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LAT on what happens when the president won't govern

Bush Is in No Hurry on Katrina Recovery

Almost two months after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast and a month after promising in a nationally televised speech to help rebuild the region "quickly," President Bush has settled on a cautious, piecemeal approach that even many members of his own party fear will stall reconstruction and sow economic disarray.
Bush has made highly publicized trips to Louisiana and Mississippi on average of once a week since the storm, but the administration has yet to introduce legislation for two of the three proposals the president highlighted during his September speech from New Orleans.
...Despite mounting evidence that Washington is having trouble putting to use most of the $62 billion in emergency funds approved by Congress so far, the president has resisted appointing a recovery coordinator or further detailing his vision of how to tackle rebuilding. In interviews last week, he explained that he wanted state and local officials to act first.
...Bush's cautiousness appears to be partly a response to some conservatives' clamor for federal budget cuts to offset aid to the Gulf Coast.
...In addition, the scale and complexity of reconstruction pose special challenges for an administration that firmly favors market mechanisms over government action, at least domestically.
With the immediate crisis past, administration officials may be hoping that state and local efforts - and the free market - will relieve them of the thorniest decisions, as well as a substantial chunk of the estimated $200-billion price tag for the region's revival.
However, a variety of prominent Republicans warn that the president's approach is a recipe for trouble.
"So far, all we've done is shovel money out the door to meet the humanitarian needs," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). "But henceforth, we've got to be very careful how we spend the money, and that means we're going to need a plan and somebody in charge."
..."With all due respect to the president, things are not going to bubble up from the bottom," said Jack Kemp, who was Housing and Urban Development secretary under President George H.W. Bush. "There has to be some federal leadership here."
Without clear signals from Washington, some reconstruction decisions are essentially being made on autopilot, raising the risk that the region and the nation will repeat past mistakes.
...Aides said officials were working behind the scenes to ensure that all of the proposals unveiled by the president in his New Orleans speech became law. (In addition to the worker accounts, Bush called for a Gulf Opportunity Zone, or GO Zone, that would provide tax breaks and loans to small businesses, as well as an Urban Homesteading Act that would give low-income families surplus government property and favorable mortgage rates in exchange for the promise to build homes.)
Meanwhile, administration budget officials are preparing another emergency spending bill - this time for about $20 billion, much of it for such clearly defined projects as rebuilding military bases and a NASA facility. The aides said that Bush had not ruled out proposing a reconstruction "czar" or coordinator, though such a post could not "compete with state and local decision-makers."
But if administration work on reconstruction is proceeding, it seems not to be occurring with anything like the urgency and decisiveness that Bush suggested it would when he stood before the cameras in a darkened and largely deserted New Orleans for his Sept. 15 address.
The president's shift from such bold rhetoric toward talk about the limits of federal involvement and the need for local and private-sector leadership is at least partly traceable to an unexpected revolt by congressional conservatives recently...
As the full dimensions of the rebuilding task become clear, Democrats and some GOP leaders are calling for a degree of government involvement that the president almost certainly finds objectionable. The White House appears to be searching for a way to put primary responsibility for coordinating the work on state and local officials...
By offering tax breaks and encouraging local leaders to come up with rebuilding proposals, the White House implicitly hopes Gulf Coast residents solve the riddle themselves.
But [Rep. Richard H. Baker (R-La.)] thinks that's unlikely. Last week, he proposed that Washington create a Louisiana Recovery Corp. aimed at making commitments to rebuild whole communities at once, so that residents have the assurances they need to invest there. The corporation would be able to borrow from the government and financial markets, buy up ruined areas and hire developers to rebuild them. Homeowners and local businesses could sell their storm-damaged properties to the firm or reserve spots in the rebuilt communities. If they refused to do either, the corporation could take the properties by eminent domain.
In a separate proposal, conservative Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and liberal Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) called for a Cabinet-level Gulf Coast Recovery and Disaster Preparedness Agency, which would be the conduit for all federal funds to the region. A companion agency with a board of mostly state and local officials would come up with the rebuilding plan...
White House officials have all but rejected the Gregg-Kennedy proposal and offered only a polite nod to the Baker plan.
The administration has "bought into the idea this should be a bottom-up thing," Gregg said. "The danger is confusion, inefficiency and huge bureaucratic frustration."
...Bush is playing to similar mixed reviews in Washington, where fellow Republicans as well as policy analysts usually sympathetic to the administration said they had been baffled by an apparent lack of follow-through after the New Orleans speech...

UPDATE: Gregg has won $850,000 in the Powerball lottery.

Is the Los Angeles Times a Mexican newspaper?

If the Los Angeles Times were based out of Mexico City, would the report "Immigrants Rush to New Orleans as Contractors Fight for Workers" be any different? Of course! It might be in Spanish. Other than that:

...Word has gotten out and each morning day laborers - who come from Central America and Mexico by way of California, Texas and Arizona - gather on street corners in the Kenner and Metairie neighborhoods on the western edge of the city.
With 140,000 homes destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is undergoing the nation's largest reconstruction effort and its new workforce is largely Latino. No one knows how many immigrants have descended here since Katrina ravaged the city five weeks ago, but their presence is visible throughout the city.
[reports on a couple who wired "half of their paycheck to their family back home"; "If we can make enough money, we would like to buy a house and bring our children to New Orleans."]

In other words, illegal aliens are not just rebuilding an American city. Many of them are probably being indirectly paid out of federal or state money. Then, a large portion of that money is being sent out of the country. If you're an American, that's an outrage. If you're the Los Angeles Times, that's just a news story.

