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Corps Of Engineers Sued for Over $100 Billion

Since the days after the Katrina, I've tried to explain that the Corps of Engineers would be sued for their negligence that destroyed New Orleans and that they'd be sued for billions. It started in earnest this week.

Flood victims line up to sue corps
Agency assigns extra people to collect forms

Darlene McDonald made it her business to get to the Army Corps of Engineers' local office Wednesday to hand over papers required to get in line to sue the federal government over levee breaks that flooded her home in New Orleans East during Hurricane Katrina.

McDonald was just one of hundreds in a steady stream of people who have driven to the federal agency's Leake Avenue headquarters to deliver claims forms, which must be received no later than 4 p.m today.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the corps announced that the claims forms would be accepted until the deadline at any of its offices around the nation. A list of corps offices is available at www.hecsa.usace.army.mil/pubactv.html on the Internet.

Like many other people who showed up on the corps' doorstep Wednesday, McDonald said she'd heard about the Thursday deadline from a friend -- in her case, a co-worker who gave her one of the forms to fill out. "Everybody is trying to help out each other," she said.

When the flood of claims first began arriving Monday, they were being dropped off by motorists at a mailbox in the corps' office parking lot.

But around midmorning Wednesday, traffic gridlock prompted the corps to switch to a new system with at least ten corps employees, all wearing orange reflective vests, accepting forms handed to them by people through the windows of passing vehicles.

With all due respect to the paper, it wasn't hundreds of people, it was thousands. An entire section of town was bumper to bumper traffic with people handing in their forms. Realizing that 4pm meant nothing legally, the Corps was forced to accept forms until midnight. The late local news had footage of thousands of people dropping off their forms.

I [we] personally sued for the sum of $750,000. And I hope we get every penny.... Or should I say I hope they have to pay every penny. If the judge told me the good news is that he ruled in my favor but the bad news was I had to donate the money to charity, that would be fine by me.

For 90% of the people in line, it isn't about money. -- Because none of us really expect to see a penny.-- It's about justice and holding the Army Corps of Engineers responsible for the deaths of 1000+ people and the destruction of a city.

The phrase I've used all day is, "I don't care if I wait 10 years to collect 10 dollars, I want them to pay." Most everyone agreed.

Meanwhile the city dropped a bomb of their own...

City files $77 billion claim against Corps
The following is from a New Orleans city government press release:

The City of New Orleans has filed form SF-95, claiming $77 billion in damages as a result of a break in the levees following Hurricane Katrina.

The form is required to seek reimbursement from the federal government for personal injury or property damage. The City Attorney's Office filed the claim on Wednesday afternoon.

"Given the uncertainty with respect to which federal statute the court would find applicable, it was prudent at this stage to file the SF-95 with the Corps to preserve the City's claim," said City Attorney Penya Moses-Fields

Today is the deadline for citizens to file claims. Claims must include the date and location at which the alleged negligent act or damage occurred and a specific estimate of damages.

I dunno what a city of a half million people is worth but I guess $77 billion is as good a number as any.

I truly hope this costs the Corps $100 Billion. Then Congress will figure out that oversight means more than grandstanding for the cameras. The Corps is systemically broken.

I'm sure the only people who will make any money are the lawyers; but on this one, that's fine with me.

Note: If you're new here and don't understand how and why the Corps of Engineers (not Katrina) destroyed New Orleans search the archives. It's all there.


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Comments (118)

Great post, Paul, but I was... (Below threshold)

Great post, Paul, but I was curious over one thing. Did you sue for $750,000 or $75,000? I couldn't tell with the number given.

I am a little ignorant here... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

I am a little ignorant here about this. Isn't this the Army Corps of Engineers? If so, ultimately, the 100 billion would come from where? Taxpayers?

What about the ecofreaks wh... (Below threshold)
Sabba Hillel:

What about the ecofreaks who stopped the Corps earlier by suing, according to some news reports. Could they be held liable?

Paul, come on. I know this ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Paul, come on. I know this is personal for you, but to say everyone in line doesn't care about the money? The very corrupt city of NOLA government saying the corp of engineers is incompetent? Billions of taxpayer dollars have already been poured into La., and you and others demand more? So far, there has been billions in dollars of fraud perpetrated by alleged Katrina victims, but you and they want more money?

I live in Houston and we received thousands of NOLA criminals which are now conducting a crime wave. I am going to sue New Orleans for damages to my city. ww

Who is going to sue the Lev... (Below threshold)
John:

Who is going to sue the Levee commission in NOLA that frittered away the money that they were supposed to have spent on building up the levees? Can we taxpayers reclaim the money they spent on birthday parties for their board members? How much more of NOLA's irresponsibility do the taxpayers have to take on? Aren't you the least bit embarrased over Mississippi's ability to rebuild themselves without whining about the injustice of it all? How about your disfunctional mayor? How much responsibility does he shoulder, and how much more does NOLA have to shoulder for re-electing that dodo?

>I am a little ignorant her... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>I am a little ignorant here about this. Isn't this the Army Corps of Engineers? If so, ultimately, the 100 billion would come from where? Taxpayers?

You are correct. That's why you should be pissed.

>Who is going to sue the Le... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Who is going to sue the Levee commission in NOLA that frittered away the money that they were supposed to have spent on building up the levees?

DO you have any evidence of this?

No, just talking out your ass? OK then.

Tom it was 750K ... Not tha... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Tom it was 750K ... Not that it matters I'll get zero either way. But I did fix the typo.

John, do not expect reasone... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

John, do not expect reasoned debate from Paul of this issue. It will not happen. I like him, but on most of his posts about Katrina, I disagree. ww

>What about the ecofreaks w... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>What about the ecofreaks who stopped the Corps earlier by suing, according to some news reports. Could they be held liable?

No and I covered why in another post. The archives are your friend.

Yeah, I'm with you. I just... (Below threshold)

Yeah, I'm with you. I just didn't think $75,000 would be worth it.

WildWillie, you hurl nonsen... (Below threshold)
Paul:

WildWillie, you hurl nonsense and insults then whine about not having a legitimate debate. Oh come now.

Paul, I am neither whining ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Paul, I am neither whining or hurling insults. I simply disagree with your stance. I know from experience this subject always causes you to marginalize anyone who dares takes a stand against you on this. That is not my purpose. I am trying to put it in perspective. Do you really believe the people in line with you does not care about the money? That seems incredible. I have been alive for quite a while and one thing I have learned is the government NEVER gets it all the way right. Partly from incompetence and partly from politicians. To be honest, I hope the suit is dismissed or lost. Sorry. I wish you the best. ww

Wille, can you tell me what... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Wille, can you tell me what the people in line where discussing?

Can you tell me about all the discussions with your fellow New Orleanians you've had about this?

No you can't. You have no idea what you are talking about.

You have no idea what the people around here are thinking or saying or feeling but you speak like you do. A "reasonable debate" implies you have some knowledge of the topic.

I clearly stated that 90% don't care about the money, sure some do. Many thousands of people lost everything due to the Corps' negligence. I hope these people are made whole. Some people do see it as a money grab... but my point is, that's not the point.

The point is the Corps has murdered 1200+ people and destroyed a town..... And so far they have gotten off scott free.

And Willie, it is a patentl... (Below threshold)
Paul:

And Willie, it is a patently silly "debate" you're trying to have.

I'm IN New Orleans reporting FROM New Orleans what the feeling is IN New Orleans....

You're hundreds of miles away and want to tell me I'm wrong.

OK

Paul,I wish you th... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Paul,

I wish you the best of luck.

I understand the law suit does need to be filed and an attempt to hold the government accountable is required. The cynical side of me doubts that the case will be won. It will be fought every step of the way with every legal trick in the book to make it go away. Eventually it will get to a sympathetic Federal Court and be dismissed. If it were to make it to the Supreme Court on appeal, they'd either refuse to hear it or side with the government. They have set a precedent that their decisions don't really have to be based on what is just. I'd guess that the first attempts to limit the case will be based on who can actually file and be part of the lawsuit.

