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February 25, 2009

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Brooks, and Buchanan have always been interesting to watch. Either one, more than occasionally gets it. But, then they revert back to form. The few conservatives with brains disagree fairly frequently. I suspect they are all marginalized because of it. The two party system has tended to promote only polar opposites. But, in the current situation it is changing from left/right, to pragmatism versus ideology.

"Obama, Pelosi, et al are big-spending, high-taxing liberals."

Even humbled, he can't avoid a gratuitous jab.

It's a fair jab.

Bobby Jindal even went as far as to critique disaster prevention provisions in his rebuttal last night! The lesson from Katrina being, according to him, that we can't expect the government to perform such functions.

So, you want to maintain that big gov did in fact help out LA (timely) after Katrina? That would kind of screw up your (general you) Bush ignored NE meme… Or that a big O administration could have miraculously pulled it off? Get serious dude.

Man, this has gone on so long it is stupid to get into it. Short version – if you actually expect the federal government to “take care of you” in the immediate aftermath of a national disaster – you are likely going to experience some really really hard times.

On Jindal in general – he sucked. Most major RW blogs agree! (New advertising slogan, copyright © 2009 OCSteve). Other than you guys on the left poking fun at him, most of the blog commentary on the right has been WTF? And we wanted this guy?

Man, this has gone on so long it is stupid to get into it. Short version – if you actually expect the federal government to “take care of you” in the immediate aftermath of a national disaster – you are likely going to experience some really really hard times.

FEMA did a fine job when it was run by competent, experienced professionals - as under Clinton.

When it was headed by a former head of an Arabian horse group, not so much.

The moral being: the federal government can work, if run by qualified people. Pointing to Bush's obvious, predictable failures as evidence of how the federal government would perform under any stewardship is a bit silly.

I absolutely do think that Obama would have done much bette than Bush. Clinton too. That's not really a stretch worthy of "get real."

So, you want to maintain that big gov did in fact help out LA (timely) after Katrina? That would kind of screw up your (general you) Bush ignored NE meme

Eric got to this first, so what he said.

Short version – if you actually expect the federal government to “take care of you” in the immediate aftermath of a national disaster – you are likely going to experience some really really hard times.

Hey, wait, didn't the right wing spend a nontrivial amount of time during the aftermath of Katrina making fun of Sean Penn for actually taking a boat out and actually saving people? Could y'all make up your minds, please?

On Jindal in general – he sucked. Most major RW blogs agree! (New advertising slogan, copyright © 2009 OCSteve). Other than you guys on the left poking fun at him, most of the blog commentary on the right has been WTF? And we wanted this guy?

Oh, don't worry -- Limbaugh has given the marching orders to stop picking on him, so expect the walkbacks starting tomorrow. In fact, I'll bet you a $50 charity donation that more than 50% of the RW blogs who said today that Jindal sucked will, by Saturday, be in "he really wasn't that bad," "he's definitely our guy in 2012," etc., etc. mode. You game? I'll even let you pick the list of blogs.

Take a look at the Intrade graph that Nate Silver put up. Enough to restore one's faith in the markets...

Off-topic, but I'd like to see Eric and publius address how "originalists" Sam Alito et al. could possibly get this result from the plain meaning of the text. Because this, to me, seems like exactly the kind of Alice in Wonderland "Words mean what I say them to mean" kind of tomfoolery that "originalist" are always decrying.

Eric: I absolutely do think that Obama would have done much bette than Bush. Clinton too. That's not really a stretch worthy of "get real."

Dateline… Kentucky, Feb, 2009:

Yet more than 300,000 residents remained without power Monday and some areas had yet to see aid workers nearly a week after the storm, a fact not lost on some local authorities.

"We haven't seen FEMA. They haven't been here," said Jaime Green, a spokeswoman for the emergency operations center in Lyon County, about 95 miles northwest of Nashville, Tenn.

FEMA a week late? People without power? Gosh darn… Bush signed a $10.5 billion relief package 4 days after the hurricane. Obama? He took 2 weeks to declare Kentucky a disaster area. After Katrina, you could stay warm enough. After this?

Did you see any outrageous news stories of people eating each other in the local sports arena? Me neither. I wonder why… In fact, if you are not a news junky or did not know someone there you likely missed it altogether…

Any explanation for this? Beyond what I assume? (Biased media, Blue city in one case, Red state in another, Bush v. Obama…)

Um, Steve, Obama had been POTUS for how long before that storm? Two-weeks. Really? You expected him to take over FEMA, overhaul its leadership, revamp its procedures and have it working again in...two weeks. With everything else on his plate.

