Equipment requested by Governor Blanco nearly a week ago still hasn’t arrived


On September 2, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco asked George W. Bush for portable radios that would enable emergency personnel to communicate with one another. She also asked for 175 generators and for emergency crews to restore communication towers. None of these things has ever arrived in Louisiana.

FEMA officials say they are “checking on the status of the request,” and FEMA director Michael Brown is assuring Blanco that what she has requested is on the way.

This afternoon, on the way home from our evacutation site, I heard a sympathetic radio station host listen to a caller who was outraged that Blanco had “failed Louisiana.” His real reason for calling, it turned out, was to tell everyone how much better things would have gone if Blanco’s opponent for the governorship, right-wing extremist Bobby Jindal, had been elected governor.

This is the way it is going to go: Take the focus off of the White House and put it on Governor Blanco, who has been begging for help since we first learned that Katrina was heading toward New Orleans. Followers of Bush will believe anything rather than believe that he hired a failed two-bit executive to direct the nation’s disaster relief operations, then spewed embarrassing cliches when he learned that huge parts of Louisiana and Mississippi were destroyed, and that thousands were either homeless or dead.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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