Thursday, September 29, 2005
Coincidentally, of course.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Daniel Owen of the UK blog Oval Office 2008 (who we find a bit snarky toward Huckabee on occasion, by the way) is linked here nonetheless this morning for covering recent news about the Governor from Northwest Arkansas.
Doug Daniels of The Next Prez publishes a weekly ranking of presidential candidates. This week he has Huckabee at #3 on the GOP side: "The Arkansas Governor appears well suited for the one-on-one campaigning necessary to succeed in Iowa and New Hampshire, and capable of soft-selling conservative positions on social issues without scaring off moderates or losing conservatives in the process."
The New Donkey blog, which claims to be sponsored by the Democratic Leadership Council, takes a look at pre and post-hurricane Katrina approval ratings for various governors, including Huckabee.
New Hampshire based blogger John Morganti of We The People saw Huckabee speak recently and came away impressed: "Governor Mike Huckabee has really impressed me. I love his message - the healthy country. The best part about his message - it's 100% authentic. He practices what he preaches. He is genuinely concerned about the health of the citizens and has progressive ideas to change the culture, not simply treat the symptoms. If I had to vote TODAY, I'd fill in the circle for Mike Huckabee to be the next President of the United States."
Penndit does a periodic rundown of P2008 news. Here's the latest, including lots of Huckabee tidbits. No mention of this blog, though (*sigh*).
According to the Associated Press, Huckabee is considering a run for the presidency in 2008. Part-time work at OBU could free him up to pursue a national campaign.
Congratulations, Governor. And congratulations to OBU.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Wilson goes on the describe Huckabee's amazing personal health story, his nationally lauded response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and discusses his unique background as a former Southern Baptist minister. He also details the Governor's epic likability and charm. Then he drops another highly interesting tidbit:
"... leaving the reception, this reporter happened to share an elevator with the Washington Post's David Brooks, who confidently predicted to the few of us sharing the ride that we would be able to brag that we'd seen the Huckabee star beginning to shoot way back in 2005, and we'd been here at the presidential candidate's equivalent to a coming out party."
Interesting indeed. There's more. For Mr. Wilson's entire report, click here.
Our friend Mark Coffey at Decision '08 blogs about a recent Mort Kondracke profile of Mike Huckabee. Check it out here.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
NEW LINK: We've located a great new source for Sunday talk show lineup information. Check out Mark A Kilmer's site. We've linked it in the sidebar under "2008 Campaign Links" so you can find it easily every Sunday morning. He also posts analysis and follow-up on Sunday afternoons.
Friday, September 23, 2005
UPDATE: To see the C-SPAN broadcast of the National Press Club meeting, click here.
Jacobse at Orthodoxy Today Blog posted yesterday's WSJ editoral about Huckabee's nationally lauded efforts to assist Hurricane Katrina evacuees, saying "This is leadership."
Amy at Domesticat.net, an Arkansan now living in Texas, has kept up with news about Huckabee's Katrina efforts and says "It makes me proud of my accent. 'Scuse me while I drawl a little more than usual."
The Political Beaver says of Huckabee: "I like the guy. He's very warm and charismatic, and certainly a leader. He seems like Presidential material. And there really isn't any question that he's gained a large fanbase in the GOP over the last few months."
Brew at I'm Just Waiting For The Robot Invasion says: "Huckabee may have all the appeal of Mitt Romney, without that pesky Massachusetts hanging around his neck."
Johnny Utah at Zonitics.com caught Governor Huckabee's speech in New Hampshire, broadcast by C-SPAN, and came away impressed: "Huckabee was, and is, an ordained minister. During his speech, he talked about church socials at which everyone brought the best Southern cooking they could muster in their kitchens. And then, just when you were stuffed to the gills with home-cooked food, someone would come around to clear the plates and say, 'Keep your fork!' Why? Dessert was coming...Huckabee has adopted 'keep your fork' as his way of saying, 'The best is yet to come in America.' I kind of like it."
Ryan James of RyanJames.tv noticed a change in Huckabee's recent remarks about the presidency, saying "In a quantum-leap forward toward 2008, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said he is "considering" a run for the White House while on a visit to Iowa today.
[T]his is the first time I have heard the "C" word used by the Governor."
Doug at The Next Prez puts Hucakbee at #5 on his list of GOP presidential contenders, saying "The Arkansas governor was well received on his first visit to New Hampshire, and has received high marks for welcoming Hurricane Katrina evacuees to his state."
Last week, Tim Saler of TimSaler.com moved Huckabee back up to #2 on his weekly list of GOP contenders, noting "Huckabee has been commended even by liberals in Arkansas and elsewhere around the country for his handling of the Katrina survivors who have been relocated to Arkansas. His public persona as the pre-eminent compassionate conservative has been strengthened incredibly by his performance over the past few weeks. If Huckabee is able to demonstrate foreign policy faculties, he could very quickly find himself breaking out and sprinting towards the nomination."
Bob Waters of Watersblogged! analyzes recent popularity rankings of the nation's governors and says "Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, whom I currently sense is the Republican most likely to surprise people in 2008, ranks twenty-first."
