Posts from October 2001

- Bin Laden’s kidney stones.

- Bin Laden’s kidney stones.

– Gotta love them Texans: The “harshest right-wing station” in Texas (yow, that’s frightening) is raising money not to feed Afghan children but to buy a bomb! [Via Romenesko]

– I’m fascinated by stories about what’s left standing below Ground Zero (perhaps because that’s the part of the WTC I saw every day). Here’s the narrative from Dan Rather‘s 60 Minutes II report from down there tonight.

– Osama to his cultists: Fire at will.

– Waiting until spring for the big attack?

Star-Ledger: Government “backed away from their insistence that the general public is not at risk.”

– Our buddy Blair: “I am completely confident we will get the mass murderer Osama bin Laden, of that I have absolutely no doubt.”

– A tip of the Former Pacifist baseball cap to Matt Welch for baiting me to make the charitable calculation below.

Matt Welch throws out a

Matt Welch throws out a challenge to react to Geov Parrish’s assertion that the amount of money being contributed to the families of the heroes and victims of 9/11 is “obscene — they don’t need any more.” I’ve actually been meaning to do the math. Correct me if I’m wrong (there’s a reason I’m a writer, not an MBA) but if you take $1 billion — which is what the total should be if the Red Cross were not misappropriating funds and contributors’ good intentions by funneling money to buying new phones for themselves — and divide that total by 5,000 — the still-accepted number of deaths — you get $200,000 per family. Obscene? Only to an unemployed Afghan, perhaps. That would not pay for one college education. That would not compensate for one year’s income — let alone a long career ahead — for the young and talented victims of this mass murder. Double it or say I’m off a zero and it’s $2 million; still nothing compared to a life. Parrish, whoever you are: Sod off.You give your money to whatever hackneyed cause you want. I will give mine where I give it every year and I will now give it here.

I’ve also been wondering: Will the families of the victims of the anthrax attacks receive any of this generosity? I vote yes.

– Telegraph: We prepared for a full invasion.

– British Muslims who fight vs. Britain face charges of treason.

– And I thought Nixon’s enemies list was bad; here’s the Taliban’s hit list.

– OK, let’s stop with the columnists telling us all just to calm down about this anthrax “scare” because only a relatively few people have died — there is no such thing as only a “few!” Now one poor person who hasn nothing to do with the post office in New Jersey has it. And one poor person with no apparent connection in New York has it. This is a biowar attack on us!

– Howard Stern said that what shook him about Ashcroft’s omnibus warning was that Ashcroft looked shaken.

– As Churchill said…

– War criminal re war criminal: Milosevic.

– U.S. warns Afghanis “not to confuse food parcels with cluster bombs.”

Star-Ledger: Since 9/11, “cigarette

- Star-Ledger: Since 9/11, “cigarette sales are up. Weight- loss centers say business is down. Liquor stores say business is up, and addiction-counseling groups have seen an increased demand for alcohol and drug treatment services.”

– Bush loses weight.

– Unspecified panic and terror: On the one hand, I suppose I’m glad the FBI keeps trying to keep us informed. But I wish somebody would tell me what I’m supposed to do when they issue a nonspecific warning of impending terror attacks. Distrust all strangers? Stay at home? Move to Canada? (Anybody know a good real estate agent in Toronto?) Help!

– But now EVERYONE will have cause to panic: A civilian (not a mail worker, not a government worker, not a media worker, not a defense worker, just a plain old worker) gets anthrax.

– Howard Kurtz on impatience with the war, already: “Call it the miniseries mentality: Shouldn’t this show be over by now? Why, the Gulf War ended in a mere 100 hours.”

– Turncoat Brit bozo.

– More Brits wigging out: fearing nukes.

– Sensible Brit says celebs are meaningless.

– Very sensible Brit Tony Blair asks Britain to “hold its nerve.”

– More eloquent Blair: “We should never forget why we are doing this. Never forget how we felt watching those planes flying into the trade towers….î

– Question: “Is it better for bin Laden to be dead or be captured?” Tony Blair’s answer: “I think it is better that he be stopped.”

