MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki
has been collaborating with NJ journalist Brian Murphy
on some investigative journalism about the Chris Christie administration's alleged withholding of Sandy Relief funds until the Mayor of Hoboken agrees to fast-track a real-estate development. Hoboken was one of the hardest-hit communities and has so far received $6 per resident. Christie became governor after leading a US Attorney investigation which convicted NJ politicians of crooked real-estate deals.
Wireless Emergency Alerts
(WEA) are a new service from U.S. weather service and FEMA. Starting in June, they will send a text message with a strange tone to your mobile device if you are in range of a Tornado Warning, Tsunami Warning or other major event (in the U.S. only). Major events include "Presidential Alerts." You do not need to sign up. Washington Post Capital Weather Gang
has a few more details.
FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate has what he describes as a "Waffle House" theory of emergency management to assess how bad a situation is after a disaster. "If the Waffle House is open and serving food and has got a full menu, then it's green," he said during an interview inside a FEMA mobile home parked outside a fire station in Joplin. "If the Waffle House is open but has a limited menu, it's yellow, and if the Waffle House isn't open, that's red." - FEMA Gets its Groove Back
After receiving complains from upset parents
, FEMA took the PDF coloring book "A Scary Thing Happened" offline, and now the story is spinning around the internet
. Created by the Freeborn County Crisis Response Team
in 2003 as a tool for children to use with a responsible parent or adult to help cope with the disaster
, the book has been used with children who have experienced disasters related to Hurricane Katrina, California wildfires, floods and even the Interstate 35 bridge collapse, to name a few instances. There have even been international requests from the Australian Red Cross to use the coloring book as a model to aid Australian children. Looking for more than the offending page? The Smoking Gun has made the original PDF available
, and FEMA still has three other coloring books online
. (More coloring book fun inside) [more inside]
is headed for landfall in Louisiana in the next 48 hours
, with currently around an equal chance
of being a category 3 storm or a category 4 storm. Gustav
has 150 mph winds at the moment as it begins to enter the gulf of Mexico and a million
After failing in their response to Hurricane Katrina three years ago
, Fema is trying to be more proactive
. Of course, some people are staying
in harm's way
, live blogging, and once
again, there's the cry "bring it on
". [more inside]
FEMA Press conference regarding the California fires has everything but reporters
Bored on your summer vacation? Well, the US government has lots of fun stuff for kids to do on line
. Learn fascinating facts about cows
(and agricultural marketing
!) from the Department of Agriculture. Take a ride to Money Central Station
with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. If you live in a federally-funded housing project, HUD wants you to learn more about being a good citizen
. Want something more action-packed? Help FBI Special Agent Bobby Bureau go undercover
, or become one of America's Crypto-Kids
at the NSA. Play thrilling puzzle games
or visit the world's most secret museum
at the CIA. Play more games
or become a Disaster Action Kid
at FEMA! And no list of government kids' pages would be complete without revisiting the children's art contest from the ATF, which I've linked to before...
Millions of tax dollars melting away...
guess Katrina victims didn't need ice after all.
The Best Laid Plans: The Story of How the Government Ignored Its Own Gulf Coast Hurricane Plans.
A new report from CREW describes FEMA's plan to respond to a hurricane of Katrina’s magnitude and its subsequent failure to implement that plan. [Via C&L.]
The Katrina Cottage
is economical, rather charming, and can serve as a "grow" house
. At $35,000 for 308 sq ft, it compares favorably to the $75k FEMA trailer.
Not a totally new idea
- some of the 1906 earthquake refuge shacks
are still in existence
in San Francisco. Might tiny houses
be the future for disaster relief? (via The Blues and Then Some)
"Turn it off man, I don't want no problems."
Democracy Now attempts to interview Katrina evacuees at a FEMA trailer park. FEMA's private security guards claim that the residents don't have 'the privilege' of being able to speak freely on FEMA property without a FEMA 'minder' present.
