I just talked to my friend Bill, one block over, who's still without power. NYC subways aren't running, a lot of stuff's out. We've both been listening to the benign porridge on the radio, and wondering "Where's the out(r)age?"
Apparently the European press is really playing this up, with 24-hour coverage and tabloid headlines like "Blackout Hell."
Over here, we're getting an endless string of government officials and media types praising the good nature of New Yorkers and telling one stupid human interest story after another. If I hear another official say "We got people lookin' in on the seniors in their neighborhoods and doing other nice things," I'll gag.
This is a lot like 9/11 in that no one is accountable. Apparently New York's Republican Governor Pataki took a lot of regulatory heat off the state power companies, but he admits no culpability. ("The chickens came home to roost...and all George Pataki [can] do [is] squawk," says Wayne Barrett in the Village Voice.) On the radio, Pataki speaks with anger in his voice trying to blame other regions for this mess. Lately it's "the Midwest," he won't say where, and for a while the media was working a US vs Canada angle.
An intelligence/law enforcement shakeup should have occurred after 9/11: it was a blatant, obvious failure by the people who are supposed to be protecting us. As far as I know, no one got fired except critics of Bush's various irrelevant war plans. The same will happen here, I think: some lower echelon schmuck at one of the power companies may ultimately take the fall, and the Republicans will espouse their usual "It's just life" attitude.
UPDATE 8/16/03: Okay, everything's back to normal now. Just one heat-related death and millions in lost sales, spoiled food, etc. Nothing to get mad about, really. All those people at the power companies mean well and are very nice folks--it's not like they wanted this to happen.
UPDATE 8/18/03: Via Travelers Diagram, here's a picture of a looted McDonalds. Funny, I missed hearing about that on 1010 WINS. (Also linked by TD, pictures of a lightless Times Square.)
Here's the text of an email that's making the rounds. (More antidote to all the happy talk.) One could quibble with a fact or two, but this is basically solid:
GEORGE W. BUSH JR.
PAST WORK EXPERIENCE:
a. I ran for congress and lost.
b. I produced a Hollywood slasher B movie.
c. I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas; the company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.
d. I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money. Biggest move: Traded Sammy Sosa to the Chicago White Sox.
e. With my father's help and his name was elected Governor of Texas.
a. I changed pollution laws for power and oil companies and made Texas the most polluted state in the Union.
b. I replaced Los Angeles with Houston as the most smog-ridden city in America. Cut taxes and nearly bankrupted the Texas government to the tune of billions in borrowed money. Set record for most executions by any Governor in American history.
c. I became president after losing the popular vote by over 500,000 votes, with the help of my father's appointments to the Supreme court.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS PRESIDENT:
a. I attacked and took over two countries.
b. I spent the surplus and bankrupted the treasury.
c. I shattered record for biggest annual deficit in history.
d. I set the economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12 month period.
e. I set the all-time record for biggest drop in the history of the stock market.
f. I am the first president in decades to execute a federal prisoner.
g. I am the first president in US history to enter office with a criminal record.
h. In my first year in office I set the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president in US history.
i. After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, I presided over the worst security failure in US history.
j. I set the record for most campaign fundraising trips of any president in US history.
k. In my first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their jobs.
L. I cut unemployment benefits for more out-of-work Americans than any president in US history.
m. I set the all-time record for most mortgage foreclosures in a 12-month period.
n. I appointed more convicted criminals to administration positions than any president in US history.
o. I set the record for the least amount of press conferences of any president since the advent of television.
p. I signed more laws and executive orders amending the Constitution than any president in US history.
q. I presided over the biggest energy crisis in US history and refused to intervene when corruption was revealed.
r. I presided over the highest gasoline prices in US history and refused to use the national reserves as past presidents have.
s. I cut healthcare benefits for war veterans.
t. I set the all-time record for most people worldwide to
simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million
people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind (http://www.hyperreal.org/~dana/marches).
u. I dissolved more international treaties than any president in US history.
v. My presidency is the most secretive and unaccountable of any in US history.
w. Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in US history. (The 'poorest' multimillionaire, Condoleeza Rice has a Chevron oil tanker named after her).
x. I am the first president in US history to have all 50 states of the Union simultaneously have dire financial problems..
y. I presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud of any market in any country in the history of the world.
z. I am the first president in US history to order a US attack and military occupation of a sovereign nation, and I did so against the will of the United Nations and the world community.
aa. I created the largest government department bureaucracy in the history of the United States.
ab. I set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any president in US history.
ac. I am the first president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the human rights commission.
ad. I am the first president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the elections monitoring board.
ae. I removed more checks and balances than any presidential administration in US history (and have the least amount of congressional oversight) .
af. I rendered the entire United Nations irrelevant.
ag. I withdrew from the World Court of Law.
ah. I refused to allow inspectors access to US prisoners of war and, by default, no longer abide by the Geneva Convention.
ai. I am the first president in US history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 US elections).
aj. I am the all-time US (and world) record holder for the most
corporate campaign donations.
ak. My biggest lifetime campaign contributor, who is also one of my best friends, presided over one of the largest corporate
bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation).
al. I spent more money on polls and focus groups than any president in US history.
am. I am the first president to run and hide when the US came under attack (and then lied saying the enemy had the code for AirForce 1
an. I am the first US president to establish a secret shadow
Ao. I took the biggest world sympathy for the US after 9/11, and in less than a year made the US the most resented country in the world (possibly the biggest diplomatic failure in US and world history).
ap. With a policy of 'disengagement,' I created the most hostile Israeli-Palestine relations in at least 30 years.
aq. I am the first US president in history to have a majority of the people of Europe (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.
ar. I am the first US president in history to have the people of South Korea feel more threatened by the US than by their immediate neighbor, North Korea.
as. I changed US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
at. I set the all-time record for number of administration appointees who violated US law by not selling huge investments in corporations bidding for government contracts.
au. I pledged to get Osama Bin Laden 'dead or alive'. No leads have been developed.
av. I pledged to capture the anthrax killer who tried to murder the leaders of our country at the United States Capitol building. After 18 months I have no leads and zero suspects.
aw. In the 18 months following the 9/11 attacks I have successfully prevented any public investigation into the biggest security failure in the history of the United States.
ax. I took away more freedoms and civil liberties from Americans than any other president in US history.
ay. In a little over two years I created the most divided country in decades, possibly the most divided the US has ever been since the civil war.
az. I entered office with the strongest economy in US history and in less than two years turned every single economic category ownward.
RECORDS AND REFERENCES:
a. I have at least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine (Texas driving record has been erased and is not available).
b. I was AWOL from National Guard and deserted the military during a time of war.
c. I refuse to take drug test or even answer any questions about drug use.
d. All records of my tenure as governor of Texas have been spirited away to my father's library, sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
e. All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
f. All minutes of meetings for any public corporation on whose board I served are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view (as are those of my vice president).
g. Any records or minutes from meetings I (or my VP) attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.
h. For personal references please speak to my daddy or uncle James Baker (They can be reached at their offices of the Carlyle Group for war-profiteering.)
Thanks for posting this. I had the same reaction: stop telling me how well we're dealing with it! I want heads to roll!