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(Cross-posted everywhere)

Dear Mr. President,

Like most Americans, I am watching the horror unfold in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Also like many Americans, I have felt a deep and strong pull to respond in any small way that I can.  For me, it has been through fundraising and through getting the word out as to how people, good American people, can respond and lend even a small hand in helping deal with such a great tragedy.

The tragedy itself, though, says a great deal not only about the generous spirit of Americans but about you on two critical levels.  The first would be on a leadership level, and the second would be on a human level.

(continued after the fold)

They say that the measure of a great leader is gauged not by how he handles the 90% of events that are anticipated and expected, but by how he responds to the 10% that is utterly unforeseeable.  Hurricane Katrina would fall into that rare, unforeseeable category and your actions before, during and now after this event are very telling of your leadership.

The devastation that continues to unfold and worsen in the hurricane's aftermath put me in mind of other disasters, man-made and otherwise.  Most specifically, the specter of 9/11 came before me very clearly.  The relief that poured in to New York City and Northern Virginia following that tragic day were unprecedented.  Events seemed to overwhelm reality and relief was poured into the areas affected.  People knew where they could go for help.  The infrastructure was in place to accommodate even the unforeseen.  Frankly, I consider it nothing short of a miracle that things worked the way they did on 9/11.  We were very lucky in that regard.

The relief coordination around Katrina has been abysmal.  People don't know where to go.  They don't know what to do.  They have no information.  No one can seem to agree on how to handle staunching the flow of water into New Orleans.  The military is scrambling to assemble its assets effectively to provide the most basic of medical and sustenance needs.  Don't mistake my tone - I have the greatest respect for the individuals who are risking their lives and safety to save the lives and secure the well being of survivors - but they are fighting an uphill battle because the coordination is simply criminal.  The lives that will be saved in the coming days will be saved through the sheer power of human compassion carried by the individuals on the scene.  The lives that could have been saved yet will be lost will be the price of terrible coordination.  I lay that responsibility squarely at your feet.

Let me extrapolate somewhat and tell you that Katrina could have been any domestic disaster.  The levees of New Orleans could have been compromised by a terrorist attack.  A coordinated terrorist attack could have gone off in the Gulf region yielding devastation on par with what Katrina wrought.  Refineries and chemical plants in the region could have been attacked through terrorist methods.  The list of possibilities is endless.

So I ask you - how is it that, in post-9/11 America, we are failing so completely to render aid and comfort?  How is it that today, this last day of August 2005, nearly four years after 9/11, we have no cohesive plan to deal with the region's refugees, the potentially one million American citizens without work or a home or basic care?  That speaks directly to your leadership, sir, and it doesn't speak well for it at all.  

The decisions that you have made in your capacity as President and leader of the United States of America have real human costs and implications.  The decision to go to war in Iraq has directly affected the response to this disaster in overt and subtle ways.  The deployment of Guardsmen in Iraq has left the affected states with fewer resources at a time when they need them the most.  The decision to go to war in Iraq and the lack of planning to deal with the aftermath of the war has directly affected the stability of oil prices, which in turn affects every American.  A disaster such as Katrina further strains a system that, through bad policy, is already too volatile to accommodate additional trauma.  The decision to institute tax cuts at a time when we, as a Nation, should be planning for the worst-case scenarios of unexpected events has left cities and states and regions without the resources they need to effectively plan for and respond to disasters of any variety.

A certain component of the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina was unavoidable.  But there is also a component that better leadership and some degree of forward-thinking would have prevented.  Those deaths and tragedies should be laid at the foot of your short-sightedness and bad leadership.  You should have to look at it.  Perhaps it will be a reminder and you will act to prevent such things in the future.

I told you that I thought that this disaster said something about you on two levels and the second one is on a personal level.  Your voice has been remarkably absent as the horror in the Gulf region has unfolded.  Press clippings have shown you going about your planned events.  You have given lip service to the devastation at certain points, but your actions speak louder than any words you can utter.  A human response to this would have been to curtail matters of personal policy (stumping for support for the war in Iraq; the ghastly comparison of World War II with the war in Iraq; your baffling decision to do a photo opportunity with the Presidential guitar) and show an appropriate amount of respect for the lives being lost even as you plucked the strings.

Average Americans like me - who work for a living every day in this country - who don't have the luxury of a month-long vacation - took what little free time and disposable income we have and sprung into action.  We raised money.  We spread the word.  We assembled information on what was needed and by whom and the best way to get it there.  We felt - we watched our televisions and we cried at the tragedy we saw before us.  Our response was so quintessentially human that your lack of it makes me wonder if we belong to the same human race.

So I'll leave you with this.  A word image.  You're in the dark, Mr. President.  You can feel something pressing against the crown of your head - it's the roof of your attic.  You're in water up to your neck.  The water is filthy - you're surrounded by it - it's stiflingly hot in the little airspace you occupy.  You're hungry and have nothing to eat.  You're thirsty, dangerously dehydrated but you can't drink the very thing which may claim your life.  Below you is everything you had.  All your possessions - underwater.  You don't know where your wife and children are and if they survived.  You pray, Mr. President.  Every time you hear what sounds like a boat or a helicopter you pray that someone will sense that you are under that roof needing help.  You're too weak and too constrained by the space you occupy to signal for help.  You have to wait, and as you wait, the water rises.  If you're lucky, someone will find you.  If you aren't, you'll die that slow, horrifying and frightening death.  Alone.

