Saturday, February 24, 2007

Treasurer says ICFI hire was "a mistake"

State Treasurer John Kennedy said the hiring of ICF to administer the Road Home’s financial awards was a mistake and that the state should now look to bring in banking institutions to help move the money out faster.

Kennedy told Eyewitness News that banks were initially interested in participating in the process, but were told they weren’t needed after the program was designed.

“Everybody makes mistakes,” said Kennedy. “The Road Home program, choosing who we did, that's a mistake. We need to admit it and go to plan B and get our banks involved. They know how to move money. They do it for a living.”

Hmmmm. Ya think?

PS: I have been away from the computer for about a week for regularly scheduled maintenance. Sorry for any inconvenience.

More insurance rip-offs.

So after being back in her house for 15 months, Halvorsen was surprised to receive a notice from Allstate Insurance Co. around Christmas informing her that her insurance policy was slated to be canceled because the house was abandoned and in disrepair.

"I have a gardener that comes every two weeks. How could they think this house is abandoned?" asked Halvorsen, an organizer of the Krewe of St. Anne parade on Mardi Gras. "I've even got garbage cans in front of my house."

Halvorsen is one of scores of local Allstate customers who contend that their homeowners insurance coverage is being improperly dropped at the conclusion of a temporary state rule that has kept insurance policies in place since the storm.

Well, if the Bush administration can completely ignore reality, I guess it's OK now for insurance companies to do so as well.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Merciful Jeebus, wasn't it bad enough already?

Slide show of tornado damage.

. . . and still more promises

A top manager of Louisiana’s embattled Road Home’ program told the state’s hurricane recovery agency Monday that the number of people receiving checks for storm-damaged homes soon will be jumping noticeably.

ICF International, the company running the $7.5 billion program to get federal grant money to owners of severely damaged homes, has promised Gov. Kathleen Blanco that 2,300 applicants will be moved to the closing process by the end of the month.

Quit talking and just do it already!

Monday, February 12, 2007

PBS Documentary on New Orleans

Nearly a year and a half after Hurricane Katrina, a PBS documentary dares to ask “What Would America Be Like Without New Orleans?”
“American Experience: New Orleans,” a two-hour program focusing on the distinctive city’s past and how it relates to its present, was born out of the devastating storm, its director, Stephen Ives, said Tuesday from Dallas.

Easy answer: Very boring.

(Um. Not the documentary ... the answer to the question about what America would be like.That would be boring. Aw forgetit!)

Update: More information about the documentary here.Damn, it's on TONIGHT! How about that for timeliness?

Monday, February 05, 2007

The most encouraging headline of the weekend

Residents of the three areas flooded worst by Hurricane Katrina can sue the Army Corps of Engineers over claims that a poorly designed navigation channel caused catastrophic flooding during Hurricane Katrina, a federal judge ruled today.

The Corps and federal government had argued they were immune from claims that the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet caused the damage to the Lower 9th Ward, eastern New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish.

The feds have always claimed immunity from civil suits. I'm obviously no legal scholar but this is the first time I have ever heard of a judge ruling that such a suit can go forward -- it may not be unique but it's uncommon.

In other news, Blanco and the administration had another "come to Jesus" meeting with ICFI, and they promised to close an a bazillion cases this month. Where have we heard this before. Oh, yeah, last month. It may slow recovery down to fire these rascals, but I sure would like to see them taken to the woodshed. Hey, if we can now sue the federales, maybe we can sue ICFI for non-performance.

And the murder rate keeps on pace for a record year. What the hell is happening???

On the bright side, there are now challengers to both Blanco on the left and Jindal on the right. I have high hopes for a hugely nasty gubernatorial campaign next year.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

We'll see.

The contractor running Louisiana's Road Home program to provide repairs and buyouts after the hurricanes estimates it will hand out 2,300 grants this month — more than five times the number of grants it has awarded so far.