Monday, July 31, 2006

Iraq occupation now exceeds $300 billion

The cost of the war in Iraq and the ongoing occupation has now surpassed $300 billion (nominally). The cost to New Orleans taxpayers is now well over $248 million. That cost is actually likely to soar to more than ten times the nominal estimate before it's all said and done when one considers:

  • Equipment maintenance and replacement costs that are being delayed by the Bush administration to make it seem like the money spigot isn't opened up as wide as it is.

  • Lifetime veterans benefits as we care for the nearly 19,000 (documented) wounded soldiers, and hundreds of thousands of other veterans entitled to their benefits. To date, 18,988 American soldiers have been wounded in Iraq.

  • There's absolutely no end in sight. Bushco screwed things up so badly that his profiteering friends will be able to milk taxpayers for the botched occupation long after he gets put out to pasture in Crawford.

Tags: Bush is a moron | Impeach Bush | George W Bush | Worst President Ever | Iraq |  |  |  |  |  | 

res ipsa loquitur

The rebuilding of New Orleans is the most important planning process in American history. More than half of the population remains displaced far outside the city. Is it adequate to advertise critical planning meetings by simply putting them on your Web site, and adding them to the usual list of meetings in the newspaper? Or would you use more effective mediums of communication like television and radio in various markets?

res ipsa loquitur

The Pavilion of the Two Sisters at the City Park Botanical Gardens is a lovely venue for a wedding reception, but if you invited the entire city to your wedding, would you choose the Pavilion?

res ipsa loquitur

If it were important for people to be able to speak to one another in large groups corresponding to each of the 13 New Orleans planning districts, wouldn't you think that one big room with solid walls, floors, and ceilings would just become one big echo chamber?

res ipsa loquitur

An appreciation of the geography of the city, the rivalry of neighborhoods, classes, and races is vital to an understanding of how to sensitively bring people together into a unified planning vision. Would you call in people who have no local planning experience just days before they were supposed to facilitate planning discussions?

res ipsa loquitur

You want the process to be inclusive and democratic. Would you only invite people to vote in that process who aren't displaced and who have an email address?

res ipsa loquitur

You're a planner, and you want to hold a citywide meeting. Would you open the calendar to make sure you didn't schedule the meeting on the same night as, say, perhaps the most widely-attended neighborhood gathering in the country -- the National Night Out Against Crime on Tuesday, August 1st?

res ipsa loquitur

Hat tip: Melinda, for the latin inspiration.


Adrastos -- fubar

Michael Homan -- Red Dots for the UNOP

Metroblogging New Orleans (Maitri) -- What Is UNOP?: Sunday's Unified New Orleans Plan(ning) Meeting

Becky Houtman -- Unified New Orleans Plan -- My Take So Far on 11 Months of Development

Mid-City Neighborhood Organization -- Sunday's UNOP Meeting

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Eddie's batting 0 for 6000 so far

Eddie! Hey Eddie! Eddie Jordan!

Am I talkin' to you? Yeah I'm talkin' to you!

Instead of wasting your friggin' time trying to cover yer ass on Chuck F.Y.F.F. Foti's hyped-up, election-bid incriminations against the heroism of Dr. Anna Pou and two nurses, why don't you poll the public to find out what they think about the release of indigent defendants because your office can't get them to trial.

Criminal District Court Judge Arthur Hunter:

"After 11 months of waiting, 11 months of meetings, 11 months of idle talk, 11 months without a sensible recovery plan and 11 months of tolerating those who have the authority to solve, correct and fix the problem but either refuse, fail or are just inept, then necessary action must be taken to protect the constitutional rights of people." ...

With 6,000 cases looming, it is time for District Attorney Eddie Jordan to start "the process of determining which cases can be prosecuted."

Or maybe we should shut off the A/C to the D.A.'s office and let temperatures soar over 100 degrees like it was inside Memorial Medical Center until you get through your caseload. Think that might re-align your priorities?

By the way Eddie, I think you still owe the taxpayers $3.58 million.

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The Metairie of the Superdome

Mr. Clio's comment in an earlier PGR post about the Saints was so funny I had to promote it. In that post, I talked about how the Saints surprisingly sold out all of their season tickets, but uncertainty remained about whether the luxury suites would sell out.

Mr. Clio:

Trust me: it won't be the Terrace that's empty.

It'll be the "Club" section or, as Dillyberto likes to call it, "the Metairie of the Superdome." You know, come late, leave early, boo at the earliest opportunity. Then complain about the traffic as you leave late in the third quarter. Then lie to everybody and tell them you were there to see the Saints' comeback. That "Club" section.

Trust me: the Terrace will be rocking. And Bush will be signed within six days.

Great prediction! Reggie agreed "in principle" to a contract yesterday.

Thanks Mr. Clio and Dillyberto!

This reminds me of a funny remark I heard someone else make about how people from Metairie shouldn't be allowed to open cheesy restaurants on Magazine Street (meaning, of course, no offense to Metairie people who "get it" -- it's a mindset more than a product of geography).

Sunday, July 30, 2006

XOXO Big Easy Roller Girls

I got some merch,

won a raffle T-shirt, saw my old blog friend Ray and one of my favorite people from back in the day, Jason, who now plays in A Clockwork Elvis, and won a little-boy's-dream-come-true experience on the first try at the wheel (thanks for being such a good sport Laura) -- although it seems apparent that Laura rigged the wheel! :-)


The Big Easy Roller Girls: Through Hell and High Water

7/29/2006 Community Gumbo

Sunday morning music: Nicolas Maw, "Violin Concerto," Joshua Bell, LPO.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Big Easy Roller Girls: Through Hell and High Water

WTUL aired an incredible feature on Community Gumbo this morning about the Big Easy Roller Girls.

Don't forget to support our girls at One-Eyed Jacks tonight. You might get a Roller Girl T-shirt!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Critical city-wide planning meetings

Sunday, July 30
12-4 p.m., Pavilion of the Two Sisters at City Park

A city-wide meeting to begin the process for community members to be involved in the selection of the technical assistance teams of professionals to support them in neighborhood, district and city-wide planning. Attendees will establish criteria for working with the assistance teams, define neighborhood boundaries and confirm projects for each of the 13 planning districts. Everyone is encouraged to attend. Refreshments and childcare will be provided.

Tuesday, August 1
4-9 p.m., Pavilion of the Two Sisters at City Park
(Note: Voting has been extended to Monday Aug 9th)
Meeting participants will select their top three choices for technical assistance teams to support their planning process. Participants will be able to visit tables for each of the teams to ask questions from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm. Beginning around 6:00 pm, each of the teams will conduct formal presentations. Each team will present twice from 6:00pm until 9:00pm allowing participants enough time to listen and review these teams. Following this meeting and until 5:00pm on Monday, August 9, participants will have the opportunity to select their top three teams.

