|jazzoLOG: Beautiful New Orleans Stirs America's Soul At Last|
12 comments5 Sep 2005 @ 17:22 by martha : Our nation is bleeding
Change is in the air.
5 Sep 2005 @ 22:41 by Quinty @126.96.36.199 : Let's hope
For reason alone won't do it. Nor will simple sanity. Nor decency. And certainly not honesty. Or even self-interest.
Can Bush get away with it again - by offering his so-called family and moral values?
I tuned into FOX for a few minutes and they had a commentator calling for the privatization of FEMA.
Yeah, that's all it takes. Let the incompetent ideological scoundrels off and just privatize. That should take care of everything. I heard Halliburton already has a big contract in New Orleans.
Okay. How do we weigh corruption, on which scale? The private or public sector? So Bush becomes solemn for a photo op, waltzes off the scene, and the Neocons console and advise him in the White House. They have nothing if not chutzpa.
Sometimes I wish I lived in Finland. Or in one of those Scandinavian countires. There was a recent election there in which the candidates vied with one another over who would raise taxes MORE, INCREASE social spending.
But we can privatize. That will take care of everything: universal health care, environmental degredation, clean renewable energy, global warming, poverty, etc.
That's because the private sector is all too eager to spend billions to pay for health care services for those without any money. And, of course, they can oversee and discipline themselves, voluntarily, because we all know they would never polute a river or the atmosphere or do anything like that......
We also need the assistance of the Democrats if there will be any change. Is that too in the air? So far I only hear the Congressional Black Caucus making a fuss. Will Hillary turn about face and suddenly confront the monster? Perhaps, if the voters change their minds.
But who can tell? I hope you are correct: that change is in the air. But the obvious has made little headway in the recent past. And the Bushies, so far, have gotten away with murder, way beyond any decency, or reason, or even simple sanity.
5 Sep 2005 @ 22:59 by vaxen : Halliburton...
as well as Kellog, Brown and Root... cleanup contracts. Still think the whole ''scenario (wargame)'' wasn't 'arranged?'
The Grid of Omniscience or "Universal Mind" into which anyone may tap at any time to obtain any datum or understanding of past, present or future. We are all eventually hooked into omniscience, but in order to avoid being overwhelmed by a chaos of information and meaning we set up a thick wall between ordinary consciousness and omniscience. For the uninitiated, the light of omniscience is so glaring that picking and choosing specific information is impossible.
The Magician's Dictionary by E. E. REHMUS
6 Sep 2005 @ 10:47 by rayon : From England here
I am afraid there is even more to report from watching, BBC, ITN and Channel 4 which must be the absolute best of all three. There is so much to add to the above, that all I can say is that anyone may email me personally if there is a real need to know. As I said to my best friend in Philly, the whole of my time in Southern Africa, there were thousands of hugely qualified well spoken Medics and Doctors queuing up to work in the Soweto's of this world. Suddenly the rest of the world has become a good place, and show their kind face. About ten major world countries offered substantial immediate assistance to the US, medics, water, copters, food, shelters, but they were not accepted. The channel 4 newsbroadcasters told us most of America was not getting the inside info they had achieved. It was too chilling to watch: helpless and speechless. I also believe that many will realise amongst which ethnic group Dignity with a capital D will belong to for a long time hence. Amazing to see.
6 Sep 2005 @ 14:01 by jazzolog : Thanks For Comments
They're all wonderful and most helpful. I've written to nraye to see what else is on over there. I'll also check with dempstress. I think I heard Bush say we'll take care of "our own." Oh yeah. Let's remember, Yanks have had 30 years of training to believe government is the enemy...and therefore a provider of no service to the people.
6 Sep 2005 @ 14:06 by martha : Business as usual
"we'll take care of our own "- What Bush actually means is he will take care of his Republicians and the good old boy network.
No doubt Bush turned down the aid because it some how might breach "Home Land security">
I saw a bumber sticker the other day I loved....it said "Impeach Bush"
I also think it is absolutely disgusting the pr the Republicians are trying to put on the disaster showing Bush hugging the victims etc. And many conservative writers trying to blame the female governor of Louisiana. It only furthers their agenda to try and convince us that women can't lead and also have no right to make decisions about their body.His Chief justice nominee is a good example. I could rant further about all the interconnections I see but I'll spare you all.
