Bracing for Disaster

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Aug. 29 2005 3:53 AM

Bracing for Disaster

The Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times lead with Iraqi politicians finally finishing a draft constitution Sunday despite objections from Sunni negotiators, who publicly denounced the document. The national referendum on the constitution takes place Oct. 15, and many fear a new, extended period of political turmoil among Iraqis. Some Sunnis said they expect insurgent violence to swell.

USA Today leads with the mandatory evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people from New Orleans as the city prepares for a "160-mph 'monster' " of a hurricane, Katrina. An advisory issued early Monday reported that conditions on the Gulf Coast were beginning to deteriorate and that in addition to high winds and flooding, scattered tornadoes are possible.

Advertisement

The papers give a little ink to the content of the draft constitution, mostly focusing on the conflict surrounding it. Shiites and Kurds involved in the writing beseeched the public to vote for the document in the fall referendum, while Sunni politicians said they would gather enough support to vote it down. Among their objections is a provision creating federal regions that they say will divide the country. Some Shiites and Kurds said they might consider other changes to the document before it goes to a vote—the LAT quotes a Sunni negotiator as being hopeful about that possibility, but the NYT calls it "unlikely."

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) has the translation of Iraq's draft constitution online; TP had trouble finding the text on other papers' sites (the LAT does have a partial breakdown of provisions).

Early-morning reports  that indicate Hurricane Katrina may hit land at around sunrise Monday. The storm, a possible Category 5, looks to be one of the strongest known to strike the United States. A storm surge that may reach three stories tall threatens to topple the levees and canals that normally protect New Orleans from flooding. Some predict that the hurricane could turn New Orleans into a lake of toxic chemicals, human waste, and coffins. Sixty percent to 80 percent of the city's homes could be destroyed.

The city's mayor called it a "once-in-a-lifetime event," and residents who had no place to go fled to the Superdome arena, a makeshift shelter to tens of thousands. The LAT enunciates the difference between those who got out and those who stayed: The latter, for the most part, were the city's poor, while others had the means to escape.

Crude oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange reached $70.80 Sunday night, up $4.67 from Friday. Refineries and oil rigs on the Gulf Coast were shut down, and employees evacuated, shrinking oil output and creating more anxiety about fuel. Gasoline prices are expected to climb as the storm limits refinery capacity, what the WSJ says many are calling "a worst case scenario for the U.S. energy industry."

As the Post notes in a front-page analysis, despite all the focus and resources the White House has devoted to the Middle East, the fate of events in two crucial areas is increasingly more immune to Washington and instead is up to local factions. Israel has withdrawn from the Gaza Strip, and a constitution draft has been completed in Iraq—and now the future of Gaza and the implementation of the constitution will have less to do with the Bush administration than before. The NYT focuses on lowered expectations, announcing in a headline, "Smaller Goals for U.S. in Iraq."

A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up outside a bus station in southern Israel Sunday morning, injuring 10. It was the first such attack since Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

Also on Sunday, a Reuters Television soundman was killed and a cameraman with him was wounded when the two were hit by gunfire in Iraq. An Iraqi police report indicated that American troops shot the two; U.S. officials said they are investigating.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Television

See Me

Transparent is the fall’s only great new show.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

  News & Politics
Damned Spot
Sept. 30 2014 9:00 AM Now Stare. Don’t Stop. The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 10:44 AM Bull---- Market America is overlooking a plentiful renewable resource: animal manure.
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 30 2014 10:10 AM A Lovable Murderer and Heroic Villain: The Story of Australia's Most Iconic Outlaw
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 10:59 AM “For People, Food Is Heaven” Boer Deng on the story behind her piece “How to Order Chinese Food.”
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 10:48 AM One of Last Year’s Best Animated Shorts Is Finally Online for Free
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.