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Katrina-Bush and the political questions begin

 
 
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2005 10:11 am
Among the questions being asked around Washington and the blogosphere this morning:

* If the reason Bush returned to Washington is that he is more effective here, then why didn't he come back two days ago?

* If the White House considers the return from vacation largely symbolic, then what is the symbolism of his long vacation during a war?

* Could Bush and the federal government have done more to prepare for hurricane recovery? Unlike the Asian tsunami, this hurricane was forecast days ahead of time.

* Did any of his previous budget decisions allow the hurricane to cause more damage than it might have otherwise?

* Are National Guard troops and equipment required to restore order in this country many thousands of miles away.

* Will he and his administration meet this disaster quickly and effective with the appropriate civilian and military resources and manpower?

* Will the White House provide the bold leadership and vision that the nation requires?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2005/08/31/BL2005083101127.html?referrer=email
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2005 10:15 am
Aunt Bee has a thread on this topic, in which she has quoted news sources alleging that FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) employees are now refusing to enter New Orleans because of the violence. Where's the Guard when you need 'em?

Oh, yeah, giving democracy to the poor, benighted Iraqis . . .
0 Replies
 
Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2005 10:25 am
What percentage of our National Guard was sent to Iraq? Surely we must have enough National Guard left in this country to send and to bring order and protection to the hurricane disaster area.
0 Replies
 
revel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2005 10:35 am
Don't know if this fits:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5248559,00.html

Quote:
Bush Taps Father, Clinton for Relief Help

Thursday September 1, 2005 5:01 PM


AP Photo NY121

By NEDRA PICKLER

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush will tour the hurricane devastated Gulf Coast region on Friday and has asked his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and former President Clinton to lead a private fund-raising campaign for victims, the White House said Thursday.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Bush will survey the Alabama and Mississippi coast by helicopter, then go on to New Orleans. He also will tour some locations on the ground. He got a higher-altitude view Wednesday when Air Force One dropped several thousand feet to fly directly over the region during Bush's flight from his Texas ranch back to Washington.

``The president has wanted to visit the area as soon as possible,'' McClellan said. ``We didn't go sooner because we didn't want to be disruptive of efforts on the ground.''
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2005 10:43 am
Editorial from today's New York Times:


George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end.

We will, of course, endure, and the city of New Orleans must come back. But looking at the pictures on television yesterday of a place abandoned to the forces of flood, fire and looting, it was hard not to wonder exactly how that is going to come to pass. Right now, hundreds of thousands of American refugees need our national concern and care. Thousands of people still need to be rescued from imminent peril. Public health threats must be controlled in New Orleans and throughout southern Mississippi. Drivers must be given confidence that gasoline will be available, and profiteering must be brought under control at a moment when television has been showing long lines at some pumps and spot prices approaching $4 a gallon have been reported.

Sacrifices may be necessary to make sure that all these things happen in an orderly, efficient way. But this administration has never been one to counsel sacrifice. And nothing about the president's demeanor yesterday - which seemed casual to the point of carelessness - suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis.

While our attention must now be on the Gulf Coast's most immediate needs, the nation will soon ask why New Orleans's levees remained so inadequate. Publications from the local newspaper to National Geographic have fulminated about the bad state of flood protection in this beloved city, which is below sea level. Why were developers permitted to destroy wetlands and barrier islands that could have held back the hurricane's surge? Why was Congress, before it wandered off to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the gaping holes in the area's flood protection?

It would be some comfort to think that, as Mr. Bush cheerily announced, America "will be a stronger place" for enduring this crisis. Complacency will no longer suffice, especially if experts are right in warning that global warming may increase the intensity of future hurricanes. But since this administration won't acknowledge that global warming exists, the chances of leadership seem minimal.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2005 10:46 am
Open letter to President Bush
Mr. President,

Stay the hell out of the hurricane disaster area!

The efforts to save peoples lives don't need to be diverted by one of your political photo-op trips to the areas.