– Sensible British idea: requiring immigrants to carry photo ID.

Debka: 1 million Russians ready for war.

– Terrorist how-to.

Seinfeld tainted mail episode pulled.

– CNN tonight: “What is it about New Jersey?”

If you can’t go to the Here Is New York Gallery in Manhattan, you can now see this amazing collection of 1,000 photos online (and buy them soon): HereIsNewYork.org.

- A fine and right-on

- A fine and right-on Ken Layne rant: “I am tired of the pro-war/anti-war arguments. This is a war, and we are in it. This is a war declared by bin Laden, on the teevee for everyone to see. The fires are still burning in Manhattan. Going to the mailbox has turned into a nightmare…. It is time to deal with how this war is being fought.” Give this man a T-shirt!

– Iraq is sabre-rattling. Rumsfeld rattles his sabre back. But Britain’s Straw keeps his sabre at his side.

– A well-read reader points out this link from anthrax to Iraq: the chemical additive bentonite, which only Iraq uses. Told ya. (Thanks, Clyde.)

– I’m already getting spam offering me anthrax-zappers. All that and a bigger package, too.

– America’s economy contracts anthrax.

Arthur C. Clarke suggests compulsory psychiatric tests to find the terrorists. Trumps the national ID card.

I don’t buy the theory

I don’t buy the theory being floated now that the anthrax attack is domestic (just because the FBI hasn’t managed to find the link yet): [1] The aerosolizing of the anthrax is the work of weapons engineers, not just any old PhD. That means Iraq. [2] It’s now confirmed that Atta met with Iraqi agents and, reports say, got Anthrax. See all the Baghdad connections here. [3] The M.O. of the terrorists is to keep silent and not take credit to spook us; the M.O. of unabombers is to write long, looney treatises to get attention. I’m starting to wonder whether this domestic theory is being floated to draw attention away from likely culprit Iraq so there is not a public outcry to attack Baghdad and fight this war on a second front.

– Terror fashion: A safety coat with camera, sensors, geiger counter (in German).

Focus reports some want to turn the Hollywood sign red-white-and-blue; others fear this would make Hollywood a terrorist target.

– Life has changed profoundly in New York and Washington. Has it in the heartland?

– Bin Laden’s web guru. Or should I saw web iman?

Blair: Get Osama before he nukes us.

Newsrack/Standard: French better allies than Germans.

Brit military chief warns of

Brit military chief warns of a four-year war: ìIím not suggesting this war will go on for 50 years but weíre fighting a concept, not a state . . . and weíre having to rewrite the rulebook (to deal with it). The al-Qaeda organisation is not tangible. Youíre fighting against this thing called terrorism.î

Thanks to Matt Welch for a great plug for the Warlog Store (read about it under the tote bag below and buy the Former Pacifist or Rudy Kicks… or Osama Kiss My… T-shirts)…. And I’m glad that Matt and his cohort Ken Layne are back and blogging.

If you want a barometer of what America is really thinking — if not saying — listen to Howard Stern. Today, Howard wondered what Bush is up to trying to wage the politically correct war, telling our kids to send dollars for kids in Afghanistan and now to find Muslim pen pals. Howard says that’s not how we waged WWII; the countries we bombed were our enemies. Right. Now it’s true that in this war, Bush has to work hard to distinguish the enemy — terrorists — from the civilians around them and their fellow Muslims, since we are relying on them as at least temporary allies. Still, what Howard’s really saying is that we want decisiveness. Instead, we’re starting to hear that we may not ever get Osama and that the war is already tougher than we figured. On the homefront, it’s worse: We witnessed a fumbled, mumbled, and bumbled response to the worsening anthrax attacks; we got vague reassurances when we should have been getting swift action and information. It also does not inspire confidence that the government is asking Hollywood and now us for ideas to fight terrorism (apply here). Our support for the war and Bush is not faltering. We just want something more to support.

