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Tilting at Windmills

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March 2, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

"COMPLETELY ENGAGED"....Dan Froomkin says that a funny thing happened after AP released that video yesterday of George Bush sitting glassy-eyed through a pre-Katrina briefing about the upcoming devastation:

Apparently as a rejoinder to the new video, the White House yesterday suddenly sent around a transcript that it previously said didn't exist, from a conference call on the following day. It includes a second-hand account of Bush's activities from Michael Brown, the Bush-appointed FEMA director who later resigned in disgrace, describing the president as engaged, watching TV and asking questions.

White House spokesman Trent Duffy said this yesterday: "I hope people don't draw conclusions from the president getting a single briefing. He received multiple briefings from multiple officials, and he was completely engaged at all times."

Really? That's what Bush is like when he's completely engaged? Duffy might want to think a little harder before he says stuff like that in the future.

In any case, how about releasing all the transcripts of White House conversations regarding Katrina during the first few days of the disaster? Or does executive privilege only count for stuff that makes the president look bad?

Kevin Drum 4:56 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (129)

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" . . . he was completely engaged at all times."

Engaged in what?

Posted by: Joel on March 2, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

"how about releasing all the transcripts of White House conversations regarding Katrina during the first few days of the disaster?"

There are no other transcripts.

Unless they make the president look good. We might be able to make up...uh, find some of those.

Posted by: pdq on March 2, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

duffy: He received multiple briefings from multiple officials, and he was completely engaged at all times."

proof...through assertion....

it used to work...

but with more dead americans...that kinda makes it hard to ignore any longer...

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on March 2, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, I watched that and I thought Bushie was doin' a heck of a job....

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

The briefings were merely historical accounts and none of the briefers presented any actionable item.

Posted by: lib on March 2, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

John Aravosis of Americablog gets it right:

"George Bush is not competent enough to be president of the United States. If another September 11 is being planned right now, we are dead as a nation with this man in charge. It is seriously time that Republicans joined Democrats in figuring out what to do about this man, because he is putting all of our lives in danger."

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

COMPLETELY ENGAGED: Birthday cake photo op with McCain, political fund raiser, being silly with a Guitar, and then flying over NO at 30K feet.

Posted by: Robert on March 2, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

"... describing the president as engaged, watching TV and asking questions."

OK, so he's on a par with my 4-year old.

Posted by: The Anti-Kevin on March 2, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

As does Jane Hamsher of firedoglake:

Hoping to counteract the damage of the story, the White House leaked Newsweek transcripts from daily noon FEMA conference calls during and after Katrina to show how engaged and concerned Dubya was. Trouble is, these are transcripts that they had initially refused to provide to congressional investigators:

[T]he administration initially told Congress that the transcript for the Aug. 29 call -- the call congressional investigators were most curious about, given that it occurred as the hurricane was actually battering the Gulf Coast -- did not exist, with officials initially telling Capitol Hill that someone at FEMA or Homeland Security forgot to push the button on a tape recorder.

"Everybody has been looking for that transcript," former FEMA chief Michael Brown said Wednesday.

A White House official unexpectedly e-mailed the transcript to NEWSWEEK earlier today Wednesday morning -- initially without explaining that it was the missing transcript. Two officials familiar with congressional investigations said that the document was turned over to Capitol Hill investigators Tuesday night. Administration officials told both Congress and NEWSWEEK that FEMA officials in Atlanta had taped the Aug. 29 conference call by aiming a video camera at a TV screen rather than following the usual recording procedure. The videotape was subsequently discovered and transcribed.

I can't recall offhand how many times the Administration has invoked the "dog ate my homework" excuse this year, but I'd have to take off my shoes to count them.

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Why only transcripts? Why can't we see all the videos. As a lawyer who deals in deposition transcripts vs. video depositions all the time, I would think that the only reason to not release the videos is something like Bush slurring his speech.

Posted by: jack Sprat on March 2, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

The briefings were merely historical accounts and none of the briefers presented any actionable item.

Yeah, it's not like anyone actually gave him a briefing titled "Katrina Determined to Strike Inside New Orleans."

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

The Katrina response was a CF of monsterous proportions. The best WH defense is that the President wasn't engaged.

Still, they should feel free to continue tying Bush closer to Katrina.

Posted by: Morat on March 2, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

No win situation for them: If he was "engaged" in handling the crisis he must be incompetent, judging by the results. If he was not engaged and it's someone else's fault he must have been either too dumb to realize the magnitude of the whole thing or too uninterested, which aren't great qualities either. They can try to blame local (Democratic) officials (who may deserve some blame), but that doesn't exactly project the image of a take-charge "knows how to lead" kind of guy, does it? They can release (or not release) as many transcripts as they want, there's no way the guy comes out looking good.

Posted by: ibid on March 2, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

proof...through assertion....

it used to work...

Bush has blown his credibility with the American public long since, and not even Karl Rove can make it come back. Look for the GOP Congress to run far away from Bush in the '06 elections (and, alas, look for the Democrats to let them).

Only the diehard true believers still keep their rancid version of the faith, as they demonstrate with their own sad attempts to peddle truth-thru-assertion here.

