Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

A thought for some clever graphic artist: a juxtaposition.

And all you need to get is a copy of the Monday guitar image and then one from the speech last night. Caption one: "When Lives Are at Stake." Caption Two: "When Politics Is at Stake." Fiddle with the wording. But you get the idea.

Am I wrong?

Late Update: A TPM Reader has given it a try. And it looks pretty good.

From Brian Williams' blog ...

I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.

Only surprising that <$NoAd$> it gets prominent mention.

Interesting use of DOJ resources. From The (Mississippi) Clarion-Ledger ...

Federal officials appear to be seeking proof to blame the flood of New Orleans on environmental groups, documents show.

The Clarion-Ledger has obtained a copy of an internal e-mail the U.S. Department of Justice sent out this week to various U.S. attorneys' offices: "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation."

Who sent out this email? And who was going to use it? <$NoAd$> Needed for analyzing new environmental law issues? Part of the 'takings' debate? Did we mention that Karl Rove has been put in charge of the reconstruction effort?

(ed.note: Thanks to TPM Reader EE.)

Before anything else this morning, I want to thank you, or to be more precise, a very substantial percentage of you, for filling out the survey yesterday. We ran it for twenty-four hours and got a bit more than 18,600 respondents. So we're happy with the sample size.

Like last year, there were a few complaints about the lack of a sufficient number of categories to choose when asked to define oneself politically. There were also a few exceptions taken by folks whose profession wasn't mentioned in the 'what you do' category. No listing for scientist, farmer, artist, etc.

So allow me to explain. If I were building the survey from the ground up, I'd do it differently. But this was the exact same survey we did last year. And there was a utility to having a direct apples to apples comparison, to see what if any ways the audience has changed in the last eighteen months.

More particularly, though, the point of this exercise was not self-expression. It was to gain some basic data for advertisers. And lest that come off as snide, I don't mean it that way. If I were doing this survey out of my own curiosity or to understand my audience better, I would have designed it very differently. I'd have given a more finely nuanced range of possible political self-definitions, a different way of categorizing professions, and I'd also probably have asked a series of what I'd see as defining political questions -- ones which, I think, would be more revealing than labels.

In this case, I wanted to ask as few questions as possible (so I could honestly say that it would take little time) and get the information we really needed -- not for editorial purposes, but to get some basic data for advertisers. So that's the deal.

In any case, to return to the main point, almost twenty-thousand of you took the time to fill it out. And like I said yesterday, on a personal level, I really appreciate that. So thank you.

We'll be sharing the results with you when they're ready.

Let's see. What was the problem with Michael Brown exactly? Let's see. No expertise or experience for the job. Got the gig because he was pals with Bush's political fixer. Also a political loyalist.

So to learn the lesson and get back on track, to run the recovery, President Bush picks Karl Rove.

That's great.

Do we really all need the paint by numbers version of this picture.

Then there's the president's great line from the speech: "It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces."

No, it's not. Actually, every actual fact that's surfaced in the last two weeks points to just the opposite conclusion. There was no lack of federal authority to handle the situation. There was faulty organization, poor coordination and incompetence.

Show me the instance where the federal government was prevented from doing anything that needed to be done because it lacked the requisite authority.

This is like what we were talking about a few days ago. This is how repressive governments operate -- mixing inefficiency with authoritarian tendencies.

You don't repair disorganized or incompetent government by granting it more power. You fix it by making it more organized and more competent. If conservatism can't grasp that point, what is it good for?

As for the military, same difference. The Army clearly has an important role to play in major domestic disasters. And they've been playing it in this case. But what broader role was required exactly?

As I've been saying, repressive governments mix adminsitrative clumsiness and inefficiency with authoritarian tendencies. That's almost always the pattern. The direction the president wants to go in is one in which, in emergencies, the federal government will have trouble moving water into or enabling transportation out of the disaster zone but will be well-equipped to declare martial law on a moment's notice.

Another pack of lies. Right in front of everyone.

Here's a project.

