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The Katrina Myth

The truth about a thoroughly unnatural disaster

 

a special report filmed in the hours

before Gustav landed in Louisiana.

 

Jordan Flaherty about New Orleans  (video)  /  New Orleans pre-Gustav (video)

 

 

Katrina, the Pain Index

 46,000 Fewer Black Voters in New Orleans  

By Bill Quigley

 

August 25, 2008

0.  Number of renters in Louisiana who have received financial assistance from the $10 billion federal post-Katrina rebuilding program Road Home Community Development Block Grant – compared to 116,708 homeowners.

0.  Number of apartments currently being built to replace the 963 public housing apartments formerly occupied and now demolished at the St. Bernard Housing Development.

0.  Amount of data available to evaluate performance of publicly financed privately run charter schools in New Orleans in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 school years.

.008.  Percentage of the rental homes that were supposed to be repaired and occupied by August 2008 which were actually completed and occupied – a total of 82 finished out of 10,000 projected.

1.  Rank of New Orleans among U.S. cities in percentage of housing vacant or ruined.

1.  Rank of New Orleans among U.S. cities in murders per capita for 2006 and 2007.

4.  Number of the 13 City of New Orleans Planning Districts that are at the same risk of flooding as they were before Katrina.

10.  Number of apartments being rehabbed so far to replace the 896 apartments formerly occupied and now demolished at the Lafitte Housing Development.

11.  Percent of families who have returned to live in Lower Ninth Ward.

17.  Percentage increase in wages in the hotel and food industry since before Katrina.

20-25. Years that experts estimate it will take to rebuild the City of New Orleans at current pace.

25.  Percent fewer hospitals in metro New Orleans than before Katrina.

32.  Percent of the city’s neighborhoods that have fewer than half as many households as they did before Katrina.

36.  Percent fewer tons of cargo that move through Port of New Orleans since Katrina.

38.  Percent fewer hospital beds in New Orleans since Katrina.

40.  Percentage fewer special education students attending publicly funded privately run charter schools than traditional public schools.

41.  Number of publicly funded privately run public charter schools in New Orleans out of total of 79 public schools in the city.

43.  Percentage of child care available in New Orleans compared to before Katrina.

46.  Percentage increase in rents in New Orleans since Katrina.

56.  Percentage fewer inpatient psychiatric beds than before Katrina.

80.  Percentage fewer public transportation buses now than pre-Katrina.

81.  Percentage of homeowners in New Orleans who received insufficient funds to cover the complete costs to repair their homes.

300.  Number of National Guard troops still in City of New Orleans.

1080.  Days National Guard troops have remained in City of New Orleans.

1250.  Number of publicly financed vouchers for children to attend private schools in New Orleans in program’s first year.

6,982. Number of families still living in FEMA trailers in metro New Orleans area.

8,000. Fewer publicly assisted rental apartments planned for New Orleans by federal government.

10,000. Houses demolished in New Orleans since Katrina.

12,000. Number of homeless in New Orleans even after camps of people living under the bridge has been resettled - double the pre-Katrina number.

14,000. Number of displaced families in New Orleans area whose hurricane rental assistance expires March 2009.

32,000. Number of children who have not returned to public school in New Orleans, leaving the public school population less than half what is was pre-Katrina.

39,000. Number of Louisiana homeowners who have applied for federal assistance in repair and rebuilding who have still not received any money.

45,000. Fewer children enrolled in Medicaid public healthcare in New Orleans than pre-Katrina.

46,000. Fewer African American voters in New Orleans in 2007 gubernatorial election than 2003 gubernatorial election.

55,000. Fewer houses receiving mail than before Katrina.

62,000. Fewer people in New Orleans enrolled in Medicaid public healthcare than pre-Katrina.

71,657. Vacant, ruined, unoccupied houses in New Orleans today.

124,000. Fewer people working in metropolitan New Orleans than pre-Katrina.

132,000. Fewer people in New Orleans than before Katrina, according to the City of New Orleans current population estimate of 321,000 in New Orleans.

214,000. Fewer people in New Orleans than before Katrina, according to the U.S. Census Bureau current population estimate of 239,000 in New Orleans.          

453,726. Population of New Orleans before Katrina.

320 million. The number trees destroyed in Louisiana and Mississippi by Katrina.

368 million.  Dollar losses of five major metro New Orleans hospitals from Katrina through 2007.  In 2008, these hospitals expect another $103 million in losses.

