Category: "culture/news"

Michael D. Brown

Michael D. Brown - Wikipedia

First some disclaimers: Mike Brown didn't cause the hurricane. And no, FEMA is not the only agency responsible for helping disaster victims. (But with a disaster of this size, stat and local resources get tapped pretty quickly.) Ok, no let's look at some interesting facts from the Wikipedia article.

Before joining DHS/FEMA, Brown was Judges and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association (IAHA) from 1989-2001, a position from which he was forced to resign after an onslaught of lawsuits over disciplinary actions.

The IAHA was in such dire financial straits that they were forced to merge with another horse-type organization.

After President Bush entered office in January 2001, Brown joined FEMA as General Counsel. He was hired by his old friend and college roommate, then-FEMA director Joe Allbaugh[7], who also ran George W Bush's election campaign in 2000.

So Allbaugh got the job because he helped run the 2000 campaign and Brown got hired into FEMA because he was a pal of Allbaugh's.

On September 1, 2005, Mike Brown told Paula Zahn of CNN that he was unaware that New Orleans officials had housed thousands of evacuees in the Convention Center.

From what I understand, the Convention Center and the people housed there had been all over the news for about 24 hours by this point.

In January 2005, U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler publicly urged President Bush to fire Brown, citing reports that FEMA disbursed $30 million in disaster relief funds for Hurricane Frances to residents of Miami, Florida, a city which was not affected by the hurricane. Brown admitted to $12 million in overpayments, but denied any serious mistakes, blaming a computer glitch.

Perhaps the shortfalls in FEMA aid are part of a larger pattern. You know, the kind of pattern that you get when you appoint an incompetent horse judger as the Undersecretary of Homeland Security.

What is New Orleans?

I just finished listening to the latest episode of Le Show with Harry Shearer. He has recorded the show in New Orleans several times over the last year, so I knew he was going to have a lot to say about the hurricane. It wasn't what I expected, though. Railing on the Bush administration is a normal part of the show, but there wasn't one word about that. There was no blame, no outrage, not really even any sadness. It was a whole show celebrating the culture of the city. This was a refreshing surprise. The episode features several songs from the city (which is surprising again, because the podcast edition of the show usually cuts out the music, but not this time). Here's a direct link to the mp3 file, and here's the feed if you want to subscribe to the podcast.

"I Don't Want Your Freedom"

As much as I hate to admit it, I am often a follower. So, as I read Dave and Kyle's posts about the horrible songs in 1998, I felt I just had to reciprocate with a horrible music post of my own, but with a twist: I actually like this artist(s).

The other day, I was watching Behind the Music: George Michael (I know, gag), and it made me remember how much I loved him when I was in Jr. High. I loved WHAM! (where is that other guy, anyway?)and even convinced my parents to listen to "Faith" in the car. (They liked a little known song called "Kissing a Fool" because it had a jazzy feel...OMG, I can't believe I am reviewing a George Michael album. I also can't believe I said OMG.)

Anyway, I downloaded some of my favorite songs and am currently reminiscing about the days before teen angst and Eddie Vedder set in. Times were so much simpler when the hardest question to answer was, "Who is your favorite New Kid?" (Mine was Jordan.)

There you go, boys. Someone with relatively good taste in music extolling the virtues of 80's pop. If you were brave, you'd admit the horrible songs you liked, too.

The 40 Year Old Virgin

40 Year Old Virgin movie posterSara and I went to see The 40 Year Old Virgin last night. If you're someone who is easily offended, you may not want to see this movie. Ok, let me rephrase that. If you've ever been offended in your life, just steer clear of this movie. It's quite crass. That said, Sara and I laughed through most of the movie. We laughed hard. It's a very fun movie. We're fans of Steve Carell's work on The Daily Show and The Office and I'm glad to see him in the lead of a major motion picture. It looks like he's got a few more projects already under production. And the second season of The Office will begin soon.

Subtly Simpsons

Subtly Simpsons is a good collection of quotes from the Simpsons. Here are some of my favorites.

Homer: Trying is the first step towards failure.

Homer: Weasling out of work is important to learn; it is what separates humans from animals. Except for weasels.

Jebediah: [on film] A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.
Edna: Embiggens? I never heard that word before I moved to Springfield
Ms.Hoover: I don't know why. It's a perfectly cromulent word.

Faith: Lisa, I'm Faith Crowley, Patriotism Editor of Reading Digest.
Homer: Oh, I love your magazine. My favourite section is How to increase your word power. That thing is really, really... good.

Milhouse, on falling in love: It was just like Romeo and Juliet, only it ended in tragedy.

Teen1: Oh, here comes that cannonball guy. He's cool.
Teen2: Are you being sarcastic, dude?
Teen1: I don't even know anymore.

Principal Skinner: Mr. Burns, what is the secret to your success?
Mr. Burns: Family, religion, friends... these are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business.

Homer: And what if we picked the wrong religion? Every week, we're just making God madder and madder!

Also, apparently a bunch of the Simpsons writers are Harvard grads, so the show is littered with Harvard references.

Confirmed: is a hoax

Walken '08?

Stephen Baxter

I'm thinking of reading a book by sci-fi author Stephen Baxter. Can anyone recommend a good book to start with? He has done several series, but I have no idea which would be good introduction.

Bunkface + RSS

JaredThis is Jared, creator of, a very funny website. He has a blog that he handcodes, so it doesn't have an RSS feed. (RSS: What it is and why you need it.) If I can't check a site for updates through an RSS feed, then I have a hard time remembering to check for updates. So, I created a php script that scrapes his site and creates an RSS feed. Subscribe to this link in Bloglines and you'll get all of the updates as soon as they're posted.

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