How Do You Solve a Problem Like Katrina?

Talking among ourselves this morning, we wondering if it's perhaps difficult to be named Katrina on a day like today. There are those Hitler relatives on Long Island who, The New Yorker reported several years ago, were forced to change their family name. Maybe there was some effect like that for well-known Katrinas, we speculated. What did this mean for, say, Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel? We emailed to find out.

"It's eerie and strange and terrifying to see a namesake hurricane of such enormous potency," vanden Heuvel replied, from her summer vacation. Then she directed us to what she'd already written on the matter, on The Nation's website. We had no idea how bad things were for her.

[W]hen Fox News started calling the hurricane Killer Katrina, I started praying some right-wing idiot wouldn't stoop so low as to personalize or politicize this human suffering.

But wouldn't you know, the biggest dittohead on the block, Rush Limbaugh, is calling the storm Hurricane Katrina vanden Heuvel and warning that the left is going to use this tragedy against the right. Jonah Goldberg, who has never seen a bad joke bandwagon he could resist jumping on with both feet, blogged, and I quote, "It would be pretty cool if Fox played to caricature and repeatedly referred to the hurricane as Katrina vanden Heuvel." Not satisfied, he went on to imagine the headlines, "The destruction from Katrina vanden Heuvel is expected to be massive.... The poor and disabled are particularly likely to suffer from the effects of Katrina vanden Heuvel."

So there's the answer: It sucks to be named Katrina today.

Messing With Mother Nature [Editor's Cut/The Nation]