Unified New Orleans Plan

Vatulblog -- Day 332: Wet

Northwest Carrollton -- UNOP

Northwest Carrollton -- Whose Plan is it Anyway?

Toulouse Street -- The Recovery Process Explained (flowchart)

ThinkNOLA -- Unified Planning Process (wiki)

Becky Houtman -- New Orleans Community Support Foundation?

Metroblogging New Orleans -- NEIGHBORHOOD Planning

Metroblogging New Orleans -- You Must Attend The Unified New Orleans Plan Meeting This Sunday

New Orleans Community Support Foundation-approved planning teams

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You gotta have faith

Saints fans are only bested by Packers fans (in my estimation) in their ranking among the most die-hard in the NFL. Year after year, the Saints turned out pitiful winning records, but Saints fans kept buying tickets.

Why? Because the Saints have a name, a logo, team colors, and a spirit which, despite the odds, reflect the unique cultural character of New Orleans.

The Saints have only had trouble selling tickets when owner Tom Benson threatened to move the team.

Now, WWL is reporting that every single season ticket has been sold for the coming season. While there remain some suites that haven't sold, this is a testament to the pride of Saints fans in one of the important symbols of their home here on the Gulf Coast -- and their hope in Reggie Bush.


Benson born-again New Orleanian?

New Orleans gutted

The New Orleans agnostics

Tom Benson is a jackass

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Eddie Jordan's popularity contest

Wednesday morning:

"La, la, la ... ho hum ... well ... here I am back at work in the D.A.'s office."

"Oh ... I'm so bored with my boss having just 6000 cases to prosecute. I wonder if there are any special projects I might dream up today to please my boss Mr. Jordan ..."

"Oh, I know! I'm going to open up the phone book and just start calling people to see if prosecuting Dr. Anna Pou and nurses Lori Budo and Cheri Landry is a popular idea!"

The secretary at the Orleans District attorney's office has been asking people, "Are you for the trial or against the trial?"

When WWL First News asked her why she was tracking public opinon, she said the she "was just turning this in to Mr. Jordan." ...

"This was totally something that was done by the switchboard operator," said [D.A. spokeswoman Leatrice] Dupree. "And we're going to talk to her about that, because our office does not take polls. We don't do that."

You're such an ass Eddie! This ain't no friggin' popularity contest between you and that wipe who calls himself the Attorney General. Get a pair! And tell Chuck F.Y.F.F Foti it's time to learn how to play shuffle board.

By the way Eddie, you'll never win a popularity contest in this town as long as you owe the taxpayers $3.58 million:
Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan's administration must pay $3.58 million in damages and fees for violating the civil rights of workers by using skin color as a factor in firing them, a federal judge has ruled. ...

The statistics alone helped persuade the federal jury to find Jordan liable for firing 43 white workers and replacing them with black employees.

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Nagin mooches credit for planning process

What "ball" are you referring to Ray Ray? The one that residents themselves brought to the game? I'm just asking, because I don't recall your involvement in this process at all. Showing up to associate yourself with a process after neighborhood groups took matters into their own hands without your leadership, guidance, or even your input, does not make you eligible for credit.

"They (the neighborhoods) have moved forward and taken the ball and run with it," said Nagin. "Now we have a unified planning process that's come in line with the LRA and the Greater New Orleans foundation, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation."

1) A scab or freeloader who comes to your house uninvited and overstays his welcome (for more than about 3 days) and proceeds to eat all your food, stink up your bathroom, take all your drugs and just generally leech all the blood from your body during their stay.

2) A sponge. A schnorrer. A person who shows up every evening at dinner time. A person who wants other people to pay his way.

3) Someone who wants something for free .. someone who takes and takes but doesn't give back.

P.S.: We're still wondering if you were thinking about finishing that 100-day plan, or if you were just going to throw in the towel for the next four years. Because if you're throwing in the towel, we'd be happy to redo the election and have Mitch be the mayor!

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

What goes around, comes around

Local bloggers are wetting their pants and spitting all over their keyboards laughing at a graphic on the Toulouse Street blog, by wetbankguy, which illustrates how the New Orleans recovery process is supposed to work.

If you haven't seen it yet, swallow your drink, and make sure your bladder's empty.

Tags:  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  | Bush is a moron | Impeach Bush | George W Bush | Worst President Ever

I know what I'm doing Saturday night

This is easily the most exciting sport I've ever watched. I can't wait to see our girls compete.

That little bird told me that the Big Easy Roller Girls will be featured on WTUL's Community Gumbo, 91.5 FM, Saturday morning at 9 a.m., and there may also be one or two local bloggers featured.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ray Ray's 100-day plan finally coughed up!

We found it! The mayor's 100-day plan! Praise God in heaven! Lisa's son spawned the mayor's inspiration where it was gestating in his chest as a ball of phlegm!

I can now appreciate why Ray Ray didn't want to prematurely reveal his plan while it was still just a colorful sputum morphing in someone's chest. It would have been premature to let it out (and rather unsightly) before it had an opportunity to fully develop. While we were anxiously waiting, something completely amazing happened. We didn't just get a plan -- we got a plan and a spokesperson all wrapped up in one. Now that the mayor's plan has been transformed from a mere sputum into a thing called Eduardo -- who will no doubt provide the answers in detail to all of the questions we've been waiting for the mayor to reveal -- the city of New Orleans can finally exhale a sigh of relief and proceed with the long-awaited rebuilding effort.

I haven't been able to locate, as yet, a picture of the sputum, but there do exist these artist's depictions of Eduardo:

All in all, I'd say we're pretty fortunate to have a plan which appeared in a phlegmatic form, but we'll have to be alert to laziness:

While phlegmatics are generally self-content and kind, their shy personality can often inhibit enthusiasm in others and make themselves lazy and resistant to change. They are very consistent, relaxed, and observant, making them good administrators and diplomats. Like the sanguine personality, the phlegmatic has many friends. But the phlegmatic is more reliable and compassionate; these characteristics typically make the phlegmatic a more dependable friend.

As an aside, I found it interesting that Eduardo and I have a lot in common. Eduardo, like me, has an NT temperament in the Keirsey variant of the ancient Greek classification:
Rationals are introspective and pragmatic. Architects, Masterminds, Inventors and Fieldmarshals are the role variants contained within this category. Rationals seek mastery and self-control and are concerned with their own knowledge and competence. Their greatest strength is strategic intelligence. They excel at engineering, conceptualizing, theorizing, and coordinating.

