Just When You Thought It Was Safe...

...Katrina raises her head out of the murky, poisonous water of New Orleans and takes another meaty chunk out of Heckuva Job. (bolds mine)

WASHINGTON - Hours after Hurricane Katrina hit, former FEMA director Michael Brown dismissed reports that floodwaters had breached New Orleans' levees, and he obsessed over media coverage of his agency, according to newly released e-mails.

The 928 pages of documents, obtained by the Center for Public Integrity watchdog group and released Tuesday, paint a picture of a Federal Emergency Management Agency keenly sensitive to public image following the Aug. 29, 2005, storm.
All of that "I was just a scapegoat" finger pointing that he did earlier this year isn't really going to distract from this, I'm afraid.
The 928 pages of documents, which were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Washington-based government watchdog group, encompass all of Brown's e-mails over a 14-day period before and after Katrina hit.

Many of the e-mails obtained by the Center for Public Integrity were previously released by congressional panels investigating the government's response to the Katrina disaster. But several documents offered fresh details of missteps by the beleaguered agency, which the Senate Homeland Security Committee has recently recommended be disbanded.

"These e-mails are part of the record of our investigation that led us to conclude that Michael Brown failed to lead FEMA to respond effectively to Hurricane Katrina and at the same time kept the Department of Homeland Security in the dark," said Jen Burita, spokeswoman for Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who chairs the panel.

Brown's own schedule was booked with media interviews in the days immediately before and after the storm. At 6:21 a.m. the day Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, Brown was prepping for an interview and e-mailing with his then-deputy, Patrick Rhode.

"Yea, sitting in the chair, putting mousse in my hair," Brown e-mailed Rhode.

"Me too!" Rhode replied.
Well, at least while people were fighting for their lives and losing, while New Orleans was being wiped off the map, his hair was nice and fluffy soft. Brown and Rhode should have gotten together... they could have had a slumber party! Put their hair up in curlers, paint each other's toes, call up boys and hang up when they answer, pore over Tiger Beat... Oh, it would have been the ginchiest!
Brown was also juggling a meeting request from a lawmaker-turned-lobbyist, former Sen. Tim Hutchinson, R-Ark., the day Katrina hit.

"I am certain your (sic) are overwhelmed by the situation regarding Hurricane Katrina," Hutchinson wrote Brown on an e-mail received at 1:48 p.m. on Aug. 29. "I apologize for bothering you at this critical time and for going directly to you about this. ... I would yery (sic) much appreciate being able to bring the President of Blu-Med Response Systems, Gerritt Boyle, in to meet with you as soon as your schedule permits."

The documents do not indicate that Brown responded to Hutchinson's request. But at another point, Brown showed special attention to the Mississippi area when a powerful political figure called.

"Bill, sorry to ping you, but can you give me some ground info on trailers, etc. in MS? Have what you need? Are they getting them to you? Just a status report. Need to call (Mississippi Sen.) Trent Lott back and want some good Intel before doing so," Brown wrote in a Sept. 7 e-mail to one of his staff.

Nine minutes later, Brown received the update.
I guess they really needed to know Lott's porch status.
Other e-mails show Brown expressing frustration as he and FEMA came under public attack purportedly for not doing enough to help black New Orleans residents and neglecting abandoned pets.

"I am tired, no, angered by charges of racism. You know that neither me nor anyone associated with me is a racist. Grrrr," Brown wrote in a Sept. 7 e-mail to Worthy, before adding lightheartedly, "How was that Sonic burger?"

You know something? I bet it was deeee-licious. And filling. And, you know, not filled with swamp water or anything.

That'll fit right in with other Bush Adminstration statements showing complete disregard for other human beings. Someone really needs to start a database.

"How was that Sonic burger?"
"You're doing a heckuva job, Brownie."
"I don't think anyone could have anticipated the breach of the levees."
"Go fuck yourself."
"I think about Iraq every day. Every. Day."
"Nope, no weapons here!"

And the hits just keep on coming....

Grrrr, indeed.
(My cross-post wants to kill your mama...")

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