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Barbara Bush insults Katrina survivors.
September 6, 2005 1:32 AM   Subscribe

Barbara Bush insults Katrina survivors. Said today while visiting relief efforts at the Houston Astrodome: "Almost everyone I've talked to said we're going to move to Houston. What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. (Said with concern.) Everybody is so overwhelmed by all the hospitality. And so many of the peoples in the arena here, you know, they're underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them." I'd be curious what she'd think after after living there for just a week, much less for months on end, before being sent off to somewhere even further from their homes, friends, and relatives. Please note: This woman raised our president. Did the acorn fall far from the tree?
posted by insomnia_lj (203 comments total)

 
My take on Barbara Bush's fictional stay in the Astrodome:

-----------------------------------

I can just see her, huddled on her army cot, two feet away on each side from all of her neighbors.

Forced to sleep next to the homeless woman who talks to herself and screams in the middle of the night.

Clutching at her stuff for fear that someone will take it.

Only reluctantly leaving her cot to wait in lines at the bathrooms and public showers.

Returning from the showers, only to find her stuff stolen and her cot taken.

Forced to wait in line for thrift store clothing and a blanket, wrapping it around herself, and sleeping in an uncomfortable stadium seat in the upper deck, head covered so that the stadium lights don't keep her awake.

Staying like that until she wakes up with swolen ankles and aches and pains too numerous to mention.

Finally taking someone else's cot, only to have an angry black woman, kids in tow, yelling at her about two inches from her face, the black woman's kids crying, asking where daddy is and wanting to go home, asking questions about their dead, drowned dog that their mother just can't answer.

The family will stay there for six weeks, before getting sent away even further from the city they loved, to another shelter in Nebraska, a thousand miles away from anyone they know, far, far away from their relatives in Alabama, no money to get there anyway, no prospects for the mother to get another job... and they still don't know where daddy has gone.

Yeah. It's really working out very well for them, isn't it?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:41 AM on September 6, 2005


all that needs to be said.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:44 AM on September 6, 2005


My mum has a theory that evacuees were not housed in more centralized areas such as military bases, so as to split up family structures, add distraction and stress, and therefore reduce the likelihood that survivors will successfully organize and protest against the cavalier incompetency shown so far. If I was in the group of survivors, I think I'd have many reasons to be upset right now, Barbara Bush's ridiculously elitist rant aside.
posted by Rothko at 1:59 AM on September 6, 2005


What's interesting is that both points are valid in isolation and probably could be made in a much more sensitive manner. And so it seems to me that what we find objectionable about her comment isn't so much the substance, but rather that the context of the substance (her phrasing, her non-verbal expression) reveals an ugly hidden meaning. This is usually how it is in such things.

Specifically, obviously it's a matter of concern and trepidation that a large refugee population descends permanently on one's city. For practical reasons. But one suspects that it's not the practical difficulties that most alarm Mrs. Bush.

Similarly, I don't doubt that as a result of settlement elsewhere and the various aid that is surely coming, not a few children will grow up in better conditions than they would have otherwise in the self-perpetuating traps that are most of the inner-city ghettos. On the other hand, a whole lot of those people will just settle in Houston's ghetto. And, of course, in the context of death and the loss of one's home and everything one holds dear, such abstract future possibilities are well-nigh irrelevant. In this case, it is Mrs. Bush's obliviousness to that simple, obvious, personal reality that makes her comment offensive. It reveals an intense lack of empathy that, it is easy for us to suspect, is directly a function of just how poor and black and alien these people seem to her.

And, as insomnia_lj says, we can see here something quite like Bush's malapropisms. Those who make these errors are invariably utterly stunned that their words could have given offense—it is their selective blindness that makes these malapropisms possible and it is their selective blindness that makes it impossible for them to recognize their mistake. I find that pretty interesting.

Insofar as this matters—and we should consider that one could make a similar argument that focusing on Barbara Bush's gaffes is itself a sort of insenitivity borne of privilege—it points to the larger cultural blindness that made this tragedy possible.

On Preview: My mum has a theory that evacuees were not housed in more centralized areas such as military bases, so as to split up family structures, add distraction and stress, and therefore reduce the likelihood that survivors will successfully organize and protest against the cavalier incompetency shown so far.

Wow, that explains a lot.

Not about the refugee situation, but about you.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:14 AM on September 6, 2005


Wow, that explains a lot...about you.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:14 AM EST on September 6 [!]


Does Dios pay you by the word?
posted by Rothko at 2:20 AM on September 6, 2005


Similarly, I don't doubt that as a result of settlement elsewhere and the various aid that is surely coming, not a few children will grow up in better conditions than they would have otherwise in the self-perpetuating traps that are most of the inner-city ghettos.

Camping is great fun. Refugee camping is free great fun!
posted by srboisvert at 2:23 AM on September 6, 2005


Not about the refugee situation, but about you.

Right back atcha, EB!
posted by qwip at 2:25 AM on September 6, 2005


Does Dios pay you by the word?

I wish.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:25 AM on September 6, 2005


I wish.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:25 AM EST on September 6 [!]


No doubt. I wish I could figure out whether you're a troll or a windbag, though. Probably both.
posted by Rothko at 2:29 AM on September 6, 2005


Damn. I hate to do this, but, E.B., you are really the last person who should be making a comment like that. Your torrent of words also end up revealing a great deal about you - which most people refrain from addressing. But to see you say something like that is too much. If nothing else, have a little self-preservation instinct, won't you?

Very sorry for the derail. As to Barbara Bush... I've always had the impression that she's something of a monster. Now I know that she's also a profoundly stupid monster. So, "yes" on the acorn/tree thing.
posted by taz at 2:30 AM on September 6, 2005


Someone one wrote something along the lines of "Don't ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by stupidity" or something along those lines. I have my own explanation, of course. However, I think Rothko's mum goes a little far.
posted by pjern at 2:34 AM on September 6, 2005


s /one wrote/once wrote/ *sigh*
posted by pjern at 2:35 AM on September 6, 2005


"...which most people refrain from addressing"

Where've you been? People draw the facile conclusion and repeat it ad naseum.

Rothko's mom's theory is self-refuting in several ways and is just plain nutty. I happen to think that Rothko is nutty, and so I couldn't resist the tweak. But perhaps I should have just focused on how incredibly stupid and thoughtles her theory really is.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:36 AM on September 6, 2005


.
posted by mumble at 2:41 AM on September 6, 2005


This tragedy in LA opens up an opportunity for the US to make a real investment in its people. What if we took a couple billion from the war in Iraq and invested in our own infrastructure? Build amazing schools for the cities that take in refugees. Staff those schools with skilled and well paid teachers and administrators. Give full state school scholarships to anyone who qualifies. Build housing that we would all want to live in and mix in the displaced with folks who already live in the community. Create works programs that pay a better than living wage and allow anyone who needs experience and training to get it - and make the experience and training relevant (not just planting trees and cleaning up damaged areas). I guarantee if you give people the opportunity to be well educated and self reliant, they will become amazing additions to any community.

Wait..., that would just make a bunch of people who are now capable of voting against the current regime. So, it won't happen.

But it should happen. There is no downside to helping people get out of a never ending cycle of poverty, except to threaten those who already have wealth and success and believe it is their "entitlement" that must be protected and hoarded, rather than shared. It never ceases to amaze me that a country that describes itself as so "christian" is also the one that is so lacking in what that philosophy entails. Do unto others...

I truly believe that we should live in a society that rewards those that work hard and help themselves - but only if we are all starting from the same line. GW didn't start at the same place many of the displaced began, and if he had, his base talents would have him digging ditches. That's not hyperbole on my part. This is not someone who would have been successful without relying heavily on those who already were successful. Now let Bush use his influence to give the same opportunity to everyone else. Do unto others.
posted by qwip at 2:50 AM on September 6, 2005


However, I think Rothko's mum goes a little far.

Maybe. We both simply think out loud, occasionally, to chew over ideas back and forth. But it has to be asked how evacuees — family members — will eventually reunite, given many of them have no home to which they can return. Which is kind of telling — and why I put forth my mum's brief thought — given what Barbara said:

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this—this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."

Are they exiles or evacuees? Are they staying in Houston permanently (despite Bush's nervousness) or returning home? Is there a benefit from a crisis management standpoint in splitting up families or keeping them together? Will help be provided to families to reunite? I think these are more interesting questions than an inappropriate comment that some rich lady would be expected to say anyway.

On preview: I appreciate your attempt to troll, EB, but it won't work. You've established you're an ignorant jerk (again), and so I've learned not to particularly care what you have to say.
posted by Rothko at 2:53 AM on September 6, 2005


the bush clan make the windsors seem in touch.
posted by quarsan at 2:54 AM on September 6, 2005


So, Barabara sees that the peasants have no bread, and suggests that they'll enjoy the cake of Texan hospitality. I believe it's traditional to reach for the guillotine at times like this.
posted by jack_mo at 2:57 AM on September 6, 2005 [1 favorite]


EB, you managed to annoy even taz, of all people, for chrissakes -- why don't we all just agree that mrs Bush's word are obscenely elitist and coldhearted and wait for our wingnut friends* to show up in this thread and watch them try to defend her statement?

she's also a profoundly stupid monster.

