We understand, Mr. President, we haven’t recovered from Katrina either

What a surprise to read  Ex-Bush aides say he never recovered from Katrina

Hurricane Katrina not only pulverized the Gulf Coast in 2005, it knocked the bully pulpit out from under President George W. Bush, according to two former advisers who spoke candidly about the political impact of the government’s poor handling of the natural disaster.

I wonder if  these two advisers have given much thought about the impact of the government’s poor handling of the disaster on the actual victims of the storm.

Well,  Elvis is dead and I don’t feel so good myself.

Losing your bully pulpit can’t be all that bad when the end result is at term’s end you get to go home.  If Katrina victims had the option Bush is facing, most would consider they’d recovered; but, you can’t go home without a home.

On the other hand, I stopped by Editilla’s place this morning to see what he’d hung on the Ladder and read a heart breaking reminder that some lost even more than their home.

If there’s an anger I have it’s against the political establishment at the time Katrina happened. They failed miserably and one of the ramifications was my sister getting killed.

For all the sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, ‘it might have been’.

It didn’t have to be somehow seems even sadder.

10 thoughts on “We understand, Mr. President, we haven’t recovered from Katrina either”

  1. Nowdy, Happy New Year! My condolences about your sister.

    I agree government entities failed the citizens of the Gulf Coast. However, Katrina was not the first or wil it be the last failed government response. While Mr. Bush did not recognize the response failure quickly I do not feel it is fair to place the entire debacle on him.

    I had to smile when I read, “Elvis is dead and I don’t feel so good myself”. My old fraternity brother, Leweis Grizzard, wrote the book with that title.

  2. Happy New Year to you, too, Sup…first, a clarification: the “sister quote” is from the article on the Ladder that I linked.

    On a lighter note, I hope Grizzard was as much fun to know as he was/is to read. The minute I read “Bush didn’t recover…” his Elvis quote (title) came to mind.

    JMO but Truman handed Bush the failed Katrina response with his “buck stops here”.

    I’ve been trying to finish this post and another still in draft for the last two or three days but couldn’t get a block of time long enough until this morning.

    Consequently, I’ve given the matter a good bit of thought and have begun to wonder if the “failure” isn’t the result of a flaw in the way we conceptualize and prioritize disasater response.

    The bulk of disaster assistance funding goes to “things” with only a small, time-limited portion to victim assistance – the “people needs”.

    I want to think more before writing more – chiefly because such a long list of unmet or under-met needs come to mind.

    As to Bush, I picked this link up “reading around” and this type of situation has had more to do with the loss of his bully pulpit than the failed Katrina response.

    http://thinkprogress.org/2009/01/02/toussie-second-bush-meeting/

    …and speaking of events in Texas…47-34, Hotty Toddy!

  3. NowIseeit,
    upon reading my tale of showing tale and the finger to our Boy George’s Pellitoptert… Nowdy asked me from whence came such stupidus wit, daring and do to flip off the President and his well armed minions… and so I toll’er… and she asked, bein the nowdoucit and all, if she could put it into this post, some at least down to the bath… and I sayz uuuuuhhhhmmmm errrraaahhhh… can anyone here spell Material Witness? And said no.
    Not because I don’t trust Doucy or any youz slabbers… wouldn’t be here wit’out it, the trust thingy… but soooo
    This post today struck the same strings again after I had played guitar for a while today… THAT is one of my new year thangs since I sorta stopped writing music and playing guitar after more than what y’all ’bout to read here.
    Cause I am not OK, Mr Motherforkin Little Dick’Tater Presidente.
    And any youz shouldn’t wonder that I have never admitted to anything else either.
    It is just nice to know I’m not alone on da’slab.
    I only ask that Doucy leave this alone as I went on to the end. You know Moving Finger having Writ and all da’boorah.
    But here is the set up The Finger:
    Weeelllll…. it was hot.
    After about 4 days of it, no electricity, 90+% heat, floodwater, instant violence, blood and death I had gotten a little sparky on the ‘Tude… perhaps even a bit tetched as they say in Mississippi where I grew up. But all that was a distant memory, sitting on my fire escape above the smoldering crucified city. “America”, the idea of civil society was becoming a quaint notion indeed when the little Dick’tater decided to do his fly-over inspection.
    (Not the one in Air Force 1. This was supposed to be The One, as like ya’know presidentialated and everthang.
    You know he cared. He just ain’t the kinda man what show’it. Keeps it all bottled up inside, like a cowboy ya’know.)
    But really, as crazy as it was, often during the day there just wasn’t a lot to do. Just wandering around sight-seeing got kinda more dangerous with each passing day. There was no pulling together rebuilding lets help each other kinda stuff… yes, we hung out together and tried to keep eyes out and all, but there really wasn’t any thing to Do, and if you didn’t have at least an AK 47 or more than 1 clip Pistola there wasn’t a lot you could do there either should something start to go down. There was no Art going on. No photographers apart from the occasional news animal. But on the ground, No authority, no civil structure. No forkin’plumbing.
    I had already been through a couple of altercations and pretty much had blood all caked in my hair. I had tried to bath one sword-fight altercation off in the river but after I dunked my head under to rinse the blood out of my hair, a body came floating by not 10 feet away and I couldn’t stop retching so bathing in the river was out after that.
    Yeah… after about the 5th day I’m sure my face had taken on a humorous bent, even a slight tick… maybe a rhesus smile.
    Strangely enough I never looked in the mirror not once the whole week! Just didn’t think about it. I do remember my brother’s face when I did reach Baton Rouge on the 6th or 7th day. I didn’t do a mirror then either. I just took about 4 showers in a row. I’d stand there naked with all 4 of my blades still belted on, run out all the hot water, come out and smoke as much pot as possible until the waterheater had recycled, then another shower, then more pot and whiskey, more shower… then I finally looked in the mirror. I’m still kinda scared to look in mirrors and absolutely avoid getting photographed. Sometimes my kin might snag a holliday pic but inside I want to smash their camera. And I don’t go home for hollidays any more.
    They just don’t know how funny I can get. They really don’t want to hear my jokes about their President they attempted to defend with glib family chic. They also don’t really understand how quickly we could all lose our country and be forced to turn on each other. I do, and it really isn’t funny at all when sometimes laughter really is all you have left.
    Editilla

  4. Nowdy, it was a hoot knowing Lewis. He spent a lot of time at our apartment. My roommate’s last name was Loudermilk, hence Kathy Sue Loudemilk was invented.