Feel like playing us a tune now?

Respectfully,
RenaRF

[editor's note, by RenaRF] Postscript: SusanHu rightfully points out that I should link to yesterday's Disaster Relief Diary, which raised about $8,500 for relief from this community alone.

Originally posted to RenaRF's Random Ramblings on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:41 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent Letter (4.00)
    Far more respectful and reasoned than I could be right now.

    My letter in my present state would start with "Look you evil stupid fuck..."

    Good job RenaRF - send it to the New York Times or something - get it into print.

  •  An excellent letter and well written. (4.00)
    I keep saying this prayer: Dear God, please make this man pay for his crimes against humanity.

    According to the 9/11 Commission there was no connection between 9/11 and Iraq.

    by txbirdman on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:47:39 AM PDT

  •  Great letter (none)
    Unfortunately, he'll never see it. The most he'll hear is "someone doesn't like the way you're handling things."

    Hatred is murder (1 John 3:15)
    You can take a break from politics, but life just keeps a-comin’.

    by dirtroad on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:57:20 AM PDT

    •  We see it (4.00)
      and understand it. Infinitely more important. Thanks Rena for sharing it. I would recommend sending out the last paragraph to every news outlet and public policymaker's office. You know how they love brevity.
    •  He'll never hear that. (4.00)
      He never hears how someone doesn't like how he's handling things.  Because, just like Sara Lee, Nobody Doesn't Like W.  He's got himself one of those mandate thingies, dontcha know?  

      Paging Doctor Dean.

      by ABBinMI on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:03:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ((sigh)) (3.86)
        Sadly, I agree with you on whether or not he hears it.  but I think other people hear it - and people tht could have been counted as supporters in days gone by.  That is really my hope.  He deserves to be shamed.

        The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution. 65W40S

        by RenaRF on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:06:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Who gave this comment a 0? (4.00)
          I still don't have TU back, as I am apparently not prolific enough, but IMHO rating this comment a 0 has to be a mistake.

          -AG

          You are so evolved it boggles my fragile little mind. Now give me a 4, fucker. (Bill In Portland Maine, to Meteor Blades)

          by AlphaGeek on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:39:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Do you lose TU status (none)
            if one person gives you a zero?

            I got zeroed a couple of weeks ago for no good reason (from someone who dishes out 0's and 1's by the hour) - just because the person disagreed with me.  

            It seems that those abusing the ratings system should lose TU status (not referring to the rater above, who may have simply made a mistake).  

            Sorry for straying into Off-topic territory, but I've been wondering about this.  

            •  Don't think so (none)
              But I think that 0 ratings are heavily weighted in the TU calculations, and a rash of them will usually result in loss of TU status.

              It seems that those abusing the ratings system should lose TU status (not referring to the rater above, who may have simply made a mistake).

              No, people who are clear-cut ratings abusers should be banned, and generally are.

              It's the borderline cases, where people use out-of-line ratings in place of discussion, that are a little harder to sort out.

              -AG

              You are so evolved it boggles my fragile little mind. Now give me a 4, fucker. (Bill In Portland Maine, to Meteor Blades)

              by AlphaGeek on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 10:32:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Probably was (none)
            a technical glitch, since the person who gave it also gave a bunch of 4s for other comments. I've had my browser do funky things like that occasionally.

            Since I'm new to TU status and don't really have a good feel for what it gets me, I'll ask -- is there anything I personally can do to change the rating?

            If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in His name, He'd never stop throwing up. -- Frederick, in "Hannah and her Sisters"

            by Hastur on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 01:02:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Peeps - on the '0' (none)
            The person who gave it someone I know and love and it was clearly a mistake.  Don't sweat it!!  But thanks for being outraged on my behalf.  ;-)

            The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution. 65W40S

            by RenaRF on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 01:34:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Heh (none)
              Ironically, I didn't get TU back until mid-day today, and couldn't see who it was until now.  Now that I see who it was, I can only say:

              Oooooh, is he in for a ration of trash-talking...

              Heh.

              -AG

              You are so evolved it boggles my fragile little mind. Now give me a 4, fucker. (Bill In Portland Maine, to Meteor Blades)

              by AlphaGeek on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:27:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly. (4.00)
          And he wouldn't answer you any more than he would Cindy Sheehan. His lies are too transparent, and the truth is unspeakable.
          Namely that we haven't prepared for 9/11 Mark II because it is highly unlikely. That it happened once was a combination of negligence/enabling by the govt and really lucky breaks by the bad guys.
              See, they need us to be scared shitless enough not to question, but actually DOING the planning for an internal refugee crisis is hard work.
              The kind that interferes with vacations.

              Now go buy some Duct tape.

      •  Too Many Words for W (none)
        The letter is great for the rest of us though. Please send this broadly.  I will forward this to every Dem I know.

        Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the begining of wisdom. ---Bertand Russell

        by leeroy on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:38:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  He has ... POLITICAL CAPITAL (none)
        And he always intended to spend it.  The ghoulish look on his face as he said so is seared into my brain.

        Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving: it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.--Thomas Paine

        by peterborocanuck on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 12:51:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  *whistles* (none)
    Rena,

    Excellent! Just. Excellent.

