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September 4, 2005 6:24 PM   Subscribe

There has been much criticism, both in the US and world media, of the handling of rescue operations after Hurricane Katrina. However, the Washington Post ran a survey Friday evening (registration required - bugmenot ) and of American's citizens 46 percent -- approve of the way Bush has handled relief efforts while 47 percent disapprove, a result that might offer some cheer to beleaguered White House staffers who feared a stronger negative reaction.
posted by dig_duggler (79 comments total)

 
Furthermore, "views deeply colored by party affiliation. According to the poll, 68 percent of Democrats rated the government's performance as "not so good" or "poor," while 66 percent of Republicans judged it to be "excellent" or "good." This finding shows this national emergency has not united Americans the way the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, did."

While the blame game begins, I find it unfathomable that people can approve of how this was handled.
posted by dig_duggler at 6:27 PM on September 4, 2005


What does it take for Bush to meet with members of the NAACP after over five years of his administration?

One guess.

Meanwhile, a prominent member of the Bush administration visited the disaster area today, emphasizing that the president wouldn't ignore the plight of hurricane survivors based on their race. Which one, you ask?

One guess.

Rednecks and Rice.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:27 PM on September 4, 2005


Politics is still football, apparently. Great country we have here.
posted by furiousthought at 6:29 PM on September 4, 2005


"Condi, I need you to get down to NOLA STAT."

"But Mr. President, I'm buying shoes. Plus, isn't this a domestic issue?"

"Yes, but Condi-- you're black."
posted by gwint at 6:34 PM on September 4, 2005


Is the federal government doing too much? Not enough? Or just the right amount to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina? - Not enough: 68%

Thinking just about the President of the United States ... Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina? Dissaprove: 53%

A majority of Americans think the Feds and Bush are "fucking up!"
posted by ericb at 6:38 PM on September 4, 2005


Dear God. Now, I can imagine some split along party lines - more Democrats saying Katrina and her aftermath were handled abominably and more Republicans saying that it was handled just acceptably or not great [but not awful.] But after everything I've read in the past week, I simply cannot fathom how 66% of Republicans could possibly say that the situation was handled well or excellently.

I don't know. You'd think that after the past week, I'd have lost some of my ability to be shocked and appalled, but...
posted by ubersturm at 6:41 PM on September 4, 2005


53% disapproval rate? What's it going to take--a major cable outage that the feds do nothing about to make Americans notice that the government is imploding?
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:41 PM on September 4, 2005


I am so disturbed that ideology now takes precedence over reality.
posted by Miko at 6:47 PM on September 4, 2005


the Washington Post ran a survey Friday evening

Golly. Think the citizens of Mississippi and Louisiana were represented in that poll?
posted by mediareport at 6:50 PM on September 4, 2005


I wonder what percentage of people think the same way about voting, polls and rallies for a political pary the same way they do about supporting their hometown football team?

You know those fans who even when their team hasn't won a game in ages, and they know their team sucks, they paint their faces and cheer enthusiastically all the same? I bet they'd equate voting "the wrong way" at any time, even a poll, as letting their team down.
posted by Stuart_R at 7:04 PM on September 4, 2005


What, exactly, would Bush have to for some of these people to stop judging him "excellent"? Wander over to their houses, piss in their beer and set fire to their dog?

Tribal loyalties. Jesus.
posted by Leon at 7:11 PM on September 4, 2005


A majority of Americans think the Feds and Bush are "fucking up!"

See, the thing is that many Americans don't think that failures of the federal government have anything to do with Bush. Look, I can't explain it, but people generally don't hold Bush responsible for any failures or errors of the federal government. It's strange, but that's the way it works.
posted by deanc at 7:14 PM on September 4, 2005


There's a simpler answer as to whether Bush hates black people or not... obviously, he can deal with Condoleeza Rice, after all.

Bush hates poor people.

... or at least he views them with extreme apathy. This disdain probably extends to most anyone who is lower middle class, really. After all, such people don't give him money for his political campaigns.

I mean, if Bush did hate all blacks, why would he attend meetings of Black businessmen and enterpreneurs...?

