KATRINA 'S LEGACY
Damaged oil tanks, damaged port from Yahoo.
By Elaine Meinel Supkis
A few hours ago, there was happiness that oil prices were "dropping." The usual juvenile dance and song rang out. Even as the media pretends skyrocketing oil prices don't matter and don't cause inflation, they get giddy and silly every time it drops a few pennies after rising a few dollars. It is no longer possible to hide that something is very wrong. Look at the pictures above. Not only are the oil facilities flooded, they are leaking huge amounts of oil into the environment. Debrie from the tidal surge literally hammered the tanks. No one is showing the detailed pictures of the gas refineries nor the deep sea port where oil from Venezuela and Mexico are off loaded. This is all classified information.
So the agony continues. I was out today and whistled when I saw the prices. There certainly were zillions of cars whizzing around. The American joy ride is not over yet, not by a long shot. My gas miser was surrounded by hulks speeding past, breaking the speed limit hugely, a string of them passed me by on Rt 22 and ended up minutes later in a pile up! I wish I had my camera to show this insanity. Fast and faster, the whites of our eyes showing our fear even as we whoopee.
Labor Day traffic slowed around the country as drivers lucky to find gas stations open paid over 30 percent more than before Hurricane Katrina disrupted Gulf Coast refinery and pipeline operations a week ago.The GOP solution to everything is to cut taxes and thus, destroy the public base. The roads and bridges are kept in repair by these taxes. They just passed a $250 billion highway bill that is going to not be payable if they cut the taxes paying for it! The GOP runs our country nearly 100% now and their determination to do the wrong thing is already killing tens of tousands of Americans and will kill more.
Pump prices are starting to level off, but analysts say the dramatic rise in gasoline costs has forced consumers to begin rethinking everything from vacation travel plans to how much they can afford to spend for food, clothing and restaurant meals.
Drivers paid an average of about $3.20 a gallon for unleaded regular on Monday, up $1.35 from a year ago, and 75 cents more than they did before the hurricane, according to Randy Bly, director of community relations for AAA Auto Club South.
The federation of motor clubs had originally forecast that 34.5 million Americans would travel 50 miles or more this Labor Day weekend. But Bly thinks that estimate was too high as drivers were spooked by the spike in gas prices and reports of shortages at gas stations in midwestern, southern and northeast states.
"We feel very certain Hurricane Katrina will bring this (original estimate) lower," Bly said.
In Georgia, a moratorium on gas taxes and a slight dip in wholesale prices helped level fuel prices to an average of $3.05. On Friday, Gov. Sonny Perdue ordered a month-long moratorium on state gas taxes and called legislators into a special session Tuesday to ratify the decision. The governor's order suspends Georgia's 7.5 cents-a-gallon excise tax and 4 percent sales tax on gasoline until the end of September.
These facilities were responsible for producing 1.4 million barrels of oil each day, equal to what is imported from Saudi Arabia each day, and 80 percent of that, or some 1.2 million barrels, was halted because of Hurricane Katrina, according to John Felmy, chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute.All those millions of people who were using their homes as an ATM machine can't now, down south. When your home, in hock up to the top of the chimney, is now splinters and rubble or filled with toxic water, it is worth exactly $0.00 dollars and its appreciation value for the foreseable future is ditto.
At one point, nearly 95 percent of the production from these Gulf Coast facilities was disrupted last week.
The magnitude of the damage to the Gulf Coast facilities and the time it takes to repair them may have an impact on the overall U.S. economy, warned Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial.
Low recalled that two years ago, energy related costs like gas at the pump or heating oil for homes made up about 4 percent of household budget. That had risen to 5.5 percent prior to Hurricane Katrina and is likely to rise further, he said.
In the Smithsonian Magazine several months ago was a long article about Morris Island, South Carolina, where the Freed Slave 54th Regiment died storming the fort there. This sand spit island at the mouth of Charleston Harbor is extremely low, very exposed to the Atlantic, and has changed size and position and height tremendously in the last 100 years, it being very mobile and extremely unstable and utterly vulnerable, the bull's eye of many hurricanes. And...Mr. Hoffman of Charleston wants to build 25 luxury palaces for around $600,000 a lot (just the land!). Civil war buffs want to stop him for historic reasons but seriously, this is insanity. There is no way houses can exist here and guess who has to pay for rebuilding them each time they are destroyed?
The federal tax payers!
