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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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On wildfires, FEMA treats us to new trick
A Times Editorial
Published October 30, 2007
Heckuva job, FEMA. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a pathetic track record of claiming it is effectively responding to natural disasters when the reality is often quite different. But its strategy to avoid the heat regarding the California wildfires established a new standard for deceit and incompetence.
Instead of holding a news conference with real reporters asking real questions, FEMA staged an event last week that featured its own employees masquerading as journalists and lobbing softball questions to its deputy administrator. This was no harmless early Halloween trick. Some cable news stations carried parts of this farce live, and reporters listened on phone lines but couldn't ask questions. For some FEMA officials working in an administration comfortable with spreading misinformation, cutting independent journalists out of the loop entirely without telling the public apparently seemed logical.
This is broader than a little firefight between government bureaucrats and Washington reporters who were deceived. This goes to the continuing lack of credibility from FEMA, whose failures after Hurricane Katrina and other catastrophes have been well-chronicled. Residents depend on this agency to come to their rescue in their time of need. They should be able to count on timely responses to tough questions about ongoing relief efforts.
This time, it didn't take long for the White House to distance itself from such poor judgment. Over the weekend, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff called the fake news conference "one of the dumbest and most inappropriate things I've seen since I've been in government."