SOTU: Where's Katrina?

(I arrived home -- jetlagged and totally worn out -- just in time for the State of the Union address.)

Has anyone noticed that the State of the Union is always "strong"? In 2004 and 2005, the state of the union was "confident and strong." In 2002, it had "never been stronger." In Clinton's 2000 SOTU, it was "the strongest it has ever been." See for yourself -- do a search for the word strong (it pops up several times) in the speeches for 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. (In 2001, Bush gave a "budget address.")

Bush's State of the Union speech last night (view excerpts here) was considerably less ambitious than some of his previous efforts -- no Axis of Evil or Social Security overhaul here -- and quite a bit of it felt like a rebuttal to opponents and a rallying of the base.

One thing that struck me was that the defining domestic event of 2005 -- Hurricane Katrina -- was only referenced three times, and only indirectly, never by name.

Katrina was first referenced as something that didn't derail the economy:

Even in the face of higher energy prices and natural disasters, the American people have turned in an economic performance that is the envy of the world.

Then here, hidden in a discussion of moral decline:

Yet many Americans, especially parents, still have deep concerns about the direction of our culture and the health of our most basic institutions.
They are concerned about unethical conduct by public officials and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage. They worry about children in our society who need direction and love, and about fellow citizens still displaced by natural disaster, and about suffering caused by treatable diseases.
As we look at these challenges, we must never give in to the belief that America is in decline or that our culture is doomed to unravel.

And most directly here, sandwiched between discussions of educational improvement and HIV/AIDS:

A hopeful society comes to the aid of fellow citizens in times of suffering and emergency and stays at it until they're back on their feet.
So far, the federal government has committed $85 billion to the people of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. We are removing debris and repairing highways and rebuilding stronger levees. We're providing business loans and housing assistance.
Yet, as we meet these immediate needs, we must also address deeper challenges that existed before the storm arrived.
In New Orleans and in other places, many of our fellow citizens have felt excluded from the promise of our country.
The answer is not only temporary relief, but schools that teach every child, and job skills that bring upward mobility, and more opportunities to own a home and start a business.
As we recover from a disaster, let us also work for the day when all Americans are protected by justice; equal in hope and rich in opportunity.

For such a huge disaster -- one that destroyed an entire city, killed more than a thousand people and displaced hundreds of thousands more, and exposed a big pile of underlying societal problems that this country must address -- eight sentences and two clauses out of a 5000-word speech seems a bit slim.

John Dickerson looks at the history of the State of the Union, pointing out that Thomas Jefferson chose to deliver his reports to the Congress by mail because "the ceremony smacked too much of the British monarchy." (That tradition continued until 1913, when Woodrow Wilson turned the SOTU back into a speech. Looking at the "great American ego trip" -- I believe that was the wording used by CBS news -- that the SOTU has become, one could be forgiven for wishing Wilson had left well enough alone.) This morning, Dickerson called the speech "partisan," saying Bush "depicted those who oppose him as lazy, retreating, and negative."

For a useful summary of speech coverage in the top newspapers, see Eric Umansky's column. Umansky mentions that a lot of the headlines didn't exactly match the stories. One example was this headline from the New York Times: "BUSH, RESETTING AGENDA, SAYS U.S. MUST CUT RELIANCE ON OIL."

Umansky says, "Whoever wrote that might have benefited from reading one of the nation's best papers, the New York Times. As the Times mentioned inside, the only thing the president is 'resetting' is the clock: 'Bush has called in each of his past four State of the Union addresses for a reduction in the dependence on foreign oil.'"

Plenty of bloggers have also weighed in on the speech -- see here for a list of some of them.

Debaters, your thoughts?

By Emily Messner |  February 1, 2006; 6:17 AM ET  | Category:  Beltway Perspectives
Previous: Three Major Views on Hamas Win | Next: Spending and the Leadership Vote

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



The President says the state of our Union is strong because it is. If you focus on the negative that's what you'll get. I felt the address was very powerful and motivating. He did rebut his opponents and very well I might add. The focus of the speech was the Middle East and it very well should have been. From the war, to the energy crisis, to the wiretapping; it all boils down to our relationship with the countries there. Ofcourse the libs will find a reason to hate, or create one. And Hurricane Katrina was hardly the defining moment of 2005. The media paid to my attention to idiots like Kanye West. You know what I remember, those animals down there shooting at the helicopters coming in to aid them.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | February 1, 2006 08:58 AM

Alex, to say that Katrina was not a defining moment of 2005 is an insult to most Americans, especially those still living in trailers and hotels. A major American city destroyed and it received little to no part of the speech. As an American I was embarrassed but not surprised since Bush ignored the situation as it unfolded so why should he care now.

And please provide the evidence of "those animals down there shooting at the helicopters coming in to aid them". The is no evidence except for rumors that were quickly passed alone by journalists and quickly believed by people ready to believe it. He is one link to chew on:
http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/12801034.htm

As far as wiretapping, the president is shaping the debate to be one of whether to wiretap or not. That is not the issue. Wiretapping is proper and has been going on even under Clinton. The issue is whether he needs to get a warrant when wiretapping people in the US. The law says he has to. The Constitution says he has to. Bush says he doesn't need to because he is the president. That is his position. The debate is whether the president can disobey the law, an impeachable offense.

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 09:39 AM

My primary reaction to the speech was: was it the State of the Union or State of the Middle East?

Posted by: Matthew | February 1, 2006 10:00 AM

Alex (or should I call you America's Hero?),

You said:
"The President says the state of our Union is strong because it is. If you focus on the negative that's what you'll get."

I don't think anyone would suggest that the Union is, despite it's problems, anything but consistently in pretty good shape. But perhaps mixing up the word choice once in a while might be nice. If the word strong is used routinely, it kind of loses meaning.

I don't think there is a "strong" vs. negative dichotomy. You can use a word other than strong without having to be negative...

Derek.

Posted by: Derek - America's Anti-Hero | February 1, 2006 10:51 AM

King George II spoke about freedom while arresting Cindy Sheehan in the Gallery.

She was arrested for wearing a solgan. The king did nothing but speak in slogans (aka sound bites for the TV reporters).

All hail Democracy, I have not seen such a farce since Chicago 68 when it was the Democrats turn to turn the American Values upside down.

Posted by: Hal | February 1, 2006 11:00 AM

I'm with Alex here. I didn't catch all of what Bush said last night (crying children will do that to you) but I was impressed by what I did hear. He confronted his critics and laid out his vision. His focus was the ME, which is what it should have been. Katrina? Well, what he should have done is call the governor and the mayor of New Orleans to the carpet and exposed them for the incompetant buffons they are.

Posted by: D. | February 1, 2006 11:39 AM

Oh, and can someone politely inform Ms. Sheehan that her 15 minutes are up? Well, maybe not until she runs for Senate against Feinstein...that should make for great theater. Karl Rove couldn't have scripted that one.

Or maybe he did...hmmmm.....

Posted by: D. | February 1, 2006 11:41 AM

Ol' Cindy is suing under the first ammendment for having been thrown out of the gallery for having a T-shirt that read "2245 Dead. How many more?".

Now I don't know what the rules/laws are in the Capitol but its worth noting that Cindy was not the only person thrown out of the gallery. According to the Post, Beverly Young, wife of Rep. C.W. Bill Young of Florida, chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee, was removed from the gallery because she was wearing a T-shirt that read, "Support the Troops Defending Our Freedom."

I guess the republicans who think laws only apply to non-republicans are a bit upset right now. According to law enforcement, both were protesting. HA!

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 11:56 AM

The problem with the SOTU was the same problem with everything this president says: it doesn't mean anything. After Katrina, Bush hustled down to Jackson Square to give a speech promising to rebuild New Orleans, no matter what it takes. It was the kind of speech presidents often give in the face of grave national emergencies.
The difference between this president and every other president, however, is that -- as soon as the T.V. cameras stopped rolling -- Bush promptly forgot about his promise.
The death of a great American city. That's what has happened in New Orleans. You can blame it on the Mayor and the Governor and anybody else but the president. But I was always raised on the belief that "The Buck Stops" in the Oval Office. That the president of the United States would fiddle while a major American city dies a slow death is one of the more shameful acts of this shameless president.

Posted by: Zona | February 1, 2006 12:10 PM

Oh, yeah ... and, unfortunately for Cindy Sheehan, her "15 minutes may be up," but her son is still dead.

Posted by: Zona | February 1, 2006 12:18 PM

The first comment, signed Alex Ham-America's Hero (are you for real?) pretty much says it all. The country is strong, wiretapping is cool, and the people who's lives were destroyed in New Orleans by Katrina were really not people at all but "...animals down there shooting at the helicopters..."
Amerika speaks.

Posted by: Don Hendriks | February 1, 2006 12:26 PM

Wearing a t-shirt to the SOTU, much like wearing sweatpants out in public, is just, well, wrong. Good on security for tossing them both out, whatever their political leanings. This is the SOTU, not a taping of the Letterman show. Show a sense of decorum.

As for the katrina response, yes, hold Bush accountable for the administrations haphazard response but don't let the locals off the hook. As with any response to an emergency, the responsibility lies with the local administration first and foremost. Don't deflect your own ineptitude to someone else higher up in the chain. The Mississippi gulf coast took a pounding as well but the local and state government reacted promptly. Of course, that state's run by a republican.

Posted by: D. | February 1, 2006 12:26 PM

I had the exact same impression of the speech as Emily... the absence of any real discussion of Katrina was conspicuous, especially considering the speech was supposed to be about the state our country is in. I don't think Bush and the Republicans want to face up to the fact that Katrina re-defined the political situation in America. They're either in a state of denial or deliberately trying to bury the issue; Probably a bit of both. Being that the situation down in New Orleans has yet to fully play out, and another hurricane season will occur before elections roll around, Bush better be more mindful of New Orleans and the Katrina recovery than he was in his State Of The Union speech.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 1, 2006 12:26 PM

Also MIA with Katrina was the Prescription Drug benefit. It's the biggest (implemented) domestic initiative of the Bush presidency, and it was enacted just this month. Why leave it out? Oh right--the political appointees in charge of that one did about as well as the political appointees in charge of FEMA did in the Gulf.

The olive branch to environmentalists--subsidies for energy research--was impossible to hear without cynicism. Competition for oil with the rest of the world, especially Asia, is going to force energy companies to expand their sources. Now the President has offered to subsidize their efforts. So much for limited government.

But the main problem with the speech was neither what was left out, what was put in nor how anything was spun. The main problem was that the president's no-holds-barred approach to governing and campaigning over the past years has created a perception among his opponents that he in not capable of entering into negotiations or policy discussions in good faith. In short, he has won office and power at the expense of the good will needed to effectively govern. It's a real pity, and probably the biggest problem we're facing at the moment.

Posted by: Zakariah | February 1, 2006 12:39 PM

Another glaring omission from Bush's speech was that his 'terrorist surveillance' program involves spying on American citizens without getting a warrant. He's also downplaying the domestic spying program's scope; It goes beyond the simplistic 'if you're talking to Al Qaeda, we want to know why'. We'll see if the Rove/Luntz strategy of careful word choice will save Bush when it comes to his deliberately ignoring the FISA law.
What's comical is how the press and pundits kept talking about how Bush's approval was inching up in the polls because of the domestic spying issue, but now we find that Bush has dropped in the polls once again, back to 39% or 40% after being at 43% for a few weeks. In the past, Bush has always dropped in the polls after he delivers a State Of The Union speech; That he dropped in approval before the speech is very telling, and we'll see if his approval continues to drop after the speech as well.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 1, 2006 12:40 PM

ErrinF: I was thinking the same thing. Another season of monster hurricanes obliterating parts of the Gulf Coast, followed by a less-than-adequate Federal response (but better than Brownies!), will seal the transfer of at least the Senate back into Democratic control. Heck, if even a slight amount of flooding occurs again in NO the minority vote shifts to the Democrats.

Bush's "global warming, what's that?" attitude is going to start to take a beating if we have another summer like the last one. Weak statistical counterarguments aren't going to hold much water (pardon the pun!) if another major US city gets clobbered. Suddenly the environmentalists will suddenly look like they might have a point. Just sitting around doing absolutely nothing but playing the blame game is going to look pretty weak after 6 years of Republican rule.

Posted by: lpdrjk | February 1, 2006 12:47 PM

The Mississippi gulf coast took a pounding as well but the local and state government reacted promptly. Of course, that state's run by a republican.
Posted by: D. | Feb 1, 2006 12:26:15 PM

D is such a pathetic partisan hack. His spin on Katrina is predictable, as are his Bush apologist ways.
Missississippi didn't have New Orleans in it. You can't even begin to compare the two. D's just playing the blame game to defend his beloved politician, George Bush. The buck stops at the president; FEMA was a failure due to cronyism, and George Bush lacked leadership to properly handle the Katrina crisis. The American voter will remember that come Election Day, no matter what partisan excuses the likes of D try to make.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 1, 2006 12:52 PM

lpdrjk,
Its not just "environmentalists" that are making the point about global warming. Its American scientists employeed by the federal government at NOAA and NASA. Pressure is being put on them and they now need clearance for any scientific presentations they give.

You might as well have Exxon running this country with Bush/Cheney in power...

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 12:55 PM

As if in response to D's comment we have this WaPo article to go look at.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/01/AR2006020100712.html

D will, of course, ignore it entirely or rave about the GAO being a "well-known bastion of liberal dogma" or some other bunch of Limbaugh-inspired turd droppings.

Posted by: lpdrjk | February 1, 2006 12:56 PM

Well Alex Ham, such a fitting sir name. Most of the stranded starving U.S. citizens that you refer to as "animals" in New Orleans were African Americans. There never were any confirmed shots at rescue helicopters. Just rumors and there have been many rumors pertaining to George Bush, I guess those are true too? It seems if we can rescue Iraq Citizens with all the shots and more being fired at us, we still could have saved the citizens of New Orleans with the rumor of one shot.

The local Democrat's could not respond with over 90% of the National Guard trucks in Iraq and we know who put the rescue equipment there. And then the flooded school buses that could have rescued 75,000 people, come on, not even a 1,000 could have been moved with those buses.

Come on Alex, show us your swastika. I hope you're not the typical Republican, if you are then conservative is obscene name.

Posted by: Jamal | February 1, 2006 12:58 PM

How classy ErrinF. A few posts into the "debate" and you're already gong personal. So enamored of your debating skills the rest of us might consider hiring someone to follow you around and whisper "remember, thou art mortal" in your ear. Please, I make no excuses for Bush or FEMA's response but simply point out that in any response to an emergency, the primary responsibility initially lies with the local administration. Attempts to paint the lacadaisacal response to the Katrina disaster as it "all Bush's fault" are silly. There's blame aplenty to go around, but "partisan hacks" such as yourself tend not to apportion it appropriately.

