“Hurricane party” takes on new meaning

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Though we are experiencing one of the worst hurricanes in the nation’s history, this waterfront scene looks peaceful, elegant, and intact. That is because the Hotel del Coronado is in San Diego, far away from Katrina’s devastating winds. It is also where George W. Bush spent last night, while thousands of people in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama fled in snail-like traffic, searched for loved ones, swam through the streets, or hung out of attic windows, yelling for help.

While levees burst, a major New Orleans bridge came apart, buildings were swallowed by floodwaters, and looters took over the city, the National Guard was nowhere to be seen. To patch one of the levees, 3,000 sandbags were to have been dropped by Blackhawk helicopters, but they never arrived.

Though reading The Pet Goat while the country was under attack may have made Bush look inept, partying at an oceanside resort while Americans are losing their homes, their sources of income, and their lives is, at the very least, an example of shockingly poor taste, not to mention an abandonment of leadership. New Orleans is in a state of absolute chaos, despite the presence of a competent mayor and a competent governor. Hurricane Katrina has created a national disaster. Bush has done everything in his power to prevent the restoration of Louisiana’s coast, and he has severely cut funding for hurricane protection. It is no surprise that he doesn’t want to look Governor Blanco in the eye. But whooping it up at a resort while Gulf Coast states endure a living hell is a new low.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest