Saturday, August 26, 2006

More Of The Same

All politics, all the time. What we hear. McClatchy (08.25.06):
"The president returns to the Gulf Coast on Monday to mark the first anniversary of the Category 3 storm, which killed 1,695 people, displaced 770,000 others and caused at least $96 billion in damage to homes, businesses and government property there.

In Gulfport and Biloxi, Miss., and in New Orleans, Bush will tout the progress his administration has made in a year toward getting the region back on its feet, and he'll emphasize that the road to total recovery is a marathon - not a sprint - that will take years to complete."

Bush has fallen short in steering recovery, experts say

What we get. "But a look back at the Jackson Square speech shows that Bush stumbled from the starting blocks in trying to make good on the ambitious recovery goals he set, according to academics, authors, hurricane experts, civil rights leaders and others monitoring post-Katrina rebuilding efforts."

"From his commitment to make New Orleans' damaged levee system 'stronger than it has ever been' to his vow to address the 'deep, persistent poverty' with 'roots in a history of racial discrimination' that Katrina exposed, Bush has come up short, they say."

"'It sounded like the Bush administration was going to engage in a grand historical moment, a Marshall Plan for the deep South,' said Douglas Brinkley, a Tulane University history professor and author of 'The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.'"

"'Instead, they're doing just enough to be credible,' Brinkley said. 'It hasn't been written off by the administration - federal money has come in. It's just been de-prioritized behind the war on terror and the trillion-dollar debt.'"

AP (08.25.06):

"First came the floodwaters, then the paperwork. Billions of promised federal dollars to fix New Orleans' crumbling infrastructure have gone largely untapped a year after Hurricane Katrina.

City officials complain that a snarl of red tape, restrictions and unexpectedly high costs have kept hundreds of public buildings in disrepair, streets pocked with potholes and most parks too dirty for children to play.

New Orleans Awaits Billions in Fed Aid

"So far, the city has collected only $117 million to start the repair work in what has been billed as the largest urban restoration in U.S. history."

Then again, how well you're doing seems to depend quite a bit on who you are. AP (08.25.06):

"The government awarded 70 percent of its contracts for Hurricane Katrina work without full competition, wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in the process, says a House study released yesterday by Democrats.

The report, a comprehensive overview of government audits on Katrina contracting, found that out of $10.6 billion in contracts awarded after the storm last year, more than $7.4 billion were handed out with limited or no competitive bidding."

Katrina contracts wasted money, House report says
"In addition, 19 contracts worth $8.75 billion were found to have wasted taxpayer money at least in part, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the report."

"'The blatant fraud, the audacity of the schemes, the scale of the waste — it is just breathtaking,' said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, and chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee."

Should have had Hezbollah handle the reconstruction.

For once George, for old time's sake, spare us the smiley-faced public relations. Just show us the fucking pony.



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