The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): Floods, Failures, and Federalism

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Federalism is supposed to undergird America’s system of handling disasters, particularly natural disasters. State, local, and private organizations should play the dominant role. Today, however, growing federal intervention is undermining the role of private institutions and the states in handling disasters.

In a new paper, Cato’s Director of Tax Policy Studies, Chris Edwards looks at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA)’s response to major disasters, and argues that policymakers should reverse course and begin cutting FEMA.

In The Federal Emergency Management Agency: Floods, Failures, and Federalism,  Edwards argues that Congress should cut FEMA’s multi-billion dollar budget to end the agency’s long-running record of disorganized and wasteful spending. Edwards determines the agency’s large and growing budget consists mainly of counterproductive and inefficient aid programs that should be eliminated. Instead, he argues that state and local governments, and the private sector, should fund disaster preparedness and relief.

“Ultimately,” says Edwards, “the agency should be closed down by ending aid programs for disaster preparedness and relief and privatizing flood insurance.”

FEMA’s performance in disaster response is historically plagued by poor decision-making, wasteful spending, and excessive bureaucracy. FEMA spends roughly $2.5 billion a year on grants to state and local governments for disaster preparedness but these funds are often wasted on low-value activities. Cities have used preparedness grants to buy hovercrafts, underwater robots, and other fancy equipment that are rarely used. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Don’t Get Mad Get Naked’

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Nude Beach-goers Respond to Clothing-Optional Ban

For the New York Observer writes: Don’t get mad. Get naked.

When Hurricane Sandy hit New York a couple years ago, it took down some of Fire Island’s dunes that once provided privacy for sunbathers in the buff on Lighthouse Beach. Accordingly, park officials announced a ban on the clothing-optional niche, reported the New York Post.attention_sign_300

“Just because we’re naked doesn’t mean we’re lewd.”

— Marianna Grace, a woman at the forefront of the coalition

But nudists, or naturists as many like to be identified, won’t be hopping back into their bikini bottoms and swim trunks so fast. Some impassioned naked beach-goers have formed an initiative called Save Lighthouse Beach to push back against the ban. Last Saturday, hundreds of nude bathers joined them and hit the sand in solidarity. In addition to fighting for their right to shed their clothes on the Fire Island shore, many hope to remove the stigma associated with public nudity. Read the rest of this entry »


The Hammer: The Myth of ‘Settled Science’

Computer models of climate change have been dead wrong, yet alarmists aim to quell debate

obama-climateDr. Charles Krauthammer  writes:  I repeat: I’m not a global-warming believer. I’m not a global-warming denier. I’ve long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30, or 50 years are white-coated propagandists.

“The debate is settled,” asserted propagandist-in-chief Barack Obama in his latest State of the Union address. “Climate change is a fact.” Really? There is nothing more anti-scientific than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge. Take a non-climate example. It was long assumed that mammograms help reduce breast cancer deaths. This fact was so settled that Obamacare requires every insurance plan to offer mammograms (for free, no less).

[Order Charles’ book: “Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics” from Amazon]

Now we learn from a massive randomized study — 90,000 women followed for 25 years — that mammograms may have no effect on breast-cancer deaths. Indeed, one out of five of those diagnosed by mammogram receives unnecessary radiation, chemo, or surgery.

Read the rest of this entry »


Global-Warming ‘Proof’ is Evaporating

This October 27, 2013 NASA satellite image shows Hurricane Raymond churning in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico. The US National Hurricane Center says Raymond has become a hurricane far off Mexico's Pacific coast and poses no threat to land at this time. The Miami-based centre says Raymond has top sustained winds of 120 kph and is centred about 1,180 kilometres south-southwest of the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula(Top-R). Raymond as a category three hurricane brought torrential rains and flooding last week near Zihuatanejo.  AFP PHOTO/NASA

