oops.
August 30, 2005 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Let the bush bashing begin. Funding for work on New Orleans' flood prevention system slowed to a trickle in 2003, and many people (long before Monday) claimed that was due to the Iraq war. [more inside]
posted by delmoi (181 comments total)
 
Actually, according to the linked article, the funding that didn't come through last year was for levees on the Mississippi side, not Lake Pontchartrain. So if the funding had gone through as planned, this may still have happened (we were $250 million short). Projects get their funding cut all the time, and there's really no way to tell which ones are going to come back and bite you in the ass.

Still, it's hard not to imagine all the ways the 300 billion (and counting) spent in Iraq couldn't have been spent much better here improving safety infrastructure here at home.
posted by delmoi at 2:58 PM on August 30, 2005


Outrageous. Isn't it enough that his vacation is ruined after only four-and-a-half weeks?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 3:08 PM on August 30, 2005


Oh yeah, this will go really well, I'm sure.
posted by fenriq at 3:16 PM on August 30, 2005


Well, if we didn't have the NEA, we could have spent that money on levees!

THE NEA CAUSED TEH HURRICANE TO KILL TEH PEOPLE IN KNEW ORLEENS BECAUSE THEY BOUGHT PORNO PAINTINGS INSTEAD OF SANDBAGS!

(What possibly is the value of such retrospective, hindsight is 20/20 navel gazing?)
posted by dios at 3:16 PM on August 30, 2005


Also, I do wish when the Treasury prints a dollar, it would properly label what that dollar is for, so that people couldn't take that dollar and spend it on some other "important" project instead of the one it was clearly intended for.
posted by dios at 3:18 PM on August 30, 2005


What an inane comment Dios. This administration chose to fight an extremely costly war in Iraq. We didn't have to, and we're not getting any benefit from it. It would be nice to have been able to spend that $300bn at home no?
posted by zeoslap at 3:21 PM on August 30, 2005


Hmmm.
posted by ericb at 3:24 PM on August 30, 2005


dios, the NEA's budget is about 121 million dollars, 1/2479th the cost of the Iraq war. You can't seriously be claming that the Iraq war was not a major drain on our national finances.
posted by delmoi at 3:28 PM on August 30, 2005


(What possibly is the value of such retrospective, hindsight is 20/20 navel gazing?)

I dunno. The probably-vain hope that we might learn from our mistakes and therefore not repeat them? That regular reminders of the type of leadership we have today might prompt voters to make better choices in the future?

By my reckoning, we can express grief and awe over the scope of this devastation, do our part to help by sending money and giving blood, and still find a little time to point out that this tragedy was probably made worse by unwise policy.
posted by Epenthesis at 3:28 PM on August 30, 2005


Holy shit, ericb, that guitar that Bush is playing has an official Presidential Seal on it! Kickass!
posted by billysumday at 3:29 PM on August 30, 2005


I agree with dios. What a totally piss poor post (I was going to say: in all the circumstances but really: either way). Truly. And damn, I've been trying not to just rag off on posts but jeezus man, can't you wait 'til all the bodies are found?
posted by peacay at 3:29 PM on August 30, 2005


zeoslap, the administration also chose to fund the NEA, too. We didn't have to, and we're (arguably) not getting any benefit from it. It would be nice to have been able to spend that money on something productive, eh?

My point is that have a finite group of resources. Zero sum game. Making the argument you are making suggests that a whole hell of a lot of discretionary spending could be blamed for being mis-spent. The problem you have is you are placing it as a dichotomy. Take the NEA, levees, ethenol subsidies, Iraq. Any dollar spent on one is an exclusion of a dollar spent elsewhere. Could we not also say that we should have funded Iraq and levees but not the NEA or ethenol?

I find it callous when people say "we shouldn't spend money to provide irrigation to the Marsh Arabs in Iraq because we could have used it on ______." Not a very humanitarian perspective, in my opinion.
posted by dios at 3:30 PM on August 30, 2005


Nonsense. Amphibious vehicles are much better suited to the Iraqi desert than they would be to a flooded city.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:30 PM on August 30, 2005


Every time I see the amount of money that's been spent in Iraq, I feel sick.
posted by chasing at 3:31 PM on August 30, 2005


Since the French didn't help pay for the Iraq war, maybe we can ask them to help us pay for the reconstruction of New Orleans....after all, Louisiana is part of their history too.....?
posted by Durwood at 3:33 PM on August 30, 2005


Rest assured, bush will still try to capitalize on this latest human tragedy, so be prepared to see his twat.

("The War Against Tornadoes," silly!)
posted by HiveMind at 3:34 PM on August 30, 2005


dios, the NEA's budget is about 121 million dollars

In two years it would have paid for the levees.

Let me ask you, which is a better use of a dollar: providing vaccinations to kids in Africa, providing water to a child in Iraq, or funding an art exhibit in the U.S. Or building a GLBT center. Or whatever your pet cultural issue is. To blame one choice and not the other 10,000 choices for money made by Congress is such an incredibly navel-gazing waste of time because the same argument can be made about 10,000 other things.

We have to make value choices.
posted by dios at 3:34 PM on August 30, 2005


Can't this guy get a break? Every time something happens he has to 'cut short his vacation'.... sorry, couldn't help it, CNN just flashed that for what seems like the 50th time in the last 5 years.
posted by scheptech at 3:35 PM on August 30, 2005


L'il Johnny, sure Daddy just bought a new sports car, but we can't feed you tonight because MOMMY HAD HER NAILS DONE. Or something.

That's what the "but what about the NEA?" argument sounds like to me...

I'm perturbed. Per-turbed. Earlier I was simply turbed, but now you've gone and perred it all to hell. Christ...
posted by chasing at 3:36 PM on August 30, 2005


Personally, I think Karl Rove planned the hurricane so that he could push Sheehan out of the news.

I mean, cause if we are going to get senseless with our rhetoric....
posted by dios at 3:36 PM on August 30, 2005


Take the NEA, levees, ethenol subsidies, Iraq. Any dollar spent on one is an exclusion of a dollar spent elsewhere.

What is the total annual cost of the NEA, levees, and ethanol subsidies? Good trolling, btw. Utterly idiotic without being too obviously confrontational.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 3:36 PM on August 30, 2005


Let me ask you, which is a better use of a dollar: providing vaccinations to kids in Africa, providing water to a child in Iraq, or funding an art exhibit in the U.S. Or building a GLBT center. Or whatever your pet cultural issue is.

I'll take any one of those things before dropping a bomb or spending money on protecting troops in a country that didn't want them there in the first place.
posted by ScottMorris at 3:42 PM on August 30, 2005


I would take the sentiment underlying this post one step further and fault the Bush Administration for not having used the money that was spent in Iraq on funding for research and development that could have prevented Hurricane Katrina in the first place. Also, I blame the Republicans in Congress in 1998 for having spent money on the investigation and impeachment of President Clinton that could have been used to prevent hurricanes like Katrina. It is all the Republican's fault. I don't know why so many people vote for them all the time. Just stupid, I guess.
posted by esquire at 3:45 PM on August 30, 2005


You're clearly wrong, esquire, I think the money spent by Democrats in building that Clinton Library in Arkansas, including a penthouse, could have been used to either build levees, artifically raise New Orleans above sea level, or create some instrument to reverse the path of a hurricane and send it at Castro. I blame Clinton's hubris for the hurricane.
posted by dios at 3:48 PM on August 30, 2005


And for Castro not being pelted with 140 mph winds right. Light your cigar in that, bitch!
posted by dios at 3:49 PM on August 30, 2005


Let me ask you, which is a better use of a dollar: providing vaccinations to kids in Africa, providing water to a child in Iraq, or funding an art exhibit in the U.S. Or building a GLBT center.

Except, we could do all of those things a five hundred times over with the money we're spending in Iraq. Yes, everyone wants more funding for their thing, but some things cost a lot more then others.

And it's not exactly a zero sum game, either. Some things are investments, which result in greater returns later. The reconstruction of New Orleans (if it goes forward) is going to cost a lot more then any Levee system could have, and that's not counting human lives.
posted by delmoi at 3:52 PM on August 30, 2005


If there are only two of you, is it still a circle jerk?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 3:52 PM on August 30, 2005


make more jokes while people drown, why don't you? ass.
posted by amberglow at 3:52 PM on August 30, 2005


money spent by Democrats in building that Clinton Library

Uh, Presidential libraries are paid for by private donations and not political parties.
posted by ericb at 3:53 PM on August 30, 2005


make more jokes while people drown, why don't you? ass.
posted by amberglow at 3:52 PM PST on August 30


Politicize a natural disaster tragedy while people drown, why don't you? ass.
posted by dios at 3:55 PM on August 30, 2005


Gosh knows why spending choices made for political reasons should become a political issue, especially when the safety and security of The People is involved. It's so inappropriate!
posted by raysmj at 3:57 PM on August 30, 2005


"So is the Corps of Engineers politicizing things too?"
The Corps of Engineers believes they can hold back nature.
Sooner or later, nature always wins.
They want to make a study as to how to protect the city from a Cat 5. What if they are wrong and people stay, assured by the Corps, and the higher levees fail?
Forecasters were off by ten feet in estimating the storm surge in Mississippi this time and hundreds apparently were killed. And the Corps thinks they can figure out a max surge when the NHC is off by that much for this storm?
Had this been a Cat 4 direct hit as expected, this point would be moot. Ten feet of water would have gone over the levees that exist now, no matter what would have been done or not done over the last few years.
We can't even be sure why the levees failed, yet people are trying to make political points as the city fills up with water.
Posted by: db_cooper at August 30, 2005 03:47 PM
posted by thomcatspike at 3:58 PM on August 30, 2005


Well, are involved.
posted by raysmj at 3:58 PM on August 30, 2005


Also, I'm not endorsing the idea that bush is totally responsible for this happening, just that our financial priorities are seriously wack with the respect the Iraq war.

