This is overwhelming. I can't even comprehend the amount of information gathered here, much less read all the links. I'm linking back for other people, though.
My small story: I work for TSA (Transportation Security Administration) which is under Homeland Security, which FEMA is also under. We screen people in airports, and that's what we're trained in, nothing else. (Although a lot of my co-workers are or used to be EMTs, firefighters, military, or law enforcement.) At our airport we were asked if anyone wanted to volunteer to go down and help the people in New Orleans, and a lot of my co-workers volunteered, even though we were told that it was likely we'd be mobilized with a matter of hours notice, be completely out of touch with our family, and possibly gone for three months. People jumped at the chance, because they wanted to help. And then waited for several days. Eventually we were told, on the 5th, that only those of us who already had government credit cards could go. Suddenly, they can't let us travel without government credit cards, and they can't process the paperwork fast enough. Previously any time they've sent us anywhere they've done standard reimbursements - they pay for the airfare and hotel, we pay out of pocket for food and get X amount per day back in our paycheck, later. It's... weird. So, only the management can go.