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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Archive for February, 2008

There Will Be Floods

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Illustration by Andrea Dezsö in The New York Times.

Illustration by Andrea Dezsö in The New York Times.

An excellent Op-Ed piece by Alex Prud’homme in the Feb. 27 New York Times explains the nation’s critical need for infrastructure reinforcement, as seen in Hurricane Katrina and recently in a flood in Nevada. (See “Floods in Nevada?” in In the News, left column.) The U.S. is threatened by dangerously inadequate levees, he says, and Congress must allocate funds for the Corps of Engineers to do its job: “We need to reinvigorate the Army Corps of Engineers and give it a mandate to build and maintain a coherent, robust, nationwide flood protection system—as opposed to the ineffective, piecemeal measures that failed so catastrophically in New Orleans.”


Nuestro Amigo en Texas

Sunday, February 24th, 2008


Obama draws a crowd of 25,000 or so in Austin. They can’t get enough of the man in the black hat. The Texas Observer reports “Obama Storms Texas.”

See the hilarious video, “Viva Obama 2008!”

A Reply to ‘Obama Our Infrastructure Hero’: Letter from a New Orleans engineer/blogger

Friday, February 15th, 2008


In reply to “Barack, You’re Totally Our Infrastructure Hero” (below), our friend Tim Ruppert of Tim’s Nameless Blog points out that in fact the infrastructure part of Obama’s economic agenda doesn’t appear till near the end of the plan. Also, the senator doesn’t mention the words ‘Katrina,’ ‘levees,’ ‘flood,’ ‘Corps of Engineers,’ etc. (Tim Ruppert is a New Orleans–born engineer at the Corps of Engineers, N.O., and a past president of the Louisiana chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.)


Barack, You’re Totally Our Infrastructure Hero!

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

LNW_Obama@GMObama, in Wisconsin, Calls for $60 Billion National Infrastructure Investment Bank

At a General Motors plant in Janesville, Wisc., on Feb. 13, Barack Obama “turned it down a notch” and gave a major policy address that laid out a broad agenda for reinforcement of the American economy. The plan would restore a measure of economic balance and stability, create infrastructure and renewable-energy jobs, and many other necessary and ambitious undertakings. The speech is substantive and shows Senator Obama’s seriousness and grasp of economic reality and possibility. Optimism and realism together. We’re delighted to see at least one of the three major candidates offering serious solutions to infrastructure and environmental degradation (as John Edwards also did). See excerpts from Obama’s speech below the fold.

Hillary Clinton and John McCain pick at Obama for being all rhetorical ‘airy nothings’ and no substance. Well, what new proposals do they have to show? If they’re all about experience, let them experience some new ideas. Let us experience their proposals. (Watching them, in contrast to Obama’s energy, it’s like watching machines, dead candidates walking.)


Louisiana Adds to ‘Obamomentum’

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama works the rope line at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Richmond,  Va., Sat., Feb. 9, the night he won the Louisiana primary and caucuses in Washington,  Nebraska, and the Virgin Islands. Photo by Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times.

Sen. Barack Obama works the rope line at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Richmond, Va., Sat., Feb. 9, the night he won the Louisiana primary and caucuses in Washington, Nebraska, and the Virgin Islands. Photo by Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times.

Obama Beats Clinton in Three-State Sweep
New York Times, Feb. 10, 2008

This is the kind of surge we like. After winning the Louisiana primary and caucuses in Washington state, Nebraska, and the Virgin Islands, Obama gave a strong, confident speech at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Richmond, sharpening the distinctions between himself and Hillary Clinton and asserting his strengths as a general election candidate over John McCain. The so-called GOP front-runner, who seems not to have won anywhere on Saturday, was Obama’s principal target.



Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

Laissez Obama Rouler

LNW_Obama_smOur friend Oyster at Your Right Hand Thief sent us links to coverage of Barack Obama’s “O-vent” before a more-than-packed house at Tulane University’s Fogelman Arena on Wednesday, campaigning before the Louisiana primary on Saturday, Feb. 9.

The Obama campaign is rolling out a detailed plan for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast’s recovery. Obama said to the audience at Tulane:

“The Army Corps of Engineers has rebuilt the levees that were most damaged by the storm, but funding has sometimes stalled and New Orleans remains unprotected. . . . We can’t gamble every hurricane season, and that’s why when I am president we will finish building a system of levees that can withstand a 100-year storm by 2011—with the goal of expanding that protection to fend against a category 5 storm. . . .

“I know how hard it will be to rebuild New Orleans and bring back those people who are scattered across the country—to reduce poverty or violence and to get people on the right track. . . . But I also know this, that nothing worthwhile in this country has ever happened except somebody somewhere, was willing to hope.”


Happy Mardi Gras 2008!

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008


Today is both Mardi Gras and Super Tuesday. Sounds auspicious to us. May the best candidates win, and may the public have some good news to celebrate. Drink up. Tomorrow it’s all ashes.

LNW_mermaid.midiFrom The Isle of Orleans:

The Krewe Perdu and the Skeleton Krewe were scheduled to roll in a combined parade soon after sundown. Everyone in town would be there—parents and children, the shopkeepers and gardeners, carriage drivers, vendors from the French Market, the priest and the cremator, the morbids and junk-eating vagabonds from the ragged edges of town, and all but a bare-bones staff from the restaurants and bars.


What John Edwards Brought Us

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

LNW_Edwards-bye.APWe are voting for Senator Barack Obama in the primaries—as many times as possible. The more we see of him, the more we like. But first, we want to take a parting glance at the contributions our First Favorite, John Edwards, made to the presidential campaign of 2008.

We pushed hard for Edwards, and it’s hard to let go, but we’re grateful to him for returning the Democratic party to its populist roots. Our strongest gratitude is for the attention he brought to New Orleans and for the bold ideas he proposed, which, to the public’s benefit, Obama and Clinton have incorporated to some extent into their own campaigns.