The fundamental purpose for the Iraq war, unlike the NEA or the Clinton Library, an "GLBT center" or anything like that is that it's supposed to make us safer. Given a certain percentage of the budget would go to things that are supposed to make us safer, spending 300 billion on the Iraq war, and nothing on Levees for New Orleans was an incredibly stupid decision (in retrospect).

Money that we spend on safety should be spent on projects that increase safety the most per dollar (measured in human life, or property damage, or both).

Discussion of money which was spent on non-safety related things is pretty much completely irrelevant.
posted by delmoi at 4:00 PM on August 30, 2005


ericb: "Hmmm."

His G chord is in the wrong place.
posted by danb at 4:00 PM on August 30, 2005


"We have to make value choices."

Agreed.
Of course the hang up here is we were told the war would pay for itself, oil would pay for it, the Iraqi people would pay for it, the coalition of the willing would pay for it, Santa Claus would pay for it, etc etc etc.

The NEA, et. al. have fixed budgets, ask for 'x' amount, and generally stay within those parameters. If they don't they get shown the door or get their funding cut anyway.

Throw a monkey wrench into any accountant's figures and the budgeting goes awry.


We do not blame the other line items on the ledger though, we should blame the monkey wrench(ers).

So, do you want to blow the money on a trip to Vegas (Iraq) which may not pay for itself (despite what you're told) or do you want to keep it in the bank for a rainy day?

Well, guess what. It's raining.

Not sure you can lay this all on Bush. Lots of Dems voted for the war too.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:04 PM on August 30, 2005


The Corps programs have caused plenty of problems, indeed, and the river always finds a way. The Bush administration, however, to my knowledge proposed no alternative to traditional flood control, nor has it been much concerned with environmental issues including wetlands protection that would have worked better over the long haul. The prez still goes around saying that global warming needs to be "studied" whilst the Gulf of Mexico's waters keep rising. The Corps problems would have been a short-term fix, at best, but there is plenty of political hay to make here. There is also, one would hope, a reason for intelligent, long-term planning now, or an incentive to really hash these issues out, to take them seriously and work on them.
posted by raysmj at 4:06 PM on August 30, 2005


Ok, speaking of money and long-term thinking, how smart is it to invest in restoring New Orleans back to what it was where it was? Wouldn't longer-term thinking indicate that particular couple square miles should be given up to the ocean and any rebuilding should be done on firmer foundations, i.e. on higher ground?
posted by scheptech at 4:10 PM on August 30, 2005


I think we should put Paul Bremer and his guys in charge of the reconstruction, they did such a stellar job overseas!
posted by threehundredandsixty at 4:16 PM on August 30, 2005


scheptech: Despite all the tourism sites that bring in billions annually and the port facilities (needed at least near that point at the Miss.) and infrastructure (not to mention large educational institutions of long-standing, etc.) there already? New Orleans and the surrounding metro area do not a dinky little town make.

If you really want to get super long-term or work at such a large scale, however, you'd wait, for the Mississippi River is trying to flow into the Atchafalaya River and build a new delta where the latter river's basin now sits.
posted by raysmj at 4:18 PM on August 30, 2005


Let's just hope Bush opts into the Kyoto accord now...
/wishful thinking
posted by Hildegarde at 4:23 PM on August 30, 2005


I think Dios just summarized the Bush response. We will need to cut funds to NEA, Medicare, Social Security, public schools, and whatever else he doesn't like, to rebuild New Orleans. Whether or not this may have been mitigated by diverting funds from Iraq, this disaster is going to be further fuel for the Bush agenda.
posted by MetalDog at 4:24 PM on August 30, 2005


As much as I believe in not feeding the troll, this is an obvious case of RTFM, specifically:

"At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars." (Emphasis mine.)

Not the NEA, GLBT centres or whatever else has your panties in such a twist, dios.
posted by docgonzo at 4:26 PM on August 30, 2005


Hey Dios, maybe you should read the damn article before you pimp for Bush:

As the article states:
In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to this Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness:

The $750 million Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection project is another major Corps project, which remains about 20% incomplete due to lack of funds, said Al Naomi, project manager. That project consists of building up levees and protection for pumping stations on the east bank of the Mississippi River in Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Charles and Jefferson parishes.

The Lake Pontchartrain project is slated to receive $3.9 million in the president's 2005 budget. Naomi said about $20 million is needed.

Regardless of the amount of money actually spent on our worthy, high-minded adventure in Iraq, the fact of the matter is that Bush grossly miscalculated the cost of the war, cut taxes at the same time, and under-funded projects that were critical to our homeland security--including natural disasters.

You can't just blame it on the NEA or any other Federally-funded project. Bush cut programs like this for two reasons: tax cuts and a war budget that has been poorly managed from day one.

If you can justify the administration's war cost projections vs actual spending or demonstate any kind of fiscal responsibility by our govt in during the last two terms you'd make a convincing argument. Good luck, pal.
posted by Neologian at 4:27 PM on August 30, 2005


But wait! There's more! We're already running a massive budget deficit because we just had to have those tax cuts and we just had to go attack a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, but we can't afford to prevent a foreseeable natural disaster in an area of the country where a lot of oil enters the country.
posted by ilsa at 4:32 PM on August 30, 2005


Fine. Whatever. Politicize a natural disaster. Have fun with your circle jerk. I'm not wasting any more time in this thread trying to point out the obvious.
posted by dios at 4:34 PM on August 30, 2005


As much as I believe in not feeding the troll, this is an obvious case of RTFM, specifically:

"At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars."


Yes, but! But! But! Clinton has a library! We have to make value choices!
posted by Rothko at 4:35 PM on August 30, 2005


That's right, dios, why waste time here in a thread where you've been ably demonstrated to have absolutely no standing to pontificate from. Head on over to other threads where other opinions are beginning to be formed so you can derail those threads as well.

By the way, since it was just you and esquire I think it should more appropriately be called a line jerk or jerk line. I think jerkline works well because you seem to be full of jerklines anyway.
posted by fenriq at 4:42 PM on August 30, 2005


Politics is about distributing scarce resources to where they'll do the greatest good. We pay taxes to the government so they can do things with the combined money that provide the most benefit to the taxpayers.

This means that the flood is as political as you can possibly get.

Most of the people on this thread don't think spending billions destroying a country, then building it back up again in our own image will help the people who provided the tax money in the first place. On the other hand, helping to keep our own citizens safe from the arbitrary hand of god's exactly why we give money to the government in the first place.

Comparing Iraq to vaccinations in Africa is a straw man at best. The two have nothing to do with each other.
posted by fnerg at 4:45 PM on August 30, 2005


I understand anger arising from this horrendous event but it's incredibly narrow sighted to focus it all on Bush and his policies. Between building codes and city planning and engineering reports and business advocacy and the usual local politician investment devotion ===== all of this going back in history for a city built below sealevel on the edge of one of the most notorious bodies of water in the world ===== it just seems totally infeasible to me that retrospecitively divining a better outcome with increased federal spending as a conclusion is sustainable. It's a crazy argument without taking into account all the myriad factors that are in play. And don't be thinking I'm any sort of Bush apologist or supporter. I'm not. And I'm totally against the war. But the logic here is beyond what my modest brain can handle. Go donate to the red cross rather than spitting keyboard venom at an imagined enemy for fucks sake.
posted by peacay at 4:47 PM on August 30, 2005


it's about being responsible and not squandering our people and money elsewhere when it's needed here.
posted by amberglow at 4:50 PM on August 30, 2005


I understand anger arising from this horrendous event but it's incredibly narrow sighted to focus it all on Bush and his policies.

Fer chrissake, the post is discussing federal policy decisions consciously made two years ago at least, not a knee-jerk response to this week's storm.
posted by Rothko at 5:00 PM on August 30, 2005



What about halting population growth?

Or at least looking at it seriously?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:14 PM on August 30, 2005


it's about being responsible and not squandering our people and money elsewhere when it's needed here.

This argument could be made - and has been made - for every foreign expenditure ever made. Historically, it has usually been made by Republicans, who have generally been more isolationist than Democrats. So, as an argument against the Iraq war, it doesn't work very well unless you're willing to follow it to its logical conclusion - no foreign aid, no interventions, and so on until everyone in the US lives in a state of perfection.

There are so many good arguments to be made against the Iraq war. I have no idea why people need to make so many bad ones. The good ones are compelling enough.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:14 PM on August 30, 2005


As much as I'm upset that the diversion of funds certainly contributed to the scope of this disaster, I have to agree with peacay. The fund diversion is only one part - but yes, an avoidable part! - of the problem with New Orleans's poor geographic positioning.

It's very unfortunate that the demise of New Orleans, the concatenation of many forces and failings, has to include this politically-motivated blunder as well. Very unfortunate timing... but NO has been a gamble for its entire existence, and the gamble has been lost.

Terrible tragedy for many thousands of people, and it will soon affect every one of us in America.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:17 PM on August 30, 2005


"before you pimp for Bush"

Not seeing where dios did that.
The not reading the article thing I can’t verify.


I think dios (eventually) made a decent point:
"I find it callous when people say "we shouldn't spend money to provide irrigation to the Marsh Arabs in Iraq because we could have used it on ______."


That it wasn’t perfectly coherant is something people often enough ignore or let slide in others.
Hell, I’m out in left field (right field?) 1/2 the time. I haven’t been dog piled on yet. But I can see myself there if I say something not agreed with and not that well stated.
Sorry to put this here, and sorry to reiterate it, but we really should aim for cogency in our responses instead of simply snarking. I don’t think dios is doing it solely to be disruptive (granted, only my opinion) but we could otherwise ignore him. I’m almost jealous for the attention bad as it is and I have a webcam on my testicles 24/7.

....uh, ignore that last bit and focus on the plea for reason. Ahem.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:25 PM on August 30, 2005


Well, what's being lost in all this is that New Orleans has been living on borrowed time since its birth, and all the engineering we can throw at it just further delays the inevitable. Katrina may very well have wrecked the city even with infrastructure improvements.

