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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/12/2005 12:26:36 PM EDT
OK ARFCOM, I need some help. My Libtard Bush bashing professor wants a source for the info I gave him about Levee money being spent on a casino and a jet. Unfortunately I had regurgitated the info to him without having researched it myself(HAte it when I do that). This guy can really push my buttons, he constantly rails against Bush in class everyday. Today's rant was about Brown being unqualified for his position, but getting it because he was once Bush's roommate. I'll be searching the web for a source, but any help about the NO misapprpriation of funds would be helpful.

As always thank you, and God Bless America.
2IDdoc
Link Posted: 9/12/2005 12:28:01 PM EDT
Just ask him to show proof that Brown was Bush's roommate. It will be tough to find as Brown bunked with the old FEMA director, and that's what the dems are spun up about.
Link Posted: 9/12/2005 12:30:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:
Just ask him to show proof that Brown was Bush's roommate. It will be tough to find as Brown bunked with the old FEMA director, and that's what the dems are spun up about.



Nice!
This is good stuff, and I'll be asking him this very question.
Thank you sir.
Link Posted: 9/12/2005 12:33:57 PM EDT
OK I am a Celtic Reform Jew, We all love Bush...join my tribe and when he starts then itis Harassment on the basis of religious beliefs...CRDL after him....

Link Posted: 9/12/2005 12:41:10 PM EDT
FWIW....


Cal Thomas

Katrina: The aftermath and the politics
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | How one responds to a natural disaster like Katrina says a lot about one's character and motives.

If you're a now-obscure "civil rights leader" like Randall Robinson, you write on a Web blog, "Black hurricane victims have begun eating corpses to survive." How did he know this? "It has been reported," he claimed, without revealing his source so the assertion might be fact-checked. Robinson later retracted his remarks.

If you're a fading, but not yet obscure "civil rights leader" like Jesse Jackson, you blame President Bush, because this gets you TV time. This race hustling should be condemned and would be if politicians and the major media had any guts.

The quickest way to avoid responsibility is to blame someone else for your own shortcomings. Before assigning blame, it is helpful to be reminded of the state's checkered past.

Louisiana and New Orleans have a long history of corruption. In the late 19th century, a Louisiana lottery scandal led to the abandonment of lotteries in every state that had them. Mobster Frank Costello brought illegal slot machines to the state thanks to a deal he made with Governor Huey P. Long. Then there were the illegal, but wide-open casinos in St. Bernard Parish in the 1940s and '50s.

Five years ago, Gov. Edwin Edwards was convicted of racketeering and conspiracy for taking political bribes over the awarding of riverboat casino gambling licenses. It was Edwards who, in 1983, uttered these immortal words: "The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy."

Why is this relevant to the current disaster in New Orleans? Because in the past, the levee board has played fast and loose with the funds it was given, as one former top state official told me.

In a May 21, 2001, article for the Louisiana Weekly newspaper, Amanda Furness quoted Stanley Riley, a plaintiff in a suit against the Orleans Levee District (OLD). Riley and his uncle, Harry Jones, have had a long-running legal battle with the OLD over some disputed land they say is theirs, but the OLD claims for itself.

Riley alleges in the Furness story that the OLD literally gambled away a lot of money — funds that might have been used to shore-up the levee system and prevent the disaster caused by Katrina: "The levee board spent $20 million on (a) casino," Riley alleges. "Now they say they can't pay it back 'cause it's going to break them? That's not our problem." There have also been allegations of cronyism by board members who allegedly have diverted levee funds to friends and relatives.


The federal government must share some of the blame for not being properly prepared for the storm, says former Republican Governor Mike Foster. In a telephone interview, Foster told me, "The Feds cut us short. Louisiana supplies a lot of the nation's oil and gas and we get no consideration in return." He means federal help in shoring up the wetlands area, which serves as a buffer between Southern Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico has been eroding.

Foster says despite his pleas when he was governor (1996-2003), Washington refused to provide the money needed to fix the erosion problem. Still, he says, there is probably nothing that by itself would have prevented Katrina from severely damaging New Orleans and coastal Mississippi and Alabama.

The City of New Orleans knew it was vulnerable. As recently as last October, National Geographic magazine published an article titled "Gone with the Water." It reads like a biblical prophecy foretelling disaster. The scenario laid out by the magazine was fulfilled last week. (http://www3.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0410/feature5/index.html)

Investigations will —and should —be conducted. But government rarely indicts itself as an institution. The size and bureaucratic nature of government is the problem —not racism and insensitivity to the poor.

