Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 28, 2015

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on August 28, 2015

William R. Cumming Forum

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19 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 28, 2015 @ 6:51 am

What will NOLA be like on the 20th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina?

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 28, 2015 @ 7:29 am

I have been listening and watching as carefully as possible for analysis of the aftermath of hurricane Katrina and lessons learned.

These are some points I believe should have been made by the analysis and have not been or certainly not had much emphasis.

1. The Port of New Orleans was once crucial to the American Economy as it tapped both the departing riches from the drainage of 2/3rds of the United States and allowed goods and travel UP the Mississippi.

2. The actual Port of New Orleans is actually 154 miles from the GOM with the entire length under some levee protection. But that levee protection of the shipping channel does NOT protect NOLA from flooding from the shipping canal as demonstrated by Hurricane Betsy in 1965 when storm surge came up the shipping canal from the GOM.

3. The Mississippi outflow and delta has wandered just in the last 5,000 years from the Mississippi border to the Texas border. Except for the OLD RIVER CONTROL STRUCTURE the Port of New Orleans would be starved of water as the Mississippi main-stem flow tries to outflow in high water througn MORGAN CITY and the Atchafalya Basin. Excellent background in book THE CONTROL OF NATURE by John McPhee. Normally closed to prevent Mississippi river flow being reduced to NOLA, in high water the USACOE opens it to flood Morgan City instead of NOLA.

4. Main stream flooding of the Mississippi is controlled from St. Louis to the GOM by federal levees. Main stream flooding from the Mississippi is typically the result of melting snow from higher elevations upstream on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers from St Louis.

5. The MRGO [Mississipi River Gulf Outlet Canal] built by the USACOE to shorten the run to the GOM from the Port of New orleans for shipping, and a major source of flooding from storm surge during Hurricane Katrina has now been blocked off leaving on four major sources for flooding of NOLA and region. Litigation over MRGO being or not a flood control structure and therefor immunity for liability of the federal government under 33 U.S.C. Section 702 still in progress. If memory serves the federal courts have found at the trial level that MRGO was NOT a flood control project.

6. So the remaining sources of flooding for NOLA are (1) the Main stream Mississippi River; (2) Lake Ponchatraine; (3) the GOM shipping canal; (4) internal drainage from rainfall or backing up from failure of pumps or flow inwards from restrictions.

7. There is still no complete integration of the various legal entities [usually called levee boards] that in fact and law are the real administrative power in NOLA.

8. The tax base in Louisiana is extremely low for a number of reasons. So new public works projects including flood control and drainage projects are typically funded by local bond issue and often graft and corruption siphon them off.

9. Don’t drink the water from taps in NOLA since water and sewage efforts are de minimus and the Mississippi River [with a 50 foot depth at the Port of New Orleans and high current] is still the key to both water and sewage efforts.

10. Although the so-called DALLAS PLAN for reconstruction in NOLA was never approved it actually has been informally adopted.

11. There has been no effort to deal with the TRANSPORTATION DEPENDENT issues AND POLICIES RAISED BY HURRICANE KATRINA.

12. Dr. Susan Cutter’s [PhD] analysis of SOCIAL VULNERABILTY and disasters remains totally valid IMO for a NOLA in which 50-60% of the work force does NOT receive even the federal minimum wage.

13. Except for fun and games, NOLA does not any longer have significance beyond the Port of new Orleans and as an operation and living base for the oil & gas industry which with price decline will now even further marginalize the southern 1/3rd of Louisiana.

14. The economic future of NOLA and Louisiana may well be tied to Bobby Jindahl being on the Republican ticket in 2016.

15. Is Donald Trump a Huey long?

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 28, 2015 @ 8:05 am

Flood control efforts in Louisiana started with Governor Huey Long.
Wiki extract:

Huey Pierce Long, Jr. (August 30, 1893 – September 10, 1935), nicknamed The Kingfish, was an American politician who served as the 40th Governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932 and as a member of the United States Senate from 1932 until his assassination in 1935. A Democrat, he was an outspoken populist who denounced the rich and the banks and called for “Share the Wealth.” As the political boss of the state he commanded wide networks of supporters and was willing to take forceful action. He established the political prominence of the Long political family.

