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Archive for the ‘New Orleans’ Category

Way to go, A.C.E.: NOLA Plaintiffs Win Katrina Case

Posted by Charles II on November 19, 2009

Mark Schleifstein, New Orleans Times-Picayune

In a groundbreaking decision, a federal judge ruled late Wednesday that the Army Corps of Engineers’ mismanagement of maintenance at the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet was directly responsible for flood damage in St. Bernard Parish and the Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina.

“The failure of the Corps to recognize the destruction that the MRGO had caused and the potential hazard that it created is clearly negligent on the part of the Corps,” said U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. in his ruling. “Furthermore, the Corps not only knew, but admitted by 1988, that the MRGO threatened human life … and yet it did not act in time to prevent the catastrophic disaster that ensued with the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina.”

“The Corps’ lassitude and failure to fulfill its duties resulted in a catastrophic loss of human life and property in unprecedented proportions,” Duval wrote….

Duval’s 156-page decision could result in the federal government paying $700,000 in damages to three people and a business in those areas, but also sets the stage for judgments worth billions of dollars against the government for damages suffered by as many as 100,000 other residents, businesses and local governments in those areas who filed claims with the corps after Katrina.

Duval ruled, however, that WDSU-TV anchor Norman Robinson and his wife were not entitled to damages because the corps’ dredging of the MR-GO did not affect the levee system that protects eastern New Orleans from hurricane storm surge.

Posted in Good Things, judicial rulings, New Orleans | 1 Comment »

Rotten through and through

Posted by Charles II on April 9, 2008

Via Rachel Maddow, Eric Sofge at Popular Mechanics tells us some of the infrastructure problems and disasters we can look forward to:

  • Continued massive traffic jams on the Chicago Circle Interchange
    No repairs on the rusting Brooklyn Bridge until 2010
  • 36 hour shipping delays at the Industrial Canal Lock in New Orleans
  • Water crises in Atlanta caused by pipes that leak 20% of the flow
  • Subsidence of Seattle’s Alaska Way Viaduct, a roadway that carries over 100,000 drivers daily
  • Failure of the Herbert Hoover Dike on Lake Okeechobee, threatening South Florida’s water supply
  • The Dover Bridge (Idaho), rated at 2% sufficiency. It’s literally hanging on by its rebar
  • The dissolution of Kentucky’s Wolf Creek Dam, threatening Nashville
  • Failure of Sacramento’s Natomas Levee, putting the town 20 feet underwater, not to mention coastal levees whose failure could endanger most of the water supply
  • More close calls at O’Hare airport, which already has a dozen runway incursions per year and had three near misses in March 2006 alone

Posted in 'starving the beast', BushCo malfeasance, capitalism as cancer, conservativism, infrastructure, New Orleans | 2 Comments »

Safety last

Posted by Charles II on January 14, 2008

It happened in the first attack on the World Trade Center.

It happened in the second attack on the World Trade Center.

It happened during Katrina.

It has happened countless times, and will now apparently happen countless times again: first responders such as police and firemen will be unable to talk to one another because their communications equipment is not interoperable.

Corey Boles, Dow Jones:

With the collapse of telecommunications venture Frontline Wireless, analysts are questioning whether a plan for a national wireless broadband network for police and firefighters is still viable.

Frontline, backed by former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Reed Hundt, was to compete against giants AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon Wireless in a major FCC auction of airwaves set to begin later this month.

Frontline announced last week it was no longer in business. The company had advocated an unusual partnership between the wireless industry and local police, firefighters and emergency responders.

If successful in bidding for the communications airwaves, Frontline said it planned to piece together other sections of communications spectrum to create an advanced wireless broadband network for use by fire, police and emergency service workers.

The aim was to solve the problems that disasters like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, so glaringly revealed: the inability of the nation’s various law enforcement and public safety workers to communicate effectively in times of crisis.

I don’t think it’s political. Reed Hundt is Democratic juice, but Frontline also had GHWB Republican Janice Obuchowski in a top slot. Money is tight, and big, rich companies like ATT, Vodafone, and Verizon can use their balance sheets to squeeze out competition.

Maybe the big companies will use the spectrum for the public good. But I’m guessing that if they do, we’ll pay in blood for it.

As if we hadn’t paid enough.

Posted in capitalism as cancer, New Orleans, World Trade Center | 7 Comments »

Little Victories

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 2, 2007

The fine folk at Common Ground are using beneficial microbes to clean up their flooded homes in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward.

From small things, big things one day come.

Posted in Good Causes, Good Things, New Orleans | Comments Off on Little Victories

Got A Copy Of Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 9, 2007

And Boy Howdy, is it an eye-opener.

If you’ve been following the discussion surrounding it, then you probably already know its basic premise: The powerful ultra-rich neocons and neoliberals who worshipped at the feet of Milton Friedman and his “Chicago School” of corporate idolatry took his message to places like Chile, Argentina, Iraq, and New Orleans, seeking via the tenets of ‘disaster capitalism’ to profit from existing disaster (or a disaster they helped create) so that they can swoop in and take over the existing societal structures and remake them for their benefit and not that of the masses of people living there.

