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Comment by William R. Cumming
January 22, 2016 @ 7:24 am
Jan 21 at 4:30 PM
Thanks to Recovery Diva!
January 22, 2016 @ 7:38 am
One analysis from NYTimes re: FLINT!
My analysis to come!
January 22, 2016 @ 8:11 am
The SAFE WATER DRINKING ACT should be provided to all citizens and residents of the U.S.A. in its full amended text. But more crucially did all know how the EPA due to staff shortfalls [expertise shortfalls?] and funding shortfalls has delegated its regulatory authority over many of its federal statutory programs to the States [also underfunded and understaffed?] but this delegation largely hidden by EPA and MSM!
So drink up that expensive bottled water even as public water systems die on the vine!
January 22, 2016 @ 8:14 am
BTW I really resent the STATE of MICHIGAN calling its financial managers EMERGENCY MANAGERS.
January 22, 2016 @ 8:18 am
Since January 20th, 1981 and the election of President Ronald Reagan FAKE REGULATION is now the real truth behind federal regulation with many regulations non-enforced due to staff and funding shortages. THIS IS NOT ACCIDENTAL but IMO DECEPTIVE GOVERNANCE.
It remains to be seen if this continues beceRLICH WERE ARE YOUR GHOSTS?
January 22, 2016 @ 8:19 am
CORRECTION: Paul Erlich!
January 22, 2016 @ 8:23 am
Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was an American marine biologist and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.
Carson began her career as an aquatic biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and became a full-time nature writer in the 1950s. Her widely praised 1951 bestseller The Sea Around Us won her a U.S. National Book Award, recognition as a gifted writer, and financial security. Her next book, The Edge of the Sea, and the reissued version of her first book, Under the Sea Wind, were also bestsellers. This sea trilogy explores the whole of ocean life from the shores to the depths.
Late in the 1950s, Carson turned her attention to conservation, especially some environmental problems that she believed were caused by synthetic pesticides. The result was the book Silent Spring (1962), which brought environmental concerns to an unprecedented share of the American people. Although Silent Spring was met with fierce opposition by chemical companies, it spurred a reversal in national pesticide policy, which led to a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides, and it inspired a grassroots environmental movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Carson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Jimmy Carter.
January 22, 2016 @ 8:31 am
Disclosure: As to my political beliefs I voted in 1980 for Barry Commoner who made the ballot in ?Virginia!
Barry Commoner (May 28, 1917 – September 30, 2012) was an American biologist, college professor, and politician. He was a leading ecologist and among the founders of the modern environmental movement. He ran for president of the United States in the 1980 U.S. presidential election on the Citizens Party ticket. He served as editor of Science Illustrated magazine.
January 22, 2016 @ 8:35 am
Paul Ralph Ehrlich (born May 29, 1932) is an American biologist, best known for his warnings about the consequences of population growth and limited resources. He is the Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and president of Stanford’s Center for Conservation Biology.
Ehrlich became well known for his controversial 1968 book The Population Bomb, which asserted that the world’s human population would soon increase to the point where mass starvation ensued. Among the measures he suggested in that book was population control, to be used in his opinion if voluntary methods were to fail. Ehrlich has been criticized for his views; for example, Ronald Bailey called Ehrlich an irrepressible doomster. On the other hand, Carl Haub observed that Ehrlich’s warnings had encouraged countries to take action to avert disaster. Ehrlich has acknowledged that some of what he had written had not come about, but has restated his view that overpopulation remains a major problem!
January 22, 2016 @ 8:59 am
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the principal federal law in the United States intended to ensure safe drinking water for the public. Pursuant to the act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to set standards for drinking water quality and oversee all states, localities, and water suppliers who implement these standards.
SDWA applies to every public water system (PWS) in the United States. There are currently more than 160,000 public water systems providing water to almost all Americans at some time in their lives. The Act does not cover private wells.
The SDWA does not apply to bottled water. Bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
January 22, 2016 @ 9:00 am
Many public water systems in the USA have been privatized and many now owned by German firms.
January 22, 2016 @ 10:22 am
I opened today’s FFF with a link to a Michael Brown comment. Here again is a review by me of his post-FEMA book:
A Book Review and Critique of
DEADLY INDIFFERENCE-The Perfect (Political) Storm-Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House and Beyond (219 pp)
By Michael D. Brown and Ted Schwarz
Published by Taylor Trade Publishing (2011)
ISBN 978-1-58979-485-6 (cloth)
ISBN 978-1-58979-486-3 (electronic)
An interesting selection of title by former Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response of the Department of Homeland Security Michael D. Brown. Mr. Brown also served as the General Counsel of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Deputy Director of FEMA before its statutory abolition by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 effective for that purpose on March 1, 2003, when Mr. Brown became Under Secretary. In those positions Mr. Brown served as a Presidential appointee of President George W. Bush.
