Sunday, May 08, 2005


I'm sure this is Bill Clinton's fault

Is George W. Bush ever going to be held accountable for anything that goes wrong on his watch? Or am I wasting my time waiting for that to happen?
U.S. to Spend Billions More to Alter Security Systems

After spending more than $4.5 billion on screening devices to monitor the nation's ports, borders, airports, mail and air, the federal government is moving to replace or alter much of the antiterrorism equipment, concluding that it is ineffective, unreliable or too expensive to operate.

Many of the monitoring tools - intended to detect guns, explosives, and nuclear and biological weapons - were bought during the blitz in security spending after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

In its effort to create a virtual shield around America, the Department of Homeland Security now plans to spend billions of dollars more. Although some changes are being made because of technology that has emerged in the last couple of years, many of them are planned because devices currently in use have done little to improve the nation's security, according to a review of agency documents and interviews with federal officials and outside experts.

"Everyone was standing in line with their silver bullets to make us more secure after Sept. 11," said Randall J. Larsen, a retired Air Force colonel and former government adviser on scientific issues. "We bought a lot of stuff off the shelf that wasn't effective."

Among the problems:

¶Radiation monitors at ports and borders that cannot differentiate between radiation emitted by a nuclear bomb and naturally occurring radiation from everyday material like cat litter or ceramic tile.
I guess it's time to round up all the nation's cats and send them to Guantanamo. Can't be too cautious, you know.
¶Passenger-screening equipment at airports that auditors have found is no more likely than before federal screeners took over to detect whether someone is trying to carry a weapon or a bomb aboard a plane.

¶Postal Service machines that test only a small percentage of mail and look for anthrax but no other biological agents.
We're always ready to fight the last war.

I noticed something recently going into various local sports arenas - they're not checking people as much as they used to. Granted, these are minor league games, and maybe they're still checking everyone and everything going into, say, Yankee Stadium. But I wonder/think/hope that maybe they've given up suspecting that Al Qaeda's next target will be a Trenton Titans game, even if it is the third round of the playoffs.

Max Cleland was demagogued out of the U.S. Senate because he opposed the specific way Bush intended to create the Department of Homeland Security - quickly and with no safeguards for the workers in the existing departments being crammed into the new bureau. And since it was created, Democrats have pointed out how horribly it has been managed. And the American people haven't given a shit. And you know what? They still won't. As far as too many of them are concerned, George W. Bush can do no wrong. He says he's making us safer, and that's good enough for them, and for the corporatized press so diligently distracting and misleading them.
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