It's sensical to hold the A... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

It's sensical to hold the ACoE responsible for the levees, I also think the Governer and Mayor should hold some of the responsibility for playing politics with each other while people died.

I'm for one am tired of the... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

I'm for one am tired of the whiners from NO. They have received more than enough money already especially compare to most of the other disasters in U.S.. Also don't give us the B.S. that it is not about the money. You all may have convince your conscious that it something else but it is highly unlikely. All we hear from NO is we need more money. .

Matt, you're right in a lot... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Matt, you're right in a lot of way but there are a few exceptions I think.

I think something will be won. What is largely up for debate. It is going to be hard to stop a suit for political reasons if nothing else.

However that doesn't mean 100 Billion by any stretch.

You're also right that once the suit is allowed to go forward, they will try to exclude people. I'll probably be excluded in the first round. I had no property damaged by their negligence.

While I think in this abstract idea of "justice" my family is owed quite a lot, I doubt the courts will find that.

What many of us in the "chattering/political class" want is to wake Congress up and have them fix the mess that is the Corps. Certainly as you go down the food chain the motives to file become more base.

So while I sued for $750,000 the odds of me getting over $1000 are so small they are statistically zero.

Having said that, I think the final payout will be large to the people who lost property or loved ones. I think the damages awarded will be in the tens of billions.

Wayne, how much has New Orl... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Wayne, how much has New Orleans gotten?

How much was destroyed by the Corps?

Any idea what you are talking about or just talking out your ass?

You said earlier "The Great... (Below threshold)
Locomotive Breath:

You said earlier "The Great Flood of New Orleans was not a natural disaster but a man made one."

You are right but not in the way you think. Building a large city below known flood level and in many cases below normal sea level and then expecting the government to protect you is a stupid "man made" decision. I don't owe you one red cent of the tax I'm going to pay this year.

Hey Paul,Guess you... (Below threshold)
Richard Romano:

Hey Paul,

Guess you and Spike Lee must be friends? Ouch!

Locomotive Breath<... (Below threshold)
bubba:

Locomotive Breath


You argument that because New Orleans was built "below sea level" that that absolves you or anyone else from spending tax money to fix the damage is ridiculous.

So when San Francisco is destroyed by an earthquake write it off and move everyone out.

When Los Angeles is destroyed by an earthquake, mud slide, brush fire, or tsunami. Just forget about it and build someplace else.

When Seattle is blown to bits by one of the local volcanoes, well they were STUPID enough to build there, why the hell do we owe them any tax money to rebuild.

For that matter anytime some place in these United States is hit with a disaster natural or man made... Well to hell with them. They were stupid enough to build were the tornado, hurricane, flood, wild fire...etc would wipe them out. They shoulda known better.

Locomotive Breath you're an... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Locomotive Breath you're an idiot. When the people in Cali move away from the earthquakes, and the people in the midwest move away from the tornadoes and the people in the North move away from the blizzards, then you can get back to me.

=====

Richard do you anything intelligent to say? Didn't think so.

Statute of limitations issu... (Below threshold)

Statute of limitations issues anyone?

I DID move away from Califo... (Below threshold)

I DID move away from California to the Midwest! Smartest thing I ever did!

>Statute of limitations iss... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Statute of limitations issues anyone?

There is no Statute of limitations on murder.

It is not murder. If anythi... (Below threshold)
Michael:

It is not murder. If anything it is neglect. Nothing is going
to come of this, except some lawyers will clean up.

Do you mean murder or mansl... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Do you mean murder or manslaughter?

People move to avoid hazard... (Below threshold)
Locomotive Breath:

People move to avoid hazards all the time. N.O. being flooded at some time was guaranteed by the unbreakable law of nature that water seeks its own level.

Here in North Carolina, people building houses on the outer banks are making the same stupid decision. It's not a matter of if but when their houses are destroyed.

Do you have anything else but name calling?

Paul,When you talk a... (Below threshold)
Mike in Oregon:

Paul,
When you talk about the COE "murdering" over 1200 people, and everyone who disagrees with you is said to be talking out of their ass, you lose me. And to say it's not about the money seems questionable. If it isn't about the money, you and all the others wouldn't be asking for money, would you?

>When you talk about the CO... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>When you talk about the COE "murdering" over 1200 people, and everyone who disagrees with you is said to be talking out of their ass, you lose me.

OK they are simple concepts.

The Corps murdered 1200+ people... Ok Ok Ok it was negligent homicide. Feel better? They're still dead.

When people not in New Orleans tell me the mood of the people in New Orleans, they are talking out their ass.

I wouldn't try to tell you about how the folks in your how town where reacting to something. I'm not there.

=============

>If it isn't about the money, you and all the others wouldn't be asking for money, would you?

I guess even the most simple concepts escape you.

I warned you all that Paul ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I warned you all that Paul is not wanting criticism. Paul, first of all, 150k New Orleans moved to Houston. I work in the medical system, and we received hundreds of patients from NO. Our outreach program set up camps in all the local churches for temporary housing. I had friends who took in their friends until they could get back to NO. My wife lent her cell phone to a NO resident until they decided whether they would stay in Houston or go back to NO. I did not live the nightmare, but I am very aware of the damage. I think many people rely on the government too much. Why didn't you and your fellow citizens sued the government BEFORE the storm. It seems all were aware of the potential for the damage?

During tropical storm Allison, the world famous Texas Medical Center flooded. Completely shut down. I worked there at the time and the corps was there, FEMA, and the Red Cross. Also, the community came together with pumps, haz-mat clean up and the like. It was controlled chaos for a few months. I also had damage to my beach front property but the total damage was under my deductable. We survived, learned from it and went on. I just know you are wrapped up in this, which is understandable, but I do not think you are being objective. Too much emotion. Sorry. ww

Here are some links of the ... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Here are some links of the money and assistants spent. There are many more private funds that have help NO. Then there Houston and many more communities that have help out. It sounds like NO don't appreciate what they have receive and just want more. Remember the debit card debacle. It's amazing the difference between Mississippi and NO.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/katrina/

http://www.clintonfoundation.org/091506-nr-cf-ee-hur-cci-pr-new-bush-clinton-katrina-fund-grants-highlight-recovery-effort.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina_disaster_relief

http://www.redcross.ca/cmslib/general/cross_con3.pdf

>I warned you all that Paul... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>I warned you all that Paul is not wanting criticism.

No I just want people who are not idiots.

>Why didn't you and your fellow citizens sued the government BEFORE the storm.

Like I said.

Here are some links of the ... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Here are some links of the money and assistants spent. There are many more private funds that have help NO. Then there Houston and many more communities that have help out. It sounds like NO don't appreciate what they have receive and just want more. Remember the debit card debacle. It's amazing the difference between Mississippi and NO.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/katrina/

http://www.clintonfoundation.org/091506-nr-cf-ee-hur-cci-pr-new-bush-clinton-katrina-fund-grants-highlight-recovery-effort.htm

O.K. I took out some links so this will get posted.

BTW - Reread your whole pos... (Below threshold)
Paul:

BTW - Reread your whole post then read that line that says "Too much emotion"

Irony is indeed lost on the dumb.

>Remember the debit card de... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Remember the debit card debacle

What debit card debacle? DO you have ANY idea what you are talking about. (HINT: Search the archive before you answer, I'll burn your ass.)


=============

It's funny you linked the whitehouse...

Maybe you missed the fact Bush was in town yesterday apologizing for the money not getting to New Orleans.

Again, any idea what you are talking about? No.

Sorry Paul, I was inarticul... (Below threshold)
Mike in Oregon:

Sorry Paul, I was inarticulate. When I said "you lose me" what I should have said was "you lose credibility". Flying planes into buildings is murder, what the COE did was a major screw up -- there's a difference. As for it not being about the money, I'm not buying it. Watch what they do, not what they say, as they say.

Gee, do you think building ... (Below threshold)
La Mano:

Gee, do you think building below sea level is wise to begin with? Think there are problems now, just wait for the poles to finish melting.

>"you lose credibility"... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>"you lose credibility"

You know Mike, for 18 months, I've heard that same thing.

