The Bush Administration has announced that New Orleans is open for the new season of hurricane business.
Federal emergency officials claim the New Orleans levee system is ready for another major hurricane, despite the less-optimistic views of other political leaders and engineers.
"I think we're in good shape," Don Powell, the Bush administration's coordinator of Gulf Coast rebuilding, said Sunday. "There's no question in my mind, we're ready."
Yeah, they're as ready as they were last year, which is not all that comforting.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said the levee repairs alone aren't enough. "They're back up to Category 3," she said. "We need to get them up to Category 5, and we are working to do that."
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said the city was ready â€” but only to evacuate.
"You will never see a replay of last year, as long as I'm the mayor of the city," he said Sunday. "It's the storm surge that's really the major concern. ... We don't expect the catastrophic failures."
Contradicting other Bush administration officials, Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the U.S. Army Corps' chief, conceded it isn't clear whether the levees could withstand a big hurricane this year.
Also undercutting a lot of the spin is the largely discredited Michael Brown, former head of FEMA, who says that the real problem is all the extra layers of bureaucracy Bush and the Republican Congress put into place when they formed, at great expense and with much disruption of federal agencies responsible for our national security, the dysfunctional amorphous blob called the Department for Homeland Security.
Bush government, you're doing a heckuva job!