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Why

If you haven't cried in the past few days, you probably will watching this .

I had kept from crying until now. I lost it, completely.

I don't even know what to say. I just think everyone should watch this and when everyone who is alive is rescued and out of danger and all the victims have food and clothing and shelter, then we ask the simple question that has been on my mind - and probably yours - for days.

Why?

Comments

oh my god

::speechless::

Heartbreaking, and mind-boggling. Thank you for providing the link.

I do blame, right now, the Governor of LA and the Mayor of NO for keeping their heads in the silt. They did dither, and deny and delay and it cost lives and untold grief.
That said...
What the hell is FEMA doing sending water back?
What the hell is FEMA doing Cutting communication lines?
What the HELL?!!!

If Bush doesn't fire that bastard, Michael Brown, then Bush does not deserve to be President.

I saw part of the interview with Mr. Broussard. Let's just say my reaction was... different.

All I know is I trust nothing coming from CNN or MSNBC -- not the interviews they edit, not the footage they allow to be shown, and not the careful references to the "stinging criticism" the president is receiving while they say nothing about the government at the local and state levels. I have no idea why they are doing this (I tell myself), but I don't trust them.

Yep. I think CNN and NBC conspired with the Weather Channel to stage the whole hurricane for ratings and to take down George Bush. In fact, there is no devastation. It's all stock footage and miniatures.

Good grief.

Yes, that's exactly what Andrea said.

EVERYONE has questions to answer, regardless of fucking party lines.

did a quick search of your page, michele, and the only occurrences of "kristina" are in your 4:16 pm item posted today, 9/4.

and i hate that i've grown this cynical, but i had exactly the same reaction you did to the meet-the-press item, andrea. and i haven't been able to confirm it, but i'm pretty sure i just heard that his mother did not survive.

and speaking of cynical, oprah will be touring the area with the mayor of NO tomorrow for a katrina-related show on tuesday. for all the ways that such a show can and will be beneficial, it will also whitewash the fact that the mayor had the responsibility and the means to evacuate those who had no other way out, but he did not. instead he will get the much-coveted oprah treatment.

the only thing more devastating than what katrina has wrought is the attempt to capitalize on it to split the country apart.

did a quick search of your page, michele, and the only occurrences of "kristina" are in your 4:16 pm item posted today, 9/4.

Errr... no.

There's also one at 7am, and a METRIC BUTTLOAD of other posts all dealing with the hurricane, its aftermath, and its victims. In fact, it looks like every post all the way back to at least 9/1 deals with Katrina and helping the victims.

Was there a point to your "quick search" of the page? Did I miss something?

Christ, I was wish I could be as cynical and bitter as some of you appear to be. I've certainly tried, but no matter what I do this damnable human heart inside of me keeps beating.

Sarah, just FYI, Broussard's statement has NOTHING to do with any failings from NO city government. He is in Jefferson Parish, while his employee's mother was in a nursing home in St. Bernard parish, I think in Chalmette.

We are seeing the horrors in NO because the cameras are there...but 100 people died WAITING FOR BOATS in St. Bernard parish.

It comes down to this: HOW THE HELL DO WE LIVE IN A COUNTRY THAT CANNOT RESCUE AN OLD WOMAN IN A NURSING HOME FROM DROWNING TO DEATH GIVEN A FOUR DAY NOTICE??? HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN???

i also broke down today, michelle, although it was a little thing setting off the whole powder keg of built up emotion i had formed over the last few days.

i am totally mentally exhausted right now--there's no way i can watch that interview. i feel really guilty about that, but i just can't.

George, I don't know what happened, but screaming, crying, and emoting on a blog won't help anything.

Solonor, please read this before you lecture me on how I should accept as gospel truth the CNN Way™.

Foamy the Squirrel also has something to say to the (s)nooze crews. Don't piss off the squirrel, man.

Hey Andy, evidently you DID miss something. Take a deep breath and re-read both Michele's post (paying extra special attention to the part in the little tiny type) and then the part of Furball's post that set you off.

So ... just chill, m'kay?

(And, of course, by "Michele's post," I mean Good News Part VII, the one with the little tiny type I mentioned.)

Andy, furball was being helpful to me.

Furball, thanks for the search (and thanks to the MT search and replace option, everything says Katrina now).

As far as the news and being cynical goes - I take everything with a grain of salt. But this video, and this man's emotions were real. I don't know how anyone could doubt that.

I've got no doubt the man's emotions are real, and raw, and genuine.

And are the epitome of some of the main ingredients that are making this tragedy even worse than it already was or is. And that's a part of the answer to the question of 'why'.

Russert was probably an ass for visiting the blame game on the guy ...and Broussard gave him both barrels back while deflecting what will long be debated in terms of timing; the questions about what went wrong, sprinkled with plenty of distractionary presentation of other people's bungles, snafus, and beauracratic miasma.

With the info coming out, from the 'sphere - I've ignored the MSM garbage floating around like post Katrina flotsam - about plans that were in place but not executed, that would have gotten thousands out of harm's way; about the petty squabbling over 'who's in charge' - it's disgusting.

The MSM seems to be all over it, and where is it coming from? Louisiana. Mississippi - which actually took the brunt...with whole sections not flooded, not damaged, but completely wiped out - gone - God-with-an-eraser levels of destruction - well it appears that there are actual adults calling the shots in those parts, and the chaos and idiocy level is way, way, waaaaay below what's going on on the bayou.

Oh, and additionally - this guy lost me when he kept claiming, in the first person singular, that HE had repaired the 300 yard breach in the 17th street levee. Immediately after leaping to Blanco's defense...

These folks can cry and point fingers elsewhere all they want to. They've got good reason to. The blood of hundreds, if not thousands, is on their hands.

If that was the case, blaming Washington, FEMA, hell, even the tooth fairy while crying about the destruction compounded might seem like a pretty good option to me too.

Yeah, the clip makes me want to cry - that those people were in the eye of the perfect storm - Katrina, and the supporting cast of Louisiana (lack of) leadership - the ones that fed them the line they'd take care of things, then couldn't, didn't or wouldn't, while crying that they're victims, too. Hey, guess what? That's what people voted for them to do, and that's why they're getting the big politician bucks...way to earn those paychecks.

Pretty sure this comment will earn me a cuff upside the head Michele, but that's how I feel about it.

Actually, I agree with you Windy.

I do not absolve Broussard of any blame just because he cried. Yea, his emotions were real and that's what got to me - but this is why I titled the post WHY. It should not have gotten to this point. We shouldn't be sitting here watching a goverment official crying on tv because no one came to help a drowning woman. If he - and every other official in New Orleans and right up to the top of the food chain in this country's command - had a hand in making this a catastrophe.

I didn't feel sorry for Broussard when I cried. I felt sorry for every person that was at the mercy of people who had no idea how to do their jobs and for every person who is now at the mercy of people who just want to deflect.

And I really wish people would stop towing their part line on this one. It's not the fault of only Republicans or only Democrats. It's not the fault of conservatives or the fault of liberals. Everyone, every party, every affiliation had a hand in making this thing a clusterfuck. Stop being apologists and defenders and look at the big picture for once.

I never said the man's emotions weren't genuine. Perhaps I wasn't clear. (I haven't slept well for days.) What I question is the way the cable news networks are "framing" (ugh, hate that word) the story. They head straight to the most dramatic -- I believe the word is "heartwrenching" -- scenes, skimming past more heartening -- I believe the word is "boring" -- scenes of people not screaming, not falling apart, and coping as well as they could -- and they repeat them over and over, out of sequence and out of context. I hate to be the sort of person who flogs links in comment sections, but please read the Slate article I linked to (yes, I said "Slate.")

People died in Florida too when we had our hurricanes -- in fact, people died in Miami because of Katrina when she passed through that area -- but I don't recall any calls for flags at half-mast, or screaming demands that the president make it all better, and the cameras thrust into crying peoples' faces were kept to a minimum. I understand that the people left in New Orleans are in shock because they haven't gone through something of this magnitude, but the city, though under water, is still standing, and will have to be rebuilt whether it's wise to live there or not. (It's strategic value as a port is too important.) Biloxi is, I understand, nearly entirely destroyed.

"Why?"

Current head of FEMA and GOP activist Mike "Brownie" Brown was fired from his last job coordinating horse shows. From there he was appointed by Bush to head up FEMA.

"Why?"

The mayor and governor were not effective in the early stages of the hurricane (obviously); this set the tone for events to come.

"Why?"

