Saturday, December 13, 2008

If working girls were unionized, would Vitty have avoided all his troubles? 

Noladishu highlights this delicious morsel about Vitty-cent:

"He'd rather pay a prostitute than pay auto workers."

Bad Vitty.


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Now it's only a matter of time 

Via Suspect Device:

The secret world of dreams has been unlocked with the invention of technology capable of illustrating images taken directly from human brains during sleep.


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Friday, December 12, 2008

Crisis presents opportunity 

Rumor has it that after yesterday's blizzard, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is considering an $18 million emergency budget request to purchase new "snow retardant" trash cans and crime cameras.

That's a joke, but it's a funny one.

Here's the current status of the budget. Just look at the possible budgetary items OUR Mayor might tweak, today, in order to fashion a city budget more in line with his priorities:

Nagin's spokesman wouldn't offer any hints Wednesday about what reductions or deletions, if any, the mayor may be planning to make in the $486 million operating budget passed by the council.
Nagin had proposed a 10-mill property tax increase that would have brought in about $24 million a year. But it was rejected out of hand by the council...
Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, who leads the council's budget committee, said she has spoken in detail with the mayor about changes he has in mind.

She said Nagin may cut the $1.7 million that the council appropriated for the city's public defenders office and instead propose financing that office by adding a fee to tickets issued to motorists caught running red lights or speeding.

Nagin also may freeze the city's police force at 1,600 officers and halt hiring in noncritical jobs, she said.

Nagin might add a fee to traffic tickets in order to save a measly $1.7 million that would've gone to the public defenders office, AND he might put a hiring freeze on the city's police force.

The first place he looks to find savings is in the city's stricken public justice system? What a dipstick!

Just keep this in the back of your mind until Inspector General Bob Cerasoli's office releases its interim report/audit on city cars on Wednesday. There will be some astounding numbers in it, and some details that will no doubt provoke outrage* and lead to calls for inquiries into larger issues.

* (I'm talking about things like a systemic lack of recordkeeping and anecdotal evidence of city employees abusing their gas cards by regularly siphoning gas from their city vehicles into their private vehicles at night and then filling their city cars up the next day. Rinse. Repeat.)

Update: Now Nagin's "hearing" things. Oh Lawdie. Go get him, E!.

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The Mighty (salty) WIST 690am 

Tuesday, former N.O. City Councilman Jay Batt was a guest host on Kaare Johnson's afternoon radio talk show on WIST 690am. Batt is rumored to be on the short list of candidates who might be appointed to the interim slot for House District 94 Representative. (This would perhaps put Batt in position to run for his old City Council seat, currently held by Councilmember Shelley Midura.)

As radio host, Batt would slyly work in plugs for his business, and he often portrayed himself as a family man. No biggie. But then he would repeatedly launched into political tirades using borderline offensive words like "sucks" or "assbackwards" when he was talking with those who called into the show. (My favorite caller was the guy who wanted to discuss the proposed apartment development in the commercial corridor by the River. The caller argued, "I'm for the high rises but against the low incomes." Batt didn't disagree.) Several times, Batt would use questionable language, and then ask the producer whether that was permissible. Then, he'd say it some more.

Batt's language didn't offend me, of course, but my ears aren't all that virginal. I'm not saying he wasn't entertaining, either, but the lack of professionalism from someone who "might" be eyeing future political office was jarring.

For example, Batt got into a BIG snit with a caller who misspoke and said that Batt had "announced" that he would run again for City Council. Batt hadn't officially "announced" (although he has expressed potential interest), and browbeat the caller and forced the caller to retract and apologize for "putting words in his mouth". Batt hadn't announced, he only said that he would "maybe" run. (The caller was making a different point, but Batt wouldn't let it pass until the caller said he was wrong.) A charming exchange indeed. All decorum went out the window.

Speaking of "out the window", maybe next time Batt hosts a radio show the Canal Street Madam will call in and Family Man Batt can parse words with her, and reminisce about all the things that "suck" in New Orleans.

