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November 10, 2005 | South Carolina Headlines


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Katrina Roundup
Ralph Bristol
September 12, 2005

As every passing day goes by, it seems the potential price tag for Hurricane Katrina goes up. Now, some forecasters are suggesting the cost could be as high as $300 billion, or, as the AP described it, “more than the $300 billion spent in four years to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.”


That’s a lot of money, but keep in mind that it is less than three percent of GDP – the annual output of goods and services in the United States. The truth is we can easily afford it if we have to. The other truth is that we will certainly spend more than necessary. A few conservatives in Congress who have had the audacity to vote against the spending and/or suggest that we cut spending elsewhere have been treated as if they have the plague.


Say what?


Wonder no longer why New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco didn’t use the buses they had at their disposal to evacuate the poor people out of New Orleans. It’s because President Bush doesn’t support mass transit.  On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace showed Sen. Mary Landrieu the picture of school buses under water and asked her why the local officials didn’t use them to evacuate people. Here’s what she said:


Sen. Landrieu:“I am not going to level criticism at local and state officials. Mayor Nagin and most mayors in this country have a hard time getting their people to work on a sunny day, less alone getting them out of the city in front of a hurricane, and it’s because this administration and administrations before them do not understand the difficulties that mayors…face. In other words, this administration does not believe in mass transit.”




Entertainer Chris Rock and Illinois Senator Barak Obama have found a common problem with the federal attitude toward the people in New Orleans. It’s not race. It’s SUV ownership. Rock’s comment came during Friday night’s concert for Hurricane Katrina relief. Obama’s comments came on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.


Chris Rock: “Now we all realize that not everyone can jump into their SUVs and go check into a nice hotel. Those people depend on public transportation and those people can’t afford a nice hotel, because some of them work there.”


Sen. Obama: “They couldn’t conceive of the notion that someone couldn’t load up their SUVs, put a hundred dollars worth of gas in there, put some sparkling water and drive off to a hotel and check in with a credit card.”


I submit that it is unfair of Rock and Obama to accuse the person in charge of evacuation (Mayor Ray Nagin) of having such a cavalier attitude toward “those people” (as Rock called them). I suspect it was more a matter of panic and incompetence then indifference toward “those people.”  But, don’t be surprised if President Bush, in order to make amends for Mayor Nagin’s negligence, proposes to buy a new SUV for each of “those people” so they can be ready for the next emergency.


Know the speeding limits


It’s not news, nor is it a secret, that if you want to avoid getting a speeding ticket, you have to know the limit – not the speed limit, but the speeding limit.


The State newspaper reported over the weekend that studies by AAA Carolinas show motorists in South Carolina drive about 10 miles an hour over the speed limit on average because they believe officers won’t pull them over. The reporter talked with both speeders and highway patrol officers and confirmed that the speeders are right. Officers generally won’t pull them over unless they are going more than 10 miles over the limit.


Those of us who routinely speed and try to avoid tickets know we’re going faster than the limit. You don’t have to tell us.  We can read the signs and we can read our speedometer.


The question I have is this: “do you know if you are a slowpoke?”  As a public service, I have started a list to help people know if normal people (speeders) think others are slowpokes.  I will share just a couple here, then more on the air today.  I welcome additions from the audience.


·        If you’re following the mailman, and you have no urge to pass – you might be a slowpoke.


·        If Russ Cassell passes you on the Interstate – you might be a slowpoke.


Actually, I’m in danger of becoming a slowpoke myself. For the past two weeks, I have been carefully watching my speed to try to conserve gas. It’s starting to become a habit.

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"...don’t be surprised if President Bush, in order to make amends for Mayor Nagin’s negligence, proposes to buy a new SUV for each of “those people” so they can be ready for the next emergency." - Ralph Bristol  . . .

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