• Go Read

    Great, great post by Digby.
  • Katrina Response Improving?

    Let's hope this is a sign of more creative, effective relief initiatives to come : The federal government plans to begin doling out debit cards worth $2,000 each to adult victims of Hurricane Katrina, The Associated Press has learned. ... The cards could be used to buy food, transportation, gas and other essentials the displaced people need, according to a state official who was on the call and requested anonymity because the program has not been publicly announced. Those at the Astrodome will get them first. Good work by the government on this one, it's a desperately needed measure. Via Talkleft .
  • Carter V. Bush

    Mark Schmitt writes up a rousing cry to replace Jimmy Carter with George W. Bush in the pantheon of hapless, incompetent, Presidents. As he notes, what happened under Jimmy ain't nothing compared to what's gone down under George -- the numbers alone should consign Bush to political pariah status. And Mark, as he so often does, gets it right. If the world were rational, Bush would join the pantheon of the disgraced. But it isn't. And what we disdain Carter for isn't rational either. Carter isn't maligned because of the economic indicators and foreign policy misadventures he presided over; his failures were communicative, narrative. Bush stays afloat on Iraq -- though he's rapidly sinking -- by making it a heroic battle, wherein withdrawal and recognition of our casualties equals defeat. So long as he staves off the "D" word and uses it to tar Democrats, he can keep portraying this as a respectable, if costly, fight, not a misguided and losing act of hubris. Carter, conversely, presided...
  • The Iron Curtain

    Earlier today, we found out that the Bush administration had barred all shots of the dead. Too much for America's delicate constitution to take. But -- showing real leadership -- Bush realized that this was too soft a response and now they're turning away all press . They're trying to control the information out of New Orleans. The findings of the free press were too politically damaging, so now they're shutting down the access. If pictures of the dead were too much for America's delicate constitution, they've now decided to submerge America's actual Constitution. Please, one of you conservalibertarian types, justify this one for me.
  • Wal-Mart...Good?

    Credit where it's due , Wal-Mart's done a damn good job on hurricane relief: Wal-Mart's response to Katrina -- an unrivaled $20 million in cash donations, 1,500 truckloads of free merchandise, food for 100,000 meals and the promise of a job for every one of its displaced workers -- has turned the chain into an unexpected lifeline for much of the Southeast and earned it near-universal praise at a time when the company is struggling to burnish its image. When it comes to Wal-Mart, I'm a cynic. But even if this was a play for positive headlines and media praise, it's still $20 million for relief, trucks packed with essentials, food, and jobs. Indeed, take a look at their preparations compared to FEMA's poor handling of the situation: In Brookhaven, Miss., for example, where Wal-Mart operates a vast distribution center, the company had 45 trucks full of goods loaded and ready for delivery before Katrina made landfall. To keep operating near capacity, Wal-Mart secured a special line at a...
  • Someone Needs a New Catch Phrase

    The other day, I was searching beneath my couch for the remote and I found Arnold's approval rating. Get it? I'm such a card! And now, wielding an impressive 36% reelect rating, Arnold's got the toughest choice of his political career. The California legislature approved a gay marriage bill, which he's either got to sign or veto. Last week, he tried to dodge by begging us to leave it up to the Courts -- yes, those Courts, the unaccountable, unelected judiciary that Tom DeLay keeps blasting for deciding things like gay marriage -- but that's a transparently poor ploy that won't do him any good. So what does Arnold do? God knows. He can't sign the bill because the nationwide Republican establishment would push him off a bridge -- it'd be the end of his higher office hopes. On the other hand, vetoing the bill, when he's lost all support among Democrats and Independents, is no better an option -- there's no higher office if he can't keep this one. Governating is hard.
  • The Right Questions

    Now this is what I'm talking about: Senate Democrats said yesterday that they will invoke the vast disparities in income and living conditions laid bare by the Hurricane Katrina disaster to sharpen their questioning of Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. at his confirmation hearings next week. ... With Roberts having urged a narrow interpretation of civil rights laws in the past, Senate Democrats will link the scenes of economic hardship with the constitutional and legal issues that surround efforts to address racial and economic inequalities, he said. ''We have made very important progress over the period of the last 50 years in knocking down walls of discrimination so that people can participate and be a part of a changed America," said Kennedy, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. ''And he's going to be asked to explain some of his advice that would have, I think, undermined that progress in important ways."
  • Health Care and Katrina

    The good folks over at The Next Hurrah have been running a microanalysis of Katrina. The big problems -- food, water, sanitation, shelter, and so forth are being batted about amongst big minds and budgetary gatekeepers, but what of all the minor-yet-major disruptions that the drowning of a whole way of life brings about? TNH is giving them some thought, and DHinMI kindly asked me to participate in their impromptu think tank, so I'll chime in with the bit that's -- no surprise -- grabbed me: Health care. Most Louisianans got their insurance through their workplaces, workplaces that're now charter members of Atlantis's Chamber of Commerce. Of those that can keep paying -- say, multinationals, large firms, and the like -- the displaced are going to be far out of tier and unsure how to use insurance policies that they'd never before had to access outside state borders. That is, of course, to say nothing of those who used government programs, no programs, local insurers, and all the rest...
  • Guns vs. Longbows

    In case you need a break from Katrina...
  • Donating

    Even though the sites and sounds have calmed a bit, those displaced by Katrina still need help. So if you've not donated, or if you could stand to give a bit more, now, while the humanitarian needs are still pressing but their visual immediacy is beginning to fade, would be a really good time .