Posted by: Gregory on March 2, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

But I thought he wasn't brief about the levees breaking. Or is the video of him being briefed about the levees breaking part of the Led Zepplin video they were filming?

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on March 2, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

You know, this President has reminded me of Frank Burns from M*A*S*H more than once.

Now I'm specifically reminded of the episode "The Novocaine Mutiny," in which Frank charges Hawkeye with mutiny and, as Hawkeye appears before a court-martial board, we're shown the same incident from different points of view. Remember Frank's version? He comes in the OR wearing that reflector on his forehead, transfuses his own blood, gives the last rites in Latin, and so on.

Remember, in another episode Frank said he was thinking of going into politics. Well, he did -- and he made it to the White House.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on March 2, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

the same man was in charge on September 11th

Unfortunately, the same man was in charge from August 8, 2001 through September 11th. And we all know the result of his fecklessness and failure to take any action at all to defend the US from the threat of al Qaeda hijackers.

Bush's fecklessness and failure of leadership during the Katrina crisis is of a piece.

Posted by: Gregory on March 2, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, just let us see everything. We're beyond being shocked by the depth of this man's cognitive and social dysfunction. Honest, we really are.

Posted by: shortstop on March 2, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Why can't we see all the videos.

Apparently, the other videos were lost when Bush wanted to tape "Meet the Fockers".

Posted by: enozinho on March 2, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

It's funny that Kevin Drum is relying on the leftwing spin of the video by the Lying-Based Associated Press.

If anyone actually watches the A.P. video, the anti-Bush lie is made clear: the warning was about OVERTOPPING of the levees, not breaches of the levees. Yet the A.P. lies and says Bush was warned that "the storm could breach levees".

Why does the media lie by saying "breach" when actually the warning was about overtopping? Because it is not Reality-Based.

Posted by: Al on March 2, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

robert: then flying over NO at 30K feet.


remember bush was quoted as saying something to the effect that the damage was bad....but that upon seeing it from the plane...

it looked "doubly devestating"


there's that old bush empathy we are all familiar with...

Posted by: thispsaceavailable on March 2, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Alek: You know, this President has reminded me of Frank Burns from M*A*S*H more than once.

A most excellent comparison. One could even translate Frank's indignant facial twitches to McLush's jerky winking and smirking.

Posted by: shortstop on March 2, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Yes Al-bot, because there's a difference in the consequences for the New Orleans citizens between breaching and over-topping.

Not.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on March 2, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Once Roe v. Wade is overturned, most of the neo-cons will return - heck, they will even vote for pro-choice Condi or Rudy after that.

Once again, Charlie blows his tattered cover with his off-topic obsession. How droll.

And Charlie? Bush can have the neocons. Roe or no, the American public has deserted Bush in droves, and your slimy namesake's approval rating is downright underwater.

Posted by: Gregory on March 2, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Alek - Great citation! One of Frank Burns' best lines is also in this very episode, as he testifies, ". . . by only blindly following orders can we ever hope to remain free," which neatly sums up this administration, too.

Posted by: MaxGowan on March 2, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory. Don't take the bait. This thread is about Bush's massive Katrina fuckups, not Roe v. Wade.

Back to the topic: Bush Engaged to Be Buried.

Posted by: shortstop on March 2, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, just let us see everything. We're beyond being shocked by the depth of this man's cognitive and social dysfunction. Honest, we really are.

You'd think so, wouldn't you? And yet....

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, ha! Our capacitee for outrage weel leeve to fight anothair day, you theenk?

Posted by: shortstop on March 2, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Good thing my namesake is not running for office again

not surprised that would be your only concern.

what else can you expect from such a sleazeball and a serial liar?

Posted by: haha on March 2, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Reagan appeared to be stricken with Alzheimers during his second term.

Bush appears to have been stricken with Ineptheimers for sometime now. Has it reached it's ultimate stage?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on March 2, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

so what's Bush's approval rating? Oh right, hovering in the low 30% range. There's something to be proud of.

Posted by: haha on March 2, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin writes: how about releasing all the transcripts of White House conversations regarding Katrina during the first few days of the disaster?

Releasing that sort of information would be playing into the hands of our enemies.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on March 2, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney: What are the poll results on whether the American public fault primarily feds or local response after Katrina?

Primarily the feds.

Which really, really sucks for conservative commenters who insisted in the immediate days following the disaster that attention would soon turn to local officials and federal officials, especially Bush, would be off the hook, the response old news within weeks.

Damn reality!

Faith-based and lemming like predictions blown out of the water yet again by ugly facts.

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 2, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Bush appears to have been stricken with Ineptheimers for sometime now. Has it reached it's ultimate stage?

When your nose falls off and you stay up for six days in a row painting Parisian prostitutes, you mean?

Posted by: shortstop on March 2, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Releasing that sort of information would be playing into the hands of our enemies.

That's true -- as "Abu" Gonzalez explained, the terrorists will sometimes forget how incompetent the president is until they're reminded by our media.

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone please ignore Charlie.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on March 2, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Good thing we have Alex Hidell (Lee harvey Oswald's alias) joining us then . . .

Hey Charlie- I mean, Cheney, what's with your obsession with the Alek Hidell handle??

I mean, who gives a flying pidgeon booger?

