Sunday, April 30, 2006

A beautiful Sunday afternoon in New England...

Today has to be a "10"...sunny with a nice refreshing breeze. I'm off to Salisbury Beach (North Shore) for a long solitary walk. Summer has almost arrived.

Thousands march to protest the war...

Here is the AP account of the demonstration in New York yesterday. Photo courtesy of


Tens of thousands of protesters marched Saturday through lower Manhattan to demand an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, just hours after this month's death toll reached 70.

Cindy Sheehan, a vociferous critic of the war whose soldier son also died in Iraq, joined in the march, as did actress Susan Sarandon and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

``End this war, bring the troops home,'' read one sign lifted by marchers on the sunny afternoon, three years after the war in Iraq began. The mother of a Marine killed two years ago in Iraq held a picture of her son, born in 1984 and killed 20 years later.

One group marched under the banner ``Veterans for Peace.''

The demonstrators stretched for about 10 blocks as they headed down Broadway. Organizers said 300,000 people marched, though a police spokesman declined to give an estimate. There were no reports of arrests.

``We are here today because the war is illegal, immoral and unethical,'' said the Rev. Al Sharpton. ``We must bring the troops home.''

Organizers said the march was also meant to oppose any military action against Iran, which is facing international criticism over its nuclear program. The event was organized by the group United for Peace and Justice.

``We've been lied to, and they're going to lie to us again to bring us a war in Iran,'' said Marjori Ramos, 43, of New York. ``I'm here because I had a lot of anger, and I had to do something.''

Steve Rand, an English teacher from Waterbury, Vt., held a poster announcing, ``Vermont Says No to War.''

``I'd like to see our troops come home,'' he said.

The march stepped off shortly after noon from Union Square, with the demonstrators heading for a rally between a U.S. courthouse and a federal office building in lower Manhattan.

The death toll in Iraq for April was the highest for a single month in 2006. At least 2,399 U.S. military members have died since the war began. An Army soldier was the latest victim, killed Saturday in a roadside explosion in Baghdad.

That figure is well below some of the bloodiest months of the Iraq conflict, but is a sharp increase over March, when 31 were killed. January's death toll was 62 and February's 55. In December, 68 Americans died.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Neil Young's "Living With War"...

Friday, April 28, 2006

Wynton Marsalis comes home to New Orleans..

Photo: Jennifer Zdon/Times-Picayune.

If you feel a spiritual connection to New Orleans you will want to read this story. It will bring life to your soul! It's about Wynton Marsalis going home to New Orleans with the Lincoln Jazz Center Orchestra. Reading this story brought back memories of that afternoon when I was part of the funeral for Louis Armstrong through the streets of the Big Easy.

Yesterday morning I returned a call to an old associate who shares a Fox Cable News view of the world. As I listened to him argue that America should not "waste money" on rebuilding New Orleans I whispered a silent prayer for patience! Anyone who knows and loves that wonderful city would not want it to be abandoned.

Of course you are entitled to express an opposing view!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Are we getting screwed by Big Oil?

While Republican leaders sharply criticize soaring gasoline prices and energy industry profits, GOP negotiators have decided to knock out provisions in a major tax bill that would force the oil companies to pay billions of dollars more in taxes on their profits.

(Photo: Jeff Chiu / AP)

One of the first lessons I learned as a young man after arriving in the United States is that most Americans vote on pocketbook issues. It seems like everyone I've talked to this past week is pissed off with the Big Oil companies...and the politicians who give these companies tax breaks.

The price of gasoline more than the war in Iraq may be the defining issue for the mid-term elections in November. What do you think?


Praise the Lord! According to Reuters, Exxon Mobil is this morning reporting 8.4 billion in profits for the first quarter.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A stark reminder...

A destroyed home in New Orleans' Ninth Ward.

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Close to 2,000 Katrina evacuees live in squalid conditions in a trailer park on the outskirts of Baton Rouge. Many say they can't return to their homes, even those that remain habitable, because landlords have raised rents by a factor as high as three.

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now went to visit the trailer park and here is her interview. By the way, Amy Goodman is my very favorite news person in America! She has more journalistic guts than all of the rest of them put together.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A 'must read' Op Ed...

