Saturday, September 24, 2005

Cold Comfort

From the AP:
Bush: Government Well-Prepared for Rita

By DEB RIECHMANN Associated Press Writer

September 24,2005 | COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- President Bush, projecting a take-charge role on Hurricane Rita, toured the high-tech hub of federal response efforts and said Saturday he was pleased by the government's preparations.
Since President Bush is congenitally incapable of taking charge of anything more complex than a bottle of beer (witness his past trouble with the accompanying pretzels) he offers something almost as good: a projection of a taking-charge role.
Nearly six hours after Rita made landfall, Bush tracked the hurricane's assault on the Texas-Louisiana border from the situation room at the U.S. Northern Command headquarters in the Rocky Mountain foothills, more than 1,000 miles away.
God forbid Dear Leader's feet should get moist with anything but flop sweat or the dampness of quivering fear.
Surrounded by plasma screens and slide projections, Bush got a detailed briefing on the federal plan to deal with the possibility of heavy flooding in eastern Texas and western Louisiana, additional spills from levees in and around New Orleans, and disruptions to U.S. energy supplies.
Which did so much good as Katrina approached during the Royal August Retreat. Brief a coldhearted moron all you like. He isn't going to get any smarter or kinder.
"We're in good shape," Navy Capt. Brad Johanson, director of Northern Command's joint operations center, told Bush after outlining the military personnel and equipment hurrying in to help.
"All it took was losing a major American city to abject incompetence to prod us from our stupor and remember that we're supposed to protect the United States, not just a few neighborhoods of Baghdad."
Following the hourlong briefing, the president said: "It comforts me knowing that our federal government is well-organized and well-prepared to deal with Rita."
"Because it's all about me."
Bush planned stops later Saturday in Austin, Texas, to visit the state's emergency operations center, and in San Antonio,
and knock back a few cold ones
where many federal supplies and personnel were being staged. His schedule was not immediately disclosed.
But is certain to include stops on devastated streets whose power will be returned for the duration of the Royal Peregrination.
The scurrying to set up photo opportunities for the president showed the White House in crisis-management mode.
Political crisis mode, of course, there being no other sort of crisis worthy of attention.
With his approval ratings lower than ever, Bush has suffered from the perception
that both he and his administration responded too slowly to Hurricane Katrina. That storm devastated the Mississippi coast and southeastern Louisiana nearly a month ago.
Bush waited until two days after Katrina to cut short his vacation and return to Washington from his Texas ranch.
As he awaited the ripening of the political crisis.
The public saw images of thousands of people in horrible shelter conditions in New Orleans waiting for food, water, medicine and rescue. The administration was blamed by many for not doing more sooner.
"many" "all but 26 right wing morons", whatever.
Bush's aides were eager to avoid a repeat with Rita and try to restore the public's trust in government. But they also were aware of the risk of criticism if Bush's large entourage got in the way of storm response.
'Cause that never happens.
So they settled on Northern Command as the best place for the president in the first hours after Rita struck. The command was set up after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to direct the military's homeland security activities.

Bush arrived Friday evening for one briefing, then woke early Saturday and had a second.
Don't strain yourself, Mr. "President".
Bush stayed far from Washington,
where thousands of people would like to see him driven through the streets coated in tar and feathers
where opponents of the Iraq war held what they hoped would turn out to be the largest such rally in the capital since the war began. The protest was spurred in part by Cindy Sheehan, the California woman whose son was killed in Iraq last year and who drew thousands of demonstrators to her 26-day vigil outside Bush's Texas ranch in August.

Bush's presence in a briefing room hundreds of miles from the White House and the storm recalled the surreal quality of Tuesday's update on Rita aboard USS Iwo Jima. Then, he flew from Washington to the ship, docked in New Orleans, to be briefed on Rita's approach via videoconference by two officials back in Washington.

The president also devoted his weekly radio address on Saturday to hurricane response, as he has now for weeks, and detailed the government's efforts.

Even as the focus turns to Rita, Bush pledged not to forget the massive job of recovering from Katrina.

"We'll do our duty," he said, while urging local and state governments, the private sector and ordinary people to do so, too.
How about doing your fucking job, idiot?
At Northern Command, Bush pleaded with the millions of people who evacuated ahead of Ritay to obey local authorities' instructions before deciding to return back home.

"It's going to take awhile for the authorities on the ground to fully understand the impact of the flooding. People who are safe now ought to remain in safe conditions," Bush said.
"So I'll know where to find them to finish the job."

Snarkfest concluded. We now return you to your collapsing nation.


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