Hurricane Katrina's Aftermath: Not the President's Finest Hour

Lots of comments this week. Some of you wrote with a sense of deep sadness, others wrote with anger, still others expressed a feeling of helplessness in the face of this overwhelming disaster.

And then there were the few readers who inexplicably felt it necessary to post their thoughts on the color of my hair. (Seriously, guys, have you nothing better to do?)

The issue that seemed to spark the most debate -- judging by my unscientific perusal of the comments -- involved the preparations for and initial response to this deadly hurricane. Because this subject is so huge, I'm going to break it up into four posts. This one takes a political perspective, jumping off from several readers' comments that President Bush has not taken the catastrophe seriously enough. Then comes a reality check: Why optimism and disaster response planning don't mix. Next up is a question: Are we prepared for the next disaster? And we wrap up The Debate for this week with the lessons we can learn -- must learn -- from Hurricane Katrina.

Honestly, it's hard to argue with those who feel that the president displayed a disturbingly nonchalant attitude about the hurricane, even as New Orleans was rapidly disappearing under the rising floodwaters. Observe:

Here are three photos from New Orleans taken on Tuesday, Aug. 30. Take a look at this one, then this one, and finally, this one.

Now here's a photo of the president*, also from Tuesday, Aug. 30, the day before he graciously ended his summer vacation 48 hours early. The photo was taken after a speech he gave in California, and yes, he's sharing the stage with a country music star. (Bad P.R. move, given the circumstances ... was Image Enforcer Karl Rove on vacation, too?) And no, the president is not planning to take that guitar to Louisiana for use as a floatation device.

Perhaps I'm being nitpicky, but I seem to recall that back in July the president was scheduled to speak to thousands of Boy Scouts at the opening show of their national jamboree. It had been a rough time for the boys already -- four scout leaders had been killed setting up a tent two days prior. It probably didn't help the scouts' morale when hundreds of people had to be treated for heat exhaustion, dehydration and the like after waiting hours for the president, who postponed his speech at the last minute due to concerns over inclement weather.

Why would our president cancel a speech to the boy scouts over a few thundershowers, but he wouldn't cancel his speech comparing Iraq to WWII (not a stellar analogy, Mr. President) over a storm that had already displaced hundreds of thousands of people? (Not a rhetorical question. I really can't figure out what he was thinking.)

*[5/30/6, 4:45 p.m.] Update: That link probably expired ages ago -- apologies for any inconvenience. You can also find the picture of the president posing with country singer Mark Wills here and here.

Another one to ponder: What does Bush have to do now to demonstrate he has control of the situation? (Any ideas?) The Republican party must realize the residents of (key swing state) Florida, who remember the belated response from Bush's father to Hurricane Andrew, are watching. And what they're seeing is a series of photo ops of officials congratulating themselves while thousands share makeshift shelters with the sick, the dying and the dead, and thousands more try to survive in a ruined and lawless city.

The ever-observant Dana Milbank notes that two highly unusual things happened on Friday that strongly suggest Bush is feeling the effects of his delayed reaction. First, the members of the Washington Times editorial board, long known to be some of Bush's biggest fans, took a position -- in their lead editorial, no less -- that was unmistakably critical of him. Then -- and this was the really weird part -- the president appeared to acknowledge that he had made a mistake. Well, perhaps that's a bit of an overstatement; what he really said was that of the actions taken in the aftermath of the disaster, "the results are not acceptable." But, since he is the president and this is a national calamity and the president is generally expected to take the lead in such a situation, one would be forgiven for inferring that he accepted some culpability for the severely inadequate response.

Bush later made clear that his faith in his own invincibility had not in fact been shaken; he said the response -- that is, the thing for which he, as president, must accept responsibility -- was perfectly satisfactory. (Many residents of the affected areas would probably disagree with that assessment.) It was the results, he said, that were unsatisfactory. But if the results aren't good enough, doesn't that also suggest that some part of the response to the disaster was not sufficient? No, of course not, because that would mean the president had not done exactly the right thing. Lest we forget, this president does not make mistakes.

Or does he?

By Emily Messner |  September 5, 2005; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Beltway Perspectives
Previous: Bloggers Kept Lines Open During Hurricane Katrina | Next: Dealing With Disaster: When Optimism Makes Things Worse

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Emily wrote:
=================================
"What does Bush have to do now to demonstrate he has control of the situation? (Any ideas?)"
=================================

In reality: Fire his Homeland Security and FEMA directors. As if the WP had such incompetent editors not only the White House would be calling for their heads, the readers would -- at least they wouldn't have killed thousands for their incompetence.

But for Bush and Company loyality is more important (to the point of many more deaths and problems). So he'll try to take the heat for their incompetence, "act as a leader", and try to stop the PR disaster with some "feel good" help (like highlighting the $10 billion dollar seed money to help those displaced, and cleanup from Katrina -- which is nothing compared to what is spent in Iraq for less progress). What's important now is to slow the negatives, and put a positive spin on their "help".

There's not much Bush can really do now to help on a leadership front. His father and Clinton will help on the long-term relief projects (long after Bush is out of office); and the Homeland Security/FEMA directors can't resurrect the dead. All they can do now is put a bandaid on who survived and weather a social storm that will breed from that squalor -- one that will bite the GOP so hard that their gains will probably be gone (even Republicans can tell this was a royal disaster, and an embarassment to the country on the world stage -- our own were treated worse than those in a third world).

So unless Bush fires those at the top of his billion dollar political hack welfare program ("Department of Homeland Security"), and reverse the changes to FEMA (which was doing a good job on natural disasters after it's failure during Hurricane Andrew) he lost the leadership round this time. No one that friday will forgive what they watched -- relief coming to New Orleans just before Bush comes to New Orleans to visit, like it was all staged as if Bush was MacArthur returning to the Phillipines, with not only relief, the troops too.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 6, 2005 09:42 AM

Some Lessons Learned (I hope)
* Leaders should watch TV reporting, not just rely on their staffs and the beauracracy. It's amazing and dismaying to see how out of touch our national leadership was.
* When locations are identified as shelters, they should be stocked with food, water, porta-johns BEFORE the calamity hits. It is much easier then, and allows responses to focus on other high priority needs
* All forms of transportation should be employed to remove people who lack their own transportation. Instead, thousands of school buses in New Orleans were left to be flooded and useless for evacuation both before and after the hurricane hit.
* Appoint project managers to prepare for and lead responses to foreseeable disaster response contingencies (that is, different leaders for different threats). When the disaster strikes, they would need to be empowered to act. There were ample lessons to be learned from pre-event simulation of a major hurricane encounter with New Orleans. It has been reported that personel from FEMA and the White House took part in the table top exercise. Why did not our leadership anticipate what was about to happen and act more decisively?
* This list is only a beginning. Others should add their suggestions.

