I drive by the Al

I drive by the Al Salam mosque in Jersey City, where the first World Trade Center bombing plot was hatched and I note that they have brand new windows. Bulletproof, perhaps?

Rule Britannia: We all should be impressed and grateful for the extraordinary support Tony Blair and Britain are giving us. Blair has put himself on the front line — exposing himself to personal danger — as he stands by us militarily, diplomatically, politically, and morally.

– The official Most Wanted list.

– Oh, to hell with them. Mail them out. It’s only TV.

– Yeah, sure.

I repeat: We won’t know

I repeat: We won’t know when the next terrorist attack happens. We will be confused and we will suspect any violent act or accident anywhere. Silence is their strategy. It will spook us. Now we have people in panic everywhere (Ananova headlines: Letter containing suspicious substance closes US building … Mystery substance on subway was ‘perfume’ … ‘Anthrax outbreak could be worst UK disaster’).

I’m among them. Thanks to inhaling crushed building on Sept. 11, I now have pneumonia… and I sure hope passenger M. Atta wasn’t carrying an extra vial of anthrax.

Ken Layne‘s advice: “If they’re prescribing antibiotics to you, might as well get some Cipro.”

Ananova is terribly impressive: it covers the news well, does it fast, and packages it smartly. A great online news source.

More blogrolling: After the attack began and you saw all the green screens and blobs and the same wire reports everywhere, there wasn’t much else to say or hear … until the bloggers started talking, bringing perspective and smarts in less time and less space than most columnists or TV pundits. My favorites:

– Nick Denton introduced me to blogs years ago. He’s a master of the form, quiet until he has something smart to say. Take today: Nick on bin Laden as a “maphead” who’s still trying to compensate for losing Muslim turf 500 years ago. I disagree with his last line, but that’s what makes the Web great.


Israel’s occupation of Palestine? US troops in Saudi Arabia? No, what Osama resents is the loss of Andalucia, of Spain, 500 years ago. In fact, the loss of any Arab or moslem territory, no matter how long ago. Check this out, in his own words. “Let the whole world know that we shall never accept that the tragedy of Andalucia would be repeated in Palestine. We cannot accept that Palestine will become Jewish.”

Now I get him. Osama is a classic irredentist: obsessed by the decline of his nation, defining its power by territorial expanse. I bet you he is a maphead. Poring over old maps showing Islam stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Pyrenees, his heart aching at the loss of Granada and Cordova.

And, since we’re all asking the question, what will assuage his anger? What do we have to do to stop him hating the West with such a vengeance?

Well, obviously, make the Israelis hand over the West Bank, that goes without saying. Israel proper too while they’re at it. Zanzibar, and the East African coast. Spain’s Costa del Sol. Hold on, didn’t the Arabs get as far as southwestern France once. And the Moslem Turks were at the gates of Vienna. So Osama’s basic line seems to be: imperialism is fine, so long as its our imperialism. Which is pretty much the US line.

Matt Welch took some time off to deal with rats (real or metaphoric, I’m not sure) but I’m glad he’s back, deflating the hot air from dogmatic liberals who blindly can’t see that we’re right and the other side is dead, evil wrong and that’s just that.

Ken Layne also took time off to work on a book but blogging is heroin; you can’t just give it up. So I’m glad that he, too, is back. After passengers tackled a nut invading their plane’s cockpit: “The rules have changed, whether you’re a terrorist or a crazed retard. Try to get control of a plane, and it’s very likely you’ll be killed by your fellow passengers. If you’re lucky, they’ll just beat the hell out of you.”

– The master media blogger, Jim Romensko, has great stuff today on Dan Rather’s hissy fit on the air last night.

– Nobody beats Drudge for the fastest links on the planet.

– Scripting News is an odd mix of tech and terrorism but it’s quick and pithy. Today: “Chicago Tribune: ‘The flight attendant said ‘Get him,’ and, damn it, everyone went up and got him.’ ”

Andrew Sullivan may be a kneejerk Clinton hater and sometimes just a jerk but he’s provocative nonetheless.

Rossi makes it all personal without making it self-indulgent.

The last thing we need

The last thing we need is Hollywood meddling in real life. Oliver Stone wants to make a terrorist movie — no, no, anything but that! Now comes word via Variety that the U.S. Army called together the people behind Diehard, MacGyver , Delta Force One, Missing in Action, and even Being John Malkovich, and Grease (do terrorists sing and dance?) to brainstorm about terrorist targets and possible solutions. This is what stands between us and Armageddon? This from an industry that’s acting as if the cancellation of the Emmys matters. Tonight’s Access Hollywood and ET make me want to spit.