    "Bush clowns, New Orleans drowns."

    by Ari Mistral on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 08:57:50 AM PDT

  •  Rena, you might know this (4.00)
    Is anyone networking offers of shelter for the refugees?
    Oh, and great letter. A little long for a guy who needs all his concentration to figure out My Pet Goat, but great letter.

    The less a man knows about how sausages and laws are made, the easier it is to steal his vote and give him botulism.

    by SensibleShoes on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:05:58 AM PDT

  •  Rena,,,, (4.00)
    PLEASE send this to every newspaper in the country, every television statement, every political commentator.  Hell,,turn the thing into a petition, or a group letter, that we all can sign.  

    I feel quite sure that the vast majority of Independents and Democrats will agree with these sentiments.  

    I've noticed we are so beloved around the world because of this inhuman bastard that help from other countries is non-existant.  The silence of support or words of sympathy is deafening.

    "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine Pay attention Georgie - 1880+ dead Americans, 100,000+ dead Iraqis, all on your head. WWJS?

    by Miss Blue on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:06:04 AM PDT

    •  fool them once... they won't be fooled again (none)
      to borrow and paraphrase W's very own words, bout that sayin' they have in Texas.

      the world extended its sympathy to the US after 9/11.  then they saw that the US offered absolutely no reciprocity after, say, the tsunami and the London bombings.

      furthermore, as bad as this is, I don't think you can deny that the tsunami was far worse.  thus even more strongly calling for a response.

      unfortunately for the 49% of the US smart enough not to vote for the bastard, the rest of the world won't be fooled again.

      No matter how cynical you become ... you can never keep up.

      by LegalSpice on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:37:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I thought the Dept of Homeland Security (4.00)
    was set up to help out times of crisis. They  seem to be only interested in checking out what people are reading in libraries and labeling peace groups as terrorist groups.

    I feel secure!

    With a big ol' lie And a flag and a pie And a mom and a bible Most folks are just liable To buy any line Any place, any time ~ FZ

    by f furney on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:07:08 AM PDT

  •  It's a Shame... (4.00)
    That Bush doesn't read.

    And if he did, you've used too many big words. Heck, you've got way too many words there; Bush would never get through all of it.

    And even if you made it simpler and shorter, Chimpy's handlers would never let him see it. It would make him too angry.

    Good letter, though.

    This is CLASS WAR, and the other side is winning.

    by Mr X on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:07:41 AM PDT

  •  Moving (4.00)
    tragic, and beautiful.  What a great piece of writing.

    Too bad our president can't read so good (faulty grammar intentional) and that this likely won't make his daily aural briefing.  Bad news, it seems, never does.

    80W-71S
    The most un-American thing you can say is, "You can't say that." -G. Keillor

    by Eddie Haskell on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:08:48 AM PDT

  •  One nitpick (4.00)
    This disaster, generically a major hurricane strinking this particular part of the Gulf Coast, falls into the 90% category.  This even was froseeable, AND FORSEEN.

    That said, you bring up an excellent point that has (as far as I know) been hitherto unmentioned - that the NOLA vulnerabilities that Katrina exploited with such catstrophic consequences could just as easily have been exploited by terrorists.  This is one of the reasons why I've been writing to editors and congresscritters, for literally years now, that the protection of NOLA has always been a major Homeland Security issue.

    And the rest of your analysis is spot on.  Bush is revealing to the world that he not only has no brain, he has no soul.

    And it further astounds me that we haven't heard any human reaction from the likes of McCain, Hagel, Frist, Delay, Lott, Hastert, etc.  You'd think that at least SOME of these guys, especially Lott (who, as I understand it, lost his home in Pascagoula), would be starting to publicly complain about the slow, meager and uncoordinated response.

    Beware those who claim to be "The Chosen", for they have already led themselves astray and seek to lead you down the same path. There are no "Chosen."

    by sxwarren on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:10:44 AM PDT

    •  good point (4.00)
      on the 90%.  Army Corps of Engineers has been warning for years that the levee system would fail in the event of a catastrophic storm so that would qualify it as foreseeable, albeit without knowing when.

      Hm... Kinda maybe like 9/11 and an August 2001 PDB??

      The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution. 65W40S

      by RenaRF on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:13:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which is the point I want to hammer (4.00)
        the MSM with - that the CoE had not only warned about this possibility, they'd actually developed comprehensive plans to rectify the situation and were in the process of implementing some of them when Bush cut the funding.

        Bush knew, or should have known, that an event like Katrina was inevitable.  Bush knew, or should have known, that vulnerabilities existed that endangered thousands of lives adn a critical point of failure in the nation's economic infrastructure as well.  Bush knew, or should have known, that there were plans in place to reduce or eliminate major vulnerabilities and to mitigate the potential for the catastrophe that has, indeed, befallen us.  And yet he cut the funding.

        Because taxes on the wealthy who benefit the most from the labors of people like the citizens of NOLA and Gulfport went uncollected.  Because what was left over in money and human resources, what WE pay and pay for, went to cover the expenses of an illegitimate and totally unnecessary war instead of protecting our own.

        This goes way beyond any speculation about what might have been known or done in advance regarding an event like 9/11.  This has always been REAL!

        Bush could, and should, be impeached, prosecuted and sentenced to life in prison for this madness alone, if not for his numerous other crimes against the citizens of the United States.