OK, I'll try to defend her: maybe she's just senile.

or all of the above, and old age made her less diplomatic than she used to be, and for once she said what she really thinks, what she once used to tell sottovoce only to her lilywhite friends at various Texas/Connecticut country clubs, wink wink nudge nudge.
posted by matteo at 3:04 AM on September 6, 2005


and try to imagine if Hillary Clinton's mom had just said that yes, US soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq risk their lives but most of them come from underprivileged backgrounds anyway, so this--this (*chuckles slightly*) is working very well for them because if they survive they won't have to go back to their trailer parks/barrios and the Federal government's hospitality saved them a lot of trouble anyway.
just imagine that -- Drudge, Fox, the Internet right wing thugs would burn her at the stake like they do so well. dragging behind them the "liberal media" like the lapdog it essentially is.
they'd turn Hillary's mom into this month's Cindy Sheehan -- innocent fodder for another media gangbang.

but Momma Bush is clearly above criticism. oh, and if you complain too much they'll attack you because you're mean to little old ladies
posted by matteo at 3:13 AM on September 6, 2005


And so many of the peoples in the arena here, you know, they're underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them.

Contempt for the poor, unrestricted vicious irrational and expressed as if they should be glad that the hurricane sent them into the hands of others , even if some of the others are good kind hearthed people ?

The exiled poet Dante Alighieri wrote about 7-8 hundred years ago in his Divine Comedy

Thou shalt prove
How salt the savour is of other's bread,
How hard the passage to descend and climb
By other's stairs


Canto XVII
posted by elpapacito at 3:19 AM on September 6, 2005


I was actually told yesterday "why couldn't they evacuate from the city....they have public transportation."
posted by SweetIceT at 3:30 AM on September 6, 2005


but Momma Bush is clearly above criticism. oh, and if you complain too much they'll attack you because you're mean to little old ladies

This isn't the worst thing to come out of Barbara Bush. That title will always be taken by Dubya.
posted by srboisvert at 3:30 AM on September 6, 2005


Barbara Bush has always been a real elitist, and her statements often have a tone of superiority. This disgusting sound bite demonstrates that she really believes she is of the priveged class, and resents the sense of entitlement these lowlife underclass colored people are enjoying by being moved into her vicinity. Disgusting. Makes me truly ashamed. She embarrasses me. I hate that this may be widely reported overseas. Another horrific impression for US. The ugly Americans...
posted by Cincinnati_Craig at 4:03 AM on September 6, 2005


Hey, we've got Prince Phillips in the UK... Everyone sort of ignores him though, he's sorta a museum exhibit anyway...
posted by Meccabilly at 4:12 AM on September 6, 2005


*Phillip
posted by Meccabilly at 4:12 AM on September 6, 2005


Not surprising from a woman that killed her ex-boyfriend.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:21 AM on September 6, 2005


That's Laura, c_o, not barbar.
posted by psmealey at 4:23 AM on September 6, 2005


c_o c_d
posted by psmealey at 4:24 AM on September 6, 2005


What if we took a couple billion from the war in Iraq and invested in our own infrastructure?

hmmm 1M DPs ("displaced person", a wartime term that seems appropriate), $30,000yr in benefits = $30B/yr, half the cost of the Iraq war.

I *do* think N.O., provided we can clean up the toxic stew, might make a good chance for a planned city like Canberra or Brasilia (don't laugh). Light rail (guess a subway's right out LOL), medium density walkable neighborhoods, high land value taxes and low income taxes, and of course a nuke-proof big-ass dike.

As for Barbara, I believe this quote from Nixon is not apocryphal:

"Now there's a woman who knows how to hate".

As for my fundie quasi-wingnut mom, she thinks (to use the term loosely) all the Bushes pee pure sunshine. W's born-again piety act's got her rooting for him in his efforts to enact God's Plan to save the country from Satan's minions, Sr's rapprochement with Clinton raises her estimation of both of them, and she believes the PR about how nice and down-home Barbara is.

But today she did email that Barbara seemed a bit detached from the reality of the situation.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:27 AM on September 6, 2005


Soon they'll be taking jobs (for lower wages) from the illegals! What's happening to our country?
posted by Postroad at 4:29 AM on September 6, 2005


Off topic, but we've been talking about refugees gathering and voting those in charge out of office...I wonder how elections will go in November. It's an odd numbered year, but there have got to be some things worth voting on. Will they be postponed? Are there any state-wide races where the refugees will be unable to vote?
posted by Alison at 4:35 AM on September 6, 2005


That's Laura, c_o, not barbar.

Oooh, my very bad. (backpedaling) Er... like mother like son?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:46 AM on September 6, 2005


More here
posted by IndigoJones at 4:46 AM on September 6, 2005


Another Marie Antoinette ! SAD VERY SAD

HEY PEOPLE OF AMERICA WAKE UP !!!
posted by zouhair at 5:04 AM on September 6, 2005


"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths. Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"
Barbara Bush on ABC's "Good Morning America" on March 18, 2003, objecting to critics of the Iraq war speaking of how many would die.

Scum begets scum.
posted by realcountrymusic at 5:06 AM on September 6, 2005


Snopes has a little more on that quote.
posted by plep at 5:10 AM on September 6, 2005


This is why poor people hate rich people, not "jealousy."
posted by Jatayu das at 5:11 AM on September 6, 2005


Maybe what Rothko's mum says is not so crazy. She's probably right about the effect of splitting up families and communities (do you think these communities will ever be back together in New Orleans?) but most likely wrong about the motive (it was the Illuminanti, no, it was Z.O.G., no, it was the Bilderbergers!).

Already-disenfranchised, poor Americans are not going to be able to organise themselves now that they are even poorer and spread out across the country.
posted by xpermanentx at 5:13 AM on September 6, 2005


I've got a Barbara Bush question: Richard Nixon supposedly said of her something like "Now she's an interesting woman. She really knows how to hate." Does anyone know the exact quote and/or source?
posted by barjo at 5:14 AM on September 6, 2005


Oops, I missed Haywood Mogroot's discussion of that quote. Sorry.
posted by barjo at 5:15 AM on September 6, 2005


Drudge (spit!) has a purported mp3 of Barbara's statement
posted by Babylonian at 5:44 AM on September 6, 2005


Snopes has a little more on that quote.

Snopes isn't exactly unbiased when it comes to politics.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 5:47 AM on September 6, 2005


i don't have a problem with what snopes had on bush, i do have a problem with all the F**king pop ups.
posted by nola at 6:04 AM on September 6, 2005


so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them

Wow

"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths. Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

Barbara Bush on ABC's "Good Morning America" on March 18, 2003, objecting to critics of the Iraq war speaking of how many would die.


Wow

If both those quotes are accurate.... I really don't know what to say... wow.
posted by twistedonion at 6:10 AM on September 6, 2005


I agree with xpermanentx mostly, the effect is there but the motivation is not. I tend to believe that rather than conspiracy dividing these families, its just another side-effect of the massive incompetence.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:12 AM on September 6, 2005


I wonder what she thinks about panhandlers?
posted by dreamsign at 6:15 AM on September 6, 2005


Here's the Marketplace show [RealPlayer direct link] so you can hear it directly. BB's comments are about 45 seconds in. Clinton reports the "same sentiments" from evacuees rather differently.
posted by dilettanti at 6:33 AM on September 6, 2005


This is an extremely boring conversation.
posted by mono blanco at 6:38 AM on September 6, 2005


Can people stop calling them refugees? They're Americans! You know, in America.

Fellow. Citizens. Not. Refugees.
posted by zarah at 6:43 AM on September 6, 2005


Oops! IndigoJones beat me to it (um... on preview?). At any rate, the quotes are accurate. Not that that should surprise anyone.... Barbara Bush has always reminded me a bit of Madame Defarge. One is a big-R Republican, the other a small-r republican, but they both scare me silly.
posted by dilettanti at 6:44 AM on September 6, 2005


What is wrong with refugee, are they not seeking refuge?
posted by Pollomacho at 6:45 AM on September 6, 2005


The Bush's affliction: An intense lack of empathy
posted by acrobat at 6:47 AM on September 6, 2005


My mum has a theory that evacuees were not housed in more centralized areas such as military bases, so as to split up family structures, add distraction and stress, and therefore reduce the likelihood that survivors will successfully organize and protest against the cavalier incompetency shown so far. If I was in the group of survivors, I think I'd have many reasons to be upset right now, Barbara Bush's ridiculously elitist rant aside.

Just to put Rothko's mother's suggestion in a bit of perspective, it is almost exactly what the Canadian government did when "reintegrating" Japanese Canadians from internment camps after WWII. Extended families were sent to "resettle" in separate provinces, always different from their province of origin. It went a long (intentional) way towards keeping people from protesting the terrible treatment they got from their government.

I'm not saying the intent is there in America now (I have no idea), but it's certainly been a consideration for governments in the past. I don't think it deserves full on "conspiracy theory" disgrace.
posted by carmen at 6:50 AM on September 6, 2005


I don't understand the outrage I'm hearing all over the place about using the term "refugees." People keep saying, "but they're Americans!"
How is that relevant? Do some people have a different understanding of the word "refugee" than I do?
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:56 AM on September 6, 2005


I hear that Houston has also insulted them by invoking a curfew from 2300 to 0500 at the dome. Apparently neighboring communities are becoming "concerned."

I would think it a safe bet that there are going to be many, many, many more insults coming. As the evacuees start to wear out their welcome where ever they wind up staying.

What is wrong with refugee, are they not seeking refuge?

Look up the definition of the words refugee and evacuee. They are evacuees. It just seems to be a bit silly to waste time worrying about it right now.

Bad call by the media labeling them such.
posted by a3matrix at 7:07 AM on September 6, 2005


I'm surprised the Bush family hasn't invited a few hundred African-American refugees back to their place. After all, they do own several large mansions, I believe. I'd have thought it would be a politically very astute move.

