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Money Flowed to Questionable Projects
September 8, 2005 7:14 AM   Subscribe

Louisiana Leads in Army Corps Spending, but Millions Had Nothing to Do With Floods
In Katrina's wake, Louisiana politicians and other critics have complained about paltry funding for the Army Corps in general and Louisiana projects in particular. But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.

[H]undreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate. Despite a series of independent investigations criticizing Army Corps construction projects as wasteful pork-barrel spending, Louisiana's representatives have kept bringing home the bacon.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood (71 comments total)

 
I say we fire the Army Corps of Engineers.
posted by Balisong at 7:23 AM on September 8, 2005


You left out the first line in the second paragraph, Steve_at:

"Much of that Louisiana money was spent to try to keep low-lying New Orleans dry."
posted by wakko at 7:24 AM on September 8, 2005


I didn't leave out anything. Anyone who reads the article will see that.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 7:25 AM on September 8, 2005


That was enlightening. Good find, Steve. Despite some partisan rhetoric, it drives home the point that politicians of both stripes were unprepared and, therefore, all have some responsibility in this matter. Though, I'm curious to know if that the lock project was mainly a pork project, aimed at creating new jobs and satisfying special interests, or a way to increase tax revenue by creating incentives for oil refineries and drillers.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:27 AM on September 8, 2005


Now is not the time for playing the Blame Game (ahem).

I don't know much about Louisiana, but from the map, it seems to have quite a lot of coast, all of which is presumably vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by global warming.

If, that is, you believe global warming exists, which, if you work for an oil company PR firm, you probably don't. Professionally, anyway.

Right, Steve?

Those $400million bridges to uninhabited islands in Alaska, now - that's money well spent.
posted by cleardawn at 7:27 AM on September 8, 2005


Good "find?" How hard was it to "find" this story, on the front page of the Washington Post? It's not some obscure corner of the web.
posted by raysmj at 7:30 AM on September 8, 2005


what veedubya said.
posted by lord_wolf at 7:30 AM on September 8, 2005


cleardawn, Louisiana is among the poorest states in the US. Personally, I'm against legalized gambling for the purposes of raising state revenue (because it truly makes the poor poorer); however, considering their options, I can't help but wonder if selling out to the oil industry to sustain state operability is such a bad thing. Where else could they get the money?
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:32 AM on September 8, 2005


Stop playing the Blame Game, Steve.
posted by grouse at 7:34 AM on September 8, 2005


The closer look dept: read this and blame Lousiana...it is their fault. And the Army Corps of Engineers. But wait: are they the only ones to get pork barrel treatment out of DC? No. What we have is a web of greed, incompetence, mismanagement, self-interest etc and then one hell of a hurricane (due via global warming or maybe not).

The sad part: the exact same things will kick in when large sums go to reconstructing that area.
posted by Postroad at 7:35 AM on September 8, 2005


Money allocated (we may suppose, stupidly) for things other than flood control was spent on things other than flood control. Film at 11.

I ate out at a restaurant yesterday, even though my car needs new brakes. If my brakes fail, and somebody dies, do you think my eating at a restaurant yesterday will be relevant to a charge of negligent homicide?
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:35 AM on September 8, 2005


But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.

Not so great a comparison, perhaps, given that Louisiana's contribution to the US economy is significant, particularly where our gasoline supplies and shipping channels are concerned. Maybe it's worthwhile to give "pork" to keep people with jobs, or even to give corporations big profits, depending on your political alignment.
posted by Rothko at 7:36 AM on September 8, 2005


...Or even to ensure national security. We're pretty vulnerable to any terrorist attack right now, given how the federal negligence of this infrastructure has tied up money, people and materials for the next several months and years.
posted by Rothko at 7:38 AM on September 8, 2005


Only if the Washington Post writes an article about it and someone FPP's about it here, Spiggott. Then it's all on you.
posted by wakko at 7:38 AM on September 8, 2005


bottom Line: Regardless of the greed and ignorance (on both sides) that led up to this, it was the administration's sheer scale of incompetency that should be noted for all.
posted by Mr Bluesky at 7:41 AM on September 8, 2005


I ate out at a restaurant yesterday, even though my car needs new brakes. If my brakes fail, and somebody dies, do you think my eating at a restaurant yesterday will be relevant to a charge of negligent homicide?

That's a really stupid (and irrelevant) analogy. The additional information that would make your example comparable is if you petitioned your parents (or guardian, or whomever) for the money. You asked for money to go out to eat, an obvious luxury that neither you, nor your supposed date, required knowing full well that your brakes are about to fail. Not only is your request your fault (when you hit someone) but also your parents because they also knew full well that your brakes were failing.

That's comparable because the federal, state, and local governments ALL KNEW that the levies could only sustain a category 3. Therefore all levels of government, not just local OR federal, should be held responsible for the inevitable flooding.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:42 AM on September 8, 2005


Everyone failed the city of New Orleans, city, state and federal government. They are all to blame.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:45 AM on September 8, 2005


This is the same guy who wrote John Kerry's Waffles and who (interestingly enough) complained that Bush and his cronies was making deep cuts in the funding of the ACofE, right?
posted by clevershark at 7:46 AM on September 8, 2005


Let's all work up a good froth over the fact that Louisiana gets more flood-prevention funding than Iowa! Clearly that's unfair!
posted by clevershark at 7:47 AM on September 8, 2005


Speaking of the 'bridge to nowhere' (also known as the bridge to Ketchikan, AK), the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner had an article where they semi-defend the bridge, noting that:
Sen. Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, in July merrily reported the 30 percent increase in the annual average allocation of transportation funding for her state, which will now receive an average of $580 million a year, up from $445 million. She cites the increase as a "prime example of the entire Louisiana delegation working together to leverage the most possible funding for the state."
Plenty of culpability on this thing to go around. Basically, government sucks.
posted by fet at 7:51 AM on September 8, 2005


Let's all work up a good froth over the fact that Louisiana gets more flood-prevention funding than Iowa! Clearly that's unfair!
posted by clevershark at 10:47 AM EST on September 8 [!]


Yeah, that's basically why the comparison with California's funding is specious. Major cities in California are not below sea level and do not get hit with floods in the same way that Gulf Coast cities do.
posted by Rothko at 7:51 AM on September 8, 2005


I didn't leave out anything. Anyone who reads the article will see that.

Let's!

Here's what the article says:
Much of that Louisiana money was spent to try to keep low-lying New Orleans dry. But hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate. Despite a series of independent investigations criticizing Army Corps construction projects as wasteful pork-barrel spending, Louisiana's representatives have kept bringing home the bacon.

Here's what your post says (I like how you even bracketed the capital H to make it seem like that word was the beginning of a sentence.):

[H]undreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate. Despite a series of independent investigations criticizing Army Corps construction projects as wasteful pork-barrel spending, Louisiana's representatives have kept bringing home the bacon.
posted by odinsdream at 7:52 AM on September 8, 2005


cs, it's Army Corps funding, not flood funding. Maybe Iowa needs the Army Corps do do other things? Perhaps?
posted by fet at 7:53 AM on September 8, 2005



posted by jperkins at 7:54 AM on September 8, 2005


The Washington Post has been the worst during this whole thing. I am cancelling my subscription.

I think it's illegal for the state to take money earmarked for one project and put it towards something different. Otherwise they could take money meant for the levies and use it to build a giant sculpture of Cap'n Crunch.

Does this mean they shouldn't ask for money for anything? No. If they really need the other things too, they might as well ask.

Maybe the feds should have cut the budget for these other projects instead.
posted by destro at 7:54 AM on September 8, 2005


divine_wino: You're right. City, state, and federal government are all to blame. But don't forget big business as well.

Where were all the corporate lobbyists who could have been pushing for more levee repair spending?

Why were the rich just not apparently concerned at all about this completely predictable (and repeatedly predicted) scenario?

Watch closely what happens to oil company profits over the next year. Then decide.
posted by cleardawn at 7:54 AM on September 8, 2005


spin, baby, spin.

They may have received a lot of funding, funding Bush tried to cut numerous times, but it apparently still wasn't enough.
posted by crunchland at 7:57 AM on September 8, 2005


Clearly, failure to properly allocate funds to build up the levees is the cause of FEMA's failure to respond to the tragedy properly.

CONNECT THE DOTS, PEOPLE!

In all seriousness, I wonder about the logic of the headline. Consider the following:

Louisiana's politicians have requested much more money for New Orleans hurricane protection than the Bush administration has proposed or Congress has provided. In the last budget bill, Louisiana's delegation requested $27.1 million for shoring up levees around Lake Pontchartrain, the full amount the Corps had declared as its "project capability." Bush suggested $3.9 million, and Congress agreed to spend $5.7 million.

