Brownie's Chutzpah

Rich Galen

5/7/2010 8:27:21 AM - Rich Galen

Mike Brown, the former head of FEMA during the Hurricane Katrina fiasco, has been using the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to sell some book he's written and to promote his business.

Mike Brown is the infamous "Brownie" as in the "You're doing a heck of a job" Brownie, and works at a Denver firm as vice president …

I'm going to let you swallow your coffee. Ready? Ok.

… as vice president "of its disaster recovery practice."

I know, I know. It sounds too weird to be true but it is.

Michelle Malkin

According to an article in Politco, Brown's running from one cable news studio to another is not

"an attempt to rehabilitate his image or set the record straight. Nothing that dramatic. Rather, he just wants the publicity.

"He wants to sell his new book, he says, and he wants to get some clients for his company."

As some of you might remember, I was in Baton Rouge with your guy Brownie right after the hurricane hit.

Even then, it was all about Mike Brown.

A bunch of other folks who came down to help and I were sleeping on buses. Brown was staying at a hotel but it was not a hotel which was a member of the chain in which he was collecting frequent stayer points. One of Brown's staffers spent his time and the taxpayers' money making frequent calls to the preferred hotel to try and get him in there.

The FEMA command trailer was in Baton Rouge which was largely untouched by the hurricane being about 80 miles northwest of New Orleans. It was suggested that the trailer be "moved forward," that is, closer to the action. The suggestion was rejected because Brown didn't want to have to drive back to Baton Rouge every night for dinner.

Prior to Katrina, Brown was making plans to leave FEMA and return to private life. The morning after a network ran an unflattering portrait of Brown he was terribly upset, but the staff was focused on the recovery effort. Someone said, "We have to get our arms around this thing," which Brown took to mean repairing the damage done to his reputation, not repairing the damage done to New Orleans.

"I know it," he said, completely missing the point. "I have three offers on the table and they're all going to be withdrawn if we don't fix this."

The staff in the trailer didn't risk looking at one other. Eyes were glued to computer screens, and fingers began typing at speeds which Mavis Beacon would never have believed possible

A couple of days after President Bush complimented him, we learned the Secretary of Defense was coming down to meet with General Russel Honoré who had been brought in to coordinate the military portion of the recovery effort - but not on the grounds where the FEMA operation was headquartered.

Someone asked me if they should call and see if Brown could attend the meeting. I said that what he should do is find some cardboard boxes because "You are now standing on the outskirts of the Military District of New Orleans."

Honoré took over total control of the operation a few days later. During his reign he famously told a reporter not to "get stuck on stupid" after the reporter asked a question he thought was stupid.

I went directly from Louisiana to Afghanistan. I told people in Afghanistan I had come there because I needed a break.

New Topic:

On Tuesday night I wrote about the Christian Science Monitor reporting that the goofball who tried to blow up an SUV in Times Square had been allowed to board a plane to Dubai because officials were trying to see if anyone was traveling with him.

That turned out to be modestly incorrect.

What is more correct is the Feds had lost track of him, he got to the airport, bought a plane ticket with cash, and the only reason he was stopped was because an alert Customs and Border Protection Agent paired his name on the flight manifest with its recent addition to the "no-fly" list.

Earlier, according to the Associated Press, Attorney General Eric Holder had told reporters

The suspect, Faisal Shahzad, was taken into custody late Monday by FBI agents and New York Police Department detectives at Kennedy Airport while trying to board a flight to Dubai. He was identified by customs agents and stopped before boarding, Holder said early Tuesday in Washington.

You're doing a heck of a job, Eric.