Democratic Rep. John Murtha died Monday. Representing a competitive working-class Pennsylvania district, Murtha is being remembered for his influence on defense, his volte-face on the Iraq War, and his close friendship with Nancy Pelosi. Commentators on the left and right are greeting his death with sympathy, while acknowledging disagreements. Beltway pundits, of course, are quickly laying out the prospects for the race in his district.
The trailer industry and lawmakers are pressing the government to send Haiti thousands of potentially formaldehyde-laced trailers left over from Hurricane Katrina.
The 100,000 trailers became a symbol of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s bungled response to Katrina.
The government had bought the trailers to house victims of the 2005 storm, but after people began falling ill, high levels of formaldehyde, a chemical that is used in building materials and can cause breathing problems and perhaps cancer, were found inside. Many of the trailers have sat idle for years
This document is the most interesting. It’s a standard part of the job description package for most federal jobs. It is entitled “FEMA Job Hazard Analysis” and lists, in helpful chart form, the activities involved in the position. The position is Logistics Material Specialist, Trailer In-Bound Inspection (the guy or gal who inspects a brand-new trailer before it is sent off to a needy family in the Gulf).
Under the “Physical Hazard” for those entering a new trailer it says, “Formaldehyde off gassing…” Read more
The state’s two senators and 14 House members met with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius just hours before President Obama implored in his speech to the nation for Congress to come together and deliver a government that delivers on its promises to the American people.
So the legislators were floored to learn the Democratic administration does not want to deliver for the tens of thousands of people who sacrificed after 9/11, and the untold numbers now getting sick.
“I was stunned — and very disappointed,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who like most of the other legislators had expected more of a discussion on how to more forward.
“To say the least, I was flabbergasted,” said Staten Island Rep. Mike McMahon.
The 9/11 bill would spend about $11 billion over 30 years to care for the growing numbers of people getting sick from their service at Ground Zero, and to compensate families for their losses.
Bloomberg Takes the Ride of His Life when he is confronted with questions why rescue workers were not receiving any help from the government.
Top Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee publicly reprimanded Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano today for failing to show up at a hearing where the committee examined the attempted Christmas Day suicide bombing of Northwest Flight 253. One Democrat on the committee said he wanted to know “where the hell” Napolitano was.
The committee has primary oversight over Napolitano’s department, and top Democrats on the panel made it clear they were angry that she failed to show up for such an important hearing. Read more
Former British Prime Minister appears before Iraq War Inquiry
London, England (CNN) — Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he fully believed his pre-war claim that Iraq was capable of launching chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes.
“I did believe it, frankly, beyond doubt,” Blair testified Friday before an inquiry into Britain’s involvement in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Blair said Friday that concern over Iraq’s ambitions to develop weapons of mass destruction had been the main factor behind Britain’s decision to back the war.
“This isn’t about a lie or a conspiracy or a deceit or a deception,” Mr. Blair said. “It’s a decision. And the decision I had to take was, given Saddam’s history, given his use of chemical weapons, given the over one million people whose deaths he had caused, given 10 years of breaking U.N. resolutions, could we take the risk of this man reconstituting his weapons program or is that a risk it is responsible to take?”
He went on: “The decision I took — and frankly would take again — was: if there was any possibility that he could develop weapons of mass destruction, we would stop him. It was my view then and that is my view now.”
After six hours of testimony, though, Mr. Blair seemed to have betrayed no new secrets.
Mexico’s Senate approved a bill on Tuesday decriminalizing possession of small amounts of narcotics for personal use, in order to free resources to fight violent drug cartels.
The bill, proposed by conservative President Felipe Calderon, would make it legal to carry up to 5 grams (0.18 ounces) of marijuana, 500 milligrams (0.018 ounces) of cocaine and tiny quantities of other drugs such as heroin and methamphetamines.
Mexico’s Congress passed a similar proposal in 2006 but the bill was vetoed by Calderon’s predecessor Vicente Fox, under pressure from the United States, which said it would increase drug abuse, but now is worried by the drug-related violence along its border.
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