And they do believe ever so strongly in Christian charity, don't they?

zarah, "Refugees" is the right word. The fact that they happen to come from America doesn't mean that they're not refugees.

Off-thread a little, but do you think that all the foreign refugees in the world are any less deserving of help than American refugees? If so, why?

Bear in mind that many of them have been made refugees by American military and/or economic activity.
posted by cleardawn at 7:07 AM on September 6, 2005


CunningLinguist: word. I think the cultural context is that refugee is akin to helpless, and in America helpless is akin to worthless.
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:12 AM on September 6, 2005


What was the old Dead Kennedys song again? "Kill The Poor"?

/really hoping the repubs don't get reelected in 2008
posted by huskerdont at 7:12 AM on September 6, 2005


Cunning Linguist: having crossed a national border is part of the legal definition of refugee. People who meet all the requirements but have not crossed a national border are referred to as internally displaced persons. The US government itself defines it this way.
posted by leapingsheep at 7:12 AM on September 6, 2005


Considering that an "evacuee" is a person who is evacuated from an area, I would definitely call these refugees.
posted by dreamsign at 7:12 AM on September 6, 2005


*I meant to write that its part of the legal definition under international law.
posted by leapingsheep at 7:13 AM on September 6, 2005


"Refugee" suggests a starving victim of oppression and/or disaster in the third world, rescued from their terrible plight and welcomed into the ample bosom of the first world. Some people object to the term used internally because, well, draw your own conclusions.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:14 AM on September 6, 2005


So here this is how free speech works here in the "Daily Kos Mirror":

when Kayne West spoils a charity event with conjecture, its "speaking truth to power". When Barbara Bush voices the concern be tough for her city to handle 30,000 additional welfare reciptients in 140,000 new residents, she's "insulting"?

This guy should shut up too, and start happy talking?

Houston Chronicle

As Houston City Council authorized spending up to $10 million for Katrina-related costs Monday, expecting it would be federally reimbursed, members posed questions and some concerns for the mayor.

Almost every one had received worried calls from constituents. The thugs who shot at police and terrorized the Superdome must be here, too, the constituents said.

Minister Robert Muhammad, southwest regional minister for the Nation of Islam, said he had talked to the displaced and tended to agree that some toughs had arrived...But, Muhammad cautioned, "the ward wars that take place in New Orleans have now moved to Houston."

posted by dand at 7:15 AM on September 6, 2005


post-preview -- that sounds right, leapingsheep. general enough not to offend nor to point to any particular cause.

"third world" has nothing to do with it, Armitage, except as more disparaging baggage from those who like to see a bright line between their countrymen and the rest of the world. as if there have been no European refugees. (my grandparents were two)
posted by dreamsign at 7:17 AM on September 6, 2005


Can people stop calling them refugees? They're Americans!

They're not poor, they're Americans.
They're not prisoners, they're Americans.
They're not black, they're Americans.

I think we can agree that's pretty stupid. "Refugee" is a word that describes a person's state: displaced from their homes. I don't think it's inappropriate. If the word makes you shudder because you're only used to hearing about it in the 3rd world, well, good.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:18 AM on September 6, 2005


Refugee, evacuee... bleh. I prefer survivors. It gives them an appropriate amount of dignity and respect.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:18 AM on September 6, 2005


From civil_disobedient's not-entirely-unbiased link above:

"Laura Bush, a premeditated, child torture butcher, should not be permitted unsupervised access to the President of the United States."


At this point, I suspect quite a few people would happily permit premeditated child torture butchers as much unsupervised access to the President as they want.

From dand's link, maybe some of the fine white folks of Houston are finally going to get to meet the neighbors, too. Not necessarily a bad thing.

If only the populations of Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Congo could be there too.
posted by cleardawn at 7:21 AM on September 6, 2005


"third world" has nothing to do with it, Armitage, except as more disparaging baggage from those who like to see a bright line between their countrymen and the rest of the world.

Well, yeah, that's my point.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:21 AM on September 6, 2005


Dand:

You are (intentionally?) missing the point here. People are not objecting to the fact that Houston's dealing with 140,000 new residents is going to be tough. What they are objecting to is Barbara's making light of the fact that those people have lost everything in their lives and that living in the Astrodome is a step up for them.
posted by octothorpe at 7:26 AM on September 6, 2005


I'd have to go with intentional missing of the point, #.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:29 AM on September 6, 2005


I'm surprised the Bush family hasn't invited a few hundred African-American refugees back to their place. After all, they do own several large mansions, I believe. I'd have thought it would be a politically very astute move.

Maybe this is something the Clintons should consider, or the Kerrys, or the Edwards family. If some prominent Democrats stepped in, maybe it would shame some others into doing the same.

Find a family. Feed and clothe them. Harbor them in the guest house. Get the kids some tutoring and then private school. Pay for college.

I'm sure that some will point out the flaws in this plan, but you can't ask the Republican Elite to do something that the Democrats won't do.

My bigger concern is the total disconnect between the insular rich and the poor. There is no empathy partly because there is no imagination. Also because there is no exposure to the very real desperate conditions that the poor live in.

Which is why mandatory civil service looks better and better to me. Every 18 year old in this country should be required to serve their country. Maybe by living with the poorest of the poor in the inner city for two years, some of the Ultra elite (I'm talking about you, Paris Hilton!) could develop the glimmerings of understanding as to what degradations those without resources must endure.

Quick personal anecdote: At age 10 when I read a novel about a poor black girl trying to better herself, I asked my mom whey she didn't just go to the library. My mom explained why until I "got it." No transportation. No school library. And no ideas as to how to get help. It was a turning point for me in understanding the difference between being low, low middle class white and being poor and black.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:37 AM on September 6, 2005


Hmmm, okay, so I looked it up and while many dictionaries don't include the "leaving their nation" aspect of the definition, several do. But I'm sorry, "internally displaced person" isn't going to cut it. And "evacuee," as mentioned above, is too bitterly ironic.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:38 AM on September 6, 2005


What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas.

Why is it scary?
posted by kirkaracha at 7:39 AM on September 6, 2005


Drudge has an mp3 up.
posted by woil at 7:39 AM on September 6, 2005


Rothko's 100% correct. Please read the actual literature that the U.S. armed forces use to address the prevention and mitigation of insurgencies abroad. It's not too much of a leap to conjecture that they would use the same learning in this situation.
posted by By The Grace of God at 7:40 AM on September 6, 2005


Refugee, evacuee... bleh. I prefer survivors. It gives them an appropriate amount of dignity and respect.

Can't we just go the 9/11 route and call every victim a "hero"?
posted by dreamsign at 7:43 AM on September 6, 2005


Why is it scary?

It's scary because they're poor and black, and in Barbara's "beautiful" mind that equals criminals and unsuitable. She's also pissed (and scared) they're no longer invisible too.

They're all terribly poor examples of human beings.
posted by amberglow at 7:47 AM on September 6, 2005


These are the possibly relevant OED definitions for refugee (n):

1. a. One who, owing to religious persecution or political troubles, seeks refuge in a foreign country; orig. applied to the French Huguenots who came to England after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.

b. A runaway; a fugitive from justice, etc. rare.

d. Someone driven from his home by war or the fear of attack or persecution; a displaced person.

Definition (d) 'displaced person' seems to suggest that being a refugee could apply to someone displaced within a country but the common use of (a) certainly goes to the worries people have about use of the term in the current context.
posted by biffa at 7:48 AM on September 6, 2005


Which is why mandatory civil service looks better and better to me.

People are starting to talk about a new New Deal and WPA to rebuild.

But it's inevitable that we'll have the opposite, with no-bid contracts to GOP cronies.
posted by amberglow at 7:49 AM on September 6, 2005


"still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest"
posted by girard31 at 7:51 AM on September 6, 2005


more on the coming looting -- ...In fact, if you were ever planning to become a Republican or give money to Republicans, by all means, do it now. Because all of the GOP patronage and pay-for-play operation that we've seen up till this point was probably just a prelude to what's coming. ...
posted by amberglow at 7:52 AM on September 6, 2005


It's not too much of a leap to conjecture that they would use the same learning in this situation.

Yes, yes, yes it is too much of a leap.

Not because the idea wouldn't occur to the bastards who run this administration, but because A) They're too incompetent to even manage the most basic elements of the crisis, much less mastermind an orchestrated diaspora program within it; and B) It wouldn't work here. This is America, where say what you will about it, people are inundated with mass media and electronic communication and the surviving family members will inevitably hook back up - and if there's any evidence whatsoever for this kind of cunning plan, will slam the administration so hard they'll wish they'd never stolen the 2000 election.

Jesus, I can't believe we're discussing this as though it had any merit at all. I also believe the pile-on on EB was ridiculous for one little snark at Rothko, who's made that form of discourse his stock in trade.
posted by soyjoy at 7:53 AM on September 6, 2005


Some of the things I've read about that woman have made me feel sympathetic towards George W.!
From a Salon article interviewing an old friend of the family:
[Jimmy Allison] was hoping to use the visit in Florida to convince Bush to turn down the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee because he didn't trust Nixon or his palace guard. "He had been so appalled at the Ehrlichman, Haldeman, Colson group, and he thought they'd sacrifice George. He just wanted to warn him, as a friend," Allison told me.

Then later, as the Allisons took their leave, Barbara "thanked" them for their Christmas present with unexpected cruelty. "She said, 'I'm so sorry, but we've been so busy this year that we didn't have time to do anything for our political acquaintances.' I swear to God, I'll never forget those two words as long as I live. For her to say that was absolutely appalling. Mind you, Jimmy was an old, old friend. And I had stayed as a houseguest with the Bushes, been invited in my pajamas into their bedroom to read the papers and drink coffee while Bar rode her exercise bicycle.

