Inaugural Fundraising Fiasco

The tsunami that rocked Asia injured 500,000, displaced at least 1 million people from their homes and left nearly 5 million people in the region without basic supplies — creating an immediate need for a massive influx of food, shelter and medical supplies.

That hasn’t stopped Bush’s Presidential Inaugural Committee from pumping its corporate cronies for million to finance three days of lavish events, including nine official balls. Among their pressing needs: white chocolate cowboy boots for those attending a ball at the Ritz Carlton. The committee has raised $18 million — $4.5 million in the last week alone — to bankroll the extravaganza. Bush isn’t planning to stop the relentless fundraising effort until it hits $40 million.

Based on data from the American Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders, $40 million could pay for:

— 228,571 waterproof tents — 8 million mosquito nets (essential to protect many in the region from malaria) — 80,000 medical kits (each with enough basic supplies to treat 1,500 patients for three months)