Friday, September 02, 2005

The Imperfect Storm 3

Here's a 2003 article from Civil Engineering Magazine on whether or how to protect New Orleans from floods. (Hat tip: Porkopolis) The summary says:

"During the past 40 years the US Army Corps of Engineers has spent hundreds of millions of dollars constructing a barrier around the low-lying city of New Orleans to protect it from hurricanes. But is the system of levees high enough? And can any defense ultimately protect a city that is perpetually sinking -- in some areas at the rate of half an inch per year?"

Much of the preventive effort was spent on preparing, very carefully, for a Category 3 storm.

On a supercomputer at the Corps’s Waterways Experiment Station, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, engineers run AdCirc simulations of Hurricane Betsy and of Hurricane Andrew, a category 3 storm when it hit Louisiana in 1992. It takes roughly an hour to run the calculations representing 24 hours in the life of the storm. ... Jay Combe, a Corps engineer in charge of the modeling effort, meets every six months with an advisory panel composed of several of the world’s premier modeling experts to review the results. ... Combe says that point should be reached this summer. "I think we’re getting close to the right answer," he says. "But I want to feel totally confident. And I want our outside review team to feel that this is the best we can do with the state of the art right now."

As for Category 4 storms like Katrina, the only defense was to pray nothing wicked that way came for three decades.

"any concerted effort to protect the city from a storm of category 4 or 5 will probably take 30 years to complete. And the feasibility study alone for such an effort will cost as much as $8 million. Even though Congress has authorized the feasibility study, funding has not yet been appropriated. When funds are made available, the study will take about six years to complete. “That’s a lot of time to get the study before Congress,” Naomi admits. “Hopefully we won’t have a major storm before then."

When Katrina showed up, it simply exceeded the designed defenses of city. There was never any prospect they would hold up. Nor was there any possibility any could be built until the middle of the 21st century. Given the length of time necessary to defend the perimeter of New Orleans against a Category 4 threat, a number of proposals were advanced suggesting enclosing the city's vitals in an cofferdam, in a manner reminiscent of battleship citadels.

the amount of time it would take the Corps to construct adequate levee protection against a storm of category 4 ... inspired Suhayda to push for what he calls a community haven project. His idea is for the city to construct a 30 ft (9 m) tall wall equipped with floodgates through the center of town to protect the heart of New Orleans and such culturally important areas as the French Quarter. That portion of the city lies between two bends in the Mississippi River and is therefore already protected by adequate levees on three sides. With its gates closed, the wall would complete a waterproof ring around the area.

But cofferdaming the heart of New Orleans would have left the project open to the criticism that it was protecting property while leaving the poor undefended. Had vital services, communications nodes and power sources been proofed against the flood, extending the analogy of the battleship, the city might have been better able to respond. In the event, there was no citadel against the flood. The article quite presciently anticipated what would happen if people needed to be evacuated from a storm.

For the most part, New Orleans does not have places for people to go. The American Red Cross no longer provides emergency shelters in the city because its officials cannot guarantee the structural integrity of the locations ... that could withstand the forces of a category 4 or 5 storm. ...

Most people would not wish to remain in the city if a category 4 or 5 storm were in prospect, but evacuating could be difficult. Experts say close to 400,000 people could be stranded in the city. There are an estimated 100,000 people without easy access to automobiles, and those who can drive may not be able to do so. ... Complicating the difficulty in New Orleans is the fact that each of the city’s three major evacuation routes is over or near water.

They got that one right.

226 Comments:

Blogger Doug said...

My 2:56 AM post from the Interdictor/Bigfoot interview indicates something more than mere Physical Constraints to travel was responsible for the plight of those poor people Three Days Later!

9/02/2005 04:35:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

My 2:56 AM post in the previous thread.

9/02/2005 04:35:00 AM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

Thanks for the link, Wretchard. No one disputes that the levee & pump system was designed to withstand only a Category 3 storm.

I am not writing about the design of the system but its actual operation. It may still have made sense not to pump or even to run the system in reverse - intentionally flooding the city - for a time.

Then canal water might not have overflowed the walls and the system might still be intact. Once the storm surge on the lake had subsided, the system could have then be restarted to pump out the city.

But this is all speculation on my part, and I don't have enough facts to carry it further.

9/02/2005 04:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Experts say close to 400,000 people could be stranded in the city. "
---
But that did not happen, because the catastrophe did not happen in the day of the storm, but in the 3 days following when communication up the chain of command seemed nearly non-existent.
Didn't take Einstein to see what was developing even to this codger w/o a TV.

9/02/2005 04:41:00 AM  
Blogger Buffy said...

Insiders say that the local governments of New Orleans and Louisiana are totally incompetent and corrupt. No kidding.
It's the locals who have jurisdiction here, they're the ones who are supposed to be controlling the distribution of aid and provision of services. That's what federal government means.
When the locals are incompetent fools and thieves, no amount of aid will ever be enough.

9/02/2005 04:44:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Solomon2,

The Porkopolis link is fascinating. Some are making the case for abandoning New Orleans; in fact mandating its abandonment. I don't have the technical expertise to judge, and it would certaintly be political dynamite, especially for the people who live in the city, but it makes interesting reading all the same.

9/02/2005 04:46:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Stratfor Geopolitical Intelligence Report

New Orleans: A Geopolitical Prize

By George Friedman

The American political system was founded in Philadelphia, but the American nation was built on the vast farmlands that stretch from the Alleghenies to the Rockies. That farmland produced the wealth that funded American industrialization: It permitted the formation of a class of small landholders who, amazingly, could produce more than they could consume. They could sell their excess crops in the east and in Europe and save that money, which eventually became the founding capital of American industry.

But it was not the extraordinary land nor the farmers and ranchers who alone set the process in motion. Rather, it was geography -- the extraordinary system of rivers that flowed through the Midwest and allowed them to ship their surplus to the rest of the world. All of the rivers flowed into one -- the Mississippi -- and the Mississippi flowed to the ports in and around one city: New Orleans. It was in New Orleans that the barges from upstream were unloaded and their cargos stored, sold and reloaded on ocean-going vessels. Until last Sunday, New Orleans was, in many ways, the pivot of the American economy.

For that reason, the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815 was a key moment in American history. Even though the battle occurred after the War of 1812 was over, had the British taken New Orleans, we suspect they wouldn't have given it back. Without New Orleans, the entire Louisiana Purchase would have been valueless to the United States. Or, to state it more precisely, the British would control the region because, at the end of the day, the value of the Purchase was the land and the rivers - which all converged on the Mississippi and the ultimate port of New Orleans. The hero of the battle was Andrew Jackson, and when he became president, his obsession with Texas had much to do with keeping the Mexicans away from New Orleans.

During the Cold War, a macabre topic of discussion among bored graduate students who studied such things was this: If the Soviets could destroy one city with a large nuclear device, which would it be? The usual answers were Washington or New York. For me, the answer was simple: New Orleans. If the Mississippi River was shut to traffic, then the foundations of the economy would be shattered. The industrial minerals needed in the factories wouldn't come in, and the agricultural wealth wouldn't flow out. Alternative routes really weren't available. The Germans knew it too: A U-boat campaign occurred near the mouth of the Mississippi during World War II. Both the Germans and Stratfor have stood with Andy Jackson: New Orleans was the prize.

Last Sunday, nature took out New Orleans almost as surely as a nuclear strike. Hurricane Katrina's geopolitical effect was not, in many ways, distinguishable from a mushroom cloud. The key exit from North America was closed. The petrochemical industry, which has become an added value to the region since Jackson's days, was at risk. The navigability of the Mississippi south of New Orleans was a question mark. New Orleans as a city and as a port complex had ceased to exist, and it was not clear that it could recover.

The Ports of South Louisiana and New Orleans, which run north and south of the city, are as important today as at any point during the history of the republic. On its own merit, POSL is the largest port in the United States by tonnage and the fifth-largest in the world. It exports more than 52 million tons a year, of which more than half are agricultural products -- corn, soybeans and so on. A large proportion of U.S. agriculture flows out of the port. Almost as much cargo, nearly 17 million tons, comes in through the port -- including not only crude oil, but chemicals and fertilizers, coal, concrete and so on.

A simple way to think about the New Orleans port complex is that it is where the bulk commodities of agriculture go out to the world and the bulk commodities of industrialism come in. The commodity chain of the global food industry starts here, as does that of American industrialism. If these facilities are gone, more than the price of goods shifts: The very physical structure of the global economy would have to be reshaped. Consider the impact to the U.S. auto industry if steel doesn't come up the river, or the effect on global food supplies if U.S. corn and soybeans don't get to the markets.

The problem is that there are no good shipping alternatives. River transport is cheap, and most of the commodities we are discussing have low value-to-weight ratios. The U.S. transport system was built on the assumption that these commodities would travel to and from New Orleans by barge, where they would be loaded on ships or offloaded. Apart from port capacity elsewhere in the United States, there aren't enough trucks or rail cars to handle the long-distance hauling of these enormous quantities -- assuming for the moment that the economics could be managed, which they can't be.

The focus in the media has been on the oil industry in Louisiana and Mississippi. This is not a trivial question, but in a certain sense, it is dwarfed by the shipping issue. First, Louisiana is the source of about 15 percent of U.S.-produced petroleum, much of it from the Gulf. The local refineries are critical to American infrastructure. Were all of these facilities to be lost, the effect on the price of oil worldwide would be extraordinarily painful. If the river itself became unnavigable or if the ports are no longer functioning, however, the impact to the wider economy would be significantly more severe. In a sense, there is more flexibility in oil than in the physical transport of these other commodities.

There is clearly good news as information comes in. By all accounts, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, which services supertankers in the Gulf, is intact. Port Fourchon, which is the center of extraction operations in the Gulf, has sustained damage but is recoverable. The status of the oil platforms is unclear and it is not known what the underwater systems look like, but on the surface, the damage - though not trivial -- is manageable.

The news on the river is also far better than would have been expected on Sunday. The river has not changed its course. No major levees containing the river have burst. The Mississippi apparently has not silted up to such an extent that massive dredging would be required to render it navigable. Even the port facilities, although apparently damaged in many places and destroyed in few, are still there. The river, as transport corridor, has not been lost.

What has been lost is the city of New Orleans and many of the residential suburban areas around it. The population has fled, leaving behind a relatively small number of people in desperate straits. Some are dead, others are dying, and the magnitude of the situation dwarfs the resources required to ameliorate their condition. But it is not the population that is trapped in New Orleans that is of geopolitical significance: It is the population that has left and has nowhere to return to.

The oil fields, pipelines and ports required a skilled workforce in order to operate. That workforce requires homes. They require stores to buy food and other supplies. Hospitals and doctors. Schools for their children. In other words, in order to operate the facilities critical to the United States, you need a workforce to do it -- and that workforce is gone. Unlike in other disasters, that workforce cannot return to the region because they have no place to live. New Orleans is gone, and the metropolitan area surrounding New Orleans is either gone or so badly damaged that it will not be inhabitable for a long time.

It is possible to jury-rig around this problem for a short time. But the fact is that those who have left the area have gone to live with relatives and friends. Those who had the ability to leave also had networks of relationships and resources to manage their exile. But those resources are not infinite -- and as it becomes apparent that these people will not be returning to New Orleans any time soon, they will be enrolling their children in new schools, finding new jobs, finding new accommodations. If they have any insurance money coming, they will collect it. If they have none, then -- whatever emotional connections they may have to their home -- their economic connection to it has been severed. In a very short time, these people will be making decisions that will start to reshape population and workforce patterns in the region.

A city is a complex and ongoing process - one that requires physical infrastructure to support the people who live in it and people to operate that physical infrastructure. We don't simply mean power plants or sewage treatment facilities, although they are critical. Someone has to be able to sell a bottle of milk or a new shirt. Someone has to be able to repair a car or do surgery. And the people who do those things, along with the infrastructure that supports them, are gone -- and they are not coming back anytime soon.

It is in this sense, then, that it seems almost as if a nuclear weapon went off in New Orleans. The people mostly have fled rather than died, but they are gone. Not all of the facilities are destroyed, but most are. It appears to us that New Orleans and its environs have passed the point of recoverability. The area can recover, to be sure, but only with the commitment of massive resources from outside -- and those resources would always be at risk to another Katrina.

The displacement of population is the crisis that New Orleans faces. It is also a national crisis, because the largest port in the United States cannot function without a city around it. The physical and business processes of a port cannot occur in a ghost town, and right now, that is what New Orleans is. It is not about the facilities, and it is not about the oil. It is about the loss of a city's population and the paralysis of the largest port in the United States.

Let's go back to the beginning. The United States historically has depended on the Mississippi and its tributaries for transport. Barges navigate the river. Ships go on the ocean. The barges must offload to the ships and vice versa. There must be a facility to empower this exchange. It is also the facility where goods are stored in transit. Without this port, the river can't be used. Protecting that port has been, from the time of the Louisiana Purchase, a fundamental national security issue for the United States.

Katrina has taken out the port -- not by destroying the facilities, but by rendering the area uninhabited and potentially uninhabitable. That means that even if the Mississippi remains navigable, the absence of a port near the mouth of the river makes the Mississippi enormously less useful than it was. For these reasons, the United States has lost not only its biggest port complex, but also the utility of its river transport system -- the foundation of the entire American transport system. There are some substitutes, but none with sufficient capacity to solve the problem.

It follows from this that the port will have to be revived and, one would assume, the city as well. The ports around New Orleans are located as far north as they can be and still be accessed by ocean-going vessels. The need for ships to be able to pass each other in the waterways, which narrow to the north, adds to the problem. Besides, the Highway 190 bridge in Baton Rouge blocks the river going north. New Orleans is where it is for a reason: The United States needs a city right there.

New Orleans is not optional for the United States' commercial infrastructure. It is a terrible place for a city to be located, but exactly the place where a city must exist. With that as a given, a city will return there because the alternatives are too devastating. The harvest is coming, and that means that the port will have to be opened soon. As in Iraq, premiums will be paid to people prepared to endure the hardships of working in New Orleans. But in the end, the city will return because it has to.