When I said New Orleans was flooding from Rita I heard that I was "losing credibility" because it wasn't. (Mind you some guy in Washington state was telling me that)

When posted (a few dozen times) that more and more evidence proved the disaster was man made, I kept hearing that I was "losing credibility" because the Corps was not to blame.

Each and every time I post I hear the same lame argument....

Know what Mike....

Go read the archives. Go read every post. I have been more accurate than any other source in the big media or the blogosphere. Period.

I was told 100 times I was ""losing credibility" when I said the Corps would be sued. They have been sued.

I've heard it all.

Forget the dumbshit. You show me where I've been wrong or show me where any other source on the planet has been more credible and I'll never post a word about Katrina again.

In the mean time why not figure out what credibility means.

If credibility means agreeing with you then no, I don't have any.

If it means getting my fact right, I'm all over it.


There is a distinction betw... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

There is a distinction between the situations in Mississippi and NO. The damage in Mississippi did not result from the failure of a man-made system (reardless of the cause of that failure.) The destruction there was from the forces of nature alone.

These lawsuits have achance of success assuming the defendants can't claim some form of immunity. If they can prove that the design of the levees was bad and that the Corps knew the design was bad BEFORE the storm and took no action, then they can win. How much of a judgement they could win is debatable. I can see the argument being that the destruction caused so much in damages but that a certain amount of money ahs already been paid, so any judgement is reducined by that amount.

Shouldn't this be posted un... (Below threshold)
snowballs:

Shouldn't this be posted under "Wizbang Blue"?

Loco breath - "Building a l... (Below threshold)
J-HO:

Loco breath - "Building a large city below known flood level and in many cases below normal sea level and then expecting the government to protect you is a stupid "man made" decision. I don't owe you one red cent of the tax I'm going to pay this year."

You're an idiot. Even if all of NO was AT sea level, the tidal surge would still have overwhelmed the levees in certain areas, and the canal levees would still have failed. And yes, surrounded by water, if all of NO was at sea level we would still need levees. The ACoE was/is negligent and needs to be held accountable, as do other people and agencies. Unfortunately, money is the only thing that gets certain people's attention. Your tax dollars funded the ACoE's negligence, so it should also fund their accountability.

Wayne - "Here are some links of the money and assistants spent. There are many more private funds that have help NO. Then there Houston and many more communities that have help out. It sounds like NO don't appreciate what they have receive and just want more. Remember the debit card debacle. It's amazing the difference between Mississippi and NO."

It's called "Grammar" - check it out. The geography and effects of Katrina on NO and MISS are very different. NO was a man-made disaster that occurred primarily after the storm had passed. MISS was slammed by the storm itself. So naturally, the recovery needs are very different.

If anyone wants to come down and help the recovery, I guarantee you'll think differently once you get here.

Best of luck on the lawsuit... (Below threshold)
Ben:

Best of luck on the lawsuit, NOLA!

If you're really lucky, the payouts will force the Corps of Engineers to scale back plans, or possibly abandon flood mitigation projects altogether, to come up with the money.

Maybe they'll even have to declare bankruptcy.

Boy, then there'll be some accountability, all righty!

No, J-Ho, squeezing money out of a public agency does not "hold them accountable", ever, because it's not their money! There are NO SHAREHOLDERS who will see their dividends reduced, no execs who won't get Christmas bonuses. NO-ONE in the agency will see any reduction in pay or benefits, at all, ever, even if the court orders the agency to cough up a million-gazillionty bazillion dollars.

It's like when they discipline public workers by relieving them of their duties, but continue to pay them full salary and benefits. Exactly what does that accomplish?

You want accountability, find some way to actually impact the people involved, because short of that the word means nothing.

Anyone willing to go after the pensions of Corps of Engineer employees? Or their homes? Savings accounts?

Ben

PaulYour ranting doe... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Paul
Your ranting doesn't help your case. You have done it in your previous post and it didn't help then. If you want to tell the rest of us to go to hell, fine. Just don't be to surprise when we say the same thing.

J-Ho
Attacking grammar is very lame. The point between NO and Mississippi is how each have handles themselves in a disaster event.

Building a city at or below... (Below threshold)
Locomotive Breath:

Building a city at or below sea level and then counting on levees to protect you is idiotic. The double idiots are the people who want money to build N.O. back in exactly the same high-risk location.

The people of N.O. are once... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

The people of N.O. are once again proving what fools they are. The 'lawyers' will hear the ring of cash registers. That is and will be the only result of the lawsuits. When it's over the lawyers will be richer and the people (sic) will be the same drunken, doped up crowd they were before the storm. No one is the Corp will lose a dime, it will all come from you, the taxpayer.

When will it penetrate the thick skulls of the American people, the government has no money. They simply take yours, bleed off 75% of it for themselves and pass the other 25% back to you as a 'gift'. Totally amazing how stupid educated people are.

I have to say that Paul isn... (Below threshold)
Kat:

I have to say that Paul isn't doing himself or anybody in NO justice by insulting the commentators. That is what I would expect and see over on the Moonbat side.
I would compare his attitude to the chickenhawk debate, we can call it KatrinaHawk.

Since the Corps of Engineer... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Since the Corps of Engineers is incompetent, at least when it comes to building dams and levees, why hasn't a private enterprise solution been proposed?

City of New Orleans could encourage a private corporation to be set up for levee construction, canal building and flood abatement. They could use money from the law suit settlement as seed to get it started. They could probably start an insurance company as well to cover flood/hurrican issues. Major funding could come from stock sales. Additional funding could come from special tax districts in the areas the company would be predicting, much like contract fire protection is paid for. This way, a better product could be provided for those needing it and it would be paid for by people wanting it. It could be quicker and eaiser to get the levees built/repaired, less beauracracy to get in the way. For something like this a private firm would be much easier to hold accountable. Finally tax payers outside the area wouldn't be burdened with maintaing the levees.

Then maybe the Corps of Eng... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Then maybe the Corps of Engineers should yank ALL levees and let New Orleans take care of the problem themselves.

And the money we've already flushed down the toilet here should be taken into account seriously.
-=Mike

Hmmm. I'm guessing that th... (Below threshold)
Fred Douglass:

Hmmm. I'm guessing that the government actually had no legal duty to build ANY levees. And I suppose the mayor and other NO govt. officials had no duty to actually implement the emergency evacuation plans that were in place that would have avoided the 1200 dead (is that a real figure, or is that on par with the "people are raping babies in the Super Dome stories)? Anyone remember all those school-buses that wound up under water instead of evacuating residents? And I guess the people who ignored evacuation warnings have no responsibility for what happened to them? And I'm guessing that we taxpayers in the rest of the country won't get an offset for the billions in welfare handouts and other monies that have been poured into that bottomless pit called New Orleans over the years because it is filled with a bunch of lazy whiny criminals--not to mention the money directly attributable to Katrina-related fraud? And somehow I'm thinking that after all the dust has settled, the whiners will find something else to blame the government for? But then I'm just talking out of my ass.

But then I'm just talkin... (Below threshold)
mantis:

But then I'm just talking out of my ass.

Well, at least you're aware of the problem. The next step is doing something about it.

Figuring that I'll have Pau... (Below threshold)

Figuring that I'll have Paul call me names for daring to disagree with him, I'll still go ahead and argue that nobody in New Orleans ought to collect a single dollar from the Corps of Engineers.

It's not that the COE did a bang-up job, but the government doesn't (or shouldn't) have a absolute responsibility to keep us - any of us - safe, whether it safe from flood damage, safe from terrorist attack, safe from street crime or safe from bad food.

Sure, we want them to, but the way we deal with failure on the part of government to live up to our expectations is to replace those in office and push their replacements to do a better job... not to line up with our hands out. If these lawsuits play out, what's next? Having local government reimburse those whose wallets were stolen because the police didn't keep them safe? Having government reimburse those who lose money in ponzi schemes because the government didn't keep the con artists off the street? Having the government pay victims of food poisoning because the FDA didn't keep the bad food from reaching market?

And is it not just a tad amusing to see someone who is generally on the conservative side of the spectrum arguing that government had an obligation to keep his house dry? What ever happened to the idea of government having limited powers and us having limited expectations for government? Perhaps, to flip the old adage on its head, a liberal is a conservative whose house just flooded?

