Monday, September 12, 2005

I learned something on Sunday.

On Sunday's Meet the Press and later on FOX News Sunday, Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu taught me something very important: There are at least 19 different ways to dodge a simple question.

Example (paraphrased):
Chris Wallace: Senator, why weren't the hundreds of school buses used to evacuate the city.

Senator Landrieu: They were under water.

CW: But they weren't under water until a day after the hurricane passed.

SL: They were under water.

CW: But Senator, they were only under water after the hurricane passed.

SL: The Bush administration was slow to respond.
She could never quite get herself to hold local Louisiana government accountable. Even for this:
Nagin did not tell everyone to leave immediately, because the regional plan called for the suburbs to empty out first, but he did urge residents in particularly low-lying areas to "start moving -- right now, as a matter of fact." He said the Superdome would be open as a shelter of last resort, but essentially he told tourists stranded in the Big Easy that they were out of luck.

"The only thing I can say to them is I hope they have a hotel room, and it's a least on the third floor and up," Nagin said. "Unfortunately, unless they can rent a car to get out of town, which I doubt they can at this point, they're probably in the position of riding the storm out."

Hurricane Katrina brought unprecedented destruction to the Gulf Coast. View the Post's multimedia coverage of the disaster. (Robert A. Reeder - The Washington Post)

In fact, while the last regularly scheduled train out of town had left a few hours earlier, Amtrak had decided to run a "dead-head" train that evening to move equipment out of the city. It was headed for high ground in Macomb, Miss., and it had room for several hundred passengers. "We offered the city the opportunity to take evacuees out of harm's way," said Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black. "The city declined."

So the ghost train left New Orleans at 8:30 p.m., with no passengers on board.

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