as they made landfall. And both storms had similar potential for catastrophe - with the approach of Katrina perhaps causing even greater concern because of its track toward New Orleans' below-sea-level population, which was at risk both from the storm and from levees long known to be vulnerable to a direct hit.

Federal officials have been avoiding a detailed discussion of what went wrong during Katrina, when President Bush and other top federal officials were on vacation. (my emphasis)

But in praising response to Rita, they provide some guidance, even if unintended, in assessing the government's response to Katrina, which killed more than 1,000 people in Louisiana and Mississippi.

"On vacation." There's an ongoing war in TWO countries, AND you had the kind of natural disaster that telegraphs its arrival in advance. Their response? R&R...

That's just plain pathetic.

So, they got it right the second time around--big goddamn deal. This administration has been in office for almost FIVE years and they're still TRAINEES? Lord help us--I can't imagine how inept their response would be to a terrorist attack.

On second though, maybe I can...

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