[X] On Thursday, CNN reporter Anderson Cooper, who had already been in the thick of New Orleans' devestation for several days, turned on Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu during a live-telecast interview when she tried to basically dodge the hard questions and instead started thanking other politicians:
COOPER: Senator, I?m sorry? for the last four days, I have been seeing dead bodies here in the streets of Mississippi and to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other ? I have to tell you, there are people here who are very upset and angry, and when they hear politicians thanking one another, it just, you know, it cuts them the wrong way right now, because there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman has been laying in the street for 48 hours, and there is not enough facilities to get her up. Do you understand that anger?[From the Think Progress Transcript] [Download the clip in QT or WMV at Crooks and Liars]
LANDRIEU: I have the anger inside of me. Most of the homes in my family have been destroyed. I understand that, and I know all the details, and the President ?
COOPER: Well, who are you angry at?
LANDRIEU: I?m not angry at anyone. It is so important for everyone in this nation to pull together, for all military assets to be brought to bare in this situation. I have every confidence this country is great and strong as we can be do to that, and that effort is under way. That effort is under way.
COOPER: Well, I mean, there are a lot of people here who are kind of ashamed of what is happening in this country right now, what is ? ashamed of what is happening in your state. And that?s not to blame the people that are there, it is a terrible situation, but you know, who ? no one seems to be taking responsibility. I know you say there?s a time and a place for kind of, you know, looking back, but this seems to be the time and the place. There are people that want answers, and people want someone to stand up and say: we should have done more.
The shock of the disaster and the uncharacteristically honest media seems to have lit a fire under Landrieu, though, as she has now turned on Bush and his attempts to media-managed the disaster. From Landrieu's official press release:
"Yesterday, I was hoping President Bush would come away from his tour of the regional devastation triggered by Hurricane Katrina with a new understanding for the magnitude of the suffering and for the abject failures of the current Federal Emergency Management Agency. 24 hours later, the President has yet to answer my call for a cabinet-level official to lead our efforts. Meanwhile, FEMA, now a shell of what it once was, continues to be overwhelmed by the task at hand.[Via From The Roots] When American senators are lamenting politicians trying the manage the media, you know things are getting rough!
"I understand that the U.S. Forest Service had water-tanker aircraft available to help douse the fires raging on our riverfront, but FEMA has yet to accept the aid. When Amtrak offered trains to evacuate significant numbers of victims -- far more efficiently than buses -- FEMA again dragged its feet. Offers of medicine, communications equipment and other desperately needed items continue to flow in, only to be ignored by the agency.
"But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast -- black and white, rich and poor, young and old -- deserve far better from their national government."
[X] During the NBC Concert for Hurricane Relief, rapper Kayne West departed from the safe, banal, scripted message he was "supposed" to deliver. West began looking uncharacteristically nervous and upset. When he spoke, he spoke his mind, much to the dismay of NBC:
Mike Meyers reads off prompter ? switches to black singer, Kanye West:[Transcript from Crooks & Liars] [Download the clip in QT or WMV also from Crooks & Liars]
"I hate the way they portray us in the media.
"If you see a black family it says they are looting if you see a white family it says they are looking for food.
"And you know that it?s been 5 days because most of the people are black and even for me to complain ? I would be a hypocrite because I would turn away from the TV because it?s too hard to watch. I?ve even been shopping before giving a donation and so right now I?m calling my business manager what is the biggest amount I can give.
"And just to imagine if I was down there, those are my people down there. So anybody out there who wants to help with the set up, the way that America is set up to help ? The poor, the black people, the less well off as slow as possible. I mean, Red Cross is doing everything they can.
"We already realize a lot of the people that could help are at war now fighting another way and they?ve given them permission to go down and shoot us."
(Mike Meyers tries to get back on prompter, reads from script and then camera cuts back to Kanye. He pauses before
Kanye West: "George Bush doesn?t care about black people."
