Saturday, April 01, 2006

FYI 

Inspired by this month's National Geographic, I thought I'd share a map I found here, depicting relative earthquake risk to the United States. (Click to enlarge.)



Sifu Tweety, our West Coast friend from the Poor Man, has lamented the problems human beings have in managing risk. As a slightly sarcastic assistance to this effort, I thought I'd make sure our friends in other parts of the country are more informed about their hazardous choice of locales.

For heavier (but effective) sarcasm, we return to the Poor Man, and revisit this comment from Celsus, whom we will respectfully excerpt:

New Yorkers really should take a look at the projections of what a major hurricane would do to Long Island and the city proper. No one in their right mind should live there. And Houston? The projections when Rita was approaching were frightening enough, but those stupid Texans, once the storm passed they all came right back into the future path of destruction. Seattle and Tacoma have a nice active volcano right in their backyard. What kind of stupid idiot would build there? California, what do you need to say? Besides the obvious earthquake risk, those faults extend offshore pose a tsunami risk as well. But there just a bunch of liberals anyway; they don't deserve our help. I wonder what would happen if a cat 4 or 5 Hurricane turned up the Chesapeake Bay? Think you are safe away from the coast? New Madrid Fault; last time there was a major eruption there were four 7+ earthquakes and the Mississippi ran backwards. The stupid people living in the four states that would be most affected didn't bother to enforce any seismic building codes (I blame it on corruption). Scientists say we're due. Or I should say "you're" due. None of us in unaffected areas have any concern.

Indeedy.

So, enjoy everything provided to you through our essential port, highlanders. Enjoy the Gulf's oil and gas while you sermonize from your fault-riddled mount about "how stupid it is to live in a bowl". Make it a joke even, yuk it up. Then drive to your Starbucks and Olive Gardens, and-- whatever you do-- avoid asking yourselves:

Is my neighborhood so utterly immune from Nature's "judgment day"?



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And here's a timely related story that I'd prefer not to share.
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Friday, March 31, 2006

The Caring Gardener 

T-P:

Three lawyers, a minister and a lawn-care worker are opposing Renee Gill Pratt in her bid for a second four-year term as the District B representative on the New Orleans City Council.

The diverse district includes Broadmoor, swaths of Uptown and Mid-City, and the Central Business District, all of which were inundated in August when the 17th Street Canal levee failed after Hurricane Katrina swept through.
...

The only candidate who isn't a member of a political party is Brown, a lawn-care worker who is relying on hand-lettered signs, some bearing a barnyard expletive, to let people know that he is running for office again.

"I ran for mayor, and I ran for governor, and I'm stressing the same issues," he said. "We've got to learn respect, and we've got to learn cleanness. . . . We need to take back our city and stop sitting on our butts waiting for somebody else to take care of us."

Brown, 36, wants to establish a 24-hour telephone line to receive constituents' complaints, and he pledges that he always will accept suggestions.

He said he expects to spend no more than $3,000 on his campaign.

"I care," Brown said. "It's time that someone starts caring about people. It's not how much money you got; it's how much time you can give."


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More at World Class
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"The Corps of Engineers informs us they cannot ensure even the minimum safety of S.E. Louisiana." 

Senator David "vitty-cent" Vitter responds to the Bush administration's announcement that the New Orleans area will need $9 billion to repair the levees for a major storm, not the $3 billion they've been quoting.

Don Powell laid out for us an additional $6 billion of essential levee work in the metro New Orleans area that must be done. This is enormously frustrating to me. I've been telling them since last November that they've sought way too little money for essential levee work, and this finally confirms that. Only it comes after months of stonewalling, with the new hurricane season right around the corner.

He's correct on all points. It is essential levee work. It is a frustrating situation. He has been militating for more levee funds since November, and the Corpse of Engineers has stonewalled the state about this.

However, regarding the additional $6 billion in funding that will be needed, hotshot whizkid Rep. Bobby Jindal says "We need the administration's political capital to make this happen."

What capital is that?! Is he saying Bush still has juice from this Iraq war blunder? Wow. What an interesting belief. I hope Jindal brings Dubya (and his capital) down here to LA when he runs for governor next year.

Jindal's once again deluded, licking the same boot that keeps kicking the "gret stet" in the gut.

Here's a clue, courtesy of our Senior Senator, Mary Landrieu, who notes that Bush's new Chief of Staff has previously opposed offshore oil/gas revenue-sharing and has recommended cuts to "levee and flood control funding".

Ah, "new blood" never smelled so stale.

Da paper explains why a request for more funding is so crucial down here:

A new request... is critical to the release of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's long-awaited flood-elevation maps, which will give residents and businesses an indication about whether to rebuild in the region. Property behind the upgraded levees could see relatively minor changes in elevation requirements, subject primarily to more typical flooding. Those areas without improved levees would have to build substantially higher to account for flooding and storm surge.

Adequate levee repair funding determines whether the Corps will "certify" the levees, which determines the release of FEMA flood maps, which determines insurance rates and building elevations, which determine how many businesses and residents return.

All this depends on federal funding. The city can't be rebuilt until it appears safe and insurable. Governor KBB seems to understand that:

It's very shocking to learn that we need $6 billion more.

This means that, just two months before hurricane season, the Corps of Engineers informs us they cannot ensure even the minimum safety of Southeastern Louisiana. This is totally unacceptable.

Like the Bush administration, the Corps can be world class stonewallers. It's ironic that their actual job is to be world class floodwallers.

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Polimom has more.
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Thursday, March 30, 2006

 


I took this photo on my trip to the lower ninth ward this weekend. The reconstruction of New Orleans (and especially the lower ninth) is much further along than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds something negative in Louisiana and screams and shouts about it-- overshadowing all the good news-- in part because many journalists are opposed to President Bush's sincere effort to rebuild S. Louisiana.

