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Bush's Great Society

  In his speech from the French Quarter, Bush decided not to mention that his party wants to make cuts to Medicaid, or that he has championed and enacted tax cuts that benefit the richest Americans. He didn't mention that he has committed the nation to a long and costly overseas war with no end in sight. He didn't, in fact, say anything that would identify himself as a conservative Republican. He didn't even look like the President of the United States! He might have been a basketball coach, or a dentist. Let's just say it directly: He was in disguise. He might as well have worn a dashiki.

    Across America, hardcore conservatives are probably sleeping fitfully, fearing that John Roberts will turn out to be Earl Warren, and George W. Bush, struggling to aright his presidency, will become Lyndon Johnson. Neither is likely, but recent events have shoved the country toward the center after its long ramble on the right. Republicans are trying to remember how to sound like moderates, and Democrats are trying to remember how to make the black-power fist. TV correspondents in the disaster zone are speaking back to The Man. Last night, the president sampled so many Democratic riffs he ought to send a royalty check to Ted Kennedy. Bush even mentioned racial discrimination, which the Republicans have long claimed is a myth, like global warming.

    Bush opened the federal floodgates for aid to the Gulf Coast. The man is a big spender, not one of these nervous Nellies who get twitchy if the deficit goes above half a trillion. Americans have already donated a billion dollars, but Bush can match that 200-to-1. Direct payments, tax breaks, free federal land for impoverished homesteaders: It's a grab-bag of federal largess. "Not since FDR and the New Deal" has a president offered so much, Ted Koppel concluded. Bush, speaking of disaster response, said, "It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces..." If Thomas Jefferson were spinning any faster in his grave he'd create a wormhole in the spacetime continuum.

    I thought it was a solid speech with questionable staging. It didn't look like a disaster zone. The president first appeared in a wide shot, looking 2 feet tall as he walked across a vast floodlit lawn. The rolled-up shirtsleeves and open collar didn't quite work for me, but I'll wait to see what Robin Givhan says. The speech got chewy in the middle, but had some good lines, such as, "There is no way to imagine America without New Orleans, and this great city will rise again." Good metaphor: "Building higher." ("We'll not just rebuild, we'll build higher, and better.") The closing image of a jazz funeral was right on key.

   E.J. Dionne said the other day that the Bush presidency is already over, finished, kaput. Dan Balz writes in this morning's paper that Bush has no time to waste if he wants to accomplish something, because lame duck status isn't that far away. ("Second-term slumps hit every reelected president, but often they come later than this one," Balz sagely notes.) The calendar insists that Bush was inaugurated for his second term less than 8 months ago, though it feels like he's been president for most of my lifetime. Perhaps an accelerated political culture wants him to get as lame as possible as soon as possible so we can move forward. Perhaps in the future, presidents will officially become lame ducks the day they are re-elected to a second term, if not sooner. I bet you there are people right now who are just thinking of running for president -- some of them still nothing more than a high school student body president -- who are already racing against presidential lame duck status. It's the danger for any achiever in a speeded-up society: Premature Obsolescence.

   Dick Morris argued last night that Katrina will be the second term's 9/11, that it gives shape and cause to the rest of Bush's tenure. [Thought balloon: The Bushcentrism sometimes gets a bit tedious among the chattering classes, almost as if what happens to New Orleans is less important than what happens to Bush's poll numbers.] Perhaps Bush will decide that the best way he can be president is by being a governor, of sorts. He can get to know the local pols, corporate execs, entrepreneurs, neighborhood leaders, the textures of the Gulf communities. Put on a hard hat. Aides will want to know where he went and they'll be told, "He's driving the forklift again." The forklift with the presidential seal. Forklift One.

By Joel Achenbach  |  September 15, 2005; 9:41 PM ET
 
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Next: Going Hollywood, plus Gene on JW

Comments

"Forklift One"! Priceless.

Posted by: Achenfan | September 16, 2005 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Forklift One! That will probably remain the best phrase of the day and it's only 8:45 a.m.

I missed the entire Bush speech. I had to go to a jewerly party that I was invited to long before I knew the President was addressing the nation. I also have yet to read about it. That's next on my to-do list.

Posted by: Sara | September 16, 2005 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I hope this means Tom Fan liked it too. Achenfan's approval is nice to have, but Tom Fan's is essential. Dreamer's is like icing on the cake.
By the way, I am not going to loiter on the Boodle today. I really, really, really must do some actual reported journalism, which is my job. Also I don't want anyone to think that I have any power over the Boodle, any administrative function, other than, on very rare occasions, to make people's comments completely disappear, which is actually really fun. But that almost never happens, as you know. Please be civil. Thank you.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 16, 2005 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who thinks Cheney snickered out loud when he heard the term "Gulf Opportunity Zone" in this speech?

bc

Posted by: bc | September 16, 2005 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I'm just glad Bush didn't pre-empt the O.C. Apparently he only has to make that mistake once.

Posted by: jw | September 16, 2005 9:58 AM | Report abuse

...and another thing.

I've seen GWB on a Segway (which takes all of three minutes to master), the idea of him driving a forklift makes me very nervous.

"Mr. President. Mr. President! It steers from the REAR! The back tires! Look out!"

[Crash, crash. Tinkle, tinkle tinkle...]

The only thing he didn't borrow was the Berlin Airlift, though I suspect it's still on the table.

And I'm glad he passed on the pith helmet.

bc

Posted by: bc | September 16, 2005 10:00 AM | Report abuse

What a racist word to use in describing the President's attire, "dashiki".

Posted by: Cassandra | September 16, 2005 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I believe Tom fan liked it too, Achenbach. It's just that Tom fan is less inclined to guffaw and use exclamation marks than I am. And Tom fan tries to show more respect for the President of the United States (although she isn't always successful).

Posted by: Achenfan | September 16, 2005 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Dan Froomkin notes that Karl Rove will be in charge of reconstruction:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2005/04/11/LI2005041100879.html

Karl keeps popping up, like Rumpelstiltskin.

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"The calendar insists that Bush was inaugurated for his second term less than 8 months ago, though it feels like he's been president for most of my lifetime."

amen. and what a frustrating life it's been.

Posted by: ghettoMuppet | September 16, 2005 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Truer words were never spoken-it DOES seem like President Bush has been president for most of my lifetime. It's exhausted me.

Posted by: Kim | September 16, 2005 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Umm, how exactly is using "dashiki" racist? Is GWB a member of a culture that is stereotyped as wearing dashikis? I'm pretty sure he's not, though I'm not terribly familiar with the habits of prep school cheerleaders. I just can't see how this statement can be construed as racist. I CAN see how leaving the poorest of the poor - who are disporporationaley black- to tread water for a week because you can't fathom a world in which not everyone can hop in a car and camp out at a Holiday Inn is racist. I can see how saying they're now better off is insensitive. And I dream of the day when an innocent comment like this is our top priority in ridding the world of racism. Let's try to prioritize, shall we?

Posted by: schwa | September 16, 2005 10:16 AM | Report abuse

If there is a "Forklift One", instead of sounding "doot doot doot" when it backs up, it will play "Hail to the Chief".

schwa: Maybe dashiki is racist because black humorists (Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle) are allowed to kid white people, but white humorists (Joel, Bill Maher) are not allowed to kid black people.

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I didn't watch Bush's speech because I just won't subject myself to that kind of punishment. I find his words have less visceral impact in print.

Forklift One. Good one, Joel.

Posted by: Susan | September 16, 2005 10:25 AM | Report abuse

That's the thing that bugs me - it's not even KIDDING black people? How is that joke directed at anyone but Bush? How can the thought of him in a dashiki be seen as anything but absurd?

Posted by: schwa | September 16, 2005 10:26 AM | Report abuse

The President of the United States has the right to define his role anyway he wants. He can even change it every week, which could be fun. This week, he is the Warehouse Manageer in Chief. Next week, he can be Soupline Director in Chief. Cheney can manage the office.

Posted by: CowTown | September 16, 2005 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Joel writes:
"I thought it was a solid speech with questionable staging. It didn't look like a disaster zone. The president first appeared in a wide shot, looking 2 feet tall as he walked across a vast floodlit lawn."

First the staging and theatrics--and history; next, perhaps, the speech analysis.

Last night, Bush's backdrop, the St. Louis cathedral was cast in an eery blue pall, illuminated with electricity paid for by the White House. If Hollywood had only offered some fog-making machines--or dry ice--the atmospherics would have been downright spooky. (How the poor souls at the convention center would have liked some wet ice or even some water!) Not a person in sight, not a citizen, not a reporter or cameraman. (Creepy, ghostly and deserted, given that most of the town's residents are dispersed in shelters across the country--the others not so lucky to be on cots met their fates in oily, watery graves.)

I appreciate that President Bush chose a backdrop of a minor basilica named after my distant great-grandfather, Louis IX, or St. Louis. For a bit of history, Louis IX was the great-grandson of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Louis IX's son, Philip III, became King of France. Following Philip III on the throne was Philip IV, The Fair, perhaps best known for arresting members of the crusading order of the Knights Templar throughout France. His pope, Clement V disbanded the Templars, and in 1314, Philip burned 54 Knights Templar, including the Grand Master. Philip IV's daughter, Isabelle (The She-Wolf) married the bisexual King of France Edward II, who met a horrific death when a hot poker was stuck up his derriere. And so on down my family line.

(I can't say that Bush is descended from Edward II, but he is descended from Edward I on his Marbury line. I haven't taken the time to work out the intricacies of his Plantagenet tree, so I'm unaware if St. Louis is also Bush's forbear.)

Another thing struck me as odd. For a President attired in a blue shirt with rolled up sleeves, there was nary a wrinkle in his shirt. So much for conveying the image of the working man or the working President, for that matter.

What wasn't odd was the way delivered his speech. In the beginning it was as dry as the ground Bush stood on. And given the passion, the drama, the pathos in New Orleans during the course of the last two weeks, Bush could have showed some emotion in the delivery of his address. The rote reading was as flat as the waters of Lake Ponchatrain are now. Can Bush not step away from words written for him by others and speak from his gut? Can he not rage or rant--or cry?

Sure, Bush accepted responsibility for the federal government's disaster in handling the crisis, but does being President mean that you never have to say that you're sorry? Does he not feel?

Posted by: Linda Loomis | September 16, 2005 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Isn't "dashiki" racist only if it is implied that there's something *wrong* with a dashiki? I don't think Joel was implying that. In fact, by using a dashiki is an example of something the President would not normally wear, Joel appears to have *honored* the dashiki. (We know from previous Achenblog entries that Joel's attitude toward suits, ties, and other types of clothing favored by the President borders on disdain.)

But what the bleep would I know . . .

Posted by: Tom fan | September 16, 2005 10:33 AM | Report abuse

SCC entry:
"by using a dashiki AS an example . . ."

