Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

9/20/2005

Get your free Paul Krugman column here!

This dude (HT: Digby) figured out the most ridiculously easy backdoor to get around the New York Times' new subscription policy for their editorials.

Thus, for perhaps a limited time (it's really easy, they'll surely close it by morning (?)), I can copy and paste NYT columns with ease! Here's Krugman's, in its entirety:
Tragedy in Black and White
By PAUL KRUGMAN

By three to one, African-Americans believe that federal aid took so long to arrive in New Orleans in part because the city was poor and black. By an equally large margin, whites disagree.

The truth is that there's no way to know. Maybe President Bush would have been mugging with a guitar the day after the levees broke even if New Orleans had been a mostly white city. Maybe Palm Beach would also have had to wait five days after a hurricane hit before key military units received orders to join rescue operations.

But in a larger sense, the administration's lethally inept response to Hurricane Katrina had a lot to do with race. For race is the biggest reason the United States, uniquely among advanced countries, is ruled by a political movement that is hostile to the idea of helping citizens in need.

Race, after all, was central to the emergence of a Republican majority: essentially, the South switched sides after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Today, states that had slavery in 1860 are much more likely to vote Republican than states that didn't.

And who can honestly deny that race is a major reason America treats its poor more harshly than any other advanced country? To put it crudely: a middle-class European, thinking about the poor, says to himself, "There but for the grace of God go I." A middle-class American is all too likely to think, perhaps without admitting it to himself, "Why should I be taxed to support those people?"

Above all, race-based hostility to the idea of helping the poor created an environment in which a political movement hostile to government aid in general could flourish.

By all accounts Ronald Reagan, who declared in his Inaugural Address that "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem," wasn't personally racist. But he repeatedly used a bogus tale about a Cadillac-driving Chicago "welfare queen" to bash big government. And he launched his 1980 campaign with a pro-states'-rights speech in Philadelphia, Miss., a small town whose only claim to fame was the 1964 murder of three civil rights workers.

Under George W. Bush - who, like Mr. Reagan, isn't personally racist but relies on the support of racists - the anti-government right has reached a new pinnacle of power. And the incompetent response to Katrina was the direct result of his political philosophy. When an administration doesn't believe in an agency's mission, the agency quickly loses its ability to perform that mission.

By now everyone knows that the Bush administration treated the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a dumping ground for cronies and political hacks, leaving the agency incapable of dealing with disasters. But FEMA's degradation isn't unique. It reflects a more general decline in the competence of government agencies whose job is to help people in need.

For example, housing for Katrina refugees is one of the most urgent problems now facing the nation. The FEMAvilles springing up across the gulf region could all too easily turn into squalid symbols of national failure. But the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which should be a source of expertise in tackling this problem, has been reduced to a hollow shell, with eight of its principal staff positions vacant.

But let me not blame the Bush administration for everything. The sad truth is that the only exceptional thing about the neglect of our fellow citizens we saw after Katrina struck is that for once the consequences of that neglect were visible on national TV.

Consider this: in the United States, unlike any other advanced country, many people fail to receive basic health care because they can't afford it. Lack of health insurance kills many more Americans each year than Katrina and 9/11 combined.

But the health care crisis hasn't had much effect on politics. And one reason is that it isn't yet a crisis among middle-class, white Americans (although it's getting there). Instead, the worst effects are falling on the poor and black, who have third-world levels of infant mortality and life expectancy.

I'd like to believe that Katrina will change everything - that we'll all now realize how important it is to have a government committed to helping those in need, whatever the color of their skin. But I wouldn't bet on it.
Oh, and let's not forget Bob Herbert:
September 19, 2005
Good Grief
By BOB HERBERT

The president is Lucy, and he's holding a football. We're Charlie Brown.

In an eerily lit, nationally televised appearance outside the historic St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, President Bush promised the world to the Gulf Coast residents whose lives were upended by Hurricane Katrina.

He seemed to be saying that no effort, no amount of money, would be spared. Two hundred billion dollars? No problem. This will be bigger than the Marshall Plan. The end of the rainbow is here.

"Throughout the area hit by the hurricane," said Mr. Bush, "we will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives."

The country has put its faith in Mr. Bush many times before, and come up empty. It may be cynical, but my guess is that if we believe him again this time, we're going to end up on our collective keisters, just like Charlie Brown, who could never stop himself from kicking mightily at empty space, which was all that was left each time Lucy snatched the ball away.

In March 2003, in another nationally televised address, the president told us we had no choice but to go to war with Iraq because Saddam Hussein was sitting on "some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." So we went to war, even though Saddam had not attacked us, and now - two years and $200 billion later - we're stuck there. Close to a couple of thousand brave men and women have come back in coffins (no pictures, please) and thousands more have been maimed.

The weapons? As Emily Litella would have said, "Never mind."

In the same lavish way that Mr. Bush is promising to rebuild New Orleans and the rest of the storm-damaged Gulf Coast, he assured us and the rest of the world that the invasion he was ordering would lead to the rebuilding of Iraq and its devastated economy. "Freed from the weight of oppression," he said, "Iraq's people will be able to share in the progress and prosperity of our time."

But last Thursday, the very same day that he delivered his speech in New Orleans, the World Bank released a report showing that the continued violence in Iraq had frightened away private investors, slowed reconstruction and disrupted oil production.

The Times reported yesterday that even in Najaf, an Iraqi city often cited by the U.S. as a success story, American officials have acknowledged that reconstruction projects "are hobbled by poor planning, corrupt contractors and a lack of continuity among the rotating coalition officers."

Polls have shown that over the past two years Americans have lost a great deal of faith in Mr. Bush, who tends to talk a good game but doesn't seem to know how to deliver. Thursday night's speech was designed to halt that slide.

But Mr. Bush's new post-Katrina persona defies belief. The same man who was unforgivably slow to respond to the gruesome and often fatal suffering of his fellow Americans now suddenly emerges from the larva of his ineptitude to present himself as - well, nothing short of enlightened.

Not only was he proposing a Gulf Coast Marshall Plan, but he was declaring, in words that made his conservative followers gasp, that poverty in the U.S. "has roots in a history of racial discrimination which cut off generations from the opportunity of America."

If you were listening to the radio, you might have thought you were hearing the ghost of Lyndon Johnson. "We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action," said Mr. Bush.

He was being Lucy again, enticing us with the football. But before we commence kicking the air, consider the facts.

This president has had zero interest in attacking poverty, and the result has been an increase in poverty in the U.S., the richest country in the world, in each of the last four years. Instead of attacking poverty, the Bush administration has attacked the safety net and has stubbornly refused to stop the decline in the value of the minimum wage on his watch.

You can believe that he's suddenly worried about poor people if you want to. What is more likely is that his reference to racism and poverty was just another opportunistic Karl Rove moment, never to be acted upon.

Charlie Brown's sister, Sally, once asked how often someone could be fooled with the same trick. She answered her own question: "Pretty often, huh?"
Frankly, I don't understand why people are so up in arms about this new subscription thing ... (a) the Times columnists are just guys and gals with opinions who write short articles about them - in other words, like bloggers, except they get paid; (b) the columns are syndicated all over the place anyway.

But, I still hate the idea of any internet content not being free. Perhaps some of the worry with the NYT decision is that it will start an unwelcome trend.

I doubt it, though. The New York Times might be able to get away with putting its columns behind a subscriber wall, but that doesn't mean the Cleveland Plain Dealer, or the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, etc. can as well.


UPDATE: The hole has been patched.

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