Ground zero of Hurricane Katrina (Joe Scarborough)
BILOXI, Mississippi — Friends, this is ground zero of Hurricane Katrina. We got over here yesterday morning. I have never seen utter destruction like I have seen here in Biloxi, Mississippi. It’s that way all the way up and down the coast.
About 85 miles southwest of us right now, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the city is on the brink of total collapse. The Crescent City is covered up to 20 feet of water in some places, 80 percent of New Orleans is now underwater. New reports suggest additional levees may break. It's a dire situation.
You know, friends, I'm sure most of you know that watch my show, I have lived on the Gulf Coast for over 30 years now. I followed hurricanes, too, closely. We have all grown up talking about Camille, the dark legend of a hurricane that crashed right on these shores behind us back in 1969, killed some people, destroyed some property — but nothing like what I have seen today.
You can look at the buildings. There are aerial shots that show from a distance what this city, what this community, what this state has been going through. They are devastating images. But, friends, we also walk the streets of Biloxi and hear heartbreaking stories.
We brought water over from Pensacola, Florida. It's only a couple hours away, because I knew, when we went through Ivan last year around this same time last, we knew that water was a precious commodity. So, we brought over 1,000 bottles of water. And we would pass it out to anybody that looked like they needed it.
One man came up to us. He took the water, took it back to his wife. She was weeping silently in the passenger side of the front seat. And the man looked down. He said, ‘How much do I owe you? I don't have much. I have lost everything.’ And we said, you owe us nothing. They drove away weeping.
A couple of minutes later, we came across a young couple and their 15-month-old daughter. She was covered in dirt from head to toe. They were parched. The father came up to me after we gave them water and he said, ‘All is lost. Is there anything left?’ And I said, no, sir, it doesn't look like there's anything left.
He has nothing left. And so, you take those personal shots, friends. Again, look at these aerial shots of Biloxi, Mississippi. You can go from Biloxi to Gautier, Mississippi, to Gulfport to Pascagoula, so many of these beautiful antebellum homes up and down the coastline destroyed. They survived a Civil War. They survived the Great Depression. They survived the onslaught of Hurricane Camille in 1969. But, friends, they were reduced to rubble just a few days ago.
It is a devastating scene. Now, rescue trucks pour off of I-10 into town. They've got a long, long job ahead of them.
We will talk about that tonight on Scarborough Country at 10 p.m. ET. Stay tuned to get more updates on this national disaster.
E-mail me in the meantime at JScarborough@msnbc.com.
An All-American Girl Goes Missing: We Must Not Keep Quiet (Joe Scarborough)
The Natalee Holloway investigation continues its frustrating crawl on the island of Aruba. Even as many signs point to the prime suspect, Joran Van Der Sloot, the investigation is at a near standstill. Sure, Joran sits in jail, but the Kalpoe brothers — his and Natalee’s companions in the late hours that night — walk free, and on September 4th, the court will decide whether to charge Joran, extend his incarceration for 30 days or let him walk. Meantime, hardly anything is being done to move things forward.
Except, of course, for the efforts of Natalee’s mother, Beth. She’s stood up against an Aruban government that too often seems intent not on trying to find out what happened to Natalee but on making us all forget about Natalee. But Beth has refused to let them bury this case. Because of her, we won’t forget that a young woman, an American girl, has vanished.
Now, we have gotten a lot of questions about how Beth is able to spend so much time away from home, searching for her daughter. This week she told us that it‘s due in great measure to the generosity of her fellow teachers in Alabama. They have donated their sick days at school so Beth can continue to stay in Aruba, fighting to bring Natalee home. Beth expressed how overwhelmed she is by all of her fellow teachers’ acts of kindness, and I know she greatly appreciates it, as do we.
