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August 31, 2008

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Thank you for this.

I hate . . . hate . . . how this is going to be turned into a political spectacle. It's a god damned hurricane, fer cryin' out loud. People are in physical danger, and the only thing we should worry about is making sure that we can limit the amount of human suffering!

Sure, talk about the Federal response. Compare and contrast with the reaction to Katrina. Discuss the technical issues of climate change re: oceanic surface temperatures vs. disruption of currents. Debate the merits of rebuilding the previous districts vs. new construction of low income housing.

But all we'll hear about is how this changes the media's perceptions of the RNC.

God damn it all.

I put this in the other thread, but I think I should repost it here. This is WWL-TV's report of the repairs on the levees, contracted out by the Corps of Engineers.

This sort of rewriting of history pisses me off to no end.

McCain, a senator from Arizona, has strongly criticized fellow Republican President George W. Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast three years ago.

O RLY?

And this

John McCain's mere suggestion that he should go there shows his horrific and dangerous judgment. If it actually happens, which hopefully it does not, then he will actually be doing harm. Because he is a presidential candidate, air traffic stops when he lands, roads are closed, and press follow him. Secret service and law enforcement personnel have to make sure everything is secure. That means all of these things STOP WORKING to make the area safer for the people getting out and protecting their homes....

McCain's suggestion of a visit will waste precious hours in getting resources in at a time when hours and minutes make all the difference. It will impact news coverage which should otherwise be used to urge people to get out through the proper channels, not political parties.

I'd like to see the press grill him if he does go down there, and ask why he chooses to go to MS instead of LA and inquire if it is just because he won't get the LA electoral votes, but he might be able to pull out the MS ones. I hope Gene Taylor asks him what he has done from his position in the Senate to deal with the backed up insurance claims, or have some reporter from the Times-Picayune ask what he has proposed in terms of rebuilding New Orleans since Katrina. Or ask Palin, since she wants to play Chief executive, to give her opinion of the main errors of the Federal government in Katrina and how she would avoid them.

A compare and contrast from Daily Kos.

Or ask that warmongering scold Joe Lieberman what he's done in his position as the chair of the committee overseeing FEMA and DHS to strengthen the preparation and response to hurricanes.

Gustav is getting the attention and resources that Katrina didn't because Bush and the GOP know that they can't afford another clusterXXXX. Their motives may be venal, but at least they're having a good effect.

"Our thoughts are with the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast."

Hilzoy, no disrespect, and not that my thoughts aren't along those lines, among others, but whom else are you speaking for here?

(I'm just a bit sensitive about people speaking in the plural without it being clear whom else they are, in fact, specifically actually speaking for; it's a bad trope, in my opinion, for people to use unless they are, in fact, specifically speaking for more themselves; so I'm asking, and apologies if it seems a petty point.)

I've been thinking of the people of New Orleans since I heard: I gather this time the "mandatory evacuation" plans included transport out of the city for both people and their pet animals if they didn't have cars.

I hope it all worked.

LJ, it's even worse:

McCain was scheduled to deliver his acceptance speech Thursday, but now may do so from the devastation zone if the storm hits the U.S. coast with the ferocity feared by forecasters.

Can the man sink any lower? I hope this bites him hard, but since we have the same media and public who lapped up Bush's flightsuit and bullhorn-on-a-pile-of-wreckage stunts, I'm not betting they'll react differently just because the guy is only president in his own mind at the moment.

Anyway, I'm still hoping there'll be no devastation zone to speak from.

Ah, the latest news from NO: In direct violation of the post Katrina anti-confiscation law, and court rulings, Nagin has the cops out confiscating peoples' firearms again. AFTER the Heller decision, making a fairly clear civil rights case of it.

This court case is gonna be fun. Maybe we can get a conspiracy to violate civil rights case out of it.

Brett: In direct violation of the post Katrina anti-confiscation law, and court rulings, Nagin has the cops out confiscating peoples' firearms again. AFTER the Heller decision, making a fairly clear civil rights case of it.

"You don't like it, do you Rocco, the storm? Show it your gun, why don't you? If it doesn't stop, shoot it."

Yeah right.

Well, maybe they can also get Haley Barbour for screwing up the counterflow in Mississippi.

I am livid with the information we are receiving from the authorities and the media about traffic on I-59. We left our home at 3:45am and didn’t get to Hattiesburg until 1:00pm. The contraflow, which we took, was a joke. It only lasted about 10 miles or so, and was bumper-to-bumper from start to finish.

And authorities and media keep saying how wonderful contraflow is and keep downplaying the reports by drivers that there is serious traffic problems on I-59. It is irresponsible and potentially fatal to families to continue to tell them to evacuate at this time and to tell them that it is safe to go down I-59. People will run out of gas. People will not even be able to outrun the storm at this point.

