November 20, 2002

So... checking out CNN.com this evening I learned that the U.S. Senate approved the Homeland Security bill. Now ordinarily I try to remain fairly apolitical in this entry (insofar as it's possible for me to apoliticize my tone in spite of my rabidly 'free-thought, liberally-conservatively-independent, pro-nuke-just-not-on-whales-or-on-me' leanings) but in reading another article, I found a disturbing connection.

First, we must ask "why did it take so long?" I mean, it's been over a year since the concept that perhaps the United States needs such an agency was floated across the government's collective conscience (or lack thereof). What finally pushed the Senate over the edge? I'll dismiss as irrelevant the idea that it was the recent Republican majority, since the vote was a dissent-crushing 90-to-9 (a convenient rhetorical play, allowing me to gloss over these so-called 'facts' I'm sure people will email me with).

Here's my disturbing connection... I think it was this news, from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory's science teams. They've learned that in a distant galaxy, a pair of black holes may be ready to merge 'sometime in the next few hundred million years,' which is as good as tomorrow in cosmological terms. An urgent call to action indeed!

The clincher? The last sentence in the article, which I'm sure sent shivers down the collective spinelessnesses of the U.S. Senate: "The gravitational ripples could cause minute changes in the distance between any two points in the universe..."

Say that out loud, and remember that, contrary to the dearly held opinions of an idiotic minority, all the points thus far identified within any political boundaries on Earth are in the SAME universe! Now, imagine the advantage would-be terrorists would have if, say, the Canadian border were to move north, without a Department of Homeland Security to keep an eye on it. Why, just ANYBODY could sneak into the United States and buy gasoline, or maybe cigarettes. And those things'll kill ya.

My point? Black Holes and cigarettes are both unhealthy, and I'm glad somebody is finally doing something about it. Yay Congress!

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