Friday, November 04, 2005

Way to go, Mike

Contact from a faithful reader!

I think that you should write something about Michael Brown since he did such a great job as FEMA chief. After all, he is a "fashion god." We can all learn something from his stellar example. Even though it is from CNN, you can't make this stuff up.

Indeed. When 'ol Mike went before the House committee investigating the federal response, I thought that he defended himself really well. I thought - hey, they got this guy wrong. I was, uh, fantastically wrong.

Two days after Katrina hit, Marty Bahamonde, one of the only FEMA employees in New Orleans, wrote to Brown that "the situation is past critical" and listed problems including many people near death and food and water running out at the Superdome.

Brown's entire response was: "Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?"


The e-mails Melancon posted, a sampling of more than 1,000 provided to the House committee now assessing responses to Katrina by all levels of government, also show Brown making flippant remarks about his responsibilities.

"Can I quit now? Can I come home?" Brown wrote to Cindy Taylor, FEMA's deputy director of public affairs, the morning of the hurricane.

A few days later, Brown wrote to an acquaintance, "I'm trapped now, please rescue me."

Good joke.

A few days later, Worthy advised Brown: "Please roll up the sleeves of your shirt, all shirts. Even the president rolled his sleeves to just below the elbow. In this [crisis] and on TV you just need to look more hard-working."

On August 29, the day of the storm, Brown exchanged e-mails about his attire with Taylor, Melancon said. She told him, "You look fabulous," and Brown replied, "I got it at Nordstroms. ... Are you proud of me?"

An hour later, Brown added: "If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire, you'll really vomit. I am a fashion god," according to the congressman.

Cute. Well, it just goes to show that you need to be aware of the emails you send while on the job. Or maybe it goes to show that you shouldn't appoint unqualified idiots. Either way...

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