More on The Levee

And I am sure I will take more flak from continuing to point this out, but the meme that the recent cuts cuts somehow caused the levee to break is so nasty, it has to be killed. Andrew Sullivan appears to be leading the charge, and that is again reiterated by MoDo today in the NY Times:

In June 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, fretted to The Times-Picayune in New Orleans: “It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.”

Not only was the money depleted by the Bush folly in Iraq; 30 percent of the National Guard and about half its equipment are in Iraq.

Again, the assertion is that this funding cut somehow kept the levees from holding, because maintenance and construction was stopped. There is, however, more and more evidence that this is not the case. I have already written about this at length, and I have noted the response by the Army Corps of Engineers:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday that a lack of funding for hurricane-protection projects around New Orleans did not contribute to the disastrous flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina.

In a telephone interview with reporters, corps officials said that although portions of the flood-protection levees remain incomplete, the levees near Lake Pontchartrain that gave way—inundating much of the city—were completed and in good condition before the hurricane.

However, they noted that the levees were designed for a Category 3 hurricane and couldn’t handle the ferocious winds and raging waters from Hurricane Katrina, which was a Category 4 storm when it hit the coastline. The decision to build levees for a Category 3 hurricane was made decades ago based on a cost-benefit analysis.

“I don’t see that the level of funding was really a contributing factor in this case,” said Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, chief of engineers for the corps. “Had this project been fully complete, it is my opinion that based on the intensity of this storm that the flooding of the business district and the French Quarter would have still taken place.”

Apparently this is not good enough for Andrew Sullivan, who puts up an email claiming that anything the ACE says will be a whitewash:

To sum up: Gen. Strock is asking us to accept that the Army Corps could maintain the structural integrity of every last mile of levee built on subsiding soils in a District that had taken a $71 million budget cut in one year. AND that they would admit it if they hadn’t, when the reputation of the President is at stake. All my experience rejects both propositions.

In other words, Andrew knows what he knows, and anyone who says anything to the contrary is just providing cover. Who then does Andrew trust? Perhaps Michael Parker, who Sullivan quoted several days ago:

“‘I’m not saying it wouldn’t still be flooded, but I do feel that if it had been totally funded, there would be less flooding than you have,’ said Michael Parker, a former Republican Mississippi congressman who headed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from October 2001 until March 2002, when he was ousted after publicly criticizing a Bush administration proposal to cut the corps’ budget.”

Parker has apparently had time to gather more information, because last night on Aaron Brown, he stated the following:

BROWN: There was a plan to shore up the levee system that protects the city. The levees were breached in three places as you now know, but there was a plan to shore them up long before. At one point, money was sent on the table. And then, money was lost.

Mike Parker was the head of the Army Corps of Engineers three years ago when he criticized the administration for its, I guess, budgetary priorities. He was forced to resign over his opposition. He’s in our Washington bureau tonight.

If the money had been spent, if the levee project had been completed, I don’t think you believe, do you, that the city would be dry?

MICHAEL PARKER, FMR. HEAD, ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: It would not be dry. No, no. In fact, the president of the United States, when he first came into office, and we’d given him $100 million. It would not have made much difference as far as this incident.

BROWN: Why would it would not have made much difference? I thought the idea was to take it sort of raise the level of its strength from – to withstand a Category 5 hurricane?

PARKER: But you have to understand, these projects are huge in nature. And they take a long time to build. I think we need to put it in perspective. Infrastructure is not something that we build for ourselves. We build it for our children and our grandchildren. Just like the infrastructure we have in place, we owe that – we own it simply because it was given to us by our parents and our grandparents.

The levee that failed was upgraded to maximum capacity as designed, and it simply would not have mattered.

That doesn’t answer the question I don’t understand, which is why we would only have levees designed to Cat 3 strength, and not the best possible. I would not live there.

But the idea that the deaths in New Orleans can be pinned on people because of some small budget cuts (albeit, in my opinion, horribly stupid ones), should be put to rest unless some new information becomes available. There is enough legitimate criticism and blame to be found without this nastiness.






51 replies
  1. 1
    Trent says:

    The real debate is between responsible spending vs irresponsible spending/tax cuts and i hope that this evolves into that current debate.

    I’m far from a tax a spender. i know that high taxes hurt the economy. But i know that taxes are needed. I know that government is needed in a wide range of areas where the private sector simply does not meet the need.

