West Va. Toxic Spillers Totally Forgot to Mention This Other Chemical

Adam Weinstein · 01/22/14 05:06PM

For nearly two weeks, authorities have scurried to deal with the toxic spill of a coal-cleaning chemical that's left 300,000 West Virginians without tap water. But the company running the spill site shocked officials yesterday by disclosing that the spill included a second, little-known chemical.

Justin Charity · 01/12/14 09:19AM

Thirty-two people have sought treatment at West Virginia hospitals for nausea and vomiting symptoms possibly related to last week's chemical spill, according to the state's health department. A few of those ER visitors have been hospitalized.

Max Read · 09/30/13 11:25AM

Gawker's Max Rivlin-Nadler goes deep on Americorps for The Nation: "AmeriCorps is at once a real opportunity and a symptom of austerity. Its members are either being offered a pathway to a career—or they’re being used to lower the cost of social services for a government devoted to budget-cutting. Or, more likely, both."

Failed FEMA Head Michael Brown Finally Pays Attention to the Superdome

Max Read · 02/04/13 03:15PM

On August 31, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, FEMA public affairs officer Marty Bahamonde emailed his boss, then-FEMA chief Michael Brown, to make sure he understood how dire the situation had become in the Superdome, the New Orleans football stadium that was housing thousands of evacuees. "[T]he situation is past critical," he wrote in one of several emails he'd sent colleagues outlining the emergency. "We are out of food and running out of water." The stadium was overcrowded and undersupplied; there had already been three deaths, and Bahamonde expected more to die "within hours."

The Coca-Cola of Disaster Relief: What's the Red Cross Really Doing for Hurricane Sandy?

Jonathan M. Katz · 11/06/12 03:52PM

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.— On October 30, the day after Superstorm Sandy soaked thousands of homes with a two-story surge of seawater, housewares, and sludge, America's would-be first lady tried to unite a nation her husband spent the previous year helping to divide. Sporting a fire-engine red windbreaker, flanked by election banners and carefully arranged FedEx boxes marked "storm relief," Ann Romney asked a room of swing-state campaign workers to put aside partisan allegiances and perform one "very easy" task: "What I've been tweeting out is to contact [the] American Red Cross," she instructed—either donating via text message, or dropping off blankets and water that would be sent to the national organization. And she had company on that politically neutral ground. The same day, President Obama dropped by the American Red Cross' white-columned national headquarters in Washington to volunteer, in part by manning its official Twitter account. In the days after, the president continued to stress that "supporting the Red Cross is the best and fastest way" to provide aid.

Kate Winslet Escapes Fiery Hurricane Hell on Richard Branson's Island

Maureen O'Connor · 08/22/11 11:55AM

As we speak, Hurricane Irene (upgraded from "tropical storm" this morning and the first Atlantic hurricane of the season) is ravaging the Caribbean. So obviously, the next question on your mind must be, "But how are local celebrities doing?" The New York Post will have you know that Kate Winslet narrowly escaped a fire at Richard Branson's private isle in the British Virgin Islands. Branson's guests all got out safely, but his home, office, and "thousands of photographs" were "completely destroyed."

Alabama Mayor Finds FEMA Trailers Unsightly, Bans Them

Seth Abramovitch · 05/31/11 02:50AM

The tornado-ravaged citizens of Cordova, Alabama — about 35 miles northwest of Birmingham, pop. 2000 — have lost everything after a series of monster twisters tore through their town on April 27th. With nowhere to turn, scores of newly homeless residents were relieved when FEMA came along with a caravan of single-wide mobile homes they could use as shelter. Not so fast: Mayor Jack Scott has declared that single-wide mobile homes are illegal in Cordova.

FEMA phone system hacked to make free calls

Alaska Miller · 08/22/08 09:00AM

Although not as hardcore as the British hacker that did his work over 56k, another hacker should be commended for his ability to hijack FEMA phone systems and make $12,000 worth of free phone calls this weekend. The Department of Homeland Security was apparently upgrading FEMA's voicemail system with outdated Private Branch Exchange (PBX) technology but failed to configure the security settings properly. The phreak was able to exploit a vulnerability and use Homeland Security's own phones to ring up countries like Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Which all proves that Michael Chertoff was right to fear the power hackers have over inept government bureaucracies. [AP] (Photo by gthills)

Choire · 10/16/07 09:11AM

Apparently Bay Ridge is the new Ninth Ward! "Two months after a tornado ripped through southwestern Brooklyn, a sign with 'Vacate' in red letters still hung from the front door last week, keeping Ashraf Eshra and his family from moving back in.... 'The mayor's office came, FEMA came, and nothing happened,' Mr. Eshra said. 'FEMA said we can do nothing until you get settlement from insurance.'" [NYT]