– Another great graphic from the Guardian on the assault on Afghanistan. The Guardian has been great lately.

Russian Communists say nya-nya: We were right to fight in Afghanistan.


Here is what Oleg Shenin, a member of the former Soviet Communist Party, had to say on the score to a PRAVDA.Ru correspondent (Shenin used to work in Kabul in the beginning of the 80s as a councilor).

ìEven back in those years, we could feel the threat that Islamic fundamentalism would spread in the world and the Soviet Union decided its troops should enter Afghanistan. I have to tell you I have never considered that step to be a mistake. On the contrary, it was a mistake to call the troops off. We just left our friends and Yeltsin and his team betrayed them. So now, 12 years afterwards, Russia is involved in military conflict again. Why is that? Because the Russian interests will always be present there. Who grew the Taliban? The USA did ñ in order to struggle with the USSR. The fact that the Taliban seized the republic is the direct outcome of that action, when the Soviet troops were withdrawn. Now it seems that America has to deal with the blizzard it has caused itself. Another thing is that I do not approve the bombing of Kabul, Kandagar, and other settlements. I say this is not a counter-terrorist operation, but air aggression. They said they would bomb only the camps and guerrillasí bases, but they hit the civilians. This is the new Yugoslavia. I do not consider the position of the Russian President to be immaculate. In my opinion, Putin is dealing with what George Bush senior and Yeltsin did. Since Russia took the side of the Northern Alliance, I do not exclude some responding actions from the Talibs against our country.î

– Brit journalist arrives safetly in Pakistan.

Debka: “In the estimate of DEBKAfileís experts, between 30 and 50 terror activists are organized in teams in the United States. They are all armed with detailed missions for implementation in major US cities on both coasts as soon as the US launches its offensive in Afghanistan.”

Debka: “Bin Laden in Single Sentence on Videotape Brings Israel into Anti-Terror War and Undercuts Arafat.”

Drudge: Bin Laden uses the Internet — email and instant messages — to give orders.

– Tabloid page ones: Sun NY PostNY Daily News.

– More parodies of the picture of the guy atop the WTC.

Afghan Islamic Press via OutThere News.

– More anthrax in Florida.

WAR! Sites with current coverage:


Sites with current coverage: NJ.com NewsFlash breaking AP headlines CNN MSNBC Afghan Network News ABC News CBS NewsGuardianWashington PostNY Times Times of IndiaDrudgeAnanovaIndependentPakNewsDebkaBBCFocus, Spiegel, Bild (auf Deutsch) … Le Monde, Liberation (en Francais) … Nick Denton’s Blogorama (note the appropriate headline: the size of a tabloid with the irony of the Web) … Islam OnlineJerusalem PostTehran Times

Guliani on terrorism: “We should get used to dealing with it.”

Stratfor situation reports.

– Iran reacts.

Times of India on Taliban honcho Mulla Omar: “The man leading his country in a desperate and high-stakes game of chess against the United States suffers fits and brain seizures and often babbles like a child, according to the doctor who treats Mullah Mohammed Omar, the one-eyed Taliban leader. Omarís mental instability is the real reason he is so reclusive…”

– Green was the color of old radar screens. Green was the color of the first computer screens. Green was the color of sunglasses, once upon a time. My better-educated friend Nick Denton points out that green is the color of Islam. And now green is the color of the new war: blobs over Kabul:

And the winner is… oh, nevermind… Emmys postponed before but now canceled.

I was a newspaperman in

I was a newspaperman in San Francisco at the worst of its looney days: during Jonestown and the assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk. It was irritating being the world’s nutcases. Now, I fear, New York could get cast in that role. Witness this grating story from The Times of London (and no, I’m not complaining about it out of civic hubris; I’m complaining as a reporter who knows damned well how to hype): “Yuppies are assembling survival kits; drivers hoarding petrol; families setting up private codes to signal an evacuation to their country homes. Bicycles, rope ladders, axes and walkie talkies have been selling well….The favoured form of emergency transport for the next attack seems to be boat. A veritable flotilla of small craft fleeing the island of Manhattan can be expected to set sail on the fateful day….New Yorkers are loath to go to New Jersey but the grimy industrial wasteland now seems like an attractive option if worst comes to worst….” Now that’s going too far.

I have always loved the New York Post; I’m a bad-ass tab guy. But after Sept. 11, I find myself agreeing with the Post more often than not. The world has changed.