The knives have not yet come out, but they will.
Some editorials praise Bush for his "leadership," a claim so bizarre it is incomprehensible. Bush played guiter while people drowned. His Secretary of State went to the theater, instead of looking for international aid, while babies died of dehydration. His Secretary of Homeland Security can't even task somebody to turn on the damned television, and hasn't got a clue (a) of the level of the disaster, or (b) of his complete incompetence.
A few pages have bought the red herring of looting, decrying the opportunism in the first few hours of a few foolish people. But right now people aren't interested in televisions, they are interested in life. Diverting rescuers away from the saving of life is a crime, particularly given the stark reality that anything not taken will be a total loss anyway. Does anybody really expect inventories and stores to simply reopen when the owners finally get to return, in a year?
A united response to Katrina is what counts today
This makes me want to frickin' scream. How are we supposed to follow Bush when he isn't leading? He was strumming a guitar while people were dying. The head of his emergency department barely knows there is an emergency. His Secretary of State, who should be rounding up international aid, is going to the theater and buying shoes. Bush's version of leading is making a crappy speech and talking about the price of gas in Topeka. There is no question we need a leader we can follow right now, but only the most utterly deluded could imagine we have one.
Much as we did nearly four years ago, now is the time for our country to follow the lead of President Bush and his administration.
There will be opportunities down the road to debate details of the recovery effort that must be mounted in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but is imperative to get that effort under way right now. ...
The effort it will require to restore a semblance of normalcy to that city is also unprecedented, yet Bush has assured the residents of the stricken areas that there is cause for hope down the road. ...
The good news is that if any nation has the power to recover from this calamity, it is the United States, a nation that is rich not only in resources, but in human compassion, as well.
Mother Nature took this round
The thoughts of not rebuilding New Orleans seem based upon a fantasy that cities are always built on the high ground. They are not. For millennia, since humans began to congregate in cities, they were built by the water, because that was the source of life and transportation. New Orleans was not flawed. The decision to cut the funding to keep New Orleans alive, all to pay for a voluntary war based upon false reasons while maintaining tax cuts for the wealthy was flawed. Thousands of deaths were entirely foreseeable. In fact, it is an easy argument to make that the death and misery was purchased on credit by the tax cuts. I wonder if that makes the champagne and pate any sweeter?
It is becoming more apparent as the days go by that New Orleans, La., is in more of a desperate state than first realized. With the very real possibility that the city will be completely uninhabitable for up to eight months following Hurricane Katrina, the realization that there are potentially millions of new homeless people searching for a place to now live makes us stop and think. ...
We are truly heartbroken at the loss of this great Southern city ... this historic and cultural icon of Americana. But, we are also realists. We must look at things from an economic and natural point of view. We must ask the question -- Will it make sense to rebuild New Orleans in the same location? ...
For a true answer, we must turn to our neighbors in Elba. They have been flooded out before, and rebuilt. They continue their battle with Mother Nature, and we're sure New Orleans will, too.
Misery in the Gulf
This says very little. Most editorial pages have something about Katrina, even if they have nothing to say. Perhaps it is just part of the need to join the outpouring of concern and grief. Or perhaps it is fear to state the obvious while the tragedy goes on- the obvious that this was perfectly foreseeable and preventable. The hurricane was not preventable, but the lack of response was, and so was the flooding.
Hurricanes are fickle beasts, or so goes the old cliche. Early Monday, it appeared that Hurricane Katrina had spared New Orleans a direct hit.
But very quickly large portions of the Crescent City were underwater, and the damage appears to be even more catastrophic across swaths of southern Mississippi and Alabama. Worse, the human toll could rise into the thousands.
Hundreds of miles of levees around New Orleans did their job, but a single flood wall failed Monday night, pouring millions of gallons into a city already battered by winds, rain and waves. ...
With rising costs for steel and fuel, the rebuilding effort after Katrina will cost billions. For now, the focus must be on rescuing flood victims and caring for several hundred thousand people either displaced or without power, food and water. "This is our tsunami," said A.J. Holloway, mayor of Biloxi, Miss. We wish them well.
