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(USGS)   Mitt Romney didn't want to kill off FEMA and the USGS, he just wanted to turn it over to the states or the private sector. Let's see how that works   (waterdata.usgs.gov) divider line 115
    More: Followup, Mitt Romney, U.S. Geological Survey, FEMA, United States, New York, current water, private sector  
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7412 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Oct 2012 at 11:46 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-30 12:38:36 PM

Dr Dreidel: I think you underestimate how much of business' "help" is seeded with government money (or tax breaks, which are essentially the same thing) or is provided by the government at far lower a cost than what the private sector would. The goal of government - especially as relates to disaster planning/recovery - is not to maximize revenue, it's to provide for its citizens.


This. Private, for-profit disaster response already exists as insurance companies. How're those workin' out for folks?
 
2012-10-30 12:44:31 PM

Civchic: zjoik: Lost Thought 00: As Rick Santorum so eloquently put it, there is no need for any government agencies to be collecting data you can find out with a Google search.

and where do you think those statistics derived from?

This is what blows my mind.

"Why do we pay someone to gather this precise scientific data? It's all on Google!"

Do people really think Google just magically whisks these things out of thin air?


Why do we still have farmers? Why don't they just buy their food at the store like everyone else?
 
2012-10-30 12:46:47 PM

Muta: Elzar: $4000 could have been spent more prudently on upgrading these streamgages - something the private sector would be all over.

Private industry wouldn't touch it unless they can get the government to pay them $8000 with a 5 year maintenance agreement.


Don't forget the corporate welfare tax incentives.
 
2012-10-30 12:48:04 PM

gulogulo: Elzar: Look we all have to make tough choices - today it may be streamgages, tomorrow, wind energy or someone else's pet project. I don't like Fed rights anymore then you do, so we get what we have here on the USGS site. It probably cost $100/hr for some USGS web developer to spend 40 hours of dev time writing those 'warnings' - which is the way Obama wants it, so he gets it. This $4000 could have been spent more prudently on upgrading these streamgages - something the private sector would be all over.

Remember folks - this USGS underfunding came on Obama's watch - his administration can't even handle something a simple USGS budget. They probably even tried outsourcing it to China or Kenya.

Shows just how little you understand about the importance of what the USGS does, let alone your inability to grasp why we monitor stream gages and why this cannot be handled at the state level. Goddamn, the American public is so scientifically and environmentally retarded!


Pretty much. We have bid very aggressively on some GIS projects that USGS was opening up for agricultural land use optimization and sustainability modeling, a hell of a lot cheaper than we would bid for a private entity and USGS rejected it because they didn't have the money. They've been extremely tight with money for the last several years (with reason) and they're doing a lot of "quiet" things I'd say are pretty essential to a lot of core industries especially here in the Midwest.

Anecdotal evidence for sure, but everything I've seen goes against the conventional wisdom of "omg US govt pays billion dollar contracts and there's no spending oversight wasteful wasteful waaaah" like Obama is personally approving every dollar that every one of the hundreds of thousands of USGS/USDA/etc employees request and spend. That poster above throws out a made up $4000 number then goes on to argue on the basis of it, even though I just attended a USGS 'data users conference' last week where plenty of industry analysts talked about how vital the data those agencies collect and surface on their sites is, and it's available free (funded by taxpayers). I know that the same folks will read that and make snide comments about OH GREAT HELPING BIG BUSINESS but a lot of these aren't web developers sneakily extorting $100/hour from uncle sam, they're regular dudes trying to get money to do their job. And the industry analysts have people from Monsanto and the like, but there are also small businesses like ours and individual farmers to balance out 'the little guy' side of things.

Sorry for rant but I hold USDA and USGS pretty highly as far as gov't agencies go, wonderful to work with and genuinely helpful and interested in being a service to the public good in my experience. That just doesn't make a narrative that's as good, but it boggles my mind how people dismiss them offhand when they're doing some of the best gov't work for the money out there, IMO.

/EPA, DoE not quite as nice thus far
 
2012-10-30 12:50:05 PM

Civchic: zjoik: Lost Thought 00: As Rick Santorum so eloquently put it, there is no need for any government agencies to be collecting data you can find out with a Google search.

and where do you think those statistics derived from?

This is what blows my mind.

"Why do we pay someone to gather this precise scientific data? It's all on Google!"

Do people really think Google just magically whisks these things out of thin air?

Yes

 
2012-10-30 12:55:53 PM

Agent Smiths Laugh: Privatization works so well! That's why cell phone services are so cheap, insurance is so cheap and easy to use, utility costs are so affordable nobody goes without heat, water, and electricity. And if you get sick, medical and dental service rates are so competitive anyone can afford them!


I don't entirely disagree that privatized services can be expensive, but many of your examples are screwy. Frequently utilities are public and even private works that offer utilities or telecom are highly regulated (have you every seen the boat load of taxes on an itemized cell phone bill? you pay for the govt infrastructure that provides your telephony services). And as for the public regulation of/competition with insurance, all of the insurance costs in my household went up after Obamacare passed. While some of our insurance services became more comprehensive, the government didn't create some magical competition in the market to drive down the prices.