That said- Jesus Christ on a stick, Dios. Please, go buy a basic accounting book. Not paying the ENTIRE bill for Iraq would fund everyone's pet project for a long time, with plenty left over for a rainy day. There were plenty of foreign companies perfectly willing to go to Iraq to build out infrastructure, but we decided that it was ours ours ours. If the U.S. were a business, the CEO would be fired in a second.
posted by mkultra at 5:28 PM on August 30, 2005


I think dios (eventually) made a decent point:
"I find it callous when people say "we shouldn't spend money to provide irrigation to the Marsh Arabs in Iraq because we could have used it on ______."


Good grief. How much of the $300 billion and counting spent in Iraq went to "provide irrigation to the Marsh Arabs"?

If this thread doesn't demonstrate that Dios is a troll, I can't imagine what would.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 5:29 PM on August 30, 2005


*disclaimer
I think dios (eventually) made a decent point - I don't necessarialy agree with it.
/reasons re: monkeywrench on the ledger - previously stated.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:30 PM on August 30, 2005


Number of expected major Gulf hurricanes left this season = 2-4 according to CNN.

To preserve all of Orleans they're gonna have to do better than put things back like they were, they'll need to build super-Cat-5-levee's. If we're talking about long-term planning and money, where's the sense in it? Watching the tube most of the low-lying submerged land appears to be low-rise residential properties. How can this be cost-effective?.

Btw, they're saying now the Army Corp has given up attempting to plug the levee or restart the pumps. Obviously for the moment , but still.

The idea of giving up at least part of the city is seriously gonna come up...
posted by scheptech at 5:39 PM on August 30, 2005


This argument could be made - and has been made - for every foreign expenditure ever made. Historically, it has usually been made by Republicans, who have generally been more isolationist than Democrats. So, as an argument against the Iraq war, it doesn't work very well unless you're willing to follow it to its logical conclusion - no foreign aid, no interventions, and so on until everyone in the US lives in a state of perfection.

The issue isn't spending money at home vs. spending it overseas. It's spending money at home vs. spending it on stupid needless losing battles overseas that aren't really in our national interest (and that Americans were misled into supporting in the first place). Money for legit, and usually far less costly, overseas interventions and foreign aid is fine. And we still don't spend that much on foreign aid anyway, compared to many other industrialized democracies!
posted by raysmj at 5:41 PM on August 30, 2005


"If this thread doesn't demonstrate that Dios is a troll, I can't imagine what would."

Well, gee Armitage Shanks, what if I and 20 people here suddenly jumped on you for not reading my previous post on this point? That we were told that the war wouldn’t cost a dime, but we were lied to, and that the budgeting for Iraq was screwed up as opposed to the massive oversight the NEA, et. al. tend to get?
It tends to make you a bit defensive. A bit tempermental.

Empathy for an opponant is not an endorsement of their position.
I often disagree with dios. I don’t always answer or even read his response. Partly because I don’t care. Partly because it’s pointless in some cases, but mostly because I recognize if I am upset by something he writes I should recognize this medium has no modifiers, no inflection, no body language and not all of us write so good, so perhaps I’m misunderstanding something.
As it is I see where he’s coming from in this piece. I disagree. That’s enough. He will respond to reason or he won’t. If you want to commit the time to get him to see your own POV, then commit. Don’t let frustration overwhelm your reason. You become the very thing you despise.

That said: I welcome any comment you have to my earlier post on the matter at hand.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:42 PM on August 30, 2005


zoogleplex, even after an entire day or looking at utterly numbing devastation on a scale I've never seen before (but admittedly over the airwaves) I still don't think that New Orleans is a city which has met its demise. Places further east, yes. New Orleans, no.

Starting 24 hours ago, New Orleanians were saying "Hell yes, we'll rebuild", and while it will be a hell of a job, and while some areas may have to be left to the waves, I can't see that it won't get done.

The thing which gives the city its splendour and 'edge' is precisely that it symbolises a ballsy craziness with its physical situation. We would not be truly human if we did not seek to build on, and live in, dangerous places.

The point isn't that New Orleanians were stupid and are undeserving of aid, as I've already read elsewhere. It's that every one of us lives where we currently live by chances of time and birth, and the only thing that matters right now is that help and hardware and money money money money money flow into that region as the floodwater is pumped out. For once I don't care who's on the throne in the US. Just get it done.
posted by paperpete at 5:43 PM on August 30, 2005


scheptech: And you don't expect there would have to be just compensation given for valuable property if the government forces anyone to give up land?
posted by raysmj at 5:43 PM on August 30, 2005


Please, go buy a basic accounting book. Not paying the ENTIRE bill for Iraq would fund everyone's pet project for a long time, with plenty left over for a rainy day. There were plenty of foreign companies perfectly willing to go to Iraq to build out infrastructure, but we decided that it was ours ours ours. If the U.S. were a business, the CEO would be fired in a second.

I've always been baffled when people compare a government to a business, because it makes absolutely no sense. It's like saying "if a bicycle were a cloud."

As for the "plenty of foreign companies" you mention, I don't see how that makes a bit of difference. Those foreign companies weren't looking to donate their labor. Someone - presumably the US - would still have had to pay them. Limiting bids to US companies channels US tax dollars to said US companies, which presumably increases US tax revenues. Of course, this may well be offset by higher prices paid to those companies in the absence of competitive bids. wouldn't have the effect you imply it would. So maybe you should share that accounting book with dios.

The war in Iraq, and its related expenditures, need to be judged on their own. The fact that the money wasn't available to spend on other things because it was spent in Iraq isn't a valid criticism of it being spent in Iraq. If the Iraq war was a worthwhile endeavor, properly justified by the administration, no one would question its expense.

The issue isn't spending money at home vs. spending it overseas. It's spending money at home vs. spending it on stupid needless losing battles overseas that aren't really in our national interest (and that Americans were misled into supporting in the first place).

Then the issue isn't about spending money at all. If it cost us absolutely no money, would the war in Iraq then be justified? I don't think so. Bringing money into it muddies the issue of the wrongness of the war.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:49 PM on August 30, 2005


dios : My point is that have a finite group of resources. Zero sum game. Making the argument you are making suggests that a whole hell of a lot of discretionary spending could be blamed for being mis-spent. The problem you have is you are placing it as a dichotomy. Take the NEA, levees, ethenol subsidies, Iraq. Any dollar spent on one is an exclusion of a dollar spent elsewhere. Could we not also say that we should have funded Iraq and levees but not the NEA or ethenol?

Dios, I'd like to introduce you to Deficit Spending. Our current administration has embraced it in an unprecedented way, and it pretty much kicks a big hole in your argument. But thanks for playing.
posted by mullingitover at 5:53 PM on August 30, 2005


Dios, I'd like to introduce you to Deficit Spending. Our current administration has embraced it in an unprecedented way, and it pretty much kicks a big hole in your argument. But thanks for playing.

In that case, why argue that the Iraq war prevented spending on levees, no matter how much it cost? Obviously, the Bush administration can just print as much money as it needs, and spend it how it likes, right?
posted by me & my monkey at 5:59 PM on August 30, 2005


heheh, if people are willing to throw billions for space colonization I don't see the big deal with some costly colonization of river deltas here on Earth. Living on a floodplain is cake compared to the vacuum of space.

granted, there's a 'species survivability' argument, but I think that is way way overrated if not nonsensical.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:01 PM on August 30, 2005


Well, there's capital spending and consumption. Deficit spending for capital items like infrastructure is a good thing. Deficit spending to blow shit up and kill people, not so much, WW2 excepted.

(I consider quality education and healthcare somewhere between capital investment and consumption).
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:04 PM on August 30, 2005


me & my monkey: There was (and is) nothing else going on overseas that we would have spent all that money on! And the government is not even sufficiently funding itself right now, regardless. If the purposes were legit in the case of both the the flooding/rebuilding/flood prevention and a war, I think you could justify the raising of taxes and still win re-election (although you'd have to tighten in some other areas, certainly). Plenty of research has demonstrated that people are not necessary averse to tax increases for items such as, say, education spending that they see as worthy of support. It's a matter of desire or perceived needs, actual or latent, met by persuasion.

Money's always an issue in governing. You'd be a fool to say or think otherwise.
posted by raysmj at 6:05 PM on August 30, 2005


paperpete, as much as I admire the spirit of the people of NO in saying they'll rebuild, the fact is that this is very likely to happen again, and again, and again. The hurricane season is far from over, and we have one every year. There could easily be another Katrina next week hitting the same area.

Or not, of course. While statistically, there hasn't been enough time to solidly define trends in the hurricane patterns, the last few years have been pretty alarming in the increase in frequency and power, as well as the storm tracks.

Federal funding or no, the fact is that New Orleans, as other people in this thread have pointed out, is in a fundamentally unsound location. Rebuilding the city in the spot where it is seems illogical and most inadvisable, don't you think?

This may be an appropriate time to relocate the city to somewhere nearby, but more stable. As heartbreaking as that may be to the natives (and I very much sympathize, believe me), it certainly seems prudent to me to not live on that particular spot anymore.
posted by zoogleplex at 6:11 PM on August 30, 2005


From the AP: Some 6,000 National Guard personnel in Louisiana and Mississippi who would be available to help deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are in Iraq, highlighting the changing role of America's part-time soldiers.

At 1.2 million soldiers, the active duty military is simply too small to carry the load by itself when there is a large sustained deployment like Iraq. Nationally, 78,000 of the 437,000 members of the Guard force are serving overseas.

I guess if the National Guard wasn't in Iraq they'd just be busy protecting controversial NEA exhibits, right?
posted by Neologian at 6:20 PM on August 30, 2005


scheptech: And you don't expect there would have to be just compensation given for valuable property if the government forces anyone to give up land?

Yes.

However, there could be an interesting argument over the actual value of land which has had to be artificially protected for it to have any value at all and is currently forming part of the ocean floor.

Look, there is a horrendous ongoing disaster happening there right now and that's the important thing but someone must be working the numbers on this. It would clearly be cheaper to buy out certain parts of the city now than to engage in protecting it in perpetuity. Apparently one of the physical problems over the last few decades has been land lost to erosion that used to be situated between the ocean and the city helping to protect it.
posted by scheptech at 6:20 PM on August 30, 2005


scheptech: If someone is crunching the numbers, I doubt that person is part of the current administration--and if so, his or her work will be for naught. I'm not even remotely kidding.

