Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I was over at Russell's the other morning and read this piece.

Got me thinking about the whole concept of FEMA and our expectations.   Now, right off the bat, having an agency coordinate during the aftermath of a major natural disaster is a damn fine idea.

But, how much of FEMA consists of handing out checks to folks who were inconvenienced by an act of God?


Craig Cavanaugh said...

I knew an old charter boat captain in Port Aransas, and here's a little piece of what he told me about Hurricane Celia in August 1970.

He had run north away from the storm in his boat, then hurried back to Port A when the storm had passed. The town was a wreck, no power, etc...

He had a generator aboard his boat, and a refrigerator, instantly making him the most popular guy in town. But they weren't needed for long, because within a couple days the National Guard had dropped off generators and emergency supplies.

Tiny, remote little Port Aransas, on the northern tip of Mustang Island, had generators and supplies within days of the storm. FEMA did not exist. It was the National Guard that had moved so swiftly and efficiently.

FEMA is a joke, as Hurricane Katrina showed us. They are just another bloated bureaucracy designed to siphon money from us working folks into government coffers. We have the means for rapid emergency response in the National Guard. That is their purpose in life, and they're good at it too, so long as they're not hamstrung by a gaggle of bureaucrats...

russell1200 said...

I am in China at the moment. More precisely, page 200 of Stephenson's book. You wouldn't think a 1000 page book could be going by too fast. It has been a lot of fun so far.

I have actually worked as a contractor for FEMA in Puerto Rico. You have a palm pad like computer and you go around to various addresses and verify ownership and damage.

It is exactly what you say it is. In PR people generally build their own houses so the payments are a lot more meaningful as the payments presume some labor costs as well. In the case of PR I don't have a problem. If we didn't want to be responsible we should have let the Spanish keep the Island.