No fan of Republicans in general, or Mike Huckabee in particular, Arkansas blogger Micheal Brown of Dangerously Accurate Opinions is nonetheless impressed with Huckabee's performance of late, saying "It's no secret to readers of DAO that I have a very low opinion of the Republican mindset and an even lesser opinion of conservatives in general. I also, on the whole, have never been a big fan of Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Ever since he took office, I bristled at the notion of a former Southern Baptist preacher holding the highest office in the state. Why? Because, as I predicted when he first took office, he was going to use his position to legislate his morality upon the heathen masses of Arkansas (and if there's one major beef I have against conservative Republicans is their modus operandi of forcing their beliefs and more importantly their morals into laws). For all the reasons I have to question Gov. Huckabee's decisions over the better part of the last decade, I'm going to go on record right now by saying he did our state proud. For everything that the Fed's (and that includes Bush the Younger) did horribly, horribly wrong during Hurricane Katrina, Huckabee did everything right and continues to do so. I've seen it countless times when airplanes filled with evacuees land in Arkansas, Huckabee is right there on the tarmac waiting for them. As they deplane and look around at their new surroundings, there he is shaking all their hands, looking them in the eyes, and saying, 'Welcome home.' It's almost... no, not almost... it flat out is what Clinton would've done. Which got me thinking. Huckabee has been getting more and more ink lately. He's been hither and yon in key delegate states, meeting people and pressing the flesh. It's on several pundits' minds that he's probably going to make a run for the Presidency in '08. But c'mon. I mean, what are the chances? What are the chances of an "aw, shucks", out-of-nowhere, Governor from a southern state like Arkansas, who has been in office for nearly 10 years, who is from a little town called Hope, holding the power of The Leader of the Free World? Like that will ever happen...... again.(ho-boy....)."
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Arkansas welcomes refugees from Katrina, and soon Rita.
They started arriving before Katrina and they are still coming today. Hurricane refugees first headed to places like the Red Cross shelter downwind from the livestock barn at the Arkansas state fairgrounds. They wouldn't stay long--just a few days till the hurricane blew over, past, or around New Orleans, as all hurricanes seemed to do.
Then Katrina hit. The levees gave way. All hell broke loose on the Gulf Coast, and evacuees sought a little piece of heaven in Arkansas. Or at least a little peace of mind.
"I called the folks at the White House and said, 'This is insane. You guys sent tens of thousands of people here, airlifted them out of New Orleans to Arkansas.' . . . I knew then we were pretty much on our own."But the surest sign of trouble was when FEMA called. Two days after the water started rising on the bayou, with Arkansas playing host to tens of thousands of refugees, an official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency phoned Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's office. Mr. FEMA asked a member of the governor's staff if, oh, by chance, his state had taken in any folks from the storm.
Huh? Hel-lo? Ever thought of picking up a paper or turning on the TV? Or reading your email?
"I called the folks at the White House and said, 'This is insane,'" Gov. Huckabee said. "'You guys sent tens of thousands of people here, airlifted them out of New Orleans to Arkansas.' . . . I knew then we were pretty much on our own."
Luckily, Arkansas wasn't counting on anybody but Arkansas. Within a day of Katrina's landfall, Gov. Huckabee organized state agencies into one all-purpose disaster-assistance team, set up a command center next to his office, and enlisted the state's countless churches to do what churches do--take care of the least fortunate among us. The governor learned that most of the churches were already on the case well ahead of the state.
That first week after Hurricane Katrina, somewhere between 60,000 and 75,000 evacuees arrived here, most on their own, staying with family, friends or in hotels. More than 9,000 evacuees landed at Fort Chaffee in west Arkansas. But not for long. The governor worried about turning individuals into a faceless tribe sharing discomforts and nursing anger in a cavernous fort, convention center or stadium. That way lay trouble. (See Superdome.)
Enter the churches and Scout camps. Camping season had just ended at church camps across the state. "They had showers, cots, recreation facilities--everything we needed," the governor said. "The people get more personal attention. When people have been through a dehumanizing experience like they had, they need to be called by name, given an identity, a personhood. . . . We almost had a 1-to-1 volunteer-to-evacuee ratio. In essence, we created mini-communities all around the state."
Dozens of camps in small towns like Cass, Damascus and Butterfield absorbed newcomers. The country town of Imboden, Ark., took in 300 evacuees, roughly half its population. Almost overnight, Arkansas's population increased by 2.5%.
How have our guests been treated? Arkansas has done herself proud. And so has Gov. Huckabee, who had begun to seem like an absentee governor in the late-'80s style of Bill Clinton, crisscrossing the country to test the presidential waters.
Even the Arkansas Times, a liberal weekly and no friend of the governor, had an I-heart-Huckabee moment: "He didn't wait, thank goodness, for guidance from FEMA." The paper praised the governor for helping first, and worrying about funding second. "May we say, for once, in unambiguous terms, that Mike Huckabee is absolutely, 100% and admirably right."
What prepared the Huckabee administration to handle this crisis in such an efficient, humane, un-FEMA-like way? Three things: (1) Gov. Huckabee's been in office for nine years now, so he knows the lay of the government land. (2) A Southern Baptist preacher, in times of crisis the minister in the Guv emerges first. (3) our state is all too accustomed to dealing with disasters, from tornadoes to sudden ice storms.
To be sure, Arkansas's governor didn't face a catastrophic natural disaster--just a sudden population boom. Mike Huckabee can be a notorious publicity hound, and the cynic might wonder if all his high-profile leadership and camera-time after Katrina has anything to do with his presidential ambitions. But the important thing is that the hurricane victims are getting what they need in Arkansas. And promptly.
Back in 1997, a particularly ghastly tornado mauled Arkansas, killing 25 people. The tornado destroyed 60 city blocks in the little city of Arkadelphia. Gov. Huckabee formed Trace--Tornado Recovery and Community Enhancement--as a kind of one-stop shop for tornado victims. This time, the governor's office established KARE--Katrina Assistance Relief Effort. (This governor likes his acronyms.) Among other things, the KARE program connects evacuees looking for work with local employers.
As many as half the evacuees from Katrina and Rita are expected to stay in Arkansas. They're welcome here. Arkansans have a thing about being good neighbors. This is a place where the Golden Rule is considered more than a suggestion. As for the money to pay for all this help, well, there's a state budget surplus the governor and others have hinted at tapping, and there's the hope that the feds will pitch in. But money is not the issue.
It's a good thing Arkansas hasn't dismantled its KARE force because the influx isn't over. As Rita bears down on the Texas coast, evacuees from Katrina who relocated to Houston are heading here. All told, the state expects another 4,000 evacuees from Texas and Louisiana. They started arriving at Fort Smith airport Tuesday, and the flights continued hourly yesterday until after dark. There's room at the church and scout camps--many were closing as Katrina evacuees have already found permanent places to live.