So you see, the great lesson in this for all of us is that, in the end, when we least expect it, sometimes we just cough up the most amazing things!

Finally, in keeping with the bad song meme, I think I have a winner: "Brown Sputum" (sung to the tune of "Brown Sugar").

"I'm ... doing ... some ... thing ..."

Come out, come out, where ever you are

Where's the 100-day plan Ray Ray?

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Criminalize bad parenting

Now that the House and Senate have agreed to criminalize women's control over their reproductive rights by even limiting their right to cross state lines, next on the agenda is legislation to cut off the nads of men who have sex out of wedlock, or who can't demonstrate the financial ability to raise a child.

Oh? You say that'll never happen? And why not? If we're going to legislate how and when women choose to have a baby, then why not men as well?

Oh, that's right ... I keep forgetting. MEN, not women, control all three branches of government.

The point is, I've never thought that men should have any say in abortion legislation. Men simply cannot know what it means to bear a child, and as such, shouldn't have any say in what a woman chooses to do.

Having said that -- and really loathing the fact that I feel compelled by digust to enter into a policy discussion that offers absolutely zero perfect solutions -- I should state for the record that I emphatically abhor the idea of abortion. That's really not what the debate is about.

Instead, the debate should focus on ways to reduce abortion. Making them illegal will only make abortion unsafe, criminalize women who try to exercise control over their bodies, and lead down a slippery slope we've already witnessed where women not only can't have an abortion, but also have their options for pregnancy prevention limited.

Criminalizing abortion only makes more criminals. What we need are a set of policy instruments to educate men and women about the meaning of love, sex, and how to engage in both when appropriate, and safely.

Bill Clinton de-criminalized abortion, choosing instead to make abortion "safe, legal, and rare," and succeeded in reducing unwanted pregnancies. The CDC reported:

From 1990 through 1997, the number of legal induced abortions gradually declined. In 1998 and 1999, the number of abortions continued to decrease when comparing the same 48 reporting areas. In 2000, even with one additional reporting state, the number of abortions declined slightly.

Why would a teenager go to another state to get an abortion? Not because it's illegal in her state of residence! Abortion is still legal in every state, but almost every state requires parental notification or consent, so only girls who fear their parents will try to get an abortion somewhere else -- girls whose father's molest them, whose parents physically or mentally abuse them, whose parents don't foster loving and productive communication.

Which gets me to the point of this post. In the end, if we're going to throw girls in jail who try to go to a state where they can have a safe and legal abortion, let's also create criminal penalties for bad parenting!

Of course, that'll never happen under a Republican one-party state, because in the fantasy Republican world, it's 1950, and if you put the blinders on, drink the kool-aid, let your preacher fill your heart with fear and anger, and medicate yourself enough with sedatives or alcohol, you can convince yourself that every family is headed by Ward and June Cleaver.

Let's get those freaking bastards out of Congress this fall! Then we'll take back the White House in 2008.

Tags: Bush is a moron | Impeach Bush | George W Bush | Worst President Ever | Congress | Worst Congress Ever | Republicans | Republicans Suck

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"I'm ... doing ... some ... thing ..."

That's C. Ray's answer when asked where his 100-day plan is.

It's what Mark Singletary calls "the 'just wait and see' campaign" -- "the 'I'll tell you what I have in mind after it's done' vision for governing."

I wonder if Ray Ray could have won a second term as mayor campaigning on a "just wait and see" campaign?

Oh ... but ... that's exactly what he did!

I guess we (i.e., they who voted for Nagin) are getting exactly what they asked for.


Come out, come out, where ever you are

Where's the 100-day plan Ray Ray?

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Tony Snowjob: Dubya is a self-proclaimed murderer

Air America Radio (WSMB New Orleans, 1350 AM) has been having a field day today with the Tim Russert interview of White House chief of staff Josh Bolton on Meet the Press this past Sunday.

Russert was in rare form (and I do mean "rare"), actually staying on the issue while Bolton squirmed.

Is George W. Bush capable of mobilizing even one brain cell to think about the next consequence of a single thought?

(Videotape, Tuesday):

MR. TONY SNOW: The president believes strongly that for the purpose of research it’s inappropriate for the federal government to finance something that many people consider murder. He’s one of them.

The simple answer is he thinks murder’s wrong.

(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT: Murder. The president believes that using an embryo for stem cell research is murder.

MR. BOLTEN: Let me, let me step back for a second, Tim. Now, I think...

MR. RUSSERT: Because that’s a very important question.

MR. BOLTEN: It is, and, and...

MR. RUSSERT: The president’s spokesman used the word “murder.” Does the president believe the use of an embryo for stem cell research is murder?

MR. BOLTEN: Let me—indulge me here for a moment, and let me, and let me walk through the issue and I, and I will get to your question, because it’s a very complicated, very, very delicate issue ....

MR. RUSSERT: Then if the president believes it is human life, how can he allow private stem cell research to go forward, go forward, if, in fact, that is murder?

MR. BOLTEN: It’s a very, it’s a very difficult balance. I mean, the president recognizes that there are millions of Americans who don’t recognize that as a human life, and that the promise of that research for the saving of life is so important that they, that they want that to go forward. What the president has said is that as far as the federal policy is concerned, no federal funds, your tax dollars and my tax dollars, will go towards promoting the destruction of that human embryo.

MR. RUSSERT: But you’re using federal funds for existing lines, which were of embryos. So were those embryos that the federal government is experimenting on obtained by homicidal means?

MR. BOLTEN: Those, those embryos, those stem cell lines, were already—those embryos were already destroyed, and, and that’s where the president—the president’s policies draw the line. That is that our tax dollars, from the point that the president made his policy statement forward, our tax dollars are not going to go to further incent the destruction of those fertilized embryos. Let me, let me...

MR. RUSSERT: The logic, Mr. Bolten, as people are listening to this, the president is saying no, we can’t use embryos that are going to be discarded by in vitro clinics because, according to a spokesman, that’s murder. But we can use embryos that were existing before I became president, that’s OK. And if you have a private company and you want to use those embryos, that’s OK. Back to the central question: does the president agree with his spokesman, Tony Snow, that the research on the embryo in, in fact, to use that embryo is murder?

MR. BOLTEN: The president thinks that that embryo, that fertilized embryo, is a human life that deserves protection...

MR. RUSSERT: But does he accept or reject the use of the word “murder”?

MR. BOLTEN: I haven’t spoken to him about the use, the use of particular terminology, but the—but let me come back to the fundamental point here, Tim, and that is that there’s, there’s a balance that needs to be struck ....

