Ray Nagin audio clips

For those who can't get enough of New Orleans' oft-wacky mayor, there's a collection of his hits here.

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"Three Displaced New Orleans Residents Discuss Race and Hurricane Katrina"

This Sep 7 Democracy Now! transcript might shed some light on New Orleans' problems, and not in the way that Amy Goodman would expect. The least questionable item is her still - almost a week after it being discredited - repeating the "looting vs. finding" canard.
More importantly, her interview with Curtis Muhammad includes this:

...By the time we got to Houston, we had learned a little lesson. We learned if we took our already white volunteer as our leader to the shelters, we could enter without any problem, without any red tape. We were allowed to enter. So, we are convinced that the racism about the New Orleans black population, the black poor population, is so tremendous and so negligent and we don't know the reasons. And maybe so all black people. Maybe that's just - we just have this tremendous universal hatred for dark skin. I don't know what it is. But we watched blatant racism, blatant racism.
We watched our government, whether it's local, state or national, and I would rather say state or national because the local government has no National Guard. It has no helicopters. It has no big boats. It doesn't have the wherewithal to have moved 150,000 people trapped in New Orleans underwater. The state and the feds are the culprits, and though they have not joined the International Court, there must be a people's court somewhere that can charge wrongful death, that can charge murder. Because that's what we have witnessed.

"Bumblers, Not Bigots: The post-Katrina racism bunk"

Deroy Murdock has a long discussion of the race-baiting coming from "liberals", starting with Randall Robinson's infamous cannibalism post:

...Like New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, and FEMA director Michael Brown, President Bush must explain why, for three to four days, no one could manage at least to air drop bottled water and granola bars on thousands of Katrina survivors who baked under temperatures exceeding 90 degrees at the Crescent City's Superdome, its convention center, and freeway overpasses in the central business district.
While he must answer for that and other badly dropped balls, Bush need not apologize for being fueled by bigotry during last week's "inadequate" federal response, as he described it.
This charge crumbles on first inspection.
George W. Bush is a politician with a very ambitious agenda. Does Randall Robinson really believe that Bush thinks it would be easier to persuade Congress to reform Social Security if he merely arranged to deny poor, beleaguered blacks food and water for over half a week?
Does Elijah Cummings truly believe that Bush thinks it would encourage the Senate to confirm his judicial appointees if he ordered FEMA to conduct slow-motion rescues of elderly black ladies from their attics?
Does Kanye West actually believe that Bush eagerly anticipated televised images of parched, screaming black babies as a public-diplomacy tool to boost European and Middle Eastern support for U.S. policy in Iraq and the Arab world?...

Tancredo: Katrina Aid to feds, not corrupt locals

Here's a letter Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) wrote to House Speaker Dennis Hastert:

Given the abysmal failure of state and local officials in Louisiana to plan adequately for or respond to the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the city of New Orleans, and given the long history of public corruption in Louisiana, I hope the House will refrain from directly appropriating any funds from the public treasury to either the state of Louisiana or the city of New Orleans. Instead, reconstruction and relief funds dedicated to the people of New Orleans should be administered by a private organization or a select committee similar to the historic Truman Commission.
Public corruption is a well known problem in Louisiana. The head of the FBI in New Orleans just this past year described the state's public corruption as "epidemic, endemic, and entrenched. No branch of government is exempt." Over the last thirty years, a long list of Louisiana politicians have been convicted of crimes; the list includes a governor, an attorney general, an elections commissioner, an agriculture commissioner, three successive insurance commissioners, a congressman, a federal judge, a State Senate president, six other state legislators, and a host of appointed officials, local sheriffs, city councilmen, and parish police jurors. Given the documented public corruption in the state, I am not confident that Louisiana officials can be trusted to administer federal relief aid...

The (at this point in time tasteless but what the hey) joke from Congressman Billy Tauzin might shed a clue as to why this is a good idea: "One half of Louisiana is under water and the other half is under indictment."

"Gov. Blanco, Mayor Nagin at Each Others Throats"

NewsMax:

Open warfare appears to have broken out between Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, with Blanco challenging on Wednesday Nagin's authority to order a mandatory citywide evacuation.
The mayor certainly has ordered that, but the governor, and that would be me, will have to enforce it or implement it," Gov. Blanco told the Fox News Channel.
The Louisiana Democrat said she wanted more time to determine "whether or not there's an absolute justification for that," saying she feared any forced evacuation could put people at risk for disease.
"We wouldn't want the next wave of people getting ill and perhaps dying from terrible diseases, and that is a big concern," Blanco told Fox, adding, "We want definite information. We don't need to put more grief on people..."

Levee upgrade wouldn't have prevented failure

One of the major "liberal" talking points concerns funding for New Orleans' levees. Just one problem:

...Indeed, if editorial writers had a comment to make it was to say something about the levees.
And why not? The levees broke, didn't they? That's what helped mess up the rescue effort, didn't it? And there were cuts in federal help, weren't there?
The answers to all these questions are yes. But, the fact is, they miss an important point, which The New York Times editorialists might have discovered had they read their own news story by Andrew Revkin and Christopher Drew. The reporters quoted Shea Penland, director of the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of New Orleans, about how surprising it was that the break in the levee was "a section that was just upgraded."
"It did not have an earthen levee," he told them. "It had a vertical concrete wall several feet thick."
Worse for the editorial writers were statements by the chief engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lt. Gen Carl Strock: "I don't see that the level of funding was really a contributing factor in this case. Had this project been fully complete, it is my opinion that based on the intensity of this storm that the flooding of the business district and the French Quarter would have still taken place."
The reason: the funding would only have completed an upgrade of the levees to a protect against a level 3 hurricane. Katrina was a level 4 plus...