Administration officials also dramatically scaled back a long-term project to restore Louisiana's disappearing coastal marshes, which once provided a measure of natural hurricane protection for New Orleans. They ordered the Corps to stop work on a $14 billion plan, and devise a $2 billion plan instead.


So, it seems to me that LA was asking for quite a bit of funding for (in hindsight) the "right" projects, but that the actual budget fell far short of those requests. IMO, this is a failure of federal appropriations. Am I wrong?
posted by mkultra at 7:59 AM on September 8, 2005


SeizeTheDay, that was my point. I provided too little information in my example on purpose. The implication of the FPP (we may assume) if not the article, is that money spent on A means money not spent on B. You have to actually show this, just as you'd have to show that going to a restaurant actually contributed to not getting the brakes done. If there was plenty of time and money available for both, but I did one and refused to do the other, then the restaurant is irrelevant. So it's incumbent on somebody to show that this pork spending is relevant to the flood control shortfall.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:00 AM on September 8, 2005


Can't always give everyone all the money they ask for... not like it results in things actually getting built (hello, 2nd Ave subway in Manhattan, vast Big Dig overruns, etc etc.)
posted by fet at 8:01 AM on September 8, 2005


But overall, the Bush administration's funding requests for the key New Orleans flood-control projects for the past five years were slightly higher than the Clinton administration's for its past five years. Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the chief of the Corps, has said that in any event, more money would not have prevented the drowning of the city, since its levees were designed to protect against a Category 3 storm, and the levees that failed were already completed projects. Strock has also said that the marsh-restoration project would not have done much to diminish Katrina's storm surge, which passed east of the coastal wetlands.

The Corps had been studying the possibility of upgrading the New Orleans levees for a higher level of protection before Katrina hit, but Woodley said that study would not have been finished for years.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:04 AM on September 8, 2005


On the plus side, we can all rejoice in the fact that Halliburton will be doing most of the rebuilding, including plenty of overcharges I'm sure. Dick is rushing to the area to make sure no one gets in their way. Of course he finished his vacation first......
posted by MetaJohn at 8:06 AM on September 8, 2005


Pam Dashiell, president of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, remembers holding a protest against the lock four years ago -- right where the levee broke Aug. 30. Now she's holed up with her family in a St. Louis hotel, and her neighborhood is underwater. "Our politicians never cared half as much about protecting us as they cared about pork," Dashiell said.

Amen, and what Divine Wino said.
posted by OmieWise at 8:07 AM on September 8, 2005


Yes. The republican voting areas of the state, not needing more levee protection, get all this federal money. The democratic voting New Orleans, with *known* levee and floodwall problems, gets gutted, because, you know, the GOP considers smaller government good.

Thanks, S@L, for showing me just how corrupt the GOP administration is again.
posted by eriko at 8:12 AM on September 8, 2005


Clearly, Bill Clinton is to blame. As usual.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 8:12 AM on September 8, 2005


fet: thanks for that, interesting article with more detail than I'd seen before.

But when you say 'government sucks', what you mean is "THIS GOVERNMENT sucks. Think about what life is like WITHOUT a government. Try Somalia, or anywhere outside the capital of Iraq or Afghanistan.

The only way to prepare for, and mitigate the effects of, massive global climate change is through intelligent, coherent, government action.

And the only way that's going to happen is if every one of us who can understand the problem starts to actively push for it.

The people we're pushing AGAINST are people like the oil companies and their political supporters, who, as we've seen this week, can be relied on to carry on pushing the "business as usual" line until the corpses start floating past their office windows.
posted by cleardawn at 8:13 AM on September 8, 2005


Damn Louisiana for being on THE major water way of the US!

That's no reason for them being the largest recipient of ACE funding, is it?

The Corps had been studying the possibility of upgrading the New Orleans levees for a higher level of protection before Katrina hit, but Woodley said that study would not have been finished for years.

Same tactic as for climate change, do an extended time frame "study" if you don't agree with the goal. This project needed absolutely no more "study."

And hasn't the ACE been gutted and converted to a pipeline for cash to Halliburton in the past few years? Seems I remember some ACE folks losing their jobs and being demoted for protesting the conversion.
posted by nofundy at 8:17 AM on September 8, 2005


I think I really like that the only two FPPs tagged with pork are this one and the bacon whores post.
posted by OmieWise at 8:18 AM on September 8, 2005




News flash:
You’re realizing $$$ is being used incorrectly in a State known for everlasting road construction.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:19 AM on September 8, 2005


The whole article is fluff buttressed by the Post's typical Democrat bashing. Why else would they include bullshit like the following:
Still, liberal bloggers, Democratic politicians and some GOP defenders of the Corps have linked the catastrophe to the underfunding of the agency.
I mean, really, what's the point of that? Also, what the fuck's the point of including California in a comparison of flood-prevention fund allocations?

