Stormy weather and Trump’s further absence of leadership

The Thinker by Rodin

It is kind of stunning how tone deaf the Trump Administration has become. By this time it shouldn’t be, but it is anyhow. After all, Puerto Rico was not hit by just one hurricane, but by two hurricanes. Hurricane Irma first made a swipe at the island before moving onto Florida. Florida was quite fortunate in that ultimately Irma picked a pretty benign path to wreak its destruction, with the Florida Keys taking the worst of it. Still, it was quite bad, and it knocked out much of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure. I have a sister in Fort Lauderdale. Like most of south Florida, she, her husband and her dog evacuated for a week. They dealt with massive traffic jams and lack of fuel, problems that could have been mitigated. She lost a few tiles off her roof from tree damage and suffered a water main break. It could have been a lot worse.

At least she didn’t live in Puerto Rico. It’s not easy to escape Puerto Rico and few Puerto Ricans have the means to get off the island even if they wanted to. So they had to hunker down during Irma and then do the best they could to survive. FEMA for the most part had its attention elsewhere, so these American citizens were largely left to their own resources. The more powerful Hurricane Maria wiped out pretty much everything that was left including lots of its bridges and most of its power grid. This left large parts of the island effectively landlocked: no power, no communications and with residents left to fend for themselves.

With sewage systems collapsing and their water supplies damaged many residents fought off thirst by drinking contaminated water, some coming down with wholly preventable diseases like cholera in the process. Drinking the water was problematic but there was not much you could do when the food ran out. Puerto Rico seems to be evolving into the equivalent of a third world country with disease, starvation and with what’s left of their homes providing an al fresco living experience for months or years to come.

Meanwhile, what bothered our “president” was that some NFL football players were bending on one knee during the national anthem. He saw it as being unpatriotic whereas the right to protest is actually one of the amazing features of our country. Clearly the administration is tone deaf to the harassment and killing of principally black citizens by our police. I don’t believe that Trump was all that upset by these protests. Rather, he was looking for something new and shiny to distract the public and enrage his supporters. He would have found something else if necessary because otherwise the press might spend more time looking at his administration’s poor handling of these hurricanes, particularly in Puerto Rico.

It’s not like we don’t know what to do to help people when these events happen. Food and clean water can be staged in the likely path of the storm. Generators can be brought in to support hospitals along with diesel needed to keep them going. It doesn’t cost that much to provide tents and temporary awnings, and I imagine there are chamber pot suppliers still in this business. Plans could have been in place to clear landing strips. The Corp of Engineers could have been on standby to build temporary bridges.

But none of this was new or shiny. It’s not clear that Trump even knew that Puerto Rico was part of the United States. He seems to have been surprised to learn that it was in the Atlantic Ocean, although it’s more accurately in the Caribbean Sea. In any event with no path to statehood and no representatives in Congress, there was no political reason to look at or care about Puerto Rico. It’s not surprising then that Congress gave it little attention and found it convenient to cut its support to the island. When the inevitable problems emerged of too many needs chasing too few resources, it was the fault of Puerto Ricans. So more austerity was needed, to force them to lift themselves by their own bootstraps somehow. In reality though it just forced more Puerto Ricans to leave the island, principally to Florida and New York.

Puerto Ricans have known for quite a while that our country doesn’t care about them, and they’ve been voting with their feet, since they are disenfranchised at the ballot box. Irma and Maria though now prove beyond a doubt that our country, at least our federal government, doesn’t care about them. At best they are second-class citizens, even though Puerto Rican citizens disproportionately fight in our wars and serve in our military.

The implicit reason is that most Americans don’t see them as citizens. They are too brown to be real citizens, and worse speak mostly Spanish. In an openly racist administration, they are even less seen. When they are seen at all, it is with barely disguised disgust. Mostly they are simply ignored.

Some of us though don’t feel this way, including my wife and I who have been contributing heartily to Puerto Rico’s relief. Some of us think that being an American citizen should mean something. As a first world country no citizen should have to worry about drinking rainwater or coming down with cholera. They should know that someone has your back. It’s not the state of Puerto Rico since it is not a state. It can’t be entirely its territorial government whose resources can’t begin to adequately cover the needs of its people. So it has to be the federal government, except right now our government clearly doesn’t give a crap about them. Puerto Ricans have been other-ized. If anything, whatever support we supply is a demonstration of power and a clear signal: you are not first-class citizens.