Long is best known for his Share Our Wealth program, created in 1934 under the motto “Every Man a King.” It proposed new wealth redistribution measures in the form of a net asset tax on corporations and individuals to curb the poverty and homelessness endemic nationwide during the Great Depression. To stimulate the economy, Long advocated federal spending on public works, schools and colleges, and old age pensions. He was an ardent critic of the policies of the Federal Reserve System.

A supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1932 presidential election, Long split with Roosevelt in June 1933 to plan his own presidential bid for 1936 in alliance with the influential Catholic priest and radio commentator Charles Coughlin. Long was assassinated in 1935 and his national movement soon faded, but his legacy continued in Louisiana through his wife, Senator Rose McConnell Long, and his son, Senator Russell B. Long.

Under Long’s leadership, hospitals and educational institutions were expanded, a system of charity hospitals was set up that provided health care for the poor, massive highway construction and free bridges brought an end to rural isolation, and free textbooks were provided for schoolchildren. He remains a controversial figure in Louisiana history, with critics and supporters debating whether or not he was a dictator, demagogue or populist.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 28, 2015 @ 8:06 am

Footnote: In some future main stem high water event above the OLD RIVER CONTROL STRUCTURE that engineering structure will fail. All seem to agree on that fact.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 28, 2015 @ 8:53 am

P.S. As noted in John Barry’s RISING TIDE [I don’t understand that title since the flooding was inland/riverine not tidal] unknown persons blew up the levees on the Mississippi river above NOLA to save NOLA during the 1927 floods.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 28, 2015 @ 9:01 am

Will Californians flee the state in significant numbers due to drought and fires?

I believe Hurricane Katrina holds record for internal displacement from a state due to an natural hazard event!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 29, 2015 @ 8:44 am

Homeland Security – Black Lives matter and my question to who? Certainly Not the Black community —

Man suspected of killing Texas county sheriff’s deputy reportedly arrested – how dare he kill a police officer and an innocent human being, an authority figure we respect and turn to in our moments of desperation — a Homeland Security and a Black community in much jeopardy – the lawlessness from Barry Obama and Ms. Hillary down to “Main Street USA” where we see such criminal intent must cease or our cities will burn….

Imagine when we talk about Homeland Security and from the White House and the Justice Department, we see apologies extended to our adversaries in the Middle east, the WH supports the terrorist group, the Muslim Brotherhood and we see the intentional act of staying away from truly addressing the Turkish secret police’s support of ISIS and our borders remain open, our immigration policies have little knowledge of where anyone roams and another police officer is shot pumping gas by another Black dude who kills in cold blood, slaying an officer, the same like so many who when receiving a 911 call, hurriedly report to a scene of crime or need for help whatever the color of one’s skin which so many seem so obsessed with and our genetics are all so similar, yet the question for those of us who care about our Homeland Security, do Black lives really matter and to who? Certainly not this White House as it has never shown up on the streets of Chicago along with its illustrious Justice Department, so tainted in bias and obvious hatred and divisiveness as the White House has portrayed while Michelle Obama somehow makes school lunches her priority while precious Black youth are being killed every day, every weekend, pregnancies among Black teen women soaring and a Black family once a center of importance, today, dysfunctional in every way for some and those who choose crime rather than attain an education — imagine all the Black on Black crime, the outright murders of youth in Baltimore and folks in the Black community ask, do Black lives matter? When will the Black community and these bigots truly understand that their self-serving ways and agenda to bolster their coffers have little affect other than to orchestrate this divisiveness that Barry Obama and the likes of Billy Ayers and others have spewed since the days at Harvard and our cities, yes our cities will burn from such dysfunctional and failed leadership – Black lives matter and our Homeland Security matter and all lives matter and I am one natural born senior citizen that is disgusted that another wonderful first responder, a police office, an authority figure is slain in cold blood – imagine how far this present White House administration and its running to Cambridge to portray what it theme would be – biased and hatred and the intent to tear our country apart when in fact, We here in our communities do not see color, but human beings and the Black community, Black men who should be mentors, productive human beings are not stepping to the plate and standing to be counted when Black youth – often innocent youth and others who have no hope join gangs and harm others so easily — Homeland Security – unless you and I and the Black community itself begin to take a hard look at itself and lock criminals up and put a stop to the killing of precious Black youth and as well, police officers who are committed to protecting our communities and are not targets – well, our cities will burn and if one reads the Bible – they will know that unless we repent and laws are enforced and ethical behavior is the standard, then our Homeland Security is in much jeopardy — from this day forth, anyone killing a police officer should also be made to understand that their families and their assets will be taken and given to the widows and children of police officers killed in cold blood – we need stiffer laws and a directive to anyone even contemplating such horrendous act that if they choose to harm a police officer, they and their families will be stripped of anything they own – new laws must be instituted to do our utmost to send a directive to these scums —

