8:15 AM, Oct 2, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
After nine years and $247 million, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) new high-tech disaster relief system may not work as intended, according to a new report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Not only is the system unable to interface with systems of suppliers and partners, but FEMA does not have enough personnel trained on how to use the system, nor is there published guidance or procedures should the system be unavailable. Additionally, the estimated "life cycle cost of the system" is about $556 million, which is $231 million more than the original estimate.
FEMA's purpose for the Logistics Supply Chain Management System (LSCMS) was to make the acquisition and delivery of emergency supplies (water, food, generator, blankets) quicker and more efficient. However, according to Inspector General John Roth, "One of FEMA’s prime missions is to immediately provide survivors with three days’ worth of basic emergency supplies. As presently configured, this supply chain system is not up to that task.” Roth's report placed the blame on DHS and FEMA:
We attribute these deficiencies to inadequate program management and oversight by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FEMA. As a result, FEMA may not be able to efficiently and effectively aid survivors of catastrophic disaster.
As recently as July 2014, FEMA had filled only 33 of 116 "logistics specialist positions" needed to operate the system in the event of an emergency, and not all of those had necessarily completed their training. Record-keeping for LSCMS training was so poor that the OIG "identified four logistics specialists with no record of having completed the LSCMS basic training course; yet in 2013, they were deployed for disaster response."
The OIG's report made 11 recommendations as a result of the audit, one of which FEMA has already fully addressed and the OIG considers closed. FEMA has begun to take action on most of the remaining recommendations, but the OIG is awaiting evidence of implementation before considering them resolved. In any case, even with the recommendations implemented, the OIG expressed doubt that the system would ever function as originally intended, concluding that "the current LSCMS may not ever meet critical performance requirements."
Resulting in … what exactly?12:00 AM, Aug 23, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Congratulations to you, Tom Montag, named sole chief operating officer of Bank of America this past Wednesday. And first thing Thursday morning asked to sign a check to the government for $16,650,000,000 to settle complaints that the bank sold flawed mortgage securities in the days preceding the financial crisis. But don’t feel too badly. Only $9.65bn will go to various regulatory agencies. Some, $7bn will go toward writing down the balances of homeowners struggling to meet mortgage payments, and to demolish foreclosed homes in blighted neighborhoods.
8:07 AM, Aug 7, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Vice President Biden's trip to Brazil in mid-June for the USA versus Ghana World Cup game and meetings the following day with the president and vice president of Brazil required rental of vehicles for Biden and his entourage costing over $900,000.
8:06 AM, Jul 29, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Publicly, President Obama loves to demonize insurance companies. But behind the scenes, Big Government and Big Insurance maintain a cozy alliance that the Obama administration actively nourishes, often at taxpayer expense. Indeed, as emails recently obtained by the House Oversight Committee show, Big Government and Big Insurance have worked together to promote Obamacare. They’ve also worked together to make sure taxpayers will help bail out insurance companies who lose money selling insurance under Obamacare — that is, unless Republicans stop this from happening. Moreover, Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett is among the prominent White House officials who’ve been in the middle of this collaboration between insurers and the administration — between those driven by the profit motive and those driven by the power motive.
1:18 PM, Oct 7, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Northern New England is in its glory; now and for the next week or so. The leaves are nearing peak color and until yesterday, there has been a big high pressure zone parked over the area so the weather has been what would once have been described as "heavenly." It has been raining now but in a few days, the sun will shine again and the leaves will still be there, in full. And for that, Washington can take no credit.
8:11 AM, Oct 7, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Only "essential" employees of the federal government are still working during the shutdown. And at the Federal Election Commission that means practically no one is coming one.
According to a report by the Center for Public Integrity, only 4 of the employees on the FEC's staff of 339 are working through the shutdown. That's because only those 4 are considered "essential."
9:03 AM, Sep 12, 2013 • By KEVIN R. KOSAR
Are you feeling impulsive? Well, if you are in the District of Columbia there is nothing to fear—the government is doing all it can to protect you from yourself. D.C.’s health department has issued draft regulations that would require anyone seeking a tattoo to wait 24 hours to be inked. A spokesperson for the agency, explained: “We’re making sure when that decision is made that you’re in the right frame of mind, and you don’t wake up in the morning... saying, ‘Oh my God, what happened?’”
8:24 PM, Jul 2, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In a blatant exercise of arbitrary rule, the Obama administration announced this evening that it has unilaterally decided not to implement a key provision of Obamacare on schedule. By law, Obamacare’s employer mandate — its requirement that businesses with 50 or more workers provide federally sanctioned health insurance — should go into effect next year. By executive fiat, it won’t go into effect until 2015.
7:46 AM, Apr 2, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
As the sequester bore down on Washington, the dire warnings from the Obama administration gave the impression that wild horses couldn't drag another dime out of the treasury for a whole host of vital government services. Aircraft carrier refueling, the Head Start program, and White House tours were among the high profile victims.
Could it change public opinion on big government?4:04 PM, Apr 1, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior writer Stephen F. Hayes on President Obama's bad sequester calculus. Hosted by Michael Graham.
8:36 AM, Mar 7, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
When it comes to deficit reduction, President Obama and the mainstream press seem to have a fascination with the figure of $4 trillion. During last year’s first presidential debate, Obama falsely claimed, “I've put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit reduction plan,” even though he’d done nothing of the sort.
"It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth."6:04 PM, Feb 12, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The White House has released limited excerpts of President Obama's State of the Union Address:
“It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class.
Nearly double the cost of the first three years of Bush and Clinton combined.2:29 PM, Jan 30, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
As Adam White discusses in detail, there’s nothing moderate or incremental about the increase in federal regulations — and hence in centralized executive power — under President Obama. To the contrary (as White notes), according to figures published by the Obama White House (see table 2-1), the costs of regulations issued by this administration have dwarfed the costs of regulations issued by prior administrations.
1:40 PM, Jan 4, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
It has been a long climb for NASCAR. The sport's beginnings were in bootlegging. One of its finest drivers, fiercest competitors, and most successful owners learned his craft hauling moonshine on the back roads of North Carolina.
2:25 PM, Dec 24, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Spending will increase 55 percent over the next decade, if President Barack Obama's budget plan goes into effect. The finding comes from the Republican-side of the Senate Budget Committee, which notes that Obama's "Proposal Would Spend $880 Billion Over Already Projected Increases."