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Thread: Nawlins, Two Years On

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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Exclamation Nawlins, Two Years On

    I'll admit I haven't been following the post-Katrina rebuilding effort very closely. Um, at all. But with the two year anniversary upon us, I glanced at some of what's been written for the occasion. Kinda shocking. I had no idea that Karl Rove was put in charge of the federal effort.

    And I had no idea that rebuilding was so utterly stalled:

    Over the past two years since Hurricane Katrina, I've seen waves of hardworking volunteers from nonprofits, faith-based groups and college campuses descend on New Orleans, full of compassion and hope.

    They arrive in the city's Ninth Ward to painstakingly gut houses one by one. Their jaws drop as they wander around afflicted zones, gazing at the towering mounds of debris and uprooted infrastructure.

    After weeks of grueling labor, they realize that they are running in place, toiling in a surreal vacuum.

    Two full years after the hurricane, the Big Easy is barely limping along, unable to make truly meaningful reconstruction progress. The most important issues concerning the city's long-term survival are still up in the air. Why is no Herculean clean-up effort underway? Why hasn't President Bush named a high-profile czar such as Colin Powell or James Baker to oversee the ongoing disaster? Where is the U.S. government's participation in the rebuilding?

    And why are volunteers practically the only ones working to reconstruct homes in communities that may never again have sewage service, garbage collection or electricity?

    Eventually, the volunteers' altruism turns to bewilderment and finally to outrage. They've been hoodwinked. The stalled recovery can't be blamed on bureaucratic inertia or red tape alone. Many volunteers come to understand what I've concluded is the heartless reality: The Bush administration actually wants these neighborhoods below sea level to die on the vine.

    I agree that looks bad, but I don't understand why it would benefit this administration or the Republican party to willfully abandon an American city. I just don't see political the logic of it. Admittedly, the admin's performance during and after the hurricane was awful, inexcusable, but so was the city's and the state's. There was plenty of blame to go around. Wouldn't it make the admin look good to step up and go gangbusters on the reconstruction? If not, why not?

    Before you go crying that it's all about how corrupt and inefficient Louisianans are, check out some of the numbers from the GAO:

    When pressed on the slow pace of recovery in the Gulf Coast, President Bush insists the federal government has fulfilled its promise to rebuild the region. The proof, he says, is in the big check the federal government signed to underwrite the recovery -- allegedly more than $116 billion. But residents of the still-devastated Gulf Coast are left wondering whether the check bounced.

    "$116 billion is not a useful number," says Stanley Czerwinski of the Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm.

    For starters, most federal money -- about two-thirds -- was quickly spent for short-term needs like debris removal and Coast Guard rescue. As Czerwinski explains, "There is a significant difference between responding to an emergency and rebuilding post-disaster."

    That has left little money for long-term Gulf Coast recovery projects. Although it's tricky to unravel the maze of federal reports, our best estimate of agency data is that only $35 billion has been appropriated for long-term rebuilding.

    Even worse, less than 42 percent of the money set aside has even been spent, much less gotten to those most in need. For example:

    * Washington set aside $16.7 billion for Community Development Block Grants, one of the two biggest sources of rebuilding funds, especially for housing. But as of March 2007, only $1 billion -- just 6 percent -- had been spent, almost all of it in Mississippi. Following bad publicity, HUD spent another $3.8 billion on the program between March and July, leaving 70 percent of the funds still unused.

    * The other major source of rebuilding help was supposed to be FEMA's Public Assistance Program. But of the $8.2 billion earmarked, only $3.4 billion was meant for nonemergency projects like fixing up schools and hospitals.

    * Louisiana officials recently testified that FEMA has also "low-balled" project costs, underestimating the true expenses by a factor of four or five. For example, for 11 Louisiana rebuilding projects, the lowest bids came to $5.5 million -- but FEMA approved only $1.9 million.

    * After the failure of federal levees flooded 80 percent of New Orleans, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received $8.4 billion to restore storm defenses. But as of July 2007, less than 20 percent of the funds have been spent, even as the Corps admits that levee repair won't be completed until as late as 2011.

    The fact that, two years later, most federal Katrina funds remain bottled up in bureaucracy is especially shocking considering that the amounts Washington allocated come nowhere near the anticipated costs of Gulf rebuilding.