Check out this op-ed piece on today's International Herald Tribune. Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, has some thought-provoking thoughts on the possibility of a military strike against Iran.

Your taxes at work...

A new $600 million US embassy complex rises in Baghdad. In this photo, the 104-acre embassy is outlined in white, inside Baghdad's "International Zone," pictured in green. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has approved a terrorism defense plan that uses US embassies to stage covert military operations in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America.

It is likely that this embassy will end up costing the American taxpayer over one billion dollars. This complex will cover an area larger than Vatican City and will be completely self-sufficient with its own water, electricity and security forces.

In the meantime the folks in New Orleans are still waiting for the Federal dollars to start flowing so that they can start rebuilding their homes.

(Photo: Digital Globe / Google Earth. Courtesy of Truthout.

Monday, April 24, 2006

'Crossover' vote will be key in New Orleans runoff election...

Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu talks at the Riverside Hilton after Saturday's primary election.

The challenge for Ray Nagin will be to increase his percentage of white votes in the runoff election on May 20. The challenge for Mitch Landrieu will be to increase his percentage of black votes.

Although Nagin led the primary by a 10% margin he is definitely not a shoo-in. Landrieu's father is a former mayor of New Orleans and the family have always had a good relationship with the African American community.

Hopefully, the major focus over the next few weeks will be on what each candidate can do to help with the rebuilding of this badly battered city.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Five American soldiers killed in Iraq yesterday. Three killed today. With all the focus on celebrity babies in the MSM you may not have noticed.

Nagin to face Landrieu in Mayoral runoff...

Photo: Sarah Griffin Thibodeaux/

Voters turn out at this polling place in the 9th Ward of New Orleans yesterday.

The results of the mayoral election in New Orleans were pretty much as expected.

Ray Nagin, the embattled but far-from-vanquished incumbent, rolled to a comfortable first-place finish in Saturday’s crowded New Orleans mayoral primary, finishing ahead of Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu in the first election since Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters changed the course of the city’s history.

Nagin, who has governed under the harsh glare of an international spotlight as his crippled city struggled to regain its footing, now heads to a May 20 runoff against Landrieu, who is attempting to follow in the footsteps of his father, former Mayor Moon Landrieu, the city’s last white chief executive.

Given the city’s plight – with vast swaths of once-vital neighborhoods forlorn and empty, and tens of thousands of residents scattered across the nation eight months after the storm — the election played out before a worldwide audience. Logistics were a hurdle for candidates and voters, not to mention elections officials, who went to great lengths to ensure that displaced voters had an opportunity to cast ballots, either in person or by mail. The effort seemed to pay off as by most accounts the election went smoothly

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Election for Mayor in New Orleans ...

Voters in New Orleans today are selecting the candidate they want to lead one of the biggest reconstruction projects in U.S. history.

Lots of questions about the outcome of the election. How many of the Diaspora will participate? Will the changed demographics of the city have an impact on the results? Will Mayor Nagin survive despite the criticism of his post-Katrina performance?

A number of civil rights groups had argued that the election should have been postponed until more residents had been able to return to the city. Others argued that a newly elected mayor with a mandate from the people was what the city needed to deal with state and federal funding sources.

It is likely that no candidate will get over 50% of the vote and this will mean a runoff on May 20th.

One thing is certain. The winner faces a host of politically sticky and racially charged decisions about where and what to rebuild in a city where whole neighborhoods remain unhabitable.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Breaking news: Holywood stars have babies...

Sometimes in the morning I turn on the NBC's Today Show to get the news headlines. With the TV in the background, I go online to check out my favorite news publications such as the Guardian (UK) or the Independent (UK) or the New York Times.

The lead story yesterday on the Today Show had to do with celebrity babies. There was an interview with someone from People magazine plugging their special edition on celebrity babies. No mention of American casualties in Iraq or genocide in Sudan. There was yet another story about that girl that went missing in Aruba last summer and a story defending the three young (white) men accused of rape at Duke University.

Now I have to confess that I don't give a shit about Hollywood celebrities. And I don't have any interest in knowing about their private lives. Actually, I rarely go to the movies as most of them are too violent for my taste. What's more, I have heard more than I ever needed to hear about Natalie Halloway.

