Fucked Gulf Coast (A Geographically Larger Edition of the Unending "Fucked New Orleans" Series):
One beautiful thing about having a government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations is that every disaster is measured in terms of economic loss. It's sort of like getting your arm sheared off in a car accident and thinking, "Damn, now it'll take longer to fold the laundry" as blood spurts from your arteries.
So, in the wake of the hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the measurement of the loss of trees was put in terms of timber and cash: $2 billion bucks, 5 and a half billion feet of boards. Goddamn, that sucks. Truly.
But now we have a report about the actual magnitude of the damage to the forests of the Gulf Coast. And it's a wee bit more important than lumber conglomerates sucking up a loss. 320 million trees killed or severely damaged by the storms, "putting as much carbon from dying vegetation into the air as the rest of the nation's forest takes out in a year of photosynthesis," so it will help speed up climate change unless something is done.
Unfortunately, that something being done rests with the Bush administration, whose bumbling makes a young Jerry Lewis in a china shop seem like a graceful ballet dancer. Let's just quote this in full: "Efforts to limit the damage have been handicapped by the ineffectiveness of a $504 million federal program to help Gulf Coast landowners replant and fight the invasive species. Congress appropriated the money in 2005 and added to it in 2007, but officials acknowledge that the program got off to a slow start and that only about $70 million has been promised or dispensed so far. Local advocates said onerous bureaucratic hurdles and low compensation rates are major reasons."
Is there a goddamn way in which the White House did anything right by the people of the Gulf Coast? This is trickle-up shit. It seems like it's just a localized problem, one that can be ignored by those who don't live there. But it's coming to bite us all on the ass and chew that fat off.
Hell, at least the streetcars are going again in New Orleans.
(Tip o' the hat to rude reader Neil for the story link.)