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Obama - Hurricane Katrina / New Orleans Response

 
 
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 09:31 am
Ok, so many of us believe that the Bush administration could and should have done a lot more leading up to and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Here is one person's response to Obama's first visit to LA and how he's done so far, 9 months in to his presidency.

Quote:

The Biggest Disappointment of the Obama Presidency
President Obama's brief display of drive-by compassion Thursday in New Orleans was, for me, by far the worst outing of his presidency thus far -- and the biggest disappointment.

I covered Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath -- the flood in New Orleans that drowned a great city, the storm surge in Mississippi that erased whole communities, the devastation, the agony. For weeks afterwards, I had trouble sleeping. I couldn't forget the scenes I'd witnessed or the stories I'd heard.

More than a year later, I covered a Senate subcommittee hearing in New Orleans on the lagging reconstruction effort. I watched as a young senator who was thought to be considering a presidential run -- that would be Barack Obama -- used his Harvard Law skills to eviscerate Bush-era officials for not doing enough to rebuild and revive the Gulf Coast region.


So it was strange and disheartening that Obama would wait nine months to make his first visit to New Orleans as president. It was stunning that he would spend only a few hours on the ground and that he wouldn't set foot in Mississippi or Alabama at all. But worst of all was the way he seemed to dismiss the idea that his administration could and should be doing much more.

I know that local officials say the Obama administration is more responsive and more effective than the Bush administration, but that's not saying much. What says more is that New Orleans still doesn't have an operational full-service hospital. And that an adequate flood barrier is still not in place.

"I wish I could just write a check," Obama said. If that was his message, he should have stayed home. We now know that our government can make hundreds of billions of dollars available to irresponsible Wall Street institutions within a matter of days, if necessary. We can open up the floodgates of credit to too-big-to-fail banks at the stroke of a pen. But when it comes to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, well, these things take time.

I doubt these are the priorities Obama wants to be remembered for.



Thoughts?
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 09:34 am
@maporsche,
well, I for one am shocked to see you posting a negative piece about Obama. Just stunned.

Cycloptichorn
JPB
 
  3  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 09:41 am
@maporsche,
I read an article earlier this week (can't find it --- it was a Joe Biden article) that said that the current administration has resolved more than half (I think it was 79/121 or 71/129) of the Katrina-based disputes for post-Katrina funding. These disputes have been languishing for years.
Robert Gentel
 
  0  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 09:44 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Imagine my surprise to find that you didn't like the criticism! A stunning departure from the Cyclo we know.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 09:47 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

Imagine my surprise to find that you didn't like the criticism! A stunning departure from the Cyclo we know.


Imagine my surprise to see you criticizing me! Equally stunning.

On a more serious note, who wrote this? It's unattributed.

As JPB wrote above, the idea that the Obama admin has done nothing in this area is a profoundly uninformed one.

Cycloptichorn
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 09:52 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Sorry, I meant to include the link (of course). You could also just google the title, but oh well.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2009/10/the_biggest_disappointment_of.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Written by Eugene Robinson.
0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 09:54 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Do you want to make this about me & you; or would you like to discuss the topic.

You're wasting my time.
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 09:55 am
@JPB,
Good news, no doubt.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  0  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 10:01 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Imagine my surprise to see you criticizing me! Equally stunning.


Yup, I unsurprisingly criticize partisan hacks. You unsurprisingly play the foil to such criticism.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 10:01 am
@maporsche,
maporsche wrote:

Do you want to make this about me & you; or would you like to discuss the topic.

You're wasting my time.


No, I'm not. Just pointing out that which I wish to point out - more drumbeats of negativity coming from the usual subjects.

I wonder if you've done any actual research on this issue? Robinson, too. There are several thorny issues which are preventing the rebuilding from happening as quickly as possible.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics/AP/story/1277277.html

Quote:
Obama gets high marks for his administration's aid to New Orleans so far, but he still must show that he can deliver a public hospital, rebuild levees and restore the coastline.

Said Bob Brown, managing director of the Business Council of New Orleans: "Even if you hate him, if you see the delivery of things that are helpful to the state, and you compare that to the performance of the previous administration after Katrina, you'd have to be the biggest ideologue in the universe not to soften up a little bit."

Even Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican with presidential ambitions, has praised much of the Obama administration's approach.

Since January, Obama's team has released more than $1 billion in recovery aid for Louisiana and additional money for other Gulf Coast states from funds backlogged since the Bush administration. Billions more are in the pipeline, some from the $787 billion economic stimulus package that Congress passed in February.

Obama's choice of Craig Fugate to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency also boosted confidence, because he's an emergency management expert from hurricane-prone Florida. Locals also praise the multiple Gulf Coast visits by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other top administration officials.

"It seems like the Obama team through FEMA has come in with a whole new attitude that says, 'Let's cut through the red tape so we can get to building,' " said New Orleans City Council president Arnie Fielkow.

The administration's August announcement of a new arbitration process could be a turning point for stalled health, school, road, public safety and environmental work.

