Sunday, November 20, 2005.
I came up with two good links this week:
I have no idea where to begin this week, it went by in such a blur. We're still doing post-Katrina recovery for some clients at work, and I'm really pleased to say that no client of ours has suffered any permanent data loss.
I am extremely disappointed with my insurance company, and here's why:
Right after the storm, we filed a claim. Or tried to. Lexington - our
insurance company - boofed it three times, but then finally assigned us an
adjuster. I geared up to do Battle with the Beast. The insurance companies
down here are all in a state of shock, and they aren't so great at helping
their clients. State Farm seems to be doing pretty good, but Allstate just
sucks 100% everywhere. I figured that with an off brand insurance company,
I was going to have major problems.
I wound up with an appointment with the adjuster, and since I had a week's
lead time, I documented my losses and took pictures of everything. I
created a 57 page document that detailed the losses from the storm so that
there would be no question about it. I prepared myself to argue with the
adjuster and deal with anything he could throw at me.
When he showed up at the door in the morning, he was 100% professional, and
documented every single thing I showed him, no questions asked. It was kind
of a let down.
I've got more politics.... If you are a Democrat, this is probably going to piss you off. If you are a Republican, this is probably going to piss you off.
AND YOU SHOULD BE PISSED OFF!
While a lot of people are having a field day blaming the mess down here on Bush, the simple fact is that Bush piddled while New Orleans drowned and the rest of the Gulf Coast languished. The lead-up, though, belongs to some other folks...
Remember Billy Clinton? While he was busy taxing the pants off you,
he Clinton cut 98 flood control projects for 35 states (including ours) in
1995. In doing so, he said, "Flood control projects are local projects,
not national, and should be paid for by local taxes." In the same year he
postponed the $120M appropriation for the levee project to protect the
West Bank east of the Harvey Canal.
In 1996, the "Republican Congress" (as the press likes to refer to them) by a vote of 391-23, approved a budget giving $10M more to Louisiana flood control that the President proposed.
In 1999, the Republican congress authorized $16M more for levee protection than Clinton proposed.
In 2000, Clinton approved a $1.5B contract for Avondale to build LPD-17 landing crafts while simultaneously cutting the Lake Pontchatrain Hurricane Protection Project and the West Bank Flood Control Program. In the same year, Congress approved a $23.6B Water and Energy Bill with an $890M increase over the President's proposal for flood control projects. Clinton vetoed the bill.
The New Orleans Levee Board spent $2.4M of approved levee funding to build a Mardi Gras fountain and $15M of approved levee funding to build an overpass for riverboat casinos.
In 1996, the Sierra Club (certainly no Republican stronghold) sued the Corps of Engineers and put a 3 year hold on plans to raise the level of 303 miles of levees. The lawsuit required the Corps to do a 2 year, $8M study of "the impact on bottomland hardwood forests". An environmental group recently halted construction of a St. Charles levee because the site was for egret nesting and violated the Migratory Bird Act of 1918. In 2002, Audubon officials lobbied the Corps of Engineers and recommended "looking at opportunities to lower or remove levees from the river."
Plenty of blame to go around. The sooner we all realize that we live in a Federal Kakistocracy and a local Kleptocracy, the sooner we might be able to bag all these clowns...
In that vein, I offer the following poem by Erik B. Nelson, Lafayete, LA, as published in Les Bon Jours, Sept. 2005.
The Same Old Louisiana
There was a promise made
When all the votes were in
"A new Louisiana"
And how our state would win
Has there been much change
Or--is it still the same
Do "good old boys" still rule
With their sly political "game"
Is new business moving in
Are they taxed high if they do
Where do our tax monies go
For what and why---to who
Are there foolish projects
We seem to have too many
New lakes--money wasted
When needed--is there any
Are those who lead and govern
Draining our state dry
It's time to be accountable
For bills they pass and why
Have you seen much progress
Is teacher pay still low
Where are all the "new jobs"
To which states did they go
Do we still have "halitosis"
Will jobs and people come here
If we have no real solution
Has Governor Blanco really done
A praiseworthy--adequate job
When New Orleans was drowning
With that desperate helpless mob
Why are we "always last"
When compared to any state
What answers can they give us
Is being last our fate
Why are our roads and bridges
In such disrepair
Why are drugs so prevalent
The homeless in despair
Does this "tunnel" have an end
Will it ever be in sight
The Same Old Louisiana
Must we always have this blight
Perhaps it's time to "clean house"
By starting at the top
By electing worthy leaders
This "down hill slide" must stop