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FEMA
  • Brownie: What's Obama's Rush with Responding to Sandy?

    Michael "Brownie" Brown — who was immortalized as a symbol of heckuva job-ness following his work as the head of FEMA during Hurricane Katrina — knows a thing or two about responding to natural disasters. After all, he took calls from President Bush all the time.

    So, when he asks: What's the deal with Obama's rush to help people during Hurricane Sandy?, it makes you wonder: Hey, what's the deal with that?

    "One thing he's gonna be asked is, why did he jump on this so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in… Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?" Brown says. "Why was this so quick?… At some point, somebody's going to ask that question… This is like the inverse of Benghazi."

    Really, it's kind of ridiculous. I mean, these people haven't even had a chance to start building shanty towns on top of their roofs let alone make their way into the later stages of dehydration. Come on! There is a way that these things are done. This is bush league nonsense.

    Er, I mean, it's not Bush league nonsense.

    Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: FEMA, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, Libya, Michael Brown
  • Chris Christie Says Nice Things About Barack Obama

    Those of you who woke up on the East Coast may be tempted to believe that, during the night, your domicile was picked up and swept away to a magical far off land where up is down and left is right and Happy Endings is as clever as people pretend it is and Republicans have decent things to say about Democratic presidents.

    And, who knows, maybe you have been

    On NBC's "Today," Christie said the president had been "outstanding" and FEMA's response has been "excellent."

    The GOP governor also sent out a thankful tweet: "I want to thank the President personally for all his assistance as w recover from the storm."

    "It's been very good working with the president," Christie said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "He and his administration have been coordinating with us. It’s been wonderful."

    Okay, now, you may think that such nice words for Barack Obama and the federal government coming from a Republican governor would reflect well upon the President as we head into the final week of election season, but actually nothing could be farther from the truth. In reality, this proves what conservatives have been saying about Obama and Big Government all along. And for a very simple reason.

    Because… Hold on, on give a second here. I've got this this. It's because… it shows… that… um… Well, hang on. It undeniably proves that… given certain… parameters… of the… Overton window…

    Look, the guy's a socialist. And we can't afford four more years of his failed policies. Also, something something Iran.

    Photo by Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images


    Tags: Barack Obama, Chris Christie, FEMA, Hurricane Sandy, Natural Disasters, New Jersey
  • Government Shutdown Looms Over Emergency Aid Funding Dispute


    With DC Fashion Week wrapping up yesterday, and Congress back in session, one thing is clear: federal government shutdowns are the new black. This time, the dysfunction is caused by disagreement over how to replenish the coffers of FEMA, whose resources have been stretched thin by God's anger/an active hurricane season…

    The Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on a Democratic-sponsored measure to provide $3.65 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the disaster fund. But the bill is expected to fail because it does not include spending cuts demanded by Republicans.

    Lawmakers expressed hope Sunday that they could reach a bipartisan agreement rather than face a repeat of the rancorous summer battle over raising the nation's debt ceiling. But negotiations are likely to continue until the 11th hour.

    Since "Government Shuts-down Due to [Whatever]" is going to be an exciting fill-in-the-headline game for months to come, here's a handy guide to the latest edition of Why We Can't Have Nice Things:

    How did the latest crisis begin? As Michele Bachmann jocularly explained, God sent a hurricane barreling along the Eastern seaboard as punishment for profligate government spending. Democrats responded by trying to authorize even more spending, so that FEMA could provide emergency relief to affected families while also supporting fire-ravaged Texas and tornado-tossed Missouri. To which House Majority Leader Eric Cantor responded, why would we want to further anger the Lord when we could offset emergency spending with cuts to Democratic priorities? And so Congress did its usual awesome job of doing nothing.

    But Members of Congress are going to resolve this like adults, yes? You are hilarious! Senators Mark Warner and Lamar Alexander, help us set that special tone of hand-wringing about civility followed by childish recriminations

    Two veteran senators agreed Sunday morning that the latest budget standoff in Congress is not what the country needs, but the Democrat and Republican each made sure to point out that the potential government shutdown was the other party's fault…

    To blame, in Warner's view: "A small group within the House, the Tea Party crowd."

    Not quite, according to Alexander. "I'll give the Senate Democratic leader most of the credit," Alexander said. "He manufactured a crisis all week about disaster when there's no crisis."

    So federal employees are going to be furloughed over what amounts to a rounding error in the budget? Maybe. A more likely possibility involves the Obama Administration using creative accounting to keep FEMA functioning through the end of this week, forestalling the crisis. Alternatively, enough Democrats or Republicans could cross party-lines to adopt a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded. For a month and a half.

    Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Democrats, Eric Cantor, FEMA, House of Representatives, Lamar Alexander, Mark Warner, Natural Disasters, Republicans, Senate
  • Emergency Relief Spending Bill Neatly and Effectively Killed by Congress

    The good news is that John Boehner has managed to herd the Tea Party members of his caucus in enough to just barely pass a bill which will — and now don't get to agitated when you hear this — allocate more federal money to a badly-in-need government emergency aid program. I know, I know! Spending bad! Spending bad!

    But don't worry. Provisions had been made to ensure that it would not pass the Democrat-controlled Senate. So, all is right with the world

    The measure, which narrowly passed early Friday by a vote of 219 to 203, is needed to temporarily fund the government once the new fiscal year begins next week. It also includes $3.65 billion to replenish the coffers of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is expected to run out of money by Monday after a succession of tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and wildfires.

    Disaster funding typically draws bipartisan support, but this year Republican leaders insist that any supplemental emergency funds be offset by spending cuts elsewhere. Democrats object…

    The House measure would take $1.5 billion from a green vehicle program that Democrats champion as a job creator. To attract more Republican votes, leaders decided to also take $100 million from an Energy Department account for renewable energy firms — including Solyndra, the Northern California solar manufacturer with ties to the White House that received a $535-million loan guarantee, then went bankrupt.

    Great work, guys. Really top notch. Even if this did somehow manage to pass through the Senate, it'd still effectively hobble job growth and push back efforts at environmental responsibility. So, hey, six of one, half a dozen of another.

    If I had any criticism of this, it's that the bill, as passed by the House, doesn't go quite far enough in humiliating Democrats. I mean, why — at this late stage in the game — are Democratic legislators still allowed to wear pants? And I see them on C-Span just walking around the Senate floor on their feet when they could be forced to perambulate on hands and knees. Come on, Republicans. Don't get soft on us now. This is your golden opportunity to take everything you can get. No consequences! No regrets!

    Anyway, as expected (and probably hoped for), the Senate decided to pass on this bill

    By a bipartisan vote of 59-36 Friday, Senate Democrats and several Republicans tabled (read: effectively killed) House-passed legislation to fund the federal government beyond September 30.

    We can now all sleep easy knowing that none of our tax dollars will go toward helping anybody elsewhere.

    Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Democrats, Environment, FEMA, House of Representatives, John Boehner, Natural Disasters, Republicans, Senate, Solyndra
  • Stephen Colbert on FEMA's Waffle House Index

    Oddly enough, FEMA aren't the only ones who see the value in using Waffle House as a reliable gauge. I've always used it on cross-country road trips as an excellent way to determine exactly how desperate I am for food…

    The Colbert Report airs Monday through Thursday at 11:30/10:30c.


    Tags: FEMA, Food, Natural Disasters, Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report, Video