Bright Eyes, bright heads?

I just read in my new Blender mag that the ubiquitously overrated Conor Oberst of the Bright Eyes went off-key at a recent Glastonbury appearance and dissed the Make Poverty History campaign. Not being a fan of either economic and political utopianism or Oberst himself, I decided to check this out. This is what he said:

What am I doing? Making poverty history, that’s what kids… This next song is definitely going to make poverty history. Poverty – you’re fucked!

I may be missing something, but it just sounds like a dumb joke and not a serious political comment. And here I was about ready to actually go buy some Bright Eyes albums just for spite.

to build or not to build?

You’ve heard the doom and gloom about the future of New Orleans, right?

Relocate New Orleans
[W]ouldn’t it be better to reevaluate the location of New Orleans? Instead of investing many billions in a site that is not suitable for a flourishing city, wouldn’t it be simpler to move it somewhere else?

Scientists Say New Orleans Should Not Be Rebuilt
A Utah researcher says New Orleans should not be rebuilt on its existing site. In fact, he calls such a plan “irresponsible.” Other scientists are voicing similar concerns today, not only with New Orleans but with other coastal developments.
The United Geological Survey’s video of Katrina’s devastation offers a different perspective. Erosion, changes in topography, islands that were once there but are no more – the view really questions the wisdom of moving back into harms way.

Well, now how about some reality?

Mayor: French Quarter to Reopen Next Week
In a few days, residents will begin moving back into this city one ZIP code at a time, speeding the revival of the economy in places like the French Quarter the bawdy enclave that suffered relatively minor damage in the hurricane but is still without electricity.
Mayor C. Ray Nagin announced plans Thursday to reopen some of New Orleans’ most vibrant and least flood-ravaged neighborhoods over the next week and a half, including the French Quarter. The move could bring back more than 180,000 of the city’s original half-million residents.

There were 500,000 people living in New Orleans at the time. Most of them won’t go back, but will likely settle in the areas where they are currently displaced (Houston, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Dallas, etc). But the city is going to be back up and running very soon. Utilities are being restored as we speak progressively over the whole city as the remaining water is being pumped out. Sure there is a lot of cleanup and rebuilding to do, but all this whining about relocating the city or bulldozing everything and raising the area 20ft is nonsense. The levees will be strengthened, the canals dredged, and life will go on. It always does.

KBR loses one

I bet you haven’t heard this anywhere, have you?

KBR Oil Well Contract Cancelled, Work Give to Iraqi Company
The Iraq Project and Contracting Office and the Joint Contracting Command-Iraq/Afghanistan have terminated a $37-million contract with KBR to refurbish a number of oil wells in southern Iraq. The contract will be transferred to the Iraqi state-owned Southern Oil Co. and the money will be used to fund training and purchase equipment for Southern Oil Co to perform the work.
ENR, 9/5/05

So not only is the evil Halliburton subsidiary not taking over the country and doing all the work, they are reverting the work back to Iraqis once the initial rebuilding process has gotten under way. You may slowly begin putting your tinfoil hats away now.

talk take-back

Today in the last few minutes of Rush Limbaugh, my local talk radio station, KPRC, had short spots saying for instance, “less than 10 minutes to the Savage Nation”. I did a double-take the first time I heard this, because for the last 6 months or so, Hannity has been immediately after Rush. Why would they move both Savage and Hannity out of their live slots and put Savage first? But who cares, because I wouldn’t have to listen to Hannity anymore!!
I hhhhhhhate Sean Hannity’s show. It is the most boring rote political drivel I’ve ever heard. Three hours of talking points. No thanks. But another local host I listen to on KTRH doesn’t come on until an hour later. So rather than work in silence, I keep Hannity on for an hour and just try not to listen.
But having this new programming lineup, I was excited. For an hour I could listen to Savage, who is at least entertaining when he is yelling at his audience, instead of Hannity, who makes me want to register as a Democrat just to spite his immature partisan hackery.
So 2:07 rolls around, and what do I hear, but the same obnoxious intro music that precedes every Sean Hannity show. MOTHER OF MAYNARD!! I guess someone played the wrong station promo TWICE… grrrrrr.

some questions

If the federal government provides $52 billion in disaster relief for hurricane survivors plus countless millions donated privately, why do we have an insurance industry? Why have the choice to pay premiums for flood insurance if everyone gets a handout anyway?

Why is it considered wrong to profit from a disaster? Unless no one charges to rebuild your house, someone is going to profit. Unless news services run no advertisements during disaster coverage, someone is going to profit. Of course exploiting survivors of disasters is wrong, but why is profiting from them?

Why does President Bush get charged with racism if the federal response to the hurricane was slow, but Governor Blanco doesn’t if the state response was slow, and Mayor Nagin doesn’t if the city response was slow?

…from my cold, dead hands…

New Orleans Begins Confiscating Firearms as Water Recedes
NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 8 – Waters were receding across this flood-beaten city today as police officers began confiscating weapons, including legally registered firearms, from civilians in preparation for a mass forced evacuation of the residents still living here.
No civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns or other firearms, said P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police. “Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons,” he said.
But that order apparently does not apply to hundreds of security guards hired by businesses and some wealthy individuals to protect property. The guards, employees of private security companies like Blackwater, openly carry M-16’s and other assault rifles. Mr. Compass said that he was aware of the private guards, but that the police had no plans to make them give up their weapons.

Well, unless martial law has been declared in New Orleans (it hasn’t), the NOPD is acting unconstitutionally. If the mayor has anything to do with this, he should be fired immediately. Your mandatory evacuation order does not supersede the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. The mayor should already be fired for not following his official evacuation plan and leaving hundreds of available buses to be ruined in the flood.
I am so sick of all the back and forth in this bullshit. Many people need to lose their jobs, beginning with the mayor of New Orleans and his police chief.

it’s the economy, stupid…well, sometimes

In case you hadn’t heard amid all the news of biblical proportions, the US unemployment rate fell to 4.9% for August 2005, the lowest since August 2001. *gasp* Yes, that horrible Bush economy strikes again…
Unfortunately, that number will probably increase by about 0.5% since the entire New Orleans metropolitan area is now unemployed. Hopefully the fine citizens of Houston, Baton Rouge, and the rest of the country getting these people back on their feet will inspire them to do just that. I imagine that when the actual rebuilding in New Orleans begins, the unemployment rate will quickly return to its downward slope.