It is time for the Black community to pull itself up by its own resources and motivation and portray a real commitment to restoring jobs, jobs, jobs and educating its youth and putting an end to violence – a police officer – man or woman comes to our assistance when we call 911, no one else, no matter the color of one’s skin and somehow folks are so obsessed with the color of skin and not the potential of every human being and the Blessings each of us have been given by the Lord — when Barry Obama leaves office and a new President replaces his Presidency, it will not be soon enough for Barry Obama has cared little about Black lives and has done so much injustice to a nation where he was elected (twice) by a white majority who entrusted him to lead and he preferred his own biased demeanor – how outrageous and how criminal – for a breach of faith is in fact treason and good ‘ol Ms. Hillary, the same is directed to you!

God Bless America!

Christopher Tingus
Harwich (cape Cod), MA 02645
chris.tingus@gmail.com

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 29, 2015 @ 9:11 pm

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/08/25/confirmation-tianjin-was-nuked/

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 30, 2015 @ 10:49 am

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States” (The New York Observer)

“This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

Praise for Between the World and Me

“Powerful and passionate . . . profoundly moving . . . a searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Brilliant . . . [Coates] is firing on all cylinders, and it is something to behold: a mature writer entirely consumed by a momentous subject and working at the extreme of his considerable powers at the very moment national events most conform to his vision.”—The Washington Post

“I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates. The language of Between the World and Me, like Coates’s journey, is visceral, eloquent, and beautifully redemptive. And its examination of the hazards and hopes of black male life is as profound as it is revelatory.”—Toni Morrison

“A brilliant thinker at the top of his powers, Coates has distilled four hundred years of history and his own anguish and wisdom into a prayer for his beloved son and an invocation to the conscience of his country. An instant classic and a gift to us all.”—Isabel Wilkerson, author of The Warmth of Other Suns

“I know that this book is addressed to the author’s son, and by obvious analogy to all boys and young men of color as they pass, inexorably, into harm’s way. I hope that I will be forgiven, then, for feeling that Coates was speaking to me, too, one father to another, teaching me that real courage is the courage to be vulnerable.”—Michael Chabon

“A work of rare beauty . . . a love letter written in a moral emergency, one that Coates exposes with the precision of an autopsy and the force of an exorcism.”—Slate

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 30, 2015 @ 11:01 am

Christopher Caldwell of The Weekly Standard writes:

“Someone who has not read Between the World and Me may have the sense that reviewers are dodging the nitty-gritty of Coates’s argument about police violence. They are not. There is no argument. It is no part of Coates’s project to weigh the evidence in the varied cases of, say, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, and Freddie Gray; to consider whether high crime rates in black neighborhoods may provoke, and even justify, more aggressive policing there; or to ask whether the vividness and efficiency of our new information technology might not be causing us to overreact to a handful of incidents among the millions of encounters between police and suspects each year. (That is, we might assume we’re seeing the tip of the iceberg when what we’re seeing is the iceberg.) Coates assumes police guilt in each instance. It is part of the ‘structure.’

This book is short, simple, monomaniacal, and punchy. That can be a plus. ‘Visceral’ and ‘direct’ are two perfectly appropriate adjectives that have been much conferred. And yet, critics have felt the need to praise the book for the very virtues in which it is most obviously deficient. Jack Hamilton, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia, writes in Slate: “Coates is more teacher than preacher, a polymath whose breadth of knowledge on matters ranging from literature to pop culture to French philosophy to the Civil War bleeds through every page of his book, distilled into profound moments of discovery, immensely erudite but never showy.” Not a word of this is true. Coates may well possess this knowledge privately, and there are signs of it in his reparations article, but it is wholly absent from his book. What Civil War? The two pages describing battlefields he toured with his son after page 99? What French philosophy? Coates mentions Sartre and Camus once, on page 122, but only to say he’s never read them. Coates himself, while he professes a love of books and learning, makes no claim to erudition, “immense” or otherwise.