Geopolitics is the stuff of permanent geographical realities and the way they interact with political life. Geopolitics created New Orleans. Geopolitics caused American presidents to obsess over its safety. And geopolitics will force the city's resurrection, even if it is in the worst imaginable place.

9/02/2005 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Some are making the case for abandoning New Orleans; in fact mandating its abandonment"
---
Yeah, Hastert might be run out of office for THAT gaffe!
---
But I still don't see the point in avoiding the causes of human misery IN THIS EVENT.
Other failures were piled on the slow failure of the physical system.
It's failure did not make all that followed inevitable.

9/02/2005 04:54:00 AM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

Evacuate New Orleans? Then how do you propose we export the agricultural production of the Midwest to foreign markets? I think we have less than six weeks to get the Port of New Orleans up and running, or much of the fall harvest will rot in the silos.

9/02/2005 04:56:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

"Evacuate New Orleans?"

If you look at the Stratfor link (BTW, please refrain from posting a full link again because Stratfor might object. Maybe not this time, but if it becomes a regular practice.) it makes two assertions. First, that the port is vital. Second, that the port needs to be supported by a residential area. That means abandoning New Orleans is a nonstarter. But in the long term, there must surely be a case for confining development to an area defensible for the next 100 years, or at least thinking about that option.

9/02/2005 05:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

from previous thread:
Peter Boston said...
I also saw the CNN interview with Mayor Nagin. After that it's not too hard to figure out why the situation started in chaos and went downhill from there. This guy takes responsibility for absolutely nothing. He admits that he has no clue about the laws establishing the chain of command for disaster relief, and even says that he doesn't care. That's a pretty amazing statement from the mayor of a city that has always been a leveee breach from disaster.

MSNBC has video of N.O. cops looting with shopping carts. I saw it and these cops were not even concerned they were being photographed. Heard a report on CNN this AM that other N.O. cops were barricaded with their families in their precinct building and were shooting it out with roving gangs. Is this part of Mayor Nagin's disaster plan? First responders hoarding supplies?

I don't care much for the blame game but Nagin set off so many bullshit detectors that he has to be looked at.

9/02/2005 05:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"But in the long term, there must surely be a case for confining development to an area defensible for the next 100 years, or at least thinking about that option"
Right:
There is quite a bit of land much higher than the extensive lowlands.

In Hilo, on the big Island of Hawaii, a large park replaced housing on the floodplain following a Tsunami.

9/02/2005 05:25:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

cnn:
Military moving in to New Orleans
• Mayor blasts feds: "They are spinning and people are dying"

• Governor: Troops 'know how to shoot and kill'

• Large explosion reported in city's railroad district

• Houston's Astrodome full, turns away refugees
---
Nice to know the good mayor knows who to blame, and the guv who to shoot.
---
SHAMEFUL!

9/02/2005 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Failure, and a Sea of Tears

9/02/2005 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The reputation of local authorities in Louisiana has been tarnished of late, but here's a link to a scanner eavesdropping on state police radio which shows that some guys, at least, were doing their jobs. (via Samizdata)

Reality is complex and rarely follows a neat political script. But at some point, Katrina will stop becoming a natural disaster story and migrate to the political pages if it has not done so already. At that point, reality may start playing second fiddle.

9/02/2005 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Maryincane"

9/02/2005 05:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

When modern day Dems are involved, that point occurs on or before the time of the event.

9/02/2005 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

My point, and I will stop beating it here,
Is that with a competent mayor, guv, and chain of command, there is NO WAY the military could not have evacuated those people before they started dying like flies,
THREE DAYS LATER!

9/02/2005 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Light Crude!

9/02/2005 05:47:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"(CNN) -- The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Thursday those New Orleans residents who chose not to heed warnings to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina bear some responsibility for their fates.

Michael Brown also agreed with other public officials that the death toll in the city could reach into the thousands.

"Unfortunately, that's going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings," Brown told CNN."
---
This guy should be FIRED, NOW!

9/02/2005 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Depends on the meaning of "well."
---
"Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans -- virtually a city that has been destroyed -- that things are going relatively well,"
Brown said

9/02/2005 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...


"My point, and I will stop beating it here, Is that with a competent mayor, guv, and chain of command, there is NO WAY the military could not have evacuated those people before they started dying like flies,
THREE DAYS LATER!"


That might all be true and yet contingency planning can't count on local competence. The role of a central reserve is to plug failure and not take three days to do it. The question is whether, as I've read in some places, the problems facing the relievers were simply so vast that we are actually witnessing the best or a "good enough" outcome.

An enemy biostrike or nuke might hit some poorly run city, probably intentionally so. Then what? The silver lining of Katrina, if it has one, is if it exposes the weaknesses in disaster response against nature, which does not have the capability of an immediate follow up attack, as a human enemy might have.

9/02/2005 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Buffy, Doug and Wretchard: I am astonished at the reports that the people left in New Orleans have no information nor any way to get any. There is an AM radio station still operating there, but the TV news reports are that none of those poor people have portable radios.
Now this is incredible! Portable AM radios are terribly common, even cheaper than they were 10 or 20 years ago, and for years now you have even been able to buy one powered by solar cells or a hand crank generator. Congress considered passing a law in the late 50's that would mandate ownership of transistor radios, but decided that it would be redundant - everyone would have one anyway.
Admittedly, I am an amateur radio operator and thus am fascinated by the technology, but the idea that tems of thosaunds of people would be wandering around a major city without a way to receive information is simply unbelievable.
It is said that people get the kind of government that they deserve.
Relative to your comments about the govt of New Orleans, I fear that principle may well apply.

9/02/2005 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

That's why I said FEEMA guy should be fired:
I was calling for the military response that is starting to happen now 2 days ago!

AND to blame people that have waited peacefully for THREE DAYS in an area perfectly accessible to Helo Evac is beneath contempt!
JMHO.

9/02/2005 06:09:00 AM  
Blogger erp said...

Here's a New York Times article reporting that the levee that failed had been upgraded.

Scroll down for this quote: "No one expected that weak spot to be on a canal that, if anything, had received more attention and shoring up than many other spots in the region. It did not have broad berms, but it did have strong concrete walls.

Shea Penland, director of the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of New Orleans, said that was particularly surprising because the break was "along a section that was just upgraded."

This article seems to imply that my initial cynical assessment might be correct. The section of the levee that failed wasn't defective and it didn't fail entirely due to do force of nature, it was helped along by those who hate this country so much, they wouldn't think twice about the cost to human life if it would reduce us to third world status and bring down the president who's the personification of their irrational hatred.

9/02/2005 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Doug,

One of the nice things about combat, if there is anything nice about it, is that it mercilessly separates the winners from the wannabees. A lot of leaders looked good on paper at the outset of WW2, like the guy Percival who blew the defense of Singapore. How good was our emergency resonse. We've got some data now.

So without making excuses, I think it is merely factual to observe that there was no way of judging FEMA until it got judged. In fairness, the jury is still partially out, but not for long. We'll see what we see.

9/02/2005 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I give up, and will repost:
to blame these people, or lack of communication, does not cut it:
---
The people are so desperate that they're doing anything they can think of to impress the authorities enough to bring some buses. These things include standing in single file lines with the eldery in front, women and children next; sweeping up the area and cleaning the windows and anything else that would show the people are not barbarians.
. The buses never stop.
Before the supplies were pitched off the bridge today, people had to break into buildings in the area to try to find food and water for their families. There was not enough. This spurred many families to break into cars to try to escape the city. There was no police response to the auto thefts until the mob reached the rich area -- Saulet Condos -- once they tried to get cars from there... well then the whole swat teams began showing up with rifles pointed. Snipers got on the roof and told people to get back.

He reports that the conditions are horrendous. Heat, mosquitoes and utter misery. The smell, he says, is "horrific."
He says it's the slowest mandatory evacuation ever, and he wants to know why they were told to go to the Convention Center area in the first place; furthermore, he reports that many of them with cell phones have contacts willing to come rescue them, but people are not being allowed through to pick them up.
I have "Bigfoot"'s phone number and will gladly give it to any city or state official who would like to tell him how everything is under control.
Addendum: Bigfoot just called to report that "they" (the authorities) are cleaning up the dead bodies at the Convention Center right now.

9/02/2005 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

They are bringing in a Carrier now.
I called for that, as well as LARGE Helos, two days ago.

9/02/2005 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger kstagger said...

The situation on the ground in New Orleans has stripped away many facades

. The Culture of the Poor - many of them don't know how to help themselves. If I was in that same situation, I would have hiked all the way out - carrying my 4-year old son at the same time.

. The weak LA government, and the over-reliance on the Federal Government. They are now blaming the Feds, when they themselves should be the first responders. I know this is a major catastrophe, but they have the knowledge of the area and potential issues. LA should be in control, using the Feds as an outside resource (manpower, food, etc.)

. NO is really a city that has been fighting a losing battle against the water that surrounds it. Either a massive engineering effort should have been done to save it, or it should have been given up and moved inland, saving only the Port Facilities. It would, of course, have been impossible to convince that many people to move out.

9/02/2005 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

KStagger,
Most who died SO FAR are the elderly and frail.
(as well as "poor" although I'd take a lot of those folks over some folks in DC)

9/02/2005 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

(BTW, please refrain from posting a full link again because Stratfor might object.

sorry.. it came to me as an email, will not do it again

9/02/2005 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Wretchard and Friends,
My father served on a California state commission to study earthquake threats and recommend a course of action to the State.

"If we receive a prediction of a 9.5+ Richter earthquake; within the next 24 hours; 90% believability; What should we do?" was the question on their table.

He met, with others, a stream of earthquake specialists, engineers, psychs, officials, hiways guys... for over a year, circa 1970.

Hundreds of state-of-the-art reports and all those experts boiled down to this: "If we know the Big One is gonna hit, it is better to do nothing and let it hit, than to spark panic and anger and resentment."

I've thought of that for years, and see no real reason to double-guess it or find fault with it.

9/02/2005 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Carridine:
They were down to groups of 10-20,000 folks waiting patiently.
...with THREE DAYS notice!
Not Comparable imo.

9/02/2005 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

In my scenario, helo flights would not have to be to Houston, but to Bus Stations, Airports, Military Bases, etc.

9/02/2005 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger jerryofva said...

Solomon2:

There is an alternative to New Orleans to move the grain. The Ports of Chicago and Norfolk could take up some of the slack albeit imperfectly. If the winter is mild the St Laurence Seaway will be open all year to move the grain. Trains could move some the grain to Norfolk for shipment as well.

9/02/2005 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger Heraclitus said...

One of Nietzsche's books is titled "The Birth of Tragedy". Humans are unique in that they are both creature and creator. That is, when humans first became human, there arose on the face of the earth for the first time the grand possibility that an individual could create it's own technology for living.

Humans are the ultimate rebels against Nature. As such, human destiny is tragic in that in the struggle against Nature, Nature is the stronger.

I would think a 9 ft depression on the banks of the Mississippi, near a hurricane prone coast, would have a better use than as a major city.

9/02/2005 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- Five days after Susan Dewey arrived in New Orleans to celebrate her birthday, she was so desperate to get out that she banded with hundreds of other tourists to hire 10 buses for $25,000 to rescue them.
After waiting hours, they learned government officials had commandeered their buses to evacuate others.
____CNN____

9/02/2005 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Carridine: When I lived in the L.A. area, the amateur radio club I belonged to received a briefing form a geologist who was studying earthquakes. He told us that he was inetrested in using amateur radio operators to spread warnings of impending earthquakes should they be able to predict them.
We replied that the news media could contact far more people than we ever could.
He responded that the news media could not be trusted with such news, since they would screw it all up; miscommunicate, overhype it. etc. He was interested in alternate communications approaches.
He gave us an unplanned example. At the time there were headlines about a supposed upwelling of the desert floor that might indicate an impeding quake. He replied that if you looked at the data the supposed "Palmdale Bulge" was entirely explainable as being within the error of the recording instruments.
Sure enough, a few months later on a backpage of the LA Times they rather offhandedly mentioned that the Bulge was all due to normal margins in instrument error.

9/02/2005 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ingraham Show:
Buses to Nowhere: DC AWOL.
Two Days Ago Desert Rat asked the question of WHERE the 500k would go.
None of the PAID "EXPERTS" read the comment, I guess.

9/02/2005 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger stavr0s said...

DDT time, I think.

9/02/2005 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Perceptions of Abject Failure and Political Ramifications:

Brendan Loy at The Irish Trojan weblog (www.brendanloy.com/index.html#112541978646935009):

Reading the comments here, the posts on other blogs, and gauging my own gut reaction, it's becoming increasingly clear to me that the aftermath of Katrina is quickly becoming an abject political disaster for the Bush Administration. Public opinion is rapidly turning; with each passing moment, there is more and more discontent and anger with the perceived inadequacy and slowness of the federal response -- and not just in New Orleans. CNN's Kathleen Koch and Anderson Cooper are reporting very similar concerns on the ground in Mississippi, where delays in the relief effort are much harder to understand.

You've got Anderson Cooper lecturing Mary Landrieu about rats knawing at dead bodies, and bloggers of all stripes cheering him on; you've got Mayor Nagin ranting about "too many goddamn press conferences," and even I (despite my general dislike of Mayor Nagin) find myself feeling sympathetic. Bottom line, rightly or wrongly, if the feds don't get this turned around very, very soon -- like, today -- I think the political ramifications may be staggering and far-reaching. The public does not easily forgive a government's perceived failure in a crisis, nor should they (assuming the perception is accurate). Like graffiti carved into the wet concrete of a newly paved sidewalk, the perception that the government failed the victims of Katrina will be almost impossible to alter once it has hardened, and I sense that it is hardening very fast.

9/02/2005 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

rwe,
In Hurricane Iniki, Kuai largely depended on Hams to reach the outside world.
In the old days they had a complex and coordinated system throughout the Islands.