Posted by: Clark De Jonge | September 6, 2005 09:43 AM

Am I the only one disturbed by the flippancy of the President's father in dismissing criticisms of his intellectually challenged son? The former President said critics of his son would have "to wear a flak jacket if they faced a certain white-haired lady (Barbara Bush)".
To make matters worse, Larry King pandered shamelessly to Daddy and Mommy on his Labor Day show.
Maybe Daddy has an answer to this specific question: why didn't Frat Boy react with the same alacrity he and brother Jeb showed in the Terry Schiavo case?

Posted by: Ronald McDaniel | September 6, 2005 10:46 AM

Clark,

Good suggestions for those living in reality, but politicos don't live in it. Let's take a look why...

1. Politicos distrust the media (Bush doesn't; and I bet the Louisanna governor and Nagin probably don't, either). What they see on the TV they'll consider it some interest's spin. Bush would trust Rumsfeld telling him everything is peachy in Iraq, even if 3,000 troops are killed in one day and right on TV.

2. How can the city afford such relief in less than 5 days? I doubt New Orleans had 10 million in emergency relief money 3 days before Katrina's arrival. And even if the Homeland Security earmarked 10 million for such emergencies, does anyone believe the city wouldn't have found some other "project" to spend it on -- like some new police cars? Money never just sits for emergencies in cities, it's spent as someone is looking for some profit (and votes).

3. Will the state's laws be revised that no one who accepts transportation will be sued? Cities have to watch out for lawsuits -- if grandma's ankle is broken getting on/off the bus, the city can be liable. Sounds great to use anything to get the people out, but cities have to watch their bottom line -- and if they pass such a law, imagine the politics from lawyers who lost a potential revenue stream. Remember the money is on reconstruction, not evacuation.

5. Those appointees are usually political hacks. Just look at the outcome of my city's former mayor (who got a federal job recently with HUD). Zero experience in that line of work, but political IOUs have to be repaid. So want some businessman who raised $50,000 for a campaign to be the chairman of such a committee?

Like the 9/11 commission, things look good on paper by folks with political reasons to make it look good on paper. But in reality, the disasters will still be disasters, as the money/time/effort is earmarked to reconstruction/profit, not prevention.

To make it simple: surgeons make more money operating than dispensing pills. Think surgeons want to give up their practice if some miracle pill is discovered?

That's the sad truth about disaster prepareness and recovery.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 6, 2005 10:56 AM

You asked why the president might postpone a speach to Boy Scouts because of threatening whether, as opposed to not doing so as New Orleans was dealing with a flood. Truly, apples and oranges. The Boy Scouts would have been gathering outdoors in the face of potentially severe electrical storms - not the place to have thousands of kids gathered in a crowd. The heat was already too much for some - can you imagine what you'd be writing if a couple dozen Boy Scouts had been killed or injured by foreseeable lightning while attending a presidential event? On the other hand, you've got a speech being given on the other side of the country, indoors, under completely different circumstances. The emerging problems in New Orleans were, at that point, right where they should have been: in the hands of the people to whom situations like that are normally delegated. Certainly it's not up to the president to remind people living below sea level in a hurricane zone, as they watch hours of TV showing the coming storm, that they might want to run a few extra gallons of tap water into some jugs and grab a few extra $0.69 cans of beans to get them through from Tuesday to that Thursday when the logistics of the massive outside help were connecting with the people that didn't leave.

Of course not everyone had the means to leave, but able bodied people with less than $10 worth of food and water in a duffle bag would have hugely relieved the pressure on the people providing emergency services. Is it really up to the president to oversee each citizen's personal, individual preparation - that which makes or breaks those first few days after a disaster? Should it be? Are you blaming the president for the fact that New Orleans officials left their own fleet of school buses unused in the face of a massive storm and an evacuation order? Some perspective, please, and some reckoning with the results of dependence on the government for things that common sense says (when you live on the Gulf Coast, and especially when you live below sea level) should be your personal obligations.

Posted by: Matt L | September 6, 2005 01:19 PM

Matt, you talk of people taking responsibility, but does this administration ever take responsibility for any of their mistakes; I mean I know that they walk on water, but . . .

Anyway, the President is the final authority in catastrophes of this size and scope, the Federal Government is the only power with the resources to deal with these problems, and he is in charge of the Federal Government, the buck is supposed to stop with him.

Also, Bush himself said that the local authorities where completely overwhelmed.

But anyway, lets say that N.O. assembled their 600 or so school buses (hmmm, how many people fit on a school bus . . . how many people where stranded in N.O?), so if N.O. was able to dispatch this caravan, where would they go, and who would take care of them when they got there? You guessed it, the Federal Government! And why you ask? Because when Bush, on the Saturday before the hurricane struck, declared the gulf cost a National Disaster Area, he effectively, at least was supposed to have, took control.

Also this is not an issue of personal responsibility. We can say it is till the cows come home, but in the end it doesn't matter, because the people are there regardless of if they where self-reliant (and by some act of god, some how had their little duffle bags and jugs of water pulled off of them by an onrushing storm surge).

What I mean to say is that self-reliant, irresponsible, and helpless people alike have been caught up in this mess and it is our responsibility as citizenry represented by our Federal Government to take care of these people.

But the weakest point in your argument is the fact that, first and foremost this is a security and order situation. And it is certainly the Federal Governments responsibility to maintain security and order. Lets say that all of the people are irresponsible idiots, it doesn't matter because the chaos that would in-sue and has in-sued by not rapidly addressing their well being has harmed this country in numerous ways.

Posted by: Jon | September 6, 2005 02:19 PM

I agree with Matt L to a degree, we really can't expect GW to get his hands in dirty with every deciscion, we can however blame him for choosing the wrong people for the job. The Fed's response (and LA's for that matter) have been shameful. I also think it's important not to blame the victims here. Remember, it wasn't Katrina that flooded the city, it was the Levies breaking, for all we know, those who stayed behind did have their duffel bag with water and beans.

Posted by: Ari M | September 6, 2005 02:40 PM

Matt L wrote:

===========================================
"...that they might want to run a few extra gallons of tap water into some jugs and grab a few extra $0.69 cans of beans to get them through from Tuesday to that Thursday when the logistics of the massive outside help were connecting with the people that didn't leave."
===========================================

Speak for one person there, huh?

