Thursday, December 15, 2005

Screw you New Orleans!

I think I must have repeated almost precisely the same words as in the following paragraph in today's Washington Post editorial, dozens if not hundreds of times, in conversation and here in PGR, and so have every one of Louisiana's bloggers listed in the sidebar:

ASK ANYONE in New Orleans or from New Orleans. Read the New Orleans and Baton Rouge newspapers. Listen to Louisiana politicians. All of them say the same thing: Few people will move back, and no true reconstruction will begin, until the federal government commits itself to rebuilding the federally constructed levees whose failure led to the flooding of the city in the first place. Nobody wants to live in a place that is certain to flood again and where nothing permanent can be planned.

So if The Washington Post gets it, why doesn't that shit-for-brains cheating, lying, chickenhawk monkey boy president get it?!!! Isn't there anyone in the White House who can put a friggin' teleprompter in front of that pinhead so he can stammer the words "New Orleans will never flood again!" Oh ... but I guess when Bush stood in Jackson Square, three months ago today, and spoke the words "this great city will rise again," he was uttering the equivalant of his daddie's campaign pledge on raising taxes, "Read my lips. No new taxes." I guess they'll both just "disassemble" whenever they need to in order to dupe the spineless press and the short-memoried population, and to divert attention from their own miserable leadership skills.

With that in mind, when Bush said the following in Jackson Square:
You need to know that our whole nation cares about you, and in the journey ahead you're not alone.

What he was really thinking was this:
Fuck you! Why don't you people learn how to swim!

Look at this lying asshole -- he looks like he stole cookies out of the cookie jar!

Back to the Washington Post editorial, check this out -- where'd they come up with this stupid idea?
Congress should therefore do the right thing: Drop the plan to pay for flood insurance for those who don't have it, since that will discourage others elsewhere from taking out flood insurance.

Oh, so if you lived in an area in which you weren't required to have a flood insurance policy because your home wasn't zoned as a flood area requiring insurance -- because the feds built levees to protect the city -- well then, screw you! Or if you bought your house decades ago, before flood insurance existed, screw you! Or you were just one of those cantankerous stubborn old farts who refused to give the government any more of your hard-earned life savings (come on, everyone knows one), well screw you! Or you inherited a home that was paid off and therefore never had to go through the process of applying for a mortgage which requires the purchaser to show proof of flood insurance, yeah, screw you! Or maybe you lived in the Lower Ninth Ward and owned your home by scraping together what you could afford to pay, or maybe inherited it, or lived with your own family along with your brothers' and sisters' families, all under one roof, so you could afford to buy a house, or maybe in your list of priorities, putting food on the table was just more important than paying for insurance. Yeah, well, screw you! Or, maybe just because you're an American and goddamnit, they were, after all, federal levees which we were always told could handle a fast-moving Category 3 storm -- just like Katrina (actually Katrina was more like a Category 2 when it passed by New Orleans) -- uh huh, that's right, screw you! Or maybe the federal government owes it to people who didn't have flood insurance, just because they're taxpaying American citizens, and it's the right thing to do! Yep, screw you!

Oh yeah? If that's the attitude we're going to get, well you know what, we're going to start the biggest goddamn liability suit the world has ever known against the federal government, and wait until you see the bill for pain and suffering! Let's not forget the hundreds of thousands of people still exiled from their homes, in what was the largest exodus of people from a city in the history of the United States, many of them now penniless and unemployed.

Then we're going to secede from the United States, sell the territory back to France, apply to France for assistance, share with them the oil and gas from our shores which supplies 20 percent of the nation's needs, we'll keep the $5 billion in offshore lease revenues that the feds won't give us, and we'll keep our seafood which supplies 20 percent of the American market, and we'll leave the rest of the country to freeze in the dark!

So screw all y'all chicken screwers! Keep your goddamn monkey president. He's a friggin' idiot who can barely read his teleprompter, who thinks poking sticks in bees' nests will make us safer, who's running the biggest goddamn deficit in history and passing it on to this nation's future generations, who's got us into the costliest war in history other than WWII, and whose lies aren't just inconsequential or embarrassing, but get Americans killed.

To which I'll close by repeating one of the best lines I've heard in ages: Somebody give Bush a blowjob so we can impeach him!


