Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Brown Says Louisiana Was Dysfunctional...

Tell us something we DIDN'T know, Mike. They don't call New Orleans the Big Easy because of it's familiarity with going through official channels. No, business as usual has always been pick up the phone, get a crony to agree to something and wait for things to happen. Extend that same brand of inaction to the entire state and sorry Mike, but you figured since your end was moving smoothly theirs would too, and surprise, surprise.

And while I'm at it, hows about a go at the myth that private industry always outperforms the government when it comes to getting things done. Businesses get the job done because they don't have to deal with the media breathing down their necks, have no one to answer to, and when they totally screw the pooch the government's the one getting blamed anyway.

Trucks headed for New Orleans...private contractors...making their own decisions to make it a go or not. Water a little too high? Head back to the barn and don't tell anybody because that's up to the bosses to deal with the government. Rumors of looting and heavily armed gangs roaming the streets? Police joining in the looting? Making you queasy about taking that trailer load of water to the staging site you were contracted to deliver it to? The hell with it. Turn around and let the dispatcher deal with breaking the news to the people waiting for something to drink.

The military comes upon an obstacle to a mission and passes word along the chain of command that other resources are needed. The mission doesn't end because you need more help, it continues in another direction, but above ALL things, the mission IS completed. And therein lies part of the rub with the incompetent Mayor and Governor of the most corrupt city in the most corrupt state in the union. Tomorrow is ALWAYS another day, and after all, those there contractors are the lifes blood of the political donation process, and so what if the drivers or loaders or dispatchers simply stopped doing what they were supposed to be doing? If it don't work out then hell, blame the federal government. Not enough bus drivers? Governor is taking her sweet ass time in issuing a special proclamation allowing ANY available driver to get behind the wheel during an emergency? The hell with it - you passed the buck - she dropped it - end of story.

This isn't to say that FEMA is without blame, and it's easy enough to see that Mr. Brown wasn't exactly the take-charge kind of guy he should have been, but for crissake, this is NEW ORLEANS and LOUISIANA we're talking about. People were dancing up and down Bourbon Street when it was clear that Katrina missed New Orleans, and were it not for the failure of the levee system no one is talking about any of this. The same levee system that the CITY and STATE should have been responsible for.

You'll be hearing more about Brown's testimony from the talking heads who know everything there is to know AFTER the fact, so I won't bore you with links to what the Special Committee hit him with. Suffice to say that Louisiana WAS and REMAINS dysfunctional, and sending them over 100 billion dollars when all is said and done isn't going to fix the problem. Time for Congress to act in getting the federal government MORE involved, and the military in particular when it comes to disaster response. Channel Lumber did great shakes in cranking out tons of plywood, Wal-Mart almost did something nice too by sending management teams to assist in distributing perishables to the stricken...which by the way was a secondary concern, for what Wal-Mart corporate REALLY wanted to know was how much damage was done to their stores, how much could be written off, and how soon can they reopen...BUT it's easy to be a hero when there's no accountablility.

Where's Fox and CNN and MSNBC when it comes to asking the private companies what happened with their promises to deliver much needed food and water and cots and everything else they were supposed to handle?

Forget it. Many of those SAME organizations are advertisers, so...BLAME THE GOVERNMENT.

The private sector failed almost as miserably as the local government did, but it's NOT their job to surmount the insurmountable. Give the President more authority to act quickly, and discard the silly notion that Ted the Truck Driver is going to brave the floods and the looters to deliver his load, and while your at it, find out where the MILLIONS of dollars in communications equipment went once the shit hit the fan. Oh, the local contractors wouldn't DARE head to certain areas to open those offices because they were afraid of getting shot by any number of the roving gangs of looters that the local cops ran away from? Tsk, tsk, thank heavens those good ole boys are worth a bundle come election time.

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