Thursday, September 01, 2005

When the Carnival Comes

When the Carnival Comes

When the Carnival Comes (2000)

Bill Frist was just on Larry King Live. He said this was no time for finger pointing, and the disaster in New Orleans should not be politicized. Then he promised to head right over to Congress and delegate billions more to FEMA's relief effort.

But, you know, Bill, if the American people want to see a stark difference between the mindsets of our nation's major political parties, they should contrast two of today's events.

Here's an email sent out this morning from RNC Chair Ken Mehlmen:

Dear XXX,

For the last four years, President Bush and Republicans in Congress have championed a pro-growth agenda that has brought tax relief to millions of Americans. Historic legislation in 2001 and 2003 put America on the track to economic growth, and today our economic outlook is bright. There is more work to do, however, to ensure that tax-paying Americans can keep more of their own hard-earned income.

When they return from their August recess, Senators will consider a key issue: elimination of the death tax. The death tax is an unfair double taxation of income, which hurts America's small businesses and farms and threatens job growth. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats are working hard to oppose our efforts to eliminate this unfair tax.

Will you help bring tax relief to more hard-working Americans? Call Senator George V. Voinovich at 202-224-3353 today and ask them to eliminate the death tax.

Our party's opportunity agenda means allowing families to keep more of the money they earn. The historic tax relief in the President's first term was only the beginning. Americans deserve a tax code that is simple and fair. The Senate needs to do its part by making tax relief permanent and burying the death tax forever.

So, what's on Republican's minds during the worst national disaster ever to hit the United States? More tax cuts for the rich.

Meanwhile, some members of the minority party were making plans to help other members of society. From Eschaton:

Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Mel Watt, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee announced today that when Congress returns next Tuesday, they will introduce legislation to protect the thousands of families and small businesses financially devastated by Hurricane Katrina from being penalized by anti-debtor provisions contained in the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, scheduled to take effect on October 17, 2005. Reps. Conyers, Nadler, and Jackson Lee released the following joint statement:

"We are concerned that just as survivors of Hurricane Katrina are beginning to rebuild their lives, the new bankruptcy law will result in a further and unintended financial whammy. Unfortunately, the new law is likely to have the consequence of preventing devastated families from being able to obtain relief from massive and unexpected new financial obligations they are incurring and by forcing them to repay their debt with income they no longer have, but which is counted by the law.

When the Judiciary Committee considered the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act earlier this year, Ms. Jackson Lee offered an amendment to protect the victims of natural disaster like those now devastated by Hurricane Katrina. While the amendment was defeated on a party line vote without any debate, we hope that in light of recent events our colleagues will recognize the importance of protecting our most financially vulnerable Americans.

The legislation we plan to introduce will prevent new bankruptcy provisions from having adverse and unintended consequences for the hundreds of thousands now facing financial catastrophe by providing needed flexibility for victims of natural disasters in bankruptcy proceedings.

Our common sense bill will insure that we do not compound a natural disaster with a man made financial disaster. We hope to obtain bipartisan support for expedited consideration of this critical legislation."

Was there ever a clearer contrast in the priorities of our two largest political parties?

And every hard-hearted DINO who voted for that excremental bankruptcy bill had better vote for this new proposal.

So, Bill. Which political party was politicizing today?

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Now, a reporter on Larry King Live claims police stations in New Orleans may be coming under sniper fire. Snipers have also shot at rescue workers at Charity Hospital and at helicopters evacuating refugees from the Superdome. I guess we don't have to ask why so few National Guard troops are available.

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But this is no time for finger pointing at Dear Leader, right? Staying on vacation, eating cake, strumming a presidential guitar -- and, of course, slashing funds. From Reuters:

Bush administration funding cuts forced federal engineers to delay improvements on the levees, floodgates and pumping stations that failed to protect New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters, agency documents showed on Thursday.

The former head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that handles the infrastructure of the nation's waterways, said the damage in New Orleans probably would have been much less extensive had flood-control efforts been fully funded over the years.

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I lived in New Orleans for about a year and a half in the early 1980s. I just can't process what I'm seeing on the television. Yesterday, a correspondent was standing in knee-deep water on Canal Street. The Saenger Theatre, where I once worked, could be seen in the background. It's hard to believe that so much of what I knew and still remember is gone. It will be a long time before the carnival comes again to the Big Easy.

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