[It's Friday]

Posted by: Tom fan | September 16, 2005 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Are white people allowed to wear dahikis? I've never seen one, but I've also never been to a Kwanzaa ceremony.

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 10:38 AM | Report abuse

STOP!!!!!! please, Joel you are a very good writer and a very funny and interesting man. But your political opinions are not informed and so bias that they aren't even worth writing. You make NO attempt to be fair, your just preaching to the chior (I'm in that chior). It makes your stuff not worth reading. You are not a political figure or pundit, appreciate that and leave the bickering to others who are less interesting.

Posted by: losing interest | September 16, 2005 10:40 AM | Report abuse

(The She-Wolf) married the bisexual King of France Edward II,

error:
Edward II was the King of England, not of France.

Posted by: Linda Loomis | September 16, 2005 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Linda Loomis: At the time, didn't the King of England also presume to be the King of France, which led to the 100 Years War? I also remember that the hot poker was chosen for its symbolic aspect, and it was a way of killing a king without shedding his blood (cooking him from the inside).

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 10:45 AM | Report abuse

CowTown -

That got me thinking...

GWB starring in "The Secret Life of GWB Mitty!" He's a commander on the high-seas, he's a casanova with the ladies, he's a famous archeologist. See it all on the big screen!

Posted by: AJ | September 16, 2005 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Since when was political humor supposed to be "fair" or "informed?" And, can we trust "political figures" or "pundits" to supply our daily adult requirements for humor? I respectfully suggest not.

Posted by: CowTown | September 16, 2005 10:49 AM | Report abuse

losinginterest writes:
You are not a political figure or pundit, appreciate that and leave the bickering to others who are less interesting.

A compliment! THERE ARE others/pundits who ARE far less interesting and coloful than Joel.

This blog is the ancient example of women meeting at the well to exchange news, information and yes--gossip, or men meeting in the fields. There aren't as many opportunities for these "town forum" exchanges today, given that we're wrapped in our ticky-tacky little box-houses, enveloped by surround-sound, televison, etc. This blog gives a chance for faceless and some nameless (not me) individuals to meet in cyberspace--rant, laugh, become angry, exchange opinions. All are welcome, even those who hold Bush in high esteem.

Posted by: Linda Loomis | September 16, 2005 10:54 AM | Report abuse

CowTown: I think political humor is hard to do, because you're always tripping on your own biases. The only other comics that come to my mind are Ann Coulter, Bill Maher, and Mark Russell. Does Dave Barry ever try it?

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Videlicet

Ann Coulter is a Humorist? That Explains Everything!

Posted by: CowTown | September 16, 2005 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Dave Barry wrote a pretty funny book about American History called Dave Barry Slept Here. He can be humorous on any subject.

Posted by: Dave Fan | September 16, 2005 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"...even those who hold Bush in high esteem."

[Insert your own tasteless and/or insulting jokes here.]

bc

Posted by: bc | September 16, 2005 11:08 AM | Report abuse

As a friendly reminder, this Sunday will be the first time my name has been in print since I played Tiny Tim in kindergarten and fell asleep mid-scene.

Posted by: jw | September 16, 2005 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah, and Dave also wrote Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway--I always wondered whether Gene asked Dave if it would be okay for him to use "Below the Beltway" as a title for his column.

Posted by: Gene Fan | September 16, 2005 11:10 AM | Report abuse

jw, that's adorable!

Posted by: Dreamer | September 16, 2005 11:11 AM | Report abuse

losing interest: I see Joel as one of the few non-Right Wing Agenda bloggers who goes out of his way to find positive things to say about the President. And he often tells the more rapid bashers to be reasonable. Maybe I'm grading on the curve here.

Where humour is concerned, chacun à son goût. I think the line where he speculates that Bush might have disguised himself in a dashiki is pretty funny - nice imagery!

Posted by: mizerock | September 16, 2005 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Videlicet:
Right on all counts.
Edward II's death by hot poker was symbolic and he was cooked from the inside out--comparable to the cooking techniques of today's microwave ovens. Bloodless perhaps; painless, no.

The Fourteenth and Fifteenth centuries were times of great upheaval for medieval France. In 1328 the Capetian line came to an end. [My distant great-grandfather Philip IV was the end of the Capetian line. Philip died in 1314 His sons died in turn soon after, without issue, ending this direct line of Capet. His demise was attributed by many to Grand Master of the Knights Templar Jacques de Molay's dyring curse--at the burning stake he had called on Philip and Clement to join him at God's tribunal: within a year, both were dead.]

This was the trigger for the Hundred Years War, as successive English kings attempted to uphold their claim to the French throne. Catastrophic defeats at Crécy and Poitiers shook the French kingdom to its core. A period of respite followed under Bertrand du Guesclin, but an even more devastating assault was to follow, under the warrior-king par excellence Henry V.

The French disintegration continued until 1429. After that date the French began a recovery, partly triggered by the young visionary Joan of Arc. The English defeat of 1453 left thier holdings on mainland Europe reduced to the port of Calais. Never again would an England King control large parts of France. England was plunged into civil war, The War of the Roses 1455 - 1485, and France had now become the major European military power.

Videlicet, who are you anyhow? You and Cowtown do intrigue me. Unlike Sara, I am not flirting, just wondering.

Posted by: Linda Loomis | September 16, 2005 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Dreamer, yeah, everyone thought it was hilarious. It was actually the 8th grade school play, and my parents were friends with the teachers who were "producing" it. Final scene of the last show, I'm supposed to say, "God bless us, everyone!" That was the cue for the curtain. Unfortunately, I had passed out in my chair, and couldn't be roused even with Bob Cratchet kicking me under the table. No one knew what to do. Finally someone yelled the line and saved the day.

I never acted again.

Posted by: jw | September 16, 2005 11:23 AM | Report abuse

jw:
Ha! At first when I saw "It was actually the 8th grade school play," I thought you were fessing up to falling asleep in the 8th grade instead of kindergarten. (But I kept reading and figured it out . . .)

I'm glad you didn't fall asleep during your date with Gene.

Posted by: Achenfan | September 16, 2005 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Shh, Achenfan, don't give anything away!

bc

Posted by: bc | September 16, 2005 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Linda Loomis: I look like a cross between Ernest Hemingway and La-la, the singing Teletubbie. My fondest wish is to go to a party and hear someone cry "Here comes Vizzy, lock up your wives!", but they never do.

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Funniest thing I heard about Bush's speech last night had to do with the fancy lighting: "At least somebody's got electricity there."

And did anybody notice that the clock in the background isn't working? It's stuck in time, so to speak.

Dave Barry does do political humor, but he pretty much steers clear of partisan political humor, I believe.

If there were a Forklife One, would they take the president's picture every time he gets on and every time he climbs off, as they do with Air Force One?

Posted by: Bayou Self | September 16, 2005 11:36 AM | Report abuse

If GWB is LBJ, does that mean that John Roberts is Abe Fortas?

Posted by: bizarro universe | September 16, 2005 11:40 AM | Report abuse

The best political humor I've ever read was Will Roger's "Politics is Applesauce".

The sad part was that is was so true and timely. And I read it 70+ years after it had been written.

Posted by: Les | September 16, 2005 11:52 AM | Report abuse

bizarro universe: What ever happened to LBJ's "Great Society"? Are we in it?

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/lbjthegreatsociety.htm

Bayou Self: Forklift One should have a "Mission Accomplished" sticker on the back.

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I would like to point at that every time Bush flies into the disaster area, all other air traffic has to stop. This must be crimping the style of the folks down there who are actually doing the cleanup and rescue work.

Posted by: LP | September 16, 2005 11:58 AM | Report abuse

errr- "point out"

but you know what i mean.

Posted by: LP | September 16, 2005 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Videlicet:

Linda isn't flirting, so she probably isn't asking what you look like. The question is, "who are you"--which is a very difficult question for anyone to answer. I like the version, "What's your story?" but that's not much easier, not in a nutshell, anyway.

You, Viz., have an interesting persona because you know stuff most people don't know--like Linda herself. So the question comes to mind, are you extremely well-educated (Ph.D. in classics from Oxford) or just well-read, or a professor, or what. Give us a hint.

Posted by: EnquiringMindsWantToKnow | September 16, 2005 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who has a problem with a national day of prayer? Separation of church and state, people! If the pope wants to declare a day of prayer, go for it! Archbishop of Canterbury, sure, why not? Local ministers, rabbis, priests? Absolutely. POTUS? NO!!! This government is not supposed to be telling me when to pray and when not to pray.

Posted by: bully pulpit | September 16, 2005 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I say let's just roll with the day o' prayer. Those who like to pray can pray; those who don't can do something else. Maybe it's not the President's place to declare a day of prayer, but really, what harm can it do? It's kind of like when people object to the greeting, "Have a blessed day." Sure, maybe that's not everyone's cup of tea, but I'll take it -- I'd rather be told to have a blessed day than be told to go to hell.

Posted by: Dreamer | September 16, 2005 12:17 PM | Report abuse

You should probably reread the First Amendment.

Posted by: jw | September 16, 2005 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, and I hate that you can't say "Merry Christmas" to people. Even if you're not a Christian, I still hope you have a merry christmas. "Happy holidays" is so antiseptic.

Posted by: jw | September 16, 2005 12:22 PM | Report abuse

jw, that reminds me of a sign in the Fairfax Library one time:

"The Library will be closed on Sunday, April xx, in celebration of the Spring Holiday."

Can't mention Easter, but they can close for it!

Posted by: TBG | September 16, 2005 12:26 PM | Report abuse

EnquiringMindsWantToKnow: I am college educated, a trivia buff, and one day I realized that I really really missed the geeky part of college (including the taking of notes and the organizing of life into little categories), so I said fluck it, follow your bliss, and gradually dropped all my magazine and newspaper subscriptions (sorry Washington Post), cancelled cable TV, now try to read a book a week, and chat up the brainy birds at parties. I'll probably soon return to normal American life when my brain fatigues, but at the moment I'm riding a geekout high. Don't try this at home, kids!

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"He didn't mention that he has committed the nation to a long and costly overseas war with no end in sight. He didn't, in fact, say anything that would identify himself as a conservative Republican...Let's just say it directly: He was in disguise."

Now he has his split his party and has many up in arms over who's going to pay for what and how. I also hope that most people were able to see through his disguise. He's not going to get off of the hook that easily.

"I bet you there are people right now who are just thinking of running for president -- some of them still nothing more than a high school student body president"

Haha, I was one of those people two years ago. Now I go to school (Stanford) with tons of them. At least I can vouch for many of them and say they are educated.

