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AP clarifies Bush flooding/overtopping video

The Associated Press has issued the following voluntary confession:

WASHINGTON (AP) _ In a March 1 story, The Associated Press reported that federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees in New Orleans, citing confidential video footage of an Aug. 28 briefing among U.S. officials.
The Army Corps of Engineers considers a breach a hole developing in a levee rather than an overrun. The story should have made clear that Bush was warned about floodwaters overrunning the levees, rather than the levees breaking.
The day before the storm hit, Bush was told there were grave concerns that the levees could be overrun. It wasn't until the next morning, as the storm was hitting, that Michael Brown, then head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Bush had inquired about reports of breaches. Bush did not participate in that briefing.

What they refer to as "overrunning" is also refered to as "overtopping".
Previously: "Bush admin knew levees could fail" (hey, I was taking AP's word) and "Blanco said levees were safe (Aug 29 at noon)".

"More Than 3,200 Still Missing From Katrina"

The AP does a little followup, informing us that over 3000 people are still listed as missing. That's down from a Gulf Coast-wide high of 11,500 reported to the Find Family National Call Center. Some of those still listed as missing might have been found, but they haven't contacted those agencies to whom they were reported.
10/13/05: Update on Mississippi's missing
10/12/05 Thousands still missing?
And, for you conspiracy buffs:
The St. Gabriel impromptu morgue has a few issues. A mortician there was quoted in a newspaper as being surprised by the Katrina deaths, but he refused to give me more information or a body count of those murdered. And, look who's handling the body count


AP: Katrina was "Top Story of 2005"

Each year the Associated Press asks U.S. editors and news directors for their choices for the top stories. This year, about 85% out of 288 ballots selected the hurricane as the #1 story.


AP discovers scandal: illegal aliens getting ripped off

We Americans might consider it a scandal that there are illegal aliens taking rebuilding jobs from American hurricane victims. However, in the alternate universe favored by the Associated Press, it's only a scandal when those illegal aliens are ripped off by corrupt contractors. Few people want people not to be paid, and few people want serf laborers to live and work in unsafe conditions.
Even bright six-year-olds can see the solution: keep illegal aliens from coming to New Orleans. That way, all the problems are solved. If contractors try to rip off a citizen, they'll get sued. If contractors try to get a citizen to clean up rotting seafood without the proper equipment, they'll get sued.
Anyone who supports anything other than that is ideologically corrupt, and perhaps corrupt in a more financial sense as well.
Immigrants often unpaid for Katrina work

A pattern is emerging as the cleanup of Mississippi's Gulf Coast morphs into its multibillion-dollar reconstruction: Come payday, untold numbers of Hispanic immigrant laborers are being stiffed.
Sometimes, the boss simply vanishes. Other workers wait on promises that soon, someone in a complex hierarchy of contractors will provide the funds to pay them.
Nonpayment of wages is a violation of federal labor law, but these workers - thousands of them, channeled into teams that corral debris, swaddle punctured roofs in blue tarps and gut rain-ravaged homes - are especially vulnerable because many are here illegally.
After Katrina hit, Armando Ojeda paid $1,200 to be smuggled across the desert border from Mexico, a walk that took several nights. Talk of $10 an hour - more in a day than he made each week at a computer factory back home - led him to pay another $1,200 to be crammed in van with a dozen other immigrants and driven 1,600 miles, from a safe house in Arizona to Mississippi...

Once again, the AP just doesn't seem to understand these basic principles and ideas. Please send an email to and help them find their lost senses.

AP mentions illegal aliens doing rebuilding in negative sense

The AP reports on the Davis-Bacon reinstatement in "Bush administration to reinstate prevailing wages on Katrina contracts" by David Hammer. There, way, way, way down in the 14th paragraph, comes a slight bit of truth:

Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Mary Landrieu, D-La., said a Democratic Policy Committee hearing they held earlier this month had an impact by highlighting abuses of the wage law suspension. In some cases, contractors were hiring undocumented workers, they said.

They're actually illegal aliens, but we congratulate the AP on offering a slight bit of truth to their readers.

"Will New Orleans abandon its poor?"

What an unfortunate title and article; perhaps "Will New Orleans abandon those who were poor but who might not be poor or that poor with the Democratic machine replaced with a commonsense Republican movement?" should have been considered:

They worry that many poor, black residents of this hurricane-ravaged city simply cannot afford to come back. They worry, too, that the politicians, urban planners and developers responsible for the rebuilding of New Orleans will neglect to leave room for the poor in their master plan.
Worse, they fear that civic leaders will see the disaster as a glorious opportunity to try to engineer poverty out of the city altogether.
In short, they worry that Hurricane Katrina will prove to be the biggest, most brutal urban-renewal project black America has ever seen...