For one thing, there's plenty of evidence that LHO was framed. And for another, JFK was not exactly your kind.

Posted by: obscure on March 2, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

When your nose falls off and you stay up for six days in a row painting Parisian prostitutes, you mean?

God, I barely remember that. Those were good times...

Posted by: craigie on March 2, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Whoops.

Sorry, Alek.

Posted by: obscure on March 2, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

That's true -- as "Abu" Gonzalez explained, the terrorists will sometimes forget how incompetent the president is until they're reminded by our media.

You laugh, but this is the gist of most of tbrosz's posts on the subject. As if telling people that George W Bonehead did something inept, is beyond the pale for a news organization.

Posted by: craigie on March 2, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Asking for more "transcripts" is a waste of time. There was an earlier "transcript" of this video conference that could be used as an example in a creative writing course. You really cannot believe a thing this white house says.

Posted by: patrick on March 2, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

When your nose falls off and you stay up for six days in a row painting Parisian prostitutes, you mean?

Hey, it's not easy, you know. Those Parisian prostitutes really giggle and squirm when you run the paint brush over them....It's all you can do to get one coat on them, much less two....

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

OK, so he was fully engaged at all times. What a disaster!! Where's the leadership?!

If this is the leadership we get when he is fully engaged, can you imagine what might happen if Bush isn't paying attention?

Posted by: Q on March 2, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Or does executive privilege only count for stuff that makes the president look bad?"

After five years, you might be getting it. Now if only you could see that making political hay out of the ports deal is a win/win proposition, i might be convinced you've actually learned something about the Bush administration and the Republican Party.

Posted by: brewmn on March 2, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

The thing that summed up Bush for me was when he gave one of his Iraq speeches at the Woodrow Wilson Center. He went there and gave a speech about Harry Truman. Why? Two reasons:

1. He doesn't know much about history and he had recently been recommended a book on Truman. I doubt he knows much about Wilson.

2. Everything is about him. He wanted to talk about Truman, because three years into the Iraq war his biggest concern was how he would be judged by history.

To me, this little event shows why he is such a failure in terms of 9/11, Iraq, the Economy and Katrina.

Posted by: enozinho on March 2, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

If this is the leadership we get when he is fully engaged, can you imagine what might happen if Bush isn't paying attention?

We don't have to imagine it. We're living it!

And 3,000 people died because of it.

Now watch this drive.

Posted by: craigie on March 2, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

From Froomkin, this gem from the Chicago Tribune: "In coming days, reporters and the public will likely want to know why the president said no one anticipated the levee breaches when some officials did? Did the president not hear that part of the briefing? Or did he knowingly say something that wasn't truthful?"

Gee, ya think?

By the way, doesn't this whole episode remind one of the initial excuses after 9/11 -- that there was no warning of the attack? When that lie was exposed, the talking point became "no specific warning -- al Qaeda was rude enough not to send Bush an engraved invitation -- but their initial excuses, like Bush's after Katrina, was unquestionably a lie, and a knowing one at that.

I will never forgive Bush for his failures to protect American citizens, and it's my hope that the public will perceive the parallels between his fecklessness with Katrina and his failure to do his duty to defend the nation before 9/11.

Posted by: Gregory on March 2, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm, can't release the transcripts when Congress asks for them... executive privilege, doncha know, can't intrude on what advisers advise the president.

And if anyone "leaks" it, we'll sic the FBI on em. Whistleblowers are criminals

But an opportunity to shift blame on someone else? Oh, I've got that VERY SAME transcript that I couldn't produce before! What a coincidence! I just found it stuck to the bottom of my shoe!

Posted by: short fuse on March 2, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory. Don't take the bait.

I pointed out Chuckles was off topic, shortstop. :)

Posted by: Gregory on March 2, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Somehow I knew that someone would run with the paint-on-the-prostitutes thing. But my money was on craigie.

Posted by: shortstop on March 2, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

I hope you guys get what you wish for. When all the transcripts and videos are released, you will be very surprised by the contents as the revelations will lead to complete shut off of the Democratic Party from the November 2006 election.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 2, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

If this is the leadership we get when he is fully engaged, can you imagine what might happen if Bush isn't paying attention?

Actually, considering how he fucks up everything he touches we can only pray that Bush doesn't actually get any more engaged. We're barely surving his neglect -- imagine the damage he could do if he was really trying?

Or, as Lisa said to Homer on the "The Simpsons" in an episode when Homer decided to try being a better father: "Dad, I preferred your half-assed under-parenting to your half-assed over-parenting."

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Sometime I wish I was this easily amused. I just don't get the obsession.

Posted by: aaron on March 2, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Or does executive privilege only count for stuff that makes the president look bad?"

Well, duh.

Posted by: Ginger Yellow on March 2, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Would you be surprised to find out both Truman and Wilson left office with low "approval" ratings?

That's not the point. Truman, right or wrong, is vindicated in the history books. Wilson is not. The guy chose to portray himself as Harry Truman because he wants to be remembered fondly. The fact that he did it at the Woodrow Wilson Center shows that we are all just set pieces in his little pretend play.

Posted by: enozinho on March 2, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

It's a heavy load you carry, aaron. Here, let us help you with that. Oops! Sorry!