1.9 billion.  FEMA dollars scheduled to be available to metro New Orleans for Katrina damages that have not yet been delivered.

2.6 billion.  FEMA dollars scheduled to be available to State of Louisiana for Katrina damages that have not yet been delivered.

Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He’s a regular contributor to CounterPunch, and can be reached at Quigley77@gmail.com  The NUCLEAR RESISTER, is published 5 to 6 times a year. It can be contacted at nukeresister@igc.org  

Source: CounterPunch

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Report on Gustav Evacuation

Another road trip. Unwelcomed. There is even, perhaps a touch of dread. Definitely wearying. Half past midnight, I closed the door. Locked it. Checked it. Turned my back. Joined my wife in her car and drove off into the warm, humid night. We were evacuating New Orleans.

The last time we left—three years ago, almost to the day—we were going over to Houston to stay a few days with Voris, my brother-in-law, until Katrina blew over. We thought we would be gone only two or three days. Four, five at the most. Then the reality hit—it was two months before I was back in our home.

There is not much optimism this time. We witnessed what happened with the last hurricane visit. The levee failures. The dearth of effective post-disaster leadership. The painfully slow, uneven and ultimately frustrating rebuilding process. In the interim, Voris died. And so have our smiles and our confidence that we can deal with this next disaster. Gone.

We know: there is a lot we can’t deal with. We know: the water can be a killer. We know: the devastation can be both deep and widespread. This next storm, this Gustave, this hurricane that threatens to hit us from the opposite direction compared to where Katrina socked us. We are still reeling. We were hit flush and spun around and just when we had wiped away blood from our split lips, from our broken noses; just when we had gathered ourselves and were in the midst of fighting back, here comes another huge roundhouse.

No one can not keep repeating the rupture, least of all we New Orleanians. Of all the major cities, we have the highest percentage of people who live and die in the same city where we were born and grew up. It is too much. The heart seizes up, the spirit withers, the brain sends an umistakable message: are you crazy? Why do you continue? Are you really going back, will you really stay when you return this time? Why?

Like counseling a domestic abuse survivor who is in deep denial: why do you keep going back? Why do you put up with it? You know you can do better.

By the time most of you read this, we will know how well our city did or did not survive Gustav. We will know, or at least have a good idea, of the extent of major damage—and yes, it is almost a given, there will be major damage, if not to us, then to one our neighboring communities: a small town on the coast like Grand Isle or Morgan City, or to nearby low lying areas like Waggman, where Ashley lives (just this past Thursday night she returned to grad school in Savannah, Georgia), or to the Woodmere subdivision in Harvey, where my dear friend Marian lives, Marian who took the time to call and let me know she was OK and had retreated to Shreveport, her childhood home. We all will know and I know the knowing will be nothing nice. . . .

P.S. I am safe in Atlanta with friends.
Kalamu ya Salaam (1 September 2008)

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Dear Rudy,
 
I'm in Memphis and staying with my friend Reginal Martin. Had dinner last night with Miriam DeCosta-Willis and other friends.  Will try to return to NOLA tomorrow. Thanks for staying in touch.
Jerry (2 September 2008)

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Jerry came in a few days ago and is staying with a mutual friend. Four of us went out to dinner Mon. night and had a ball talking about everything from the election to the state of the public schools. Jerry was planning to leave today, but I hear that the return is still difficult.Miriam (3 September 2008)

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New Orleans: The City That Won't Be Ignored— The early results are in: Hurricane Gustav has helped John McCain's bid for the White House. This is nothing short of incredible.

In the combination of New Orleans and hurricanes, we have the most powerful argument possible for the necessity of "change." It's all there: gaping inequality, deep racism, crumbling public infrastructure, global warming, rampant corruption, the Blackwater-ization of the public sector. And none of it is in the past tense. In New Orleans whole neighborhoods have gone to seed, Charity Hospital remains shuttered, public housing has been deliberately destroyed—and the levee system is still far from repaired.

Gustav should have been political rat poison for the Republicans, no matter how well it was managed. Yet, as Peter Baker noted in the New York Times, "rather than run away from the hurricane and its political risks, Mr. McCain ran toward it." If this strategy worked, it was at least partly because Barack Obama has been running away from New Orleans for his entire campaign.

