Saturday, September 03, 2005

Wake-Up Call

If you have not seen the video of Fox's Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera screaming about the incompetence of the relief effort in New Orleans, it is truly compelling and a must-see. The link is here.

At the risk of overstating the integrity or importance of FNC/Smith/Rivera, watching that strengthens my suspicion that the past few days will mark a Walter Cronkite/Vietnam type of tipping point in public opinion about the Bush administration.


Anonymous wheelnspoke said...

Mother of God that was frightenting. I wept watching that, and I'm a tough old guy.

9/03/2005 6:04 AM  
Anonymous ruffian said...

official request for federal help on aug 28th...

what took that idiot so long? Oh i forgot....he was on vacation......its such hard work you know...

9/03/2005 6:26 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

And did you see Geraldo on O'Reilly? Equally if not more distraught. This is truly gripping television, and from Fox yet. Unbelievable. Maybe Hannity and O'Reilly ought to switch places with Smith and Rivera for a day.

I agree, CR, about the tipping point. Long past due, but it's now here, and with a vengeance.

9/03/2005 6:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, I worked for the US Federal government in a disaster relief capacity in the early-mid nineties (Anonymous Comment #2: Faith-Based Preparedness, Sept 2). Then, for the first time, FEMA had a director, James Lee Witt, with experience in emergency management. Now, the agency is managed by a George W. Bush political appointee with no experience in his mandate (he is actually the deputy of an equally unqualified political appointee – a Bush campaign manager as I recall -- who resigned his post in order to help American companies do business in Iraq). The short story is that under George W. Bush, FEMA has all but been dismantled. The old, working FEMA has been given a new anti-terrorism mandate, resources and funding diverted. The new FEMA has been downgraded from a Federal agency to an office of a Federal agency. More important, the new FEMA is not yet ready. Reorganizing government is fine. And I'm all for downsizing it (George W. Bush, who is NOT conservative, has made our bloated government even bigger). But you can't just dismantle, divert, reassign an agency like FEMA and not have something ready to replace it. What were they going to do, cross their fingers nothing bad would happen in the meantime? Furthermore, the George W. Bush administration slashed funding for disaster prevention and preparation generally, and by about $70 million in New Orleans. And, responding to George W. Bush blatant lie number infinity: they did know this could happen. In 2001 FEMA (before it was de-fanged) released a report, listing a direct hit of a CAT5 hurricane on New Orleans as being one of the worst possible disasters (Yes, in the end it was a CAT4 in reality, but that hardly matters). In 1995, FEMA under Director Witt was focused just as much on prevention, and a project to strengthen the levees was begun via the Army Corps of Engineers. The George W. Bush administration cut the funding for such continuing efforts. A year or two ago, they held planning exercises for handling disaster in New Orleans. This year, they had planned on working out how to evacuate large numbers of people from the SuperDome. The exercise was never held. No money. Are you seeing a pattern here? George W. Bush cannot be credited for the weather. But he is absolutely responsible for what is, and is not, happening in New Orleans. Every preventable death – due to dehydration, for instance – is his responsibility. Not just because he's the leader. Yes, there is that. But because THIS REALLY IS HIS FAULT. The George W. Bush administration ended FEMA as we knew it, just as much as it ended the Clinton administration's efforts to fight terrorism and shelved their plans to strengthen airplanes, improve airport security, etc. My God people this is not about politics. THIS IS ABOUT TOTAL FAILURE on the part of George W. Bush to do his job in any capacity. You don't continue to support such a COMPLETE FAILURE just because of party. There are only two groups who put party before country in recent memory: Nazis and Communists. Is that really the company you want to keep?

9/03/2005 7:52 AM  
Blogger Mark Jones said...

Yeah, its interesting what happens to people (i.e. Smith/Riveria) when they are present to witness the actual events, as they unfold, i.e. the truth. No producer talking points, no editors, no newsroom/studio buzz, just their eyewitness observations. Thats why the military has always disliked having reporters around - they see stuff. So FOX News finally has some reporters, doing their jobs. Reporting what they see. It's never too late, I guess.

