Sunday, September 04, 2005

Message to Al Sharpton

posted by Rob at 10:08 PM

Twice today I've seen Al Sharpton play the race card. In two different segments on Fox News he argues that the federal government only springs to action for white people, not black people. He refers to a hurricane in Florida this time last year. According to Sharpton, President Bush had National Guard troops there and relief efforts started before the hurricane hit.

Neither time when I saw Sharpton speak did he ever specify which hurricane. This time last year, Florida was hit by three.

I played with Google for awhile to test Sharpton's claim. Here's what I found.

Hurricane Charley was the second of two hurricanes to strike Florida within a day. It made landfall at 4 p.m. on a Friday. As it approached Florida, the AP reported:
Along Florida's western coast, evacuation shelters were filling to capacity Friday morning, as residents and tourists looked for somewhere safe to ride out the storm. This potentially could be the largest evacuation in state history, officials said, and Gov. Jeb Bush urged people in the storm's projected path to keep off highways and roads.

Bush said he had sought a federal disaster declaration from President George W. Bush, his brother, and urged residents to stay wherever they were. ...

About 1,000 Florida National Guard members have been activated, and another 1,000 were being called up. ...

Soon after Charley came Hurricane Frances. As CNN reported:
In advance of Hurricane Frances, the state has ordered the largest evacuation in its history, covering nearly 2.5 million people.

Gov. Jeb Bush has declared a state of emergency. ...

Florida ordered mandatory evacuations in parts of 16 counties and voluntary evacuations in five other counties. ...

The Red Cross opened 82 shelters in Florida on Thursday and about 21,000 people were in them by nightfall, spokeswoman Carol Miller told CNN. The group also set up eight reception centers along the highway to help people who needed information, directions, water and maps, she said.

Sharpton was referring to either Charley or Frances. Reports prior to both making landfall show a governor who knows what to do and when.

Less than a week after Katrina, we're beginning to learn more about how Lousiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco fared.

In today's New York Times:
One sign of the continuing battle over who was in charge was Governor Blanco's refusal to sign an order turning over the disaster response to federal authorities.

The governor, who had asked President Bush for 40,000 troops on Wednesday, did not want to cede control of the National Guard and did not believe signing the order would speed the arrival of troops, said her press secretary, Ms. Bottcher.

That would be Wednesday of last week, two days after Katrina struck and a day after the flooding began. The evacuation order came late Sunday ... too late:
In the face of a catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, a mandatory evacuation was ordered Sunday for New Orleans by Mayor Ray Nagin.

Acknowledging that large numbers of people, many of them stranded tourists, would be unable to leave, the city set up 10 places of last resort for people to go, including the Superdome.

The mayor called the order unprecedented and said anyone who could leave the city should. He exempted hotels from the evacuation order because airlines had already cancelled all flights.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco, standing beside the mayor at a news conference, said President Bush called and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation for the low-lying city, which is prone to flooding.

Then there's this in the Washington Post:
Instead the city decided to use the Superdome as a "shelter of last resort." Following that decision, a major mistake was made: Not enough food, water or portable toilets were made available to accommodate the enormous number of people who turned up. No one in the federal, state or city governments appears to have been prepared for the possibility that thousands would be forced to stay there nearly a week. With some forethought, the National Guard troops who arrived yesterday could have been en route before, or even immediately after, the storm. Five days was too long to tell people to wait without supplies.

It's obvious the leaders of New Orleans and Lousiana do not have a real hurricane plan in place nor a subscription to National Geographic. Yet CNN and others are placing blame on the Bush administration for all the misery.

It's getting so bad, the BBC is insinuating the real problem was democracy:
The only difference between the chaos of New Orleans and a Third World disaster operation, he said, was that a foreign dictator would have responded better.

I'll let The Corner handle that one. It appears Matt Wells is being a bigger idiot than Sharpton.

BTW, Best of the Web took on Sharpton Friday.


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