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coturnix

So, my trip to NYC last week was just a dream. All those places I saw are not really there, are they?

Lance

Coturnix,

'Fraid not.

blue girl

The NYTs this morning wrote that New York City itself is America's #1 icon! How true! Of course, only us liberals think that...hey! Maybe John J. Miller can co-opt our love for NYC and name it America's #1 Conservative City! You know, because it's so expensive to live there now, only CEOs that make 500 times what the average worker makes can afford it. Now that's conservative!

They'd get the funds then, I bet.

God. The incompetence is un.be.liev.a.ble.

J.

While the idea that funding should be associated with national icons is, well, ridiculous (aren't we more concerned with saving people than icons?), it is true that NYC and DC have had more than their share of funds, and until they actually prove that 1) there is a current (not imagined) risk, and 2) they've spent their past funding wisely (cop overtime salaries - not a priority), then they deserve to lose the funding. There are a number of extenuating circumstances that ought to be considered when DHS doles out the pork.

1. What’s the real risk of terrorism (domestic or foreign) to any major or minor city as opposed to natural disasters? Should we really be investing millions of dollars into antiterrorism efforts when natural disasters occur more frequently, affect more people, and cost more to clean up?

2. Let’s say for estimates that there are 200 major US cities, and DHS has a billion to spend (they had what, $780 mill?). Roughly, that’s $5 mill per city. Has NYC or DC done a baseline assessment to demonstrate their current capability, their capability gaps, and the costs associated with filling those gaps? Can they demonstrate (other than pointing to 9/11) that domestic or foreign terrorists are targeting them? Are terrorists really carrying around roadmaps of NYC as the mayor claimed, or was that just BS? Tell me where Oklahoma City fits in the DC/NYC mayors’ arguments.

3. Metrics have to be a key here. Maybe DHS doesn’t have the right data yet, but they have two choices - use their gut instincts and award bigger cities with more money, or dole it out based on existing capabilities and true gaps. If the smaller cities make a stronger case that they have needs that are (on the surface) more credible than paying for NYC cops’ overtime, then they ought to get the money instead.

4. Last point. How many cases over the last few years have you seen stories where cities are getting millions in funds and can’t spend it fast enough, or spend it on non-terrorism related (but still related to “emergency management”)? Too many? When we were reeling from 9/11, maybe it was alright to throw buckets of money at the cities. But if we are in for a “long war,” then we need a long-term strategy. That ought to include some degree of responsibility on behalf of the cities to protect their citizens. At the least, they ought to demonstrate an ability to pick up 33-50 percent of the tab, and ask for matching federal funds. This pork-barrel funding process where the city who whines the most, gets the most, isn’t helping anyone.

DuWayne

The fact that these cities have important national icons puts their citizens at substantialy more risk than other cities. For example; the twin towers were an important icon that were targeted - when they got hit 3,000 died. and I do believe that most security risk assemsments place both NYC and DC on the top of the list as targets. I wouldn't be averse to them getting substantialy more money from DHS than they have previously. With the substantial holes still existing in NYC - not due to incompetent spending but lack of funding and even some ridiculous legal battles, they abviously need the money. And the idea that they aren't spending any of their own money to protect their citizens is patently ridiculous. A city with the population of NYC spends hundreds of millions if not billions protecting it's citizens - the DHS funding is just a drop in the freeking bucket.

KC45s

Lance--
I wonder if one mistake many of us make is putting ourselves in the terrorist's shoes and thinking, "How would I do this to maximize terror, loss of life, and other terrorism goals?" Tomasky does so at TAPPED today, in fact, suggesting that a campaign targeting movie theaters, suburbs, etc. would work quite well. Alas, it just might.

BUT... I think the bulk of the Islamic terrorists plot their plots while knowing next to nothing about America except what they see in the movies and on TV. A few may have visited a big city here; a few may have attended a U.S. college. But not most, methinks. Foreign terrorists, at least, think in terms of a one-time-only plan against iconic buildings and sites because they know nothing about the role of suburbs in the American mindset. (They also don't have the numbers here to conduct a campaign against movie theaters and discos, ala Israel.)

I mean, whatever their education, and I realize educated young Arab men go into terror, I have to think the bulk of the people in the ranks are less-than-worldly. Think how many rolled out of hard-core religious schools. A fair number of these guys have never been around women they're not related to! I'm thinking the level of sophistication, let alone the logistical support, is just not there for a nefarious plot against Wyoming shopping malls. We can worry about such things because we know how terrible that would be. They don't have that cultural toolbox. Now the very famous Statue of Liberty? Mickey Mouse? That's a different story.

