It is currently Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:47 am

All times are UTC - 4 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 50 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 10:35 pm 
Offline
SuperMember!
SuperMember!
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:18 pm
Posts: 1485
Location: Left Coast
We're a tag team, TUT... and it drives the rePERVlicans nutz but only one of us is a woman and she's Catherine... Seamus and I are both men.

I'm a USAF vet... I volunteered for Viet Nam in 1967 and surprize surprize... I went.

How about you?

_________________
My Pep Talk For Lefties and Lurkers


I cannot teach anybody anything,
I can only make them think.

~~ Socrates


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 10:43 pm 
Offline
SuperMember!
SuperMember!
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:18 pm
Posts: 1485
Location: Left Coast
and obtw, TUT... I have a thread HERE that backs up your allegation that Bush fiddled around on the job...

_________________
My Pep Talk For Lefties and Lurkers


I cannot teach anybody anything,
I can only make them think.

~~ Socrates


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 1:00 am 
Offline
SuperMember!
SuperMember!
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:03 am
Posts: 844
Location: on the edge
:lol: I was refering to beatneck and seamus, and their cute little arguement.
also beat necks reference to me as ignorant. :roll: I have been accused of a lot of things :shock:
Actually it was a guitar in San Diego after the dyke burst. A little party he was at. Here is a pretty picture

:twisted:

http://portal.axcess.us/modules/newbb/v ... 35&forum=3

The U.S. Army drafted me in "68". But I did not go. I wanted to at the time.
Heard there was good stuff and fun over there. They turned me down.

TUT :(

_________________
Look out kid, They keep it all hid.”
Bob Dylan “Subterranean Homesick Blues”


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 8:07 am 
Offline
Site Admin
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 11:46 pm
Posts: 14444
Location: NC
Having people like Seamus and Stripey helping to keep the right-wing shills and Rethug Libertarian wannabes from coming here to spam the board and trying to shut us down is important, TUT. I'm happy they're on my side when I've gotten into a fray with Bush supporters/praise-singers that have come here before...please go back and read some posts made by buckshot, or Kent, or shane7, or a young turk calling himself Toshiru Tzu...and you'll get an idea of how we sometimes have to wage the battle for truth. Most of the time reasoning will work against those folks. At other times, it doesn't, so we can get down and dirty or we can take the high road...doesn't matter to me...whatever works.

You'll also note that the posters I mentioned (and a few others) have been absent from TVNL for a long, long time. :P

Catherine

_________________
Image

"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
Honore de Balzac

"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."

~Harry S. Truman


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 9:46 am 
Seamus wrote:
Gee... I must have hit a nerve.

beatneck wrote:
Thanks for the psycho analysis seamus, but I wasnt talkin to ya.


Too bad... I'm talking to you.

If you can't take the heat get the hell out of kitchen. If you're that thin-skinned and you don't want people commenting on your posts I suggest you not post.

beatneck wrote:
I learn everyday. Today I learned that you are a person with nothing better to do with your time than to pscho anayize people over the internet that youve never met, had a conversation with, or know one real life thing about.


Hmmm... pot meet kettle. Odd that you'd say that. Now you're psychoanalyzing me. I'm honored.

beatneck wrote:
Congratulations on that, and I wish you luck with similar ventures in the future.


You've left enough of your psyche in your posts for one to make reasoned judgments as to where you stand on issues.

If you think that my assessment is off the mark I suggest that you prove me wrong. So far all I've seen from you in this thread is Social Darwinist talking points and something about how sorry Castro is about the disaster.

I can see where your Social Darwinist TP is going. I'm curious though, what the hell is that Castro thing about? Are those who criticize Bushco allies of Fidel? Or are we just evil hive mind collectivist statists?


My point about Castro was in reply to Catherines claim that all countries hate us. Did you even click on the link?

Without throwing any darts, and avoiding the ones thrown by your team, The levee system in the particular area where it broke was only designed for a catagory 3 hurricane. Judging that its been around for many administrations, I would have to think that it could have been updated before Bush ever got into office. Is anyone here blaming Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, or any of the other previous state and local governments to help make NO safer for a catagory 4 or 5 hurricane?

Tut. I apologize if I offended you. It was not my intention.

Seamus. You did exactly what I thought you would do. Please do it again for this post....that is if there was enough psyche left for you. Let me know if its not adequate. I can give you more.

Stripey. You have to put up with my posts. Just like I have to put up with yours.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 4:47 pm 
Offline
SuperMember!
SuperMember!
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:03 am
Posts: 844
Location: on the edge
Think nothing of it beat neck, no apology necessary. 8) And thank you all for the welcome. Catherine, Stripey, Beatneck, etc...

Anyway, a large portion of the planet has it's eye on America and many are raising the racial issue. As well as denouncing Bush for poor performance and reaction. Most Americans have no clue or care of how the world views us. To caught up in trying to maintain a standard of living that is no longer acceptable or possible in the rest of the world. A shift must be made from quantity to quality or we are all going to die.
At any rate, here is a little visited www. site, that offers a view outside the American Box. I try to visit and read often, hope you enjoy it.

http://www.watchingamerica.com/

America had better start thinking globally rather than just allowing our corporations to run roughshod over the world and amass capital that will be worthless in the long run.

