Consider: "Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."
"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."
- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)
- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"
"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."
Never happened. Elsewhere in these pages on the head of FEMA, Michael Brown, who, prior to joining FEMA was as an assistant city manager, Laura Rosen being angry:
Her item has internal links to the facts, and now this additional information - the International Arabian Horse Association Legal Department asked Brown to resign, or be fired, and earlier in the year there were calls for him to resign as head of FEMA, because FEMA seems to have inappropriately distributed thirty million dollars in disaster relief funds to people in the Miami area even though they were not affected by Hurricane Frances, which made landfall more than one hundred miles away - the link has more detail. He takes care of his friends. Also see this from the New Orleans Times-Picayune September 2nd - current issues with breaking agreements.
File that under Management 101 of course.
Noted in the Los Angeles Times, Saturday, September 3 - Met by Despair, Not Violence - byline Scott Gold, subhead "As they begin to patrol the chaotic city, troops are surprised by what they don't find." They were told to expect urban combat to take back the streets, they entered the city "locked and loaded" in full armor, but no enemy - just desperate and dying civilians who wanted help.
That seemed to be happening, and over at Fox News on Friday night this:
Saw it too, and the video is here - the Fox News pro-administration machine breaking down for a moment.
That CNN item is here, and it's in simple bullet points.
Not the usual behavior of out press? You could say that.
Maybe so, or maybe all these accumulating "disconnects" - now the media openly reports them - will mean some changes for the better in the nation.
So the question posed is just that - "What's with these people?"
From Emma in Belgium (yes, she used to be Paris, and yes, she's Australian) -
Well, maybe the revolution start today, in New Orleans, with Bush being run out of town by the angry mobs - those mobs singing La Marseillaise (they do use a form of French down that way) -
Dubner: "I never thought anybody could respond to a tragedy with something more inappropriate and out of touch than Michael Dukakis' rejoinder to the hypothetical rape and murder of his wife, but there you have it."
Rick is not alone, it seems, and Rick has more comment:
From Bob Patterson, known to readers here as the World's Laziest Journalist:
Bob is referring to Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco warning rioters and looters in New Orleans that National Guard troops are under her orders to "shoot and kill" to end the violence in the city. (CNN here and a spoof here: "Louisiana National Guardsmen were told they must first ask looters to see a receipt for any merchandise they might be floating down the street before shooting them. Training for Guardsmen would be provided by Wal-Mart greeters. 'If no receipt can be produced, they are to take ten steps backwards, and open fire.' Asked if this wouldn't give most looters a chance to swim away, Bush went on to the next question.) Police quitting? See this from the Associated Press wire: "New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday as corpses lay abandoned in street medians, fights and fires broke out, cops turned in their badges and the governor declared war on looters who have made the city a menacing landscape of disorder and fear."
He does note that some conservatives, like Andrew Sullivan disagree:
But there is the evidence to argue against that. As noted elsewhere, FEMA was reduced to one part of a larger department, Homeland Security, and lost its cabinet access, and then had its budget cut again and again. Is the Norquist governing ideology somehow not "real" conservatism?
That's a lot of "could haves." None of it was done. Over at American Future you get this:
Does it matter? People are dying in New Orleans, thousands it seems. And Sterling Newberry here says it doesn't matter - Iraq will disintegrate, "followed by the elevation of a strong man who promises to pump oil so long as no questions are asked," and that will have to do.
At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.
And the highly conservative, pro-Bush Union-Leader up in "Live Free or Die" New Hampshire is forced to print this, on the speech Bush gave the day before, out here in California, saying the man was a day late:
Kevin Drum over at the Washington Monthly say the man is oddly detached from reality -
Of course, he's not alone. See the many links here where we learn Condoleezza Rice, our Secretary of State, spent the last day of August in Manhattan – playing tennis with Monica Seles, buying thousands of dollars worth of snazzy shoes at Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, then attending an evening performance of Spamalot for some good laughs. Reports are that at Ferragamo one of the other shoppers screamed at her - "How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!" Our Secretary of State had security physically remove the woman.
Josh Marshall found that and says, "Pretty much the Bush administration in a nutshell."
No kidding. In 1986 or 1987 I found myself chatting with the second in command at FEMA - a high-school dropout with a GED who had worked as a psychiatric nurse for a time. How did she get that job? She was the wife of one of the Assistant Secretaries of Defense in the Reagan administration (and my step mother-in-law at the time). Curious.
And so it goes. Yep, not much emergency management experience, but I'm sure he means well. And he's going to have a fresh ten billion dollars to manage.
Jack Cafferty on CNN's "The Situation Room" the next day calls the "the elephant in the room" -
And later he read an email from a viewer saying he'd be tied up in tax audits for the rest of his life - Rove and his crew don't mess around.
Enough is enough. And even the American Medical Association says the administration just get its facts, and the science, all wrong, and this on another matter.
The wheels really are coming off.
When the sick and elderly are dying, that was pretty nasty. But they are, after all, the French.
The sign (made of marble) saying you will get blown to smithereens by the 'cannons' if you...