The book serves as documentation in part and apologia in part for the learning curve experienced by Mr. Brown ending shortly after the landfall of Hurricane Katrina in late August 2005.
Disclosure: I worked at FEMA from September 10, 1979 until October 1, 1999. From April 1, 1979 until September 10, 1979 I ran FEMA’s litigation under IAA between FEMA and HUD. I was the Associate General Counsel for Litigation from 1979 until July 1, 1986. I never worked for Mr. Brown.
Even now Mr. Brown is somewhat ambivalent about both his role and those he served during his time in office. He does give substantial evidence that he was at least as qualified as some other FEMA General Counsels, Deputy Directors, and Under Secretaries in DHS. Personally I believe he was qualified to lead FEMA during his time in office. Many would disagree with that conclusion but my standards may be different because I have seen so many totally incompetent and some corrupt political appointees during over 30 years of federal service. The problem of course is that high level federal jobs are not easy jobs and the learning curve for all is very steep. Leadership of the nation’s premier organization to response and recovery from disasters given its statutory and other parameters is one of the toughest. Thus, even those with the best of preparation, intention, high intellect and motivation may well fail and often have. I have posted notes on each FEMA Director on my blog at Vacation Lane Blog and that process is not yet complete.
The first failure of Mr. Brown was his lack of understanding of the aphorism “Beware the Trust of Princes” because ultimately it was those above Mr. Brown not below that undercut his potential success during Hurricane Katrina. Second, was his failure to understand the USACOE (Corps of Engineers) and its long history in the NOLA area and the problems it solved and created.
Mr. Brown should have been expert on NOLA because of what some may find unusual. FEMA had with the cooperation of the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit against two Parishes in the NOLA area in 1981. It had referred NOLA (when NOLA referred to it means Orleans Parish) itself to DOJ at the same time. DOJ declined to file suit against NOLA when USACOE argued successfully that its operations in the New Orleans District would not bear scrutiny and becoming entangled in a civil lawsuit where extensive disclosure and discovery of its problems would not help its long term efforts in that area. I would argue that USACOE which is largely a contractor led operation with a very thin military and civilian overlay was actually corrupt as was the City of New Orleans government generally, as well as various Levee Districts, and the State of Louisiana itself.
The bottom line on that lawsuit was a formal consent order susceptible to long term enforcement and oversight and some monetary recovery as well as informal accounting to the defendants by me that in meeting with over 40 opposing lawyers and a single DOJ attorney [later the Associate GC for Litigation in FEMA] now deceased I warned that unless the defendants and NOLA area generally treated their flood hazards with the almost military precision of the Dutch they would be under water. That is pretty much what happened. One specific suggestion we made public was that all pumping stations in the NOLA area have their electric standby generators fueled and operated on the roof tops of the buildings housing them. As do the Dutch which are the source of most of the large pumps in the NOLA area.
But of course I am also sure that few if any in FEMA OGC understood that past effort when Mr. Brown arrived as General Counsel in spring 2001. Nor has FEMA had an active subrogation effort with large cases since I left as the Associate General Counsel for Litigation in 1986. That transfer of position by me was to assist in making sure that the National Security portfolio of FEMA and its REPP (Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program) did not end FEMA’s existence as an independent agency. Both came close to accomplishing putting FEMA out of business.
So first of all I would argue that given FEMA’s history substantive knowledge of NOLA and Louisiana in FEMA’s programs was something that Mr. Brown should have known cold. It is certainly true that one of the most knowledgeable Congressional delegations about FEMA and its programs, functions, and activities was that from the STATE of Louisiana. And the NFIP might have been the key federal program for those who have property protected by insurance in all of Louisiana. Ultimately FEMA lives and dies politically by the political class of the Gulf of Mexico coastal states. In fact it largely acts as a special subsidy to those states for their negligence in locating properties in hazardous areas and allowing improper and inappropriate construction.
Second, Mr. Brown probably should have departed federal service when his mentor Joseph Allbaugh departed from the government because he (Allbaugh) realized he would no longer be what is called a direct report to the President. No FEMA Director without a personal history with the current President has been a total success in their job. This has been documented over time even in academic analysis. Mr. Brown had no personal history with the President.
Third, FEMA had attrited in both staff and funding during the years from 2001 to 2005 with its Deputy [FEMA] former Admiral Harvey Johnson testifying under oath that one day before Katrina made landfall FEMA had less than 1500 permanent full time staff on board.