"The calendar insists that Bush was inaugurated for his second term less than 8 months ago, though it feels like he's been president for most of my lifetime. "

I'm only 19, and while that happens to hold a little more truth for my generation I pray that I won't have to think much about Dubya after 2008 (or sooner).

http://impeachbushcoalition.blogspot.com
http://onthelefttip.blogspot.com/2005/09/case-to-impeach-george-w-bush.html
http://www.votetoimpeach.org
http://frenchcafe.blogspot.com

Peace,
Chris

"I wish the world was run by love, and absolutely nothing more."

Posted by: Chris | September 16, 2005 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I just read Gene's Sunday column, the Homage to JW. It's very funny, and JW comes off like Brad Pitt, only better looking and more of an action hero.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 16, 2005 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"Spring Holiday" -- makes me think of some sort of pagan festival that might take place at Stonehenge or some such venue.

Posted by: Dreamer | September 16, 2005 12:33 PM | Report abuse

**********Memo to Citizens**************

We have received some complaints about the lack of "emotion" or "compassion" in the President's voice and demeaner in his speech last night. Please be informed that there are only three operators assigned to the BushUnit at present, the other two operators are on active duty in Iraq. We are pulling levers and pushing buttons as fast as we can in order to create a satisfactory Speech Facsimile, but, as you can see, with our smaller staff, some challanges exist. We hope you can appreciate that the BushUnit was able to maintain brief eye contact with audience members and and that its lips moved in synchronization with the sound track. Thank you for your comments.

Posted by: Office of CUD | September 16, 2005 12:36 PM | Report abuse

TBG

Same deal in France. The whole country closes down for "Family Day," which used to be Easter. The French pride themselves on their secularization; but give up a holiday?

Posted by: CowTown | September 16, 2005 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Bush's use of the word "reconstruction" in his speech last night. That seems a loaded and negative word to use in a once-again devastated South. Perhaps his speech writers aren't history buffs...

I guess he can't be trained to lose the smirk, either.

Posted by: slats | September 16, 2005 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, Office of CUD -- I thought he came across as a little too peppy, if anything (especially at the beginning of the speech -- a technical glitch perhaps?)

Posted by: Achenfan | September 16, 2005 12:44 PM | Report abuse

bully pulpit writes:
If the pope wants to declare a day of prayer, go for it! Archbishop of Canterbury, sure, why not? Local ministers, rabbis, priests? Absolutely. POTUS? NO!!!

I can play with this, meaning "use this material." Edmund Grindal, a distant -great-uncle on my family tree (He was childless, but his two sisters are my distant great-grandmothers) was the Archbishop of Canterbury when Elizabeth I sat the throne.

One thing I forgot to mention in my first long-winded post is this: Isn't it peculiar that Bush used a church/St. Louis Cathedral as a backdrop? The "golden city on the hill" in this current natural disaster is certainly the people of the United States and their outpourings of love and generosity, but not the federal government. Interesting juxtaposition of church and state last night during Bush's televised speech, with the cathedral looming hugely just over Bush's right shoulder.

And I can say much about raising up New Orleans vis-a-vis Galveston. There is an interesting paragraph from the book, "Isaac's Storm":

"This time Galeveston [Texas] built the wall. It rose 17 feet above the beach and stood behind an advance barrier of granite boulders 27 feet in width. McClure's Magazine called it 'one of the greatest enginnering works of all times.' But the city's engineers, among them Colonel Robert, knew a seawall alone was not enough. They raised the altitude of the entire city. In a monumental effort, legions of workers using manual screw jacks lifted 2,000 buildings, even a cathedral, then filled the resulting canyon with 11 million pounds of fill. The task, completed in 1910, had an unintended benefit: It ensured that all corpses still buried within the city remained well interred."

So, if Bush commandeers the figurative Forklift One, shouldn't he rebuild the floodwalls and levees first? (I think of the excellent report on Sunday's ABC News this week, with Terry Moran as host, when the last segment was on the Dutch engineering MARVELS following the floods that inundated Holland in the early 1950s.) Can New Orleans' rebuilding occur simultaneously with the fortification of New Orlean's sea barriers? Shouldn't we be careful before we put the cart before the forklift? Wouldn't that be prudent?

Even more alarming was the mention in the lead NYT op-ed this morning that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's top man in the NOLA reclamation effort was once the corps' top man overseeing contracts in Iraq.

As a last thought, I thought the best post-speech analysis was by Tim Russert, who, on NBC, simply asked a long series of very significant and serious questions.

Thanks, enquiringmindswanttoknow, you nailed it! Curious how Videlicet knows so much history, or is he the Googler extraordinaire? Or a voracious reader on all subjects?

Posted by: Linda Loomis | September 16, 2005 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Wow! I am so excited! Although now I'm concerned that my girlfriend is going to demand that I stop acting like the huge dork that used to be on the math team, and start acting like this Brad Pitt-action hero fellow.

Posted by: jw | September 16, 2005 12:45 PM | Report abuse

If you haven't done it already, watch a Bush speech with the sound off. If you think he sounds like a lobotomized Christopher Walken, he *looks* downright animatronic. Yes, he's even creepier without sound. He looks disconnected but angry, a bad actor indignant about being in play so obviously beneath him.

I usually see these at work, but I imagine the experience would be helped by a stiff drink. Or maybe a nice, strong beer, like Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Ale ...

Posted by: hominid | September 16, 2005 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know whether ES has drawn a caricature of jw to accompany the column? (I guess that would be difficult, since presumably ES doesn't know what jw looks like. We'll probably have to settle for a caricature of Brad Pitt.)

Posted by: Achenfan | September 16, 2005 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"What a racist word to use in describing the President's attire, "dashiki".
Posted by: Cassandra | Sep 16, 2005 10:04:44 AM

Ohhhh, please Cassandra, enough with the political correctness!

Posted by: Vote for Pedrito | September 16, 2005 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer writes:
"Spring Holiday" -- makes me think of some sort of pagan festival that might take place at Stonehenge or some such venue.

From "Isaac's Storm" (the weather only gets wilder--reminds me of Joel's post yesterday from Science magazine--once it became unembargoed):

"That night, New Year's Eve 1900, a piece of very strange news flashed over the submarine cables from England. A wind had risen so freakishly stong it had toppled one of the great pillars of Stonehenge that no wind had budged for 10,000 years. The twentieth century had begun."

Posted by: Linda Loomis | September 16, 2005 12:55 PM | Report abuse

re: CAN YOU TAKE ME HIGHER? TO A PLACE WHERE BLIND MEN SEE or THE ANTI-FDR

On the bright side, people may change political opinions but not styles. So if Bush really believed what he said last night, his style says he may accomplish something, it may be cheap and on the fly, but something will get done.


There were two items in President Bush's speech that are of note:

The first is his penchant for using churches and religion as support for the community. He cannot imagine a community where everyone does not go to church and rely upon it for support.

Now this may be typical of smal towns like Midland Texas where there is nothing to do but drill for oil and attend church. But the rest of the country relies on chuches much less than George W supposes.

Only 40% of the population claims to attend church on a regular basis, down from 75% in 1946. In addition, only 35% of men claim to attend church on a regular basis, balanced by women 46%. Now given that certain states are much more likely to have church attendance on a regular basis. And that people lie to pollsters. This figure can probably drop to about 20%.

http://www.adherents.com/Na/Na_46.html#318

So given that probably about 20% of the population attend church weekly (and that may be high because memories may not be correct) I think Bush's attempt to bring people into the religous fold by asking them help their churches is rather shallow.

Also, people who run churches are not exactly above reproach. There are terrible feuds in churches about who the minister should be, about how the money is spent, etc. And volunteers do not lke to be involved in that, so we need to knock off another 10-20% of the potential pool of volunteers for Churches.

What happened to asking people to volunteer for America Corps, the peace Corps, etc? This is a safe non-partisan, non-demoniational way for young people to help the country and get paid for it.

I woudl think this would get a much larger response, than asking people to volunteer and give to their churches.

Second, Who is going to coordinatoe all this rebuilding. Rove? Yeah, that's a joke. We need another WPA or the emergency organization Herbert Hoover (a brilliant engineer, until he ran into the Great Depression and tried the old Republican tricks of lowering taxes, privatization etc to fix it. He failed and was booted out of office.) built after the first World War.

We cannot leave this to the contractors and Halliburton. " .. Halli Halli Halli, it's Love, Brother Love's Traveling Salvation show...."

Pick an agency ANY agency, except the army, and they could probably do a better job and the money would be safer.

So remember, Religion is America is probably not as portrayed. And Bush's call for religious help down south betrays a lack of understanding about how many people actively participate in American churches.

Also, remember that we need a real government organizaiton to rebuild the South. Not some fly-by-night affair put together by Rove and his contractor buddies. this may exist long after Bush is out of office and if this is a Rove put-up job, billions may be wated which were not wasted before.

On the bright side though, people may change political opinions but not styles. So if Bush really believed what he said last night, his style says he may accomplish something.

Posted by: Kurt | September 16, 2005 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Hi everybody,

Thanks, Sara, for the recommendation of Linda Howard yesterday. I'll check her out.

Now on to pressing matters...I was wondering why I'm feeling so "blah" today, and thanks to Joel, I now understand--it's because we've seemingly had the same "blah" president for nearly our whole lives! The last five years or so have seemed like so much longer than that. Could be because a lot has changed in my life personally, but it also could be that despite his many disguises (as in CowTown's earlier postings), it's still the same old lone star prez...making dumb decisions, being a "working man's president" while on vacation with no wrinkles in his rolled up sleeve shirt. As far as I'm concerned, lame duck started quite a while back.

Second issue--on political pundits and political humor. I agree that Joel tries to be fair and reasonably non-biased (I'm trying to be realistic here). I think Joel has from time to time said some positive things about Pres. Bush. However, I don't necessarily think we should leave the political humor and commentary to the pundits! Rise up people, and make fun of your political leaders! Aren't we a nation at least founded on the principles of equality, and perhaps the ability to second guess and guffaw at those we've elected! It's our right, damnit, whether we do it correctly in a non-biased way, or not :-).

Finally, I don't need to be told when to pray by my government. I totally agree with the earlier posting about keeping religion, formally, where it is supposed to be. Now, I'm not the type that says a kid can't walk down the hall in public school and talk about or pray to God/Allah/Budda with some friends. I mean come on, people have the right to worship and believe as they so choose, wherever they so chose, but the government shouldn't be specifically endorsing a national day of prayer.

Uh...amen...and have a blessed day... :-)

Posted by: Erica Snipes | September 16, 2005 1:00 PM | Report abuse

What strikes me as both interesting, yet thousands of times more funny was Bush's statement that 'lack of federal authority' was the cause of the failure, and what would now be needed is according to him, not less but more 'federal authority.'

But, what is even more funny and quite painful is that some believe that those who were in charge as mismanagers, disorganizers and incompetents reigned--are now presently capable of leading the charge anew to competence after the firing of just 1 lone and failed bureaucrat. Who among us believes that now that Michael Brown is free to roam the range with horses again--the system is now ready to meet future challenges?

