Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Friday, August 24, 2007

Of media and money

Speaking of Katrina, as we near the TWO YEAR anniversary of the storm... where has all the money gone? (Long time passing?)

I'm just dying to know where all of that money raised by the two ex-presidents has gone. I just don't see the results. They raised MILLIONS. Where is the money?

The Federal government alone supposedly allocated $116 billion in recovery aid (a pittance to what is spent in Iraq every time we blink our eyes.) But for some reason, the languishing residents of the Gulf Coast just haven't seen it. And they're starting to wonder if that check was lost in the mail:

The fact that, two years later, most federal Katrina funds remain bottled up in bureaucracy is especially shocking considering that the amounts Washington allocated come nowhere near the anticipated costs of Gulf rebuilding.

For example, the $3.4 billion FEMA has available to recover local public infrastructure would only cover about one-eighth of the damage suffered in Louisiana alone. But this money is spread across five states - Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas - and covers damage from three 2005 hurricanes, Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

Congress has acted on some of the money holdups, like changing a requirement in the Stafford Act that mandates local governments pay 10 percent of rebuilding projects up front before receiving federal aid. The Bush administration had refused to waive the rule - like it did for New York after 9/11 - grounding countless projects. The effect of the rule was particularly devastating in the hardest-hit places like Mississippi's Hancock County, where communities lost most of their tax base after the storms.

Oh yeah -- I remember that kind of 'help' after 9/11. The 'help' we received from the SBA cost us our house. Thank you by the way, Federal government... I don't believe I ever told you how happy I was with the way that turned out. Of course, we were lucky compared with the people of New Orleans. They obviously didn't have houses to put up as collateral, so you just blew them off -- worse even than the storm itself.

But back to the presidents. There is never any mention at all, ever, of where that money went. Ever.

And looking at the region, its obvious that money isn't being spent there by anyone, save the manpower invested by organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and others like them.

But money?

Federal contracts for rebuilding and recovery have also been marked by scandal, fraud and abuse. An August 2006 study by the office of Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., identified 19 contracts worth $8.75 billion that experienced "significant overcharges, wasteful spending or mismanagement."

Halliburton to the rescue! (Or not.)

"Where did it go?" says Tanya Harris of ACORN in New Orleans when asked about the $116 billion. "Tell me. Where did it go?"

Maybe it found a home with the money miraculously lost in the sands of Iraq...

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