Here’s a video about Slidell 5 years ago
Here is a link to a huffington post by Greg Palast where he gets it right about the MRGO:
And here is an excerpt:
Until the Army Corps made this crazy gash in the Mississippi Delta fifty years ago, Mother Nature protected the Crescent City with a green wreath of cypress and mangrove. The environmental slash-job caused the government's own hydrologist to raise alarms from Day One of construction.
Unless MR-GO was fixed or plugged, the Corps was inviting, "the possibility of catastrophic damage to urban areas by a hurricane surge coming up this waterway." (I'm quoting from a report issued 17 years before The Flood.)
A forensic analysis by Dr. John W. Day calculated that if the Corps had left just 6 miles of wetlands in place of the open canal, the surge caused by Katrina's wind would have been reduced by 4.5 feet and a lot of New Orleaneans would be alive today.
The Corps plugging its ears to the warnings was nothing less than "negligence, insouciance, myopia and shortsightedness."
That list of fancy epithets poured from the angry pen of Federal Judge Stanwood Duval who heard the evidence in a suit filed by the surviving residents of the Ninth Ward and St. Bernard's Parish. His Honor ruled that the drowning of the Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish was a man-made disaster.
Still, the Administration drags its feet on payment under the legal theory of "Discretionary Function." In lay terms, that means, "Nyah, nyah, nyah! You can't hold the Army Corps responsible for gross negligence." The Justice Department also argued that the court should not consider the number of people drowned. Ugh.
Judge Duval slapped away the government's cockamamie defense.
So then, why oh why oh why would Obama, after his grandstanding about BP's responsibility to the people of the Gulf Coast, refuse to compensate some of the same people for the far greater damage caused by the Corps?
Let me tell you: it goes beyond the money. To "make things right" means Obama would have to face down powers fiercer than any Taliban: Big Oil.
The widening of MR-GO drowned New Orleans; it was not an Act of God. It was an Act of Chevron. An Act of Shell Oil. And, yes, an Act of BP.
Birds released on Rabbit Island, Louisiana on August 26, 2010.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
This past week we released more than 150 clean birds after successful rehabilitation at the ongoing Gulf Oil Spill bird rescue. They were returned to the wild on Rabbit Island, another clean bird nesting island in western Louisiana.
We've had a fair amount of storm activity in the last few weeks and have had to schedule bird releases around heavy wind and rain. That's unfortunate for us but will not impact the birds who can wait a few extra days before they return to the wild. We have made the best use of that time by providing live fish for them to eat so the young pelicans can continue to play and develop hunting skills as they plunge feed and chase live minnows in their pools.
Why are we still getting oiled birds?
While the number of oiled birds has slowed down tremendously, and especially in the last month, we are still receiving fledgling pelicans, gulls and terns. These fledgling birds became oiled while they were playing and bathing in the puddles in the inland areas or on the shorelines of small islands. In July a strong storm surge pushed oil onto some of the nesting islands in the Grande Isle area. These islands are primarily made up of sand, gravel and shell and the highest elevations are typically no more than 4 feet high.
One of the Laughing Gull chicks released last week.
Some islands have low growing mangrove forests and many of the islands are covered with tall grasses. The storm surges pushed oil through the grasses and mangroves and much of it settled in shallow inlets and pools that are located throughout the inner areas of the islands. Some of these young birds have been oiled for a while and the only reason they survived was because the warm weather and hot sand allowed them to stay warm.
As they begin to fledge and hang out on the edges of their islands they are easier to capture without frightening the other birds. Since early July we have received around 500 oiled fledglings. We not only have to wash and rehabilitate them, we must take over the role of their parents and help them to learn to eat on their own and become decent hunters and foragers. That is where the live fish and other stimulating foods come in. So, in essence we are now operating a nursery and classroom for the feathered orphans of the spill. The birds now ready to be released have graduated to a state where we think they have a good chance for survival. They may be delayed for a few days but when they are ready they will be released into colonies of their species so that they can pick up where they left off in their education.
