Friday, September 09, 2005

American Style Capitalism

Now that the guy who ran a horse registry into the ground has been 'recalled' - padded resume and all - and the 'accountability moment' has passed, it's time to begin making some money and rewarding our cronies! Even silly wage standards can't be allowed to interfere with our buddies's profits!


Blogger Management said...

FEMA Dir. Mike Brown fired from prior job at Horse Assoc.
by Goldy at HorsesAss
Fri Sep 2nd, 2005 at 00:46:22 PDT

[editor's note, by Goldy at HorsesAss] Revised title

"An unmitigated, total fucking disaster." That's not a quote from Mike Brown, but rather, a quote describing him. And most disturbingly, it's not even a reference to his dismal performance as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This blunt critique was emailed to me from a regular reader who was apparently attracted to by her passion for politics and her love of Arabian horses.

I think I've told you that I'm into Arab horses. Well, for 3 years Michael Brown was hired and then fired by our IAHA, the International Arabian Horse Assoc. He was an unmitigated, total fucking disaster. I was shocked as hell when captain clueless put him in charge of FEMA a couple of years ago.

* Goldy at HorsesAss's diary :: ::

He or the WH lied on the WH presser announcing him to FEMA. IAHA was never connected to the Olympic Comm, only the half Arab registry then and the governing body to the state and local Arabian horse clubs. He ruined IAHA financially so badly that we had to change the name and combine it with the Purebred registry.

I am telling you this after watching the fucking shipwreck in the Gulf. His incompetence is KILLING people.

Yes, that's right... the man responsible for directing federal relief operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, sharpened his emergency management skills as the "Judges and Stewards Commissioner" for the International Arabian Horses Association... a position from which he was forced to resign in the face of mounting litigation and financial disarray.

And what of that misleading White House press release?

From 1991 to 2001, Brown was the Commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association, an international subsidiary of the national governing organization of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

I can't even begin to fact check the dates or IAHA's alleged relationship to the US Olympic Committee, because of course, the IAHA doesn't exist anymore, so there's nothing to Google. But it begs the question... how the hell did his prior job experience prepare Brown to head FEMA?

Well, judging by his agency's performance over the past few days... it didn't.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Management said...

Admiral takes over Katrina relief
FEMA chief recalled to Washington to prepare for future storms

Friday, September 9, 2005; Posted: 7:40 p.m. EDT (23:40 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen will replace FEMA director Michael Brown as the on-site head of hurricane relief operations in the Gulf Coast, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced Friday afternoon.

Brown will head back to Washington from Louisiana to oversee the big picture, the official said. (Full Story)

Allen has been an assistant to Brown in the Gulf region.

While announcing the leadership change, Chertoff praised the FEMA director's response to the devastating storm. (Watch Chertoff's annoucement -- 8:26)

"Hurricane Katrina will go down as the largest natural disaster in American history," the secretary said at a news conference in Baton Rouge. "Mike Brown has done everything he possibly could to coordinate the response to this unprecedented challenge. I appreciate his work, as does everybody here."

Chertoff would not allow Brown to answer a reporter's question as to whether this was the first step in Brown's resignation. He also did not respond to a question regarding Time Magazine's report that Brown's resume contained inaccuracies. FEMA issued a statement calling the article "misleading."

Time magazine published an article Friday on its Web site questioning the qualifications of Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown . (Full Storyexternal link)

Chertoff said Brown would work on preparations for future storms, including Tropical Storm Ophelia, which is off the Florida coast. (Full story)

"FEMA is fully capable of handling multi-storm operations," Brown said in a written statement. "I am returning to Washington, D.C., to resume oversight over operations for the arrival of Hurricane Ophelia and the immediate response efforts."
Bush to revisit disaster area

Also Friday, the White House said President Bush will return to Mississippi and Louisiana on Sunday.

Bush will stay overnight in Louisiana before returning to Washington on Monday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

The president is facing blistering criticism for his administration's handling of the disaster.

Bush first traveled to the region on September 2, four days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall and spread destruction along a huge swath of the Gulf Coast.