A week ago Sunday, the governor and his wife visited the Arkansas Baptist Assembly Camp in Siloam Springs, where dozens of refugees were stranded. During the church service, a collection plate was on the altar. What Mike Huckabee witnessed next left our garrulous governor almost speechless. Row after row of evacuees went up to the plate and emptied their pockets. "They wanted to help," he said. "They felt like they'd been blessed."
For more about Huckabee's Healthy America initiative, click here.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
With Hurricane Rita strengthening and bearing down on the already shattered gulf coast, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee prepares to take in thousands more Katrina evacuees to help Texas make room for evacuees of its own.
Huckabee and is wife, Janet, were on hand to meet the first arrivals from Texas on Tuesday at the Fort Smith airport. "The governor wanted to greet each one personally. He wanted to be very hands on and say 'our primary goal is to help you,'" said Huckabee spokesman Joe Quinn.
"We could potentially be looking at taking an enormous amount of people from Houston," Huckabee said. "We're going to have to prepare in the event. It would tax us if we had to, but we would do it."
Arkansas already is home to about 50,000 Katrina evacuees, second only to Texas in the number being cared for. For information about Huckabee's nationally lauded response to the Katrina crisis, see our posts throughout the month of September.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Digby at lefty blog Hullabaloo, and ABC's The Note report the following today (read on, and then look for our commentary that follows):
I Fear Huckabee and Other Blogger Laments
Along with MSNBC's Tom Curry, CNN's Jackie Schechner, the NYT's Matt Bai and a sprinkling of party operatives and interest group reps, The Note attended a regular meeting of the Internet Left at Townhouse Tavern in Dupont Circle on Sunday. Here is what we took away:
1. Mike Huckabee instills fear.
2. Hillary Clinton provokes scorn.
3. Russ Feingold inspires passion.
4. And John Edwards' early focus on poverty — coupled with Elizabeth Edwards' statement of support for Cindy Sheehan — is getting him a second look from this crowd.
(Skipping forward to the Huckabee point ... )
How typical that the Kewl Kidz at The Note need to attend a DC gathering of bloggers to find out what the Internet Left really thinks. Bloggers' defining characteristic, after all, is that they write down every single passing political thought right on these here internets for everybody to see.
Or do they? This fear of Huckabee thing had me stumped. I haven't heard anything about it, but then it's always possible that the Internet Left is an exclusive club that someone such as I wouldn't know about. I thought I did. I even get the e-mails. I spend neurotic amounts of time scouring the blogs for the latest news and here I find out that there's a whole level of insight that apprently exists only at the elite personal Internet Left level. So, left to my own out-of-it devices, I resorted to the outsider's friend, Mr Google, and I find out that Mike Huckabee is running for president (or acting a lot like he is, anyway.) Here's an editorial from the September 16, Arkansas Dem Gazette:
Having watched Mike Huckabee in action for nine years now, it’s clear the man has his priorities straightest when times are worst. The highlights of his career tend to coincide with lowlights: the day Jim Guy Tucker wouldn’t leave the governor’s post, the aftermath of 9/11, the ice storm, the 40 th anniversary of the Central High Crisis . . . .Each time, Mike Huckabee stepped up. Big time.How does he do it? It’s a simple formula, really: Do what’s right and worry about the bureaucratic red tape later. Or to quote Governor/still-Reverend Huckabee:"What would Jesus do? What would Jesus do? I’ll tell you what he’d do. He would try to make sure these needs were met."
This guy's running for president and he appears to have all the rhetorical gifts of George W. Bush without the gravitas (although he did successfully manage Arkansas' response to 9/11 and the 40th anniversary of the Central High Crisis Crisis so he's a proven leader. Big Time.)
Ok. I'm on board with the Inner Internet Left's fear of Mike Huckabee. Dear Gawd, save us.
BSR's commentary: I cannot tell you how much it warms the cockles of my heart to know that the left fears Huckabee and that our blog plays at least some small role in it (heh!). Digby's snide closing remarks about the Governor's rhetorical gifts and gravitas show how little he really knows (boy, are YOU in for a surprise, Digby). But readers of this blog should also keep in mind the fact that Mike Huckabee strikes fear on both sides of the aisle. Digby and his lefty friends live at the far left wing of the Democratic party -- they teeter on the edge of extremism. That's why a guy like Mike Huckabee, a compassionate, southern republican moderate, who is also a former Baptist minister, scares the lefty insiders, who are smart enough to know the lay of political landscape, so badly. They know that he has the potential to appeal very strongly to the majority (read : non-extremist members) of their party. Likewise, Huckabee strikes a fair amount of fear among the extreme right. His moderate views on things like treating the children of illegal aliens humanely and with dignity, and maintaining a government of sufficient resources to properly care for the poor and elderly, drive them nuts. They (the far right), like the extremists on the left, know that he has the potential to appeal to the majority of their own party as well. We tell you this so that you will not be surprised when, as the Huckabee train gathers momentum, the attacks come from republicans and democrats alike.
With Huckabee, the extremists lose and America wins. That's the way it's supposed to work.
Monday, September 19, 2005
"If that 6-year-old kid coming off that transport plane was yours, how would you want him taken care of?" Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee asked TIME. Huckabee hopes for federal reimbursement, "but if not, we will have done the right thing, and I believe we will have no regrets about how we handled matters."
That's who Mike Huckabee is. Do right. Don't get bogged down in partisan bickering or bureacracy. Think. Act. Lead.
Who do you want in charge the next time a disaster strikes your home town?
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee heads to Iowa this weekend for a two-day visit. He will meet with members of the state's influential Christian Coalition before attending a Polk County Republican picnic Saturday night. When asked, the governor said he is "pondering" a run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination and that he will make a decision in about a year.
We here at Mike Huckabee President 2008 hope you will come on in, stay a while, and learn more about the man who will quite possibly bless this nation with his service as the next President of the United States.