Posted by: shortstop on March 2, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget, folks. Cheney/Charlie/Chuckles WANTS more Katrina type disasters. More Katrinas means more dead kids, which means more material for his comedy routines. That sick fuck loves making jokes about dead kids.

Posted by: Vladi G on March 2, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK
Hey, I watched that and I thought Bushie was doin' a heck of a job...

Stefan,

I think you hit it out of the park.

Let's make with the bumperstickers.

Posted by: obscure on March 2, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Look, for fuck's sakes, stop replying to Charley/Cheney. Can't you see the pathetic need for attention?

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

But my money was on craigie.

It was just luck. I've been doing actual work all day, and just wandered in here at the right time.

Maybe we need some kind of straight-line early warning system.

Posted by: craigie on March 2, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Look, for fuck's sakes, stop replying to Charley/Cheney.

Who?

Posted by: craigie on March 2, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

I couldn't see much in the tiny video, but let's not forget the videos that came out a few weeks after the disaster, when Bush met with FEMA staff knowing that he was on camera, and gave a similarly bored, indifferent performance. We have a lethal combination here: a president who doesn't know, doesn't care and doesn't particularly care that you know that he doesn't care.

You'll see them at http://bagnewsnotes.typepad.com/bagnews/in_a_picturethe_week_bush_lost_new_orleans/index.html

Posted by: Henry on March 2, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

I think that Charlie (posting as "Cheney") is making a concerted effort to reclaim his title as "The Stupidest, Most Ignorant, Most Dishonest Dumbass Commenter In The History Of Political Animal" from conspiracy nut.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 2, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

I've never joked about dead kids.

God doesn't like it when you lie, Chuckles. Making jokes about dead kids is one thing, but lying about, that'll send you straight to hell, and that would be a shame, because there probably aren't that many dead kids in hell for you to make fun of.

Posted by: Vladi G on March 2, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe we need some kind of straight-line early warning system.

I begged you to let me put the microchip in your ass and you yelled at me to get away from you.

Posted by: shortstop on March 2, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK
Sometime I wish I was this easily amused. I just don't get the obsession.You probably weren't a fan of "Atrocious Music" with Irwin Chusid on WMFU in East Orange, NJ, then were you?

There's an art to being the worst at what you do and GWB is one of the great maestro's...

Posted by: obscure on March 2, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Someone should start proposing legislation to begin naming things in NOLA after George W. Kind of like the Reagan legacy in reverse.

Posted by: enozinho on March 2, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

I like that, obscure. "George W. Bush: Simply the Best at Being the Worst."

Posted by: shortstop on March 2, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

O fug. My ADD is really bad tonight. Screwing up the tags bigtime.

Anyway...

I'll bet that Guckert fellow knows a thing or two about GWB and 'complete engagement.'

Posted by: obscure on March 2, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Referring to your last question posted -- Kevin, when will you stop asking those rhetorical questions?

Posted by: here&now on March 2, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop...

Did you swipe my meds?

Posted by: obscure on March 2, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Someone should start proposing legislation to begin naming things in NOLA after George W. Kind of like the Reagan legacy in reverse.

Maybe a swimming pool? Or a waterpark?

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

I would LOVE to see that current data.
Cheney

Okay:
http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/poll_katrina_022706.pdf

MOST TO BLAME FOR SITUATION IN NEW ORLEANS NOW

FEMA/ Michael Brown 14%
Federal government 13
The residents themselves 11
Government all levels 11
President Bush 11
New Orleans city gov't 9
New Orleans mayor/ Ray Nagin 8
Louisiana state gov't 5
LA Gov./ Kathleen Blanco 4

Sum:
FEMA + Brown + Bush 38
state + Blanco 9
NO + Nagin 17
state + local govt 26

Posted by: anandine on March 2, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

obscure: Did you swipe my meds?

No, sir, I did not. I am high on life.

Posted by: shortstop on March 2, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK
I've never joked about dead kids. Posted by: 18%Cheney aka Chuckles
I was Baptized, received First Communion, and Confirmed in the Catholic Church Posted by: Charlie on August 25, 2004 at 6:12 PM Back on topic - what struck me weird after his speech was Edwards trying to control his two younger kids - it was obviously too late for them to be awake. Did anyone else cringe as Edwards picked them up and roughly waved them back and forth by their shoulders? His other child didn't die from "shaken baby" syndrome, right? Posted by: Charlie on July 29, 2004 at 5:11 PM Posted by: Mike on March 2, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Move along folks, there are no legs to this story.

Oops, at HuffPo, over 1841 comments and rising on this topic.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on March 2, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe a swimming pool? Or a waterpark?

I was thinking more like renaming the Superdome. Who wouldn't want to see a game at the George W. Bush Memorial Palace of Feces?

Posted by: enozinho on March 2, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Can anyone out there tell me where I can find some "Paint by the numbers of Toulouse-Latrec's work". George really needs to get back to his therapy.

Posted by: Harriet Meyers on March 2, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

I've never joked about dead kids.

I know, I know, replying to Chuckles is a mug's game, but I can't let this lie pass. During the 2004 election Charlie made an extremely tasteless joke about whether John Edwards' son -- who died in a car crash, if memory serves -- died of shaken baby syndrome.