    So. Given all of this, what the **** is going on? Theories and hypotheses gratefully welcomed. No conspiracies unless you have documentation, please.
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    Arena Senior Member Crazed Rabbit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Incompetence.

    Don't attribute to malice what can be attributed to stupidity, after all.

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    The very model of a modern Moderator Xiahou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Two full years after the hurricane, the Big Easy is barely limping along, unable to make truly meaningful reconstruction progress. The most important issues concerning the city's long-term survival are still up in the air. Why is no Herculean clean-up effort underway? Why hasn't President Bush named a high-profile czar such as Colin Powell or James Baker to oversee the ongoing disaster? Where is the U.S. government's participation in the rebuilding?
    Those questions are all idiotic in my opinion. I guess the federal government is supposed to just roll in and toss aside municipal and state governments, wave the magic wand, throw around some fat wads of cash and make everything "Better"(TM)? Just send Colin Powell in to run rough-shod over state sovereignty and municipal government.

    What exactly should the federal government's responsibilities be in a situation like this? As the article states, they've already paid billions upon billions of dollars to clean up debris and rebuild infrastructure. New Orleans may still be a mess, but other areas hit just as hard, if not harder, are well on their way to recovery.

    Many volunteers come to understand what I've concluded is the heartless reality: The Bush administration actually wants these neighborhoods below sea level to die on the vine.
    I don't really think this is true, but it does beg a question. Why on earth would the federal government want to spend money on rebuilding communities below sea-level, in a flood zone? That whole story is a bunch of emotional-appeal, tripe.
    Last edited by Xiahou; 08-30-2007 at 07:39.
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    Come to daddy Member Geoffrey S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiahou
    Those questions are all idiotic in my opinion. I guess the federal government is supposed to just roll in and toss aside municipal and state governments, wave the magic wand, throw around some fat wads of cash and make everything "Better"(TM)? Just send Colin Powell in to run rough-shod over state sovereignty and municipal government.

    What exactly should the federal government's responsibilities be in a situation like this? As the article states, they've already paid billions upon billions of dollars to clean up debris and rebuild infrastructure. New Orleans may still be a mess, but other areas hit just as hard, if not harder, are well on their way to recovery.
    It seems that the state institutions clearly aren't up to the job, and I can see why. If the federal government has far more resources at its disposal and in theory should be able to concentrate them more effectively, then why not? I realise in the US strong federal government is hardly a popular form of running the country, but isn't it in precisely this kind of a situation where Washington can (or rather, should be able to) do things the individual states simply can't do as well on their own? I'd have thought that the whole point, in general letting states run things themselves and stepping in when necessary such as in Louisiana now.
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    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Whenever I see somebody on television complaining about the lack of Katrina Aid, it's always somebody living in a trailer bitching that nobody has given them a 3000 ft^2 house with central AC yet. Sorry, my sympathies in that department run almost non-existently. Refugees fleeing for their lives from the Sudan with nothing but the clothes on their backs have arrived since the catastrophe and managed to get themselves settled. The Katrina victims have had just about every debt under the sun forgiven. All they have to do is get off their butts, get a job and start taking care of themselves. But apparently, that's too much to ask of them.

    Seriously, when people need aid, I have as big a heart as anyone. But I'm not going to ooh and aah over these new emperor's clothes. After two years, these people need to start looking to their own needs. "Katrina aid" has become codeword for "permanent entitlement" and I want no parts of it.
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    Filthy Rich Member Odin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur
    Theories and hypotheses gratefully welcomed.
    The federal government is consumed with Iraq/afghanistan and cleaning up the messes of scandals. Lemur's opening line is telling, he along with millions of other americans havent been paying attention to the aftermath of Katrina. We are awash in recycled news of failure in Iraq, and however else the media can beat the dead horse that is Bush.

    One only needs to look at, lets say April 2007 what were the predominate news stories? Was Katrina recovery 5% of them? Public awareness is often driven by media outlets and its far to easy to hammer on Iraq.

    Meantime gas lines burst in manhattan, bridges collapse, floods in the corn belt, fires on the west cost, Air traffic control system from the 50's, a power grid that is failing....

    Domestic infrastructure issues dont make sexy news casts and sell commercials unless someone dies. I work with my town government and at the local level thats where this business of rebuilding bridges (and its funding) gets hashed out.

