Hurricane Katrina has devasted New Orleans, and one feels for the people there. A million websites have much information on the ongoing rescue mission and so on, but aside from that, many interesting factoids have come out from this disaster.
See the ‘Wikipedia entry on Hurricane Katrina’:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina for the best coverage and a detailed overview.
America has a ton of federal agencies, and there is one whose sole purpose is to plan, prepare for, and deal with emergencies like the New Orleans scenario – the ‘Federal Emergency Management Agency’:http://www.fema.gov/.
Well, the man in charge of this – hold on to your seats now – is the former director of the International Arabian Horse Assoc! He was there for a solid 11 years, in which he ran it to the ground and and was then fired. The IAHA on his time there: _He ruined IAHA financially so badly that we had to change the name and combine it with the Purebred registry._
bq. Yes, that’s right… the man responsible for directing federal relief operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, sharpened his emergency management skills as the “Judges and Stewards Commissioner” for the International Arabian Horses Association… a position from which he was ‘forced to resign’:http://126.96.36.199/search?q=cache:64HpVqsWBccJ:www.awhitehorse.com/editorials/brown_resignation.html+IAHA+%22mike+brown%22&hl=en&client=firefox-a in the face of mounting ‘litigation’:http://www.bridleandbit.com/story048.htm and financial disarray.
Before being fired by the IAHA, he was earlier fired for incompetence while working for an Oklahoma law firm, as well.
There is more to this sad story. After a job well done judging horses and what not, Bush promptly appointed him to head FEMA. One would think that the head of FEMA requires some professional expertise, but since Bush and science don’t get along to well he went for a ‘lay man’. Scratch that – it’s a case of direct third world class neoptism, appointing lackies to posts where they have no business belonging. Here in Pakistan this happens all the time, but its suprising to see it happen in America, especially when lifes are at stake. Heres a ‘timeline of cronyism hard at work, courtesy Bush’:http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2005_09/007023.php.
The story goes on. Forget about the Democrats, even republican congressman have been demanding the removal of Mike Brown for – hold on to your seats now – buying votes in the 2004 presidential elections! There was a spate of hurricanes in Flordia before the last presidential elections, and FEMA used that opportunity well by spreading aid money not only to places affected by natural diasasters, but also further out to untouched areas, smoothing the way for the coming elections. I think in the US they call it ‘creating goodwill amongst the voters’, or back here they would call it ‘buying votes’, or to be more precise, ‘rigging’. FEMA might have lost New Orleans to incompetence, but at least they saved Florida from the Democrats.
h4. ‘The Rebellion of the Talking Heads’:http://slate.msn.com/id/2125581/?nav=fix
This has been a day long awaited: Newscasters, sick of official lies and stonewalling, finally start snarling. The foreign press is wondering, ‘Has Katrina saved US media?’:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4214516.stm
bq. Through all the anger of the past few days, there’s been one positive thing, and it’s something I never would have expected: The press is telling, and showing, the truth. The worst elements of the press stand out as the bullies and morons they’ve always been, while a lot of people who seemed like cowards for years have found their voices.
>> ‘Body and Soul: The return of the press’:http://bodyandsoul.typepad.com/blog/2005/09/the_return_of_t.html
Even Fox News is breaking ranks and ‘piling into the Bush administration’:http://www.crooksandliars.com/2005/09/02.html#a4763.
One can’t ‘blame them’:http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/news/politics/12548040.htm:
bq. In St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes, just south of New Orleans, victims of the hurricane are still waiting for food and water and for buses to escape the floodwaters, [ Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-La.] said. *And for the entire time Bush was in the state, the congressman said, a ban on helicopter flights further stalled the delivery of food and supplies.*
Musharraf would be proud. Not only did Bush ground relief operations during his vist, he stage managed a relief operation:
bq.. ZDF News reported that the president’s visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of ‘news people’ had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time.
The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF.
p. The BBC: ‘New Orleans crisis shames US’:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4210674.stm
bq. The only difference between the chaos of New Orleans and a Third World disaster operation, he said, was that *a foreign dictator would have responded better.*
The interesting thing which comes out of the whole affair. is that if America does such a bad job of tending to its own people, then one can only imagine whats going down in places like Iraq.
From the ‘BBC World News’:http://news.globalfreepress.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=search&cat=0&pos=0
bq.. NorthCom started planning before the storm even hit. We were ready for the storm when it hit Florida because, as you remember, it crossed the bottom part of Florida, and then we were planning, you know, once it was pointed towards the Gulf Coast. So what we did was we activated what we call defense coordinating officers to work with the state to say okay, what do you think you’ll need, and we set up staging bases that could be started.
We had the USS Bataan sailing almost behind the hurricane so that after the hurricane made landfall its search and rescue helicopters would be available almost immediately. So we had things ready.
The only caveat is, we have to wait until the President authorizes us to do so. The laws of the United States say that the military can’t just act in this fashion, we have to wait for the President to give us permission.