    Lewis was one of the smartest guys I ever knew. He was a freshman my senior year. He was the first non-senior to become editor of the university newspaper.

    When he passed away, Orley Hood of the Clarion-Ledger called me as he knew I knew Lewis and asked some things about him. I said Lewis may have died at age 45, but he lived 90 years.

    I have all his books and just jkeep reading them as he knew about life. I am just sorry he wasn’t around to comment on the Clinton and Bush administrations. His comments about Monica Lewinsky would be priceless. You will be glad to know all the fraternity brothers attended his funeral with no tie and loafers without socks. Then, they went and ate BBQ.

  5. I did grieve at his death, Sup, and found Kathy Sue memorialized in what appears to be his first book.

    Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You: A Good Beer Joint Is Hard to Find and Other Facts of Life

    Assume you know this, Sup, but I didn’t.

    In accordance with his wishes, his body was cremated, and some of his ashes were scattered at the 50-yard line of the Sanford Stadium at the University of Georgia.

    I confess that I’ve not read more than one or two of his books but I’ve read all the titles!

    Here’s a sample. Readers without a collection like Sup’s will find the full list (reportedly) in his biography on Wiki (linked to the Elvis quote in the post):

    Won’t You Come Home, Billy Bob Bailey?: An Assortment of Home-Cooked Journalism for People Who Wonder Why Clean Underwear Doesn’t Grow on Trees

    If Love Were Oil, I’d Be About A Quart Low

    Shoot Low Boys – They’re Riding Shetland Ponies

    My Daddy Was A Pistol and I’m a Son of a Gun

    When My Love Returns From The Ladies Room, Will I Be Too Old To Care?

    Don’t Bend Over In the Garden, Granny – You Know Them Taters Got Eyes

    Chili Dawgs Always Bark At Night

    Got a favorite, Sup? (Elvis doesn’t count)…I’m torn between “shoot low” and “them taters got eyes”.

  6. My favorite is, “Shoot Low Boys – They Are Riding Shetland Ponies”.

    Lewis always went to the GA/Ole Miss games in Oxford. He loved the atmosphere as the way it was in Athens during the 1960’s. His favorite thing about Ole Miss is the band still has the courage to play “Dixie”.

  7. The federal Katrina response exposed the Bush Administration’s primary weakness. When the original plan doesn’t work, they absolutely refuse to come up with a new plan. The Stafford Act and the FEMA response and recovery plans are designed to offer temporary relief and then repair damaged structures. It was obvious very early that they will not work to rebuild whole cities, counties, parishes where much of the public infrastructure was destroyed, but we spent years haggling over the cost to repair or rebuild every building, every sewer pipe, every street. From the beginning, the Administration’s response to every proposal from Congress, MS, or LA was that they did not want to create new programs or establish new precedents.
    Katrina is an extreme example of “penny wise, pound foolish” decisions. FEMA insisted that the federal government would pay only to restore what was there before, but in many cases what was there before was old and obsolete, not accessible, not energy efficient, etc. It just doesn’t make sense to spend billions of dollars to rebuild obsolete facilities. One of the best examples is where FEMA would not approve a new big sewage treatment plant to replace several old obsolete ones in St. Bernard Parish. Meanwhile FEMA spent much more money on contracts for trucks to come suck out the sewage and take it elsewhere than the cost of the new plant they denied. And of course, without a functioning sewer system, the rest of the recovery was delayed and the federal government is still paying for housing assistance, etc. for former residents of the parish.
    After the first anniversary, the House Democratic Caucus Katrina Task Force recommended that parts of the recovery be taken away from FEMA and the Stafford Act so that instead of spending years haggling over the cost of every single building we focus on the big picture by approving plans to restore infrastructure, schools, health care, housing, etc., figure out the reasonable costs to stand up the communities, how much the state and local governments could afford to pay, and then have the federal government fund the rest. That would never happen with this Administration.
    The coordination is still very poor. Some businesses in downtown Bay St. Louis that were fully insured have still not been able to rebuild because it has taken so long for the Corps to rebuild the seawall, and for FEMA to approve the funds for the water and sewer, the streets, etc. It just seems that FEMA’s intended purpose, providing for the recovery of the disaster area, was ignored by a bureaucratic culture that tried to squeeze every nickel out of every project even though they were actually adding to the overall federal cost by prolonging the communties’ dependence on federal assistance.

  8. Thanks for the insight, Brian. Very helpful – just what I needed to know for a post I’ve been working on for days that wasn’t coming together like I wanted.

  9. Actually that quote is soon to read—

    “they absolutely refused…”

    I wonder if the work we have done developing list upon list of infastructure needs can be put on a fast track with the new President?

    Obama did talk about Governor’s having shovel ready projects. Surely a Bush Admin. waste treatment model which includes the use of trucks would be “shovel ready ” …

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