Wednesday, September 21, 2005
At lunchtime, dozens of motorists were reportedly lined up at gasoline stations along U.S. Highway 49 from Hattiesburg to the Gulf Coast. Nina Smith, 33, of Biloxi got a call from a friend who told her -- wrongly -- the pumps would be shut off at noon.
Rumor fuels run on gas stations
By Nell Luter Floydnlfloyd@clarionledger.com
Rumors about a gasoline shortage in advance of Hurricane Rita are untrue, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. William L. Carwile, federal coordinating officer for FEMA, said there is plenty of gasoline in the state, and neither FEMA nor the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has the authority to commandeer gasoline supplies.
"Those rumors are absolutely untrue," he said. "The retail distribution system for petroleum products is fine."Milinda Evans, an employee at the Shell station on High Street in Jackson, said traffic at the station picked up about noon. A line had formed by 1 p.m. and there was a steady stream of drivers."We have gas," she said. "Our company said there isn't a problem."
Most drivers filled up their tanks, she said, noting the station had done double its normal business between noon and 1 p.m.Drivers also formed lines at the Texaco-Interstate Station across the street from the Shell station. Across town there were lines at the Pilot Travel Center on South Gallatin Street.
Latrichia Thurman of Jackson, a loan processor, stopped to gas up her 2002 Ford Escort after she saw the line at the Shell station on High Street. "I heard everybody was getting gas and that (Jackson mayor) Frank Melton was raising the price $1 a gallon," she said.
Kennedy Thomas of Jackson, who handles billing for anesthesiologists, filled up his 2000 Nissan Xterra at the Shell station."I was planning on getting gas and I went ahead and filled up," he said.
Will Morton of Magee, a third year student at Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson, said he went to fill up his Toyota Tacoma pickup after his wife called and told him FEMA planned to take all the gasoline."I drive back and forth from Magee every day," he said. Morton said the wait at the Shell station was only 15 minutes, about 30 minutes less than after Hurricane Katrina.
Please, people, will everybody just please calm down? Geez.
All four stations I passed on the way back to the office after lunch had long lines of stupid selfish weak pathetic people waiting for gas, probably to top off their @#$@#$@ Escalades so they can get their stupid fatasses to the buffet at Corky's or the Wal-Mart whenever they feel like it or something stupid like that.
They should re-deploy the cops who sit in the median of the interstate doing fundraising to each of the stations in town. If you have more than 1/4 of a tank, you get a $500 ticket and have to get out of line. The police department gets half the money for having to waste time policing these sorry sacks of #$#@$, and the other half can be given to people who lost their vehicles in the hurricane.
I hope like heck this is just a really short term thing and people will start behaving responsibly, but after the way these pathetic animals and reprobates acted last time I'm not betting on it.
It's a good news/bad news situation. Robert Lane is set to start Saturday against Wyoming. The Clarion Ledger has a preview/Lane profile. The good news is Lane will probably start. The bad news is that Noel MazREDzone is our offensive coordinator.
I've wanted Lane to be the starter since he stepped on campus. Some of that is, for sure, this peculiar phenomenon among supporters and fans that when the team is playing poorly, the guy who's not playing is always better than the guy who is playing. Never mind that the coaches and the reporters and the people who make it their business to know these things think differently, I GO TO THE GAMES AND/OR WATCH THEM ON TV, so I know more and, more importantly, I can see the forest better (ie, the big picture) because I'm not deep in it all the time, blah blah blah. (Notice: digression over).
Anyway, Robert Lane is set to start, and I'm pretty excited about that. I think Robert Lane, while not the most accurate passer, is a winner. A winner like Tee Martin. A winner like Jason White. Not the most gifted passer or the most comfortable in the "system" but a winner. Someone who other players rally around. Someone who puts his head down and fights. That is what I've seen when he's been in there. You can sense the team playing just a bit harder. You can sense the crowd getting more into it.
The prospect of this season turning around with a gutsy winning performance from Lane is exciting. After his fumble on the last play of the last game (when he was rushed into service following the injury to Spurlock), he said "It was a tough situation to be put in, but I survived it, I learned from it and it'll make me a better quarterback. I plan to lead this team to victory." That's a winner talking.
