Showing posts with label Katrina. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Katrina. Show all posts

Monday, August 30, 2010

. . . and if the Gulf don't rise

This is a storm surge.

This was what Katrina was like in St. Bernard Parish, La. -- Aug. 29, 2005.

This is why, when the authorities tell you to get your ass out of Dodge, you get your ass out of Dodge. And as we allow the Louisiana coastal wetlands to disappear, this is the fate awaiting some people who never took an inch of water from Katrina.

will be another Katrina. Just like there was another Betsy, and another Camille.

And the next one just might blow through the wetlands that are no more and take out the port that delivers a third of the oil and gas to which you are currently addicted.

Happy motoring, America.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Killing Cassandra

It's like a scene out of the ruins of postwar Europe. There's a denuded landscape and desperation is in the air.

Desperate people are doing desperate things, among them women trading their virtue for greenback American dollars. Or nylons and Hershey bars. You need what you need, and you'll sell anything -- or anyone -- to get it.

Even one's soul. Humanity can be ugly that way.

The principle holds, even when the denuded landscape is merely financial and we're talking federal grants instead of Spam or candy bars. We all have our reasons for prostituting ourselves, but objective reality tells us nevertheless that a whore is a whore is a whore.

MY ALMA MATER, Louisiana State University, is a whore. For indeterminate reason$, but following year$ of official hara$$ment, it finally ha$ fired the Ca$$andra of Katrina -- profe$$or Ivor van Heerden of the L$U Hurricane Center. Van Heerden was the man who headed up the state's investigation into why New Orleans' levees failed during the storm, killing hundreds upon hundreds of people.

And he was the man who tried to tell people what would -- and did -- happen to the city if and when a storm just like Katrina struck. He was ignored then; he's been fired now.


THE REASON probably was
pretty well outlined in a 2006 New York Times article:

To many in Louisiana this outspokenness has made Dr. van Heerden a hero. But at his university it has gotten him called on the carpet for threatening the institution's relationship with the federal government and the research money that comes with that. Last November two vice chancellors at Louisiana State — Michael Ruffner, in charge of communications for the university, and Harold Silverman, who leads the office of research — brought him in for a meeting. As Dr. van Heerden recalled in an interview in Baton Rouge, La., the two administrators — one of whom controlled his position, which is nontenured — said that "they would prefer that I not talk to the press because it could hurt L.S.U.'s chances of getting federal funding in the future."

The administrators told him to work through the university's media relations department instead.

Dr. van Heerden regarded the meeting as a threat to his career. "I actually spoke to my wife about it that night," he remembered, "and said: 'Look, we need to recognize that I could lose my job. Are we prepared for that? Because I'm not going to stop.'"
HERE'S ANOTHER SIDE of that same story from Thursday's New Orleans Times-Picayune:
A version of Ruffner's letter also appeared in The New York Times, which prompted [hurricane center chief Marc] Levitan to demand a meeting with Ruffner to get a retraction and an apology on van Heerden's behalf. Although he does not have an engineering degree, van Heerden was granted a doctorate in marine sciences by LSU in 1983, and the research he had overseen at his health center was aimed at determining the potential for hurricane storm surge to overtop the New Orleans levee system.

"I brought a copy of Ivor's resume, showed him his background and degrees and a copy of the summary of the Team Louisiana contract that Ivor was appointed to head, " Levitan said Thursday. He also pointed out that van Heerden had issued his critiques of the corps as the director of the forensic investigation, which included a team of scientists and civil engineers.

Ruffner refused to retract the letter or apologize, Levitan said.

"At this point, Ruffner also mentioned to me -- and this was still in the post-Katrina environment when, every single day, hurricanes were front-page news -- that van Heerden was causing problems with the Hurricane Center and if he were no longer part of the center, things would probably be better for the Hurricane Center on campus, " Levitan said, "at which point, I told him to go stuff it and walked out of his office."

Levitan, still an engineering professor in the university's department of civil and environmental engineering, said he expects to be criticized by LSU's leadership for revealing his meeting with the chancellors to the media.

"But it's time for me to come to his defense, " Levitan said. "For someone who has done so much for LSU and the state, this is uncalled for."
IF LSU was that terrified of the threat van Heerden posed to its access to federal grant money during the fat times of 2006, imagine the panic and paranoia running through Thomas Boyd Hall now the state is gutting the school's budget during the Depression of Aught Nine.

Obviously scared enough that the non-tenured van Heerden, who also was removed as deputy director of the Hurricane Center, will be gone when his contract is up next spring. Again, the Times-Picayune:

Also, engineering professor Marc Levitan has stepped down as the center's director. University officials say they will reshape the center's research direction in the wake of the moves.

Van Heerden will remain director of the LSU Center for the Study of Public Health Impacts of Hurricanes, financed by a $3.65 million Louisiana Board of Regents Health Excellence Fund, until his LSU contract ends next year.

