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WILSON, WY - AUGUST 18: (NO U.S. TABLOID SALES) Vice President Dick Cheney goes through some papers at his home as his dog, Dave, sleeps and his granddaughters, Elizabeth Perry (L) and Katie Perry, walk by August 18, 2004 in Wilson, Wyoming. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)

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FEMA has gotten its act together


The Federal Emergency Management Agency is getting high marks for its handling of Hurricane Irene.  On Meet the Press on Sunday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) praised the agency, whose name became a byword for incompetence and bureaucratic dysfunction after its disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. O'Malley called FEMA “much better … than [in] the old days." He went on: “The federal response was excellent. They were with us since day one.” [The Hill]

threat assessment cheney dog

WILSON, WY - AUGUST 18: (NO U.S. TABLOID SALES) Vice President Dick Cheney goes through some papers at his home as his dog, Dave, sleeps and his granddaughters, Elizabeth Perry (L) and Katie Perry, walk by August 18, 2004 in Wilson, Wyoming. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)

David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

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AGAINST US

Even Cheney's dog is a jerk


Among the revelations contained in Dick Cheney’s new memoir is the news that the former Vice President’s Labrador Retriever, Dave, launched an unprovoked attack on then-President Bush's dog, Barney, at Camp David. Soon after, Cheney was told that his dog was no longer welcome at the presidential retreat. [TNR]

gingrich threat assessment

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 16: Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks at the Heritage Foundation on the topic of "A Better Approach to Deficit Reduction", an alternative to the recently created super-committee approach, August 16, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Gingrich campaign received only two percent of the vote in last weekend's Iowa Straw Poll. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Win McNamee/Getty Images

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WITH US

Gingrich organization goes bust


A fund-raising organization that Gingrich formed in 2007 to finance and promote his speaking and traveling schedule, has gone bankrupt and closed its doors, the Center for Public Integrity reports. In four years, the group raised more than $50 million, with much of it going on charter flights for Gingrich as he traveled the country, keeping his political profile high. "Had Mr. Gingrich’s presidential campaign started strong," notes the New York Times. American Solutions might have been helped by his candidacy. Instead, Mr. Gingrich quickly stumbled over verbal gaffes and revelations about his lavish personal spending." The group spent $2.9 million in the first six months of the year. It raised only $2.4 million during the same period. [NYT]

threat assessment climate war

Nuclear Winter

Ferran Traite Soler/Getty Images/Vetta

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AGAINST US

Climate change causes war?


The weather phenomenon El Niño – warmer temperatures in the Pacific Ocean that cause higher temps and decreased rainfall every few years – may cause wars and civil conflicts, according to a new study. Researchers from the Earth Institute at Columbia University posit that the climate change doubles the risk of conflict in 90 tropical conflicts. What's more, it may have been a factor in 21 percent of the world's wars over the last 54 years. The weather shifts were not the only cause for the conflicts, but, one of the researchers said in a statement, "if you have social inequality, people are poor, and there are underlying tensions, it seems possible that climate can deliver the knockout punch." [Mother Jones]

threat assessment bat house

Bat Hanging

Geostock/Getty Images

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AGAINST US

Apartment drives NYC women batty


Two women in Washington Heights filed a lawsuit against their landlord after discovering a family of bats sharing their rented pad. After paying over $35,000 for a full year's rent, the women encountered a bat just two days after they moved in.The suit seeks a refund of their rent, plus $1 million in damages for their "emotional distress," "severe anxiety" and trouble sleeping as a result of the unwelcome visitors. [New York Post]

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