WORST EXCUSES EVER  9:20 am June 14, 2011

FEMA: Razed Houses In Alabama Have ‘Insufficient Damage’ To Receive Funds

by Kirsten Boyd Johnson

all of these things have insufficient damage to receive relief fundsA family in Alabama whose house was completely leveled, squashed, shredded, and blown apart (in that order) by one of the nation’s endless tornado rampages got a creepy letter from incompetent bureaucrat holding pen FEMA saying that, after inspection, their home was deemed to have “insufficient damage” to qualify for FEMA funds. Could you please make up any other reason on earth to say you won’t give them the ca$h, FEMA? Say that roving chimps invaded your filing systems and ate the reports. Say the inspector developed medial temporal amnesia and thought you had a nice Winnebago where you were holing up. Say your funds approval officer has a sadistic streak but he’s in therapy SO HANG IN THERE, WE’LL FIX IT.  But “insufficient damage?”

From the Daily Mail:

Jefferson County resident Jonathan Stewart said he laughed in shock after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) claimed the house his family lost in the deadly April 27 twister was ‘not unsafe to live in’.

The devastating reality is the house is now a concrete slab surrounded by rubble.

Mr Stewart told AL.com a FEMA inspector saw first-hand the Pleasant Grove residence he shared with his wife, Lisa, and their two children was ripped from the ground.

Three days after the visit, however, he received a letter reading: ‘Based on your FEMA inspection, we have determined that the disaster has not caused your home to be unsafe to live in.

This is the new standard for American housing. [Daily Mail]
 
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{ 126 comments }

memzilla June 14, 2011 at 9:25 am

"Concrete Slab" also describes much government bureaucracy, and the depth of most Rethuglican thinking.

Preferred Customer June 14, 2011 at 9:29 am

A smooth place to put your tent is the new American Dream. Jesus, you have a concrete slab? What are you, a Rockefeller?

Serolf_Divad June 14, 2011 at 9:45 am

Tent? Well, looks like someone here on Wonkette has got a rich ouncle. My family and I have to make do with a shelter made of tubleweeds and dried praire grass… you know… the same stuff that's in our soup?

FlownOver June 14, 2011 at 9:49 am

Luxury.

anniegetyerfun June 14, 2011 at 9:51 am

Luxury! When I was growing up, the best we could hope for was to huddle under a tiny blanket made from our own body hair. It didn't keep out the rain, but a rusty Bic lighter did provide some heat.

Serolf_Divad June 14, 2011 at 10:10 am

You have no idea what I'd give to own a Bic lighter… but it didn't take long to realize I couldn't afford the payments.

AJWjr. June 14, 2011 at 11:12 am

Refrigerator box ftw!

SorosBot June 14, 2011 at 10:29 am

A tent? What's wrong with a good, old-fashioned cardboard box in an alley?

DaRooster June 14, 2011 at 10:34 am

Wrapping paper!! (That Mylar stuff is best)

Biel_ze_Bubba June 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Well, to be fair to FEMA, a naked concrete slab really is not 'unsafe to live in." Or to live on. Had there been dangerous cracks, they could have applied for a government loan to buy a bag of patching material.

So sit on your slab, grab your bootstraps, and repeat after me: "USA! USA! USA!"

Madfall June 14, 2011 at 9:26 am

If this storm had been in the UK the Daily Fail would be praising the bureaucrat for following procedure and not coddling people who are trying to suck on the government tit. The only reason this story is as damning as it is, is the Mail's overwhelming tendency to publish stories about how 'OMG foreigners are so stupid/corrupt/funny looking compared to us right-wing English people.'

charlesdegoal June 14, 2011 at 9:36 am

Fuck Every Miserable American

Pres[EXTERMINATE!!] June 14, 2011 at 10:39 am

Meanwhile, the Murdoch Times would publish an editorial noting how tornadoes are a great social equalizer and an example of the Invisible Hand at work. Not sure which is worse, the Daily Fail or the Murdoch Times.

FlownOver June 14, 2011 at 9:28 am

Rut-roh.

You know who else had a FEMA run by morans?

Boredw/Gravitas June 14, 2011 at 9:33 am

W?

GunToting[Redacted] June 14, 2011 at 9:34 am

Us? Is it us?

CrunchyKnee June 14, 2011 at 9:34 am

Bush?

jakegittes June 14, 2011 at 9:35 am

David Cameron?

mumbly_joe June 14, 2011 at 10:38 am

Gordon "bloody 'ell of a job, chap" Brown?

DaRooster June 14, 2011 at 9:47 am

Everyone?

Pres[EXTERMINATE!!] June 14, 2011 at 10:40 am

Eisenhower? No, wait. At least they had a functioning CONELRAD system under his administration, along with "fallout shelters" in school basements stocked full of barrels of water and crackers.

GOPCrusher June 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Tony LaRussa?

Terry June 14, 2011 at 9:28 am

Someone at FEMA checked the wrong box in a database and screwed these people over royally.

finallyhappy June 14, 2011 at 10:47 am

Or possibly, it was like some of my colleagues who were just morans(and not GOP- just stupid people ). I wasn't at FEMA but everywhere has dopes

Preferred Customer June 14, 2011 at 9:28 am

Who knew that Joe Biden was doing FEMA inspections now?

anniegetyerfun June 14, 2011 at 9:53 am

Here's 125 bucks, asshole! Go buy yourself a sleeping bag. Ha! What? There are turtles in the desert that could use that money!

weejee June 14, 2011 at 10:43 am

Tortoises please. This is a politically correct site.

AJWjr. June 14, 2011 at 11:15 am

Yep, it's tortoises all the way down.

jqheywood June 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm

!!!Leave Joe alooooonnneee!!!1!

jakegittes June 14, 2011 at 9:29 am

After consultation with Barbara Bush, the FEMA bureaucrat concluded that because of the homeowners' horrible interior decorating choices, they were better off living on the concrete slab.

anniegetyerfun June 14, 2011 at 9:55 am

Hey, you can really spruce up a concrete slab with a little cement glue and the broken shards of your good china. I smell a mosaic coming!

AJWjr. June 14, 2011 at 11:16 am

It's really pretty safe, now that there's nothing else that could possibly fall on your head.

Boojum_Reborn June 14, 2011 at 9:29 am

What, have they never heard of tents? Socialism, that's what this is.

Amo_of_Bogio June 14, 2011 at 10:56 am

I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing "Hallelujah."

We were proud REPUBLICANS!

Boojum_Reborn June 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm

You had cold poison? We would have KILLED for cold poison!

Why, we had to drink molten gold and eat ground glass so that we could shit computer chips for Intel, renting our assholes from them by hour. Paying to work in a mill sounds like a vacation, at least from the rumors about what some people had called "vacation."

Oblios_Cap June 14, 2011 at 9:29 am

In fairness, they thought he was Jon Stewart and were just engaging in a sprited game of petty revenge for all the anti-FEMA material he's aired in the past on The Daily Show.

OC_Surf_Serf June 14, 2011 at 9:31 am

Heckava job, FEMA.

Mort_Sinclair June 14, 2011 at 9:31 am

Now if these people had been running an ice cream stand in, say, Idaho, completely and utterly unconnected in any way from any tornado in any state, they would have received a letter from FEMA stating that it would pay for the construction of a new house.

charlesdegoal June 14, 2011 at 9:31 am

Another excuse would be that it happened at the time of their monthly fema troubles.

finallyhappy June 14, 2011 at 10:47 am

very good!!

Doktor Zoom June 14, 2011 at 9:31 am

This is outrageous. We should cut taxes for the rich to keep it from happening again.

El Pinche June 14, 2011 at 10:28 am

ALSO STOPING GAY MARIAGES!! GOD BLESS AMERKA!

ArmoredBore June 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Word! If we could do that, the lion would lay down with the lamb and the Sunnis and Shiites would lay down their arms! And we'd never get God's angry tornadoes ever again!

GOPCrusher June 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Hasn't the Republiklans defunded FEMA yet?.

