"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Friday, September 02, 2005

Delusions of Adequacy

The river rose all day
The river rose all night.
Some people got lost in the flood;
some people got away alright.
The river half-busted through clear down to Plaquemines.
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline

"Louisiana 1927," Randy Newman

It's getting hard to keep up with just how bad this all is. But for some historical perspective, consider the floods of 1927. Nearly a million people were displaced; 300,000 were fed in 154 Red Cross camps. And then Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, without cell phones or helicopters, managed to coordinate agencies from the Red Cross to the War Department (they were more honest then) and get the job done.

Of course, Mr. Hoover was an engineer, not a lawyer or a failed business man. Maybe that makes the difference.

And he wasn't criminally stupid, either. Imagine FDR saying this during the Depression:

Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch. (Laughter.)

Or this, for that matter:

The faith-based groups and the community-based groups throughout this part of the world, and the country for that matter, are responding. If you want to help, give cash money to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. That's where the first help will come. There's going to be plenty of opportunities to help later on, but right now the immediate concern is to save lives and get food and medicine to people so we can stabilize the situation.

Again, I want to thank you all for -- and, Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job. The FEMA Director is working 24 -- (applause) -- they're working 24 hours a day.

The mind reels with sarcastic replies. But the first question is: "Huh?" And then the realization sets in: "This clueless idiot is in charge."

May the Lord have mercy on us all.

(Title courtesy minusp)


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