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Michael Brown resigns as head of FEMA

Breaking:
Michael Brown has resigned from FEMA...
Developing...
From this:

Federal Emergency Management Agency director Mike Brown said Monday he has resigned "in the best interest of the agency and best interest of the president," three days after losing his onsite command of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.
"The focus has got to be on FEMA, what the people are trying to do down there," Brown told The Associated Press.

Reaction from DUmmies, FReepers.

New Orleans officials never intended full evacuation

From "The Steady Buildup to a City's Chaos" comes this Sunday, August 28 news that should give some slight pause to the race-baiters:

Minutes earlier, Blanco had been pulled out to take a call from the president, pressed into service by FEMA's Brown to urge a mandatory evacuation. Blanco told him that's just what the mayor would order.
Nagin also announced that the city had set up 10 refuges of last resort, and promised that public buses would pick up stragglers in a dozen locations to take them to the Superdome and other shelters.
But he never mentioned the numbers that had haunted experts for years, the estimated 100,000 city residents without their own transportation. And he never mentioned that the state's comprehensive disaster plan, written in 2000 and posted on a state Web site, called for buses to take people out of the city once the governor declared a state of emergency.
In reality, Nagin's advisers never intended to follow that plan -- and knew many residents would stay behind. "We always knew we did not have the means to evacuate the city," said Terry Ebbert, the sharp-tongued city director of emergency management...

Chertoff, Cheney dumped Michael Brown

"FEMA Chief Was Recalled After High-Level Meeting" has the who-really-cares details. But, oddly enough, it doesn't mention Bush being involved in the decision. Maybe he was MTBing at the time.

"Firms with Bush ties snag Katrina deals"

Reuters:

Companies with ties to the Bush White House and the former head of FEMA are clinching some of the administration's first disaster relief and reconstruction contracts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
At least two major corporate clients of lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, President George W. Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have already been tapped to start recovery work along the battered Gulf Coast.
One is Shaw Group Inc. and the other is Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root. Vice President Dick Cheney is a former head of Halliburton...

See also "Halliburton taps $500 million Katrina contract; Allbaugh connection".

Michael Brown's confirmation hearing transcript

As previously discussed, Joe Lieberman and other Democrats didn't object to his resume when FEMA head Michael Brown was confirmed in 2002.
Now, a transcript of that hearing has been located.

Michael Brown relieved of hurricane responsibilities

After an intense effort by the Dems:

Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown... is being pulled off relief operations in the area...
Brown is being sent back to Washington from Baton Rouge, two federal officials told AP on condition of anonymity. The official announcement is expected at an unconfirmed time on Friday afternoon.
In Louisiana, Brown was the primary official overseeing the federal government's response to the relief effort.
Now, he will be replaced by Vice Admiral Thad W. Allen, chief of staff of the U.S. Coast Guard, who was overseeing New Orleans relief and rescue efforts...

WaPo: FEMA leaders "lacking disaster experience"

From this WaPo article:

Five of eight top Federal Emergency Management Agency officials came to their posts with virtually no experience in handling disasters and now lead an agency whose ranks of seasoned crisis managers have thinned dramatically since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
FEMA's top three leaders -- Director Michael D. Brown, Chief of Staff Patrick J. Rhode and Deputy Chief of Staff Brooks D. Altshuler -- arrived with ties to President Bush's 2000 campaign or to the White House advance operation, according to the agency. Two other senior operational jobs are filled by a former Republican lieutenant governor of Nebraska anda U.S. Chamber of Commerce official who was once a political operative.

Emphasis added; as Brown points out, he has had some on-the-job experience. And, as Joe Lieberman pointed out, he did have disaster experience as an assistant city manager.

