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09/02/2005

Katrina Updates

road.jpg Reuters: World stunned as US struggles with Katrina: "The world has watched amazed as the planet's only superpower struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with some saying the chaos has exposed flaws and deep divisions in American society. World leaders and ordinary citizens have expressed sympathy with the people of the southern United States whose lives were devastated by the hurricane and the flooding that followed. But many have also been shocked by the images of disorder beamed around the world -- looters roaming the debris-strewn streets and thousands of people gathered in New Orleans waiting for the authorities to provide food, water and other aid."

road.jpg Love this quote from an "unnamed White House official": "'Seventy-two hours into this, to be openly posturing about this, to be attacking the president, is not only despicable and wrong, it's not politically smart,' said one White House official who asked not to be named because he did not want to be seen as talking about the crisis in political terms. 'Normal people at home understand that it's not the president who's responsible for this, it's the hurricane. This will get better, hour by hour and day by day.'"

Of course it's not politically smart — that's obvious when you see people like FEMA head Michael Brown ass-kissing the White House by telling Katie Couric "people are getting the help they need."

Not yet. Last night, "An exasperated-sounding Mayor C. Ray Nagin did not hold back his anger in an interview with a New Orleans radio station that ended with sounds of the mayor and the interviewer in tears. 'I keep hearing that this is coming, that is coming," he said in reference to federal aid. "And my answer to that today is b.s. - where is the beef?'"

Grandmother
CNN: The Houston Astrodome in Texas, where thousands of refugees had been bused over the past couple of days, stopped accepting refugees late Thursday. Last week a grandma, this week a "refugee". Tragic.

road.jpg FEMA directing donations to Pat Robertson! Robertson's "Operation Blessing" is on the list of organizations following the Red Cross. "Operations Blessing's chairman, 'MG Robertson,' is none other than the Rev. Pat — Marion Gordon Robertson is his real name — while Pat’s wife DeDe is vice president and son Gordon Robertson is also on the board. The front operation for the radical, pro-assassination televangelist and Republican power broker is also based in the Rev. Pat’s headquarters, Virginia Beach."

road.jpg House Speaker Dennis Hastert retreats on controversial comments about the practicality of rebuilding the City of New Orleans. "I am not advocating that the city be abandoned or relocated. ... It is important that when we rebuild this historic city that we consider the safety of the citizens first."

road.jpg Bush on relief efforts: "the results are not acceptable...We'll get on top of this situation and we're going to help the people that need help." Leaves White House to tour Gulf Coast region.

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

Bushsawyer2Bush to Sawyer on Good Morning America: "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

Actually (as posted below), "In 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war...

...A year ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to study how New Orleans could be protected from a catastrophic hurricane, but the Bush administration ordered that the research not be undertaken."

Even Saturday Night Live's Mr. Bill knew there was a problem with the levees.

I'm not saying it's directly Bush's fault here that the levees were not fixed, but don't go on national television and blatantly lie to the American people when there is just loads of evidence out there. Seems the only time Bush ever likes to take responsibility for anything is when it's time to hang a "Mission Accomplished" sign up, and given Bush's timing on such congratulations, it's about time to hang one on the Superdome.

Bodies
A blanket covers the body of a woman who died in a wheelchair, and another body is wrapped in a sheet Thursday at the convention center in New Orleans.

road.jpg Aid from Canada being blocked by Homeland Security: "Canadian agencies are saying that foreign aid is probably not being permitted into Louisiana and Mississippi because of 'mass confusion' at the U.S. federal level in the wake of the storm."

road.jpg CNN: FEMA and Cst Grd suspending some operations due to gunfire...

road.jpg Not in my job description: Condi Rice laughs it up at Monty Python farce, goes shopping for shoes: "A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!” Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman."

"No One Can Say they Didn't See it Coming"

Concernedveryconcerned_1

Yesterday, as he surveyed Katrina's destruction from Air Force One, Bush reportedly declared, "It’s devastating. It’s got to be doubly devastating on the ground."

Former Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal says the Bush Administration was warned:

"In 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war...

...A year ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to study how New Orleans could be protected from a catastrophic hurricane, but the Bush administration ordered that the research not be undertaken."