MR. BOLTEN: Those 400,000 human—fertilized human embryos, I’m sure the president fervently wishes that, that every single one of them is going to get adopted and turn into one of those beautiful kids we saw at the ceremony.

MR. RUSSERT: All 400,000 are going to be adopted?

MR. BOLTEN: No. They’re not likely to be, and that’s, that’s, that’s very sad for this country. ...

MR. RUSSERT: Karl Rove, the president’s chief political adviser, said that adult stem cells show far more promise than embryonic stem cells, and the White House could not identify any scientist who could confirm that. Is—does the president agree with Mr. Rove?

MR. BOLTEN: I’m, I’m no scientist, not, not qualified to speak on it, but I think the point that Karl was getting at is that there are alternative means to achieve some of the promise of the—of the embryonic stem cells that, that scientists...

MR. RUSSERT: No, he said “far more promise.”

MR. BOLTEN: Well...

MR. RUSSERT: Can you—can you cite any scientist who believes that adult stem cells have far more promise than embryonic stem cells?

MR. BOLTEN: Well I can’t cite scientists on either side of it, but what I can tell you is that adult, adult human stem cells have already shown enormous utility in, in the amelioration of disease in this country. ...

MR. RUSSERT: So you agree with Mr. Rove.

MR. BOLTEN: I—like I said I’m not—I’m not a scientist and I don’t...

MR. RUSSERT: Well, I don’t think Karl Rove is, either.


Only 25 percent of Americans approve of Bush

Tags: Bush is a moron | Impeach Bush | George W Bush | Worst President Ever | Stem Cell Research

The insurance "protection" racket

Allstate insurance decided to cut 120,000 Florida customers and 30,000 New York customers earlier this year. CEO Edward M. Liddy explained the advantage to shareholders:

“We are managing our exposure down,” Mr. Liddy said. “As we do that, we are trying to protect our brand.”

A Babel Fish translation from bullshit to English:
F**k all y'all policyholders!

"The good hands people" is a euphemistic stretch for a company that operates more like dungeon guards brutalizing loyal tribute-paying patrons with mailed fists.

Now, after a 26 percent increase in first-quarter profits, and a five percent increase in second-quarter profits, Allstate is threatening to leave Louisiana if it can't drop wind and hail coverage here.

How does Allstate turn a profit, even after multiple hurricane hits to Florida and after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast? Simple: Collect more in insurance premiums; pay out less in home and automobile damages.

The Louisiana Insurance Rating Commission approved a 52 percent Allstate rate increase in April. Meanwhile, Allstate said that it had paid 90% of the claims filed from Hurricane Katrina through May, but there are quite a few people out there who would argue otherwise. Furthermore, we ought to ask if those claims were paid out satisfactorily.

After residents took a left jab to the head from Hurricane Katrina, Allstate is going for the K.O. with a mailed-right-fist smash.

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon's efforts to hold Allstate and other insurance companies to their promises may amount to nothing without decisive action at a federal level that threatens their business prospects elsewhere.

Robert Hartwig, chief economist of the Insurance Information Institute, quoted in The Advocate:
Another area for which the insurance industry has drawn fire: record profits for a year that saw the most-expensive catastrophe in U.S. history.

In 2005, the insurance industry realized a profit of $43 billion, $4.5 billion, or 11.7 percent, more than the previous year. The industry was able to add $35.8 billion to its reserves, money set aside to deal with unexpected claims, despite $57.7 billion in catastrophe losses.

Hartwig said insurers were able to generate the profits because of strong returns on the investment of insurance premiums.

However, federal law says insurance companies can’t use the profits generated in one state to subsidize the losses in another.

The daily Katrina slog

"My dad hates Allstate!"

Hold on to your wallet

Suspect Device: The Blog -- Fucking A right it's blackmail

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I'd be happy to buy you a Shirley Temple

Criminal District Judge Calvin Johnson responded to accusations that he misspent taxpayer money to attend a seminar in Jamaica in a letter to the editor of The Times-Picayune:

I have never spent more money for travel in any year than the Supreme Court allows me to spend.

I have only gone places where I am allowed to go by Supreme Court rules.

I don't stay in all-inclusive hotels.

I don't have 6,000 cases pending trial. As a matter of fact, it's less than 200 cases.

I have been at work since the Thursday after the storm. ...

I missed two days while in Jamaica and had another judge sitting for me so that those who elected me to serve would still be served in my absence. ...

By the way, I don't like or drink piña coladas unless very hard-pressed.

Judge Johnson, you might very well be the best judge in New Orleans. Your performance on the court might very well be exemplary. Your service to the community might very well merit praise, not criticism. Public opinion may very well be judging your actions unjustly. So use your legal skills to defend the value of your $4,500 trip to Jamaica. Help us to understand the value of your contribution to the well-being of the city, and the merit of the expenditure for your trip to Jamaica.

What, specifically, was the purpose of your trip?

What, specifically, did you learn that you didn't know before?

Why couldn't you learn those things in New Orleans, or at least somewhere which wouldn't draw scrutiny for playboy behavior?

What institution of legal training excels so much that a trip to Jamaica is merited?

You aren't the only judge who went to Jamaica. Charles Elloie went, as did Michael Bagneris, Kern Reese, Herbert Cade, and State Supreme Court Chief Justice Pascal Calogero. I appreciate your attempt to justify your actions, but it still doesn't look good. Fundamentally, why should citizens trust your judgment if they question your ethics? The same goes for the other judges who went to Jamaica.

Judge Johnson, you have yet to answer the concerns of citizens that you aren't uselessly spending their money on junkets for personal pleasure. Don't you understand that citizens want an end to the abuse of public office for private benefit?

That you don't like Piña Coladas doesn't really answer citizens' concerns.

I'd be happy to personally open a tab for Shirley Temples, Roy Rogers, or the hard stuff if that's your pleasure. That's not really the point. $4,500 on the taxpayers' tab for a vacation under the cover of "education" is the issue.

You, and the other judges who went on that junket, owe us a better explanation, or an apology and a refund.

Judging Judge Johnson and Judge Elloie

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Grandma Millie gets jammed up the a****** again!

Does this sound familiar?

Valero Energy Corp. said output at its Memphis, Tenn., refinery would be reduced by 25,000 barrels per day as it makes some repairs anticipated to take nine days.

Dow Jones Newswires reported that two Louisiana refineries experienced brief power outages but that production was unaffected. The cause was believed to be a lightning strike. A similar incident occurred at a Texas refinery, but it was not immediately known if output was affected.

