A “Whacky Idea” for Jonah

From Scout:

From ”Give Bush A Break” by Jonah Goldberg

And then there’s Hurricane Katrina. Yes, the federal government could have responded better. And of course there were real tragedies involved in that disaster. But you know what? Bad stuff happens during disasters, which is why we don’t call them tickle-parties.

The anti-Bush chorus, including enormous segments of the mainstream media, sees Katrina as nothing more than a good stick for beating on Piata Bush’s “competence.” The hypocrisy is astounding because the media did such an abysmal job covering the reality of New Orleans (contrary to reports, there were no bands of rapists, no disproportionate deaths of poor blacks, nothing close to 10,000 dead, etc.). It seems indisputable that Katrina highlighted the tragedy of New Orleans rather than create it. Long before Katrina, New Orleans was a dysfunctional city in a state with famously corrupt and incompetent leadership, many of whose residents think that it is the job of the federal government to make everyone whole.

The Mississippi coast was hit harder by Katrina than New Orleans was. And although New Orleans’ levee failure was a unique problem – one the local leadership ignored for decades – the devastation in Mississippi was in many respects more severe. And you know what? Mississippi has the same federal government as Louisiana, and reconstruction there is going gangbusters while, after more than $120 billion in federal spending, New Orleans remains a basket case. Here’s a wacky idea: Maybe it’s not all Bush’s fault.

Give Us a Break by scout….

Because I think Jonah is quite ill informed he really ought to take one of his road trips to Louisiana and once there blog about it. Obviously the always “dysfunctional“, “corrupt” and “incompetent“ New Orleans could not serve as home base for Jonah. So Here’s a Whacky Idea…Jonah can Blog from St. Bernard Parish….a nice suburban community but only 20 minutes from the French Quarter.

Now we need to find a place for Jonah to live in St. Bernard which could be a problem. 100% of the housing stock of St. Bernard Parish was damaged or destroyed with 78% having received major or severe damage and only 2% minor damage in Katrina or as it is known there….the storm and/or federal flood. Finding an undamaged home would be about as difficult as separating the truth from the truthiness in Jonah’s piece as only 6 homes in the entire Parish were inhabitable after the flood. 6 fucking homes Jonah so don’t complain as the digs may be a bit rough. Levee failures can lead to such a “unique problem” in that way. Funny how the “local leadership” ignored the fact that the federally built levees were a “system in name only” given their flawed design. Oh that’s right they never knew until April 6, 2006 when the Corps admitted such. Whatever, everyone just tickle yourself right now and forget that last part.

It’s a shame this house would not do…

st b 25

(Photo: scout prime, August 30, 2006)

It was just a field away from the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet or MRGO, that great boondoggle which taxpayers finance so 2.7 ships/day (pre storm) can have a shortcut from downtown NOLA to the Gulf of Mexico. Seems it also provides a shortcut for hurricane surges which many in St. Bernard blame for the flooding and the St. Bernard council has a unique solution to this “unique problem.” They have entered a class action lawsuit to have it closed down.

This wouldn’t work either…

st bernard 052

(Photo: scout prime, August 30, 2006)

Perhaps one of these. They look like most of the 26,900 homes in the Parish and are even gutted.

st b 30

(Photo: scout prime, August 30, 2006)

st b 10

(Photo: scout prime, August 30, 2006)

Keeping Jonah in Cheetos and other foodstuffs leads to perhaps the greatest problem in implementing my whacky idea. See there are no grocery stores yet open in St. Bernard Parish. Everyone must go to New Orleans for groceries. Actually keeping Jonah supplied with anything will be tough. All of the businesses were shut down from damage due to the flood waters. 14 ft of flood water stood in the Parish for 3 weeks tickling away at the 3498 business structures. One year later 300 enterprises have re-opened. Where once your typical suburban shopping thoroughfares were lined with all the familiar and busy box chain stores there is now mile upon mile of empty stores and malls . All the chains like say Blockbuster aren’t exactly “going gangbusters” to return here. Something to do with the fact that the levees still aren’t safe and capital abhors a vacuum.