Under it prior peak staffing it had close to 3700 permanent full time staff and today has almost 5000. It also has a large cadre of temporary employees under various labels. The largest being called DAEs (Disaster Assistance Employees). The second largest group were and are CORE staff.
Mr. Brown lays out his relations with two DHS Secretaries, first Tom Ridge (former Governor of Pennsylvania) and then Michael Chertoff. Both are intelligent men with very different backgrounds. Secretary Chertoff had a brilliant history in the criminal justice system before his time at DHS. Unfortunately, the skills of Ridge and Chertoff were not those needed for handling large scale domestic catastrophic events, nor were those of Mr. Brown. And certainly the President himself was not up to a domestic crisis the size and scope of Hurricane Katrina. In President Bush’s home state of TEXAS the National Guard and the USACOE handle most of the disaster work and has quite a weak EM (emergency management) regime. That regime is what former Governor Bush and Joseph Allbaugh were used to from their time in TEXAS. During his father’s administration when FEMA suffered through Hurricane Hugo (1989) and the Loma Prieta Earthquake (1989) and Hurricane Andrew (1982) FEMA’s performance was always somewhat questionable.
See the report “Coping With Catastrophe” FEB 1993 by NAPA [National Academy for Public Administration]. And in fact George W. Bush’s Vice President Richard Cheney from his time as SECDEF in the George H.W. Bush administration had hated FEMA and had encouraged its abolition. And that might have occurred if George H.W. Bush had won re-election in the fall 1992 election. And it should be noted that 95% of all nation-states use their military for disaster response and recovery. This of course is largely to ensure that existing civil power structures are maintained including political leadership. And these issues impact a civilian FEMA as documented in DEADLY INDIFFERENCE.
I can only hope that Mr. Brown had read the NAPA study published in February 1993 entitled “Coping with Catastrophe” because it discusses many of the issues and policies addressed by Mr. Brown in his book. I have long recommended that a copy of the NAPA report be given to each new FEMA employee whether full time or temporary followed by Q&A sessions on its contents and recommendations.
It must always be remembered that federal programs are political solutions to perceived or actual problems and are not conceived with efficiency and effectiveness as their primary object. FEMA is no exception in this regards.
Fourth, Hurricane Katrina turned into what EM refers to as a NO NOTICE or FAST BREAKING EVENT when the flood walls, not levees, collapsed in NOLA.
This is where federal, state, and local response is at its weakest.
Finally what Mr. Brown faced is in some cases generations of neglect or waste, fraud, and abuse in federal programs, and STATES and their local governments efforts, as operated on the coast of the GOM. Even now the Louisiana Congressional delegation tries to get FEMA to make up for the failures of government in the NOLA area and other parts of the state.
And Mr. Brown apparently in his entire time in FEMA did nothing to resolve officially whether FEMA is just a cooperative and collaborative agency that hands out money and information to all or the federal system’s ultimate “safety net” that must do it all when all others fail.
My bottom line is that this book should be read by all and all should draw their own conclusions.
January 22, 2016 @ 10:30 am
CORRECTION TO THE BOOK REVIEW OF MINE IN THE COMMENT ABOVE:
HURRICANE ANDREW MADE LANDFALL IN LATE AUGUST 1992!
January 22, 2016 @ 10:35 am
BTW in my estimation at least 300 communities have water problems equivalent to those of Flint Michigan and have more than 50,000 population but are hiding the problems. Many of these communities draw water from main stream but polluted rivers. At least 30% of all Public Assistance outlays under the Staffor Act and its predecessors have gone to restore water and sewer systems.
EPA BUILD THEM AND FEMA REBUILDS THEM LARGELY BECAUSE THEY ARE FUNCTIONALLY DEPENDENT ON THE NATURAL RIVERINE/INLAND WATERCOURSES FEEDING THE HYDROLOGICAL REGIME IN THE U.S.A.!
Comment by Christopher Tingus
January 22, 2016 @ 9:45 pm
While Homeland Security is foremost on our minds in parallel w/our seeing further damaging evidence accumulating against Hillary Clinton just as sure as the snows accumulating tonight and tomorrow in Fairfax County, while good ‘ol Ms. Hillary should be held accountable and prosecuted for her travesties, the Donald continues to point to the troubles in Europe w/refugees and the inability to document just who all these folks are and their origin and his plan to ban at least all Muslims temporarily as the Middle East disintegrates, an interesting twist reading:
To Check Radical Islamism, Tajikistan
Cops Shave 13,000 Men’s Beards
Time of India | January 20
T ajikistan police is reported to have shaved nearly 13,000 men’s beards and closed more than 160 shops selling traditional Muslim clothing to check “foreign” influences.
