How Can I Blog at a Time Like This?

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Gawker and TalkLeft are both fuming that Condi Rice would dare buy shoes and attend a Broadway comedy while people are dying, dying along the Gulf Coast. I guess I should confess, as I blithely sit here typing in the comfort of a distincly non-submerged cafe, that I actually bought a couple CDs and then callously went out for drinks with a couple friends last night. Not even some sort of charity benefit for New Orleans—just a plain old bar. Obviously, I'm hellbound.

Sure, sure, our standard for high-level public servants is different, but I'm with the folks at Wonkette on this one. What, exactly, is the Secretary of State supposed to be doing about domestic disaster relief? It's not her bag, baby. I guess she could (in a non-official capacity) dress in sackcloth and tear at her hair, but it's not clear what good it would do.

NEXT: Three Days

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  1. Wearing sackcloth, giving the money she spent on the shoes to the Red Cross - yeah, that's the same thing.

  2. Good question, but it assumes logic in the argument. George Bush made the hurricane, it's all his fault and anyone associated with him. No facts, please.

    These people are worse than the creationists.

  3. Yeah, and me and Mrs TWC went out to lunch today too.

    I saw that photo of some politician helping a baby out of a rowboat in the Big Sleazy and it made me want to spit. I saw GWB poking his schnoz out the window of AFI surveying the damage and it made me think how contrived. Somehow Condi in new shoes at a play doesn't make me feel betrayed. Is she callous? Possibly. Aren't all pols callous? Isn't it all a photo-op fakery for votes and PR anyway?

  4. Joe,
    Please issue a date when members of the Bush administration are allowed to spend their personal money on something besides hurricane relief.

  5. That last comment was a bit flippant. I don't mean to imply that politicians don't give a rats behind about the suffering. I'm sure they do, but the whole photo-op stchick makes me sick.

  6. Just because she bought shoes does not mean she hasn't contributed to hurricane relief. Methinks she can afford to do both.

  7. Thank you gentlemen. I've been spending the day at left wing blogs, and I needed a little injection of sanity.

  8. Agree -- it's another variant of the old "how can you _______ when there are starving children in Africa." Or put another way: "won't somebody please think of the children."

    As much as I despise everything about this administration (and I do mean everything), getting on Condi's ass about seeing a play is as dumb as it gets. Well, that and rfk jr blaming Haley Barbour for the hurricane. .

  9. By the way, WHY THE FUCK are there snipers shooting at a hospital? What the hell is going on? Not to sound callous about people trapped in the city, but did you think it was a joke when they ordered an evacuation? Why are you still there? Good job with the looting too, that new tv will work great in the house you don't have running off electricity that isn't there. Are these people actually capable of making responsible decisions for themselves, or is this the end result of a life lived in the welfare system? Make sure you don't band together to help out your neighbors, use the opportunity to steal Twix you fucking morons. This is the mindset that makes the third world the way it is.

  10. Dave, $5.00 says you shall be branded a racist before the day is out.

  11. I suppose she could at least make it look like she's working on getting international support for hurricane relief. Say, like untangling that snafu that had a Canadian disaster response team barred from flying into the US yesterday, or seeing if she could get a short-term price break on petroleum and natural gas imports or something.

    I know domestic emergency response isn't part of her job duties, but as a top-tier cabinet member with especially strong knowledge and connections in the oil industry, I'd also think she'd be on call in some sort of advisory role on this.

    I guess the good news from a smaller-government standpoint is that the Secretary of State is doing her own shoe shopping.

  12. So, which is worse: Condi's shopping spree post-Katrina, or Dick Cheney showing up to Aushcwitz dressed like he was at a Packer's game?

  13. I've got no beef with Condi or Julian continuing their normal lives. I'll do the same when rioters are attacking DC, or when Matt Welch's house is shaken to splinters. One can only care so much. (That's not sarcasm. Enjoy your today, since your tomorrow may look like Katrina)

  14. Wearing sackcloth, giving the money she spent on the shoes to the Red Cross - yeah, that's the same thing.

    Jeeeeeez, Joe, you're hittin on all cylinders today! I guess, if you can prove that Condi didn't give any money to charity, in addition to her shoe purchases, you might have a point...or half a point, at least. However, somehow, I doubt you have that proof.

  15. Dave Dave Dave...

    Ordering an evacuation means nothing to people who do not have transportation, and if they do, they don't have forty bucks to fill it with gas to get out of town. The local government could only evacuate them to the Superdome, and we know how that turned out. I will agree with you that it takes a pretty damaged individual to shoot at a freaking hospital evacuation effort, or loot the Wal-Mart of electronics, but I for one am watching a human tragedy on the television, and I just can't seem to muster the self-righteous anger towards the "welfare queens" that you seem to be able to do right now.

