Much has been written both here and elsewhere about Hurricane Katrina, and one of the last chapters was written in court yesterday.
Ray Nagin, the ex mayor of New Orleans, who we saw pointing fingers, yelling, cursing, and giving us the “woe is us” routine for days and weeks on end after Katrina, was convicted on seven million counts of bribery, wire fraud, filing false income tax returns, and setting fire to children. Well, not that last part.
Many of the crimes were from his pre-Katrina days as the standard, run of the mill mayor scam in New Orleans. I imagine these crimes are the tip of the iceburg but I will take it. He will be spending the next 15 plus years in jail.
22 thoughts on “Nagin Set To Go To Jail”
Kevin Williamson has an excellent column on this subject.
There is no way to put a happy face on this fact: Critical American institutions are of shockingly low quality. Corruption is a part of that: At No. 19 on the Transparency International rankings, the United States is tied with Uruguay. Its transparency score of 73 is far behind where you want to be, among such category leaders as Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden, and Finland (91, 91, 89, and 89, respectively). We lag well behind our Canadian neighbors and such important international competitors as Germany. Our overall standing is not terrible, but it does not place us among global leaders, either. Moderation in the pursuit of honesty is no virtue.
Trust in government is quite low although there has always been corruption. I’m reading Bully Pulpit and there is a rather shocking story of corruption in Cincinnati courts in the 1880s where William Howard Taft was a reformer. I suspect that government had less effect on normal life and so corruption was less of a common problem for the population.
That is a good article, thanks Mike. I just don’t see why Americans put up with this sort of b.s. Of course it is ALWAYS the feds that bring anyone to justice (see Blago) – god forbid any of the locals actually want this stuff to come to light. This garbage hurts everyone.
I note that in the news reports, Nagin’s political party and base are not mentioned. And that is one reason why there is a lack of public outrage. The media are co-conspirators in the corruption, not the Public Tribunes they claim to be. I admit surprise that the Federal case against Nagin was not tossed; because he was protected by the strongest political substance known in this country, Black Democratium. This brings up the possibility that Nagin did or knew something that would be harmful to the administration and thus had to be removed from circulation. Pity it was not state charges, because Angola prison is a lot more real than the Federal country club he will go to.
It is actually a lot easier to analyze when you get rid of any assumptions of the rule of law, or media independence.
“Pity it was not state charges…” – I doubt anyone in LA would ever blow the whistle because I can only assume that so many people are in on these scams, a la Illinois/Blago.
Of course the “media” will never mention that he was a Democrat, that is always baked into the pie anymore. Sadly.
We had a great many Katrina evacuees billeted in San Antonio – I think they were parked in a couple of designated refugee centers on the south/west side of town. One of the things that I remember reading in the local newspaper was an interview with some of the families with school-age children, on their first day in school.
These kids were being sent to the schools in the Edgewood independent school district, just because of the geography of where the evacuation center was. Edgewood had the reputation of being pretty much a sinkhole as far as providing a good education experience, being on the bad side of town. (Military dependents living off-base in the vicinity of Kelly and Lackland AFBs had the option of going to the DODDS schools on-base, since otherwise they fell into the Edgewood ISD.) Anyway, there were lots of interviews with the parents of the Katrina evacuee students, exclaiming how pleasant, and modern and nice the schools were, how the classrooms were so clean, and the teachers were so pleasant … and the playgrounds, and the books in the libraries! Everything was so wonderful! And Edgewood had the reputation of being the worst in town! (insert mild mind-boggle here.) So, I just had to wonder – if the worst schools in San Antonio looked like that to them, exactly how catastrophically bad were the New Orleans public schools they had come from?
>>This brings up the possibility that Nagin did or knew something that would be harmful to the administration and thus had to be removed from circulation.