In hot conditions (and no luxuries of a generator to power a fan or air conditioner, too) a person needs more than 2 quarts of water a day -- and you didn't factor those on heart medications who must take edema meds, who must drink like a gallon a day alone. So how many jugs do you think someone in that 9th ward had littering their homes to fill up with water (let alone a tub -- which isn't very healthy to hold potable water, which grows stale fast in hot/humid conditions). So you're asking them to keep water fresh for 6 days, and to eat uncooked beans (and risk botulism and other anerobic germs -- do you understand why they need to be heated before being served??!!), from people who might exist on $88/mon on food?

Where do these people come from? Some $250,000 home gated communities -- where starving is not eating a meal????

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 6, 2005 02:40 PM

I agree with Matt L to a degree, we really can't expect GW to get his hands in dirty with every deciscion, we can however blame him for choosing the wrong people for the job. The Fed's response (and LA's for that matter) have been shameful. I also think it's important not to blame the victims here. Remember, it wasn't Katrina that flooded the city, it was the Levies breaking, for all we know, those who stayed behind did have their duffel bag with water and beans. Another thought to ponder is the fact that filling one's bath tub up with water wouldn't have done anything as the back flow would have contaminated the water sitting it any vessel of water that is/was connected to the sewer system. Back to the planning aspect, I don't think it's too much to expect out tax dollars to goto the use (and conscription if necessary) of the transportation system to exacuate people without the means to leave on their own. Remember this was a mandatory evacuation, not a "get out if you can afford to, and those of you who can't...tough" evacuation. I would like to believe (or would liked to have done so before this disaster) that out officials had thought of this. What's going to happen when...not if there is a terror attack of some magnititude? "O.K., if you've got the means to leave get out, if not, you're screwed". Some of these people were too old or sick to leave on their own, what about them? Another question is why didn't they open both sides of the highways to get everyone out of the city. I saw footage of the incoming lanes totally open.

Posted by: Ari M | September 6, 2005 02:46 PM

Quote from Matt L: "Certainly it's not up to the president to remind people living below sea level in a hurricane zone, as they watch hours of TV showing the coming storm, that they might want to run a few extra gallons of tap water into some jugs and grab a few extra $0.69 cans of beans to get them through from Tuesday to that Thursday when the logistics of the massive outside help were connecting with the people that didn't leave."

Hey Matt, the president's Tuesday appearance was 24+ hours AFTER the storm hit. W. was picking and grinning as people died in their homes.

Posted by: Angela A | September 6, 2005 06:24 PM

So it's blame the folks that need the help, bushbots to the rescue. Intelligent discourse? Hardly just another way of spinning the stuff that spews from this administration daily. It is a plan they keep it circulating daily so that none gets on them. Wonder what the country is going to look like in another three years. Bush failed period, and his father being afraid of offending the bitch that whelped this loser is ridiculous if she runs the show then she should show her face out front. No wonder her boy is such a loser, typical elitist behaviour. Go for it.

Posted by: fedayeen | September 6, 2005 08:02 PM

No one is going to change a pro-Bush mind. It's almost as unlikely as expecting our president to become a good steward of our land and a responsible leader for all Americans. Just isn't going to happen. Our president is bought and paid for, and dagnabit, he's going to deliver the goods.

Posted by: Dave | September 6, 2005 08:14 PM

Thought the blog format was for more intellectual dialogue, not opening the cesspool.

:(

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 6, 2005 08:31 PM

You liberals in the media never cease to amaze me. You look for opportunities to critisize Bush on subjects you are ignorant about. First of all the Mayor of New Orleans was notified 5-6 days in advance to the hurricane. He chose to ignore the warning up to 24 hours of Katrina hitting the coast. He and the Governor chose not to use the 400+ city buses that were available and now sit in a parking lot in 15 ft. of water. Thank God Bush finally, through no help of the Mayor and Governor of New Orleans, issued a mandatory evacuation. By the way New Orleans government acted in the same manner when hurricane Ivan barely missed N.O. They were given ample warning!! It's the States responsibility to handle matters within that state. Only when the state becomes overwelmed and asks for help does the Federal Government do they step in. If heads should roll, it should be the Governor, and Mayor of New Orleans.

Posted by: DanielY | September 6, 2005 11:27 PM

Not the President's finest hour?
Not his mother's, either. Someone tell her to shut up and get back to being a housewife, and maybe halfway useful.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/thenation/20050906/cm_thenation/120080

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 7, 2005 12:11 AM

It is true that the Homeland Security response plan calls for an incident to be handled at the lowest level! And "if' the Mayor and Governor didn't ask for assistance sooner, shame on them.
But it is also states: "In the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume primary responsibility on March 1st for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation. This will entail providing a coordinated, comprehensive federal response to any large-scale crisis and mounting a swift and effective recovery effort."

I would think Katrina qualified as a natural disaster.
I would not call the local actions signs of being prepared!
I would not call the federal response a "swift and effective recovery effort".

The federal response trigger should have been the 72 or even 48 hour track forecast and the declaration of a state of emergency (or federal disaster area, forget how they worded it), not the mayor telling the feds to "get off their asses"

We would need more fingers if we were to point at everything that went wrong here! Starts with the levees, funding, zoning and building standards (try rebuilding a storm damaged coastal home in the northeast without "stilts") a mandated evacuation of an immobile puopulation (while transportation sits idol) and it appears the mega criticism of the response caused Bush to kick some butt! Its no coincidence that the day after his visit no expense was spared.

Good reading: http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/interapp/editorial/editorial_0566.xml

Posted by: Bob | September 7, 2005 02:44 AM

I've noticed a few people here make a pretty big factual error by referring to the school buses as the city's own. In fact, they are privately owned by Laidlaw. the mayor could not have used those school buses unless Laidlaw had offered them up & they had evacuated, along with their drivers, well ahead of the manditory order.

A lot of mistakes were made, but let's not compound the problem by making false statements.

Posted by: Morague | September 7, 2005 05:46 AM

Kim wrote:

==========================================
"Someone tell her to shut up and get back to being a housewife, and maybe halfway useful."
==========================================

Some vengeful and ugly commentary that's as bad as they claim others said/done to them.

So Kim, would you roll back all the civil rights so women can be bare foot and pregnant again? Is this a sentiment of the Democrats now, to reduce human rights just to "get even"?

