The Daily Muck

FEMA: Still a Costly, Deadly Mess

FEMA spent $900 million to buy more than 26,000 temporary homes for Hurricane Katrina victims, but most can’t be used because they’re too big or too unsafe for flood zones. That’s just one FEMA outrage the Washington Post reports this morning, advancing a Department of Homeland Security report on the agency’s Katrina response expected to be released today.

The agency also spent an average $5,100 per month to house evacuees on privately-owned cruise ships, six times the cost of renting two-bedroom apartments, DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner found.

Skinner’s report is the most recent indictment of the hapless agency. The House and the White House have already released reports from their investigations; the Senate is expected to issue its own shortly. (WaPo)Bush Facing Dubai Ports Redux

Here’s a scenario straight out of NBC’s The West Wing: Following a recommendation to allow the takeover by a Dubai-based company of a British defense firm with plants in the United States, the president now has 15 days to decide if he will hold up the deal. Plants owned by the British Doncaster company help make Abrams tanks, so this takeover is more security-sensitive than the DP World ports merger two months ago. He let the last one through and vigorously defended the deal, only to face a firestorm of criticism afterwards. Think, George: what would Josiah Bartlett do?

Charles Taylor’s Silence

It looks like Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.) is taking the same approach to the Abramoff scandal as Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) – stonewalling the press. That didn’t go so well for Doolittle – he ultimately gave in after the heat got really bad. And now Taylor’s hometown paper, that’s endorsed him for many years, is calling on him to answer questions about his role in procuring a grant for an Abramoff tribal client. (Asheville Citizen-Times)

Plame – Woodward Subpoenaed

In his piece on Judge Walton’s threat of a gag order in the case against Scooter Libby, R. Jeffrey Smith adds at the bottom that Libby has subpoenaed Bob Woodward’s notes from a June 27, 2003 meeting. (WaPo)

Alabama Governor’s Abramoff Money

Well, it really came from Michael Scanlon, which is pretty much the same thing. In 2002, Bob Riley was running for governor. Meanwhile, Jack Abramoff and Scanlon were representing the Mississippi Choctaw one state over; they wanted any possible gambling competition in Alabama killed. Riley was the anti-gambling gubenatorial candidate. And Scanlon had worked for him as press secretary back in 1997.

So Scanlon pumped $100,000 into the race – the money took a circuitous route (of course) through 4 different PACs. This is in addition to the $500,000 that Scanlon gave to the Republican Governors Association (who then passed the money on to Riley). So that’s $600,000 total. Nice. Did they get what they paid for? (AP)

Phone Jammin’

You can add the Washington Post to the recent spate of articles on the New Hampshire phone jamming. The Boston Globe came out with one yesterday. Nothing new here, though, to TPM-reading phone-jamoholics. (WaPo, Globe)

It’s Official: Bilbray’s the GOP Pick for CA-50

A tally of several thousand absentee and provisional ballots widened the former Congressman’s margin over challengers. (AP)

Coingate Rolls On

Ohio Governor Bob Taft (R) has tried to exert executive privilege to block the release of internal records relating to the handling of the coin fund by Tom Noe of coingate fame. But the state Supreme Court has ruled that Taft’s privilege has a limit – and the docs might come out if Taft can’t give a better reason why they shouldn’t. (Toledo Blade)

Covered Yesterday

Charles Taylor’s Bum Voting Card…(link)

Ken Mehlman Interviewed about Phone Jamming…(link)

The GOP Lawyer of the Hour…(link)

McKinney Mania Continues…(link)

Nat’l GOP Operative Says He Knew Nothing of Phone Jamming…(link)

MZM on Both Sides of Pentagon “Secret Police” Merger…(link)

Libby: Prez Didn’t OK Plame Leak Case…(link)

In Plame Leak Case, Judge Decries Leaks…(link)

More Corruption by Ex-DeLay Aide Uncovered…(link)

Abramoff comes to North Carolina…(link)

How Useful is Intelligence Czar John Negroponte?…(link)