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John Edwards Is Helping Your Neighbors

by Mark Adams
Cross-posted and KOS-Posted

Well, maybe not in my neighborhood, but certainly my fellow Kossack Konspirator, Ara's neighbors should be taking notice of this:

As part of his ongoing efforts to fight poverty in America, Senator John Edwards will travel to New Orleans on Friday, May 4th, 2007, to draw attention to the struggles of the community and to help with recovery efforts. Edwards announced his candidacy for president in New Orleans and last spring traveled to Louisiana with 700 college students to help with rebuilding efforts.

Later in the day, Edwards will travel to Baton Rouge to speak at the National Conference of Black Mayors' 33rd Annual Convention.

Josh has all the details if you happen to be in the area.

Coming off back-to-back, coast-to-coast appearances at the South Carolina Democratic convention, where the home town boy enjoyed the rock-star treatment usually reserved for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (neither of whom attended), and the California Democratic Convention where John Edwards gained the most converts with what the California Progress Report termed a "passionate and substantive" speech widely praised for its tough anti-war message and deep understanding of the issues and how to transform the nation with a progressive agenda; Edwards heads next to the Gulf Coast to honor his promise not to abandon the area still feeling the ravages of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

In a stark contrast to the Bush administration which rejected outside offers of assistance for the region, John Edwards is returning again to to New Orleans to personally help what is still by some accounts a dire situation. The good news is that the Bush Administration official in charge of foreign aid resigned earlier this week. The bad news is he resigned because he was in the alleged D.C. Madam's little black book, not because he did such a heckuvajob.

Reacting to the news that the Bush Administration rejected hundreds of millions of dollars in promised aid from foreign countries, Edwards said:

"This is just new evidence about how badly the Administration mishandled the response to Katrina - not only did they fail to respond rapidly and effectively, they actually turned away others who were prepared to help. And their incompetence continues to impede recovery efforts today."
This situation has been exasperated by the inexcusable arrogance and utter failure of the President and his administration to lead the recovery efforts and properly direct aid where needed, allowing bureaucratic inertia and red tape to work its compassionate conservative magic.

The Washington Post reports that the government has spent more than $125 Billion on Gulf Coast recovery, was offered $854 Million in cash and in oil that was to be sold for cash from our allies, but collected only about $40 Million of what was pledged. Much of the relief offered has been redirected to charitable organizations.

Now $125 Billion is a whole heckuvalot more than $854 Million, however it simply doesn't make sense that no one in our government knows how to accept, graciously mind you, emergency aid. Lord knows the IRS is pretty handy at collecting cash.

They sure know how to spend our money -- badly -- so ineptitude at collecting donations seems par for the course. They figured out how to channel almost $125 Million to Halliburton as part of the Katrina effort with no problem, plus $236 Million to Carnival Cruises in a no-bid deal to house New Orleans refugees at $1,275 a week per person. Another $40 million no-bid contract for temporary mobile classrooms was handed out to a subsidiary of an Alaskan company — Akima Site Operations — that had never done this kind of work before. (Thank you Senator Toobz.)

These guys certainly know how to write checks to their cronies. You'd think they could manage to learn how to fill out a deposit slip.

Bechtel got a no-bidder to do laundry at a Hundred Bucks a load, just one of 15 contracts over $100 million, and five of those were over $500 million.

The word, "disgraceful," hardly seems adequate.

Barack Obama has directly addressed this almost criminal malfeasance in his co-sponsorship of a bill last year to end these notorious no-bid contracts. The House passed a version of this bill in March.

Hillary Clinton was the first to condemn Halliburton's move to Dubai and has called for a Congressional investigation into the company's dealings. She notably opined that the neglect of New Orleans by the Bush Administration was part of a deliberate policy of neglect designed to purge the area of low-income and poverty stricken Democrats.

John Edwards has dedicated his campaign to fighting poverty in Louisiana and throughout the nation -- indeed throughout the world -- framing poverty as a national security priority. The malaise of poverty cripples our society here, and breeds discontent and even terrorism abroad.

To this end, between his travels Edwards announced that he released a new book called "Ending Poverty In America: How to Restore the American Dream," a collection of essays discussing new, innovative ideas about how to fight poverty.

Edwards also released a multi-media promotion of the first televised campaign ad this cycle which you can see here, there, and just about everywhere. It wasn't about what we should expect 21 months from now when he becomes president, but what Congress should do Right Now about Bush's veto of the war spending bill -- send it right back again, and again, as many times as it takes for the president to finally, for once, face reality.

Senator Edwards also tells us how we can help make this happen by donating, making your own ads, and sending a customized postcard to your representatives.

Frankly, I'm exhausted just trying to keep track of the guy. How does someone in their mid-fifties do so much, go so many places, inspire and motivate so many people -- and still look so damn good?

What? No he's not running for President of the Hair Club for men. Give it a rest already ...

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