The press has spent the past week congratulating itself for awakening from its long slumber. After years of credulously reciting administration talking points about WMD and candy-throwing Iraqis, the corpse-lined streets of New Orleans have spurred reporters to finally get feisty with mendacious officials and slippery politicians. The most celebrated hero of this resurgence is CNN's Anderson Cooper. When Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu congratulated her fellow politicians for their poised response to Katrina, Cooper cried bullshit.
Recent headlines have offered hope that President Bush may yet do right by the victims of Hurricane Katrina. After the first days of shameful ineptitude, he secured more than $60 billion in relief, named somebody with actual disaster experience to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency (fema), and, rather uncharacteristically, admitted his administration made serious errors in the storm's immediate aftermath. But there is one reason to think the Bush administration hasn't learned from its past mistakes: its plan for housing the people that Katrina has rendered homeless.
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.