Behind the Scenes

President Bush Merges Agencies

Shadow governments, merging powers, churches and children: It’s no secret that power breeds concealment. Yet behind the veils of rhetoric, simple men and women are simply doing business, PowerPoint and all.

Tuesday Mar 19,11:45 AM ET: ‘Bush advisers recommending merger of INS, Customs; president hasn’t decided’

Ron Fournier, AP White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON—White House advisers, seeking to bolster the nation’s porous borders, urged President Bush on Tuesday to ask Congress to merge two federal agencies responsible for border security…

Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge: You catch the news this morning?

Homeland Security Director of Communications Susan Neely: The thing with the guy eating all that candy.

Ridge: No, the—

Homeland Security Deputy Director Steve Abbot: I’ve been in an info blackout since last night, boss. What with those process exchange meetings.

Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs for the Office of Homeland Security Becky Halkias: First time I’ve heard them called that.

Ridge: The thing about the Mexican? Nobody saw it?

Attorney General John Ashcroft: The porn ring.

Ridge: No, this guy gets across the border wearing a scimitar, OK? And his pockets are filled with all these little glass vials.

Halkias: So that’s why we’re up to DEFCON 2.

Ridge: It’s not DEFCON, it’s—

Ashcroft: What color are we at?

Ridge: Taupe.

Neely: Taupe.

Abbot: Which is taupe again?


Abbot: Boss?

Ridge: I’m sorry, didn’t I hand out laminated reference cards? Was that some beautiful dream I had?

Halkias: Hang on, I know this, taupe…taupe is…

Ridge: Taupe is seventy percent chance of an unrequested plague dissemination, OK?

Ashcroft: What happened to my bill where possession of melanin would be a capital offense? I bet the Mexican would fall under that.

Neely: I don’t think that one made it, Dr. J.

Ashcroft: You’re kidding me. What next, people? President Darkie? Yessuh, Mistah Pres’dent, suh! Whatever. I don’t know why I bother.

Ridge: I’ll tell you, if the Puppet would just roll over and give us Customs and the INS, I think we’d be able to implement Plan B.

Abbot: DNA tagging.

Halkias: That is going to be sweet.

Ridge: No, no, that’s like Plan E or F. Plan B is the Dome of Safety. Anyone remember this? The big dome sealing off the entire country? Hello?

Neely: That was for real?

Halkias: We talking about Project Goldenflow?

Ridge: Jesus H, I know you all saw the PowerPoint presentation that took me frickin’ three days to finish.

Ashcroft: Oh god that was hilarious.

Abbot: This was the thing with the robot-controlled gun turrets?

Ridge: Yes. And I got this guy at MIT, says they have this new material that’s totally unbreakable. Our dome will be impervious to any attack.

Neely: Does it let light through, though? Thong season is coming up.

Ashcroft: You’ll be the first against the wall when the Melanin Act hits.

Ridge: Look, we can have light, or we can have unbreakable.

Abbot: Hey, my cousin can get us one of those laserium things for cheap. We could shoot that up against the top of the dome.

Ridge: I’m listening.

Abbot: No one’s going to be all ‘Hey, where’s the sun?’ when that laser craziness is going on all day.

Neely: That is a definite value-add.

Halkias: I’m assuming no Hawaii or Alaska in the Dome plan.

Ashcroft: Have you even seen those dusky Hawaiians? No way.

Neely: With the tax cuts we’ll be lucky to get California under there.

Abbot: Boo hoo.

Ridge: We might be able to recoup some with the advertising. I’ve got verbal agreements with Nike and PepsiCo. Something that’ll scroll across the surface of the dome and be visible from outer space.

Halkias: There’ll be doors in this thing, right?

Ridge: There will be hatches in several secret locations, accessible only to certain parties.

Abbot: Well I better be a certain party because I’m over in Veraggio every summer with Starshine and Athena. You know they don’t even have a law against that on the books over there?

Ridge: Sure, we’ll all have passes, obviously.

Neely: Don’t let the INS hand out the passes, whatever you do.

Ridge: Passes will be very closely monitored and issued only after a rigorous screening process.

Ashcroft: I’m selling mine on eBay. Like I’d ever want to leave the Dome. Guess what, people? Towelheads run the show out there. Wake up.

Abbot: Will the passes have pictures of us on them and will we be able to get several shots taken and choose the best one?

Ridge: That’s out of scope but I’m writing it down for later.

Halkias: How is air going to get in?

Neely: How does air get in here? The door’s shut. There’re no windows. And yet I’m totally breathing. Same deal.

Halkias: OK but what if undesirables sneak in while the Dome’s still under construction? Like through a crack in the roof? They sneak right in and start blowing things up.

Ashcroft: I’m on the board of a razor wire company and can vouch for their effectiveness.

Neely: Love it.

Abbot: An airtight plan, boss.

Ridge: And Steve-o with the slogan. This proposal’ll write itself.

Abbot: This calls for Fuzzy Navels.

Ashcroft: Shotgun!


TMN Contributing Writer Joshua Allen is a complex and exciting young man. He is a hard worker and always gives 110 percent. He is a people-person unless that person is a crab and not pulling their weight for the team. If enthusiasm and get-up-and-go are drugs, then he’s a hardcore drug addict. He’s pretty obviously an only child. He lives in Fireland, USA. More by Joshua Allen