If only there had been even this much thought from the Trump administration. Basically Puerto Rico was not even on their radar. They just didn’t see a problem and you certainly can’t care about what you refuse to see. Doubtless our weather service and emergency managers dutifully raised the issue of Puerto Rico’s vulnerabilities and the impact of these storms. But Trump’s complete tone deafness and his lack of empathy for anyone not like him (white) simply made it a nonissue.

All the resources we needed to mitigate this disaster could have been there; they simply weren’t utilized for the most part. So the Trump administration is playing catch up. Trump is claiming everything is going perfectly when obviously it’s the complete opposite. Not that his supporters will know or care; they too excel at being tone deaf. In Trump’s mind, that’s all that really matters. His supporters need to be kept happy, but since he is incapable of doing much to actually make them happy he has to pander to their prejudices and cause distractions instead. That’s apparently all that really matters.

Climate change: is it time to head for the hills?

The Thinker by Rodin

I’d like to say from watching the effects of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey on the Houston area that Mother Nature must be sending us a message. Mother Nature of course does not exist, but nature is sending us yet another message about climate change anyhow. It just doesn’t appear that we are listening quite yet.

Harvey is not a thousand year flood. This is the sort of storm likely to become much more frequent. My bet is that you will see one of these events about once a decade now in the United States, and probably more often. While it is impossible to attribute this particular storm to climate change, given that global warming has made the Gulf of Mexico a hotter body of water in general, it’s going to make any storms that form more likely to be severe. In this case, its arrival in Houston was particularly bad because of its huge population. Houston and environs is roughly the same size as New Jersey, and it is both densely populated and low-lying. Add a storm that doesn’t move much due to warmer Gulf of Mexico atmospheric conditions feeding it and it feels like we need Noah and his ark. Unfortunately at 300 x 50 x 30 cubits, it’s not going to hold the population of the Houston area, estimated at around 6.7 million people.

The reality is there is not a whole lot Houstonians could do to survive this flood other than just hang on and hope or head for the hills. Actually, heading for the hills was tried before, which is why Houston’s mayor didn’t order a mass evacuation. Over 100 people died in 2005 fleeing Hurricane Rita’s approach to Houston, mostly stuck in traffic trying to get out of the city. Maybe when Harvey’s casualties are totaled up, a mass evacuation will look sensible, even if those casualties are replicated again.

Of course evacuation is not always an option, particularly for the poor and displaced. Houston’s form of governance makes evacuation more difficult: the city has no zoning laws! Rita proved that its highways could not quickly empty the city but any transportation engineer could have told you that. A better-managed evacuation might have worked. If you didn’t have a car though you were largely out of luck. Houston is typical of most cities, which do second-class jobs at best of managing growth. If our cities were properly engineered people would not be allowed to move into the city until the infrastructure was there to ensure the safety of its inhabitants. Cities constantly play a losing game of catch up. In reality though they cannot afford to pay for every contingency or even the most likely ones. So when you move to places like Houston you must accept the downsides that storms like Harvey are going to wreak havoc on your life from time to time. Only now these events are going to feel more routine than exceptional.

All cities like Houston can really do are to try to mitigate the effects of storms like Harvey. Some people will throw in the towel after this event, seeking opportunities on higher and drier ground. Most residents won’t have that option. You go where you can find work. Cities will continue to be the best bets for finding good jobs. However, the internet does make it possible for many of us teleworkers to relocate if our bosses will allow it. Harvey will give many of those with this option incentive to head for the hills.

Eventually even Texans are going to have to acknowledge they can no longer deny climate change. There are actions government can and should take. One big change could be that the federal government stops issuing flood insurance in areas that are most prone to flooding, or at least new flood insurance policies in those areas. It’s rather harsh, but it does recognize reality and shifts the cost for those living in flood prone areas from the government to these residents. FEMA already produces flood maps so you can assess your vulnerability prior to moving somewhere. Some home insurers require federal flood insurance to issue policies.