But remember, as that wise sage Kayne West said, "George W Bush hates black people". That should get you through the night.

Posted by: D. | February 1, 2006 01:02 PM

I think those in Mississippi and Texas will remember how their republicans govenors and representatives held their tongues as FEMA sat on its hands.

Its not just democrats that are mad at what FEMA and Bush's failures. I think the republicans in those states are looking at trouble for being apologists to bad performance by FEMA and Bush.

Oh yea, and I'm still paying $2.55 per gallon ... anyone know why?

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 01:05 PM

D. said: "Katrina? Well, what he should have done is call the governor and the mayor of New Orleans to the carpet and exposed them for the incompetant buffons they are."

Incompetant buffons? Well, I'll assume you mean buffoons, as in someone who screws up something obvious. But assuming that's right, give it a rest. The Louisiana governor did not have the resources of the federal government. There are state-level jobs (a tornado touches down and rips out a few homes and a couple of businesses) and there are federal-level jobs (natural disasters). Katrina is about as bad as a natural disaster as the United States has had, and you are faulting the governor for not properly handling the situation? That is not her job. The weak attempt to get rid of the blame is a combination of partisan politics and Bush not wanting to accept responsibility for any negative consequences.

Ridiculous.

Posted by: Matthew | February 1, 2006 01:08 PM

D. write:
"Please, I make no excuses for Bush or FEMA's response but simply point out that in any response to an emergency, the primary responsibility initially lies with the local administration."

She did her job. She called out what was left of her national guard that was not in not in Iraq and called FEMA. Only the guard arrived.

She also has admitted mistakes. Bush can't think of any he's made.

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 01:15 PM

With Hurricane Katrina, the local rescuers were operationally wiped out by the same storm. That is what FEMA is there for! Your argument that it was the local officials dropped the ball makes as much since as blaming 911 on the World Trade Center Security Guards.

Posted by: Jamal | February 1, 2006 01:18 PM

I have to call this a rumor; I did not hear it first hand. Our local FEMA called Washington to offer assistance for Katrina immediately after the storm. The response from a politically appointed official in Washington was "no assistance was needed for Louisiana because they did not vote for us". I didn't hear it, but I have to confess I do believe it.

Posted by: Jamal | February 1, 2006 01:25 PM

It's so much fun for Republicans to trash the local and state authorities to conceal their malfeasance in the response to Katrina. With his city under water and his infrastructure utterly destroyed, what was the Mayor of New Orleans supposed to do, call out the porpoise squad?

Bush failed us there, has failed our economy, has failed in war. The events of 9/11 happened on HIS watch, and were unable to be prevented because he had deliberately and systematically dismantled the Clinton-era anti-terrorism programs, dismissing the threat of terrorism as inconsequential.

Bush inherited the largest budget surplus in our history and has replaced it with the largest deficits. Here, five years after he took office, the Dow is still struggling to reach the levels it enjoyed the day he took office. Unemployment is much higher, although its true magnitude is masked by accounting tricks. Salaries for workers are lower, at least for those who can find jobs that haven't been shipped overseas yet.

Poor seniors now find that they can no longer afford their necessary medications, thanks to Bush. We are afraid to discuss things frankly over the telephone because our conversations are now subject to eavesdropping at Bush's whim. As Cindy Sheehan experienced just last night, express your disapproval of Bush and you land in jail. I REMEMBER freedom of speech and would like to have it back, thank you.

Our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers are dying in Iraq for, for... Why is that, anyhow? Is it so they can vote for candidates they know nothing about, to staff a government they never wanted that presides over the complete destruction of their civil society?

Boy, I'll bet THAT'LL make 'em like us! No better way to make a friend than to kill or maim his mom or dad, sibling or child, or destroy his home. Why would they EVER want to do bad things to us?

Bush is the WORST. PRESIDENT. EVER. His supporters are gullible fools.

Posted by: Smith | February 1, 2006 01:26 PM

The fact that Bush left the effects and after-effects of Katrina out of his SOTU speech is more telling of his presidency than anything he could have said. As a volunteer who spent 3 weeks working in a shelter in LA, I saw the effects of the storm on the very people and places it impacted. The people country should not and must not forget those victims. Unless you have seen the destruction for yourself, you simply cannot understand. Bush has seen it (though through rose colored glasses) and chooses to ignore the continuing problem caused by his administration, and local and federal authorities. Don't forget the people of the Gulf Coast - ALL of them.

Posted by: Julie | February 1, 2006 01:32 PM

People like "Alex -- AMerica's Hero" are the answer to the old high school history class question "How could the Germans have let Hitler take control?"

Posted by: Necromancer | February 1, 2006 01:36 PM

To all the haters - (too many to name)
I am for real.
I grew up on the Atlantic Coast and survived many hurricanes. The ones that devastated the cities there never got the coverage Katrina got. Reason being is because when a hurricane was approaching, we left. I'm not blaming those people for staying, but to blame the President for their city being in ruins is absurd. He is not God, he's just a man.
The chain of command from their for disaster situations was nonexistent. I'm sorry that most were African-Americans and it's unfortunate, but more unfortuante is the way it was spun into an issue of race (that figures).
I was wondering how the left planned on turning such a good speech around to make Bush look bad after I watched it. Katrina may have been a defining moment for the people of New Orleans, but not for the nation as a whole. Just like a tornado that ravaged my hometown when I was a kid was the defining moment for me that year.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | February 1, 2006 01:38 PM

Re: Bush is the WORST. PRESIDENT. EVER. His supporters are gullible fools.
================
No, No Mr.Smith, we're not gullible fools, merely closet fascists! (come now, I'm sure that was the next arrow in your quiver)

A new memo has surfaced from the investigation into the response to Hurricane Katrina which shows that state and local officials turned down federal help in evacuating hospitals and nursing homes until it was too late.

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/01/31/D8FFSI7O2.html

Posted by: D. | February 1, 2006 01:43 PM

But remember, as that wise sage Kayne West said, "George W Bush hates black people". That should get you through the night.
Posted by: D. | Feb 1, 2006 1:02:39 PM

That was an unfair statement by Kanye West. That you focus on him rather than all the American lives lost due to FEMA incompetence makes me wonder how seriously you take the Katrina tragedy other than looking at it from a political perspective.
Backpedal all you like, D; Only a partisan hack like you would try to suggest that Mississippi was fine because it had a Republican governor, whereas Louisiana was doomed because of Democratic leadership in that state. Truth is, it has nothing to do with Democrat or Republican governors and everything to do with New Orleans being hardest hit by Katrina. If New Orleans were in Mississippi when Katrina struck, the governor there would most likely have been overwhelmed as well and faced the same lacking response by FEMA. George Bush's lack of leadership didn't help the situation, and he played the blame game rather than letting the buck stop at him. D's still trying to play that same blame game, but it is obvious by the responses here that nobody is buying it.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 1, 2006 01:47 PM

Alex: I grew up on the Gulf Coast but had some familiarity of what happened on the Atlantic Coast. Can't think of any hurricane that devastated any Atlantic Coast city (deaths/victim-blaming aside) as thoroughly as NO has been devastated. In your response, name a storm/year.

If memory serves Gulf Coast hurricanes retain/gain more strength. That's why all the biggest hurricane disasters have happened in MS, LA and TX. As much as I'd like to see Miami get hit like NO got hit it's probably not going to happen.

Posted by: lpdrjk | February 1, 2006 01:51 PM

Alex, this is where you loose me:
"Katrina may have been a defining moment for the people of New Orleans, but not for the nation as a whole"

The 3000 murdered in NY, PA and VA on 9/11 were not local defining moments and either was Katrina. Katrina was a national disaster that destroyed an entire major American city, not a tornado ripping up a trailer park. Hundreds of thousands were in harms way, some died and many are in trailers and hotels scattered around the country without jobs or a future, under threat to have their emergency funds cut off by a heartless FEMA.

Maybe its the empathy that separates conservatives from the rest of us, I don't know, but to call Katrina a local disaster is way off the mark but may explain the administration's careless attitude to what happened and is still happening.

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 01:55 PM

Katrina may have been a defining moment for the people of New Orleans, but not for the nation as a whole. Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | Feb 1, 2006 1:38:30 PM

You have got to be joking. Were you in a cave or under a rock during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? People died because government failed to do it's job well.
That's just great how you could give a damn about your fellow American citizens dying, Alex Ham. Some American hero you are. The rest of the nation was effected by Katrina and the needless deaths of our fellow Americans even if you weren't. Thanks to government ineptitude, Katrina became a national crisis. Your 'boy' George Bush did a rotten job of taking charge of the situation. Perhaps if you didn't love George Bush like a Brokeback Mountain cowboy, Alex Ham, you'd see the truth of the matter.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 1, 2006 02:00 PM

D. said: "A new memo has surfaced from the investigation into the response to Hurricane Katrina which shows that state and local officials turned down federal help in evacuating hospitals and nursing homes until it was too late.

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/01/31/D8FFSI7O2.html"

Some LA staffer said at some point before the storm to someone in the administration that their help [for what? doesn't say?] would not be required. And the conservatives are using this cherry-picked memo to contradict the clear and overwhelming evidence that the federal government failed.

Would you like, D., citations to the thousands of memoes and emails to the federal government where it WAS requested to help? And where the federal government turned down offers of help from others? Or do you want to pin your hopes in this administration to this one star.

And answer me this question: was it because of this memo that Bush was forced to watch clipped footage of Katrina several days after it happened in order to get him motivated. Was it?

Posted by: Matthew | February 1, 2006 02:02 PM

Nope. Just pointing out that there is enough blame to go around. All persons involved, from the local to the state to the federal should be held accountable for their unpreparedness and inaction in response to Katrina.

Posted by: D. | February 1, 2006 02:13 PM

But pointing that out I suppose qualifies me, in Errin's words, as a partisan hack.

Posted by: D. | February 1, 2006 02:15 PM

ALex:"Katrina may have been a defining moment for the people of New Orleans, but not for the nation as a whole"

If you would only know what damage this event did to the image of the USA in the rest of the world, you would speak differently: watching TV in Europe, I wasn't clear where about this was happening: Ivory Coast, Congo, Senegal... NO in the U.S. of A!

Posted by: Nick | February 1, 2006 02:20 PM

Wow ErrinF I guess I really ruffled your feathers for you to be pulling out the gay artillery.
Ipdrjk - Atlantic Coast cities never suffered the way NO did but it was because populations were lower and most people are wise enough to get the f_ _ _ out of dodge.
I'm not taking away from the fact that what happened was horrible, but for the President to make it the focus of the SOTU would have been assanine. Had he made it the focus, you'd all be asking why he didn't mention the Middle East. You can search for a reason or a way to destroy any man. That's all that's happening hear. Sorry for all those who don't feel the Union is strong. Rallying behind a leader would be more productive than ignoring or bashing his efforts.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | February 1, 2006 02:27 PM

But the blame does not go around equally.

If a family goes bankrupt and loses their mortgage, you don't look to the children and scream that they should've sold more lemonade. You look to the responsible party: the parents. Saying that the whole family is at fault because the children did not do their part is disingenuous. (And yes, in this situation, the states are children relative to the resources of the federal government parental unit).

You feel empathy for the wronged party, and anger towards the culpable one.

Posted by: Matthew | February 1, 2006 02:31 PM

I'm amazed that even something as tragic as Katrina can become a polarizing issue when the conservatives screw up but can't admit it. Are you conservatives ever wrong? Do you ever make mistakes? Try closing your eyes and imagining Bill Clinton explaining how on his watch...
-9/11 occured
-he invaded Iraq and found no WMD.
-he changed the rational for war to building democracy.
-soldiers died for lack of proper equipment
-the national debt and the deficit skyrocketed.
-Katrina hit and FEMA took 72 hours to notice the devestation.
-he told the head of FEMA what a great job he did as the evidence of incompetence lay everywhere.
-he gave a medal to the CIA director who missed 9/11 and the lack of WMD in Iraq.
-explained he had the right to wiretap without warrants against the law.

You conservatives would be burning down the White House if Clinton were president when these things occurred. Say it ain't so. Say you'd be proud of Clinton doing those things. If you can't then consider yourself a conservative partisan and a hypocrit.

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 02:39 PM

"A new memo has surfaced from the investigation into the response to Hurricane Katrina which shows that state and local officials turned down federal help in evacuating hospitals and nursing homes until it was too late.
http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/01/31/D8FFSI7O2.html"

Anyone in anyway connected to the media would have had to MAKE AN EFFORT not to know what was going on in New Orleans. Many national networks went to full time coverage of the disaster. Many offers of help were offered to FEMA only to be turned down, including many Christian organizations with loaded trucks that were turned back by FEMA personnel. But Georgie B. still didn't get it????? But then he admits he doesn't keep up with the news and leaves staff members to do that for him.

Who is running this country?? Karl, Dick, or Jack Abramoff? And Alex, I know this is difficult for you to understand, but please try! New Orleans is different, it's mostly below sea level, and water does not drain off, it drains in. Large areas of the gulf were hit, but water will not drain from areas below sea level, get it? As for thinking of Bush as a God, I never have and never will, you have. I have only one God.

Posted by: Jamal | February 1, 2006 02:43 PM

matthew - I find your analogy interesting because I think it points to the greater underlying issue that does separate those on the left and right in this country. The left views the government as a "parent" type figure, responsible for the welfare of its children. Its children dependant upon the parent for their safety and well being. Those on the right (classic conservative/libertarian types. Not whats parading around now) look at the "parent" as someone who provides the basic necessities (infrastructure, etc.) but the ultimate well being of the child is up to the individual. So when I look at something like Katrina, my first response is to look at the local level, the individuals and how they respond to the crisis.

Posted by: D. | February 1, 2006 02:49 PM

Alex,
I too would have to agree that Katrina was most definately a defining moment for America as a whole. Katrina is a name that will most likely be remembered for years, if not decades. Not only was that area effected, but the whole country. Gas prices around the country soared and public opinion of Bush plummeted. I don't know about other companies, but my company had business trips canceled or postponed simply because of the disaster and resulting problems. For weeks, you could not run on the TV without hearing about NO and Katrina. Response, on all levels, was horrible. That Bush ignores it entirely, it being one of the biggest things to hurt his administration in the last year, tells of a general idea that it is best to forget it.

