Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Guilty as Sin

What a lying politician

looks like when he's been caught.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....... It's so refreshing to see the biggest political scumbags get what they deserve once in a while. Today, Texas scumbag Tom DeLay - long plagued by ethics problems - was finally indicted today by a Texas grand jury. Of course, he says he's innocent and this is all politically motivated. Well, most times grand juries are pretty fair, you piece of shit, and I'm 99.9% sure you will be convicted. Here's hoping you get exactly what you deserve.

Yet, what's so sad, is that the idiots who vote in this country will continue to vote not only for people like Tom DeLay, but for the other corrupt polticians currently running Washington. Perhaps we can only hope for a good political colonoscopy in 2006 and beyond.

Monday, September 26, 2005

More on why we shouldn't rebuild

I take it most of you saw some of the destruction Rita caused the South this weekend. I found some perfect "after" pictures which illustrates the stupidity in which developers build, people buy and the government supports on land that SHOULD NOT BE OCCUPIED. Take a look at these barrier islands. Their natural purpose is to help filter water, provide sanctuary for young wildlife and also buffer the impact of storms. Well, looks like some people got a lesson in reality. What burns my ass, though, is that you can bet on two things: the gov't is going to give these homeowners flood insurance checks and they are going to allow these places to be rebuilt. Stupid. Let's hope for some sanity in this situation.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Repeal the National Flood Insurance Program - Now!

I found a superb editorial in the USA Today this morning. It's spot on and I urge everyone to write their congressmen and senators to demand this program be abolished so we can restore some common sense back into this country. This program allows people to build in environmentally senitive areas and promotes sprawl on beautiful lands. It's time to stop funding people building homes and businesses in these areas once and for all.

Here's the piece:

Katrina was a devastating storm; Rita may well become one. But it is misleading to call such hurricanes natural disasters.

Storms become disasters only if they hit population centers. Otherwise, they're of interest mainly to scientists and weather buffs but are like the proverbial tree that falls in the forest to the rest of us.

These days, however, there isn't much chance a major hurricane could come ashore in the USA and not become a disaster: 54% of Americans live within 50 miles of a shoreline, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. By 2025, three-quarters of the country is projected to live in such communities.

This unprecedented march to the sea has been abetted by unwise government policies that encourage living along the coast. Principal among them: the National Flood Insurance Program.

Started in 1968, federal flood insurance subsidizes development in coastal areas and other regions subject to flooding by offering insurance at bargain rates underwritten by the government.

As of last year, about 4.6 million policies were in effect with an average annual premium of $438. These premiums are nowhere near enough to cover the program's losses. Earlier this month, Congress authorized the program to borrow $3.5 billion for Katrina-related payments, an amount most experts believe is just the beginning and few believe will be repaid by property owners.

The program not only brings big government into an area better left to private enterprise, it also achieves the opposite of its goal. By lowering the cost of maintaining a home on flood-prone lands, it increases the populations in these areas. That in turn leads to more, and more costly, disasters.

According to the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, a non-partisan think tank, development density in flood-prone areas has grown dramatically since the advent of federal flood insurance. Before its enactment, lands subject to flooding were 25% less densely developed on average than comparable land not subject to flooding. Since then, the figure has closed to 15%.

Other problems with the program:

•Passing the buck. Private insurers have an incentive to claim that most hurricane damage is caused by storm surges (which are covered by the federal flood insurance) rather than by winds (which private insurers cover). Mississippi is investigating claims that some adjusters pressured homeowners in Katrina's path to sign waivers saying that their homes were destroyed by water.

• Lack of long-term planning. The government makes little or no attempt to quantify the financial risk it is exposed to through its insurance program, which provides more than three-quarters of a trillion dollars in coverage. That makes it difficult for the public to debate what should be done to protect coastal communities.

The government does, to be sure, have a vital role to play in identifying flood-prone areas. But the actual issuance of policies should be left to the private sector.

True, that would lead to higher premiums because private insurers can't run to Congress for money to cover their losses. But then why should taxpayers in Kansas subsidize insurance for people who live in Florida? And why should those Kansans - or anyone, for that matter - want to underwrite a system that each year helps put more people and property in harm's way?

After 37 years, it's time to recognize federal flood insurance for what it is: a disaster.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Bury the Big Easy

I'll admit right up front that I have never been to New Orleans, nor do I know anyone who lives there. This is not an opinion designed to spit on the people who have suffered unimaginably through this horrific tragedy - losing homes, possessions and most importantly, loved ones. I sent in the biggest donation I could afford after watching the inaction of FEMA and whoever else was responsible for evacuating and then helping everyone affected by Katrina. I was sick with disgust that we can send aid to Indonesia in two days, yet we can't help our own people after five. What FEMA has been reduced to under President Howdy Doody's watch is despicable.

