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New Orleans Is A Toxic Cesspool

based on a column by Robert C. Koehler. September 29, 2005

When the all-clear goes out for New Orleans and environs, my suggestion is, hold onto your protective gear. The U.S. economy signed a non-aggression pact with cancer a long time ago and the Bush administration has honored it more enthusiastically than any other.

The term “toxic gumbo” barely does justice to the horror of pollutants unleashed on this city at the mouth of the Mississippi surrounded by petrochemical plants, in the heart of what was already known as Cancer Alley.

It's a national nightmare that’s just beginning. The region’s scattered survivors want to go home, and desperately need leadership committed to helping them and telling the truth. I fear what they’ll get instead is a smiley-face pasted over toxic lies.

The Associated Press moved a story a few days ago on the cleanup that was so top-heavy with “encouraging” comments from government officials and others, so oblivious to the cries of alarm emanating from environmentalists, I felt the spirit of Tinker Bell whispering between every line, if you wish hard enough, you’ll make it so.

In a statement that reeks of politics, Jerry Fenner of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told AP: “All the data to date show there should not be any long-term health risks to the population.”

The assertion sits unchallenged in the middle of the story, signaling, I fear, more craven reporting to come. I watch in awe as yet again the media hoist the smiley-face flag of credulous deference to governmental utterances, as though we’ve never been misled before.

Katrina unsheathed the future — the future in store for all of us if we don’t reinstate a reality-based government that protects its citizens rather than its own interests.

You have been reading excerpts from "Unsheathed future" by Robert C. Koehler. You can read the entire piece here: tinyurl.com/9wqqh. Thanks to Bob Koehler. We visit commonwonders.com often and we hope you will too.

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