Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., discusses a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee report on the response to hurricane Katrina during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Thursday, April 27, 2006. Photo Credit: AP Photo/Dennis Cook
... More Moving Of Chairs On The Titanic!
Excerpts from AP story via CBS News -
Katrina Report Rips the White House Anew
Apr 27, 11:01 PM (ET)
By LARA JAKES JORDAN
WASHINGTON (AP) - A Senate inquiry into the government's Hurricane Katrina failures ripped the Bush administration anew Thursday and urged the scrapping of the nation's disaster response agency. But with a new hurricane season just weeks away, senators conceded that few if any of their proposals could become reality in time.
It said the Homeland Security Department either misunderstood federal disaster plans or refused to follow them. And it said New Orleans for years had neglected to prepare for large-scale emergencies.
"The suffering that continued in the days and weeks after the storm passed did not happen in a vacuum; instead, it continued longer that it should have because of - and was in some cases exacerbated by - the failure of government at all levels to plan, prepare for and respond aggressively to the storm," concluded the report.
It was titled "Hurricane Katrina: A Nation Still Unprepared," sober words for the future.
The senators concluded that only by abolishing the Federal Emergency Management Agency - which Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, called a "bumbling bureaucracy" - and replacing it with a stronger authority could the government best respond to future catastrophes.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said FEMA needs to be stripped out of the larger department and restored as an independent Cabinet-level agency. "That's how it was done in the past and it worked as we hoped," said Lautenberg, a member of the Senate panel.
But Robert Latham, director of Mississippi's emergency response efforts, said lingering funding and manpower problems should be addressed before such a drastic step is taken.
"Changing the name of something doesn't fix a problem, other than maybe fixes a perception," Latham said. "Maybe FEMA has taken such a bashing that the name recognition itself will be hard to overcome."
One may notice that the truth (highlighted) is stronger than the Senate's intent and the title of this Main Stream Media (AP) report piece.
Why don't we just repair the chairs? First responders (local governments) need to step up and take on the first level responsibilities.