Special thanks to Ryan James for the link.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Friday, September 16, 2005
Folks from down South, meet Mike Huckabee.
AS A PUBLIC service for our new neighbors from Louisiana, we’ve printed above a photograph of one Michael Dale Huckabee. He’s the governor of the Great State of Arkansas. But more than that, he’s a leader.
We understand y’all haven’t seen many of those of late—what with the Kathleen Blancos and Mary Landrieus and Ray Nagins supposedly in charge—in addition to being left to the tender mercies of FEMA in Washington. Then again, y’all may have seen this face up close and personal over the last couple weeks. He’s been everywhere—comforting, reassuring, and generally acting the part of a leader.
Actually, he isn’t acting. Having watched Mike Huckabee in action for nine years now, it’s clear the man has his priorities straightest when times are worst. The highlights of his career tend to coincide with lowlights: the day Jim Guy Tucker wouldn’t leave the governor’s post, the aftermath of 9/11, the ice storm, the 40 th anniversary of the Central High Crisis . . . .
Each time, Mike Huckabee stepped up. Big time.
How does he do it? It’s a simple formula, really: Do what’s right and worry about the bureaucratic red tape later. Or to quote Governor/still-Reverend Huckabee:
"What would Jesus do? What would Jesus do? I’ll tell you what he’d do. He would try to make sure these needs were met."He’s talking about the needs of the tens of thousands of refugees from Katrina who have taken refuge in the Natural State—and been greeted with open arms. So when the Guv couldn’t get any help from FEMA—surprise, surprise—he resorted to his simple formula. Forget red tape. Forget the money. Do right. Think.
It helps that Mike Huckabee had an example not to follow in New Orleans. Instead of treating thousands of folks like cattle and herding them in one big camp, stadium or convention center, Arkansas spread our guests out to shelters across the state. That way, folks wouldn’t feel lost in a big crowd—because there wouldn’t be a big crowd. Which also makes things easier on local authorities. The state has also stayed out of the way of the local churches, which, as the governor put it, "have done what churches ought to do." Which is comfort the afflicted.
When the Guv encouraged state officials to help with jobs and health care for the refugees, he found out that many churches had beat the state to it. It also helps to have a leader who understands that perception is part of leadership, too. Mike Huckabee has never been shy. (Arkies can tell you that the most dangerous place in the state is between the Huck and a TV camera.) But at times like these, it helps to get Out There—go to the shelters, serve hot dogs, talk to folks, get to the churches, go on television, blast FEMA to a reporter. In short, be The Guy. Because people want to know who’s in charge. People need to know who’s in charge. In Arkansas, there’s no doubt: It’s Mike Huckabee. In Louisiana, sadly enough, there’s no doubt, either: It’s nobody.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Supreme Court nominee Roberts told the Senate panel yesterday that he considers Roe v. Wade "settled as the precedent of the court," but pro-lifers should not freak-out about it, says John Hawkins of Right Wing News. According to Hawkins, "All he's doing there is agreeing that the Supreme Court has clearly upheld Roe v. Wade. What he said has no bearing whatsoever on how he would personally vote if he were on the Supreme Court and he had an opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade."
Mark Coffey at Decision '08 takes a hard look at the Democrats' strategy regarding the Roberts inquisition.
Ryan James gives the President kudos for having the stones to accept responsibility for the Federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina. Taking responsibility is what leaders do.
Regarding Katrina and its aftermath, GOP Bloggers askes a very good question: What really happened?
Bush accepted responsibility. The Dems from Louisiana try to blame everyone else. Gateway Pundit takes an enlightening look at how that's working out for them.
If you have not seen it, Right Wing Nuthouse's weekly Carnival of the Clueless is worth a read.
The Templar Pundit reports that the Pledge of Allegiance is now illegal in public schools.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
"Huckabee has been commended even by liberals in Arkansas and elsewhere around the country for his handling of the Katrina survivors who have been relocated to Arkansas. His public persona as the pre-eminent compassionate conservative has been strengthened incredibly by his performance over the past few weeks. If Huckabee is able to demonstrate foreign policy faculties, he could very quickly find himself breaking out and sprinting towards the nomination. At this point, it seems that Huckabee would make a terrific vice-presidential selection for a northern, more moderate Republican like Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney."
(Emphasis provided by BSR) For Saler's complete top 10 list, click here.
Monday, September 12, 2005
JR from 2008 Political Perspective saw Huckabee on C-SPAN's "Road To The White House" on Sunday and had this to say: "I just want to say, Mike Huckabee...if you are a Republican, particularly an economic and social conservative...then Huckabee is pretty awesome...a great speaker, storyteller, and a charasmatic politician. His vision for America is pretty inspiring as well, at least in my opinion. If you are afraid of Bushies, evangelicals, or acknowledging God at any public functions then you will be TERRIFIED of Huckabee and will probably demonize him on your blog if he becomes the nominee...more commentary tommorrow...this should not be construed as an endorsement for Huckabee 2008. I just think he has the potential to be the most 'together' conservative evangelical candidate."
Joel Winkelman of SouthNow Blog says this about Huckabee's Hurricane Katrina efforts: "Mike Huckabee (R-AR), expected to run for president, looks to be running an efficient and magnanimous relief operation."
Hector at Campaign Review reports that Huckabee will soon vist early primary state South Carolina.
Political Derby puts Huckabee in a tie for 10th place with Rick Santorum in a list of likely 2008 POTUS candidates, saying "Huckabee is near the top of the pack when it comes to internet chatter. Whether it's legitimately broad based or simply manufactured by a small group of supporters remains to be seen. But in the meantime he gets credit for having the most people say, "Hey, this guy could be president!"
