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Stupidity Is Not Security

Friday, Jan. 11, 2008 3:56 AM

Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mount Everest, died yesterday at the age of 88.

Because his name is similar to that of someone on the No-Fly List, TSA screeners at SeaTac took a 5 year-old boy into custody.

When the boy's mother went to hug her son to reassure him, she was told not to do so, because her son was a national security risk. They then searched her a second time, just in case the boy had passed a weapon or other dangerous materials on to her.

The TSA says they were just following procedure; I'd prefer some common sense. It's safe to say that a five year-old isn't going to be whipping out a packing knife and holding anyone hostage, and it's doubtful one would have the ideological background to carry out a suicide attack.

There are now questions about the accuracy of U.S. Navy video showing last Sunday's encounter between American warships patrolling the Straits of Hormuz and five Iranian speedboats.

The Pentagon is admitting that a crucial bit of sound, the part where a man's voice announces, "I am coming to you. You will explode," was taken from a separate source and edited in. It is not clear as to whether that transmission actually came from the Iranian craft - especially as there is an absence of the ambient sounds expected from someone aboard an open-cockpit small craft.

Iran has taken advantage of this news and released their own version of the encounter, apparently showing a man onboard one of the five small craft, with the American warships in view. Iran maintains that the American tape is a fabrication.

Senator John Kerry has thrown his support to Senator Barack Obama. And while pundits are busy opining about What It All Means for John Edwards and Hillary Clinton, ultimately, it means damned little. Should Obama win the South Carolina Primary, we'll be hearing it's because of Kerry endorsement. Should Obama lose the South Carolina Primary, we'll be told it's because Kerry's endorsement wasn't enough.

But the talking heads need something to talk about, I guess.

Oh, come on. As President Bush paid a visit to Israel's Holocaust Memorial, he couldn't even manage to wear his yarmulke respectfully - it's askew, like he was part of Spanky and the Gang.

Then there's the weird glancing from side-to-side, which looks like he's confused about where he is and what he's doing.

Another barge has struck a Bay Area bridge. This time, an oil transport ran into the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

The Coast Guard is saying no oil was spilled in the incident. A significant difference is that the oil transport is double-hulled, while the Cosco Busan, which slammed into the Bay Bridge, was a single-hulled container ship.

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