A person with a shred of shame or decency would have admitted he'd made a tasteless crack and apologize. Charlie, whose motto is never admit you're wrong, simply dodged, spun and now lies.

The threads are still here, Chuckles, you liar.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled examination of the latest evidence of Bush's fecklessness and incompetence.

Posted by: Gregory on March 2, 2006 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

On that same Sunday I checked my favorite weather sites searching out various images of Katrina as she roared across the Gulf of Mexico.

I can remember the moment when I knew that this storm was going to be a killer, the eye-wall diameter was simply humongous.

Leaders don't need to be told what to do, they do it.

In my experience what you DO in your life is far more important than what you say.

Bush can have folks say all they want about what he knew/said whatever. What can't be changed is what he did.

What he did was pretty much stay the course on his ranch, squeezing in a few more vacation days.

"Brownie you're doing a great job"

"Mission Accomplished"

Now we have reduced ourselves to debating the semantics of over-topping versus breaching. Sheesh, it's like a woman saying "oh I'm only slightly pregnant."

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on March 2, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Really, that it should have come to this would be laughable if it weren't so, so tragic: Bush's handlers, unable to call him a leader of any sort, are reduced to insisting that he's "engaged," as though he were a semi-catatonic patient or Pavlov's dog or a one-year-old trying to put the square block in the triangular hole.

They're so used to his mental illness that this language doesn't even seem strange to them?

Can you imagine somebody having to convince us that Clinton was really "engaged"? JFK? FDR? Carter, Hoover, Truman, Johnson, even Bush pere? The only recent presidents who might even be in question in this area are Nixon in the last days, Reagan in the second term and Eisenhower after lunch.

Oh, how I'd love to read the WH insider books that will never be written about this idiot.

Posted by: shortstop on March 2, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

do you actually recall what the joke this horrid "Charlie" made about the dead kids was?

Oh for fuck's sake. At long last, have you no decency?

I begged you to let me put the microchip in your ass and you yelled at me to get away from you.

I misunderstood. I thought you said "potato chip". Understandably, I was against it. This is totally different.

Posted by: craigie on March 2, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, how I'd love to read the WH insider books that will never be written about this idiot.

Oh, it's all coming out. One day we will find out who wrote Bush's bullhorn speech. That will be all she wrote.

Posted by: enozinho on March 2, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON - Former Federal Emergency Management Director Michael Brown said on Thursday he feels vindicated by a video showing him in a conference with U.S. President George W. Bush and other officials warning them about the dangers posed by Hurricane Katrina.

I guess Brownie's not planning on being on the WH Christmas card list this year. It's every inept man for himself.

Posted by: shortstop on March 2, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

"... describing the president as engaged, watching TV and asking questions."

OK, so he's on a par with my 4-year old.

Heh. Excellent.

When I read that stirring testimonial -- watching TV! asking questions! -- my first thought was the basic mental function assessment that first responders use: Bush is alert and oriented X 3! Sleep well, America!

Posted by: sglover on March 2, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

WASHINGTON - Former Federal Emergency Management Director Michael Brown said on Thursday he feels vindicated by a video showing him in a conference with U.S. President George W. Bush and other officials warning them about the dangers posed by Hurricane Katrina

This is a man whose "leadership" during the crisis consisted of him emailing his underlings, asking if there was anything he was supposed to be doing. But now that behavior is vindicated? What a pathetic excuse for a human being.

Posted by: Boots Day on March 2, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

Really, that it should have come to this would be laughable if it weren't so, so tragic: Bush's handlers, unable to call him a leader of any sort, are reduced to insisting that he's "engaged," as though he were a semi-catatonic patient or Pavlov's dog or a one-year-old trying to put the square block in the triangular hole.

Wait till they get Frist on Fox News to tell us that, due to his powers of long-distance diagnosis, he disputes Democratic claims that Bush is not engaged: "I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office. Bush certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli."

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: I guess Brownie's not planning on being on the WH Christmas card list this year. It's every inept man for himself.

The rats are leaving the sinking shit....

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

09/04/05
"Bureaucracy is not going to stand in the way of getting the job done for the people," the president said after a meeting at the White House with his Cabinet on storm recovery efforts.

http://politicalhumor.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=politicalhumor&zu=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.talkingpointsmemo.com%2Farchives%2Fweek_2005_09_04.php%23006427

02/28/06
"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government," Bush said

http://www.kctv5.com/Global/story.asp?S=3843843

including my response during that conference thing I had with Brownie and Maxie. I still get confused about what over-topping of a levee means, is that sorta like over tipping ? Too much of something that doesnt necessarily have to be done ?. .. I even remember seeing a breached whale once, on a beach I mean. ..Levees?
Drove my chevy to the levy but the levy was dry and good ol'boys were drinking whiskey and rye, singing this'll be the day I die,
Bye- Bye y'all, have a good 'un.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on March 2, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

"... describing the president as engaged, watching TV and asking questions."

Yeah, but you should have seen how cranky he was before he'd taken his nap....

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

This is the most pathetic defense of Bush by the trolls I have ever seen. Wow. If Bush is losing the trolls, he's truly bottoming.