Too many who should have acted did not act because Louisiana officials, who saw the hurricane coming, apparently could not decide who was in charge. If the size of government is the main problem, then investigations that produce more layers of bureaucracy will compound, not solve the problem.

The ultimate culprit, though, is Mother Nature and no one has yet figured out a way to control her.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Cal Thomas is the author of, among others, The Wit and Wisdom of Cal Thomas Comment by clicking here.

Link Posted: 9/12/2005 12:42:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TheWind:
OK I am a Celtic Reform Jew, We all love Bush...join my tribe and when he starts then itis Harassment on the basis of religious beliefs...CRDL after him....




I don't mind his whining really. When he's all upset and jumping up and down like an organ grinder monkey I know that all is right in the world. I have put him in his place a number of times. He's caught me a few times too. To be honest I enjoy a good exchange of ideas. When I can slap him around in an argument I enjoy it even more. Some of the young Brittany Spears clones in my class are getting tired of it, but others enjoy the entertainment. Let's face it, most college professors get away with murder, and it's fun to see them get called on it occasionally.
Link Posted: 9/12/2005 12:46:42 PM EDT
parshooter

I am truly in your debt. Oh the next class is gonna be sweet.

Thanks again, may the road rise to meet your feet, and the wind be to your back.

2IDdoc
Link Posted: 9/12/2005 12:50:16 PM EDT
If your professor has never heard of the Boggs Machine then he has no business being a professor.
Link Posted: 9/12/2005 12:55:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
If your professor has never heard of the Boggs Machine then he has no business being a professor.



I'd feel dumb asking a question I don't know either. What exactly is the "Boggs Machine", how does it work, and will it make me more attractive to women?
Link Posted: 9/12/2005 1:01:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 2IDdoc:

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:
Just ask him to show proof that Brown was Bush's roommate. It will be tough to find as Brown bunked with the old FEMA director, and that's what the dems are spun up about.



Nice!
This is good stuff, and I'll be asking him this very question.
Thank you sir.



Instead of just asking him the question go out and find out what the facts are the print the sources out...then ask him the question. He will most likely try to spin his answer and then you can nail him with facts and sources!
Link Posted: 9/12/2005 1:08:17 PM EDT

Instead of just asking him the question go out and find out what the facts are the print the sources out...then ask him the question. He will most likely try to spin his answer and then you can nail him with facts and sources!



You read my little pea brain like a comic book!
That's exactly what I intend to do. It's always nice to have the deck loaded in my favor, prior planning gives me an edge. Then when he brings it up(which he will) I'll go Black, and it'll be Speed Suprise and violence of action while his jaw hangs open.
Honestly I think he enjoys our little back and forth we have going.
Link Posted: 9/12/2005 1:10:17 PM EDT
www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9232666/site/newsweek/

All the more so when the businessman added that instead the levee board has been busy recently with other matters—investing in local casinos.


whole article looks good but the quoted part is great WRT general corruption. later it also mentions the casino issue
washingtontimes.com/commentary/cthomas.htm

Louisiana and New Orleans have a long history of corruption. In the late 19th century, a Louisiana lottery scandal led to abandonment of lotteries in every state that had them.
Mobster Frank Costello brought illegal slot machines to the state thanks to a deal he made with Gov. Huey P. Long. Then there were the illegal, but wide-open casinos in St. Bernard Parish in the 1940s and '50s.
Five years ago, Gov. Edwin Edwards was convicted of racketeering and conspiracy for taking political bribes over awarding riverboat casino gambling licenses. It was Edwards who, in 1983, uttered these immortal words: "The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy."
Why is this relevant to the current New Orleans disaster? Because in the past the levee board played fast and loose with funds it was given, as a former top state official told me.

Link Posted: 9/12/2005 1:21:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/12/2005 1:23:54 PM EDT by MonkeyGrip]
Your grade is f@(kd no matter what the outcome.
Link Posted: 9/12/2005 1:25:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/12/2005 1:25:36 PM EDT by Max_Mike]
How about James Carville.

A little more on LA corruption.

www.bookreporter.com/reviews/0374108307-excerpt.asp


BAD BET ON THE BAYOU: The Rise of Gambling in Louisiana and the Fall of Governor Edwin Edwards
Tyler Bridges
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Nonfiction
ISBN: 0374108307


There are said to be several truths in Louisiana politics. One is that an honest politician is one who stays bought. Another is that politics is theater, and there is always demand for an encore.

