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Total Incompetence

Believe it or not CNN acting like a news outlet: FEMA gives away $85 million of supplies for Katrina victims

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) — FEMA gave away about $85 million in household goods meant for Hurricane Katrina victims, a CNN investigation has found.

The material — from basic kitchen goods to sleeping necessities — sat in warehouses for two years before the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s giveaway to federal and state agencies this year.

James McIntyre, FEMA’s acting press secretary, told CNN that FEMA was spending more than $1 million a year to store the material and that another agency wanted the warehouses torn down, so “we needed to vacate them.”

“Upon review of our assets and our need to continue to store them, we determined that they were excess to FEMA’s needs; therefore, they are being excessed from FEMA’s inventory,” McIntyre wrote in an e-mail.

He declined a request for an on-camera interview, telling CNN the giveaway was “not news.”

Photos from one of the facilities in Fort Worth, Texas, show pallet after pallet of cots, cleansers, first-aid kits, coffee makers, camp stoves and other items stacked to the ceiling.

FEMA said some of the items were donations from companies after Katrina, but most were purchased in the field as “starter kits” for people living in trailers provided by the agency. And even though the stocks were offered to state agencies after FEMA decided to get rid of them, one of the states that passed was Louisiana.

Just a hint: this is exactly the sort of thing that people need after every disaster, so having a stock of them should be a no-brainer.

You have to wonder who knew that the stuff was available, because if they just stuck it in a warehouse and didn’t tell anyone, then the people on the ground would be buying things that the Agency already had.

They mention that the Louisiana emergency agency didn’t think they needed anything because they had no requests for the materials, while the main resettlement agency in New Orleans was actively seeking these goods. Apparently the new Republican leadership in Louisiana is not any better than the Democrats they replaced.

This is how you run up trillion dollar deficits. They could at least shipped some of this stuff to China and Burma, if they didn’t want to give to Mexico last year, or the Midwest this year.

This didn’t happen under Bill Clinton’s FEMA, James Witt took care of business.


1 andante { 06.11.08 at 2:12 pm }

The giveaway reminds me of people who won’t draw up a will because then they might die.

2 Bryan { 06.11.08 at 3:39 pm }

I’ve been in that conversation all too often. It’s hard to convince people that they need to do it, because they sure won’t like like the way the state divides up their assets if anything happens.

3 Badtux { 06.11.08 at 4:21 pm }

Of course, Bryan, there’s the question of “what assets” for most Americans, since the average American owes more money than he’s worth :-(.

As for Louisiana state government, it hasn’t worked since the days of Huey Long. Color me unsurprised.

– Badtux the Former Louisiana Penguin

4 Bryan { 06.11.08 at 4:52 pm }

At this point a lot of people have more assets if they die, than if they live, because they might actually have insurance that pays off. It’s a good thing the banks aren’t taking advantage of the mortgage insurance by “offing” borrowers.

My Mother almost fell out of her chair when Bobby Jindal said he was going to eliminate corruption from Louisiana politics. She wasn’t exactly surprised when he got hit with a fine for campaign finance “improprieties” a few days later.

Say what you want about Edwin Edwards, he didn’t hide what he was, and kept getting elected because he was open about it.

Hugo Chavez reminds me a lot of old Huey. at least people are getting something from the corruption.

5 Badtux { 06.11.08 at 7:55 pm }

Yep, during Edwards’ last campaign against David Duke, I had one of the “Vote for the Crook, It’s Important” bumper stickers on my car. That was after some David Duke supporters egged the plain jane sticker that just said “Edwards” on it, heh! As if a puke-colored ’81 Chevy Chevette cared about a few more splotches on its faded rusty paint, snort.

Edwin Edwards was the last governor that my mother felt comfortable pulling the lever for. He was a crook, but he was an honest crook, if that’s not an oxymoron.

– Badtux the (former) Louisiana Penguin

6 Bryan { 06.11.08 at 10:33 pm }

Oxymoron? Hell, that’s high praise down here – a politician who stays bought after being bribed and takes the bribes in public so everyone knows who he works for – you can’t get fairer than that.