Heckuva job, Chertoff?
June 2, 2006 4:48 AM   Subscribe

"Feds to City: Drop Dead." So say the usually Republican-leaning New York tabloids, the Post and the Daily News, after the Department of Homeland Security announced 40% budget cuts for New York, in favor of giving more anti-terrorism funding to cities like Louisville, KY, and St. Louis, MO. Among the reasons for the funding cuts? New York doesn't have any monuments or national icons that need protection. Was New York given a bloated anti-terror budget to begin with, or is this (ab)using the Homeland Security budget for pork spending?
posted by XQUZYPHYR (80 comments total)
 
God Bless Sen. McConnell and his ever-winning ability to divert money to Louisville.
posted by mrmojoflying at 4:52 AM on June 2, 2006


Meanwhile, Washington, D.C. is in the bottom 25% of U.S. cities at risk for attack.

Heck of a job!
posted by EarBucket at 4:55 AM on June 2, 2006


This is a sop to help Sen. Talent pull his arse out of the dirt and get reelected. Never was a more hapless elected official, but now they're going to start telling us that the terrasts are gonna blow up the St. Louis arch.

Because, you know, it's an important symbol of...manifest destiny, or something.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 4:58 AM on June 2, 2006


Never was a more hapless elected official, but now they're going to start telling us that the terrasts are gonna blow up the St. Louis arch.

Which is why they're finishing a fence around the arch, even as I type.

It doesn't look like much -- no chain link, no razor wire. They dug a trench around the north, south and west sides of the Arch Grounds (the East Side is also a river levee, in most places, either a sheer wall or a railroad track, in the rest, a tall stair.)

The trench was about 5 feet deep. In this trench, they place caged of rebar, all welded, not tied. Into the rebar they placed, then welded, 8" diameter steel pipes, about 8' long. They then filled these pipes, and the trench, with concrete. Now that the concrete is hard (and, by now, mostly cured), they're putting decorative caps on the 3' of pipe (full of concrete) sticking up from the ground.

This wasn't cheap -- lots of labor went into that rebar, and the way they were handling the concrete, it was high strength concrete as well. Hit this with a truck, and you'll bounce.

So, the Arch is now safe from truck bombs.

Never mind suicide bombers, planes, or anything like we typically see.

Cost? Easily a few million.

My heart sinks a little every time I see that fence.
posted by eriko at 5:08 AM on June 2, 2006


Well...I recall reading recently (in the NY Post) that NYC's Mass Transit Authority (MTA) was given a boatload of money to beef up security a long time ago and they still haven't done a damn thing. They talk about more security cameras and such but do nothing. What are they waiting for?

So this doesn't help matters when asking for more money.

And I'm always a bit pissed at seeing extra cops in the subway station who do nothing but gather together and schmooze. The Times Square station comes to mind.

Though I think it's lovely that NYC swat teams occasionally stand in front of the ritzy new Time-Warner Center defending our emblems of capitalism -- while a lot of other places in NYC are fair game for terrorists.
posted by bim at 5:11 AM on June 2, 2006


What exactly does the city do with this "anti-terrorism" money?

Salaries for people whose job it is to be Very Worried about terrorism and who occasionally show up on tv looking serious? Wages for the people who pretend to give a shit about what you're taking on an airplane? Cool new equipment for cops to spy on leftists?

"Anti-terrorism" money is Lisa Simpson's rock that keeps tigers away. Except that a few people get rich with government money.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:12 AM on June 2, 2006


I have no opinion about the budget cuts. I don't know enough about the situation to comment informatively.

Not to sound callous (because I feel for New York), but isn't Manhattan among the most wealthy areas in the world (per square mile)? Why aren't taxes covering this expense? Gerrymandering? Corrupt politicians? Lack of taxable companies (they're all licensed out of state)? It boggles my mind that such an affluent area would have difficulty raising funds to protect itself.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:16 AM on June 2, 2006


Except that a few people get rich with government money

*Ahem* Taxpayer money. *Ahem*
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:18 AM on June 2, 2006


...isn't Manhattan among the most wealthy areas in the world (per square mile)? Why aren't taxes covering this expense?

It's because our taxes already cover the important costs of garbage removal, street work, street cleaning, fire, police, and ambulance services.

Anti-Terror funding is supposed to be used in *addition* to these funds to protect us and our landmarks. I can't believe I have to type this, it should be obvious.
posted by splatta at 5:26 AM on June 2, 2006


Why aren't taxes covering this expense?

1. Wealthy NYers pay tax to the US.
2. US tax gets redistributed.
3. i.e. taxes are covering this expense.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:29 AM on June 2, 2006


Certain cities are receiving more, but that is just so Homeland Security can take the position that they are diverting funds to needed locations. This distracts attention from the truth of the matter, which is that they are pulling spending on security everywhere overall.
posted by banished at 5:31 AM on June 2, 2006


Are the Post and the News really republican leaning? I always thought of them as more populist or reactionary.
posted by footnote at 5:32 AM on June 2, 2006


Federal Tax rates (especially for the wealthy) have gone down since the Bush Administration came into office. There is no "extra" money in the federal budget to help pay for NYC defense. In fact, there's less now than prior to 9-11, since we've also had to pay for the Iraq War, Afghanistan, Katrina, etc.

The country (federal govt.) doesn't owe NYC this money. Which is why I'm curious about how a city that's among the wealthiest in the world is short on cash.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:34 AM on June 2, 2006


I think that most terrorists would find systems disruption more rewarding than blowing up some symbolic building given the effectiveness of such actions in destroying oil pipelines in Asia and Africa. However, I am not a terrorism expert like our strong leaders at the Capitol.

At least the Mall of America is safe!
posted by infowar at 5:39 AM on June 2, 2006


Are the Post and the News really republican leaning? I always thought of them as more populist or reactionary.

Yes, the NY Post is Republican leaning. It rarely has anything good to say about a Democrat.

It's also a Rupert Murdoch tabloid.

Despite being a liberal Democrat, I love reading the NY Post at lunchtime. The entertainment value of the headlines alone is worth the fifty cents! And I never read the editorials. And Steve Dunleavy is crazy as batshit!
posted by bim at 5:50 AM on June 2, 2006


"Anti-terrorism" money is Lisa Simpson's rock that keeps tigers away
yes.

you folks shouldn't be squabbling over who gets the money, but rather that we're being taxed for it in the firsts place. Its the fuckin dole - except for the police state and the industries that supply it. (read: republican welfare)
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 5:53 AM on June 2, 2006


This has been typical of the whole approach to DHS funding for preparedness. One of the key compromises made from the beginning of the program was that all states got an equal amount of DHS funding. So, New York, Texas, and, California, have had to make do with the same budgets as North Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming.
posted by bonehead at 5:54 AM on June 2, 2006


This isn't very surprising. I live in Eau Claire WI, population maybe 80K, I work in Chippewa Falls WI, population maybe 20K. Quite a few of the guys I work with whine that we don't get any government money to prevent terror attacks and in the same breath will whine that they're being taxed too much. It doesn't make any sense because if funding went to rural areas for anything more meaningful than a sticker saying 'Please don't attack us' taxes would have to be raised significantly. Still, if a Republican ran for governor with a campaign that included getting government funding for protecting America's Heartland from Terrorists there would be overwhelming support for him here.

I haven't quite figured out what they think is under threat of attack here, maybe the cows or the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statue at The Paul Bunyan Logging Camp.
posted by substrate at 5:54 AM on June 2, 2006


Not to mention Chertoff's prime concern seems in life seems to be covering his ass by not leaving any email evidence. Yes, he refuses to use email.
posted by bim at 5:58 AM on June 2, 2006


Wow! Nobody cares about NYC anymore...

And I'm always a bit pissed at seeing extra cops in the subway station who do nothing but gather together and schmooze. The Times Square station comes to mind.

I agree with bim about the policemen standing guard in the subways being useless, and I know the Fed doesn't have money to spare, but cutting the budget 40% and giving it to places like St Louis because NYC has no monuments? Come on. That's quite a slap in the face.

I guess that's the thanks we get for hosting the Republican Convention.
posted by maggiemaggie at 6:00 AM on June 2, 2006


Of course, Mr. Hevesi (the New York State comptroller) didn't win NY any friends with this either!
posted by bim at 6:03 AM on June 2, 2006


Are the Post and the News really republican leaning? I always thought of them as more populist or reactionary.

Anyone who reads either of these newspapers for anything other than sports is considered a dolt.
posted by any major dude at 6:09 AM on June 2, 2006


Without doubt, infrastructure attacks would be far more damaging in real terms but unless they are carried out in substantial scale they wouldn't have the same 'terror' coefficient as a symbolic attack. That said, there was a great article a while back about the diminishing returns of big, symbolic attacks. Unless you can top your last 'big hit' by a margin, any attack looks like you're slacking.

That obviously makes a campaign of smaller, more 'disruptive' attacks look more attractive since the security apparatus in the US is apparently based on the Death Star's: a fighter can easily slip past defences designed for a capital ship attack. </geek> That strategy has been very effective in Nigeria for example and the 2003 blackout proved pretty effectively how vulnerable the electrical grid is to disruption.

New York City has done quite a bit in antiterrorism work, even in areas far outside its direct sphere of influence. After the Spain and London attacks, the NYPD had detectives on planes to those areas to liase between the local authorities and the NYPD. Not the FBI or DHS but the local, cops-in-stupid-scooters NYPD. The NYPD has more native speakers of languages like farsi and arabic than the FBI does (many used to be meter maids) and has a clever stragey of using highly-visible armed response (Hercules) tams that 'randomly' pop up and look menacing. Sometimes they're acting on intelligence and sometimes its just theater, but because they're always there and unpredictably deployed, a prospective terrorist never knows if its theater or an actual lead.

The MTA, on the other hand, are idiots. The problem is that its a state agency and not under much control at all on the city level. Pataki being the tool that he is and the NYS legislature being unable to locate its ass with both hands, a map, a compass and a sherpa, getting the MTA to do anything is difficult and the things they do do are often idiotic to the extreme. Random bag checks? Gimme a break.
posted by Skorgu at 6:14 AM on June 2, 2006


Anyone who reads either of these newspapers for anything other than sports is considered a dolt.

Well then call me a dolt! LOL.

But from a practical perspective, anyone interested in NYS politics or government should at least read the NY Times (liberal), the NY Post (conservative) and Newsday (Long Island).

So don't dismiss things so casually, major dude. There may be a method to the madness...beyond the sports page.
posted by bim at 6:18 AM on June 2, 2006


Are the Post and the News really republican leaning? I always thought of them as more populist or reactionary.

The News is more populist; the Post staff writes as if they wish to fellate the President, Vice-President, and most of the Republican members of Congress. If Hillary or Bill do something that may look a little weird, the Post will tell you, in the most unflattering way possible.

I'm just wondering what the GOP gets out of handing the state over to the Democrats in the next election. I mean, I'm sure that having Eliot 'sound and fury signifying some fines' Spitzer in the Governor's mansion isn't actually a good thing.

The only real benefit is that it might make things look to the "Not New York City" part of New York State that they're all being punished for NYC. In elections, there's always the perceived 'disconnect' between The City and Upstate.
posted by mephron at 6:23 AM on June 2, 2006


the NY Post (conservative)

There you have it. conservative = batshit insane
And I always thought it meant something else.
posted by nofundy at 6:29 AM on June 2, 2006


The Daily News is in no way "Republican-leaning", but its total crap, as is the Post. I read the Times and I get my local news from the homeless conspiracy theorist who panhandles on my corner.
posted by CRM114 at 6:32 AM on June 2, 2006


And I'm always a bit pissed at seeing extra cops in the subway station who do nothing but gather together and schmooze.

Also, notice they don't seem to be checking bags when you enter anymore? I guess they caught all the terrorists.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:33 AM on June 2, 2006


Not to sound callous (because I feel for New York), but isn't Manhattan among the most wealthy areas in the world (per square mile)? Why aren't taxes covering this expense?

Because New York City is a net loser when it comes to taxes. NYC pays more to the state and the federal government in taxes than it receives in services, aid, military protection, highways, etc. Both governments treat the city as a cash cow. Wikipedia has numbers that jibe with what I have read elsewhere:
The state has a strong imbalance of payments with the federal government. New York state receives 82 cents in services for every $1 it sends to Washington in taxes. The state ranks near the bottom, in 42nd place, in federal spending per tax dollar.
We're getting ripped off. Our money is going to stupid people for stupid things in stupid places.
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:39 AM on June 2, 2006


Mephron -- It's not an issue of the GOP "handing the state over to the Democrats." The political power is about to be taken away from them via the electoral process.

