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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Some compare and contrast

As I was reading this week's Presidential Address, something rattled around my head as I read about the efforts to control flooding in Western Minnesota and in North Dakota.

How is our current President handling this natural disaster when compared to our previous one?

Now, in the interest of fairness, here's a local publication talking about the start of the troubles along the Red River.  The post was made five days ago on March 23.  You can read the President's address by clicking on the first link above.

The first natural disaster that comes to mind when thinking about George W. Bush (OK, liberals, stop snickering!) is Hurricane Katrina.  According to the Health and Human Services site, the hurricane swept through southern Louisiana into Mississippi on August 28, 2005.

By September 2, 2005, HHS had issues this press release, listing all of the assistance they were going to or were in the process of providing.  So far, it looks as if the response in terms of helping victims of the hurricane, floods and levee breaks/breaches was appropriate and in line with what Obama's administration would be prepared to dispatch to the Red River area.

So, where's the contrast?  Here is President Bush's Weekly Address text from September 2, 2005 -- just five days after Hurricane Katrina made land.

I'll admit record flooding of a large river which has spread over thousands of square miles is minor compared to " . . a disaster area that is larger than the size of Great Britain . ."

The previous week's radio address (the day before Katrina hit land) does not mention the hurricane at all.  On August 28, Katrina warranted a two-paragraph admonition while the rest of the comments go on about Iraq's new constitution.

At the time of his two-paragraph admonition (11:30 am 8/28/05), Katrina was building up a good head of steam in the Gulf of Mexico, about 24 hours away from New Orleans.

The government site that stores the President's public comments can also be searched for remarks on August 29, 2005.  Ain't technology grand?  I could keep rooting around; however, I run the risk of these tenuous parallels coming off the rails.

The point? My best guess is what is done at the top prior to a crisis plays a big factor in the success of handling the crisis itself.  Ooh, what is that old-timey parable that fits this?

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