The Coast’s recovery has been historic, but Katrina is not yet history
Before dawn on Aug. 29, 2005, the Coast began to lose power. By daybreak, the outages would extend far inland. But for those who were here, and as those who quickly came here to assist soon appreciated, the Coast never adopted an attitude of powerlessness.
Hurricane Katrina was unprecedented; while its winds kept the storm at a moderate level, its storm surge shattered all notions of what could and would not be flooded by waters from the Gulf of Mexico.
Amid the abysmal destruction, there was understandable despair. But there was also the immediate undertaking of repair and restoration.
Now, five years later, the extent of this region’s recovery has a depth and breath of historic dimensions. It too is unprecedented.
Not that Katrina is history. It’s consequences continue to shape private lives and influence public policy.
But it is no longer excusable to use it as an excuse for faults or flaws that need to be corrected, in either our homes or our businesses or our government offices.
For all its epic aspects, Katrina yielded to the strong arms and hearts of residents and volunteers alike.
Iraq in the rear-view mirror
An Army convoy, part of the last formal U.S. combat detachment to leave Iraq after America’s seven-year war, passes through a landscape littered with memories.
By NED PARKER
Their Stryker, hulking in the dark like a dinosaur, is prepped with coolers full of water and Gatorade. The iPod is wired into the communications system. Now all they can do is wait for the ride their commanders have named “the last patrol.”
It’s just past midnight Monday at Camp Taji on the northern boundary of Baghdad. Staff Sgt. Shawn Sedillo chats with his gunner, Spc. Ben Longoria, and driver, Spc. Joseph LeFevre, who are smoking outside the motor pool. Sedillo’s deputy, Sgt. Dennis Hill, naps inside their armored vehicle’s box-like interior, grateful to get away from his hyper buddies. A friend brings them Taco Bell burritos and Burger King chicken tenders.
The men belong to the Army’s 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, the last formal U.S. military combat detachment to leave Iraq after America’s seven-year war.
There is a verdict in the Blagojevich trial
By SCOTT KLEINBERG
August 17: A federal jury today convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich of one count against him: lying to the FBI. The jury was deadlocked on the other 23 counts against the former governor, and all four counts against his brother. Prosecutors say they have every intention of retrying the former governor.
Blagojevich faces up to 5 years in prison. According to the Tribune report, the former governor pursed his lips and shook his head slightly. Patti rested her head on the chair in front of her and shook her head no several times. Blagojevich looked at her with an annoyed look on his face.
There were 24 total counts against the former governor and 4 against his brother, Robert. U.S. District Judge James Zagel declared a mistrial on 23 of the 24 counts and said the prosecution would have until Aug. 26 to decide whether to retry.
Netherlands 0-1 Spain
By PAUL FLETCHER
Andres Iniesta struck a dramatic winner late in extra time to give Spain World Cup glory for the first time but condemned the Netherlands to their third defeat in a final.
Iniesta drilled his right-foot strike across goal – but the Dutch were incensed after referee Howard Webb had failed to award their side a corner moments earlier when a free-kick took a sizeable deflection off Cesc Fabregas.
However, Euro 2008 champions Spain, who conceded only two goals during the tournament, deserved their victory after gradually taking a grip on a tense and bad-tempered contest that produced 14 yellow cards with Johnny Heitinga sent off on 109 minutes after picking up a second yellow card.
The Dutch, who lost in the 1974 and 1978 finals, were bidding to become the first side since Brazil in 1970 to go through World Cup qualifying and the finals unbeaten.
LeGone: LeBron James announces he’s leaving Cleveland Cavaliers for Miami Heat
By BRIAN WINDHORST
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The witnesses have been excused.
LeBron James crushed Cavaliers fans Thursday night when he announced live on national television that he was leaving Cleveland and will sign with the Miami Heat.
James said he made the decision Thursday morning after a phone call with his mother, Gloria, who James said supported his decision. He said his choice flip-flopped several times in the last week after holding meetings with six teams in Cleveland.
