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Protecting The Taxpayers?

This is yet another story of the Catch-22 thinking that the Gulf Coast must endure when dealing with FEMA and the incredibly obtuse people they have working for them.

The Associated Press reports that New Orleans aquarium denied FEMA funding

NEW ORLEANS – In what some see as another bureaucratic absurdity after Hurricane Katrina, FEMA is refusing to pick up the cost of restocking New Orleans’ aquarium because of how the new fish were obtained: straight from the sea.

FEMA would have been willing to pay more than $600,000 for the fish if they had been bought from commercial suppliers. But the agency is balking because the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas went out and replaced the dead fish the old fashioned way, with hooks and nets. That expedition saved the taxpayers a half-million dollars but did not comply with FEMA regulations.

Aquarium officials wanted to reopen the place quickly. So even before the $616,000 commitment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency came through, they sent a team on an expedition to the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Keys and Bahamas, where they caught 1,681 fish for $99,766.

Despite the clear savings, the dispute has dragged on for 17 months.

“FEMA does not consider it reasonable when an applicant takes excursions to collect specimens,” FEMA quality control manager Barb Schweda wrote in a 2006 e-mail. “They must be obtained through reputable sources where, again, the item is commercially available.”

Someone should tell FEMA that the only “commercial channels” for many of the species involve cash payments in shady dives, because institutions like the Aquarium are the only people permitted to take or have many of these fish, and I’m not talking about just the exotics, as many of the species that show up on local menus have extremely limited seasons and very restricted catch limits.


1 Michael { 11.14.07 at 12:09 am }

Now look, somebody has to make money on it. It has to be for profit, or else it’s some kind of socialism.

2 Bryan { 11.14.07 at 12:25 am }

You would think that the people involved in rebuilding an aquarium would at least check with the Fish and Wildlife Service, because the aquarium in New Orleans is proud of its local displays, and the only way of insuring that the fish are local is to catch them yourself.

I’m sure that Halliburton would have been happy to take a million dollars and then drop by the dives in Mexico to hire the fish to be caught.

OT: I noticed you changed the post name at your place, Whig.

3 Michael { 11.14.07 at 4:25 am }

I also changed some other things, like my endorsements. 🙂

4 Bryan { 11.14.07 at 1:22 pm }

Now I have to check to see which Michael is which. I rarely do endorsements anymore, as it tends to be lesser of two [or more] evils when it comes to politics. In much of the South it is an estimate on when the indictments will arrive.

5 Michael { 11.14.07 at 5:17 pm }

Well now I’ve put a Gravatar there so you can recognize me more easily.

6 Michael { 11.14.07 at 5:19 pm }

It’s nice that it shows up with all my older comments as Whig too.

7 Bryan { 11.14.07 at 5:22 pm }

It’s based on your e-mail address, no matter what you use as a name.

8 Michael { 11.14.07 at 11:29 pm }

Yes, convenient. Though not a reliable identification, since anyone could submit your e-mail address, but then if it turns out not to be the person it’s not like IPs can’t be checked.

9 Bryan { 11.14.07 at 11:58 pm }

Most programs, like WordPress, don’t display the e-mail, although they request it. The IP address is always in the background, as well as site logs, all of which make spoofing and sockpuppetry fairly stupid enterprises.

10 sockpuppetry is good { 11.15.07 at 2:20 am }


11 Steve Bates { 11.15.07 at 2:37 pm }

Does it require the Secure Socket-puppetry Layer?

Michael, IP addresses are provided by a lot of commenting systems, even low-end ones like HaloScan. I’ve used it to identify trolls who come back under different names and/or emails.

12 Bryan { 11.15.07 at 3:18 pm }

The thing about trolls is that most are not competent enough to actually know how to be anonymous on the ‘Net, which is a PITA in any case. The IP address will always “rat you out.”