Friday, September 16, 2005

"Days of sorrow and outrage"

Bush speaks in New Orleans

I could tell that Dubya was in my state yesterday, and not because I watch the news. When Bush enters within a 100-mile radius, the chill in the air is palpable. Every time Dick Cheney makes a speech at the local City Club two blocks from my house, I have to wear a jacket indoors.

Yesterday's speech was a bold declaration by Bush that New Orleans will be rebuilt. A tough stance? Maybe; but in these terroristic times, we need a strong leader to take a stand, even if that stand is popular. Read all about Thursday night's speech, including its not-bad-but-could-be-better initiatives, here.

Bush was definitely his own man as he spoke in Jackson Square, exhibiting all the trademarks that we have come to expect from our fearless leader:

--He was there long after the disaster hit, when photo-ops would be more convenient;

--He said New Orleans "will rise again," which is an unfortunate quip even for him. Dubya's unnecessarily vivid statement has the same Freudian impact as when he told David Letterman, "I'm glad you finally had the heart to invite me," just after Letterman had had his emergency quadruple-bypass;

--And of course he mentioned 9-freaking-11! When doesn't he?

“Four years after the frightening experience of Sept. 11, Americans have every right to expect a more effective response in a time of emergency,” the president said. He said when the federal government fails to meet such an obligation, “I as president am responsible for the problem, and for the solution.”

And once again, these rank among the least-assuring presidential words ever. We deserve a more effective response after 9/11? Really? Hasn't the government learned anything in the last FOUR YEARS? At least lie and say you have! Personally, I'm a little tired of Bush's lazy and retrospective lip-service. The only time his administration takes preemptive action is when they have oil to steal in countries we can only see via satellite. Did anyone tell him that New Orleans is actually flooded in a toxic petrochemical soup? Maybe that's why he's here so much now.

Bush proposed establishment of worker recovery accounts providing up to $5,000 for job training, education and child care during victims’ search for employment.

In this job market? Make that $50,000, at bare minimum. How far can $5,000 possibly go for job training, education and child care? I hope for their sake it goes farther than I think it will.

In his speech, which lasted a bit over 20 minutes...

This is obviously a subliminal appeal by the reporter for a pay raise...

[H]e also said he would ask Congress to approve an Urban Homesteading Act in which surplus federal property would be turned over to low-income citizens by means of a lottery to build homes, with mortgages or assistance from charitable organizations.

"'Cause you know how them poor black folks like themselves a lottery!" Paging Kanye West!

Bush described the hurricane’s aftermath as “days of sorrow and outrage,” and he said the nation had “witnessed the kind of desperation no citizen of this great and generous nation should ever have to know.” He deplored scenes of victims calling out for food and water, criminals who had no mercy, and bodies of the dead lying uncovered in the street.

This report doesn't make it clear if Bush deplored the conditions of these people or if he deplored having seen the footage itself. Overanalyzation? Perhaps. But these people have been living in poverty and squalor for years, and for anyone--much less a world leader--to only notice it now displays staggering ignorance.

To the hundreds of thousands of people forced from their homes, Bush said, “You need to know that our whole nation cares about you — and in the journey ahead you are not alone.”

He's way too used to talking to Iraqis. On second thought, maybe we should let Bush talk to New Orleanians as if they were foreigners. It seems to be the only way he can even pretend to muster sympathy for people.

“That poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America,” Bush said. “We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action.”

Notice he didn't say anything about confronting the racism...

Bush said auditors would be watchful of the massive outpouring of tax dollars.

After all, we don't want to be wasting money in New Orleans that would be better wasted in Iraq.

5 comments:

The Goblin Slayer said...

Notice he didn't say anything about confronting the racism...

Good one, Jesse.

Phillip said...

i loved the religious backdrop. the whole thing oozed with quasi-piousness.

Murph said...

About that backdrop, had he moved a little further away from the church toward the river, he could have been standing next to a cannon.

And Ian, that kayne west joke was classic.

Zachary said...

I thought you might enjoy this, from Brian Williams' blog on MSNBC:

I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.

Michael said...

If I were the archbishop of New Orleans, the first thing I'd do on getting back in would be to bless a horse trough's worth of holy water, and then pour it all over Jackson Square to remove the taint.