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September 29, 2011 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-09-29

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4

6A - Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Congress shutdown
due to disagreement
about disaster relief

A

FEMA only has
enough emergency
funding to last
through the week
WASHINGTON (AP) -
Congress is once again allow-
ing shutdown politics to bring
the federal government to the
brink of closing.
For the second time in nine
months, lawmakers are bicker-
ing and posturing over spend-
ing plans. The difference this
time is that everyone agrees on
the massive barrel of money to
keep the government running
for another seven weeks.
"It is embarrassing," Sen.
Mark Warner, D-Va., admit-
ted Sunday on CNN's "State
of the Union." Warner asked:
"Can we, once again, inflict on
the country and the American
people the spectacle of a near
government shutdown?"
At issue is a small part of
the almost $4 trillion budget
intended for an infrequent pur-
pose: federal dollars to help
victims of floods, hurricanes,
tornadoes and other natural
disasters and whether some of
the expense should be offset
by cuts in other governrent

spending.
This sort of crisis man-
agement has cost Congress
credibility in the eyes of the
electorate, with about eight in
10 Americans disapproving of
the institution's performance
after this summer's debt crisis.
A major credit agency down-
graded the nation's ratings as
a result, unnerving the world's
financial markets.
FEMA estimates that as of
Monday morning, it had $114
million left in its disaster relief
account, enough to last until
Thursday or Friday, said agen-
cy spokeswoman Rachel Racu-
sen. That is a couple of days
longer than FEMA estimated
last week, which an agency
official attributed to unused
money FEMA has been able to
reclaim from grants to states
for recovery projects that have
been completed.
Those extra days are signifi-
cant because that means FEMA
may not need additional money
to function until Saturday,
when the government's new
fiscal year begins. That takes
some pressure off House and
Senate leaders who have been
unable to strike a compromise
on a bill providing disaster
relief and financing the govern-
ment until mid-November.

A police car sits in the driveway of the home of 26-year-old Rezwan Ferdaus, in Ashland, Mass., yesterday. Ferdaus has been arrested and accused of plttint to destroy
the Pentagan and the U.S. Capital with lange remate-contralled aircraft filled with eaplasives.
Man accused of attack
on Pentagon arrested

4

Suspect allegedly
discussed
terror plot with
undercover agent
BOSTON (AP) - A Massachu-
setts man was arrested yesterday
and accused of plotting an assault
on the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol
using remote-controlled aircraft
armed with explosives - the lat-
est of several terrorism cases to
spring from federal sting opera-
tions.
Rezwan Ferdaus was arrested
in Framingham after undercover
federal agents delivered materi-
als he had' allegedly requested,
including grenades, six machine
guns and what he believed was 24
pounds of C-4 explosive. Federal
officials said the public was never
in danger from the explosives,
which it said were always under
control and closely monitored.
Yesterday's arrest was similar

to other cases in which reput-
ed would-be terrorists were
caught in sting operations that
revolved around fictional plots
against various targets, such as
Dallas skyscapers or a Chicago
nightclub. In this case, though,
authorities say Ferdaus planned
the scheme.
According to a federal affi-
davit, Ferdaus, 26, of Ashland,
became convinced America was
evil through jihadi websites
and videos, and began planning
"jihad" against the U.S. in early
2010. He contacted a federal
informant that December and
months later, allegedly began
meeting to discuss the plot with
undercover federal agents he
believed were members of al-
Qaida.
Ferdaus said he wanted to deal
a psychological blow to the "ene-
mies of Allah" by hitting the Pen-
tagon, which he called "head and
heart of the snake," according to
the affidavit.
"Allah has given us the privi-

lege," he allegedly told the infor-
mant. "... He punishes them by
our hand. We're the ones."
Ferdaus, a U.S, citizen who
graduated from Northeastern
University with a bachelor's
degree in physics, made a brief
initial appearance yesterday
in federal court on charges of
attempting to destroy federal
buildings and providing sup-
port to a foreign terrorist orga-
nization, in this case al-Qaida. A
detention hearing was scheduled
for Monday.
Telephone messages were left
at the office of his attorney, Cath-
erine Byrne, and at the address
listed for Ferdaus in the affidavit.
Several alleged domestic plots
have been thwarted since the
Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks,
including in Lackawanna, N.Y.;
Portland, Ore.; and Virginia.
Terrorism arrests involving
federal stings have often been
followed by claims of entrap-
ment, but none of the cases
brought since Sept. 11 has been

thrown out by a court on such
grounds.
U.S. Rep. William Keating of
Massachusetts, a member of the
Homeland Security Commit-
tee, said lawmakers have been
warned for months of an emerg-
ing threat from homegrown
extremists. He said al- Qaida
is casting a wide net to radical-
ize individuals or small groups
already in the country because of
the significant advantages.
"They're already here, so they
don't have the hurdles of getting
into the country, they know the
country better.... They know how
to move around," Keating said.
"The testimony we heard, things
like this (the Ferdaus arrest)
were inevitable."
Ferdaus is accused of planning
to use three remote control air-
planes measuring about from 60 to
80 inches in length. Ferdaus alleg-
edly planned to pack five pounds
of explosives in each plane, while
saving some of it to blow up bridg-
es near the Pentagon.

4

4

RELEASE DATE- Thursday, September 29, 2011
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Hispanic youth rally in downtown Seattle on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011.
Obama frustratedy
immigration policy
President says he approvingof Obama's job perfor-
mance, compared with 60 per-
can't fix the issue cent in January.
While Obama has made lit-
on his own tle progress on comprehensive
immigration legislation, he has
WASHINGTON (AP) - Fac- pushed Congress to pass the
ing weakening support among Dream Act, which would provide
Hispanics, President Barack a route to legal status for college
Obama expressed deep frus- students and service members
tration yesterday over what he brought to the country as chil-
called an inaccurate and damag- dren. The bill passed the House
ing perception that he can fix the last year when it was controlled
nation's flawed immigration sys- by Democrats but was blockedby
tem on his own. Senate Republicans.
"This notion that somehow I "I think there's been a great
can just change the laws unilat- disservice done to the cause of
erally is just not true," Obama getting a Dream Act passed and
said during a White House getting comprehensive immigra-
roundtable targeting Hispanic tion passed by perpetrating the
voters, a key constituency for notion that somehow by myself
the president's re-election cam- I can go and do these things,"
paign. Obama said. "We have to pass
The president said compre- bills through the legislature and
hensive immigration reform then I can sign it."
continuesto be a "top priority" Democrats view Hispanic
for his administration. But he voters as a voting bloc in 2012
blamed Republicans in Con- that could help determine the
gress for failing to join Demo- outcome in swing states such as
crats in supporting legislation Florida, Colorado and Nevada.
that would address the flow of The Democratic National Com-
foreigners into the U.S. and deal mittee has aired Spanish-lan-
with illegal immigrants already guage ads in those states in the
in the U.S. past week to tout the benefits of
"Only a few years ago, you had Obama's jobs bill for small busi-
some Republicans who recog- ness and workers in the con-
nized that we needed to fix our struction industry, which the
immigration system," Obama DNC said employs 2.77 million
said, noting that his predeces- Hispanics.
sor, George W. Bush, was among Hispanics accounted for more
them. "Right now you do not than half of the U.S. population
have that kind of leadership com- increase over the last decade,
ing from the Republican Party." exceeding estimates in most
A strong majority of Hispan- states and totaling SO million.
ies supported Obama's election The burgeoning Hispanic
in 2008. But his support among population, Obama said, means
Hispanics has declined, as it it will only be a matter of time
has in the broader population. before the country sees a strong
A recent Gallup survey found Latino candidate for president or
48 percent of Hispanic voters vice president.

4

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