Tag Archives: Hurricane Katrina

Politics

SOTU: Bush Will Not Mention Failed Katrina Recovery

CNN just reported that the White House has admitted that Pres. Bush will avoid referring to the post-Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast.

From a political perspective, it is easy to see why. Pres. Bush’s direction of the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina was abysmal. It also marked the turning point in his term in office when millions of Americans could no longer ignore his incompetence.

The president’s polling fell in the aftermath of the hurricane and has never recovered. In fact, his botched handling of the response could be seen in the Washington Post/ABC poll released yesterday, in which 54 percent of Americans said they felt they could not trust the president to handle a crisis.

Politics

Ex-FEMA Head Says Bush Targeted Democratic Louisiana Governor

If Michael Brown is lying, he sure is good at it. Despite White House denials (by a third-tier spokesperson), Brown’s latest tidbits about the handling of Hurricane Katrina — and taking over Louisiana operations — sound awfully credible.

“Certain people in the White House were thinking we had to federalize Louisiana because she’s a white, female Democratic governor and we have a chance to rub her nose in it”

Some in the White House suggested only Louisiana should be federalized because it was run by a Democrat, Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Brown told a group of graduate students at a lecture on politics and emergency management at Metropolitan College of New York.

Brown said he had recommended to President Bush that all 90,000 square miles along the Gulf Coast affected by the hurricane be federalized, making the federal government in charge of all agencies responding to the disaster.

“Unbeknownst to me, certain people in the White House were thinking we had to federalize Louisiana because she’s a white, female Democratic governor and we have a chance to rub her nose in it,” he said…

Blanco reacted sharply on hearing what Brown had said.

“This is exactly what we were living but could not bring ourselves to believe. Karl Rove was playing politics while our people were dying,” Blanco said through a spokeswoman, referring to President Bush’s top political strategist. “The federal effort was delayed, and now the public knows why. It’s disgusting.”

Politics

Bush Eliminates Hunger. The Word, That Is

The Bush administration has eliminated hunger in America, and it was much easier than anyone suspected. They have simply quit using the word.

Yes, the folks who brought you “faith-based initiatives” instead of “lack of separation of church and state,” and “healthy forests” instead of “clear-cutting” are proud to present, “very low food security” instead of “hunger.”

Eliminating hunger was much easier than anyone suspected

…in Chicago, at the Holy Family Food Pantry, the people lining up for assistance know exactly what hunger means.

“I’m running out of food, so I got to find somewhere to get some food,” Terry Sutton said.

But according to the new government report, that doesn’t necessarily make him hungry.

Sutton and others like him have “very low food security.”

“When they hear ‘very low food security’ it sounds like bureaucratic jargon. It doesn’t sound like people who can’t get enough to eat,” said Deborah Leff of the Public Welfare Foundation.

Some say that may be just the point.

We can expect Rush Limbaugh to chime in any time with a screed about fat poor people and how they’re all just faking it.

Meanwhile, groups like USA Harvest pick up the Bush administration’s slack by fighting hunger all over this country and Canada, including Houston, where, over one year later, many of the people displaced by Hurricane Katrina still live. A study conducted in September showed them not doing very well.

While about 60 percent of the evacuees surveyed had been employed in New Orleans before Katrina, a little more than 60 percent are now unemployed. Almost 74 percent have an annual income of less than $15,000, and almost 17 percent have an income of between $15,000 and $25,000.

Guess we ought to do something about that. Maybe we should call them “geographically shifted people of newfound leisure” instead.

Politics

A Story of Iraq, Katrina, and a Dismembered Girlfriend

I can’t get the report about the guy who dismembered his girlfriend in New Orleans and then committed suicide out of my head.

I am a hundred percent in the personal responsibility camp but it seems, even to me, like this story is evidence of the very bad karma George Bush has loosed upon our country

After Hurricane Katrina, Zackery Bowen and his girlfriend Adriane Hall appeared in news stories as examples of young people who had pressed on in the battered city despite evacuation orders and a lack of power and water.

Their story came to a disturbing end this week: Bowen leapt to his death from a hotel, leaving a note that led police to a French Quarter apartment where they found a woman’s charred head on the stove, limbs in the oven and torso in the refrigerator.

Yes, if it were a movie I would be hiding my eyes during this part, but the obvious details aren’t all that’ve been bothering me. I am a hundred percent in the personal responsibility camp but it seems, even to me, like this story is evidence of the very bad karma George Bush has loosed upon our country.