    And i also repulsed at the lobbyist-driven, pork orgy that has gone on in Washington for years and years. It’s not fair to solely blame the Republicans because both sides have done it forever, but the Republicans have really outshined all other eras these past few years.

    I’m still hoping that they tear apart that reprehensible transportation bill and allocate the money to the Southeast region.

    So yea, levee budgets are fun and all, but my question is, when is the government, our public servants, going to start spending OUR money in ways that serve us? When are they going to start doing the responsible thing? (Which is rarely the sexy, politically advantageous thing.)

  2. 2
    Tim F says:

    If Bush killed levee improvements that would have saved NO, that would basically mean instant political death for the administration. Given that and the information that’s floating around it isn’t hard to imagine why some are arguing that. As I’ve said from the beginning, those people are probably wrong.

    Even if it’s wrong the president hardly comes off smelling like roses. I doubt anybody would defend today the decision to shortchange ordinary levee improvements in favor of an elective war and tax cuts for people who scarcely need them. Bush sent the message years ago that he didn’t give a shit about New Orleans. Whether or not he could have saved it, he didn’t even try.

  3. 3
    Lis Riba says:

    the meme that the recent cuts cuts somehow caused the levee to break is so nasty, it has to be killed.
    Why so desperate to kill it now? It sounds like there’s going to be Congressional investigations into the details.

  4. 4
    Accountability is a dirty word says:

    The point you make is fair. However, why was there no contingency once the levees started to fail. A lack of heavy helicopters was the explanation from ACOE yet private contractors had made offers that were not taken up.

    One would hope/think that barges would have been available that there was a plan to try to minimize a breach once it occured. The 17th street breach was on a canal that presummably could have been cut off.

    Strock’s attitude that the levees were safe from a 200-300 year event is horse manure and his attitude of whoever lived there knew the risk is just callous CYA.

    Even if the 0.5% chance of a Cat 4 or 5 is right (which I highly doubt given the huge increase in activity in 2004 and Dr. Gray’s forecast for 2005) this is an outlier that could NEVER be allowed. This will cost the federal government $100 billion for a problem that $2.5 billion might well have averted.

    Government has completely failed its people by not providing the maximum engineering humanly available. If a storm overcomes the levees then there is nothing that can be done about it. That was sadly not the case here.

  5. 5
    SEARP says:

    I’d say the real issue is the degree to which those sorts of cuts are emblematic of the whole philosophy of modern Republicanism.

    No, the cuts didn’t cause the disaster. Could it have hurt to have the funding? That is also hard to imagine. The funding wasn’t there because of prioirities.

    We can legitimately argue about priorities that would place a 900 million dollar bridge to nowhere in Alaska ahead of flood control in the Mississippi. One satisfies a powerful supporter of the President. The other, well, you decide.

  6. 6
    Accountability is a dirty word says:

    There also is the issue of privatization of the contingency planning by FEMA for just such an event. Who are the contractors? For Bush’s sake there better not be any nepotism there.

    There also is the disturbing story about FEMA and ACOE giggling during last years mock Hurricane Pam planning (for just such an event as Katrina).

    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9178501/

  7. 7
    Darrell says:

    I’d say the real issue is the degree to which those sorts of cuts are emblematic of the whole philosophy of modern Republicanism.

    Are you nuts? This Republican administration has raised spending levels, discretionary and non-discretionary alike, to record levels. Bush has yet to find a spending bill he doesn’t like. That the left thinks it’s still “not enough” is a reminder that things really could be worse on the spending front if Dems took control.. as difficult as it is to imagine an administration with less fiscal discipline than this one

  8. 8
    Tim F says:

    This Republican administration has raised spending levels, discretionary and non-discretionary alike, to record levels.

    I don’t want to make you any madder at Bush than you already are, but all that money went into useless shit that had nothing to do with New Orleans or disaster relief. If you’re one of the thirty or forty people living in huts on an island in Alaska served by a new $900 mil bridge you’ve got to be feeling pretty damned smug right about now. If you’re a Louisianan who got the rough end of the budget shaft, not so much.

  9. 9
    Davebo says:

    Jeez John..

    Everyone knows that Casey Sheehan is solely responsible for the failure of the levees.

  10. 10
    Davebo says:

    Tim..

    To be fair, there’s fifty people and Ketchikan’s airport on that Island.

    I’m heading there later this month. Is the bridge ready yet?