U.S. faces a tragedy of epic, appalling scale
The tragedy will not stop when the flooding stops. Bodies in the street mean disease to follow. Until we can get everybody out, and get modern medicine back in, we are talking about the possibility of epidemics of deadly disease. This is more than an economic crisis, it has the potential to be a health crisis like we have not seen in this country for decades.
New Orleans - the beautiful, beloved, quirky, bawdy "Big Easy" - is now in chaos, at least the fraction of the city that is not underwater.
Thousands, according to the mayor, are probably dead. Hospitals are barely functioning. Looting is rampant, gunfire crackles sporadically and fires burn unattended. While rescue workers race against the clock to save lives, laborers and engineers work frantically, with little success, to stop the torrent of water that flows from the city's antiquated and broken levee system. As authorities carry out a mandatory, total evacuation of this city of a half-million people, it is obvious New Orleans will never be the same. ...
For now, the best way that we as individuals can help is through donations of money and supplies, and through support of the massive relief and rescue efforts already under way. It's time, as President Bush told the nation yesterday, to make plain that America stands behind those devastated by Katrina, and that we will do all we can to help them.
While we focus on these basics, the hunt for any lesson beyond the obvious - that, despite our hubris, nature is far from tamed - can wait.
U.S. must work hard for Iraq's constitution
This editorial posits that a compromise constitution is the only viable option for peace. However, if you looked at yesterday's Middle East Pulse, you would have seen that the Sunni argument in Iraq is not that they need more compromise. The argument is that, having failed to draft and approve a constitution by August 15, the constitutional legislation's time has run out, and the proper action is for new and more representative elections (they believe the first ones to have been rigged by the U.S.) and a start anew. This is not an argument of insurgency, but of legality, and it might be legitimate. Unfortunately, it is not one even being discussed in our media, so we have very little information upon which to evaluate its validity.
It is obvious Iraq's future depends on a civil structure that assures order and stability for its people. Efforts to forge a new constitution are the most important endeavor the nation can pursue.
The constitutional process faltered with the Sunnis' refusal to endorse the draft. For a new charter to work, it must win their support, as well as that of the Shiites and Kurds. ...
There is no other viable option to ensure peace. There also is no reason why the deadline set for the proposed constitution cannot be extended. ...
It is worth noting the problems of Iraq's new constitution are another Bush miscalculation. The March 2003 invasion - premised on the presence of chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction and that Iraqis would treat U.S.-led coalition forces as liberators - has proven more problematic than proponents and foes of the war could have imagined. ...
Pro-lifers must consider fiscal effects of outlawing abortion
This is worth following, by clicking on the link. The writer asks, what about the economic ramifications of outlawing abortion? Will dependent tax deductions start at conception? How about life insurance? Can you insure a fetus, and at what point? Who will pay for the unwanted children in foster care? She asks if those demanding a change in the law are willing to fund the ramifications. Given that they tend to be the same people demanding that the government be drowned in a bathtub, it seems like a legitimate question. Unfortunately, we all know the answer. If we did not know it before, we should now, as the same talking heads on Fox and talk radio blame the victims of Katrina for the tragedy they now endure. Life, it seems is only precious either in the womb or under white land-owning skin.
With the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, both sides of the abortion issue are anxious to see if her successor will aid in a repeal of Roe v. Wade. If this happens, our government must go all the way in recognizing fetal rights, including rights of life, citizenship, safety and economic consideration. Anything less is hypocritical.
If legally-recognized "life" begins at conception, there will be serious economic ramifications. Currently, dependent exemptions on taxes are only permitted for children that are alive outside the womb. But if life starts at conception, so too should 'dependent' status. ...
I hate the idea of abortion and the fact there are women who feel so desperate abortion is their only solution. My children are my pride and joy, and I can't imagine my life without them.