SorosBot June 14, 2011 at 9:32 am

Hey, haven't those selfish housing-wanting homeowners heard that this country has a budget deficit we're all supposed to pretend to be concerned about right now?

PabaBritannica June 14, 2011 at 9:32 am

Quiet! Or we'll throw Alabama in the FEMA DEATH CAMP. Actually…would that be so bad?

philpjfry June 14, 2011 at 11:18 am

At least they would have a place to live

Oblios_Cap June 14, 2011 at 9:33 am

Tornado damage is nothing compared to the damage that Shelby & Sessions do to Alabama on a daily basis.

CalamityJames June 14, 2011 at 10:09 am

THANK YEWWWWW!!!

…and Bentley actually makes me miss that douchebag pervert Riley.

Monsieur_Grumpe June 14, 2011 at 9:33 am

The devastating reality is the house is now a concrete slab surrounded by rubble.

But it is very high quality rubble!

DashboardBuddha June 14, 2011 at 9:40 am

That's right! Unemployed Gazans would line up for rubble like that.

Biel_ze_Bubba June 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm

All-American, exceptional rubble!

Chillwaver June 14, 2011 at 9:33 am

The Daily Mail, uh? Brits just love to report every step of the American demise, don't they? "It's payback time, Paul Revere!"

Timofmars June 14, 2011 at 12:31 pm

That'll teach him to ring those bells and shoot those warning shots.

Boredw/Gravitas June 14, 2011 at 9:35 am

I'm sorry, was their car in a tree? Live in that, elitists!

mrblifil June 14, 2011 at 9:37 am

Wow, the Galtian overlords are attempting to change FEMA from within. I'm surprised the letter had nothing to say about teat sucking.

Pres[EXTERMINATE!!] June 14, 2011 at 10:41 am

Or the Sanction of the Victim… or a gigantic fucking huge Gold Dollar Sign inside their special Invisibility Shield-cloaked polyamorous BDSM Valley O' Fun.

Allmighty_Manos June 14, 2011 at 9:37 am

"Jefferson County resident Jonathan Stewart said he laughed in shock after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) claimed the house his family lost in the deadly April 27 twister was ‘not unsafe to live in’.

The devastating reality is the house is now a concrete slab surrounded by rubble."

Well, there are a lot of people in the world who would give anything to spend one night on your concrete slab in the greatest nation on Earth. Stop complaining you big baby.

haphazardmusings June 14, 2011 at 9:37 am

Oh, trust me, we're getting more than our fair share of the federal pie. Just don't tell that to the Tea Party here. It confuses them.

FakaktaSouth June 14, 2011 at 10:13 am

This is what I was gonna say. Taxes out / fed money in, we're way overpaid. But math and facts are hard and actually understanding shit takes more effort than going on your "feelins" bout stuff. Damn thieving guvment. I do hope these folks get back to living in a house though. April 27th with two kids is a long ass time ago.

friendlyskies June 14, 2011 at 10:31 am

Well, call me a liberal fool, but I was just in Alabama this weekend and saw some of the tornado damage – it looked like a war zone, the houses were just destroyed. It seemed to me like those folks needed a help up more than Iraquistan needs another batch of private military contractors, or Libya needs another aerial bombing.

SorosBot June 14, 2011 at 10:48 am

Or the rich need their tax cuts.

GOPCrusher June 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Which is true, except these are the same people that railed against the Katrina victims that were too poor to get transportation out before the hurricane hit, or consider black people "looters" while white people are "salvagers".
These are also the same people that ride around in pickup trucks with a "Everything I ever wanted to know about Islam, I learned on 9/11" bumper stickers, and cheerleaded every supplemental funding package that was passed by the Republiklan Congress to finance the Holy Crusade Against Islam.
Fuck em.

Swampgas_Man June 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm

So, you've met these particular people in the article, or you're judging from your vast experience?

friendlyskies June 14, 2011 at 8:13 pm

That's what I was going to say – the bankster-run govt and media were the ones spinning the racial division with all that "blame the victim" stuff during Katrina, to take the focus off their inept, greed-tainted failure at rescue and rebuilding. Psyops, and cleverly done at that. So sure, some people fell for it, but I doubt they lived in Alabama, which had Katrina and Rita damage too. Obviously, it would be playing right into their hands to sow more racial division by blaming the tornado victims for an imagined sin during Katrina.

