Liberal talking points dump

These are some of the current "liberal" talking points. See if you notice something in common:
FEMA won't accept Amtrak's help in evacuations
FEMA turns away experienced firefighters
FEMA turns back Wal-Mart supply trucks
FEMA prevents Coast Guard from delivering diesel fuel
FEMA won't let Red Cross deliver food
FEMA bars morticians from entering New Orleans
FEMA blocks 500-boat citizen flotilla from delivering aid
FEMA fails to utilize Navy ship with 600-bed hospital on board
FEMA to Chicago: Send just one truck
FEMA turns away generators
FEMA: "First Responders Urged Not To Respond"

Ray Nagin: "I think it's more a class issue than race"

From this Sep. 4 post:

Some observers have said that because the majority of storm evacuees are black, the lethargic disaster response has a racist component. But Nagin cast the color issue in another light. "I think it's more a class issue than race," he said. "The Superdome had mostly poor people in distress. The rich have resources the poor don't. The Convention Center was different. There the poor were mixed with people from hotels and predators. You had blacks, Hispanics, Asians. The predators in there didn't care. When those stories come out, like children raped, with their throats cut, then somebody's got to answer."

Building communism under the overpass

The liberals are passing around what purports to be a first-person account of living through the hurricane, as narrated by two paramedics who claim they were in NO for a convention. There was such a convention, and the two authors appear to be paramedics. Larry Bradshaw is from the SEIU, and Lorrie Beth Slonsky is apparently retired on disability.
However, something about the story seems a little... overspun to this blogger. I'm not alone in my skepticism.
First of all, here's a comment of someone from Daily Kos:

Probably these two stayed behind to experience the catastrophe, suffer with the proles, and then muckrake. BUT THAT IS OKAY!!! I hasten to add. It just puts a slightly different light on the story.

And, there's a long discussion about this here. And, here's an article the same authors penned on November 5, 2004. That URL and the red fist logo will alert you that you're at the site of the Socialist Worker Online. (This page identifies the SWO page as its source, and that does indeed appear to be the original location where that story appeared. It's reprinted at the EMSNetwork with an 11/7 date.)
Now, before excerpting the authors' tale, here are some articles that more or less support them. First, Sep. 2's "St. Louisans survive lawlessness in French Quarter" sounds vaguely like their tale, and it also mentions the Gretna P.D. blocking evacuees from entering Jefferson Parish.
"Ordeal tests island medics" is somewhat similar, as are "Surviving hurricane no vacation for tourist" and "Holiday in hell: Sask. pair recount ordeal in New Orleans". And, if you can't trust Saskatchawaneans, who can you trust?
Now, finally!, let's get to the screed, entitled "Hurricane Katrina - Our Experiences". It appears here with a timestamp of Sep 6, 2005, 11:59. But, it appears to have been originally published here, with a timestamp of 2005-09-05 17:39:00.
As with the other article, note the red fist. That last link is to the San Francisco Socialists. Perhaps you're sensing a bit of a... link between the authors and socialism.
If you don't want to bother reading the article, just imagine the 9/2 STLToday article, but with a far-left twist:

...The much-promised federal, state and local aid never materialized and the windows at Walgreen's gave way to the looters. There was an alternative. The cops could have broken one small window and distributed the nuts, fruit juices, and bottle water in an organized and systematic manner. But they did not. Instead they spent hours playing cat and mouse, temporarily chasing away the looters...
What you will not see, but what we witnessed, were the real heroes and sheroes of the hurricane relief effort: the working class of New Orleans...
...Our little encampment began to blossom. Someone stole a water delivery truck and brought it up to us. Let's hear it for looting! A mile or so down the freeway, an army truck lost a couple of pallets of C-rations on a tight turn. We ferried the food back to our camp in shopping carts. Now secure with the two necessities, food and water; cooperation, community, and creativity flowered. We organized a clean up and hung garbage bags from the rebar poles. We made beds from wood pallets and cardboard. We designated a storm drain as the bathroom and the kids built an elaborate enclosure for privacy out of plastic, broken umbrellas, and other scraps. We even organized a food recycling system where individuals could swap out parts of C-rations (applesauce for babies and candies for kids!)...

