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"Bush Leaves Louisiana After Spirit-Lifting Trip"

Fox has the Bush-friendly side of things.

Dressed for the occasion in hard hat, work gloves and a large wraparound tool belt, the president joined other volunteers hammering nails into a sheet of plywood. The first lady, a cloth nail pouch around her waist, accompanied him. Bush spent most of his time chatting, signing autographs and posing for pictures.

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.

Bush visits Gulf Coast Mon. 9/20

Bush visited the Gulf Coast yesterday and made it clear that he and other officials are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Rita:

"We're watching very closely, of course, its track," Bush said later at a Folgers coffee plant in Louisiana that recently restarted operations. "All up and down the coastline people are now preparing for what is anticipated to be yet another significant storm."
...Bush began the day in Gulfport, Miss., where he dropped in on the first meeting of Gov. Haley Barbour's Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal, applauding their "can-do spirit" and pledging to help clean up the devastated Gulf Coast. He flew along the coast over mile after mile of destroyed homes...
...White House press secretary Scott McClellan acknowledged that some of Mississippi's more rural areas still are waiting for federal help that has been focused in New Orleans and other larger population centers.
After Bush returned to Washington, the White House issued a statement saying Bush had signed into law legislation that allows the National Flood Insurance Program to borrow up to $3.5 billion a year from the Treasury, up from the current ceiling of $1.5 billion. He also signed into law a measure that excludes federal assistance for mitigating flood damage from being considered income when determining a person's eligibility for other federal benefit programs.

From the transcript of his remarks:

[...much deleted...]
...I spent some time -- quality time at the Chevron plant in Pascagoula...
[...much deleted...]
We've got people looking at the infrastructure. One of the questions I asked in Washington, D.C., as the principle party responsible for rebuilding the infrastructure, is, have you got your assessment teams out there?
[...much deleted...]

Couldn't he have done all this via teleconferencing?

CBS: Firefighters used as backdrop for Bush visit

On the CBS Evening News, a firefighter from Texas made the claim that when they were sent to Atlanta to be part of a FEMA team they spent their days as follows:
Day 1: filling out paperwork
Day 2: attending a sexual harrasment and diversity class (previously posted here)
Day 3: serving as a backdrop for a visit by Bush (that would be Monday, Sep. 5)
Video link or report when available...

Cheney botherer selling video of incident; harrased by MPs?

Remember the guy who told our beloved Vice President, Dick Cheney, to "go fuck yourself?"
He's apparently an ER doctor named Dr. Ben Marble, and he's claiming that after the incident he was detained by "military police" for about 20 minutes, then not charged and released. And, he's also selling on eBay a video tape of at least the Cheney meeting. His site is here.

New Democrat slogan includes f-word

AFP offers us "Vice President Cheney heckled on hurricane tour", informing us that the VP was talking to reporters in Gulfport, MS when a bystander came up and, in AFP's words, said:

"Go f---(expletive) yourself Mr. Cheney!"
"Go f---(expletive) yourself!"

My sources inform me that the "f---" above is indeed the word "fuck."
Needless to say, those at Daily "Screw 'em" Kos are ecstatic about this news:

Is this a sign? Are we starting to hear the people revolt? I am thinking about this spontaneous event and I'm thinking that this moment should be repeated many, many times!!! Shall we call this...
Oh, and here's The Vice President's email: vic...
This is it, guys!!! This is the rallying cry!!!
We are going to hear this on the news -- over and over again! It is a pivotal moment in this story!!!

Now, if only Howard Dean will adopt this as the new Democratic Party slogan we'll have Republican rule for the next century.
The Drossacks also provide this (unconfirmed) CNN transcript:

[Jack] Cafferty: "Didn't he say that to Patrick Leahy on the Senate floor?"
[Wolf] Blitzer: "Yes."
C: "So how could this have been the first time he heard it?"
B: "First time he heard it in this area."
C: "I'm sure it won't be the last."

German TV on Bush's Sep. 2 "photo op"

On Sep. 2 president Bush visited New Orleans, and two German TV stations are apparently claiming that his visit was a staged photo op: bulldozers and the like were brought in just for his visit, bodies were moved, etc. From this second-hand report:

ZDF News reported that the president's visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time.

There are links to the video from ZDF and ARD here.
This is closely related to Sen. Mary Landrieu's remarks. In fact, the same Political Animal post discussed at that link was updated with this German allegation, causing Kevin Drum to remark:

This goes beyond stage management. This is criminal.

The HuffPost also noted this charge.
Can someone provide translations and state the actual charges and what evidence is given? Reports in German are here: link1, link2, link3. The last is supposedly translated here.

Sen. Mary Landrieu on Bush's Sep. 2 "photo op"

On Sep. 3, LA Sen. Mary Landrieu accused Bush of creating a potemkin repair site. She appears to have been wrong. First, here's her claim:

...But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning [Saturday Sep. 3], less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment...

The same day, Kevin Drum introduced this quote with this:

George Bush's photo-op tour of New Orleans yesterday has apparently driven Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu over the edge. Today she blasted FEMA for its feeble response to Hurricane Katrina and Bush for his phony, stage managed promises of action...

However, "Local officials complain of disease, neglect" (posted on 09/04/2005 02:13:32 AM) says:

The Army Corps of Engineers said crews had closed a 300-foot gap in the 17th Street Canal levee, where the heaviest floodwaters had entered the city, and said they expected to close a second gap in another canal over the weekend.


Work to repair a 500-yard stretch of embankment along the 17th Street Canal was completed late on Sunday after an operation so urgent and intense that helicopter crews refused even to land for refuelling during shifts, instead hooking up to a giant flying tanker that circled overhead.

And, if that wasn't enough, from the ACOE themselves comes this PDF file:

On east side of the 17th Street Canal, the closure was 75 percent complete by midday Friday and a complete closure was expected by nightfall. Helicopters were dropping large sandbags made of strong, synthetic materials, and heavy equipment on the ground has been placing rock. Ground access was created by building a rock road more than 700-feet long from Hammond Highway, which is about 700 feet lake-ward of the breach.

Note that the first (since shown to be erroneous as to the victims) report of people being shot was posted on 09/04 6:10PM Eastern and contains:

The contractors were walking across a bridge on their way to launch barges into Lake Pontchartrain to fix the 17th Street Canal...

The rest of Drum's post will be discussed later, but the last four excerpts cast a great deal of doubt on Landrieu's interpretation of events, which, of course, were then echoed by WM and others.
The use of the term "levee" might be inaccurate. As I understand it, all of the levees held; the problems were in the "flood walls" for the canals.
Apparently Landrieu was less hostile during her interview with Anderson Cooper. That was the one during which he recounted his story about seeing rats eating a dead body.
District Fire Chief Gary Savelle "developed the city's hurricane fire and rescue plan" ("Haunted by Katrina").
WTAE's news director, Bob Longo, quotes Landrieu's press release without any analysis in "My View: Responsibility And The Relief Effort". Please post links to other discussions of her allegations in the comments.

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