Archive for the Enemies Category

I know I am a little late to the party on this one so I’ll just try to post some very brief points. My Nola blogger brethren have already superbly addressed the dude, accuratly pointing at the amazing lack of critical thought he has perpetrated on the Internet. Cheers and love to them.

So I will just say this:

vampire.jpg

MR. VAN DER LEUN IS THE HEAD VAMPIRE!

Seperated at birf those two.

Seriously though. I feel less and less threatened and more and more frustrated with this brand of ignorance as the years go on. If I lived somewhere else it would be easy to ignore them like the rest of society does. But since they have chosen my hometown as their “I’m OK, Your not OK” political bile, I am tasked with taking one for the team as they say. I get to be hated so others can live free. I’m fine with that. Luckily, I encountered this ‘mook late in the day and the bloggers linked above have done all the heavy lifting as it relates to his inaccuracies and all-around douchemookery.

I will say that when it comes to hate, people tend to loath you for your happiness. And since Mr. Van Der Laun chose several times in his post to address the very culture and joi de vive of New Orleans, I would hazard to guess he pictures himself too dignified to get all dressed up and dance in the street. Which is probably the root of his and his followers problems – a complete and utter lack of spirit. Who took it? Where did it go? Must have happened in childhood?

I can at least take heart in knowing that his insipid brand of conservative thought has grown more and more irrelevant as the world progresses. The latest elections are all showing that. Even he has wavered from it from time to time, donating money during the flood then suddenly coming to his senses and wanting it back (Hint: It was when you showed empathy and compassion that you were truly human, less so now). Like a zombie twitching on the road, his is a way of thought that once had a shred of momentum after a brutal attack but before everyone realized that it’s philosophy was essentially playing High Popalorum vs Low Popahirum with the terrorists.

Mr. Van Der Laun? Do you wonder why your views are marginalized? Perhaps it’s because people aren’t down with calls to nuke their own country? Perhaps it’s because most of us don’t pick and choose our sorrow.

I am actually taking it as a good sign that far right leaning ahem, wingnuts, are the among the only people taking a stand against New Orleans recovery these days, theirs being the perishing and irrelevant philosophy that it is. Anti-recovery pundits living in the tiny margins must be a sign that the sentiment to save New Orleans is growing in the mainstream.

The funny thing is, his arguments against liberalism in New Orleans could be enlarged and applied to the rough shod control of Conservatives in America for six years.

Anyway, here is a link to the mook in question and yes, he is going on the list.

Also, I need to spend some time trying to iron out the logistics of putting 100,000 people on school buses in two days time. If people are going to hate Nagin, hate him for all the reasons we hate him. Ever notice you never hear anyone from here mention anything about school buses?

Well, it appears as though another newspaper columnist has taken up the “let it die” cause.

This one has considerably less credentials than the last but he needs to be addressed nonetheless. No one gets a free pass when they are advocating my and my neighbors’ financial ruin and the destruction by neglect of our homes.

Following is a point-by-point retort to Mr. Bryce Lambley of the Freemont Tribune, a 139 year-old paper in Eastern Nebraska that should really have a more respectful attitude towards history and cultural heritage.

The continued hand-wringing over rebuilding efforts (and our tax money being spent) in New Orleans is starting to wear real thin on me.

Then you can imagine how thin it’s wearing on US.

The experts are now saying if they build up the weakest levees, it will put the French Quarter in even more jeopardy.

Seems to me the smartest response is to simply rebuild the poverty-ridden city on higher ground; just annex the neighbors like Omaha did.

I like that he uses the word “simply” in reference to rebuilding an entire city with a giant port, four major expanses, with many historical districts and cultures and built on the deepest channel of the Mississippi River.

It’s not that I don’t have a heart.

No. You don’t get it both ways. You advise that people be made to leave the place where their families have lived for 300 years and write that a major city to be abandoned rather than spend a small portion of your tax dollars on it, and you still want to pretend you have a heart? No.

We’ve got tornadoes in this part of the country. There are also wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes, ice storms, blizzards, floods, and all matter of other natural disasters. All are regrettable and most are unavoidable.

But when New Orleans – a huge part of which actually existed below sea level – got hammered by Hurricane Katrina, the nation’s outcry and shock was astounding, fueled by knee-jerk angst from pseudojournalists like Geraldo Rivera.

Perhaps their outcry and shock were fueled by the fact that they contained a shred of humanity and were outraged that such a botched response could happen in the United States to Americans? No but, really, it was Geraldo and Anderson Cooper who conjured up a spell that made their viewers suddenly sympathetic. Because nobody is moved by a bloated body floating in the street of a great American city unless a journalist tells them to be upset about it. Ditto for the reactions to dead old ladies in wheelchairs.

I too was shocked when I learned how much of that city was built below the level of the Mississippi River, Lake Ponchartrain, and the Gulf of Mexico. Do these people not understand the simple nature of water and physics?

That’s it. The Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t understand the simple nature of water and physics. You got it. This sports writer from Nebraska has a stupefying revelation for the United States Government. Somebody call the Netherlands! Water flows DOWN!

