Sunday, December 04, 2005

Caption Central

Starring New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin!

--"The idiot's out west, in Crawford."
--Vin Diesel told the casting directors to take a hike, noting that the real-life FEMA response was anything BUT fast or furious
--"Thanks to your wonderful levee construction, guys, this map now looks like my shirt."
--Good thing this is about flood control and not about hair care
--"Men, this is that political wall I keep talking about."
--If that map is anything like Bush's map for peace in the Middle East, then we'll be some lost bastards
--"If you make any more cracks about my 'Super Chrome Dome,' you're outta here!"
--The map was not to scale due to FEMA's lack of a moral compass
--But the real shitstorm's out in D.C.
--Seems a shame to waste it: "Me Morial!"
--"If we had Bush's brain for a levee, we'd be sitting pretty right now"
--"Glad you guys could come. Tell your boss to get the rest of our boys back!"
--"Nice map...just like FEMA to think the world's flat!"
--"That water's like a reflective pool that makes us all look really bad"
--"Let's make like this wall and get plastered."
--Mayor Nagin points out the general direction of FEMA's priorities
--"Bush made a gesture like this to me. I think he's been watching Gladiator again."


Flamingo Jones said... made me laugh at 8:30 in the morning! No small feat, my friend.

Nick said...

"Back there is where the buses were that I could have used to try and save some people. We're burning them so that there will be no evidence of my incompetence, and I can blame everything on the federal government."

"You guys should have joined me and my staff at the Hyatt during the storm. I had a generator, personal cook, and hookers."

"Behind this wall, I have a safe, where I keep my personal stash of drugs confiscated by my police force."

Ian McGibboney said...

Yeah, I win.

Nick said...

I was just trying to lend some truth to your post, that's all.

The Goblin Slayer said...

Don't do that, Nick. Ian hates truth, especially when it creeps into his obviously biased posts.

Ian McGibboney said...

BIASED, Goblin? Is that really the best you can do? As if you're a such a paragon of neutrality yourself!

Of course I'm biased...biased against stupidity. Any mistakes Nagin and Blanco made were more than offset by the disastrous federal response to Katrina.

Oddly enough, I don't see you accusing Nick of bias. And he's one of the biggest conservative apologists out there.

Nick said...


First of all, by reading my blog alone, you should see that I am not happy with Bush at all. Yes, he is at fault for Katrian. But his fault is for not getting the army there fast enough AFTER the storm. He had no control before Katriana.

Nagin is to blame for putting his own ass up in a perfectly comfortable position before the hurricane when he could have helped the citizens. N.O.'s hurricane policy, in simple terms, stated this: "If you have no way of getting out of danger, stand in front of your homes and transportaion services will pick you up and bring you to a safer place."

People waited outside their homes and were never picked up. I show NO BIAS towards the Katriana situation Icon. I blame Bush for not getting control of the city fast enough and allowing all the looting to take place.

However, the lack of preparation and helping people before the storm, especially when we had a study just one year before, due to Ivan, get published on New Orleans's venerability, leaves me to still believe that our state and local officals did not care. You can't put blame on Bush and not put blame on Nagin. I am NOT being biased on this situation.

The Goblin Slayer said...

Any mistakes Nagin and Blanco made were more than offset by the disastrous federal response to Katrina.

Waaaaaaaaaaa!!!! Bush Bad!!! How utterly pathetic. If you hate stupidity so much, you would be calling for the hide of the mayor and the govenor, whose friggin' job it is to RESPOND to emergency situations FIRST.

Nick said...


Just remember, Bush and co. f-ed up as well. However, most of his critics fail to remember that the response from the fed. gov't under Clinton to help FL with Andrew was quicker and more efficient than the help LA received for the same storm. The federal government always cares more about electoral votes, which FL has many more than us. Why do you think that FL and CA have always received more money for coastal erosion problems than us? It's a damn shame from both parties.

However, Nagin and Blanco were dumb to not understand this, or liars to act like they don't understand it. Like I stated above, Nagin's crew failed to do what New Orleans's hurricane policy stated. People waited in front of their homes, yet no one picked them up. Nagin and his crew have always found a way to bus the poor people from the projects to the voting booths, but they couldn't find a way to bus them to high ground to help save their lives.

The Goblin Slayer said...

Good point, Nick. BTW, who was the lead management figure for FEMA when Hurrican Andrew slammed Florida?

Yes, it is a rhetorical question, but appropriate.

Ian McGibboney said...

Nick, just to correct you on a minor point: on Election Day 2004, some minority voting precincts weren't even furnished booths. The situation was so bad that secretary of state Fox McKeithen had to personally drive booths from his office to the polling stations.

And I agree with you about Florida. But I don't think it's entirely about electoral votes (though that's definitely an issue now); the sad fact few want to admit is that Florida looks more like the America we want to acknowledge: beautiful scenery, beautiful people and money. Disney World! On the other hand, who cares about a million poor blacks in the Superdome? Don't think that doesn't factor in the federal response? Or even the national one?