Ideally no government would allow new houses to be built on likely flood plains. I used to live in Endwell, New York, a small village on the bank of the Susquehanna River. Floods in recent years have pushed the Susquehanna twice over its flood stage. It’s gotten so bad that pretty much all the properties close to the river have been abandoned or demolished. These floods twice reached the Catholic elementary school I used to attend, making it uninhabitable. This year the county finally got around to demolishing it. Expect to see more berms along rivers and coastal areas. They can reduce the likelihood of floods but not mitigate the risk to lives and property altogether.

With sea level rise though this simply buys time, necessary time hopefully for people to relocate to higher ground. Cities like Houston can’t relocate. Massive pumping stations like New Orleans has might help but it’s unclear that there is any safe place to discharge any water collected with Houston being inland. San Antonio is used to flooding and has adapted by constructing flood tunnels. I don’t think Houston has anything like this, but it should be studied.

As I noted two years ago, you don’t want to become road kill on the global climate change super highway. Climate change is here, coming at us quickly but not so quickly that most of us can’t make sensible long term plans to rearrange our lives to be minimally impacted by it. Think of Harvey as a harbinger of worse things to come. You want to avoid the rush because at some point climate change will become so undeniable that massive migrations to safer areas will start. So the sooner you pack up and leave the better off you will be and the less expensive it will be as well. You are also more likely to escape our climate crisis alive. Dead men tell no tales. If we could read the minds of the casualties from Harvey they probably would have wished that they had headed for the hills long ago.

Hurricane Sandy reminds us why we need government

The Thinker by Rodin

With the arrival of Hurricane Sandy here on the east coast yesterday, you got a timely reminder of why we need government. Yesterday was a day when you wanted to batten down the hatches and if you lived in certain areas also pray like hell. Unless you own a boat or ship you probably didn’t have to literally batten down any hatches, although I have to wonder if failure to do so lead to the sinking of the HMS Bounty during the storm.

For most of us storm preparation meant cleaning out gutters, removing chairs from our decks, testing the sump pump, stocking up on batteries, toilet paper and bottled water, and finding places for our automobiles away from trees. It worked for us here in Oak Hill, Virginia. Sandy dumped more rain than wind on us. Nearby Washington Dulles International Airport reported 5.4 inches of rain during the event, with peak sustained winds of 39 miles an hour, with gusts to 54 miles an hour. We also had a day of record low pressure, something I attribute to climate change. As hurricanes go this was a bizarre one. No tropical air and foggy windows this time, but cold air fed by a cold front on the other side of the Appalachians, driving rain for more than a day, and blustery winds yesterday afternoon and evening. Our house, windows and floorboards rattled from time to time, but the power and heat stayed on and we never lost Internet.

News reports indicated that millions of others are still without power. Sandy left much of New Jersey and lower Manhattan destroyed and/or underwater. I am monitoring my hometown of Binghamton, which likely has not seen the worst of Sandy yet. The area suffered two devastating floods in 2005 and 2010. This may be yet another one for that suffering area to endure. But its impact will be softened, thanks to local, state and federal emergency managers. Thanks should also be given to President Obama, who declared areas disaster areas before the storm hit, to speed aid and supplies.

The list of people and organizations to thank are immense. There is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which coordinates disaster relief and works intimately with the states to stage disaster relief supplies. There is the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center, which effectively tracked the storm and issued the correct warnings. There is the Coast Guard, various governors, state and local emergency responders, power crews, ambulance drivers and cops on the beat.

Some of the best results were things that did not happen. My roof did not blow off or collapse. This did not happen by magic, but was the result of building codes and building inspections. In 1985 when my house was constructed, Fairfax County sent out inspectors to make sure my house was constructed to a code that would allow it to endure major storms like Sandy. In 1999 we replaced our deck and enclosed it. “Big government” building inspectors took a look at the roof of our new deck and told the contractors it was not up to code. They were forced to add additional beams to support the roof.

There is more evidence of big government across the street from my house. There a large dry pond sits awaiting events like Hurricane Sandy. It safely collects backwater then funnels it into the nearby creek in a measured manner, minimizing flood damage. Even in the event that it overfilled the dry pond, the codes required the road to be graded in a certain way to keep the water flowing gently downhill, never leaving a spot on the road for water to accumulate. Before the community was even constructed, an engineering study was ordered to make sure no part of our community was in a flood zone. Had these safeguards not been in place, it is likely that we would have experienced some storm damage last night. Possibly me and some of my neighbors would be dislocated, injured or dead. Big government could not eliminate these risks, but through a planning and an impartial inspection process it minimized these risks. One of the reasons our power never went out is because power lines are underground in our neighborhood, another outcome of big government. Doubtless it would have been cheaper to plant telephone polls instead.

