Thursday, September 08, 2005

Of Hurricanes & Men

Let me be the first to congratulate Ophelia on her promotion earlier today. She is no longer a mere 'tropical storm," but rather a full-fledged batten-down-the-hatches hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph. Sure, not very impressive yet, but give her time. After all, two weeks ago no one was sure whether Katrina would actually become a hurricane before hitting Florida, but she did! And then she just kept going & going &.... Admittedly, the assorted computers are still all over the map for Ophelia. One has her hitting Florida, another has her making landfall in Georgia, and the rest have her going in circles in the Atlantic.

But enough about Ophelia.... Whatever happened to Hurricane Hamlet?

Speaking of hurricanes.... The cleanup in New Orleans continues. The Army Corps of Engineers succeeded in closing the breaks in the levee system yesterday and has begun pumping water out of the city. Now comes the gruesome task of recovering bodies, of which there are certain to be many. In fact, the government has ordered 25,000 bodybags for the task. Then there's the equally horrible job of identifying the dead.

Plenty of unanswered questions remain, however, about exactly who dropped the ball with Katrina. The Bush people lame the local folks and the locals blame Bush. But one thing that all sides do seem to agree on is that the job done by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) thus far borders on total incompetence. They are the ones responsible for coordinating the various relief efforts, and have thus far failed miserably.

According to an article in the New York Daily News, this is not surprising. While FEMA used to be a respected organization, it has recently become a dumping ground for political hacks owed jobs by the President.

Agency director Michael Brown used to run horse shows prior to be putting in charge of coping with massive natural disasters, and his second in command was an advance man for the Bush-Cheney campaign.

Well, that explains everything.

P.S.--Thanks to Mike K. for the Daily News link.

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