    So nawlins has been left to its own devices, not surprisingly its a domestic infrastructure issue which rarely garnishes national attention.
    There are few things more annoying than some idiot who has never done anything trying to say definitively how something should be done.

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    Needs more flowers Moderator drone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur
    I agree that looks bad, but I don't understand why it would benefit this administration or the Republican party to willfully abandon an American city. I just don't see political the logic of it. Admittedly, the admin's performance during and after the hurricane was awful, inexcusable, but so was the city's and the state's. There was plenty of blame to go around. Wouldn't it make the admin look good to step up and go gangbusters on the reconstruction? If not, why not?
    From a politically cynical viewpoint, why would a Republican administration rebuild New Orleans? It's not like they will ever win over the voters there. The GOP cares about suburbs and rural areas more than major cities, that's where their support is.

    From a practical standpoint, I pretty much agree that the areas below sea level should not be rebuilt. A waste of current funds and a potential disaster waiting to happen. But if that's the plan, they need to just step up and say it, and tell the former residents that they need to give up hope of returning and get a job somewhere else.
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiahou
    Why on earth would the federal government want to spend money on rebuilding communities below sea-level, in a flood zone?
    Excellent question, and I haven't heard it addressed seriously by the President, FEMA, Karl Rove, the Governor or the Mayor. Both enviro-weenies and big oil representatives agree that the wetlands should be re-seeded and the city made much smaller. When environmentalists and petro-businesses agree on something it's worth taking note.

    So why did the President blindly pledge to rebuild Nawlins? Why didn't anyone start a conversation about how maybe the city needed to be radically reconfigured?
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

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    RIP Tosa, my trolling end now Senior Member Devastatin Dave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Some people are just incapable of doing ANYTHING for themselves. No matter how much federal aid or programs you give them they will NEVER be anymore than a leach on our tax dollar. These "Nawlins" Katrina "victims" need to get off their collective asses (probably for the first time in their lives), throw away the 40's, put out the Kools, break the crack pipes, and WORK to get THEIR city straight. The Man is getting pretty tired of having to do EVERYTHING for those who won't do for themselves except use the same excuses used for the past 50 damn years.
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    So Don and Dave, both of you are putting forward the Permanent Parasites argument, if I'm getting you correctly?
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    RIP Tosa, my trolling end now Senior Member Devastatin Dave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur
    So Don and Dave, both of you are putting forward the Permanent Parasites argument, if I'm getting you correctly?
    He's not but I am. He's talking personal responsibility. I on the other hand I'm talking about the hood urban mentality of the majority population of "Nawlins".
    Maybe they can have a dog fighting fund raiser or something. The only problem is the money would probably go to gold "teef" and rims for a 1970 cutliss.
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Okay Dave, let me get this straight -- you are saying that Nawlins is populated by black parasites who will waste any aid given, blow any money on stereotypical ghetto toys, and that what is needed is for them to take personal responsibility and stop suckling on the governmental teat.

    And that is the long and the short of the New Orleans situation. Am I reading this correctly?
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    Filthy Rich Member Odin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Devastatin Dave
    He's not but I am. He's talking personal responsibility. I on the other hand I'm talking about the hood urban mentality of the majority population of "Nawlins".
    Maybe they can have a dog fighting fund raiser or something. The only problem is the money would probably go to gold "teef" and rims for a 1970 cutliss.
    what the hell.....
    There are few things more annoying than some idiot who has never done anything trying to say definitively how something should be done.

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    RIP Tosa, my trolling end now Senior Member Devastatin Dave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur
    Okay Dave, let me get this straight -- you are saying that Nawlins is populated by black parasites who will waste any aid given, blow any money on stereotypical ghetto toys, and that what is needed is for them to take personal responsibility and stop suckling on the governmental teat.

    And that is the long and the short of the New Orleans situation. Am I reading this correctly?
    Thats a very racist post and I'll report you next time you do that. Not once did I say black. Obviously when you see words like "teef, rims, Kools, 40's, urban, crack pipes, etc) you think "black". You should be ashamed of yourself. You should realise that many "colors" have this mentality. It doesn't matter what color you are, it matters what is within as Dr King said. You really should try to rid yourself of associating steroetypes with color.
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Mm-hmmm. And the cross your have burning on your lawn is just an illuminated symbol of Christianity, and the white hood and robe is just a clever method for actively drying the sheets. I gotcha, Dave.
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    RIP Tosa, my trolling end now Senior Member Devastatin Dave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    You've gone too far. Will you be giving yourself the warning?
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Dev Dave is at full throttle today lads and lasses!

