Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Supporters of the Bush Administration are working mightily to deflect all Katrina blame. To them it's all about perception, not reality -- so long as the photo looks fine, no need to worry about the rotten muck beneath the surface.

The Wall Street Journal -- not your usual hotbed of liberalism -- reported that FEMA head Mike Brown waited until after the hurricane made land before asking his boss to send 1,000 Homeland Security agents to the Gulf Coast. Not only that, but Brown gave the workers two days to get to the devastated area -- and he wanted to make sure the workers "convey[ed] a positive image" about the Bush Administration to victims of the storm.

Reuters reported that the Bush Administration refused to allow journalists to take photos of the dead in New Orleans:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, heavily criticized for its slow response to the devastation caused by the hurricane, rejected requests from journalists to accompany rescue boats as they went out to search for storm victims.

An agency spokeswoman said space was needed on the rescue boats and that "the recovery of the victims is being treated with dignity and the utmost respect."

"We have requested that no photographs of the deceased be made by the media," the spokeswoman said in an e-mailed response to a Reuters inquiry.
And then there is this tidbit -- perhaps the most disgusting one yet. The Salt Lake City Tribune reports that the Bush Administration is using firefighters as props during the president's photo-ops in the storm-ravaged area.

First, firefighters had to go through eight hours of training in Atlanta -- not training to save lives, but to learn the FEMA toll-free number during a sexual-harassment class.

They were told to bring MREs and get ready to deal with "austere" conditions.

About 50 of them were then ordered to catch a flight to Louisiana on Monday morning. Many said they couldn't wait to start saving lives.

Their first assignment for FEMA was to stand behind George W. Bush as he toured the region.

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