6 Sep 2005 @ 14:23 by dempstress : So that's
what Matt is up to these days. Last I heard he was working in London. Interesting piece.
6 Sep 2005 @ 16:23 by Istvan @188.8.131.52 : Eyes wide shut
Read Waxen's message and try to Groak, or croak if you can not handle.
Snoring masses make loud static; change is not evident yet, nor at all.
7 Sep 2005 @ 08:39 by jazzolog : Dead In The Water
The Internet is seething with editorial comment about the death of the Conservative philosophy. This bundle of fantasy that government is the enemy and rich fatcats who run the marketplace are your friend has drowned in a Reality of Nature its smirking adherents didn't "create" but certainly promised to control. You do remember the victorious campaign promises We Will Protect You But The Other Guy Will Let You Die? How much time did Bush and his cronies who run those fabulous Homeland Defense agencies need to protect New Orleans? Does nobody read a weather forecast? Has nobody but environmentalists noticed the Louisiana coastline these past half dozen years? Does nobody review what defenses and help remain after decades of budget cuts? Does nobody remember the Louisiana National Guard is sitting in a desert 7000 miles away? In "due time" will the thousands of floating bodies plug up the levee leaks by themselves? Now we hear that Bush himself will conduct a vital review of his system that failed. From 9/11 on, we've had his tightly controlled little reviews of things. He's sending Cheney down to look into further "bureaucratic" failings that are preventing free enterprise from fixing everything. New Orleans is eager to be his new Iraq. Hello, Intelligent Design.
I imagine most of you who remain proud to be of the Liberal tradition subscribe to TruthOut and have discovered the essays of William Rivers Pitt by now. If you find no other editorial to inspire you today, do read his Washing Away The Conservative Movement at the link provided...which begins with this statement of Winston Churchill~~~
The responsibility of ministers for the public safety is absolute, and requires no mandate. It is in fact the prime object for which governments come into existence.
-- Winston Churchill
Somewhere, at this moment, a neoconservative is seething.
It isn't fair, he rages within. We had it wired. The House is ours, the Senate is ours, the Supreme Court is ours, the Justice Department is ours, the television news media is bought and paid for. We could act with impunity, say whatever we needed to say to get what we want, do whatever wanted, and no one could touch us. We could refashion the nation as we saw fit, whether people wanted to come along with us or not, because we know better.
We followed Leo Strauss's edicts to the letter, growls the seething neoconservative. Strauss, our neoconservative godfather, told us that this nation is best run by an elite that does not have to bother with the will or desires of the populace. Strauss told us we didn't even have to bother with the truth while pursuing our agenda. We are the elite, and we know best.
Somewhere, at this moment, a neoconservative is seething because his entire belief structure regarding government has been laid waste by a storm of singular ferocity. Hurricane Katrina has destroyed lives, ravaged a city, damaged our all-important petroleum infrastructure, and left every American with scenes of chaos and horror seared forever into their minds. Simultaneously, Hurricane Katrina has annihilated the fundamental underpinnings of conservative governmental philosophy.
What we are seeing in New Orleans is the end result of what can be best described as extended Reaganomics. Small government, budget cuts across the board, tax cuts meant to financially strangle the ability of federal agencies to function, the diversion of billions of what is left in the budget into military spending: This has been the aim and desire of the conservative movement for decades now, and they have been largely successful in their efforts.
Combine this with a wildly expensive and unnecessary war, rampant cronyism that replaces professionals with unqualified hacks at nearly every level of government, and the basic neoconservative/Straussian premise that the truth is not important and that the so-called elite know best, and you have this catastrophe laid out on a platter. The conservative and neoconservative plan for the way this country should be run has been blasted to matchsticks, their choice of priorities exposed as lacking, to say the very least.