Barbara Bush at least has the diginity to not answer such ugly tripe. Something I suppose some folks have never learned at home -- things like civility and decency.

If you have anger use it constructively, not to tear down all of the gains. Blind anger is no better than those thugs who pray on the victims in New Orleans.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 08:39 AM

Harold Meyerson wrote:

===========================================
"But these are chronic conditions, and even many of us who argue for universal health coverage have grown inured to that distinctly American indifference to the common good, to our radical lack of solidarity with our fellow citizens. Besides, the poor generally have the decency to die discreetly, and discretely -- not conspicuously, not in droves."
===========================================

Now the above commentary from a WP columist may reflect way the numbers of that CNN/Gallup poll are so divided.

Perhaps WP will expand on this topic some more (in a better way than I, since I'm no grammar major). I post this as social commentary of the aftermath, since a counterpoint is needed (and no I'm not a heartless person for bringing this subject up).

Remember the Terri Schiavo death watch? What was the sentiment of folks then about healthcare? That it has gotten too "technical" that it deprived humans of dignity of a quick death? Transpose that sentiment to the aged, the infirm, and disabled in New Orleans (especially those on ventilators who didn't survive). It's technology that keeps them alive -- much longer than if they were never treated.

So why is it now there's a great call to help these 59/69/79/89 year-olds who languished in the heat and filth in New Orleans without medical aid? Those with CHF, CRF, COPD, cancer and other terminal illnesses can't live without chronic healthcare resources. Is it more dignified to look at the face of their illness and now claim we must do everything to save -- them (the cry for Universal Healthcare), meanwhile just hide from the Schiavo image of life extension?

What had changed? Is it that the victims in New Orleans were so many? They were poor? Or color? Mostly Democrat? Not fundie Christians from all White America? That it was so public that it can't be denied (unlike a disabled women in some hospice, hidden away)? Did guilt of "letting go" loved ones before rear it's ugly head to justify Schiavo's death (as denial is better than digging up questions if they suffered, or died too soon), but to have the sentiment of, "they're better off dead" to the thousands of the ill suffering last week would seem too barbaric (in truth, those needing urgent care may not last a month even with 24/7 continuious care)?

Now there seems to be a push we need "Universal Healthcare" so these poor and ill folks can get this very technologically advanced healthcare -- like it's a right. But ask yourself as you promote this healthcare, are you letting more Terri's exist by extending their lifetimes.

See the hypocrisy? See that there's really little difference of being outraged now for the 89 year-old suffering in the heat, and a 41 year-old on a ventilator as a "PVS" patient? They're both at the end of their lifetimes (that is for the Right to Die movement -- what usefulness the 89 year-old would have now, as well as the PVS patient?). Universal Healthcare would just extend their lives, that is unless the sentiment is that the monies for healthcare will be rationed and the infirmed will be the first to go.

Before folks run off and just claim that people are "racists" and don't care about the poor when looking at the polls, think about the ugly hell we've seen on TV last week, and what the world would be like if we "pulled the plug" on any human who someone else claims to be "beyond help." Especially when "Universal Healthcare" resorts to triaging those elderly, the disabled and infirmed like the medicos had to do in New Orleans.

The Aftermath of Katrina and the ordeal in New Orleans pulled back the curtain of a matter that folks would soon like to forget. That it'll always be the poor, the ill, and the silent that will die (and no amount of money thrown at a problem will resolve it).

Our society has become so disposible that humans are just flicked off outside on the roadway, or left floating for days in flood waters. The one sentiment we carried with us since Neandertal times, the care of the dead and sick, seems to be on the road to extinction. Will that mean as a species Mankind himself has devolved, so much so that the polls reflect our disregard to all life and care itself?

So many claimed Schiavo was "dead" and was willing to write her off. Is it anymore humane to disregard the same thousands in New Orleans because they're poor, of color and ill?

The only difference was one was "offed" in private, the others publicly.

As a country, and as a species, I wonder if Mankind will ever regard human beings as more than a stuffed trashbag, makeshift graves on a sidewalk, and those patients "snuffed out" quietly in thousands of state funded "universal healthcare" centers around the world.

New Orleans ripped more than just a class and race wound, it even questions our regard to our lives, our health and survival.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 09:57 AM


If Hussein decided to look into the reasons so many Kurdish people were killed during his command, would President Bush be OK with letting him head up the investigation?

If Schiavo had been in Louisiana, Miss, Alabama during this Catastrophe, would the Neocons moved her out quickly?

If the Food handout that was set up for Bush's photo op had attracted 10 starving citizens, would Bush's people have taken immediately away as they did?

If the United Nations investigates Crimal Behavior of Leaders of countries, would they take command of the investigation of why a leader let soo many people die under his command?

Bushneocons will probably babble off their "Talking Points" as commanded by their King, but we all know the answers to these easy questions.

We, the People, in order to form a more perfect union, must now demand this Administration be overturned immediately as the next disaster will be nothing short of "well things happen."

Frankie

Posted by: Frank | September 7, 2005 11:22 AM

The state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans, according to their own emergency operations plan, were responsible for the timely evacuation of that city, along with providing food, water, and security at the shelters throughout the area.
FEMA, a civilian organization, is not allowed to send its workers into any disaster zone until security has been established. I understand that the same holds true for the Red Cross.
I agree with Barbara's statement: Houston has done a miraculous(?) job in processing and providing for the survivors of Katrina. I can, however, understand why Post readers are ignorant of the individual and corporate efforts now underway in Texas to help the survivors recover and rebuild their lives: the Post isn't reporting anything about it.
Finally, those looking to play the blame game need search no further than Congress. Congress who remained on vacation while the rest of the government scrambled to deal with this disaster. Congress who established the DHS as a massive pork barrel project. Congress who found $230 million for a bridge to nowhere and nobody in Alaska, but cut funding for the Army Corps of Engineers' plans to re-enforce the levees of New Orleans. Congress who has repeatedly passed laws undercutting the military's ability to act effectively and quickly during domestic disasters with their mountains of red tape and bureaucratic mazes. And what have they done since? Grabbed every camera and microphone within reach to find somebody, anybody else but themselves to blame. They make me sick.

Posted by: Christine | September 7, 2005 12:02 PM

It doesn't matter if or when Neo-Cons would've rescued the Schiavos after Katrina. The problem is that our society thinks anything is expendable -- either based on race; religion; socio-economics; and even their health.