Of course, the black leaders who attend the NAACP conference tend to be more affluent than the norm, but Bush obviously assumes that because they are black and that they are sometimes critical of him, they are also poor.

That's not to say that Bush will not court the poor, however. He does... especially poor white Americans, who he believes that he can win over by claiming to be "one of them" or who he thinks he can persuade to vote against their best interests by taking advantage of and manipulating their sense of morality, patriotism, or race-based fears.

Still, if Bush really *liked* poor people, he'd have more poor friends. Can anyone point out a single good, longterm friend of Bush who isn't well off?
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:19 PM on September 4, 2005


It's tempting for me, by way of clarification, to evenhandedly claim that politics-as-football is on the increase and even prevalent on both sides, and I sort of believe this, but what was the last chance the Democratic side of the fence had to place party-line loyalty over what's in front of their lying eyes? Hmm. The Kelo decision. That's pretty good. Oh.
posted by furiousthought at 7:22 PM on September 4, 2005


Look, I can't explain it, but people generally don't hold Bush responsible for any failures or errors of the federal government. It's strange, but that's the way it works.

That really does seem to be the case, doesn't it?


What does it take for Bush to meet with members of the NAACP after over five years of his administration?

One guess.


Is it just me, or are you posting that in every Katrina-related thread? Not that I mind, it just keeps making me think I'm getting deja-vu, when I am actually seeing something I've seen before.

posted by jack_mo at 7:23 PM on September 4, 2005


do you know what i get from this? ... people care more about the price of gas than their fellow americans
posted by pyramid termite at 7:23 PM on September 4, 2005


Keep in mind that those polls were released two days ago, and that the data for them was collected in the first days of the disaster.

I bet if they did the same poll today, the results would be even more damning for the president.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:23 PM on September 4, 2005


Man. They aren't being loyal. They actually think that the local gov't and the 'tendencies' of the 'victims' led to this and Bush is saving the day. They actually believe this. They really actually believe this.

I have been telling everybody I can to write, write, write, congressmen, senators, anyone...and not in some offensive, lefty, outrage-spewing satisfactory way. Sincerely, deeply,and adultly (yeah, I know, give me a break...I'm trying to achieve some sort of symmetry here) try and communicate this. Local officials: make them imagine what it would be like to be in those shoes: abandoned until it looks like your fault. Because all the people I hang around with are assuming it's over for Bush. They're practically shopping for tickets to the Democratic Inaugural Ball. And the same near-majority who loved him bfore love him now. Maybe even more. Cause when the poor and shiftless can't fend, Daddy Bush is there to help them get past their inadequacies. It's not a joke. And they're not being loyal. This needs to be understood.
posted by umberto at 7:24 PM on September 4, 2005


66 percent of Republicans judged it to be "excellent" or "good."
Clearly the response wasn't excellent, or good. George W Bush said it was unacceptable. Everyone should agree that, god forbid, anything like this ever happens again -- the response needs to be better.

Republicans should feel like they can encourage "their team" to do the best job possible. When they don't live up to expectations, fans of that team should say they want better performance. Instead they feel like they have to have constantly unified support for their man in the White House, regardless of what's going on.

If you don't tell them when they're doing something you don't like, how will they know?

The opposite is true as well -- Democrats should feel like they can still encourage the government to move in the right direction through means other than waiting for the next election.

if you don't tell them when they're doing something you DO like, how will they know?

You can still supoort your team and yell at the TV when the quarterback fumbles the ball. It doesn't mean you don't like your team anymore.

People need to remember that no matter how much they love watching the game, they're not actually ON either team. Unless you're running for office, you're just a fan.
posted by Stuart_R at 7:26 PM on September 4, 2005


Obfuscated question:
I think the president has done an exceptional job handling Katrina...
[ ] Strongly disagree [ ] Disagree [ ] Agree [ ] Strongly Agree

Actual question:
You are an idiot.
[ ] Strongly disagree [ ] Disagree [ ] Agree [ ] Strongly Agree
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:26 PM on September 4, 2005


What we really need right now is for Spike Lee to throw a trash can through the window of Sal's Pizzeria.

