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David Ricardo
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Very emotional interview with someone (Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard) at ground zero who describes in detail the buffoonery of FEMA and also the personal tragedy in Louisiana:
http://movies.crooksandliars.com/Meet-the-Press-Broussard.mov

[ September 04, 2005, 05:20 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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Richard Dey
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Could we have a synopsis svp?
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David Ricardo
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Here's excerpts from the transcript then:

quote:
RUSSERT: You just heard the director of homeland security’s explanation of what has happened this last week. What is your reaction?

BROUSSARD: We have been abandoned by our own country. Hurricane Katrina will go down in history as one of the worst storms ever to hit an American coast. But the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history. … Whoever is at the top of this totem pole, that totem pole needs to be chainsawed off and we’ve got to start with some new leadership. It’s not just Katrina that caused all these deaths in New Orleans here. Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area and bureaucracy has to stand trial before Congress now.

[...]

Three quick examples. We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn’t need them. This was a week ago. FEMA, we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. When we got there with our trucks, FEMA says don’t give you the fuel. Yesterday — yesterday — FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards and said no one is getting near these lines

[...]

I want to give you one last story and I’ll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me. The guy who runs this building I’m in, Emergency Management, he’s responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, “Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?” and he said, “Yeah, Mama, somebody’s coming to get you.” Somebody’s coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Friday… and she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night! [Sobbing] Nobody’s coming to get us. Nobody’s coming to get us. The Secretary has promised. Everybody’s promised. They’ve had press conferences. I’m sick of the press conferences. For god’s sakes, just shut up and send us somebody.

You have to watch the video itself to really appreciate the emotion and perspective that Broussard is conveying.

Again, you can check out the video links at:

http://www.crooksandliars.com/2005/09/04.html#a4783

[ September 04, 2005, 07:07 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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The Drake
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I'm not interested in the emotion, I'm interested in the facts. If it turns out that FEMA really did the things he's saying, that sounds like some people need to be held accountable.
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canadian
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How can you not be interested in emotion?
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EDanaII
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Because emotion clouds judgment?

I saw that pathetic interview with Broussard, and that's just exactly what it was, pathetic.

Let's stay focused, wait for ALL the facts, and then place blame? It's always so much better than bawling like a baby...

Ed.

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canadian
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It's also what makes us human.
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FiredrakeRAGE
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No. What makes us human is our ability to reason.

--Firedrake

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canadian
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That's pretty absolute.
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EDanaII
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The ability to reason does not exclude emotion, Canadian. Reason does, in fact, expect that BOTH logic and emotion be balanced. Broussards emotions were clearly not.

Ed.

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canadian
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Ah. I just posted a new thread so as not to derail this one.
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Ivan
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quote:
Originally posted by EDanaII:

I saw that pathetic interview with Broussard, and that's just exactly what it was, pathetic.

Let's stay focused, wait for ALL the facts, and then place blame? It's always so much better than bawling like a baby...

Ed.

What's pathetic is that this man has been reduced to this. But lets face it: this situation should never have become as dire as it did if things had gone correctly. I'll agree with you we don't know what got screwed up, but please, let's not start insulting the victims of the tragedy because some havn't been as able to handle it as well as others. And since it's obvious that someone (or someones) did screw up, this guy has a point: those responsible need to be removed from power.
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EDanaII
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See my response in the new thread started by Canadian. But, in short, the man is no leader and his bawling like a baby proved it.

Ed.

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Funean
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I didn't think you were that callous, Ed.

I'm pretty sure that no one could have been prepared to endure what he did, and being titularly responsible for his parish, yet powerless to do enough, would push anyone to the breaking point.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Funean said:
quote:
I'm pretty sure that no one could have been prepared to endure what he did, and being titularly responsible for his parish, yet powerless to do enough, would push anyone to the breaking point.
No. It would push someone unqualified to control a disaster to the breaking point. If you're going to be emotional, and you're in control of disaster recovery, you have the responsibility as a leader to be emotional off camera, and outside the view of your subordinates. Self control is something that a leader should have.

--Firedrake

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Funean
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Do we have any evidence that he broke down while actually working, or just while he was being asked to describe the events of the last few days?
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FiredrakeRAGE
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Funean -

Speaking with the press is part of his job. So is maintaining a level head. Breaking down on camera affects more than just his personal water level - it affects the men and women working with him, with FEMA, and a large portion of the population of the United States.