Lane's NOT saying "I've learned the offense and am comfortable and I look forward to the challenge of implementing the system at full speed in game conditions." He's planning on LEADING the TEAM to VICTORY. That's what a quarterback should do. Whether he does that with his arm, his head or his legs doesn't matter. His familiarity with the "system" doesn't matter. Winning matters. Offensive coordinator Noel MazREDzone said of Lane ""He's got a bit of a bow in his neck ... he brings that to the team, a toughness at that position. He's got a little moxie. Now, we have to roll the ball out there and see what he knows for real."
That's not the whole picture. MazREDzone has to get him in the stupid "system." MazREDzone also said: "There are all kind of wrinkles in that offense, we're trying to iron them all out." (As if it's the execution, rather than the stupid "system" that's to blame for our poor offensive performance thus far. Why does there have to be a system? NASA needs systems, computer networks need systems. Offenses need plays. Anyway, I digress).
What really gives me pause, however, is this "Mazzone said Lane is "night and day different" from the player he saw on film last season and early in fall camp — a quarterback who struggled to throw the ball downfield and often took off to run too soon. " Oh no, MazREDzone is taking that square peg, moving it toward his round hole. He's gotta stay in the "system" even if his talents aren't suited for it. Look, Mazzone's been mediocre with that offense everywhere he's been and he's not gonna change the "system" just to adapt to the personnel he has right now, no siree.
MazREDzone goes on: "I don't know how much they asked him to step back and read coverages last year, but we've been working with him on staying on his progressions and getting to the third reads. At times, he's too anxious to take the football and show everybody he can run over people." Translated "I know he's a better runner than passer. But that doesn't matter to me. What matters is he runs MY offense (so I get the credit when we succeed). If we don't, it'll be a matter of EXECUTION. It won't be because i'm asking a running, scrambling quarterback to stand back in the pocket and make 3 and 4 reads even though I know it's not his strong suit."
The point is Lane CAN run over people (and Spurlock can run around people), so why not just let him do it? Is that such a difficult thing to understand? Will the world come to an end, will the offense and team just completely break down into chaos and anarchy if he only makes TWO reads and then takes off for a 6 yard gain running the ball? Isn't that the point, to go forward toward the end zone? Is it better for him to make his third read and throw it away than make 2 reads and run for 4 yards? If he takes off and runs a few times, won't there be more receivers open later when LBs and DBs cheat up to stop that (like they do when you have a traditionally effective running game)? I'm no expert, but will someone point out the flaw in this approach? I must be too much of a simpleton, because I can't fully comprehend the "system" It's almost as if the "system" is more important than first downs and points.
I wonder what would have happened had Ole Miss brought in an option-oriented OC when Eli was here. Would they have made Eli run the option? That makes about as much sense as asking Lane or Spurlock to sit back in the pocket and make 3 or 4 reads when their strengths are running, scrambling and improvising. Apparently, MazREDzone (and Cutcliffe last year, who started Flatt over Lane and also insisted on a slavish devotion to a stupid "system") is more concerned with Lane staying in the "system" than actually moving the ball and scoring points. Of the three touchdowns we've scored on offense (that's 1.5 per game against powerhouses Memphis and Vandy), 2 have been players improvising (Spurlock and Mico), not flawless execution of some stupid wrinkle in MazREDzone's super-crafty "system."
So I'm excited, but I sure hope Lane just goes out there and plays on gut and instinct. We'll see Saturday.
Check out this "report" from AP, which is nothing more than a poorly disguised hatchet job on New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. This is clearly just an opinion piece. And it's not credited, either. So called "liberal media" strikes again.
First, the headline: "Mayor's handling of crisis questioned"
Really? by whom? The classic use of the passive voice. Who, exactly, has questioned the mayor's handling of the crisis? Name someone. The reason no one is named is either a) the author hasn't bothered to run a google search to find and/or interview someone or b) the only people the writer found were republicans and divulging only their viewpoints would expose the bias of the writer.
Then, about 5 paragraphs in, "Some observers from outside New Orleans say, Nagin's handling of the crisis has created the perception of a leadership void in this city at precisely the time it requires a steady hand."