9/02/2005 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

7:00 AM
Shame! Think of the Pelican Eggs!

9/02/2005 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

RWE,

In the old days, information starvation arose from a lack of bandwidth. Today, as you point out, it comes from a high noise-to-signal ratio. After I had done the research for Imperfect Storm 1, 2 and 3 I realized that all the pertinent information was available. Defenses for a Cat 3 with a Cat 4 bearing down.

Yet for some reason, as Doug keeps pointing out, the information in all that data just didn't make the picture it should've. In the Bay of Bengal tsunami, the seismologists knew for the better part of an hour that a massive waveform was bearing down on the Indian subcontinent and no one could figure out how to transmit that information to a world saturated with reality shows, news programs and cell phones.

9/02/2005 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Doug, Concur yr analysis. Earthquake damage is quite different to hurricane. And I was NOT advocating this "Rot in your own patience" debacle.

In fact, California KNOWS that even with hiways down, electricity out and gas mains burst, there will be ORGANIZED AND INFORMAL TEAMS rescuing and organizing, even as the aftershocks are tumbling back and forth.

NewOrleans, to the contrary, is being revealed as a BASKET-CASE of incompetence, arrogance, political corruption and ignorance!

NO "...is a terrible place for a city to be located, but exactly the place where a city must exist."

Fine. Then run the demons out on a rail, quickly, and start sweeping it clean AND rehabilitating it. America can't live without it. Decide, NOW, that we'll pay the price!

9/02/2005 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger kstagger said...

Doug - obviously the sick, poor, and handicapped would need help.

There is more than just a natural disaster, this is a cultural disaster.

9/02/2005 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Maybe we could bring in those hard working semi legals to clean up the mess, and just FORGET about the former residents of NO?
Yet another advantage of continuing to support a corrupt state of affairs.

9/02/2005 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Wretchard: Exactly! But this is hardly a unknown phenomoenon. For example, when you are running the launch of a space mission, all sorts of data come pouring in, some irrelevant, some incorrect, some highly important. We have lost more than one mission because people chose to ignore some data.
I even had a USN Admiral explain to me that no one really needed to be in charge during a space launch; you could just give everyone on the team all of the data and they would all figure it out individually. This officer's expertise in rocketry was at what I came to describe as the "do not hold in hand after lighting" level.
You need a "launch control center" with competent people in it capable of analyzing all of the data and making recommendations to the "Launch Director"; he then decides what to do.
I have been in such situations where I was in charge - and was the lowest ranking officer in the place. I got some people mad at me on occasion. But I never lost a mission.

9/02/2005 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

rwe,
From what I understand, there is STILL no command center!
(Rudy had Two within hours! ...after the "real" one was deemed unusable)

9/02/2005 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

LA Firecrews onscene are arranging their own security squads, since they have been attacked already.

9/02/2005 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Wretchard, more important than the signal to noise ratio, is the QUALITY of the receivers: their capacity to tune in TO MEANINGFUL INFORMATION even when they hear it!

Look at Steyn's take on where we'd be IF we had seized the Atta gang in the act of boarding the planes! Would the Left have accepted at face value such a patently preposterous assertion: "They were plotting to smash their planes into the WTC towers and the Pentagon and the White House!"

Har-yhar! Bush lies!

Fed govt says: NewOrleans is set for a disaster, level 3 protection with a 4+ storm coming.

Har-hyar! Bush lies!

9/02/2005 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Also from The Irish Trojan's weblog, the 12:39:00 AM post:

"Doomsday" vs. "Nightmare"

[...]

I've come to believe that what did occur is the "nightmare scenario," if not the doomsday one. The city suffers a glancing blow by a Cat4 storm. The initial damage assessment is that the city got lucky, so people let their guards down. I would not be surprised if we learn in the months to come that the much of the massive FEMA presence mobilized North of the city was shunted by Monday evening to Southern Mississippi, which actually suffered far more at the hands of the actual storm -- entire towns wiped clean off the earth. [If FEMA wasn't doing that Monday evening, and the levee did not breach, the residents of Mississippi would justifiably be screaming that FEMA failed them.] After our guard is down (and possibly assets were diverted), the city was sucker punched by a delayed flood due to the 17th Street Canal breach. Now the city floods in slow motion, which means that a whole bunch of people that would have been dead in the doomsday scenario need rescuing instead, a whole bunch of people are flushed from their homes and have lost everything yet are trapped in the city, and there's a whole lot of property to save. Resources that were not envisioned to be used for rescue are now diverted to that mission. In the meantime, all the evacuees are sitting on the outside, looking in, and seeing property that, while wet, is salvagable and clamoring to restore order so they can return; whereas in the doomsday scenario, they would be seeing massive piles of timber and floating houses and they would be clamoring for the bulldozers to get in and start cleaning up so that the rebuilding process can begin.

Instead of 20,000 to 40,000 body bags (remember that doomsday quote?) you've got a need for 20,000 to 40,000 gallons of potable water per day, just for the people who didn't evacuate.

Instead of people working to clear streets, you need a massive troop presence in the city.

Instead of lining up convoys of equipment to enter the city, you are lining up convoys of buses to evacuate the city.

Instead of blowing holes in the levee, we are tryig to plug the levee. Etc., etc.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the true doomsday scenario would have been better -- the loss of life in that scenario would make what is happening in NOLA now, brutal as it is, insignificant; and the property damage would have been far, far greater as hard as that is to fathom -- but I do say that it would have been much easier in many ways to deal with. And no one planned to deal with what we got instead.

[...]

Interesting reading in full.

9/02/2005 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Why is no one in charge?" asked one frustrated evacuee at the Ernest Morial Convention Center, where thousands have waited days for help. "I find it hard to believe."
Yet, 80 miles away at the Federal Emergency Management Agency command post in Baton Rouge, FEMA Director Michael Brown told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Thursday evening that "considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans, virtually a city that has been destroyed, things are going relatively well."

His view was not shared by some of the local officials trying to cope at the scene of the disaster.

9/02/2005 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

That quote is rationalized nonsense imo Trish.
Brown, the FEEMA guy, has two eyes, just like Rudy, but they are 80 miles away, in comfie Baton Rouge.

9/02/2005 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

At The Corner, a Louisiana professor explains to Rich Lowry:

"People outside of New Orleans had high hopes when Nagin was elected. He was not a part of the competing political machines in the city. His background was as an executive in a cable company. He has done a good job at ferreting out corruption and trying to change the system, but he had not been able to really change the culture of the police force. When he took office the New Orleans Police Department had only just quit accepting convicted felons as officers. Unfortunately, he appears to have been overwhelmed by the force of events and the complete loss of the city's infrastructure. After 9/11 New York City, outside of Lower Manhattan, still had all of the basic city services; New Orleans as of Monday afternoon essentially had none, and neither he nor the governor exhibit the leadership needed. I was never a fan of the former governor Mike Foster, never voted for him, but I want him back. He would have taken his own boat to New Orleans and personally arrested the looters on Monday, shooting those that ignored him. That may sound callous, but it is what is needed. Governor Blanco this morning finally realized that, declaring war on the looters. That should have been done Monday afternoon."

Convicted felons? Um, that explains a few things right there.

9/02/2005 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Obviously one thing that will have to be addressed in planning, is what to DO with 2-3 million displaced by a dirty bomb.
'Rat's scenario for NO.

9/02/2005 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

why we must continue to fight (and take care of our own): http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/09/02/MTFH62797_2005-09-02_14-16-45_BAU248384.html

9/02/2005 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Trish, Local Culture:
As long as you know or are related to someone, what's a felony or two?
---
Hawaii is only now discovering
INSULATION!

9/02/2005 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Doug,

That particular reader comment was interesting not because of its speculation regarding FEMA, but because of the difference it illustrates between the reasonably anticipated, immediately catastrophic outcome of a New Orleans "doomsday" scenario (more like a 9/11 event) and what actually transpired, which was something less and yet harder to deal with: A humanitarian "nightmare".

9/02/2005 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"A female employee at a multinational firm in South Korea said it may have been no accident the U.S. was hit.

"Maybe it was punishment for what it did to Iraq, which has a man-made disaster, not a natural disaster," said the woman, who did not want to be named as she has an American manager.

"A lot of the people I work with think this way. We spoke about it just the other day," she said."
---
Ex dem link:
Good to know New Age PC "Intelligence" is world wide!

9/02/2005 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Trish,
EASIER to deal with: 3 days time to work. (we failed to mobilize)
Unless we don't count those 3,000 instantly vaporized.

9/02/2005 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

400k got out, did not deal with the folks left behind properly.

9/02/2005 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Brown blames *THEM!*
Off him!

9/02/2005 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

But W didn't even fire Minetta, so no such luck.

9/02/2005 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Time to hurry up and get ready
As in all emergencies, there needs to be an assessment of damages and more importantly to determine what threats exist against life and limb. This takes some time and the mobilization of logistics has its own run-up time. Governor Doug would have called in the cavalry two days earlier, how commendable.

We have spoken of “weak states” in previous discussions and how they lead to the breakdown of civil order and make way for terrorists, which would include gangs and the largest criminal gang in the world, illegal immigrants.

Contrary to the image of firefighters on 911, civil authorities have a track record of cutting and running for there own protection in times of need, witness the police evacuating at the moment the Rodney Riots sparked off.

Since its inception in 1979, FEMA has had an overarching mandate to provide management of disasters of any sort across the nation. It has been criticized for encouraging victims to rebuild in disaster prone areas where higher premiums would have deterred such endeavors. Cato argues that this 4 billion a year agency should be abolished. “Americans should not be forced to pay the cost of rebuilding oceanfront summer homes.”

Scenes of destruction notwithstanding, it is instructive to note that much of the city appears to be intact, at least the downtown area where there are large skyscrapers and wide open avenues.

Prepare yourself for disaster.

9/02/2005 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Doug,

The vast majority of 9/11 fatalities occurred within a handful of hours. It was a disaster more confined in space and time - not a relatively slowly unfolding tragedy/debacle/humanitarian crisis such as that in New Orleans and southern Mississippi.

9/02/2005 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Governor Doug would have called in the cavalry two days earlier, how commendable."
---
Would have saved lives, so perhaps not commendable at a poetic level, but still kind of nice.
If you want to justify Brown's actions/statements from Baton Rouge, have at it.

9/02/2005 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

And, as I said, Guv Desert Rat reminds us that GOVERNMENT needs to plan for what to do w/3 million displaced by Dirty Bomb.
People in wheelchairs count, even though their parking spots piss me off.

9/02/2005 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Trish,
That's why I am saying Mr. Brown could have done more by simply copying Rudy:
Be there, and pass on what's needed to Potus.

9/02/2005 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mouse,
I talked to a wealthy Bay Area woman who confessed she finally gave in and took FEMA's money to stop the harassment!

9/02/2005 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Faith based folks in Houston are going to feed folks in abandoned Compaq Center! (Astrodome Full)
Lots of money needed.
Catholics, Mulims, and Presbyterians for week 1.
(Bahai's come later, Carridine, but not left out.)
100k AMERICAN REFUGEES!

9/02/2005 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

At The Corner, a Louisiana professor explains to Rich Lowry:

Q: why seemingly so little reparation in NO?

A: I think no one in the area ever thought that a storm of this magnitude would ever really strike New Orleans. A friend of mine at Tulane usually rode these storms out by opening his front door and sipping bourbon while watching the waves of rain pass. Fortunately he did not stay this time.

The problem with planning is the same as the problem with flood control that I wrote to you about yesterday. There are simply too many competing agencies asking for the same dollars and jealously guarding their political turf. More importantly, no one anticipated the complete social breakdown that has occurred among those who refused or were unable to evacuate. The breakdown appears to be the culmination of decades of weak, at best, law enforcement with Orleans Parish that looked the other way at a lot of the crime that occurred in areas like the Ninth Ward, because the officers themselves were scared to go into many of the housing projects. Also, until within the last ten years the state police were not allowed by the city government to operate within the parish (the city's boundary is contiguous with the parish boundary).

Some of this goes back to when Huey Long amended the state constitution to take control of the city from the elected city government; most, unfortunately, is the result of much more recent corruption (witness the recent indictments of many close aides, including family members, of the administration of former mayor Marc Morial).

There were rumors flooding the state yesterday (Thursday) that the unrest and looting had spread to Baton Rouge and Lafayette, where many of the refugees who fled prior to the storm were located. I even received a forwarded email written by a Rapides Parish Sheriff's deputy (the parish I live in) that warned about the flood of refugees heading our way from the Ninth Ward and to be prepared for anything. The rumors were false, and the Sheriff has said to disregard the email; it was unofficial and the sender will be dealt with when the Sheriff returns (he spent the day in New Orleans observing the deputies he sent to aid in rescue efforts.

9/02/2005 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Texas saves they day.
NOW
To get the "great" NorthEast to get on board.
Good Luck.

9/02/2005 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Folks, let us not forget FEDERALISM.
As in Hurricane Andrew, the Feds, DoD, other states Natl Guard, etc, CANNOT come in and help until the local authorities ask for help - or the President decides to overule them. And presumably that help should be asked for in a fairly specific manner
It appears that leadership of the State of La and City of NO have basically just stood on a lawn chair and yelled "Help! Anybody! Help!" and that is about all. That works fine if you spot a snake at a backyard BBQ but is not too useful in more serious and widespread situations.
Same thing happened in Miami after Hurricane Andrew.

9/02/2005 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

As for the prospect of Regular Army troops helping to restore law and order, not only do they not have a law enforcement mandate, they are the LEAST likely to fire on even the most cretinous of their fellow citizens. I'm not sure, from what I've read, that any troops of any kind in the affected area have even been given permission to defend THEMSELVES with the use of deadly force. Fleeing the scene seems to be the rule.

