Archive

  • Wal-Mart...Good?

    Credit where it's due , Wal-Mart's done a damn good job on hurricane relief: Wal-Mart's response to Katrina -- an unrivaled $20 million in cash donations, 1,500 truckloads of free merchandise, food for 100,000 meals and the promise of a job for every one of its displaced workers -- has turned the chain into an unexpected lifeline for much of the Southeast and earned it near-universal praise at a time when the company is struggling to burnish its image. When it comes to Wal-Mart, I'm a cynic. But even if this was a play for positive headlines and media praise, it's still $20 million for relief, trucks packed with essentials, food, and jobs. Indeed, take a look at their preparations compared to FEMA's poor handling of the situation: In Brookhaven, Miss., for example, where Wal-Mart operates a vast distribution center, the company had 45 trucks full of goods loaded and ready for delivery before Katrina made landfall. To keep operating near capacity, Wal-Mart secured a special line at a...
  • Someone Needs a New Catch Phrase

    The other day, I was searching beneath my couch for the remote and I found Arnold's approval rating. Get it? I'm such a card! And now, wielding an impressive 36% reelect rating, Arnold's got the toughest choice of his political career. The California legislature approved a gay marriage bill, which he's either got to sign or veto. Last week, he tried to dodge by begging us to leave it up to the Courts -- yes, those Courts, the unaccountable, unelected judiciary that Tom DeLay keeps blasting for deciding things like gay marriage -- but that's a transparently poor ploy that won't do him any good. So what does Arnold do? God knows. He can't sign the bill because the nationwide Republican establishment would push him off a bridge -- it'd be the end of his higher office hopes. On the other hand, vetoing the bill, when he's lost all support among Democrats and Independents, is no better an option -- there's no higher office if he can't keep this one. Governating is hard.
  • The Right Questions

    Now this is what I'm talking about: Senate Democrats said yesterday that they will invoke the vast disparities in income and living conditions laid bare by the Hurricane Katrina disaster to sharpen their questioning of Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. at his confirmation hearings next week. ... With Roberts having urged a narrow interpretation of civil rights laws in the past, Senate Democrats will link the scenes of economic hardship with the constitutional and legal issues that surround efforts to address racial and economic inequalities, he said. ''We have made very important progress over the period of the last 50 years in knocking down walls of discrimination so that people can participate and be a part of a changed America," said Kennedy, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. ''And he's going to be asked to explain some of his advice that would have, I think, undermined that progress in important ways."
  • Health Care and Katrina

    The good folks over at The Next Hurrah have been running a microanalysis of Katrina. The big problems -- food, water, sanitation, shelter, and so forth are being batted about amongst big minds and budgetary gatekeepers, but what of all the minor-yet-major disruptions that the drowning of a whole way of life brings about? TNH is giving them some thought, and DHinMI kindly asked me to participate in their impromptu think tank, so I'll chime in with the bit that's -- no surprise -- grabbed me: Health care. Most Louisianans got their insurance through their workplaces, workplaces that're now charter members of Atlantis's Chamber of Commerce. Of those that can keep paying -- say, multinationals, large firms, and the like -- the displaced are going to be far out of tier and unsure how to use insurance policies that they'd never before had to access outside state borders. That is, of course, to say nothing of those who used government programs, no programs, local insurers, and all the rest...
  • Guns vs. Longbows

    In case you need a break from Katrina...
  • Donating

    Even though the sites and sounds have calmed a bit, those displaced by Katrina still need help. So if you've not donated, or if you could stand to give a bit more, now, while the humanitarian needs are still pressing but their visual immediacy is beginning to fade, would be a really good time .
  • Next Pick?

    Bainbridge has a very good post on the politics of the next Supreme Court nominee. Bush is apparently assuring conservative leaders that Gonzales will not get the nod, which means we're back to our usual game of taking the shortlist and combining ideology with genetics for the most electorally attractive pick. Bainbridge goes with Edith Clement or Jones. Between the two, I think Clement, a New Orleans native, would be too much to pass up, particularly as the Bush administration wants a clean nomination giving them political capital to spend on the Estate Tax Repeal and Tax Reform. On the other hand, John Roberts was the longest of long shots last time around and the misdirection was pretty awe-inspiring, so we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves. I will say this, though: if Bush does nominate Clement, he will have far, far exceeded my expectations vis-a-vis the Supreme Court. But with cultural conservatives merely lukewarm towards Roberts, I expect him to be seen as Business's Judge and...
  • No Party For Lincoln

    According to The Carpetbagger , Lincoln Chafee will be facing a primary challenge from Cranston's lunatic mayor, Stephen Laffey. Democrats, of course, are pleased as punch. Chafee survives election season by being a Democrat too independent to make his party registration match his political beliefs. Daddy was a Republican, and so Chafee will be one too. And so, though he votes Frist in as majority leader, he sends off write-in votes for President (Dubbya being beyond the pale for this Republican) and gets early endorsements from NARAL -- it's the best of both worlds. But those worlds are readyin' to collide, as Laffey's mounting a Club-for-Growth backed insurgency that'll force Chafee to swing hard right during the primaries to survive. That'll mean allying himself with the Bush administration, a none-too-popular group of folks in Rhode Island. And then, assuming Chafee survives that fight, he'll have to dart left again for the general. That's a lot of running around -- he'll probably...
  • From The President's Daily Cabinet Meeting

    Via NewsUnfiltered : "THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for coming. My message to the Cabinet this morning is this: This administration is not going to rest until every life can be saved; until families are reconnected; until this recovery is complete. Our goals -- our immediate goals are these: We want to complete the search and recovery; we want to restore essential services; we want to drain the water in the affected areas and begin removing debris; we want to -- and all are assessing public health and safety matters." Now how great would it have been if he'd ended that soliloquy with: "Message: I Care."?
  • With a JetBlue Ticket

    So I just booked my flight -- on September 21st, I'll be moving out to DC. I'll spend a few days tracking down an apartment, getting myself settled, and then, on Monday the 26th, I'll be starting at The American Prospect . So this is how Real Life starts, huh?

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