He's gonna have to feed them something. Why not threaten Sri Lanka? They'd go for it.

Posted by: roger on March 2, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

If Bush is losing the trolls, he's truly bottoming.

Well, we know that Gannon nee Guckert is a top....

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

I--really--hate to do this, but:

All that Mike posted was that "Charlie" is a Catholic, his observation that it was obviously too late for Edwards' little kids to be awake (I recall the same) and 2 questions. Again, where's the joke?

OK, Charlie, here's the joke:

Back on topic - what struck me weird after his speech was Edwards trying to control his two younger kids - it was obviously too late for them to be awake. Did anyone else cringe as Edwards picked them up and roughly waved them back and forth by their shoulders? His other child didn't die from "shaken baby" syndrome, right? Posted by: Charlie on July 29, 2004 at 5:11 PM

I refer you to the last line. Can you read it? Thanks to Mike for digging it out of the archives.

Also, Charlie, in addition to not liking liars, God doesn't like plagiarists either. (For those unfamiliar, Charlie/Cheney has a distinguished history as a serial plagiarizer.)

Posted by: obscure on March 2, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Very funny, Charlie.

Posted by: GOD on March 2, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

At long last, have you no decency?

It's Ayatollah Chuckles. I'm surprised you even had to ask.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on March 2, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Why do you guys think I am "Charlie/Chuckles"?

Oh...

No reason.

Posted by: GOD on March 2, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

If not, then how are we any worse off than on September 10th?

Let's see...9/11 happened. Since then, one would assume that the Federal government would want to do everything in its power to prevent or recover from another catastrophic event. 4 years later Katrina hits. And clearly the Federal government isn't up to snuff. Thus, to think that if another large scale terrorist attack were to occur the Federal government would react in a similar inept fashion, does not seem to be too much of a stretch.

Stating "we are dead as a nation" may be hyperbole, nevertheless, I think Stefan's point remains.

Posted by: Edo on March 2, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently the video was edited to mislead. They took out a section before that where Bush asked the briefer if he was ready and needed the National Guard.

Posted by: McA on March 2, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Someone should start proposing legislation to begin naming things in NOLA after George W. Kind of like the Reagan legacy in reverse."

"Maybe a swimming pool? Or a waterpark?"

Someone else suggested the Superdome. All good suggestions.

My suggestion: the levee.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on March 2, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In the hectic, confused hours after Hurricane Katrina lashed the Gulf Coast, Louisiana's governor hesitantly but mistakenly assured the Bush administration that New Orleans' protective levees were intact, according to a new video obtained by The Associated Press showing briefings that day with federal officials.

"We keep getting reports in some places that maybe water is coming over the levees," Gov. Kathleen Blanco said shortly after noon on Aug. 29, according to the video that was obtained Thursday night. "We heard a report unconfirmed, I think, we have not breached the levee. I think we have not breached the levee at this time."

In fact, the National Weather Service received a report of a levee breach and issued a flash-flood warning as early as 9:12 a.m. that day, according to the White House's formal recounting of events the day Katrina struck.

The timing of the levees breach has been a key issue in exhaustive reviews of failures to respond to Katrina and highlights miscommunication about the scope of the storm's damage at all levels of government.

The new video, which runs 45 minutes, details uncertainty and despair among state and local emergency response officials as they began chronicling the disaster that swept across 90 square miles in the Gulf Coast.

Blanco is not shown in the video but is heard as a disembodied voice speaking to 11 people sitting around a table. She sounds uncertain about the reliability of her information and cautioned that the situation "could change."

She reported that floodwaters were rising in parts of the city "where we have waters that are 8 to 10 feet deep, and we have people swimming in there."

"That's got a considerable amount of water itself," the governor said. "That's about all I know right now on the specifics that you haven't heard."

Blanco spokeswoman Denise Bottcher said Thursday that "our people on the ground were telling us that there could be overtopping and breaching, but it was hard to tell" by the noon briefing.

Another official who was heard but not seen on the video was then-Federal Emergency Management Agency Michael Brown, who was at the federal emergency operations center in Baton Rouge, La. He implored officials to "push the envelope as far as you can," noting that he had already spoken to President Bush twice that day and described the president as "very, very interested in this situation."

"He's very engaged, and he's asking a lot of really good questions I would expect him to ask," Brown said of Bush. "I say that only because I want everyone to recognize ... how serious the situation remains."

Brown has criticized the White House for miscommunication that led to some delays but said in an interview Thursday that he never directly blamed Bush.

"I think the president was confident in the ability of FEMA to respond to this, and what I should have done was go to them earlier and say, 'Let's not wait to see how it unfolds. Let's bring everything and go overboard.'"

He also said there was confusion among officials over whether levees were breached at the time of the noon video conference call. But he said he was convinced of the breach by 1 p.m.

Delays in confirming the levee breaches held up repair efforts and allowed flooding to worsen. The White House was alerted about breach reports by 6 p.m., but the administration confirmed the damage the next morning.

The video shows weather forecasters predicting the storm's path and also briefly cuts to White House deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin asking Blanco about the status of the levees and the situation at the Superdome in New Orleans.

