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Hullabaloo


Sunday, August 30, 2009

 
Four Years Ago Today

by digby

I wrote this:


Commenter antifa wrote in another thread on Sunday night:

I called Mama Marisol, got her on her cell phone. She had her crystal ball in the front seat, and she was 'leavin-leavin, cher.'

Heading up Basin Street past St. Louis 1, she saw all the skeletons sitting on top of their tombs, rolling their bones and readin' em, shakin' their heads at her.

This won't end well.



Mama marisol was right, cher. This is terrible.


If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break
And the water gonna come in, have no place to stay

Well all last night I sat on the levee and moan
Thinkin' 'bout my baby and my happy home

If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break
And all these people have no place to stay

Now look here mama what am I to do
I ain't got nobody to tell my troubles to

I works on the levee mama both night and day
I ain't got nobody, keep the water away

Oh cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do no good
When the levee breaks, mama, you got to lose

I works on the levee, mama both night and day
I works so hard, to keep the water away

I had a woman, she wouldn't do for me
I'm goin' back to my used to be

I's a mean old levee, cause me to weep and moan
Gonna leave my baby, and my happy home




That night was the beginning of one of the most horrific events this country has ever experienced. All I felt that day was a sense of dread, not knowing how bad it was. But it was so much worse than I could have imagined:


The Timeline for August 30th




11AM CDT — BUSH SPEAKS ON IRAQ AT NAVAL BASE CORONADO [White House]

MIDDAY — CHERTOFF CLAIMS HE FINALLY BECOMES AWARE THAT LEVEE HAS FAILED: “It was on Tuesday that the levee–may have been overnight Monday to Tuesday–that the levee started to break. And it was midday Tuesday that I became aware of the fact that there was no possibility of plugging the gap and that essentially the lake was going to start to drain into the city.” But later reports note that the Bush administration learned of the levee breach on Aug. 29. [Meet the Press, 9/4/05; AP]

PENTAGON CLAIMS THERE ARE ENOUGH NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS IN REGION: “Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said the states have adequate National Guard units to handle the hurricane needs.” [WWL-TV]

MASS LOOTING REPORTED, SECURITY SHORTAGE CITED: “The looting is out of control. The French Quarter has been attacked,” Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson said. “We’re using exhausted, scarce police to control looting when they should be used for search and rescue while we still have people on rooftops.” [AP]

U.S.S. BATAAN SITS OFF SHORE, VIRTUALLY UNUSED: “The USS Bataan, a 844-foot ship designed to dispatch Marines in amphibious assaults, has helicopters, doctors, hospital beds, food and water. It also can make its own water, up to 100,000 gallons a day. And it just happened to be in the Gulf of Mexico when Katrina came roaring ashore. The Bataan rode out the storm and then followed it toward shore, awaiting relief orders. Helicopter pilots flying from its deck were some of the first to begin plucking stranded New Orleans residents. But now the Bataan’s hospital facilities, including six operating rooms and beds for 600 patients, are empty.” [Chicago Tribune]

2PM CDT — PRESIDENT BUSH PLAYS GUITAR WITH COUNTRY SINGER MARK WILLIS [AP]

BUSH RETURNS TO CRAWFORD FOR FINAL NIGHT OF VACATION [AP]

Here's what the right had to offer that day:

ATTN: SUPERDOME RESIDENTS [Jonah Goldberg]
I think it's time to face facts. That place is going to be a Mad Max/thunderdome Waterworld/Lord of the Flies horror show within the next few hours. My advice is to prepare yourself now. Hoard weapons, grow gills and learn to communicate with serpents. While you're working on that, find the biggest guy you can and when he's not expecting it beat him senseless. Gather young fighters around you and tell the womenfolk you will feed and protect any female who agrees to participate without question in your plans to repopulate the earth with a race of gilled-supermen. It's never too soon to be prepared.


And then this:

Knuckle Smacking [Jonah Goldberg ]

Doc Bainbridge chastises me for my insensitivity and implores my more mature colleagues to take me to task. He even goes so far as to call me Taranto-esque, for what that's worth.

Perhaps Professor Bainbridge — of whom I am a fan — thinks something really awful will befall the denizens of the Superdome and therefore making a joke at their expense is wrong. My guess is that it will simply be a really unpleasent time for the remainder of the day, but hardly so unpleasent as to sanctify them with refugee or some other victim status. I assumed the reference to gill-growing and whatnot made it clear where I was coming from. I'm sorry if we don't always fulfill the good professor's expectations around here. But it can't be all brandy-snifters and Latin puns in the Corner.


Immediate reactions to tragedy are always telling. And it only got worse as the week wore on.


Meanwhile, if you want to know what a living nightmare really is, read this story from today's NY Times Magazine about the plight of one of the hospitals during those horrible days, the awful decisions they faced and the people who made them.

It's almost impossible to believe that it happened in a country that hadn't been obliterated by an apocalyptic event so extreme that the entire national infrastructure was completely paralyzed. It wasn't. It just didn't respond:















I'm planning to revisit Katrina all week, as I usually do. Hopefully, there will be some good news as well. But I think it's important to remember what happened there, especially as we see the red faced anger coming from people who don't believe that Americans have an obligation to help their fellow man in times of trouble. It's clarifying.


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