The LA Times notes that by the time the "A Concert for Hurricane Relief" hit the West Coast three hours later, Kayne West's "George Bush doesn't care about black people" was removed from the broadcast. The Washinton Post continues:
West's comments would be cut from the West Coast feed, an NBC spokeswoman told The TV Column. (The Associated Press later reported that only his comment about the president was edited out.) The show was live on the East Coast with a several-second delay; someone with his finger on a button was keeping an ear peeled in case someone uttered an obscenity but did not realize that West had gone off-script, the spokeswoman said.Kudos to Kayne West is all I can say.
[X] The "Left I on the News" Blog reports that a certain president has shown real and immediate compassion and resourcefulness in trying to combat the human disaster:
Not President Bush. Cuban President Fidel Castro. Speaking on Cuban television tonight, Castro revealed that on Tuesday, while George Bush was still on vacation playing with his spiffy new guitar, and a day or two before the Secretary of State went shopping for shoes, Cuba contacted the State Department and offered no less than 1,100 doctors to assist in dealing with the crisis. Doctors who, unlike the hospital ship which has yet to leave its berth in Baltimore and isn't scheduled to be in New Orleans until next Saturday (!), could have been on site by Wednesday if the Cuban offer had been accepted.[Via The Republic of T]
Update: In his speech last night on Cuban television, Castro reiterated his offer. These doctors would arrive carrying their own medical supplies and food, capable of operating on their own without any infrastructure. If the offer had been accepted last night, 100 of them could have been here today, with the other 1000 following within the next two days. People will die today in New Orleans due to lack of medical care. Condoleezza Rice was, we can presume, too busy admiring her new $500 shoes to pick up the phone, or care. Leaving aside their response in general, the lack of response of the United States Government to the Cuban offer, all by itself, is criminal. Not just grounds for impeachment, but grounds for being charged with accessory to murder. Because the people of New Orleans aren't just dying, they are being murdered by criminal neglect.
[X] Matt Wells, writing for the BBC in " New Orleans crisis shames Americans":
At the end of an unforgettable week, one broadcaster on Friday bitterly encapsulated the sense of burning shame and anger that many American citizens are feeling. The only difference between the chaos of New Orleans and a Third World disaster operation, he said, was that a foreign dictator would have responded better. It has been a profoundly shocking experience for many across this vast country who, for the large part, believe the home-spun myth about the invulnerability of the American Dream. The party in power in Washington is always happy to convey the impression of 50 states moving forward together in social and economic harmony towards a bigger and better America. That is what presidential campaigning is all about. But what the devastating consequences of Katrina have shown - along with the response to it - is that for too long now, the fabric of this complex and overstretched country, especially in states like Louisiana and Mississippi, has been neglected and ignored. [...] The country has to choose whether it wants to rebuild the levees and destroyed communities, with no expense spared for the future - or once again brush off that responsibility, and blame the other guy.[X] Xeni Jardin at Boing Boing is dismayed that the army seems to have declared war on the civilians in New Orleans:
An article in the Army Times is referring to American citizens in New Orleans as "the insurgency".Finally, while it seems insane to need to donate to the US, if the US Government can't get their act together and get aid where it is needed, I have faith that the Red Cross will ...
Does this mean the United States is now in an undeclared state of civil war?
[...] Junkies and desperate people in dehumanizing conditions without homes, hope, or the most basic resources for survival. The context doesn't make crime acceptable. It doesn't lessen the very real dangers for military and law enforcement personnel tasked with the daunting job of restoring security. But it doesn't make an entire population "insurgents" either.
We often hear the term used by military leaders or politicians to refer to armed entities in Iraq and other war zones overseas.
We are talking about fellow American citizens here -- in America.
Not insurgents. Not refugees. Not enemies. Americans.
(Continued in Part 3.)
[Tags: katrina | hurricane | aftermath | politics | power | bush | kaynewest | citizenjournalism | citizenmedia]