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Darrell Darnell, director of the District of Columbia’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, says there would be “a lot of panic, a lot of chaos” if a small nuclear bomb detonated near the White House, which would most likely prevent an evacuation of the city as radiation spread. In an hour long interview, Darnell also said the major lesson from June 13, when a power substation failure shut off traffic lights, a fire broke out in a Metro station, and massive gridlock stymied D.C. police and emergency crews, is that “we need to do a better job coordinating agencies.”
“We didn’t do a very good job of getting MPD (Metropolitan Police Department) and DDOT (District Department of Transportation) there,” he said. “We’ve also got to communicate better.” Darnell, however, could not name a single alternative his office has come up with to prevent a repeat of the chaos that enveloped downtown for several hours on June 13.
I’ll sleep better tonight knowing this.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”