Pat Robertson says John Roberts should be "thankful" for Hurricane Katrina because, in the storm's aftermath, the country won't have much tolerance for "inflamed rhetoric" at his confirmation hearings.
Robertson can be thankful for Katrina, too. In the first days of the hurricane, FEMA told visitors to its Web site that there were three good places to send money to help hurricane victims: the American Red Cross, Second Harvest and Robertson's own Operation Blessing. "How in the heck did that happen?" Richard Walden, president of the disaster-relief group Operation USA, asks in the Nation. "That gives Pat Robertson millions of extra dollars."
Well, yes it does, and FEMA Director Michael Brown was asked about it yesterday. How did the little known, highly questionable charity of a TV evangelist and assassination advocate make FEMA's shortlist? "We're not turning away help from anybody," Brown said.
FEMA may not be turning away Robertson's help, but the agency has apparently decided to take the spotlight off it. The FEMA Web page that listed the Red Cross, Second Harvest and Operation Blessing has disappeared, replaced by a redirect to a USA Freedom Corps page that lists a number of charities to which one might contribute. Operation Blessing isn't among them.
But that doesn't mean the Bush administration is abandoning its faith-based friends in this time of opportunity. Before the USA Freedom Corps page gets around to the American Red Cross, it offers up a link for the Network for Good, which in turn provides a link to dozens of charitable organizations -- including Operation Blessing.