Pataki decided to move on to other things since the likelihood of his being elected to a fourth term was not looking all that good. Of course, he's smoking crack (or maybe it's ethanol) IMHO if he thinks he's going to be President.

But you're right about the contentious nature of Upstate versus Downstate relations. It's a very real "disconnect" which always has to be factored into everything. But hey, that's politics.

Now excuse me while I go to work and watch the news from Democracy Now!
posted by bim at 6:40 AM on June 2, 2006


For quite some time after 9-11 all trucks heading down Broadway had to be inspected before they crossed Chambers St. (A few blocks north of ground zero.)

But anyone could still roll giant suitcases into Grand Central at rush hour.

So the big fear was that someone would blow up the pile of smoking rubble for a second time, because that would look bad. But for any other attack the blame could be deflected. "How were we to know anyone would target Grand Central?"
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:48 AM on June 2, 2006


Also, notice they don't seem to be checking bags when you enter anymore? I guess they caught all the terrorists.

Actually, myseriously, the only time I've seen bag checks at my local station (Ditmars) was about a week and a half ago. First time in the whole what, 10 months the program has been in effect.

And yes, the MTA is completely fucked.
posted by Remy at 6:50 AM on June 2, 2006


no monuments or national icons worth protecting? In favor of Louisville and St. Louis!? I'm sorry, but I think the Empire State building, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, MoMA, NY Library, etc. outweigh Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom and the Kentucky Derby Museum and the St. Louis Zoo.... The only attraction I see possibly being in danger out there is the Gateway Arch.

I'm not degrading the South over here, but honestly... wtf?
posted by Doorstop at 7:06 AM on June 2, 2006


Was New York given a bloated anti-terror budget to begin with, or is this (ab)using the Homeland Security budget for pork spending?

Most likely yes (to both).

*Cough cough* Oklahoma City anyone? And whatever happened with that Anthrax? That sniper in Maryland and Virginia? It amazes me that every other day of the week we talk about terrorism as including domestic actions by Anti-Abortion groups and White Supremacists, but when the chips are down and the funding is distributed, it's all about ragheads with tourist maps of NYC. And what is with the obsession with major landmarks anyway?

And also, just as a reminder yet again. Homeland Security is not just about anti-terrorism, but managed to roll together Katamari Damacy style a wide range of services including immigration and FEMA. Yeah, there is some pork going on. There are "anti-terror" funds used to improve emergency response in cities more likely to get slammed in the New Madrid quake, or a tornado swarm. IMNSHO $9.2mil in a transportation hub AND geographic bottleneck like St. Louis or Louisville is chump change.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:07 AM on June 2, 2006


We don't need any more money and will probably be just fine with less. It's not throwing money at problems which solves them.
posted by Captaintripps at 7:13 AM on June 2, 2006


Another article about Phoenix, which mentions Las Vegas.

Phoenix got a grant the same size as Toledo, Ohio.

Las Vegas (and its 50M visitors per year) got a grant smaller than Omaha, Nebraska or Portland, Oregon.

What the hell was DHS thinking?
posted by SirOmega at 7:15 AM on June 2, 2006


While I think pulling funding out of NYC is basically endangering the nation as a whole (since the FBI and NSA use NYCPD resources).

Las Vegas has screamed 'hit me' for a while. Large population, den of vice, etc. Maybe an attack would send W's approval rating into the stratosphere again.
posted by Busithoth at 7:27 AM on June 2, 2006


For quite some time after 9-11 all trucks heading down Broadway had to be inspected before they crossed Chambers St. (A few blocks north of ground zero.)... So the big fear was that someone would blow up the pile of smoking rubble for a second time.
posted by StickyCarpet
Or maybe they're concerned about a little building on Exchange Place with the trading floor thingie, or the building on broadway with the Nasdaq servers. Nah, that's crazy! It's the rubble they're protecting.
posted by Crash at 7:37 AM on June 2, 2006


I can't find the 2005 numbers, but here (via FAS) are the per state spending from DHS in 2003 and 2004. They include the per capita breakdown. NY state, by population, got a mid- to low-end grant from DHS. Compare the NY (or California or Texas) per capita spending to that of the prairie states or Alaska, for example.
posted by bonehead at 7:39 AM on June 2, 2006


Doorstop: Here is what I see as the scandal. Everything is labeled "anti-terrorism" these days because that's nice and sexy and it sells. Why should St. Louis get $9.2 million in funding?

