Daily Illuminator

September 4, 2005: New Orleans: Hall Of Shame

We've got a hot competition going for the STUPIDEST comment made by a public official as the New Orleans disaster drags on.

In the "Highly Paid Appointee" category, the unquestioned winner so far is FEMA chairman Michael Brown, who seems to be communicating from another planet . . . one where they don't have cable. As reported on CNN, his recent comments on the tragedy have included:

  • (Asked about uncollected corpses:) "That's not been reported to me, so I'm not going to comment. Until I actually get a report from my teams that say, "We have bodies located here or there," I'm just not going to speculate."
  • (Asked about civil unrest:) "I've had no reports of unrest . . . no reports of that."
  • (Asked about effectiveness of the federal response:) "Considering the dire circumstances . . . things are going relatively well."

Can I suggest that an effective federal response at the very top level would be to fire this guy? The people in the Superdome can't eat spin control.

In the "These People Got Elected" category, though, we have a dead-heat tie between Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). Their contribution to disaster relief: Make sure we use the politically correct word to describe the victims!

From the Yahoo story:

  • Watson: "'Refugee' calls up to mind people that come from different lands and have to be taken care of. These are American citizens."
  • Cummings: "They are not refugees. I hate that word."
Postscript: CNN, always mindful of which way the wind blows, is now using the word "evacuees" a lot.
-- Steve Jackson

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