    Hide your flocks!


    Sorry, just couldn't resist...
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    RIP Tosa, my trolling end now Senior Member Devastatin Dave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh
    Dev Dave is at full throttle today lads and lasses!

    Hide your flocks!


    Sorry, just couldn't resist...
    I'm goin on vacation down to Tennesse this weekend, Lemur looks like he could use the exercise. And no, I'm not going to a Klan rally.
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    Filthy Rich Member Odin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur
    Mm-hmmm. And the cross your have burning on your lawn is just an illuminated symbol of Christianity, and the white hood and robe is just a clever method for actively drying the sheets. I gotcha, Dave.


    thats a pretty serious allegation there Lemur, considering you didnt bother to put any smilies or a disclaimer of sarcasm.

    Its a shame really you used to be held in pretty high regard (at least by me) I'm sure you dont personally care, but the tone, content and seeming intent of your postings has changed.
    There are few things more annoying than some idiot who has never done anything trying to say definitively how something should be done.

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    Come to daddy Member Geoffrey S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Devastatin Dave
    I on the other hand I'm talking about the hood urban mentality of the majority population of "Nawlins".
    Following the post by Lemur:
    Quote Originally Posted by Devastatin Dave
    Thats a very racist post and I'll report you next time you do that. Not once did I say black. Obviously when you see words like "teef, rims, Kools, 40's, urban, crack pipes, etc) you think "black". You should be ashamed of yourself. You should realise that many "colors" have this mentality. It doesn't matter what color you are, it matters what is within as Dr King said. You really should try to rid yourself of associating steroetypes with color.
    Linky to US census, showing that 67,3 percent of the population of New Orleans is black.
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Devastatin Dave
    He's not but I am. He's talking personal responsibility. I on the other hand I'm talking about the hood urban mentality of the majority population of "Nawlins".
    Maybe they can have a dog fighting fund raiser or something. The only problem is the money would probably go to gold "teef" and rims for a 1970 cutliss.
    The majority population of new orleans is african american (67%). Thus it's evident the last line refers to them.

    Dave claimed that lemur was being racist and that he hadn't meant his post in a racist way, lemurs example was to to point out how ridiculous that claim was.

  22. #22
    Filthy Rich Member Odin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro
    The majority population of new orleans is african american (67%). Thus it's evident the last line refers to them.

    Dave claimed that lemur was being racist and that he hadn't meant his post in a racist way, lemurs example was to to point out how ridiculous that claim was.
    Odd Lemur didnt choose that vein when discussing Dave burning a cross on his lawn.

    Dave is no angel, but he covered himself on this one.

    Whatever, it dosent matter to bad it had to come to these ridiculous suppositions and pointed accusations.
    There are few things more annoying than some idiot who has never done anything trying to say definitively how something should be done.

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    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Why don't we all take a step back and take a deep breath. The racist card is a cheap trick regardless of who decides to play it and for what reason. Unless somebody from the African-American community is actually offended by the discussion, I vote we drop it out of hand.

    Trying to slide back onto topic here, please allow me a moment to answer Lemur's question. If by "Permanent Parasites" argument, you're saying that anybody that doesn't agree that these Nawlins folks should be taken care of for life, yes, I suppose I am making that argument.

    Just how much of a handout/handup do you think these people need? They had every bill and debt they held prior to the storm erased. They received free housing for the past 2 years. They've received subsidy checks. And they're on TV, whining about how it's not even a drop in the bucket, and as far as they're concerned, the 'real aid' hasn't even started.

    How am I supposed to take comments like that? And using derogatory terms to frame my argument to imply that I'm hard-hearted is a weak tactic. Why not answer my challenge on the grounds that they actually are entitled to more handouts? Or that in reality, they never did actually get any?

    Am I the only one that remembers people using their checks for strip clubs and a sex-change operation? For trips to Vegas?
    Last edited by Don Corleone; 08-30-2007 at 17:45.
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Odin
    Dave is no angel, but he covered himself on this one.
    If Dave's covered, so am I. To re-create the magic of the Dave: How dare you assume that a burning cross and a white robe signify anything other than burning wood and a fashion statement. You are clearly bringing your own assumptions to the table.

