Bloggers on the Katrina anniversary.

Bloggers on the Katrina anniversary.

Bloggers on the Katrina anniversary.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Aug. 29 2006 4:42 PM

Political Storm

Bloggers are marking the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. They're also commenting on John Kerry's newly found skepticism about the 2004 election results, and upon the dropping of the prosecution's case against John Mark Karr.

Political storm: President Bush and other political leaders are flocking to the Gulf Coast to mark the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The local Times-Picayune, which published in a bloglike format throughout the disaster, has complete coverage of the anniversary. Bloggers are using the occasion to point fingers for the slow government response.

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Liberals are focusing on the Bush administration's lackluster response. Indiana progressive Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare's Sister calls Katrina "the finest moment for Bush Conservatism, which advocates a social Darwinism that first leaves people without the means to evacuate and then allows those on higher (and dryer) ground to blame the drowning masses for their own desperate circumstance." Political consultant and freelancer Steve Benen of The Carpetbagger Report rattles off grim statistics about the rebuilding effort and concludes that the administration's "political rhetoric was full of sound and fury signifying nothing." Katrina refugee Che Vaughn of The Shattered Prayer has some advice for the president as he remembers the hurricane. "Wanna remember me, Mr President? Wanna remember us? Then tell FEMA to stop making ridiculous demands and get help to the people who NEED it in a timely fashion. Remember everyone Mr President, remember all of us who are still waiting for the right thing to be done," he demands.

Conservatives are weary of the criticism of Bush. Conservative pirate Ace of Ace of Spades HQ smells political opportunism behind liberal attacks. "Hmmm...making a coordinated political attack to coincide with a major disaster that cost human lives to reap some political advantage from the opposing party's perceived weakness on the issues," he ponders. "Gee, if Republicans were permitted to do that, they'd have a few issues to discuss, huh?" Mississippi urban planner Thomas Gregory of TheDeltaDirt.com finds much to praise in the government response outside Louisiana, saying that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour showed "superior leadership during the wake of our nation's largest natural disaster." Self-described "Conservative Evangelical Christian" Revbeaux at Liberal Implosion believes that Louisiana's Democratic leadership—Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin—deserve more blame than Bush. "Kathleen Blanco and Ray Nagin grew up in Louisiana, and know how powerful a storm of this magnitude can be...and that New Orleans was not in a good position due to being below sea level," she explains.

DJ Drummer, a conservative New Orleans native writing at Wizbang, says that playing the blame game is counterproductive. "Life is cruel sometimes," he writes, "You get good, you get bad, and not usually because you deserve it. What most of us do is get by and try to get better, and sooner or later the folks who got hit by Katrina will find their way. It will be tough, and probably not fair, but in the end you get what you make. You don't owe anybody, but NOBODY OWES YOU, either."

Read more about Hurricane Katrina. In Slate, evacuee Blake Bailey reflects on the last year, and New Orleans native Josh Levin files "Dispatches" from his hometown.

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Late objection: In a fund-raising e-mail for Ohio gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ted Strickland, Sen. John Kerry alleged that Strickland's opponent, Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, tampered with the 2004 presidential vote count in Ohio. Though many have questioned the Ohio vote count, this is the first time that Kerry himself has done so.

Conservatives are annoyed, if slightly amused. "When is John Kerry going to give it up and realize that he lost?" Edward Stewart of Ed on Everything asks. "The American people voted. They saw you, and they saw President Bush. And they chose President Bush. You lost." The anonymous conservative at Great White Snark writes, "John Kerry accepted the Ohio vote count, before he rejected it." Former Kerry-crusher Bull Dog Pundit of Ankle Biting Pundits calls the move a "pretty transparent bid for moonbat financial support."

Liberal reaction is more mixed. Former Kerry staffer Pamela Leavey praises her boss for "turning up the heat" on Blackwell. But the left-leaning Buddhist at Smarling Marmoset says he "understand[s] Kerry wanting to do all he can to support…Strickland, [but] I wonder about the strategy of digging this up two years later."

Read more about Kerry's allegations.

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No match: The prosecution has dropped its charges against John Mark Karr after arresting him for murdering JonBenet Ramsey 10 years ago. Karr's DNA did not match samples police collected at the crime scene, and his family placed him in Atlanta at the time of the murder.

Some aren't surprised. "I knew John Mark Karr didn't do it," declares the anonymous Texan at I Should Wear a Helmet Most Days, "It was just too easy, ya know? 10 years of this murder mystery lying dormant and then this scrawny little weirdo pops up out of the blue saying he didn't mean to kill her?"

Others are angry at the media's handling of the case. "I'm disappointed that coverage of what has and has not been done in New Orleans is meager in comparison to this John Karr jokes," writes New Orleans denizen "Serial Commenting Machine" at the group blog New Orleans' Journal. Media critic Michael Rivero at WhatReallyHappened.com believes that "Karr's confession was never credible (which is why it was not given much play here), but the media ran with it anyway, totally focusing on the 10 year old murder case, offering posthumous apologies to the much wronged (they assumed) family."

The anonymous pop culture blogger at Junkiness just misses the clarity that came with Karr's confession. "Now I don't know if we're supposed to go on hating John Mark Karr or if we're supposed to go back to hating Patsy Ramsey? Or, are we supposed to hate somebody new, some still-unidentified evil person?"

Read more about John Mark Karr.