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Sep 02 2005

Day 5

Today I’m breaking with tradition and watching the cable news channels. What a relief to hear Laura Bush tell the world how peachy everything is in Lafayette LA, where the town has really "pulled together." She reminds people to make sure their kids go to school in their new home, the beautiful Houston Astrodome. Oh wait! They’re not letting any more people in the Astrodome!

2:41: Quelle surprise; troops and relief supplies arrive at Superdome just minutes before the president rears his brainless head in Marine One. Coincidence? I think not.

2:50: Some dumb knob on MSNBC asks his New Orleans correspondent if the
thousands of refugees are  "in custody of police." The correspondent,
who is obviously disgusted with everything, says that until just a few
minutes ago there haven’t been any police.

3:00: Dumb Fox News knob, with 25′ of debris as backdrop, asks
Biloxi-ite:’"is this devastation exceeding your expectations?" Also,
Trent Lott whines about his house. What’s with the obssession with
Trent Lott’s fucking house?

3:05 "Conglomerate" used as a verb by some Austrialian knob on CNN, as in "the refugees are conglomerating on the buses."

3:12 CNN: I don’t watch much cable news, and this is why: the screen is
always split into about 37 slices showing too much shit that doesn’t
matter. Also, the anchors are either ugly old men or hottie babes in
too much makeup.

3:43: MSNBC Two hottie news anchors discuss "heartbreaking stories of
courage and hope," shake their heads solemnly (Meryl Streep they ain’t)
and say "mm," a word used exclusively by news anchors to convey their
humanity to viewers who might otherwise be elbowing each other, going
"my god, what’s wrong with her hair?"

4:00: What is wrong with that W asshole? Here he dodging a
question about why the federal government has taken so long to respond.
Can the guy utter a single sentence without smirking?

4:07: Condi makes sure everybody knows her father is from Louisiana,
and that she has actually been there before, which means she especially
cares about the disaster. She cares so much she was on a
shoe-buying spree in New York until yesterday

4:27: I can’t take much more of this. So…cold…so very…cold…

14 comments

1 ping

  1. rhondda

    Where is your righteous anger Twisty? I’ve been told that Americans never give into despair. Ah, all right for someone who is not an american to say, I guess. I am stunned by the neglect of your gov’t towards the poor of NO. However, being a neighbour to the US and for the most part irritated by americans, I have to say that the American people are not the current government. They(your gov’t) are the “banality of evil” presented as the patriarchy always does as an exquisite con. No one is immune to this. No one wants to believe their government, their father, their patriarch will let them get raped and tortured. There is a myth that abounds in the world and that is the myth of the american dream. That is what makes people stream to your country. It is a little damaged now, but the spirit of america, that life giving hope is there still in the people. May you find it again. Lots of love from Canada

  2. Jim McCulloch

    I watched this for 3 days, until I got where I couldn’t take it any more. The cable networks spent more time talking about looters, and showing the same footage of three black youths going away with plastic sacks slung over their shoulders, presumably full of, well, loot, than they did about misery and death. Well, in fairness, they gave misery and death equal time.
    Meanwhile, the real looters were back in Washington, preparing to pass a repeal of the estate tax.

  3. Sylvanite

    I just saw Fearless Leader on Headline News. The reporter apparently asked him a question about the slowness of the federal response, cuz he was getting testy with them (I only saw the testiness). My god, what is wrong with this man? Thousands of people might be dead and he has the unmitigated gall to act testy with a reporter who asks him about the slow federal response. Another reporter ripped someone from FEMA a new one, and the FEMA guy, who was hit with a much angrier question, did a much better job than Bush did keeping his composure. Sheesh. FEMA Guy for president! He can’t do any worse.

  4. Twisty

    During the afternoon’s cable-rama, I heard one guy, I think he was a congressman or something, say “FEMA is dysfunctional.”

    I’m still pretty speechless. This entire debacle is absolutely beyond the pale.

  5. Sunya Harjis

    Just a brief note on the Gulf oil refineries of LA and TX: remember, while Nashville, Denver, North Carolina, and many other cities and states suffer from higher gas prices and heavily reduced supplies of gas and oil – remember, as oil shoots up over $70 a barrel and fingers get pointed at Katrina and Iraq – remember that we have a strategic petroleum reserve whose sole purpose is to be tapped in times like this. Billy tapped it back when OPEC last threatened us with higher oil prices just because, but for some reason it hasn’t been tapped even after a hurricane and states running dry of gasoline.