Again, really? Who exactly are these OBSERVERS (plural) The OBSERVERS is/are 1 person, Melissa Harris Lacewell, a political science professor with the University of Chicago's Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture. First, what exactly about his "handling" of the crisis would a political science professor know anything about? Is she trained in engineering? Is she trained in emergency management? She's speaking to a "political crisis," not the Katrina crisis. This suggests, to me, again, that the writer is coming from a political angle, not an emergency management or policy angle. (Lacewell is probably considered a liberal, from what I can tell based on the little research I did on her.)
"Others have said in Nagin's defense that he is dealing with an enormous and unprecedented crisis" Again, who exactly are these "others?" Care to name even ONE?
Lazy, shoddy reporting. Pathetic.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush's vow to rebuild the Gulf Coast did little to help his standing with the public, only 40 percent of whom now approve of his performance in office, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday.
Just 41 percent of the 818 adults polled between Friday and Monday said they approved of Bush's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, while 57 percent disapproved. And support for his management of the war in Iraq has dropped to 32 percent, with 67 percent telling pollsters they disapproved of how Bush is prosecuting the conflict.
The survey had a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Fifty-nine percent said they considered the 2003 invasion of Iraq a mistake, 63 percent said they wanted to see some or all U.S. troops withdrawn from that country and 54 percent told pollsters they favor cutting spending on the war to pay for disaster relief.
Will someone please pass this on to the SCLM?
Monday, September 19, 2005
Friday, September 16, 2005
Well, we already know that means "except for local and state officials" and the people who didn't evacuate.
Now it means environmental groups, as well.
10:31 A.M. - JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- The federal government is trying to find evidence of any past efforts by environmental groups to block work on New Orleans' levees, according to a published report.
The Clarion-Ledger said Friday it obtained an internal Justice Department e-mail sent out this week to U.S. attorneys that asks: "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation."
Full account here.
Breaches in the levees which ring the city allowed the water in, so the floods were not caused by an "act of God," contends the lawsuit filed Thursday in 19th Judicial District Court.
from WWL's excellent Katrina blog.
Friday, September 09, 2005
As Kos notes:
42 percent of Republicans want us to start pulling troops out. Message to the idiots at the DLC and the rest of the timid DC Democratic establishment -- there's nothing radical or extreme about the growing anti-war sentiment in this nation. The position in favor of withdrawal is now supported by a 3-2 margin. Those advocating staying the course are now the extreme on the issue, marginalized to the fringes.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
"At a news conference, Pelosi, D-Calif., said Bush's choice for head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency had ''absolutely no credentials.''She related that she had urged Bush at the White House on Tuesday to fire Michael Brown...
He said 'Why would I do that?''' Pelosi said.'
''I said because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week.'
And he said 'What didn't go right?''
'''Oblivious, in denial, dangerous,'' she added."
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Today, September 6, 9:22 A.M. - WHITE HOUSE (AP) -- The White House is rebuffing calls to fire the federal disaster chief in the aftermath of Hurrican Katrina. Press Secretary Scott McClellan says, "We're not going to engage in the blame game."
WASHINGTON, Sept. 4th (NYT) - Under the command of President Bush's two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan this weekend to contain the political damage from the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.
It orchestrated visits by cabinet members to the region, leading up to an extraordinary return visit by Mr. Bush planned for Monday, directed administration officials not to respond to attacks from Democrats on the relief efforts, and sought to move the blame for the slow response to Louisiana state officials, according to Republicans familiar with the White House plan. The effort is being directed by Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, and his communications director, Dan Bartlett.
And, oh yes, in case anyone forgot. From Shrub's inaugural address:
"Encouraging responsibility is not a search for scapegoats, it is a call to conscience. . . .I will live and lead by these principles: . . . to call for responsibility and try to live it as well."
See also this.
Monday, September 05, 2005
Here's your president. First it was blame the victimes (see "Chuck and Duck")
Now it's blame state officials. This is what the WH is concerned about. This is the only thing it's ever concerned about.
Scumbag sociopathic lying liars.
It took them days to come up with a rescue and relief plan but it only took them a few hours to come up with a political salvage plan for their Dear Leader.
Scumbag sociopathic lying liars.