  16. All non-joe:

    You missed joe's underlying point. Whether on not Condi donated her entire net worth to Katrina disaster relief or spent it on her eye liner & pumps. It's not what you do that counts in politics; it's how you appear.

    After all, politics is about intentions, not results...

  17. davepotts: Most who stayed did so by choice, not out of poverty. They didn't think it would be that bad, and if it was, they believed the state would take care of them. They did not grasp the gravity of the situation and how the nanny couldn't possibly help them all.

  18. davepotts: Most who stayed did so by choice, not out of poverty

    I'd like a cite for that, please.

    To the extent that "choice" is circumscribed by a) not owning a car, b) not knowing anyone with room to spare in a car, and c) living paycheck to paycheck, with the next one not coming until 2 days after the storm hits, you might be right. ANd people who find themselves in those kinds of Hobson's Choice situations find it dignifying to say, "I'm not going anywhere, I'm staying."

  19. Dynamist, you seem to think that I'm in favor of the nanny state, when all I'm saying is that some folks are giant assholes for sitting back and judging these people for their lack of judgement when they are out dying in the streets. My point is that we shouldn't give a rat's ass why they are in the situation they are in right now, or whether or not they've been suckling at the public teat, they should be helped out right now. They should have been helped out four days ago.

  20. My point is not to advocate for the nanny state, I would never do that. My point is simply that sitting back and judging people for their lack of judgement at a time when they are dying in the street makes you a total asshole.

  21. Thanks Phil, and sorry for the double post. It's crazy here.

  22. davepotts,

    So fucking walk out of town, like people are doing now. You think if they'd been told an asteroid or nuclear bomb was heading straight for downtown New Orleans they would have stuck around? Yeah sure, you can't just throw Rover and the kids in the SUV and drive out of town, but you could try a hell of a lot harder than a lot of these people did. There was plenty of warning that this was going to be a catastrophic hurricane. Poverty? Yeah sure, that played a part, but I suspect a distrust of "mainstream" society and willful ignorance played an even larger one.

  23. So fucking walk out of town, like people are doing now

    I have wondered why more people haven't started doing that before now, at least the ones who aren't elderly, or don't have a pack of small children with them, or aren't dehydrated, or sick, or who are able to risk it.

    Look, I'm not saying that everyone down there is doing all they can to help themselves, most people under normal circumstances don't do that. All I'm saying is it's pretty easy to judge from behind your keyboard.

  24. davepotts: I don't know how you feel about the nanny state. Sorry if I lumped you into a group.

    Phil: Mind-meld with my last four days of email and local blogging. There's nothing fo rme to link to yet. I don't know how you feel about the nanny state either, but total seems spot-on about the willful ignorance. Sure some are exhibit the Hobson's behaviour, but most just didn't want to go because they choose to believe the state would take care of them in the dome.

    It is unfair of me to expect them to be able to read, but the TV news said that 100K would not evacuate. If it was fair to expect them to do the math, that's 30-40K more than the dome can support for three hours on game day. Why would one believe there would be room for self and family over a several-day stay?

    As we spread blame around, some must land on those who didn't at least walk to safer ground.

  25. All I'm saying is it's pretty easy to judge from behind your keyboard.

    That's an important point, and I agree. All I'm saying is there's a lot more to why people stayed behind than the amount of cash in their wallets.

  26. The answer is she should be showing some sense of decency and not sporting a luxury life-style as a public servant at a time like this.

  27. Regardless of the merits of "Dave"'s original post, he does bring up one point I haven't seen discussed. What do the people looting the Wal-Mart and such expect to be able to do with the crap they're stealing?

    New jeans, a DVD player, and a necklace won't be worth fuckall if you can't get out of town soon. That new jacket may look good, but swimming through the fetid water, with no access to electricty, food, or clean water is inevitably going to result in some crazy, 3rd world disease in about a week. You can't sell the hot goods on e-bay without electricity, a computer, or, gee, a working sewage system for that matter. It astounds me that some people are not thinking about their own survival. The only thing I can think of is that without access to information about the situation, along with ignorance, has resulted in a lot of people not realizing how much shit they're potentially in.

  28. dlc: Nature is culling the stupid. Sadly, they represent only a small fraction of all who suffer and die. If you listen to the anti-looter tone of the locals (quite different from the national apologists), many might be willing to let the thieves die slowly in their own stench. Then, after the worst actors are dead, drain the city and begin rebuilding.

  29. And where is FEMA?

  30. What do the people looting the Wal-Mart and such expect to be able to do with the crap they're stealing

    Well I can see stealing new clothes if you lost your clothes to floods or don't have a change of clothes for 4 days. If I had to wade through 10 feet of water, I might want a dry pair of jeans. As for jewlery and stuff...maybe you can barter it for food or rations or something...if one couple got a limo out of town for $3700, maybe some entrepreneur would trade a ride for some bling bling

    Dunno what anyone would do with electronics though.

