Blogs > HNN > For Whom the Bell Tolls

Sep 2, 2005 5:49 pm

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Here is what Bush said at a press conference today about the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe: "We got a lot of rebuilding to do. First we're going to save lives and stabilize the situation, and then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house - he's lost his entire house - there's going to be a fantastic house -- and I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch [Laughter]"

This president is criminally negligent, and he also seems to be an inveterate prevaricator. Should he be diagnosed by a professional psychologist, he would, I am sure, be judged moronic (as would be the sycophantic news-persons who laughed), as well as profoundly uncaring and insensitive. I do not know the technical psychological terms for these symptoms. Oh, I forgot to say, he is also incompetent.

For the folks out there who still like this person, for those who think he is of presidential caliber, please consider how he would respond if you -- facing a massive catastrophe -- would need your government to fulfill its responsibilities to you. Given the reality before you, do you continue to think he cares about fellow and sister Americans (not to mention people around the world)?

The world believes we are crazy to have this man as president? Wake up America.

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Mike A Mainello - 9/4/2005

Melissa, The president declared the area a disaster area before Friday as noted in an earlier post.

Evacuation of the city is primarily a local and state issue. The govenor resisted the federal govenment taking over the responsibility for evacuation and now recovery operations until it was too late.

School buses that could have been used for evacuation were never used. Though it is easy to blame the president and FEMA, primary responsibility belongs below this level.

The level of hate I mention has to do with Professor Kimball claiming the president is criminally negligent, an inveterate prevaricator, moronic, and incompetent. Maybe these are reasoned judgements in your opinion, but not mine.

I have linked to a couple of articles which explain military logistics and highlight what the media reports when the president acts too quickly or if the storm is not a powerful as predicted. Professor Kimball has yet to cite one shred of evidence to support his post.

Were mistakes made, yes, can we do better, yes. However, people that decide to ride out the storm or municaplities that plan for these disasters have to allow sufficient time for organizations to act.

Melissa Ann Spore - 9/4/2005

I appreciated Prof. Kimball's argument. One thing I like about HNN and other academic blogs is that they allow extemporaneous comments, which are informed & logical, but not so scholarly to be inaccessible. I also like the mix of emotion and taste with informed comment.
This post had those elements.

Mr. Mainello, there's lots of information easily accessible on the web. Lousisian requested federal help on the Friday before Katrina and recieved no response (cited with governent link on Crooked Timber). CNN's Anderson Cooper (no radical, he) reported rats eating human corpses on the streets of Biloxi. The reasons people didn't get out—primarily poverty and infirmity— are being discussed in the mainstream media. NO's unique problems have a lot to do with size (how much larger than Biloxi?) & a lot to do with the floods. You know, they didnt just have a hurrican like the rest of the gulf. And the floods are attributable to the very geography and 100 years of infrastructure in the place. This geography and collapsed infrastructure are complicating the rescue.

No one disagrees that rescue would be difficult, but when you get that many people in a sports arena on Sunday, you better start planing to get them out before the next Saturday.

I read no hate in Prof.Kimball's post. I did sense frustration, anger, hurt, disappointment—and perhaps shame at out nation's failure.


Brian R Robertson - 9/3/2005

Comment removed at request of poster.

Mike A Mainello - 9/3/2005

I bet you are a great teacher, your way or the highway. The points I make are childish and dont merit discussion. Typical academic.

In your world, the people who made the choice to stay bear zero responsibilty. They started looting in 2 days.

Also your statement about the museums is completely wrong. The items were not looted, but hidden and protected by the employees (notice personal responsibility). Get your facts straight, professor.

Your problem is you hate. I am willing to bet that you cant think of 1 good thing this president has accomplished.

The president has taken responsiblity and said the response was inadequate, but your level of discourse is immature.

When you get back from your work, read my posts on logistics and maybe you will see the magnatude of the situation and why the real blame lies not with the president, but with the local response and the fact that some of the people in N.O. behaved like animals and not people.

If you are going to blog, you should expect comments, but then again I bet you dont even read this far.

Mike A Mainello - 9/3/2005

Here a couple of excellent links about military logistics from a Florida National Guard officer. Since you are a parent I am sure you understand how difficult it is to take a family on a vacation, now you can see how hard it is to move 5000 soldiers.

For your education.