"You drowned 1,200 people! I rebuke you."
Politics as usual? Yes, if you're from Louisiana. Is it hot where you are? Well, at least your federal government didn't trick you into living in your car in 100 degree weather because they won't give you the keys to your trailer.
Oh, but try not to get sick, because even though New Orleans is almost back to its Pre-Katrina size (1 million out of 1.3 million), half of the hospital space is gone
. Only six weeks
until hurricane season! Woot!
"In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush
and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans' Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage
Loans over $10,000 require collateral ... (NYT link gen)
The SBA (loan officers wanted
), which runs the federal government's main disaster recovery loan program for homeowners, has rejected 82 percent of applications. (17,463 home loans approved, 77,000 rejected - though some must get rejected in order to receive smaller FEMA grants...)
Bodies still being found in NOLA You know, it's hard to imagine anything worse than coming back to your home in New Orleans and finding it completely destroyed. But, tonight, as you're about to hear, there is something worse, much worse. Dozens of families have returned to what is left of their homes and found, lying amidst the mold and the wreckage, a body, forgotten, abandoned. Maybe it's their mother or their grandmother, sometimes even their missing child. More Here
FEMA to reimburse churches.
Washington Post story: "After weeks of prodding by Republican lawmakers and the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said yesterday that it will use taxpayer money to reimburse churches and other religious organizations that have opened their doors to provide shelter, food and supplies to survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita."
Thank goodness he landed on his feet!
Former FEMA director Michael Brown is being retained by the agency as a "consultant."
Wasting away in Ritaville
Might as well start the deluge of Rita posts with this one. Rita is the most intense storm to threaten the US since Gilbert in 1988 and it threatens Galveston Bay directly. In direct path of the storm are oil refineries processing over two million barrels of oil a day
which is 26 percent of the US refining capacity
. In addition the area expected to be hit
(pdf) by a potential twenty-two foot storm surge
has a higher population than New Orleans.
This storm has caused an unprecedented evacuation
of the southern parts of Houston. Interstate 45 has been opened in both directions to north-bound traffic for the first time ever
. Tales of twelve to sixteen hour drives to outlying cities are common.
One of the blogs I read daily posted this morning that it is likely he will lose his house in twelve-plus feet of water
. I left Houston last night and am staying with friends in Austin now, well out of the way of the storm. Other tales are sure to come.
Will the lessons of Katrina help Houston to recover from the storm? Will the response from FEMA be better because of the heat from Katrina or will the Republican voting area and Tom DeLay's district factor into the relief effort?
Michael Brown, head of FEMA is relieved of duties.
After a rocky week
and increasing doubts about his background and experience (like a padded resume
), Brown gets pulled from FEMA duty. Pretty surprising to see, given that the "CEO President
" proclaimed "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job
" just a few days ago.
House and Senate GOP leaders announce the (Republican dominated) "Hurricane Katrina Joint Review Committee"
which should ensure that no-one near the top of the (Republican Dominated) chain of command is in any danger of repercussions over the death of a great American city.
In fact, it seems likely that incompetence will be richly rewarded:
representative Waxman thinks that a Provision in Katrina Emergency Bill Leaves Government Open to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse
. But that's nothing! Despite near-universal opprobrium as a dysfunctional bureaucracy led by an unqualified political appointee, FEMA will receive nearly all of the funds approved on Thursday -- $50 billion...
(all links via TPM
Reading the news after the Katrina Hurricane and the lack-of-response disaster, a pattern began to emerge. Mainstream media compilation - Collective Bellaciao via xymphora, which has several other uniquely critical posts on Katrina
I'm not expecting much from foreign nations because we haven't asked for it," (Bush) said. "I do expect a lot of sympathy, and perhaps some will send cash dollars.
For a while there foreign countries were unsure
whether to send aid and the US was sending mixed signals
. Now of course, even Qatar
is coughing up "cash dollars" and other countries are lending a hand. But the question remains: why do we even need it? This guy
blames privatization, and I can't say I blame him
. (NYT link).
