“Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city. From ‘Girls Gone Wild’ to ‘Southern Decadence’, New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. May it never be the same.”
The media is in a frenzy over the looters in Louisiana and Mississippi, many of whom were merely searching out basic supplies after being stranded for 36+ hours. The commercial insurance industry, which has tens of billions of dollars at stake in the Katrina recovery, isn’t receiving the same attention. It should.
Standard hurricane insurance coverage protects against damage from wind and rain — but not against flood damage. (Less than half of Louisianans have separate flood insurance.) And yet, today’s New York Times reports…
…Proving wind damage versus flood damage can be tricky, said Donald F. Thorpe, a senior insurance analyst at the credit rating agency Fitch Ratings. He offered a hypothetical case: A hurricane blows off the roof of a home and then 15 inches of rain falls in the living room.
That loss typically should be covered by hurricane protection, he said. But some insurers may refuse to attribute that flooded living room to the absent roof.
And unlike the victims of Katrina, the major insurance companies know how to play the PR game:
“What the insurance companies have learned is that it’s good to pay out money at the beginning, particularly when the TV cameras are rolling,” J. Robert Hunter, insurance director for the Consumer Federation of America, said. “The haggling will probably come a few months from now when you’re trying to get an offer that you think is fair for what you think you’ve lost.”
With any luck, an insurance executive will be be caught pilfering some bread and soda from a convenience store and draw some serious media attention to this issue.
Remember, the White House is not politicizing Hurricane Katrina. During today’s White House press briefing, Scott McClellan described the President’s flyover of the affected areas:
MCCLELLAN: Okay, just to update you on the flyover. He was — you’ll have the still photos that will go out from the stills that were up there, you’ll have pictures of him. But he was sitting up in the — on the left side of the plane, the front part there, where the Secret Service detail usually sits, and looking out at all the hurricane damage along the Gulf coast region.
The President, when we were passing over that part of New Orleans, said, It’s devastating, it’s got to be doubly devastating on the ground. And he pointed out some of the neighborhoods that I just mentioned, and pointed out — there’s a shopping mall, I think it was, we were trying to figure out what it was, and we thought it was a shopping mall that was under a lot of water.
QUESTION: It’s devastating, it’s got to be doubly devastating on the ground.
MCCLELLAN: Yes. And then we came up on — after we passed New Orleans, and I think we passed Slidell, then it wasn’t too far after that when we were in Mississippi that we came upon communities that — where the houses were just totally destroyed. The President made a comment saying, it’s totally wiped out, when he looked down at this one community, where you can see the homes that were just in pieces.
It’s good to know that the White House is providing this critical information to the press.
to illustrate Bush’s compassion for hurricane victims.
It’s not breaking news that, in response to protests and plummeting polls, President Bush and company have launched a frenzied PR campaign to defend the war in Iraq. And it’s equally unsurprising that, to make the case, the president employs the soaring rhetoric of freedom and responsibility, or, as he did last week, praises the sacrifices of American families. But in comments yesterday at California’s North Island Naval Air Station, Bush rolled out a new rationale for why we should stay in Iraq:
If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks; they’d seize oil fields to fund their ambitions; they could recruit more terrorists by claiming an historic victory over the United States and our coalition.
In other words, Bush publicly acknowledged (for the first time, according to the Boston Globe) what many had already feared: he believes we need to stay the course, in part, maintain control of oil supplies in the country.
Points for honesty?
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said yesterday that he believes it would be “certainly be appropriate” for the Judiciary Committee to question John Roberts about his personal views on abortion rights.
Gonzales also appeared to take sides in a debate between Senate Judiciary Committee members Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and John Cornyn (R-TX) over whether senators should ask John Roberts if Roe v. Wade “was correctly decided.” Cornyn has called on Schumer to avoid such questions, since they “will undoubtedly force [Roberts] to prejudge a case that is currently pending on the court’s docket.” But Gonzales seems to think differently:
Putting himself in Roberts’ place, Gonzales said he would want to review the court filings, transcripts of arguments and law at the time. He said Roberts “may be in a position” to answer the question [about Roe v. Wade].
Senate conservatives are so intent on sheltering Roberts from tough questioning that even one of President Bush’s most trusted aides is a moderating voice.
First the National Archives “lost” John Roberts’s affirmative action file after it was reviewed by two administration lawyers. Now the National Archives says it “mislabeled” a bunch of other files related to Roberts. The AP reports:
The National Archives announced on Tuesday that the Top of Form Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., had discovered a “large volume” of unreviewed and unreleased Roberts documents that were filed under a code instead of under Roberts’ name. Additional employees from the Archives have been sent to the Reagan library to review the documents to determine what or how much can be released, officials said.
(For archivists, these guys sure have a hard time keeping track of papers.)
Someone needs to explain why these files were located now, less than a week before Roberts’s hearing begins.
Michelle Malkin said at the time of the Baghdad lootings shortly after the invasion, “Peter Jennings and the New York Times couldn’t get enough of the looting stories out of Iraq.”
Her comments were echoed by Donald Rumsfeld:
Stuff happens… Freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.
Now Malkin can’t get enough of the looting stories out of Hurricane Katrina:
Things are spiraling completely out of control–and contrary to some naive observers, the crimes are not just being committed by people desperate for basic food and sustenance.
in 2004. Up from 45.0 million in 2003. Up from 39.8 million in 2000.