What Fortune 500 company would proceed to resolve a problem after only firing one department head? The CEO would be golden parachuted out in style--but he would be nonetheless fired. The DOH was Bush's brainchild (probably of Rove's reasoning)so it is redundant for Bush to say he takes responsibility. On what level of his capacity to reason does he believe it is necessary to state the obvious--as if he similarly believes that simply not stating he is responsible means he is not responsible? This guy is just flat out funny.

It's the system he built after 9/11 that is broke, but count on Bush to ignore this[the real responsibility that he should address]instead of parroting that it is more government oversight which is needed to ensure that our national response to future disasters is better.

Nah, Bill, Ann and Joel and Barry aren't the real humorists, George Bush [is].

And he has all of the world as his stage for his continual side-show of pranks and antics.

Posted by: Vince1157 | September 16, 2005 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that quote, Linda. (It sent shivers down my spine.)

Posted by: Dreamer | September 16, 2005 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Since the Louisiana has had the reputation for decades (centuries?) as a bastion of resounding corruption in the government, I sincerely hope that there will be some policing done with the BILLIONS Bush is throwing at the relief effort. A lot of that money may disappear very rapidly and never make it to the intended projects. One need only look at New Orleans failed attempts to get the public school system out of disaster for a recent example of corruption. About every other week it seemed the school system would say "There's not going to be enough money to pay the teachers this month." Wonder where it all went to.... People were paying their taxes for the most part.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | September 16, 2005 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Linda Loomis: I suggest using notepaper as your bookmark, googling the next day about things you are curious about (hiding your autodidacticism at work) and reading Maurice Druon's series "The Accursed Kings" (if you can find copies).

Here are fifteen factoids waiting to burst into casual conversation:

1. Victoria Woodhull was the first female stockbroker.
2. A Presidental yacht, the Mayflower, saw service in WWII.
3. The YMCA was started by 12 men in the drapery business.
4. Saddam Hussein, Lenin, and Robespierre were all lawyers.
5. Washington ate rock tripe at Valley Forge.
6. Snails jump by flexing their foot.
7. The first basketball game was played with a soccer ball.
8. One of Stravinsky's ballets caused a riot.
9. Humphrey Bogart originated the phrase "Tennis, anyone?"
10. Trolls burst into flame when exposed to sunlight.
11. Bandicoots have a double-tipped penis.
12. Doctor Doolittle was written in the WWI trenches.
13. Eskimos and Zulus are good ventriloquists.
14. The Icelandic parilament is called the "Thing".
15. When Dickens visited Tyler's White House the guards were absent so he let himself in the front door.

I'll stop now.

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 1:27 PM | Report abuse

That was a neat quote, Linda.

I seem to recall that jw and Brad Pitt are currently sporting similar haircuts. Achenfan, you're probabaly on to somthing with the illustration idea.
On the other hand, it's likely too late to get one into print for Sunday.

bc

Posted by: bc | September 16, 2005 1:34 PM | Report abuse

autodidacticism

wooo....good word, videlicet.

That's worth at LEAST 64 cents.

Posted by: LP | September 16, 2005 1:34 PM | Report abuse

SCC entry: "something"

bc

Posted by: bc | September 16, 2005 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Viz., thanks for all the info. You are an inspiration.

Posted by: enquiring minds | September 16, 2005 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Kurt writes:

Second, Who is going to coordinatoe all this rebuilding. Rove? Yeah, that's a joke.

Unfortunately this may not be a joke in the sense that he (Rove) will co-ordinate the recovery effort in New Orleans and elsewhere in the disaster area. Rove is really a natural choice since he has the one prerequisite necessary for the job: he holds the interest of Bush and the republican party above all other ideals.

Rove's not knowing a damn thing about disaster recovery is IL-revelant since his mere presence means he will ensure that the bleeding of negative public opinion cease. Congressional republicans who should balk won't because they understand that if the bleeding continues--they don't after '06. The democrats who are suppose to have 'poverty' as the centerpiece of their platform may not challenge the republicans on these issues:

1. Minimum Wage
2. Bankruptcy Bill
3. Tax Cuts
4. Housing
5. Education

Republicans who do not address 'poverty' as an agenda item will surely not change just because of one nasty disaster. They will however, use the Rove machine to make folks believe that they are solving it--while ever assuring their base that it is not going to hurt them. Thus enter the King of Spin and the Pope of the Media.

Rove is the 'fixer.' Forget the stench of feces, oil and chemicals, dead animals and rottening fish. What stinks in New Orleans today and for some time to come will be politics.

The media will show Bush with the poor people as they move back into mobile homes and restart their miserable no-where jobs and lives. What won't be shown is Bush buddies collecting big fat checks while paying low wages (thanks to Bush suspending the Bacon wage act). Thus, nothing changes the rich continue to be and get rich and the poor go back beneath the headlines in poverty.

It is once-in-a-lifetime job for Rove. He was tailor made for such deception and crookedness.

Posted by: Vince1157 | September 16, 2005 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Interesting book--Sara, add this to your list:

The Day I Became an Autodidact, by Kendall Hailey

Teenaged girl decides to eschew college and take charge of her own education. I read it years ago, can't remember details, but it is inspiring and she's a good writer.

Posted by: Enquirer | September 16, 2005 1:49 PM | Report abuse

***If there were a Forklife One, would they take the president's picture every time he gets on and every time he climbs off, as they do with Air Force One?***

Forklift One is still in a secure undisclosed location waiting for the terrorist threat level to drop to at least yellow.

Posted by: btw | September 16, 2005 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget Molly Ivins when talking about women/humor/politics. Although our local paper has dropped her, presumably because of her gray hair, I read it online. A quote from her most recent column:

"Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention."

Posted by: suecris | September 16, 2005 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Art Buchwald is a good political humorist, though I haven't read much of him lately. P.J. O'Rourke used to be a pretty funny conservative humorist, but apparently he's been drafted by the GOP to act as one of many Bush Enabler Minions.

Posted by: CowTown | September 16, 2005 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Has no one commented in the difference between presidential response to a hurricane in Florida in an election year, and this one? Note that back then, Brown was still "experienced."

Identity Crisis: Hurricane Tests Emergency Agency At Time of Ferment; Now Under Homeland Security, FEMA Has Lost Clout, Managers on Ground Say; Terrorist With 145 MPH Winds
Robert Block.
Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition). New York, N.Y.:Aug 16, 2004

Three months ago in Tampa, Fla., the man in charge of America's emergency response system stood before the rescuers now clawing through hurricane wreckage to deliver reassurances about the U.S . agency's health. The once- independent Federal Emergency Management Agency had become a tiny sliver of the Homeland Security Department, prompting concern it was being marginalized. "FEMA is alive, kicking and doing well," Michael Brown told the Florida governor's annual hurricane conference.
Now, in the aftermath of one of the worst U.S. natural disasters in recent years, Mr. Brown has to prove his point. Hurricane Charley, a Category Four storm with winds of 145 miles an hour, left at least 16 dead and thousands homeless as it blasted through Florida's west coast and on up the state before heading out to sea near Daytona Beach in the east. The hurricane crashed back onto land again in South Carolina before fading.
For governors and rescue workers across the country, FEMA traditionally has been Washington's cavalry in times like these, charging to the rescue when nature or an act of terrorism overwhelms a state's abilities to respond.
[...]A FEMA stumble in Florida would have major political implications. Florida, run by the President Bush's brother, Gov. Jeb Bush, is a swing state carrying a rich 27 electoral votes. Hurricane Charley hit one of its most politically dynamic parts, western and central counties where the political parties are in heated competition for tens of thousands of non-Cuban Hispanics who have moved there since 2000. Twelve years ago, failure to deal adroitly with the aftermath of another, even worse hurricane in Florida helped spoil the re-election bid of Mr. Bush's father.
The president toured the stricken area yesterday and added more counties to those eligible for federal aid, bringing the total to 25. The president's interest in helping the state gives the new FEMA a big chance to show it can still do the job.
[...] Mr. Brown, 49 years old and a lawyer by training, got a taste of emergency duty as an Edmund, Okla., assistant city manager overseeing police and fire services.

Posted by: Helen | September 16, 2005 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Erica, I'm on the same wavelength. I woke up feeling blah today after watching that speech and I haven't been able to read any reports on it today. I just feel so apathetic and tired of watching billions of dollars go down the tubes. I know that a lot of money needs to be spent to rebuild the region, but it sounded last night like we are just going to throw money at the problem without learning any valuable lessons. I probably wouldn't feel this way had we not already spent $200 billion for nothing in Iraq.

jw, I look forward to reading about your adventure Sunday.

What is a dashiki?

Posted by: TA | September 16, 2005 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Wow - Art Buchwald. Haven't thought about him in a while, and I was so sure he must be dead I just had to Google him. He's almost as old as my Mom - 80.

Note the lack of exclamation points - I'm trying to cut down.

Also have to point out for those of you unfamiliar with Molly Ivins that she IS from Texas. As a matter of fact, she may have possession of most of the brains in TX. (Sorry.)

Posted by: suecris | September 16, 2005 2:12 PM | Report abuse

***Art Buchwald is a good political humorist, though I haven't read much of him lately. P.J. O'Rourke used to be a pretty funny conservative humorist, but apparently he's been drafted by the GOP to act as one of many Bush Enabler Minions.***

Second only to loyalty, it should be mandatory anyone working for or supporting this President should have a sense of humor?

Posted by: btw | September 16, 2005 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm on a roll, just can't keep from posting - Videlicit, are all Eskimos and Zulus good ventriloquists?

Posted by: suecris | September 16, 2005 2:18 PM | Report abuse

YORK The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., has obtained a copy of an internal e-mail the U.S. Department of Justice sent out this week to various U.S. attorneys' offices. Reporter Jerry Mitchell's conclusion: "Federal officials appear to be seeking proof to blame the flood of New Orleans on environmental groups, documents show."

He quotes from the e-mail: "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation."

Cynthia Magnuson, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, told the reporter Thursday she couldn't comment "because it's an internal e-mail."

Shown a copy of the e-mail, David Bookbinder, senior attorney for Sierra Club, asked why the officials were "trying to smear us like this?" He added: "It's unfortunate that the Bush administration is trying to shift the blame to environmental groups. It doesn't surprise me at all."

Federal officials told Mitchell the e-mail was prompted by a congressional inquiry but wouldn't comment further.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2005 2:18 PM | Report abuse

TA, ask and ye shall find.

http://catalog.afrodesign.com/index.php/cPath/185

bc

Posted by: bc | September 16, 2005 2:20 PM | Report abuse

suecris: From what I remember, ventriloquism is valued in Eskimo and Zulu culture as entertainment without TV. Kind of like the Japanese and karaoke.

