Hurricane Gustav is heading toward the Gulf coast as a category 3 storm. Gustav hit western Cuba yesterday and is responsible for more than 80 deaths.
A hurricane warning is in effect for over 500 miles of Gulf coast from Cameron, La., near the Texas border to the Alabama-Florida state line. The storm is moving at 17 mph with winds of 120 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center‘s 11 a.m. EDT update. Hurricane-force winds extended 50 miles from the storm’s center. Its center was about 325 miles southeast of the Mississippi River‘s mouth.
Last time this happened, three years ago with Katrina, response was slow and inexcusable. The sight was intolerable and unbelievable to the rest of the country who was virtually unable to do anything to help.
This time, it’s an election year.
So this means that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney will not attend the GOP convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, because of Hurricane Gustav. To do what? Load sandbags? Help evacuate the elderly?
Bush has already declared a state of emergency in Mississippi, following similar declarations in Louisiana and Texas. He has ordered federal aid to supplement state and local efforts in the areas in the forecast path of Gustav. Bush and his administration were heavily criticized in 2005 for not moving fast enough to send federal help to the Gulf Coast when Hurricane Katrina. This time it’s different…..
The Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, coincidently a dem, has been visible all week genuinely concerned for the hurricane and his people. On Saturday he instituted a dusk-to-dawn curfew to take effect at sunset and continue until the storm has passed. The curfew allows officials to arrest residents if they are not on their own property.
“Looting will not be tolerated,” Nagin said. “Looters will go directly to jail. You will not get a pass this time.”
As of today, Nagin has issued a mandatory evacuation order. Nagin used stark language to urge residents to get out of the city, calling Gustav the “the mother of all storms.”
“This is the real deal, not a test,” Nagin said as he issued the evacuation order Saturday night. “For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life.”
After Katrina Nagin criticized the delays in aid to the city. He expressed anger with what he saw as the slow federal and state response, imploring citizens to request that President Bush and Louisiana Governor Blanco send the required resources.
“I don’t want to see anybody do anymore goddamn press conferences,” he said. “Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don’t do another press conference until the resources are in this city”.
President Bush responded to Nagin’s criticism by focusing on the failings of state and local authorities, stating that the disaster’s magnitude “created tremendous problems that have strained state and local capabilities.
So now Bush is going to be more visible in the storm area. Why?