Instapundit makes a very simple and obvious point — that nearly everyone seems to have missed. As the administration demands more funds, more power, and more agencies to gain the information necessary to fight terror… we learn that the real problem isn’t a lack of information at all. The FBI and CIA had all the information they could ever have needed. The failure is in data analysis, not data collection. The CIA and FBI either didn’t know what to do with the information they had, or couldn’t do anything with it. How bizarre to think they need to snoop around for more data.
“Homeland security.” Am I the only one that gets the heebie-jeebies from this phrase? I keep hearing “Rheinland” in place of Homeland (use best German accent). I’m not making a Hitler analogy here, but the language is frightening. We must protect the Homeland! (What was the purpose of the Defense Department before??) To mix my metaphors, it’s positively Orwellian. At least Kausfiles is calling for a better name. I tend to think the name is right on, precisely because it’s so evocative of scary things.
Bush says not to blame past government agency errors that failed to prevent 9/11. No, we just need a new agency! With lots of money! Of course, growing the government will not solve anything. More security at airports = long waits and crowded security lines = perfect terrorist target. So, we have to check everyone entering the airport = long lines to get into the airport itself = perfect terrorist target. The only way to stop terrorism is end a foreign policy whose unintended consequences are the opposite of our goals and whose primary result is to oppress people who then want to blow us up.
Random and useless facts: The most beer available to the public in a single place exists each July in Leipzig, Germany (the 2nd largest city in the former East Germany; pop. 560,000). Several miles of beer tables and stands turn the area in front of the V
Renting a car from Avis? Enter D002807 in the “AWD” field and get 10-50% off… and Avis will make a donation to the Amateur Sports Assistance Program. You get a discount, they make a donation. Not bad, eh?
My very first post told you how to get complimentary Gold Status with Hilton. I should note some additional things — that you should get 1000 points for signing up automatically; that you can “update” your profile by changing your address/email address/etc. for another 1000 points (and do it twice per quarter for points); and that you can sign up for their no fee American Express card for 7500 bonus points and their no-fee Visa for 10000 points. That’s 20,500 points instantly — which is worth two free full weekends of Hilton hotels. Not bad for filling out a couple of forms on-line.
International Aid Smackdown! Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and Bono are touring Africa to highlight poverty and examine international aid. Bono questions whether O’Neill gets it, and O’Neill delivers a crushing blow. Simple and compassionate, O’Neill points out that $25 million could provide clean water to the entire country. Have there really been that many more pressing and more valuable things for the country to spend last year’s $300 million in loans on? Bono can’t take you any farther than to realize that poverty sucks. O’Neill realizes that throwing money at the problem isn’t enough, and the international aid community is too inept to solve problems even with unlimited resources.
Eugene Volokh notes a story in the National Post that the first Israeli — and the first Jew who wants to practice his faith in space — will take off on a Space Shuttle Columbia mission in July. First problem solved: NASA will provide kosher meals. Second problem a bit more difficult: Jews must observe the Sabbath every seven days, but Columbia will orbit the earth every ninety minutes. Does he observe the Sabbath every 10.5 hours, or… ?
If the Pennsylvania National Guard doesn’t find it necessary to carry loaded weapons when patrolling airports because they don’t expect anything to happen… do they really need to be there in the first place?
Apparently shooting guns off into the air is a wedding tradition in Afghanistan. It’s become less of a good idea, since US forces frequently mistake this weapons fire as hostile and shoot back. They have killed wedding guests on more than one occasion. Well-intentioned though US forces may be, it’s hard to imagine that this won’t breed tremendous resentment among the people of Afghanistan. Sensibly, the governor of the Khost province has asked U.S. forces to check with local authorities before launching attacks.