Hollywood celebs producing babies is more than a one-day story. This morning the Today Show again led off with the celebrity babies story...but with a new twist. According to Matt Lauer the reason the celebrity babies are getting so much attention is because Americans have an insatiable appetite for this kind of story. So, don't blame the sleaze-mongers in the media...blame the bad taste of the American people.

As I'm listening to Lauer interviewing someone about the megabucks some photographer can get for a photo of Tom and Katie's new baby I'm trying to understand what all of this means. Am I the only one that doesn't give a shit about ever seeing a photo of that baby? An informal phone survey of friends that I conducted last night revealed NOT ONE OF THEM had the slightest interest in anything to do with Tom Cruise's baby.

If you believe that celebrity babies should be the lead story on NBC's Today Show news please post a comment and give us your reasons.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The hidden consequences of Hurricane Katrina...

Post Katrina: Bobby F. Spurlock, in Kenner, LA, is distressed by a judge's decision to allow his daughter to remain in Tennessee with her mother. Read the story here.

Photo: Cheryl Gerber / The NY Times. (Courtesy of Truthout).
More stories are coming out revealing the devastating effects of Katrina on the social lives of individuals and families. The story referenced here shows how Katrina made a bad situation worse. As noted here recently, there has been a significant increase in suicides as a result of Katrina.


Today's New York Times has this interesting op-ed piece on the forgotten black middle class who were victimized by Hurricane Katrina.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Attitudes towards the Iraq War are changing...

Photo courtesy of
A woman searches for her son at the site of a bomb explosion Tuesday April 18, 2006 in Baghdad, Iraq.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit my 'conservative' relatives in southern New Jersey. What I noticed was that the strong support for the war that they had a year ago had largely disappeared. One cousin even suggested that we should consider bringing the troops home.

As I drove back to Massachusetts was thinking that attitudes throughout America are changing. We are beginning to see evidence of war fatigue. It will be interesting to see how these changing attitudes impact on the elections in November.

The celebration at the Times-Picayune still goes on....

Times-Picayune editor Jim Amoss, left, and page 1 editor Terry Baquet celebrate after learning the paper won two Pulitzers.

Photo: ELIOT KAMENITZ / Times-Picayune

They have every reason to celebrate two Pulitzers at the Times-Picayune. The online version of this newspaper has provided an extraordinary service to the Katrina diaspora. For more information on this award check out this story in Nola. com.

In the interest of full disclosure I should say that I use as a major resource for this blog. I make a point of giving appropriate credits to reporters and photographers. Hope I'm not violating any online publishing ethics.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A salute to women American heroes...

Dawn Halfaker, an Army captain who lost her right arm and part of her shoulder in Iraq, is part of a unique cohort from the Iraq war: the nation's first group of female combat amputees.

You won't read about Dawn in your local newspaper. There is an unofficial ban on publishing anything that might reflect on our great enterprise in Iraq. Even thought I am a rabid anti-war activist I believe we should put people like Dawn on a very tall pedestal and honor them as great American heroes.

(Photo: James A. Parcell / The Washington Post)

Three Cheers for the Times-Picayune!!!!!

Times-Picayune editor Jim Amoss acknowledges newsroom applause for winning two Pulitzers.


I have been a big admirer of the Times-Picayune for their wonderful work in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. They have revived my faith in what civic-minded newspapers can achieve. I check the online edition of the newspaper every day and have come to realize what valuable information they provide on the reconstruction of the Crescent City. I suspect that the Katrina diaspora are finding the online version of the Times-Picayune to be an invaluable resource on that is happening in their native city.

I expected the Times-Picayune to get a Pulitizer and would have been terribly disappointed if they had not received this honor. They absolutely deserve this award.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Have a good weekend!

Light blogging this weekend as I'm traveling down from Massachusetts to visit relatives in New Jersey, including my 93-year old aunt.

In the meantime, Happy Easter! And Happy Passover! And to all our friends in Massachusetts Happy Patriots Day! Looks like the weather will be just right for the Boston Marathon on Monday.

I'll be back blogging on Tuesday.

Fear and loathing in Iraq...

Displaced Iraqi Shiite women, driven from their homes in Tal Afar, seek refuge in the hallway of a rundown hotel in the holy city of Karbala, south of Baghdad. Shiite Iraqis are increasingly fleeing religiously mixed villages.

