Thursday, September 01, 2005

Bush's beans

I remember once reading a short story (I want to say by Harlan Ellison, but that may be way wrong) about a death row inmate who makes a deal with the devil to escape his death in exchange for his soul. The inmate hesitates at first, until the devil explains that his soul, in effect, amounts to no more than his imagination. Upon hearing this the inmate agrees.

As is usual with such bargains, the law of unintended consequences is in full force. As it happens the inmate had been writing out what he wanted for his last meal and had only gotten so far as "beans". And by the rules under which such tales operate, he avoids his doom because the state won't execute him until he has finished his last meal, and the devil has granted him the ability to eat forever. He is therefore destined to sit in his cell doing nothing but eating beans, a fate, suggests the author, which is its own kind of hell.

One could fill many volumes of stories, and you can certainly fill a blog, with nothing more than a list of the things that BushCorp™ gets wrong. But how to decide what's worst about W and his motley crew?

Is it their almost compulsive secrecy or habitual mendacity? Is it their habit of mouthing obeisance to Christian right wedge issues, while simultaneously filling the corporate trough? Is it BushCorp™'s unflagging inability to admit error?

While all this is definitely not good. Clearly BushCorp™'s greatest apparent failing is its lack of imagination.

With the jets turned missles on 9/11, and now with the disasterous flooding wrought by Katerina, BushCorp™'s excuse for its incompetence is the same: who could've imagined? From Bush's interview with Diane Sawyer:

Sawyer: "But given the fact that everyone anticipated a hurricane five, a possible hurricane five hitting shore, are you satisfied with the pace at which this is arriving? And which it was planned to arrive?"

Bush: "Well, I fully understand people wanting things to have happened yesterday. I mean, I understand the anxiety of people on the ground. I can imagine -- I just can't imagine what it is like to be waving a sign saying 'come and get me now'. So there is frustration. But I want people to know there is a lot of help coming.

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm. But these levees got breached. And as a result, much of New Orleans is flooded. And now we are having to deal with it and will."

On the other hand perhaps it's unfair to assign a lack if imagination as the Bushies' worst failing, especially since it's also a lie.

As with the planes of 9/11, New Orleans' burst levees had been anticipated, just not by the administration. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Sunday, August 28:
A computer model run by the LSU Hurricane Center late Saturday confirmed that. It indicated the metropolitan area was poised to see a repeat of Betsy's flooding, or worse, with storm surge of as much as 16 feet moving up the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet and topping levees in Chalmette and eastern New Orleans, and pushing water into the 9th Ward and parts of Mid-City. High water flowing from Lake Pontchartrain through St. Charles Parish also would flood over levees into Kenner, according to the model.

Also flooded would be much of the north shore below Interstate 12, including Slidell, Madisonville, Mandeville and Lacombe, according to the model.

And the model doesn't take into account the 5- to 10-foot waves that would be on top of the surge, which could top levees all along the south shore of the lake.

Then again, W famously doesn't read newspapers, so I guess his ignorance is well-earned.

As is his place in hell.

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