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  • Wrong Priorities?

    Angry state officials accuse the White House of ignoring warnings that its focus on terror left the nation unprepared to cope with natural disasters.

    WEB EXCLUSIVE
    By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
    Updated: 6:09 p.m. ET Sept. 7, 2005

    In the weeks before Hurricane Katrina, state emergency-planning directors repeatedly warned that the Bush administration’s post-September 11 focus on terrorism was seriously undercutting the federal government’s ability to respond to catastrophic hurricanes and other natural disasters.

    In a tough letter to Congress last July and in a private meeting with top Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials on Aug. 21, a group of state emergency-planning directors complained that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s traditional role of preparing for natural disasters “has been forgotten” under a DHS almost entirely devoted to the terror threat.

    Not only did the Bush administration slash funding for natural-disaster planning this year, the state directors charged, Homeland Security—acting under a directive signed by the president—has geared almost all planning exercises with the states to responding to hypothetical terror attacks such as radioactive “dirty bombs” or anthrax attacks rather than far more common, and costly, disasters such as hurricanes, tornados and floods.

    Internal Homeland Security documents obtained by NEWSWEEK lend support to the state directors’ complaints. Out of 15 “all hazards” disaster-planning scenarios approved by DHS and the White House Homeland Security Council last May, only three involved natural disasters, one document shows.

    “I’ve been beating this drum for the past two years,” Bruce Baughman, director of the Alabama’s Emergency Management Agency and a former top FEMA official, told NEWSWEEK. “What I’ve seen happening is a total de-emphasis on natural disaster planning.”

    The warnings by Baughman, the new president of the National Emergency Management Association, and other state emergency-planning directors are likely to become a focus of investigations now being planned by Congress into the administration’s botched response to the Katrina catastrophe in New Orleans.

    They also have fueled a push in Congress to undo at least part of the major federal government overhaul that created the Department of Homeland Security in the first place. Democratic Rep. John Dingell of Michigan said this week he was introducing legislation to take FEMA out of DHS and restore it as an independent agency whose director would have direct access to the president.



    MUCH MORE HERE


    Mr. G

  • #2
    yeah, 'no one knew this could happen' was a bold faced lie!
    Are you on the list?

    Comment


    • #3
      I know a test everyone can pass.

      A 20/20 hindsight vision test. lol

      How about this? We change the way money is spent in this country? I am sure the millions of dollars being spent on the bridges to nowhere in Alaska could have helped out.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by SLUBLUE@Sep 8 2005, 10:05 AM
        yeah, 'no one knew this could happen' was a bold faced lie!


        CLINTON: Yes. I think that's important to point out. Because when you say that they should have done this, that or the other thing first, you can look at that problem in isolation, and you can say that.

        But look at all the other things they had to deal with. I'm telling you, nobody thought this was going to happen like this.   But what happened here is they escaped -- New Orleans escaped Katrina. But it brought all the water up the Mississippi River and all in the Pontchartrain, and then when it started running and that levee broke, they had problems they never could have foreseen.
        Please remember though, It's not the system that is broke.
        Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by pgrote@Sep 8 2005, 12:07 PM
          I know a test everyone can pass.

          A 20/20 hindsight vision test. lol

          How about this? We change the way money is spent in this country? I am sure the millions of dollars being spent on the bridges to nowhere in Alaska could have helped out.
          Guess which state's Senator is the senior Republican member of the Appropriations Committee?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by King+Sep 8 2005, 12:20 PM-->
            QUOTE(King @ Sep 8 2005, 12:20 PM)

          • #7
            Originally posted by pgrote+Sep 8 2005, 12:22 PM-->
            QUOTE(pgrote @ Sep 8 2005, 12:22 PM)
            Originally posted by [email protected] 8 2005, 12:20 PM

          • #8
            Originally posted by King@Sep 8 2005, 11:31 AM
            I guess we'll have to put that test alongside the 20/20 hindsight test in terms of degree of difficulty.

            Most people don't realize this because it happens thousands of miles away, but Stevens rivals Byrd in brining home the bacon.
            It's not the first brideg to nowhere STevens has gotten funding for.

            I lived in Kodiak, and a $50 million bridge (mid 80's dollars) was built to Near Island, which has no people (at all) but is a harbor for fishing boats, which prior to the bridge being built could be accessed by -- well, taking the boat directly to the harbor.

            Stevens is a pig.
            His mind is not for rent, to any god or government.
            Pointless debate is what we do here -- lvr

            Comment


            • #9
              Originally posted by moedrabowsky@Sep 8 2005, 12:43 PM
              Stevens is a pig.
              ++

              "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
              Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
              -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

              Comment


              • #10
                Ok, how many of you are going to make a call to your reps. and senators telling them not to fight for highway money for your state since its such a bad thing for the country overall?

                Moon

                Comment


                • #11
                  Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Originally posted by lazydaze@Sep 8 2005, 12:00 PM

                    I didn't say I wanted a show of hands, anarchist. Let's see a .pdf of your angry letter, or a .wmv of the call. I'll give you 10 bucks if you ask for more helmet sundaes for your state.

                    Moon

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      Originally posted by lazydaze+Sep 8 2005, 11:10 AM-->
                      QUOTE(lazydaze @ Sep 8 2005, 11:10 AM)

                    • #14
                      Originally posted by pgrote@Sep 8 2005, 11:07 AM
                      I know a test everyone can pass.

