A few weeks back, I took a friend out to dinner at a local steakhouse that will remain nameless. Forty minutes after placing our order, the waitress came over and said "How's everything going here?"
I said "I feel like I'm on the FEMA diet plan. I asked for food, but no one's bringing it."
When Hurricane Andrew hit Florida, King George the Elected sent the FEMA staff there. Of course, the FEMA staff at the time consisted of key fundraisers for his presidential campaign. All they could do was stand around and get in the way as rescue efforts went on. They had no experience in disaster management and understood damage claims about as well as I understand the female psyche.
When Clinton took over, he didn't want to get caught with his pants down (At least not like that), so he did something totally strange in Washington circles. Rather than appoint a partisan hack, he appoined James Lee Witt, a man with disaster management experience who was actually (Gasp!) qualified for the job!
All good things come to an end. King George the Selected took over in 2001 and appointed Joe Allbaugh. Allbaugh's only experience in disaster management was managing GeeDubya's first campaign for Governor of Texas. A disaster to be sure, but since Texas's governmental structure calls for a weak governor, he at least didn't have to put the state back together.
And then comes... The Arabian Horse Show judge. I know that some from my side of the fence have been overlooking him as of late because he's finally talking about the incompetent-in-chief, but I refuse to give him a walk. He took a job he was terribly unqualified for. If my mailman took the FEMA job and screwed up on the monumental level that Mike "Heckuva a job, Brownie" Brown did, I would bash the mailman.
In 2005, FEMA had a bigger job than it traditionally would have had. Much of the equipment that Louisiana could have used to save their people is sitting in Iraq right now, as was a large part of the personnel.
So FEMA was Louisiana's only line of defense (Let's cut through the retarded talking point here--- Local and state governments don't have the resources when the National Guard is deployed on the Great WMD Snipe Hunt), and it failed miserably. Harry Fucking Connick made it into New Orleans while FEMA was still cowering. In this disaster, Michael Bolton would have been more useful than Michael Brown.
So now, a Senate inquiry has decided that disbanding FEMA is a good way to go. It would be replaced by a new organization with the same useless parent department, Homeland Security.
The question is: Just exactly what is the difference between a nonexistent FEMA and the FEMA that waited until the day after the disaster to send out a memo calling for new people to be hired for deployment within 72 hours?
Don't disband FEMA. Reorganize, do whatever else is necessary. But still call it FEMA. It's a reminder of the abysmal failure of their post-Katrina operation, and a hair shirt reminding whoever's in charge to not fuck up again.