WSJ: No, blame Blanco, Nagin instead

Bob Williams, president of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation and former Washington state legislator "who represented the legislative district most impacted by the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980" offers "Blame Amid the Tragedy. Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin failed their constituents":

...The primary responsibility for dealing with emergencies does not belong to the federal government. It belongs to local and state officials who are charged by law with the management of the crucial first response to disasters. First response should be carried out by local and state emergency personnel under the supervision of the state governor and his emergency operations center.
The actions and inactions of Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin are a national disgrace due to their failure to implement the previously established evacuation plans of the state and city. Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin cannot claim that they were surprised by the extent of the damage and the need to evacuate so many people. Detailed written plans were already in place to evacuate more than a million people. The plans projected that 300,000 people would need transportation in the event of a hurricane like Katrina. If the plans had been implemented, thousands of lives would likely have been saved.
In addition to the plans, local, state and federal officials held a simulated hurricane drill 13 months ago, in which widespread flooding supposedly trapped 300,000 people inside New Orleans. The exercise simulated the evacuation of more than a million residents. The problems identified in the simulation apparently were not solved...

Louisiana blocked food, water to Superdome

From Hugh Hewitt:

The Fox News Channel's Major Garrett was just on my show extending the story he had just reported on Brit Hume's show: The Red Cross is confirming to Garrett that it had prepositioned water, food, blankets and hygiene products for delivery to the Superdome and the Convention Center in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, but were blocked from delivering those supplies by orders of the Louisiana state government, which did not want to attract people to the Superdome and/or Convention Center. Garrett has no paper trail yet, but will follow up on his verbal confirmation from sources at the highest levels of the Red Cross.

UPDATE: A transcript is here. Apparently the Red Cross had a "literal vanguard of trucks with water, food, blankets and hygiene items". On Monday or Tuesday ("immediately after the storm passed"), at an as yet unknown time, the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security explicitly told them they couldn't come to the Superdome to distribute those goods.
From the transcript:

HH: Any doubt in the Red Cross' mind that they were ready to go, but they were blocked?
MG: No. Absolutely none. They are absolutely unequivocal on that point.
HH: And are they eager to get this story out there, because they are chagrined by the coverage that's been emanating from New Orleans?
MG: I think they are. I mean, and look. Every agency that is in the private sector, Salvation Army, Red Cross, Feed The Children, all the ones we typically see are aggrieved by all the crap that's being thrown around about the response to this hurricane, because they work hand and glove with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. When FEMA is tarred and feathered, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army are tarred and feathered, because they work on a cooperative basis. They feel they are being sullied by this reaction...

More at the link.
And, note that the Red Cross has a FAQ on why they aren't in New Orleans. It includes this:

The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

See also the Sep. 3 article "Homeland Security won't let Red Cross deliver food".

"Dems Blast Bush Over Hurricane Response"

AP:

...Democrats, armed with talking points and in close consultation, went into full battle mode Wednesday on the Republican administration's handling of the crisis.
[Hillary] Clinton called for an independent commission to study the response and made the rounds of four network morning television shows on Wednesday.
Of Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Clinton told CBS: "I would never have appointed such a person. I would imagine, I don't think that anybody would. You would appoint somebody who has experience."
Congress' top two Democrats led the charge. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada pressed for a wide-ranging investigation that would explore questions such as "How much time did the president spend dealing with this emerging crisis while he was on vacation?"
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., renewed her call for Brown's dismissal and declared: "There were two disasters last week: first, the natural disaster, and second, the man-made disaster, the disaster made by mistakes made by FEMA."
She told reporters she had urged Bush in person at the White House on Tuesday to fire Brown.
"Why would I do that?" Pelosi quoted the president as saying...
... More than two-thirds of Republicans said Bush is doing a great or good job in responding to the hurricane and flooding, according to a CNN- USA Today-Gallup poll out Wednesday. About two-thirds of Democrats say he is doing a bad or terrible job...

"FEMA Head Bears the Brunt of Katrina Anger"

AP:

He's been called an idiot, an incompetent and worse. The vilification of federal disaster chief Michael Brown, emerging as chief scapegoat for whatever went wrong in the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, has ratcheted into the stratosphere. Democratic members of Congress are taking numbers to call for his head.
"I would never have appointed such a person," said New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"Let's bring in someone who is a professional," urged Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.
A more visceral indictment came from closer to the calamity. Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish near New Orleans, said the bureaucracy "has murdered people in the greater New Orleans area."
... But the dim view of Brown's qualifications by senators seems to have emerged only in hindsight. Members of both parties seemed little troubled by his background at 2002 Senate hearings that led to his confirmation as deputy FEMA chief.
Indeed, Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, who led those hearings, called Brown's long-ago stint as assistant city manager in Edmond, Okla., a "particularly useful experience" because he had responsibility for local emergency services...

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