And as for the comment, "Rallying behind a leader would be more productive than ignoring or bashing his efforts," I couldn't agree with you more. But the fact is, Bush and Co. has done as much as he has been able to to create/encourage a rift between political parties, liberals vs conservatives, democrats vs. republicans. If I recall correctly, in the last election, Bush had more votes for Pres than any other Pres. He also had more votes against (can't research this at work so can't validate this claim- its just that; a claim I think I recall that might be an error). His PR and spin makes it almost impossible to not be polarized without giving the image of agreement or silent consent. Too many politicians have already learned that you can't stand with the administration at the moment action needs to be taken and later say, 'I think that was the wrong course of action.'

Posted by: Freedom | February 1, 2006 02:49 PM

After seeing our new justice last night and viewing the confirmation hearings of Samuel Alito and the partisan politics involved and once more ask "where are the moderates"? Looking at Mr. Alito's voting record, it's easy to see who he is and the Supreme Court Justice he will make. And to quote George Bush the Elder "if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it's a duck". Sam Alito is an ultra conservative and will promote the ultra conservative agenda for the rest of his life on the Supreme Court of the United States. The republicans are turning what is in all essence a job interview into a "good ole boy club" and the democrats have put him on trial as criminal.

Unfortunately too many Americans are relying on others to make their political choices for them and not getting involved to make intelligent choices on the own. The middle ground of the moderate is rapidly eroding, sometimes the liberal direction is best and at other times the conservation direction is best, but never only in one direction. The political spectrum for a democracy is not straight line, it is a circle with the middle ground of the democracy on top. Too far to the left or right brings about a dictatorship representing a minority. Hitler was far right conservative and Stalin was far left liberal, but politically they were in the same position and people of both countries suffered.

Posted by: John | February 1, 2006 02:50 PM

Zakariah said, "The main problem was that the president's no-holds-barred approach to governing and campaigning over the past years has created a perception among his opponents that he in not capable of entering into negotiations or policy discussions in good faith. In short, he has won office and power at the expense of the good will needed to effectively govern. It's a real pity, and probably the biggest problem we're facing at the moment."

It doesn't appear that the 'babbling man in the bubble' ("BM in a bubble" for short) can intelligently discuss/negotiate anything. He has a team of speechwriters articulate what the public needs to hear while the folks who put him in power (that ain't the public) are doing there greedy deeds in the background. Meanwhile, the BM continues to build a larger defensive façade. The administration has consistently displaced reason for ideology. When it doesn't work out, the mess is whitewashed again with pretentious ideology. It is amazing how many Americans still believe the BS (another example of the dumbing down of America).

Sully said,
"Its not just "environmentalists" that are making the point about global warming. Its American scientists employeed by the federal government at NOAA and NASA. Pressure is being put on them and they now need clearance for any scientific presentations they give."
The administration has consistently suppressed scientific reasoning, in many domains, that doesn't fit it's agenda and only accepted that which does. Call it "political" science. This is looking for a truth that fits one's reality, but, given reality, the truth often won't fit. This is a very dangerous strategy and it doesn't matter what political lean one has. It is like building a house without a foundation. Should one be suprised when the house falls over? Of course, if it does, most of the American public can be convinced by watching TeeVee that the 'house' really isn't falling down and everything is fine (the wonderful and passifying TV induced alpha brain waves!) :Oo

Posted by: McGillicutty | February 1, 2006 02:53 PM

John wrote:
"Hitler was far right conservative and Stalin was far left liberal, but politically they were in the same position and people of both countries suffered."

Thank you John for explaining why so many in America today are suffering under this far-right conservative president.

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 02:55 PM

Hey D. -- You bust Errin for going personal, yet you don't consider yourself calling the Gov. of LA and the Mayor of NO "incompetent buffoons" as going personal? And you're with Alex who calls the human beings who were stranded and maybe dying in NO during Katrina "animals" -- how convenient. Sully is absolutely correct in writing that "you conservatives would be burning down the White House if Clinton were president when these things occurred." You are just like Bush -- you are incapable of admitting a mistake. Bush's performance is beyond pathetic and tragic. The Democrats offer no ideas either. Get used to the fact that the majority of Americans are fed up with both parties, and well-deserved criticism of this president, and this Congress, doesn't make us liberals or Dems. We're just regular open-minded and concerned citizens waiting for honest and competent leadership. And we're sick and tired of the Karl Rove's and Rush Limbaugh's and D.'s of the world.

Posted by: Sam | February 1, 2006 02:55 PM

"Of course, if it does, most of the American public can be convinced by watching TeeVee that the 'house' really isn't falling down and everything is fine (the wonderful and passifying TV induced alpha brain waves!) :Oo"
Posted by: McGillicutty | Feb 1, 2006 2:53:34 PM

I think Halliburton sells a line of tin foil hats to block those alpha rays. LOL

Posted by: D. | February 1, 2006 02:56 PM

The question we must ask ourselves is, the next time a giant tornado tears through a red state in the Midwest, will people be scolded for living there? Will we spend precious time arguing about how smart it is to live in a place called "Tornado Alley"? Or will the Republicans go charging in to fix the homes of right-leaning white folks?

The reason Bush and his cronies ignore New Orleans is because it is predominantly black and Democratic-voting. It's despicable that the people of the Gulf Coast have been cast off like trash so that Bush can wage a war that has done NOTHING to stop the threat of Osama and his henchmen. If Saddam was the problem, why are Al Qaeda lieutenants taunting us, safe and sound in a bunker somewhere?

I just hope the people who turned Alabama and Mississippi red in 2004 remember what their boy did to them and revolt this year. Kick them all out of office and set things right with Democrats. We actually care about helping ALL people.

Posted by: bamagirlinVA | February 1, 2006 03:00 PM

D. wrote:
"I think Halliburton sells a line of tin foil hats to block those alpha rays."

Halliburton Tin Foil Hats: $12,564.89 ea.

Take it or leave it. We got a contract.

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 03:01 PM

Our leaders took an oath to God to Protect and Defend the US Constitution from enemies foreign AND domestic. If the Republicans AND Democrats can't live up to that oath they should step down and resign!

I can write off the delusional few who cannot comprehend a government who does not have their best interests at heart.

They need comfort while shelling out their double mortgage.

I can accept that there are still a few Archie Bunkers left who just absolutely refuse to get it; from fear, from abject flag-waving patriotism, who need to believe that their government is NOT a massive war machine; who need to feel that their hard earned tax dollars are going for the better of the good.

Where are the rest of the so-called AMERICANS who have a clue and do nothing???

Writing checks and whimpering about their children having to wear translucent daypacks to ensure they aren't carrying bombs and such to class? Where are the sons of our forefathers?

These vast majority KNOW what is going on.

These vast majority KNOW what is happening.

Yet, we do nothing.

One has only to look at New Orleans to get the clue missed before.

Ask yourselves, you fucking stooges, WHERE ARE THESE PEOPLE?

Are they now home and snug in their beds?

NO, BITCH!

Are they in some semblance of comfort stuffed in a football stadium somewhere?

NO, BITCH!

Do you honestly believe that your government will provide you the same comforts should a major disaster befall you in your area?

YOU BETCHA! They got "comforts" alright.

How soon you have forgotten the plight of those from Louisiana.

TOO DAMN SOON!

Ask this question: Where are these people?

Your ass is next.

King George has many places for you to live, should any nasty natural disaster occur in your area. He also has jobs for your children.

Ask, my dear friend and patriot, as your neighbors kids are off fighting a war for control of oil: Where are the people of New Orleans?

Where are they now?

What did you do to help them? WHAT DID YOU DO?

You did nothing and you have no answer.

You are a slave like the rest of us. You are pathetic.

Do you believe that they can't take your blessed home?

The one you have paid for for many years.

Ask the people of New Orleans.

Check the NEW laws on emminent domain.

Learn about the Patriot Act and the all-encompassing powers of your new commander-in-chief!

Your Miranda rights have f izzled away. You have the right to get the living shit kicked out of you. You own nothing except the right to work for the state! Take a hard look at your credit card statement. You have a right to foot the bill for the massive war machine we have become. This is the only right you have.

Think I am being overbearing? Do your own research.

Don't take MY word for it. Don't take ANYONE's word for it.

Look it up, while you still can.

WAKE UP, AMERICA!

Your life has been stolen. While you slept.

Posted by: Americans R Cowards | February 1, 2006 03:03 PM

D. scribed:

"matthew - I find your analogy interesting because I think it points to the greater underlying issue that does separate those on the left and right in this country.
...
Those on the right (classic conservative/libertarian types. Not whats parading around now) look at the "parent" as someone who provides the basic necessities (infrastructure, etc.) but the ultimate well being of the child is up to the individual."

And taking care of business after what has been called the worst national disaster is not a, "basic necessit[y]" akin to infrastructure?

I'm sorry. Your attempt to repaint this as an ideological difference is as wrong as your others. If the federal government cannot step in during these circumstances, it does not have a purpose.

There's no hedging on beliefs on the role of federal/state government here. Either you believe the federal government has something, anything, to do, or you don't. It can get worse than Katrina (the Sri Lankan tidal wave) but thus far in our nation, it hasn't. If this is not a federal government problem, then nothing in our nation is. Or do you think that, "spreading the light of democracy" is more important than taking basic care of our citizens?

Why you continue to try weak rebuttals is beyond me. Katrina is a non-spinnable issue. The federal government dropped the ball through the floor.

Posted by: Matthew | February 1, 2006 03:07 PM

No Sam, going personal as in personally attacking me as some kind of partisan hack rather than someone who merely deigns to express a differing point of view. Kind of like you equating me with Karl Rove. If you've ever bothered to read any of my other posts on other debate topics, I'd think you'd find I don't get my "talking points" from the carnival barkers on talk radio.

You can choose to discuss issues civilly or just go ahead and call me a jack-booted thug or whatever other juvenile nonsense and be done with it.

Posted by: D. | February 1, 2006 03:12 PM

Anoter noteworthy word lacking in this speech was "deficit". I mention this as an unsexy issue that will probably go unnoticed, because it is not treated as a life or death issue (yet) though Katrina and Iraq are.

We surely need to investigate the President's failures on Katrina, and the obvious reason it was mentioned so sparingly is because "Katrina" is so identifiable as "Bush's Failure" now. I wouldn't highlight my shortcomings in a speech to the nation, either.

Fiscal responsibility is also a colossal failure of this president's administration, but it seemed a more likely candidate for speech-worthiness. A) It is relevant (the three largest budget deficits since 1962 are -412 billion in 2004, -377 billion in 2003, and -318 billion in 2005) B) the President actually has a coherent "plan", however dismal it may be (more on that later) and C) the President's party is supposed to be the one that cares about the budget... yet no democratic congress has come within pissing distance of the deficit we have in any of the past three years.

The President *did* mention the deficit twice. Once he said "And that [social spending] will present future Congresses with impossible choices..." like what? "immense deficits". If the President does not think that 1 trillion dollars in deficits in 3 years doesn't constitute "immense deficits" then I think we should take notice. If 1 trillion ain't big, I'm scared to imagine what is.

The President mentioned the deficit only one other time. "By passing these reforms, we will save the American taxpayer another $14 billion next year, and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009." Noteworthy goal, that by 2009 we should be able to cut the deficit in half from 412 billion to 206 billion, which is still larger than the 1994 deficit of 203 billion (wasn't Contract With America 1994?)

This is not progress.

Posted by: Will | February 1, 2006 03:12 PM

It's just a bit discouraging to see both the blame game erupt with such force and over the least important of issues.

What permitted this unique disaster was the inadequacy of the flood protection system for the city of New Orleans. It was inadequate in two ways. First, it was inadequate by design in that its design target was a Cat 3 storm and not a Cat 4-5. Second, it was inadequate in terms of its construction and maintenance as some levee/flood wall locations apparently failed prior to reaching their design capacity. The actual parties responsible for this are largely long gone and difficult to pin down. But in any case, the roots of it are in the distant past, long before present office holders came into office, even before their immediate predecessor came into office.

New Orleans vulnerability to this has never been a secret. The question has always been how much money should be spent to cover what level of local risk and who should pay for it. This question remains.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 1, 2006 03:15 PM

While I disagree that Katrina is a non-spinable issue, Matthew, I will add that it is very hard for the right to spin it to their advantage. In the weeks/months following Katrina, the right did in fact try to spin it to their side. And they had a small following, blaming LA and NO entirely. The problem they faced is that the vast majority of Americans who can agree to ursurping our freedoms for protection will look to the government for help/protection no matter the cause. There was a very large, televised destruction of an American city, and the general population can only put a face to the federal government. The government dropped the ball in this case and the one the people can envision is the one they will blame. While not impossible to spin to their side, the message needed would conflict the image of Bush having completecontrol over the ability to fully protect the country and our people. With the November elections coming, this is unacceptable, which is why the right will ignore Katrina rather than try to spin it their way.

Posted by: Freedom | February 1, 2006 03:18 PM

Is it my imagination, or did Bush refer to the Justices of the "SCourt" at the beginning of his SOTU speech last night?

Derek.

Posted by: Derek | February 1, 2006 03:24 PM

Will,
I agree with you whole heartedly. He has no credibility on this issue having failed to veto a single spending bill throughout his Presidency. And despite pointing the finger at entitlement spending, it is discretionary spending which has seen the higher growth rates under this Republican Congress and Republican President. Obscene indeed.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 1, 2006 03:25 PM

Cayambe wrote:
"The actual parties responsible for this are largely long gone and difficult to pin down. But in any case, the roots of it are in the distant past, long before present office holders came into office, even before their immediate predecessor came into office."

But wasn't it Bush that shashed Army Corp of Engineers funding to strengthen the levees? There is a question of whether it would have helped, but it was shashed by the current administration and might have prevented some of the damage. The funds slashed were redirected to DHS.

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 03:25 PM

matthew - I'm not trying to rebut anything. Only the most delusional of this administrations supporters are going to believe that Bush was blameless and that it was all Nagin's and Blanco's fault, but again, their failure to adequately plan and respond to this disaster at the local level must not be overlooked.

Posted by: D. | February 1, 2006 03:27 PM

Since Katrina seems to be somewhat of a point here: I live in Houston, TX. As Rita was pointing directly at us, I endured the entreaties of my aunt and cousin, in Chicago and Seattle, respectively, to leave the city. "Why don't you leave" "It's a category 5" "Are you crazy"

Here's the absolute truth of the matter. I work 2 jobs. Neither job has sick pay and only 1 has vacation time, which I had used. These jobs were not going to pay me for time missed. If I decided to leave, I would have missed 6 days, total, of work. When I got back, I would have received short paychecks. I wouldn't have been able to pay the rent. I would have been evicted.

Don't tell me about "personal responsibility!" I pay my bills by working two jobs.

