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Thursday, September 15, 2005


First, the Washington Post has a page with complete transcripts of the Roberts hearings.

Second, if you are worried about why the floodwalls failed in New Orleans as I am, you will be very glad to find Solomon's House and his post collecting resources and theories regarding the failures. As people come back in, this becomes a pressing issue. If we don't know why they failed, we can't possibly assess the safety of the system. It is way too simplistic to simply say that this was too strong a hurricane for the existing system. About half of the water level indicators were knocked out by the storm, so hard data is scarce.

I'm afraid getting unbiased data on the flood walls is going to be very difficult too. Simply too many people attempting to spin it one way or another. Hopefully that can be a true source.
I think we need to get this out of the hands of politicians and into the hands of the engineers, and I think we need a federally-authorized commission to investigate.

The safety of a lot of people depends upon it.
We will never "know" we will only have mathematical proofs, and they will contradict one another. What is crystal clear is that both levees and walls etc. were too low to prevent the disaster. The solution is to rebuild with higher walls....or is it? As New Orleans sinks year by year further and further in to the primordial ooze the higher walls erode naturally (when a six foot wall has a ten inch gap at the bottom) which means even more money to shore them up. New Orleans should be left to die. Period.
Howard, some of NO is on higher ground, but I can't see rebuilding in spots that are now 15 feet down and will be 18 or 20 feet down in 100 years. There is a limit to safe engineering. I am sure we could do it if we wanted to invest as much as we do on the space program, but as you say, we'd have to keep doing it.

Plus, we know we wouldn't, and then we'd end up picking up bodies again.
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