Since I couldn't get trackback to work, here's my full post on this.

"You're an idiot. Even if a... (Below threshold)
RFYoung:

"You're an idiot. Even if all of NO was AT sea level, the tidal surge would still have overwhelmed the levees in certain areas, and the canal levees would still have failed. And yes, surrounded by water, if all of NO was at sea level we would still need levees. The ACoE was/is negligent and needs to be held accountable, as do other people and agencies. Unfortunately, money is the only thing that gets certain people's attention. Your tax dollars funded the ACoE's negligence, so it should also fund their accountability.

Good sue the the Army Corp of Engineers and take my money for giving you money in the first place that you ill used.

Just don't ever ask for a stinking thing again ever.

A whole damn city and not one person of them thinks that they had any responsibility to spend the money correctly in the first place.

We are pumping out money to rebuild the city, for which we will probably have to be sued again in the future. Go ahead take your $100 billion but get out of town before sundown.

"but the government doesn't... (Below threshold)
J-Ho:

"but the government doesn't (or shouldn't) have a absolute responsibility to keep us - any of us - safe" - Actually, the ACoE IS responsible for building and maintaining the levees, and they were negligent in their responsibility. You can say they "shouldn't" - but they did. And they should be held responsible for that failure.

"A whole damn city and not one person of them thinks that they had any responsibility to spend the money correctly in the first place." - Please cite your evidence for this.

"If these lawsuits play out, what's next? Having local government reimburse those whose wallets were stolen because the police didn't keep them safe? Having government reimburse those who lose money in ponzi schemes because the government didn't keep the con artists off the street? Having the government pay victims of food poisoning because the FDA didn't keep the bad food from reaching market?" - You should stop smoking crack. What exactly are you talking about??? No one is trying to get "free money" from the govt. An entity within the government took on a responsibility and was negligent in keeping that responsibility, to the cost of 1200 lives, billions of dollars in damage, and not to mention the emotional carnage that is left here. They did not take their responsibility seriously (BY THEIR OWN ADMISSION!) and the result was devastating.

And no one is saying that state and local officials aren't responsible for certain aspects of the NO disaster. That's just another topic or different post.

Without going too off topi... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Without going too off topic "The Corps, however, is Army -- 'the institutional culture is one of top-down control and damn-the-torpedoes, and a deeply-ingrained instinct against criticising the chain of command...from Wonkett
and "Walter Reed's problems also illustrate just how bad the Army has gotten at passing information--particularly negative information--up and down its chain of command" from an article in Slate 'Four-Star Bureaucrats -It's time to fire a few generals.
By Phillip Carter.. fat chance ..Wasn't much of the problem in New Orleans that the very top people, the generals didn't want to hear bad news..Hey, they are rarely if ever fired, just promoted for good results on paper, and seldom if ever criticized.
Of course, In Iraq, the consequences of such a 'topdown' bureaucratic culture have been even worse than in New Orleans, or D.C.

J-Ho: ah, suggesting someon... (Below threshold)
steve sturm:

J-Ho: ah, suggesting someone you disagree with is smoking crack... a proven method of winning an argument, right?

Where did I say anything about 'free' money? I'm of the opinion, one you obviously don't seem to share, that the government isn't financially liable when they don't live up to the expectations we have for them... and this applies whether you're talking about the COE doing a crappy job or any of the other examples of someone suffering because of something the government didn't do.

""A whole damn city and not... (Below threshold)
RFYoung:

""A whole damn city and not one person of them thinks that they had any responsibility to spend the money correctly in the first place." - Please cite your evidence for this."

I have been reading the Times-Picyune since way before Katrina. There was maybe one woman on the levee comission who felt responsible, but she resigned (also before Katrina).

Also I had the unique opportunity to bribe a building inspector in New Orleans. It took one bundle of 2x4"s.

Thanks for the witty rejoin... (Below threshold)
Fred Douglass:

Thanks for the witty rejoinder, Mantis. It will make me famous.

While I agree that everypla... (Below threshold)
Dave A.:

While I agree that everyplace has its own threats for natural disasters, is there a place in America more at risk for a man-made disaster than the delta land of southern Louisiana?

Mature rivers with large drainage basins like the Mississippi build delta. The Mississippi, however, is not building delta and has not for something like a hundred years or more due to the Army Corps of Engineers - at the behest of Congress - trying to maintain New Orleans as a seaport. The next man-made disaster will probably be when the next great river flood overwhelms the Old River Control Structure and reroutes the Mississippi out to the gulf through the Atchafalaya. When that happens, you might see pieces of Morgan City washing up on the shores of the Yucatan.

How far below sealevel is too far to be an acceptable location for a city? Ten feet? Twenty? Fifty? What's the number?

I live in Ohio. God can take me out anytime He wants by sending a tornado; I can accept that. I would not be comfortable, however, entrusting my life to the government.

Thanks for the witty rej... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Thanks for the witty rejoinder, Mantis. It will make me famous.

You're already the Sage of Anacostia. What more do you want?

Here's What I Find Amazi... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Here's What I Find Amazing

The Corps of engineers destroys a city and kills 1200+ people. The survivors sue them for their obvious negligence in building a known flawed structure that collapsed before the storm even arrived.

Rather than be pissed at the people who wasted your freaking tax dollars on a project that killed 1200 people and destroyed a city... You idiots blame the victims when they have the temerity to sue.

Call me silly, by why not blame the people who caused the death and destruction and not their victims?

Novel idea I know.

If you think this is a waste of tax payer dollars maybe -just maybe- you should be blaming the people who caused it.

Is that such a hard concept to comprehend?

Regardless of which side of... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Regardless of which side of this debate you line up on I think a few points are pretty solid.

New Orleans as a city has been around longer than just this century. At the time it was founded and originally expanded it was common place for cities to expand into lowland areas and build levees for protection whether form the ocean or river flooding. Many, many cities have been built that way around the world. Generally it works out. Some of those cities are hundreds of years old. People living in cities like that are not an aberration or particularly foolish.

COE, like them or not took the responsibility to "build" the modern levee and canal system in that area. Even though they contracted out the construction, they set the standards, supervised the construction and did the inspections and certifications. That does leave them a lot of responsibility for what happened. They are the ones that over and over said those levees were safe to live behind. The people living in NO, some for several generations were not fools for believing them. Many people live below damns and beleive they will hold and usually they do.

COE personnel at every level that it occurred need to be held accountable for not reporting the truth. They should be held negligent for anything that was falsified, not complied with, lied about etc.

The Levee/canal maintenance commissions (or whatever their name is) as part of the local government need to be held accountable as well if they were irresponsible in their duties. They need to be investigated to ensure their actions/inactions did not contribute to the problem. Did they ever verify or endorse the COE reports? Did they ever skimp on maintenance or inspections etc for the parts of the levees that failed?

>Figuring that I'll have Pa... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Figuring that I'll have Paul call me names for daring to disagree with him, ...

Nope. You can disagree all day long. If you are not an idiot.
I'll only call people names when they ramble nonsensically.

>It's not that the COE did a bang-up job, but the government doesn't (or shouldn't) have a absolute responsibility to keep us - any of us - safe, whether it safe from flood damage, safe from terrorist attack, safe from street crime or safe from bad food.

You're a moron.

"The Corps didn't do a bang up job" is that how you categorize building a known flawed floodwall without proper engineering that killed 1200 people?

They didn't do a bang up job???? I guess they just had a bad day. Oh let's just forget the whole thing right?

--

FURTHER you jackass, NOBODY ever said the the government should protect everyone from everything. Nobody said that. EVER.

What was said is that if they kill people they should be held responsible.

=======

Let's say an engineering firm designed a building and they KNEW the design was flawed when they used it. Let's say they built a 10 story version and it collapsed under its own weight BUT they built a 40 story version anyway.

Now let's say that the building collapsed killing 1000 people and it came out in the investigation that they knowingly and willfully built a building they knew would collapse.

Should we just let the engineering firm off and say "They didn't do a bang up job?"