Last week, Valero shut down its St. Charles, La. refinery for 20 days for repairs. The company anticipates a total loss of 1.3 million barrels of gasoline production over the repair period.

Compare that to what Enron was doing:
In secret deals with power producers, traders deliberately drove up prices by ordering power plants shut down.

"If you took down the steamer, how long would it take to get it back up?" an Enron worker is heard saying.

"Oh, it's not something you want to just be turning on and off every hour. Let's put it that way," another says.

"Well, why don't you just go ahead and shut her down."


Don't worry. You know that under the honest leadership of George W. Bush, we can count on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to investigate the oil industry on behalf of the average American citizen!

Bwaa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

Bush petting session with Saudi prince

Tags: Bush is a moron | Impeach Bush | George W Bush | Worst President Ever | Energy | Oil | Gasoline Prices

Power to the people?

Cartoon: Khalil Bendib, CorpWatch.

Citing a NY Times story about power outages every time there's a storm in New Orleans, John in DC asks in an Americablog post:

Where is Bush? ... Regular power failures. Hmm... what other city has regular power failures? Oh yeah. Baghdad.

We can have a debate about whether or not Entergy deserves a $718 million bailout by taxpayers and ratepayers, or if it should have anticipated a "rainy day" emergency, but it's also true that George W. Bush bailed out ConEdison after 9/11. So, why not Entergy? Given geedubya's close friendship with Ken Lay, the recently-departed-for-hell Enron CEO, and Dick Cheney's private meetings with energy executives in violation of public meeting laws, I think we deserve an explanation.

As a publicly held company it ultimately answers first to its shareholders who want to maximize their profits. To that end Entergy has made broad use of limited liability laws to structure the company and its subsidiaries in a way that insulates shareholders from liabilities such as storms. The result is a system whereby the company’s own customers and taxpayers nationwide foot the bill when something goes wrong. ...

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which has minimal oversight of Entergy, does not require companies like Entergy to carry insurance to cover losses from catastrophic events such as a hurricane, even though conventional wisdom has long considered a Katrina-sized storm and flood inevitable.

A sidebar of the CorpWatch article criticizes the Entergy trend of maximizing profits by creating limited liability subsidiaries and multi-tiered holding companies in an environment of increasingly lax regulations. Entergy may be staging an Enron-style collapse, according to Peter Bradford, Former Commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:
“Regulating in this way is like driving drunk,” Bradford went on. “Taxpayers, utility customers and power plant neighbors who thought themselves protected by firm requirements may one day wear the stunned expressions of Enron retirement plan holders or WorldCom investors.” ...

Limited liability structure is an “effective mechanism” for transferring profits up the chain while creating a shield for the parent in case an unanticipated cost occurs at one of the plants.

Entergy's Entropy

CorpWatch -- Entergy Holds New Orleans for Ransom

Tags: Bush is a moron | Impeach Bush | George W Bush | Worst President Ever | Iraq |  |  |  |  |  |  | 

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Is it fascism yet?

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.

Sinclair Lewis

Come out, come out, where ever you are!

Oddly enough, a couple of days after the Arabella catfish pond was named, the Sewerage & Water Board fixed the fire hydrant which fed the pond. Good job guys!

Listening to Tommy Tucker interviewing New Orleans' new "pothole czar," engineer Robert Mendoza on WWL this morning, I decided to call in to echo a comment made in a previous hour by another caller who complained he hadn't heard anything from Ray Nagin since the election.

Specifically, I wanted to know if "the city" (implying the mayor) has a plan to deal with the water line leaks in a comprehensive way, or if the problems are just getting fixed as they're identified. I strongly suspect that those leaks are one of the reasons why there are so many potholes in the city.

In the ADD style of all WWL hosts, Tucker didn't get the question answered before moving on to another topic.

Last Thursday's Picayune reported that the Sewerage & Water Board identified $447 million in damages caused by flooding after Hurricane Katrina, but S&WB Executive Director Marcia St. Martin expressed her belief that newly-installed monitoring devices could cause that early estimate to rise to over a half billion dollars as new problems are detected. Meanwhile, S&WB members complained that FEMA has still only helped with nine percent of the cost of repairs.

The pencil-thin trickle of water coming out of my tap is a mere annoyance. The more critical issue is whether our homes can be protected, and if businesses can thrive, in a city with where two-thirds of the water pumped is lost before it gets to the tap:

Residents have dealt for months with plummeting water pressure that has compromised fire protection, caused businesses to shut down for hours at a time and forced residents of a lakefront condominium tower this week to choose between footing the bill for their own firefighting detail or having their building shuttered because pressure is too weak to get water to upper floor sprinklers.

Listen Ray Ray: Take credit where credit is due, but damn it, tell us what the hell is going on man!

Under the circumstances, the Sewerage & Water Board is doing a commendable job. And so is the Streets Department. But these departments had big problems before Hurricane Katrina. I can't remember the number, but I think the estimate for necessary improvements to the aging sewer and water system ran into the billions before Katrina. What happened to that? A lot of the post-Katrina pothole problems were caused by the ground turning to mush underneath the streets after they were inundated, but also by the soil compaction that occurred in the drought of the last several months, corrosion, and uprooted trees. A lot of those new potholes we're seeing are being created by water line leaks gouging out sink holes under the streets.

So what's the plan, man?

And as you move forward, when a street is cut, will you be coordinating with other utilities which need to make repairs or upgrades to ensure that the street only has to be cut once, thus sharing the cost of the street cut, reducing patchwork streets, and inconveniencing residents as little as possible?

I brought this latter issue up when I called Tommy Tucker. I recalled a visit to San Diego years ago. It was one of the first cities to lay down a city-wide high-speed fiber optic network. How? The city integrated all of the maps of the various entities which had infrastructure underneath the streets into one Geographic Information System. Anytime one entity had to cut the street, the city made sure that fiber was laid down, and that other entities were contacted for any repairs or improvements they wanted to make.

Pothole czar Mendoza (who's only been in the job a few months) admitted that the city's GIS infrastructure is as yet incomplete and underutilized, but said that in the next week or two, the city will be trying out a brand-new permitting process to make sure that different entities are alerted when street repairs are being done.

Your answer at last week's Broadmoor meeting that helicopters and tanker fire trucks can handle fire emergencies, Ray Ray, wasn't satisfactory, as was inadequate your simple restatement of the water line problem.

It was nice to see you come out of hiding, but we need answers, not token public appearances, and big parties with fireworks to celebrate the anniversary of your pathetic leadership during and after Hurricane Katrina. Blame the feds man -- I'm fine with that! But you have to take some of the blame yourself.

