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environment | katrina aftermath

New Orleans

Stories from times spent in and around New Orleans with a science twist.
Cousins galloped horses down sandy roads shaded by Live oaks. That was out near Lake Ponchartrain. Years later, those same cousins became attorneys and urban environmental officers. Family reunions around New Orleans were highlighted by Cajun cooking - gumbo and hot sausage. All the Louisiana cousins had put on considerable weight by their early forties.
Some other Virginia cousins retired to Bay St. Louis far from the urban chaos of New Orleans and the petrochemical factories east of town. They were retired fighter pilots. Bill Moyers had once done an extensive expose on bone cancers and other hazardous exposures generated by these same factories.
There was another cousin, the religious nut of the family. He had come with a cadre of evangelical Christians to do a Jericho march down Bourbon Street during Mardi gras. They sang and converted drag queens to Jesus. Hallelujah!
In the nineties, casinos moved in to depressed southern coastal towns along the Mississippi coast. It was big money at its worst - southern comfort. A small community where southern hospitality was the glue of poor folks was replaced. Drug smuggling from Columbia cartels and laundering money through casinos became the order of the day. Republican politicians quickly jumped into the pocket of organized crime like a mob of crows.
Then there was the time, the religious nut was hitchhiking through New Orleans in the early seventies. Predatory homosexuals frequented the Interstate making this gauntlet a challenge for even the most daring hitchhiker.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina came ashore just east of New Orleans and everyone thought they had been spared the worst. Trouble was that half the National Guard was over in Iraq fighting a criminal war. The levies around the city broke. If you have ever played with mud as a kid or built a sand castle on the beach; once the tide comes in, all hell breaks loose.
The religious nut had a brother that lived on a yacht. In the summer that brother would moor his yacht in the eastern part of the Bahamas and fly in to work in the Miami-metro Dade area. It was that brother that asked the Big Question. He knew the history of the Caribbean. It seemed to him, there had once been a wicked city that forgot about Mother Nature.
Once known as the 'Wickedest City on Earth,' Port Royal on the island of Jamaica was one of the largest towns in the English colonies during the late 17th century. It was a haven for privateers and pirates, such as the famed Sir Henry Morgan, due to its excellent geographic location in the middle of the Caribbean. From Port Royal, these buccaneers preyed upon and plundered the heavily laden treasure fleets from the Spanish Main.
After 1670, the importance of Port Royal and Jamaica to England was increasingly due to trade in slaves, sugar, and raw materials. It soon became the mercantile center of the Caribbean area, with vast amounts of goods flowing in and out of the port through an expansive trade network.
Unfortunately, the glory of Port Royal was short-lived. On the morning of June 7th, 1692, a massive earthquake hit Jamaica. The tremors rocked the sandy peninsula on which the town was built, causing buildings to slide and disappear beneath the sea. An estimated 2,000 Port Royalists were killed immediately in the disaster. Many more perished from injuries and disease in the following days.

The answer to the Big Question, WHY?, is easy to answer. If you are the President of the United States and science becomes a threat to your regime, eliminate science from the curriculum. Pull out of the Kyoto Accord. Climate Change is a myth. Warmer ocean temperatures do not become the driver of increasingly severe hurricanes that ravage coastal shores.

Amen.
Evidence of global warming rise in storm surge 31.Aug.2005 12:46

Ignored by Bush = criminal negligence

This work is in the public domain

Previous evidence that global warming would result in more severe storm surges was ignored by the GW Bush administration. The result of ignoring global warming predictions is lost lives and damage in the billions. The petroleum corporations need to be held accountable for their role in bringing about global warming, and the Bush administration's criminal negligence in ignoring the warnings.

There was advanced warning about increased storm surges from future hurricanes given to coastal regions. If these warnings were heeded by the federal government there could have been life saving disaster preparations implemented ahead of time. Most of the financial support to implement these programs would need to come from the federal level. Since the Bush administration ignored these warnings about global warming, that amounts to criminal negligence..

"EXPERTS TO WARN GLOBAL WARMING LIKELY TO CONTINUE SPURRING MORE OUTBREAKS OF INTENSE HURRICANE ACTIVITY

Problem Tied to Rising Sea Temperatures From Trapped Greenhouse Gases; Trend Portends More Storm Damage Costs for FL, AL, LA, TX, NC and SC.

WASHINGTON, D.C.//October 21, 2004///With four hurricanes and tropical storms hitting the United States in a recent five-week period, 2004 already is being called "The Year of the Hurricane." But this year's unusually intense period of destructive weather activity could be a harbinger of what is to come as the effects of global warming become even more pronounced in future years, according to leading experts who participated today in a Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School briefing.

The recent onslaught of four major tropical weather disturbances - Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne - that did so much damage in the United States and nearby Haiti have spurred new questions about the relationship between hurricanes and global warming. While experts can't say that climate change will result in more hurricanes in the future, there is growing evidence and concern that the tropical storms that do happen will be more intense than in the past. Fueling concerns about the link between global warming and hurricanes is a new study on hurricane intensity published on September 28, 2004 in "The Journal of Climate." The study used extensive computer modeling to analyze 1,300 future hurricanes and projected major increase in the intensity and rainfall of hurricanes in coming decades.

