Prev | List | Random | Next
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2003 - 2007 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com
FEMA has once again "failed" Mayor Nagin. He wants to give his city workers all expenses paid 5-day vacations, and the federal government refuses to foot the bill.
A day after two police suicides and the abrupt resignations or desertions of up to 200 police officers, defiant city officials on Sunday began offering five-day vacations - and even trips to Las Vegas - to the police, firefighters and city emergency workers and their families.He's not bluffing. They might prefer new homes, clothes and furnishings, but apparently that's not on the table. And don't worry about them losing money gambling - a lot of these guys know when to fold.
The idea of paid vacations was raised by both Mayor C. Ray Nagin and senior police officials who said that their forces were exhausted and traumatized and that the arrival of the National Guard had made way for the officers to be relieved.If you think this is some sort of future plan, think again. Nagin wants this to happen now:
Mr. Nagin, who has been demanding more federal assistance for days as his city struggled with despair, death and flooding, said he had asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for the trips but the agency said it could not. He said the city, therefore, would pay the costs.
He said he believed there were now enough National Guard members in the city to allow the police to take a break and still keep the city secure, and he brushed off questions about whether such a trip might look like a dereliction of duty.Don't worry, as long as just one police officer remains on duty in New Orleans the troops will still be able to provide security:
"I'll take the heat on that," Mr. Nagin said. "We want to cater to them."
Q: General, you mentioned a disintegration of the New Orleans Police Department. Do you know how many officers are still on duty?Don't get me wrong - those few New Orleans cops who stayed on duty while their fellow officers looted stores or fled are heroes, and deserve much more than just recognition - after this is over.
GEN. BLUM: I would rather not say. I think you'd be better to refer that question to the mayor of New Orleans. I have my own estimate. I would say they are significantly degraded and they have less than one-third of their original capability.
Q: So is it fair to say it is the National Guard that's keeping law and order in New Orleans?
GEN. BLUM: No. As long as there's one uniformed police officer in the city of New Orleans, we will send as many National Guard soldiers to augment, support and work in support of that lone law enforcement officer as necessary. So if hypothetically there's only one left, who's in charge? It's still that lone police officer supported by the National Guard in their role as military support to law enforcement.
More thoughts on this topic from Blackfive, who provides an ironic recent quote from New Orleans Deputy Police Commander W. S. Riley: "We have people who died while the National Guard sat and played cards. I understand why we are not winning the war in Iraq if this is what we have."
Update: NPR profiles Brian French, a 25-year old rookie cop from New Orleans who ran towards the sounds of screams. His department had failed, but French was "partnered" with Dan Hannigan, a friend from Toledo who came down to help out, and they traveled through New Orleans in an airboat brought in and piloted by a mailman "AWOL" from the postal service in Georgia.
While sailing through the murk they encountered residents who didn't want to leave:
They spot three men on a 2nd story balcony of a house. They smoke hand rolled cigarettes and watch the lawmen warily.At the end of the report French explains his motivation:
The rescuers implored the men to evacuate: ?If you don't get treated from being in the water you will die. You will die sir.?
The soup bowl that is New Orleans is now filled with biohazards guaranteed to cause skin infections or gastrointestinal problems, but the three men on the balcony are unmoved.
"The water might be here for 80 more days - they're going to call off rescues in the next day or two. There's absolutely no point. It's going to be demolished anyway. They're going to bulldoze all these neighborhoods. Why are you staying?"
"Waiting to hear from mom."
"Mom ain't on an airboat. She ain't coming here."
The men aren't budging so the airboat moves on. French says this neighborhood is rife with drug dealing and shootings, he speculates the men have something to hide.
"I stuck it out, because I felt I had to be there for my fellow officers, and for the city. It's what I took an oath to do."Update 2: Looks like no all expenses paid vacation for these guys:
Most of the 2,800 Louisiana National Guard soldiers who are returning home early from their Iraq mission intend to join in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, their commander said Monday.Update 3:This seems like a good time to remind readers that Soldier's Angels is collecting funds for relief efforts for those returning Guard troops who've suffered losses from the storm. Click and give - every little bit helps.
?The people of Louisiana have been worrying about us these past 12 months; now we are worried about them,? said Brig. Gen. John Basilica Jr., commander of the 256th Brigade Combat Team of the Louisiana National Guard.
The brigade has been in Iraq since last fall. They were due to return to Louisiana in September and October.
The Army said Monday that the first 50 soldiers from the 256th returned Sunday and more would return this week. More than 545 of the soldiers suffered personal property damage in the hurricane, and more than 50 have been unable to reach family members, according to an Army statement issued Monday.