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Times-Picayune Editorial, Open Letter

Katrina Times-Picayune Op-Ed

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#41 Nonny

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 10:48 PM

Eskaminzim, on Sep 7 2005, 01:51 PM, said:

George W Bush was (and is) a president in popular trouble.  For quite awhile now, his approval ratings have been going down the toilet.  With failed social security initiatives and the quagmire in Iraq, he needed something to turn the ship around, and he needed something big.

Katrina could have been a GODSEND to him.  As Americans, we've proven time and time again that we'll rally around anyone who is strong, forceful and decisive in times of trouble, no matter WHO they might be.

All he had to do was to BE THE PRESIDENT, and his approval ratings would have shot through the roof.  What do I mean by BE THE PRESIDENT?  Well, I don't mean that he had to DO anything specifically.  More even than Hollywood stars, for the President of the United States, IMAGE is EVERYTHING.  (Just ask Bill Clinton or Richard Nixon). 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Look at how well it worked for the mayor of New York.  Total slimeball, but considered a hero because he did his job when it counted.  

Nonny

Edited by Nonny, 07 September 2005 - 10:50 PM.

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The once and future Nonny

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#42 Nonny

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 10:49 PM

Anarch, on Sep 7 2005, 04:02 PM, said:

Pretty much the entire state and local governmental apparatus involved were Democrats, Hibblette, with a somewhat chary qualifier on Nagin (former Republican, switched a week before the election, helped Bush campaign and fund-raise in NOLA).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Can we give him back?  :blink:  

Nonny

Edited by Nonny, 07 September 2005 - 10:50 PM.

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The once and future Nonny

"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

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Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#43 Nonprofit

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 01:32 PM

Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?

Hmmm good question you might say.  They were there but they were not allowed to help.

Quote

Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?

~Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

~The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

~The Red Cross has been meeting the needs of thousands of New Orleans residents in some 90 shelters throughout the state of Louisiana and elsewhere since before landfall. All told, the Red Cross is today operating 149 shelters for almost 93,000 residents.

~The Red Cross shares the nation’s anguish over the worsening situation inside the city. We will continue to work under the direction of the military, state and local authorities and to focus all our efforts on our lifesaving mission of feeding and sheltering.

~The Red Cross does not conduct search and rescue operations. We are an organization of civilian volunteers and cannot get relief aid into any location until the local authorities say it is safe and provide us with security and access.

~The original plan was to evacuate all the residents of New Orleans to safe places outside the city. With the hurricane bearing down, the city government decided to open a shelter of last resort in the Superdome downtown. We applaud this decision and believe it saved a significant number of lives.

~As the remaining people are evacuated from New Orleans, the most appropriate role for the Red Cross is to provide a safe place for people to stay and to see that their emergency needs are met. We are fully staffed and equipped to handle these individuals once they are evacuated.

Apparently the State Homeland Security Department  thought if the Red Cross fed and gave water to the staving folks,  that they would just hang around and not leave the area. So while Mayor Nagin was screaming,  where's the food and water,  blaming the FEDS,  it WAS right there.  Truck loads of MRE's and cases upon cases of water.  Just couldn't be handed out by the Red Cross.  

Who gave that order to the State Homeland Security Department?  Gov. Blanco? Since she and the Mayor were not on the same page from the git go. I expect that could hapen.

RuReddy

#44 Lin731

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 02:11 PM

Quote

Apparently the State Homeland Security Department thought if the Red Cross fed and gave water to the staving folks, that they would just hang around and not leave the area. So while Mayor Nagin was screaming, where's the food and water, blaming the FEDS, it WAS right there. Truck loads of MRE's and cases upon cases of water. Just couldn't be handed out by the Red Cross.

Wow, so the food WAS there, it just wasn't being distributed to those folks stuck on rooftops, at the Dome etc...Wow, that's MUCH better than the food simply not being there at all. I'm always relieved to know that food is right there, just not being dropped into hurricane/flood survivors. Food was not only NOT being handed out by the Red Cross, it was NOT being handed out by FEMA either...hense why I'm pissed.