But what’s interesting is how she ties it all together, showing various tidbits that the US media generally won’t mention — at least, not in such a way that it sheds light on the whole situation, as part of a coherent contextual framework.

For instance: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 'starving the beast', GOP/Media Complex, Grover Norquist, Iraq war, neocons, neoliberals, New Orleans, privatization, real journalism, rightwing moral cripples, totalitarianism | 5 Comments »

Rushford Is Pawlenty’s Katrina

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 10, 2007


(Photo uploaded to by msbuzz102.)

That is: Rushford, Minnesota, has been all but wiped off the face of the map by the August flooding, and Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty is being about as effective — or ineffective — as Bush was in dealing with Katrina.

That’s not me saying it.

That’s the people of southeastern Minnesota saying it (h/t to Bluestem Prairie).

From a guest editorial in the Winona Daily News by Myron Schober, editor of the Tri-County Record, whose Rushford offices were destroyed by the flooding and which is now being run out of a room in a church Sunday School:

Gov. Tim Pawlenty did not hear 45 minutes of organized statements made to the committee. He had visited Rushford, told workers in a food shelter, “We need to see commitment and strength and hope,” and left before the legislative meeting began.

“The only way we can help is a special session,” said Rep. Gene Pelowski of Winona. “We have to have it. Can you set a definitive date?” he asked the governor.

“The hold-up isn’t me — I’m in agreement,” said Pawlenty. [PW notes: That’s a lie, by the way — Pawlenty and his fellow Republicans and buddies in the (Rich) Taxpayers’ League have done their damndest to keep a special session from happening.]

They sparred and the governor left.

Tom Witt, who lost $650,000 in his pharmacies, later told the committee,“We don’t need the kind of crap we saw this morning.”

Rushford is in crisis.

“Without help, this could be another Katrina, people will walk away,” said Chuck Ness, a new employee in the area.

Thousands of volunteers and millions of dollars of goods and services have helped cleanup, but funding is needed for recovery.

“We need money,” said a county commissioner.

Rep. Ken Tschumper said when the tornado hit St. Peter the governor and Legislature had $20 million in place in 10 days.

Decisions are being made now and quickly whether homeowners and businesses should fix up, rebuild or walk away. Rushford-Peterson Schools has already lost 14 students, and exceptional effort is made to bus 27 students from more distant relocations.

Early loss figures in Rushford — widely circulated in the media — were highly inaccurate when FEMA found enough damage to make the area eligible for a disaster declaration.

Improved figures corroborated from several sources now indicate $35 million losses in residences, $27 million in businesses, and $15 million in public costs for a current total of $77 million. A preliminary judgment ranks it a 200- to 500-year flood that damaged 490 of 766 homes and businesses with 60 homes likely lost; 58 of 70 businesses impacted and 463 of 600 jobs affected. No business receives any form of FEMA grant.

Rushford, Stockton, St. Charles and Minnesota City were probably the hardest-hit in terms of size and percentage of town destroyed. Bigger cities, like Winona and Rochester, also saw considerable damage. Seven people died in Minnesota alone, and the flooding also wreaked devastation in neighboring Wisconsin.

The total amount of destruction isn’t as devastating as that suffered by New Orleans, mainly because the towns in the path of the hurricane rains simply weren’t as big. But the refusal on Pawlenty’s part to do anything meaningful, for fear of offending his Grover-Norquist-worshiping, cut-taxes-and-drown-government-in-the-bathub allies, is very similar to Bush’s handling — or non-handling — of New Orleans.

Posted in 'starving the beast', Minnesota, New Orleans | 2 Comments »

Meet The Republican Base: Malignant Neglect Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 1, 2007

Grover Norquist’s plan, as applied to New Orleans.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Tom Tancredo, the Republican officeholder and presidential candidate who is one of the biggest favorites of the extreme-racist wingnuts that make up the GOP’s base, has called for (majority-black and majority-Democrat) New Orleans to be left to rot.

Here’s a small sample of what his fans at think of him and his statements (and of the New Orleans victims of Katrina):

Reply 1 – Posted by: DC Escapee, 8/31/2007 10:08:30 PM
How much went to Biloxi and Gulfport?You don’t hear them whining.

That’s because Biloxi and Gulfport (not to mention the rest of Mississippi) got much more FEMA aid than New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana did:  Nearly three times more, even though Mississippi was far less as hard-hit by Katrina.

Why?  Something about their state, Mississippi, having a Republican governor (Haley Barbour) who is buddies with Bush, while Louisiana has a Democratic governor (Kathleen Blanco) who Bush wants to force out — and who now is very likely doomed, thanks to Bush’s politically-driven malignant neglect forcing much of New Orleans’ majority-black and majority-Democrat population to leave the city and state.

Reply 2 – Posted by: Cor-vet, 8/31/2007 10:16:02 PM
As a Louisiana citizen, I whole heartedly agree!

Lemme guess: You’re a white racist from Jefferson Parish or one of the other areas outside of what used to be majority-black New Orleans, right? Never did like New Orleans much in the first place, did you?

