Rep. John Lewis: “I think all Americans should rise up and speak out.”

Rep. John Lewis, U.S. congressman from the Fifth District of Georgia calls for a Marshall-type plan to rebuild New Orleans in an OP/ED in Newsweek. Of the response from the Federal Government Lewis says, “But this is America. We’re not a Third World country. This is an embarrassment. It’s a shame. It’s a national disgrace.”

Lewis encourages Americans to rise up and speak out…

It’s very painful for me to watch and read about what is happening. I have a sense of righteous indignation. I think all Americans should rise up and speak out. It’s not like 9/11 that just happened. We saw this in the making. The media told us for days this storm was coming, and for years people have been telling us we need to do something to prepare. It took us so many days to make the full force of the government available afterward.

Rebuilding New Orleans should be seen as “opportunity to rebuild urban America. New Orleans could be a model.” Read more here.

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6 Responses to Rep. John Lewis: “I think all Americans should rise up and speak out.”

  1. Ginny in CO says:

    Here’s a speak out opportunity:

    http://www.PFAW.org/go/EstateTax

    Sen Maj Leader Frist may still bring the permanent repeal to the estate tax to the floor on 9/6. PFAW has this set up to write your senators and W. I do pass on the general recommendation that you delete their message and write your own.

    This aspect of the disaster is also going to affect the poor, black men and others in the judicial system. My sister works in a large law firm that is collecting donations to the ABA for this. Haven’t figured out a web site. but it is something to keep in mind as the situation unravels.

    From: Paul Moxley

    Here is a email from a Professor at a law school in New Orleans which describes the problems there. This is the first city since the Civil War to be evacuated.

    The author is Professor Michelle Ghetti, Southern University Law Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70813, 225-771-4900. Her message, which was originally posted on an evidence professors’ discussion board at Chicago Kent Law School has been widely circulated, because it is so powerful.

    Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 6:27 AM
    To: Norman M. Garland; ‘John Barkai'; ‘Discussion forum for evidence law’
    Subject: Devastated Lawyers Lives
    I know your hearts, in particular, are for lawyers. Think of this… 5,000 – 6,000 lawyers (1/3 of the lawyers in Louisiana) have lost their offices, their libraries, their computers with all information thereon, their client files – possibly their clients, as one attorney who e-mailed me noted. [The lawyers] are scattered from Florida to Arizona and have nothing to return to…. They must re-locate their lives.

    Our state supreme court is under some water – with all appellate files and evidence folders/boxes along with it. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals building is under some water – with the same effect. Right now there may only be 3-4 feet of standing water but, if you think about it, most files are kept in the basements or lower floors of courthouses. What effect will that have on the lives of citizens and lawyers throughout this state and this area of the country? And on the law?

    The city and district courts in as many as 8 parishes/counties are under water, as well as 3 of our circuit courts – with evidence/files at each of them ruined. The law enforcement offices in those areas are under water again, with evidence ruined.

    6,000 prisoners in 2 prisons and one juvenile facility are having to be securely relocated. We already have over-crowding at most Louisiana prisons and juvenile facilities. What effect will this have? And what happens when the evidence in their cases has been destroyed? Will the guilty be released upon the communities? Will the innocent not be able to prove their innocence?
    Our state bar offices are under water. Our state disciplinary offices are under water – again with evidence ruined….
    And, then, there are the clients whose files are lost, whose cases are stymied. Their lives, too, are derailed. Of course, the vast majority live in the area and that’s the least of their worries. But, the New Orleans firms also have a large national and international client base. For example, I received an e-mail from one attorney friend who I work with on some crucial domestic violence (spousal and child) cases around the nation – those clients could be seriously impacted by the loss, even temporarily, of their attorney – and he can’t get to them and is having difficulty contacting the many courts around the nation where his cases are pending.

    Large corporate clients may have their files blowing in the wind where the high rise buildings had windows blown out. … I’m sure I’m still missing a big part of the future picture. It’s just devastating. Can you imagine something of this dimension in your state? Michelle Professor Michelle Ghetti Southern University Law Center Baton Rouge, LA 70813 225-771-4900

  2. Ginny

    Thanks for posting this. There’s so many things we need to get out to people. Do you want to post this as a thread?

  3. Ginny in CO says:

    The usual after thoughts, One would hope lawyers who live in a place that is threatened by floods would not store paper evidence where it could get wet. We are talking lawyers, who I deeply respect even if I don’t understand how their minds work.

    Michael Brown (the head of FEMA) is a lawyer – I think it was Maureen Dowd in the NYT who said his experiece was running the International Arabian Horse Association.

    My PFAW letter requested the $ be spent on cleaning up and rebuilding LA, MS since they hadn’t funded the prevention projects. Then Dowd offered this gem;

    …”the Army Corps of Engineers asked for $105 million for hurricane and flood programs in New Orleans last year. The White House carved it to about $40 million. But President Bush and Congress agreed to a $286.4 billion pork-filled highway bill with 6,000 pet projects, including a $231 million bridge for a small, uninhabited Alaskan island. ”

    I can’t say what island or why Ted (Stevens R AK) thinks it needs a bridge, most likely so it can be accessed for deveolpment. AK is one of the Red states that gets more Federal $ than they pay in income taxes – one of the highest I think. This is the State that had the Permanent Fund Dividend; instead of paying state taxes, all residents received about $1000 per year. Anchorage didn’t even have a sales tax.

    Ok,I have to quit, starting to get queasy again.

  4. Ginny in CO says:

    Pamela,

    If you want this as a thread, great. I have some long distance ties to the Southern Poverty Law Center and a group in Jackson that advocates for death row inmates.
    The judicial and penal systems are further examples of the states’ poverty.

  5. Ginny

    Call us queasy are us. It’s all very nauseating and exhausting. My normal insomnia has turned to exhausted sleep in the past couple of nights. Information overload is wearing us all down.

  6. Ginny

    If you log in you can post it in the area on the login page where it says “Write Posts”. You can either copy and paste into the box for the post or type directly into it. Then hit save and it will be there as a draft, I’ll check it and post it. There’s little tools doohickeys for bold, italics, to link to articles, websites, etc.

    Please… have at it.