Citizens of the Week, Gulf Coast Edition
July 16, 2010
Good Citizen of the Week: Dave Rauschkolb A little over two weeks ago, on the very first post for this blog, I wrote about the discouraging politics of climate. The largest environmental disaster in the nation's history was unfolding, but a serious and focused grassroots push for legislation hadn't materialized. To back up my argument, I said, among other things, that a protest called "Hands Across the Sand"--in which environment al activists literally held hands on beachfronts, to protest offshore drilling--had attracted only a few thousand people across the country.
BP Stops Leak, But The Gulf Crisis Isn't Over
July 15, 2010
This is welcome news if it holds up: "BP says oil has stopped leaking into the Gulf for the first time since April. BP has been slowly dialing down the flow as part of a test on a new cap. Engineers are now monitoring the pressure to see if the busted well holds." Here's hoping it does. Still, the Macondo site won't be fully and permanently plugged until BP finishes drilling a relief well.
Is The Drilling Moratorium A Bad Idea?
July 14, 2010
The logic behind a moratorium on deepwater drilling seems sound enough. Until we have a better idea of exactly why Deepwater Horizon blew up and gushed millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf—and what other risks are still lurking out there—it's probably not a good idea to go ahead with a whole bunch of new insanely complex projects. Right? At least, that's what the Obama administration is thinking. Last month, it proposed a six-month halt on drilling that would affect 33 rigs under construction.
Why Brandeis Matters
June 29, 2010
Louis D. Brandeis: A Life By Melvin I. Urofsky (Pantheon, 955 pp., $40) I. In 1916, Herbert Croly, the founder and editor of The New Republic, wrote to Willard Straight, the owner of the magazine, about the Supreme Court nomination of Louis Brandeis. Croly enclosed a draft editorial called “The Motive of Class Consciousness,” and also a chart prepared by a lawyer in Brandeis’s office showing the overlapping financial interests, social and business connections, and directorships of fifty-two prominent Bostonians who had signed a petition opposing Brandeis’s nomination.
Tonight at 8 pm, President Obama will give one of his patented Big Speeches about the oil debacle in the Gulf—only this one will be his first-ever address from the Oval Office. The backdrop's no accident. Presidents typically only resort to Oval Office speeches when, as John Dickerson notes, they're "responding to an immediate crisis [or] trying to change the dynamic of an ongoing one." And this address falls into the latter category. The public thinks Obama's been way too cuddly with BP, while badly-needed energy legislation is sputtering in the Senate. Something has to change, and fast.
Matt Drudge and the Future of Soccer
June 13, 2010
Has soccer arrived in America? ABC/ESPN and Univision certainly think so -- they paid over $400 million combined to air the World Cup on their stations. The mainstream media think so as well -- the World Cup has been featured on the covers of Time, Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated and newspapers around the nation. But the surest sign that soccer has hit the big time in the States? Matt Drudge thinks so. Last night the Drudge Report website led with the speculation that World Cup organizers might ban the vuvuzela horns. Earlier in the day he led with a picture of poor Robert Green looking haple
Dispatches From the Blagojevich Trial (Part 2)
June 09, 2010
Click here to read Margo Howard’s first dispatch from the Blagojevich trial. Chicago—Well, the games have begun. That is, the trial that has the potential, per political consultant Kevin Madden, “to be the ultimate clown-car spectacle”: United States v. Blagojevich, et al. (The part of “et al”will be played by the former governor’s brother, Rob.) There’s a very large press contingent here, this being about as jazzy as corruption cases get. I guess the prototype would be Louisiana’s Edwin Edwards, another “colorful” governor convicted of extortion and racketeering in 2001.
The Sweet Part of the City
June 08, 2010
No one who loves his hometown should ever feel the need to explain that it is in fact not a place where souls go to die—but I do, incessantly. It’s a reflex now, developed over a decade of having lived on the east coast, of having a simple statement—“I grew up in LA”—regularly followed by a grimace, or, at best, a sympathetic pursing of the lips. Most New Yorkers and Washingtonians, you see, don’t have a whole lot of respect for Los Angeles.
A Sociologist Covers The News
June 07, 2010
Chris Beam's well-received piece imagining a news article written by political scientists has inspired Conor Friedersdorf to imagine a news article written by sociologists: NEW ORLEANS — Absent from the dialogue surrounding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which began on April 20, 2010 following an explosion that killed eleven workers, are the roles of class, race and especially gender.
A Disaster Worse Than Katrina
June 04, 2010
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, now deemed the worst in American history, may inflict more damage to the future of New Orleans than Hurricane Katrina. In a matter of days, Katrina and the levee failure wiped out the physical and social fabric of many communities. Across the Gulf Coast, more than 1 million people were displaced from their homes and another estimated 1,400 persons lost their lives to the disaster. In New Orleans, the severe flooding destroyed more than 134,000 homes, wreaked havoc to public and private infrastructure, disrupted businesses, and severed generations of family and