[Bowen] served in Kosovo and Iraq as a military policeman, earning several medals including the NATO medal and the Presidential Unit Citation, which is awarded to military units that have performed a heroic act in the face of an armed enemy.

After his discharge, Bowen returned to New Orleans, where he was hired at several bars because of his good looks, charming manners, and long blond hair…

A fellow bartender told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that after downing rounds of Miller High Life and Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, Bowen would grow depressed when talking about his military service, indicating that there was an overseas incident involving a child that haunted him.

New Orleans is the perfect backdrop in this horror screenplay. After all, the town with one of the richest histories in America was rendered a practically Biblical backwater after the Bush administration left its residents to die and its structures to crumble.

Alligators have been dragged from abandoned swimming pools. Foxes had to be removed from the airport. Coyotes are stalking rabbits and nutria…in city streets. And armadillos are undermining air conditioning units.

In the year since Hurricane Katrina drove out many of the people of New Orleans, wild animals have been moving in. Some were blown in by the winds or redistributed by the floodwaters. Others were drawn by the piles of rotting garbage and by the shelter afforded by all the abandoned homes and tall weeds.

Responsible for killing his girlfriend and himself: Bowen
Responsible for sending Bowen to Iraq and ruining his life: Bush
Responsible for ruining the formerly great American city where the murder-suicide took place: Bush
Ruin, ruin, and more ruin: Bush

Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way, and I’m sure Bush supporters will leave nasty comments deriding me for doing just that, but it seems to me that this story is one more indication that there are consequences for what Bush himself calls “evil doing.”

Karma is often misdefined by the My Name is Earl model of direct cause and effect. A more accurate definition is the very simple idea that whatever you create more of in the world is what you, and others, are more likely to encounter. It’s the law of mathematics.

While Katrina was still a fresh crisis, Republicans loved to say there was plenty of blame to go around, meaning none of the blame was theirs. I’m not for a second defending the acts committed by this ruined man in this ruined place. But sometimes a story is so bad that you have to really think about it. And on this one, I just keep ending up at the White House door.

News & Comment

Blame Game: During the Katrina Disaster, Republicans Chastised Critics for ‘Playing Blame Game’ But Now They’re Blaming Everyone for the Foley Sex Scandal But Themselves

All of this fingerpointing ultimately leads to one conclusion: The Republicans are guilty, guilty, guilty.

In the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina disaster last summer, one of the Republicans’ more successful tactics for deflecting responsibility for their own incompetence was to label any criticism as an attempt to “play the blame game.”

Hold fire until later, they said, scolding Democrats and the media — there would come a time for assigning blame but right now there are more pressing concerns, such as getting help to victims in the Gulf Coast. (Never mind that most of the victims were suffering because of the government’s failure to provide help early on.)

And, predictably, the time for assigning blame never really came. Despite a few hearings in Congress, Pres. Bush and his team escaped having to take full responsibility for the lives lost and property destroyed due to their disastrous response.

Today, in the wake of the Foley sex scandal, the GOP is fully engaged in playing the blame game. Here is just a partial list of who they are blaming for GOP Rep. Mark Foley’s X-rated emails to 16 year old boys:

  • Gay people: Possibly the most outrageous claim is that the House leaders were reticent to go after the very closeted Rep. Foley’s behavior because they feared being labeled “gay bashers.” This is laughable since gay bashing is what Republicans do. Laws designed to discriminate against gay people are principal planks in the Republican Party platform. In fact, Pres. Bush would likely have lost the 2004 elections if his political team hadn’t seen to it that there was a gay-bashing initiative on the ballot in Ohio that year.
  • Democrats and the media: Rush Limbaugh and others have blamed Democrats for holding Foley’s emails and releasing them five weeks before the election as a coordinated scheme to topple Republican control of the House. The problem with this scenario is that Brian Ross at ABC, who broke the story last week, says his source in the House was a Republican.
  • Each other: In a sure sign of disarray, both Majority Leader John Boehner and Rep. Tom Reynolds, chair of the NRCC, are blaming Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Why is the conservative ideology such a sham? One of the Republican Party’s talking points about itself is that it is the party that advocates taking personal responsibility. But they never do. Whatever goes wrong is always someone else’s fault — meaning the “liberal” media and the Democrats, of course.

