KATRINA: THE SNOTTY TAKE
For the first time in his years in office, Bush seems to have run into something that has actually left him visibly rattled, in stark contrast to 9/11, which he quickly grabbed and ran with in a burst of heroic posturing. The problem, I think, is that England doesn't have hurricanes. Or much else in the way of big-ticket natural catastrophes such as earthquakes or tidal waves or swarms of tornados. Which means that Winston Churchill never had to respond to such.
And Bush's role model for national leadership was Churchill, whose biographies he read avidly while prepping for the presidency, and to whom he aspires to be likened by historians. W entered office dreaming of being to the US what Winston was to Britain--a great wartime leader--and as events would have it, the wartime part of that equation proved extremely easy to engineer and realize. Just the other day, Bush explicitly equated our Iraq adventure with World War II, and who cannot appreciate the many similarities between the Wehrmacht and the Sunni roadside bombers.
But Churchill's life and career offered nothing remotely like a template for dealing with a monumental natural disaster. A major American city has deteriorated into a raw, anarchic Baghdad-by-the-Bayou. Alas, this is not a situation where W can simply pick up the phone and sic the greatest military establishment in world history on the problem. This kind of problem requires ingenious and rapid solutions, not simple overwhelming force. Very simply, Bush doesn't know what the hell to do, and, as he has filled his government not with technocrats or managers but with ideologues, he has no one able to tell him.
KATRINA: THE OUTRAGED TAKE
If you go to the official FEMA site, it lists a number of recommended charities to which to send your donations, along with links thereto. First on the list is the Red Cross. Second on the list is Operation Blessing, a fundamentalist organization of alleged charitable purpose run by Pat "Kill Chavez, For Christ's Sake" Robertson. Pat, who will surely characterize the inundation of Nawleans (whose devastated center somebody in the media will equally surely christen "Pond Zero") as divine retribution for the city's tolerance of vice, celebratory excess, occasional nudity, hedonism and homosexuality, has never encountered a human tragedy that he was not ready, willing, and able to exploit for economic gain.
It's just nice to know that amid all the madness and chaos, FEMA hasn't forgotten that its first duty, as a government agency, is to ensure that, whatever the disaster, the administration's brownshirt baptist base gets a good healthy taste of the action.
KATRINA: THE SAPPY TAKE
Instead of the Saints playing their home games at Houston or Dallas or Atlanta or some combination thereof, they could play each of their home games at a different NFL stadium around the country as the home-away-from-home team, or, at least for this season of their travail, as America's Team, in the sense that New Orleans has become America's city. Each "home" game could also be a fundraising event at that facility and in the host city for the survivors and the charities in New Orleans.
Maybe this is just a saccharine concept, but if anyone out there thinks it has merit and cares to pass it on, possibly to someone who might take it further, be my guest.