On CNN’s “American Morning” today, Soledad O’Brien spent much of her interview with Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff focusing on what happened in New Orleans three weeks ago when Katrina hit rather than questioning the secretary about how prepared the Gulf coast is for the looming Hurricane Rita (video link and full transcript to follow):
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Lots of officials have told us that they're looking forward in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. And I understand that. But I'm curious to know what you see as your responsibility in the big problems in responding to that storm. We heard from the mayor who said he'll take his fair share of the blame. The governor who said the state response buck stops with her. The president said the federal response issues are his fault. Do you take blame for some of the problems?
Tax cuts have been the latest craze in gas price management, but CNN’s Miles O’Brien suggested on the September 8 “American Morning” that raising taxes might be the way to go.
“I think there’s a lot of people who’d tell you long-term, raising the gas tax would be a good idea,” O’Brien said. Andy Serwer replied, “Oh yeah. That’s right. But it’s politically suicidal to suggest that, as we’ve seen.”
Serwer was reporting the amount of federal and state taxes factored into consumers’ gasoline costs, noting that Georgia had temporarily cut its gas taxes. His report on “stubbornly high” gas prices was filled with economic malfeasance:
It’s their money anyway: Serwer said other states were considering gas tax cuts. “But there’s some downside,” he said. “Number one, the states lose hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue, and number two, it may discourage conservation. On the other hand, maybe we all need a break.” The idea that tax relief is a loss to the government is the standard media approach – ignoring the fact that consumers get to keep more of their hard-earned money.
In a harried, fast-moving interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien this morning, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin had many words of praise for President Bush, while pointing much blame at Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco:
Nagin>> I got promises too. I can't stand any more promises. I don't want to hear any more promises. I want to see stuff done. That's why I'm so happy the president came down here because I think they were feeding him a line of bull also. They were telling him things weren’t as bad as it was, he came down and saw it and he put a general on the field. His name is general Honore. When he hit the field, we started to see action. What the state was doing, I don't friggin' know but I tell you, I am pissed. It wasn't adequate. The president and the governor sat down. Air force one, I said, Mr. President, Madam governor, you two have to get in sync. If you don't get in sync, more people are going to die.
CNN's American Morning was all about "Troubling News for President Bush." On the top of the list, a new poll showing a 40% approval rating and, of course, Cindy Sheehan. President Bush is in Idaho meeting with military families.
CNN Anchor, Bob Franken: "The audience will be family members of people who have been lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. The president will be meeting with a group of them afterwards. Of course the one he's already met with who he has heeded the call for another meeting, Cindy Sheehan. She's coming back to Crawford, Texas today. As the president arrives. She is sort of the symbol of a growing unrest in the United States, as reflected in that poll. Unrest in the U.S. that is showing dissatisfaction with the Iraq policy the president is now assertively defending. And when it comes to talking about Cindy Sheehan, he has to walk a very fine line between sensitivity and an aggressive defense."