End It, Don't Mend It

Abolish FEMA

That's the conclusion of the Senate panel that investigated the government's response to Hurricane Katrina.

The bipartisan report upbraids Bush, pointedly noting that "the President did not leave his Texas ranch to return to Washington until two days after landfall, and only then convened his Cabinet as well as a White House task force to oversee federal response efforts."

And it fingers Alberto Gonzales as a culprit for behind needless suffering of New Orleans residents:

"Federal law-enforcement assistance was too slow in coming, in large part because the two federal departments charged with providing such assistance — DHS and the Department of Justice (DOJ) —had done almost no pre-storm planning. In fact, they failed to determine even well into the post-landfall period which of the two departments would assume the lead for federal law enforcement under the NRP. As a result, later in the week, as federal law-enforcement officers did arrive, some were distracted by a pointless'turf war' between DHS and DOJ over which agency was in the lead."

The report also details the reckless waste of taxpayer dollars in the storm's aftermath, including "FEMA's purchase of 25,000 manufactured homes that are virtually useless because FEMA's own regulations prohibit them being installed in a flood plain," and "instances where hotels charged for empty rooms; individuals held multiple rooms; hotel rooms were used as storage units for personal goods; individuals stayed at resorts; and hotels charged rates as high as $400 per night."