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Katrina - reprise - three questions

By Deadly Ernest ·
OK before the two questions. I just finished watching a Discovery Channel special on Katrina. It mostly dealt with the problems at the Super Dome and the Convention Centre, and the delays in relief support. I got the impression that many people saw the problem as mostly the bureaucrates not getting off their rear ends when they should have.

1. Why are the government and its employees getting the blame for a bunch of excetra heads who would rather steal and rape people than help them? Part of the problem was resources being redirected to deal with lootres and other criminals instead of relief.

2. Why were so many people NOT helping themselves the day after the hurricane? They just sat there waiting for help and bitching that it wasn't coming fast enough.

3. Why did the USA have such a big problem dealing with this when they had the example of Darwin Australia 30 years before hand? Did they not see and learn any lessons from that?

Admittedly Darwin did NOT have the extensive flooding that New Orleans had, and it had a lower population. However, when cyclone Tracey struck, the whole city got totaled. And it was a good 24 hours drive from any where that a relief force could come from. It was even too far for helicopter support at first. Yet the Australian emergency services were there within 12 hours of the news getting out - yes it was so remote and the systems so damaged that it took a few hours for the news to reach the rest of the country.

We have what we thinks is one of the most hide bound bureaurocracies in the world, yet in what was a bigger disaster (in relative populations terms, i.e. the percentage involved, distance, per capita resources, and older level of resources) we managed a lot better. There are only two reasons why I can think we did so much better:

a) We do NOT have a huge bureaurocracy like FIMA to deal with these things. We have a State Emergency Service who handle these things (organised at regional levels) and a federal body that does emergency planning and scenario work, it supplies no other services worth talking about. When Tracey it, the matter was handed over to the military and the politicians (local, state and federal) had to keep out of the way.

b) When the relief forces arrived they found the vaste majority of people had either got themselves out of the danger area, or getting themselves out, or helping others out. Many walked out of the areas that were health risks due to the damage, and those that could were on the way south to other towns etc.

What really frightens me about the Katrina special is that it showed up how the political infighting between the various levels of government and the stupidity of having a bureaucracy trying to manage an emergency; and yet the answer is to build a BIGGER bureaucracy. What they need is to **** most of it away, and just have a few people with authority to call the military services in, and then let make everyone else keep out of their way.

Comments please, especially from anyone who was actually there. I kow what we get on the TV and documentaries is just a fraction of what really happens, so your input would be most valuable.

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The Aussie Education System

by Deadly Ernest In reply to You have TAFE

TAFE - Technical and Further Education (equals USA Tech College) handles apprentice training, some community courses and tertiary education courses. Many of which have a more hands on approach than the universities. For example, most uni IT courses are high in theory and low in practical work, the TAFE IT course have some theory and high on practical work. Both styles have their places. Want some one to design a new computer chip, get a uni grad with a BSc(IT). Want someone to write code or fix PCs get a TAFE IT grad.

In primary, and mroe so in secondary schools. There are multiple levels and students progress at the level appropriate to their current knowledge and skills. Sadly, if they miss something in the early grades, they usually get pushed up a grade, but at a lower level. Too many students get dropped to lower levels because the teaching practices do NOT accommodate anyone who is not 100% capable of learning with quick notes and plenty of lectures. test for people who need non-standard teaching styles do NOT occur early enough to have matters corrected in time to provide them with real help.

There are time when Special ed students should be in general classes and times whent hey shouldn't.


Regarding my point about the teaching methods. The system here as the teacher write lots on the backboard and provide limited time for the students to copy it. At the same time they arre speaking, giving additional information at a fast talking speed. If the child has a problem with writing and needs to concentrate on that, they will miss most of the oral presentation, also they may not get everything copied before it's gone from the board.

I was one such child, never really understood what the teachers were saying most of the time, it was said too fast for me to follow. Also I always ahd my hand up as 'not yet finished copying from the board'. A natural left hander, forced to write right handed, meant I was a very slow writer. I got around this problem because I'm an avid and fast reader. So, early on, I developed the habit of ignoring the teacher and the board, I only noted the only thing that was left up long enough fro me to copy - the homework assignments. I ended up missing a lot of classes, sent outside or to the office for 'not paying attanetion'. Well sheet, if they speak so I can't understand them, then how am I supposed to pay attention. If I ask them to repeat anything I get into trouble for being a smart arse. I spent all the time out of class in the library, reading the text books and any other relevant material I could get about what we were studying. The librarians usually helped with advice on what was the compulsory part of this year's carriculum, and the optional stuff.

