Friday, April 14, 2006

Hurricanes, Inc.: George Can, Actually, Take Full Credit For This Surge In The Economy

Hey, George, FEMA's performance was so abysmally dismal, & your attempts to stage "compassionate" PR campaigns in front of St. Louis Cathedral (where the only lights on were from your camera crews, certainly not within the Cathedral itself) so patently phony, an entire for (handsome) profit industry has popped up in the federal government's "wake."

According to an AP report, the annual National Hurricane Conference in Orlando this past week was expecting an enormous surge in interest this year, especially in light of weather forecasters' expectations of another off-the-charts hurricane season.

"About 15 years ago, there were 30 exhibitors, according to coordinator Teri Besse. This year 170 companies and groups ponied up $1,500 for 10-foot booths for 2 1/2 days.

"Sixteen companies have larger equipment towers, RVs and portable bathrooms sprawling across half the hotel parking lot. Forty more are on an exhibit wait list for lack of space.

"Booths offer a soup-to-nuts menu: portable showers, cots, individual weather stations, hurricane shutters, chain saws, generators, and satellite phones. There's software to help emergency managers decide what to do about an oncoming storm, expensive emergency communication systems for police and fire departments, and booths promoting engineering firms, debris hauling and trucking companies.

"Perhaps the oddest sight was in front of the Redi-Alert sign company's booth. It was embattled former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown, who was in charge during Katrina, shaking hands and talking about the need for warning signs.

"Giant established firms AshBritt Environmental and Phillips and Jordan Inc., which each got half-billion-dollar debris hauling contracts after Katrina, sponsored hotel keys, coffee and free Internet service for emergency managers."

We're relieved to see that "Brownie," good boy scout that he is, has found somewhere to go, in that you wrecked his career by failing to tell him that you knew the levees in New Orleans weren't likely to hold.

Don't forget, also, to take credit for the huge gains in employment generated by for-profit security agencies on the ground in Lake Catherine & other outlying areas, where suspicious characters from out of town have been pulling up & carting off newly laid utility cables, since the public law enforcement agencies have been forced to lay off due to a now-non-existent tax base. Which leads me to wonder, how are these same areas going to afford the pricey private help? FEMA is supposed to cover it.

Seems some Louisiana communities can't. Some of them are forming ad-hoc vigilante committees instead. But the GOP is all about self-help, so you should take credit for that, too.


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