Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Searching for signs of sentience

When House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged Bush today to fire Michael Brown, the head of FEMA, Bush responded: "Why would I do that?..'What didn't go right?'' Video here.

All this death and suffering just doesn't seem to bother him (via VJ).

And the government is now handing out bribes to disaster victims in the Astrodome:

    Meanwhile, the Associated Press learned that the government planned to distribute debit cards worth $2,000 to victims of the hurricane.

    "They are going to start issuing debit cards, $2,000 per adult, today at the Astrodome," said Kathy Walt, a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

    The cards could be used to buy food, transportation, gas and other essentials that displaced people need, according to a state official who was on the call and requested anonymity because the program had not been publicly announced.

You mean the government isn't going to be providing food at the refugee camp?! And exactly what kind of transportation is $2000 going to buy in Houston. There is no functioning public transportation system. Gas? They don't have cars!! What are they going to do? Go shopping at the Galleria?

This is the same strategy as with the tax cuts. Who would turn down $2000? But you can't rebuild a life on $2000. Is this the beginning of an attempt to make the recovery an issue of personal responsibility? Give them some money and let them figure out how to rebuild their lives. How very Houston. More here.

But some Republicans favor a harsher approach:

    In a weekend interview with WTAE-TV about the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Penn. Senator Rick Santorum said: "You have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving."

And Arizona Senator Jon Kyl said:
    “the question is if people know year after year after year a natural disaster occurs in a particular place and people continue to build there and want to live there, should they bear the responsibility of buying insurance or should everyone else bear the responsibility?”

This is compassionate conservatism?

And the attempt to avoid accountability reaches new heights of shamelessness while FEMA attempts to hide the most graphic evidence of their incompetence. More here.

Chris Floyd comments,
    It seems inconceivable that any sentient being could witness the agonizing results of the Bush team's dithering, dilatory response -- an agony played out in the full glare of non-stop media coverage -- and not come away with a sense of towering anger at this criminal incompetence.

But a large percentage of the American sheeple so far have shown little sign of sentience. Only 29% feel that any top official in the agencies responsible for handling emergencies should be fired, while 63% disagree.

UPDATE 9/8: Perhaps things are not quite so dire. The Rasmussen Report poll shows gives the federal government a thumbs down:
    Just 28% of Americans give say that the federal government has done a good or an excellent job responding to Hurricane Katrina. Another 25% say the government has done a fair job while 45% say poor.
    Interest in the story is extraordinarily high. Eighty-eight percent (88%) of Americans say they are closely following news stories about the tragedy, including 59% who are following it "very closely."


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