..."The fascinating thing is that it's so spread out," said Joachim Singelmann, director of the Louisiana Population Data Center at Louisiana State University. "It's not just the Lower 9th Ward or New Orleans East, which everybody has heard about. It's across the board, including some well-to-do neighborhoods."
Because New Orleans was one of the nation's poorest cities, where more than one in four residents lives below the poverty level, many of the victims were still found in neighborhoods that were impoverished by national standards. But by the standards of New Orleans, those neighborhoods were economically stable, and deaths citywide were distributed with only a slight bias for economic status.
Of the 828 bodies found in New Orleans after the storm, 300 were either recovered from medical facilities or shelters that offer no data on the victim's socioeconomic status, or from locations that the state cannot fully identify. Of the 528 bodies recovered from identifiable addresses in city neighborhoods, 230 came from areas that had household incomes above the citywide median of $27,133. The poorer areas accounted for 298 bodies.
The state official in charge of identifying Katrina's victims, Dr. Louis Cataldie, said he was not surprised by the findings. "We went into $1-million and $2-million homes trying to retrieve people," he said...
Manuel Roig-Franzia of the WaPo has a three-screener called "In New Orleans, No Easy Work for Willing Latinos". The first screen is where the sucker punch lands on American workers, and the last two screens are just a long anecdote.
The article explains how those "Latinos" (actually, illegal aliens from Mexico) work in unsafe conditions and, when they get paid at all, are paid a sub-standard wage. They even describe a pregnant woman and her husband "slashing through the cough-inducing mold on walls in flooded Lakeview with only thin masks".
In the WaPo's magical world, all these problems would disappear if president Bush's "guest" worker scheme were enacted. In that world, illegal immigration would magically disappear and along with it low-wages and unsafe working conditions.
Sorry, it doesn't work that way. Until illegal immigration is greatly reduced, corrupt employers will be able to undercut legal workers by hiring illegal aliens, prefering them not just because of the lower wage rate but also because they can be abused. The only way to solve that is to stringently enforce the immigration laws.
And, those media outlets that excuse illegal immigration - such as the Washington Post - will still be there and will continue to excuse illegal immigration and all its abuses. The only way to solve that is to completely discredit those sources that don't support enforcing our laws.
The WaPo also does not disclose that many possible American workers have been moved out of the area or out of the state. Not only are they not available to work there, and not only would they be undercut by lower-priced labor if they arrived, but they are basically being paid not to work.
We've got American workers being paid not to work, and corrupt contractors being paid out of federal funds and employing illegal workers who will send a good chunk of their money out of the country. Can the reader envision a more un-American scam?
Note also that on their homepage this newspaper has a link to the article "Analysts: Crackdown Won't Halt ImmigrationAnalysts: Crackdown Won't Halt Immigration" in the same box as the link to the one about New Orleans. That article claims that immigration enforcement doesn't work - and in the very same article informs us that the immigration laws aren't being enforced.
Don't trust what you read in the Washington Post. Please send an email to ombudsman *at* washpost.com letting them know what you think.
UPDATE: I haven't been able to find more information on the article's author other than that here, which does little more than inform us that he is or was the WaPo's Miami Bureau chief.
The Army Corps of Engineers said the plan for improved levees that is being pushed by President George Bush is a good one for the areas where levees breached but will do nothing to protect the Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans East or St. Bernard Parish.
...The plan calls for closing off the levees at the London Avenue, Orleans Avenue and 17th Street Canals by June 1, 2006...
In addition the levees will be built over with concrete and pumping stations would be positioned near Lake Pontchartrain within two years.
The plans are based on the standard of a true Category-3 and Congress used 100 miles per hour winds as their gauge for satisfactory flood protection in the short term.
The Corps has also been given two years to come up with a proposal for Category-5 protection...
Various left-wing groups are trying to get 300,000 emails demanding Category 5 protection and other goodies.
