People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

Archive for December, 2005

$29 billion is just a downpayment

Posted by schroeder915 on December 22, 2005

… but much more will be needed to help people rebuild their homes, and to build a levee system capable of protecting life and property from a Category 5 storm. More is needed, and needed now.

The Times-Picayune:

In addition to $2.9 billion that remains in the bill to repair and upgrade levees, the spending bill also includes $1.6 billion for hurricane-ravaged schools as well as schools that took in displaced students from the hurricanes; $11.5 billion in Community Block Grant spending; $2.75 billion to repair roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure in the Gulf Coast; $350 million to NASA to repair space facilities; $135 million to repair damage in national parks, wildlife refuges and forests; $30 million to repair waterways or watersheds; $618 million to help farmers and ranchers affected by the hurricanes; and $441 million for Small Business Administration disaster loans.

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Impeachable abuse of power

Posted by schroeder915 on December 22, 2005

Representative John Conyers (D-MI):

Today I released a staff Report entitled, “The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution and Coverups in the Iraq War.”

In response to the Report – which finds substantial evidence of federal legal violations by numerous members of the Bush Administration — I have introduced a resolution creating a Select Committee with subpoena authority to investigate the misconduct of the Bush Administration with regard to the Iraq war and report on possible impeachable offenses; as well as Resolutions proposing both President Bush and Vice-President Cheney should be censured by Congress based on the uncontroverted evidence of their abuse of power.

More at John Conyer’s Website. Email your friends about Conyer’s investigation using this form.

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Phantom memories

Posted by schroeder915 on December 22, 2005

Dennis Persica, whose home was near the London Avenue Canal:

Occasionally, I’ll find myself thinking I can look something up in a book I owned or listen to a particular song on a CD. Like an amputee who thinks he still has the limb he lost, I have phantom memories of things I used to own — as if I could just walk up to a shelf or open a drawer and find them there.

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Orleans Levee Board changes tune

Posted by schroeder915 on December 22, 2005

David Voelker, who Governor Blanco recently appointed to the Orleans Parish Levee Board:

When they’re marching on the courthouse, it’s best to get out front and call it a parade.

It seems the levee board has finally seen the wisdom of One Greater New Orleans:

In a unanimous vote, Levee Board members endorsed a resolution urging the Legislature to place before voters a constitutional amendment that would create a new regional levee district for the greater New Orleans area.
The proposal offered by Commissioner Eugene Green also pledges the board’s support for a new public benefit corporation that would “manage, administer and develop” the agency’s vast real estate holdings, including Lakefront Airport, two marinas and several commercial properties.

Now, on to persuading the other levee districts …

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Category 5 speech; Category 1 action

Posted by schroeder915 on December 22, 2005

I wish it were a more rousing, explicit appeal for Category 5 storm protection, nevertheless, the Atlanta Journal Constitution leaves no ambiguity about the slow-moving Category 1 response by President Bush after he made Category 5 promises in his televised speech from the heart of the French Quarter over three months ago:

We did not leave New York to fend for itself after the Sept. 11 attacks, and we cannot now abandon the Gulf Coast in its time of need. …

A reality check is in order to determine where we stand with regard to major aspects of the president’s pledge, and how much more remains to be done.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution only gives grudging credit to the Bush administration and Congress for the recent “belated, but meaningful steps” to honor their commitment, but warns that much, much more needs to be done.

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Get your fucking thumb out of your ass George!

Posted by schroeder915 on December 21, 2005

As the sobering recognition set in that New Orleans’ levee system was criminally inadequate to handle even a fast-moving Category 3 storm, people began calling for heads to roll, and for the levees to be improved. I first made that call on August 31st — two days after Katrina, only delayed by the fact that I couldn’t write the post sooner.

While New Orleanians laid awake at night Monday and Tuesday wondering what was happening to their homes, and how deep the water would be, the chickenhawk in chief remained on vacation in Crawford — biking, or chopping wood, or maybe just rolling around in the tumbleweeds like a dumb ranch dog. We don’t know, because he didn’t have anything to say about the disaster until at least two days later.

Since then, our worst fears have unfolded like layers of an onion, and with each layer removed, our expectations and hopes have been dashed to smithereens.

One of those fears was that the federal response would be so slow that people wouldn’t even know how to rebuild their homes. Now that fear too has become reality:

New flood elevation maps won’t be ready until the end of February or early March.

Without knowing that lowest-allowable building level, homeowners and businesses that want to rebuild in southeast Louisiana parishes inundated by Katrina cannot make informed decisions.

The flood maps will also determine how much property owners pay for flood insurance. …

Part of that process is waiting for federal funding decisions to be made on how levees will be rebuilt and improved.

Why didn’t that shit-for-brains chickenhawk stand before the American people and Congress on August 30th to declare that he was in control, and to emphatically proclaim that New Orleans would never flood again? Why are we now, almost four months later, still waiting for a commitment about how strong the levee system will be?

On September 1st, while New Orleanians remained helplessly waiting for a federal response, I wrote the following:

Please people – speak up so the world hears our voices. We are taking it day by day, trying to figure out what tomorrow will bring, but nobody making the decisions that are impacting our lives in very serious ways seems to get it.

