Jabbor Gibson

by Ted on September 3, 2005

When you’re right, you’re right. Radley Balko has noticed a hunger for good news, and this would seem to qualify:

Eighteen-year-old Jabbor Gibson jumped aboard the bus as it sat abandoned on a street in New Orleans and took control.

“I just took the bus and drove all the way here…seven hours straight,’ Gibson admitted. “I hadn’t ever drove a bus.”

The teen packed it full of complete strangers and drove to Houston. He beat thousands of evacuees slated to arrive there.

“I t’s better than being in New Orleans,” said fellow passenger Albert McClaud, “we want to be somewhere where we’re safe.”

Look at these pictures. I hope this kid gets a medal before Michael Brown does.

The scene at the Houston Convention Center

by Ted on September 3, 2005

I spent the afternoon at the Houston Convention Center. According to people I spoke to, they were directing volunteers away from the Astrodome to the Convention Center. As I left, the Convention Center had a lot of volunteers, but it could use them.
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DHS selling Bullshit; CNN not Buying

by Kieran Healy on September 3, 2005

CNN reports, in “uncharacteristically blunt terms”:http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/03/katrina.chertoff/index.html on Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff’s efforts to exonerate his agency.

Defending the U.S. government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argued Saturday that government planners did not predict such a disaster ever could occur.

But in fact, government officials, scientists and journalists have warned of such a scenario for years. … He called the disaster “breathtaking in its surprise.” But engineers say the levees preventing this below-sea-level city from being turned into a swamp were built to withstand only Category 3 hurricanes. And officials have warned for years that a Category 4 could cause the levees to fail.

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“This is all the perspective you need!”

by Kieran Healy on September 3, 2005

Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera “resist Sean Hannity’s efforts”:http://www.crooksandliars.com/2005/09/02.html#a4763 to spin the scale of the disaster and, in particular, the suffering caused by clear, continuing failures of organization. Smith, especially, was working hard to stay calm and focused on relaying the conditions in front of him — he seemed like he wanted to reach through his camera, throttle Hannity and shout “Can’t you see what’s happening here?”

Red Cross not Allowed into New Orleans

by Jon Mandle on September 3, 2005

Like many people, I made a donation to the Red Cross – then took up Ted’s offer.

I do not regret this decision. And I am sure the money will help people in need.

But I thought some of it might help the people who are trapped and dying in New Orleans. Turns out, the Red Cross is not allowed into New Orleans (tip to Atrios):

As the National Guard delivered food to the New Orleans convention center yesterday, American Red Cross officials said that federal emergency management authorities would not allow them to do the same.”

There are understandable security concerns, but the main reason seems to be the following: “The goal is to move people out of an uninhabitable city, and relief operations might keep them there.”

I am (once again) speechless – and literally trembling. How is it even conceivable that someone would think that relief operations would keep victims there – and that depriving them of emergency food and water would be the the extra little nudge that would convince them to get out?


by Ted on September 3, 2005

1. There are still incentives available for donors to hurricane charities. Eszter has given away all of her books, but requests for CDs have been entirely manageable, and I’m very happy to keep burning them. Jane Galt has kindly offered to send everyone who donates $100 a homemade pound cake. For $250, she’ll write a blog post about anything you like, besides her personal life.

2. Amanda at Pandagon has a Texas-specific list of ways that people can help. According to this news report, both the Astrodome and the Convention Center are accepting volunteers. I’m going to find out.

3. I don’t think that there’s anyone in America (besides, maybe, the President) who’s satisfied with FEMA head Michael Brown right now. His previous experience was as an estate planning lawyer. He’s a GOP activist with no previous qualifications in disaster management. His last private-sector job, before becoming the head of FEMA, was as the commissioner for the now-defunct International Arabian Horse Association, where he was asked to resign from his position. I believe that a diarist at the Daily Kos realized this first:

The man responsible for directing federal relief operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, sharpened his emergency management skills as the “Judges and Stewards Commissioner” for the International Arabian Horses Association… a position from which he was forced to resign in the face of mounting litigation and financial disarray.

And the Boston Herald is backing it up (via Josh Marshall):

Brown was forced out of the position after a spate of lawsuits over alleged supervision failures.

“He was asked to resign,” Bill Pennington, president of the IAHA at the time, confirmed last night.

Soon after, Brown was invited to join the administration by his old Oklahoma college roommate Joseph Allbaugh, the previous head of FEMA until he quit in 2003 to work for the president’s re-election campaign.

I don’t know what to say. TheAdministration had absolutely no business putting this man in this position. But I’m completely unable to understand why Brown accepted this responsibility.

4. A few heartbreaking, gut-punching links from Making LightJohn Scalzi’s Being Poor and Respectful of Otters’ Why The Aid Wasn’t There