For years, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez cast himself as President Bush's arch-nemesis, repeatedly accusing the Bush administration of plotting to overthrow the Venezuelan government and to assassinate him. This was how Chávez justified an unprecedented military buildup and his tightening alliances with Russia and Iran.
With Hurricane Katrina still over the Gulf of Mexico, Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman, New Orleans's chief jailer, convened his ranking officers for an emergency meeting. Present in the sheriff's conference room that Saturday were most of his wardens, as well as the officer in charge of supplies and the head of the jail's kitchen, a huge feeding operation that prepared more than 18,000 meals per day. The sheriff went around the table, asking the officers if they were prepared for a storm.