May 06, 2008
It is nearly three years since Hurricane Katrina desolated and despoiled the north-central Gulf Coast of the United States. But even today there remain many thousands of people who are still homeless and helpless and hopeless, victims of the natural catastrophe which was anticipated but not addressed. Thinking back about watching the desolating TV narrative (especially revealing in the work of Anderson Cooper) of callousness, incompetence, smugness reminds me of the Alfred E. Newman "what me worry?" attitude to disaster that has characterized the Bush administration.
Uno Visits The White House!
Dana Milbank has a humorous report on what the White House is up to these days. Aside from this, the answer is, not much: Four minutes after the scheduled start time for yesterday's White House briefing, only 14 of the 49 seats were occupied--and the 14 included flamboyant radio host Lester Kinsolving, who sat in the Bloomberg News seat; Raghubir Goyal of an obscure Indian American publication, who occupied the New York Times chair; and a foreign journalist in the back row, perusing the White House's Cinco de Mayo dinner menu.
May 05, 2008
Seventy years ago, back when John McCain was a toddler babbling nonsense, the U.S. turned toward international cooperation on economic issues. With the Anglo-American Trade Agreement in 1938 America started down the road to the great success of the post-World War II era--the policies that led to recovery from war, a return to global prosperity, and the containment of communism. McCain is now a senior citizen, but he's back to babbling nonsense, as when he confuses the G-8 with NATO.
Cyclone of Violence
Recently, horrific natural disasters have been followed by moves towards political reconciliation. In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami that devastated Aceh, a province in Indonesia, the Indonesian government and separatist rebels moved toward a peace process, which has resulted in the end of decades of conflict there. In Pakistan, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake relief efforts helped soothe tensions, at least temporarily, between Islamabad and Delhi.
Anna Quindlen makes the highly dubious claim that the Supreme Court is the most powerful branch of the federal government: Congress chips away at legislation, then sends some lowest-common-denominator version to the White House, to be signed or vetoed or later redesigned by the next president to take up temporary residence in Washington. But the work of the high court has had vast systemic influence over the lives of all Americans, an effect that lasts through generations. In the tripartite tussle, it's no contest: SCOTUS rules.The display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings.
Hillary's Wins Could Help Her Lose
I agree with Mike that a North Carolina loss would be a disaster for Obama. But we're also starting to see a weird phenomenon taking shape: that as Hillary moves up in various polls, keeps winning important states, etc, superdelegate sentiment actually drifts towards Obama. I noted last week that, even as his poll numbers among whites plummeted, Obama had finally caught up to Hillary in Hill supers.
Why The Media Loves Obama
I think Kurt Andersen is onto something: ...I don’t know many of those fierce Clinton supporters, because most of my friends and acquaintances are writers and editors and cultural impresarios of one kind or another—members of “the media”—and there are precious few Clintonites among them. Because almost as much as geography is dispositive in spectator sports—if you live in New England, you’re bound to love the Red Sox and hate the Yankees—demography is dispositive in this year’s Democratic race.
May 04, 2008
Hillary Vs. Pointy Heads
Hillary on ABC's "This Week" today: "I'm not going to put my lot in with economists," Clinton said... We've been, for the last seven years, seeing a tremendous amount of government power and elite opinion basically behind policies that haven't worked well for the middle class and hard-working Americans." So now the problem with the Bush years has been "elite opinion"? Okay maybe on foreign policy. But she's talking about the economy. And on that front, the Bush era has been about sacrificing mainstream economic thought at the altar of tax cutting. Hillary's got it backwards. P.S.
May 03, 2008
Nostalgia For Paris
<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Paris, France<?xml:namespace prefix = o /> A city like Paris never stands still. The dollar may be down, but America is up. France prides itself on its exquisite culture--especially in comparison with ours--but American technology and American ways are spreading throughout the world, even here. People in Paris see an easier lifestyle, and the young in particular are ready for a change. Despite their severe criticism of the United States, that’s where many want to go. McDonald’s and Starbucks are thriving and multiplying all over Paris.
May 02, 2008
NEW YORK--Do white right-wing preachers have it easier than black left-wing preachers? Is there a double standard? The political explosion around the Rev. Jeremiah Wright was inevitable, given Wright's personal closeness to Barack Obama and the outrageous rubbish the pastor has offered about AIDS, 9/11 and Louis Farrakhan. After Wright's bizarre and narcissistic performance at the National Press Club on Monday, Obama would have looked weak and irresolute had he not denounced him.