2006/02/07

More Liberal Heresy - Should we really rebuild New Orleans?

OK now I'm on a roll and it's turning into "Heresy Day" at Blognonymous.

I have as much sympathy as the next frog for the plight of Katrina's victims. I want to see every single dime of the money allocated by Bu$hCo (and more) spent to get New Orleans' residents back on their feet, but I think that we need to consider--Global warming is a fact, not fiction. Polar ice is melting and sea levels in response are rising. When the Gulf of Mexico is 15' above where it is today, no levees, no pumps, in short nothing, will be able to keep New Orleans dry. So the question is: Should we really be rebuilding the Big Easy?

Now that I've stuck my foot in it, the thread is open. What kinds of liberal heresy would you commit?

Post. Discuss. Email me, and I'll add your links.

30 Comments:

OMG..you said the GW word...and you didn't even whisper, the shock, the shame, the horror...15 INCHES???? shit...we may as well also give each home a boat and put on stilts...( and of course the obligatory axe in the attic)....

Little Frog we love your new svelte look, so sleek.....
No, we should not be rebuilding the Big Easy - at least not the way it was before. Insurance companies are now rating policies slanted toward their view that global warming is a real threat, so why should we repopulate people into those areas?

I'm all for spending whatever it takes to restore people's lives, but the Big Easy may need to expand out into the suburbs - and I'm not talking about trailer parks. Give people a choice of either living in another section of the city, the suburbs or another city of their choosing, and then find them suitable housing - maybe even give them a chance to put sweat equity into their home like Habitat for Humanity does.
Uh...E4E, 15' is FIFTEEN FEET! :-) 15" is fifteen inches.

But hey, thanks for the compliment. Been working out you know. Don't think the parasol makes me look to...uh...well you know?
I think its makes you look girlie as hell, kvatch. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Should we rebuild? I almost posted on the reasons why we should yesterday (which would have spared you the wargasm post)but as I was reading, I sort of talked myself out of it- the more facts I started to gather on the ability to make the "New Nawlins" safe. Now I am not sure it makes sense to make the investment. Emotionally,yes. Fiscally? no.
I think its makes you look girlie as hell, kvatch. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Well 'spose I don't mind being a "girlie frog". Though I'm sure that our beloved Governator wouldn't approve.

"Kvatch, I cahn't believe you ahre von of zhose, gurlie frogz."
Huh?

Melting Ice in the Artic will raise levels 15"?
Guys, ice raises the level of water.
When it melts it takes up less space. As far as Greenland's ice melting, it might be a draw.
But the real danger (imho) is the fresh water coming from the melted ice, mixing with sea water and consequently changing ocean currents for ages.
The possibility that it could *snap* and be a sudden reversal is real, creating an environmental disaster.
There is already proof that the temps in the highest atmosphere's are falling as the ground's temps are rising. That is the scary part.
I gotta feeling this summer is going to be a long hot one. Stock up on the sunscreen.

Strieber & Bell's book came out years ago, way before the Hollywood movie,but it still had excellent points in it.
Al Gore did a great speech last year on global warming and the fact that the ice is melting faster in the last 20 years than it has for the last hundred or more..and the water mixing w/the salt water changes so many things..like the temperature of the ocean and yes the salt content...which changes the weather..I can see eyes glazing over so I will hush..

If they are going to rebuild in the flood plains of the Big Easy they need to put the houses on stilts..just like they have in Texas down by the Gulf..its not stupid, and it works. I have friends that live in those "stilt" houses and its no big deal..except walking UP those damn steps is a pain in the ass if you do it more than once or twice a day..but worth it.
ps..I like the new frog..even if it is a metrosexual one..lol.
Really, I think the more important question is whether the good citizens of the Big Easy really want to risk living in a rebuilt NOLA. The old places were built to last. Newer housing developments, lashed together with pressed wood and cheep parts, won't last one iota longer in the next Katrina sized or larger 'Cane.