You must remember, however, that the city survived for hundreds of years before this, is an important port at a strategic point, and is not a small town, etc. More importantly, you should take note of the other problems I mentioned earlier with the Mississippi, which are entirely real and quite serious. The right solution would be a multi-pronged one, and not partial or complete relocation, stronger building codes, traditional flood control and sound environmental policy or anything else alone.
posted by raysmj at 6:31 PM on August 30, 2005


Dios: Fine. Whatever. Politicize a natural disaster. Have fun with your circle jerk. I'm not wasting any more time in this thread trying to point out the obvious.

Um... you're just as guilty.
posted by moonbird at 6:39 PM on August 30, 2005


I have an idea. This weekend, when you go to your parties (as most of us do) bring a bottle of liquor and some extra beer with you. That’s your donation to this cause. At the party, sell them off to your friends at bar prices. $3-5 per drink. You can raise $18 off a $5 6-pack. A $12 liter of whiskey could net back $68. Second Harvest can bring 15 meals for $1.
posted by trinarian at 6:42 PM on August 30, 2005


So, as an argument against the Iraq war, it doesn't work very well unless you're willing to follow it to its logical conclusion - no foreign aid, no interventions, and so on until everyone in the US lives in a state of perfection.

Only if the slippery slope were not a logical falicy, which it is.
posted by delmoi at 6:46 PM on August 30, 2005


This may be an appropriate time to relocate the city to somewhere nearby, but more stable. As heartbreaking as that may be to the natives (and I very much sympathize, believe me), it certainly seems prudent to me to not live on that particular spot anymore.
They could just raise it--landfill it until it's at least 30 ft. above sea level and the lake's level, build extremely good retaining walls, and then build. They could do that "Underground" thing like Seattle? has.
posted by amberglow at 7:27 PM on August 30, 2005


Most of Florida is in a more vulnerable position than New Orleans, considering how often it's slammed by hurricanes.

I wonder if you could drain the Lake?
posted by amberglow at 7:28 PM on August 30, 2005


Only if the slippery slope were not a logical falicy, which it is.

First, my statement is not an example of a "slippery slope" argument, and second, it would not necessarily be a fallacy in any case. There's no causality in what I wrote.

People around here are quick to throw around terms of art from debate and rhetoric, but not so quick to actually understand those terms.

me & my monkey: There was (and is) nothing else going on overseas that we would have spent all that money on! And the government is not even sufficiently funding itself right now, regardless. If the purposes were legit in the case of both the the flooding/rebuilding/flood prevention and a war, I think you could justify the raising of taxes and still win re-election (although you'd have to tighten in some other areas, certainly). Plenty of research has demonstrated that people are not necessary averse to tax increases for items such as, say, education spending that they see as worthy of support. It's a matter of desire or perceived needs, actual or latent, met by persuasion.

Money's always an issue in governing. You'd be a fool to say or think otherwise.


So true, and yet so irrelevant. I didn't say that money wasn't an issue. I simply said that using the cost of the war as a justification for opposing it isn't an effective argument, unless you are against spending money on foreign aid and intervention in general. Most people here probably do not fall within that category. Most people here probably oppose the war in Iraq on other grounds, and the fact that it cost a lot of money is just another bad thing about it. They (and I) would still oppose the war even if it cost nothing.

Well, there's capital spending and consumption. Deficit spending for capital items like infrastructure is a good thing. Deficit spending to blow shit up and kill people, not so much, WW2 excepted.

Why do you except World War 2 from this? Wasn't it unfortunate that we had to expend blood and treasure on the war? If the war could have been prosecuted without spending money we didn't have, wouldn't that have been better?
posted by me & my monkey at 8:18 PM on August 30, 2005


The mayor of New Orleans was just talking about the other thing that makes the city, or at least the bulk of it, worth saving: Its immense cultural and historical importance, lest anyone forget that. And it's not just the Quarter, folks.

Meanwhile, zoogleplex: Do you still live in Los Angeles, as indicated on your user page? If so, why are you advocating the forced relocation of a city in an unstable environment? Hello? The very growth of Los Angeles was fueled by a major contributor to environmental disaster. Why not blow the city up, and divert the water back to the Owens River Valley, which apparently really needs it?
posted by raysmj at 8:23 PM on August 30, 2005


me & my monkey: Your argument re foreign aid and int'l relations was ridiculous, for reasons already indicated.
posted by raysmj at 8:24 PM on August 30, 2005


Let them eat cake?
posted by icosahedral at 8:30 PM on August 30, 2005


and of course, get rid of Vegas, and Phoenix, and all those places without water.
posted by amberglow at 8:43 PM on August 30, 2005


amberglow: "Most of Florida is in a more vulnerable position than New Orleans, considering how often it's slammed by hurricanes."

Very true, Amberglow. Perhaps buildings should be built using a wind-load standard minimum of 200 MPH instead of 150 from here on out, and greater thought given to storm surge and flood resistance, in Florida and Gulf areas that are most vulnerable to hurricanes.

Here is a design that is highly resistant to both wind and waves. Pyramid shapes are also tougher than flat-walled houses.

If people are going to stay in such places, it makes sense to engineer to handle it - just like buildings along the San Andreas fault zone are built to resist earthquake stresses - a lot more successfully, I might add, than buildings in the hurricane zone are built to take wind and storm surge, judging by the massive destruction. Of course, such engineering makes construction costs skyrocket... a lot more expensive than just knocking up some cheap stud-walled prefabs.

As far as landfilling, I don't think that would solve the problem, since the whole area is basically one big slow sinkhole. NO has been sinking for its entire existence, as the ground directly under the city proper dries out and compacts. Filling it up would merely create a new city platform that would sink the same as the original - and would not deal with the problem of the wetlands erosion or the potential shift of the Big Muddy over to the Atchafalya channel.

You'd actually have to drive concrete/steel piles down to bedrock, over the entire area of the city, to have a hope of making what's now The Bowl a strong, stable platform for a city.

on preview, raysmj: "Do you still live in Los Angeles, as indicated on your user page? If so, why are you advocating the forced relocation of a city in an unstable environment? Hello? The very growth of Los Angeles was fueled by a major contributor to environmental disaster. Why not blow the city up, and divert the water back to the Owens River Valley, which apparently really needs it?"

I do still live in LA, but I don't advocate folding it up and moving it. I understand the water problem, and I deplore it, as I do the extravagant waste of resources that is Las Vegas.

However the case of Owens Valley vs. LA is very different from New Orleans, so I think that would be comparing apples to oranges. The overall impact on people and economic concerns of the draining of Owens in favor of the growth of Los Angeles as an important economic and industrial city/seaport, as troubling as it is, may be worth the tradeoff.

It would be more to the point to remind me that LA is in the San Andreas earthquake zone, and could be hit with a massive quake at any time. However, since the 1906 San Francisco quake, California has been mostly successful in engineering buildings to handle powerful earthquakes - while there was damage in SF in 1989, most notably to the Bay Bridge and the 880 interchange, the destruction was relatively minor and the loss of life minimal (though tragic). Compared to the total destruction of the city in 1906 (mostly by the fire that followed the quake), the result of the Loma Prieta quake was a still-functioning city. Even the BART subway handled the massive quake without incident, amazing!

Similarly the Northridge quake, in excess of 7.0 and directly underneath a very densely populated area, did not flatten the entire San Fernando Valley; only a few buildings actually collapsed and most (built to code) weathered the quake with no significant structural damage.

We've learned our lesson out here, I think, and worked to deal with the potential problem. It's probably a good idea to apply the same approach to hurricane-prone areas.

Or, people can just keep gambling.

Vegas and Phoenix... well, I wouldn't want to live in either place. I think they're unsustainable, and that they won't last. LA can hang on longer than they, but may wind up the same way. Personally I think LA should be investing in water recycling and desalination to replace all the imported water.

But this is about New Orleans, which was built in a much more precarious position. Sadly, right now in NO, there is no potable drinking water available... water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. I fear a lot of people who can't get out of the city will die from lack of water over the next week.
posted by zoogleplex at 8:48 PM on August 30, 2005


me & my monkey: Your argument re foreign aid and int'l relations was ridiculous, for reasons already indicated.

Really? I doubt you even know what my argument is. I'm not trying to be insulting when I say that, but my argument is quite simple, and it's not ridiculous at all. Anywhere but here, I doubt it would be the least bit controversial. All I'm saying is that the monetary cost of the war, no matter how high, is not a sufficient argument against the war. If it were, the legitimacy or validity of the war wouldn't matter one way or another - it could be a campaign to cleanse the world of tyranny or a way to stuff the pocketbooks of industrialists, and it wouldn't make any difference.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:13 PM on August 30, 2005


All I'm saying is that the monetary cost of the war, no matter how high, is not a sufficient argument against the war.

It most certainly is. The US could go to war with China tomorrow, but it won't because the monetary cost (among other costs) is too high. Our war on the civilians in Iraq is costing us billions each week, money which we are borrowing from banks around the world. At some point, our debtors will come collecting.
posted by Rothko at 9:21 PM on August 30, 2005


zoogleplex: New Orleans has, thus far, lasted a great deal--almost 150 years- longer than Los Angeles, and at least was important to the nation for a good 200 years prior to L.A.'s growth years. And the Miss. River city's existence has, as I noted, served a strategically important purpose over time. It still is a hugely important port, practically irreplaceable over even the next 50 years. And you move further up the Miss., as indicated, and you may goof again. Then you lose part of the nation's soul simultaneously, all for naught. L.A., meanwhile, has gigantic problems of its own. And you're in a state with ongoing budget problems that could make it hard to respond to them down the line.
posted by raysmj at 9:30 PM on August 30, 2005


whatever .. money talks
times threy R a changing
http://tinyurl.com/88u57
posted by celerystick at 9:52 PM on August 30, 2005


celery, what do you want to bet that Halliburton makes money "helping" with Katrina relief too?
posted by amberglow at 9:59 PM on August 30, 2005


No place is perfect, raysmj. I don't mean to cut on NO as a city; tho I've never been there, I hear it's a wonderful place. LA has its good points too. But in the case of NO, I think the potential for imminent near-total destruction is much higher than most places - and has unfortunately actually come to pass. I'm pretty sure there's land not very far from where the city sits now that would be suitable. I think the FPP article mentions keeping the current port and business facilities in place, and protecting that smaller area more effectively, while moving the residential areas to high ground. Probably worth investigating.

