Sunday, June 04, 2006

[political-research] Bloglines - From the Dept. of Totally Unsurprising Things

Sadly, No!
It is a Latvian word which means "the lure of the animal."

From the Dept. of Totally Unsurprising Things

By Brad R. on Uncategorized

In the proud tradition of Michael Brown and George Deutsch, meet Tracy Henke:

The Homeland Security official who signed off on funding cuts for New York and extra cash for the heartland is a small-town gal whose back-door appointment to the job was mired in controversy.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Tracy Henke, 37, assistant secretary for grants and training, wasn’t quickly confirmed by the U.S. Senate after her nomination last year because of allegations she played politics in her previous post.

So an impatient White House appointed her while Congress was in recess, drawing howls of outrage from lawmakers and sparking questions about her qualifications.

Being qualified for your job is *so* pre-9/11. The only thing that matters post-DayThatChangedEverything is loyalty to the executive codpiece.

After six months on the job, Henke is already on President Bush’s radar screen - he thanked her by name yesterday for help on immigration reform, even as her anti-terrorism funding handiwork was being pilloried.

“Henke-y, you’re doin’ a heckuva job.”

Another Missouri native, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, brought Henke to the Department of Justice, where she oversaw a grant program and the Office of Domestic Preparedness.

At Justice, she caused an uproar when she demanded changes to a press release about a study that found minorities were more likely to be arrested or handcuffed during traffic stops.

It’s too bad that Joseph Heller died before he could write a book about this administration. I think it could have really revived his career.

Accusations that she undermined the objectivity of the department dogged her when the White House submitted her name for the high-level Homeland Security job the next year.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) questioned whether Henke had “politicized” the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and he fumed when the White House gave her the job before her nomination was even voted on.

Jeebus. Even HOLY JOE questioned her credentials?! Madre de Dio, she must really be unqualified.

White House spokeswoman Erin Healy said Henke’s appointment was pushed through because the Senate dragged its heels. “She’s a highly talented individual who has an impressive record,” she said.

“…of kissing the president’s ass…”

Before Henke had her say on funding levels, Homeland Security relied on an anonymous panel of more than 100 reviewers to rate security plans from around the country.

According to sources and documents obtained by the Daily News, the department drew the reviewers evenly from 48 states, 43 cities, three territories and several federal agencies.

Many were officials from emergency management offices or grant experts. They were each given 60 projects to evaluate - with about an hour per project - before meeting for a week in April in Emmitsburg, Md., to hash out the results.

That’s where New York City’s terror plans ended up rated among the nation’s worst. Homeland Security officials refused to discuss how they decided New York City had no national monuments and few major banking institutions.

We still have two-and-a-half more years of this crap. Sigh.

UPDATE: Weeee! There’s more!

The Homeland Security bureaucrat who shortchanged New Yorkers’ safety by $80 million implied yesterday that guarding a Nebraska cornfield from an Al Qaeda attack is the same as putting a cop with a gun on the Brooklyn Bridge.

“When you are protecting agriculture in the Midwest, you are protecting the citizens of New York City,” Assistant Secretary Tracy Henke told C-Span’s “Washington Journal.” […] A senior U.S. counterterrorism official in Washington also scoffed at the insinuation that Al Qaeda is targeting cornfields and grain stores.

“The whole DHS agro-terrorism theory doesn’t hold,” the official said. Asked if he had ever heard of a credible terrorist threat to the food supply, the official laughingly replied, “Never.” John Pike, a homeland security expert at, said Al Qaeda is purely interested in made-for-TV carnage. “DHS may think that Wyoming is a more lucrative target than New York or Washington, but Al Qaeda seems to have a different view of the matter,” Pike said. “Al Qaeda doesn’t have a track record of attacking the food system.”

Even NYPo is piling on:

Embattled Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff blinked yesterday in his showdown with New York over his outrageous slashing of the city’s anti-terrorism grants. Seeking relief from the spreading political firestorm over the drastic cutbacks, Chertoff told Mayor Bloomberg that he will review the situation this weekend. […]

The Homeland Security boss’ remarks were an about-face from earlier in the day when he publicly defended downsizing the city’s funding by a whopping 40 percent and whined that attacking him wouldn’t help anyone get more funding.

New York leaders in both parties hit the roof on Wednesday after learning that federal anti-terror grants were being cut from $207 million to $124 million next year.

They have also blasted this year’s grant process, which was supposed to dole out the anti-terror dollars to cities considered to be at the greatest peril of terrorist attack - but instead awarded cow towns like Omaha with whopping increases.

It’s hard work.


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