        Beware those who claim to be "The Chosen", for they have already led themselves astray and seek to lead you down the same path. There are no "Chosen."

        by sxwarren on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:37:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Great Article with some specifics (none)
        Editor and Publisher has a great article on their website describing the reporting the Times-Picayune has done over the past few years on budget cuts for CoE projects for flood-control in New Orleans. These two paragraphs jumped out at me:
        At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.

        The 2004 hurricane season was the worst in decades. In spite of that, the federal government came back this spring with the steepest reduction in hurricane and flood-control funding for New Orleans in history.
    •  Good point... (none)
      As soon as that huricane went to Class 5 and was measured as one of the strongest storms in history (4th strongest ever measured according to The Weather Channel!) our Dear Leader should have been on a plane to Washington to coordinate the releaf efforts.  Instead, he plays guitar at a hand-picked audiance photo-op.

      "[A] 'Sharecropper's Society' [is] precisely where our trade policies, supported by Republicans and Democrats alike, are taking us." - Warren Buffet

      by RichM on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:19:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You're amazing, Rena (none)
    And PLEASE update THIS diary to add the link to your diary yesterday about where to donate ... you have the best list I've seen.

    Susan in Port Angeles (my cat)

    by SusanHu on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:12:11 AM PDT

  •  Really well written (none)
    letter.  It puts together all the concerns, comments, anger and disallusionment I have felt and have seen on this sight since this all began. Yes, send to LTE.
  •  Aw crap (none)
    I recommended, then accidentally unrecommended.  I wish there was a re-recommend button.
  •  LTE, LTE, LTE !!! (4.00)
    You have to get this out there, beyond the blogosphere, onto plain ol' paper for the armchair masses (or those momentarily with access only to newspapers because of Katrina)!

    Send it everywhere you can. It's absolutely powerful. And the ending paragraph is chilling.

    Brava!

    "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it." - Mark Twain

    by Donna in Rome on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:25:14 AM PDT

  •  Very powerful. Very upsetting. So horribly true! (none)
    Thank you for writing such an articulate letter to our misleader-in-chief.  The last paragraph made me cry, as I cried watching the news unfold and just get worse.  It really seems to be the difference between progressives and Bushies - we care - they don't.  I spent last night trying to imagine how 30,000 people could be trapped in the Superdome with no air conditioning, no toilets, no running water and be able to stay sane.  For those who are African-Americans, it must bring back images of slave ships crossing the Atlantic.  For our National Guard it must take all their resources and patience to keep the place from rioting outright.  I imagined porta-potties and generators having to be donated by compassionate companies because our government is bankrupt and our cupboards are bare.  I'm donating money to the Red Cross and praying for all Americans to rally around this tragedy and take a leadership position in the aftermath of this unprecidented disaster because our misleader-in-chief will never be able to handle.
  •  Thanks everyone (4.00)
    for your remarkably supportive comments.  This letter came out of me in a rush - I had to get it out.  and yes, when I'm home tonight I'll LTE.  I promise!!  Feel free as well to copy and send to whomever you choose.

    Glad it struck a chord.

    The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution. 65W40S

    by RenaRF on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:34:00 AM PDT

  •  Quite excellent with (minor) exception ... (4.00)
    This is a quite excellent letter in many ways ... and your ending is quite powerful.  Would hope -- as others suggest -- that this could be MSM publishable.  Personally, I do not see this as a "letter to the editor" but hopefully as an OPED-like piece somewhere.  Should try Washington Post Outlook section -- although that is an INCREDIBLE long shot.  Ideas for elsewhere ???

    While have some quibbles in the letter, there is one major item of disagreement.  Specifically:

    "... utterly unforeseeable.  Hurricane Katrina would fall into that rare, unforeseeable category ..."

    While the specific nature of the timing and pattern of damage for Katrina might have been 'unforeseeable', the genera
    l (and specific) threat of a major hurricane to New Orleans and the entire Gulf Coast has been known and discussed for literally decades.  So, this was foreseen and foreseeable.  Question -- prior to storm -- whether the Administration was taking reasonable actions and approaches to reduce the likelihood of this occurring.  And, the evidence suggests that, in fact, they were not.

    As per other diaries, one of the 'hits' against W (or, as we should refer to him:  WPE -- as in W stands for WORST PRESIDENT EVER) is that pressures from Iraq and other inept governing by the WPE aggravated the situation for responding to Katrina:

    •  LA and MS National Guard, plus reserve, forces in (or preparing to go to) Iraq, lowering local capacities to deal with mass problems.

    •  Funding cuts to levee and flood protection programs over the past several years -- some quite specifically related to the problems with NO levees it seems.

    •  Downgrading -- discussed in Washington Post several days ago -- the importance of disaster relief activitivies for FEMA with plans for these to go somewhere else in the Department of Homeland Security.

    And then, of course, we come to the question of W's leadership when Katrina hit and when the implications started to emerge.  Stunned reading a children's book as the WTC towers burned ... Smugly smiling with guitar in hand as New Orleans began to drown ...  

    Rena -- a truly excellent letter ... I am left wondering how anyone looks at the WPE and sees a leader ... it is beyond me to see it ...

    26 August 05, Day 1445 ... Osama still "wanted dead or alive"

    by besieged by bush on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:39:45 AM PDT

    •  Yep. (none)
      Another poster pointed that out upthread and I totally concur.  I think we're only seeing the beginning of the analysis of what could have been prevented where this disaster is concerned.

