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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Umm... NOLA? The World's Still Watching

For a Saturday (normally not a busy blog day) there are some absolutely amazing stories out in the world! I saw this one last night on the
Dead Pelican, but hadn’t written yet because of their hyperbolic attribution to Louis Farrakhan’s stupid, inflammatory remarks about the levees. Their story said,

The resident approached one of the contractor's laborers and blamed the Corps of Engineers for blowing up the floodwall along the lower 9th ward. The angry resident stated that his mother was killed when the levee failed.
I intended to say something about that today anyway, but looks like WaPo has picked up on some more of the story.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency pulled all its workers out of New Orleans's Lower Ninth Ward yesterday after threats of violence and planned to request additional police or National Guard support, a FEMA spokeswoman said.
Unbelievable. The stories appear to sustain each other, which may mean that at least some people did believe Farrakhan’s paranoid ravings about the levees. (I really can't believe what an idiot Farrakhan is.)

However, the Washington Post article contains a further tidbit that really bothers me.
Federal agents have arrested six people in the New Orleans area in recent weeks for making threats against FEMA workers, who have been advised against wearing clothing with the agency logo in public.

I’m appalled that ordinary workers would have to avoid letting people know who they work for - that they are afraid of the public. American oil company executives who travel in South America are told the same thing – but isn’t this the United States?

Yes, FEMA is the latest four-letter-word to hit the American lexicon – and I've taken my own "shots" at them here in the blog - but threatening people in there trying to help is a bit counter-productive, don't ya think?

Thanks to this lovely "cut off nose to spite face" activitiy, I can hardly wait to read what will be said now about New Orleans.


  • At 9:38 AM, Blogger emeeul said;

    Not quite sure I'd so readily dismiss these claims. There is evidence both for and against this claim, but none of us has access to it. I've worked with the Corps here in Washington; they have been both friends and enemies based on various policies. Having some engineering background, an argument can be made to support the accusation it was breached intentionally, as a policy of protecting a greater area by sacrificing a smaller one. The government has done this in the past, so no surprises there (by the way, I'm a government employee). Don't be so quick to jump to assumptions until all the facts are presented.

  • At 9:49 AM, Blogger Polimom said;


    I hear what you're saying. I really do. I don't trust the government on most things - but not because they're (usually) malicious. They're incompetent and entirely too big. (those may or may not be related...)

    However, I'd be more credulous of the "they blew the levees" theory if a) anything had been protected, and b) if there'd been only one breach (or breached section, even).

    But neither of those are true.

    I do agree that more facts will be forthcoming about those darned levees. The T-P has more about it this morning, in fact.

    Regardless of outcomes, though, threatening contractors and workers is not justified.

  • At 10:56 PM, Blogger Mark said;

    It's not as if stories that the government blew the eastern levees to save the city are a new story. These rumours were rampant after Betsy, and go back ever further. This time, the failures were equal opportunity, hitting the Ninth and St. Bernard and West End/Lakeview and Gentilly equally.

    As for the FEMA workers, frankly I'm surprised its taken this long. If you know someone who's actually been helped by FEMA, I'd be interested to read about it.

    FEMA's role is to miminize the federal responsility and deflect blame, unless they're handing out cash to potential voters. And the people in the Ninth Ward don't look like prime Jeb for President voters to me.

    They need to save their money in case some real Americans in Florida need it next season, I guess.

    Remembering Katrina, Envisioning New Orleans

  • At 9:00 AM, Blogger Polimom said;

    Yes, I do actually know people who have been helped by FEMA. I know more, though, who have not.

    It's a disgrace, it's disgusting, it's a betrayal of an entire citizenry by its goverenment...and I absolutely believe that things would look much different if Jeb were the Governor of Louisiana right now, just like I think Florida would have seen what Louisiana is seeing with Blanco at the helm (and that statement is made not to attack Blanco, necessarily).

    But the people working for FEMA are the wrong targets, and it does nothing but exacerbate the situation to attack them.

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