: We’re all alert these days. I walk to the PATH train in Jersey City and see a Port Authority employee leading a cop quickly to the edge of a plaza. Reporter — and idiot — that I am, I follow. The PA guy says, “It seems to have a homemade antenna.” He shrugs, not wanting to sound paranoid, only alert. He points to a parking lot behind the station, a real run-down stinky place. Turns out he’s pointing to a big, red suitcase that’s abandoned. The cop tiptoes up to it. I decide I’d be an idiot to stick around. As our President says, once burned is…
I come back hours later and there are the remnants of a police line up at spot. The big, red suitcase is now ripped open and in a dumpster just there.
I wish I’d thanked that PA employee. False alarms are better than no alarms. This is life in — as the New York Post called Jersey City — Terror Town.
: So I was listening to Al Franken’s Air America show the other day and he got a call from a guy in New Jersey who, in the middle of the call, is obviously pulled over by a cop for talking on his cell phone while driving, which is now illegal in my fair state. The guy starts protesting. Al gets all excited with this historic moment: Man arrested for calling talk show! But the guy hangs up. Al’s disappointed (would have made great radio: police state, free speech, technology, all that).
A democracy is born
: The news from Afghanistan: 90 percent of eligible voters have registered to vote in this October’s elections, the country’s first elections in history for its president.
Compare this with America, where (according to the latest figures I could find), less than two-thirds of eligible voters are registered and just over half of eligible voters actually vote.
Now I don’t want to hear any snobs, snots, jackasses, and self-important Western fools tell me that Afghanistan or Iraq or Iran or any nation and any people are either “not ready for democracy” or “do not want democracy.” Crap. Give the people an opportunity to speak and the people will speak.
Next, they’ll put their sister on eBay
: Jason Calacanis is shocked and disappointed to find that the content on Fark is for sale.
: UPDATE: As Ken Layne points out in the comments here, Drew Curtis responds in the comments on Calacanis’ site; says it’s a sales rep who doesn’t speak for Fark policy.
: It’s merely coincidental that there’s a terror alert on today and I’m going to be in Toronto tomorrow.
I’m going for a jouranalism educators’ conference (don’t laugh, Layne & Welch) and I’ll be on a couple of panels about, well, you can guess what.
I’m looking forward to finally meeting Hoder and Kathy Shaidle and others. Will blog from over the border.
The weltanschauung of a machine
: Earlier today, I check the untouched-by-human-hands Google News and found the top story was, of course, new terror warnings around New York and Washington.
And then I went to the brand new untouched-by-human-hands Newsbot at Microsoft and found its top story was Steven Jobs’ cancer surgery.
Apple v Big Apple. The soul of the machines.
: The threat is very real, as is the fear, as is the impact on lives.
My wife and I sat down last night and reconfirmed our disaster plans. If something happens, she’s going to get the kids in the car and head north. We even had the map out to go over the route to Toronto. The last time this happen, they said to leave the kids in school and she did. Not this time. Pack ’em up, head ’em out. I’ll catch up when and if I can. Don’t wait — not for me, not for the details that reveal whether it was chemical or biological or “just” a bomb; we didn’t know what the hell was going on the last time and we won’t the next time. So hit the road.
Do I think this terrible lightening will hit us again? Well, of course, I pray it doesn’t. I hope that we’re making progress with intelligence and arrests. And, no, I do not think this latest announcement was a campaign move — an August Surprise. I’m not that cynical.
But I never would have imagined that what happened here almost three years ago ever could have happened. Call it a failure of imagination or call it civility, but that was then. This is now. I’ve witnessed their bestiality. We know what they can do, our enemy.
And so we plan because we don’t want to regret not planning.
Michael Moore would make fun of that. He’s a terrorism denier. He’d say, as he and a looney congressman, Rep. Jim McDermott, did in his movie, that we’re just falling into a vortex of political spin. I hope I never get the chance to rub their noses in the words if another attack occurs. But if and when it does…
It’s real. The threat is real. The fear is real. The impact is real.
We, the Media
: Dan Gillmor’s damned good new book about all this, We, the Media, is is in bookstores and at Amazon . Go pick it up.