One of the reasons things got so bad in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was because of the Gretna bridge blockade. Hundreds of desperate people were prevented from leaving the city on foot by armed police from the city of Gretna, who feared property damage and violence. Although they had no state or federal authority to do so, police left the boundaries of their city and blocked the bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River and provided the closest route out of New Orleans from the Superdome and Convention ... read more

While attending the University of Texas at Arlington from 1987-88, my wife and I wrote for The Shorthorn, a student newspaper filled with gifted, headstrong and completely insufferable journalists who were already clearing space on the mantle for Pulitzer Prizes. We'd get into such gigantic battles at press time you'd have thought that students at the commuter school actually read the paper. Two of my Shorthorn colleagues just won Pulitzers for breaking news photography: Michael Ainsworth and Tom Fox of the ... read more

In the Washington Post this morning, columnist David Ignatius makes a few jaw-dropping racial generalizations in a piece comparing Muslim outrage over the Muhammad cartoons to African-American reaction to the N word: I think the Muslim world could learn something about tolerance from African Americans. The United States still abounds with racist images, but blacks are no longer rioting in the streets or burning down buildings. ... We haven't abolished racism, but by working honestly at the problem, we've made real ... read more

Michael Barnett, the computer network administrator who barricaded himself in the central business district after the storm, has returned to New Orleans. After his first week back, Barnett was extremely pessimistic about the city's condition: It has been a week now, and I've had a chance to drive all around the city. All I can say is that this place is broken down. Crushed. Demolished. It is a moral lapse of the first order for politicians to keep telling people to come back. I am going to take some flack for ... read more

The White House has enlisted a new ally in the effort to seat Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court: Conservative activist Michael D. Brown said internal GOP polling being cited by party and administration emissaries purports to show that "70 percent of self-identified conservative voters have a favorable impression of Harriet Miers." The emissaries are warning that ordinary Republicans beyond the Washington Beltway continue to support the nomination because they trust President Bush, even after several weeks of ... read more

Computer book author Dave Prochnow rode out Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi and risked his family's life so he could FedEx a manuscript: Getting to the highway involved doing things that you would never ever do with kids in a car -- driving off the road, driving through people's yards, and driving over power lines. Yes, we had to drive over power lines. Luckily at least one of them was dead -- that was the one that just touched our roof antenna. Gulp. Generalizing wildly from his personal experience, Prochnow ... read more

Tim Russert used Meet the Press this weekend to teach Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard a lesson -- the next time New Orleans is destroyed by flood, he should be more factual during his emotional breakdowns. Russert played back Broussard's last interview on the show, in which he related a gut-wrenching story about the death of a colleague's mother in a nursing home after the storm. True to form, Russert didn't have the spine to accuse Broussard directly of being wrong. He quoted bloggers: ... it's ... read more