Michael "Heckuva Job" Brown

Monday, August 31, 2015

Y@ Speak: 10 years and some days later

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 12:30 PM

If Twitter was around 10 years ago, what would New Orleans look like today? (I got in touch with friends and family through, um, Livejournal back then; Facebook wasn't really helpful.) Last week was most definitely a week. We talked about it, listened, goofed around, then Lil Wayne came home, we walked a lot, then cried a lot, then Thomas Morstead ended it appropriately by puking in a trash can.

Because I can't fit it all on here: read Michael Grunwald's tweets on the frustrations of reporting on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, all of the updates from Rising Tide X, and the story behind @skooks, in his words.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Michael Brown absolves himself of Hurricane Katrina blame in Politico editorial

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 11:17 AM

MICHAEL BROWN: FEMA’s nimble. We’re only 2,500 people. We can move on a dime.
STEPHEN COLBERT: Uh-huh. And what dime were you standing on during the hurricane?
 — From Brown's 2006 appearance on The Colbert Report

You thought we could get through Katrinapalooza week without hearing from Michael "Brownie" Brown? Dream on. The disgraced former FEMA head, who now has a radio talk show in Denver, weighed in with his usual chorus of "It Wasn't Me" on Politico this morning:
People are still saying now, as they said then, that what went wrong in New Orleans a decade ago was all my fault. They were wrong then, and they are wrong now. There were many dark moments in those three weeks on the Gulf Coast, and FEMA and the federal government certainly made some mistakes, but perhaps the worst part was being held responsible for the things that I didn’t control at all.
If you've heard Brownie revise history over the years, there's little new here, except a new chorus of blaming the media (of which, it should be pointed out, he's now a member). "My mishandling of the press during the disaster response was among my greatest mistakes," he writes, citing CNN's Anderson Cooper and Time magazine as two of the worst offenders.

His conclusion? Cut down the size of federal government (of which, it should be pointed out, he was an employee):

Today government needs to affirmatively reassert its commitment to the all-hazards approach to disasters. Whether a disaster is man-made, natural or the result of terrorism, the response is the same. And the federal government must not become a first responder. The more state and local governments become dependent upon federal dollars, the weaker and more dependent upon the federal government they will become.

Why is that important? Disasters happen every day. The federal government should be involved only in those disasters that are beyond the capacity of state and local governments to handle. Centralized disaster response at the national level would destroy the inherent close relationship between citizens and those who save their lives and protect their property in times of everyday disasters. We must not allow that to happen.
Those who want more Brownie on Brownie can listen to his talk show Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. New Orleans time, where he promises more hot takes and hard truths.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Michael "Brownie" Brown: "Hurricane Sandy should teach all of us to chill"

Posted By on Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Canada's Globe & Mail newspaper decided to ask Michael "Brownie" Brown's opinion on Hurricane Sandy, and the paper got it:

Federal agencies such as FEMA have a role. FEMA’s is to be that “honest broker” between the states and various localities.

Brownie does not know what "honest broker" means.

But at the end of the day, it is still each of us, as individuals, who are responsible for our own safety and well-being.

But not, apparently, our own Baton Rouge restaurant reservations.

On national television Tuesday, I told New Yorkers they needed to “chill.”

And you didn't get kicked in the nuts by a cameraman? New York, you disappoint me.

Below the fold: Canadians thank the Globe & Mail for providing Brownie insights.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Michael "Brownie" Brown: Obama responded to Hurricane Sandy too quickly

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Sam Levin of Denver's Westword caught up with former FEMA head Michael "Brownie" Brown, who currently infests the airwaves of that fine city, to see what Brownie thought of the federal response to Hurricane Sandy.

Brownie's criticism? It was too quick. Hmmm. Suspicious!

Brown expects that in the coming days, there will also be comparisons between Obama's quick response to Hurricane Sandy and his slower response to the attacks in Benghazi, which has become a challenging campaign issue for the president.

"One thing he's gonna be asked is, why did he jump on this so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in...Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?" Brown says. "Why was this so quick?... At some point, somebody's going to ask that question.... This is like the inverse of Benghazi."

No, Brownie. No one's going to ask that question. Except you.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Michael Brown talks about guns and Gabby Giffords, recommends lobotomies

Posted By on Thu, Feb 9, 2012 at 11:27 AM


What's notoriously competent former FEMA director and former arabian horse association administrator Michael Brown up to? He's talking about gun control, or actually criticizing gun control advocates. More specifically, he's criticizing mayors who are trying to reduce gun violence (an issue recently addressed in Charles Maldonado's Gambit story). Mayor Mitch Landrieu is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

But where does Brown apply his special touch to the debate? In the Facebook link (pictured above) to his website commentary, he says "lobotomy recommended" if you want to follow the argument for gun control. Follow the link and the example raised by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head by Jared Lee Loughner. (In the shooting spree, six others were killed and 14 wounded.)

Here's Brown in his own words:

So now we’re going to use the Gabby Giffords’ shooting to argue for gun control. Apparently it is a great thing she got shot because now that a congresswoman has gotten shot well, we must do something. Exploitation of crime and tragedy is nothing new to shameless, progressive liberals like Bloomberg, but this is really over the top. But his argument was mind-numbing when he continued to argue that people committed crimes with guns “even though the federal laws prohibited that person from having a gun”.

So not only does he obliviously invoke lobotomies; not only does he say gun control is "insane" while discussing a case involving Loughner (who has pleaded not guilty and who mental health experts have deemed not mentally competent to stand trial); he suggests gun control advocates are pleased with the Giffords shooting because it gives them a premise for legislating.