We're all waiting for some direction, Ray Ray. Most of us don't have the ability to read people's minds. Maybe we should see if the fortune tellers in Jackson Square can figure out what you're thinking.

Ray in New Orleans -- FEMA drowns city in its own juices, then burns corpse

Sunday morning music:
Imogen Cooper playing Robert Schumann's "Kreisleriana" and Thomas Ades, "Traced Overhead," to the sound of thunder and torrential rain.

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Where's the 100-day plan Ray Ray?

It's been 64 days since you were elected Ray Ray. It's been 62 days since you sat down with your former opponents Rob Couhig and Virginia Boulet to start planning what you said would be a 100-day agenda to jump-start your next four years. Giving you the benefit of the Lord's seventh day to celebrate and rest after your election victory, you now have just 38 days left before the 100 days is up.

So where's the plan?

You quoted Gandhi in your victory speech:

First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. And then you win.

Since you lived out that quote, perhaps you'd like to try out some of these Gandhi quotes as well:
A policy is a temporary creed liable to be changed, but while it holds good it has got to be pursued with apostolic zeal.

Action expresses priorities.

An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.

Breach of promise is a base surrender of truth.

For me every ruler is alien that defies public opinion.

Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problem.

We must become the change we want to see in the world.

Bayou Buzz -- New Orleans: An Honest Plan For Growth (hat tip: Karen)

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Jesus Dress Up!

WWJD on a Friday afternoon after a long week at the office?

Play Jesus Dress Up, of course!

Afraid the big guy doesn't have a sense of humor? Try Unholy Army of Catholic School Girls instead.

Hat tip: KS.

"One of the greatest doctors I've ever worked with"

John Pope quoted LSU's Dr. Daniel Nuss in The Times-Picayune:

Calling Dr. Anna Maria Pou "one of the greatest doctors I've ever worked with," a Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center department chairman said Wednesday that the ear, nose and throat specialist arrested in connection with the post-Hurricane Katrina deaths of four patients at Memorial Medical Center will continue to teach and conduct research -- but not treat patients -- at LSU.

"Anna Pou is one of those rare people who has devoted her life to the care of her patients and the practice of medicine," said Dr. Daniel Nuss, chairman of the LSU department dealing with ear, nose and throat problems.

Nuss was one of several friends and colleagues who extolled Pou's professionalism and concern for her patients less than two days after Pou, a cancer specialist, and two nurses, Lori Budo and Cheri Landry, were arrested and booked with four counts of second-degree murder.

Dr. Isabel Ochsner, said her friend Pou, who performs facial reconstruction, works in a specialty which requires a "big heart":
"I'm so ashamed of what someone has put her through," Ochsner said. "For someone of her caliber to be wrongfully accused of killing is a sin."

I listened to some of the comments exchanged during Garland Robinette's show on WWL yesterday. He was (in typical fashion) ranting in the extreme. In this case, though, I think the radio producers probably had to tie him down -- but I think Robinette's tirade was justifiable.

Robinette's certifiable rant accused Foti of placing New Orleans medical professionals in an ethical dilemma that has absolutely no acceptable options: Either refuse care to patients, or face prosecution. Robinette said repeatedly that Foti's action was going to send a clear signal to other medical professionals to leave town, precipitating a further brain drain of essential personnel in a city that's already suffered an incredible loss of medical professionals.

One of the best comments I heard was made by a caller who said that when he was the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff, Charles Foti was responsible for more deaths due to his own failure to administer medical care to jail inmates than he's accusing Pou of committing.

A doctor called in to say that the cocktail of morphine and Versed (a central-nervous-system depressant) allegedly administered by Dr. Pou are in fact consistent with treatment for pain, but not at all consistent with what is being called "murder" by Foti. If Dr. Pou wanted to euthanize patients, there were better options.

Here's a Foti "roundup":

These specious charges will have a chilling effect on the practice of medicine in this area. The health care system here is already hemorrhaging doctors and nurses. And pressing these charges is likely to accelerate the departure of the experienced doctors and nurses we need to care for us. Shame on you, Mr. Foti.

And in another post:
Patients are eased out of pain and allowed to die in peace every day. I suspect that the people who scream the loudest about "mercy killing" haven't seen close friends and relatives die slowly and in agonizing pain. I have and it taught me that there are things that are much worse than death.

Interestingly, Pou and the two nurses were booked, but not charged. Eddie Jordan’s office has to file charges, either through a Bill of Information or a Grand Jury Indictment, and that has not yet been done. I[t] will be tough to convict these people of second degree murder, unless it is more craven than it appears.

Why didn't Tenet, which was operating Memorial Hospital, take precautions to prevent such life-and-death choices in the first place, asks Adrastos:
There are probably some valid causes of action against Memorial Hospital's soon to be former operator, Tenet.

Markus comment, in a Yatpundit post:
That will send a clear message to emergency responders: perform triage, go to prison for the rest of your life. That's helpful. I wonder if they're going to prosecute the FEMA workes who turned away a doctor from assiting at the airport? (I have the details stashed away somewhere), who watched a patient waiting for triage die because the physicial wasn't by authorized FEMA to help.

And Markus again:
We are also waiting for Mr. Foti to announce his indictment ... of the commanding officers of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for negligent homocide in the death of another 1,000 plus residents of his state. But I'm not holding my breath.

Ashley reiterates Robinette's fear that no doctor will ever want to practice in Louisiana, and those who do certainly won't stay through another hurricane. So who's going to care for patients who can't be evacuated? Some patients would be caused more harm by moving them. If moving them causes their death, should the people who move them be prosecuted for murder?

I think da po' boy tackled the real culprit in this affair:
The doctor and the two nurses arrested *did* stay. Foti focused on the four lives he thinks they took. How many lives were saved because they were here?

According to the T-P (previous link):
...the four patients were not under Pou's direct care. Instead, the four were patients of LifeCare Hospital as part of its arrangement to run the acute-care unit at Memorial.

"They were not her patients," Simmons said. "These were patients that didn't have doctors."

Where were the patients’ doctors? Do they bear any responsibility for the patients who died because they weren’t there to help?

And where does LifeCare’s responsibility end? Of the 34 people who died at Memorial after the storm, 24 were LifeCare patients. Either LifeCare didn’t evacuate the patients or the patients were too sick to be evacuated. It was most likely the latter because LifeCare was a long-term acute care facility. They took care of complex medical conditions. Therefore, we can assume that LifeCare made a medical decision – not a moral or ethical decision – to leave those patients even though they may die.

Does Attorney General Charles Foti really care about upholding the rights of citizens, or his own political ambitions? You decide.