The Katrina disaster in a nutshell: A storm that had been listed for years as #3 on America's list of "Worst Possible Things That Could Happen" arrives in New Orleans to find levees unprepared because massive budget cuts stripped away any ability to repair and augment them. The storm finds FEMA, the national agency tasked to deal with the aftermath of natural disasters, run by Bush friend Michael Brown, a guy who got fired from his last job representing the rights of Arabian horse owners. The storm finds a goodly chunk of the Louisiana National Guard sitting in a desert 7,000 miles away with their high-water Humvees parked beside them. The storm finds that our institutional decades-old unwillingness to address poverty issues left tens of thousands of people unable to get out of the way of the ram.
Grover Norquist, one of the ideological leaders of our current administration, once said he wanted to shrink the federal government until it was small enough to be drowned in a bathtub. Well, those who believe in his view of things have worked very hard to accomplish this, and we see now what happens when you do that. In this case, the government did not drown. An American city did.
Early estimates of the costs to repair the damage to New Orleans are rolling above $100 billion. The invasion and occupation of Iraq has cost many times more than that. The gigantic tax cuts of a few years ago further denuded the federal budget. Conservative and neoconservative dogma required this, and has left us singularly vulnerable. They have always wanted a weakened federal government, and now we have one, and a lot of people are dead because of it. The cost of this storm, plus the cost of the tax cuts, plus the cost of the Iraq war, plus the long-term damage to our economy caused by high gasoline prices, is going to kick the guts out of our government for a very long time to come.
In so many ultimately dangerous ways, their exposure is complete. For the last four years, we have been inundated with the claim that only Bush and the neocons can protect us from terrorism. The justification and shield for every action taken, no matter how absurd, has been that it is for our own good and defense. That's all dust now. "This is the Law and Order and Terror government," writes MSNBC newsman Keith Olbermann in his blog. "It promised protection - or at least amelioration - against all threats: conventional, radiological, or biological. It has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water." http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6210240/
Above and beyond the fact that the levees have broken all around the governmental philosophies of the conservative/neoconservative crew is the question of whether this could have been avoided with a little bit of personal responsibility. There is a lot of finger-pointing going on at the highest levels right now; at one point over the weekend, Bush defenders absurdly attempted to blame the Mayor of New Orleans for what happened. One boggles when trying to determine how the mayor of one city bears the responsibility for the damage and lack of rescue response that took place in Mississippi, Alabama and outside the realm of his parishes. This was a nicely Straussian twist on the truth, straight out of the playbook.
Could it have been avoided? Let's ask the National Weather Service, which sent out this alert on Sunday, August 28th: "A hurricane warning is in effect for the north central gulf coast from Morgan City, Louisiana, eastward to the Alabama/Florida border, including the city of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. Maximum sustained winds are near 160 mph with higher gusts. Katrina is a large hurricane. Coastal storm surge flooding of 18 to 22 feet above normal tide levels, locally as high as 28 feet, along with large and dangerous battering waves, can be expected near and to the east of where the center makes landfall. Some levees in the greater New Orleans area could be overtopped."
"Some levees in the greater New Orleans area could be overtopped." That was Sunday. Monday passed, and then Tuesday, and then Wednesday, and then Thursday, and then Friday, and then the weekend came, before any action of any significance whatsoever was taken to protect the lives of the citizens of that city.
Also on Sunday the 28th, Governor Blanco of Louisiana dispatched a letter to Bush formally requesting help for the horror she saw rolling towards her state over the southern horizon. "Under the provisions of Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 USC. 5121-5206 (Stafford Act), and implemented by 44 CFR 206.36, I request that you declare an expedited major disaster for the state of Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina, a Category V hurricane approaches our coast south of New Orleans; beginning on August 28, 2005 and continuing," read the letter. She went on in great detail over four full pages to list a series of requests that, had they been granted, would have spared thousands of people from death.
She was flatly ignored. Forget the fact that a hurricane hitting New Orleans has been on the danger list for decades. The Bush folks got the word on Sunday, not once but twice, and instead of swinging into action, they literally ate cake.
Have they learned anything from this? Hardly. The most important bit on this week's conservative agenda, beyond stuffing Mr. Roberts into the Chief Justice chair, is to repeal the estate tax. Yes, that's correct, before we do anything else, we have to make sure the rich of this nation get an even larger slice of the pie. This caused DNC Chairman Howard Dean to launch a singularly pointed salvo over the weekend.
