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CNN Rather than fight

CNN: "Rather than fight a lawsuit by CNN, the federal government abandoned its effort Saturday to prevent the media from reporting on the recovery of the dead in New Orleans."

Fat times in Crony-villeFrom

Fat times in Crony-ville!

From Reuters: "Companies with ties to the Bush White House and the former head of FEMA are clinching some of the administration's first disaster relief and reconstruction contracts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina."

Dont talk about the

Don't talk about the boss ...

A state agency lawyer quoted in a nationally-circulated news story as questioning Karl Rove's eligibility to vote in Kerr County is out of a job and feeling twice burned.

Elizabeth Reyes said she was fired Tuesday as an attorney in the elections division of the Texas secretary of state's office because she appeared in a Washington Post story Saturday about the presidential adviser.

The article, which was reprinted in papers across the country, quoted Reyes as saying Rove's ownership of Kerr County property may not qualify him to vote there.

San Antonio Express-News.

Seattle Times ... John

Seattle Times ...

John Pennington, the official in charge of federal disaster response in the Northwest, was a four-term Republican state representative who ran a mom-and-pop coffee company in Cowlitz County when then-Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn helped him get his federal post.

Before he was appointed regional director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Pennington got a degree from a correspondence school that government investigators later described as a "diploma mill."

Pennington, 38, says he worked for his degree and he is qualified for the FEMA job.

Read the rest.

From a bad novel

From a bad novel? Actually from the WSJ: "Ten U.S. Army recruiters are offering volunteer help for Katrina evacuees at Houston's Astrodome. But the recruiters, struggling to keep enlistment up during Iraq war, are also available with options for the jobless. "Our intent is to approach the evacuees at the right time for them,'' says Army spokesman Douglas Smith."

Heres one question were

Here's one question we're trying to get a handle on for our timeline. TPM Research Fellow Austin Bonner takes it from here ...

Reports have pointed to the number body bags in New Orleans as a possible indication of the expected death toll. But it's unclear from news reports if the number 25,000 means that FEMA estimated their need and then requested that many or there were simply 25,000 body bags available in the area.

On Thursday, September 8, the Times-Picayune reported that Bob Johannessen, a spokesman for the state Department of Health and Hospitals, told them officials have "25,000 body bags on hand", saying "We don't know what to expect." FEMA spokesman Ricardo Zuniga has used the same language. Fox News, Reuters, and other outlets also said the body bags were "on hand." AP described the bags as "in the state."

But San Antonio Express-News characterizes Johannessen's statement differently, reporting that he " said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has shipped 25,000 body bags to Louisiana."

And other outlets like Investors Business Daily and the Chicago Tribune described FEMA as "ordering" the body bags.

So, is there a background source out there telling reporters that FEMA estimated the death toll and had 25,000 body bags sent in or is this a misunderstanding?