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�2006 Candor Communications


2005-09-02 - 3:26 p.m.

help me if you can...


YAY!

I'm getting some emails cautioning me and berating me, some disregarding what i am saying because they see my venting frustration as "Bush bashing" (their term)... if you read fairly, I think you'll see it's not Bush bashing, it's poor emergency response bashing... it's just the Bush administration screwing up now... FEMA is disfunctional...


excuse me Mr. President, but did anybody check the FEMA Director's Resume?...

but...

"Bush said officials did not anticipate the levees breaking around New Orleans." ~ Houston Chronical...

Good morning American how are you?

some of the videos on that site newspaper site are so painful... but the gaul, "officials did not anticipate..."... right?...

Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen? 'Times-Picayune' Had Repeatedly Raised Federal Spending Issues

By Will Bunch

Published: August 31, 2005 9:00 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA Even though Hurricane Katrina has moved well north of the city, the waters may still keep rising in New Orleans. That's because Lake Pontchartrain continues to pour through a two-block-long break in the main levee, near the city's 17th Street Canal. With much of the Crescent City some 10 feet below sea level, the rising tide may not stop until it's level with the massive lake.

New Orleans had long known it was highly vulnerable to flooding and a direct hit from a hurricane. In fact, the federal government has been working with state and local officials in the region since the late 1960s on major hurricane and flood relief efforts. When flooding from a massive rainstorm in May 1995 killed six people, Congress authorized the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, or SELA.

Over the next 10 years, the Army Corps of Engineers, tasked with carrying out SELA, spent $430 million on shoring up levees and building pumping stations, with $50 million in local aid. But at least $250 million in crucial projects remained, even as hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin increased dramatically and the levees surrounding New Orleans continued to subside.

Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. 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.

Newhouse News Service, in an article posted late Tuesday night at The Times-Picayune Web site, reported: "No one can say they didn't see it coming. ... Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."

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 a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.

On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."

Also that June, with the 2004 hurricane season starting, the Corps' project manager Al Naomi went before a local agency, the East Jefferson Levee Authority, and essentially begged for $2 million for urgent work that Washington was now unable to pay for. From the June 18, 2004 Times-Picayune:

"The system is in great shape, but the levees are sinking. Everything is sinking, and if we don't get the money fast enough to raise them, then we can't stay ahead of the settlement," he said. "The problem that we have isn't that the levee is low, but that the federal funds have dried up so that we can't raise them."

The panel authorized that money, and on July 1, 2004, it had to pony up another $250,000 when it learned that stretches of the levee in Metairie had sunk by four feet. The agency had to pay for the work with higher property taxes. The levee board noted in October 2004 that the feds were also now not paying for a hoped-for $15 million project to better shore up the banks of Lake Pontchartrain.

The 2004 hurricane season was the worst in decades. In spite of that, the federal government came back this spring with the steepest reduction in hurricane and flood-control funding for New Orleans in history. Because of the proposed cuts, the Corps office there imposed a hiring freeze. Officials said that money targeted for the SELA project -- $10.4 million, down from $36.5 million -- was not enough to start any new jobs.

There was, at the same time, a growing recognition that more research was needed to see what New Orleans must do to protect itself from a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. But once again, the money was not there. As the Times-Picayune reported last Sept. 22:

"That second study would take about four years to complete and would cost about $4 million, said Army Corps of Engineers project manager Al Naomi. About $300,000 in federal money was proposed for the 2005 fiscal-year budget, and the state had agreed to match that amount. But the cost of the Iraq war forced the Bush administration to order the New Orleans district office not to begin any new studies, and the 2005 budget no longer includes the needed money, he said."

The Senate was seeking to restore some of the SELA funding cuts for 2006. But now it's too late.

One project that a contractor had been racing to finish this summer: a bridge and levee job right at the 17th Street Canal, site of the main breach on Monday.

The Newhouse News Service article published Tuesday night observed, "The Louisiana congressional delegation urged Congress earlier this year to dedicate a stream of federal money to Louisiana's coast, only to be opposed by the White House. ... In its budget, the Bush administration proposed a significant reduction in funding for southeast Louisiana's chief hurricane protection project. Bush proposed $10.4 million, a sixth of what local officials say they need."

Local officials are now saying, the article reported, that had Washington heeded their warnings about the dire need for hurricane protection, including building up levees and repairing barrier islands, "the damage might not have been nearly as bad as it turned out to be."

----------------------------------------------------------
Will Bunch (letters@editorandpublisher.com) is senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992 when he reported for Newsday. Much of this article also appears on his blog, Attytood, at the Daily News.

oh frunkleburries... I need distraction... I started this entry with humor on my mind, albeit warped humor, but humor nonetheless... at times like these I stretch the limits of decourum and reach way beyond political correctness to see just how far my sense of humour can stretch... I've fund it can stretch well into most people's "quite offended" zones and some people's "highly offended" areas... but then, most people have rather limited errogenous zones and areas too, so whatever that means, I am determined to spend today, with the assistance of Code Red and Mega M&M's (yes, I finally found some), saying something offensive to everyone just to vent the frustration with the political football that disasters turn into and the political spins the media creates and allows just to stay in business...

excuse me while I gag on "the comforter and chief"...

I don't make these things up...

so anyway, I had a few paragraphs written toward that very end, being somewhere near the butt, but those paragraphs and the links contained therein are gone, swallowed by a slip of the fingers and forgetting what was copied needs to be pasted before something else is compied...

but before I venture into alienating the entire human race, I have a question... now that I've watched more "NEWS" in the last few days than I've watched in some years, I'd like to know who is on who's side... I mean, which is the flaming gay news, the bleeding heart liberal news, the stick-up-the-butt conserative news, the ultra-facist conservative news... the KKK news, the commie news, you know, which news station slants which way... somebody must know, the news gets high ratings after all...

anyway (there might be a lot of anyways in this entry... maybe I should put up a warning sign or something), I was not the only one pondering the question Andymatic pondered recently... who builds a city that lies below sea-level?... well...

New Orleans
Bangkok
Amsterdam
Venice
Atlantis

hey, but at last the last one became a hit TV show...

meanwhile, in the mainstrea media, a supposedly very pro-Bush newspaper, The Washington Times, says:

Time to crack heads

TODAY'S EDITORIAL
September 2, 2005

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.

. . . 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.

even staunch administration supporters can not come up with reasonable justifications for the extended lag time between the oncoming storm, the catastrophic landfall, the lingering aftermath and the actual mobilization of serious help... there's a bipartisan agreement that something should have been done a week ago... was no one at the White House watching the news?...

"I don't want to see anybody do any more goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don't do another press conference until the resources are in this city, and they come down to this city, and stand with us, with their military trucks and troops that we can't even count. Don't tell me there are 40,000 people coming here, they're not here! It's too goddamn late!" ~ From New Orleans Mayor Roy Nagin's interview, September 2nd, 2005

hmmm, is "Great Job" on top on purpose?... with a conditional encouragement disclaimer attached?... and are the negative votes divided between three different answers on purpose too?... it's a POLL... it was 30% "Great Job!" and 66% split among the three negative responses when I was there...

what do you think?...

but you know I just go here because I'm a big sports fan...

living large...






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