The $250 billion [in proposed federal aid] is not far behind the $350 billion
estimated spent on the military aspects and their aftermath of the war
of terror since Sep. 11, 2001 "“ which means in reconstruction terms
(leaving out the actual war-making expenses), Louisiana actually is
asking for more than countries with 10 times its population which face
far more damage.
The $40 billion [in proposed Corps of Engineering spending for Louisiana] is ten times the annual
Corps budget, and 100 times the annual amount typically received by
Louisiana which gets more such funding than any other state.
Also, it is nearly three times the size of the entire request for coastal restoration efforts in the state.
So, let's get this straight. Louisiana, from some of her federal officials through some state officials all they way down to city and other local governments,
countenanced negligence from benign to irresponsible in ensuring proper
flood protection and in dealing with hurricanes. And now these same
people have formulated a plan wanting the country to pay an incredible
sum of money to the state controlled by people from the state to deal
with the aftereffects and, apparently, Louisiana's past inability to
utilize our resources efficiently in other areas?
The rest of the country is going to look at this and think we're still stuck on stupid.
Put bluntly, the local political cultures don't engender confidence
that aid won't be diverted from the people who truly need and deserve
it. While the feds can try to ride herd on the money, here's hoping
folks in the region take the opportunity to finally demand their own
political housecleaning. Change is past due. Last year, Lou Riegel, the
agent in charge of the FBI's New Orleans office, described Louisiana's
public corruption as "epidemic, endemic, and entrenched. No branch of
government is exempt."
Louisiana ranks third in the nation in the number of elected
officials per capita convicted of crimes (Mississippi takes top prize).
In just the past generation, the Pelican State has had a governor, an
attorney general, three successive insurance commissioners, a
congressman, a federal judge, a state Senate president and a swarm of
local officials convicted. Last year, three top officials at
Louisiana's Office of Emergency Preparedness were indicted on charges
they obstructed a probe into how federal money bought out flood-prone
homes. Last March the Federal Emergency Management Agency ordered
Louisiana to repay $30 million in flood-control grants it had awarded
to 23 parishes
Update: Lots more at Porkopolis.
Louisiana population is 4,468,976, not all of which was
affected by the hurricane. A reasonable assumption is to say that half the
population was in the path of the hurricane. That would be about 2,234,488,
but to keep calculations simple we'll round up the affected population to 2,
500,000. That 2.5 million of affected Louisiana residents will make for an easy
$250 billion divided by 2.5 million affected residents
results in a disaster relief request of.....(drum rooooooooooll)...$100,000 per person!
And these juicy details:
- $100 million for "psychological trauma response early intervention,
prevention, and disorder treatment by culturally competent counselors and mental
health professionals for children who are 0 to 5 years of age; see page 38, line
- $100 million for mosquito abatement; see page 39, line 12.
- $1 billion "shall be used for a program to aid the travel and tourism
industry"; see page 45, line 17
- $5 million for Project Serv under the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and
Communities Act; see page 49, line 13
- NOAA weather radio for every eligible person; see Sec. 526 .
Occasioning this statement:
"It's all vital," said Landrieu. "There's not
anything in here that we would consider a wish list or pie in the sky. This is
what we really believe is essential."
This is just the macro-scale version of this, business as usual in Louisiana:
Police found cases of food, clothes and tools intended for hurricane
victims in the backyard, shed and rooms throughout the home of a chief
administrative officer of a New Orleans suburb, officials said
Police in Kenner searched Cedric Floyd's home Tuesday because of
complaints that city workers were helping themselves to donations for
hurricane victims. Floyd, who runs the day-to-day operations in Kenner,
was in charge of distributing the donations.
The donations, including lanterns, vacuums and clothes with price
tags attached, had to be removed in four loads in a big pickup truck,
Kenner police Capt. Steve Caraway said.
"It was an awful lot of stuff," he said.