Thursday, September 01, 2005

MASTERING DISASTER...NOT

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Cartoon by Elaine Meinel Supkis

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

My father-in-law just called. He believes what corporate executives say and on the economic TV cable channels the Masters of the Universe are all over the place saying that our oil and gas won't be disrupted hardly at all. Yup. So the price of oil on the exchanges halted its relentless climb that has been going on for about.....three years now.

Heh. From Reuters:
President Bush said on Thursday looters plundering stores in New Orleans and elsewhere in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina should be treated with "zero tolerance" and warned gasoline sellers against charging artificially high prices.

As the crisis along the U.S. Gulf Coast intensified, the White House announced that the president's father, former President George Bush, and former President Bill Clinton, will lead a fund-raising effort in the United States for hurricane relief, as they did for the December 26 Asian tsunami.
After spending years villifying Clinton, Bush once again has to beg the old dog for help! This is too funny. I hope Clinton makes certain Bush does some bootlicking while he is at it.
The president urged Americans to conserve gasoline as prices soared in response to short supplies.
This flies in the face of all the stuff my FIL just told me his TV told him. Namely, there is a problem and it is severe enough for our bubble boy to beg us to not drive our cars to the mall every day. Or take trips, for that matter. But did he say that?

NO.

He just gave a vague wave of the hand and said, we should "conserve" without outlining exactly what that means, did he? Nor will his minions make suggestions. I remember Jimmy Carter and how he gave specific instructions including creating car pools, rationing gas days, etc.

He was a great President. The people hated him for it.
In an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," Bush drew no line between those looting stores for survival supplies like food and water and those stealing television sets that are of no use with electricity out in New Orleans.

"I think there ought to be zero tolerance of people breaking the law during an emergency such as this, whether it be looting, or price-gouging at the gasoline pump or taking advantage of charitable giving, or insurance fraud," Bush said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."
Richie Rich, the bubble boy Bush, never had to fend for himself. He can't and won't understand anything. Besides, what is "zero tolerance"? It is empty words unless backed up with something concrete such as an order to shoot to kill anyone violating cerfew, for example.
"If people need water and food, we're going to do everything we can to get them water and food. But it's very important for the citizens in all affected areas to take personal responsibility and assume kind of a civic sense of responsibility so the situation doesn't get out of hand, so people don't exploit the vulnerable," Bush said.
Marie Antonbush wants them to eat cake, doesn't he? He will grandly hand out the cake when he is good and ready. They just need patience and wait at the palace doors and eventually he will get around to doing this.

Well. I knew this would happen nearly a week ago. If I were President, I would have had the supplies and means of servicing a city prepared before the hurricane hit. Certainly, as it ground through the city, I would not have gone to an Arizona golf resort to talk about WWII and Social Security! I would have been at Command Central (aka, the White House) coordinating the impending clean up! He just arrived yesterday and had a genial, lacksidasical meeting there. They then paraded into the Rose Garden where he gave vague, evasive answers and then they tooped out. No hurry. No running. No energy was displayed. Just la de dah.

From the NYT:

Hurricane Katrina's storm surge - the wall of water it pushed ashore when it struck the Gulf Coast on Monday - was the highest ever measured in the United States, scientists said yesterday.

Stephen P. Leatherman, director of the International Hurricane Research Center at Florida International University, said the surge at Bay St. Louis, Miss., was 29 feet. Scientists from Louisiana State University, using different mathematical models, said their estimate was lower - 25 feet.

Either way, this hurricane easily surpassed the previous record, the 22-foot storm surge of Hurricane Camille, which struck in 1969 near Pass Christian, Miss., a few miles east of Bay St. Louis.
Camille. I remember that. Came in the height of the Vietnam war. Much of our military and equipment and money was off over in distant lands, fighting Commies (the Chinese leaders belong to the Communist Party today, you know!). We took rather an economic hit that day. It reverberated. The dollar was falling apart, I had just come home from Europe, telling everyone the dollar was losing value over there, riots were happening in America, cities were burning, politicians and civil rights leaders were killed the year before and it was all a big mess. The booming stockmarket/housing market were on their last, heady legs. Then OPEC came from right field just as we reached the Hubbert Oil Peak and the economy nose dived.

You see, events matter. They impact things. If we were riding high, we would still struggle to cope with losing a major city. But even the strongest nation struggles when this happens!

From the NYT:
Americans spent freely for a second straight month in July, driving their personal savings rate down to the lowest level on record, the government reported Thursday.

Text: July Personal Income Report
The Commerce Department said that consumer spending rose 1 percent, matching the strong June increase. Both months saw spending driven higher as consumers flocked to auto showrooms to take advantage of attractive incentive offers automakers were using to reduce a backlog of unsold cars.

Incomes rose a smaller 0.3 percent in July, down from a 0.5 percent gain in June. The combination of a surge in spending and slower income growth sent the personal savings falling to a minus 0.6 percent, the lowest level since the government began keeping these records in 1959.
Oy veh! People were buying gas guzzlers which were on sale. I bought a car because mine died and needed a replacement. I noted in the showroom that my dinky gas miser wasn't that cheap considering the behemoths with all the bells and whistles that were going for less per pound. Namely, a 3,000 lb car was not even double the price of my 1,000 lb baby.

Reporters noted at that time that "No one cares about the price of oil, so long as it is available, they want luxury." Well, it does matter and will matter. We are a nation, not individuals. To survive as a nation, we have to curb certain activities like looting or lazy officials who goof off all the time (impeach Bush!) and so on. Keeping people from guzzling gas is very important and at the top of this list of things to control!

Allowing auto dealers to sell guzzlers cheaper than other cars is insanity. They are still cranking them out, too! Like in the Scorcerer's Apprentice, the brooms keep fetching water!

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