Biel_ze_Bubba June 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I thought they learned everything they needed to know about Islam from bumper stickers.

weejee June 14, 2011 at 9:38 am

Folks make do with the slab down at the morgue, so where is the prob?

Goonemeritus June 14, 2011 at 9:39 am

What you think of as a concrete slab FEMA calls a Freedom Platform, This new type of domicile is inherently tornado proof.

CrankyLttlCamperette June 14, 2011 at 11:01 am

I really wish I could laugh at this but I'm too scared of how right I think you might be…

Rotundo_ June 14, 2011 at 7:10 pm

No longer bound by four walls and a roof, they are free to take in the glorious spectacle that is nature in Amurka with nothing to separate them from it. From the chattering of the birds to the buzzing of the insects, nothing will stand between them and their god given right to enjoy nature.

ifthethunderdontgetya June 14, 2011 at 9:40 am

LUXURY!

When I was a kid, we dreamed of having a concrete slab surrounded by rubble.
~

Oblios_Cap June 14, 2011 at 10:07 am

We lived in a shoebox by the side of the road.

Amo_of_Bogio June 14, 2011 at 10:51 am

LUXURY – we would have been thrilled to have a shoe box by the side of the road. We had to live on the lake…

HistoriCat June 14, 2011 at 10:58 am

Some of us had to live in the lake – you try getting a good night's sleep while treading water.

Mumbletypeg June 14, 2011 at 11:06 am

And some of us lived in a swamp til, amphibious-like, we remembered to become human again, & agitated back to shore

jqheywood June 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Treading? TREADING?…Luxury! We had to drown every night because we couldn't afford treading….

Chillwaver June 14, 2011 at 9:42 am

Sorry Alabama, all the FEMA funds are now going towards paying for the wars you so vehemently support!

Note: snark aside, I really hope FEMA morans just made yet another mistake and that these people are taken care of.

DaRooster June 14, 2011 at 9:44 am

"…was ‘not unsafe to live in’…"

Just get some duct tape (or is it bailing wire in Alabama) and stick it back together… sheesh, quit complaining… you have a slab don't ya? Ahh… the American dream…"There will be a squirrel in every pot and a concrete slab for every family!"

ifthethunderdontgetya June 14, 2011 at 9:45 am

Show them that you really care.

Email them your screensaver.
~

Noman June 14, 2011 at 9:47 am

"Bush's fault!"

Callyson June 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Along with other Republicans, actually: http://patriciashannon.blogspot.com/2011/06/after

JoshuaNorton June 14, 2011 at 9:49 am

Well, there's obviously nothing left to fall over and hurt them. So they're not in any immediate danger. Makes perfect sense to me. Besides, how's FEMA supposed to know the difference between what the storm did and how much of that crap was already in the front yard before it hit?

Maybe they can find a cute little single-wide at <a href="http://www.toxictrailers.com” target=”_blank”>www.toxictrailers.com. They're really not that bad if you can hold your breath for long periods of time.

Sue4466 June 14, 2011 at 9:50 am

Technically speaking, FEMA is correct. His house isn't unsafe to live in. Anymore.

Pragmatist2 June 14, 2011 at 9:50 am

hey we have got to trim the fat somewhere. Might as well start in the Red States.

DonnyKerabotsos June 14, 2011 at 9:53 am

Come on. folks….I smell an opportunity….lemons to lemonade…boot-straps, people!!!

Next up on TLC:

Slab-tastic!!!

Each episode features a different designer who has just one day to change that slab from 'drab' to "Slab-tastic!!!"

DaRooster June 14, 2011 at 11:06 am

"And next on MTV… SLABS! See some of the most beautiful, decked out slabs the stars have to offer."

AJWjr. June 14, 2011 at 11:27 am
Biel_ze_Bubba June 14, 2011 at 9:19 pm

"Pimp My Slab!"

SorosBot June 14, 2011 at 9:56 am

True; if there is an upside to this story, it's that as Alabamans this family are probably a bunch of douchebags.

Chet Kincaid June 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm

You guys are turning into the fucking douches you claim to despise.

simplyblue7 June 14, 2011 at 9:58 am

In mother country concrete slab was only for the czar!

StarsUponThars June 14, 2011 at 9:59 am

FEMA is actually doing this family a favor by sparing them the horror of the letter they would be receiving five years down the road, demanding that they repay the money they received in error. (Actually happening in Louisiana right now.)

Biel_ze_Bubba June 14, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Actually happened to my mother: SSA discovered they'd been cutting too big a check for 15 years … and they wanted it all back. Which was totally not possible, so they did the next best thing and stopped sending checks. Took about 2 years, with the help of a lawyer, to hammer the barest outline of a soul into the jerks.

metamarcisf June 14, 2011 at 10:05 am

Highway Patrol Officer: "Do you believe this vehicle is safe for highway travel?"

Del Griffith: "Yes I do."

WhatTheHolyHeck June 14, 2011 at 10:07 am

We used to dream of living on a concrete slab surrounded by rubble.

SonofSpermcube June 14, 2011 at 11:07 am

We lived in a paper bag in a septic tank.

Nopantsmcgee June 14, 2011 at 10:21 am

"by one of the nation’s endless tornado rampages got a creepy letter from incompetent bureaucrat holding pen FEMA"

Wtf?

V572 [SSAN] June 14, 2011 at 10:22 am

When you're a new president, and you've got some loyal follower that you want to reward with a sub-cabinet-level position, but you either (1) hate him, or (2) want him to fail, FEMA's the place to put him! It's a worse turkey farm than SBA, which no one ever really noticed until Katrina. Imagine a government agency that only has to do anything important when there's a disaster—how much budget are you going to give them when there isn't a disaster? None! So they're bound to fail when there is one, particularly with that idiot in charge!

USA! USA!

freakishlywrong June 14, 2011 at 10:24 am

Sooooo..now people in Alabama want help from the Gubbmint'? Make up your minds, ya bunch a Rick Perrys.

SorosBot June 14, 2011 at 10:26 am

It's cute when the wingnuts try sarcasm; but here you actually give an accidentally appropriate comment, as Reagan's policies did indeed make a lot of people homeless. There's a reason he's known as one of the worst Presidents this country's ever had.

mumbly_joe June 14, 2011 at 10:41 am

Yeah, pretty much.

It's obvious enough from facts in evidence that one doesn't even need to turn to a partisan source for evidence.

Actually, I'm pretty sure wingnuts will claim that's a combination of Carter's fault, and time-travelling Bill Clinton.

ttommyunger June 14, 2011 at 10:30 am

The article simply glosses over the fact that it only took three days to prepare and deliver this completely fucked-up decision. Who says the Government is slow?

AJWjr. June 14, 2011 at 11:59 am

That's just like Ron Paul–"do less, do it quickly".

Callyson June 14, 2011 at 12:27 pm

And I was wondering WTF T – Paw was talking about when he said he wanted a faster government in that debate last night. Now I know.

donner_froh June 14, 2011 at 10:33 am

It could have been much worse–FEMA might have housed the guy and his family in a formaldehyde soaked trailer for a year or two.

OneDollarJuana June 14, 2011 at 10:37 am

To be fair to FEMA, most houses in Alabama are extremely similar to piles of rubble, the difference being that the houses have the cars in the front yards up on blocks, while the storm-damaged piles of rubble have the cars next to the blocks.

hagajim June 14, 2011 at 10:42 am

Technically the FEMA guy was correct. A concrete slab is not unsafe to live in….except you can't really live 'in' a concrete slab. You can live on it though. Unfortunately it's this kind of stupid shit that gets publicized and gives the Rethugs all the ammo they need to paint government as the enemy….fucking morans.