It is a travesty. They are lying. And I’m tired and angry.

The normal trip time from NO to Hattiesburg is 2 hours.

Right, Jes, I'll hunt up some stupid movie reference the next time YOU complain about local government violating explicit constitutional rights. Remind me if I forget, ok?

Brett: Right, Jes, I'll hunt up some stupid movie reference the next time YOU complain about local government violating explicit constitutional rights.

Hey, that's Humphrey Bogart and Key Largo. Part of your cultural heritage, Brett! What "explicit constitutional right" is it that you're citing here? The right of Americans to go armed against a hurricane?

Remind me if I forget, ok?

Put it in your diary. I suggest you start here.

Gee, if guns are completely useless against a hurricane, then what purpose is served -- in the midst of a weather emergency, when there are almost certainly much more important things to worry about -- by the local government confiscating them in violation of the recent Heller decision?

..but you know, Brett, it figures that while polic officers in St Paul are violating the First Amendment like crazy, what you care about is that people in the path of a hurricane won't be able to shoot each other if they survive the storm.

Gee, if guns are completely useless against a hurricane, then what purpose is served - in the midst of a weather emergency, when there are almost certainly much more important things to worry about --

According to news stories, people are stocking up on guns/ammunition in anticipation of being able to shoot their neighbors after the hurricane. Oh, sorry: to defend themselves against all the lawless rioting and looting that the media said happened after Hurricane Katrina last time.

It is equally important to make sure people survive the aftermath of the hurricane, don't you think? Getting killed by your neighbor would be a hell of a way to go.

whom else are you speaking for here?

Me, for one.

Then perhaps efforts should be expended on good policingto ensure public safety, rather than on the wholesale and pre-emptive violation of people's rights. Or are you suddenly of the opinion that people's rights are negotiable if pragmatism requires it?

(Don't answer -- I know that that's exactly what you think. I would expect nothing else of someone who lives under near-constant public surveillance and who is taught that she does not have the right to defend herself against criminals.)

(And, despite your well-known hatred of the 2nd Amendment, in the wake of Heller, you're going to have to deal with the world as it is, not as you think it should be.)

"It is equally important to make sure people survive the aftermath of the hurricane, don't you think? Getting killed by your neighbor would be a hell of a way to go."

Yup, that's why I advise both arming yourself, AND not trying to loot your neighbor's home.

In anticipation... yes, in the same way people stock up on fire extinguishers in the hope that their homes will catch fire.

Then perhaps efforts should be expended on good policingto ensure public safety, rather than on the wholesale and pre-emptive violation of people's rights.

I'm sorry: I'm from the UK. I regard temporarily confiscating firearms from people who are panic-buying them and likely to panic-shoot them and kill their neighbors as good policing to ensure public safety. I'm not Phil: I don't regard a gun as a magic talisman which, bought on Thursday, magically protects you on Friday. Nor (unlike Phil) do I assume that if your neighbor kills you it's because you deserved to get shot, rather than because your neighbor is in a bloody panic and convinced you're a dangerous looter, the kind the media kept talking about in New Orleans last time.

It would be good, of course, if the National Guard weren't still mostly away in Iraq, just like they were last time the hurricane hit.

By the way, Brett, do you have any actual information about "Nagin confiscating firearms"? Because you haven't provided a link, and two trawls through Google News have come up with only the fact that some people are panic-buying firearms and that Gustav is category 2 storm.

'm sorry: I'm from the UK. I regard temporarily confiscating firearms from people who are panic-buying them and likely to panic-shoot them and kill their neighbors as good policing to ensure public safety.

No, you simply clearly believe that Constitutional rights may be violated at will if enough of a pretext can be whipped up to make it sound pragmatic. That's fine -- at least I know where you stand on the issue of rights.

I'm not Phil: I don't regard a gun as a magic talisman which, bought on Thursday, magically protects you on Friday.

I, of course, think no such thing, and unless you can produce quotes within the next ten minutes which even come close to indicating that I think any such thing, or retract this statement, we're going to take it up with the kitty. Brick Oven Bill discovered the hard way what happens when one decides to tell lies about me at Obsidian Wings. You're next.

Nor (unlike Phil) do I assume that if your neighbor kills you it's because you deserved to get shot,

Again, quotes, retract, or kitty. Your choice.

Water overtopping Industrial Canal - not an overflow but splashing. Levees holding at this point.

It was on CNN.

"and likely to panic-shoot them and kill their neighbors "

Ah, that's the difference: We don't assume our citizens are homicidal maniacs who are kept from killing each other only by their lack of having a weapon right at hand.

