Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Howard Dean: I Saved the Democratic Party

DNC Chairman Howard Dean is now boasting that he's the savior of the Democratic Party, in a none-too-subtle slap at former party chief Terry McAuliffe, not to mention the last Democratic standard bearer, Sen. John Kerry.

Asked why he wanted to run the DNC, Dean told ABC's "The View" last week: "Somebody had to save the party."

He insisted that Democrats were heading in the wrong direction before he took over, telling "View" gabber Joy Behar, "We thought we were going to win by becoming Republicans."

The ex-Vermont governor suggested that Sen. Kerry didn't have the backbone to defeat President Bush in last year's election, saying, "If you want to win, it's not so much what you believe ... it's whether you're willing to fight for what you believe. And the Democrats had given up. We had simply not been willing to stand up and fight."

Dean's bizarre attack on his fellow Democrats went unnoticed by the mainstream press. But talk radio host Steve Malzberg told NewsMax he had a field day playing the clips while filling in on Atlanta's WGST.
After criticizing his predecessors for being too lame, Dean turned his fire on the GOP.

"The truth is, they are a white Christian party," he insisted. "They don't welcome and embrace diversity."

Dean also blasted the Bush administration for what he charged was a bid to deflect blame over Hurricane Katrina, saying, "That really was a [Karl] Rove inspired thing -to go attack the local people."

But when it came to New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Dean turned defensive, saying it wasn't Nagin's fault that the city's school buses weren't used to evacuate his trapped constituents.

"The school buses were controlled by the school board, not the mayor," Dean insisted. "You can't blame the mayor for that."


An emotional moment and a misunderstanding

Story of a mother’s desperate calls from nursing home skewed.

WASHINGTON - The Jefferson Parish president's emotional retelling of a mother's desperate calls from a New Orleans nursing home included details that conflict with the timeline of the tragedy.
The story, of a colleague's mother begging her son for rescue as flood waters rose after Hurricane Katrina, came to prominence on Sunday, Sept. 4, when Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish in New Orleans, was interviewed by Tim Russert on NBC's Meet the Press. (MSNBC is a Microsoft-NBC joint venture.)
New details and interviews with the son whose mother died in the flood show that the tragedy unfolded from Saturday through Monday, Aug. 29 — not Monday through Friday, Sept. 2 as recounted by Broussard. The owners of the nursing home were indicted Tuesday for the deaths of more than 30 residents, which officials say occurred on Aug. 29.

In the course of the interview, in which Broussard was expressing frustration with the slow-footed response by the federal government to the hurricane, he related the personal story of a man whose mother had died in the flooding caused by Katrina. Broussard, who did not identify the man by name at the time, broke down in tears as he related the story. As the Meet the Press transcript shows, Russert paused the interview to allow Broussard to compose himself.

BROUSSARD: ... The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?" And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday." And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night.

RUSSERT: Mr. President...

BROUSSARD: Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us. The secretary has promised. Everybody's promised. They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody.

RUSSERT: Just take a pause, Mr. President. While you gather yourself in your very emotional times, I understand, let me go to Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi.

Since the broadcast of the interview, which elevated Broussard to national prominence, a number of bloggers have questioned the validity of Broussard’s story.

Subsequent reporting identified the man whom Broussard was referring to in the Meet the Press interview as Thomas Rodrigue, the Jefferson Parish emergency services director. Contacted on Friday by MSNBC.com, Rodrigue acknowledged that his 92-year-old mother and more than 30 other people died in the St. Rita nursing home. They had not been evacuated and the flood waters overtook the residence.

The chronology of the phone calls described by Broussard came under particular scrutiny by bloggers. (CERTAINLY NOT LIBERAL BLOGGERS)

Rodrigue said he didn’t see or hear Broussard’s comments on Meet the Press. When told of the sequence of phone calls that Broussard described on Meet the Press, Rodrigue said “No, no, that’s not true.”

“I can’t tell you what he said that day, why he was confused, I’m assuming he was under a tremendous amount of pressure,” Rodrigue told MSNBC.

“I contacted the nursing home two days before the storm [on Aug. 27th] and again on the 28th of August,” Rodrigue said. “At the same time I talked to the nursing home I also talked to the emergency manager for St. Bernard Parish,” Rodrigue said, “to encourage that nursing home to evacuate like they were supposed to and they didn’t until it was too late.”

Broussard must have been confused “because I was calling, not my mother calling me, I was calling her,” Rodrigue said. Further, Rodrigue says he never made any calls after Monday, the day he figures his mother died, based on conversations he’s had with another person who had a family member perish inside St. Rita’s. Officials believe that the residents of St. Rita’s died on Monday, Aug. 29, not on Friday, Sept. 2, as Broussard had suggested.

Broussard could not be reached for comment Friday, but Jackie Bauer, a spokeswoman for Broussard who was present during the Meet the Press interview, said "it was a misunderstanding."

Late on Friday, Bauer told MSNBC.com: "I was there when he (Broussard) was doing that, when he was saying that, I think he was meaning that he was calling, he was calling and trying to talk to Tommy and telling him ‘don’t worry,' trying to console Tommy, 'don’t worry, we’ll get her out, don’t worry we’ll get her out.'"

When asked how Broussard could have gotten the details of his mother’s story so wrong, Rodrigue said, Broussard “was emotional, absolutely and he was from the time that he found out that, you know, that my mother had died and I was here doing what I’m required to do for the citizens for Jefferson Parish.”

Rodrigue said he hasn’t spoken with Broussard since the Meet the Press broadcast. “He’s been busy, I’ve been busy,” Rodrigue said. “I haven’t really had a chance to sit down and talk to him.”

The husband and wife owners of St. Rita’s nursing home in the New Orleans suburb of Chalmette have been charged with homicide in the case.

“The pathetic thing in this case was that they were asked if they wanted to move them and they did not,” Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti said Tuesday. “They were warned repeatedly that this storm was coming. In effect, their inaction resulted in the deaths of these people.”

“They had a duty and a standard of care to people who could not care for themselves,” Foti said of the owners. “If you or I decided we are going to stay, we do it of our own free will. ... The people at the nursing home don’t have that choice.”

“Thirty-four people drowned in a nursing home when it should have been evacuated. I cannot say it any plainer than that,” Foti said, his voice rising with anger.

Snoop has a question for you liberals....

During a one-week period in July 1995, temperatures in Chicago soared above 100 degrees and severely crippled the city's infrastructure and ability to provide services. The human cost, however, was far more devastating, as dead bodies literally piled up at the city's morgues, emergency rooms turned people away, and social services agencies struggled to help those in need. In an analysis of this disaster, some would argue that the weather itself accounted for only part of the loss of human life. (More than 700 people died from the heat wave twice as many people that died in the Great Chicago Fire.) Many deaths could have been prevented by a more responsive and better organized effort from city government and social services toward the poor and elderly. Many would say these failures reflected the patterns of social inequality that divide Chicago (or any other major American city).

The death toll in NOLA I doubt will be that high, so why was the president not responsible for that disaster? Did he turn his back on the poor or elderly, blacks?
Who was president then?