Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Beware of the Homeland

As we inch closer (is inch a verb?) to a new administration, I'd just like to say I am getting increasingly distressed with certain federal laws which have been hastily implemented since 2001. The names alone cause my ears to ring and large veins begin to appear in strange places on my body.

The Real ID Act (Papieren, bitte) of 2005 is but one of them.
Maine, the last holdout against a federal identification law that was intended to deter terrorism but has been attacked on grounds of privacy and cost, has until Wednesday to agree to comply by tightening the way it issues driver’s licenses, the government said late Monday.

If it does not, its licenses will no longer be accepted as identification at airports and federal buildings, effective May 11. Maine residents would then have to present passports to board planes or be subject to additional screening.

Another thorn in my ass crack is the Secure Fence Act of 2006.
In a sweeping use of its authority, the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that it would bypass environmental reviews to speed construction of fencing along the Mexican border.

Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, issued two waivers covering 470 miles of the border from California to Texas well as a separate 22-mile stretch in Hidalgo County, Tex., where the department plans to build fencing up to 18 feet high into a flood-control levee in a wildlife refuge.

And in other news, I count my blessing daily that I have not faced any natural disasters requiring me to seek housing assistant from the government in the form of FEMA trailers. If the disasters don't get you, the formaldehyde just might.
Some of the thousands of mobile homes stored for possible use by disaster victims have formaldehyde levels rivaling those of housing already deemed unsafe for victims of 2005 hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, test results show.

Speaking of disasters, keep a close eye on events when you see a bunch of old white guys in the senate from both sides of the aisle coming to an agreement, and being excited about it.

Photo credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times

I know, I shouldn't be so hard on them; they're only trying to help us.
Casting aside partisan differences, Senate Democratic and Republican leaders said on Tuesday that they would work urgently on a package of legislation to help millions of homeowners at risk of foreclosure, with the hope of bringing a bill to the floor as early as Wednesday afternoon.


Both the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee have been working on bills that would allow the Federal Housing Administration to insure $300 billion to $400 billion in additional mortgages, with an upfront cost of $10 billion. The Bush administration has been developing a similar plan of its own that would expand an existing refinance program called F.H.A. Secure.

We certainly do like to use that word "secure" a lot. I know it sure as hell makes me feel like everything is going to be just fine. Just put your trust in Washington.

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