In general, black writers have been more balanced in their assessment of the book. The linguist John McWhorter, for instance, who is one of the rare American commentators of any race who actually can lay claim to a broad erudition, was taken aback by the “almost tearfully ardent praise” for Coates’s reparations piece. McWhorter dismissed one of Coates’s more exuberant fans as having written “the kind of thing one formerly said of the Greatest Story Ever Told,” and described Coates as fulfilling the role of a priest in some new religion of antiracism.

Majoritarian pigs

Coates has written a provocative book about one of the pivotal issues of our time: the confrontation between black youth and forces of order. With an Internet and grassroots campaign having arisen to delegitimize the latter, it would be surprising if the issue did not gather intensity in coming months. Coates’s contribution to the discussion is not well written or well reasoned or trustworthy. But it is politically engaged, and exhilarating in the way that political engagement is exhilarating. If the book itself tells us little about the issue, the reaction to the book among intellectuals tells us a lot. It is evidence that something is changing at the core of our literary culture. Either critics have lost sight that there is such a thing as an unworthy book on a worthy subject; or they are too terrified of being tarred as racists even to give an accurate description of a book about race.

Coates’s book sets a mood rather than conducts an argument. Feeling demonized himself, he offers a counter-demonization that will convey forcefully to whites (or at least those who read it) that blacks (or at least one black author confident he speaks in their name) think white culture worthless and predatory. It will convey, too, that he considers the measures put in place to secure racial equality since the civil rights legislation in the 1960s laughably inadequate.

Both races believe race relations have deteriorated in recent years, a New York Times poll has found, with two-thirds describing them as “generally bad.” There was a moment of solidarity over the murder of nine black Christians in South Carolina, culminating in a successful biracial movement to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state’s capitol. In fact, a poll taken in mid-July by the Pew Research Center found a slim majority of whites (53 percent) saying, for the first time ever, that “the country needs to continue making changes to achieve racial equality.” But each side is perpetually in danger of missing, or minimizing, the sacrifices the other has had to make over the last half-century. Heightening the tension are the almost constant admonitions to whites that the country’s demography is changing and they will someday be outnumbered. The implicit message is that concessions will be imposed on them, whether they like it or not.

So the lavish praise—and even gratitude—that Between the World and Me has elicited from white elites is surprising. Truculent, aggrieved, allergic to compromise, Coates has nonetheless seen his book blown to the top of the bestseller lists on a powerful tailwind of antiracism. The cynical way of explaining its success is to note that the interests of privileged minorities (royal families, oligarchies, coteries of literary critics) are often the same as those of underprivileged minorities. Both of them distrust and seek protection against electoral majorities. In this light some of the most impassioned passages in the book are revealing. “The problem with the police is not that they are fascist pigs,” Coates writes at one point, “but that our country is ruled by majoritarian pigs.” Coates returns to this rare word in his closing pages. “We are captured, brother, surrounded by the majoritarian bandits of America.” A median voter might find such statements appalling. A New York literary critic, with his own misgivings about majoritarian views on gay rights and guns and school prayer, might find them consoling.

A less cynical explanation is to say that McWhorter is right about antiracism’s having become a substitute religion. In demanding from whites a program of infinite penance, Coates is offering them a metaphysical purpose. Many seem to welcome it, as did the Germans who flocked to the lectures of Daniel Jonah Goldhagen when he published Hitler’s Willing Executioners in 1996. Coates’s book runs whites down—but at least it gives them a role. In our day, the peer pressure to join the procession of penitents gains momentum online, from what students of Internet memes call “virtue signaling.”