9/02/2005 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

No, just wanted to take a dig at your numerous comments demanding the instant deployment of the military. Federalism implies that states have shared responsibility for governance. By and large the governor has the responsibility to request and help coordinate aid. Not that the feds wont swoop in when they are least expected or least appreciated at times, but there is a balancing act here and if we wanted the military to act in real time, they would have to do so without any civil authority. People are scattered to the wind as it were and whereas there seems to be cell phones and cameras everywhere, no one thought to be prepared for their own survival… at least those who stayed behind.

9/02/2005 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Boston said...

This is a federal system after all. I certainly don't want to see a unitary national government that runs rough shod over state and local authorities because it might score points in the next election. Nevermind that the Constitution doesn't allow it.

The primary responsibility for maintaining law and order, search and rescue, and providing for immediate needs belongs to the state and local governments. It appears that state and local authorities failed miserably in Louisiana.

I could never accept any excuse for how or why thousands of people could be abandoned for days in New Orleans. The Superdome and Convention Center were accesible by road from day one.

A government that employs hundreds of thousands and takes billions from it citizens couldn't find the will to load water bottles on 10 trucks?

Other than the US Military there isn't a single bureaucracy at the state or federal level that's worth a damn or merits our respect.

9/02/2005 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

I get the distinct impression that all the aid thus far has come from federal or private sources outside the city of New Orleans and state of Louisiana. Days ago the city and the state had the responsibility to organize, prepare for and direct the incoming federal and private aid; but instead their best efforts seem to have consisted primarily of crying and whining on national television. Now everybody is crying and whining that nothing was done for three days and people are suffering and dying as a result. I'm convinced the city dropped the ball way before the storm even hit land. The state didn't even try picking it up afterwards! Now it's up to the federal government to go belatedly chasing after it.

Afterthought- why aren't we seeing this third-world war zone scene in Mississippi and Alabama? Infrastructure and communications there aren't any less broken than in Louisiana, but the people there aren't bitching and moaning about aid being slow to materialize, even though Mississippi took the brunt of the storm. The reason- the local and state authorities stepped up to the plate. There may yet be people dead and dying but it doesn't even come close to the travesty occuring in New Orleans.

9/02/2005 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

It appears that leadership of the State of La and City of NO have basically just stood on a lawn chair and yelled "Help! Anybody! Help!"

EXACTLY!

9/02/2005 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Boston,
Get your ass down here!
I want to talk to you!
Mayor Nagin.

9/02/2005 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Nathan: From what I have seen, and based on the track of the storm, Miss got hit way worse than La. I have not seen one picture of a collapsed, totally destroyed building in New Orleans.
It is clear the Miss. coast is just covered with totally destroyed buildings, and you can bet that goes inland quite a ways. A friend of mine's relatives live in Jackson and he reports they just got the power back on.
There has been some looting there, largely because the police depts were overwhelmed and much of their equipment destroyed, but it is not the Lord of the Flies situation that seems to be in NO.
Fox News keeps showing a refugee center in Baton Rouge where everything looks great; one concern is getting enough "G" rated movies to keep all the kids happy.

9/02/2005 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I think the reality on the ground is simply too complex to accurately distill post hoc imperatives, Doug. A city with major access points destroyed cannot simply be invaded without a large, comprehensive logistical plan; otherwise the troops, instead of being the solution, become part of the problem.

But I agree with you that something is drastically wrong. Americans are dying in the streets of New Orleans, and those who don't make it out will die thinking they have been abandoned by their country. Citizens still trapped on rooftops waive the American flag in a desperate plea to a country that does not seem to care. The "Help Me" signs failed them in days 1, 2, and 3; nobody came, nobody noticed. Desperate, they put their last hope in a symbol that, unbeknownst to them, somehow means less than it used to.

Whatever is wrong, we need to fix it. I watch the news and all I feel is pity, and shame. Pity for our countrymen suffering and dying, and shame for our failure and helplessness. I will never be able to forget the incomprehension of a young mother, holding her dead five-day-old daughter in her arms, as the camera came in close.

Today her world was shattered. America came too late.

9/02/2005 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

THERE REALLY IS SUCH A THING AS BUSH DERANGEMENT SYNDROME [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A Democratic Underground posting:
I did not stop to help a [Bush] supporter today.

I had no idea how deeply my hate for that man ran. My lack of an interaction, with a * supporter is still haunting me a couple of hours later.

I was on my home and was on the ramp getting off the highway. I saw a mini-van on the side of the road. There was a lady standing next to the van and in her arms she held her child. I can only assume her mini-van had broken down. I don't know, perhaps with so many gad stations being out of gas, she had also run out. I slowed down and started to pull over to offer her a ride. At the very last second I noticed a "W" sticker on the back of her vehicle and I sped up and drove off.

I feel really bad as a human being. That child is not responsible for their parent's belief system. They are innocent and do not deserve to be out in the heat. (It is warm but not so bad that they would even break a sweat) I try not to punish people for what they believe.

On the other hand, so many hateful thoughts went through my head. I wondered how a person could see what was going on in NO and still have one of those awful stickers on their car. How could they support an awful excuse for a human being that has let our country down and is letting Americans die after they have made it through the storm? How can someone be so blind and so stupid?
...
---
This goes ON!
...at the Corner.

9/02/2005 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Didn't see your post, Aristedes,
YES!
When people are waiting 3 DAYS for simple services,
and DYING,
Something is WRONG!
(Mr. Brown should be there, ...just like Rudy.)

9/02/2005 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

There probably should be regional equipment depots, similar to what the military is doing now overseas, that have all the equipment necessary for mobile command posts, field hospitals, field kitchens, power supplies, transportation, etc. Personnel would need to be "on call" to man the facilities, somehow. I suppose that the easiest way would be to use National Guard, but that would require changing the administrative structure of those organizations (i.e. so that Texas National Guard could be sent to LA on short notice in a case such as this). But that all falls into various political catfights, federal bureaucracy, funding, even unions, sometimes. I have seen this with the impediments to using military helicopters for firefighting purposes.

9/02/2005 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Supplies are now coming in.
People will do anything to get out.
(Including dying)
Government at work.

9/02/2005 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

exhelo,
Not only helos, but 130's in CA.

9/02/2005 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Previous thread, I think, has a post about prepositioned stuff at sea.
But better to spend the money on ever increasing free medical care.
IT'S A RIGHT!

9/02/2005 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

There probably should be regional equipment depots, similar to what the military is doing now overseas, that have all the equipment necessary for mobile command posts, field hospitals, field kitchens, power supplies, transportation, etc.

What ever happened to the Civil Defense program? My father reminisces that the city hall and courthouse in his small town maintained stockpiles of food, water, sanitary goods, medecine, and equipment, such as Geiger counters. This kind of preparedness is critical to immediate disaster relief- anyone who counts on the federal government to instantly appear and drop manna onto their heads is in for a sorry surprise. I don't think any such provisions exist in any major cities today and the consequences of this are being seen in New Orleans.

9/02/2005 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

There is no way New Orleans is going to be abandoned.

Not only is it responsible for much shipping and petroleum extraction & refining, there is a point of cultural pride.

The speaker of the house suggested just that. The outrage is such that people are speculating it will be hundreds of years until LA votes for another Republican Presidential candidate.

Anyway, we have Wisconsin (Yeah!), Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Lousiana all directly on the Mississippi River. Then we have, about 1-1/2 lines of states to the West that drain into the Mississippi River. These states being the heart of the agricultaral engine of the US and the World (I wonder how much Canadian produce makes its way to export via this water body system). All of that produce is not going to be simply rerouted on a long term basis to the east coast. As was noted, this material has a low value to weight ratio and to pump this material out via the East coast is going to be expensive on a long term basis.

The comment Wretchard makes about slapping strict zoning laws on New Orleans makes sense.

On the evacuation, supply, and disaster recovery.

Remember National Guardsmen ARE weekend warriors. They have to be allowed some time to get their personal affairs in order before reporting. In fact, the minimum allowance I am seeing is– 72 hours or three days!

Over the last couple of hours, the tone on the news reporting is changing! There has been quite a bit of reporting on men and material moving into New Orleans en masse. Earlier this morning I saw a long procession of trucks with boats coming into town (not bass fishermen either) and there were reports of Fed Ex trucks coming in with supplies as well.

9/02/2005 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Super 6 said...

AS the head of FEMA said, "What wasn't anticipated was the total and utter collapse of the local government

9/02/2005 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Even in the first 48 hours after Katrina first made landfall, a number of journalists have taken Bush and his administration to task for alleged failures in preparation and execution of relief efforts, as though the federal government should have done a head count and map of the people who decided to stay in New Orleans. Supporters of the dead Kyoto treaty want to blame Bush for almost any bad thing that happens.

Many progressive liberals believe that: 1) Global Warming has been proven to exist as a climatic trend; 2) It results from human — and more specifically, Republican/Capitalist — modern industrial activity, not from naturally-occurring phenomena; 3) George Bush and his cronies are willfully allowing it to occur because they are greedy bastards; 4) the Kyoto accords would actually have accomplished anything to slow, halt, or reverse the trend.

The current slight Global Warming has not been shown to be a significant deviation from long-period climatic cycles found in the fossil/polar ice record.

People, the sun is a variable star!

The variation of its energy output is calculated to be as much as a tenth of a percent in just the 22-year sunspot cycle. This may seem small, but the sun’s irradiance of the earth is vast compared to any human activity. In addition, observations indicate a long-term increase in the sun’s output since the so-called “little Ice Age” between 1650 and 1700. Along with titanic volcanic eruptions, the vagaries of El Niño, and other natural events, this trend dwarfs the most appalling estimates of anthropogenic causes for warming, such as CO2 resulting from industrialization or the methane burps of half a billion cows.

So the case for Global Warming is equivocal at best. It’s like the Ozone Hole: We didn’t even become aware of it until we had satellites and spacecraft orbiting above the atmosphere. How do we know it hasn’t been there all along?

We’re only just achieving a comprehensive survey ability now. With climatology just maturing, regional and local variations in patterns will continue to mask larger-scale trends for a very long time. In the absence of both a baseline and a sufficient monitoring capability we have only conjecture, theory and reckoning based on unverified assumptions. Respected scientists slag each other off in the popular press, and disagree politely but firmly in their refereed academic journals.

Politics aside, the observations and logic so far available do not in any immediately useful way detail the mechanisms and magnitude of warming. They are not sufficiently developed to predict its persistence or cure.

The Kyoto accords were rejected not just by Bush. Ninety-five United States Senators, including Democratic icon Theodore Kennedy, voted against the proposed treaty before Vice-president Gore made the grand gesture of signing the thing, and President Clinton did not even bother sending it to the Senate for a ratification vote.

None of this stops pissed-off liberals from claiming that because he continues to oppose the Kyoto accords, Bush caused: a) Katrina, b) Katrina’s unusual intensity, c) Katrina’s anomalous track, d) the poverty and lack of preparedness or simple self-preservation by a huge part of New Orleans’ population, e) inadequate response by all levels of government in the aftermath.

This is a clear example of either massive dumbness, or crass political opportunism.

9/02/2005 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Aristides:
I tend to agree with you. We failed some people. But as marvelous as the U.S. Military is, you have to realize that activating it means it comes with a lot of baggage. The US Army Mil Spec for tortillas ran to 26 pages. The US Navy has been known to specify that ground support equipment used only on the decks of aircraft carriers to have to be able to operate at 25,000 ft. The USAF once planned to set up a worldwide standard logistics system for rockets that are only launched in two places - and both are in the CONUS.
There has to be The Plan and people have to follow it. I am sure that those tales of buses being commandeered by the Natl Guard and other forces driving right past refugees are not examples of malfesance or incompetance but people following The Plan.
There is no such thing "the Military Mind" but there are certain attitudes that prevail in the military. Senior officers - Pentagon level - literally are quite capable of arguing that something cannot be done because it can't be done by following established procedures or there is no one who has that particular job assigned to him - or no one who has the job assigned is capable of doing it. "We have to fail at that because that is the way things are set up." is the way I would sum it up.
That is not the way that the current SECDEF thinks, but it is all too common in the people under him, uniformed and otherwise. So they do some things astonishngly well and other things not at all.

9/02/2005 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

The Navy should have allowed the carrier to exceed the speed limit on the way to New Orleans. And the individual NG units that were sitting on the grinder should have jumped in their trucks that were conveniently running and warmed up and started for New Orleans immediately. Why not just string up this Brown guy. He was just screwing around when we needed a split-second response.
/hellfire and damnation

9/02/2005 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

RWE,

You are right, of course. But the feeling remains. Our freeways have become dying grounds, and our coliseums states of nature.

A dark week for America, while the world snickers.

9/02/2005 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger iotm said...

OK kiddies, you asked for it.

Here's my proof that god doesn't exist.

I welcome everyone to come and prove me wrong, especially you wretchard.

9/02/2005 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger MKatLat34 said...

The ship as sunk
The people are in the water
drowning

Is now the time to examine the ship design, navigators error, captain's seaman ship?

SAVE THESE AMERICANS- NOW

9/02/2005 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

This data is interesting:

New Orleans City, according to the 2000 census, has a population of 484,674. Out of that number, 325,947 citizens are African American, which is about 67.25% of the population.

From what I can find, about 25,000 - 30,000 people sought shelter in the Superdome, and these are the people that you see on TV. Most media sources guess 100,000 people stayed in New Orleans to ride out the storm, with the highest estimate coming from UK's Independent, which pegs the number at 200,000.

Now think about it. We are hearing that this is a "Black" thing, that the only people suffering are African Americans. The innuendo behind these statements is an overall indictment of our system, and in many cases the statements have moved beyond implication to outright accusation.

Yet we are seeing only a small fraction of reality. Even if all 100,000 people remaining in the city are black, that means over 200,000 blacks were able to leave, which means it is absolutely inaccurate to assert blacks have it worse because they are black.

Many factors led the people who are now suffering to stay, but race is not one of them. In fact, from a purely statistical standpoint, being an African American in New Orleans gave you a pretty decent chance of getting out. If two-thirds of all blacks in New Orleans fled the storm, race will not tell you why some stayed behind.

