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New Orleans did not die an accidental death--it was murdered by
deliberate design and planned neglect. Here are twenty-five urgent
questions from the people who live in a city submerged in anger and
frustration.

In Washington, where it is exceeding difficult to get the political players or the press corps to pay attention to more than one story at once, no0 one would suggest that it was "smart politics" to deliver a major address on the day that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay being forced to step aside after being indicted on criminal conspiracy charges.

But sometimes the work of Washington involves more than political games.

Sometimes it involves life and death questions of national policy. And it is particularly frustrating in such moments to see vital statements about the nation's future get lost in the rush to discuss the scandal du jour. To be sure, the well-deserved indictment of DeLay merited the attention it received. But the indictment of President Bush's "stay-the-course" approach with regard to the Iraq War, which was delivered on the same day by U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, should have gotten a lot more attention than it did.

When you already have a fall guy, use him--especially if he's a dead man.

Could that be the legal strategy of I. Lewis Libby (a.k.a. Scooter), Vice ...

As Jonathan Kozol points out in his new book Shame of the Nation, the promise of Brown v. Board of Education remains unfulfilled. Thanks largely to a spate of Rehnquist Court decisions throughout the 1990s that limited the constitutionality of desegregation plans, policymakers across the country have abandoned efforts to integrate schools. As a result, schools have become rapidly re-segregated: today, Black and Latino students are more isolated from their white counterparts than at any other period since 1968.

Yet several school districts nationwide are tackling the problem of school segregation with socioeconomic integration plans. And the results, particularly in Wake County, North Carolina, have been profoundly positive. Wake County--which includes Raleigh and surrounding suburbs--made headlines last week when the New York Times reported that the performance of black and Latino students has dramatically improved since the implementation of a comprehensive socioeconomic desegregation program. According to the Times, the number of black and Latino students achieving at grade level has doubled in the last decade since the program has been put in place.

The tragic events in New Orleans once again illustrated that the fault lines of race and class are intimately connected in America. Consequently, class-based desegregation plans often have the dual effect of creating both racial and economic diversity in schools. And, as Wake County demonstrates, desegregation plans do more than simply mix students; they are a recipe for results.

The undulating monoliths in architect Peter Eisenman's Holocaust
memorial in Berlin are more banal than beautiful--which suits Eisenman
fine.

Although The Aesthetics of Resistance delves into leftist
notions of art and class struggle, this account of an anti-Nazi youth
group in Germany seems outdated now.

A recent surge of novels and memoirs reveals for the
first time the ways in which Germans suffered from Allied "total war"
strategy during World War II.

While his ideological style may be rough, is Iran's newly elected
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the fire-breathing conservative that the
mainstream Western media makes of him?

The stampede to confirm Judge John Roberts as the 17th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court roared through the full Senate Thursday as the chamber voted 78-22 to give President Bush's 50-year-old nominee a lifetime sinecure at the head of the nation's highest and most powerful court.

Roberts's record of opposing expansion of the Voting Rights Act, unyielding allegiance to the corporate interests he served as an attorney in private practice and extreme deference to executive power he served as an aide to President's Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush drew broad grassroots opposition.

People For the American Way, the National Organization for Women, the NAACP, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Human Rights Campaign, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Americans with Disabilities Watch, the National Council of Women's Organizations, the National Council of Jewish Women, Rainbow PUSH, the Fund for the Feminist Majority, Legal Momentum, the National Association of Social Workers, the National Abortion Federation, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and MoveOn.org all expressed strong opposition to the Roberts nomination.

What do you do if you want to profit from the
everyday aches and pains of human existence? Invent a disease, then
convince people they need drugs to cure it.

With religious school vouchers and public displays of the Ten
Commandments on government monuments, the United States is following Europe's path to a melding of Christianity and the state. That's no way to instill
loyalty among Islamic immigrants.

Unless the federal government does something now,
rising gas prices have the potential to break the blue-collar backbone
of many American towns.

Why does the New York Times feel compelled to perpetuate the
myth that smart, striving women are increasingly opting out of a career
to be stay-at-home moms?

Americans are becoming more hostile by the day to the war in Iraq,
the nation is demoralized over official abandonment of the victims of
the Gulf Coast storm, but the Democratic Party is missing in action.

Where normal human
beings see a storm-devastated community, George W. Bush sees only a
photo opportunity.

Three senators caved and supported the
nomination of John G. Roberts Jr. as Supreme Court Chief Justice. But
one lawmaker, banking on the public's cynicism of the oil industry,
wants to tax its windfall profits.

Critics have attacked Gulf Coast reconstruction, but
the system--or at least Bush's system--is working just fine. Just ask
the usual suspects who are raking in the cash.

The US military is keeping the ongoing hunger strike
and forced feedings of Guantanamo Bay under wraps. And an apathetic
American media is showing no interest in exposing the situation.

Last week's antiwar rally in Washington sent a
single, unequivocal message: At home and abroad, the Bush
Administration is a complete failure.

Scientists universally recognize the devastating
effects of global warming, including its possible role in creating
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It's time for skeptics to listen up before another devastating storm hits.

Before 9/11, the Bush Administration thought tax breaks and environmental deregulation would solve the energy crisis. They were wrong. Now it's time for policies that promote conservation and energy alternatives.

"Crony capitalism," Los Angeles Times columnist Robert Scheer writes this week, "is the name of the Republican game."

Scheer couldn't be more correct. The headline of the lead business story in September 28th's Washington Post is a good example: "Hurricanes Give Lobbyists Hope." The article reports that with Congress dangling as much as two hundred billion dollars in hurricane-related aid, lobbyists for oil companies, airlines and manufacturers are clamoring to get their cut as they work to get regulations waived so oil companies can build (dirty) new refineries which skirt EPA rules and so the airlines can go belly up on their pension obligations.

(For more on predatory profiteering in New Orleans and the Gulf region, read Naomi Klein's recent searing investigation for The Nation and check out recent Doonesbury strips where the ever-opportunistic Duke is characteristically in tune with the latest political currents.)