By that time, an estimated 15,000 evacuees had gathered at the stadium, where food and water was beginning to run out, said Col. Jeff Smith, Louisiana's emergency preparedness deputy director. Smith also reported up to 10 feet of flooding in neighboring St. Bernard Parish and that there were 45 patients on life-support at one area hospital that lost its power.

Still, "the coordination and support we are getting from FEMA has just been outstanding," Smith said.

Mississippi officials were less complimentary, reporting significant damage to hospitals, flooded and collapsed emergency operations centers and people trapped on the roofs or in the attacks who were begging for help.

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, someone's stealing my name! I didn't post that 10:53 bit.

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

I slighty altered the spelling of my homophonic name (happens most of the times in restaurants anyway) to model yours. A nod not a slight. The email is different, I wasn't trying a total imposture. Sorry if you're sensitive to this, won't happen again (after this one). Cheers.

Posted by: Stefan on March 2, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

I really think he would have been better advised to cop daddy's plea, "I was out of the loop."

Posted by: Brian Boru on March 3, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

Consider it a compliment...of sorts. It is a right wing troll "trademark" once you have soundly put one in its place, to hijack your name and post something completely antithetical to your own positions. This has happened to me on Balloon Juice (I never post there, but a troll who I cut to shreds here on PA decided to get 'revenge' by using my moniker to say really stupid shit.) Anyway, welcome to the club of having made a troll feel so insecure that he had to use underhanded methods to make himself "feel better".

Posted by: jcricket on March 3, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

Wow. Was wrong on that count. But it is still a troll trademark...we've seen it used before and will undoubtably see it used again.

See everyone tomorrow. It should be a fun day, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the topics of discussion are.

Posted by: jcricket on March 3, 2006 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

Where's the real tbroz these days?

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on March 3, 2006 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

there's a difference in the consequences for the New Orleans citizens between breaching and over-topping.

Not.
Posted by: Dr. Morpheus

Actually, there's a very big difference. Overtopping is like when a big wave hits your boat and a bunch of water slides in. Breaching in like when you have a hole in the side of your boat and the whole ocean starts rushing in.

Posted by: rkimball on March 3, 2006 at 4:26 AM | PERMALINK


You know, you can't really blame Bush for 9-11, and you can't blame him for a category 5 hurricane. What I really resent is the slimy way he says things to make it appear that he is entirely not culpable. It's never his fault. And yes, there is a difference between overtopping and breach, but Blanco did use the word breach, indicating that it was an area of concern for the government. So therefore, what Bush said was entirely misleading.


Posted by: Andy on March 3, 2006 at 5:02 AM | PERMALINK

Bush didn't ask a single question in the pre-Katrina briefing, nor did he reportedly ask a single question when he was presented the August 6th, 2001 PDB that essentially told him al-Qaeda was going to attack American targets with aircraft. A pertinent question might have been, "Is the FAA and NORAD on high alert?" Apparently the Socratic method is lost on the brush-clearer from Crawford.

And jackasses like Bill Sammons actually can find numbskulls to buy books like "Strategery", that asserts Bush's presumed, yet invisible, "leadership" skills??? Welcome to Orwellian America!

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on March 3, 2006 at 6:36 AM | PERMALINK

You know, you can't really blame Bush for 9-11

Maybe not, but you sure as hell can blame him for taking, as far as anyone can demonstrate, no action whatsoever in response to the August PDB that warned of al Qaeda hijacking planes (and Tilli, if tbrosz' absence means that we don't have to wade through his usual bullshit that no one anticipated using planes as missiles -- irrelevant, since preventing the hijacking prevents the attack in toto -- good riddance).

yes, there is a difference between overtopping and breach

Barely, if that. Overtopping usually *leads* to a breach, as the water cascading down the levee weakens its base (unlike the boat analogy cited above).

What I really resent is the slimy way he says things to make it appear that he is entirely not culpable. It's never his fault.

Agreed. And yet the Bush cultists revere him for his "leadership." It's truly baffling.

Posted by: Gregory on March 3, 2006 at 7:10 AM | PERMALINK
CBS News Poll. Feb. 22-26, 2006. N=1,018 adults nationwide. MoE 3. "Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is responding to the needs of people affected by Hurricane Katrina?"
32% Approve....64% Disapprove....4% Unsure
American's priorities differ greatly from the Bush WH's priorities:
Associated Press/Ipsos poll conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs. Feb. 13-16, 2006. N=1,000 adults nationwide. MoE 3.1. "Which do you think should be the higher priority for government spending: the war in Iraq or recovery from Hurricane Katrina?"
War in Iraq 31%....Katrina Recovery 64%....Unsure 5%
Maybe Bush's disconnect on Katrina, Iraq, and the Dubai deal is driving this:
SCHNEIDER: ...President Bush's rating on terrorism is down seven points. He's lost his strongest issue. Now we have the videotapes of disaster officials warning President Bush about the dangers posed by Hurricane Katrina and the president's response.
[...]
...Now, nearly 60 percent say President Bush cannot manage the government effectively. His image of competence is gone.
...the president's political capital is rapidly diminishing, and it's taking a toll on his party. When voters are asked how they would vote for Congress right now, Democrats lead Republicans by 14 points.
[...]
The president is getting only 10 percent support from Democrats and just 27 percent from Independents. Republicans still support their president, but they're about all he's got -- Lou.
DOBBS: They may be in fact. Have we seen erosion there as well?
SCHNEIDER: Yes, we have. He's still getting 82 percent support from Republicans, but his support there used to be in the 90s. So even there we're seeing some erosion. [Emphasis added. Transcript cite]


Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 3, 2006 at 7:11 AM | PERMALINK

enozinho: He doesn't know much about history

And yet Yale awarded him a BA in history.
Perhaps it was the 'History of Cheerleading'.