Exactly what I was thinking. I consider (almost) all politicians to be corrupt to some degree or else they wouldn’t be allowed to rise in the local or national party. The Democratic Party in particular could give lessons to the mafia. So when I see something like this, my first thought is always, who did he cross that he got the knife? Maybe I’m getting to cynical for my own good.
Michael Hiteshaw — You can’t be too rich, but you can be too thin. OTOH, you can’t be too cynical.
Michael, it’s like you can never be too rich or too thin. You can never be too cynical – especially these days.
Damn – have we got this ESP thing going here, or what?
“he was protected by the strongest political substance known in this country, Black Democratium.”
Well, he is rather light skinned.
The New Orleans public schools were notorious and Jindal has focused a lot on them.
In 2008, we took important steps toward remaking the New Orleans school system by working with the Legislature to approve a landmark scholarship program for low-income students in the city who were trapped in failing schools (a program that we later expanded statewide).
And, in order to give parents and students more access to charter schools, we have implemented a number of reforms since taking office.
The Holder D o J is fighting to stop the NO voucher program. Obama is the enemy of good schools, just as deBlasio is in New York City.
I might add, “Black Democratium” is similar to another element.
The Higgs boson is an evanescent particle expiring after nanoseconds, while the Higgs ratchet seems to be a robust phenomenon, which has alternately been identified as “Governmentium” on the periodic table of the elements:
The heaviest chemical element yet known to science. Governmentium (Gv) has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.
These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would normally take less than a second. Governmentium has a normal half-life of three years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.
In fact, Governmentium mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause some morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.
When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium–an element which radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.
Mike, I’ve seen that joke in several different mutations. In the nuke plant world, it was called Moronium or Bureaucratium.
I learned it long ago. It seems to live on.
I blame Bush
>>The Holder D o J is fighting to stop the NO voucher program. Obama is the enemy of good schools, just as deBlasio is in New York City.
You can’t let the basic populace get educated. After a while, they see through. And they learn about what has and hasn’t worked historically. And they get jobs and become self supporting. And that’s the end of these folks, and they know it. So no decent schools and double down on the media brain washing. How do these folks live with themselves, I wonder?
Corruption in New Orleans? Say it aint so!
Is amazing when you look at the coverage – or lack of coverage – depending on who the defendant is.
Looks like the Russian mafia reads Chicago Boys……
@Joe – yes that was a couple of strange comments. I put them into the spam bin so hopefully they won’t terrorize me any more (ha).
I note that in the news reports, Nagin’s political party and base are not mentioned
The NYT DOES mention his being a Democrat, but about halfway down. Here is the lead sentence:
C. Ray Nagin, a former corporate executive who became mayor in 2002..
According to the NYT, his being a “former corporate executive” is more important than his party affiliation.
Maybe Nagin has dirt on someone (though it seems to me at least as likely that he would have been bought off had that been the only issue), but the likelier explanation seems to be the Feds pushing aside the minority machine to make room for the return (and continuing dominance) of the local establishment’s machine in the person of a new Landrieu:
(Apologies in advance for my inability to turn this into a link in your software.)
Sadly, this won’t change the narrative. It won’t change the narrative on the response to Katrina, Bush is going to be the bad guy in that story for a good, long time in the popular opinion. And it won’t change the narrative in terms of political priorities either. Republicans are going to continue to be the enemy due to their social and culturally regressive views and their uncaring stance on the poor. Meanwhile, corruption will continue to be an enormous collection of “isolated incidents by rogue individuals” rather than a problem with the system. New Orleans still has a Democratic mayor and probably will for the foreseeable future. As is the case in Detroit, Chicago, and Baltimore. Hosts to some of the most entrenched corruption and extensive violent crime in America. Such are the wages of effective political monopolies.
Though it’s not as if Republicans are blameless in these messes either, the Republican party is little better than the Democrats in many regards, and its intense focus on an increasingly unpopular pet social conservative agenda makes it so very easy to make them into the bad guy.
}}} He will be spending the next 15 plus years in jail
Not long enough.
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