When right-wingers fantasize about a "teach-'em a lesson" hydrogen bombing, they always mention Mecca. Why? For one reason, because they know the terrain of Middle Eastern countries about as well as an average jihadist knows the word "Wyoming." In other words, they aim for what they know (which isn't much, Lord knows). I guess what I'm saying is, a terrorist surely must do the same. And what he/she knows stands in places like NYC and Washington.

Lizzy

Lance,

I will have my family send some postcards, I am sure I have some around this house. Gee and to think that all those trips into New York never happened.

almostinfamous

When right-wingers fantasize about a "teach-'em a lesson" hydrogen bombing, they always mention Mecca. Why?

mostly because they are still stuck in a pre-1991 mentality. terrorism and islam are not the gdamn USSR, even when put together. terrorism is, as i have mentioned in other places, an opportunistic act of violence on the part of a very small group of people with a very specific agenda; namely to instill a fear and provoke a backlash in order to gain sympathy for their own cause.

jon schwartz has some other things to say about this topic, all of which makes sense unlike my pathetic showing up there.


and lance, glad you liked the KF Monkey :)

Mike Schilling

When right-wingers fantasize about a "teach-'em a lesson" hydrogen bombing, they always mention Mecca. Why?

That's unfair; sometimes they fantasize about nuking San Francisco.

KathyF

Apparently there are no terrorists in the United States anyway, so you don't need to worry.

They've found them in Canada and in the U.K. just this week, and since I'm sure they are working equally hard to find them in the U.S., they must not be there.

My theory is that global warming has forced them to move to cooler climates, just like polar bears.

That George Bush! All along his plan was to fight them "over there" and to ignore global warming and he was dead right!

aidan

unreal. i keep thinking i'll wake up, rub my eyes, and find that these assclowns were just a dream.

Redbeard

I heard Chertoff defend his decisions on NPR, and he made a good case. First, icons are second priority to buildings with people in them, so the Empire State Building gets classified as an office building and that gives it higher priority for funding.

His metaphor for explaining the decreases in DC & NY funding was this: If someone breaks down your home's front door, the first thing you do the next day is replace the door, then buy lots of locks for it. But after you've spent money on the door, you should start securing the back door and windows. And then the reason NYC's funding dropped 40% was that last year, DHS determined NYC had been underfunded in previous years, and gave them last year's allotment, plus their overdue money. This creates what looks like an oversized baseline in last year's funding, so the 40% drop statistic isn't really reflective of de-prioritizing NYC. Furthermore, NYC's last blackout started in Ohio (Chertoff remembered it as Canada--which brings to mind the mayor of Toronto asking rhetorically, "When is the last time the United States has taken responsibility for anything?"), so there are important gaps located outside major cities.

So, I don't Chertoff's really screwed up that much in this case. In a broader sense, the DHS' neglect of dealing with natural disasters is criminal. They do more damage to life and property. And I really wonder if DHS and DOJ are keeping track of the righty-nutjobs that Neiwert watches.

Really, is mailing postcards to Chertoff going to do anything to change what they do?
Perhaps it would be better to register some voters.

roxtar

West Virginia got a large chunk of DHS change based on the notion that, in the event of a catastrophic attack on a major east coast city, lots of refugees would (literally) "head for the hills." So if the terrorists hit New York Asbury Park, NJ or Washington, DC Ocean City, MD, the Mountain State will be able to absorb the millions dozens of survivors.(/snark)

Kevin Wolf

J. does makes good points.

I guess my concern is with the political football this has become and the inevitable pork, as well. Think of all the money misspent because of politics. The decisions never seem to get made for the right reasons.

I was also under the impression that we already had plenty of government and law enforcement agencies - even pre-9/11 - to do the job, if the people involved would simply do the job and be held accountable. So, the creation of "Homeland Security" seems a politically motivated decision that wastes money and adds another layer of beauracracy - exactly not what was needed.

burritoboy

There are no "points" to be made. Dictatorships (like the one we live under in the USA, errrr, DixieBabyJesusApplePieLand) give money to their supporters and deny money to those who oppose them. The only reason this regime hasn't outright massacred New Yorkers is that it's not well-established enough. Yet.

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