June 23, 2010: An excerpt from a story in Stars and Stipes:
A General’s Contempt
Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s magazine interview dumps fresh war dilemma on Obama’s desk
By LEO SHANE III
WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama faces two grim choices on Wednesday: Fire Gen. Stanley McChrystal and risk looking like he’s lost control of the war in Afghanistan. Or keep him and risk looking like he’s lost control of his generals.
….The commander he handpicked to win the Afghanistan war allowed a reporter for Rolling Stone to embed with him and his closest staff for a month, offering up a series of incendiary and embarrassing comments about the president and his war advisers.
Coast Guard to BP: Speed it up, stop the spill
By the Associated Press
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — The Coast Guard has demanded that BP step up its efforts to contain the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico by the end of the weekend, telling the British oil giant that its slow pace in stopping the spill is becoming increasingly alarming as the disaster fouled the coastline in ugly new ways today.
The Coast Guard sent a testy letter to BP’s chief operating officer that said the company urgently needs to pick up the pace and present a better plan to contain the spill by the time President Barack Obama arrives on Monday for his fourth visit to the beleaguered coast. The letter, released Saturday, follows nearly two months of tense relations between BP and the government and reflects the growing frustration over the company’s inability to stop the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.
May 12, 2010: An excerpt from a story in The Guardian:
David Cameron and Nick Clegg lead coalition into power
By PATRICK WINTOUR
Britain took a leap into the political unknown last night when the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats formed the first full coalition government in Britain since 1945, with David Cameron serving as the country’s 52nd prime minister and Nick Clegg becoming his deputy.
The ending of Gordon Brown’s premiership and 13 years of Labour rule followed the collapse of last-ditch efforts to forge a progressive government of Labour and the Lib Dems, provoking bitter recriminations on both sides over how Clegg’s party arrived at the decision to decide to prop up a Tory government on what will be a five year fixed term.
Cameron finally entered Downing Street after seeing the Queen at Buckingham Palace last night — concluding a remarkable five-day political tug of war.
May 11, 2010: An excerpt from a story in The New York Times:
Obama Picks Kagan as Justice Nominee
By PETER BAKER and JEFF ZELENY
WASHINGTON — President Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the nation’s 112th justice, choosing his own chief advocate before the Supreme Court to join it in ruling on cases critical to his view of the country’s future.
After a monthlong search, Mr. Obama informed Ms. Kagan and his advisers on Sunday of his choice to succeed the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.
In settling on Ms. Kagan, the president chose a well-regarded 50-year-old lawyer who served as a staff member in all three branches of government and was the first woman to be dean of Harvard Law School. If confirmed, she would be the youngest member and the third woman on the current court, but the first justice in nearly four decades without any prior judicial experience.
May 3, 2010: An excerpt from a story in Newsday:
Police seek clues in SUV, images
By MICHAEL AMON
Armed with surveillance images and a sport utility vehicle filled with evidence, authorities yesterday began a massive manhunt for whoever tried to set off an explosion large enough to cause mass casualties in Times Square on Saturday evening.
Authorities said yesterday there was no evidence that international terrorist networks were involved in the attempted bombing, although Police Commissioner Ray Kelly wouldn’t rule out their involvement.
April 30, 2010: An excerpt from a story in The Times-Picayune:
Leak Grows, Spill Comes Ashore at River’s Mouth
By PAUL RIOUX and ROBERT TRAVIS SCOTT
With an oily stench permeating the air across southeastern Louisiana, a massive oil spill was expected to start coming ashore in the Mississippi River delta early today, triggering all-out efforts to stave off an environmental and fishing industry disaster as some state officials feared a repeat of the botched response that doomed the region during Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath.
Pushed by strong southeasternly winds and rising tides, oil that has gushed from a well in the Gulf of Mexico since an April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig was expected to reach the tip of Plaquemines Parish near South Pass as early as Thursday night.
Poles to pay tribute to lost President Lech Kaczynski
The body of Polish President Lech Kaczynski is to lie in state in the capital Warsaw as the nation mourns the victims of the Smolensk air crash.
He and 95 others, including many top defence officials and public figures, died when their jet crashed en route to a war memorial service in Russia.
Russia is marking a day of mourning, as relatives arrive in Moscow to try to identify the bodies of the victims.
