A new role model, at last!

September/2005: Heroism - Before I write this, I feel a need to make a disclaimer. Here is my disclaimer...

DISCLAIMER: I am not a republican. I don't like George Bush. I am a Libertarian. Do not construe the following post to be wuvvy-duvvy towards George Bush who is just as bad a president as Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower and Franklin Roosevelt. No, I did not forget Harry Truman... because Truman is just slightly better than Bush and the rest of the aforementioned clowns.

New Orlean's Mayor Ray Nagin is my new hero.

Why? Simple.

You know that guy at your work, yeah, that guy in the corner who is completely fucking incompetent at doing his job? And y'know how you have to cover his ass once in a while? Yeah, Jimmy, that guy. Well, Jimmy slacks off, does a terrible job and you have to cover his ass. So then you think that y'know, your boss will hate on Jimmy. Remember the other day when you saw your boss go over to Jimmy and Jimmy totally flipped the situation on the boss by slyly playing his ass? Yeah, Jimmy. He's a royal cock, he is. Pretty much describing that Seinfeld episode with Rob Schneider... y'know the one where Elaine's working for Peterman and Schneider plays the guy that can't hear anything? Yeah. That one.

Ray Nagin is the politician version of Jimmy. He's pulled off something so massive, so unbelievably full of guile that I have to tip my hat, or as it is right now, my "stocking cap with a hole cut in it for my long hair to flow out of" to him. Ray Nagin "pulled a Jimmy" during the recent disaster crisis in New Orleans. He did it so deftly and so thorough with the national media that I'm still sitting here in a state of shock.

The recent hurricane on the Gulf Coast is easily the most sad tragedy I've ever seen. The entire time during the worst of it, I was glued to NOLA.com and WWLTV.com reading the live reports from citizens, not journalists. On Monticello (Our forum system) I got into a huge argument on the first day about the looting. I was called a mean ol' ogre for it. The liberals hated on me. I said that anyone looting should be shot, instantly, to send a message to the rest of the rats to not devolve into anarchy. Apparently that was "mean."

However, I was proven irrefutably right over the days that followed. Looting of food turned into looting of TV's... which turned into looting of firearms... which turned into armed gangs of men roaming around, breaking into houses. Which turned into shooting innocents hunked down, or worse yet, the untold amounts of rapes that we may never know the full extent of. The nature-created disaster quickly turned into a societal disaster. The entire time I was yelling that it was Nagin and Governor Blanco who are at fault.


- You have a large population of people that will need food. The best way to get people food in the short-term is not FEMA, part of the inherently slow moving federal government... but by commandeering grocery stores. Since business as usual will not be taking place, food is only getting spoiled in the supermarkets. Nagin did not dispatch police to secure and distribute food out of the supermarkets in an orderly fashion, making sure that people had some sustenance. Instead, he allowed mobs of mostly 16-25 year old black guys to hoard food. Created a system of have's and have-nots. Footage of people carting off two shopping carts stacked with food became common. An immense waste of resources.

- What's the last thing you want to fall into the hands of a desperate hungry population? Liquor and guns. While it likely would have been a waste of time to secure the liquor stores, it is standard operating procedure in these sorts of situations to make sure the gun stores are secured. In these sorts of situations with a large likelihood of civil unrest, police are going to need all the firearms possible. Dispatching officers to keep the gun stores secure would have been, of course, a natural thing to do immediately. This was not done, letting large amounts of firearms and ammo to fall into the hands of those same 16-25 year old guys that looted the grocery stores hardcore. This allowed for armed gangs to roam freely, pin down the police and have their way with the local population. Nagin again didn't have any foresight to see this being a potential problem. No plan of action.

- You have a large displaced population. So the natural thing is to want to group them all in one place for eventual evacuation. This was done by local officials, having people go to the superdome... and the convention center. Now they did a good job of making sure people knew about the Superdome... but the convention center? Nagin didn't communicate the existence of the populance at the convention center to... anyone. CNN literally broke the existence of the convention center nationally due to a citizen leaving and finding a CNN camera-crew and asking "Do you know what's going on at the convention center?" That brought footage to the world and... to the federal government which did not know of the existence of this problem beforehand. Nagin literally instructed his people to tell citizens to gather there... and then didn't bother dispatching a police presence to the site before it filled up with thousands of individuals, some armed, drunk and ready to take advantage of anyone there possible. And they got to for a number of days.

- You have a category five hurricane bearing down on you. You have a police force that is dependent upon a centralized radio system that will, yes, will, go out. Do you... do nothing or find another way for officers to communicate, say long-range walkie talkies that are able to coordinate with a central point? Nah, you do nothing. Zero. Leaving your entire police force as little more than a patchwork of random "government gangs" with no ability to communicate amongst each other. Then to compound things, you have a city that is, on the best of days, crime-ridden to the core... and you do not give your officers a shoot-to-kill parameter on dealing with looters and other criminals. Smart. I guess the lessons learned from the L.A. Riots aren't studied by certain mayors of New Orleans. You let one area break down and lose social order and you've let every area break down and descend into anarchy. The same thing happened in L.A. when the mayor of L.A. decided to hole the LAPD up in their police station rather than brutally put down the riots. And innocents paid for that decision, just as they did in New Orleans.

I could keep listing out ways that this situation was blown to hell. In fact, I pretty much screamed it in the various Monticello threads on the subject. I had convinced myself that society would not let Ray Nagin off as light as we let off the mayor of Los Angeles during the L.A. Race Riots. It was a rare moment of optimism which turned into shocked awe at the curveball Nagin threw out there.

His desperate "breakdown" cursing interview with WWL radio was a stroke of political genius. Genius. He, in one stroke, turned the spotlight off his own ineptitude and towards the man half the country hates with a passion, George Bush. It was genius. Yes, rather than accept the blame as the first level of government response, a level that completely broke down... he used the ready and frothing anti-Bush masses to totally turn himself from the most incompetent mayor in United States history into Mr. Crusader who was betrayed by that dolt Georgie the Second! It was deft. Deft! What a move. The man is my new political hero. Totally incompetent but absolutely genius when it comes to covering his own ass. A true Jimmy.

In a disaster localized in a city or state, the first responders are workers and police trained and staffed by city and state government. When the twin towers were destroyed by Islamic Fascists, Rudolph Guiliani took charge and got the proper instructions to his people. While the scale of the New Orleans disaster is larger than the downed towers, Guiliani understood that he was the first line of defense against anarchy and death. His leadership and forces were the first on the scene... because any city suffering a disaster, inherently, has governmental employees who are by default, first on the scene. The man showed strong leadership and marshalled his forces.

Nagin? Nagin did nothing but blame everyone but himself, from the outset. From yelling about the Army Corps of Engineers not dropping sandbags on the first day of the disaster, to his attacks on Blanco and Bush, the guy did nothing but blame others. Deep down, he knows he and the NOPD were the first line of defense. A line of defense he did not properly prepare when he had five days to do so! A line of defense he abandoned during the crisis. More interested in making statements to local news and national media, Nagin sat and gabbed while the city descended into anarchy and disaster. The fact that nobody knew he was instructing the use of the convention center as a large refugee area is the height of incompetance. Yet, he's successfully blamed that on Bush and FEMA. It's amazing.

For anyone who thinks George Bush was the reason New Orleans descended into anarchy... or that he was responsible for those at the convention center not getting food... you're an idiot. Nagin bore direct responsibility for both situations. By not giving proper instructions or equipment to his police force, he lost the city to thugs. By not making sure those he had go to the convention center were known about by federal authorities, he condemned them to days and days of starvation, squalor and death.

