Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

CSI: New Orleans

Arianna Huffington says that now is definitely the time for finger-pointing, because you want to investigate the crime scene while the evidence is still fresh (She mentioned characters from CSI: Miami and Law and Order).

So I have some observations.

First, New Orleans was built at sea level, but the ground in a delta sinks. It gets replenished by the flood waters that come with new soil eroded from upstream. Thus the Egyptians count on the annual flooding by the Nile to renew their agricultural land. New Orleans took the opposite tack and built levees to protect their children from the flood waters. As a result, most of New Orleans is below sea level. That makes them dependent on the levees to stay dry the way Holland depends on dikes.

Second, the Army Corps of Engineers has been asking for years for the money to build up those levees. Instead the Bush Administration cut their budget 40% this past year.

Third, when the Governor of Louisiana asked that an emergency be declared two days before the hurricane hit, President Bush complied, but FEMA did nothing. Michael Chertoff had the authority to send them in to get ready, the way they did with the four hurricanes in Florida in 2004, but they did nothing.

Fourth, when the Mayor of New Orleans declared a mandatory evacuation, the buses and trains stopped running, stranding everyone without cars or money for gas to get out.

Fifth, the 300 or so school buses sat idle, because there were no drivers available in a category 5 hurricane. All the city bus drivers who could were put to work evacuating people, but where was there to evacuate people to? There was no upstate location set up to take in evacuees. The Super Dome was set up for them, they thought, but that was before the hurricane and flood kept electricity, water, and sewer functions from working.

Then the oil companies that "coincidentally" had shut down half the country's refining capacity for "maintenance" weeks before the hurricane hit so that they could jack gasoline prices up over $2.00 a gallon now gouged the price up to over $3.00 because of the refinery shutdowns in the Gulf area. They would prosecute Lowe's for raising the price of a generator under those conditions, yet they let the oil giants get away with the same kind of gouging. We see who owns this government.

So it was a national disaster, and a national disgrace.

Under every picture of Katrina's destruction is an unwritten caption: "Your tax cuts at work."

And every gasoline price sign that says $3.oo a gallon or more is a Democratic campaign poster for the 2006 and 2008 elections.


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