But it was my choice to become a mom, not a decision that was forced upon me. It also was my choice to accept the financial responsibility that goes along with raising them.
As a nation we have to realize there is a practical, economic side to the abortion issue that too often is ignored by opponents of reproductive choice, because the warm, fuzzy image of a newborn baby is much more likely to win converts to their cause. ...
Robyn Limberg-Child of St. Clair is a veterinarian and a former Times Herald community columnist.
Plan B stalling / The FDA puts religious politics ahead of science
The delay on Plan B is transparently political, and the politics are transparently pandering. The same people that decry abortion also demand that birth control be denied. This is not about innocent lives. This is about paternal control and punishment. Control of the girls' actions, and punishment for disobedience. Here in America we don't have honor killings, but we sure do have a large segment of our society that demands honor births.
The long arm of politics reaches deep inside agencies in the federal government, sometimes pulling the strings for officials whose decisions have far-reaching consequences.
Lester M. Crawford's decision on one issue at the Food and Drug Administration shows that the reach extends into science-based agencies that should be better insulated from partisan politics. Mr. Crawford, the FDA chief, postponed indefinitely on Friday a ruling on whether to allow over-the-counter sales of "Plan B," the morning-after pill. Intended for use when Plan A (contraception) fails or is skipped, this medicine can prevent unwanted pregnancy if taken within three days of unprotected sexual intercourse. ...
While acknowledging that science supports the approach, Mr. Crawford now claims that the FDA needs months more to consider the issue. One big concern, he said, is figuring out how to keep younger teenagers from buying the drug. Here's an idea: How about having store clerks check the buyer's ID, as they do for tobacco and alcohol? ...
Enough with the damned looting already. In the first couple of days, in an orgy of anger and opportunism, some people took TVs. But right now anybody down there is fighting for their damned life, and if somebody is fool enough to take a TV instead of a bottle of water, let them. Who really cares? Does anybody really think the store owner, when he gets back to his sodden structure in October, 2006, is going to take inventory? Or that his landlord, who has to rebuild the whole thing because of water damage, is going to do anything other than take the insurance money and move to Peoria? All this whining about looting is little more than thinly disguised racism, and attempt to find people to hate, when disease, starvation, and dehydration, are thundering through one of our own communities.
New Orleans' fabled good luck has run out, and its worst nightmare is transpiring before the eyes of a stunned world. Though the city escaped the full fury of Hurricane Katrina, it is now ravaged by flood. Lake Pontchartrain overwhelmed the levees and flood walls and spilled into the city, which lies beneath sea level, and the results have been, as one observer phrased it, beyond comprehension. ...
The state and federal governments have responded, but the National Guard is depleted because so many members are serving in Iraq, and New Orleans is not the only stricken community. The death toll climbing in neighboring Mississippi, and there are smaller communities across the Gulf Coast that were obliterated by the hurricane. "This is our tsunami," said A.J. Holloway, the mayor of Biloxi. ...
It's not the looters we should keep in mind, however. It's the innocent victims, the rescuers, the care-providers, and all the conscientious public officials and citizens who are trying to bring this tragic nightmare under control. They deserve our prayers and our support.
Government should lead way in helping hurricane victims
What planet are some of the people coming from? How can anybody possibly say Homeland Security did a good job, when tens of thousands are stranded without food or water, and the head of the Department doesn't even know what has been reported for days on CNN? Homeland Secuirty is not a 2 year old, requiring encouragement in the face of failure. It is a government department, bought and paid for by our tax dollars, tasked to do a job for which it is clearly incompetent.
Katrina's too genteel a name for the calamity that struck the Gulf Coast. In the hours and days ahead, people along the coast will have to pull together with uncommon courage.
State and federal governments must lead the way. Homeland Security was created in part to coordinate the work of federal agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The new department performed well in the evacuation. But the harder work lies ahead. ...
It has taken south Florida years to recover from 1992's Hurricane Andrew. Katrina might not have quite that impact. But it surely was storm enough to evoke our sympathy and new commitments from government.