If the answer is yes, let them rebuild and support it. If the answer is no, then let's support them to relocate to a place of their choosing.
FIFTEEN FEET OMG THAT IS HORRIFIC....

and about the froggorific new sleek look....you totally rock...course I liked the little rainforest frog too.....
New Orleans fell into the ocean... or the ocean fell into New Orleans. I'm not sure of the bayou is half empty or half full, but rebuilding New Orleans brick-for-brick and stick-for-stick is just plain arrogant folly.

New Orleans doesn't need to be rebuilt, it needs to be re-engineered, re-conceived. Besides, we don't have enough money in this country to make it through the filter of graft that is the Bush "reconstruction" effort and trickle down to actual construction work.
Hey, I saw this and thought of you because of some stuff you posted a while back:

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060213/chester
Oh, and I just want you to know, I am flagging your blog as "objectionable" to blogger/google in protest for not winning my 4th or 5th consecutive contest on this site,

I demand a recount dammit!

I don't want to play if I don't win!
Rebuild New Orleans? Please. In times of never-ending war, we as Americans need to tighten our belts, not lose them altogether like Uncle Fred after the Thanksgiving meal. No, America's doing just fine with Hershey, PA being the chocolate city (Ray Nagin's words, not mine) standard bearer.

Fiscally Conservatively Yours,

Rex
Melting Ice in the Artic will raise levels 15"?
Guys, ice raises the level of water.


Fifteen feet...FEET! Sheesh! :-) But of course you're right, AJ, with the exception of Greenland's ice and the Antarctic cap.

If just Greenland becomes ice free sea, level goes up 21 feet worldwide. If the entire Antarctic cap goes (very unlikey even under the most dire predictions)... 215, thats TWO-HUNDERD AND FIFTEEN feet increase in sea level.
...and about the froggorific new sleek look....you totally rock...course I liked the little rainforest frog too.....

Dont' worry the tree frog will be back. I've got a whole parcel of new looks to put into rotation. Need to figure out the jagged edges on the icon, though. Looks great on my mac and like sh*t on my PC.

Stacy: So sorry, I've already been flagged--flagged months and months ago by Jason of Generation Why? I suspect. As for the contest...they're will always be another. Don't leave. We'd miss you.
Kvatch,

My new CEO. Thank you for the happy thoughts before bedtime.
First, your original question was actually, 'What kinds of liberal heresy would you commit?' Hmm. I do think that everyone who can should get a job and work hard. I don't think that it is exactly a non-liberal idea - but it seems to shock the neocons I meet and throws them off their bibblety talking points for half a second. When I pontificate on living wage and the questions, "What do we do with those who can't take care of themselves... and those who won't?" which I think ultimate reflect who we are as a society - that's when I lose them. Ah well.

Regarding New Orleans. A-hem. Ya'll lived there? Worked there? Known anybody born there? Deeply consider the social and personal ramifications of what you are saying. I know all about global warming models (married to environmental science guy) and it's a fair bet that one of the potential outcomes has a big red X over your hometown. Disasters happen. They challenge who we are and what we're capable of. To me, though, Katrina wasn't something that happened to people I didn't know. I'm up in Virginia but I spent most of my formative years on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi (which also got screwed - friends of my parents died during the storm) and have worked in both Slidell (first job that wasn't babysitting) and New Orleans (first job out of college). This whole disaster sucked. Do I think we should rebuild New Orleans? Yes. Intelligently. With the best information and planning possible, without populating the lowest lying areas. (BTW, the idea about the suburbs? They were screwed, too. Slidell, which is now basically a bedroom community across the Ponchatrain, had massive destruction. Picayune, which is in Mississippi and considered "living way out" even if you work on the East Side of NOLA, was also screwed.)

Now, are we likely to get the intelligent planning that I'm hoping for? Of course not. Just as we aren't likely to convince the intensely home and family oriented New Orleans natives that they shouldn't rebuild. If you don't know that about them, you ain't been there.

If you want to hear something from a liberal on the ground in NOLA check out oyster at Your Right Hand Thief. He's there and he's dealing with it.
First, your original question was actually, 'What kinds of liberal heresy would you commit?'

