Hello From The Shut Down Imperial City

We’ve always maintained that D.C. is a weird amalgamation of First World Starbuckian smugness and Third World dreariness and incompetence. Nothing makes that point better than the regional utility companies. Or Metro. But today let’s go with the utilities.

It’s true that every American is convinced that their utility is uniquely incompetent. Dominion, PEPCO et al. actually are. Once one leaves the federal enclaves the infrastructure, particularly the electric grid, is beyond feeble. It’s not that the grid failed so broadly after this violent storm. Rather, it predictably fails after almost every storm.

(Dominion, too. Bueller? Bueller?)

Right before the utilities folded like a paper napkin a TV personality friend sent an email about a DHS report detailing domestic incidents of Stuxnet contaminating U.S. computer networks. Which naturally prompts one to imagine the post-storm quasi-apocalytpic landscape (SUVs forlornly waiting outside dark Wholefoods, drivers unable to overpay for prosciutto) as D.C. under a foreign power’s decision to ‘take down the lights’. Via their version of a less discriminating Stuxnet or even kinetic fire strikes like Belgrade 1999.

It’s a stretch, of course. Only the electric grid collapsed. Other than a stray tree in the road here or there, the transportation remained intact. Communications continued; cell networks, while congested and slow, eventually did work. And psychologically, a storm as culprit is easier to process than a foreign adversary.

But only a stretch. For as sure as Dominion, PEPCO et al. will fail again soon, we will as a nation reap the whirlwind we have sown from 2001-2012.

Update
Newt on Italian vacation plugs utility incompetence as prelude to EMP attack ala Frank Gaffney.

His next tweet underscored how the storm aftermath proves the need for East Coast BMD installations but got lost in Italian packet networks.