Friday, September 02, 2005

Liquid Hiroshima
A friend sent me the link to New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin's talk-show appearance last night, and it's mighty powerful stuff. It's long, but stay through to the end. This guy loves his city and knows the score, and he couldn't be more blunt and articulate in expressing both. The Quote of the Day (so far, anyhow) comes from Jesse Taylor at Pandagon: "Nagin is dealing with a liquid Hiroshima."

Taylor goes on to observe that "while people are suffering and dying, [Nagin]'s got to deal with the 'hard questions' about whether his city should be destroyed or merely given up on." That refers to the statesmanlike wisdom of House Speaker Dennis Hastert--billions to rebuild Iraq, but let's not rebuild New Orleans. What a tool.

Mayor Nagin's bluntness, of course, in addition to being inappropriately political in this time that is not for asking questions, is unseemly. Robin Meade of CNN Headline News made an idiot of herself this morning, observing that Nagin's interview was filled with something she called "feelingness." Then she warned parents to "put your hands over the ears of any children" before Headline News broadcast a cut from the interview--only to be betrayed by her control room when they played the wrong cut, in which the strongest expletive was "doggone."

The only delicate psyches in danger of being wounded by Nagin's words are those of George W. Bush, officials in his administration, and their apologists, who don't like the fact that the administration's true colors are finally being revealed to the country as a whole. As the Mighty Krugman put it today:
At a fundamental level, I'd argue, our current leaders just aren't serious about some of the essential functions of government. They like waging war, but they don't like providing security, rescuing those in need or spending on preventive measures. And they never, ever ask for shared sacrifice.
It's not about public service with them, it's about the exercise of power and the pursuit of ideology. But now, here comes the basic test of any government--can it provide for its citizens in time of need--and they're failing it. Many--but not all--of Bush's supporters on the right are trying to apologize for his government's incompetence, trying to spin it as something else, trying to blame the victims, trying to change the subject. Except this time, it's not working. The emperor really has no clothes, and everybody's pointing and staring.

Recommended Reading: Here's another Repug plan that isn't working--the abstinence education program at Timken High School in Canton, Ohio. Just another glorious triumph for right-wing ideologues.

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