Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The Department of Homeland Security today released their 2006 Urban Areas Security grants to cities for terrorism prevention. NYC, which last year received $208 million, is 'only' getting $125 million this year, while some other urban areas are getting more. This, of course provoked a bevy of knee-jerk reactions from NYC politicians.
To cite the most short-sighted example from Senator Charles Schumer at his news conference on the issue: "Other states that have very little problems got an increase. Georgia got a 40 percent increase. Somehow this administration thinks that Georgia peanut farmers are more at risk than the Empire State Building. Something is dramatically wrong."
On the surface that makes sense, so long as you don't actually think about it. If you have a brain and your constituency isn't the one who just got less free money than they felt entitled to, you say "hey, why did they do that? What does Georgia have that's worth blowing up?" You might also ponder, "if only New York had $200 million a year in the years leading up to 9/11 they could have... um.. shot down the hijacked planes... No wait, it would be better if we could have stopped them from hijacking the planes in the first place. That money would have been pretty well spent preventing terrorism in Boston where the flights originated, huh?"
The funny thing is that Boston only got $18 million in grants this year (14% of NYC's grant). Coincidentally enough Atlanta (oh that's right, Atlanta, not 'all of Georgia'. Not too many peanut farms protected by Atlanta's Urban Areas Security Initiative despite what Schumer says) as I was saying, by coincidence, Atlanta also got $18 million. Is it possible that this money might protect airports that will prevent planes from hitting Schumer's constituents?
George Lakoff would have a field day with the transcript. Schumer tries to create a perceived disparity by saying Atlanta's 40% increase is a statement that the administration 'thinks peanut farmers are more at risk than the Empire State Building'. That must be why New York still gets seven times as much funding as the city that runs the worlds busiest passenger airport.
If anyone in the Democratic party is listening: Don't try and win by telling the world how bad the other guy is. We already know. Be something better. Have a little integrity, and give us a little credit.
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