Dead serious. If Bush gets away with this, somebody somewhere is gonna go ballistic.
posted by fungible at 7:33 PM on September 4, 2005


I like to consider myself relatively... If not jaded, at least a little bit less emotional over obviously partisan issues.

That being said, I find this to be absolutely staggering. Even if this WAS taken a couple of days after the hurricane moved through, I do not understand how any American (republican or democrat) with two brain cells to rub together could consider the handling of this at the federal government level to be anything but an overwhelming fuckup.

Thousands of Americans have died, in part, because of real mistakes made at the upper levels of government. And this isn't the indirect "We should have had better intelligence" sort of mistakes a la 9/11 -- This would be as if New Yorkers were left to fend entirely for themselves for four or five days after the planes hit with bodies lying in the streets.

I don't give a shit who's the president or what party's in power. If heads don't roll over this, I cannot even imagine a more egregious example of politics trumping reality.
posted by wolftrouble at 7:39 PM on September 4, 2005


Opinions may be less forgiving as the body count rises. Or if not that, then when the gas prices rise.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:40 PM on September 4, 2005


Nothing like the smell of spin in the morning.
posted by nightchrome at 7:45 PM on September 4, 2005


66% of Republicans think Bush did a good job on this??

The government does nothing, loses a major city, and people think this is good?

What will it take?

I agree with the comment that it's become a team thing -- and I think that people on that team believe that Louisiana is on the other team, the blue team -- and I really think that when it comes down to it they think that they just don't care about players on the blue team.

From reading the Republicans, I see a lot of "talking points" -- no one could have expected this; they deserved it for not getting out; local government should have been able to handle it; you can't expect any better performance than this.

We lose New Orleans and half the country shrugs... "What do you expect?"

I thought I was unshockable -- I guess I was not. What WILL it take?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:46 PM on September 4, 2005


Um....LA is a red state.
posted by umberto at 7:51 PM on September 4, 2005


was.
posted by yhbc at 7:54 PM on September 4, 2005


metafilter makes me cry.

im going to be a dumb american.
posted by ackeber at 7:59 PM on September 4, 2005


At the White House:
"Jesus. What will we do about this?"
"Play the expectations game! Get some jo schmo Washington Post reporter, and tell him in a confessional this-is-a-big-secret way that we think we'll get whipped on this"
"and?"
"and then, when the buttfucks support us again, the paper'll say it's a positive showing or some shit"

Later, on the presses:
a result that might offer some cheer to beleaguered White House staffers who feared a stronger negative reaction.
posted by bonaldi at 8:00 PM on September 4, 2005


What WILL it take?

It took 31.25 million Americans without work in 1931 to make everybody realise that the rights of capital were not supreme and that we needed a New Deal.

It took the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. to make a lot of white Americans realise their present system of segregation was untenable.

et cetera.

A few thousand dead poor folks are nothing. We are enured to such displays. A few thousand deaths? Hell -- we do that in Iraq every month.

My only hope is that this remains in the back of our minds and that people better than myself can find a way to turn this anger into action.
posted by jmgorman at 8:01 PM on September 4, 2005


What WILL it take?

Maybe everyone should just become a Republican.

No more Red vs. Blue. Without opposing teams, people could put their efforts into selecting the best possible candidates to hold office. They could vote in these polls based on their own opinions too. Of course, I'm sure there are many reasons everyone becoming a Republican isn't possible, including not being all that sure regular people can influence what candidates are put forward in the first place...
posted by Stuart_R at 8:09 PM on September 4, 2005


You think less political diversity in the US will be a good thing right now?

As a Brit, one of the things I've noticed is a lack of a figurehead for the opposition. Doesn't the Democratic party have a leader that can whip the fool over this?
posted by bonaldi at 8:13 PM on September 4, 2005


We're going to be living with the effects of this disaster for the rest of our lives. It's not just going to be a blip on Bush's popularity chart, I'm sad to say. The story is going to go for years and years and no amount of spinning can cover for fact that we lost a major American city under Bush's watch.

