Nobody better tell the NYT editorial board about the Waffle House Index

posted at 3:21 pm on October 31, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham

As flood waters were pouring into every low point in New York City Monday night, the New York Times took the opportunity to knock Mitt Romney for remarks he made during the Republican primary about federal disaster assistance in an editorial entitled, “A Big Storm Requires Big Government.” In doing so, the Grey Lady followed in the footsteps of Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo. From the editorial:

Most Americans have never heard of the National Response Coordination Center, but they’re lucky it exists on days of lethal winds and flood tides. The center is the war room of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where officials gather to decide where rescuers should go, where drinking water should be shipped, and how to assist hospitals that have to evacuate.

Disaster coordination is one of the most vital functions of “big government,” which is why Mitt Romney wants to eliminate it. At a Republican primary debate last year, Mr. Romney was asked whether emergency management was a function that should be returned to the states. He not only agreed, he went further.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.” Mr. Romney not only believes that states acting independently can handle the response to a vast East Coast storm better than Washington, but that profit-making companies can do an even better job. He said it was “immoral” for the federal government to do all these things if it means increasing the debt.

Here’s the whole exchange, which Jordan Weissman of The Atlantic headlines, “No, Mitt Romney doesn’t really want to kill off FEMA.” Instead, it’s a nonspecific pep talk for local control, when possible, paired with a warning about the dangers of spending future generations into oblivion.

The NYT editorial is opportunistic and lazy. It asserts Romney’s notion is “absurd” without actually explaining why. It asserts that Republicans “don’t like the idea of free aid for poor people, or they think people should pay for their bad decisions.” Yes, that’s why Republicans, conservatives and evangelical Christians famously steer clear of Red Cross donations, volunteering at church drives for victims, and picking up debris for neighbors. You never see any of that because we “don’t like the idea of free aid for poor people” in the wake of a natural disaster. This is what they think of half the country. The editorial also calls sequestration cuts “Republican-instigated,” a claim which Politifact declared “Mostly False.”

The logical conclusion of the editorial, read with more charity than they afforded Romney, is that FEMA and federal disaster relief run perfectly well and that no one should propose changes to their structures unless that change is to give them more money. The NYT scoffed at the idea that “profit-making companies can do an even better job” and discounted the contributions of state and local governments entirely. As too many do with government functions, they assume spending more money means FEMA is doing more good. Of course, more money could just mean more poison trailers and more fraud, but we’ll all feel good that the agency is spending more money, I suppose.

Perhaps the New York Times editorial writers should read their own newspaper, as it updated us on the lingering weaknesses of FEMA Monday—a GAO report found inconsistencies in how it trains and hires disaster assistance employees— and offered this nugget about FEMA director Craig Fugate’s plans:

Since [Katrina] it has tried to strengthen its ability to respond to a major disaster, both by rebuilding its own supply management system and personnel, and by fostering stronger ties to outside parties, including the Defense Department and even the owners of big box retail stores, which Mr. Fugate said might be turned to as a backup for emergency supplies.

This is the same Fugate, praised for leading FEMA competently through Midwestern tornadoes and hurricanes alike, who coined the term “Waffle House Index”* to describe the metric FEMA now uses to determine where its resources are needed most. Here’s how it works. The Waffle House chain has a huge number of stores located in the Southeast and Midwest in areas that frequently see devastating storms. As such, it has created an enviable corporate culture so attuned to disaster recovery that Fugate knows, “If you get there and the Waffle House is closed? That’s really bad. That’s where you go to work.”

The Wall Street Journal did a great story on Waffle House’s disaster prep in 2011, which just made me an even bigger fan of Waffle House and the free market:

Waffle House Inc. has 1,600 restaurants stretching from the mid-Atlantic to Florida and across the Gulf Coast, leaving it particularly vulnerable to hurricanes. Other businesses, of course, strive to reopen as quickly as possible after disasters. But the Waffle House, which spends almost nothing on advertising, has built a marketing strategy around the goodwill gained from being open when customers are most desperate…

The company fully embraced its post-disaster business strategy after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Seven of its restaurants were destroyed and 100 more shut down, but those that reopened quickly were swamped with customers.

The company decided to beef up its crisis-management processes. Senior executives developed a manual for opening after a disaster, bulked up on portable generators, bought a mobile command center and gave employees key fobs with emergency contacts.

The restaurant chain has a guide for serving limited menus if there is “gas but no electricity, or a generator but no ice,” which allows the company to keep the supply chain fine-tuned and perishables headed where they’re used, not wasted. It becomes, literally, a port in a storm for many displaced families. Waffle House executives say the endeavor is likely not a profit-making venture, but for a company that doesn’t advertise, its value in community goodwill is priceless.

Situation Room

The Waffle House Situation Room on Monday.