Quote

Who gave that order to the State Homeland Security Department? Gov. Blanco? Since she and the Mayor were not on the same page from the git go. I expect that could hapen.

RuReddy


Ummm...isn't Homeland Security a cabinet level position (ak...Federal governement)? Last time I looked Homeland Security didn't answer to the State or Local officials
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#45 Spectacles

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 02:45 PM

http://www.post-gaze...5246/565143.stm
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#46 Anarch

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 03:10 PM

FWIW, RuReddy, I linked that very FAQ a couple of days ago (though I can't seem to find the original link atm, it's also indirectly in The Curious Incident thread).  Here's what one enterprising gent turned up.

#47 Zwolf

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 03:37 PM

Quote

Here's what one enterprising gent turned up.

***** They were mentioning something there about the state homeland security department, and it just occurred to me that if people are expecting the state homeland security department to be in charge of things above the fed, then I'm even more bewildered.

'Cuz, y'see, a couple years ago we had a retreat at work and they had speakers come in to give us little talks on issues we might have to deal with.  One of those guests was... Mississippi's homeland security department.

Yes... it was one guy.   I think he may have had a partner, but he was basically it.  I remember it because we were all kinda flabbergasted that the department was so incredibly small, and the guy was kind of sheepishly laughing about it.  He seemed like a very enthusiastic, capable, intelligent guy, and I have every confidence he'd do all he can to help, but... dude, it was one guy!  Or one guy and his buddy!  They'd need the feds.  He's probably just in charge of making the call to them or whatever, because, by himself, he's not going to be able to do a whole lot, no matter how willing he is.

Anyway, mostly the guy showed us slides of manhole covers, strangely enough.  It had nothing to do whatsoever with anything we work with (these retreats are always a waste of time), but I do know now that I shouldn't build a house next to any elevated manhole cover, because that means it's a flood plane!   Thanks, Mississippi Homeland Security Guy!®  :)

Anyway, if that's who people are pointing blame at, saying it lies with the first responders, then I'm gonna have to really start laughing...

Cheers,

Zwolf
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#48 Nonprofit

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 05:13 PM

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Spectacles Posted Today, 02:45 PM
  http://www.post-gaze...5246/565143.stm

Thanks for the link Specs


Quote

Anarch Posted Today, 03:10 PM
  FWIW, RuReddy, I linked that very FAQ a couple of days ago (though I can't seem to find the original link atm, it's also indirectly in The Curious Incident thread). Here's what one enterprising gent turned up.

Thanks for the heads up about the other thread.  I'm playing catch up and there is soooo much to read. And some threads are so negitive,  that I have to stop reading.  Too much to take in all in one sitting.  Thanks for the link it was helpful.

Quote

Zwolf666 Posted Today, 03:37 PM
***** They were mentioning something there about the state homeland security department, and it just occurred to me that if people are expecting the state homeland security department to be in charge of things above the fed, then I'm even more bewildered.

When I saw "State" Homeland Security Department,  that wording also sparked my interest.  What the heck is that all about.... Another odd piece to the puzzle indeedy, but Anarch's link helped to explain . Thanks for your personal input Z.

Still need to do some checking on this.  Something feels so wrong.

RuReddy

#49 DWF

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 08:29 PM

http://www.factcheck...article344.html

Quote

A long history of complaints

Local officials had long complained that funding for hurricane protection projects was inadequate:

October 13, 2001: The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that “federal officials are postponing new projects of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Control Program, or SELA, fearing that federal budget constraints and the cost of the war on terrorism may create a financial pinch for the program.” The paper went on to report that “President Bush’s budget proposed $52 million” for SELA in the 2002 fiscal year. The House approved $57 million and the Senate approved $62 million. Still, “the $62 million would be well below the $80 million that corps officials estimate is needed to pay for the next 12 months of construction, as well as design expenses for future projects.”
April 24, 2004: The Times-Picayune reported that “less money is available to the Army Corps of Engineers to build levees and water projects in the Missisippi River valley this year and next year.” Meanwhile, an engineer who had direct the Louisiana Coastal Area Ecosystem Restoration Study – a study of how to restore coastal wetlands areas in order to provide a bugger from hurricane storm surges – was sent to Iraq "to oversee the restoration of the ‘Garden of Eden’ wetlands at the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers,” for which President Bush’s 2005 gave $100 million.
June 8, 2004: Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, told the Times-Picayune:
Walter Maestri: It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq , and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.