I think we're going to see tens of thousands of 9-11 widows and years of testimony and investigations during a time when Republicans won't control nearly as many votes as they do now. It seems there is a lot of rage and anger out there from the people emerging from the evacuation centers. From the reception that Kanye West got for his comments, it seems that he really touched a nerve in the African-American community.

I cannot imagine a future where people think back to Katrina, "Oh, that disaster was horrible, if only that state official had filled out her paperwork in triplicate, Bush could have saved the Gulf Coast"
posted by rks404 at 8:20 PM on September 4, 2005


Heh. Does the Democratic party have a leader.

I would imagine as soon as Howard Dean calms down enough to express himself in two syllables or more, or as soon as John Kerry finishes formulating his introductory paragraph, we'll hear a little from them. It's a race. I figure it ends next Friday. Shit, I don't know.
posted by furiousthought at 8:23 PM on September 4, 2005


The Democrats have Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Unfortunately, if those two keep putting a racial spin on the issue, I think most folks won't get behind them.
posted by Serena at 8:28 PM on September 4, 2005


You think less political diversity in the US will be a good thing right now?

If everyone was in the same party, there wouldn't really BE parties -- so it'd be all about the individual candidates. So in effect, more political diversity with less of the football team red vs. blue nonsense. ;-)

It's not really a serious suggestion.

Howard Dean has something posted at democrats.org. I think all politicians in the US have the same message.
posted by Stuart_R at 8:36 PM on September 4, 2005


46 percent -- approve of the way Bush has handled relief efforts

ah, well, that's good enough for me.
posted by 3.2.3 at 8:54 PM on September 4, 2005


Wait a second -- SurveyUSA is showing Bush's approval ratings for Katrina disaster management to be absolutely plunging over the past week.

Thinking just about the President of the United States ... Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina?
            9/4  9/3  9/2  9/1  8/31 
Approve      38   41   40   46   48 
Disapprove   55   53   53   44   39  
Click the dropdown list in the original chart (which reverses the date order) to see the various demographic breakdowns. (via Kos)
posted by maudlin at 9:00 PM on September 4, 2005


It took the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. to make a lot of white Americans realise their present system of segregation was untenable.

Had the name been, say, Emmett Till, I could agree. While I share your anger, that is an appallingly ignorant remark.
posted by y2karl at 9:01 PM on September 4, 2005


Doesn't the Democratic party have a leader that can whip the fool over this?

Man o man, is that ever a problem for Democrats like me right now. We've got some well-known, long-established people. good-hearted people. And we've got some bold, impassioned people. And we've got some smart people. But I don't know if we have anyone who is bold, impassioned, smart, good-hearted, and well-known - and you kind of need all of those to make a ripple in DC.
posted by Miko at 9:12 PM on September 4, 2005


I cannot imagine a future where people think back to Katrina, "Oh, that disaster was horrible, if only that state official had filled out her paperwork in triplicate, Bush could have saved the Gulf Coast"

I've been trying to say that all week. Thanks for finding the words.
posted by fungible at 9:19 PM on September 4, 2005


The Democrats have Jesse Jackson

Would that be the same Jesse Jackson that chartered buses to evacuate some of the people stranded in NOLA?
posted by deanc at 9:29 PM on September 4, 2005


y2k - My impression was that not so many white folks were reading Jet magazine in '55. No, MLK's death didn't start (or end) anything, but I've read a number of testimonials that identify that moment as a threshold moment.

Clearly, I was making some broad generalisations and that is rarely good. I'm off tonight - really off. Sorry, y'all.
posted by jmgorman at 9:42 PM on September 4, 2005


This is a bad place to ask this question, because it's not rhetorical, and because I don't know the answer.

But I want to ask those of you who believe that the federal response to this crisis has been "good" or "excellent" or "appropriate" or whatever:

>>>what would be a "bad" response be, on the part of the federal government? What would be a response that demonstrated unequivocally that neglect caused people to suffer, drown and starve to death?

