Archive

  • EVEN LIEBERMAN WAS...

    EVEN LIEBERMAN WAS HINKY ON HENKE. Here's Tracy Henke 's official bio, with a picture that should live in infamy . Her recess appointment to DHS was controversial and opposed by Joe Lieberman , who sits on the Senate's Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and issued this statement on January 5, 2006: I am deeply disturbed by the President's decision to bypass the Senate and unilaterally install Tracy Henke and Julie Myers in Department positions for which Senate confirmation is required. I am particularly troubled that the President chose to appoint Ms. Henke before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee even had the opportunity to vote on her nomination. The recess appointment power should be sparingly used, and not merely to avoid having to put Administration nominees to a vote. Although significant questions have been raised about these nominees, there has been no suggestion that either of them would be denied an up-or-down vote in the Senate. It...
  • HENKE DHS CONTROVERSY...

    HENKE DHS CONTROVERSY NOT A FIRST. Tracy Henke 's tenure at DHS has been rocky from the start. According to a Maryland paper : Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley Friday criticized Department of Homeland Security officials for inefficiently allocating grant money and failing to establish tangible priorities. O'Malley was presiding over a homeland security task force meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors at the Capital Hilton Hotel. Twenty mayors from across the nation attended. O'Malley said the department "had no answers again" when he asked two homeland security directors in attendance about the top three priorities of the department. The pair -- Office of Grants and Training Executive Director Tracy Henke and Coordination and Preparedness Acting Director Chet Lunner -- did not directly answer the question, but promised O'Malley they would work to get local governments appropriate resources. "It's the same assurances we receive every year," O'Malley said. "I believe if you...
  • BUSH APPOINTEE LOCATED....

    BUSH APPOINTEE LOCATED. Well, that was easy. Who was the idiot who had to sign off on the "traitorous" decision to defund anti-terrorism efforts in New York and Washington? Says The Washington Post : Tracy A. Henke, assistant secretary for grants and training, told reporters that the new funding distribution was the result of a better review process and does not indicate lesser risk for cities such as Washington or New York. Officials noted that Congress had cut the program by about $125 million in 2006, to $711 million, and that New York, Washington and other major cities still would receive the largest shares. "We have to understand that there is risk throughout the nation," Henke said. "We worked very hard to make sure that there was fairness in the process." Tracy A. Henke , assistant secretary for grants and training at Department of Homeland Security, was previously at the Department of Justice, where she was the deputy for Deborah Daniels , sister of former Office of Management...
  • OUR TWILIGHT ZONE...

    OUR TWILIGHT ZONE GOVERNMENT. Via Atrios , I see that ABC News is reporting that the Department of Homeland Security's explanation for cutting anti-terrorism funds to New York is that "New York has no national monuments or icons." Really? You can see the DHS form that asserts this here (PDF). Says ABC: That was a key factor used to determine that New York City should have its anti-terror funds slashed by 40 percent--from $207.5 million in 2005 to $124.4 million in 2006. The formula did not consider as landmarks or icons: The Empire State Building, The United Nations, The Statue of Liberty and others found on several terror target hit lists. It also left off notable landmarks, such as the New York Public Library, Times Square, City Hall and at least three of the nation's most renowned museums: The Guggenheim, The Metropolitan and The Museum of Natural History. The form ignored that New York City is the capital of the world financial markets and merely stated the city had four...
  • YOU'LL NEVER TAKE...

    YOU'LL NEVER TAKE OMAHA! Being a D.C. resident, this isn't the best news I've heard all day. As Garance and Ben have noted , the Department of Homeland Security has apparently decided that D.C. and New York are plenty safe -- and has chopped their grants by 40 percent. Meanwhile, terrorist targets such as Charlotte, North Carolina; Louisville, Kentucky; and Omaha, Nebraska, saw massive increases in their totals. Guess that explains where Dick Cheney 's "undisclosed locations" are... These sorts of allocations always puzzle me. Fulfilling the wish list of nuclear non-proliferation experts would require about $80 billion over ten years. We spend under a billion on DHS grants to make urban centers safer. We haven't outfitted our ports with WMD sensing doohickeys nor have we fully funded bioterror or chemical response technology. This isn't partisan stuff, and there's even a fair amount of cronyism and patronage that could go into the deployment of all these Geiger counters and nuclear...
  • FOREIGN AID AND...

    FOREIGN AID AND JIHAD. I really, really think we ought to boost foreign aid, but I'm uncomfortable with this sort of analogy : Truman also believed that spreading democracy required combating economic despair. He allocated between 2.5 and 5 percent of U.S. national income over four years to the Marshall Plan, in the belief that unless Europe's fragile postwar democracies improved their people's lives, they were likely to fail. Then, in his 1949 State of the Union address, he went further and proposed a Marshall Plan for the Third World. In fact, while Truman increased military spending, he and his advisers repeatedly described economic development as more important to the anti-communist cause. This is true, but there's an important difference between then and now. Communism was an ideology primarily about economics. It purported to offer the world's poor a higher material standard of living. Thus, to check its appeal it was crucial to try and demonstrate that market democracies could...
  • LOSING THE NEW...

    LOSING THE NEW YORK POST . I didn't pay much attention to electoral politics or polls way back in 1991-92, but the day The New York Post ran the headline "10 Million Americans Out of Work/George May Be Next," (as I recall -- I've got the original somewhere in New York) I knew that George H.W. Bush 's days in office were numbered. Once you've lost The Post , you've lost the nation; the scrappy right-wing tabloid doesn't easily abandon a Republican President. After that, I pegged Post headlines as a pretty good finger in the wind, and, in 2004, I looked for similar signs of discontent. They never came; The Post stood by its man. Until now. Today's headline is the first I've seen that crosses the same kind of emotional barrier as the one predicting the first Bush's defeat: "Washington to New York: Terror? What Terror?" . It declares today the day that Washington (i.e., D.C. Republicans) abandons the War on Terror, a fight which holds a special resonance for New Yorkers right and left,...
  • WEISBERG'S FAULTY LOGIC....

    WEISBERG'S FAULTY LOGIC. Jacob Weisberg 's new piece on Al Gore in Slate is simultaneously terrific and infuriating. On the one hand, he makes some of the same criticisms I made about the movie (its irritating excessive focus on Gore's personal journey and its refusal to discuss how and why the Clinton administration didn't do more to combat global warming). And, being the talented writer and thinker he is, Weisberg does so much better than I. On the other hand, Weisberg twists all of this into a ridiculous thesis, sort of the Slate version of The New Republic 's tendency to follow counter-intuition to some bizarre, plainly illogical endpoint. Weisberg argues that because the end of Gore�s political career has allowed Gore to finally focus on raising awareness about global warming, he will actually do a better job of saving the planet if he is not elected in 2008. In other words, Weisberg is seriously suggesting that because global warming is such a terrible looming problem, it would...
  • Fiction on the Social Security Trust Fund

    Nothing like some comments on the trust fund to get the blogging juices flowing. It is amazing how metaphysical these discussions on the trust fund get. I don't really see anything very complicated here. I am simply referring to the law as it stands. Under the law, Social Security can only pay benefits out of the money that it has in its trust fund. Yes, that means it has a separate account from the rest of the budget. If the budget has an enormous surplus, but the trust fund is empty, then no benefits get paid, that's the law. On the other side, if the government has an enormous deficit, but the trust fund still holds bonds, then Social Security benefits still get paid, that's the law. I have not commented on whether I like the law or not, I am simply describing the law. (By the way, Medicare is currently being financed in part by the bonds held in its trust fund, and I have not heard a single politician make an issue of this.) Under the law, there is absolutely nothing that would...
  • JUNE 6TH. Popular...

    JUNE 6TH. Popular discussions of the midterm elections this year have until now tended to be fairly broad-brush and generalized, but in fact some key dates where actual specific and consequential decisions will be made are coming right up. June 6th is going to be a big day for crucial primaries and special elections in several states, and our own Midterm Madness will be all over the big doings next week. See this great rundown by Jay Stevens of the Jon Tester - John Morrison Democratic senatorial primary in Montana, and this post by Steve Benen touting Democrat Francine Busby 's chances to eke out a shocking victory in the special election to replace Duke Cunningham . -- Sam Rosenfeld

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