This tragic story plays out now against an even more sad reality. Remember, friends, that right now, all of Natalee‘s friends are going off to the University of Alabama, the University of Auburn, to begin their college years. It is, should be, such an exciting time in a young girl‘s life, and such an exciting time in a parent’s life. It‘s a time they can say, “You know what, mission accomplished. We got them through high school. And now they begin an exciting voyage,” Yet tonight, Beth Holloway Twitty, far away from Alabama, down in Aruba, is still trying to get answers to the questions that she just doesn‘t have.
What can you do? You can make a difference by contacting your local legislators and making sure that they‘re applying pressure through the proper authorities, not only in America, but also in Holland and in Aruba. Joran van der Sloot‘s judgment day on September 4th approaches. We must all stay vigilant.
Bolton: The President's man at the U.N. (Joe Scarborough)
John Bolton would not have been my first choice for United Nations Ambassador. But my opinion doesn't really matter on this issue any more than the personal wishes of Ted Kennedy or George Voinivich.
The President knows where he wants to take U.S. foreign policy over the next three years. That's why he needs his man at the U.N. If the White House fails to reach out to the international community, Republicans will face the consequences at the ballot box in the midterm elections.
Besides, we had an election eight months ago and as John McCain is fond of saying, elections have consequences. I would guess more voters in 2004 would rather see Bush's man at the U.N. than Barbara Boxer's.
Improving our relationship with international partners has to be one of the President's top priorities moving forward. But that does not mean that he can't demand dramatic reform at the United Nations.
And with Bolton, maybe we will have someone operating at Turtle Bay with the guts to state the obvious: The United Nations is an international agency that has become corrupt and irrelevant.
Kofi Annan's bureaucracy is mired in nasty scandals involving sex and money.
UN "relief workers" rape those they are sent to save, while Annan's family members and assistants skim millions from international tyrants' schemes to exploit U.N. relief programs.
More troubling for the international community is the fact that the United Nations has failed to respond to genocide in Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sudan in the 1990s, and Sudan again in the 21st Century.
Most Americans could be forgiven for believing the toothless agency only makes news when it is kicking its host and primary benefactor around. The U.N. sided with the Soviets during the Cold War and became Saddam Hussein's protector in the lead-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Anyone shocked by the agency's moral ambivalence need only to look at the countries who fill the United Nations' Human Rights Commission. Dictatorial regimes like Cuba, Sudan, and Libya sit on the committee specifically so they can block any criticism of their own abuse.
Yet Democratic senators like Ted Kennedy focus their fire on John Bolton.
The Massachusetts liberal called the Bolton selection "shameful and irresponsible."
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Bolton was "weakened." But it was the liberals in Reid's own party who smeared the career diplomat's reputation.
Besides, the charges against Bolton were always pathetic.
We learned Mr. Bolton had once slammed a phone on the hook. Another testified that Bolton ran down a hall and shoved a document under a fellow diplomat's door!
Egad! This man is a beast!
Serious Democrats and Republicans know the President should have the power to send his choice to the United Nations. Sadly, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party seems blind to that fact. And since leftists are growing in power within their party, maybe that is why Americans just don't trust the Democratic Party to protect it in a time of war.
With all of the President's missteps, one wonders what direction America would go if only there were a competent opposition party.
Republicans stand by their man (Joe Scarborough)
A California Democrat who read my recent note on the White House’s cynical shell game with social conservatives wrote to ask why Republicans who feel betrayed by Bush’s big government policies remain loyal.
Regardless of whether you consider Bush to be a true believer or a socialist squish, the truth is Republicans will stand by their man whether he drives the deficit up to $900 billion or appoints a practicing abortionist to the Supreme Court.
Why? Because Bush Republicans, like Clinton Democrats in the '90s, love absolute power more than sound policy.
My most liberal Democratic friends in Congress loathed Bill Clinton’s existence, regularly labeling him a sleazy liar and worthless scumbag. But as Democratic politicians, victory was more important than virtue. My Republican friends have likewise fallen on their swords.
One more reason to despise political parties.