Publius Archive

'Now With Attenuated Live Thought Viruses'



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Saturday, September 10, 2005


Stunning in the most literal possible sense.   I'm putting the whole page from Bob Harris' site because it's just so... stunning.

Bush orders FEMA to protect Upsidedownland E-mail
Wednesday, 07 September 2005


Picking up on a thought bouncing around back at TMW after a Chris Floyd post, I thought I'd find out for myself exactly which Louisiana parishes were and were not included in George W. Bush's declaration of emergency effective August 26th, which you can also reach by clicking the map itself.

I checked the parish map against the White House's own press release, posted on their own site.  I have tried to figure out how this is my own mistake, but I can't find it.  And the results are frankly so bizarre I had to make the graphic in order to properly show you.

Welcome to upside-down-land: the areas at risk for Katrina were quite remarkably the areas not included in Bush's declaration of emergency.

What the hell?

Compare and contrast with the full and specific statewide list of parishes and the services they will receive issued after the storm hit.

Is this really what Bush authorized before the storm hit?  Are they really that incompetent?

PS: Putting to rest any nightmares, the map doesn't correlate in any way I can find with demographics, income, voting patterns, campaign contributions, or the like.  If I haven't made an obvious mistake, I'm just hoping now that the press release simply got the list of "emergency" and "non-emergency" parishes mixed up.

In other words, more galling incompetence in the White House, albeit trivial, is really the best-case scenario.

Otherwise, we're looking at more galling incompetence of a frighteningly non-trivial kind.

UPDATE: I've received numerous emails explaining that all of the coastal parishes were already declared disaster areas because of Tropical Storm Cindy, which struck in June.  Checking with FEMA's own website... nope.  Only five coastal parishes -- Jefferson, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, and St. Charles -- seem to be covered here, and only on a limited basis at that.

This is explicitly confirmed by the presidential authorization of August 23, as posted on the White House website.

I'm still hoping and half-expecting to find I've overlooked something.  I hope so.  Honestly.  I do not exactly enjoy this, and I hope this is my own mistake in some way.  But I've looked and looked on the White House and FEMA websites and Googled my fingers half off, and while I do find several parishes coming in line for various types of aid piecemeal at various times over the last several years, I cannot yet find anything which even comes close to accounting for the diagram above.  It still appears that while northern Louisiana was covered, much of Louisiana directly in the storm's path was simply not covered by the president's declaration at the time the storm hit.

UPDATE 2: I've tried calling FEMA general number repeatedly, but the phone is ringing endlessly with no answer.  Not even a machine or voicemail.  They seem a bit overwhelmed.  I'm reluctant to take anyone's time there anyway right now anyway.  Instead, I've sent polite emails to the public FEMA email addresses that seems relevant, asking for a brief explanation of the above once things have calmed down.

UPDATE 3: My inbox has received many dozens of emails from people pointing to August 29th (post-storm) documents, which supposedly fill in the blanks but are entirely off the point.  We're looking for a pre-storm explanation.  Please check your dates carefully.