"Throw Me Something, FEMA":
The Louisiana artist George Rodrigue is using his ubiquitous blue dog with the freaky ghost eyes to raise money for the much-Katrina-damaged New Orleans Museum of Art. The three silkscreen prints Rodrigue created are angry, sardonic, and pleading: one features the blue dog with a Mardi Gras mask and the words, "Throw Me Something, F.E.M.A." (which, for the unschooled, is a variation on the bead-begger's cry at Mardi Gras).
Another reads "To Stay Alive We Need Levee 5," meaning, of course, that the levees around New Orleans need to be shored up to handle a Category 5 hurricane if the city is going to exist at all. Upgrading the levees from failed Category 3 "protection" to real Category 5 protection is gonna take years, since the public part of the planning stage is really just getting under way now. Put it this way: there's gonna be a building at Ground Zero in New York City before there's a truly strong levee system in New Orleans, and there ain't gonna be a building finished at Ground Zero for at least a decade.
Meanwhile, in D.C., there's a fuck of a lot of posing going on. Last Friday, whiny little bitch Michael Brown became ankle-biting little bitch Michael Brown as the former head of FEMA decided to spread a little of the hate around to Michael Chertoff and, through implication, the President on who fucked up when on Katrina. Sure, the little slap fight with Norm Coleman was fun enough, since Coleman is just a gigantic head with big teeth, just beggin' fer a beatin'. But, really, and c'mon, we didn't learn a thing beyond that the White House lied about when it learned about when the levees failed (saying that "the White House lied" is essentially equivalent to saying "The sun rose this morning") and that Michael Brown, being a little bitch, cried in his hotel room in frustration and sorrow.
The hits just keep on coming: the GAO reports that the abuse and fraud related to Katrina relief was so massive and pervasive that it may reach into the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars haphazardly paid out by a rudderless, leaderless, planless FEMA and, by extension, DHS; a committee of House Republicans is issuing a report that is, as Christopher Shays claims, "very tough on the president, it's very tough on the Department of Homeland Security. It's a blistering report. But I think it's fair" because the report says there were failures of leadership on a national level, which is another of those "no shit" moments in Congressional investigation.
The Bush administration and, indeed, the President himself were defended by Homeland Security lackey Frances Townsend, who is leading the White House's own "investigation" into "what went wrong" in the response to the hurricane. After Michael Chertoff spoke to the National Emergency Managemen Association, Townsend bizarrely described the President, who as Katrina was bearing down on and then wrecking the Gulf Coast went to two Medicare prescription drug town "meetings" to canoodle with the worshipful elderly and then a VJ Day Commemoration, as well as famously pluckin' the guitar, as "highly engaged in the preparation and response effort, beginning when Katrina was a tropical storm off the coast of Florida." But, you know, "engaged" here seems to mean "yelling at the President through the shitter door on Air Force One that the big storm's a-comin'" for all the attention he paid.
In the end, the Republican Congress can huff and puff all it wants. It can issue reports 'til the end of the next hurricane season calling the Bush administration a bunch of fuckballs who placed bets on which negro on a roof would drown next, and it won't mean a goddamned thing. It can hold hearings where Norm Coleman can attempt to regain his manhood as he moves further down the ladder on who he can harangue. Yes, yes, we need to know what went wrong, who's to blame, all that nice stuff. But the real question to the Congress is, "Now that you know all of this, what are you going to do about it?" And the answer there is, of course, huff and puff a little more until the next Congressional race is over.
Meanwhile, in Lafayette, Louisiana, evacuees evicted from their hotels waited at a local parking lot for buses to take them to the next shelter in Shreveport. In New Orleans, the hotel rooms are already being scrubbed, hopefully for the tourists who will call out to the floats of Mardi Gras for beads, man, throw some beads, fightin' for the trinkets, showin' tits and balls to earn 'em, trying to pretend that things can be normal once more.