Leaving aside the fact that an ice storm is different in scope and destruction.

Also this:

Did you see any outrageous news stories of people eating each other in the local sports arena? Me neither.

Leaving aside the fact that you didn't actually read such stories after Katrina, I'd say the difference is probably because there wasn't, you know, the same type of evacuation and desperation with people left floating dead in rivers, etc.

People without power is terrible. Comparing that to Katrina is risible.

Did you see any outrageous news stories of people eating each other in the local sports arena? Me neither. I wonder why…

Uh, didn't most of those kinds of stories come from the short-bus crowd over at National Review and the like? Mostly in a monocle-popping, "Why, those savage negroes are like unto beasts, I dare say!" style?

Also, for the goddamned record, the governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear, requested a disaster declaration and accompanying assistance on Feb. 2, 2009. FEMA made that declaration three days later, on Feb. 5, 2009.

So this "two weeks" thing is something you pulled straight from your rectum, OCSteve. I mean, you do realize that a governor has to make an official request for a disaster declaration after an assessment that the event exceeds the states capabilities, right? That Obama can't just run out there and do it all on his lonesome, without a request from the governor? That that would be a usurpation of state powers? Despite what Bush may have led you to believe, the President cannot simply do whatever he wants whenever he wants.

And actually, OCSteve, if one reads down that Kentucky press release, one sees that Obama actually issued an "emergency" declaration on Jan. 28 -- the VERY SAME GODDAMNED DAY THAT IT WAS REQUESTED BY THE GOVERNOR. He then issued the "major disaster" declaration on 2/5, three days after it was requested.

If President Obama really has you so frightened that you feel the need to revert to wingnuttery -- after so much progress!! -- can you at least MAKE AN EFFORT NOT TO MAKE STUFF UP?!?!?!

Phil: In fact, I'll bet you a $50 charity donation that more than 50% of the RW blogs who said today that Jindal sucked will, by Saturday, be in "he really wasn't that bad," "he's definitely our guy in 2012," etc., etc. mode. You game? I'll even let you pick the list of blogs.

Now this is interesting. On the one hand, I’m still regretting my bet with cleek. OTOH, this is interesting. I’m not sure I can afford the $50 right now (at least, I’m not going to try to hide it from my wife or explain where I spent it). So something else?

How about this: You pick 6 RW bloggers (not groups, but you can pick any individual bloggers in a group blog, so 6 individuals regardless of blog). If 3 of them retract by (their blog timestamps) 00:01 Sunday morning (3/1) you win. You have to post your picks here by midnight, comment time on this blog.

So – if you win:
You give me a topic I have to write a blog post on (Tio). I have to really try to take the position you tell me too. I have to support it with arguments and enthusiasm. I have to sell the passerby that I really believe in what I am saying.

If I win: You have to do the same. You can get FP priv from LJ, or I’ll do the FP post introducing what you have to write about.

ObWi community to judge in the case of disagreements.

You game?

Err, with all due respect, I think you are flailing on this, OC. I know you don't like cold weather so much, but what happened in Kentucky is not equal to Katrina. Katrina=$125B damages (estimate in immediate aftermath was $25B) Kentucky ice storm=$185M. I also don't think that you are going to have permanent mass relocations of populations from Kentucky. On the good side, it might get you to take the notion of problematic weather changes seriously ;)

On preview, I see that Eric and Phil have jumped on you, so please take this as friendly joshing rather than a pile on.

Sorry, didn't see the last one. I'm not precisely sure what the bet is on, but I don't have any objections to it.

Sorry, I apologize for the overly-angry tone, there, OCSteve. Just, man, come on -- you're smarter than this. A lot smarter. Stop letting yourself be led down the garden path.

I don't have a quarrel with the tone or content of this post until you start to list those areas of government where you see the democrats have an advantage by promoting public sector solutions. I think your general premise is true, but your list includes providing health care to individuals (something that the federal government is not now broadly responsible for) among several other areas in which the federal government is already deeply involved. The debate over the appropriate role for the federal government in health care has not yet concluded so its not comparable to the other items in your list. You go on to make some sort of contrast about claims of 'ideal outcomes' between public sector and private sector solutions. Is there a principle that can be invoked to make a determination that outcomes provided by the private sector are less than ideal and should be supplanted by ideal public sector solutions?

Actually, I'm just going to get completely off the non-work-related Internet for a couple of months. It's beginning to drive me over the flipping edge.

