November 4, 2001 by Jeff Jarvis
Odd night — colored by our odd new world — on TV tonight as giants battle giants with enough big shows to give a person with a remote control carpel tunnel syndrome: The World Series finale on Fox vs. the Emmys on CBS vs. The Uprising about the Warsaw Ghetto on NBC vs. the end of Band of Brothers on HBO. The Emmys are pathetic and ridiculous; they never were much more (I’m a former TV critic and once had to care about them) but this year, after the show’s delays and the snubbing of New York’s firemen and the many moments of actors making asses of themselves recently, the Emmys are simply as meaningless as the stars they celebrate. Watching a network Holocaust movie is too much to bear now that we are in the midst of another worldwide battle against evil and so we see the the battle against Hitler was not the last. Same problem with Band of Brothers; that was not the war to end all wars. So I can’t help being drawn to the World Series even if I don’t like baseball; who can resist the honest suspense and emotions of America’s game?
– More details on the anthrax search leading to a Trenton apartment.
– Good news: Bin Laden is finally pissing off Arab leaders.
– Attributed to Ken Kesey [via Blowback]: “We have a secret advantage: we don’t fight our battle out of Hate. Anger, yes, if we have to, but anger is enough.”
– Many want Britain to give us the Millenium Dome to cover Ground Zero. Find symbolism where you may.
– $1 million donated to Ground Zero rescue dogs. Oy.
– Now this gives me confidence in the feds: The Washington Post reports on the FBI’s strategy of detaining suspicious Arab males under any pretense it can find. Profiling? You bet! This is not the time for political correctness. This is the time for protection.
– Brits dub him “Spin Laden.”
– Die Zeit (in German): Arab papers are filled with schadenfreude and antiamericanism.
November 3, 2001 by Jeff Jarvis
– Great piece in the Sunday Times of London on the Jihad Encyclopedia of bin Laden with volumes of exact instruction on how to wage terror: where to place bombs on suspension bridges… how to poison medicine so there is no security…. how to poison frozen food… how to target symbols (e.g., the Statue of Liberty) and infrastructure (e.g., nuclear plants) and people….
– Surprise, surprise: In a Times poll, British Muslims are against us. So much for the idea of moderate Muslims…
– But real Brits support our war.
– 80% of Turks oppose sending their troops to fight for us.
– Maureen Dowd (a star columnist in this war) on the need to bring together a Manhattan Project against terror: “We’re sophisticated; they’re crude. We’re millennial; they’re medieval. We ride B-52’s; they ride horses. And yet they’re outmaneuvering us.”
– The U.S. smallpox plan takes shape.
– Details of the hijackers’ logistics from the NY Times.
– The NY Times reports today that the FBI is stumped by the anthrax attacks and they ask US for help. This does not inspire confidence. It inspires fear. And it seems like a piss-poor criminal strategy: letting the bad guys know that they’re getting away with it. Watch Columbo, damnit: You should try to shake the criminals and let them think you’re breathing down their necks; that’s when they crack and do something stupid. Arrrgh.
– Anthrax raid in New Jersey. Man taken into custody on immigration issues. Another sign that this is not a domestic right-wing thing.
– More NJ anthrax: They found anthrax in the office mail bin of the civilian who got anthrax in NJ. Pick your bad news: Either civilians are now getting anthrax letters. Or — more likely — her mail was “cross-contaminated” with the mail in the Trenton post office, which means that any mail in any of the many contaminated post offices that was then sent to any of us is now suspect. Says the Washington Post: “This could sharply increase the number of people at risk.”
– More worries: ventilation systems are vulnerable, says Thompson.
November 2, 2001 by Jeff Jarvis
– Bay Bridge cam: still standing. Ditto Golden Gate.
– Bank closes to test money for anthrax. I’ll assume it’s just a case of panic in Princeton (where money matters). But if money ever is poisoned, get your smart cards out.
– Andrew Sullivan agrees with my theory that the government is playing up this domestic nutso anthrax theory — or at least hoping that’s how it turns out — because they don’t want to face war on a second front with Iraq even as they’re fearing a muddle on the first front in Afghanistan.
– If the reports of anthrax in Pakistan turn out to be true and tied to our attacks, that pretty much kills the right-wing-nut theory, I’d say.
– German anthrax letter.
– Salman Rushdie: “Of course, this is about Islam…. ‘Islam has become its own enemy.’ ” A fine column.
– Why I told that Arab prince to sod off, by Rudy Guliani.
– Maureen Dowd: “The terrorists have already turned Halloween into an adult holiday and stolen Christmas. Who wants to open Christmas cards or touch catalogs or go to malls? They have debilitated our confidence, both in our economy and our freedom, and made us jittery about the very breaths we take and food we eat.”
– Kottke contributes to the language with a quote from someone saying somethings stuck in the mail because it’s “all ‘thraxed up.”
November 1, 2001 by Jeff Jarvis
Now comes word that the terrorists are targeting bridges in California. I never did like bridges — vertigo, you know — and now I really fear them. Never did like tall buildings and now I really fear them. I now fear tunnels, too. I was thinking of moving to nice, flat Kansas but that reminded me of “North by Nothwest” and the crop duster. Where to go? I’m thinking Yellowknife, Northwest Territories — and I won’t give my forwarding address. I now fear mail, too.
Not a religious war? Not according to Bin Laden, who’s targeting Christians.
Nick Denton is finally back blogging at Blogorama with a report from North Africa.
Alert Doonsbury! Geraldo Rivera is moving from CNBC to Fox to be a war correspondent. Perfect! Via Romenesko.
– Frightening stuff deep in a Washington Post anthrax story, making it clearer to me that this is a well-funded, well-researched (read: foreign) attack and that the danger is bigger than we yet know:
“Indeed, the closer scientists look at the spores that have traveled through the mail, the more impressed and concerned they have become…. ‘We didn’t think that anybody could come up with the appropriate coatings for anthrax spores to make them float through the air with the greatest of ease,’ [senior scientist at the Center for National Security and Arms Control Alan] Zelicoff said, adding that exposing 28 people with a single opened envelope ‘is no mean trick.’ And C.J. Peters, director of the Center for Biodefense at the University of Texas at Galveston, said that someone who has learned to produce two grams of anthrax spores milled to one to five microns — as was true of the spores mailed to Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) — could just as easily produce two kilograms of the stuff. He sees the potential for a grander terror. ‘With two grams of finely milled anthrax,’ Peters said, ‘if you can disseminate it in a closed system like a subway or building, you could infect hundreds of thousands of people.’ ”
– And doctors are scared. Also from the Post: ” ‘Once you suspect anthrax, you have no time to think,’ said Carlos Omenaca, a Miami specialist who treated Ernesto Blanco in Florida, the second case. ‘You first treat and then think.’ ”
– NY tests air in subways.
October 31, 2001 by Jeff Jarvis
– 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.