As of August 29, 2010 the Tri-State Bird Rescue and IBRRC Response Team have successfully cleaned and released 1,129 healthy birds back to the wild in Texas, SW Louisiana, Florida and Georgia. See: Updated bird numbers
We continue to remain hopeful and part of that comes from your encouragement and continuing support.
Jay Holcomb, Executive Director
International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC)
Here’s a link to a gallery from the Gulf Coast of Mississippi that shows pictures of homes before and after Katrina and what the properties look like five years after the storm
Posted: 18 Aug 2010 10:17 PM PDT
New Orleans food activist Poppy Tooker is mad as hell and she's not going to take it anymore. In June, she was asked to write a blog entry in response to the BP oil spill for Slow Food USA, an organization in which she thought was in line with her belief in preserving culinary traditions and endangered flavors – so much so that she had pioneered the New Orleans chapter over a decade ago.
Yet the organization made an editorial decision to add a question mark to the title, demonstrating to Tooker a lack of support for her and the article's message.
"It infuriated me," says Tooker. "I was skewered and put on the bar-b-cue pit. That's a monthly newsletter sent out to all national members."
Tooker's article, entitled "Eat Gulf seafood" – but listed in the online newsletter as "Support Gulf Fishermen – By Eating Gulf Seafood?" – quickly began a heated debate one step above children's taunts on the school playground.
This is incredibly stupid advice, wrote a reader named Katherine Welsh. How does eating seafood help clean up the oil spill? And who would want to eat seafood from the Gulf?
Another individual, identified only as "SP" thought fishermen in the Gulf should give up their way of life altogether: Wouldn't it be better to support Gulf fishing families by funding a retraining program or a small business incubator just for them? Or perhaps a relocation program? The damage to the Gulf cannot be reversed in the near future, and these people have to do something to support their families in the meantime.
When Kate Walsh the publication's director of communications was reached by phone and asked about the blog entry, the editorial decision to add the question mark, and Slow Food USA's position on the consumption of Gulf of Mexico seafood, she had no comment. Walsh said that Josh Viertel the President of Slow Foods USA would send a statement by e-mail but no such document arrived.
The only written statement on Slow Food USA's position is an online comment in response to Tooker's article on June 11th, from Emily Vaughn, the Biodiversity Program Manager.
Like you, Slow Food USA strongly values the conscientious sourcing of food, especially seafood, where the methods of harvesting can be especially devastating if done the wrong way. That's why we provided links to groups of fishermen (White Boot Brigade, Louisiana Seafood Board) whose practices are in line with our values, and who are every bit as interested in staying away from plumes and solvents as the rest of us.
So while there are certainly a different set of considerations and criterion, the Committee feels that the eater-based conservation method can still be ethically and successfully applied to wild-caught foods.
Tooker feels that her experience with the online blog reflects the national debate over seafood safety.
"The problem is the public perception," says Tooker. "I know a lot of chefs who have and will continue to call it [Gulf seafood] by name on their menu, but the customer isn't buying it. So what do you do about that?"
Tooker's answer, like any good New Orleanian, is to educate and share the pleasures of the table, a view she expresses weekly on her radio show on NPR affiliate WWNO, Louisiana Eats!
"Your tongue and your heart are tied together by what my grandmother used to call heart strings," says Tooker. The concept of preserving endangered flavors through education and publicity via the Arc of Taste, a virtual Noah's Arc where endangered foods are nominated because of their cultural ties to a place, because they are endangered, and because they taste good is what interested Tooker to the slow food movement in the first place.
After Katrina, Creole Cream Cheese, heirloom Louisiana strawberries, the citrus fruit satsuma and Louisiana wild caught shrimp were all accepted on the Arc of Taste – a acknowledgement of their importance and deliciousness.
Now disenchanted with Slow Food USA, Tooker is following her personal mantra – eat it to save it – and voting with her fork. She continues to eat and enjoy the fresh Louisiana seafood that inspired her career and life's passions.
Walt Disney World is the new home for eight sea turtles injured by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The turtles are being cared for at temporary rehabilitation facilities at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.
The eight turtles include two green sea turtles and six endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles, the smallest of eight species of sea turtles. Dr Andy Stamper, a research scientist and veterinarian with Disney’s Animal Programs, transported the turtles last week from the Florida Panhandle to the theme park.
In order to care for the animals, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has converted a backstage area into a temporary facility. Engineers and water-science experts have created salt-water pools that can hold up to 35 sea turtles.
“Oil can have a devastating effect on the health of sea turtles, marine mammals and birds,” said , Ph.D., vice president for Animal Programs and Environmental Initiatives at Disney Parks. “Over the next several months, many of these animals will require intense medical treatment over a prolonged period. We want to be sure that we provide top-notch medical care wherever we can – whether it’s on a beach or in a state-of-the-art veterinary facility. Ultimately, our goal is to re-release these animals so they can once again thrive in the wild of our oceans and coastline.”
According to the , as of July 26, 790 sea turtles have been affected by the Gulf oil spill, with 498 sea turtles dead and 222 rescued. Of those rescued, 173 of those survivors are Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles, one of the most endangered of the sea-turtle species.
Most of the turtles are recovering in rehabilitation centers such as those at Disney, which has a long track record working with these animals. Since 1986, Disney animal care teams have rehabilitated more than 250 endangered sea turtles.
This current effort is Disney’s second such rehabilitation effort this summer. Earlier in July, Disney began caring for seven Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles that had been diagnosed with pneumonia. Those turtles were transported from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi in order to make room for animals affected by the Gulf oil spill.
These wildlife rescue efforts reflect Disney’s ongoing work with animals affected by the BP oil spill. Disney’s Animal Programs, and its animal care team, is prepared to send on-site assistance.
In addition, and both have rehabilitation facilities that enable the animal care team to treat various animals at Walt Disney World Resort. As a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center, Disney’s Animal Programs supports the rescue and rehabilitation of more than 1,000 injured and orphaned wild animals each year.
Disney has also committed funds to the Gulf oil spill recovery efforts. (DWCF), which provides funding to non-profit conservation organizations, has donated $100,000 to environmental and animal rescue efforts. Supported by , the DWCF has given, to date, $50,000 to for their work during the Gulf oil spill and $50,000 in grant money to other organizations.
"Upon careful consideration, we have settled upon the Eastern District of Louisiana as the most appropriate district for this litigation. Without discounting the spill's effects on other states, if there is a geographic and psychological 'center of gravity' in this docket, then the Eastern District of Louisiana is closest to it," the panel ruled.
The decision is a victory for the City of New Orleans, which will benefit from the economic activity of having hundreds of disputes over financial responsibility for the oil disaster taking place in the city. It is also a victory for plaintiffs, who will be able to participate in the proceedings without having to travel as far.
The panel of seven federal judges, who met in Boise, Idaho, on July 29, ruled that all claims under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, personal injury and wrongful death actions should be centralized. The panel said that consolidating the legal actions "may also facilitate closer coordination with Kenneth Feinberg's administration of the BP compensation fund."
The panel also said that it believed that the "limitation of liability" proceedings brought by rig owner Transocean Ltd. in federal court in Houston is a "potential tag-along action" in this docket, and will be included on a forthcoming conditional transfer order, but the group did not make a definitive ruling on that consideration.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier
"Although our preliminary assessment is that the action should be included in the centralized proceedings, we do not prejudge the matter...the parties are free to object to the action's transfer," the judges wrote.
The panel said that it selected Barbier to oversee the litigation because he has gained considerable experience with consolidated litigation in his 12 years on the federal bench, and is already actively managing dozens of oil disaster cases. "We have every confidence that he is well prepared to handle a litigation of this magnitude," the judges wrote.
In making their choice, the judges rejected the notion that venues such as New Orleans might not provide a level playing field for all parties and that they should search elsewhere for a 'neutral' judge. "With all due respect, we disagree with the premise of this argument. When federal judges assume the bench, all take an oath to administer justice in a fair and impartial manner to all parties equally."