Unless there truly is a NWO that wants to eliminate the population of the planet.

"One-fourth of humanity must be eliminated from the social body. We are in charge of God's selection process for planet earth. He selects, we destroy. We are the riders of the pale horse, Death."

spoken by--

Psychologist Barbara Marx Hubbard

Member and futurist/strategist of Task Force Delta; a United States Army think tank.

Have a good day,

TUT :wink:

_________________
Look out kid, They keep it all hid.”
Bob Dylan “Subterranean Homesick Blues”


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 7:38 pm 
Offline
SuperMember!
SuperMember!
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:18 pm
Posts: 1485
Location: Left Coast
I don't mind putting up with your posts, BeatsIt but I'm not the one that thinks that only I have the right to post... that seems to be your stand... and in answer to that, I have a nice motorcycle for you to ride on outta dodge...

and I love that my orange color gets to you, too


cuz the wittle PWICs and their wittle PWIC sympathizers seem to hate color...
:twisted:

_________________
My Pep Talk For Lefties and Lurkers


I cannot teach anybody anything,
I can only make them think.

~~ Socrates


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 7:48 pm 
Your just making yourself look silly Stripey. Ive been around this board long before you ever retreated here from Rage. Hell, I even call you by your real screen name. I dont even have to resort to calling names. And whats with this mastabatory fixation you have anyway? I cant make you change stripey. I can only point out a different point of view. Its up to you if you choose to listen before deciding against it.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 8:09 pm 
Offline
Deal With It!
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 4:57 pm
Posts: 413
Location: Land of Lincoln
beatneck wrote:
My point about Castro was in reply to Catherines claim that all countries hate us. Did you even click on the link?


I saw the article before you posted it.

It seemed like a non Sequitur. You should have explained yourself when you posted. You didn't make yourself clear. You thrive on ambiguity.

Other countries hating us isn't exactly an earth shattering revelation. I might surprise a delusional right wing flying monkey wingnut, but not Catherine or any of the regular posters here at TVNL.

beatneck wrote:
Without throwing any darts, and avoiding the ones thrown by your team, The levee system in the particular area where it broke was only designed for a catagory 3 hurricane. Judging that its been around for many administrations, I would have to think that it could have been updated before Bush ever got into office. Is anyone here blaming Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, or any of the other previous state and local governments to help make NO safer for a catagory 4 or 5 hurricane?


If you look at how The Bushista Banana Republic cut the funding that ACE needed to do the job, the buck clearly stops with Bushco on this one. There's a long paper trail. Lets see if they can wiggle out of this one.

beatneck wrote:
Seamus. You did exactly what I thought you would do. Please do it again for this post....that is if there was enough psyche left for you. Let me know if its not adequate. I can give you more.


As you wish. A tad testy, aren't you? You're just a big teddy bear beatneck.

For shame... I'm so predictable. Life sucks, don't it? As if you aren't predictable. You're doing what you've done before; you play the radical moderate and anarchistic anti-government guru. There's nothing new there. Then there's the feigned indignant snippy responses. That's nothing new either.

I look forward to more of your erudite insight.

_________________
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
--John Kenneth Galbraith


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 8:20 pm 
Seamus wrote:
beatneck wrote:
My point about Castro was in reply to Catherines claim that all countries hate us. Did you even click on the link?


I saw the article before you posted it.

It seemed like a non Sequitur. You should have explained yourself when you posted. You didn't make yourself clear. You thrive on ambiguity.

Other countries hating us isn't exactly an earth shattering revelation. I might surprise a delusional right wing flying monkey wingnut, but not Catherine or any of the regular posters here at TVNL.

beatneck wrote:
Without throwing any darts, and avoiding the ones thrown by your team, The levee system in the particular area where it broke was only designed for a catagory 3 hurricane. Judging that its been around for many administrations, I would have to think that it could have been updated before Bush ever got into office. Is anyone here blaming Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, or any of the other previous state and local governments to help make NO safer for a catagory 4 or 5 hurricane?


If you look at how The Bushista Banana Republic cut the funding that ACE needed to do the job, the buck clearly stops with Bushco on this one. There's a long paper trail. Lets see if they can wiggle out of this one.

beatneck wrote:
Seamus. You did exactly what I thought you would do. Please do it again for this post....that is if there was enough psyche left for you. Let me know if its not adequate. I can give you more.


As you wish. A tad testy, aren't you? You're just a big teddy bear beatneck.

For shame... I'm so predictable. Life sucks, don't it? As if you aren't predictable. You're doing what you've done before; you play the radical moderate and anarchistic anti-government guru. There's nothing new there. Then there's the feigned indignant snippy responses. That's nothing new either.

I look forward to more of your erudite insight.