And you wonder why I call you a moron.

You know what is amazing Ma... (Below threshold)
Paul:

You know what is amazing Matt....

If the Hoover Dam collapsed tomorrow, nobody would say those millions of people living below it where idiots.

If the Hoover Damn collapsed tomorrow and it came out that the people who built it knew the design was flawed before they built it, there would be hell to pay.

People just don't get it.

I'd just like to point out ... (Below threshold)
Taltos:

I'd just like to point out that claiming the ACoE killed anyone is patently absurd. Everyone knew the hurricane was coming, they were warned to leave. There was ample time to evacuate everyone from new orleans but this wasn't done. You can't pin that on the corp. If you want to complain about the levees causing property damage (though my understanding is that even if the levees were perfect they weren't rated to withstand the flood levels katrina dropped on them), fine. I don't agree with you but it's at least a sensible argument. Saying that they murdered people just makes you look foolish.

>I'd just like to point out... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>I'd just like to point out that claiming the ACoE killed anyone is patently absurd. Everyone knew the hurricane was coming, they were warned to leave.

hmmmm if a bridge collapsed would be absurd to say the people who built it using a known flawed design where responsible for the deaths?

After all, people know building collapse.

The corps knew the design was flawed, they built it anyway and it collapsed killing 1200+ people.

Why is it absurd to hold them responsible for their negligence?

Back in December, the T... (Below threshold)

Back in December, the Times-Picayune wrote a well-balanced article on the history of trying to protect New Orleans. It is Centuries of missteps sealed a cities fate. New Orleans made many decisions about how the levees were to built and used cost as a basis. Many times going with the lower costs because the city didn't want to or couldn't meet it's share of the costs. Below is an excerpt from the lenghty article:

-- 1984-90: The city forces the corps to abandon its preference for floodgates at the outfall canals in favor of higher levees and floodwalls.

The corps' original high-level plan called for floodgates at the mouths of the outfall canals to block storm surges from entering the city via the drainage system. That plan ran into strenuous opposition from the city, which preferred the alternative "parallel plan" that used higher levees and floodwalls along the canals rather than the gates.

The New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board opposed the gates because they would reduce its capacity to pump water out of the city if a slow-moving storm dumped heavy rainfall while the gates were closed. The Orleans Levee Board, which was told by its engineers the levees would have to be raised regardless of what the corps did at the lakefront, wanted the federal agency involved because it would reduce its costs by 70 percent.

According to corps documents, costs for the parallel plan on the three canals would be about $106 million and only $40 million for the gates.

Over the next six years the corps would relent on the 17th Street Canal because costs soared due to redesigns, but it refused to budge on the other two canals. The stalemate ended in 1990 when the city outflanked the corps by using the state's congressional delegation to insert language in the Water Resources Bill that, in effect, ordered the corps to go with the parallel plan.

>If you want to complain ab... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>If you want to complain about the levees causing property damage ..., fine. I don't agree with you

It's not a matter of "agreeing with me" The fact the walls where flawed and collapsed even before the storm arrived killing people is not up for debate. The Corps admitted it.

(PLEASE SEARCH THE ARCHIVES!)

>though my understanding is that even if the levees were perfect they weren't rated to withstand the flood levels katrina dropped on them

You are 100% incorrect. Start here.

Please stop speaking from ignorance. It's fun to have an opinion based on nothing but those pesky facts sometimes get in your way.

The Corps killed people. Period. Why not before you contradict that statement you learn a bit more about the subject.

Seawitch exactly what does ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Seawitch exactly what does that mean?

The Corps built a structure they knew was flawed and it (surprise!) failed.

The fact they wanted to build something previous to that has no bearing on the case. The Corps said that BEFORE they built the 17st canal.

Interesting tidbit but it means nothing.

Paul: recognizing that you'... (Below threshold)
steve sturm:

Paul: recognizing that you're biased and thus incapable of responding nicely to anyone who doesn't agree with you (including even those who kicked in for your little rescue fund), I'll nonetheless respond.

There is a huge difference between what we expect from private companies and individuals and what we expect from our government. We'd like our government to do good by us, but we have no claim against them when they screw up. You don't like the bang up job the COE did? Then vote against everybody you want to hold responsible, but don't look to the public to put money in your pocket (or some charity) because, boo hoo, government did what governments do... screw up. We get to take the good, we suffer the bad. You offering to write a check for all the good you've received over your life from the government? No? Then don't go looking for a check when they/we screw up.

In your example, the engineering firm would have been paid for its work, and as such, has a responsibility to its customers and, by extension, those who use the building. So where's the check you wrote to the COE for their work on the levee? What, you didn't write a check? Then why the heck should we write you one?

While there's also a longstanding principle where individuals, repeat individuals (and corporations are treated as people in this regard) are responsible for harm they cause to innocent, repeat innocent, third parties, government, in case you haven't noticed, ain't an individual. It doesn't play by the same rules and its not subjected to the same standards we hold each other to. Furthermore, are you claiming to be completely innocent of any contribution to the damages you suffered? You and everybody else you're crying for did everything possible to mitigate the potential damage? hint: the fact you were still living in New Orleans answers that in the negative.

I'm sorry you and others suffered. But it's not my financial responsibility to write you a check... no matter how many times you call me a moron.

Steve,I won't call... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Steve,

I won't call you a moron this time because at least you made a cogent point.

An incorrect point but a cogent one nonetheless.

=============

OK let's say a Post Office Truck runs a red light and kills your wife and kids and totals your car.

Should you just suck it up because that is part of government?

Now let's say there was an investigation and you leaned that the brakes failed due to poor maintenance. Then let's pretend you learned the Post Office motor pool knew the brakes where flawed but fixed them with known broken parts...

Still feeling so generous to the government?

Then let's say we find that the Post Office has been doing this for years and they have killed 1000 people...

Would you tell the families to sit down and shut up because, after all, sometimes government doesn't do a bang up job?

Paul: it may not be the way... (Below threshold)
steve sturm:

Paul: it may not be the way the law is written, but as far as my opinion goes, no, you don't get to sue the government when they screw up. period, end of sentence. the government isn't a person, they are an extension of ourselves and I see it as a violation of some law of science to sue yourself for something you've done to yourself. so it doesn't matter what they did or what they knew, one just doesn't get to collect money from government when they screw up.

and by the way, the post office isn't officially part of the US government, they're some type of different entity altogether, so, in this case, sure sue them.

hmmmm if a bridge collap... (Below threshold)
Taltos:

hmmmm if a bridge collapsed would be absurd to say the people who built it using a known flawed design where responsible for the deaths?

Why is it absurd to hold them responsible for their negligence?

Because it wasn't the ACoE's negligence that killed the people, it was their choice to not get out. If those people stood on the bridge waiting for it to collapse then it's their own fault. If there is a tornado headed toward my house I don't stand in the yard waiting for it and then complain that the government didn't build a concrete box around me because I wasn't smart enough to get out of the way. It's a concrete fact that there was time for everyone to leave, for various reasons some didn't and they died. The ACoE could have never set foot in new orleans and if those people had had the sense to leave when told to do so they'd be alive today. If you want to bitch about your house getting flooded, okay, trying to blame them because someone was too stupid to leave when told too is absurd. Period.

It's not a matter of "agreeing with me" The fact the walls where flawed and collapsed even before the storm arrived killing people is not up for debate. The Corps admitted it.

I was saying I don't agree with your stance that the corp should be forced to pay punitive damages, not that the levees breaking didn't cause damage to property. Admittedly that was a poorly worded sentence.

You are 100% incorrect. Start here.

I looked there, I see nothing regardly the flood rating of the levees. The fact that they were poorly built isn't at issue (and I'm not even arguing that they weren't). My point was that from what I remember at the time the levees weren't rated to take the amount of water they were hit with anyway. You can build a wall 100' wall, but unless it's built to withstand the force of the water on the other side it will collapse long before the water tops it.

"A contrite U.S. Ar... (Below threshold)
J-Ho:


"A contrite U.S. Army Corps of Engineers took responsibility Thursday for the flooding of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina and said the levees failed because they were built in a disjointed fashion using outdated data."
Ignorance really must be bliss.