Because many of those services are being closely monitored and regulated, you probably aren't being price gouged. Things are just expensive and the economy sucks. Oh, and bureaucracy does drive up the cost of doing business.
 
2012-10-30 12:56:04 PM
What would happened without FEMA?

Well there you go.

ww4.hdnux.com
 
2012-10-30 01:03:11 PM

elysive: all of the insurance costs in my household went up after Obamacare passed


Know what? The health benefit premiums for our company were going up anyway, to the tune of about 30% a year, for several years. I sure don't see Obamacare as any worse than what we were getting before.
 
2012-10-30 01:04:51 PM

Detinwolf: Can you imagine a broke-ass place like NOLA trying to get back on its feet without federal help? Does Mitt Romney....understand things?


I think he does, quite well, actually. He sees a highly responsive market and an opportunity to capture consumer attention while competitors have limited access, opportunities to leverage data before the general public can. You see thousands of people dying, bodies of people and animals decaying in the street, malnourished children, abandoned elderly left to die in their own feces, and private police forces who only respond to the "correct" addresses.

You're both seeing the exact same events, the difference is, you sound like someone with a conscience. Safe to say you won't be getting an invite to the Ayn Rand Romney Inaugural Sneerfest.
 
2012-10-30 01:21:52 PM

honk: elysive: all of the insurance costs in my household went up after Obamacare passed

Know what? The health benefit premiums for our company were going up anyway, to the tune of about 30% a year, for several years. I sure don't see Obamacare as any worse than what we were getting before.


This year was significantly worse for my significant other and for me...and it made more sense considering that my insurance is now covering more, but that's neither here nor there. We could go back and forth with anecdotes indefinitely. I was just promised by the media that everyone being insured would bring my insurance costs down.

It may ultimately do that, but I'm just pointing out that increased government regulation doesn't magically improve private sector prices...or at least our private insurance coverage wasn't bending us over before. If it had been I'm suspecting Obamacare would have laid down the smack and we might have seen a price decrease. I got a whole $4 refund because they spent too much on paperwork and too little on claims but I wouldn't call $4 "getting bent over".
 
2012-10-30 01:22:31 PM

elysive: Agent Smiths Laugh: Privatization works so well! That's why cell phone services are so cheap, insurance is so cheap and easy to use, utility costs are so affordable nobody goes without heat, water, and electricity. And if you get sick, medical and dental service rates are so competitive anyone can afford them!

I don't entirely disagree that privatized services can be expensive, but many of your examples are screwy. Frequently utilities are public and even private works that offer utilities or telecom are highly regulated (have you every seen the boat load of taxes on an itemized cell phone bill? you pay for the govt infrastructure that provides your telephony services). And as for the public regulation of/competition with insurance, all of the insurance costs in my household went up after Obamacare passed. While some of our insurance services became more comprehensive, the government didn't create some magical competition in the market to drive down the prices.

Because many of those services are being closely monitored and regulated, you probably aren't being price gouged. Things are just expensive and the economy sucks. Oh, and bureaucracy does drive up the cost of doing business.


My city built a municipal fiberoptic network, and has been able to provide a better telecom product at a lower price than Time-Warner would have without competition. Of course, instead of improving their product and services, TWC just bought off the state legislature to make sure other towns couldn't duplicate Greenlight without jumping through so many hoops as to make it infeasible.
 
2012-10-30 01:24:13 PM

peg_leg: Mugato: Elzar: It probably cost $100/hr for some USGS web developer to spend 40 hours of dev time writing those 'warnings' - which is the way Obama wants it

Yes, web developers make $100/hour.

They don't get paid $100/hour, they COST $100/hour. You have to include employment taxes, P&E, insurances, etc. to get the cost number.


Plus, there is the cost of hiring a manager to look over the web developer's shoulder and make useful comments like "it needs more green."
 
2012-10-30 01:41:42 PM

UNC_Samurai: elysive: Agent Smiths Laugh: Privatization works so well! That's why cell phone services are so cheap, insurance is so cheap and easy to use, utility costs are so affordable nobody goes without heat, water, and electricity. And if you get sick, medical and dental service rates are so competitive anyone can afford them!

I don't entirely disagree that privatized services can be expensive, but many of your examples are screwy. Frequently utilities are public and even private works that offer utilities or telecom are highly regulated (have you every seen the boat load of taxes on an itemized cell phone bill? you pay for the govt infrastructure that provides your telephony services). And as for the public regulation of/competition with insurance, all of the insurance costs in my household went up after Obamacare passed. While some of our insurance services became more comprehensive, the government didn't create some magical competition in the market to drive down the prices.

Because many of those services are being closely monitored and regulated, you probably aren't being price gouged. Things are just expensive and the economy sucks. Oh, and bureaucracy does drive up the cost of doing business.

