Katrina Isn't Going Away - For Bush, For Anyone:
Last night, on NBC Nightly News with Brian "Behold My Manly Jaw of Objectivity" Williams, a kind of extraordinary thing occurred. Williams ended the broadcast by discussing the mail the program receives about its coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. "While most of the e-mails we get are from folks wanting to thank us for our coverage," Williams said, "an increasing number of them are not." Williams offered examples, like "I'm getting just plain sick and tired of hearing the constant drumbeat about New Orleans" and "Enough. We're sick and tired of THE LONG ROAD BACK." Then, perhaps because it's easy to take a stand against such stupidity, Williams fired back:

"Our Katrina coverage started before Katrina arrived onshore. We were in the Superdome for the storm and then watched what happened in New Orleans during that awful week. We have gone back many times, including this past Monday, and we've gone to Mississippi. We've covered the struggle in Florida and along the Texas coast as we cover any event that causes human suffering. Katrina, though, is different. It displaced two million Americans. It destroyed 350,000 homes. Not all the bodies have been found yet. It exposed cracks in our society. It has us talking about race and class and money and relief. It affected what we pay for gas and what we will pay in taxes. It literally rearranged the map of the Gulf Coast. There are many heroes, but no one villain. Tonight, one of the great American cities is partially in ruins, and many of our fellow citizens are hurting and have nothing left. In some places, nothing's been done yet. And so, while we are reading all the mail, and we enjoy it, we also have a job to do, and we have a big story to cover. And along with the news around the nation and the world each day, we intend to keep covering it."

It ain't the bravest thing that a newscaster has ever done, but it was just damned nice to hear a major media person say that the story ain't goin' away, despite the wishes of viewers. And, of course, despite the wishes of the Bush administration.

For earlier in the broadcast, David Gregory reported on the White House shooting down a widely-supported plan to rebuild New Orleans and said it could be done more cheaply. 'Cause, you know, that hope worked so well in Iraq. Gregory also reported on the White House's refusal to give documents to the bullshit committees investigating the response to Katrina. Indeed, the entire White House response has been the same as it was for the 9/11 Commission, the same as it was for any investigation of the "intelligence failures" on Iraq, the same as it was for any questions about NSA spying, the same as it was for the Plame affair, the same, the same, the same: the President ain't gotta tell you shit 'cause he's the motherfuckin' President, bitches.

These actions caused Senator Joe Lieberman to remove George Bush's balls from his mouth long enough to say, "[T]he White House has produced just a very small portion of the documents we requested. They have opposed efforts to interview their personnel. And they have hindered our ability to obtain information from other federal agencies regarding White House actions in response to Katrina. Almost every question our staff has asked federal agency witnesses regarding conversations with, or involvement of, the White House has been met with a response that they could not answer on direction of the White House. There’s been no assertion of executive privilege; just a refusal to answer."

When Michael "A Hundred Pounds of Shit in a Fifty-Pound Bag" Brown was testifying before a closed door session with the committee, his attorney told him not to reveal "whether he spoke to the president or the vice president, or comment on the substance of conversations." Republican Susan Collins is calling bullshit, saying that it's "inappropriate" that witnesses "have told us when we begin to ask about any communications with the White House" that they've been threatened with an ass-raping by Karl Rove's Sodomizin' Stormtroopers.

Instead of invoking executive privilege, which has some rules regarding its use, the White House is just runnin' out the clock on the investigations, or, in the common lingo, "stonewalling." This has pissed off Louisiana Republican Senator David Vitter, to the point where he removed his face from Bush's anus long enough to catch his breath and say, "There is such a thing as valid executive privilege, but from what I have read, some of the withholding of information and some of the refusal to allow agency representatives to testify goes way beyond that." Then someone reminded Vitter of the Alito vote, and he stuffed his face back between those bony patrician ass cheeks.

This, of course, comes on the heels of the report that the admininstration essentially ignored all warnings, long-term and short-term, about the impact of a strong hurricane on New Orleans. The Department of Homeland Security, in a shocking display of competence, informed the White House 48 hours before Katrina hit that the levees would be breached and chaos would rein. The reports on that and the computer-simulated Hurricane Pam were placed into the bottom file drawer, between the "Holy Fuck, Global Warming's Gonna Kill Us All" file and the "People in Invaded Nations Get Pissed Off and Fight" file. It's right next to the one that says, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack U.S." It's the drawer that Dick Cheney opens and pisses in whenever he's gotta take a leak in the "situation room."

Like so many things in the grand historical fuck-up that is the Bush presidency, Bush just wants to turn away and hope it all works out fine. But, like democracy in Palestine, it doesn't always go the way you want it to. If NBC pisses off its viewers by reminding them, constantly, that there's a tear in the bottom of the nation, that it better be stitched or patched before it rips even further, then maybe those pissed off people will be moved to tell the White House to do something so Katrina doesn't have to pollute their screens anymore. Nah. Chances are they'll just tune out until American Idol tells 'em who to love.

It's Mardi Gras season soon in New Orleans, and the pathetic parades of the damned are going to be rolling, entertaining the roughly one-third of the citizens who are back, bringing in tourists who can pretend it's all normal. The krewes don't even know how many floats they'll have because of the lack of members. There's only two functioning hospitals in the city. How grotesque is it gonna be when the giant smiling Blaine Kern figures are ridin' through the streets where wreckage and ruined lives sit just a block or two away? It's the perfect metaphor, is it not? Smiling empty figureheads waving while the masked riders toss worthless beads to broken people?

Travel and Shopping Plug:
The Rude Pundit actually recommends heading up the road a piece to Lafayette, Louisiana, which has its own grubby-souled Mardi Gras. Not as elaborate as New Orleans, it's a helluva party. And no Katrina corpses to be found.

And the Rude Pundit's got friends who run a store of Mardi Gras and New Orleans merchandise and just generally cool shit. It's called Masks and Make-Believe, and, after being closed for a few months after the storm, it's up and runnin', sellin' stuff on the web (the actual store in New Orleans is still being worked on). This is their big season. Give 'em a click, especially if you're shoppin' for yer favorite feather queen or Eyes Wide Shut orgy fan.