Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Like After Katrina, Outside Folks Getting the Disaster Contracts

The fine folk over at The Lens informed the citizenry today that "Gulf Coast states lag behind other states in getting contracts for oil disaster work." Only 12% of the $53.3 million in federal oil-spill related contracts have gone to Louisiana companies. Most of the rest of that has been contracted to companies in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Colorado -- not to other Gulf Coast states suffering the direct environmental and socioeconomic consequences of this disaster.

People in other states need work too, and it seems quite plausible to me that some of corporations best able to execute the particular terms of some contracts are not Gulf Coast business. Maybe many Gulf Coast businesses were already at full capacity due to having already received state or local contracts or contracts directly from BP to do disaster-related work.

My point is I just don't know enough about the details to know whether we're getting shafted down here in the federal contracting game for this disaster. I do know, based on past experience, that we need to dig deeper into this before it becomes like the Katrina recovery in which local workers were brazenly left out of the citizen driven recovery we were promised. That is, if it's not too late. I blogged about it on 9/16/2006, and I'm going to be quite pissed if this sort of thing is happening again...
The Army Corps, Bechtel and Halliburton are using the very same "contract vehicles" in the Gulf Coast as they did in Afghanistan and Iraq. These are "indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity" open-ended "contingency" contracts that are being abused by the contractors on the Gulf Coast to squeeze out local companies. These are also "cost-plus" contracts that allow them to collect a profit on everything they spend, which is an incentive to overspend. [Corpwatch.org, 8/17/2006]

...and we were supposed to have learned our lesson so that our federal government could protect us from shady contract deals.

I hope that last part didn't make you laugh TOO HARD.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Levine Admits Republicans Don't Know Much About Health Care

This is from today's Times-Picayune, page A-6:

"The shortest book in the world is, 'Republicans that I've known and met that know a lot about health care,' " Levine said. "And so there's been a lot of candidates for governor or state legislators from various states who reach out and call and ask, 'What are some of the basics? What are some of the real hot issues from a health policy standpoint?' " [T-P, 7-18-2010]
I guess that explains why Congressional Republicans weren't able to come up with sensible remedies to our nation's health care problems, and why the ones they keep insisting on proposing are often...well...shitty.

The T-P article also offered some insight as to why Levine has overseen the decimation of mental health care services in Louisiana. It seems he might not have known what the hell was going on down here because, like his bossman Bobby, he's been too busy traveling the country instead of doing the job we've paid him six figures to do here at home.
"LA Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine...has been busy doling out policy advice to Republican political candidates around the country,"

"In recent weeks he's written a health care "white paper" for the Republican Governors Association, addressed Republican U.S. House members about the effects of the new health care law on the states, and spent a day in California recently with policy advisers to Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO who is running for chief executive of the Golden State." and said he hopes to continue doing so through the 2012 presidential cycle." [T-P, 7-18-2010]
So cut the guy some slack, y'all! He didn't KNOW that our children's psychological well-being was in the terlet. How was he to know? He wasn't even here! So lay off of him, people!

The upshot for Alan is that he has used all of these connections he's been busy cultivating to land a posh private sector job back home in Florida, now that he's done fucking the good people of Louisiana over. Way to go, Al! Best Wishes!

Friday, July 16, 2010

"Top 5 Hurricane Vulnerable & Overdue Cities"

From the The Weather Channel:

"(New Orleans, Gulfport-Biloxi, Galveston and Houston are examples of locations not on this list because they've recently been severely hit.)

While certainly not an exhaustive list, the following five metropolitan areas have been selected based on a combination of the amount of people and property at high risk, and how long it has been since the area has been directly affected by a very strong hurricane. It is a matter of when, not if, these areas are struck next."

Drumroll, please...

#5 Atlantic City, NJ

#4 Savannah, GA

#3 Tampa Bay

#2 New York City, NY

#1 Miami / Ft. Lauderdale

And just to show that they care about your safety if you live in these areas, The Weather Channel has posted links to evacuation maps for each of these locales.