National Guard military policeman stationed outside of Superdome: "This is mass chaos. To tell you the truth, I'd rather be in Iraq. You got your constant danger, but I had something to protect myself. [And] three meals a day. Communications. A plan. Here, they had no plan."

Crooks and Liars: "Anderson Cooper was visibly upset today by the fact that 'person after person' came up to him asking why the federal government hasn't shown up to help out yet." Video.


The Other August Memo Bush Ignored [tr]
Hard New Test for President [ny times]
"And Now We Are in Hell" [washington post]
sidney blumenthal [spiegel]

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Comments

  1. Read today's NYT lead editorial...opining that Bush "gave one of the worst speeches of his life.." regarding the hurricane. I try to be fair -- admittedly, a difficult task -- but listening to him and watching him made my skin crawl. Those smirks? The casual delivery? This will "make us stonger"?

    What an asshole.

    Posted by: Jon | Sep 1, 2005 9:58:48 AM


  2. Jon -

    Bravo. I couldn't agree more. In times past, the presidency was occupied by statesmen. How far we've fallen. The question now seems to be whether a truly inspiring, courageous, innovative leader can even be elected at all?

    Posted by: Brian | Sep 1, 2005 10:22:37 AM


  3. At first I was trepidatious about jumping on the blame Bush bandwagon, but after just watching his dismal performance on Good Morning America, and reading just how much his administration gutted programs that might have helped the affected area, how he dismisses the notion that we don't have enough National Guardsmen here, and how all of this is playing out...I don't know what I was thinking.

    He had the audacity to simply plug the "War on Terror" when asked if America can continue what it's doing in Iraq and help ourselves at home at the same time (of course he didn't give a straight answer to the question). Mr. President, the people in New Orleans and Gulf Port, the people who's homes and family have been lost, really don't give a shit about Iraq right now. They were worried two days ago about how they were going to feed themselves.

    Posted by: bmw | Sep 1, 2005 10:31:49 AM


  4. Here we go again...

    Is it Bush bashing day?

    What do you expect him to do? Considering the circumstances I think they are doing everything they can. How easy do you think it is to evacuate and entire city when there is no food, water or barely a mode of transportation?

    Posted by: The Yankee | Sep 1, 2005 10:35:28 AM


  5. LOL. This is classic. I KNEW people would find a way to blame Bush for the hurricane. You people are as bad as the "Christians" who blame the gay drug-infested circuit party Southern Decadence for the hurricane. What, we're supposed to spend tens or hundreds of millions more protecting a city that was built UNDER SEA LEVEL???

    The best, though, is over at AmericaBlog - the delusional one says Bush might have been slow to respond because too many Black people live in New Orleans. lol.

    Posted by: Cyd | Sep 1, 2005 10:38:49 AM


  6. I thought the GOP cabal planned the hurricane to distract us from Cindy Sheehan. They planned this whole global warming thing and then failed to sign Kyoto so that RIGHT NOW a hurricane would slam into New Orleans, which is expendable since it's full of blacks and sin, thus taking the media's attention off Sheehan. They obviously fucked up though. It happened two days early and the President had to interrupt his vacation. We'll try and do better next time.

    Posted by: Mitch | Sep 1, 2005 10:51:14 AM


  7. Yes we are supposed to do everything we can to protect all cites and all of our people. The people of New Orleans today did not build the city under sea level but they live there and as such deserve the protection of the government.

    No one is to blame for this disaster. We now just have to do what it takes to improve the lives of the people affected.

    I just found out my company is going to match all contributions. Please check with your HR department to see if your company will assist also.

    Posted by: Donald | Sep 1, 2005 10:55:24 AM


  8. I love this photo of King George surveying the damage from his comfy Air Force one plane, he needs to get his ass down on the ground like regular people and survey the situation. I can't believe we have such a moron for President, damn....

    Posted by: Jocko | Sep 1, 2005 11:04:13 AM


  9. No, the president is not to blame for the hurricaine. No one ever said he was. The criticism was based on his lackluster response to it. The fact that hundreds of years ago New Orleans was built below sea level is irrelevant. The city is a very special and lovely bit of America, unique among our otherwise cookie cutter cities, and brings in millions in tourism dollars each year. Yes, we should spend big money to protect it, just like the US does for San Francisco and just like the Italians are are doing for Venice (another city below sea level).