Jeffrey P. Kimball - 9/3/2005

It is pretty difficult debating an issue with someone who blames some people he calls "animals" for the negligent tardiness of a presidential response to an unprecedented crisis. Crisis planning and crisis response are supposed to anticipate looting, among other things. It is also difficult debating with a person who seems to know so little about the whole situation, the extent and nature of the disaster, the variety of responses by the people of New Orleans and its suburbs, the various causes of death, the differences between the nature and scale the hurricane's impact on New Orleans and environs compared with the impact on Mississippi and Alabama---which is not to diminish the tragedy in those places, where indeed Bush was also woefully tardy in his response, as many Republicans (even Republicans) have said. I am sure the local authorities share blame, as does Congress (which happens to be dominated by Republicans). But my parents and my teachers taught me that two wrongs don't make a right. Bush is supposed to be our leader. He's the man. He commands national resources. Come on, take responsibility. Praise where praise is due and cricicize where that is appropriate. And tell your president to stop telling stupid jokes when people are dying of dehydration and abandonment on rooftops, or patients die in hospitals because the hospital ran out of fuel, power, and supplies. It's interesting that even in Iraq, Bush "won the war" in the first few days but couldn't protect museums and property and people from looters and lawlessness either. Seems like a pattern to me. Poor planning. Incompetence. Insensitivity. Period. I will not debate on this level and must, in any case, get back to helping survivors from the catastrophe.

Mike A Mainello - 9/3/2005

Mr. Kimball in your President hating quest, here is another story for you from an earlier disaster. I will provide you the quote and a link to the whole article. Guess there is no pleasing people who hate.

Even before the storm hit, the president declared four counties disaster areas to speed federal money to victims. But that quick response fueled suspicion that he is using disaster politics to help his campaign in one of the most critical battleground states, a notion the president dismissed Sunday.

Mike A Mainello - 9/3/2005

Hmmm, I don't want to debate the point, so I will attack the person. Most academics dont like to be questioned by lay persons. Sorry I am not up to your IQ level.

First, on a personal note, I worked 3 jobs to pay for college, though my parents did help chip in around 40%.

Second, I am a 22 year retired Army vetran with experience in supporting people during times of need. I believe that the federal government is moving at a good clip to support the people.

Third, I am still waiting for you to address why local and state officials dont deserve your rath - is it because they are democrats?

Fourth, when you make a claim that anyone requires psychological help, he better be trained in that area. Are you or are you letting your emotions dictate your argument?

Fifth, The state has failed to contribute there share in matching funds in a couple of cases which have slowed down the construction of levies

Sixth, Is the construction of levies solely a federal responsibility?

Seventh, Since N.O. was founded before 2000, what responsibility does past local, state, and federal administrations have in not completing constructions plans?

Eighth, Should we waive environmental rules and regulations put in place which slow down the contruction and protection of the people?

Nineth, Why is the president criminally negligent? He did declare the area a disaster area before the storm hit so that the federal government could begin support as soon as possible. Please explain your inflamatory comments.

Tenth, Why did many of the citizens of N.O. behave like animals after only 2 days? Were they not warned of the impending storm? Why didnt they stock up on food and water to last a couple of days. Most of them are adults and we should expect adult behavior.

Eleventh, After re-reading your comments I don't see where you support your argument saying that President Bush has mismanaged the wetlands. Is it because the funds for levy construction was reduced in this fiscal year? Was this reduction requested by the administration or did Congress make these numbers final. I admit I am not sure, but I do know that most environmentalists believe that construction of the levies are hurting the wetlands, so I guess the reduction in funds is actually helping the wetlands.

Just a few points for you to dismiss.

Jeffrey P. Kimball - 9/3/2005

Yours is an ad hominem argument. First, for the record,I and other scholars often have extensive hands-on experience of physical labor, natural disasters, family-rearing, personal tragedy, life-striving and struggle. Second,your comments comparing the alleged behavior of races and classes and your restatement of false theories of the baneful effects of social programs reveal what to my mind is a lack of experience of life and a lack of knowledge of the way things work in this world. Whether all of what I've just said is correct, the point, in any case, is whether the Bush administration was negligent in the management of wetlands and in the care of levees, and whether it was or was not responsive to the impending crisis. That's what you must address Mr. Mainello, rather than attempt to defend the Bush administration by shifting the debate to the question of the competence of academics and the alleged failures of "poverty programs." I've also found in my experience that people who make these argument are the direct or indirect beneficiaries of massive social/government subsidies and programs. Make an argument about what's happened, dear sir. Argue the points at issue.

Mike A Mainello - 9/3/2005

After reading this blog for a couple of weeks, it is obvious most of the members have never worked a job outside of academia.

Your comments are shallow and the thought process filtered through a pampered, stress less lifestyle. Why are the states of Alabama and Mississippi coping with the problem better than Louisiana? Is it because the President likes these states better? Maybe those states planned better than Louisiana.

What responsibility do state and local officials bear? What about the people that decided to stay and ride it out? Why didn’t they leave and if they decided to stay, why did they not stock up on enough food to last more than 1 day? People need more than just cigarettes and a few 40’s to survive a couple of days.

Why are the victims of N.O. behaving like animals while those in the other areas are acting with civility and teamwork? Maybe policy makers need to also look at poverty programs and see if they have done nothing more than create animals that could be counted on to vote at the government trough every 2 years.

The federal government has begun a massive effort, but if they had been in place any sooner, they would be many of the victims.