Justice John Paul Stevens announces his retirement from Supreme Court
By ROBERT BARNES
Justice John Paul Stevens announced Friday that he will retire this summer, and President Obama said he will move quickly to replace the Supreme Court’s liberal leader and longest-serving member with someone who shares the belief that “powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.”
Stevens, who will turn 90 on April 20, said in a letter addressed to “My dear Mr. President” that he will leave the court when the current term concludes at the end of June.
A Republican named to the court in 1975 by President Gerald R. Ford, Stevens leaves a legacy of defending abortion rights, expanding protection for gays, restricting the availability of the death penalty and ensuring a robust role for judges in interpreting the nation’s laws and curbing executive power.
March 24, 2010: An excerpt from a story in the Chicago Sun-Times:
Obama Inks $1 Trillion Health Care Overhaul
From the Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Claiming a historic triumph that could define his presidency, a jubilant Barack Obama signed a massive, nearly $1 trillion health care overhaul on Tuesday that will for the first time cement insurance coverage as the right of every U.S. citizen and begin to reshape the way virtually all Americans receive and pay for treatment.
After more than a year of hyperpartisan struggle — and numerous near-death moments for the measure — Obama declared “a new season in America” as he sealed a victory denied to a line of presidents stretching back more than half a century. Democratic lawmakers cheered him on, giving the White House signing ceremony a rally-like atmosphere as they shouted and snapped photos with pocket cameras or cell phones.
Not everyone was cheering. The Democrats pushed the bill through Congress without GOP support, and the Republicans said Tuesday that those Democratic lawmakers would pay dearly in this November’s elections. Opinion polls show the public remains skeptical, too, and Obama will fly to Iowa on Thursday for the first of a number of appearances that will be more like a continuing sales job than a victory lap.
A record haul, a nation’s triumph
By PAUL WALDIE
These were indeed the best Games ever — at least if the measure is Team Canada’s medal haul.
Thanks to a remarkable final few days of competition, Canadian athletes won 14 gold medals in Vancouver — twice as many as the team won in Turin, and more than any nation has ever won at a Winter Olympics. The previous record for gold medals was 13, set by Norway in 2002 and the Soviet Union in 1976.
This unprecedented success at the podium, punctuated by the men’s hockey team’s win Sunday, was about more than mere athletic achievement. It was also hard-won vindication for the Canadian Olympic Committee, which had endured persistent criticism about the way it funds the country’s Olympic participants.
By JEFF SHAIN
Tiger Woods apologizes for past, talks about future
Tiger Woods doesn’t say when he’ll return to golf but adds, “I need to make my behavior more respectful of the game”
PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Expressing remorse for times when “I didn’t think normal rules applied,” Tiger Woods apologized Friday to his mother, friends, business associates — and by extension, the world — for the affairs that have put his marriage on the rocks and his illustrious career still on indefinite hold.
“I know I have bitterly disappointed all of you,” he said in a 13 1/2-minute speech before a private gathering at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse.
“I have made you question who I am and how I could have done the things I did. I’m embarrassed that I put you in this position. For all that I have done, I am so sorry.”
New Orleans Saints win Super Bowl XLIV for Who Dats everywhere
By BRUCE NOLAN
At 8:15 p.m, when Jeremy Shockey’s touchdown put the New Orleans Saints ahead late in the game, the crowds at Pat O’Brien’s exploded. Fifteen minutes later, when Tracy Porter’s interception sealed the deal, strangers were hopping up and down, high-fiving and hugging. And when the gun went off about 8:45 p.m., all of New Orleans — and all lovers of New Orleans in faraway places — leaped, or wept or punched the air for joy.
Dear Lord, Hallelujah! Who Dat Nation had reached the Promised Land.
After 43 seasons of marital loyalty, of occasional fan abuse and frequent heartbreak, the Saints and their battered, deliriously joyous city stood atop the world Sunday as the Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV in Miami.
It meant so much more than football.