But what burns my ass even more is the sheer stupidity that is going on afterwards. Let's backtrack a bit. New Orleans was built on a swamp. Like many other places that should not have existed int he first place, New Orleans was built on soft swampland, which sinks under weight, and square in the middle of a flood plain. Now, 200 years ago, many folks didn't know better and routinely did environmentally stupid things. This was one of them. Speed up to the mid-20th century, and warnings have been abound that the levy system designed to protect NO was inadequate and falling into disrepair. While many pleaded for assistance, the scumbags in charge of purse strings in Washington continued to cut the Army Corps of Engineers' budget to make way for things like a bridge in Alaska to serve 50 people and be named after the piece of shit politician who scored the money for said project.

Well, now. Wasn't Hurricane Katrina a nice payback to those who continue to ignore good science AND common sense?

Large-scale environmental destruction is nothing new in this country, especially when it comes to big business and the South. We know damn well that wetlands act as a filter for clean water, a buffer for large storms and sponge for large floodwaters. Bah! Who cares, right? We're making money! Since the mid-20th Century, the US has ignored wetlands protection in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly 2,000 square miles of VALUABLE wetlands were destroyed. No one with the power to do so gave two shits about it. Well, pay day is here, people.

In the mid-1990's the US finally accepted that homes and businesses should not be built on floodplains and rely on holding back the massive Mississippi River with levees. It doesn't work. After massive floods put thousands of homes and businesses under water, the gov't woke up, said, "Hey, this in't right. We can't beat Mother Nature. We aren't going to allow people to live here and let nature take its course."

Now, since money always seems to rule how we govern this nation, especially when you have these criminal Republicans liek Tom Delay in power, it's back to business as usual. One smart congressman or senator actually threw out the idea that maybe, just maybe we should rebuild New Orleans. He was practically run out of town. Sadly, he is one of the only smart ones residing on Capital Hill.

The call, of course, is to rebuild everything. This is bullshit. How much taxpayer money is going to be wasted on supporting those who continually build homes and businesses where THEY SHOULD NOT BE??? It was interesting to find out that the federal gov't is the *only* way residents along coastal areas can obtain flood insurance. Really? Great. I'm glad my tax dollars are being wasted on yet another wasteful program. What the gov't SHOULD do is fold its insurance program once and for all. Period. You lose your home to a flood in a natural flood plain? Move on. Want to build your fancy vacation home on a barrier island? Go right ahead. But do so at your own risk because when Hurricane X comes along and sucks it out to sea, I'm not paying for it.

Yet, our wonderfully idiotic president can't wait to see his corrupt pal's home on the Mississippi coast rebuilt so they can laugh together at how dumb we are to continuously do things that make absolutely no sense and waste billions upon billions of dollars. It's time to do the right thing. New Orleans and ALL coastal areas that were wiped out should be cleaned up and left back to nature. Yes, a home on the water is about as good as you can get it. But when nature tells you it shouldn't be there, you should listen. I don't want my tax dollars supporting frivolous spending and illogical rebuilding projects. We should not be supporting the replenishing of beaches, which costs tens of millions per year to the nbenefit of a few, nor should we be supporting the destructuve sprawl and development in areas we've nearly wiped out already.

Every single politician from New Orleans to Baton Rouge to Biloxi to Washington, D.C. who doesn't have a set of balls and supports a full rebuilding effort in areas where it doesn't make sense is falt out irresponsible. And that is saying it lightly. What happens when the next Cat 5 hurricane comes along and does the same thing? Well, we'll put our blinders on and do it all over again!

Anyway, that's enough of my ranting. I need to just accept this sheer idiocy and move on to something more important. I just hope that some time in my lifetime this country wakes the hell up and starts putting common sense way ahead of the mighty buck.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Baby Britney

Just a quick post today, as I'm contemplating wasting a ton of energy blasting the fools who think we should rebuild that swamp city in Louisiana or doing nothing.

News flash to the news media about the birth of Britney Spears' baby:





Seriously, why is this shit news? We have 1,000,000 displaced poor folks from New Orleans looking to rebuild their lives, another hurricane hitting us and about ten million other important newsworthy events going on in the world (some parents are losing their sonds and daughters over in Iraq fighting in a war we shouldn't be fighting, in case you haven't been paying attention) and this bullshit "news" is the headline everywhere we look. Leave this crap to the talking bobbleheads on ET or E! If you wonder why you in the news media aren't taken very seriously, this is a good time to reflect on that.