Funds to repair the levee were diverted for Iraq, and too many Natioanl Guard are in Iraq.

"Everyone, every party, every affiliation had a hand in making this thing a clusterfuck."

Fish stinks from the head. Ultimately, poor leadership is to blame. People make mistakes all the time, but it is the leaders job to ensure results. This is basic stuff. Organizations can succeed or fail based on their leadership, and we saw that this week.

Look at Bush's conduct during this ordeal (the guitar, the cake, the staged photo ops, his vp still on vacation) and his utter lack of results and say 'the buck stops with him'. It's embarassing.

Vince, go away.

Motion seconded.

Vince, i'm really disappointed. That's the best you can do? Why, so many of your fellow moonbats are already talking about weather machines and such. You're really lagging here.

From what I've heard (from a person who was a former Army lieutenant and from people who've worked with the govt.) it sounds like a big, bad case of missed communications - that perhaps help wasn't requested in time, that perhaps people were overwhelmed and didn't do there jobs well.

(FWIW: we're trying to get some evacuees housed in my town which isn't that far from Louisiana and certainly is closer than Minnesota or West Virginia. But people in positions of power aren't showing leadership. I'm there, ready to cook or fetch and carry or help fill out paperwork or set up cots or do laundry or whatever the hell they want me to do when the evacuees get here, but I can't make it possible for them to be housed. It's frustrating - wanting to do something but not having the power to make something happen.)

There'll be plenty of blame to go around when this is over. Blame has a long shelf-life.

George Purcell,
It happens because they didn't get folks out of there ahead of the storm...because there wasn't adequate training and preparation for a mandatory evacuation in a city so vulnerable to a major hurricane.

Andrea and George:

It didn't pass my notice that Broussard sidestepped Russert's question, or that his prepared noted seemed all about making favorable comparisons of local efforts vs Fed efforts to get the job done.

But that desire to make favorable comparisons is natural, especially when FEMA is headbutting with locals trying to get things done.

The key failure in NO was not getting folks out of town in time...it happened for many human reasons that training and planning could have overcome.

That doesn't mean FEMA didn't promise what it couldn't deliver, or that they haven't been screwing up or even obstructive of other efforts to get things done.

But that's why the local and state governments have to be able to take care of their own. You cannot depend upon the fed for 100% efficiency, and that isn't because George Bush is a cruel, unfeeling white racist who doesn't care if black grandmas drown -- it's the nature of the beast. FEMA is a mop up operation. Their task is to come in with the forms and the loans and so on, after the local police and the state National Guard has taken care of the crisis and rescue operations and such. The people of New Orleans weren't failed by Bush and Co. -- I can't say this enough, please, I know this from personal experience -- they were failed by their police force, their city government, and their state government. Broussard can cry all he wants and we can join him in the bath of tears, but it won't change a thing.

Andrea,

Of course they were failed by local gov, and I know I've always thought of FEMA as the mop-up crew.

That won't excuse FEMA getting in the way of local efforts at relief, however.

Broussard's frustration with FEMA was apparently genuine and not manufactured, however. It's clear his expectations of promises made were different from what was delivered.

If FEMA did what he says they did, everyone of the FEMA folks responsible should be out of a job.
You don't send back water, cut local emergency comm lines. There might or might not be a good reason for hoarding the fuel for another purpose, but the need was clear and FEMA wasn't coordinating or communicating very well, at the very least.

A confusing situation isn't made less confusing by shouting and fingerpointing. Frankly I've heard different things from different people and being hundreds of miles away in Florida I don't have the ability to sort it out. It comes down to who do you want to believe, and I prefer to believe people that aren't overcome with (even justifiable) emotionalism and exhaustion. I know that when I'm hot and tired I lose control of myself. I have the feeling we really aren't going to have this sorted out until everyone has cooled off and calmed down. In the meantime please, everyone, stop crying. All it's doing is feeding the pain junkies.

I'm just heading out the door, but two quick points:
One, why didn't this guy at least try to go rescue his own grandmother when it became obvious (say, day 3) that the government was not going to save her?
Two, the "water turned back" meme has apparently been disproven.

