And FEMA still is as slow as molasses in January. For instance, the sheriff of the southwest Louisiana's Vermillion Parish has been reduced to the same sort of plaintive begging for resources we heard from the eloquent president of Jefferson Parish.
"I wish for once FEMA would cut all the red tape and expedite the supplies and the services needed for all of these people who have lost their homes," Sheriff Michael Couvillon told CNN.
And good stewardship of your tax dollars is not exactly FEMA's middle name. Instead they're busy proving me right about the ShrubCo prime directives:
1) Transfer wealth to the rich from everyone else and/or
2) Distract the pilferees from the fact that #1 is taking place.
In the meantime, the Republican Study Committee (RSC), headed by Indiana's own lead Shrubette, Rep. Mike Pence, aka The Wingnut Who Makes Even Dan "Nuke 'em" Burton Look Normal In Comparison, has produced "Operation Offset" -- their plan to pay for Katrina/Rita aid by making every sick, America-loathing neocon's budget dreams come true, including:
* $225 billion cut from Medicaid, the last-resort health insurance program for the very poor.
* $200 billion cut from Medicare, the health care safety net for the elderly and the disabled.
* $25 billion cut from the Centers for Disease Control -- pending flu pandemic? What me worry?
* $6.7 billion cut from school lunches for poor children -- protein deprived children grow up to make a less pesky, more compliant workforce or breatharians must receive early training.
* $7.5 billion cut from programs to fight global AIDS -- it's bad enough we have to pay anything for one group of poor black people, so don't push it.
* $5.5 billion to eliminate all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting -- bye-bye Big Bird.
* $3.6 billion cut to eliminate the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities -- if we can't tolerate Big Bird, don't even dream of tolerating art. So what if it's an essential for consideration as a civilized society and only costs us 4 cents a day. You don't expect the richest 1 percent to give up their tax cuts. Puhlease!
* $8.5 billion cut to eliminate all subsidized loans to graduate students -- aka professional jobs should be reserved for the sons and daughters of the oligarchy.
* $2.5 billion cut from Amtrak -- except for the commuter trains for Wall Street types, there goes that program, too.
* $2.5 billion to eliminate the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative -- the only thing remotely environmentally friendly Shrub embraced but what're two hurricanes when you can make more, more, more!
* $417 million cut to eliminate the Minority Business Development Agency -- it's not as if a reasonable amount of the windfall of the Katrina/Rita budget is going to make it into minority-owned businesses anyway. All those rules were suspended along with the prevailing wage requirement straight off.
* $4.8 billion cut to eliminate all funding for the Safe and Drug-Free schools program -- no use trying to prevent any future poverty if we're not willing to pay for it now.
These cuts are typical. Notice any patterns? Notice any category missing?
I hope my non-wingnut Republican friends are duly embarrassed by their party.
If you want to get involved in trying to redirect the wayward CongressCritters onto a saner path, go here.