Exhibit A: This is from LaGuardia Airport in New York. It's surreal that Delta is showing off "new nonstop service to New Orleans" from LaGuardia.
These are two cities that have been around awhile, no? We all know that the sluggish response of the airlines is choking off the recovery of our convention and tourist business. I hope to see many more signs like this from other airlines soon. I do know that my flights in and out of NOLA to New York were absolutely packed to the gills. P.S. Sure wish Mr. Melpomene would ruminate more about the establishment of a new, big-time airport here. That was one of his best posts. I'm going to re-read it today. I think Mr. Mel needs to be the marketing director or tech guy or something for that new airport when it opens.
Exhibit B: The perils of rubber-stamp national marketing campaigns. I took this next one at Home Depot at Elmwood.
This sign (placed above the entrance) gave me a snide grin followed immediately by near-tears in my eyes. "Home Improvement Week" in metro New Orleans in 2006? Don't these idiots understand that every week is Home Improvement Week here? Actually, not Home Improvement Week. More like Home Construction Week.
Oh, well not for everybody, as today's Times-Picayune points out. So far, 18 (yes, EIGHTEEN) homeowners have received Road Home money to fix their homes. President Bush likes to tout all the rebuilding money that's been sent here (allegedly $7.5 billion). However, he and his minions have dithered and postured about ethics (ha!) to the extent that it takes FOREVER for anyone actually to access the money. This is nothing short of a national scandal. I'm going to send emails to my friends about this today. Disgusting. I hope everyone remembers this cynical incompetence when they go to the polls on Tuesday.
I don't want to hear people blame this on locals, either. This is FEDERAL incompetence, covered up by presidential posturing about "We need a plan" and "The money had better not be spend in a corrupt way." How much did this boob send to Iraqi reconstruction with neither a plan nor any concern for corruption? Here's what Paul Krugman (paid access) had to say a couple of days ago:
The $21 billion allocated for reconstruction over the last three years has been spent, much of it on security rather than its intended purpose, and there’s no more money in the pipeline. . .
major contractors believed, correctly, that their political connections insulated them from accountability. Halliburton and other companies with huge Iraq contracts were basically in the same position as Donald Rumsfeld: they were so closely identified with President Bush and, especially, Vice President Cheney that firing or even disciplining them would have been seen as an admission of personal failure on the part of top elected officials.
We've got to beg and prove moral perfection for $7.5 billion from our own government. Meanwhile, $21 billion for reconstruction has already gone to Iraq. What do they have to show? What do we?