To ask for "Universal Healthcare" is to open a can of bitter worms, that defies all of the "talking points" about who to live and who shall die -- for it extends the ineviable (the neo-natal in a children's hospital, to the PVS patient in a hospice).

Do you plan to kill off the ill and old in private or public? Or do you fly into hypocrisy and claim everyone now needs help because it's so public (because they're mostly Black and poor)? Can't have it both ways, either you help and care for all, or you hold a hypocritical view of life and wish to cherry pick (thus, keeping the very same injustices you claim to fight against alive).

When a society fails to take care of it's sick and it's old, it devolves to something that's not humane anymore.

Some definitions for the lexicon happy...

From Merriam-Webster:
=====================

Main Entry: 1so·ci·e·ty
Pronunciation: s&-'sI-&-tE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
Etymology: Middle French societé, from Latin societat-, societas, from socius companion -- more at SOCIAL

[...]

3 a : an enduring and cooperating social group whose members have developed organized patterns of relationships through interaction with one another b : a community, nation, or broad grouping of people having common traditions, institutions, and collective activities and interests

Furthermore...

Main Entry: de·volve
Pronunciation: di-'välv, -'volv, dE-
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): de·volved; de·volv·ing
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin devolvere, from de- + volvere to roll -- more at VOLUBLE
transitive senses : to pass on (as responsibility, rights, or powers) from one person or entity to another
intransitive senses

[...]

3 : to degenerate through a gradual change or evolution

And...

Main Entry: hu·mane
Pronunciation: hyü-'mAn, yü-
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English humain
1 : marked by compassion, sympathy, or consideration for humans or animals

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 12:04 PM

Annie Applebaum hits the nail on the head!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/06/AR2005090601589.html

In every city in the country there is the population that relies on public transportation to get anywhere. They don't necessary have to be poor to not drive (NYC has many who have wealth, but no car), some can't due to their medications or because they're blind. So it's not just a socio-economic issue to avoid by planners.

Another issue is that disaster planning needs to incorporate the ASCPA and animal rescuers (especially after floods). Not only for humanity's sake, because adding more dead objects into the waste water isn't good for the public health (it costs more to clean it up, too). It also helps reduce the trauma, as our society becomes more and more caring to companion animals.

Furthermore, in every region there should be a military base that is on standby, stocked with at least 3 days worth of life's basics (water/food/first aid equipment/critical meds [New Orleans shows us those with CHF and CRF need supplies that's lost or destroyed] that can be AIR DROPPED anywhere in the USA on short notice (at least in 24hrs). As long as a population has water/food/meds it can wait until the "calvary" comes to rescue them -- even in the most rural regions.

Finally, restart the Civil Defense network again. Many cities still have those old shelters, and they need to be revisited. During the Cold War they were always stocked with water/food/COMMUNICATION equipment. Communities with Neighborhood Watches can have a block captain, who's job is to ensure everyone in their neighborhood gets the dire warnings, too (either by verbal communication, or taping a notice on their front door). The CD captain would then inform the police if anyone stays behind if they must be evacuated by force or rescued.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 12:40 PM

I know that nobody likes to "blame the victim" in situations like this, but some of the responsibility for the tragedy in New Orleans must lay with the residents who refused to evacuate when they were told to do so. To the people of New Orleans: you live in a bowl, most of which is below sea level. If you are told to evacuate, do it. If you don't have a car, borrow one, hitch hike, walk, bike, do whatever you need to do to get out of harms way. Bring your medications and bring your pets. If for some reason you cannot bring your pets, have a viable alternative plan for them. Every time I see an animal stranded on a rooftop, it breaks my heart. I don't worry about the people because they have the tools to survive - reason, opposable thumbs, can openers. Pets do not. And the people are being rescued by the thousands. Pets are not.

New Orleans residents should have heeded official warnings and left the area. I liken this behavior to remaining inside a building while the fire alarms are sounding. Refusing to evacuate a building carries with it a $500 fine and up to a year in jail because these individuals are putting rescue workers lives in danger. The people of New Orleans who refused to heed the mandatory evacuation put rescue workers lives in danger. Nobody is talking about that. Everyone's talking about the languid local and federal response but no one is willing to discuss the role that residents played.

The notion that race was a factor in the slow state and federal response is asinine. Insinuating that there are politicians out there, sitting in their office, refusing to send aid because most of the affected faces are black is absolutely ludicrous. The reason for the slow response is a "perfect storm" of factors, including the behavior of a small percentage of evacuees. I simply cannot fathom why residents would shoot at medevac helicopters and ambulances. If bus drivers, rescue personnel, and health care workers are concerned about safety, they cannot do their job. I ask those who think race was a factor contributing to the sluggish response to look at the residents of Biloxi and Gulfport. Most of those faces are white and they're not getting help any faster.

Posted by: Shannon | September 7, 2005 02:07 PM

Shannon wrote:

===========================================
"Refusing to evacuate a building carries with it a $500 fine and up to a year in jail because these individuals are putting rescue workers lives in danger."
===========================================

That's reasonable ***if***

1. Pets have somewhere to goto in an emergency -- as irrational as some folks think it is, some people really do think of their pets as kids. No sane parent would leave their kids to die, no "fur ball" parent would think of it, either. To rip their pets away from them is like stealing their kids, and no one needs anymore trauma in an emergency. Easiest way to do this is designate some shelters for pets owners (where the ASPCA/rescuers can stay and help out as well).

2. If folks without transportation are offered a ride out and offered shelter.

Anyone else who CHOOSES to remain could be fined -- as yes, it's not pleasant duty picking up "floaters" (which are some of the worst dead bodies to retrieve -- one prick to that gas bubble......nevermind).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 03:06 PM

SandyK,
Amen to the pets comments. I'm a pet owner and do refer to my canines as "furry children." If this were to happen where I live (heaven forbid), I'm taking the dogs with me even if I have to put on their harnesses and carry them. Rescuers forcing people to leave behind their pets are asking them to make an impossible (and illegal) choice. I whole-heartedly agree that there needs to be ASPCA/HSUS/FEMA/state & local law enforcement/etc cooperation when it comes to the issue of pet evacuation.