Comments from Mississippi and I59 remind me of the new coverage of the Houston exodus during Rita. National coverage made it seem very smooth and organized. It was actually a disaster. I live 1/2 mile from the highway and invited a total stranger in my home for refuge when his car wouldn't hold out and the traffic wouldn't move. He stayed all day until the stormed moved east and then went back into the city since that's the only direction that allowed traffic to move. Nightmare. My guess is that half the people who tried to evacuate during Rita wouldn't even bother the next time. I know several that gave up trying to leave during Rita and just stayed in place hoping it wouldn't hit the city.

Brett: We don't assume our citizens are homicidal maniacs who are kept from killing each other only by their lack of having a weapon right at hand.

My driving instructor told me once that the safest thing to do on the road - be you driver, cyclist, or pedestrian - was to assume that every other driver on the road was about to do the most stupid thing possible, and be wary accordingly.

It seems to me that the safest thing to do with guns is to assume that every person wielding a gun is about to do the most stupid thing possible, and be wary accordingly. That's what we do collectively in the UK, and that's why in the UK we have one-fifth your population and 1/300th your gun fatalities.

Not because most people are homicidal maniacs. Because a gun is a lethal weapon, and if you let completely untrained people own and operate lethal weapons, they tend to kill people.

I return you to my original comment: a gun is no possible use against a hurricane.

rdlot: Water overtopping Industrial Canal - not an overflow but splashing. Levees holding at this point.

Yikes. *back to looking at the real news*

(Brett, I'll give up this argument. There seem me to be much more important things to think about than whether people still have guns to kill each other with after they survive the hurricane. YMMV. HTH. HAND.)

Hilzoy - you might want to edit the end of your post. New Orleans now has about 200k residents, pre-K it was ~450k. The region (including MS) probably has 2M out of harm's way, but even back in the 60's New Orleans metro did not reach 2M residents.

nearly two million people from New Orleans alone are out of harm's way

tarylcabot (new orleans ex-pat)

IANAL, but it seems tome that ordering people to leave their homes violates the Fourth Amendment, and thus demonstrates that the Mayor is using his emergency powers. Can anyone point out what Heller says about that? Is Brett also arguing that guns cannot be confiscated if full martial law is imposed?

"My driving instructor told me once that the safest thing to do on the road - be you driver, cyclist, or pedestrian - was to assume that every other driver on the road was about to do the most stupid thing possible, and be wary accordingly.

It seems to me that the safest thing to do with guns is to assume that every person wielding a gun is about to do the most stupid thing possible, "

You see, that's the difference between caution, and public policy. You drive as though everybody around you was about to do something stupid, like change lanes without signaling. That way you're prepared for the one time in a thousand that they actually DO behave stupidly. But you don't write traffic laws on the assumption that everybody is a lunatic. Thinking like that leads to banning a thousand benign activities for every genuine abuse it even inconveniences.

Brett bellmore is, of course, wrong again. Traffic lights, like other traffic laws, are written expressly because the public safety assumption is that actions that would be safe/logical when taken by an individual can be very dangerous--too dangerous--when taken by millions of individuals in the aggregate. Thus, we have stop signs that we are required to stop at even if there are no other cars on the road at that intersection. Sure, most drivers could correctly be relied upon to decide for themselves what is safe and just blow through the stop sign if no one is around--but you get fined just the same if you are caught.

aimai

Brett bellmore is, of course, wrong again. Traffic lights, like other traffic laws, are written expressly because the public safety assumption is that actions that would be safe/logical when taken by an individual can be very dangerous--too dangerous--when taken by millions of individuals in the aggregate. Thus, we have stop signs that we are required to stop at even if there are no other cars on the road at that intersection. Sure, most drivers could correctly be relied upon to decide for themselves what is safe and just blow through the stop sign if no one is around--but you get fined just the same if you are caught.

aimai

"Is Brett also arguing that guns cannot be confiscated if full martial law is imposed?"

Yes, as a matter of fact, I'm assuming that Congress passed H.R. 5441, which says in relevant part,

