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.


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