Katrina, Sandy, and the Press

June 19, 2014

Another reason why nobody believes the news anymore…

A dangerous storm destroys or damages the homes of entire communities. Hundreds of thousands languish in the storm’s aftermath while waiting for federal and state aid to help them rebuild. Governmental incompetence prolongs the recovery period indefinitely. This sounds like the story of Hurricane Katrina, but could apply equally as well to the saga of superstorm Sandy. When the storm hit in 2012, damaging around 200,000 homes in New York and New Jersey, President Obama said, “My message to the federal government: No bureaucracy, no red tape.”

But seventeen months later, the reality has been vastly different, according a new WSJ piece. Of the 15,000 New York residents who have applied for relief, only 352 have received it; of the 11,500 eligible New Jersey residents, only 2,032 have been able to start rebuilding or repairing their homes.

For all the similarities between Katrina and Sandy, however, there’s one big difference: curiously, we hear a lot less about Sandy than we did about Katrina. Stories like this used to get a lot of ink when George W. Bush was in the White House and the press couldn’t say enough about the botched recovery after Katrina. But now that the greatest President since Lincoln occupies the Oval Office, trivial stories like agonizingly slow hurricane recoveries bore our enlightened press corps to tears.

via The Botched Recovery from Superstorm Sandy – The American Interest.


Obama’s Transparent Incompetence

June 18, 2014

For an administration who’s stated goal was to be the most transparent ever, the most obvious transparency is of incompetence.

The surprise arrest Sunday of a “key leader” of the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, who had been living openly and interviewed by the media despite being indicted nearly a year ago, has prompted speculation the raid was timed to take the heat off an increasingly beleaguered White House.

“All of these decisions are political,” said Fred Burton, vice president of intelligence with Stratfor, a commercial intelligence service. “It is curious, the timing … I know the suspect was identified early after the attack and he certainly was accessible to a range of reporters from various international media outlets who interviewed him inside of Benghazi. At the end of the day, these decisions are signed off by the (National Security Council) and the White House. It’s really a question for them.”

via Timing questioned in Benghazi consulate attack arrest | Boston Herald.

IRS: Do What I Say, Not What I Do

June 18, 2014

A central supporting theme of respectable authority is that it does not require of others what it does not also do.

To believe the IRS requires a pretty low opinion of government competence. My friends who work in regulated sectors such as finance are outraged by the IRS’s description of how it was running its backup process, because the government subjects them to constantly ratcheting standards for document retention — specifying how long, and on what format, they have to keep every communication ever generated by their firms. How dare they demand higher standards of regulated companies than they do of the regulators?

via Missing E-Mail Is the Least of the IRS’s Problems – Bloomberg View.