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October 20, 2005

Let’s Run It Down, Brother Brown
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 02:46 PM *

Does everyone remember Michael “Mr. Resume” Brown, former director of FEMA, currently on the FEMA payroll as a consultant?

We certainly took some swings at him here:

and, of course,

While other news has come along about other things, let’s not forget our pal Mikey Brown and the sort of leadership we get when cronyism takes precedence.

The latest on Mike is that his email has been released.

FEMA Official Says Boss Ignored Warnings

WASHINGTON - Federal Emergency Management Agency officials did not respond to repeated warnings about deteriorating conditions in New Orleans and the dire need for help as Hurricane Katrina struck, the first FEMA official to arrive conceded Thursday.

Marty Bahamonde, a FEMA regional director, told a Senate panel investigating the government’s response to the disaster that he gave regular updates to people in contact with then-FEMA Director Michael Brown as early as Aug. 28, one day before Katrina made landfall.

What was Michael Brown’s reaction when the FEMA offical on the ground in New Orleans informed him that “the situation is past critical” and that evacuees had no food or water and “estimates are many will die within hours”?

… Brown’s press secretary wrote colleagues to complain that the FEMA director needed more time to eat dinner at a Baton Rouge restaurant that evening. “He needs much more that (sic) 20 or 30 minutes,” wrote Brown aide Sharon Worthy.

“We now have traffic to encounter to go to and from a location of his choise (sic), followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc. Thank you.”

US citizens are in dire straits, in danger of death. FEMA’s director is worried about his dinner reservations.

Which brings us right back to the question: Can Michael Brown be tried for murder?

[UPDATE] Thanks to stlpunster for this link: MSNBC on Brownie’s dinner plans.

[UPDATE II] More from The Washington Post.

[UPDATE III] For our friends who need this material from right-wing sources, here’s the Chicage Tribune.

[MORE]

No Buddy Left Behind:

[FEMA spokeswoman Nicol] Andrews confirmed that Brown is still on FEMA’s payroll as a consultant. She said he works from home, where he is “pulling all the documentation together” to aid in the investigations into the government’s response to Katrina. His original 30-day contract was recently extended for another 30 days, she said.
Comments on Let's Run It Down, Brother Brown:
#1 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2005, 03:18 PM:

Sentence:

Life.

In a tent.

Pitched on a small, desolate, island in the Florida Keys.

With only MREs to eat.

Water? "Hey, you knew where you were going. You should have thought to bring enough water with you. Sheesh, you want us to wipe your butt for you . . . oh, you did bring toilet paper, right?"

#2 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2005, 03:32 PM:

Not to mention the aide is another nail in the box labelled "I didn't know it was happening". (To do something with a figure of speech.)

Negligent homicide sounds really good. Gross malfeasance sounds like a possibility, if it can be charged against him after he's theoretically out of office.

#3 ::: Karl Kindred ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2005, 03:48 PM:

Murder? Probably not.

Negligent Homicide? You bet your ass.

Somewhere there is a lawyer who will litigate on behalf of a victim's family. Michael Brown my try to use the defense "I can't be held civilly liable for the performance of my federal duties"; but I want him to have to make that defense in court...

...In front of victims and their families...And TV cameras...And the world.

I want him to answer for his hubris, his gross malfeasance and his simple lack of human decency and compassion.

Then I want the guy who hired him to answer the same charges.

#4 ::: stlpunster ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2005, 03:51 PM:

Go to Crooks and Liars and you can see a video feed from MSNBC in either Quicktime or WMP of the Michael Brown "dinner memo":
Quicktime version

WMV version

What idiots!

#5 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2005, 06:52 PM:

Karl, I don't know about Louisiana or Mississippi, but in New York there's a kind of Murder Two called Depraved Indifference Murder. I say charge him with that and let him plea-bargain DOWN to Criminally Negligent Homicide. With hundreds of counts, it won't make a whole lot of difference.

#6 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2005, 07:05 PM:

Stefan:

Nope. Put him on an abandoned oil rig in the Gulf, with a broken-down desalination rig, a multitool, fishing line, and some stock suitable for fashioning hooks.

I figure that gives him significantly better odds of surviving than he afforded many people. But everyone knows I'm a softie :-)

#7 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2005, 08:34 PM:

I JUST read the article, and immediately jumped to Making Light, certain that Jim Macdonald could not, would not, let the story pass. Thanks, Jim. "Brownie, you're doping a great job." Riiiight.

#8 ::: Karl Kindred ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2005, 11:39 PM:

Xopher, that's the best suggestion I've heard in a LONG time. If that motion needs a second, I'm here for you...

...all in favor?

#9 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2005, 01:15 AM:

Has anyone publically released the emails, or just the snippits quoted in the few news stories?

I just found out that a childhood acquaintance is the acting deputy Chief of Staff of FEMA -- the one who made the "raindeer(sic) games" comment in one of the emails. I'm curious what else he's gotten himself into...