A report by Al Jazeera on Thursday said police in the central Asian Muslim-majority country also convinced more than 1,700 women to stop wearing headscarves in measures seen as the secular leadership’s efforts to prevent influences from neighboring Afghanistan.
Last week, Tajikistan’s parliament banned Arab-sounding names and marriages between first cousins, otherwise allowed in Islam.
Last year, Tajikistan’s Supreme Court banned the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan—its only registered Islamic political party—following
months of violence, which the government blamed on radical Islam. …
Harwich (cape Cod), MA 02645
January 23, 2016 @ 8:33 am
Why is our science and regulation so behind?
January 23, 2016 @ 8:56 am
In phoncons, e-mails and visits I have been asked how to wind up the NFIP after a 20 year grace period! This is what I said and wrote to all!BTW the current debt to the US Treasury for the NFIP is about $24B.
The NFIP was always an experimental federal program. The almost 50 year test run is almost over. The first policy issued under the NFIP was June 1969 in Monroe County Florida. Mapping standards and mapping only really started to roll in 1977 when final regulations issued for the Flood Disaster protection Act of 1973 effective fully on December 31st 1974.
The program initially and through 1980 was largely directed at riverine/inland flooding by water courses greater than 800 CAS. And the bulk of NFIP maps prepared by USACOE.
There are about 4100 counties in the USA. 300 are coastal by almost any definition. The federally underwritten NFIP policies [an underwriter determines the risks covered and the prices to cover premiums for those risks]. In the 3800 riverine/inland flood counties the NFIP policies should be allowed to runoff coverage 3 years after the issue date with no new NFIP policies issued. The private property casualty insurers can work with the states and their local governments to develop private flood insurance as part of the the Homeowners coverage. ONLY FEDERAL REINSURANCE WILL BE AVAILABLE AS LAYERED COVERAGE AFTER THE END OF POLICY COVERAGE IN RIVERINE/INLAND AREAS. And all mapping will be done by the STATES with federal technical assistance.
The direct NFIP insurance will continue for another 10-15 years for the 300 coastal counties. But the insurance aspects of the NFIP in coastal areas will be transferred to the US Treasury Department and coastal county mapping will be transferred to NOAA. The federal issues for coastal counties this century far outshadow those for riverine/inland counties.
And the NFIP and FEMA now will furnish historic and aggregate loss figures and future losses for the 3800 riverine/inland flood damages separate and apart from those for the 300 coastal counties. And the NFIP will issue annually a press release for the top 100 communities by paid claims on an annual basis and the effective dates of the most recent map for that community.
I believe this is what must happen as opposed to continuation of the NFIP as is!
January 24, 2016 @ 8:23 am
I wrote a long blog comment now lost on the coastal flooding. The NFIP should leave riverine/inland flooding and mapping to the States and their local governments after a runoff period and the 50 year experiment in federal NFIP insurance for these areas. But the 300 coastal counties should remain covered with NFIP direct insurance but the insurance portion of the NFIP transferred to the Department of the Treasury and mapping to NOAA.
Did you know that NOAA is over 50% of the Department of Commerce staffing and funding?
January 24, 2016 @ 8:24 am
More on Flint?
Thanks to Recovery Diva:
January 24, 2016 @ 8:29 am
Note that I don’t have a written or virtual copy of the disaster turndown for Flint.
But language in the press release of interest to me:
“FEMA said in its rejection letter that it can’t approve such aid under the law. The agency reiterated that Flint’s contaminated water didn’t qualify as a major disaster because it is a man-made crisis instead of a natural catastrophe. It also wasn’t caused by an explosion, fire or flood.”
I have been asked if this is consistent with the statute and past practice? No but judge on my past comments for yourself.
January 24, 2016 @ 8:34 am
As to Flint event:
FEMA’s Path to Homeland Security: 1979-2003
Richard Sylves, Ph.D.1 / William R. Cumming, J.D.2
1Univ. of Delaware
2Vacation Lane Group
Citation Information: Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Volume 1, Issue 2, ISSN (Online) 1547-7355, DOI: 10.2202/1547-7355.1023, January 2004
Copyright Clearance Center
The Federal Emergency Management Agency?s (FEMA?s) path to Homeland Security was paved for 24 years by (1) the actions of five presidents and by new laws, (2) by the outcomes of the agency?s bureaucratic ?turf wars? with other federal departments or agencies, (3) by staffing decisions inside the agency that relied on ?generalist? managers more than ?technocratic? managers, and (4) experience with human-caused disasters ranging from terror bombings to radiological and hazardous materials incidents, under all-hazards emergency management. These are the determinants that prepared FEMA for a major role in homeland security.