Much of the wheels of government work this way. It’s the things that you don’t see and take for granted that minimize losses and deaths during these natural events. All these services cost money, but they cost less because their costs are borne generally through taxes. The cost per capita for the National Weather Service is a couple of dollars per year.

FEMA is an example of the services that Mitt Romney plans to drastically cut if he is elected president. And yet many of these services are already chronically underfunded and if anything need more funds. Moreover, the cost of funding these arguably essential areas of government are a pittance compared to the cost of entitlements and defense. At least now Romney claims says he won’t cut FEMA. But clearly you cannot balance a budget and not raise taxes if you don’t cut something. If you won’t do much to cut entitlements and keep bloating the Defense Department’s budget, these essential government services must be drastically cut.

You can say, as many conservatives do, it is better to leave it to the states to handle these things. But hurricanes do not respect state boundaries. It makes no sense for each state to have a redundant weather service when it can be done nationally. The whole point of having a United States is to ensure that if some states have to deal with disaster, we can pick up their slack by everyone contributing aid through federal taxes. We need these services because we are all in this together. These services are not nice to have; they are essential. We are bigger than the sum of our parts because we are united and federated.

Also essential is the infrastructure that makes all this possible. We need the National Science Foundation to stimulate research in national areas of interest. We need my agency, the U.S. Geological Survey, to do seismological research, biodiversity estimates and to monitor the nation’s streams and groundwater, so the National Weather Service can make flood and drought forecasts. We need the FDA to make sure our drugs are safe, agricultural inspectors to make sure our food is safe, ICE to handle illegal and legal immigrants, and the FBI to investigate intrastate crimes. Maybe if push came to shove we can do without funding Big Bird or sending probes to Mars. These costs are mere pocket change in the federal budget.

As I have noted before, taxes are the price of civilization. If this is not clear to you, then elect Republicans and watch as our highways and bridges deteriorate, our children become unable to afford college, watch our food become impure, our drugs become adulterated and see legions of poor and starving people living on the streets because no one will house them or feed them. Expect that when some future Hurricane Sandy arrives, the size of the problem will needlessly mushroom simply because we as a society have decided we have stopped caring for anyone but ourselves.

It’s your choice. I understand if your ideology tells you to vote Republican regardless, but the next Hurricane Sandy won’t care about your philosophy and you and your family may be needless victims. God gave us brains. Let’s use them.

Don’t kill FEMA

The Thinker by Rodin

A bipartisan Senate panel thinks that the only way to save the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is to kill it. That is right; put a stake through its heart. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has been quoted as saying that FEMA is in shambles, beyond repair, and it needs to be abolished.

Over in the House of Representatives, House Transportation and Infrastructure chair Don Young (R-AK) has a completely different tack. He introduced a bill on May 9th to remove FEMA from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) entirely. Under his bill, FEMA would become a cabinet level government agency again. Not everyone in the House agrees, of course. A bill introduced by Dave Reichert (R-WA), chair of the House Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee, would keep FEMA where it is inside of DHS, but strengthen it.

There is no question that in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina last year, FEMA performed miserably. Here is it, nine months later, and it is hard to see much tangible progress rebuilding New Orleans. (Fortunately, other parts of the Gulf Coast are doing better.) New Orleans is a fraction of its former population. Most of those who left are unlikely to come back. The future Chocolate City, if it recovers, is more likely to resemble an Oreo Cookie.

Meanwhile, the 2006 hurricane season is almost upon us. I hope that during this season that there will not be so many hurricanes that we have to resort to the Greek alphabet again. Nonetheless, the upward trend in hurricanes (as well as other natural disasters) is worrisome. Our government needs to be much better prepared this year. It is hard to see how abolishing FEMA is going to improve the situation. Even a bad response to a major hurricane beats no response.

It is clear what went wrong with FEMA. First, against its wishes, it was absorbed into the new Department of Homeland Security. Second, its disaster preparedness budget was dramatically cut. Third, President Bush picked Michael Brown to run the agency. He came with the sterling qualifications of running the Arabian Horse Association. Fourth, FEMA was forced to take on new missions in national security for which it had no expertise.

