Brownie Watch

CNN dishes out the latest Brownie gossip:

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.”

Heckuva job, Brownie. Why can’t more administration officials have this kind of attitude?

“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.

Brownie- whatever you do, don’t call Rick Santorum. Your dog is better off being alone for the weekend. Seriously.

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.

“Queer Eye for the Disgraced FEMA Chief.” Got a nice ring to it, no?


Comments: 52


I thought that liberals were the effete whiners? Seriously, someone should have bitchslapped Brownie some time ago.


Suggested makeover: some nice orange clothes and a new striped treatment for windows and doors.


I thought that liberals were the effete whiners?


Here’s a random fact. The word “effete” has its origins in the description of a woman worn out by childbirth.


He defended the government’s response and blamed leaders in Louisiana for failing to act quickly as the hurricane approached.

Perhaps if Gov. Blanco found Brownie a dogsitter, we wouldn’t have had all those problems.


Charlie Melancon’s House website is apparently being slammed right now in response to the CNN article. This is fun!


Here’s a random fact. The word “effete” has its origins in the description of a woman worn out by childbirth.

That’s weird.


Here’s a random fact. The word “effete” has its origins in the description of a woman worn out by childbirth.



OT: we’re about to have a party over at 3B! while Pinko’s out of town.


What. A. Sassy. Bee-YOTCH!!!


Not to be a stickler, but I believe it’s:
“Queer Eye for the Disgraced FEMA Chief Guy

Just thought you should know.


It’s totally obscene. One e-mail to him says, in part, “The dying patients at the DMAT tent being medivac (sic). Estimates are many will die within hours. …We are out of food and running out of water at the dome…”

Brownie’s response: “Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?”

Yeah, tweak this asshole!

Definitely worth reading.


Gaah. Just…gaah. Gaah.

As I said on my blog, I’m anti-death penalty but rapidly becoming pro-guillotine.


And apparently this guy is still on the payroll, having his “consulting” gig extended in mid-October.

I know there must be a bottom to the corruption and arrogance well of this administration but my god it’s deep.


As I said on my blog, I’m anti-death penalty but rapidly becoming pro-guillotine.

I’d prefer to put him in the stocks so people could hurl vegetables at him.


thespian has said this so much eloquently than I that I can only ask you to read (with an open mind) her post entitled “stop throwing the fucking rocks” at

“… most of these current emails are nothing that most of my friends, who are all in a high dudgeon, haven’t done when just trying to get through Very Bad Situations. Unless you’ve never made a dark, possibly offensive joke to help you get through the gloom… stop fussing about this shit and get back to working on real issues.”


On Aug. 31, two days after the storm flooded the city, a FEMA regional director sent Brown an urgent e-mail about patients dying “within hours,” a lack of food and water, hundreds of rescues and a situation “past critical.”

Brown’s response? “Thanks for update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?”


Dark humor while working ass off to solve problems == OK; Dark humor while sitting on incompetent ass instead of solving problems != OK.


my personal favorite…

on page 19 brownie gets a note from one Sharon Worthy entitled “Your Shirt” in which she instructs him to roll up his shirt sleeves. “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…ROLL UP THE SLEEVES!”

there are no words.


Really. Under other circumstances — say, where Brownie was working really hard and competently to address and resolve the myriad problems Katrina caused (i.e., in an alternate universe) — I could excuse a few flippant emails to friends and colleagues. But when the sole response to a detailed message about the scope of one part of the disaster is “Thanks for the update. Anything I need to tweak?” — well, Brownie gets no slack from me.

Now it may be that Brownie was working really really really hard during the same time he was looking for a dog-sitter and obsessing about his Nordstrom suit. But of course, we don’t know anything about that because the Administration, which promised to deliver all the relevant emails and documentation to the Congressional committee… hasn’t. This is what they’ve released, and this is what we have to go on.

So thespian may feel some sympathy for Brownie, but frankly, I have nothing but contempt for the guy. And worse contempt for the Administration that continues to “employ” (read: pay) him and shuck and jive about what really happened (and didn’t happen) with FEMA during the Katrina crisis, and why.


Oops, missed a tag. Sorry.


I’m sorry, I don’t buy Thespian’s line. It’s one thing if it was dark comments while dealing with the situation. But these aren’t the only incident. He needed more time at dinner (30 minutes was too much). I don’t see “dark humor” in trying to find a dogsitter in the middle of the worst natural disaster in US history. This is a man incapable of understanding the magnitude of what is happening. Either that or he has no soul. Take your pick.


In other news, Dan Someone is really smart. He makes very intelligent points.


While Brown may have indeed been incompetent and/or even insouciant, zeroing in on such minutae does little support such a hypothesis. As a matter of fact, as a psychologist, I wouldn’t hesitate to advise folks who are constantly bombarded with crises to use humor, even dark humor, and the occasional trivial pursuit to relieve stress—all in the interest of energizing a person in order to more adequately respond to the crisis at hand.


all in the interest of energizing a person in order to more adequately respond to the crisis at hand

While dark humor may help some respond more effectively, zeroing in on Brown’s example gives little support for such a hypothesis.