Keywords: FEMA; history of FEMA; Dept. of Homeland Security
January 24, 2016 @ 8:41 am
Major Disaster – “Major disaster” means any natural catastrophe (including
any hurricane, tornado, storm, high water, wind driven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, or drought), or, __regardless of cause, any fire, flood, or explosion, in any part of the United States, which in the determination of the President causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant major disaster assistance under this Act to supplement the efforts and available resources of States, local governments, and disaster relief organizations in alleviating the
damage, loss, hardship, or suffering caused thereby.
January 25, 2016 @ 12:04 pm
HLSWatch.com had blog problems. Please resubmit any further comments that don’t appear!
January 26, 2016 @ 11:16 am
DHS 2016 approps:
January 26, 2016 @ 11:19 am
Harvard University JFK School of Public Administration thinking of starting a disaster recovery curriculum. It would be better IMO to establish one in RESILIENCE, RECOVERY, AND RECONSTITUTION!
January 26, 2016 @ 3:03 pm
Not sure what is going on with blog but here is a link to what kicked off modern EM at the federal level:
What bothers me is that the fundamental flaw in domestic crisis management and emergency response is how ad hoc efforts remain the real paradigm of planning and preparedness.
January 27, 2016 @ 12:29 am
My economics link for the week:
January 28, 2016 @ 7:14 am
Charitable organizations involved in disaster operations in the USA are almost totally unregulated for fraud. Why?
January 28, 2016 @ 7:16 am
Please note that this blog continues with problems in displaying comments. I have no control over blog maintenance.
January 28, 2016 @ 9:12 am
Our adversaries are watching and the good People of America are watching and those who are truly concerned about Open Borders and the scandalous ways of the Clinton’s and others in the Beltway!
“Judge Andrew Napolitano weighed in this morning on the new exclusive report by Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge on Hillary Clinton’s private emails.
The bombshell report revealed that several dozen emails on Clinton’s personal server were even more sensitive than those with the “top secret” classification, according to a top Inspector General.
Herridge reported that Clinton’s personal server contained intelligence from the U.S. Special Access Programs, also known as SAP.
“These are the crown jewels of the American intelligence community of the United States government. If this information’s compromised, we’re going to suffer very serious national security damage. People are going to die, quite frankly.”” said former CIA operations officer Charles Faddis.
Judge Napolitano said on America’s Newsroom that in light of this new information, “it’s hard to believe that the FBI will not recommend indictment of Mrs. Clinton.”
He said that the alleged crime would be negligence and failure by Mrs. Clinton “to protect national security secrets.”
“The evidence of that is overwhelming. What’s new … is that she failed to protect information of the highest possible category,” said Napolitano.
He explained that Clinton, like former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, signed a non-disclosure agreement as Secretary of State promising to protect the intelligence of Special Access Programs.
“The fact that she failed to safeguard that [intelligence]. That she put it on a non-secured, non-government server after she swore an oath – the same oath General Petraeus did – to secure it, makes her a prime candidate for prosecution,” he explained.
Petraeus was sentenced to two years of probation after allowing his biographer, with whom he was having an affair, to access classified materials” –
Comment by Concerned Citizen
January 28, 2016 @ 9:15 am
Our adversaries are watching — and reading our classified emails – and so aren’t the good People of America who have NOT seen the borders closed and this continued travesty in partisan and self-serving politics led by this “Chicago-Hollywood-washington charade and a biased and tainted Oval Office:
Comment by TheRepublic
January 28, 2016 @ 9:16 am
January 28, 2016 @ 12:48 pm
Any statistics available on this blog?
January 28, 2016 @ 12:51 pm
18 USC Sections 1924 and 973 most often occur to me as source of HTC’s problems.
January 28, 2016 @ 12:53 pm
18 U.S.C. 793 – Gathering, transmitting or losing defense …
United States Government Publishing Office
18 U.S.C. 793 – Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information. … United States Code, 2006 Edition, Supplement 3, Title 18 – CRIMES AND CRIMINAL ….. CHAPTER 93 – PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES (sections 1901 – 1924).
January 29, 2016 @ 7:14 am
Anyone else besides me see the Flint Townhall on its current crisis? It was on MSNBC and hosted by Rachel Maddow. Rachel did a good job IMO despite the fact that to me her normal show more about her than substance.
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