    Interesting... a little criticism of the president and all the republicans get in a bunch.

    Posted by: Brian | Sep 1, 2005 11:46:40 AM


  10. Brian, criticism of the president, in the abstract, is not what's offense here.

    Its the exploitation of a natural disaster and human tragedy, while bodies still lie and float about unburied, as a flimsy pretext for such criticism that is incredibly offensive.

    Of course, you guys are in good company. In the post above, as you can see, the religious right is doing the same thing, blaming the disaster on The Gays, thus exploiting the tragedy to score political points. At a time when this country needs to pull together, you guys are playing the same sad, disgusting game.

    Posted by: Cassius | Sep 1, 2005 12:24:24 PM


  11. At LEAST "doubly devasting" compared to flying overhead in your own 747 tricked-out and staffed specifically for your comfort as you make your way back from a month-long vacation.

    Yet another "Let them eat cake" moment brought to you by the White House -- the people who put the PARTY back in "Republican Party."

    Posted by: Buster | Sep 1, 2005 12:37:24 PM


  12. Anderson Cooper of CNN had it right. If all the news media saw the storm coming, mobilized, and was on site immediately, why wasn't FEMA. Didn't they learn from Andrew? Didn't the heed their own warnings in early 2001? The President needs to stop focusing our his own agenda and begin focusing on an agenda that will help this country.

    IMPEACH BUSH NOW!

    Posted by: justaguynatl | Sep 1, 2005 12:39:43 PM


  13. If Anderson Cooper and Rob Marciano can get to survivors who have no food and water then why can't Bush get our troops and FEMA there?? This is why I'm bashing Bush today...because he is unable to do what 2 Gay news reporters CAN do!

    The Gays will get you every time!

    Posted by: Wayne | Sep 1, 2005 12:39:58 PM


  14. Buster, and he was suppose to wade thru the water with his shoes off? Get real! Maybe he could have looted himself a Coke while he was there. I wish you all would get off the "vacation" thing. So he was on a vacation, big deal. I've had 3 this year and planning a fourth and I not running a country...

    Wayne, Who gives a rats ass about Anderson Cooper? All's he is upset about is how is will do his hair in the morning. There aren't just a few people stranded in the south, there are thousands. There are also 28,000 troops in New Orleans right now rescuing people in addition to local authorities. With the scale of the disaster you can't expect each victim to have a personal guide.

    Posted by: The Yankee | Sep 1, 2005 1:07:07 PM


  15. Criticism of the president's inept handling of a national tragedy is not a "sad, disgusting game". It's a legitimate complaint about how our government is responding. Why can't we criticize the administration's performance without being labeled as "partisan"? I doubt Kerry would have done much better, if that makes you feel better. Sheesh...

    Posted by: Brian | Sep 1, 2005 1:20:26 PM


  16. It sounds to me like Anderson Cooper and Wayne have just figured out what we Libertarians have known all along: Government is inherently inefficient. A profit-motivated private organization will beat the pants off a bureaucratic government agency (regardless of the political party in control) EVERY SINGLE TIME.

    Posted by: Cassius | Sep 1, 2005 1:22:45 PM


  17. "Considering the circumstances I think they are doing everything they can"

    This is true, though the circumstances (including a decision not to fund strenthening New Orleans' levee system) were in large part created by bush. Spending billions of dollars on an imagined war on terror [sic] and ignoring a real, concrete and specifically predicted disaster. "Everything they can" should have included federal funds and coordination of an evacuation BEFORE the storm (instead of just telling people to get out using their own means) and funding infrastructure needs and it would have helped to avoid destroying wetlands that GH Bush and Clinton both protected.

    "How easy do you think it is to evacuate and entire city when there is no food, water or barely a mode of transportation?"

    It's impossible, which is why the feds should have stepped in to do so. This is a great demonstration of why the selfish "personal responsibility" BS is wrong-headed and against core American values like helping others.

    Posted by: ryan | Sep 1, 2005 1:24:07 PM


  18. Cassius, I can't believe I'm going to say this, and neither will you, but you've recruited me! After watching President Idiot and the Do-Nothing Dem's I have to say you're right...there's got to be a better solution.