Do us a favor. Rear the newspapers. Watch CNN and CSNBC if you want to know what is going on. Feed your dog. Ride your bike. Take another vacation. Reread the My Goat book.

You've already seen the scope of the devastation from the safety of Airforce One. Don't do anything to get in the way of the rescue operations. You've already done enough to make it worse!

Sincerely,
BumbleBeeBoogie, U.S. Citizen
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2005 11:06 am
Setanta
Setanta wrote:
Aunt Bee has a thread on this topic, in which she has quoted news sources alleging that FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) employees are now refusing to enter New Orleans because of the violence. Where's the Guard when you need 'em?

Oh, yeah, giving democracy to the poor, benighted Iraqis . . .



IF! IF! IF!

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=58577&highlight=
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2005 11:07 am
http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5248531,00.html
source for -
"With New Orleans sinking deeper into desperation, Nagin ordered virtually the entire police force to abandon search-and-rescue efforts Wednesday and stop the increasingly brazen thieves."



I know I mentioned on another thread a certain shimmer of life in the looting, however horrid, stupid, and futile; I meant that within my own completely black view of this dreadful situation. Well, I've backed off of that observation, given the distraction that the fear of the mob getting close to hospitals and superdome (as it was explained in some other article) has precipitated the Mayor's decision quoted above.

I suppose with the national guard starting to pour in, they can get back to search and rescue.

In the the latest articles Google is listing in their news section are new descriptions of the scene outside the dome - chilling.
0 Replies
 
timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2005 12:15 pm
Quote:
"Fats" Domino Missing in New Orleans

http://www.foxnews.com/images/175972/1_22_domino_fats.jpg

... Antoine "Fats" Domino, has not been heard from since Monday afternoon ...

... Domino, 76, lives with his wife Rosemary and daughter in a three-story pink-roofed house in New Orleans' 9th ward, which is now under water.

On Monday afternoon, Domino told his manager, Al Embry of Nashville, that he would "ride out the storm" at home. Embry is now frantic ...


GlobalSecurity Gallery; New Orleans "Before and After" Satellite Imagery
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2005 12:39 pm
Awww, no!
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2005 04:15 pm
BBB
Shame! The forgotten people in the hurricane evacuation:

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=58652&highlight=

BBB
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2005 08:07 pm
It seems Bill Clinton's one of the few liberals not playing politics with this disaster:

Quote:
MALVEAUX: Let me ask you this: There are some people at the New Orleans Convention Center who say that they have been living like animals -- no food, no water, no power. And they are the ones who are saying: Where are the buses? Where are the planes? Why did it take three days to see a real federal response here? Mr. Bush, you, whether it's fair or not, had gone through some administration criticism about your handling of Hurricane Andrew.

G.H.W. BUSH: I sure did.

MALVEAUX: Do you believe that this is legitimate?

G.H.W. BUSH: Yes, I do. What happened? We all sighed with -- not legitimate. I believe that they ought not to be as upset, but I can understand why they are. We thought, a lot of people thought, that when the hurricane went to the right a little bit, New Orleans was going to be spared. And it was only the next day that, you know, there were these horrible problems with the levee. But, look, if I were sitting there with no shower, no ability to use bathroom facilities, worried about my family, not knowing where they were, I'd blame anybody and so you have to expect that.

MALVEAUX: But do you think this administration responded quickly enough?

G.H.W. BUSH: Of course I do.

CLINTON: Let me answer this. The people in the Superdome are in a special position. And let me say, I've been going to New Orleans for over 50 years. There's no place on earth I love more. They went into the Superdome, not because of the flooding, but because we thought the hurricane was going to hit New Orleans smack dab and they'd be safe in there if they didn't leave town.

What happened was, when the levee broke and the town flooded, what did it do? It knocked out the electricity and it knocked out the sewage. They're living in hellacious conditions. They would be better off under a tree than being stuck there. You can't even breathe in that place now.

