Atlantic Monthly Death Spiral Watch (Ross Douthat Edition)
Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better President?

Atlantic Monthly Death Spiral Watch (Marc Ambinder Edition)

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps? Marc Ambinder doesn't just bury the lead, he omits the story completely:

Marc Ambinder: No Orleans: ALLENTOWN, PA -- Sittin' on the tarmac waitin' for the candidate. But -- surprise -- we're headed to Columbus, Ohio instead of New Orleans. No oil rig photo op in hurricane weather. No meeting wtih Gov. Jindal either.

Michael D. Shear of the Washington Post has the story:

McCain and the Safety of Offshore Drilling: Sen. John McCain says at every campaign stop that offshore oil drilling is safe, playing down the risk of environmental accidents, even when faced with the power of a hurricane. "I'm aware that off the coast of Louisiana and Texas there are oil rigs, as we well know, and those rigs have survived, very successfully, the impacts of hurricanes, Hurricane Katrina, as far as Louisiana's concerned," McCain said at a town hall in Michigan last week. In an energy speech recently, McCain said that: "As for offshore drilling, it's safe enough these days that not even Hurricanes Katrina and Rita could cause significant spillage from the battered rigs off the coasts of New Orleans and Houston."

In fact, Katrina and Hurricane Rita caused damage to oil rigs and storage facilities in the Gulf, according to press reports and government studies. The hurricanes totally destroyed 113 oil rigs, according to the government's Minerals Management Service, and damaged 457 pipelines. The resulting oil spills were large enough to be seen from space, according to several reports....

McCain had planned to tour oil rigs off the coast of Louisiana tomorrow as he visited with Gov. Bobby Jindal, a rising political star who is rumored to be on McCain's short list to be the vice presidential nominee. The campaign canceled the trip late Wednesday, saying the threat of Hurricane Dolly in the Gulf made a helicopter ride to the rig impossible.

It may not have helped things that a 600-foot tanker loaded with oil and a barge collided Wednesday in the Mississippi River in New Orleans, leaving a 12-mile long oil slick in the river and closing a 29-mile stretch of the river.

Television stations reported the stench of diesel fuel wafting across the French Quarter.