NEW ADVENTURES IN HOMELAND SECURITY: Fishermen are blaming terrorists and aliens for a shortage of smallmouth bass. Hey, whatever excuse works:

Homeland Security Department To Oversee Protection of Fisheries

Washington DC, August 7 2002. Following reports of a recent panic by Midwestern anglers regarding the possiblity that Iraqi agents were responsible for a sudden disappearance of Smallmouth Bass from rivers in the region, Tom Ridge, the Head of the new Department of Homeland Defence, called a press conference.

“I am here to announce that the Department of Homeland Defence is making the protection of our nation’s waterways a top priority” said Ridge. “No longer will our fisheries be held hostage by the forces of evil. Effective immediately, metal detectors will be placed at points of access to all waterways. All sportsmen will be searched before being allowed to proceed to the water. Absolutely no weapons, including firearms, knives, scissors, nail clippers, d-barb tools or hooks will be allowed near the water. The Department of Homeland Security has annexed the Fish and Wildlife Division in order to facilitate this process.”

Reporters questioned Ridge as to whether such steps might be an inconvenience to sportsmen.

“This is no time for half measures.” replied Ridge. “These actions are for the safety of all, and we have no doubt that sportsmen will support such steps as part of the War on Terrorism. Further, we don’t believe these procedures will be a problem. With careful planning we hope to insure that fishing is as safe and hassle-free as air travel.

The Secretary closed by advising that “sportsmen show up at the water two to three hours before the planned time of fishing, so as to allow for screening.”

Lawyers for suspected terrorists, meanwhile, will no doubt accuse the government of going on a . . . . fishing expedition! All groan together, please.

Note to the reader who sent this: Yes, I took the bait.