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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Brownie Talks Bull

Our pal Brownie, fresh from being rehired as a consultant on Hurricane Katrina events, is now using his new position to claim basically no responsibilty for the major screw-up that left hundreds of thousands of Katrina refugees stranded without food and water in the wake of the storm. Appearing before a special congressional panel set up by House Republican leaders to investigate government action in the wake of the hurricane, Brownie vigorously defends himself and shifts the blame for the catastrophe to anyone at all. Check it out:
"My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional," two days before the storm hit, Brown told a special congressional panel set up by House Republican leaders to investigate the catastrophe.
Um, no. Your biggest mistake was not getting aid to those who needed it in a timely fashion.
"The people of FEMA are being tired of being beat up, and they don't deserve it," Brown said
Okay, he's right. Maybe the "people" of FEMA who worked tirelessly in the aftermath of Katrina don't deserve to be beat up, especially when the blame should really fall on their director, who got canned for showing absolutely no competence or leadership.
Brown said the lack of an effective evacuation of New Orleans before the storm was "the tipping point for all the other things that went wrong." He said he had personally pushed Blanco to order such an evacuation.
Irrelevant to your job at hand, Brownie, which was to handle a national disaster. What if this had been (God forbid) a terrorist attack, with no advance warning or time to evacuate? FEMA, under your leadership, would not have been equipped to handle anything but a disaster that has been evacuated of potential victims in advance of it? An absurd argument.
When asked by Rep. Harold Rogers (news, bio, voting record), R-Ky, whether the lack of an ordered evacuation was "the proximate cause of most people's misery," Brown said, "Yes."
Um, no. The proximate cause of most people's misery, notably in New Orleans, was being stranded in fetid conditions with no food, water, or medical care. Regardless of whether or not they had evacuated in advance. FEMA's job is to handle the aftermath, regardless of whether Nagin and Blanco were entirely at fault for the botched evacuation.
Brown in his opening statement said he had made several "specific mistakes" in dealing with the storm, and listed two.
One, he said, was not having more media briefings.
As to the other, he said: "I very strongly personally regret that I was unable to persuade Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin to sit down, get over their differences, and work together. I just couldn't pull that off."
Uh, media briefings. Right. That would have been very helpful to the starving masses. More news briefings, so that you could have done more of this:
Brown also said he was "just tired and misspoke" when a television interviewer appeared to be the first to tell him that there were desperate residents at the New Orleans Convention Center.
Brown testified that he had already learned, one day before the interview, that people were flocking to the center.
I don't think more news briefings would have been that helpful, Brownie, considering your lack of talent in getting the story straight.

Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job!

32 Comments:

Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

Funniest. Post. Ever. Of course, you can't buy this material.

Of course there's this:

"I'm happy to be called not a Rudy Giuliani...a scapegoat ... if it means that FEMA that I knew when I came here is going to be able to be reborn," Brown said."

Is it me or is basically he admitting that FEMA is better off without him? Does he even know what he's saying?

"Brown said: ... FEMA does not do communications."

Correction. FEMA does do communications, but very very poorly.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how you absolve Nagin and the governor of any blame in this. OM, youre doing a heck of a job for the Dems!

2:18 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I love how you absolve Nagin and the governor of any blame in this. OM, youre doing a heck of a job for the Dems!

How's that??? Oh, you must need the Cliff's Notes edition of this post. Let me provide you with the relevant graf from my post:

FEMA's job is to handle the aftermath, regardless of whether Nagin and Blanco were entirely at fault for the botched evacuation.

I absolve Nagin and Blanco where, exactly???

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, no. Your biggest mistake was not getting aid to those who needed it in a timely fashion.

Silliest thing i've seen written so far. He was explaining the mistake that led to FEMA not getting aid to those who needed it.

Um, no. The proximate cause of most people's misery, notably in New Orleans, was being stranded in fetid conditions with no food, water, or medical care.

How exactly did these people end up being stranded? Once again the reason was the lack of an ordered evacuation.

To be clear I think FEMA should have reacted better than they did and should have been more forceful when they saw what they were dealing with down there. But this so called "undressing" to quote db is pathetic

2:29 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

To be clear I think FEMA should have reacted better than they did and should have been more forceful when they saw what they were dealing with down there. But this so called "undressing" to quote db is pathetic
I made it clear this is not about the evacuation. Let's posit that the evacuation was botched. No problem. But what about, as I mentioned, a situation where we don't have the luxury of advance warning? This hearing is about Brown's culpability as well, and he is refusing to accept any. FEMA's job is to handle the aftermath of a disaster. Brown proved incapable of leading this task. Period.

2:33 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

>Um, no. Your biggest mistake was not getting aid to those who needed it in a timely fashion.