"Big George was just stricken by this," Allison continued. "There was a wet bar in the hall on the way to the front door. He grabbed this moldy bottle of Mai Tai that he said had been given to him by the president of China, and he said we just had to have it. Then he plucked this ostrich egg in a beaded bag from a shelf that he said had been given to him by the ambassador to the U.N. from Nigeria or someplace, and gave it to us. Can you imagine how embarrassing that was?"
posted by Aknaton at 7:55 AM on September 6, 2005


Hmmm, okay, so I looked it up and while many dictionaries don't include the "leaving their nation" aspect of the definition, several do. But I'm sorry, "internally displaced person" isn't going to cut it. And "evacuee," as mentioned above, is too bitterly ironic.

It's a matter of connotation, not of strict definition. The word carries associations that aren't applicable here. I don't mind honoring the request of the Congressional Black Caucus that we not use it.
posted by Miko at 7:55 AM on September 6, 2005


They're all terribly poor examples of human beings.

No, they are terribly poor examples of the American Dream. Barbara Bush is a poor example of a human being.
posted by twistedonion at 7:56 AM on September 6, 2005


refuge - n.

1. Protection or shelter, as from danger or hardship.
2. A place providing protection or shelter.
3. A source of help, relief, or comfort in times of trouble.


Someone seeking refuge would be a refugee.

Back on topic, I say we give all internees at Camp Thunderdome a criminal background check as well as a credit check, anyone not suitable should be returned to NO to fend for themselves (then we could film it as a reality show).
posted by Pollomacho at 7:56 AM on September 6, 2005


> objecting to is Barbara's making light of the fact that those people have lost everything in their lives and that living in the Astrodome is a step up for them.

On the evening news in Houston, they have footage of workers handing out drinks and setting up awnings for those in the extremely long lines at the welfare office. They also have peices concerning the decreasing supply of apartments, and how the Feds will supply a check to cover apartment rent.

So with that input, Barbara is likely talking about a step up from Iberville Housing Project to a paid-for Houston apartment.

I guess you could infer "living in the Astrodome" instead of "getting a free apartment" in the two line quote if you wanted.
posted by dand at 7:59 AM on September 6, 2005


Can't we just go the 9/11 route and call every victim a "hero"?

Sure, if you don't mind me losing my lunch all over my keyboard.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:04 AM on September 6, 2005


I guess you could infer "living in the Astrodome" instead of "getting a free apartment" in the two line quote if you wanted.

Yes you could, especially since the two line quote includes the phrase, "many of the people in the arena here."
posted by Pollomacho at 8:07 AM on September 6, 2005


No, they are terribly poor examples of the American Dream. Barbara Bush is a poor example of a human being.

I meant the Bush family--definitely not the evacuated people. sorry if that wasn't clear.
posted by amberglow at 8:07 AM on September 6, 2005


What is wrong with refugee, are they not seeking refuge?

I guess it bothers me because it's a distancing sort of word, that has most definitely been given negative connotations over the years. Since there are so many people that seem to look down on New Orleans already for being poor or mostly black or whatever stupid ass reason, labelling them refugees just seems like a word that will encourage a sense of removal from their needs and rights.
posted by zarah at 8:10 AM on September 6, 2005


I can understand what bothers you, zarah, but maybe that is exactly what doesn't bother me, because I don't see those people we classically view as refugees as being devoid of rights, needs and hope.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:13 AM on September 6, 2005


Yes you could, especially since the two line quote includes the phrase, "many of the people in the arena here."

Maybe dand would like to tackle interpreting "sort of scary" next.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:15 AM on September 6, 2005


All this talk of refuge and now I can't get Nick Cave out of my head:

In the days of madness
My brother, my sister
When you're dragged toward the Hell-mouth
You will beg at the end
But there ain't gonna be one, friend
For the grave will spew you out
It will spew you out!

You better run, you better run
You better run to the City of Refuge
You better run, you better run
You better run to the City of Refuge

You'll be working in the darkness
Against your fellow man
And you'll find you're called to come forth
So you'll scrub and you'll scrub
But the trouble is, bud
The blood it won't wash off
No, it won't come off!

You better run, you better run
You better run to the City of Refuge


Not that it's relevant, but neithers the pointless refugee, not refugee argument.
posted by twistedonion at 8:20 AM on September 6, 2005


"I think everybody is very emotional," Rice said. "It's so hard to watch pictures of any Americans going through this."

Rice agreed that the black community has been heavily affected. But, she said, "nobody wants to see Americans suffer, and I think everybody understand that."


Condoleeza certainly makes clear her views regarding non-Americans suffering. And the fact that it's people SEEING the suffering that really bothers her.

Do people really switch on or off their emotional response to human suffering, depending on which side of a border fence that person happened to be born?
posted by cleardawn at 8:21 AM on September 6, 2005


Thoughts:

-I wonder if 20,000 refugees are enough to turn a red state blue.

-W/r/t Houston, an interesting subject for an FPP, maybe: Why was Houston so prepared? I'm sort of astounded at the degree of organization in Houston. It's rather remarkeable - it looks like they're implementing a very carefully created disaster plan. I didn't think they were a TOPOFF city, but maybe they are, and that's what we're looking at. Dunno. I'd love to put that together, but I'm ostensibly working right now. If anyone wants to...

- w/r/t insensitive Bush family quotes, I'm compiling a list of audio/video files of them. There's one I can't find -- this was after the Alabama press conference on Friday when W spoke about "Trent Lott's house". There was a Q and A afterward. A reporter asked if he was satisfied with the response, and part of his answer was something close to: "We've been hearing rumors of people in New Orleans without any food or medicine, and we'll see if it's true when we get down there." I have been unable to find this in transcript or on video anywhere, although I saw it with my own eyes and roughly transcribed it as it happened. It was either on CNN or MSNBC. If anyone can find a direct source, I would be appreciative.
posted by Miko at 8:21 AM on September 6, 2005


This is getting semantic. Not that's there's anything wrong with that. But the point is that there are many in our country who share Babs' opinion about Our Fellow Americans. In fact, this sort of cavalier attitude toward gaping social inequality is part of what it means to be an American at the beginning of the 21st century.

The point being that yes, Babs is a bitch who deserves to try living out of a dumpster for a few months before she opens her mouth again. I will be hanging her in effigy every night for the next few months at my place. But there's a way to honor your sense of outrage, and to do something about it to insure that the people fanned out across the floor in cots with nothing but the clothes on their backs, the people who Babs is privileged to make the objects of her consdecention, have better choices and better lives. After you've made the power bars-and-blankets donation to the Red Cross, consider a donation to ACORN, a grassroots advocacy organization (based in NOLA) dedicated to fighting for poor communiites across the United States on a variety of fronts- voter registration, environmental justice, labor rights, affordable housing. greenlining. et al. During the rebuilding effort, they will set up temporary offices in NOLA to make sure the city's poorest residents get they help they need- espeically in resoring access to housing and credit.

BTW I have no connection whatsoever to ACORN. I'm jsut disturbed by what this sort of rhertoric (Babs, W's excitement at the prospect of sitting on the porch of Lott's rebuilt vacation home) says about our country, and have been trying to think of ways I can respond to that.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 8:24 AM on September 6, 2005


Here's some figures I'm pulling out of my ass:

$100B+ for cleanup and rebuilding of New Orleans and the Gulf
$200B+ for housing, feeding, clothing, welfare, job training and employment of masses of refugees, both poor and middle class
$200B+ for lawsuits over the incompetency and general bungling of FEMA and the DHS
$200B+ Rising: gas prices, insurance costs, medical costs, debt (thanks to the bankruptcy bill of 2005, most of these people are ineligible) and whatever outlays government will have to make to counter these costs
$200B+ for another two years of Iraq war

These are just wild guesses obviously, and I'm sure I'm forgetting things. But that's another trillion dollars added to our budget over the next few years. And Bush wants to still make tax cuts permanent. Hell, the first item on the congressional agenda is eliminating the estate tax, which adds billions more.

So do you think those Chinese banks are going to keep covering us forever?
posted by fungible at 8:28 AM on September 6, 2005


I don't mind honoring the request of the Congressional Black Caucus that we not use it.

Miko, you've done some really exceptional posting this last week, but I must disagree on this point. The request seems to simultaneously be affirming the dignity of people dispaced by Katrina while looking down their noses at "real" refugees.

"I think everybody is very emotional," Rice said. "It's so hard to watch pictures of any Americans going through this."

Yeah, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to imagine the Secretary of State (ie: minister of foreign affairs) finding it not so hard to watch some other nation's people go through this.
posted by dreamsign at 8:34 AM on September 6, 2005


Can't we just go the 9/11 route and call every victim a "hero"?

And please remember to mention how very "cowardly" Katrina was.
posted by fish tick at 8:38 AM on September 6, 2005



Cleardawn: Condoleeza certainly makes clear her views regarding non-Americans suffering. And the fact that it's people SEEING the suffering that really bothers her.


You're reading too personally into those quotes. Whether or not she felt any empathy, Rice's words were carefully chosen for her. "It's so hard to watch..." is intended to show empathy with the millions of voters who have been following the news, not with the, ahem, survivors themselves. "...any Americans going through this." uses the American-centric cliche to emphasize that the government still cares for these people.