Don't preach to me about how "those people should have left" As someone so wisely said, not everyone has an American Express card and an SUV to hightail it to Baton Rouge and stay at the Marriot.

I'm cool - I can afford a car, and I like working hard. BUT - there are many who live small lives from paycheck to paycheck, taking the bus and barely making ends meet. Those are the people who my heart goes out to in New Orleans and Missisppi.

And as far as local government in New Orleans goes - yes, they may have been ill prepared for the storm. However, given the devastation visited upon that city by Katrina, one would expect the Federal Government to live up to Bush's promises made in Jackson Square, instead of hearing "we're waiting for a plan" from the President, when a plan exists.

Face it, those of you who blindly support the Bush administration. His actions and follow through never match the rhetoric.

Posted by: John D in Houston | February 1, 2006 03:33 PM

Do we care to remember something about Katrina and her aftermath? It's not a political problem or an image problem (as it has been treated by the Bush administration). It's a real life problem for many, many New Orleanians who live with it day to day. Yes, it was shameful to reduce it to a passing reference in the state of the union, but I really didn't expect anything better. (Yes, I'm a new orleans native). Dumping the blame on the city and state is just as shameful. I'll say here what I've said elsewhere. There were screwups across the board and time to analyze them and play political games will come. Right now, there are levees to fix, homes to find or rebuild and a city to get back on its feet. How the Bush administration can help with that is something I would have liked to have heard, not some passing reference like what happened to a great city was a mere minor accident.

Posted by: dt | February 1, 2006 03:34 PM

"No Sam, going personal as in personally attacking me as some kind of partisan hack rather than someone who merely deigns to express a differing point of view...
You can choose to discuss issues civilly or just go ahead and call me a jack-booted thug or whatever other juvenile nonsense and be done with it."

Way to go, D. -- commit the crime and then play the role of victim. Your words are there for all to read, and whether you like it or not, you do indeed come across as a partisan hack. Who else but a partisan hack would agree with Alex, whose only memory of Katrina and NO is "those animals down there shooting at the helicopters coming in to aid them." After agreeing with Alex, you write in regards to Katrina that Bush's response "should have been [to] call the governor and the mayor of New Orleans to the carpet and exposed them for the incompetant buffons they are."

This posting is about Katrina, and the surprising lack of reference to this national catastrophe in Bush's SOTU. Your comments are not only intensely partisan, but cruelly insensitive, and it's only after others took you to task that you admit that the feds did have a tiny bit of responsibility (but the locals were the real bums). Please. Don't insult us by trying to paint yourself as the non-partisan voice of reason here. Or that you don't get personal. Or that I'm the one not being civil. Words do mean something -- be accountable for yours.

Posted by: | February 1, 2006 03:36 PM

D.-

Whatever else you or the federal government belives the state of Louisiana should have done, the failure is not comparable and not linkable. To continue to assert that at every mention of the failed federal response to Katrina that, "Well, the local level failed, too" is just trying to tar the Democrats with the same brush of failure which belongs, solely, to the administration.

No matter what the local government had done, they could not have handled the situation. That is why we have a federal government. We contribute money for the collective good to handle things which we cannot handle as individuals or individual states.

As I said above, a family that loses its mortgage, the blame does not get put upon the children for not selling enough lemonade. Or, in a discussion, if someone says, "Well, those parents were certainly dissolute." It is unnecessary and misleading to say, "Well, the children didn't do their part, either." To do so is to tacitly accept that there is equal responsibility to be distributed and, quite frankly, there isn't.

I've seen this linkage, this attempt to equivocate by association, in the media in the past years. And I find it repugnant. It has led to misinformation and warped beliefs. Therefore, I refuse to accept it. And I refuse to lie idle while someone attempts to pull it over one more time.

The problem with Katrina begins with the federal government. The problem with Katrina ends with the federal government.

Posted by: Matthew | February 1, 2006 03:39 PM

Zakariah said, "The main problem was that the president's no-holds-barred approach to governing and campaigning over the past years has created a perception among his opponents that he in not capable of entering into negotiations or policy discussions in good faith. In short, he has won office and power at the expense of the good will needed to effectively govern. It's a real pity, and probably the biggest problem we're facing at the moment."

It doesn't appear that the 'babbling man in the bubble' ("BM in a bubble" for short) can intelligently discuss/negotiate anything. He has a team of speechwriters articulate what the public needs to hear while the folks who put him in power (that ain't the public) are doing there greedy deeds in the background. Meanwhile, the BM continues to build a larger defensive façade. The administration has consistently displaced reason for ideology. When it doesn't work out, the mess is whitewashed again with pretentious ideology. It is amazing how many Americans still believe the BS (another example of the dumbing down of America).

Sully said,
"Its not just "environmentalists" that are making the point about global warming. Its American scientists employeed by the federal government at NOAA and NASA. Pressure is being put on them and they now need clearance for any scientific presentations they give."
The administration has consistently suppressed scientific reasoning, in many domains, that doesn't fit it's agenda and only accepted that which does. Call it "political" science. This is looking for a truth that fits one's reality, but, given reality, the truth often won't fit. This is a very dangerous strategy and it doesn't matter what political lean one has. It is like building a house without a foundation. Should one be suprised when the house falls over? Of course, if it does, most of the American public can be convinced by watching TeeVee that the 'house' really isn't falling down and everything is fine (the wonderful and passifying TV induced alpha brain waves!) :Oo

Posted by: McGillicutty | February 1, 2006 03:39 PM

Derek:

The only reference I can find is below:

The Supreme Court now has two superb new members -- new members on its bench: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: I thank the Senate for confirming both of them. I will continue to nominate men and women who understand that judges must be servants of the law and not legislate from the bench.

(APPLAUSE)

Today marks the official retirement of a very special American. For 24 years of faithful service to our nation, the United States is grateful to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Posted by: Average American | February 1, 2006 03:39 PM

There's something said around New Orleans these days that makes a lot of sense. It's a simple thing, really and it goes about like this:
"Okay, it happened. What are you doing about it?"
It's a question everyone who wants to play the partisan blame game should ask themselves before uttering another word.

Posted by: dt | February 1, 2006 03:40 PM

In the days after hurricane Kartina hit the Gulf Coast region I wrote my elected officials. Being from Ohio I wrote too my two Senators and my Congresswomen. These letter DEMANDED a complete independent inquiry board that could demand a special prosecutor who could had out intditements including criminally negligent homicide charges to involuntary manslaughter charges. The point of any charges to local, state or federal officials is to hold someone accountable for foreseeable and unnecessary deaths.
We can clearly see that no 9/11 style investigation has been called on. No special prosecutor commissioned. People die in natural disasters. When people die in natural disasters because our government debated how to respond is unacceptable and demand accountability!
There will be another Katrina. We can sweep away the issues for now. Hurricane season is right around the corner. What will be different then?

Posted by: Brent | February 1, 2006 03:47 PM

"There's something said around New Orleans these days that makes a lot of sense. It's a simple thing, really and it goes about like this:
"Okay, it happened. What are you doing about it?"
It's a question everyone who wants to play the partisan blame game should ask themselves before uttering another word.

Posted by: dt | Feb 1, 2006 3:40:34 PM

Ummm ... impeach Bush for gross incompetence? :^)

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 03:54 PM

Impeach the entire US Government, Republicans AND Democrats. We can't afford these politicos anymore! We need a nonviolent American Revolution. The best way to stop the terrorist killers and weapons of mass murder is to stop F******* around with other people's leaders and resources, and get our house in order!

Posted by: WE ARE ON A ROCK SPINNING IN INFINITY | February 1, 2006 04:02 PM

There's no reason to get all hot under the collar. President Bush made no NEW claims for his administration. It wasn't a great speech. Before you jump all over my statement, think a moment. If you were President in these times and you were looking at the urgent issues facing the country, what would you do? As the leader of a great and powerful nation, would you not say "I've got to make a speech to inspire and unite the people toward these important goals"? I think a reasonable leader would do so.
Last night's address did nothing to stop our bickering (see above) nor to indicate that we TRULY need to halt partisanship in seeking workable solutions to our problems. The address appealed to the various interests of the President's coalition and cast a negative pall on the motives of those who legitimately question the wisdom of his policies and directions. The address failed to acknowledge the underlying matters in a significant number of our most pressing concerns: emergency preparedness and coordination, maintaining civil rights during periods of conflict or threat, establishing and preserving justice and equality for all citizens, securing stability in the federal budget, and determination of the country's best course now that we are involved in Iraq's internal affairs - to name some.
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was a shock to me, in that on the day following I fully expected to see the President visit the stricken area or give directives or otherwise demonstrate that the seriousness of the circumstance was recognized and that immediate emergency actions were underway and would continue. Three full days after the landfall, he finally appeared. Seemingly for the exposure (he had other reasons at the time for maintaining a low profile), he made additional visits to southern Louisiana and Mississippi. He made sweeping promises.
What is the reconstruction and recovery plan for that devastated area? Can anyone say what has been and will be done? Where can the displaced Americans go? What business and economic recover is planned? One would think that the federal government would find a clear national interest in this effort.
An entire major city has been wiped out. The outlying communities of that city have been extensively damaged and made virtually unliveable. This should not be an issue for which one's political leanings determine our concern; we generally worry when a subdivision is threatened by a brush or forest fire. It should easily be agreed that the damages left in the wakes of Katrina and Rita are national issues, calling for national response and recovery. Individuals have done their parts, through donations and volunteerism. Where is the action of the federal government?
A great presidential speech should set and affirm our priorities. Last night's speech set the Bush administration's priorities. Many of us feel there is a difference.

Posted by: Jazzman | February 1, 2006 04:03 PM

Mexicans Say Southwest U.S. Belongs to Them;
Shouldn't Need Permission to Enter U.S.
Americans and Mexicans have widely divergent views of border issues, according to a new poll by Zogby International.
Zogby found that a large majority of the Mexican population believes the southwest territory of the U.S. rightfully belongs to Mexico, and that Mexicans should have the right to enter the U.S. without first obtaining U.S. permission. By contrast, Zogby's survey of Americans conducted within a few days of the Mexican poll shows a large majority supports reducing immigration levels and wants the military deployed along the border to protect the U.S. from illegal immigration.
Zogby's poll found that 58 percent of Mexicans agree with the statement, "the territory of the United States' Southwest rightfully belongs to Mexico." Only 28 percent disagree, and 14 percent are unsure.
A similar majority, 57 percent, agree with the statement, "Mexicans should have the right to enter the U.S. without U.S. permission," while 35 percent disagree. Seven percent are unsure.
The survey has a margin of error of 3.5 percent. The Mexico portion of the survey was conducted in Spanish between May 25 and May 26 among 801 adults chosen at random throughout Mexico. The poll was commissioned by Americans for Immigration Control, Inc. (AIC), which advocates increased restrictions on immigration.
"There is obviously a large and significant gap between the attitudes of Americans and Mexicans," said Robert Goldsborough, AIC president. "While most Americans want immigration reduced, most Mexicans think they don't even need permission to enter our country. The poll clearly shows there is less common ground for immigration negotiations between Mexico and the U.S. than the leaders think. Support for a porous border and a loose migration policy occurs only on the Mexican side, not in the U.S."
Zogby's survey of American attitudes found wide majorities of Americans also oppose amnesty for illegal aliens. The U.S. portion of the survey was conducted of 1,015 likely voters in the U.S. from May 28 to May 30. It found that 65 percent disagree with the statement, "foreigners residing illegally in the U.S. should be given amnesty." Just 26 percent of likely voters support amnesty for illegals, while 9 percent are unsure.
A large majority, 58 percent, agree that the U.S. should "admit fewer immigrants each year." Only 6 percent want "more immigrants each year," and 30 percent want to "keep immigration at the current annual levels."
The single largest majority in the entire poll was found among Americans supporting use of the military to guard the border. Fully 68 percent of those surveyed agree with the statement, "the U.S. should deploy military troops on the border as a temporary measure to help the U.S. Border Patrol curb illegal immigration." Only 28 percent disagree, and 3 percent are unsure.

Posted by: Same Corrupt Arrogant Stupid President | February 1, 2006 04:13 PM

It is sickening to me to read the comments of all of you. I live in North Louisiana, and it is heartbreaking to me to see the devastation wrought by Katrina AND Rita, and for that matter, any natural disaster that takes the life of my fellow man. These are times when we should work together, and a natural disaster is no one's fault, but what you do after the disaster is where the blame lies. I don't care if you are a Democrat or a Republican, but EVERYONE IN CHARGE dropped the ball on this one. No one had the personality to step up and take charge of the situation, but of course, that is the state of elected officials today. They don't want to step on anyone's toes, for fear that they may not get elected again. The simple fact is, that anyone elected to the Presidency of the United States in these times, does not have the faintest clue how regular people live. They've never been hungry, they've never wondered if they were going to be able to pay their bills or not, they've never had to worry about anything their entire life, so to think that they are going to have any kind of remote understanding for the common man is naive at best. All the government has become is a bunch of preschoolers fighting over the toys at recess. Instead of trying to blame each other, and getting angry with each other, we should be trying to work together to make this country great again. I'm sure someone will call me an idiot or naive, because, after all, I DO live in Louisiana, and that immediately makes me an uneducated moron, but the President doesn't have a clue what "The State of the Union" is anymore.

Posted by: Luke H-in LA | February 1, 2006 04:22 PM

they pretty much ssaid that the administrations neglect of taking adequate action to address the protection from terrorism situation "bordered on the criminal," but you all heard that right?

if you were part of the presidents team you could commit murder right now and everyone would just watch "what the others did," to make sure that they weren't dragged off into a dark corner and....

for example:

delay, clearly violated his oath of office to uphold the constitution

1. he said, in congress, to use the executive and legislative branches to control the judicial system.
2. from a church pulpit he said that the church needed to exert it's power to control the electoral process.


for example:

though it has been established that there is no connection with 9/11 we've invaded iraq

and

fraudulently,

bush has war powers for an economic intervention that he has billed as a war, using fraud and deception and he's not been arrested nor has anyone in his administration for doing that and he's passing laws, getting NSA to eavesdrop on potentional administrative enemies like the QUAKERS and pet lovers...who are notorious for not liking bullies...so they are an IMMEDIATE THREAT....


they're building a $385 million dollar halliburton controlled detention center in the united states to remove protestors/enemies-of-the-state


and they just drove a sub down to south america to let venezuela know that we were intrested in them that their democracy might not be as good as it could be....since they have a LOT OF OIL, we need to help them to remain democratic...

we and CHINA purchase A LOT OF OIL from them....


but you all remain blissfully unaware of that because you buy their framing.