Not a bad point, tigrismus, but still, I see no smoking gun here–not that there isn’t one to be found, but folks are going to have to come up with something a little more substantive to make the case.


What case, that he was flippant while people suffered? If that gun isn’t smoking, it’s putting forth a moderately heavy mist. That was the point of the post, after all, and as his incompetence is pretty much taken as a given at this point no further evidence was produced. For the sake of completeness, though, linky


His “incompetence” is “pretty much taken as a given” only by those prone to rush to judgment for the sake of political posturing.


Like Charles Krauthammer and Michelle Malkin, among others? At any rate, I don’t really think it could accurately be termed a “rush to judgment” at this point.


Am I all alone with my point of view here, on my birthday of all days? Let’s face it, I’m a troll. No cake or candles for me on a liberal blog site. I’m not asking for any of that. And I’m not looking for a soul mate. But a single supportive entry from a troll mate would make my birthday seem a whole lot happier. Have all of you trolls allowed yourselves to be shunned right off the site? As they say, “Out of site, out of mind,” and the left will put you right out of their left-wing minds if the right doesn’t put up a fight at this site.


I think one could slam Dr. BLT’s head into a table repeatedly ten or fifteen times, and he would still want some “more evidence” that there was a table in front of him.


His “incompetence” is “pretty much taken as a given” only by those prone to rush to judgment for the sake of political posturing.

You…do…remember what happened in New Orleans, right? When he was caught several steps behind the media in his knowledge of events several times? When he blithered and was caught in multiple lies and contradictions on TV, several times? When he sat around patting himself and others on the back while hundreds died, when he and Chertoff lied, actively, about what they knew when? The sheer dishonesty lacing his resume, the utter lack of qualifications?

It was in the papers and everything, Doctor.



Oh, and happy birthday Dr B.L.T.



Aw, man, aaron, his next fifty-three posts will all refer to your threatening him. And on his birthday, too, for shame!

Dr. BLT, for your birthday I wish for you all the Cake you can eat!


“If you’ll look at my lovely FEMA attire, you’ll really vomit. I am a fashion god,”

this part actually makes me like him a little bit.


Well, Doc… Yes, yes you are.
For my part- I preferred to refer to him as “probably incompetant” up until I read about his actual actions. Now I have no question (and Brownie seems to agree, as per “get me out of here!”).

Happy Birthday.


Aaron, all I’m asking for are a few crumbs from the table that holds the dubious feast of evidence. As for the slamming-my-head-on-the-table-repeatedly comment, it represents a step above the murderous, sadistic fantasy one of you shared about smashing my head repeatedly on the pavement and then laughing about it
—one step higher on the troglodyte scale. My working hypothesis is that some of you want my brain to be damaged so that it can no longer lead me to make comments that threaten your liberal groupthink.

Schmitt: I’d suggest that at the very least, you start making good use of the term “ostensibly.” The media provides only enough pieces of the puzzle to produce premature character assasinations. But thanks for the birthday wish!

tigrismus: Have you no shame? What will I have left if you rob me of my victim status with your preemptive prediction? Thanks for the birthday wish, however,(even though the cynical side of me smells a literary reference to the “Let them eat cake” declaration). I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and extend this invitation to you:
(Come Down to the Palace and) Have Some Cake with Me: words and music by Dr. BLT (c)2005


Okay…I get it…this whole Dr BLT thing is a joke.



Regarding Thespian’s sypathetic reading of these emails: let me just say this about that…

First of all, when you send email via a computer or handheld, over a network, or through a server owned by your employer, that email is not private. Maybe it should be, but it’s not. If you use that computer, handheld, network, or server to write things that make you look like an ass, then you shouldn’t be suprised that you come up looking like an ass at some point. This is INFINITELY MORE TRUE if you are a high-ranking federal official (a point that should be obvious to the “any of my friends might have said the same” folks. Your friends are presumably not the heads of federal agencies). Brownie’s Blackberry belongs to you and me, folks.

On a more subjective note, I have to say that if you’ve ever read my blog, you know that I’m a sarcastic, petty bastard, but I can’t imagine acting like that in a comparable situation. When the Katrina refugees started arriving in cities across Texas, those of us in the non-profit community here had our hands very full with those people’s immediate and serious needs. In my agency, all of our other projects and priorities were dropped. And I don’t recall anyone being as flip as Brown is in those emails. Why, you ask? Check this out: When a major American city gets washed out to sea, IT’S NOT FUNNY. NOT FUNNY AT ALL.


Let me just jump in here with res publica.

For one thing, email ethics and “proper use of company email” lessons have been around a long time now. Why, in these times, small children in schoolyards can be heard singing jingles about company email policies while jumping rope. Middle schoolers at slumber parties sit in circles and frighten one another with tales of employees being fired for forwarding dirty joke emails. The fact that Brownie’s emails might become public should have been a given for him.

