Blogging That Matters

Most blogs are bullshit.* Although most people tend to think highly of their uninformed opinions, the reality is that almost no one is interested in other people's thoughts, experiences, observations, or insights. Even in conversation, Americans don't listen to other people; they just wait until it is their turn to talk.

So it is refreshing when a blog actually does something good.

The New York Times recently profiled Karen Gadbois, a women who moved to New Orleans in 2002. Ms. Gadbois came up with a brilliant idea: Why not drive around New Orleans to see if the houses that city hall claims have been restored from Hurricane Katrina actually have been fixed?

It should surprise no one that very few of the homes she inspected actually received reconstruction work. Houses claimed to have been renovated were later demolished as uninhabitable. In one case, an entire city block that city hall claimed had been restored did not even exist. Money had, of course, been spent. $1.8 million. Federal funds have been distributed for work that was never done. A good place to look for it might be in the bank accounts of the city leadership.

Rarely does blogging have any real effect. But this time it has: The FBI has raided the offices of the reconstruction agency, and Mayor Nagin is being investigated for possible corruption charges. Someone, after all, received the money that has gone missing.

Karen Gadbois has done a great job and a great service to New Orleans. It is shameful, however, that the local mainstream journalists seem so unable to do such a basic thing as their jobs.

*including, of course, this blog


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