Stupid, stupid article. I expect no less from the Post these days. Great find!
posted by wakko at 8:20 AM on September 8, 2005


This project needed absolutely no more "study."
Yes, since the NO sinks one inch a year.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:21 AM on September 8, 2005


"The sad part: the exact same things will kick in when large sums go to reconstructing that area."

To say you nailed it on the head would be an understatement.


"IMO, this is a failure of federal appropriations. Am I wrong?"

Yes and no. You are wrong to assume asking for 27+ million means they should receive it. But I have to say, given the knowledge this place was going to get hit with a storm over category 3 someday, I simply can't understand why they didn't spend what was needed - so you are right there.

It doesn't make sense if your a liberal Bush hater or a Republican bible thumper: From a human perspective, the sheer loss of life possible (and now happening) necessitated the spending. But from an oil/big business perspective, protecting those vital sea-ports had to be just as necessary I would think.
posted by j.p. Hung at 8:24 AM on September 8, 2005


"In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding.

It would be the largest single-year funding loss ever for the New Orleans district, Corps officials said.

I've been here over 30 years and I've never seen this level of reduction, said Al Naomi, project manager for the New Orleans district. I think part of the problem is it's not so much the reduction, it's the drastic reduction in one fiscal year. It's the immediacy of the reduction that I think is the hardest thing to adapt to.

There is an economic ripple effect, too. The cuts mean major hurricane and flood protection projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now."

New Orleans CityBusiness, Jun 6, 2005
by Deon Roberts

Source

Too late to have had an impact on Katrina, but Dubya's heart was in the right spot.
posted by jperkins at 8:27 AM on September 8, 2005


Great find!

What? A great find? It's on the front page of the Post online.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:27 AM on September 8, 2005


H]undreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps

So, Steve, what you're saying is that the rest of Lousiana's House delegation, who are all Republicans, wouldn't let NO get any Corps money unless they got some too even if it was wasteful, and the Corps, under Bush's authority, went right along with this.

Is that your point?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:29 AM on September 8, 2005


The author of this piece is yet another member of the insider elitist DC "celebrity press corps" and this piece characterizes the author better than any I've read.
The WaPo is a tool for Rove.
posted by nofundy at 8:30 AM on September 8, 2005


Hey, remember when the first thing Bush did to respond to Katrina was release millions of barrels of oil from the Petroleum Reserve to bail out gas companies? Funny thing was, they didn't need it. But hey, who's gonna turn down free oil?
posted by fungible at 8:31 AM on September 8, 2005


And hasn't the ACE been gutted and converted to a pipeline for cash to Halliburton in the past few years? Seems I remember some ACE folks losing their jobs and being demoted for protesting the conversion.

The Corps is divided into two functionally separate halves - Military Programs and Civil Works. The two have virtually nothing to do with each other besides sharing (mostly) the same command structure. Different personnel, different missions, even different appropriations. Military Programs gets its funding from Defense and Military Construction appropriations. Civil Works gets its money from the Water Resources Development appropriations.

There is plenty of blame to go around, but if we're going to apportion it between the Corps, the Administration and Congress, I think it's pretty easy to see who comes out on the bottom of this power fight. The Corps often gets caught between Administration policies and Congressional desires in the Civil Works arena, and has traditionally been pretty adept in walking the tightrope between the two. They seem to have lost a step in that regard over the last ten years, which is due, in my opinion, to poor leadership. The last couple of Chiefs have been uninspiring and lacking in the political aptitude and deftness required for the position. Those of us who worked for the Corps before the constant reorganizations and navel-gazing began in the mid-90s remember a more respected and more competent organization.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 8:33 AM on September 8, 2005


Burn ROU_Xenophobe, burn! You're going on my muses list!
posted by nofundy at 8:33 AM on September 8, 2005


I wish Louisiana had more well-intentioned graft again instead of all this selfish graft. Huey Long, your time has come again!
posted by mikeh at 8:38 AM on September 8, 2005


This is retarded.
posted by bshort at 8:44 AM on September 8, 2005


Free oil? You got a coupon for that?

cleardawn: yes, in particular this government sucks, but as I've lived in the US my entire life, I've generally come to believe that 'good government' as much as it's hyped and pondered and suchlike is more a figment of the imagination rather than anything feasible.

