Digby has a fine timeline up of exactly what happened two years ago today when Hurricaine Katrina hit. I’d like to extend it a bit to add my own favorite event of that week. As I wrote at the time, on Thursday when people were still dying of thirst at the convention center:
New Orleans can breathe a sigh of relief. George is in the thick of it now, doing what he does best — no, not snorting coke and falling off his bike. These are serious times, don’t be flippant.
I’m talking about handing out money to Halliburton:
The Navy has hired Houston-based Halliburton Co. to restore electric power, repair roofs and remove debris at three naval facilities in Mississippi damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Halliburton subsidiary KBR will also perform damage assessments at other naval installations in New Orleans as soon as it is safe to do so.
KBR was assigned the work under a “construction capabilities” contract awarded in 2004 after a competitive bidding process. The company is not involved in the Army Corps of Engineers’ effort to repair New Orleans’ levees.
Would that be the same Halliburton who had to pay back $27.4 million it overcharged the Pentagon last year? Who nonetheless got “award fees” for “very good work” in 2004 to the tune of $70 million? The very same Halliburton that Bunnatine Greenhouse was demoted for criticizing?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that, given the time frame, it was another no-bid contract for Halliburton, exactly the kind of favoritism Bunnatine Greenhouse was calling out in the first place.
It was, as it turns out, a no-bid contract. George went on to sign a waiver of prevailing wage requirements for federal contractors, and also a waiver of affirmative action requirements — which effectively shut out minority contractors.
All of this was supposed to insure that New Orleans was rebuilt faster and better. I think we can say that worked out well.