Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 13, 2005

Priorities + "Responsibility"

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina roared through South Mississippi knocking out electricity and communication systems, the White House ordered power restored to a pipeline that sends fuel to the Northeast.

That order - to restart two power substations in Collins that serve Colonial Pipeline Co. - delayed efforts by at least 24 hours to restore power to two rural hospitals and a number of water systems in the Pine Belt.
"I considered it a presidential directive to get those pipelines operating," said Jim Compton, general manager of the South Mississippi Electric Power Association - which distributes power that rural electric cooperatives sell to consumers and businesses.
Dan Jordan, manager of Southern Pines Electric Power Association, said Vice President Dick Cheney's office called and left voice mails twice shortly after the storm struck, saying the Collins substations needed power restored immediately.

Jordan dated the first call the night of Aug. 30 and the second call the morning of Aug. 31. Southern Pines supplies electricity to the substation that powers the Colonial pipeline.
Mindy Osborn, emergency room coordinator at Stone County Hospital, said the power was not restored until six days after the storm on Sept. 4. She didn't have the number of patients who were hospitalized during the week after the storm.

"Oh, yes, 24 hours earlier would have been a help," Osborn said.
Power crews diverted

Bush now takes responsibility for prioritizing gas for the North East U.S. over medical care for a storm battered South. How about some consequences?

Posted by b on September 13, 2005 at 17:15 UTC | Permalink


well you know what Spock always said, "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few"

it is a harsh world.

Posted by: dan of steele | Sep 13 2005 18:04 utc | 1

Is this in Josh Marshall's Katrina timeline yet? ---checking--- Nope. It should be. I"ll inform them. Thanks Bernhard.

Posted by: citizen | Sep 13 2005 18:05 utc | 2

good find b. worst suspicions confirmed. the oil ministry lives!

Posted by: anna missed | Sep 13 2005 18:10 utc | 3

If you know of any further links that should be in the TPM Katrina Timeline, check the timeline, and if it is missing please send the details and a link to It is a live resource that is most valuable right now.

Posted by: citizen | Sep 13 2005 18:19 utc | 4

@citizen - I did send it to TPM before posting - :-)

Posted by: b | Sep 13 2005 18:48 utc | 5

Has anyone else considered this - the Cheney Administration was not in fact vacationing in Wyoming but running a very sophisticatd and efficient recovery op out of the VP's office aimed only at the energy interests (and included a substantial use of military assets and other government resources) therefore the more than usual level of incompetence at the Bush WH, the delay in assigning assets and Cheney's non-appearance until Day Whatever?

Just a thought that's been rolling around my brain since Day 1 or 2 - it's been almost impossible to get detailed info on what's been going on with the oil platforms, etc. during all this...

Posted by: McGee | Sep 13 2005 18:50 utc | 6


With gangs of rapists and looters rampaging through wards in the flooded city, senior doctors took the harrowing decision to give massive overdoses of morphine to those they believed could not make it out alive.

Posted by: DharmaBum | Sep 13 2005 19:09 utc | 7

@McGee - that´s why I put the timeline in bold.

Cheney has not been in the public in those days but we now know that he was taking actions on behalf of his oil mafia.

SO waht else was he doing during this time?

Posted by: b | Sep 13 2005 19:27 utc | 8

The Otter Side: A Doctor from Georgia who volunteered and blogged. Read. Very interesting.

As I said below, someone needed to take command of every aspect of the disaster response. State and Local authorities? Hah! If you think they could, you have never been in an multi-level operation involving the Feds (AKA the 1000 pound gorilla). The Feds will not take direction from anyone; therefore, they must, by default, take command (i.e., "Lead, follow, or get out of the way.") Unfortunately, that would entail exposing the Administration to the risk of responsibility, and they want to distance themselves from this colossal failure. Then, they can blame the local authorities for not providing the command-and-control that the Feds wouldn't have heeded anyway.

Drive this home. This is the talking point that eclipses any of their petty objections.

Posted by: beq | Sep 13 2005 19:29 utc | 9

beq - very cool 1st hand report - tx

talking points? heh


Posted by: hanshan | Sep 13 2005 19:51 utc | 10

Another Wise Guy...

Chertoff - "We're going to cut through Red tape," he said, "but we're not going to cut through laws and rules that govern ethics (sic)."

Posted by: tante aime | Sep 13 2005 19:54 utc | 11

Protect the Sweet n Crude Ministry - shades of Iraq.