Silliest thing i've seen written so far. He was explaining the mistake that led to FEMA not getting aid to those who needed it.


The mistake that led to FEMA not getting aid to those who needed it was FEMA not getting aid to those who needed it. The mistake that led to people being stranded in the Convention Center and Superdome
was the lack of proper evacuation plan. Those are two different problems that needed tackling.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with your assesment that when we have no luxury of advance warning we are in deep trouble. But that wasn't the point of your original post. Your original post was a supposed takedown of his responses to questions asked by congress, and I don't have a problem with him saying that the thing that led to FEMA's screwup was the lack of a coherent pre hurricane evacuation.

This hearing is about Brown's culpability as well, and he is refusing to accept any.

He is accepting responsibility for his culpability when he says that his biggest mistake was not realizing that La. was a dysfunctional situation.

You might not like that and would like a full " chataasi aviisi pushaati" with no strings attached but that is not the same as not accepting ANY culpability.

2:42 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Your original post was a supposed takedown of his responses to questions asked by congress, and I don't have a problem with him saying that the thing that led to FEMA's screwup was the lack of a coherent pre hurricane evacuation.

No, one of the original points of my post WAS that you can't foot the blame to others when the fact that you were caught flat-footed by the lack of New Orlean's evacuation shown how woefully unprepared FEMA was for any kind of disaster with a mass refugee situation. And I quote from my post:

Irrelevant to your job at hand, Brownie, which was to handle a national disaster. What if this had been (God forbid) a terrorist attack, with no advance warning or time to evacuate? FEMA, under your leadership, would not have been equipped to handle anything but a disaster that has been evacuated of potential victims in advance of it? An absurd argument.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mistake that led to FEMA not getting aid to those who needed it was FEMA not getting aid to those who needed it. The mistake that led to people being stranded in the Convention Center and Superdome
was the lack of proper evacuation plan.


How can you say the two are not interrelated? FEMA has never had to deal with a situation like that found in the Superdome etc , BECAUSE most hurricane locales have a coherent strategy on evacuation. Again this is not an excuse... FEMA should have fixed the problem that developed and did not. But to seperate those to two things is kinda like saying the kugel didnt taste good on shabbos has nothing to do with the fact that it wasn't cooked long enough on Friday. Cause and effect.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just noticed i capitalized Friday and not Shabbos...I wonder what that means....

2:50 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

How can you say the two are not interrelated? FEMA has never had to deal with a situation like that found in the Superdome etc , BECAUSE most hurricane locales have a coherent strategy on evacuation. Again this is not an excuse... FEMA should have fixed the problem that developed and did not. But to seperate those to two things is kinda like saying the kugel didnt taste good on shabbos has nothing to do with the fact that it wasn't cooked long enough on Friday. Cause and effect.

Again, the two CAN be separated, because FEMA is not just around to take care of hurricane refugees! If anything, the claim of the Federal Gov't is that FEMA was restructured to protect against a terror attack AS WELL AS a hurricane. This catastrophe showed us that not only are they incapable of handling a natural disaster where there is a large refugee situation, even with a warning, but that they clearly couldn't handle a disaster that came with no warning at all! This is SO the point here!!!

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Mom. Frisky today. Nothing I like more than a frisky GOP-bashing woman, with a brain to boot. Good job

3:28 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Nothing I like more than a frisky GOP-bashing woman, with a brain to boot.

Thanks, I guess. But to be fair, this post is all about bashing Brown. There is no partisan relevance to it.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous heshy said...

Its measure for measure.
Just as no provisions were made to help the gush katif crowd so too the new orleans crowd had no help forthcoming.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Shifra said...

Ummm... they were warned, relocated, and given money- not drowned starved and abandoned.

I truly feel for the displaced people of Gush Katif but how people can compare the two is just beyond me.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

Does Heshy get points for every time he uses "so too" in a sentence?

8:58 PM  
Blogger Mirty said...

What Brownie should say: "Things went to hell, and they went to hell under my watch, and I am to blame."

What he does say: "Blame that guy!! Or that one!! Hey, who's that out in the hall? Blame him too!"

10:43 PM  
Blogger shleppy said...

i never knew that all you yentas were such experts on disaster relief. we need some extra experts on getting local politicians to do their job with evacuation and law enforcement and making the black people behave like civilized people.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous chanie said...

bravo.
clearly there were lots of mistakes made here. passing the buck isn't going to get us anywhere near figuring out how to correct them.

two side points -
- gush katif is not relevant; even so, your facts are wrong.

- being civilized includes refraining from racist insults. two in one comment. impressive.

4:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be prepared for the next hurricane housing or find another one that's similar. As the Boy Scouts say: "Be Prepared"!

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