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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
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23 September 2005


All right, so I'm posting again after a bit of a hiatus. I'm hanging out in Tennessee, staying with my mom and stepdad, missing my wife, completing a freelance assignment, and reading a lot. Tonight I'm going to see The High Score and Senryu, two bands whose stuff you should purchase immediately, if not sooner.

In the meantime, Frankie left a comment to which I've been meaning to reply. Part of me feels like it's a little pointless now, given that there's a new hurricane to worry about, one which is touching the lives of a few people who I know (including Stephanie, whose mom is, last I heard, still in Houston, and who would probably appreciate your prayers, if you're the sort of person who does that). But Frankie bothered to leave a lengthy comment and I've neglected responding for long enough, so the least I can do is address his concerns.

While I certainly don't agree with Bush on the war or many other issues, I'm not sure I understand why Bush is to blame for the whole situation in New Orleans. A cursory reading of the news seems to indicate that he declared a state of emergency the day before the levee broke. The problem was that federal assistance can't be used unless the state authorizes it. If Bush chose to send troops in without the State's consent, that would be considered illegal. The governor refused to authorize it until after the levee broke & New Orleans was flooded. While some of the funds were diverted for a war I don't agree with, it also seems that the money Louisiana did receive was misused & not spent on storm preparation.

I don't believe I've ever suggested that Bush is to blame for the whole situation in New Orleans. I think he deserves blame for a lot of things that have to do with Katrina. But I certainly think there are plenty of local and state leaders who didn't have their shit together. That goes without saying, or it should.

That said, I don't know if I agree with that cursory reading of the news. A non-partisan Congressional report has found that "...it would appear that the Governor did take the steps necessary to request emergency and major disaster declarations for the State of Louisiana in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina. (p.11)" If Louisiana did what was necessary, the question becomes where were the requested funds and why weren't they delivered in time?

Furthermore, if those who are blaming the governor of Louisiana, particularly Republicans, are so convinced of this, then why did 54 Republicans in the Senate kill Sen. Hillary Clinton's attempts to establish an independent, bipartisan panel to investigate what went wrong? Furthermore, Bush is the man who nominated Michael Brown to the head of FEMA, a man whose resume was filled with lies and who was not in any way qualified for the position. That also makes Bush very culpable for the pisspoor federal response. And that's ignoring Bush failing to return from vacation, and his refusal to curtail Iraq spending or tax cuts for the wealthy to help repair the destruction.

I almost deleted the two following questions from this post as I do not intend to sound sarcastic or offend you Kevin. I chose to leave them as I think they bring out a valid point. They are not intended to offend in anyway:

1. Will you also be posting cartoons depicting human suffering & blaming local & state officials who squandered the money & failed to accept federal assistance until it was too late?
2. What about cartoons depicting murders & rapists running around the streets while police officers drive their city-issued cars to other states?

No offense taken. I'm quite the smartass, and I'm prepared to take what I dish out. I haven't seen any cartoons blaming local and state officials or any depicting police officers leaving the state.

Like you, I do not agree with much that the current administration does, but that doesn't mean it is to blame for all the problems in New Orleans as well. There were breakdowns on every level. It seems that maybe your frustration with the Bush administration is tinting the way you are viewing the New Orleans issue. If I am wrong, please let me know. Maybe I'm missing something here! And please do not take offense at this comment as that is certainly not the intent.

As I've already said, I do think there were breakdowns on every level. But I think this is a failure of leadership from the top down. As I've noted already, this proves that, despite four years of preparation for another round of terrorist attacks, this President does not have his shit together. He has told us over and over that he would, and that he would keep us safe. Now we have confirmation that his words are empty and hollow.

On the brighter side, I'm really encouraged by all the reports coming out about Kingdom people assisting those who have been displaced!

Me too. Thanks for stopping by, Frankie.

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