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Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water the Bushes


Spike Lee's four hour film on Hurricane Katrina and the government's woefully inadequate response airs Monday and Tuesday nights on HBO:

One of the most poignant interviews in the Hurricane Katrina documentary "When the Levees Broke" is given by a man who lost his mother in the aftermath of the storm, filmmaker Spike Lee said Sunday. In the interview, Herbert Freeman recalls his mother's death at New Orleans Convention Center and the moment he had to leave her body there as he and other evacuees were taken out of the city.

"Before he got on a bus _ he had a piece of paper, wrote his name, his cell number and her name and placed the paper between her fingers, her body," Lee said on ABC's "This Week."

Just unbelievable. Here's a little action alert that should be easy to do.

Help water the bushes for the anniversary of Katrina.

Please send a bottle of water to:

President George Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Put your return address as:

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
900 Convention Center Boulevard
New Orleans, LA 70130

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  • Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#1)
    by HK on Sun Aug 20, 2006 at 02:24:38 PM EST
    My heart goes out to Herbert Freeman and the many others with similar stories. When you think of all the possessions that we accumulate these days, in light of what happened in NO, how much are they really worth to us? If we have been reminded how important people are to us and how unimportant material items are, then at least something good has come from Katrina. It's just desperately sad that so many have suffered so that we may learn a lesson.

    Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dusty on Sun Aug 20, 2006 at 04:58:56 PM EST
    I hope the Shrub and his merry band of farkwits rots in hell just for the Katrina debacle alone. I for one, can't wait to see Lee's film.

    Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#3)
    by Slado on Sun Aug 20, 2006 at 06:01:22 PM EST
    I listened to Spike Lee on NPR and I can already tell this is going to be a doosey. In the interview Mr. Lee said..."Bush was warned in the famous meeting before Katrina hit that the levees would be toppled". Correct Mr. Lee but they weren't toppled. They broke. And that was everybody's fault because if they'd been built properly, which they weren't, and maintained properly, which they weren't this never would have happened. Then Mr. Lee went on to say that he's going to give airtime to the theory that the levees were intentionaly blown up to flood the 9th ward. He said he deliberately presented this theory not because he believes it but because he heard it so much. Really? It would be nice if fair and balanced documentary was produced about Katrina but it's obvious that Mr. Lee took this on with an agenda and this more then likely well made and brilliant documentary will push a political agenda that is unnecessary. By the way if you haven't seen Mr. Lee's "Inside Man" it was awesome. .

    Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#4)
    by clio on Sun Aug 20, 2006 at 08:13:34 PM EST
    To this day, after all that has been said about Katrina, the Urgent Weather Message from the NWS on 28 August 2005 at 1013 AM CDT and repeated at 413 PM in slightly altered form seems the best description of what was to come. A few excerpts: ...POWERFUL HURRICANE... UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH... MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS...PERHAPS LONGER... ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL... INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL... ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED... . HIGH RISE...BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT. AIRBORNE DEBRIS...MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS...PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK. POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS... WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS... Sitting safely in northern Michigan under gusty gray skies, which were all we faced from Katina, it read like apocalyptic prophecy. And, as is true of many prophecies, and was true of all the preceeding warnings about New Orleans, not enough people listened, not enough changed and the forecast doom was not averted or even ameliorated.

    Correct Mr. Lee but they weren't toppled No. They weren't "toppled," they were breached. And they weren't levees, they were floodwalls. And everyone is to blame because the Army Corp screwed up. Yeah, aint that a shame what the river has done to this poor crackers land.

    Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#6)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 06:45:17 AM EST
    fig - Did you ever consider that if you live in a flood plain, sooner or later, you will be flooded? Clio - Another question is, why didn't the Mayor of NO and the Gov of LA provide emergancy help in getting the people out. I seem to remember hundreds of busses under water that could have been used. And then we have Some actual facts about response time.
    Jason van Steenwyk is a Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief. He notes that: ... The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne." For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla. after Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three.
    Indeed, we now know that:
    Still, by focusing on the part of the glass that was half-empty, the national media imposed a near total blackout on the nerve center of what may have been the largest, most successful aerial search and rescue operation in history.
    Slado - Agenda? It's what Lee does.

    Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#7)
    by Peaches on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 06:57:58 AM EST
    Mr. Lee went on to say that he's going to give airtime to the theory that the levees were intentionaly blown up to flood the 9th ward. He said he deliberately presented this theory not because he believes it but because he heard it so much. Really? It would be nice if fair and balanced documentary was produced about Katrina but it's obvious that Mr. Lee took this on with an agenda and this more then likely well made and brilliant documentary will push a political agenda that is unnecessary.
    I haven't seen the documentary, nor have I seen it. Don't know if I will. I also haven't heard the theory that the levees were purposely blown up. But, tell me Slado, if one is doing a documentary on Katrina and many people in the ninth ward propose this theory ove and over again, how could the documentary be fair and balanced if it failed to address this theory by giving it airtime. Unless, of course, by fair and balanced (such an interesting choice of words used to criticize Spike - Don't you think?) you mean the fair and balanced news reporting practiced by your favorite network - which, of course, doesn't have an agenda (/sarcasm)

    Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#8)
    by jondee on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 07:16:06 AM EST
    Agenda? It's what Lee does. Meanwhile you link to a site that accuses that CBS of high treason. I can only imagine how amusing you would be if you actually tried, Jim.

    Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 11:12:14 AM EST
    Peaches writes:
    how could the documentary be fair and balanced if it failed to address this theory by giving it airtime.
    The problem, of course, is that the documentary will not be accurate, and will have bias. I may see it, you may not. As to the belief that the levees were blown, that falls in line with the belief that the CIA introduced AIDS and crack coke into the black population. Utter nonsense, but impossible to disprove to anyone wanting to believe. Jondee - High treason?? I don't know about the "high" description.. And it is my aim to educate you through humor.... As I am sure that is what Spike is doing with the levee blowing comments.

    Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#10)
    by Sailor on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 11:43:50 AM EST
    The problem, of course, is that the documentary will not be accurate, and will have bias.
    unlike faux news, msnbc, bush ... etc.
    And then we have Some actual facts about response time.
    trust ppj to quote an editorial and talk about it like it was a fact.
    The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne.
    all those happened on theh bushies watch. What do you expect when rethugs are in charge and appoint their political cronies? Guess who was president when response times were faster? Uhh, yep, that would be Clinton, who actually appointed pros to the job. What a difference a brain and empathy make.

    Where is all this money Congress has supposedly authorized for the rebuilding of New Orleans? No one I know here has seen it, not in small business, not in infrastructure, not in housing assistance, not in rebuilding homes. As the "anniversary" approaches, spike Lee, Anderson Cooper, and lots of other blowhards will be here with their takes on the city, and where we are one year later. Let me tell you my take from the inside: It sucks here. For everyone. Few people are rebuilding, few people are returning. We have to defend ourselves as worthy of being saved because of our reputation for corruption and partying. Everyone feels free to sit in judgement, including the posters here, news people, Congress. You know who is getting work done here? Volunteers. High school and college kids on break, church groups, local social service agencies, residents who take it upon themselves to help strangers and neighbors. A litle secret: I have always felt a little sorry for people who didn't live here. For a short time I lost that. Even as bad as it is here, high suicide rate, few medical services, fewer still mental health beds in local hospitals, basic services spotty, I still can't think where I could live that isn't here. As you read that, many of you are thinking, what an idiot. Why live in such a vulnerable place? Well, is where you live any less vulnerable? The Corps of Engineers has projects in almost every state in the union. If you think what hapens to New Orleans doesn't affect you, think again. The governemt response, the failure of the Corp and local levee boards to inspect and maintain flood protection, has far reaching ramifications.

    Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#12)
    by Sailor on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 12:55:49 PM EST
    Where is all this money Congress has supposedly authorized for the rebuilding of New Orleans? No one I know here has seen it, not in small business, not in infrastructure, not in housing assistance, not in rebuilding homes.
    bootsybooks, I'm so glad you asked:
    FEMA flailed and flip-flopped on its contracting policies for trailers, mobile homes and other temporary shelter. The first big contracts were handed out non-competitively to four well-connected companies -- Shaw Group, Bechtel Corp., CH2M Hill Inc. and Fluor Corp. Then in October FEMA director R. David Paulison promised to rebid the contracts after Congress complained that smaller companies, especially local and minority-owned firms, should have a chance to compete for the work.
    A month after that, FEMA said the new contracts would not be awarded until February. That deadline came and went, and then in March a FEMA official announced that the contracts weren't going to be rebid after all.


    Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#13)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 08:06:35 PM EST
    Sailor writes:
    trust ppj to quote an editorial and talk about it like it was a fact.
    Actually it is a direct quote.
    Jason van Steenwyk is a Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief. He notes that
    Why don't you look him up and call him a liar? That would be an excellent test of his restraint and your habit of calling people you disagree with "liars." BTW - Now you not only don't read the links, you don't even read the quotes. Figures. bootsybooks - Glad you like it there. I've spent a fair amount of time in the area myself and it does have its charm. Just don't expect Aunt Jane from a farm 100 miles from Fargo to come down and fix your problems, unless she wants to. Which is my way of saying that rebuilding NO is throwing good money after bad. Now watch my lips. It is in a bowl. It will flood again. You know, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. And quit thinking that a corrupt political system can pass for culture.

    Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#14)
    by Dadler on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 09:16:41 AM EST
    Jim and Slado, Do you know what a point of view is? Everyone has them, no matter how objective we think we are. Go back and watch "Do the Right Thing", a Spike Lee film about race that is entertaining and intense and political and not the least bit biased in anyone's favor. Everyone comes off with warts in that film, as they often do in ALL his films -- the good ones and the weak ones. And if you don't see it, then what are you commenting on but your own preducices. Peace, boys.

    Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#15)
    by Sailor on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 09:17:51 AM EST
    Now you not only don't read the links, you don't even read the quotes.
    are you incapable of telling the truth? I proved last time that you lied about me not reading the link. And same thing this time, it is an editorial where he's supplies a quote from someone he supposedly talked to. IT'S AN EDITORIAL! THEY ARE NOT BOUND BY THE SAME STANDARDS AS REPORTERS! When you repeatedly lie, you will be labeled a liar, it's a fact, like the ones I link to, not like the opinions you link to. And I notice you try to distract from the fact that all those poor response times came under bushies. Your fearful leaders are incompetent and uncaring when it actually comes to helping the American people in a time of disaster.

    Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#16)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 09:21:10 AM EST
    He honors reporters, but many of their reports are a slap in the face to those serve honorably..

    Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#17)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 09:28:31 AM EST
    who serve..

    Please...are you people crazy? The BIGGEST problem with the Katrina issues was Ray Nagin. The second BIGGEST problem was Gov. Blanco. The federal government wasn't perfect, but Nagin and Blanco had NO PLAN with how to deal with such a disaster. Nagin's "new" plan is to use city buses? Why on Earth wasn't that done the first time? I am not the least bit surprised that Lee's film (this is not a documentary any more than Fahrenheit 9/11 is) bashes the federal government though.

    Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#19)
    by Sailor on Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 04:30:43 PM EST
    I am not the least bit surprised that Lee's film (this is not a documentary any more than Fahrenheit 9/11 is) bashes the federal government though.
    You didn't see the film did you? I'm also betting you didn't see F9/11. If you didn't see the films you have no right to criticize them.
    The BIGGEST problem with the Katrina issues was Ray Nagin. The second BIGGEST problem was Gov. Blanco. The federal government wasn't perfect
    Not perfect!? The feds built substandard levees. The feds had studies showing exactly this happening, yet bush said no one had anticipated it. bush made campaign events while NO drowned. bush said brownie did a heckuva job. fema had trailers, busses and ice ... but never deployed them. bush made rescue workers pose with him rather than let them do their jobs. The list is endless to the same degree that you are clueless.

    ppj - my point was that the Corps of Engineers has projects all over this countery, including some where your Aunt Jane lives in Fargo. If they failed here, then you aren't safe either. And no, I don't confuse corruption with culture. But remember that New Orlenas is one of the oldest cities in the US. The archives of the city and the Catholic Church here include some of the most historically signifcant documents in this country. It's not about "charm", you shallow philistine. It's a test of how this country decides what is important to the future of all Americans. Now read my lips, and I'll use little words. The city was founded in 1718, before the English colonies barely knew what they were doing. It continues to be one of the busiest ports in the country, as I hope you remember when you drink your coffee in the morning, and is a major player in trade with Central and South America. Those are also big places with lots of people, and becoming increasingly more important to US commerce. Am I going too fast for ya? It wasn't the hurricane that flooded the city, it was the near-complete failure of the federal levee protection, a project that protects a hell of a lot more people than in the coastal south. "I've spent a fair amount of time in the area myself and it sdoes have its charms". Jesus, what a smug uneducated blowhard you are.

    Re: Katrina Anniversary: Spike Lee Film and Water (none / 0) (#21)
    by Peaches on Wed Aug 23, 2006 at 11:52:15 AM EST
    Bootsy, Meet my old pal, ppj. Sorry, but he is a little senile. But we love him just the same for the comic relief he provides - grows cabbages, too. Curious, that he chose Fargo, since that city too is susceptible to flooding. It is located in a flood plain called the Red River Valley. During heavy snow years it fills up like a lake and everyone watches the Red River rise and hope the levys hold. Periodically, it does not and there is much damage. The last time in 1997. When federal dollars are sent to rebuild the levy, people like ppj scream and cry about living in a flood plain. What they won't acknowledge is the economic benefit derived from Fargo and agriculture in the Red River Valley. Fargo, like New Orleans, is vital to our economy. Both will be threatened with flooding again. In both cases, engineers can do a lot to prevent disastrous outcomes and these investments are beneficial to all Americans. Now, unlike Fargo, New Orleans has the Jazz and Heritage Festival. It is the center of some of the greatest music, food, poetry, literature art and culture this country has ever produced.