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Uppity Wisconsin - Progressive Webmasters

Main | Patriot Games: The lie of loyalty and honor »

October 12, 2005


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Craig Wieber

First, I completely agree with your assessment that FEMA is a mess. By nominating his friends instead of qualified individuals to run agencies, he is responsible for how those agencies ultimately perform. The "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job line" just shows how out of touch he was at the beginning of this crisis.

However, I don't agree with the premise that we should suddenly start throwing huge sums of federal money at every local or regional problem. How can we justify spending money from individuals in Oregon or Maine to solve a problem that is localized to the gulf region? When we use federal dollars for truly national uses, i.e. defense or transportation (without the pork), that is justifable because we all benefit from having roads to travel or an army to protect us.

I for one have a very hard time justifying spending billions of federal dollars to rebuild infrastructure that may or may not prevent this same thing from happening in the future, especially with no national benefit. If Lousiania wants to rebuild New Orleans, or the city itself for that manner, it shouldn't be done using federal money.

Arnold Harris

It would be both expensive and shortsighted to reconstruct on an as-was basis a city whose residential housing for the past 100 years was largely built some 10-12 feet below sea level, and subsiding about a meter per century, on a site squeezed in between the main channel of the largest river system in the country, a saltwater sealevel lake possibly the size of Rhode Island, and the nearby ocean whose waters are rising as the surface of this planet -- 7/8ths of which comprise these oceans -- as a main after-effect of global warming. That could only be the prescription for an a future north american Atlantis.

The same logic applies to the foolish policy of using flood insurance offered by federal agencies such as FEMA to subsidize construction of vacation homes along oceanic sandbars. Because that is precisely what the Outer Banks of North Carolina are, in geological terms. The atlantic currents and waves form and maintain these sandbars. And they move them. I am told that anyone who has studied this issue understand there is no serious cabability of men or governments to permanently ward off the hydraulic powers of the worlds oceans. It would therefore be better public policy to terminate the government sponsored flood insurance policies, or at least phase them out if that is more politically achievable.

In time, the sandbars will revert to their original and natural function. From my own experience, it is a fine day's drive from Kitty Hawk southward, passing in turn Pamlico and Albemarle sounds on one side, and the great Atlantic on the other, down toward Hatteras. At least until the ocean cuts right through either of the main sandbars. Which recently happened.

Learning to take advantage of what nature offers, and learning to live in peace with better understanding of its limitations, shall yet be the mark of an even greater american commonwealth than the one we have hitherto enjoyed and not infrequently abused.

Arnold Harris
Mount Horeb WI

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