The order of succession
Pakistan is a nuclear power. At present Pervez Musharraf is the autocrat/president, but he sits on an uneasy throne. Remember how many of his predecessors have been deposed or assassinated and you've got to wonder how long it'll be before he's replaced, probably by someone a lot less friendly to the US than he is.
Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, "?". Sooner or later rogue nukes are going to be let loose on the world and into the hands of terrorists crazy enough to use them.
If we don't know when and where they are coming from, we can be reasonably sure where they'll be going, New York and Washington D.C. The political and commercial capitols of the Great Satan.
We can make it more difficult for terrorists, but we cannot make it impossible. As the IRA pointed out to Maggie Thatcher, they only have to get lucky once - we have to be lucky forever.
This situation is actually not so bad, in comparison with the Cold War scenario I grew up with. Back then we were looking at the destruction of civilization on Earth and the prospect of having to survive in the new wilderness with radioactive winds sweeping across the country. These days we can avoid being casualties just by not living in D.C. or Manhattan.
Back then we had a Civil Defense program that was comprised of some disaster preparation plus a lot of wishful thinking - but at least we had one.
There was a system of shelters built to house the federal government in the event of total nuclear war. In hindsight it looks really naive to think that they'd have time to move the whole shebang to these shelters, but at least it was a plan.
So what are we doing now about the possibility of a terrorist nuke on Washington? As far as I can tell, nothing.
There really ought to be some preparation, and what I have in mind is nothing so costly as a system of shelters. In fact, it wouldn't cost anything at all.
We should extend the line of succession.
The order of succession is currently:
1Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate
2Speaker of the House of Representatives
3President of the Senate pro tempore
4Secretary of State
5Secretary of the Treasury
6Secretary of Defense
8Secretary of the Interior
9Secretary of Agriculture
10Secretary of Commerce
11Secretary of Labor
12Secretary of Health and Human Services
13Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
14Secretary of Transportation
15Secretary of Energy
16Secretary of Education
17Secretary of Veterans Affairs
18Secretary of Homeland Security
Currently two of the above office holders are ineligible by reason of not being native-born citizens.
The first thing that comes to mind about this is that it is quite possible that a nuke in Washington at just the right time might very likely get all of them, plus congress.
Is it asking too much to take some time to consider who'll be in charge if and when that happens?
And while we're at it, are the records of the New York Stock Exchange duplicated anywhere outside of the Big Apple?