This private company—the kind the NYT editorial board thinks it’s an “absurd” notion to give a bigger part in FEMA response— is already working so fast and so well in disaster response that it is a guidepost for the necessarily slower and clumsier federal government. It is already doing a better, faster job than the federal government, which is why Fugate can use it as a gauge. And, they’re not the only ones. Profit-making entities like Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot have all managed to create admirable disaster preparation plans, which Fugate himself has deemed worthy of including as part of the federal government’s disaster plan. They do it because it’s good for the community, but they are also able to do it because of the efficiencies of the market, the practice they’ve gained by competing with other chains, all the vital information embedded in price signals, the incentive to get the community back on its shopping feet, and intimate local knowledge of the areas they serve— all things the federal government lacks. And, yes, they do it because there’s plenty of brand loyalty in it for any company that can provide a hot meal or plywood in an emergency. It’s amazing, not absurd.

To its credit, the NYT is hosting a debate where others are engaging the ideas the editorial board refused to.

Jim Pethokoukis of AEI weighs in:

A superstorm requires supersmart government. But making wise decisions from a distance is hard. Economists call this the problem of local knowledge. The information needed for making rational plans is distributed among many actors, and it is extremely difficult for a far-off, centralized authority to access it. The devil really is in the details. (This is why the price system, which aggregates all that dispersed insight, is more economically efficient than a command-and-control system.)

So emergency and disaster response should be, as much as possible, pushed down to the state and local level. A national effort should be reserved for truly catastrophic events. Indeed this preference for “local first, national second” can be found in the legislation authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The number of federal emergencies has soared, stretching capabilities. Increasingly state and private resources are overlooked.

But just the opposite has been happening in recent decades. There were, according to a Heritage Foundation analysis, 28 FEMA declarations a year during the Reagan administration, 44 during Bush I, 90 during Clinton, 130 during Bush II, and 153 so far during Obama’s term. The result is federal emergency response effort stretched thin in its capabilities to deal with major disasters.

He also notes the heroic performance of Wal-Mart after Hurricane Katrina, from which the federal government could have taken plenty of lessons (and it sounds like Fugate has):

Wal-Mart arrived in the New Orleans area long before FEMA and had the supplies that the community needed.

Phillip Capitano, mayor of the New Orleans suburb of Kenner, reported that, “the only lifeline in Kenner was the Wal-Mart stores.

In addition to what they sold as a result of quickly re-opening their stores, Wal-Mart also provided a large amount of free merchandise, including prescription drugs, to those in the worst-hit areas of the Gulf Coast.

The folks on the NYT editorial board are so ideologically blinded that they’re now knocking private donations to disasters, in general, as a way to bash Mitt Romney, but maybe they’ll listen to the president himself, who noted the federal government’s limitations during his remarks on Sandy, given at the Red Cross, mind you:

“My message to the governors as well as to the mayors is anything they need, we will be there, and we will cut through red tape,” Mr. Obama said. “We are not going to get bogged down with a lot of rules.”

A reasonable and reasonably intelligent person might conclude that if the federal government’s first act must be to remove the barriers its regulations place on disaster recovery, then it should perhaps focus on getting out of the way first while allowing more flexible, local entities to get to work on the ground. This already happens, to a great extent, because it must. Charities like Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse come in first, partnering with local churches, businesses, and government, later backed up with resources and employees from the federal government.

Disaster recovery requires nimble decision-making, flexibility, and money. The federal government has only one of those, and arguably none of them if you check out the debt. It is harmful to argue, as the NYT does, for a bigger and ever-less flexible system, ruled entirely by leaders in Washington and to poison the idea of states and private companies taking on larger roles. A federal budget line should not be the measure of success in disaster recovery (and if it is, maybe the paper should take that up with President Obama). If Waffle House spent millions yet served only 16 meals in stormstruck areas, we would never praise its efforts. Perhaps comparable standards are in order for the federal government.

Romney’s comments allow for any number of combinations in the Tetris game of private-public partnerships shown to actually help victims quickly. The NYT editorial attempts to make politically toxic any discussion of innovation in a field where lives and livelihoods depend on it. Which one is extreme?

We often hear from the president and his allies that “we’re all in this together.” America agrees, but to paint the federal government alone as the one true path to helping our neighbors ignores reality, eschews innovation, and ultimately hurts those we’re trying to help.

*The Waffle House Index is, of course, less useful in this particular storm because of its lack of franchises in the Northeast, but it is being used as a gauge in Maryland and Pennsylvania.


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Comment pages: 1 2

The NYT… the paper of [dismal] record.

Longing4Lincoln on October 31, 2012 at 3:24 PM

2 days after the storm, and Obama still has not rescued 20,000 Americans from Hoboken.

Obama has a problem with rescues.

faraway on October 31, 2012 at 3:25 PM

“leave nobody behind” indeed

faraway on October 31, 2012 at 3:26 PM

I’m so sick of this criticism. Just because the feds fund it or do it now doesn’t mean that it’s proper for them to do so, or that they’re the best at it. That goes for FEMA, Planned Parenthood, Big Bird, the Dept of Education…just about everything they have their hand in.

Twisting the desire to make things more efficient and cost effective, while still helping the great unwashed, into some desire to see people die or whatever is just despicable.

changer1701 on October 31, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Sorry to be a complainer, but these auto-play ads are starting to really turn me off. They play over each other, they play every time I refresh the page, which makes following a thread very fragmented because I have to scroll up and down to stop the ads. They even play over the embedded videos in the blog. Buzz kill for the HA experience.