Not surprisingly, FEMA quickly moved from one our most effective federal agencies to one of our most dysfunctional agencies. Knowing these major changes were no way to do disaster management, senior employees and critical knowledge workers grew disgusted and left. Among those who remained, morale plummeted. Meanwhile, at the nascent Department of Homeland Security, when they were not scurrying around trying to get a dozen agencies to dance together, they saw the threat of international terrorism as their top priority. FEMA’s natural disaster preparedness program got table scraps. Moreover, now it had to petition for the president’s ear through Michael Chertoff, the secretary of DHS.

This was not a palatable recipe for an agency that needed to be agile. Consequently, FEMA became a shadow of its former self. When Hurricane Katrina barreled into the Gulf Coast, it demonstrated that it no longer had the right resources to respond to major natural disasters.

From its formation in 1978 until it was absorbed into DHS, FEMA excelled at dealing with natural disasters. This is not to say they did not make their share of mistakes over the years. Any major disaster requires recovery time. Nevertheless, typically FEMA could be a major presence in a disaster zone within days of the natural disaster. They had food and bottled water distribution and the emergency shelter business down to a science. Living in disaster zones was not grand, but thanks to FEMA, it was bearable.

Killing FEMA makes no sense. Rather FEMA needs a little disaster help of its own. It needs funding and the right kind of leadership to regain its moorings. A former FEMA director would be a good transitionary choice for the agency. Instead of having to perform new missions, it needs to focus on being the agency that coordinates and provides initial relief for medium and large-scale natural disasters. Muddying its mission has proven disastrous.

In addition, since the president solemnly swears to protect the United States of America, FEMA needs cabinet level status again. Millions of people at risk from a natural disaster should not have to wait while an intermediary bureaucracy decides whether an event warrants presidential attention.

If FEMA is killed, something resembling it will doubtlessly be rebuilt. Since the number of disaster preparedness officials is a finite number, any new agency will probably have most of the same people who are already work for FEMA. It is likely though that as a new organization and chain of command is put in place, this new agency will in the short term become more ineffectual. Consequently, killing FEMA is likely to reduce our ability to respond to natural disasters. It seems unlikely that a new FEMA would perform better than the FEMA we knew and respected prior to its inclusion in DHS.

So do not kill it. The recipe is simple: put FEMA back the way it was in the 1990s. Pull it out of DHS. Put it back in the cabinet. Keep its mission focused on natural disaster readiness. Moreover, provide it with adequate funds to ensure it can respond to natural disasters that seem to be growing in size and complexity.

Like moving an aircraft carrier with paddles

The Thinker by Rodin

As you might expect on my forum we have been discussing Hurricane Katrina. Who is to blame? Who is not to blame? Some fault New Orleans mayor C. Ray Nagin for not having fleets of school buses ready to ferry citizens to safety. Others criticize the Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco for not having an effective response to Hurricane Katrina. (It is harder to be effective when a third of the state’s National Guard is stuck in Iraq.)

Those of us living outside Louisiana are more focused on the response by federal officials. FEMA director Michael Brown dutifully fell on his sword. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff so far seems to be dodging responsibility, but he may be called to account in time. President Bush now says that he takes responsibility for the poor response by the federal government. These are surprising words from him, since he has spent the first five years of his presidency avoiding accountability. Naturally, his admission does not mean that he is planning to resign. Atonement seems to consist of spending in only a few months more money on hurricane relief and reconstruction than we spent so far for the entire Iraq war. Doubtless, his political adviser Karl Rove is pushing him to do so because he is fearful that some otherwise red states may flip to blue. It takes a heap of money to satisfy over a million very angry and displaced citizens, if it can be done at all.

It is human nature to cast blame. In this case, there appears to be plenty to go around. I would like to suggest that perhaps Congress was also to blame by creating the Department of Homeland Security in the first place.

Just in case you are wondering if I hate America and want terrorists to run free, that is not how I feel. I just wonder if creating a centralized cabinet level department, amounting to the largest reorganization of the federal government in fifty years, was the smartest way to protect our homeland. As a long-term strategy, perhaps it made some sense. In the short-term those of us who have been around the bureaucracy a while knew what to expect: a lot of dysfunction and chaos.

