We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto. But taxpayers from Kansas (and elsewhere in the country) are paying for essential reconstruction work in the wake of three hurricanes. Or are they?
Government aid for Hurricane Frances bought Miami-Dade County residents rooms full of furniture, new wardrobes and thousands of appliances, including microwaves, refrigerators and sewing machines, even though the brunt of the storm missed the county.
FEMA paid $4,500 for one resident's funeral, even though the county medical examiner recorded no storm-related deaths.
In six instances, FEMA blamed damage on "ice/snow."
In areas with the highest number of FEMA awards, residents told the Sun-Sentinel their neighbors used buckets and hoses to water down belongings and called it hurricane damage.
In her ZIP code, FEMA inspectors recorded 257 damaged or broken televisions.
But Martinez, whose TV business sits on a busy Opa-locka intersection, said at most three customers mentioned storm damage.
"As I recall, last month was a pretty slow month," he said. "What a country."
What a country, indeed.