Bil Browning

Bush fiddles while New Orleans burns

Filed By Bil Browning | September 03, 2005 4:18 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics

The news media seems to have taken its cue from the American public this time around. Hurricane Katrina, the largest natural disaster to ever happen in the United States, and the resulting rescue/salvage efforts have been sharply criticized by both the American people and the world press corps.
LONDON (Reuters) - The world has watched amazed as the planet's only superpower struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with some saying the chaos has exposed flaws and deep divisions in American society.

World leaders and ordinary citizens have expressed sympathy with the people of the southern United States whose lives were devastated by the hurricane and the flooding that followed.

But many have also been shocked by the images of disorder beamed around the world -- looters roaming the debris-strewn streets and thousands of people gathered in New Orleans waiting for the authorities to provide food, water and other aid.

"Anarchy in the USA" declared Britain's best-selling newspaper The Sun.

"Apocalypse Now" headlined Germany's Handelsblatt daily.

ShrubCo has failed ignominiously. The relief effort's beginnings were botched and incomplete. Louisianna, however, doesn't have a governor who's related to the president. The governor of Louisianna has two qualities that ShrubCo can't stand. She's a woman. And she's a Democrat. Our bayou bretheren don't have as many electoral votes as Florida either... Several people have mentioned race as a factor in the unmitigated disaster.
NEW YORK - A celebrity telethon for Hurricane Katrina survivors took an unexpected turn when outspoken rapper Kanye West went off script during the live broadcast, declaring America is set up "to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible."

Appearing two-thirds through the program, West took the government to task, claiming "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

Comedian Mike Myers was paired with West for a 90-second segment that began with Myers speaking of Katrina's devastation. Then, to Myers' evident surprise, West began a rant by saying, "I hate the way they portray us in the media. If you see a black family, it says they're looting. See a white family, it says they're looking for food."

While allowing that "the Red Cross is doing everything they can," West â€" who delivered an emotional outburst at the American Music Awards after he was snubbed for an award â€" declared that government authorities are intentionally dragging their feet on aid to the Gulf Coast. Without getting specific, he added, "They've given them permission to go down and shoot us."

After he stated, "George Bush doesn't care about black people," the camera cut away to comedian Chris Tucker.

While I'm not sure that race necessarily had anything to do with it, (even I have trouble at picturing W. as Mr. Burns snivelling "Let the black people float or drown. Damn black people!") I do think that Shrubco's handling of the emergency has been absymal.

The blogosphere is full of stories about Katrina and its aftermath. And it's awfully hard to find stories praising the federal government's tactics immediately following a storm they had several days notice for. Most sites, including, take the President to task.

People aren't dying because of the storm; they survived the storm. They're dying because they're not receiving disaster aid, and that is Bush's fault.

It's not about trashing people, it's about getting useless people to do something different, or at least get the hell out of the way.

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