No. of Recommendations: 15
1. On Saturday, he leaves his speech/vacation route, and returns to DC. He makes a regional televised speech urging each and every person to evacuate the area. The national guard is called in to assist at this point.

This is not what the President should do. Those decisions should be left at the local level; I remind you that four hurricanes hit Florida last year with devastation (nowhere near this, obviously) consequences. You can't have the President shouting out these proclamations every time something might happen.

OTOH, I happily say that the Mayor of N.O. booted it BIG TIME. He waited too long to issue the mandatory evacuation order, and he's clearly not in control of much of anything, including himself. Such is life when you rely on "local officials". Sometimes they're good, sometimes they're horrid. The voters get to decide before - and after, and they will.

2. Behind the scenes, he authorizes through emergency funds to start gathering up blankets, food, and water for the (then) disaster areas expected in Mississippi and possibly New Orleans. (At this point we were all wondering if this was going to be a direct hit, which was the worry.

This is what FEMA is supposed to do. Unfortunately, the agency has been directionless as it was absorbed into "Homeland Security", whose (near) sole focus has been "terror", not "disaster."

Which makes it all the more difficult to understand why, at this moment, the country's premier agency for dealing with such events

Apparently homeland security now consists almost entirely of protection against terrorist acts. How else to explain why the Federal Emergency Management Agency will no longer be responsible for disaster preparedness? Given our country's long record of natural disasters, how much sense does this make?

What follows is an obituary for what was once considered the preeminent example of a federal agency doing good for the American public in times of trouble, such as the present.

3. the levees are sandbaggedon Saturday, just in case, you know?

There are dozens of miles of levees. Where do you sandbag with 24 hours left? What's true is that the levees should have been built in the first place with a Cat 5 hurricane in mind. They weren't, they were built to Cat 3 specs, according to the Army Corp "because that's what we were told to do."

4. we wait... or rather, the relief efforts are ready to go out when the hurricane ends. Maybe we give a sole-source contract to Walmart, who has an incredible distribution system. I don't even mind Walmart making some healthy margins on this in case the worst doesn't happen.

Wal-Mart doesn't have high water trucks, nor helicopters, nor an armed guard service to deal with gangs and looters. Their inventory control system is terrific but it's not geared for anything like this.

5. Tuesday, Bush flies in, personally surveys the damage, starts talking with people, makes the same type of impromptu speech as after 9/11.

Yes, but so what? This is a failure of planning, and as one disaster-preparedness official I saw said "for a disaster that everybody knew was coming someday. How can it be that we're not prepared to cope with it?"

One would think that part of "Homeland Security" would be being prepared to deal with the aftermath of calamity. We've seen it before - the Los Angeles riots 40 years ago, Baghdad two years ago. How can there not be a plan - and a database of where every MRE, helicopter, and stashes of water are, and if they are ready to be airlifted in?

Yes, I know the area is vast. The effort so far has been pathetic, although there are a few positive stories. Mostly, however, those are the heroic stories of people who are already there and who are helping their neighbors cope.
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