Hurricanes

Out of the Way, Texas, Federal Hurricane Rescue Is Coming

If history is any indicator, it's going to be a long and very expensive siege.

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"I will be going to Texas as soon as that trip can be made without causing disruption," President Trump tweeted Sunday morning. "The focus must be life and safety."

Thanks for the warning.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is already here, boots on the ground, doing the kinds of FEMA things that have endeared this federal agency to a generation of American taxpayers. Look out now for the recovery housing teams and the National Flood Insurance Program inspectors, Administrator Brock Long promised Jake Tapper on CNN Sunday morning.

When asked by Tapper if Hurricane Harvey-soaked Texans can expect FEMA to be here in the coming weeks and months, Long replied with a can-do expression, "FEMA's gonna be there for years, sir. We're setting up and gearing up for the next couple of years."

Thanks again for the warning.

It might be churlish not to welcome the rescuers (I am writing this from Austin, where the rain from a hurricane 200 miles away is causing flooding), with five people reported dead, millions of people affected in some way, and damages that will surely reach into the billions, as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told Fox News this morning.

No one is happier to see this outpouring of federal concern than Texas' conservative political leaders.

"I've got to tell you," Gov. Greg Abbott told anchor Chris Wallace on Fox Sunday morning, "I give FEMA a grade of A plus, all the way from the president down. I've spoken to the president several times, to his Cabinet members, such as secretary of homeland security, such as the administrator of FEMA, such as Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services."

"We could not be more appreciative of what the federal government has done, from the president on down," Abbott gushed to anchor George Stephanopoulos on the creatively named This Week With George Stephanopoulos. "Because, everything we have asked for, they have given us."

Everything. Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 it has been ruinous for any politician at any level with any authority to offer anything less than everything in a disaster. The bigger the disaster, the bigger the stage.

FEMA's annual budget averaged $700 million throughout the 1980s and was still under $3 billion until the end of the 1990s, according to a study by Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute and editor of DownsizingGovernment.org. In the years after Katrina, the FEMA average budget has been $13 billion and in fiscal 2013, following the last of three consecutive severe hurricane seasons, ballooned to $22 billion.

With all of this spending on Hurricane Harvey, Katrina, and the others, come elected officials exercising control under the guise of leadership.

Right on schedule, and ignoring the admonition of Reason's Katherine Mangu-Ward, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced his office would be manning a consumer protection hotline. In big blue letters on the AG's main page it reads: "Hurricane Harvey—Watch Out For Price Gouging and Scams."

Paxton hasn't been reluctant to dispense with the niceties of having the public step back from taking care of themselves and letting their government take over.

As convinced as these authority figures are that their pronouncements of action are calming and uplifting, we can't help but think how willfully these rescuers ignore the abominable record of the federal government in the aftermath of big blows like Harvey. The tiresomely predictable response so far in Texas is echoed in Reason's exhaustive coverage after Katrina.

"No government screwup is so colossal that it can't be used to justify yet more government," we wrote in our 2005 roundup of the coverage, "After the Storm." "For most liberals, Katrina merely proved that Washington needs more resources to prevent and respond to such disasters; for many conservatives, it proved that society is a fragile construct that can collapse into chaos at any moment, and that only police or military force can hold it together in times of stress."

To cite just a few examples of federal bungling after Katrina noted by Edwards, as much as $2 billion was wasted, at least $1 billion of it in invalid federal aid to 162,750 people who claimed to live in houses that did not exist before the hurricane; $900 million wasted on 25,000 mobile homes that could not be used on flood plains; and $100 million taxpayers paid for bags of ice that never got delivered.

"Among the many superlatives associated with Hurricane Katrina can now be added this one," The New York Times reported in 2006. "It produced one of the most extraordinary displays of scams, schemes and stupefying bureaucratic bungles in modern history, costing taxpayers up to $2 billion."

Rather than tromping all over coastal Texas speechifying and ordering people around, the president and the FEMA stormtroopers ought to listen to the people who made it out on the other side of Harvey.

Like Bill Rogers of Port Aransas, who decided to ride it out in his pickup truck with his wife Paulette and their four dogs, according to a pretty wonderful story in The Dallas Morning News.

Rogers called it the dumbest thing he'd ever done. But wasn't he afraid Harvey would kill him, the reporter asked.

