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Naomi Wolf Rocks

Reported by Nancy - September 7, 2005 -

Today (9/7) on FNL the coverage was mostly about the aftermath of Katrina, with only 2 short blurbs about Rehnquist's funeral. Bill Hemmer, anchoring the noon hour from Baton Rouge, had 2 guests who personified the best & the worst of talking heads -- & also the routine conflict-of-interest issues not revealed by FNL.

At 12:45pm (EDT) Hemmer interviewed Naomi Wolf (feminist & author) & Ward Connerly (see below) about the "political implications of what we have seen so far" with Katrina. He went first to Wolf, asking "Who is public face" of disaster response. Wolf immediately answered that it's POTUS, so Hemmer asked what about the Governor & Mayor. Wolf noted the "heroism of people on the ground", then pointed out that "the administration deals with failure by making complicated what's simple." She said that the simple part is that "the job of the President is to be on top of it [a disaster]." Connerly opened with an insult -- "If horse manure were music that would be a symphony" -- & offered some of the usual excuses (a "national effort is required, beginning with state & local" govts). He then called it "totally irresponsible" to suggest that Bush should have been more pro-active, claiming that POTUS "has no obligation to be there." Wolf responded that it's a "very sad day when the President needs a phone call from a Mayor & Governor" to take action, & noted that it is "not true that we don't expect the federal government" to act, citing several examples of FEMA actions over the past few years. Connerly huffed that "statutes" mandate that the federal govt "only comes in when disaster" has been declared by local authorities. Wolf responded that POTUS shouldn't "need[s] an invitation to dance." FNL began playing its "let's-go-to-break" music, & Hemmer, clearly uncomfortable by his tone of voice, ended by saying "Gotta run" & inviting both guests to come back for a future discussion.

Comments: Too bad that Wolf didn't nail Connerly on his bogus "statute" argument with the fact that LA Gov Blanco DID declare a state of emergency, & DID request federal assistance in accordance with those precious statutes:

The Governor of Louisiana declared a State of Emergency on 26 August 2005, which is a pre-requisite for invoking the Stafford Act:

Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco today issued Proclamation No. 48 KBB 2005, declaring a state of emergency for the state Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina poses an imminent threat, carrying severe storms, high winds, and torrential rain that may cause flooding and damage to private property and public facilities, and threaten the safety and security of the citizens of the state of Louisiana The state of emergency extends from Friday, August 26, 2005, through Sunday, September 25, 2005, unless terminated sooner.

The Governor, per the National Response Plan, followed this request with a letter on Saturday, 27 August 2005, invoking the Stafford Act. Note this letter inludes specific requests for aid.

Connerly -- a has-been nobody routinely trotted out by racist right-wingers only because he is a black man who opposes affirmative action -- displayed all the usual graces of the right-wing ideologue with no real argument, resorting to insults more appropriate to an elementary school playground. Like Clarence Thomas, another (in)famous black man who opposes affirmative action, Connerly has manufactured a personal myth of achieving great success on his own, but he has in fact been well-funded, especially by the Bradley, Scaife & Olin foundations. One of Connerly's major backers during his efforts to sucker Californians with Proposition 54 was Rupert Murdoch, owner of NewsCorp, FNL's parent company. This potential conflict of interest was not disclosed during this interview.

Hemmer clearly didn't know how to handle either Connerly's blustering or Wolf's calm coolness.

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (FNL's coverage of the aftermath of Katrina, the interview with Wolf & Connerly). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.