(Photo: scout prime, August 30, 2006)

And St, Bernard is a vacuum. Block after block, mile after mile of destroyed homes. No people. No animals. Jonah may get lonely as of the 68000 residents pre-flood only 15,700 have returned and then only 8,000 to 10,000 stay in the Parish at night, “though many locals say those numbers seem high.”

I worry the harsh conditions and loneliness could drive Jonah mad….errr madder and that could be another problem. St. Bernard lost all its health care services in the flood. The St Bernard Health Clinic did open in May but ominously for our would be NOLA blogger one doctor at the clinic reported 50-60% of their patients show symptoms of depression. That is probably a good sample given the lack of health care services. There is no acute care hospital. The medical center was destroyed in the disaster but hey bad things happen as we all know now. So Jonah will have to suck it up or go down to the clinic, well trailers and pre-fab building in the Wal Mart parking lot and gets some meds.

st bclinic sign small

(Photo: scout prime, August 30, 2006)

st b wal mart

(Photo: scout prime, August 30, 2006)

And sorry Jonah that Wal Mart is closed so you’ll have to drive elsewhere to buy your TV. Not that Jonah would want to watch TV news. It’s abysmal when the media broadcasts quotes and information from sources such as city officials, say the Mayor (cough Nagin) or the Chief of Police (cough Compass), of a major American city. That’s just irresponsible journalism. How dare they accurately report official’s falsehoods when there are pundits who could tell us all we need to know on anything by chatting up a cabbie to and from the airport…ok sometimes it’s a “shuttle driver.”

I digress and we’ll never get a plan for Jonah much less financing at this rate. As for the latter here’s the best part of my whacky idea. We’ll allocate the money to set up Jonah but then never give it to him. Eventually he’ll have to pay for it himself or just go away. Does it get any better? You naysayers think it won’t work? Ha! It’s working for the Bush administration. See they tell the nation we’re spending $110 Billion to rebuild the Gulf Coast but then drag out actually sending the money to the Gulf Coast so that after a year they only send 40% of it down there…well actually give it to contractors not real people in Louisiana or Mississippi. You say Jonah is too smart to fall for that? Read him again ……”after more than $120 billion (?) in federal spending, New Orleans remains a basket case.” In Jonah’s mind not only has all that money been spent but it sounds like it all went to New Orleans. Where did he get that notion? Trust me on this. We tell him not to worry there’s a PayPal account with your name on it.

So what is Jonah to blog about while he is there. I think he should collect material to post by talking to the locals not only in Louisiana but get on over to Mississippi too. So he walks into a bar in St Bernard and says “Give Bush a Break. You people think that it is the job of the federal government to make everyone whole.” Then he should just STFU and listen (or duck). In Mississippi he could open up conversations with….”Reconstruction here is going gangbusters.” Again all I ask is he STFU and listen. It should be no problem in MS as long as patrons include some of the 40 people who have received checks from the federal funded housing program. But if it’s one of the 30,000 home owners eligible for the program and still waiting then I’m afraid it’s duck and run in ‘Ol Miss too especially if he runs into people like the Caraways in Gulfport

For all the talk about Mississippi’s progress, Bill and Nanka Caraway of Gulfport are having none of it.

Katrina washed away the Second Street home that Bill Caraway’s grandfather built in 1919. The floodwaters lifted the house from its foundation, causing the roof to collapse and the walls to crumble, and the Caraways were left with little more than the clothes on their backs.

People such as the Caraways decry the notion that the coast is advancing faster than New Orleans, given that the area looks much the same as it did the day after the storm passed. True, the various municipalities have removed mountains of debris in the interim, but the miles upon miles of beach road with little rebuilding seem to tell another story. …

Like many coastal residents, the couple didn’t receive enough money from their insurance company to start over, let alone build a brand-new home. They have asked the state for a $150,000 Road Home grant but haven’t heard yet whether they will qualify. (emphasis mine and Jonah should go read all of this from The Myth of Mississippi’s Reconstruction at Wet Bank Guide blog to save on medical costs)

So how about it Jonah? I know it’s a whacky idea but I’m trying to be constructive here. If it sounds like too much I’d understand. That’s how the people of the Gulf Coast feel too. So if you can’t do it, OK. But then give US a break and STFU.