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Approaching Five Years in Iraq, 4,000th U.S. Fatality

We don’t know how this will play out, but we can be sure that while the Clinton and Obama campaigns sharpen their knives against each other, American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will keep on killing and being killed—for what?—and the U.S. will still be borrowing billions monthly for those insatiable wars. And New Orleanians once able to afford rent or mortgage payments before the federal levees broke will still be homeless, encamped near City Hall and under the Claiborne Street overpass, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will still be late with its plan for Category 5–strength hurricane protection for New Orleans and vicinity.

There Will Be Floods

An excellent Op-Ed piece by Alex Prud’homme in the Feb. 27 New York Times explains the nation’s critical need for infrastructure reinforcement, as seen in Hurricane Katrina and recently in a flood in Nevada. (See “Floods in Nevada?” in In the News, left column.) The U.S. is threatened by dangerously inadequate levees, he says, and Congress must allocate funds for the Corps of Engineers to do its job: “We need to reinvigorate the Army Corps of Engineers and give it a mandate to build and maintain a coherent, robust, nationwide flood protection system—as opposed to the ineffective, piecemeal measures that failed so catastrophically in New Orleans.”

Nuestro Amigo en Texas

Obama draws a crowd of 25,000 or so in Austin. They can’t get enough of the man in the black hat. The Texas Observer reports “Obama Storms Texas.”

A Reply to ‘Obama Our Infrastructure Hero’: Letter from a New Orleans engineer/blogger

In reply to “Barack, You’re Totally Our Infrastructure Hero” (below), our friend Tim Ruppert of Tim’s Nameless Blog points out that in fact the infrastructure part of Obama’s economic agenda doesn’t appear till near the end of the plan. Also, the senator doesn’t mention the words ‘Katrina,’ ‘levees,’ ‘flood,’ ‘Corps of Engineers,’ etc. (Tim Ruppert is a New Orleans–born engineer at the Corps of Engineers, N.O., and a past president of the Louisiana chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.)

Barack, You’re Totally Our Infrastructure Hero!

At a General Motors plant in Janesville, Wisc., on Feb. 13, Barack Obama “turned it down a notch” and gave a major policy address that laid out a broad agenda for reinforcement of the American economy. The plan would restore a measure of economic balance and stability, create infrastructure and renewable-energy jobs, and many other necessary and ambitious undertakings. The speech is substantive and shows Senator Obama’s seriousness and grasp of economic reality and possibility. Optimism and realism together. We’re delighted to see at least one of the three major candidates offering serious solutions to infrastructure and environmental degradation (as John Edwards also did). See excerpts from Obama’s speech below the fold.

Louisiana Adds to ‘Obamomentum’

This is the kind of surge we like. After winning the Louisiana primary and caucuses in Washington state, Nebraska, and the Virgin Islands, Obama gave a strong, confident speech at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Richmond, sharpening the distinctions between himself and Hillary Clinton and asserting his strengths as a general election candidate over John McCain. The so-called GOP front-runner, who seems not to have won anywhere on Saturday, was Obama’s principal target.


Our friend Oyster at Your Right Hand Thief sent us links to coverage of Barack Obama’s “O-vent” before a more-than-packed house at Tulane University’s Fogelman Arena on Wednesday, campaigning before the Louisiana primary on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Happy Mardi Gras 2008!

Today is both Mardi Gras and Super Tuesday. Sounds auspicious to us. May the best candidates win, and may the public have some good news to celebrate. Drink up. Tomorrow it’s all ashes.

What John Edwards Brought Us

We are voting for Senator Barack Obama in the primaries—as many times as possible. The more we see of him, the more we like. But first, we want to take a parting glance at the contributions our First Favorite, John Edwards, made to the presidential campaign of 2008.

Armies of Compassion Aim for New Orleans – City to Host North American Summit in April – Democrats, Show America ‘We Are All Orleanians’

We couldn’t bear to listen to the president’s State of the Union Speech Monday night, but we were happy to find this in the transcript:

Edwards, Fix Your Focus: Economic Security for a Change; ‘Yes We Can, and Here’s Our Plan’

Congratulations to Barack Obama for a strong, kick-ass victory in South Carolina and a beautiful, stirring speech. That refrain “Yes We Can” is just what people need to hear. We just wish he’d kicked one butt instead of two (by coming in second). John Edwards’s campaign strategists have been calling in to ask our advice, and here’s what we tell them: Johnny, it’s the economy. You were right to capitalize on voters’ fatigue with Obama–Clinton squabbles, but give us specific economic remedies and repeat over and over. Economic Security for a Change.

MLK 3rd Urges Edwards: ‘Keep going . . . My father would be proud’

Crooks and Liars alerts us to a powerful letter of encouragement from Martin Luther King III to John Edwards, written after their meeting over the MLK Weekend. An excerpt follows.