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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Shame? What shame?

On the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's devastation of the Gulf Coast, Dubya had the nerve to visit New Orleans and tell people that feds are 'paying attention' to the reconstruction of the city and other places hit hard by the storm.

"It's one thing to come and give a speech in Jackson Square; it's another thing to keep paying attention to whether or not progress is being made. And I hope people understand we do, we're still paying attention," he said.

The prez was referring, of course, to his own speech in Jackson Square in 2005, part of a visit aimed mainly at controlling the damage caused by the feds' inadequate response to Katrina—a response that was highlighted by his own failure to do anything but give New Orleans a fly-over in the days immediately after the hurricane.


Ninth ward residents give thumbs down to President Bush

It's thumbs down for Dubya as his motorcade passes thorough the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.
[Photo © Lee Celano/Reuters]


Dubya's latest visit to the Crescent City appears to be yet another PR ploy, as the prez failed to mention how inadequate the federal response to Katrina continues to be, two years after the event. The LA Times has noticed New Orleans' continuing problems, however, although the paper loses points for burying their rebuttal to Dubya's speech at the bottom of their story on Dubya's speech:

his motorcade route took him past the lingering evidence of the long-lasting damage: blocks where some rebuilding has taken place but other homes remain deserted. Many are boarded up and bear the spray-paint markings left by those seeking the storm's victims, alive and dead, two years ago.

Off his route in the Lower Ninth Ward, there was even more evidence: entire blocks deserted, with no sign of rebuilding attempts, and store after store boarded up -- Family Dollar, Walgreens, St. Claude Hardware.

Pushing up against Bush's upbeat remarks are statistics: The city's pre-storm population was 455,000; it is now about 274,000. Of the 184,000 people who sought help from the government grant program created to help with rebuilding, 43,000 have been sent checks. The program is $5 billion short of what it needs to help the others, and at the start of the year fewer than 1% had received any money from the plan.

More than half the city remains in disrepair....

Reflecting the confusion over how much federal assistance has been disbursed, the RFK Center and the Institute for Southern Studies estimated in a recently published joint report that the Bush administration was overstating overall federal funding for the Gulf Coast rebuilding campaign by as much as 300%, with roughly $35 billion of an estimated $114 billion actually spent. The White House said the spending had reached $96 billion. [Emphasis added]

As many observers noted right after Katrina hit New Orleans (and continue to note), the feds would undoubtedly have responded faster and more adequately if the city had been wealthier, white, and Republican. New Orleans' continuing difficulties, coupled with the lack of adequate federal aid, has resulted in a huge number of the city's poorer residents having to go into what increasingly looks like permanent exile, kept away from their homes by skyrocketing rents and lack of essential city services.

But if you're a Republican president, those are hardly bad things.

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| | Posted by Magpie at 2:10 PM | Get permalink




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