Friday, October 17, 2008


90-year-old bridges contribute to flood threat in Industrial Canal ~Sheila Grissett~When two movable railroad bridges were built across the newly dug Industrial Canal in New Orleans in 1919, no one imagined the impact they would have 89 years later on storm surge driven by a hurricane called Gustav.
~Editilla Notellas~ Aside from growing increasingly sick of hearing statements like the above, or "No one imagined that a plane could be used as a missle," or "oooopsee, we measured these new flood wall repairs with out of date data," "Who'da Imagined!" it is with Great Trepidation and Increasing Wariness that I can even look at this "news"paper, let alone post articles now by the Times Picayune, regarding our safety from flooding --due to their ongoing Conflict of Interests with the Corps of Engineers' tax-payer funded advertising in their paper.
I see a problem there. TP Managing Editor Peter Kovacs disagreed with me and sees such practice as no different than covering political candidates who place campaign ads. However, though I am unlikely to confuse the job qualifications of an Exorcists with that of an Engineer and unlike political campaigns donations, I am forced to Pay Taxes for the Corps of Engineers advertising. Also unlike a political campaign, Civil Engineering is based on, well, the Obligation of an Engineer and carries with it the added responsibility of Life and Death in the Veracity of its Statements about the Efficacy of its Work. We can see tragically how the Corps of Engineers and the ASCE built our levees Wrong, how they enlarged the MRGO/Industrial Canal Navigation System over the decades, how that caused their already bad levees to fail, and now how they are the Targets of Liability for this Criminally Negligent Homicide in a Huge Lawsuit due to go to trial, in January, before a Jury picked presumably from the TP readership area. We can see how ASCECORPS has thrown Our Public Trust into a nebulous world of Risk of Failure. That is the crux of their statements now: From Probability of Success, American Engineers now speak to Risk of Failure. Note how their only statement in the article was to recast responsibility for design failures of that canal over to "approach roads". Remember, one cannot dig a hole to shit in next to a Corps of Engineering structure without their written permission in triplicate...
--and especially not without the sufficient Congressional funding for the Corps to first Model how Shit Happens.

What is less obvious is how such a Conflict of Interest influences this paper's presentation of Accurate Information. That is what matters to me, because this paper prints statements by organizations who lied to me about those levee failures and their role in flooding this City, yet are still allowed to spend my tax money for Public Relations Advertising in this paper, in advance of their trial for Flooding this City, as covered by this paper.
I mean, unless we can enact the 8/29 Investigation Bill,
this Lawsuit is the closest we may ever come to having any sort of Legal Redress, let alone any honest answers for what actually happened to our levees that fateful day...
--which we bought and paid for with our lives.

But if you had stood with me in the death water and looked at the flooded Times Picayune Building, you would also feel jumpy around glib opening lines like the one (above) in this article which is, as all articles on This Issue, ultimately about how we came very close to flooding again.
Gentle'rillas can read some history and see that they did not "imagine", but indeed thought ahead about what they did and how they did it way back then, before the Corps got involved:
~Report on the Drainage of the City of New Orleans by the Advisory Board appointed by Ordinance No. 8327, adopted by the City Council, November 24, 1893. Note~Part 2
~The Hurricane of Sept. 29th, 1915, and Subsequent Heavy Rainfalls.

So I have grown severely gun'shy of some of the Times Picayune "reporters", like book author Chris Rose who recently stated that not one of them is objective.
I don't know what such a view does for his book sales,
but This Shit is what "Apparent" Conflict of Interest does for me.
Subtlety in journalism becomes such a strange bedfellow, depending on who you are in bed with.

And as an added concern, it takes an average of 30 seconds to locate some sort of Code of Ethics published on the websites of 9 out of 10 national newspapers that I have checked...
--the 10th "man out" of course being the Times Picayune.
If someone finds such a Code of Ethics by the TP please let me know and I will post it, as we have the NYT for example.

I did ask Managing Editor Kovacs if the Times Picayune could, at the very least, print a disclaimer at the bottom of every article on the Corps of Engineers which states that this paper receives tax-payer funded advertising from the Corps of Engineers. At least be honest.
While I cannot say that he agreed or disagreed, as I truly did not understand, I can say the entire conversation left me confused as to their official policy regarding journalistic ethics and conflicts of interest. I hung up the phone, feeling less informed and empty.

So I hung this article anyway because I want Journalism to succeed as much as I do our Levee System. For me the two are viscerally inseperable. Plus, Sheila Grissett is a Gumshoe I admire and this article in particular is much farther along the lines of what we need: connectible, traceable, actionable information.
Mark Schleifstein is Gumshoe. If necessary Editilla will step in to protect these Bayou Savages from the idiot winds of their
Ethically Challenged Managing Editor and VP of Advertising.
— Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.
— Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public's business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection.
— Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
~Code of Ethics - Society of Professional Journalist

1) In an era of great and growing dissatisfaction with the media, it is imperative that journalists avoid conflicts of interest, defined as situations in which there are competing professional, personal and/or financial obligations or interests that compete with the journalists' obligation to their outlet and audience.

9) Journalists must avoid all financial entanglements (stock ownership, financial transactions, etc.) with the people and companies they cover.
~NYU Journalism Handbook

The New York Times Company Policy on Ethics in Journalism

The Times Picayune has no Company Policy on Ethics in Journalism --at least nothing I could find published.

I wanna see the hands. Come on.
Which one of you nuts has got any guts?

~R.P. Murphy

Universal Detection Technology Receives Purchase Order From the Corps of Engineers
~For UNDT's Anthrax Detection Equipment???
Uh Oh....this has What to do with Flood Control?

Comments Encouraged on
Draft Oyster Impact Statement

~Editilla da'Pun~I'd vote for him whateva... --howeva he wanna act.

Coeur Alaska v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council~This case revolves around US Army Corps of Engineers approval for disposal of mining waste in a lake as fill material, instead of as a toxic material. The Corps decision was based on a 2002 regulation that was approved by the Corps and EPA. A lower court overturned the Corps permit for dumping in the lake. The outcome of the case could influence the disposal of many kinds of materials in various waterways.
~Docket on Coeur Alaska case.
Special thanks~Society of Environmental Journalists

~Part 2

The Secret Lives of New Orleans Eaters~Ian McNulty

Our Home at Grace Episcopal Church ~RoM

Music Listening is a Viable Option to Lower Blood Pressure

Taking an axe to jazz
~Graham Reid


Ima Wizer said...

Your passion is so commendable.....if only we had more caring people like you! I love the information you put forth and the WAY you put it out there.

Anonymous said...

Weeellll... t'ank you fury mush! When Obama went into the lipstick schtick, I couldn't stop laughing... so naturally I thought of you.

Ima Wizer said...


Anonymous said...

Rudy Guilliani was sitting right there! Can you imagine? Unstoppable laughter always reminds me of superheroes.