    ;0)

  11. 11
    Tim F says:

    Just checked Google maps. I could mow a bigger airport in my friend’s cornfield.

  12. 12
    dlnevins says:

    That doesn’t answer the question I don’t understand, which is why we would only have levees designed to Cat 3 strength, and not the best possible. I would not live there.

    But you know now the levees couldn’t hold up to a huge hurricane. I’ll be that pre-Katrina, a lot of ordinary people living in New Orleans didn’t, nor did they realise that their city had no workable evacuation plans in place. Disaster preparedness isn’t something that’s on most people’s minds most of the time – which is one reason why it’s vulnerable to short-sighted budget cuts. (Sadly, in this case another reason is that those at risk, being poor, have less political pull, and thus less ability to lobby successfully for funds. All else being equal, politicians are going to be quicker to short Lousiana’s needs than California’s or Illinois’.)

  13. 13
    Accountability is a dirty word says:

    “But you know now the levees couldn’t hold up to a huge hurricane”

    We also know that not everything was done that could have been done. Experts warned about just such a scenario. There will be no debate about this (unlike the warnings or lack there of of 9/11), the record is clear.

    Given what the federal government will spend on this disaster, it is gut wrenching that this “pennywise and pound foolish” attitude has contributed to such a tragedy, including the death of thousands.

    For the record, the storm was a category 4 at landfall and the city was the on the west side (calmer) of the eye.

  14. 14
    Zifnab says:

    Well, if the cuts in levee funding didn’t hurt the city’s chances of surviving a Cat 4 hurricane, perhaps the cuts in funding to FEMA and the disasterious choice of management might have had a factor in such a poor recovery. The levee bit is just one side of the many faucited babble of administrative incompetence.

  15. 15
    jg says:

    This Republican administration has raised spending levels, discretionary and non-discretionary alike, to record levels.

    Yet cut income and wants to continue to cut income. Tax cut and spend.

    It’s amazing to me that Chertoff and others are still acting like this situation is unimaginable. Its a city resting in a bowl below seelevel surrounded by water. The chance of flooding or levee breaking MUST be a part of any disaster plan. You plan for the worst, its called contingency. The city and state also deserve blame but the feds deserve plaenty too. This isn’t just a states issue. Losing New Orleans effects the whole country.

    I think it was Jefferson who said ‘the people can’t decide what the people can’t decide’ regarding the electoral college. On this issue I think he’d say the states can’t handle what the states can’t handle. Its too big for a state to handle so we don’t leave it to the state to handle it.

  16. 16
    John Anderson says:

    “… nor did they realise that their city had no workable evacuation plans in place.”
    As a couple of blogs have noted, there was indeed a disaster plan – it’s even on the web – but it seems to have been largely ignored. Just about buses, the plan mentions using the transit authority buses (230+) and school buses (500+), and using radio and TV to tell people to gather at intersections to be picked up. Instead, the transit authority was shut down and noone authorized schol bus use – instead, the mayor is faulting the federal government (and Greyhound!) for not sending 500 buses after the flooding.

    As to the decision in the Sixties to protect at CAT3 level instead of CAT5, I’m not so sure it was that bad a decision (well, if evacuation was handled properly). CAT4/5 is unusual, and about as likely to hit a particular city as a tornado to hit Bangor (or downtown Boston to be flooded 6ft deep in molasses – which happened!). Heck, I learned years ago that New York City is on an earthquake fault line – have you seen San Francisco level earthquake protections there? NO, because while possible it is so low a probability…

  17. 17
    Kimmitt says:

    The levee thing is a shorthand for the enormous number of domestic failures which the Bush Admininstration was responsible for. Is it fair? Not really; the work should have been done, but it wouldn’t have made a difference. Is it part of an overall pattern? Yep.

  18. 18
    Steve says:

    “And I am sure I will take more flak from continuing to point this out, but the meme that the recent cuts cuts somehow caused the levee to break is so nasty, it has to be killed.”

    I understand.

    It highlights the failure of Republicanism, and to protect your own you have to trash those pointing out your failings.

    Why don’t you be a man and defend the budget cuts and the reallocation of money away from civil defense towards Iraq/Afghanistan?

  19. 19
    Tim F says:

    I’m not so sure it was that bad a decision

    Not necessarily a bad decision at all. The rule should be to prevent what you can prevent and make contingency plans to deal with what you can predict but can’t prevent. Bush basically decided neither to prevent nor to make contingency plans.