"Countless thousands of our fellow Americans throughout the Gulf Coast region continue to suffer in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina," said Dean. "While some have begun the painful task of rebuilding their lives and coping with the unfathomable loss, so many still await help. And the cost of this disaster in human and material terms remains unknown. It's simply irresponsible for Senator Frist and Ken Mehlman to even think about spending our tax dollars on breaks for millionaires at a time when our top priority must be to ensure we have the resources needed to address the long and short term costs associated with rescue, recovery, and rebuilding in the wake of hurricane Katrina. Not to mention the vital lesson we learned this week about the deadly cost of diverting funds at the expense of the safety of the American people. These costs, continued Dean, "also come at a time when our nation faces a massive deficit, and mounting costs in the ongoing war in Iraq."
It isn't irresponsible, Chairman. It's standard operating procedure. They've been doing it like this for so long that they've forgotten how to do it any other way. They are such true believers that they cannot fathom doing it any other way. Likely, they will get away with it, and the loss of estate tax revenues will further damage our nation's ability to care for its own.
The house of cards has fallen in. A generation of conservative thinking, combined with five years of neoconservative thrashing, has finally come to an unavoidable head. The agencies tasked to protect us - FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security to name two - have been proven to be utterly useless. The heads of these agencies - Chertoff and Brown - are the perfect avatars of Bush's way of doing business, insofar as they have no business being in the positions they are in. The conservative movement has failed spherically, from all sides and in all directions.
So here's a thought: Let's repudiate these fools. When the basic software for the operating system of a computer is proven to be riddled with bugs and bad code, it is time to rewrite the whole thing. We have to do that here, with our government and institutions, and we have to do it now. Throw conservative dogma into the dustbin of history where it belongs.
Remember that a massive, highly industrialized and infrastructured, diverse nation requires an effective central government, funded properly and staffed by professionals and patriots, in order to keep the wheels on the road. Remember the words of that great Republican, Oliver Wendell Holmes, who said, "Taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society." What we are seeing in New Orleans is not civilized society, but anarchy. The reasons for this are as clear as the nose on your face.
They have failed us. Many people are dead because of it. It's time to change the software. Enough of this Boo Radley leadership.
© : t r u t h o u t 2005
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.
8 Sep 2005 @ 15:46 by Quinty @184.108.40.206 : Yes
and on the NPR news this morning I heard that the Republican leadership intends to go on with the tax cuts for the rich and to slice 10 billion from Medicaid.
10 Sep 2005 @ 16:34 by koravya : Good article Quinty
27 Aug 2008 @ 09:53 by jazzolog @220.127.116.11 : New Orleans Update
Katrina Pain Index: New Orleans Three Years Later
Tuesday 26 August 2008
by: Bill Quigley, t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Trumpeter Marlin Jordan (left) leads a memorial procession up the Claiborne Bridge in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana in 2007. As the three-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches this week, the city ranks No. 1 in the nation in percentage of housing vacant or ruined. (Photo: Reuters)
Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast three years ago this week. The president promised to do whatever it took to rebuild. But the nation is trying to fight wars in several countries and is dealing with economic crisis. The attention of the president wandered away. As a result, this is what New Orleans looks like today.
0. Number of renters in Louisiana who have received financial assistance from the $10 billion federal post-Katrina rebuilding program Road Home Community Development Block Grant - compared to 116,708 homeowners.
0. Number of apartments currently being built to replace the 963 public housing apartments formerly occupied and now demolished at the St. Bernard Housing Development.
0. Amount of data available to evaluate performance of publicly financed, privately run charter schools in New Orleans in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 school years.
.008. Percentage of rental homes that were supposed to be repaired and occupied by August 2008 which were actually completed and occupied - a total of 82 finished out of 10,000 projected.
1. Rank of New Orleans among US cities in percentage of housing vacant or ruined.
1. Rank of New Orleans among US cities in murders per capita for 2006 and 2007.
4. Number of the 13 City of New Orleans Planning Districts that are at the same risk of flooding as they were before Katrina.
10. Number of apartments being rehabbed so far to replace the 896 apartments formerly occupied and now demolished at the Lafitte Housing Development.