This October 27, 2013 NASA satellite image shows Hurricane Raymond churning in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico. The US National Hurricane Center says Raymond has become a hurricane far off Mexico’s Pacific coast and poses no threat to land at this time. The Miami-based centre says Raymond has top sustained winds of 120 kph and is centred about 1,180 kilometres south-southwest of the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula(Top-R). Raymond as a category three hurricane brought torrential rains and flooding last week near Zihuatanejo. AFP PHOTO/NASA

Michael Fumento writes:  The 2013 hurricane season just ended as one of the five quietest years since 1960. But don’t expect anyone who pointed to last year’s hurricanes as “proof” of the need to act against global warming to apologize; the warmists don’t work that way.

Warmist claims of a severe increase in hurricane activity go back to 2005 and Hurricane Katrina. The cover of Al Gore’s 2009 book, “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis,” even features a satellite image of the globe with four major hurricanes superimposed.

Yet the evidence to the contrary was there all along. Back in 2005 I and others reviewed the entire hurricane record, which goes back over a century, and found no increase of any kind. Yes, we sometimes get bad storms — but no more frequently now than in the past. The advocates simply ignored that evidence — then repeated their false claims after Hurricane Sandy last year.

Read the rest of this entry »


It Begins: Freaked-Out Democrats Launch Mission to Define and Smear Chris Christie in Advance of 2016 Campaign

Video: Gov. Chris Christie may be eyeing a 2016 presidential run, but he may have move to the right if he wants to appeal to the Republican base. Sabrina Schaeffer and Richard Fowler discuss.

 Gov. Chris Christie may be eyeing a 2016 presidential run, but he may have move to the right if he wants to appeal to the Republican base. Sabrina Schaeffer and Richard Fowler discuss.

 reports: Top Democratic officials launched a concerted offensive Wednesday to define New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in a negative light, believing that he has emerged from his reelection landslide as the Republican Party’s strongest potential presidential contender for 2016.

Some Democratic strategists said the party made a mistake by not spending more money to attack Christie during the gubernatorial campaign, which might have suppressed his margin of victory and denied the Republican a sweeping mandate in a blue state. In the months to come, Democrats say, they plan to chip away at Christie’s moderate image and present him nationally as a hard-edged conservative.

Read the rest of this entry »


Chris Christie: I Never Hugged Obama

President Barack Obama is greeted by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie upon his arrival at Atlantic City International Airport in Atlantic City, N.J., on Oct. 31, 2012 Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Barack Obama is greeted by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie upon his arrival at Atlantic City International Airport – Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says his greeting of President Barack Obama when the president arrived in Atlantic City to tour the devastation from Hurricane Sandy was not, as many have said, a “hug.”

The potential Republican 2016 presidential candidate made a point to clear up the misconception in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer published Sunday, discussing the approaching one-year anniversary of the storm.

“It was a handshake like you would shake hands with anyone,” he said. “It was a perfectly natural, casual, normal type of greeting between two people. And you know, it’s become legend.” Read the rest of this entry »


Nearly $2 Billion in Sandy Relief Managed by CGI Federal Inc.–Same Organization Credited with Obamacare’s Doomed Debut

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Note: Many victims still haven’t seen a penny of relief aid

Allison Coyle reports:  CGI Federal Inc., the mastermind behind healthcare.gov, is assisting the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the distribution of $1.7 billion in relief for Hurricane Sandy.

In a memo obtained by FreedomWorks titled, “Minutes of the 295th meeting of the members of the Housing Trust Fund Corporation held on May 9, 2013, at 8:30 a.m.,” CGI Federal is tasked with implementing the Disaster Housing Assistance Program. Additionally, they are asked to aid in the implementation of the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program, an assistance program that had recently obtained $1.7 billion. Read the rest of this entry »


Is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie a real Republican – or in name only?