My city built a municipal fiberoptic network, and has been able to provide a better telecom product at a lower price than Time-Warner would have without competition. Of course, instead of improving their product and services, TWC just bought off the state legislature to make sure other towns couldn't duplicate Greenlight without jumping through so many hoops as to make it infeasible.


I suppose it's good you have competent government employees. Here, really good and ambitious network people don't usually stick around for government pay. Ultimately it sounds like your state's problems came down to the government. If anyone should be getting exorbitant amounts of cash, it should be excellent employees, not dumbass politicians.
 
2012-10-30 01:42:23 PM

turtleking: having dealt with FEMA for the last three years I can tell you without a doubt it could be handled better by a private company.


Yeah, everyone has a hard time picking a cable company because they just love all the options SO MUCH. Private companies with monopolies or near-monopolies make everyone happy.
 
2012-10-30 01:44:27 PM

stampylives: turtleking: having dealt with FEMA for the last three years I can tell you without a doubt it could be handled better by a private company.

Yeah, everyone has a hard time picking a cable company because they just love all the options SO MUCH. Private companies with monopolies or near-monopolies make everyone happy.


What, you have a problem with the "License to Steal" business plan?

/no-bid license
 
2012-10-30 01:48:53 PM

elysive: Agent Smiths Laugh: Privatization works so well! That's why cell phone services are so cheap, insurance is so cheap and easy to use, utility costs are so affordable nobody goes without heat, water, and electricity. And if you get sick, medical and dental service rates are so competitive anyone can afford them!

I don't entirely disagree that privatized services can be expensive, but many of your examples are screwy. Frequently utilities are public and even private works that offer utilities or telecom are highly regulated (have you every seen the boat load of taxes on an itemized cell phone bill? you pay for the govt infrastructure that provides your telephony services). And as for the public regulation of/competition with insurance, all of the insurance costs in my household went up after Obamacare passed. While some of our insurance services became more comprehensive, the government didn't create some magical competition in the market to drive down the prices.

Because many of those services are being closely monitored and regulated, you probably aren't being price gouged. Things are just expensive and the economy sucks. Oh, and bureaucracy does drive up the cost of doing business.


Really?
Have you seen how those executives live on your money?
And that is after they "contribute" to a reelection.

/not really having a problem with richie lifestyle, it is the loss of capital to offshore holes in the wall
 
2012-10-30 02:00:19 PM

elysive: UNC_Samurai: elysive: Agent Smiths Laugh: Privatization works so well! That's why cell phone services are so cheap, insurance is so cheap and easy to use, utility costs are so affordable nobody goes without heat, water, and electricity. And if you get sick, medical and dental service rates are so competitive anyone can afford them!

I don't entirely disagree that privatized services can be expensive, but many of your examples are screwy. Frequently utilities are public and even private works that offer utilities or telecom are highly regulated (have you every seen the boat load of taxes on an itemized cell phone bill? you pay for the govt infrastructure that provides your telephony services). And as for the public regulation of/competition with insurance, all of the insurance costs in my household went up after Obamacare passed. While some of our insurance services became more comprehensive, the government didn't create some magical competition in the market to drive down the prices.

Because many of those services are being closely monitored and regulated, you probably aren't being price gouged. Things are just expensive and the economy sucks. Oh, and bureaucracy does drive up the cost of doing business.

My city built a municipal fiberoptic network, and has been able to provide a better telecom product at a lower price than Time-Warner would have without competition. Of course, instead of improving their product and services, TWC just bought off the state legislature to make sure other towns couldn't duplicate Greenlight without jumping through so many hoops as to make it infeasible.

I suppose it's good you have competent government employees. Here, really good and ambitious network people don't usually stick around for government pay. Ultimately it sounds like your state's problems came down to the government. If anyone should be getting exorbitant amounts of cash, it should be excellent employees, not dumbass politicians.


Which is why government jobs should pay competitive wages. If good people leave to get higher paying jobs in the private sector, then you are left with Mr. 299 out of the class of 300.
 
2012-10-30 02:00:30 PM

theorellior: [facepalm]

Don't fark with the U.S. Geological Survey. If there's anything the Feds do that has endless multipliers though the economy, it's the USGS.


B-b-but the Invisible Hand(tm)!!!
 
2012-10-30 02:06:43 PM

Dr Dreidel: Having worked for FEMA (Mitigation Division) for about the same amount of time, I can say that your experience is not standard.


Hot damn, no wonder you're so sexy.

And I'm guessing that person's experience is "not standard" because they're only seeing one aspect, which is probably recovery. They're not seeing mitigation or preparedness, so they think they can just sit & pout & take everything else for granted like a big spoiled baby who only got an Audi for Christmas instead of the Batmobile, like he really wanted.
 
2012-10-30 02:06:55 PM

snocone: elysive: I don't entirely disagree that privatized services can be expensive, but many of your examples are screwy. Frequently utilities are public and even private works that offer utilities or telecom are highly regulated (have you every seen the boat load of taxes on an itemized cell phone bill? you pay for the govt infrastructure that provides your telephony services). And as for the public regulation of/competition with insurance, all of the insurance costs in my household went up after Obamacare passed. While some of our insurance services became more comprehensive, the government didn't create some magical competition in the market to drive down the prices.

Because many of those services are being closely monitored and regulated, you probably aren't being price gouged. Things are just expensive and the economy sucks. Oh, and bureaucracy does drive up the cost of doing business.

Really?
Have you seen how those executives live on your money?
And that is after they "contribute" to a reelection.

/not really having a problem with richie lifestyle, it is the loss of capital to offshore holes in the wall


I hate insurance, if you are talking about insurance execs. But no, I don't really have a huge problem with the boss or exec of a company making more than the underlings if you really want to get down to it.

Do you really think I was trying to say private industry was better? Not really. Both public and private sectors have their own pros and cons. I was simply saying that the government places limits on what a business charges people in most of those industries, so unless the regulations suck, you aren't being ass reamed beyond comprehension. My experience is sometimes I pay a little bit more for the private service but get better customer service. Sometimes it seems that the government is is hemorrhaging money (such as in the industry where I work, I have seen govt entities redo massive projects multiple times due to incompetence). It really depends on the product.

Private industry eliminates a lot of waste that is extremely common in the public sector. If you have ever worked a government job you might be familiar with the waste of which I speak. Would I have a problem with a manager coming into a place like that, eliminating the wasted time and resources and keeping a fraction of the money that he saved the company/business? Not really. It provides incentive and without incentive, you are stuck with crappy managers who often bide their time until they qualify for a pension.

If you want regulations to limit how much executives are paid, then good for you, but I expect there may be unintended consequences in those industries.
 
2012-10-30 02:09:10 PM

StopLurkListen: Elzar: Look we all have to make tough choices - today it may be streamgages, tomorrow, wind energy or someone else's pet project. I don't like Fed rights anymore then you do, so we get what we have here on the USGS site. It probably cost $100/hr for some USGS web developer to spend 40 hours of dev time writing those 'warnings' - which is the way Obama wants it, so he gets it. This $4000 could have been spent more prudently on upgrading these streamgages - something the private sector would be all over.

Remember folks - this USGS underfunding came on Obama's watch - his administration can't even handle something a simple USGS budget. They probably even tried outsourcing it to China or Kenya.

Cool Hand Luke type parody detected


Oh thank you, Jesus! I thought I was the only one who saw this.
 
2012-10-30 02:11:04 PM
This is stupidly simple. The states can't replace FEMA because they don't have the money and the "private sector" (greedy bloodsucking corporations) don't do anything they cant get rich off of. There is no profit in disaster relief.
 
2012-10-30 02:19:03 PM

purple kool-aid and a jigger of formaldehyde: elysive: I suppose it's good you have competent government employees. Here, really good and ambitious network people don't usually stick around for government pay. Ultimately it sounds like your state's problems came down to the government. If anyone should be getting exorbitant amounts of cash, it should be excellent employees, not dumbass politicians.

Which is why government jobs should pay competitive wages. If good people leave to get higher paying jobs in the private sector, then you are left with Mr. 299 out of the class of 300.


I agree 100%. I believe that good govt employees have a high burn out rate because they are underpaid and often are overworked because they constantly have to pick up the slack.

macdaddy357: There is no profit in disaster relief.


THIS.
 
2012-10-30 02:21:36 PM

Di Atribe: Dr Dreidel: Having worked for FEMA (Mitigation Division) for about the same amount of time, I can say that your experience is not standard.

Hot damn, no wonder you're so sexy.

And I'm guessing that person's experience is "not standard" because they're only seeing one aspect, which is probably recovery. They're not seeing mitigation or preparedness, so they think they can just sit & pout & take everything else for granted like a big spoiled baby who only got an Audi for Christmas instead of the Batmobile, like he really wanted.


A common problem. FEMA is not a "disaster recovery" agency. FEMA is a disaster PLANNING agency - that word "management" is right there in the title.

The way they've studied it, every dollar spent on mitigation saves $3 in recovery. For serious disasters (like, I don't know, a freak hurricane/Nor'easter that runs down 5th Avenue), IIRC the multiplier jumps to 5:1 or 10:1.

stlstreets.com 

// and your sports charts get me all hot & bothered, Ms Attribe
// if that is your real name
 
2012-10-30 02:29:46 PM

Lando Lincoln: I agree. I'm tired of fixing up coastal states that get hit by hurricanes year after year after year. Let them pay for it themselves. Don't like it? Move inland.

I don't actually believe this anymore. I used to, when I was 20 and when I was a Republican.

Ah, to be so young and ignorant again.


Then what do you do when you run out of other peoples money?
 
2012-10-30 02:44:58 PM
Self inflicted October Surprise. Badmouth FEMA during Hurricane season.

(Roots around in pockets for a minute)

Nope. No sympathy to give Mitt. None at all. You would have completely tanked your campaign with that. The icing on the cake is that the Hurricane plowed over 162 votes in the electoral college. And parts of Canada.
 
2012-10-30 02:46:22 PM

Joe Blowme: Lando Lincoln: I agree. I'm tired of fixing up coastal states that get hit by hurricanes year after year after year. Let them pay for it themselves. Don't like it? Move inland.

I don't actually believe this anymore. I used to, when I was 20 and when I was a Republican.

Ah, to be so young and ignorant again.

Then what do you do when you run out of other peoples money?


Ah yes, when you identify a risk which would be catastrophic for you - say, flooding in coastal areas, tornados in the plains, earthquakes in the west, and forest fires in the south? Well that's when you look into setting up an agency which exists to coordinate resources and share best practices - so when CA isn't battling a wildfire, they can lend emergency assistance to another region, and vice versa. And you also make a commitment to each other, that when the scope of a rare but catastrophic disaster overwhelms your local resources, you will assist your neighbors so they may return to being a prosperous part of the economy, and a safe place to do business.

That was a pretty good idea you had there :)
 
2012-10-30 02:49:02 PM
While we're at it, why not do the same thing to the armed forces? I mean, 50 Air Forces? That'd be neat, and it totally would be more efficient.
 
2012-10-30 02:50:14 PM

Joe Blowme: Lando Lincoln: I agree. I'm tired of fixing up coastal states that get hit by hurricanes year after year after year. Let them pay for it themselves. Don't like it? Move inland.

I don't actually believe this anymore. I used to, when I was 20 and when I was a Republican.

Ah, to be so young and ignorant again.

Then what do you do when you run out of other peoples money?


Do you understand the basic concept of a society? One that has communal interests like infrastructure and defense?
 
2012-10-30 02:50:32 PM

Drasancas: While we're at it, why not do the same thing to the armed forces? I mean, 50 Air Forces? That'd be neat, and it totally would be more efficient.


Except the Air Force wasn't in the Constitution, so there shouldn't be any Air Forces at all.
 
2012-10-30 03:06:20 PM

Dr Dreidel: A common problem. FEMA is not a "disaster recovery" agency. FEMA is a disaster PLANNING agency - that word "management" is right there in the title.

The way they've studied it, every dollar spent on mitigation saves $3 in recovery. For serious disasters (like, I don't know, a freak hurricane/Nor'easter that runs down 5th Avenue), IIRC the multiplier jumps to 5:1 or 10:1.

stlstreets.com

// and your sports charts get me all hot & bothered, Ms Attribe
// if that is your real name


But mitigation is a hard sell since the results aren't immediately obvious, unlike the cavalry coming over the hill on white horses carrying bottled water & a bulldozer.

/degree in EM
//now let's make out
 
2012-10-30 03:06:53 PM

Electromax: gulogulo: Elzar: Look we all have to make tough choices - today it may be streamgages, tomorrow, wind energy or someone else's pet project. I don't like Fed rights anymore then you do, so we get what we have here on the USGS site. It probably cost $100/hr for some USGS web developer to spend 40 hours of dev time writing those 'warnings' - which is the way Obama wants it, so he gets it. This $4000 could have been spent more prudently on upgrading these streamgages - something the private sector would be all over.

Remember folks - this USGS underfunding came on Obama's watch - his administration can't even handle something a simple USGS budget. They probably even tried outsourcing it to China or Kenya.

Shows just how little you understand about the importance of what the USGS does, let alone your inability to grasp why we monitor stream gages and why this cannot be handled at the state level. Goddamn, the American public is so scientifically and environmentally retarded!

Pretty much. We have bid very aggressively on some GIS projects that USGS was opening up for agricultural land use optimization and sustainability modeling, a hell of a lot cheaper than we would bid for a private entity and USGS rejected it because they didn't have the money. They've been extremely tight with money for the last several years (with reason) and they're doing a lot of "quiet" things I'd say are pretty essential to a lot of core industries especially here in the Midwest.

Anecdotal evidence for sure, but everything I've seen goes against the conventional wisdom of "omg US govt pays billion dollar contracts and there's no spending oversight wasteful wasteful waaaah" like Obama is personally approving every dollar that every one of the hundreds of thousands of USGS/USDA/etc employees request and spend. That poster above throws out a made up $4000 number then goes on to argue on the basis of it, even though I just attended a USGS 'data users conference' last week where plenty of industry analysts talked about how vital the data those agencies collect and surface on their sites is, and it's available free (funded by taxpayers). I know that the same folks will read that and make snide comments about OH GREAT HELPING BIG BUSINESS but a lot of these aren't web developers sneakily extorting $100/hour from uncle sam, they're regular dudes trying to get money to do their job. And the industry analysts have people from Monsanto and the like, but there are also small businesses like ours and individual farmers to balance out 'the little guy' side of things.

Sorry for rant but I hold USDA and USGS pretty highly as far as gov't agencies go, wonderful to work with and genuinely helpful and interested in being a service to the public good in my experience. That just doesn't make a narrative that's as good, but it boggles my mind how people dismiss them offhand when they're doing some of the best gov't work for the money out there, IMO.

/EPA, DoE not quite as nice thus far


Farkied as an intelligent person that knows his ass from a hole in the ground.

I couldn't agree more, the USGS and USDA both collect and act as a clearinghouse for an enormous amount of spatial data that anyone can use, from private contractors to cities and states.

Not going to go into too many details because privacy, but a state employee I work with recently won a grant to do some geologic mapping for a federal agency. As a state employee working for a state organization whose mandate from the legislature is specifically geologic mapping, his bid came in way under a private consultant's bid. So what does the consultant do?

Run to the press and complain that big government is stealing jobs from the little guy, of course. Then he wrote letters to the governor and secretary of the state demanding that the state government withdraw its bid on the federal contract. Keep in mind the guy wanted to charge almost $100k more to repackage federal and state data into new maps, WITHOUT doing any new fieldwork or analysis. So he was not only twice as expensive, his end product would have been nothing but repackaged data. Yet somehow his interview with the press harped on government inefficiency yadda yadda yadda.

And for those of you that think some government web developer created the USGS pages at $100/hr, I laugh at you, because you can count to potato.
 
2012-10-30 03:18:51 PM

Di Atribe: Dr Dreidel: A common problem. FEMA is not a "disaster recovery" agency. FEMA is a disaster PLANNING agency - that word "management" is right there in the title.

The way they've studied it, every dollar spent on mitigation saves $3 in recovery. For serious disasters (like, I don't know, a freak hurricane/Nor'easter that runs down 5th Avenue), IIRC the multiplier jumps to 5:1 or 10:1.

stlstreets.com

// and your sports charts get me all hot & bothered, Ms Attribe
// if that is your real name

But mitigation is a hard sell since the results aren't immediately obvious, unlike the cavalry coming over the hill on white horses carrying bottled water & a bulldozer.

/degree in EM
//now let's make out


Sure. I mean, we're still trying to convince a huge section of the electorate that buying medical insurance is a good thing, so maybe convincing them that attaching $5 roof straps can keep it from tearing off in a hurricane is for the AP course.

// degree in Communication
// so let's discuss the terms of how we'll make out, including a socio-cultural examination of male-female arousal-based nonpenetrative sexual congress and suggestions of rhetorical appeals that may initiate the aforementioned arousal-based nonpenetrative sexual congress
 
2012-10-30 03:21:56 PM

Di Atribe: But mitigation is a hard sell since the results aren't immediately obvious, unlike the cavalry coming over the hill on white horses carrying bottled water & a bulldozer.


Or a politician handing out a couple hundred bucks worth of "supplies" in a photo op.
 
2012-10-30 03:25:33 PM

Dr Dreidel: Di Atribe: Dr Dreidel: A common problem. FEMA is not a "disaster recovery" agency. FEMA is a disaster PLANNING agency - that word "management" is right there in the title.

The way they've studied it, every dollar spent on mitigation saves $3 in recovery. For serious disasters (like, I don't know, a freak hurricane/Nor'easter that runs down 5th Avenue), IIRC the multiplier jumps to 5:1 or 10:1.

stlstreets.com

// and your sports charts get me all hot & bothered, Ms Attribe
// if that is your real name

But mitigation is a hard sell since the results aren't immediately obvious, unlike the cavalry coming over the hill on white horses carrying bottled water & a bulldozer.

/degree in EM
//now let's make out

Sure. I mean, we're still trying to convince a huge section of the electorate that buying medical insurance is a good thing, so maybe convincing them that attaching $5 roof straps can keep it from tearing off in a hurricane is for the AP course.

// degree in Communication
// so let's discuss the terms of how we'll make out, including a socio-cultural examination of male-female arousal-based nonpenetrative sexual congress and suggestions of rhetorical appeals that may initiate the aforementioned arousal-based nonpenetrative sexual congress


You two need to get a room already. You're making me blush.
 
2012-10-30 03:29:16 PM

Elegy: Not going to go into too many details because privacy, but a state employee I work with recently won a grant to do some geologic mapping for a federal agency. As a state employee working for a state organization whose mandate from the legislature is specifically geologic mapping, his bid came in way under a private consultant's bid. So what does the consultant do?

Run to the press and complain that big government is stealing jobs from the little guy, of course. Then he wrote letters to the governor and secretary of the state demanding that the state government withdraw its bid on the federal contract. Keep in mind the guy wanted to charge almost $100k more to repackage federal and state data into new maps, WITHOUT doing any new fieldwork or analysis. So he was not only twice as expensive, his end product would have been nothing but repackaged data. Yet somehow his interview with the press harped on government inefficiency yadda yadda yadda.


Absolutely. I was a programmer by education but am more of a GIS and map analytics guy at my job now and it always amazes me how much money some of our competitors make just putting NASS data into a county map and charging a $2k overhead on free data for doing a 5-minute join in ArcGIS. We try to do the actual derivation or added value analyses as we're a little more oriented on solving problems/decision support than straight visualization, but in a field like GIS where there's still a relative lack of public education, there are some big companies getting fleeced on their location intelligence contracts.

