The Note: Ten Minutes from the New New Normal

WASHINGTON, Sep. 9

NEWS SUMMARY

Nine years ago (or so it seems), when the current Bush presidency was dominated by the war in Iraq, the war against terrorism, and stubbornly high gas prices for American consumers, squabbles such as which cable networks were most egregiously over-covering the Natalee Holloway story seemed sensible.

But now, everything's different.

However the "different" is taking on a certain sameness (suggesting that the politico-media culture might be open to some page turning next week, after a Sunday show cleansing/purging).

For that story, let's go to Reporter A in New Orleans with all the latest. A?

Reporter A: "Water continues to be pumped out of the Crescent City around the clock, as law enforcement officials go door to door looking for holdouts, and some signs of life are returning here. The grim process of looking for bodies continues as officials begin to think about rebuilding. I can tell you that in Houston, debit cards from the Red Cross and FEMA -- that's the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- are being handed out to the evacuees, although there is some confusion about who is eligible. Now, the stories of personal kindness and the nation pulling together are amazing, including one community that B. President Bush is expected to visit here again on C, and today he has dispatched Cabinet Member D to the region. State officials say they can use all the federal help they can get. Reporting live from Canal Street in the French Quarter, I'm Reporter A, back to you."

Meanwhile in Washington, President Bush has signed another emergency spending bill to aid disaster victims. More on this story from Reporter E:

Reporter E : "With F billions of dollars already spent, and with the ultimate costs projected to be G billions more, the President today told the victims of Hurricane Katrina that he understands what they are going through. 'This is going to take a long time,' the President said, in signing into law a bill that will provide H billions more in spending. On Capitol Hill, Republican leaders announced that they had done I, reflecting, they said, the Congress' unwavering commitment to helping those hurt by the storm. Meanwhile, Democrats charged that Republicans were mismanaging the process and being too partisan, and they denounced J. Republican Congressman K and some watchdog budget groups suggested that Washington cut other spending to pay for all this, but no one really listened. This is Reporter E, live in Washington, back to you in the studio."

And/but the Gang of 500's ceaseless quest for the new has it waiting for the following shoes to drop (although these shoes might never hit the ground):

1. The naming of a reconstruction czar -- although if it is not a Gang favorite like Giuliani or Powell, the choice will be a serious letdown.

2. The axing of Mike "Brownie" Brown -- and if you are a political appointee at FEMA and you padded your resume, we suggest you, uhm, start polishing up your resume.

3. The delivery of a primetime presidential address with soaring Mike Gerson flourishes -- although Karen Hughes will re-edit it, presumably.

4. The continued sinking of the President's poll numbers -- although as Paul Krugman will tell you, the 9/11 anniversary will be soon upon us.

5. The effort to maximize the aforementioned potential 9/11-related boost in the face of a fresher national tragedy -- Note the hurricane does not hate freedom.

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