This Just In: News That Stays News
Washington—Adhering closely to a Heritage Foundation plan for reconstructing hurricane-devastated areas, U.S. President George W. Bush issued an executive order on Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to use slave labor.
In an oval office speech that followed by just a week his suspension of Davis-Bacon wage controls, Bush said the hurricane had caused "a national emergency" that permits him to override the Emancipation Proclamation and reinstitute slavery in ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
“Most of these people were unemployed anyway,” Bush said in a televised statement from the Oval Office. “At least this way they’ll have shanties to live in, good honest work to keep them out of the appliance stores, and three square meals. A lucky few may even get to sleep with their masters.”
Bush's action came as the federal government moved to provide billions of dollars in aid, and drew sharp rebukes from two of The Emancipation Proclamation’s biggest supporters in Congress, Rep. George Miller of California and Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, both Democrats.
"The administration is using the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to reinstute slavery," Miller and Kennedy said in a joint statement. “This is not only unacceptable in terms of human rights, it’s political suicide.”
When informed of Miller and Kennedy’s comments, Press Secretary Scott McClelland laughed and told reporters that Bush had that under control—he was also planning on suspending the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
But even Republican senator Trent Lott of Mississippi was critical. "President Bush should realize the colossal mistake he has made in signing this order,” said Lott. “We need to ensure that America’s slaves are illegal aliens from Latin America and Asia and not American citizens.”
Ralph Reed, political advisor and right-wing-Christian-at-large was more succinct. “You know,” he said, “I always preferred a good field holler to this rap you hear nowadays.”