DO THEY HAVE FAX MACHINES? So, according to the speech last night, we�re just now installing motion sensors and infrared cameras on the Mexican border? Can this be true?

Watching Goldfinger a little while ago, I actually wondered about this. You�ll recall the early scene in which Bond, joined by a revenge-seeking Tilly Masterson, whose sister Jill was killed by Goldfinger in Miami (she�s the one who was covered in gold paint), tries to infiltrate Mr. G�s compound in the Alps. It�s nighttime, and Bond, on a hill at the edge of the compound�s property line, dons some night-vision goggles and sees a complex web of thin red lines -- motion sensors, designed to prevent intruders from attaining ingress. I forget how he finally does get in; I think he kills someone and drives the Aston Martin in (after Tilly gets the Oddjob treatment).

Anyway, that movie was made forty-two years ago. And while the Bond films were sometimes ahead of reality, they weren�t ahead by much, and certain government agencies were known to study the films for the purpose of picking up on the latest gadgetry. It just seems kinda obvious to me. Is there some civil liberties angle I�m not thinking of? Motion sensors don�t hurt (as far as I know, they work on essentially the same principle as the motion sensors that turn light switches on and off, of the sort recently installed here at 2000 L St. in a major, lifestyle-changing upgrade). I suppose someone out there may have an informed take on this. Maybe they�re just not effective.

I do think the border problem is a real one, unlike some folks around these parts. Yes, of course, the only long-term solution is higher-paying work in Mexico and points south. And no, I don�t think people trying to sneak into the country are bad people. But we do have to do something in the meantime.

--Michael Tomasky