...Meanwhile, veterans such as U.S. hurricane specialist Eric Tolbert and World Trade Center disaster managers Laurence W. Zensinger and Bruce P. Baughman -- who led FEMA's offices of response, recovery and preparedness, respectively -- have left since 2003, taking jobs as consultants or state emergency managers...
...several top FEMA officials are well-regarded by state and private counterparts in disaster preparedness and response... They include Edward G. Buikema, acting director of response since February, and Kenneth O. Burris, acting chief of operations, a career firefighter and former Marietta, Ga., fire chief...
...Rhode, Brown's chief of staff, is a former television reporter who came to Washington as advance deputy director for Bush's Austin-based 2000 campaign and then the White House. He joined FEMA in April 2003 after stints at the Commerce Department and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Altshuler is a former presidential advance man. His predecessor, Scott Morris, was a media strategist for Bush with the Austin firm Maverick Media.
David I. Maurstad, who stepped down as Nebraska lieutenant governor in 2001 to join FEMA, has served asacting director for risk reduction and federal insurance administrator since June 2004. Daniel A. Craig, a onetime political fundraiser and campaign adviser, came to FEMA in 2001 from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he directed the eastern regional office, after working as a lobbyist for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association...
...Department of Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said Brown has managed more than 160 natural disasters as FEMA general counsel and deputy director since 2001, "hands-on experience [that] cannot be understated. Other leadership at FEMA brings particular skill sets -- policy management leadership, for example..."
...The agency's troubles are no secret. The Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit group that promotes careers in federal government, ranked FEMA last of 28 agencies studied in 2003.
In its list of best places to work in the government, a 2004 survey by the American Federation of Government Employees found that of 84 career FEMA professionals who responded, only 10 people ranked agency leaders excellent or good.
An additional 28 said the leadership was fair and 33 called it poor.
More than 50 said they would move to another agency if they could remain at the same pay grade, and 67 ranked the agency as poorer since its merger into the Department of Homeland Security.

The AFGE is a union, so there's always the possibility that they or their members had their own agenda.

"Bumblers, Not Bigots: The post-Katrina racism bunk"

Deroy Murdock has a long discussion of the race-baiting coming from "liberals", starting with Randall Robinson's infamous cannibalism post:

...Like New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, and FEMA director Michael Brown, President Bush must explain why, for three to four days, no one could manage at least to air drop bottled water and granola bars on thousands of Katrina survivors who baked under temperatures exceeding 90 degrees at the Crescent City's Superdome, its convention center, and freeway overpasses in the central business district.
While he must answer for that and other badly dropped balls, Bush need not apologize for being fueled by bigotry during last week's "inadequate" federal response, as he described it.
This charge crumbles on first inspection.
George W. Bush is a politician with a very ambitious agenda. Does Randall Robinson really believe that Bush thinks it would be easier to persuade Congress to reform Social Security if he merely arranged to deny poor, beleaguered blacks food and water for over half a week?
Does Elijah Cummings truly believe that Bush thinks it would encourage the Senate to confirm his judicial appointees if he ordered FEMA to conduct slow-motion rescues of elderly black ladies from their attics?
Does Kanye West actually believe that Bush eagerly anticipated televised images of parched, screaming black babies as a public-diplomacy tool to boost European and Middle Eastern support for U.S. policy in Iraq and the Arab world?...

"Dems Blast Bush Over Hurricane Response"

AP:

...Democrats, armed with talking points and in close consultation, went into full battle mode Wednesday on the Republican administration's handling of the crisis.
[Hillary] Clinton called for an independent commission to study the response and made the rounds of four network morning television shows on Wednesday.
Of Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Clinton told CBS: "I would never have appointed such a person. I would imagine, I don't think that anybody would. You would appoint somebody who has experience."
Congress' top two Democrats led the charge. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada pressed for a wide-ranging investigation that would explore questions such as "How much time did the president spend dealing with this emerging crisis while he was on vacation?"
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., renewed her call for Brown's dismissal and declared: "There were two disasters last week: first, the natural disaster, and second, the man-made disaster, the disaster made by mistakes made by FEMA."
She told reporters she had urged Bush in person at the White House on Tuesday to fire Brown.
"Why would I do that?" Pelosi quoted the president as saying...
... More than two-thirds of Republicans said Bush is doing a great or good job in responding to the hurricane and flooding, according to a CNN- USA Today-Gallup poll out Wednesday. About two-thirds of Democrats say he is doing a bad or terrible job...

"FEMA Head Bears the Brunt of Katrina Anger"

AP:

He's been called an idiot, an incompetent and worse. The vilification of federal disaster chief Michael Brown, emerging as chief scapegoat for whatever went wrong in the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, has ratcheted into the stratosphere. Democratic members of Congress are taking numbers to call for his head.
"I would never have appointed such a person," said New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"Let's bring in someone who is a professional," urged Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.
A more visceral indictment came from closer to the calamity. Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish near New Orleans, said the bureaucracy "has murdered people in the greater New Orleans area."
... But the dim view of Brown's qualifications by senators seems to have emerged only in hindsight. Members of both parties seemed little troubled by his background at 2002 Senate hearings that led to his confirmation as deputy FEMA chief.
Indeed, Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, who led those hearings, called Brown's long-ago stint as assistant city manager in Edmond, Okla., a "particularly useful experience" because he had responsibility for local emergency services...

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