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September 02, 2005

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Amen brother.

What a sad state of affairs when, as soon as hardship happens, we all start crying for uncle Sam to come save us, ths same way my kids used to cry for Mommy when they dirtied their diapers. At one time this country was populated by tough people with backbone. Who saved the Dust Bowl victims? They did it, by and large, by themselves. These people had the strength to suck it up and make things better. You know, as well as I do, that sitting on the curb waiting for someone to come fix things for you is a disgraceful response to hard times. And, by the way, it is EXACTLY those kind of folks that the media will plaster all over your TV.

News flash: Bush didn't send the hurricane.

News flash 2 : New Orleans has been aware of it's plight for a hundred years. Want to complain that Bush's tax breaks made it impossible to fix the problem? Okay, then why didn't the saintly Clinton fix it during his 8 years.

Fact of the matter is that New Orleans has been waaaaaay back there on the back burner for both parties for many, many, many years.

The really sad part is that little will be made of the herculean work that will be done in the next couple of years, rebuilding the city to a better condition than it was. Little will be said about the tough, working class joes and janes that will roll up their sleeves and make it bettter.

No, we'll just see the curb-sitters venting their bitterness and exhibiting their helplessness.

Somebody better call a WAAAAAAmbulance.

**Greg said** "What a sad state of affairs when, as soon as hardship happens, we all start crying for uncle Sam to come save us, ths same way my kids used to cry for Mommy when they dirtied their diapers. At one time this country was populated by tough people with backbone. Who saved the Dust Bowl victims? They did it, by and large, by themselves. These people had the strength to suck it up and make things better.

You know, as well as I do, that sitting on the curb waiting for someone to come fix things for you is a disgraceful response to hard times. And, by the way, it is EXACTLY those kind of folks that the media will plaster all over your TV."**End Quote**

Times were a bit different then in all honesty & fairness. For sure, folks were more self-reliant but we both know that times have changed. For example: Say your son had selected a profession that paid well, well less than the national average for middle class incomes. Say that he had been in N.O. and couldn't have evac'd out. Say that he was lucky enough to survive the hurricane. Say that his house, his belongings, etc... were all destroyed. Say that he felt hopeless. Say that he felt exhausted and forgotten. Say that he sat on a curb and did nothing more than wait... would your impression change having seen him on CNN versus someone you don't know? Suppose all of our advances aside-you and your wife couldn't get to him, send him money, a plane ticket home, a care package of food/clothes/water... even a phone call. You wouldn't see this as a failing on our govt's behalf? After all, WHY should you and your wife feel that [beyond mere wanting to] you MUST send food & water to your boy to save his life... why in a modern city, in a modern country-the most affluent in the world/in the history of the world should you HAVE to do this, right? Instead, you'd just sit back and say, "Darn that son of mine... sure wish he had some backbone and wasn't sitting on that curb". Or might you in fact say, "Jesus Christ. Why won't someone help him? He NEEDS help... look at him. He's broken and depressed. Where the hell is my/our govt.... where?"

The bottomline for me is this... a president, any president whose first response to a crisis of this magnitude is to stay on vacation when his vacation is basically next door geographically to the affected area, and then go visiting with some big business types about Medicare further away in San Diego, and then head east and still NOT stop and at minimum visit the area... is deplorable. Presidents are hood ornaments... nothing more/nothing less. They, in fact, control little BUT one thing they do control is this; they can have an enormous calming effect on their nations citizens. A dad, a big brother... a leader. Hell, I would have appreciated seeing Bush strap on some waders, hoist a shovel over his shoulder and have some pics taken of him holding the hand of a little old lady while she stepped from her rooftop onto the deck of a boat... seriously, how could the powers that be have screwed up so many prime photo-op's? It would have been $$$$ in the bank for Bush, for approval ratings on the Iraq war, for Republicans and mainly for a badly shaken America. I know it sounds supremely sarcastic on my part BUT there is truth and sincerity in my words as well... it would have offered at least a Stop-Gap to think, "Maybe he isn't so bad... maybe he does actually care?" But nope... he did none of it.