All the vacation homes destroyed this week will be rebuild exactly where they were...gratis, thanks to us. 99% of the people evacuated from New Orleans the hard way own property. So they get nothing. Uncle Sam isn't going to open that check book and sign over our future to reckless builders of cheap housing for the poor! But huge vacation houses, yes.
We have to have our oil facilities in dangerous places but why put houses on sand barrier islands? This is exactly what is causing our oceans to die, our inlands to decay and a host of problems outlined by a host of environmentalists. The Bush people and the GOP deride environmentalists. The FBI, just last month, listed ALF and ELF as the most dangerous people on earth, more than bin Laden, because they want to stop this madness!
Meanwhile, back to our own Bagdad, both of them:From CNN:
Military presence in New OrleansYes, the military is hiding their faces. Who are these guys? Well, meet our urban assassins. They are there to kill people. They don't want to be ID'ed. They operate outside the rules of the laws of the land thanks to Chertoff the traitor who wrote much of the Patriot Act and other things that allow our rulers to opt out of democratic society and more like Oriental despots.
Posted: 3:00 p.m. ET
CNN Radio's Ed McCarthy in New Orleans, Louisiana
The shocking thing is to see the military rolling in on New Orleans streets with tanks and M16s, and you think: Am I in the United States right now or am I in some country where there's a civil war going on? And that's certainly what it feels like.
I saw firemen on the side of a bridge just sitting there and holding rifles. I saw SWAT team members, apparently. They had masks, black hooded masks, so you can just see part of their eyes and nose and that was it. They were standing at the street corner near Lafayette Park.
Today in Bagdad, the populace attacked our home base deep inside of our enclave. The battle for control of that land continues and our soldiers continue to die and as one soldier said, the military's primary role is to fight in foreign lands, not protect America! We should rename the Pentagon, "The Department of Imperial Rule" since it isn't defending us, obviously.
Pumping has begun. Will go on for months.
There is this really old story every child (until recently) has heard ad nauseum: the Little Boy and the Dike. It isn't about Pat Robertson and Cheney's lesbian daughter, it is about a Dutch boy who kept his finger on the dike until everyone could be saved. He died, of course.
The Dutch have coped with dangerous waters for centuries. When the Spanish invaded, they deliberately breeched the dikes to let the water flow so they could bog down the enemy! We all know an ounce of protection is greater than a pound of cure. But our rulers pretend all this is a mystery, of course. Even as cop cars pass dead bodies that are no longer under water, in flooded sections, bodies are everywhere. One was tied to a street stop sign and a frantic swimmer was trying to avoid it, nearly hysterical. They are jammed under stairs, pressed against ceilings all over the place. Bobbing up and down between houses. In other places hit by the hurricane, they take the bodies and toss them into trailer tractors and let them rot there. Just no room and of course, no preparations
From the Mail and Guardian (overseas, we are getting less and less information here now that the rulers are cracking down!)
"It is incredible, the government had no evacuation plan ... the first power in the world and it left its own population adrift."This can't be tolerated. If people are this blasted stupid, they should be in group homes and get special care, obviously, they can't change their own diapers! We know who put these infantile idiots in place: the GOP.
It will be particularly galling that the man voicing those thoughts, echoed on Friday by many across the United States and around the world, was Hugo Chávez, the President of Venezuela, and one of the Bush administration's main hate figures.
That bewilderment, tinged with anger towards officials at local and national level, was shared at the scene of the disaster and by political commentators and disaster relief experts. In Louisiana, local and state officials voiced anger on Friday at the Bush administration's response.
What went wrong with the relief effort? Why, so many days after Katrina struck, is there still such chaos, despite the fact that there was ample warning of what might befall the Gulf Coast?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) has been accused of being so concerned about the possibility of a terrorist attack that it failed to prepare properly for a much more inevitable natural disaster.
After the authorities in Baton Rouge had prepared a field hospital for victims of the storm, Fema sent its first batch of supplies, all of which were designed for use against chemical attack -- including drugs such as Cipro, which is designed for use against anthrax.
"We called them up and asked them, 'Why did you send that?', and they said that's what it says in the book," said a Baton Rouge official.
Local officials also seem to have grossly underestimated the needs of those who did not own cars. Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco on Friday defended the state's actions, saying they had requisitioned many school buses to evacuate those without cars. Residents, however, complained that many of them were left stranded, unaware of any such service.This is cover your ass time. I noted right off the bat that there were hosts of school buses abandoned to the storm and destroyed. I said, "If they used them to move out people, both the people and the buses would be safe!" So this is a double jeopardy issue. The govenor didn't want to go door to door, collecting people, and the reason is simple.