--Firedrake

[ September 05, 2005, 04:26 PM: Message edited by: FiredrakeRAGE ]

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canadian
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And perhaps it helped get the lead out, FDR. People who elect presidents and congressmen, depite what you may believe, often do so because of how they feel about a certain candidate.

When you see a man have a moment like that on television, it brings home the seriousness of the situation.

How can this not be clear?

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Funean
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I know what you're saying, FdR; I don't actually really disagree with you in principle, particularly if this situation weren't so godawful extreme. But even the cops are starting to commit suicide down there. Everyone I've seen interviewed seems to feel they've been abandoned in some kind of extreme, post-apocalyptic nightmare.

I think after 5 days of seeing bodies floating in the street, having your water shipments turned back, your communications not just down but *cut*, and your neighbors shooting at you from the balconies, anyone, no matter how highly placed, is entitled to a little breakdown when the perfectly coiffed newsanchor says, "How's it going down there, friend?"

If he's making things up because he's come unglued, that's a whole nother ball of wax, of course.

If he's accurately describing FEMA's role, and the various decisions made over and around him, there needs to be stringent accountability for those actions--even if he was bawling "like a baby" while he said so.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Funean said:
quote:
I know what you're saying, FdR; I don't actually really disagree with you in principle, particularly if this situation weren't so godawful extreme. But even the cops are starting to commit suicide down there. Everyone I've seen interviewed seems to feel they've been abandoned in some kind of extreme, post-apocalyptic nightmare.
It is when the situation is worst that a firm leader is needed the most. Breaking down on television didn't show empathy, it showed a lack of control.

Canadian said:
quote:
When you see a man have a moment like that on television, it brings home the seriousness of the situation.
You do have a point. None the less, let someone else do the weeping - let this guy (the guy that is in charge) be in control, and getting things done.

--Firedrake

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EDanaII
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@ Canadian (From the other thread):
quote:
I went and digested that Broussard interview. The man broke down and you're saying he cried like a baby? That he didn't know WHY he was crying? Maybe he shat his pants and didn't like the feeling?

Get real. You know full well that he was not making political hay. He was overwhelmed by the tragedy and was able to be empathetic enough to understand the horror and sorrow of a woman waiting for help that never came.

Look again, Canadian. He accused the current administration of MURDER. He then backed it up by telling us a terrible story about how someone died because this administration failed to respond to the current disaster. He WAS making _political hay_ and he was WRONG to do it in the way he did.

And yet, legal definitions of Murder require that there be _intent;_ that Person A INTENDED to kill Person B. Can you make such a connection? Did the Bush Administration _intend_ to kill this woman by not responding in time? Did they intend to kill anyone with FEMA's poor performance?

I got only one response for ya if you answer "yes:" BS!


@ Funean:
quote:
I agree with canadian wrt Broussard. What was so obviously a sincere and unintended emotional reaction has its own untouchable dignity. Let's please not touch it, then.
Let's not forget that he accused people of murder in a manner that was anything but dignified...

quote:
I didn't think you were that callous, Ed.
There are two sides to every coin, Funean. Am I being callous to Broussard? Or am I being sympathetic to those he accused of committing murder? Which has the greater weight? An accusation supported by an Appeal to Emotion that does not come anywhere near the Prima Facie rules of evidence? Or the potential consequences levied against those if that Appeal were to be taken seriously.

I am completely sympathetic to the events Broussard describes as I found his story horrifying, but I am totally disgusted by the manner in which he attempted to use those same events: his actions were despicable.

quote:
I'm pretty sure that no one could have been prepared to endure what he did, and being titularly responsible for his parish, yet powerless to do enough, would push anyone to the breaking point.
Let's consider one of your own follow-up point in this thread, Fun:
quote:
I know what you're saying, FdR; I don't actually really disagree with you in principle, particularly if this situation weren't so godawful extreme. But even the cops are starting to commit suicide down there. Everyone I've seen interviewed seems to feel they've been abandoned in some kind of extreme, post-apocalyptic nightmare.
Are you familiar with the concept of morale? In military terms, morale describes how well your army is willing to fight IF they believe they can win. Morale isn't limited to the military, though... In disaster situations, if a leader does not offer a brave face, his followers will not be brave either, and a greater number of problems (including suicide) may result. For the record, I'm not blaming Broussard for the suicides you mention, merely pointing out one of the necessary roles and responsibilities of a leader.

Ed.

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canadian
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I'm sure next time he'll be careful to say "manslaughter".
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Funean
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I think the difference in the opinions with which we come away, Ed, is that I didn't think he was *using* the events and presenting an emotional display to cynically manipulate an audience, whereas you seem to suspect that he did. I certainly would have nothing but contempt for such an action. But my impression was that he was speaking straight from the heart and from a severe state of trauma. I don't think he was thinking straight, at all, at that point; certainly the accusation of murder is...extreme, shall we say.

As for behavior in leaders...I dunno. I think we've seen plenty of historical examples of leaders whose skills and spine and everything else were of unquestionable calibre who have broken down under similar dire situations. Again, I don't know if he collapsed emotionally during the past few days of the crisis, or just then in the studio.

For all we know, he had his Good Cry, pulled his britches back up, rolled his sleeves up, and got back to work.

I'm just kind of generally bemused by how condemnatory folks have been over the displays of emotion from people surviving the nightmare down there, regardless of their position or how well we, in our nice dry houses with their working computers, think they've handled it.

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EDanaII
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@ Funean:
quote:
I think the difference in the opinions with which we come away, Ed, is that I didn't think he was *using* the events and presenting an emotional display to cynically manipulate an audience, whereas you seem to suspect that he did.
Not quite, Funean. I believed him to be sincere, I also believe that he allowed his grief to overwhelm his judgment, and, I believe that he took advantage of that grief to push his agenda.

quote:
I'm just kind of generally bemused by how condemnatory folks have been over the displays of emotion from people surviving the nightmare down there, regardless of their position or how well we, in our nice dry houses with their working computers, think they've handled it.
I have no problem with his emotional display. I do have a problem with how he used it. I also agree with Firedrake that it was an innappropriate use of his feelings. Personally, if he sincerely believed his accusations, then anger would have been the appropriate response, not tears.

Tears are an expression of helplessness, we do not appoint leaders because they are helpless, we expect them to be exactly the opposite.


@ Canadian

In all seriousness, Canadian, it doesn't even rise to the level of manslaughter. That suggests recklessness where there is none.

Donald Rumsfeldt is speaking now, even as I type this. His explanation of why the Federal Government was late in responding was, simply, that the First Responders of a crisis are always expected to be state and local governement and, in this crisis, they were victims too. While, this does not absolve the government from condemnation over their poor response, it certainly does not suggest that the Feds were reckless.

So, once again, Broussard was wrong for acting as he did.

Ed.

Edited for clarity.

[ September 06, 2005, 02:52 PM: Message edited by: EDanaII ]

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Everard
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It must be nice to be so far away from this tragedy, and be able to condemn people for their reaction to losing not only their home, but their entire city, and watching whats left of it fall into the worst sort of anarchy.

It kinda makes me sick to see people doing that. Maybe they aren't handling the situation the way we'd like to think we would handle the situation if we were in it. But, have you ever been inside this sort of tragedy? If not, you have no way of knowing how you'd react, and no idea what these people are going through.

A lot of empathy is in order here, folks, and a lot less condemnation. If people inside lose their cool and start blaming people for this, thats their business. We don't have to BELIEVE them. But condemning them for it is entirely sickening, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

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Godot
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Here, here!
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Funean
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Personally, I tend to cry when I'm really angry. I also cry when I'm sad, or when I'm in severe pain. I rarely cry because I'm helpless.

I concur with canadian and Everard, if that weren't already apparent. I guess there's nothing more to say, except that I hope nothing like this ever happens to anyone here.

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OpsanusTau
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Me too.

Thinking that crying is a sign of weakness is just so...eh.

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The Drake
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I wouldn't be surprised if Giuliani wept and screamed - privately. But he was a rock for the people of New York and indeed for all of America.

He didn't spend his time venting rage at the terrorists, or at the administration, or at airport security. He set an example for millions of people.

It is easy to pick which leader I'd want in a crisis. The one who projects calm and looks confidently to the future.

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EDanaII
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<Sarcasm>

Bad Ed! Bad, BAD, ED!

How DARE you speak out against this SAINTED man and his "warranted" accusations against the current administration!

</Sarcasm>

Either this man's actions are justified or I'm callous and uncaring. Talk about false dichotomies...

[Roll Eyes]

Ed.

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OpsanusTau
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No, Ed, he doesn't have to be sainted to be allowed to grieve (even in public), and his actions don't have to be unjustified for you to be callous and uncaring.
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Everard
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Ed, try reading my statement again. Now, not only are you bad Ed for being totally unempathetic, you are bad Ed for completely mis-representing what I said.
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FiredrakeRAGE
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Everard said:
quote:
Ed, try reading my statement again. Now, not only are you bad Ed for being totally unempathetic, you are bad Ed for completely mis-representing what I said.
I believe he might not have responded simply because The Drake responded to your post very well. I agree with The Drake. I also think that Broussard should have had a little bit more self-control than he did. I do not know how I would react, but I do know that I would be ashamed to have lost control in front of the public I was supposed to be protecting.