I just want to set the bar, because I cannot wrap my head around this, and I worked spin for a living for 10 years. I don't know anyone who doesn't think that we are plummeting into a dark ages, and I'd like to know: what would it take to convince you of that, if you currently believe otherwise?

Would there need to be 2x the number of dead? 10x? Or if it's not numbers, please just tell me: what would it take to get you to say: the United States failed?

Honest question, I'm begging for an honest answer.
posted by cloudscratcher at 9:44 PM on September 4, 2005


Um....LA is a red state

...New Orleans, however, was the bluest county in the state, with Kerry getting 78% of the vote.

a result that might offer some cheer to beleaguered White House staffers who feared a stronger negative reaction.

I just want to point out again that 46% approval of the President's handling of the worst natural disaster in US history is an extremely negative reaction. As bonaldi points out, any claim to the contrary is pure deceptive spin.

As Talking Points Memo highlighted on Sunday, the White House is not above using the background "Senior White House Official" strategy to lie, even under these tragic circumstances...

Thanks maudlin for putting up the SurveyUSA tracking numbers. As LA state officials have been pointing out over and over again, despite press appearances and staged events, things are still not getting fixed on the ground. The further descent of the approval numbers after Bush's visit make it clear that the public is very aware of this fact, and is not falling for the spin. (Isn't it amazing what happens to public opinion when the media actually functions!)
posted by VulcanMike at 9:53 PM on September 4, 2005


This poll is from last Friday, and a lot has changed since then. Give it a few more days, and I bet the disapprove numbers will be up in the high 60s at least.
posted by galamud at 9:56 PM on September 4, 2005


Adding to cloudscratcher's question, what does it mean about the quality of democracy in our country -- or simply the health of our society overall -- when over 50% of the population basically consumes and regurgitates governmental talking points regardless of their truth and no matter how outlandish they are?

Where do we go from the point at which the President tells the head of homeland security that he's doing a great job on a week like this, and a majority of the nation's people reflexively respond "He sure is!"
posted by VulcanMike at 9:59 PM on September 4, 2005


Still, if Bush really *liked* poor people, he'd have more poor friends. Can anyone point out a single good, longterm friend of Bush who isn't well off?

Or Kerry for that matter? Tell the truth, who would seem more the poor man's friend, Bush or Kerry? I'm not saying who is really the poor man's friend, probably neither, but Bush has always seemed more salt of the earth to most Americans I feel. Am I wrong?
posted by Ron at 10:11 PM on September 4, 2005


I hope this lie, about not 'filling out the paperwork' disappears soon. It's so ridiculous. The TPM article did point out an important thing: That a senior Whitehouse official" was willing to lie to the American people (only with anonymity) in order to cover their asses.
posted by delmoi at 10:11 PM on September 4, 2005


Or Kerry for that matter? Tell the truth, who would seem more the poor man's friend, Bush or Kerry? I'm not saying who is really the poor man's friend, probably neither, but Bush has always seemed more salt of the earth to most Americans I feel. Am I wrong?

Kerry was born into the upper middle class, and bush was born Rich. I would imagine being the friend of a powerfull polictician has a lot of perks.

On the other hand, poor people no how to party, so there's that going for bush :P
posted by delmoi at 10:14 PM on September 4, 2005


Also, I would imagine Kerry made a lot of friends in Vietnam, most of whome would not be rich.
posted by delmoi at 10:14 PM on September 4, 2005


Skip the partisan ping-pong for a sec and think about:

A) The Post is inside the beltway and their analysis reflects this bizarre reality-sinkhole.

B) NOBODY who lost comms or utilities, not to mention their homes or their lives is included in the polling population.

So the poll is worthless and should be disregarded. The numbers are going to be a hell of a lot different in a couple of weeks, so wait for it. Another case of TV "objectivism" being disconnected from reality.