1: It is a major multi-modal transportation hub with traffic from interstate, rail, aircraft and waterways.
2: It's a geographic bottleneck in transportation. Most goods, services and people going between the NE and the SW will pass through St. Louis.
3: There are (at least) three potentials for a serious natural disaster: tornados, the Mississippi, and the New Madrid fault zone. Just like Katrina these are a question of "when" not "if."

This report and these recommendations are a slap in the face for NYC. But it's really hard to argue against smaller grants to hub cities elsewhere. I see grants to local municipalities to improve communications and services as a good thing. But they should be calling it that.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:39 AM on June 2, 2006


"Alexandria, IN has more national icons than NY, NY." Alexandria, IN's claim to fame? The world's largest ball of paint.

The Onion can't make up stuff this good.
posted by jperkins at 7:44 AM on June 2, 2006


crash: Or maybe they're concerned about a little building on Exchange Place with the trading floor thingie, or the building on broadway with the Nasdaq servers.

Um, those anti truck barriers were in place long before 9-11, and that area has been off limits to trucks since the first WTC bombing.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:52 AM on June 2, 2006


Waddaya Waddaya?
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:54 AM on June 2, 2006


I was curious how the numbers worked out per capita. So I pulled the actual per state spending [pdf] from the DHS site, and the state population figures. For any else who might be curious, here is the spending per capita, per state from my (extremely) quick calculations. (As an aside, I also did an overlay of red state / blue state 2004 election results and found no readily discernable pattern. Not that there aren't other patterns-- but my off-the-cuff and crude thesis that per capita spending would correlate to election results was not borne out.)

state $ / person
Vermont $17.51
North Dakota $16.94
Wyoming $15.07
Alaska $12.50
Nebraska $12.36
Delaware $12.21
Hawaii $10.14
South Dakota $9.97
District of Columbia $9.84
New York $9.54
Nevada $8.49
Montana $8.48
Idaho $8.23
Missouri $7.39
West Virginia $7.32
Rhode Island $7.28
Illinois $7.08
Louisiana $6.73
Massachusetts $6.45
California $6.42
New Hampshire $6.02
New Jersey $5.96
Maine $5.89
Kentucky $5.78
Florida $5.63
Oklahoma $5.50
Kansas $5.20
Washington $5.12
Oregon $4.93
Georgia $4.89
Michigan $4.63
Wisconsin $4.41
Maryland $4.34
New Mexico $4.29
Iowa $4.21
Pennsylvania $3.97
Texas $3.93
Connecticut $3.85
Ohio $3.61
North Carolina $3.51
South Carolina $3.45
Alabama $3.42
Arizona $3.40
Indiana $3.37
Utah $3.35
Arkansas $3.00
Mississippi $2.92
Minnesota $2.61
Tennessee $2.31
Virginia $2.23
Colorado $0.47
posted by limitedpie at 7:54 AM on June 2, 2006


Why the hell is CO getting nothing? And when did Vermont surpass Wyoming?

At some point, of course, an adept politico will point out that literally throwing money at a problem will not, in itself, solve a hell of a lot.
posted by Busithoth at 8:04 AM on June 2, 2006


StickyCarpet: Um, those anti truck barriers were in place long before 9-11, and that area has been off limits to trucks since the first WTC bombing.

Sorry, I was referring to the truck inspections on Broadway by Fulton Street. The Chambers street searches are more likely for the Tunnels, not the rubble pile. And some anti-truck barriers might have been in place pre-9/11, but the not to the extent they are now. Only Exchange place directly in front of the trading floor was closed to traffic. Now traffic is completely cut off from the building and the roads have been modified to have pop-up anti-truck barriers controlled by private guards. They were not there in 2000.
posted by Crash at 8:11 AM on June 2, 2006


Trenchant quote from Bloomberg:

"We tried to do an analysis of some of the moneys and whether or not they were given out for political reasons, and in fact in many of the places where they got money — but arguably there's no threat — there are close elections either at the Senate level or the House level," the mayor said. "Now, whether that was their motive I have no idea."
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:17 AM on June 2, 2006


At some point, of course, an adept politico will point out that literally throwing money at a problem will not, in itself, solve a hell of a lot.

