Is it a crime to be incompetent? Stupid? Wasteful of taxpayers money?

If it is, then a whole lot of FEMA people should be heading to jail.

But it’s not.

It doesn’t seem that anyone really cares. Is anyone writing a book about what a train wreck FEMA is? Is anyone proposing to reform it? This is after all the branch of government that is designed to serve what is by definition our most vulnerable citizens.

It’s more like the ultimate “fuck you” from the US government to its people.

Some cases in point…Small things, but telling.

In addition to turning away trained first responders at gunpoint, FEMA decided to throw out all the band instruments at McDonogh 15 School for the Creative Arts in the French Quarter. Did the school flood? No. Not a drop, but some “mold” was detected on a few of the instruments so out they went. (Cleaning them with bleach would fixed the problem.)

FEMA replaced them of course after the mistake was discovered of course. NOT.

That was up to private foundations. One group, Mr. Holland’s Opus, has given more than $1 million worth of instruments to schools since Katrina.

McDonogh school’s band leader Kelvin Harrison, a gifted music teacher, taught the kids music, rhythm and theory – without instruments – from the summer of 2006 until Opus came through with the surprise donation earlier this month.

But destroying and not replacing school property is only one of the tricks FEMA and its employees have mastered. They’re also good as “misappropriating” funds. The kind of thing if you or I did would land us in jail. No, apparently being a FEMA employee give you a license to steal.

Here’s the latest outrage…

Everyone knows that FEMA knowingly kept thousands of people in trailers contaminated with formaldehyde before they admitted to the problem.

Now it’s been discovered that that just wasn’t enough, so the good folks at FEMA added an extra twist to the trailer scandal.

Used trailers returned to the criminal enterprise (also known as a government agency) were sold to the public. The funds were to be used – 100% of them – to purchase additional emergency housing.

But that wasn’t clear enough for FEMA so they spent the money from the trailer sales – $13 million of it- any way they pleased on necessities like fully loaded sport utility vehicles (the better to drive around and do nothing in), travel expenses (it costs a lot to travel places and do nothing) and “purchase card accounts.”

I’m not sure what that last thing is, but it may be an obscuring of reality. I think the term we all understand is gift cards. I believe you’ll look high and low for a emergency victim who received a gift card from FEMA, but I’m sure some FEMA employees got some really nice stuff for their homes.

The criminal enterprise also bought FEMA banners and decals with the money. Cool!

A 2006 Congressional investigation found that the criminal enterprise invested taxpayer dollars in emergency supplies like iPods, beer-making equipment (OK, that could be a legitimate emergency) and designer jackets. Just what every emergency victim needs. Designer duds. Or do you think those ended up in employee closets?

But it’s OK. The people who did this work for FEMA. All is permitted.

Putting the food in
Faubourg Treme: The untold story of New Orleans

Subscribe to Jazz on the Tube

Jazz on the Tube is the largest annotated and indexed online collection of jazz videos on earth - and it's free. 

We have THREE OPTIONS to help de-clutter your mail box, but still keep the great music coming.

You have Successfully Subscribed!