Heckuva job, Brownie. As always.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Michael "Brownie" Brown on The Colbert Report

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Brownie on The Colbert Report.
  • Brownie on The Colbert Report.
MICHAEL BROWN: FEMA’s nimble. We’re only 2,500 people. We can move on a dime.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Uh-huh. And what dime were you standing on during the hurricane?

Michael "Brownie" Brown, the FEMA head who did such a heckuva job in the wake of Hurricane Katrina that he stepped down within a month, is back in New Orleans this week — promoting his new book Deadly Indifference at the American Library Association conference and squeezing in a couple of booksignings (Garden District Book Shop, Fri., 6 p.m.; Maple Street Book Shop, Sat., 3 p.m.) And he could use all the help that he can get: his book is currently at #120,520 on the Amazon bestsellers list.

So this is a perfect time to rewatch Brownie's 2006 appearance on The Colbert Report, in which a grinning, goofy Brown obviously thinks he and Colbert are having a fine old time ... all the while Colbert is Ginsu-ing him to shreds. To wit:

BROWN: We were taking helicopters in and pulling them off.

COLBERT: The Coast Guard was doing that.

BROWN: But that’s part of "us."

COLBERT: Really? I thought that was the Coast Guard.

BROWN: They were all under one giant happy umbrella.

At the interview's end, Colbert goes for a clean kill when he asked what's changed at FEMA since the disaster. "Zero," says Brown.

"You're gone," Colbert replies. "That's nothing?"

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Brownie gets heckuva full-time talk radio job

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 11:52 PM

From the Failing Up Dept.: Seems that Michael "Brownie" Brown has been given his own three-hour evening talk show on KOA radio in Denver, which seems to be the Mile-High City's version of WWL-AM minus some of the Hebert-Deke-DelGiornoisms.

But why Brownie? Let's ask Clear Channel honcho Kris Olinger:

Regarding the notoriety Brown earned from his Katrina actions, Olinger says, "I think it's a definite positive. He has great insight into what happened in New Orleans and how government works. He takes responsibility where he needs to, but he's also pretty candid about other things that went wrong. I think people get the inside story from him."

And here's Brownie showing how he takes responsibility later in the same story:

"People get beaten up and thrown under the bus all the time," he notes. "You've got the choice of letting the bus run over you three times, and wallowing in that, or getting up and moving. And my choice was to get up and keep moving."

If your radio doesn't pick up signals from Denver, you'll have to wait until June, when Brownie's book Deadly Indifference: Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, Disease Pandemics and the Failed Politics of Disasters hits bookshelves. And if you're shaking your head that Michael "FEMA" Brown would actually have the temerity or boneheadedness to write a Katrina book called Deadly Indifference, you don't know Brownie.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Brownie gets $10K for speaking at disaster conference

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 1:25 AM

As we wrap up a weekend of remembering the hurricane and the federal floods, Michael Brown is cashing in on his disaster expertise...

On the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals is holding its convention, featuring . . . Michael Brown, the FEMA director forced out of his job for his weak response to the hurricane.

"There are a lot of lessons learned — whether he did them right or wrong — that our people need to hear," said Cedric Calhoun, group's executive director.

Brown is getting $10,000 for his appearance at the three-day San Diego convention that begins Sunday, and Calhoun expects some "yelling and screaming."

Whole story here. Heckuva job, Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals.

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Coming up in Gambit: FrenchQuarterJazzFest hangover edition

Posted By on Sat, May 9, 2009 at 6:16 PM

What to look for in this week's Gambit (in newsracks tomorrow and online Monday)? A few things:

• In our cover story, "Bonanza of Bills," Jeremy Alford snoops around Baton Rouge and examines a few bills that have been flying under the radar while the legislature grapples with the upcoming budget shortfall (currently estimated at eleventy-five gazillion dollars, more or less)....

David Winkler-Schmit looks at the delicate dance that Louisiana's gay and lesbian adoptive parents must perform in "The Gay Parent Trap." Under the proposed House Bill 60, unmarried couples (either same- or opposite-sex) would not be able to list both partners on the birth certificates, and on Thursday the N.O. City Council issued a unanimous condemnation of the proposal. (Councilman Arnie Fielkow, an adoptive parent himself, had some particularly strong words.)

• After a 10-year absence from the bookshelves, writer J.M. Redmann is back with Death of a Dying Man, her fifth mystery featuring P.I. Micky Knight. She'll be talking Micky at this weekend's Saints & Sinners Literary Festival....

Clancy DuBos has a few pointed words about Hizzoner C. Ray Nagin and his memory problems in a column called "The Blur"....

• ...and in Commentary, we have a few more words for David Vitter's foot-dragging when it comes to confirming the eminently qualified Craig Fugate as the nation's new FEMA director: Knock. It. Off.

Hey -- in all the hubbub of putting out the paper, we sometimes forget to say thanks to our readers, who are the entire reason we do this, week after week. So, if you're reading this: thank you for reading, thanks for your letters and comments on the blog (and keeping them so smart and civil), and thanks for being here. Summer's almost here, and we'll get through it, together.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Brownie, Brownie, Brownie. Just zip it and go away for good.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 10:54 PM

I can't imagine why anyone in the world would solicit Michael "Heckuva Job" Brown's opinion on anything more weighty than "white or wheat?," but it seems that Neil Cavuto saw fit to give him airtime to pontificate on the current administration's response to swine flu:

I think there’s one thing they’re legitimately worried about, and that is this H1N1 is a new strain we haven’t seen before -- so we’re not sure how Tamiflu and everything will work against it. Here’s what I really think is going on: I think they want to raise this level because that gives them more attention, it gives them more, you know, more legitimacy, and allows them to get out there and say ‘Oh look at us, we’re in control, we've got this thing taken care of.’

Because God knows Brownie himself would never want to appear in control of a bad situation, much less get out ahead of it.


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