                      A 20/20 hindsight vision test. lol

                      How about this? We change the way money is spent in this country? I am sure the millions of dollars being spent on the bridges to nowhere in Alaska could have helped out.
                      Editorial
                      September 8, 2005

                      Bring Out Your Pork

                      Fair warning to the suffering Gulf Coast masses: Congress is already talking of concocting "economic stimulus" and "job creation" packages as hurricane recovery tools. That sounds useful, but unfortunately those terms usually signal that the House and the Senate are about to use the crisis of the moment to roll out wasteful tax cuts for the well-off and pork barrel outlays for hometown voters.

                      The overwhelming need of the victims of Hurricane Katrina, coupled with the nation's shock at government ineptitude, should inspire members of Congress to sober up and become something approaching responsible policy makers. If they do decide to reform, there's an easy way to prove it. They could turn in their pork.

                      This summer, when Congress had to ignore only a war in Iraq, it passed the annual highway bill, repackaged as a job-creation measure. The legislation set a record of $24 billion in 6,371 "earmark amendments" - the route individual lawmakers take to lock in prized projects for their home districts, regardless of proven need.

                      The bipartisan boondoggles that made it under the wire included vanity highways, tourist sidewalks, snowmobile trails, a "deer avoidance" plan and a graffiti elimination program for New York. Those wishing to look for still more unnecessary spending can consider the White House's $130-billion-and-counting missile defense system, which remains thoroughly inoperable.

                      Hurricane Katrina cries out to Congress for something other than business as usual. Imagine what would happen if each member of Congress announced that he or she would give up a prize slab of bacon so the government would be able to use the money to shelter hurricane victims and rebuild New Orleans. The public would - for once - have proof that politicians are capable of setting priorities and showing respect for the concept of a budget.

                      Surely Representative Don Young, the Alaska Republican who is chairman of the transportation committee, might put off that $223 million "bridge to nowhere" in his state's outback. It's redundant now - Louisiana suddenly has several bridges to nowhere. Likewise, Speaker Dennis Hastert could defer his prized Prairie Parkway, a $200-million-plus project dismissed as a behemoth Sprawlway by hometown critics, and use the money to repair the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.

                      The Democratic minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, could afford to donate back some multimillion-dollar plums - just one bike and pedestrian overpass, perhaps, or a ferry terminal. Another Democratic standout, James Oberstar of Minnesota, would have a hard time choosing from his cornucopia, but that $2.7 million for what is already described as the nation's longest paved recreational trail looks ripe.

                      The list is long. Such a gesture by the Capitol's patronage first responders would encourage a sense of shared sacrifice in the nation. Members might actually be surprised to see how many of their own constituents are prepared to think of other people's needs before themselves. This page has been a longtime supporter of a freight tunnel between New Jersey and New York - which, we should point out, is actually a tunnel to somewhere. But we'd applaud a delay in the $100 million for freight-tunnel design studies that was included in the highway bill if it was part of a larger reordering of priorities.

                      It's time to put New Orleans first.
                      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Shame on all of Congress, but especially those who profess to be fiscal conservatives ... and had any hand in this pot full of goodies.
                      Norman Chad, syndicated columnist: “Sports radio, reflecting our sinking culture, spends entire days advising managers and coaches, berating managers and coaches, firing managers and coaches and searching the countryside for better middle relievers. If they just redirected their energy toward, say, crosswalk-signal maintenance, America would be 2 percent more livable.”

                      "The best argument against democracy," someone (Churchill?) said, "is a five minute conversation with the average voter."

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        I didn't say I wanted a show of hands, anarchist. Let's see a .pdf of your angry letter, or a .wmv of the call. I'll give you 10 bucks if you ask for more helmet sundaes for your state.

                        Moon
                        Well, lets put it this way, I have a lousy track record when in comes to voting success. Actually, in real life a somewhat iffy participant.

                        I do vote a lot of local issues/amendments/propositions/taxes, but seldom do I cast a vote for candidates any more.

                        My voting track record is horrendous. Win it comes to issue/candidate success.

                        I can agree with toll roads. I also agree with a role for local taxes. Obviously looking nothing like the open ended system common now.

                        I agree immensely that the risk in liberty is essential to living a full life. At its core, I fundamentally believe that decentralization is best way to ensure populism/authority can not trample the inherent rights of the minority. I believe every being has those rights.

                        From an accountability standpoint, everything done is in a vacuum. More importantly, from a risk management standpoint it minimizes and contains the liability.



                        I hear from statist about the social contract all the time. That's fine, I understand, actually accept and agree with it. The part that always seems to get left out though, is the most important part: more rights always entail more responsibilities, and fewer responsibilities always entail fewer rights.


                        Now, that essentially is my argument against the pork laden welfare/warfare elitist controlled leviathan we have today. And the answer seems simple. Limit the revenue and in turn the power and corruption.

                        I firmly agree with the precedent and premise that private enterprise and charity could and would more efficiently, more reliably and more importantly, with more accountability deliver services than done now. Unlike others, I believe that our current system is the problem. Most inherently becuase I understand them to mostly be just talking heads. We don't get leaders as politicians. That went out with the divine right if kings. And talk about a shitty track record.


                        Thank barry for this place, it allows be to come here and pontificate so I can remain being perceived as sane by most family and friends. Not all, mind you.


                        But I've gone on long enough, bottom line, I will continue to argue that the investment wasted by our governments would, and will in the long run, have a much more equitable and dispersed standard of living return of content, happy people then currently.

                        I am not naive enough to deflect the apparent danger that a stronger more imperialistic nation could not of overcome what would theoretically would be a much leaner and immobilized national defense, nor that the excess luxuries of today would be so readily and cheaply consumed.

                        So man, who am I to argue with the majority. You want caramel on those sundaes?
                        Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

                        Comment

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