From the NYTimes:
Under the command of President Bush's two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan this weekend to contain the political damage from the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.
It orchestrated visits by cabinet members to the region, leading up to an extraordinary return visit by Mr. Bush planned for Monday, directed administration officials not to respond to attacks from Democrats on the relief efforts, and sought to move the blame for the slow response to Louisiana state officials, according to Republicans familiar with the White House plan.
The effort is being directed by Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, and his communications director, Dan Bartlett. It began late last week after Congressional Republicans called White House officials to register alarm about what they saw as a feeble response by Mr. Bush to the hurricane, according to Republican Congressional aides.
As a result, Americans watching television coverage of the disaster this weekend began to see, amid the destruction and suffering, some of the most prominent members of the administration - Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Donald H. Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense; and Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state - touring storm-damaged communities.
Yep. Scumbags. More here.
Why? Well there's this:
Scenes from New Orleans
Sunday Sept. 5, 2005 10:45 p.m.
By Jim Varney
In the midst of this, Joann Guidos, 55, perched on a bar stool in the front door of Kajun’s Pub on the 2200 block of St. Claude Avenue. She brandished her pump action shotgun at any unknown vehicle or pedestrian, but said she did so with good reason.“If you noticed, every place around here has been looted, except this one,’’ she said, noting proudly that she never closed during or since Katrina.
3:15 A.M. - (AP) -- Not even Hurricane Katrina could prevent the Decadence Parade from being staged in the French Quarter. The annual Labor Day gay celebration drew about two dozen people. Street musician Matt Menold summed it up best: "It's New Orleans, man. We're going to celebrate."
On a related note:
6:24 P.M. – Saints GM Mickey Loomis – we would like to play our games in Baton Rouge but we have to see what is possible. The NFL will have a lot of say. No decision has been made.
I had seen on television news that the Saints would play the season in San Antonio. I hope they stay in the state.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
The Rebels are preparing to face Memphis on Labor Day at the Liberty Bowl in a game that will televised by ESPN."I think they're both playing well; it looks like a tie " said Orgeron, who had hoped to name a starter last Monday but said the competition has been too close to call. "We're going to have to make a decision, but it's really close in our minds. The (decision) will come down to the intangibles and looking at the whole picture."
Read more here.
C'mon Robert C'mon Robert:
Here's a self-explanatory picture
This is a picture from the upper deck before the game
The jewel of my chicago pic collection. This is a classic ButtCuttMullet. Fella thought I was taking a picture of the game, but I was always intending to get the shot of his mug, his butt cutt, and, of course, the beautiful plumage. In a million years I couldn't have gotten him to pose any better. Scary though, he looks a bit like Coach O:
Mia Hamm was in the audience, as well. We waited to get our picture made with her, but she was preoccupied, so we violated her privacy this way:
Friday, September 02, 2005
This time it's blame the victims. From an interview with the Sheep in Wolf (Blitzer's) clothing, the head of FEMA, the liar Michael Brown:
BROWN: Well, I think the death toll may go into the thousands. And unfortunately, that's going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the evacuation warnings. And I don't make judgments about why people choose not to evacuate.
But, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. And to find people still there is just heart wrenching to me because the mayor did everything he could to get them out of there. And so we've got to figure out some way to convince people that when evacuation warnings go out, it's for their own good. Now, I don't want to second guess why they did that. My job now is to get relief to them.
It was the fault of the victims. These guys will stop at nothing. They take no responsibility for the Iraq debacle (it's the media's fault!), for the economy (blame Clinton!) or take any responsibility for this (they should have heeded the evacuation warnings!).
See Josh's post here for a good breakdown of the insanity and cowardice of this position, but before you do, remember, on the day after Katrina hit, as New Orleans was flooding and hundreds of thousands of people were stranded, and as the Mayor of NO and others begged for assistance, the accountability president, the CEO president, was doing this:
Tempers exploded in a south Jackson gas station line this morning as an angry driver shot into the air.
Jackson police charged Lloyd Coleman with a misdemeanor count of discharging a weapon in city limits. The shots were fired at at 10:45 a.m. at the Pilot Travel Center on Gallatin Street, just south of I-20.
