OK, I've kept my mouth shut for an entire week with regard to my frustration over the government's lack of response to the Katrina disaster. We have all seen the terrible pictures of those poor souls abandoned to their own devices for days and days in New Orleans following the storm. To say that I am frustrated is putting it mildly. Luckily, someone has voiced my thoughts better than I could myself. Keith Olbermann's blog contains the transcript of his commentary from his "Countdown" program last night. If you missed it in MSNBC last night (and their ratings suggest that you may have), then take a moment and read it here. Here are a few money quotes:
Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said it all, starting his news briefing Saturday afternoon: "Louisiana is a city that is largely underwater..."Well there's your problem right there.
If ever a slip-of-the-tongue defined a government's response to a crisis, this was it.
The seeming definition of our time and our leaders had been their insistence on slashing federal budgets for projects that might've saved New Orleans. The seeming characterization of our government that it was on vacation when the city was lost, and could barely tear itself away from commemorating V.J. Day and watching Monty Python's Flying Circus, to at least pretend to get back to work. The seeming identification of these hapless bureaucrats: their pathetic use of the future tense in terms of relief they could've brought last Monday and Tuesday -- like the President, whose statements have looked like they're being transmitted to us by some kind of four-day tape-delay.
But no. The incompetence and the ludicrous prioritization will forever be symbolized by one gaffe by of the head of what is ironically called "The Department of Homeland Security": "Louisiana is a city..."***No one is suggesting that mayors or governors in the afflicted areas, nor the federal government, should be able to stop hurricanes. Lord knows, no one is suggesting that we should ever prioritize levee improvement for a below-sea-level city, ahead of $454 million worth of trophy bridges for the politicians of Alaska.
But, nationally, these are leaders who won re-election last year largely by portraying their opponents as incapable of keeping the country safe. These are leaders who regularly pressure the news media in this country to report the reopening of a school or a power station in Iraq, and defies its citizens not to stand up and cheer. Yet they couldn't even keep one school or power station from being devastated by infrastructure collapse in New Orleans -- even though the government had heard all the "chatter" from the scientists and city planners and hurricane centers and some group whose purposes the government couldn't quite discern... a group called The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
And most chillingly of all, this is the Law and Order and Terror government. It promised protection -- or at least amelioration -- against all threats: conventional, radiological, or biological.
It has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water.
Mr. Bush has now twice insisted that, "we are not satisfied," with the response to the manifold tragedies along the Gulf Coast. I wonder which "we" he thinks he's speaking for on this point. Perhaps it's the administration, although we still don't know where some of them are. Anybody seen the Vice President lately? The man whose message this time last year was, 'I'll Protect You, The Other Guy Will Let You Die'?
I don't know which 'we' Mr. Bush meant.***As we emphasized to you here all last week, the realities of the region are such that New Orleans is going to be largely uninhabitable for a lot longer than anybody is yet willing to recognize. Lord knows when the last body will be found, or the last artifact of the levee break, dug up. Could be next March. Could be 2100. By then, in the muck and toxic mire of New Orleans, they may even find our government's credibility.
Somewhere, in the City of Louisiana.
And then this from the Daily KOS blog, this transcript of a recent meeting between Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff and FEMA director Michael Brown:
Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff and FEMA director Michael Brown make headway...
Chertoff: All I'm tryin' to find out is what's the guy's name in charge of food and water.
Brown: Oh, no, wait a minute, don't switch 'em around. What is in charge of evacuation.
Chertoff: I'm not askin' you who's in charge of evacuation.
Brown: Who is on food and water.
Chertoff: I don't know!
Brown: He's in charge of media spin...now we're not talkin' 'bout him.
Chertoff: Now, how did I get on media spin?
Brown: You mentioned his name!
Chertoff: If I mentioned the media spin guy's name, who did I say is in charge of media spin?
Brown: No...Who's in charge of food and water.
Chertoff: Never mind food and water, I wanna know what's the guy's name in charge of media spin.
Brown: No, What's in charge of evacuation.
Chertoff: I'm not askin' you who's in charge of evacuation!
Brown: Who's in charge of food and water.
Chertoff: I don't know!
Brown: He's in charge of media spin
OK, enough venting for the moment. Now let's get back to making sure these people are taken care of properly.Sexual Harassment, Pregnancy Discrimination, Age Discrimination, San Antonio, Employment Lawyer