Wow! Two posts in one day! Maybe the Miami Herald will hire me to replace Dave Barry. And this one is even politically motivated. Note, however, that all reporting is based on “stuff I've heard” rather than actual research so it is probably also factually inaccurate (which would probably make Dave Barry proud).
Disaster in the Indian Ocean. Over 100,000 dead and still counting. You can practically hear the groans from the CNN newsroom when someone's number in the office pool is knocked out of the running. But that's not what I'm hear to talk about. I've been hearing stories of the aid “pouring in” from other countries. The number I've heard from France is $100,000, an amount Sally Struthers would spit at. (“For less than a dollar a victim, you can put on a good show and possibly gain re-election.”) I seriously hope this number is inaccurate because Liza's boss is personally matching 5% of the contribution of a nation of sixty million people.
The next number I've heard is $15million from the U.S., up from their initial gift of $7million. I imagine this is an initial disbursement but for the remainder of this commentary, I'm going to assume it's the only one. Fifteen million is nothing to sneeze at and I'm impressed the US is giving it out so quickly without performing a thorough background check on the Red Cross (who I'm sure Rumsfeld has proven has ties to Al-Qaeda and Martha Stewart). But I'm going to compare the contribution to the $40million some guy told me they spent on Bush's inauguration. Firstly, I'm thinking they should send out for pizza the next time someone is elected president. Secondly, and I have no experience in throwing parties of this magnitude, how does one spend $40million on one party? I've been to pretty elaborate parties for five-year-olds that have cost less than $1000 (and I think the comparison is fitting). But bashing the U.S. for frivolous overspending is too easy a target these days so I'll move on.
Canada's donation: $40million. God bless a minority government and Paul Martin's budget-slashing, surplus-building ways for proving that, yes, in fact you CAN buy publicity like that. Martin, like all Prime Ministers before him, evolved from a man of the people to someone who now thinks Acadia is a mythical land that sunk into the ocean, but kudos to him for showing him how the big boys manage a disaster.