9/02/2005 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

sod off iotm, the adults are busy.

i'm with you mkat - SAVE THESE AMERICANS- NOW.

9/02/2005 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

aristides: it's not a black thing; it's a ghetto thing.

9/02/2005 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger foxenburg said...

one thing that struck me as weird, watching last week's evacuation of new orleans on tv - gridlock on dual carriageways leading out of town - and totally empty inbound carriageways - was why they didn't block entry ramps for fifty miles inbound and let people use all six or eight carriageways to get out of town. it seemed so obvious.

9/02/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The media are shocked, shocked, at the behavior on display in New Orleans. "Animalistic", it's called, for surely it has nothing to do with human nature.

Read Graham Greene's The Destructors to see how fragile civilization is.

Ex-Democrat is right. Men who live in holding pens become animals when the cage is left open. Ghettoization is civilization's foil, and nemesis.

9/02/2005 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger MKatLat34 said...

WC is OT.
“Here's a 2003 article from Civil Engineering Magazine on whether or how to protect New Orleans from floods. (Hat tip: Porkopolis) The summary says: "During the past…”
blah blah blah…

Americans are watching the reporters (live for 3 days) and can see the hell
Americans are watching the government – and can see clearly
There is NO Leader Ship
There was NO Plan

The political storm for Bush, Republicans, and the War on Terror
Will be greater than “KATRINA”
This is the worst nightmare for our cause

9/02/2005 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger david bennett said...

To put some perspecive into the role of federal government, mantaining ports and waterways is one of the oldest. Older than that is to act in response to emergencies. This is what brought us together.

Several centuries ago it was assumed that in case of war or disaster said authorities had the power to seize property, distribute it as necessary, draft systems nto necessary activity and to impose order.

These extraordinary powers have been a parcel of our history. Various factors including the extensions of rights and the development of complex private systems have reduced the need for the exercise of this kind of power. While there is going to be debate on what the last big instant was my opinion was that it was Nixon's attempt to assert price and wage controls, an effort that damaged the economy.

I can tell you that well into the sixties presidents and the public assumed they could arbitrarily steel or coal or any other vital industry if faced with labor or other shut down.

The possibility of harsh and threatening realities and the need for strong and uinited action is what brought the diverse states together.

This is difficult to grasp because we have lived in such pampered times, we simply can't imagine the normal realities of history.

As for the state of projects to strengthen New Orleans this casts a very discouraging view on the nature of national government. A scenerio such as this was classified as one of the 3 most likely terrible tragedies.

In a system where facts were honestly examined and *very* serious priorities established before other interests the fnding and preparation would not have been reduced but increased. There are probably a handful of prjects of this nature, but our current political structure has made it so that our leaders of both parties can cast aside common sense and fundamental decency to a clutter of secondary demands.

As far as I'm concerned this kind of tragedy could have occured under either party. But I have no respect for those who think this makes the Republican's innocent. The Republican'sd have basked in the moral superiority that they had reorganized our ability to respond to danger, analyzed threats, distributed resources according to priority and had back up plans to confront massive strategies such as a nuke in NY or Houston or Chicago.

Obviously they did not, they lied. They lied on a fundamental issue, one having to do with the well being of the American people.

To some degree we the people are fault. Whenever a politician makes and honest, but disturbing statement, such as both Bush and Kerry did on the fact that we were limited in what we could do about terrorism, the other side rips it apart implying that they have the happy world solution. Both sides do this routinely and avoid difficult decisions or uncomfortable truths.

And we often fail to reward but actually punish those who speak reality as they know it. Even when one disagrees they must be shown a certain respect for character, something that there is a great deal of talk about, but far too little example in our leaders. On all sides.

I think we really have to shutter when Al Sharpton was the only presidntial canidate capable of being articulate without written notes, who had a real sense of humor and who wasn't afraid of offending, but who just told it like he thought it was. When Al Sharpton is the best man in the race, we do have problems.

I think they are soluable, I believe that there is almost unimaginable greatness in us and that when facd with crisis our people today can prove as strong as any other generation. But I think it is getting obviously that our dearly beloved congress critters and other clowns need a bit of shaking up.

While I hold the Bush administration fundamentally responsible for the choices made, I do wonder why members from both parties were not giving this potential tragedy the attention it needed. There is a little too much business as normal going on. While I realize veryone thinks their pet peeve is important, I do believe that sane people can recognize the small handful that are *really really really* important. IMO this was one of them and failure to confront it shows very serious problems in our "information society."

9/02/2005 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

foxenberg,

It's called contraflow and it was employed. If you look at a roadway map and could remember where the cameras were when the scenes you saw were filmed you would find that they were eastbound I-10 - people heading toward the storm. People who headed west and north got out with moderate delay.

The mayor of NO had no problem fleeing his city to join the governor of LA in Baton Rouge prior to the storm striking. The majority of the NO cops had no problem fleeing either. Some stayed around to loot a bit before leaving and a few even stayed and tried to perform as peace officers.

Of course, W is fully responsible for all of this. He did not fully exercise his omniscient and omnipotent powers in a manner befitting his office. A truly competent president would have completed reconstruction by now.

9/02/2005 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

rwe:

No fair! Do you know what kind of tortillas our troops would get without milspecs? It's hard to get a contractor canned for incompetence. A detailed MRE is good protection. Remember the awful boots of civil war days?

The Navy's carrier equipment you mention may have had that specification to survive air transport, or dynamic pressures.

FYI, the shortest milspec I ever read was for sugar cookies: four pages.

9/02/2005 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

Re: looting in N.O.

I'm not surprised about the looting, but I am surprised about the shooting. In the New Orleans I remember the crowd was kind enough to suggest I return to my hotel. Then they looted some stores on Bourbon Street.

They called it "Merry Christmas", but they didn't want tourists to be a part of it. Very considerate.

9/02/2005 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Fresh Air said...

Solomon2--

Grain doesn't rot in silos. It's dried and can be stored for years. Overflow can even be stored on the ground in piles, though vermin will get to some of it, so that method is not preferred. Moreover, the distribution system for grain is very complex. Much of it is moved by railroad and truck, though those methods are more expensive than by barge.

9/02/2005 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Boston said...

We see TV and print reporters display their ignorance of history, literature, and current events every day but Wolf Blitzer went way beyond ignorance today. He dove head first into the muck of racism by baiting his Black Caucus guest with "would a white city have received faster response from the Federal government" until he got the answer he wanted. Cafferty started the ball rolling yesterday when he legitimized the racism rants coming from the moonbat blogs.

Most of the victims in NO are black. Most of the heroes in NO are black. It couldn't be any other way because the population is mostly black. Trying to turn the hurricane into a racist issue is tawdry journalism of the worst kind. Mayor Nagin is black. Most of the city administration is black, and most of the police force is black. Almost to a man everybody in New Orleans city government abandoned the field under fire and left the citizens to eat cake and face the criminals unprotected. Did they show cowardice and selfishness because they are black or because they are morally corrupt individuals who happen to have relatives from certain geographical areas?

Why is there a Black Caucus anyway? Where do these people get the exclusive right to frame issues based on race and group preferences?

I sure hope we're nearing the end of the long march of progressive degradation into hell.

9/02/2005 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

peter: "Why is there a Black Caucus anyway?"
- great question.

9/02/2005 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

David Bennett,
I can't believe you think Al Sharpton was the best man in the presidential race.

9/02/2005 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

I'm concerned that even though the crisis in New Orleans may calm down over the next few days that the political storm is just beginning. My particular concern is that race-baiting and like rhetoric will deflect attention away from recognizing and addressing the primary contributors to the crisis, and towards a wholly unnecessary "race war" in the media that will simply provoke and perpetuate animosity rather than forestall future such crises from occurring.

However, this may ultimately be somewhat inconsequential compared to the larger storm looming. A host of events have transpired that do not bode well for the near-term economic health despite the recovery seen in the past few months. Committed in Iraq, reeling politically and economically from Katrina, oil production and refining reduced, global petroleum prices up, trade inhibited by the destruction at the mouth of the Mississippi with exports already low, homeowners invested in interest-only payment schemes with burgeoning debts, earnings down, and a certain favorably-positioned and opportunistic police state just over the western horizon- are the chips down for America or is this just a part of the everyday grind?

9/02/2005 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Finally, for the sake of lighthearted distraction from these sombering topics, I challenge iotm to prove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not exist.

9/02/2005 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Nate,

There has been a lot of talk that the oil prices right now are unsustainable, that we are in a petro bubble.

Prices are at an all time high, this will invaribly provide strong stimulus to get those refineries back online and lets hope we can get some more built.

In addition there is a strong stimulus for conservation and for exploration and for alternative energy.

9/02/2005 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

It's Bush's Fault!!.
NO Schoolbuses, in place.
. The media's blame game .
The debate is already well underway about who makes the grade and who fails in the response to the mess in New Orleans. Well, the debate is among thinking people. It's not really a debate in the mainstream media anymore. The full court press is on by members of MSM to lay this all off on George W. Bush and his administration. This is complete absurdity.

Hugh and I spoke briefly about that this morning, and he's not as worried as I about the latest campaign by the media sticking, because it's not true. And it's demonstrably easy to prove. Hugh pointed me to a photo that was posted on Free Republic, that is a true example of a picture being worth a thousand words:
Think those buses would have come in handy this week? Especially if you need to move a lot of people out of the convention center and Superdome?
Local government had 48 hours from when Katrina turned north until it hit.

This can't happen if local government is competent. The media will try make this the federal government's fault, but as we continue to see Governor Blanco, a nice lady, but completely over her head, and hear New Orleans Mayor Nagin descend into a foul-mouthed tirade, and continue to see the feds move in, Hugh's right. The American people are going to see through the media's spin.

9/02/2005 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nathan, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, aka Greenspan, will save the day?
(Is that Alan is Superman's Cape?)

9/02/2005 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

The idiocy level of the left never ceases to amaze me; just when I think that they can't possibly get any dumber, they somehow manage. How anyone could possibly blame this problem on anything/anyone but the city of New Orleans, the state of Louisiana, the politicians who have "led" those entitities for the past 100 years, and the people themselves for not evacuating, is beyond me.

9/02/2005 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

That strong stimulus will have to overcome pressures from a certain segment of the population which seems opposed to just about anything that maintains or improves American standards of living. That segment has been instrumental out of all proportion to size or merit for nearly two decades in discouraging or preventing exploration or infrastructural expansion. At the same time associated segments advocate further handicaps to the American economy- internationally sanctioned ones with exceptions so other countries can "catch up"! Incredibly, these segments strengthen their position, however circuitously, with events like Katrina. Thus the destructive pattern of eco-politics unfolds. I only hope that the greater number of American people and their elected leaders recognize this incipient danger.

9/02/2005 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

(Is that Alan is Superman's Cape?)

Haha! I wish. Thanks Doug, I needed that.

9/02/2005 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

re: federal government and pasteurized cities.

Sometimes you only learn by doing. I think from levee breaking to guard on the ground is pretty good (wrt 3 days to respond after levee failure).

A call up order for the national guard (must be done by governor, not feds unless they declare that some national interest supersedes state's) takes 72 hours from start to assembled and ready to go (where they have to bring in their own life-support). And this assumes they don't pull some stunt like the guard did last time they were called up and decided to not count the weekend as two of the days.

Sadly there is a bit of Baghdad going on. Appears they let the jails empty because they had no plans to evacuate (even though they had 1000s of buses sitting idle). The trouble with voluntary evacuations is that all the people capable of saving those who don't leave, have already left. I wager few school bus drivers knew they should stay and risk life and limb for those less able or motivated. They likely never practiced. And neither the guard, the jails, nor calling a mandatory evacuation -before- disaster and support for same are federal issues.

re: rebuilding. I imagine some hard-working and patriotic engineering firm (oh no, not Halliburton) can cleverly divert enough silt from the Mississippi to raise New Orleans by 50-60 feet, uniformly (over the next 5-10 years). But it means that someone will have to tell the radical environmentalists to go sit on their hands and not continue to sue to stop these new (as well as the old) people-protection efforts. And tell the EPA to let people build on what the rest of the world would think is pristine clean, but since every year our test and measurement equipment gets better, the EPA claims is contaminated. You want contaminated. Immerse wood in what's in New Orleans for a month at today's temps, and you'll get mold and fungus that there's no getting rid of. Level all those structures and start over. Concrete high-rises will find themselves with 3-4 basement stories. And in twenty years it will be a memory, and a motivational bedtime story to "evacuate when we tell you." Plus it will be a lesson to big cities and politicians who would otherwise enable and permit a large part of their population to be "warehoused," ignored, and turned into tinder, victims, and predators.

9/02/2005 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I would be interested to know how many of those in the Convention Center were unemployed or on welfare, how many college educated, how many with a high school diploma, how many were single or divorced mothers, and how many married.

If the Superdome is anything, it is an advertisement against dependency. Routes of socio-economic mobility are well-defined in this country. I wonder how many are now suffering the consequences of a detrimental culture and the helplessness and complacency it breeds.

Another effect of a debilitating culture: Why are most of the poor women obese, and what does it imply in terms of self-control, self-respect, initiative, etc?

9/02/2005 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Aristedes,
Your post reminds me of what I posted yesterday in previous thread:
---
Boy, ricpic really stirred the pot with his simple, entirely reasonable post:
Goes to show how much PC has gotten in the way of honest, straightforward communication.
What I find really pathetic about this whole "race" thing is that Patrick Monihan was writing about this stuff in Life Magazine 40 years ago.
...but dealing with the underclass's problems will be a piece of cake compared to the legions of Parasites, paid for by us, that have grown and fed off them and us in the interim.

And now, to add to the misery, more people are feeding off the illegal/quasi legal amigos from the south that have just added to the misery and nearly impossible barriers facing the native poor.
Not so rich as we think.

