Friday, September 16, 2005

A Visit from the SoCal Pundit

Kevin Korenthal, Los Angelos city chairman of the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign, and owner/operator of the SoCal Pundit (which offers "conservative news and views from Southern California") has taken issue with my post below on the blameworthiness of Louisina Governor Blanco.

Kevin writes:

"Too bad this report looking only at what Blanco did leading up to Katrina hitting landfall. You guys should study these HIGHLY PARTISAN investigations that Mr. Conyers has become famous for launching before you pretend to know what the findings represent. If you are interested in a more candid examination of the report, click here."

The more candid examination was Kevin's. And because Kevin's a conservative, he's more"candid" than either me or the Congressional Research Service which performed the investigation at Congressman Conyer's behest.

Kevin concludes:

"Let’s assume for a second that everything in this report is true and correct. In this cheesy attempt to stall off a real investigation, Conyers succeeded in identifying only that, prior to the hurricane, the Gov. of Louisiana called a state of emergency as per the law. This of course is not, as Conyer’s (sic) claims, the extent of Gov. Blanco’s duties as they relate to what happened after the hurricane hit land. It proves only that she completed the only task that would have been necessary if this had been a straight hurricane w/out the subsequent flooding.
Nice try Conyer’s (sic) but no cigar."

OK. A couple of things.

(1) Are you suggesting, Kevin, that Congressman Conyers doesn't want a real, INDEPENDENT investigation? Because, brother, I gotta tell you, ALL us lefties want one, bad. We want another 9/11 style investigation in the worst way, because the verdict is a done deal. If Evan Thomas's piece in Newsweek is even close, if Knight-Ridder is close to the mark on Chertoff, then we're coming close to negligent homicide for the Bush Administration.

(2) "It proves only that she completed the only task that would have been necessary if this had been a straight hurricane w/out the subsequent flooding." Is that opposed to a queer hurricane? Seriously, once the request has been made for federal assistance, once a State of Emergency has been declared by the Governor, the whole ball of wax sits in the hands of the federal government, per a law signed last year, which went into effect March 1, 2005. Quoting straight from the Dept. of Homeland Security website:

Preparing America
In the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume primary responsibility on March 1st for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation. This will entail providing a coordinated, comprehensive federal response to any large-scale crisis and mounting a swift and effective recovery effort.

Bush's response? From the White House website: (8/27)

"White House declares impending disaster area and orders DHS and FEMA to prepare "to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures"

You'll notice that there's no caveat in neither the DHS edict nor the disaster declaration that flooding isn't included. Neither DHS nor FEMA were expected to behave like Allstate and say "Well madam, the policy only covers hurricane damage and not flood damage, so those folks in the Convention Center and Superdome are SOL."

And Kevin, are you seriously suggesting that there was an intelligent soul on the planet that didn't expect catastrophic flooding from a Category 5 hurricane aimed straight at New Orleans? Did that have to be spelled out in any event?

One more piece of the timeline and we'll call this response done. Take a look at the parishes the White House declared as disaster areas (hat tip: Bob Harris):

The further the parish was from the potential area of disaster, the more likely it made W's list of declared disaster areas.

Bring that independent commission on, baby!

And Kevin, come back anytime.