Jackalope on October 31, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Maybe the Waffle House situation room would have sent help to the Americans in Benghazi…….lord knows the traitors in that White House didn’t.

Justice for the Benghazi heroes………..crickets from the traitors in the media that don’t have the spine to ask and ask and ask…….YOU CHUCK TODD…..YOU JAKE TAPPER!!!!!

PappyD61 on October 31, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Jackalope on October 31, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Time for a little AdBlock Plus.

Longing4Lincoln on October 31, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Ugh. Taking a HA break because of what I describe above. See you guys later tonight maybe.

Jackalope on October 31, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Why does Obama hate New Yorkers?

Strike Hornet on October 31, 2012 at 3:30 PM

This just shows how desperate liberals are to find any justification for more government spending and any angle to criticize conservatives.

They still will not admit that it was the incompetence and later the intransigence of Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco that led to so much death and misery from Hurricane Katrina.

Jeb Bush is with Romney today in Florida, and he has been telling the press corps that it is the governors and the mayors whose reposnses are most important in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. The usefulness of the federal government is really limited to writing big checks.

rockmom on October 31, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Rescues of Americans????

This guy in the White House?

It took him MONTHS to decide to go get BIN LADEN!!!

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!

PappyD61 on October 31, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Well it appears by the nyt’s view, if big bro didn’t do it nobody can? I am sick of big bro getting their nose in everything in our lives and about 99% of the time THEY screw things up?

America did manage to getter done before big bro got involved, didn’t we, to ‘help us out’?
L

letget on October 31, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Excellent piece MKH

cmsinaz on October 31, 2012 at 3:32 PM

On the one side, we can clearly see that Romney wants to disband FEMA. On the other hand, if he keeps FEMA around, it’s probably for reasons described in detail by Alex Jones on his reputable website.

I don’t see a positive here folks, that’s why I’m sticking with the guy I know and trust (Barack/Joe). I didn’t vote for them in 2008 but they will be getting me out to vote this time around. Barack was given a ****storm, and made it into a nice looking (if not quite 100% complete) snow globe. Let’s finish the job.

akaniku on October 31, 2012 at 3:33 PM

7,500 Latinos live in Hoboken. Kanye wants to know if Obama hates Latinos.

faraway on October 31, 2012 at 3:35 PM

My home is 4 miles from Galveston bay.Hurricane Ike knocked the power out for 3 weeks.Waffle House was the only place open on the 3rd day and we just happened along as they opened.After eating canned goods the limited menu was a godsend.FEMA showed up around day 6 with MRE’s and bottled water.

docflash on October 31, 2012 at 3:35 PM

the New York Times took the opportunity to knock Mitt Romney for remarks he made during the Republican primary about federal disaster assistance in an editorial entitled, “A Big Storm Requires Big Government.”

If a Big Storm requires a Big Gov’t, then why is it that the Big Gov’t is the first thing that closes when there’s a Big Storm and Little Restaurants like Waffle House actually stay open and help people???

ted c on October 31, 2012 at 3:35 PM

In our paper, we had an article bemoaning the lack of competition for the local grocery chain. That actually has quite a few competitors (WalMart, Target, etc.). Because supposedly, competition spurs lower prices and better service.

Meanwhile, another article espoused the view that our precious public school be shielded from competition. So we can keep getting the same lousy results apparently.

NoDonkey on October 31, 2012 at 3:36 PM

NYT………WAPO….LAT…….lets hope no one bails them out when they finally collapse from their 1950 business model.

Newspapers suck!

PappyD61 on October 31, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Little Restaurants like Waffle House actually stay open and help people???

ted c on October 31, 2012 at 3:35 PM

heh, WH doesn’t have locks on the front doors.

faraway on October 31, 2012 at 3:37 PM

WOW! The amount of Ideological Idiocy spouted by the New Treason Times, would be laughable, if it wasn’t so detrimental to the survival of the afflicted by these disasters. When are these animals going to be held to account, for their lack of foresight, which continues to cause terrible consequences? At some point, the term “Unintended Consequences”, becomes criminal! Once, twice maybe even three time, but it’s everything these animals help to implement, that have deadly, “Unintended Consequences”! How can Irresponsible Actions and concepts, be continuously imposed, with no thought to consequences. It’s beyond any reasonable logic! How they haven’t been held responsible, is even more, unacceptable!
Addendum on the fight against the Obama Enemy media: http://paratisiusa.blogspot.com/2012/09/an-open-letter-to-those-who-should-know.html?spref=tw

God Bless America!

paratisi on October 31, 2012 at 3:37 PM

“Let’s finish the job.”

akaniku on October 31, 2012 at 3:33 PM

His “job” will be finished on November 6th as Mitt Romney becomes the next President of the United States…

Strike Hornet on October 31, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Great piece, MKH.

peski on October 31, 2012 at 3:40 PM

akaniku on October 31, 2012 at 3:33 PM

…you’re just sticking… with your spotted goat?

KOOLAID2 on October 31, 2012 at 3:40 PM

meh, when we got flooded with refugees from Katrina Harris County and the City of Houston got together and let the large churches handle the management. Second Baptist (feeding) and Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church (clothing and household) coordinated with many other churches as the Astrodome filled. It happened again when Hurricane Ike hit three years later.