Posted by: Shannon | September 7, 2005 03:32 PM

What's all this hoorah about the school buses? As somebody has pointed out, they didn't even belong to the city. But even if they did, or if the city had contracted ahead of time for their use in an emergency, their use to evacuate folks is NOT that simple. It has to be part of a comprehensive plan known far in advance. You have to have drivers designated ahead; routes; notification of what the routes would be - and keep in mind, the folks who would need the buses aren't the most plugged in of our citizenry. And if you DID get the drivers to the buses, and they were fully gassed up and could take off around known routes, and the people who needed them knew where to meet them, and everybody understood what they could and could not take, where would they go?
When I worked for the Federal Gov't some years ago, I worked with the guy who BUILT FEMA. The man was obsessed, but he knew his job. He made sure there were warehouses full of supplies, and transportation identified to take this stuff to whereever it might be needed at a moment's notice. There were Federal employees who had as "extra duties" that they would drop whatever they were doing and report for duty at a moment's notice in the case of emergency. You didn't hear the sort of complaints about FEMA after the Oakland earthquate that you hear now - the Feds were crawling around building that were in immanent danger of collapse the very next day. And that emergency wasn't expected.
Hey, this really makes you feel secure about our Gov't's response in case of say, a sudden bomb attack in DC.

Posted by: Anne S. | September 7, 2005 05:35 PM

The Aftermath: Nagin's bio at Wikipedia
========================================

A heads up for those not following the meltdown at the Wikipedia discussion site over the Nagin biography...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Ray_Nagin#Furious

Now that is really, really sad. Not even the people's encyclopedia is free of the partisan hogwash.

Can't a simple biography be written without partisan infighting?

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 06:58 PM

Kim wrote:

==========================================
"Someone tell her to shut up and get back to being a housewife, and maybe halfway useful."
==========================================

Some vengeful and ugly commentary that's as bad as they claim others said/done to them.

So Kim, would you roll back all the civil rights so women can be bare foot and pregnant again? Is this a sentiment of the Democrats now, to reduce human rights just to "get even"?

Barbara Bush at least has the diginity to not answer such ugly tripe. Something I suppose some folks have never learned at home -- things like civility and decency.

If you have anger use it constructively, not to tear down all of the gains. Blind anger is no better than those thugs who pray on the victims in New Orleans.

SandyK
------------
You insult housewives. I just figured someone who could say something so stupid should go home and make herself useful instead oif inflicting herself on the rest of us.

I think she's a bit old to get pregnant, but she can take her shoes off if she likes.

I'm a feminist - women can do what they want - stay home, work or both. It's not my place to decide or judge, except in the case when someone stands up in public and decides to say something so moronic, demeaning and insensitive, then I figure we all have free rein to make any comment we want.

We both live in democracies, in theory, don't we?

There was NO civility and decency in the comments she made. She should go home OR get out there and so some social work for the refugees.
(Note: for the squeamish among you, refugees are simply people who seek refuge. I think even Americans qualify for the term, even if many out there are racist enough to believe that only starving Africans can be refugees, for example)

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 7, 2005 08:27 PM

You're a feminist???? Of Susan B. Anthony type??

No, Kim, what was stated is the same type of junk some conservatives try to excuse in saying the "N" word. It's ugly.

Barbara Bush was a trendsetter in her time, going to college when most women were still housewives. She also has more class than most of these foul mouthed "hit and run" types, who claim to be activists but are couch potatoes -- who probably don't even bother to vote.

I've been voting since Reagan was in office; and also helped to change healthcare law in my state. Takes a lot more than a big mouth and a modem to get anything done -- which is why most of the Dem pushes are failing (they don't seem to know politicking at the grassroots level to get anything done). You know who spearheaded that healthcare law change? Republican activists, as the Dems were nowhere in sight. When the most vulnerable needed help, Dems dropped the ball. It's a shame.

And no I'm not even a Republican.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 09:14 PM

Sorry - don't even know who Susan B Anthony is. Guess I'll resort to Google again.

Nice to hear you are a voter - someone over there has to be.

I get the feeling your opinions and my opinions are not so dissimilar - I just express them differently and you took umbrage at that particular jibe. No worries - it was the effect it was meant to have, but perhaps not on someone who cares quite as much about the right things. :)

Pax,

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 7, 2005 09:20 PM

Re: Susan B Anthony. And the problem with her was? Looks like she was a great woman.
Why use her name to try to call me names?

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 7, 2005 09:29 PM

Oh, and Australians call a spade a definite shovel. We aren't known for endless tact and subtlety (or pretentiousness).

We just say it like it is. Sometimes other people find it a little off-putting. :}

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 7, 2005 09:40 PM

Kim,

Susan B. Anthony was a feminist that didn't want to "rock the boat". She still felt women had to fulfill certain "womanly" roles. Her "old fashioned" views on gender roles caused a major split in the US woman's movement, as well.

So making a remark about Mrs. Bush going back to being a housewife would've been more to Anthony's views, compared to say, Elizabeth Stanton.

SandyK
An ERA Amendment supporter ;)

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 09:50 PM

Oh, ok, I didn't see that on the sites I checked out, but maybe they were just trying to be brief.

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 7, 2005 10:08 PM

"Barbara Bush was a trendsetter in her time, going to college when most women were still housewives."

And this makes her very lucky and priviledged - and possibly not the right person to suggest to a bunch of poor, undereducated people that the hurricane has been good for them. She probably still has her house, her friends, her children...but what about the "lucky poor" people she was talking about?

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 7, 2005 10:36 PM

Isn't it fitting that Bush took 5 days to respond to a natural disaster in a city filled with mostly poor people and only about 5 hours to respond to the death of a wealthy and prominent Judge. Bush's slow response to the hurricane disaster in New Orleans is a case of the have's and have not's. GW Bush's true colors are not red, white and blue. They are green and will always be green.

Posted by: mike m | September 7, 2005 11:26 PM

Kim,

We all have luck and we all can have breaks. Folks have a choice to look at the world as being half empty or half full, but God has given everyone gifts to use. Some are good with their hands; some with their head; others with physical skill, but no one is hopeless.

Life is very rough. Some have rotten luck (I know that well, being disabled early in life). But if folks continue to see someone else getting something they don't have, their luck will continuely get worse. To get over obstacles that life throws, one has to concentrate on their well-being, not worry about what the Jones' have or have not. For tomorrow their luck can change, and all they have can go out the window -- like with a tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.

Class warfare makes good political talk, but it does little to help those who need a handUP not an handOUT. People need to learn how to fish, not just get handed fish to eat and expect more.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 11:38 PM

Yes, but there must be something quite, quite wrong in a society if there are people who apparently cannot escape the poverty cycle.
Sure, being "not rich" is no great hassle, people have been poor all through history and yet we've made it this far, but back in the old days people were poor because that was the class God had "chosen" to put them in. Not many people despised people for being poor, they just _were_ poor and that was the natural state of the universe.