And when the money is made up out of thin air, not only does it not solve the problem, it causes you a lot of other problems.

Some people are saying there is literally no way to pay off America's debt now, we'll have to borrow just to pay interest.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:23 AM on June 2, 2006


Listen, I don't see what all the outrage is about. I mean, it's really New York City's fault. After all we faxed our application to Washington instead of sending it electronically, as the instructions clearly required. We can't let our desire to stop the terrorists and protect millions of innocent blue-staters get in the way of enforcing the filing instructions, people! If we do, the terrorists have won!

Now where's my red Swingline? I have to get those TPS reports out.
posted by The Bellman at 8:33 AM on June 2, 2006


Does anyone have a link to the list of cities that got a funding boost?
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:43 AM on June 2, 2006


Crash writes "Now traffic is completely cut off from the building"

StickyCarpet writes "that area has been off limits to trucks since the first WTC bombing."

How do they handle deliveries and office moves?
posted by Mitheral at 8:44 AM on June 2, 2006


SirOmega writes "Las Vegas (and its 50M visitors per year) got a grant smaller than Omaha, Nebraska or Portland, Oregon.

"What the hell was DHS thinking?"


Dunno about Portland, but Omaha is home to SAC/STRATCOM which is somewhat appealing in a traditional warfare perspective so I imagine it holds some value as a "terrorist" target as well.
posted by Fezboy! at 8:50 AM on June 2, 2006


I was watching a report last year on the DHS in Oregon. The officer was saying that they had one guy (himself) to patrol the entire Oregon coast. And that he only worked part time.
posted by Mitheral at 8:59 AM on June 2, 2006


I think it's hilarious that people in Kansas are even worried about terror attacks. Yeah, your general store's really at risk, Billy-Wayne.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 9:00 AM on June 2, 2006


A lot of these comments remind me of junior high school discussions in the the 1980's where kids would constantly boast about how their particular city was "number 4" or whatever in the Soviet's nuke targeting. Every single small city has some story about its key military, transportation, or manufacturing facilities.
posted by Mid at 9:17 AM on June 2, 2006


Bim: when I say 'handing over to the Democrats', I more mean "the Republicans surrended their high ground on an issue of major contention in the public eye to the Democrats, allowing Spitzer to use it against them". Republicans of late have run on a platform of 'look how great we are on national security!', and now it's made clear that they don't give a damn about New York City at all.

I'm not even going to get into the gossamer fog that is security at the Port of Newark, which increases the probability that the next great attack - the first nuclear one - is going to be there.
posted by mephron at 9:19 AM on June 2, 2006


2: It's a geographic bottleneck in transportation. Most goods, services and people going between the NE and the SW will pass through St. Louis.

Plenty of rail connections to the north and south, ditto highway connections. It's true that there's lots of barge traffic, because of the Missouri/Mississippi confluence just north of the city, but the vast majority of barge traffic carries coal, grain and stone, and it's mostly export and market traffic, not import traffic.

And, you know, if the bad guys get the bomb onto the barge and on the river, we've already lost. Securing barges is an incredibly tough proposition, they're parked everywhere on the Mississippi, pulled out when needed, etc. Spending $9M on St. Louis wouldn't even begin to start inspecting them.

And, as I said upthread -- a large hunk of that money was spent putting truck fences around the Arch. This helps the transport weaknesses exactly how?

The far bigger weakness is in shipping containers, which travel the world, and enter the US at dozens of ports. Spending one dime to secure St. Louis while those ports remain wide open is a flat-out waste of money. One container full of ANFO could cause a truly nasty mess -- and there's more than enough room in one for even the large, primative nukes we used on Japan.

So, what am I getting for that $9 million? So far, I can't truck bomb the Arch -- something that wasn't easy to do anyway. Never mind the number of targets in St. Louis where you'd do more damage with a truck bomb, the big hoop of Steel is safe.