Want to **** a teacher off. Pay no attention in class, and maintain a 95% or better exam average all year. Gets them no end.

The general teching style for most teachers has not changed since I left school 36 years ago.

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It works the other way to Ernest

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to You have TAFE

The so called Gifted Children get bored Shi##ess and just give up on the entire thing and play around as it's far more fun.

I did exactly the same thing when I was at Uni I never attended lectures but spent most of my time with the fitters when I did Mech Engineering and was always getting every answer correct. It really Pissed Off the Head of the Department particularly when I put him down at about the third lecture that I ever attended and then decided that going there was a waste of time & energy I could learn far more working with the Fitters. :^0

At the first exam I was accused of cheating so I had to redo the exam which I obviously cheated on again as I got everything right so after I had sat that exam 4 times it was finally decided to give me an Oral Exam that was made up on the spot. I loved the look on the good old Pro Face when I continually answered all his questions and no matter what he tried I had the right answer. I think he would have accused me of Cheating by Reading His Mind if he thought that he could have got away with it.

Col

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DOE is Full of education PHDs`

by X-MarCap In reply to Our DOE does little but p ...

That is why they dictate so much, and get so poor measured results.

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DoE fought No Child Left Behind

by NickNielsen In reply to DOE is Full of education ...

As well they should have. "All children can be taught to the same level in the same amount of time." Tear away the fancy legalese, and that is the gist of NCLB. DoE is not trying to make the best of what they had shoved down their throats.

And now, after essentially mandating that teachers teach to the test to be considered "fully qualified," the Republican Congress wants to blame teachers because they are teaching to the test?

Hypocrisy. Stupidity. Cupidity. Whatever. IMO, the hidden agenda is to close down the public schools to get the rich white kids back into private schools where they belong and have the poor people pay for it. And those others can go to heck.

That said, given the current configuration of public education, I don't think we need a federal-level education department. With standards set at state level, if the Congress wants to fund public education, all it needs do is set a per-student aid amount and send that to each state with no strings attached.

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The poor people pay for it?

by jdclyde In reply to DoE fought No Child Left ...

When have the "poor people" ever paid for anything for the "right white kids"? Can you provide an example of this?

Are you refering to vouchers, where the money that the family pays in, can follow their child to whichever school they want their child to attend? This (dispite obvious lies by the Teachers union) does not "take money away" from the poor poor.

Schools get their funding based on the number of students that attend a school. If the evil rich white devilspawn does not attend that school, but goes to a private school instead, NO ONE gets that money. Vouchers say if the government is going to be in the business of paying towards education, let that amount per child follow that child.

Why should teachers not have to have a basis for their job performance? Everyone else that has a job gets evaluated based on how well they do their job. If you do it poorly, you get fired. When you are talking about something as important as our children, why would we not have the same kinds of performance expectations out of the teachers?

The teachers don't like it because they are not allowed to just push uneducated kids through the system like they used to do all the time.

The schools don't like the feds rules? then they can fund the schools themselves and run them anyway they wish.

The feds have always used funding to control things, and always will. Remember the horrible 55 mile per hour speed limit? You lowered your speed limit or you did not get federal funds for your roads.

And yes, federal funding for education is at an all time high under Bush.

Teach to the test, or teach the kids so they can pass a test. We all know which is expected out of teachers. If the kids LEARN the subjects, they will pass the tests. That is how that works, remember?

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The average people

by TonytheTiger In reply to What we have here is fail ...

leave when Mardi Gras is over :)

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A Limited Reply to Katrina Response Tactics

by rellis1949 In reply to Katrina - reprise - three ...

I find interesting the questions asked about Katrina recovery at this first anniversary of the Mississippi Gulf Coast's most major catastrophe. Answering the three questions of "Deadly Ernest" can not be accomplished in this forum because the answers are not really known and the answers presented are not and cannot be representative of the body of peoples that were involved in the hurricane and the on-going recovery.

I must premise my answers with the suggestion that I live on the Mississippi Coast, stayed during and after Katrina, but was among the lucky ones that did not lose their homes or a large portion of their possessions. Thus, I cannot and will not be a representative of those that have gone through such a greater level of suffering. Further, each of the questions offered by "Deadly Ernest" are important but demand very long and complex answers to be valid.