“My experience in this world,” Coates writes, “has been that the people who believe themselves to be white are obsessed with the politics of personal exoneration.” He needn’t have made that explicit. It is plain from the style of his prose. As Bertrand Russell once wrote: “A skillful orator, when he wishes to stimulate warlike feeling, produces in his audience two layers of belief: a superficial layer, in which the power of the enemy is magnified so as to make great courage seem necessary, and a deeper layer, in which there is a firm conviction of victory.” But to rely on whites’ desire for exoneration may be to miscalculate, in just the way various villains in Coates’s narrative once did, from the builders of the Southern cotton economy to the planners of the all-white towns who succeeded them. They, too, looked at black-white relations as they existed in one era, in one place, in one social class, and mistook them for laws of nature, forgetting that race relations can always get a lot better, and just as easily get a lot worse” –

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 30, 2015 @ 11:05 am

This piece first appeared in The Daily Beast.

Joel Kotkin is executive editor of NewGeography.com and Roger Hobbs Distinguished Fellow in Urban Studies at Chapman University, and a member of the editorial board of the Orange County Register. He is also executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism.

His newest book, The New Class Conflict is now available at Amazon and Telos Press. He is also author of The City: A Global History and The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050. He lives in Orange County, CA.

“Despite all the negative aspects of America’s tortured racial history, comparing today’s situation to that of the early 20th or even 19th centuries—most particularly in the South—is misleading and hyperbolic. America is no longer a black-white country and many newcomers, such as Asians, also suffered severe discrimination but have made enormous progress. Yet today Asians enjoy higher incomes and levels of education than whites. Increasingly they are no longer the subjects of affirmative action, but among its primary victims.

Perhaps even more revealing has been the progress of African immigrants, who represent one of the fastest-growing parts of our newcomer population. Between 2000 and 2010, their numbers grew from 800,000 to more than 1.6 million, and since 2010 grew by another 100,000, expanding faster as an immigrant group than those from any part of the world. Like African Americans, they are moving increasingly to Southern states, notably Texas and Virginia. As a group, they have done well in terms of income, education, and entrepreneurship.

To be sure, most Africans in America, like Latinos and Asians, do not carry with them the burdens of slavery, or as consistent a long history of legal discrimination. They came here by choice and this no doubt influenced their behavior. Yet the success of other minorities does suggest that lingering racism, so deeply entwined in the analysis of Coates and other neo-black nationalists, does not present an insurmountable barrier.

Of course, there is no clear pattern of such discrimination by police against Asians, and no way to distinguish the experiences of African immigrants from other blacks in terms of crime. Yet each group each is physically distinct, and they have not allowed this fact to prevent their ascendency in American society. This is not to say that serious changes in policing are not necessary—there certainly are—but that the focus of ethnic uplift needs to be focused not on what “they” do to you, but what you can manage to accomplish yourself despite their depredations.

America’s racial divide cannot be bridged anymore by demonizing the country than by ignoring the issue. America is not, and won’t be, entirely “color blind” any time soon. But that is somewhat beside the point—the key to economic success lies not in celebrating or exploiting victimhood but in people moving forward both as individuals and groups.

Simply put, to suggest that America is as racist today as in 1865 or 1965 is absurd, given the reality of the Obama presidency or, more specifically, given the demonstrable change in national attitudes. In 1958, a mere 4 percent of the population endorsed racial intermarriage, while today that percentage has risen to 87 percent. These views are particularly deeply felt among millennials, who are themselves the most diverse generation in American history.

In the long run, demanding an economy with sufficient opportunities represents the best way to address racial disparities. The new black nationalists may be feted by the intellectually chic, but in the end their strategies can only leave their people in a cul-de-sac of disappointment, anger, rage, and, ultimately, impotence” –

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 30, 2015 @ 11:29 am

IMO RACE is an important topic in discussion of Hurricane Katrina and response and recovery.

FEMA is not and has never been designed as a SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCY. WHY? It is largely an agency with historic roots in CIVIL DEFENSE, and policy oversight by the Congressional Armed Services Committees until 1994, and the Public Works Committees, that continues to this day.

FEMA’s policies and programs are largely designed to assist those with private property and assets before the disaster, and the same for communities.

SHOULD THOSE FACTS REMAIN THE CASE IN FEDERAL DISASTER PROGRAMS, FUNCTIONS, AND ACTIVITIES?