      Further, the Corps of Engineers is already being picked up in the MSM taling about how they warned and warned.  the MSM needs to make the connection for the average American that the reason why the CoE recommendations didn't get completed was because Bush pulled HS funding from new Orleans.

      Tragic.

      The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution. 65W40S

      by RenaRF on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:43:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Inevitable guitar comparison (4.00)
      ROME IS BURNING, President Asshat.  

      "Republicans are poor losers and worse winners." - My grandmother, sometime in the early 1960s

      by escapee on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 10:02:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Leadership in Question... (none)
    Rena, your words spoke tons, but as always they will fall upon deaf ears.  The right is not known for compassion.  They are not known to take the time to see the whole picture that you have described here..

    The lack of leadership has been reflected in most everything President Bush and those in his admin has touched in the time he has been in office.  He is not a man who seems to understand that he works for we the people; I feel he will go down in history as a man who did not look after the average american, but was more interested in lining the pockets of corporate America.

    As those in the gulf states wonder, where, why, how and when, they also know they cannot look to this President to provide the leadership to help them through it.  Where will they live?  What about a job?  Will they be able to rebuild?  Will they get the levees fixed?  Where is the leadership that needs to be in place so these people can have brighter tomorrows?    

    Your letter speaks volumes; too bad it will fall upon deaf ears tho...

  •  Great (none)
    Great letter, very well said!
  •  ReCall Election (none)
    I call for a ReCall election!

    "If you're not complaining, you're not paying attention."--My grandfather

    by JackAshe on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:52:31 AM PDT

  •  so how do we get everyone we want to read it (none)
    who remembers or has kept the list of reporters put up on Koss several months ago when CNN was the hot button? If that data base exists and it can be re-published I can do an email blast to all of those reporters.
  •  Two brief comments (none)
    from an editor who just can't seem to stop editing. My mother says she doesn't know how anyone lives with me. I'm constantly correcting the grammar of people on television, and I would never vote for someone whose yard sign said, "Elect So-and-So for Mayor." You elect someone mayor, not FOR mayor. You vote for someone FOR mayor. I hate that. But I digress.

    Change "sprung" to "sprang,"  and in your wonderful little fantasy (Oh, how I wish. Reminds me of the old guy drowning in a hurricane and you're a photographer with a chance to either save him or take the photo joke), change "water which would claim your life" to "water THAT would SAVE your life."

    You're dehydrated, but you can't drink the water that would save your life.

    Please don't take this the wrong way. I think your letter is brilliant -- heartfelt and affecting. I agree you should send it to a newspaper.

    •  Actually (none)
      As a former editor, personally I think "water THAT would claim your life" is better than "water THAT would SAVE your life" because the first phrase points out the irony of the situation: Water is known as the "giver of life" because it is essential for all living things and is especially needed by those faced with death by dehydration. Instead, this water Rena writes about is undrinkable and will instead (hypothetically) drown the subject and thus most likely take his life.

      Signature goes here.

      by lalawguy on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 12:28:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know what you're trying to say (none)
        but it's a stretch.

        Why would you WANT to drink the water that would CLAIM your life? You want to drink the water that would SAVE your life, but you know you can't because ultimately, it would be very bad for you.

        The whole scenario is someone desperately wanting to do something and being unable to. Thus, save your life.

    •  :-D (none)
      Heh.  Thanks to you both.  I'm not a writer, so that's actually really helpful!!  If somewhat confusing.

      The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution. 65W40S

      by RenaRF on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 01:31:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jeb (none)
    If this had been as disastrous to Florida, you can bet your booties brother Bush would be on it, or even Texas, but it hit areas of which he seems to have no personal interest in.  His silence speaks volumes about the assinity of this man.  I would call him an ape but that would be insulting to simians everywhere.

    Excellent letter and we will feel the horror for months if not years.  We do not need terrorists, we have Bush.

  •  Superb letter (none)
    send it to papers everywhere, especially those papers in LA, MS, AL, FL and GA.

    Post it online everywhere you can.

    People need to read this.

    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 10:07:54 AM PDT

  •  I've tried to write to the president... (4.00)
    But I can never get past the opening. "You dirty, miserable rat bastard" just doesn't seem to have the appropriate tone.
  •  Nice letter (4.00)
    Nice letter, but I have a question: what made you decide to send a letter to a guy who can't read.  My suggestion: next time try a singing telegram.
  •  I'm sorry... (none)
    ...are you a major campaign donor?

    "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

    by The Termite on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 10:14:04 AM PDT

  •  George, for once in your life, (none)
    REALLY do the right thing (even though you are already very late in getting started).
  •  The Last Word (4.00)
    Daggone it, Rena, when you ended that paragraph with the one word sentence "Alone." I felt the shivers from my toes to my temples.  You have an outstanding gift for expressing something so deeply emotional and charged.

    And as a bonus you refused to be shrill at all, so no one can just write this off as the rantings of a madwoman.

    Truly outstanding!

  •  i live in indiana (none)
    and i had to get up in my attic the other day. i couldn't believe how hot it was and our temp is in the 80s...i was only up there for a few minutes but i was sweating so much, i can only imagine being in a new orleans attic with temps in the 90s. i don't think anyone could live very long in those conditions. i pray that the end comes fast for those folks that are trapped and that they don't suffer too much.
    and george w bush... we should never let him forget that his failure to fund these levee projects are the direct cause of the new orleans flooding. all these deaths in the new orleans flooding, rest solely at his feet.