And Goblin, the FEMA director during Andrew was Clinton appointee James L. Witt. According to the offical FEMA timeline: "Witt became the first agency director with experience as a state emergency manager. He initiated sweeping reforms that streamlined disaster relief and recovery operations, insisted on a new emphasis regarding preparedness and mitigation, and focused agency employees on customer service." It was during this time, too, that FEMA reached Cabinet status. Goblin, I suppose you see Governor Blanco's hiring of this man as a political measure. I'd have to say it can't be a bad thing, considering he's probably the best (and even close to good) man to do the job.

Ian McGibboney said...

A quick addition before either of you say it: yes, I know that FEMA response to Andrew was criticized. This was because, prior to Witt's tenure, FEMA long lacked real resources and clout necessary to do its job. Its versatility was helped considerably by the end of the Cold War, which in 1992 had just ended. After Andrew, Witt sought out to make FEMA into what it was meant to be: an effective disaster-relief organization.

That being said, Andrew's response was still 100 times better than that of Katrina. After our camp's roof was blown off by Andrew, we arrived there to find several crates of sports drinks and government food. Every house in the community had gotten these provisions. And we were on the perimeter of the afflicted. I distinctly remember being impressed by that. Ah, the good old days.

The Goblin Slayer said...


When will you realize that *any* federal reponse takes too long. That's what you get when you DEPEND upon the government instead of your own ass. The sooner you realize this, the sooner the shackles of leftism will fall from your enslaved wrists.

Nick said...

Another problem with all this Katrina commotion is that 95% of the media sympathy and state & federal response is all caught up in New Orleans, and no one seems to give a damn that people lost their homes in Rita as well. However, the local governments in Lake Charles, Cameron, Beaumont, and Port Arthur are taking care of themselves for the most part. You don't hear them crying to Bush and cussing him at every turn.

Ian McGibboney said...

Goblin, I'm not impressed. The point of federal services is to help people do what they cannot do for themselves. It's hard to photosynthesize food when you're trying not to drown on your rooftop. The problem asn't that federal aid was not instant, but that it was hung up further because of easily preventable things. Everyone knew this was coming, so why not prepare for the worst? Seems to work for Florida.

Hell, look what happened when aid didn't arrive in time: looters and gangsters swimming the streets! I'm sure they called it self-reliance too. That's why I would never be on the right: no heart.

Nick, the people of New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish were the victims of probably the worst natural catastrophe in American history (worse than 9/11, for that matter) and were further victimized by the most incompetent and disputed series of events among leaders whose history of cockups is well-known.

Rita, by contrast, was FEMA's fortuante chance to get it right after the whole world saw them blow the big one. Rita was smaller, more effectively handled and not covered as intensely. Had the situations been equivalent, I'm sure the same results would have occurred. But this whole Katrina vs. Rita thing is exactly why Katrina was such a fiasco: are we supposed to play favorites in Louisiana now? I've already written about this. Look it up.

Nick said...

The only reason Rita was more effectively handled was because of the difference in local leadership. The local governments in those areas are doing a better job of trying to help its citizens because they were smart enough not to rely on the feds. Maybe hindsight is 20/20, and they probably expected people not to give a damn about them.

And wake up, favorites are already being played in Louisiana. Everyone seems to have decided that it's better to put almost all the resources in New Orleans while some people in Cameron Parish and Orange, Jefferson, and Newton Counties have yet to see ANY relief. I understand that New Orleans has more people that were drastically affected. But Rita caused damage too. People lost their homes in Rita too. Walter Whitfield & his family lost their home because of Rita. There, that's someone you personally know since he was on the track team.

Should most of the resources be used on the Katrina damage? Yes. However, people in SW LA have every right to receive the same help that people in New Orleans are receiving, and they are not. However, you also don't hear them bitching much about the completely biased attention (or lack there of) either.

FEMA rejected my fiance's application for assistance w/ out even going out there to see her and the damage. She received water damage when some of the panneling was torn off of her trailer and now has electrical problems abound in the place. I fixed the panneling, but I'm no electrician, and they cost money. Money that she couldn't afford on her salary and espenses as a single mom, but obviously since she is my girlfriend, I will pay for the repairs. However, people who hardly owned a damn thing in New Orleans and lived in gov't housing, therefore really lost nothing, received $2000 debit cards. And some of them decided that expensive purses and DVD players were necessity items to spend that money on. Meanwhile, I'm sure there are many people like Cherie in the Rita areas who are getting rejected for assistance when they actually have legitimate problems and claims.

Ian McGibboney said...


I already know people who have lost much on both sides of the state. I had several over for a couple of days, and met many more at the Cajundome. They all deserve help, and if anyone is being deprived of such then that should be addressed with a quickness. But I think with all of the damage that has happened, a lot of people want help, and thus the only hope to keep things in order is to address these problems by degree. New Orleans is getting the bulk of the money because they got the most damage and got largely screwed the first time. Follow that up with relief for Rita victims who need it the most. Or better yet, do them both concurrently if possible. Then use the resources left to help those with smaller issues if possible. Leave character and other unquantifiable bullshit out of it.