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 30, 2015 @ 11:33 am

Is it time to rename FEMA the “Federal Disaster Assistance Agency” since it is not an emergency management agency and is not led by Emergency Managers?

Comment by Vicki Campbell

August 30, 2015 @ 2:29 pm

Mr. Tingus, with all due respect, you really do need to get considerably better sources than the likes of Joel Kotkin, as well as the others you seem to use largely because they reinforce your preconceived ideas about things rather than because of their veracity or credibility.

A good example of this would be Kotkin’s complete misrepresentation (which couldn’t possibly not be intentional) of who “African immigrants” are, seemingly for the sole purpose of fundamentally trivializing the history, legacy and directly connected current realities of racism in the U.S. that Black Americans live with daily, who African Immigrants could not be less comparable to.

From Wikipedia (for lack of time) entry for African Immigrants :

“From the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 to 2007, an estimated total of 0.8 to 0.9 million Africans immigrated to the United States, accounting for roughly 3.3% of total immigration to the United States during this period.[2]

African immigrants in the United States come from almost all regions in Africa and do not constitute a homogeneous group. They include people from different national, linguistic, ethnic, racial, cultural and social backgrounds.[3]

As such, African immigrants are to be distinguished from African American people who were involuntarily brought to the United States by means of the historic Atlantic slave trade.”
———————————————————————

The term African immigrants refers to many people who look exactly like the blonde-haired, blue-eyed actress Charlize Theron, or the Nobel-prize winning Egyptian Ahmed Bewail, etc., neither of whom look even a wittle, itty bitty bit like or would ever in a million years be mistaken for a Black American. Comparing either this massive and very diverse group to the situation of Black Americans in the U.S. is only slightly more ridiculous than trying to compare them to Asian Americans, for goodness sakes – who again simply could not be less comparable. Further, white Americans have a very different historic as well as political and cultural relationship to each of these very different groups, with fundamentally different unconscious stereotypes that we all carry around in our heads are involved, as well. As such, it gives us absolutely no meaningful information concerning Black American’s very unique place and experience within or in relation to the social, economic, cultural or political realities of American society today. In fact, its some of the worst analysis overall that I’ve come across in awhile, and I’m frankly surprised that it even got published.

Another example of the extremely misleading way you’ve represented issues or situations on this blog because of your poor sources is when you parroted a statistic recently from Donald Trump and whoever his very misleading source was, to bolster his ridiculous claims about illegal immigrants’ criminality, etc. I believe you quoted something often circulated on the right about how a very large percentage of federal prisoners are illegal immigrants (maybe 70%, but i’m not remembering exactly), arrested I think primarily for drug offenses (again, if Im’ remembering right). What you and your sources conveniently neglect to mention is that: 1) Immigrants are primarily what federal arrests are focused on to begin with, and 2) people in Federal prisons around the U.S. represent only about 10% of the entire U.S. prison population. As such, that figure actually represents a very small percentage of the convicted criminal population in prison in American – indeed, much smaller than the estimated percentage of illegal immigrants overall in the U.S. So, once again, you completely misrepresenting the facts in order to bend reality to your preconceived and fairly classically racist ideas about things.

You also made a reference recently to welfare and other benefits being expanded, which is completely untrue, and quite contrary to the facts – and also referred to illegal immigrants coming into the country and then getting on welfare and all sorts of other benefits, which is also patently false. Immigrants qualify for almost no government assistance of any kind, while at the same time, they contribute massively to our social security benefit coffers amongst other government monies, through their on payroll deductions, as well as more general commerce, etc.

Again, Mr. Tingus, your sources are lousy, and you end up making a lot of very false, or otherwise misleading statements on this blog – that are, worse still, invariably almost always at minorities’ expense. If you really are more interested in the facts and the truth about an issue or a subject than you are in simply reenforcing what certainly seem to be nothing more than your prior prejudices, no matter where those facts or truths might lead – and would ever like some suggestions for better sources than you’re currently using, please just let me know. i will be happy to make some recommendations.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 31, 2015 @ 11:00 am

Apparently Malcom Gladwell of THE TIPPING POINT fame has an interesting article on NOLA and Katrina in the New Yorker mag last spring. I subscribe from time to time but missed it. Can someone who does currently read the New Yorker find a link?

