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September 30, 2005



PAUL GIGOT: Winners and losers, picks and pans. Tony or Tacky, our way of calling attention to the best and the worst of the week.

Remember those horrific reports of rape and murder at the New Orleans Convention Center after Hurricane Katrina, to say nothing of predictions of 10 thousand dead? Wrong. And tackies all around, Dan?

DAN HENNINGER: Tackies all around. Big tackies to everybody who made New Orleans under Katrina sound like the second coming of Sodom and Gomorrah. This week we had reports in both the TIMES-PICAYUNE newspaper of New Orleans and THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, making it clear that a lot of the accounts of rape and anarchy were exaggerated or unsubstantiated.

Now certainly Mayor Nagen and Police Chief Compass contributed to this misrepresentation. But I think by and large it was the media, both print and TV, that spewed this raw rumor into the world. And you know in a way it made me kind of long for the days of Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley, who saw themselves as a source of stability and calm during a national crisis. Instead, I think what too much of the T.V. newspeople did these days, or in this particular instance, was act as ringmasters and ringmistresses to what seemed to be a Roman circus.

PAUL GIGOT: Nostalgic for Tom Brokaw. Okay, thanks. The Governor of Louisiana was in Washington this week, testifying about jobs. And remarkably, she got a pass on answering any questions about her contribution to the hurricane disaster in her state. John?

JOHN FUND: Well, when critics attacked Governor Blanco for being dysfunctional in her response to Hurricane Katrina, she said she couldn't wait to get to Washington to answer those charges. Well, when she got to the Senate committee this week, it turned out that she asked the senators, "Please don't ask me any questions about Katrina. I'm here to talk about job creation." And amazingly, the senators gave her a pass. Now her appearance was one day after the ABC drama, COMMANDER IN CHIEF -- the first T.V. series about a woman president premiered to very good ratings. And I just think this juxtaposition of a governor avoiding accountability with, I think, the rise of women in politics, is unfortunate. Because when you have a double standard like that, it doesn't do the worthy goal of full participation of women in politics any good.

PAUL GIGOT: And asking for 250 billion dollars from federal taxpayers for Louisiana. Thanks, John.

And finally, enter former playboy model and stripper, Anna Nicole Smith. Just when you thought there was no room for humor or satire regarding the Supreme Court of the United States. Kim?

KIM STRASSEL: This is a tony for the Supreme Court, for reminding everyone that even justices deserve to have some fun. And this is an amusing case, straight out of daytime soap opera. They've agreed to hear this. Anna Nicole Smith, one-time stripper, Playmate of the Month, marries in 1993 a Texas oil tycoon. She is 26, he is 89. He dies the next year, and ever since then there's been a huge dispute with his son and her over a portion of his $1.6 billion estate.

Now, as it happens, the Court actually has decided to hear this, to decide a very dry, legal issue about whether or not bankruptcy judges can decide probate issues. But I still think they get huge credit for not shying away from taking on such a tawdry case, as a way to decide this. And proving, yet again, that justice in America is blind.

PAUL GIGOT: Or, in this case, maybe not. [LAUGHTER] All right, thanks, Kim. That's it for this edition of THE JOURNAL EDITORIAL REPORT. Thank you from all of us. We'll be back next week and we have you'll join us then.