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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 28th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

As Storm Disrupts Plans, G.O.P. Takes Up Tensions.

By  and Published- The New York Times: August 27, 2012

Monday was a day of frustration for Republicans as the delay in beginning their convention deprived them of their national stage and brought a fresh airing of intraparty tensions.

It was supposed to be the start of their four-day effort to sell Mitt Romney to the nation, but Monday instead proved to be a day of frustration for Republicans as the delay in beginning their convention deprived them of their national stage and brought a fresh airing of intraparty tensions.

As Tropical Storm Isaac brushed past the convention here Monday, it moved slowly on a more dangerous path toward New Orleans, growing stronger by the hour. Forecasters on Monday afternoon predicted that the storm would land somewhere in southeastern Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane, just as Republicans were set to kick their gathering into high gear.

While there were predictions of winds of 100 miles per hour accompanying the storm, most menacing was the prospect of the enormous amounts of water that Isaac will be bringing ashore. Residents in low-lying areas were urged to leave because of the possibility of storm surges as high as 12 feet along the Gulf Coast and heavy rainfall.

The full report is here: www.nytimes.com/2012/08/28/us/politics/romney-camp-looks-to-head-off-storm-during-convention.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120828

but we are interested in particular in – “All of it unfolded before a restless audience of about 4,500 delegates and 16,000 journalists left with little to do but stare at television screens covered with images of Isaac bearing down on the Gulf Coast, a haunting reminder of Hurricane Katrina — and, in this context, the political damage its aftermath caused to George W. Bush.

“The fact that we shut down today is a great tribute to the ghost of Katrina,” said John Hager, a former lieutenant governor of Virginia who is also, it happens, the father-in-law of Mr. Bush’s daughter Jenna.

The storm also posed a delicate challenge for President Obama, whose efforts to manage the response may have given him a moment to look presidential in Mr. Romney’s absence, but were also fraught with the risk of appearing to take advantage of a natural disaster at a highly politicized moment.”

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Tropical Storm Isaac Builds as It Churns Toward Coast

By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON

The tracking forecasts reached a consensus that the storm would land overnight Tuesday somewhere around southeastern Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane.

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Aug 28, 2012, 12:21 PM EDT

Storm Summary

Isaac Strengthens into a Hurricane

Peak impacts will begin to be felt along the northern Gulf Coast as Isaac finally marches inland.

Real-Time Updates

Real-Time Updates

Follow a Twitter feed with the latest information available on Isaac.

Live Tracker

Live Tracker

Exclusive: Track Isaac’s path as it nears landfall along the Gulf Coast.

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EDITORIAL

The Storm, Again

Published: August 27, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac is more than just a logistical inconvenience for Republicans gathered in Tampa: it is a powerful reminder both of Republican incompetence in handling Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, and the party’s no-less-disastrous plans to further cut emergency-related spending.

That is not something you will hear Paul Ryan talk about this week at the convention, nor any of the other lawmakers who make simplistic promises about the power of slashing government spending. But the budgets assembled by Mr. Ryan and warmly embraced by Mitt Romney severely cut spending for emergency preparedness, exactly the kind of money needed in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and scores of other states for this and future storms.

Between 2010 and 2012, House Republicans forced a reduction of 43 percent in the primary grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that pay for disaster preparedness. That is $1.8 billion that will not be available for evacuation equipment and supplies, communications gear that lets first responders speak to one another, and training exercises. (House Republicans tried to cut $354 million more in this year’s homeland security spending bill, but Democrats restored the money in a conference with the Senate.)
That spending was enormously useful during last year’s tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., and Tuscaloosa, Ala. Although the effects of the cuts will not be felt yet as gulf states deal with this week’s storm, they will leave the region less prepared for future hurricanes, tornadoes and floods.

The New Orleans area, in particular, will rely this week on $14 billion in levee construction, pumps and other flood control structures built by the Army Corps of Engineers since Katrina. But the corps’s construction budget has been cut by 21 percent since 2009 because of Republican pressure, hitting flood prevention especially hard.
Even FEMA’s most important activity, its response to disasters, has been held hostage by the demands of Tea Party Republicans in the House — including Mr. Ryan — for smaller government. Last year, when it looked as if FEMA might exceed its budget after a spate of disasters, House Republicans demanded that any further spending be offset by cuts in other programs they disliked.
Squeezing one program to pay for another has become a familiar Tea Party technique, but it is particularly reprehensible when emergency response is at stake. Eventually, after Democrats refused to go along, Republicans backed off.

One of the themes of the Tampa convention will be the failure of government, and the prosperity that will result if it is cut to ribbons. But in a different corner of the television screen, the winds of Isaac are a reminder of the necessity of government — its labor, its expertise, its money — in the nation’s most dire moments. It is hard to forget what happened to New Orleans when that Republican philosophy was followed in 2005, and it will be harder still to explain how it might be allowed to happen again.
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