The White House website is always a treasure trove of information about what "W" has said in recent days. I've learned to check it out occasionally to make sure he's not up to something we wouldn't want him to be, um, up to. (Yes, ending sentence with a preposition...my bad).
In today's posting, the site has his complete radio address in which he speaks about the tragic collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis. In the speech, he pledged the following:
"On Thursday morning, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and Federal Highway Administrator Richard Capka traveled to Minneapolis. They announced $5 million in immediate federal funding for debris removal and to help restore the flow of traffic. This is just the beginning of the financial assistance we will make available to support the state in its recovery efforts. Several federal agencies are on the ground aiding state and local officials, including the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Environmental Protection Agency."
I recognize how important the I-35 bridge is to the state of Minnesota, and my administration is committed to working closely with Governor Pawlenty and Mayor Rybak to rebuild this bridge as quickly as possible."
While I realize that "past performance is no guarantee of future results" in the stock market, based on this president's past performance in post-Katrina New Orleans, I could only wonder whether anything he says will come true for the citizens of Minneapolis/St. Paul.
DH just got back from a business trip down south. As part of his trip, he engineered a stop in New Orleans for the last night. This is a route he has taken several times in the past year or two. Having visited New Orleans in its pre-Katrina years, he is acutely aware of the differences he sees now. After this week's trip, he reports that everything is still on sale cheap - hotels are cheaper there than in the town in Mississippi where he stays for the business portion of his trip.
First, the good news - the French Quarter on a Thursday night was busy, coming back from the almost deserted streets he walked last year. But the bad news is, much of the outer part of New Orleans remains a wasteland, only slowly coming back from its devastation. The New York Times recently had a series on New Orleans, and the very slow process of rebuilding that is taking place.
The Times-Picayune DH brought home with him is still filled with articles pertaining to the rebuilding process in the New Orleans area. It features articles talking about how best to withstand the upcoming hurricane season. Headlines like "It's time to hold someone responsible" and "City stands tall as risk rises" dot the pages of the New Orleans Metro section. Discussion continues about the levees and their condition.
Remember 2005? "W" went to New Orleans a couple of weeks after the storm had ravaged the city, and made a lot of promises:
"President Bush promised Thursday night the government will pay most of the costs of rebuilding the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast in one of the largest reconstruction projects the world has ever seen. “There is no way to imagine America without New Orleans, and this great city will rise again,” the president said."
Didn't happen. Yes, there are processes in place to help people rebuild, but the system is so inefficient that much of the money has never gotten where it needs to go.
But "W" has moved on. To a new disaster that threatens an area much more interesting to him. An area that is important to his political party. So New Orleans is on its own.
According to an article in yesterday's New York Times, "W" seems to be poised to respond more efficiently to this crisis than to the New Orleans situation...which is just so yesterday to him now.
As the article mentions, Minnesota has a Republican governor, and the 2008 Republican convention is scheduled to be held there. Think this situation may just get a wee bit more attention than New Orleans? Yeah, I think so too.