Tuesday, December 21, 2010

WOW-Some Tidbits that may surprise!

Things used to slow down the end of the year but apparently not in recent years.

The WH Science Advisor issued a memo on science integrity which should always be of great interest to those concerned about good governance. Too bad not signed by the President himself. My take is the corruption of science is deep and widening in both federal circles and the academic community as more and more science is "bought" as opposed to being studied. Perhaps I am wrong and hoping so. The document will be posted on this blog in the next week or you can request a copy from me. An example--the NFIP maps are supposed to be based on the best available science and technical information yet only a single group has dominated the rather inept mapping program--hydrologists and hydrologic civil engineers--no other disciplines, including of course meteorologists or soils engineers for one or two of the missing.

The budget compromise looking like finalized today has no money for health care reform, financial system reform, or even other basics that became law in 2010. Reason it continues the budget at the levels established for FY 2010 that ended October 1, 2010.

GAO is toughening its stance on DHS and FEMA. It has finally started to abandon its "reasonable progress" or "substantial progress" in favor of less subjective terminology.

The foremost disaster legislation analyst in the country, Keith Bea, retires from government on January 1st, 2011.

The eclipse was a wow last night.

I detect an overall decline in interest in EM and HS in various circles and hoping this is also a misimpression. The forthcoming budget declines in those two disciplines looks like very dependent on events and reactive governance. The contracting community is losing interest except for those able to follow through on prior contracts.

AM papers indicating $14B spent by TSA on scanning systems with marginal returns. This who airline safety regime needs rethinking IMO.

Los Angeles getting pounded with savage winter storms. Mudslides no doubt to follow. Hoping no "big one"!

Britain and Europe entering new mini-ICE AGE? Probably not but not for trying this December. Second major British travel snafu this year. Iceland ash and now snow and ice.

I will be delving into what may seem like disaster and FEMA erotica in neer future. Generators, blue tarps, and other significant trivia that impacts preparedness.

The DOJ ethics case against Jerry Lewis and others in the Congress were largely discarded by the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division. The case against Lewis may have been a factor in Hal Rogers beating out Representative Lewis for the full Chairmanship of the HOUSE Appropriations Committee. Congressman Issa again will be filing subpoenas within days of the Republicans taking over the House majority in January and of course these will perhaps terrify the Executive Branch targets and slow down progress on many fronts. Guess that is the intention. My experience is that the more members of Congress spend their time looking back the less they accomplish but that may be the intention now.

Well it has been fun and hopefully some have found items of interest and amusement and otherwise in the blog in its first calendar year. Hope it improves in the future.

This is not trivia--Haiti has turned out to be far more tragic than even I had contemplated. Largely because of US misfeasance, nonfeasance,and malfeasance. I keep hoping this event is not prologue to how the US will handle the next major disaster on a catastrophic scale but am not hopeful.

And yes Louisiana loses a seat in the House of Representatives so that will result in less pressure perhaps in the ability of the Louisana delegation to keep a non-sustainable enterprise going in NOLA. By their June 2011 deadline, the USACOE will not have completed protecting NOLA against the Category 3 storm or the 500 year flood. Tragedy could well still be the fate of this once beautiful culture and city but a culture and city that has always lived on dreams not reality.

And of course new OMB Director is now the most important man in government and may actually be up to that role. He will be deciding the fates not just of bureacrats and their programs, functions, and activities but the fate of citizens and their properties, fates of nation-states and their citizens, and fates of various mulitlateral organizations and their effectiveness.

By far the brightest star shining in the Washington firmament is Robert Zoellick of the World Bank. His presidency is beginning to show the promise that this organization has for development, sustainablility, crisis management that was always there inherently. And oddly it is the Chinese who have helped breathe new life into this organization even as China remains a principle beneficiary. A dichotomy that few can understand since Chinese status as a developing country continues their skillful use of international relationships. Wondering when someone will decide that the US is a developing country. Track teh FDI flows worldwide and the US to get a glimpse of the future.

And the greatest dollar devaluation of all time continues. Where is Alexander Hamilton when we need him?