New Orleans: Two Years After Hurricane Katrina

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It's now been two years since the destruction of New Orleans caused by defective flood protection built by the US Army Corps of Engineers following Hurricane Katrina. Check out the video of the "progress."

As some of you know, New Orleans is the home of BSAlert. Stay tuned... This week we're assembling a team of professional photographers and we'll be driving throughout the city taking pictures and will post them before the end of the week. We've opted to do this after the 2-year anniversary because, well, we don't want to think the only time we can call national attention to this problem is on a particular anniversary day.

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"Iraq Veterans Against The War" Speak Out

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[Activists]
As more and more American soldiers are "stop-lossed" into continuing to serve, and more die, and more foreigners attack the US, veterans of the service are standing up and speaking out about what they think is going on. We've compiled a few interesting videos worth watching.

"If anybody does actually bring a dirty bomb into the United States, it's probably going to be the kid whose toy box we dumped out after we shot up his house."

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Only A Fraction Of Promised Money Spent Rebuilding New Orleans

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On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, President Bush made yet another visit to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and New Orleans, where he told astonished residents that, as an occasional visitor to the city, he could see all kinds of improvements that they--being merely residents who see the city every day--could not. And he repeated constantly the huge numbers to show that the federal government had showered the area with as much cold, hard cash as Katrina had showered it with rain.

But the people of New Orleans, who deal daily with the stalled reconstruction, the funds mired in red tape, the gutted health care system, the schools that were failing before the storm and are now only half-rebuilt, the closed day care and the public housing that has not yet reopened--even the undamaged parts--and the rebuilding of which has not even begun--well, they see things differently.

And on their behalf, New Orleans City Councilwoman Shelley Midura sent the following open letter to President George Bush. (Emphasis added.)

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AT&T Censors Anti-Bush Comments From Pearl Jam Concert Broadcast

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According to Pearl Jam's website, portions of the band's Sunday night set at Lollapalooza were missing from the AT&T Blue Room live webcast. Fans alerted the band to the missing material after the show. Reportedly absent from the webcast were segments of the band's performance of "Daughter," including the sung lines "George Bush, leave this world alone" and "George Bush find yourself another home."

Update: While AT&T claims the censorship was a "mistake", according to Wired's Listening Post, concerts streamed on the Blue Room by The Flaming Lips and the John Butler Trio have also been censored for political reasons. If true, this action coupled with past allegations aimed at AT&T suggests an unnerving pro-Bush political agenda from one of America's biggest telecoms.

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Time Magazine Story Identifies What Really Destroyed New Orleans

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[Environment]
The most important thing to remember about the drowning of New Orleans is that it wasn't a natural disaster. It was a man-made disaster, created by lousy engineering, misplaced priorities and pork-barrel politics. Katrina was not the Category 5 killer the Big Easy had always feared; it was a Category 3 storm that missed New Orleans, where it was at worst a weak 2. The city's defenses should have withstood its surges, and if they had we never would have seen the squalor in the Superdome, the desperation on the rooftops, the shocking tableau of the Mardi Gras city underwater for weeks. We never would have heard the comment "Heckuva job, Brownie." The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was the scapegoat, but the real culprit was the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which bungled the levees that formed the city's man-made defenses and ravaged the wetlands that once formed its natural defenses. Americans were outraged by the government's response, but they still haven't come to grips with the government's responsibility for the catastrophe.

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Court Confirms Katrina Damage Was Not "An Act Of God"

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Hurricane Katrina victims whose homes and businesses were destroyed when floodwaters breached levees in the 2005 storm cannot recover money from their insurance companies for the damages, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

While insurance may cover some "acts of God," the insurance industry had enough fine print to invalidate claims of flooding due to negligence on the part of the Army Corps of Engineers, which led to the majority of the city's destruction, and therefore, victims were not qualified to be covered under their insurance policies.

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Missouri Man Tells The Perfect Tale of Disgust With Politicians

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[Beating Dead Horses]
An editorial submitted to a small Missouri newspaper is making the rounds online, crystallizing the disgust people have for political parties.

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John McCain Is Too Busy To Do His Job

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An Arizona state lawmaker is calling for John McCain to resign from the Senate for missing too many votes.

Republican Representative Russell Pearce of Mesa says Arizona's interests aren't being heard because John McCain is skipping Senate votes to campaign for a spot in the White House.

