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 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Sunday, May 01, 2005

mike brown continued....

One has to wonder why there has been zero FEMA presence at the Superdome, the Convention Center and the city's hospitals. Would it have been too much to have communications people at those locations arrive by helicopter...if only to provide leadership and information? (If not distribute water and prioritize the needs of the victims needing help.)

Mr. Brown characterized the levee break almost like it caught him and the government off guard. (which it, of course, did.) But as he talked about that break I got the distinct impression that the levee break was going to serve as a kind of excuse...that "everything would have been okay if only the levee hadn't broke." That doesn't cut it when your own agency had addressed that exact contingency, in my view.

At any rate. Mike Brown doesn't come over well on TV. He's doesn't give off a take charge vibe in the least. And his message is not focused. He downplayed the looting as an impediment to rescue efforts and attempted to humanize the remaining victims in the city. (which I appreciate) At the same time he then quite clearly called the looters "thugs"...which sounded exactly like BushCo. code speak: a blanket condemnation of property theft in the face of an utter humanitarian nightmare.

Finally, his characterization of the house-to-house searches...his description of the many houses that contained the dead and the drowned...sickened me. It was almost like he was feeling sorry for the rescuers for having to "see" this. That simply doesn't cut it either, especially in light of his "blame the victim" remarks on CNN. (see comments below)

As it stands the director of FEMA, in the face of the worst humanitarian disaster in our nation in a century came off as someone not even aware of the stark facts of that reality.

We needed better from FEMA....and if the news reports from New Orleans are to be believed....New Orleans and the Gulf Coast had better receive the aid they so desperately need at all those points of gathering...at the Convention Center, the Superdome, at Nursing Homes and Hospitals and private apartment buildings and all up and down the Gulf Coast...and soon.

The BBC is now reporting "thousands" dead. The footage on the BBC is heartbreaking right now.