9/03/2005 8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta go deeper than face value here. I actually see a calculated grab for the center going on at Fox. Did anybody notice O'Reilly devoting one of last week's radio Factors to castigating "extremists" on BOTH sides of the political spectrum? Seems to me that Uncle Rupert is finally coming to see that there's a vast pool of disenfrancihised "moderates" out there that are starving to be served. Maybe "fair and balanced" won't be too far off in the future. I, for one, wwould welcome it, and I must admit that I've tuned in more to FNC than any other coverage during the crisis., something I've never done in the past.

9/03/2005 10:25 AM  
Anonymous E. P. Alton said...

Well, I had always loathed Shepard Smith as a kind of network news automaton. He almost looks like he was created in a lab. But, wow, what a revelation that report was. Turns out there's a human being in there after all and, far from watching him come "undone,"(as some will no doubt say) I'd say he's coming together. That's a man who will never be the same.

Damn, I wish they'd drop Hannity into that convention center to stew. That smug, heartless bastard.

CR, thanks for the outstanding work to bring this to people's attention. Again.

9/03/2005 10:34 AM  
Anonymous JWC said...

I can't quite stomach Fox, surfed by quickly last night and could not tolerate even a minute of Riley....

That said, there was some really powerful stuff in Aaron Brown's 2 hours... I was crying when their medical Doc was talking about Charity Hospital... with staff MANUALLY operating respirators ... all the while a fancy private hospital's staff was completely evacuated... but still not help for the 200 patients in Charity, and the dead bodies which were put in the stairwells, since the basement and morgue were flooded. Incredible!!

Shame. Shame on the Busheys and their incompetence. Shame on us as a country for voting them in.

9/03/2005 11:39 AM  
Blogger Louise said...

I, too, was done in by the hospital coverage, jwc, which I saw on ABC and then on CNN.

I'm going to be very interested to see what happens to Shepard Smith. Now that he's become a real journalist, will he be able to toe the line at FOX? As for Geraldo, I have to admit that this is the one situation in which his hysteria was not only warranted but meaningful. Those two men alone may have turned some previously uninformed FOX viewers into angry, reality-based citizens.

9/03/2005 12:46 PM  
Anonymous PenDragon said...

I wonder why Bill Clinton is saying that this tragedy could not have been prevented?

Because unless you were going to spend a gazillion dollars, it just couldn't be stopped from happening.

Let's stop trying to blame a guy that can't run for anything anyway and start thinking about whether we can ever spend the kind of money needed to make that bad idea of a city below sea level really safe.


9/03/2005 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Ron said...

PenDragon said: I wonder why Bill Clinton is saying that this tragedy could not have been prevented?
Because unless you were going to spend a gazillion dollars, it just couldn't be stopped from happening.
Let's stop trying to blame a guy that can't run for anything anyway and start thinking about whether we can ever spend the kind of money needed to make that bad idea of a city below sea level really safe.

PenDragon, Thanks for bringing up Bill Clinton. The Great Satan! I guess somehow this is all his fault. Yeah, that's it. I guess it would have taken a "gazillion dollars" to get some goddamn busses down to the dome. Look Pen, I've been reading your posts for a while now. This is a site for intellectually honest, thinking conservatives, not propaganda spouting ideologues like your ass. Why don't you get on back to redstate or freerepublic and stop stinking up this forum.

Sorry for the flame, the rest of you, but I've just had it with this wanker.

9/03/2005 2:06 PM  
Anonymous mighty iguana said...

It is nice to blame Bush for everything here. Maybe we should blame the local and state government for not doing their Job. Face it, these guys did not have a plan for the major disaster. Yes the feds were slow in responding to New Orleans, but New Orleans was a mess in terms of leadership before the feds came there. Bush is not responsible for the all black people waiting to be rescued, the state of Lousiana is. If the state of Lousiana cannot design a plan to enforce evacuations and help evacuate all the poor people who have no means to leave, that is not Bush's fault. There is the picture of a parking lot full of flooded school buses. Flooded school buses, why were they not used? We can talk about how the city of New Orleans did not anticipate a breach of Levees and they did not anticipate a major disaster. But they of all people know that it is only a matter of time before the big one hits New Orleans. Now they have shown, they could not deal with it. I cannot blame the feds when it seems the state and local governments cannot do their basic function. If the state cannot do their basic function, what makes you think large sprawling federal bureacracies would do a better job. Think carefully before you vote for your next mayor or Governor.