Judge Calvin Johnson spoke up months ago to prevent the media circus that Foti seems to be exploiting for his own personal political gain at the expense of Dr. Pou's career and reputation:
"This is not euthanasia, this is homicide," said Foti, who handed his case files over to Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan on Thursday. ...

Orleans Parish Judge Calvin Johnson, who held a closed-door hearing six months ago over whether Pou's calls to Tenet were confidential, warned the attorneys then of the legal maelstrom that was building in New Orleans, and that Pou would likely bear the sting of any accusation.

"If this lady is in fact charged with a crime, she is entitled to a fair trial," Johnson said from the bench at Criminal District Court. "And, arguably, that would not entail being tried in the press."

Can Foti be charged with obstruction of justice?

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

How much will it cost to raise your house?

A co-worker just started to raise his Metairie house which was built on a slab. He's had a lot of problems with flooding over the years (1986(?), 1995, 2002(?), 2005). He decided to go with Cable Lock Foundation Repair. Cable Lock will drive a total of 52 interlocking cement pilings down 81 feet to hard clay -- those pilings set every eight feet underneath the slab (37 exterior, 15 interior).

The cost will be $42,000 for the first foot, and $9000 for every foot after that. He's going to raise the house to one foot above Base Flood Elevation (BFE) -- which is -3.5 feet. The house sits at -4.98 feet below sea level. He only has to go to the BFE (the 1984 standard), but he's going up to the historic level of flooding. Therefore, he'll be raising his house 2.5 feet. The total cost, then, comes to $56,000. He can get the $30,000 in Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) money from the National Flood Insurance Program. The rest is out of pocket, unless he can figure out how to be compensated. He didn't think Jefferson Parish would qualify for the mitigation grants that are going to Orleans Parish as part of a CDBG housing grant which Mayor Nagin has been saying would give homeowners an additional $15,000 to raise their houses.

An interesting aside is that the brothers who developed the cable lock system to raise houses went their separate ways years ago. The offshoot was Olshan Foundation Repair. Recently they re-merged (according to my co-worker). Why might they do that? Well, for one, they no longer have to compete against each other for contract bids. Pretty convenient, ey?


Advisory Base Flood Elevation presentation (pdf) (the Lambert Powerpoint presentation shown to the New Orleans City Council)

A Citizen's Guide To This Whole House Raising Thing, From Someone Who's Gone Through It (pdf)

Damned if you do, damned if you don't

Community Gumbo -- How high will New Orleans residents have to raise their homes? (podcast and pictures)

On the front lines of World War III in New Orleans

World War III? No, I'm not talking about the current Israeli-Hezbollah war (yes, war) -- although the absolute failure of the Bush administration to have any diplomatic backchannels open, whatsoever, so that it might get those Israeli soldiers released and put an end to what could look like an Armageddon conflict in very short order is extremely discouraging to say the least -- not to mention the disaster of evacuating Americans from Lebanon (is FEMA running that operation too? Didn't geedubya anticipate such an inevitability? Oh no -- no one could have imagined that Hezbollah and Israel might get into a shooting war. No one ever imagined that terrorists would hijack planes and fly them into buildings. No one ever imagined that the levees would break). But thank God we have a preznit who's saving us from the immorality of researching undeveloped frozen cells before they're thrown into an incinerator!

But that's another post. I'm more concerned about New Orleans right now, because World War III has already started -- and the front line is right here in our beloved historic city.

Upheaval caused by Katrina "goes beyond anything, World Trade Center included, that the U.S. has experienced in the last century, other than the world wars," said Topping, a former city planning director for Los Angeles. "If you look at it in relation to the world and other catastrophes, you're not too far behind. You're not out of the norm at all."

It's The Third Battle of New Orleans, and a war not just for the heart and soul of one of the America's most-cultured cities, but a battle in the longer war to save our nation from the wrong direction its heading -- and getting there at light speed thanks to the Bush administration.

We're assembling our forces, getting organized, and now, we've started firing shots back at the enemy.

Yesterday, thanks to the vocal support of citizens, the McCain-Feingold amendment was passed as part of the Senate's WRDA bill. The amendment will require all Corps of Engineers projects exceeding $40 million to be reviewed by an independent panel of experts. I hoped for more -- I think ALL Corps activities should be reviewed by independent experts -- in particular, the wetlands permitting process in places like Louisiana where we can't afford to lose anymore wetlands. But McCain-Feingold is a good start. The Senate and House versions of the WRDA bill now have to be reconciled. We're moving forward.

The Louisiana Recovery Authority program to get federal grants into the hands of homeowners trying to rebuild their houses is moving forward.

Thanks to one of our new council members, Shelley Midura, the creation of an ethics review board and an inspector general is finally moving forward.

Anyone who wants to know how this is all going to turn out might like to read the comments in the Broadmoor post of a couple of days ago for signs of optimism. We're taking back our country one block at a time, and moving forward.

Liberté. Egalité. Fraternité. And when we take back our planet and our future from the neocon war profiteers, the energy companies ripping us off while they destroy the planet, and the religious zealots, we'll all celebrate with a New Orleans style parté (with a funky little brass band backup).

If you want to save New Orleans, read this ...

Tags: Bush is a moron | Impeach Bush | George W Bush | Worst President Ever | Iraq |  |  |  |  |  | 

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Only 25 percent of Americans approve of Bush

Okay, I didn't actually read that anywhere.

I'm predicting how Americans will respond to geedubya's hypocritical first use of a veto to protect us from immorality by devastating the hope of millions of Americans who live with disabilities that stem cell research might cure, and the tens of millions of Americans who love those people with disabilities.

Hey ... if embryonic stem cells are so precious, why not allow the 200,000-plus frozen embryos to develop into human beings instead of leaving them in deep freeze where they'll eventually be sold or thrown away?

And how does a petrie dish of cells have more value than a functioning human being left to suffer -- a living human being with a family and friends, a history, stories, memories, and a contribution to the human experience?

Oh ... "federally"-funded research on stem cells is immoral said the preznit. Why not ban all private research as well then -- or is it different when a profit can be made from immoral activities?

Private donations worth tens of millions of dollars have filled the gap to some extent, though scientists say the federal government would be a larger and steadier source of money.

What an F.Y.F.F. idiot!!! Who actually wants to admit that they voted for this freak!

And hey Louisiana: Guess which U.S. Senator from Louisiana counted among those who voted against overturning Bush's ban on federally-funded stem cell research?

That's right, Vitty-cent "Davey come lately" ... well, maybe not lately, unless he got himself a new hooker. But I wonder how many sperm Davey killed while entertaining himself with call girls before he made this "moral" choice.

