Yesterday's lead New York Times editorial, "Waiting for a Leader," asks: "While our attention must now be on the Gulf Coast's most immediate needs, the nation will soon ask why New Orleans's levees remained so inadequate. Publications from the local newspaper to National Geographic have fulminated about the bad state of flood protection in this beloved city, which is below sea level. Why were developers permitted to destroy wetlands and barrier islands that could have held back the hurricane's surge? Why was Congress, before it wandered off to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the gaping holes in the area's flood protection?"
Perhaps they were reading old Times editorials on flood control. As the EU Rota blog notes, the Times editorial page has often criticized such efforts as anti-environmental boondoggles.
Hurricane Katrina gave New Orleans a head fake on Monday, then slammed a right hook into Mississippi instead. But just as the Garden City thought it had gotten through the worst, the storm-created floods began -- 24 hours later. That day-long gap accounts for most of the bitter griping about inadequate preparation and aid. And the floods hurt worse than the storm, far worse.
Anyone seen Kathleen Blanco lately? Remember her, the Democratic Governor of Louisiana, the lady who put in a few shaky, overwhelmed performances at the beginning of the Katrina catastrophe? She seems to have disappeared off the MSM radar screen.
How about the Mayor of New Orleans, another Democrat? How many Americans can even name him? Compare and contrast with the role Rudy Giuliani played in the wake of 9/11.
Instead, Today's focus this morning was almost entirely on the shortcomings of the federal [read Republican-led] government in its response to Katrina.
“The 17th Street levee that gave way and led to the flooding of New Orleans was part of an intricate, aging system of barriers and pumps that was so chronically underfinanced that senior regional officials of the Army Corps of Engineers complained about it publicly for years.”
The second and third paragraphs say:
The White House scrambled Thursday to defend itself against criticism that it has consistently proposed cutting the budget for Army Corps of Engineers water and flood control projects — including several that could have mitigated the disaster in New Orleans.
In the middle of a Thursday CBS Evening News story on the destruction in Slidell, Louisiana, across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, reporter Mark Strassmann showcased a distraught man “with a message for the President” who blasted Bush for how he responded in Iraq while not doing so for Louisiana. Anthony Nata charged: "You can go into Iraq and come in with big helicopters and set stuff up for people, but you can't do this for us? Come on, Bush. You can do better than that."
Cafferty soon launched a rant: “I have never, ever seen anything as badly bungled and poorly handled as this situation in New Orleans. Where the hell is the water for these people? Why can't sandwiches be dropped to those people that are in that Superdome down there? I mean, what is, this is Thursday. This is Thursday. This storm happened five days ago. It's a disgrace.”
Cafferty ignored a Thursday Union Leader editorial which castigated Louisiana's Governor, Kathleen Blanco: “Louisiana Gov’t Fails Its People.”
Video: Real or Windows Media. Full transcript follows.
CBS News's Jim Axelrod has blogged about his now-ended Price Patrol cross-country assignment which concluded this week. The feature highlighted the cost of gasoline across the country from New York to San Francisco. Axelrod and his producers hopped a red-eye from San Francisco to cover alleged price gouging in Atlanta, which has seen high gas prices following Hurricane Katrina due to a pipeline which has gone offline.
Video: Real or Windows Media. Some more context and description follows.
Harry Smith, interviewing Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on the Early Show today, started off by asking him where all the relief aid was, where the workers were. Smith said he was relaying this as the frequent complaint of Gulf Coast survivors of Hurricane Katrina that he'd been talking to. After Barbour replied that things were being tirelessly coordinated and set in order to get relief to needy residents as soon as possible, Smith prompted Barbour to give the viewers at home a glimmer of hope about the efforts underway:
As the pressure mounts on the media to figure out more and more creative ways to blame the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on the Bush administration, a front-page New York Times article by David Sanger appears to lay the post-hurricane looting right at the White House doorstep:
"The dilatory performance of George Bush during the past week has been outrageous. Almost as unbelievable as Katrina itself is the fact that the leader of the free world has been outshone by the elected leaders of a region renowned for governmental ineptitude.
The Media Post reports:
"The Washington Post has entered into a deal with blog search engine Technorati that will make it easy for readers to find blog entries about Post stories. Technorati already has similar deals with Salon.com and Newsweek.com, but WashingtonPost.com marks the search engine's first major newspaper partnership.
On NPR's Morning Edition today, co-anchor Renee Montagne was interviewing David Wessel of the Wall Street Journal on the hurricane's effects on the national economy. But she was a little over the top in her tone with her first question: "Is the hurricane the last straw for the economy?" (Hear it here.)