I can't vouch for every fact on my list, but you can google on "bifurcated bandicoot" (whence I learn that wombat pouches face backwards so they don't fill with dirt as they dig). The only trolls I've ever encountered are Usenet trolls, and it wouldn't suprise me if they burst into flame if taken outside.

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 2:29 PM | Report abuse

TA: I'm looking forward to it too! I haven't seen ANYTHING about it--I pretty much told Gene that I trusted his judgement not to write anything that would get me thrown in the brig or disowned by my parents. This may have been a questionable decision.

All kidding aside, I think Gene is way to nice to ever say anything bad about someone who didn't deserve it, so I'm not too worried.

Posted by: jw | September 16, 2005 2:31 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "judgment" and "too."

And you need a logic diagram to understand my last sentence.

Posted by: jw | September 16, 2005 2:35 PM | Report abuse

The President has requested Rumsfeld to order custom made camouflage dashikies to outfit his entire cabinet.

Posted by: btw | September 16, 2005 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Molly Ivins is a hoot. You can read a few of her recent columns here:

www.aldaily.com

Videlicet, I was thinking the same thing about trolls!

Posted by: pj | September 16, 2005 2:40 PM | Report abuse

JW, it's great, have zero fears. You'll like it. You're not in the illustration, sadly.
By the way, here's another poem from RT:

Mary had a little lime
and quite a lot of gin,
And everywhere that Mary went
she didn't know she'd been.

[I am noodling the possibility of doing a top movies of all time post sometime next week, so start preparing your own list. At lunch a friend who I can't name announced his list, which I can't reveal. Obviously Citizen Kane and the Godfather are on it, but if I say more he may contact lawyers. Also Casablanca, but I'll stop there.]


[And Apocalypse Now.]

Posted by: Achenbach | September 16, 2005 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Linda, Kurt, interesting comments regarding churches as a presidential backdrop. In this case, it is possibly an example of what's known as "dog-whistle politics," where a message is meant to resonate with a particular segment of the audience while not seeming like much to the rest of the group? Bush, for example, has been known to sprinkle, if not pepper, major speeches with biblical references.

Vid, for humor purposes, I'm thinking the sticker on the back of Forklife One says "Don't like by driving? Call 1-800-E**-S***.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2005 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of RT:

I should have said this already, but it was an honor to have rt 'boodle with us yesterday.

As for the poem, it brings to mind the Boodle Porching Hour . . .

Posted by: Achenfan | September 16, 2005 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Now, the Truth Is Known! Our Glorious Leaders In Washington have determined that the levees protecting the City of New Orleans were not damaged by the Hurricane Katrina, but were instead sabotaged by members of the Sierra Club, who intended to flood the New Orleans lowlands to give the lowlands area back to the dolphins.

Posted by: MadCow | September 16, 2005 2:46 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I very much appreciate the way boodlers stick up for me at the slightest suggestion that I am imperfect. Critics, however, should feel welcome here, and the injunction to be civil to others doesn't actually apply to me: You can say whatever you want about me. Invent new invectives. Go crazy. As for punditry, I guess a little modesty is in order. I am not really a pundit. I don't know as much about politics as most folks who are professionally punditudinal. My only qualification to say anything at all about politics or any of the burning issues of our time is that I am, as far as I can tell, the conscience of my generation.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 16, 2005 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Is RT someone special? Am I missing something?

[The Maltese Falcon]

Posted by: jw | September 16, 2005 2:48 PM | Report abuse

RT is the one we should thank for that wonderful illustration of the Kaboodle-as-Beast several weeks ago, right?

Posted by: Achenfan | September 16, 2005 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I want to re-post something LindaLoo wrote earlier:

"Bush's backdrop, the St. Louis cathedral was cast in an eery blue pall, illuminated with electricity paid for by the White House. If Hollywood had only offered some fog-making machines--or dry ice--the atmospherics would have been downright spooky. (How the poor souls at the convention center would have liked some wet ice or even some water!) Not a person in sight, not a citizen, not a reporter or cameraman. (Creepy, ghostly and deserted, given that most of the town's residents are dispersed in shelters across the country--the others not so lucky to be on cots met their fates in oily, watery graves.)"

She put her finger on something that had lurked at the edge of my consciousness -- the eerie emptiness and unearthly hue of the scene. I mean that's pretty much the presidential address we'll see at the End Of The World.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 16, 2005 2:52 PM | Report abuse

On everybody's movie list there should be one obscure movie that everyone should see.

Achenfan: I saw "Rabbit Proof Fence" when it came out, it was quite good.

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 2:53 PM | Report abuse

"Let's just say it directly: He was in disguise. He might as well have worn a dashiki."

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Classic!

Posted by: Eric | September 16, 2005 2:53 PM | Report abuse

RT is Richard Thompson, the artist. He does Cul-de-Sac and Richard's Poor Almanac.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 16, 2005 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Richard also illustrated the Why column (and Why books) back in the olden times, and has collected his almanac cartoons in book form, which you can find through Google. I don't know if his cartoons can be found on the Post web site.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 16, 2005 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Ah! I missed a lot yesterday. Damned work.

Posted by: jw | September 16, 2005 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Pundit comes from "pandit", a Hindu title for a learned man.

Achenbach: "You can say whatever you want about me." Hmmm ... even a tasteless joke about our Skipper and his little buddy?

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 3:00 PM | Report abuse

re: Bush's backdrop

A few days ago Slate ran a contest to see where Bush should speak from. Dee Dee Myers got it exactly right.

[Singin' in the Rain] (if that isn't too tasteless to mention right now)

Posted by: pj | September 16, 2005 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Bringing up Baby.

Or really anything with Cary Grant. He can do no wrong by me. Best straight man in comedy history.

Posted by: jw | September 16, 2005 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I would hope for a real "I'm sorry." at TEOTW. Well, not from this guy, but from the next elected President.

Should there actually be one, that is.


[Pink Flamingos]

[Just kidding, sheesh.]


bc

Posted by: bc | September 16, 2005 3:04 PM | Report abuse

When's Bush going to resign? Weren't we promised that yesterday?

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 3:10 PM | Report abuse

[L.A. Confidential]

Posted by: moviefan | September 16, 2005 3:15 PM | Report abuse

How about for Forlift One sticker:

"How am I driving? Who cares what you think?"

http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/outrage/hangley.htm

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 3:16 PM | Report abuse

and in the category of "obscure but great"

Days of Heaven

Richard Gere, Sam Shepard, Brooke Adams. The story isn't the main thing--it is a gorgeous movie, meant for the Big Screen. It is set in Texas, and partway through I looked at the horizon and thought, "what mountains are in the distance when you are in Texas??! Later learned that it was filmed in Canada. Beautiful scenery, flawless cinematography. Probably a great soundtrack, too, to create such haunting memories that linger in my mind 25 years later.

Posted by: moviefan | September 16, 2005 3:22 PM | Report abuse

***When's Bush going to resign? Weren't we promised that yesterday?***

Has China stopped accepting our promisary notes?

Posted by: btw | September 16, 2005 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The Wizard of Oz has to be the best movie about flying monkeys ever made.

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 3:34 PM | Report abuse

*** I thought it was a solid speech with questionable staging. It didn't look like a disaster zone. The president first appeared in a wide shot, looking 2 feet tall as he walked across a vast floodlit lawn. The rolled-up shirtsleeves and open collar didn't quite work for me,***

I was thinking rolled up pant's legs and an open fly would have been more reflective of his imagery?

Posted by: btw | September 16, 2005 3:37 PM | Report abuse

My front page of Yahoo News has a lead photo of Bush in church today (remember.. national day of prayer!) with the headline: "New Orleans Bars Get Ready to Open"

Posted by: TBG | September 16, 2005 3:38 PM | Report abuse

AUTHOR:
EMAIL:
IP: 192.168.24.119
URL:
DATE: 09/16/2005 03:44:32 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2005 3:44 PM | Report abuse

ghost poster

Posted by: strikes again | September 16, 2005 3:45 PM | Report abuse

The Presdient today said the dollars for Karina relief will come from slashing uneccesary government spending.

But didn't Tom DeLay tells us just a few days ago there was not fat left to trim?

Posted by: Kornheiser's evil twin | September 16, 2005 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I thought Randy Cohen was the conscience of our generation.

Posted by: smart-aleck with insider NYT humor | September 16, 2005 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I really don't think that race had much to do with the poor response by the Bush Administration to the isaster in New Orleans. The dismal response, in my opinion, was more based on class. The view from "on high" was that these are poor and not "our kind of people". They will just have to wait until we, who are in charge, decide what and how we want to respond.

Oh... and watch this drive.......

Posted by: Tom95134 | September 16, 2005 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't mince words. Ya gotta admire that.

Posted by: Bayou Self | September 16, 2005 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I was trying to refer to the Ghost Poster.

Posted by: Bayou Self | September 16, 2005 3:51 PM | Report abuse

That surprised me, smart-aleck.
I thought Tommy Lee was.

bc

Posted by: bc | September 16, 2005 3:51 PM | Report abuse

"Now, the Truth Is Known! Our Glorious Leaders In Washington have determined that the levees protecting the City of New Orleans were not damaged by the Hurricane Katrina, but were instead sabotaged by members of the Sierra Club, who intended to flood the New Orleans lowlands to give the lowlands area back to the dolphins."

It's no joke, it's a serious issue.

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/berlau200509080824.asp

Posted by: mizerock | September 16, 2005 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Last and probably least of all my unremarkable posts today.

Karl Rove would know best regarding the President's backdrop for his speech. However I would have suggested the President in a john boat collecting stray animals, (2X2).

Posted by: btw | September 16, 2005 3:56 PM | Report abuse

mizerock

Thanks for the National Review link. Now the righties have their favorite scapegoat. Even though environmentalists' influence on whether the levees were improved "is difficult to ascertain," environmentalists will be blamed for the Katrina Aftermath.

More perfidious buckpassing. The cornerstone of Republican politics.

Posted by: CowTown | September 16, 2005 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"Bush's backdrop, the St. Louis cathedral was cast in an eery blue pall, illuminated with electricity paid for by the White House"

When I turned on the television, for a moment I thought Bush was speaking from DisneyWorld.

Posted by: Mary Ann | September 16, 2005 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Slashing unneeded Federal programs is, in part, why we have an increase of 4.5 million Americans living in poverty in roughly 4.5 years.

Locally, the Katrina survivors that have been brought to DC have been pushed to the front of the line by HUD passing by at least 30 thousand DC residents.

Our schools are again segregated at a 1968 level and gap between rich and poor is widening. Industry after industry is leaving our shores. At some point, we will be a land of Latte makers.

If we all sit around and stick our head in the sand, we are in real trouble. I would say that these times call for imaginative leadership and not imaginary leadership.

Two things fow which to watch:

1. that we live through what the White House did to Iraq right here in the United States (cronies, mercenaries and contractors stealing us blind)

2. somehow, we get another shot of CATO Institute "solutions" shoved down our throats.