All heck broke loose when FEMA showed up handing out $2,500 vouchers during the Katrina deal. Strip clubs did a booming business.

Remember when FEMA administered low interest loans to recover from disasters?

DanMan on October 31, 2012 at 3:40 PM

“Let’s finish the job.”

akaniku on October 31, 2012 at 3:33 PM

…well!…the spotted goa…t HAS been complaining!

KOOLAID2 on October 31, 2012 at 3:41 PM

akaniku on October 31, 2012 at 3:33 PM

If you’re gonna troll, you gotta do better than that.

changer1701 on October 31, 2012 at 3:43 PM

If elections, for some reason, are postponed in NJ and NY, will they come out with a big article about voter suppression at the hands of climate change?

ptcamn on October 31, 2012 at 3:44 PM

I LOVE Waffle House. Anytime I go South I make sure to eat there, the food is great and the people who work there make me feel like an old friend having lunch. An establishment like the Waffle House would never work here in the Northeast because snooty New Englanders would never take pride in their work like the Waffle House staff.

Sounds like their management is just as competent and humane as their cooks and servers. What an awesome business.

Daemonocracy on October 31, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Private businsses are always there to help when a disaster happens. I have family that work for telecom companies and they are often the first people on site. One told me, from first hand observation, that it was sad the way New Orleans had its hand out waiting for the Feds while people in MS just got down to business and took care of things themselves. And how everywhere, there were private companies helping out, quietly with no fanfair.

Deanna on October 31, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Ohio, By The Numbers (Updated 10.31)

M2RB: Van Halen

Resist We Much on October 31, 2012 at 3:45 PM

On the one side, we can clearly see that Romney wants to disband FEMA.

akaniku on October 31, 2012 at 3:33 PM

On the obvious side, you lie…again.

cozmo on October 31, 2012 at 3:46 PM

I didn’t vote for them in 2008 but they will be getting me out to vote this time around. Barack was given a ****storm, and made it into a nice looking (if not quite 100% complete) snow globe. Let’s finish the job.

akaniku on October 31, 2012 at 3:33 PM

hilarious stuff bub, straight out of cozmo’s no sarc tag playbook

DanMan on October 31, 2012 at 3:47 PM

akaniku on October 31, 2012 at 3:33 PM

You know it’s actually kind of sad because I think you really believe the nonsense you post.

Deanna on October 31, 2012 at 3:49 PM

akaniku on October 31, 2012 at 3:33 PM

The only person in America who didn’t vote for Obama in ’08 who will be in ’12.

Bitter Clinger on October 31, 2012 at 3:49 PM

For some strange reason I am craving waffles with lots of whipped butter and maple syrup..
Maybe even a side of eggs, over easy, and a couple of strips of bacon…

Al Hall on October 31, 2012 at 3:51 PM

The idea that a private organization could provide disaster relief is absurd.

Hey, wait – isn’t the Red Cross a private organization?

hawksruleva on October 31, 2012 at 3:53 PM

akaniku on October 31, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Yer silly.

Mimzey on October 31, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Damn it Mary Katharine… You made me hungry.. And your last name is Ham!!!… Damn it!!!…

Al Hall on October 31, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Wal-Mart arrived in the New Orleans area long before FEMA and had the supplies that the community needed.

Phillip Capitano, mayor of the New Orleans suburb of Kenner, reported that, “the only lifeline in Kenner was the Wal-Mart stores.

In addition to what they sold as a result of quickly re-opening their stores, Wal-Mart also provided a large amount of free merchandise, including prescription drugs, to those in the worst-hit areas of the Gulf Coast.

excerpt: Jim Pethokoukis

.
New Orleans WalMarts “provided a lot of free stuff” before they reopened.

I don’t remember hearing any complaints from them about it, either.

listens2glenn on October 31, 2012 at 3:54 PM

we will be there, and we will cut through red tape,” Mr. Obama said. “We are not going to get bogged down with a lot of rules.

FINALLY, Obama shares his plan for a 2nd term. Of course, this plan only applies to the things that Obama wants to do, like implementing cap & trade, or giving international bodies more power in American courts.

hawksruleva on October 31, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Seriously, it’s like Obama is running to be head of FEMA during Romney’s Presidency.

We can’t get straight answers out of our C&C on Libya, he can’t get the economy turned around, but he sure is all over this hurricane response!

Sununu should float the idea of Obama heading up FEMA in the Romney administration on the Sunday talk shows. It would be too snide for Romney or Ryan to make the comment.

weaselyone on October 31, 2012 at 3:54 PM

I didn’t vote for them in 2008 but they will be getting me out to vote this time around. Barack was given a ****storm, and made it into a nice looking (if not quite 100% complete) snow globe. Let’s finish the job.

akaniku on October 31, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Is that because you were 14 during the last election?

weaselyone on October 31, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Sorry to be a complainer, but these auto-play ads are starting to really turn me off. They play over each other, they play every time I refresh the page, which makes following a thread very fragmented because I have to scroll up and down to stop the ads. They even play over the embedded videos in the blog. Buzz kill for the HA experience.