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is a lot more conservative than people think

Take a look at Christie’s record and you’ll see he is hardly a ‘Republican in name only’. He also could beat Hillary Clinton

Obama and Chris Christie

President Barack Obama shakes hands with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie before speaking about rebuilding efforts following last year’s Hurricane Sandy. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

In large swaths of conservative America, the thinking is that the Republican who may be best positioned to win the White House is not really a Republican.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is branded with a four-letter word, RINO (Republican In Name Only). Pundit Ann Coulter declares that Christie is “dead” to her. Talk radio poobah Rush Limbaugh says Christie will be the 2016 presidential nominee – for the Democrats.

Meanwhile, liberals and moderates see him as a Republican they could learn to like, if not love. Bill Clinton invited him for a friendly chit-chat on stage to culminate his Clinton Global Initiative conference in June. Barack Obama played a football toss boardwalk game with him at the Jersey Shore in May. And liberal network MSNBC consistently portrays him as a post-partisan hero.

But there should be no confusion here. What those in both corners of the political spectrum should understand is that Christie has governed New Jersey as a straight-down-the-line, if not pragmatic, conservative. And there is no indication that a President Christie wouldn’t govern in the same conservative way.

Read the rest of this entry »


Hundreds of NY National Guardsmen Unavailable for Hurricane Duty: Assigned Elsewhere–Mock Disaster Relief?

Hundreds of soldiers from New York’s Army National Guard are unavailable to help in the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort — because they’ve been assigned to fight a fake disaster.

The troops are all due to leave tomorrow for a week-long exercise in Missouri known as “Vigilant Guard,” which tests the response of the soldiers to a mock earthquake in the Midwest. And that previously scheduled drill took precedence over the real-world catastrophe that struck the East Coast on Monday night, a source familiar with the hurricane response tells Danger Room.

Bureaucratically, it’s nearly impossible to redeploy hundreds of guardsmen at a moment’s notice, even at a moment when so many are in need. Troops from the New York Army National Guard’s 104th Military Police Battalion, the 1156th Engineer Company, and the 42nd Infantry Division’s headquarters — between 400 and 600 soldiers in all — are now poised to head to the middle of the country.

“At this point in time, we’re still sending our soldiers to Vigilant Guard,” confirms Eric Durr, a spokesman for the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs…

More…

via  Danger Room | Wired.com


Sorting the Real Sandy Photos From the Fakes

With Hurricane Sandy approaching the New York metro area, the nation’s eyes are turning to its largest city. Photos of storms and flooding are popping up all over Twitter, and while many are real, some of them — especially the really eye-popping ones — are fake.

This post, which will be updated over the next couple of days, is an effort to sort the real from the unreal. It’s a photograph verification service, you might say, or a pictorial investigation bureau. If you see a picture that looks fishy, send it to me at alexis.madrigal[at]gmail.com. If you like this sort of thing, you should also visit istwitterwrong.tumblr.com, which is just cataloging the fakes.

The fakes come in three varieties: 1) Real photos that were taken long ago, but that pranksters reintroduce as images of Sandy, 2) Photoshopped images that are straight up fake, and 3) The combination of the first two: old, Photoshopped pictures being trotted out again…

More via The Atlantic


Space Shuttle Enterprise exhibit collapses in Hurricane Sandy

HOUSTON – The bubble-like housing that protected Space Shuttle Enterprise collapsed overnight as Hurricane Sandy pummeled New York City with wind and rain.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the prototype shuttle itself was damaged.

Photos on Twitter showed Enterprise’s nose and tail exposed with the collapsed housing draped over it.

As of Tuesday morning the shuttle remained exposed to the elements.

The exhibit opened July 19 on the deck of the USS Intrepid.

via  khou.com Houston


Storm News: WSJ and NYT Drop Paywalls…

“…Ahead of Hurricane Sandy’s landfall in the tri-state area, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Newsday temporarily dropped their paywalls. While this makes sense as a public service to readers—and has been helpful information when so many people are stuck at home, wondering when their windows will start to shake—it makes little sense from an economic one…”

via TCJR