Someone at Homeland Security has decided that the very worst thing that can happen to the USA is that terrorists would strike and Democrats would accuse the administration of being unprepared. So we get hundreds of scary “warnings,” none based on any evidence, create daily propaganda victories for our enemies, contribute to a generalized climate of fear and insecurity (which helps Bush poll numbers), and all gradually become desensitized to government warnings.
Consider this SCARY WARNING reported by today's Wall St. Journal
Amid rising tensions over a long-anticipated al Qaeda attack to disrupt the November elections, the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau Investigation warned Florida law-enforcement officials that tomorrow's presidential debate at the University of Miami could be a terrorist target.
RUN FOR YOUR LIVES. HIDE UNDER THE BEDS. WE'RE ALL DOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED.
“At this time, DHS and the FBI have not received any information regarding a specific terrorist threat to the first 2004 presidential debate,” the agencies told Florida's homeland-security adviser and the FBI's Miami field office.
Oh, never mind.
I live in the ur-swing state. I'd like my vote to count. I'll be voting on an electronic voting machine with no paper trail. I don't trust it. Not at all. (Here's one more reason I don't trust the machines in use in my precinct.)
The most amazing thing about this to me as a person clinging to an increasingly sorely tested belief in the rule of law, is that the plain, plain, plain meaning of the relevant florida statute says that a machine with no backup records is illegal. Florida law demands the ability to do recounts in close elections. This theory is about to be tested in court — at last.
Since basically none of us can get tickets to attend the debate being held here on campus Thursday night — all the tickets go to the press, except for a handful that go to students — it might as well be happening on Mars…except for the fact that we get three emails a day warning about Draconian security measures and a ban on parking on this side of the State line.
The Miami Herald pretty much captures the exicted atmosphere on campus in the first paragraphs of today's front-page story, Security is tight on a laid-back campus (obnoxious reg. req):
Security at the University of Miami tightened Monday as the presidential debate loomed: Barricades and fences appeared. Police cars prowled back roads. Students were warned to wear IDs around their necks — or face being booted off campus.
And, yet, there was undergrad Amy Pearlman, at the lip of a campus lake, sitting on a blue towel in her bathing suit, brow furrowed, studying a psychology textbook.
Her student ID? It was in her purse.
“I didn't want to get a tan line,” she said, shrugging.
In addition to this pix of a typical student, hard at work studying, please note, the Herald provides a link to the UM student debate blog … which seems slashdotted at the moment.
Almost a year ago I blogged the US Treasury export control rules being used to prevent publishers from editing certain foreign manuscripts.
I'm happy to report that a group of publishers are (finally) suing to end curbs on editing. They deserve to win.
The Guardian has a first-class piece of detailed local reporting, giving a ground-eye view of the Hartlepool by-election: part one and part two. Hartlepool was Peter Mandelson's seat.
All politics is local. This is a well-told tale, of interest to retail politics political junkies everywhere. (Bloggers will also enjoy the role that one of the candidate's campaign blogs plays in the story.) The election will be the 30th.
Guess who said this:
If Bush is re-elected, there are only two possible outcomes in Iraq:
- Four years from now, America will have 5,000 dead servicemen and women and an untold number of dead Iraqis at a cost of about $1 trillion, yet still be no closer to success than we are right now, or
- The U.S. will be gone, and we will witness the birth of a violent breeding ground for Shiite terrorists posing a far greater threat to Americans than a contained Saddam.
Nope. Not Howard Dean. Nope not Kerry or Edwards. Nope, not a politician. Not some wild-eyed radical. A military planner: MSNBC – 'Staying the Course' Isn't an Option brings you this radical thought from “Retired Air Force Col. Mike Turner” described as “a former military planner who served on the U.S. Central Command planning staff for operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.”
(ex-Pentagon spotted via Pandagon)