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.
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.]
Last Chance. "It took the Mississippi River 6,000 years to build the Louisiana coast. It took man (and natural disasters) 75 years to destroy it. Experts agree we have 10 years to act before the problem is too big to solve." [Via First Draft.]
Vancouver's elite Urban SAR team has been and returned, having helped out in New Orleans in the way they were trained. There's more help on the way from Canada, in the form of Operation Unison; this includes a a Canadian Navy flotilla consisting of the destroyer HMCS Athabaskan, the frigates HMCS Toronto and HMCS Ville de Quebec and the Canadian Coast Guard boat tender HMCS Sir William Alexander. The flotilla carries around 1000 servicepeople, many of them medical and rescue specialists, in addition to engineering and construction crews. Additionally, forty Canadian navy clearance divers will be accompanying the relief force. Despite recent diplomatic spats between our two nations (notably over Iraq, cattle and softwood lumber) we remain good neighbours. After U.S. Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci's departure Canada was awaiting an even worse adversary in replacement Ambassador Wilkins. And yet, despite Wilkin's lack of knowledge of things Canadian, he appears to have a significantly greater measure of humility than dick-swinging Cellucci ever did. In any case, as "irrelevant and disappointing" as Canada is to the likes of Bill O'Reilly, we're on our way to help our friends to the south.
The Red Cross has been ordered to stay out of New Orleans. Critical firefighting equipment is being left untouched. Chicago's offer of manpower and equipment is "snubbed" by FEMA, according to the Mayor. FEMA "forgets" to tell the military to airdrop food and water to the survivors. Northern Command has been ready for days, just waiting for the President to give the orders. Feds delayed paperwork giving permission for National Guard to act. Louisiana begged for federal help on Sunday in a formal request, but the Bush administration says they didn't know anything about problems until Wednesday. Meanwhile, reporters apparently grow weary of the spin doctors.