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The O'Reilly Factor
Friday, September 2, 2005
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Sizing up New Orleans
"Federal authorities have finally arrived in force in New Orleans. The fact that it took four days says that Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco did not have an effective plan in place. Governor Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin didn't have the skill to deal with this disaster, and the federal government waited far too long to use its authority. To be fair, people were warned to get out and ignored that warning for various reasons. Thugs wanted chaos; the sick and the elderly couldn't go; and a lot of people simply said 'no.' The lesson here is that if you rely on the government for anything you're likely to be disappointed. No government can protect you from danger or provide you with a decent living. You must provide for yourself in a country of 300-million people. If a Category 5 storm is bearing down on you, you've got to get away fast. Finally, everyday Americans are stepping up and billions of dollars will be sent to the hurricane victims. We will watch that money closely because we know generous you are and how inefficient large bureaucracies are. We're also asking Louisiana authorities to hunt down those looters. Governor Blanco owes her constituents and the country a big comeback. She must make sure those rapists, looters, and assailants get what they deserve."
Rescue efforts in Louisiana
Guests: EMS coordinator Richard Zuschlag

Thousands of ill and injured people have finally been evacuated from New Orleans hospitals, for which EMS coordinator Richard Zuschlag credited the armed forces. "The military came and took charge of the city and regained control of the security. And by Friday afternoon every patient in every hospital was evacuated." However, Zuschlag added that much work remains. "We need another 2,000 troops to comb New Orleans and rescue what I believe may be another 15,000 to 20,000 people who have been stranded. We need to do it or we're going to wind up with another 500 or 1,000 people dead." The Factor promised to continue disseminating information about the medical situation. "You keep us posted of what you need, and we'll be the messenger between you and the military. We've already rescued a lot of people because of this team we've put together."

Geraldo on the ground
Guest: Fox News host Geraldo Rivera

Next, Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera reported from the New Orleans Convention Center, where he spoke with Police Chief Edwin Compass. "I've been watching people die," Chief Compass asserted. "We have at least 30-thousand people here and this crowd is extremely hostile. These people are about to riot, and we need to get help now. We need a Herculean effort." Rivera was stunned by what he witnessed at the Convention Center. "This place is unbelievable - you can not overstate the level of human suffering here. I can not believe that six days after the storm they are still here." Later in the program, Rivera returned with an emotional update, as helicopters were beginning to land. "The federal government is finally arriving at the Convention Center. They're coming in with medical teams to triage the sick and dying. This is Dante's inferno, Bill. This is 30,000 people with dead babies inside."

Col. Cowan's rescue, Col. Hunt's assessment
Guests: Fox News analysts Cols. Bill Cowan & David Hunt

On Wednesday night's program The Factor spoke with 77-year old Shirley Mae Washington, who was stranded in her home with her 98-year old mother. Fox News analyst Col. Bill Cowan led a rescue effort Friday, and found that both elderly women had been evacuated. In the process, Cowan's team was able stabilize the entire neighborhood. "500 people greeted our crew gratefully, and asked how they could help. We brought in Army helicopters with food and water. We had a successful operation, and we've got an area there that is calm and quiet."

Meanwhile, Col. David Hunt, another Fox News military analyst, has investigated why it took so long for National Guardsmen to arrive in force. "There were about 6,000 Louisiana National Guard available, and about 1,000 state police. The problem was that the Governor did not pull the trigger immediately to send them in." Factor reiterated that Governor Kathleen Blanco was apparently not up to the job. "The mistake that I see is that Governor Blanco was not proactive in getting enough people close to her largest city, so that they were there and could go in if the worst case happened. The Governor was sitting in Baton Rouge and knew the storm was bearing down. What she could have done was call Washington and say 'I need help now, before the storm, so I've got enough people to regulate the town.'"

Racial tension from Katrina?
Guests: Civil rights activist Lawrence Guyot

Civil rights activist Lawrence Guyot complained about media coverage of the disaster, claiming that blacks are frequently described as "looters." He also took issue with another term. "Americans are being called 'refugees' in America. It's intolerant, and whites are not called 'refugees' in this situation. If the victims were white, the response would have been quicker." Factor disputed Guyot's claim of racist media coverage. "I didn't hear anyone on television calling people taking food, water, or medicine looters. People who are taking television sets are being called looters. I haven't heard any overt racial reportage at all."

Cronyism under fire?
Guests: Fox News correspondent Steve Harrigan & Fox News host Shepard Smith

Fox News correspondent Steve Harrigan provided an update from a highway overpass in the center of New Orleans. "As far as security goes, things are getting better. But what's making the biggest impression on me is that 500 people are here living and sleeping on this asphalt overpass for three days and nights. Another thing that made an impression is that a woman told the police that someone is dying, they shrugged their shoulders. There's no medical help for these people."

Finally, Fox News host Shepard Smith reported an example of egregious political favoritism on the part of Mayor Ray Nagin. "Today they sent in the National Guard to the Hyatt Hotel across from the mayor's headquarters, and got all of those people out of the Hyatt with armed guards. They took them to the Superdome, where they got on buses out of the city. People have been waiting in line four days, but the Mayor of New Orleans ordered that these 400 tourists were to go to the front of the line and not have to wait with the commoners."

The Factor summed up the situation as of Friday night. "There seems to be the lack of a strong leader in place in New Orleans, and that's what we need. And if the Red Cross is listening, they need to get supplies to the I-10 overpass outside the Superdome and to the Convention Center. Those are the two flash points we've identified tonight."

Joran Van Der Sloot released
Guest: Attorney Arlene Ellis-Schipper

All three suspects in the Natalee Holloway case are being released from jail, which Aruba attorney Arlene Ellis-Schipper described as a normal part of the criminal justice system. "This is not out of the ordinary. It is part of the pre-trial detention system, and it is not an unconditional release. We are still investigating." Factor countered that this is one more example of what seems to be gross incompetence. "This has been going on since late April - they're out, they're in, now they're back out. This would never happen in the USA, which is why people are critical of Aruba. It just looks to me like they don't have these guys nailed down."

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