EDGING TOWARD A POSITION. One of the most curious political strategies I've seen in some time has been Mark Warner's apparent belief that he can run for president without taking a position on the Iraq War. Today, though, he starts edging toward one:
Mr. Warner spoke empathetically of his potential rivals who as senators voted for the war.
"I don't think any U.S. senator, regardless of party, if they had known there weren't W.M.D., that we were going to get selected leaks, I don't think anybody would have voted for it," he said. "Second-guessing people who made a valiant attempt at judgment is not where I am at."
IT SHOULDN'T BE A CHOICE. Far be it for me to disagree with Enlightened Being and Creator of Fire Mike Tomasky, but his post on the Department of Homeland Security's funding allocations seems a bit wrongheaded. His point is that the cuts in cash for New York and Washington may well make sense -- who says terrorists won't next strike fear in our hearts by striking the Heartland? Fair enough. But it's not really the case that "New York�s still getting a lot of money, as is Washington." DC will get $46.5 million from the DHS's main grant program, and $4.3 million from their state-oriented program.
The new DHS plan is advertised as a "risk-based" model, but it came up with almost the opposite conclusions to a Rand Corp. study last year that calculated terrorism risk to 47 cities. Seven of the 10 highest-risk cities in the Rand study will lose funding under the DHS plan; six of the 10 lowest-risk cities in the Rand study will see increases in funds, including such hot spots as Milwaukee and Tampa.
TERRORISTS: WHAT'S THE DEAL? I agree with Mike -- if I were a terrorism consultant or what have you, I'd tell my loyal jihadis to forget all about New York. To forget about monuments, for that matter. Probably even to forget about bombs. I would just try and organize as many attacks as possible, no matter how unspectacular, and put them in random shopping malls and movie theaters and so forth in ordinary suburbs around the country. That would be a lot more terrifying than the occasional strike in a big city.
WE USED TO BE FRIENDS. "They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion," according to Iraq's new Prime Minister, "This is completely unacceptable." The crushing and killing just on suspicion are, he says, being done by the American military. And based on recent reports, there's obviously some truth to this perspective. Dare one suggest that the love affair between the Bush administration and Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is destined to turn bitter at some point in the near future?
IF I WERE A TERRORIST� I'm a former New Yorker (and one who watched the first tower collapse in person, not on TV) and a present Washingtonian. So I ought to be as lathered up as the next guy about this terror-funding thing.
But what if DHS is...right? I have sometimes thought, �If I were a terrorist, where would I strike next? What would really mess with the psyches of my hated Great Satanic foes?� And I�m not sure I�d hit New York or Washington. Too obvious. Been done. Besides, both probably are reasonably well fortified.
BUT HOW MANY TOILETS ARE THERE? New York City most certainly does contain monuments and icons -- especially if, as I'm given to understand, Jacksonville's Alltel Stadium counts as one -- but it may suffer from a more serious threat: toilets. Your fact of the day, courtesy ofJohn Mueller is this: "Outside of 2001, fewer people have died in America from international terrorism than have drowned in toilets."
TAXES ARE HARD. Some attention has already been paid to this hackish op-ed expounding on the conservative virtues of the Alternative Minimum Tax. It is, the author writes, the quickest way of taking the country to a flat tax, which should be the preferred conservative solution. How weird then that conservatives are all clamoring for its repeal! What gives?