Posted by: The 9/11 investigation was ignored..... | February 1, 2006 04:25 PM

"Oh, yeah ... and, unfortunately for Cindy Sheehan, her "15 minutes may be up," but her son is still dead. Posted by: Zona"

Funny that the mainstream media has some 5,000 parents (not just MOTHERs), 1700 WIVEs, ~7,000 brothers and sisters that have lost someone in Iraq but have decided to make a deranged Lefty the "Symbol With Absolute Moral Authority". The same nauseating, despicable woman whose husband and children disavow her views and who was most recently media whoring with Hugo Chavez and saying Bush is 10,000 times worse than Al Qaeda - and calling the thugs butchering our soldiers and Iraqi forces and civilians "Freedom Fighters". The media and her whacko supporters desperately want to keep her in the spotlight and never hear from others who lost loved ones, or the 16,000 wounded soldiers so "Mother Sheehan" was sent by her media consultants to the SOTU for another 15 minutes of the fame she craves....What a twat!

ErrinF - "That was an unfair statement by Kanye West. That you focus on him rather than all the American lives lost due to FEMA incompetence makes me wonder how seriously you take the Katrina tragedy other than looking at it from a political perspective."

Funny, it seems to me that all the lives lost were caused by Katrina the hurricane. Hurricanes kill people, not FEMA incompetence, not Nagin's incompetence, not Blanco's incompetence. Few people were actually "saved" by the rescuers - outside the hospitals, you are talking about morons living 6 feet below sea level too dumb to get out whose "advocates" say is the responsibility of the Federal Gov't to fetch and wipe their asses as the inept wards of the state the underclass is...

Freedom -

"I too would have to agree that Katrina was most definately a defining moment for America as a whole."

Katrina was one of about 20 really bad hurricanes to hit a heavily populated area. Most hit long before a FEMA even existed. 2,000 hurricanes have hit America, and guess what?? In the next 10 years, some 120-200 more will hit the USA, many stronger than the Cat 3-4 borderline Katrina - so it is hard to see any single hurricane, even that one because it hit a dumb bunch of folks living below sea level - ever being regarded as a defining event.

But Lefties now magically believe that the Federal gov't is responsible for: (1) Forces of nature; (2)Poor choices of individuals and local governments; (3) Correcting the screwups of the most corrupt state in the Union; (4)Ratcheting up the support that lifetime parasites of the state need when they lose their subsidized hovel.

Same cluster fuck would have happened if any black-run city had been hit by a hurricane.

Most are that way because they have been turned into utterly dependent wards of the government welfare state...not because they weathered 200 years of hurricanes as competent human beings before the Great Society Federal dollars came in....and now their only problem coping is the lack of more Federal people telling them what to do, giving more money out, and taking care of their every need so they can relax and pop a frosty and watch TV or play sports in their new Federal-built apartment.

If any defining moment existed, it was watching the consequences of the liberal welfare state created being utterly unable to deal with a natural disaster the way Americans in the past struggled and perservered through. The images of New Orleans were of flooded school buses, women with children but no husbands available to help them or their kids, looters, thugs, and parasites unable to and unwilling to help themselves demanding "Mo Gumint!!". And competent national guard and military coming in to save the buffoons from themselves.

Jamal - "New Orleans is different, it's mostly below sea level, and water does not drain off, it drains in. Large areas of the gulf were hit, but water will not drain from areas below sea level, get it?"

Oh, we get it Jamal. That is why only dumb bastards live below sea level in hurricane alley and can't summon up the energy to get past their passivity and lassitude, and evacuate. Since the denizens of subsea NOLA are too stupid to manage their own lives and care about levee maintenance or hurrican precautions, let's hope they are moved by their smarter "Gov't masters" to a safer
area.

There is a reason why other cities on the coastlines have not built outwards into the ocean. Unless you are protected geography from colossal storms, it is as idiotic to do so as build a city in a desert with no secure water supply.

There is a reason why other cities have codes saying you don't build below sea level, you don't build in flood plain areas - there are more honest and intelligent people running affairs than there are stupid and corrupt ones - so fortunately there are few Detroits, East St Louis's, Camdens, or New Orleans set ups out there. (DC is bailed out of it's perpetual buffoonery by the Fed Gov't).

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 1, 2006 04:43 PM

The disconnect between President Bush and reality grows wider everyday. I found it shameful that Dubya swept FEMA's "response" to Katrina under the rug. The economy here in Michigan is on life support. If you don't work for a large corporation in the energy, credit card or defense industries, the economy doesn't look much better. But I suppose if you're only concerned with the economic health of the 1/10th 0f 1 percent of the population and big business, things are looking up!

Posted by: LouisvilleGrad | February 1, 2006 04:48 PM

"The Devil's Dictionary," Ambrose Bierce.

HYPOCRITE, n.
One who, professing virtues that he does not respect, secures the advantage of seeming to be what he depises.

Posted by: speaking of dishonesty...cf and bush ride the same bus.... | February 1, 2006 04:49 PM

Mr. Ford, you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. More than 80 percent of New orleans evacuated before katrina -- essentially an unprecedented event for a major city. And, yes, people were rescued as the waters rose -- I know some of the rescuers. To say that wasn't the case is an insult to what they did.

And, sir, I pity you who cannot muster anything better than name calling and insults. It's the last refuge of a weak mind.

The people who live in New Orleans do so because it is (and will again be) a fantastic, unique city. It's home, a home like no place else ever could be. It's why so many locals have undertaken rebuilding while the government fiddles.

I feel sorry for you if you can't understand an attachment to home, especially a unique one like New Orleans.

Posted by: dt | February 1, 2006 04:49 PM

The right wing republican conservative movement of today is a takeover oriented party. Anyone who disagrees or challenges the party or president is attacked, even fellow republicans. All federal positions are to be filled with loyal conservative republicans without regard to qualifications (FEMA). As part of dealing with republicans, lobbyists are openly required to hire only republicans for their companies (Abramoff).

Posted by: John | February 1, 2006 04:49 PM

I love reading all these outrageous claims with no evidence to back it up. People, are we giving our opinions here or are we wishfully thinking? The President will not be arrested/impeached for the wiretapping call, and we will continue the pursuit of global freedom as long as he's in office. Just because things aren't going the way YOU would like them to doesn't mean our house isn't in order. There's a good reason why he is President and not the politicians you support.
Quick question a little of track but not really; is it true Cindy Sheehan had given up parental rights to her son when he was like 3?

Posted by: Alex Ham - America's Hero | February 1, 2006 04:51 PM

Ford,
You seem to disregard public perception. I know that there have been many hurricanes and that there will be many more in the future. But of the past thousands you mention, I can remember maybe 3 of their names, and none with the devastation of Katrina. My point is not that Katrina is a defining moment in 2005 for America because it was the only hurricane, but that it has most likely become an event that will be remembered in many years to come.

And your generalization,
"But Lefties now magically believe that the Federal gov't is responsible for: (1) Forces of nature; (2)Poor choices of individuals and local governments; (3) Correcting the screwups of the most corrupt state in the Union; (4)Ratcheting up the support that lifetime parasites of the state need when they lose their subsidized hovel,' is too broad of a statement and false. That this statement is based in fallacy can be seen by reviewing Bush approval polls in the months after, as well as reviewing the reasons for this drop. To reach the lowest approval rating, many more than just the lefties you despise would have had to come to the conclusion that the federal government was accountable.

Posted by: Freedom | February 1, 2006 04:54 PM

Chris Ford -
Perfect! You shouldn't even have to write anything else on here.

Posted by: Alex Ham - America' Hero | February 1, 2006 04:58 PM

The hurricane was an indirect cause to what happened in New Orleans. Yes, hurricanes kill people, but floods do too, and the flood was the direct result of inadequate levees in New Orleans. And who to blame for that? The federal government, specifically the Army Corps of Engineers, who were, and continue to be inadquately funded by who? Congress. This is just ridiculous. Our federal government wastes more money in five minutes than I'll ever see in my entire lifetime, it's time to wake up and make the government of the people, by the people, and for the people and nothing else.

Posted by: Luke H-in LA | February 1, 2006 05:02 PM

whoa,


Bush is putting in who he wants to regardless of belief system...


this president holds hands with saudi princes while using homophobia to control the stupid people..


he nominates harriet meirs to positions that she's not qualified for because he understands that qualifications aren't necessary to hold the highest office that this country can elect someone to....

he is a puppet, but he still gets to do some of what he wants to...

brownie head of fema former head of the

ARABIAN Horse Society....

catch a clue, he doesn't have one....

tom delay, cheyney, pat robertson....


pat robertson has praid that people get struck down as if a real gawd would be all right with that....

does your president seem a little bit like that?

Posted by: All conservative republicans..... | February 1, 2006 05:03 PM

The right wing conservative, Osama wants to create terror in our country, to make us spend untold billions on finding and fighting him in an effort to bankrupt America, while he is financed by our friend Saudi Arabia. To terrorize our president into taking a civil rights away, to portraying America to the world as an Imperial Fascist State. And it's so convient for republican politicians to play along with him, wrapping themselves in the American flag screeming terrorism and attacking any who dare to go against them.

Osama fooled our president to invade Iraq to eliminate his old enemy of Sadam, and now he has us bogged down in another Vietnam. But terrorism is Bushes only strong point, so politically the two are in bed together feeding off of one another's threat, one fear mongering in the world of Islam and the other fear mongering in America.

Qsama is playing Bush as puppet and has been before 911. He chose Saudi hijacker because he knew the bush administration was letting Saudi citizens in to our country without adequate screening.

Posted by: Dan | February 1, 2006 05:04 PM

Luke,

If it is any small comfort to you, I live in New York which means I get pandered to by conservatives when talk of the WTC comes up and lambasted as an East Coast, disconnected liberal during all others.

You and dt raise the essential point, though: What happens next? Nothing, until everyone convinces their representatives that New Orleans represents more than a photo-op and that indefinitely extending hotel stays is not a solution.

Posted by: Matthew | February 1, 2006 05:07 PM

Alex, not to criticize what you wrote, but did you mean that bush will pursue Global freedom seriously or as a joke.

If you are serious, I ask why conflict in Iraq was originally over WMDs and only switched to OIF (I always laugh that it wasn't called Operation Iraqi Liberation for PR reasons- not that I think it was for oil), why we are still buddy buddy with Saudi Arabia, and why the administration made a fool out of itself by showing happiness when a democratically elected South American leader was overthrown?

I ask you based on politcal policies and past actions, who is generally more likely to say, 'lets help others?' A democrat or a republican?

Posted by: Freedom | February 1, 2006 05:07 PM

"That is why only dumb bastards live below sea level in hurricane alley and can't summon up the energy to get past their passivity and lassitude, and evacuate."


The levees didn't break until after the hurricane was already gone, and it's already been established in my above post who was to blame for the levees breaking, and for that matter, EVERYONE from the federal government, all the way down to the local level, KNEW THE LEVEES WERE NOT STRONG ENOUGH, but the federal government continued to take money away from the Corps of Engineers to fix the problem. And the people who were supposed to evacuate didn't have vehicles to evacuate, they didn't have ANYTHING like what you have Mr. Ford, and now the little bit they did have is gone. How can someone be so callous and uncaring? Yes, they're were quite a few people who lived off of the government before the hurricane, but to lump all the people who lost everything into that one group is just uneducated and wrong-headed. I've visited New Orleans just about every year of my life, and it is a beautiful, wonderful part of the United States, with a character all it's own. But it is gone now, and will never be the same city again. And that's a shame.

Posted by: Luke H-in LA | February 1, 2006 05:15 PM

Dear Alex Ham,

In your reference to the "Animals" in New Orleans and I know you won't take this personal, since you appear not to be human. You are a blind republican hack and nothing more.

BTW, just because a government is democratically elected it does not mean they will be our friends. Case in point HAMAS in Palestine. We are very unpopular in the Muslim countries and it's getting worse. Our foreign policy in the Middle East in its present form is not working. Many Americans love to hear "spreading of Democracy", but Alex it's used politically in this country to entice support from blindly patriotic people. It's also politically popular for Bush to use terms like "World Islamic Empire" to rally support form his conservative Christian base, but those political terms are insulting to the Islamic people.

Take care my misguided friend.

Jamal

Posted by: Jamal | February 1, 2006 05:27 PM

Alex wrote:
"There's a good reason why he is President and not the politicians you support."

Hmmm... let see:
-Gay Marriage?
-Kerry would let terrorists strike?
-Kerry really didn't win his medals?
-Bush never disclosed those missing months in the Guard?
-Kerry would allow Osama to stay free?

Thanks, I remember now...

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 05:53 PM

"Wearing a t-shirt to the SOTU, much like wearing sweatpants out in public, is just, well, wrong. Good on security for tossing them both out, whatever their political leanings. This is the SOTU, not a taping of the Letterman show. Show a sense of decorum."

But the point D, is that they didn't throw Sheehan out, they arrested her, carted her off in handcuffs and booked her.

I can only dearly hope that Rep Young has now realized that the civil rights eating monster he helped create is now, as history predicts, out of his control. Its easy to create a police state when you're a crony of the police. And what did Young do? He chewed out the police. But as I'm sure Young is finding out, he's not in charge of the monster any more.

Yesterday the Fourth Amendment. Today Freedom of Speech. Which Amendment will be next?

D. people like you don't think you have to worry about a police state becasue you are law abiding citizens. I'm sure that's what Rep Young believed yesterday too, before someone else determined what his wife had the right to "say" or not. Fascist dictatorships arise with the consent of the governed, because, hey, if they're not guilty why should they be worried? And the people very quickly learn they have plenty to worry about.

Oh, and as Katrina was bearing down on La, the governor realized she'd need more guard, and guard who weren't tring to evacuate their families, and accepted an offer from Bill Richardson to send his. But the paperwork from Washington releasing the guard to cross state lines didn't come through until Thursday!

Posted by: patriot1957 | February 1, 2006 05:55 PM

One trillion dollars in deficit in three years? This is kind of a big deal?

Clinton raised domestic discretionary spending by 60 billion in 8 years, Bush has increased domestic discretionary spending 135 billion in 6. Kind of a big deal?

The President outlines his solution for this in the state of the union: We will cut the deficit in half by 2009! So we will only spend 200 billion more per year than we take in... are we, as a country, so irresponsible with money that *only* borrowing 200 billion a year from our kids is the best we can do?

I wish Kanye West had said George Bush Doesn't Like Budget Surpluses.

Posted by: Will | February 1, 2006 06:09 PM

Will,
When you grow up in the Bush household there is no such thing as a budget. In his youth it was daddy's wallet. Today it is the American people and their children's wallets.