Some lessons must take a while to sink in (pardon the pun). Years ago, when Nebraskans tried to alleviate flooding in the southeast part of the state, they quickly found that when you channelize one part of a river, you just about have to do the same for the rest of the river downstream.

Yea, downstream, that’s us. And why didn’t your state just tell those folks to simply rebuild their cities? Wait, they had alittle vision?

If you don’t, the newly-straightened (channelized) portions of the river do a great job of quickly moving heavy downpours out of the flood-prone area. But when this accelerated runoff then hits the unchannelized portions downstream (with lots of twists and turns), the flooding is dramatically worsened.

In other words, if you don’t do the job completely, you’ve actually made the situation worse. We learned those lessons quickly on the Nemaha river system as well as the mighty Missouri.

Doing the job completely, yes, that’s what we want.

So what should we learn from this disaster? Move the city to higher ground!

Even though I have said this isn’t the smartest path, I want you to know that to create a new infrastructure for New Orleans in a different location would be very, very expensive for everyone involved, including the oil and gas industry. There is already an infrastructure in place so it would all have to be rebuilt elsewhere. Then there is the problem with what to do with the infrastructure in place. Ban people from entering the city? How exactly is this supposed to take place? Is this more practical than simply buyilding better levees? Probably not!

Instead, in New Orleans (and Washington) it seems they’d rather point fingers, hold out their cup, or label the poor response as racism. That and blame the President, FEMA, the Red Cross, National Guard and the war in Iraq. Where is the federal relief money? Where is their FEMA trailer?

And the head of FEMA who had no emergency management experience? What was that? We were supposed to keep our outrage to ourselves?

And the many people rebuilding in the city right now who never held out a cup? What about them? We are supposed to tell them they don’t count and no one is going to regard them because everyone is so pissed off at the poor people who can’t afford to rebuild? Everyone wants to drag out the people who are waiting for government assistance that they are ignoring the people who don’t. Therefore they are drawing attention to the very thing they despise and ignoring those who are actually doing something.

Do you really think the disaster response would have been as botched if Katrina happened in Miami Beach?

The people down here are asking for federal money because federal levees failed and caused the disaster in the first place.

And since you brought up the War in Iraq, you may want to look over your figures and see how many of your tax dollars are being spent on that debacle and compare it to how many have been spent on revitalizing an American port city. We could have bought dozens of levee systems with that cash.

Are they serious?

Damn right we are serious.

They built a city on ancient river-borne sediment

When you say “They” I want you to realize you are talking about people like presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. You are also referring to people who maybe thought it to be a good idea to have a city on the mouth of the continent’s largest river. These people thought it could possibly be a good idea to regulate traffic on that river. They also saw a resource rich continent to the south that would need a port close by. They also saw that large ocean-going vessels could never make it up the river so they would need to offload their supplies somewhere near the mouth. I know. What dumb asses!

that is prone to compaction (sinking)

Thanks for the parentheses. I never would have known what compaction was without that aside.

and did it below the level of an ocean that is known for brewing up nasty storms, and suddenly they’re horrified this great act of tempting fate backfires.

It’s a gulf.

Most of the city (including my house) is well over sea level, so much so that it is measured in meters. And I’m in New Orleans proper too. Also, the horror is from the selfish nature of certain members of the American populace and their unwillingness to care about the city and its people. We are also a little teary-eyed about the death of vision in America.

It would seem to me that when natural disasters strike here in the Midwest – such as the monster blizzards in the high plains this past winter – that folks simply button up their coats and help each other in any way they can.

And as many have pointed out, there was not widespread moaning that the federal government wasn’t helping. Or complaining there wasn’t a FEMA trailer or stipend for them.

Really? Because with a simple Internet search, I found a blizzard that occurred in 1949 that required the help of the Fifth Army, the Red Cross, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Air Force, the National Guard and the Civil Air Patrol. I guess the three people that died in this blizzard didn’t button up their coats far enough.

And I suppose everybody refused this money allocated to the state shortly before Katrina.

They didn’t expect the President to be there in person. And (thankfully) there were no visits from Sean Penn, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or other grandstanding opportunists.

So if someone comes down to help, they are only doing so to be an opportunist, and someone who doesn’t do shit is…what exactly?

Didn’t everybody expect at least a visit from Bush? I mean, is it too much to ask for the guy to put his feet on the ground and make an appearance? Smell the odor of flooded houses? LBJ did it.

Yes, the destruction caused by Katrina was devastating and I truly feel bad for those affected.

Again, no. You don’t have the right to back off from your own words by stating that you care. If you cared, this article would be in the form of a plea rather than sounding as if it was the schoolboy scribble of a snide heel. So spare me the part where you try and make yourself feel good by saying you really do care for people who you attempt to make look stupid with remarks about not understanding physics and such. Especially since none of us have forgotten that we lost 1,700 neighbors two years ago.