So, you want to maintain that big gov did in fact help out LA (timely) after Katrina?

Sorry dude, I'm piling on.

No, big government sucked in Katrina. It sucked because it was run by people who thought it should suck.

It sucked because it was run by people whose greatest aspiration in life is to live up to the example of the man who thought the scariest nine words in the English language were "I'm from the government and I'm here to help".

It sucked because the job of running FEMA was given to the buddy of a buddy of the President.

There are people who are actually interested in governing, who have a reasonable approximation of the skill set to do a good job of it, and who see public service as something other than just a nice item to have on their resume before they sell their rolodex to the lobbying industry.

What I'd really, really like is for people who are not like those people to get the f*ck out of the public sector.

If they hold it in such disrespect, and hate it so much, they should just GTFO and stay TFO.

Jindal was an ass to cite Katrina as an example of government failure. He was a freaking Congressman at the time, and he's the governor now and the city of NOLA is still crippled.

Dear Bobby Jindal -- you are the f'ing government. Government failed? Look in the mirror, dude.

The government quite often does a splendid job when it isn't run by people who despise it.

Thanks

So, you want to maintain that big gov did in fact help out LA (timely) after Katrina?

The best time to help would have been before Katrina, not after it.

On Jindal in general – he sucked. Most major RW blogs agree!

The leader of your ideological movement disagrees:

Because if you think — people on our side I’m talking to you — those of you who think Jindal was horrible, you think — in fact, I don’t ever want to hear from you ever again. … I’ve spoken to him numerous times, he’s brilliant. He’s the real deal.

And the above was echoed all over the place in the right wing blogs - they claim that Jindal's message was great, it was just the delivery that was bad. Quotes like, "The speech read a lot better than it sounded", "those who distrust big government and believe in a constrained Washington, D.C must give high grades to Governor Jindal and failing grades to President Obama", "He may be brilliant, but presentation matters too, and this was a lackluster performance", "I thought the text of Jindal's argument was fine, but the governor's delivery just wasn't working for me", etc.

Obama? He took 2 weeks to declare Kentucky a disaster area.

You do know that most things written on right wing blogs are false, don't you?

From the web site of the governor of Kentucky:
On Wednesday, Jan. 28, President Obama granted Gov. Beshear’s initial request for an emergency declaration—the same day it was requested. The declaration paved the way for immediate federal recovery efforts.

How many times before you figure out that some sources can't be trusted?

Thanks, Phil: I was going to say something huffy, but I'm really, really happy not to.

About FEMA: this is a good article.

"Consider the Oklahoma City bombing. Tom Feuerborne, director of Oklahoma's Civil Emergency Management Department, can cite the events of April 19, 1995 almost down to the minute. It was 9:02 a.m. when a truck bomb ripped through the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Office Building in downtown Oklahoma City. At 9:30, Feuerborne placed a phone call to FEMA's headquarters in Washington. At 2:05, FEMA's advance team arrived, complete with damage assessors and members of Witt's staff. Six hours later, at 8:10 that evening, Witt himself arrived to be briefed on the situation. By 2:30 a.m. April 20, the first of FEMA's search and rescue teams had arrived to supplement the efforts of the Oklahoma City fire department. Says Feuerborne, "My office is very happy with the quick response of FEMA."

Ellen Gordon, administrator of Iowa's Emergency Management Division, has a similarly uncanny memory when it comes to FEMA's response to the Midwestern floods of 1993. Shortly after midnight on Sunday, July 11, she received a call from L.D. McMullen, the general manager of the Des Moines Water Works. Their operation was at the point of collapse, he said. The 250,000 citizens of Des Moines would soon lose all of their water.

One year earlier, Gordon would have mailed federal relief request forms to Washington, where, as Puerto Rico's Governor Hernandez-Colon discovered, they may have received a less-than-speedy response. But all Gordon had to do was place a phone call to the FEMA disaster field office located in Davenport. Early Sunday morning, FEMA officials arrived in Des Moines, and, by 11:30 a.m., they had determined a plan of action. By that evening, 29 water distribution centers had been established. The next morning, the first of 30 self-contained water purification machines arrived. For the next two-and-a-half weeks, the Des Moines Water Works was inoperable, but the city had all the water it needed. "Nothing sticks out in our minds that we had to haggle over or justify," says Gordon. "Whenever we asked for assistance it was there."

