Monday, December 28, 2009

In case you missed it...

Major protests have been taking place in Iran the past two days. I saw nothing on CNN or MSNBC yesterday, and didn't notice it on the New York Times or Washington Post web sites yesterday, although I didn't hunt because I wasn't aware of it. Andrew Sullivan has been covering it extensively on his blog. The Times has it today.

Instead of coverage of a major political change that could be underway in a nation of 66 million people, with major implications for security throughout the Middle East and the world, we get wall-to-wall coverage of an incompetent terrorism attempt on a single plane.

The ongoing protests in Iran, with deepening public resentment toward the Islamist government, also provide potent support for Obama's attempts at engagement with the Ahmedinejad government. An external threat can provide a powerfully unifying force in domestic politics. Recall that George W. Bush's public approval ratings went from below 50% to near 90% after the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks. Obama is smart not to become a foil for Ahmedinejad to demagogue about.

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A rising tide buries all graffiti

British graffiti artist Banksy comments on global warming denial beside a canal in London:




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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Proportionality

On international flights headed for the US, passengers must sit with their hands folded on their laps for the last hour of the flight. (That sounds so much like the Catholic school I attended in first and second grade.) Bags away, computers away, no objects on your lap. It seems not even a book or a blanket is allowed. But only for the last hour of the flight? Doesn't that just mean any would-be terrorists should do their thing before the last hour of the flight? Am I missing something here?

Nate Silver has a great analysis of the actual terrorism risk in US commercial air travel.

And remember, 40,000 people a year die in automobile crashes in the US. More than 10,000 people in the US are murdered on the ground, away from airports, each year.


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