Who will be the first and who will be the last to broach the subject of whether the president's chief political operative should be in charge of the largest domestic reconstruction effort since the Civil War.

Let's list off some of the worthies ... Russert, Brian Williams, Times editorial page, Post editorial page, Stephanopoulos, Schiefer, Hume, Matthews, Wallace, Juan Williams, Will, Mitchell.

We'll make a list and put it up on a separate page. Let us know who broaches the subject and when. And we'll see who's the last one standing.

Who will push behind the spin?

I caught the latter part of the president's speech and then a few moments of coverage on NBC afterwards. And I quickly realized why I never watch television news anymore. Russert, Gregory and Williams (who's actually been pretty good through this whole thing -- online at least) talking about how well the president did on contrition, how it was new for him, how the president took responsibility, how important it is "not to let this become a tale of two cities." And on and on.

There's real news to be reported -- how the president is approaching the reconstruction, what plans he's putting in place right now. He's put his chief political operative in charge of running the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast. Shouldn't that be raising a lot of questions -- a man whose entire professional experience is in political messaging and patronage?

He's also at the center of on-going criminal investigation and the target of a much-rumored indictment. But set that aside.

Then there's what Rep. John D. Dingell (D-MI) said in his statement out this evening. "With a stroke of the pen, in one of his first Katrina directives, the President cut the wages of the workers who will undertake our largest reconstruction project since the Civil War."

That cuts right to the heart of the matter. The president's first major initiatives were deep wage cuts for the people who will do the reconstruction.

Which paper is going to dig into this?

President Bush: "It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces - the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment's notice."

Let's all be clear about one thing.

As we suggested last night, and as President Bush has now put us on notice, the Gulf Coast reconstruction effort is going to be run as a patronage and political operation.

That's not spin or hyperbole. They're saying it themselves.

The president has put Karl Rove in charge of the reconstruction, with a budget of a couple hundred billion dollars.

They've announced this in various ways over the last few days. But here's another, from today's Times ...

Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort, which reaches across many agencies of government and includes the direct involvement of Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development.

Karl Rove runs political <$Ad$> operations and manages coalitions through patronage. That's what he does. And that's what this is about.

Everybody realizes that. Don't expect much if any discussion of this point in the major papers or on the networks.

It's shameless. But that's beside the point.

This is a time when the country needs an opposition party. Every Democrat should be hitting on this. Take the politics out of the reconstruction effort. He put his chief spin-doctor in charge of the biggest reconstruction and refugee crisis the country's probably ever faced. That tells you all you need to know about his values. Nothing that happened in the last couple weeks meant anything to him. And nothing has changed. Same as Iraq. Same stuff.

Notice a problem?

Roll Call (sub. req.) has just posted a piece on its website with the headline: "House OKs Bipartisan Katrina Review Panel".

That's followed by these three paragraphs ...

On a near party-line vote, the House approved legislation Thursday creating a select committee to investigate the preparation for Hurricane Katrina and subsequent response effort.

House lawmakers passed the bill, 224-188, easily defeating Democratic opposition to the proposal, which would create a majority-led 20-seat panel charged with investigating the events surrounding the Category Five storm that decimated much of the Gulf Coast.

During Thursday’s debate on the House floor, Democrats reiterated their objections to the panel’s composition —which would include 11 Republicans and nine Democrats, as well as Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as ex officio members — asserting it will not be able to conduct an effective investigation.

Okay, so it passed on a near <$Ad$> party-line vote. It has a majority of Republican members. And it will be controlled by the Republicans. But it's the 'Bipartisan Katrina Review Panel'.

You've really gotta wonder who has what picture of what headline writer sharing a special moment with a beloved farm animal to pull this one off.

Here's something to try. Someone find me a clip where a reporter refers to the bipartisan House Ways and Means committee. Or how about, the bipartisan House Rules committee.

Find many examples?

No one calls a committee, special or otherwise, bipartisan just because it has members of both parties among its members. Can we find other examples of publications who've fallen for this one?