"He had waited in line two-to-three hours. Somebody from the back cut in front of him. (Coleman) tried to talk to the driver, but he wouldn't listen," Jackson Police officer B. Sanders said.Coleman grabbed his black .357 revolver and fired one round straight into the air to get the driver's attention, Sanders said. No one was injured. Police did not have the other driver's name or more information on Coleman.
They really should go after the line-cutter, too. C'mon people, let's stop acting like animals.
See also: "Woman charged in gas line assault"
George W. Bush, today: "We're going to stabilize the situation, and then get food and medicine and water."
Ya know, I wonder if the situation is NOT stable because no one had a plan to get food and medicine and water in there sooner?
Bush also said "right now we need to get food and clothes and medicine to the people"
No, George, food and clothes and medicine needed to get there 4 DAYS ago."
Bush also thanked and applauded Sen. Trent Lott (R), Thad Cochran (R) and Governor Haley Barbour (R). He did NOT mention Rep. Gene Taylor (D), who represents the Mississippi Coast in the House of Representatives.
2:50 P.M. - WWL-TV
LIVE pictures show thousands still wait to be picked up from I-10 and Causeway. Buses arrived a few hours ago, but the refugees say that it's the first sighting of buses in 12 hours. Some of the refugees have been waiting four days. State Police say five people died Thursday while waiting.
2:54 P.M. - WWL Reporter Jonathan Betz says the refugees at I-10 and Causeway are standing in squalid conditions. He said there are only 10 portable toilets for thousands of people and the Interstate median is full of human waste.
3:14 P.M. - St. Bernard Parish officials say that FEMA has not called them yet...five days after the storm.
I don't mean to go off on a rant here, but if we don't have a unified, central federal government for events like this, why do we have it? MS and LA might as well secede again if we're gonna have to rely on ourselves anyway. And I will make it my personal mission to destroy, discredit, humiliate, unseat anyone who says/hints/intimates that anyone in New Orleans/MS Gulf Coast deserves any of this because they didn't evacuate or they looted a store. Let some of these falsely self-righteous sanctimonius bastards live like these people have had to live for a couple of days and see how they do, see how they react. These are human beings, Americans, most of them poor who simply did not have the resources to get out (government checks are issued the first of the month, this happened on the 29th). Many had no way to get out. And even those who were just stubborn and chose not to leave, do they deserve to be abandoned and betrayed like this because of one stupid decision?
I still can't fully comprehend that New Orleans is gone.
Randy Newman "Louisiana 1927"
What has happened down here is the wind have changed
Clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain
Rained real hard and rained for a real long time
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline
The river rose all day
The river rose all night
Some people got lost in the flood
Some people got away alright
The river have busted through clear down to Plaquemines
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline
And before you start screaming that this is a Rep./Dem. issue or some sort of partisan opportunism, see the comments of Sen. David Vitter (R-LA):
3:07 P.M. - BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- U.S. Sen. David Vitter said FEMA's efforts to deal with the hurricane have been completely ineffective, and he called the federal government's response a failure.
"I think FEMA has been completely dysfunctional and is completely overwhelmed, and I don't know why. This situation was utterly predictable," said Vitter, R-Metairie. "It seems like there was no coherent plan, which I don't understand because this precise scenario has been predicted for 20 years," he said.
Reports indicate that the town of Waveland, a coastal city of about 7,000 in Hancock County west of Gulfportand Biloxi, is about 90% gone. In addition to the people I know who've lost so much, homes and all, and inaddition to the destruction of a city which is home to a million people, and of which I am quite fond, the destruction of Waveland is a notable loss for me. Not as notable and certainly not as catastrophic as those who live there or who have family who live there, but a personal loss nonetheless.
Our family had a second home there, a small three bedroom "shack" about a block and a half from the beach in Waveland and we spent significant chunks of summertime and other time there. We goofed on the beach (it was an easy walk through a neighbor's yard and down a small street), spent days at the Buccaneer Park Wave Pool (it had a ping pong table), traipsed through the nearby woods, played croquet on the (tiny) front lawn, played wiffle ball in the bigger yard of the neighbor, we walked or rode bikes to town, played monopoly, checkers, cards, or napped in the afternoon to the cool whurrr of the scattered a/c window units. We went out to the movie theatre trying to meet girls, we cruised the streets (after we were old enough to drive).
