A Senate committee wants to bid farewell to FEMA, Exxon cleans up, and Britney's swelling belly is under scrutiny in the blogosphere.
FEMA Fatale: The Senate homeland security committee recommended Thursday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency be abolished and a new agency established to handle domestic disasters. The new agency's director would report directly to the president. Sen. Susan Collins called FEMA "bumbling" and "dysfunctional."
At the Democratic blog DoubleSpeak, a post blames FEMA's failures on ineffectual Republican leadership and says the restructuring would be nominal at best: "You can overhaul and rename, you can fire, you can talk and talk, but at the end of the day, Americans want to be protected and want their tax dollars to be used effectively."
The revamp was endorsed in part by Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman, but Sean Sirrine at Objective Justice claims that the Republicans are using tried and true bullying tactics with FEMA. "Any of you that follow politics know that this administration believes in 'starving the beast', which is a euphemism for making a federal organization look so bad that they can take money away from it without having to go through the normal political process. It is underhanded, and embarrassing," he opines.
Other bloggers heap sarcasm on the Senate. On a Live Journal page, Syrilliousarana suggests that the Senate do a little soul searching to find the source of FEMA's failure: "The Senate is proposing to abolish FEMA because it was 'under funded and has poor leadership', huh, so, you mean that it would work fine if the SENATE gave them more funding and the leaders weren't appointees but rather people that worked their way up through the organization and knew all the ins and outs?"
"Instead of fixing FEMA, let's go into hurricane season with a new agency staffed by another bunch of political appointees, an agency with no institutional memory, experience or accountability," says Wisconsin resident Madison Guy at Letter from Here. Floridian Majkia at Bloggy Bayou hurls harsh words at the senators pushing for the change. And Morganashkevron at Forgive Me if I Stutter posts a script that senators may have followed while reaching the conclusion that FEMA is irreparable.
On the other hand, the Blaz at lefty blog Daily Kos thinks something must be done soon, but carefully. "[W] e need a new organization with trained disaster management staff, better communication, better process for requests for aid and distribution of tasks, etc., and we need it tomorrow. I'm certainly not in favor of destroying FEMA now and then trying to rebuild it over the next few months, nor should we simply discard an organization that appears to have some qualified leadership (months too late, but still). Our emphasis should be on fixing what's broken, not hastily discarding something without anything to replace it," Blaz writes.
Here's more FEMA chatter.
Black gold: Exxon has posted a 7 percent financial gain during its first quarter, in part thanks to soaring oil prices. Big government is getting as much grief as big oil from bloggers.
Low Down at Redneck Liberal says tsk-tsk to the tycoons: "While making a profit is a good thing, there has to be a line somewhere that making obscene profits at a time that it is detrimental to the well being of society just shouldn't be done." And Qrswave at econo-blog The Truth Will Set You Free rails against big oil and calls for energy reform.
Conservative Pundit Guy Bill Nienhuis refutes the idea that oil companies should shoulder all of the blame, pointing to gasoline taxes. "[F]rom my calculations, the government has pocketed $16,800,000,000.00 in the same amount of time, for doing nothing. Then there is state government who also 'profit' from each gallon of gas we use. If you're angry about gas prices, don't direct that anger at EXXON, or SHELL, or BP. No, look directly at Washington DC," he reasons. And, Chris at the righty Badger Blog Alliance agrees that taxes bear part of the onus for high gas prices.
Libertarian Lew Rockwell blames big government, too. "Republicans and Democrats are united against the market, and against companies that supply us with products we need despite government gouging (taxes, regulations, and wars). So they denounce Exxon's $8.4 billion profit for the first quarter, when profits are essential for more drilling and more refining (despite all the government roadblocks to both)," he writes.
"Dyed-in-the-Denim Democrat" Capt. Fogg at Human Voices is not pleased with a proposal by Republican senators to offset gas prices with a $100 rebate check for every family, packaged as part of a deal to start drilling in ANWR. "40acres and a mule: a pretty good deal when you compare it to a hundred bucks and a handout to Halliburton," he blanches. "Funny how the Republicans like to tell you that market forces are the way to regulate things but then panic when those market forces require that we get more energy efficient and self-reliant. One could almost imagine that we're dealing with liars cheats and scoundrels."
Here's more on Exxon's windfall.
Baby, one more time: Britney Spears is reportedly pregnant with her second child by husband Kevin Federline, who has two children from a previous relationship. The couple's son Sean Preston is 7 months old.
Mike Borelli at toutCute writes that he "suspects that Britney was so enamored with her maternity outfits that she wanted to have another baby so she'd be able to continue to wear them." Dan Friedman at the World Was Never Ready says Brit's delicate condition is a good thing: "Because the more time she spends barefoot and pregant, the less I have to worry about her releasing a new CD." And Zander at Jack Meyers Media Village thinks that Federline is planning a master race. "I'm beginning to think that he's part of an alien experiment to populate the Earth with goatee-wearing, hygiene-deficient clones," he writes.
Here's more on Brit's bundle of joy.