Writing nearly forty years ago, New Yorker correspondent A. J. Liebling called Louisiana "the westernmost of the Arab states" and said the state's politics were "of an intensity and complexity that are matched, in my experience, only in the republic of Lebanon."

Liebling was writing about Louisiana while Earl Long, Huey's younger brother, was governor. Earl Long once offered this advice on Louisiana politics: "Don't write anything you can phone. Don't phone anything you can talk. Don't talk anything you can whisper. Don't whisper anything you can smile. Don't smile anything you can nod. Don't nod anything you can wink."

Huey Long, in one of his more immortal remarks, once said in a speech at Louisiana State University: "People say I steal. Well, all politicians steal. I steal. But a lot of what I stole has spilled over in no-toll bridges, hospitals . . . and to build this university."

Louisiana is our most exotic state. It is religious and roguish, a place populated by Cajuns, Creoles, Christian Conservatives, rednecks, African Americans, and the white working-class New Orleanians known as "Yats." While northern Louisiana is mostly Protestant and conservative, southern Louisiana, settled by French Catholics, is noted for its love of good food, good music, and good times. Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler -- Let the Good Times Roll -- is the unofficial motto. Louisiana is rich in outrageous stories and colorful characters. It is notably poor in the realm of political ethics. As Richard Leche, governor during the late 1930s, put it, "When I took the oath of office, I didn't take a vow of poverty." Leche's approach to governance landed him in jail, convicted of bribery charges.

Over the past thirty years, Louisiana has seen a parade of elected officials convicted of crimes. The list includes a governor, an attorney general, an elections commissioner, an agriculture commissioner, three successive insurance commissioners, a congressman, a federal judge, a State Senate president, six other state legislators, and a host of appointed officials, local sheriffs, city councilmen, and parish police jurors (who are the equivalent of county commissioners). Of the eight men and women elected to statewide office in 1991, three -- Governor Edwin Edwards, elections commissioner Jerry Fowler, and insurance commissioner Jim Brown -- were later convicted of crimes. The FBI said more people -- sixty-six -- were indicted on public-corruption charges in Louisiana in 1999 than in any other state. Public corruption was the Louisiana FBI's top priority, and would remain so for the foreseeable future.

One reason may be that throughout its history, Louisiana has been ripe for domination by political and economic elites. A succession of French and Spanish rulers plundered Louisiana. After they relinquished control to Americans, large plantation owners -- growing primarily sugar and cotton -- exploited slave and then sharecropping labor. Lumber barons, financial houses, and railroad interests gained power in the early 1900s, giving way, beginning in the 1920s, to those who controlled the leasing and production rights to oil and natural gas. No matter who held power after Louisiana became a state, following a model established by the French and Spanish colonial rulers, decision making was centralized, giving the governor and elected officials enormous influence. This created plenty of opportunities for bribes and public corruption.

One native summed it up this way. "We're just not genetically disposed to handle money," lamented political consultant James Carville, who was from Carville, Louisiana. "We ought to bring in the legislature from another state -- maybe Wisconsin or Minnesota -- to handle our money. In return, we'll handle the cooking and entertainment for them. They'll handle our fiscal oversight, and we'll handle their cultural matters."


In the 1990s, the potential for corruption would prove even more alluring in the Bayou State. From 1990 to 1992, Louisiana legalized a statewide lottery; a land casino in New Orleans that promised to be the world's largest gambling hall; fifteen floating casinos on lakes and rivers; and video poker machines in bars, restaurants, and highway truck stops throughout Louisiana. The owners of these cash businesses would turn to politicians to get an operating license, win a zoning variance, or have the competition stifled. Gambling and Louisiana would prove to be an incendiary mix.

In legalizing gambling, Louisiana was jumping on a bandwagon that swept the United States in the 1980s and 1990s. From 1974 to 2000, the number of states with casinos rose from one (Nevada) to eleven, states with lotteries went from fourteen to thirty-seven (plus the District of Columbia), states with Indian-run gambling increased from zero to twenty-seven, and states with state-regulated video poker or video lotteries went from zero to nine. In 1999, Americans lost $ 58.2 billion of what they bet, or more than what they spent altogether on movie tickets, recorded music, theme parks, spectator sports, and video games.

With the gambling explosion came political corruption. Two former West Virginia State Senate presidents were convicted of taking payoffs from gambling interests, seven Arizona legislators were caught taking money in exchange for voting for gambling, Missouri's House speaker of fifteen years resigned in the wake of a federal investigation into gambling-related dealings, the former House speaker in Florida went to prison in part for not paying taxes on income from Bally Entertainment, and one of Atlantic City's mayors since the advent of legalized gambling there went to prison on gambling-related charges.