Comment by Vicki Campbell

August 31, 2015 @ 6:00 pm

Bill, I find nothing on Gladwell re Katrina from anytime last year in the New Yorker, but he does have a current article in the NYr on it (called “Starting over”), which you may or may not know about. It’s pretty controversial, and I certainly have some problems with it, and his brand of pop science (or social science as it were). I am not much of a Gladwell fan, and tend to view his current article as a good example of white America’s often painfully truncated understanding about race and Katrina, both.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/08/24/starting-over-dept-of-social-studies-malcolm-gladwell

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 1, 2015 @ 12:47 pm

Another officer shot and killed this morning at 8am – enough! All must now be vigilant and all officers must at least be accompanied by another backup officer – no one officer should be in pursuit alone for the loss of this many first responders at the hands of outright criminals and thugs cannot be tolerated and our streets and cities must not be subjected to such horrific crimes against those who serve our community and respond to our calls whether one is Black, Blue, White, red or whatever – such divisiveness this Barry Obama and his pals, Eric and his former pals, Bill Ayers – so divisive, so very biased in their intent —

We together – Black – White – Blue – Green and Purple, no matter what color – no matter what background, however all Americans who will not allow police officers to be subjected to such despicable acts in outright cold murder – what cowards – what hatred….the killing of innocents — Lucifer surely walks the streets of “Main Street USA” — what a pity — Now it is time for the Black community to take a real look at itself, to look at education and family, to look at how to thwart soaring teen births out of wedlock and to truly address Black Live Matter by showing its own community that Black Life does matter and there is far too much Black on Black crime taking far too many precious Black youth from the hands of Mothers and cutting short the promise of Life and the Blessings each of us have been afforded, the challenges and to understand that Life demands responsibility – enough is enough — this divisiveness spewed by the WH and Justice Department, so tainted in their ways, how dare you?

You Barry Obama are still spewing your empty rhetoric much as you did on the milk box at Harvard — what a pity — where is Dr. Ben Carson for maybe he can truly help mentor and nurture Black youth who see this “Chicago-Hollywood-Washington charade” as nothing more than self-serving politicians who could give a damn about good ‘ol Glory, our police officers and our Judeo-Christian ways and to the enforcement of laws —

Again, it is time the Black community takes responsibility for this outrageous behavior by the few who are criminals and who jeopardize the majority who seek peace and security –

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 1, 2015 @ 2:45 pm

Thanks very much Vicki!

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 2, 2015 @ 4:01 pm

Comment relayed from a friend:

SHOULD THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY BE AN INDEPENDENT AGENCY REPORTING DIRECTLY TO THE PRESIDENT PLACED WITHIN THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, A MEMBER OF THE PRESIDENT’S CABINET, REMOVED FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

By

Dr. Michel S. Pawlowski, D.Sc., CEM
Hello, my name is Dr. Michel S. Pawlowski, D.Sc., CEM. I am a practicing emergency management professional. I am proud of that term, Emergency Management professional.

The United States is exposed to risk from numerous hazards, including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, viral pandemics, and technical hazards such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 amended the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to make extensive revisions to emergency response provisions while keeping FEMA within the Department of Homeland Security. The policy and planning requirements were reinforced and expanded with additional mandates in President Barack Obama’s 2011 “Presidential Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness (PPD-8). The GAO issued a Report on Implementation of PKEMRA (GAO-14-99R, November 26) with a bottom line conclusion that FEMA has a lot of homework to do! The DHS IG Report has been critical of FEMA.

Today, one has to question and reexamine the organizational management of FEMA within DHS and whether it is in conflict with the Badge and Guns mentality of DHS, the primary components of DHS. Quoting one academic, “Unfortunately…the term emergency management is losing its proactive and all hazards emphasis… to the exclusion of an all hazards approach.” Also quoting other experts, “The all hazards approach is a broader foundation on which to build effective programs to manage hazards and disasters.”

Quoting my colleague Dr. B. Wayne Blanchard, “People, organizations, communities, countries make bad decisions all the time based on their experience – Some call this the “Preparing to fight the last war” syndrome. The interim decision may have been made to place FEMA in DHS, but now is the time to revisit that decision and call for a reexamination to reestablish FEMA as an independent agency, within the Executive Office of the President, a member of the President’s Cabinet, removed from the Department of Homeland Security.

