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May 24th, 2006

Ready for Hurricane Season 2006? Sorry, If We Think You’re Full of Shit

Big wigs in Washington are claiming they are "prepared" this hurricane season, which we down here are full aware starts next week. Whether they are or aren't remains to be seen, but if they're counting on anyone along the Southern U.S. coast to trust them they've got another think coming. In other words, we'll believe it when we see it.
The article:

White House Says It's Ready for Hurricanes
By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer
Tue May 23, 8:35 PM ET

Touting stronger radio systems and enough food, water and ice to last a week for 1 million people, the Bush administration sought Tuesday to prove it is better prepared for the brewing hurricane season than it was last year.

In a calculated contrast to the federal government's sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina last August, top officials from the Homeland Security Department and Pentagon rolled out plans and ticked off amounts of stockpiled supplies headed for storm zones in the Southeast. At one point, acting FEMA Director R. David Paulison said his agency last year "didn't have a clue" on whereabouts of relief aid being rushed to victims.

Emergency responders in some Gulf and Atlantic coast states recently expressed doubt that Washington will be ready to help them if faced with another storm the size of Katrina, one of the nation's worst national disasters.

"Our feedback from the states is mixed," said Karen Cobuluis, spokeswoman for the National Emergency Management Association, which represents state emergency directors. "Overall, it appears the federal government is going to meet their goals, and we'll have to take them at their word. If they meet those goals they'll be more prepared for the next disaster."

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said state and local emergency responders also need to be ready for what forecasters predict will be another tumultuous storm season when it begins next week.

"Experience shows that even with the best of planning, we're going to face some unprecedented challenges and unforeseen events," Chertoff told reporters. "But if we begin with a good plan, and we have a good plan, we will be in a far better position to coordinate our assistance this year with state and local governments, and get help to people who need that help the most."

The officials said they will meet all 11 top-priority reforms ordered by the White House in February to strengthen federal disaster preparations by June 1. They include systems to track supplies, aid victims with food, water, and shelter, and deliver quick information to all levels of government during a disaster.

The Pentagon is also gearing up to help, as ordered by the White House, with 367,000 National Guardsmen available to respond to domestic disasters like a hurricane. Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said those troops do not include 71,000 Guardsmen deployed overseas or up to 6,000 who are supporting a crackdown on illegal immigration on the U.S.-Mexico border.

No, the ineptitude and devastation is still a little too fresh on our minds for any of us to feel at ease about anyone in government helping out those touched by a hurricane. Sorry.

I read another article yesterday that said the lesson learned from Katrina was "trust no one at anytime". Sad, but so very true.

At the same time that our Washington-big-wigs were on TV bemoaning the fact that they "couldn't get to" those that needed help, I knew people every damn day that were making there way down to New Orleans and the surrounding areas in trucks and boats to help rescue survivors and bring supplies. Explain that to me, someone, please.

While government at all branches was running around wringing its hands in confusion and disarray, the people of Louisiana and Mississippi were helping one another; doing what needed to be done. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it - no way of looking at it in another light - our government failed us. When catastrophe and disaster hit home, our government stood by blinking and wondering how they should proceed; thousands died because of it.

So excuse us if we have a hard time putting faith in you to do the right thing this time around.

In all honesty, though, I hope they prove me wrong.

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