too stupid to grasp the spork

I’ll grant that another post about Hurricane Katrina and aftermath and yet more harping on the particularly shocking degree of incompetence demonstrated by Federal response then, and since, represents just so much ineffectual hand-wringing.

Guilty as charged. But I’m gonna.

Counting is hard.

Federal officials vastly overestimated the value of hurricane relief supplies given away earlier this year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency reported Monday. The General Services Administration, which manages federal property, over-counted cases of toilet paper, plastic sporks and other cutlery, by mistakenly counting a single item as being worth as much as multiple items contained in a package of goods.

The original GSA estimate of $85 million should have been $18.5 million, according to figures released by GSA and FEMA. The household goods were supposed to go to people whose homes were destroyed by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. But the items were stored in warehouses in Louisiana, and then Fort Worth, Texas. A recent CNN investigative story exposed that those materials never made it to storm victims.

. . .

For example, each spork was assigned the value of an entire case, inflating the original estimated value of the supplies a thousandfold to $36 million from $36,000. Packs of toilet paper originally estimated to be worth $1.5 million dropped to about $18,000, and plastic cutlery kits, from $6.3 million to about $25,000.

Really, I’m at a loss. Just sitting here, shaking my head glumly.

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About dave bois

Freelance writer with a strong pull towards environmental matters (water issues especially) that remains fueled by my study of and early-career practice in geology and hydrology. Music, food, dogs, current/political events, and visual arts combine to command much of the portion of attention not ceded to ecological concerns. Also Monty Python. I've sold a few pieces of original art and have made cab fare home playing saxophone. Native Mainah

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