The poll- Some write-ins so

The poll
- Some write-ins so far for the utterly meaningless poll (to the right) about the Time Person of the Year (see yesterday):

“To me it’s a shoo-in: the passengers of Flight 93. –Thomas Nephew” … New York City police and fire fighters … Richard Gere …

Memo to journalists: Get the hell out of there
- MSNBC says in a crawl on its screen that the Taleban is trying to kidnap foreign journalists to use as bargaining chips. At the same time, US News reports that a car loaded with explosives was stopped outside the hotel used by journalists in Kabul. [via Drudge] Add to this yesterday’s report that Mullah Omar offered a $50,000 bounty on the heads of journalists shot in Afghanistan. And a death toll of eight journalists so far. And a Canadian journalist kidnapped and still not found yet. A bad scene all around.

Now, add this conspiracy twist: The media connection. The Taleban’s going after journalists there. The anthrax attacker went after them here. I’d call that a pattern, eh?

- British TV correspondent wounded while reporting at “the most dangerous place on earth” tells her story.

Mid-life mope:
- So the Beatles are half-dead. I have white hair. I live in the suburbs. I have serious conversations about accounting methods. And worst of all, I suddenly find I’m a hawk. I’m no longer a child of the ’60s. I’m the remains of the ’60s. And now, to add insult to insult, the economy is a mess so I have to choose between a convertible and a shrink.

- Rest in peace, George Harrison. You brought enough of it to the world when you lived.

The Portland ruckus
- Here’s complete coverage on Portland’s refusal to interview foreigners from Oregonlive.com.

- Portland takes it on the chin — as well it should — for it stance. The LA Times quotes some email scolds sent to the city:

“I am appalled and embarrassed to be an Oregonian,” wrote one local man. “You . . . have completely lost perspective and what appears to be any remnant of common sense.”

And another: “We are disgusted and saddened. . . . We consider the city of Portland and the state of Oregon to be a haven for terrorists. We will discontinue traveling there as a company.”

Ready, aim…
- OK, anti-anti-war bloggers, have at ‘im. I missed this from the Boston Globe but found it via Victory Coffee: Columnist James Carrol argues that the war is not just and that we’re basically a bunch of ignorant sluts for supporting it because we don’t really know what’s going on inside Afghansitan and we don’t understand the true context and besides: “This war is not ‘just’ because it was not necessary. It may be the only kind of force the behemoth Pentagon knows to exercise, but that doesn’t make it ‘just’ either. The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 could have been defined not as acts of war, but as crimes.” He doesn’t stop there, arguing that the government decided to blame anthrax on foreign terrorists (how about blaming logic, bub?) only so we’d get all fired up, a la Vietnam and the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution:

For a crucial moment, they effectively played the role in this war that the Gulf of Tonkin ”assault” played in the Vietnam War, as sources of a war hysteria that ”united” the nation around a mistake. In such a context, the more doubt is labeled disloyal, the more it grows. The more this war is deemed ”just,” the more it seems wrong.

Poison
- A plot to poison people in France with gas is broken up with arrests in Italy. Authorities also got a bin Laden code book:

Turkey, or chicken = bomb

To be tired = to be under police surveillance

The town hall = prison

Get married = to escape or flee

Trousers = false identity papers

Open a shop, or restaurant = commit a terrorist attack

Couscous = nails (used in a bomb)

Poison = identity control

A book = false passport

- Something to keep you up at night: The CIA Chemical/Biological/Radiological Incident Handbook. A few tips:

> If inside, and the incident is outside, stay inside. Turn off air conditioning, seal windows and doors with plastic tape….

> If radiological material is suspected, remember to minimize exposure by minimizing time around suspected site, maximizing distance from the site, and trying to place some shielding (e.g. buildings, vehicle, land feature such as a hill, etc.) between yourself and the site….

> Proceed to a shower and thoroughly wash your body with soap and water. This needs to be accomplished within minutes. Simply flushing water over the body is not enough. You need to aggressively scrub your skin and irrigate your eyes with water. In the case of biologicals, this is often sufficient to avert contact infection. If available, for suspected biological and chemical contamination the contaminated areas should then be washed with a 0.5-percent sodium hypochlorite solution, allowing a contact time of 10 to 15 minutes. To make a 0.5-percent sodium hypochlorite solution, take one part household bleach such as Clorox, and 10 parts water. Do not let this solution contact your eyes….

> Physical symptoms: Numerous individuals experiencing unexplained water-like blisters, wheals (like bee stings), pinpointed pupils, choking, respiratory ailments and/or rashes….

> Unexplained odors: Smells may range from fruity to flowery to sharp/pungent to garlic/horseradish-like to bitter almonds/peach kernels to new mown hay. It is important to note that the particular odor is completely out of character with its surroundings….

Franzen follies
- Ken Layne on almost (almost) finishing his novel: “The book is so spectacular, I’m already working on my ‘refuse to go on Oprah’ speech.”

- Speaking of Jonathan Franzen’s hyperhyped book, I made mention of it in a post long ago. I was carrying my copy in my briefcase the day I escaped the black cloud of terrorism at the World Trade Center. It was not just covered in concrete dust; it was infused with concrete dust; every page opened and coated. I threw it away. I bought another. I have tried and tried to pick it up and finish it and finally decided I can’t. It seems so self-indulgent and irrelevant now. Think I’ll sell it on Amazon.

And more…
- PakNews says that Pakistani law-enforcement officials are delighted that the deadly prison riot and other fighting in Afghanistan is cleaning up their list of most wanted Pakistani terrorists.

- Debka says Arafat thumbs his nose at America’s peace efforts: “Arafat has a long and cynical history of making American diplomats laughing-stocks at the expense of Israeli lives. The better he succeeds, the closer he comes to attaining his ambition of challenging Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar as hero of the Arab and Muslim world. His way of bidding for popularity in the Arab arena is to escalate his anti-Israeli terror war in time with the US anti-terror battles in Kandahar. Even the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the extremist Lebanese Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah are wary about directly affronting America, but not Arafat.”

- Washington Post has the story of a top-level Taleban defector who says he spied for us: “There wasn’t anybody who had power over Osama,” Khaksar said. “He did whatever he wanted.”