Yes, I do feel as bad for the honest people who lived in government housing as much as anyone else, because they're people too. What they had wasn't much, but it's what they had. And I guarantee you that most of those people used their debit cards honestly and not on DVD players and such. You only hear about that because that's what makes news.

A lot of people suffer because of both storms, and resentment is the last thing any of us needs.

Nick said...

You can make all the excuses you want for the reason why the government and media is constantly focused on Katrina victims. That FACT is that Rita's victims are getting screwed as a result of all the attention focused on sympathy for New Orleans.

I have yet to see Jesse Jackson complaining about the poor blacks in Beaumont and Port Arthur who lost their homes. That's because people like him reall don't give a shit about blacks, or anyone for that matter unless it insures him national media attention and patting on the back.

Ian McGibboney said...

Dammit! Blogger ate my comment and somehow I didn't think to copy the text as I went. Thanks, jerks!

Suffice to say, Nick, your setup has become tiresome. It looks to you like Rita victims are being screwed because those are the people whom you identify with more. But don't you see that EVERYBODY'S getting screwed?

Like it or not, Katrina gets more coverage because it happened first, was more severe and its aftermath exposed a lot about our local and national priorities. Rita was horrible, too, but that one did far less to expose the living conditions of America's most neglected people.

What you're essentially doing is decrying the Katrina victims for exploiting the media. Why wouldn't they? And who else wouldn't? Because it's clear to me that you wish to do the same thing regarding Rita. And I agree that we shouldn't forget about those people either. But don't go circulating Michael Graham columns that praise the Rita victims as self-starters who don't need media and government attenntion and then whine about the lack of media and government attention. Make up your mind.

Nick said...

Yes, my setup has become tiresome for me too. However, so are your constant "it's all Bush's fault" lies that keep getting spread in regards to Katrina.

And the Michael Graham deal was something that caught my interest, not something I completely agreed with. I circulate alot of things that I don't necessarilly agree with, like that other e-mail that stated something to the effect of
"If a hurricane comes, don't worry because the smart white people will save me."

Ian McGibboney said...

Nick, when have I ever said this was all Bush's fault? Ever? Honestly! I'm arguing for a firm local and federal response for everyone. Period.

Also, if you don't agree with something, you could at least disavow yourself from it, perhaps with a little note at the top of the forward. But as it is, there's nothing in what you say to suggest to me that you think otherwise.

Nick said...

You are right about one thing. I do identify with the Rita victims more. Why, because there was not a single report that I heard of where rescuers and FEMA workers (the few that showed up) being shot at and robbed. Of course, SW LA and East TX is a different breed than New Orleans. A before you start this "that's a racist comment BS," I'm not talking about a racial aspect. I'm talking about a whole mentallity and attitude.

Nick said...

Also, nothing you say would leave me to believe that you blame anyone but Bush and the federal government. Well, accept for maybe this: "The problem with the criticism of Blanco and Nagin is that most of it has a racist/sexist taint. I sometimes have to bite my tongue about criticizing them, lest my stance be confused with that of those who want to criticize them based on their personal and party affiliations." That basically tells me that you're so damn racial and socially consious of what someone may misinterpret that you can't even give out criticism where you know it should be laid.

Ian McGibboney said...

A whole mentality and attitude, eh? So why, in the media, were the Rita victims being praised for their "steadfastness" when they refused to leave while people in New Orleans were blasted for doing the same thing?

Also, as fixated as you are on the looters and the people shooting at helicopters, those idiots were a minimal fraction of the people left there. If the Rita people didn't shoot at helicopters, fine (should I praise them for that?). But I'm not going to judge the many by the actions of a few. You should really holster the self-righteousness and not believe everything you see on TV.

As for my comment, I stand behind it. Should I not have a racial/social conscience? So far, what I've seen from people blaming Blanco and Nagin is the fare I expect from those who never supported them in the first place. It's a very selective criticism. And I'm every bit as afraid of having my minor nitpicks about them lumped in with the jeering right-wing pack as you are of being lumped with David Duke. I wouldn't be worried about that so much if so many conservatives didn't think so simplemindedly. But they do.

Ian McGibboney said...

Furthermore, I DO blame the federal government. Not just Bush (who does deserve a huge chunk of the blame for continuing to vacation and not visiting New Orleans until his precious feet could stay dry), but Michael Brown, FEMA and every member of Congress who declared that New Orleans was a lost cause. They failed us--you, me and everyone affected by Kat-Rita. National help isn't supposed to be dictated by politics or the supposed "character" of the people. Even if the state did respond slowly (itself a disputable point), then the federal government owed it to everyone to intervene, just as they have in every similar situation.