Bravo my good friend. Bravo.....

Why couldnt ACE have fixed it earlier?


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 9:39 pm 
Offline
Deal With It!
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 4:57 pm
Posts: 413
Location: Land of Lincoln
beatneck wrote:
Bravo my good friend. Bravo.....


Gee thanks... It's always nice to be appreciated.

beatneck wrote:
Why couldnt ACE have fixed it earlier?


The Levees and Pumping Stations were a priority prior to Georgie Junior's coronation. It's a project that would never be "completed". It's an ongoing project that must be maintained. Perhaps ACE could have used slaves? That would have been appropriate in light of the budget cutbacks that Bushco initiated to fund their war of choice and their gifts to the Wealthy by way of Tax Cuts that the Treasury could ill afford.

Perhaps the Mayor could have rustled up some bucket brigades to serve as a pumping stations and all those po-boys to shore up the levees to Cat 5 status. We know this was all about choice. Isn't that what the Social Darwinist "Conservative" crowd is all about? The Bushistas CHOSE TO BLEED OFF FUNDS for infrastructure and they've been doing it from day one. The question is whether they did it by design or by negligence. Either one is damning. Pick one. The Iraqnam only sped up the process of bleeding funds.

This is Bushco's Baby. They own it.

===============================================================================

New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers faces Budget Shortfall
New Orleans CityBusiness, Jun 6, 2005 by Deon Roberts

In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding.

It would be the largest single-year funding loss ever for the New Orleans district, Corps officials said.

I've been here over 30 years and I've never seen this level of reduction, said Al Naomi, project manager for the New Orleans district. I think part of the problem is it's not so much the reduction, it's the drastic reduction in one fiscal year. It's the immediacy of the reduction that I think is the hardest thing to adapt to.

There is an economic ripple effect, too. The cuts mean major hurricane and flood protection projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now.

Money is so tight the New Orleans district, which employs 1,300 people, instituted a hiring freeze last month on all positions. The freeze is the first of its kind in about 10 years, said Marcia Demma, chief of the Corps' Programs Management Branch.

Stephen Jeselink, interim commander of the New Orleans Corps district, told employees in an internal e-mail dated May 25 that the district is experiencing financial challenges. Execution of our available funds must be dealt with through prudent districtwide management decisions. In addition to a hiring freeze, Jeselink canceled the annual Corps picnic held every June.
Congress is setting the Corps budget.

The House of Representatives wants to cut the New Orleans district budget 21 percent to $272.4 million in 2006, down from $343.5 million in 2005. The House figure is about $20 million lower than the president's suggested $290.7 million budget.

It's now up to the Senate. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-New Orleans, is making no promises.

It's going to be very tough, Landrieu said. The House was not able to add back this money ... but hopefully we can rally in the Senate and get some of this money back.

Landrieu said the Bush administration is not making Corps of Engineers funding a priority.

I think it's extremely shortsighted, Landrieu said. When the Corps of Engineers' budget is cut, Louisiana bleeds. These projects are literally life-and-death projects to the people of south Louisiana and they are (of) vital economic interest to the entire nation.

The Corps' budget could still be beefed up, as it is every year, through congressional additions. Last year, Congress added $20 million to the overall budget of the New Orleans district but a similar increase this year would still leave a $50 million shortfall.

One of the hardest-hit areas of the New Orleans district's budget is the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, which was created after the May 1995 flood to improve drainage in Jefferson, Orleans and St. Tammany parishes. SELA's budget is being drained from $36.5 million awarded in 2005 to $10.4 million suggested for 2006 by the House of Representatives and the president.

The project manager said there would be no contracts awarded with this $10.4 million, Demma said.

The construction portion of the Corps' budget would suffer if Congress doesn't add money. In 2005, the district received $94.3 million in federal dollars dedicated to construction. In 2006, the proposal is for $56 million.

It would be critical to this city if we had a $50 million construction budget compared with the past years, Demma said. It would be horrible for the city, it would be horrible for contractors and for flood protection if this were the final number compared to recent years and what the city needs.

Construction generally has been on the decline for several years and focus has been on other projects in the Corps.

(Infrastructure maintenance or improvement have never been a priority for Bush or any of his cronies if they can't make a killing at it. But you knew that, didn't you?)
The district has identified $35 million in projects to build and improve levees, floodwalls and pumping stations in St. Bernard, Orleans, Jefferson and St. Charles parishes. Those projects are included in a Corps line item called Lake Pontchartrain, where funding is scheduled to be cut from $5.7 million this year to $2.9 million in 2006. Naomi said it's enough to pay salaries but little else.

===============================================================================

No One Can Say they Didn't See it Coming

By Sidney Blumenthal

09/01/05 "Der Spiegel" -- -- In 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war.

Biblical in its uncontrolled rage and scope, Hurricane Katrina has left millions of Americans to scavenge for food and shelter and hundreds to thousands reportedly dead. With its main levee broken, the evacuated city of New Orleans has become part of the Gulf of Mexico. But the damage wrought by the hurricane may not entirely be the result of an act of nature.

