Monday, November 17, 2008

Drinking through a crisis

The United States, in the midst of this financial crisis, will not abandon our commitments to people in the developing world; that the HIV/AIDS initiative, known as PEPFAR, will remain strong and vibrant; that our deep desire to significantly reduce malaria deaths in countries on the continent of Africa will not be diminished; that our obligation to help feed the hungry will not stop; that in the midst of all this turmoil and financial crisis, we will meet our obligations. These obligations are in our national security interests and our economic security interests and they in--are in our moral interests. --GWB, 11.15.2008

This is an excerpt from President-defect Bush's address to international dignitaries at the World Financial Summit on Saturday--a gathering (humbly) aimed at fixing the world's current financial crisis. His speech made three main points: 1) we must promote economic growth 2) we must adapt financial industry regulations to 21st century standards and 3) we need to reject protectionism and refrain from erecting trade barriers.

Now, Bush is no James Joyce, but some of these state leaders may have had a difficult time making sense of his speech, considering their menu from the previous night. On Friday evening, these same dignitaries were hosted at a State Dinner with the following menu:
  • fruitwood-smoked quail with quince gastrique
  • quinoa risotto
  • thyme-roasted rack of lamb
  • tomato, fennel and eggplant fondue
  • a salad course of endive, baked brie and walnuts
  • pear torte
I'm not arguing that State Dinners should be 'macaronis au fromage avec le boeuf,' but it's well known that these dinners are paid for by tax dollars (as opposed to personal dinners at the White House, the groceries for which are paid for by the President himself). When you're discussing launching the $700 billion bailout that's asking individual taxpayers with mortgage crises that are increasingly transitioning into food-on-the-table woes, indulging on wine at $500 a bottle seems absolutely immoral. Quail, lamb, fondue and brie... well, that's just rubbing it in.

You can read the rest of Bush's speech here. I, for one, cannot wait for January 20th--the day where I no longer have to listen to a president who sounds, on his best days, like a 6 year old who just fell off the monkey bars, nailed his nuts on the see-saw, and then tries to tell us he did it all on purpose.

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