God Bless America
: Lots of links to my call for a little show of shameless patriotism at the Olympics.
: London : Loyal readers will know that I am a loyal reader of the Rossi Rant — not a blog, per se (no links to such wonders as this) but an occasional, personal essay with a light touch and a great voice. Today, she writes about her visit to London, part of her pledge to get back to life after 9.11. “I started to feel as though it would be so easy to wake up one day and realize that I’d spent 20 years wallowing in the memory of the World Trade Center.” Her report: “If you ever want to feel love from a stranger, respect, admiration and some kind of brother/sisterhood from a total stranger, go to London and tell everyone that you meet, you’re a New Yorker…. Even if I had tried not to think about September 11th on my trip, London was determined to bring it up every time I opened my mouth and they heard my accent, or lack of accent, however you look at it.”
: San Francisco : Meanwhile, Nick Denton left London and skipped New York (against my advice) and headed straight back to San Francisco, only to be depressed and disgusted by the vagrants and their enablers who have taken over. This yields letters and Ken Layne piling on, too. I lived in San Francisco too many years ago (can it be 20?!) and loved it — I was a 20-odd-year-old columnist and man about town. But much of what Denton skewers was true then, too. There is a continuum from the Gold Rush to the 60s to John The Rat Traitor Superdufus Walker Lindh — there is its tolerance, as a good thing, taken too far; there is its smugness elevated to the level of a political statement; there is its insularity, a pillar of its society. It’s a small town, smaller the longer you’re there. It’s pretty. The food is good. The weather is better than Denton will admit (what, London’s better?). But it is too cute by half and not nearly as important as it wishes. Some days, I think being unimportant sounds OK.
: New York : Meanwhile, I stay in New York because I’m too scared to leave on a jet plane. Like Rossi, though, I fear that every day is marked by 9.11. Just today, I looked up at a dark, low cloud scraping the skyscrapers at Times Square and I thought of the death cloud. Everytime I look at the face of a New York or Port Authority cop or firefighter, I think, “Glad you weren’t there;” they weren’t the faces I saw that morning, the faces I still see in dreams. But I also remember the things I’ve started to forget about life in New York a few months ago: The subways no longer stop for hours with threats or fears, for example. No, we’re not getting back to normal; that will never be. We’re just finding a new water level of different.
Poor Tom Ridge?
: The NY Times today argues that we should not label him Tom “Do Nothing” Ridge but Tom “No Win” Ridge, saying that our head of homeland security has neither the authority nor the capability to get the job done. Ultimately, as in any organization, his authority comes from his boss; it is up to his boss to make this work.
: Ridge gives his solution: Reorganize the government. Easy for him to say. Sounds the a bureacrat fighting bureacrats — the war that will go on longer than the war on terrorism itself.
: Maybe Tom should start by issuing an axe to every cockpit in America (see below).
Unsafe at any altitude
: Just when I think that flying may be OK again… Fox News just reported that a man was restrained on a Miami-Buenos Aires flight trying to crash into the cockpit. The crew hit him with a fire axe.