LSU officials have refused to address the van Heerden decision, citing the school's policy of not commenting about personnel matters.

"Legally, we're not allowed to comment on any kind of personnel action, " said spokeswoman Kristine Calongne. "We're bound by confidentiality of our employees."

Van Heerden said the university would not give him a reason, either. David Constant, interim dean of LSU's College of Engineering, told him the decision "wasn't due to my performance. But he couldn't tell me why," van Heerden said.
WELL, IF IT WASN'T due to his performance, and if van Heerden hasn't been arrested for something, that narrows the range of what we're to think, now, doesn't it?

And I think the LSU administration is standing on the rubble-strewn street corner, wearing its best come-hither face and saying "Hey, Uncle Sam! You gotta some nylons, I gotta some. . . . (winks)"

The cost of this institutional prostitution will be high, primarily for the long-suffering residents of Louisiana. By all accounts, the LSU Hurricane Center -- and van Heerden -- had been doing yeoman's work, in addition to gaining favorable attention for the university. Furthermore, it is without doubt that the center's work and van Heerden's post-Katrina quest -- if allowed to proceed unhindered -- would have saved many lives.

Would have. Because, you see, that work and van Heerden's quest have just been hindered by the university. One that allegedly exists in the public interest.

And, really, since when have Louisiana's government and its public institutions been all about the public good?

SOME MIGHT SAY Ivor van Heerden's firing is just par for the course at a crooked little school in a crooked little state. I'd suspect they're probably right. I'd also suspect that a lot fewer Louisianians will care about this LSU personnel matter than care passionately and obsessively about who's in and who's out at the LSU Athletic Department.

If Les Miles gets fired because LSU can't win enough football games, the only losers are Miles and the boosters who have to ante up to buy out his massive contract. But if the university is going around firing environmental scientists and "reshaping" its hurricane center's "research direction" because it doesn't like the inconvenient truths LSU scientists unearth, that's going to get somebody -- or a lot of somebodies -- killed.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thoughts on a snowy day near Christmas

We tend to talk about the hard times now upon us as if they were a destructive force of nature. A financial hurricane that has come to swamp us like Katrina did to New Orleans.

AH, but it wasn't Katrina that swamped New Orleans. Katrina was a low-grade Hurricane Betsy -- at worst -- by the time she reached the Crescent City.

New Orleans drowned because people, first of all, had been encouraged to build in dumb places over the decades. And, second of all, New Orleans drowned because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built really, really crappy levees which they didn't improve and raise to counteract the city's slow subsidence into the primordial ooze that is the Louisiana delta. (Americans' hastening of and reluctance to ameliorate that sinking feeling is another story covered here.)

Likewise, the economic pickle we find ourselves in right now is anything but a force of nature. Strike that -- the mess we now face is a force of human nature.

Basically, we got greedy. A capital sin that goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden, when the serpent told Eve "ye shall be as gods."

ADAM AND EVE ate the apple. We, on the other hand, bought the apple on credit. From Whole Paycheck. To which we traveled in a big honkin' SUV.

Then we sat down in our McMansion to eat the forbidden fruit while watching Desperate Housewives on our HDTV.

We wanted what we couldn't afford, while business wanted more profit than it had a right to and government kept the gravy train a rollin', even when taxpayers refused to foot the true cost of the services they demanded.

OUR ECONOMY -- our insane expectations, built upon the shifting sands of avarice -- has turned out to be, pretty much, a Ponzi scheme worthy of Bernard Madoff , and we have no idea how to unwind the whole thing without lots of people getting hurt really badly.

The last time our economy was this bad -- lots worse, actually -- we at least paid lip service to the kinds of values that can help a body get through a really rough patch. We at least had a culture that, more or less, reflected those values. That sensibility.

Today, we march to the poor house to a hip-hop beat, singing the praises of bitches, hos, bling, f***in' and thuggin'.

This may not go well.

WE NEED a revolution. Not like Lenin and Marx, but of the heart.

Then, perhaps, we might get some "change we can believe in."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Six of the 'TV Lady,' a half-dozen of Michelle

I always know when Michelle Malkin goes on a toot about New Orleans. There's always a spike in traffic for this December post of mine.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the traffic. And the subject of that 2007 post, New Orleans' "TV Lady" --
the racist, rabblerousing public-housing queen who now occupies a subsidized apartment nicer than my house and who watches her stories on a 60-inch high-def television -- remains a living, breathing affront to basic decency.


I'm damned sick and tired of self-righteous, hard-hearted "conservatives" rolling out the bad example of the "TV Lady" (and, by extension, my blog post about her) to justify inaction -- or worse -- in the face of a national scandal. That national scandal, which centers on New Orleans, is threefold.

