Tuesday, January 13, 2009

George W. Bush, can you please go now?

Admittedly, it's a pointless endeavor, but then, what's a blog for?

"More people need to have their own home there," Bush said. "But the systems are in place to continue the reconstruction in New Orleans. You know, people said, 'Well, the federal response was slow.' Don't tell me the federal response was slow when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed."
The now-infamous statement of George W. Bush on Katrina. I'm curious about the number he quoted, but notice what he says here: "But the systems are in place to continue the reconstruction in New Orleans."

Wow. And Katrina was, what, 3+ years ago? Good to know "systems are in place," huh?

But back to that number? Where the heck does it come from? No one seems to know, (see., e.g., here and here) though the consensus (such as it is), is that Bush took it from the number of people reportedly at the Superdome during the flood. Just doing a rough calculation of one helicopter removing one or more persons (don't even know the load limit of the helicopters that were used, but I know they weren't hauling people off by the busloads in one trip) at a time, and figuring 15-30 minutes per rooftop (takes time to get people into the harness, etc., and every rescue is unique), that would be, what, 7500 to 15,000 hours of rescue time? Or about one to two years, working around the clock.

I guess boats helped out a bit, huh?

Even if my rough calculations are wildly off, consider how many days it took to empty out the Superdome and remove those people, by busloads, to shelters. Many of them had to come to Houston; others went even further away. The evacuation took weeks to finish. Removing 30,000 people one at a time from rooftops by helicopter? A moment's consideration indicates the number is so absurd it should be laughed at. And if this number had come from Ron Paul or Ross Perot or even Dennis Kucinich, it would be.

But it came from our President. And nobody at the press conference so much as did the back of the envelope calculatin to say: "Uh, Mr. President, excuse me but.. wtf?"

Of course, this was a press conference that also included this gem:

Responding to a reporter's question about the observation that the presidency has been called "the loneliest job in the world," Mr. Bush insisted the phrase "burdens of the office is overstated." Feigning emotion he asked, " Why me, the burdens? Why did the financial collapse have to happen on my watch? Its just pathetic; the self pity." In a curious choice of words Mr. Bush recalled, "Even in the darkest moments of Iraq, you know, there was - and every day, when I was reading the reports about soldiers losing their lives, no question there was a lot of emotion, but also there was times where we could be lighthearted and support each other."
So maybe we should just be asking: "Mr. President, can you just go now?"

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