The reference is to the late tenth century English king who lost his kingdom to the invading Danes, Ethelred the Unready--in Old English Aethelraed Unraed. "Aethelraed" was his name, meaning "noble judgment." "Unraed" was attached to it as a pun--"unraed" meaning not "unready" but "bad judgment." It's a pun.
Anyway, Paul Krugman is good this morning:
George the Unready - New York Times : Iraqi insurgents, hurricanes and low-income Medicare recipients have three things in common. Each has been at the center of a policy disaster. In each case experts warned about the impending disaster. And in each case.... Knight Ridder's Washington bureau reports that from 2003 on, intelligence agencies "repeatedly warned the White House" that "the insurgency in Iraq had deep local roots, was likely to worsen and could lead to civil war." But senior administration officials insisted that the insurgents were a mix of dead-enders and foreign terrorists. Intelligence analysts who refused to go along with that line were attacked for not being team players. According to U.S. News & World Report, President Bush's reaction to a pessimistic report from the C.I.A.'s Baghdad station chief was to remark, "What is he, some kind of defeatist?"
Many people have now seen the video of the briefing Mr. Bush received before Hurricane Katrina struck... really striking, given the gravity of the warnings, is the lack of urgency Mr. Bush and his administration displayed in responding to the storm... Newsweek reports, for several days nobody was willing to tell Mr. Bush, who "equates disagreement with disloyalty," how badly things were going. "For most of those first few days," Newsweek says, "Bush was hearing what a good job the Feds were doing."
Now for one you may not have heard about. The new Medicare drug program got off to a disastrous start: "Low-income Medicare beneficiaries around the country were often overcharged, and some were turned away from pharmacies without getting their medications, in the first week of Medicare's new drug benefit," The New York Times reported. How did this happen? The same way... experts who warned of trouble ahead were told to shut up....
[O]ur country is being run by people who assume that things will turn out the way they want. And if someone warns of problems, they shoot the messenger. Some commentators speak of the series of disaster... as if it were just a string of bad luck. But it isn't. If good luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, bad luck is what happens when lack of preparation meets a challenge. And our leaders... think they can govern through a mix of wishful thinking and intimidation...
Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach Richard Cheney. Do it now.