9/03/2005 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Department of Homeland Security's own web site states that they will have the PRIMARY responsibility for providing relief in the event of a terrorist strike or a natural disaster. The only blame you can lay on the local officials is in trusting the Bush administration to make good on their word.

9/03/2005 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume primary responsibility on March 1st for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation. This will entail providing a coordinated, comprehensive federal response to any large-scale crisis and mounting a swift and effective recovery effort."

Quote from the Department of Homeland Security's web site.

9/03/2005 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Iguana...Louisiana and New Orleans are no-one's idea (I hope) of a well-managed government, but even the most well-run state or municipal government would be unable to cope with a disater of this magnitude. While (GOP-run) Mississippi has no below-sea-level city the size of N.O. everything I'm reading suggests that relatively speaking the carnage is just as bad, just smaller in scale and spread out over more rural communities. Plus, N.O.'s importance to the nation as a transportation hub for inbound oil and outbound products of the entire Mississippi and Ohio valley regions makes this a matter for federal responsibility. The Homeland Security mission quoted above is exactly right. We cannot pick and choose our disasters, and we should not be held hostage to arbitrary state boundaries drwan two centuries ago.

9/03/2005 3:21 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

Right on national televison, we watched the head of DHS, Michael Chertoff and head of FEMA, Michael
Brown, tell us about rescue efforts, and, as they spoke, the cameras were rolling and we saw with our own eyes that they were lying.

CNN even put together a few examples, "The Big Disconnect":

9/03/2005 3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TCR, you must rue seeing how Bush believers cannot be peeled from their faith.
There's a reason for this.
I understand only the broad outlines as well as some of the specific techniques, but what has happened is that a large group of Americans have become a tribe, in the primitive sense. Their loyalties and values are tribal. Hence, only a threat to the tribe moves them.

What am I talking about? I'm talking about the icons of Bush Republicanism, and the slogans and verbal stratagems that keep them in line and believing they are a unit.
Don't you see it? One vast mob, created by brilliant and evil sociological expertise. I'm not talking about complicated things, but about all the simple-minded techniques that work under the brain to keep rationality at bay. There is a large psychological literature on, for example, the default assumptions of our mind.

I wish I could be more clear, but I only see the outline. I can give you one specific example of their mastery---something that most of you just find preposterous on the face of it. There were stories that Bush was playing the guitar on Tuesday. The White House got Bumiller to correct the record---Bush was not PLAYING the guitar; he was RECEIVING a guitar as a gift. Now, this sounds incredibly stupid, but something smart is going on. People have a default assumption that a story is either true or false in toto; hence, if a detail is shown to be wrong, they reject the whole story.
This is not rationality; however, it is the way people who do not have the habit of critical thinking operate.

So, my prediction is that Republicans will still hew to Bush, many of them more strongly than ever.

I hope I'm wrong.


9/03/2005 3:46 PM  
Anonymous marycal said...

Shocking video.

9/03/2005 4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'tuned in more to FNC than any other coverage'
CNN's Cooper Anderson has been great. Are any of the Fox reporters talking to officials and holding them accountable? Cooper did an excellent job when talking with Senator Landrieu. She was thanking fellow politicians, when Cooper interrupted her and asked her if she was aware of what was going around her.

Has anyone heard from Trent Lott? Where is Cheney during this crisis?

ABC's Nightline has been very good too. Ted Koppel had an excellent interview with Mike Brown, the head of FEMA. By excellent, I mean he asked the tough questions with respect, and held Brown accountable. Brown said he didn't know about the people in the SuperDome; I've actually heard several people say that including the guy that heads HLS; they thought it was a rumor. Yet for over 2 days everyone was reporting it.

'loathed Shepard Smith as a kind of network news automaton'
Absolutely agree. He was on Access Hollywood describing how the news should be done - short bites and there is no need for the news to be negative. I thought he would be better suited for an entertainment organization. Of course, some people would say that news is entertainment these days in order to get the ratings. I think it was Ted Koppel, after the embedded soldier thing was over, that was on a C-Span program that analyzed the journalism profession. I remember he said what is hard today with 24-hour TV news is the ability to put things into perspective, a greater context. I do think the profession of journalism owns it to our country to do a good job. I wish the media would do actual reporting, to let us know what our Congress is doing with all our money. I'm not anti-government by no means, but I am anti-corruption. I think Bush is a poor leader for governing people, yet I think Congress, the career politicians are 100 x's worse. If things change, I hope it is that we pay more attention to our congress people and what they are passing in bills. Lobbyist were already lined up to hop on this $10 billion disaster bill. Will Bush read it and use his power of veto if someone tries to take advantage of this disaster?