But no state came close to matching Louisiana in this area.

Overseeing the legalization of gambling in Louisiana in the 1990s would be a unique individual, and he would certainly have a unique challenge. Some called him the "Last Great American Populist." Others knew him as the "Cajun King." Still others called him the "Silver Zipper." His name was Edwin Washington Edwards, and from 1992 to 1996, he would serve a fourth term as Louisiana's governor. He had first moved into the Governor's Mansion in 1971, and for the next twenty-five years, he flaunted his fondness for easy cash, pretty women, and high-stakes gambling as he dominated Louisiana's politics and used his razor-sharp mind and catlike reflexes to stay one step ahead of the law.

Bad Bet on the Bayou tells the story of what happened when Louisiana legalized gambling in the 1990s under Governor Edwards. It is the tale of what happened when the most corrupt industry came to our most corrupt state, under a governor who reveled in a catch-me-if-you-can philosophy.

But the seeds of what happened during the 1990s were sown much earlier. Louisiana is a pro-gambling state, so the only question throughout its checkered history has been whether the wagering was wide-open or undercover.

To a remarkable degree, the political and social history of Louisiana is intertwined with gambling. Two games of chance that were invented in Europe -- craps and poker -- were popularized in Louisiana during the nineteenth century before spreading throughout the rest of the country. Gambling flourished on riverboats operating out of New Orleans during the twenty-five years that preceded the Civil War.

The biggest gambling scandal in the country's history occurred in the Bayou State during the post-Civil War era. From the 1930s to the 1960s, numerous Louisiana politicians allowed the mob to operate slot machines and casinos, in exchange for payoffs. Two twentieth-century governors -- Earl Long and Edwin Edwards -- have been gambling addicts. Then, after nearly a hundred years of illegal gambling following the shutdown of the state lottery in 1892, Louisiana in the 1990s plunged headlong into legalized gambling. Today, gambling once again is the state's dominant political issue.

Indeed, gambling in Louisiana is older than the state itself. When the original French settlers in the eighteenth century were building a colony in the swamp -- which today is the French Quarter -- Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, New Orleans's founder, had to intervene frequently to stop illegal games of chance. The French and the Spanish alternately owned and ruled Louisiana from 1699 to 1803. Throughout these 104 years of control, Louisiana residents enjoyed games of chance unencumbered by the moral concerns of the Puritans and Anglicans who settled the northeastern United States. By 1810, seven years after Thomas Jefferson bought most of modern-day Louisiana from Napoleon, New Orleans was a freewheeling port, and the city had more gambling halls than New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore combined. In an 1820 letter to the Baltimore Chronicle, a recent visitor to the Crescent City wrote, "I was in New Orleans but a very short time. I saw but little and heard sufficient to convince me that gambling and sensual pleasures were practiced to such a degree to destroy domestic happiness and tranquility." Gambling was illegal but thrived behind closed doors. By 1823, New Orleans officials had decided to legalize gambling and make money off of it. Reasoning that "we should compel the devil to pay tribute to virtue," they set up six "gambling temples," each of which paid $ 5,000 a year to help underwrite the city's Charity Hospital and the College of Orleans. John Davis Sr., impresario of the Opera House, opened the first sumptuous casino in New Orleans in 1827. It was at the corner of Orleans and Bourbon Streets in the French Quarter.

By then, Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, a New Orleanian, had introduced the game of craps to America. Marigny, born in 1785, was the son of a rich Creole planter. When his father died, Marigny, at sixteen, became so wild that his guardian shipped him to England with the hope that life among the British might improve his manners. Instead, Marigny spent most of his time gambling. His particular favorite was a new French game called "hazard." After returning home, Marigny taught it to his Creole friends.

Excerpted from BAD BET ON THE BAYOU © Copyright 2001 by Tyler Bridges. Reprinted with permission from Farrar Straus & Giroux. All rights reserved.

Link Posted: 9/12/2005 1:25:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 2IDdoc:

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
If your professor has never heard of the Boggs Machine then he has no business being a professor.



I'd feel dumb asking a question I don't know either. What exactly is the "Boggs Machine", how does it work, and will it make me more attractive to women?