AJWjr. June 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Dude's own fault for not having a storm cellar built underneath that slab in the first place, right?

weejee June 14, 2011 at 10:47 am

Speaking of Newt, did you notice he has bigger boobs than Bachmann?

Plowmon June 14, 2011 at 10:49 am

As we are so fond of saying here in 'Bama when quitting a poorly done job, "It'll be alright…"

Poindexter718 June 14, 2011 at 10:54 am

Is it really fair to blame FEMA for failing to distinguish a slab surrounded by rubble from the local architectural vernacular in rural Alabama?

horsedreamer_1 June 14, 2011 at 10:57 am

Somewhere, William T. Sherman is smiling.

orygoon June 14, 2011 at 11:06 am

Where in the Constitution does it mention providing houses for people who lost theirs, I ask you?

JoshuaNorton June 14, 2011 at 11:09 am

It must be the name "Pleasant Grove" that's causing this slight misunderstanding. They should change the name to "It Really Sucks to Live Here Now Grove".

weejee June 14, 2011 at 11:21 am

OT

The WaPoop's Phasebook poseters say the Michele was the wiener winner of last night's bloviation marathon.

harry_palmer June 14, 2011 at 11:22 am

FEMA's just trying to save the feds cahs here so that they can make the bank whole after Mr Stewart defaults on the mortgage.

Callyson June 14, 2011 at 12:33 pm

From that Daily Fail story, I don't know what is worse…
1. The fact that FEMA said this:
Although the disaster may have caused some minor damage it is reasonable to expect you or your landlord to make these repairs.
…to a family whose house is in ruins, oh and plus the father's arm is in a sling…
2. Or this:
A pending lawsuit accusing FEMA of improperly denying thousands of farm workers in Texas money to repair their homes after Hurricane Dolly struck in 2008 based on the insufficient damage finding claims that FEMA used a concept called 'deferred maintenance' to back the rejections.
Deferred maintenance is not referenced in any regulation, Jerry Wesevich, an attorney with Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid who represents the plaintiffs, told AL.com.
Mr Wesevich described deferred maintenance as a 'shorthand term that FEMA uses when it determines somehow that a condition of a home prior to the disaster caused the damage after the storm'.
…so, if those lazy poor people had just kept their place clean, that storm would not have been so bad? I knew wingnuts liked creative accounting, as was evident in W's budgets, but now it seems they like creative science as well…

Beowoof June 14, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Jesus, just pull another trailer in and plug it in, voila new home.

MrFizzy June 14, 2011 at 1:51 pm

This is nothing more than an error involving the address of the property, the evidence of which (usually a street number on a mailbox) was probably blown ten miles away by the tornado. As much as this country likes to malign every government agency, this is one that actually gets things right most of the time, an especially difficult thing considering the environment they work in. Of course there won't be any coverage about what went right, or when FEMA corrects this error, which was no doubt made because it was necessary to do things so quickly that problems inevitably occur. Sorry I can't be more cynical about this.

glamourdammerung June 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Who would have guessed that one could not rebuild houses with "State's Rights"?

Swampgas_Man June 14, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Hey, as long as you've got leaves and deer poop, you've got a two-course meal, you trust-fund baby.

JerkCade June 15, 2011 at 11:12 am

Ahh, but we were happy.

tessiee June 14, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Sure, this probably happened at least in part because FEMA has been underfunded and understaffed for years, but don't worry, y'all: next time Cletus and Brandine mosey into that-there votin' booth, they'll remember this and not reflexively scrawl their Xs next to the name of the guy who promised tax cuts.
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Ah ha HAH!! Had you going for a second, there, didn't I?

tessiee June 14, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Oh, goody. Now all of the government social services are completely discredited forever, and there's nothing standing between us and the heavenly embrace of free market feudalism.

PsycWench June 14, 2011 at 10:45 am

Every Christmas my daddy would work long hours in the concrete mines to buy each of us kids a new match. One year I got two matches but I gave the extra to a poorer friend.

mumbly_joe June 14, 2011 at 5:03 pm

You got to drown? EVERY NIGHT?! We couldn't even afford to sleep at night, because we were pulling 72-hour shifts at the cancer factory.

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