Eric Asher has a well-regarded afternoon show on WIST 690am, and unfortunately a rather salty sequence occurred at the end of Monday's program. During the news segment which followed the conclusion of Asher's show, he went into a tirade (at his producer I assume). A live microphone picked up Asher's torrent of curse words ("f---" and "g-damn"... etc.), which could be heard over the news report.

On Wednesday, Kaare Johnson returned to the 690am airwaves, and he was positively over the moon about Joseph Cao's victory. Rightfully so. Several days before the election, Kaare was one of the few pundits that predicted Cao would win.

Per usual, Johnson had Inspector General Robert Cerasoli on his Wednesday show, and Cerasoli sounded pretty worn out. He sounded like someone had just ran over his cat, and while he was scraping the cat carcass off the road, someone else punched him in the kidneys. He sounded exhausted and demoralized.

Cerasoli explained that he was frustrated by the many impediments there were to getting his office up and running. He said that the interim report on city take home cars would come out Wednesday, and that there would be some surprising numbers in it and that there would be some tantalizing loose ends that would perhaps lead to questions about city processes and other departments.

He said a report on the city crime cameras would soon follow the car report. However he was discouraged by the lack of information he was getting from the city, and how this effected his ability to do his job well. Cerasoli's definitely a results-oriented person. He's a "Do it well or don't do it at all" type person, and it obviously pains him when things are preventing him from demonstrating all that he can do.

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Let the good times roll 


More than a dozen federal, state and local officials hoisted shovels and beamed Tuesday morning as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development broke ground for construction of 466 apartments at the former St. Bernard public housing development.

The mixed-income complex will bear a new name: Columbia Citi Residences at Bayou District. The event signaled the start of a $138 million, two-year phase of a long-term development plan.

"Are we here for a celebration or what?" asked Mayor Ray Nagin.


Longtime St. Bernard resident leader Naomi Minor sent many letters about the buildings' poor conditions before Hurricane Katrina hit, and she supported the idea of a rebuilt complex that would be a safer place to live, she said.

Kowana Lyons, 34, who had lived her entire life at the St. Bernard complex, agreed that the decades-old buildings had deteriorated. But she was too fond of what she called "our bricks" -- the solid concrete and brick structures -- to embrace the new development's side-by-side townhome designs, which struck her as flimsy by comparison.


Other residents -- demolition opponents who were barred from the groundbreaking because they were seen as disruptive at other HUD events -- chanted opposition from the sidewalk and occasionally yelled "sellout" at former neighbors who were allowed to participate.

One of them, Theresa Henry, 60, moved into St. Bernard in 1948 and paid rent there all of her adult life, usually $399 for her three-bedroom apartment. But she believed that rules for returning residents announced by the developer, Columbia Residential, went too far, including, she said, a ban on barbecuing; a 9 p.m. curfew beyond which no one can sit outside, even on the resident's own porch; and a requirement that all visitors sign in.

No afternoon Barbecuing on a Saints Sunday, no unauthorized visitors, and no sitting on your own porch in the evening. Let the good times roll! Better enjoy the groundbreaking "celebration" at "Columbia Citi" while you can, I guess.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Brilliantly naive or naively brilliant? 

From the front page T-P story titled "Mr Cao goes to Washington":

Anh "Joseph" Cao arrived in Washington on Wednesday to the praise of congressional Republicans and began his metamorphosis from unlikely hero to Congress' most junior -- and politically vulnerable -- member.

Go, Cao, Go!

"I hope to bring a fresh face and maybe a new perspective to our party," said Cao...

Give'em hell, Cao!

But even on this heady day, Cao was splashed with a little of the cold water of reality.

Cao expressed interest Monday in serving on the Ways and Means and Appropriations committees, the two most coveted assignments. He was informed Wednesday that Ways and Means is unlikely and Appropriations even more unlikely.

But, but, but... didn't Cao remind them that he is the future of their party? The future is Cao, dammit! Cao should play hardball. Tell those Republicans that if they don't placate him, and bring (back) the "Ways and Means to New Orleans", then Future Boy will switch parties.

[So... I guess Cao's earlier comments weren't a joke. He really thought the Goops might let him jump into a coveted committee slot. Hoss is a tad naive.]