Arkansas blogger Belinda, having the opportunity to observe Huckabee's Katrina efforts first hand, says "I have to give it up for our Governor. In response to the tragedy that has stricken our neighbors to the south, Mike Huckabee has acted swiftly, compassionately, and whole-heartedly to help as many as possible as much as possible. He is behaving much more like what I would think a "compassionate conservative" would strive to be, by administering aid "to the least of these", as Jesus instructed. I can honestly say I've never been more proud of our Republican Governor. Mark this day on your calendar--I really said it."
The Arkansas Times' Daily Blog, which adamantly opposes Huckabee at every turn, found itself unable to criticize his Katrina efforts, saying on Saturday, September 11: "He didn't wait, thank goodness, for guidance from FEMA. (Indeed, there are indications he didn't rely much on his own state emergency agency.) He rounded up all state agencies, divvied up the expected work and, within a day, had a working system of evacuee intake and shelter in place. Technicalities like money will come later. If the federal government doesn't pay all the state's costs, well, that's the cost of following the Golden Rule, Huckabee has suggested. May we say, for once, in unambiguous terms, that Mike Huckabee is absolutely, 100 percent and admirably right. Clip and save, governor."
Lee Higginbotham, a blogger from Los Angeles, posted this on Saturday. Welcome aboard, Lee!
Bloggers 4 Huckabee member Ryan James says "Kudos to Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee for saying spending much of his state's $100 million-plus budget surplus on the over 70,000 evacuees from Louisiana and Mississippi is appropriate."
More to come. Check back often!
Sunday, September 11, 2005
by Paul Greenberg, Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer
Sometimes, after folks are struck a staggering blow, the first faculty to return may be a sense of proportion. Bereft of all we own, we suddenly become aware of all we have —like our lives. And friendly neighbors. Even friendly strangers.
"This is really a good place right now," Jennifer Landry, 48, was saying as she sat on a picnic bench at the United Pentecostal Church camp at Redfield, Ark., just one of the tens of thousands of refugees who have found sanctuary in Arkansas.
"Where we come from, you couldn't ask for anything better than this," said Dion France, 44, a chef out of New Orleans. "And I mean that from the bottom of my heart," he added. He may have been thinking of the unthinkable scenes he'd witnessed, including the horrors in the Superdome, where so many had sought refuge and found another Hell.
"To see these old people die in front of your face," said Dale Warren, 48, another refugee glad to be out of the dome, "you know, I mean, they deserved better than that for all the years they were here, to just be shoved in (a) cooler with no electricity. It was just terrible."
The memories will haunt. Once the immediate crisis is confronted so the long-range ones can be tackled, maybe we'll have a better idea of how all this could have come to pass in an American city in 2005.
"I try to look at every one of these kids as if this were my kid," Huckabee said. "Everything else is easy after that. If we start worrying about what it's going to cost to educate them, what it's going to cost the social services, that's staggering. It still comes down to what is the right thing to do and then do it. The money will work out."Dion France was thinking of settling in Arkansas. "We might find a job out here," he was saying, "try to make a new life for ourselves. I love it here. I love how they treat people."
"Welcome to our state," Arkansas' governor, Mike Huckabee, told the folks rolling into the church camp. But where's the money going to come from to feed and clothe and house them, and make sure their kids are in school?
The governor's response: "I try to look at every one of these kids as if this were my kid. Everything else is easy after that. If we start worrying about what it's going to cost to educate them, what it's going to cost the social services, that's staggering. A lot of things we're doing may be reimbursable (by the federal government.) It still comes down to what is the right thing to do and then do it. The money will work out."
Have faith, and the loaves and fishes will be provided. (Did I mention that Gov. Huckabee is also a Baptist preacher?) The camp at Redfield had been closed after the summer, but it opened lickety-split as people streamed in. Between 150 and 200 volunteers materialized to help the newcomers get settled. "We couldn't get blankets," said the church's district director, "and I put an e-mail out at midnight. And by 8 a.m., we had enough blankets." Local law enforcement was there to provide security in case problems arose. None did.
One group of about 90 refugees was on the road to Damascus, Ark., where shelter was waiting for them at the Blass Scout Reservation, which would make an ideal shelter for the elderly or people with medical problems. True to their motto, the Boy Scouts were prepared. "The beds are made," said Bill Price, program director of the Quapaw Council. "The food is in the refrigerator. We've got a number of people on standby."
And then there are the refugees who are eager to pitch in. "I'll be here awhile," said Gilbert Dennis, 75, after arriving at Redfield and shaking the governor's hand. "So if you need an able body, I'm ready to help. I'll clean up, whatever. I'm not too proud."
For those interested in such things, most of the volunteers at Redfield are white, most of the refugees black, but to quote Dion France, "There ain't no color out here. It's time for everybody to pull together."
Come to think, it's always that time, isn't it? It's just that when trouble strikes, it becomes all the clearer what an expensive burden racial discord has always been.
These are only some of the voices out of the whirlwind. All are revealing in their own way. The good and bad, the inspiring and appalling in each of us, it all comes out in moments of crisis. And some messages aren't expressed in words but deeds. A loving hug, a warm handshake, a cuppa coffee, a hot meal . . . .
Here in Arkansas, we have just begun to help one another, and the same thing is happening all across the good ol', little-worse-for-the-wear U. S. of A. We've been rode hard and put away wet, but we're going to make it through this, as we've made it through so many things. Then, oh boy, oh boy, we can start yelling at each other again.
But, please, not till then.
Article published Sep 10, 2005
Escaping the confusion of Hurricane Katrina, Gulf Coast refugees found a surprise in Arkansas. The poor southern state, often beset by its own natural disasters, had beds, meals and an emergency plan that helped it absorb a 2.5 percent jump in its population. "They treat us absolutely fantastic," said Leon Johnson of New Orleans, staying at a camp in Little Rock. "They got a group of people and they opened their arms out and make us as welcome as possible. They're taking care of our needs."
Arkansas took in more than 60,000 refugees after Katrina arrived - only Texas took in more. Gov. Mike Huckabee is out preaching the Golden Rule and reminding Arkansans of help they receive after the almost-annual ice storms and tornadoes. "I ask people, 'Have you been to New Orleans?'" Huckabee said. "These are people who drove your carriage down Canal Street. They carried your bags to your hotel room and picked up the dishes when you finished eating. By golly, we're going to be there to take care of them now."
