Thankfully, there is some good news regarding Hurricane Katrina at this point. The most encouraging is that the overall death toll is likely much lower than originally feared. The city of Houston, Wal-Mart and chefs in the Mexican army are among those who have contributed some much needed assistance.
There’s a good — well, I hesitate to call it “good” — summing up of the governmental breakdown here.
There are a number of interesting editorials on Hurricane Katrina out there. One of the best I’ve read is Eugene Robinson’s here, dealing intelligently with, among other things, class and race. Colbert King offers a fantastic line advocating honest interaction in his op-ed: “Moreover, the federal government's reconstruction and resettlement czar must not be afraid to be in the company of frustrated and angry black people.” The same paper, The Washington Post, also published what’s overall a rather loathsome piece of intellectual chicanery from Charles Krauthammer. Among other things, he equates those who persecuted Jews and burned witches in past centuries with those who would dare blame George Bush for Katrina. I was so intrigued by his use of faulty argument patterns, straight from a philosophy textbook (when he wasn’t outright lying), I was going to take him on point by point. However, as is the nature of the blogosphere, someone beat me to it and did quite a good job of it. You can read The Poor Man Institute’s critique here.
Meanwhile, if you’ve got the stomach for it, you can see and hear some real hateful commentary from Clear Channel’s Glenn Beck here and the real doozy, talk show host Mark Williams discussing race and Katrina on of all things, ShowBiz Tonight (the link will be changing but can be found under the 9/9 heading). It says something when you can be more hateful than Limbaugh. When will principled conservatives condemn and disown these assholes? The biggest problem is Beck and Williams are not adults, with any sort of intelligence or reflection, yet they are given a standing equivalent to people willing to think and discuss. Somehow, I don’t think Socrates would have tolerated temperamental screaming children or cranky curmudgeons with irritable bowel syndrome in his debates. As Jon Stewart pleaded on Crossfire, let’s elevate the discussion. The first step is not to invite the idiots.