Jackalope on October 31, 2012 at 3:28 PM


xINFINIY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

roy_batty on October 31, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Damn it Mary Katharine… You made me hungry.. And your last name is Ham!!!… Damn it!!!…

Al Hall on October 31, 2012 at 3:53 PM

.
Not any more. It’s just her blogging name, now.

listens2glenn on October 31, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Sorry to be a complainer, but these auto-play ads are starting to really turn me off. They play over each other, they play every time I refresh the page, which makes following a thread very fragmented because I have to scroll up and down to stop the ads. They even play over the embedded videos in the blog. Buzz kill for the HA experience.

Jackalope on October 31, 2012 at 3:28 PM

FIFY – onnacounta no one could hear you over the dueling auto-start ads.

We all need to earn a living, and advertising is how HA pays the bills.

But the idea is to draw your audience in, not piss them off.

turfmann on October 31, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Using Firefox and Ghostery – all nice and quiet.

Now at work on IE where I don’t have admin privileges – yeah, it’s a royal pain.

RedNewEnglander on October 31, 2012 at 3:59 PM

Damn it Mary Katharine… You made me hungry.. And your last name is Ham!!!… Damn it!!!…

Al Hall on October 31, 2012 at 3:53 PM

.
Not any more. It’s just her blogging name, now.

listens2glenn on October 31, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Noted

Al Hall on October 31, 2012 at 4:01 PM

heh, WH doesn’t have locks on the front doors.

faraway on October 31, 2012 at 3:37 PM

But it has snipers on the roof.

RickB on October 31, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Consistent “Too big to fail” as the NYT meme?

Go private biz and citizens….success in spite of your government.

But we do know that Obama is too big for his britches, as my granddad used to say…

ProfShadow on October 31, 2012 at 4:03 PM

The local family owned and operated Hog ‘n Waffle here in a suburb of San Diego kept my family fed — and sheltered for a time — more than once during the last few massive wild fires in San Diego East County over the last 10 years or so.

It’s a ‘greasy spoon’ kind of place to be sure but we have made a habit of patronizing them at least once a month ever since anyway just in appreciation for what they’ve done and continue to do for the community.

FlatFoot on October 31, 2012 at 4:06 PM

akaniku on October 31, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Surely Salem can afford to hire some professional trolls?

This one is about as competent as Barky.

CorporatePiggy on October 31, 2012 at 4:06 PM

The thing that bothers me about this, though, is that so many are doing what we on the right always do — starting the argument from the position of accepting the left’s premise. Instead of saying, “yeah, Romney might close down FEMA and damn well should,” we’re instead running around trying to explain how he was being misquoted and, hey, FEMA is gonna be around for a long time.

It’s the same response we give whenever anyone suggests we want to close down the Department of Education. Or the Department of Agriculture. Or a million other things. We never actually argue why we should truly cut the federal government. Instead, we just promise not to grow it anymore while simultaneously reassuring people we’d never cut these precious agencies they care so much about.

That’s why it drives me nuts to hear people arguing over the “Medicare cuts” in Obamacare. Okay, I’m all for repealing Obamacare. But “hey, we shouldn’t be cutting Medicare, we should be strengthening it!” is not a conservative argument to make. Medicare is as much a failure as anything else the federal government has ever tried, and it should be scrapped. But we accept the status quo of Medicare and, in fact, have now adapted it into a talking point, essentially arguing that we can’t pursue this new big government program because it hurts this old big government program.

It’s time for conservatives to stop playing defense and start actually proposing and defending conservative ideas for a change!

Shump on October 31, 2012 at 4:08 PM

The readers of the NYT don’t seem to understand that when Uncle Sam sends disaster relief funds to an area, they’re actually sending back money that came from the states in the first place.

If the government was smaller, states and individuals would have more money to take care of problems. In fact, for centuries people have recovered from disasters without federal help.

But as long as liberals are in love with FEMA, why don’t they credit George W. Bush with creating it?

hawksruleva on October 31, 2012 at 4:10 PM

It’s a ‘greasy spoon’ kind of place ..
FlatFoot on October 31, 2012 at 4:06 PM

It’s a “mom and pop” kind of place… The foundation of America..

Al Hall on October 31, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Sorry to be a complainer, but these auto-play ads are starting to really turn me off. They play over each other, they play every time I refresh the page, which makes following a thread very fragmented because I have to scroll up and down to stop the ads. They even play over the embedded videos in the blog. Buzz kill for the HA experience.

Jackalope on October 31, 2012 at 3:28 PM

If stuck using IE, and you can manage it, then go to: Settings, then Manage add-ons then disable Adobe Shockwave Flash Object. This will prevent flash videos from automatically starting up. But this could prevent other sites’ videos from playing so could be a pick your poison scenario. But worse case there can always enable it and refresh page.

Using Chrome, Firefox, etc is another way to avoid having the autostart.

nextgen_repub on October 31, 2012 at 4:11 PM

Here’s the whole exchange, which Jordan Weissman of The Atlantic headlines, “No, Mitt Romney doesn’t really want to kill off FEMA.”

It should be “killed off”.

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 31, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Here’s the view, from the situation room.

BKeyser on October 31, 2012 at 4:16 PM

One of the most extraordinary take downs on the hacks at the NYT I have had the pleasure to red.

