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Labor Day – No Show

September 5, 2005

Today, Talk Star will replay last Thursday’s show: The Battle of New Orleans. No live callers.
(broadcast stream) (.mp3 download Right-click,”Save Target as”,”Save”)
Guest: Eric Holdeman, Director of the Office of Emergency Management for Seattle and King County, Washington
“It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to
handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the
price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished,
and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security
issue for us.”
— Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish,
Louisiana; New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 8, 2004.
For more information, see the sites below:
Even the very conservative Chicago Tribune points the finger squarely at Bush’s mismanagement of FEMA as the reason so many people suffered
Details on the Failures of the Bush Administration to Protect New Orleans
Several articles from the New Orleans Times-Picayune warning of the danger to come from a Category 5 hurricane
Eric Holdeman’s op-ed in The Washington Post
Picture of Bush fiddling as New Orleans flooded

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  • Correction February 5, 2007 6:27 am

    The score of the game was 29-17 – not 14.
    Way to go Colts!

  • David Walch September 8, 2005 2:00 pm

    New York Times carries a brazen article, “Houston Finds Business Boom After Katrina,” in which members of that city’s elite more or less boast of the good times to come, following the devastation in New Orleans. The article notes that “businesses here are already scrambling to profit in the hurricane’s aftermath.”
    The oil services companies “racing to carry out repairs to damaged offshore platforms,” for example, include Halliburton and Baker Hughes. The shares in those two companies went “soaring to 52-week highs last week.” Halliburton is closely and notoriously identified with the Bush administration, Vice President Dick Cheney (who remained on vacation in Wyoming last week while New Orleans sank into the sea) having been its former chief executive officer.
    Owners of Houston office space, according to the Times, are prospering too, as New Orleans companies “scramble to set up new headquarters in Houston, helping to shore up its sagging property market. With brio that might make an ambulance-chaser proud, one company, National Realty Investments, is offering special financing deals ‘for hurricane survivors only,’ with no down payments and discounted closing costs.”
    Shamelessly, the article continues, “All this, of course, is capitalism at work, moving quickly to get resources to where they are needed most.” Rather, where they will offer the greatest return; where “they are needed most” is entirely beside the point.
    The chief executive of Tetra Technologies, which repairs or decommissions old oilrigs, told the newspaper, “I always hate to talk about positives in a situation like this, but this is certainly a growth business over the next 6 to 12 months.”
    The senior managing director at CB Richard Ellis, Stephen D. DuPlantis, commented, “As tragic as it is for New Orleans, it is a boon for Houston.”
    Even for the insurance business, although the disaster will cost billions, there is a brighter side too, apparently. USA Today reports, “The silver lining is that large storms usually spur the purchases of policies and give insurers leverage to raise premium rates.”
    An article at is hopefully headlined, “Is New Orleans’ Loss Detroit’s Gain?” After acknowledging that images of trucks and automobiles “submerged by floodwaters” were unsettling, the piece continues, “But will the thousands of vehicles that need replacing as a result of the storm create much-needed increases in sales and revenue for American automakers? People in devastated states, such as Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, will not only need to buy new cars and trucks, but the region’s stock of used vehicles has also been wiped out.
    “It would seem as though it were a windfall for Detroit.” (By “Detroit,” of course, Forbes does not have in mind the largely impoverished working class of that city, who resemble nothing so much as the stranded and ultimately exiled population of New Orleans, but the automobile industry moguls.)
    Unhappily, the article notes that New Orleans is not a major metropolitan area and the impact on the auto industry will probably be slight. “Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi are small economic powers, together representing 3 percent of the US gross domestic product. The potential benefit to the automotive industry of car dealers in those states would be comparatively small, and would only come after extensive reconstruction.” If only such a disaster had hit a Chicago or a San Francisco …
    On a more optimistic note, Forbes points out, “But maybe, for fear of being perceived as greedy, the people making these kinds of reports are being conservative about how Detroit stands to benefit from Katrina.”
    After all, as the Dallas Morning News points out, “When disaster strikes, corporate America is among the first to offer aid to the victims and their families. … But, at some point, business must get back to business: making money.”
    The terrible devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina has brought to the fore certain harsh truths about contemporary America: the existence of an unbridgeable gap, literally a ‘life-and-death gap’ in this case, between the wealthy and everyone else; the accumulation of personal riches on a scale for which there is no precedent, with the average American CEO earning some 500 times more than an average worker; the incompatibility of this state of affairs and the prospects for a decent life for the overwhelming majority of the people; the everyday barbarism of American capitalism.
    Life in this country cannot go on in the same shameful and painful pattern any longer. A complex society cannot be left in the hands of this reactionary, brutal, ignorant crew. A political discussion on the widest possible popular basis, in which the socialist alternative takes center stage, must begin.
    As hurricane disaster mounts, Bush scapegoats state, local officials
    [5 September 2005]
    New Orleans and Baghdad-two sides of the same Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath: from natural disaster to national humiliation
    Bush rules out significant federal aid to hurricane victims