Katrina in Kansas

Hearing echoes of New Orleans as a tornado leaves a town in ruins

A tornado so huge it looked like Satan's wide-tip marker obliterated an entire Kansas town with winds over 200 m.p.h. Days later, when President George W. Bush arrived to dispense hugs and sympathy, he found scarcely a roof still on four walls. Not a leaf left clinging to a tree. Lumber scraps lay strewn like hay behind a boisterous hayride.

Yet somehow, this scene had a familiar feeling to it. Echoes of Katrina clanged like fire bells. Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, charged that the emergency response was slow because the National Guard is overextended by Iraq. Supplies of heavy equipment...

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