AP: Bush visits, eats high on hog, sleeps well

Do you think there could be the slightest bit of bias in the AP report "Bush dines, stays in French Quarter"?

President Bush got a taste of some of New Orleans' finest Monday, dining in the French Quarter and staying at a luxury hotel to showcase progress in the hurricane-battered city even as much of it remains in ruins.

He met with Nagin, and:

Upon arrival, Bush also met with political leaders and law enforcement officials from Plaquemines Parish, a major seafood producer and home for oil refinineries southeast of New Orleans that took a double hit from Katrina and then Hurricane Rita a month later.

I know what it means to have your hand out, but I'm not sure what this means:

"The American people have their arms out," Bush told the officials, according to White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy.
The two-day trip -- Bush's eighth to the storm zone and fifth to New Orleans since Katrina struck on August 29 -- marked the president's public return to the hurricane recovery.
It was nearly two weeks ago, during a September 27 visit to towns in Louisiana and Texas slammed by Rita, that he last held an event devoted to the storms.


The president's trip continues Tuesday, when Bush is pitching in at a site in Covington, Louisiana, just north of New Orleans, where the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity is building new homes for storm victims.
That stop allows the president to focus on an issue he said last week was a less-than-stellar piece of the federal government's continuing response to Katrina -- temporary housing for the hundreds of thousands of homeless.
Bush has said everyone being housed in shelters should be in apartments, trailers or, in some cases, hotels by mid-October as they look for permanent housing.

Before the visit, "New Orleans mayor seeks Bush's help" had a bit more:

"I'm going to talk to him about what it's going to take to keep this city going over the next three months and ask him to support us in the short term," Nagin told reporters after meeting with his 17-member "Bring Back New Orleans" commission at the city's Sheraton Hotel...
Bush will be joined at dinner by members of Nagin's commission. During a nearly four-hour meeting on Monday, the commission discussed efforts to help residents return to New Orleans and received updates on everything from garbage removal to electricity and the water supply.

Experts featured in AP scare article on big hurricanes

The AP article "Experts: Future of big hurricanes looms" starts out with this:

Have we seen America's future through the eyes of hurricanes Katrina and Rita? Monster storms drowning cities and obliterating coastlines. Jobs vanishing and prices rising as ports and pipelines close. Millions fleeing, but many are trapped and die. Chaos reigns, paralyzing government and leaving the world's wealthiest society humbled and frightened.

It continues on, but after that beginning who's going to trust what else they have to say?


"Brown told FEMA computers were inadequate"; AP bias

This report from the AP's Lara Jakes Jordan (click her name for more on that AP reporter) has some news, but let's see if we can spot some opinion:

WASHINGTON - Former FEMA director Michael Brown was warned weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit that his agency's backlogged computer systems could delay supplies and put personnel at risk during an emergency, according to an audit released Wednesday.
An internal review of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's information-sharing system shows it was overwhelmed during the 2004 hurricane season. The audit was released a day after Brown vehemently defended FEMA for the government's dismal response to Katrina, instead blaming state and local officials for poor planning and chaos during the Aug. 29 storm and subsequent flooding.

Blort! My opinion meter pegged with that last bit.

In an Aug. 3 response, Brown and one of his deputies rejected the audit, calling it unacceptable, erroneous and negative.
"The overall tone of the report is negative," wrote FEMA chief information officer Barry C. West in an Aug. 3 letter that Brown initialed.
"We believe this characterization is inaccurate and does not acknowledge the highly performing, well managed and staffed (informational technology) systems supporting FEMA incident response and recovery."

As a computer pro, I need a bit more information to judge what's going on. However, the report mentions "backlogged" systems. That would appear to be a human or human-resources problem, and not one specific to the actual computer systems.

"Katrina Turns the Poor Into the Destitute"

The AP discovers poverty:

Before Hurricane Katrina, they were among the poorest of America's poor. In the hardest hit counties, some 305,000 people not only lived in poverty, their families' income fell below 50 percent of the poverty line about $7,500 for a family of three. Now, many live in strange towns with only a few dollars in their pockets.
They've become a new class of poor, one that makes the old class look well off by comparison. They have not only lost their jobs and their homes; they're also isolated from family and friends, putting them at great risk for depression and substance abuse...
"Bunching poor people together in the same neighborhood has enormous implications for education, business investment and the health of families," [Bruce Katz, a scholar at the Brookings Institution] said. "The issue in New Orleans is not only about rebuilding a great American city, but it's also about undoing 50 years of mistakes of federal housing policy."


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