Ever hear of ABC's Cokie Roberts? Her mommy was Liddy Boggs the Dem congresswoman from New Orleans for about 30 years. Her daddy was Hale Boggs, Sr. Congressman from New Orleans for the 30 years before that. Her brother is a big democrap lobbyist (Jr.). Do a little google search on those names.


Link Posted: 9/12/2005 1:38:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 2IDdoc:
parshooter

I am truly in your debt. Oh the next class is gonna be sweet.

Thanks again, may the road rise to meet your feet, and the wind be to your back.

2IDdoc




Get the source documentation, all of it, not just that article from newsandopinion.

TXL
Link Posted: 9/12/2005 1:49:22 PM EDT
Louisiana Officials Could Lose the Katrina Blame Game
By Jeff Johnson
CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer
September 07, 2005

(1st Add: Includes information about restoration of Mardi Gras fountain)

(CNSNews.com) - The Bush administration is being widely criticized for the emergency response to Hurricane Katrina and the allegedly inadequate protection for "the big one" that residents had long feared would hit New Orleans. But research into more than ten years of reporting on hurricane and flood damage mitigation efforts in and around New Orleans indicates that local and state officials did not use federal money that was available for levee improvements or coastal reinforcement and often did not secure local matching funds that would have generated even more federal funding.

In December of 1995, the Orleans Levee Board, the local government entity that oversees the levees and floodgates designed to protect New Orleans and the surrounding areas from rising waters, bragged in a supplement to the Times-Picayune newspaper about federal money received to protect the region from hurricanes.

"In the past four years, the Orleans Levee Board has built up its arsenal. The additional defenses are so critical that Levee Commissioners marched into Congress and brought back almost $60 million to help pay for protection," the pamphlet declared. "The most ambitious flood-fighting plan in generations was drafted. An unprecedented $140 million building campaign launched 41 projects."

The levee board promised Times-Picayune readers that the "few manageable gaps" in the walls protecting the city from Mother Nature's waters "will be sealed within four years (1999) completing our circle of protection."

But less than a year later, that same levee board was denied the authority to refinance its debts. Legislative Auditor Dan Kyle "repeatedly faulted the Levee Board for the way it awards contracts, spends money and ignores public bid laws," according to the Times-Picayune. The newspaper quoted Kyle as saying that the board was near bankruptcy and should not be allowed to refinance any bonds, or issue new ones, until it submitted an acceptable plan to achieve solvency.

Blocked from financing the local portion of the flood fighting efforts, the levee board was unable to spend the federal matching funds that had been designated for the project.

By 1998, Louisiana's state government had a $2 billion construction budget, but less than one tenth of one percent of that -- $1.98 million -- was dedicated to levee improvements in the New Orleans area. State appropriators were able to find $22 million that year to renovate a new home for the Louisiana Supreme Court and $35 million for one phase of an expansion to the New Orleans convention center.

The following year, the state legislature did appropriate $49.5 million for levee improvements, but the proposed spending had to be allocated by the State Bond Commission before the projects could receive financing. The commission placed the levee improvements in the "Priority 5" category, among the projects least likely to receive full or immediate funding.

The Orleans Levee Board was also forced to defer $3.7 million in capital improvement projects in its 2001 budget after residents of the area rejected a proposed tax increase to fund its expanding operations. Long term deferments to nearly 60 projects, based on the revenue shortfall, totaled $47 million worth of work, including projects to shore up the floodwalls.

No new state money had been allocated to the area's hurricane protection projects as of October of 2002, leaving the available 65 percent federal matching funds for such construction untouched.

"The problem is money is real tight in Baton Rouge right now," state Sen. Francis Heitmeier (D-Algiers) told the Times-Picayune. "We have to do with what we can get."

Louisiana Commissioner of Administration Mark Drennen told local officials that, if they reduced their requests for state funding in other, less critical areas, they would have a better chance of getting the requested funds for levee improvements. The newspaper reported that in 2000 and 2001, "the Bond Commission has approved or pledged millions of dollars for projects in Jefferson Parish, including construction of the Tournament Players Club golf course near Westwego, the relocation of Hickory Avenue in Jefferson (Parish) and historic district development in Westwego."

There is no record of such discretionary funding requests being reduced or withdrawn, but in October of 2003, nearby St. Charles Parish did receive a federal grant for $475,000 to build bike paths on top of its levees.

Earlier this year, the levee board did complete a $2.5 million restoration project. After months of delays, officials rolled away fencing to reveal the restored 1962 Mardi Gras fountain in a four-acre park featuring a new 600-foot plaza between famous Lakeshore Drive and the sea wall.

