• 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.
  • Go Read

    Great, great post by Digby.
  • Katrina Response Improving?

    Let's hope this is a sign of more creative, effective relief initiatives to come : The federal government plans to begin doling out debit cards worth $2,000 each to adult victims of Hurricane Katrina, The Associated Press has learned. ... The cards could be used to buy food, transportation, gas and other essentials the displaced people need, according to a state official who was on the call and requested anonymity because the program has not been publicly announced. Those at the Astrodome will get them first. Good work by the government on this one, it's a desperately needed measure. Via Talkleft .
  • Carter V. Bush

    Mark Schmitt writes up a rousing cry to replace Jimmy Carter with George W. Bush in the pantheon of hapless, incompetent, Presidents. As he notes, what happened under Jimmy ain't nothing compared to what's gone down under George -- the numbers alone should consign Bush to political pariah status. And Mark, as he so often does, gets it right. If the world were rational, Bush would join the pantheon of the disgraced. But it isn't. And what we disdain Carter for isn't rational either. Carter isn't maligned because of the economic indicators and foreign policy misadventures he presided over; his failures were communicative, narrative. Bush stays afloat on Iraq -- though he's rapidly sinking -- by making it a heroic battle, wherein withdrawal and recognition of our casualties equals defeat. So long as he staves off the "D" word and uses it to tar Democrats, he can keep portraying this as a respectable, if costly, fight, not a misguided and losing act of hubris. Carter, conversely, presided...
  • The Iron Curtain

    Earlier today, we found out that the Bush administration had barred all shots of the dead. Too much for America's delicate constitution to take. But -- showing real leadership -- Bush realized that this was too soft a response and now they're turning away all press . They're trying to control the information out of New Orleans. The findings of the free press were too politically damaging, so now they're shutting down the access. If pictures of the dead were too much for America's delicate constitution, they've now decided to submerge America's actual Constitution. Please, one of you conservalibertarian types, justify this one for me.
  • 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.