• Return of the Press

    Nikki Finke has a blistering column lauding the heroes and assaulting the hacks from the last week or two of Katrina coverage. Her final question -- whether the media can sustain its new assertiveness -- seems to have been answered today, with the answer being No. Sam Rosenfeld's been all over it, so I'll send you over to his posts on the subject. Suffice to say that the media, having attracted great plaudits for fighting the bullies at the bar, seems to have started swinging indiscriminately in the hopes of hitting another evildoer. We were praying that the pulsing anger Cooper and Smith and Rivera evinced would be coupled with a willingness to say exactly who is to blame. Unfortunately, it seems to have dissipated into a mere voice inflection, a tone in which you ask questions rather than an emotion that drives you to find answers. We'd hoped the press corps was changing, but it turned out the difference was merely decibel. That's why watching Kyra Phillips get laid out by Nancy...
  • Thanks for the Heads-Up!

    11 GOP congressmen just voted against the $51 billion relief package for flood victims. Another way of phrasing that sentence is there are 11 GOP Congressmen in the House of Representatives who no longer want their jobs -- Democratic challengers should be gearing up to take them.
  • The James Lee Witt of the 1920's

    I'm going to second Brad Plumer on this : compared to the historical screw job Herbert Hoover's been tagged with, Carter got off easy. If we're resuscitating reputations around here, there's no better place to start than the best crisis administrator -- both foreign and domestic -- this country's ever seen.
  • Darfur

    Brad's got an important post on the whole lot of nothing being done in Darfur. As bad as Katrina is, Sudan is much, much worse. And there's no Geraldo or Cooper holding up the limbless children and screaming at their anchors to pay attention to these dying, suffering people.
  • Arnold's Peculiar Conception of American Democracy

    As you probably know, Arnold has turned his full governating force against the homosexuals, promising to veto the gay marriage bill as soon as it lisps its way atop his desk. Shame on him. But in this case, it's less the bigotry (or in his case, the opportunism and fear of Tom McClintock) and more the rationale that's galling: In a statement, Schwarzenegger's press secretary, Margita Thompson, said the governor opposes the legislation, passed Tuesday night by the California Assembly and last week by the state Senate, because he thinks the matter should be decided by California's courts or its voters. So it seems the gays have finally found the weak point of representative democracy -- it's apparently totally incapable of handling their civilization-crushing demand for equal rights. Such a meaty task must be left to either an unelected, unaccountable judiciary, or whoever actually reads through the ballot initiatives. Well, I guess it takes an Austrian to totally rejigger America's...
  • Man of the People

    Remember when Clinton's high-priced haircut allegedly (which is to say "didn't, but the right said it did") choked up traffic at LAX? Well Bush, fresh from beating Ronald Reagan's two-term record for most days spent on vacation, has easily assumed first place in the "Massive Inconveniences Caused By Presidential Whim" category as well: The Naval Medical Center in San Diego's Balboa Park was shut down to accommodate a visit by President George W. Bush Aug. 30, RAW STORY has learned, forcing patients to cancel chemotherapy treatments and hundreds of scheduled patient visits. "The pharmacy is closed. The emergency room is closed. Even chemotherapy patients will not be allowed on base," the daughter of one patient told RAW STORY shortly before the President's arrival. "My mother is a patient...She was contacted and told that her appointment had been canceled and would be rescheduled later…All civilian personnel and patients will not be allowed on base." Hundreds of patient visits were...
  • Op-Ed of the Day

    Meyerson : But these are chronic conditions, and even many of us who argue for universal health coverage have grown inured to that distinctly American indifference to the common good, to our radical lack of solidarity with our fellow citizens. Besides, the poor generally have the decency to die discreetly, and discretely -- not conspicuously, not in droves. Come rain or come shine, we leave millions of beleaguered Americans to fend for themselves on a daily basis. It's just a lot more noticeable in a horrific rain, and when the ordinary lack of access to medical care is augmented by an extraordinary lack of access to emergency services. Even if we'll never win the national-greatness sweepstakes for solidarity, though, we've long been the model of the world in matters infrastructural, in roads, bridges and dams and the like. But the America in which Eisenhower the Good decreed the construction of the interstate highway system now seems a far-off land in which even conservatives...
  • Cult of Personality

    Matt on the CBS poll: 58 percent disapprove of Bush's handling of the hurricane, and just 38 percent approve. But consider this -- only 20 percent say the federal government's handling of the disaster was adequate, while 77 percent say it wasn't. 24 percent say FEMA's response was adequate and 70 percent disagree. How is it, then, that Bush is rated so much better than the federal government he heads, and the disaster agency run by his appointee, the much-beloved "Brownie?" This is part-and-parcel of a very frightening cult of personality that's been erected around the person of George W. Bush ever since 9/11 with the effective complicity of the rightwing media. He goes on to list a couple more instances where otherwise bright right-wingers seemed to lose their senses and rush to dump blame wherever Bush isn't in a desperate attempt to keep their honored leader morally pristine. The whole protocol reminds me of something a British Financial Times reporter said in "Journeys With George...
  • Too Bad That Didn't Work Out

    Just watching "Journeys With George", and this line from Bush's speech really jumped out: We need a standard-bearer who is the voice of those who live on the outskirts of poverty. Boy do we ever.
  • FEMA Rap for Kidz

    Oh my god...I don't even know what to say about this . You really have to click it, though -- I've never heard anything quite so...awe-inspiring.