Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

More coherent liars, please.

After vowing to steer a greater share of anti-terrorism money to the nation's highest-risk cities, Homeland Security officials today announced grants to New York City and Washington that would be slashed by 40 percent, while dollars headed to spots including Omaha and Louisville, Ky., would surge.

Explaining why, Tracy Henke, assistant secretary for grants and training of the Department of Homeland Security, said:

"It does not mean in any way that the risk in New York is any different or changed or any lower...It means that we have additional information, additional clarity. Our risk analysis has been a maturing process. It is the best we currently have."

While it is reassuring that DHS is using the best risk analysis it currently has (as opposed to the third-rate crap risk analysis it could be using), I'm not convinced that the process has fully matured. Admittedly I don't have DHS's additional information and clarity, but I don't remember terrorists attacking Louisville twice in the last 15 years. Though it is good to know that New York's getting less money for terrorism protection does not mean in any way that our risk of being attacked a third time is any lower. That's helpful.

(In case you were wondering, we remain at Threat Level Yellow. All Americans, including those traveling in the transportation systems [sic], should continue to be vigilant, take notice of their surroundings, and report suspicions [sic] items or activities to local authorities immediately.)

UPDATE: Hoo boy.

New York has no national monuments or icons, according to the Department of Homeland Security form obtained by ABC News. 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.


  • At 8:28 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    I'm surprised that your take on this isn't something along the lines of "why aren't we spending these funds on avian flu or global warming?"

    I mean, I'm sure that is your take on it, but I'm surprised you didn't include a snarky aside along those lines.

  • At 8:36 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    I actually think it's pretty reasonable for the federal government to put money into terrorism prevention in cities, especially for emergency response and coordination. I don't think terrorism is the biggest threat we face, but it is obviously a legitimate worry in a few big cities (such as ours). Not so much in Louisville, however.

  • At 9:13 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    right, but there's a fundamental problem in overfunding futile anti-terrorism measures (since everything in politics/policy is a tradeoff). even aside from the fact that the anti-terrorism budget for louisville should be exactly zero.

  • At 1:09 AM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    The amounts discussed in the article are pretty small (on the order of hundreds of millions a year) compared to the far greater misplaced priorities of our government (i.e., tax cuts for the wealthy and unnecessary wars). But basically you're right.

  • At 5:57 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    OK I see your point. I mean yes, there's clearly money that needs to be spent on counterterrorism and other forms of security. That is in fact the first duty of the state...

    Did you read the piece in the NYT today about how the DHS claims that NYC lost 40% of funding mostly because some City Hall civil servants didn't fill out some forms correctly? There's something believable and tragicomic about that. Incompetence to the left of me, technocratic smallmindedness to the right...


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