hit it til it breaks

frustrated and in a rage after the last election, I decided that rather than leaving the country or refusing to speak to my Southern family, I was going to talk until their ears turned blue. I gathered up every family email address I could find, and I sent them a nice introductory letter and proceeded to bombard them almost daily with all manner of progressive/liberal/informative articles/cartoons/columns/whatever. This is the poorly updated archive of my exchanges with them.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

a snippet from "meet the press" and a few thoughts...

I am sending a snippet from the transcript of "meet the press" with Tim Russert talking with the president of Jefferson Parish.

I have gotten a few things and seen a few things with people saying that it isn't the time for finger pointing or even suggesting that liberals/democrats are 'happy' to have had such a disaster and are enjoying a political feeding frenzy. First, people in Louisiana are still in critical situations and the aid STILL isn't there a whole WEEK later, and this is why we (liberal, conservative, whatever) are all screaming bloody murder and begging the powers that be to do their friggin' jobs or get out of the way and let people who want to get things done do it. It was only with finger pointing that condoleeza rice stopped vacationing 4 days after the disaster and went back to washington so international aid could be coordinated (until she was back on the job, we were telling other countries that we weren't asking for aid yet. Canada had eighteen wheeler after eighteen wheeler packed with emergency supplies and water waiting to send it and were told to wait, while we had 10,000+ people stuck in the super dome with no water or food and she went shoe shopping). Bush took three days to get back on the job and four before he went near New Orleans. And people still aren't evacuated.

This is not about democrats or liberals getting political capital out of this and anyone who could begin to suggest that anyone is 'happy' this happened is a monster. None of this wish this had happened and none of us are happy about how horribly the president is handling this. I wish more than anything that he had done a snappy job with this, I wish that he suddenly would start, but it hasn't happened and how he is handling this has killed thousands and will kill thousands more if they don't shape up.

This administration is a gross failure. They were a failure in how they handled 9/11 and its aftermath(I know they wave it around as a success, but good luck finding someone in this city who agrees with you), they have been a failure in how they handled Afganistan and Iraq and they are failing us now. they have made us less safe on all fronts and more economically unstable. Now is the time for finger pointing because I don't want there to be a next time. I want them shamed into listening to experts and warnings, I want them shamed into doing some real planning, I want them shamed into some fiscal responsibility, emergency preparedness, responsible policy...all of these things or I want them out. This isn't about getting democrats in. If you can find a good honest republican leader who is more worried about policy than politics, fine, we need a leader now and we have needed one for the last five years. We need someone who won't hire for the head of FEMA one of their moron buddies who had been fired from his last job with a horse association for gross mismanagement and incompetence and who left that association in shambles and debt. We need some one who hires people that actually know how to do what they are supposed to be doing and sees something in an emergency other than dollar signs (yes, halliburton has already been given a contract to rebuild in New Orleans).

but enough of my screaming from a distance, read the experiences of someone there (and I highly recommend following the link and reading the whole discussion):
(this can be seen in its original form at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9179790/ )

MR. RUSSERT: And we are back.
Jefferson Parish President Broussard, let me start with you. You just heard the director of Homeland Security's explanation of what has happened this last week. What is your reaction?
MR. AARON BROUSSARD: We have been abandoned by our own country. Hurricane Katrina will go down in history as one of the worst storms ever to hit an American coast, but the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history. I am personally asking our bipartisan congressional delegation here in Louisiana to immediately begin congressional hearings to find out just what happened here. Why did it happen? Who needs to be fired? And believe me, they need to be fired right away, because we still have weeks to go in this tragedy. We have months to go. We have years to go. And whoever is at the top of this totem pole, that totem pole needs to be chain-sawed off and we've got to start with some new leadership.
It's not just Katrina that caused all these deaths in New Orleans here. Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area, and bureaucracy has to stand trial before Congress now. It's so obvious. FEMA needs more congressional funding. It needs more presidential support. It needs to be a Cabinet-level director. It needs to be an independent agency that will be able to fulfill its mission to work in partnership with state and local governments around America. FEMA needs to be empowered to do the things it was created to do. It needs to come somewhere, like New Orleans, with all of its force immediately, without red tape, without bureaucracy, act immediately with common sense and leadership, and save lives. Forget about the property. We can rebuild the property. It's got to be able to come in and save lives.
We need strong leadership at the top of America right now in order to accomplish this and to-- reconstructing FEMA.
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Broussard, let me ask--I want to ask--should...
MR. BROUSSARD: You know, just some quick examples...
MR. RUSSERT: Hold on. Hold on, sir. Shouldn't the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of New Orleans bear some responsibility? Couldn't they have been much more forceful, much more effective and much more organized in evacuating the area?
MR. BROUSSARD: Sir, they were told like me, every single day, "The cavalry's coming," on a federal level, "The cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming." I have just begun to hear the hoofs of the cavalry. The cavalry's still not here yet, but I've begun to hear the hoofs, and we're almost a week out.
Let me give you just three quick examples. We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn't need them. This was a week ago. FEMA--we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. The Coast Guard said, "Come get the fuel right away." When we got there with our trucks, they got a word. "FEMA says don't give you the fuel." Yesterday--yesterday--FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, "No one is getting near these lines." Sheriff Harry Lee said that if America--American government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn't be in this crisis.
But I want to thank Governor Blanco for all she's done and all her leadership. She sent in the National Guard. I just repaired a breach on my side of the 17th Street canal that the secretary didn't foresee, a 300-foot breach. I just completed it yesterday with convoys of National Guard and local parish workers and levee board people. It took us two and a half days working 24/7. I just closed it.
MR. RUSSERT: All right.
MR. BROUSSARD: I'm telling you most importantly I want to thank my public employees...
MR. RUSSERT: All right.
MR. BROUSSARD: ...that have worked 24/7. They're burned out, the doctors, the nurses. And I want to give you one last story and I'll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me. The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?" And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday." And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night.
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. President...
MR. BROUSSARD: Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us. The secretary has promised. Everybody's promised. They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody.


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