How the fuck were they supposed to prepare? Purchase more snow management equipment on short notice? Maintain a large fleet of trucks for the rare occasions that stuff like this happens?
I do wonder if they could have rented some snow/ice gear from areas not expecting snow for a few days but which had the equipment and supplies on hand. Wouldn't even have had to be government-owned equipment, there's plenty of companies around that keep plows and salters/sanders ready for snow, who contract out to remove snow and ice from driveways and parking lots, private roads and similar. Yes, it would have cost quite a bit -- fuel for the trip from the snowbelt to Atlanta and back, hotels, logistics to make sure salt and sand made it down, time and materials for the vehicles, but if it's only once every 3-5 years, it should be doable with a few calls and cash in hand.
They've got something on the moon and can get people into orbit this year. The US is years away from being able to put anyone in orbit without buying a ticket on a Russian rocket.
Only because our political class has decided it's not worth the risk. After two space shuttle failures, the writing was on the wall, and Congress collectively decided "Hell, if we're going to get the blame every time a rocket fails and someone dies, let's outsource that." The Soyuz and Atlas lines in their current incarnations are roughly equivalent in capacity (5,500 vs 5,900kg to LEO respectively), if we really wanted to all it would take is some extra QA (last Atlas failure was in 2007, and even so the payload made orbit, just lower than desired), a life-support capsule and re-entry system (old hat, we've had designs for those since the 60s) and the will to accept responsibility for any failure. There's also the systems currently launching cargo (Dragon, Cygnus/Antares) that are known to be able to make it up there, just not certified to carry humans yet. If we had a sudden need, say relationships with Russia go south, I believe we would pick the most reliable, certify it safe enough for human travel, and go for it.
That said, why would our government want to go that route unless it had to? So long as they can outsource, currently to the Russians, probably eventually to private companies such as SpaceX, they don't want the responsibility, the blame when things go wrong, or the negative feedback that luddites always throw at the space programs as it is.
I'm eagerly awaiting Alton Brown's commandeering of a playground roundabout with deep fryers lashed to the bars and an '01 Kia minivan's power wheel providing the input power.
But how to distribute the AC power - rotors and brushes?
Just use a portable generator -- you're going to want something to counterbalance the frying assembly anyway.
How can anything have a shape that turns into an electromagnetic wave when you're not watching...
The Doctor: Don't blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And don't blink. Good Luck.
why we keep spending money interfering with civil wars 1/2 way around the world??
To keep the insatiable maw of the military/industrial complex well fed, that's why.