Here is your Homeland Security Competence Update:

“Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the nation’s largest nuclear power plant, where security officials detained a contract worker with a small pipe bomb in the back of his pickup truck on 02 November 2007. The Department of Homeland Security said there was no known terrorism link to the incident at the plant west of Phoenix, Arizona. The worker, Roger William Hurd, told investigators he didn’t know how the bomb got in his truck and was released”


From a wire service photo caption. I just.


Once again my local FOX affiliate takes on the big issues. In this case, the shadowy, malevolent hacker underground group that will do anything for LULZ: spoilers, gay porn, myspace hacking, and blowing up the same car over and over. Phil Shuman, you’ve once again raised the bar for satire.


The Counterterrorism blog has a chilling update on Pakistan. If this and similar reports are largely true, the American people are in for a big surprise. My guess is that most of it is accurate, because similar reports keep popping up.

They’re one coup away from a nuclear-armed and unapologetically pro al Qaeda regime that could trash Afghanistan, re-start the Kashmir war with India, and provoke China into God knows what. Invading and subjugating such a nation is probably impossible and would require the cooperation of nearly the whole world.

The news from Pakistan is a Le Carré mess of garbled signals and spooky tidbits. It’s pretty clear from everything you can see that bin Laden and Omar live there and are protected, that their “tribal areas” are not in any way governed, and that Musharraf is the classic doomed dictator trying to play both sides of a losing game.

And nukes. If Seymour Hersh is to be believed, Bush Sr. just barely kept Pakistan from attacking India with nuclear weapons during a particularly bad time in those two countries’ relations. Personally I’d much rather worry about a nuclear Iran than about a place that’s barely a nation and dominated by mobs and “tribes” owning nukes and F-16s.

I wonder how much bourbon they go through in the Pentagon when they play out these scenarios.

Please panic now about everything and do as we say

It starts:

U.S. officials believe Canadian arrests over the weekend and three recent domestic incidents in the United States are evidence the U.S. will soon be hit again by a terrorist attack. Privately, they say, they’d be surprised if it didn’t come by the end of the year, reports CBS News correspondent Jim Stewart in a CBS News exclusive.

Then they go on to say that terrorists are committing robberies in order to finance terror attacks, and list a couple of incidents in which various bad guys had what seemed to be political terrorism objectives.

The fun is all in the last sentence, though:

The next attack here, officials predict, will bear no resemblance to Sept. 11. The casualty toll will not be that high, the target probably not that big. We may not even recognize it for what it is at first, they say. But it’s coming — of that they seem certain.

Okay. So, they’re now reserving the option of pulling out any Very Bad Day that might have some tenuous connection to Islamic extremists and calling it a terrorist incident. If some career criminals who got Muslim names in prison rob a store in a mall and there’s a big ugly shootout, or if some mentally unstable loser with a connection to Islam runs over a lot of people on a sidewalk, or if any number of medium-spectacular crimes occur that they can tie to “terror” in any way, it will be more evidence that we should be afraid and that we should give up yet more liberty.

And the news calls this an “exclusive” and runs it unchallenged. Bleah!


Suspicious lamp prompts evacuation
A Huntington Beach homeowner saw the object in a garage.

The Orange County Register

HUNTINGTON BEACH — A report of a suspicious lamp in a garage led to a neighborhood evacaution today before the Orange County sheriff’s bomb squad determined that the object was harmless.

A Mangrum Drive homeowner called Huntinton Beach police about 3 p.m. after seeing wires protruding from the base and an unfamiliar light bulb, Sgt. Dave Bunetta said.

Police officers visually inspected the lamp before calling the bomb squad and the Huntington Beach Fire Department’s hazardous material unit, Bunetta said.

Residents within 300 feet of the house were evacuated for about 3½ hours during the investigation.

The house is next door to a home day care, which also was evacuated, and two blocks from Marina High School.

It just wouldn’t be Christmas without .40 hollowpoints

Santa Claus Uses Handgun to Protect Children From Terrorists

Here’s the Christmas card sent out by the Citizens Committee to Keep and Bear Arms:


I have some concerns. First of all, Santa is not using an approved grip or stance for handgun shooting. One-hand shooting is not recommended, and the loose grasp he has on the firearm is going to result in instability, poor aim, and possibly total loss of control.

Second, although he has the children pushed behind him, there is an infant directly below the handgun. Not only could a terrible mishap occur if his gun somehow went off while pointed down, but raining hot brass from an autopistol on infants is very poor form.

Third, the terrorist does not appear to have any firearms himself and is soletly armed with explosives. Santa is not only risking everyone’s life in that room by pointing a firearm at the explosives, but he’s missing the opportunity either to shoot the bomber directly in the head — thus ending the terrorist mission — or to physically assault the bomber and remove him from the area so that he cannot demolish the tree or kill the children. Merely threatening him with the firearm may result in far worse results than either shooting him in the head or tackling him. Since the terrorist is very clumsily using dynamite sticks with fuses, there is unlikely to be any dead man’s switch or trip wire that would frustrate this attempt, and a terrorist taken alive is far more valuable to the international community than a corpse.

Therefore I cannot support arming poorly trained Santa Clauses. Even though the threat to Christmas may be very serious, reflexively arming previously unarmed sectors of society is likely to result in more harm than good.

A bigger version of the card is available from the url above; I resized it.

Hey Sony! You gonna get JAILED!

Thanks for installing malicious stealth software on people’s computers when they play CDs.

It would be a terrible shame if someone put one of their CDs into a machine that happened to control some part of the infrastructure here in the U.S. that is responsible for people’s lives, and that machine happened to fail, because then they would be guilty of industrial terrorism. And that would be bad.

If that first link above makes your eyes glaze over, a simpler version of the story can be found at the WFMU blog, where I found the story in the first place.

Don’t buy copy protected CDs. And if you happen to get one, join a class action suit. They need to get spanked hard for rootkitting people’s machines like this.