This message-crafting is one of the things I hate most about modern politics. The rare slip like that of Mrs. Bush would be welcome, if it weren't so frightening. Which, of course, is why they don't let it happen too often.

The root problem is that we put too much stock in what they say, rather than investigating what they do.
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:45 AM on September 6, 2005


I say we give all internees at Camp Thunderdome a criminal background check

As I posted in a much earlier thread, they can now (as of Saturday) do this. Originally Texas law enforcement agencies were not permitted to run criminal background checks on refugees, and this refusal became political. Pressure came to bear, and then special permission was granted by the FBI to do criminal histories and warrant checks provided that the check was being done in the context of placing a child in housing. So basically, since it's "for the chiiiildruuuun", you can check anyone who will be staying anywhere a child is, whether the child is a refugee or the offspring of someone providing housing. You can also check relief workers and housing providers who will be coming into contact with children.

Decisions on whether a person is suitable or unsuitable to be around children is up to the law enforcement agency, in consultation with their city or county attorneys as appropriate.

So, if for instance they had 14,999 adults and one child at the Astrodome, they can now check all 14,999 adults. Essentially it's blanket permission with a caveat that is pretty easy to satisfy.

I know this because I work for the state of Texas and I was working in the control room when the APB teletype went out informing all Texas agencies that they can now do this.
posted by beth at 8:45 AM on September 6, 2005


I say we give all internees at Camp Thunderdome a criminal background check

As I posted in a much earlier thread, they can now (as of Saturday) do this. Originally Texas law enforcement agencies were not permitted to run criminal background checks on refugees, and this refusal became political. Pressure came to bear, and then special permission was granted by the FBI to do criminal histories and warrant checks provided that the check was being done in the context of placing a child in housing. So basically, since it's "for the chiiiildruuuun", you can check anyone who will be staying anywhere a child is, whether the child is a refugee or the offspring of someone providing housing. You can also check relief workers and housing providers who will be coming into contact with children.

Decisions on whether a person is suitable or unsuitable to be around children is up to the law enforcement agency, in consultation with their city or county attorneys as appropriate.

So, if for instance they had 14,999 adults and one child at the Astrodome, they can now check all 14,999 adults. Essentially it's blanket permission with a caveat that is pretty easy to satisfy.

I know this because I work for the state of Texas and I was working in the control room when the APB teletype went out informing all Texas agencies that they can now do this.
posted by beth at 8:46 AM on September 6, 2005


"That Americans would somehow, in a color-affected way, decide who to help and who not to help, I just don't believe it," she [Condoleeza] said. "Americans are generous to each other."

That Americans would somehow, in a NATIONALITY-affected way, decide who to help and who not to help, she evidently does believe. And she should know, since that's her job.

In spite of being by far the richest country in the world, Americans are less generous than any other developed nation (except Italy, thank you Silvio Berlusconi) in terms of international aid as a percentage of income.
posted by cleardawn at 8:52 AM on September 6, 2005


The hurricane may well prompt, as Obama said, "a more serious conversation about the plight of people in the inner city."

He warned against using a "false dichotomy" to analyze the situation -- an incorrect assumption that there are only two answers to a question -- whereby the answer to what went on in New Orleans gets boiled down to either a failure of personal responsibility or of mutual, or societal, responsibility.
posted by swift at 8:54 AM on September 6, 2005


I can understand what bothers you, zarah, but maybe that is exactly what doesn't bother me, because I don't see those people we classically view as refugees as being devoid of rights, needs and hope.

Yes, but you have to admit that there are so many people who don't see things the way you do. I guess I'm very prejudiced of the general public and, like Civil Disobedient *ahem*, I expect the worst from them. I suppose I should be giving the majority of people on mefi the benefit of the doubt though. My maternal grandparents were refugees and treated like shit in the country they landed in. That's how my family ended up in Canada instead.
posted by zarah at 8:55 AM on September 6, 2005


"That Americans would somehow, in a color-affected way, decide who to help and who not to help, I just don't believe it," she [Condoleeza] said. "Americans are generous to each other."

Shenanigans! That's the same strategy they used to deflect responsibility for Abu-Ghraib. I can't believe people swallow this shit.
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:00 AM on September 6, 2005


Bush to lead investigation into hurricane debacle.

I'm sure he'll get to the bottom of this!
posted by mazola at 9:02 AM on September 6, 2005


Ugh, sorry. I'm not contributing much to the dialog. Just got a bit emotional there.
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:02 AM on September 6, 2005


I was reading on some website that Barbara Bush stole toys from children who were arriving at the Astrodome -- probably the only toys that the children had to remember their old lives by -- and used them as pull-toys with her terrier Millie. Then when the terrier got tired of using the worn but well-loved teddy bears and other stuffed animals as toys after a couple of minutes, Barbara Bush ordered the stuffed animals shredded so that they could be used in making a new plush stole for her to wear to a fundraiser that is planned down the street from the Astrodome next Friday. This sort of casual disregard for feelings or affection is precisely why we are at war in Iraq today and why the economy has not grown since President Clinton was in office.
posted by esquire at 9:04 AM on September 6, 2005


You can't read too much into Rice's comments. It's basically an early campaign speech for 2008, and as such the frequent use of the word "American" is absolutely normal.
posted by clevershark at 9:06 AM on September 6, 2005


esquire: at least she wasn't using the refugees as dog toys (they could earn their keep!).
posted by mazola at 9:07 AM on September 6, 2005


esquire: :)
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:10 AM on September 6, 2005


esquire: at least she wasn't using the refugees as dog toys (they could earn their keep!).

I bet she walked up and down the aisles of cots looking for new servants.
posted by amberglow at 9:11 AM on September 6, 2005


I was reading on some website that Barbara Bush stole toys from children who were arriving at the Astrodome

I heard the cots in the Astrodome were used cots from an infectious disease ward in the ebola hot zone. It was Barbara's idea to use them too, well, hers and Laura's anyway.

Seriously, of course it would be Rice saying that this isn't color-based. She was so upset over the disturbing images she had to go get some new Ferragamos.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:11 AM on September 6, 2005


The hurricane hates our freedoms.
posted by brundlefly at 9:13 AM on September 6, 2005


I heard that Barbara often wonders if W would like to pass the time by playing a little solitaire.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:16 AM on September 6, 2005


pollomacho: Good one. :)
posted by brundlefly at 9:17 AM on September 6, 2005


A few comments after having come in late.

I think Rothko's mother's idea is probably not right, because I don't think they're that competent. But, heck, the one thing that the government has demonstrated competence at is oppression.

I think anyone would be struck by the comparison between the government's criminally inept performance in this hurricane and its slick performance last year in Florida. The suggestion was advanced to me (by a "Conservative") that this is because Lousiana and New Orleans is full of poor black people and the government really doesn't understand why anyone except "Liberals" would expect them to get help.

It's an abhorrent suggestion but it needs to be contemplated because it provides the only reason I've come up with that can explain the government's extremely casual and uninterested stance, before, during and after the disaster. When I read the section where Bush talked, *laughed* about restoring Trent Lott's house, I checked the URL because I thought it was a hoax -- the page was on whitehouse.gov!

If they had passively allowed NOLA to be destroyed, then why wouldn't they use the time-honoured technique of separating the survivors to prevent insurrection? Not because of moral compunctions, only because of inability to execute.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:17 AM on September 6, 2005


What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas.

Why is it scary?

An influx of any large group of people into a community is bound to disrupt social services, the local economy, the schools, etc. An influx of people who have virtually no means of support moreso. And toss in the fact that many of these people have been hanging from the lowest economic wrung for generations.... well, only an idiot wouldn't be at least concerned.
posted by Doohickie at 9:19 AM on September 6, 2005


I'm just throwing this out there, but wouldn't separation from your family unit drive most people towards open revolt rather than away?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:21 AM on September 6, 2005


Pollomacho: separation from the family unit makes it harder to get organized. You may be fuming, but you don't KNOW anyone....
posted by brundlefly at 9:25 AM on September 6, 2005


But you've got less to lose. I would tend to agree with Pollomacho's view.
posted by Doohickie at 9:27 AM on September 6, 2005


Devil's advocate again, but wouldn't that make organizing for a potentially dangerous situation somehow easier, seeing as how you won't be placing your own family in harm's way?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:28 AM on September 6, 2005


It's an abhorrent suggestion but it needs to be contemplated because it provides the only reason I've come up with that can explain the government's extremely casual and uninterested stance, before, during and after the disaster.

Even today Bush is meeting with faith-based organizations about Katrina--they don't believe the government has a responsibility to do anything themselves for people--it's appalling.
posted by amberglow at 9:28 AM on September 6, 2005


Doohickie--she would have said "concerned" or spoken of the "strain" if that was the case--she didn't do that.
posted by amberglow at 9:29 AM on September 6, 2005


wouldn't separation from your family unit drive most people towards open revolt rather than away?

Historical examples suggest not.
posted by Miko at 9:30 AM on September 6, 2005


And at least here in Fort Worth, the faith-based community is handling a pretty big chunk of the load. Our church is probably putting off a building project due to money we (i.e., individual members) are spending toward specific needs of hurricane relief. Our minister has been named a coordinator of one of the centers (by the city) and his most reliable resource is the membership of his church.
posted by Doohickie at 9:31 AM on September 6, 2005


well, only an idiot wouldn't be at least concerned.