    As you pay $2.85, $3, even $4 a gallon for gas, remember that the oil refineries of the Gulf of Mexico are not the only ones on the planet and that, besides which, six hundred million barrels of oil are just sitting around in salt mines waiting to be used, but they aren’t being used.

    Remember that the budget bill which contains the little blurb about tapping the Alaskan rainforest is coming up for a vote very soon. Remember that. Keep your eye on that ball. It went into a budget bill because those only need a simple majority, not a 2/3rds majority like other kinds of legislation. And now I would like everyone to contemplate the usefulness of hurricanes as an energy policy device. Because I’m really, sincerely, honestly starting to believe that the lack of action on Katrina is a loss leader for getting that budget bill passed.

    Flapping haircuts on the news are always retarded, BTW. There were some priceless gems when the last pope got pooped.

    ABC (funeral procession, commentator to guest priest): “While this is going on, what can you tell us about the outfits the cardinals are wearing?”

    NBC (during funeral procession): “People are being surprisingly respectful here in St. Peter’s…”

    CNN (during burial): “There has been such an outpouring… I think they would be like this even if there were no cameras rolling on the square…

    Here’s a simple rule that will help you cut down on your TV news angst: everyone appearing on a news broadcast who doesn’t look pissed off is mentally handicapped.

  6. Mandos

    More parade-raining from Mandos:

    The oil refineries in the Gulf are not the only ones on the planet but they’re the ones ideally situated in the delivery system for much of the US gasoline and any other refineries used to bring the gas will ipso facto cost much more.

    And there is very little spare capacity in the world, so bringing it from anywhere inherently raises the price anyway.

    Nevertheless some European countries DO keep large stockpiles of REFINED gas–some of which are being sent to the US as aid (yes, you heard that right: foreign aid for the US). The US only keeps crude. Crude prices are dropping due to lack of refinery capacity and hence less gas use and less crude consumption.

    But no, the high prices are a symptom of Katrina but the inability to deal with them quickly is a symptom of the extreme taughtness of the oil supply now. It is a supply issue. The mistake that drivers are paying for now…is a mistake made 25 years ago.

    The good news is that I was overhearing (was on a plane today) a lot of people suddenly talking about supporting public transit. Not people you’d expect to either. So maybe American minds can be changed when it’s too expensive not to. That’s good news. Sort of.

  7. Sunya Harjis

    What inability to deal with them quickly? How long have gas prices been rising? And for how long has “hurricane hitting N.O.” been on FEMA’s watchlist?

    For months the gov’t has been refusing to tap the reserve and refine it, saying the market should do what the market does best: fuck over everyone. More specifically, Bloomberg had suspicions on the 24th, but the weird thing is that, after a 9 weeks of steady gas stockpile depletion, you’d think the same guys who worry about the winter heating oil supply in June may have plans in place already to deal with emergencies like this in light of standing production problems and high demand. Katrina only explains the 30+ cent increase over the last two days, not the increase of over a dollar a gallon in the past 5 years (previous to Katrina.)

    And here’s something REALLY interesting: the SPR web page is inaccessable, so is the Google cache, and so is most of the stuff linked to in this cached gov’t page about oil.

    So yay for public transportation, but a big ol “bullshit” to an unprepared nation and an unprepared industry. Also everyone has to ride my strap-on if, when it’s time to sign that budget bill, the conservodrones use Katrina as an (or I should say: the latest) excuse to drill Alaska.

  8. Mandos

    “What inability to deal with them quickly? How long have gas prices been rising? And for how long has “hurricane hitting N.O.” been on FEMA’s watchlist?”

    Gas prices have been rising for years and for the reasons I recommend everyone read the Internet’s best source for honest oil commentary, http://www.theoildrum.com. I’ve also been blogging about this recently. I’m actually getting obsessed by it.

    We all know the sad, stupid story of the endless warnings about the danger to NO.

    “For months the gov’t has been refusing to tap the reserve and refine it, saying the market should do what the market does best: fuck over everyone.”

