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Suggested Homework for Dem Committee Chairmen

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One reason why New Orleanians tend to be skeptical of both political parties in the post-Katrina world is made clear halfway down a story in today's Times-Picayune. The lede is the announcement of a visit to the Gulf Coast by Congressional leaders, timed to the near-second anniversary of the hurricane disaster in Mississippi and the associated flood disaster in New Orleans. But the gloats turn to groans when, at the bottom of the story, we learn the dispiriting figures about the number of Congreemembers who have taken the trouble to visit the scenes of the natural and man-made disasters:

According to the Women of the Storm, 62 percent of House committee chairman have not visited the disaster zone.

Among those who haven't made the trip are Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., and Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., who as chairmen of the House and Senate appropriations committees play a pivotal in dispensing federal resources.

Other House chairmen who haven't visited are Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. (Oversight and Governmental Reform), John Dingell, D-Mich., (Energy & Commerce) and Barney Frank (Financial Services).

I don't know if this comparison is still accurate, but it has been through most of the last two years: a higher percentage of Congressmen and Senators have visited Iraq than have visited Mississippi and New Orleans. Maybe today's release of a sad report of the real effects on population trends -- residence, employment, depression and suicide -- might encourage some of these Dems to include a visit to the scene of the federal misfeasance among their August travels.