"Death? I ain't afraid of death," he said. "What I'm afraid of is the IRS."

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  1. …send in the clowns, don’t bother they’re here.

  2. “Death? I ain’t afraid of death,” he said. “What I’m afraid of is the IRS…. wait’ll he gets a load of fema….

    1. I love it, but, as the guy probably knows, he sounds kinda like an idiot.

  3. Texas is just going through Hurricane Harvey. Why must they endure Hurricane Trump just a few days later? Oh the inhumanity!

  4. We’re from the government and we’re here to help – struggling only makes it harder.

  5. President Trump came down in a railroad train
    With a little fat man with a notepad in his hand
    President say “little fat man, isn’t it a shame?”
    What the river has done to this poor cracker’s land

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGs2iLoDUYE

  6. The system is set up to ensure the Federal government comes in and is viewed as THE government agency that has the responsibility to address these disasters. There’s a ready-made scapegoat for the inevitable event that rescue and recovery operations don’t go smoothly. “We would have been able to handle, but the Feds blew it!”. I was listening to Fox News on Satellite radio this morning and they were already asking where the Feds were, as well as the National Guard.

    I don’t understand why people seem to think that multiple Army and Marine divisions are ready to sweep in when the storm is still going on and save the day. Well, yeah I guess I do.

    1. they also forget or don’t realize you don’t station responders in the disaster area or you will need responders to rescue the responders who lost their equipment in the disaster. don’t worry the left will be blaming Trump for the hurricane soon just like they blamed Bush for Katrina

  7. I don’t understand why we should be listening to Bill Rogers of Port Aransas. The moral of the story is that we can all ride out out massive storms in our pickup truck?

    1. the moral of the story is that if you say something anti-government your quote gets picked up by all the anti-government types.

    2. The moral of the story is: Even if you’re an idiot, sometimes a grain of truth comes through your dim bulb of a brain. He’s right to fear the IRS more than damn near anything else.

  8. “In the years after Katrina, the FEMA average budget has been $13 billion and in fiscal 2013, following the last of three consecutive severe hurricane seasons, ballooned to $22 billion.”

    Nothing increases a government agency’s budget like total failure.

    1. Even more impressive (for FEMA’s budget) is that since Katrina, the USA has experienced a period of low hurricane activity/strength/damage.

      Wonder where all the money is going?

    2. If the government does something right, they deserve more money. If the government screws up, it’s because they need more money.

      1. If you think the problems we cause are bad wait until you see our solutions.

  9. Here’s a guy who was really not afraid of death and proved it by dying in a volcano eruption.

    Harry Randall Truman (October 30, 1896 ? May 18, 1980) was a resident of the U.S. state of Washington who lived on Mount St. Helens. He came to brief fame in the months preceding the volcano’s 1980 eruption after he stubbornly refused to leave his home despite evacuation orders, and he is presumed to have been killed in the eruption.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Randall_Truman

    1. The Huns couldn’t kill him…

  10. It might be churlish not to welcome the rescuers

    Yes it is. And par for the course, you offer not one fucking thing as an alternative. Frankly you don’t even offer much of an actual criticism. Just a social signaling rant.

    1. There’s the spirit!

      My niece’s dishwasher sprang a leak so I smacked her in the face with a baseball bat in the hopes that would fix the problem. When she complained about getting smacked in the face with a baseball bat, that’s exactly what I told her – “You offer not one fucking thing as an alternative!” and she shut the hell up. I think that will be my go-to repair tool from now on.

      1. Well so far – the one thing that evil gummint has done is — tracked the weather system that showed a fucking hurricane is coming so people can get out of the way. Compare Hurricane Harvey – 7 dead in an area with a population of 7+ million to the 1900 Galveston hurricane – 9000 dead in the same area with a population of 150k. Roughly the same size hurricane in all probability.

        So hey – WTF is the private business model that will both a)put the weather satellite technology up there and b)put the information collected into the public domain so that people can save their own lives?

        Yeah – churlish is actually generous. Nothing quite like libertarians selling their ideology on the vague hopes that a shit-ton more people die.

        1. Yeah, collecting information under stressful conditions and relaying it to the populace has always been a model the private sector has been unable to crack.