First, it's scandalous -- and criminal -- that the wealthiest, most powerful nation on earth can't adequately build or maintain levees sufficient to protect a vital coastal port city. Or Midwestern river cities . . . or hundreds of thousands of acres of the U.S. corn and soybean crops.

Second, it's scandalous -- and criminal -- that more than 1,500 people died because the government of the United States of America is comprised, in large part, of incompetent hacks and political cronies who couldn't organize a one-car funeral cortege, much less a massive relief and rebuilding effort in New Orleans and across the central Gulf Coast.

IN A LAND of McMansions and SUVs -- governed by neoconservative nincompoops who think we have the right and the wherewithal to spend nearly a trillion dollars on the fool's errand that is Iraq -- fat and self-satisfied Americans three years ago were treated to the ultimate reality-TV program. Millions watched as thousands suffered and scores died . . . on camera . . . because Machiavellian blame-gaming was so much more a priority than was saving lives.

That the vast majority of those anguished faces belonged to African-Americans added insult to injury.

And finally, it's scandalous -- and criminal -- that a nation of such outlandish wealth would, before Katrina ever struck, tolerate the existence of a Third World enclave in its midst.

Asked two millennia ago to cut to the chase of what the Father would have us mortals do amid this vail of tears, His own Son -- the second person of the triune Godhead --
boiled it down to two simple things (Matthew 22:34-39):

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together,

and one of them [a scholar of the law] tested him by asking,

"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?"

He said to him, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.

The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

IT HAS BEEN SAID the opposite of love is not (as one might think) hate, but instead indifference. If that is so, and if massive indifference is the best America can offer a hardscrabble, basket-case city such as New Orleans -- one which America, through its incompetent government and lousy federal levees, bears the responsibilty for drowning -- where does that leave us?

We're antichrist. Not the Antichrist, an antichrist. But why split hairs?

That's not something we can face, however. No, far better for people like Michelle Malkin and the whole "F*** New Orleans Brigade" to justify their antichrist indifference by rolling out pathetic spectacles like the "TV Lady" to represent the city when a "
defaulting deadbeat Dem" visits and expresses concern over its plight:
Someone send a clue to the New Orleans Times-Picayune! They missed the story. They missed the delicious spectacle of defaulting deadbeat Democrat Laura Richardson–she who lives sky high on the hog, leaving a trail of unpaid bills in her wake– parachuting into New Orleans and clucking about the plight of its people.

Rich, just rich. . . .


Wonder if she’ll stop by 60-inch-tv-owning New Orleans “slum”-dweller Sharon Jasper’s place. I have a feeling these two would get along.
I'LL KEEP that example in mind if Michelle stubs her big toe and noted war criminal George W. Bush sends his condolences.

That ought to be reason enough to denounce her as a misanthropic, fascist harridan . . . before we haul out a rusty broadax to chop off her leg.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

There may not be justice in this world. . . .

But those sons of bitches in the Bush Administration will get some in the next.

BECAUSE OF THIS (among other things), as reported by The Associated Press:

The anguish of Hurricane Katrina should have ended for Gina Bouffanie and her daughter when they left their FEMA trailer. But with each hospital visit and each labored breath her child takes, the young mother fears it has just begun.

"It's just the sickness. I can't get rid of it. It just keeps coming back," said Bouffanie, 27, who was pregnant with her now 15-month-old daughter, Lexi, while living in the trailer. "I'm just like, `Oh God, I wish like this would stop.' If I had known it would get her sick, I wouldn't have stayed in the trailer for so long."

The girl, diagnosed with severe asthma, must inhale medicine from a breathing device.

Doctors cannot conclusively link her asthma to the trailer. But they fear she is among tens of thousands of youngsters who may face lifelong health problems because the temporary housing supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency contained formaldehyde fumes up to five times the safe level.

The chemical, used in interior glue, was detected in many of the 143,000 trailers sent to the Gulf Coast in 2006. But a push to get residents out of them, spearheaded by FEMA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, did not begin until this past February.

Members of Congress and CDC insiders say the agencies' delay in recognizing the danger is being compounded by studies that will be virtually useless and the lack of a plan to treat children as they grow.

"It's tragic that when people most need the protection, they are actually going from one disaster to a health disaster that might be considered worse," said Christopher De Rosa, assistant director for toxicology and risk assessment at the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC. "Given the longer-term implications of exposure that went on for a significant period of time, people should be followed through time for possible effects."

Formaldehyde is classified as a probable carcinogen, or cancer-causing substance, by the Environmental Protection Agency. There is no way to measure formaldelhyde in the bloodstream. Respiratory problems are an early sign of exposure.

Young children are at particular risk. Thousands who lived in trailers will be in the prime of life in the 10 to 15 years doctors believe it takes cancer to develop.

FEMA and CDC reports so far have drawn criticism.