    But since from what I'm hearing, the city might be uninhabitable for a year or more, why is the looting such a concern? Who are they gonna sell the stuff to?

  31. If it was your stuff you were watching get ripped off, you might understand better. Imagine your house survived the storm, then a flood, and now you've got to worry about someone tearing it apart and setting it on fire, just for fun. Is it hard to see why people want to shoot 'em?

  32. On TV tonight, they did show people walking out of town on the highway; one woman with her family said "We've been walking for three days." So at least some people are doing it. There are certainly some people who can't - the elderly, the disabled - but I suspect that for many who could have, it was a case of believing that it wouldn't really be that bad. People often don't seem to realize the gravity of a situation until they get their noses rubbed in it. Actually, I probably would have stayed myself, although I dare say I'm better prepared than many who did stay. This should be a lesson to everyone: keep several days' worth of food and water on hand, plus anything else you might need, like medicines, diapers, etc.

    As for "jewlery and stuff...maybe you can barter it for food or rations or something" - your naivete is charming, ChicagoTom. People steal shit because they can get away with it. Remember the LA riots and the looting there? Nobody needed to barter for food then, but they stole like crazy anyway. NYC blackout riot of '77? Ditto. There have been some people taking only food, medicine, and other necessities; the difference between these and the take-everything-not-nailed-down looters is that they seem to be willing to stop and explain their actions.

    See http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&u=/ap/20050902/ap_on_re_us/hurricane_katrina_59 , which talks about the looters, the police, and the situation in general. Choice quote:
    "They have M-16s and they're locked and loaded," Gov. Kathleen Blanco said of 300 National Guard troops who landed in New Orleans fresh from duty in Iraq. "These troops know how to shoot and kill, and they are more than willing to do so, and I expect they will."
    Gee, Davey, I think she's running out of patience...

  33. Say, like untangling that snafu that had a Canadian disaster response team barred from flying into the US yesterday, or seeing if she could get a short-term price break on petroleum and natural gas imports or something.

    Those tasks would fall under the departments of Homeland Security and Commerce, respectively.

    I suppose Condi could be putting more effort into begging other countries for aid and donations, but, um... wouldn't it look bad for the richest nation in the world to ask other countries for aid we don't actually need? We've got plenty of money and supplies right here at home; they just aren't getting where they need to be.

  34. We've got plenty of money and supplies right here at home; they just aren't getting where they need to be.

    It struck me that such describes a large part of Africa, too. They've got corruption and we've got bureaucracy. The dead are dead just the same.

    (Actually, I'm still not ready to complain about our rescue effort. I see a lot of stuff getting done, and people exhausting themselves to save others.)

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  36. Those tasks would fall under the departments of Homeland Security and Commerce, respectively.

    Are you implying that Condi couldn't lift a finger to straighten out the border snafu with the Canadians because "it's not my yob, man"? I think she could find something a bit more constructive to do with her time during a national emergency than play Marie Antoinette and flaunt her wealth.

  37. FOR SHAME!! FOR SHAME!!
    Julian!!!
    How dare you to be better off than your poor black brothers and sisters in New Orleans! You must be a racist! Quasi M'fukr of the NAACP and Charlie Rangyass said so!

  38. dcf,

    Would it be all right if wore my shiny red suit to your mother's funeral? Or is there some sort of more appropriate way to comport one's self in the fact of death?

  39. The only people I have sympathy for are the children, retarded and (maybe) the disabled. If you live in NO and don't realize the damage that a major hurricane can do, you don't deserve to live. And if you do realize the damage it can do and still stay there, you still don't deserve to live. It's not just that they only had two days warning. They've had their whole lives to get the fuck out of Dodge, or at least prepare for something like this. Let 'em all die.

  40. My phychis powers tellme andy's a registered Democrat. Am I right? Am I right?

  41. "My phychis powers tellme andy's a registered Democrat. Am I right? Am I right?"

    What? LOL

    Once again you've left me completely baffled at what you're to say.

    I think you're going for sarcasm, but you can never tell over a computer. Also, given your political views, you probably are making fun of me for being a cold heartless SOB (unlike those compassionate Democrats...)

    Personal responsibility's a bitch, ain't it Joe?

  42. Personal responsiblity is quite good, actually.

    "Personal Responsibility (TM)" on the other hand is quite a bitch.

  43. All I'm saying is that no able-bodied-non-parent-of-young-child-adult should recieve help. It's their fault that they're in their position.

  44. That last post is kind of confusing. I meant : No able bodied adult who's not the parent of a young child...

  45. As a WASP, I'm concerned for pets and old buildings. And some children.

    (Albert Spam-bot, you sound like a high-school term paper.)

  46. In times like these we all need more symbolism.

  47. In times like these we all need more symbolism.

    Indeed. In the past words of Dave Barry, the president should fly out to the disaster area and frown at it from the doorway of a helicopter.

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