Showing posts with label FEMA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FEMA. Show all posts

Monday, November 05, 2012

Staten Island today

New York is not the kind of place you want to be if you're barely getting by, I think.

And if you get wiped out by Sandy the Superstorm. . . .

This is Katrina writ smaller, and it seems to me the concern of officialdom for working stiffs like this waitress is about the same as that for the poor folks of flooded New Orleans before the media began making a big stink. The trouble in this case is this little election tomorrow that's overshadowing a situation that's almost like the old movie Escape From New York.

Only these folks can't afford to escape from New York. Just as they can't afford to stay.

Did I mention the Northeast is going to be hit by a nor'easter this week? Lord, have mercy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

There'$ pow'r, pow'r . . . wonder-working pow'r!

There aren't many things that will drag me out of my flu-fouled sickbed to putter around on the blog.

One, however, is the alleged evildoing of a supposedly slimy Bible-believin' preacher. Another is the latest freak show from the Gret Stet.

So when you put those two things together . . .
cough, cough . . . sniffle . . . moan . . . here I am.

And there be Bishop Ricky Sinclair of Miracle Place Church, headquartered in Baker, La. According to the Louisiana inspector general's office, one of Sinclair's biggest miracles was in getting money out of the federal government on nefarious grounds.

OK, so that's not so big a miracle. It's common, as a matter of fact.

Here we go. . . . According to the Louisiana inspector general's office, one of Sinclair's biggest miracles was in almost getting away with not disclosing his criminal record on documents when he applied to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to run a halfway house.

Hang on. That's not a miracle, either. We're talking about bureaucracy, and we're talking about Louisiana. The miracle is that somebody noticed.

This guy and his church are running short enough on miracles that they might be in Dutch with the Federal Trade Commission, too.

FROM THE (Baton Rouge) Advocate this morning:
The report by the office of state Inspector General Stephen B. Street Jr. said Bishop Ricky Sinclair of Miracle Place Church also used people — ordered by the courts to attend a church-affiliated halfway house — to perform work clearing land and building a new home for Sinclair, his wife and family.

In a prepared statement sent via e-mail, Sinclair denied any wrongdoing.

“I have read the Inspector General’s report, and the accusations against me are simply not true,” he said. “Miracle Place and Ricky Sinclair have been serving the people of this area for over 20 years, and we will continue to serve them to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ.”

Street said Sinclair’s fraudulent activities date to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and continued after Hurricane Gustav in 2008.

“You’re not talking about questionable claims here,” Street said.

“You’re talking about blatant, fabricated and deliberate fraud — from scratch in many cases, where they just made things up.”

He said it was “particularly reprehensible” that the fraud was committed against the backdrop of two natural disasters.

Street said the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Louisiana State Police and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Office of the Inspector General assisted with the investigation.

The findings have been referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for possible criminal prosecution, he said.

The report alleges that Sinclair collected $121,281 from FEMA for labor costs for operating his church as a shelter during Hurricane Katrina but spent only $39,950 paying workers. He kept the remaining $81,331, the report says.

I HAVEN'T lived in the Gret Stet since Ricky Sinclair still was a two-bit drug dealer, yet I knew the guy is an ex-con. And, according to the story, all his tracts tout that the guy's an ex-con.

HECK, even Pat Robertson told the entire backslidden world, via his 700 Club TV show, that Bishop Sinclair did time for dealing dope. Yet the Gret Stet of Loosiana couldn't figure out a thing until the inspector general noted that Sinclair and some associates "failed to disclose past criminal convictions, as required, when they applied to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to operate the halfway house program."

Some would call Sinclair a moron for that one. I'd merely say that he was just
(so far, allegedly) implementing the first half of "be ye therefore wise as serpents." In other words, you have to know what you can get away with.

In the Gret Stet, that would be a considerable amount. The "and as harmless as doves" population ain't what it should be.

It's where self-government goes to eat well, clog its arteries and die of a heart attack.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Now we've achieved craptastic perfection

I don't know what to say about this, except that I think we have achieved some sort of perfection in suck.

Not only that, but the BPocalypse has done so -- out there on the soiled marshes of Louisiana -- in a massively appropriate, full-circle kind of way.

What am I talking about? Pick up your
New York Times, man! Behold the dawn of a new standard of outrageous dumbth.

THEY'RE HOUSING oil-spill cleanup workers in FEMA trailers. You know, the ones that reek of formaldehyde:
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, they became a symbol of the government’s inept response to that disaster: the 120,000 or so trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to people who had lost their homes.

The trailers were discovered to have such high levels of formaldehyde that the government banned them from ever being used for long-term housing again.