BRAVO!

Opposite Day on October 31, 2012 at 4:17 PM

But as long as liberals are in love with FEMA, why don’t they credit George W. Bush with creating it?

hawksruleva on October 31, 2012 at 4:10 PM

FEMA has been around since the 50′s when it was created to respond to a nuclear attack and help govern the country and help it recover after the attack. Goerge W created Homeland Seccurity, which FEMA may or may not report to (I dont remember right off anymore). Homeland Security has a number of agencies rolled up into it, such as ICE, Coast Guard, etc.

seymour01 on October 31, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Since election day was standardized in 1845 there have been 6 presidential elections held on November 6th and Republicans have won all six. That means next Tuesday, the 7th Presidential election held on this date, will either break or uphold a streak that began in 1860 with the election of Abraham Lincoln.

Starting in 1792, states had a range of dates on which to conduct presidential elections, but in 1845 Congress standardized the date so it would always be the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Since then presidential elections have been held on dates ranging from November 2nd to November 8th with each date coming up about six times in a fairly regular pattern. The date November 6th has always been a good one for Republicans:

1860 – Abraham Lincoln over Stephen Douglas
1888 – Benjamin Harrison over incumbent Grover Cleveland
1900 – William McKinley over William Jennings Bryan
1928 – Herbert Hoover over Al Smith
1956 – Dwight Eisenhower over Adlai Stevenson
1984 – Ronald Reagan over Walter Mondale

Which brings us to November 6th, 2012 where it’s Mitt Romney in a tight race with the incumbent Barack Obama. Will the Republicans’ lucky streak hold or will Obama make history as the first Democrat to win on that date? We’ll know in a week (or so).

In case you’re wondering, the 2016 election will be held on November 8th. It will be the 7th presidential election on this date since 1845. The prior six were evenly split with three going to Democrats (Cleveland, FDR, Kennedy) and the other three to Republicans (Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, G.H.W. Bush).

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/10/30/The-Streak-Republicans-Have-Won-Every-November-6th-Presidential-Election-Since-1860

Resist We Much on October 31, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Just think of how much the Red Cross could have done with that 5 million from Trump.

If only Obama wasn’t so secretive more people could have been saved.

weaselyone on October 31, 2012 at 4:22 PM

As a furhter addendum to the statement above about FEMA, its mission has since morphed inito responding to any situation that overwhelms local and state authorities. Once the local/State authorities request Federal aid/asssistance, FEMA has 72 hours ro respond to the location and start ASSISTIN local and state resources and coordinatiing Federal resources to mitigate and reduce the impact of the disaster. They then adminsiter federal aid (read monies) to assist in the recovery efforts and to pay for the expenses incured by the overwhelemed local and state authorities.

seymour01 on October 31, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Trolls that brag about voting for Obama on a (mostly used to be) conservative site are funny.

search4truth on October 31, 2012 at 4:24 PM

Sorry to be a complainer, but these auto-play ads are starting to really turn me off. They play over each other, they play every time I refresh the page, which makes following a thread very fragmented because I have to scroll up and down to stop the ads. They even play over the embedded videos in the blog. Buzz kill for the HA experience. Jackalope on October 31, 2012 at 3:28 PM

^^^

Akzed on October 31, 2012 at 4:24 PM

The idea that a private organization could provide disaster relief is absurd.

Hey, wait – isn’t the Red Cross a private organization?

hawksruleva on October 31, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Winner

faraway on October 31, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Per @CarrieNBCNews, Biden chats w/ a GOP relative of a FL voter, concluding that when insurance rates go down, “you’ll vote for me in 2016″

LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO!
LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO!
LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO!
LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO!
LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO!
LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO!
LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO!

Oh, stop it, Plugs! Yer killin’ me!

LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO!
LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO!
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LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO!
LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO!
LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO!
LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO! LMFAO!

Oh, I think I cracked a rib!

Resist We Much on October 31, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Jackalope on October 31, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Adblock plus is your friend! (I do not see a single auto play ad)

Katfish on October 31, 2012 at 4:27 PM

If stuck using IE, and you can manage it, then go to: Settings, then Manage add-ons then disable Adobe Shockwave Flash Object. This will prevent flash videos from automatically starting up. But this could prevent other sites’ videos from playing so could be a pick your poison scenario. But worse case there can always enable it and refresh page.

Using Chrome, Firefox, etc is another way to avoid having the autostart.

nextgen_repub on October 31, 2012 at 4:11 PM

Or hit the goddamm mute button.

katy the mean old lady on October 31, 2012 at 4:32 PM

NYT=MSNBC=CBS=NBC=ABC=AP=MINITRU

jukin3 on October 31, 2012 at 4:34 PM

akaniku on October 31, 2012 at 3:33 PM

hilarious stuff bub, straight out of cozmo’s no sarc tag playbook

sorry cozmo, I really thought that was somebody pulling your old gig

DanMan on October 31, 2012 at 4:36 PM

How a Liberal “helps out” in a disaster/ social problem:

1. Publicly, and loudly thanks God for federal program.
2. If there is no federal program for the problem, states the need for one.
3. Revels in satisfaction at a job well-done.
4. Files tax return seeking every possible exemption and loophole.

tdarrington on October 31, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Waffle House Inc. … fully embraced its post-disaster business strategy after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Seven of its restaurants were destroyed and 100 more shut down, but those that reopened quickly were swamped with customers.

