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Chief Spy or Chief Enforcer?

"Hammered by bad news in Iraq, congressional investigations and recent failed domestic initiatives such as immigration reform, Bush's job approval rating has spiraled to record lows for his presidency."

The Gallup Poll's Frank Newport blogs for USA Today about "some slight hints of positive news for the Bush administration."

But, he notes: "None of these numbers are in and of themselves the types of public approbation exciting enough to cause champagne corks to pop in the White House. After all, a job approval rating of 34% only looks good when it is compared to a declining job approval rating of 29%. And having 31% of Americans saying that the surge is making things better in Iraq is still far from a majority."

Katrina Redux, Part One

Spencer S. Hsu writes in the Washington Post: "A decision by the Bush administration to rewrite in secret the nation's emergency response blueprint has angered state and local emergency officials, who worry that Washington is repeating a series of mistakes that contributed to its bungled response to Hurricane Katrina nearly two years ago.

"State and local officials in charge of responding to disasters say that their input in shaping the National Response Plan was ignored in recent months by senior White House and Department of Homeland Security officials, despite calls by congressional investigators for a shared overhaul of disaster planning in the United States."

Katrina Redux, Part Two

Becky Bohrer writes for the Associated Press: "For New Orleans residents, the scene was all too familiar: President Bush, touring the site of the collapsed I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, promising to cut red tape and rebuild as quickly as possible.

"Nearly two years ago, with parts of New Orleans still under water after Hurricane Katrina, Bush made similar declarations in the French Quarter. The president's promise was all Melanie Thompson needed to hear to bring back her family of five and begin work on their flooded home.

"But today Thompson's family is still living in a cramped trailer and awaiting aid to rebuild. Her hope and faith in government have faded and she worries for the people of Minneapolis.

"'I just hope to God they come to their rescue a lot quicker than they did ours,' she said."

Peter Busowski of New Orleans writes in a letter to the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "When I heard President Bush promise to rebuild the Interstate 35W bridge, all I could think was, 'Haven't the people of the Twin Cities suffered enough?'"

Katrina Redux, Part Three

And over on NiemanWatchdog.org, where I am deputy editor, war correspondent Sig Christenson of the San Antonio Express-News worries that there are too many media restriction in Iraq -- and not enough reporters. The result, he warns, could be that "[i]nstead of seeing Iraq as it is, you'll see it the way someone with an agenda wants. . . .

"The last time we saw anyone pass off fantasy for reality and think they wouldn't get caught was in the days after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. Then, as now, politicians acted as if the rest of us were idiots, as if we would believe their words over the very stunning images that filled our television screens.


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