What is it going to take for people to stop being Bush apologists? Seriously? How can you defend her remarks? This is not the first time the Bush clan has evidenced a total lack of compassion and alarming disconnect, and yet again and again people come to their defense. Those days of inaction while New Orleans drowned had their precedence in those 7 minutes of "My Pet Goat." This kind of characteristic, habitual behavior continues to be excused, and I just. don't. get it.
posted by youarejustalittleant at 9:40 AM on September 6, 2005


amberglow: Agreed (wrt "concerned"). A well-educated woman should be more careful with her words. But "scared" and "concerned" in this case are differing degrees of the same meaning. I hate to defend any Bush, but I really think she simply verbalized, perhaps a bit insensitively, what many of us in Texas are thinking. If she had used more inocuous euphamisms, people on the left would have deconstructed the language and re-written the words, telling everyone what she "meant" to say.
posted by Doohickie at 9:43 AM on September 6, 2005


What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas.

Why is it scary?


Heh, well I'm hardly a Bush apologist but I have a different take on this one. Yes, clearly disconnected, making light, and more than a little loopy but: I think 'scary' here means scary good. In other words she's saying that this reflects well on Texas. She's pleased that 100% of the survivors / evacuees / dps / refugees / Americans are saying they think the amazing wonderful state of Texas would be their choice for a new home. I think this because the context of her remark is specifically their response to Texan hospitality.
posted by scheptech at 9:44 AM on September 6, 2005


The request seems to simultaneously be affirming the dignity of people dispaced by Katrina while looking down their noses at "real" refugees.

I do take your point, dreamsign. I guess I just didn't feel passionately about what terms were used one way or another, and that if we could move on to another problem by calling them something else, I didn't mind doing it.
posted by Miko at 9:45 AM on September 6, 2005


youarejustalittleant: I am NO Bush apologist. I still have a Kerry sticker on my car. Nevertheless, I think this whole thread is a pileon. As someone in Texas, in a community with an influx of New Orleanians, I know exactly what she meant, even if I winced a bit at her choice of words.
posted by Doohickie at 9:45 AM on September 6, 2005


Hmm. How long will the govt pay for these Houston apartments? There's plenty of poor in many Houston neighborhoods; if these displaced Louisianans stay, they won't necessarily be "better off" than they would in N.O. Once the aid money runs out and they have to find jobs in the Houston economy, they may be worse off. Houston is in my experience a soulless, corporate, nearly treeless, oil-smelling sweatbox of a town, especially if you're too poor to flee to McMansionland on the fringes. If there is any hope for New Orleans in the next few years, I predict most of the displaced will do their best to get back there. Whether they'll be able to find homes when they do is another question.
posted by emjaybee at 9:47 AM on September 6, 2005


What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas.

Why is it scary?

An influx of any large group of people into a community is bound to disrupt social services, the local economy, the schools, etc. An influx of people who have virtually no means of support moreso. And toss in the fact that many of these people have been hanging from the lowest economic wrung for generations.... well, only an idiot wouldn't be at least concerned.


Taking this a step further you can break them down into two general groups.

1) Those that were on public assistance before and will likely stay on it but in their new home. It wouyld seem this could be a large percentage of them.

2) Those that want to work and are inundating the job market in TX. What effect will this have on the locals looking for work (like me)?
In some areas, mine included, preference is being given to these people for jobs, and in some cases jobs being created for them. I empathize with the evacuees but, to me, it hardly seems fair that someone that has roots in an area, pays property taxes, has a mortgage to pay, etc. may lose out to someone that doesn't and may or may not even be staying.

Looking ahead further as well. What is going to happen when New Orleans is brought back to life and businesses open and all the sudden they discover their employee base has not returned and might not. Will they have to pay higher wages or spend extra money to attract employees?
posted by fenrir at 9:50 AM on September 6, 2005


Amberglow: Maybe Bush is taking the faith based organizations to task for not praying hard enough to avoid the disaster.
posted by klangklangston at 9:54 AM on September 6, 2005


Miko, what about the historical of holocaust victims? A majority of which went to the ghettos and then on to their dooms as a family without much trouble at all.

(no, godwin here, please, I'm not comparing this situation to Nazi Germany, just making a counterargument)
posted by Pollomacho at 9:54 AM on September 6, 2005


Historical examples suggest not.

Could someone who thinks this "Rothko's mum" idea isn't nutty please provide a historical example where the displaced people had access, once rescued, to cell phones, text messaging, the Internet and the most sophisticated and pervasive broadcast media anywhere?

I don't deny it's going to be a pain in the ass for survivors to reconnoiter. But it's gonna happen, and even the bozos in charge of this government would be able to see that.
posted by soyjoy at 9:56 AM on September 6, 2005


How about Bosnia soyjoy?
posted by Pollomacho at 10:02 AM on September 6, 2005


Oh, not that I don't think the idea is nutty, just answering your question.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:03 AM on September 6, 2005


dand, here's the apology for Kanye West that you were looking for.

Good luck defending Bush and the Republican party.

I love that Bush to investigate Katrina response headline. It makes "Fox to investigate henhouse incident" look like a caricature.
posted by cleardawn at 10:20 AM on September 6, 2005


This Baudelaire poem from Paris Spleen comes to mind, "Eyes of the Poor."


Oh! You want to know why I hate you today. It will undoubtedly be less easy for you to understand than it will be for me to explain, for you are, I believe, the most beautiful example of impermeability one could ever encounter.

We had spent together a long day that had seemed short to me. We had indeed promised that we would share all of our thoughts with one another, and that our two souls would henceforth be one — a dream that isn’t the least bit original, after all, if not that, dreamed of by all men, it has been realized by none.

In the evening, a bit tired, we wanted to sit down in front of a new café that formed the corner of a new boulevard, still strewn with debris and already gloriously displaying its unfinished splendors. The café was sparkling. The gaslight itself sent forth all the ardor of a debut and lit with all its force walls blinding in their whiteness, dazzling sheets of mirrors, the gold of the rods and cornices, chubby-cheeked page-boys being dragged by dogs on leashes, laughing ladies with falcons perched on their wrist, nymphs and goddesses carrying on their heads fruits, pies, and poultry, Hebes and Ganymedes presenting in out-stretched arms little amphoras filled with Bavarian cream or bi-colored obelisks of ice cream — all of history and all of mythology at the service of gluttony.

Right in front of us, on the sidewalk, a worthy man in his forties was standing, with a tired face, a greying beard, and holding with one hand a little boy and carrying on the other arm a little being too weak to walk. He was playing the role of nanny and had taken his children out for a walk in the night air. All in rags. The three faces were extraordinarily serious, and the six eyes contemplated fixedly the new café with an equal admiration, but shaded differently according to their age.

The father’s eyes said: “How beautiful it is! How beautiful it is! You’d think all the gold in this poor world was on its walls.” — The eyes of the little boy: “How beautiful it is! How beautiful it is! But it’s a house only people who aren’t like us can enter.” — As for the eyes of the smaller child, they were too fascinated to express anything other than a stupid and profound joy.

Song-writers say that pleasure makes the soul good and softens the heart. The song was right this evening, as regards me. Not only was I moved by this family of eyes, but I also felt a little ashamed of our glasses and our carafes, which were larger than our thirst. I turned my gaze toward your’s, dear love, to read my thoughts there; I plunged into your so beautiful and so bizarrely gentle eyes, into your green eyes, inhabited by Caprice and inspired by the Moon, and then you said to me: “I can’t stand those people over there, with their eyes wide open like carriage gates! Can’t you tell the head-waiter to send them away?”

So difficult is it to understand one another, my dear angel, and so incommunicable is thought, even between people in love!




(and yes, it does end oddly for this case, but Bar-Bar and I are indeed in love, she's older than me, and meaner, but I love her for her beautiful mind.)
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 10:21 AM on September 6, 2005


I love that Bush to investigate Katrina response headline. It makes "Fox to investigate henhouse incident" look like a caricature.

In other news, O. J. Simpson says he believes the real killer is hiding out on a Palm Springs golf course, vows to discover just which one!
posted by Pollomacho at 10:28 AM on September 6, 2005


The separation doesn't really underline a policy that I can tell. It does underline the overall lack of care with which the entire relief operation has been conducted.

I wonder if 20,000 refugees are enough to turn a red state blue.

First, I'd assume that these refugees internally displaced persons are largely from the "trapped in the Superdome" class, which tended to be black and/or poor. These people don't vote as much as the general population.

Second, Texas was won by Bush with a healthy 1.7 million votes. Even Harris County (which includes Houston) went red by a margin of 110,000 votes. The 2002 election went GOP by a margin of 800K for Governor and 500K for the Senate (and even Harris had a healthy 30K margin). As for House districts, I believe current practice is for Texas to change them after every election so that Democratic precincts are split up as much as possible.
posted by dhartung at 10:47 AM on September 6, 2005



Bush joins those opposed to word "refugees" "The people we're talking about are not refugees, they are Americans."
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:52 AM on September 6, 2005


She [Barbara Bush] was part of a group in Houston today at the
Astrodome that included her husband and former
President Bill Clinton, who were chosen by her son,
the current president, to head fundraising efforts for
the recovery. Sen. Hilary Clinton and Sen. Barack
Obama were also present.


No former President Bill Clinton and wife Sen. Hillary Clinton? Are they still married? I don't follow the news much.
posted by Ron at 10:57 AM on September 6, 2005


Bush hardly speaks English anyway, why should we listen to his opinion of word usage, or am I misunderestimating him again?
posted by Pollomacho at 10:58 AM on September 6, 2005


No, Ron they are still married. Hillary is now a Senator, having had her own career and success. Barbara's only claim to fame is still that she married and birthed Presidents.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:00 AM on September 6, 2005


Bush to lead investigation into hurricane debacle.