    Keep Religion in Church

    by titotitotito on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 10:27:52 AM PDT

    •  OMG (none)
      I can't believe that I haven't even thought of that... Every attic gets extremely hot in the summer... and in New Orleans??  I don't even want to think about it   :(

      If Rove concealed the fact that he was a leaker from the President, why hasn't the President fired him?

      by wintersnowman on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 10:49:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fantastic (none)
    Some of the words might be a bit long for the President to understand though. You need to break it down to My Pet Goat standard.

    Then he wouldn't be able to put it down.  

  •  great letter. Thanks. n/t (none)

    "Don't expect politicians, even the good ones, to do your job for you. Politicians are like weather vanes. Our job is to make the wind blow." David R. Brower

    by lindaw on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 10:51:13 AM PDT

  •  Rena, this is outstanding. (none)
    I suggest you send a shortened version as an LTE to about 100 various newspapers across America.

    This says it all and maybe it'll wake up some of the zombies who still support this evil man.

    "Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by hopesprings on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 11:03:12 AM PDT

  •  This is a "My Pet Goat" moment (4.00)
    As I am sure we have all seen by now, the President sat there reading "My Pet Goat" to grade schoolers for 4 minutes after he was told of the Terrorist attack of 9/11. When he needed to be decisive and take action in the face of terrorism, he sat there and continued reading as if nothing has happened.

    I think that this is a window into his true character. When he does not know what to do, he does nothing.

    I think what we are currently witnessing is another "My Pet Goat" moment. The President clearly does not know how to handle the situation in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, so he continues on as if nothing has happened. He does not know how to handle devastation of this magnitude, so instead of taking change, being presidential and leading the nation, he does nothing. One could even say that his current inaction is even worse then on 9/11 because it has been days, and all he has done is pretend to be a country singer.

    In this moment in time, the people stranded on their rooftops cannot afford, the thousands stuffed into the Superdome cannot afford, and we as a nation cannot afford a president who cannot take action when faced with disaster.

  •  Congratulations (none)
    You just made the FAA's No-Fly list.

    Anyway, great letter!

  •  Bush, New Orleans & the Death Tax (4.00)
    Now should not be the time, as Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly has noted, for the politics of blame. In the wake of Katrina's devastation along the Gulf Coast, Americans should be united in providing relief, resources and support to all in need.

    But sadly, that massive relief effort will take place during a time of divisive and fundamental debate about the very meaning of national unity in the United States. As New Orleans struggles for survival, the President and his amen corner are waging a full scale assault on the Estate Tax, what they derisively (and effectively )term the "Death Tax." They will continue to pursue this massive transfer of the U.S. treasury to America's wealthiest, even as a mountain of evidence shows that successive Bush budget cuts devastated New Orleans' disaster preparedness and levee maintenance...

    For the full story, see:

    "New Orleans Pays the Death Tax."

    •  I agonized (none)
      before writing, sending and then posting this.  I'm not usually part of the vitriol crowd.  I don't typically refer to the President with bad names or anything of that ilk becuase there's a certain amount of decorum I think it is essential to maintain to be taken seriously.  Being taken seriously makes my arguments more powerful.  

      But this IS a political issue.  We stood by too many times, especially after 9/11, afriad to say something "unpatriotic".  But this is deplorable.  People are RIGHT NOW dying as a result of the things I outlined in my letter and a host of other things I didn't.  I couldn't take it any more.

      Thanks for your post and for the link.

      The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution. 65W40S

      by RenaRF on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 01:28:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  In a word (none)
    Perfection!

    Thank-you Rena

    Dubya, yer momma may think yer cute, but I sure don't

    by cosmic debris on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 11:23:32 AM PDT

  •  Thanks, Rena (none)
    Whether or not your compassion ever gets through to that worthless sack of shit (yeah, you know who I'm talking about), thank you for pulling my head off and shouting down my neckhole. I needed your letter as much as anybody.

    "...psychopaths have little difficulty infiltrating the domains of...politics, law enforcement, (and) government." Dr. Robert Hare

    by RubDMC on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 11:24:11 AM PDT

  •  Great Letter, but- (none)
    .
    .
    I would remove the word "Dear" before Mr. President.
    .
    .

    Hold on New Orleans. I'll be right back.

    by ssolice on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 11:24:21 AM PDT

    •  Well, (none)
      I tried to maintain a modicum of civility.  I definitely thought it would be more powerful that way.

      But I certainly take your point because there's nothing "dear" about him.

      The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution. 65W40S

      by RenaRF on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 01:24:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fiddling (3.83)
    I'll get a better scan tonight at home, but:








  •  Not only LTE's (4.00)
    But I'm wondering if I could get your permission to send it to my Reps and Senators?

    If we all did that, surely at least one of them would read it on their respective floor? Thanks for putting my feelings into words.

  •  Thank you, Rena. (4.00)
    This says all the things I've been trying to get organized enough to say.  Much more powerfully.  The ending is pure Hitchcockian.   I hope it hits the people who need to be doing things for the relief effort as hard as it hit me.

    Beautiful work!

    I'm mailing it to Senators, Representative, Governor, and others as they occur.  I would suggest that everyone send it to your own Congress people etc.  Rena might send a copy to Howard Dean.

    I'm also posting it at work.  and giving copies to a number of people to post at work.