9/02/2005 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Might be nice if we could teach the poor to read.
...in English.

9/02/2005 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Think what Rumsfeld could do with FEMA.
And if he's too busy, Wolfowitz could handle two jobs.

9/02/2005 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Does anyone know why the Airport had to shut down so soon, canceling flights?
Those tourists that watched their paid for Buses be commandeered by the Govt had flights out...
Until they didn't.

9/02/2005 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Evacuee Raymond Cooper:
Sir, you've got about 3,000 people here in this -- in the Convention Center right now. They're hungry. Don't have any food. We were told two-and-a-half days ago to make our way to the Superdome or the Convention Center by our mayor. And which when we got here, was no one to tell us what to do, no one to direct us, no authority figure.

Uncollected corpses
Brown: That's not been reported to me, so I'm not going to comment. Until I actually get a report from my teams that say, "We have bodies located here or there," I'm just not going to speculate.
---
Maybe someone in charge could have BEEN THERE?

9/02/2005 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hosting Matters and NZ Bear are starting work on a Portal to connect things down there.

9/02/2005 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

I'm also interested in a study of Superdome demographics. It may be worthwhile to point out that the Superdome was not the only place where residents and tourists who were "left behind" sheltered during and after the storm. Some lip service has been paid to small groups who weathered the storm in their apartments or hotels in the city- many of whom chartered their own buses only to have them commandeered. These, at least, tried to help themselves, but their travails were foiled by the demands of the woeful dependent to which the government authorities willingly submitted! Yet this escapes public outrage. Poverty and dependence appear as virtues whose virtuous are more worthy of salvation than the independent and self-sufficient.

9/02/2005 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

doug "Does anyone know why the Airport had to shut down so soon, canceling flights?"
also, did they attempt to put on extra 'evacuation' flights ahead of time? the tourist couple i saw interviewed (just before the deluge) said that delta - that shining model of an airline - just told them 'too bad, so sad.'

9/02/2005 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

. Black Folk Left Behind .
Thousands of people, many of them elderly, waited in the Louis Armstrong Airport today for flights out of New Orleans.

9/02/2005 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

nathan - an australian tourist reported that he and a hundred other tourists had to be rescued from the superdome by guardsmen - with weapons drawn.
charming.

9/02/2005 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

When I lived in Louisiana, the talk was not IF but WHEN New Orleans would be hit by "The Big One" and submerged. The local advice was "Enjoy NO while you can, it could be gone next year. But be real careful, stay with friends at all times. NO has the worst riff raff in the South, beware."

The port facilities are all above sea level, so too most of the business district and French Quarter. They will recover. The important stuff.

The question is what to do with the levees and contruction to rebuild the rental properties that the underclass inhabited below sea level.

Super enhancing the levees is a fine idea, but only one breech will reflood the slum areas if they are rebuilt. The part that failed in Katrina was new, not the levee sections in need of repair. If completely redone to withstand a Cat 5, you still have only one failure needed in any section of almost 100 miles of levees to repeat the loss of 10 billion in slum rental property. That could be a random failure in a hurricane, sudden land subsidence under any small part of the levee system, a ship accidentally ramming a levee, or terrorists/angry man with a grudge deliberately ramming. Or an industrial explosion or terrorists with a speedboad loaded with Ammonium nitrate or C-4.

Too many failure modes to justify rebuilding below sea level rental slums in Hurricane Alley....even if we upgrade and blow 10-15 billion on Cat-5 levees not needed for the critical parts of New Orleans.

The other part is it has to be considered that it might not be a bad thing, for New Orleans future, to get rid of the underclass that has no essential skills needed for NO's future, are propertyless renters. Bulldoze the slummy below sea areas, and foist New Orleans low skill trash off on other areas of Louisiana or states like Texas, Massachusetts. Build up additional areas of New Orleans with the rubble, barge trash, cover with clean fill to make sites well above sea level and build desirable high rises - not poverty projects - for the the stable working middle class and working poor families that will have jobs in rebuilt New Orleans.

Where would the looters, thugs, and the lifetime parasitics live, then??

Somewhere else. Houston. Baton Rouge. Jacksonville. Not New Orleans. Not back where they came from if their slum rentals were destroyed and the landowners took the Gov'ts eminent domain offer to sell out to the Gov't and the Gov't decides not to rebuild and rezones the land as park, recreation, commercial use..And reserve part for future expansion of NO if fill, rubble, and river sediment can be brought in to reclaim the land to 6-8 feet above sea level.

9/02/2005 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

if PC rules prohibit you from challenging any black person for fear of offending all black people, then you end up doing really stupid things like letting any old gangbanger into an open stadium among decent (mostly black) folk - therby putting all the (mostly black) people at serious risk. brilliant.

9/02/2005 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Four days after Katrina left most of New Orleans under water, National Guard trucks arrived to begin helping thousands of people."
---
NY Times fails to note that 6 days after Hurricane came, NO Schoolbuses remain parked by the thousands!

9/02/2005 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

C4,
Same plan for 3-4 million displaced by future dirty bomb?

9/02/2005 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Norman Rogers said...

Wretchard writes: When Katrina showed up, it simply exceeded the designed defenses of city. There was never any prospect they would hold up.

Actually, that's wrong. With all due respect (and I consider you to be a terrific military historian and commentator), New Orleans flooded becuase of a catastrophic breach in a recently strenghthened levee (17th Street). The levee was topped (water poured over it from the canal it bounded) and somehow scoured the backside, causing erosion and eventual breach. This should not have occurred. The backside should have been sealed to prevent this (the water channelled to pumping stations).

This was an engineering failure -- NOT A PLANNING FAILURE,

Recent computer simulations indeed showed New Orleans could be overwhelmed by a "slow moving" category 3 or greater hurricane -- But Katrina was humping along at 16 mph when it made landfall (0-15 mph is considered "slow").

Now, how models comport with real life is always a learning experience -- but no one modeled a breach of this magnitude. New Orleans' defenses always presumed some topping of levees, but not so much that it would overload the pumping stations.

The 17th Street Levee breach is 200 feet across. Assuming the levee is 15 feet high at this point we have a cross section of 3000 sq. feet.

The comparable cross section for a simple topping of the levee (discounting wind and wave actions) would be on the order of perhaps two inches along a thousand foot stretch. That's an order of magnitude difference, plus the water pressure gradient increases linearly with each foot below the surface.

I leave it to the interested hydrologist to figure out the respective flow rates (actual breach vs. theoretical topping). Suffice to say, the pumping capacity of New Orleans did not allow an order of magnitude safety margin.

9/02/2005 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Suffice to say, the pumping capacity of New Orleans did not allow an order of magnitude safety margin"
---
From what Solomon, and one other poster (sorry) have said, I don't think pumps were protected from flooding.
...and Solomon wonders if pumps added to the problem while still working. (overtopping canal)
---
...but bigger problem for future is what to do w/refugees, imho.

9/02/2005 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

norman rogers,

The theory is that when the USS Thresher was conducting a diving drill in 1963, a brazed pipe fitting burst, letting a small stream of seawater in. But it happened when the sub was traveling at slow speed and sensors automatically shut down the reactor when the relatively small flood started.

A ballast tank blow was insufficient to raise the Thresher in that state. Had it been traveling just a little faster, it could have used its forward momentum to zoom up or used the engines to do the same. But the reactor was shut and steam pressure at low. She was forced deeper and deeper until she finally imploded in the deep.

It was the downstream consequences of the burst pipe that doomed the Thresher, and maybe it was the downstream (no pun intended) consequences of the overflow of the 17th Street Levee that cascaded through the whole system.

So maybe it was an engineering, not a design error, though the two are intermingled.

9/02/2005 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

The recriminations are almost as distressing as the event itself, I think. Seems like a little state of nature is just what the doctor ordered. Or a lot.

9/02/2005 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Aristides: In Baton Rouge, swollen with NO refugees, police report minimal crime problems associated with the influx.
Remarkable contrast with the situation in NO, isn't it?
Is is A/C, lights, a dry place to sleep, and food, or something else that makes the difference?

9/02/2005 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Savage's wife has same view as me:
Save Bases as Refugee Centers AT LEAST!

9/02/2005 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

re: "order of magnitude" safety margin in pumps

Pumps can work if the levees "only" leak (v. disappear). Else you're just pumping water in a circle. The magnitude of the recent levee failures will be a subject of civil engineering research for decades. It may mean levees (not anchored to bedrock) simply can't provide guarantees (worth insuring).

If people want guarantees, they'll need to raise the lived-in areas to well above the flood plain. The good news is this tera-forming that reclaims land from the sea is cheaper than it's ever been.

9/02/2005 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Norman Rogers said...

Actually, wretchard, a more recent theory as to the proximate cause of the loss of the Thresher is that the the emergency system to blow the ballast tanks would not work at the depth the Thresher had likely reached by the time it was tried (it would freeze). Of course your point is well taken that by the time they tried this the boat was already without power.

Of course the Thresher -- indeed the entire nuclear submarine program -- suffered from sloppy design and construction at the time and the loss of the boat in such an indeterminate manner led to a general clean up of design, manufacturing, and maintenance programs. This, unfortunately, is how we learn.

But to get back to your point -- you can well argue that the defects in the emergency ballast-blowing system came to the fore downstream of the suspected failed pipe, just as you can argue that the failure of the 17th Street levee occured only after the water levels in the canal exceeded its height.

So what? The Thresher most probably sunk becuase an emergency system failed. New Orleans was flooded because an emergency barrier failed.

But in both situations these emergencies were planned for. It's jsut that the engineered solutions failed. This is how we learn.

My favorite example of learning the hard way is the Tacoma Narrow Bridge failure (Galloping Gertie). No engineering texts considered calculating the resonant frequency of a bridge nor imagined that a sustained wind could force a harmonic oscillation of such a bridge. This, unfortunately is how we learn.

Another example is the ill-fated Comet -- which taught us to study metal fatigue and the stresses caused by rectangular windows in aluminum hulls that are pressure cycled.

And the point of this discussion?

That the catastrophe of New Orleans is not a result of insufficient planning or funding. Some poor engineer or builder or inspector allowed a deficient levee to be constructed. And, we didn't find out about it until the structure was needed. Just like the Thresher.

9/02/2005 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

rwe,

I noticed that report, too. Lights, A/C, and the rest are part of the reason, but I bet the presence of organized authority has the most to do with the comparative lack of crime in Baton Rouge.

Character is what you do when nobody's looking. Something is amiss when morality must be enforced at the point of a gun.

9/02/2005 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ammunition becoming sold out in HOUSTON.

9/02/2005 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"And the point of this discussion?"
---
Another discussion is being played out as we write:
What to do w/refugees now, and in the future?

9/02/2005 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ari 6:11 PM,
Agree that any "solution" must be good for at least the (foreseeable) next 100 years.

9/02/2005 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

"or something else that makes the difference?"

RWE,

Why should the predators leave NO by bus? They have to figure a way to get their pelf out and, hopefully, many of them won't make it. By tomorrow night the ROE should change to anyone out after curfew being referred to as a "moving target".

9/02/2005 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

norman rogers,

Fascinating discussion. Some months ago I read a book by John Pina Craven that described some of the quality control issues uncovered in the wake of the sub disasters. One case involved compressed air cylinders, which were speced as HY80, but which when tested turned out to be made of STS steel, a weaker grade for the purposes. When confronted, the manufacturer replied they had been making cylinders that way for the Navy for years so they didn't think it mattered.

I think it turned out, after the Challenger disaster, there was technical footnote that specified the O-ring seal was not safe to use below a certain temperature and that was written into the manual. When pressure grew to launch it that fatal day, no one thought the air temperature being a few degrees under spec would make a difference. No one would realize, among the millions of shuttle parts, what a difference those few degrees of tempreature meant. No one thought it was important.

But what really worries me is that Katrina has provided a wealth of attack data for Al Qaeda. For example, they have learned to identify when a physical system is stressed by nature and may be planning to give nature that extra push. How would you design the 17th Street Levee to stand up to a truck bomb? The British did this during the war. They had puny bombs, so they blew three dams which flooded the Ruhr, and handed Guy Gibson the VC for the Dambusters Raid. I don't want to say this, but in some way we were lucky for the preview.

9/02/2005 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Talk about a change from present culture!
How about ex-felon cops:
Can they go BACK to work?

9/02/2005 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

re: moving targets.

I wonder how long we will have to wait before disease and pestilence do the job for us?

We might as well factor these roving bands into the casualty figures. They picked the wrong place to go to ground.

9/02/2005 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

To the loons that are criticizing the Bush administration for not using Helicopters for all evacuations:

You should find out just how expensive helicopters are to purchase, maintain, crew, and fuel, before you shoot off your mouths. There aren't enough helicoptors to do all the evacuations and freight-hauling and people-hauling that need to be done.

There are several fallacies that govern American culture. At least two are central to maintaining the entrenched dependent-mentality: 1) The only reason poor people are poor is because RICH people are hoarding all the wealth. 2) Anything bad that happens is SOMEBODY's fault.

These ideas lead people to believe that ANYTHING they think of as a solution should be tried, no matter how extravagant or wasteful, because only selfish rich bastards could possibly object to the expense. They also lead people to begin a witchhunt for someone to blame as soon as any catastrophe looms. Of course, short-circuited logic like this will fix on the convenient list of "usual suspects." For the Democrats and so-called progressive liberals, this means Bush will be blamed for anything bad that happens, anywhere, anytime.

It's really an extension of the animist-shaman belief system in which every disease is thought to result from the curse of an enemy. To cure the disease, all you have to do is identify and kill the enemy.

Naturally, it's a LOT easier if you already have identified your enemy...

9/02/2005 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

re: collapsing the wave function.

The lesson of Katrina will be studied by both sides, of course, but I grow less sanguine about our government's ability to incorporate what they know.

"But we knew!" will be our helpless cry for the foreseeable future. Focus is everything, and we have none.

