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Nearly 1.9 million flee coastal Louisiana

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Unbelievable! What a nightmare.

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Strewth, i remember that hurrican Katrina, i was watching the news with Mildred, we couldn`t believe it.

Them Americans who is so rich and so good at everything, couldn`t even help their own country properly.

Loads of people died because that George Bush fella,and his mates were to thick to help the people.

A man on telly said they didnt help much because most of the people was black, thats disgusting, the president shouldnt do thing like that. Bleeding useless, where does all that money go then, in Mr Bushs pockets?

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A man on telly said they didnt help much because most of the people was black

The BBC.com's website coverage only shows two types of pictures from New Orleans: poor black people or white National Guardsmen with machine guns. They tend to like the images of either poor people or violence from the US.

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Interesting timing. One of the most obvious failings of the GOP president is brought clearly back to mind on the opening day of the GOP convention.

As for what BBC and CNN showed. Let's face it. The images are what they are and the masses of poor who suffered the most in Katrina were a clear message to the world of just how far our American empire has fallen.

Third world response just doesn't quite capture just how enept brother Bush and his collection of incompetents were last time.

For the sake of the people in Gustav's path, I hope someone learned something along the way to make things better this time.

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Disaster management starts at the local and state level. NOT federal. This time around, Louisiana has a governor who will actually take charge of the situation. Not sure about the mayor of New Orleans, the last one really screwed the pooch.

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tkoind2; The poor response last time, was due to the emergency services and their incompetence. The president was very concerned for the people hit by Katrina, he was even praying for them daily.

Lessons have been learnt, and the calamity of the last hurricane will not reoccur.

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DS.... same mayor as last time.

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blah blah blah, blame George Bush for everything bad that has ever happened. blah blah blah.

In order to blame Bush you have to forget the fact that New Orleans was and still is beign managed by an incompetent Democrat who did not evacuate the city and the state of Louisiana was until recently controlled by Democrats who told the federal government it didn't need any help. Forget the fact that America is a Republic and its the Governor who decides if they need assistance from the federal government. Forget the fact that the Governor did not ask for assistance until three days after the hurricane.

Man I wish I was a liberal, not concerning myself with the facts would make life so much simpler.

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If one wants to get a real understanding of the horrors of Katrina, then I suggest you watch Spike Lee's movie: When The Levees Broke. Spike Lee is an American movie maker and does not work for the BBC.

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GeorgeRoper, Them Americans who is so rich and so good at everything, couldn`t even help their own country properly.

Loads of people died because that George Bush fella,and his mates were to thick to help the people.

Before Katrina hit, one of the video clips the media liked to show was GWB gettig a briefing from his advisors on the storm. Yes he knew it was coming, but like many have posted, when a disaster is about to happen, the first responders are the local and state governments. Believe me, it is one of the components in the argument of "State's Rights" in America.

Louisiana and New Orleans have long been run by a Democratic political machine whose main job was to make sure everyone got paid off. Add to that, when Katrina struck the then governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin were in fighting against each other. Case in point, when Bush flew there on AF One, he offered Mayor Nagin the use of his shower on the plane which he took. In an interview that he gave, he admitted that he took his time and relaxed and stalled the start of a meeting with Pres. Bush and Gov. Blanco due to the fact that he was having issues with Gov. Blanco. Such petty bickering when the President is there to ask what resources he can provide to your city is stalled due to petty bickering between two persons (in the same political party too) is just obscene.

As the storm (Gustav) was moving in, Pres. Bush did the unprecidented action of declaring an Emergency, and has all ready earmarked FEMA and other Federal resources to the area to assist. A good lesson learned from Katrina. Also, a new Gov. Jindal is not about playing political games with the lives of people, and has ordred an evauation of the area (something that Blanco did not).

If one wants to get a real understanding of the horrors of Katrina, then I suggest you watch Spike Lee's movie: When The Levees Broke. Spike Lee is an American movie maker and does not work for the BBC.

I saw that series and though it had some interesting points, I think it was propaganda. What Spike Lee should have done, was gone back over the records since the levees broke back in the 1930's at the construction done by the Army Corps of Engineers on the levees. If so, he would have seen that since then under such stalwart politicians as Huey Long (Dem), and other Dems and Reps. that probably did not put as much effort into proper planning since that money was probably used for other methods. I believe it was in that film (or maybe another) when a professor from LSU had been making warnings about such a potential problem, but his data was ignored.

Whether liberal or conservative, I hope that there will not be as massive as destruction to the Big Easy and the area as before. I hope both parties tone down the rhetoric on this and not get any "cheap shots" against each other over the plight of the people there.

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GOPs you can run from this but you can't hide. The world expected the US national response to an epic disaster to be exemplary. It wasn't. They expected powerful national leadership in the face of a crisis. It wasn't there.

Sure responsibility was shared from all levels including the governor and mayor. But face it, the black eye really belongs to the Federal government who completely failed to respond in any kind of reasonable manner post storm.

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A June 2007 report released by the American Society of Civil Engineers states that the failures of the FEDERALLY built levees in New Orleans were found to be primarily the result of system design flaws. On May 2, 2008, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal used a speech to The National Press Club to request that President Bush free up money to complete work on Louisiana's levees. Bush promised to include the levee funding in his 2009 budget, but rejected the idea of including the funding in a war bill, which would pass sooner. The war in Iraq has cost American taxpayers somewhere in the region of $2.7 trillion.

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I think the fundamental difference between Katrina and Gustav is that people had a false sense of security concerning the integrity of the levees under Katrina. I don't think any governor or mayor--Democrat or Republican--would bet their political career on the levees holding again.

The thing is, what if the levees do hold this time and there is comparatively little damage? Will the added expense have been worth it? Gustav is Category 3 as compared to Katrina's Category 5. At what level do you not mobilize the guard and evacuate a city of 2 million people?

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The levees broke on the third day, thats why the governor asked for assistance then. Prior to that there was no need. Even after president Bush approved federal assistance (do you understand the idea of FEMA?) It took a great deal of time for FEMA to actually do anything despite total cooperation from Blanco and Nagin, as well as documented emails requesting assistance.

Then we have the fun with FEMA fiasco for months on end. I was working for an insurance company at the time and spent three months speaking to people in new Orleans about how FEMA had purchased aid equipment but didn't know what to do with it. All the trailers sitting around doing nothing, the mountains of paperwork needed to get one and the several month wait time when in fact they were sitting there empty. The director of FEMA was a political buddy of the President with no actual credentials or experience managing such an operation. Thats why it became such a nightmare.

Also, Nagin is still the mayor. He had an effective plan with pick up points spread throughout the city using buses to remove people to a safe distance. He has also wisely advised there will be no help for people, to make sure they get up and leave. The mayor and governors roles in the disaster were minor, they did fail to plan for the size of the storm but then so did everyone. The true tragedy was that the federal government failed its job to assist when a tragedy is too large for the state level, which only a nutcase would think they had the resources in LA to deal with something that large. Especially considering a single tornado gets PA declared a disaster area.

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New Orleans should just be abandoned. It's a terrible place for a city: two hurricanes and probably more in the future plus it's sinking and nobody can stop it from doing so.

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buttamimi, yes the Feds had responsiblity on the oversight of the levees (the actual agecny for those types of projects is the Army Corps or Engineers), but here is the problem. They are a medium sized agency and have mainly oversight of projects such as dams along rivers and other construction projects. They don't have the man power to actually do the work, so they contract it out. They may even at times contract an architectual firm to do the work, while before any money is spent, it must go through their architecs before money is allocated.

So, this system has been in place since the 1930's the last time the levees broke. Where corruption can occur, is when the contract is let out. Money is earmarked for the state, and the state takes bids on contracts. If you have a political machine (federal and state levels), you will naturally want to steer the contracts to you "pals" so that they can get the job, and by the way make campaign contributions for you next campaign. If one of you biggest contributors has a shaky firm, then you can probably imagine.

I am not saying that is how the system worked for NO, but Louisiana is well known for being one of the most corrupt places next to Chicago as far as political graft is concerned. So, to be fair to Bush, the levees were built well before he came to office, and there have been many adminstrations (Dem and Rep) on the Federal and State levels who probably knew of the dangers, but did not do anything to prevent them.

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And to think the wife and I almost bought land down there.

Yikes!

Here's hoping that FEMA and everyone else involved actually does do a heck of a job this time around.

Taka

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I'm just hoping that if there is a disaster I'll be able to spin the situation to play politics. As for the people, I'll be more than happy to give them plenty of lip service as long as I can use them to attack Democrats or Republicans.

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Good luck, people! I wish you all safe passage and a quick recovery... not to mention I hope that the storm peters out and there's little or no damage.

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[New Orleans should just be abandoned. It's a terrible place for a city: two hurricanes and probably more in the future plus it's sinking and nobody can stop it from doing so.]

NO is such a hole. No pun intended.

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So, to be fair to Bush, the levees were built well before he came to office

Alphaape, nice bait and switch. But I am not fooled. You can take the levee builders to task all you want. Maybe they deserve it and maybe they don't.

None of it changes the fact that Bush and Co. fumbled the ball on relief. It does not matter one whit where the problem started, they had a duty and they totally failed to do it. One of the important factors that no one has mentioned yet was the so called "streamlining" of government that was done under Bush not long before Katrina. The whole process got "streamlined" into no one knew who was responsible for what, and certainly not the Bush buddy appointee.

The president was very concerned for the people hit by Katrina, he was even praying for them daily.

Lotta good that did! I will take productive action over concern and prayers any day. Any day.

Glad to see some of that today. But too late to save the 1,600 lost in the post Katrina fiasco.

--Cirroc

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this time officials moved beyond merely insisting tourists and residents leave south Louisiana. They threatened arrest, loaded thousands onto buses and warned that anyone who remained behind would not be rescued.

Threats of arrest? Is this America?

I don't think it was necessary. I am sure that after Katrina, most people were willing to go without this alleged threatening.

“Looters will go directly to jail. You will not get a pass this time,” Mayor Ray Nagin said. “You will not have a temporary stay in the city. You will go directly to the Big House.”

I hope he defined the difference between a looter and an honest scavenger. People taking TVs from abandoned stores in a disaster deserve to go to jail. People taking food and medical supplies do not. A lot of people even left money or IOUs at the register last time. Keep the people alive. Sort out the cash problems later.

--Cirroc

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Some good news. The storm has been downgraded to a category two.

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I'm just hoping that if there is a disaster I'll be able to spin the situation to play politics. As for the people, I'll be more than happy to give them plenty of lip service as long as I can use them to attack Democrats or Republicans.

Well spoken. As long as it is the sarcasm I suspect it is anyway! My primitive caveman mind sometimes gets it wrong.

--Cirroc

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Caveman, the streamlining of the government began long before Bush came into office. It started in the 90's when Clinton began with the Defense Dept, now we have more contractors than military personnel in some fields.

I don't doubt that the feds dropped the ball in some areas, but the initial failure rests with the state and local leaders. They failed to plan, and the plan that they had was not prepared to meet the level of the crisis they faced.

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