Too true, Commander Sue
But as you can surely view
The readers are quite apt to
Their own thoughts oft pursue.

That recited, I do have friends from the Big Easy, and everything you said is absolutely correct. There is no easy solution for dealing with N.O.'s 1,000,000 residents. I think I was trying challenge the orthodoxy of rebuilding more than suggesting that we actually stop dead in our tracks and switch direction.
I don't know if this adds anything to the discussion, but can of worms blog Science Correspondent Christine wrote an interesting peice on hurricanes here:

http://canofwormsblog.com/2006/01/23/global-warming-and-hurricanes/#comments

Check it out, if you think it is crazy leave a comment and stuff.
That speaks to the real point. Do I think we have the capability to rebuild, and build intelligently? of course. But I don;t think we do things intelligently. If we had, the situation would not have gone down like that in the first place.

We all relate to the emotional response,the people we know, etc. Well I grew up on Long Island, where homes are built practically in the surf. Year after year, homes get flooded, damaged, destroyed. Some of these have been rebuilt several times!

Do I begrudge them community, sentimentality, their million dollar view? No. But on a certain level there is such a thing as not forcing the issue over and over. The premise of the rebuild argument is based on the idea that it would be rebuilt with proper planning, and the cynic in me says that this is not what will happen with record deficits, war budget, cut programs, etc. The skeptic in me does not believe that we are going to step up to the plate on this.


By all means, build where you can. On higher ground, where possible. But the really vulnerable places? Can we not consider a little of both- must it be a build or not build argument? Build where it makes sense and where there is reasonable protection.
The people that have a few extra bucks to spend on an ocean front view don't really care if they have to spend what I probably spend on mortgage for their insurance.
It's the same logic (in) the people that purchase the heavy 4WD Hummers....and drive them like bat's out of hell. Who care's about the gas cost?
NOLA is one of the main ports in the country. You can't run a port and everything that goes with it without some sort of urban infrastructure, I would think. Maybe the city should be rebuilt up river a little. Putting it back where it was seems like a big waste of time and money.
NOLA is one of the main ports in the country.

Of course you are right Drew. In fact, NO is the the port for agricultural goods being exported, and that is a huge part of the economy.
Not to mention a place to excrete genetically modified frankenfoods...
Where did you filch that frog from kvatch? it looks very familiar..
Dusty, that is Michigan J. Frog from the famous cartoon One Froggy Evening. (Shhhhhh. Don't tell Warner Bros.)
Couple of belated notes about New Orleans. First: Poorly designed levees/floodwalls caused most of the flooding (and that was Lake Pontchartrain coming in, not the ocean).

Second: I chose to live in New Orleans precisely because the suburban life in Florida was so sanitized,soulless and car-centric. New Orleans is/was a city of actual, living, breathing neighborhoods. That in itself is worth preserving, much less the city's cultural contributions, the oil infrastructure, seafood industry and port system.

I have a feeling the Netherlands will find a way to survive rising ocean levels. Surely the U.S. can similarly preserve one of its most interesting cities.
Oyster, thanks for stopping by. Really, the whole thread was really meaning to suggest that we abandon any plans to rebuild N.O. Rather it was to challenge the orthodoxy of thinking on the subject.

N.O. is one of America's historically richest cities, and it would be a shame to lose all of that.

Your point about the Netherlands is well taken, but there is on major difference, the Netherlands rarely if ever experiences 30' storm surges. That said, restoration of wetlands South and (I believe) East of N.O. could go a long way toward mitigating the damage of storms like Katrina.
Yeah, if you read "Bayou Farewell" the author pretty much outlined how the loss of wetlands was going to have this impact. I picked up the book at a panel presentation of three authors writing about the ocean and wetlands back in, like, 2000 or something. The good news is that my copy is autographed. The bad news is he was right. And that it is just going to get worse unless we get serious about wetland protection.

The wetlands. They're not just a place to build DisneyWorld anymore...

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