    And to The Yankee, just answer my question. Bush himself stated yesterday, as did the Director of FEMA, that they couldn't get to those parts of the states for relief because the roads and water were still too dangerous, yet CNN and every other news network was able to get in and take water and rations to those left behind.

    Anderson Cooper actually did a live interview with FEMA and even FEMA was appalled that the networks could get in but the Bush Administration couldn't.

    It's a very simple question and your lengthy bullshit answer sounds like you're a speech writer for President Idiot himself.

    Posted by: Wayne | Sep 1, 2005 1:33:20 PM


  19. Anderson Cooper and other members of the Billionaire Boys Club are accustomed to picking up the phone and ordering whatever assistance they want. It's simply killing him that he can't pick up his cell phone and order room service for everyone in N.O.

    While FEMA and Red Cross and a dozen other agencies were pre-staging supplies and equipment for this disaster in the days preceeding the storm, the looters were planning their attacks on gun shops, jewelry stores and drug stores. They didn't leave the city because they planned on cleaning it out while everyone was evacuated. Now they're having shoot-outs with the police and the rescue squads. They're car-jacking reporters and aid workers. They're stealing medical supplies that were destined for hospitals and aid centers. There's a good reason why some people didn't leave the city when the order came. They're crooks.

    I'll say it as many times as I need to... George Bush,the federal government and the leadership of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, have been ahead of the curve from the very beginning. One of the things that no one anticipated was armed resistance to rescue attempts.

    I pity the city that ends up with the last of these refugees. The ones who could be helped, those who wanted to be helped, and those who helped themselves, were gone before the storm arrived, and they will already be moving on with their lives, before the last looting thug drowns in N.O.

    Posted by: jay | Sep 1, 2005 1:41:52 PM


  20. Now we are attacking cute Anderson Cooper for having a rich mother. I am sure Anderson took the time to call good old Gloria and had her ship down food and water from the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis.

    Good god will you Bush lovers never admit to any failings by his government. We get it Bush walks on water and those who point out according you all his imagined failings are just mad faggot Democrats who hate him just because.

    Posted by: Donald | Sep 1, 2005 1:49:20 PM


  21. And the most idiotic comment of the year goes to... THE YANKEE!

    Please tell me how this makes any sense:
    I wish you all would get off the "vacation" thing. So he was on a vacation, big deal. I've had 3 this year and planning a fourth and I not running a country...

    Posted by: Rob | Sep 1, 2005 2:24:53 PM


  22. Congress is STILL on vacation.

    Posted by: Mitch | Sep 1, 2005 2:38:59 PM


  23. This is all too difficult to watch. People are dying at the Superdome, there is no food, no water, no sanitary facilities. How can this happen? Why isn't the Pentagon airlifting food to the Superdome (and other areas with similar, desparate needs)? Drop some fucking MREs by helicopter IMMEDIATELY to alleviate the suffering.

    Is this all Bush's fault? Debate it later. But he needs to get his stupid smirking ass on the phone to the Joint Chiefs and, as commander in chief, ORDER them to drop MREs now.

    How hard is that?

    Posted by: Jon | Sep 1, 2005 2:55:07 PM


  24. Donald I concur. I remember that when Clinton was in office, I foolishly clung to the idea that the only reason people distrusted him was because they were sour old conservatives. While that remains true to some extent, in retrospect I will admit that I too was a bit unreasonable in that I didn't want to see his failings. I thought that if I questioned the Democrats too keenly that it would put me in the same boat as the icky baby boomer conservative pundits that I so disliked. That kind of myopic support of an administration was wrong then, and it's wrong now.

    Posted by: Brian | Sep 1, 2005 2:55:43 PM


  25. From what I am reading above it seems like you all are saying the same thing. What we are really lacking and making excuses for is the lack of leadership from our President. In times like these we need comfort and hope, ( Remember how Rudy did it in NYC). All of the bickering back and forth about Bush this and Bush that really says that leadership is lacking and has been for a while. That is something that Bush and his administration can't seem to get right. Remember how shocked we all were by the Oklahoma City bombing? Pres. Clinton, who is a great speaker, comforted and calmed fear. It's about Leadership.

    Posted by: matt-chicago | Sep 1, 2005 3:08:48 PM


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