Amazing how the republican revolution of the 90s forgot about fiscal responsibility once they got control of both Houses of Congress. Even Gingrich is shaking his head at it all...

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 06:15 PM

Did you see that Toyota is coming out with a 2007 Sienna minivan that gets 40 mpg?

If all US passenger cars got 40 mpg we wouldn't need to import oil from the ME. (Data from NRDC).

Bush fiddled and gutted CAFE standards while Detroit burned. So to the Bush apoligists who spewed hysterical fear tactics about being forced to cram supesized American bodies in subcompact cars - your five minutes are up.

Amazing what a little energy leadership might have accomplished if Bush had learned the lesson of the high price of foreign oil four years ago and started pushing for patriotic development of that alternate technology research then.

ANd hydrogen fuel cells? This is a potential technology that might pay off in a few decades, once we develop other ways besides burning fossil fuel to power the incredibly inefficient production of hydrogen (currently most efficiently produced from hydrocarbons - ie OIL). Hybrids are here TODAY. If the state of our union is strong, why can Japan make a minivan getting 40 mpg while we have to put our boots on the ground in harms way in the ME because we can't?

Posted by: patriot1957 | February 1, 2006 06:28 PM

Thanks Patriot1957, you understood the point perfectly. Both people were invited. There is no dress code. They were in the public visitors gallery. So when did either of the people escorted out give up there right to free expression. And who makes the determination of what is and what is not a protest.

People need to repect everyones rights to free speech. There is a lot I agree with and a lot I disagree with. But until you hear a persons arguments you cannot make an informed decision.

Oh, and just for you NEO-Cons I actually think there was a great case for the invasion of Afganistan. A direct attack on the United States needed to be answered by taking down the government that provided the cover for the Al Quida terrorist organization.

Iraq - at least Geroge W Bush understood the cultual and political issues in the first gulf war unlike the Neo-Cons of George II. So now we are stuck like the Russians were in Afganistan. No viable exit stategy except to say We Won.

Posted by: Hal | February 1, 2006 06:48 PM

I'm wondering why Bush mentioned that we are addicted to oil. There is not way Rove, Cheney or the oil companies would let him say that unless he needs to an excuse to give oil companies a reason for federal research dollars. Watch for it in the coming weeks.

All one has to do is look at what Brazil did. They are now a fuel exporter because they decided to get off oil during the oil embargo of the 70s and developed an ethanol industry. All the technology exists. It was developed here but killed by big-oil. Very little research would be needed, just some leadership ... oh well ...

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 06:49 PM

patriot1957 wrote:
"If the state of our union is strong, why can Japan make a minivan getting 40 mpg while we have to put our boots on the ground in harms way in the ME because we can't?"

Great statement. I think this should be the quote of the day! Any way someone at the Post can put this on the front page?

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 06:54 PM

This just in:
Police release Cindy Sheehan with an apology. Boy this stinks. I wonder if Young's wife was not arrested for the same thing we'd see Cindy resleased with an apology. It all reminds me of the Denver Three. Google them if you want an example of Bush's idea of free speech.

Here's the story from the Post:
WASHINGTON -- Capitol Police dropped a charge of unlawful conduct against anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan on Wednesday and apologized for ejecting her and a congressman's wife from President Bush's State of the Union address for wearing T-shirts with war messages.

"The officers made a good faith, but mistaken effort to enforce an old unwritten interpretation of the prohibitions about demonstrating in the Capitol," Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said in a statement late Wednesday.

"The policy and procedures were too vague," he added. "The failure to adequately prepare the officers is mine."

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 07:03 PM

It's become so tiring to listen to the right-wingers constantly complain about Bush-bashing. You have unconditional love for the president. We get it. You're never going to respond intelligently to criticism. We get it.

Bush campaigned as a strong leader who would defend America. Throughout his presidency he's gone out of his way to make people think that he would protect them from major disasters. When it's been to his benefit, he's wrapped himself in the very responsibility his people now say he doesn't have.

When Katrina hit, Bush's rhetoric was put to the test and he failed. He's like the guy who partied through college, always assuring his parents that he was studying, then got hit with a pop test and failed. Bush had weakened the federal programs meant to safeguard New Orleans (wetlands conservation, levee protection, federal emergency response infrastructure), appointed incompetent hacks like Brownie to key positions, and himself shown a fascinating inability to handle the job. Remember, after Katrina hit he flew to San Diego to play air guitar. Three days after the flooding he went on national TV and announced that nobody had anticipated a breach of the levees -- documents and common sense put the lie to this statement. By any objective measure Bush failed the Gulf Coast, and as president of the United States it's his job to pick up the slack for the shortcomings at the state and local level.

It continues to amaze me that Bush's supporters hold him to such low standards that when a debacle like Katrina takes place, they defend him by pointing out that hacks like Kathleen Blanco and Ray Nagin underperformed as well. Blanco and Nagin?!? Who the hell are these people?!? Don't you expect a little bit more from the leader of the free world?

Posted by: Andy | February 1, 2006 07:49 PM

I remember when Jimmy Carter tried to wean American off of foreign oil. It didn't go over to well back then with most of the general public; I hope it does this time. Unfortunately if his efforts were not undone by the Reagan administration, we most likely would not be in dieing in the Middle East today.

Posted by: Tenn_man57 | February 1, 2006 07:51 PM

I am so sick of Republican BS. I used to engage it, but after 25 years it just makes me want to puke. What...a...mess.

No More Lies!

The interesting thing about New Orleans is that the Republican disinformation (blame it on state and local) was not really meant to fool anyone but their supporters. Their heart just was not in it this time. The facts were too plain. It was just to give people who wanted desperately to believe---say it aint so George---something to grab hold of. And they grabbed. And how many of them seem to have infested The Debate. Who are these people?

Go on lay it on me, I am full of hate for George, I resort to personal attacks, blah blah blah. Well go stick it. I have seen these guys smear a lot of good Americans over the last two decades. I am so ashamed for my country.

I did not watch the SOTU last night. I would rather pull out my fingernails with pliers. But it sounds like it was the usual reality warp.

Yup, it felt good. Thanks for listening.

Posted by: liberal shmiberal | February 1, 2006 08:37 PM

I also remember the Carter days and I remember "gasahol, which was something like 10% alcohol and 90% gas. It ate the rubber O-rings in carborators but otherwise boosted the octane rating and ran well. The oil companies killed that great idea. Then Reagan came in and stated that there was no oil crisis and there was enough oil for the forseeable future ... his future I guess.

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 08:38 PM

Well this blog seems in safe hands now that liberal shmileral is here. I'm gonna watch American Idol and immerse myself in fantasy to forget what bush is doing to America.

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 08:41 PM

To the original question posed re: the small coverage given to Katrina in GWB's SOTU...yeah, it would have been helpful if he offered a bit more insights/info in terms of where things are now and what has been/will be done. Unfortunately, anytime the subject of GWB comes up -- in any context -- the moonbats come out of the woodwork to vent about GWB's connection to all that is negative. Candidly, you are giving the guy way too much credit for being a player in all that goes wrong or all that offends your delicate sensibilities. Just as you criticize GWB supporters on this site as brainwashed lackeys, you GWB haters are blind to the obvious...no matter what the guy does or doesn't do, you'll piss all over him anyway. Whether it's NO, Iraq, Abramoff, ANWR, Plamegate, Haliburton, personal accounts, tax cuts, religion, Scooter (I know I've missed a few...you get the point), it's clear that much of the gnashing of teeth is about nailing GWB...period. And, of course, that's OK...it's a free country. But at least have the balls to say it...you will do anything, say anything, bitch about anything to take a wack at him. By watching and listening to his SOTU, it's pretty clear what he thinks of your constant carping...get over yourselves...soon.

Posted by: mayberry | February 1, 2006 09:17 PM

Well, ducks --

I guess it's pretty clear that unless something fundamental changes, we're in for the next seige. Helmets on and keep a sharp lookout. As long as there's a critical mass eager enough to accept Bush-speak without question, the republic will have to limp along as best it can. This Bush, whom the Bush/Walker clan have so long sought to join their investment power and influence to government power and influence is too haughty, too inclined to ignore the voices of "outsiders" - that is, us. I wonder, if your favorite sports team wins an important game by cheating, by breaking or bending the intent of rules, do you cheer anyway?

Posted by: Jazzman | February 1, 2006 09:45 PM

Mayberry, since you asked and I have the Balls, I'll say it "I don't like GWB", now you have the balls to say you will defend him even when he's a failure and wrong for the counrty.

I can rest good tonight, it appears most americans don't like him either. Six years ago GWB and his supporters thought he was another Lincoln or Washington, but he just another republican Hoover or Nixon.

I'm just so sick of lisening over the last twenty years to Atwater, Rove, Delay, Bush.... saying how republicans would never be corrupt, are ethical and so on, but it apperas they are human just like Democrates.

And ironically as Lee Atwater was nearing his death he asked for forgiveness for the sins he committed to democrates in the name of the repulican party. Many did forgive him, but I was pleased to hear one say "I can't forgive you, God will have to do that"

Posted by: Jamal | February 1, 2006 09:47 PM

...the Cindy Sheehan incident at the (joke of a ) State (fake) of the Union Address last night.....

everywhere,... even on sites that support Cindy,...

everyone keeps referring to her tee shirt as a

"protest" shirt or that she was "demonstrating" in the Capitol,....

but in my understanding,...

displaying,....

2242 dead.
How many more?

is merely a stated fact, (of Government origin, at that, 2242 dead. period,) and a question.

period.

everyone should STOP playing into the brainwashing of even repeating the misnomer of "protesting" or "demonstrating"'...

...because what is scarier and more disturbing is that obviously, by last night's events,...

it's become illegal and criminal to EVEN QUESTION or state a FACT (even if that fact has been previously stated by the very same Government that now arrests it's citizens for stating the fact that said Government has acknowledged and published in the first place.)

Posted by: IMPEACH INDICT IMPRISON | February 1, 2006 10:00 PM

One sentence on abortion in SOTU.
4,000 abortions are performed everyday (or 4,000 innocent lives are murdered -More than on Sept 11th)
George Bush was unwilling to expend "political capital" to stop abortion (or murder) in the present, yet he wanted to expend it to "save" SS from a possible problem 40 years from now. Hypocrite does not touch it.
If he believes abortion is murder than his inaction puts him in line with Pol Pot, the Indonesians in East Timor, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, et. al

Posted by: Ted | February 1, 2006 10:19 PM

>"but in my understanding,... displaying,.... 2242 dead. How many more?
is merely a stated fact,"

If you think this is a single incident think again. Its happened over and over again to people who are just suspected of wearing or saying anything Bush does not want to hear in public events.

Check out what happened to the Denver Three then consider whether you should have to worry about what your shirt or bumper sticker says when you visit a public official. This is not America folks, what it is becoming I am very afraid of.

http://www.denverthree.org/

Like Cindy or not, her rights were violated as were the rights of Ms. Young. If we don't start standing up for those rights and saying they are valuable, they will be whittled away bit by bit, such as Bush advocating warrantless wiretaps, a violation of law and our 4th ammendment rights.

Live Free or Die meant something to our forefathers. Bush only gets the first of those words. Ben Franklin said "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security". I wish someone in the press pool would ask Bush to explain what Franklin meant. I would expect that silly stare and secret service jumping the guy.

Posted by: Sully | February 1, 2006 10:23 PM

Where's Katrina? Does it matter? I would rate his speech as not great but not bad either. The problem is he seems to think we can't remember his previous SOTU speeches. He could have been Cicero last night but it was all clap trap because it was meaningless lies like the rest of his speeches. What a deviuos sad little man he is.

The spectacle of that pathetic woman Ms. Sheehan being arrested in the gallery was a national disgrace. It makes this country look like a tin horn dictatorship. If Bush were half the man as Clinton he would have dealt with her a long time ago in Crawford the same way Clinton would. All he had to do was ride up to her in that ditch get off his bike and give her a big hug. Tell her he was feeling her pain and pat her fanny and send her on her way. He could have been just as insincere as B. Clinton and gotten away with it. Nobody likes to be ignored when they think they have a grievance and she does. She would have gotten a response and after that the press would have ignored her. All it required was one nanogram of courage and compassion which he obviously lacks.

Posted by: Red Ruffian | February 1, 2006 10:31 PM

I recall Karl Rove telling the story early in his career when he stole the stationary of a Democratic opponent to post false messages on flyers to the Public indicting his opponent was having a fund raiser with free beer and girls. And for old Karl it worked, his candidate won the election.

It also wonder that to do electronic spying for "Terrorists" it take mass data dumps, then sorting data to acquire what's needed for national security. Is it also possible to sort out data to be used for domestic politics? And would old Karl still do this to political opponents? I think he would.

Posted by: Ross | February 1, 2006 10:49 PM

Red Ruffian:

"The spectacle of that pathetic woman Ms. Sheehan being arrested in the gallery was a national disgrace. It makes this country look like a tin horn dictatorship. If Bush were half the man as Clinton he would have dealt with her a long time ago in Crawford the same way Clinton would. All he had to do was ride up to her in that ditch get off his bike and give her a big hug. Tell her he was feeling her pain and pat her fanny and send her on her way. He could have been just as insincere as B. Clinton and gotten away with it. Nobody likes to be ignored when they think they have a grievance and she does. She would have gotten a response and after that the press would have ignored her. All it required was one nanogram of courage and compassion which he obviously lacks."

I agree. Sometime the solutions just seem so darn obvious. Another is that lame fly-over of the Gulf, when he should have been there, feet on the ground. President Bush is not good at these types of things, the things that separate the great politicians from the mediocre.

I still, however, support the President and believe he will be remembered as a bold leader who changed the course of events in the ME away from a festering cesspool toward positive change.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 1, 2006 11:36 PM

I'm going to go off topic, just for a minute. Four years ago, we were dismissed from work at my company, about half an hour after the Pentagon was hit. I got to my apartment after one, and called my family members to make sure everyone was all right. I sat in front of my TV, numb. I saw Rudy Giuliani on TV. He was at Ground Zero, in a hardhat. An anchorman mentioned that the President was in transit.

Later that afternoon, the news anchor said that the President was at "an undisclosed location". It was after five when Dubya showed himself. I'd been watching Giuliani, Rumsfeld (trying to help at the Pentagon) and Anthony Williams all afternoon. I'd heard about the three men and Todd Beamer who rushed the cockpit before the jet crashed in Shanksville, and heard some of that phone conversation.