Take a deep breath and read the organizations involved:
All Congregations Together * Alliance for Affordable Energy * Atchafalaya Basinkeeper * Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program * Baton Rouge Audubon Society * Black Bear Conservation Committee * Citizens Against Widening the Industrial Canal * Coalition for Louisiana Progress * Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana * Gulf Restoration Network * Holy Cross Neighborhood Association * Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation * Louisiana Audubon Council * Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) * Louisiana Wildlife Federation * Mississippi River Basin Alliance * Physicians for Social Responsibility-Louisiana * Pipeline Workers of America * Sierra Club, Delta Chapter * U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Gulf States Field Office
Hillary will show she cares by visiting on Sunday, December 18. It's her first visit since shortly after landfall.
The DN report discussed in "DemocracyNow shocked by effects of supporting massive illegal immigration" also contains various anti-Red Cross charges from Bill Chandler, president of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, and I have a great deal of trouble believing what he says because of the earlier report WSJ: "Undocumented" workers face struggle to take American jobs. I realize that given the choice I would say that neither a far-leftie nor the WSJ are credible, but as I'm forced to choose I'm going to back the WSJ in this one. Here are some of his charges:
We have had some very, very serious problems with very overt racism on the part of the Red Cross, not only with immigrants, but with other people that were displaced by Katrina, as well. But with immigrants, initially in the application process for benefits, we had a considerable problem in Hadleyburg and in Laurel with people asking for too much information, going, you know, beyond what is required by the Red Cross to certify people for eligibility, and they were asking for documents, they were asking for all kind of things that was irrelevant to their victimization.
We had a situation where undocumented or documented immigrants who had been living on the coast, and I think people need to know that Mississippi has a rapidly growing immigrant population, and we estimate that over 100,000 people are here working. But on the coast there's about 30,000 and of that there were a lot of people that were affected by Katrina. And like the Anglos and like the African Americans and Vietnamese, and so on, they were seeking shelter with the Red Cross. We had an incident late in September where the shelter manager in Long Beach decided he didn't want any of the Latinos to be there, and he called a number of law enforcement agencies, ranging from the Indiana State Police, who were here to supplement local law enforcement, to the ICE, which is the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement which we commonly know as "La Migra" or the INS, what used to be the INS, and had them come, and they pulled the Latinos out of the shelter. Several people were pulled out of showers and were not allowed to wrap themselves in towels, and were pulled into the parking lot and told that they would be deported in 48 hours if they didn't leave the shelter immediately.
Earlier today, Amy Goodman's DemocracyNow broadcast "House Debates Bill to Rewrite Immigration Laws, Includes Provision that Makes it a Felony to be an Undocumented Worker". That makes it clear that not only does DN support illegal immigration, but they're unable to keep up with the news: the felony provision had been removed the day before.
Also today, DN broadcast "Workers in New Orleans Denied Pay, Proper Housing and Threatened with Deportation". The only reason those workers were put in that position was because they were either illegal aliens or homeless Americans. Both groups have greatly reduced bargaining power, and only the second group is legally able to work here. And, unlike the homeless, illegal aliens can be deported if they complain about working conditions or being cheated.
A sane, logical person would realize that anyone who supports illegal immigration is automatically supporting the inevitable abuse that those workers endure. And, that sane, logical person would realize that in order to prevent worker abuse, they should also oppose illegal immigration instead of supporting it.
Of course, I said "sane" and "logical".
You may recall Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky as the pair who wrote about their experiences trying to get over the Crescent City Connection from New Orleans into Gretna ("Building communism under the overpass"). Bradshaw will apparently be featured on December 18th's 60 Minutes talking about the incident.
...Larry Bradshaw, who is white, says he thinks the explanation the officers gave for turning them back seemed racist. "The only two explanations we ever received was, one, 'We're not going to have any Superdomes over here,' and 'This is not New Orleans,'' he remembers. Shauron Holloman, a black man who was also on the bridge, agrees. "A group of people trying to leave a city that's predominantly African American and you have the officers, who were white -- that's the way it appears,' Holloman says. "[We were stopped] I think because the group was 95 percent African American."
Holloman says that when the crowd sat down and attempted to stay on the bridge, an officer became aggressive. "He sped down in his cruiser and over the loudspeaker he just continuously said, 'Get the f--- off the bridge,' and would point his gun at some people," he tells Bradley.
"We're not a predominantly white, racist community that some people may assume," says Ronnie Harris, the mayor of Gretna, whose residents are 35 percent African American. Harris says Gretna had already helped to evacuate thousands of people fleeing New Orleans but at that moment could not accept more for lack of food, water and buses. "The city of Gretna was completely on its own. Our entire services were disrupted -- no city services, no electricity. We had no shelter. We had no medical services. We were hit by a category four hurricane. What were people expecting us to do?" says Harris.
Harris does say that another reason for sealing off his town was to protect his citizens from looting and chaos reported in New Orleans that some in the large crowd, which included women and children, could have taken part in. He says the shotgun blasts were warranted. "When law enforcement is present, order is expected. Without it, terror and mayhem can ensue," he tells Bradley. "The crowd was desperate.... had gone through some unbelievable sights and sounds.... They were looking for safety and security - something that I could not provide. It was as simple as that," says Harris.
The Louisiana attorney general is investigating whether civil rights were violated or if any laws were broken. Oliver Thomas, the president of the New Orleans city council, thinks Gretna could have handled the situation better. "Your politics cannot be bigger than your humanity, and in this case, we didn't need politics. We needed humanity."
Obviously, there are different sides to this story, and one wonders whether the apparent agenda of Bradshaw will be discussed at all.
Previously: "March demands accountability of Gretna police action" (the bridge is back!), Ray Nagin: "We" told people the Crescent City Connection was open, Ray Nagin meets with Louis Farrakhan, discusses conspiracy theories, LAT on the Gretna bridge incident, and Conyers supporting socialists' Gretna bridge tale
Marsha Evans, now former president of the Red Cross, wants to spend more time with her family, as they say.
...Although the Red Cross is a private, non-profit charitable organization, it carries responsibilities on a scale usually associated with government. In the federal government's blueprint for dealing with disasters, the Red Cross is designated as the primary agency responsible for sheltering, feeding and offering medical care to people in the wake of a large man-made or natural emergency.
The very size of that role has contributed to making the once-sacrosanct organization a target of increasingly sharp criticism in recent years.
"After witnessing the American Red Cross' struggles during Katrina and Rita, I am not sure it is prudent for Congress to place such great responsibility in the hands of one organization," said Rep. Jim McCrery (R-La.).
In the hectic days after the storm and the subsequent flooding of New Orleans, the Red Cross struggled to keep up with demands for shelter, food and medical care. And some evacuees, as well as some local officials and leaders of other relief groups, complained that the Red Cross had sometimes been slow to respond, had not reached out to remote areas, and had shown insensitivity in its treatment of some victims.
For its part, the organization pointed out that it had sent more than 200,000 volunteers into the areas devastated by Katrina, gave financial assistance to some 1.2 million families, and had provided food and temporary shelter for several million evacuees. Moreover, defenders noted, the challenges posed by Katrina and its floodwaters had often overwhelmed federal, state and local agencies as well...
Was the floodwall failure at the 17th Street Canal due to bad design by the Army Corps of Engineers, or bad construction by contractors?
They pulled eight sections of the steel sheets that were driven into the ground, and so far that seems to indicate that they were installed to the designated depth: "Engineers Reverse New Orleans Levee Finding".
...The steel had been sunk into the ground to prevent water from saturating the soil and destabilizing the flood walls. Initial testing by sonar had indicated the sheet pilings were driven to only about 10 feet below sea level, even though the design called for 17.5 feet below sea level...
...Brig. Gen. Robert Crear said the length of the sections pulled all exceeded 23 feet. About six feet of the sheet piling was above sea level, leaving a little more than 17 feet below sea level - in accordance with design specifications.
Engineers also plan to test the concrete and the reinforcing bars in the flood wall to ensure they were made properly.
Also, engineers must try to figure out why the sonar tests yielded bad results on how deep the sheet pilings were driven.