Thursday, January 12, 2006

Lower Whose Expectations?

I hate to scare off readers by appearing partisan (I am, but I try to keep it in check). However, this line from an AP story this morning disturbed me:
"I had to manage his expectations this morning, because while there has been great progress, there continues to be great need--indescribable need," White House Chief of Staff Andy Card was quoted as saying of President Bush's trip to the Gulf Coast.

[Sigh]. And then there is this, from the same article: "Bush hasn't been to the coast since a trip to Louisiana and Mississippi Oct. 10-11.."

So, the greatest devestation of property the United States has seen since Sherman marched to the sea--23,000 square miles, hundreds of thousands still homeless--and the president isn't really aware what's going on. That's what I take away from that.

What's not clear is, ultimately, whose expectations will be lowered, Mr. Bush's or ours.

I've been pretty harsh on Mr. Bush in these postings. If you disagree with my assessment of the President, I encourage you to leave a comment rather than leave in a huff, but anyone concerned enough about to be reading this blog should find these notes disturbing. Strangely, I find them in one way encouraging

Perhaps it was just White House idealogues who oppose spending government money on just about anything vetoed who the Baker Plan on principle, rather that out of spite. Maybe George doesn't know the December relief bill gave Mississippi five times as much aid per impacted househould than Louisiana. If he doesn't then there is always some hope.

Some advice George: I think the judgement of history is not running too strongly for you on Iraq. And I would not want to be remembered a hundred years from now as the President who turned his back on hundreds of thousands of his fellow citizens and neighbors at their greatest time of need.

Quick, tell me something Hoover did besides let the country slide into the Great Depression? (Hint, he may have had his picture taken, but I don't think he did a whole lot of actual shovel work on the dam, so the judges rule that one out in advance). Grant won the civil war, but is looked back on as one of our worst presidents.

Perhaps this visit will re-open the Presidents eyes, and bring a turn-around in the attitude of the White House and Congressional Republicans. If not, we will know that we have been abandoned by our countrymen.

I have little faith in the supremely corrupt leadership of the Congress. I will hold out a small bit of christian hope, faith and charity that the president means what he says at a very high level, and when he is confronted with the reality, he will brush aside the idealogues and carreerists around him and see that something is done.

Go ahead Mr. President. Prove all the things I've said about you in the past are wrong. Nothing could make me happier.

Editor's Note: I have studiously avoid the use of the word "we" in this blog, because I currently live in Fargo, N.D., and have for almost a decade. However, we are coming home. My wife has accepted a job, and will be on the ground in days. I will follow with the children in June. The postings on this blog have never been an intellectual exercise for me; they have been torn from my heart, some of them written while weeping in the early days of September. If there is any change of tone accompanying the adoption of "we", it is because I am coming to find a house, to put my kids in school somewhere, to put myself voluntarily into the middle of the after-storm. From now on, you can forget all of that high-blown "the people of New Orleans" stuff here. From now on, it will be we and us and I.


It has been such an emotional event for so many. You're not the first person I've heard of who has moved (is moving) back to NOLA after many years of being away. It's like it calls to you. I sent my son back to Loyola, with huge reservations (trauma center, anyone?), but driven by his determination and a sense that someone has to. Your blog is wonderful, probably because it is torn from your heart. Please don't stop.

That said, I have to disagree with your statement: "Maybe George doesn't know the December relief bill gave Mississippi five times as much aid per impacted househould than Louisiana. If he doesn't then there is always some hope."

If we have to chose between him being mean and stupid, I think I'd feel safer thinkin' he's mean. JMHO.

You have every right to use the word "we."
I saw on news reports where the President said something like the city looks much like the one he used to visit. That's the problem. Not only was he given the "good homes" tour, which I feel is a mistake by NOLA officials because it can skew things (like news reports), there is also another important aspect: this is not just about the "city," it's about the residents. There is much to be done to care for the residents, and all does not look good there. People want their homes because it is an investment in their livlihood, not just some shrine in a nice city. There is much to be done to care for the people, to communicate with them. That's my expectation, and there is a lot of raising to be done.
I was disappointed in the President's visit, too. Yes, he tossed out another promise to fund levees, but it's still not enough. We need serious storm surge protection that will be on the order of $40 billion. Will we get it?
Let me say in advance of your actual arrival: Welcome Home! It makes me so happy when those who love New Orleans return! And it makes me so angry when those who professed that love in the past decide to not return. Gotta let go of the anger....let it go, let it go......

So what sort of offer will this bill make to THOSE OWNERS who
happened to have insurance for the mortgage and their equity?!

Mr Baker himself (or his CLOSE friends and relatives) must have
in the devastated areas either



c) Have interest in INSURANCE COMPANIES that are about
to be called on for PAYING OFF THESE LOSSES.


Mr. Baker's congressional aid on this bill is Scott Kennedy.
After leaving three voice mails for him in the past 30 days,
he is yet to call me back to discuss any of this.

Ferenc (Frank) Szita
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"And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." -- Audie Lorde

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