Poverty Line

It took a few days after New Orleans flooded for the press to breach the mental levee blocking comments on the victims' race and class. But, once that levee finally broke, it washed away pretty quickly. In a furious rant on Thursday, CNN's Jack Cafferty lashed out at journalists' unwillingness to take on the "elephant in the room" and complained that "almost every person we've seen, from the families stranded on their rooftops ...

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Gulf Stream

On Monday morning in Baton Rouge, Josephine Bell was trying to tidy her family's living area. "Help me sweep up now!" she yelled at one of her sons, handing him a broom and pointing to a pile of spilled cereal beneath a cot. "I want this area clean!" Bell, her husband, and her two sons had arrived in Baton Rouge eight days earlier, when, heeding the call to evacuate New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approached, they left their home in the city's Uptown neighborhood and headed, on a special bus, 80 miles west on I-10.

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After the Flood

You might have called the very existence of New Orleans, my hometown, a triumph of hope over nature. But nature had the last say. Nestled between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain (which spills into the Gulf of Mexico), the city's founders saw it as the perfect place for a port town. There was only one problem: The land between the river and the gulf wasn't so much land as swamp. They drained it as best they could and began to build, but it has meant a Sisyphean, 300-year death match between engineers and the elements.

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The MCA was egregiously behind schedule long before his appointment. Although the president promised to make money available to eligible countries within a year of MCA's unveiling in March 2002, it took Bush nearly that long just to submit draft legislation to Congress. Almost another year passed before the program was signed into law. Applegarth only came on the scene in February 2004, and, since then, his organization has had to rethink the whole tradition of U.S.

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The Fall

Even faced with the idea of Greater Palestine, it is impossible not to rejoice in the defeat of the idea of Greater Israel. It was always a foul idea, morally and strategically. It promoted the immediate ecstasy of the few above the eventual safety of the many; it introduced the toxins of messianism and mysticism into the politics of a great modern democracy; it preferred chosenness to human rights; it subordinated laws to visions, and the Jewish state to the Jewish millennium; it worshiped soil in a primitive, almost unJewish way.

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Failed State

Can any governor succeed in California?

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Pick and Lose

Has any word done more to cloak the modern conservative agenda than "choice"? As President Bush and Republican congressional leaders regularly remind us, Social Security privatization would give workers investment choices, school vouchers would give parents education choices, and Medicare privatization would give retirees health care choices. All of this is technically true: Social Security privatization, for example, really would present new opportunities for investing retirement savings.

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Island Mentality

Guantnamo Bay, Cuba The detainee, by all appearances, is resigned to his fate. Throughout his hearing, he remains stoic, not once even shifting in his chair, let alone jostling the restraints that bind his wrists and ankles. His tan jumpsuit indicates his compliance with the camp guards. (The infamous orange jumpsuits are reserved for "problem" detainees.) When the panel of American military officers asks if he wants to submit additional statements on his behalf, he declines.

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Summer Break

Sunny days grow (slightly) shorter. Beach umbrellas along the Pacific coast collapse and vanish. Notebooks, pens, and backpacks overflow the aisles of local stores. This can mean only one thing: It's back-to-school time for California's public school students. But for the California Teachers Association (CTA), the largest state educators' union in the country, summer break never even got started. Last June, just as the school year was winding down, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called for a special election to be held in November.

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Bully Pulpit

Last fall, a Bush-bashing ad in The New York Times included among its signatories the name of Norman Pattiz, the celebrated creator of Radio Sawa, a radio network fashioned to win hearts and minds in the Muslim world. This year, some say as a result of the ad, Pattiz has found himself battling for his seat on the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an independent government commission that oversees the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/ Radio Free Liberty, and Radio Sawa and its sister TV network, Alhurra.

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