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Puffy
09-01-2005, 06:10 PM
Ugh.

House Speaker: Rebuilding N.O. doesn't make sense
Thursday, 2:55 p.m.

By Bill Walsh
Washington bureau

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Dennis Hastert dropped a bombshell on flood-ravaged New Orleans on Thursday by suggesting that it isn't sensible to rebuild the city.

"It doesn't make sense to me," Hastert told the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago in editions published today. "And it's a question that certainly we should ask."

Hastert's comments came as Congress cut short its summer recess and raced back to Washington to take up an emergency aid package expected to be $10 billion or more. Details of the legislation are still emerging, but it is expected to target critical items such as buses to evacuate the city, reinforcing existing flood protection and providing food and shelter for a growing population of refugees.

The Illinois Republican's comments drew an immediate rebuke from Louisiana officials.

"That's like saying we should shut down Los Angeles because it's built in an earthquake zone," former Sen. John Breaux, D-La., said. "Or like saying that after the Great Chicago fire of 1871, the U.S. government should have just abandoned the city."

Hastert said that he supports an emergency bailout, but raised questions about a long-term rebuilding effort. As the most powerful voice in the Republican-controlled House, Hastert is in a position to block any legislation that he opposes.

"We help replace, we help relieve disaster," Hastert said. "But I think federal insurance and everything that goes along with it... we ought to take a second look at that."

The speaker's comments were in stark contrast to those delivered by President Bush during an appearance this morning on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"I want the people of New Orleans to know that after rescuing them and stabilizing the situation, there will be plans in place to help this great city get back on its feet," Bush said. "There is no doubt in my mind that New Orleans is going to rise up again as a great city."

Insurance industry executives estimated that claims from the storm could range up to $19 billion. Rebuilding the city, which is more than 80 percent submerged, could cost tens of billions of dollars more, experts projected.

Hastert questioned the wisdom of rebuilding a city below sea level that will continue to be in the path of powerful hurricanes.

"You know we build Los Angeles and San Francisco on top of earthquake issures and they rebuild, too. Stubbornness," he said.

Hastert wasn't the only one questioning the rebuilding of New Orleans. The Waterbury, Conn., Republican-American newspaper wrote an editorial Wednesday entitled, "Is New Orleans worth reclaiming?"

"Americans' hearts go out to the people in Katrina's path," it said. "But if the people of New Orleans and other low-lying areas insist on living in harm's way, they ought to accept responsibility for what happens to them and their property."

Johnny Footstool
09-01-2005, 06:12 PM
"But if the people of New Orleans and other low-lying areas insist on living in harm's way, they ought to accept responsibility for what happens to them and their property."

[shakes head in disbelief]

registerthis
09-01-2005, 06:21 PM
Dennis Hastert is a bleeping idiot.

Why don't we move everyone out of New York since they, too, are living in harm's way.

I guess I'm moving too, since DC would be considered "harm's way" as well.

Moron.

Caveat Emperor
09-01-2005, 06:23 PM
I posted this in the long Katrina thread, but I'll repost it here, because I feel so strongly about it:

To be saying this while there are people in the City suffering...I cannot wish enough pain and suffering on this man. I recognize that there is an ever-growing likelyhood that New Orleans may never be rebuilt as a major American city...but to come right out and say it while people are suffering is unacceptable.

Politicians too often forget that, in times like these, they are supposed to be the cheerleaders that make Americans feel better. They are leaders, and supposed to be the people we look to for guidance and strength following a natural disaster like this (or a terrorist attack in 2001). There shouldn't be finger pointing, there shouldn't be snide comments stating that teh city should just be razed to the ground...there should just be 4 words coming out of every one of their mealey mouthes: "How can I help?"

Saying that they aren't going to rebuild New Orleans undercuts the great work being done right now by police and firefighters who are RISKING THEIR LIVES to protect the people in New Orleans as well as the buildings on fire and the property being looted by the opportunistic scumbags. Dennis Hastert is telling every rescue worker that might be compelled to volunteer and go down to help in New Orleans that their contributions are worthless.

Coming out like this, there's just one word for it: Anti American. Maybe I'm blinded by my love for the city, but this is just beyond awful as far as I'm concerned.