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Update: Michael has also done some N.O. photoblogging that will upset the MSM's liberal agenda.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Yeah you right! 

Humid Haney has oyster video.
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Where there's a Wilson, there's a way. 

Hollis at Third Battle of New Orleans contends that mayoral candidate Peggy Wilson hasn't explained her "Tax Free City" platform.

Nonsense. Peggy Wilson explains her daring tax proposal quite clearly on her website, which states:


In order to entice businesses and homeowners back to our City, New Orleans must offer incentives. Tax freedom is an essential part of this incentive package. In order to do this, a financing plan must be established that allows the City to fund basic services, such as fire, police, schools and emergency protection, without the need for taxes. This is possible with innovative leadership that is committed to freeing our people of taxes.

See, that's how. There's just a failure of imagination and vision here. Freedom isn't free, but tax freedom is. We just need a "financing plan" for our expenses. I believe this might include bringing alchemists to N.O. who can transmute our abundant mold into precious metals. Those metals may be sold for top dollar, or converted by artists into priceless, louisiana-themed artwork.

Problem solved!
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Today's installment of "How to Lose an Election to an Entrenched Machine" 

First, take an innovative, reform-minded effort and have it campaign in the courtroom, rather than on the streets.

The Times-Picayune reports:


In the wake of court decisions stripping the initials "I.Q." from the ballot listings of two candidates for separate Orleans Parish assessor districts, Louisiana Secretary of State Al Ater has removed the label from the listings of five other assessor candidates on the "I Quit" ticket.

So now what, after this cute little "I.Q" nickname gambit failed in the courts? How will this reform ticket create name recognition for its candidates?

Perhaps, oh I don't know, a real campaign? Door to door canvassing? Events? Rallies? Something that identifies the candidates, gets their names out, and aligns them with the forces of change in the mind of the electorate? Would a schedule of events on the website be asking too much? Or even a few entries on the "helpful links" page?

OK, back up: how 'bout a freakin' yard sign, fer instance? Let's start with that. Something clever, like "Nancy Marshall's my I.Q.. Who's yours?"

Surely someone must have a strategy beyond the courtroom for this effort, right? Right?!?

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Long ago, a young man known as Chep Morrison got elected Mayor of New Orleans in a stunning upset. He beat the existing machine, in part, by tirelessly campaigning door-to-door as a liberal reformer, and challenging the corrupt powers-that-be with blazing rhetoric. Fed up voters took note, and turned out.

What an interesting historical footnote.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Link dump 

The Flaming Liberal sends me a plenitude of daily emails with links to noteworthy articles. Here's several recent ones which I thought were must reads:

Bush Was Set on Path to War, British Memo Says

Founding member of Delta Force calls Iraq an "Utter debacle".

"American capitalism, dominated by our financial sector, is uniquely wedded to disaggregating companies, thwarting unionization and offshoring work, in a ceaseless campaign to impress investors that it has found the cheapest labor imaginable."

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And I'll add two more.

First, this post from Kevin Drum, which contains the killer excerpted quote: "Not only are we fighting the war wrong, we are fighting the wrong war."

And, more locally, World Class observes: "We are a world class exporter of talent.... We've lost more talented people than many cities have as residents."
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You too can abuse news 

Step 1. Label blog "Louisiana Political News Service", an "independent, nonpartisan blog site".

Step 2. Title post "Blanco and $28 billion boondoggle"

Step 3. Insert picture of a dispirited Governor Kathleen Blanco.

Step 4. Excerpt and highlight an Advocate editorial railing against "royalty relief" for Big Oil, and efforts by Big Oil to expand this "relief" (read: gubmint subsidy) from $7 billion to $28 billion via lawsuit.

Step 5. Fail to note that Blanco is not mentioned or directly involved in the Advocate editiorial nor the referenced NYT editorial.

Step 6. Title a second excerpt a "Related Advocate Story" (but don't link to it).

Step 7. Though this "story" (actually a news brief) does not involve the aforementioned "$28 billion dollar boondoggle" at all, highlight Blanco's name but make certain to omit the key sentence explaining her position. (That is: "The governor said she is backing legislation to require the damage awards given to landowners who win [environmental lawsuits against oil companies] to pay for cleaning up the property and would require court oversight of the cleanup.")

Step 8. After the utterly misleading juxtaposition is complete, provide the following "commentary": "Is Blanco the new floor leader for Big Oil now?"

Step 9. Revel in your cut and paste propaganda, and hasten to send this "news" to 15,000+ "subscribers".


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I know most of you familiar with LPNS know these misleading shenanigans are nothing new, I just thought this was a particularly egregious example. The lawsuit referenced in the first article involves Big Oil trying to expand their government subsidies during a time of record profits (aided by the GOP congress and president Bush), while the lawsuits described in the so-called "related story" involve environmental judgments (and Blanco's attempt to ensure these awards are used to clean up our state-- a totally separate issue). Basically LPNS is saying, "Hey look how greedy Big Oil is, and now look at this excerpted snippet that mentions Blanco and Big Oil. See how I preposterously "connect" these two entities without benefit of context? Are you stupid enough to buy my amateurish razzle dazzle?"

... and every day this "news" treatment is dispersed to thousands of "subscribers".

So the appropriate answer to LPNS' "commentary" ("Is Blanco the new floor leader for Big Oil now?") must be:

No. And who else but a blind partisan hack could possibly invent that question in response to the cited news articles and opinion pieces?

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"We have a tendency to overpromise,"

--George Foresman, homeland security undersecretary for preparedness.
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Umm, Nice. 

On the court everything is earned, nothing "owed".


(via WCNO)

(More from Ashley)
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