Wednesday, November 23, 2005

PBS' "Frontline" nails the Katrina failures

If you missed the amazing Hurricane Katrina special onFrontline last night, the PBS website will offer the entire show online starting 5 p.m. today, for free. The link I added also provides some fascinating video made by NOLA residents, message boards and written analysis.

Some key highlights that had my jaw hitting the floor:

FEMA's budget has been cut to the bone in the aftermath of the hurricane.

Michael Brown saying it was the responsibility of local emergency personnel to provide for evacuation, and FEMA's own charter showing it is FEMA's responsibility to aid local governments in evacuation procedures.

All the preparation that went into the 2004 Hurricane Pam exercise, as well as the lessons gleaned from it -- completely left behind and ignored.

How the federal government, under a group of people who have contempt for "big government" is not only fiscally irresponsible and unwieldy, but completely incompetent and socially unconscious. All the funding tossed at local governments in the aftermath of Katrina has no federal oversight or accounting; absent both of those, it's like tossing cash into a bonfire.

President George H.W. Bush's response to allegations of failure during Hurricane Andrew -- "I'm not going to play the blame game." Wow. Just - wow.

Frontline compared FEMA under Bush I, Clinton and Bush II. Regardless of political stripe, common sense demands FEMA be adequately prepared and mobilized during any large-scale calamity. What a disgrace that all the FEMA rebuilding and reinforcing from the 90's is completely lost, now.

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