Thursday, November 03, 2005

Michael Brown's Dogs

Both Times and Post report on the release of some of Michael Brown's emails yesterday, which show he was concerned about his image on and about a dogsitter (apparently for the time he was going to be in Louisiana for Katrina).

It's easy to mock, but, as a great President used to say, the easy course would be wrong. Bureaucrats are people, too, and have a private life. In other contexts people who try to balance their work life and their home life would be praised, not mocked.

Usually workers have spouses who can handle dog care, as my wife has handled cat care over the years. Brown could be criticized for not having planned ahead, or not having previously had the occasion to go out of town to a disaster (that's assuming his spouse wasn't out of pocket or that he was recently separated). Certainly the teams that FEMA and the Red Cross put in the field in response to disasters should be expected to make provision for pet care and house sitting. And true that the head of FEMA should be a model for employees. By that standard, Mr. Brown fails, but not in love for his dogs.

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