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Spike Lee Film of New Orleans Disaster: Will We See it in Elections?

  1. Aug 22, 2006 #1
    On Monday evening, August 22, HBO aired Parts 1 and 2 of a powerful new Spike Lee film (documentary) entitled, "When the Levees Came Down," covering the hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans. At its conclusion, I couldn't help but think that portions of this film, with DEAD BODIES littered everywhere, might surface in the Nov. '06 election, but more so in the Nov. '08 presidential election. See NY Times storybelow:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/a...2bd3505694855f&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

    I regret I missed the opening 30 minutes, but it was clear from what I saw, that the film portrayed accurate (and pretty much unbiased)reporting and interviews. But, what caught my attention was the ending footage of dead bodies littered about that remained there for days - something NOT even seen in the Iraq war. It gave a real life perspective to this tragedy that will live in the lives of many American's for years.

    I could not help but think that some of this footage may find its way into election campaigns, in particular, the 2008 presidential election. Just as the Bush White House and some Republicans used 911 footage to their favor, can you project how Democrats might use Katrina disaster footage to push their more domestic oriented agenda?
     
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  3. Aug 22, 2006 #2

    russ_watters

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    Perhaps, but like I said in another thread, there is so much blame to go around here that it wouldn't help much and it would be a risk using it. I tend to doubt we'll see much of it.
     
  4. Aug 22, 2006 #3
    It's really a sad event. The majority hit were poor blacks and no one gave\gives a damn about them. They are taking the city back and trying to turn it into a white area with increased land values (or so I have heard on the news, NPR?). These people’s lives are in shambles, and sadly it has become yesterday’s news. But alas, instead of taking care of our own suffering here at home we have more suffering to cause abroad in Iraq!

    Honestly people, enough is enough. When are we going to start acting like American again and actually help people and do good in the world?

    Thank's for the link McGyver, I will watch this movie when it comes on DVD. I hope it is good, I don't get HBO.

    ***Pretending to care is not the same thing as really caring.***

    All we got was a bunch of nice sound bites, and no real action to help anyone...:rolleyes:

    Let's hope these poor black's are not exploited any more than they already have been by our society.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2006
  5. Aug 24, 2006 #4
    Examining the Obvious in the Film and Disaster

    In examination of Hurricane Katrina one year later, and even through the eyes of Spike Lee, I find it easier to be objective. I don't focus as much now on this disaster as a Black community disaster. A year ago, we all did. When I saw all the dead body footage at the end of the film, I saw a disastrous event, and a horrifically negligent response by government.

    I wondered HOW the U.S. could execute so well in oversees military actions, yet be so unprepared domestically. The obvious I took away was that domestic issues in this current administration are LOW PRIORITY. And the 911 response in NYC was different. Responders were mostly local in a wealthy region, and responders had years to run mock responses since the 1991 WTC attack.

    In thes film, Lee is very critical of Black leaders like Condoleza Rice, and a bit critical of mayor Nagan (but more forgiving) and portrays Nagan as having limited powers and resources, both pre and post Katrina. His film seemed to give all sides equal blame. But, the reason I sense we may see these images in a Democrat campaign ad (between '06 and '08), was that he took the Black issue out of the disaster. He made it American. He made it domestic. And if the richest country in the world can't adequately mind its domestic issues, the political leaders in office will pay the price.

    We've all wondered how local, state, and federal responders could permit such a failed response. I mean, Walmart got through to the city, but fire department's from California, who offered to fly ASAP with their satellite communications equipment and teams, were told to drive to NO (additional 2-3 days). The obvious - the priorities of these federal teams were appointed by the Republican Bush White House.

    The obvious is that a natural disaster can be like a military attack - it catches you off guard. NO and that region is not a major metropolitan city like NYC, who has the best in equipment and training. The other obvious is that too many have compared the NO response to the 911 response, and it's not an accurate comparison. The WTC attack was confined to a small area, had working communications, and responders were more prepared. I doubt NO had run such drills pre-Katrina.

    Though the images of the tragedy in NO are tough to view, it is real, just as real as war, and war footage. And if I were a Democrat strategist, I'd use this film and news footage to make an argument for a more domestic agenda.
     
  6. Aug 25, 2006 #5
    The scope of the Katrina disaster was greater than any local government. Yes, there were many right-wing blogs, radio shows, and FOX commentators trying to blame the mayor of NO and the LA governor. However it was the knockout punch to Bush's job approval, because it was a stark demonstration of his administrations incompetence.

    I doubt however that it will rub off on the 2008 Republican candidate. It is however coloring the mid-terms, since the Republican Congress is considered to be the rubber stamp for Bushco.
     
  7. Aug 25, 2006 #6
    In fact it caught us with our National Guard off in Iraq. Unfortunately though, neither party is willing to raise that important issue as it demonstrates the flagrant negligence of both.
     