The company decided to beef up its crisis-management processes. Senior executives developed a manual for opening after a disaster, bulked up on portable generators, bought a mobile command center and gave employees key fobs with emergency contacts.

What? Private enterprise preparing for disaster without gov’t help? What is this coming to? /s

And, yes. The Red Cross is a private agency, dependent upon donations (not extorted tax dollars) and way ahead of FEMA.

IrishEyes on October 31, 2012 at 4:41 PM

Obama to Waffle House Inc. (and all you right-wing loons):

“You didn’t build that.”

ShainS on October 31, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Charities like Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse come in first, partnering with local churches, businesses, and government, later backed up with resources and employees from the federal government

I just want to make a point here… After helping in Mandelville, Slidel, Fulsom and New Orleans a week or two after Katrina, let me just state the obvious that anyone down there knew…

I will not give one penny to the money-grubbing Red Cross. I will give blood, but that’s it. The groups doing the most BY FAR where the local churches. Nearly all goods distributions ran through the churches, and all the crews going through individual neighborhoods were churches. The entire week I was down there, our crew of around a hundred only saw 2 Red Cross vehicles… one parked in a parking lot, and another driving through New Orleans giving out a single hot meal (while we took Penske trucks around and unloaded boxes of MREs, bottled water and bleach). And then when I got back and saw commercial after commercial begging to send money to the Red Cross… I was DISGUSTED. If you want to make a difference in a disaster, contact the churches… they self organized with a supply/help line that the military would drool over… and they were the ones making the real difference. The businesses routed supplies through the churches for distribution. The church we operated out of had semi loads showing up about every other day. And not a single media outlet even mentioned it… even though the cities were so overflowing from volunteers that traffic was jammed with relief volunteers. I have never seen such an outpouring of God’s love… and not a peep of it ever appeared on the evening news when I got back. I was absolutely dumbfounded over the blackout.

The one comment that sticks in my mind even now came from a resident in Slidell… which was hurt REALLY bad (6 foot storm surge, most lost everything). A tree cutting crew had been going around the neighborhoods removing trees from roofs because the city wouldn’t turn on power to individual homes until the trees were gone. They came across this resident and asked about his home, which had been leveled with a tree. He responded not to bother, the home was a complete loss. He then asked a question… “You’re Christians, aren’t you?” Yes, the crew was operating out of the Mandeville Church of Christ (major distribution center on the north side of lake Pontchartrain) and gave him contact info if he needed anything. He replied, “I knew you were. You’re the 10th crew to come through this area and ask if I needed help… and every single crew was from a church.”

Like I said… not one penny to the Red Cross. If you want to make a difference in disaster relief… go to the churches. They know how to git ‘r done.

dominigan on October 31, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Barack was given a ****storm, and made it into a nice looking (if not quite 100% complete) snow globe. Let’s finish the job.

akaniku on October 31, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Sounds like someone has really fallen hard for a “snow job”.

ndanielson on October 31, 2012 at 4:54 PM

I will add… The businesses like WalMart and Waffle House sent TONS of materials through the church distribution networks. They had semis of material to distribute (food, pallets of water, etc) within a day or two… and they kept coming. Heck even Tyson dropped off a semi of food for us to use for the disaster crews and distribute for immediate use.

dominigan on October 31, 2012 at 4:55 PM

And, yes. The Red Cross is a private agency, dependent upon donations (not extorted tax dollars) and way ahead of FEMA.

IrishEyes on October 31, 2012 at 4:41 PM

I hope they’ve improved since my experience. They only thing after Katrina that we really saw was a shelter in Fulsom that was NOT well run. (In fact when we stopped by to drop off donated clothing to a family we knew was staying there, and the people there got rather nasty.) Most people in the shelter wanted to get out as quickly as possible.

dominigan on October 31, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Most people in the shelter wanted to get out as quickly as possible.

dominigan on October 31, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Wouldn’t that be the case for everyone but the homeless?

weaselyone on October 31, 2012 at 5:06 PM

We’ve been hit on more than one occasion with disasters (fire, hurricanes, floods) and we have never completely shut down our operations and have always been able to meet the critical needs of our customers thanks to pre-planning. I can’t find any section of our disaster plan that says “Wait for FEMA to get here.” In fact, we don’t rely on the feds, period. Weirdly, it’s a strategy that seems to work pretty darned well.

natasha333 on October 31, 2012 at 5:10 PM

The left loves FEMA and such, except when they don’t.

Bmore on October 31, 2012 at 5:12 PM

…go to the churches. They know how to git ‘r done.

dominigan on October 31, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Pretty much what what we experienced and the local g’ments were glad to let them.

DanMan on October 31, 2012 at 5:12 PM

Or should that be the other way around. No matter.

Bmore on October 31, 2012 at 5:12 PM

If your rules and regulations are an impediment to the accomplishment of your mission in a time of crisis, they certainly don’t serve any positive function the remainder of the time, and need to be scrapped.
Oops, that pretty much describes about 90% of the Federal Register today, doesn’t it?