Oh dear god.
posted by btwillig at 11:10 AM on September 6, 2005


I think calling them "refugees" helps to underscore the devastating incompetence of the Admin. Here we have created refugees of Americans, how disgraceful.
posted by delmoi at 11:11 AM on September 6, 2005


and thanks to Kingfisher for Baudelare, really appreciated.
posted by elpapacito at 11:13 AM on September 6, 2005


Pollomacho, you're seriously suggesting Bosnia 1995 (and previous) = USA 2005 in terms of communications infrastructure and access to same for the average citizen? Come on. Seriously this time.
posted by soyjoy at 11:32 AM on September 6, 2005


babs has always been a cold fish and this statement just affirms it. Forget her, she wants to be forgotten via Kitty kellys book. And what about dubs statement about the new porch at the Lott household, then he hops a plane to give the mayor a shower. The true heros are those helping and those whom have endured this mess. The levy system should have been upgraded 10 years ago but NOOOOOO...

this mess only affirms the good in us to help, to set up websites, take others into ones home, the cash given, doctors coming down, solders, (my sister one of them) lets focus on the real thing which is that the people will do for themselves and others when the bureacracy cannot.

damn even Bagledesh (sic sp) gave money.
posted by clavdivs at 11:34 AM on September 6, 2005


Pollomacho, you're seriously suggesting Bosnia 1995 (and previous) = USA 2005 in terms of communications infrastructure and access to same for the average citizen? Come on. Seriously this time.

No, but your question was obviously trolling, of course the answer is "there isn't one" because there hasn't been one, but then again, I'll get back to you as soon as the people in the Astrodome are handed free cell phones and laptops, and the electricity actually comes on in Gulf Port.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:38 AM on September 6, 2005


Barbara's only claim to fame is still that she married and birthed Presidents.


Only one so far, unless you're posting from 2009, in which case I'd like to borrow your time machine -- exactly what for, you don't want to know...
posted by alumshubby at 11:47 AM on September 6, 2005


One each...my bad.
posted by alumshubby at 11:50 AM on September 6, 2005


Um, alum, she married one President and birthed one, that makes two Presidents. It's not like it's much of a claim to fame, as any woman with a functional uterus and millions of inherited dollars could potentially do the same.

Oh, and go Noelle Bush/Mary Cheney 2008!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:55 AM on September 6, 2005


Hmm, funny idea. Having bumper stickers for political campaigns of the future! Certainly better than having bumper stickers for ones of the past...
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:03 PM on September 6, 2005


They can always eat cake, can't they?
posted by muppetboy at 12:07 PM on September 6, 2005


so sorry for the double. gah.
posted by beth at 12:07 PM on September 6, 2005


Yeah, these people are doing great. It's not like they owned their homes anyway, and America is the greatest country in the world to be poor in.

Lucky Duckies!
posted by Talanvor at 12:11 PM on September 6, 2005


Refugees and Citizens

The reason the term ‘refugee’ has a stigma attached is not because of what the refugee is – it isn’t like the label ‘criminal’, for example – but because of how the refugee is treated. A refugee is someone who is kicked around, disregarded, made invisible, someone with no protection and nowhere to go for help. Someone who, in other words, is being treated as those who have been displaced by Katrina have been treated. Calling them ‘refugees’ is accurate: treating them that way - or treating any human being that way - is unconscionable.

Hear, hear.

if we learn anything from Katrina, it should be that only the people have the interests of the people at heart
posted by mrgrimm at 12:12 PM on September 6, 2005


Bush to lead investigation into hurricane debacle.

Anyone else immediately wonder if OJ found the real killers yet?

Barbara's only claim to fame is still that she married and birthed Presidents.

Don't forget about Jeb. Poland hasn't!
posted by Talanvor at 12:13 PM on September 6, 2005


Seriously? How can you defend her remarks?

The 'what's scary...' part doesn't really raise my bp; this is a figure of speech that should not necessarily be taken negatively, and even if so there are legitimate reasons to be "scared" (as in somewhat apprehensive for he future) now that a sizeable community with zero wealth and no skills has been plopped in the middle of one's community.

Her remarks about conditions being better in the dome are of course vintage Marie Antoinnette of course.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:23 PM on September 6, 2005


It's funny that people are scared about what's going to happen to their town. Their jobs. Their way of life. How much they're going to have to pay for gas. Without bothering to stop for a moment and realize that these people just had their entire existence shattered. Hardly anyone would even know what it's like to have to flee for their life, and not even have a place to go back to.

With all the damage done, it's not as if they can just move right back in when everything's dry. Buildings are just gone. Everything isn't going to be hunky-dorey in a month. This is not a vacation for them. I imagine if they had the choice between sitting in the Astrodome in Houston, or forgoing Katrina, I am absolutely certain what choice they would make.
posted by Talanvor at 12:29 PM on September 6, 2005


Her remarks about conditions being better in the dome are of course vintage Marie Antoinette of course.

It's a little different. Marie Antoinette's alleged comment showed a naive mentality so disconnected from reality that it showed her as a pitifully sheltered individual in an ivory tower. Babs's comment shows her not to be innocently naive, but to actually believe herself to be in a class above the impoverished urchins of the Astrodome. Marie Antoinette one can almost feel sorry for in her ignorance. Barbara is just a snob.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:34 PM on September 6, 2005


In other news, O. J. Simpson says he believes the real killer is hiding out on a Palm Springs golf course, vows to discover just which one!
posted by Pollomacho at 10:28 AM PST on September 6


Damn you, I didn't notice you had beaten me to that. Sorry everyone.
posted by Talanvor at 12:34 PM on September 6, 2005


In defence of Marie Antoinette >
posted by pots at 1:01 PM on September 6, 2005


in re: my historical example: I think the Rothko's mom idea is nutty, too, only because the so-called 'evacuation' wasn't organized enough for an actual, intentional family-separation strategy to be in place.

To some extent, I think it can be said that institutionalization separates families, whether it's a good or bad institution. Hospitals, schools, prisons, and evacuation centers all find it more expedient to provide services when you separate groups into age cohorts, genders, and types of need. Not defending it; it's just what happens whenever people are dealt with en masse.

That's probably why there are plenty of examples in history of separation of families splitting communities - it's a byproduct of institutionalization. If I'm not mistaken, people were sometimes separated in Nazi camps - sometimes female family members remained with other females, but most often the genders were separately housed.

As far as voting: I know that many of the people in trouble right now may never have voted. There needs to be some organizing for them to become voters. I think they will organize, and I think we'll see organizations with different agendas trying to help organize them. Most will be on the left, but there may be some religious organizations that use this as an opportunity, as well.
posted by Miko at 1:03 PM on September 6, 2005


No, but your question was obviously trolling, of course the answer is "there isn't one" because there hasn't been one, but then again, I'll get back to you as soon as the people in the Astrodome are handed free cell phones and laptops, and the electricity actually comes on in Gulf Port.

I think you might have gotten in too deep with the devil's advocacy stuff, Pollomacho. When someone cites "historical examples" as an argument, and I point out - via rhetorical question - that no such examples exist that are relevant to this situation, it's trolling? Bizarre.

And what's with the "free cell phones and laptops"? I didn't suggest these people would be launching careers as telemarketers or web designers, only that they have or will soon have access to an electronic communications network that will allow them, after a frustrating period of time which I mentioned above, to hook up with one another. Which means the forced diaspora is impossible, which means the original assertion is laughable.
posted by soyjoy at 1:04 PM on September 6, 2005


My first thought was that this sounds like something Marie Antoinette would have said.
posted by Jesse H Christ at 1:15 PM on September 6, 2005


kingfisher, thanks for the spot-on Baudelaire.

Beautiful minds, indeed.
posted by cleardawn at 1:16 PM on September 6, 2005


Of course, you are right, there are no historical examples that exactly mimic any situation, as history in reality does not repeat itself. Therefore the game of trying to find an exact match is not ever possible. Despite its impossibility, the discussion of parallels to past events can be useful in dealing with present and future events. If you find it laughable then leave it alone.

As for the free laptops and cell phones, once survivors are brought up to 2005 technological standards rather than the situation they are in which is former housing project tenants with only the tee shirts given them a relief organization, then we can talk about them being part of a 2005 era communications effort.

Should the city not be rebuilt for these people the forced diaspora has already taken place.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:18 PM on September 6, 2005


Oh, sorry, I just saw that Jackmo already said as much.
posted by Jesse H Christ at 1:19 PM on September 6, 2005


... Governor Bush talks like his father, who was equally prone to malapropisms and non sequiturs, but he thinks like his mother, whom Nixon admired because, he reportedly said, "she knows how to hate." Which is a way of saying that George W. believes grudges should be transgenerational and involve corruption of blood and children avenging the wrongs visited on their parents. ...--Texas Observer, 2000
posted by amberglow at 2:28 PM on September 6, 2005


A friend of my girlfriend who lives outside of Houston expressed the same sentiment:

"Most of those people are poor and lazy anyways, and we shouldn't have to take them in."

Which really is just an indication of how a lot of people view the "poor," and shouldn't come as a total surprise (especially when echoed by an oil baroness).
posted by iamck at 2:37 PM on September 6, 2005


Hatred of the poor has been on my mind. There's a knee-jerk response of mockery in many people when someone who physically appears poor is shown on television. In mass media, poor people are often presented in a somewhat comic light -- beer-drinking guy with mullet, exaggerated-Ebonics-speaking Queen Sheniqua, annoying old crazy lady: Caricatures.

