The Elecktronick Tyger Roares
27 April 2006
  If the Show Isn't Funny, Shoot the Clowns
Years ago, i came across a very wise piece of Xeroxed Wisdom {these days, substitute "E-mail" for "Xerox"}, obviously written by someone who works two cubicles down from Dilbert:
Seven Stages of a Project

Phase 1: Uncritical acceptance.
Phase 2: Wild enthusiasm.
Phase 3: Dejected disillusionment.
Phase 4: Total confusion.
Phase 5: Search for the guilty.
Phase 6: Punishment of the innocent.
Phase 7: Promotion of nonparticipants.
It appears that the Italian Pit Stop that was the Federal "response" to Hurricane Katrina has reached (approximately) Phase 6 [rewritten as "Punishment of the least-well-connected"]:
Senate Panel Recommends Abolishing FEMA
WASHINGTON Apr 26, 2006 (AP)— The nation's disaster response agency should be abolished and rebuilt from scratch to avoid a repeat of multiple government failures exposed by Hurricane Katrina, a Senate inquiry has concluded.
In other words, since the Entire Federal Government, from the Current Ruling Junta on down, put on golf shoes, unzipped, and jumped on itself with both feet, someone has to visibly suffer, and FEMA is a convenient scapegoat.
The Senate report urges yet another overhaul of the embattled Homeland Security Department -- FEMA's parent agency -- which was created three years ago and already has undergone major restructuring of duties.

It chiefly calls for a new agency, called the National Preparedness and Response Authority, to plan and carry out relief missions for domestic disasters. Unlike now, the authority would communicate directly with the president during major crises, and any dramatic cuts to budget or staffing levels would have to be approved by Congress. But it would remain within Homeland Security to continue receiving resources provided by the larger department.
Oh, that's good. Leave the most screwed-up, missionless, feckless arm of the Federal Government -- one created mainly on the strength of a perceived need for an agency to combat terrorism -- in charge of emergency response to natural disasters, and eliminate the agency that is (supposedly) designed specifically for the purpose.
Without specifying where the money would come from or how much was needed, the recommendations call for more funding for disaster planning and response at all levels of government. They also urge clarifying levee maintenance responsibilities _ a concern because of structural weaknesses of the New Orleans' flood walls that spawned deadly floods after Katrina hit_ and suggested better contracting procedures to avoid waste or fraud in the rush to get aid to disaster victims.
I like that "without specifying where the money would come from" part; it reminds me of "And who will bell the cat?"

As Eric Idle wrote of a sleezy promotor/manager in The Rutles, Congress (Hell, Government as a whole) never lets its left hand know who its right hand is doing.

"We need gigabucks for emergency preparedness and relief. Someone must Do Something!"

"We can't afford to spend enough money for emergency preparedness and relief, because we already have record deficits* supporting Bush's War Against Rationality!"

Of course, Phase 7 (Promotion of nonparticipants) is effectively impossible, because George W Bush is already President.

(Incidentally, while the Countdown Clock dropped below 1000 days yesterday at about 1PM, the "Cost to date of the war" totalizer, unfortunately, keeps rolling up. But at least my step-son-in-law comes home today)

Understand, i'm not blaming the Bush White House Clusterbang and its ancillaries exclusively for the Katrina catastrophe -- as Lois Bujold says, the Lone Hero Theory of Disaster is usually at the least a gross oversimplification -- since it is a matter of public record that every Adminstration and Congress since at least Johnson's days has skimped on funding for preparedness and crippled the agencies that actually have tried to do something.

For instance, the Corps of Engineers received over that period something like one-tenth of the funding it determined was necessary to properly build and reinforce New Orleans' flood control systems, and was specifically ordered to assume as worst case, in that planning, a Category Three storm, at that.

So the Washington culture of butt-covering-by-scapegoating continues.

*Isn't it interesting that, invariably, it's Republican party-of-fiscal-responsibility Administrations that run up huge deficits, not Democrat tax-and-spend Administrations? Back
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My interests are broadranging -- comics, music, movies and good ol' science fiction mostly dominate. My Five Most Favouritest Films are (this week) Once Upon A Time in the West, Dark Star, O Lucky Man, Day for Night and Whatever I Watched Recently That Was Good. Currently that's Day for Night.

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Name: mike weber
Location: gainesville, Georgia, United States

Latter fifties, married, out of work (had knee surgery and haven't gotten back to work); my (step) son-in-law is back from Iraq, but a lot of boys are still over there. Support our troops -- throw the Republicans out!

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / February 2007 / August 2007 /

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