  20. 20
    Jim Caputo says:

    But the idea that the deaths in New Orleans can be pinned on people because of some small budget cuts (albeit, in my opinion, horribly stupid ones), should be put to rest unless some new information becomes available. There is enough legitimate criticism and blame to be found without this nastiness.

    I don’t think the issue is really one of whether the levies would have held or not. The issue is more about how the priorities of this administration are so screwed up. They’ve prioritized Iraq over just about everything else this country needs.

    As far as this administration is concerned, Iraq is more important than:

    securing our borders
    building our economy

    educating our children

    providing healthcare for our veterans

    giving people the tools to lift themselves out of poverty

    I could go on with this list, but I think the point is made.

  21. 21
    Bob says:

    Since nobody knew that Katrina was going to hit where it did, how does anyone know FOR SURE that more repairs to the levees would have been fruitless?

    You see, that’s the problem. It’s like the guy at the auto shop saying, after your brakes failed, I didn’t bother fixing them because that car of yours was bound to fail anyway.

    If this is the best argument that the Right can offer, that they stop repairing things because they’re going to break anyway, I suggest that they go hide with Cheney.

    We’ve got an emergency management department that is clueless while people die, and the best that we get is, hey, things break.

    No one has heard from my uncle in Gulfport.

  22. 22
    scs says:

    Well I agree, I guess you have two choices. You either build a Cat 5 wall. Or you make sure you have such great evacuation procedures, that in the rare case a Cat 5 does come, you can get everyone out of there.

    As 30% of NO is below poverty level, you need fast ways to get them out. The Superdome, with some upgrades, was a good idea. Trains would be great, but too hard to get a large number of empty trains there in time. School buses probably is the best way. So how come they weren’t used? Where in the investigation on that?

    If I were poor and carless in that flooded area, I would have been tempted to just walk out of there before the storm. I wonder how far the “bowl” part actually stretches to? I know that the upscale Uptown area like St. Charles Street, is as dry as a bone right now. Carless and poor or not, I would have walked down to St. Charles Street and broken into an empty house or store to wait it out. You wouldn’t have caught me sitting around in the bowl in a CAT 4/5. I think part of the problem was a lack of education about what a strong Cat 4 hurricane can do. With even the best evacuation plans, you need people to realize that they are really in danger and inspire them to come out of their house to be evacuated.

    I think the risk that you can’t get everyone else out in time is the greatest. Probably cheaper to just build a Cat 5 levee.

  23. 23
    bains says:

    The reason why people dont build for cat5 hurricanes is cost. Do you build a full levyee system around New Orleans that will take a cat3, or half a system that will take a cat4? Over time you retrofit the system for a stronger structural capability. Unfortunately, as time goes on, and the city is not seriously threatened by a cat3 storm much less a cat5, the political mindset sees the dollars associated with requisite upgrades as better spent elsewhere – sometimes real needs, more often pet projects that aids ones re-election.

  24. 24
    SEARP says:

    Darrell:

    Please note that I didn’t say anything about overall spending, and instead opted for the word priority, mis-spelled in one case. I agree with you on Bush’s fiscal indiscipline, although I am absolutely sure that I would disagree with you on the remedy.

    I know I am not nuts. I get investigated every 5 years by the FBI and wouldn’t hold my clearance if I were nuts. As a matter of fact, I am one of a small minority of people who could be said to be certified as sane.

    People who throw around the phrase “the left” do, in my opinion, have a reality problem. Leftists are socialists; we’ve never had a significant number in this country. I personally believe in captitalism and in fact own a small company that I slave to improve in order to profit.

  25. 25
    jg says:

    Heck, I learned years ago that New York City is on an earthquake fault line – have you seen San Francisco level earthquake protections there? NO, because while possible it is so low a probability…

    I think the odds of a cat 5 hitting New Orleans are a bit higher than the odds of a San Fran level quake in New York. IMO.

  26. 26

    Lowdown on the Levees

    John Cole on the levee debate….

  27. 27
    Darrell says:

    People who throw around the phrase “the left” do, in my opinion, have a reality problem

    Not necessarily. In many cases it’s a fair and useful way to categorize, although lacking in precision. For example, I have noticed that leftists have a far greater tendency to call themselves “moderates” or “independents” than conservatives, even when they are firmly in the moveon.org leftist camp.

