The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Obama Says U.S. 'Must Respond' to Flood Potential in Midwest

By Michael D. Shear
President Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address today to reach out to the people of North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota whose homes and livelihoods are threatened by the rising of the Red River.

"Even as we face an economic crisis which demands our constant focus, forces of nature can also intervene in ways that create other crises to which we must respond - and respond urgently," the president said.

Obama on Tuesday declared a major disaster in North Dakota, where the river was expected to crest Sunday at 42 feet. He has also declared a disaster in Minnesota, on the other side of the Red.

For the president, the surging Red River presents an early test of a promise that he made during his campaign for the White House: to make sure the federal government treats disasters with the seriousness they deserve.

President George W. Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was a major theme during the 2008 campaign. Both Obama and Sen. John McCain both traveled several times to New Orleans, and both vowed to make sure the government never again fails on that scale.

Obama did not mention Katrina in his address today, but he made it clear that the government has been put on notice -- no one wants images of flooded streets, houses and neighborhoods.

"For at moments like these, we are reminded of the power of nature to disrupt lives and endanger communities. But we are also reminded of the power of individuals to make a difference," he said.

The president also used the opportunity to praise a bill that passed the Senate this week and would increase the opportunities for public service.

Sponsored by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), the bill would triple the number of AmeriCorps volunteers and expand other government opportunities to serve the country.

"The bipartisan Senate bill was sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Ted Kennedy, a leader who embodies the spirit of public service, and I am looking forward to signing this important measure into law," Obama said.

Posted at 6:00 AM ET on Mar 28, 2009
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Barrack Obama does not care about white people.

Posted by: myze133251 | March 31, 2009 6:44 PM

rooster54 -

Here is a list of "peer reviewed" papers disputing global warming:

You should particularly read the first article which seems directed right at partisans who bleat about "peer review", but have no idea what that means:

"In following the discussion of global warming and related issues in the press and the blogosphere, I have been struck repeatedly by the assumption or expression of certain beliefs that strike me as highly problematical. Many writers who are not scientists themselves are trading on the prestige of science and the authority of scientists. Reference to “peer-reviewed research” and to an alleged “scientific consensus” are regarded as veritable knock-out blows by many commentators. Yet many of those who make such references appear to me to be more or less ignorant of how science as a form of knowledge-seeking and scientists as individual professionals operate, especially nowadays, when national governments―most notably the U.S. government―play such an overwhelming role in financing scientific research and hence in determining which scientists rise to the top and which fall by the wayside.

I do not pretend to have expertise in climatology or any of the related physical sciences, so nothing I might say about strictly climatological or related physical-scientific matters deserves any weight. However, I have thirty-nine years of professional experience―twenty-six as a university professor, including fifteen at a major research university, and then thirteen as a researcher, writer, and editor―in close contact with scientists of various sorts, including some in the biological and physical sciences and many in the social sciences and demography. I have served as a peer reviewer for more than thirty professional journals and as a reviewer of research proposals for the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and a number of large private foundations. I was the principal investigator of a major NSF-funded research project in the field of demography. So, I think I know something about how the system works.

It does not work as outsiders seem to think."

Read the article if you want to educate yourself. If you just want to feel good about your pre-determined views, then feel free to get your facts from documentaries from partisans who have a long history of hewing to traditional liberal views:

Posted by: bobmoses | March 28, 2009 8:03 PM

rooster54 -

LOL. Peer reviewed government scientist, Dr. Mark Campbell of the US Naval Academy has the best response to your anti-scientific claims:

"According to the editorial "A New Year's resolution" (Jan. 2), tens of thousands of scientists like me are "flat-earth types."

I guess my doctorate in chemical physics from Johns Hopkins doesn't give me nearly the qualifications to analyze the science associated with the global climate as an editor with an agenda.

If we are going to stoop to name-calling, an appropriate name for people with the view The Baltimore Sun endorses could be "Chicken Littles." But instead of claiming that the sky is falling, they claim the sky is burning.

The editorial claims that there is a consensus among scientists that man-made carbon dioxide is causing global climate change; however, consensus in science is an oxymoron. From Galileo to Einstein, one scientist with proof is more convincing than thousands of other scientists who believe something to be true.

