Skip to comments.Let it Snow, but Clean it Up
Posted on 01/08/2011 6:32:46 AM PST by Kaslin
One of the signature moments of the Bush administration came when the federal government failed to immediately react to the carnage caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. As you'll remember, President Bush seemed lethargic about the death and destruction, and the media buried him because of his lackluster posture.
But we now know that the president could not have seized control of the situation because he was not asked in by then-Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Bush could have appeared more engaged in his public pronouncements, to be sure, but legally, he could not exert federal authority unless state authorities officially asked him to do so.
Now we have the great blizzard screw-up of 2010 in New York. The day after Christmas, a storm dropped about 20 inches of snow on the nation's largest city. That's spring break for places like Moscow, but in NYC, chaos almost immediately broke out.
Based on solid reporting by The New York Post and other media, it now appears that members of the city's sanitation union may have sabotaged snow removal because of anger about budget cuts and layoffs. More than 10 percent of sanitation workers called in sick the night they were most needed. Two adults died, and a baby was born in a vestibule and later died because emergency workers could not get through the snow.
When I raised the question of federal intervention in cases like these on my TV program, some conservative viewers said no way. They don't want big government intruding on local issues. But what happens when local authorities are so incompetent that they put your life in danger? What happens then?
The U.S. attorney in Brooklyn is now investigating whether any federal laws were broken by union workers laying down on the job. Good. Municipal unions all over the country need to know there is oversight on them.
One of the big reasons states like California and New York are tottering on the edge of bankruptcy is lavish state benefits paid to union members. Local politicians rarely stand up to union power, because the workers can make their lives very difficult. Ask New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Ask outgoing California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Federal power is no panacea, as we have seen firsthand on the southern border. But it is a check against local corruption and incompetence. Civil rights laws would never have been enforced in the 1960s if not for aggressive action by Attorney General Bobby Kennedy. Sometimes, it takes a big stick to keep the smaller sticks in line.
The good people of New York and New Orleans are ultimately responsible for their own fate. Blanco and former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin no longer hold office in Louisiana. Bloomberg has taken the beating of his life in the Big Apple. But, always, there should be checks and balances on corruption. The feds should turn up the heat on the snow debacle.
Bush also offered to “federalize” the situation two or three days before it hit - start up Fema early etc.
Blanco said no.
What a load of rubbish. When did Frank Rich start ghostwriting Bill's column?
PS - why is FR crawling so slowly?
Sorry Billy O, but it isn't a Federal issue. States need to be the ones to put thier boots on the necks of the union thugs. As at the federal level, the People get who they allow to be in power.
Is it possible BO’R could have a more faulty memory about Katrina? The failure of that disaster is all on the local and state authorities that did not execute evacuation protocols or properly use the resources available to them, including the offered early mobilization of FEMA.
Does anyone else think FR is slow today?
Anyway, I agree this is NOT a federal issue. And does BO’R really the feds are any less corrupt than the local authorities when it comes to labor unions? Gimme a break
Did the Federal government have its own snowplows on the scene, ready to roll? If not, how would Federal involvement have helped?
Bringing in the National Guard to shoot goldbricking union thugs and get the plows moving would be rather emotionally satisfying, but it’s not what we really want, I suppose ...
A case could be made that the people in LA and NO were caught off guard except for the fact that Mayor Naigan evacuated his family before the hurricane hit. That act proves to me, IMHO, that the political leadership in LA and NO were looking out for themselves and themselves only.
Bill O’Reilly never met a problem that the federal government couldn’t solve. Someone should ask him if he thinks there is anything....anything at all that is out of bounds for the feds
Looks like we’re doomed to hear this BS every time a natural disaster strikes somewhere. It’s become an urban legend with a life of its own.
Those federal resources with the right to be in there were there just hours after the storm, including Coast Guard helicopters that operated in gale force winds to find and rescue people affected by the flooding.
The failures were on the part of state and local authorities who had taken billions of federal dollars for years and years to be ready to just such a storm. But when the time came it became apparent just how little of that money had made it to the proper destination.
we had two semitrucks with supplies sitting on the side of the highway after the hurricane that were not allowed into LA because of the state’s homeland security agency.
We almost ran out of fuel before we diverted the loads to Mississippi.
I’ll never go back to LA. Sorry, Bobby
This is simply not true.
I utterly and completely reject this statement.
I remember clearly, and made a mental point to do so, how the Bush Administration made multiple overtures to provide preliminary aid and assistance in advance of the storm. They were continually rebuffed by the democrat fools in charge at the time. Then when disaster struck, all of the rats collectively screamed "where were you?!?".
They intentionally subjected their citizens to disaster and they know it.
Only fools believe the propaganda spewed today. They deserve the same fate inflicted upon all those thousands of innocents and they will be judged for it.
That's a lie - help was offered before the storm even hit. And help was given just as it was in other states after this and other hurricanes. It's just that New Orleans and it's government were so inept that they wouldn't do their part. The picture of the flooded school busses tells the story quite well.
And frankly, being one who lives in a state NOT prone to hurricanes, I don't see this as a federal matter anyway. People in Louisiana should pay for Louisiana's problems, not the people in the other 49 states.
I don't 'remember' any such thing! I do remember seeing pictures of the President looking down at the destruction from the air, because he didn't want to cause more difficulty from his being on the ground. I also remember seeing comments made by him, which, far from being lethargic, showed a man who was pained by what he saw. He had offered Federal help to the Governor of Louisiana, but Ma Blanco, being advised by fellow Democrats that the President was trying to make her look bad, refused that help. As a result, many who could have been removed from the city remained. Some of them died, and the others were stuck in misery for several days until FEMA entered the city.
And I hope BILL remembers that one of the reasons FEMA didn't enter the city SOONER was because of the FALSE REPORTS put out in the media about people shooting at those who were trying to help the people of New Orleans.
You are not the only one who remembers those things
This is a debatable proposition.
Well, that's true.
While the office of the president deserves respect, it does not mean that I have to respect the current occupant, especially since he does not show repect to the Office himself