He returned to the region on Monday for another one-day visit.

During a speech at the State Department on Friday, the president said: "America is a strong and resilient nation. Our people have the spirit, the resources and the determination to overcome any challenge." (Watch Bush's comments -- 2:39)

"In this time of struggle, the American people need to know we're not struggling alone," Bush said. "I want to thank the world community for its prayers and for the offers of assistance that have come from all around the world."
Bush signs $51.8 billion aid bill

President Bush on Thursday night signed a $51.8 billion emergency spending bill after promising survivors of Hurricane Katrina earlier in the day that the federal government "is going to be with you for the long haul."

The Senate unanimously passed the aid bill on Thursday.

The House passed its version of the bill earlier in the day by a vote of 410-11. The 11 representatives who voted against it were Republicans.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, one of the Republicans who voted against the measure, said he was concerned the bill lacked accountability.

"While the people of New Orleans and other affected areas clearly need help, I am not convinced that this legislation will provide it," said Sensenbrenner, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Earlier Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, questioned FEMA's ability to spend the money properly and suggested that a public authority similar to the Tennessee Valley Authority be created for rebuilding efforts.

"After everything that has happened with FEMA, is there anyone who believes that we should continue to let the money go to FEMA and be distributed by them?" Reid asked.

Bush on Thursday night praised Congress for moving swiftly "in strong bipartisan fashion to approve these additional emergency funds."

Action on the aid appropriation came one day after the leaders of the House and Senate announced that a bipartisan joint congressional committee will review the response, at all levels of government, to the hurricane.

Congress passed a $10.5 billion relief bill last week. The $51.8 billion first sought by the Bush administration Thursday covers five weeks and amounts to roughly $1.4 billion a day.

The White House budget chief said "substantially more" money likely will be needed in the weeks and months ahead.

And Reid said Wednesday that the need for federal disaster aid could top $150 billion.
Hurricane victims to receive immediate aid

In an address aimed at the hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents displaced by the August 29 storm, Bush outlined plans to distribute $2,000 in federal aid to every affected household for immediate needs and to supply them with long-term assistance in the months ahead.

He also promised to reimburse states for the costs associated with taking in people forced to relocate, telling state leaders, "You should not be penalized for showing compassion." (Full Story)

Families can register by contacting Federal Emergency Management Agency or Red Cross teams at emergency shelters, by calling (800) 621-FEMA or by visiting www.fema.govexternal link, Bush said.

The president also called for a national day of prayer.

"I ask that we pray, as Americans have always prayed in times of trial, with confidence in his purpose, with hope for a brighter future and with the humility to ask God to keep us strong, so we can better serve our brothers and sisters in need," he said.
Landrieu blasts federal response

On Capitol Hill Thursday, Louisiana's senior senator, Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, blasted the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, calling it "incompetent and insulting" to the people of her state.

"The record for rebuilding will be staggering, but it will pale in comparison to the staggering incompetence of this national government," Landrieu said in a speech on the Senate floor.

She also said it was unfair to fault local and state officials for what many have described as an inadequate response to the storm.

She also faulted Bush for failing to recognize the severity of the situation when the levees broke, noting that public service announcements featuring the Mr. Bill clay animation character have been warning about such a scenario for two years.

"We know the president said 'I don't think anyone anticipated the break of the levee.' Everybody anticipated the break of the levee, Mr. President," she said. "How can it be that Mr. Bill was better informed than Mr. Bush?"
Joint panel announced

On Wednesday, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, announced that a bipartisan joint congressional committee will review initial local, state and federal government response to Katrina. (Full story.)

Democrats criticized the Republican leadership for not consulting with them before announcing that a panel would be created and whether the panel can conduct an unbiased investigation. They would prefer a commission styled after the independent commission that investigated the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Hastert and Frist said in a written statement that the committee would report its findings to Congress no later than February 15 next year.

Critics argue the federal government took too long to mobilize aid, causing thousands of storm victims to languish for days without food, water and other necessities.