          That’s why the Founders ended up editing out the “freedom of the press” bit out of the First Amendment: they realized it was just needlessly taking up space.

          1. Yeah, collecting information under stressful conditions and relaying it to the populace has always been a model the private sector has been unable to crack.

            Then why didn’t they? There’s never been a law prohibiting anyone from gathering weather information. The US govt did not nationalize some vibrant private sector doing that.

            1. “Then why didn’t they? There’s never been a law prohibiting anyone from gathering weather information. The US govt did not nationalize some vibrant private sector doing that.”

              Gee, the gov’t takes over the activity and offers it, like education, by sucking the money from those who might do it otherwise, and dimbulbs like this idjit are stupid enough not to see the result.
              But then, our idjit also seems to be ignorant of:
              “private weather forecast companies” – “50,000,000 results” (bing)
              Oh, and fuck off, slaver.

              1. Gee, the gov’t takes over the activity

                The govt didn’t take over anything. The activity WASN’T BEING DONE. If there had been an opportunity for the free market to do something and make money at it — then the market would have done what it always does and DONE IT.

                “private weather forecast companies”

                And what Accuweather – AND EVERY OTHER FORECAST COMPANY – does is just take the govt dataset and use it to make forecasts. Same as companies that use census data and trade data and (in many cases) salary/benefits data and legal precedent of contract/court disputes and all sorts of other metadata that becomes transparent and public domain once the govt collects it. And with govt doing that sort of stuff in that way it actually makes commerce and free markets POSSIBLE. Just as Smith/Hayek/etc understood – but that modern libertarians FAIL to (and imo deliberately because they want to undermine ACTUAL classical liberalism in favor of some shitty little Randian/anarcho ‘vision’).

            2. @ JFree

              As mentioned by the other commenters, there is little or no room for private sector competitors so long as the government subsidizes its own activities with taxpayer dollars, thus allowing it to market its services to the end consumer “for free”.

              As to whether there was a private sector weather satellite industry before government: was there a *weather satellite industry at all* before the National Weather Service? When was the NWS established? I would bet before satellites were invented. Given that they would already have the rest of a weather forecasting service’s apparatus in place, it would not be surprising that they were the only ones in a position to launch satellites once they were invented, before private companies had an opportunity to jump in.

              And as to the pre-satellite era: did government write those Farmer’s Almanacs? They were actually pretty accurate at times, you know.

              Anyway, I’m not in the best of moods towards government at the moment: I’m currently “trapped” (with electricity and internet) behind a publically owned bridge that “someone” decided to build 5 feet below flood level, with no Amazon drone to resupply me because “someone” decided that Drones Are Scary, M’Kay?

              1. Given that they would already have the rest of a weather forecasting service’s apparatus in place, it would not be surprising that they were the only ones in a position to launch satellites once they were invented, before private companies had an opportunity to jump in.

                So let me understand. When ‘weather forecasting’ was composed of coast watchers and boats, the private sector couldn’t do it because the govt had a monopoly on coast watchers and boats. And when the govt created satellite technology, it should have just handed it over to the private sector (presumably free of charge) and waited for – WHAT exactly?

                And as to the pre-satellite era: did government write those Farmer’s Almanacs?

                funny enough – I’ll bet it was useless in writing ‘good chance of a hurricane somewhere on the Texas coast in September’ in its 1900 edition.

                1. Yeah, I bet those 1907 private weather predicters really got their asses handed to them by 2017 public sector satellites and radars. Take that, Early 20th Century Technology!

                  Anyway, from skimming Wikipedia’s NWS entry:

                  It was founded in 1870. No sats, no planes, no radar; nothing more than the telegraph and some early equations. And all “free”… or more accurately, already paid for when you filed your tax returns. The private sector can’t compete with free stuff, so long as it is even close to adequate quality. And so it is no surprise that there was no “vibrant private sector” in weather prediction when satellites were invented: the Feds had monopolized the industry right when it first became a possibility. There was no window.

                  As to why it should be (truly, without government regulatory capture) privatized? I would return you to the question of whether Reuters, AP, WaPo, or the NYT would be better off under central government administration. Sending up radiosondes and satellites would be no more expensive for them, than it would be for Facebook- and you’ll note no one is “priced out” of that. Our running-dog capitalist news system doesn’t result in poor people not being able to learn about terror attacks or Trump’s latest social media incontinence- why would a storm be any different?