[...contractor Perry Custer is importing workers from Houston and Atlanta; a "temporary employment service of sorts for laborers" has been created...]
...Contractors say one advantage in using [the temporary employment service] is that they don't have to deal with paperwork or check to see whether the workers are in the U.S. legally.
"There is a 'don't ask, don't tell,' mentality right now," Custer said. He added that there didn't seem to be any effort to crack down on illegal immigrants. "If they do who will rebuild New Orleans?"

Isn't the American thing to encourage and enable New Orleans residents to rebuild their own city? Or, at the least, other Americans rather than illegal aliens? What's the way being promoted by the Los Angeles Times?
Only in the twenty-fourth paragraph do we get some hint that this might not be such a good thing after all:

The influx of Latino workers is raising concern among city officials. Last week, Associated Press reported, New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin asked local businesspeople, "How do I ensure that New Orleans is not overrun by Mexican workers?"

Out of 34 paragraphs, that is the only contrary information in the whole article.

"They may be the new service class in New Orleans," said Lawrence Powell, a historian at Tulane University. "It only takes a few people to put down roots and begin the chain of migration. I'm wondering if we're seeing the first signs of a population swap."

Yes, indeed. And, un-American sources will be there, helping it happen. If you still subscribe to the Los Angeles Times, just stop.

"Shades of FEMA's Brown in Bush Pick"

The LAT says that some say the appointment of Ellen Sauerbrey to the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration is similar to Mike Brown's appointment to head FEMA. That Bureau handles international matters involving mass migrations, war relief, and the like.
This is also the second such appointment to be refered to as Mike Brown redux, the first being Julie Myers being appointed to head BICE.

LAT on media accuracy

Who better to discuss media accuracy than the Los Angeles Times?
"Katrina Takes a Toll on Truth, News Accuracy" discusses the recent spate of articles downplaying violence in NO after the hurricane, discusses yesterday's NOLA piece, and has some examples of reporting it now says has been discredited.
First, here's the Oprah bits:

Mayor C. Ray Nagin told a national television audience on "Oprah" three weeks ago of people "in that frickin' Superdome for five days watching dead bodies, watching hooligans killing people, raping people."
...Compass told of "the little babies getting raped" at the Superdome. And Nagin made his claim about hooligans raping and killing.

Then, the LAT is forced to confront something that no doubt offended their delicate sensibilities:

Times-Picayune Editor Jim Amoss cited telephone breakdowns as a primary cause of reporting errors, but said the fact that most evacuees were poor African Americans also played a part.
"If the dome and Convention Center had harbored large numbers of middle class white people," Amoss said, "it would not have been a fertile ground for this kind of rumor-mongering."

And, here are some other examples they provide:

Fox News, a day before the major evacuation of the Superdome began, issued an "alert" as talk show host Alan Colmes reiterated reports of "robberies, rapes, carjackings, riots and murder. Violent gangs are roaming the streets at night, hidden by the cover of darkness."
The Los Angeles Times adopted a breathless tone the next day in its lead news story, reporting that National Guard troops "took positions on rooftops, scanning for snipers and armed mobs as seething crowds of refugees milled below, desperate to flee. Gunfire crackled in the distance."
The New York Times repeated some of the reports of violence and unrest, but the newspaper usually was more careful to note that the information could not be verified.
The tabloid Ottawa Sun reported unverified accounts of "a man seeking help gunned down by a National Guard soldier" and "a young man run down and then shot by a New Orleans police officer."
London's Evening Standard invoked the future-world fantasy film "Mad Max" to describe the scene and threw in a "Lord of the Flies" allusion for good measure.

Gregory Rodriguez supports illegal aliens rebuilding New Orleans

Gregory Rodriguez - a contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times - offers "La Nueva Orleans". He discusses how illegal aliens from Mexico will help rebuild New Orleans and then will settle there, displacing the original population of blacks and whites. Obviously, if we were talking about whites displacing blacks and Hispanics that would be considered racist, but - in the "liberal" worldview - it's not racist to encourage Hispanics to displace black and white Americans.
He covers the points previously discussed here in "Word is out, illegals coming for rebuilding jobs", "Give Illegal Aliens' Jobs to Unemployed Katrina Victims", and "Will illegal aliens take rebuilding jobs?"
Obviously, no American should support this, but clearly some people - including president Bush and Sen Harry Reid - do support it. Rather, we should do whatever is necessary to encourage and allow American workers to rebuild an American city. Unfortunately, some people are conflicted due to racial reasons or because they're corrupt.
He ends with this:
Last week, the White House said it will push its plan to allow illegal immigrants already in the U.S. to become legal guest workers. Good. Hurricane Katrina exposed the nation's black-white divide. Post-Katrina reconstruction will soon spotlight the hypocrisy of refusing to grant legal status to those who will rebuild the Gulf Coast and New Orleans.

Robert Hilburn doesn't correct the "looting/finding" urban legend

Hilburn is the L.A. Times' pop music critic, and he discusses Kanye West's outburst in "The Show Didn't Benefit by Censors":

...NBC may have been nervous about West's comments, including the notion that America and its president are unresponsive to the needs of the poor. But you can be sure those remarks would have been cheered more than anything else in the program by the black parents and children still trapped in the New Orleans Convention Center and the Superdome if they had been able to hear them...
Because he is widely seen by critics and industry tastemakers as an influential spokesman for the American black experience, you could feel the strain of his attempt to fulfill that role - to step beyond the generic comments of other celebrities Friday to reflect on the horror being experienced by the flood victims...
[West:] "I hate the way they portray us in the media... If you see a black family, it says they're looting. See a white family, it says they're looking for food."
...[West] seemed to be talking extemporaneously, so he might have chosen his words differently if he'd had time to write them down.
But maybe not...

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