    If my post was clearly referencing something, so was his.
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    Filthy Rich Member Odin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur
    If Dave's covered, so am I. To re-create the magic of the Dave: How dare you assume that a burning cross and a white robe signify anything other than burning wood and a fashion statement. You are clearly bringing your own assumptions to the table.

    If my post was clearly referencing something, so was his.
    If you werent such a pompass ass Lemur, I might take the time to explain it to you. Sadly I would be wasting my breath.

    Seriously, dont let me hold you back though, Im dying to see the evidence of your claim that he burns crosses on his front lawn, thats a serious accusation, and specific.

    Likewise for Dave, but from him I expect the ridiculous, for you I had a higher threshhold, my bad
    There are few things more annoying than some idiot who has never done anything trying to say definitively how something should be done.

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    RIP Tosa, my trolling end now Senior Member Devastatin Dave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro
    The majority population of new orleans is african american (67%). Thus it's evident the last line refers to them.

    .
    No, just because you and Lemur are unable to look past someones skin pigment doesn't make me a klansman. Are Vanilla Ice and K-Fed black? What about Eminem?
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone
    Why don't we all take a step back and take a deep breath. The racist card is a cheap trick regardless of who decides to play it and for what reason. Unless somebody from the African-American community is actually offended by the discussion, I vote we drop it out of hand.
    Okey-dokey.
    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone
    If by "Permanent Parasites" argument, you're saying that anybody that doesn't agree that these Nawlins folks should be taken care of for life, yes, I suppose I am making that argument.
    I certainly don't believe they should be taken care of indefinitely. I am rather more concerned with stalled federal reconstruction money. It's kinda difficult to rebuild and recover when basic infrastructure is not happening.
    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone
    Am I the only one that remembers people using their checks for strip clubs and a sex-change operation? For trips to Vegas?
    Nope, that was very well-publicized, and much covered in the media. Some of the people who were displaced by the hurricane were terminal losers, agreed. I have no idea what percentage of them were basket cases, and neither do you. However, it is safe to assume that there are some reasonable, hard-working people in the southern part of Louisiana who are also having a needlessly hard time because the rebuilding is happening so slowly.

    Let me back up even further -- do you believe that the Government's role in rebuilding is being filled adequately?

    -edit-

    Dev Dave, I was not suggesting you were a Klansman. I was drawing an equally offensive parallel, using the exact same techniques you used, to demonstrate how thinly-veiled your reference to black people was. Odin and others are now deeply offended that I could possibly suggest such a thing, while dancing past the comments that inspired the analogy. Whatever. If I get my warning, I'll take it like a lemur.
    Last edited by Lemur; 08-30-2007 at 17:54.
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

  28. #28
    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur
    Let me back up even further -- do you believe that the Government's role in rebuilding is being filled adequately?
    At the infrastructure/public-works level? No. But then, as the city sits 10 feet below sea level, I was opposed to the idea of rebuilding it in the first place. But that's water under the bridge (sorry, pun wasn't intended). The government did in fact promise they were going to rebuild, and AFAIK, they haven't done a lot of the things for the local infrastructure that they said they were going to.

    At the personal level? We've given out way, way too much money already. If the families that are supposed to be helped are so hard-working, why is it that 2 years down the road, with no bills to pay, they still need the government to cover their nut for them?
    "A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."
    Don Vito Corleone: The Godfather, Part 1.

    "Then wait for them and swear to God in heaven that if they spew that bull to you or your family again you will cave there heads in with a sledgehammer"
    Strike for the South

  29. #29
    RIP Tosa, my trolling end now Senior Member Devastatin Dave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur

    Dev Dave, I was not suggesting you were a Klansman. I was drawing an equally offensive parallel, using the exact same techniques you used, to demonstrate how thinly-veiled your reference to black people was. Odin and others are now deeply offended that I could possibly suggest such a thing, while dancing past the comments that inspired the analogy. Whatever. If I get my warning, I'll take it like a lemur.
    Again, you point out where I said "black" and I'll give you the Craig treatment and you can video tape it and post it in the Backroom.
    RIP Tosa

  30. #30
    Come to daddy Member Geoffrey S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nawlins, Two Years On

    Try #20 and #21.
    "The facts of history cannot be purely objective, since they become facts of history only in virtue of the significance attached to them by the historian." E.H. Carr

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