If the little suburban city I work for in SoCal has a FEMA mandated and FEMA approved Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan (which I wrote) and every small town and large city in SoCal has mutual aid agreements, shared communication systems, emergency evacuation routes, why couldn;t a city as large as New Orleans pull it together? FEMA always warns us to be able to be on our own for 72 to 96 hours. The implication is that we need to be able to take of things and not rely on the feds to help in the immediate aftermath. Perhaps the problem is that with FEMA's early arrival it became confusing as to who was in charge of what. I just can't figure out what happened.

This interview excerpt is indeed sad. And I'm sure the gentleman was expressing the pent up frustration and sadness that we have all been feeling this past week. That's fine. That's what this period is all about. Sadness, anger, emotion, confusion. I don't fault anyone for "losing it." I just hope we can get beyond that soon and move on to who, what, when, where, and WHY. It's sort of like when a family member dies. You weep and mourn and think you'll never get beyond it. However, eventually, you have to take a deep breath and go to the deceased loved one's home and pack up the stuff and seel the house and deal with all the practical necessities. We'll get there with the Katrina thing. In the mean time, I hope that we can all collectively agree that this period of sadness and weeping and anger is perfectly normal human behavior; even if the networks and politicos take advantage of it. It's still legitimate.

Yes, why didn't that guy get his own gramma out of harms way?

I was trying to find out more about what happened in the St. Bernard Parrish and ran across this. It explains the situation there, the lack of federal presence and the major post-storm loss of life.

It seems to me that pre-storm evacuation should be a priority for areas likely to be cut off from assistance.

My biggest why is always going to be WHY DIDN'T THEY MAKE THESE PEOPLE LEAVE, using all available public and private transportation in the area.

What would have been the best way to get rescue help there earlier? Wouldn't it have helped to know FEMA would not be there to help any time soon?

It being human nature, folks may have used more initiative if there was not immediate hope of rescue. perhaps more efforts to save oneself or loved ones would have been made...reassurances saved no one.

GET OUT ANY WAY YOU CAN, wouldn't have saved everyone there after the storm, but it's better to know the worst and plan for it that to be told to sit tight and wait for help that will never arrive in time.

You can't "make" people leave in this country. They can't even make people leave their ruined houses now. They've been showing footage of rescuers in boats going to these houses and the people there telling the rescuers to go away, they're fine, they aren't leaving.

I suppose they could start arresting people. That would go down real well.

Another thought just occurred to me (this doesn't happen that often so I like to record the occasion): where exactly did they get the idea that "help was on the way any minute now"? Didn't they know how isolated they were? (The article refers to that area as one of the most hard to reach with few roads, which was why it was so cut off after the hurricane passed through.) It looks like they just "hoped" they would get help not based on a great deal of evidence.

You can order people to evacuate, though I'll cede you'll never get everyone to leave.

I'd think nursing homes would have to comply with an evacuation order - and a proactive nursing home wouldn't wait for one. They would have an evacuation plan for Cat 5's bearing down and use it. It Boggles - in that place with that kind of risk from storm surge, they waited to be told to arrange new accomodation for their charges?

The reassurances of help on the way seem to have been filtered through local emergency management, based on promises of aid by Feds, who were distracted by unexpected developments elsewhere (NO) and did not get search and rescue to the less populated outlying parrishes.

The local officials (see the Bernard Parrish article I linked to) regret telling folks to hang tight; for whatever reason, they do not think action matched the promises of action. I think it ws a little more than pure wishful thinking on the part of local officials.

I think at best it there was piss-poor communication about what help would be forthcoming.

At worst, Feds promised that search and rescue would be performed by such and such a time, and couldn't do it.

Andy - Sorry for posting my search comment in this entry instead of in the entry where it belonged. (Thanks for explaining, EJB and Michelle.) I'm pretty sure you were only defending Michelle when you concluded I had no heart!

And I would like to add that I may be cynical, but I'm never bitter. For all the ways that I've come to expect manipulation in certain circles - in this case, the media - those wounds heal quickly with the newfound knowledge that not all lies have to go unchallenged. There was a time when this was not the case, and I never dreamed that in my lifetime this would change. But now that other voices can be heard, there is room for sincere cynicism, because even if it's misplaced, there's a chance for the truth to win out. And when that happens and I'm proven wrong, my heart rejoices. When proven right, my heart breaks, yet gets another chance to heal.

Either way, it's still a-thumpin'!

I'm not inserting this as a partisan apologist, it's just that if it's really the case, I'm truly disgusted: It seems that this dude was lying.