Financing for the renovation came from a property tax passed by New Orleans voters in 1983. The tax, which generates more than $6 million each year for the levee board, is dedicated to capital projects. Levee board officials defended more than $600,000 in cost overruns for the Mardi Gras fountain project, according to the Times-Picayune, "citing their responsibility to maintain the vast green space they have jurisdiction over along the lakefront."

Democrats blame Bush administration

Congressional Democrats have been quick to blame the White House for poor preparation and then a weak response related to Hurricane Katrina. U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, joined two of his colleagues from the Transportation and Infrastructure and Homeland Security committees Tuesday in a letter requesting hearings into what the trio called a "woefully inadequate" federal response.

"Hurricane Katrina was an unstoppable force of nature," Waxman wrote along with Reps. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.). "But it is plain that the federal government could have done more, sooner, to respond to the immediate survival needs of the residents of Louisiana and Mississippi.

"In fact, different choices for funding and planning to protect New Orleans may even have mitigated the flooding of the city," the Democrats added.

But Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) suggested that Waxman "overlooks many other questions that need to be asked, and prematurely faults the federal government for all governmental shortcomings; in fact, local and state government failures are not mentioned at all in [Waxman's] letter."

Davis wrote that Waxman's questions about issues such as the lack of federal plans for evacuating residents without access to vehicles and the alleged failure of the Department of Homeland Security to ensure basic communications capacity for first responders might "prematurely paint the picture that these are solely, or even primarily, federal government responsibilities.

"This is not the time to attack or defend government entities for political purposes. Rather, this is a time to do the oversight we're charged with doing," Davis continued. "Our Committee will aggressively investigate what went wrong and what went right. We'll do it by the book, and let the chips fall where they may."

The House Government Reform Committee will begin hearings on federal disaster preparations and the response to Hurricane Katrina the week of Sept. 12. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is schedule to hold hearings on the economic recovery from Katrina beginning Wednesday morning.
Link Posted: 9/12/2005 1:55:38 PM EDT
Money Flowed to Questionable Projects
State Leads in Army Corps Spending, but Millions Had Nothing to Do With Floods

By Michael Grunwald
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 8, 2005; Page A01

Before Hurricane Katrina breached a levee on the New Orleans Industrial Canal, the Army Corps of Engineers had already launched a $748 million construction project at that very location. But the project had nothing to do with flood control. The Corps was building a huge new lock for the canal, an effort to accommodate steadily increasing barge traffic. Except that barge traffic on the canal has been steadily decreasing.

In Katrina's wake, Louisiana politicians and other critics have complained about paltry funding for the Army Corps in general and Louisiana projects in particular. But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.

Much of that Louisiana money was spent to try to keep low-lying New Orleans dry. But hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate. Despite a series of independent investigations criticizing Army Corps construction projects as wasteful pork-barrel spending, Louisiana's representatives have kept bringing home the bacon.

For example, after a $194 million deepening project for the Port of Iberia flunked a Corps cost-benefit analysis, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) tucked language into an emergency Iraq spending bill ordering the agency to redo its calculations. The Corps also spends tens of millions of dollars a year dredging little-used waterways such as the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, the Atchafalaya River and the Red River -- now known as the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway, in honor of the project's congressional godfather -- for barge traffic that is less than forecast.

The Industrial Canal lock is one of the agency's most controversial projects, sued by residents of a New Orleans low-income black neighborhood and cited by an alliance of environmentalists and taxpayer advocates as the fifth-worst current Corps boondoggle. In 1998, the Corps justified its plan to build a new lock -- rather than fix the old lock for a tiny fraction of the cost -- by predicting huge increases in use by barges traveling between the Port of New Orleans and the Mississippi River.

In fact, barge traffic on the canal had been plummeting since 1994, but the Corps left that data out of its study. And barges have continued to avoid the canal since the study was finished, even though they are visiting the port in increased numbers.

Pam Dashiell, president of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, remembers holding a protest against the lock four years ago -- right where the levee broke Aug. 30. Now she's holed up with her family in a St. Louis hotel, and her neighborhood is underwater. "Our politicians never cared half as much about protecting us as they cared about pork," Dashiell said.

Yesterday, congressional defenders of the Corps said they hoped the fallout from Hurricane Katrina would pave the way for billions of dollars of additional spending on water projects. Steve Ellis, a Corps critic with Taxpayers for Common Sense, called their push "the legislative equivalent of looting."

