What Makes a Perfect Storm? Do the Math

Reuters is reporting that 35 percent of Louisiana's National Guard is in Iraq. 40% of Mississippi's Guard is there. 23 percent of Alabama's and 26 percent of Florida's are deployed.

Back in New Orleans, the 17th St. levee finally broke Monday morning; it was 4 feet lower than the rest of the levee and was one of the specific sites named for renovation by the Army Corps of Engineers and the spot most often cited by worried Louisianans. The UK Independent spells out exactly how the money needed for levees was spent elsewhere by George W. Bush:

"The US Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the levees, requested $27m this year for hurricane protection around the lake. President Bush tried to cut this to $3.9m, although Congress allowed $5.7m. .... Federal spending on flood control in south-east Louisiana has been cut by almost half since 2001, from $69 million per year to $36.5 million. Funds for work at Lake Pontchartrain, the source of the flooding, have fallen by nearly two-thirds over three years, from $14.25 million to $5.7 million. As a result, work on New Orleans' east bank hurricane levees stopped last summer for the first time in 37 years."

Mike Brown, current head of FEMA, was Judges and Stewards Commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association from 1991 to 2001. There were lawsuits involved in which "IAHA's insurance carriers agreed to pay $200,000 to the Orrs in settlement of the Orrs' case against IAHA and Mike Brown." IAHA's press announcement says Brown left amiably. The Denver Post says he was asked to resign after using contributions to the IAHA for his own defense fund. The LA Times hasmore background here:"Michael D. Brown left his job in Colorado supervising horse-show judges to work for Bush's longtime political aide, Joe Allbaugh, who was heading the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the new administration. Brown had been a lawyer active in Republican politics whose most relevant emergency response experience was a stint supervising police and fire departments as assistant city manager in an Oklahoma City suburb. But within two years, he rose from FEMA's general counsel to deputy director and, when Allbaugh left, he moved to the agency's top spot."

Brown's replacement, George G. Johnson, Jr., speaks here of "opening up the office" and no longer working "behind a closed door." "Horses are the noblest of creatures," Johnson says, "They're a wonderful diversion, forgiving and honest; they're a nice change from a hectic world." Would that we had more of them in government.

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