Republicans Play Blame Game

So once again, the Republican talking points are such: The bungled relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are not the fault of Bush or the rest of the Federal Government. Who is responsible? The Democratic Governor of Louisiana and the Democratic Mayor of New Orleans. Each were totally incompetent in calling for aid.

Let’s just put that to rest, shall we? Check out this White House Release from August 31st. I direct you to the portion that says, “The President Is Directing Federal Agencies Throughout The Government To Do All In Their Power To Assist The Victims Of Hurricane Katrina.” What does that mean to the Governor and Mayor? Well, if I were them, I’d be led to believe that I had the full support of Federal agencies — Federal meaning the US Government bigwigs.

OK, you might say, but that still does not mean that the Governor and Mayor can just sit back, right? Well, another part of the brief says, “The President Has Given The Department Of Homeland Security (DHS) Authority To Coordinate The Response.” That means a Federal agency was in charge of going down there and straightening shit out — telling people what to do, where to go, how to negotiate the logistics of such a massive response. Is it up to the Mayor to be trained in federal team management? Is it up to the Governor? Isn’t this EXACTLY the sort of thing that the Federal Government and particularly the Department of Homeland Security is supposed to be ready for? Four years after 9/11, this massive government agency (DHS) is supposed to be totally prepared and at the ready, standing by for just this sort of thing. And people are BLAMING the Governor and Mayor??

Let’s not forget the Mayor went on radio screaming for the authority to mobilize the resources that were supposedly under the Federal Government’s control. So why wasn’t the call made to give him this authority?

One last sentence from the release: “The National Response Plan (NRP) fully mobilizes the resources of the entire federal government to support response and recovery efforts for state and local authorities – particularly in the event of a catastrophic incident.”

Please. Let’s stop blaming the local officials. It is the responsibility of federal agencies whose very existence stems from threats both natural and man-made to take charge in these situations and work with local officials in relief efforts. Blaming the local officials is just passing the buck, and America knows it.

Bye Watts, I love you…

Watts, My Buddy

–Update, 8:00pm–
RIP Watts,
bestest kitty ever
~1990-Sept. 2005

I haven’t written much here in a while. I’ve been on some major massive deadlines for work that have been keeping me busy virtually every waking moment for the past couple weeks. And to top it off, today is the last day I’m spending with my friend of 13 years. Tonight my wife and I take him to the vet. He’s been sick for a little over a year now with what the doctors suspect is lymphoma. Due to his age (15 years), we’ve been keeping him comfortable with cortisone shots, which seemed to make a big difference until recently. Sunday morning, he started having trouble walking, and after spending so long with him, I can’t let him suffer like this any longer. He can’t even seem to lie down comfortably anymore. The vet said we’d know it was time when it was time, and it’s time. I don’t know what it’s going to be like not having him around any more. I know this all pales in comparison to the loss of life in the south right now, but I just needed to put a little memorial on this page… We will miss you so much, Watts… Thanks for being my best buddy all these years…

If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain does keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done
for this – the last battle -can’t be won.

You will be sad I understand
But don’t let grief then stay your hand.
For on this day, more than the rest
Your love and friendship must stand the test.

We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn’t want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.

Take me to where my needs they’ll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end.
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.

Don’t grieve that it must now be you
Who has to decide this thing to do.
We’ve been so close – we two -these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.

— from On the Death of a Beloved Cat

Not Over Yet

Despite pictures of George W. Bush coming in to Louisiana with the cavalry, bringing truckloads of food and water with him, the situation in New Orleans continues to be bleak. Why did the buses stop rolling? Do we not have enough buses in this country? People are going to be in the 125-degree Superdome until Sunday?

Also, you gotta love how several hundred people staying at the Hyatt were moved ahead of the line, and were evactuated in full sight of those remaining at the ‘dome. The injustice continues.

Denial… Or Just Lies…

CNN has an illuminating piece on its website about the disparity between the statements of FEMA chief Michael Brown, and reports from people on the scene in New Orleans. Is Brown just severely out of touch? Or is he lying? In either case, he is clearly incompetent, over his head, or just plain doesn’t care, and should resign. Here’s a sampling of his compassionate, understanding comments as reported in the CNN article:

On conditions in the Convention Center: “We learned about that (Thursday), so I have directed that we have all available resources to get that convention center to make sure that they have the food and water and medical care that they need.”

On uncollected corpses: “That’s not been reported to me, so I’m not going to comment. Until I actually get a report from my teams that say, “We have bodies located here or there,” I’m just not going to speculate.”

On Hospital evacuations: “I’ve just learned today that we … are in the process of completing the evacuations of the hospitals, that those are going very well.”

On violence and civil unrest: “I’ve had no reports of unrest, if the connotation of the word unrest means that people are beginning to riot, or you know, they’re banging on walls and screaming and hollering or burning tires or whatever. I’ve had no reports of that.”

On the federal response: “Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans, virtually a city that has been destroyed, things are going relatively well.”

On security: “I actually think the security is pretty darn good. There’s some really bad people out there that are causing some problems, and it seems to me that every time a bad person wants to scream of cause a problem, there’s somebody there with a camera to stick it in their face.”

Another Great Blog

Found another great blog today that just about says it all. From the mind of August J. Pollak:

The Secretary of Homeland Security, as well as numerous pundits, refuse to accept the idea that there are people too poor to evacuate their homes. People are discussing that New Orleans “would be too hard to rebuild,” as if a few hundred thousand people will have their homes transplanted by magic. More than a dozen threads on Free Republic right now are about how the military should start shooting looters on sight.

Where 9/11 cast a light on the basic compassion of America in the light of a tragedy, Katrina has apparently cast a light on its hatred. In my wildest dreams I wouldn’t have thought right-wingers would start attacking impoverished citizens, let alone start demanding their deaths.

What I do know is that in less than 24 hours, a media punditry that spent the last four years insisting that they’re the only people who “love America” is now discussing how much they hate other Americans.

Wow. Ain’t it the truth.