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Michael Martinez, the Chicago Tribune, and illegal aliens taking rebuilding jobs

Michael Martinez of the Chicago Tribune reports on the scandal in New Orleans where illegal aliens are taking jobs from American hurricane victims.
The article is called "Big Easy uneasy about migrant wave" and, as you might expect, the only scandal they report on is that illegal aliens might be having trouble taking those jobs.
The article doesn't attempt to hide that these workers came here illegally and from Mexico.
And, we're told that this is "straining ethnic tolerance". Perhaps the Hispanic reporter is a bit confused. If there's "intolerance", perhaps it's because those illegal aliens are taking jobs that should be done by Americans. And, they're undercutting those wages that Americans could and should be earning:

[An illegal alien] expressed astonishment when told of Mayor Nagin's remarks ["How do I make sure New Orleans is not overrun with Mexican workers?"].
"It's bad for him to say that because we're here to work and help put the city back together," Salas said as he took a break from asking contractors for work. "There's a lot of work here, but the Americans and the blacks are asking for a lot of money to work."

So, faced with a statement that illegal aliens are undercutting American workers, what does the reporter do? Absolutely nothing.
Please send them your comments through this form.

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.

MSM, Columbia J-School dean on NOLA's debunking story

George Clooney has a new film coming out, and this blogger attended a screening at which the heart and soul of the MSM were on hand, including Nicholas Lemann, the Dean of the Columbia Journalism School who also sits on the Pulitzer Prize board. Unfortunately, the post jogs all over the place and doesn't report what exactly was asked and what was replied, but:

...I have to go with Lemann trotting out an article in the Times-Picayune to "rebut" my criticism that the media did not correct their many erroneous reports in a significant way...
...When I do precisely that he attempts to refute my response (again refusing to turn my question over to the panel) by citing an article in "his hometown paper", the Times-Picayune. Lemann is referencing Rumors of deaths greatly exaggerated written by Brian Thevenot and and Gordon Russell and published on September 26, 2005.
...Lemann could not have possibly picked a story that better illustrates my point not only about the Katrina coverage but the failure of the media to correct the record and it's habit of honoring fiction as fact...
I happen to be familiar with this article because Thevenot recently made vague legal threats against an MBA member which ultimately came to my attention under the auspices of the MBA Legal Defense Project. In his blog Classical Values, MBA Member Eric Scheie wrote a comprehensive, devastating post on the many problems with the very "mea culpa" piece (a post which prompted an angry response from Thevenot and hence my involvement) cited by Lemann.

That post says the IP address of the sole Thevenot response came through a San Diego hotel, leading to the possibility that it's a fake. However, it also includes an (apparently) later note saying that the email address in the email had been redacted, so perhaps that's what the "vague legal threats" were about.

Lemman would have good reason to be familiar with this article and the author, Brian Thevenot, because another article by Thevenot, published during the immediate aftermath of hurricane Katrina, Apocalypse in New Orleans, is currently being touted as a candidate for the Pulitzer Prize on whose board, you will recall, Lemann sits. It is, in part, that article which Thevenot is "correcting" in Rumors of deaths greatly exaggerated. But "Apocalypse" did not just run in New Orleans. No. Thevenot's account was picked up and run by newspapers and television stations around the world and became one of the seminal accounts of the "animalistic" chaos in New Orleans in the days after the storm.
In fact, Rem Rieder, Editor and Senior Vice President of the American Journalism Review, recently cited "Apocalypse" as a prime example of the media's "impressive coverage of hurricane Katrina" and singled out Brian Thevenot as "Exhibit A" in reminding "us" of the "remarkable commitment journalists bring to their jobs"
But there is a bigger problem with Thevenot's "Convention Center" story than it being untrue and one that raises serious question as to why editors at the T-P would assign Thevenot to write the paper's "mea culpa" piece on Katrina. The AJR version of Apocalypse in New Orleans describes the article as a "firsthand account of how a small band of Times-Picayune journalists covered devastation and misery in their shattered home."

UPDATE: I didn't watch the videos at the first link since there's only one of me, but the first comment says there's extensive subtitling.

CBS News report on Bahamonde's testimony

This is an alleged transcript of the report CBS Nightly News did on Bahamonde's October 20 testimony. In case you care, the claim at the link is that NBC and ABC did not cover this:

BOB SCHIEFFER (CBS News anchor): Congress heard more shocking testimony today about FEMA's slow response to Hurricane Katrina. Only this time, FEMA was under fire from one of its own, someone who was in the thick of the disaster and says that he tried to get his superiors to do something about it, but, at one point, they were literally out to dinner. Here's [CBS News correspondent] Bob Orr.
ORR: Twelve hours before Katrina began battering New Orleans, the lone FEMA official inside the city e-mailed headquarters with a dire warning: "This is going to get ugly real fast." But Marty Bahamonde told Senate investigators today that message, like many others he sent during the crisis, was largely ignored.
[begin video clip of Bahamonde's October 20 testimony to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs]
BAHAMONDE: And in my opinion, there was a systematic failure at all levels of government to fully comprehend the magnitude and the severity of the situation that was presenting itself on an hour-by-hour basis.
[end video clip]
ORR: When the first levee failed, Bahamonde frantically called FEMA boss Mike Brown, worried that floodwaters could keep FEMA trucks from reaching the city.
[begin video clip of Bahamonde's October 20 testimony]
BAHAMONDE: The only thing he said to me was, "Thank you, I'm now going to call the White House."
[end video clip]
ORR: Bahamonde, who spent two days himself in the squalid conditions of the Superdome, denied ever telling Brown the shelter of last resort was prepared for thousands of evacuees.
[begin video clip of Brown's September 27 testimony to the House Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina]
BROWN: Marty later was able to communicate to me the information that, you know, they had plenty of food.
[end video clip]
[begin video clip of Bahamonde's October 20 testimony]
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): Did you communicate to Michael Brown that there was plenty of food in the Superdome?
BAHAMONDE: I couldn't have been any more clear to him that food and water was a desperate situation at the Superdome.
[end video clip]
ORR: By Day Three, with people still being plucked from rooftops and health conditions deteriorating, Bahamonde e-mailed Brown with an even more urgent plea for help: "The situation is past critical. Estimates are many will die within hours. We are out of food and running out of water at the Dome." There was no response, but three hours later, Bahamonde got a copy of this note from Brown's press secretary: "It is very important that time is allowed for Mr. Brown to eat dinner. Restaurants are getting busy." Brown has yet to tell his story to the Senate, but when he does he'll face some tough new questions about the discrepancies and his role in the botched response to Katrina. Bob Orr, CBS News, Capitol Hill.

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.

Aaron Broussard, the pump operators, the real problem, and his reputation

As previously discussed, Aaron Broussard sent the Jefferson Parish pump operators out of harm's way because their stations weren't built to withstand such storms. However, as also discussed, he seems to have sent them a bit too far, as the Times-Pic says in "The pump debacle":

...Mr. Broussard's concern for public employees' welfare is understandable. Existing pump stations currently aren't safe places for workers to ride out strong hurricanes. And the parish president maintains that forcing pump workers, who receive relatively low pay, to stay on the job would be a "death sentence."
But in the future, the obvious remedy is to find more adequate shelters in -- or at least near -- the parish and to offer greater pay to workers who accept the risk of staying on duty during hurricanes.
Sending pumping station workers to a site 100 miles away surely hampered Jefferson's ability to respond to conditions created by Hurricane Katrina. Local governments in low-lying areas need to acknowledge that, to most residents, the property damage caused by flooding is no minor matter -- and that pumping water out can be a life-and-death matter for those who do not evacuate.

This editorial - as well as the general topic of AB himself - gets discussed in "The Times-Picayune Undresses a Blowhard":

In the days following Hurricane Katrina, Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard leapt into the white-hot media arena and became one of the most eloquent, savage, and ubiquitous critics of the Bush administration's lackluster, stutter-step response. As we noted earlier, Broussard's gift of gab had quote-hungry reporters lining up for tart samples.
But weeks later, at least one paper has remembered that Broussard is not only a political critic but also a politician -- and one who played a not-insignificant role in the failed evacuation. Unfortunately for Broussard, that paper is the one his constituency reads -- the New Orleans Times-Picayune...

"Katrina and the Price of Panic"

Michael Fumento has an essay discussing the various stories he alleges the media got wrong. Could someone look through the archives here and providing supporting or contrary links to his various points?

"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...

Beeb tries for Brown, FEMA scoop and fails

The BBC will be showing a doc called "The Hurricane That Shook America", and they promote it in Fema 'knew of New Orleans danger'.
There appear to be two slightly newsworthy bits of info:

a key briefing officer within Fema sent a message directly to Mr Brown early on the day before Katrina hit, warning him of potentially disastrous flooding in New Orleans, which could trap more than 100,000 people.

I'm pretty sure Brown knew that was a possibility. The question is what details were provided and the major question is what happened after the floodwalls/levees failed. Was there specific information in the memo that Brown did not act on? Recall he wanted a mandatory evacuation. Perhaps the memo should have been sent to Blanco, and a few days before the storm.

Walter Maestri, head of emergency preparedness for Jefferson Parish, told the BBC that Fema officials promised emergency teams from the area that they would supply food, water, medical provisions, and assistance with transporting evacuees from the city - all within 48 hours of the emergency.
In the event, these emergency teams were left without the help they asked for.

Is that news?

Ivor van Heerden, an expert on hurricanes from Louisiana State University, told the BBC that local officials had taken the predictions of the Pam exercise rather more seriously than their federal counterparts.

Covered by Sixty Minutes a few weeks ago.
As for the headline of their story, obviously everyone knew the levees weren't built for a Category 5 storm.

"Liberal" hopes to extend welfare state dashed

From the NYT's "Liberal Hopes Ebb in Post-Storm Poverty Debate":

As Hurricane Katrina put the issue of poverty onto the national agenda, many liberal advocates wondered whether the floods offered a glimmer of opportunity. The issues they most cared about - health care, housing, jobs, race - were suddenly staples of the news, with President Bush pledged to "bold action."
But what looked like a chance to talk up new programs is fast becoming a scramble to save the old ones...
"We've had a stunning reversal in just a few weeks," said Robert Greenstein, director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal advocacy group in Washington. "We've gone from a situation in which we might have a long-overdue debate on deep poverty to the possibility, perhaps even the likelihood, that low-income people will be asked to bear the costs. I would find it unimaginable if it wasn't actually happening."

Dear liberals: I'm sorry your attempts to either pay people to vote for you or to just be ineffective bleeding hearts have been dashed. Here, have a shot of self-reliance and responsibility. C'mon, it'll do you some good.

"This is not the time to expand the programs that were failing anyway," said Stuart M. Butler, a vice president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research and advocacy group influential on Capitol Hill.
While the right has proposed alternatives including tax-free zones for businesses and school vouchers for students, Mr. Butler said, "the left has just talked up the old paradigm: 'let's expand what's failed before.' "


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