The sad thing is this... so many presidents fail to lead in times of crisis and as citizens our choices every 4 years are so shitty that the best we can hope for is to pick the one that can do the least amount of damage during their term. You want to reminisce about the old days... the dust bowl period? Look at our leaders... they actually had some balls, they actually weren't criminals, they didn't get elected because of having the biggest bank account, or the best spin doctors. We all want more from and of our leaders and each new election we are given less and less to choose from.

Do you think Bush Jr. is an upstanding citizen Greg? Full of morals and high standards? You're a child of the 60's for christsakes... he's about as spineless, shady and full of shit as they come. Was Clinton any better... I bet you think not and I know I think so... but that's cool, we're friends and we can agree to disagree [especially if you're grilling me some food on that grill someday and we are tipping copious amounts of wine & beer while doing so!], but the bottom line is this... this shit has gone down while Bush Jr. is our president NOT Clinton, not Kennedy, not anyone else. It's his burden and his alone to make his mark or not... And it's largely been, "Or not". We're knee deep in an unwinnable war [Vietraq... you gotta agree on that one right?] that was started for all the wrong reasons and under a shroud of absolute horseshit and lies. Homeland Security hasn't done a damn thing except make white 'Merka paranoid of dark, olive or brown-skinned 'Merka, sucked up millions of dollars and provided us with a color chart to know if today was a day of fear or a day of easy-going-feeling-good goodness. They certainly have down little in their first 5 days of providing "Homeland Security" to the folks of New Orleans.

**Greg said** "News flash: Bush didn't send the hurricane.

News flash 2 : New Orleans has been aware of it's plight for a hundred years. Want to complain that Bush's tax breaks made it impossible to fix the problem? Okay, then why didn't the saintly Clinton fix it during his 8 years."**End Quote**

Yes, true. But unfortunately [or not... depending on your political leanings] 9/11 and Katrina did not happen on Clinton's watch. Luck or dumb luck aside, we are measured by our times and the events of our times. And [all] President's are measured especially by and under this rule.

**Greg said** "Fact of the matter is that New Orleans has been waaaaaay back there on the back burner for both parties for many, many, many years."**End Quote**

Absolutely and without question I agree. That's a shame too but it's also human nature to generally not face problems until some serious writing is on the wall. So yes this could have happened under ANY administration but the fact of the matter is this... it didn't.

**Greg said** "The really sad part is that little will be made of the herculean work that will be done in the next couple of years, rebuilding the city to a better condition than it was. Little will be said about the tough, working class joes and janes that will roll up their sleeves and make it better.

No, we'll just see the curb-sitters venting their bitterness and exhibiting their helplessness.

Somebody better call a WAAAAAAmbulance."**End Quote**

That's called Democracy. Someone, lots or too many can complain over or about anything they want... I neither agree nor disagree with this. It's just how shit is and more than likely always will be. As far as rebuilding goes... the regular folk will do the work and get little to zero props for it but since when hasn't that *always* been the case? Nothing new there at all.

-Me

Hey, hey, hey...

No looting of Wallingford Bicycle Parts. Anyone out there know how Bill Laine is doing? The Wallbike website, is, mysteriously, still up, and it has a notice that they are fleeing the city and will be closed until further notice.

Paul

Bush is our President, about as "upstanding" as a citizen can get. To twist this tragedy into politics is about as disgusting as any low-life act I have witnessed in all of my years. This storm was catastrophic. The places hardest hit have been at risk for hundreds of years prior to this. To suggest that this would have been different under any other administration is muck-raking at its worst. Sad that people choose to point fingers and choose confrontation when we most need cooperation. People, like you, who have seized on this oppotunity to further their America-hating, blame-government-first agenda make me sick!

Bill from Wallingford Bicycle, here. Erin and I are doing fine and I have talked to Diane in Nashville. We have seen our place on satellite picture - it's dry and the roof is intact. We have some small hope that windows are intact and looters passed us by. We won't be able to get back into the city for weeks/months, it looks like. My wife's employer is relocating to Lafayette, LA, and she is headed down there today with a travel trailer that we bought yesterday. (There is no housing in Lafayette). Once she gets set up somewhere I'll join her. No telling when we can resume business. We are going to be in our trailer in Lafayette for a couple of months, we think. If I can figure out the logistics I'll try to start doing some simple businss as soon as possible. We are just learning how to live as gypsys.