Cao, the first Vietnamese-American elected to Congress, said he plans to accept an invitation from Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., to join the Asian-Pacific Islander Caucus that Honda leads. He said he also would like to join the Congressional Black Caucus, to which he has not been invited.

Uhmmmmmmm, yeeeaah. That's an interesting intention to express on your first day in the Capitol. So, pretty much, he's flanked with GOP handlers, and he's getting congratulations from conservatives, and he's attending Heritage Foundation workshops and he's about to meet with Minority Leader Boehner, and... while he's in that GOP milieu and media frenzy, he expresses interest in joining the Congressional Black Caucus.

This guy's uncanny! Honestly, in terms of politics, I can't figure out if Cao is brilliant, or naive, or brilliantly naive, or naively brilliant.

Sometimes when you ignore long odds in pursuit of a goal, you change the odds in your favor. (Clancy Dubos made that point in a speech a couple years ago. So did Han Solo in Episode 5, when he said "Never tell me the odds".) So, perhaps Cao will get an invite to the Black Caucus , and perhaps he'll get the GOP to deal him a sweet committee assignment.... But, I'm still concerned about the naivete factor with our new Representative. There's certainly a potential upside to it-- he doesn't know what he can't do yet-- but on the other hand I don't want Cao wasting his time on pipe dreams, and I don't want people trying to play him for a sucker.

In a bit of personal housekeeping, Cao said he wants to continue to be referred to in official proceedings and news coverage as Anh "Joseph" Cao, quote marks and all. His name is pronounced "Ein Gow," but he is untroubled by mispronunciations.

Good to know.

More at Kos.


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Snow, like happiness, is good for an hour 

The New Orleans area has become a winter wonderland! And it's pretty cool. And wet.

Earlier, I got some hot choco-coffee at a convenience store on Prytania, and then walked out and got hit by a snowball. I'm not joking. One of the co-owners of the store somehow made a softball-sized snowball out of the quarter inch of frozen dust on the ground, and threw it at a friend of his who was walking in the parking lot. The snowball apparently sailed over the target's head and slapped me across the neck as I was getting in my car. Yuck.

Then, later, a cardinal flew over and landed on the top of a chair right near where I was standing. She cocked her head, eyed me, and gave me the funniest "WTF?" look I've ever seen. I laughed and told her that the snow surprised me, too.

It's just a shame that the snow didn't come earlier this week so that the New Orleans Saints could use it to prepare for the wintry conditions they'll experience in Chicago tonight. Unfortunately, I'll be attending another engagement during gametime, but I hope the Saints successfully run the ball and catch a few breaks. Hey, it could happen! A weird omen like snow in New Orleans can only portend strange things.

[Interesting side note: during the 2006 season NFC Championship game between the Bears and Saints, during one pass play to the tight end I thought I saw the possibility of a "hook and lateral" option develop. Unfortunately the tight end either bobbled the catch or the coverage was too tight... but I clearly remember Bush sailing past the TE looking like he was expecting (or at least prepared for) a lateral. It sounds far out-- I've never seen a TE and a RB do a hook and lateral before-- but it's exactly the sort of cockamamie, too-smart-by-half play that Payton would try in an important game. Still... I want to see it! I love the hook and lateral. It's underused. TE to RB would be really cool.]

* "fuel and release! happiness is good for an hour"
-- Porno for Pyros

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christian Iraqi-American rapper schools Chuck Norris 

Watch the video at Grim City.


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Awkward "only white dude in the group" moment 

This morning I was chatting with some fellow New Orleanians about Gov. Blagojevich's corruption debacle. We were going over the details of the scandal, laughing, shaking our heads, enjoying our coffee. Then one of my compatriots concluded his analysis of the story with the following speculative flourish:

"They got him on tape, and HE'S STILL denying it. That man's got some 'brother' in him."

I admit, I was frozen in smile for a few seconds, not knowing the proper response.

Didn't seem quite appropriate for me to affirm the comment with a hearty Ed McMahon "Yes, sir!"... nor did I want to disagree. And I certainly didn't want to try and advance the claim. "Whaddya mean just 'some'? How about: 'a whole lot'. Am I right? Hi five!"