Why? Emergency Management is a Profession, it is the BUSINESS of LIFE. There is a new Administration coming and it will take office in 2017.

Emergency Management IS and has evolved into a Profession which cuts across every aspect of society, business, industry, the economy, government, and the lives of every single family and individual in this nation. Emergency Management is the BUSINESS of LIFE. Today’s emergency management professional IS based upon practical and documented academic research:

Analyzes and Applies Disaster Lessons Learned & Disaster Research
Knowledgeable of Full Range of Jurisdiction’s and our Nation’s Hazards & Threats (working with planning and zoning boards/commissions, building departments and code enforcement)
Knowledgeable of Risk Communication and Social Marketing Skills
Makes Persuasive Case for Disaster Reduction & Risk Management (working with elected and appointed officials, developers and business community)
Develops & Manages Comprehensive Emergency Management Program/Office
Horizontally/Vertically Integrates Emergency Management Intra-Organizationally
Lead Hazard Coordinator, Facilitator, Net-Worker, Problem-Solver (working with storm water and floodplain managers, natural resources and EPA organizations, academia and professional and community based organizations)
Recognizes/Successfully Operates within Legal/Ethical, Social, Political, Economic, Bureaucratic Contexts for Emergency Management, including Economic Development Commissions
Knowledgeable of Technological Tools & Applications
Seeks to Reduce Social Vulnerability & Enhance Survivability and Resilience

Then, why is FEMA relegated to the status of being hidden under the rock and control of DHS? It should be elevated to the level of importance that it is, and shine in the daylight.

The time has come to make a change for the better, capitalizing on what Emergency Management is. Disasters/Catastrophes/Emergency Management is a growth business occupying a position of more and more of importance and attention to our daily lives across all aspects of our society and the nation. The future holds the potential with climate change and the uncertain unrest across the globe and our nation of perhaps the unprecedented loss of life and destruction of property and our critical infrastructure.

If the term Emergency Management captures the wide-range of people and organizations across our nation, addressing all-hazards (natural, technological, terrorist) with the phases of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, then we need to reexamine removing FEMA from DHS and placing it in the Executive Office of the President, as an independent Federal agency, reporting directly to the President, and a member of the President’s cabinet. This is not a historical precedent. It has taken place in the past and FEMA and its predecessors were most effective as an independent agency although there were later identified requirements to expand its authorities and capability.

We should build on the positive aspects of that history with an open-mind. As I stated, there is a change coming with the new administration starting in 2017. That Administration and Congress should be open to reexamining the position of FEMA in the Federal government and consider seeking legislative changes with across the board involvement of all constituents, a Reorganization.

DHS as noted in the media is plagued with many problems today with TSA and Secret Service for a few examples. What is the morale of DHS employees? What is the morale of FEMA employees? I have to ask each and every one of you, if you are a professional, why would you report to a Secretary of DHS who has no professional knowledge and experience or understanding of the broad spectrum of requirements of the Emergency Management profession? Make no mistake, the intent of placing FEMA in DHS was to change the culture. We do not need to report to lawyers. Lawyers are not experts in everything. In that DHS operational environment, are you truly enabled to “be the principal emergency preparedness and response advisor to the President, the Homeland Security Council, and the Secretary of DHS, providing the Federal leadership necessary to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster”/catastrophe. The Administrator of FEMA, a true and proven Emergency Management professional, does not require a babysitter. He/she and all emergency managers are professionals.

Can you name a single DHS Secretary that had any experience in Emergency Management? FEMA is not a Guns and Badge culture. Big organizations such as DHS do not equate with efficiency as documented by other Federal researchers studying reorganizations in the past.

I encourage all of you to get involved in a national movement to reexamine the re-establishment of FEMA, as an independent agency, reporting directly to the President, placed within the Executive Office of the President, a member of the President’s cabinet, removed from the Department of Homeland Security. The time has come for a TRANSITION. FEMA does not have to sit in the back of the bus. It is time for Emergency Management Leadership within the Executive Office of the President.

My email address is: michelspawlowski1@comcast.net

Thank you.

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