#10 ::: hamletta ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2005, 01:46 AM:

Did y'all see what Bahamonde, FEMA's man in NO, replied to the restaurant e-mail? I'm paraphrasing here, but it was, "Well, I just ate an MRE and took a shit in the hallway of the Superdome with 30,000 of my closest friends, so I can see how he'd be concerned about getting a good meal."

The snark, she is bitter.

I saw a bit of his testimony to Congress last night, and it was heartbreaking and eloquent. God bless that man.

#11 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2005, 03:49 AM:

Arguably, it shouldn't matter to how FEMA responds to disaster if the boss is out to lunch. There should be a chief of staff, in the original Prussian Army sense of the term, who has the authority to get things started. Somebody who can at least send out warning orders. He might still have to use a mobile phone to get verbal authority, but at least his boss isn't a plunderiong pensioner who has just fallen off his horse in a cavalry charge.

Mike Brown may think he knows about horses, but he knows nothing of cavalry charges.

#13 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2005, 11:38 AM:

Gonna be lots of CYA coming down the pike. Was it Brown who said at one point that he was in daily contact with the White House? I wonder who he's going to say he talked to...

#14 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2005, 11:43 AM:

Mike Brown may think he knows about horses, but he knows nothing of cavalry charges.

Mike Brown apparently doesn't know much about horses, either. Reports are that he was fired from his job with the horse shows due to poor management skills.

The important thing to remember is that this is the guy that Georgie hired to run FEMA (and Joe Lieberman passed in a grueling 43-minute confirmation hearing).

#15 ::: BrianB ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2005, 04:26 PM:

How about sentencing him to hard labor - cleaning up the aftermath in New Orleans, preferably starting in the superdome and convention center.

#16 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2005, 04:54 PM:

Appropriate work for Mr Brown: giving laxative enemas to constipated elephants. Apparently someone who was doing that died from suffocation in elephant shit when the laxative worked.

#17 ::: Sandy ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2005, 05:31 PM:

I think that picture finally got traced to the Weekly World News. . .

to be slightly less of a Snopes-based spoilsport, anyone here ever read Donald Westlake's "Trust Me On This"?

#18 ::: lucy_anne ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2005, 07:17 PM:

And of course there's the coverage from B&C Beat's blog (a new-ish blog from the folks that publish Broadcasting & Cable magazine)

The Los Angeles Times has the more detailed version of the story.

#19 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2005, 01:20 AM:

FEMA’s director is worried about his dinner reservations.

Even better: his press secretary is worried about his dinner reservations. The guy is not only clueless about FEMA, he was clueless about his next meal.

#20 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2005, 03:04 AM:

Apparently someone who was doing that died from suffocation in elephant shit when the laxative worked.

I believe the only criterion for employment was "likes tutti-frutti."

#21 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2005, 03:40 AM:

Rather than re-post this bit -- another first-person report on FEMA in New Orleans -- I'm just going to post a link.

Folks, please read it, and follow the further links to the original account:

A Doctor Does Triage

Did you see the FEMA offical there, when FEMA stopped sending any transportation at all to the sick and injured lying exposed on I-10: "His comment, as he shrugged his shoulders, was that the decision had been made by 'people above my pay grade.' "

Who "above his pay grade"?

It doesn't sound much like the sort of decision that Marty "I Just Took A Crap In A Hall At The Superdome" Bahamonde would have made. So who's above his pay grade? Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response Brown?


#22 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2005, 11:23 AM:

Preserved for posterity:

Michael D. Brown's bio page is still posted at the FEMA web site as of this morning:

http://www.fema.gov/about/bios/brown.shtm

Michael D. Brown Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response

Photo of Michael Brown

Michael D. Brown was nominated by President George W. Bush as the first Under Secretary of Emergency Preparedness and Response in the newly created Department of Homeland Security in January 2003. As the head of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Under Secretary Brown leads federal disaster response and recovery operations and coordinates disaster activities with more than two dozen federal agencies and departments and the American Red Cross. He also oversees the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration, and initiates proactive mitigation activities.

Additionally, Under Secretary Brown helps the Secretary of Homeland Security ensure the effectiveness of emergency responders, and directs the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Integration Center, the National Disaster Medical System and the Nuclear Incident Response Team.

Under Secretary Brown has led Homeland Security’s response to more than 164 presidentially declared disasters and emergencies, including the 2003 Columbia Shuttle disaster and the California wildfires in 2003. In 2004, Mr. Brown led FEMA’s thousands of dedicated disaster workers during the most active hurricane season in over 100 years, as FEMA delivered aid more quickly and more efficiently than ever before.

Previously, Mr. Brown served as FEMA's Deputy Director and the agency's General Counsel. Shortly after the September 11th terrorist attacks, Mr. Brown served on the President's Consequence Management Principal's Committee, which acted as the White House's policy coordination group for the federal domestic response to the attacks. Later, the President asked him to head the Consequence Management Working Group to identify and resolve key issues regarding the federal response plan. In August 2002, President Bush appointed him to the Transition Planning Office for the new Department of Homeland Security, serving as the transition leader for the EP&R Division.

