Archive

  • Coming Soon to a Board of Directors Near You

    CNN's saying Mike Brown's resigned and stressing that he wasn't fired . Get that? He experienced a sudden, overwhelming, and totally random desire to spend more time with the horses. Bush is not admitting that his political patronage contributed to a massive disaster. I have to admit, I don't understand the Bush administration's peculiar resistance to firing folks. Wouldn't the axing of Brown make Bush look decisive, in charge, willing to hold underlings accountable, aware of how poor a job FEMA had done? I know the Bushies are severely allergic to the slightest whiff of admitting fault, but you'd think they'd swallow that for short-term political gain. Weird place to pile your principles.
  • The Burning Bush

    I have to say, I'm starting to think Matt is very wrong on this : That dynamic [nobody is loyal to Bush anymore because he's not running for anything] will probably get very bad for Bush sometime after the 2006 elections unless the White House political team manages to settle on a favorite standard-bearer and essentially clear the primary field for him. Matt's been making this argument for awhile now and some weeks find it more convincing than others. This week's not a good one. Bush is currently under 40% in the polls. In Virginia, his existence is proving a negative for Kilgore -- reverse coattails, if you will. So let's say, given all this, and assuming some degree of Democratic pickup in the 2006 elections, Bush and his handlers begin signaling their favored candidate. What happens? Revolt. Once Bush picks a candidate, that's it . Every other candidate knows their hopes of a Bush endorsement are over. So what's their probable move? They're not going to give up their presidential...
  • Privatize FEMA Pointer

    As the day goes on, I don't want to accidentally bury my "Privatize FEMA?" post from last night. If you've not read it yet, do so. It's much more substantial than anything else I'm likely to write today, and I think it an important point in general.
  • Hi, My Name Is Earl

    Not that I have anything against Jason Lee, but I'm going to have to ask all readers of this blog to boycott his new show "My Name Is Earl". Fact of it is, someone's got to take a stand against the unholy marriage of text advertisements and speaker boxes: Personally, I'm a fan of Jason Lee and perhaps his new show will rock enough to get me to tune in and/or Tivo it. But I seriously doubt it. Especially after having my page-flipping Sunday evening solitude so entirely disrupted when I came to this ad and turned past it only to jump at the loud sound of Jason's voice coming from straight outta nowhere and telling me "My name is Earl! Do good things and good things will happen to you! It's called Karma!" I quickly ascertained that the voice was not from inside my head but rather inside the page via a small speaker wired to a small pressure sensitive circuit board embedded in it. Think I'm overreacting? Behold your future: [W]hen I turned the next page Jason piped up again. "My name is...
  • Hearings Open

    I've got some sympathy for John Roberts. Being forced to sit in a chair and furrow his brow attentively as God knows how many senators read plodding, intermittently coherent opening statements can't be a good way to spend your morning. It's even lamer when each one tells you how to answer the questions of his/her colleagues, reminds you what job you're up for, and contradicts the blusterbuss sitting to their left. If we're going to ask him some questions, let's ask him some goddamn questions , otherwise, someone, for the love of all that is holy, please forcibly remove Orrin Hatch from the microphone.
  • Keystone Diplomats

    This is fairly funny. Mark Leon Goldberg got to talking with the Panamanian Ambassador to the UN, otherwise known as the poor sap who got charged with leading discussions to create a new UN Human Rights council. How are the talks going ? Comically badly: The talks were so dead in the water on Friday, rumor had it, that he couldn't even get the parties to agree to meet. During negotiations the prior night, Iran and Syria were being intransigent on one point and the deputy French ambassador, out of frustration, accused them of behaving like the right wing of the Republican party. Apparently, that's among the worst slurs that can be hurled in these parts. But John Bolton was in the room and obviously wasn't amused at being confused for a Syrian, so he stood up and left. Sounds like a vaudeville act, doesn't it?
  • Privatizing FEMA

    Of all the attempts by conservatives to regain some post-Katrina balance, the most pernicious has to be the growing effort to use FEMA's failure to delegitimize the government's role in disaster-relief. Man, that's chutzpah. The car broke because Bush slashed its tires and now his allies are trying to convince us that the real problem lies with the whole "car" concept. You should all use planes. Planes fueled by tax cuts and personal responsibility. It's a larger-scale, and significantly more cynical, deployment of the classic starve-the-beast strategy. If government has no tax revenues, it'll do a bad job. If it does a bad job, people won't like it. If people don't like government, they'll vote Republican. Replace "no tax revenues" with "incompetent leaders appointed through political patronage" and you've got this slimy little bastard. Follow the ooze and you'll find the argument in its natural habitat -- Tony Snow's head. Snow, of course, has built a career dressing viciously...
  • Sideshow George

    Shakes here... In The Calmer in Chief , Ezra pulls a quote from this article that illustrates how truly feckless Bush’s leadership was specifically during the Katrina crisis. As I read the article, I was struck by the repetition of a particular idea—that of Bush as showman, and seemingly little more. (Emphasis mine.) Longtime Bush watchers say they are not shocked that he missed his moment—one of his most trusted confidants calls him "a better third- and fourth-quarter player," who focuses and delivers when he sees the stakes. What surprised them was that he still appeared to be stutter-stepping in the second week of the crisis, struggling to make up for past lapses instead of taking control with a grand gesture … Bush has always said the presidency is about doing big things, and a friend who chatted with him one evening in July said he seemed to be craving a fresh mission…" He was looking for the next really important thing to do ," the friend said… "Where's the Cathedral speech?" a...
  • Brooks Rediscovers Egregiousness

    By Ezra The David Brooks corollary : Because Delta is soon to file for bankruptcy protection, it stands to reason that no airline could possibly be more efficient or profitable and thus all private air carriers should be nationalized. Opponents of this plan must explain how the performance of Delta, a company with multiple highly-detailed plans for long-term profitability, could possibly leave anyone confident in the sustained success of a vigorous and deregulated private sector. Conservatives who think this disaster will set off improvement in the airline industry need to explain how a comprehensive free-market failure is going to restore America's faith in the private sector.
  • The Calmer In Chief

    By Ezra I don't even know what to say about this one: Bush does not appear to tap sources deep inside his government for information, the way his father or Bill Clinton did, preferring to get reports through channels. A highly screened information chain is fine when everything is going well, but in a crisis it can hinder. Louisiana officials say it took hours for Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to reach Bush (although when she did, he talked to her soothingly, according to White House officials). So White House officials thought it important to note that when the hysterical, emotional woman finally reached her emotionally distant president, he had the presence of mind to speak in "soothing" tones to her. Whew. I'm so glad that though FEMA fumbled and the National Guard was indisposed and Michael Chertoff was asleep on the job, Bush was in full control of his vocal modulation, and able to effectively deploy it against Mrs. Blanco's overwrought screeching.

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