At 12/15/2005 06:07:00 AM, Blogger Polimom said...

It is truly one of the great mysteries, just at the moment, why pretty much everybody seems to "get it" except the federal government about what has to be done w/ the levees. I'm thinking that rather than a vow of silence, the problem may be more that nobody has told Bush how to handle this... given him the words yet. No doubt Rove or Cheney will help him with a statement soon.

About flood insurance, though... I think WaPo is right here. What would be the point of anybody ever paying for insurance again if the government will pay anyway? The Federal Flood Insurance was not the only option.

I can't imagine very many parts of New Orleans where I'd think "Nope. Doesn't flood here! I don't need insurance." Regular hazard insurance isn't required on any house once it's paid off, anyway. Should people who choose not to buy it, and then see their houses burn down because they lived near a forest, expect someone to pay for it anyway?

Yes, I realize that's somewhat simplified. There is some level of common sense called for here, though.

At 12/15/2005 06:57:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Hi polimom,

The insurance issue is a vexing one. All of your remarks are valid. I think that in the final analysis, it's really a moral question. Let's say that 7 out of 10 homes were insured for flooding (a figure I've actually heard but can't confirm), well who exactly are those people going to be? My guess is they're going to be the poor and the illiterate (remember, we're talking about a city where functional illiteracy is somewhere around 25 or 30 percent). Those are people who, despite their difficulties, managed to achieve home ownership somehow. I think it's important to acknowledge that poverty and lack of education leads to lower levels of understanding about the world, and therefore, impaired skills of judgment. If you have a good education, you have an advantaged ability to get information, and you travel in circles where people talk about things like flood insurance.

Aside from that, it's also an economic issue. As a society, what is going to be the price of dumping all those people on the street. Home ownership is a vital key to self-improvement. Once you take that away, those people become a potential burden on society, and will produce elevated crime rates. You can either pay up front, or pay down the road.

I understand that there's a significant element of personal responsibility in securing your home from disaster. I just don't think it's as simple as saying that we need to cut people off so we don't encourage free-riders in the future. This is an extremely unique situation. We aren't, after all, talking about people who have beachfront condos they use for vacations. I wholeheartedly support the idea of getting rid of government-backed disaster insurance for those people. Let them get private insurance and pay the true private cost of risky development. Would I put those people in Waveland in that category of beachfront government freeloaders? Well, no, I wouldn't. I do think disaster assistance should be handled on a case-by-case basis.

I'm sure you can buy insurance for absolutely any eventuality. What about those families in Indiana whose homes were destroyed in that killer tornado several weeks ago? Do you think they carried insurance for that eventuality? I could be wrong, but I doubt that their homeowner's insurance covers that kind of damage, yet those people should have known they lived in an area susceptible to tornados. Should they be punished by making them destitute, paying for a destroyed house, or declaring bankruptcy and financial ruin for life?

Let me flip the issue of responsibility around by asking what incentive there is for the federal government to do better work on critical infrastructure projects if there's no accountability -- no liability for shoddy engineering?

The issue of liability is a necessary component of justice and economics, guiding personal and institutional behavior. Should we just let the government take a pass on this one? Should we let the government off the hook after it built a levee system around New Orleans to protect people's homes from flooding, and thereby stimulated development in areas that would otherwise be highly prone to flooding? New Orleans residents get a discount on flood insurance precisely because there's an expectation that the levee system works.

I know it's a tough issue. I think we need to be tough and do the right thing because it is the right thing, and that's what we do as a nation -- we do the right thing (or at least that's what we keep boasting to ourselves and the rest of the world).

At 12/15/2005 07:24:00 AM, Blogger da po' boy said...

Regarding Bush, he’s in over his head. I don’t listen to his promises anymore. My five-year-old knows it’s not what you say, it’s what you do.
Regarding flood insurance, the government must cover those who do not have flood insurance. We pay taxes to the government, which then uses our money to build levees. That is a type of “flood insurance” that we “buy” so that we might not need get traditional flood insurance.
So, I don’t have a problem with people who don’t have flood insurance because they live within levees that are supposed to protect them. For example, only 10% of the residents in St. Bernard Parish had flood insurance, including the president and emergency planner, simply because it never floods in some areas of St. Bernard, which is mostly above see level.
However, in a major disaster like Katrina, the federal government will have to pay for a lot of the rebuilding because the local government’s resources are depleted and the business and tax base of the area is devastated. Basically, no one is making any money (except carpetbaggers). In which case, I would say the government should offer some type of “hurricane insurance” that covers everything that can happen in the special case of a hurricane, like flooding in areas that don’t flood. If the feds are going to have to pay for it anyway, they might as well get something in return.
The hurricane insurance could also cover things like mold remediation and new refrigerators for houses that don’t get completely flooded out.