"I ask people, 'Have you been to New Orleans?'" Huckabee said. "These are people who drove your carriage down Canal Street. They carried your bags to your hotel room and picked up the dishes when you finished eating. By golly, we're going to be there to take care of them now."When it appeared that Louisiana and Mississippi were going to need a lot of help, Huckabee met with cabinet members to lay out Arkansas' response. In previous storms, Gulf Coast residents have packed southern Arkansas hotels for days at a time, but it was clear early on that this was a lot worse. "The migration of evacuees is not unlike the migration of ducks," Huckabee said. "People go as far as they have to go, but they try not to go too far from home. So naturally Arkansas became a safe haven."
Within a day of the storm coming ashore in Louisiana with 145 mph, Huckabee had a plan and a Web site to promote it: Operation: KARE (Katrina Assistance Relief Effort). Huckabee estimated that 50,000 came on their own, seeking motels or relatives. The influx slowed to a trickle before the broad evacuation of New Orleans brought 9,000 to a makeshift processing center at Fort Chaffee. Texas initially took more than 100,000 refugees, many of them to Houston's Astrodome and other sites in southern Texas. States as far as away as Arizona, Utah and West Virginia accepted refugees, but no place took a larger percentage of its own population than Arkansas.
"If you look back from where we came from and the ordeal we came through, this is a blessing," said John Cannon of New Orleans, as he pored over a newspaper on one of the camp benches. "The atmosphere that exists helps you to have some peace and contentment with yourself, especially as you reflect."Some of Huckabee's reaction could be instinct. Huckabee is a Southern Baptist preacher and in nine years as Arkansas governor has quickly offered relief and provided a prayer as the state recovered from tornadoes and ice storms. Some of Huckabee's reaction could be political. Huckabee is weighing a run for president in 2008. He shares a hometown with Bill Clinton - Hope - but said his reaching out to evacuees has nothing to do with a potential run for higher office. "That's of no concern to me right now," Huckabee said as he visited the Operation: KARE call center a week ago.
"If you look back from where we came from and the ordeal we came through, this is a blessing," said John Cannon of New Orleans, as he pored over a newspaper on one of the camp benches. "The atmosphere that exists helps you to have some peace and contentment with yourself, especially as you reflect." Many of the evacuees, accustomed with an urban lifestyle, were sent to rural areas. The Lawrence County town of Imboden has taken in more than 300 evacuees, nearly half its population.
Operation KARE has programs to reunite families, help refugees obtain federal aid, find apartments and enroll their children into local school districts. State education officials have yet to tally the influx. The evacuee processing form has a section for "services needed" and offers help for those with special needs, mental illnesses, pregnant women and those needing legal help. It seems the state is ready to fill any need the refugees may have. There's also a section for funeral assistance.
Following Huckabee's lead, Arkansans are going the extra mile. "I don't think any of us anticipated the level of devastation, the number of evacuees or the length of time we'd be looking at," Huckabee said. "Right now we're truly blessed to be able to extend friendship and warmth and hospitality to them."
Edited for length by BSR
Friday, September 09, 2005
ON ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE Gov. Mike Huckabee in NH
This Sunday, Road to the White House 2008 includes remarks by Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) at a picnic hosted by the Strafford County Republican Party. The event takes place at the Three River Farm in Dover, New Hampshire. New Hampshire is expected to host the nation's first presidential primary in 2008. The show will air Sunday, September 11 at 6:30 PM Eastern.
"We have many people in our state who own airplanes and want to do their part," the governor said. "This gives them an outlet. The Aeronautics Department will keep an inventory of planes that are available for use, collect mission requests and then try to match each mission with a plane and pilots." Those wanting to donate the use of private aircraft should call (501) 376-6781.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
There will be much to report. Until then, please welcome the newest member of Bloggers 4 Huckabee, Boatswain's Mate of At The Gratings. Pay him a visit!
"There's a long line of people who will offer their criticism and a much shorter line of those who simply want to focus on those evacuees, housing, shelter and jobs. That's the line I've chosen to take. It's a short line."
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
The people of Arkansas get high marks from Gov. Mike Huckabee on the state's efforts to help those who fled to Arkansas in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina."It just makes one proud," the governor said during a statewide radio show Tuesday. "There are many people in our state who are going to extraordinary lengths to give assistance to their neighbors, the evacuees."
Fort Chaffee near Fort Smith has become the staging area for most people, he said, adding that the facility is overflowing with more than 4,000 people. Many more more have been taken to more than 30 small camps being operated by various church and nonprofit organizations. Elderly and sick people have been taken to nursing homes and hospitals with available space, he said.
A caller identifying himself as Thomas told the governor he was concerned about how small communities like his in northern Arkansas could serve the "several hundred evacuees" who have moved into nearby church camps. Services are limited and jobs are already scarce in his town of 600. "We're doing this in stages," the governor said, adding that people at the camps will be given some time to rest and be provided food. They also will be given access to telephones and computers so they can contact friends and relatives and make future plans." The stop is, frankly, an intermediate stop," Huckabee said, adding that there are about 30 small camps around the states which have opened to house people. "There is going to be a problem, particularly in the rural areas, where there are not a lot of job opportunities," the governor said. "This stop is to get them away from the first stop, which was Fort Chaffee. They'll just be there a few days or a few weeks and then our goal is for people to start assimilating out into apartment housing and maybe to relatives, if they have contact in other states."Eventually, the governor said, those people left will be moved to larger cities in the state, "places where they are more likely to get jobs and also where the school system can absorb schoolchildren into schools."
