Former FEMA Head Should Be Jailed

There is far too much to blog about, but some stories need more airtime and this is one of them. I am thoroughly disgusted by this:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — As Hurricane Katrina ripped into the Gulf Coast, the government’s emergency management chief was making flippant remarks about his responsibilities, e-mails show.

“Can I quit now? Can I come home?” former Federal Emergency Management Director Michael 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.”

As employees looked for direction and support on the ravaged Gulf Coast, Brown offered to “tweak” the federal response.

Brown resigned on September 12, 10 days after President Bush told him, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”

Brown took over FEMA in 2003 with little experience in emergency management. He joined the agency in 2001 as legal counsel to his college friend, then-FEMA director Joe Allbaugh, who was Bush’s 2000 campaign manager. When Allbaugh left FEMA in 2003 Brown assumed the top job.

Before joining the Bush administration, Brown spent a decade as the stewards and judges commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association.

The e-mails were obtained by Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Louisiana, and posted on his Web site.

Melancon, whose district south of New Orleans was devastated by the hurricane, said Brown’s lack of leadership and concern is illustrated in more than 1,000 e-mails provided to the House committee now assessing responses to the disaster by all levels of government.

“In the midst of the overwhelming damage caused by the hurricane and enormous problems faced by FEMA, Mr. Brown found time to exchange e-mails about superfluous topics,” including “problems finding a dog-sitter,” Melancon said. (Copies of e-mails — PDFexternal link)

Melancon said that on August 26, just days before Katrina made landfall, Brown e-mailed his press secretary, Sharon Worthy, about his attire, asking: “Tie or not for tonight? Button-down blue shirt?”

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.”

How many people died because he was an incompetent jerk. I am not letting Ray Nagin and other Louisiana officials completely off of the hook, but this guy should be punished for his negligence. It makes me so angry to read this garbage. What the hell is wrong with him.

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  1. Assorted Babble by Suzie November 4, 2005 at 4:00 pm

    I caught this briefly on the news, since all I have had is local lately. It is disgusting…I totally agree w/you and about the LA officials. It pisses me off… & especially growing up in that region. I feel for all the victims deeply.

    I have missed my night & day news..being the junkie I am.

  2. Jack's Shack November 3, 2005 at 8:15 pm

    BF and Cathy,

    I can’t imagine what this man is like and I shudder to think what could have happened under his watch.

  3. Cathy November 3, 2005 at 7:40 pm

    Maybe the IAHA will take him back. That is where the horses ass belongs. Amongst shallow people whose only concern are their horses, themselves and their attire. Maladapted jerk!!

  4. bornfool November 3, 2005 at 7:08 pm

    Totally shameful. Not only was he a miserable FEMA director, he sounds like a miserable human being.

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