A CDC study released May 8 examined records of 144 Mississippi children, some of whom lived in trailers and others who did not. But the study was confined to children who had at least one doctor's visit for respiratory illness before Katrina. It was largely inconclusive, finding children who went to doctors before the August 2005 storm were still visiting them two years after.

A bigger, five-year CDC study will include up to 5,000 children in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas, and CDC officials said it should begin next year. But members of Congress point to the decade or longer it could take for cancer to develop and say a five-year look is inadequate.

"Monitoring the health of a few thousand children over the course of a few years is a step in the right direction, but we need commitment," said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

Thompson has introduced legislation to force FEMA and CDC to provide health exams for trailer residents who believe formaldehyde made them ill. The bill is similar to $108 million legislation for workers who labored at the World Trade Center site.

Arch Carson, professor of occupational medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, said preliminary exams alone for trailer residents could cost more than the trade center bill. But he said class-action lawsuits over the formaldehyde - at least one has been filed - could be even more expensive, costing many billions of dollars.

"It would be best for the government to get its act together now," Carson said.

More than 22,000 FEMA trailers and mobile homes are still being used in Mississippi and Louisiana.
I DON'T HAVE words for this. Not anymore.

Except that this represents the why behind my jihad against Louisiana's endemic half-assedness, insouciance and incompetence. Because Louisiana is on her own.

And God bless the child that's got his -- or her -- own. Billie Holiday said.

Them that's got shall get
Them that's not shall lose
So the Bible said, and it still is news
Mama may have, papa may have
But God bless the child that's got his own
That's got his own

Yes, the strong gets more
While the weak ones fade
Empty pockets don't ever make the grade
Mama may have, papa may have
But God bless the child that's got his own
That's got his own

Money, you've got lots of friends
Crowding round the door
When you're gone, spending ends
They don't come no more
Rich relations give
Crust of bread and such
You can help yourself
But don't take too much
Mama may have, papa may have
But God bless the child that's got his own
That's got his own

Mama may have, papa may have
But God bless the child that's got his own
That's got his own
He just worry bout nothin'
Cause he's got his own

Monday, April 28, 2008

Living on the Death Star

Hey, Louisiana, how are you doing?

Fading fast, you say?

Yeah, I know how that goes. See, I'm from Omaha (by God) Nebraska, and we're the folks who are killing your ass. Not to mention the rest of you, too.

WE'RE THE FOLKS who brought you coastal erosion. And the Dead Zone in Gulf of Mexico, which has crippled your sport- and commercial-fishing industries.

And that little unpleasantness in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina? That was us, too.

We may look like a bunch of corn-fed hicks and earnest upper-Midwestern professionals right out of a Norman Rockwell painting, but that's just to disguise who we really are. To pull the wool over the eyes of the rustic likes of your own backward-ass selves.

But I'll let you in on a secret. I can do this because, frankly, you can't act on your newly acquired knowledge. You're economically stunted, abnormally poorly educated, unusually poverty-stricken and unhealthy as all get-out.

We can piss on your erstwhile largest city, and we can crap on your seafood industry with the tons and tons of chemical fertilizers we dump into the watershed to grow more corn that will go not into hungry people's stomachs but, instead, into more ethanol that will go into our SUVs' gas tanks.

Who are we? We are the Death Star.

Bye, suckas.

WE NORMALLY AREN'T so forthright about any of this. It's bad for bidness. But since your John M. Barry unfortunately
divulged our proprietary information on the op-ed page of the Los Angeles Times, secrecy doesn't matter anymore.

And, as I noted, what are you bunch of dumb rednecks and coonasses going to do about it, anyway?

See, here's how it works, in a nutshell, as explained by that Barry fella:

To understand the link between the High Plains and Louisiana, one has to understand the Mississippi River system -- which stretches from New York to Idaho and drains 31 states -- and the sediment load the system carries. This sediment load was so great that it changed the nation's geography. Sixty million years ago, the ocean reached north to Cape Girardeau, Mo., but as the sea level fell, the river dropped enough mud into what geologists call the Mississippi Embayment to create all the land from Cape Girardeau to the sea, a total of 35,000 square miles in seven states.

That land-building process created Louisiana's coast, along with barrier islands that provided a buffer protecting populated areas in Louisiana and part of Mississippi's coast.

Human engineering has reversed that process, causing the loss of roughly 2,000 square miles of land since World War II. If this buffer -- equivalent to the state of Delaware -- had not been destroyed, New Orleans would need little other hurricane protection.

Numerous man-made actions have caused the land loss, but the most important, yet least recognized, may be the decline of sediment in the river. Dams built to provide electricity, irrigation and flood protection in the Upper Midwest and High Plains are largely responsible for the decline; sediment level is now only 30% to 40% of the natural amount. A particular problem has been a series of dams on the upper Missouri River beginning above Bismarck, N.D., and ending above Yankton, S.D. Historically, roughly half of the total sediment load in the Mississippi River came from the upper Missouri, but the dams trapped that sediment upstream. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, since the dams' construction in the 1950s, "the discharge of sediment from the upper Missouri River basin virtually was stopped."