Sometime after my sister and I left home, we abandoned that house but it holds a special place for all of us. We hadfriends there, friends stayed there with us, and it was always a warm, welcoming, relaxing place. Dad liked to go to get away for a weekend and just read. I spent a few weekends there during college, crashing there after a Paul McArtney show in the Superdome, or after winning big at the Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis.
I smoked my first cigarette in Waveland. I saw my first and only sandstorm (if that's what it's called)in Waveland. I skinny-dipped in the Gulf in Waveland. I evacuated from my first hurricane in Waveland and returned,joyfully, to find that it was still intact.
It was always a common place for me and my family, a place of happiness and joy and peace. Now it's gone. I haven't been there in many years, but my soul is a little shaken by its absence nevertheless.
12:09 P.M. - (AP): The stench from backed-up toilets inside the Superdome is unbearable and people are afraid to go into the unlighted bathrooms.
Sandra Jones says she and her family use a box to relieve themselves instead of using restrooms because "The stink is so bad you can't go in there anyway."
Even though she's hungry, one hurricane refugee in the dome says she's not eating. Michele Boyle says eating would mean she'd have to use the dark, dangerous and filthy restrooms in the dome. So she's going without.
Boyle has been spending some of her time trying to keep a small area of the dome as clean as she can until help arrives. Boyle and other refugees found some brooms and swept up the mess.
She says they're simply "trying not to let it get any worse."
As Kos pointed out, why aren't those helicopters in New Orleans or on the MS Coast? Why aren't those soldiers in New Orleans? Oh, that's right, it's because they have to be there for George's photo-op.
2:50 P.M. - WWL-TV LIVE pictures show thousands still wait to be picked up from I-10 and Causeway. Buses arrived a few hours ago, but the refugees say that it's the first sighting of buses in 12 hours. Some of the refugees have been waiting four days. State Police say five people died Thursday while waiting.
From the Los Angeles Times:
A 2-year-old girl slept in a pool of urine. Crack vials littered a restroom. Blood stained the walls next to vending machines smashed by teenagers.
"We pee on the floor. We are like animals," said Taffany Smith, 25, as she cradled her 3-week-old son, Terry. In her right hand she carried a half-full bottle of formula provided by rescuers. Baby supplies are running low; one mother said she was given two diapers and told to scrape them off when they got dirty and use them again.
At least two people, including a child, have been raped. At least three people have died, including one man who jumped 50 feet to his death, saying he had nothing left to live for.
There is no sanitation. The stench is overwhelming. The city's water supply, which had held up since Sunday, gave out early Wednesday, and toilets in the Superdome became inoperable and began to overflow.
"There is feces on the walls," said Bryan Hebert, 43, who arrived at the Superdome on Monday. "There is feces all over the place."
Thursday, September 01, 2005
About 15,200 people who had taken shelter at the convention center to await buses grew increasingly hostile.
Police Chief Eddie Compass says he sent in 88 officers to quell the situation at the building, but they were quickly beaten back by an angry mob.
Compass says, "We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are getting beaten."
He says tourists are walking in that direction and they are getting preyed upon.
In hopes of defusing the unrest at the convention center, Mayor Ray Nagin gave the refugees permission to march across a bridge to the city's unflooded west bank for whatever relief they can find. But the bedlam appeared to make leaving difficult.
Go here first.
Possibly the best Kos post ever:
George W. Bush was once known as the C.E.O. President, a term his handlers eagerly coined in order to convey that the country would from now on be run like a business. That quickly evolved into the less flattering Enron President... then the War President... now it's looking like we can all finally settle on one. George W. Bush: the Disaster President.
"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."
He honestly said that. If that brings up more than a passing twinge of familiarity, being a more than remarkable restatement of Condi Rice's now-famous assertion to the Senate panel -- then I suppose we shouldn't be surprised.
But it does bring up something that we joke about often, but apparently have never taken quite seriously enough: our President is an idiot. I don't mean an average, run-of-the-mill idiot. I mean an idiot who apparently, for the entire duration of his presidency, literally was paying absolutely no attention to even the most life-threateningly critical tasks of government.