If you think that there is squirming now, just think what it would be like if we all had to PAY for the tax cuts, Iraq and now Katrina by year's end.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 16, 2005 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Mary Ann, I have read on a blog that it was reported that, as excited as people were to see the electricity turn on (for his speech), it was soon turned off again.

I guess it was like the activity on the levee for his first walk-about that disappeared for a couple of days before returning in earnest.

I would think that, if we are going to see the President every three days or so, then the White House really should start using a "Survivor" format and vote someone off each appearance.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 16, 2005 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I presume none of Marion Davies' movies will make our top 10 lists. I don't think I've seen any of them.

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 4:17 PM | Report abuse

"By the way, I am not going to loiter on the Boodle today. I really, really, really must do some actual reported journalism, which is my job."

I'm just saying.

Posted by: Taskmaster | September 16, 2005 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Do any of you idiots even live in our state??
Total lack of knowledge regarding Loisiana, its politics, or our TOTALLY inept leaders.

Bossier City, LA

Posted by: TS from Bossier City | September 16, 2005 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Taskmaster: The Boodle is spellbinding.

Posted by: Videlicet | September 16, 2005 4:45 PM | Report abuse

We would be most happy to learn more about your Totally Inept leaders, TS. Where's Bossier City in relation to NO?

Posted by: BossyCow | September 16, 2005 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Videlicet: I know all too well! (The taskmaster needs a taskmaster of her own.)

Posted by: Taskmaster | September 16, 2005 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I don't believe you're a racist and I really do enjoy reading your blog, and I laugh a lot. Thanks.

Posted by: Cassandra | September 16, 2005 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"BossyCow"!
CowTown, you kill me.

Any relation to Bessy? [I know -- groan]

Posted by: Achenfan | September 16, 2005 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Achenfan: I'm just following the Boss. Bein' nice. All are welcome. Even to people who call me (us) idiots.


Cassandra: Welcome back. Speak your mind, though your voice may shake.

Posted by: CowTown | September 16, 2005 4:58 PM | Report abuse


The Mississippi River and lake earthen levees held fine. It was the canal levees that failed. If the GOP is going to blame environmental groups they should at least find some source that says they prevented the building/enforcement of the canal levee system.

Of course, the mentality of the blame-everyone-but-ourselves game always makes me nervous.

Also, Mardi Gras is only 23 weeks and 4 days away! Prepare the Achenfloat!

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | September 16, 2005 4:59 PM | Report abuse

TS,
I live in Louisiana.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | September 16, 2005 5:01 PM | Report abuse

And Bossier City is in the upper northwest corner of the state. About as far from New Orleans as you can get. Almost Texas really...

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | September 16, 2005 5:04 PM | Report abuse

peanutgallerymember

Thank you for the information about the canal levees v. the river & lake levees. Of course the distinction won't be important to the buckpassers because they are, after all, Perfidious buckpassers.

Posted by: CowTown | September 16, 2005 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey Peanut, where are you? Baton Rouge?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 16, 2005 5:05 PM | Report abuse

CowTown:
You haven't lived until you've been called an idiot on the Achenblog. Even better: To be called pompous and pretentious.

Posted by: Achenfan | September 16, 2005 5:06 PM | Report abuse

http://www.kaeskorner.com/la2.gif

So I refrained from Achenbloghogging until 15 minutes ago. I should really have more self control.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | September 16, 2005 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I did hear one resident from a poorer neighborhood suggest that the levees were breached by the rich people who wanted to flood the poorer neighborhoods, thus saving the upscale areas.

I have to say, I didn't understand the point, as I thought that it would be near to impossible to make a difference by doing so.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 16, 2005 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Achenfan

"To be called pompous and pretentious" Oh, to dream...to dream.

Posted by: CowTown | September 16, 2005 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Achenfan

Wait a minute. I DID get called pompous and pretentious (or my writing was) some time ago. You've got an incredible memory.

Posted by: CowTown | September 16, 2005 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Yup. Baton Rouge is correct DM, you win a prize! And your prize is (drum roll, please)...


A post-it note with illegible handwriting regarding office supply needs! Hooray!

...It was the first thing I could find on my desk.

...I agree. Perfidious buckpassers. Grr!


...I agree. Perfidious buckpassers. Grr!

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | September 16, 2005 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Oops. Didn't mean to duplicate the last line. Please ignore. Thanks, I appreciate it.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | September 16, 2005 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey Peanut... I will keep the post-it-note in my trophy cabinet.

I guess TS has a hard time dealing with a world that doesn't always agree with Rush L. TS, come on back and clue us in. He is right, you guys know more about Louisiana than we, but it is funny to hear someone for Louisiana telling someone in DC that we don't have a clue about our Federal Government.

This was a government disaster that one could see coming a mile away.

I would agree with him that LA has had its fair share of sorry politicians of all stripes.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 16, 2005 5:36 PM | Report abuse

*darn this work from keeping me from the boodle! the last two days have been the busiest i've ever had here!*
pgm - i had a roomie when i lived in LA from br... some of the nicest ppl i've ever met!! and the food! yummm....
for the record - i don't blame bush for katrina (and no, i didn't vote for bush)... i blame the local and state government... i think the problem starts at home... you can't blame the principal of a school for a rotten child... they got rotten at home and the principal has a lot more children than just one to worry about...
the speech was ridiculous... just political rhertoric vomiting all the cliches he could find... and that bit about "we will rebuild better" well, DUH!
did anyone notice that the pic on the front page of WP made him look like he was wearing a yarmulke?
sara - if you haven't read "confideracy of dunces" i suggest putting that at the top of the list - omnibad can back me up on that...
did anyone see the piece about the dolphins from the aquarium (yes, i thought of you dolphin michael) that were swept out to sea during the flood? they found there way back and were waiting at the levee to be rescued - they put them in a pool at the holiday inn...

[harold and maude - but you knew i'd say that]

[whale rider]

Posted by: mo | September 16, 2005 5:39 PM | Report abuse

CowTown:
You haven't lived until you've been called an idiot on the Achenblog. Even better: To be called pompous and pretentious.
Posted by: Achenfan | Sep 16, 2005 5:06:22 PM

Is there a Natural High? Does that mean one can drive by and look at the porch?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 16, 2005 5:40 PM | Report abuse

scc - they found THEIR way back...
where'd i put that wet noodle?

oh, and a comment from a cpl boodles back... pgm is it you that likes goth writing?

Posted by: mo | September 16, 2005 5:46 PM | Report abuse

A drive-by porch sighting?

Joel must be getting kinda nervous at this point.

Posted by: Achenfan | September 16, 2005 5:47 PM | Report abuse

No way can Bush be compared to LBJ at this point - true, he's throwing money at the poor and disenfranchised like he's got it to throw around, but please remember that LBJ was mired in a hopeless, pointless war in a country far, far away at the same time...um, oh - never mind.

Posted by: slats | September 16, 2005 5:47 PM | Report abuse

mo:
"did anyone see the piece about the dolphins from the aquarium (yes, i thought of you dolphin michael) that were swept out to sea during the flood? they found their way back and were waiting at the levee to be rescued"

That really made me smile. :) [emoticon warranted]
[I even incorporated your SCC into the text when I copied it]

And yes -- Whale Rider! What a great film, even though it's a New Zealand film, not an Australian one.

Kidding! Aussies and Kiwis love to rib each other about which of us is better. (Australians are, of course.) When Russell Crowe wins an Oscar, he's an Australian. When he beats up some innocent hotel employee, he's a New Zealander. (He was born in New Zealand but went to acting school in Australia, so we can bend his nationality to suit our own purposes -- as can the New Zealanders.) It's all in good fun.

Posted by: Achenfan | September 16, 2005 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey MO!!!!

I heard the story about the aquarium and was very sad. My week sounds a bit like yours, so popped by here for a bit, but not much.

The reason I like this blog and others is that the people mostly choose to incorporate the knowledge that is shared and if not finding large areas of agreement, then we at least have a better undertanding of other positions.

A point that I tried to make last week was that if one were to think that a local jurisdiction could possibly take care of you in a disaster like NOLA, then you are sadly mistaken.

Here in DC, we couldn't handle a 10th of that problem. In fact, right now the DC government is revisiting its brand new evacuation plan.

They are taking a cold hard look... not that they hadn't thought that they had done that the first time. BUT, in a town where we can't even keep the average motorist from "blocking the box," this is going to be a challenge. AND THAT is before we try to figure out how all of the surrounding suburbs are going to behave.

But, if I am to agree with you, the message was don't expect the Fed. Govt to be home and answering their phone. We really can't afford to sweep the dirt under the rug on this one and we need an independent commission.

I think we have to be wary of simple solutions. I have heard the reference to SCHOOL BUSES over an over and the fact is that the city modilized buses, but not enough. They can't even find 1/3 of their police!!! School bus drivers cannot clear out hospitals.

And where were we supposed to take people anyway. That part of the plan was Federal and it failed.

Forgive me Mo, I ran on, but the point is that, if their is a silver lining to this very sad affair, it is that local governments are taking serious looks at their plans and how they are implemented.

One thing for sure, as articulated on the record and off by FEMA people (non-spokespeople), their response was a fiasco.... possibly a net negative.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 16, 2005 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm so glad none of you were around when my father was a pfc and my uncle was on the USS Arizona before and during WWII. I always wonder why Republican presidents are so often called dumb by such smart people as all of you are--obviously. Go ahead and make fun. But if you really want to make fun, why not make fun of all those people who didn't leave New Orleans. Poor they may have been--but they were also pretty well fed. In fact, 90 percent of those ladies would make Starr Jones look like Britney Spears. Where were their menfolk? Oh. Gee. Where WERE they? I'll bet their sons are wearing new $300 sneakers.

Posted by: Kate | September 16, 2005 6:05 PM | Report abuse

BR can be pretty nice sometimes ('specially when it was 78 degrees on December 1 last year...happy sigh). And it was nice to be able to drive a mere hour into New Orleans where the bars never closed while in BR the bars close at 2am (unhappy sigh).

And in reply to mo, yes I really like goth writing (both Victorian and modern). It started about 3 years ago when a friend recommended The Picture of Dorian Gray and they started selling all those great goth classics at the bookstore for $4 a pop and I got hooked. Unfortunatly since finishing Dracula about 4 months ago I haven't read much goth lit since. Am trying to finish the Chronicles of Narnia currently...

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | September 16, 2005 6:05 PM | Report abuse


Today I prayed for people to stop praying.

Posted by: pete | September 16, 2005 6:08 PM | Report abuse


ok, i will pray for Kate as well.

