Why Do Ethics Stories Still Quote CREW's Melanie Sloan?
March 04, 2011
[Guest post by James Downie] Kudos to the New York Times for a well-done investigation, published yesterday, on how companies operating in Louisiana are donating large amounts of money to Bobby Jindal's wife’s charity. Of course, that does not immediately prove something unethical has actually taken place, but, well, I’ll let a quote from the Times piece sum it up: “The motives might be good,” said Melanie Sloan, director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics [in Washington], which has also examined public records detailing the operations of Mrs. Jindal’s charity.
January 13, 2011
The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery By Eric Foner (W.W. Norton, 426 pp., $29.95) I. As we begin a raft of sesquicentennials that will carry us through at least the next half-decade—the secession of Southern states, the formation of the Confederacy, the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, Appomattox, and so on—I confess to feeling a mixture of excitement and trepidation. These are all signal events in our history, the roadblocks and thoroughfares in the making of modern America, and at a time of general crisis they are especially important to revisit.
The GOP's Strange Ideas About Helping the Poor
December 17, 2010
My latest column for Kaiser Health News: Rep. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana is not just a Republican. He's also a doctor. And that means he has not one but two reasons to dislike Medicaid. Not only does it cost the government a lot of money. It also serves a lot of its beneficiaries poorly. Cassidy explained in a Dec. 16 column for Politico that Medicaid is the stingiest payer in our health care system. For most services, it reimburses less than both Medicare and private insurance.
Why Don't Novelists Care about Katrina?
September 10, 2010
Since 2001, fiction based on September 11 has become almost de rigueur among major novelists writing in English. In the aftermath of the attacks on the Word Trade Center, many of the most famous authors of our time have weighed in on the attacks, depicting the ways large and small in which they altered people’s lives. Some hypothesized possible motivations behind the terrorists’ actions: John Updike in Terrorist (2006) and Martin Amis in the short story “The Last Days of Muhammad Atta” (2006).
A New Oil Rig Explosion—and a Familiar Lesson
September 02, 2010
(Updated at 6:00 p.m.) As Brad Plumer reported earlier, another oil rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana today, forcing workers to jump into the water while the rig was on fire. The Coast Guard says it has rescued all 13 workers and, so far, it looks like we're not in for a repeat of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, according to New Orleans Times-Picayune. This rig, which is owned by Mariner Energy, was in much shallower waters--340 feet deep rather than a mile. And while the well was producing oil, Mariner officials say that workers shut down the operation before evacuating.
Another Rig Explosion In The Gulf
September 02, 2010
Not good. Some updates from CNN: An oil rig has exploded 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana… The accident took place 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana on the Vermilion Oil rig 380, which is owned by Houston-based Mariner Energy. U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough tells CNN that all 13 workers involved in the rig explosion are accounted for, but one person is injured.
Does Flood Insurance Just Make Things Worse?
August 27, 2010
When Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeastern Louisiana on August 29, 2005, it caused extreme flooding up and down the Gulf coastline. Four years later, the Gulf has made a dramatic recovery—thanks in part to the billions of dollars in aid sent via the national flood insurance program. The hurricane certainly underscored the need for federal aid in the event of a natural disaster. But was the federal flood insurance program the best way to get aid to those in need? Some background: The National Flood Insurance Program, run by FEMA, provides insurance to homes that lie in floodplains.
The Movie Review: ‘If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise’
August 23, 2010
Spike Lee's wonderful 2006 documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, wasn’t just about Hurricane Katrina. Rather, it explored the social inequities that the hurricane laid bare, and the incompetence, confusion, greed, and stupidity that made a terrible situation worse. His latest effort, If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise, which premieres on August 23and 24, casts a cold eye on the opportunism that followed in the wake of Katrina, finishing with a devastating hour about the BP oil spill and the political and economic forces that allowed it to happen.
Surviving the Next Katrina
August 19, 2010
Note: This is part of a week-long series on New Orleans, five years after Katrina, based in part on my recent rip there. Everybody wants to know whether New Orleans can survive the next big hurricane. Few of them realize that it should have survived the last one. Katrina was not a category five storm and it didn’t even hit New Orleans directly. At the last minute, it veered northeast, making its final landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Katrina was massive enough to inflict damage far away from the eye, so it was bound to take its toll on New Orleans, too.
Another Tanker Disaster
August 12, 2010
Via Jon Hiskes, The Onion has the story: In what may be the greatest environmental disaster in the nation's history, the supertanker TI Oceania docked without incident at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port Monday and successfully unloaded 3.1 million barrels of dangerous crude oil into the United States. According to witnesses, the catastrophe began shortly after the tanker, which sailed unimpeded across the Gulf of Mexico, stopped safely at the harbor and made contact with oil company workers on the shore.