Some of the trailers, though, are getting a second life amid the latest disaster here — as living quarters for workers involved with the cleanup of the oil spill.

They have been showing up in mobile-home parks, open fields and local boatyards as thousands of cleanup workers have scrambled to find housing.

Ron Mason, owner of a disaster contracting firm, Alpha 1, said that in the past two weeks he had sold more than 20 of the trailers to cleanup workers and the companies that employ them in Venice and Grand Isle, La.

Even though federal regulators have said the trailers are not to be used for housing because of formaldehyde’s health risks, Mr. Mason said some of these workers had bought them so they could be together with their wives and children after work.

“These are perfectly good trailers,” Mr. Mason said, adding that he has leased land in and around Venice for 40 more trailers that are being delivered from Texas in the coming weeks. “Look, you know that new car smell? Well, that’s formaldehyde, too. The stuff is in everything. It’s not a big deal.”

Not everyone agreed. “It stunk to high heaven,” said Thomas J. Sparks, a logistics coordinator for the Marine Spill Response Corporation, as he stood in front of the FEMA trailer that was provided to him by a company working with his firm. Mr. Sparks said the fumes in the trailer from formaldehyde, a widely used chemical in building materials like particle board, were so strong that he had asked his employer to provide him with a non-FEMA trailer.
HAPPY FOURTH to us, citizens of the stupidest flippin' nation on earth.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Government by flim-flammery

When a hurricane comes, you need to watch out for the snakes after it goes.

They'll be all over, displaced by the storm and by rising water. Usually, folks are careful around tarps or piles of debris, because you never know when you're going to grab hold of a cottonmouth, copperhead or water moccasin -- or, more accurately, when one's going to grab hold of you.

After Hurricane Katrina, at least one Army three-star added the Louisiana capitol to his list of reptilian hiding places.

One day in late September 2005, Lt. Gen Russel Honoré rang up Gov. Kathleen Blanco. The plan was to tell her his men had restored New Orleans' Charity Hospital to working order.

THE PLAN was to get the city's biggest hospital back serving a city where precious little of anything still worked.

What Honoré didn't plan on was falling into a pit of vipers with a plan of its own -- to shake down the federal taxpayer for every possible penny. And now Honoré, retired a year and a half, has a plan of his own -- he's spilling his guts and yelling "rat" . . . uh, "snakes" to The Associated Press:
"'Ma'am, we got the hospital clean, my people report ... if you want to use it,'" Honore recalled telling Blanco. "Her reply to me: 'Well general, we're not going to open it, we're working on a different plan.'"

Honore's revelation raises questions of whether state officials used Katrina as an excuse to leverage federal financing for a new public hospital.

It comes as state and federal officials continue squabbling over how badly the hospital was really damaged and how much federal recovery funding should be allocated to it.

The state wants $492 million for a new hospital to replace the Depression-era building as part of a proposed $1.2 billion medical complex. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has offered $150 million for repairs. The dispute is on appeal at FEMA headquarters.

Blanco said she could not remember the conversation with Honore. She said she didn't know the military had scrubbed Charity until she was contacted by the AP.

But she said Honore's comments struck her as out of context. "I would not have made that statement because I would not have the first idea of having other plans for Charity at that moment," Blanco said.

Honore suggested that money, not medical judgment, was at the heart of the decision.

"This is about business, man," Honore said. "This is about rich people making more money. This is not about providing health care."
AND WHILE LOUISIANA shuttered a perfectly functional teaching hospital and world-class trauma center, FEMA and doctors were stuck trying to turn an abandoned downtown shopping mall into an emergency room. Private hospitals were stuck with a tidal wave of sick, uninsured, poor people.

A city is stuck to this day with a critcal lack of health-care facilities.

One "reform" governor later, Louisianians are stuck -- still -- with the same ol' same ol', complete with all the pathologies and deprivations stemming from that deviant status quo.

And President Obama is stuck dealing with his own private Chechnya . . . a thinly veiled criminal enterprise on his southern flank masquerading as a governmental subdivision. Obama to Putin in Moscow last week: "So, Vlad, how did you squash the bastards again?"

HONORÉ, however, isn't the Army's only star-studded squealer. Gen. William Caldwell of the 82nd Airborne Division had something to tell the AP, too:

About 150 soldiers and a team of medical professionals worked to get the hospital running, Caldwell said.

Meanwhile, a German military team's pumps sucked water out of the basement. Air sampling found no contamination — a concern, considering the flooding and bodies in the flooded morgue, Caldwell said.

