Monday, September 05, 2005

Hurricane quotes continue 

Updated and moved to the top: Scroll down.

Katrina might be a spent force, but it still continues to loosen lips and bring forth torrents of strangeness even - or particularly - in jurisdictions untouched by the hurricane itself. Not quite category 5 on the stupidity scale, but it certainly makes them say darnest things (for part one, click here).

1. The barely concealed glee that the hurricane has ravaged Bush-voting red states was relatively quickly replaced among some sections of the angry left by the realization that New Orleans is actually a minorities-majority town. Hence an exciting new meme - Bush doesn't care if people die, 'cos they're all black. For example, this from Air America's Randi Rhodes:
"This President is never gonna do the right thing. I think somewhere deep down inside him he takes a lot of joy about losing people, if he thinks they vote Democrat or if he thinks they're poor, or if he thinks they're in a blue state, whatever his reasons are not to rescue those people who are (planning?) for their safety."
Prepare for a new "Lancet" study about how Bush's non-intervention killed 100,000 black residents of New Orleans.

2. This in turn led Rev Jesse Jackson, fresh from dialogue with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, to call for affirmative action in rescue effort:
Jackson questioned why Bush has not named blacks to top positions in the federal response to the disaster, particularly when the majority of victims remaining stranded in New Orleans are black: "How can blacks be locked out of the leadership, and trapped in the suffering?"
Rev Jackson seems to forget, however, that President Bush did involve in the efforts Bill Clinton, America's first black president.

3. The R'n'B superstar Kanye West, meanwhile, went even further, accusing President Bush and the authorities of not just sins of omission but also of commission:
During NBC's live broadcast of Concert for Hurricane Relief rapper Kanye West, in what appeared to be an impromptu address, told viewers that National Guardsmen were given the unfair order to shoot at African-Americans on the streets of New Orleans.

In a stumbling, yet defiant statement, West proclaimed that when African-Americans were caught stealing in New Orleans, they were called looters. However when whites were caught, they were just feeding their families.
It might titillate this child of upper middle-class to think that redneck National Guard is going around NO gunnin' down niggaz, but those who remain stranded in the city (majority of them Kanye's fellow African-Americans) could arguably do without armed gangs which are roaming around raping and pillaging.

4. While most have focused on racism, others continues to point to America's other sins (registration required). For example, this from Louis Farrakhan:
Speaking to a large crowd in South Philadelphia last night, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan suggested that the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina was divine punishment for the violence America had inflicted on Iraq.

"New Orleans is the first of the cities going to tumble down... unless America changes its course," Farrakhan said.

"It is the wickedness of the people of America and the government of America that is bringing the wrath of God down," he told several hundred people at Tinsley Temple United Methodist Church.

His remarks were enthusiastically received.
5. The Divine wrath meme is not, of course, restricted to a fringe Muslim sect. This, from a group calling themselves Columbia Christians for Life:
"The image of the hurricane . . . with its eye already ashore at 12:32 p.m. Monday, August 29, looks like a fetus (unborn human baby) facing to the left (west) in the womb, in the early weeks of gestation (approx. 6 weeks)...

"Louisiana has 10 child-murder-by-abortion centers," the groups says, and "five are in New Orleans."
And from another one, Repent America:
Philadelphia-based Repent America issued a statement calling Hurricane Katrina an "Act of God" that destroyed a "wicked city" just days before Southern Decadence.

The group blames the city's previous three mayors, and every citizen in New Orleans, for tolerating and welcoming such "wickedness" as Southern Decadence and Mardi Gras.
Not wanting to engage in theological debates (yes, I know, there is Biblical basis for the whole concept - the Great Flood, Sodom and Gommorah, and all that), I prefer to believe in a God that doesn't need to cause $100 billion worth of damage and kill possibly thousands of people just to close down five abortion clinics and stop a few homosexuals from prancing around.

6. The bad timing award goes to Rep Dennis Hastert:
House Speaker Dennis Hastert says it makes no sense to spend billions of dollars to rebuild New Orleans, which is seven feet under sea level.
A good point for a debate, but maybe after everyone's rescued and water recedes? (Hastert later corrected himself: "It is important that when we rebuild this historic city that we consider the safety of the citizens first. I am not advocating that the city be abandoned or relocated. My comments about rebuilding the city were intended to reflect my sincere concern with how the city is rebuilt to ensure the future protection of its citizens and not to suggest that this great and historic city should not be rebuilt.")

7. And the bad taste award goes to Steve Dahl from WCKG-FM (105.9) afternoon show:
I have sent away for five pounds of Chocolate Babies to act as 'floaters' in the new drink I'll be inventing this week: The Floating Corpse. ... I'm thinking Creme de Cacao, Kahlua, some rum, maybe a little cream and a floating Chocolate Baby.

"Of course, I'll fine tune that and come up with a 'secret ingredient' or two, but that's the general cocktail framework that I'm thinking of presently. Sort of a Mudslide, without the mud. More of a Muddy Waters.

"Also, just for the record, the Chocolate Baby thing is not meant to be racist in any way. Yes, there have been a lot of African Americans on TV being rescued and the like, but they don't make anything other than Chocolate Babies or Licorice Babies, and it seemed to me that chocolate was less offensive. It's a judgment call. If they made Strawberry Babies, I would have ordered five pounds of them too."
Still tasteless.

8. And yes, it was definitely election time in Germany, as another local politician, Reinhard Buetikofer, chose to stick the boot in President Bush:
Green party boss Reinhard Buetikofer has joined colleague Juergen Trittin in his criticism of the Bush administration in the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Buetikofer attacked President Bush as an "ecological reactionary" who "conducts an energy policy in the interests of the oil and atomic power lobbies."
As the headline on MSNBC puts it, "On Katrina, Europeans extend help, criticism."

9. And lastly, why not read the reflections of demgurl, one of the denizens of the Democratic Underground, on her refusal to help a family with a "W" sticker on their car. At least she's now torn: "I feel really bad as a human being... On the other hand, so many hateful thoughts went through my head."

And there's more: Rev Jessie Jackson, quoted above as calling for affirmative action in rescue efforts, now completely loses connection with reality:
"The UN relief effort for the tsunami was superior to the US effort for New Orleans and Louisiana. For American citizens, we deserve better."
Of course, for the first few weeks there was no UN relief effort for the tsunami, there was only the American and allied effort. Unless the Reverend is arguing that doing nothing is still better than what the American authorities have done so far. Go figure.

Al Qaeda is Iraq is sending its best wishes:
"God attacked America and the prayers of the oppressed were answered... The wrath of the All-powerful fell upon the nation of oppressors. Their dead are in the thousands and their losses are in the billions... Only recently America killed and starved whoever it wanted, but today it is appealing for oil and food."
Take out the reference to God, and it reads like something from the Democratic Underground.

And Celine Dion, who to her great credit is donating $1 million, couldn't help herself:
"How come it's so easy to send planes in another country, to kill everyone in a second, to destroy lives" when Americans need to serve their own country, she said.
Actually, Celine, it's not so easy at all; it usually takes weeks of planning and high levels of organization and coordination. But thanks for asking.


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