News came this weekend that the danger of mass looting in New Orleans is indeed real. The Navy announced that Halliburton -- the scandal-ridden company accused of squandering hundreds of millions of dollars from the $10 billion they've been given in military contracts since 2001 -- has been handed another $500 million for "emergency repairs at Gulf Coast naval and Marine facilities that were battered by Hurricane Katrina."

Halliburton's nose for finding opportunities to profit from disaster is nothing new, but this deal does raise a number of questions. First, why is this company still receiving government contracts? A year ago, the Department of Defense barred security firm Custer Battles from taking Iraq contracts after the media exposed a pattern of fraud and abuse. Halliburton's rap sheet is just as checkered, if not worse.

The Halliburton deal is also another example of the dubious revolving door of influence that plagues Washington, especially in government contracting.

As Think Progress notes, Halliburton/KBR's official lobbyist for greasing government contracts is none other than Joe Allbaugh -- the former director of FEMA, who elevated Michael Brown (his old college roomate) from his old job of policing horse shows to his current job as FEMA director. Allbaugh handed his buddy the FEMA job so that he could -- you guessed it -- pursue military contracts in Iraq.

So we've really come full circle, with the same band of roving looters who pillaged Iraq trying their hand at extracting profit in a disaster in the more familiar setting of a North American city.