Caldwell recalled telling Honore the hospital was nearly ready to receive patients. "We were actually thinking of having a ribbon-cutting ceremony, give a thumbs up and turn it over to the health care professionals," Caldwell said.

But then, Caldwell said a decision came to stop the cleanup.

Dr. James Moises, a former Charity emergency room doctor who helped clean the hospital after Katrina, said Charity was made usable, and the medical staff was eager to see it back in use.

Moises said state officials used Katrina as an excuse to close Charity and ask FEMA for the money to build a new medical complex. Moises said: "It was their orchestrated plan. It was, 'How can we manipulate the disaster for institutional gains?'"
DAT'S LOOSIANA for you! Some of us were loathe to believe that our home state's pols, apparatchiks and business leaders could be that crooked in the wake of its greatest disaster ever.

Stupidly, we thought Charity really had been ruined, and that reopening it wasn't an option.

Naively, we thought that even Louisiana could resist using unspeakable tragedy as just another excuse for a shakedown -- an opportunity to trick unsuspecting American taxpayers into building geegaws to adorn its politicians' résumés.

We thought it was only right that the federal government rebuild what its flood-control negligence destroyed. And, indeed, the Army fixed Charity Hospital within a month.

It was good to go.

But that wasn't good enough for some in the Gret Stet. And officials were perfectly willing to let hapless New Orleanians die rather than go back what they had no problem using previously.

AND NOW Louisiana's new reform governor, Bobby Jindal, is happy to flim-flam the feds in the same manner as the unreformed Blanco.

In the face of state pols and hospital officials so vile -- a state so corrupted that it sacrifices its poor upon the altar of Greed as it seeks to pocket money from the collection plate -- the question suddenly isn't "How much do we pay Louisiana over Charity Hospital?"

Instead, the question Barack Obama and FEMA ought to be asking themselves is "What would Putin do?"

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dear New Orleans: Up your Prozac dosage

The Katrina-shocked combox warriors of New Orleans are convinced America hates their city.

To tell you the truth, if their enraged, paranoid, lunatic rantings are what Americans get to see of the Crescent City, they might be right. And America certainly would have its reasons.

HERE'S THE latest rant -- referencing this post -- your Mighty Favog has gotten from one of the Noo Orluns Wrecking Crew (a title infused with multiple layers of meaning). It's from a Big Easy (HA!) blogger by the name of Schroeder:
Schroeder said...

Let's see what New Orleans has had to defend itself from. Let's see who's disgracely exploited the victims of one tragedy in the Midwest to vilify victims of another tragedy in New Orleans.

Here's Rush Limbaugh:

"I look at Iowa, I look at Illinois—I want to see the murders. I want to see the looting. I want to see all the stuff that happened in New Orleans. I see devastation in Iowa and Illinois that dwarfs what happened in New Orleans. I see people working together. I see people trying to save their property…I don’t see a bunch of people running around waving guns at helicopters, I don’t see a bunch of people running shooting cops. I don’t see a bunch of people raping people on the street. I don’t see a bunch of people doing everything they can…whining and moaning—where’s FEMA, where’s BUSH. I see the heartland of America. When I look at Iowa and when I look at Illinois, I see the backbone of America."

So, Rush Limbaugh "wants" to see murders and looting in the Midwest? Really? Wow, there's a real standup conservative. Not to mention, his accounting of the comparative damages would be laughable, if it weren't so despicable. Good Americans don't count the casualties and use them as tools of a partisan political campaign of defamation.

What's more, people in the Midwest are "whining" and there has been looting, and there has been the need to use troops to deter criminals. The reports of murders in New Orleans were exaggerated by the carpetbagging press which chose to sensationalize rather than fact check.

The scale of tragedy in New Orleans is on a par which no one should wish upon anyone. To vilify the proud American citizens of New Orleans and Louisiana, who's sons and daughters bled for this nation's freedoms as much as any from the Midwest or anywehre else, is a complete abomination, and the sign of a weak mind.

New Orleanians didn't help themselves? How else did they survive for days before your commander in chief proclaimed, "you're doing a heckuva job Brownie." They got into their boats and rescued babies and elderly. They distributed their own food supplies and water. They gutted each other's homes despite a complete lack of support from your commander in chief after he proclaimed that he would "do what it takes" to help this great city rebuild.

No one is more critical of Ray Nagin and Governor Blanco for their role in bungling the relief and recovery than are New Orleanians. But far more blame may be assigned to that two-faced liar occupying the White House. Bottom line: If George W. Bush kept his word, we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place.

Last word: If you aren't here in New Orleans trying to understand and helping to rebuild after the greatest manmade disaster in this nation's history, then keep your uncharitable attitudes to yourself. May God strike you down for being such a wicked SOB.