Falls City Beer
09-01-2005, 06:24 PM
I think the HomeTown Buffet that Dennis frequents is living in harm's way.

Puffy
09-01-2005, 06:31 PM
Maybe we shouldn't have rebuilt Pensacola either cause of the danger of sharks in the Gulf. There were two attacks in close proximity.....

Rojo
09-01-2005, 06:32 PM
To be saying this while there are people in the City suffering...

My thoughts exactly. And, you won't hear me say this often, but Bush got it right:


I want the people of New Orleans to know that after rescuing them and stabilizing the situation, there will be plans in place to help this great city get back on its feet," Bush said. "There is no doubt in my mind that New Orleans is going to rise up again as a great city."

Rojo
09-01-2005, 06:33 PM
I think the HomeTown Buffet that Dennis frequents is living in harm's way.

Zing!

RosieRed
09-01-2005, 06:33 PM
If there were some horrible natural disaster that hit Chicago and affected his district, would he say the same thing mere days after, while people were struggling just to live?

How hard is it to show some sensitivity?

M2
09-01-2005, 06:35 PM
Hastert's got a point. It's an awful thought to contemplate, but New Orleans never would have been built in the first place with the water table where it is now. Can the levee system be counted on to hold off future hurricanes? Do the global warming effects of a higher water level and stronger hurricanes make the current location untenable?

For purely selfish reasons, I want New Orleans to be rebuilt. I love that city, but asking whether it makes sense to do strikes me as a much-needed dose of reality.

KronoRed
09-01-2005, 06:37 PM
How hard is it to show some sensitivity?

Sensitivity seems to have gone out the window in recent years, seems to be a big "Screw you if you need help..we're all dandy here" :(

Falls City Beer
09-01-2005, 06:37 PM
Hastert's got a point. It's an awful thought to contemplate, but New Orleans never would have been built in the first place with the water table where it is now. Can the levee system be counted on to hold off future hurricanes? Do the global warming effects of a higher water level and stronger hurricanes make the current location untenable?

For purely selfish reasons, I want New Orleans to be rebuilt. I love that city, but asking whether it makes sense to do strikes me as a much-needed dose of reality.

Pragmatism schmagmatism. Vita brevis, ars longa.

Heath
09-01-2005, 06:43 PM
I would think that Congress would have some type of limited discussion before actually blurting things out.

OTOH - They need to actually work with some Dutch engineers about levees before planning some large-scale reurbanization.

Falls City Beer
09-01-2005, 06:48 PM
I would think that Congress would have some type of limited discussion before actually blurting things out.

Nah, it's refreshing when guys like Hastert reveal themselves for what they truly are.

jmcclain19
09-01-2005, 06:52 PM
From a strictly engineering/city planning standpoint, this is a fair question to be asked.

Can we rebuild the city? Should we? How do we go about it? What manner do we go about attacking this?

However, it should be asked in a closed door meeting of city, state and federal officials and engineers, about six months after the fact when people are no longer in harms way.

Tact Mr. Speaker. I wish you had more of it.

M2
09-01-2005, 06:54 PM
Pragmatism schmagmatism. Vita brevis, ars longa.

I hear you, by the same token I've tired of politicians telling people what they want to hear.

This is a horrible, awful disaster compounded by the potentiality that we can't bring New Orleans back. People's backsides are wet enough down there without pols applyling lip moisture.

Falls City Beer
09-01-2005, 07:01 PM
I hear you, by the same token I've tired of politicians telling people what they want to hear.

This is a horrible, awful disaster compounded by the potentiality that we can't bring New Orleans back. People's backsides are wet enough down there without pols applyling lip moisture.

Oh, I appreciate honesty. I, quixotically or not, demand it of my politicians. But occasionally saying the right thing actually lines up with what the right thing is. It's in the doing that people falter.

Johnny Footstool
09-01-2005, 07:02 PM
We could wall off the area and turn it into a prison compound.

http://www.domicilium.com/loganandglitz/stars/krussell.jpg

flyer85
09-01-2005, 07:07 PM
From a strictly engineering/city planning standpoint, this is a fair question to be asked.supposedly the original French engineer pointed out it was a horrible place to put a settlement.