I'm actually a little shocked nobody upthread noticed this. It is rather damn obvious. So be cool. Those also serve who only stand and wait.
posted by warbaby at 10:37 PM on September 4, 2005


and here's the key graf:
A total of 501 randomly selected adults were interviewed Friday night after Bush visited the Gulf Coast region and as National Guard troops, emergency supplies and relief workers began moving into the stricken city of New Orleans. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.
The claimed margin of error is obviously BS because of the sampling error in not asking the people affected by the disaster, but only asking the nose-pickers who view it for their pathetic amusement.
posted by warbaby at 10:41 PM on September 4, 2005


I feel sorry for anyone who thinks about politics in the face of a huge catastrophe like this. If Republicans and Democrats are worried about scoring political points, then fuck them all, seriously. What's the point of your office then, if your #1 priority is to score points against the other side? 100% of the focus should be on helping those in need and figuring out procedures for the next time.

We. Don't. Even. Know. What. Happened. Yet.
posted by b_thinky at 10:50 PM on September 4, 2005


I'm actually a little shocked nobody upthread noticed this.

Be a little less shocked, wouldja?
posted by mediareport at 11:15 PM on September 4, 2005


We. Don't. Even. Know. What. Happened. Yet.

No, princess... you don't know what's happened yet, and mainly because you've had your hands over your ears, going "I CAN'T HEEEAAARRR YOUUU..."

The rest of us, who are - y'know - awake, realize that one of the reasons this is a fucking horrific problem is... drum roll... politics. Or did you think that, somehow, interoperation between the federal, state, and local levels across several different states was a private matter? Explain to me why that isn't a political process.

I guess the reason why we're "scoring political points" instead of "helping those in need" is because the folks who drop everything to help get turned away by FEMA because they don't have a Federal Junior Lifesavers Certificate or, more often, just because. Like what, I'm supposed to keep my mouth shut about what a colossal fuckup this has been, out of respect for the people who have died during it?

Man, fuck you.

I've been paying attention to the news and screaming myself raw, staring at the dropped ball in the middle of the field and the various federal elements who had, over the past five years, assured us that they and they alone were the only people who could save us from the Seriously Bad Shit, and now that the shit's hit the fan -- whoops, that ball sure is slippery.

Thanks for the bipartisan call to leave off criticizing what has been a patently incompetent job, but I think it's important that people continue to hold their elected officials' feet to the fire, because otherwise they let people drown. I saw, with my own goddamn two eyes, the director of FEMA find out on national fucking television that tens of thousands of people were without water, food, medicine, or hope at the Convention Center, and you want us to not call bullshit because we haven't acheived perfect knowledge of the events yet?

Fuck that noise.
posted by Coda at 11:23 PM on September 4, 2005


We. Don't. Even. Know. What. Happened. Yet.
posted by b_thinky at 1:50 AM EST on September 5 [!]


51% = vast majority that gives Bush "political capital".
46% = national consensus that Bush is doing a competent job.
.00000001% = we don't know what happened yet.
posted by Rothko at 11:24 PM on September 4, 2005


What Coda said.
posted by deanc at 11:46 PM on September 4, 2005


"I feel sorry for anyone who thinks about politics in the face of a huge catastrophe like this."

Someone has to because this hurricane season is not over yet. This is not an isolated incident but just one chapter in an ever-continuing saga.

If anything, be glad that this debate is raging. At least here on MeFi, points of view are being discussed; some credibly, others not, but discussed just the same.

Hopefully, other cities are taking note of the quality of the federal response.

Buffalo, NY? Given FEMA's lack of action, how will you respond to the needs of your population in the event of another crippling snowfall this winter?

San Francisco? An earthquake over Thanksgiving weekend?

Las Vegas? A terrorist attack on your water supply during your peak tourist season (which btw began this weekend)?

Here it is, mayors, city councils, county commissioners and governors! Here is your federal government responding to an emergency. Will your response plans consist of more than the directive: "Point fingers!"?
posted by mischief at 12:00 AM on September 5, 2005


"I would imagine Kerry made a lot of friends in Vietnam"

Indeed. All of his old boatmates save one were members of the Friends of Kerry, and volunteered (i.e. were not paid) to campaign for him.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:13 AM on September 5, 2005


Then again, Kerry also lost two of his best friends in Vietnam. He is reportedly still friends of their families, visiting them when he is in town.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:14 AM on September 5, 2005


Rothko (and Coda): Nobody likes a narcissist. You have no idea what happened in New Orleans or the Gulf Coast. The story has yet to be told.