It just doesn't seem to me that where the city is now is viable in the long term - allowing for similar potential here in my home town.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:04 PM on August 30, 2005


America's Venice.
posted by peacay at 10:07 PM on August 30, 2005


I should add that I'm seeing reports that power may be completely out in the city proper for a month or maybe two months. That is not a livable situation in just about any major city, especially with the contamination of the water supply. The place is going to be almost totally desolate during that time, nobody will be able to live there. What a horrible result... doesn't bode well at all.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:08 PM on August 30, 2005


"Hey Dios, maybe you should read the damn article before you pimp for Bush"

If dios ever read an article before spouting off his head would explode.

Anyway. This might make me even less popular around here, but I don't think rebuilding New Orleans to anything like its former self is a good idea. Rebuild on higher ground somewhere close by instead, and keep New Orleans' remnants as a big theme park, like the Ruins of Pompeii -- with the French Quarter more like Colonial Williamsburg.

And the same with all the other flooded and uninhabitable Gulf Coast towns and cities. Of course the same would go for L.A. after a big quake, etc. Flickering embers of my middle-school reverence for Nietzsche aside, sometimes living dangerously is stupid.

Regarding amberglow's position on the war in Iraq vs. using those resources here, I'm solidly with him. Any small differences I might have with him over a detail here and there are nothing compared to all the times I've read his comments in these threads and thought "right ON".
posted by davy at 10:12 PM on August 30, 2005


Davy, we do need to have port facilities on the coast in that area, so something needs to stay there. The oil infrastructure is still vitally necessary, and it takes a lot of people to run all that infrastructure. I'm sure a very large percentage of the people displaced by the disaster work in the oil business or in direct support of it, and a major part of the rest of the people both indirectly support and are dependent on that business.

On top of all the other woes, that's going to make the recovery of the oil facilities even that much more difficult and expensive. We could really use the money we're blowing on the war to help there... who knows where the recovery funds will come from now?

(aside: I don't think LA would see anywhere near the sort of destruction that the gulf coast has, even in the maximum-possible quake along the entire nearby San Andreas. We're built to the same standards as SF. It would suck, but the city wouldn't become instantly unlivable for a month or two.)
posted by zoogleplex at 10:28 PM on August 30, 2005


Let them eat cake?

Naw, that's where Bush improves on the tyrants of old - with him it's "Let Me Eat Cake."
posted by soyjoy at 10:29 PM on August 30, 2005


"...and they can go jump in the lake."
posted by soyjoy at 10:29 PM on August 30, 2005


The fact that people blame Bush for a god-damned hurricane is hilarous.

D'oh! I stubeed my toe! That fucking Bush and his ranch and his Iraq war! AAAAARRRRK!

Get a life.
posted by b_thinky at 10:45 PM on August 30, 2005


So true, and yet so irrelevant. I didn't say that money wasn't an issue. I simply said that using the cost of the war as a justification for opposing it isn't an effective argument, unless you are against spending money on foreign aid and intervention in general.

Okay, maybe not a slippery slope exactly, but something similar. Like a slippery slope, where every step is equal in weight, you equate every war, foreign intervention, etc the same weight, regardless of cost. That's idiotic. Compare the cost/return between the Iraq war, and desert storm in the early 90s. It cost us almost nothing and left Saddam impotent and the region stable. Desert storm has paid for itself in terms of stabilized access to Kuwaiti oil, which we need.

Moral or not, it was not a huge waste of money. Its entirely possible to say that some things are good, and some things are bad. I can't understand why anyone would claim otherwise.

Very true, Amberglow. Perhaps buildings should be built using a wind-load standard minimum of 200 MPH instead of 150 from here on out, and greater thought given to storm surge and flood resistance, in Florida and Gulf areas that are most vulnerable to hurricanes.

If you've ever been to Galveston Texas, a lot of the houses are actually up on stilts. I think it's more of a cultural/architectural motif now. That said, I think 'conventional' houses can be made to withstand 200 mph winds, you just need a stronger frame.

Anyway. This might make me even less popular around here, but I don't think rebuilding New Orleans to anything like its former self is a good idea. Rebuild on higher ground somewhere close by instead, and keep New Orleans' remnants as a big theme park, like the Ruins of Pompeii -- with the French Quarter more like Colonial Williamsburg.

Well, if I were in charge, I'd build a series of locks over parts of the city near the lake. Maybe two "steps" with Levees between them, so that if the lake over flows, the water has somewhere to go, and you've got 1 or 2 backup levees. I wouldn't try to recover everything. But they current mayor expects everything back to working order in just 6 to 8 weeks. 4 weeks to get rid of the water. We'll see.

This is right up there with the Chicago fire and the SF earthquake, IMO. It's a real shame that something like this could happen in America in the 21st century.
posted by delmoi at 11:08 PM on August 30, 2005


What about halting population growth?

Or at least looking at it seriously?


[crickets chirping]
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:14 PM on August 30, 2005


"Port facilities" and "the oil infrastructure" don't require having a built-up city all around it housing millions of people. Build a city for people to live in on higher drier ground, and let them commute to work in the Port, Oil Facility and Theme Park of New Orleans. (Even Nietzsche didn't say "build your cities in the crater of Vesuvius".)

And delmoi, rebuilding nearby is easier and simpler. Especially since they'll have so much recyclable scrap. Why go to all the trouble of re-engineering the bowl when you can sit on the seat? (So to speak.)

And I'm all for halting, or at least slowing, population growth. Maybe we'll discuss that in another thread.
posted by davy at 11:19 PM on August 30, 2005


I agree, davy. That should be the basic plan.

As far as population growth... that ain't gonna be addressed here in 51% Evangelist Land anytime soon, because apparently God wants us hip-deep in people, just like India. 'Cause that's really healthy and all.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:22 PM on August 30, 2005


Oh and make sure the commuting is via a really nice rail system that's got some fancy hi-tech water-proofing - like watertight doors at regular intervals thru any tunnels and above-ground tracks elevated well above any possible storm surge and wave action. Save a lot of gas and energy that way.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:36 PM on August 30, 2005


As far as population growth... that ain't gonna be addressed here in 51% Evangelist Land anytime soon, because apparently God wants us hip-deep in people, just like India.

Good point.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:08 AM on August 31, 2005


I'm a real environmentalist.

New Orleans should be abandoned and all the levees and reinforced river banks surrounding it destroyed.

Floods are natural. They should be allowed to do their work to replenish the sinking land. Without floods to bring in sediment, the land just sinks without being replenished.

All of the people can be relocated to other places nearby. While the relocation would be disruptive, the environmental impact of letting floods occur naturally would offset the inconvenience.

(All of this is easy for me to say, since I am not a property owner in New Orleans...)
posted by bugmuncher at 12:08 AM on August 31, 2005


As this situation continues to deteriorate, I think Bush will take a huge PR dive. The Bush reckoning may not be for the lies and deceptions around Iraq, they may instead be for the price of gas or the aftermath of Katrina. Ironically, he may be held to greater account for things he couldn't control than those he could.

With the backdrop of a natural disaster the likes of which this country has never seen and millions of people at risk in an area that is responsible for 10% of our energy production and a huge percent of our commerce, Bush fiddled while New Orleans and Mississippi drowned. Didn't the My Pet Goat incident teach him anything?

How could the brilliant Karl Rove - who understands the role of symbolism better than most - have failed to grasp this? As the national leader and head of state, Bush might have provided the visible leadership - both symbolic and real - to deal with this enormous crisis. He should have flown back to Washington, cancelled events, realigned resources, established high-level think tanks and task forces, and issued hourly bulletins. It can be argued whether he or his administration are indeed doing any of these things, but it cannot be argued that he is giving the appearance of doing these things. I think this will prove a mistake. For many, appearance is all too often reality. He, of all people, should know this.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:58 AM on August 31, 2005


In regards to rebuilding New Orleans, what insurance company will ever insure anything there again? Not gonna happen, folks. After the hit they are gonna take from this, not a snowball's chance in Hades.

I'll mourn the fact that I never got to experience Mardi Gras there, or tip one on Bourbon Street, but the realist in me says the city is dead. All that's left is the burial.

Unless, of course, there's money in it for Halliburton.
posted by pjern at 6:39 AM on August 31, 2005


I'm not wasting any more time in this thread trying to point out the obvious.

So cute. MetaFilter's Snagglepus. Exit! Stage Right...
posted by juiceCake at 6:42 AM on August 31, 2005







posted by matteo at 6:45 AM on August 31, 2005


He should have flown back to Washington, cancelled events, realigned resources, established high-level think tanks and task forces, and issued hourly bulletins.

the problem with New Orleans, it's not that there were any endangered women in persistent vegetative state to parade for the "liberal media" cameras, see
posted by matteo at 6:48 AM on August 31, 2005


I think the real environmental message here should be don't mess with wetlands. Per the article, "Since the 1930s, coastal Louisiana alone has lost 1,900 square miles of wetlands, an area larger than the state of Rhode Island, according to the U.S. Geological Survey."
posted by hyperizer at 8:16 AM on August 31, 2005


Isn't Bush just mocking the world, as usual?
posted by fondle at 8:23 AM on August 31, 2005


In regards to rebuilding New Orleans, what insurance company will ever insure anything there again?
Regarding flood insurance, you can't have it in Texas. Houston has had lots of flooding over the last 3 years. So why would that stop folks from rebuilding? Sure there will be many who leave, which will open the door for many to come live there. Especially the land that is near the coast.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:44 AM on August 31, 2005


People will rebuild without insurance--all our coasts are booming, and many millions dream of living on them, hurricanes or not.

