Saturday, September 03, 2005

We Were Only Kidding, Folks

Dangle an apple in front of a starving man, and then snatch it away:
"Buses taking Hurricane Katrina victims far from the squalor of the Superdome stopped rolling early Saturday. As many as 5,000 people remained in the stadium and could be there until Sunday, according to the Texas Air National Guard..."We were rolling," Capt. Jean Clark said. "If the buses had kept coming, we would have this whole place cleaned out already or pretty close to it."
In the meantime, medical staff has been evacuated out of the Superdome, and the place looks like a landfill hit by a tornado. People are saying they have to find boxes to go in when they need to relieve themselves. No one knew why the buses stopped coming, but if the following tidbit is any clue, we can guess, rightly or wrongly, what might be going on:
"At one point Friday, the evacuation was interrupted briefly when school buses pulled up so some 700 guests and employees from the Hyatt Hotel could move to the head of the evacuation line — much to the amazement of those who had been crammed in the Superdome since last Sunday.
"How does this work? They (are) clean, they are dry, they get out ahead of us?" exclaimed Howard Blue, 22, who tried to get in their line. The National Guard blocked him as other guardsmen helped the well-dressed guests with their luggage.
The 700 had been trapped in the hotel, near the Superdome, but conditions were considerably cleaner, even without running water, than the unsanitary crush inside the dome."
In the meantime, fires are raging along the waterfront amidst a city flooded with toxic and flammable substances, and the hydrants are dry. The people still trapped there are being imprisoned by the authorities, who couldn't be bothered to communicate meaningfully with them up till now, except to make sure they knew they couldn't leave town by walking out.

Maybe he didn't care enough to shore up the levees in NOLA, but Bush certainly pays attention when it's time to stick a finger in the dike and stem a flood of negative opinion. Bush has held fewer press conferences than any other president, and yet:
"Hoping to turn the tide of opinion in his favor, Bush spoke four times publicly on Friday."
That would be because in his prideful, control-freak way, he has been rejecting or deflecting aid offers left and right, and when the whole world heard him say (4 days after the hurricane hit):
"I'm not expecting much from foreign nations because we hadn't asked for it. I do expect a lot of sympathy and perhaps some will send cash dollars. But this country's going to rise up and take care of it. You know we would love help, but we're going to take care of our own business as well, and there's no doubt in my mind we'll succeed."
they heard him say, "Thanks but no thanks"---something on a par with his "Bring 'em on!" routine. So it's hard work, you know, putting out all those PR fires (evidently harder than putting out fires in NOLA). Gotta get up there, face the music, shuck and jive and look pained and hope somebody buys the routine.

To which the mayor most eloquently responded:
"I don’t want to see anybody do anymore goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don’t do another press conference until the resources are in this city. And then come down to this city and stand with us when there are military trucks and troops that we can’t even count.
"Don’t tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They’re not here. It’s too doggone late. Now get off your asses and do something, and let’s fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country."
But make sure the rich and the white get first dibs.

Crossposted at Corrente.

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