Monday, September 28, 2009

Harry Shearer to Obama: Time's up

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 7:29 PM

Harry Shearer, part-time New Orleans resident and full-time passionate partisan for the city, has been grumbling for months about President Barack Obama's promises to the Gulf Coast during the 2008 presidential election, and contrasting those promises with the fact that Obama has yet to come to New Orleans, almost a year into his presidency. (Obama says he'll be here by year's end.)

This morning's announcement that Obama will be traveling to Copenhagen to make a pitch for Chicago (his hometown) to host the 2016 Olympics seems to have been a line in the sand for Shearer, who now writes:

I found this story interesting as the ultimate rebuke to the months of comments from people here regarding the Obama administration's torpor when it comes to remedying the aftermath of the failure of the federal levees in New Orleans. "Give him time," they said, "he's got a lot on his plate".

Here's one thing he's got on his plate, so far untouched: a report from the Office of Special Counsel, delivered to the White House and Congress this past June, confirming almost all the allegations by Corps of Engineers whistleblower Maria Garzino that the hydraulic pumps installed by the Corps at the three "outflow" canals whose (Corps-built) floodwalls failed on August 29, 2005, were not robust enough to meet testing standards and cannot be operated on site in the required manner in the event of a storm surge event. (The OSC examines whistleblower complaints; in this case, they hired an outside engineering expert to review Garzino's complaints.) There has been no reaction from the White House to the OSC report; the pumps sit there, waiting to fail should a surge enter Lake Ponchartrain.

My headline, phrased in question form earlier this year -- "Obama to New Orleans: Drop Dead?" -- is ready to be repunctuated.

Is Harry right or wrong?

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