For another thing, Brownie was sharing these emails with people who actually WERE in dire straits. The guy in the Superdome was on some of these address lists, why the hell would someone be so stupid as to write “rescue me” in jest when one of your potential readers actually DID need rescuing?

Thirdly, as the boss, Brownie should have thought about setting a tone of leadership. It’s all fine and good for the receptionist, the guy in the boiler room, the guy up to his waist in muck to joke. But the guy in charge should have cared about setting a tone of competence and seriousness during this time of crisis. Having him joke around makes it OK for his subordinates not to take it seriously.

And finally, most of Brownie’s emails were all about ME ME ME! My clothes, my dog, my food, rescue me — KeeRist, what a self-centered motherfucker while people have lost everything!

Tweak my ass! That’s what you offer to your subordinate that wants you to review the memo he’s writing. Not to the guy who’s watching people die in front of him.


Let us not forget that Mr.-Still-Getting-$148, 000/Year (in spite of doing, well, nothing to earn said $148, 000 for the past two months (that’d be, oh, about $12. 333.34) said of his efforts at the time:

“I have overseen over 150 presidentially declared disasters. I know what I am doing. And I think I do a pretty darn good job of it,” Brown told the panel.

For the whole story, see this CNN story. Simply disgusting. The next press conference Chimpy McFlightsuit has, a reporter should ask him why is this leech fattening himself off the taxes of the American people? I thought Rethuglicans didn’t approve of welfare.


Of course they do, Marq, just not when it goes to the wrong sort.


The next press conference Chimpy McFlightsuit has, a reporter should ask him why is this leech fattening himself off the taxes of the American people?

Because Brownie’s blackmailing him?


My problem with Brownie’s emails have nothing to do with “dark humor” in a stressful situation.

He was handed a truckful of medical supplies, and he didn’t even click the “forward” button for FOUR DAYS. He couldn’t find fifteen seconds in his busy schedule? (Heck, five–he didn’t have to append any comment at all!)

Imagine a massive crisis at work, way beyond your ability to handle. You send an email to boss begging for help, and your boss basically says, “Yeah, so? What do you expect me to do about it?”

Now imagine you work for FEMA, and people are dying while your boss is clueless and useless.

Show me the funny.


1) Happy birthday, Dr. BLT. We all wish you cake, or sweibach, or shoo-fly pie.

2) Brown is the head of FEMA and he doesn’t have an emergency contingency plan for his dog? Wouldn’t you think the head of FEMA would often have to rush off on a moment’s notice? I have someone to take care of my cats, with backup plans, and I’m a freakin’ student. And I don’t really like my cats.

Yeah, I know, it’s just one thing, but this incompetence is becoming fractal.


Holy shit BLT, you can’t seriously be as stupid as you come off sounding in this thread.
Let’s try this another way, if you were having surgery done, and you had an hour left before your appendix burst, then your surgeon arrived and he starts making cracks about missing the back nine on his game because of you. Then he starts juggling the scalpels and retractors. Would you think your pysician was using a little dark humor to lighten up a tough situation, or would you think that he is dangerously unqualified and possibly, an asshole.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be looking for more fucking evidence at that point. This man literally sent the equivilent of “OMG LOL” back and forth as people died. People…fucking…died because of this man’s incompetance, deceit and laziness. Let that sink in for a minute.
And have a happy birthday!


Timmah420, you seem rather eager to go out and hang a man before the matter goes through the proper legal and investigatory channels. All I’m suggesting is that he be presumed innocent until proven guilty. I thought that was the cornerstone of our American system of justice. If believing in due process makes me stupid, then I guess I’m stupid.


The whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing is a facet of our criminal justice system and has little bearing on whether the public can, should or must believe in someone’s innocence. Osama bin Laden has never been tried for being the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks — do you consider him innocent until he is convicted in a court of law?

Besides which, nobody is accusing Brown of anything criminal (at least, not yet). Just massive incompetence and Nero-like fiddling while New Orleans did the diametric opposite of burning. I suppose it’s possible that further investigation will reveal that Brownie was doing incredibly important and competent things — stopping just shy of whipping off his suit to reveal the Superman costume beneath — and that he really was doing a heckuva job. But until the evidence of that is laid before the public, we have every right and justification to consider Michael Brown an utter failure in his job as FEMA director — which means he gets cut no slack for the APPEARANCE of flippancy and stupidity and cover-your-ass-ity of these emails.


I figured it out. seb is dr. samwich trying to start shit in comments. this guy can’t be real. or else he has no life or friends or job. this is a comedy site sandwich dude, fuck off


OT, but there’s an unclosed italics tag somewhere in this post.


Dan, I understand the point you’re trying to make and I agree with you. Gus, there must be some good anger management groups in your local community.


Finally!! Drownie is, at long last, off the Federal payroll as of November 9th. Good riddance to bad trash.


Marq, I can’t say I agree with everything you say. There are clearly a couple of things we slightly differ on, but I have to hand it to you, you’ve reawakened some threads that were about to be pronounced “Dead!”


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