September 22, 2004: The Times-Picayune reported that a pilot study on raising the height of the levees surrounding New Orleans had been completed and generated enough information for a second study necessary to estimate the cost of doing so. The Bush administration “ordered the New Orleans district office” of the Army Corps of Engineers “not to begin any new studies, and the 2005 budget no longer includes the needed money.”
June 6, 2005: The New Orleans CityBusiness newspaper reported that the New Orleans district of the Corps was preparing for a $71.2 million reduction in overall funding for the fiscal year beginning in October. That would have been the largest single-year funding loss ever. They noted that money “was so tight" that "the New Orleans district, which employs 1,300 people, instituted a hiring freeze last month on all positions,” which was “the first of its kind in about 10 years.”
Would Increased Funding Have Prevented Flooding?

Blumenthal implies that increased funding might have helped to prevent the catastrophic flooding that New Orleans now faces. The White House denies that, and the Corps of Engineers says that even the levee project they were working to complete was not designed to withstand a storm of Katrina's force.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, at a press briefing on September 1, dismissed the idea that the President inadequately funded flood control projects in New Orleans :

McClellan: Flood control has been a priority of this administration from day one. We have dedicated an additional $300 million over the last few years for flood control in New Orleans and the surrounding area. And if you look at the overall funding levels for the Army Corps of Engineers, they have been slightly above $4.5 billion that has been signed by the President.

Q: Local people were asking for more money over the last couple of years. They were quoted in local papers in 2003 and 2004, are saying that they were told by federal officials there wasn't enough money because it was going to Iraq expenditures.

McClellan: You might want to talk to General Strock, who is the commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, because I think he's talked to some reporters already and talked about some of these issues. I think some people maybe have tried to make a suggestion or imply that certain funding would have prevented the flooding from happening, and he has essentially said there's been nothing to suggest that whatsoever, and it's been more of a design issue with the levees.

We asked the Corps about that  “design issue.”  David Hewitt, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers, said McClellan was referring to the fact that “the levees were designed for a category 3 hurricane.” He told us that, consequently, “when it became apparent that this was a category 5 hurricane, an evacuation of the city was ordered.” (A category 3 storm has sustained winds of no more than 130  miles per hour, while a category 5 storm has winds exceeding 155 miles per hour. Katrina had winds of 160 mph as it approached shore, but later weakened to winds of 140 mph as it made landfall, making it a strong category 4 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center.)

The levee upgrade project around Lake Pontchartrain was only 60 to 90 percent complete across most areas of New Orleans as of the end of May, according to the Corps' May 23 fact sheet. Still, even if it had been completed, the project's goal was protecting New Orleans from storm surges up to "a fast-moving Category 3 hurricane,” according to the fact sheet.

We don't know whether the levees would have done better had the work been completed. But the Corps says that even a completed levee project wasn't designed for the storm that actually occurred.

Nobody anticipated breach of the levees?

In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on September 1, President Bush said:

Bush: I don’t think anyone anticipated breach of the levees …Now we’re having to deal with it, and will.

Bush is technically correct that a "breach" wasn't anticipated by the Corps, but that's doesn't mean the flooding wasn't forseen. It was.  But the Corps thought it would happen differently, from water washing over the levees, rather than cutting wide breaks in them.

Greg Breerword, a deputy district engineer for project management with the Army Corps of Engineers, told the New York Times:

Breerword: We knew if it was going to be a Category 5, some levees and some flood walls would be overtopped. We never did think they would actually be breached.

And while Bush is also technically correct that the Corps did not "anticipate" a breach – in the sense that they believed it was a likely event – at least some in the Corps thought a breach was a possibility worth examining.

