Michael Brown, FEMA's Katrina boss, offers S.D. wildfires advice


17 Responses to “Michael Brown, FEMA's Katrina boss, offers S.D. wildfires advice”

  1. George Curious says:

    Someone needs to put him on the B-Ark with the telephone sanitizers and the hairdressers.

  2. OM says:

    …The actual advice Brown will give:

    Just let it burn. There’ll be a typhoon along eventually to not only put the fires out, but wash away the debris. Let Mother Nature run her course!

  3. ckd says:

    Maybe he’s waiting for the levees to collapse, resulting in a flood that will put out the fires.

  4. Jacques says:

    I think Mr Brown might have some good advice to offer, regardless of how badly the Katrina debacle was handled.

  5. Crash says:

    Is it truly so impossible that someone might learn from his mistakes?

  6. krex says:

    those who can, do. those who can’t, become consultants.

  7. zantony says:

    8: Not impossible, but it’s by no means certain either. Nothing in the man’s past performance makes me want to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. Maybe you’d trust your community, home, and family to him, but personally I’d sooner go with Fire Marshall Bill.

  8. yurei says:


    In the case of someone who hasn’t been properly punished for it, yes – it’s impossible for them to learn from their mistakes. This jerk likely thinks he hasn’t done anything wrong. He resigned to avoid being lynched. It’s not like Joe at the local grocery store getting canned for dropping a case of glass-bottled product and saying “Ooops. My baad”. People suffered and died because of Brown’s negligence, complacent attitude, and overall incompetence.

    As a side note, in Japan, a person can be arrested for professional negligence resulting in deaths and injuries. How high up the chain of command [as in elected officials and such] this law goes is anyone’s guess.

  9. Abelard Lindsay says:

    7, 8, et al.:

    Let’s say your neighbor hires me to remodel their bathroom. In doing so, I manage to put a tub through their kitchen, soak all the drywall in the house to a moldy mess, and cause the death of their beloved pet/child/begonia/????

    Now, you need your bathroom remodeled. Is it impossible to believe I have learned from my mistakes? Do you now trust me with your family’s health and safety?

  10. banjiboarder says:

    Sorry to be slightly off topic;

    On Monday I went behind the fire / police lines (I live in San Diego) with my digital SLR and started snapping photos.

    Thought I’d share some… http://picasaweb.google.com/ben.ressler/WildfireShots

  11. yurei says:

    That sunrise is beautiful and eerie. Great picture set.

  12. kenmce says:

    I think Mr Brown might have some good advice to offer, regardless of how badly the Katrina debacle was handled.

    It is humanly possible, however his odds of giving good advice are no better than that of any random stranger, and I’ll bet his rates are much higher.

    Is it truly so impossible that someone might learn from his mistakes?

    Yes, he may have learned something. Unfortunately he has no background or training whatsoever that relates to disaster management. His time at FEMA was a low point for the agency. He knew nothing about the job and shows no obvious sign of having learned anything while he was there. He was given the job as a reward, not because he knew anything about it.

  13. KokuRyu says:

    It would seem to make sense that Michael Brown could offer useful advice, given his past experience. Perhaps he is not a particularly good leader, but he probably knows the system and its challenges better than anyone else in a disaster situation.

    And hasn’t the Sierra Club morphed into some sort of rightist, Libertarian, anti-immigrant organization?

  14. Comstock says:

    The consultant class should be the first ones on the guillotine when the revolution comes.

  15. kenmce says:

    Taken from the press release at the link:

    “Mr. Brown can speak to the turmoil being caused by the California wild fires as well as to some of the new processes in disaster relief efforts that will help to restore California communities. He can offer advice to residents and businesses on proper relief and recovery efforts and provide suggestions for future disaster preparedness.”

    Translated from suitspeak:

    Mr. Brown can speak to the turmoil

    He cares. Like you don’t?

    as well as to some of the new processes in disaster relief efforts

    Someone who deesn’t live there has some neat new ideas about what they should do. If it doesn’t work out he’ll get some other ideas for next time.

    He can offer advice… proper relief… provide suggestions…

    Give him money and he will tell you what to do. The question arises of how his advice is any better than that of anybody else.

  16. RingMod76 says:

    Consultancy is the afterlife for political appointees…it also often can be read as “I’m not very good at this, but I’ll be happy to tell you how YOU should do it, if you pay me a lot of money.”

    Besides, as Kokuryu pointed out, Brownie is definitely an expert at what NOT to do in a disaster situation.

  17. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Knowing you screwed up last time doesn’t mean you know what to do this time. I can’t believe anyone would trust Brownie with a burnt-out match, much less disaster relief.

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