In an often tense exchange, Brown told the committee that he wasn't exactly sure who he talked to from the White House staff that night, but said it was probably Deputy Chief of Staff Joseph Hagin, who he said was in Crawford, Tex., with President Bush.Let’s face it, the Bush administration’s initial response to Katrina was poop. Was it negligent? No. Embarrassing perhaps, but don't forget the scope of damage was unbelievable. Even Moses might have been overwhelmed.
Brown's testimony indicated he communicated with various people within DHS and the White House, but was largely ignored. But wait a sec, he's surprised there was miscommunication between government bureaucracies? Doesn't he know half the government budget is spent buying stove piping?
But after all this time we're still hung up on the definition of levee failure:
...asked if he told the White House staffer specifically that the New Orleans levees had been breached, Brown said he could not recall..Let's get this straight. Bush was beat about the torso for saying he didn't know the levees would fail. But he wasn't wrong, since they told him the storm surge would cause the levees to be overtopped. Nobody was telling him the walls themselves would fail, since the feeling was they could withstand a Cat 3 (which is what they got). Since the winds and surge were less than forecast the mindset Monday was that NOLA had been largely spared.
There's plenty of blame, but not every agency got it wrong--the National Weather Service was mostly correct, yet officials had trouble believing their doomsday forecast. Not surprising, there's a natural tendency to disbelieve weathermen. Perhaps they should study better ways for scientists to communicate with normal people.
But the real lesson from Katrina hasn't changed since day one, and it's very simple--do not put all your faith in big government during a major emergency. They aren't coming right away, and they won't help you. Get a plan and carry it out then hope the govmint helps you rebuild.
PS, speaking of the NWS, they got it right today here in Left Tennessee. It's a winter wonderland round here.
HE BLINDED ME WITH SCIENCE! 2/11/06
John B. Judis from the New Republic recently penned an article (they've hidden it behind their subscription firewall but someone provided me a copy) attempting to prove a conspiracy between global warming, Katrina and the Bush administration. The article cites a back-and-forth between reporters and NOAA officials from a November news conference:
The first question from a reporter was one the press had been asking since Hurricane Katrina reached land three months before: "I was wondering if one of you can talk about what extent, if any, global warming may have played in the storms this year?" NOAA's chief hurricane forecast scientist, Gerry Bell, stepped forward to answer. Bell denied that "greenhouse warming" had any effect on the hurricanes. The hurricanes, he insisted, were merely part of "the 20- to 30-year cycles that we've seen since 1950."Conspiracy?! Not quite.
That statement happens to represent the opinion of several prominent researchers at NOAA's National Hurricane Center, who've had these opinions since before Bush took office. Besides, answering that question with even the slightest notion that global warming might affect hurricane intensity would undoubtedly produce headlines such as,
"NOAA admits global warming may affect hurricane strength", or
"NOAA scientists cite the role of greenhouse gases on the strength of Katrina", or
"Bush administration continues to reject Kyoto, ignoring its effect on hurricane strength, according to NOAA".
All lead to the same conclusion--Bush is somehow responsible for Katrina.
Mr. Judis goes on to mention Kerry Emanuel's paper, which received much attention during the storm aftermath, as proof of White House is white-washing. Problem is, this is just one paper amidst many, and the preponderance of evidence points to the natural cycle theory. Judis also tries to assert that lower level scientists like NHC Director Max Mayfield is somehow a Bush stooge, which is laughable.
Perhaps in the interest of fairness he could have looked at some of the historical facts. For example, this chart shows the hurricanes by decade since the 1800s. No real trend there. The image below shows similar data in graph form. Although it doesn’t contain 2005 data, it does feature several spikes that can’t easily be explained away with global warming. Cycles, anyone?
Yes, the graph shows a gradual rise in the number of storms since the 19th century, but keep in mind we have better sensing equipment and more people available to witness and report storms. Also, satellite technology didn’t come on line until the 70s.
And, I'm not saying there isn't an affect from atmospheric warming, but it's yet be conclusively proven as to how it might affect hurricane strength or frequency, which was what the reporters and Mr. Judis were seeking from the scientists at the press conference.
Bottom line, there is no cover-up at NOAA. We’re simply seeing an organization talking about science not politics, as it should be. Since the left seems to want top government scientists also spouting policy and politics, perhaps they can devise a way for the public to vote for them.
BTW, if you'd like Mr. Judis' article you'll have to go to NewRepublic.com and sign up. It was simply too long to post here, besides they might come after me.