DEFUNDING THE LEVEES

Josh Marshall posts the entire Times-Picayune piece about Bush administration cuts to protecting New Orleans’ levees last year. Money quote:

“I guess people look around and think there’s a complete system in place, that we’re just out here trying to put icing on the cake,” said Mervin Morehiser, who manages the “Lake Pontchartrain and vicinity” levee project for the Army Corps of Engineers. “And we aren’t saying that the sky is falling, but people should know that this is a work in progress, and there’s more important work yet to do before there is a complete system in place.”

I agree with a commenter on Josh’s site: “There’s of course no way to know whether this would have made any difference.” But it’s not a plus for the president right now.

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MOVE OVER, FALWELL

“Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city. From ‘Girls Gone Wild’ to ‘Southern Decadence’, New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. May it never be the same. Let us pray for those ravaged by this disaster. However, we must not forget that the citizens of New Orleans tolerated and welcomed the wickedness in their city for so long,” – Michael Marcavage, in a statement from the evangelical Christian group, “Repent America,” issued today.

THE COMING STORM

If what this article says is true, the Bush administration has a major political problem on its hands. Money quote:

On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: “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.”

Also that June, with the 2004 hurricane season starting, the Corps’ project manager Al Naomi went before a local agency, the East Jefferson Levee Authority, and essentially begged for $2 million for urgent work that Washington was now unable to pay for. From the June 18, 2004 Times-Picayune:

“The system is in great shape, but the levees are sinking. Everything is sinking, and if we don’t get the money fast enough to raise them, then we can’t stay ahead of the settlement,” he said. “The problem that we have isn’t that the levee is low, but that the federal funds have dried up so that we can’t raise them.”

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.

MALKIN AWARD NOMINEE

“So while children are drowning and others are floating around, dead in the water, the wannabe Yale cowboy struts around the set of his faux town hall meetings, has a bit of cake with John McCain, and takes in some fresh air in Colorado.

Congress? Anyone?

Dick? Where is Dick? Anyone?

Condi? Rummy? Any other Iran-Contra Folks?

Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

Hello?

So where does that leave us, the citizens of this raped, pillaged, terrorized, demoralized, freedom loving nation?

Floating face down, eyes affixed on a once great New Orleans!” – Larisa Alexandrovna, on HuffPuff. No, it apparently isn’t a Gutfeld parody. And there’s a lot more. Go read.

LETTER OF THE DAY

“Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I regret to tell you that I am leaving the FDA, and will no longer be serving as the Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health and Director of the FDA Office of Women’s Health. The recent decision announced by the Commissioner about emergency contraception, which continues to limit women’s access to a product that would reduce unintended pregnancies and reduce abortions is contrary to my core commitment to improving and advancing women’s health. I have spent the last 15 years working to ensure that science informs good health policy decisions. I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled. I therefore have submitted my resignation effective today.

I will greatly miss working with such an outstanding group of scientists, clinicians and support staff. FDA’s staff is of the highest caliber and it has been a privilege to work with you all. I hope to have future opportunities to work with you in a different capacity.” – Susan F. Wood.

42 PERCENT

That’s how many Americans believe that the earth and all its creatures have always been the same since they were created by God in Genesis. Fully “70 percent of white evangelical Protestants say that life has existed in its present form since the beginning of time.” 63 percent of them are “very certain” that this is true. I must say that there are times when one is rendered speechless. No educated intelligent person could possibly look at the evidence of science and say such a thing. And yet we are supposed to have a reasoned debate with these people on the matter. How is that even possible?

130 CHURCHES SOLD: One more effect of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal in Canada. In one diocese.

KATRINA AND GLOBAL WARMING

Many emailers have harrumphed that there might too be a connection. In the abstract, you could make a case that warmer waters can increase hurricane ferocity. But every major article I have read on the story says that the pattern of hurricanes is independent of such shifts; that there was a lull in the recent past; and that the worst came in the 1930s and 1940s. When the New York Times is debunking the idea, partisan liberals might want to reassess it. Jim Glassman has futher thoughts here.