Without this sediment, Louisiana began losing land. Other contributors to the land loss include energy production. About 30% of the nation's domestic oil and gas production comes from Louisiana, which has benefited the entire country. But the industry dredged 10,000 miles of canals through Louisiana's marsh, bringing in saltwater, which killed it. Another factor is the manipulation of sediment for shipping; this too has benefited the national economy by turning cities such as Tulsa and Pittsburgh into ports with direct access to the ocean.
IN SHORT, because of the Missouri River dams, we get cheap electricity and Omaha doesn't have to worry about catastrophic floods on the Not-So-Muddy-Anymore Mo . . . like the one we oh-so-narrowly staved off in 1952 with miles of sandbags and the blood, sweat and tears of thousands. Likewise, we get water for irrigation to grow the corn that goes in our gas tanks and to help wash that fertilizer down the watershed to the Gulf -- to kill your fish.

We also get great fishing and watersports on all those reservoirs up here, and lots of fine camping around them. Just check out the outdoors pages of our newspapers if you don't believe me. All in all, the damming of the Missouri River -- and its sediment flow -- has been a pretty good deal for us, which is why Congress authorized it during World War II.

SO . . . what has Louisiana gotten out of the deal? Besides screwed, that is.

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

Sucks to be you. In, oh, so many ways.
Too bad, so sad. We're doing fine here on the Death Star, though. "Bobby JIN-dalllll . . . come to the Dark Side, Bobby Jindal!"

OK, I keed, I keed. Seriously, though . . . don't send us any of those hoardes of refugees running north when their towns start to go under the waves, one by one. We can't comprende their lingo, and they're just not that well suited for our info-tech economy, capiche?

We do like your colorful musicians and baseball fans, however. They're quaint and interesting, in an anthropological kind of way.

Well, it's late and I really must run. Every day is a busy day on the Death Star, and we're not even half done blowing your state to Kingdom Come. I can't say "See you later," because -- well -- we won't.

In that light, I'll just close by wishing you well wherever you end up -- so long as it's not here -- and will simply say . . . "So long, it's been good to know 'ya!"

Monday, April 07, 2008

C Ray? Not lately. Try China.

Click on ad to enlarge.

It appears Hizzoner has left New Orleans for a . . . fact-finding visit to the People's Republic of China. Yeah, that's the ticket.

He's going to study the Great Wall. Yeah, that's right.

He's going to see whether it can be duplicated in the Crescent City as a levee to defend against a 1,000-year storm.

Yeah . . . of course. He's going to save the city. You'll see.

WRNO radio has the straight poop . . . uh, scoop:

The Mayor of New Orleans has begun his 6 day trip to China.

Ray Nagin left yesterday and will return next Sunday.

The Mayor is travelling to Zhengzhou to later join 400 Mayors from China and around the world in participating in the International Mayor's Forum on Tourism, April 9th-11th.

He'll also visit Beijing and Shanghai.

Nagin is joined on the trip by the city's director of international relations, Lisa Ponce de Leon and by a representative of the New Orleans U.S. Export Assistance Center.

According to the Mayor's press office, the trip will include private meetings with Chinese officials who are working "in areas of investment and distribution" and it says Nagin will participate in panel discussions on a variety of topics including emergency preparedness and tourism development.

Friday, March 07, 2008

NOLA's nattering nabob of noonies

I am not making the following Ray Nagin story up because, frankly, you can't.

In fact, just when you think you've seen the Full Nagin from New Orleans' buffoon-in-chief, the man just does something so insane that you realize that he's been holding back all these years, and that C. Ray has untold reservoirs of whack he can call upon at a moment's notice.

So, without further ado, here is the latest in the ongoing serial, Adventures of Chocolate Mayor,
as reported by WRNO radio:

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin says he is "a vagina-friendly Mayor."

Nagin made the remark while welcoming the author of the Vagina Monlogues, Eve Ensler to the city to promote the "V-Day" celebration in New Orleans next month.


Mayor Nagin began his comments at the news conference by saying, "How am I gonna stand up and say, I'm a 'vagina-friendly' Mayor to these cameras after 'Chocolate City' and some of the other stuff that I've done. But you know what? I'm in."

"She (Ensler) started describing the event, and you know what, I'm a guy and I've heard about the Vagina Monologues but I don't know what was going on. I didn't know anything about it and she started to describe this event - look, you know I've got a script and I'm not following it - and I was absolutely blown away at how awesome this work is. I mean, she is doing God's work. So, I stand before you, a vagina-friendly Mayor. I am in! And you know what? It is so appropriate right now. New Orleans, Louisiana is the birthplace of jazz, you know, but it is the birthplace of so many tremendous women."






