Katrina Black Ribbon

The high winds of blame continued to circulate around the abhorrently deficient level of Hurricane Katrina federal relief efforts. Echoing the frustrations of local officials who have complained for days of slow federal response, the major New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper called for the removal of every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

“We’re angry, Mr. President, and we’ll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry,” the newspaper said this past Sunday in an open letter to President Bush. “Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That’s to the government’s shame.”

In another development, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco refused to sign over control of the National Guard to the federal government and instead called on a Bill Clinton administration official, former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief, James Lee Witt, to help run the relief efforts. Is this a possible premonition that the Republicans could be beginning to lose their stranglehold on the Southern states, that the “Red” states might begin to shift once again to their historic designation as strongly identified “Blue” states?

More on the Bush family’s disdain for the poor and disadvantaged:

On Monday, former First Lady Barbara Bush toured the Houston Astrodome and observed the Louisiana evacuees. In remarks to PBS, she “cheerfully” stated: Almost everyone I’ve talked to says, “we’re going to move to Houston.” “What I’m hearing is they all want to stay in Texas,” she said. “Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underpriviledged anyway, so this {Chuckle}, this is working very well for them.” However upon further reflection about the poor and underpriviledged actually moving to Houston, she backtracked and added that such a notion was a very scarey thought!

On a more empathic note, Gulf Coast native Jimmy Buffet played two Labor Day weekend shows at the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field, in the very heart of Chicago. Both shows were completely sold out, and they ncluded a compassionate, deeply heartfelt commemoration of the New Orleans disaster. At one point in both of his shows, Buffet and his band played Steve Goodman’s (Chicago’s late, nationally recognized folksinger) most renowned work “The City of New Orleans.” As Buffet sang the song, a large, blue-tinted series of pre-hurricane photographs of some of New Orleans’ most historic buildings was displayed. The overflow crowds reacted with intense emotional sadness, and Steve Goodman’s mother and sister were seen in the audience as they openly wept over their reminiscent memories of the generous and humane Goodman, as well as about the tragedy incurred by New Orleans.

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