Bad Weather Makes People Say Funny Things…
From a story in last Friday’s New York Times, In Galveston, Some Await Storm With Faith and Hope:
On Thursday, Mr. Shumake and his nephew, Russell Cavender, 17, walked along the sea wall holding an American flag and another flag saying, “We Support Our Troops.” Mr. Shumake, a stout man with a bushy goatee and a ponytail, said: “The Lord doesn’t want us going. He wants me carrying this flag.”
There were other scattered holdouts. Walking along the sea wall on Thursday morning, John Benson, a nine-foot purple surfboard in hand, said he expected the storm would generate 15- to 17-foot waves.
“This is a freebie right here courtesy of Rita,” said Mr. Benson, 47, a Galveston native, who said the allure of the waves and television images of gridlocked traffic on Interstate 45 would keep him here through the storm.
Bob Faris, the owner of Bob’s Grocery, perhaps the only food store left open in the city, said he had worked too hard over the preceding years to leave his establishment.
“I checked with the Sheriff’s Department to see if I could use my gun, and they said if I do, make sure he’s dead,” said Mr. Faris, 48, brandishing a 9-millimeter pistol…
This one is not funny. From an editorial in the New Orleans Times-Picayune of September 4, entitled “An Open Letter to The President” (which I finally read in last week’s Village Voice)
“We’re angry, Mr. President, and we’ll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry…. Every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be fired, Director Michael Brown especially.
“In a nationally televised interview Thursday night, he said his agency hadn’t known until that day that thousands of storm victims were stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. He gave another nationally televised interview the next morning and said, ‘We’ve provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they’ve gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day.’
“Lies don’t get more bald-faced than that, Mr. President. Yet, when you met with Mr. Brown Friday morning, you told him, ‘You’re doing a heck of a job.’ That’s unbelievable.”
The paper got its wish and Brown was removed. But he’s not going quietly. His defense would be hilarious if only it was a laughing matter. Here he is at today’s special Congressional Panel (set up by House Republican Leaders) to investigate the failings in government reaction to Hurricane Katrina.
“My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional… I very strongly personally regret that I was unable to persuade Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin to sit down, get over their differences, and work together. I just couldn’t pull that off.”
What was that the White House said about the “blame game”?
“Brown also said he was “just tired and misspoke” when a television interviewer appeared to be the first to tell him that there were desperate residents at the New Orleans Convention Center.
Brown testified that he had already learned, one day before the interview, that people were flocking to the center.”
Which is why I heard Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff sounding equally uninformed about the Convention Center nightmare that same Thursday, in an interview with NPR. Or will he also suddenly remember that he was merely ‘just tired and misspoke’?
And are we meant to even understand this one? From ExxonMobil’s full-page ad in Sunday’s New York Times:
“As we did with Katrina, we will act responsibly as we reflect changes in the marketplace in our pricing to our branded dealers and distributors and company-operated service stations.”
Does that mean Exxon is NOT raising prices? No, it just means its acting responsibly – to its bottom line.
To be fair, Exxon is not one of the four oil companies charged in New Jersey State Court Monday 26 with price-gouging in the immediate aftermath of Katrina.
“Complaints were filed against stations selling Citgo, Hess, Shell and Sunoco brands, as well as their suppliers. In some cases, (attorney General) Mr. Harvey said, stations were said to have raised prices four or five times in one day as the commodities markets raged because of Hurricane Katrina. They were charged with defrauding consumers by raising the prices in violation of state law. New Jersey is the only state to have a law barring multiple price increases on gasoline in a 24-hour period.”
Finally, talking of the blame game, where would we be without good old-fashioned conspiracy theories? Scott Stevens was a weatherman at News Channel 6 in Pocatello, Idaho, until a week or so ago when he left his job to pursue his theories via his web site Weather Wars. Stevens has gone on record as stating that “the Japanese Yakuza Mafia used a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina.” He has subsequently posted the following at his site.
“This nation has not faced an economic crisis like the one that Katrina will spark in the days and months ahead. But that is one of the reasons Katrina was guided along the path that we all watched. This path has resulted in maximum damage to the energy infrastructure, transportation infrastructure and to the psyche of those that are susceptible to further storms this year and in the years to follow. Oh New Orleans!
I fully expect one more ‘event’ this year to impact the United States. My gut feeling is that it will be an earthquake >7.7 in magnitude with insured losses to exceed $25 billion. That number should have been less but presently real estate is far overvalued.
Protect your family’s wealth with precious metals as the cascading effects from this disaster and from poor government fiscal management, will have just begun to be felt.”
Stevens does not clarify whether this Earthquake will also be part of the Japanese-Russian mafia conspiracy.