Now, people are poor because they are evil, hopeless, lazy, stupid, etc.
Is this true 100% of the time?
What about the people who are poor because they can't get jobs or education because their families "need them"? What about people who are poor because they don't have the money to buy a car, get an education and go to a better area to get a better job? etc, etc, etc.

the problem as it see it: people are taught that the only real God is the god of consumption. Greed is good. You can't live properly unless you have the best and the latest toys. You are nothing without spending money.

People who are poor look at the people who are rich and want what they have. They want their possessions, their looks, their influence and their luck and good treatment.

If they don't get it, they either slide into a slump, having no drive to try any better to look after themselves and just live and make do with what they have (ie: accept themselves), or they try too hard, get into crime and _then_ slide into a slump from whcih they cannot escape.

Something has to change. Consumption is not, in itself, a bad thing, but Consumption as God and as the only way to live is absolutely evil.

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 12:13 AM

Actually, maybe people don't need to escape the "poverty cycle". Perhaps society needs to escape the "wealth cycle".

Maybe we need to create a "community cycle", or a "care cycle".

Or an "education cycle".

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 12:15 AM

Venezuelan help not good enough?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/katrina/story/0,16441,1564248,00.html

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 04:52 AM

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 04:56 AM

Kim wrote:

===========================================
'Actually, maybe people don't need to escape the "poverty cycle". Perhaps society needs to escape the "wealth cycle".'
===========================================

Actually they do. Poverty is the pariah of society from the earliest times. It's how a few can control the many (by just giving the masses enough to exist, the few can keep revolution at bay).

To advocate keeping people poor and excusing it, is to advocate they remain slaves.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 8, 2005 09:44 AM

What kind of leader would allow N.O. to go for so long without help which put so many lives at at risk? This is cruel and our FEMA leader lacks the skills to handle an emergency and will likely continue to do so. What a shame.

Posted by: JED | September 8, 2005 12:13 PM

I am stunned by the ignorance of those who live far from the Gulf as to "how to do a hurricane." I lived in Houston for over thirty years, and went through the cleanup after Alicia in 1983. Here's how it works:

Every year, local papers across the region announce hurricane season. They generally include a map of evacuation routes and local shelters, along with a list of supplies and preparations residents need to take care of themselves. As the storm approaches, people head to the stores for food, water, batteries, charcoal -- the usual -- and call their pharmacies to refill any needed meds. Plywood's always a big item, although many old-timers just store it from year to year. In other words, people make their own preparations because they know for the first couple of days, they may be on their own.
After the storm passes, the city rushes in to restore services and clear debris, while individuals start to pick up the pieces. The police and fire departments are called up in force to maintain order.
Then, you get the state and Red Cross with their recovery agencies, then FEMA moves in with their checkbook.

Nobody with any sense or experience with a major hurricane expects FEMA or the RED Cross to arrive the next day, or the cavalry to arrive from DC. It's just not possible. With the flooding and debris on the roads and airport runways, it's simply not possible.

I know from experience who's supposed to do what and when. And in this instance, while the Feds may have acted in a less than stellar fashion, the primary responsibility for the citizens of New Orleans rested on its mayor and governor. They both failed dismally.

Posted by: Christine | September 8, 2005 01:16 PM

Christine,

If you're so experienced in Hurricane survival, you'll also know that residents will find ways to get in and out of even hurricane damaged areas (yes even roads that are full of downed trees).

When Hurricane Hugo hit around here, guys with 4x4s went out to SC with chainsaws, and cut a path in the roads so traffic can resume. Even though the easiest route over the river was washed out (took 1/2 the road out).

If some good o' boys in their pick'em up trucks could do what even FEMA couldn't, what's the excuse for the federal "calvary" (besides red tape) for not getting to New Orleans hours later?

None.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 8, 2005 04:01 PM

On a complete and utter sidenote, I must thank Emily Messner for the link to the photo of Dubya and his new guitar. As a member of the Los Angeles music/recording industry (many of us being anti-Bush), that photo is priceless; I'm already sending it out to many a musical friend. Seeing that ass behind his ax has brought a smile to my face during this national disaster. If Dubya were a musician and not a politician, he would have been booed off-stage long ago for being such a lousy performer. LOL and thanks again. : )

Posted by: ErrinF | September 8, 2005 04:09 PM

Just a reminder. The question as to who is to blame when a national emergency situation is botched was long ago settled when Harry Truman set his famous name plate on his Oval Office desk saying "The Buck Stops Here".
I suppose however with GWBs record of refusing to take responibility for any kind of failure that the current denizen of the White House has a somewhat different name plate on his desk, to wit "The Buck Passed Here Sometime Ago".

Posted by: Birddog08 | September 8, 2005 06:56 PM

No - I don't mean everyone should be kept poor, I'm just saying that 3 people being unimaginably wealthy while most other people go hungry is very, very wrong.

Wealth, like food and health care, shoudl be spread more evenly.

I'm not advocating communism, I just think people's morals and aims and the way big business runs needs a lot of correction.

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 08:29 PM

The reality of the situation is that New Orleans asked for help before the Hurricane touched down on the ground - the President ACCEPTED the responsibility for helping to evacuate those people and they didn't do it. To the guy who said that it's the residents responbilitiy to get out. Where the F#CK do you think that those 100,000 poor people were gonna go? How were they gonna get back? What about the old people in the nursing home who couldn't get out? Were they supposed to walk? Do you think that the National Guard members that are over in Iraq destroying that country could have been used to help re-construct New Orleans. I've finally understood that the current Repubs in office are inwardly directed, selfish people, frightened by change, unsure of themselves, shameless, hungry for attention, and morally corrupt. They see horrible situations as opportunities to expand their power base. They seek positions of power in order to make themselves and others feel as they are valid. Anything that threatens that - especially truth, is denied and pushed away.

Black people - there is an election in 2006, YOU HAVE TO VOTE in 2006 to get more representation in the House and Senate. YOU HAVE TO VOTE. YOU HAVE TO VOTE. YOU HAVE TO VOTE. They only look at themselves and what situations, things, or people can do for them. I finally understand that most, but certainly not all, of the current Republicans in leadership have NO POLITICAL COURAGE or EMPATHY. They are evil. I never thought I would ever use that word to describe a person or group of people - but, they are EVIL for so many reasons: they lie, cut social benefits, and don't have the ability to express an apologize or sympathy. NONE of them have really stood up and admitted wrong doing in the 5 years of this evil "leader." These guys have KILLED people now - KILLED - and the fact that Bush asked Senator Nancy Pelosi what didn't go right? HUH?