'I can't quite stomach Fox'
You should have viewed PBS 'The Journal Editorial Page'. Icks!

Even David Brock was human on the PBS News Hour, but the WSJ Editorial Page was pretty bad.

'done in by the hospital'
Washington Week In Review was very good. I don't know if this is the same hospital, but a panelist gave a specific problem. Evidently Al Gore tried to help a doctor at one of the hospitals. Gore arranged planes and everything, but the FEMA bureaucracy required some special paperwork to be initiated and signed. It was crazy. A lot of these programs from Friday are replayed over the weekend. I highly recommend Washington Week in Review, Now, or McLaughlin Group.

'blame the local and state government'
Absolutely! The southern states have had dirty governments for a long time.

But the colossal incompetency of FEMA and HLS is so big, and has ramifications for our entire country. Look it is 4 years after 9/11, and they still fumble. Leadership from the top is very important. Remember too, the entire world is looking at us right now. Bush wants to paint a strong picture of the US; that's one of the many reasons we are in Iraq. How strong do we look now? We are told we are moving at "Internet" speed everywhere else. Well looks like FEMA and HLS is moving at about the speed of the 17th century. Maybe if Bush would take a few less vacations, and do less cheer leading in front of pre-arranged, pre-screened groups, he could do his job that he already has. I blame Bush for his lack of leadership and for the people he has picked to put in these positions. He doesn't pick people because of experience, it is all politics and no governing. I don't blame just Bush, I blame the Republican party, Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, Bill Frist, Dennis Hastert, and all those rich republicans that attacked the Clinton for 8 years and all we got for hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars was the Starr X-rated report. Look the Republicans have had control for 20 years, certainly for 10 years; it is happening on their watch! I also blame the Democratic party for not getting their act together and forgetting the people they serve.

'Because unless you were going to spend a gazillion'
We don't spend money on maintaining our infrastructure. Wasn't it last year the energy grid in Ohio. This year a levee. What next? I've often thought our greatness was in our newness, and things are getting old. We aren't emphasizing critical thinking and science. We are very short sited and we don't think about the next generation. You might want to ask Bush why he cut Clintons wetlands protection allowing more development. That was one of the first things Bush did when he got in office. We often forget the damage Bush did between 1/2000 and 8/2000 (which is why I believe 9/11 was allowed to happen). People just don't understand the ramification to the environment when we start destroying it. Both parties are to blame, they are short-sited and do things for corporations and money, and not the people they work for and govern.

I went to an investment meeting and the speaker was from a investment company that invests in catastrophes. They have a newsletter that covers climate, behavior, and commodities. They work with scientists and engineers. They happen to believe in Global warming. I don't think we can blindly ignore science or manipulate science for political gain like this administration has done, whether it is climate, biological, wetlands. The Discovery Channel has some great programming on engineering. A recent one showed how the Dutch have handled flooding (click on flood stoppers). Maybe our engineers aren't up to the task. They are in India, China, Netherlands which doesn't speak well for our future :-( I thought another option might be to have another town/city adopt New Orleans. There are a lot of towns that are economically dying. Maybe they could move some structures to the new location, and in the end they could let nature rebuild the Louisiana wetlands and barrier islands. Of course you have the whole port issue, 60% of our grain is exported down the Mississippi to the Gulf, banana's, coffee are imported. They said the economic impact with this hurricane may be worse than 9/11. You can have a backup offices with offsite storage, but it is a little harder in moving physical goods.

O'Reilly the guy that said 'No government can protect you or provide for you.' guy. If that's the case, we are definitely overpaying. HHHhhhmmm... ;-| wouldn't we have constant anarchy if everyone took this attitude. I'm not saying don't be responsible, because everyone should, but we assume we live in a civil society and that we are all in this together. The way I look at it, there are bad poor people and there are bad rich people, it all comes from the same inner place, but since many value money more than anything else in our society, we overlook or forgive the bad rich people more easily. I want to emphasize there are good poor people and good rich people too. This is just part of life, and what determines are character is how we handle it, day-to-day, but especially during crisis.