What's my point? Only this. To the best of my knowledge, the general public didn't hear from the President all day on Sept. 11th, after he stopped reading to the kids. New Orleans didn't see him until three days after the storm hit. In a carefully choreographed photo op/press conference. Last fall, I thought the President would have told his staff, "Get me down there, right now. This is the biggest natural disaster in memory and I have to do something in New Orleans, show my face in the place if nothing else." That first day, Michael Brown I saw. Ray Nagin cursing and fuming, I saw. Haley Barbour, too. To me, a leader is present in a crisis, if for no other reason than to say: Don't panic. I'm here and I'm in charge.
I didn't expect him to wave a magic wand and repair the levees. Or part the stagnant waters. Just be there.
No Bush.
Looking back, I shouldn't have been surprised.

Posted by: Georgetown1990 | February 2, 2006 12:01 AM

Aside - one the truly tiresome habits of some posters here is to distort and mischaracterize the views of the opposition who post here. if it were my blog, i'd say just push your own point of view folks, skip the misrepresentations and slander of opponents, eh?

Heard a local polysci prof talk about the SOTU - he simply called it political theatre - he doesn't see it for anything more - with that view, any president has to sound upbeat to a national audience (how ever small) - surely Roosevelt didn't do a lot of hand-wringing during WW-II.

and yet, the "axis of evil" nonsense was put in a SOTU first; the falsehoods about Iraq seeking Niger yellowcake were put there for all to hear - the SOTU is a happy talk, but there IS substance - and Mr. Bush simply repeated political talking points - answering his critics? with assertions that what he did in NSA surveillance was legal/constitutional? B.S!

tax cuts for the rich in the face of large deficits?

we need to secure our borders? who's been running the executive branch the last 5 years - they asleep at the switch?

that we're "winning" in Iraq? How could anyone tell? Are the borders secure? the lights on? the streets safe? the oil flowing? the 3 major groups coming together peacefully?

he talked about rebuilding there .... of the roughly 250 Billion the war has cost, not 10% of it has gone into reconstruction .. and we floated the bill to future tax payers, borrowing short-term from foreigners

Iraqis were suffering less physical privation under UN sanctions, hard as that is to believe ...

and how about Afghanistan, where the government doesn't really even control Kabul, much less any region south or east?
Where opium production is soaring to new levels? Where the Taliban copy tactics from Iraqi insurgents and travel freely around the border with Pakistan?

There was nothing new in the President's talk - either in policy, or in showing a better grasp of the realities he continually denies

he say's we're out of Iraq when the generals there say so, not politicians in Washington ... but isn't that a presidential decision? don't the newly emerging Iraqi political leaders have a say too?

one file point - can't he speak without wearing a smirk? it makes him look less serious - of course, maybe that's the one reality we can count on

Posted by: Mill_of_Mn | February 2, 2006 12:04 AM

Now Ross, there can't be any mass data dumps. You just get that idea right out of your little head. The President told us he's only spying on phone calls to and from al Qaeda members, and the President always tells the truth. And since we "disassembled" al Qaeda and killed 2/3 of their leadership, how many of them could be calling?

There is one thing I can't understand though. Maybe you could explain it to me. Apparently a lot of the spied on calls ended up being pizza orders. Now, if al Qaeda is calling Pizza Hut from Afghanistan, how the heck do you think they get the pizza delivered while its still hot? My Representative is having a "town meeting" next week. I think I'll ask him if he can explain it

ANd Sully - you wrote "I'm wondering why Bush mentioned that we are addicted to oil. There is not way Rove, Cheney or the oil companies would let him say that...

Part of his true conservative base has been turning on him for counting his silver pennies while American oil addiction soars and our ME oil interests put us in harm's way. It was lip service to the Conservative base.

And finally I just came across this quoted in the Amerian Conservative magazine. "Former congressman Bob Barr, a conservative from Georgia, has it right: "The American people are going to have to say, 'Enough of this business of justifying everything as necessary for the war on terror.' Either the Constitution and the laws of this country mean something or they don't. It is truly frightening what is going on in this country."

Posted by: patriot 1957 | February 2, 2006 12:20 AM

johnnyg in nedc - I still, however, support the President and believe he will be remembered as a bold leader who changed the course of events in the ME away from a festering cesspool toward positive change.

Well, Democracy is on the march I guess. We now have two freely elected leaders there who wish to bring death to America. I just find it hard to call that positive

Posted by: | February 2, 2006 12:27 AM

Sully wrote:
"Alex, to say that Katrina was not a defining moment of 2005 is an insult to most Americans"
Sully,

Your an insult to most Americans and so is this BLOG.

Man....is it ripe around here!!!!!!

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 2, 2006 12:30 AM

Fuck Tom Toles and Fuck the Washington Post for running that sick cartoon of the US soldier with amputated legs. Come around my town Tom Toles, I fucking dare you.

Posted by: RR | February 2, 2006 12:34 AM

Sorry about the typo...It should read:

Sully,

You're an insult to most Americans and so is this BLOG.

Well, generating typo's is better than generating B.O.

like this Blog does.

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 2, 2006 12:39 AM

Ready, shoot, aim.

If the point is national security for the United States, then it dosen't matter if another government is democratically elected or not as long it is not out to destroy us. I think it's apparent Bush/Rove/Chaney are wrong again. I don't understand this spreading of freedom to countries where the majarity of the population hates america? When given a free democratic choice, the choice is to destroy us.

Do these guys ever use their heads and think "just what if things don't turn out rosey" before they take action?

Posted by: Ross | February 2, 2006 12:42 AM

Patriot1957 rightfully pointed out:
Did you see that Toyota is coming out with a 2007 Sienna minivan that gets 40 mpg?

If all US passenger cars got 40 mpg we wouldn't need to import oil from the ME. (Data from NRDC).

"Bush fiddled and gutted CAFE standards while Detroit burned. So to the Bush apoligists who spewed hysterical fear tactics about being forced to cram supesized American bodies in subcompact cars - your five minutes are up."

The real irony (read... money grab) here is underscored by the modus of many utility companies (ex. National Grid). They encourage users to make modifications to homes and businesses, not because they don't like profit, but rather, because IT IS CHEAPER and more profitable for them to encourage conservation than to build new power generation facilities.

As such, it would be cheaper for Americans in blood and wealth transfer out of country, for the government to encourage and support conservation, fuel efficiency in vehicles, etc. That the current administration has been impotent in this regard is pure payoff to oil interests as evidenced by Exxon-Mobil's $1600 a second profit report yesterday. For Christ's sake, what can be done with such bounty claimed from Americans short of using the proceeds to pay for safe passage out of America when we take our last gasp!

I'm no commie and a former Marine (8 years, Beirut '80's era), but the Mao historical reference during the cold war fits: "No need to worry about American threat to us. The last American will sell the last bullet to the last Russian that the last Russian will use to kill the last American."

God please help us!

Posted by: Newhouse1 | February 2, 2006 12:52 AM

JohnnyG in NE DC agrees with Red Ruffian's take on "Blessed Mother Sheehan":

"All he had to do was ride up to her in that ditch get off his bike and give her a big hug. Tell her he was feeling her pain and pat her fanny and send her on her way. He could have been just as insincere as B. Clinton and gotten away with it. Nobody likes to be ignored when they think they have a grievance and she does. She would have gotten a response and after that the press would have ignored her. All it required was one nanogram of courage and compassion which he obviously lacks."


I disagree. Bush is an Exec over 300 million people. He has taken enormous time, time arguably that might have been better spent on urgent national prioities like health care and energy woes - meeting extensively with the victim families of 9/11 and the victim families of the Iraq War - including previous time with the Sheehan family.

Leftists are so enthralled with the Cult of Victimhood, so presumptive of the Absolute Moral Authority of Officially Designated Victims to dictate their demands on others - and so ingnorant of executive time limitations that they demand (for partisan reasons devised solely to embarass) that the President meet and be consoler in chief to every "Blessed mother" demanding multiple meetings to vent or achieve closure, attend every victim funeral, visit every wounded vet or cancer kiddie.

Just Bush visiting 800 dead soldiers familys for a 10-minute talk and mourning session would take 11,000 minutes, or 31 days of Presidential duty time. Attending 800 hour-long funerals plus travel time would tie up 400 days of Presidential time a year. Being the Consoler in Chief for other Certified Members of the Cult of Victimhood from kiddie cancer patients to every aged civil rights icon would add several hundred more days a year to the Consoler in Chief's job.

Plus the guy spent over a thousand hours visiting the Noblest Victims ever - 9/11 ones - plus visiting wounded soldiers - and various dignitaries and heroes rites.

I imagine half of Bush's constituents - 150 million - would like 10 minutes with the guy to talk about their biggest issues or concerns. That would take Bush or any other President 8,562 years to do. More if more "Blessed Mother Sheehans" said their 10 minutes was unsatisfactory and demanded, not requested, but demanded as their "right as a victim" to more consults.

"Blessed Mother Sheehan" has absolutely no moral claim to demand the President neglect other duties or to a special claim on his time over and above any other victim.

*********************

An interesting phenomenon is emerging that few blacks are interested in returning to New Orleans to conditions less nice than the free hotels and meals they are getting now - even for 100 dollar a day laborer jobs - unless the projects and free rent bungalows with free subsidized utilities are rebuilt. The stats say 80% of evacuated blacks do not plan to return unless the Fed Gov't builds new free housing and free utility services for them, plus the free medical care they were accustomed to.

The result is Hispanics are flocking to New Orleans along with blue collar white contractors to get the 100-300 a day their skills can command for rough dirty work and living 10 miles out of city in tents and trailers. Ray Nagin and Jesse Jackson are concerned that the Democrats hold on power may slip away without the black welfare class's return. Reuben Navarette wrote;

"Jackson noted that while New Orleans was 3 percent Hispanic before Katrina, it is now 20 percent Hispanic. Jackson said that he plans a march and a protest on April 1 to demand that native workers be given priority over foreign ones in the rebuilding of New Orleans. A perfect choice -- April Fool's Day for a foolish idea. The jobs are there for the taking, and many of them pay well. Yet polls show that large numbers of the African-Americans who fled New Orleans have no desire to return. Someone has to do those jobs, and often that ``someone'' is a Latino immigrant who doesn't mind roughing it in a demolished city that still lacks many basic services. Jackson's impractical solution is for companies to provide affordable housing for workers."

Meanwhile, cities like Houston and Atlanta have seen their crime rates explode from their Katrina guests. New Orleans, which once had an armed robberyt rate 4X the national average, and a murder rate 10X the national average in 2004, is on track to have a murder and robbery rate slightly above, even slightly below the national average due to criminal displacement elsewhere.

Houston's murder rate is up 50%. Shreveport and Oklahoma city report drug wars and a near doubling in gang related shootings as Katrina refugees affiliated with PJs war with more established Crips, Bloods, MS-13, and La Familia gangs for drug business. Already, locals are asking WHEN the Katrina "guests" might be leaving...

The Hispanics and whites that rebuild New Orleans will stay if there are jobs for them, or move on to another situation that requires hard workers and pays well.

But the cost of returning the black welfare class and protecting them in subsea extistence and restoring among the worst slums and schools in the country with Cat 5 Levees is thought to be 24 billion. For 200,000 people affected, that is 120,000 dollars per slum denizen - before we get into costs of rebuilding their free utilities and near-free housing.

That is far too expensive for the nation for recreating some of the most dangerous, ill-educated, rotten naighborhoods in the nation.

Part of the reason that the SOTU might have not mentioned it is - aside from Louisiana Democrats and black "spokespeople" for the welfare state, the quiet debate underway is that New Orleans is better off recovering without those people - and "those people"
also might benefit most from making a fresh start elsewhere with better jobs and better education so they have a shot at being "somebody" - not being "those people".

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 2, 2006 01:03 AM

Proof President Bush is a liar and reporters are fraidy cats!

More than two years after he started the NSA's domestic spying without warrants, Bush was unequivocal. During a speech in Buffalo on April 20, 2004, he said: "Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires - a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so."

I know this is from a liberal website with an agenda, but hey the truth hurts. What I don't get is why reporters are afraid to call him on this. Is he going to send you to jail? I wouldn't doubt it, but come on.

read the entire article here
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/013006O.shtml

Posted by: Brian | February 2, 2006 01:21 AM

Chris Ford, you play fast and loose with facts, which is fine for theatrics sake, but in any case, thanks for keeping some of us calibrated on what we're up against in the fight for America's soul. A few questions for you, just out of curiosity, and try to be non-theatric:

1. Did you serve in the military? The reason for the question is that it's not such a stretch to have balls of steel, and fawn over power, when you have not stood on, say, the yellow footprints at Parris Island and earned the right to don the uniform. Military people (Marines included) are not given hero worship status for just being in, and believe it or not, the last thing they want to do is make widows and orphans at home or abroad. They're actually quite regular folks, who want what we all want, peace, and are willing to do their part, hoping the calculation is right.

2. Did Clinton ever win a war? Hint: Clinton, for all his warts, did in fact execute a war in the Balkins, liberate the Serbs, put Milosovic on trial in the Hague, and slammed a hot one into the Chinese embassy in Belgrade for good measure--and all the while most Americans don't even consider it a conflict worth noting... as it should be. He deployed the whiz-bang of our technologically superior arsenal on an inferior foe, and followed the Bush I and Powell script for how to do it with minimal US casualities.

3. Why are you so bitter, and seemingly frightened of black people? As a black person with a master's and bachelor's from some very impressive schools, with entrance gained from the affirmative action of a perfect GRE 800 score and a 1490 out of 1600 SAT, I find your global condemnation of blacks in NOLA as humorous as your apparent dis-interest and no-mention of the fact that the majority of recipients of Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC) are white and female (pure # not percent of population). That the geography of the N.O. devastation involved a ward with a high black concentration is not a metaphor for what ails the country w/regard to the welfare state or black peoples' meshing in America's fabric. I demand equal time from you for admonishing the poor white female welfare class; and Pat Robertson as a proxy for J. Jackson (God punishing Israel for Gaza deal); Skinheads as proxy for crips; and meth epidemic in the heartland in proxy for crack cocaine in Houston wrought by N.O blacks!

ps... as a New Yorker, let's cease with the Bush-911 kind to the victims (survivors) crap. He (the guy) did NOT spend 1000 hours visiting with 911 victims; that's just plain silly. (1000 hours at 8 hours a day would be 125 days... I have a calculator too). He came for the photo-op on the rubble after the all clear was sounded, and came for the Repub convention, and hasn't come within 100 miles since--even to pick up a few bucks at a fund raiser. Ain't saying he's bad... just not deserving of hero worship status.