The last agency I worked for, the Administration for Children and Families is a typical example of what happens when agencies merge. When I arrived in 1998, the agency was still quite obviously still the two agencies it had been prior to 1991. The reality was that it still acted like the two agencies it had been: the Family Support Administration and the Office of Human Development Services. Each was still doing its own thing, right down to using dissimilar email systems. Sure, they were trying to become one integrated agency but it was still a daunting process. Each agency had a long legacy of doing things their own way. Each had programs that had to keep going in spite of the merger. So merging the two agencies into one agency in reality was something that was very hard to do. It was a little like running and juggling at the same time. It is possible, but most of us do not acquire this skill easily.

By government standards, the merger that produced ACF was not too complex. After all, these were just two agencies that needed to come together, not a dozen. In addition, they belonged to the same department before the merger. By the time I left, thirteen years after the merger, integration finally felt achieved. For one thing, the agency was finally using one email system.

Now look at this new Department of Homeland Security. Pieces of DHS came from the Treasury, Health and Human Services, Justice, Transportation, Agriculture, Defense and Energy departments. It also absorbed portions of independent agencies like the FBI and GSA, and the entire Federal Protective Service. Before the merger, these agencies rarely talked to each other.

Of course, each of these agencies had previous missions that were left largely intact after their consolidation into DHS. While the DHS secretary had authority over these agencies, the reality was that getting them orchestrated was and continues to be a big and frustrating endeavor. To take one example, a new DHS performance based personnel system needs to be created. Meanwhile these agencies are having a tough time continuing their old mission. Why? Because a lot of chaos is being thrown at them. Just because INS became ICE did not mean that immigrants were going to stop coming into the country. Second, they have new or expanded missions directed by the DHS secretary. Third, boundary lines and responsibilities became unclear. They may be there on paper, but working through the low-level intricacies to implement these changes is very difficult. Fourth, they are being pressured to make all these big changes very quickly. The result is that instead of having a dozen or so agencies that in the past were reasonably effective in their individual missions, now there are a dozen or so agencies with reduced ability to carry out their missions. They seem like they are stuck in the tar pit.

There are possible ways around this sort of bureaucratic mess. One way is to have centralized budgetary authority but to continue to let each agency to perform its mission relatively freely. In other words, the DHS secretary could set goals for what needed to be done but leave the strategy and implementation to the individual agencies. The downside is that each agency may misinterpret what they should do, and there may be turf battles. The upside is the things that each agency can probably carry out its individual missions fairly well, since sand is probably not gunking up their engines.

It appears though that DHS, trying to bend to the will of the president and Congress, promised the moon. They would do it all, and they would do it all very quickly. It was a stupid thing to promise of course. However, good civil servants simply salute and do their best to make it so. Unfortunately, their best cannot possibly meet Congress’s unrealistic and stratospheric expectations. Congress always asks for the moon, and they want it yesterday. They expect elephants to dance immediately.

The result is a lot of bureaucratic dysfunction, some of which I believe was sadly but predictably manifest in the response to Hurricane Katrina. It was the idea of homeland security meeting the sad but predictable reality of how fast a new large organization can meet its new mission. Instead of acting like a well-trained police force, we had the Keystone Kops. Should we act surprised if they were never sent to the academy?

Our government is of course very large because it is being asked to manage large, difficult and multifaceted problems. Believe it or not it can do many things very well. I ought to know. I have been a civil servant for over twenty years. My current agency, the U.S. Geological Survey, is amazingly well run and effective. However, it has also largely been left to itself. It retains the same name it had when it was created in the 19th century. As a science organization, it is largely left alone to do its science. I have little doubt that if it were pulled apart and its pieces stuck in different departments that it would devolve into a collection of inefficient pieces.

A new department like DHS can be envisioned like new large aircraft carrier just out of the dry dock. The crew is new, coming on board, finding their quarters and checking out the ship. The crew consists of people who worked on completely different kinds of ships and boats. So right now, the crew is trying to figure out how to get the engines to run and to steer the ship. It will come in time. Nevertheless, for now expecting DHS to move efficiently is like trying to move this aircraft carrier with many long paddles from the flight deck. Perhaps with everyone rowing at the same time even this behemoth ship will move. However good the idea of DHS was in the abstract, do not expect it to be smooth sailing for many years to come. Let us hope those out to destroy our country have many other distractions or are more inept.