11. Percent of families who have returned to live in Lower Ninth Ward.
17. Percentage increase in wages in the hotel and food industry since before Katrina.
20-25. Years that experts estimate it will take to rebuild the City of New Orleans at current pace.
25. Percent fewer hospitals in metro New Orleans than before Katrina.
32. Percent of the city's neighborhoods that have less than half as many households as before Katrina.
36. Percent fewer tons of cargo that move through Port of New Orleans since Katrina.
38. Percent fewer hospital beds in New Orleans since Katrina.
40. Percentage fewer special education students attending publicly funded, privately run charter schools than traditional public schools.
41. Number of publicly funded, privately run public charter schools in New Orleans out of total of 79 public schools in the city.
43. Percentage of child care available in New Orleans compared to before Katrina.
46. Percentage increase in rents in New Orleans since Katrina.
56. Percentage fewer inpatient psychiatric beds compared to before Katrina.
80. Percentage fewer public transportation buses now than pre-Katrina.
81. Percentage of homeowners in New Orleans who received insufficient funds to cover the complete costs to repair their homes.
300. Number of National Guard troops still in City of New Orleans.
1,080. Days National Guard troops have remained in City of New Orleans.
1,250. Number of publicly financed vouchers for children to attend private schools in New Orleans in program's first year.
6,982. Number of families still living in FEMA trailers in metro New Orleans area.
8,000. Fewer publicly assisted rental apartments planned for New Orleans by federal government.
10,000. Houses demolished in New Orleans since Katrina.
12,000. Number of homeless in New Orleans even after camps of people living under the bridges have been resettled - double the pre-Katrina number.
14,000. Number of displaced families in New Orleans area whose hurricane rental assistance expires in March 2009.
32,000. Number of children who have not returned to public school in New Orleans, leaving the public school population less than half what it was pre-Katrina.
39,000. Number of Louisiana homeowners who have applied for federal assistance in repair and rebuilding who still have not received any money.
45,000. Fewer children enrolled in Medicaid public healthcare in New Orleans than pre-Katrina.
46,000. Fewer African-American voters in New Orleans in 2007 gubernatorial election than in 2003 gubernatorial election.
55,000. Fewer houses receiving mail than before Katrina.
62,000. Fewer people in New Orleans enrolled in Medicaid public healthcare than pre-Katrina.
71,657. Vacant, ruined, unoccupied houses in New Orleans today.
124,000. Fewer people working in metropolitan New Orleans than pre-Katrina.
132,000. Fewer people in New Orleans than before Katrina, according to the City of New Orleans current population estimate of 321,000 in New Orleans.
214,000. Fewer people in New Orleans than before Katrina, according to the US Census Bureau current population estimate of 239,000 in New Orleans.
453,726. Population of New Orleans before Katrina.
320 million. Number of trees destroyed in Louisiana and Mississippi by Katrina.
368 million. Dollar losses of five major metro New Orleans hospitals from Katrina through 2007. In 2008, these hospitals expect another $103 million in losses.
1.9 billion. FEMA dollars scheduled to be available to metro New Orleans for Katrina damages that have not yet been delivered.
2.6 billion. FEMA dollars scheduled to be available to State of Louisiana for Katrina damages that have not yet been delivered.
Bill is a human rights lawyer, a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans and author of the forthcoming book, "STORMS STILL RAGING: Katrina, New Orleans and Social Justice." A version with all sources included is available. Bill's email is email@example.com. For more information see the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center and Policy Link.
Other entries in Stories
28 Nov 2008 @ 14:04: "Change Is Coming"
16 Jul 2008 @ 10:58: The Fabulous Phil Mattson Reunion
20 Apr 2008 @ 17:08: The Redemption Of Spring
18 Feb 2008 @ 10:26: Is Obama The Answer?
27 Nov 2007 @ 09:22: Exposed! (to plastic)
21 Jul 2007 @ 11:21: The Great American Songbook
20 Apr 2007 @ 09:57: If I Hear "Robust" Once More, I'm Gonna Puke
21 Feb 2007 @ 10:54: The Blogs Of Iraq
19 Nov 2006 @ 12:06: Hacking Away
22 Aug 2006 @ 09:00: Once Upon A Time