Posted by: Perry | September 8, 2005 08:38 PM

The reality of the situation is that New Orleans asked for help before the Hurricane touched down on the ground - the President ACCEPTED the responsibility for helping to evacuate those people and they didn't do it. To the guy who said that it's the residents responbilitiy to get out. Where the F#CK do you think that those 100,000 poor people were gonna go? How were they gonna get back? What about the old people in the nursing home who couldn't get out? Were they supposed to walk? Do you think that the National Guard members that are over in Iraq destroying that country could have been used to help re-construct New Orleans. I've finally understood that the current Repubs in office are inwardly directed, selfish people, frightened by change, unsure of themselves, shameless, hungry for attention, and morally corrupt. They see horrible situations as opportunities to expand their power base. They seek positions of power in order to make themselves and others feel as they are valid. Anything that threatens that - especially truth, is denied and pushed away.

Black people - there is an election in 2006, YOU HAVE TO VOTE in 2006 to get more representation in the House and Senate. YOU HAVE TO VOTE. YOU HAVE TO VOTE. YOU HAVE TO VOTE. They only look at themselves and what situations, things, or people can do for them. I finally understand that most, but certainly not all, of the current Republicans in leadership have NO POLITICAL COURAGE or EMPATHY. They are evil. I never thought I would ever use that word to describe a person or group of people - but, they are EVIL for so many reasons: they lie, cut social benefits, and don't have the ability to express an apologize or sympathy. NONE of them have really stood up and admitted wrong doing in the 5 years of this evil "leader." These guys have KILLED people now - KILLED - and the fact that Bush asked Senator Nancy Pelosi what didn't go right? HUH?

Posted by: Perry | September 8, 2005 08:39 PM

Go Perry! Wot you sed!

Everyone must vote - get rid of your corrupt, evil government and then maybe the rest of the world won't have to duck anymore everytime Bush sneezes.

By the way, is Bush still eating pretzels?
We can only hope...Lighting has struck twice sometimes, I'm sure...

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 09:20 PM

I sure hope Bush doesn't choke on a pretzel. I want him to live a long, healthy life so he can see himself remembered as one of the worst presidents ever.

Posted by: ErrinF | September 8, 2005 11:02 PM

I'm from Canada and extend to all who are suffering from this terrible tragedy my deepest sympathy - my heart aches for you. I just wanted to ask re that photo of Dubya with the guitar if anyone noticed that little flicker of "something" zipping out in the area by Dub's mouth... Forked tongue, anyone?

Posted by: Penny | September 8, 2005 11:07 PM

Thanks for pointing that out, Errin, I always knew I hated country music... ;)

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 9, 2005 02:55 AM

Well, Kim, as a recording engineer and musician, I don't know if I condone hating any type of music, but I get your point... especially the country music these days that is jingoistic and apologistic and often showcased on FOXnews. Maybe you'd like alternative country if you gave it a listen... the music of Rhett Miller and the Old 97s would be a good start.
On the same musical tangent, I have worked with a lot of talented musicians from Canada, and I must thank Penny for his/her sympathy for our country. Thank you; I have yet to meet a Canadian I didn't like (well, maybe David Foster...j/k). Right now, I kind of wish I was in the Prairies, peacefully away from this dysfunctional, declining country of mine...

Posted by: | September 9, 2005 02:00 PM

I've been a little off-topic with the guitar thing, so I thought I'd go back on-topic and say that this current political crisis is not only the President's least finest hour, but the entire Bush family is exposing themselves as not being the finest either.
Barbara Bush's comments about poor people were a glimpse into the real views of the Bush family, a family of politics, power, and prestige. George Sr's comments during press conferences have been dismissive of the crisis as just what comes with the territory of any President, as if the lame response to Katrina WASN'T a self-inflicted wound by Jr's administration.
What I find most reprehensible now is that Laura Bush is starting to label criticism of her husband as 'disgusting'. What I find disgusting is Laura Bush's innocent, wholesome housewife shtick, as if she doesn't take her cues from Karl Rove like the rest of the Bush administration. I am at my limit with these politicians (and Laura Bush is a politician) always putting their game faces on, hiding their corruption and manipulation behind wholesome images. It should be quite obvious to the American people by now that anybody in the Bush family has a political agenda for everything they say or do.
Hurricane Katrina has exposed what a classist society we have. George W Bush is president because his family is at the top of our classist country; He obviously isn't there for the public good, especially those parts of the public that are poor. Disgusting.

Posted by: ErrinF | September 9, 2005 02:22 PM

What does partisanship have to do in helping all those displaced from Katrina?

This is the fractured face of the Democrat Party in all it's glory. Throw everything in a blender, and drink it, and vomit it -- hoping s-o-m-e-t-h-i-n-g sticks.

Notice no united message about doing something about Katrina -- only the blame game? That's all they can do, sulk and whine.

Then they wonder why they're not winning elections that count? They have no united platform on anything. It's still ABB mentality, long after the election.

The Repubs are currently changing their philosophy and dropping the moral values side (which will only appeal more to the moderate majority, as it was a sore point for them), while Dems are still hoping the ABB ploy will stick. When? When Bush is 10 years out of office??

It's not that Rove is a genius in politics, it's that the opposition is soooo stupid -- they literally hand over elections as they trip over themselves (royally, like getting a NE candidate [Kerry] when they need a Southern candidate to upset the Repub gains). I live in Dem country, but when Kerry was nominated not one sign of support did I see for him by my neighbors -- it's like he was an embarassment.

They have no clue in politicking, let alone know how to run a government -- ask Kennedy and how he destroyed Carter's Administration (another example of cannibalism at it's finest, only to alienate the country to elect a 2 term conservative). Real fine track record, Dems.

Not!

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 9, 2005 04:10 PM


I wish the television media would post the picture of Bush on a stage playing a guitar with a country singer on Tuesday August 30, one day after hurricane katrina struck. I would like to hear his excuse for being on stage smiling instead of being on his way to the devastated hurricane area where thousands of American citizens were dying. I would bet that if this hurricane struck Corpus Christie or some other Texas area full of wealthy Bush supporters, he would have been there in hours after the storm hit, cancelling his guitar playing gig.

Posted by: mike m | September 10, 2005 08:10 AM

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