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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Uh-oh. Osama's going to hit the petting zoo.

I think I know now why federal anti-terrorism money gets allocated in such weird ways. Yeah, the old pork barrel has something to do with it. But an even more likely reason why New York and Washington DC had their anti-terror funding cut, while Louisville, Kentucky (for example) got a big increase is the Department of Homeland Security's list of 'critical' sites that could be targets for terrorists. A report just issued by the department's inspector general shows that the list is full of sites whose importance is just a wee bit questionable:

It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old MacDonald's Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified "Beach at End of a Street..."

In addition to the petting zoo, in Woodville, Ala., and the Mule Day Parade in Columbia, Tenn., the auditors questioned many entries, including "Nix's Check Cashing," "Mall at Sears," "Ice Cream Parlor," "Tackle Shop," "Donut Shop," "Anti-Cruelty Society" and "Bean Fest."

Even people connected to some of those businesses or events are baffled at their inclusion as possible terrorist targets.

"Seems like someone has gone overboard," said Larry Buss, who helps organize the Apple and Pork Festival in Clinton, Ill. "Their time could be spent better doing other things, like providing security for the country."

Angela McNabb, manager of the Sweetwater Flea Market, which is 50 miles from Knoxville, Tenn., said: "I don't know where they get their information. We are talking about a flea market here."

The list shows Indiana with more 'critical' sites than any other state in the country, with half again as many as New York and twice as many as California. For the geographically impaired, both states have way more people than Indiana, and California is big enough and populous enough that it would be a major nation were it not part of the US.

The money quote comes from someone at Homeland Security, of course:

"We don/t find it embarrassing," said the department's deputy press secretary, Jarrod Agen. "The list is a valuable tool."

Via NY Times.

| | Posted by Magpie at 12:05 AM | Get permalink




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