It is a sentiment shared by virtually all those involved with the response to the midwestern floods. At a Congressional hearing in October 1993 to appraise FEMA's performance, congressmen and state disaster officials who testified praised FEMA's efforts and marveled at the turnaround Witt had engineered. Missouri State Emergency Management Director Jerry Uhlmann said that, "this flood showcased FEMA's new commitment and successful efforts in disaster response to catastrophic events." And, as disasters are bipartisan, the response to FEMA's success has been as well. "I haven't spent a lot of time complimenting the President on his appointments," said Oklahoma Republican Daniel Inhofe, "but I sure did on this one."

The true judge of FEMA's success lies not in the praise of Congress, though, but in the minds of the victims of natural disasters. Last year, FEMA sent 5,000 surveys to victims to ask them about the agency's performance. More than 80 percent of the respondents approved of the way the agency was doing its job--a percentage that would have been unthinkable in the dark days following Hurricane Andrew just one year before."

LJ and Phil: It took me a while to compose. Ice storms are personal.

You expected him to take over FEMA, overhaul its leadership, revamp its procedures and have it working again in...two weeks. With everything else on his plate.

Nope, not at all. I just expect that people who thought Bush was personally responsible for not immediately rescuing everyone on the Gulf Coast should hold Obama to the same standard. Two weeks? It took two weeks for Obama to check it out and declare it a disaster area which just starts the process.

Leaving aside the fact that an ice storm is different in scope and destruction

Yup. On the Gulf Coast at that time of year, if you can find a dry spot, you can sleep under the stars in a damned tee-shirt!

Comparing that to Katrina is risible

Risable? Really? Why? You really think that this was nothing? I’m thinking you have not experienced this, or had family that did.

Much of my family lived through that. It was a nightmare that lasted months. Guess who helped? Not f’n Feds. Neighbors. And more than anyone else, electric crews from states all around the country. Not Federal – states. Neighbors, churches, local government, some state. The most help from around the country was not from Federal – it was from other states. Small communities. Small electric collectives that sent their entire frackin’ crew to help us. On the way to help my family, on I81 between Syracuse and Watertown my count was something like 500 no-name electric company vehicles to not a G-D Fed vehicle.

We had folks from as far away as CA helping us every day. I never saw a damned Fed in over a month. If my grand-mom had waited on FEMA she would have frozen to death hungry.

I’ll take the frack’n tropical hurricane…

Risable? Dude.

Phil: didn't see your last comment until after I posted. You gotta do what you gotta do, obviously, but you'd be missed.

On the one hand, I’m still regretting my bet with cleek.

after last week's news, i bet you are!

:)

Ice storms are personal.

It's always personal when you have skin in the game.

Here's the deal OC. The feds, and the state governments, and local governments, have all been well known to be quite helpful in hard times.

The Republican ideal since Reagan has been that government should do nothing but print money, enforce contracts, and make war. As a consequence, many agencies of government that were at one time quite competent, now suck.

I repeat what I said upthread. I have no problem with people who are conservative. I have a big problem with people who think government sucks, and yet insist on working in government.

If they love the private sector so much, they should get out of the public sector and stay out. If they think the real jobs are in the private arena, then that's where they should go.

Just GTFO and STFO. That is my motto for "government is the problem" types. Go do something you actually believe in. We'll all be happier.

Regarding the KY storm, it was declared an emergency by FEMA on Febrary 5, 2009.

I can't answer for FEMA's response to the 1998 storm, although I'd suggest that emergency response coordinated through FEMA would be somewhat likely to appear in the form of state and local municipality crews from out of state. Just a thought.

OC,
I get that ice storms are personal, but the same goes for me with hurricanes. I don't think my mom could have slept under the stars, and I was out of touch from my family for 10 days.

I also think that there is a contradiction if you are going to argue that cold weather disasters are tougher to deal with than warm weather ones, because if they are, then any emergency response is going to be more difficult and less efficient in those circumstances, yet you seem to be demanding the same response time for both. You can't tell me how tough life is with icy roads and then ignore it for purposes of emergency deployment. It also raises the question of how the organizational structure of FEMA allows for response. For something like a hurricane or an earthquake, after the event occurs, there is relatively clear access after the event. However, with an ice storm, it's not like teams can come barrelling down the road when it is 'over', because it is more of a situation that extends over time. The ability to handle icy roads is something developed over a long term, which limits the number of crews able to help.

And phil, do chill, but don't stay away too long.

Eric - How am I supposed to do a clever double entendre on the lyrics when you use an instrumental song in the blog title?