                  1. the Feds had monopolized the industry right when it first became a possibility. There was no window.

                    No actually it was entirely possible for any commercial entity to have gathered weather data at multiple locations long before even the telegraph. And to thus have seen enabling technologies as a way to enhance their business. Hell – Old Farmers Almanac and Poor Richard’s Almanac and a slew of other astronomical pubs dating back through Roger Bacon to Babylonian times could have easily seen that. And dating back to ancient times, they could have made a fortune by selling their prognostications to oh – Napoleons army invading Russia, the British or French caribbean fleets (the 1780 hurricane season is why the French sailed to the Chesapeake the next year and why the British fleet ceased to exist), the Spanish fleet in 1588, everyone who went searching for witches to blame instead for unexpected bad weather, the druids who built Stonehenge. The demand was always there and if the private sector had existed to supply it then weather for govts own purposes would have been contracted just like combat boots and ships.

                    I would return you to the question of whether Reuters, AP, WaPo, or the NYT would be better off under central government administration.

                    Well I return to the question of should Nelson Mandela be freed from prison. And should hula hoops be made out of plastic.

                    1. By the Nine, you jump through more time periods than the Doctor. It wasn’t the “private sector” that didn’t exist to supply the demand in 15-effin’-88, it was the TECHNOLOGY that didn’t: you’ll note the US *government* didn’t bother attempting such a system until 1870 (presumably courtesy of the telegram). Next you’ll be demanding to know why the “private sector” didn’t provide affordable cellular coverage to the poor in the Khmer Empire.

                      Nor is it relevant that a corporation “could” have set up telegraphs or radars or whatnot. A corporation “could” set up schools for low-income people, too. It “could” set up a letter delivery service, or private security service, too. Yet with few exceptions, they don’t. Why?

                      Because government didn’t monopolize the *service*. It monopolized the *payment*. You’re already paying for public schools, the post office, and the police; you have no choice. And so, if you’re already paying for something, what’s the point in paying for it a second time, thus resulting in a situation where you get the service once, and the bill twice? There is no point, so long as the state delivers *adequate* (but still far from superlative) results.

                      The Private Sector can compete with “bureaucracy”. What it CANNOT compete with, is “free”.

                    2. you’ll note the US *government* didn’t bother attempting such a system until 1870 (presumably courtesy of the telegram).

                      By 1852 – there were 20 telegraph companies with 20,000+ miles of wire in the US. So please spare me that the US government saw an opportunity to strangle the private sector puppies and after 18 years finally strangled the puppies before they could even grow up and play with their grandpuppies.

                      What it CANNOT compete with, is “free”.

                      You really don’t understand what a public good (I mean that term in the strictest economic sense) is do you. Smith and Ricardo and Hayek and every classical liberal understood them. Libertarians don’t unfortunately. Which is why libertarians are irrelevant in figuring out how they should be produced and when they shouldn’t be and whether there are alternative models (say open source vs bureaucratic model).

                    3. The private sector didn’t figure out it could provide weather forecasts. Neither did government. Until 1870, when government did, and beat the market to the idea. Sometimes that happens. It doesn’t change the fact that private sector news providers can use satellites, air- and seacraft, reporters, and communications devices, and furthermore do so affordably. There is no reason to believe they could not, then or now, if government didn’t make it taxpayer-funded.

                      You cannot deny that Facebook can launch satellites. Thus there is no reason to believe that another corporation couldn’t. Nor can you deny that corporations can operate aircraft. Nor can you deny that Reuters and AP have all the infrastructure needed to disseminate satellite data once it is generated. And finally, you cannot deny that all of these businesses do so affordably. No one is priced out of Facebook.

                      So: is weather data a “public good”? Sure. Just like news about terror attacks is. Or news about the various political candidates in an election is. Or data about geopolitics, or crime in your area, or job opportunities. All of those things can be just as life-affecting, and in some cases just as urgent, as weather data. So… Why aren’t *those* things government services?

                      Smith and Hayek aren’t gods, and Appeal to Authority is a useless debate tactic.

                    4. The private sector didn’t figure out it could provide weather forecasts. Neither did government. Until 1870, when government did, and beat the market to the idea.