And I don't even grant that there is a consensus among scientists; it's just that the press only promotes the global warming alarmists and ignores or minimizes those of us who are skeptical. To many of us, there is no convincing evidence that carbon dioxide produced by humans has any influence on the Earth's climate.",0,1631758.story

But hey, he doesn't hew to your narrow-minded partisan views so he doesn't deserve your consideration. The Galileo comparison is apt and you seem to be following the path of the religious zealots who tried him for presenting alternative findings.

Now I am not claiming that the global warming crowd is wrong. I am just claiming that there is a large and growing body of respectable scientists who disagree with them. It is amusing that the same crowd who has been braying about "ant-intellectualism" are the same ones who want to shut down scientific debate among scientists, so as not to upset their ideological beliefs.

Posted by: bobmoses | March 28, 2009 7:49 PM


Your are right in one regard. The ND floods and katrina are quite different. Katrina was a much bigger disaster that hit a densely populated urban center, many of whom had no transportation of their own. The National Guard troops are there because, unlike in NO, the Governor did not intentionally keep them out in a petty turf war. Unlike in NO, the local government is doing its job, instead of letting a fleet of buses get flooded out in a parking lot.

You still haven't told me what Obama has done that Bush did not, other than the vague and baseless claim that he "is on it".

Again, I am not so silly as to blame a natural disaster solely on a President. It was the mindless Bush haters who created that policy.

Posted by: bobmoses | March 28, 2009 7:39 PM

Another nice try.
Taking events out of the broader context can be misleading. A good example is tempurature dropping in Europe. Melting polar ice (from global warming) can cause the currents of the Gulf Stream to shift, making it cooler in Europe.

Adults clean up after themselves, while children leave a mess for others to clean up, so polluters need to quite making stuff up to avoid taking responsibility for what they've done.

Posted by: rooster54 | March 28, 2009 6:31 PM

What I want to hear(And SEE), is some actual Tracking of the effects on COOLING that the much over-due Seismic Activity in Chili, and recently Alaska-along with lessor activity in Indonesia, are going to have.

SulfurDiOxide, is one of the things the stratosphere has been Hurting for!

IT, finally getting injected up into the Stratosphere is going to do waaaayyyyy more than all of Barry and Big Gay Al's Hot Air!

Posted by: SAINT---The | March 28, 2009 5:44 PM


First of all Katrina floods and Fargo floods are totally different. Obama is on top of the situation. "...Hundreds of National Guard troops, local residents and volunteers continued to reinforce and raise sandbagged barriers and floodwalls..." Correction (Reuters not washpost)
Katrina was a disaster for the "Bust(h)" admin for what occurred during and more importantly after the floods.

Posted by: MILLER123 | March 28, 2009 5:44 PM


First of all Katrina floods and Fargo floods are totally different. Obama is on top of the situation. "Hundreds of National Guard troops, local residents and volunteers continued to reinforce and raise sandbagged barriers and floodwalls..." (washpost)
Katrina was a disaster for the "Bust(h)" admin for what occurred during and more importantly after the floods.

Posted by: MILLER123 | March 28, 2009 5:40 PM

bobmoses said-
What about the scientists who think that the global warming hysteria is misplaced? Do only the scientists who share your narrow partisan views deserve to have their opinions heard?

Posted by: bobmoses | March 28, 2009 4:43 PM

Nice try.
None of the studies challenging climate change due to human activity have passed peer review. So yeah, they're not worth anyone's attention.
Also, in most, if not every case, studies challenging the broad scientific consensus on climate change have recieved conditional grants from companies, or political entities with vested interests in denying climate change data. In other words, they've accepted bribes.
I'm afraid you, like so many other well meaning Americans, have been had by the corporate agenda media propaganda machine.
Read up on how corporate leaders are throwing red herrings into our information sources to keep us from reigning in their abuses, then help us fight back, brother.

Posted by: rooster54 | March 28, 2009 5:34 PM


All empty and meaningless rhetoric aside, can you tell us how Obama is handling this flood any differently than the "Bust" admin handled Katrina?

rooster54 -

What about the scientists who think that the global warming hysteria is misplaced? Do only the scientists who share your narrow partisan views deserve to have their opinions heard?

