This is really Bob’s turf, but he’s on a tight book deadline so I’ll fill in. For those of you joining us late, the saga of Upsidedownland started when I put up this post, linking to Chris Floyd’s observation that George Bush had assumed responsibility for “all disaster relief efforts” in the State of Louisiana two days before Katrina hit land, which seemed to settle the blame game which was being fought so vigorously. In the interests of completeness because I am always thinking of you, the reader I dug up the White House link. And shortly thereafter, several alert readers noticed something very peculiar:
Conspicuous by their absence are Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Plaquemines, Jefferson and basically every coastal parish, and the next parishes closest to the coast. So then, let me understand this: Team Bush saw by 26 August that Katrina would be sufficiently dangerous to warrant a preemptive disaster declaration for what looks like about 65-70% of the land area of Lousiana, and he declares it for the _landlocked_ parishes?
Bob photoshopped a handy graphic confirming this, and I sat back and waited for someone to point out the Perfectly Obvious Explanation which we’d all somehow missed.
Except it never really came. And now, in the latest twist in this odd story, Mike Brown is blaming the whole thing on Gov. Blanco:
BUYER: So I’d like to know why did the president’s federal emergency assistance declaration of August 27th not include the parishes of Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines?
BROWN: …[I]f a governor does not request a particular county or a particular parish, that’s not included in the request.
BUYER: All right.
Orleans Parish is New Orleans. I was listening to my colleague, Mr. Jefferson’s, questions about when they talked about, you know, they asked for this assistance for three days and then president responded the very next day, not the day that it was made the request but the governor of Louisiana actually excluded New Orleans from the president’s federal emergency assistance declaration?
BROWN: Again, Congressman, we looked at the request.The governors make the request by…
BUYER: Let me ask this. Since you went through the exercise in Pam, was that not shocking to you that the governor would excluded New Orleans from the declaration?
BUYER: When that request came in excluding these three parishes, did you question it?
BROWN: We questioned it. But I made the decision that we were going to go ahead and move assets in regardless because we have the ability to add those parishes…
The one small problem here appears to be the same problem we so often face when dealing with our conservative friends: what Mike Brown said does not seem to be the least little bit true. Here’s the request. As you can see, it specifically mentions “all the southeastern parishes including the New Orleans Metropolitan area.”