They live in a giant man-made bowl below the level of the surrounding waters. It will happen again.

Now was NOT the time to ask the question.

jmcclain19
09-01-2005, 07:12 PM
supposedly the original French engineer pointed out it was a horrible place to put a settlement.

They live in a giant man-made bowl below the level of the surrounding waters. It will happen again.

Now was NOT the time to ask the question.

That would be Adrien de Pauger - I remember hearing something as well a long time ago. Tried to Google some info on that statement, but I didn't have any succes.

ochre
09-01-2005, 07:13 PM
From what I have read, erosion is the primary reason the area is lower than it once was. The Corps of Engineers in their efforts to minimize floods from the Mississippi have created a situation where the river silt that historically has maintained the landscape by replenishing what is lost to erosion is now being pumped straight into the Gulf.

RBA
09-01-2005, 07:15 PM
As someone who has had the pleasure to live in Holland for two years. I can personnally say I have never experience a Hurricane in Holland. And don't think there has ever been one in the last 2000 years, if at all.

flyer85
09-01-2005, 07:16 PM
From what I have read, erosion is the primary reason the area is lower than it once was. the area is slowly settling because it is built on deposited sediment

jmcclain19
09-01-2005, 07:36 PM
the area is slowly settling because it is built on deposited sediment

Same problems they are having now in Venice, Italy, where many of the historical buildings are slowly over time, sinking into the water.

Unassisted
09-01-2005, 08:49 PM
I posted this in the Katrina thread when this topic was first raised, so I guess I'll post it here.

I have to admit that I expected some of this. I saw Louisiana's US Sen. Mary Landrieu tell reporters at a news conference yesterday that her office was putting together an aid package with a "really big number" of dollars in the request. She emphasized the "number" aspect of the pending legislation so intensely and zealously that it felt more like she was intending to take advantage of the opportunity to bring home some pork rather than to help the suffering and rebuild the state. Her Republican counterpart, Senator Vitter's remarks were noticeably less focused on the "number" aspect.

I feel sorry for Louisiana, but I don't want to hand the state (or the IMO, similarly tactless Mary Landrieu) a blank check. Put some good engineering and risk analysis minds to work on this situation and rebuild responsibly. This situation is not an excuse for the gravy train that Senator Landrieu was proposing.

Dom Heffner
09-01-2005, 09:08 PM
I was just thinking that if an asteroid hit the earth, we would probably deserve it for taking up residence in the universe.

KronoRed
09-01-2005, 09:11 PM
I was just thinking that if an asteroid hit the earth, we would probably deserve it for taking up residence in the universe.

What the heck were we thinking?

ochre
09-01-2005, 09:25 PM
What the heck were we thinking?
Blame the Dinosaurs!

RBA
09-01-2005, 09:27 PM
Keith Olberman just said it maybe decades before New Orleans is habitable again.

paintmered
09-01-2005, 09:46 PM
My question is this:

By the time we rebuild the city sufficienty so that people can resume their pre-hurricane lives, will people even want to move back?

If we are talking five years down the road, chances are that many of these refugees will have already re-established themselves elsewhere. Why go back? Their homes will have moved elsewhere.

Edit: I realize this sounds a little insensitive and that is not my intention. I am just curious if it is worthwhile to rebuild if many of the people won't be returning.

jmcclain19
09-01-2005, 09:48 PM
Blame the Dinosaurs!

I blame Dave Miley and Bob Boone

Jaycint
09-01-2005, 09:51 PM
Lovely, you would think with the years of posterior schmoozing and baby kissing that politicians have under their belts they would be able to display some sort of tact. Hastert proves this theory false.

Rojo
09-01-2005, 09:54 PM
What if we built some really awesome low income housing? And maybe we could shore up the city and put solar panels on the roofs and give it a kick-ass public transit system and excellent schools and daycare......

And then he woke up.

Jaycint
09-01-2005, 09:55 PM
After thinking about this, and not having any background on that part of the country or coastline I have a question:

Does the entirety of the Louisiana coast present this same problem? For instance, if the city of New Orleans was moved 50 miles east or west would they still face the same problem? Is the particular area where the city now is the only place where the harbor is deep enough and suitable enough to make it a viable port city?