As any parent could immediately discern from this playground squabbling, all of this fingerpointing ultimately leads to one conclusion: They are guilty, guilty, guilty.

News & Comment

Doc Marble Speaks Out: Impossible Cheney Sex Acts, Impeaching Dubya Gump and the Sorry State of Hurricane Reconstruction

Heckling Mr. Cheney: Remember the guy who, last fall in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, told Vice President Dick Cheney to perform an impossible sexual act on himself during a live television interview? He actually said it twice, if you recall. More recently, the same guy appeared on Chris Matthews’ “Hardball” show to “debate” Rockey Vaccarella, the Republican operative who hauled his FEMA trailer to Washington and told George Bush that if he could have another term of office, he’d solve all our nation’s problems (video here).

The guy is Ben Marble, M.D., emergency room physician, husband, father of three, front man for the rock band dR.O, Katrina recovery activist and shameless self-promoter. On Sept. 8, exactly a year after he hollered at Dick Cheney in Gulfport, Miss. (see the video here), Marble set out on his “Mission Not Accomplished Tour,” headed for Camp Democracy in Washington, D.C., and for what has become an annual gig with his band — playing in New York City on the anniversary of Sept. 11.

Pensito Review caught up with Ben Marble via e-mail after he returned from his trip.

Pensito Review: What was the goal of your trip and can you give us a recap of your weekend in Washington and New York?

Ben Marble: Basically, the primary goal of the trip was to film the “Mission NOT Accomplished” documentary so that is a goal that we did accomplish … here is a rough draft of what we did:

Friday 090806, i.e., the 1-year anniversary of the day I said ‘Go F Yourself, Mr. Cheney’

We first went to Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House where we called for Dubya Gump to resign and/or for people to only vote for candidates in Nov. who have vowed to IMPEACH DUBYA GUMP! Afterwards we went to “Camp Democracy” where I spoke briefly calling on everyone to vote only for candidates who have vowed to IMPEACH DUBYA GUMP! While there we met the “Iraq Veterans Against the War” and went and had some food/drinks with them.

Saturday 090906
What we thought would be a 2 hour drive took 4 and a half hours as we drove to Phoenixville, Pa. We missed the governor due to the long drive but we met several local people who took us back to their house for a jam session/Mission NOT Accomplished party! dR. O played an impromptu concert for a bunch of small children which meant we had to cut half of our set list of songs to play only ‘kid friendly’ stuff. The grandmother cooked us some great food. We also visited a cemetery where a man who took part in the ‘Charge of the light brigade’ was buried. We had a great time with them but eventually had to leave. Later we went to Philadelphia where we visited the museum of art where I recruited 2 people to run up the stairs with me and we all raised our fists in the air at the end. Finally we went to “Jim’s” downtown for some Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches.

‘In November, good Americans will only vote for candidates who openly say they will VOTE TO IMPEACH DUBYA GUMP.’

arrived in NYC @ 2am Sunday 091006
I did an interview in the afternoon with the mediabloodhound (see www.mediabloodhound.com ) and near the end of that we heard Dubya Gump was at ground zero so we went down there to protest. I met the ‘granny peace brigade’ and we protested Dubya Gump shouting “VOTE TO IMPEACH” and “STOP EXPLOITING 911” among other things. Later we had dinner in little Italy.

Monday 091106
Traffic was insane causing me to miss my interview with Alex Bennett [of SIRIUS satellite radio]. Will hopefully get that rescheduled. We later went to ground zero again where we inadvertently ran into Alex Jones and his “911 truth” protesters. They believe “911 was an inside job’. I don’t personally believe that but I was standing in the middle of them holding up my 2-sided ‘VOTE TO IMPEACH’/“NEVER 4GET KATRINA” sign. What a strange day! That night my band, dR. O, played a concert at CBGB’s wrapping up the “Mission NOT Accomplished” tour!

PR: On a couple of Web sites that contain information about the Cheney incident a year ago, there appears to be some confusion about where that happened. One or two sites have it near your home in New Orleans, but you live in Mississippi. Can you give us a short description of what happened that day and where it happened?

BM: It happened 1 block off the beach on 2nd street in Gulfport, Ms. on Sept. 8, 2005

PR: Why did you call Dick “Mr. Cheney” when you told him to commit an impossible physical act?

BM: I thought it would be a bit more ironic if I called him “Mr.”