Louisiana's politicians have requested much more money for New Orleans hurricane protection than the Bush administration has proposed or Congress has provided. In the last budget bill, Louisiana's delegation requested $27.1 million for shoring up levees around Lake Pontchartrain, the full amount the Corps had declared as its "project capability." Bush suggested $3.9 million, and Congress agreed to spend $5.7 million.

Administration officials also dramatically scaled back a long-term project to restore Louisiana's disappearing coastal marshes, which once provided a measure of natural hurricane protection for New Orleans. They ordered the Corps to stop work on a $14 billion plan, and devise a $2 billion plan instead.

But overall, the Bush administration's funding requests for the key New Orleans flood-control projects for the past five years were slightly higher than the Clinton administration's for its past five years. Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the chief of the Corps, has said that in any event, more money would not have prevented the drowning of the city, since its levees were designed to protect against a Category 3 storm, and the levees that failed were already completed projects. Strock has also said that the marsh-restoration project would not have done much to diminish Katrina's storm surge, which passed east of the coastal wetlands.

"The project manager for the Great Pyramids probably put in a request for 100 million shekels and only got 50 million," said John Paul Woodley Jr., the Bush administration official overseeing the Corps. "Flood protection is always a work in progress; on any given day, if you ask whether any community has all the protection it needs, the answer is almost always: Maybe, but maybe not."

The Corps had been studying the possibility of upgrading the New Orleans levees for a higher level of protection before Katrina hit, but Woodley said that study would not have been finished for years. Still, liberal bloggers, Democratic politicians and some GOP defenders of the Corps have linked the catastrophe to the underfunding of the agency.

"We've been hollering about funding for years, but everyone would say: There goes Louisiana again, asking for more money," said former Democratic senator John Breaux. "We've had some powerful people in powerful places, but we never got what we needed."

That may be true. But those powerful people -- including former senators Breaux, Johnston and Russell Long, as well as former House committee chairmen Robert Livingston and W.J. "Billy" Tauzin -- did get quite a bit of what they wanted. And the current delegation -- led by Landrieu and GOP Sen. David Vitter -- has continued that tradition.

The Senate's latest budget bill for the Corps included 107 Louisiana projects worth $596 million, including $15 million for the Industrial Canal lock, for which the Bush administration had proposed no funding. Landrieu said the bill would "accelerate our flood control, navigation and coastal protection programs." Vitter said he was "grateful that my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee were persuaded of the importance of these projects."

Louisiana not only leads the nation in overall Corps funding, it places second in new construction -- just behind Florida, home of an $8 billion project to restore the Everglades. Several controversial projects were improvements for the Port of New Orleans, an economic linchpin at the mouth of the Mississippi. There were also several efforts to deepen channel for oil and gas tankers, a priority for petroleum companies that drill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We thought all the projects were important -- not just levees," Breaux said. "Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but navigation projects were critical to our economic survival."

Overall, Army Corps funding has remained relatively constant for decades, despite the "Program Growth Initiative" launched by agency generals in 1999 without telling their civilian bosses in the Clinton administration. The Bush administration has proposed cuts in the Corps budget, and has tried to shift the agency's emphasis from new construction to overdue maintenance. But most of those proposals have died quietly on Capitol Hill, and the administration has not fought too hard to revive them.

In fact, more than any other federal agency, the Corps is controlled by Congress; its $4.7 billion civil works budget consists almost entirely of "earmarks" inserted by individual legislators. The Corps must determine that the economic benefits of its projects exceed the costs, but marginal projects such as the Port of Iberia deepening -- which squeaked by with a 1.03 benefit-cost ratio -- are as eligible for funding as the New Orleans levees.

"It has been explicit national policy not to set priorities, but instead to build any flood control or barge project if the Corps decides the benefits exceed the costs by 1 cent," said Tim Searchinger, a senior attorney at Environmental Defense. "Saving New Orleans gets no more emphasis than draining wetlands to grow corn and soybeans."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/07/AR2005090702462.html
Link Posted: 9/12/2005 1:57:58 PM EDT
So much for the Libtards claiming Bush funding cuts caused the levees to break.

LEVEES THAT BROKE WERE COMPLETE & FUNDED SAYS CORP OF ENGINEERS.

Link


U.S. Army Corps of

Engineers

News Release

Release No. PA-09-01

For Immediate Release: September 3, 2005

Contact: Connie Gillette: 202-761-1809

Constance.S.Gillette@hq02.usace.army.mil

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hurricane Relief Support

and Levee Repair

Background Information

The breaches that have occurred on the levees surrounding New Orleans are

located on the 17th Street Canal Levee and London Avenue Canal Levee.