I'm thinking they're just going to wall it in on the Lakeside, and probably create a buffer ring/moat of very deep concrete canals and stuff.
posted by amberglow at 8:51 AM on August 31, 2005


Well, the guitar thing is a bit funny, but so far every news source I've seen on the Coronado visit says that he cut the event short to return to Washington earlier than planned.

Quite honestly, I find this to be extremely frustrating. The AP also just ran a story on yet another year of stagnating incomes and rising poverty. And we are bitching about a gift he received at a VJ-day event?

The obsession over trivialities like guitars and "nucular" really bugs me.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:52 AM on August 31, 2005


I don't get why so many of the bridges weren't solidly bolted together. On the news they said they used gravity to keep sections in place on the twin span and for that Biloxi bridge--that's just dumb.
posted by amberglow at 8:53 AM on August 31, 2005


From New Orleans City Business [June 6, 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....

The House of Representatives wants to cut the New Orleans district budget 21 percent to $272.4 million in 2006, down from $343.5 million in 2005. The House figure is about $20 million lower than the president's suggested $290.7 million budget."
posted by ericb at 9:22 AM on August 31, 2005


Politicize a natural disaster tragedy while people drown, why don't you? ass.

Why do you care?

Really. Why?

Is it because some force one has little/no control over intersects that human life and said force snuffs out the life of the person who had little control?

Or do you have a different reason for your comment?

Here's something from elsewhere on the web, because, well I don't want to take the time to re-digest and put in my own words.

Should we even try to rebuild new Orleans - or should the city and people be moved elsewhere? Here's a note from a Hawaiian reader which is typical:

"It makes no economic sense. There are, of course, the emotional cries to restore the old city. But emotional ties are all that is left of the place. It is now part of the lake bottom of Lake Ponchartrain. The old city continues to sink, as it has for years. It made sense years ago to erect the dikes to save the old city, back when there was something left to save. Not anymore.

Suppose for a moment that the necessary billions of dollars were spent to seal the levees, and restart the pumps. What would be gained by pumping out a section of lake bottom? The old city is gone, drowned, waterlogged. There is nothing to recover. It would have to be entirely rebuilt anew. It would no longer be the 'old city'. It would be a 'new city'... built on a sinking lakebottom of shifting sands. And how long would it last in this incarnation before it again sinks beneath the waters. If one is going to build a new city, surely there are better places on higher ground to do so.

The old city of New Orleans is gone, sunken with Atlantis and the Titanic. Accept it. Move on."
posted by rough ashlar at 9:35 AM on August 31, 2005


If the U.S. were a business, the CEO would be fired in a second.

Or the way the bookkeeping is done. *insert grumbling about missing Trillion in stuff at the DOD. Insert other grumbling*

Wasn't part of the pitch of the 2000 campaign that "As an MBA, Bush will run the country better"? There has to be a collection of the MBA quotes from Mr. Bush?

I like quotes like this:

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is." --Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)
posted by rough ashlar at 9:41 AM on August 31, 2005


The old city of New Orleans is gone, sunken with Atlantis and the Titanic. Accept it. Move on.

It takes a really smug asshole to make a statement like that at this stage.
posted by raysmj at 9:52 AM on August 31, 2005


In regards to rebuilding New Orleans, what insurance company will ever insure anything there again?

ah, Solopsist, the insurance company that covers them is You and I through the...drumroll.......National Flood Insurance Program. No normal insurance policy covers flooding, and although a Hurricane occured, the damage is being done by plain old flooding.
posted by Megafly at 10:05 AM on August 31, 2005


It takes a really smug asshole to make a statement like that at this stage.

I happen to feel much the same way, and I'm not feeling all that smug, having had a ringside seat for Hugo. At least Charleston wasn't below sea level to start with. I grieve for these people's losses, but just the same, why deliberately set up for another round of grief?
posted by alumshubby at 10:08 AM on August 31, 2005


A political hurricane is gathering force
"For years the Pentagon’s standing readiness plans required the country to be able to fight two major wars simultaneously. But no one anticipated what we face now: a war in Mesopotamia and another along the Mississippi.

We have journalist Malcolm Gladwell to thank for the idea that every social phenomenon has a dramatic 'tipping point.' It doesn’t always work that way. And yet Hurricane Katrina is just such a moment. We are a big, strong country — and New Orleans will, somehow, survive — but you do get the sense, as President Bush finally arrived here after a month-long vacation, that a political hurricane is gathering force, and it’s going to hit the capital any day." [Howard Fineman | MSNBC | Aug. 31, 2005]

posted by ericb at 10:15 AM on August 31, 2005


I'm not wasting any more time in this thread trying to point out the obvious.

Agreed. We all already know you're an asshole.

Suppose for a moment that the necessary billions of dollars were spent to seal the levees, and restart the pumps. What would be gained by pumping out a section of lake bottom?

Because it's a section of a lakebottom contaminated with debris, loosened and leaked chemicals, and rotting corpses. Even if New Orleans was left to rot and the levees never fixed as per this guy's suggestion, you're still dealing with what is essentially a miles-wide pool of toxic waste. This is as much an ecological disaster as a humanitarian one.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:00 AM on August 31, 2005


While I agree that Iraq is diverting resources from home when we need it the most, I'd like to hear more people talking about climate change, and how Bush doesn't give a shit about it. I mean, do we all think that this hurricane would have occurred if not for the damage done by global warming?
posted by jimmy76 at 11:14 AM on August 31, 2005


The Day Arizona Was in the Eye of Hurricane George
"I'm guessing that Monday, Aug. 29, 2005, will not be remembered as the day President George W. Bush stopped by a retirement community in El Mirage to discuss prescription drug benefits for seniors.

As nice as it was to have the president visit the state we live in, I believe it would have been OK with us if Mr. Bush had canceled or at least postponed his plans in order to monitor the progress of Hurricane Katrina and to review federal relief plans.

As it is, however, the president decided to visit El Mirage. Life goes on. He spoke briefly about the hurricane, promising disaster relief. Then, after urging Americans to pray for those most affected by the storm, Bush said, 'I also want to talk about immigration.' I've got a feeling that historians looking back on this day will not describe that transition as a particularly shining presidential moment.

As important as the topic of immigration is to people living in Arizona, and as self-centered as we all can be, I figure that most of us would not have minded if the president hadn't discussed our troublesome border at the same time that huge storm was pounding cities on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi.

....[Bush] could have skipped Arizona for Washington, D.C. He could have said that war, immigration, Social Security, Medicare and the rest are important, but for this day let's put them aside, along with the rest of our personal and political special interests, and concentrate on the folks in the path of the storm." [The Arizona Republic | August 30, 2005]
posted by ericb at 11:27 AM on August 31, 2005




I happen to feel much the same way, and I'm not feeling all that smug, having had a ringside seat for Hugo. At least Charleston wasn't below sea level to start with.

But Charleston is not just suceptible to hurricanes--it also sit in the middle of an active seismic zone. It was rebuilt and refurbished after a earthquake once--I could see it happening again. What can make a person smug is being unaware of the history of one's own city.
posted by raysmj at 11:35 AM on August 31, 2005


I mean, do we all think that this hurricane would have occurred if not for the damage done by global warming?

Hurricanes happen every year. They've since happened before we started keeping track. This one, out of many, just happened to hit a very wrong place. It was bound to happen eventually. If you can find some kind of proof that the track this particular one took has something to do with global warming, then please present it.

(Hell, there very well may be such proof. But if you're going to make such a claim I think the onus is on you to provide it rather that just making speculations, let alone ones that put the blame on the current president. But I really doubt the Kyoto Treaty, while a very good idea, is going to affect the path of a freaking hurricane.)

Agreed. We all already know you're an asshole.

I had a bad Mefi moment the other day. I hope you're having one now. Because you normally come off sooo better than this. Yes, react to his smug sign-off and not his arguments. By all means.
posted by Cyrano at 11:39 AM on August 31, 2005


As Katrina Struck, Bush Vacationed
"In 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked a major hurricane strike on New Orleans as 'among the three likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country,' directly behind a terrorist strike on New York City.

[Monday], disaster struck. And even as one of the strongest storms in recorded history rocked the Gulf Coast, President Bush decided to continue his vacation, visiting the Pueblo El Mirage RV and Golf Resort in El Mirage, Ariz., to hawk his Medicare drug benefit plan."
posted by ericb at 11:48 AM on August 31, 2005


I think the biggest disaster of the Bush presidency is illustrated by the deep cynicism that has been ingrained into the public psyche that will lessen efforts to provide relief to the people like the hurricane victims. After so many disasters in the world, including some we brought on ourselves, how much more can we be expected to give? All of this while the Bush administration attempts to transform America into a country where self-reliance is the cornerstone and altruism is reviled.
posted by jimmy76 at 11:55 AM on August 31, 2005


I don't think it would be possible to prove a link between global warming and a particular hurricane, but there is probably something to be said about a trend towards more destructive hurricanes. This study appears to make that case.

If this science is valid, Bush absolutely should be held accountable for his blatant disregard for issues around climate change. This is current science, available to Bush during his entire reign, er, presidency, and he's done everything possible to avoid addressing it. That is public knowledge, in fact, he's notorious for being anti-environment.
posted by jimmy76 at 12:07 PM on August 31, 2005


Obviously, the Bush administration can just print as much money as it needs

The Federal Reserve Board, an independent agency, decides how much money will be printed.

More to the point - the Bush administration is cutting back on non-Defense, non-Homeland Security funding because there is a stated goal of cutting the deficit in half by 2009. So if the Iraqi war continues to cost $50 to $100 billion per year, then the Bush administration is going to cut back in other areas - like flood control - to try to meet that target.

Is that goal realistic? Well, the Bush administration is known as a place where a man's word is his bond, and a promise - to be a uniter, not a divider, for example - can be taken to the bank.
posted by WestCoaster at 12:22 PM on August 31, 2005


We all already know you're an asshole.