THAT, NEW ORLEANS, was the sound of the rest of America (and the world, I dare say) no longer laughing with you but, instead, laughing at you. There is a difference.

Enjoy the mayor you re-elected at the most pivotal moment of your almost-300-year history.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I don't understand. . . .

I don't understand. This isn't New Orleans, and none of these people are poor and black.

It can't be! I'll bet this was just staged on a Hollywood set by some God-hatin' lib'ruls to perpetuate their politically correct lies.

JUST LIKE the "moon landings" in 1969. And 1970.

And 1971.

And 1972.

I just don't get it. This, they say, is not New Orleans. It's some place called "Serbia."

That must be some foreign-language word for "white n****rs." It's got to be.

Neal Boortz said.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Get that man a top hat and a monocle

WWL television in New Orleans promos the above story . . . and Mayor Ray Nagin goes nuts:

Nagin: . . . Our local newspaper for example had me pointing a gun at the police chief, this got all over the internet, all over the nation, and is now sitting on the most racist web sites in America, hate groups now have that picture, so now I am personally more at risk, my family is more at risk.

And I’m a little upset with this station cause you advertising about the ratings, about what’s getting ready to happen with my schedule, you put my personal schedule out there, I am coming back to the station and me and your news director are going to be out in the parking lot having a good one on one.

You do not put my family at risk.

This was a schedule from last year.

I don’t care. That schedule has formal stuff on it. It has patterns on it and now you have these Aryan race people focused on me and you have some mental cases out in this community and you’re getting ready to put my schedule out there. Where are the other elected official’s schedule? Are you going to do a follow up on that? This has gone beyond the point of reasonableness.

You have to understand that you’ve been a lightning rod.

I am sick of this. I have busting my butt bringing this city back. We’re getting ready to get into 2008 and it’s going to be more than a tipping point. This city will go to the next level. This is ridiculous. It’s personal. It’s vindictive. The election is over. If you supported somebody else, get over it.

Would you do anything different, looking back?

I don’t know. Nobody has ever done this. Nobody has taken a city from being totally devastated to where we are now. I don’t know. All I know is that I’ve alienated some people who have significant influence in this community and they are relentlessly trying to destroy and undermine me and I don’t appreciate it.

People who are listening to you speak, people who care about you, may be worried about you because of your emotional state.

Because it’s crossed the line Sally, it’s gotten personal now. I don’t appreciate the fact that I’m being exposed and my family is being exposed now. That was not part of this deal.

You’ve gotten a lot of heat over the past couple of years. I’ve never seen you this emotional.

Well because, your newscast, the local newspapers, are feeding these awful, ugly talk shows that are feeding these blogs. If you go look at some of these blogs out there and some of the stories that come from the paper and you read the comments, it’s some of the most vile, angry, people that I’ve ever seen in this community.

Are you concerned about your safety.

Nagin: I’ve got coverage. If somebody approach me wrong, I’m going to cold cock them. That’s the bottom line. You can come with that foolishness if you want, but you’ll see a side of Ray Nagin that you haven’t seen.

A LARGER-SCREEN version of the video, sans transcript, is here.

Hizzoner says "This is just crazy." Nuts, to the mayor of New Orleans, is questioning how much time he actually spends doing the job he was foolishly elected to do.

Nuts, to the mayor, is examining his official work schedule from last year to see how much time he spent in New Orleans, actually doing the job the half-witted voters foolishly elected him to do. Now, Nagin allegedly is convinced the Nazis and the Kluxers will be able to set up an ambush for him.

All because of Lee Zurik's investigative piece on Channel 4.

The mayor thinks the press has gone nuts. But we all know exactly where the jar of Planters is, now, don't we?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stupid, as opposed to completely nuts

Times-Picayune clarifies Nagin photo

by The Times-Picayune
Wednesday February 13, 2008, 11:40 PM

A photo in some Metro sections and on on Wednesday showed a laughing Mayor Ray Nagin pointing an M-4 rifle at Chief of Police Warren Riley at a news conference to announce new crime fighting equipment purchased by the New Orleans Police Department. A review of a video taken at the event shows that the mayor momentarily pointed the gun at the chief as he was lowering it but he did not deliberately point it at Riley.
WHAT THIS MEANS is that the mayor of Chocolate City is merely a fool who doesn't know how to handle firearms -- remember, every gun is a loaded gun, and you don't point a loaded gun at what you don't intend to shoot -- and not a maniac.

Nagin may be nuts, but there is no evidence thus far that he's a homicidal maniac.

There is plenty of evidence, however, that he is a fool and a buffoon. And thus, the fools and buffoons who reelected one of their own as mayor of New Orleans in the wake of his spectacular Katrina mismanagement have ensured that the entire city will continue to suffer.