I understand that most members of the small Christian community in Baghdad have already fled the country. Looks like Iraqi society is disintegrating.

Photo: Mohammed Sawaf / AFP. Courtesy of Truthout.

Friday, April 14, 2006

FEMA sets guidelines for rebuilding in New Orleans...

Last night the NewsHour had a really interesting segment on the new FEMA guidelines on rebuilding in New Orleans. The response to these guidelines is generally positive. What I gathered from the discussion is that people who had their homes destroyed now know the options available as regards rebuilding or relocating.

The details on the new guidelines are spelled out in this article in the Times-Picayune.

A photo tells the story...

A man expresses his anguish at the scene of a car bombing in Baghdad that targeted a police patrol, killing three. Look at the pain on this mans face. And of course there is the (unseen) pain and grief of American families. Too much suffering by too many people for reasons that are not very clear.

(Photo: Hadi Mizban / AP) . Courtesy of Truthout.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Little progress in New Orleans...

In New Orleans' devastated Lower Ninth Ward, bodies are still being found, but answers are not as easy to come by.

After all these months not much has changed. Hurricane season is just around the corner and the levees are still not repaired. And now there is talk of another multi-billion dollar war...this time against Iran.

Photo: Ozier Muhammad / The New York Times


On a more positive note: The Bush administration yesterday proposed spending an additional $2.5 billion for New Orleans levee construction and simultaneously issued long-awaited building guidelines for the flood-prone region that would require rebuilding many heavily damaged homes at least three feet above the ground.

With tens of thousands of homes awaiting reconstruction, the move could resolve an impasse over how to rebuild the low-lying metropolis. Uncertainty over the levees has left home owners unsure about whether to rebuild and how high houses should stand to avoid damage from future flooding

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A tragic story...

I came accross this story in this morning's Times-Picayune.

A woman who had lost her home to Hurricane Katrina shot her two children before committing suicide. Have not seen any figures on the number of Katrina-related suicides but I understand the number is significant, especially among middle-class professionals.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Immigrants Rally in Scores of Cities for Legal Status

Marchers, from left, Emeritt Guajardo, Jonathan Vasquez and Juan Ramirez line up behind a police baton in Dallas, Texas, where an estimated 500,000 protestors marched on Sunday. People rallied nationwide on Sunday with 20,000 in San Diego, 7,000 in Miami, 4,000 each in Birmingham, Alabama, and Boise, Idaho, as well as other cities in peaceful, forceful displays of support for the cause of immigrants.

Millions more marched yesterday. They want to be part of the American Dream.

I feel a definite solidarity with the Latino demonstrators having arrived in this country as a young Irish immigrant more than 40 years ago. What's that about "Give me your tired...".

Photo: Jensen Walker / Getty Images. Courtesy of Truthout.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Millions expected to march against immigration bill...

Two million people are expected to attend rallies in more than 60 cities today to protest against proposals to criminalise illegal immigrants and those who help them. These rallies will build on the extraordinary momentum already generated.

One of the rallies in California last weekend drew over 500,000 people. Yesterday half a million participated in a rally in Dallas, Texas. A friend who attended the Dallas rally called me last night and said it was "just like the Civil Rights rallies of the Sixties....a great feeling of old-fashioned American patriotism." She said the rally was totally peaceful.

I have a few comments to make ... but I should add that my views are colored by the fact that I'm an immigrant who was given the opportunity to become a naturalized American citizen.

First, I want to say that there is nothing more American than taking to the streets. And this huge outpouring is sending a message to those rightwingers who want to criminalize illegal immigrants and those who help them.

I have noted with interest the active role played by the Catholic Bishops and some other religious leaders in asserting that they will continue to provide aid and comfort to immigrants...irrespective of any laws passed by the Republican-controlled Congress. Good for them!

Clearly, this outpouring of civic activism will have huge political implications for the elections this fall and in '08. I understand there is a lot of voter registration going on at the rallies.

On a personal level I would note that I've worked with the Federal Migrant Head Start Program on the East Coast as a consultant. Have always been deeply impressed with the work ethic and family values of the people I met through this program. Most survive on subsistence income.

Information on rallies scheduled for today can be found at this link.


This story on the Dallas Morning News suggests that Latinos are going to be on the march until the November election. Good news for Democrats...bad news for Republicans.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Breaking News: 78 dead, dozens wounded in Shiite Mosque attack...

This is madness. It is hard not to feel despair about what is going on in Iraq these days. The situation seems to deteriorate with each passing day. And our troops are trapped in a very volatile situation.

Photo courtesy of KarbalaNews.Net


How bad is the situation in Iraq? Read this article in today's Independent (UK). Patrick Cockburn is one of the best in his profession and he paints a very depressing picture.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Genocide in Africa...

Since 2003, the systematic killings of civilians in the Darfur region of Sudan have shocked the world's conscience. Hundreds of thousands of internally displaced civilians continue to flood the refugee camps.

It seems as if the world community could be doing more to stop this terrible tragedy. I know the United Nations are in there...but they are facing huge obstacles from the Sudanese government.

Photo: Lynsey Addario / Corbis (Courtesy of Truthout.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Levee 'design failure' led to flooding of New Orleans...

In the closest thing yet to a mea culpa, the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers acknowledged Wednesday that a “design failure” led to the breach of the 17th Street canal levee that flooded much of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. A very expensive mistake that may have legal implications.

Here is the full story on
today's Times-Picayune.

Surviving in a war zone...

In Baghdad, a schoolgirl and her mother walk past the site of a bomb attack. A truck driven by a suicide bomber exploded Monday near a Shiite mosque, killing at least 10 people and wounding 30 others as worshippers were leaving after evening prayers.

Photo: Hadi Mizdan / AP. Compliments of Truthout.

I publish this photo NOT to make a political statement but to put a human face on what is happening in Iraq. This is the kind of thing that was happening in Belfast (Northern Ireland) in the Seventies and Eighties. Somehow that era of sectarian violence is mostly past history. Hopefully the same will happen in Iraq sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Tom DeLay takes his leave...

Have been following the Tom DeLay PR offensive over the past 24 hours. Sure didn't know the man was so religious. Even fasted before making his divinely-inspired decision to leave behind the world of politics. This "good" God-fearing man has practically been canonized by leaders of the religious right.

If you have been following the Abramoff scandal you know that DeLay's people were up to their eyeballs in graft and corruption. Two of his top people have already been indicted. It's alledged that a "criminal enterprise" was operated out of DeLay's office.

And there he was telling Wolf Blitzer that all his problems could be traced to the evil left-wing Democrats. I feel sorry for all those devout Christians who have been taken-in by one of the most greedy, self-centered, arrogant and hateful politicians ever to set foot in Washington.

Word is he's going to hit the speakers' circuit to promote conservative Christianity. I expect he might have to do a little time in a Federal "monastery" before that happens.


Here is a comment I found over at Daily Kos:

"Tom DeLay has proven himself, without any doubt to be the antithesis of a Christian, he is the the proverbial Pharisee and Moneychanger that Jesus had to throw out of the Temple.

How vile Tom DeLay is to use the good Christian people of our beloved Country for his own gain and political purposes, and he is still using God as a prop in his evil game. "

By: dapper on April 05, 2006 at 04:10am

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The sacrifices of our armed forces...

Army Staff Sgt. Vincent Worrell, 25, at the US Air Force Theater Hospital in Balad, Iraq, a day after he was injured by an improvised explosive device as he walked on patrol near Tal Afar.

Photo: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times. Compliments of Truthout.

I thought twice about publishing this picture. In the end the decision to publish was based on the belief that we need to know about the extraordinary sacrifices made by the men and women in our armed services. As I've said before, the mainstream media provide a very sanitized version of the war.

Race may be a factor in New Orleans election...

According to this article in today's New York Times, race may be a factor in the upcoming April 22 primary in New Orleans.

Ray Nagin, the current mayor, who was originally elected because of strong support from the white business community, is counting on solid support from the black community.

Another major contender, Ron Forman, who is credited with re-making the once-decrepit zoo, has strong appeal to downtown professionals. And a third major candidate, Mitch Landreiu, comes from a family that has a long history of attracting black voters.

Hopefully, voters will be thinking of the challenges facing the city as they vote on the 22nd. They need to consider who would be most effective in working with Louisiana State Government and with the Federal Government.

