Time to Write Off New Orleans?
August 30, 2010
President Obama's speech in New Orleans on Sunday, commemorating the fifth anniversary of Katrina, didn't have one clear message so much as two. The city has rebuilt and, in some ways, rebuilt itself into something better. But a lot of work, too much work, remains unfinished. If you read my dispatches from New Orleans two weeks ago, then you know that was the impression I, too, took away. One question that Obama didn't address was "why"--as in "why bother"? From the first days after the storm, people began asking whether it was time just to give up on New Orleans.
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.
The Draft Boss Hogg Movement Is Alive!
July 13, 2010
I still can't believe this is happening: Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) is getting pushed by major Republican donors to enter the race for the GOP presidential nomination. Barbour, a two-term governor, described himself as a “fat redneck” with an “accent” in a recent interview with CNN. Casino magnate Steve Wynn, a major Republican donor, is leading a group of friends who are encouraging Barbour to run, according to the New York Post.
June 19, 2010
The lady has been an old crone for more than half a century. So it was inevitable that some people in the profession would feel sympathy for Helen Thomas, even in her wicked quintessence. And not only merciful to her person but concerned for her lost job. Yes, Hearst pushed her, but Thomas, intuitively sensing that she would no longer be deferred to by the president or the press corps, went gently. Her wacky game was up. But this is not comedy. And Thomas’s answer to a random question—from a rabbi, it is true—about her current thoughts on Israel were deadly serious.
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
Shockingly, Hurricanes And Oil Don't Mix Well
June 03, 2010
The Gulf hardly needs further battering, but this week is the beginning of hurricane season in the Atlantic, and NOAA is forecasting that this could be an especially intense year (that's partly because El Niño, which tends to suppress Atlantic hurricanes, appears to be dying down). So what does that mean for the oil spill? This NOAA fact sheet lays out a few predictions. On the bright side, the high winds and waves can help stir up the oil in the ocean and speed along the biodegradation process. That helps.
Kenneth the Page Becomes a Man
May 28, 2010
True conservatives have never known exactly what to think of Bobby Jindal. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Republicans praised Louisiana’s newly elected governor as just the kind of energetic technocrat the state needed to get back on its feet. They were impressed by his youth, his intelligence, and, yes, his background (he’s Indian-American)—and they eagerly started talking him up for higher office. But then came his disastrous response to President Obama’s State of the Union in 2009, after which GOPers mercilessly mocked the governor for the same dorky qualities they once cheered.
As expected, the Kerry-Lieberman climate bill will give states incentives to expand offshore oil and gas drilling. (See Subtitle B here.) That's not too surprising. Kerry is still gunning for votes from conservatives like Louisiana's Mary Landrieu or South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, and expanded offshore drilling is one way of enticing them. But there are also a lot of adamant drilling skeptics out there, like Florida's Bill Nelson. So how did Kerry thread this particular needle? Here's how the bill would work.
May 08, 2010
The other day I wrote about a news report revealing that Richard Goldstone, as an Apartheid-era South African judge, had issued such rulings as acquitting police officers who broke into a white woman's home on suspicion that she was having sex with a black man. Goldstone directed a controversial U.N. Human Rights Council report on Israel's Gaza war. I concluded, "It's morally murky territory -- the ultimate question is whether and to what degree a white South African could take a position such as a judge for a regime that had such despicable laws.
The Boss Hogg Backlash Begins
May 07, 2010
For months I've been referring to Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour as "Boss Hogg," in what I concede is a fairly juvenile shtick. Keep that in mind as you watch this ad by Massachusetts governor candidate Tim Cahill: The soundtrack, of course, is the theme to "The Dukes Of Hazzard," the 80's show that featured Boss Hogg.