– Anthrax survivor: “I was near death.”

– Fun Florida.

– Bin Laden link to Argentine terror attacks.

The post-9/11 T-shirts I’m seeing

The post-9/11 T-shirts I’m seeing on the streets of New York are mostly mawkish, hawkish, tacky, or even offensive. We need to improve the level of T-shirt discourse. And here is my humble contribution: The Warlog Store (all profits to charity). So far, three products:

– The Former Pacifist line (inspired by my confession, below). For you NPR/PBS fans who may not be caught dead or alive in T-shirts, we offer the Former Pacifist tote bag (above). Buy here.

– The Rudy For… t-shirt. On the front, suggestions for Rudy’s next job: Attorney General (my crusade), FBI Director, Senator, Governor, any of the above. On the back, “Rudy Kicks…” with an arrow pointing you-know-where. Buy here.

– And to show off my new hawkish tendancies: A T-shirt that says “Osama: Kiss My…” with an arrow pointing down; the same message on front and back. Buy here.

Suggestions welcome.

Through others’ eyes: In the current issue of der Spiegel, there’s one story about the love-hate relationship Germans have with America right now — with many against supporting our war. And only a few pages away there’s a story (neither of them online) remembering the day exactly 40 years ago when our tanks confronted Soviet tanks across the Berlin Wall, risking nuclear war, a historian now believes, for the sake of German freedom. Ungrateful? Disloyal? At the same time, we’re hearing more about the planning for terror that occurred in Germany. Spiegel has a story about Atta plotting in Hamburg. And there’s an amazing story (if I’m translating correctly) about the double life of a soccer star turned terrorist. There are terrorists in their midst, too.

– The future of mail: Wall Street Journal asks whether this is the end of snail mail. I was telling friends the business to be in is sanitizing and opening mail for important or self-important people; too late, for the NY Times reports that Hazmail is offering just that. Will we be required to seal our mail in plastic bags? Will our mail be delayed while it’s nuked? Will the mail cost more? You bet. Will that affect every business that sells and communicates via the mail? Absolutely. Will they try to find alternatives in email? They’re trying.

– The United We Stand postage stamp released today. Let’s hope it’s the no-lick variety.

– Do NOT microwave your mail.

Uncle Bin’s Instant Anthrax (picture on Der Spiegel).

Blair: No Court TV for bin Laden. Rumsfeld: Ditto. Rumsfeld: On the other hand.

– Bild via CBS: Atta got anthrax from Iraq

– Criticism on the homefront: NY TimesWashington Post

Yesterday afternoon, I went down

Yesterday afternoon, I went down to the Here Is New York gallery — where hundreds and hundreds of photos of Sept. 11 are displayed on the walls and now there are so many they even hang from the ceiling. You’ve probably seen the story on TV: These volunteers are collecting photos from any photographers and then selling them for $25 each with net proceeds going to a WTC fund of the Children’s Aid Society. I bought five. No, I don’t intend to hang them in my living room; I intend just to hang onto them to remember. I don’t know why, but I find myself staring at photos like these. Even though I was there, I don’t think I’ve yet calculated the enormity of this; maybe that’s why I need to stare. These photos do not have the newsy urgency and bluntness of the amazing collection of photojournalism at Digital Journalist. These are mostly photos taking by the photographers who happened to be there. If you’re in New York, I recommend going to the gallery at 116 Prince St. (11a-6p); they’re open until Nov. 4 and they’re looking for donations to help build a web site to bring the photos online. Volunteers?

Life changing in every American city: Christian Science Monitor.

– Arrrgh: “Post Office chief suggests wash hands after opening letters…”

Maureen Dowd: “The federal government is starting to remind me of the Amity town council in ‘Jaws.’ Afraid panic will spread and business will suffer, they keep telling us to go back into the ocean before they’ve figured out how to fight the shark. And people keep dying.”

American Muslims meet; set up Muslim defense fund. Maybe they should think about excommunicating a few of their own.