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A FEMA focus

One can only imagine the frustration along the Gulf Coast. Our editorial just went to the printer yesterday -- it is one of those situations where you hope nothing changes by the time the issue hits the streets. The editorial in the Times-Picayune, titled "An Open Letter to the President," calls FEMA Director Michael Brown a liar and by calls for every FEMA executive to be fired.

The whole Katrina reaction is an unfortunately black eye on Uncle Sam and it is unclear why. The WSJ yesterday had an early take looking at what happened.

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, announced yesterday that the committee will conduct a hearing looking at what happened. However, CNN is reporting that House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-Texas) has cancelled those hearing.

DeLay: Onus for emergency response starts with locals

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House majority leader late Tuesday tried to deflect criticism of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina by saying "the emergency response system was set up to work from the bottom up," then announced a short time later that House hearings examining that response had been canceled.

Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said House Republican leaders instead want a joint House-Senate panel set up to conduct a "congressional review" of the issue. (Posted 1:05 a.m.)

Meanwhile, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is also going to look at the Katrina situation.

The committee is meeting initially behind closed doors. I've never quite understood why these meetings would need to go on behind closed doors, but...

Conventional wisdom right now pins the problem on the fact that FEMA was rolled into the Homeland Security Department. That seems too easy to me. It seems that FEMA's role is integral to DHS's mission. But we keep hearing about what a mess things are at DHS. Is this an indication?

The fourth grim anniversary of September 11th comes on Sunday, of course, and my guess there is going to be increasing focus on DHS.

One final aside: If you missed NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, it was really a amazing show. Here is the transcript. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff was on suggesting that it was too early to look at what went wrong. That stood in stark contrast to an appearance by Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, who broke down talking about the situation.

They were told like me, every single day, "The cavalry's coming," on a federal level, "The cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming." I have just begun to hear the hoofs of the cavalry. The cavalry's still not here yet, but I've begun to hear the hoofs, and we're almost a week out....

The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?" And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday." And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night...

Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us. The secretary has promised. Everybody's promised. They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody.


Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Sep 07, 2005 at 12:14 PM


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