FROM Ivor van Heerden
Emergency Preparations Ramp Up as the Northeast Waits for Irene Even before Hurricane Irene hit the Carolinas, evacuations were underway as far north as New York and New Jersey. President Obama said federal agencies are preparing with states and cities for a "historic" storm that could be "extremely dangerous and costly." As many as 55 million people live in areas threatened with power outages, high winds and flooding where heavy rains already have saturated the ground. Major airports are in the path of the storm, rail lines could be under water and highways are closed — with potential impact on transportation nationwide. We hear what's being done to prepare for the worst and the possible aftermath.
'The Big Uneasy' Five years ago, the Washington Post reported that “Louisiana's top hurricane experts have rejected the official explanations for the floodwall collapses that inundated much of New Orleans…and that the city's flood-protection system should have kept most of the city dry.” Those experts have since lost their jobs and Louisiana State University's Hurricane Center has now been shut down. That's just part of what's reported in the documentary, The Big Uneasy . Was Katrina really a “natural disaster” or largely man-made? Were levees built by the Army Corps of Engineers so poorly constructed they made it worse than it needed to be? What about recent efforts to protect New Orleans from future hurricanes? Are they based on sound engineering or pork barrel politics?
The President's Quick Trip to The Big Easy Senator Barack Obama went to New Orleans five times to criticize then-President George Bush for failing to rebuild New Orleans or protect it from future flooding. But today was his first visit as President, and he spent just a few hours before going on to a fundraiser in San Francisco.
Obama's Quick Trip to The Big Easy As a Senator, Obama went to New Orleans five times to criticize then-President Bush for failing to rebuild the city or protect it from future flooding. He campaigned on the claim that George W. Bush had failed to rebuild New Orleans after Katrina or to invest enough in future protection. Now, with 65,000 homes still abandoned, no public hospital and levees that remain vulnerable to flooding, Obama’s being criticized for not doing enough. Today, he made his first visit as President, with only enough time for a box lunch, before going on to a fundraiser in San Francisco. Has his administration been good for New Orleans? Can the Army Corps of Engineers prevent another disaster? What about politics in a city focused on race in a state focused on partisanship?
In New Orleans, the Disaster Continues Ernesto is now just a tropical storm, but it was the first hurricane of a new season. Meantime, politicians of both parties, including President Bush, are streaming into New Orleans for tomorrow's first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Under direction from Congress, the Army Corps of Engineers has spent a billion dollars to bring the city's flood protection back where it was before Katrina. Despite billions in federal spending, there's not even a plan for rebuilding 12 months after America's worst natural disaster. If there were another Katrina, could levees rebuilt by the Army Corps of Engineers hold back the water? What does race have to do with the lack of planning? We hear about the slow and painful process of recovery.
Concern deepens amid Trump's controversies President Trump delivered today's commencement speech to the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. As he praised the accomplishments of the graduates, he listed some of his own… and made reference to reports that he leaked intelligence to the Russians and tried to shut down an FBI Investigation into his associates.
Trump fires FBI Director James Comey Vice President Mike Pence took the Administration's lead today in explaining why the President fired the Head of the FBI, saying, "The president made the right decision at the right time." Trump's action is being compared to the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre" that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1973.
A New York Times op-ed on climate change sparks uproar The New York Times is embroiled in a public furor over a new columnist, who wrote that scientific uncertainty is reason for debate about climate change. Many conservatives are delighted. Is America's leading liberal newspaper fostering climate denial? This is the latest in our series, "The Emotional States of America."