    "War is regarded as nothing but the continuation of state policy with other means." - Karl von Clausewitz

    by maybeeso in michigan on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 11:44:11 AM PDT

  •  Where is the outrage in the media??? (none)
    I would have expected editorials and columns today about Bush's heartless absence. So he'll be there on Friday. Big deal. He's a day late and a dollar short. Combine that with the way he's misdirected the National Guard and cut funding for the New Orleans levy, and he should be the topic of all sorts of heated commentary today. Where is it?!? Or is the outrage still just bubbling up ... am I being too impatient?

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mohandas Gandhi

    by trueblue illinois on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 11:48:00 AM PDT

  •  Today in George's World (4.00)
    Wolf Blitzer: The sheer magnitude of the events of yesterday and today are just beginning to sink in at the White House.  For more we go to CNN's White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux.  Suzanne . . .

    Suzanne Malveaux: Wolf, the White House reacted swiftly to the news that the president has decided to cut short his vacation by two days.  This unprecedented move by the White House comes after the president has spent the better part of August at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.  Wolf.

    WB: It's hard to believe that the president would cut short his vacation, any speculation as to why?

    SM: It's not clear.  There have been rumors that the president ran out of golf balls, but we can not confirm that.  Of course, the temperature in Crawford was expected reach 105 today, so is this may have been a preemptive move to prevent the president from sweating.  Wolf, back to you.

    WB: Thank you, Suzanne.  Reaction from around the world has been coming in.  The Pope today called on Catholics to pray for the president, and James Dobson, leader of Focus on the Family, accused gays of sabotaging the president's vacation plans.

    (Video) Dobson: The vast gay conspiracy is once again revealing itself.  The president's premature return to Washington is clearly a message from God.

    WB: For more perspective I turn to Robert Novak.  Robert, how do you explain this?

    Robert Novak: George Bush has always said that being president is hard work.  And there has never been a harder working president than George Bush.  Liberals may complain that the president is on vacation too much, but I didn't see Cindy Sheehan eating cake with John McCain or playing guitar with Mark Wills, what the hell has she been doing this month?

    WB: Exactly.  By the way, any word on the Plame investigation?

    RN: Fuck you, Wolf.  I'm out of here.

    WB: Thank you, Robert.  In other news, the mayor of New Orleans has just said that he believes that hundreds, maybe thousands may have died in the wake of flooding of his town. And in Iraq, over 800 died in a stampede of pedestrians trying to cross the Al-A'imma bridge over the Tigris River.

    Now, let's get back to our lead story, the shocking news that the President has cut short his vacation by two days.  We'll talk to experts about whether the president risks over working.  We'll talk to two leading presidential historians, Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin when we return.

  •  I Wanna nother speech (none)
    I want another speech by the Presiden.  Possibly he could call out his old speech on how Global Warming has not been proven and all of the cost we'd have to endure if we signed up with Kyoto.

    Maybe he could give it at LSU.

  •  Instead of stepping up an announcing (4.00)
    American will now spear head a green economy and energy independence, Bush instead has allowed energy companies to abandon pollution regulations!!!!!  Disgusting!  I am not one to believe in such things, but maybe he is the devil.
  •  Absolutely marvelous. (none)
    And many very funny posts that articulate the reason why I've never written a letter to Bush.

    I agree, everyone in America should see this. Everyone.

  •  The point is driven that (4.00)
    this is NOT about left wingers politicizing. Your letter in a precise and business like manner lays out the facts and presents them at the feet of this arrogant, uncaring ass.
    Great job.

    REAL NEWS-"The news you and I need to keep our freedoms." Richard Reeves

    by Oke on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 12:22:27 PM PDT

  •  Did byou send the version with pictures... (none)
    to W, or will Unca Dick read the text to him while Condi gets him into his jammies?

    I'm the plowman in the valley with my face full of mud

    by labradog on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 12:29:04 PM PDT

  •  Applause!!!!! (none)
    And a standing ovation! Well said....very, very well said....And thank you for saying it...
  •  Rena (none)
    Did you post this on Myleftwing?  This letter desserves a lot of publicity.  I wish my writing skills were as good.
  •  Old Sicilian saying: (none)
    A fish rots from the head.

    Enough said.

    DFooK

    Strange and beautiful are the stars tonight, that dance around your head.

    by deepfish on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 01:30:34 PM PDT

  •  A question for everyone (4.00)
    kind enough to post in this diary.  Any suggestion as to how I get around the "exclusive" requirement of submitting to LTEs?  If it's an op-ed submission, is there a better way to go about it than simply sending it online?

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

    The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution. 65W40S

    by RenaRF on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 02:04:38 PM PDT

  •  The little smirking MF (none)
    is on live, after the tragedy of cutting short his vacation.
    •  I'm telling you (none)
      When he started with the whole schtick about "flying over the gulf region" and then thanking FUCKING TEXAS I just wanted to throw the laptop through the TV.