Yee. Fucking. Haw.
posted by eriko at 9:20 AM on June 2, 2006


Every single small city has some story about its key military, transportation, or manufacturing facilities.

This is very funny and true. "They make non-nuclear parts for nuclear bombs over in that plant there, plus there's that air force base 50 miles away. It's a real concern."
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:22 AM on June 2, 2006



Which is why they're finishing a fence around the arch, even as I type.


Sigh. I haven't been down to the arch grounds in a long time. This makes me both a little sad and somewhat more than a little disgusted.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 9:41 AM on June 2, 2006


StrasbourgSecaucus writes "I think it's hilarious that people in Kansas are even worried about terror attacks. Yeah, your general store's really at risk, Billy-Wayne"

Do you feel the same way about, say, Oklahoma City? Not every terror attack involves dozens of people and the WTC.
posted by Mitheral at 9:42 AM on June 2, 2006


Federal Tax rates (especially for the wealthy) have gone down since the Bush Administration came into office. There is no "extra" money in the federal budget to help pay for NYC defense.

Snerf. Nice deployment of the passive voice, here.
posted by furiousthought at 9:56 AM on June 2, 2006


Our money is going to stupid people for stupid things in stupid places.

You have to admit there's a certain attraction to consistency. If Lincoln were to give the Gettysburg Address today, do you think he'd include "of the stupid, by the stupid, for the stupid" in it?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:57 AM on June 2, 2006


"I think the facts are clear," Bloomberg said. "What they've really done is taken what was supposed to be threat-based and just started to distribute it as normal pork."
posted by b1tr0t at 10:15 AM on June 2, 2006


Here in Louisville, the Courier-Journal reports that "The mayor said Louisville's location on three major interstates and the Ohio River's McAlpine Locks means it could affect the nation's ability to move goods, people and military equipment in the event of a national emergency." And yeah, maybe we are about 10 miles from Fort Knox, and not too far from Fort Campbell. So we're using it on an emergency communication system.

When these things were first discussed a few years ago, there was concern in the local media about the possibility of an attack on Thunder or on Derby. And yeah, there are lots of people packed in very tight spaces for those events.

However, the real reason for the grant to Louisville is probably to make sure that Mitch McConnell and Elaine Chao's lives, health, and jobs remain safe and secure, and to let DHS and the executive branch keep Mitch's full support and cooperation. Just guessing.
posted by dilettante at 10:26 AM on June 2, 2006


Mitheral: How do they handle deliveries and office moves?
The delivery/truck rolls up to the guard check point, who then signals for the first barrier to be lowered. The truck then pulls up to the next barrier, and the first is raised again. The driver is then questioned while the truck is scoped out by a guard, usually with a bomb sniffing dog. If he's cleared, the front barrier is lowered and the truck proceeds. If he's not, they open fire (or maybe he's just told to go away or something).
posted by Crash at 10:31 AM on June 2, 2006


Has anyone let SiezeTheDay know yet that NY is more than Manhattan? But whatever. Yeah, we're all stinkin' rich up here, and just begging for handouts 'cause we're also greedy.

(personally, though, I could live without the "security" measures coming to the MTA)
posted by hackly_fracture at 10:34 AM on June 2, 2006


Thanks crash. So it's not so much a "no trucks zone" as a "trucks require special clearance zone". I was feeling sorry for the Coke guy who was going to have to hump hundreds of cases of pop for blocks.
posted by Mitheral at 11:09 AM on June 2, 2006


... extra cops in the subway station who do nothing but gather together and schmooze. I was living in New York in the 1960's 1970's when those cops weren't standing around. The reason they're schmoozing now is that criminals tend not to be active when cops are schmoozing nearby. There are other reasons for the decline in crime, of course, but you don't want to go back to the days when they weren't there.
posted by QuietDesperation at 11:23 AM on June 2, 2006


Ah, this explains it. It seems the funds were cut because NYC faxed their application instead of emailing it.