                      Well what happened in 1870 was that govt started collecting data and transmitting/providing it to the public. ‘Forecasts’ didn’t really occur until 20th century. Regardless the collection/release is exactly a ‘public good’.

                      A private entity ‘collecting data’ is going to:
                      a)only collect the subdata that creates a potential private profit
                      and b)keep the data ‘trade secret’ until the effects of some proprietary algorithm (eg shorting Houston refineries/etc last week) render it ‘OK to release’
                      or c)sell ‘eyeball time’ to advertisers who want to distract people while they are looking at other information.

                      All of which means that if the US govt were to privatize the existing data collection (turn a public good into a private good), it would have to immediately resume collecting info again because holes would pop up in meeting the US govts own private needs (eg forecasts for USN/USAF on non-commercial routes). IOW – its fucking useless at best and more likely pure cronyism (which is total anathema for a public good).

                      Smith and Hayek aren’t gods, and Appeal to Authority is a useless debate tactic.

                      It is Smith and Hayek and such who understood how public goods actually function and how they are different from private goods. Appeal to authority would be invoking Einstein or Jesus.

                    5. A) the “subdata that creates a potential profit” is the only data *worth* collecting (unless you want companies to collect data people aren’t willing to pay for),
                      B) their proprietary algorithm can only withhold critical information if the company in question is unconcerned about a rival company beating them to the “scoop”, and the whole point of privatization is to enable competition between organizations assigned the same task (which is no more redundant than having multiple news channels’ reporters covering the same story),
                      And
                      C) truly, commercials and ads are the undoing of the private sector news paradigm; for really, how can an endangered low-income individual be expected to absorb all the data on screen, with all those beguiling Trojan and Nike advertisements luring their eyes away from the life-saving information like a siren tempting a sailor to their watery doom?

                      Also, referring to Smith/Hayek is absolutely an appeal to authority: authorities on economics, specifically. But authorities can be wrong. And as far as I’m concerned, the only “public good” (in material terms) is military and police protection; a night watchman state. I know the classical liberals disagreed with this. But guess what? I think the classical liberals *were wrong*.

                      Libertarianism has *outgrown* classical liberalism, like a child outgrowing his baby teeth and spitting them out.

                    6. So… Why aren’t *those* things government services?

                      Govt does collect info on crime and jobs (salary/benefits) and trade and a slew of other metadata – and releases the data publicly too. None of that destroys ‘competition’. And in fact, it provides opportunities for both new competition and reduces information asymmetry. Let me assure you – the last thing YOU want is to have to rely solely on an ’employer association’ to decide whether a pay offer is ‘competitive’.

                      And an example where what SHOULD be a public good is technologically available but is now currently treated as a private good in the US — medical outcomes data from hospitals/etc. Until that actually IS a public good, there can be no true free market in healthcare. Because its non-existence creates unfixable information asymmetry. And no that sort of info will not be used by the general public or patients because they don’t have the knowledge to interpret it. But it WOULD be used by general practitioners and family doctors and case managers (to help their patients manage secondary care) and by hospitals (to decide whether they should shut down or expand subspecialties or rely on third-parties for tertiary care).

                    7. How fortunate that I wasn’t looking to ask an “employer association”, then. And while government may gather a lot of that information, it doesn’t distribute it, and more to the point, there are enough kinds of important data it doesn’t gather *for the populace*- like info on terror attacks- that there is no reason to believe the private media couldn’t do it too, and with competition to boot. Have you never heard of the old stereotype of reporters showing up to a crime scene before the police or firemen do?

                      Also, you don’t need government-required release of information to figure out what hospitals and such perform- the hospitals aren’t the only ones with that data, the *patients* have it too. Private polling and consumer-report-type organizations can gather the most important information (eg “did you die?”), and patients, freed of our current market-distorting pseudo-private insurers, would be motivated to avoid hospitals that were too secretive.

                2. Brickbat:

                  “However it would not be until it faced criticism for continuing to refuse to provide public tornado warnings and preventing the release of the USAF Severe Weather Warning Center’s tornado forecasts (pioneered in 1948 by Air Force Capt. Robert C. Miller and Major Ernest Fawbush) beyond military personnel that the Bureau issued its first experimental public tornado forecasts in March 1952.”