Makes it all the more frustrating that our startup is still starting up 4 years later... we've spent too much time on almost pro-bono emergency management support work and not enough on exploiting deep pockets. Another case where the government agencies seem well ahead of the curve with their spatial clearinghouses you mention and the early lidar efforts starting to get underway. Privatization is great if you want to work overcharged and under-delivered.

GIS is awesome though. Knew nothing in college but it's a fascinating field to have your head in.

/obviously not always the case
 
2012-10-30 03:44:36 PM
The federal government is not disaster insurance. Why should the flyover states have to underwrite shiat that only happens to the coasts? If individual states and the inhabitants thereof want to be covered against disaster then they should raise taxes on their own residents and pay into an insurance pool.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
 
2012-10-30 03:47:41 PM

GranoblasticMan: Or a politician handing out a couple hundred bucks worth of "supplies" in a photo op.


Ugh. I just saw that. I don't understand how people can NOT see how badly they pander to them. One dude is off kicking ass while the other hands out shirts that say, "Obama, you're fired." Really? How much more classy can you get?

Dr Dreidel: Sure. I mean, we're still trying to convince a huge section of the electorate that buying medical insurance is a good thing, so maybe convincing them that attaching $5 roof straps can keep it from tearing off in a hurricane is for the AP course.


I find those people to be incredibly short-sighted & generally only worried about what's in their paycheck instead of how the world works around them. It truly is all about money with them.


Dr Dreidel: // so let's discuss the terms of how we'll make out, including a socio-cultural examination of male-female arousal-based nonpenetrative sexual congress and suggestions of rhetorical appeals that may initiate the aforementioned arousal-based nonpenetrative sexual congress


I don't have a degree in communications, so I'll just say that I'd let you doctor my dreidel any day.
 
2012-10-30 03:48:54 PM

b0geyman: The federal government is not disaster insurance. Why should the flyover states have to underwrite shiat that only happens to the coasts


Oh hey, what did I just say about short-sightedness? Great example. Thanks, bro!
 
2012-10-30 03:52:15 PM

Agent Smiths Laugh: Privatization works so well! That's why cell phone services are so cheap, insurance is so cheap and easy to use, utility costs are so affordable nobody goes without heat, water, and electricity. And if you get sick, medical and dental service rates are so competitive anyone can afford them!


Everything you listed there is heavily regulated by government at multiple levels, except maybe the dental rates. Here is a good example of something that govt has very little to do with, and it is cheaper than ever. Cosmetic plastic surgery.
 
2012-10-30 03:52:39 PM

Holfax: Plus, there is the cost of hiring a manager to look over the web developer's shoulder and make useful comments like "it needs more green."


Oh yes, as a former developer, I can't even estimate how valuable my managers have been.
 
2012-10-30 03:53:30 PM
CSB:

I worked for a software company during Katrina. We had been contracted to work with FEMA during emergencies. Our contract started the summer leading up to Katrina, so no, it wasn't our fault.

I spent a week at an ad hoc depot that FEMA was managing in Selma, Alabama on an old air force base. On Monday we checked in hundreds of trailers of ice, then we shipped them off for NOLA the next day. On Friday, the same hundreds of trailers were back in Selma, unused. Maybe the people in NOLA didn't need ice. Fine. But the point is, there was a lot of waste that week, and it was but one example of everything that went wrong. Part of the problem was that when a truck came in, no fewer than 5 government agencies (FEMA, Core of Engineers, DOD, DOT, State Agencies) and their contractors would all have to check the same information on the truck. I tried to get them to go with one check-in and distribute the data (hey, I was working the night shift... more sleep for everyone) but they couldn't do it. Instead, 10 people would approach the truck and capture the same data.

Water and ice sat out there unused or was driven around Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana for a week before it was shipped back to Memphis (I think) the Army CoE's cold storage facility (why in the FARK does the Army COE handle the ice???).

When I visited our commercial clients, many of whom were retailers, they had distribution centers filled with water. "Oh yeah" they all said, "we shifted our water to DCs where we could get quick access and put the water in stores ASAP as a result of the storm." Private industry reacted much better.

I don't think FEMA should be privatized. But private industry already has a better (and redundant!) distribution system. In an emergency, wouldn't it be simpler for FEMA to just order water from retailes, Pepsi, Coke, etc.? Ice too. And whatever "first responder" materials are needed? They already had the supplies and in better locations. They reacted because they saw a spike in the market. The government simply cannot react that way. So, if Wal-Mart failed to meet its contract with the government, we'd have the other retailers and suppliers who could make up the difference. The cost would be made up on in not having the huge investment (2 million SFT cold storage facilities are expensive) and having all of the staffers and contractors. States could tap into the same distribution network.

Mitt is a flip flopper. I get that. And Bush and team mismanaged Katrina.

But the merits of using market solutions to at least some of the problems associated with disasters are worth looking at.
 