Posted by: pete | September 16, 2005 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Just a note on the earlier posts on King George the W's royal lineage. He is related to Edward I (r. 1272-1307), who was on his way to meet St. Louis (Louis IX of France) for a road trip to the Middle East when St. Louis passed away. Edward continued on, even though the French troops were bought off and refused to accompany the English. His crusade lasted only 4 years.
Deja vous all over again.

Posted by: capemh | September 16, 2005 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Did you know New Orleans was the first city in the US to buy ambulances and gurneys specifically made to handle, er, wide loads, shall we say? While New Orleans is extremely poverty and crime ridden (or was rather...) it also was one of the top 5 cities as far as obesity rates go. And I know there's a correlation between poverty and obesity since food that's good for you is more expensive than food that's high in all that bad stuff. For instance, you can buy an entire meal of KFC fried chicken to feed your family for what, $8? But that's the same price as 5 apples. Only.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | September 16, 2005 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Kate

Thanks for your post. Now, could you please explain how being a corpulent, single mother with well-shod children has anything to do with the ability to evacuate New Orleans? Some details, please.

Thank you. Carry on.

Posted by: CowTown | September 16, 2005 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey Cow Town. I think I was called pompous and pretentious also. So wonderful to be in such good company.

Hmmm. As for Kate, well, life always seems easier when you can make blanket assumptions about people you've never met under circumstances you seem not to know. As for weight issues, it's not so much that "those kinds of people" are well fed so much as that carbohydrates are cheaper than gourmet goods and they fill you up. And then, there's all that pesky genetics stuff. Ooohhh, but that's science and Jesus say NO to science. Last I heard.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | September 16, 2005 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your comments today, Videlicet and enquiringminds. Videlicet, I do keep a notepad (and have for some time)near my computer for my autodidactic moments. But I'm at home, not at work. I am a genetic mutant, you may recall.

But I also said that Cowtown intrigues. So, Cowtown, what's your story, in brief? Nice (dweeb, I think you called yourself?) SoCal boy ends up in Midwest in midlife. When Achenblog turns to talk of yummy food, runs to the breakroom for a Danish. Tends to nicely "police" the blog when comments get waaayyy out of hand. Smart, like Videlicet, but in a very different way. So....?

Posted by: Linda Loomis | September 16, 2005 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes I wonder whether posts like Kate's -- and some of those hateful posts we saw just after Hurricane Katrina -- are for real, or if they're "fake" posts designed to stir up the 'boodle. I really hope they're fake. But maybe I'm kidding myself, and there are people out there who really do feel that way.

Posted by: Achenfan | September 16, 2005 6:20 PM | Report abuse

firsttimeblogger

We're part of an exclusive fraternity! You're right about those pesky carbs; that's why I'm becoming more like "those kinds of people" (though paler).

Posted by: CowTown | September 16, 2005 6:21 PM | Report abuse

i hate laughing during this tragic time when so many people have lost so much...but joel, that was funny! you are a riot.

thank you.

Posted by: lol | September 16, 2005 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Linda Loomis

Being somewhat new to the blogging world, and being employed by a company with a written policy against unauthorized use of computers, I'm shy about divulging too much about myself. I'm probably being paranoid, but that's how I choose to operate right now. Anyway, I moved to the Midwest with my family to escape the downside of SoCal living, namely: Extortionate housing costs, impossibly crowded freeways, and a culture of Conspicuous Acquisition. I have a post-graduate degree and I work in large national corporation. I'm not nearly as well read as many of my fellow Boodlers like yourself, but I try to keep up. It's interesting, but I'd never had more than vague daydreams about being a writer. But somehow, the Achenblog has inspired these bouts of "fan fiction" over which I find I have little control.

So there it is. Have I answered your questions?

Posted by: CowTown | September 16, 2005 6:40 PM | Report abuse

CowTown,

Kate actually makes such a good point as she starts off... I am glad you weren't there (and so on).

What the heck does that mean? I think I know what she was trying to say, but not sure (ha ha ha)

Unfortunately, KATE, my family has fought in every gosh darn war that we have had in the US, sometimes on BOTH SIDES. (civil and indian wars).

I do feel for your loss in Hawaii, having spent a good deal of time their, even now, we remember what happened. Believe me, it was no picnic for anyone.

IN FACT, KATE, it was no picnic for Japanese Americans who lost much of their possessions and their only option to get out was to fight for the same country (THAT WOULD BE YOUR COUNTRY) who locked up their families.

If you are aware, some of the bravest fighting men during world war II came from the Japanese American units in Italy and the rest of Europe. In fact, one of those fine soldiers, Daniel K Inouye is one of your Senators in Washington. He lost his arm fighting for you. So you all know, our military just recently decided to upgrade several Distinguished Service Crosses to Medals of Honor and Senator Inouye was honored in this fashion.

A note, Kate, when Sen. Inouye returned to the US from Europe after leaving the hospital, he made a stop in California to get his hair cut in California and, though he was in his uniform, with his Bronze Star, DSC, Purple Heart and at least 12 other citations, and missing his arm, he was told by a caucasian barber that "he didn't cut JAP hair."

Kate, you have some things write and I fear some things horribly wrong. We fight for freedom. We fight to be the way we want to be and to say what we want to say. We DON'T fight to be able to make everyone be like us and think like us.

This is are greatest gift and, sadly, it is also our greatest challenge.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 16, 2005 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Please edit amongst yourselves... arghh.

I hate bigots.

To all the 100th and 442nd... GO FOR BROKE!

To all the code talkers and other Native Americans ... thank you.

To all Minorities serving today in the Armed Forces I thank you.

You know it is funny that the military looks a lot more like New Orleans than, say, Salt Lake City.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 16, 2005 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Cowtown.

I left California, but not too willingly, as a trailing corporate spouse, I'm afraid. My husband and I had mentioned (not seriously) about keeping our home in Tracy (as a rental, with all the problems associated with being owners in absentia), but realistically, we needed the money from the sale of our California home to apply toward the purchase of our Texas home. As you and I once commiserated, would it even be possible to afford the return to California? Yet, after 11 years, I FEEL homeless, even though I am not houseless, so in that respect I identify closely with the hurricane evacuees.

I think I understand the Conspicuous Acquisition part of Southern California.
My sister is an interior designer there and it's all about looks and $$$. The first time she met the man who would become my husband, the first words out of her mouth were, "My, what crooked teeth you have!" Not "Hello," or "Nice to meet you." Needless to say, she and I are not close.

Freeways are particularly bad in California because of congestion, but nowhere more so than in the Greater Los Angeles basin and in the Greater Bay Area. One time, there was a collision of trucks on my husband's commute to Oakland, and it took him more than 4 hours to travel about 45 miles. So, it is so nice that getting to work is no longer such an almost-daily ordeal, as it was in California.

I have been a reader for some time, with evolving tastes. But my quest, as I said at one time, was to see if I could determine who was the gene carrier of my genetic disorder. One thing led to another and I'm afraid I've fallen down a rabbit hole as far as reading. I didn't learn about the European side of my family until last December, about at the exact time I was having my first root canal after having eaten a bagel from Costco that made a filling pop out, followed by eating another, different-flavor Costco bagel that popped out the temporary filling and sheared off the edge of my back molar. Because an important e-mail and the root canal happened on the same day, I tend to relate one to the other. Life is funny.

And you, like so many of Joel's Boodlers, make the Boodle an interesting and fun place to be. I laugh more times than you know.

Posted by: Linda Loomis | September 16, 2005 7:27 PM | Report abuse


...the stagesetting was not up to some
previous potemkin standards for bush2
.....am wondering why the handlers did
not bring in a few hundred bush backers
to fill out the set....and where was the
MESSAGE...the banner with the high repeat
wording?....delivery was bush norm...this
guy will not be known for great public
speaking.....nothing memorable after a
few months pass...........................
the mastercard/visa approach to spending
lots and letting future americans pay it
off if possible is bad policy and may one
day cripple the us....congress has been
run by the gop for 10 years..and the gop
has been in the white house for going on
5 years.....the record is there...the
spend lots and tax less approach is going
to bear consequences....i am not pro dem
but do believe in clean,effective and pay
as you go goverment...iraq has been lousy
with corruption and waste...so is that the
model for this reconstruction..under rove?
....linda loomis at 10:32:34 touched on
the knights templar...the history of the
crusades surely should be required reading
for all christians....the pogroms against
jews....the sacking and genocidal killing
that befell jerusalem..constantinople..the
inquisition and genocide of the cathars..
.to point out just some....the europeans
endured centuries of this type of zealous
politicalization of religion...which is
in large part why we americans kept to the
idea of separation of church and state....
....americans should be very careful about
mixing up religion and politics.........
bush likes to mix it up as do too many
other current political players..it can
get ugly if not held in check............

Posted by: an american in siam.... | September 16, 2005 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Peanut,
Do you think RN actually read his evacuation plan? If so, then he would have asked KB for the NG members to drive those busses. Strange he did find time to get the 400 vistors out the the hotel and put them in the front of the line. Could you possibly show me one plan by SELA to bring the levees past a CAT3? What about the millions of federal matching $ lost by the total ineffective Levee board? Somehow, that never makes it to the local evening news way up here in "almost Texas" EWE must be laughing in his prison cell, oh, wait, we don't have any crooked elected officials in our state! Did KB forget she owns the LANG? Kind of funny to hear her yelling to Washington to send her own troops to NO. Plenty enough drivers to go to the 9th ward and get some folks if she would have just sent them. And RN plan?? Lets send everyone to a place he knew wouldn't work for more than a day or two, with no way to get them out.

Now that I've vented, not saying the Feds didn't screw the pooch also, just think the bashing should be equally devided.

Posted by: TS | September 16, 2005 8:54 PM | Report abuse

CowTown, I enjoy your fan fiction - really well done. And your comments often have me laughing out loud. You're a real treat, along with many others here.

I, too, work for a company with a written policy against "unauthorized use" - and they posted a warning about blogging the very week after I had posted my first comments here. So now I boodle strictly from home - I say, up with paranoia! Which is why I often have these rambling posts, trying to catch up with the whole kit and kaboodle at once...

O, Brother, Where Art Thou?
Notorious (Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in their prime)
LOTR

Did bostonreader get a job? Missing her lately...

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 16, 2005 9:47 PM | Report abuse

All this passion on this blog is great - but where is our Democrat leader who will take us away from all this (the shame of Dubya)? Why does the DNC have Howard Dean as its leader, when we all know that no matter how much we Dems agree with him, he is seen by the OTHER population in the U.S. as a wacko out on the farthest left wing?

Who are we kidding about Hillary? Sure, she'd make a great president, but there's no chance in hell she'll get elected. Joel's job is make us laugh while pointing out what a meanspirited asshole we have for a "president." That's his job; I think he does it well, dashiki and all. But where are we going to find a Democrat who can get elected and reverse the Dubya damage?

