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kskiska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-06-05 10:59 PM
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Why FEMA failed
Ideologically opposed to a strong federal role in disaster relief and obsessed with terrorism, the Bush administration let a once-admired agency fall apart.

By Farhad Manjoo

(snip)

During the 1990s, FEMA was routinely praised as one of the best-functioning federal agencies. Its response to the Midwestern floods of 1993, the Northridge earthquake of 1994, and 1995's Oklahoma City terrorist attack are considered models of emergency response. By contrast, its performance during Katrina is almost universally acknowledged to have been abysmally poor. At first, FEMA's post-Katrina failure appears baffling: What happened to the once-great FEMA? But George Haddow, who served as the deputy chief of staff at FEMA under James Lee Witt, Bill Clinton's FEMA director, thinks that FEMA's current flaws are all too understandable -- and are a direct consequence of the Bush administration's decision to pull the federal government out of the natural disaster-relief business and turn over more power to state and local officials.

Indeed, the White House's new response to the political disaster prompted by Katrina -- one in which officials are attempting to blame authorities in Louisiana, rather than in Washington, for the slow aid -- underscores the Bush philosophy. According to Haddow, instead of working with local officials to try to minimize the impacts of an impending storm, the White House has decided its best strategy is to keep its distance from people on the ground. That way if anything goes wrong, the White House can "attack, attack, attack."

We began to see some of these attacks over the weekend. Sunday's Washington Post cited an anonymous Bush administration official who explained that one reason that the federal government didn't intervene more quickly in Louisiana was because Kathleen Blanco, the state's Democratic governor, failed to declare a state of emergency there, a necessary step for federal help to flow. An article in Newsweek repeats the same claim.

But there's a problem with the White House's excuse: It's patently false. As Josh Marshall points out, Blanco declared a state of emergency on Aug. 26 -- a day before Bush declared a federal emergency in Louisiana. (You can see Blanco's official declaration in PDF format here; the Washington Post has corrected its article.) On Aug. 28 -- the day before Katrina made landfall -- Blanco followed her declaration with an official letter (PDF) to Bush that requested all manner of emergency supplies her state would need for the aftermath.

more
http://salon.com/news/feature/2005/09/07/fema/index.htm...
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opihimoimoi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-06-05 11:01 PM
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1. Blanco covered her ass, Bush exposed his
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Coastie for Truth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-06-05 11:14 PM
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2. Then why have a 270,000,000 population continental nation
if we are not risk spreading catastrophic issues? Seriously.

I bust my butt, go without sleep for 36+ hours, and push my glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure to record levels to help New Orleans victims. Why?
1. I'm an old fashion, Jimmie Carter "faith based" Progressive.
2. The Bible and Maimonides told me to do it.
3. It is the right thing to do.
4. It is classical, Econ 201 "actuarial risk spreading" - somebody else in this continental nation of 270,000,000 will do the same for me on the earthquake fault line in California when the "Big One" hits.

But, if this continental nation of 270,000,000 will not do the same for me on the earthquake fault line in California when the "Big One" hits - the heck with this continental nation of 270,000,000

      <>




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msgadget Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-06-05 11:44 PM
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3. They're aiming directly at the locals
Here's a clip from a NYT op-ed by John Tierney where he suggests NO could've been saved with school buses and magic markers. Oh, and, the resultant crisis is entirely the fault of the residents who just wouldn't leave and DEMOCRATIC leaders of Louisiana.

Magic Marker Strategy


Instead of relying on a "Good Samaritan" policy - the fantasy in New Orleans that everyone would take care of the neighbors - the Virginia rescue workers go door to door. If people resist the plea to leave, Mr. Judkins told The Daily Press in Newport News, rescue workers give them Magic Markers and ask them to write their Social Security numbers on their body parts so they can be identified.

"It's cold, but it's effective,"
Mr. Judkins explained.

That simple strategy could have persuaded hundreds of people to save their own lives in New Orleans. What the city needed most was coldly effective local leaders, not a president in Washington who could feel their pain. It's the same lesson we should have learned from Sept. 11 and other disasters, yet both liberals and conservatives keep ignoring it.

The liberals bewailing the insensitivity and racism of Republicans in Washington sound like a bad rerun of the 1960's, when urban riots were blamed on everyone but the rioters and the police. Yes, the White House did a terrible job of responding to Katrina, but Democratic leaders in New Orleans and Louisiana didn't even fulfill their basic duties.

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