Why hold them responsible??? It's Nagin's fault, and Paul's fault, right?

"J-Ho: ah, suggesting someone you disagree with is smoking crack... a proven method of winning an argument, right?" - I didn't suggest you were smoking crack as a way to win an argument. I was worried about the effect crack is having on your logic. Your slippery slope illustrations were nonsensical and silly. No one is suggesting the govt. protect everyone from everything. Just be held responsible for (ADMITTED) negligence.

Plus, it's FREE MONEY!! *EV... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Plus, it's FREE MONEY!! *EVERYBODY* loves Free Money. Jackpot jurisprudence.

Personally, I want to sue the French for murdering my earliest known anscestor at the Battle of Hastings. $100 Billion or so ought to do it.

An afterthought: Perhaps th... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

An afterthought: Perhaps the Corpse of Engineers should countersue for contributory negligence. Buying property on a hurricane coast that's 12 feet below sea level in a flood plain can hardly be called responsible thinking.

Why don't we just empty the city, blow the dikes, and call it a big-assed Carbon Offset?

While I disagree with Paul ... (Below threshold)
JimK:

While I disagree with Paul about the amount of responsibility that local and state officials bear, I do agree that the Army Corps of Engineers bears a large portion of the actual, physical problems that the levee system had and continues to have.

Of course there is no need to be a hateful, rude jerk when discussing it, but that's a whole other matter.

The only language anyone in America speaks anymore when it comes to responsibility is money, so good for everyone who is suing and I hope they win. The money will ultimately come from us, the taxpayer, but I dare anyone to drive through the Ninth Ward and say those people don't deserve something.

>Because it wasn't the ACoE... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Because it wasn't the ACoE's negligence that killed the people

Thanks but you've invalidated yourself from the discussion. Learn a bit more and come back.

>My point was that from wha... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>My point was that from what I remember at the time the levees weren't rated to take the amount of water they were hit with anyway.

You remember wrong. Search the archives. I've covered it 50 times.

>Paul: it may not be the wa... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>Paul: it may not be the way the law is written, but as far as my opinion goes, no, you don't get to sue the government when they screw up.

You're a liar. You'd sue.

BTW- As an aside that you might consider.... You can not by law sue the government for POLICY issues.... That is to say if Congress said the floodwalls should be 19 feet and we got 20 feet of water, you can't sue for that.... In theory there was a public debate and you lost it the first time.

You can however sue for NEGLIGENCE.

That is if the floodwalls where supposed to hold 19 feet of water but they crumbled like stale crackers under 4 foot of water because they where built wrong and the Corps knew it, you can sue.

That's the difference.

Great post Paul! I agree w... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

Great post Paul! I agree with you 100%. It is NOT about the money. All I want is for the government to stand up and clearly state that the city was flooded due to the neglience of the levee design. Then I want them to commit to a real flood defense system, not the hodge podge they have now. I am tired of hearing so called Americans come up with "reasons" why we deserved to have our city destroyed. That is just plain sick. Justice must be done and the truth WILL be heard. Did you notice that the Corps of Engineers office is on LEAK(E) Avenue? I rolled laughing at the irony. You can't make this stuff up!

Great, so bottom line is, y... (Below threshold)
SATerp:

Great, so bottom line is, you're suing ME. Don't expect me to be happy that somebody in a government I think is WAY too big screwed up and you'll get some money - I didn't want them working in the first place!

Great, Paul, call me a liar... (Below threshold)
stevesturm:

Great, Paul, call me a liar on top of calling me a moron. So does that make me a moronic liar or a lying moron? Pray tell, what enables you to look into the depths of my soul and see that I would do what I say I wouldn't? Have you run a background check on me, staked out my house? Or do you simply assume that everybody is as you are?

And I never said you can't sue, I said you shouldn't be able to sue. surely even you, in the depths of your anger and bitterness, ought to see there's a big difference between the two.

And does it surprise me that you don't have any problem taking money from a liar and a moron? Not really.

Nuke NOLA now! Don... (Below threshold)
GreenBlue:

Nuke NOLA now!

Don't let this nonsense go any further.

doctorj,If it's NOT ... (Below threshold)
Mike in Oregon:

doctorj,
If it's NOT about the money, then why is he suing for money? There are plenty of other ways to make a point and change things (e.g., petitions, demonstrations, regulations, legislation, non-binding Senate resolutions). But he's choosing to bring a lawsuit with a demand that taxpayers fork over money to him and to his attorneys; so it is, in fact, about the money. Once again, don't listen to what they say ("it's not about the money"), but watch what they do (sue for monetary damages).

Oh, great...this old hobby-... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Oh, great...this old hobby-horse again.

1. It's pretty well agreed that ad hom is a poor substitute for reasoned debate.

2. Negligent manslaughter is quite different than murder. The latter is of the worst kind of hyperbole that leftists often use.

3. As mentioned, if money isn't an issue, why sue for a monetary amount such as $70,000? Work for changes in the law, petitions, etc.

4. The issue of the levees has been known for decades, yet people were willing to gamble their lives and property to live there. These people can and should shoulder a bit of the responsibility. If one lives near an earthquake fault line, expect that one day your home is going to crumble.

5. I think a number of the posters here are just sick and tired of expecting to once again hand over stacks of taxpayer money to New Orleans, thanks to not only the storm damage, but the massive corruption and poor handling of the emergency by the City (and State) officials. You'd think the citizens would have learned a lesson and not vote back in Mr "Chocolate City" Nagin after his stupidity. Between that, and the whole "Bush caused the disaster" people are getting tired of it.

I certainly am.

As a New Orleanian who lost... (Below threshold)

As a New Orleanian who lost everything in the Federal Flood, I've found Paul's Katrina posts to be outstanding.

I don't envy the work he has to do in this forum, though, to make Wizbangers understand what happened. If all his previous posts weren't enough... what more can he do?

I don't envy the work he... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

I don't envy the work he has to do in this forum, though, to make Wizbangers understand what happened. If all his previous posts weren't enough... what more can he do?

I've no problem with his posts, he passionatly puts out his case. I fault him for his invective when someone points out an alternate view, or challenges his arguments.

He can start by not throwing out epithets such as "liar" or "moron", for starters, and avoiding emotional hyperbole for seconds.

I will grant the ACoE didn't design the levees well, but as stated NOLA has known this problem for decades...that's why there is an Orleans Levee Commission.

They could have fixed this problem sometime ago:

http://www.e-thepeople.org/article/41755/view?viewtype=

Spend a couple of million to restore a fountain, but bugger all for the one thing keeping NO from becoming the bottom of Lake Ponchartrain.

I think if there's some suing to be had, the State Legislature and the OLC are a good start.


<a href="http://www.washing... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/07/AR2005090702462.html?nav=hcmodule

" But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large."

"Much of that Louisiana money was spent to try to keep low-lying New Orleans dry. But hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate. Despite a series of independent investigations criticizing Army Corps construction projects as wasteful pork-barrel spending, Louisiana's representatives have kept bringing home the bacon."

I'll probably be exclud... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

I'll probably be excluded in the first round. I had no property damaged by their negligence.

Then why tie up the court system with a lawsuit to recover thousands of dollars for no damage? Sounds pretty fraudulent.

I'll just say the city of N... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

I'll just say the city of NOLA and the state of LA's contributory neglect in this whole mess will make a decision nigh impossible against the Corps.
-=Mike
...it shouldn't even be the Corps job to do it. It should be NOLA's job...

I'll just say the city o... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

I'll just say the city of NOLA and the state of LA's contributory neglect in this whole mess will make a decision nigh impossible against the Corps.

I agree.

Mike in Oregon. We... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

Mike in Oregon.
We HAVE tried all those things, to no avail. It seems Americans only CARE if money is involved. And to all the posters that think we are living in the lap of luxury on government money down here, come down and see for yourself. You should be ashamed. Poorly designed FEDERAL levees destroyed 80% of my hometown and you keep wanting to make it a local issue. The locals have paid with the destruction of their homes and businesses and their belief in this country. Oh, I forgot, your arguement is that we deserved it and should be nuked. Great Americans one and all. That is the spirit that built this nation. Sheesh!