A year ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to study how New Orleans could be protected from a catastrophic hurricane, but the Bush administration ordered that the research not be undertaken. After a flood killed six people in 1995, Congress created the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, in which the Corps of Engineers strengthened and renovated levees and pumping stations. In early 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a report stating that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S., including a terrorist attack on New York City. But by 2003 the federal funding for the flood control project essentially dried up as it was drained into the Iraq war. In 2004, the Bush administration cut funding requested by the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for holding back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain by more than 80 percent. Additional cuts at the beginning of this year (for a total reduction in funding of 44.2 percent since 2001) forced the New Orleans district of the Corps to impose a hiring freeze. The Senate had debated adding funds for fixing New Orleans' levees, but it was too late.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which before the hurricane published a series on the federal funding problem, and whose presses are now underwater, reported online: "No one can say they didn't see it coming ... Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."

The Bush administration's policy of turning over wetlands to developers almost certainly also contributed to the heightened level of the storm surge. In 1990, a federal task force began restoring lost wetlands surrounding New Orleans. Every two miles of wetland between the Crescent City and the Gulf reduces a surge by half a foot. Bush had promised "no net loss" of wetlands, a policy launched by his father's administration and bolstered by President Clinton. But he reversed his approach in 2003, unleashing the developers. The Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency then announced they could no longer protect wetlands unless they were somehow related to interstate commerce.

In response to this potential crisis, four leading environmental groups conducted a joint expert study, concluding in 2004 that without wetlands protection New Orleans could be devastated by an ordinary, much less a Category 4 or 5, hurricane. "There's no way to describe how mindless a policy that is when it comes to wetlands protection," said one of the report's authors. The chairman of the White House's Council on Environmental Quality dismissed the study as "highly questionable," and boasted, "Everybody loves what we're doing."

"My administration's climate change policy will be science based," President Bush declared in June 2001. But in 2002, when the Environmental Protection Agency submitted a study on global warming to the United Nations reflecting its expert research, Bush derided it as "a report put out by a bureaucracy," and excised the climate change assessment from the agency's annual report. The next year, when the EPA issued its first comprehensive "Report on the Environment," stating, "Climate change has global consequences for human health and the environment," the White House simply demanded removal of the line and all similar conclusions. At the G-8 meeting in Scotland this year, Bush successfully stymied any common action on global warming. Scientists, meanwhile, have continued to accumulate impressive data on the rising temperature of the oceans, which has produced more severe hurricanes.

In February 2004, 60 of the nation's leading scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, warned in a statement, "Restoring Scientific Integrity in Policymaking": "Successful application of science has played a large part in the policies that have made the United States of America the world's most powerful nation and its citizens increasingly prosperous and healthy ... Indeed, this principle has long been adhered to by presidents and administrations of both parties in forming and implementing policies. The administration of George W. Bush has, however, disregarded this principle ... The distortion of scientific knowledge for partisan political ends must cease." Bush completely ignored this statement.

In the two weeks preceding the storm in the Gulf, the trumping of science by ideology and expertise by special interests accelerated. The Federal Drug Administration announced that it was postponing sale of the morning-after contraceptive pill, despite overwhelming scientific evidence of its safety and its approval by the FDA's scientific advisory board. The United Nations special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa accused the Bush administration of responsibility for a condom shortage in Uganda -- the result of the administration's evangelical Christian agenda of "abstinence." When the chief of the Bureau of Justice Statistics in the Justice Department was ordered by the White House to delete its study that African-Americans and other minorities are subject to racial profiling in police traffic stops and he refused to buckle under, he was forced out of his job. When the Army Corps of Engineers' chief contracting oversight analyst objected to a $7 billion no-bid contract awarded for work in Iraq to Halliburton (the firm at which Vice President Cheney was formerly CEO), she was demoted despite her superior professional ratings. At the National Park Service, a former Cheney aide, a political appointee lacking professional background, drew up a plan to overturn past environmental practices and prohibit any mention of evolution while allowing sale of religious materials through the Park Service.

On the day the levees burst in New Orleans, Bush delivered a speech in Colorado comparing the Iraq war to World War II and himself to Franklin D. Roosevelt: "And he knew that the best way to bring peace and stability to the region was by bringing freedom to Japan." Bush had boarded his very own "Streetcar Named Desire."

Sidney Blumenthal, a former assistant and senior advisor to President Clinton and the author of "The Clinton Wars," is writing a column for Salon and the Guardian of London.

_________________
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
--John Kenneth Galbraith


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 9:56 pm 
Offline
Deal With It!
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 4:57 pm
Posts: 413
Location: Land of Lincoln
Wait!!!

There's still more...

==============================================

Drowning New Orleans
Scientific American October 2001 issue
(A Notorious Left Wing Rag)

A major hurricane could swamp New Orleans under 20 feet of water, killing thousands. Human activities along the Mississippi River have dramatically increased the risk, and now only massive reengineering of southeastern Louisiana can save the city.