    I agree with you on Bush’s fiscal indiscipline, although I am absolutely sure that I would disagree with you on the remedy

    This, along with criticism of spending cuts in general, leads me to believe that you embrace big government solutions to an extent greater than the average American.. you may not be a pure socialist, but lean heavily in that direction. I think it it’s fair to refer to you as a leftist on matters of government spending

  28. 28
    Darrell says:

    It highlights the failure of Republicanism, and to protect your own you have to trash those pointing out your failings

    Except for the minor detail that the levee breach was not an example of a “Republican failure”. But don’t let that little detail get in the way of your incoherent blathering

    bains has it right

  29. 29
    ppGaz says:

    I think it it’s fair to refer to you as a leftist on matters of government spending

    Not only is it not “fair”, it’s factually unsupportable to call somebody a “leftist” for advocating the building of a levee strong enough to withstand a known, inevitable threat.

    Your dismissive labeling has grown tiresome, Darrell. I’m calling you on it. You’re wrong.

    What’s more, if you are going to pretend to represent fiscal restraint, then I am going to insist that you justify the expenditure of several billion dollars a month on what appears to be a boondoggle in Iraq. Where is the benefit to me, the taxpayer, for that? Do you have any ROI evidence that doesn’t rely on proof by assertion?

    If not, give me my damned money back.

  30. 30

    […] Also, much as Nero was baselessly accused of having started the Rome fire, a meme has been circulating that Bush is personally to blame for the crisis in some fashion, by cutting funding to reinforce the levees. Indeed, that meme is a main point of Brooks’s column this morning. As John Cole notes, “[t]here is, however, more and more evidence that this is not the case.” Others (see here and here, for example) have noted the same thing. […]

  31. 31
    Bill Evans says:

    A good read from April 2005 in Popular Science http://www.popsci.com/popsci/s.....drcrd.html

    From the article: New Orleans has nearly completed its Hurricane Protection Project, a $740-million plan led by Naomi to ring the city with levees that could shield residents from up to category-3 storm surges. Meanwhile, Winer and others at the Army Corps are considering a new levee system capable of holding back a surge from a category-5 hurricane like Ivan, which threatened the city last year.

  32. 32
    Tim F says:

    Probably cheaper to just build a Cat 5 levee.

    I’m not sure that anybody knows what kind of levee would withstand a category 5 hurricane. It might well be cheaper to work out a good evacuation strategy.

    much as Nero was baselessly accused of having started the Rome fire

    The actual quote is, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” Anybody who takes that to mean that Nero started the fire has a serious learning disability.

  33. 33
    MO CPA says:

    Had the levees been strengthened to handle this storm (unlikely since the planning takes 8 years) Bush would have been criticized by environmentalists for not protecting the marshlands at the mouth of the river.

    Here in St. Louis we know a lot about levees and to build one in NO to withstand a Cat 5 would be impractical. They would have to over 30′ high and about 100′ wide. And as we can testify, there is no man made levee 100% reliable.

    New Orleans, like St. Louis, has levee districts that are responsible for maintaining the levees. The ACE plans and builds them but local governmental agencies receive taxes from the property owners in their district. Does anyone really think these levee districts are paragons of virtue. Or are they another way for politicians to line their pockets and give their lazy brother-in-law a job.

    I go to NO a lot and am under no illiusions about the corruption and graft that infects the state and political institutions. The movie “The Big Easy” probably understated the endimic police corruption in the city. And while I think he has done a terrible job during this crisis, this mayor is the first in a long time that has actually tried to root out the corruption in City Hall.

    Every time I have been to NO the locals always talk about what a disaster it would be if they got hit by a big storm. They knew what could happen but almost took pride in accepting the risks.

    So before blaming Bush for not shoveling the dirt higher and higher around New Orleans, remeber there were a lot of people, usually liberal environmentalists but also conservative environmentalists, fighting on the other side.

  34. 34
    Steve says:

    Darrell – “Except for the minor detail that the levee breach was not an example of a “Republican failure”. ”

    Then whose fault is it for Republican policies?

    “But don’t let that little detail get in the way of your incoherent blathering”

    Ahh, I must have hit a nerve if you’re relying on name calling.

  35. 35
    Tim F says:

    Just reread the Nero legend. NM. It’s a hard sell to claim that Bush caused the disaster, but it’s much easier to show that he’s responsible for the gloriously fucked-up aftermath.

