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View Diary: FEMA Dir. Mike Brown fired from prior job at Horse Assoc. (166 comments)

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  •  Brown's Connection (4.00)
    Obviously, Brown is a contributor to the GOP.

    But his primary qualificationfor the job seems to be that he's a college buddy of Joe Allbaugh's.

    A Disaster in the Making

    See? Networking pays.

    •  Yeah. (4.00)
      And apparently, networking kills, too.
    •  Hmmmm.... (4.00)

      DISASTER IN THE MAKING

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      By Jon Elliston
      Published 10/21/04

      Fridays don't get much busier than this. It's the morning of Sept. 3, and Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington, D.C., is running at a full clip, having mobilized a cadre of disaster-response specialists in its National Emergency Operations Center the day before. "This is our 'war room,'" a FEMA employee explains.

      "Right now we're in 24-hours-a-day activation," he says. "It's a double whammy." Indeed, the agency is still busy helping Florida recover from Hurricane Charley's punishing winds and rain when satellite images show that an even greater storm, Hurricane Frances, will soon make landfall. It appears so threatening that most of FEMA's personnel on the ground, along with 2.5 million Floridians, have evacuated from the storm's projected path.

      Inside the op center, scores of personnel from FEMA and a host of other agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Health and Human Services, buzz around in what appears to be a state of controlled chaos. They work the phones, hover over computer screens and trade the latest weather forecasts. Using a time-tested system of disaster management, they've split their tasks into 12 "emergency support functions" designed to bring in food, water, medical care, electricity, housing, transportation and other desperately needed resources as soon as Frances moves on.

      John Crowe, a Department of Homeland Security geospatial mapping expert detailed to FEMA to help track such outbreaks of rough weather, steps outside the building for a quick cigarette. "Everybody's really running into gear here," he says between puffs. "FEMA's ready, about as ready as they've ever been."

      FEMA's relatively quick response to the hurricanes has thus far won mostly high marks from Florida officials, who remember well a time when the disaster agency seemed the last party to show up after catastrophes. In addition, President Bush has paid multiple visits to assure storm victims they will get whatever help is needed, and he promptly secured more than $2 billion from Congress to fund Florida's recovery.

      As storms continue to batter the Panhandle, no one would call Florida lucky. But with national elections around the corner, the hurricanes could scarcely have hit at a better time or place for obtaining federal disaster assistance. "They're doing a good job," one former FEMA executive says of the response efforts. "And the reason why they're doing that job is because it's so close to the election, and they can't fuck it up, otherwise they lose Florida - and if they lose Florida, they might lose the election."

      Who would have thought?

      Say what you want about the tenets of Neo-Conservatism, but at least it's an ethos

      by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Fri Sep 02, 2005 at 06:52:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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