Ohh Nooo!!!

3:30 PM -- Yesterday morning, the President of the United States went on national teevee and said: "I don't think anyone could have anticipated the breach of the levees."

Red Panda's immigration status is somewhat uncertain, so he doesn't want to say this was exactly a "lie." Nor that the remark reveals Mr. Bush, for the umpteenth time, as "dumber than dirt." So let's just comment: "Close, but no stogie."

The fact is, absolutely no one anticipated this tragedy, except of course the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Mayor of New Orleans, and many, many, many, climate scientists, but who listens to what they say? They believe in that "global warming" stuff. 'Nuff said.

But more shocking than the warnings from all those usual suspects is that fact that even Mr. Bill, the animated clay figurine from Saturday Night Live, is smarter than Mr. Bush, the animatronic president-simulacrum.

In a disturbingly prescient ad that CNN aired on May 27, 2004, Mr. Bill shows he has a much better understanding of New Orleans' levee system than Mr. Bush. Then he is eaten by an alligator. Oh nooo!!!

— Red Panda, Picayune Pundit, Light Reading

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dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 2:57:31 AM
re: Ohh Nooo!!! The appended note was posted on Davfe Farber's IP lsit. Katrina hit New Orleans wuith far less than the killer hurricane force that the press talked about. The city flooded because levees failed with a storm surge that they had been designed to withstand.

It appears that the strident I believe in global warming rhetoric was misplaced. Katrina was not a super hurricane. Global warming does not affect the inensity of hurricanes and the failue of the levees was the result of the cumulative failures over decades of succesive governments.


Hi, Dave,

For a few years now, I've been recommending John Barry's
_Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed
America_ to everyone I know (including several readers of this list).
He's got an op-ed in today's NYT that's worthwhile reading:


Here are the two key paragraphs. Note that Barry does not assign
blame to any particular administration for the failure of these
levees, although he doesdesignate responsibility for remedying the
situation squarely on the federal government:

But most of New Orleans was not flooded by water coming directly from
the Gulf. It was flooded from the north and rear by Lake
Pontchartrain, when levees failed along the 17th Street and London
Avenue drainage canals. Initially, the Corps of Engineers said that
the storm was so great that it overtopped these levees also. But
after inspecting the levees and reviewing storm data, all three
investigating teams agree: Hurricane Katrina hit Lake Pontchartrain
with far less strength than it did the Gulf Coast, and the storm
surge fell well short of the tops of the levees. In fact, a design or
construction flaw caused them to collapse in the face of a force they
were designed to hold. In other words, if the levees had performed as
they were supposed to, the deaths in New Orleans proper, the scenes
in the Superdome and the city's devastation would never have taken

Who is responsible? Many accusations, some of them valid, have been
hurled at the Orleans Levee Board, a local body. But these
accusations are irrelevant. The levee board did not design or build
these levees. That was entirely the responsibility of the federal
government, through the Corps of Engineers.
dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 2:58:37 AM
re: Ohh Nooo!!! The lessons learned from Katrina are those of government short sightedness. Governments seem incpable of dealing with long term threats. They are driven by the short term interests of the electorate.

As pointed out, one manifestaion of electoral short sightedness is NIMBY. However another one is the popular need for a cause. It is very easy to belive in global warming. It is an easy way to make one feel virtuous. Others can be blamed for the ills of the world. It also makes it easy to lobby for one's pet causes. Link it the virtuous cause and opposition to it becomes opposition to virtue. Anyone who questions your pet cause not only opposes virte but is against all scientific knowledge. It doesn't matter if the science support one's cause is tentaive at best. The causes virtue overcomes all doubt.

Anthropomorphic global warming, environmental illnesses, autism linked to vaccinations - it does not matter how many people these causes hurt or that there is little to no valid science behind them. They are virtuous and so the science must be true because it is politically necessary it to be true.
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 2:58:37 AM
re: Ohh Nooo!!!

Just a suggestion, but there are three separate phenomenon.

1 - Global Warming: This is measurable and is factual.

2 - Causes of Global Warming: This is much more debatable, especially what is the impact that human civilization is having on this.

3 - Results of Global Warming: This is even more speculative, as we are trying to model things we barely understand.

So, I accept global warming as a factual event. I do not necessarily accept various groups statements of the Cause or Results of Global Warming.

whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 2:58:38 AM
re: Ohh Nooo!!! Larry:

In your vernacular: eeeeerrrrrerrrhhhhhgggg, ooo, ooo, eh!