Human foibles make any sort of government have its weaknesses. Ours, currently, are quite glaring.
posted by fet at 8:46 AM on September 8, 2005


From a human perspective, the sheer loss of life possible (and now happening) necessitated the spending. But from an oil/big business perspective, protecting those vital sea-ports had to be just as necessary I would think.
posted by j.p. Hung at 5:24 PM CET on September 8 [!]


Watch the oil company profits over the next year or so.
Then decide where the oil company's interests lay.

As with so many such issues, keeping poor people alive in NO just doesn't provide the best possible rate of Return On Investment.

So, for the oil companies to spend money on keeping them alive would be a breach of fiduciary responsibility.

The corporate system is not based on morality, and indeed does not permit morality to enter the decision making process.

Which is why so many people keep saying that capitalism is evil. I have yet to hear a convincing refutation.
posted by cleardawn at 8:49 AM on September 8, 2005


Steve_at_Linnwood: All you proved is that republicans help republican counties. Oh, but it's all "state vs. federal" now, as the government tries to get out of blame.

Whatever. Even if the 27mill would have been spent, the levees still would have been broken. So all of this is mostly irrelevant.

The real problems have been with the evacuation and relief.
posted by delmoi at 8:49 AM on September 8, 2005


Steve, when are you going to abandon your irrational attachment to the anti-conservative faction of the the Republican party?

I miss the Steve who spoke about his own opinions, not the talking-point relay.

You once quoted this, about the NYTimes:
Perhaps the slogan should be re-written: "All the Newspeak fit to print".

Why can you not see the spin and newspeak here?
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:50 AM on September 8, 2005


but marginal projects such as the Port of Iberia deepening -- which squeaked by with a 1.03 benefit-cost ratio -- are as eligible for funding as the New Orleans levees

Whoa ! I bet it's all in that very very significant 0.03 that was calculated in ways that would prob make a creative account eyes pop.
posted by elpapacito at 8:52 AM on September 8, 2005


Which is why so many people keep saying that capitalism is evil. I have yet to hear a convincing refutation.

Well, IMO, if these corporations didn't receive an unfathomable amount of explicit and implicit subsidies that shift the cost of doing business onto the public, they'd be forced to adopt sustainable (i.e. ethical) business models.

Unfortunately, the more economics and finance I read, the more it looks like such implicit subsidies are deeply, deeply entrenched in our country. Our economy bears as much resemblance to a "pure capitalistic" one as Stalin's economy bore to "pure Marxism," which is to say, only on the surface, not at all in substance.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:54 AM on September 8, 2005


sonofsamiam, I agree with your assessment of the implicit subsidies. Externalities of cost, such as pollution, road-building, use of finite resources, and on and on, are all borne by the taxpayer (and our descendants), so that the rich can maximize short-term profit. Since the rich write the laws, this is unsurprising.

But think about what a "pure capitalist" system would be like. Again, I suggest you look at Somalia.

I think a hybrid capitalist-socialist system is better, myself, with safeguards to prevent capitalists running the government, and high levels of taxation on the rich to fund high levels of education and healthcare for the poor. But that's just me.
posted by cleardawn at 9:10 AM on September 8, 2005


Which is why so many people keep saying that capitalism is evil. I have yet to hear a convincing refutation.
posted by cleardawn at 8:49 AM PST on September 8


Uh, for one, the U.S. is hardly capitalist. We have free markets for the poor and middle-class; their taxes pay for rampant corporate socialism.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:13 AM on September 8, 2005


I think a hybrid capitalist-socialist system is better, myself, with safeguards to prevent capitalists running the government, and high levels of taxation on the rich to fund high levels of education and healthcare for the poor.

Sounds great man, I used my three wishes already, now I have a million male deer, a dude stands about a foot tall who plays the piano and a really small cat. If you saved one, hit it.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:29 AM on September 8, 2005


Now, I may be wrong here, but last I checked, wasn't Louisiana considered one of, if not *the* most corrupt, bribery-based and poorly administered states in the Union?

