US President George W. Bush on Wednesday showcased his role in helping California fight devastating wildfires, eager to prove he learned the grim lessons of the botched response to Hurricane Katrina.
Bush, his presidency forever marked by Washington's sluggish reaction to the killer 2005 storm, freed up more government aid for the victims of the fires and said he hoped they understood he was doing his utmost to help.
Hurricane Katrina has many legacies for the Bush White House, none pleasant. One is the guarantee that as soon as disaster strikes in the United States, President Bush's every move is closely scrutinized to gauge the speed and tone of his response to the suffering.
This became clear yet again on Tuesday, as the enormity of the wildfires sweeping across Southern California became apparent.
Betting that congressional Democrats' opposition to the Iraq war will remain ineffectual, President Bush has asked for another $46 billion to continue fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That brings the total amount he has asked for this fiscal year, which is barely 3 weeks old, to over $196 billion. If this funding goes through, the United States will have spent over $800 billion on the wars since 2001, most of it carried off budget.
The cost of President George W. Bush's illegal and immoral war in Iraq -- in both dollars and American lives -- continues to spiral out of control.
Bush not only wants to send more and more Americans into harm's way in his war. He wants to spend more and more money to fund his failing efforts.
All this comes when polls show more and more Americans not only want the soldiers home but want spending in the Iraq debacle reduced and the hemorrhaging economy brought under control.
But Bush has a habit of getting what he wants and the timid Democratic Congress appears powerless to stop him.
President Bush had hoped to leave behind a nuclear cooperation deal with India that would be a legacy foreign policy and energy achievement. But for reasons beyond Bush administration control, the deal is in danger of unraveling.
Four powerful Democratic lawmakers on Friday warned Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that "endemic corruption" in Iraq was fueling the insurgency, and accused her department of covering it up.
The House of Representatives committee chairmen also accused US officials of refusing to answer questions on corruption in Iraq, and complained the department had reclassified data on the issue after it had been released.
President George W. Bush on Wednesday warned the Democratic-led Congress not to "weaken" the power of US spy agencies to eavesdrop on communications between alleged terror suspects.
But the House of Representatives' judiciary and intelligence committees both defied the president and approved a new bid by Democrats to revise a law extending authorization for warrantless wiretaps.
The new measure would revise the "Protect America Act" hastily passed under fierce pressure from Bush and the intelligence community before Congress broke up for its summer recess in August.
Only hours after announcing in late August he would resign, embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales talked to Ruben Navarrette, a columnist with the San Diego Union Tribune.
Gonzales told Navarrette he wanted to be remembered "as someone who did the best he could ... based on what was right and what was just."
That sounds like a fair yardstick for measuring his public service. But there was more about Alberto Gonzales not yet known.
There must be some logic to building the United States' -- and the world's -- largest embassy in the world's 44th largest nation, coming somewhere after Nepal and Uganda.
US President George W. Bush's administration tortures detainees in defiance of international law, former US president Jimmy Carter charged Wednesday.
"I don't think it, I know it, certainly," Carter told CNN television when asked if he believed the US administration allowed the use of torture.
Carter rejected Bush's statement last week that the United States does not torture terror suspects.