The size of the panel has not been announced, and there is no word on when the hearings will begin. However, GOP leaders have said they don't want to pull officials out of the disaster area to testify.

Aides to House and Senate leaders told CNN the committee will have subpoena power, and standing House and Senate committees can use the investigative findings to craft legislation for reforms.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Management said...

Thursday, Sep. 08, 2005
How Reliable Is Brown's Resume?
A TIME investigation reveals discrepancies in the FEMA chief's official biographies

When President Bush nominated Michael Brown to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2003, Brown's boss at the time, Joe Allbaugh, declared, "the President couldn't have chosen a better man to help...prepare and protect the nation." But how well was he prepared for the job? Since Hurricane Katrina, the FEMA director has come under heavy criticism for his performance and scrutiny of his background. Now, an investigation by TIME has found discrepancies in his online legal profile and official bio, including a description of Brown released by the White House at the time of his nomination in 2001 to the job as deputy chief of FEMA. On Friday, Brown, who became director of FEMA in 2003, was relieved of his duties handling the Katrina response and was replaced in that role by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen.

Before joining FEMA, his only previous stint in emergency management, according to his bio posted on FEMA's website, was "serving as an assistant city manager with emergency services oversight." The White House press release from 2001 stated that Brown worked for the city of Edmond, Okla., from 1975 to 1978 "overseeing the emergency services division." In fact, according to Claudia Deakins, head of public relations for the city of Edmond, Brown was an "assistant to the city manager" from 1977 to 1980, not a manager himself, and had no authority over other employees. "The assistant is more like an intern," she told TIME. "Department heads did not report to him." Brown did do a good job at his humble position, however, according to his boss. "Yes. Mike Brown worked for me. He was my administrative assistant. He was a student at Central State University," recalls former city manager Bill Dashner. "Mike used to handle a lot of details. Every now and again I'd ask him to write me a speech. He was very loyal. He was always on time. He always had on a suit and a starched white shirt."

In response, Nicol Andrews, deputy strategic director in FEMA's office of public affairs, insists that while Brown began as an intern, he became an "assistant city manager" with a distinguished record of service. "According to Mike Brown," she says, "a large portion [of the points raised by TIME] is very inaccurate."

Brown's lack of experience in emergency management isn't the only apparent bit of padding on his resume, which raises questions about how rigorously the White House vetted him before putting him in charge of FEMA. Under the "honors and awards" section of his profile at — which is information on the legal website provided by lawyers or their offices—he lists "Outstanding Political Science Professor, Central State University". However, Brown "wasn't a professor here, he was only a student here," says Charles Johnson, News Bureau Director in the University Relations office at the University of Central Oklahoma (formerly named Central State University). "He may have been an adjunct instructor," says Johnson, but that title is very different from that of "professor." Carl Reherman, a former political science professor at the University through the '70s and '80s, says that Brown "was not on the faculty." As for the honor of "Outstanding Political Science Professor," Johnson says, "I spoke with the department chair yesterday and he's not aware of it." Johnson could not confirm that Brown made the Dean's list or was an "Outstanding Political Science Senior," as is stated on his online profile.

Speaking for Brown, Andrews says that Brown has never claimed to be a political science professor, in spite of what his profile in FindLaw indicates. "He was named the outstanding political science senior at Central State, and was an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City School of Law."

Under the heading of "Professional Associations and Memberships" on FindLaw, Brown states that from 1983 to the present he has been director of the Oklahoma Christian Home, a nursing home in Edmond. But an administrator with the Home told TIME that Brown is "not a person that anyone here is familiar with." She says there was a board of directors until a couple of years ago, but she couldn't find anyone who recalled him being on it. According to FEMA's Andrews, Brown said "he's never claimed to be the director of the home. He was on the board of directors, or governors of the nursing home." However, a veteran employee at the center since 1981 says Brown "was never director here, was never on the board of directors, was never executive director. He was never here in any capacity. I never heard his name mentioned here."

The FindLaw profile for Brown was amended on Thursday to remove a reference to his tenure at the International Arabian Horse Association, which has become a contested point.

