I have to say that it's been quite entertaining to hear some of the crap that comes out of the mouth of ex-FEMA cheif Michael Brown since the debacle that was his agency's handling of Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath. If you recall, Brown initially blamed the poor and disabled people of New Orleans for not jumping in their cars and fleeing the city after a mandatory evacuation order was placed before Katrina made landfall. It was at that point that I realized how much of an asshole this guy really is.
Today's Congressional Hearing offerred an opportunity for some other wonderful quotes from Brown, and some downright awesome exchanges between Brown and members of the comittee:
"And while my heart goes out to people on fixed incomes, it is primarily a state and local responsibility. And in my opinion, it's the responsibility of faith-based organizations, of churches and charities and others to help those people." _ Michael Brown, former FEMA director.
While there is no doubt that churches and faith-based organizations have provided more than FEMA did in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, that is a FRIGHTENING quote from a guy whose job it is to coordinate federal management efforts after natural disasters. Would he suggest that churches should have gotten together and put out the fires and rounded up the terrorists after the World Trade Center bombings? Given the number of people without food, clothing and shelter in the aftermath of Katrina, churches and faith-based organizations are obviously not equipped to handle this sort of thing without additional support.
In the words of Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss:
"What part of the FEMA plan envisioned that the first responders in Hancock County and much of the Mississippi Gulf Coast would have to loot the local grocery store and loot the local Wal-Mart in order to feed themselves, would have to loot the local Wal-Mart in order to have a change of clothes?"
The irony behind all of this is that one the same page discussing the hearings on Capitol Hill there are still thousands of people affected by Hurricane Rita who don't have access to basis services. Wasn't our response supposed to be better this time? I guess we're too busy trying to figure out who to blame to fix anything. While the President rides around the country burning jet fuel and reminding all of us to conserve gas, I guess anything is possible.