2012-10-30 03:58:52 PM
This is what what I love about the states can decide issue once a disaster hit they are all WHAR IS OUR DISASTER MONEY WHAR?! Its a bunch of bunk.

Just ask Bobby Jendial
 
2012-10-30 04:06:57 PM

Di Atribe: Dr Dreidel: Sure. I mean, we're still trying to convince a huge section of the electorate that buying medical insurance is a good thing, so maybe convincing them that attaching $5 roof straps can keep it from tearing off in a hurricane is for the AP course.

I find those people to be incredibly short-sighted & generally only worried about what's in their paycheck instead of how the world works around them. It truly is all about money with them.


Yeah, whaddayagonnado? [homer-simpson.jpg]

I bet these same folks would rant and howl about FEMA's relocation programs, where they've moved houses or entire towns out of floodplains, as being "big-government planned-economy socialism" and even if you point out that a rain/flood that came through after the relocation (which again swamped the old area, and the new area stayed dry), they'll counter with "Muslin Kenyan Frank Marshall Davis!" They'll need to be reached one at a time, when it's their house in the crosshairs. Sigh.

Sometimes, people can't be led by the nose. (This is the same group that can't be bothered by the fact that we'd have fewer abortions if we had free birth control.) "You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think," or so the fella says.

Dr Dreidel: // so let's discuss the terms of how we'll make out, including a socio-cultural examination of male-female arousal-based nonpenetrative sexual congress and suggestions of rhetorical appeals that may initiate the aforementioned arousal-based nonpenetrative sexual congress

I don't have a degree in communications, so I'll just say that I'd let you doctor my dreidel any day.


And you don't even know what I look like.
 
2012-10-30 04:07:16 PM

b0geyman: The federal government is not disaster insurance. Why should the flyover states have to underwrite shiat that only happens to the coasts? If individual states and the inhabitants thereof want to be covered against disaster then they should raise taxes on their own residents and pay into an insurance pool.


It's because we're the United States of America and not the 50 colonies. If something bad happens that overwhelms a state's individual capacity, then the other states help out via the federal government.
 
2012-10-30 04:39:13 PM

macdaddy357: This is stupidly simple. The states can't replace FEMA because they don't have the money and the "private sector" (greedy bloodsucking corporations) don't do anything they cant get rich off of. There is no profit in disaster relief.


Take a look at the CPS reform. In Nebraska. Nothing has improved. CPS should not be for profit. Kids should not have decisions made with a balance sheet. Same with disaster recovery. I actually classify natural disasters under a national security matter, but that's only an opinion.
 
2012-10-30 04:52:12 PM

Di Atribe: b0geyman: The federal government is not disaster insurance. Why should the flyover states have to underwrite shiat that only happens to the coasts

Oh hey, what did I just say about short-sightedness? Great example. Thanks, bro!


Great job selectively editing my post where the correct solution to the problem resides, numbnuts.

If individual states and the inhabitants thereof want to be covered against disaster then they should raise taxes on their own residents and pay into an insurance pool.

NOT doing that and relying on the bankrupt federal government to print more money to bail them out is the short-sighted strategy.
 
2012-10-30 04:53:49 PM

Lando Lincoln: b0geyman: The federal government is not disaster insurance. Why should the flyover states have to underwrite shiat that only happens to the coasts? If individual states and the inhabitants thereof want to be covered against disaster then they should raise taxes on their own residents and pay into an insurance pool.

It's because we're the United States of America and not the 50 colonies. If something bad happens that overwhelms a state's individual capacity, then the other states help out via the federal government.


Not according to the tenth amendment to the constitution, which you have curiously deleted from the post you quoted.
 
2012-10-30 05:03:20 PM

Aikidogamer: Kids should not have decisions made with a balance sheet.


Sweet. And if you don't want to pay to have Alice Waters be my kids' lunchlady and Landon Donovan running the JV soccer team...You Just Don't Care About The Children, You Heartless Plutocrat Bastard!

Because hey, no balance sheet, right? They should work for free.

Obviously I'm overdramatizing there but people put a value on their children, and as sentimental as we might get about our own kids, we do NOT get that sentimental about other people's kids, and so somewhere along the line that value has not only a dollar number attached to it, but also a political value.

So not only is there a balance sheet...there are two.

Regarding raising kids, there are some things you probably can't handle yourself (teaching physics). There are other things people can't handle OR don't feel like handling themselves (making a nutritious meal). And if you have an outside person or service involved, who handles that service is going to be either a political decision based in part on what your representatives say you'll pay in taxes (and based on what'll persuade you to vote for them), or a business decision based on what you feel like spending or can afford to buy.

Or some combination of both.
 
2012-10-30 05:17:03 PM

b0geyman: Not according to the tenth amendment to the constitution, which you have curiously deleted from the post you quoted.


You don't think that disaster recovery is covered under the "ensure domestic Tranquility", "provide for the common defence" or the "promote the general Welfare" clauses?

Well, aren't you just precious.
 
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