Friday, October 12, 2007

NASCAR Cooties and Federal Intelligence

You can't make this kind of stuff up.

Congressional aids were advised to get immunized against several diseases, including hepatitis, diphtheria, tetanus and influenza.

This precaution may be quite understandable, since they were about to embark on a fact-finding journey to a remote, primitive region: the NASCAR tracks in Talladega, Alabama, and Concord, North Carolina.

Sensible, that is, if you regard everything that isn't in the New York-Washington megalopolis, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and a few other outposts of civilization as a more-or less primitive region, inhabited by wild natives and dubious drinking water.

I'd write this off as just another bit of Washington idiocy, except that the agency recommending inoculations before entering the wilds of Alabama is the Department of Homeland Security.

North Carolina's Representative Hayes is starting to get offended, and I can see why.

Homeland Security chief Thompson (a Mississippian) says that it's more than just NASCAR: the Congressional types are going to public health facilities, and criminals holding facilities.

Fair enough, but apparently Republicans weren't inoculated, and Democrats were.


This is war: no time for federal nincompoopery

Again, I'm trying to keep this blog a-political, but this is wartime, and the mental acuity - and sanity - of our leaders is a vital part of the war effort.

And this inoculation foul-up smells like another case of coastal cognoscenti and wannabes with curiously insular assumptions about the flyover states.

Time for an admission: I'm biased. The state I live in is north of the flyover states. You may have heard of it: Minnesota. Land of 10,000 lakes and uncounted millions of mosquitoes. A place where it's gotten down to -60 in Tower, back in 1996. My town is home to a mere 4,000 people: and the nearest Starbucks is almost 40 miles away!

And, although many people out here in the heart of darkest Minnesota know quite a bit about the important parts of America, and the world, it's obvious that the opposite isn't true.

For example, a co-worker of mine told me about a call from someone in a federal agency. He had to get to Brainerd, a bit north of here. He had made flight connections to Minneapolis, and wanted to know if he'd need to rent an ATV, or if there were roads going out that far.

I sometimes wonder how the federal government manages to deal with other countries, when it knows so little about America.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.