Chertoff should lose his job over this.
posted by EarBucket at 11:44 AM on June 2, 2006


From the Washpost:
Henke, who is in charge of Homeland Security's grant-making.........judged that the nation's capital is a "low-risk" city and that the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State Building are not worthy of "national icon" status.
By contrast, those terrorism magnets of Kansas City and St. Louis -- both by happenstance in Henke's home state of Missouri -- received boosts in funds.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:55 AM on June 2, 2006


We're getting ripped off. Our money is going to stupid people for stupid things in stupid places.
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:39 AM MST on June 2


See this is the problem with New York City folks, they think they are at the center of the universe, and any other place is "stupid".

As someone who lives in the state which receives the least money per resident, and certainly not a stupid place in my mind, fuck you Mo.
posted by Eekacat at 12:23 PM on June 2, 2006


I guess we're not all New Yorkers anymore.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:32 PM on June 2, 2006


eekacat, take a look at these figures:
Taxes paid vs Spending received

the numbers only go up to 2004, but notice how NY is 4th in taxes paid to the feds per capita, and sends ~30 Billion more than it gets back (I bet 30 Billion would go a long way in protecting NY). Now compare that to these states:
Alabama:
Rank in federal taxes paid: 43rd.
Rank in federal spending received: 9th.
Profit: ~15 Billion.

Arkansas:
Rank in federal taxes paid: 48th.
Rank in federal spending received: 29th.
Profit: ~5 Billion.

Mississippi:
Rank in federal taxes paid: 50th.
Rank in federal spending received: 20th.
Profit: ~5 Billion.

Missouri:
Rank in federal taxes paid: 27th.
Rank in federal spending received: 15th.
Profit: ~9 Billion.

I'm not sure where you live, but I'm assuming you meant least $ per resident on homeland security, CO. If that's the case, your fine state's sending 6 Billion more to the feds than it's getting back. You're getting ripped off too.

But NY is still getting ripped off. Asking the Feds to send back it's own money so it can protect itself as it sees fit seems a fair enough request.
posted by Crash at 1:00 PM on June 2, 2006


To all the people who feel they are getting ripped off: Do you not believe it is a purpose of a government to provide to the less fortunate? IE: to take from those who have more in order to assure certain minimum standards of government services across the country?
posted by Mitheral at 1:24 PM on June 2, 2006


I guess my response is more for SeizeTheDay, who wants to know why Manhattan can't afford to raise funds to support itself.

But as for NY getting ripped off, it's paying more than it's fair share of taxes. And when it comes to it's own security, it's basically getting a big FU from DC. How should they take it?
posted by Crash at 1:40 PM on June 2, 2006


Alabama:
Rank in federal taxes paid: 43rd...

Arkansas:
Rank in federal taxes paid: 48th...

Mississippi:
Rank in federal taxes paid: 50th...

Missouri:...


Yeah, but the people in those states rank near the top in the per capita "Support Our Troops" magnetic ribbon count, so there!
posted by psmealey at 2:03 PM on June 2, 2006


Mitheral, there are no "Coke guy[s] who ... have to hump hundreds of cases of pop for blocks." We only drink soda here.
posted by nevercalm at 2:04 PM on June 2, 2006


Do you not believe it is a purpose of a government to provide to the less fortunate?

Sometimes. But it's really fucking galling when most of the money goes to states that support that bullshit GOP "self-reliance", "rugged individualistic" ethic while gorging themselves on huge chunks for government cheese.
posted by psmealey at 2:07 PM on June 2, 2006


I heard an NPR interview with Chertoff and the gist was:

* We've given NYC plenty of money already. The analogy was something about having a burglar break in through the front door; once you've put locks on the door, you need to move on to securing the windows, etc. Not convincing absent further info but that's at least a defensible argument, as opposed to:

* "National icons" are assumed to have no other purpose and no regular occupants, so office buildings are considered higher risk targets. Therefore, NYC actually benefited from classifying the Empire State Building as an office building instead of an icon. Even in this administration, that must be some sort of record for cubic volume of bullshit per syllable.

Sorry, no link -- I'm on kid duty and duty wails. Check the NPR site.
posted by vetiver at 6:36 PM on June 2, 2006


Undersecretary George Foresman about the program last week:

"It's kind of like a grading curve in college, of which I was very familiar with because I was always on the lower end of the grading curve."
posted by EarBucket at 3:20 PM on June 5, 2006


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