                  Boy, it’s a good thing they held back that breakthrough from 99% of the population for 4 years after it was invented. Think of all the lives that might have been lost from people slipping down their cellar stairs as they rushed to shelter unnecessarily! Why, a private company would probably have scrambled to get that technology on the market as fast as possible, to undercut their competitors. It’s a good thing we have government to put the brakes on this kind of cutthroat innovation.

        2. WTF is the private business model that will both a)put the weather satellite technology up there and b)put the information collected into the public domain so that people can save their own lives?

          Ever heard of AP and Reuters? They’re news gathering organizations that essentially work on spec, they depend on their revenues from large numbers of subscribing news outlets who pay to republish their output. You don’t think Reuters couldn’t launch a few weather satellites if they could sell their weather data to every news outlet and every business that’s affected by the weather? You know why they don’t? Because the government’s already crowded them out of the market with their “free” weather data. There’s no competition in a market where one outfit is given a 100% government subsidy.

          1. Same with the post-hurricane disaster relief efforts – how can private enterprise do a better job than the government? If money’s no object, they can’t. But money’s no object only to the government, to private enterprise it’s a big object, the biggest object there is. So where’s my big ideas? I don’t have any big ideas because nobody’s paying me for big ideas, it’s not worth my time to come up with big ideas. But if FEMA shows up at my door and offers me $10 billion to help the hurricane victims? You bet your ass I’ll be the biggest big idea producing sonofabitch you’ve ever seen.

            And take a look around at the empirical evidence – who comes up with more ideas for more stuff you’re actually willing to pay cash money for, the government or private enterprise? Ever shopped at a government food store or bought government-made clothes or furniture or electronics or government-made *anything*? I’ll bet you haven’t much – because the government sucks at producing stuff anybody would willingly pay for, they’ve got guns so they don’t have to give a shit about whether or not the customer’s willing. Private enterprise doesn’t have guns, they have to actually produce something people want to induce them to fork over their cash.

            1. Instead of FEMA spending $10 billion on disaster relief, give that $10 billion to some consortium of say, Walmart, Amazon, HomeDepot and FedEx, see who produces the better results. Those companies know about logistics and supply chains and getting shit people want to where they want it, it’s what they do, their livelihoods depend on it.

              1. I notice the slaver JFree done hit and then run after his hat was handed to him.

            2. I’m not talking about the post-disaster stuff.

              So where’s my big ideas? I don’t have any big ideas because nobody’s paying me for big ideas

              But as usual – people who claim to be libertarian have NOTHING. Here’s a big idea. That post-disaster response is what the fucking MILITIA was about. IOW:
              1. restore a modern organized militia service/function at the state level (along the lines of Switzerland).
              2. the feds are responsible for making sure that the equipment/training/organization is consistent among the states (along the lines of Art1sec16 of the Constitution)
              3. in the event of a natural disaster states can share those physical resources (which is why there is a constitutionally-authorized interstate compact called Emergency Management Assistance Compact)
              4. the feds provide the backstop (mostly financial reinsurance because only the feds can create money and spread the payment risks around) to that compact and CinC control of any serving militia people who are needed in a different state (per the Constitution). Some of FEMA is rolled into that compact – some is prob eliminated.

              Ultimately this ends up cheaper – because militia service is part-time emergency service by those who can contribute time/labor but not money. And those who want to freeload – well tough shit. They contribute money and not time.

        3. “So hey – WTF is the private business model that will both a)put the weather satellite technology up there and b)put the information collected into the public domain so that people can save their own lives?”

          Ever heard of the weather channel. private weather prediction has been occuring as long as there have been men to predict it. We really don’t need the NOAA to do that

          1. Ever heard of the weather channel.

            They use GOVERNMENT DATA. The last two times there was a ‘libertarian-type’ idea about the NWS was:

            The early 1980’s where some congresscritter proposed selling the NWS satellites to a single cronyist buyer (inevitable since duplicating the data-gathering in ‘competition’ would require multiple passes and hence more satellites which defeats the purpose of buying the NWS satellites) and then having the govt buy that data from the now private monopolist. What could possibly go wrong?

