Heckuva Book, Brownie

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Given his less-than-stellar track record when it comes to dealing with disasters, I’m looking forward to reading Bush-era FEMA chief Michael Brown’s upcoming book on Hurricane Katrina.

His publicist sent me a pitch this morning, suggesting that Brown is “someone whom you may know from the 2005 Hurricane that devastated NOLA and the areas close by.” I am indeed familiar with him, along with everyone else who watched the administration’s handling of Katrina with horror. Brown’s book, arriving later this month, is titled Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm: Hurricane Katrina, The Bush White House, and Beyond, and “is about the inner workings of FEMA and his experiences inside during his terms.”

“Heckuva Job Brownie” can’t seem to get a mention anymore without the word “disgraced” attached to his name, but he’s spent the past year trying to rehab his image. While he became the poster boy for the Bush administration’s Katrina ineptitude, it was always clear that there were larger issues at play. The real questions is: will the book hold any real insights, or is it just Brown’s attempt to rewrite history?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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