"Global warming may well be causing bigger and more powerful hurricanes," said James J. McCarthy, a biological oceanographer at Harvard University and lead author of the climate change impacts portion of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Third Assessment Report (2001). "Warmer seas fuel the large storms forming over the Atlantic and Pacific, and greater evaporation generates heavy downpours. With warmer, saltier tropical seas, the IPCC has projected larger storms, heavier rainfalls and higher peak winds."

Paul R. Epstein, M.D., associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, said: "Scientists cannot say at present whether more or fewer hurricanes will occur in the future. However, even if the number of storms remained constant, more powerful hurricanes with stronger winds, higher storm surges, and heavier downpours would have an even greater potential for damage, including increased risks to human life and public health, more floods and mudslides, increased coastal erosion and damage to coastal buildings and infrastructure. This is the pattern that we already may be seeing related to the overall increase in extremes.""

above info from;

 http://www.med.harvard.edu/chge/hurricanespress.html

second opinion for global waming skeptics;

"(b) Increasing Storms and Floods
Dr. Thomas Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center (NOAA), says that global warming has produced an increase in precipitation during the 20th century, mostly in the form of heavy rainstorms, little in moderate, beneficial rainstorms. Thomas Karl also reports that recent decades have produced a 20% increase in blizzards and heavy rainstorms in the U.S. "Hundred-year events are become more frequent now," notes Karl. In a report issued in November, 1999 the Britain's Meteorological Office warned that flooding in Asia and Southeast Asia would increase more than ninefold over the coming decades. Floods are already increasing worldwide. The year 1998 was the worst on record, with 96 floods in 55 countries.

Scientists are saying that global warming is causing early snowmelts. During the month of December 1996 and the first week of January 1997 unusually warm weather caused an early snowmelt that resulted in record flooding in parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada and Montana. These floods forced about 500,000 people to leave their homes. In California alone state officials estimated flood damage to homes and businesses at $1.6 billion. [31]

k) Coastal Flooding
Global warming is melting ice to the tune of 50 billion tons of water a year from the Greenland ice sheet. A NASA high-tech aerial survey shows that more than 11 cubic miles of ice is disappearing from the ice sheet annually. "We see a significant trend (in loss of ice mass)," said William B. Krabill, NASA scientist and lead author of a study on Greenland ice melting. "When we can go back after five years and see 10 meters of glacier gone, there is something happening." This is increasing the likelihood of coastal flooding around the world, if this meltdown trend continues. [53]

The rising sea level has led to salt water encroachment producing the "Ghost forests" of South Florida and Louisiana. Since about 1970, the invading salt water has killed hundreds of acres of southern baldcypress trees in Louisiana coastal parishes and sabal palm in Florida. [90] "

above from;

 http://www.ecobridge.org/content/g_dgr.htm

The responsibility of the damage and lost lives from the recent hurricane belongs to the petroleum corporations and their sponsored puppet government led by George Herbert Walker Bush.

There is no amount of money to bring back the dead, however the cost of repairs and clean -up belongs to the petroleum corporations for their role in bringing about global warming, not the taxpayers..

WMR 01.Sep.2005 08:22

repost

August 31,2005 - What happened to the SELA (Southeast Louisiana) Urban Flood Control Program? According to Gulf Coast Investigators, who warned about financial malfeasance involving the redirection of money first appropriated by Congress in 1995 to the pockets of supporters of jailed former Governor of Louisiana Edwin Edwards, the catastrophe that has struck New Orleans could have been avoided. The SELA funds were to be used by the US Army Corps of Engineers to replace old pumps and levees. The old levees and pumps, first built in the 1930's with New Deal money, failed as a result of Katrina. New levees and pumps were to be installed to beef up the New Orleans' flood control system to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. The flood control money that was not ripped off by Edwards was diverted by George W. Bush to fund his Iraq adventure. That, in addition to the presence of Louisiana's National Guard and equipment in Iraq, left Louisiana unprepared for the cataclysmic Category 4-5 hurricane.

WMR2 01.Sep.2005 11:23

repost

September 1, 2005 -- Flood protection money to Halliburton = Blood money for the Big Easy. With reports that the Bush administration diverted $250 million in SELA (Southeast Louisiana) Urban Flood Control Program funds from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Iraq, it is time for Congress to sit down with former Corps of Engineers Senior Executive Service Principal Assistant for Contracting, Bunnatine Greenhouse. Ms. Greenhouse, who hails from Louisiana and likely knows something about those diverted flood abatement funds to Halliburton, was fired in retaliation for her June 27 congressional testimony in which she stated that Corps contracts for Kellogg, Brown & Root/Halliburton Iraq infrastructure projects were improperly awarded -- through a no-bid process -- as a result of political influence by Bush and Cheney political appointees in the Army's hierarchy. On August 27, Ms. Greenhouse was removed from her career civil service position just as Hurricane Katrina bore down on New Orleans. Congress should order the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to obtain copies of all Corps of Engineer documents on contracts for Halliburton and the diverting of New Orleans flood control funds to Iraq reconstruction. The possibility that Dick Cheney's firm took money that was to go to New Orleans flood control projects should be a priority for Congress -- which should cancel its Labor Day recess and get back to work before September 12.

How much money is enough for you Scrooge Cheney? (Apologies to Ebenezer). Care to spare a Halliburton dime for New Orleans?
It is no wonder that Dick Cheney is no where to be found during America's worst natural disaster. When the people of New Orleans discover that Cheney's firm profited at the expense of their loved ones' lives, they will want to tear Cheney from limb to limb. And who can blame them?