I think this column from USA Today qualifies as “whistling in the dark,” sadly, based on this excellent analysis from Mike Tidwell of the L.A. Times (Brendan at Brandoland has great stuff today on New Orleans and the Katrina aftermath also).
Tidwell’s column appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday (registration required), and since we have to keep the right-wing hammerheads happy (mustn’t we now?), a column appeared next to it from someone at The Heritage Foundation named James Jay Carafano. He leads off with this (referring to the Katrina aftermath):
It was, to put it mildly, a bad day for America. As one veteran responder put it, getting aid into New Orleans and other devastated areas after Hurricane Katrina hit was like "landing an army at Normandy with a little less shooting."A “bad day”? Try a “bad week,” or a “bad month.” And for who?
So typical…conjuring up images in NOLA of lawlessness first and foremost (in particular, the “looting”…I’m putting that in quotes because, although it really happened, isn’t it safe to say by now that that was blown out of proportion just a bit? Isn’t it safe to say that because, among other things, the “story” of NOLA looters shooting at police helicopters turned out to be TOTALLY FAKE??). So easy to write this in such a way that we can take pity on those who lost their homes and likely will never be back and still feel comfortable with our prejudices at the same time, isn’t it? And so easy to absolve Mike “Horsey Time” Brown, Mike “City of Louisiana” Chertoff and Dubya in the process as well.
I should note that the point of Carafano’s column is that the worst thing that came out of the Katrina disaster was the acknowledgment that we need to upgrade the Cost Guard in terms of materiel and training. I’m serious.
Though I refused to take Carafano seriously after he led off his screed with images of crime and looting (as if everyone in NoLA is depraved and incapable of Christian acts of charity), I should note that I thought this excerpt was amusing.
The U.S. Coast Guard, a uniformed military service that is now part of the Department of Homeland Security, rescued more than 33,000 people during and after the storm, often under harrowing conditions. And the Pentagon pitched in as well. By Aug. 31, the Defense Department had started medical airlifts, and the USS Bataan had arrived off New Orleans. Almost 50,000 National Guard forces deployed to support hurricane relief, and active duty troops from the 82d Airborne and 1st Cavalry, more than 17,000, pitched in as well.Please note the six-day gap in between the beginning of some type of medical relief effort and the evacuation of anyone who was unable to leave.
A second amphibious assault ship and an aircraft carrier arrived on Sept. 6. Twenty ships, 360 helicopters and 93 fixed-wing aircraft were in the affected area by Sept. 7. It was the largest and fastest deployment of U.S. military forces in support of a natural disaster in the nation's history.
I can almost see John Wayne's stirring, jutting-chinned countenance as he descends from a Huey onto Vermillion Street, immediately mobilizes all local, state and federal civilian and military personnel, pumps out the water, rebuilds the levees, and even has time for a Zydeco line dance while feasting on Crawfish etoufee and a Sazerac cocktail as the sun sets and the credits roll in the background.
Back in the real world, I will continue to look some more, though so far, I have found no corroboration whatsoever to back up Carafano's statements. And is Carafano referring to NOLA only or the entire Gulf region? As I said, though, I’ve spent so much time dissecting what these people say that I’m just not going to bother any more.
To change the subject, here is the latest on “Tookie” Williams.
“The Gropenator” took the predictable route after Williams’ latest appeal was rejected. This highlighted text from this story describes what is basically the thinnest of threads to which Williams is dangling at this moment.
It is possible that a larger panel of judges from the (U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals) could consider the case if a judge on the court asks for what is known as "en banc" review. If a majority of the circuit's 25 active judges votes for a rehearing, a panel of 11 judge will then consider the case.I may not have stated this forcefully enough before, but I don’t casually defend someone who was convicted of multiple murder by a jury of his or her peers because I try to imagine myself as a family member of one of the victims. However, in Williams’ case, I believe that there is enough compelling evidence for him to be granted a reprieve and life in prison, mainly because of his efforts to prevent other young men from following the same path he did (as opposed to Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is stone cold guilty, has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to redeem himself and in no way deserves a new trial). If I ever come around to thinking differently on this, I’ll be sure to let you know, but so far, I believe Williams’ life is worth sparing.
If Williams is not granted relief by the 9th Circuit, his lawyer Verna Wefald already has papers prepared for the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case.
Update 12/16: Will Bunch seems to agree with me for the most part in this great post.
And a final note about people losing their lives due to irresponsibility from our government….Dubya, in a speech disturbingly close to my area code today, stated the Iraqi casualty count at 30,000. You can rest assured that that is a “lowball” figure (instructive to me that, so far, other bloggers that I read didn’t take him seriously enough to even comment on it).
As far as I can tell, all we can do at this moment is pray for all concerned.