Despite everything, next week the Republicans intend to finish the legislative process of permanently ending the estate tax, thus "shifting some $1.5 billion a week - about the same as the Iraq war - from the public treasury to the bank accounts of the heirs to the nation's twenty thousand biggest fortunes" (see also here). Strangely enough, that week's worth of $1.5 billion is also just about what it would have cost to fix the levees enough to have prevented the New Orleans disaster, money that Bush claimed he absolutely couldn't spare, with the conflicting more important claims of his war of choice in Iraq, and the operation of the Department of Homeland Security (the department which is spending its money functioning so well in the disaster relief effort!).
Of course, raising the issue of the inopportune timing of the killing of the estate tax will draw the wrath of the right-wingers, who will claim that it is 'politicizing' a tragedy, and, in the peculiarly southern way that conservatives now all have of reducing everything to issues of personal honor, 'insulting' the memory of the dead and dying. Can't lefties have the common decency to wait? In a month or two, if anyone raises the issue, the response will be that this is just living in the past, trying to make a political issue out of ancient history. They pull these rhetorical tricks every time, and every time they get away with it. The best stunt is to fail to pay for necessary levee maintenance, then intentionally flub the rescue effort, and claim that this proves that government is no good at anything (except war and handing out sweet government contracts to friends of the politicians), and needs to be further enfeebled.