By Mark Fischetti

The boxes are stacked eight feet high and line the walls of the large, windowless room. Inside them are new body bags, 10,000 in all. If a big, slow-moving hurricane crossed the Gulf of Mexico on the right track, it would drive a sea surge that would drown New Orleans under 20 feet of water. "As the water recedes," says Walter Maestri, a local emergency management director, "we expect to find a lot of dead bodies."
New Orleans is a disaster waiting to happen. The city lies below sea level, in a bowl bordered by levees that fend off Lake Pontchartrain to the north and the Mississippi River to the south and west. And because of a damning confluence of factors, the city is sinking further, putting it at increasing flood risk after even minor storms. The low-lying Mississippi Delta, which buffers the city from the gulf, is also rapidly disappearing. A year from now another 25 to 30 square miles of delta marsh--an area the size of Manhattan--will have vanished. An acre disappears every 24 minutes. Each loss gives a storm surge a clearer path to wash over the delta and pour into the bowl, trapping one million people inside and another million in surrounding communities. Extensive evacuation would be impossible because the surging water would cut off the few escape routes. Scientists at Louisiana State University (L.S.U.), who have modeled hundreds of possible storm tracks on advanced computers, predict that more than 100,000 people could die. The body bags wouldn't go very far.

A direct hit is inevitable. Large hurricanes come close every year. In 1965 Hurricane Betsy put parts of the city under eight feet of water. In 1992 monstrous Hurricane Andrew missed the city by only 100 miles. In 1998 Hurricane Georges veered east at the last moment but still caused billions of dollars of damage. At fault are natural processes that have been artificially accelerated by human tinkering--levying rivers, draining wetlands, dredging channels and cutting canals through marshes. Ironically, scientists and engineers say the only hope is more manipulation, although they don't necessarily agree on which proposed projects to pursue. Without intervention, experts at L.S.U. warn, the protective delta will be gone by 2090. The sunken city would sit directly on the sea--at best a troubled Venice, at worst a modern-day Atlantis.

As if the risk to human lives weren't enough, the potential drowning of New Orleans has serious economic and environmental consequences as well. Louisiana's coast produces one third of the country's seafood, one fifth of its oil and one quarter of its natural gas. It harbors 40 percent of the nation's coastal wetlands and provides wintering grounds for 70 percent of its migratory waterfowl. Facilities on the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Baton Rouge constitute the nation's largest port. And the delta fuels a unique element of America's psyche; it is the wellspring of jazz and blues, the source of everything Cajun and Creole, and the home of Mardi Gras. Thus far, however, Washington has turned down appeals for substantial aid.

Fixing the delta would serve as a valuable test case for the country and the world. Coastal marshes are disappearing along the eastern seaboard, the other Gulf Coast states, San Francisco Bay and the Columbia River estuary for many of the same reasons besetting Louisiana. Parts of Houston are sinking faster than New Orleans. Major deltas around the globe--from the Orinoco in Venezuela, to the Nile in Egypt, to the Mekong in Vietnam--are in the same delicate state today that the Mississippi Delta was in 100 to 200 years ago. Lessons from New Orleans could help establish guidelines for safer development in these areas, and the state could export restoration technology worldwide. In Europe, the Rhine, Rhône and Po deltas are losing land. And if sea level rises substantially because of global warming in the next 100 years or so, numerous low-lying coastal cities such as New York would need to take protective measures similar to those proposed for Louisiana.

Seeing Is Believing

Shea Penland is among those best suited to explain the delta's blues. Now a geologist at the University of New Orleans, he spent 16 years at L.S.U.; does contract work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which builds the levees; sits on federal and state working groups implementing coastal restoration projects; and consults for the oil and gas industry. His greatest credential, however, is that he knows the local folk in every little bayou town, clump of swamp and spit of marsh up and down the disintegrating coast--the people who experience its degradation every day.

Penland, dressed in jeans and a polo shirt on a mid-May morning, is eager to get me into his worn red Ford F150 pickup truck so we can explore what's eating the 50 miles of wet landscape south of New Orleans. The Mississippi River built the delta plain that forms southeastern Louisiana over centuries by depositing vast quantities of sediment every year during spring floods. Although the drying sands and silts would compress under their own weight and sink some, the next flood would rebuild them. Since 1879, however, the Corps of Engineers, at Congress's behest, has progressively lined the river with levees to prevent floods from damaging towns and industry. The river is now shackled from northern Louisiana to the gulf, cutting off the sediment supply. As a result, the plain just subsides below the encroaching ocean. As the wetlands vanish, so does New Orleans's protection from the sea. A hurricane's storm surge can reach heights of more than 20 feet, but every four miles of marsh can absorb enough water to knock it down by one foot.