9/02/2005 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

According to a recent history channel show, I believe the most recent theory on the THresher is that there was some poor maintenance practices that probably led to the failure. The Navy was trying out a new system of (cheaper) periodic miantenance, and they got what they paid for.

9/02/2005 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Norman Rogers said...

Wretchard, you worry too much. There are far, far too many targets of opportunity for terror strikes to conceivably protect them all.

I get the sense that we have adults in charge nowadays and they're not going to try to harden potential targets where the resultant body counts are in the dozens and the possibilites of barrier screens don't exist (e.g. NYC subways). For sure, dams are tempting targets and I'm sure the possibilites have caught the attention of our authorities.

But, the best defense as always is offense, and our President understands this. We are carrying the fight to the enemy and I strongly believe this has disrupted the offensive plans of our foe -- three unguided missiles "aimed" at warships don't impress me.

OBTW, I really love your comments. I bought ASEI at $49 and change.

9/02/2005 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

From Varadarajan at Opinion Journal (courtesy RealClearPolitics.com):

There has been a descent so clear into indecency that one must address it as pressingly as the breakdown of the city's levees. It is as if the moral and civic "levees," too, were overwhelmed by the torrent. Once the waters have receded, New Orleans will face a task that will test our national mettle. A part of that task will be to ask why so many stooped so low as the waters rose so high.

In many ways it is easier to confront nature's fury than the iniquities of the human heart. Katrina will test more than our levees, it seems.

9/02/2005 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

One thing that has just been under the surface in my thinking is the possibility of AQ involvment, thanks for bringing it to the surface Wretchard. Certainly they have an awareness of such weak spots. I don't suspect AQ involvement in this situation but it probably gives them ideas. I know the Sault Locks in Sault Ste. Marie were under tighter guard post 9/11 than pre 9/11.

Does anyone have an exact timeline of the cataclysmic events? In any event I am quite a bit less than certain as to when the levees went.

Also, one of the things we & others in the world suffer from is mighty American syndrome that we can fix anything instantly if we want to, so to them when we can not fix something at the snap of a finger it isn't because we can't its because we don't want to. This is good to a certain extent because a can do attitude is important but "can do" sometimes needs tempering.

9/02/2005 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Wretchard: Relative to Challenger, the spec on the O-ring seal was 40 degrees, the O- ring had not been tested that at that low a temperature, there was evidence from previous launches that the O-rings had a problem with temps as low as 55F and the OAT that morning at KSC was 27 degrees. So they launched.
On another occasion, the following year, with an Atlas from the Cape, the weather recon aircraft was unable to take off because the weather was too bad. The surveillance helicopters were unable to report on the proximity of lightning - because they were forced off station by lightning.
So given a lack of data on how bad the weather was, they decided it was Okay. A bolt of lightning reprogrammed the booster guidance system with random 1's and 0's shortly thereafter.
Aristides: Law and order has its definite influence but I suspect that the relative calm in Baton Rouge has something to do with the kind of people who are willing and able to follow recommendations and get out of town when told to do so. You are left with a high percentage of people who can't, won't, are too stupid, or see it as an opportunity to loot.
As in the NYC blackout of the
70's, there will be a lot of recrimminations and blame but probably far too little introspection amongst the people and leaders of the stricken city about how some acted - and did not act.

9/02/2005 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

By the way, Helodriver, for all the calls for hordes of chopper to save the people of NO, from what I know, most military copters are not equipped with rescue hoists. Only the specialized rescue models have that feature. None of the USAF Hueys had those hoists, from what I recall.

9/02/2005 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

rwe,
And isn't it true that the Shuttle has far too many failure possibilities to ever live up to what it was supposed to become?
---
I'll bet Rutan could come up w/something w/failure modes 100's of times fewer!

9/02/2005 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

RWE,
I believe that you are mistaken on that. I know that all the USN and USMC choppers have hoists, and the majority of the USAF helos and USA helos have troop transport as a prime mission, so I assume that they would have the hoists as well.

9/02/2005 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

rwe,
10,000s of thousand were on DRY Ground w/open space for Helo landing.

9/02/2005 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"To the loons that are criticizing the Bush administration for not using Helicopters for all evacuations:"
---
I am criticising Local "leaders" and Brown of FEMA for not calling in choppers to at least take out the 5,000 old, sick, and fraile, and drop tents and food to the rest.
BUT how would anyone know to do that?
THEY WERE NOT THERE!
Rudy was!

9/02/2005 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Buses could have saved the day.
They are still parked in NO.

Choppers were then needed to deal with what could still be dealt with.

9/02/2005 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Doug - C4,Same plan for 3-4 million displaced by future dirty bomb?

If you use civil defense cleanup standards, a dirty bomb is a trivial thing. If you use EPA standards, months and months of cleanup with some buildings "unoccupiable" because rad exposure might give you 1/10th the dose you would get living in Denver.

By trivial, the explosive charge might kill, the 1,000-20,000 curies assembled by the Islamoids might get a few of them from cancer later, maybe a few infidels die from cancer. With a civil defense cleanup, you stop all movement so contamination isn't spread inside, decon people, pressure wash buildings and firehose all the curie load, small as it is, down the drains to crap up a small section of river bottom, ocean bottom safely away from people for 20-40 years until it's decayed out.

One of the more vexing things if you are involved in emergency planning is the Bushies refuse to say which decon approach they will use...and both approaches must start immediately with approval from the Feds before you deliberately swipe up one speck of radiological contamination or flush it away from people into sewers. The methodologies are quite different - and cleanup delayed while Bush, the Cabinet, the Gov all stand around with their thumbs up their asses likely would mean contamination spreads.

3-4 million lifetime refugees from a piddling dirty bomb? No way. Likely not even thousands, even if the Bushies decide days later that "not a speck left anywhere" EPA standards will be used. The EPA approach would cost several billion and block use of a city for months. The civil defense method would recover a city in days and cost a few million unless the bomb went off in a really bad place like inside a subway, Grand Central, or key office building.

Better a thousand dirty bombs went off in the downtowns of a hundred US cities, on the street - than a single real nuclear bomb. If Hiroshima size, you would have up to a million dead and the release of 1.4 million curies in fission isotope inventory with a half life greater than 4 hours - per kiloton of explosive power released by fission, plus a lot of the rads released would be the bioconcentrating iodine you can't put in a dirty bomb...

Forget the bunk about dirty bombs being a WMD. They are at best an annoyance or the militaries would have added them as weapons.

9/02/2005 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

C4, agree w/decon.
Don't know much about Curies except he lost his hand, I think.

9/02/2005 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

But the question remains for REAL WMD:
What to do w/refugees?

9/02/2005 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

...as I say, Houston is stocking up on Ammo.
I say Save The Bases!

9/02/2005 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger madawaskan said...

What I fail to understand is this-


If the gun stores were the first places to be looted-and I think we cannot look back or forward too much right now -but to say in the present-

Next time guns should not be left in a store that can be raided easily.

Part of the preparation from now on in an area predicted to be hit-and then some-

{because this storm was suppose to hit the Panhandle and was not slated to pop so rapidly-at a time it was a CAT FIVE}

should be for local,or federal-agencies to secure the guns.

This should be done in an area-by a wide margin of error-outside the predicted strike zone-and for any storm once it hits 90 miles an hour winds.

Talking about future building plans for the Big Easy -it is not about NOW-and is only borrowing trouble, and creating division-something the country is sadly rather gifted with an abundance of lately.

9/02/2005 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

madawaskan,
Same thing happened w/Iniki:
It was supposed to cruise by, but made a hard right turn at the last moment, hitting Kuai full on.
Lucky not Oahu.
Right turn was a plot to put blame on Bubba, I hear.
(Who is in Kuai now, btw)

9/02/2005 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

But NO had 3 days after that to get their stuff together.
They failed, manifestly.
And we will fail if we do not deal w/refugee problem now and for future events.
I won't repeat my Base Idea this time:-)

9/02/2005 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

According to a recent history channel show, I believe the most recent theory on the THresher is that there was some poor maintenance practices that probably led to the failure. The Navy was trying out a new system of (cheaper) periodic miantenance, and they got what they paid for.

NO, it wasn't maintenance. The Thresher was new. The issues were adequacy of the post construction hydro on the cooling system (the section they suspect had the failed braize may have been isolated at hydro time) - and Rickover's reactor rules that enforced mindless engineering limits in order to optimize performance....which made the care and lifetime of the reactor more important than the survival of the sub and it's crew.

So when the reactor tripped, steam stops were shut to minimize reactor cooldown and avoid excessive thermal cycling. Unfortunately, also killing the ability to propel the flooding sub back to the surface and end the high pressure flooding.

Blub blub!

Every submarine in the Soviet and American fleet then went with allowing use of residual heat in the reactor and steam generator to save the sub. And devised fast scram recovery procedures. To be fair to Adm Rickover, before Thresher the Soviets were even more anal on unquestioningly following engineering limits than Naval Reactors (Rickovers mini-empire).

9/02/2005 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

madawaskan,
Not to worry about discussion here creating division.
Most of the folks there that would act out on it can't read,
and the leaders are too lazy!

9/02/2005 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Tarzana Joe says,.
Today's poem of the hour is about the experience of a hurricane night and it ends with a hope of morning. This Hurricane Night has extended over four days. I believe we are beginning to recognize morning.

Night of a Hurricane
They don't talk about the moaning of the wind
Like some injured beast outside in the dark.
They don't mention the sound made by objects
Taking wings and banging against the window like bullets.
No one ever told me how hot a house gets
With boarded windows and no air conditioning.
Those candles we held in reserve for such a time
Are like dozens of small campfires in the living room
No one ever mentioned how the cold sweat of fear
Creeps down your back when you try to keep your face brave
So the kids won't go directly to Chaos without passing Go.
When the trees fall on the house, we will just keep smiling
And lying about how everything will be just fine.
The beast is still out there howling.
I hear the roof beginning to give.
But one thing we don't talk about,
And it is the most quiet thing of all,
The water.
It creeps more silent than a whisper,
Waiting like a hungry whale to swallow us, house and all.
If I could look out the window,
I would know whether to go to the attic.
I see water oozing like poison under the door.
The injured beast continues to howl
and the hands of the clock move all too slowly.
As dark as it is in this house,
will we know when it is morning?
And will we still be here in the morning?
By Raynette Eitel

9/02/2005 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Refugees from Hurricane Katrina were evacuated aboard a Marine helicopter Friday near the convention center

9/02/2005 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This is what Peter Boston referred to .
(Times has mp3 file there also)
When this failed, had FEMA's Brown been there, he would have known much much more than he did about reality on the ground.

WWL: If some of the public called and they're right, that there's a law that the president, that the federal government can't do anything without local or state requests, would you request martial law?

NAGIN: I've already called for martial law in the city of New Orleans. We did that a few days ago.

WWL: Did the governor do that, too?
NAGIN: I don't know. I don't think so.

9/02/2005 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Doug said...
But NO had 3 days after that to get their stuff together.
They failed, manifestly.
And we will fail if we do not deal w/refugee problem now and for future events.
I won't repeat my Base Idea this time:-)

8:22 PM
////////////////
Doug

I didn't see your base Idea but I did see Fox news earlier this evening. It was pretty clear from the hysterical reporting on the scene that the people gathered at the convention center and the bridge were not being allowed to simply walk out of town because the police thought that they were a mobile problem. I think that was the conclusion because of all the reported looting the killing & raping going on in the area.

The police thought that where-ever these folk went--there would be trouble. So better to leave them in place.

I also think the Fox reporters were frightened by the level of anger from the crowds at being....

LEFT BEHIND.

9/02/2005 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Wretchard wrote:

"Good point about whether demanning NO caused the cascading failure. Demobilizing or putting your force in transit just you need them to do something.... The important thing is not to let things get away from you, "

In infantry school leaders are taught to "let the situation develop" and to "conserve resources" until the right moment. Ditto for stuff like this. The NO leadership should have had massive resources stockpiled then allocated them once they knew what their needs were.

Clear, thoughtful, informed, and decisive leadership.

I think its interesting to watch the Mayor try to deflect blame today on the news with his profanity laced interview. If I were Mayor, I'd be out running my city and kicking some PD hiney.

9/02/2005 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

This incident will hurt NO in the long run and the Mississippi is still navigable.

There are some other huge ports now in the South.

Houston and Savannah come to mind. Like the destruction of Galveston caused Houston's star to rise, so will the troubles in NO cause Savannah's star to rise.

9/02/2005 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

They Saw It Coming .
By MARK FISCHETTI
Good article by someone who knows a lot about it.

9/02/2005 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Mayor Nagin and the PD COC and the NO political apparatus needs to be charged under the RICO statutes.

If Milliken got ten in the pen as will Ebbers, then Nagin needs to do hard time as well.

Gross Negligence must be visibly punished.

9/02/2005 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Charles,
Base Idea is to keep Military Bases rather than dispose of them for just such situations, and future attacks, as refugee centers, if nothing else.
(but should be maintained as much more than that imo.)

9/02/2005 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

I agree with many posters on the failure of the NO and State government. The politics of LA/NO has had a checkered past ranging from infamous Huey Long to today's Mayor Nagin.

Further, the MSM is quick to jump on any disaster (as they say "if it bleeds it leads"). And, obviously there are some who would take advantage of the disaster to advance their own political agenda (Blame Bush). This makes for a dangerous brew. I hope cooler heads prevail. Here are some of the problem areas.

Political Corruption:

Common Cents notes [via Rich Lowry in 'At The Corner], "... A: I think no one in the area ever thought that a storm of this magnitude would ever really strike New Orleans. A friend of mine at Tulane usually rode these storms out by opening his front door and sipping bourbon while watching the waves of rain pass. Fortunately he did not stay this time.