HERE IS my response, though I must admit I barely knew where to start:

The Mighty Favog said...

Schroeder ,

You are a #&%@ing whack job.

With that kind of attitude, you're wondering why a lot of America would just as soon see Noo Orluns sink into the sea and leave them the hell alone?

Listen, I am your (well, at least New Orleans') friend. I was born and raised in Baton Rouge. My family has been in Louisiana since before "les Americains" were.

I now live in Omaha and, thus, have gained a hell of a lot of perspective about how others perceive N.O. and Louisiana.

I was TRYING to tell you perpetually enraged Defenders of New Orleans that you are harming your cause with your insane rants and uncharitable attitude toward suffering in the Midwest -- suffering you ought to empathize with.

But no.

Rush Limbaugh is a piss ant. He is unimportant.

Do unto others, Cap. Do unto others.

BTW, if you want to take up the "may God strike you down" banner . . . it would seem that God got to y'all first. If that's how you think the Almighty rolls.

Damn lunatic. Good grief.

Here's a little advice for you from Robert Burns:

To a Louse

Ha! whaur ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie?
Your impudence protects you sairly;
I canna say but ye strunt rarely,
Owre gauze and lace;
Tho', faith! I fear ye dine but sparely
On sic a place.

Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
Detested, shunn'd by saunt an' sinner,
How daur ye set your fit upon her-
Sae fine a lady?
Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner
On some poor body.

Swith! in some beggar's haffet squattle;
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle,
Wi' ither kindred, jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Whaur horn nor bane ne'er daur unsettle
Your thick plantations.

Now haud you there, ye're out o' sight,
Below the fatt'rels, snug and tight;
Na, faith ye yet! ye'll no be right,
Till ye've got on it-
The verra tapmost, tow'rin height
O' Miss' bonnet.

My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump an' grey as ony groset:
O for some rank, mercurial rozet,
Or fell, red smeddum,
I'd gie you sic a hearty dose o't,
Wad dress your droddum.

I wad na been surpris'd to spy
You on an auld wife's flainen toy;
Or aiblins some bit dubbie boy,
On's wyliecoat;
But Miss' fine Lunardi! fye!
How daur ye do't?

O Jeany, dinna toss your head,
An' set your beauties a' abread!
Ye little ken what cursed speed
The blastie's makin:
Thae winks an' finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin.

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion:
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
An' ev'n devotion!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

How New Orleans defends its 'honor'

Here's how some in the Big Easy "defend their honor" as New Orleanians:

Take handgun. Insert into mouth. Squeeze trigger.

I'M SORRY, but for New Orleans' "honor defenders" to look at the immense suffering in the American Midwest and perceive nothing more than a grand opportunity to say "Hey, look! They suck, too!" is -- How shall I put this? -- whiny, trashy and pathetic.

It will gain them so many friends.

Here's one example of what surely will be a winning public-relations strategy:

Then, there’s the fact that eighty percent of New Orleans evacuated with just 48 hours notice after Katrina turned north instead of going to Pensacola. This was the most successful private evacuation in American history, implemented without any federal contingency plans for disasters, despite four years between 9/11 and 8/29 for George W. Bush — the “war president” — to prepare for another attack on an American city.

How many people evacuated from the Midwest? Oh, they were busy stacking sandbags to protect their homes and crops. Did they deserve their tragedy for staying behind?

Then we could talk about the high percentage of New Orleans homeowners who had flood insurance compared to the national average.

Or maybe those Midwesterners wouldn’t have been subjected to God’s wrath if they didn’t allow homosexuals in their midsts.

It’s at about this point that I might conjure the memory of those poor Boy Scouts, but that wouldn’t be decent. By now it should be apparent to any self-proclaimed conservative out there that blaming the victim is pretty nasty business if turnabout is fair play — this is really repulsive territory. We shouldn’t even have to go there, but we will defend our honor as New Orleanians if the rest of the nation doesn’t smack down Rush Limbaugh and all of the other intolerant
[expletive deleted] around the country who are repeating the same bull [expletive deleted].
YOU STAY CLASSY, New Orleans. Mighty big talk for a city that's just a Category 2 hurricane away from real oblivion . . . as opposed to the "Well, maybe we'll rebuild it . . . we'll see" slow-motion oblivion you're dealing with now.

And you know what? Some of us would consider that a catastrophic loss for the country.

Slingin' bile at Iowa while New Orleans sinks

Dear combox warriors of New Orleans:

Shut the
[expletive deleted] up!

