As the Airbus 300 from Amsterdam packed with holiday travelers descended toward Detroit on Christmas Day, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab returned to his seat after spending about 20 minutes in the lavatory. Upon returning to his seat, Abdulmutallab pulled a blanket over his legs and stomach, informing the passenger seated next to him that he wasn’t feeling well.

When the New York Times announced in their lead article on the front page of their Christmas Eve edition that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating Goldman Sachs for allegedly self-dealing, it was a moment of surprise for many and, for others, a moment of clarity and confirmation.

The FBI’s preliminary crime statistics for the first half of 2009 show the crime rate falling all across the nation despite high unemployment and a deep recession. Even murder and manslaughter dropped 10 percent during this time.

Did you know that, technically, it is illegal to cram a week’s worth of medications into one convenient bottle? And if airport screeners want to randomly check your carry-on for valid prescription labels, they may — and without probable cause, too? Remember Rush Limbaugh and baggage screeners’ inspection of his bottle of Viagra? Suddenly, actions nobody ever thought about are suspect to bureaucrats, whose primary purpose in life is to ensure increases in the size of their workforces and budgets. The Drug Enforcement Agency is just one more government entity that now has a role in Homeland Security.

AmericaIt is a bucolic region of verdant meadows, rolling hills, and babbling brooks, a largely peaceful place where big city hustle and bustle and crime are very far away. Yet, like a pig in a beauty contest, within this pastoral setting lies something incongruent: a Jihadist training center. In this compound, women are taught to slit throats and mount assault-weapon attacks and, presumably, some brand of Islamic piety is the order of the day. But this place isn’t found in the Mideast’s Fertile Crescent or in sub-Saharan Africa. It's name is Islamberg. It's in the town of Hancock.

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