Thursday, October 27, 2005

Brownie: STILL Doing a Heckuva Job

One of the quieter news stories this week is that FEMA has extended Michael "You're Doing A Heck Of A Job, Brownie" Brown's post-resignation employment by 30 days.

Yes, his post-resignation employment.

In the world outside the DC that most of us inhabit, the word "resignation" is a fancy word for "quitting," and signifies that one is leaving a job. But not so for Brownie--or, for that matter, for other scandal-ridden Bush appointees.

Brown utterly botched FEMA's responses to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. A poster boy for Bush's incompetent crony appointments, he is also infamous for his falsified resume and the total absense of high-level experience we've learned to expect from Bush flunkies. Before heading FEMA, he managed an Arabian horse association.

After the hurricane debacles, Brown was replaced as head of the hurricane relief effort on September 9, and then resigned in scandal on September 12.

After his resignation (sic), Brown was retained by FEMA as a "contractor" to help determine what went wrong in the agency's gross mismanagement of Katrina.

And in the news this week, FEMA extended Brown's employment for another 30 days, at his original FEMA annual salary of $148,000 per year. In other words, Brown's two-part golden handshake is costing American taxpayers over $24,000, and counting.

Congressman Gene Taylor of Mississipi sums up how Brown's top-dollar feed bag adds insult to injury:
Rep. Gene Taylor (news, bio, voting record), D-Miss., whose coastal district was among the hardest hit by Katrina, said the contract extension is an insult to taxpayers, particularly those Gulf Coast residents "whose lives were in danger in the aftermath of that storm because of Mike Brown's incompetence."

"I've got tens of thousands of people living in two-man igloo tents tonight, and less than a quarter of the people who have asked for FEMA travel trailers have gotten them," Taylor said. "And at the same time they can find $140,000 a year to pay this incompetent son of a gun; that's ridiculous."
The real story here, however, is not the utter incompetence of another Bush flunky, the lack of accountability or oversight in the Republican's partisan looting of the government, or the obscene rewards for Brown's tragic failure. The real story is that Brown's "post-resignation employment" is not an isolated incident. When Bush flunkies resign, they don't go away.

I like to call this the Harvey Pitt Syndrome, because Pitt epitomizes BushCo's m.o. for disgraced flunkies. Does anyone even remember Harvey Pitt? He was appointed chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2001, then resigned in scandal in 2002...but lingered on at the SEC, outside of the limelight, until well into 2003. If you don't remember him, don't feel bad: the press forgot about him completely, too.

Unfortunately, American corporate media didn't ever cotton onto the Pitt Syndrome. Once a Bush flunky resigns in disgrace, that's the end of the story in the mainstream news. But, just like a teen slasher flick where the monsters keep getting back up, Republican hacks just keep drawing a public paycheck long after they've "officially" resigned. The Big Media steno pool no longer digs any further for news than Republican press releases, so if you want to find the story of the parasites on the public'll have to do the research yourself.

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