"The experiences they have been through are beyond anything that any human being should endure."The governor said during the hourlong radio show that the number of people being moved into the state keeps climbing. He has met with many of the displaced people at Fort Chaffee and in Pine Bluff, he said.."The stories they tell are heart wrenching," he said. A woman sitting on steps at Fort Chaffee talked about losing her elderly mother on the bus ride from Louisiana to Fort Smith, he said. He also mentioned three young boys, all under the age of 6, who have been separated from their parents. Those boys were being sheltered and cared for at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. "The experiences they have been through are beyond anything that any human being should endure," he said. Several callers told the governor that they have already taken evacuees into their homes and others said they had helped pack cloths or food for those in need.
Huckabee also urged anyone who has fled the hurricane into Arkansas to check http://www.kare.arkansas.gov/ for information. People needing help also can call 1-877-293-5273.
"There is an extraordinary amount of information on this site," he said. "There are links to virtually every site that can help you." Huckabee said about 1,000 Arkansas National Guard troops are in New Orleans. He said 100 state police troopers are there, along with troopers from Michigan, Georgia and California. Many state employees also spent the weekend working to make sure that everyone arriving from the affected region is provided services. Huckabee said he has set up a command center in the Governor's Conference Room at the state Capitol to monitor the situation.
Public elementary and secondary schools throughout the state also have been approved to take children from Louisiana or Mississippi under the federal McKinney-Vento Act. That act allows homeless students to be enrolled in the school district where they are currently living without having to show proof of residency. Immunization records, normally required for students to enroll, also are being waived.
Huckabee said on Monday that he expects federal disaster funds to be enough to reimburse the state for much of its costs for housing and caring for evacuees from Louisiana and Mississippi. However, he added that spending state revenues might be required. "If the state surplus is used in part or in whole for this, it will have been used for as valid a need as we've ever had," Huckabee said.
Edited for length by BSR.
Monday, September 05, 2005
"These folks have been dehumanized by this experience," said Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister. "It's not just a cot, food and a shower they need, it's a human touch, a hug, warmth, some level of respect."
The information for this post appeared originally at nola.com. Photo from Bulletin Blog: Hurricane Katrina .
Sunday, September 04, 2005
FORT CHAFFEE, Ark. — Evacuees displaced by Hurricane Katrina filled Fort Chaffee's beds in less than a day and more arrivals from Louisiana and Mississippi on Sunday were diverted to Little Rock for placement in area camps and convention centers.
"We've been inundated with nearly twice as many people as we were expecting in about a third of the frame of time that we were expecting," Gov. Mike Huckabee said Sunday while touring Fort Chaffee and visiting with evacuees.
Planes started landing Saturday afternoon at Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith, first in a trickle and then a stream as 9,000 poured into Fort Chaffee through Sunday morning. The fort has stopped taking in evacuees, state officials said. Fort Chaffee can comfortably house 4,000 people and Huckabee said the state would send the additional evacuees elsewhere in Arkansas.
On Sunday, Shirley Cornelius of New Orleans sat on the steps of the processing center with tears streaming down her face as Huckabee stood and leaned in to listen. She told him she heard word her mother had died on one of the evacuee buses. She gave Huckabee a phone number to try to reach her relatives. Huckabee tried the number on his own phone, but told her he couldn't get through. "I can't go to New Orleans," she said. "Somebody has to come and get me so the family can be together."
With Fort Chaffee full, church camps and other centers were asked to take additional evacuees from the Gulf Coast, which Katrina hit Monday with winds at 145 mph. Floodwaters also filled New Orleans after two levees broke.
"A city of 9,000 people has arrived overnight," Joe Quinn, a Huckabee spokesman said Sunday.
Huckabee met two C-117 planes filled with 324 evacuees in Little Rock on Sunday morning, then met with evacuees at Fort Chaffee in the Northwest corner of the state. Many shared their stories with the governor or asked for help in tracking down loved ones.
Before meeting with the evacuees, Huckabee thanked Arkansans for lending a hand to help their Southern neighbors. "I cannot think of any group of people that would have created a better welcome for these folks, who have been without food, water and a place to lay down," Huckabee said.
Quinn said the Little Rock evacuees were given food and water and bused to the Pine Bluff Convention Center. The evacuees are to be processed in Pine Bluff and then sent on to about 20 locations around Arkansas, mostly church camps, he said, where they will stay in barracks-like quarters. Hundreds of state Health and Human Services workers are deployed statewide to aid the evacuees.
"There's a level of compassion that's really inspiring in terms of how people here are reacting," Quinn said.
Governor Mike Huckabee today announced plans to accomodate approximately 70,000 refugees from it's hurricane ravaged neighbors. The Governor has been working around the clock to organize virtually every department of the Arkansas state government to assist refugees, including releasing $10 million in state funds for the effort.
More . . .
Huckabee said a special account has been set up to take care of the refugees, while a Web site designed to provide important information to those stranded in Arkansas is being created today.
"Many (people) are going to be housed in this state for a considerable period of time because of the devastation that exists on the Gulf Coast," Huckabee said. "These are folks who will have no place to go for sometime."
Huckabee, who met with his cabinet Thursday, said he told the department and agency heads "to take care of the human needs first and worry about the paperwork later."During a late afternoon news conference, Huckabee said the state's effort to help the refugees, known as Operation KARE - Katrina Assistance Relief Effort - will include a weekend registration drive to determine how many people are in the state, where they are located and how many are children who are not in school.
"We're going to make every effort, every effort, to make sure that basic human necessities are taken care of for these folks, who already have enough stress in their lives."Information on medical and transportation needs also will be requested. Huckabee said the people will be asked if they have any job skills and would like to find temporary or full-time work. "Operation KARE is going to be a multi-agency effort with every one of our agencies involved," he said, adding that registration sites will be in all 75 counties. The locations of those sites are to be announced today, he said, adding that registration also will be available on the Web site.
"Right now we don't know just how many people from Louisiana or Mississippi might even be in the state," the governor said. "We know of the ones in the shelters. What we don't know is how many people might be in motels, hotels, state parks, who have not necessarily identified themselves as evacuees, also people staying with families."