Another Drew on October 31, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Articles like this make it abundantly clear why the New York Times’ business model is a decent predictor of its ultimate demise.

natasha333 on October 31, 2012 at 5:13 PM

If a Big Storm requires a Big Gov’t, then why is it that the Big Gov’t is the first thing that closes when there’s a Big Storm and Little Restaurants like Waffle House actually stay open and help people???

Yes, indeed. And the next time the feds close down shop except for “essential personnel” I say that we lock the doors of every federal building and don’t let these “non essential) (i.e. worthless) gooberment burueacrats back in.

natasha333 on October 31, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Obama to Waffle House Inc. (and all you right-wing loons):

“You didn’t build that.”

ShainS on October 31, 2012 at 4:44 PM

That was exactly my first thought when I read this.

I gotta say I am impressed. The Waffle Houses seem like such a simple operation, I never really considered that they would develop a sophisticated emergency action plan.

I’m not surprised that Wal-Mart was on the scene long before FEMA. Their logistics are better because they developed them with a profit-centered motivation. FEMA, not so much. Having lived in New Orleans from just a few months after Katrina I can attest first hand that Wal-Mart and Home Depot were lifelines in a city reeling from “the storm.” They were really the only stores operating for a significant period of time.

Happy Nomad on October 31, 2012 at 5:23 PM

Was there any media present when the floods in Iowa were worst than the Katrina floods in NewOrleans? No! Was there any FEMA there? No! How about any help at all from the government? None! Those Iowans got it together by themselves without a lot of crying. I’m really surprised to see the backing of Obama there when they were ignored.

mixplix on October 31, 2012 at 5:24 PM

Yes, indeed. And the next time the feds close down shop except for “essential personnel” I say that we lock the doors of every federal building and don’t let these “non essential) (i.e. worthless) gooberment burueacrats back in.

natasha333 on October 31, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Hey, you’ve got to be fair here. The federal government shut down in DC due to Hurricane Sandy because the Metro wasn’t running (rail and bus). Even if the government workers had the option of driving (many do not have parking available) it turn the beltway into a parking lot and you’d have all those cars on the road going home in the height of the storm Monday afternoon. Tuesday’s closure is less defensible other than the decision was made when the forecast looked more dire than what transpired AND time was needed to recover. They had to walk all 600 miles of track before Metrorail was allowed to re-open Tuesday afternoon.

In short, there is a difference between non-essential personnel when there is threatening weather and worthless. Or are you suggesting that somebody who works on public policy should be expected to risk his/her life just to get to the office?

Happy Nomad on October 31, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Resist We Much on October 31, 2012 at 4:27 PM

LFMAO is so AOL/1992.

slickwillie2001 on October 31, 2012 at 5:31 PM

Being smarter than the average post turtle, when a disaster is forecast for weeks ahead, YOU personally take responsibility to keep the gas tank full, have food and water at your house, have some emergency lighting, and keep tools around to help recover. There are plenty of Democrats who wait until the disaster is on to try and get gas, water, batteries et al. They hardly ever buy tools (or would know how to use them) but they know exactly where to go to beg for help for things they should have provided for themselves.

Bernfp on October 31, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Was there any media present when the floods in Iowa were worst than the Katrina floods in NewOrleans?

Um…. During Hurricane Katrina more than 1,700 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of others displaced all along the Gulf Coast.

In what sense is the 2008 flooding in Iowa worse?

Happy Nomad on October 31, 2012 at 5:38 PM

For some strange reason I am craving waffles with lots of whipped butter and maple syrup..
Maybe even a side of eggs, over easy, and a couple of strips of bacon…

Al Hall on October 31, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Nah – the Waffle House menu peaks out at pork chops & eggs (over easy) with said waffle on the side. I practically lived on that during a 3-month TDY in Jacksonville…

affenhauer on October 31, 2012 at 5:44 PM

America, let’s finish the job it off.”

akaniku on October 31, 2012 at 3:33 PM

There. Fixed.

98ZJUSMC on October 31, 2012 at 5:48 PM

As you noted at another link:

http://gothamist.com/2012/10/31/outrage_in_the_powerless_zone_a_dis.php

The intelligent fools at the NYT’s are about to see how well FEMA reacts.

I’d give ‘em less that a week before they start throwing a bitch…but they’ll hold off until Nov 7th.

GarandFan on October 31, 2012 at 5:48 PM

As of last night Samaritans Purse has fully loaded 18 wheelers and teams standing by WAITING for permission!!! from FEMA to enter the disaster zones.

douglucy on October 31, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Or are you suggesting that somebody who works on public policy should be expected to risk his/her life just to get to the office?

Happy Nomad on October 31, 2012 at 5:30 PM

may I suggest that somebody who works on public policy (at that level) should be encouraged to find a real job…

affenhauer on October 31, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Tell us how you really feel, Mary Katherine!
Seriously, tho, great slap down of the NY Slimes.

KS Rex on October 31, 2012 at 5:55 PM

I did not know this. We have a Waffle House in our town, mostly we make fun of it, but if there is ever a disaster, I will make sure I check the Waffle House Index.

lea on October 31, 2012 at 6:01 PM

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