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  • Saturday, September 17, 2005


    Seeing Disaster Through Glasses the Color of Money

    [Important prefatory note: Nothing, NOTHING pisses me off as much as finishing writing a post and having it eaten by the gremlins of Blogger or the internet. I know, I know. I shouldn't be writing it online in Blogger, I should write it offline in Word or something else. Yet I've never gotten cut and paste to work properly between Word and Blogger. I always lose all the emphasis and links no matter how I try to massage the text. (Do not doubt that I know how to massage text. I can make text reach... I'm leaving that sentence unfinished to protect your sensitive sensibilities. No one should have that image in their mind.)

    You may grasp from this line of ranting that I lost a couple of hours of work on this post. I will never do as thorough a job the second time; I inevitably forget important points, making my already scattered approach seem even more disjointed. Right now, I just feel like posting the links I used and forgo all commentary. Plus I need to feed lung tea to Fierce Celt, my housemate, who has come down with a hellacious cough with bronchial congestion and fever. Oh, well... Perhaps I'll come back to the post and flesh it out later. (yeah, sure. don't hold your breath for the expanded version.) Here are the basics.]

    From Heritage Foundation Capitalizes on Katrina by Bill Berkowitz:
    Drill the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, suspend environmental regulations including the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, suspend prevailing wage labor laws, promote vouchers and school choice, repeal the estate tax and copiously fund faith-based organizations. These are just some of the recommendations a trio of hearty Heritage Foundation senior management officials are making to best facilitate the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast.

    Just as the Iraq War has been a Petri Dish for the neoconservative foreign policy agenda, rebuilding the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina could prove to be the mother of all testing grounds for a passel of active Heritage Foundation's domestic policy initiatives.

    From Katrina Unleashes Corporate Vultures by Bill Berkowitz:
    As the toxic waters inundating New Orleans receded into Lake Pontchartrain, headed for the Gulf of Mexico, huge corporations circled the devastated Gulf Coast like vultures. Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), a subsidiary of the Houston, Texas-based Halliburton --– the company formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney, which has made hundreds of millions of dollars off the War in Iraq --– inked a $16.6 million Navy contract to repair Gulf Coast military facilities. The Shaw Group, a Baton Rouge, La.-based $3 billion-a-year construction and engineering firm, announced, "“that it had received two contracts of up to $100 million each, one from FEMA, the other from The Corps of Engineers, to work on levees, pump water out of New Orleans and provide assistance with housing,"” the New York Times recently reported.

    Both KBR and The Shaw Group have at least one thing in common; they are clients of Joseph M. Allbaugh, the former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Allbaugh is the man principally responsible for bringing "“Brownie"” --– Michael Brown, the woefully unprepared head of FEMA who recently resigned from the agency --– on board. Allbaugh also spearheaded the Bush Administration'’s efforts to downsize the agency.

    In early September, Allbaugh came to Baton Rouge hunting up business for The Allbaugh Co., the Washington, DC-based lobbying outfit he and his wife Diane established after he left FEMA in 2003. The Allbaugh Co. specializes in advising companies how to get in on lucrative disaster relief projects.

    Also see After Katrina, Republicans push conservative measures.

    Thus ends this wretched excuse for a post.

    NB: This is PBU38, a post coordinated with other members of Progressive Blogger Union (PBU). I participate because, for me, activism is empty without community. Activism isn't just about showing up for a protest or writing a blog or signing a petition. It's about forming and forging alliances and lines of connection between people and groups. "The people united will never be defeated" isn't just a slogan to be chanted at rallies; it should be a way of life. It begins with working together toward common goals. If you want to see what other PBU members have written about right-wing proposals to rebuild the Gulf Coast, you can look under the subject header "PBU38" at the PBU group at Flickr. Or you can plug PBU38 into the Technorati search engine.

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