Once you've done that, perhaps you'll have the time and energy to find a work-around for your disastrously failed attempts at self-government before and after Hurricane Katrina. Therein lies your real problem -- not some bunch of prideful Iowegians who survey their swamped state and publicly thank the Almighty that they're respectable, self-reliant Midwestern flood victims. As opposed to You Know Who.

Yes, southeast Louisiana got screwed by the U.S. government. Yes, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers just as well had built your hurricane-protection levees and floodwalls out of toilet paper for all the good they did. Come to think of it, those levees may well have been TP.

And several Midwestern states are learning that for themselves as I write.

UNCLE SAM, however, did not kill your city. Y'all did that yourselves -- all the feds did was mutilate the corpse, and they're still at it.

Yes, the Bush Administration and Congress have been stingy with the relief and infrastructure money, given their culpability in your recent misfortune. Unfortunately for you, your own elected officials -- particularly C. Ray (Not lately!) Nagin and his Apple Dumpling Gang of administrators -- have been even slower in getting off the pot.

See, it's not federal black helicopters or Delta Force units that have swarmed over your city to gun down your young black men.

And black women.

And white men.

And white women.

That, you've done your own damn selves.

LIKEWISE, it wasn't Rush Limbaugh devotees -- apart, possibly, from the ones in D.C. -- who left a quarter of New Orleans' population inside the city when Katrina hit. You largely have your mayor to thank for that.

And, in fact, you did thank him for that. You re-elected Mayor Whack Job. Because we all know what a bang-up job he did . . . and is doing still.

For decades before John Hagee's God decided to smite your Sin City -- or not -- it was a dead municipality walking. Your government was corrupt and ineffective. Your schools were fetid hellholes. Your parish prison was (and is) where killers stay for a few months before your courts turn them loose again.

Your infrastructure was crumbling and your people were leaving. Your municipal calling card was a "KICK ME!" sign taped to your ass. And we Americans have obliged . . . particularly since The Thing.

Perhaps if y'all had been as worried then about having become a Third World enclave as you are now about what Iowans write about that sad fact in letters to the Des Moines Register. . . .

IT DOESN'T MATTER that Katrina was worse or bigger than, or different from, the Midwest floods. And it can't be disputed that what happened as "the bowl" filled was not the people of New Orleans' finest hour.

There are any number of reasons for that. Primarily, though, the Crescent City's underclass did what members of the underclass do pretty much everywhere on Earth. For what too many cops did, there is no excuse.

The true scandal is that Louisianians -- and Americans -- were OK with that massive underclass being there. That few cared to start working on the problem or helping those poor people.

It was all good in The City That Care Forgot. At least until the fit hit the shan.

You know, if I were in New Orleans, I'd be worrying about stuff like that to the exclusion of all else. Hell, I'm an expatriate Louisianian living in Omaha, and I worry about it more than is good for my digestion.

BUT NOOOOOOOOO . . . it's much easier to savage people with whom you ought to be empathizing. I guess the slow-motion death of your own city "absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part."

And you're just the guys to do it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Moonies meet the Loony

It had to happen someday: The Moonies met the Loony.

No, not the Loonie -- which is a Canadian dollar coin -- but The Loony, otherwise known as C. Ray Nagin who, of course, has declared himself a friend of noonies. The "vagina-friendly mayor" of New Orleans was in the nation's capital to meet with editors and reporters of The Washington Times, which is owned by a subsidiary of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church.

So, here's what the Loony who likes noonies said to the Moonies:
New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin said today that the presidential candidates have not tackled the remaining economic and human needs of his city in the aftermath of the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"I think they are — I won't say afraid — but a little hesitant to tackle the issues" that still confront the city "and the lack of preparedness to deal with future natural disasters," Mr. Nagin said in an interview with editors and reporters of The Washington Times today.

"The candidates are a little hesitant about fully embracing our dilemma. I would like to hear more about what they would do to bring about the full recovery of our infrastructure which is in deplorable shape," he said.

The mayor gave the Bush administration a "C" for dealing with the city's infrastructure problems but blamed the federal bureaucracy, especially the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), for not doing enough to deal with "the people side," the city's human needs in housing, health care and other social services.
AS FAR AS I KNOW, there is no truth to reports that Nagin was seen selling flowers at Ronald Reagan National Airport after his session at the Times.

But, since the Loony brought it up, I can think of one big thing the next president can do to speed New Orleans' recovery from Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood. On Jan. 20, 2009, sometime after noon EST, a call could be placed to the Central Intelligence Agency, and a certain obvious security threat at the helm of a coastal American city could be on the next secret flight to Guantanamo.

I'm just sayin'.