FEMA Failure – Abject Failure

Editor’s Note – Could FEMA be described any more precisely now than  it is a ‘four-letter word’ that starts with “F”? Ask the folks in Staten Island. There is just no excuse for such ineptitude, and is one concrete example that the Federal Government is not good at running anything, let a lone a nation’s health care – but that is what America effectively voted for – be careful of what you ask for, you might get it. “Big Sis” Napolitano should be fired summarily!

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Angry New Yorkers say Obama pledge to cut red tape ignored by FEMA

By Perry Chiaramonte – Fox News

Storm-ravaged New Yorkers say President Obama’s promise to cut red tape and get them aid in the aftermath of Sandy has proven to be hot air.

Angry citizens vented at FEMA officials at a town hall meeting held by the disaster relief agency Thursday, with tempers boiling over. Some 1,000 people, many left homeless by the Oct. 29 storm, attended the meeting at Staten Island’s New Dorp High School. They were initially scheduled to submit written questions that would be picked and answered at random, but the session turned into an angry shouting match where residents booed FEMA officials and accused them of lying.

“We are the people – we are the middle class, and we are getting the finger,” said frustrated resident Scott McGrath, who personally spoke to President Obama and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo when they came to Staten Island to inspect storm damage earlier this month. “You were there when I met Obama, and I told the president … that the middle class was getting the royal finger. And he said, ‘FEMA works for me.’”

“FEMA ain’t doing nothing,” McGrath added. “They keep going around in circles.”

The storm made landfall on the coast of southern New Jersey and traveled north, leaving a swath of death, destruction and darkness. Some 125 people were killed, including 48 in New York. It’s been estimated that half of the city’s deaths occurred in Staten Island. Millions were left without power for weeks by the storm, which also caused widespread gasoline shortages.

Obama addressed the nation from FEMA headquarters in Washington on Nov. 3, promising to cut red tape and bring the full force of FEMA to hard-hit residents.

“What I told the governors and the mayors is what I’ve been saying to my team since the start of this event, and that is we don’t have any patience for bureaucracy, we don’t have any patience for red tape, and we want to make sure that we are figuring out a way to get to yes, as opposed to no, when it comes to these problems,” Obama said.

On Nov. 15, Obama came to Staten Island, where he repeated his pledge.

A top FEMA official said agency workers understand the public’s frustration, but he defended their performance in the wake of the storm.

“We have already put $700 million directly in the hands of victims,” Michael Bryne, federal coordinating officer for FEMA told FoxNews.com. “In my opinion, I think that reflects a minimum of red tape.

“In the days after, we surveyed the damage from helicopter and for every home we found completely damaged, we immediately sent a couple months’ of rent assistance before we even had inspectors on the ground,” he added. 

Byrne said more help his on the way, adding that the agency has 3,000 families enrolled in its shelter program and is working with the city on providing a rapid repair program to help get people back in their homes while longer-term repairs are completed.

Thursday’s meeting was organized by Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, many of whose constituents have been left without homes, food or clothing. The auditorium was so crowded that many people were turned away at the door. FEMA officials dutifully absorbed the gripes, took down contact information and promised to meet privately with homeowners.

But residents showed little confidence that the agency would help, and they said they’ve been left to fend for themselves.

“Our communities are helping,” said Nicole Chati, to cheers from the audience. “Red Cross comes by, rings our bell, says, ‘Come get a hot meal’ and leaves. We help each other and that’s what we want to do, but we need your support.

“These people are frustrated,” she added. “Lives were lost. My house … I can rebuild my house. My neighbor is dead.”

Aiman Youssef, who has been living in a tent since the storm hit, said he is worried about health risks.

“The air quality in this town is very bad,” he said. “We are sick. What can you do about it?”

Storm may impact more than the Northeast – Labor report delay?

Editor’s Note – As America prepares for the storm of the century, it seems that people in Washington, D.C. at the Bureau of Labor Statistics are already planning for eventualities. Not that they are preparing to help the nation in crisis, but rather, whether or not the Labor Report due this Friday will be delayed.

"Franken-storm Sandy" has not even made land fall, but is already flooding NY City and still increasing in strength.

It is likely that many states in the affected region will focus solely on the storm, and likely will close non-essential offices; it will likely cause power outages for lengthy periods, and may delay reporting to the BLS. However, the last report was missing a very large state, most say California, and it was not because of a storm. This does conjure up the thought that this is very convenient. This report could directly affect the election in one direction or another – so let’s hope the report does come out prior to Nov. 6th.

Let’s all hope for the best for the affected, and pray there is no loss of life.

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” – Rahm Emanuel

Labor Department Says No Decision Yet on Whether to Delay Jobs Report

By Eric Morath – WSJ Online

The Labor Department said Monday that it has yet to make a decision on whether to delay Friday’s closely-watched October employment report due to the effects from Hurricane Sandy.

Federal government offices in Washington are closed Monday and may be shut again Tuesday due to the storm. It isn’t clear if the closure would cause a delay in processing the data.

“We will assess the situation when the weather emergency is over and notify the press and public of any changes at that time,” said Gary Steinberg, spokesman for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the data arm of the department.

The Labor Department is also scheduled to release its third quarter employment cost index Wednesday, and the third quarter productivity and weekly jobless claims reports Thursday.

The most closely watched is Friday’s jobs report, which will give the final measure the unemployment ahead of next week’s presidential election.

In September, the rate fell to 7.8%, the lowest level since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009. Meanwhile, the economy added 114,000 that month.

The surveys for the October employment report were conducted earlier this month. The unemployment rate comes from a survey of 60,000 households and the jobs figures comes from the establishment survey of 141,000 business and agencies.

However, it isn’t clear that government statisticians and others will be able complete the preparation of the jobs report before scheduled release time due to the weather and associated power outages and transportation disruptions.

A Census official said that agency too has made “no decision” on delaying economic data reports due out later this week. The Census, part of the Department of Commerce, is scheduled to release the construction spending report Thursday and the factory order data Friday.