Tico -- were these editorials or Op-Ed pieces? Do you realize there's a difference?
(No scorn intended -- I didn't notice the difference myself until Frank Apisa pointed it out to me about a year back.)
Tico - I see no schizophrenia at all in the pieces you posted. They are talking about completely different areas. What is down river of New Orleans that is affected by the levees there? What farming is being promoted by levees in New Orleans? What tributaries of the Mississipi regularly flood New Orleans?
The present piece and previous pieces both talk about destruction of wetlands and how it is bad.
The control of floods upriver make New Orleans more susceptable to flooding. That has always been the argument about flood control, forcing water to stay in the channel upriver means more water downriver. Looks pretty consistent to me when you examine the reality of what it talks about and not just jump on the word "flood" as a common denominator.
Anyone who cares about responsible budgeting and the health of America's rivers and wetlands should pay attention to a bill now before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The bill would shovel $17 billion at the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and other water-related projects -- this at a time when President Bush is asking for major cuts in Medicaid and other important domestic programs. Among these projects is a $2.7 billion boondoggle on the Mississippi River that has twice flunked inspection by the National Academy of Sciences.
The Government Accountability Office and other watchdogs accuse the corps of routinely inflating the economic benefits of its projects. And environmentalists blame it for turning free-flowing rivers into lifeless canals and destroying millions of acres of wetlands -- usually in the name of flood control and navigation but mostly to satisfy Congress's appetite for pork.
This is a bad piece of legislation.
While our attention must now be on the Gulf Coast's most immediate needs, the nation will soon ask why New Orleans's levees remained so inadequate. Publications from the local newspaper to National Geographic have fulminated about the bad state of flood protection in this beloved city, which is below sea level. Why were developers permitted to destroy wetlands and barrier islands that could have held back the hurricane's surge? Why was Congress, before it wandered off to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the gaping holes in the area's flood protection?
The hotlinked "pages" in the phrase "Given the hysteria enveloping the editorial pages of the NYT due to hurricane Katrina," at Tico's source would seem to indicate the former (it goes to a Krugman column).
(Note, "pages", not "hysteria" or "eveloping".)
I don't think this is a simple tale of incompetence. The reason the military wasn't rushed in to help along the Gulf Coast is, I believe, the same reason nothing was done to stop looting after the fall of Baghdad. Flood control was neglected for the same reason our troops in Iraq didn't get adequate armor.
At a fundamental level, I'd argue, our current leaders just aren't serious about some of the essential functions of government. They like waging war, but they don't like providing security, rescuing those in need or spending on preventive measures. And they never, ever ask for shared sacrifice.
Tico: I see no discrepancy between 'Pork barrel levees have been built in lots of places where they don't belong', and 'Essential levees have not been built in New Orleans, where they do belong'. In fact, I would have said this is a fairly common misfeature of federal spending in general. For just one other example, witness the federal government spend one amount to protect each New Yorker from terrorists, and a multiple of that amount to protect each North Dakotan.
And anyway, what are they going to do? What is zero tolarence on looters, when theres no police stations?
5 months ago they thought that was a "bad piece of legislation." What has happened since then to change their minds? Oh, yeah ... Hurricane Katrina.
I am praying for the day when we don't describe black people as articulate.