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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Taking Suggestions for Membership to Katrina Commission

No need to investigate why the city or state failed to use these school buses to evacuate the cities poorest. There are bigger fish to fry.

It's just a matter of time before Republicans give in to the shrieking demands of harpy Pelosi and harpy Hillary for a 9/11 style commission to "investigate" the response to Hurricane Katrina. After all, every time we've compromised with them in the past to demonstrate our unity of purpose, we've been rewarded by a newfound sense of bipartisanship and a willingness to work together to solve problems.

So, with that in mind, I don't think it is premature to begin suggesting names for a 50/50 commission. As per usual, we will select very neutral Republican members, freely admitting any mistakes that the current administration played in relief for the disaster victims. And of course, we don't want to undermine our expected bipartisan cooperation in the future by insisting blame be shared by Democrat local and state officials in Louisiana.

With that in mind, I am asking readers to suggest names of Republican and Democrat members that would best recreate the spirit of bipartisan cooperation and discovery that was the product of the 9/11 Commission.

Here's my suggestion for the GOP head of the Committee: Christine Todd Whitman. As former head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a frequent critic of President Bush's policy since leaving the administration her integrity will be unquestioned by Democrats. Her familiarity with environmental issues confronting the disaster survivors will also be invaluable. She's also the former Governor of New Jersey as was 9/11 Chairman Kean, and you know how hard he worked to create a commission report that answered all the questions regarding the terrorist attacks.

We might ask Senators Hagel and Voinovich to suggest additional names.

Now, the Democrats have a wealth of talent to draw on as possible commission members. For chairman, I suggest James Lee Witt, former Director of FEMA in the Clinton Administration. No matter that he is currently advising Louisiana Governor Blanco. We can count on his unassailable integrity to place him above any conflict of interest.

Former Clinton National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger, would also be an excellent choice, now that he got that little mistake of missing papers from the National Archives cleared up with probation and a small fine (equivalent to one speaking engagement) President Bush has apparently forgiven Berger for destroying the most highly classified papers that would have proven Clinton's malfeasance in handling Al Queda, so who are we to begrudge him the opportunity to once again serve his country?

Democrats may also wish to appoint members of the commission who understand the cultural importance of New Orleans and it's racial problems. Obvious choices here would be award winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, who is currently planning a film on the Katrina disaster if the muddy soil of flooded New Orleans dries sufficiently to keep him from sinking into the muck.

To represent the New Orleans black community, Jesse Jackson, who has shown his racial sensitivity in the aftermath of the disaster would gladly serve. Another excellent choice would be social justice activist Randall Robinson, who has demonstrated his evenhandedness by retracting his earlier statement that black people have begun eating the corpses in New Orleans to survive.

I would recommend representatives from the Red Cross and Salvation Army, two of the largest disaster relief organizations, but considering how they failed to reach the Superdome in the immediate aftermath of the storm, it's likely that they would be seeking to avoid responsibility for the tragedy that ensued.

Readers Nominations?
Please submit your suggestions, both for Republican and Democrat members of the commission, using the comments section below.


1995 Chicago Heat Wave Kills 1,000: New Commission Needed

On a more serious note: The Galvin Option reminds readers of the tragedy that occurred in Chicago in 1995 where 1,000 of the cities residents, mostly poor, minorities and senior citizens died in an unrelenting heat emergency. Where was the federal government during this emergency as the city and state government obviously failed to protect it's weakest citizens?

Should we now appoint a Chicago heat wave commission to investigate the poor federal response to this tragedy, whose death toll may equal that of Hurricane Katrina?

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