"‘SEC. 706. FIREARMS POLICIES.
‘‘(a) PROHIBITION ON CONFISCATION OF FIREARMS.—
No officer or employee of the United States (including any member of the uniformed services), or person operating pursuant to or under color of Federal law, or receiving Federal funds, or under control of any Federal official, or providing services to such an officer, employee, or other person, while acting in support of relief from a major disaster or emergency, may—
‘‘(1) temporarily or permanently seize, or authorize seizure of, any firearm the possession of which is not prohibited under Federal, State, or local law, other than for forfeiture in compliance with Federal law or as evidence in a criminal investigation;
‘‘(2) require registration of any firearm for which registration is not required by Federal, State, or local law;
‘‘(3) prohibit possession of any firearm, or promulgate any rule, regulation, or order prohibiting possession of any firearm, in any place or by any person where such possession is not otherwise prohibited by Federal, State, or local law; or
‘‘(4) prohibit the carrying of firearms by any person otherwise authorized to carry firearms under Federal, State, or local law, solely because such person is operating under the direction, control, or supervision of a Federal agency in support of relief from the major disaster or emergency.
‘‘(b) LIMITATION.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any person in subsection (a) from requiring the temporary surrender of a firearm as a condition for entry into any mode of transportation used for rescue or evacuation during a major disaster or emergency, provided that such temporarily surrendered firearm is returned at the completion of such rescue or evacuation.
‘‘(c) PRIVATE RIGHTS OF ACTION.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—Any individual aggrieved by a violation of this section may seek relief in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress against any person who subjects such individual, or causes such individual to be subjected, to the deprivation of any of the rights, privileges, or immunities secured by this section.
‘‘(2) REMEDIES.—In addition to any existing remedy in law or equity, under any law, an individual aggrieved by the seizure or confiscation of a firearm in violation of this section may bring an action for return of such firearm in the United States district court in the district in which that individual resides or in which such firearm may be found.
‘‘(3) ATTORNEY FEES.—In any action or proceeding to enforce this section, the court shall award the prevailing party, other than the United States, a reasonable attorney’s fee as part of the costs.’’."

Now, I've been told that the confiscations were apparently in keeping with the above limitation, so we'll see if the guns get promptly returned.

Looks like the trial balloon about McCain giving his acceptance speech from the hurricane aftermath was shot down.

...plans included transport out of the city for both people and their pet animals...

While obviously not as important as getting the people out alive, I don't think FEMA realized how important pets are to people. Sitting here next to me is Danny, my furry little brother. Even if it meant I'd likely drown, there's no way I'd leave him behind if I had to evacuate. Even though he's just a dog, he means more to me than just about anything, and to just leave him to die is unthinkable.

(Of course he growls at me after writing this because I surprised him by waking him up. Ungrateful bastard. ^.^)

/end pet rant

Me, for one.

Please count me in as well.

Ah, that's the difference: We don't assume our citizens are homicidal maniacs

Actually, I think the relevant difference relative to the UK is that they appear to trust their own government, and don't assume that measures taken in the interest of public safety are the first step in a slippery slope toward an oppressive authoritarianism.

It may well be that they have greater cause for that confidence.

Thanks -

KC,

I read that, too, and was flabbergasted.

McCain is actually thinking about giving his acceptance speech near the Gulf?

Sounds like somebody would make that up.

What does McCain hope to accomplish?

He really is impulsive.

And reckless.

MeDrew: I don't think FEMA realized how important pets are to people. Sitting here next to me is Danny, my furry little brother. Even if it meant I'd likely drown, there's no way I'd leave him behind if I had to evacuate. Even though he's just a dog, he means more to me than just about anything, and to just leave him to die is unthinkable.

Oh, I'd be exactly the same about my cats.

There were stories of evacuees literally being forced to abandon their pets as they got on the rescue buses, last time, and that was horrific to me.

I'm trying to imagine what the media and the right-wing screechers would be saying if Obama were running around Mississippi pretending to be president, disrupting the important work people are doing by showing up with his retinue for photo ops. Of course, I wondered similarly about what would have happened if Obama had sent his wife as ambassador to Georgia. But IOKIYAR seems to be in full operation as usual.

Jes: Oh, I'd be exactly the same about my cats.

But cats suck! ^.^

Seriously, though, there were 2 images that stuck out, that really got to me from Katrina. The first was the bloated bodies just floating around and just lying in the streets. The other was a picture of a family on their rooftop leaving behind their dog when they were rescued by helicopter.

If you're up for it, Spike Lee's documentary When The Levees Broke is compelling and I reccommend it to everyone. I warn you, though, that there are plenty of moments that made me cry, and I flatter myself to think I'm a tough guy with no tear ducts.

For me there were three things: a picture of a body on a deckchair at the Sportsdome - surrounded by people, just sitting, standing, talking - and the corpse had been covered by a big sheeting towel. This person had died, and all the people there had been able to do was cover the body. Somehow that was worse than the drowned bodies in the streets: these people had got to what they hoped was safety, and then the storm was over and they were left there without food or water for days, and when any of them died, the bodies were left there, too.

The other was a girl who had brought along her dog in a travelling cage to the evacuation bus - a teenager, I can't remember how old, but not an adult - who argued with the National Guardsman that the cage was her "one item of luggage" - I suppose the dog must have been quite small - and could she take the dog on the bus with her. And the guardsman said yes, he would see the cage got on the bus, and put her aboard... and then she looked out of the window and saw him opening the cage door and letting the dog go.

And the third was of the mothers who had just given birth who all gave up their babies to the first rescue helicopter, so that all their babies could get out of New Orleans, even though every single mother there would have to stay behind and hope to be reunited later.

That was in the immediate aftermath: the stories of the prisoners in jail - convicted and on remand - who were left to drown started coming out later, but that was also plenty horrific.

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Whatnot


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