Curious George's Jackson Square speech redux
One year ago today, the boneless chickenhawk monkey boy preznit had his handlers clean up Jackson Square, and light St. Louis Cathedral using generators, for a face-saving photo op (my remarks highlighted).
We will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes, to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives. ...
How much longer is it going to take to provide hope to the more than 250,000 New Orleanians who need to get back into their homes. If your excuse is that local authorities need to come up with a plan, then why aren't you proactively engaged in shepherding that process to get it moving along? And by the way, who was that guy you appointed to be the Gulf Coast recovery czar?
In the task of recovery and rebuilding, some of the hardest work is still ahead, and it will require the creative skill and generosity of a united country. ...
So why aren't you more actively defending the character of New Orleanians who continue to be hounded by your right-wing moralist gestapo.
As all of us saw on television, there's also some deep, persistent poverty in this region, as well. That poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action. So let us restore all that we have cherished from yesterday, and let us rise above the legacy of inequality. ...
Uh ... and where's your plan? Could it be that there wasn't any money left over after you finished doling out debris contracts to gigantic private corporations like your Halliburton and Shaw patrons who take all the money and pay unscrupulous wages to immigrants? Is it even conceivable in your monkey brain that you could have run a lower-cost, WPA-style administration to oversee contracts bid out to capable local firms, thus providing jobs to desperate locals? Have you come up with a plan to make sure the same mistakes aren't made in the future? Of course, I know you haven't, because frankly, you like the fact that your friends profit from your incompetent leadership.
And to help lower-income citizens in the hurricane region build new and better lives, I also propose that Congress pass an Urban Homesteading Act. Under this approach, we will identify property in the region owned by the federal government, and provide building sites to low-income citizens free of charge, through a lottery. In return, they would pledge to build on the lot, with either a mortgage or help from a charitable organization like Habitat for Humanity. Home ownership is one of the great strengths of any community, and it must be a central part of our vision for the revival of this region.
All I have to say is, you damn sure ain't no Roosevelt, monkey man!
In the life of this nation, we have often been reminded that nature is an awesome force, and that all life is fragile. We're the heirs of men and women who lived through those first terrible winters at Jamestown and Plymouth, who rebuilt Chicago after a great fire, and San Francisco after a great earthquake, who reclaimed the prairie from the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Every time, the people of this land have come back from fire, flood, and storm to build anew -- and to build better than what we had before. Americans have never left our destiny to the whims of nature -- and we will not start now.
So, where's your commitment to Category 5 storm protection and coastal restoration -- NOW! Or how about getting a little more assertively behind the offshore royalties bill, now in danger of failure as it goes through a contentious House-Senate reconciliation battle, to make sure Louisiana gets the best deal possible so it can defend herself.
These trials have also reminded us that we are often stronger than we know -- with the help of grace and one another.
Translation: Go eff yourselves! The Gulf Coast recovery is strictly going to be left to the vagaries of speculators and profiteers of the glorious laissez faire (taxpayer-subsidized) marketplace. A year after the storm, are you waiting for your insurance company to settle while they've doubled your premiums? Tough shit! A year after the storm, you still don't have a place to live but you still have to pay your mortgage? Tough shit! A year after the storm, businesses and non-profits aren't investing in your neighborhood because they're waiting to see what's going to happen with the levees and pumping stations? Tough shit! If you can't pull yourself up by your own damn bootstraps (by getting a plum government contract), we don't need you in our country club America!
There's absolutely nothing on the White House home page about New Orleans, the Gulf Coast, or hurricane recovery. I guess the preznit must think his job is done.
For the rest of you outside of New Orleans wondering what the legacy of the Bush administration is, take a look at what's happening here. As New Orleans goes, so goes the rest of the nation. There will be more disasters like this in the future. If you don't like what you see, then it's time to join the Katrina dissident movement, where we don't accept excuses, we see through the lies, we demand responsive, effective services for our tax dollars, and our rallying cry is, failure is not an option!
A good place to get your feet
ThinkNOLA has a sign-up to help a fellow blogger, Morwen, get her Gentilly house gutted.
