Memo to FEMA

When you deny some victims of Hurricane Charley because they have insurance coverage, you are making a valid judgement call. It may not be a judgement that some victims would particularly like, but it is defensible.

On the other hand, sending “token sums” to the hurricane victims you’ve just denied is not in any way consoling. You’re just adding insult to injury. It will get you plenty of bad press and will hurt your credibility.

From the People’s Republic of Seabrook:

One day after Donald Seither’s mobile home was ripped up by Hurricane Charley, the 74-year-old retiree picked up a friend’s phone and pleaded for federal aid.

Technically, he got it. But mostly, he got ticked off.

Seeking the government’s help, the Punta Gorda resident — after being put on hold for 2 1/2 hours — got through to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and told his tale: a damaged roof, shattered windows and no electricity.

About a week later, a check from the U.S. Treasury came in the mail. Here, Seither figured, was the hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars he and his wife would need to help rebuild their lives.

Then he opened the envelope and read the fine print. The check’s value: $1.69.

It turned out Seither and his wife didn’t appear to qualify for major federal assistance because they had insurance coverage. But rather than reject them outright, FEMA says it is giving them, and several other hurricane victims, token sums instead.

It’s a quirk in a system intended to provide serious relief for those whose lives have been disrupted or destroyed. FEMA says for many, a small sum is better than nothing.

We used to do a better job than this. I’m pretty sure we did.

An Apology

I owe the Greeks an apology. When I saw the first pictures of the spectator that ran out into the street and tackled the marathon race leader, I thought from his costume, its colours and its kilt, that he was Greek and dressed in a traditional Greek costume. I was quite wrong.

Turns out the spectator was a defrocked Irish priest named Cornelius Horan, carrying a sign that the coming reckoning was near, so says the Bible. The sign also identified him as the Grand Prix Priest, as he was the same person who disrupted the British Grand Prix by running out onto the track last year.

Oh, I dare him to try grabbing onto the race leader of the Indy 500. I double dare him.

Personal Updates

Last couple of days at Alternatives Journal. Just putting the finishing touches on the circulation manual and looking forward to the celebratory lunch. I also may have a temp assignment starting the very next day. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

The :Trenchcoat Farewell Project: is almost done, waiting for a final proofread story and the final layout of the last four stories. I’m about ready to put a “to-printer” date on this project of September 12. But as this project is now three years overdue, I’m not about to make such announcements officially.

Rosemary and Time still waits for a smile from a prospective editor. Have not decided on retitling.

And Erin is doing well, feeling little pain from her minor surgery and no pain so far from the condition that her minor surgery addressed. My mother-in-law is still in town, offering much appreciated support and love. We watched Castle in the Sky last night and she really enjoyed it.

Doctors tell us it will be a couple of weeks before we know for sure whether or not Erin’s surgery was a success, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed and daring to hope. Your thoughts and prayers are most appreciated.

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