Hypocrisy 101: A Brief Review Of Hurricane Katrina

hurrican katrinaPhoto:
Image from josh Miller

As the death toll from the terrible cyclone that struck Myanmar climbs past 100,000, I keep thinking of the press conference that was held at the White House on Monday. First Lady Laura Bush, who from what we can tell is a fairly decent lady even if she’s a little conservative for our tastes, was sent to the press to ask Myanmar to accept American aid.What she ended up doing, however, was looking like a world-class hypocrite: you see, it’s not really smart to call out a government for not warning their citizens about a hurricane and a slow response when…your government didn’t warn it’s citizens about a hurricane and had a slow response. Join Environmental Graffiti for a timeline of events from the destruction of New Orleans.
Friday, August 26
Gov. Kathleen Blanco declares a state of emergency in Louisiana. She’s the first official on any level to do so, and will later be accused of inactivity by the administration.

Saturday, August 27
Gov. Haley Barbour declares emergency in Mississippi
Katrina becomes a category 3 hurricane.
Governor Blanco asks for a federal declaration of emergency in Louisiana. President Bush empowers the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency to respond.

Sunday, August 28
2AM — Katrina becomes a category 4 hurricane. It’s category 5 by daybreak.

The press already knows the levees are in danger. The President will later claim that they never knew. [Lafayette Daily Advertiser]
Mayor Ray Nagin Evacuates New Orleans, despite the fact that many of the citizens do not own cars. The President is told that the levees may fail… [Times-Picayune; St. Petersburg Times]
…and they begin to. [Times-Picayune]

30,000 people make their last stand at the Superdome with three days of water. The hurricane makes landfall.

The President learns that the levees were breached. [AP]

President calls DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff to talk immigration. Because that was the most important thing right then. [White House]

Photo op with John McCain! Happy birthday! [White House]

DHS dispatches 11000 employees to New Orleans, and gives them two days to arrive. [AP]

The levees, previously topped, are completely breached.

President travels to California and Arizona hawking a prescription drug benefit.

Tuesday, August 30
President has speech on Iraq in San Diego, plays guitar with a country singer I’ve never heard of. [AP]

President finishes his vacation. Because THAT’S the most important thing. [AP]

Wednesday, August 31

Refreshed, president organizes response team on a federal level. He also laps the city in his jet. [New York Times] [Fox News]

President ducks calls from Louisiana Governor: “She was transferred around the White House for a while until she ended up on the phone with Fran Townsend, the president’s Homeland Security adviser, who tried to reassure her but did not have many specifics. Hours later, Blanco called back and insisted on speaking to the president. When he came on the line, the governor recalled, “I just asked him for help, ‘whatever you have’.” She asked for 40,000 troops.” [Newsweek]

FEMA Director says he’s surprised over size of the storm, clearly hasn’t had cable news on in at least a week.

Friday, September 2

President watches “highlight reel” of news reports compiled by staffers who thought he needed to see what was happening. [Newsweek]

Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job. [White House, 9/2/05]

Source [TP]