  36. 36
    KJB43 says:

    The apparently pathological need of the Left to blame Pres Bush for the levee collapse or for the fact LA or NO are run by clowns useless in an emergency who did not use the resources at their own disposal is pathetic but not unexpected.
    That they are reduced to whining that although the budget cuts had nothing to do with the levee collapse Bush’s spending priorities are askew and that somehow still makes him responsible is also pathetic.
    The levee section that collapsed had just been finished.
    A levee that could withstand a Cat 4/5 hurricane would have required 20 years to build, not accounting for the years spent studying the issue.
    The Washington Post article of 2Sept2005 reported in the second paragraph that the Democrat congress-critters acknowledged that even had the money been appropiated the work would not have completed in time to deal with Hurricane Katrina. But they were going to complain anyway.
    The New Orleans city gov’t essentially collapsed, the State of LA seemed paralyzed and both have tryed to pass the buck onto the Federal Gov’t for their failures.
    Pathetic.

  37. 37
    scs says:

    Well if we’ve just determined that good evacuation procedures are near impossible in NO and building a Cat 5 wall would be too hard, then why the heck were those people living there? Who in the government zoned THAT?

  38. 38
    Tim F says:

    Who in the government zoned THAT?

    Inertia. Once a crucial port for shipping and petroleum is built you can’t very well unbuild it.

    Even if Katrina had lifted every finished structure in NO and dropped it over northern Finland they’d still rebuild something there. The location is too important.

  39. 39
    scs says:

    Not really those particular areas. In case you haven’t noticed it, the flooded areas are impoverished areas, otherwise know as slums. Those areas don’t have to be there. Plenty of other space to put them.

  40. 40
    bains says:

    scs says: …probably cheaper to just build a Cat 5 levee.

    When a 9.1 earthquake hits california, or a cat5 hits Hawaii, or a F5 hits Oklahoma City, I’d guess people would say similiar things. That’s fine and dandy until you understand just how much it costs to build such structures. I’ve several clients wondering why their roof has to be 2×12’s@12″ o.c instead of 2×6’s@24″… (I’m in the mountains of Colorado)

    The difference in forces between a 15′ storm surge and a 25′ surge are huge – mind boggling huge. We’re designing skyscrapers to withstand the impact of a 777 laden with av-fuel. But what happens if its the super triple decked aribus 710 that someone happens to hijack?

    The point is folks, we engineers design for what is most likely to occur. Were we to design for every imaginable situation, you’d never have a house, or office building, or supermarket, or daycare center… you’d have bomb shelters.

  41. 41
    scs says:

    We got the price tag in another thread. 2.5 billion, I believe to build a Cat 5 wall. Course would take many years to build so even if they had started a few years ago, it still wouldn’t be ready. 2.5 billion doesn’t sound that bad. To save the risk of tens of billions of dollars? Sounds to me like the money should have been spent.

    By the way, I think a massive flood on below sea level land in a populated urban area is not the same as a hurricane along the beach (it will drain), an F5 tornado (smaller area hit, people can go in basements). The only thing, maybe a 9 earthquake would be comparable. And in fact, I don’t think people should build along the fault lines. But’s just that me.

  42. 42
    Jim Caputo says:

    2.5 billion doesn’t sound that bad. To save the risk of tens of billions of dollars?

    Hell, we piss that much away every week in Iraq. Now there’s money well spent.

  43. 43
    StupidityRules says:

    Ouch

  44. 44
    bains says:

    By the way, I think a massive flood on below sea level land in a populated urban area is not the same as a hurricane along the beach

    That’s my point. How the hell do you design for such an event? The cost is astounding, and when your city has been ‘neglected’ by such storms, where is the impetus, or even the political capital, to push for such taxpayer-funded projects?

    New Orleans will be rebuilt to withstand such a storm, but what about Gulfport, or Mobile, or Miami, or Galveston? Or New York – a cat3 there could wreak, potentially, more havoc upon this country than anything we’ve ever seen. Should we fund projects to dike Manhattan, Long Island, New Jersey, Martha’s Vineyard just because a cat3 storm will hit there in the next 10,000 years?

  45. 45
    bains says:

    Jim Caputo, yea, its all about Iraq…
    well no, its all about Bush, not quite, its all about hating Bush…
    well not exactly, it’s all about hating people who dont hate Bush the way you Hate Bush.

