01 September, 2008

Good Luck, Gulf Coast

They've got this bearing down on them:

And they're being protected by this:


“It blows my mind.”

Those are the words St. Bernard parish president Craig Taffaro used to watch videotape Eyewitness News showed him, of floodwalls built to protect his parish.

“That should be criminal,” Taffaro continues.

What he's talking about was witnessed by a St. Bernard Parish resident who didn't want to be identified, but did have sharp criticism of the work done by a contractor hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“It's like putting a Band-Aid on the hole of a gas tank of an airplane,” the resident said.

Instead of an airplane, it's a floodwall, and instead of a Band-Aid, the witness says two years ago, he saw the contractor filling the expansion joint or opening between the floodwalls with newspaper.

“The whole length of the wall was stuffed with newspaper.”

And when he confronted the contractor, the contractor blamed Washington for the substandard work.

“He basically told me when Congress sent down the money, it would be repaired the proper way.”

But during a recent trip to the area, two years later, it was apparent that didn't happen. Much of the newspaper had deteriorated or been eaten by bugs, but some still remained. In fact WWL cameras even captured the date May 21, 2006, on a page of the Parade magazine from the Times-Picayune.


But the Army Corps of Engineers says it is confident the floodwall will sufficiently defend residents of St. Bernard and the Ninth Ward.

“If you look at the repairs we made to the joints, there's not really a safety issue with the joints at all,” said Kevin Wagner with the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Corps also says it’s satisfied with the quality of work done by its contractor. When asked by WWL if there was any shoddy work involved, Wagner said, “I don't think so at all.”

Are you fucking kidding me?

Three years after Katrina, and the best the Bush regime can come up with to protect New Orleans is newspaper.

At this point, the residents might as well pray as they flee. An imaginary Sky Daddy is going to do them about as much good as their own fucking government.

No wonder Chertoff was saying this the other day:

In a press conference yesterday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told residents, “Don’t try to rely upon the fact that the levees are stronger than they were in Katrina to assume that that’s going to necessarily protect you from harm.”

He thinks newspaper-filled levees are stronger. I think my brain just exploded.

And McCain's playing the McLargeHuge hero by imposing himself on the Gulf Coast at the time when they can least afford distractions, and pretending he weally weally cares about New Orleans.

He has a funny way of showing it. This is McCain in April of this year:

He also told reporters he was not sure if he would rebuild the lower 9th ward as president. "That is why we need to go back is to have a conversation about what to do -rebuild it, tear it down, you know, whatever it is,” he said.
Good luck, Gulf Coast. With friends like these and a monstrous storm on the way, you need all the luck you can get.

(Tip o' the shotglass to Sadly, No!)


Woozle said...

McCain seems to use the phrase "You know. Whatever." a lot -- either when he's caught making a false statement, lying, being vague on the details -- you know. Whatever.

Which suggests another bumper-sticker...

...You know. Whatever.

Lirone said...

It's ironic the republicans were praying for bad weather for the democratic convention... hmmm... and got a major hurricane for their own convention, which highlights some of the appalling inadequacies of the previous incumbent's term.... a God with this kind of sense of justice might almost be worth believing in!

Meantime, my heart goes out to the people of New Orleans, on the receiving end again!

NP said...

[Enter joke about media protecting from Gustav here]

Cujo359 said...

There's no excuse for this. The government had plenty of time to rebuild those floodwalls properly by now. They could have let the contract and started work at least a year ago.

It looks like NOLA will end up flooded again. I'm so sad for New Orleans.

MalwareBeGone said...

Starting to blow here in the ArkLaTEx. I just hope the power isn't out for long -- so much to hear about Mrs. Palin....

Cujo359 said...

I did some checking I should have done before I wrote about this, and it turns out that the Corps corrected the problem a month after that TV station ran the story about the newsprint.

They were sloppy not to have followed up on this before, but in the end the problem appears to have been corrected. So, I guess you could say that the press did protect the city.

Dana Hunter said...

So all it took was a little bad press. Amazing.

Still, I'm not giving them credit. Who knows what else they stuffed with newspaper or the equivalent and left alone because there weren't any watchdogs barking.