Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ruminations...on awards, a premature announcement and justice still denied

Just a few thoughts to purge...

- Okay, after watching the AMAs - I'm officially old.  But, indulge my old behind - I've been a fan of Whitney's music since she came on the scene and for me, this performance was just right.  Just enough clothes, just enough class, just enough emotion - just right.  Forget all the Diane-Opie-and-whoever else tell-all interviews meant to - according to the MSM - "engineer" a comeback.  In quintessential Whitney-style, she powerfully owned her shit - in song.  And what a song it was!  (And no, I do not know, nor do I care, who the "Carol" was that she acknowledged in her comments to her daughter).

- Since Oprah's been "off the air" for me a long time ago given her near 20-year "sell-out" performance for the King conglomerate, I could care less that she's closing down her show.  But can somebody please tell me why, she had to announce THIS YEAR, that she'd be gone in 2011??!!  Please Lawd get over yourself!!!  Maybe she's just putting her order in for one of those ambassadorships the Changeling's doling out in exchange for all the dollar bills that bought him the presidency. 

- In the conclusion of his January 30, 2008 ruling regarding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Judge Stanwood R. Duval Jr. advised how the law of the land had "tied his hands:"
"While the United States government is immune for legal liability for the defalcations alleged herein, it is not free, nor should it be, from posterity’s judgment concerning its failure to accomplish what was its task. The citizens of each and every city in this great nation have come to depend on their government and its agencies to perform certain tasks which have been assigned to federal agencies by laws passed by Congress and overseen by the Executive Branch.  It should not be unreasonable for those citizens to rely on their agents, whom they pay through their taxes, to perform the tasks assigned in a timely and competent way. However, because of §702c, there is neither incentive, nor punishment to insure that our own government performs these tasks correctly. There is no provision in the law which allows this Court to avoid the immunity provided by § 702c; gross incompetence receives the same treatment as simple mistake."
That February following the ruling, I wrote "No Way Out" for NOLA means No Way Out for Us to express the shame and disgust I felt for a government and a country whose hearts and minds were closed to their own. And later in April, shame and disgust turned to rage as I wrote, Paper rain, Paper rain...St. Bernard and 9th Ward STILL "Bastards of the Party"  because 1) it was discovered that USACE, adding insult to injury, had stuffed newspaper in some of the expansion joints as an "expedient repair" for water seepage the year after the levees broke and 2) no doubt believing they were litigation-proof, USACE openly admitted their negligence.

But apparently, Judge Duval has figured out a way to untie his hands by focusing his new ruling on the navigation channel upon which much of the rest of the country depends whether they know it or not - the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MR-GO).  He said:
"Clearly, when there is not a mandate, if the decisions at issue are based on policy, the discretionary function exception generally applies. It is the Court’s opinion that the negligence of the Corps, in this instance by failing to maintain the MRGO properly, was not policy, but insouciance, myopia and shortsightedness. For over forty years, the Corps was aware that the Reach II levee protecting Chalmette and the Lower Ninth Ward was going to be compromised by the continued deterioration of the MRGO, as has been exhaustively discussed in this opinion.  The Corps had an opportunity to take a myriad of actions to alleviate this deterioration or rehabilitate this deterioration and failed to do so. Clearly the expression “talk is cheap” applies here. In the event the gross negligence of the Corps in maintaining the MRGO would be regarded as policy, then the discretionary function exception would swallow the Federal Torts Claim Act leaving it an emasculated statute applying to automobile accidents where government employees are involved or medical malpractice where a government physician is involved. This was clearly not the intent of Congress... Safety concerns are not a talisman in deciding whether to apply the discretionary function exception, but certainly are a very significant consideration. Here, there was no balancing or weighing of countervailing considerations. The failure to maintain the MRGO properly compromised the Reach 2 Levee and created a substantial risk of catastrophic loss of human life and private property due to this malfeasance. Nothing the Corps has introduced into evidence tips the balance in its favor."
Props and much respect to Judge Duval for seeing the wrongness of the thing and staying the course.  But here's where the rubber should meet the road for supporters of the Changeling in general, and those in New Orleans in particular because according to this, Corps' operation of MR-GO doomed homes in St. Bernard, Lower 9th Ward, judge rules, Obama & Co. do not intend to cry uncle any time soon:

Indeed, the Justice Department is expected to appeal the decision to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and then to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary..."Until such time as the litigation is completed, including the appellate process up to and through the U.S. Supreme Court, no activity is expected to be taken on any of these claims," corps spokesman Ken Holder said.
Please re-read that quote from Ken Holder (no apparent relation to Atty. General Eric Holder, but we'd have to check with Skip Gates on that one).  I could be wrong, but it sounds like "when hell freezes over" to me.  And if that turns out to be the case, I wonder will the response, particularly from his skinfolk - continue to be, "Just give him some more time, you know those white folks don't want him to give us all that money!"  ::Big Sigh::

And finally, in what should be a no-brainer - but apparently isn't - Harry Shearer gives an interesting entrée into just how long doing the right thing for New Orleans will take.  In his, Why Obama Needs to Weigh In With the Corps of Engineers, he writes about the battle brewing between the State and USACE regarding replenishing the wetlands with sediment dredged from MR-GO.  He closes with his usually succint, no-brainer thinking I've come to love:
"Of course, the Corps' Commander in Chief, a gentleman by the name of Obama, could cut short this process, order the Corps to request the money from Congress (if, indeed, the Corps is correct that helping restore the wetlands would cost more than filling a hole at the bottom of the Gulf), and help preserve New Orleans' main buffer against more severe hurricanes (since hurricanes lose force over land). The question is: will he?"

We shall see.


ea said...

This is a test comment. Couldn't post on previous topic (healthcare reform).

ea said...

Okay, real comment. Go judge!

Deb said...

¡Hola Mujer! Good to see you! Yeah, that's what I say too. At least somebody had the balls to try and make it right - and his name ain't Obama! Unless of course he tells Holder, "Drop the never-ending appeals and pay these people!" Won't hold my breath.

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