Friday, January 06, 2006

New Year: new times along the coast

Well, have been remiss about posting anything. The days after Xmas everything just sort of slows down, including yours truely.

The lastest Rolling Stone has an article about how Bush, filled FEMA with cronies all throughout the agency . It can be read over at;
Looting Homeland Security : by Eric Klinenberg and Thomas Frank.

The really interesting part for me among many is:

"Everybody knew that if there was a Category 5 hurricane potentially hitting New Orleans, the state and local governments would be overwhelmed," says Jane Bullock, the former FEMA chief of staff who served for emergency management from 1995 to 2001.. "It would have been useful to have FEMA there, counseling less-experienced officials on how to respond."

Instead, FEMA sent only one staff member to New Orleans before the storm -- Marty Bahamonde, a regional director from the Boston office whose previous responsibilities were in public affairs. The agency also failed to deliver the vital resources it had routinely supplied in the past: power generators, potable water and ice, emergency-communications systems, medical teams to support local hospitals, search-and-rescue teams to locate and assist survivors. The result was catastrophic: thousands of people stranded without water and food; thousands more huddling for days in the dim, stinking Superdome; hospital patients baking to death; nursing-home residents abandoned and drowned.

"Just look at the generators," says Bullock. "We've all read horror stories about people dying in hospitals because their fuel for generators ran out. But it's easy to bring in generators with military helicopters if the roads are blocked. It's astounding to me that this didn't happen. Or the Convention Center -- the government could have flown in water and food immediately. Those people didn't have to be stuck like that. There was no one on the ground with experience in disasters. I don't think Brown knew what to do."

As the disaster unfolded, Bahamonde frantically tried to impress the seriousness of the situation on Brown. "Sir," he e-mailed his boss on August 31st, "I know that you know the situation is past critical. Here are some things you might not know. Hotels are kicking people out, thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water. Hundreds still being rescued from homes . . . Estimates are many will die within hours . . . We are out of food and running water at the dome . . ."
Brown's reply: "Thanks for update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?"

Well, this article is a real eye-opeaner. Moreover, right after this Bush tried to appoint a crony, Harriet Miers whose qualfications was, she was his lawyer, to the Supreme Court, and then recently over the December recess he went around the Congress to appoint a crony, Julie L. Myers to head the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Her husband, John Wood, is Chertoff's chief of staff now, and her uncle, Richard Myers, recently retired as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.

So Bush keeps appointing cronies, totally oblivious to professional qualifications . So it goes.

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