Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Iraqing of Louisiana

George W. Bush seems to have an inexhaustible supply of Texas friends to help him ruin America.

The latest winner is Donald E. Powell, a former Amarillo banker and heavy campaign contributor, who has been overseeing long-term aid to hurricane victims, which is now almost $3 billion short and almost two years late in its mission.

More than 20 months after Katrina, the Washington Post reports, “tens of thousands of houses remain vacant, in part because of administrative delays in the aid program, the largest single source of direct federal help for homeowners. To date, only 16,000 of 130,000 applicants have received money.”

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, meeting this week with Powell, was told it is "premature" to decide whether more federal money is needed. "I don't know what the numbers are yet and if there is a gap," he said.

When Powell was appointed, Sen. Ted Kennedy commented, "This...shows that the Gulf recovery is not a top priority for the president. Mr. Powell may be an accomplished banker and political fund raiser, but according to the administration he has no disaster-recovery experience."

In an OpEd for the Post then, Powell wrote: “If the heavy hand of government impedes the private sector's proven ability to speed the recovery, it will take longer and cost more.”

Banker Powell deflected that heavy hand and now, having taken over where Heck-of-a-Job Brownie left off, he is apparently ready to finish the job of turning Louisiana into another full-blown Iraq-like Bush disaster--after he figures out “what the numbers are.”

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