Little awkward. It passed.

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Vitty-cent says package has "ass-backwards" approach 

Big thanks to M. Homan for alerting us to this comment from our junior Senator, regarding the proposed automaker loan package:

Sen. David Vitter, R-La. said the package has an "ass-backwards" approach to curing what ails the U.S. auto industry-- giving carmakers money immediately, and only later demanding that they restructure.

Indeed! This is perverse. Do these automakers think that their shit doesn't stink? Do they want us to treat them like diapered babies, and clean up after them every time they make a mess? That gets expensive, and we feel so unfulfilled afterwards.

The unmitigated arrogance and perversion of these people! I've never seen anything like it.


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"Respect" your enemies 

This holiday video war is escalating at a fearsome rate.

Historians should note that Greg started it. Then YRHT fired back. We didn't start this conflict, but we endeavour to finish it.

Wet Bank Guy "retaliated", sort of, with a jib jab video and Adrastos offered up a Barbie Doll advertisement, and... well, Greg all but declared an early victory. (I did too, quite frankly. But apparently my teeth-clicking "Messiah" didn't inflict the widespread carnage I had anticipated.) Huck entered the battlefield, guns blazing, but military analysts are debating whether Huck possesses the necessary "will" to force unconditional surrender upon his opponents.

Maitri took the gloves off, and reminded the boys how it was done. And with admirable chutzpah, Leigh learns the Gentiles a thing or two, as well.

But then, like a modern day Gustavus Adolphus, Celcus comes in out of nowhere with his brutal vanguard of Van Impe. Oh the humanity! That shit's like the Rape of Nanking under mistletoe.

*still recovering*

Clearly, the battlefield has changed. There will be no quick and easy triumphs. We're after the First Marne now, in the trenches, and every inch counts. With that understanding, I implore non-participating observers to treat the following YRHT attack like a volley of mustard gas. It bends the rules of combat a bit, but dammit, this is war! Only one outcome is acceptable, and that is victory.

A Performance of "Respect Christmas" by Nightwork

Update: Howie is in. But if he loved us, he wouldn't be so cruel.
Update #2: Cliff adds some flavor from "the other side of the city", and Varg pulls out the Bolton. Ray at Minor Wisdom, bless his heart, knows he's outgunned but makes a contribution anyway.
Update #3: Nirvana? Inspired choice!

Huck boldly features a Beyonce number, but then loses points because he has to explain why it stinks.


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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Someone's feeling frisky 

Greg commences hostilities in the annual holiday video war. Last year, I thought I had won with the Christmas Shoes song, but Greg dropped a devastating ten minute White House Holiday "spoof" featuring the President's dog, Barney. (In the vid, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson tells the First Dog that "we're out of money". Ha ha ha! So much funnier a year later.) Remember, these holiday-themed performances are not intentionally sucky, and you have to listen to them in their entirety.

So, for your consideration:

A Performance of "All I want for Christmas"

A Performance of "O Holy Night"

A Performance of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. Please remember to stand during this song. It's tradition.

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When you need more Cao bell 

The Times Picayune has more on what's next for Representative-elect Joseph Cao. (Some of the following T-P quotes have been excerpted out of order. It's pronounced "Gow", btw. This post was cross-published at First Draft.)

Anh "Joseph" Cao, R-New Orleans, spent Monday accepting congratulations for his stunning victory over nine-term Democratic incumbent Rep. William Jefferson, and planning his first trip to Washington this week for an orientation session for new members of Congress offered by the conservative Heritage Foundation and featuring such enticing workshop titles as, "Dealing With the Entitlement Tsunami."

Cao's father survived a re-education camp in N. Vietnam, so hopefully he can give his son some pointers on how to deal with this Heritage Foundation workshop.

"Congressman Steve Scalise [who has been in office 9 months] has offered to be my mentor," Cao said.

Steve "the mentor" Scalise can probably impart all his useful Congressional wisdom to Cao in a five minute meeting, so, afterwards, to which senior GOP figure will Cao look for further direction?