They did damn near everything except electrify the countryside. Before the Oppressor knocked their dream to the ground.
Now, for all I know they might be telling the truth, more or less. But, the revolutionary subtext is going to make the bourgeoisie - and most of the proles - very skeptical.
UPDATE: As others have pointed out, what they're calling "C-rations" have been called MREs for at least the past two decades. Those MREs are marked as such, and "C-rations" probably exist only in museums or long-abandoned fallout shelters.
And, UPI has confirmed part of their tale: Gretna Police "trapped survivors in New Orleans". However, it's basically the same part that was confirmed by the 9/2 STLToday link above.

A Snopes timeline

Snopes says this is false:

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco refused President Bush's pleas to declare an emergency in Louisiana before Hurricane Katrina struck.

The timeline they provide... isn't in temporal order, so I've corrected the below (assuming they have their facts correct that is):

- On Friday (26 August), Governor Blanco did indeed declare a state of emergency for the state of Louisiana in advance of Katrina's making landfall in the Gulf Coast.
- On Saturday (27 August), Governor Blanco asked President Bush to declare a state of emergency at the federal level for the state of Louisiana.
- The White House responded to Governor Blanco's request that same day (Saturday) by declaring the emergency and authorizing FEMA "to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency."
- According to the St. Petersberg Times, Max Mayfield of the National Hurricane Center contacted government officials in Louisiana and Mississippi on Saturday night (27 August), not Friday night. [he apparently requested a mandatory evacuation due to Katrina's strength]
- According to the New Orleans Time-Picayune, President Bush's first communication with Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco occurred on Sunday morning (August 28), just before a 9:30 AM press conference called by Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin to announce the latter's mandatory evacuation order for New Orleans.

They have links at their page, so feel free to put any corrections or additional information in the comments.
9/19/05 UPDATE: Unfortunately, I didn't save off Snopes' page when I posted this, since it seems to have changed.
The current version has this as the assertion:

Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco refused President Bush's pleas to declare an emergency before Hurricane Katrina struck.

Note that Nagin has been removed from what's above. And, note that the file was originally called "nagin.asp" but now it's "blanco.asp." They also appear to have added some text to the end.
There are copies of the original version here and here if anyone would care to do a diff. Note that the current version says its mod date is 9/9, but the first has a 9/8 mod date at the end of the excerpt.

Communists respond to Katrina

No, not those Commies, the ones in mainland China. From the People's Daily editorial "New Orleans, another facet of American civilization":

On the fourth day after the hurricane, reports came out about looting, gunfire, rape and baby stealing. The whole city was plunged into archery [sic], without electricity, drinking water or food, and some places even saw expositions [sic]. Rescuers were attacked by a sniper when pulling out patients from a hospital; bodies lay about on the street and gangsters, axe and steel tube in hand, took away all medicines of a hospital.
[...Bush sent in NG...] America seems fighting a city war at home. New Orleans has become Baghdad.
[...NG had "shoot-to-kill orders"...]
[Unlike the tsunami,] now this happed in the United States, showing people another side of this "civilized country"...
In fact, it revealed fragility of the American society, as well as despair and disorder in a state of anarchy. Katrina swept away not only people's homes, but their dignity. Just as German weekly Der Spiegel pointed out, the scene of carnage in hurricane-affected areas, which can only been seen in some backward African countries in the past, disgraced the United States before the entire world.
[...Dem talking points about funding...]
In the face of the hurricane, Americans accepted the challenge but failed to beat it off. This is really a shame on the United States.

"A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State"

From this:

...But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.
The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.
The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over four days last week. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.
The man-made disaster is the welfare state...