Until there is a detailed investigation that reveals where along the chain of command the breakdown occurred, your opinions are about as credible as the people who said "Clinton ignroed national security for 8 yaers" after 9/11.

I guess what you've learned from all this is how to chant "fuckbushfuckbushfuckbush" a little louder. You must be proud. I think the real lesson is that large government cannot act quickly and decisively in times of need. That needs to be fixed, no matter who's in charge at what level.

But please, be my guest and ignore logic while continuing the partisan ranting. It's probably one of the more productive ways you spend your time.
posted by b_thinky at 1:46 AM on September 5, 2005


You have no idea what happened in New Orleans or the Gulf Coast. The story has yet to be told.

What to do you mean "you don't know what happened?" The story's being told as we speak, and has been since day 1, minute 1.

I read first-hand reports.
I saw videos taken at the scene.
I heard things said by various official-sounding people.

Or is this yet another devolution into epistemological nothingness--"How can you know anything?" If that were the case, how would I know you were an idiot? How would you know?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:44 AM on September 5, 2005


Adding to cloudscratcher's question, what does it mean about the quality of democracy in our country -- or simply the health of our society overall -- when over 50% of the population basically consumes and regurgitates governmental talking points regardless of their truth and no matter how outlandish they are?

Of course, you have to consider where most of the population gets their information. It baffles me because I don't function this way, but most people DON'T know that they can get information on the Internet about such things. A lot of people don't give a shit about the news. Some people have the attitude that the news is depressing, therefore they don't pay attention to it. Most Americans have never heard of MetaFilter, and haven't been sitting on their computers reading news story after news story in disbelief for the last week. So, if all they see are the headlines, they know that there's some bad shit going down, and oh look! There's Bush hugging a little black girl! He must be helping!

Yes, the reporters have been shocked out of the spin zone for a while, and hopefully that will last, but it hasn't been that way for a long time. If FoxNews affirms your belief system (i.e. Christianity, Republican values), then you're more likely to watch it. If all they give you is spin... then all you know is spin.

It's unfathomable and frustrating, but most people don't dig deeper than that. As much as I love MetaFilter, we're preaching to the choir.
posted by heatherann at 6:40 AM on September 5, 2005


...I simply cannot fathom how 66% of Republicans could possibly say that the situation was handled well or excellently.

Why, Bush did exactly what those 66% would do when something bad happens to poor, or black, or sick, or hurting people... he ignored them.

But then, if this surprises you, you really haven't been paying attention for the last five years.

They're looking out for number one, and you're not EVEN number two.-Frank Zappa
posted by Enron Hubbard at 6:51 AM on September 5, 2005


A lot of people don't give a shit about the news.

This I think is the real reason for those poll results. Most Americans are patently NOT news junkies like us. They don't read papers, don't get their news from the net (too busy looking at porn and playing poker) and turn the channel when the news comes on because it is too depressing.

My guess is right now the vast majority are concerned with getting the kids back to school, shopping the labor day sales, and the price of gas. I know this because these people are my relatives and right now if you used the term "FEMA" they wouldn't have a clue as to what you are talking about.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:19 AM on September 5, 2005


Mediareport: you're right. I missed your comment entirely.
posted by warbaby at 8:33 AM on September 5, 2005


I don't place any more belief in this poll than I do the one saying 'muricans favor teaching of creationism in the public school system.
If people in this country really do believe this government is largely handling recovery in a responsible manner, then I guess this really is a nation of fools. It seems this country's government is certainly run by a pack of them.
posted by mk1gti at 8:39 AM on September 5, 2005




b_thinky: Until there is a detailed investigation that reveals where along the chain of command the breakdown occurred, your opinions are about as credible as the people who said "Clinton ignroed national security for 8 yaers" after 9/11.