"My recommendations to any freshman member is not forget what they did to be elected and remember the folks back at home," said Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman. "Just don't stay in Washington any longer than you have to and go back to Louisiana as much as you can."

Guh! Not Rodney! Take advice from anyone but Rodney!

By midmorning Cao was interrupting an interview to take a call from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who offered good wishes and, Cao said, counseled him "to reach out to the African-American community." Cao said Gingrich offered to act as a go-between.

Perhaps I spoke to soon.

Did I read that correctly? Newt Gingrich wants to be Cao's ambassador to the African-American community of Greater New Orleans? Really? Umm, don't Cao and Gingrich have some other things to sort out before Gingrich becomes Cao's point man in New Orleans? For example, on Cao's pet issue of bilingual education, Gingrich has previously said that:

"The American people believe English should be the official language of the government. ... We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto,"


"[bilingualism poses] long term dangers to the fabric of our nation"


"allowing bilingualism to continue to grow is very dangerous."

Why does Gingrich want to work with Cao, when he has made it plain that Cao's views are "dangerous" to the "fabric of our nation"?

Anyway, the T-P article has more:

Had [Cao] heard from House Minority Leader John Boehner? Probably, he said, but he'd heard from so many members of Congress he wasn't sure.

"Probably"? That's pretty funny. He wasn't sure if he'd heard from GOP House Minority leader John Boehner, who is already saying "the future is Cao". I'm sure that wasn't an intentional slight, but it almost sounded like one.

[Cao] had not yet heard from [Rep. Bill Jefferson] whose career he cut short.

"Do you have a number for him?" asked Cao, who said he wanted to call and offer words of solace and sympathy. He said he knows Jefferson, who faces trial on corruption charges next year, has a tough road ahead.

"He's been around a long time. I feel happy for myself but bad for him," Cao said.

Asked Sunday about the possibility of a transition meeting, Jefferson, who has never met Cao, said it's not like a presidential transition in which the incoming and outgoing officials get together.

Jefferson's refusal to congratulate or help Cao is so lacking in class. What a selfish prick.

However, because of his late election, which came after the lottery for House office space, Cao will inherit Jefferson's prime spot in the Rayburn House Office Building for the next two years.

Ooh, plum digs!

On Monday his wife, Hieu Phuong Hoang, who goes by Kate, celebrated Cao's victory by calling Walgreens, where she worked as a pharmacist, and quitting her job.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Cao, who has two young daughters, said "I'm planning to move my family up [to D.C.]" and make solo trips home to New Orleans. That way they will have more time together and his wife "can keep an eye on me and keep me in line."

Don't forget Vitty-cent, Cao. He'll be up there too, and can help keep you on the straight and narrow so that you won't embarrass yourself with any unfortunate encounters. [Sen. Vitter, by the way has resumed his active role as lector at his church in Old Metairie, standing by the altar, reading from the Bible to the sinful masses below.]

This week, Cao said, he will stay with his sister and her husband in Falls Church, Va., outside Washington and, he suggested, maybe ride a bike into the city. Warned that could be a cold trip this time of year, he agreed to a more conventional approach. "Maybe I'll take mass transit."

Earlier, I mentioned a "babe in the wilderness" quality to Cao, and that concern is perhaps growing. As a (likely one term) Congressman, will he begin to see the GOP as the key to his professional future? What yucky unforeseen consequences will eventuate from that? How naive is this guy? That's the big question. Is it naive or cool that he wants to bike into D.C. from Falls Church in December? Is it naive or cool that his immediate Plan B is "mass transit"?

The T-P tries to reassure us that Cao's a discerning, thoughtful chap.

Cao, a refugee from Vietnam, is the unlikeliest of political figures: slight, soft-spoken and self-effacing, a seemingly guileless figure, yet one with a sharp sense of humor and degrees in physics, philosophy and law and six years of study to be a Jesuit priest that suggest he is nobody's fool.

Indeed, Cao has seen things you people wouldn't believe. Saigon during the Vietnam war; the slums in Mexico City and China; the ravages of hurricane flooding on Venetian Isles ... C-beams glittering in the dark near Tannhäuser Gate.