At 12/15/2005 07:26:00 AM, Blogger Polimom said...


As you point out, it's a vexing problem.

The poverty and poor education issue(s) in NOLA are, of course, not under debate. We all agree there, I think. But everybody who flooded (and I don't mean Lakeview) was not poor. In fact, the 9th Ward was predominantly middle class.

Nor was I trying to say that the responsibility for the levee failures and ensuing flooding rests on the individual homeowners. However, like many places along the Gulf Coast (including much of Houston), parts of NOLA flood even in a tropical storm. Not like it did when the levees failed, no... but nevertheless, there was absolutely a known risk.

I may have to go and blog a whole entry on this one, rather than bury it in your comments section (smile...). It's an important issue, and I'm glad you brought the whole thing up.

At 12/15/2005 09:11:00 AM, Blogger Nabil said...

Wow. That's one of the better written arguments I've read lately. I'll try to spread it around, because you are right on the mark -- especially about the part of re-joining France.

At 12/15/2005 09:17:00 AM, Blogger Polimom said...

So - on the good news side (for a change...)

Some levee hope, at last!

At 12/15/2005 12:30:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Hmmm ... polimom, re-reading my comment I said 7 of 10 homes *did have* flood insurance. That's a typo - the number I heard was that 7 of 10 homes *did not have* flood insurance.

At 12/15/2005 07:42:00 PM, Blogger Maverick said...

Good point about the cookie jar....

Can't wait to hear what you have to say about the plan to rebuild the levees the White House told Ray Nagin about today.

Are you partying? Or, are you preparing a response to rip them a new A-hole?

Spitting in a Wishing Well

At 12/17/2005 04:01:00 PM, Blogger Chris Laurel said...

Republicans talk about traditional values, then they engage the nastiest campaigns our country has ever seen, creating a cynical deluded nation that is at a cultural war with itself. They don't discuss community, and if they do it is only to win votes, because this country sure doesn't feel much like a community anymore.

Republicans question whether the country would be safer under Democrats, but then they laugh off the very reasonable notion that their hounding the Clinton Administration for all eight years of his presidency did not distract it from running the government, thus making it more difficult to stop a man like Osama bin Laden.

They say they believe in family values, but then they ridicule their opponents' families and wives. Yet we still believe they are for values? Look at who they elect and put into power.

They say that they have adopted liberal ideas, but then they laugh and ridicule the worst problems in this country and those who suffer from them. And that they suffer from as well.

They say that they have adopted liberal ideas, but then they advocate torture, governing in secret and abandoning our own people.

Republicans talk about personal responsibility, and that you should be able to control your spending and thus they make it nearly impossible for people to relieve themselves of their debts. But then they encourage us to spend money to save the economy and they loosen credit lending restrictions to people who can't afford it. Then the credit card companies send these people blank checks in the mail telling them to buy food and pay bills with their credit cards. Then people end up eating a bagel not for 50 cents, but $4. These same credit card companies are the ones who initiated "Bankruptcy reform." But it's their fault. Oh yeah, then Republicans argue against a minimum wage. And we don't wonder where this is taking us?

Republicans talk about personal responsibility, but they don't realize the arguments they use against drug legalization are the very arguments that can be used for repeal of the 2nd Amendment. And they aren't even for gun control. And they are very much for repealing rights in the Constitution. And they don't even follow the Constitution to do it. Sounds like personal responsibility is code language for "who gets the money?"

I've begun a chronicle of the hypocrisy in the Republican's reasoning, and I invite anyone to add to it. Warning, it must be accurate and verifiable.

At 12/17/2005 08:37:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Wow Chris. An incredibly well-written and cited response. Thanks for your contribution. I shall be spending quite a while working my way through those references. I'm heading over to your blog now. It may take me a while to take it in. I'll print that post and give it a better read.


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