Honestly, I believe I've read that multiple times over the years. I work with a professional who originally hails from the Baton Rouge area of the state and moved away about two years ago. Whenever I ask her opinion on the state of affairs currently she just shruggs and says, "nobody should be surprised about what's going on - the lack of management is typical Louisiana and the chaos you are seeing is what has always lurked just underneath the genteel veneer of New Orleans and the Old South in general."

I'm up for correction on any of this if I'm mistaken.
posted by tgrundke at 9:35 AM on September 8, 2005


tgrundke: It's a poor state. Poor states are always corrupt.

Not because the people are particularly evil or stupid, but simply because corruption tends to become a more attractive opportunity the poorer you become.

Although there are, of course, plenty of rich folks who are mind-bogglingly corrupt, as steve@linwood will be happy to discuss at length.

divine_who: I did, man, I did.

After experiencing the best possible orgasm, and gaining a perfect understanding of the nature of God, I finally asked for a socialist Utopia on Earth.

Thing is, the pixie vanished before I could specify WHEN...
posted by cleardawn at 9:53 AM on September 8, 2005


Cleardawn:

Good point, but I hail from Ohio which is a moderately well to-do state and judging from the current bribery and corruption scandals that threaten to eject our governor from office, corruption isn't limited to any one economic group.

I'm still not entirely onboard with the people who are bashing the Feds for the morass in Lousiana. Besides, these are probably a lot of the same said people clamoring for states' rights and to be left alone by the Federal Government.

I understand that Louisiana is a poor state and what that translates to me is that the response by government, by nature, will be poor. It also means, again, by nature, that the civil population will be less well organized, less well prepared materially and mentally and less able to manage the cleanup on their own.
posted by tgrundke at 10:02 AM on September 8, 2005


I liked the article, Steve (despite the kinda obvious reason why you're posting it). There is a tremendous amount of waste in the ACoE, and that's something that should be dealt with. But, as others have noted, that's kinda irrelevant to the arguments over whether this was a federal responsiblity, and whether the projects that could have protected NO got built. They obviously didn't. Blaming that somehow on NO is pretty silly. And once you get to all of LA, well, that's a Republican state what didn't seem to care all that much about protecting its largest and most Dem city...
posted by klangklangston at 10:05 AM on September 8, 2005


tgrundke: Agreed.

I even agree with the klangster.

I love it when these threads end in consensus. :-)
posted by cleardawn at 10:15 AM on September 8, 2005


I'm still not entirely onboard with the people who are bashing the Feds for the morass in Lousiana. Besides, these are probably a lot of the same said people clamoring for states' rights and to be left alone by the Federal Government.

Those are not mutually exclusive and states rights doesn't mean that the fed should not be there when the state cannot provide for itself under emergency conditions. I am, personally, all about states rights, but coordinated response and relief during large scale disasters is probabaly one of the best reasons for the existence of federal government at all.


I understand that Louisiana is a poor state and what that translates to me is that the response by government, by nature, will be poor.

Nature, as in red in tooth and claw, maybe. But we are humans beings and it would be nice if we used those big ole forebrains to help out our fellow humans once in a while.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:15 AM on September 8, 2005


coordinated response and relief during large scale disasters is probabaly one of the best reasons for the existence of federal government at all.

No kidding. I wouldn't mind a world in which states were much more independent, but what exactly are my federal taxes going towards now?

Ever since the Republicans took power, it's been all pork and military spending. So much so that the deficit and national debt have exploded to pay for it.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:21 AM on September 8, 2005


Divine_Wino: I couldn't agree with you more, and your correction on the States' rights point is well noted. Good point.

Natural disasters of this proportion have a tendency to turn otherwise civil people against one another in the ultimate game of life: survival. What we are seeing today in Louisiana is the natural human reaction to disaster and utter calamity.

I think that there is a lot of help going out to our fellow humans right now, but again, the nature of tooth and claw, as you so well put it, is in effect right now.
posted by tgrundke at 11:11 AM on September 8, 2005


Come on now. We all know this is Andrew Jackson's fault!!
posted by a3matrix at 12:49 PM on September 8, 2005


A3: Surely you mean James Buchanan. Everything is James Buchanan's fault (and how come you never hear gay people claiming Buchanan? There's better evidence for him than for Lincoln, but Buchanan was a shitty president so nobody wants him...)
posted by klangklangston at 10:19 PM on September 8, 2005


tgrundke,
You are entirely too civil and well mannered, this is metafilter and you were supposed to call me a dumbass and imply I shopped at wallmart. I expect better next time.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:32 AM on September 9, 2005


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