The 17th Street Canal Levees and London Avenue Canal Levees are completed

segments of the Lake Ponchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection

Project. Although other portions of the Lake Ponchartrain project are pending,

these two segments were complete, and no modifications or improvements

to these segments were pending, proposed, or remain unfunded.


Three major pending projects are in various stages of development: two hurricane

protection projects -- the West Bank and Vicinity project and the remaining

portions of the Lake Ponchartrain project, and the Southeast Louisiana flood

damage reduction project.

Even if these three projects in development were completed and in place, they

would not have prevented the breach and the flooding caused by the breach. Like

the levee that was breached, the hurricane protection projects were designed to

withstand forces of a hurricane that has a .5% chance of occurrence in any given

year. This translates to what is now classified as a Category 3 hurricane.

Funding

The Administration's Fiscal Year 2006 budget request for the four main New

Orleans flood control projects [West Bank, Southeast Louisiana, Lake

Ponchartrain, and New Orleans-Venice] was $41.5 million.

The perception of cuts to the Corps budget may come from a misunderstanding of

construction project funding practices or from comparing the Administration's

budget request to the Corps' project capability figures for these four main projects,

which for FY2006 totaled $142.7 million.

Annual project funding is based on a variety of factors, including an analysis of

the work that can be completed in an upcoming year and the work that already has

been completed in a previous year. Funding levels may vary as a project

progresses toward completion. Assumptions that these year-to-year changes

reflect a change in a projects' prioritization or are intended to cha nge the rate of its

progress fail to take into account the broader factors necessary to manage

resources in an organization that is simultaneously completing multiple

construction projects.

Additionally, project capability figures are not budget requests and do not

represent a request by the Corps for funding. Instead, project capability figures

represent the maximum amount of work on a project that the Corps estimates

could be accomplished in a given year, assuming an unlimited supply of

resources--financial, manpower, equipment, and construction materials.

Project capability amounts are rarely funded. If full capability funding were

provided for every project in a given year, it would be very difficult to complete

all the work because it would likely not be possible to secure sufficient Corps or

contractor personnel to construct all projects at the same time. The same holds

true for specific regions of the country. If full capability funding were provided

for every project in the same region or locality, completing all the work would be

very difficult given the significant strain this would place on existing contracting,

staffing, equipment and material resources.

[Quotes below are from Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps

of Engineers, and Chief of Engineers, and are excerpted from his remarks during

a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Special Briefing for the media via conference

call on Thursday, September 1, 2005 at 1 p.m. EDT. A full transcript is available

from the Public Affairs Office at (202) 761-0011.]

There have been suggestions that inadequate funding for levee projects

delayed their completion and resulted in the flooding of New Orleans.

GEN. STROCK: "In fact, the levee failures we saw were in areas of the projects

that were at their full project design... So that part of the project was in place, and

had this project been fully complete ... [West Bank, Southeast Louisiana, and

Lake Ponchartrain] it's my opinion, based on the intensity of this storm, that the

flooding of the Central Business District and the French Quarter would still have

occurred. So I do not see that the level of funding is really a contributing factor in

this case."

There have also been suggestions that the Corps of Engineers was unable to

fully fund flood control needs in New Orleans or elsewhere because funding

was diverted to the Global War on Terror.

GEN. STROCK: "Let me also address the issue of the general impact of the war

in Iraq on civil works funding. We've seen some suggestions that our budget has

been affected by the war. I can also say that I do not see that to be the case. If

you look at the historical levels of funding for the Corps of Engineers from the

pre-war levels back to 1992, '91, before we actually got into this, you'll see that

the level of funding has been fairly stable throughout that period. So I think we

would see that our funding levels would have dropped off if that were the case; so

I do not see that as an issue that is relevant to the discussion of the flood

protection of the City of New Orleans."

Finally, some believe that New Orleans flooded because there were

inadequate coastal wetlands in Southern Louisiana to absorb the storm

surge.

GEN. STROCK: "Again, my assessment in this case is that any loss of wetlands

in the barrier islands associated with those processes did not have a significant

impact on this event. I say this because the storm track took it east of the City of

New Orleans, and most of those barrier islands and marshlands are located to the

south and west of the city; so the storm did not track through that direction

anyway, and I don't think that that was a contributing factor in the situation."

-30-

Link Posted: 9/12/2005 2:06:01 PM EDT
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Link Posted: 9/12/2005 2:32:45 PM EDT
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