02 September 2005

Brownie's Merit Badge

From Michael Brown, chief of FEMA:
"Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans, virtually a city that has been destroyed, things are going relatively well."

Compared to what? Wholesale slaughter in the streets? Oh, that's right, we have that.

Chris Lawrence, for CNN:
"From here and from talking to the police officers, they're losing control of the city. We're now standing on the roof of one of the police stations. The police officers came by and told us in very, very strong terms it wasn't safe to be out on the street."

"The officer hitched a ride to Baton Rouge on Friday morning, after working 60 hours straight in the flooded city. He has not decided whether he will return.

"He broke down in tears when he described the deaths of his fellow officers, saying many had drowned doing their jobs. Other officers have turned in their badges, he said.

"In one incident, the sergeant said he saw bodies riddled with bullet holes, and the top of one man's head shot off."

Obviously, Brown and Lawrence are talking about two different cities. Where is Brown anyway? Baton Rouge? It's a little like finding Waldo.... I suppose his hide is too precious to stray any closer to the actual disaster site.
"Nevertheless, [Brown] said he could 'empathize with those in miserable conditions.'"

On Jim Lehrer he even went so far as to sympathize with the New Orleans director for disaster relief, saying,
"...what the American public needs to know is that we have brought to bear the full resources of the federal government."

If what we have seen thus far has truly been the "full resources" we can bring to bear on the situation, then, as a country, we are in much worse condition than even my most pessimistic estimations ascertained. This is the kind of high-level disconnect that the Bush administration does best. Feed us pablum so we will sooner forget all about Crisis X, content to go along our meaningless lives, letting entire segments of the world population shift for themselves when we could be doing something constructive to assist them.

May we get something straight here? Pretty please, with Splenda on top?

This pap is not what the American public wants or needs to hear. Even those of us thousands of miles away have friends and relatives down there. Memories and emotions invested in that region. We actually give a shit and deserve to know the score. This is no time to be soothing America's jangled nerves. This is exactly the time to use our emotional connections to motivate us to help, and to keep helping. It's been many years since we lacked adequate resources. What we lack is good reason to part with them. This is good reason.

But I'm sure that "Brownie" will earn his Communications Merit Badge from the White House for feeding the public what the Administration wants it to hear. After all, his grossly understated attitude is in party line with Bush's own. Our grating and vainglorious leader believes
"we've got a lot of work to do, and [he] understand[s] it seems dark right now."

Bully for you, Mr. President. Next time, try emoting with a teleprompter, please.

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