Friday, October 29, 2004

Toys: A Threat to Homeland Security?

I personally consider notions of "homeland security" to be within the realm of wishful thinking, to put it politely. The new Department of Homeland Security, a federal monstrosity that'll continue the wonders of government efficacy displayed by fellow federal agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency (snicker...), claims that it's existance is vital to keeping Americans safe and that their actions are of vital importance. Apparently bored with the gigantic task of preventing evildoings that threaten the life and liberty of Americans, the DHS has decided to branch out into the realm of patent enforcement and scaring the bejeebus out of toy store owners.

This new addition to the federal escapade recently called and later paid a visit to a toy store in St. Helens, Oregon in order to oversee the removal of Magic Cubes, which are Rubik's Cube imitations, from store shelves. Why did they go through the trouble to do this?

Did Al Qaeda produce these imitations in order to enter the toy market?
Are these Magic Cubes covered in some sort of white powder?
Are they actually uber-sophisticated tools for jihadic brainwashing?

Nope. These toys are apparently a threat to homeland security because they supposedly violate the patent held by the manufacturers of Rubik's Cube. (by the way, you can read about this blunder here)

It turns out that the patent in question has expired, hence no violations here. The troublesome nature of patent laws notwithstanding, it seems as if the DHS should stick to it's day job, if it can even be trusted to handle that job effectively.

Thanks to for the scoop on this absurdity.


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