Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Anniston Star Sets the Times Straight

I can only assume that the following from the Anniston Star is in response to yesterday's New York Times:

In struggling to return to their feet after Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi and Louisiana are not in a race. Good thing, too, for Louisiana, which in almost every way trails Mississippi in crucial recovery benchmarks...

The consensus is that, following the storm, Gov. Haley Barbour, R-Miss., moved faster than his counterpart to the west, Gov. Kathleen Blanco, D-La.

Barbour’s former life as a Washington mover and shaker in Republican circles surely helped in securing federal dollars. However, money gets you only so far when it comes to better planning and organization.

If you missed yesterday's Times (I believe the article was also printed in the T/P):

But it was also probably beneficial that Mr. Barbour, as chairman of the Republican National Committee in the 1990's and later as a prominent lobbyist, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Mr. Hastert and other House Republicans.

Either way, the logjam broke and the House agreed to the Senate's higher number, $29 billion. In the process, Mr. Barbour helped ensure that Mississippi got nearly as much housing money as Louisiana, even though his state had far less damage.

I wonder how many conservative bloggers have linked approvingly to the Anniston editorial. Wonder if some conservative blogger even has a similarily titled post. It also brings up the fact that the "that part of the world" attitude toward New Orleans and south Louisiana is probably stronger in the rest of the south than in the nation as a whole.

Well. I'd advise the editors in Anniston to read this editorial in today's Picayune:

But Louisiana has had a tougher go in Washington than Mississippi has. That may be largely because our leaders failed to present a unified front. But it is partly because Haley Barbour can get the House speaker into a post-midnight meeting.

But reading the following (in the same editorial):

In the process, Mississippi ended up with almost as much money for housing as Louisiana, even though this state has far more storm-damaged houses

along with the following (from today's other editorial):

And because the catastrophic failure of a levee system built by the U.S. government caused the flooding here, this region arguably has a stronger claim to federal dollars than other areas of Louisiana.

brings up up a question--when are we going to start talking about 100% as much as we talk about 70%?

Yes, it's right to remind people that 70% (or whatever the current estimate is) of the storm damaged or destroyed homes in the region are in Louisiana. But 100% of the homes damaged by flooding caused the failure of the federally built levees, or caused by the federally built MRGO, were located here.

BTW, the above was not intended as another shot at the Times Picayune. I've probably carried that hostility a little (just a tad) too far. But I stand behind what I premised that hostility on.
Since the anger has always come through even when I've tried to explain it calmly, I'll give it one last try: For whatever reasons, starting around the second week of September and lasting into October, the MSM sought to "balance" its early criticism of the Bush administration with criticism of state and local officials. Unfortunately, during this time period, several Katrina myths and misconceptions went largely unchallenged, i.e. the images of flooded buses. My position is simply that during the critical period when those misconceptions were taking root, the local media was seeking the same "balance" as the national media. Hopefully, that's a rational sounding explanation for why I've often seemed so hostile toward the local media.

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