According to the Times-Picayune, early in Bush's first term FEMA director Joe Allbaugh ordered a sophisticated computer simulation of what would happen if a category 5 storm hit New Orleans. Joseph Suhayda, an engineer at Louisana State University who worked on the project, described to the newspaper in 2002 what the simulation showed could happen:

Subhayda: Another scenario is that some part of the levee would fail. It's not something that's expected. But erosion occurs, and as levees broke, the break will get wider and wider. The water will flow through the city and stop only when it reaches the next higher thing. The most continuous barrier is the south levee, along the river. That's 25 feet high, so you'll see the water pile up on the river levee.

Whether or not a "breach" was "anticipated," the fact is that many individuals have been warning for decades about the threat of flooding that a hurricane could pose to a set below sea level and sandwiched between major waterways. A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) report from before September 11, 2001 detailed the three most likely catastrophic disasters that could happen in the United States: a terrorist attack in New York, a strong earthquake in San Francisco, and a hurricane strike in New Orleans. In 2002, New Orleans officials held the simulation of what would happen in a category 5 storm. Walter Maestri, the emergency coordinator of Jefferson Parish in New Orleans , recounted the outcome to PBS’ NOW With Bill Moyers:

Maestri, September 2002: Well, when the exercise was completed it was evidence that we were going to lose a lot of people. We changed the name of the [simulated] storm from Delaney to K-Y-A-G-B... kiss your ass goodbye... because anybody who was here as that category five storm came across... was gone.

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#50 Nonprofit

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 11:17 PM

All information is copied

Quote

Head of the Red Cross Points Finger at Louisiana's Homeland Security Department
On O'Reilly Factor (9-6-05)

American Red Cross president Marsha "Marty" Evans repeated the reason the Red Cross did not go into New Orleans that is published on their official website. She claimed that Louisiana's State Homeland Security Department refused to allow the Red Cross into New Orleans because LA-DHS felt that the presence of the Red Cross "would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city." Neither she nor the website gave the name of the head of that department, but it was easily obtained on the website of the Department of Homeland Security in Washington.

The Adjutant General and Director for DHS in Louisiana is Major General Bennett C. Landreneau, who was appointed to his position in 1997 by former Louisiana Governor Mike Foster, a Republican. He was re-appointed by current Governor Kathleen Blanco in December 2003.

Here is the Major General's extensive biography:

"Major General Bennett C. Landreneau is the Adjutant General for Louisiana. He is responsible for the deployment and coordination of programs, policies and plans affecting the more than 14,000 members of the Louisiana Army and Air National Guard. He is also the Director of the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

"General Landreneau was born October 4, 1947. He graduated from Vidrine High School and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. His military education includes Officer Candidate School, Engineer Officer Basic Course, Engineer Officer Advanced Course, Mechanical Maintenance Course, Command and General Staff Officer Course, Infantry and Armor Pre-Command Course, and he is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College.

"General Landreneau began his military career in June 1969. He enlisted in the Louisiana National Guard as a Private and was trained as an Infantryman at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He attended Louisiana State Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1971. He has served in many positions including Platoon Leader, Company Commander, Battalion S-4, Battalion S-3, Battalion Executive Officer and Battalion Commander. During Operation Desert Storm, Brigadier General Landreneau served on active duty in Southwest Asia as Commander, 527th Engineer Battalion during Desert Storm. He later served as Commander of the 225th Engineer Group from 6 January 1992 until he assumed command of the 256th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana on 1 August 1995. He was appointed as the Special Assistant to The Adjutant General on January 2, 1997. The General was assigned to his present position as Adjutant General on November 8, 1997.

"General Landreneau?s decorations, awards and honors include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, Humanitarian Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with one Hourglass Device and M Device, Army Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon with Numeral One, Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Emirate of Kuwait),Louisiana Distinguished Service Medal, Louisiana Legion of Merit, Louisiana Recruiting Ribbon with Fleur-de-Lis, Louisiana War Cross, Louisiana Emergency Service Medal with two Fleur-de-Lis, and the Louisiana Longevity Ribbon with a Silver Fleur-de-Lis.