The flat marsh right outside New Orleans is still a vibrant sponge, an ever changing mix of shallow freshwater, green marsh grasses and cypress swamp hung with Spanish moss. But as Penland and I reach the halfway point en route to the gulf, the sponge becomes seriously torn and waterlogged. Isolated roads on raised stone beds pass rusted trailer homes and former brothels along now flooded bayous; stands of naked, dead trees; and browned grasses and reaches of empty water.

Down in Port Fourchon, where the tattered marsh finally gives way to open gulf, the subsidence and erosion are aggressive. The lone road exists only to service a collection of desolate corrugated buildings where oil and natural-gas pipelines converge from hundreds of offshore wellheads. Countless platforms form a gloomy steel forest rising from the sea. To bring in the goods, the fossil fuel companies have dredged hundreds of miles of navigation channels and pipeline canals throughout the coastal and interior marshes. Each cut removes land, and boat traffic and tides steadily erode the banks. The average U.S. beach erodes about two feet a year, Penland says, but Port Fourchon loses 40 to 50 feet a year--the fastest rate in the country. The network of canals also gives saltwater easy access to interior marshes, raising their salinity and killing the grasses and bottomwood forests from the roots up. No vegetation is left to prevent wind and water from wearing the marshes away. In a study funded by the oil and gas industry, Penland documented that the industry has caused one third of the delta's land loss.

Alligator Science

The Duet brothers know firsthand how various factors accelerate land loss beyond natural subsidence. Toby and Danny, two of Penland's local pals along our route, live on a 50-foot beige barge complex anchored in the middle of 15 square miles of broken marsh, some 20 miles northwest of Port Fourchon. Their family leased the land from oil companies, for fishing and hunting, 16 years ago when it was merely wet. Now it lies under five to eight feet of water. They filter rain for drinking water, process their own sewage, catch the food they eat and make money hosting overnight fishing parties for sportsmen. A dozen wellheads dot the marsh where Toby picks us up by boat. Heading out to the barge through one canal, he says, "I used to be able to spit to the mud on either side. Now they run big oil containers through here."


Inside the barge's wide-open room, Danny offers other measures: "Two years ago we drove a wooden two-by-four into the mud on the edge of a canal, to stake our alligator trap. I went past it the other day; the edge has receded 18 feet from the stake. Doesn't much matter, though. The gators are gone. Water's too salty."

With the marsh disappearing, the delta's only remaining defense is some crumbling barrier islands that a century ago were part of the region's shoreline. The next morning Penland and I travel an hour down the coast to the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, a scientific outpost in Cocodrie, an encampment of scientists and fishermen on the coast's edge. From there we head out in one of the consortium's gray research boats.

The boat pounds across what appears to be choppy sea for 50 minutes before we reach Isles Dernieres ("last islands" in French). But the open surf is never more than seven feet deep. The vast reach of shallow water was once thick with swaying grasses, parted occasionally by narrow, serpentine waterways full of shrimp, oysters, redfish and trout. Penland beaches us in the bayside mud. We walk across a mere 80 yards of barren sand before we toe the ocean. A similarly diminutive outcrop is visible in the distance to either side. They are what remains of a once very long, staunch island lush with black mangroves. "It broke up ocean waves, cut down storm surges and held back saltwater so the marsh behind it could thrive," Penland says in mourning. Now the ocean rushes right by.

Louisiana's barrier islands are eroding faster than any around the country. Millions of tons of sediment used to exit the Mississippi River's mouth every year and be dragged by longshore currents to the islands, building up what tides had worn away. But in part because levees and dredging prevent the river's last miles from meandering naturally, the mouth has telescoped out to the continental shelf. The sediment just drops over the edge of the underwater cliff into the deep ocean.

Back in New Orleans the next day it becomes apparent that other human activities have made matters worse. Cliff Mugnier, an L.S.U. geodesist who also works part-time for the Corps of Engineers, explains why from the third floor of the rectangular, cement Corps headquarters, which squats atop the Mississippi River levee the Corps has built and rebuilt for 122 years.

Mugnier says that the earth beneath the delta consists of layers of muck--a wet peat several hundred feet deep--formed by centuries of flooding. As the Corps leveed the river, the city and industry drained large marshes, which in decades past were considered wasteland. Stopping the floods and draining surface water lowered the water table, allowing the top mucks to dry, consolidate and subside, hastening the city's drop below sea level--a process already under way as the underlying mucks consolidated naturally.

That's not all. As the bowl became deeper, it would flood during routine rainstorms. So the Corps, in cooperation with the city's Sewerage and Water Board, began digging a maze of canals to collect rainwater. The only place to send it was Lake Pontchartrain. But because the lake's mean elevation is one foot, the partners had to build pumping stations at the canal heads to push the collected runoff uphill into the lake.

The pumps serve another critical function. Because the canals are basically ditches, groundwater seeps into them from the wet soils. But if they are full, they can't take on water during a storm. So the city runs the pumps regularly to expel seepage from the canals, which draws even more water from the ground, leading to further drying and subsidence. "We are aggravating our own problem," Mugnier says. Indeed, the Corps is building more canals and enlarging pumping stations, because the lower the city sinks, the more it floods. In the meantime, streets, driveways and backyards cave in, and houses blow up when natural-gas lines rupture. Mugnier is also worried about the parishes (counties) bordering the city, which are digging drainage canals as they become more populated. In St. Charles Parish to the west, he says, "the surface could subside by as much as 14 feet."

