Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Will we ever learn?

It is getting to be the same old story. Information is given, dismissed as unimportant, money is diverted and innocent people are paying the price. - War Room: "Metaphorically speaking, it turns out, Bush did get such a PDB -- and he got it years ago. Experts have warned for years that New Orleans is particularly vulnerable to hurricane damage. And as the folks at the Center for American Progress note, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a report in early 2001 that identified the three catastrophes most likely to hit the United States: a terrorist attack on New York, an earthquake in San Francisco and a hurricane in New Orleans.

As of this week, FEMA is now two-for-three. That leads us to think that the residents of the city by the Bay might think about scoring some flashlights and bottled water just about now. But it also leads us to wonder what the Bush administration and the Republican-controlled Congress did with the warning that FEMA provided.

Here's what: They cut funding for flood and hurricane projects planned by the New Orleans district of the Army Corps of Engineers. According to one published report, the New Orleans district had $147 million to spend on such projects in 2001. In fiscal year 2005, which ends next month, the district will have had about $82 million, a drop of about 44 percent. As we reported earlier this week, the Bush administration proposed further cuts for the district for fiscal year 2006."

I remember reading those reports a few years ago. Of course as someone who has been interested in rising sea levels (I have a ridiculous fear of large waves), I had long ago decided that anyplace that is located 15 feet below sea level might not be the best place to buy property. I was having a discussion last spring with this guy who was bragging about his new property in New Orleans and I mentioned to him that it wouldn't be worth as much underwater. He thought I was crazy and politely left. I'm willing to bet he remembered me several times over the last 36 hours. Sometimes I hate being right.

Now, imaging being a Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama National Guardsman in Iraq. You don't know what you are there for, some of them think the war is "fucktarded" and now their homes are most likely gone or destroyed beyond the ability of their pay to repair. As they follow the news from home, while stuck in a country that hates them and wants them out at any cost, these servicepeople are probably agonizing over the double whammy that their families are enduring.

Unfortunately the hurricane season isn't over. What if there is an earthquake here in the Bay area? FEMA is definitely going to be strained by this disaster, how will they be able to respond to another? Fortunately this year the fire season has been pretty mild, but it is just a matter of time when it becomes apparent to the ruling minority who want to stay the course, that the best use of American resources might be to take care of problems at home.

1 comment:

  1. FEMA has been assimilated under Homeland Security. Some FEMA funds are not diverted to Homeland Security. All FEMA has to be vetted by Homeland Security first.