Overcast and way-humid this late Friday afternoon on California’s north coast as we look for some rain finally to swept across the region tonight and tomorrow.
The NWS advises maybe between a quarter-to-half-an-inch of rainfall to douse us, but here along the shoreline, forecast/predictions blow in the wind.
And today marks the 10th anniversary of Katrina — George W Bush was in New Orleans this morning, danced a jig at a local school, delivered a low-key speech, as if history didn’t exist.
One student’s conversation with W:
“He asked us if we were going to go to college and we said yes. Then he said we should run for President of the United States because you can do it, it’s not a hard job.”
An asshole, seemingly a really-clueless asshole.
(Illustration found here).
Most-noteworthy word, ‘job,’ as in, ‘“Brownie,” Bush said, “you’re doing a heck of a job.”‘
Of course, ‘Brownie’ is Michael Brown, then head of FEMA. Ten days after that thumb’s up ‘job’ report, Brownie was gone, blubbering on the way out, that ‘“in the best interest of the agency and best interest of the president,”‘ this asshole goes.
A decade later, a turd. Even now, is regretfully shameful — in an op/ed at Politico yesterday, Brownie diverted blame to everybody but him:
I’m often asked, as the person who was running FEMA when Hurricane Katrina hit, why I didn’t evacuate New Orleans.
My response is simple — FEMA had no authority to do that under the Constitution, which clearly establishes a system of federalism in which state and local governments are autonomous governmental entities.
But the blame was not placed on those responsible.
The blame was placed on me — the one person who had no authority to do anything at that point except get out the checkbook and start paying the Department of Defense to evacuate people from that hellhole to a place of safety.
And that is exactly what I did.
Soon the blame started coming at me from another direction — higher up.
Title of the piece: ‘Stop Blaming Me for Hurricane Katrina.”
And as far as a good wrap on today’s anniversary, Digby has a good post on events during this period a decade ago.
And as for George W — see a nit-twit prancing like he’s special at the Guardian (video of the dance at the school today); sad-looking display, and a bit disturbing, too.
As for George W, and the horrors of his time — a most-excellent piece yesterday at the UK’s Independent by Peter Frankopan, senior research fellow at Worcester College, Oxford, and author of, “The Silk Road: A New History of the World,” and the hanging legacy:
It was not just the decision to invade Iraq that was spectacular for its idiocy; so too was the execution of the invasion plan.
It was naively assumed that removing Saddam would turn Iraq into a land of milk and honey.
There was no need to worry, insisted Paul Wolfowitz, the former president of the World Bank, who was then serving as Deputy Secretary of Defence, eight days after the invasion began in 2003.
“We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” Oil revenues, he breezily predicted, would bring in $50bn to $100bn over the next “two or three years”.
Expectations for the involvement in Iraq were as foolish as they had been in Afghanistan, where it was assumed there would be “no military involvement after the Taliban were defeated”.
In Iraq, 270,000 troops would be needed to start with, according to plans drawn up by US Central Command; but three and a half years later, there would be no need for more than 5,000 ground troops.
This all looked plausible when presented on PowerPoint slides to those who saw what they wanted to see.
These were to be light wars, quick strikes that would enable a new balance to be established across a pivotal region of Asia – all to the advantage of the West.
And there is the cost: not only the lives lost by servicemen, the value of which cannot even be estimated, not the tens of billions spent on the war.
The biggest cost of the war, as new research from Harvard suggests, is the cost of looking after the 170,000 veterans who are 70 per cent or more disabled as a result of their injuries.
The long-term cost to the US economy is estimated to be $6 trillion (£3.9trn) — or $75,000 for every single household in the United States.
Katrina sadly was just another horrible, arrogant fuck-up in a long-ass line of horrible, arrogant fuck-ups…