President Bush: Category 5 storm protection and coastal restoration now!
Done any reading lately Mr. Preznit?
You might want to pack some literature for your trip on Air Force One to New Orleans, because you can't serve the memory of the dead without acknowledging how the federal government -- and your administration -- failed the citizens of New Orleans, the entire Gulf Coast, the United States as a whole, and the world. You're going to have to say something more significant to win any amount of approval from anyone.
Here are a couple of scientific research reports by NASA's Earth Observatory:
Climate change is affecting the intensity of Atlantic hurricanes, and hurricane damage will likely continue to increase because of greenhouse warming, according to a new study. It provides for the first time a direct relationship between climate change and hurricane intensity.
The melting of Greenland's ice sheet has increased dramatically in the past few years, with much of the loss occurring primarily along one shoreline potentially affecting weather in Western Europe. ... The Greenland study ... suggests that the amount of fresh water contributed from the melting of its ice sheet could add 0.56 millimeters annually to a global increase in sea levels, higher than all previously published measurements.
Don't miss this week's copy of the Gambit Weekly, where you'll find a lengthy article by Jason Berry:
"The cost of a collapsing coast is one of fundamental survival," says Mark Davis, director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, a group that has worked on the issue for years in Baton Rouge. "What happened last year was also the failure of a value system. We assumed we had tamed the forces of nature. We need to understand that if we want there to be a New Orleans or a Miami or a New York 500 years from now, we can't assume they'll be there. We have to plan for them to be there. That's why the rise in sea levels and freshwater management are so extraordinary."
Katrina was a billboard for global warming. ...
"A sea-level rise of one-to-three feet," writes [Mike] Tidwell, "will, to a greater or lesser extent, impact every inch of American shoreline from the Texas coast to the Florida Keys to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to Cape Cod. The low-lying areas of San Diego and San Francisco and much of Puget Sound on the West Coast are at great risk, too.
Or how about a Mike Tidwell interview in this week's Gambit Weekly:
Look at Miami, which has very few sections three feet above sea level; look at Charleston, very similar; look at New York City, all of lower Manhattan is already at sea level; look at parts of Baltimore, Washington D.C., Annapolis, Norfolk. These are all areas that have a lot of land that is going to be at or well below sea level 100 years from now. That means we've got to adopt the New Orleans model -- we have to start building levees. Either we retreat, or we adapt. You'll have to build levees around Miami, which will become a bowl like New Orleans. You're going to have the same catastrophic risk of levee collapse, and you've got more massive hurricanes.
Or how about this research conclusion reported by the Geophysical Research Letters publication:
The Greenland ice sheet contains enough water to raise global sea levels by 15 to 20 feet. Although the entire ice sheet is unlikely to melt in this century, even a small change in the rate of melting could inundate low-lying coastal plains and add enough fresh water to the North Atlantic to change ocean circulation patterns.
You could read any of these authors, but nothing makes an argument more clearly than an image:
Here's one more picture Mr. Preznit, which, for those of us who live in New Orleans, is like staring into the barrel of a gun.
There are more dramatic images in a pre-Katrina PGR post which sum up what the dawn of the global warming era looks like Mr. Preznit. I know how little you really like to read. At least look at the pictures.
(If I have your attention Mr. Preznit, here are more PGR posts on global warming).
As The Times-Picayune editorialized recently Mr. Preznit, your visit is appreciated, but it would be better to see your "verbal commitment turned into action as we continue the arduous work of rebuilding this special place."
As accurately as anything I've written or read, Dan Baum expresses in The New Yorker what it feels like to live in New Orleans right now (HT: Lucy):
The fate of the Lower Ninth Ward and the rest of the city remains anyone’s guess. New Orleanians tend to talk about the prospects of another devastating flood in the fatalistic way that people in the fifties talked about nuclear war. They know that they are living under the ever-present threat of annihilation. They want the people in power to do all they can to prevent it. But, in the meantime, there’s nothing to do but soldier on.
I write this post, Mr. Preznit, focusing on Category 5 storm protection, coastal restoration, and global warming, to the neglect of what really are more pressing issues in the day-to-day lives of local residents.
We need help fighting insurance companies. This is a not a local issue. The same tactics that insurance companies have been using in other states to screw policyholders are being used again in Louisiana. We need federal pressure to bear down upon them, not just to do the right thing, but to simply live up to the legally-binding contracts they signed with their policyholders.
We need help with housing -- yes, still! The $10.2 billion infusion of federal cash into the Louisiana Recovery Authority Road Home plan is going to make a huge difference, but don't let it operate in a vacuum. It's going to take months for this cash to get to residents who are desperately trying to get into their homes, and in many cases still can't get SBA loans to get things moving, who are tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and in St. Tammany Parish, are now being threatened by the local government that their homes will be taken away because they're late paying their property taxes for Christ's sake!
Entergy? Why should we have to bail out a national utility company that is making record profits simply because it shelters its shareholders by setting up subsidiary operations? Kick their ass Mr. Preznit! Aren't you the energy president? Don't you have any pull?
Iraq? Your pathetic profiteering "war on terrah"? Don't get me started.
None of these day-to-day issues matter, however, if you don't commit this nation, right now, to Category 5 storm protection and coastal restoration for Louisiana.
I've said it before. I'll repeat it again for your benefit Mr. Preznit.
New Orleans is the future of America. As New Orleans goes, so goes the rest of the nation in the 21st Century.
As you consider who you are as a president and as a human being, and the positive role you could play in the future of New Orleans and the nation, just remember one thing:
Failure is not an option!
When you answer the call for Category 5 storm protection and coastal restoration, with a significant dedication of funds, I promise to stop referring to you as Mr. Preznit, monkey boy, or boneless chickenhawk, and I'll take down the Katrina boneless chicken award. Anything short of a commitment to Category 5 storm protection and coastal restoration, and you will continue to be the worst president ever!
It's up to you Mr. Preznit! Don't be a boneless chickenhawk!
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