            2005 where Santorum proposed that govt continue to collect the dataset (ie the expensive stuff) but not to provide any interpretation of that data into the public domain (because Accuweather apparently wanted to turn that info into its private monopoly).

            THAT’S IT. In both cases – the private sector proposes – a private monopoly. That sort of economic ignoramus crap is the entirety of ‘libertarian ideas’ about ‘privatizing weather’. No wonder it’s a joke.

            1. “Some congresscritter and Rick Santorum”

              Truly, the titans of libertarianism.

              1. Well I’m sure the TRUE titans of libertarianism were jerking off in their momma’s basement in Somalia.

                1. If popular support were a useful way of measuring an ideology’s correctness, the Drug War would have been won 50 years ago.

  11. “and in fiscal 2013, following the last of three consecutive severe hurricane seasons, ballooned to $22 billion.”

    2010-2012 seasons might have been “active” regarding number of named storms (which includes tropical depressions and tropical storms) but not severe regarding strength. None of those years make the top 10 of accumulated Cyclone Energy.

    Not 3 consecutive severe hurricane seasons. Not even one consecutive severe hurricane season in that 3 year span.

    For the Atlantic Ocean Hurricane seasons:
    2009 had 2 major hurricanes.
    2010 had 5
    2011 had 3
    2012 had 1

    Historical average is 3.

    2010 sneaks in at #9 on the list of “Major Hurricans” seasons measured since 1960’s when satellites got involved in tracking satellites. So, it might be on the cusp of what could be called a “severe” season. None of the 5 major hurricanes of 2010 made landfall on the USA.

  12. I don’t know what news they are showing in Austin but in Houston the message is about people helping their neighbors and providing resources where government can’t reach.

    1. don’t worry soon the government will tell those people helping people that they don’t have the required permits or education to help others and must stop post haste and they will probably be doing so with guns pointed at citizens just like they did during Katrina

  13. I’m sure Trump will be taken to task for not condemning the left-wing thugs in this instance:

    “Masked anarchists violently rout right-wing demonstrators in Berkeley”
    […]
    “An army of anarchists in black clothing and masks routed a small group of right-wing demonstrators who had gathered in a Berkeley park Sunday to rail against the city’s famed progressive politics, driving them out – sometimes violently — while overwhelming a huge contingent of police officers.”
    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/…..041287.php

    “Anarchists” is the term used by the slimy left-wing press to hide the left from any guilt in the matter. And there were cops aplenty in SF to guard against the 4 or 5 rightwingers making any comments, but in Berkeley, well, there just weren’t enough cops. What a shame…

    More: “We’re just puzzled as to why people consider violence a valid tactic,” said Kristin Leimkuhler, 60, of Berkeley, who with a group of neighbors left the protests when they turned chaotic.”
    This from a fucking imbecile who probably still believes that Stalin was only making sure that no right-wing wreckers kept him from his thuggery.

  14. More OT: How to spend money and find there are no jobs for you:

    “Sofia University to Launch Holistic MBA in Fall 2017”
    […]
    “Many of us have instituted significant self-knowledge in our everyday lives, making mindful decisions to ride rather than drive, eat organic foods, and surround ourselves with like-minded people who share our desire to maximize personal potential. Imagine if we approached business as holistically as we worked out at the gym or shopped for produce?”
    http://blog.sfgate.com/storyst…..fall-2017/

    SF Gate is both lefty and a good bit less than honest. This is ‘sponsored’ content: An ad. But you would be hard put to know that unless you saw the story was written by the flacks at “Story Studio”; a PR outfit commonly providing lefty causes with cover. And bullshit.

  15. Republicans agree with you people that government can’t do anything right. It creates a bit of a conflict when they’re tasked with running it. Which is why they shouldn’t.

    1. Re: Tony,

      The bureaucracies are always the same people. It doesn’t matter who is at the top because the same operators are doing the same crap over and over. One only has to look at how veterans are treated at the VA to know that tough stances, bombastic pronouncements and easy assurances from new administrators don’t and won’t do anything.

    2. Tony|8.28.17 @ 3:25AM|#
      “Republicans agree with you people that government can’t do anything right. It creates a bit of a conflict when they’re tasked with running it. Which is why they shouldn’t.”