Microcosm: A fleet of around fifty school buses were not secured by Nagin nor the men under his command. Those fifty buses could have transported 2,500 people out of town. Then they could have come back and gotten... yes, more. But did Nagin secure this resource? No. Hey, here's an idea... you take this fleet of buses and arrange them to transport people out of the state PRIOR to the Hurricane hitting! Wow, what an idea I just had that anyone could have come up with in his position! He did nothing. Nothing! The entire time he did nothing! He was Jimmy, sitting in the corner cubicle eating pretzels and bitching about the state of the company! Did nothing! The man was incompetent on every single level of this crisis. He was worse than the mayor of Los Angeles during the L.A. Race Riots. Worse!

Yet he's completely off the hook. Why? Because of that radio interview. Screaming and cursing, he made a complete fool out of himself under the pretense of caring. All the man knew was how to get angry and blame others. Luckily for him, he blamed George Bush and the federal government for not being there as it happened to help! And the media, knowing how half the country loves to irrationally hate ol' Georgie ate it up. It was compelling TV. That angry radio interview was played over and over and over again with just the right edits to put the onus on Bush. You know, ignoring the federal government's historically slow response to disasters (Andrew, 1992) which is part and parcel of the federal government. It's why UPS is faster than USPS, heh.

Imagine if George Bush gave that radio interview for any reason. Imagine if he went balls-out crazy on the radio like Nagin did. He'd be hated upon, scorned, hell perhaps even impeached for being such a "bad leader." Nagin does it though and people fall over themselves calling him heroic and great! He who bungled every single aspect of this crisis will now probably get to move up in the political world. Competence is not what we look for in politicians, we look for snappy one-liners and passionate soundbites. Nagin will go far in politics now, he's perfect for Washington... he's incompetent and charismatic. Bravo.

Give a cheer and a toast to Ray Nagin, my new political hero. While New Orleans drowned and was raped, he sat back and did nothing, exercising a grand total of zero leadership. The proverbial fiddler of Roman times, Nagin's inability to do anything by the book is a shining example to us all out of get ahead in politics... do a shitty job and scream about the other guy not helping you instantly. You watch, he'll be rewarded for it politically as democrats praise his "courageous leadership." It's sad that in 2005 all one needs to be a hero is insane cursing and buck-passing. Those are the qualities of great leadership in today's America. Well, to that I say sign me up baby, I can curse and I can learn how to pass the buck as good as Ray Nagin did, I'm sure of it. Just give me a chance!

Thanks Ray, for the stark lesson in how to get ahead without skill.


While my tone is flippant in the above, I cannot understate how angry I am over this situation. It's disheartening. It's the largest breakdown in the ability of local government in American history, with Nagin at the helm. If you think I'm joking, please do me a favor... Visit this link, let the entire page load. Start at the bottom and work your way up. While nothing local government could do would have prevented those trapped in their homes, they could have easily prevented the multitude of stories identical to the following...

Spoke to my uncle this morning (Thurs) in Riverbend near Carrolton and St Charles. He and several (elderly) residents are holed up there and the security situation is getting desperate. Heat is extreme and there are roving gangs of looters with guns. The looters have also commandeered a backhoe and are ramming homes. My uncle and the others have no info about the evacuation. While Leake Avenue and River Road are dry, they are afraid to leave as they fear they will be shot, carjacked etc. This is a desperate plea for help as this is so far from downtown. We are trying to call everyone we can but of course the phone doesn't work. If someone official sees this, please send help.

I read them all as they came in. The desperate messages of people betrayed by those who are charged with the responsibility of security. All the while, Ray Nagin repeated as his mantra... "We have to let them go, we don't have prison cells for them, where are we going to put them!?!" Rather than authorize his forces to use lethal force to viciously put down looting and all other manner of crime, he created a city where the above could happen... and did happen, in greater number than we'll ever know. Hundreds, thousands of stories that are even more terrible than the above that will never get told. That isn't the result of George Bush doing anything wrong, it's the natural outcome to an incompetent piece of shit named Ray Nagin that knew nothing about crisis management.

And he'll be rewarded for it. Just wait.