Brown's FindLaw profile lists a wide range of areas of legal practice, from estate planning to family law to sports. However, one former colleague does not remember Brown's work as sterling. Stephen Jones, a prominent Oklahoma lawyer who was lead defense attorney on the Timothy McVeigh case, was Brown's boss for two-and-a-half years in the early '80s. "He did mainly transactional work, not litigation," says Jones. "There was a feeling that he was not serious and somewhat shallow." Jones says when his law firm split, Brown was one of two staffers who was let go.

— With reporting by Jeremy Caplan and Carolina A. Miranda/New York; Nathan Thornburgh/Baton Rouge; Levi Clark/Edmond; Massimo Calabresi and Mark Thompson/Washington

4:58 PM  
Blogger Management said...

Louisiana real estate booms after Katrina

Sep. 9, 2005 - Hurricane Katrina has created a real estate boom in Louisiana's usually sedate state capital, now bursting at the seams as rescue workers arrive and evacuees scramble to get on with their lives.

Baton Rouge, just 70 miles northwest of New Orleans and relatively untouched by Katrina, is believed to have doubled its 250,000 population in just over a week, local officials said.

Demand for residential and commercial property is so strong that rental vacancy is an oxymoron and buyers are bidding against each other for places to live. As available housing dwindles, buyers waive inspections and pay cash for properties they may not have even seen.

"It's crazy," said Herb Gomez, executive vice president of the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors. "(Realtors) are busier now then they have been in their entire careers."

Stephen Moret, chief executive of the Chamber of Greater Baton Rouge, said his members are running at full tilt. But it is an unexpected prosperity that he and other merchants are trying to keep in perspective.

"Everything that's happening here is against the backdrop of the terrible devastation in New Orleans," Moret said. "I wouldn't even call it bittersweet. Awkward is more like it. We're trying to accommodate the needs of evacuees."

The real estate market is red hot, with both commercial and residential properties becoming increasingly scarce and valuable.

A normal, active month in Baton Rouge would be marked by about 900 existing home sales. In the past 13 days, even the most conservative estimates say inventory has dropped from 3,600 homes to less than 2,500.

Moret says the number of available homes is more likely under 500 as real estate agents, swamped with closings, have not had time to relay their sales results.

"Virtually all rental units are gone and all residential stock will soon be gone," Merot said.

The question remains whether the boom will eventually bust as recent transplants return to a rebuilt New Orleans -- one of America's most famous cities, where residents revel in a unique culture of jazz and Mardi Gras -- in the months and years ahead.

"I'm of the opinion that they might not stay," said Gomez. "To live in New Orleans, you've got to love it. I don't think many of these people are going to be comfortable anywhere else."

Copyright 2005 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures

4:59 PM  
Blogger Management said...

Bush lifts wage rules for Katrina
President signs executive order allowing contractors to pay below prevailing wage in affected areas.
September 9, 2005: 11:43 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush issued an executive order Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage.

In a notice to Congress, Bush said the hurricane had caused "a national emergency" that permits him to take such action under the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act in ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The Davis-Bacon law requires federal contractors to pay workers at least the prevailing wages in the area where the work is conducted. It applies to federally funded construction projects such as highways and bridges.

Bush's executive order suspends the requirements of the Davis-Bacon law for designated areas hit by the storm.

Bush's action came as the federal government moved to provide billions of dollars in aid, and drew rebukes from two of organized labor's biggest friends in Congress, Rep. George Miller of California and Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, both Democrats.

"The administration is using the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to cut the wages of people desperately trying to rebuild their lives and their communities," Miller said.

"President Bush should immediately realize the colossal mistake he has made in signing this order and rescind it and ensure that America puts its people back to work in the wake of Katrina at wages that will get them and their families back on their feet," Miller said.

"I regret the president's decision," said Kennedy.

"One of the things the American people are very concerned about is shabby work and that certainly is true about the families whose houses are going to be rebuilt and buildings that are going to be restored," Kennedy said.

5:00 PM  

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