7/29/2008

Hi, I'm oyster from the Your Right Handjob blog. Big thanks to His Rudeness for this opportunity and platform. We're getting off to a late start, so "let's roll".
===

Fucked Louisiana, Fucked USA (part 1 of 3)

In the typical ass-to-mouth maneuver that is Louisiana politics, our elected leaders want us to think that it's an improvement when Big Oil takes its filthy cock out of our state's bleeding rectum, and stuffs it down Louisiana's throat. During the split-second before our salivary glands absorb the fecal matter, we have a blissful moment where we think: "Boy, our ass sure feels better now."

That dubious moment of ass relief is now.

Or, to put it another way: while the nation suffers from a quasi-recession, the pols in dirt poor Louisiana are busy fantasizing about the upcoming speedball of oil/gas revenues that will soon be injected into state coffers. Again. Yay! This time, we just know we won't "waste the boom". This time, there will be a Chicken a la Kingfish in every pot-- we promise!

Yeah, right.

Most other states will soon be running budget deficits, but Louisiana will be enjoying phantom "surpluses" because of high gasoline prices nationwide. It will be like the go go seventies all over again! (That decade hella-sucked for most everyone else, but since it sucked slightly less on a relative basis for Louisiana, we felt like lucky ducky pelicans.)

Of course, several things have to be ignored for this "lucky" feeling to properly take hold: for example, you gotta ignore the whole Federal Flood/Hurricanes thing, the whole crumbling schools and infrastructure thing, the whole destruction of our coastal wetlands thing, the whole (unacceptably weak) levee/floodwall repair thing. But if we can ignore all that, and get used and abused by this orchestrated national oil drilling discussion/diversion, then those shiny pennies-on-the-dollar in oil royalties start to look pretty good, and we think maybe those shiny pennies can wash our billion dollar problems out of our hair.

Well, not so much. Despite the recovery help we've received from the rest of the country, incredibly large challenges surround us-- environmental, economic, infrastructural, educational, criminal.

Even after cataclysmic disasters decimated our "Energy Coast", and the fatally flawed federal floodwalls drowned our best city, and after the federal government couped us up in toxic trailers while we waited for belated and piecemeal recovery funds that the Bush administration was happy to overestimate and delay... even after all that bullshit, Louisiana has little collective sense of how thoroughly it has been rooked, rickrolled, bamboozled and bought. It was like a circle jerk of accepted risk, and we were the retarded cousin in the back of the room curiously watching the "cool guys" beat their meat. Then they told us we could join the club if we ate their soggy risk biscuit. We were elated! So we did, gobble gobble, and they laughed and laughed.

They're still laughing.

Consider how preeverted and fucked up things are down here: we're actually giddy to spend these oil royalty dollars on rebuilding our coastal wetlands-- the same coastal wetlands that were sliced and diced and killed (in large part) by the oil infrastructure that supplies the rest of the country with oil and gas! Here's the arrangement, simplified: the nation gets energy supplied through Louisiana, the oil companies make ginormous profits, and Louisiana sacrifices its coastal ecology and natural hurricane buffer so that it can get pennies on the dollar back from Big Oil, to address the billion dollar problems that Big Oil helped exacerbate.

This is what constitutes "boom times" in da gret stet. Maximum risk, minimum recompense. It seems delusional, and it is, but not as much as you might think. (More on that later.)

Don't get me started on the absurd floodwall situation that "protects" the city. Holy Grandpa Shit on the wall! After the Federal Flood-- the worst engineering failure in the nation's history-- the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is going to build us what we were promised in the fucking 1960's, but never fucking received: WEAK CATEGORY 3 flood surge protection. Hopefully, this time the USACE won't screw it up, and everything will hold. But questions still abound. What happens to New Orleans' tourist economy if a hurricane hits us before the flood protection is finished in 2011? Answer: We're fucked. And what happens to this vital port city if a Strong Cat 3 or better hits us after 2011? Answer: We're fucked. And do you think the fact that we're fucked has escaped notice of the Reinsurance industry? Fuck no! They know we're fucked, and they're going to fuck us with outrageous insurance premiums and exclusions, until another disaster comes along and permanently fucks us. And how can our region recover if it's prohibitively expensive to insure? You fucking tell me.

Many of us feel vaguely cheated down here, but instead of getting collectively outraged, informed and mobilized... we decide to indulge in a delusion, and pretend a few fleeting oil pennies will solve things (boy aren't they shiny, though!).

We've been fucked for so long I'm concerned that we won't know when we're seriously fucked. And we're looking seriously fucked this time. And that has direct implications for the rest of the country. But, like George Bush and the neocon hardcunts, when Louisianans are in a pinch they sometimes like to "double down" on their fuckedness, and elect politicians based on either 1) their entertainment value, or 2) faux-reformist happy talk. More on that dynamic in part 2.

---
Update: Slight edits made and links have been added for clarity.