Unless you can show me dozens of articles filled with scientific evidence detailing the physical inevitability of two planes crashing into the World Trade Center, you have absolutely no grounds for making this point. These are not analogous situations, and those beginning to analyze the aftermath are not blindly speculating. Compared to 9/11, there is much more information already available, all of the players are already known, responsible organizations are already identified, and documents are already available to the public.

In as much time that has passed since the hurricane, our government was already meeting with the Taliban to discuss the handover of Bin Laden. If we could move that quickly about a situation where so many variables were unknown, then we can certainly begin forming credible opinions about a natural, known, and expected and planned for scenario playing itself out on our own soil.
posted by VulcanMike at 8:41 AM on September 5, 2005


Until there is a detailed investigation that reveals where along the chain of command the breakdown occurred

No, that's a dodge. In a major disaster, you have to expect breakdowns to occur in the chain of command, especially on the city and state levels (in the case of LA), and have the capacity in place to quickly rebuild it. Wasn't there. Is it even there now? That part is the fault of the federal agencies.
posted by furiousthought at 11:00 AM on September 5, 2005


Chilling moment on the news last night: Chertoff, being interviewed on Meet the Press, is asked: 'We're still in the middle of hurricane season. Are we ready for another hurricane? Can we handle a ready for a terrorist attack at this moment?'

His answer was something vague and oily that meant "No."
posted by Miko at 11:42 AM on September 5, 2005


Newspaper polls are crap. It's not a random sample of people by any measure, and tends to be heavily biased towards people who feel the need to yell the loudest. For this particular poll, I suspect the respondents are mostly people who think the President needs their help, since everyone else either isn't bothering answering such a dumb question, or is too busy trying to figure out ways to actually contribute to the relief.

Similarly, Pew polls (on social issues like Creation) are crap. They rely on telephone answering which tends to be heavily biased towards people home and willing to talk (i.e. stay at homers and the elderly). These demographics trend much more traditional on subjects like religious views and sexual opinions. If so many Americans really thought Creation should be taught in schools then many more school boards across America would be dealing with the controversy first hand instead of the handful that make the news every year.
posted by dness2 at 5:37 PM on September 5, 2005


A friend who often listens to right-wing radio says he's noticed them using the tape delay button a lot more often. For instance, Hannity will get a call from someone saying, "Hi, Hannity. My name Jeb Louis, I'm a Christian Conservative and I just love your show. Just love it. Really wonderful. Anyways, I just want to say that --"

And then Hannity says, "Next caller, Sacramento." This happens constantly.
posted by fungible at 7:49 PM on September 5, 2005


and on fungible's note, even the Fox News poll --with a clear majority of GOP viewers--doesn't show that much support for Bush's handling: What is your opinion of the federal government's response to this crisis?

a. Great job -- this is a huge challenge
(34%)
34,129

b. Disappointing
(5%)
4,680

c. Disgraceful response
(39%)
39,202

d. Started bad but improving
(20%)
20,814

e. None of above
(3%)
2,654

101,479 total votes

posted by amberglow at 10:03 PM on September 5, 2005


I read first-hand reports.
I saw videos taken at the scene.
I heard things said by various official-sounding people.


Sorry, I didn't realize you're the kind of person who believes everything he/she sees on TV or reads in the paper, without bothering to think any deeper or ask any more questions.

You're right. No further investigations needed. Fuck Bush. He sucks. You're smart. Yay!
posted by b_thinky at 11:54 PM on September 5, 2005


LET'S NOT ROLL
posted by ParisParamus at 4:59 AM on September 6, 2005


Mom called. Stick a fork in Bush. He's done. So, my mother is (or was) a right wing fundagelical Bush worshipper - until Katrina. Actually, we have Fox news to thank for her recent conversion. ...
posted by amberglow at 6:55 AM on September 6, 2005


you'd think response times would be a little faster than they were in 1906, no?

You'd be dead wrong: The Last Time America Lost a City
posted by amberglow at 11:14 AM on September 6, 2005


amazing timeline from Uggabugga
posted by amberglow at 11:54 AM on September 6, 2005


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