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Tuesday, September 13, 2005


"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government. And to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility. I want to know what went right and what went wrong. I want to know how to better cooperate with state and local government, to be able to answer that very question that you asked: Are we capable of dealing with a severe attack or another severe storm?"
George W. Bush, 9/13/2005

Well, we did it. We finally found what it takes to get W to admit he made a mistake. Lying to the world in order to go to war? Not enough. "Bring 'em on" while mothers and fathers watch their children go off to war? Nope. "Mission Accomplished" followed by the combat deaths of 1336 American troops? No regrets there. No, if by nothing else, the reign of the almighty W has been distinguished by an unwavering faith that if George does it, it must be for the best. If George says it, it must be correct. If George thinks it, it must be true. And if George is in the middle of a mess, it must be someone else's fault. But this week that faith was finally pushed to the breaking point.

And all it took was dead bodies bobbing in the streets of a major city. For ten days.

Of course, it wasn't easy. Think of how far we've come from W's back-slapping of September 2nd.

"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," Bush said to then head of FEMA Michael Brown, creating for me yet another WHAT-PLANET-ARE-YOU-ON moment. I used to keep track of them but lost count back in 2001. By the way, Brown is available for any ass-kicking gigs or parties you may be planning. But if the candles on the cake catch the tablecloth on fire, don't count on old Brownie to fetch the fire extinguisher.

So Bush now says he takes responsibility for the slow response of the federal government to the largest natural disaster in American history. Am I wrong or doesn't taking responsibility involve more than just saying that you take responsibility? I know at my job if I deleted a bunch of someone else's files, I'd be expected to do more than just say, "Yep, I trashed 'em. I sure did." I'd then have to figure out a way to get those files back. If contrition were just a matter of saying a few apologetic words, hell, I'd be taking responsibility for a whole mess of stuff. It's the follow through that's a bitch.

W, and I'm guessing that you've heard this before, it's just not that simple. Saying you're sorry is a good first step. Removing Brownie was good too. But now you have to fix the problem. You've got about 40 months before you can retire to your golden years of ATV riding in Crawford and making the help at Kennebunkport laugh at your infantile jokes. Remember the "political capital" you had after your re-election? Do you have any left because this might be a good time to use it. Use it all, please. If the world is as dangerous as you tell us it is, we obviously need a much better system for getting help to people in crisis.

We don't have hurricanes in Southern California. We don't have tornadoes. But we do have earthquakes. Big, fucking earthquakes. We have little ones all the time. The big ones seem to come every couple of decades. The last big one was in 1994 so we're due for another anytime. Watching the news this past weekend, seeing how the people of New Orleans were left to fend for themselves motivated Cindy and me to get together a serious, comprehensive survival kit to keep us safe when that next big one hits. OK, so we didn't get the kit all together. We went online and looked at some cool hand crank radios and flashlights, got bored and watched two DVDs. This is Los Angeles after all. Even emergency management needs to be tempered by some entertainment. And if the big one comes tomorrow before FedEx delivers our hand crank flashlight, then I'll take full responsibility. It'll be really dark, but I'll take responsibility. I mean, what more can I do?


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