I realize the viability of actually moving a major metropolitan area 50 miles to the east or west is next to nil but I was just trying to think of it in hypothetical terms.

Rojo
09-01-2005, 09:58 PM
After thinking about this, and not having any background on that part of the country or coastline I have a question:

Does the entirety of the Louisiana coast present this same problem? For instance, if the city of New Orleans was moved 50 miles east or west would they still face the same problem? Is the particular area where the city now is the only place where the harbor is deep enough and suitable enough to make it a viable port city?

I realize the viability of actually moving a major metropolitan area 50 miles to the east or west is next to nil but I was just trying to think of it in hypothetical terms.

I think if you moved it to the other side of the Mississippi (which I think is Angola prison) it would be a lot safer.

paintmered
09-01-2005, 09:59 PM
The problem is the lake (I'm not even going to try to spell it) to the north. That's where the storm surge occurred and the levees failed.

Jaycint
09-01-2005, 10:03 PM
The problem is the lake (I'm not even going to try to spell it) to the north. That's where the storm surge occurred and the levees failed.

So hypothetically if those levees were made twice as strong and maybe twice as tall this could have been averted? From what I hear the pump systems throughout the city didn't function very well if at all either. I would think that entire system would need to be upgraded and overhauled if New Orleans can be built back into what it was.

paintmered
09-01-2005, 10:09 PM
So hypothetically if those levees were made twice as strong and maybe twice as tall this could have been averted? From what I hear the pump systems throughout the city didn't function very well if at all either. I would think that entire system would need to be upgraded and overhauled if New Orleans can be built back into what it was.


From my understanding (which is quite limited), the levees played a large part in reducing the flow of silt that flows down the mississippi. Instead of settling in the delta region and New Orleans, it continutes into the gulf. As a result, the city has actually sank lower below sea level as well as reducing the size of islands in the gulf which would normally act like a hurricane buffer to the city. So if they were to strengthen the levee system to withstand a category five, you'd still have the major problem of the land deteriorating below you - possibly even increase it.

flyer85
09-01-2005, 10:11 PM
Does the entirety of the Louisiana coast present this same prblem? from NO to the mouth of the Mississippi is the all part of the delta, which means its all basically a swamp.

LoganBuck
09-02-2005, 12:15 AM
From my understanding (which is quite limited), the levees played a large part in reducing the flow of silt that flows down the mississippi. Instead of settling in the delta region and New Orleans, it continutes into the gulf. As a result, the city has actually sank lower below sea level as well as reducing the size of islands in the gulf which would normally act like a hurricane buffer to the city. So if they were to strengthen the levee system to withstand a category five, you'd still have the major problem of the land deteriorating below you - possibly even increase it.

This is absolutely correct. According to some projections, at the end of this century NO will be at or below the water table. Rebuilding NO will be the an enormous project. Doing it where it sits may be a very unwise decision. The question needs to be asked now, not in 70 years when the city has sunk farther.

WVRedsFan
09-02-2005, 01:32 AM
I would think that Congress would have some type of limited discussion before actually blurting things out.

OTOH - They need to actually work with some Dutch engineers about levees before planning some large-scale reurbanization.

One of the problems in 2005 America.

Sorry, this will offend some.

We have empowered political lightweights like the politician who blurted out this drivel. Why? Because we are so all-fired concerned with issues like abortion, "showing them arabs who's boss," and "them damn liberals who I hate," that we fail to see the man behind the slogan he gets elected on. Men like the Speaker are all over. Sure, they appeal to our prejudices and we vote overwhelmingly for them, but inside these guys are simply insensitive and cruel. And we've rubber stamped these attitudes to the tune of 54%, so that they think we all think like that.

In times like these, I could care less about all the abortions in New Orleans, whether they are a blue or red state, or hated liberal or by gawd conservative. Unfortunately, the Speaker toes the line that has been the bloody rag of the last 25 years..."No bleeding heart here."

May he be defeated by 80 percent (which simply ain't gonna happen).

Rant off and my apologies.