Who doesn't like a WW Reference!

By Roland S. Martin

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- There was a scene from the "West Wing" that speaks to what happens when a leader says enough is enough and is moved to action.

President Bush should step up to deal with Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, says Roland S. Martin.

The fictitious president, Josiah Bartlett, watches from a distance as the Teamsters union and UPS try to reach a bargaining agreement, but nothing is happening. As he attends a state dinner, he calls them all to the White House. When he walks in, the bickering begins. After a few seconds, he essentially says, "Shut up. You guys have messed around, and I'm not going to have this nation paralyzed by your inaction. You're going to sit in this room until you figure it out. Now get to work. And when I return, I want to see an agreement."

But the basic premise remains the same: When the president of the United States wants to step in and make something happen, he will. He is the most powerful person on the planet, so what's the problem with the Katrina recovery effort?

Bush said he was going to appoint a czar over the Gulf Coast, and he often refers to Don Powell as being that guy, but he doesn't have the power. In fact, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, says he is having to use persuasive powers -- as opposed to having the statuary power -- to make it a reality. You can't cut through red tape if you don't have a pair of scissors to do it.

So how do we make it happen?

President Bush needs to stop the back and forth taking place and order New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, certain members of Congress, Powell, and other leaders to come to Camp David, sit down, come up with a workable plan, and get it going.

He should say, "I don't care how long you guys sit in this room. I don't care how long it takes. But you are going to devise a clear and concise plan, and once you¹re done, we are going to go to the Rose Garden, hold a news conference for the rest of the world to hear it and then get to work."

If there are onerous that rules that are getting in the way of progress, give Powell the power to change them. If contractors are dragging their feet and doing shoddy work, fire them. Stick everyone responsible for recovery in one building and say this is the nerve center and all operations are being handled here.

It's pathetic being down here and listen to the finger-pointing, backstabbing, accusations of ineptness on the part of the city, state and federal government.

All I keep hearing is "We need a plan, we need a plan." Ask the mayor's office and they will say, "We've got a plan." Call the governor's office and they will tell you there is a plan. But when you ask to see it, no one seems to be able to come up with it.

As a result, we get spending that is out of control; waste taking place at all levels; money sent to the state that hasn't been spent; and the people who need the help, those who lost everything, ­sit in limbo.

Mr. President, you've been accused of being John Wayne. Well, act the part. Pull a John Wayne and save the day.

The only thing that is going to move this ball along is forceful leadership. And the only person who can do it is President Bush. No more paralysis by analysis. The money to build will come from the federal government. The head of the federal government is the president.

If the president truly cared, and wanted to end the bickering and inaction, he could make this happen. People are desperately waiting for someone ­anyone ­to step up. President Bush, you¹re the commander in chief.

Command the players to get to work. Today.

Roland S. Martin is a nationally award-winning, multifaceted journalist and CNN contributor. Martin is studying to receive his master's degree in Christian Communications at Louisiana Baptist University, and is the author of "Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith." You can read more of his columns at www.rolandsmartin.com

Crossing the street for Santee Alley

What's with all the downtown hating?

I open up the LA times yesterday and I begin to read about how Lauren - from the MTV show The Hills is all about shopping at Santee Alley. Which for the first two or three paragraphs, I was okay with. Until she started in with this whole speech about how she could spend $100 and get a lot of great stuff, then out of the blue started talking about all the knock-off and cheaply made goods.

Then, I open up the paper today and Steve Lopez is going on about jaywalking tickets in Skid Row - like the tickets are not distributed anywhere else in downtown.

First off - all the stuff I've bought in the fashion district has been high quality - not cheaply made stuff. Yes, it exists - but you have to look for cheaply made stuff. Yesterday I bought a beautiful pair of jeans, and a fabulous sweater for less than $100. Then, I walked over and bought two new pairs of shoes...and ask Alex...they weren't cheap...but a girl HAS GOT TO HAVE HER SHOES...that match my purse.

If you want to buy cheap, that's fine. Buy from the folks who sell their stuff on the street and avoid any store that has four walls. Keep in mind it's likely the sales tax they are charging you isn't making it back into the State's coffers.

But, on to the topic that really has me going this afternoon. Jaywalking.
Oh...people...don't cross when the red hand is flashing. If you are already in the intersection, that's one thing - finish. But, if you see the flashing hand and you are ready to dart into the street...don't do it.

A couple of days ago I was walking up to get some coffee. I was standing at 6th and Broadway and I saw a couple enter the crosswalk when the red hand was already flashing. Normally, I'd just mutter to myself and see the aggravated driver who'd been waiting to make a right turn under that green light. However, rather than muttering, all I could think to say was: "Ohhhhh, buuuussssttttteddddd" because there were two officers waiting for the pedestrian on the other side of the intersection. Indeed - jaywalking was finally a ticketable offense in Los Angeles. Pedestrians, Bikers, and Cars do not individually OWN the road - we SHARE the road.

Just for full disclosure - when I lived in Washington I was an avid rollerblader. Unfortunately the part of town I lived in wasn't too friendly to my rollerblading, and I would constantly get tickets for rollerblading on the sidewalk, on the street, on park benches...yet I continued to do it. So, don't think for a minute I'm trying to play "Holier than Thou" - I'm just saying - don't cross on the red flashing hand. Just wait for the next light.

and, now for you You Tubbies out there...some useless violence...

















and, in closing: when it looks like there are no cars - trust me...they are there:

Things that just don't happen at PE Lofts

There's a party going on across the street from us. Look:




A closer look:



Let's see how long this goes on...