"He's our Senator and we elected him," said Pearce. "This is about representing Arizona properly."

According to The Washington Post, McCain has missed almost 50% of Senate votes during the current Congress. This comes at a time when taxpayers are paying McCain a salary of $165,200 to represent Arizonans on the Senate floor.

The only other Senator with a worse record is South Dakota's Tim Johnson who has been out recovering from a brain hemorrhage.

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George W. Bush Becomes Dictator During Next "Catastrophe"

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In what the mainstream media has largely ignored, President Bush signed an executive order on May 9th effectively making Congress and the rest of government obsolete in the event of another attack or national catastrophe. Bush basically becomes a dictator, in complete charge of the U.S. government.

Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the responsibility “for ensuring constitutional government.” The definition of a "catastrophe" is quite vague as well, and certainly another Katrina or perhaps even some minor attack at a location that disrupts some utility service would trigger Bush's super governmental powers and render Congress useless (assuming anyone thought they were useful in the first place).

He laid this all out in a document entitled "National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51" and "Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20."

READ MORE | 2 comments since 2009-09-10 07:07:53 | Comment on this Article

NOAA Chief Resigns; Funding Cut, Except To Party Planners

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The Federal Government has cut $700,000 from the NOAA's budget for hurricane research and instead, decided to spend more than $4 Million on advertising hawking the 200th anniversary of the NOAA. The Director and Deputy Director of the government's weather service have resigned in disgust.

Seriously... what is this administration going to do next? Shut down all the VA hospitals and instead launch an ad campaign promoting the 250th anniversary of soldiers being buried?

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Does America Deserve Levees That Work?

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John Goodman has gone public in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina debacle to call attention to a common misconception about the destruction of New Orleans: It was caused by defective levees built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps knew about the problems and ignored them. The city was flooded and destroyed.

Similar Corps projects are in virtually every state in the U.S. Goodman asks, "Don't we deserve levees that work?"

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Katrina: The Screw-Up That Keeps Getting More Screwed Up

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Hurricane Katrina, the overplayed pop song of natural disasters, was the most devastating bitch-slap ever delivered to America. From personal experience (I live here) the region is not even close to recovering. Why is that? Racists think it's black people. Other racists think it's white people. Municipal politicians blame state politicians. State politicians blame federal politicians. Federal politicians blame black people (just kidding--they blame the state and municipal politicians, of course). It's not any of that--that is a distraction. I'll boil it down for you in one word--money. Here's some more: moolah, greenbacks, cheddar, dough, cash, a wad, bread, and that sign you make when you rub your index finger and thumb together. The Gulf Coast is broke. We need cash from any and all sources. Seeing the great need for recovery in this culturally rich region, the federal government has taken the important step of turning down, wasting, or just ignoring over $800 million in aid. Say what?

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Government Contractors Owe $7.7 Billion In Back Taxes!

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A recent Government Accounting Office inquiry reveals that about 113,800 contractors working for a variety of federal agencies, including the Pentagon and the General Services Administration, have built up $7.7 billion in unpaid taxes. This matches untidily with a March GAO report saying that more than 21,000 doctors, health professionals or medical suppliers, collecting billions in federal Medicare dollars, simultaneously owed more than $1 billion in federal income taxes.

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U.S. Army Corps of Morons

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[Military]
The Army Corps of Engineers, the Keystone Cops of public civil engineering projects, continues its streak of crackerjack work. The Corps was shopping for bids for some new pumps for New Orleans' beleaguered canal system, so they needed to write up specifications for the pumps they were looking for. But that's a lot of work, what with the typing and drafts and spell-checking and all--so instead they decided to just cut and paste the text straight out of an existing catalog. You'll never guess whose catalog it was.

READ MORE | 2 comments since 2007-05-01 12:49:00 | Comment on this Article

Google Rolls Back Map Imagery - Makes Katrina Damage Disappear

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[Environment]
Google's popular map portal has replaced post-Hurricane Katrina satellite imagery with pictures taken before the storm, leaving locals feeling like they're in a time loop and even fueling suspicions of a conspiracy.

Scroll across the city and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and everything is back to normal: Marinas are filled with boats, bridges are intact and parks are filled with healthy, full-bodied trees.

UPDATE: Accused by a Democrat in the U.S. Congress of "airbrushing history," Google said it has now replaced pre-Hurricane Katrina satellite images of the Gulf Coast region with more recent aerial photographs.

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