So I understand why they're so anxiety-ridden. But they have to understand, by the time it became obvious that they were in the fix they were in, there were a lot of other problems, too. There were people -- they were worried about people drowning that had to be taken off roofs.

MALVEAUX: So you two believe that the federal response was fast enough?

CLINTON: All I'm saying is what I know the facts are today. There are hundreds of buses now engaged in the act of taking people from New Orleans to the Astrodome in Houston. And you and I are not in a position to make any judgment because we weren't there.

All I'm saying is the way they got stuck there, I see why they feel the way they do. But the people that put them there did it because they thought they were saving their lives. And then when the problems showed up, they had a lot of other people to save. Now they've got hundreds of buses. We just need to get them out. I think they'll all be out by tomorrow. Didn't they say they would all be out by tomorrow morning?

G.H.W. BUSH: Yes.

MALVEAUX: OK. Well, thank you very much. I'm sorry. We've run out of time. Thank you.

G.H.W. BUSH: Let me -- I just to want finish. I believe the administration is doing the right thing, and I believe they have acted in a timely fashion. And I understand people being critical. That happens all the time. And I understand some people wanted to make, you know, a little difficulty by criticizing the president and the team. But I don't want to sit here and not defend the administration which, in my view, has taken all the right steps. And they're facing problems that nobody could foresee: breaking of the levees and the whole dome thing over in New Orleans coming apart. People couldn't foresee that.

CLINTON: Yes, I think that's important to point out. Because when you say that they should have done this, that or the other thing first, you can look at that problem in isolation, and you can say that.

But look at all the other things they had to deal with. I'm telling you, nobody thought this was going to happen like this. But what happened here is they escaped -- New Orleans escaped Katrina. But it brought all the water up the Mississippi River and all in the Pontchartrain, and then when it started running and that levee broke, they had problems they never could have foreseen.

And so I just think that we need to recognize right now there's a confident effort under way. People are doing the best they can. And I just don't think it's the time to worry about that. We need to keep people alive and get them back to life -- normal life.


Source
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Sep, 2005 07:38 am
As might be expected, the guy on my Avatar raises a couple of very good points.

Paul Krugman wrote:
Before 9/11 the Federal Emergency Management Agency listed the three most likely catastrophic disasters facing America: a terrorist attack on New York, a major earthquake in San Francisco and a hurricane strike on New Orleans. "The New Orleans hurricane scenario," The Houston Chronicle wrote in December 2001, "may be the deadliest of all." It described a potential catastrophe very much like the one now happening.

So why were New Orleans and the nation so unprepared? After 9/11, hard questions were deferred in the name of national unity, then buried under a thick coat of whitewash. This time, we need accountability.

Read the rest of his article here.
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Sep, 2005 09:35 am
The New York Times editorial page is often schizophrenic. Here's what the NYT editorialized yesterday concerning Katrina:

On 9/1/05, the NYT editorial page wrote:
While our attention must now be on the Gulf Coast's most immediate needs, the nation will soon ask why New Orleans's levees remained so inadequate. Publications from the local newspaper to National Geographic have fulminated about the bad state of flood protection in this beloved city, which is below sea level. Why were developers permitted to destroy wetlands and barrier islands that could have held back the hurricane's surge? Why was Congress, before it wandered off to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the gaping holes in the area's flood protection?


Now let's look at prior NYT editorials concerning natural disasters:

[URL=http://eurota.blogspot.com/2005/09/msm-in-their-own-words-continuing.html]In prior editorials, the NYT[/URL] wrote:
Concerning the 1993 floods in the midwest, the NYT editorialized on July 14, 1993:

For the longer term, Washington and flood-prone areas must reconsider the pro's and con's of flood control projects and flood insurance.

The billions of Federal dollars spent to construct dams and levees have doubtless prevented billions of dollars of damage to the areas they serve. But a dam or a levee in one place creates problems somewhere else. Also, by offering protection, they encourage people to live and work and develop farming in flood plains that are inherently risky.

Budget constraints and environmental concerns have slowed new flood control projects in recent years. Congress should resist pressure to spend more now because of this year's floods; these projects need closer evaluation than they've gotten in the past.

Likewise flood insurance. Less than 20 percent of those eligible for federally subsidized flood insurance buy it -- because they can't afford it, or think they're not at risk, or figure aid will be forthcoming anyhow if disaster strikes. Before the rivers rose this year, there was a move in Congress to expand flood insurance coverage, either by regulation or incentives, rather than have taxpayers at large foot the bill through direct aid. But flood insurance can encourage reckless development.

Flood plains are risky territory, as the Mississippi and its tributaries are proving again. Federal policy needs to control the risk, not just the rivers.


-----

On April 28, 2001:

The famous Wilkes-Barre flood of 1972 and the Mississippi River flood of 1993 led to fierce criticism of the Army Corps of Engineers, whose traditional methods of flood control were found to have made matters much worse than they might have been. But the Corps has never abandoned its blind faith in dams and levees that, when overused, constrict the river's natural flow, invite overbuilding and end up doing more harm than good.


-----

On June 24, 2003:

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has a rare opportunity tomorrow to strike a blow for both fiscal sanity and the environment. Before the committee is a bill that would bring a measure of discipline and independent oversight to the Army Corps of Engineers, an incorrigibly spendthrift agency whose projects over the years have caused enormous damage to the nation's streams, rivers and wetlands.

-----

And this one from 13 April 2005:

Anyone who cares about responsible budgeting and the health of America's rivers and wetlands should pay attention to a bill now before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The bill would shovel $17 billion at the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and other water-related projects -- this at a time when President Bush is asking for major cuts in Medicaid and other important domestic programs. Among these projects is a $2.7 billion boondoggle on the Mississippi River that has twice flunked inspection by the National Academy of Sciences.

The Government Accountability Office and other watchdogs accuse the corps of routinely inflating the economic benefits of its projects. And environmentalists blame it for turning free-flowing rivers into lifeless canals and destroying millions of acres of wetlands -- usually in the name of flood control and navigation but mostly to satisfy Congress's appetite for pork.

This is a bad piece of legislation.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Sep, 2005 10:00 am
Tico -- were these editorials or Op-Ed pieces? Do you realize there's a difference?

(No scorn intended -- I didn't notice the difference myself until Frank Apisa pointed it out to me about a year back.)
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Sep, 2005 10:10 am
Thomas wrote:
As might be expected, the guy on my Avatar raises a couple of very good points.

Paul Krugman wrote:
Before 9/11 the Federal Emergency Management Agency listed the three most likely catastrophic disasters facing America: a terrorist attack on New York, a major earthquake in San Francisco and a hurricane strike on New Orleans. "The New Orleans hurricane scenario," The Houston Chronicle wrote in December 2001, "may be the deadliest of all." It described a potential catastrophe very much like the one now happening.

So why were New Orleans and the nation so unprepared? After 9/11, hard questions were deferred in the name of national unity, then buried under a thick coat of whitewash. This time, we need accountability.

Read the rest of his article here.


All GW needs is a big quake in SF and he hits the trifecta....
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Sep, 2005 10:13 am
parados wrote:
All GW needs is a big quake in SF and he hits the trifecta....

Lucky him!
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Sep, 2005 10:22 am
Ticomaya wrote:
The New York Times editorial page is often schizophrenic. Here's what the NYT editorialized yesterday concerning Katrina:

On 9/1/05, the NYT editorial page wrote:
While our attention must now be on the Gulf Coast's most immediate needs, the nation will soon ask why New Orleans's levees remained so inadequate. Publications from the local newspaper to National Geographic have fulminated about the bad state of flood protection in this beloved city, which is below sea level. Why were developers permitted to destroy wetlands and barrier islands that could have held back the hurricane's surge? Why was Congress, before it wandered off to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the gaping holes in the area's flood protection?


Now let's look at prior NYT editorials concerning natural disasters:

[URL=http://eurota.blogspot.com/2005/09/msm-in-their-own-words-continuing.html]In prior editorials, the NYT[/URL] wrote:
Concerning the 1993 floods in the midwest, the NYT editorialized on July 14, 1993:

For the longer term, Washington and flood-prone areas must reconsider the pro's and con's of flood control projects and flood insurance.

The billions of Federal dollars spent to construct dams and levees have doubtless prevented billions of dollars of damage to the areas they serve. But a dam or a levee in one place creates problems somewhere else. Also, by offering protection, they encourage people to live and work and develop farming in flood plains that are inherently risky.

Budget constraints and environmental concerns have slowed new flood control projects in recent years. Congress should resist pressure to spend more now because of this year's floods; these projects need closer evaluation than they've gotten in the past.

Likewise flood insurance. Less than 20 percent of those eligible for federally subsidized flood insurance buy it -- because they can't afford it, or think they're not at risk, or figure aid will be forthcoming anyhow if disaster strikes. Before the rivers rose this year, there was a move in Congress to expand flood insurance coverage, either by regulation or incentives, rather than have taxpayers at large foot the bill through direct aid. But flood insurance can encourage reckless development.

Flood plains are risky territory, as the Mississippi and its tributaries are proving again. Federal policy needs to control the risk, not just the rivers.


-----

On April 28, 2001:

The famous Wilkes-Barre flood of 1972 and the Mississippi River flood of 1993 led to fierce criticism of the Army Corps of Engineers, whose traditional methods of flood control were found to have made matters much worse than they might have been. But the Corps has never abandoned its blind faith in dams and levees that, when overused, constrict the river's natural flow, invite overbuilding and end up doing more harm than good.


-----

On June 24, 2003:

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has a rare opportunity tomorrow to strike a blow for both fiscal sanity and the environment. Before the committee is a bill that would bring a measure of discipline and independent oversight to the Army Corps of Engineers, an incorrigibly spendthrift agency whose projects over the years have caused enormous damage to the nation's streams, rivers and wetlands.

-----

And this one from 13 April 2005:

Anyone who cares about responsible budgeting and the health of America's rivers and wetlands should pay attention to a bill now before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The bill would shovel $17 billion at the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and other water-related projects -- this at a time when President Bush is asking for major cuts in Medicaid and other important domestic programs. Among these projects is a $2.7 billion boondoggle on the Mississippi River that has twice flunked inspection by the National Academy of Sciences.

The Government Accountability Office and other watchdogs accuse the corps of routinely inflating the economic benefits of its projects. And environmentalists blame it for turning free-flowing rivers into lifeless canals and destroying millions of acres of wetlands -- usually in the name of flood control and navigation but mostly to satisfy Congress's appetite for pork.

This is a bad piece of legislation.


Tico - I see no schizophrenia at all in the pieces you posted. They are talking about completely different areas. What is down river of New Orleans that is affected by the levees there? What farming is being promoted by levees in New Orleans? What tributaries of the Mississipi regularly flood New Orleans?

The present piece and previous pieces both talk about destruction of wetlands and how it is bad.

The control of floods upriver make New Orleans more susceptable to flooding. That has always been the argument about flood control, forcing water to stay in the channel upriver means more water downriver. Looks pretty consistent to me when you examine the reality of what it talks about and not just jump on the word "flood" as a common denominator.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Sep, 2005 10:24 am
Sadly enough, a quake in SF would get immediate attention.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Sep, 2005 10:26 am
I think Thomas' point is also excellent though -- Op-Eds or the Times' own editorial? The hotlinked "pages" in the phrase "Given the hysteria enveloping the editorial pages of the NYT due to hurricane Katrina," at Tico's source would seem to indicate the former (it goes to a Krugman column). In that case it's particularly meaningless, as the Op-Ed pages are purposely diverse, Brooks and Krugman and any number of non-columnists from throughout the political spectrum.
0 Replies
 
 

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