The problem with planning is the same as the problem with flood control.... There are simply too many competing agencies asking for the same dollars and jealously guarding their political turf... no one anticipated the complete social breakdown that has occurred among those who refused or were unable to evacuate. The breakdown appears to be the culmination of decades of weak, at best, law enforcement with Orleans Parish that looked the other way at a lot of the crime that occurred in areas like the Ninth Ward, because the officers themselves were scared to go into many of the housing projects. Also, until within the last ten years the state police were not allowed by the city government to operate within the parish... Some of this goes back to when Huey Long amended the state constitution to take control of the city from the elected city government; most, unfortunately, is the result of much more recent corruption (witness the recent indictments of many close aides, including family members, of the administration of former mayor Marc Morial)
. "

Doug notes [via CNN and MSNBC], "... This guy [Nagin] takes responsibility for absolutely nothing. He admits that he has no clue about the laws establishing the chain of command for disaster relief, and even says that he doesn't care. That's a pretty amazing statement from the mayor of a city that has always been a levee breach from disaster.

"MSNBC has video of N.O. cops looting with shopping carts. I saw it and these cops were not even concerned they were being photographed. Heard a report on CNN this AM that other N.O. cops were barricaded with their families in their precinct building and were shooting it out with roving gangs. Is this part of Mayor Nagin's disaster plan?
"

Trish notes [via Rich Lowry again], "People outside of New Orleans had high hopes when Nagin was elected... When he took office the New Orleans Police Department had only just quit accepting convicted felons as officers... {classy, felons with a badge and a gun}..."

Communications:

RWE notes, "...I am astonished at the reports that the people left in New Orleans have no information nor any way to get any. There is an AM radio station still operating there, but the TV news reports are that none of those poor people have portable radios. Now this is incredible! Portable AM radios are terribly common, even cheaper than they were 10 or 20 years ago..."

Now, as some have noted may people simply ignored the dire weather warnings.

Here is the original forecast for Katrina:

[Wretchard, this message is not covered under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
- so don't fret about it infringing on copy write laws]

WWUS74 KLIX 281550NPWLIXURGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005

DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED
HURRICANE KATRINAA MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH...RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969. MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS...PERHAPS LONGER. ATLEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL...LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL.PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED.

CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE. HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT. AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATEADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...

AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK. POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...

BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEWCROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BEKILLED.AN INLAND HURRICANE WIND WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS NEARHURRICANE FORCE...OR FREQUENT GUSTS AT OR ABOVE HURRICANE FORCE..

.ARECERTAIN WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS.ONCE TROPICAL STORM AND HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ONSET...DO NOT VENTUREOUTSIDE!LAZ038-040-050-056>070-282100-ASSUMPTION-LIVINGSTON-LOWER JEFFERSON-LOWER LAFOURCHE-LOWER PLAQUEMINES-LOWER ST. BERNARD-LOWER TERREBONNE-ORLEANS-ST. CHARLES-ST. JAMES-ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST-ST. TAMMANY-TANGIPAHOA-UPPER JEFFERSON-UPPER LAFOURCHE-UPPER PLAQUEMINES-UPPER ST. BERNARD-UPPER TERREBONNE-1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005




See: SUN AUG 28 2005

MSM and Race baiting:

Doug sarcastically notes to "Black Folk Left Behind" and then links to a picture stranded white folks. And Doug also notes "The full court press is on by members of MSM to lay this all off on George W. Bush and his administration. This is complete absurdity."

As for the divisive race baiting, and blacks being killed by Bush being bandied about, the WSJ properly notes this is false.

Though Katrina is an equal-opportunity destroyer, the news media's coverage of the disaster has centered on the city of New Orleans--which is understandable, given that that is the center of the metropolis, that it is densely populated, and that it is 80% underwater. That means the faces of the suffering that we have seen have mostly been black ones. And so what? These are fellow human beings and fellow Americans; the color of their skin makes their misery no more or less heartbreaking... Yet two days ago, Jack Shafer of [Left leaning] Slate complained that journalists were ignoring race: "In the their [sic] frenzy to beat freshness into the endless loops of disaster footage that have been running all day, broadcasters might have mentioned that nearly all the visible people left behind in New Orleans are of the black persuasion." Soon enough, CNN picked up the theme... [But] The NY Times notes that among those who lost homes in Mississippi were Rep. Gene Taylor, a Democrat, and Sen. Trent Lott, a Republican--both persons of pallor and neither one of whom can be called downtrodden...

In truth, Katrina's devastation was spread out over a huge area, not just the city of New Orleans with its majority-black population. The AP quotes Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who lists four suburban parishes that, along with Orleans Parish (which is coterminous with New Orleans) were hit hard enough to need "long-term rebuilding." ... the 2000 census's racial breakdowns of the populations of those five Louisiana parishes, along with Mississippi's coastal counties


Chart of Parish or county

population: White Black

Jefferson, La 69.8% 22.90%
Orleans, La 28.1% 67.3%
Plaguemines, La 69.8% 23.4%
St. Bernard, La 88.3% 7.6%
St. Tammany, La 87.0% 9.9%
Hancock, Miss. 90.2% 6.8%
Harrison, Miss. 73.1% 21.1%
Jackson, Miss. 75.4% 20.9%


See: WSJ: Is Katrina Racist?

Infrastructure failure:

Wretchard has a fair amount of material on the NO levee/river system. Since it's such a broad subject I will just defer to others to hash it out (Note: I am optimistic. Some smart engineer will eventually solve the problem).

As Norm Rogers notes, "But to get back to your point -- you can well argue that the defects in the emergency ballast-blowing system came to the fore downstream of the suspected failed pipe, just as you can argue that the failure of the 17th Street levee occured only after the water levels in the canal exceeded its height.

So what? The Thresher most probably sunk becuase an emergency system failed. New Orleans was flooded because an emergency barrier failed.

But in both situations these emergencies were planned for. It's jsut that the engineered solutions failed. This is how we learn.
"

I agree. This is an unfortunate disaster. But, we must pickup the pieces, learn from it and move forward.

9/02/2005 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hopefully, govt. can figure out a way to get more plugged into things like Trish's link.
That's what NZ Bear is doing, but can govt follow/utilize?

9/02/2005 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

"There probably should be regional equipment depots, similar to what the military is doing now overseas, that have all the equipment necessary for mobile command posts, field hospitals, field kitchens, power supplies, transportation, etc"

My NG BN could and did fully deploy with 4 days POL and weapons and food within 2 hours of an alert. We practiced this several times year and they were all unannounced.

9/02/2005 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Norman Rogers wrote:

"Actually, that's wrong. With all due respect (and I consider you to be a terrific military historian and commentator), New Orleans flooded becuase of a catastrophic breach in a recently strenghthened levee (17th Street). The levee was topped (water poured over it from the canal it bounded) and somehow scoured the backside, causing erosion and eventual breach. This should not have occurred. The backside should have been sealed to prevent this (the water channelled to pumping stations)."

One man can stack 100 sandbags an hour. This is an area about 5 feet high and five feet long and five feed wide. 500 men can raise a wall five feet high and one half of a mile long in an hour.

Engineers plan for failure and use passive and active systems to mitigate failure. And stochastic analysis of historical incidents would have provided information on how many breaches to expect given watershed conditions and stockpiles and teams could have been distributed accordingly. Furthermore, use of ditches and sumps and cross-dikes would have contained the flooding while allowing mobility. The Dutch are masters of this.

It WAS a planning and leadership failure.

9/02/2005 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

"My favorite example of learning the hard way is the Tacoma Narrow Bridge failure (Galloping Gertie). No engineering texts considered calculating the resonant frequency of a bridge nor imagined that a sustained wind could force a harmonic oscillation of such a bridge. This, unfortunately is how we learn."

Previous designers of bridges knew about wind loading and added structures to dampen these and to stiffen the bridge against torsion.

The designers of the Tacoma Narrows bridge did not understand the need for the stiffening struts and left this out of the design. Furthermore, they did not anticipate the aerodynamic loading of their new deck design.

They went through the motions, but did not have a true understanding of the problem domain nor did they forsee the emergent properties of their design.

In NO, they did not realize they need to plug leaks and to have layered defenses. The emergent property was that they did not foresee that flooding would end mobility. And they assumed that once a leak started, it was doom.

A good engineer will constantly improve the system - adding checks and balances and monitoring.

9/02/2005 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

" think it turned out, after the Challenger disaster, there was technical footnote that specified the O-ring seal was not safe to use below a certain temperature and that was written into the manual. When pressure grew to launch it that fatal day, no one thought the air temperature being a few degrees under spec would make a difference. No one would realize, among the millions of shuttle parts, what a difference those few degrees of tempreature meant. No one thought it was important."

Oh, Wretchard. I discussed this with Dr Hans Mark and he had a bunch of slides on this. They KNEW prior to Challenger that cold and high wind shear at Max Q caused o-ring seal partial failure.

Dr Mark would not have launched for another reason - the fragile supercooler rings full of fuel on the main engine nozzles were surrounded by ice that day that the launch would shake loose. The ice sould have cut a tube and the engine would have been lost.

9/02/2005 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Engineer friend that worked at Lockeed Martin at the time said prior to Shuttle, solid rockets were not Manned Mission approved.

9/02/2005 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The emergent property was that they did not foresee that flooding would end mobility."
---
For those that stayed at home.
For those that followed instructions and went to dome/Convention Center, all NO had to do was bus them out in a timely fashion.
No can do, said the mayor, that's DC's job.

9/02/2005 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Besides, the NEA probably would have sued if some non-approved drivers touched their minion's buses.

9/02/2005 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Great Satellite Photos, roll over red dots

9/02/2005 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

At Ocean Springs, Miss. is that curved structure an engineered drain to spread silt?

9/02/2005 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Ok, I've had a few alcoholic beverages and I've been scanning posts about the mass deployment of military helicopters for evacuation, and one thought keeps haunting me as someone who lived in Baton Rouge for 4 years, and visited NO monthly.

Where were all the boats? I'm not just talking about all those State resources that are believed at this point didn't exist, I'm including all those privately owned recreational vehicles.

I've been watching this now for nearly a week and I can find nothing at all that makes the slightest bit of sense, other than the possibility that no one was a bit surpised by the lawlessness and it was in fact expected. Everyone knew it wouldn't be safe to engage in a full scale evacuation so one wasn't even attempted at any level. Small boats could have provided rations and water. Small boats could have brodcasted instructions over a wide area. I can come to no other conclusion than the people of NO were deemed too dangerous to save. The small actions I'm thinking about could have begun immediately and seem to have never started at all. This is the strangest story I've ever watch unfold.

9/02/2005 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Wretchard said,
"That means abandoning New Orleans is a nonstarter. But in the long term, there must surely be a case for confining development to an area defensible for the next 100 years, or at least thinking about that option."

Not at all, the problem with this line of thinking is that NO has to fall exactly where it was pre Katrina. Nothing has to be exactly where it was before, to be efficient. In fact, NO could be completely reshaped without any dire consequences. It is limited only by the terrain as it exists now.

9/02/2005 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Doug said,

"My point, and I will stop beating it here,
Is that with a competent mayor, guv, and chain of command, there is NO WAY the military could not have evacuated those people before they started dying like flies,
THREE DAYS LATER!"

Why would it have taken the military? Isn't it obvious that this point that State action resulting in evacuation of NO wasn't actually part of the plan at all?

Everyone in the mainstream media and in this forum seems preoccupied with the idea that many of the inhabitants of NO seemed not to own vehicles or were unable to pay for the gas to leave. If you accept this assertion then is it reasonable to claim that this condition was unanticipated? I find that hard to believe.

9/02/2005 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Doug said,
"I give up, and will repost:
to blame these people, or lack of communication, does not cut it:
---
The people are so desperate that they're doing anything they can think of to impress the authorities enough to bring some buses. These things include standing in single file lines with the eldery in front, women and children next; sweeping up the area and cleaning the windows and anything else that would show the people are not barbarians.
. The buses never stop."

I think I agree. One piece of data that I think is being lost is the actual size of the area affected. I'm at a loss to understand why. We hear often that 80% of NO is under water, but what seems to be lost is just how small the effected area really is, in relationship to both population and land mass.

I share your concerns but I'm really confused as to who to blame and why?

9/03/2005 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Trish said,
"Reading the comments here, the posts on other blogs, and gauging my own gut reaction, it's becoming increasingly clear to me that the aftermath of Katrina is quickly becoming an abject political disaster for the Bush Administration. Public opinion is rapidly turning; with each passing moment, there is more and more discontent and anger with the perceived inadequacy and slowness of the federal response -- and not just in New Orleans. CNN's Kathleen Koch and Anderson Cooper are reporting very similar concerns on the ground in Mississippi, where delays in the relief effort are much harder to understand."

One lonely state helicopter flying above the city of NO broadcasting instructions could cover the entire area hundreds of times in a single day and you want to blame the Bush administration?

A dozen boats capable of navagating in 3 feet of water with over 10 feet of side to side clearence could distribute thousands of mre's and units of bottled water and you want to blame the Bush administration?

You have to be insane, or terribly ignorant.

9/03/2005 12:19:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Doug said,
""Why is no one in charge?" asked one frustrated evacuee at the Ernest Morial Convention Center, where thousands have waited days for help. "I find it hard to believe."
Yet, 80 miles away at the Federal Emergency Management Agency command post in Baton Rouge, FEMA Director Michael Brown told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Thursday evening that "considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans, virtually a city that has been destroyed, things are going relatively well."

His view was not shared by some of the local officials trying to cope at the scene of the disaster."

What exactly were the local officials doing to cope at the scene of the disaster?

The coverage of NO is endlessly repeated scenes taken from a ridiculously small area. There must be some unstated and unreported rationale for what has happened. Something so damaging and embarrasing and so dangerous that prompts everyone who examines it in deatil to look away.

The roots of what has happened in NO and what continues to happen will be fodder for psychologists for decades.

9/03/2005 12:34:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

This looks like the results of a psychological experiment, or the surrender of all things that we hold dear to someones notion of mass psychology. I can't even see how some notion of mass negligence or incompetence comes even remotely close to explaining what we have seen so far.

9/03/2005 12:48:00 AM  

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