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Horse Maneuver

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  Former FEMA head Michael Brown was peddling his new memoir Deadly Indifference at the American Library Association convention in New Orleans last week — and squeezing in signings at local bookshops. His book can use all the help it can get; at press time, it was ranked No. 120,520 on the Amazon.com bestseller charts (in contrast, former Mayor Ray Nagin's memoir Katrina's Secrets, which came out at the same time, was No. 415 despite having been self-published). Though the cover price of Brown's tome was $24.95, a brand-new autographed copy could be had for only $9.35 nine days after its publication.

  The sole rave review for Brownie's bomb was from one Lorry Wagner, who gave it five stars (Amazon's highest rating) and raved "Wow! I'm astounded, still reeling and still in the deep-thinking mode. ... I thank Michael Brown for writing this book and sharing the truth with us."

  Unmentioned is Wagner's friendship with Brown. The two worked together at the International Arabian Horse Association, and Wagner owns an Arabian horse breeding farm in California. In fact, she's a longtime defender of Brownie's abilities. One week after Hurricane Katrina, Wagner published an open letter to President George W. Bush, begging him to spare Brown's job: "I have seen you stand behind your people before; i.e., Vice President (Dick) Cheney and Donald Rumsfield [sic], for example. Mr. Brown is no less important in your Administration. Please stand behind him," Wagner wrote. "This latest attack on Michael D. Brown, Director of FEMA, has prompted me to shout to the world that I, as a voting citizen of this wonderful U.S.A. for the past 50 years, implore you, Mr. President, to stop this destruction to our government."

  Though Brown stepped down one week later without apparent destruction to the U.S. government, Wagner's book review indicates she's never lost faith in him. — Allman

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