Meaning: you're begging the question, eh!

The storm SHOULD NOT HAVE ripped the crap out of NO. At that level, it should have passed over and torn a few signs down, and a couple of roofs here and there. OK, a flooded basement or two.

But politicians and the citizens of that city decided they could just put up some concrete walls, and not worry about worst case scenarios in the design of the levee system.

Overflow weir? Real dirt? NIMBY!

Nobody to blame but themselves.

Personal (collective) responsibility.

dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 2:58:48 AM
re: Ohh Nooo!!!
My boss tells me not to call Dear Readers like you "idiots" anymore. "Climate Loonies" has, however, now entered the popular discourse.
Is it a 1? Is it a 3? Gosh! Maybe it's a 2.76! Either way, it ripped the bejeesus out of New Orleans, didn't it? How this bears on global warming, I leave to you.

I suppose I was fooled in this by reading the claim in the original article. If Katrina was a category 3, it opens up a great may questions about the preparedness of hurricane measures around New Orleans. However it does not imply any particular increase in intensity of hurricanes due to global warming as has been stated in the original article and several postings to this thread.

So to the question "Do you believe in global warming?", the experience of Katrina offers no answers.
Larry, Monkey 12/5/2012 | 2:58:52 AM
re: Ohh Nooo!!! My boss tells me not to call Dear Readers like you "idiots" anymore. "Climate Loonies" has, however, now entered the popular discourse.
Is it a 1? Is it a 3? Gosh! Maybe it's a 2.76! Either way, it ripped the bejeesus out of New Orleans, didn't it? How this bears on global warming, I leave to you.
Next up: We debate the Wind Chill Factor. Where does it go in the summer?
dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 2:58:54 AM
re: Ohh Nooo!!! http://www.kentucky.com/mld/ke...

The mational Hurricane Center is evaluating the data taken when Katrina made landfall. The measurements currently indicate that Katrina was a category 3 when it made landfall and possibly a category 1 when it struck New Orleans. The original estimates were extrapolations from aircraft data. The new data is taken from terrestrial stations.

If this new interpretation holds up, it will seem to question that accuracy of the newspaper accounts of monster hurricanes powered by the effects of global warming.

Do you believe in global warming?

whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 2:58:54 AM
re: Ohh Nooo!!! BD:

Q: "How can you have limited free trade?"

A: Trade costs, it is not free.

Most rational people understand that. That is why all countries tax trade in various ways (sales tax, value added tax). The percentage of tax should be in proportion to the cost of the commerce: roads, seaports, riverways, airports or even navies, airforces and armies for example.

To that list of costs, I would add cost of foreign debt. Which is what trade with dirty float countries like China and India costs.

The only thing that qualifies as free trade is something you give away for free. And that is the only thing less rational than thinking there is or should be something like free trade.

blackdiamond 12/5/2012 | 2:59:01 AM
re: Ohh Nooo!!! limited free trade is not free trade was what I really meant. Protectionism has it's place when other countries are engaging in predatory practices in your home market but not when over paid union workers fall under the delusion that someone owes them a job. Too bad that many people in this country feel that their employer should not be able to lay them off a la EU countries like Germany and France. Lot's of griping about outsourcing as well.
stephencooke 12/5/2012 | 2:59:02 AM
re: Ohh Nooo!!! blackdiamond:

"How can you have limited free trade?"

If you take the US as an example...
- Enact illegal, according to the WTO, import duties on steel to prop up the US steel industry. These actually backfired and have since been repealed.
- Enact illegal, according to NAFTA, softwood import duties. Never in the history of NAFTA has the tribunal voted unanimously to fine a member country as they have done with the US in this instance. The US owes $5Billion to the Canadian softwood companies, many of which have gone under. Who has paid for this, other than the Canadians out of work? The US consumer due to price gouging by their fellow American softwood lobbyists.
- Impose beef import bans on Canadian beef for over two years. The FDA had cleared Canadian beef on scientific grounds 2 months after the single mad cow case was discovered. Now there have been home-grown cases in Washington state and Texas. The ban has been partially repealed. Who suffered? The American consumer thanks once again to price gouging by their fellow Americans who were lobbying against opening the border.

Bottom line: Free trade is a nice idea and has great benefits for the average consumer but when countries don't live up to the agreements that they sign it just doesn't matter.
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