Saturday, October 08, 2005

Homeland Security to New York City – DROP DEAD!

Earlier this week, based on information from the FBI, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered heightened security measures for the subway system. The move required deployment of police officers and other security personnel, random inspection of packages, searches for bombs, and delays for millions of riders.

In addition to ordering these precautions, Mr. Bloomberg asked riders to carry only necessary packages and to be alert for any suspicious behavior. At the same time, he assured New Yorkers that the system was safe and asked them to continue normal use of subways. It turns out that there was no incident and no suspect material was found.

Rather than words commending Mayor Bloomberg, the response from Federal Government was negative. The Department of Homeland Security publicly dismissed the information acted upon as being of “doubtful credibility”. Mr.Bloomberg noted that the threats outlined were detailed and specific and that the responsibility of a mayor to protect a city’s citizens is much different than that of an analyst in Washington.

It’s anybody’s guess whether this is a Washington interagency put down or a Federal-State issue. A conspiratorial view could be that this is laying the groundwork for a FEMA-like blame game to be directed towards states
if necessary.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Monday, October 3,2005 - Even if we ignore the depressing situation in Iraq, there was much in the news last weekend to cause distress.

While the deficit piles up from the war, tax cuts, and pork, some of the expenditures for Katrina show as much indifference and incompetence as the Bush administration's initial response. While FEMA was sending ice bought for New Orleans to Iowa and Maine instead (why not Alaska?), it was arranging contracts for goods and services that defy imagination. Over $2000 for each temporary home roof covering, cruise ship bookings at many times the going rate - has no one in FEMA ever heard of Home Depot or Expedia?

The Dover School Board case currently being tried in Pennsylvania is both dangerous and a waste of time. Dangerous because we might have children misinformed all over our country; a waste of time since it would seem that the issue could be so easily resolved. The belief in intelligent design and creationism could be covered in religious or social studies courses. Just keep it out of science classes since it doesn't even come close to a scientific theory.

Another tragic bombing in Bali. In addition to the sad loss of life and limb this latest incident will mean a devastating economic loss for the beautiful island as the recovery of tourist business will come to a halt. Prospective visitors will consider a trip to Bali to be equivalent to booking a train in India or a ferry in Bangladesh.

A Baltimore Sun article discussed the damage caused by the Bush administration's antiprostitution crusade. The financial support needed internationally to educate sex workers about AIDS and condoms and other safe practices has been denied or diverted to faith-based organizations who adhere to the Bush agenda. This is of a piece with the administration's opposition to aid to international organizations providing women's reproductive help, the distribution of syringes to protect addicts against AIDS, and the morning-after pill. The conservative agenda trumps compassion.

Meanwhile, Bill Frist’s sudden sale of HCA stock and the Tom Delay indictment relegated the Scooter Libby/Karl Rove leaks to the inside pages of newspapers. Did anyone notice how much the Tom Delay denial resembled one we heard years ago? For a moment I thought he said “I did not have sex with that money."