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Polite Vultures

A lot of people have commented that it took George Bush long enough to decide to cut his vacation short, what with half the South being underwater and millions of people homeless. It must have been some mighty important brush he was clearing out there at the ranch- more important certainly then the tragedy that overtook the nation that he's supposed to be governing. His vacation had the air of Nero fiddling while Rome burned, with the only difference being that Nero could play a musical instrument.

Yep. A lot of people have been saying that stuff, but not me. The fact of the matter is that I like him out vacationing at his ranch. I feel a whole bunch safer with him there then when he's in the White House, because when he's sitting in the oval office gas prices go up and Americans die. I hear he would have been back to work sooner, but there was a frightening middle-aged woman standing out in the road with a sign, who wanted to know why her son was dead. If I were George Bush, I wouldn't want to answer that question either. Now, I've made mistakes in my life, but all of my mistakes are still around living and breathing. No one's died yet (that I know of) because of my bonehead decisions.

It does bug me that he's getting five weeks of vacation. I've never had five weeks of vacation at a time, or per year or anything close. Have you? Do you know any American other than the president that does? Convenience store managers put in far more hours than this guy and you'd think, wouldn't you, that running this entire country should take up more time than running a seven-eleven.

Here's a little history about New Orleans: In 1801 the French Emperor Napolean Bonaparte sent a vast naval armada under the command of General Rochambeau (yeah. I'm not sure of that spelling) to New Orleans with the purpose of attacking that port and then taking his great fleet up the Mississippi River and then securing the land on both sides for the French Empire. You'll notice that we citizens who live near the Mississippi aren't speaking French and somehow aren't citizens of the French republic. So what happened? Napolean, in his 'wisdom', instructed the General to stop by the colony of Haiti - which was having a slave revolt - on his way to America. General Roshambeau was to mop up those pesky slaves and then proceed merrily on to mopping us up. Unfortunately, those pesky slaves absolutely creamed him and his fleet, with the result that Haiti became to first country established by freed slaves.

(I know some of you are thinking that Spartacus did that in Rome. No. He tried. And failed. And was crucified.)

The news media coverage of the hurricane and it's aftermath has, in my mind, been remarkably restrained, respectful and dignified. Of course, I haven't seen all of the coverage and I haven't been able to find the time to watch much TV. I know, I know, TV's important so I should make
the time and I really promise that I'll do better in the future. The problem with the news coverage is that it still has to walk that uncomfortable line between news and entertainment. They have to tell a story, but then they have to sell stuff, and the story they're telling is really there so that they can sell stuff. It absolutely makes me cringe watching one of these heartbreaking scenes and then they stop for the commercial. This tragedy has been brought to you by our sponsors at .... You know, that kind of thing.

The media are vultures. They circle around disaster so that they can feed on the carnage. This time, they're being rather well mannered about it, but they're still doing it. One of the interviews I saw on - NBC I believe - was a female reporter intrviewing a man whose wife was missing, who had lost his home, had a young child to care for, and didn't know what to do. The reporter was in tears hearing this story which I'm sure were genuine, because she's a human being and the man's situation was very sad.

My question is: What happened when the cameras stopped rolling? Did they then help this man out? Tell him where to contact the Red Cross or something? I'd like to think they did, because reporter are humans with feelings. But do we know that they did? It's like when we're shown pictures of starving children. After they got their pictures did they just pack up their cameras and move on, or did they at least have the decency to give some of these kids a sandwhich or two?

About the Author: Steve Sommers new book, Evil Super-Villains Need Love, Too ... and other important wisdom, is available at
His novel, REXROI, is available at

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