Sunday, December 04, 2005

Pastafarian Survivor in New Orleans

Today we at Ring of Fire received an order from someone in New Orleans, the first order we've received from that city since Hurricane Katrina and we are pleased to report that at least one Pastafarian is still there.

We heard a rumor that the city is littered with flood-damaged refrigerators that have anti-FEMA and anti-Bush slogans painted on them. Now we learn more about the efforts of the Louisiana governor during those awful days when "You're-doing-a-heckuva-job-Brownie" was saving lives and providing aid deciding how best to make a fashion statement and making room in his busy schedule for lunch.

"Late Friday, Gov. Kathleen Blanco released 100,000 pages of memos, handwritten notes, e-mails, phone logs and other documents requested by congressional committees that are investigating what happened behind the scenes in the frantic days surrounding the deadly Aug. 29 storm.


Among those documents are the back-and-forth communications between Blanco's office and the White House, starting with a letter Blanco sent President Bush a day before the hurricane hit.

'I have determined that this incident will be of such severity and magnitude that effective response will be beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments and that supplementary federal assistance will be necessary,' Blanco wrote.

Three days after the storm, Blanco complained to the White House that FEMA had still failed to fulfill its promises of aid. While cloaked in customary political courtesies, Blanco noted that she had already requested 40,000 more troops; ice, water and food; buses, base camps, staging areas, amphibious vehicles, mobile morgues, rescue teams, housing, airlift and communications systems, according to a press office e-mail of the text of her letter to Bush.

"Even if these initial requests had been fully honored, these assets would not be sufficient," Blanco said. She also asked for the return of the Louisiana Army National Guard's 256th Brigade Combat Team, then deployed to Iraq.


The stack of documents also includes a timeline put together by Blanco's staff detailing the state response; notes expressing frustration about missing items such as a communications center for police and rescuers promised by the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and police reports, including logs of calls from people trapped amid the floodwater. Other documents show how Blanco's aides were inundated with requests from celebrities and dignitaries wanting to visit the city.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Saturday she hadn't seen the documents.

Tensions between state leaders and the White House seemed at times near the boiling point. At 3:49 p.m. on Sept. 2, after appearing with Bush at a Mississippi news conference, Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-La., wrote Blanco's staff, "I am returning home to baron (sic) rouge in hoping I can accomplish something for the people I represent other than being occupied with PR."

He added that Bush's "entire effort on behalf of the federal government has been reflected in his and his people's nonchalant attitude to the people of LA. You may give him this to read."

More here...