06 September 2005

Sean Penn Sets the Car on Fire

Dave Barry once wrote:
The Democrats seem to be basically nicer people, but they have demonstrated time and again that they have the management skills of celery. They're the kind of people who'd stop to help you change a flat, but would somehow manage to set your car on fire. I would be reluctant to entrust them with a Cuisinart, let alone the economy. The Republicans, on the other hand, would know how to fix your tire, but they wouldn't bother to stop because they'd want to be on time for Ugly Pants Night at the country club.
Although it is far more than an economic disaster, no event has served to confirm Barry's words more than the various responses to Hurricane Katrina. Democrats Kathleen Blanco, Governor of Louisiana, and Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans, have displayed the aforementioned management skills of celery, respectively jockeying for political control of the recovery and locking-up transportation assets ahead of a planned evacuation (see here and here).

For his part, the Republican head of FEMA, Michael Brown, has been demonstrating time-and-again that he couldn't find the country club if you pointed him in the right direction from the curbside bag-drop area. When CNN's Paula Zahn ("Sir, you're not telling me, you're not telling me you just learned that the folks at the convention center didn't have food and water until today did you? You had no idea they were completely cut off?") and Soledad O'Brien ("How is it possible that we're getting better intel than you're getting? We had a crew in the air. We were showing live pictures of the people outside of the Convention Center. We had a National Guardsman who was talking to us, who was telling us he estimated the crowd at 50,000 people. That was at 8:00 in the morning yesterday. And also, we've been reporting that officials have been telling people to go to the Convention Center if they want any hope of relief. I don't understand how FEMA cannot have this information.") are berating you on national television about your complete ignorance of the presence of thousands of refugees at the New Orleans Convention Center, you have no alternative but to realize the error of your ways. Brown apparently has; this evening's news reports that he is no longer available for interviews. Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.

Despite it all, and much to my surprise, the proof positive of the Barry Postulate has been provided not by a governmental official, but rather by an Oscar winner. Yes, actor and liberal activist Sean Penn, taking a break from his busy international travel schedule, manages to set the proverbial car on fire. From IDontLikeYouinThatWay.com:
Sean Penn traveled to New Orleans with his entourage, including a personal photographer, in an attempt to act like a rescue worker. It didn't work, as the boat Penn was piloting sprang a leak after he apparently forgot to plug a hole in the bottom of the vessel, which began taking water within seconds of its launch. Penn was seen wearing what appeared to be a white flak jacket and frantically bailing water out of the sinking vessel with a red plastic cup. The motor also failed to start, and those aboard were forced to paddle down the flooded New Orleans street. Asked what he had hoped to achieve in the waterlogged city, the actor and not qualified rescue worker replied: "Whatever I can do to help." The locals were unmoved, and one bystander even taunted the actor: "How are you going to get any people in that thing?"

I'm positive that Sean Penn's heart was filled with care bears and his only desire was to help - why else would you bring your personal photographer - but since he's an idiot actor with no experience in the physical world, he was of course completely overwhelmed within seconds.
When both government and celebrities have let us down, to whom can the desperate people of New Orleans turn? No one's actually seen Aquaman recently, although the same can be said of Dick Cheney as well. It took the Ventians centuries to perfect the gondola-based municipal infrastructure. Things are rapidly deteriorating to the point where only Sir Bob Geldof can possibly save the day. Dry Aid, anyone?

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