Pentagon, DHS Award Grants to Police Without Considering if Agencies Have Record of Violating Rights

By: Tuesday September 9, 2014 4:05 pm

A United States Senate committee held a hearing in the aftermath of what happened with militarized policing in Ferguson, Missouri, in order to examine federal grant programs for state and local law enforcement. At the hearing, two of the heads of three major grant programs admitted they do not examine whether a law enforcement organization is under investigation for depriving citizens of their constitutional rights before awarding grants, which may include military-grade equipment.

The Pentagon has a 1033 program, which gives away surplus military equipment to state and local law enforcement for free.


Tim Huelskamp and the Tale of Two Maps

By: Saturday January 5, 2013 9:11 am

Tim Huelskamp (FarRightR-Brownbackistan01) has been in the news lately for standing up to John Boehner (NotQuiteSoFarRightR). Last month, Boehner kicked Huelskamp off the House Agriculture committee, leaving Kansas without a member of that committee for the first time in 150 years. Note, please, that Huelskamp prides himself on being a farmer first, and Huelskamp’s most favorite map (his vast congressional district) is packed with farms, so this hurts him not just in his ego, but in his ability to deliver for his constituents.

Given another map that’s making the rounds these days, that ought to make his constituents, very nervous, if not very angry.

Lame Duck Congress Has Lots of Work to Do Even Without Fiscal Slope

By: Sunday November 11, 2012 6:45 am

Among the many other reasons not to engage in a grand bargain during the lame duck session is that Congress actually needs to get busy with other matters. For a variety of reasons, mainly that they’re not good at their job, Congress left a multitude of items on the table for the lame duck, many of which must pass aside from the fiscal slope measures like the Bush tax cuts, the sequester, unemployment insurance, the payroll tax cut and the alternative minimum tax patch. The Hill rounds some of them up.

I put these in the categories of “good” and “must avoid disaster.”

“Fine, whatever, just leave me alone”

By: Thursday November 1, 2012 1:30 am

After ignoring reporters the last few days to have the world’s most political non-political events, Mitt Romney found himself needing to say something about FEMA given his earlier statements that he would sure enjoy killin’ that varmint with one of his bullet-shooting devices.

Emergency Management Makes the Case for Government

By: Tuesday October 30, 2012 11:10 am

Whatever the failings of political leadership on both sides of the aisle, there’s still a residual belief in the validity of government on the Democratic side that simply does not exist on the Republican side. In times like this, where the effects of FIRE sector lobbying doesn’t come into play, you see that difference in the proper role of government shine through. In order for this to become definitive, however, all government programs have to show the same diligence and dedication. One program like HAMP can wipe out years of proper actions in organizations like FEMA.

Congressional Constraints Could Harm Sandy Response

By: Tuesday October 30, 2012 6:27 am

By now you’ve probably heard about or seen the consequences of Frankenstorm Sandy, especially along the Jersey Shore and in the five boroughs of the New York City metropolitan area. The evacuation of NYU Hospital. The flooding of the New York City subway system. The shutdown of the New York Stock Exchange on consecutive days due to weather for the first time since 1888. The transformer explosion on 14th Street which cut power to most of Manhattan below 39th Street. The evacuations in Bergen County after a levee broke. The alert at the nation’s oldest nuclear plant. The 16 inches of snow in West Virginia. The 7.5 million people without power.

Romney Endorsed Either Eliminating or Privatizing FEMA

By: Monday October 29, 2012 11:15 am

The Romney campaign responded to Ryan Grim, who dug this up, by saying that “Gov. Romney wants to ensure states, who are the first responders and are in the best position to aid impacted individuals and communities, have the resources and assistance they need to cope with natural disasters.” But that requires a federal response, or else you have the death spiral I previously described, where emergency response must get paid for by taking money out of other areas of the state budget. That’s if primary Romney doesn’t get his greatest wish, to privatize disaster response.

Obama and Romney Campaigns Cancel Events Due to Hurricane

By: Monday October 29, 2012 9:47 am

Hurricane Sandy, which is currently battering much of the Eastern Seaboard, has managed to partially bring the presidential campaign to a stop a week before the election. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney have cancelled their campaign event which were planned for today and tomorrow.

Emergency Evacuation, Drill Requirements Quietly Cut While Nuclear Regulators Consider Doubling Length of License Extensions

By: Thursday May 17, 2012 2:40 pm

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public meeting tonight (Thursday, May 17) on the safety and future of the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC), a nuclear power plant located in Buchanan, NY, less than 40 miles north of New York City. The Tarrytown, NY “open house” (as it is billed) is designed to explain and answer questions about the annual assessment of safety at IPEC delivered by the NRC in March, but will also serve as a forum where the community can express its concerns in advance of the regulator’s formal relicensing hearings for Indian Point, expected to start later this year.

And if you are in the area–even as far downwind as New York City–you can attend.

Democrats Preserve Principles, Republicans Cave on Continuing Resolution and FEMA Funding

By: Tuesday September 27, 2011 8:10 am

The Senate reached agreement on a Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government, including reduced emergency funds — but without offsets — through November 18. This was a win for the Democrats, who preserved the principle of emergency funding without offsets.

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