Missing Edwin Edwards

August 30, 2006

beerMet an older couple from New Orleans (pronounced Awlins). Ask them how the recovery was going?

“Bad, I wish we still had Edwin Edwards as governor. Everything would we fixed and cleaned up by now. Six of his buddies would now be millionaires. Edwards would have his millions. But everything would be fixed and cleaned up.”


Edwards was the gov. of Louisiana – 1972-80, 1984-88 and 1992-96.

After his 1983 victory, Edwards took some 600 supporters on an 8-day European tour, including France. Each paid $10,000. Edwards had a 70 percent profit on the contributors’ tickets in order to retire a whopping $4.2 million campaign debt.

Edwards once told reporters “I can’t lose unless they find a dead girl or a live boy in my bed.”

In 2000, he was convicted of racketeering and is serving a 10 year sentence.


Katrina Reading

August 30, 2006

newspaperHere are some fantastic stories on Hurricane Katrina from the alt-weekly world:

The Independent (Lafayette, LA – owned former residents The Mayes)  What It Means to Myth New Orleans
And Abbott and Costello Rebuild New Orleans
Creative Loafing (Atlanta, GA)One Year Later

Boston Phoenix: Mississippi Blues

Birmingham Weekly: A Year After Landfall

Real Katrina Facts

August 29, 2006

questionThe population of New Orleans is less today than in 1890. Less than half of the city’s 460,000 have moved back in the past year.

HOUSING: Homes still are without power – 60%. A third of the streets have hurricane debris that still hasn’t been hauled away. Rental rates are up 40%.

HEALTH: 6 of 9 hospitals are closed. Half the doctors have abandoned the city. There is a shortage of 1,000 nurses. Suicide rate is up 300%.

PUBLIC SERVICE: Only 17% of the city buses are operational. 34% of the public schools are still closed.

shockHouse Democrats finally got their act together enough to do a full investigation into the Hurricane Katrina relief and recovery efforts by FEMA. The Bush Administration used private contractors billions to do the work – 70% were awarded without a competitive bid. The report identifies 19 Katrina contracts, totaling $8.75 billion, that have experienced significant overcharges, wasteful spending, or mismanagement.

And of course, under Bush-Cheney theory of “We’re going keep to doing the wrong things, but we’ll just get better at them,” FEMA awarded earlier this month another $1 billion in contracts to several of the same companies implicated in the wasteful Hurricane Katrina response.

Key findings in the report include the following:

  • Full and Open Competition is the Exception, Not the Rule. As of June 30, 2006, over $10.6 billion has been awarded to private contractors for Gulf Coast recovery and reconstruction. Nearly all of this amount ($10.1 billion) was awarded in 1,237 contracts valued at $500,000 or more. Only 30% of these contracts were awarded with full and open competition.
  • Contract Mismanagement Is Widespread. Hurricane Katrina contracts have been accompanied by pervasive mismanagement. Mistakes were made in virtually every step of the contracting process: from pre-contract planning through contract award and oversight. Compounding this problem, there were not enough trained contract officials to oversee contract spending in the Gulf Coast.
  • The Costs to the Taxpayer Are Enormous. This report identifies 19 Katrina contracts collectively worth $8.75 billion that have been plagued by waste, fraud, abuse, or mismanagement. In the case of each of these 19 contracts, reports from the Government Accountability Office, Pentagon auditors, agency inspectors general, or other government investigators have linked the contracts to major problems in administration or performance.

Read the report for yourself (PDF): House Report