The Scare

Humankind can't stop the delta's subsidence, and it can't knock down the levees to allow natural river flooding and meandering, because the region is developed. The only realistic solutions, most scientists and engineers agree, are to rebuild the vast marshes so they can absorb high waters and reconnect the barrier islands to cut down surges and protect the renewed marshes from the sea.

Since the late 1980s Louisiana's senators have made various pleas to Congress to fund massive remedial work. But they were not backed by a unified voice. L.S.U. had its surge models, and the Corps had others. Despite agreement on general solutions, competition abounded as to whose specific projects would be most effective. The Corps sometimes painted academics' cries about disaster as veiled pitches for research money. Academia occasionally retorted that the Corps's solution to everything was to bulldoze more dirt and pour more concrete, without scientific rationale. Meanwhile oystermen and shrimpers complained that the proposals from both the scientists and the engineers would ruin their fishing grounds.

Len Bahr, head of the governor's Coastal Activities Office in Baton Rouge, tried to bring everyone together. Passionate about southern Louisiana, Bahr has survived three governors, each with different sympathies. "This is the realm in which science has to operate," Bahr says. "There are five federal agencies and six state agencies with jurisdiction over what happens in the wetlands." Throughout the 1990s, Bahr says with frustration, "we only received $40 million a year" from Congress, a drop compared with the bucket of need. Even with the small projects made possible by these dollars, Louisiana scientists predicted that by 2050 coastal Louisiana would lose another 1,000 square miles of marsh and swamp, an area the size of Rhode Island.

Then Hurricane Georges arrived in September 1998. Its fiercely circulating winds built a wall of water 17 feet high topped with driven waves, which threatened to surge into Lake Pontchartrain and wash into New Orleans. This was the very beast that L.S.U.'s early models had warned about, and it was headed right for the city. Luckily, just before Georges made landfall, it slowed and turned a scant two degrees to the east. The surge collapsed under suddenly chaotic winds.

A Grand Plan

The scientists, engineers and politicians who had been squabbling realized how close the entire delta had come to disaster, and Bahr says that it scared them into reaching a consensus. Late in 1998 the governor's office, the state's Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service and all 20 of the state's coastal parishes published Coast 2050--a blueprint for restoring coastal Louisiana.

No group is bound by the plan, however, and if all the projects were pursued, the price tag would be $14 billion. "So," I ask in the ninth-floor conference room adjacent to the governor's office in Baton Rouge, "give me the short list" of Coast 2050 projects that would make the most difference. Before me are Joe Suhayda, director of L.S.U.'s Louisiana Water Resources Research Institute, who has modeled numerous storm tracks and knows the key scientists, Corps engineers, and city emergency planners; Vibhas Aravamuthan, who programs L.S.U.'s computer models; Len Bahr; and Bahr's second-in-command, Paul Kemp. All were involved in designing Coast 2050.

First and foremost, they decide, build a river diversion at several critical spots along the Mississippi, to restore disappearing marshland. At each location the Corps would cut a channel through the river levee on its south side and build control gates that would allow freshwater and suspended sediment to wash down through select marshes toward the gulf. The water could disrupt oyster beds, but if the sites were carefully selected, deals could be made with landowners.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Every 24 minutes Louisiana loses one acre of land.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The second step: rebuild the southern barrier islands using more than 500 million cubic yards of sand from nearby Ship Shoal. Next, the Corps would cut a channel in the narrow neck of the river delta at about halfway down. Ships could enter the river there, shortening their trip to interior ports and saving them money. The Corps could then stop dredging the southern end of the river. The mouth would fill with sediment and begin overflowing to the west, sending sand and silt back into those longshore currents that could sustain the barrier islands.

The channel plan might be integrated into a larger state proposal to build an entire new Millennium Port. It would provide deeper draft for modern container ships than the Port of New Orleans and its main channel, the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO, pronounced Mr. Go), which the Corps dredged in the early 1960s. The outlet has eroded terribly--from 500 feet across, originally, to 2,000 feet in places--and let in a relentless stream of saltwater that has killed much of the marsh that once protected eastern New Orleans against gulf storms. If the channel or the Millennium Port were built, the Corps could close MrGo.

A remaining chink in the delta's armor is the pair of narrow straits on Lake Pontchartrain's eastern edge where it connects to the gulf. The obvious solution would be to gate them, just as the Netherlands does to regulate the North Sea's flow inland. But it would be a tough sell. "We've proposed that in the past, and it's been shot down," Bahr says. The project's costs would be extremely high.