There's a lot of assholes in this thread.
posted by Stauf at 12:26 PM on August 31, 2005


"[International] sympathy was muted in some corners by a sense that the United States reaped what it sowed, since the country is seen as the main contributor to global warming.

Joern Ehlers, a spokesman for World Wildlife Fund Germany, said global warming had increased the intensity of hurricanes.

'The Americans have a big impact on the greenhouse effect,' Ehlers said." [The Associated Press | August 31, 2005]
posted by ericb at 12:30 PM on August 31, 2005


Bush and Katrina: A Time for Action, Not Aloofness
"As the extent of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation became clearer on Tuesday — millions without power, tens of thousands homeless, a death toll unknowable because rescue crews can’t reach some regions — President Bush carried on with his plans to speak in San Diego, as if nothing important had happened the day before.

Katrina already is measured as one of the worst storms in American history. And yet, President Bush decided that his plans to commemorate the 60th anniversary of VJ Day with a speech were more pressing than responding to the carnage.

A better leader would have flown straight to the disaster zone and announced the immediate mobilization of every available resource to rescue the stranded, find and bury the dead, and keep the survivors fed, clothed, sheltered and free of disease.

The cool, confident, intuitive leadership Bush exhibited in his first term, particularly in the months immediately following Sept. 11, 2001, has vanished. In its place is a diffident detachment unsuitable for the leader of a nation facing war, natural disaster and economic uncertainty."

[New Hampshire Union Leader | August 31, 2005]
A-yup, that from one of New Hampshire's most conservative, Republican newspapers.
posted by ericb at 12:45 PM on August 31, 2005


In its place is a diffident detachment

People used to run for office in order to do something. Now they run for office for it's own sake, as if it were an accomplishment in itself.

As far as Mr. Bush is concerned he's already done his life's work by getting elected, then re-elected. It's up to other folks to actually run things of course. Witness the oft-repeated statement - 'the president cut short his vacation...' He seems to have been constantly cutting short a multiplicity of vacations to go do something demanding his attention. Isn't it painfully obvious someone in management developed this as a risk containment strategy at the beginning: "Ok now George, one of the things we're going to do is have you out of here and on vacation as much as possible, sound good to you?"

For him and his legacy, all that can happen now is something negative. The upside has already been accomplished. He doesn't really want anything significant to happen, particularly good (because he'd have to take a risk by initiating something) or bad (because he'd have to manage it), between now and when he boards the helicopter for that last ride out of town.

So yes, he's detached.
posted by scheptech at 1:16 PM on August 31, 2005


thomcatspike, yes Houston sometimes get flooded, but for some reason we don't see disasters there like what just happened in New Orleans; it's the difference between "Damn, my new shoes got ruined" and "holy fuck my house is now at the bottom of a lake". I'm not up on "Earth Sciences", but it must be because Houston has natural advantages that New Orleans does not have.
posted by davy at 1:21 PM on August 31, 2005


davy: To be completely fair, you'd have to note that New Orleans has never seen a disaster like this either.
posted by raysmj at 1:42 PM on August 31, 2005


He seems to have been constantly cutting short a multiplicity of vacations to go do something demanding his attention.

Actually, this is only the second time, the first being to sign the Terri Schiavo legislation.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:19 PM on August 31, 2005


I'm not up on "Earth Sciences", but it must be because Houston has natural advantages that New Orleans does not have.

Being 15 feet below the local water table for a start.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:53 PM on August 31, 2005


But raysmj, there's an obvious way to make sure New Orleans never sees a disaster like this again: it's called "higher ground".

And it appears that I'd neglected to do the reading: it looks like Houston has no business being where it is either. To build a city on a floodway known for yearly hurricanes is just plain stupid. How many disasters like this have to happen before people wise up?

If they do insist on rebuilding New Orleans, Gulfport, Biloxi, or any of those drowned places back its former "glory", anybody who stays there is to be pitied, and anyone who moves there after this is obviously an idiot.

And yes, I know, I'm being horribly insensitive to all those people who see videos of flooded cities with bloated corpses floating down turd-filled streams streets and go "Wow, I can't wait to move my family down there!", so why doesn't somebody go ahead and start a Metatalk thread about what a mean old "troll" I am already. After reading about the horrors going on down there I could use a good chortle, especially since I know I'd get to rag most of my "critics" for their lack of comprehension of what I actually wrote here. Nothing cheers me up like laughing at safe, dry, comfortable, able-bodied, middle-class, "well-educated" nitwits. (Especially those who volunteer to be sported upon: "Of course he's talking about ME! I'm the biggest nitwit around here!")
posted by davy at 9:07 PM on August 31, 2005


er...'back TO its former glory'. But anyway.
posted by davy at 9:08 PM on August 31, 2005


davy: So there's an easy answer to this situation. Good to know.
posted by raysmj at 10:09 PM on August 31, 2005


Bite me, raysmj: I didn't say "easy", I said "obvious". Did you catch my prediction about my "critics'" reading comprehension?
posted by davy at 10:24 PM on August 31, 2005


Sheesh.
posted by raysmj at 11:10 PM on August 31, 2005


I'm about to try to get some sleep now, but I just saw something I wanted to pass on somehow in case it's news to anybody but me: they've started a total evacuation of New Orleans.
posted by davy at 11:38 PM on August 31, 2005


There's a lot of assholes in this thread.

George Bush, once again, being the prime example. He wins hands down.
posted by wsg at 1:08 AM on September 1, 2005


I don't get why so many of the bridges weren't solidly bolted together. On the news they said they used gravity to keep sections in place on the twin span and for that Biloxi bridge--that's just dumb.

Would you mind providing me with the following bits of info?
- cost of building a bridge the way they did.
- cost of building a bridge some other, better way.
- per-year cost of maintaining each bridge
- estimated lifetime of each bridge
- estimated risk of failure due to catastrophic events over that period of time

Thanks. I'm sure you're right, but I'm not an engineer, so it's not obvious to me why their decision was stupid. Thanks in advance for clearing it up!
posted by mosch at 4:10 AM on September 1, 2005


If they do insist on rebuilding New Orleans, Gulfport, Biloxi, or any of those drowned places back its former "glory", anybody who stays there is to be pitied, and anyone who moves there after this is obviously an idiot.

After terrorists attacked the World Trade Center with a truck bomb, anyone who continued to work there was obviously an idiot.....just say'n.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:40 AM on September 1, 2005


mosch, whatever the added cost, when you're a city with water all around you, you should build sturdy bridges, not concrete planks laid on top of pilings and not secured. I've never heard of building bridges that are used by so many people to get in and out of cities that way. (and you can make them toll bridges to pay for them, like ours are)

I wonder how Florida's are built?

Regarding cities--the vast majority of them are not in ideal spots, and most are on the water, which was vital to trade and transportation. New Orleans is there because the Mississippi meets the Gulf--an ideal spot, many would have said in the past.
posted by amberglow at 8:26 AM on September 1, 2005


rough_ashlar, one big difference between the World Trade Center and the Gulf Coast is that there was no long history of people bombing the World Trade Center two or three times every year; whereas (to spell it out for you) every single summer there are hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, you can count on at least one of them hitting and flooding the land someplace, and it should take a very modest IQ to figure out from these repeated examples that low ground gets flooded worse than high ground. Hence your analogy, unlike New Orleans, does not hold water.

amberglow, there's no real need to have a big city right around the port. Ancient Athens was not right up on its port Pireus (also spelled Piraeus) and Rome was not right up against its port Ostia. Wikipedia's just the first resource that occurs to me; searching the web a bit will show more than I have time to go into now. The people who work in the port can live where it's safer. There's no real need for cities to be built in spots that get flooded like that.
posted by davy at 9:35 AM on September 1, 2005


But cities become cities gradually and start as trading posts and settlements in advantageous positions. It's an organic process, and usually it's driven by commerce (mostly) or defense. Just like there are entire cities that grew up around castles in Europe, we have cities that grew up around rivers and ports and lakes. People have always needed to be where the jobs and opportunities are too.
posted by amberglow at 9:50 AM on September 1, 2005


There's no real need for cities to be built in spots that get flooded like that.

But it happens nonetheless. In the Netherlands and Bangladesh for instance. The levees in New Orleans simply weren't strong enough.
How about some Deltaworks in NO?
posted by ginz at 10:29 AM on September 1, 2005


ginz, they totally need to call in the Dutch to help rebuild, but Bush is such an ass he probably will just have Halliburton do it.
posted by amberglow at 10:31 AM on September 1, 2005


and why haven't they called Congress back in session to fund this? to help?
posted by amberglow at 10:49 AM on September 1, 2005






From Gawker:
"According to Drudge, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has recently enjoyed a little Broadway entertainment. And Page Six reports that she’s also working on her backhand with Monica Seles. So the Gulf Coast has gone all Mad Max, women are being raped in the Superdome, and Rice is enjoying a brief vacation in New York. We wish we were surprised.

What does surprise us: Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, 'How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!' Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman.

Angry Lady, whoever you are, we love you. You are a true American, and we’ll go shoe shopping with you anytime."
Looks like Condi has her priorities straight. Jebus - how about heading back to Washington DC to manage foreign offers of aid?
posted by ericb at 11:55 AM on September 1, 2005


Oops, amberglow...I was composing my post as you obviously posted it.
posted by ericb at 11:56 AM on September 1, 2005


Looks like the Condi Affair is now a FPP.
posted by ericb at 12:01 PM on September 1, 2005


'And Now We Are in Hell'
"'This is mass chaos,' said Sgt. Jason Defess, 27, a National Guard military policeman who had been stationed on a ramp outside the Superdome since Monday. 'To tell you the truth, I'd rather be in Iraq,' where he was deployed for 14 months until January.

'You got your constant danger, but I had something to protect myself,' he said. 'Three meals a day. Communications. A plan. Here, they had no plan.'"
posted by ericb at 12:03 PM on September 1, 2005


...Louisiana, especially South Louisiana, is a living archive of American social and cultural history, and not just in its buildings. In no other state is the proportion of people born and raised within its borders so high. As a consequence, they are something that is ever more rare in a homogenized and suburbanized America: the living bearers and transmitters of their own history and culture. Katrina, and those fateful levee breaks in New Orleans, put this all at risk. ...--from a NYT story on the architecture there
posted by amberglow at 12:30 PM on September 1, 2005


And why is it that they helped immediately after Hurricane Charley and were asleep now?
--...
The federal response was noticeably different this week. Even before Hurricane Charley struck, the second Bush White House was poised to act, this time backed by another Bush in the Florida governor's mansion. Hours after Hurricane Charley made landfall, federal aid was flowing, and the president arrives this morning. ...

posted by amberglow at 12:37 PM on September 1, 2005


oop--link--Boston Globe in 04
posted by amberglow at 1:07 PM on September 1, 2005


Jack Cafferty on CNN's Situation Room just blew a gasket (as have I) about the horrendous incompetence of the federal government to respond to this tragedy. He asked viewers to send e-mail messages addressing the question: "How would you rate the response of the federal government to Hurricane Katrina?" CNN received over 3,500 responses in under a half-hour with the majority highly-critical of the administration's preparation for and subsequent response to the situation on the Gulf Coast.
posted by ericb at 1:13 PM on September 1, 2005


And he also just brought up race and class--that almost everyone suffering is black and poor. It's about time.

"Where in the hell is the cavalry on this one?"
posted by amberglow at 1:33 PM on September 1, 2005


Everyone, please contact your Senators and Reps now. Plead with them to get help to those people.
posted by amberglow at 1:44 PM on September 1, 2005


Homeland Insecurity
"The Federal Emergency Management Agency shook up its way of distributing disaster preparedness money when it introduced its Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) grant program in 2002. Given the program's criteria, Louisiana appeared to have been a shoo-in for federal dollars for 2003, the first year the program began awarding money. Instead, Louisiana got nothing." [Best of New Orleans | September 28, 2004]
posted by ericb at 3:07 PM on September 1, 2005


It all comes back to leadership - Wesley Clark on President Bush's lack of leadership during this crisis.
posted by ericb at 3:09 PM on September 1, 2005


“I don’t think anybody anticipated the breech of the levees.” - President Bush.

He has said that he doesn't read newspapers.

If only he had been reading them during his time as President, maybe he'd have learned something:
New Orleans CityBusiness, 6/6/05:
New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers faces $71.2M in federal cuts
Times-Picayune, 5/28/05:
As federal aid wanes, local leaders are trying to find ways — including movable barriers to ward off storm surge — to protect the metro area from the fiercest hurricanes
Times-Picayune, 12/3/04:
Levees don’t measure up, corps warns; Many not as high as previously thought
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/17/04:
New Orleans In Danger of Drowning; Hurricane Ivan Passed It By, But a Direct Hit By Another Storm Would Swamp Its Levees and Leave Thousands Dead
Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/8/04:
New Orleans’ growing danger; Wetlands loss leaves city a hurricane hit away from disaster
Times-Picayune, 10/6/04:
Taxes will rise to pay for levee work; Feds no longer paying for it
Houston Chronicle, 9/15/04:
Hurricane Ivan; Direct Hit Could Spell Doom for New Orleans; Residents Fleeing Deluge That Could Sink Low-Lying City
Times-Picayune, 6/11/04:
Flood-project firm left high, dry; Federal dollars are tapped out
Times-Picayune, 6/8/04:
Shifting federal budget erodes protection from levees; Because of cuts, hurricane risk grows
Times-Picayune, 4/13/04:
Levee money falling short; Corps says millions needed to close gaps
New York Times, 7/4/03:
New Orleans’s Hurricane Problem
Lafayette Daily Advertiser, 10/14/02:
Hurricane levees talked about for decades
Times-Picayune, 10/10/02:
La. needs new plan to survive big storms; Put politics aside, Army Corps warns
CBS Evening News, 10/2/02:
Damage that a major hurricane could do to New Orleans
AP, 8/5/02:
Louisiana sinking: One state’s environmental nightmare could become common problem
Times-Picayune, 6/27/02:
Cost of survival; New Orleans and south Louisiana will always be vulnerable to a catastrophic hurricane, yet there are ways to make the area safer. But implementing the proposals may be prohibitively expensive.
Times-Picayune, 5/31/01:
A study shows that coastal Louisiana is sinking more than thought, and that could spell trouble as hurricane season rolls in
[source]
posted by ericb at 3:20 PM on September 1, 2005


Mr. President, Resign.--...In Iraq, Mr. Bush, you followed a policy of not correcting your mistakes, because doing so would admit you made a mistake in the first place. Please, for the love of God, don't do that in NO.

Yes, you need to act. Then you need to resign.

As your approval rating dips into the low 20s - as I feel relatively certain it will in the next few months - you need to consider the real possibility that you are not suited to your job. Every crisis overwhelms you. And rather than admit your inadequacy you try ineptly to cover your mistakes and pretend they haven't occurred.

You are, in effect, the ultimate incompetent boss everybody runs into in one job or another.

You can call it a retirement, if you like. You can make up a phoney health excuse. You can say you want to spend more time with your family.

Just go. ...

posted by amberglow at 4:10 PM on September 1, 2005


I dunno if there's anyone else reading this now besides you two, amberglow and ericb, and as always, great tag-team job... but you know what I would love to see?

A dual timeline: Starting Saturday or Sunday when it became obvious NOLA was going to get some kind of hit from this storm. One one side of the timeline, the conditions in NOLA. On the other side, George Bush's activities. Carrying it through Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, right up to the moment he finally stepped foot back in the White House. I think someone will do this eventually as everybody starts piecing together the story of what happened when, but I want to move it along. Americablog has posted dual pics, you know, of GWB with the guitar vs. people wading the streets, but I think it would be even more powerful to see what exactly was going on in NOLA at the moment GWB was being handed a guitar, at the moment he was licking cake off his fingers.

The only possible silver lining for this extreme humanitarian tragedy would be to prevent future ones by drumming this asshole and his cronies out of Washington sooner rather than later.
posted by soyjoy at 6:18 PM on September 1, 2005


Friday night i think, soyjoy: Forecasters: Katrina to aim for Mississippi, Louisiana
Deadly hurricane could hit again Monday as a Category 4 (CNN)
--... In anticipation of a possible landfall, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco declared states of emergency Friday.

Blanco said "very well-coordinated evacuations" were planned that will be enacted "if there's a direct threat."

New Orleans is of particular concern because much of that city lies below sea level.

"It's always a huge concern, because there's a very large lake, Lake Pontchartrain, that sits next to New Orleans, and if the hurricane winds blow from a certain direction there are dire predictions of what may happen in that city," Blanco said.

Robert Latham, director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said evacuations of tourists along the coast could begin late Saturday afternoon, followed by mandatory evacuations of coastal residents on Sunday. The National Guard had been activated to help with storm preparations, he said. ...

posted by amberglow at 7:54 PM on September 1, 2005


eb, I salute you. And not just because I need more publicity.
posted by davy at 8:09 PM on September 1, 2005




Wow, Friday night? Yeesh. I don't remember hearing Cat 4 talk for NOLA till Sunday, but I wasn't paying much attention. This just renders all the more ludicrous the talking points of "nobody expected this," and "we only had a few hours' warning." I mean, after all, Even Mr. Bill knew exactly what would happen if NOLA got anything like a direct hit.
posted by soyjoy at 8:51 PM on September 1, 2005




"At a fundamental level, I'd argue, our current leaders just aren't serious about some of the essential functions of government. They like waging war, but they don't like providing security, rescuing those in need or spending on preventive measures. And they never, ever ask for shared sacrifice.

Yesterday Mr. Bush made an utterly fantastic claim: that nobody expected the breach of the levees. In fact, there had been repeated warnings about exactly that risk.

So America, once famous for its can-do attitude, now has a can't-do government that makes excuses instead of doing its job. And while it makes those excuses, Americans are dying." [New York Times | September 2, 2005]
posted by ericb at 11:36 PM on September 1, 2005




Time to Crack Heads
"Troops are finally moving into New Orleans in realistic numbers, and it's past time. What took the government so long? The thin veneer separating civilization and chaos, which we earlier worried might collapse in the absence of swift action, has collapsed.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has suspended his police department's search-and-rescue operations to struggle with looters. Health-care centers remain under siege. The evacuation of thousands of refugees from the squalor and stink of the Superdome, inexcusably delayed, was delayed further when someone fired on a military helicopter. A National Guardsman was shot outside the arena. A Mississippi man murdered his own sister over a bag of ice. Rotting bodies float free above submerged streets and crying children haven't eaten in days. Their parents plead from rooftops for rescue, and survivors of the flood line the freeways by the thousands, stumbling in the sweltering heat with no food, no water and no place to go. If this is not hell, it is close to it.

This horror will not subside with the flood. The government must treat the battlefield of Katrina as it would any other field of engagement: Protect and provide for the innocent and eliminate the enemy, and do it now, before we lose New Orleans. Send the 40,000 troops Gov. Kathleen Blanco has requested. If looters fire on the troops, the troops should answer with suppressing fire. If the United States can project power anywhere in the world in a matter of hours, it can defend New Orleans and the coast of Mississippi.

We expected to see, many hours ago, the president we saw standing atop the ruin of the World Trade Center, rallying a dazed country to action. We're pleased he finally caught a ride home from his vacation, but he risks losing the one trait his critics have never dented: His ability to lead, and be seen leading.

He returns to the scene of the horror today, and that's all to the good. His presence will rally broken spirits. But he must crack heads, if bureaucratic heads need cracking, to get the food, water and medicine to the people crying for help in New Orleans and on the Mississippi coast. The list of things he has promised is a good list, but there is no time to dally, whether by land, sea or air. We should have delivered them yesterday. Americans are dying." [Washington Times | September 2, 2005]
posted by ericb at 9:43 AM on September 2, 2005


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