Saturday, July 09, 2005

NY Times and Faith Based Terror Funding

Nothing is better than having Maureen Dowd on vacation. Until the NY Times found some kind of Mike Meyers mini me version in Sarah Vowell. Her op-ed today is "Our Faith-Based Train Rides" and it deals with the threat to New York City, caused by Bush and the Republican Congress and the way they allocate federal Homeland Security Department dollars to the states. Of course, Wyoming is the state that's putting me at risk...

Why does the left keep picking on Wyoming? Today, Vowell in her NY Times op ed thinks that Wyoming receives a disproportionate amount of counterterrorism resources. She bases this on the fact that Wyoming receives about $38 per person while New York State receives only $5.50 per resident.

Well, when you do the math (using her numbers), Wyoming receives about $16 Million dollars of Federal money while NY receives $104 Million. When you do the math using numbers found using Google, the numbers for 2005 are more like $28 per resident in Wyoming and $15.50 in New York. So, Wyoming gets $14 Million and New York State gets $295 Million. Would Sarah feel a little bit safer with Wyoming's $14 Million? Maybe she can ask Mayor Bloomberg how much of the city's budget went for the failed Olympic bid. My bet, it's a hell of a lot bigger than $14 Million bucks.

So, this is what the left is talking about when Hillary comes out on July 8th and says this about the London Terrorist attack:

This brutal and senseless act is a tragic reminder that we need to do everything we can to safeguard our own transit systems. It is imperative that the millions of New Yorkers who travel on trains and buses know that our tunnels and facilities continue to operate with the highest security operations in place. The President’s budget calls for a $50 million cut in funding for rail and transit security this year, which is clearly a step in the wrong direction. As the Senate considers the Homeland Security Appropriations bill next week, I will work to ensure that we provide the resources needed to meet our rail and transit security needs."

Thus begins the left's politicalization of July 7th....more to surely follow.

But, back to the point on how is Wyoming wasting its $16 Million (or $14 Million)? Here's an interview with Joe Moore, Wyoming's Homeland Security Director. Unlike other state Homeland Security Directors, Joe Moore is qualified for his role with 32 years as an FBI agent. (Senator Corzine, we're talking to you and your ex-Governor's pal)

Here are some selected questions and answers with Moore from the same link as above:

Stateline.org: To some, Wyoming has become the poster child for criticism of the way homeland security money is distributed in the United States. Although it's the least populous state in the nation, it has received more money per capita every year than any other state. As the director of Wyoming's division of homeland security, do you think the current funding formulas are dividing the federal anti-terrorism money fairly, and what changes would you like to see in how homeland security funds are divided?

Moore: I don't want to comment on the actions taken by the United States Congress ... but monies that we receive I believe are put to very good, effective use. We have vulnerabilities that are targets. ... We have major highway systems. We have major railroads. We have national facilities and parks that are located next to our state and in our state.


And we believe with the amount of hazardous materials that are transported, we need to provide that funding for our first responders. ... Eighty percent of the money we receive through those grants are given to the local and county municipalities and first responders. So I think we are trying to do what the rest of the country is trying to do and that is build up our first responder capabilities so that as a nation we have a well-equipped, well-trained and well-exercised national first responder program.


Stateline.org:In terms of landmarks and critical infrastructure, what are some of the specific homeland security threats that Wyoming faces?

Moore: We look at our interstate highway system, which carries I've been told 60 to 70 percent of the haz-mat materials, which can be used by terrorists to create weapons of mass destruction. We have two major railroads. ... We have an agricultural concern because of the cattle. We have a lot of cattle stations that provide cattle throughout the United States. We have those state and federal parks, such as Yellowstone, Grand Teton, which have a lot of travelers and visitors.
So we have those symbolic areas that would be targets for terrorists. So we believe we have our share of potential targets that would be considered by both domestic and foreign terrorists.


Stateline.org: Wyoming has been able to equip each of its first responders and each of its fire trucks with a terrorist attack response kit, complete with a chemical suit. That's allowed them to achieve a level of preparedness that still eludes some other areas. You've also purchased a robot named Miss Daisy to help dismantle bombs and dispose of toxic chemicals. How many times have the chemical suits and packs been used since they were acquired? Also, how many times has the robot been used?

Moore: I don't have the figures on the suits. I do know they have been used by various volunteer fire departments. If you recall, recently we had that major I-80 accident out here where several people were killed involving 27 vehicles. Haz-mat was involved with that. But we don't monitor that. ...
I believe seven or eight times the robot has been used. ... It was used recently in a potential bioterrorist-type letter sent to the governor of the state. I was present when it was used to detonate a potential incendiary device. ... Right after we purchased it, two individuals were arrested near Cheyenne by the Wyoming Highway Patrol. They had nine pipe bombs with them. The robot was used to transport those pipe bombs and destroy them safely. We have utilized the robot very effectively since purchasing it.


I think maybe New York op-ed writers, rather than attack Joe Moore, should find a way to get the State to hire him...

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