Democracy's a bitch, y'know?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Barbarians at the gate

With friends like this, as this Times-Picayune video demonstrates, poor folks in New Orleans are SOL.

These aren't "activists," and they aren't "progressives." What they are . . . are barbarians.
At the gate.

The fear of being associated in any way with uncivilized, anarchistic trash such as this is why I'll never call myself "progressive." I prefer last New Deal Democrat standing, myself.

In the case of New Orleans' homegrown idiots and professional
mau-mauers -- not to mention Slacker Nation that showed up in "solidarity" with them -- "progressive" couldn't be more ironic a moniker.

I'd say these fools are positively
regressive. Regressive all the way back to Attila the Hun at the gates of Rome.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The fire next time

God gave Noah the rainbow sign don't you see
God gave Noah the rainbow sign,
no more water but fire next time
Hide me, O Rock of Ages, cleft for me
God gave Noah the rainbow sign don't you see

And this is how New Orleans passes into the cold and restless night. Not by the flood, but self-immolated in the fires of social disorder, poverty, ignorance and the politics of race and resentment.

Now, as the federal government gets ready -- amid a housing crisis -- to tear down public-housing projects that long have been problematic, all hell is about to break loose. Already, as WDSU television reports, anonymous propagandists are threatening acts of terrorism -- an arson spree to begin when the bulldozers roll:

As the demolition of three housing developments looms on the heels of many heated City Hall protests, a new poster promises one condominium will be destroyed for every public housing unit that’s torn down.

The posters are being circulated on the streets of New Orleans. NewsChannel 6 staff members found one of the posters just outside the studio.

The posters depict a flaming condominium and declare “For every public housing unit destroyed, a condo will be destroyed. If there will be no homes for us and relief from high rents, there will be no homes for the rich either.”

It’s signed “Sincerely, the angry and the powerless.”

The FBI is investigating the posters as the special agent in charge calls their distribution “an act of domestic terror.” Meanwhile, U.S. Senator David Vitter is urging the U.S. attorney to get involved.

“We take this very seriously any time we have an issue where individuals allegedly will use force of violence to impact a political or social decision,” FBI Special Agent In Charge James Bernazzani said. “We consider that a terrorist threat and we’ll move very, very aggressively.”

If those involved are caught and convicted, they could face 10 years in prison.

IN A FUNCTIONING civil society, threats of terrorism -- which represent terrorism in and of itself -- are no way to get your way. Likewise, a functioning civil society would have found a way around the housing crisis -- which would include some means of housing the working poor, the elderly and the disabled while allowing for the long-overdue removal of these petri dishes for entrenched poverty and crime.

New Orleans, and Louisiana as a whole, do not exemplify functioning civil societies, alas. So there you go.

Everyday mayhem and dysfunction has degenerated into terrorism -- or at least widespread threats thereof. Way down yonder in America's Chechnya.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Why I rage against the machine

There's a reason why I rant and I rave and I rage against the daily stupidities, large and small, of Louisiana -- my home state, where I have not lived for almost 20 years.

Part of that reason is -- whether I like it or not . . . and I don't, really, because apathy and indifference is always the easier course -- I still care. I still love the place because it's still home.

I can't always stand the place, but you know how that is.

THE OTHER PART of why I rant and I rave and I rage against Louisiana's proclivity for being "stuck on stupid" is the place can't afford that anymore. As if it ever could.

But especially not now, because it's sinn fein, baby. Ourselves alone . . . or, rather, themselves (or yourselves, as the case might be) alone.


The feds ain't gonna be the cavalry riding to the rescue. If the grudging "help" offered by the Bush Administration is any guide, the feds may well turn out to be the Indians, who've come to take you out, Louisiana. Because, to them, you're nothing but a pain in the ass that somebody who rides horses for a living is well rid of.

Of course, they're not going to be honest enough to tell Louisianians that, because it's so much less unpleasant to promise help to the dying while making sure it doesn't get delivered until. . . .

And, besides, you're a pain in the ass.

Anyway, I see
this story, courtesy of The Associated Press, as one of those little stories that tell the Big Story in a way you can get your brain around:

In what some see as another bureaucratic absurdity after Hurricane Katrina, FEMA is refusing to pick up the cost of restocking New Orleans' aquarium because of how the new fish were obtained: straight from the sea.

FEMA would have been willing to pay more than $600,000 for the fish if they had been bought from commercial suppliers. But the agency is balking because the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas went out and replaced the dead fish the old fashioned way, with hooks and nets. That expedition saved the taxpayers a half-million dollars but did not comply with FEMA regulations.

"You get to the point where the red tape has so overwhelmed the process that there's not a lot you can do to actually be effective," Warren Eller, associate director of the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute at Louisiana State University, said of FEMA's actions.

