Author's posts

Can Obama’s Healthcare Reform Save Louisiana Healthcare from Jindal’s Cuts?

Script follows the break.

We are more than political props

George W. Bush turned up in Louisiana yesterday, figuring it was safer to show his face in the wake of a hurricane that his administration has not yet had time to blow than to appear in person at his party’s political convention up the river.

Bush clearly needed some exposure related to something that appeared to be going right.

Once again, the people of Louisiana were relegated to serving as props in a photo op.

It’s a role that we’ve played too frequently – for Democrats as well as Republicans – to the point of becoming typecast. Frankly, I’m tired of it.

Port Fourchon: Perpetual Motion Machine

Several Louisiana newspapers carried the Associated Press version of the Baton Rouge Advocate article on the Loren Scott & Associates study on the economic importance of the Port Fourchon energy complex.

In the style that has become expected of studies for hire, the report lays out the case for which it was produced, namely that getting more money to raise the road to the the port is a very important project. However, in making the case, it ignores the reason that the road must be raised – a sinking coast and rising sea levels.

Here are the opening paragraphs of The Advocate article:

Port Fourchon services 90 percent of the deepwater rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, and even a brief interruption of services would cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, a study released Thursday shows.

The Greater Lafourche Port Commission, which commissioned the study, hopes the information will help convince Congress to fund upgrades and repairs to the area’s levee system and the $250 million shortfall for an elevated highway and bridge from Golden Meadow to Port Fourchon, port director Ted Falgout said.

It’s understandable that the Port Fourchon study would not mention the reasons the road must be raised are due, at least in part, to the significant energy industry contributions to the destruction of coastal marsh lands and the climate change producing the rising seas.

NOLA, corruption, and a second chance

This was my second NOLA/Gulf Blogathon post. Thank you for allowing me to post it here!

The US Attorney’s office in New Orleans has been one busy place, particularly since Katrina and the US Attorney purge scandal (coincidence?).

Although Congressman William Jefferson’s indictment came out of Virginia, other New Orleans politicians (including Jefferson’s brother) have been targets of corruption probes emanating from that office. Because of the nature of the political power structure in New Orleans, the vast majority of those indicted have been African American.

The Katrina diaspora has significantly altered the demographics (PDF) of the city. Post-Katrina elections in the city have reflected that shift.

In some ways, New Orleans today resembles the city in the late 50s and early 60s, before white flight to the suburbs kicked into high gear.

Katrina, Rita and the GOP Crony Capitalism

This was the first of my two posts as part of the NOLA/Gulf Blogathon.

Hurricane season is about six weeks away. The Mississippi River is very high due to heavy rains in the MidWest. The Bonne Carre Spillway has been opened for the first time in 11 years to let some river water flow through Lake Pontchartrain into the Gulf of Mexico.

Things are tensing up down along the Gulf Coast. Less than three years after hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck and the levees failed in New Orleans, nature is reminding us of what a tenuous hold we have on the lives we’ve created and are still rebuilding for ourselves down here.

We don’t want to – and can’t – go through another disaster again. Especially with the current administration in place. Real help will not come.

The hard and, yes, bitter lessons learned along the coast over the past two-and-a-half years are going to come in handy for the rest of the country it focuses on the coming federal elections.

The core lesson is this: Republican crony capitalism doesn’t fix anything that’s broken. It’s all about them taking care of their own while the rest of us are left on our own. The proof is being lived out daily on the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi.