Fucked New Orleans (Celebrity Edition):
That's Brad Pitt. He's a superstar. He's trying to get houses rebuilt all over New Orleans, starting with the Lower Ninth Ward. You can find more about it at MakeItRightNOLA.org.
That's Salt-N-Pepa. They're has-been rappers. For their VH1 reality series, they helped rebuild a home in St. Bernard Parish, next door to New Orleans. You can learn more about it at the St. Bernard Project.
When actor and comedian Denis Leary, the guy who used to make fun of Cindy Crawford on MTV, heard that none of the 22 New Orleans firehouses wrecked by Hurricane Katrina had been rebuilt, he put his Leary Firefighters Foundation on the case. So far, five have been built by volunteers. Said Leary, "I gave up on ever hoping that politicians in this country -- local, state or federal -- would step in to help these guys."
That's Steve Ellis. He's the Vice President of Taxpayers for Common Sense. Like President Bush, he believes government earmarks are bad for the economy, despite being one half of one percent of the budget.
Of one large earmark for Louisiana, Ellis asked, "What does that have to do with Hurricane Katrina?" This was about an $800 million dollar civil engineering project having to do with the waterways for future freight traffic through the Port of New Orleans. According to Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, the project will "spur economic recovery" in the region.
One politician's pork is, as ever, another politician's manna. But, hey, as long as celebrities are coming in to do the work of governments, maybe we can get Sylvester Stallone or someone to rally volunteers to replace the Inner Harbor Lock in New Orleans. It's like building houses and fire stations, except with more dirt and water.