...but they're not that brainy to begin with. Right wingers, predictably, are losing their shit over media coverage of, and government response to, Hurricane Irene. The fact that governmental agencies tracked the storm and coordinated the response to the storm's destruction during and after the "weather event" has their panties in a bunch. Pretty inconvenient for them, having government function well.
I'm going to focus on two responses I find particularly enraging, then provide some commentary on another asshole who has been thoroughly excoriated elsewhere.
The first asshole I want to call on the carpet is Ron Paul, who wants to take us back to 1900, citing the example of Galveston, Texas, which was largely destroyed by a hurricane which resulted in the loss of 8,000 lives. Ron Paul glosses over the reality of history by claiming that the federal government played no role in the reconstruction of Galveston, but the truth differs from his hare-brained free-market fappery. The construction of the Galveston seawall, which allowed the continuing existence of Galveston, was accomplished by local state, and federal entities, most notably the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Paul is technically correct when he states that FEMA wasn't in existence then, but he ignores the fact that the Corps of Engineers, a massive federal agency, was a close analogue. As usual, Bernie Sanders, whose constituents have suffered greatly, tells it like it is- Ron Paul is out to lunch, but at least it's not a government handout school lunch! Oh, who am I kidding? Ron Paul's been living on the public dime since 1997.
The next person I want to single out for scorn is conservative intellectual (heh heh) George Will who complained about the media "hype" surrounding Irene, which he dismissed as a "tropical storm". Yes, by the time Irene hit the Northeast, it was not a hurricane, according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, which measures sustained wind speeds. It does not measure rainfall, and as I wrote while in the thick of things, it was the rainfall, not the wind speed, which was of primary concern. Irene was a wet, wet slow-mover, she just poured buckets and buckets of rain in the areas she affected. Maybe the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is inadequate to express the true damaging potential of storms, so weasels such as Will can play their semantic games on national television in order to make asinine points. Of course, the Saffir-Simpson scale should not be confused with the Ashford-Simpson scale, which measures the solidity of a rock (RIP, Nick Ashford). Like Paul, who bashes government from the inside, Will bashes the media, while working for the media- can't these fuckers go "Galt" once and for all?
I hadn't heard about Howard Kurtz' bloviations about Irene "hype" until today, but he's been well excoriated elsewhere. I have little to add to Brad's takedown of Kurtz, except to say that, as Kurtz was writing his "Hurricane of Hype" article, I was standing in dirty mid-calf deep water, which had just overtopped the banks of a body of water on the grounds, watching the basement of one of our buildings get flooded to a depth of one-and-a-half feet. This occurred well after the rains had stopped, and we members of the skeleton crew had a brief "we think we'll skate out of this" moment before the water broke and birthed an unholy mess. Even today, two days after the rains ended, the flooding continues.
I got off easy- sure, I ended up crawling home sore and fatigued after thirty hours of work, but there was no major damage either at work or at home. I got my ass kicked, but I'm alive and well, and did not incur any losses as a result of the storm. Others have been devastated, and it really pisses me off the hear the lies and dismissals of people who live in bubbles. If Ron Paul, George Will, Howard Kurtz, and the others had been the ones standing in the pounding rain checking the function of some woefully overtaxed pumps throughout an overnight endurance tour, they wouldn't have been so nonchalant about things.
Fuck... it just hit me, these guys have never had "skin in the game" about anything. Their casual dismissal of Irene is much like their (with the notable exception of Ron Paul) dismissal of the true cost of the Iraq invasion, like their dismissal of the true extent of the economic crisis. Damn, these people need a reality check in the worst way.