It's time for secession. W... (Below threshold)

It's time for secession. We keep our natural resources from seafood to oil and gas and keep our tax money at home in Louisiana and keep running the largest port system in the world.

Then the 'mericans can invade and spend money on reconstruction. The $80bn (http://dapoblog.blogspot.com/) new money "allocated" for New Orleans recovery is about 1/2 to 1/3 of what we are appropriating each year for a war on Iraq. And New Orleans has been recovering now for a year and a half and no new money is forthcoming AND only just over half of the $80bn has been distributed. Also, the money for Louisiana also covers victims of Rita which was not a directly man-made disaster.

In any case, this money is our money - we paid and continue to pay taxes. The government continues to take its share of royalties on our natural resources. We are not taking money from the 'mericans - we just aren't paying y'all as much as we used to.

Well, you won't have ol' Jo... (Below threshold)
John:

Well, you won't have ol' John to hurl invective at anymore. I'm unsubscribing. There are plenty of blogs around that have at least a smattering of objectivity.
DoctorJ, I think the previous posts have answered you adequately about the money issue. If more money is sent down there it will end up in the pockets of the local gangsters that you people have steadfastly refused to do anything about. You have been allowing a rotten underbelly to exist in your city for decades. That is a large part of the cause for your poor city government and your poor planning and execution during the flood. Much of the money that we have already sent there has gone down the toilet of local (and non-local) scams and graft. Try cleaning up your own shit-mess and then maybe people will be eager to help. (More than they already have.)

A few quick things:<p... (Below threshold)

A few quick things:

1) A man made disaster--to suggest that the people of New Orleans deserve what happend for their location is like suggesting the Shuttle astronauts got what they asked for by defying gravity.

2) Billions of dollars have not gone to New Orleans, or Louisiana. It has gone almost
entirely to federal contractors on no-bid contracts at fabulous prices. If you think New Orleans is bad, you should look at what Haley Barbour did with his money: some very fantastically overpriced contracts to people who pay his consulting firm. In New Orleans the Feds call that a kickback. I guess in Mississippi that's just doing business. I can't imagine it has anything to do with which party is in control of the Justice Department.

3) Yes, the taxpayer will pay. They paid handsomely to the victims of 9-11 simply to keep them from suing everyone in site and taking down the airline industry. If the only way to get what the people down here deserve from teh Corps or from the Insurance Companies is to sue, I saw let the games begin. In fact, I think the Gulf Coast needs to take the idea from 9-11 and take our the private property and casualty business in North America. Perhaps the first judgement that bankrups a major insurer will wake people up to how browken certain systems, such as insurance, really are.

Paul, when people don't thi... (Below threshold)
Mark C:

Paul, when people don't think you have a right to exist, trying to make them comprehend facts will be difficult. I envy your strength.

When the readers here excuse the largest man-made disaster this country has seen, the Corp's "catastrophic failure", by saying people should have evacuated, or that the local levee boards responsible for levee maintenance are to blame, words like "moron", and "idot" are appropriate.

I know we will never get any of that compassionate conservatism, I would just take some competent comprehension at this point.

One basic point readers here fail to understand is that new orleans is important to america's bottom line. it is a federal asset. the levees are necessary to protect the buisest port in america and the region supporting more than 20% of domestic oil/gas production. Even Newt understands this, why can't others?

http://www.newt.org/backpage.asp?art=2761

Who is sueing the envionmet... (Below threshold)
john n sullivan:

Who is sueing the envionmetalists?

Who is sueing the enviornme... (Below threshold)
john n sullivan:

Who is sueing the enviornmentalists?

When the readers here ex... (Below threshold)
Taltos:

When the readers here excuse the largest man-made disaster this country has seen, the Corp's "catastrophic failure", by saying people should have evacuated, or that the local levee boards responsible for levee maintenance are to blame, words like "moron", and "idot" are appropriate.

So you're saying that when the largest hurricane ever recorded (at the time) is coming toward you you should hang around and wait for it? Every man woman and child has an absolute duty to do everything in their power to protect themselves, this includes moving out of the way of the giant hurricane. Saying the corps' crappy levees (which they didn't want to build anyway) caused all the property damage is fine, saying that they killed people who shouldn't have even been there is ridiculous.

For as long as this thread ... (Below threshold)
Dave A.:

For as long as this thread has gone, maybe this post will be the caboose.

Paul, I have admired your work here at Wizbang. I found Wizbang because of your posts during the Rathergate days, and I have particularly appreciated your perspective on Katrina. But I find myself very uncomfortable with your stance in this post.

You want justice. Fine. But you surmise that at the end of the day, no one's head will be on a platter. So you want the Corps to pay. But even then, you realize you will probably not receive anything significant. So, doesn't it all really just boil down to asking Americans to open their wallets so that you can feel better?

(Actually, I'd be all for finding the clown(s) that approved the faulty design and sending them to prison to think about things for a while).

As for culpability for the 1000+ deaths, there's plenty enough blame to go around. And yes, that includes the victims themselves. I agree with you that Katrina probably SAVED thousands of lives because of the evacuations that did occur - dumb luck for the Corps. But that said,
- People were asked to leave and told that the levees could fail;
- Knowing the elevated risk, some gambled with their lives and lost.

Every day I commute past homes that are below a dam. I'm not going to call those homeowners names, but suffice it to say that I wouldn't have made the same choice they did to buy one. I'm not a gambler.

You guys in New Orleans were the victims of a bad design. Albeit to a far lesser degree, some of us elsewhere, when asked to find more money for NO, feel like we're being victimized by a poorly designed city.

I recently got rid of a 1991 Ford Escort wagon with over 168K miles on it. I could have poured a gazillion dollars into it to keep it going, but I would have still had the same old car. 100 billion dollars would probably go a long way toward building a replacement for New Orleans, port and all, somewhere upstream that is safer, higher, and not slowly sinking toward the 50 fathom curve.

paul,The excerpt f... (Below threshold)

paul,

The excerpt from the Times-Picayune isn't just an interesting tid-bit. It shows that New Orleans played an active role in how the levees were designed and that many recommendations made by the Army Corps of Engineers were disregarded. It is just one example. The article lists many others.

The article was fair and balanced and showed that over the past three hundred years many mis-steps were made that culminated in what happened during Hurricane Katrina.

And even though the winds of Katrina were only Cat 3 storm when it hit: the storm surge was that of a Cat 5.

It is tragic what happened to New Orleans. It had been predicted for years that it could occur.

I mourn for the lives Katrina took in New Orleans like I mourn for the lives of my fellow Mississippians.

I haven't been to New Orleans since Katrina. I cannot take the pain of seeing the destruction while I'm trying to deal with the destruction of my hometown in Gulfport and other cities along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Seawitch, Let the ... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

Seawitch,
Let the judges decide. In lawsuits they divide negligence as to percentage of culpability. See you in court America.

I feel bad for New Orleans ... (Below threshold)
John Gibson:

I feel bad for New Orleans but this hyperbole about the Army COE murdering 1200+ people is as ridiculous as it gets.

Blame the Army COE for property damage and you can even blame them for some of the deaths as I do concede it might not have been possible to get 100% of the people evacuated.

However a good percentages of the deaths resulting from Katrina are the responsibility of the local government for not having / executing a competent evacuation plan. I don't know what the number is but a huge percentage of the deaths would have been avoided.

I live in South Florida in an area that got hit 3 times by Hurricanes in the last couple of years. Say what you want about George Bush's handling of Katrina, his brother Jeb did a masterful job handling many hurricanes in FL during his tenure.

If Ray Nagin and Blanco were a little bit more like Jeb and a little less incompetent there would be a lot fewer deaths than there were from Katrina. It is an indisputable fact that lives were lost that would not have been lost had the local government done a much better job with evacuations. They do not deserve a free pass by having all the blame laid at the feet of the Army COE.

