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    Wednesday, December 29, 2004
    Tsunami response
     
    President Bush finally made a public appearance the other day to comment on the tsunami that may have killed more than 100,000 people in Indonesia and Tailand. I say finally because the tsunami struck on Saturday and Bush waited three whole days to respond.

    Imagine the reaction of most Americans if other world leaders had waited even one day to react to or send condolensces after 9-11. In that context, Bush's lackadaisical response to this global disaster was an embarrassment.
    Then there was the initial $15 million in aid that the Bush administration offered. It was only after people began to point out that was less than half the amount the Bush folks will blow in one day for the inauguration festivities next week that the sum was bumped up to $35 million. And even that is a tawdry amount in proportion to what will be needed.

    The Washington Post ran a story that was justly critical of Bush's response. Here is the key parts of the story:

    Although U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland yesterday withdrew
    his earlier comment, domestic criticism of Bush continued to rise. Skeptics
    said the initial aid sums -- as well as Bush's decision at first to remain
    cloistered on his Texas ranch for the Christmas holiday rather than speak in
    person about the tragedy -- showed scant appreciation for the magnitude of
    suffering and for the rescue and rebuilding work facing such nations as Sri
    Lanka, India, Thailand and Indonesia.

    Some foreign policy specialists said Bush's actions and words both
    communicated a lack of urgency about an event that will loom as large in the
    collective memories of several countries as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks do
    in the United States. "When that many human beings die -- at the hands of
    terrorists or nature -- you've got to show that this matters to you, that
    you care," said Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign
    Relations.


    There was an international outpouring of support after the attacks on the
    World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and even some administration officials
    familiar with relief efforts said they were surprised that Bush had not
    appeared personally to comment on the tsunami tragedy. "It's kind of
    freaky," a senior career official said.



    Kind of freaky, indeed.


    |

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

    Tuesday, December 28, 2004
    National Film Registry
     
    Two of my favorite films of all time have just been added to the National Film Registry:

    "The Court Jester" starring Danny Kaye and "Going My Way" starring Bing
    Crosby

    Other films of note in this year's list include:

    The chariot-racing Biblical-classic "Ben Hur" starring Charlton Heston
    The Bruce Lee Kung-Fu masterpiece "Enter the Dragon"
    Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock"
    The orinigal "The Nutty Professor" starring Jerry Lewis
    Steven Spielberg's powerful "Schindler's List"
    The musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"
    and the Clint Eastwood directed "Unforgiven" which took the Western tradition in
    a new and darker direction.


    National Film Registry:
    1989-2003


    |

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

     

     

     
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