I had a friend whose mother use to live appx 50 miles from a nuclear energy plant. Every year she'd get a card that said in the case of an emergency get the hell out (well not exactly). This woman never drove a car. She came from a period when men drove and women stayed home and had babies, but her husband died. There was a bus system, but not very robust. The card had a series of questions to answer like: do you have transportation, do you have special needs, do you need assistance, etc. Thank God they never had to use this evacuation plan, but I wonder how it would have worked. Did someone actually do something with those index cards with all that information, or was it a feel good measure. The nuclear plant is now closed because it wasn't being maintained, at least that is what the insiders said. Is a decommissioned nuclear plant safer.

Talking Points Memo asks an excellent question -> 'Does anyone believe that the Bush administration can handle that money and that task without widespread waste, fraud and cronyism?'

No nothing has changed. There unfortunately is no leadership and not enough pain for enough people. Ho hum. Bush is Bush, and he is inflexible, a non-thinker, emotionally-driven, and boxed-in. His administration has made so many costly mistakes, he has fired (or given the option to resign) so many good people, that all he has left is his base, which seems to be hard core radicals of the worse kind.

9/03/2005 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice previous post.

9/03/2005 4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone else think that the comment Bush made about Trent Lott's house, while looking at the disaster, was in very poor taste?

QUOTE OF THE DAY II: "'The good news is - and it's hard for some to see it now - that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house - there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch.' (Laughter)." - president George W. Bush, today. Just think of that quote for a minute; and the laughter that followed. The poor and the black are dying, dead, drowned and desperate in New Orleans and elsewhere. But the president manages to talk about the future "fantastic" porch of a rich, powerful white man who only recently resigned his position because he regretted the failure of Strom Thurmond to hold back the tide of racial desegregation.

9/03/2005 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's not criticize Trent's absence. His house was destroyed. Who knows the situation of his family and friends. He had every right to check out for a few days to take care of things.

However, Trent Lott was on CNN yesterday.

In spite of (I believe Anderson Cooper reporting from Waveland) pressuring him, Trent was very happy with the efforts of FEMA and the President. I'm not sure the good citizens of Mississippi are too pleased with Trent right now.

9/03/2005 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Bush's remarks on Lott's home.
Bush is CLEARLY either mentally ill or suffering from some kind of dementia/cognitive loss.
This has been plain as day for years.
Can we talk about this now?

9/03/2005 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say I just saw Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera clip, and was floored by their reporting. Smith and Geraldo did an outstanding job to help these U.S. citizens, these human beings, in a desperate situation. These people needed an outside strong voice! I wasn't aware that they locked the people in the SuperDome and wouldn't let them walk across the bridge into another city for food, water, and medical attention. They also wouldn't let the Red Cross in. My God, first the natural disaster, than this leadership/management disaster.

There isn't a direct link to this specific story, but go here and scroll down to "Horror Show".

I think every politician in those southern states and in Washington should be ashamed of themselves. I hate when I hear Republicans say don't be political and other BS to save their face in the time of crisis. Get over it and FIX THE PROBLEM!!! People are dying, and you are in charge who else should we go to! I think Republicans just have a guilty conscience or they are thinking that their polical career is more important than the people. And I'm not letting Democrats off either. Where are they now?

Is it because these people are poor, black, or is it just an corrupt inept administration and career politicians. The best thing that could happen for our country would be for Fox to actually become fair and balanced and report on all politicians regardless of party. You suppose this chaos and breakdown in government leadership will change Ruperts heart and mind?

How can we manage the world, if we can't even manage ourselves?

Some very good stuff here. It is all good but scroll down to this part, "THIS SAYS IT ALL: Sometimes an emailer says it better than I ever could."

9/03/2005 6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a press release LA Senator Mary Landrieu sent out saturday, September 3:

But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast - black and white, rich and poor, young annd old - deserve far better from their national governmeent.

9/03/2005 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I listen to the news, I hear the military was set to send people in right after the storm, but they were waiting for the word from the White House. Doesn't this sound familar in regards to 9/11 and the communications breakdown. If you read up on 9/11 and the things that transpired that morning, and all the things that had to fail, you gotta wonder about the leadership and who Bush has hired.