This list of the most promising Coast 2050 projects is only one small group's vision, of course, yet other established experts concur with its fundamentals. Ivor van Heerden, a geologist who is deputy director of L.S.U.'s Hurricane Center, concurs that "if we're going to succeed, we've got to mimic nature. Building diversions and reestablishing barrier-island sediment flows are the closest we can come." Shea Penland pretty much agrees, although he warns that the Mississippi River may not carry enough sediment to feed multiple diversions. U.S. Geological Survey studies by Robert Meade show that the supply of suspended sediment is less than half of what it was prior to 1953, diverted mostly by dams along the river's course through middle America.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
With no action, one million people could be trapped.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As far as the Corps is concerned, all of the Coast 2050 projects should be implemented. The first to become a reality is the Davis Pond diversion, due to begin operating by the end of this year. Project manager Al Naomi, a 30-year Corps civil engineer, and Bruce Baird, a biological oceanographer, brought me to the construction site on the Mississippi's southern levee, 20 miles west of New Orleans. The structure looks like a modest dam, in line with the levee. Steel gates in its midsection, each large enough to drive a bus through, will open and close to control water flowing through it. The water will exit into a wide swath of cleared swamp that extends south for a mile, forming a shallow riverbed that will gradually disperse into boundary-less marsh. The structure will divert up to 10,650 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water from the Mississippi, whose total flow past New Orleans ranges from less than 200,000 cfs during droughts to more than one million cfs during floods. The outflow should help preserve 33,000 acres of wetlands, oysterbeds and fishing grounds.

The Corps is bullish on Davis Pond because of its success at Caernarvon, a smaller, experimental diversion it opened in 1991 near MrGo. By 1995 Caernarvon had restored 406 acres by increasing the marsh's sediment and reducing its salinity with freshwater.

Who Should Pay?

The corps of engineers is hiring more scientists for projects such as Davis Pond, a signal that the fragmented parties are beginning to work better together. Bahr would like to integrate science and engineering further by requiring independent scientific review of proposed Corps projects before the state signed on--which Louisiana would need to do because Congress would require the state to share the cost of such work.

If Congress and President George W. Bush hear a unified call for action, authorizing it would seem prudent. Restoring coastal Louisiana would protect the country's seafood and shipping industries and its oil and natural-gas supply. It would also save America's largest wetlands, a bold environmental stroke. And without action, the million people outside New Orleans would have to relocate. The other million inside the bowl would live at the bottom of a sinking crater, surrounded by ever higher walls, trapped in a terminally ill city dependent on nonstop pumping to keep it alive.

Funding the needed science and engineering would also unearth better ways to save the country's vanishing wetlands and the world's collapsing deltas. It would improve humankind's understanding of nature's long-term processes--and the stakes of interfering, even with good intentions. And it could help governments learn how to minimize damage from rising seas, as well as from violent weather, at a time when the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts more storms of greater intensity as a result of climate change.

Walter Maestri doesn't welcome that prospect. When Allison, the first tropical storm of the 2001 hurricane season, dumped five inches of rain a day on New Orleans for a week in June, it nearly maxed out the pumping system. Maestri spent his nights in a flood-proof command bunker built underground to evade storm winds; from there he dispatched police, EMTs, firefighters and National Guardsmen. It was only rain, yet it stressed the response teams. "Any significant water that comes into this city is a dangerous threat," he says. "Even though I have to plan for it, I don't even want to think about the loss of life a huge hurricane would cause."


© 1996-2005 Scientific American, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

_________________
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
--John Kenneth Galbraith


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 10:06 pm 
That was some stupendous article finding there seamus. So what you are telling me is that no one realized that NO was in danger of flooding from a hurricane until 2001? Silly me for thinking we've had educated people around before then.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 10:09 pm 
Wait there's more.....I dont even like bush. I despise everything he and his PNAC minions stand for. I will not however jump on this Bush is responsible for everytime I stub my toe bandwagon. Thats not the way to change things. Carry on your little bias article sharing brigade you got going on here. I will come back when I can stomach some more of it. Right now, Ive had about enough.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 10:46 pm 
Offline
Deal With It!
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 4:57 pm
Posts: 413
Location: Land of Lincoln
beatneck wrote:
That was some stupendous article finding there seamus.


I didn't find them for you.

beatneck wrote:
So what you are telling me is that no one realized that NO was in danger of flooding from a hurricane until 2001?


You didn't read the articles, did you? You missed the part about SELA. That's 1995. Prior to that they've been working on flood control. But you're right... They've knew about this for quite some time. As I've said before, this is an ongoing project and the present junta cut the funds drastically. They own the disaster. It's on their watch. They didn't cause the hurricane. They just made the hurricane's destruction and subsequent aftermath a nightmare.

beatneck wrote:
Silly me for thinking we've had educated people around before then.


I was around long before the present Emperor's reign...

You're quite articulate for a 5 year old. Is that what you're driving at here?

_________________
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
--John Kenneth Galbraith


Last edited by Seamus on Sat Sep 03, 2005 11:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 50 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC - 4 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Blue Moon by Trent © 2007
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group