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Archive for "Sep 01 2005"

Katrina Aftermath: What Do We Do Next with New Orleans?

I’ve been to New Orleans once, allegedly to attend a conference for collegiate press types (that I only attended for the opening session/free breakfast buffet my first morning in town, and then totally blew off to go total touristy, restaurant/music/bar-hopping madman). But it was–and remains–the only place I’ve ever visited in my life that I had to walk up a steep hill to stand on a river’s edge. But damn, I’m glad I went to Pat O’Brien’s and discovered the now-tragically/ironically named house specialty. I’m sure I’ll be drinking them for some days to come.

After the rescues, recoveries, and hunting down of two-legged rabid dogs has been completed, and the cleanup is under way, the question is going to have to be faced by the people of the United States: “How should New Orleans be rebuilt?” There’s no way it isn’t going to be rebuilt; this is America. But in what manner may be the biggest domestic test this country has faced since those guys signed the Declaration and got the game under way.

Nobody can offer any rational reason to rebuild it in a manner resembling what it was. This isn’t like 9-11-01 and Ground Zero; this isn’t about a hole in the ground a couple of city blocks square. New Orleans in toto has basically been destroyed. From a sheer logistical engineering standpoint, that city had no business being where it was, and something like what happened this past week was inevitable. No matter the hubris of American ingenuity, you cannot win when you’re battling a river like the Mississippi, a lake the size of Pontchartrain, and a hurricane incubating combo like the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. You just cannot build levees high enough to avoid a repeat of this catastrophe. The river and the storms are gonna go wherever they damn well wanna go, and sooner or later they will get together and come calling again, dragging the lake behind them.

The high ground, like the French Quarter and the Garden District, will emerge from this relatively unscathed, but pretty much everything else of New Orleans below sea level (80% under water…I can’t even comprehend recovering from so staggering a figure unless the timeframe is counted in years) has been destroyed. As a slew of bloggers pondering this question have already shown (a great collection of sites addressing this question can be found at Porkopolis: Discussions on alternatives to rebuilding New Orleans), this question is already out there, and it’s gonna have to be addressed by the American public, because we are gonna be expected to foot the bill.

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Air America Idiot Update

Radar Online seems to have found Evan “Fall Guy” Cohen:

Cohen declined to discuss the details of the Gloria Wise loans, other than to dispute a report earlier this month in the Sun that claimed that Cohen told Gloria Wise board members that the loans were intended to cover medical expenses for a sick relative. “There were no discussions of anything other than Air America Radio,” he told Radar. “There was no question where the resources were going.”

Air America’s new management claimed in a statement last month that, although it has no obligation to honor the debts incurred under Cohen’s management, it would magnanimously agree to repay the Gloria Wise loan. “We are very disturbed that Air America Radio’s good name could be associated with a reduction in services for young people,” the statement read, “which is why we agreed months ago to fully compensate the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club.” But according to two sources familiar with the case, in a settlement between Cohen, his partner Rex Sorensen, and the new Air America team that was agreed to last year—long before the loans ever became public—the network explicitly agreed to repay the Gloria Wise debt. Air America is paying up for no other reason than because it has to. (emphahsis mine)

And so begins the fun. Cohen resurfaces and has contacted Multicutural Radio’s lawyers, to let them know who is gonna be his legal representative, after having watched Franken and those Piquant pissants try to hang the rap for all the financial chicanery surrounding Air Idiot around his neck.

I figure he’s gonna try to arrange some sort of immunity for himself, and start singing like a bird to Randy Mastro, the New York Board of Investigation and state AG Elliot Spitzer, who together will then destroy Piquant and Air Idiot.

Unless Air Idiot first taps into all that sweet, sweet Katrina relief.

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