In general, my last comment appeared way after those who were responding to the earlier one… which makes things weird… In fact they are all mixed up based on the order I posted…

Phil – for the goddamned record, you appear to be right. I retract. I do maintain that you did not hear any “Katrina” sized coverage over it all, and I’ll bet you did not hear much about the ’98 storm at all.

LJ – I’m not arguing cold weather is more difficult. I’m suggesting you may think so after 6 weeks without heat or electricity when it gets under 0 at night. When you have to drive those icy roads to find some water, some that’s in liquid form…

I’m arguing about the expected response: I was always amazed over the Katrina response, because at that point I expected those folks knew they had some responsibility for themselves. It’s the outcry that the Fed did not immediately step in and take care of things that amazed me. Still does. Upstate NY (Clinton, pre-FEMA) or KY (now) – no outcry.

Screw it.

I do maintain that you did not hear any “Katrina” sized coverage over it all

Katrina: 1,836 confirmed dead, 705 still missing.
Kentucky ice storm: 35 dead.

A tragedy is a tragedy, but you really expect the same level of news coverage of these two events?

cleek:after last week's news, i bet you are!

Yeah. That was bad. I’d say though that it gives you a clear win overall. Plus, I’m ashamed to have supported them so blindly. You were right. Once again for those who did not hear me – cleek was right and I was wrong.

So I’m due to donate again – but dude – could you pick something else? The ACLU is driving me nuts. I’m thinking of changing identitiy to ditch them…

Give me some other charity of your choice and a bit to come up with the cash (and hide it from my wife) and I will square us up.

LJ – I’m not arguing cold weather is more difficult.

Really? If emergency teams can pitch tents in your yard to stay, or set up outdoor kitchens, that seems a lot easier to respond than if everything has to be indoors.

Post-Katrina, roads were blocked, flooded. That is why people were stuck. It seems completely analogous to icy roads (in impact to get help and supplies in).

And pitching tents in a flood sucks whether it is warm or not.

which is not to say that Katrina and the ice storm are equal, but that the logistic challenges could be similar.

OC,
You know me, I cant resist a pile-on. The article you link to, first paragraph:
In the first real test of the Obama administration's ability to respond to a disaster, Kentucky officials are giving the federal government good marks for its response to a deadly ice storm.

Good marks. Guess it was a real clusterf*ck. Lucky for us, the liberal media covered it up.

Ice storms are personal.

If that's the storm I think it was, I went through it in Maine (but I dont take it personally). I didn't see any Feds repairing electrical lines, but then I also understand that the Feds don't do that. I dont know why you want to say that either the Feds do everything or they do nothing, that if FEMA works we should throw away our generators and water filters- of course there's going to be a lot of neighbors helping neighbors. But neighbors-helping-neighbors doesn't get you a ready stockpile of medical supplies, emergency communcations equipment, or trained Search & Rescue teams. FEMA does some stuff. Locals do some stuff. Citizens do some stuff.

I think your general premise is true, but your list includes providing health care to individuals (something that the federal government is not now broadly responsible for) among several other areas in which the federal government is already deeply involved.

Fair enough, but I was really listing Democratic supported items, some currently existing, some not. And even then, the government does provide some band aid coverage to poor children (SCHIP), seniors (Medicare) and some adults below the poverty level (Medicaid).

Let me also clarify that I support government provided health insurance, not health care. I'd rather the government get involved in the former, not the latter. There's a big difference in my opinion.

See, I get to pick and choose. It's much more fun to be unmoored from a rigid ideology.

Is there a principle that can be invoked to make a determination that outcomes provided by the private sector are less than ideal and should be supplanted by ideal public sector solutions?

It's basically measuring the desired outcomes against the actual results and money spent.

For example: As I mentioned in this post, private insurance providers have incentives that diverge from the ideal outcome - the ideal outcome being spreading the risk around so that all Americans are afforded some level of health insurance such that their lives will not be destroyed by illness, accident or other misfortune.

Private insurers, however, have a vested interest in: not covering risky individuals and/or pre-existing conditions, denying claims to existing clients and limiting amounts paid when they can't deny those claims.

They spend a lot of money that the government would not have to spend, or at least not nearly on the same scale, on things like: investigating claims, fighting claims, associated court costs, advertising their services to increase market share, etc.

The result is: higher costs for Americans and less coverage. High infant mortality and other leading indicators.

Eric - How am I supposed to do a clever double entendre on the lyrics when you use an instrumental song in the blog title?

No, it was an invitation for you to compose lyrics on top of said instrumental. I thought I was being overly generous here ;)

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