Posted by: bobmoses | March 28, 2009 4:43 PM

Apparent republican logic:
"Gee we can save a lot of taxpayer money by not fixing anything, or doing scientific studies on potential disasters. Can you believe democrats actually want to learn more about famine prevention? How silly! Just think how much money we can save by not having check-ups for our kids, or changing oil our cars, or checking for termites in our houses! We'll know when stuff is falling apart, and the magic free market will rise up from the pumkin patch and make everything OK.
We don't have to lift a finger to help ourselves. The magic free market will take care of us from cradle to grave.

Studying science is hard, and only those too wimpy to lose their families in preventable disasters would resort to paying fellow Americans to do it."

Posted by: rooster54 | March 28, 2009 4:17 PM

There is no comparison between the "Bust" Administration and the Obama Administration.

Posted by: MILLER123 | March 28, 2009 4:06 PM

River ice jams hard to predict, scientists say:
"White said climate change caused by global warming likely is changing ice conditions and adding to the unpredictability."

Those pesky scientists! I bet children's-show-host-wannabe, Bobby Jindal, would take issue with that silly science.

Posted by: rooster54 | March 28, 2009 3:51 PM

I have no issue with what Bush did or did not do during last year's flooding. My point is that NO ONE ever talks about it and it was significantly worse than what is going on now. And No Republican can tell you what great things Bush did.

But in any case, all the bottled water, food delivered to shelters, sand bags, and so on all come from FEMA. The extra material is not sitting around waiting for a disaster.

Posted by: shadeyoj | March 28, 2009 2:12 PM

shadeyoj wrote:

"Katrina?? is that as much memory as partisan republicans have? do they not remember historic flooding last year in the midwest?

Do any of you know what the federal gov't response was?"

Apparently you do and were dissatisfied with it. How does Obama's response differ from that response. Be specific.

I'm not asking this because I think Obama is not doing all that he can. I am asking it because I think Bush did also, but angry partisans were just looking for an opportunity for cheap and cynical partisan attacks.

Posted by: bobmoses | March 28, 2009 2:00 PM

cayman2 -

What is Obama doing that Bush did not? Be specific.

Posted by: bobmoses | March 28, 2009 1:57 PM

Hey VirginiaConservative...your kind of "support", we don't need here in Fargo-Moorhead. Go climb back under your rock or, better yet, hit yourself in the head with it. With Obama, we have a president who actually pays attention and has qualified people in place to help out, as opposed to old "Heckuva job Brownie".

Posted by: cayman2 | March 28, 2009 1:54 PM

Barama could use this as an excuse to tour the Fargo area in a limo with one of his call boies in the back seat, outta the reach of MOs toned arms.

Posted by: georgejones5 | March 28, 2009 1:51 PM

Katrina?? is that as much memory as partisan republicans have? do they not remember historic flooding last year in the midwest?

Do any of you know what the federal gov't response was?

Posted by: shadeyoj | March 28, 2009 1:50 PM

The people of North Dakota don't need help from this Chicago punk. Notice the difference in resolve between the people of North Dakota and New Orleans.

One doesn't see the police looting, people turning into predatory (even more than usual) animals and the local politicians hyperventilating.

What one sees is a united community standing together filling sand bags.

Obama, your "community organizing" couldn't accomplish that in a thousand years.

All you accomplish is creating broken families militantly dependent upon the government.

You must be proud of "your" people when the two are contrasted.

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | March 28, 2009 1:43 PM

Can anyone explain to me what Obama is doing in this natural disaster beyond what Bush did regarding Katrina?

Could it be that Presidents are not really responsible for natural disasters after all and the attacking of Bush over Katrina was the lowest form of cynical partisanship?

Posted by: bobmoses | March 28, 2009 1:18 PM

Will stem cells stop flooding in 'Red' States?

How about Predator drones?

Red States don't get help from Obama!

...we need research done on this possible solution to flooding....anyone with eggs to donate?

Posted by: poppadata | March 28, 2009 1:13 PM

Obama airlifted his budget documents and other 'pledges' to fill in DIKE leaks....alas, like his many promises they dissolved under the pressing realities and were used to fuel fires...... but he sent his NCAA picks and Michele sent organic garden seeds...they mean well, you know, on the job training isn't a pretty thing to watch.

Posted by: poppadata | March 28, 2009 1:09 PM

Too bad the White House insisted on putting the AIG bonuses back in the "stimulus package." They could have used that money to help people in need.