Hope they're proud.

Posted by: CFShep on March 3, 2006 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

As to the history degree, I believe that it was due to his in depth research into the Whiffenpoof song (To the tables down at Morey's).

However, I have heard, somewhere, that his favorite tune was Sam Cooke's,

"Don't know much about history,
don't know much biology,
don't know much about science books,
don't know much French I took,
but, I do know that I love you,
and I hope that if you loved me too,
what a wonderful world it would be."

This was his paean to the bottle.

Posted by: stupid git on March 3, 2006 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

This thread is about Bush's massive Katrina fuckups, not Roe v. Wade.

Ah but they are related...

Reporter: "Mr. President, what is your opinion of Roe v Wade?"

Bush: "Frankly, I don't care how people evacuate New Orleans."

Posted by: ckelly on March 3, 2006 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

MSNBC has an article saying it has a tape of a meeting during which Michael Brown described the president as "engaged." He's asking questions about reports of breaches, Brown says in the video. Hes asking about hospitals. He's really engaged, and he's asking a lot of really good questions.

I guess now we know why they were using that word yesterday. They anticipated releasing this tape today. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11643327/


Posted by: fishwife on March 3, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

tort reform is important too (one lawyer at a time Posted by: Cheney on March 2, 2006 at 5:41 PM

You're doing your part with Whittington eh, Cheney?

Posted by: ckelly on March 3, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, doesn't this whole episode remind one of the initial excuses after 9/11...

No one could have anticipated more ineptness and excuses from this administration. No one.

Posted by: ckelly on March 3, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Charlie, whose motto is never admit you're wrong, simply dodged, spun and now lies.

You mean, Charlie is George Bush?

Posted by: ckelly on March 3, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

ckelly: No one could have anticipated more ineptness and excuses from this administration. No one.

Outstanding!

Posted by: shortstop on March 3, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the overtopping caused the breaches.

Posted by: croatoan on March 3, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

This was his paean to the bottle.
Posted by: stupid git

Bingo!

Been_wanting_to_post_those_lyrics.

Having_tech_difficulties_ovah_here.Spacebar_is_86.

oy.

It's_craigie's_fault.(keyboard+craigie+LA_HiTest=defunct_spacebar.)

Posted by: CFShep on March 3, 2006 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

As someone pointed out above, no surprise, the video was edited and they took out a section before that where Bush asked the briefer if he was ready and needed the National Guard.As someone pointed out above, no surprise, the video was edited and they took out a section before that where Bush asked the briefer if he was ready and needed the National Guard.

McA has your ass, Charlie, so no worries.

And you're right. They edited out the section where Bush asked if it was really necessary that he sit through all this.

Posted by: Gen. Jack D. Ripper on March 3, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Got up a little groggy this morning - may have misread the MSNBC headline - it was either,

Security tight - Bush in Pakistan

or, Security in Pakistan - Bush tight.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on March 3, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

LOL - the President of the United States asking the briefer if he was ready [for the hurricane, I presume] and if he needed the National Guard, sure doesn't sound like "is this really necessary that I sit through all this?" Perhaps you have the actual quote you are basing your conclusion on?

Well, gee, Charlie. It wasn't a direct quote, so what did you go and use quotation marks for??

I think the actual quote was,

"Look, I'm the President. Can you guys just handle this?? I told you already I'm tired and I'm on vacation. Nitwits."

Posted by: Gen. Jack D. Ripper on March 3, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Paul's on a roll this morning. With butter.

Posted by: shortstop on March 3, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

History will judge whether I was "fully engaged" in supporting my family. If one of the 200,000 lottery tickets I bought by mortgaging the house, plundering the college money accounts set up by the grandparents for my kids, maxing out every credit card and selling my neighbor's car after "borrowing it" wins the jackpot, I will be the greatest Dad ever. How's that for big picture?

Posted by: cowalker mentored by Bush on March 3, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

"the warning was about OVERTOPPING of the levees, not breaches of the levees."

Yeah, and no one could have anticipated that overtopped levees might breach. Sheesh.

Posted by: Cal Gal on March 3, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Are you claiming the federal government is analogous to a personal household in any meaningful way to actually equate such a stupid decision you pose...."

Dang, you are so right. There's no similarity whatsoever between the scenario I described and the gamble of thousands of lives and an entire nation's resources on the hope that Iraqis were ready to rule themselves democratically, share oil resources equitably and practice religious and cultural tolerance.

Since I lost my gamble I get these very low approval ratings from my family. They're unhappy that we lost the house and had to go on food stamps. It's a good thing Bush's actions aren't anything like mine, and he doesn't have to worry about low approval ratings due to losing Iraq.

Posted by: cowalker on March 3, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: sodi on March 3, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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