Don't Give to the Red Cross
Notice this is posted to Politics. I haven't verified anything in this obvious editorial, but I offer it for it's emotional value. The author is the president and CEO of a competing (is that the right word) organization to the Red Cross. He obviously has a vested interest in monies coming his way.
However, he raises an interesting point.
The Red Cross brand is platinum. Its fundraising vastly outruns its programs because it does very little or nothing to rescue survivors, provide direct medical care or rebuild houses.
Taken with a comment in a Fark forum (search the page for Red Cross) about the waste demonstrated by the Red Cross (how they willingly pay full price for hotel rooms they never use), and the suspicions build.
That said, I don't think any of the accusations leveled at the Red Cross, even if true, constitute a purposeful and malicious attempt to sucker anyone. I just think the Red Cross is like many bureaucratic organizations: bloated and inefficient. I personally gave my money for Katrina to Americares. As always, reading up on your charity is a good idea. Even platinum brands may not perform to your standards. YMMV.