Monday, September 12, 2005

Jack Kelly--A National Disgrace

In the past year, the Toledo Blade has earned a Pulitzer Prize for its series on the atrocities committed in Vietnam, and put themselves in consideration for another such award with their top-notch reporting on the still developing Coingate scandal. Why they still feel the need to carry the rantings of a fourth-rate Republican hack like Jack Kelly is beyond reason.

Kelly was a minor political appointee in the Reagan administration. He has been able to parlay that into a position on the national board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade, with a weakly (no, that is not a typo) column in each paper. This week's
topic was the Bush administration's (non)response to Katrina. Kelly cites an expert, Jason van Steenwyk, a "Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief. He notes that:'The federal govern­ment pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne.'”

At first glance, this Steenwyk guy seems to have a lot of experience in hurricane response--until you do a little research. See, Hurricane Iniki occured in Hawaii in September 1992. Do you remember another big hurricane that occurred late in August of that year? Hint: it was the first Atlantic hurricane of the season. That's right--Hurricane Andrew. Don't worry if you got it wrong; so did Kelly
--"For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla., after Hurricane Andrew hit in 2002 [emphasis mine]. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three days.

The point here is, you can't cite Steenwyk as a source of firsthand knowlege for both Iniki and Andrew, because he could not have been at both. To his credit, Steenwyk attempts to (slightly) correct the record at his blog, linked to above.

Back to Kelly, though. Don't you remember how the media praised the first President Bush for his administration's rapid response to Andrew? It was one of the reasons he was re-elected, wasn't it? Jack, buddy, did you have an acid flashback there, or did your memory just go selective? The slooooow response to Andrew was one of the factors that cost Bush pere the '92 election.

Not only is Kelly apparently a former drug-use, but he also imbibes wingnut kool-aid during working hours:
"A better question — which few journalists ask — is why weren’t the roughly 2,000 municipal and school buses in New Orleans utilized to take people out of the city before Katrina struck?"
Yep, if only Nagin would have packed off 12,000 to 13,000 evacuees on those 2,000 buses, this whole disaster could have been averted. Then the rescue teams would have only had to handle 20,000 evacuees that would not have had seats on the buses, instead of the 32,000 that they ended up having to rescue off of rooftops. And all of this time, I thought it was the fault of the Bush Administration for repeated failures to address serious problems with the security of this country.

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