Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

August 2, 2009


Boing Boing - A handsome, welcoming new border crossing has had its 21-foot-high yellow "United States" letters scrapped because crazy border people are afraid that the words "United States" will serve as an irresistible temptation for terrorists.

Four years ago, when the federal General Services Administration unveiled its plans for a new border-crossing station here in northeastern New York State, the design was presented as part of the agency's campaign to raise the dismal standards of government architecture. Even many in the famously fractious architectural community celebrated the complex -- particularly its main building, emblazoned with glossy yellow, 21-foot-high letters spelling "United States" -- as a rare project the government could point to with pride...

Yet three weeks ago, less than a month after the station opened, workers began prying the big yellow letters off the building's facade on orders from Customs and Border Protection. The plan is to dismantle the rest of the sign this week...

"There were security concerns," said Kelly Ivahnenko, a spokeswoman for the customs agency. "The sign could be a huge target and attract undue attention. Anything that would place our officers at risk we need to avoid."


Anonymous Mairead said...

This kind of thing is a sure sign of people who truly don't understand how to do their job.

These guys have no idea how to create "homeland security" for real, so they do everything they can think of, no matter how crazy, in the hope that the sum of their ignorant behaviors will somehow be non-ignorant.

It's magical thinking writ large.

August 2, 2009 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anything that would place our officers at risk we need to avoid."
Should that not include overseas military entanglements?

August 2, 2009 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

Well spotted!

August 3, 2009 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe we should put up deliberately confusing signs - the border with Canada could be labeled "Mexico" and the border with Mexico could be labeled "Canada." With luck, that would fix our illegal immigration problems, too.

August 3, 2009 6:15 PM  

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