It meant victory for a recovering city that in some places still bears the dirty water lines of Hurricane Katrina. Victory for people who lived two years in trailers. Victory for new post-Katrina friends who fell in love with New Orleans rebuilding it. Victory for New Orleanians cheering in exile from Alaska to Miami. Victory on Facebook and on Twitter. Victory on Bourbon Street, on Caffin Avenue, in Chalmette, in Lakeview and St. Tammany.
And it meant victory for countless New Orleanians like Desana Williams, who left Holly Grove in 1998 for a new life in Stafford, Va. But this weekend, Williams and his wife, Malaika, fought their way off the snowbound Atlantic seaboard to get back home for this.
They could be nowhere else, he said.
‘Catcher in the Rye’ Author J.D. Salinger Dies
By HILLEL ITALE (AP Writer)
NEW YORK — J.D. Salinger, the legendary author, youth hero and fugitive from fame whose “The Catcher in the Rye” shocked and inspired a world he increasingly shunned, has died. He was 91.
Salinger died of natural causes at his home on Wednesday, the author’s son, actor Matt Salinger, said in a statement from Salinger’s longtime literary representative, Harold Ober Associates, Inc. He had lived for decades in self-imposed isolation in a small, remote house in Cornish.
“The Catcher in the Rye,” with its immortal teenage protagonist, the twisted, rebellious Holden Caulfield, came out in 1951, a time of anxious, Cold War conformity and the dawn of modern adolescence. The Book-of-the-Month Club, which made “Catcher” a featured selection, advised that for “anyone who has ever brought up a son” the novel will be “a source of wonder and delight — and concern.”
Apple tablet: Steve Jobs unveils $499-and-up iPad
By JOHN BOUDREAU
SAN FRANCISCO — Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the biggest nonsecret in the tech world Wednesday — a multimedia tablet computer named the iPad — yet still managed to surprise his audience with the low price of the latest creation from the iconic Cupertino company.
The magazine-thin tablet, which starts at $499, is a full-color e-reader, game device and video player all in one that some analysts say could create a new and lucrative product line for a company with a track record for transforming consumer technology.
Users can navigate Web pages with their fingertips; a pinch of the multitouch screen zooms in on a satellite map, a tap on the right side turns a page. The iPad can be viewed vertically or horizontally — the content instantly reconfigures to fit the position of the tablet. Although it comes with a virtual keyboard, Apple also offers a real keyboard that includes a docking station that can charge the iPad.
Big win for Brown
Republican trounces Coakley for Senate, imperils Obama health plan
By MATT VISER and ANDREA ESTES
Republican Scott P. Brown pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Massachusetts political history last night, defeating Democrat Martha Coakley to become the state’s next US senator and potentially derailing President Obama’s hopes for a health care overhaul.
The stunning, come-from-behind victory caps a dramatic surge in recent days as Brown, a state lawmaker from Wrentham once thought to have little chance of beating a popular attorney general, roared ahead of Coakley to become the first Republican senator elected from Massachusetts since 1972.
Massive damage stymies Haiti relief efforts as bodies pile up
By JACQUELINE CHARLES, LESLEY CLARK, FRANCES ROBLES AND TRENTON DANIEL
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Survivors of Haiti’s devastating earthquake waded through thousands of bodies strewn around the Port-au-Prince morgue, as rescue workers from across the globe raced against the clock to reach the shattered nation.
With emergency crews from the United States, Spain and Venezuela already on the ground, others were being turned away from landing at the city’s airport due to over-crowding.
President Barack Obama said U.S. troops were on their way in what he called “one of the largest relief efforts in history.”
As crowds camped out in city parks, bodies lay along sidewalks as common citizens did their best to tend to the wounded.
The Haitian Red Cross now esimates the number of deaths at between 45,000 and 50,000.
Burj Khalifa offers amazing high-rise experience
By ARNO MAIERBRUGGER
The Burj Khalifa is not only the tallest man-made structure ever built, it is also — compared to other super high-rises worldwide — a true multi-purpose building.
While other comparable skyscrapers like the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the Taipei 101 or the Willis Tower in Chicago (formerly Sears Tower) are mainly used for offices or business purposes, the Burj Dubai has it all: It comprises a hotel, residential apartments, offices as well as public facilities.