So, with all due respect to the "spiritual warfare" waged by Louisiana's Governor, this dude has actually lived in a war. He willingly visited various pits of hell around this earth, to help the poor, and has struggled, philosophically, with that experience. He's not an idiot. I don't think he'll let the GOP mold him into something he isn't. But they could. I think, though, that it's equally likely that he could play the GOP as much as they play him. Consider:

Committee assignments will be made by the Republican leadership in January.

"I'm hoping to get onto the Appropriations Committee and Ways and Means," said Cao, listing two of the most powerful committees in Congress and unlikely perches for the most junior member of the minority party.

Was that a joke? Or is Cao trying to leverage his newfound celebrity?

He added that he would like to be on the committee to elect the first Vietnamese-American president. "That's a joke," he explained, helpfully.

Ok, but was the first comment a joke? If not, it's either naive or brilliant... or both. Hell, if he thinks he has the juice, he should shoot for the moon. Ask Boehner for a chairmanship!

I would give my left testicle to see a C-Span clip where House Goopers are addressing a "Chairman Cao".*

But seriously, University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato said, "The House Republican leadership would be politically foolish if they didn't put Cao front and center, give him good committee assignments and make sure he gets some tasty pork for the district."

Cao was asked whether he was disappointed about anyone he hadn't heard from. Angelina Jolie, he said. And the pope.

That's funny, and it will clear up confusion among some folks who mistook Cao for a new pope. Cao's not a pope, he's a former community organizer... which makes him closer to the devil, I suppose, to many in the GOP.

The next two years will be interesting. I endorsed Cao over Dollar Bill Jefferson, and am glad he won. Despite my disagreement with Cao on perhaps many issues, removing Dollar Bill was the overriding concern. (I'm convinced that electing Cao was in the long term interests of the local and state Democratic parties, as well.)

* Dillyberto gets credit for that one.


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Monday, December 08, 2008

Playing the new game 

Saturday, T-P reporter Bruce Eggler took stock of the current negotiations between the City Council and Mayor Nagin over the city's budget.

Not on the table [for discussion], it appears, is Nagin's call for a 10-mill property tax increase to bring in close to $25 million a year. The council seems to have dug in its heels against that idea so deeply that there is no way it could give in, even to approve a smaller increase. Moreover, Nagin told the council Monday night that after two rejections in two years, he was no longer going to pursue the idea of raising taxes.

As I argued at length a year ago, this was one of the great embedded benefits of the Orleans Parish assessor reforms: vastly fairer assessments move the tax debate away from individual property assessment numbers, and focus it on citywide millage rates. That's where the debate should've been all along! But because the previous, cronyfied system insulated many rich New Orleanians with permanently low assessments, there was little incentive for them to lean on civic leaders to axe proposals to increase millage rates. And that's a main reason why millage rates were permitted to climb so high. The "under-assessed insiders" didn't care much about millage increases, because they weren't enduring their share of the fiscal pain.

But now the system is in the process of being reformed, and for the second year in a row, the Mayor's proposal to raise millage rates is an absolute non-starter. It was Dead On Arrival. The Council knew that their constituents would pitch a fit if millages were increased, and... that's a good thing! New Orleanians are starting to play a "new game" now. Instead of having coffee and cutting sweetheart deals with their local assessors on their individual parcel of property, we are collectively pressuring the Council and the Mayor to cut wasteful spending before they even consider raising OUR citywide tax rates. Can't you see how much more leveraged and empowered we are now, after these assessor elections and reforms?

According to the story, Mayor Nagin is "no longer going to pursue the idea of raising taxes". And if he keeps his word, that will make it much more difficult for his successor to raise taxes. So, instead of millage increases being the norm, they will soon become the rare exception. More and more waste will have to be cut instead. And that's a good thing!

I prefer this new game. How about you?

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Let's wig out at Styler's 

T-P wordsmith James Gill uses nearly all of his Sunday column to discuss Vince Marinello's wig. Vince Marinello is the former WWL radio sportscaster now on trial for murdering his wife.