--Firedrake

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Everard
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So, because Drake responded "so well" (and I disagree he did, we'll get there in a second) its ok to say that I said something I didn't say at all? No, its not....

As far as what Drake says, I think its a little silly to presume that people should react the same way to 9/11 as to Katrina. They are totally different EMOTIONAL events. 9/11 was someone who hates us destroying 2 buildings and attacking another in a different city. Katrina was a natural disaster that pretty much obliterated an entire city. 9/11 the first responders were able to do their job, katrina they weren't. We had heroes for 9/11, immediately, and none for katrina. These all make the emotional reaction entirely different. How would Guiliani reacted if new york had been blown off the map? We don't know.

Its fine to say "I'd prefer my leader not break down in front of the public," its shameful to attack a man for crying when describing what happened to his city in these circumstances.

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Daruma28
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Actually Ev, it was coastal towns in Mississipi that was blown off the map. The Hurricane only indirectly hit NO. It was the subsequent humanitarian disaster, looting, breakdown of law and order and flooding that dominated the news so completely that the stories of Mississipi and other coastal towns that were directly devestated by the Hurricane winds have largely been ignored.
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FiredrakeRAGE
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Everard said:
quote:
Its fine to say "I'd prefer my leader not break down in front of the public," its shameful to attack a man for crying when describing what happened to his city in these circumstances.
He harmed the morale of everyone around him. As a leader, he should hold himself to a higher standard. He failed to do so.

Why is attacking him wrong?

--Firedrake

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Everard
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"Actually Ev, it was coastal towns in Mississipi that was blown off the map. The Hurricane only indirectly hit NO. It was the subsequent humanitarian disaster, looting, breakdown of law and order and flooding that dominated the news so completely that the stories of Mississipi and other coastal towns that were directly devestated by the Hurricane winds have largely been ignored."

NO has pretty much been destroyed by that flooding, daruma. Its gone... it will take years to rebuild, from the flooding, looting, etc. Yes, the coastal towns of MS are also gone. I don't mean to imply they aren't.

"Why is attacking him wrong?"

Because it shows a serious lack of empathy. You haven't gone through what he's gone through, and yet you are criticizing him for having an emotional reaction. Attacking ANYONE for having an emotional reaction to a devastating event is shameful. We can't really control our emotions in extreme circumstances, and everyone reacts differently to them, and we don't know how we, ourselves, would react to that cirucmstance until we experience it.

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The Drake
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Ev,

My gripe isn't whether rage is justified, it is whether the expression of that rage is helping or hurting the people you are charged with protecting.

If Giuliani had started screaming about Arab extremism, people would probably take their cue from him on how to act - and we might have seen more instances of violence against American muslims and the burning of mosques. Wouldn't matter much that he'd be perfectly justified in having that reaction, he obviously understood that it would not be helping the situation.

As a leader, you must concentrate on the consequences of everything that you say. I don't feel that Broussard did that. While we can have compassion for him becoming unhinged by events, there's no reason why we should consider blind rage a leadership quality.

There's no way that any two disasters are equal, even two hurricanes or two terrorist attacks would be sufficiently different. The tested mettle of the respective leaders is similar.

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Everard
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"There's no way that any two disasters are equal, even two hurricanes or two terrorist attacks would be sufficiently different. The tested mettle of the respective leaders is similar."

Sure, if the disasters are similar enough to warrant any sort of comparison. I think saying that 9/11 and Katrina test the mettle of leaders in anything remotely resembling the same way is dishonest, because the only thing similar about them is that people died.


"My gripe isn't whether rage is justified, it is whether the expression of that rage is helping or hurting the people you are charged with protecting."

And arguing about this is fine. I have no problems with that. What I have a problem with is the mocking way that Ed characterized the emotional reaction, and that sort of statement.

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RickyB
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I agree that Giuliani's public reaction was preferrable to Broussard's (although if Jefferson Parish has suffered anything like NO, then Broussard has been hit far harder than Giuliani).

In any case, while Giuliani's way is indeed preferrable, I'd argue that I'd rather have the leader who breaks down crying than the one that can't get the dumb smirk off his face, or refrain from blithely picking out his absolutely most negligent and incompetent underling for public praise.

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