      You bet! We should leave that to lime-bags like you who, in their stupidity, theink they CAN do the job and thereby fuck it up even worse.
      Knowing your limitations has never been a skill learned by the imbeciles on the left.

  16. The I10 road towards Houston is flooding. Katy TX which was somewhat spared the worst is seeing flooding as rains continue and will continue throughout the week. The Addicks and Baker reservoirs will have to open their flood gates at noon today to avoid a dangerous overflow, which will affect homes down stream around the Bayou area which is already flooded severely. Authorities are asking people to put their valuables in second story rooms or attics and then to leave at once.

    This is a monster storm and the most peculiar, because of how it is sidewinding through the coast towards the north.

    1. I found out that the families of two of my best friends live in Katy. My SO was visiting family on their farm up the coast from Houston when everything started and is now stranded on that farm, which is now an island between two flooded creeks.

  17. Disaster assistance is one thing that the government should be a part of, the problem is that once you let them in the door they stay and force overbearing unreachable rules meant to prevent any future disasters, an impossible goal. thus becoming an intestinal worm that can not be satiated or eliminated forever sucking the life out of its host.
    Just look Katrina they are still trying to recover from the bureaucratic maze put before them twelve years ago

  18. Don’t forget, any help coming from out of state will have to take a three day sexual harassment seminar before they can help.

  19. “costing taxpayers up to $2 billion.”

    Are you kidding me? The Charity Hospital boondoggle alone cost taxpayers over $1 billion. It could have been fully renovated and re-opened within 3 years at a cost of around $400 million (according to a leading international architectural consultant brought in to evaluate it.). Instead, the city/state did everything they could to prevent that from happening, and have now got a half-empty new medical complex that cost over $1 billion more.

    Expect similar crap now. UTMB anyone?

    1. Charity Hospital was woefully outdated, and that beautiful new complex will eventually get full. The husk of the place will make a great place for loft apartments.

  20. I guess the author did not see the FEMA press conference this morning where the director said they would be in Texas following the directions of Texas officials. They made it clear they have no intention of “taking over” but will be there to get aid to people as quickly as possible. They are making sure this in not another Katrina type disaster where the Feds acted like the Keystone cops.

  21. RE: Out of the Way, Texas, Federal Hurricane Rescue Is Coming
    If history is any indicator, it’s going to be a long and very expensive siege.

    Never waste a crisis, especially if the opportunity to waste, embezzle and mismanage the little people’s money.
    Heaven forbid Texas, or any other state, should solve their damn problems.

  22. It certainly seems that Trump, somehow, managed to put in nominate a competent FEMA chief, as opposed to the complete idiot that the complete idiot W put in for Katrina.

    I am sure that there will be a lot of health issues from so many folks wading through the sewerage-laden muck, but it’s too bad that Texas doesn’t have the Medicaid expansion to make funding their care a breeze. OOPS!

  23. Harvey is finding out you “Don’t Mess With Texas”.

  24. Can we talk regulations and how not every piece of regulation is bad. MAybe there should have been curb on development on wetlands. Wait, actually there seems to have been in terms of net loss development. Even the so called overly intrusive Obama government was asleep at the wheel when developers weren’t following guidelines to the T in Texas. Now you got all this flooding because of too much concrete cover because of overdevelopment. Funny thing some of these conservative politicians sure had no problem enforcing inane regulations on the freaking signs of businesses in some suburbs of houston where you had this monochromatic boring strip shopping centers with the same exact look. An ice cream shop with the same type of sign as a hardware store.

  25. If we want the free market to govern these areas, then we need to figure out how to get insurance companies to raise their rates even more in these high risk areas instead of passing them along nationwide. THe idea of insurance is not to even out the risk factors among two areas with widely different risk factors, but to have individuals protected from being the “unlucky few” even though they share the same risk factors with other people int he same region.

    THe federal flood insurnace program in coastal areas needs to be ended (though Houston is another set of issues not common with the eastern coast). We can’t have the government subsidize bad choices for people voluntarily relocating to these areas. We can grandfather the existing long time residents with a soft landing of sorts

  26. At a base level, disaster relief work still needs to be funded – let alone organized, and staffed – at a level local governments aren’t capable of. The article fails to address how this would occur without some federal involvement, and appears more interested in gnashing its teeth at inefficient government spending than actually proffering a viable solution.

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