Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Yet more on Katrina

Pat Robertson, never one to miss an opportunity to tell Americans that God hates them, has declared that Katrina was caused by Ellen Degeneres. Someone heal us of this idiot.

Over the weekend, CNN sued the government for the right to shoot images wherever they liked in the areas affected by Katrina. On Saturday, the Bush administration acknowledged the first amendment and announced that they would not challenge CNN in court. Now comes a report, via War and Piece, that some members of the Army are refusing reporter's rights to take pictures or even report on what they are seeing. Either these military personel still think they're in a war zone (and who could blame them? Dead bodies lying around, toppled buildings, smashed vehicles, fires...oh, wait...how did water get into this desert?) or the Bush folks think that they have found a clever way to dance around the issue.

War and Piece also reports on a Wall Street Journal online story which outline government documents showing the federal government's failures in it's response:

FEMA's official requests, known as tasking assignments and used by the agency to demand help from other government agencies, show that it first asked the Department of Transportation to look for buses to help evacuate the more than 20,000 people who had taken refuge at the Superdome in New Orleans at 1:45 a.m. on Aug. 31. At the time, it only asked for 455 buses and 300 ambulances for the enormous task. Almost 18 hours later, it canceled the request for the ambulances because it turned out, as one FEMA employee put it, "the DOT doesn't do ambulances."

FEMA ended up modifying the number of buses it thought it needed to get the job done, until it settled on a final request of 1,355 buses at 8:05 p.m. on Sept. 3. The buses, though, trickled into New Orleans, with only a dozen or so arriving on the first day.

The part of the plan that authorizes OSHA's role as coordinator and allows it to mobilize experts from other agencies such as NIH wasn't activated by FEMA until shortly before 5 p.m. Sunday [September 11th]. The delay came despite repeated efforts by the agencies to mobilize...

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