"General Landreneau is the immediate Past President of the National Guard Association of Louisiana and a member of the National Guard Association of the United States. He served as President of the Central Louisiana Chapter of the Society of American Military Engineers and the Louisiana Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. He is a member of the Governor's Military Advisory Commission, Louisiana Drug Policy Board, Louisiana Emergency Response Commission, City of New Orleans Mayor's Military Advisory Board, Louisiana Emergency Response Commission, City of New Orleans Mayor's Military Advisory Commission, the Board of Commissioners for the Orleans Parish Communication District and a member of the Executive Board of the New Orleans Area Council, Boy Scouts of America.

"General Landreneau worked as a civilian employee with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service for over 30 years and retired as the Assistant State Conservationist in 1996. He was the recipient of numerous awards with that agency including two USDA Distinguished Service awards and one USDA Superior Service award presented to him by the Secretary of Agriculture.

"He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General on December 3, 1996, with federal recognition on the same date. He assumed his state appointed grade of Major General on May 12, 1998.

"General Landreneau resides at Jackson Barracks in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is married to the former Dolores Fontenot and is the father of four children: Melissa, Chad, Monique and Layne.


However, it would seem that this seasoned military man - if Mrs. Evans and the Red Cross website are to be believed - refused to allow the Red Cross (or any other relief organizations) into News Orleans.

Quote

Mrs. Evans and Bill O'Reilly discussed this on Sept 6th show:

O'REILLY: But the Red Cross is running into some problems in the hurricane zone ... So, you had a hard time getting to the folks quickly. Why?

EVANS: Well, Bill, the specific issue is getting into New Orleans and I want your audience to know that the Red Cross was ready from literally the moment after the storm passed through to go into New Orleans. We were not allowed to go in by the Homeland Security - the state Homeland Security authorities. Red Cross is not a search and rescue organization, so we depend on the state and local authorities, you know, to make sure it's possible for us to get in and in this particular case, they did not want us to go in because they were trying to evacuate the city. In the, the course of the storm we evacuated, prior to its coming through, we evacuated, we sheltered in 90 shelters, hundreds, thousands of people from New Orleans, so we have been ready to go in. We're ready today to go in. We're waiting for the word that - that it's possible to go.

O'REILLY: OK. But I think a lot of it has to do with your security of your people. Um, in the first days after the hurricane, there was no security in the town.

EVANS: That's right.

O'REILLY: And if you had gone in, you know, the thugs with the AK-47s could have done damage, as they did to med-evac workers, to hospital workers, to doctors. We went all through that. Now it's under control.

EVANS: Right. [End of excerpt.]

COMMENT

According to her official biography Mrs. Evans also has an impressive military record, having achieved the rank of Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy. She then headed up the Girl Scouts and currently "sits on the corporate boards of The May Department Stores Company, Weight Watchers International, and Lehman Brothers Holdings. She is a presidential appointee to the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Military Academy."

If, as the Red Cross contends, Major General Landreneau's branch of the Homeland Security Department refused to allow relief organizations into New Orleans and at the same time, as has been noted elsewhere, FEMA refused to permit people to leave, it would seem that the stranded residents of New Orleans were, for all intents and purposes, prisoners in the city.

There is, however, at least one slightly different take on why the Red Cross did not come into New Orleans. The following is from the New Orleans Times-Picayune. With their offices under water, they are reporting on the web.

"[Jefferson Parish Emergency Preparedness Director Walter] Maestri also was upset with American Red Cross officials for delaying the staffing of shelters in the parish. He said a Red Cross official said he should send a staffer to Mount Olive, La., with a request for personnel. When the staffer arrived, he was handed a note saying help would not be coming until it was safe for Red Cross workers.
"They can go to Iraq and Afghanistan and tell us it's too dangerous to New Orleans," he said. "I've got that note and will frame it with a copy of my resignation letter for the board of directors of the southeastern Louisiana Red Cross." (Times-Picayune, 9-2-05)


#51 Anarch

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 11:40 PM

Good grief.  Doesn't anybody just link any more?

#52 Nonprofit

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 12:01 AM

Golly,  tough job to just have to view it from the board,  eh?  ;)

RuReddy

#53 Spectacles

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 06:38 AM

MediaMatters takes this apart.

http://mediamatters....ms/200509090002

And it's always important to remember that the head of the Red Cross is a staunch partisan Republican.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman



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