Someone already asked how soon will the head of FEMA, Mike Brown, receive his medal.

9/03/2005 7:46 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

I sure hope so. Maybe a real serious discussion about fixing the race/economic problems in our country can come of this too.

9/03/2005 9:23 PM  
Anonymous howard said...

just for the record, that was trent lott's vacation home that was destroyed, not his home.

and for the further record, ron, you're right on the money about pea-brain. The standard at the cunning realist for comments is quite high, and then you've got this ilttle nitwit and his stupidities....

9/04/2005 12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank Rich has another excellent article, "Falluja Floods the Superdome".

9/04/2005 2:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When is it going to be Clinton's fault?

9/04/2005 2:59 AM  
Anonymous KevinNYC said...

I heard Sheppard Smith call into Hannity's radio show earlier that day. Hannity kept trying to bring up happy points and spin the tragedy, Smith wouldn't go for it and talked over Hannity's spin a couple of times.

9/04/2005 4:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They're already blaming Clinton for not fixing the levees during his 8 years, yet the Southeast Louisiana Flood Control Project was a Clinton project that was supposed to be completed by the end of 2001, but ran into funding cuts.

Tragically, the residents of Slidell failed to approve a 1/4 cent sales tax increase to help pay for the project and their component was delayed. Slidell is one of the most heavily impacted areas. All levels of government need to take some blame here.

9/04/2005 4:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't aware of Bush's comment regarding Lott's house. Ugh. I have heard other breathtakingly callous comments from Bush but usually you have to watch the Daily Show or a Michael Moore movie to see it. On NPR I heard an interview with a 9/11 widow. She met Bush at a White House gathering on the first anniversary of 9/11. Not only was it her husbands death but also their anniversry. Bush said, "whoa, double whammy." !!! She was so hurt by the remark.

The national media has to stop covering for this man. The American people should be aware how insensitive he is.

9/04/2005 11:16 AM  
Anonymous grass root said...

It occured to me about two days after Katrina hit and the tragedy was escalating that the non-response was part of the plan. It was supposed ot be a terrorist attack though, not a hurricane. How are they going to blame Katrina on the Syrians?

Where is Cheney and what is he up to?

9/04/2005 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are being optimistic about the proximity of the tipping point. The scenes that we have been witnessing these past few days have not involved Republican supporters. They were in the vehicles streaming out of New Orleans the day before Katrina struck. The talking heads and the 101st keyboardists will make noise but by and large Republican supporters will maintain the faith.

However, don't despair. The tipping point will come when the September and October VISA, EXXON or Shell credit card bills arrive and the realization of $5-7/gal gas sinks in. The pre-Katrina cost of crude was demand-driven and the loss of 1.8M bde from the Gulf means the increases will continue. More importantly, refineries were running at capacity prior to the storm and the loss of refinery capacity around the Gulf will keep prices sky-high for months, if not years. As the economy is driven by hydrocarbons the impact will be felt throughout North America. When it becomes a financial decision to drive the Hummer or Navigator or to sell the big house in the burbs (at a loss) to shorten commuting distances, then you'll see support moving away.

9/04/2005 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog asks an interesting question: if this was 2006, would the Bush Response to the Gulf coast hurricane disaster have been different?

9/04/2005 6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

snippet (scroll down to 'Bob Shieffer Blasts the response to Katrina':

"Bob wrapped up Face the Nation today with this:

SCHIEFFER: Finally, a personal thought. We have come through what may have been one of the worst weeks in America's history, a week in which government at every level failed the people it was created to serve. There is no purpose for government except to improve the lives of its citizens. Yet as scenes of horror that seemed to be coming from some Third World country flashed before us, official Washington was like a dog watching television. It saw the lights and images, but did not seem to comprehend their meaning or see any link to reality.

As the floodwaters rose, local officials in New Orleans ordered the city evacuated. They might as well have told their citizens to fly to the moon. How do you evacuate when you don't have a car? No hint of intelligent design in any of this. This was just survival of the richest."

9/04/2005 7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As your comments on
Cindy Sheehan have shown, you have a good
view from any perspective.I think
you ARE right on about
the FEMA/Bush administration fiasco.
Keep on truckin'

9/04/2005 8:38 PM  
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