Maybe us liberals (dirty word) do hate America if what you mean by America is our government. I will tell you that we do love and respect Americans and we think it is disgusting that they had to sit in water up the their necks for 3 to 4 days before help came. It has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with human rights. It has to do with the fact that Haiti and Thailland can take care of their hurricane victims better than we can.

Blaming Bush for not acting soon enough is like placing blame on Ronald McDonald when you get a bad bigmac. He doesnt cook the thing, he is just a spokesperson. Much like a McDonalds, the USA has a system of government similar to the management system.
Say for example Bush = Ronald
Micheal Brown = General Manager
FEMA = Store Manager
Pimply faced kid = counterperson or fry cook

So, the story goes...
Ronald says to the Gen Man "you have many people that need burgers coming in soon"
GenMan says to Store Mgr "prepare lots of burgers"
Store Mgr says to pimply faced kid "start cooking, fast!" PFK replies "when?"

This could have taken a few days for the words to have gotten to the PFK from Ronald...

A stupid metaphor? you bet, but placing the blame on Bush for this is way out of line...seems that the latest I have seen is that NO didnt evacuate the "projects" when they should have.
Lets use a strand of common sense here.
One of my close friends lives in Kenner, La.
His exact words to me were "the levy system here is only supposed to stand up to a Cat 3 hurricane, we knew days before it hit that Katrina was a cat 5. I got the Fcuk out!"

For those "liberals" that want to blame the government for everything, theres a little patch of land north of here where you are welcome to immigrate to. They offer free health care and a good school system, provided you want/are able to raise children. Oh yeah, i forgot, they offered us SOOO much in Katrina relief...

DW

Don-

But you also do realize that the reason the levee system wasn't built up for a Cat. 5 storm was cuts, cuts and more cuts in the Army Corps of Engineers Levee System Fund don't you? Yes, year after year it was reduced down to the point where folks in ACoE's were begging for funds. And yes, it wasn't JUST Bush Lites administration that cut the budget... it had been going on for years. Sadly though, to that I say this... many may be responsible, many may be to blame... but when the shit hits the fan-the people in closest proximity [i.e. our countries current administration] will take the blame. And so be it.

Concerning Canada [assuming that's what you are referring to and not The North Pole & Santa Claus]... what the hell does that have to do with anything?! Apples & Oranges. Criticizing ones own govt. is not only healthy, crucial and [BTW] an American Right [!!]... but it keeps things in check. When it goes unchecked... shit has a tendency to get really ugly, really quick. Read your American/World History.

Waaaaay too simple to throw down, "Don't like what you see here, go elsewhere" type retorts. ...too basic and too unexamined.

-Me

To DW.

From the people's republic of Canukistan:
Nothing is free. We pay for public health care and schools through higher taxes.

Also, I figured that with a population of 9 times more than Canada, and a GDP of more than 11 times that of Canada that the USA should be able to look after their own.

I'm SOOO glad my Red Cross donations for hurricane relief were appreciated.

Hey, Don,

I remember hearing a news story about the trials and tribulations of one set of folks in St. Bernard Parish. After several several hellish days, the first law enforcement officials that helped this particular group of survivors were Mounties from Ontario. I, for one, am grateful. I imagine those folks are even more so. The story was on NPR, and the Canadian angle was an aside. If I find the link, I will post it here.

Scott,

While nothing I say can ever come out the way I would like (ate too much paste in kindergarten and got hooked on sniffing glue in 3rd grade) I still think blaming Bush is totally wrong. My reasoning is that Bush has done what he could do as a president. He alerted FEMA ( and the recently unemployed Michael Brown) to do THEIR job. His job is to SEE the mess Katrina created and pass on directives to others. If they dont handle their jobs, thats not his fault. Ill preparedness and stupidity on the part of FEMA can make Bush seem like he is at fault, but on the whole, how many natural disasters had FEMA practiced on? I think the learning curve here will get better, hopefully not under the same circumstances.