So now, on December 21st, why are we still waiting for a simple decision to be made by the executive office of the United States of America, the most powerful office in the world, in charge of the largest pot of money anywhere, to make a simple decision about how strong to make the levees?

What the fuck is going on here!

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Tighten the levee board noose

Posted by schroeder915 on December 21, 2005

40,000 signatures later, the Orleans Parish Levee Board’s replacement for the tarnished Jim Huey is talking about making some changes:

Acting board President Michael McCrossen is expected to propose a motion “to support and urge legislation to consolidate the independent levee districts in the greater New Orleans area and to restructure the flood control responsibilities in a new district for regional flood (levee) protection in the greater New Orleans area.”

McCrossen will also propose ending the levee board’s management of revenue-generating assets:

McCrossen tomorrow will also urge creation of “a public benefit corporation, such as the New Orleans Lake Area Development Corporation, to administer and manage the non-flood control assets of the Orleans Levee District for the purpose of providing economic development for the citizens of New Orleans.”

The levee board will meet today (Wednesday), 1 p.m. at the Lake Vista Community Center, 6500 Spanish Fort Blvd. I would consider this a public meeting, subject to public meeting laws, and therefore eligible for anyone who cares to attend.

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Merry Katrina Christmas

Posted by schroeder915 on December 20, 2005

Disclaimer: Don’t get the impression that New Orleans is doing alright because people are decorating their houses for Christmas. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s true that life goes on almost normally along a narrow sliver of the city that follows the curve of the Mississippi River. I’m not interested in the Christmas decorations there — those homes have no markings on them because they had no flooding. What you’re seeing here, for the most part, are homes that were in areas that flooded, but that were at least marginally habitable (often because they were sufficiently raised or had second floors), or that had already been gutted and restored. If you traveled in a straight line from the river to Lake Pontchartrain, the condition of neighborhoods and homes would generally diminish as the natural land elevation dips deeper into the shape of a bowl, with the exception of a few natural ridges (see the elevation and flood maps listed in the sidebar for a visual). The homes pictured below lie in that periphery on the very edge of habitable New Orleans. Most of these homes are in the Broadmoor and Mid-City neighborhoods. Remember that 80 percent of the city was flooded, and less than 100,000 of some 400-500,000 original residents are now living in the city. The discovery of a house with Christmas decorations is not common in many of these neighborhoods where people are living in a frontier ghost town with few, if any, neighbors.

More Katrina Christmas photos can be found in earlier PGR posts here and here.

If you know of any other homes that need to be added to the collection, please let me know by leaving a comment.

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Photos: More New Orleans T-Shirts

Posted by schroeder915 on December 19, 2005

The sources that I know of for T-Shirts are:

1) MetroThree (2032 Magazine Street, and online at metrothree.com). They have the “Make Levees, Not War” shirts with the rifle being snapped in half, as well as fleur de lis designs, retro “New Orleans” shirts, Katrina-Rita “Girls Gone Wild,” and a few others.

2) The Cafe Press New Orleans Said online store has the plain white shirts with “Make Levees, Not War” in black lettering.

3) The Cafe Press Dirty Coast online store has T-shirts with slogans including “Be a New Orleanian,” “Make Wetlands, Not War,” “I am New Orleans,” and “New Orleans, It Sticks to You,” among many other designs.

4) Other T-shirt designs, bumper stickers, and a variety of other paraphenalia can be purchased on Cafe Press — just use the search tool to find what you’re looking for.

5) Belladonna spas had the “Be a New New Orleanian” shirts (I don’t know if they still do).

6) Ropeadope records has “ReNewOrleans” shirts (look for the “reneworleans” graphic in the lower left of the page. The shirts are also being advertised at Feet First, 4119 Magazine Street. (Thanks for the tip Stacie).

7) “Defend New Orleans” shirts are available at a shop in the 1900 block of Magazine.

8) “Save Nola” shirts benefitting Habitat for Humanity are available at Earthsavers, Jean Therapy, Shoefty, Mira bella, and at savenolanow.com.

9) I have information on how to get the “I still go to Tulane” T-Shirts — email me if you’re interested: schroeder915 at yahoo dot com.

10) Dirty Coast also has refrigerator T-Shirts and other refrigerator paraphenalia.

If you know of other New Orleans themed T-Shirt vendors, please post a comment for other readers.

A previous set of photos can be found in an earlier PGR post.

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As sad as anything that happened on 9-11

Posted by schroeder915 on December 19, 2005

The Times-Picayune:

“I pulled her up onto the steps. Suddenly, she said quietly, but with determination, ‘I give up.’ Then she pitched forward into the water.” …

“Mother had a special wish for her ashes,” Judith Martin said. “She wanted me to use them with potting soil to plant a favorite type of rose bush — Queen Elisabeth — in a giant flower pot in the garden.

“When I first returned home on Oct. 26, I found a giant flower pot in the yard. It had floated in from a neighbor’s front yard half a block away. Somehow, I think it was meant as a message to me, to keep my promise about the rose bush and the flower pot.”

So why can’t we get the president to say, “Never again!” Why can’t New Orleans get the same attention that New York City did after 9-11? Is it because it’s easier to fight a foreign enemy than the enemy within — the enemy of negligence and incompetence?

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