Government Agencies Can Also Be Lifesavers
I've been aware of a number of "conspiracy" theorists who are convinced that the Bush administration deliberately fouled up just about every governmental agency in order to wean Americans off their dependence on Uncle Sam's munificence.
Why else, they maintain, would Bush put the former head of the American Quarter Horse Association in charge of FEMA? And one has only to look at the sterling performance of the FDA, which took forever to identify the source of last year's E. coli outbreak and has looked totally impotent in this year's salmonella scourge that has killed several people and exposed the agency's inability to protect us.
I won't even bring up the SEC, which was handed Bernie Madoff on a silver platter by an insider when he had cheated only one-tenth of the country's population. Now, years later, he's just about cheated everybody, but it's still not clear what the SEC is going to do about it.
Amidst all this, there is a silver lining, and it involves a federal agency. I could not help noticing the incredible job the FAA controllers did with the US Airways flight that ended up in the Hudson River. As cool as Capt. Sullenberger was, his controllers matched him, icicle for icicle.
In a short recorded exchange that has been replayed ad nauseum, "Sully's" controller, in a seamless and eerily deadpan voice, contacted both LaGuardia and Teterboro approach controls for permission to land the stricken airliner. He was still calling out potential options when the plane splashed down.
Recently government has not worked the way we might have wanted it to, but there are 155 people and their extended families who are proof that given the right support and direction, it can be a lifesaver.
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