Monday, February 13, 2006

More Katrina disgust

I have chronicled how a large segment of the Katrina evacuees (primarily from New Orleans) have been resisting efforts to get jobs and free themselves from the chains of government dependency. The feds have finally decided to take the evacuees off of the federal nipple, and these babies are crying louder than Florida Democrats in 2000. How's this for you?
Lawyers asked for a temporary restraining order Sunday to stop the evictions of 12,000 families left homeless by hurricanes Katrina and Rita from hotels across the nation on Monday.

"We have provided the court with statements from people showing they have not been treated fairly by FEMA," said Bill Quigley, an assistant dean of the Loyola University Law School, who with civil rights attorney Tracie Washington filed the motion.
How about that? They're actually suing to force the taxpayers to continue subsidizing their sloth and greed! Apparently, there is a newly discovered right in the U.S. Constitution (it must be next to the abortion clause) mandating that the taxpayers provide free room, board, and cable TV to anyone with such a stunning lack of accountability and responsibility in their lives. Decent and able-bodied folks would have spent the last 5+ months looking for gainful (and more productive) employment, instead of nursing from the bosom of the public treasury.

I guess it should come as no surprise, too, that billions of taxpayers' confiscated wages have been figuratively flushed down the toilet. From the AP:
In its rush to provide Katrina disaster aid, the Federal Emergency Management Agency wasted millions of dollars and overpaid for hotel rooms, including $438-a-day lodging in New York City, government investigators said Monday.

Two reports released by the Government Accountability Office and the Homeland Security Department's office of inspector general detail a series of accounting flaws, fraud or mismanagement in their initial review of how $85 billion in federal aid is being spent.

The two audits found that up to 900,000 of the 2.5 million applicants who received aid under FEMA's emergency cash assistance program — which included the $2,000 debit cards given to evacuees — were based on duplicate or invalid Social Security numbers, or false addresses and names.

Separately, the Justice Department said Monday that federal prosecutors have filed fraud, theft and other charges against 212 people accused of scams related to Gulf Coast hurricanes. Forty people have pleaded guilty so far, the latest report by the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force said. Many defendants were accused of trying to obtain emergency aid, typically a $2,000 debit card, issued to hurricane victims by FEMA and the American Red Cross.

Thousands of additional dollars appear to have been squandered on hotel rooms for evacuees that were paid at retail rather than the contractor's lower estimated cost. They included $438 rooms in New York City and beachfront condominiums in Panama City, Fla., at $375 a night, according to the audits.
Damn...what do I have to do to get a paid vacation to NYC or Panama City? Maybe if I lived in a fishbowl during a hurricane, I could get one of those five-star hotel rooms on the public dole, too!

This is what happens when politicians strive to look "busy" like they're "doing something", instead of striving to solve practical problems with practical (and accountable) solutions. This sickening mindset in D.C. that all problems can be solved by simply throwing money at it must be changed! Unfortunately, (a) the Republicans have proven since they assumed legislative power in 1995 that they have little desire to alter said mindset, and (b) Democrats would be no better (and probably, if you can imagine it, even worse)!