Pure racism. She didn't care. No one cared. No one coordinated anything for the poor. They talked blythly about leaving the poor out of the Super Dome, even. To not muss the seats.
They still don't understand the magnitude of this mess! Here is the latest news from CNN:
Body recovery teams pressed on with the grim task of searching for victims, many of whom are floating in canals, abandoned on roadsides and still hidden in flooded homes.OK. 3x31=93 people to do "body recovery." The number of dead estimated so far: 10,000+. So, that is 107 dead bodies processed or found our identified by each person. That is, if it isn't 30,000 dead. Then it is triple that number.
Three teams of 31 people each were in the disaster area to start the week, said Todd Ellis, incident commander of the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response effort in Louisiana.
If it takes more than an hour to do the work, this means it will take, if you work 40 hrs a week (are they planning to work these people to death?) it will take three weeks to do this job only it will take much more than an hour to process each body if they try to ID it, etc, and not just drag them out and toss them into mass graves like the Tsunami victims. Which reminds me, poor Thailand managed to pull many corpses into temples and cover them with dry ice to preserve them. Ahem.
Better organization, I suspect.
It will take over a month to process the bodies. Our nation has over 250 million people and a heck of a lot more than 93 recovery specialists!
Well, I don't run America.
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said the death toll from Katrina could reach "several thousand." Only 71 bodies had been collected by Monday evening.So, after one week, we have collected 71 bodies. At this rate, to collect 10,000, it will be, at a rate of 10 a day, 1,001 nights before they are all collected! Or if it is 50 a day, this means...a mere 200 days and it will be done! This takes us to...6.6666 months! Half a year! Wow.
Some 51,000 troops -- 38,000 National Guard forces and 13,000 active duty forces -- have been deployed in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in Katrina's wake.Well, I remember when they wanted to send only 1,200 National Guard to New Orleans! Now they are pouring in the forces. We better hope Mother Nature doesn't claw us again, elsewhere, which She is very capable of doing.
And here is a funny story. One of the men responsible for creating a country that doesn't care, cuts taxes, let's things slide, runs in the red, attacks Clinton for having sex, Mr. Right Wingloon himself, the racist Senator Lott: From CNN:
Sen. Trent Lott berated both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and his own state's emergency management, MEMA, for being mired in red tape at a time of urgent need given the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina.This man voted to illegally invade Iraq. He voted and loudly supported all the crappy stuff that makes this sort of stuff happen. He is getting what he deserves. And he doesn't like it one bit. Oh no. The shoe is pinching his pretty toes and making him cry.
Lott said he has been trying to get FEMA to send 20,000 trailers "sitting in Atlanta" to the Mississippi coast, and he urged President Bush during a meeting Monday to intervene. He said FEMA has refused to ship the trailers until contracts are secured.
"FEMA and MEMA need to be saying, 'Yes' to Mississippi's needs, not, 'No.," the former majority leader said in a written statement.
"Mississippians are homeless, hungry and hurting."
Similar stories of governmental red tape have been reported elsewhere, including a case of 100 surgeons and paramedics hindered from caring for hurricane victims in rural Mississippi. (Full story)
"This is an emergency situation without peer, like nothing our generation has ever encountered," Lott said. "If suffering people along the Gulf Coast, from Mobile to New Orleans, are going to recover as soon as possible, we'll need an unprecedented public and private effort that can't be hampered by a process geared toward much lesser disasters."
MORE: From the LA Times:
But in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, FEMA lost its Cabinet-level status as it was folded into the giant new Department of Homeland Security. And in recent years it has suffered budget cuts, the elimination or reduction of key programs and an exodus of experienced staffers.Red and white teams only? How about dumb and dumber teams? What was blue? The Blues Brothers? It never ends. The brainless changes made to our country. Remember, bin Laden is praying that GOD, aka, Mother Nature, destroys us.
The agency's core budget, which includes disaster preparedness and mitigation, has been cut each year since it was absorbed by the Homeland Security Department in 2003. Depending on what the final numbers end up being for next fiscal year, the cuts will have been between about 2% and 18%.
The agency's staff has been reduced by 500 positions to 4,735. Among the results, FEMA has had to cut one of its three emergency management teams, which are charged with overseeing relief efforts in a disaster. Where it once had "red," "white" and "blue" teams, it now has only red and white.
Three out of every four dollars the agency provides in local preparedness and first-responder grants go to terrorism-related activities, even though a recent Government Accountability Office report quotes local officials as saying what they really need is money to prepare for natural disasters and accidents.
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