Foiled Again!

Editor's note: The following e-mail was intercepted by a National Security Agency data-mining program. After a delay of several days while intelligence analysts tried to find somebody who could translate it from Arabic, it was leaked by a senior administration official. We therefore believe it to be 100 percent authentic.

From: OsamabinLaden@aol.bom

Reply to: osamabinladen@hotmail.bom

Date: 5/31/06 9:11 PM

To: letters@kcstar.com

To the editor, Kansas City Star:

The citizens of your fine city may rest easy. There's been a change of plans. Some associates of mine had been planning to pay a visit to your area; I understand that One Kansas City Place, at 42 stories your tallest building, has actual underground parking, the fools!

But we have been anticipated. Your federal government's Department of Homeland Security has released a list of $740 million in counterterrorism grant awards for 2006, divided among 46 U.S. metropolitan areas. And right there is Kansas City, with a whopping $9,240,000 in money intended to thwart our plans. It's even more than your much larger cross-state city, St. Louis, with its Gateway Arch and vastly superior baseball team. Not quite as much as Jacksonville ($9,270,000), but it's still more than Seattle, which gets only $9,150,000, $2.7 million less than in 2005. They must've figured out that nobody hangs around Seattle Center.

In fact, a lot of cities will be getting more than Seattle in 2006. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, Newark, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit, Boston, Houston, Miami, Dallas, Anaheim, Fort Lauderdale, Baltimore, Orlando, Portland, Jacksonville, Kansas City, and St. Louis, to be exact. Fort Lauderdale? We didn't even know Fort Lauderdale had "national icons" or "national monuments" worth protecting, two of the key criteria used by those sage Homeland Security folks. They know a lot more than we do, that's for sure. And to think we took flying lessons down there, and didn't even notice!

Of course, Fort Lauderdale is in good company. According to the 100 or so government and law-enforcement officials from around the country whose "Peer Review Committee" decided on the awards, New York doesn't have any national icons or monuments, either! And neither does Washington, D.C.! Allah, it appears we wasted some perfectly good box cutters! If only we'd known.

Predictably, local officials and congressional representatives from both the New York and D.C. areas are furious; New York's funding got cut by a staggering 40 percent. And the overall funding for 2005 was cut by $125 million, from $865 million to $740 million. I guess ol' George really doesn't think about me that much anymore.

Well, I can change that. But I hope you folks aren't too disappointed. One Kansas City Place is just going to have to wait, and your opportunity to build a really cool museum and memorial park downtown—it's great for downtown revitalization, just ask Oklahoma City—is going to have to wait. There are just too many other really wonderful opportunities out there. All we have to do is avoid swing states.

You see, I can't help but notice that cities located in states where Republicans are struggling to hang on to power in the 2006 election did really, really well in the Department of Homeland Security's grant- allocation process—Louisville, Omaha, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Tampa, and St. Louis all got nice, hefty increases. (Louisville got $8.5 million? So did Milwaukee?) Tampa—Tampa?—got $8.8 million, and four other cities in Florida got even more. The exception was Ohio, where not one city got even $5 million. But the Republicans have Ohio pretty well sewn up.

But look at the blue cities: Seattle, D.C., New York. The San Francisco Bay Area, all 6 million residents, somehow got less than Newark. Maybe the Golden Gate Bridge is no longer considered a national icon? It's a shame, but we'll have to cross that one off our list.

So, it's obvious that we screwed up by targeting Kansas City. It's not like we shouldn't have seen it coming. Having the government hand out vast sums of money in a way that serves the personal political interests of rulers is something we're real familiar with here in the Middle East. It's exactly how all our dictatorships work. So why should we have been surprised? The way George has been going in the polls, he needs all the help he can get.

And we're happy to give him some.

Don't despair, though. We might be back in your area sooner than you think. I can't help but notice that Topeka isn't on the 2006 grant list. But this time we'll definitely have contingency plans. After all, no city seems to be too small to make this list, and even with our help, at the rate George is going, by 2007 Kansas might be the only swing state left.

Allah is great,

O. bin Laden

Muzaffarabad, Pakistan

gparrish@seattleweekly.com

 
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