  8. Aug 25, 2006 #7
    Mayor Nagan Stirs up Old Sentiments: North v. South

    Just when we thought the country was starting to heal from the Hurricane Katrina disaster and failed responses, Mayor Ray Nagan yesturday threw a punch at Washington and the North - and with, stirring up a 150 year old bitter sentiment between the North and South. See MSN news:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14510763/

    His remark came during an interview in his response as to why so much of NO remains a disaster zone still today. He made a comparison to the NYC cleanup post 911 that, "They can't even fill a hole," referring to what remains today of the twin towers.

    Nagan's comment drew a quick condemnation by NY Congressman Peter King, demanding an apology. In subsequent interviews, Nagan reiterated the facts and his leadership style. Watching these interviews, I couldn't help but sense Nagan was betting his political career in stiring up 150 year old sentiments and divisions between the North and South.

    If true, this would be a bold politcal move to drive a wedge of us versus them (Washington) into the Republican controlled Southern states heading into the Fall Congressional elections.
     
  9. Aug 25, 2006 #8

    russ_watters

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    You may see it that way, but a lot of people took note of the stark difference between Mayor Nagen and Mayor Giuliani.

    I don't know if there are any recent polls, but here is one from 3 weeks after the storm: http://abcnews.go.com/US/HurricaneKatrina/story?id=1094262&page=1

    Most people agree that the immediate response (what happened in the first week) was the biggest problem, and to me (and this would seem to fit the majority opinion), the breakdown in local authority had the biggest impact on that. Why? Because local authority is always/already in place and federal authority is not. Giuliani, on 9/11, looked and acted like a local military commander who was in control of his troops throughout the crisis. Nagen didn't/wasn't.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2006
  10. Aug 25, 2006 #9
    His heroism and leadership was almost surreal by comparison - as though he or someone knew it was coming, and were running a play by play response - totally supported and corrdinated with the federal and state agencies. What a stark contrast to Washington's response to Katrina.

    Since the above two involved very different responses, almost polar opposites, then how do we define or measure a typical response?
     
  11. Aug 25, 2006 #10

    Astronuc

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    Put Giuliani in New Orleans during Katrina, and he would have been just as helpless. On the other hand, perhaps being a Republican he would have received a different response from the Republican administration. In that case, the Bush administration would have failed to provide equal protection.

    As bad and as tragic as the attacks on WTC were, they were not on the same scale as Katrina, which was a far greater magnitude, and the Federal government's response was very different - and actually in the case of New Orleans - indifferent on the part of the Bush administration.

    On Sept 11, and subsequently, most of NY City's infrastructure was still functioning. Not so in New Orleans.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2006
  12. Aug 26, 2006 #11
    I don't think it will come up in the '08 election. I hope not anyway. I hope that the dems will have learned that they can not run a campaign on the failings of the other candidate, or more precisely their party's last candidate.
     
  13. Aug 26, 2006 #12

    Astronuc

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    Survivors' Stories: Living Through Katrina
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5704652

    Katrina & Recovery
    Weighing Charity Work in Katrina's Wake
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5715079

    I heard a comment from one person that in some places, not much has changed (improved) in one year.

    http://www.npr.org/news/specials/katrina/oneyearlater/

    I think it will be an irrelevant matter in 2008 because the presidential candidates will like be ones not directly involved. But the issue should be more along the lines of General Welfare, as well as Domestic & International Security. If Katrina is an issue, it may be more so in 2006, and particularly in local, state and Congressional elections in areas that were directly affected.
     
  14. Aug 26, 2006 #13

    russ_watters

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    Perhaps, but....

    On Sept 11, and subsequently, most of NY City's infrastructure was still functioning. Not so in New Orleans.[/QUOTE] Leadership and planning are what Giuliani would have brought to the Katrina crisis and with those two things, perhaps the city's infrastructure would not have stopped functioning. Policemen, firemen and other emergency workers are not unlike soliders and they can be motivated by strong leaders to do better in the face of a crisis.
     
  15. Aug 26, 2006 #14

    russ_watters

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    I don't think there can be a measure of a "typical" response, because every situation is different. And that makes it hard to compare responses to different crises.
     
  16. Aug 26, 2006 #15

    Astronuc

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    I agree with you there. That's why Giuliani went on to establish his own security consulting company.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuliani#Post-mayoralty

    Contrast this to Nagin's background -

    Nagin has some managerial experience, but I have to wonder about his political side, which is somewhat controversial. "Nagin was a registered Republican his entire life, prior to seeking office. He officially switched parties to win in a heavily Democratic area."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Nagin
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Nagin#Early_life

    He seems like a bit of an opportunist, and perhaps many or most politicians are.
     
  17. Aug 27, 2006 #16
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2006
  18. Aug 27, 2006 #17
  19. Aug 30, 2006 #18
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