Thursday, March 02, 2006

NYT: The paper sends Linda Lavin to report on the Katrina tapes

A newly released transcript of a government videoconference shows that hours after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, federal and state officials did not know that the levees in New Orleans were failing and were cautiously congratulating one another on the government response.
In the videoconference held at noon on Monday, Aug. 29, Michael D. Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, reported that he had spoken with President Bush twice in the morning and that the president was asking about reports that the levees had been breached.

The above is from Scott Shane and David D. Kirkpatrick's Mid-Winter's Dream in this morning's New York Times and is entitled "Unaware as Levees Fell, Officials Expressed Relief." There's burying the lede and then there's what Shane and Kirkpatrick do which goes so far beyond that.

Somewhere, in bits and pieces, you'll find shattered moments of reality in this "reporting." But, from the headline through the text, look around and you'll see you're much better off going anywhere but the New York Timid for this story.

Take the Associated Press which broke the story. From Margaret Ebrahim and John Solomon's "Tape: Bush, Chertoff Warned Before Katrina" (via San Francisco Chronicle):

"My gut tells me ... this is a bad one and a big one," then-federal disaster chief Michael Brown told the final government-wide briefing the day before Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29.
The president didn't ask a single question during the briefing but assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: "We are fully prepared."

[. . .]
The White House and Homeland Security Department urged the public Wednesday not to read too much into the footage.

The Timid, if few others, was more than willing to not read hardly anything at all into the footage. The White House must have been so pleased.

Need more? Spencer S. Hsu and Linton Weeks's "Video Shows Bush Being Warned on Katrina:
Officials Detailed a Dire Threat to New Orleans
" (the Washington Post):

A newly leaked video recording of high-level government deliberations the day before Hurricane Katrina hit shows disaster officials emphatically warning President Bush that the storm posed a catastrophic threat to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, and a grim-faced Bush personally assuring state leaders that his administration was "fully prepared" to help.
The footage, taken of a videoconference of federal and state officials on Aug. 28, offered an unusually vivid glimpse of real-time decision making by an administration that has vigorously guarded its internal deliberations.
[. . .]
"I want to assure the folks at the state level that we are fully prepared to not only help you during the storm, but we will move in whatever resources and assets we have at our disposal after the storm," Bush said, gesturing with both hands for emphasis on the digital recording. Neither Bush nor Hagin asked questions, however.
Then-Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael D. Brown, who joined the call from Washington, and Max Mayfield, head of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, briefed participating federal and state officials in explicit terms.

Need more? Nicole Gaouette's "Bush Is Warned on Katrina in Video: Footage of a briefing full of dire predictions renews criticism of the government's response" (the Los Angeles Times):

Newly released video footage taken just hours before Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast shows that federal officials delivered stark warnings to President Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that the storm could lead to massive loss of life."We are fully prepared," Bush responded.
While the information in the video has been public for months, and was the subject of hearings and reports by Congress and the White House, the footage is giving new life to charges that the administration was detached and unresponsive in the face of one of the nation's worst natural disasters.

"New life to charges that the administration was detached and unresponsive in the face of one of the nation's worst natural disasters?" Well not in the New York Timid, Nicole, not in the New York Timid. Only the Timid takes a pass. In an article by Scott Shane and Elite Fluff Patrol squad member David D. Kirkpatrick (or by "Shane" and "Kirkpatrick"). Which would seem to indicate that it's time for a song from Shane -- who used to grab the big mop to clean up after everyone else's messes but now wants to cut himself off a slice of the fluff pie:

Early to rise, early to bed.
And in between I mopped and cleaned and went out of my head.
Going through life my truth on, was tough, you see
I had to get up, get out from under and look for me.
There's a new fluffer in town and he's looking good.
There's a fresh freckled fluffer, in the neighborhoood.
There's a new fluffer in town, with a brand new style.
He was just passing through, but if things fluff out he's gonna stay awhile ....
Ba ba bum bum bummmm

[The above is a play on "There's a New Girl in Town," by Alan and Marilyn Bergman & David Shire. "In and" switched to "And in" on the advice of Nikki who swears Alice was her favorite theme to a TV show.]

Ladies and gentleman, the Linda Lavin of the New York Timid, Scott Shane.

Rod gives the heads up to two scheduled topics on today's Democracy Now!:

Democracy Now! broadcasts from Albuquerque, New Mexico. We will look at issues surrounding uranium mining in the region as well as a nurse working in a veterans hospital who is being accused of sedition after writing a letter published in a local paper criticizing the Bush administration.

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