Huckabee said the state needs the information so it can better serve those in need."We're going to make every effort, every effort, to make sure that basic human necessities are taken care of for these folks, who already have enough stress in their lives," he said.
The Web site will include information on the ongoing storm-cleanup efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi, along with other important information the refugees might need. Since the storm hit Monday, shelters have been opened in churches and community centers throughout state.
Huckabee said Thursday that that the state has found another 10,000 potential beds for people in need. About 4,000 of those beds are at Fort Chaffee near Fort Smith, and 3,500 are at various church camps around the state that are only used during the summer. Huckabee said he has talked to White House officials and asked that the state's 75 counties be declared disaster areas so the state can receive federal assistance to help with the hurricane refugees.
He said he expects many more people to come to Arkansas in the next few days.
Friday, September 02, 2005
Many other bloggers are tracking news and resources for evacuees in Arkansas, as well.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Huckabee said all 75 counties in Arkansas were placed under an emergency order Thursday allocating $10 million in state money for disaster relief. The order, along with KARE, will help feed, clothe and house thousands of refugees who are already in Arkansas and thousands more who are expecting to arrive in the coming weeks. The governor said the effort will help relieve some of the stress felt by Arkansas' neighbors in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama... read the rest of the story here.
"We need to take care of those human needs first and worry about the paperwork later."
"We have incredibly serious needs that are migrating north," the governor, surrounded by state agency directors, said at a news conference at the state Capitol. "We need to take care of those human needs first and worry about the paperwork later."
The Operation K.A.R.E. website is now live. Check it here.
Arkansas' Operation K.A.R.E. website will be active within hours. Check it out here.
"We're now working on ways to deal with helping them long-term — everything from educating their kids" to helping with prescriptions, communicating with families, accessing bank accounts, finding long-term housing and employment, Huckabee told FOX News.
He also hailed the leaders of the states hit hardest by Katrina. "They're doing an outstanding job in ... trying to lead their states in the equivalent of Armageddon — it is apocalyptic in nature," he said.
For more about Arkansas' efforts to assist the victims of the storm, click here.
(AP Photo/Jessica Kourkounis)
Arkansas, particularly southern Arkansas, could be a haven for months for those whose homes were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, Huckabee said Wednesday."Given the flooding, especially in the New Orleans area, many of these evacuees will be here for weeks, maybe even months," he said. "We want to do everything in our power to make life easier for these people." On Wednesday, Huckabee met with several refugees staying in Arkansas shelters (AP photo/Danny Johnston).
The governor had no immediate estimate of the number of people from the Gulf Coast seeking shelter in Arkansas, but said it could be in the thousands. He made his announcement while issuing a proclamation authorizing emergency funds to assist shelters in Arkansas.
Huckabee said there were "about 75 evacuees at a Crossett shelter, last night, more than 100 people at various shelters in Chicot County, 150 people at a shelter in Arkadelphia, 100 people at a shelter in West Memphis, several hundred people at various shelters in Desha County, 80 people at a shelter in Monticello, 150 people at the Hot Springs Civic and Convention Center, 50 people at the Pine Bluff Convention Center, several dozen people at Texarkana, 35 people at a shelter in Camden, more than 200 people at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds in Little Rock and more than 100 people at various shelters in Union County."
"We expect the numbers to grow," the governor said of people in the emergency shelters.
There will be a coordinated, long-term plan to shelter people in Arkansas that will include all federal and state agencies, said Greg Butts, director of Arkansas state parks. He also said that 70 percent of the developed camping sites in Arkansas are in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facilities, and that other federal facilities in Arkansas such as national forest facilities, are also likely to figure prominently in federal plans. "I'd think that any federal property in Arkansas that's high and dry will be in use before this is over, but that's a guess," he said.
The crisis arrives during the Labor Day weekend, a peak of the Arkansas tourist season. Arkansas park staffers are busily contacting people who had previously reserved cabins and campsites for the holiday weekend to cancel their reservations. "I sent out an e-mail yesterday that people who fled the storm to lodges and cabins get to stay," Butts said. "People like you and me who still have a place to stay but who had a reservation at the park will get a gift certificate, or a room at another state park. I don't think that will be a problem with anyone who has an ounce of humanity in his bones."
The state is offering deeply discounted rates on cabins and rooms, free tent sites and half-priced fees for recreational vehicle camping sites to storm refugees, Butts said. A prohibition on pets in rooms and cabins has been waived.
Displaced students are being welcomed to register for classes in Arkansas schools, said Julie Thompson, spokesman for the state Department of Education. The department will not have a tally until Sept. 15 at the earliest, but the number will be "significant," she said Wednesday.
Huckabee also announced that almost 500 more Arkansas National Guard personnel will be activated and sent to Louisiana. A 15-soldier crew left in seven trucks from Hazen Tuesday, and about 350 members of the Arkansas National Guard were activated earlier in the week and sent to Mississippi. This force consists of engineers, military police, transportation specialists, medical specialists and maintenance support personnel. Two Arkansas National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters also have been sent to Mississippi.
The state Department of Parks and Tourism is using the state visitors' centers at El Dorado, Texarkana, Lake Village and Helena to direct evacuees to shelters and places with remaining motel and hotel rooms. "Just as an example, we have a family of 26 from New Orleans using seven of the cabins at Lake Chicot State Park," Huckabee said. According to Butts, that "extended family" includes an elderly grandmother who breathes through a portable oxygen tube.
Huckabee said the state Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Emergency Management and the Arkansas Pharmacists Association will provide evacuees with emergency supplies of prescription drugs and access to dialysis machines. The state is asking the staff in health clinics to volunteer for out-of-state assignments and is seeking permission from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide food stamps to hurricane victims. Local health units also are providing tetanus-diphtheria shots to evacuees and emergency workers, the governor said and "Gov. Blanco of Louisiana also has asked that we all participate today in a day of prayer."
Note: Original story lightly edited for emphasis by BSR