      And then I thought, if I THROW the laptop through the TV, THEN what will I do??  And just yelled instead.  ;-)

      The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution. 65W40S

      by RenaRF on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 02:15:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is --I'm simply at a loss (none)
     Ijust have to vent somehow.I haven't even read other posts--This is so tragic--for the first time I actually didn't curse Haley Barbour when I saw him on TV.I honestly don't know what else to say except that I live in Memphis and we are now something of a  refugee city (and we still have substantial power outages) with a huge influx of HUMANITY seeking ...life.Give to Red Cross.Give to whoever--Just care about how devastating this is.And ,I apologize if I offend anyone by making a political connection ,but I NEVER forgive George W Bush.
  •  Watching CNN (none)
    I am so sick of the talk:  "beginning to", "plans to", and "will be bringing in".  I can see with my lying eyes in real time the people on the rooves, the flooded streets, the waving white t shirts.  Besides the heliocopters where is the help?  Why don't we see it?  It's been almost 4 days for God's sake.  
  •  No mention of your letter at the news conference (none)
    but he did mention FEMA four times and how instrumental they would in the aftermath.  He cuts FEMA off at the knees with no funding, but now has to scramble to sew it's legs back on.  

    Blue in a red state

    by Cecile on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 02:59:52 PM PDT

  •  please change the title (none)
    shrubya ain't the POTUS - he's merely wanker-in-chief.

    ; )

  •  Major kudos to you, Rena (none)
    I was having similar thoughts earlier today, espcially about how unprepared we were. And how could we be? We've known for some time that NO was a disaster waiting for happen; the levees were a long-recognised weakness and outright liability. The last time a hurricane was headed that direction there was much wringing of hands. And yet nothing was done.

    We saw the storm coming- we had days of warning, there was plenty of time to pack and get out of the way, plenty of time to sandbag the levees, plenty of time to stockpile food and water, plenty of time to plan for a possible evacuation.

    Face it- we're putting all that money into Homeland Security, but getting absolutely no protection from it. We're as unprepared for disaster as we were on Sept 10th, 2001.

    "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce." -Karl Marx

    by Lainie on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 02:55:20 AM PDT

  •  What went wrong? (none)
    It looks like the actions taken yesterday may be the right ones. But many of them should have been taken sooner.  The likelihood is that lives were lost because Federal response was too slow in gearing up.  We know from media reports that responders on the scene were frustrated and trying to get those up the chain to get moving on the massive level needed.

    Why was the Federal response in the first couple of days after Katrina blew through so much less than the need? I don't think we really know yet.  It's going to take some hard looks into it after the fact to discover what went wrong, and how to make sure we don't stumble like this again.  It is of a grander scale than anything before, but that's no excuse for not doing all that could have been done sooner.

    A number of years ago FEMA had badly stumbled in responding to several disasters.  But it seemed to be corrected, and response to the last several disasters has generally seemed excellent.  Why was response so much poorer this time than in other disasters in the last few years, under the same President?  Response planning is designed to be able to be implemented quickly by the involved agencies.  It should not require personal involvement of the POTUS to get it fully into gear.

    I imagine Bush assumed that the government was set up to mobilize quickly after a disaster to do what was needed.  As things unfolded, he was criticized for not being highly visible early on.  But if he had been, he probably would have been criticized for interfering by taking the key managers out of responding to appear with him in a press opportunity.

    Disaster response is not an area where people of different parties and different ideologies usually have much disagreement.  Did all of his disastrous policies on many other things contribute much to the failure here?  I personally doubt it, but we won't know until a careful look is taken after the fact to see what happened.

    All the infantile comments we've seen on this thread will do absolutely nothing to improve anything.  We need to do what we can to see that both government and non-governmental response from this moment on is the best possible.  But let's gather the evidence and have the trial rather than go on a lynching party to hang someone.

    Bill Samuel, Silver Spring, MD USA
    My Web Journal

    •  Enough Bush apologetics (none)
      I imagine Bush assumed that the government was set up to mobilize quickly after a disaster to do what was needed.
      He's the president. He's supposed to KNOW how the government is set up, not make guesses.

      Leadership is partly real and partly appearence. On September 11, 2001, the leader of this country appeared to be Rudolph Giuliani. But because he's a Republican buddy of Bush, he never pointed that out, and instead contributed to making Dubyuh seem all leaderly when he was calling for revenge a couple of days later.

      Today we appear to have no leader.

    •  wsamuel (none)
      I appreciate the overall tone of your comment (except for maybe referring to comments in the thread as "infantile" but you have your opinion and have expressed it, I think, respectfully) and the thought that you put into it.  I want to be clear on a few things, however.

      First, my letter came more out of a deep conviction I have that there is a price to be paid for everything.  Decisions made have implications and the implications of those decisions, if realized, need to be analyzed.  The letter really rose out of that.

      I mentioned specifically that I think that there is a certain component of the disaster that no human could have controlled or ameliorated... But there IS a certain component that could have been addressed through planning, funding and forward thinking.  The specter of a disaster scenario in New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf region of the US is NOT unexpected.  The Army Corps of Engineers themselves has been urging for years that the issue of the levees needs to be addressed.  The issue of funding is also addressed by Army CoE and it is no secret that that funding was not provided under this Administration.

      But let's back up to a more human level - it is a small thing to ask (and we shouldn't have to ask, frankly) that the President of the United States stand and express solidarity with those who are suffering as well as express sympathy for the lives lost.  He was FAR too late in his public response and frankly, I found the response itself lacking in essential huamnity.  His performance and the performance of the Federal Government in this has been disgusting.  This was a known scenario and they should have been better prepared to deal with it.

      No excuses.

      The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution. 65W40S

      by RenaRF on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 07:09:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm begininning to believe (none)
    that New York was extremely lucky to have Rudy Giuliani as mayor, because he did the jhob the President should have done.

    Proof is now in the pudding that coats New Orleans.

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