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September 1st, 2005

Snark Alert

In honor of President Bush's advice after the 9/11 attacks, which while tragic, shocking and heart-wrenching did not have even one-quarter the potential to wreck havoc on the national economy the way Katrina has (or kill as many people, I'm willing to bet), may I be the first to suggest that everybody go shopping. After all, if we don't, the hurricanes win.

This is in honor of the fact that the Bush administration has known for years the growing likelihood of the New Orleans disaster, and yet in 2004 supplied only 20% of what the Army Core of Engineers deemed necessary to maintain the city's system of levees and dikes. For added measure it went and gutted FEMA while it was at it -- after all that money was needed to protect America from the terrorists we are creating in Iraq. Oh, that and relying so heavily on using National Guard forces in Iraq that Louisiana and Mississippi are now begging for federal assistance because they no longer have the manpower and equipment to deal with the catastrophe.

Yep, Bush has shown decisive and bold leadership -- too bad it's totally inept. I know this probably isn't the time for such caustic commentary, but so many elements of this disaster were preventable that it makes it that much sadder to watch.

Gas

I don't want to sound over reactionary, but based on what I'm reading online today, I'm of the opinion that everyone should top off their tank today. Prices and supply are going to get far worse really fast, thanks to the massive blow leveled by Katrina to our country's gas refining and shipping infrastructure.

I know there's lots of devastation and suffering in the New Orleans area and it seems heartless to start thinking about more mundane matters such as this, but we're only in the beginning of a massive ripple effect that's going to put a major hurt on the economy.

Why Politics Are Important Right Now

I promise I will make this my last post criticizing our lame-duck President today. I just want to take the time to quote something that Hunter posted over at DailyKos:

A lot of people are going to huff and bluster about making this disaster a political issue. Put bluntly, however, what government does and does not choose to spend money on for the essential safety of its citizens is a political issue, and a very basic one at that. The administration willfully reduced the budget for the protective levees around New Orleans to a level where even maintaining the current levee height was impossible, in order to shift that Corps money into Iraq. I'd say that's a political big deal.

Pouring guns and gold into Iraq while ignoring basic aspects of America's own domestic safety was a risk that the Bush administration was willing to take. Now the neo-cons of the administration and their tubthumping supporters have a vivid demonstration of why pumping money into Iraq combined with deficit-causing tax cuts combined with cutting basic domestic safety programs has results a bit more sanguinary than the careful spreadsheets of either Karl Rove or Grover Norquist might convey.

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