The administration specifically cut the funds to fix these specific levees, in order to specifically divert that Corps money to Iraq, despite urgent warnings and predictions of catastrophic disaster if the levees were breeched. The administration specifically cancelled the Clinton-backed flood control program to preserve and restore the wetlands between New Orleans and the gulf, instead specifically opening parts of that buffer zone for development.
Nobody anticipated this disaster? It was identified by FEMA as one of the top three likeliest major disasters to strike America. (That link, one of countless stories, was from 2001, by the way.) It has been a major disaster scenario for years. Everybody anticipated it, which makes this single statement by George W. Bush possibly the most dishonest, lying, craptacularly false thing he has ever said in his presidency -- even surpassing his now-infamous State of the Union Address. Truly, this is President Bush's blue-dress moment.
And yet, funneling the money into Iraq was more important. You better bet your crapulent, lying, one-track, drink-addled ass that's a political issue.
He also said today:
"I hope people don't play politics at this time of a natural disaster the likes of which this country has never seen."
Oh, I'm touched. Utterly touched. After 9/11, the entire Republican Party went en masse to get Twin Towers ass tattoos. The Republican convention was a wholesale tribute to crass exploitation, the sets themselves designed to evoke the aftermath of the attack. Every domestic and international policy this administration -- no, this entire Republican government -- has produced has been heaved up before the public while waving the spectre of 9/11 as the catch-all vindication of every administration whim. Every tax cut, every civil rights issue, every budget cut, every budget expansion, no matter how tortured the logic must be, has some Republican senator standing on the Senate floor and proudly raping the corpses of that day as justification for their particular agenda item.
Oh, we've seen politicization of disaster. Every Republican campaign for the last four years has revolved around the politicization of disaster.
But Lord help us, George W. Bush is going to get the vapors if anyone asks him to explain his administration's active cuts of the very programs designed to keep New Orleans safe.
"Matt McKenzie, spokesman for from AAA-Northern New England, predicted gas prices would hit $3.70 to $3.80 by month's end in that region of the country, causing frugal motorists to begin carpooling, curbing errands and maybe even scaling back fall leaf-viewing trips. "
Yes, that would be tragic. Here in Jackson we have an entire population sitting and sweltering in 95 degree heat, with no power, no gas to run generators, many without jobs, many worrying about loved ones on the coast or in New Orleans. And of course there's the comprehensive tragedy south of here.
But to have to scale back the fall leaf-viewing trips? Time to call out the National Guard. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!
And then this:
At one of the few stations open, Steve Clifford, 48, pumped fuel into his Isuzu sport utility vehicle. "I heard it was going to go up to $4 a gallon tomorrow and there were going to be shortages, so when I got home from work I kissed my wife goodbye and said I was going out to find gas," he said.
That's so sweet. Excuse me while I go get a tissue.
Two motorists in line nearly came to blows.
I fear that if something is not done, if troops are not brought in to restore order, the city of Jackson could descend into chaos over this weekend.
I sure hope that doesn't happen.
I'm frustrated, for sure. Why in the heck can't someone, FEMA, the executive branch, someone, direct some gas down this way? There's no plan for this? There's no mechanism by which this can be done? People are getting panicked here, people are testy and if something is not done about the gas soon, there will be violence. On top of that, the power company trucks and other emergency and public service vehicles can't get gas, either. Something needs to be done very soon or it could get very ugly in a lot of places. I mean why are we part of a union anyway? Why in the hell DO we have a federal government anyway, if not to address this kind of situation? Get some damn gas trucks down this way, geez.
This is nothing compared to the problems and pains of those south and west of here. Nevertheless, the gas shortage seems to be a problem with an easy solution that's easily implemented.
Many are still in a sort of suspended state of shock. Many people do not have access to the images people elsewhere have been seeing for a few days. When I first saw some of the images from the coast and the Big Easy, I got very emotional. I know those places, I know those people. I grew up in and around there. I spent many a summer day in Waveland which is, I understand, now gone entirely. I am tremendously grateful for my and Wendi's safety and the safety of our friends and family. Others I've talked to are experiencing the same sort of thing. A sort of zombie-like state where we can only focus, if at all, on the next immediate task.
It still hasn't completely sunk in.