Still, even as Obama pushes for a health care overhaul in Congress, there's a struggle in New Orleans to get federal funds for building a much-needed public hospital. Louisiana leaders are also working to prevent the federal government from cutting $700 million from the state's Medicaid funds after hurricane recovery payments artificially spiked the state's per capita income.


Have you been there since Katrina? I have, the whole place is fucked and I am not at all surprised to see that it is taking a long time to get stuff rebuilt. Problems are compounded by the fact that LA is probably the most corrupt state in the nation, and that hasn't changed just b/c of a hurricane.

Cycloptichorn
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 10:02 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

Cycloptichorn wrote:
Imagine my surprise to see you criticizing me! Equally stunning.


Yup, I unsurprisingly criticize partisan hacks. You unsurprisingly play the foil to such criticism.


I don't believe that's an accurate way to describe me in the slightest. But if it makes you feel good to do so, please continue - I do want you to feel good about yourself and your posting.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 10:11 am
"On Aug. 6, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced a new arbitration process to expedite resolution of outstanding Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance projects stemming from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. For projects in excess of $500,000 (like Charity), an independent, neutral panel of arbitrators would be employed to settle disputes over public assistance." source.

Still looking for the actual numbers of disputes resolved to date...
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 11:32 am
Personally, I think it is a big mistake to put a lot of effort into rebuilding the Gulf Coast exactly as it was. With the rising sea levels and changes in weather patterns, it will constantly be vulnerable.

The local, state and federal governments need to rebuild/relocate the gulf region with an eye toward the changing coastline. Instead, we're just repeating the same mistakes of past administrations... rebuilding the levees to only a category 3 storm level, spending federal assistance funds on building casinos rather than emergency assistance infrastructures, rebulding public housing structures in the same vulnerable areas of the coast, etc.

roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 11:32 am
@maporsche,
My thoughts? While the initial federal response was way too slow, and poorly executed, maybe Obama's best response would have been something like "How long do you plan to sit upon your situpon, waiting for the government to make good on your decision to build and live below sealevel."
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 11:34 am
@roger,
Problem is, the Port of New Orleans is sort of the biggest port in America, and the idea of abandoning the thing is hard to swallow. We can't just pack up the entire town and leave.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 11:46 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:

maporsche wrote:

Do you want to make this about me & you; or would you like to discuss the topic.

You're wasting my time.


No, I'm not. Just pointing out that which I wish to point out - more drumbeats of negativity coming from the usual subjects.


Exactly. Wasting my (and everyone else's) time. There is no net benefit to the discussion on this board by these silly little posts of yours.
Cycloptichorn
 
  0  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 11:51 am
@maporsche,
You will note that I immediately moved on to substantial discussion after that one aside; you however, have not done so to any real degree.

If you don't want to waste people's time, then suck the criticism up and move on, instead of pouting about it.

Cycloptichorn
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 11:53 am
@maporsche,
Quote:
Exactly. Wasting my (and everyone else's) time. There is no net benefit to the discussion on this board by these silly little posts of yours.
quite right, we could be reading about the lift capacity of 124 cubic ft of helium at sea level, although I would rather post about the merits of green chiles from Hatch New Mexico and the lac of labor necessary to harvest them following the crack-down on undocumented alien workers.
0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 11:55 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:

You will note that I immediately moved on to substantial discussion after that one aside; you however, have not done so to any real degree.

If you don't want to waste people's time, then suck the criticism up and move on, instead of pouting about it.

Cycloptichorn


I haven't yet formed an opinion on whether or not Obama has done a good job or not. I just noticed an article from Google News that talked about his first visit to LA.

Are people not allowed to post articles and ask for people's opinions? Is that not how people learn?

I find it strange though; if the rebuilding efforts in NO are hampered by LA politics or institutional challenges, then why was there so much criticism of Bush and his response?

I won't be sucking up your criticism. I'm dismissing it entirely; as it's worthless to consider.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 11:59 am
@maporsche,
Quote:
I won't be sucking up your criticism. I'm dismissing it entirely; as it's worthless to consider.


Your actions betray this. You wouldn't have responded at all if it was worthless to consider. Laughing Instead, it is perfectly obvious that you do consider it and that it makes you angry, or at the very least unhappy.

The truth is this is the third time you've addressed it instead of focusing on the topic. If you want people to believe something, you ought to try and act in a way which supports that instead of contradicts it.

Quote:

I find it strange though; if the rebuilding efforts in NO are hampered by LA politics or institutional challenges, then why was there so much criticism of Bush and his response?


You will note that the articles state that Obama's crew is doing a pretty good job cutting through the red tape, and some of the money issues have been resolved (Per JPB's post). Bush didn't really do anything other than appropriate the money and then never speak about it again, at all.

The challenges of getting stuff done in LA are numerous and well-known, and when the new group makes more progress in a few months than the old group did in several years, it's not hard to determine which group is working harder on solving the challenges.

Cycloptichorn
 

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