PR: Is it a Southern thing?

BM: probably so
read more »

News & Comment

Repost: Democratic Party Should Take the Lead in Post-Katrina Aid

This is a repost of an article from Pensito Review’s coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. It originally appeared one year ago today, Sept. 1, 2005.

Now is the time for the Democratic Party to mobilize its significant resources and come to the aid of the Gulf region devastated by Hurricane Katrina. As chairman, Howard Dean should activate the party’s communications and fund-raising apparatus to get money flowing from Democrats and liberals nationwide to the party, which could then direct the funds to relief organizations.

Bush and the Repugs diverted money that could have averted death and disaster in New Orleans, now let the Dems step up and mobilize their resources and provide needed aid in a hurry.

What? You say this is no time for partisan politics? Let’s wake up and take a lesson from the Republicans and the neocons and the God-knobs and the whacko wingnuts — it’s always partisan politics, all the time.

Let’s take the opportunity of this horrendous natural (and manmade) disaster and Bush’s high disapproval rating to energize the Democratic Party and accomplish something positive for the first time in five years.

Revisited: Here we are a year later and, needless to say, the Democratic Party did not step up to the plate following Katrina. Yeah, they criticized the administration and pointed out shortcomings in Bushco’s response and raised money for aid, but I don’t think they took the political advantage the situation offered. Sure, it might have appeared unseemly to “use” the nation’s worst natural and manmade disaster for political ends, but don’t you think if the Dems had been in charge and botched it as badly, the GOP would have shown restraint? Don’t think so.

News & Comment

Repost: Bush Diverted Levee-Building Funds to Iraq War, Tax Cuts

This is a repost of an article from Pensito Review’s coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. It originally appeared one year ago today, August 31, 2005.

In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain.

Repair and maintenance of the fortress-like system of levees around New Orleans has been a fact of life there for decades. The levees themselves are constantly sinking – in one report they sank four feet in about a year. But in 2003 – at the time President Bush cut the taxes of the wealthy (his “base”) while simultaneously launching the invasion of Iraq for no other reason than his personal whim, funding to rebuild the levees was reallocated:

[After] 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA [Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project] dropped to a trickle. The [Army Corps of Engineeers] never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security — coming at the same time as federal tax cuts — was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.

As the situation in Iraq devolved into the slow-motion bloodbath we are experiencing today, the Bush Administration needed more money to feed the beast it had unleashed. As a result, even more funding was drained away from repairing the levees around New Orleans:

In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.

Last summer, local officials recognized that the president’s decision had placed the city in jeopardy:

On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: “It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.”

News & Comment

Repost: Rightwingers Blame Americans for Hurricane Destruction

This is a repost of an article from Pensito Review’s coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. It originally appeared one year ago today, August 31, 2005.

Why do rightwingers blame America first for natural disasters?

A group called Columbia Christians for Life sent out the following email:

The image of the hurricane above with its eye already ashore at 12:32 PM Monday, August 29 looks like a fetus (unborn human baby) facing to the left (west) in the womb, in the early weeks of gestation (approx. 6 weeks). Even the orange color of the image is reminiscent of a commonly used pro-life picture of early prenatal development… [This] hurricane looks like an unborn human child.

Louisiana has 10 child-murder-by-abortion centers – FIVE are in New Orleans
www.ldi.org (‘Find an Abortion Clinic [sic]’)

  • Baby-murder state # 1 – California (125 abortion centers) – land of earthquakes, forest fires, and mudslides
  • Baby-murder state # 2 – New York (78 abortion centers) – 9-11 Ground Zero
  • Baby-murder state # 3 – Florida (73 abortion centers) – Hurricanes Bonnie, Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne in 2004; and now, Hurricane Katrina in 2005

God’s message: REPENT AMERICA !

Elsewhere, a group called Repent America blames the destruction of New Orleans “Girls Gone Wild,” a video series in which young women expose their breasts, and “Southern Decadance,” an annual gay event hosted in the the city.

Seriously, we hate to besmirch the gentle souls of the truly mentally challenged by calling these wingnuts “retarded” but no other term is accurate.

And God help us, these are the folks who control all three branches of our government today.

News & Comment

Repost: Graphics of New Orleans Levees, Rivers and Lakes

This is a repost of an article from Pensito Review’s coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. It originally appeared one year ago today, August 31, 2005.

For Larger View CLICK HERE