Incompetence and negligence aren't exclusively White House phenomena. We don't have to look far to find politicians ripping off taxpayers, as Dambala recently discovered. Thanks to his diligent research through public records, he uncovered a deal Ray Nagin is trying to make to cut himself in on the profit from the hurricane recovery:
"See-Ray-Rape-Nawlins" launches a real estate company with developer David White (owner of McDonalds' franchise, Table One on Magazine, and appointed to the BNOB committee by Nagin) 2005 pre-K. Here, we have a Mayor who is in the real estate business in the city he's governing...conflict of interest? One would think.
It's clear evidence of the duplicitous rationale for Ray Nagin's market-based approach to "governing" the city's recovery, and offers just one more justification for why Ray Nagin needs to be recalled.
Nagin must see another guy when he looks in the mirror. Take a look at some of the things he says about himself on the city Web site:
... progressive policies ... unleashed unprecedented economic development ... 37,000 people were removed from the poverty rolls during the first three years ... led and managed the largest mass evacuation and largest natural disaster in the nation's history
In other matters, the September 18th edition of The Nation hit the newsstands this week. Inside is a story by Michael Tisserand about the New Orleans blog movement, and the online edition of The Nation features links to a (very small) handful of celebrated blogs.
Speaking of the media and democracy, Stop Big Media is reporting that the former shill for corporate media giants, FCC Chairman Michael Powell, buried a report he commissioned in 2004 because it showed that locally-owned broadcasters produce more local news than stations owned by big corporations. The result of the study was the opposite of what Powell hoped to find. Since the report was commissioned by a government entity, and was paid for by taxpayers, it should have been made publicly available.
In other media news, ThinkProgress is reporting that Air America Radio (heard on 1350 AM in New Orleans) is restructuring, and may be headed for bankruptcy. I'm an avid listener, although I admit I can't stand the dull logic and pedantic rhythm of Jerry Springer's voice, and Ed Schultz's screaming rants drive me as crazy as do Rush Limbaugh's (technically, Schultz isn't an Air America personality). There are, however, some extraordinary talents on that Air America network. I'm especially fond of Al Franken, who's low-key humor and intelligent conversation with engaging guests is refreshing and stimulating. I also like (and hope AAR will retain) Rachel Maddow, Laura Flanders of The Nation, State of Belief, and Ring of Fire. There are other programs in the AAR lineup that aren't heard in the New Orleans market. Frankly, I think WWL (which owns 1350 AM) ought to run some of those other programs rather than the other banter they offer at odd hours.
One way Air America fans can support the network is by joining as a member.
Hey, the Saints might have Reggie Bush, but the Big Easy Roller Girls have Sophie Nuke 'Em!
I wouldn't miss the first roller derby bout in New Orleans tomorrow for anything -- not even to see the Saints crushed by the Green Bay Packers! Actually, I'd be tickled to see the Saints win, but my favorite team has always been the Pack.
Tune in to WTUL's Community Gumbo, 91.5 FM (or online at WTUL.FM), Saturday morning at 9 a.m., to hear interviews with the Big Easy Roller Girls.
Finally, (fellow GB fan) Maitri and I are at last disposing of our recycle collections. You can too, at the Green Project.
And it was thanks to Maitri that an impromptu 3rd Geek Dinner was organized around a visit by Earthlink blogger Dave Coustan. I may have more to say about this in the future, but let me just point out for the record -- as one who hates BellSouth and Cox -- that the prospect of Earthlink's high-speed wireless network throughout New Orleans is not just a source of personal joy, it represents a desperately-needed positive sign for New Orleans. I hope Earthlink recognizes that this isn't just a good business opportunity, but is in fact a highly-marketable and prestigious gesture of good will. We are fortunate that EarthLink has given us this gift, to help us raise our outlooks a little, and I'm sure it will be rewarded for its investment when people in New Orleans and around the country come to understand and appreciate EarthLink's good gesture.
New Orleans, 1 A.K.
C. Ray Nagin: Katrina Boneless Chicken
Louisiana blog revolt spotlighted in The Nation
Tags: Hurricane Katrina | Katrina | New Orleans | Louisiana | America's Wetland | We Are Not OK | Rebuild New Orleans | Katrina Dissidents | Failure Is Not An Option | Ray Nagin | Recall Ray Nagin | Hurricane Katrina One Year Anniversary