September 2, 2005

Mayor of New Orleans has had it, tells it like it is.

In an extrordiary interview with New Orleans radio station WWL, Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans gave an impassioned interview where he expressed his exasperation at the lack of response and action from state and federal agencies.

Update: I've finally found a link to the audio. Listen to it here.

Using salty but appropriate language, Nagin, who was a long time Republican, a Bush donor, and an exec of Cox Cable before switching to the Democratic party in a strategic move to help his chances at election, blasted Bush and others in no uncertain terms, saying they need to "get their asses down here" and provide some help immediately. He did not mince words at how ineffective and stupid their response has been so far. He also drew comparisons to how quickly congress forked over more than 100 BILLION dollars to Bush for the Iraq fiasco, but why haven't they been able to do much of anything for his city?

The interview ended with both the mayor and the interviewer silently weeping. It really told the story and the frustration with the tepid and half-hearted response to this incredible crisis.

Nagin also mentioned one very true and very logical explanation for the sporatic reports of gun fire and looting, being honest enough to acknowledge that there is an incredible flow of drugs through New Orleans, and that the city contains thousands of drug addicts.

He surmised, and it's likely true, that source of most of the violence is due to addicts desperate to find a fix and to take the edge off their withdrawals. This would account for attacks on ambulances and the reason hostpitals are insecure. Addicts are breaking into drug stores or any place they can in desperation to feed their addictions.

I also feel strongly that the reports making it seem as if the entire city is full of armed homicidal maniacs is overblown and misrepresented.

The fact remains that the various authorities have a obligation and moral duty to make every effort to rescue people and provide relief, no matter what the situation is. They simply can't afford to hang back because they're afraid of stories and rumors of rampant violence, violence which is likely exagerated to boot.

First you go and save people, if you run into gun fire, then get out of that particular area. But don't sit and do nothing because you've heard reports of gun fire and people getting shot. That's insane, cowardly, and immoral. This isn't downtown wherever on a sunny day. This is truly a war zone, actually beyond a war zone, and it demands more courage and determination than the weak-kneed, half-assed response so far.

The mayor's interview was so powerful that I hope to tape it when it if it's rebroadcast on CNN and transcribe it for posting at a later time. I've searched for a link to the audio online but so far have been unsuccessful. I'll post it if I find one.

UPDATE: This is the only link I've found, and it was buried at the CNN site. It contains partial quotes from the Nagin interview.

UPDATE: I've finally found a link to the audio via Atrios.

Listen to it. It's great stuff.

NOTE: This is absolutely disgusting. CNN is now re-running the interview, but they've edited the hell out of it and are replaying the one spot where the Mayor gives Bush credit for sending a miltary guy who really kicked ass and got things started. They COMPLETELY left off the most damning and emotional part of the interview!! Out of perhaps the full 5 minutes, they only played the edited portion where he said he gave Bush credit (though it was only because one military guy showed up who seized the situation and started getting action)
As a matter of fact, they ran this portion, and when it got to the part where Nagin really started laying it on the line, they actually cut it and RE-PLAYED the part favorable to Bush again... they simply played it twice in a row to fill the time spot, rather than allowing the tape to run!!!

Talk about being afraid of angering Bush! It's blatant and sickening!

So, they played the entire interview at about 6 a.m., and now apparently the nation will not hear it again. They've carved it up into a clip where the mayor gives Bush credit, faint as it is, and will likely only play that clip the rest of the day.

It wouldn't surprise me a bit if CNN got an angry call from the White House after the damning interview was aired in it's entirety, and they hustled to clean it up. Why do they bend over backwards to protect BUSH?? WHY?


At 9/02/2005 8:46 AM, Blogger Whetam Knauckweirst said...

I applaud you for sitting through CNN coverage in order to catch this glaring and unnerving disparity. New Orleans is perishing before our eyes, and newsroom brown-nosers are worried about "capturing the right tone" of Nagin's interview.

Let's hope someone heeds the mayor's actual words, and soon.

P.S. Dope, congratulate me -- I just received my first posting from a conservative screwball who prefaced his remarks by berating me as an idiot and "red leaf."

At 9/02/2005 9:32 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Well well, you've arrived! But I'm a bit jealous, as I've never been called a "red leaf". As a matter of fact, I have no idea what that means, which makes it even more valuable. Wear it proudly.

At 9/02/2005 9:43 AM, Blogger Whetam Knauckweirst said...

"Red leaf" is meant as a derogatory reference to my being Canadian. In the same breath, the conservative seemed to give me a "pass" for my ignorance for that reason. He's not the first. Author Neal Pollack once did the same thing. It's meant to seem patronizing, but really the person offering the "pass" comes off as the puffed-up jackass.

Just listened to the interview with New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin that you graciously linked to... unreal. The pain in the man's voice is unbearable. The situation he describes is unthinkable. Powerful, horrendous stuff. CNN must have called in their most skilled editor to slice out that sliver in which Nagin compliments Bush because its fleeting amid his brutal and honest criticisms.

Let's hope they get the help they need -- and quickly.

At 9/02/2005 10:01 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Millions of us are sitting in frustration, waiting to be told how we can help. I hope that manpower is able to be harnessed and brought to bear in the situation.

But the fact remains that all that most of us can do is to offer our sincere hopes that things break in a good way and no further disaster erupts, (such as the vast oil slick which covers the city erupting in flames) and to donate heavy to the relief agency of your choice.

Of course we've all donated to the agency which should be the most effective and well equipped to handle this disaster... the U.S. government. We've all given big time to ensure that they're able to respond to situations such as this.
To that end, I think everyone ought to be rightously pissed off at the inability, terrible leadership, and lack of resources that was displayed in this first week.

If the federal government were a charitable organization, I'd never give them a dime after this.

And Bush looks more pathetic than ever, and that's really quite an achievement.

At 9/10/2005 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was Bush supposed to come down here himself and evacuate the 31 nursing home residents that died in New Orleans. I'm quite sure the LA National Guard couldn't have gotten their address from Bush. This is a party town with "party" people in charge. It took people with a grasp on the real world to come here to get things moving.


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