Unlike John Edwards, who started and ended his nomination bid surrounded by the decay of New Orleans's Ninth Ward, Obama has shied away from the powerful symbolism the city offers. He waited almost a year after Hurricane Katrina to visit New Orleans and spent just half a day there ahead of the Louisiana primary. During the Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden made no mention of New Orleans in their keynotes. Bill Clinton spared just two words: "Katrina and cronyism."

In his Denver speech, Obama did invoke a government "that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes." But that only scratches the surface of what happened to New Orleans's poorest residents, who were first forcibly relocated and then

forced to watch from afar as their homes, schools and hospitals were stolen. As Obama spoke in Denver, families in New Orleans were already packing their bags in anticipation of Gustav, steeling themselves for yet another evacuation. They heard not even a perfunctory "our thoughts and prayers are with you" from the Democratic candidate for President.

There are plenty of political reasons for this, of course. Obama's campaign is pitching itself to the middle class, not the class of discarded people New Orleans represents. The problem is that by remaining virtually silent about the most dramatic domestic outrage in modern US history, Obama created a political vacuum. When Gustav hit, all McCain needed to do to fill it was show up. Sure, it was cynical for McCain to claim the hurricane zone as a campaign backdrop. But it was Obama who left that potent terrain as vacant as a lot in the Lower Ninth Ward. TheNation

posted 4 September 2008

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice.

"Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper's wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man's turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners' plans to give him a "necktie party" (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by "the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn't operate in his own home town." Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson's magnificent, extensively researched study of the "great migration," the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an "uncertain existence" in the North and Midwest.

Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.

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The First Emancipator

The Forgotten Story of Robert Carter, the Founding Father Who Freed His Slaves

By Andrew Levy

In 1791, at a time when the nation's leaders were fervently debating the contradiction of slavery in a newly independent nation, wealthy Virginia plantation owner Robert Carter III freed more than 450 slaves. It was to be the largest emancipation until the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Abraham Lincoln. Levy offers an absorbing look at the philosophical and religious debate and the political and family struggles in which Carter engaged for years before very deliberately and systematically freeing his slaves as he attempted to provide a model for others to follow. Drawing on historic documents, including Carter's letters and painstakingly detailed accounts of plantation activities, Levy conveys the strongly held beliefs that drove Carter through the political and religious fervor of the time to arrive at a decision at odds with those of other prominent leaders and slaveholders of the time, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Levy offers a fascinating look at one man's redemption and his eventual lapse into historical obscurity despite his incredibly bold actions. Well researched and thoroughly fascinating, this forgotten history will appeal to readers interested in the complexities of American slavery.—Booklist

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Life on Mars

By Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In its review of the book, Publishers Weekly noted the collection's "lyric brilliance" and "political impulses [that] never falter." A New York Times review stated, "Smith is quick to suggest that the important thing is not to discover whether or not we're alone in the universe; it's to accept—or at least endure—the universe's mystery. . . . Religion, science, art: we turn to them for answers, but the questions persist, especially in times of grief. Smith's pairing of the philosophically minded poems in the book’s first section with the long elegy for her father in the second is brilliant." Life on Mars follows Smith's 2007 collection, Duende, which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, the only award for poetry in the United States given to support a poet's second book, and the first Essence Literary Award for poetry, which recognizes the literary achievements of African Americans.

The Body’s Question (2003) was her first published collection. Smith said Life on Mars, published by small Minnesota press Graywolf, was inspired in part by her father, who was an engineer on the Hubble space telescope and died in 2008.

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It's The Middle Class Stupid!

By James Carville and Stan Greenberg

It’s the Middle Class, Stupid! confirms what we have all suspected: Washington and Wall Street have really screwed things up for the average American. Work has been devalued. Education costs are out of sight. Effort and ambition have never been so scantily rewarded. Political guru James Carville and pollster extraordinaire Stan Greenberg argue that our political parties must admit their failures and the electorate must reclaim its voice, because taking on the wealthy and the privileged is not class warfare—it is a matter of survival. Told in the alternating voices of these two top political strategists, It’s the Middle Class, Stupid! provides eye-opening and provocative arguments on where our government—including the White House—has gone wrong, and what voters can do about it. 

Controversial and outspoken, authoritative and shrewd, It’s the Middle Class, Stupid! is destined to make waves during the 2012 presidential campaign, and will set the agenda for legislative battles and political dust-ups during the next administration.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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