    Sad…

  46. 46
    scs says:

    Bain, all those things you mentioned are not as likley to cause as much damage as the bowl in NO. For instance, a Cat 3 in NYC I don’t think would do as much damage. The buildings there are sturdy and secure, anchored in granite, above sea level, a little farther from the actual beach. Certainly the beaches of NJ and Long Island are vulnerable, but once again, they are not in a bowl.

    So I guess what I’m trying to say is, there are risks, and then there are RISKS. N.O. was one of the RISKS. In my opinion, no one should be living in the worst parts of the bowl. (Unless they pass a law that only rich people with cars can live there, but I doubt that woud happen.)

  47. 47
    bains says:

    The projected storm surge in NY from a direct hit of a cat3 buries the city. Anapolis was buried, , just recently, in an insignificat event. Hindsight’s a bitch.

    We’ll design for what ever you dictate…

  48. 48
    stickler says:

    TimF says:

    Anybody who takes that to mean that Nero started the fire has a serious learning disability.

    Well, TimF, either you have the disability or you’ve not actually done much learning. Nero was blamed for starting the fire while it was still raging.

    From Wikipedia:

    The confused population searched for a scapegoat and soon rumors held Nero responsible. The motivation attributed to him was intending to immortalize his name by renaming Rome to “Neropolis”. Nero had to engage in scapegoating of his own and chose for his target a small Eastern sect called Christians. He ordered known Christians to be thrown to the lions in arenas, while others were crucified in large numbers.

    The rumor got started, probably, because Nero was already seen as licentious, debauched, and just plain nasty. Plus, his well-known plans to improve Rome were helped along enormously by the destruction of so much of the city in the fire.

    So be careful with the accusations of disability lest you be similarly accused.

  49. 49
    SEARP says:

    Darrell:

    Well, OK, you can call me leftist even though I explicitly rejected that characterization, so I guess I can call you names you don’t like and see what your reaction will be.

    I won’t, though, because I am grown up and habitually employ reason as opposed to inaccurate rhetoric.

    BTW, I don’t want to increase spending, your hero Bush has already increased it way too much. Does that make me a conservative leftist? So much for stupid, inaccurate labels.

  50. 50
    goonie bird says:

    And what kind of endangered species did they find on the leavee?

  51. 51

    […] 1.) Fresh off of vacation, Andrew Sullivan is recharged, raring to go, and has apparently left his fact-checker back at Provincetown. As one of the first prominent bloggers to sieze upon the ‘funds were cut/levee failure’ ( “Yes, some would even blame Bush and the war for a hurricane. But blaming Bush and the war for the poor state of New Orleans’ levees is a legitimate argument. And it could be a crushing one”), Andrew has yet to make a correction or retraction of that charge. And it has been disproven, pretty definitively in my estimation, to include Mike Parker (a former Republican Mississippi congressman who headed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from October 2001 until March 2002, whose previous comments were used to ‘prove’ this meme), stating that the President could not have done anything to stop this levee failure. This issue was also put to bed pretty definitively on 60 Minutes by Al Naomi, the individual responsible for managing the levees: […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] 1.) Fresh off of vacation, Andrew Sullivan is recharged, raring to go, and has apparently left his fact-checker back at Provincetown. As one of the first prominent bloggers to sieze upon the ‘funds were cut/levee failure’ ( “Yes, some would even blame Bush and the war for a hurricane. But blaming Bush and the war for the poor state of New Orleans’ levees is a legitimate argument. And it could be a crushing one”), Andrew has yet to make a correction or retraction of that charge. And it has been disproven, pretty definitively in my estimation, to include Mike Parker (a former Republican Mississippi congressman who headed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from October 2001 until March 2002, whose previous comments were used to ‘prove’ this meme), stating that the President could not have done anything to stop this levee failure. This issue was also put to bed pretty definitively on 60 Minutes by Al Naomi, the individual responsible for managing the levees: […]

  2. […] Also, much as Nero was baselessly accused of having started the Rome fire, a meme has been circulating that Bush is personally to blame for the crisis in some fashion, by cutting funding to reinforce the levees. Indeed, that meme is a main point of Brooks’s column this morning. As John Cole notes, “[t]here is, however, more and more evidence that this is not the case.” Others (see here and here, for example) have noted the same thing. […]

  3. Lowdown on the Levees

    John Cole on the levee debate….

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