Posted by: pkhenry | March 28, 2009 1:08 PM

Obama is an idiot.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | March 28, 2009 12:46 PM




..."Here's one more fact...

..."True Patriotism, "Hates Injustice In Its Own Land, "More, "THAN ANYWHERE ELSE."
---Clarence Darrow

Sincerely, Tommy Birchfield, Voter/Vet USAF,Master's Program/East Tennessee State

Posted by: ztcb41 | March 28, 2009 12:34 PM

I guess it's too much to ask for people to have some idea what's going on before they comment. FEMA and the associated federal agencies have been preparing for weeks. Where do you think millions of sandbags come from? Do you think people in Fargo just have them stored in their closets? How do you think ice jams are being cleared?

Posted by: spidey103 | March 28, 2009 12:04 PM

So for all these days that Fargo folks have been struggling to fill sandbags in anticipation of the floods, Obama has been "watching" the water rise...from camp David no doubt! So this is the change we can believe in? Anybody in Obama's changed government think maybe to help those people with the sandbagging? Oh, I know, a major construction project to build dams and levees will fit into his recovery program. Yeah, I get it. Now that's change we can believe in...

Posted by: Jrlobo | March 28, 2009 11:44 AM

A Red River in a Red State? No electoral votes to be had there.

Posted by: pkhenry | March 28, 2009 11:00 AM

Odd premise for an article. As if assuming Obama might not assist disaster victims as every past president has done. Campaign promise or not it's just what they all do. Sure Bush screwed up big-time on Katrina but that's just Bush. So far Obama has handled this as any past president would and I'm sure he'll continue to do so. Anyway it's ridiculous to compare every disaster with Katrina. We may never see one that bad again in this country. I now realize this columnist, Michael Shear, is one of the many controversy 'hoes.

Posted by: bgormley1 | March 28, 2009 11:00 AM


It's clear you want nothing more than his head. First of all, this is no where near the scale of disaster that Katrina was.

Second, your hysterical rantings sound more like panic than well-thought out statements.

But, republitards are good at panic.

Posted by: JRM2 | March 28, 2009 10:52 AM

Go to U Tube type in Secret Government.

Posted by: sapperinthewire | March 28, 2009 10:48 AM

Posted by: infantry11b4faus | March 28, 2009 10:26 AM

what are you some kind of hate-filled nut? If Bush gave half that effort during Katrina many lives would have been saved.

Posted by: JRM2 | March 28, 2009 10:48 AM

yes lil hussein will stretch his hands out over the river and demand that his fake god - allah - stop the waters from rising and instead turn the excess into beautiful flowers and the children will all sing and dance and all will be at peace.
it's not important that he actually does anything, or that he is successful, what matters to the looney left is that he appears to care.

Posted by: infantry11b4faus | March 28, 2009 10:26 AM

Wasn't it the midwest states who criticized Katrina victims wanting help when they prided theirselves in helping theirself in bad weather problems? They have National Guard helping with the sandbagging so I guess they lied huh?

Posted by: mac7 | March 28, 2009 9:37 AM

you mean the democrats messiah obama can't stop the rising waters....what a disappointment....he's already elected so you won't see him filling any sandbags or sending his ACORN buddies.

Posted by: JWx2 | March 28, 2009 9:08 AM

No wonder Obama didn't bring up Katrina. People might make uncomfortable comparisons between his doing nothing and the nothing done by Bush. What I don't get is why the media isn't holding his feet to the fire on this. He's done nothing but talk as the flood waters rose! How come Napolitano hasn't been dragged before some committee?

Posted by: magellan1 | March 28, 2009 9:01 AM

Please, it is the Red River of the North, not the Red River, which is in Texas. Don't you remember the great old Montgomery Clift movie RED RIVER? That was about a cattle drive from Texas north to the stockyards in Kansas City. The Red River of the North has its own history which is primarily flooding to create the rich farm lands of the wheat belt.

Posted by: swhite3 | March 28, 2009 9:00 AM

Shouldn't Barack fly to the flooded regions and tour them now? As I recall, Bush was lambasted for not flying Airforce One into New Orleans in the middle of the worst flooding event in American History. This would be an opportunity for President Obama's campaign rhetoric to match his actions.

Posted by: mdkelly99 | March 28, 2009 7:50 AM

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