Prior to joining FEMA, Mr. Brown practiced law in Colorado and Oklahoma, where he served as a bar examiner on ethics and professional responsibility for the Oklahoma Supreme Court and as a hearing examiner for the Colorado Supreme Court. He had been appointed as a special prosecutor in police disciplinary matters. While attending law school he was appointed by the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee of the Oklahoma Legislature as the Finance Committee Staff Director, where he oversaw state fiscal issues. His background in state and local government also includes serving as an assistant to the city manager with emergency services oversight responsibilities and as a city councilman.

Mr. Brown was also an adjunct professor of law for the Oklahoma City University.

A native of Oklahoma, Mr. Brown holds a bachelor's degree in Public Administration/Political Science from Central State University, Oklahoma. He received his J.D. from Oklahoma City University’s School of Law.

» Speeches by Under Secretary Michael D. Brown

Last Updated: Sunday, 11-Sep-2005 17:02:50 EDT

#23 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2005, 12:01 PM:

"...where he served as a bar examiner on ethics and professional responsibility for the Oklahoma Supreme Court."

Am I the only one whose jaw hit the floor at this sentence? Dear God, what must the Oklahoma Supreme Court be like if Mike Brown is the go-to guy on matters of ethics and professional responsibility!!!???

#24 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2005, 01:18 PM:

Parasite Brown's contract with FEMA has been renewed for another month. What IS that turkey turd doing for the taxpayer's month?! instead of being charged with criminal negligent homicide at the very least...

He's a deer tick, spreading illnesses worse than Lyme disease, sucking the life out of the US citizenry.

#25 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2005, 03:08 PM:

Lizzy L: "...where he served as a bar examiner on ethics and professional responsibility for the Oklahoma Supreme Court."

Am I the only one whose jaw hit the floor at this sentence? Dear God, what must the Oklahoma Supreme Court be like if Mike Brown is the go-to guy on matters of ethics and professional responsibility!!!???

No, you are not alone. And the OKlahoma Supreme Court belongs to the same state as two of the Nazgul.

#26 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 10:55 AM:

Thought for the day, or something:

Maybe the reason they're keeping Brown under contract is so he can't Tell All, given that he's loyal, as long as he's an employee.

#27 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2005, 07:00 AM:

Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA) has posted a bunch of Michael Brown's emails on his web site:

http://www.melancon.house.gov/news.asp?ARTICLE3337=4608

The e-mails reveal that Mr. Brown was apprised early on Monday of the levee failure and the dire consequences for New Orleans. For example, Mr. Brown received the following stream of e-mails on Monday, August 29:
· At 9:39 a.m., Mr. Brown received a message stating: "Report that the levee in Arabi has failed next to the industrial canal."

· At 9:53 a.m., Mr. Brown received a message stating: "A LEVEE BREACH OCCURRED ALONG THE INDUSTRIAL CANAL AT TENNESSE[E] STREET. 3 TO 8 FEET OF WATER IS EXPECTED DUE TO THE BREACH … LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO ARABI AND 9TH WARD OF NEW ORLEANS"

· At 10:20 a.m., Mr. Brown received a message stating:

From Marty Bahamonde in the New Orleans EOC (next to the superdome)

- Severe flooding on the St. Bernard/Orleans parish line. Police report water level up to second floor of two story houses. People are trapped in attics.

- Pumps starting to fail. The city has now confirmed four pumps are off line.

- Windows and parts of the east side of the Amaco building blown out.

- New Orleans shopping center (next to superdome) destroyed.

- Windows and parts of the East side of the Hyatt Hotel have been blown out. Furniture is blowing out of the hotel.

- Top floors of the Entergy building have been blown out

- Area around the Superdome is beginning to flood.

We should have pictures shortly.

· At 11:57 a.m., Mr. Brown received a message stating: "New Orleans FD is reporting a 20 foot wide breach on the lake ponchatrian levy. The area is lakeshore Blvd and 17th street."

The e-mails indicate that Mr. Brown responded to only one of these messages. At 12:09 p.m., Mr. Brown responded to the 11:57 a.m. report of the "20 foot wide breach on the lake ponchatrain levy" by dismissing the report. He wrote: "I’m being told here water over not a breach." The e-mails do not indicate who told Mr. Brown this misinformation. There is also no indication in the e-mails that Mr. Brown recognized the seriousness of his mistake or took actions to correct it. There are no further e-mails from Mr. Brown that day about the levees.

#28 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2005, 11:58 AM:

Adding insult to injory, or something:

'Can I quit now?' FEMA chief wrote as Katrina raged
E-mails give insight into Brown's leadership, attitude

It makes him look even worse than he already did.

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