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Conservative Republican proposes massive government rebuilding plan

Rep. Richard H. Baker (R-Baton Rouge) has proposed the "Louisiana Recovery Corporation" which would spend up to $80 billion to buy up property, pay off the banks, and the like: "A Big Government Fix-It Plan for New Orleans". It was passed over late last year, but Baker's hopeful it will be approved this year. Join the NYT as they spot conservatives in the mist:

...The passage of the bill has become increasingly important to Louisiana because the state lost out to the greater political power of Mississippi last month when Congress passed a $29 billion aid package for the Gulf states region. The package gave Mississippi about five times as much per household in housing aid as Louisiana received - a testimony to the clout of Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, a former Republican National Committee chairman, and Senator Thad Cochran, chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
Louisiana officials say they were forced to go along with the appropriation, because they may not have received an aid package at all otherwise. But now they are focused even more intently on Mr. Baker's buyout bill; many economists here say there may be no alternative to buyouts for homeowners who cannot make mortgage payments on ruined properties...
Under his plan, the Louisiana Recovery Corporation would step in to prevent defaults, similar in general nature to the Resolution Trust Corporation set up by Congress in 1989 to bail out the savings and loan industry. It would offer to buy out homeowners, at no less than 60 percent of their equity before Hurricane Katrina. Lenders would be offered up to 60 percent of what they are owed.
To finance these expenditures, the government would sell bonds and pay them off in part with the proceeds from the sale of land to developers.
Property owners would not have to sell, but those who did would have an option to buy property back from the corporation. The federal corporation would have nothing to do with the redevelopment of the land; those plans would be drawn up by local authorities and developers...

Bush is interested, but his rebuilding czar Donald E. Powell isn't so convinced. However, Walter Isaacson's Louisiana Recovery Authority supports it, as do many... Democratic politicians. On the other hand, it was "shunned by many conservatives" in the House.

Medea Benjamin: "Katrina Survivors are Losing the Battle to Return Home"

Oft-arrested far-left activist, co-founder of CodePink and Global Exchange, and Cuban tourist Susan "Medea" Benjamin offers this:

Two months after Katrina, the residents of New Orleans most traumatized by the hurricane and its aftermath are now traumatized by their battle to return home. And many of the city's poor, black "Katrina survivors" are losing this second battle...
[...poster children...]
Similar fates are befalling residents of the city's 38,000 public housing units: they are coming home to find their apartments boarded up, even though the concrete block apartments -- ugly as they might be -- were among the best in withstanding the hurricane. Housing advocates say it is part of a long-term desire to cleanse the city of its public housing, recalling the crass comments of Representative Richard Baker, R-L.A.: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."
Before Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was a city of 485,000 people, 65% of whom were black. Today, officials estimate that during the day there are some 125,000 people, falling to 70,000 at nighttime when many leave to find shelter outside the city. Mayor Nagin predicted that New Orleans would lose about half its pre-Katrina population. And with government policies and market forces stacked against the poor, the "new" New Orleans is becoming whiter and whiter...
The "whitification" of New Orleans, however, is not inevitable. There are many solutions: demanding a massive program for affordable housing, halting evictions and price gouging for rental properties, making it possible for evacuees who are scattered around the country to move to temporary shelters (trailers, vacant apartments, tents) back home, giving job priority to local residents, reopening public schools, providing support systems to those returning, demanding that the poor be represented in the rebuilding decisions...
...At the grassroots level, there are remarkable community activists like Malik Rahim, who has turned his home on the dry west bank of Algiers into the Common Ground Collective... During Thanksgiving week, Nov. 22-29, Common Ground is calling for a mass convergence on New Orleans help clean up the Ninth Ward (see commongroundrelief.org)...
Community Labor United is also setting up communication/relief centers...
ACORN, temporarily based in Baton Rouge, is fighting home demolitions and reconnecting with its New Orleans base...
...A massive movement of solidarity is the only force that will rescue the people of New Orleans this time around.

Sure, Medea, you wait right over there. The 98% of Americans who aren't very far-left useful idiots will join you in solidarity soon. (Non-sarcastically: the mainstream interest in doing the right thing by NO's population isn't helped by the efforts of people like her. Please, visit Cuba and just stay there.)
UPDATE: "Jean" noticed that Medea or someone else had made a mistake, leaving out the first "l" in the phrase "reopening public schools" in the quote above. I corrected it.

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