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Too Surreal for Words

You know, my mind simply can't wrap itself around the reality of the last week. You can't write stuff this weird.

Okay, first off:

HOUSTON, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Three truckloads of fashion clothing seized by government agents for violating import quotas arrived at Houston's Astrodome on Wednesday so Hurricane Katrina refugees there can put it to use.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection delivered about 100,000 items of summer clothing, with an estimated value of $2.3 million, and said much more is on the way to evacuees elsewhere.

"We normally would either sell this merchandise or destroy it," said Robert Trotter, the agency's director of field operations. "Or we would donate it on a smaller scale." . . .

The items delivered on Tuesday, much of it with designer labels like Fubu and Code Blue, were handed to the Red Cross and local church officials who were to distribute it.

. . ."They will be able to tell us specifically what they want and a personal shopper will go back and get it for them," said Mike Firenza of St. Luke's Methodist Church. "It will be one of the finest-dressed shelters that there's ever been."

Okay, that's a good use of seized merchandise, but I can't get the picture out of my head: refugees walking around in designer clothing with a $2000.00 debit card in their hands.

The federal government plans to begin doling out debit cards worth $2,000 each to adult victims of Hurricane Katrina, The Associated Press has learned.

But not to everyone:

Not everyone will qualify for a debit card, said Ed Conley, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Houston.

"For instance you may have some people who have insurance and insurance is meeting their living expenses while they have been displaced. You have some people who may be looking at an option such as a cruise ship where all of their needs are going to be met. It is going to vary by family," said Conley.

When it comes to distribution of the cards, Conley said, "we are scheduling an appointment with the family and then providing it to them."

Great, just what these poor people need: more hoops through which to jump, provided once again courtesy of the Fucking Egocentric Mismanagement Agency, FEMA for short.

But hey, our commander-in-chief is on top of it, right? The man understands the scope of the problem.

At a news conference, Pelosi, D-Calif., said Bush's choice for head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency had "absolutely no credentials."

She related that she urged Bush at the White House on Tuesday to fire Brown.

"He said 'Why would I do that?'" Pelosi said.

"'I said because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week.' And he said 'What didn't go right?'"

"Oblivious, in denial, dangerous," she added.

What went wrong? Here's one of the latest:

A South Carolina health official said his colleagues scrambled Tuesday when FEMA gave only a half-hour notice to prepare for the arrival of a plane carrying as many as 180 evacuees to Charleston.

But the plane, instead, landed in Charleston, West Virginia, 400 miles away.

If it weren't so damned sad, it'd be hillarious.

Too bad no one is laughing.

Joseph Haines, signing off from The Edge of the Abyss.

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