Katrina knocked out power to the tourist attraction at the edge of the French Quarter in August 2005, and the staff returned days four days later to find sharks, tropical fish, jellyfish and thousands of other creatures dead in their tanks.

Aquarium officials wanted to reopen the place quickly. So even before the $616,000 commitment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency came through, they sent a team on an expedition to the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Keys and Bahamas, where they caught 1,681 fish for $99,766.

Despite the clear savings, the dispute has dragged on for 17 months.

"FEMA does not consider it reasonable when an applicant takes excursions to collect specimens," FEMA quality control manager Barb Schweda wrote in a 2006 e-mail. "They must be obtained through reputable sources where, again, the item is commercially available."

FEMA's refusal to reimburse the aquarium is grounded in the Stafford Act, the federal law governing disaster aid that has been criticized as inadequate for Katrina recovery. The Stafford Act says facilities can only be returned to their pre-disaster condition, not improved. Under those rules, the aquarium would have to buy fish of the approximate age and size of the lost specimens.

State experts and others counter that acquiring thousands of duplicates in the marketplace is nearly impossible, and a waste of public money.

IF THERE WERE any political percentage in undoing the Catch 22, I suspect the Bush Administration would set about that with the same zeal it had for getting us into Iraq and then keeping us there, no matter the cost in lives and dollars. But there isn't any such percentage.

Americans might be mad that Bush screwed up the immediate Katrina aftermath, but it's not like they want him to make it right at this late date or anything.

Sinn fein.


Root, hog, or die.

WHICH BRINGS ME -- and you knew that it would -- to Baton Rouge Magnet High School. The sad saga of Baton Rouge High, my alma mater, is another of those sad little stories that help tell the Big Sad Story.

In a sinn fein world, the few first-rate high schools Louisiana has make up a precious resource, one more important than crawfish or oil and gas. The oil and gas are going to run out. Not everybody likes crawfish. And when the fossil-fuel deposits are gone from Louisiana, only the most crustacean-crazed Americans are going to give a mudbug's chimney about the Gret Stet.

Louisiana, absent some radical attitude adjustment, then will be seen as offering no return on a hefty pain-in-the-ass investment.

ON THE OTHER HAND, young minds, and the ideas and big dreams inside them, are a renewable resource. Unfortunately, Louisiana has been maltreating and squandering its most precious resource -- its children and their dreams -- forever.

Baton Rouge High is a dump now. Baton Rougeans seem to be OK with sending their precious children to a dump to be educated . . .
however much of that can occur in a crumbling hovel.

And Baton Rouge High is not the only crumbling dump Louisianians send their children off to for 13 years of whatever -- in too many of those hovels -- passes for "education." Far from it.

The faculty, staff and students of Baton Rouge Magnet High are heroic. From every measurement, it would appear that amazing things still happen there educationally, just as in my day during the late 1970s. But heroes are singled out for a reason -- there aren't that many of them, as a rule.

But every child, I think, knows when society has screwed him over. Louisiana, one of this country's least-educated states, nevertheless has earned a Ph.D in screwing over its children.

IT IS REAPING what it has sown forever, though the harvest comes in in various forms. Some kids just grow up undereducated, unmotivated and unproductive. Some turn to crime . . . born innocent only to end up rotting in Angola prison.

Others just fall short of their full potential, meaning Louisiana does as well.

Many of the best and brightest -- who, for the most part, got that way with little help from Louisiana, thankyouverymuch -- take their revenge via U-Haul. And Ryder.

After all, what in the world could a state that cared so little about them then offer them now?

AFTER SEEING WHAT I SAW over several hours one late-September day at Baton Rouge High, after seeing what was allowed to become of my old school . . . on behalf of myself and on behalf of the kids who go to BRMHS now, I walked out of there feeling absolutely violated.

A civilized people does not do this to anybody's children.

I was born and raised in Baton Rouge and, knowing what I know, I have to admit that I swing back and forth between thinking Louisiana has a slim-but-real chance at long-term survival and succumbing to utter despair for the place.

Again, I am someone whose Louisiana roots go back to the 1780s.

So if I feel that way, what the hell do you think the feds and the rest of the U.S. think? They think Louisiana not only is hopeless, but probably that it ought to be more-or-less politically and civically euthanized.

Because we're that kind of country now.

THAT'S WHY Baton Rouge High matters. Places like Baton Rouge High are Louisiana's only hope, because it IS sinn fein, baby.

And look what the hell Louisiana has done -- is doing -- to its last best hope.

God help them.

UPDATE: It occurs to me that I first saw the "sinn fein, baby" riff in print on Ashley Morris: the blog out of New Orleans last year. I recall having pretty much the same thought around the same time, but I don't remember using it in print. Ashley did, and it was bugging me that I had overlooked giving credit where credit is due for a hell of a good line.