Posted by: Curious in NY | February 2, 2006 02:11 AM

Curious in NY,
Thanks.......its always nice to hear a grownup speak once in a while.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 2, 2006 04:04 AM

KATRINA WAS A DEFINING MOMENT IN AMERICA'S HISTORY. AN ENTIRE CITY WAS DESTROYED. ALL AMERICA WATCHED THE WEATHER CHANNEL AND KNEW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN SO THE LIES OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION (SIMILAR TO THEIR RESPONSE TO 9/11) THAT THEY DID NOT OR COULD NOT KNOW IT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN WERE VERY EVIDENT.

MORE DAMMING WAS THE FEDERAL RESPOND TO KATRINA. ALL AMERICA WATCH THE NEWS ANCHORS ON TV FOR AT LEAST THREE DAYS ONLY TO SEE NO NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS OR ANY ASSISTANCE AT ALL TO THE DAZED SURVIVORS OF KATRINA WANDERING AROUND BEHIND THE NEWS ANCHORS REPORTING.

MOST DAMNING IS THAT REPUBLICAN MISSISSIPPI IS HAVING AN EASIER TIME AND GETTING MORE FEDERAL MONEY THAN DEMOCRATIC LOUISANA.

Posted by: Impeach Bush | February 2, 2006 06:38 AM

Dear Impeach

I will not thank you when President Cheney takes over.

Of course if Cheney's name was Clinton he'd be under endless investigation for accounting scandals and oh, say, bribery, during his tenure leading Halliburton. But never underestimate the power of cronyism.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | February 2, 2006 10:17 AM

Alex H. how can you say that Katrina was not a defining moment for America, the world watched the incompetence of your President and the out and out Corruption of hiring a horsebreeder buddy to take care of America's safety. As a Canadian I was shocked at the racism. blacks left to die, I was shocked at the lack of competence or explanation of the President who thought his buddy did a great job. Until the pressure of local and international response.
Katrinagate to me is the epitome of the evils of your government and it gave the US a black eye internationally.

Posted by: SpeakoutforDemocracy | February 2, 2006 11:00 AM

No-name wrote:

"Well, Democracy is on the march I guess. We now have two freely elected leaders there who wish to bring death to America. I just find it hard to call that positive."

It takes time, and will not show any great turn-around while President Bush is in office. Radical changes, such as these, will inevitably lead to things getting worse before they get better. But it seems that advancements leading to a better society would forever be suppressed without the radical change. This is, I beleive, one foundation in the neo-con theory.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 2, 2006 11:09 AM

Chris, I realize that "mother sheehan" deserves no more time than others facing the same situation. But as a political practicality, it would have defused that whole fiasco. At the time, I was hoping he would have done exactly that to shut her, and those like her, the hell up.

She is pathetic, and I sure her son is rolling in his grave as she dishonors his ultimate sacrifice.

Posted by: | February 2, 2006 11:17 AM

The above post was mine.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 2, 2006 11:19 AM

but that would be pretty much a description of your life I would imagine...

allowing your personal perspective of dishonoring those who cared for you to spill out into your adult life...


don't take your anger on your parents out on the world...you need to grow up son.

Posted by: I would think that your statement dishonors hers son's sacrifice.... | February 2, 2006 11:25 AM

outlook...

I'm a big dawgnot....


I negate my existence by lying as an expression of hatred....cf, jg, et al


traitors to the truth.

Posted by: posuers appearing to be tough and merciless while whining about themselves in their | February 2, 2006 11:30 AM

Listen dickhead, he was not drafted. He choose to go there on our behalf and fight. He was killed. Now, his unemployed mother, who obviously craves attention, has taken advantage of her son's plight, and belittles it!

She is shameless, stupid, or both, and easily manipulated by asses from the Left.

And don't call me son ... you are not my father, youngin, I have grandkids of my own.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 2, 2006 11:37 AM

johnnyg, I think that Sheehan started as someone crazy with grief with no place else to focus her anger, and that she has been used shamefully by both sides and twisted into a sad caricature. The turning point was the anti-war march in DC last fall that was co-opted by some bizarro folks that I couldn't figure out what they hell they were even advocating for, much less decide if I supported it or not.

But her son died so that she has the freedom to speak out and make an ass of herself if she so chooses. I would think he would be turning over in his grave that she was handcuffed and arrested for daring to use that right to speak her mind that he died defending.

Her twisting into a caricature is just one more symptom of the gaping leadership hole in the center of this nation. Is there no candidate who can fill it? The repubs won't give up control to McCain (or Snowe or Collins or Chafee or any other moderate) and the Dems don't have the discipline or the creativity to counter Rove.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | February 2, 2006 01:11 PM

Patriot 1957,
Rationally, I agree with your response to Johnnyg, but from experience, I will disagree. I actually took the name, 'freedom,' after reading one of the other blogs on WP. Many current/ex military types were stating one can't excercise one's freedom of speech and talk negatively about the military/war effort unless one has served because they have not earned the right to. After reading too many of these commentd, I felt I had to speak out about the irony of defending our 'freedom.' It's quite likely that Sheehan's son would have followed suit, especially when one looks at his father's reaction. Then again, this is jusst supposition.

Posted by: Freedom | February 2, 2006 01:29 PM

Hey Alex, you are a bigot and a moron. Eat a bag of shit, you suck.

Posted by: Yodha | February 2, 2006 03:30 PM

Sorry, after reading all of this I couldn't sugar coat. I served in two of this country's wars and can say that without a doubt the majority of military personnel are peace lovers. Sure they want to prove themselves and do so honorably. But only someone who is crazy or has never been shot at or has never watched a human being bleed to death wants war, in other words...GWB. And you still suck Alex.

Posted by: Yodha | February 2, 2006 03:48 PM

Freedom, I watched my niece turn into a brainwashed partyline spewing robot in the Marines. But she only lasted for one tour and it only took a year or so to get reprogrammed back in the outside world.

Posted by: patriot1957 | February 2, 2006 04:06 PM

The Bush administration is so preoccupied with justifying warrantless wiretaps, dodging Plamegate, dodging the Jack Abramhoff scandal, trying to figure out where Osama Bin Laden and his deputies are, and dealing with Iraq that they can't focus on fulfilling any promises made in Jackson Square in the aftermath of Katrina. As a result there is nothing good for them to report on Katrina so they only made vague references to it in the speech.

Its been sad to watch the snowball effect of Bush's miscalculations creating and contributing to others and others and others and others and others.........

Posted by: DK | February 2, 2006 10:43 PM

You go Cindy, you really must be a threat to those who still love that lying psychopath in office. A mind is a terrible thing to waste and there is a lot of that going on. If your tee shirt is that threatening I can imagine how threatening you are. Do not pay attention to the tiny minds who have no backbone to stand up for themselves or others. There are many who think they are doing their part by whining, but what do they do to speak up. They are quick enough to pass judgement on others who have the ovaries to speak up. The world is full of cowards and those you have to watch.
Everyone deals with their grief differently and for Cindy speaking out for other mothers sons is a noble deed.

Posted by: SpeakoutforDemocracy | February 3, 2006 09:34 AM

Since it seems to have become a topic of some conversation on here, just let me put in my 2 cents on Cindy Sheehan - I feel deeply sorry for her loss. She is one of thousands of mothers in this country who have lost children in Iraq, and there is nothing sadder than that. However, I DO NOT support her little vacation to Venezuela. I'm not very well informed on Latin American politics, but what I do know is that Venezuela is one of our biggest suppliers of oil, and their president is a socialist who hates us. To me, I equate flying off to support Hugo Chavez is the equivalent of flying to Iran and supporting Ahmadinjehad (spell check, please).

Now,about the topic at hand - Katrina was a national event. I am a New Yorker, and I spent time in LA volunteering to help victims with their insurance issues, helping them fill out claims and such. I felt very small, watching volunteers hand out food, and water, and blankets, and all I did was help them fill out claim forms, but if my help got them settlements from their insurance company a day sooner, then I guess I did some good. Having been witness to the two biggest disasters in American history (one natural, one not), I can easily agree with my fellow bloggers that if there is any job for the federal government, disaster recovery is it. A city or state, even one as big as New York, is not financially equipped to handle something of that magnitude. The bulk of the criticism MUST lie with the federal government for dropping the ball on that one. It's funny that Bush constantly talk about people who want to back out of Iraq as "shirking their responsibilities", and not even deigning to recognize is his own responsibility to NO. He truly is like a teenager - throwing a temper tantrum when Mom and Dad insist on some adult supervision at a party, saying "how am I ever going to grow up if you dont give me responsibilities", and then, when its time to wash the dishes " I'm the child in this house, you're supposed to provide for me". Bush only talk about responsibility when it suits him.

Posted by: JK | February 3, 2006 02:48 PM

ErrinF - "That was an unfair statement by Kanye West. That you focus on him rather than all the American lives lost due to FEMA incompetence makes me wonder how seriously you take the Katrina tragedy other than looking at it from a political perspective."
Funny, it seems to me that all the lives lost were caused by Katrina the hurricane. Hurricanes kill people, not FEMA incompetence, not Nagin's incompetence, not Blanco's incompetence.
Posted by: Chris Ford | Feb 1, 2006 4:43:36 PM

Bullshit. A better response would have saved lives; Only an extremist idiot like Chris Ford would be callous to that fact. As usual, Chris Ford could give a damn about his fellow American citizens. He does not care that people died due to government negligence after Hurricane Katrina. He does not care that Osama bin Laden is free still after murdering 3000+ Americans on 9/11. Chris Ford constantly argues against our American liberties, and could care less when American citizens die; He is little more than the anti-American subversive he accuses everybody else of being.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 3, 2006 05:32 PM

Ford,
In agreement with ErrinF's response to your comment that it was the hurricane that was the only result of death, I must respond. Your comment does seem rather foolish and ill thought. By your logic, a doctor that comes to work drunk and results in the death of a patient to a gunshot wound should not be held responsible. It wasn't the doctors negligence and bad decision in regards to drinking that killed the patient after all. It was the bullet.

Posted by: Freedom | February 3, 2006 06:14 PM

Chris Ford, how does anyone take you seriously. Mr. Hate Crime Waiting to Happen does not have a clue or interest in democracy. An apologist for Bush's failures, putting down those who try to practice good democracy, and name calling only make you look suspiciously like a little plant to interfere with good discussion. Name calling and references to the church do not good discussion make, they just make you look like another Bush patsy. Do they pay you for this or do you just volunteer. I do not trust you or your reasons for being here.

Posted by: SpeakoutforDemocracy | February 6, 2006 09:16 AM


On the question of Katrina...I went through Katrina, luckily not in New Orleans but 45 miles away. While it was merely inconvient to most of us at varying degrees, it has ruined thousands.There are over 1300 confermed dead and over 3000 still missing...children are still being sought by parents, bodies still unidentified...and this president has a few lines about it, as he made political hay on the backs of those left with hopelessness.

Our Gov. has been before several senate committee hearings( which there has been 14 of them), as has Mayor Nagen...both have turned over reports. The La. gov. has released over 100,000 pieces of paper. This president refuses to release any.

As far as Mississippi goes.. they still have people in tents and sleeping in cars. They went into walmarts looking for food and water...and they did not have the same kind of devastation as New Orleans or the surrounding parrishes. They did not have the horrible flooding. The Miss. gov tesified that his people needed food and water and many died from the need...BUT not a reporter in the liberal media reported that.

It has been proved that the levees were not built correctly..and that is Federal Government's fault, not the locals. And the Feds are responcible, not our Gov. or the serveral levee board's. Those levees breaking killed people...and Bush took money from the funds set for the levees each and every year he came into office.

85 billion dollars was given to FEMA...and after FEMA's incompetence to begin with they are proveing to be a one trick horse.Any one seen New Orleans lately?

Halliburton is again there with their hands out and they are the ones benefiting from another govermental cluster*&^k. So I hope the fiscally liberal neocons appreciate what this administration is doing for them...and what the fiscally Progressive Democrats have to do to striaghten this mess up.
I feel sorry for those who have to take the broom and dust pan to this administration as it departs.
What Bush got was the W's taken from key boards and a huge surplus in a country at relative peace. Who ever the Masocist is who will follow Bush will get a fiscal nightmare in a world who sees us as bullies and warmongers.

Posted by: terra | February 7, 2006 01:22 PM

Katrina, like every other monumental disaster - natural or contrived by man - was a great test of the calibre of the people on the ground at the time. Sadly, the local contribution to its resolution left a great deal to be desired.

The expression, "It comes with the territory" fits fine here. No one can know your patch the way you can: no one else can have the vested interest that you should have in how safe your patch is.

And again, if the energy expended on blaming could have been harnessed and converted into constructive effort, the whole of New Orleans would now be restored to at least its former glory.

Posted by: Rick Clarke | February 17, 2006 09:17 PM

As a volunteer who provided medical care to many in NO, it amazes me that the folks in this blog can blame FEMA for all of the messes in NO. I toured the lower 9th and saw the results of the devastating floods. I talked to many who were grateful for the assistance they received from FEMA. I also took care of people who stated that they did not have jobs before the hurricane and had no intention of getting jobs after, because "it is the government's responsibility to take care of me". I have tremendous respect for those people who are working to return to their homes and a normal life. Those folks are working at whatever jobs they can find AND are working to repair their homes if possible. They, in my humble opinion, deserve whatever help the local, State and Federal government can provide. Those who misused the money they have been given and those who are able, but refuse to get a job, deserve to be on the streets. FEMA response was not perfect, but there were teams on the ground as soon as it was safe for them to enter the devastation. Those teams of volunteers left their homes and families, dealt with the lack of food and water and gave of themselves to help in any way they could. The system needs to be fixed, starting at the top of the Department of Homeland Security. Changes have been made that bode well for the country, and more are in process. We must keep in mind that FEMA's hands were tied until the Governor declared a state of emergency. The Governor had to wait for 24 hours to decide if LA needed help, while teams cooled their heels in nearby states or were deployed to locations other than Louisiana who requested help. Racism reared its ugly head as the cause for the delay. If that was the case, it was from some place other than FEMA. I understand frustration of the populace, but the blame must be shared by LA officials who delayed their request for assistance for their citizens. FEMA has had people in the NO area as well as along the Gulf coast for months now, providing much needed and deserved care and support and continues to be bashed. Somehow, that seems unfair. Most of those with "boots on the ground" are volunteers from all over the US as well as other countries, just trying to help the people, while risking their health and safety.
I was told by a NO business owner, whose business had been devastated that he laid the blame on the corrupt, incompetent Mayor and Governor. When the investigation is completed, I think there will be enough blame to go around. This includes LA elected officials as well as the Federal Government and all political parties.

Posted by: Helper | February 21, 2006 09:28 PM

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.