Flooding: A National Trend?
May 09, 2011
As mentioned in the last post, flooding along the Mississippi River continues to be the major domestic news story of the day. Residents of low-lying areas of Memphis have been asked to evacuate, as the river rises to 48 feet, just shy of the record set in the terrible flood of 1927, the most destructive in American history. Workers are building temporary levees throughout Mississippi and Louisiana, where the Mississippi is expected to exceed levels reached in that infamous flood in 1927.
The Mississippi River has continued to rise through the weekend, flooding thousands of acres in the region. Forecasters expect the river to crest in Memphis on Monday night, earlier than previously expected, and farther downstream, Louisiana officials are bracing for a potential flooding disaster. To lessen the chances of flooding in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and other Louisiana cities, the Army Corps of Engineers is expected to open the Morganza Spillway later this week, after already opening the Bonnet Carre Spillway this morning.
Is Donald Trump a Demagogue?
May 07, 2011
Unless you live under a rock, you know Donald Trump is thinking about running for president. His sensational public endeavors—pushing the White House to release President Obama’s long-form birth certificate and, most recently, questioning the authenticity of the president’s academic record—have met with astonishment, outrage, and dismay.
When The Mississippi River Floods A Lake
May 04, 2011
As the Mississippi River continues to rise higher and higher, the Army Corps of Engineers has been forced to blast levies along the river in an attempt to lower the water level. Unfortunately, while the destruction of levees has protected cities along the river, it has also led to the flooding of thousands of acres of farmland.
Leprosy: Can It Be Eliminated?
April 28, 2011
For years, about 150 Americans acquired leprosy annually, but doctors had no idea where about one-third of the cases came from. (Two-thirds were acquired overseas.) In a bizarre twist (bizarre, at least, for those of us who do not follow current events in leprosy), today in the New England Journal of Medicine American and Swiss researchers concluded that these leprosy cases, most occurring in Texas and Louisiana, were transferred from wild armadillos. (Researchers say mere contact with an armadillo is unlikely to transfer the disease.
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.