I've always thought of New Orleans as one of the most racially tolerant cities in the Deep South. It is likely that race will be an issue in the background rather than something that becomes part of the pre-election debate.

Monday, April 03, 2006

We need zero tolerance for racism in the progressive blogosphere...

Visitors to this blog will be surprised to find over fifty comments to my most recent post. In that post I had referenced the fact that I had gotten BANNED at AmericaBlog.

Here are a few additional thoughts.

First, I agree with the person who commented that we should have zero tolerance to all expressions of racism in the progressive blogosphere. The expressions of outrage to what John Aravosis had written at AmericaBlog last Friday night were perfectly justified. In just a few entences John succeeded in putting down the National Organization for Women, the NAACP, Harry Balafonte and Congresswoman McKinney. Again, I'll say I was shocked to read what he wrote.

Having taken issue with John for the racist content of what he posted last Friday night I recognize John's right to ban anybody he wishes from posting comments on his site. It is his blog. However, I don't think it makes good sense. (I understand banning certain right-wing trolls who are only interested in sabotaging the discussion.) What people like about the progressive blogs is the opportunity to engage in the "conversation." If you can't participate, why visit?

One final thought. Some of the comments over at AmericaBlog in response to what John wrote were downright mean and personal. I found some of the references to his personal life objectionable. Not helpful. When we engage in this kind of activity we are only imitating the behavior of right-wing hatemongers like Ann Coulter or Michelle Malkin.

Hopefully, we have all learned something useful from this whole experience.


Read this post over at Daily Kos to get a feel for what life is like in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Banned by AmericaBlog!

Every day I visit four or five of my favorite progressive blogs. One of these is AmericaBlog published by John Aravosis. The major focus is on inside-the-beltway politics. This blog is listed on the blogroll in the right column on this page and I've recommended it to colleagues and friends.

Last night John published this post titled, "NOW and NAACP make fools of themselves defending wackjob Rep. McKinney's rediculous racial complaint ." As I read the piece I first thought this was some kind of April Fools joke - meant as take-off on one of those hateful right-wing blogs. I soon found out it was no joke. The post was not merely a slapdown of Congresswoman McKinney but it also included a demeaning comment about Harry Bellafonte - one of my very favorite human rights activists.

I believe Ms. McKinney has done more to advocate on behalf of Katrina survivors than any other Congressperson.

I was pissed off at the tone of this post...and baffled that AmericaBlog could publish such material. I posted a critical comment. The comment was not abusive but it did suggest an undercurrent of racism in the post. Later, I went back to the site and discovered I was banned from posting comments. My original comment was deleted. Of course I wasn't the only person banned.

At this stage over 500 comments have been posted - many of them of them highly critical. This does not include the comments that have been deleted. A while ago I unsuccessfully made another attempt to post a comment. I wanted to tell John to express regrets to his AmericaBlog community. Looks like I may be banned for life.

I know as a blog publisher that it's easy to go overboard sometimes. If I'm feeling intense about an issue I'll sometimes save the post as a draft and sit on it for a few hours. This is the advice I wanted to pass along.

Update (Sunday morning)

John A's post has been taken down but you can find a copy (with comment) over at Steve Gilliard's blog.

More bad news about those levees in New Orleans...

Writing in today's Times-Picayune reporter Bob Marshall has this to say:

A sinking landscape, rising sea levels and an increase in the frequency of tropical storms are the reason for a sudden jump — from $3.5 billion to $9.5 billion — in the estimated price tag for protecting southeast Louisiana from flooding in a major hurricane, scientists and engineers said this week.

The case that the region is growing more vulnerable to storms had been building with a series of scientific reports in recent years that drew little notice until Hurricane Katrina slammed the coast last August, flooding much of the city when levees were topped or breached.

The Bush administration has pledged to rebuild the system bigger and stronger, and had asked Congress to spend about $3.5 billion to repair and rebuild levees around New Orleans. But this week, Gulf Coast Rebuilding Coordinator Donald Powell informed state officials that the Army Corps of Engineers had determined it could take another $6 billion to protect the region, raising questions about where the money would come from and whether some coastal communities might be left unprotected.

The new estimate stunned state officials, but scientists say they saw it coming.