Au contraire! After just four decades it's much too soon to tell whether the welfare state has failed. Give them another few decades, "liberal" policies are bound to work one of these days.

"Money Flowed to Questionable Projects"

The WaPo reports on "Largess in Louisiana" (same article here):

...Before Hurricane Katrina breached a levee on the New Orleans Industrial Canal, the Army Corps of Engineers had already launched a $748 million construction project at that very location. But the project had nothing to do with flood control. The Corps was building a huge new lock for the canal, an effort to accommodate steadily increasing barge traffic.
Except that barge traffic on the canal has been steadily decreasing...
...over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large...

Gretna Police Dep't blocked NO evacuees

The 9/2 article "St. Louisans survive lawlessness in French Quarter" contains the following event which presumably occured on Weds. Aug 31:

A group of about 200 Monteleone guests decided to try to walk out of the city to the east, and got to the on-ramp at the Crescent Connection bridge, where they were met by Gretna, La., police with shotguns. "They told us the bridge was closed to foot traffic," Scheer said. "Some locals had joined us and became extremely unruly, threatening to rush the officers. They fired their shotguns into the air."

And, from 9/4:

Nagin's ire began to rise anew as he recalled a foiled strategy to send able-bodied refugees over the Crescent City Connection to the high ground of the West Bank.
"We were taking in people from St. Bernard Parish," he said. "If we had a bottle of water, we shared it. Then when we were going to let people cross the bridge, they were met with frigging dogs and guns at the Gretna parish line. They said, 'We're going to protect Jefferson Parish assets.'
"Some people value homes, cars and jewelry more than human life. The only escape route was cut off. They turned them back at the parish line."

I'd like to hear Gretna's side of things and/or what they have to say.

"City had evacuation plan but strayed from strategy"

The Houston Chronicle mentions the flooded schoolbuses and NO's disaster planning here:

...The mayor's mandatory evacuation order was issued 20 hours before the storm struck the Louisiana coast, less than half the time researchers determined would be needed to get everyone out.
City officials had 550 municipal buses and hundreds of additional school buses at their disposal but made no plans to use them to get people out of New Orleans before the storm, said Chester Wilmot, a civil engineering professor at Louisiana State University and an expert in transportation planning, who helped the city put together its evacuation plan.
Instead, local buses were used to ferry people from 12 pickup points to poorly supplied "shelters of last resort" in the city. An estimated 50,000 New Orleans households have no access to cars, Wilmot said...
Hospitals were exempted from the mayor's mandatory evacuation order. But at least two public hospitals, loaded with more than 1,000 caregivers and patients, had their generators in their basements, which made them vulnerable in a flood. That violated the state's hurricane plan but had gone uncorrected for years because the hospitals did not have the money to fix the situation, a state university hospital official told the Chronicle...
...Tami Frazier, a spokeswoman for Mayor C. Ray Nagin, currently working out of Houston, refused to comment on direct questions this week or to answer several written questions sent via e-mail. She cited the need to focus on rescuing citizens and recovering bodies....
...The city of New Orleans Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan suggested people develop their own way to get out. "The potential exists that New Orleans could be without sufficient supplies to meet the needs of persons with special considerations, and there is significant risk being taken by those individuals who decide to remain in these refuges of last resort," it says.
People who called for information on special needs shelters Saturday were directed to sites in Alexandria and in Monroe, La. - cities 218 and 326 miles away. The state scrambled to find 20 ambulances and some specialized vans to pick up fragile residents who needed rides.
"There were transportation systems in place to take people out of New Orleans, which was the preferred solution," said Kristen Meyer, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Hospitals. But she's not sure how many got out...
...Florida, by contrast, for two decades has required counties to establish and maintain permanent databases of "special needs citizens," and arrange rides for people with no transportation. The state also has shelters established for myriad medical conditions...

Louisiana Homeland Security plans


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