Allow looting - Stuff Happens. (Rummy) - shades of Iraq

Secure a snobby perimeter - rich quarters, high, good views, fresh air, rich homes, palaces - shades of Iraq

Control exit and entry, bridges, key movement points - shades of Iraq

Send Black-water goons into Brown-water muck - s of I

Leave marks on doors, stand with gun, storm into house - s of I

Evacuate after the fact - s of I

Patrol and control poor and angry crowds - s of I

Send to closed or locked down, small perimeters - s of I

Let the media document n film all that - s of I

Posted by: Noisette | Sep 13 2005 19:56 utc | 12

"Chertoff, former chief of the Justice Department's criminal division, has been elevated to the level of Court of Appeals judge--the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

What's so scary about Michael? Well, ***besides having no judicial experience and being a right-ring radical*** who does not believe in the Constitution and wants to rewrite federal law and rules of procedure on an ad hoc, case by case basis, as it suits him, nothing I guess.

Chertoff's goal, I believe, and the goal of Ashcroft and Bush in supporting this prosecution in federal court, is to subject federal trials, as they see fit, to ad hoc exemptions of whatever laws (be they constitutional, criminal code, or rules of procedure) that will suit their purposes. Their grand scheme is to ultimately cripple and dismantle the federal courts as we know them, one brick at a time."


Which, of course, explains why Chertoff was elevated from Department of Justice to Department of Homeland Security, for which he has no experience either, and why all those agencies were folded under his purvue and oversight, budget & staff reorganization and policy veto.

If you want to know what happened in New Orleans, you only need point your finger to the person responsible: Michael Chertoff.

Brown took the fall, Bush took the responsibility, and Chertoff, well, he's getting a pass. They got big things in store for him.


Posted by: Larry Ellison | Sep 13 2005 20:06 utc | 13

Priorities...First Priority is to have Someone, anyone running the country. There's a vacuum at the Top. Rumors continue to swirl. Cheney is apparently Not Running the Country, even if he's attending to oil stuff. Question is - is that 'cuz Cheney's too ill, or did they have a falling out, as Nora Ephron posits. (How do you impeach Nobody??) link

Posted by: jj | Sep 13 2005 20:35 utc | 14

Their grand scheme is to ultimately cripple
and dismantle the federal courts as we know them,
one brick at a time."

As spooky as that concept is it's probably
very close to the truth.


Chertoff supervised the prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui and has been described as "the driving force behind the Justice Department's most controversial initiatives in the war on terrorism." Civil liberties advocates blame him for what they see as dangerous curtailments to free speech and the rights of criminal defendants. According to press reports, Chertoff has played a key role in several matters: first, the increase in FBI agents' authority to conduct domestic surveillance; second, the use
of "material witness" warrants to lock up people
of Middle Eastern dissent; third, the interviewing
of thousands of Middle Eastern men who entered the
United States before and after the 9/11 attacks[.]
... [H]e has also been the first to defend controversial
Justice Department policies. He spoke up for the
government's right to hold suspects indefinitely
without counsel as "enemy combatants," as well as
the government's decision to interview 5,000 Arab Americans
after the 9/11 attacks.


Posted by: hanshan | Sep 13 2005 20:41 utc | 15

It would be surprising if there wasn't a huge number of conspiracies to make money and take power during Katrina and its aftermath.

People who get caught up in concentrating on this are risking a just outcome for point scoring.

If everyone stands around pointing the finger and pulling out yet another example of repug corruption and mendacity the average US citizen will find that reality isn't much fun and is in fact scary in a mundane sort of a way.

Nothing will change because while all of the accusations and denials are swallowing media oxygen the usual suspects will be climbing deeper into the trough.

By all means air this stuff but on its own it won't do jackshit because by now people expect this type of incident to bring out the worst in politicians and bureaucrats. This means that rather than looking for solutions to the root causes of these problems the repugs will continue to win the argument for what they call 'less' government but what many other people see as intervention only when it favours the rich and powerful.

What to do then? Well get involved. If at the time more people had confronted the sheriffs dept of Gretna they would had to have let people pass.

Similarly people should go to the shelter for NO survivors in their town and demand that visitors be allowed to talk to the refugees. Find out what they are saying and ensure that those who want to go back to New Orleans get a voice and that their return is properly compensated.

This is not a time for rhetoric it is a time for action.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Sep 13 2005 21:39 utc | 16

The Perfect Storm.

Posted by: beq | Sep 14 2005 0:46 utc | 17

Priorities, priorities...2 Very Impt. Ones:

Call yr. Senator & ask what the hell they're doing holding hearings for Chief Justice of the Iraqi Supreme Court :)
Filibuster essential, etc.

We haven't had enough death & murder recently, so our old standby, Texas, is coming to the rescue. Tomorrow they're scheduled to execute a woman - black - who was as well represented as yr. average cockroach. The Overwhelming Probability is that she's innocent, but court told her to go to hell instead when her lawyers recently petitioned to admit new evidence. Website Here

Posted by: jj | Sep 14 2005 3:15 utc | 18

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