Life in poverty isn't beautiful. It can take, among other things, your health, your teeth, your hair, your clothing choices, your skin, your limbs, your eyes. It can make you feel hopeless and helpless - and make you get used to it. It can cause you to eat junky food. It can make you angry. It can tire you out completely. It can demand levels of energy and inventiveness and cooperation and inner resources that would confound the more affluent, if they suddenly had to work through as many obstacles to get something simple done. It can make your language sound different from that of the wealthy. It can make your tastes and pleasures different from those of the wealthy.

It can't, however, make you unhuman.

No point there, except to note that maybe a lot of Americans are struggling with this uncomfortable feeling - knowing they should help, being directly asked to help, but uncomfortable with interacting with people they've learned not to take seriously. The differentness itself may be unsettling. We are having to think of poverty and poor people in a new way, and many Americans might find that a real challenge to their personal lives and politics.
posted by Miko at 2:49 PM on September 6, 2005


Of course, you are right, there are no historical examples that exactly mimic any situation, as history in reality does not repeat itself. Therefore the game of trying to find an exact match is not ever possible.

Great, except that's not a game I was playing. I said nothing about exactly mimicking anything. I said "no such examples exist that are relevant to this situation."

What game are you playing?
posted by soyjoy at 2:52 PM on September 6, 2005


My argument from history was meant to lead from specific past examples to the generalization about institutionalism that I made above. The historical examples are illustrations of the actions of institutional organization on large groups of people. That seems relevant.
posted by Miko at 2:58 PM on September 6, 2005


...No point there, except to note that maybe a lot of Americans are struggling with this uncomfortable feeling - knowing they should help, being directly asked to help, but uncomfortable with interacting with people they've learned not to take seriously. The differentness itself may be unsettling. We are having to think of poverty and poor people in a new way, and many Americans might find that a real challenge to their personal lives and politics.

That will really depend on the media, and whether they drop this story. Will they follow all these people continuously for the next few months?
posted by amberglow at 3:02 PM on September 6, 2005


It could be a learning opportunity--and a chance to show how much we all have in common.
posted by amberglow at 3:03 PM on September 6, 2005


phew... 2 comments mentioning dios, but none by him. I can now safely read this thread.
posted by modernerd at 4:24 PM on September 6, 2005


Barbara Bush says something stupid and it's quite a bit of fun for everyone, but did anyone hear Robert Siegel on NPR get slapped down this this evening? On the correct side of course... smug... assumed the lady he was talking to must be poor and uneducated because she is black and from New Orleans. The lady defined class and dignity in her correction. Not as interesting though, right? Because he's on the correct side?
posted by loafingcactus at 4:53 PM on September 6, 2005


Baudelaire, well I never knew!

There's not enough to go on to make any conclusions about what Barbara was thinking when she said 'scary' chuckle etc. Maybe there was a clown out of shot walking through the place cheering up the children. Who has seen the footage? Is there any?
posted by asok at 4:58 PM on September 6, 2005


The ones who should be "scared" are the evacuees who arer considering remaining in Texas. Texas is notorious for their bad safety net. It's a great place to live if you are an Oil Millionare, but a hell hole if you are poor. Plus their public schools are ranked 50th out of 50-- right below Mississippi. And then there is that state mandated Abstinance Only Sex Ed which has resulted in some of the highest incidences of teenage pregnancy and STD transmission in the USA.

So I would be very leery of accepting Texas as my new home.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:59 PM on September 6, 2005


Because he's not a former First Lady, and mother of the current Pres, loafing. If we tallied up every stupid journalist(?) remark, we'd collapse under the weight of them.

First Ladies are held to higher standard, especially when they're being used to provide photo ops and quotes for the news by the White House.
posted by amberglow at 5:00 PM on September 6, 2005


Secret, they'll change their minds when the initial flush of helping and volunteering wears off, and they see it's no paradise, and they start to realize that they're really not that wanted there anyway.
posted by amberglow at 5:01 PM on September 6, 2005


a very astute and accurate Brit point of view: Lots of things about the US become easier to understand if you consider it as a very rich third world country... Not just now, but generally. Like enormously high and rising inequity (including reducing real-terms median income over the last 30 years!), lack of adequate healthcare, housing, education for the poor, and a belief that richer states have no responsibility to improve the living conditions of poorer ones, diversion of national wealth into warfare rather than welfare. That sort of thing.

Lots of examples at the moment; eg general notion that Texas helping out refugees from Louisiana is a 'stunningly generous offer' rather than you know, standard operating practice, or the proportion of US military strength being used to sort out Katrina cleanup (and you know, they could have been shipping in troops to safe nearby areas over the weekend), or just a general 'oh well, of course it's individuals' responsibility to look after themselves and their property', or the Red Cross explaining that it's their largest aid effort ever (because, you know, American Red Cross is the world). ...

posted by amberglow at 5:16 PM on September 6, 2005


Whose Robert Siegel?
posted by juiceCake at 5:39 PM on September 6, 2005


Kadir beneath Mo Moteh.
posted by rebirtha at 6:46 PM on September 6, 2005


Hatred of the poor has been on my mind. There's a knee-jerk response of mockery in many people when someone who physically appears poor is shown on television. In mass media, poor people are often presented in a somewhat comic light -- beer-drinking guy with mullet, exaggerated-Ebonics-speaking Queen Sheniqua, annoying old crazy lady: Caricatures.

Life in poverty isn't beautiful.


Personally, it's not hate. It's fear, plain and simple. I actually have an extra room in my house and enough living area; I could take someone in. But I won't, because both my wife and I are busy much of the time with these things called jobs, and I'm afraid to leave someone I don't know in my house. If the people are poor, I am even more afraid to do so. Is that terrible of me to feel that way? Maybe God will tell me so at my judgment. But I just can't let people I don't know have the run of my house when I'm not home.
--------
Plus their public schools are ranked 50th out of 50--
Can you cite a source, there, Gravy? Because I looked around a bit on the net and the lowest education ranking I found for Texas was 33rd. I would be interested in seeing a survey that ranked Texas 50th.
--------
Whose Robert Siegel?

Would I need one of them radio thingies to know who he is?
posted by Doohickie at 8:31 PM on September 6, 2005


Bush talks like his father, who was equally prone to malapropisms and non sequiturs, but he thinks like his mother, whom Nixon admired because, he reportedly said, "she knows how to hate."
posted by objet at 8:36 PM on September 6, 2005


The historical examples are illustrations of the actions of institutional organization on large groups of people. That seems relevant.

Of course it's relevant to the possible wishes of this particular institution, but I never argued that. My part B) was strictly based on the logistics: Defanging the populace by (temporarily) separating/isolating them would not work here and now, and here's why.
posted by soyjoy at 8:43 PM on September 6, 2005


objet : >
posted by amberglow at 8:47 PM on September 6, 2005


soyjoy: no no, I'm not saying that it's the wishes of the administration to separate families! I'm saying that the institutions that have been set up to rescue and house people (institutions being structured, multi-level entities created to apply actions to people en masse) have the effect of separating families whether the action intended is good, bad, or just necessary. And separating families has the effect of alienating people from those around them, which makes them less powerful. Families HAVE been separated in this event: helicopters taking only children or old people out of NO, healthy adults asked to wait for round 2; women-and-children-only buses leaving Superdome first; people in need of medical services med-evaced early on. I don't think this stuff is malicious -- it results from efforts to be efficient, to create need-groups and divide people by type of need. The result, though, is that people will be less powerful when removed from their families, neighborhood groups, and church groups. They may re-form into new clusters, but we don't know yet.
posted by Miko at 6:16 AM on September 7, 2005


It's fear, plain and simple. I actually have an extra room in my house and enough living area; I could take someone in. But I won't, because both my wife and I are busy much of the time with these things called jobs, and I'm afraid to leave someone I don't know in my house. If the people are poor, I am even more afraid to do so.

Not even the older church ladies that you can see in Astrodome pictures?

What are you afraid of losing? Is it your safety you're afraid for? Your stuff being lost?

Genuiunely curious.
posted by Miko at 6:23 AM on September 7, 2005


Miko - those are all good points. I was specifically (and clearly, or so I thought) addressing the "Rothko's mum" claim, which does posit a conscious effort by the administration, which is exactly the thing that makes it nutty.
posted by soyjoy at 8:24 AM on September 7, 2005


got it.
posted by Miko at 8:32 AM on September 7, 2005


Yes, my "stuff being lost". Stuff like the kinds of things that you leave laying around your house, that if it were to fall into the wrong hands could result in identity theft.
posted by Doohickie at 10:29 AM on September 7, 2005


Barabra speaks from HER conversations with these people; that is apparently what many of them said to HER.
posted by msthinker at 8:37 PM on September 7, 2005


Mrs. Bush remarks were 'observation'
Barbara Bush was making 'a personal observation' when she said poor people at a relocation center in Houston were faring better than before Hurricane Katrina struck, President Bush's spokesman said yesterday. White House press secretary Scott McClellan did not answer directly when asked whether the president agreed with his mother's remarks. Mrs. Bush, after touring the Astrodome complex in Houston on Monday, said: 'What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.' She commented during a radio interview with the American Public Media program 'Marketplace.' "[The Associated Press | September 8, 2005]
posted by ericb at 7:32 AM on September 8, 2005


"Hate to do this, Maw, but we gotta distance ourselves from you.... Yeah, I know I sucked at your tit when I was a little baby, and this ain't no way to treat my momma... but, Ma! Boy Genius says we look bad enough as it is, and we gotta cut our losses!"
posted by crunchland at 7:44 AM on September 8, 2005


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