Posted by: whatnow | September 16, 2005 10:37 PM | Report abuse

People need to realize that many disasters will come with no warning - earthquakes, floods, terror - and the people and local gov't will essentially be on their own for 48 hours and over 72 hours for any Fed help arriving.

That means they need to stock their own food and water, and other things of little or no cost the Red Cross recommends. Enough for 3-7 days, and some recommend a month of supplies.

The other thing that it is very disconcerting to say is every house or business near a center of the black underclass should consider a firearm an indispensible part of emergency equipment and personal or family protection to have on hand. You can't count on police protecting you in a disaster. You can't call 9/11 and expect any help if a gang of thugs with guns are at your door.....I wish it wasn't so, and over in Iran after the Bam disaster, Iranians looted....but generally these looting sprees are confined to the black underclass.

Happened after Charley, Hugo, Andrew, Gibert, Ivan --not just in the USA, but in Haiti, Jamaica, Virgin Islands. It appears to have nothing to do with lack of timely Federal government response - help didn't come to Kobe Japan with 5,000 dead and 7,000 buildings destroyed for a week. Yet not a single case of muggings, rape, arson, or looting was reported. Same when the town of Grand Forks (a white and native american inhabited city flooded and burned in 1997).

Wealth and class don't seem to lead to looting and thugs in the 2004 Tsunami in nations where the average person is far poorer than the typical person in the subsidized existence of America's black underclass.

Nor is wealth disparity an explainer - Mumbai, India is thought to have the greatest wealth and class disparity of any major city - 10% are wealthy, 10% middle class, 60% poor but coping, and 20% beyond the word poor to describe their lot. In early 2005, Mumbai (formerly Bombay) rapidly flooded, fires broke out, government assistance was completely minimal. Yet no looting, no muggings.

Until the black underclass pathologies are fixed, every law-abiding person should have a gun ready to defend themselves and their property, expecially their greatest excusers and coincidentally, greatest victims - the law abiding black community. Seeing what has happened after every hurricane and during every riot since the 60s, people even in "gun-free" DC should be getting a "gift" shotgun from a relative in a state where the right to have firearms have not been taken away.

Let the thugs live in fear of the citizenry in a disaster, not the other way around.

As for the excuse that looting is perfectly acceptable as soon as the winds die down enough to loot stores "because people are dying of thirst and hunger" - crap. You can go days without food and water, and many of the underclass appear they could go months without starving. Yes, water is good to have on hand in an emergency - so every family should have at least 1/2 dozen gallons on hand. Even the poor can swing 5.00 for enough bottled water for 6 people to last a week on. Even those too cheap to pay 5.00 for bottled water can fill up empties with tap water - unless they are too stupid and lazy to do even that.

In the future, every disaster will have to account not just for the effects of the disaster, but the dependencies and pathologies and threat of the black underclass.

Since you can't count on the police, as Katrina and various riots demonstrate, are in trouble if you depend on the Gov't to rescue you, house you in a shelter they may not be able to guard...be prepared with emergency stocks and be prepared to defend yourself and your loved ones and your property with deadly force.

Posted by: ChrisFord | September 17, 2005 3:49 AM | Report abuse

The Weingarten story is posted!! Run, don't walk:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/13/AR2005091301539.html

jw, we salute you.

Posted by: jw fan | September 17, 2005 9:04 AM | Report abuse

"Mr. Mojo Risin'", that's good.

Now I'm never going to get that tune out of my head. "...Risin', risin'..."

Joel, if anyone ever offers to buy the movie rights to the Kit and Kaboodle, take it. I think we have someone in mind for the role of 'jw', anyway.

bc

Posted by: bc | September 17, 2005 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Now that they see hurricane Katrina's true potential as a profit vehicle the corruption and graft machine of the Bush Administration is moving at full greed. They are busy handing out no bid contracts to the likes of Halliburton and Bechtel, while repealing the prevailing wage law, so that the U.S. Treasury can be robbed once again by the same corporate pirates that are stealing us blind in Iraq--where over 9 billion American taxpayer dollars has already gone missing, and 10s of billions more have gone into the coffers of these profiteers. This comes at a time when the victims of the hurricane have been scattered to all parts of the country as a way of preventing their involvement in the reconstruction, and clearing the way for the demolition of their homes and apartments to be replaced by condos, hotels, casinos and resorts. The chairman of the New Orleans Business Council, Jimmy Reiss told Newsweek of his plans "To use this catastrophe as a once-in-an-eon opportunity to change the dynamic".

This is the same dynamic change that the tsunami victims in Sri Lanka are facing under the relief and reconstruction efforts led by the World Bank. Six months after this disaster hundreds of thousands of poor fishermen and their families are still sequestered inland in makeshift camps guarded by machine gun toting troops, while their land is being sold(stolen) to the highest bidder to make way for a new gold coast.

I beseech America to help stop the Republicans from capitalizing on the disaster in the Gulf. There is a need for a true grassroots uprising against the corporatism that is running rampant in America, and a need to expose the lies and corruption of this administration. I realize the fight is also against a right wing media machine that controls the voice of America, and many in the Democratic Party are flunkies of this fascist takeover of America, but America is in a time of need and she is desperate for true and truthful leadership!

Posted by: Lon Ferguson | September 17, 2005 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone notice how the picture of Bush on the front page of WP yesterday made it appear as if he was wearing a little blue hat?

(I was gonna say yamaka, but I'll avoid any cultural clothing references).

Posted by: Chris | September 17, 2005 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone notice how the picture of Bush on the front page of WP yesterday made it appear as if he was wearing a little blue hat?

(I was gonna say yamaka, but I'll avoid any cultural clothing references).

Posted by: Chris | September 17, 2005 10:49 AM | Report abuse

yarmulke

Posted by: stickler | September 17, 2005 12:35 PM | Report abuse

SCC:
L'excuse. (Mon Dieu! I type much on the fly and do not edit much.)

Not Lake Ponchatrain, but...

Lake Pontchartrain

1699 French explorer Pierre LeMoyne Sieur d'Iberville (March 26 - 30) enters the waterway, which his men name the d'Iberville River (later to be renamed Bayou Manchac). With rough portages and log jams to encountered, the small group eventually reaches a lake which d'Iberville names 'Lake Maurapas' and then on to a large lake which d'Iberville names 'Lake Pontchartrain' after the current French Minister of Marine, Louis Pontchartrain.

Posted by: Linda Loomis | September 17, 2005 12:35 PM | Report abuse

The speech and some of the pre-fabricated spin following it (read Donna Brazille's article here if you are in need of an ipecac) make me believe one thing: While the majority of Americans want REAL change so that something as disastrous as the Katrina response never happens again, Bush and the rest of his class (as in the upper one that thinks this country is all about them) are doing their best to return to business as usual.

Posted by: ErrinF | September 17, 2005 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I would like to propose a tax revolt. I don't mind paying for roads or other infrastructure development. I don't mind subsidizing student loans. I have no problem with bolstering the salaries of police, teachers, firefighers and other public workers. I want older citizen to be protected through medicare, medicaid and social security. Please let us protect abused and neglected children. What I do mind is: paying for a "voluntary" war in iraq; bailing out large companies; "investigations" into Enron (and others) misdeeds, and those criminals getting a slap on the hand; for hundreds of millions in a highway in alaska enabling 50 people to get to the mainland; for murals in garage parking structures in Dupage County, Illinois (thank you Denny Hastart!) I am tired of the pork, of the consessions that let inept and those without conscious senators and congress men and women to get re-elected again and again. I am tired of republicans and democrats alike. I am tired of the spin, by both politicians and media. I am tired, tired, tired. I don't mind paying taxes for something that benefits the welfare of the country. I would pay more. But I don't trust senators and respresentatives to make sane decisions about this (re: pork). I certainly don't trust this administration to work in the best interest of the American people. God help us. And by the way, I am dismayed by the "religious wars." If you are a "believer," trust that I am too. I believe in social justice, in helping those who have lost all hope, in protecting the most vulnerable. And I do believe that I have more morality in my little finger than most of those who voted for Bush because he is a Christian--but who refuses to fight poverty and dispair...unless, of course, it is politically convenient.

Posted by: robin bates | September 17, 2005 1:40 PM | Report abuse

jw, GeneW's column is great. And your mom got a mention too - she sounds like a wonderful woman (obviously she has raised a fine son). Glad you were able to pull out the win (and the universe didn't explode).

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 17, 2005 1:42 PM | Report abuse

ChrisFord, I don't agree with your conclusions, or even your premises. There are more cultural differences between American inner cities and Mumbai or Kobe or even Grand Forks than skin color.

The Mormans keep one year's worth of food and supplies (not really sure why they pick that length of time, or what they're preparing for). The Seattle Times had an article last Sunday saying that the local disaster preparedness folks recommend a week's worth. The trouble is, when you're very poor, you can't stockpile much. And you know, the people who have are vulnerable when a disaster hits (just watch old Twilight Zone shows). Which is why it's good to have a cavalry that comes eventually.

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 17, 2005 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Eeeee! I'm going to read it...NOW! I'm so excited!

Posted by: jw | September 17, 2005 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Just read Weingarten's story about jw. I think he will have to now officially change his handle to mrmojo. Too cool.

Posted by: LP | September 17, 2005 2:49 PM | Report abuse

It's a fun column, jw. I hope you and your family enjoy it. (Don't blush too much with all the nice things he says about you.)

Now you can tell us anything Gene left out. I laughed when he said he called his daughter during the game. That was a hoot.

Posted by: pj | September 17, 2005 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't have said it better "Fork Lift One". . . priceless. . .

And by the way, what happened to all the OTHER poor people of all races in America? N. O. is certainly an emergency, undeniably so. But there are children in America who go to bed hungry every night. The Appalachians are a N. O. that's been happening for untold decades. What about the forgotten poor of America? My heart goes out to the people of N. O., but what about the rest of Americans who can't afford to feed their children? Where's their Great Society? Who's keeping the promise of the American Dream to them?

Posted by: Dian in South Florida | September 17, 2005 4:03 PM | Report abuse

JW

Yow! Way, way cool. Excellent article, Mr. Mojo.

Posted by: CowTown | September 17, 2005 4:11 PM | Report abuse

RE: "I thought Randy Cohen was the conscience of our generation."

Posted by: Read this | September 17, 2005 6:31 PM | Report abuse

"the more lazy and idle they are, the more they overeat and bloat up" is really a very racist statement, and I bet the guy behind the statement is wearing a sheet.

Posted by: Cassandra | September 17, 2005 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Isn't the JW column by Gene W. great? The question is, how long until JW has his own blog? The Jeremyblog! Mrmojoblog! It's like we are witnessing the birth of a cultural phenomenon. What CAN'T JW do?
Meanwhile, I am going to use my vast and scary powers to temporarily shut down comments on this current blog item. There are two things I don't tolerate: Vulgarity and hatred.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 17, 2005 7:13 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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