Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bush: Race Not a Factor in Katrina Response

I have two interesting stories to comment on. The first story is from Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON -President Bush said Monday the federal government's reaction to Hurricane Katrina was appalling, but was not the result of racial indifference to blacks hard-hit by the storm. "You can call me anything you want, but do not call me a racist," Bush said.

In an interview with "NBC Nightly News," Bush said he saw televised pictures showing the government's faltering response to Katrina, and that his first thought was that there was a breakdown of communications between all levels of government after the Aug. 29 hurricane.

"I heard, you know, a couple of people say ... `Bush didn't respond because of race_ because he's a racist,' or alleged that," Bush said. "That is absolutely wrong. And I — I reject that.'

"You can call me anything you want, but do not call me a racist. Secondly, this storm hit — all up and down (the Gulf). It hit New Orleans. It hit Mississippi, too."

Okay. That's the first story--Bush doesn't want to be called a racist. Now here's the second story I found off the CNN website:

(CNN) -- More than three months after thousands of people lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina, local and federal officials are trading blame over the slow delivery of trailer housing.

"We got a serious situation in St. Bernard Parish," its president, Henry "Junior" Rodriguez, told CNN on Tuesday.

"We got people living in tents and automobiles. We got people living in barns. We got people living in their houses -- in tents," he said on "American Morning."

"This is the beginning of winter. This is unacceptable."

Tuesday morning, it was 41 degrees in New Orleans.

A site with 50 to 55 trailers is operational, Rodriguez said, and another may be able to handle 45 trailers within a couple days. But the 100 or so trailers fall far short of the 12,000 trailers needed for the number of people estimated to return home, he added.

About 1,400 trailers are sitting in St. Bernard Parish unused, and local officials say FEMA won't pay for them. From CNN.Com

Adding to Rodriguez's frustration is the fact that 1,400 trailers are sitting unused in St. Bernard Parish. The parish ordered them from a private contractor days after the hurricane hit on August 29, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency has not agreed to pay for them.

There are also more than 5,000 FEMA mobile homes in Arkansas sitting unused, CNN has learned.

FEMA responded Tuesday, telling CNN it is ready to deliver 125,000 trailers to the area but that parish officials "still have to identify places to put them."

The agency said that St. Bernard Parish "has identified 1,000 sites for trailers ... 500 of them have already been installed, and the rest are in the works."

Rodriguez said he and other parish officials identified 6,500 trailers, each at a price $1,500 less than what FEMA is paying for trailers of the same type. Another list he provided had 4,500 trailers that are $3,000 cheaper than what FEMA pays, Rodriguez said. And FEMA hasn't talked with the contractor in charge of the cheaper trailers, Rodriguez added.

Meanwhile Jim Maguire, the private contractor whose unused trailers haven't been paid for, told CNN that they can't stay in St. Bernard forever.

Now Bush may think that he's not a racist, but the Republican Party is very racist in regards to its incompetence and ignorance of providing disaster aid in the wake of Katrina. This situation with the trailers is just another example of where the Republican loyalties lie--big business, rich elites and big corporate interests, at the expense of lower working class, middle class, and the poor. It is amazing at how much of a disaster this Katrina reconstruction has been for the country--although I'll bet that Haliburton, and other big construction companies are making windfall profits at the taxpayer expense with the no-bid Katrina reconstruction contracts.

Mr. President, you are a racist and a bigot.


Eli said...

It's hard to tell whether the problem is that Bush really doesn't give a shit about black people, or that he really doesn't give a shit about poor people.

Not that either one is particularly admirable.

Eric A Hopp said...

Neither one is. It is probably a little of both, combined with the Republican Party's distate for minorities. I'm usually very moderate in my postings, but when I saw those two stories, well, sometimes even I get angry at the incompetence and arrogance that I see in the Bush White House and Republican Party.