fire Michael Brown

Since Hurricane Katrina devastated the US Gulf Coast in August 2005, there have been repeated calls to fire Michael Brown, head of the US FEMA, the agency that was supposed to lead up response to such a major disaster. One of the loudest voices has been the New Orleans flagship paper, the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

In 2000, the threat of a major hurricane to this region was considered to be the number one problem and number one issue to FEMA. In part because they so drastically cut storm surge wave strength, Gulf coastal forests, coastal bogs and barrier islands were protected under George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton's administrations. Funds were set aside to upgrade levees to be able to withstand the long-anticipated category 4 or 5 hurricane. All of this was set aside and de-prioritized after September 11, 2001, and further deprioritized during the Iraq occupation.

The Bush administration degraded FEMA from a full US cabinet post to a subsection of US Homeland Security, a new agency coordinating an extremely wide number of activities. They cut funds to levees and to pumping facilities, and also failed to protect the coastal forests and swamps and islands, which fell to real estate developers and the oil extraction and oil refining industries. Further, they failed to enforce environmental regulations effectively, which led to large amounts of toxic waste being stored in close proximity to New Orleans.

As of September 2005, all of this waste, mixed with other industrial chemicals, many dead and dying human bodies, dead and dying pets, raw sewage, seawater and every kind of trash, waste, and garbage imaginable is in what used to be New Orleans. Pumping stations are underwater, leading some to estimate that the "water" will not be removed completely until early in 2006. The city itself has been evacuated for at least one full month. It is unsafe for any human habitation and it will be at least ten years before it is fully known what the effects were.