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The end of terrorism is nigh

posted on Feb 9, 2010
South Carolina has brought anti-terrorism to the next level.  Their latest method for catching international criminal masterminds is breathtakingly brilliant in its simplicity and elegance: simply require all subversive agents to fill out a Subversive Agent Form, naming themselves as a subversive agent intent on the illegal overthrow of the U.S. Government.  They also have to name their leaders and co-conspirators, and attach minutes of their meetings in which they plot the doom of the USA.

Not only is it the perfect plan, but to top it off, there is a $5 filing fee, hitting those dumb ol' terrorists right in the pocket.  Double-whammy!

And to think how much we're wasting on Olympic security, when bright ideas like this are just there for the taking.

Minister clarifies stand on evolution

posted on Mar 20, 2009
According to the Globe and Mail, anyway.  They printed the Minister's words in detail, which included such clarifying remarks as:

“We are evolving every year, every decade. That's a fact, whether it is to the intensity of the sun, whether it is to, as a chiropractor, walking on cement versus anything else, whether it is running shoes or high heels, of course we are evolving to our environment. But that's not relevant and that is why I refused to answer the question. The interview was about our science and tech strategy, which is strong.”

Did I mention that this is our Minister of Science?  Guess there won't be much evolving happening 'round here for a few years.

Police state as entertainment

posted on Mar 6, 2009
The National Post is freaking me out today, with the strangest infotainment story I've ever had the displeasure of reading.  The story, titled Military Revamps Domestic Defence, is about special reserve units training for disasters and fnord terrorist fnord attacks.  So far no big deal, except for all the usual hyperventilation about fnord terrorism fnord.

But then I notice that the story is filed under "Entertainment".  It seems weird that a story about creeping police state measures to combat fnord terrorism fnord would be considered entertainment, so I read on to the end of the article and find this:

PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS
Estimated size Unknown
Nightmare scenario Why don't these people realize we're here to help??
Movie it suggests Operation Dumbo Drop starring Danny Glover

POTABLE WATER SUPPLY TEAM
Estimated size Enough personnel to run 22 clean water machines
Nightmare scenario Our water is poison!
Movie it suggests Batman Begins starring Christian Bale

(And not a fnord to be seen! Some editor deserves to be fired.)  This appears to be definitive proof that someone in our defense establishment, or in our MSM, has completely lost touch with reality.  Operation Dumbo Drop? Batman?  This is what passes for military policy in the post-9/11 world?  I guess "security theatre" is too old-fashioned for the hipster fascists, and "security cinema" is where it's at.

Speaking of beautiful women with deadly weapons

posted on Feb 22, 2009
qaddafibodyguard
Colonel Gaddafi, the world's closest living thing to a Bond villain, has an elite personal bodyguard of deadly hotties.  They follow him everywhere with their Kalashnikovs and camo gear, and reputedly have even taken bullets for him.  All while looking smoking hot.

This is undeniably awesome in a cheesy sci-fi movie sense, but the feminist world is understandably torn about whether this is a giant leap forward or backward for feminism.  That subset of feminists who thinks that comic books are a fine model for the empowerment of women in society are clearly on the side of lipstick commandos, of course.  But other than those three, the rest of them haven't decided anything, other than it seems damn weird.

Gaddafi caused a bit of a stir in the Ukraine when he showed up with his train of amazon commandos.  I'm not sure what they are talking about in this video, but it seems almost paparazzi-like in its obsession with the cuties in the background.

Clearly trading cards are coming next.

Imagining Enemies

posted on Jul 18, 2008

Some interesting quotes from a study of the efficacy of anti-terrorism measures (PDF):

Considerable effort has been made over the years by the Department of Homeland Security to penetrate into the mind of potential terrorists and to imagine which targets they might prefer to attack...  Although the list has remained secret, there have been a number of leaks indicating that miniature golf courses are included, as well as Weekee Wachee Springs, a roadside waterpark in Florida... a Mule Day Parade, a casket company, a petting zoo, a flea market, a groundhog zoo, and some, but not all, Wal-Marts.

(Although, to be perfectly fair, some Wal-Marts are more deserving of being bombed than others.)

Since driving is far riskier than air travel, the extra automobile traffic generated by increased airport security screening measures has been estimated to result in 400 or more extra road fatalities per year. In comparison, the number of people killed worldwide outside of war zones since 2001 by al-Qaeda or by its look-alikes and wannabes stands at some 200-300 per year. 

Exercises in security theater can have counterproductive effects in the case of terrorism. One preliminary study finds that visible security elements like armed guards, high walls, and barbed wire made people feel less vulnerable to crime. However, when these same devices are instituted in the context of dealing with the threat of terrorism, their effect is to make people feel tense, suspicious, and fearful apparently because they implicitly suggest that the place under visible protection is potentially a terrorist target. In other words, they supplied exactly the effect terrorists hope to induce themselves.

...the annual cost [of federal homeland security expenditures] ranges from $64 million to $600 million (or even more) per life saved, greatly in excess of the regulatory safety goal of $1-$10 million per life saved. Not only do these expenditures clearly and dramatically fail a cost-benefit analysis, but their opportunity cost, amounting to $32 billion per year, is considerable. It is highly likely that far more lives would have been saved if the money (or even a portion of it) had been invested instead in a wide range of more cost-effective risk mitigation programs. For example, an investment of $200,000 per year in smoke alarms will save one life, and similar examples can be found in other risk reduction measures or regulations. 

Many more interesting tidbits at the link above.  See also Schneier's commentary. The conclusion of one section could be applied to the whole field of homeland security:

Any analysis that leaves out such considerations is profoundly faulty, even immoral.

My feeling has always been that terrorist is a useless label that betrays a political agenda on the part of the speaker.  When you get down to the nitty gritty, all you have are insurgents or criminals.  And it's easy to tell the difference:  just look at who you call in to deal with the problem.  If it is the military, you've got yourself some insurgents.  If it's the police, you're dealing with criminals.

Leviticus

posted on Jan 22, 2005

Dear President Bush,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would propose and support a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. As you said, "in the eyes of God marriage is based between a man a woman." I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev.21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Manifest

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