Sadly, if Vitter and three other Senators had voted differently, millions of Americans would have hope of finding a cure to some of the most tragic diseases.

It's unbelievably astonishing how much the fortune of the United States has changed, and how much despair has been created, in just five short years since George W. Bush was elected.

And I haven't even touched on the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, the national debt, FEMA, torture, the Corps of Engineers ...

916 days to go (for those who are counting). We can turn the tide this fall by giving Democrats a majority in both houses of Congress.

Tags: Bush is a moron | Impeach Bush | George W Bush | Worst President Ever | Iraq |  |  |  |  |  | 

Save wetlands today!

The full Senate has scheduled a vote on WRDA ("werda") today. That's the Water Resources Development Act of 2005 (S.728) which has been sitting in limbo since last summer:

A bill to provide for the consideration and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States, and for other purposes.

This is not your average flag-burning nonsense legislation. It's an authorization of a comprehensive set of projects that will have a long-lasting impact on the nation's navigable waterways and wetlands, in particular here in Louisiana.

Thanks to pressure exerted by Sen. James Jeffords (recall that he's the guy who bailed out of the Republican Party in 2001 because it had become too extremist), the Senate recently removed all amendments from the bill, one of which exemplified Vitty-cent's "Davey-come-lately" attitude on coastal restoration. Vitter was working in earnest before Hurricane Katrina to stop the Corps of Engineers from interfering with his logging industry friends who were trying to turn the Maurepas basin into cypress mulch:
The senator said he was attempting to give homeowners protection from overzealous regulators who might object to installation of something as simple as a backyard swing set. But environmentalists said it would have allowed the cutting of cypress trees that are critical to wetlands and the state's coastal areas. A spokesman for Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said the provision was removed from the bill at Jeffords' insistence.

The Gulf Restoration Network is calling on citizens to use this WRDA legislation to force the Corps of Engineers to modernize.

The issue is independent oversight. Two new amendments were drawn up by Senators McCain and Feingold to require true independent review to check the Corps' work.

Amy Wold of the Baton Rouge Advocate recently wrote a column in support of independent review.

Tell your Senator to support amendments to the Water Resources Development Act to be offered by Senators Feingold and McCain, and tell them that Congress should stop funding projects that make little economic sense or that trash our environment. Tell them to fund only those projects that are truly the highest priority.

7/19/06 update -- feel free to copy and paste this letter I wrote:
I urge you to support independent oversight of Corps of Engineers projects -- the sort of independent review we saw with, for example, the NSF-funded review of New Orleans' levee systems by engineers like Bob Bea.

We need not just independent review of engineering projects, but of the wetland development permits issued by the Corps, to make sure that the Corps isn't succumbing to political pressure to permit environmentally-destructive projects.

Please support the McCain-Feingold amendments attached to the WRDA bill, and add whatever language might be necessary to require review of *ALL* Corps activities.

I know you care about Louisiana, and that you recognize the importance of preserving her habitat, cherished for both its beauty and its ability to absorb storm surge.

America's Wetland isn't just something to put in tourism marketing brochures -- it's essential for the survival of Louisiana's inhabitants.

Ivory-billed woodpecker, cypress logging, Corps of Engineers, & Vitter provision

Vitter could kill coastal restoration act

Vitter cypress mulch provision bagged by the press

Vitter to kill the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker once and for all

White House whitewashes Corps of Engineers' report

Let's hire the Dutch!

Independent, objective science

Organizational dysfunction at the Corps of Engineers

Rebuild "America's Wetland" -- smarter

Flood Washington

Right Hand Thief -- Fool us once... won't get fooled again

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

People are doin' it for themselves

Where was The Times-Picayune? The Associated Press was there. So was ABC 26 and Adam Nossiter of the New York Times. I hope I'm mistaken, but I didn't see any other reporters there.

Among 73 official New Orleans neighborhoods, Broadmoor is now the only second one with their own plan to rebuild (after Gentilly released theirs in May). Lakeview paid for a rebuilding plan to be drafted, but Broadmoor hit the pavement and assembled what will be -- no joke -- the model for urban planners for decades to come. The incredible irony, and the cause for celebration, is that Broadmoor was one of the neighborhoods that Mayor Nagin's Bring New Orleans Back Commission put a big green dot on top of.

The 400 or so Broadmoor residents who viewed the first major grass-roots neighborhood plan to be released in the city of New Orleans might be forgiven for thinking they'd be better off to just become an independent township with their own mayor, council, and newspaper. If they're forced to undertake DIY neighborhood planning, and to get DIY media coverage, why bother with a do-it-for-yourselves (unless-I-can-help-myself) mayor? Why bother with a newspaper that spreads itself so thin trying to cover every beat from Plaquemines to St. Tammany that it misses the biggest story since Hurricane Katrina to happen in the very city which contains its core readership?

In fairness to local politicians, Stacy Head was there. C. "Oreo" also accepted an invitation to show up as an observer -- and I think he was "shown up" if you know what I mean. He sat directly in front of me, so I didn't get to see his jaw drop. After the presentation, Nagin was notably humbled (or was that pandering to a mildly hostile constituency that voted for the other guy), and answered questions. I wasn't surprised that Nagin didn't provide many confident answers -- just more "Mr. Cool" acknowledgements of the set of problems the city faces, like pumps that don't work to capacity, and water pipes beneath the streets that lose 70 percent of their cargo before it gets to the tap. Oh sure, it's just possible -- maybe -- that the Sewerage and Water Board is getting around to fixing the problem, but we wouldn't know, because "Our Mayor" doesn't have anything to say to us about what his administration is doing to rebuild the most devastated city in American history.

One thing Nagin did confess is that the Broadmoor plan to rebuild from the people up was his plan all along. That would be commendable if he played an active role in supporting those endeavors.

Hasn't it occurred to you Ray Ray that we need a daily situation report? How about a daily press conference Ray Ray? Okay? Just a whisper in our ears every once in a while in between your little ingratiating speaking tours to far-flung destinations? Toss us a bone now and again? Pretty please?

By the way, is it possible that Greg Meffert bailed out because he didn't want to be the last guy to go down with the ship?

As another aside, it was difficult not to fall under the spell of that wicked shine on Ray Ray's skull -- but I found the will to resist by thinking about oreo cookies instead.

A little bird told me that the Broadmoor meeting will probably be featured on this coming Saturday's Community Gumbo.

And yes ... since some of us have started annoying humoring each other with the song meme, I was thinking of Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin when I wrote the title of this post.


Blogging New Orleans -- Glimpses of survivors after a neighborhood meeting…

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