FEMA follies and aid antics

By Courtney Howard
Posted by Courtney E. Howard

I know I am going to get flack for what I am about to write, but heregoes. When Katrina hit, my old high-school chum who lives in New Orleans was thankfully on vacation elsewhere. Her apartment was not affected, aside from some rotten food, nor was her pocketbook and car. Yet, she was the benefactor of checks for several thousands of dollars.

We all know the sequence of events. My quick-and-dirty synopsis would read: people were in serious danger, some folks in the government dropped the ball, the Bush Administration was widely criticized, lots and lots of money was thrown at the problem (FEMA even reported egregious overpayments), and the city and its citizens are recovering and rebuilding. It was a horrific event, and my heart goes out to all those affected.

I have a friend in NOLA who is a real-estate agent, who has been having a couple great years. Property values were higher after Katrina than before, she told a group of us. Tons of people were interested in investing in are real estate. Why were people flocking to put their money in an area built below sea level that is susceptible to hurricanes, flooding, various natural disasters?
Enter Gustav. My friends who reside in NOLA happily went on a "hurrication" -- or hurricane vacation -- and have posted photos of them imbibing and partying online via their mobile devices. Some expect a check will be waiting for them upon their return.

On the other end of the spectrum, a friend of the family was in one of 12 local FEMA groups called to duty in NOLA. He was given three hours notice, and whisked off to Atlanta for two weeks. That is where he sits now. Just sits. Other teams are doing the same, but in Virginia. Many speculate that since they are not needed, they should be sent home, lessening as much as possible the hefty bill the taxpayers will have to foot for their room, board, and hazard pay. They are told, instead and in so many words, that the Bush Administration is "edgy" about hurricane rescue, considering the controversies that surrounded the "handling" of Katrina, and so they will sit -- and prepare themselves for likely deployment to the East Coast, where Hurricane Hanna is expected to strike, or to stay in anticipation of Hurricane Ike.

Granted my universe is but a small one, but perhaps you can see how it looks from my perspective. Three of the three people I know in New Orleans are benefiting from these circumstances -- and believe me, I am grateful for that rather than seeing them or anyone else suffer. And yet, I have heard similar stories relating to Reservists deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Case in point: a family friend in the National Guard Reserves was called up and sent to Afghanistan to give other military personnel a break from their post there. He sat, sweating in Afghanistan for a year, and then came home and bought a house and new car in cash with his hazardous duty pay. Don't get me wrong, you could not offer me enough money to go to Afghanistan.

I bring this controversial issue up because over the weekend I ran into a friend who was giving up her nights and weekends to provide care to hundreds of local children and seniors who were without health insurance and could not gain health care. Her stories were heart-wrenching. She was relieved that people in need were getting the help they needed during a natural disaster, and yet, she was disheartened that those who are always needy and perpetually sick and hungry gain so little of the Administration's attention and resources.

And so I cannot help but be caused to wonder, are we as a country and is our administration doing to right thing with our money? Is there not enough to go around? Where is the happy medium? I hope the new administration, whatever it may be, has the answer.

Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.

Previous Blog Posts

Capital Hill budget deal could restore tens of billions of dollars to the Pentagon

December 17, 2013

Hacker drone story a cautionary tale about the need for unmanned vehicle data security

December 10, 2013

Lack of money for systems upgrades threatens to maintain wind-farm radar dead spots

December 3, 2013

Engineering support contracts indicate the Pentagon is sinking into the Mothball Strategy

November 26, 2013

The revenge of COTS: an ageing commercial technology base complicates military supply chain

November 19, 2013

Navy's newest destroyers evolve to fill traditional battleship roles

November 12, 2013

International suspicions of U.S. encryption technology putting defense companies in a bind

November 5, 2013

Defense industry left guessing as Army struggles forward with an unclear mission

October 29, 2013

These are tough times for the combat vehicle and vetronics industries

October 22, 2013

Is the government shutdown a harbinger of more ominous things to come?

October 15, 2013

Government shutdown reduces military contracting, increasing pressure on U.S. defense industry

October 7, 2013

Potential good news: has U.S. defense spending finally bottomed-out?

October 1, 2013

Is robotics revolution the first glimpse of a fundamental change in human evolution?

September 24, 2013

Obsolescent parts: are we enhancing military readiness or creating a hollow force?

September 17, 2013

For the high-tech warfighter, the future of electronics-laden uniforms is here

September 10, 2013

New generation of embedded computing thermal management in development at GE

September 3, 2013

Trading bus stops for credit cards: how far embedded computing has come in three decades

August 27, 2013

Unmanned vehicle industry stands at the doorstep of a fundamental transformation

August 20, 2013

AUVSI 2013, one of the biggest unmanned vehicles shows in the world, opens this week in Washington

August 13, 2013

The Washington Post, under Jeff Bezos, could lead the way for media in the 21st Century

August 6, 2013

Are costs and vulnerabilities making military leaders nervous about satellite communications?

July 30, 2013

Unmanned aircraft carrier that travels beneath the waves may be in the Navy's future

July 23, 2013

Electronic warfare programs kick into high gear with a flurry of contract activity

July 16, 2013

How vulnerable are U.S. Navy vessels to advanced anti-ship cruise missiles?

July 9, 2013

First came VHSIC, then came MIMIC, and now comes ACE to push electronics technology

July 2, 2013

The Mil & Aero Bloggers

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Ernesto Burden is the publisher of PennWell’s Aerospace & Defense Media Group, including Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence and Avionics Europe.  He’s a father of four, a runner, and an avid digital media enthusiast with a deep background in the intersection of media publishing, digital technology, and social media. He can be reached at ernestob@pennwell.com and on Twitter @aero_ernesto.

Courtney E. Howard, as executive editor, enjoys writing about all things electronics and avionics in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence, the Avionics Europe conference, and much more. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics geek. Connect with Courtney at Courtney@Pennwell.com, @coho on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

Mil & Aero Magazine

December 2013
Volume 24, Issue 12
file

All Access Sponsors


Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Connect with Us



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE