Archive - Sep 5, 2005

Brownie Points

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Happy Labor Day!

I know none of you whores are reading this today, because for every one of you who tunes in for my scintillating insights and hilarious neologisms, there's another 300 of you who tune in because you'd rather not be working. But since today is Labor Day, I feel the need to devote the column to one man we all would rather not be working - Michael Brown, director of FEMA.

I'm sure you've seen or heard Michael Brown in the past week, saying stupid shit and/or spinning so fast his words come out Dopplered. Every single day there's two or three more reports of FEMA not doing its job, bungling, and in many cases, actively preventing aid from reaching the city. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"We had Wal-mart deliver three trucks of water. Trailer trucks of water. Fema turned them back, said we didn't need them. This was a week go. We had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a coast guard vessel docked in my parish. The coast guard said come get the fuel right way. When we got there with our trucks, they got a word, FEMA says don't give you the fuel. Yesterday, yesterday, fema comes in and cuts all our emergency communications lines. They cut them without notice." - Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish, on Meet The Press yesterday.

It's funny. FEMA used to be one of the most highly-regarded federal agencies. They were responsive, they got the job done when things went badly, they were run by James Witt, who had extensive experience in disaster relief, and it's tough to imagine how a man with Michael Brown's unique background could have let the agency slide so far.

Before joining FEMA, according to the Boston Herald, Michael "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job" Brown spent eleven years as the commissioner of judges and stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association.

His job was to oversee horse show judges. And he COULDN'T FUCKING DO IT.

In 2001, Brown was ASKED TO RESIGN from his demanding job of overseeing horse show judges. After a number of lawsuits related to poor supervisory practices. But his old college buddy, Joseph Allbaugh, was appointed head of FEMA by Dubya in an earlier bit of cronyism, so Brown got to be his bud's deputy. And when Allbaugh left FEMA to work on (where else) Dubya's re-election campaign, Brown was appointed to the top spot.

It's no wonder, then, that Brown immediately turned into Gorman from Aliens. "How many disasters have you been through, Brown?" "Fourteen..... simulated." The main two differences between Gorman and Brown is that Gorman redeemed himself in the end, and also could count.

I can understand not knowing much about disasters. But FEMA can't count. "We can put 23,000 people in the Astrodome!" Eleven thousand people later: "Ooops, it's full." I can understand being off by a couple thousand, but HALF what you thought you could fit? That's insane. But then, Brown is demonstrably incapable of counting to three, so there you go. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"What we had in New Orleans is a growing disaster: The hurricane hit, that was one disaster; then the levees broke, that was another disaster; then the floods came; that became a third disaster."

- Michael Brown on CNN.

You stupid motherfucker. In a just world, you'd be tasked with cleaning out the New Orleans Convention Center. With your TONGUE. That's not three disasters. That's two at most. You don't get to count the levee breaking and the flooding as TWO SEPARATE DISASTERS. The levee is only there because there's a SHITLOAD OF WATER on the other side.

If the levee breaks, and there's no flooding, THAT'S NOT A DISASTER. That's a hole in a wall. You go to the Home Depot, you get some spackle, you fix the hole, nobody dies. It's not like the levee is also protecting your city from a rampaging horde of lesbian vampires wielding machetes. All it does is prevent flooding.

Ah well. Not something you need to know during a horse show. And in the Bush administration, probably not something that'd disqualify you for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, either.