My perceptions of the immediate recovery response to Katrina are (per the questions asked):

1) The concern for government support and lack thereof is relative to the level of loss and amount of resources available to those that did lose their possessions. I have seen signs where residents give thanks to FEMA for providing temporary housing and limited financial support. However, those giving the greatest thanks appear to be those that have had the internal resources to recover more quickly and return to more normalcy relative to their pre-Katrina life. Regretfully, there are hundreds of thousands on the Mississipi Gulf Coast (including New Orleans) that did not and do not have the resources to build again. The scope and diversity of those that lost so much are beyond the definition of the resource recipient provided by FEMA and, as such, many have suffered losses with no way to regain any form of normalcy for years to come.

Relative to the immediate aid offered by the government; the breadth and depth of the catastrophe was so extensive that one government agency could not handle the recovery process. As suspected by "Ernest", the organization of the varied governmenrt agencies was so poor that aid was delayed for weeks and months. Further, the bureaucratic rulings and inflexibility presented by many of the rules and policies provided by FEMA made recovery a much greater challenge than just providing existing resources to the needy.

The media concentrated heavily on New Orleans and the scope of looting, rape, and criminal activities portrayed in New Orleans was not at the same high proprotion to the east of New Orleans (where the hurricane did the larger scale damage). The Mississippi Coast counties were hit harder by the hurricane and, I believe, the community was more immediate in their attempts to pursue recovery. However, one must consider that the types of catastrophe (primarily large scale flooding in New Orleans and total annihilation in Mississippi and other parts of Louisiana) required different levels of resource allocation to assist those in need.

Not considered in Mr "Ernest's" questions was the time of year and breadth and depth of the components of the catastrophe. Hurricane Katrina hit in late August (the heat and humidity were at extreme levels) and the immediate effects of the hurricane presented utility losses throughout most of central and Southern Mississippi for seven to ten days (longer for rural communities). Compounding the losses created by Katrina were the complementary losses resulting from tornadoes spawned by Katrina. Communications were out for at least that same period and longer. I personally could not communicate with my family for the first week and the media gave such great emphasis to New Orleans that Mississippi Coast residents were anonymous to much of the outlying public.

With resources unavailable, we could not call or transition from our neighborhoods. Luckily, I had 3 five-gallon gas containers filled and available to take my family to Shreveport Louisiana for several days about a week after the hurricane. The six hour trip to Shreveport found travelers without access to gas stations for many miles and several hours. Again, this is days after the hurricane.

2) The suggestion that the victims were whining and sitting around waiting for help is absurd. The victims were not whining, they were without food, water, and, in some cases, shelter. We were proud to see trucks coming into our communities with drinkable water and ice. The media showed you pictures of the poor and homeless (again, primarily New Orleans) that had no basis for recovery. Those people were later shipped across the United States in an attempt to disseminate the extreme poor to multiple reestablishment zones.

Those in Mississippi and other parts of Louisiana, with homes or at least a place to sleep, started recovery as soon as daylight was available and as soon as materials and utilities allowed cleanup and rebuilding to be accomplished. New Orleans posed different problems with the flood waters having to recede and the community without basic services to allow the citizenry to return to a safe community.

3) People forget quickly, diverse social structures require more complex management, the scope of the catatrophe was beyond belief: these are all possible answers as to why America was not prepared. Lack of organization and multi-government involvement is why immediate recovery actions were so bad. New Orleans did not start immediate recovery until the Army was allowed to take controls of the city. City, state, and federal government bodies were in contrast as to who should be blamed and/or praised for recovery actions and, subsequently, the citizens suffered. The Army organized, controlled, and started the recovery process in New Orleans.

The Mississippi Coast was left to fend for themselves more so than New Orleans and, as such, there appeared to be greater cohesion between the city and state governments. Access to resources was more readliy available because we did not have the flood waters that contained New Orleans. However, delays in regaining communications was unbelievable and access to utilities (although very expediently processed by the utility companies considering the barriers presented to them) took days to accomplish. The loss of utilities was the basis for spiraling problems: no electricity meant no pumps which meant no gas and, at times, no drinking water. Lack of electricity meant no access to fresh foods. Stores were destroyed or were not opened due to utility problems. Logistics were hampered by downed trees, damaged roads, and an inability to know where one was traveling in some parts of the state.

Hurricane Katrina presented such a breadth and depth to problems that the Coast will be attempting recovery for 5 to 10 more years. The social structure of the Coast will never return as it was in pre-Katrina days. The ecnonomic structure of the Coast has changed so radically that many cannot afford to stay much less return to their pre-Katrina homeland.

