At least I think it was him. I started my first French Quarter waiting job around the time that W supposedly gave up drinking. One night a large enough party to occupy my entire station came in and stayed the entire night, running up a bill of several hundred dollars. While most of the people in the party were difficult to deal with, one jerk in particular stood out. Though he claimed that he wasn’t drinking, he seemed to expect me and everyone at the table to understand some truly garbled, incoherent utterances. Not only that, he kept making belittling statements that indicated that he seemed to think that he was in a third world country. After he broke an expensive table settng, he had the nerve to demand that we change one of our most popular recipes. Green as I was, I knew to be worried when he kept giving a wink and saying Don’t you worry, we’re gonna take care of you.
As the group was getting ready to leave,I heard one of the nicer members of the party say that it wasn’t enough. But I heard the most obnoxious one say: Well, I’ll remind that waiter that ten dollars is a lot. When I looked at the table, I saw some crumpled ones and some change that seemed to add up to less than ten dollars. A coworker looked and couldn’t figure out how it added up to ten dollars either. But the same coworker looked at the bill and concluded that the jerk seemed to think that he was giving his waiter both the tax and the tip. The explanation made me feel much better.
Sorry for the bait and switch, sorrier still for the lame humor, sorriest for trivializing the situation by comparing Bush’s treatment of Louisiana to that of a jerk who abuses and stiffs a waiter. But nothing else seems to be getting the message out. The $67B for Katrina relief was already overstated in that it contained money for such items as reimbursing other states for the costs of schooling evacuees, levee repair and repairing storm damaged bases. Now Bush wants to overstate it by another $18B and at least one prominent Democrat seems to have fallen for the fuzzy math. Once the inflated figures get accepted, it will be increasingly difficult to get more aid. No matter how much you point out that Louisiana seems to be getting shortchanged on aid packages (not to begrudge Mississippi its aid or get into an La. vs Miss. thing), people will think that Louisiana has received too much money. It probably won’t even help to point out that the federal government has at least some responsibility for most of the destruction in Louisiana, as it was caused by levee failures and the fact that the storm surge was funnelled by MRGO.
Note: While this an expanded version of a post on my blog, that post largely just expanded on work already done by da po’blog. I would strongly urge anyone interested in post-Katrina issues to check out the links on all three blogs, linked in this diary.