Friday, September 02, 2005

Selections from “Bush Goes to Gulf”

Why are these helicopters being used as a backdrop for President Bush, instead of assisting the victims of Hurricane Katrina?
Why are members of the Coast Guard being used as a backdrop for Bush’s press conference? Don’t they have more important things to do?

If you haven't seen this incredible diary, FEMA director Mike Brown is an incompetent fool forced to resign from his last job as "Judges and Stewards Commissioner" for the International Arabian Horses Association because of mounting litigation and financial disarray. That performance seemed a perfect fit for an administration that thumbs its nose at effective administrators.—Daily Kos

Just now on CNN, after having watched Bush being briefed by the head of FEMA and talking with the GOP governors of Mississippi and Alabama

Daryn Kagen:

I gotta say that was rather an odd thing to be watching. The president finally making it to the gulf coast after five days, and then spending a big chunk of time, when he could be out seeing the devastation, getting a briefing that frankly he could have gotten back at the White House, if not then, then on board Air Force One. A lot of that seemed like a political opportunity for the cameras and for the Republican governors of Mississippi and Alabama.

Bill Schneider:

I'm not sure that's what most Americans and certainly most people in the area wanted to hear, as if the president were being filled in, told what was going on, there was a lot of thanking a lot of congratulations. Look these are frantic desperate people who have lost everything, who are in a very desperate situation, what they want is someone to come there and say the government is in control, we have control of this situation, there's a leader in charge here and we're gonna make it work....What people want there is leadership, they don't want someone being briefed, they want leadership.

Gee, give the guy a break, people, he only got back from vacation 36 hours ago.—AmericaBlog

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) joined the Congressional Black Caucus Friday in blasting the Bush administration's response to the Gulf Coast hurricane disaster."We cannot allow it to be said that the difference between those who lived and those who died in this great storm and flood of 2005 was nothing more than poverty, age or skin
color," Cummings said.—

About 40 percent of Mississippi's National Guard and 35 percent of Louisiana's -- a combined total of roughly 6,000 troops -- are
to help out because they are currently in Iraq. And despite the protestations of unnamed officials that "this had not hurt the relief effort," does anyone really believe that having 6,000 more well-trained citizen-soldiers on hand would not have made a huge difference?

As Lt. Andy Thaggard, a spokesman for the Mississippi National Guard, put it: "Missing the personnel is the big thing in this particular event. We need our people."[emphasis added]—Arriana Huffington, Huffington Post

Terry Ebbert, the head of homeland security in New Orleans, bitterly complained on Thursday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was not offering enough help.

"This is a national emergency," Mr. Ebbert told The Associated Press. "This is a national disgrace. FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans."[emphasis added]—New York Times

Cheney's Summer Vacation:

So what is his day like in Jackson? Any fly-fishing on the Snake River during his work day? "He's already had his morning briefings," McBride said. "He'll have some other internal staff meetings." Beyond that, McBride said, she would have to check and get back to me. I missed her call back but will try to reach her again.

And when is he coming back? "He will certainly be coming back. I'm not able to tell you the day right now. I don't have that handy."—Washington Post

US Senator David Vitter said that the death toll from Hurricane Katrina could top 10,000 in Louisiana alone.

"My guess is that it will start at 10,000, but that is only a guess,"
Vitter said, adding that he was not basing his remarks on any official death toll or body count.

Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, also called for the immediate deployment of regular US combat troops in New Orleans, saying the
build-up of National Guard troops was too slow to quickly restore order.[emphasis added]—Yahoo News

I have recently managed to speak to some friends stranded in New Orleans. They are starving and dehydrating and there is no news of when they will be receiving food and water. I have spoken to relief efforts and understand that there are plenty of supplies waiting for these people, BUT THEY ARE NOT BEING ALLOWED INTO THE CITY.—Democratic Underground

CNN -- A convoy of military vehicles plowed through the flooded streets of New Orleans on Friday bringing food, water and medicine to the thousands of people trapped at a downtown convention center.
The relief effort came as President Bush toured the Gulf Coast to survey damage from Hurricane Katrina and shortly after the mayor of New Orleans said the city was "holding on by a thread."[emphasis added] –CNN

CNN's Cafferty says relief arrival is being timed for Bush's arrival--AmericaBlog:

Jack Cafferty:

Do you suppose, Wolf, that the arrival of the relief convoys and the political photo ops on the gulf coast happening at the very same time were a coincidence today?

Wolf Blitzer:

Uh, well, we'll, I'm sure our viewers have some thoughts on that as well. These pictures, by the way, Jack, that we're getting in...

Wolf Blitzer:

Jack a final thought before I let you go.

Jack Cafferty:

It's embarrassing [followed by dead silence]

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