Most Americans have never heard of the National Response Coordination Center, but they’re lucky it exists on days of lethal winds and flood tides. The center is the war room of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where officials gather to decide where rescuers should go, where drinking water should be shipped, and how to assist hospitals that have to evacuate.
Disaster coordination is one of the most vital functions of “big government,” which is why Mitt Romney wants to eliminate it. At a Republican primary debate last year, Mr. Romney was asked whether emergency management was a function that should be returned to the states. He not only agreed, he went further.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.” Mr. Romney not only believes that states acting independently can handle the response to a vast East Coast storm better than Washington, but that profit-making companies can do an even better job. He said it was “immoral” for the federal government to do all these things if it means increasing the debt.
It’s an absurd notion, but it’s fully in line with decades of Republican resistance to federal emergency planning. FEMA, created by President Jimmy Carter, was elevated to cabinet rank in the Bill Clinton administration, but was then demoted by President George W. Bush, who neglected it, subsumed it into the Department of Homeland Security, and placed it in the control of political hacks. The disaster of Hurricane Katrina was just waiting to happen.
Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Re-elect Obama: The made-over Mitt Romney is no alternative
When Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he was known as a moderate. But that man has disappeared and no new shake of the Etch A Sketch can bring him back. Despite this long campaign it’s hard to know what he believes besides the fact that he believes he should be president.
In making his case to be the nominee for his radically more conservative party, Mr. Romney had to pretend to be someone he wasn’t. As part of this makeover, he has promised to scuttle Obamacare, even though it was modeled after his own successful state health care plan, and with only vague notions of how to replace it.
Driven by the political need to repudiate Mr. Obama’s bailouts, he stooped so low as to say he would have allowed a large part of the auto industry in Michigan, where he grew up, to go into bankruptcy, which would have doomed it along with millions of jobs. This was not his father’s Republicanism. …
This well may be a generation-defining moment. What will America’s future be? Will this still be a land of opportunity and freedom for all people or just for the favored few? Because we still hope, we endorse for president Barack Obama, whose heart — unlike his challenger — has not wavered nor his principles changed.
The Ghosts of World War II: The photographs found at flea markets superimposed on to modern street scenes
This haunting collection of images shows what it would look like if the ghosts of World War II returned to our streets.
The remarkable pictures overlay modern scenes from France with atmospheric photographs taken in the same place during the war.
Historical expert Jo Teeuwisse, from Amsterdam, began the project after finding 300 old negatives at a flea market in her home city depicting familiar places in a very different context.
From Urban Legends:
Contrary to what has been claimed in various online sources, President Obama’s gold wedding ring does not feature the Muslim saying “No God but Allah” in Arabic script. It bears no visible inscription at all, only an abstract design.
Another failure for Jerome Corsi.
Corsi carries on.
Cover your mouth when you yawn.
Talking Points Memo has a slide show of a dog’s life at the White House.
Margot Mifflin, a college friend of the President’s, has a New Yorker piece up, accompanied by a slide show of new-to-me photographs taken in their time at Occidental College.
Obama in “the fishbowl,” a basement room of the library where he often studied.