The lowest moment, Michael Chertoff recalls, came at about 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1, three days after Katrina struck. An NPR interviewer asked the secretary of Homeland Security what he was doing about the thousands of people stranded at the Convention Center.
Randall (Duke) Cunningham has never been shy about his exploits. When he first ran for Congress in 1990, the former naval aviator wore his leather bomber jacket to campaign rallies and referred to his opponent as a "MiG." Cunningham told audiences that the "Maverick" character played by Tom Cruise in "Top Gun" was based on him, claiming credit for the "hit the brakes and he'll fly by" maneuver depicted in the movie and the scene in which Cruise flies upside down over a Soviet fighter.
For many intellectuals, the ideal of Blind Justice, impartially weighing her scales, went out the window about 80 years ago. At Yale Law School in the 1920s and '30s, a highly influential group of scholars called the Legal Realists argued that the law was not a set of fixed, unchanging rules--"not a brooding omnipresence in the sky," as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once put it.
The vice president and his chief aide often shared bits of secret information, so perhaps it was unremarkable that on June 12, 2003 (according to the indictment handed up last week), Dick Cheney told Scooter Libby that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the Counterproliferation Division in the CIA's secret Directorate of Operations, also known as the Clandestine Service.
This time, President Bush was not going to be caught out of position. He had flown to Colorado to the headquarters of Northern Command, the military nerve center for protecting the continental United States. "Northcom" is just across an air base from Cheyenne Mountain, where cold warriors had once watched for Soviet nuclear-missile attacks.
The government's response to Katrina was a failure of imagination.
Day after day of images showed exhausted families and their crying children stepping around corpses while they begged: Where is the water? Where are the buses?
LLOYD CUTLER, 87Calm and sage, superlawyer Cutler was for many years a gray eminence in Washington. Two presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, brought Cutler into the White House to help deal with crises and scandals, and drug companies and automakers beat a path to his door. But Cutler also won landmark legal victories for the NAACP and Greenpeace, and he was known as a consensus-maker who could rise above partisanship--a rare breed in the nation's capital these days.
George Kennan, 101In February 1946, George Kennan, a young American diplomat in Moscow, was feeling sickly and slightly sorry for himself. Stalin's Russia seemed ever more threatening and paranoid, so Kennan wrote a fevered cable to the State Department, arguing that while Soviet power was "impervious to the logic of reason," it was "highly sensitive to the logic of force." The Long Telegram, as it became known, electrified Washington. "My official loneliness came to an end," Kennan later...