updated 9/12/2005 11:34:10 AM ET 2005-09-12T15:34:10

12 p.m. EST

The hurricane and its aftermath have in some ways eclipsed the coming anniversary of another great American tragedy, the attacks of September 11.  If we weren't covering the hurricane so intensely we would no doubt have done more on 9/11.

But in a way, they are similar stories which both raise one central and haunting question: How prepared is America to handle a major disaster?

I lived through the attacks of 9/11.  I saw the buildings fall and I breathed the smoke.  It was horrifying.  But within hours, there was order in the city.  I never felt that New York would become lawless or chaotic.  That may be more of a testament to the strength of our local leadership than to the efforts of the federal government.  I don't know.

That said, I can't help but wonder what kind of sign this is to America.  We are picking through the wreckage of one major disaster as we prepare to commemorate the anniversary of another.  Have lessons been learned?  We'll discuss this today.

And I'll bring you a look at some of the controversies getting buzz on the blogs.  FEMA has issued a request to journalists to avoid showing dead bodies in their coverage.  Some see this as censorship, others as a gesture of respect for grieving families.

And Moveon.org stepped in it again--this time with the suggestion that John Roberts and people who oppose civil rights legislation are responsible in some way for the hardship of Katrina victims.  The group had planned an ad that would juxtapose Roberts with images of victims.  They have since said the ad will not air.

Join us today at noon Eastern, 9 a.m. Pacific.

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