And I do hope much of the city can be rebuilt Å  on higher ground and without my tax money.

Vote for who you want to vote for (though I have a sneaking suspicion you aren’t happy with any of the candidates) but rest assured, your money will be wasted on much worse than building people new homes and helping them get back on their feet.

But let’s put things into perspective. If you or I are crazy enough to build much more than a ramshackle cabin on a Platte River island or shore, and a flood sweeps it away, folks here won’t have much sympathy for our decision to build there in the first place. We take the risks of developing such land knowingly.

I wouldn’t project your lack of sympathy onto others. That’s a bold and arrogant step. Simply because you lack compassion for your fellow Americans doesn’t mean everyone else does.

Your “they deserved it for living there” argument is common. I wonder how many of you felt like writing that after thousands of people died on Sept. 11 in a building that had been attacked once in the last decade? I don’t recall many people writing editorials about that. But somehow it is okay to insinuate that about New Orleans. I wonder what the difference between the people who died in those two disasters is?

Anyway, you are on the list.

Dennis Hastert
Enemy to the Peoples and Cultures of New Orleans and South Louisiana

Rep. Dennis Hastert
Enemy to the Peoples and Cultures of New Orleans and South Louisiana

E-mail: http://www.house.gov/hastert/write1.shtml
Homepage: http://www.house.gov/hastert/index.shtml

2304 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Phone: 202-225-2976
Fax: 202-225-0697

He has said…

In reference to spending on the recovery:

“I don’t know. That doesn’t make sense to me.”

And…

“It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed,”

Though he later balked on advocating the relocation of the city, Hastert remains on the list due to his importance as a member of the U.S. Congress.

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Jack Shafer
Enemy to the Peoples and Cultures of New Orleans and South Louisiana

Jack Shafer
Enemy to the Peoples and Cultures of New Orleans and South Louisiana

E-mail: slate.pressbox@gmail.com, pressbox@hotmail.com

I haven’t found any other contact information but I will include info for Slate’s Washington offices:

Slate’s Washington, D.C.
1800 M Street, Suite 330
Washington, D.C., 20036.

To contact editors, please call Christopher Beam at (202) 261-1310

He has said…

Only a sadist would insist on resurrecting this concentration of poverty, crime, and deplorable schools. Yet that’s what New Orleans’ cheerleaders—both natives and beignet-eating tourists—are advocating. They predict that once they drain the water and scrub the city clean, they’ll restore New Orleans to its former “glory.”

Unless the federal government adopts New Orleans as its ward and pays all its bills for the next 20 years—an unlikely to absurd proposition—the place won’t be rebuilt.

But it would be a mistake to raise the American Atlantis. It’s gone.

Full article:
Don’t Refloat: The case against rebuilding the sunken city of New Orleans.

I have toyed with this idea for a while and wasn’t inspired to actually put it together until I read this editorial published the day after America’s birthday. In it, the author, Robert M. Thorson, blatantly speaks out against the recovery of the city and demands that no further federal money be spent attempting to bring it back.

I don’t have it in me to issue a retort to him. It would be the same argument I have had for some time now. Perhaps my passion-filled and acid-penned brothers-in-blogs Ashley or Mark Folse could adeptly deal with him. And, since he is a professor of geology at the University of Connecticut’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, perhaps our resident geologist Maitri could address his concerns in that field.

What I am going to do is make him the first inductee into my “Enemies of the State” list. The list will consist of public figures who have spoken out against, and therefore advocated the destruction of, The Peoples and Cultures of New Orleans and South Louisiana.

These are people who support the evacuation and abandonment of the New Orleans and South Louisiana in lieu of any engineering or or environmental vision to save it. These are the short-sighted, inspirationally-challenged citizens of America. These are individuals who have become detached from the spirit of accomplishment that led to the greatest public works projects of the 20th century. They are also scoundrels whose infatuation with tax dollars overrides their humanity. And perhaps they were unaware that when they decided to go out of their way to address and support the forced evacuation of millions of people, they happened to be walking on the fighting side of those very people.

Congratulations Robert M. Thorson. You are the first inductee to The Chicory’s Enemies of the State list.

I’ve added a link to the list on the sidebar and there are a few other people right off the top of my bald head who need to be categorized as contributors to the destruction of an American city and culture.

—————————————-

Robert Thorson
Enemy to the Peoples and Cultures of New Orleans and South Louisiana

Robert M. Thorson
Enemy to the Peoples and Cultures of New Orleans and South Louisiana

E-mail: profthorson@hotmail.com, robert.thorson@uconn.edu
Homepage: http://www.stonewall.uconn.edu/thorson/index.html

He has said:

My plan has only one point. That we not spend another dime on U.S. properties below sea level – and use that money instead to help sea-level refugees find safer homes elsewhere.

I believe that the real reason New Orleans remains unfixed – without police and fire protection and with vacant hospitals – is because objective visionaries and smart money sees such rebuilding as a risky, if not wasteful war against nature.

A rational yielding to nature’s greater power inspires only a few voters of my persuasion.