Listen: by far, the most important "wig issue" in Greater New Orleans concerns Glyn Styler. Styler is the crooning dark prophet of heartbreak who requires a wig in order to perform. Last year, Slimbolala informed us that Glyn Styler didn't have a wig. He may still need one. We must ensure that this vocalist has the materials he needs to properly transfigure cruel reality into beautiful tragic art.

Update: Styler performs in the last minute of this trailer to "Satan Was a Lady":

* (23:50 min mark)

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Four years to make a menu 

The Times Picayune reports:

A long-delayed Army Corps of Engineers plan for protection against a Category 5 hurricane -- a storm as large as or larger than Hurricane Katrina -- will be delayed until at least June, and maybe longer, the project's manager says.

Further, the final document won't be a plan at all, but rather a menu of about two dozen alternatives for Congress to further study and debate, a recipe for additional delay.
Garrett Graves, director of the Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration, said state officials don't understand why the corps report is taking so long and has cost more than $23 million, when the state completed its own coastal master plan in 13 months for only about $4 million.

Quite simply, its "taking so long" because the Bush administration wants it to take so long. These delays are by design. The Bush administration never, ever, EVER seriously considered approving Category 5 flood protection for South Louisiana. It was NEVER on the table. EVER!

Immediately after Katrina the Bushies decided Louisiana would not get Category 5 flood protection. The Bushies made a commitment to deprive us of Cat 5 flood protection-- the absolute one thing that we needed most. So they appointed a Recovery Czar to smile and be perfectly noncommital about this paramount issue day after day, year after year. Similarly, they directed USACE to "study" the matter in a vague way, and delay, delay, delay... But even that wasn't enough. When a preliminary draft of the study was (finally) ready, it had to be filtered through the White House editing shop before it could be released. The Bush administration never wanted to consider or approve Cat 5 flood protection for Louisiana-- that was their top, overriding goal throughout this whole saga. To avoid a firm commitment, they would appeal to budgetary constraints and to "the dictates of science". As precious years were wasted, the Bush administration played games with the life-and-death issue of flood control for South Louisiana. They intentionally delayed consideration of the matter-- is there any other interpretation of the facts that makes sense?

You can't tell me that the same administration that outspent Lyndon Johnson and spent a trillion dollars in Iraq, a trillion on Medicare, and six trillion in bailouts/stimulus really believes that Cat 5 flood protection for S. Louisiana is "too expensive". Nor can you tell me that Bush gives a fig about "the dictates of science". No. The simple truth is that they don't want us to have Cat 5 (or 4) flood control. Why? I don't know, precisely. Perhaps they're evil dog vulvae. Perhaps they want to punish Louisiana for being Louisiana, or for embarrassing them during Katrina, or for having Governor Blanco, or Senator Landrieu, or for being a Democratic region with an expensive problem.

Just don't try to tell me that the Bushies made an honest effort on the Cat 5 issue. They didn't. And don't tell me these delays aren't by design. They are.

Point to one freakin' thing the Bushies did to helpfully advance the goal of Category 5 protection for Louisiana during their term. Just one freakin' thing, that's all I want. I can point to scores of things they've done to delay and derail the effort toward Cat 5 flood protection, but can you cite one thing they did to advance the cause? Anyone?

Next year-- probably around the FOURTH anniversary of the Federal Flood-- USACE will present us with their "menu of alternatives". I mean: does it get any more pathetic than that?

Remember Fall of 2005? If they had sat you down and told you that four years later, in 2009, the USACE would have a "menu of Cat 5 alternatives" ready for presentation... what would your reaction be?

Something like: "It takes you four years to make a f**king menu?!! Are you trying to destroy us all?!!"

The T-P article continues with some background:

Congress originally ordered the corps to complete the Category 5 study by December 2007, when it appropriated $20 million for the study as part of appropriations bills that provided money for rebuilding levees after Katrina.

The study was to include higher levees and other structures, combined with coastal restoration features designed to reduce surge height and protect the levees, with a goal of protecting the entire Louisiana coastline from "the equivalent of Category 5" storms.

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