They’re starting to line up the experts to buttress the case for abandoning New Orleans.
This editorial by St. Louis University earth sciences professor Tim Kusky appeared in the Boston Globe last week, advocating that levees not be rebuilt and that remaining residents and businesses be moved out of the city gradually over the next few years.
Kusky is scheduled to be a guest on “60 Minutes” tonight.
So here’s the problem: According to the Times-Picayune, Kusky is a total unknown in his self-proclaimed field and has no expertise in the area of coastal erosion or levee management. Judging from the article, he seemed to even be unfamiliar with the alternatives to levees that were debated within the Army Corps of Engineers in the early part of the 20th Century, as documented in John M. Barry’s Rising Tide, a book that any layperson can read and understand.
The State of Louisiana has protested the airing of this inflammatory and inaccurate reporting:
In a letter to CBS, Andy Kopplin, executive director of Louisiana Recovery Authority, asked the network to reconsider airing it.
“We are very concerned about the preview of your story on New Orleans’ future posted on the ’60 Minutes’ website and hope it is not an accurate reflection of your work,” Kopplin wrote.
“We know of many scientists and engineers who have spent considerable parts of their careers becoming experts in addressing coastal land loss in Louisiana and who disagree fundamentally with Prof. Kusky’s purported comments.”
. . .
“I am dismayed by the advance report on the scheduled story on sinking of New Orleans which apparently is based on the perspectives of ‘a natural disaster expert,’” he wrote. He also noted he’s spent his career working on coastal environmental issues around the country and “until now, I have never heard of Prof. Kusky.”
Boesch’s letter indicates that Kusky’s expertise is in ophiolites — rock sequences that formed on the oceanic edge of tectonic plates in the Archean eon about three billion years ago. He questioned an op-ed piece written for the Boston Globe in September suggesting it’s time for New Orleanians to move out of the city, which Boesch said was “replete with serious errors of fact and logic.”
“The op-ed reads like an undergraduate paper — a little bit of truth but with a lot of important information missing and not much deep thinking,” Boesch wrote.
“I am extremely disappointed that the widely viewed and well regarded ’60 Minutes’ would base a story on such an incredibly important issue on an ‘expert’ with so little standing on the subject and not seek the best scientific perspectives available,” Boesch wrote.
My fear is that this is part of the Republican playbook. They don’t want to pay for rebuilding New Orleans, so they are beginning to make the case for abandoning it they way they made the case for tax cuts and the Iraq war. Fear and misinformation. They claim to be the party that will protect America, but the truth is out there, the evidence is in their actions…when an American city comes under attack, they will gather up their gold and cut and run, like the greedy cowards they are.
Your city may be next. And you’ll be on your own. The Federal Government under GOP control will abandon you. It’ll be your own damn fault for living near water, or near a faultline, or in a tornado zone.
In my retirement, I plan on spending a year driving around in an RV, visiting cemeteries, for the sole purpose of urinating on the graves of the GOP. Thirty years from now, Bush, Rove, Rumsfeld, Delay, Scalia, Brownie…all will receive a posthumous golden shower from me.
So will Kusky.