"As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded on national television for firefighters - his own are exhausted after working around the clock for a week - a battalion of highly trained men and women sat idle Sunday in a muggy Sheraton Hotel conference room in Atlanta.
Many of the firefighters, assembled from Utah and throughout the United States by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, thought they were going to be deployed as emergency workers.
Instead, they have learned they are going to be community-relations officers for FEMA, shuffled throughout the Gulf Coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number: 1-800-621-FEMA
FEMA fudging dates?
(scroll down a bit). That's their screenshot, and then the current google cache
, and the current page
"The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?" And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday." And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night.
" Aaron Broussard
, president of Jefferson Parish in New Orleans damns FEMA on Tim Russett this morning. (WMV clip)
Innovative Emergency Management
So this private company got the contract to develop the plan last year. The original release: the Baton Rouge-based emergency management and homeland security consultant, will lead the development of a catastrophic hurricane disaster plan for Southeast Louisiana and the City of New Orleans under a more than half a million dollar contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Now all press releases regarding it have been pulled from their website
The creator of SNL's "Mr. Bill" tried to get the potential problems of New Orleans noticed for several years.
He made a 45 minute documentary shown on PBS (very interesting, watch it (windows media file) here
), and even did a public service spot
His home page (yes, www.mrbill.com
) also has a recent radio interview (MP3
) with the Mayor of New Orleans blasting the non-response from the feds to date.
FEMA Director Mike Brown fired from prior job at Arabian Horse Association.
Why is NOLA relief so unbelievably slow in arriving? Could the leadership of FEMA have anything to do with it?
The current head of FEMA (Fedral Emergency Management Agency) "resigned" from his former post as head of an Arabian horse owners association under a cloud of litigation. He then moved on to FEMA as legal counsel for former FEMA head Joe Allbaugh, an old college buddy. When Allbaugh left, Brown took over. Nice how buddies can help each other, isn't it?
Can anyone guess who Bush & Co will force to take the rap for the crisis of New Orleans? (via Daily Kos)
While FEMA is slow to reach those in New Orleans, they were quick to promote Operation Blessing,
Pat Robertson's controversial
faith-based "charity", linking their website second only to the Red Cross. Hours after the federal agency was exposed by the blog Sploid
today, they quickly tried to hide
their support for the pastor's organization by changing their web pages.
U.S. Concentration Camps: FEMA and the REX 84 Program. There over 800 prison camps in the United States, all fully operational and ready to receive prisoners. They are all staffed and even surrounded by full-time guards, but they are all empty. These camps are to be operated by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) should Martial Law need to be implemented in the United States and all it would take is a presidential signature on a proclamation and the attorney general's signature on a warrant to which a list of names is attached.
FEMA For Kids: The Tsunami Game!
"A tsunami has just hit FEMA Beach and has rearranged a few things. Please put the 9 objects back where they belong to see the cyber-prize!"
FEMA for kids! Let Herman the spokescrab guide you through the catalog of potentially civilization ending disasters.
Education is great. Entertaining your kids on cabin fevered summer days is better. I have friends that when they bring their young buck over send him to my computer to play the kiddie offerings at nick.com (sorry dead link this time o' night it seems).
But I can just hear the sunburned Minnesota five year old who's been overly femafied asking mommy after her bedtime story, "August is hurricane season. Is it windy now because we're going to have a hurricane?"
Mom strokes child's hair, "No, here we're only prone to devastating thunderstorms, tornadoes, floods, kidcicle causing cold and blizzards. Now you have sweet dreams and quit worrying about ridiculous things like that. 'Night." Like of course, a kid that age would really find the FEMA website riveting to begin with. . .
What's the right answer? FEMA's plans to use the Army to quell serious civil disturbances
that might crop up during the Republican Convention almost certainly violates Posse Comitatus... but can the Army National Guard cope with the stuff? And can it chop to FEMA in the first place?