Poor organization and insane rules kept the federal government from assisting at the level that resources could have been made available. The thrust of the recovery fell to two groups of people: the locals that have and continue to work hard to rebuild their lives and the thousands of wonderful volunteers that have come to the Coast to assist the poor and to assist those who have lost all and need a helping hand.

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Well Said!

by a_greiner In reply to A Limited Reply to Katrin ...

Although I do have a somewhat different outlook to the situation in New Orleans, I do agree with the vast majority of your points made about the early post-Katrina situation. I personally have nothing but praise for the local utilities and the amazing speed with which they they recovered power, water and everything else, considering the massive task confronting them.
I was witness to some of the interagency squabbles among government agencies, but am gratified that, for the most part, they managed to iron them out and work together within a day or two.
Finally, let me admit that, had it not been for the amazing volunteer response from the rest of the nation, The gulf coast would not have been able to recover at anywhere near the speed needed to prevent a much higher loss of life to our residents. Kudos and blessings to all who came to our aid in our time of need!

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Thank you for your well thought out response

by Deadly Ernest In reply to A Limited Reply to Katrin ...

From the media coverage we got here in Australia, we knew that there was damage elsewhere, but it was presented (by the USA media services) as being minor compared to New Orleans. I'm glad to hear that large numbers actually helped themselves. As you may have realised in my original post, and other responses, I was amazed and shocked that few people were trying to help themselves.

What you say happened in your area is more like what I would have expected to happen, and did happen when Tracy took out Darwin, ten years later many sections of housing were still empty slabs. It takes time to recover from any disaster of that magnitude, but the recovery really has to start within you.

Godd luck to you and your neighbours.

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A NOLA Evacuee's View

by CQ_NOLA In reply to Katrina - reprise - three ...

Answers to your questions in order:
1. The vast majority of the stranded people were not of a criminal element - albeit the majority were poor. You may not know that a large percentage stranded were wealthy, many of them tourists who rode out the storm in their hotels. A later analysis revealed that the looting, rape, etc. were vastly overblown in the media.
2. When the entire city is under 6-14 feet of water for almost two weeks, there weren't many help-yourself options. For the first week, there was only one navigable road into the city and it entered the city via the bridge over the Mississippi river. There were armed police on the other side of the bridge preventing people from crossing. Many people were stuck on their rooftops (elderly, children, etc)and would have had to swim 6 to 15 miles to reach the non-flooded areas. Add to this the fact that there was no electricity (still isn't in a large part of the city). These people had no idea what had happened - they didn't know the levees failed, they didn't have any communication from the outside world - cell phones didn't work there for weeks. They were in sweltering heat without food and water and not even knowing if someone was going to ever come. When help came, they would airlift people to the center of the city (the Superdome area) and just drop them off on a dry elevated highway - they still weren't rescued and weren't being told when they would. The U.S. was able to air-drop milllions of leaflets into Iraq informing the population of the situation along with tons and tons of relief supplies. None of this happened in NOLA. My friend at Charity hospital was there for 8 days helplessly watching patients die in 110-115 heat while the doctors, nurses, etc were rationed a small bottle of water and a sandwich each day. ALL THIS TIME THE NATIONAL GUARD, FEMA WORKERS, FOOD AND WATER WAS POSITIONED NO MORE THAN 45 MILES FROM NEW ORLEANS FOR DAYS WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO GIVE THE ORDER TO ENTER THE CITY.

There were many, many citizens who commandeered small boats, etc. and went house to house helping rescue people. A lot of heroicism was on display, but it was overshadowed by media frenzy about the looting.

I lived in a very nice area, where homes sold for $250k to $2million. I have neighbors who did not live through the aftermath. Today, there are thousands of homes in the area still sitting in ruin.

We were always told that the levees could hold for a storm of that level. It simply was a lie. The levees were never built anywhere near to spec. The Army Corps of Engineers has issued a report admitting this. Lesson learned.

3. I would like to know the answer to your third question myself.

It hurts to return to the city, as I constantly do. Such a vast area is still in shambles. Government help is trickling in like a leaky faucet. The very special character of the city took a wicked ****. The city will return, and its character will be new and old at the same time. But the underlying SOUL of that city will be the fabric that brings it back to vitality. A lot of that soul and character was born out of our poorest neighborhoods. Certainly our most famous artists, musicians and chefs will all confirm this. I look forward to the day I can return for good.

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