Reply 3 – Posted by: nmreich, 8/31/2007 10:16:14 PM
A man with some SENSE! Gosh I am so sick of that woman’s name, Katrina! GET OVER IT ALREADY! Seriously! Enough is enough! STOP it already! Ack!!!

Funny thing: I’ve heard far less about Katrina over the past year than I have about, say, Paris Hilton or Britney Spears. And it’s not as if I go seeking out information on those two ladies. But for racists like you, any mention of Katrina must be like garlic to a vampire.

Reply 4 – Posted by: Sandra1, 8/31/2007 10:17:36 PM
About time someone in government said something true. He should have added that it’s time for the ‘victims’ to get off their lazy duffs and start to rebuild their own homes. Seems like everyone else has done it except them…

Actually, what Tancredo said wasn’t true. As for your other statement, many if not most of the victims have tried to go home and fix up their homes — and many of their homes are intact — but they’re not getting much in the way of help, and a lot of them are being forced away at gunpoint from their own homes by Blackwater security rent-a-cops. But facts like this don’t get as widely reported as, say, Paris Hilton’s latest sex romp. And even if they did, racists like you would ignore them.

Reply 5 – Posted by: hisself, 8/31/2007 10:30:03 PM
In all the time these democrats stayed in motels/hotels at government expense, not one of them ever asked their ‘landlords’ for a job!!What a pathetic excuse for human beings!

Funny — NPR has had lots of stories, like this recent one, on how the New Orleans victims of Katrina have been looking for jobs and often working multiple jobs in order to rebuild their lives. But you only listen to Rush and Michael “Savage” Weiner on the radio, right?

Reply 6 – Posted by: Delilah, 8/31/2007 10:39:31 PM
I totally agree. Katrina has become to mean free handouts forever for anyone who claims to have ever lived in N.O. This whole boondoggle is getting asinine. Fraud is running rampant.

 That’s funny — most of the money that’s been promised to New Orleans has yet to go to anyone. But I guess to you, any nickel that goes to a black person is a shocking waste of money, eh?

Another funny thing about those “free handouts” — when they are going out, most of them don’t seem to be going to the victims. They seem to be mostly going to outfits like Blackwater, a rent-a-cop firm whose ultra-right-wing head, Erik Prince, has strong ties to the Bushes, the GOP, and the racist Dominionist movements.  In other words, the real fraud is being done by white guys in three-piece suits, not black people made homeless by Katrina and kept homeless by Bush.

Posted in 'starving the beast', 2008, anti-truth, Blackwater, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, New Orleans, Tom Tancredo | 4 Comments »

The Last Pretty Thing

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 30, 2007

One of the few growth industries in New Orleans has been Disaster Tours:

“This is the last pretty thing you’re going to see until we get to the lakefront,” tour guide Rose Scott tells passengers gazing at the live oaks of City Park.

They’re a bit more than an hour into a van tour of the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Scott’s employer, Isabelle Cossart of Tours by Isabelle, calls it 70 miles of destruction in 3½ hours.

Nearly two years after Katrina turned the New Orleans area into a lake of misery, demand for tours of the devastation overwhelms that for visits to mainstay attractions such as cemeteries, plantations and swamps.

“Our survival depends on it. If I quit doing the post-Katrina city tour, I’m out of business,” Cossart said.

Scott’s van passes the convention center and Superdome, where thousands of refugees suffered after Katrina.

“The convention center was never supposed to be a shelter. That’s why they didn’t have food there,” she says.

She turns the van toward areas little known to outsiders before Katrina: Gentilly and Lakeview, where the view of Lake Pontchartrain provides respite on the way to the Lower 9th Ward. Scott drives on to St. Bernard, the hard-hit parish just east of New Orleans where she lived until the storm.

“It used to be, we did nothing but plantation tours,” Cossart said. The $58-per-person Katrina tour now makes up three-quarters of her business, and she recently bought a third van.

Unfortunately, another growth industry has been kicking impoverished black people out of homes that were untouched by Katrina — and thus extremely desirable to the upscale white clientele to whom these homes will eventually be sold. Common Ground, a group made up of the people who are being kept at gunpoint from returning to these homes, needs your help in fighting back against this all-too-American version of ethnic cleansing.

Posted in 'starving the beast', budget, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, capitalism as cancer, climate change, environment, infrastructure, New Orleans | 2 Comments »

Report: Billions in Katrina aid missing

Posted by Charles II on August 23, 2007

Jeffrey Buchanan and Chris Kromm on AlterNet:

When pressed on the slow pace of recovery in the Gulf Coast, President Bush insists the federal government has fulfilled its promise to rebuild the region. The proof, he says, is in the big check the federal government signed to underwrite the recovery – allegedly more than $116 billion. But residents of the still-devastated Gulf Coast are left wondering whether the check bounced.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in corruption, New Orleans | 6 Comments »

Your Right Hand Thief…

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 13, 2007


…is the go-to blog for All Things New Orleans. (Yes, including Vitter. But the Oyster has other worthwhile topics, too.)

Posted in blogs and blogging, New Orleans | 2 Comments »

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