I have no problem with people attempting to hold the Army COE accountable for the property damage but if people cared about holding those responsible accountable rather than it being about the money there'd be a line of people who lost loved ones suing the local government as well.

>So you're saying that when... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>So you're saying that when the largest hurricane ever recorded (at the time)

Taltos it is people like you who make me use words like idiot and moron.

Because you are. Katrina was not the largest hurricane ever recorded.

Katrina was a Cat 1 by the time she hit New Orleans

No winds higher than 100mph where recored in New
Orleans.

You have no freaking clue what you are talking about but you praddle on and on at length.

So here if the deal I'll make you:

1) Shut the hell up.

2) Learn what you are talking about. (you still haven't spent any time int he archives have you?_

3) Don't whine when I call you an idiot and a moron.

And furthermore the evacuation was a phenomenal success. Go read the archive to find out why.

Or pick option #3 above.

James Cloninger said:... (Below threshold)
Paul:

James Cloninger said:

>I've no problem with his posts, he passionatly puts out his case. I fault him for his invective when someone points out an alternate view, or challenges his arguments.

It's not a case of an "alternative view." There are these things in life called facts. Like the fact the Corps of engineers built a floodwall they knew was faulty and it failed even before the storm hit killing 1200+ people

That not up for debate. It's a fact.

When people get up here and say things that are not facts, I'll call them a moron...

Speaking of which...

>I think a number of the posters here are just sick and tired of expecting to once again hand over stacks of taxpayer money to New Orleans, thanks to not only the storm damage, but the massive corruption and poor handling of the emergency by the City (and State) officials.

Add it's comments like that that will get you called a moron. Because you are.

What "stacks of taxpayer money" has New Orleans been handed? Do you realize the President of the United States was just in town 2 days ago apologizing for the lack of money going to New Orleans?

Do you realize that?

Do you have any idea what you are talking about? No.

You want to babble bullshit but you want someone to call you one it. (See #3 in my post above)

Do you further realize that there have been dozen of investigations and not even a hint of corruption was mentioned in the building the faulty floodwalls?

Do you know what the hell you are talking about? NO.

You just get up here and insult the people of New Orleans and saying they had this coming because they are corrupt ---but having no facts to make your case--- and you whine when I call you a moron?

===================

The great irony is that you are insulting and degrading a whole city --and feel intellectually superior for it-- but you call fowl when I call you are moron.

Look in the freaking mirror. At least I have the balls to look you in the face (so to speak) and call you a moron and not pass the passive insult you do.

Fuzzy fuzzy thinking:... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Fuzzy fuzzy thinking:

>It is an indisputable fact that lives were lost that would not have been lost had the local government done a much better job with evacuations. They do not deserve a free pass by having all the blame laid at the feet of the Army COE.

Wrong on both counts.

The evacuation by the local officials was a phenomenal success. It surpassed VERY pre-storm goal. It was an absolute stunning success. I know that seems counter intuitive... especially if don't understand the situation or don't have a background in emergency management.

If you've like a better understanding start here

But either way you are wrong on the second count.

If you go into a bad neighborhood and you get shot is the shooter not to blame? Or are you to blame?

It doesn't matter if not a single person evacuated. The floodwalls that killed them where flawed and the Corps knew it when they where built.

That makes them responsible.

Add it's comments like t... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Add it's comments like that that will get you called a moron. Because you are.
What "stacks of taxpayer money" has New Orleans been handed? Do you realize the President of the United States was just in town 2 days ago apologizing for the lack of money going to New Orleans?

Did you not bother to read the links I posted, Paul? The amounts of money New Orleans has received over the years to fix these levee that has been pissed away? That stack of money!
I even extracted various parts of said links. How about the $1.9 billion figure I listed? That's is what we scientifically call a shitload of money.

And now, Nagin says that only $1billion is planned for infrastructure damage, with the rest for "tarnished image and tourist industry losses."

The city "looked at everything and just kind of piled it on," Mayor Ray Nagin said.
"We got some advice from some attorneys to be aggressive with the number, and we'll see what happens," he said.

http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Mar03/0,4670,KatrinaFloodLawsuit,00.html

Cha-ching.

Finally, I'm not insulting an entire city. I'm insulting an incompetent and corrupt government, from State level down to City level.

And I tried to be reasonable here, to list some alternate information here. And once again, you turn on your venom and pull out your "moron" epithet. So, I'm done listening to you.

It doesn't matter if not a ... (Below threshold)
John Gibson:

It doesn't matter if not a single person evacuated. The floodwalls that killed them where flawed and the Corps knew it when they where built.

It does matter. There was sufficient warning that something catastrophic was going to happen. You are correct that many lives were saved via the evacuations but you are ignoring reality by denying that a heck of a lot more could have and should have been done to evacuate. It was far from the equivalent of a one hitter has you say in the other post. I have no doubt whatsoever that had someone the caliber of Jeb Bush been in charge rather than the incompetent officials running the show during the leadup to the Katrina disaster there would be a lot fewer deaths as a result.

>If you go into a bad neigh... (Below threshold)
John Gibson:

>If you go into a bad neighborhood and you get shot is the shooter not to blame? Or are you to blame?

No. But if there is a raging forest fire approaching your home and you are told to get out and you refuse... Then yes, you share some of the repsonsibility for your death.

As another whiner for New O... (Below threshold)

As another whiner for New Orleans, I just like to add my support.

People need to understand that regardless of whatever they think the Unites States Army Corps of Engineers oversaw approved funded and inspected the levees they now say are flawed ans shouldn't have failed under the load they were subjected to.

If they were a private company they would be sued and would pay damages to everyone injured, including property damage, lost wages, lost profit, pain and suffering.

If you are a believer in personal responsibility and individual responsibility the government should be held equally responsible.

To those people who claim local incompetence. Please do some research. The USACoE was the sole agency receiving funding. They were the ones selecting projects and they were responsible for oversight of the work in place.

Local agencies, whatever their failings, were only responsible for providing local matching funds for those projects which were approved by Congress. The same Congress which every year cut funding, even though the matching funds were readily available.

Another issue frequently raised is the lack of maintenance. First of all maintenance was not a factor in the failure. After all what else do you do to a pile of dirt except mow it? Even if the local agencies had somehow managed to look through 30 feet of dirt and divine the Corps failure, they would have been forced with the daunting task of convincing the Corps they had made a mistake and convincing Congress to spend the money to correct the problem.

If the government is going to take on any responsibility it must be held accountable for its failures.

The "stacks of money" sent ... (Below threshold)
Karretz:

The "stacks of money" sent to New Orleans has never actually been received by most New Orleanians. As the money slowly does get doled out, people who rented instead of owning homes will never see a dime. This means about 50%.

Something went wrong in New Orleans and it was caused by an agency of the US government. They bear responsibility.

In 9-11 families were compensated for loss. Why?? Some would call it loss created by an agency (or agencies) of the US government. (Blowback.)

I'm not getting into a 9-11 thing. I'm just saying what happened in New Orleans seems this pretty clearcut. CofE built the levees. CofE pays for damages. Good grief!

If the lawsuit moves forwar... (Below threshold)

If the lawsuit moves forward and results in some sort of reform of the Corps, that would be a good thing.

Without pressing suit, I don't see this happening at all.

Therefore I deem the suit itself a potential good.

Of course, a better way to ... (Below threshold)

Of course, a better way to reform the Corps would be a Levee Commission...

http://www.votervoice.net/groups/levees/petition

Keep up the good work, Paul... (Below threshold)

Keep up the good work, Paul.

The court case is complex,... (Below threshold)

The court case is complex, but it works out this way, mark my words. Judge Stanwood Duvall of the Eastern District of Louisiana will rule that the Corps of Engineers was negligent to some degree (because they were, and he's not an idiot). He will beg Congress to assess damages, and, of course all that money went to Iraq, or debt service, so there will be no assessment of damages by congress. duh.

The issue for all you asshole Republicans who hate the thought that Bush will look like a pussy, and that there is an outside chance that poor, black people might get a check from the USA bigger than the one you wrote this year, is that if the tobacco companies suffocated 1300 Americans in their attics, it would be a no brainer.
or am I wrong?




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