took in a Broadway show last night, goes shoe shopping today.
From today’s White House briefing:
REPORTER: There’s a lot of discussion going on about the funding of projects prior to this, whether projects in New Orleans in particular were underfunded because of the Iraq war or for other reasons. Do you find any of this criticism legitimate? Do you think there is any second guessing to be done now about priorities given that [a disaster in] New Orleans was sort of obvious to a lot of the experts?
MCCLELLAN: As I have indicated, this is not a time for politics. This is a time for the nation to come together for those in the Gulf Coast region and that’s where our focus is. This is not a time for finger-pointing or politics. And I think the last thing that the people who have been displaced or the people who have been affected need is people seeking partisan gain in Washington. So if that’s what you’re talking about, that’s one thing. Now, if you’re talking about specific areas, I would be glad to talk about some of those, if that’s what you want.
REPORTER: I’m talking about policy
REPORTER: One project, for instance, is the one where people felt they needed $60 million in the current ’06 fiscal year, and they were given $10 million. Those types of projects. And a lot —
MCCLELLAN: Which project is this?
REPORTER: Southeast Louisiana Flood Control.
MCCLELLAN: Flood control has been a priority of this administration from day one.
boat rescue operations in New Orleans.
“George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday…”
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, The Today Show, 9/1/05:
What we can do and what we have done is get ourselves to the utmost level of preparedness.
One of the things that came out of 9/11 in 2001 was an increased focus on getting ourselves ready to deal with all kinds of catastrophes. And while nobody can ever be completely prepared for an event of this horrible magnitude, I’d say we’re much better prepared than we’ve ever been.
Knight Ridder, 9/1/05:
Being prepared for a disaster is basic emergency management, disaster experts say.
For example, in the 1990s, in planning for a New Orleans nightmare scenario, the federal government figured it would pre-deploy nearby ships with pumps to remove water from the below-sea-level city and have hospital ships nearby, said James Lee Witt, who was FEMA director under President Clinton.
Federal officials said a hospital ship would leave from Baltimore on Friday.
“These things need to be planned and prepared for; it just doesn’t look like it was,” said Witt, a former Arkansas disaster chief who won bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill during his tenure.
FEMA said some of its response teams were prepared.
Almost everyone appears to understand the need for sacrifice these days but President Bush.
The Washington Post notes that even the president of the American Petroleum Institute, Red Cavaney, is imploring Americans to use less of his product. “The impact of this devastating storm on oil and natural gas operations will be significant and protracted,” Caveney said. “Let us understand: This is not an easy thing.” His solution? “Right now would be a good time for everybody to sort of ramp up your energy conservation.”
The American Automobile Association has urged motorists to conserve fuel. Boston drivers are willing to heed the call. And even the president of an oil company acknowledges “conservation is going to be very important” and is urging people to change their consumption habits. Everyone understands the need for conservation during this trying time for our nation”¦ except the President of the United States.
Despite a Drudge rumor yesterday that Bush may call for some sacrifice in his speech and urge Americans to reduce their demand, he instead attempted to ease fears about fuel supply. “Our citizens must understand this storm has disrupted the capacity to make gasoline and distribute gasoline,” Bush said.
Bush needs to take some cues from the Governor of North Carolina, Mike Easley. “I am asking all North Carolinians to conserve gas,” Easley said. “I am immediately suspending all non-essential state government travel. I am asking state employees to carpool wherever possible. I am also asking all our citizens to be smart about their fuel consumption.”
UPDATE: On Good Morning America today, Bush said, “I would hope Americans conserve if given a choice.”