As for Canada...Dont get me wrong, I love Canada, their beer, their hockey teams, the ability to obtain Cuban smokes...but lets face it, their Government didnt help us a whole lot with donations. (as Bill O'Reilly pointed out the other night) The people of Canada have been more than generous.
My advice to those who enjoy bashing Bush in my earlier comment sounded as a negative thing about Canada. All I was implying is that those who want to bash our current administration can go elsewhere to live ( read this) http://immigration.about.com/od/livingincanada/a/USLibstoCanada.htm
In fact, I have looked into relocating to Canada, and I know all about the taxes, etc. I was very impressed the few times I was there visiting with how things are run.

Yes, I may live in Texas, about 20 miles as the crow flies from the Western White House and no, I dont like it when folks line up to place blame where it doesnt belong. To this point, i would even say if the same thing happened when Clinton was in office, I would say its not his fault either. Its kind of odd how different sides view different issues. When Clinton was "busted" for his part in "Monica's gate", my own brother ( a California Liberal ) used the excuse of "do you want the worlds most powerful man being sexually frustrated?"
I thought that skirted the issue that he cheated on his wife. If his wife no longer puts out, heres a tube of K-Y, knock yourself out... Its just the fact that the liberals are full of excuses in such situations that gets me. Yet, I would go to bat for my least fave presidente` if he were in Bushs shoes right now.
Thats my beliefs and I am sticking to them.


PS, I am NOT bashing Canada!

riding a bike in water?
seven miles?

the first thing I thought when people were filing onto buses like herds of cattle...
I would have taken a different route

get a few bicycles
string them together with what I have
and start pedaling
pull my family as far as we need to go
in the south there has to be fruit on the trees and pecan rolls at the Stuckey's Stops!

or take one of those boats
push it or pull it to the bay and set sail
whoever owns that boat is going to claim it trashed on their insurance
they will not miss it now

if there were no boats or no bicycles
I would take a wheelbarrow and have my family climb in and start pushing

but
that is me

there certainly have to be stories similar to that
I thank my lucky stars that I am not in this situation forced to make these choices
I am fortunate
I have an extended family that creates a safety net
I am one of the fortunate
perhaps I do not sound so compasionate

it is a sad situation
lives are lost
lives are turned upside down

as a father of two
it saddens me to think of the hardship that these children are going through
no one deserves this

let there please be some happy endings to this story

oh...
bicycles
if they do rebuild certain communities
they should make them a Bicycle Utopia
this makes sense
for those who can not afford cars
reintroduce them to the bicycle
create bicycle routes
car free bicycle routes
make the housing close to the town center
mailboxes and stores all within bicycle distance
and
public transport for those who can not ride
bring back bicycle taxis and cargo bikes

Scott,

Wow, being away from the computer, I missed everything after your response to my comment.

Good discussion, eh?

And I agree, having this conversation over some barbecue and brew (or wine, as you prefer) would be more civilized. I strongly disagree with you. Especially when the racial question starts being raised. My attitude toward the situation is no different from my attitude when I see people's houses built on Malibu Beach get washed into the sea. Or slide down the canyons that they cantilevered their homes on to. These folks also get featured on my TV with all the cries for govrnment help. And these folks are mostly white, and all affluent. And I would say the same thing to them: "Wise up. Go build where you are not SURE to get wiped out."

Living below sea level is bad logic. At the very least, I hope a lesson is learned and N.O. is rebuilt in a sane fashion.

Not having a TV currently, I missed all the media buildup to the latest 'cane. Don't think I missed a thing. An hour or two of All Things Considered during the commute was all I needed.

Has anyone but me noticed how much George Bush has aged in these last 6 years? Every time I happen to see a picture of him, he looks like hell. Actually, I noticed the same thing in Clinton toward the end of his second term. The poor slob even had bypass surgery not long after he left office. Seems to me that being Prez ain't no picnic.

I can't believe that reporter is for real! I ride home from work more miles than that every weekday, and even more if I take the nicer largely bike path dominated route of 13 and a half miles. The media is pretty pathetic. They always automatically assume walking a block is the end of the world.

Actually, it sounds like heaven in comparison to daily life around here. No cars out there!

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