    Tapping the reserve will only last a few months if you want to use it to lower prices. It is (correctly) to be saved for an emergency. Refining it in advance is a very good idea though. D’oh.

    “More specifically, Bloomberg had suspicions on the 24th, but the weird thing is that, after a 9 weeks of steady gas stockpile depletion, you’d think the same guys who worry about the winter heating oil supply in June may have plans in place already to deal with emergencies like this in light of standing production problems and high demand. Katrina only explains the 30+ cent increase over the last two days, not the increase of over a dollar a gallon in the past 5 years (previous to Katrina.)”

    No, that’s because of ***GLOBAL PRODUCTION CAPACITY DEPLETION***. And that’s because no one in the US planned to develop a less oil-dependent economy, a decision that was declined in Carter’s defeat. The rising prices, are, alas, almost entirely attributable to the difficulty in allowing the supply to match global demand. The falling stockpiles of gas over the last 9 weeks also match severe and long-term supply issues.

    WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF PRODUCTION CAPACITY. This is a long-term crisis that will be with us long after this disaster. Perhaps people will learn to conserve, and to value public transit finally, though.

    “So yay for public transportation, but a big ol “bullshit” to an unprepared nation and an unprepared industry. Also everyone has to ride my strap-on if, when it’s time to sign that budget bill, the conservodrones use Katrina as an (or I should say: the latest) excuse to drill Alaska.”

    Agreed about Alaska. I had to disabuse someone on the plane about Alaska. He fell silent. Alaska has only, like, two years worth of oil, and then we’re back to long-term supply crisis again—worse actually, since the hit from Alaska would encourage us to generate more oil-dependent economic growth when we should be curtailing.

    The worst irony is that we are peaking in production capacity in light sweet crude precisely when the developing world needs the oil the most. Heavy sour crude can help requires massive changes to refineries (ie years of preparation), preferably changes to engines. OR a willingness to repeat Mexico City everywhere.

  9. ae

    Yeah.

    Sorry for the link; I’m just too tired to add anything to that.

  10. Jenny K

    “What a relief to hear Laura Bush tell the world how peachy everything is in Lafayette LA, where the town has really “pulled together.”"

    “Can the guy utter a single sentence without smirking?”

    Could someone please tell Mr. and Mrs. Bush to stop smiling already. I know the public deserves to know the truth of what cold-hearted people they are, but I don’t think my sanity can take another picture of them smiling while Americans are dying a short drive away from them on American soil.

  11. Jenny K

    Could someone pass that along to the reporters as well? (just the ones still in the studio, all the field reporters look postively shell-shocked) I can deal with Aaron Brown folding in on himself as he debates racism with a member of the National Black Caucus, but I really can’t deal with anymore reporters talking about the gravity of the situation with lighthearted expression and voices.

  12. jennifer

    “Could someone please tell Mr. and Mrs. Bush to stop smiling already.”

    Yeah, but that is both of their default positions. When the nobility is forced to deal with common muck, with the cameras on, detached pleasantness is what is called for. After all, what is going on there doesn’t really concern them. Have you ever seen Laura without that insane smile? Even more evidence that neither of them have any grip on reality.

    As for Bush, there is absolutely no way I could begin to describe how much hate I have for him and everyone who works for him. That horse lawyer who’s the head of FEMA has spent more time shmoozing on TV and with fellow cronies than anything else. Of course, that should’ve been expected, given his past performance.

  13. Buffalo Gal

    So Trent Lott is living in an inadequately supplied shelter, sweaty and hungry, with all his remaining belongings in a grocery bag? Oh. Guess not. Sorry. Thought some justice might be happening.

  14. Christopher

    I want somebody to beat that damned smirk off his face with a baseball bat.

    Back in the old days, I was actually willing to give Mr. Bush a chance. Unlike some of my liberal friends, I said, “Hey, give the guy a chance, just because he’s a Republican doesn’t mean he’s a failure”.

    Now I actively wish bodily harm on him. Way to squander your capital, dipstick.

  1. green gabbro

    Suggested New Vocabulary for Disaster Newscasters

    Old Vocabulary: Conglomerate The refugees are conglomerating on the buses
    In geology, a conglomerate is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of largeish, rounded to sub-rounded chunks, cemented together in a matrix of smaller grains. I’m sure the metap…

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