I have not forgotten the story that motivated me to resume posting on OS -- LSU's firing of Ivor van Heerden, the scientist who predicted a Katrina-like event and who persistently investigated the role of engineering failures -- that's human disaster, not natural -- in Katrina.
But I can't find much. I really hope the error lies in my search skills, and not in the MSM's failure to attend to a story. It's not just about Katrina. It's about the future of New Orleans. It's about whether we let government agencies spin their way out of the reasons they exist and they jobs they're supposed to do. It's about whether we, as a society, value rigorous knowledge-seeking procedures for the enrichment of human life, or whether we just believe comfortable things because it's easier than giving a shit.
That said, here are the few bits -- none of them MSM -- that I've been able to dig up.
The LSU Daily Reveille recently reported that a petition in support of Van Heerden, sponsored by Levees.org, was presented to the chancellor. You can find the story here. I have never heard, and never expect to hear again, of this many people advocating for a professor.
On the Levees.org home page, I also found a link to a local news outlet, WWL, that investigated the Army Corps of Engineers' use of taxpayer money for PR. It seems the good old boys at the Corps think that creating the belief that they're doing their jobs is somehow more important than actually doing it. Like many of the college students I encounter, the Corps wants us to give it an A, regardless of whether it could actually perform. As the Church Lady used to say, Isn't that special?
Finally, if you have the stomach, you can listen to this WRKF (Baton Rouge public radio) interview with a lawyer who explains to us why academic freedom doesn't mean that a university can't fire a professor for publicly speaking out in his or her area of expertise. On that page, you'll also find links to an interview with Van Heerden on his termination and the station's report on the same event.
Although my google and news archive searches are not turning up much in the MSM, they do produce a lot of hits to blogs. So I'll keep doing my little bit to get more attention for one worthy man -- and for the fate of New Orleans.