URLs du Jour

2006-09-11

No deep thoughts or five-year-old memories from Pun Salad today. You're welcome. Other people are doing that far better than I. (Including, of course, the usual suspect for that sort of thing.)

  • However, let it be noted that at 01:49:50PM on September 11, 2001, Glenn Reynolds posted his analysis which … well, I'm still seeing the same points made today, from people who are pretending they're saying something insightful and new.

  • Last month, James Fallows, writing in the Atlantic Monthly was confident enough to say we could "declare victory" in the war on terrorism.
    … I talked with some sixty experts about the current state of the conflict that bin Laden thinks of as the "world jihad"—and that the U.S. government has called both the "global war on terror" and the "long war." …

    … the overall prospect looks better than many Americans believe, and better than nearly all political rhetoric asserts. The essence of the change is this: because of al-Qaeda's own mistakes, and because of the things the United States and its allies have done right, al-Qaeda's ability to inflict direct damage in America or on Americans has been sharply reduced. Its successor groups in Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere will continue to pose dangers. But its hopes for fundamentally harming the United States now rest less on what it can do itself than on what it can trick, tempt, or goad us into doing. Its destiny is no longer in its own hands.

    So, great, right? Not so fast! Sunday's LA Times has an article from Doyle McManus.
    Five years after Sept. 11, is the United States winning the war against Al Qaeda? President Bush says yes, but most experts—including many inside the U.S. government—say no.
    Both McManus and Fallows quote "experts", and their experts lead them to dramatically opposite conclusions. What are poor non-expert schmoes like (certainly) me and (maybe) you to conclude? Are they interviewing different experts? Or are they just picking and choosing "expert" opinion that happens to coincide with the desired theme of their respective articles? Fortunately, it's not as if the future of Western civilization depends on the answer, or anything… oh, nuts.

  • Where would you expect to find more insight and wisdom?

    • In the obnoxiously loud cell-phone conversation of a drunken girl; or

    • the words and activities of the press corps assigned to cover Mohammed Khatami's address at the Kennedy School of Government?

    Shawn Macomber has an answer that will shock and amaze you! Or maybe not.

  • Michelle (ma belle) points out the September 11th commemorative activities of the King County (Washington) Library System, which involve (among other things) the musical stylings of Tickle Tune Typhoon supporting "friendship, peace, cooperation and caring for all living things."

    Or, if you're not into libraries, man, and you were in Seattle this morn:

    A healing drumming circle will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. at Golden Gardens Park. People are urged to bring a drum or rattle, and a chair or blanket to sit on.
    Michelle deems this "beyond parody," which seems spot on.

    And, for the record: "Tickle Tune Typhoon" is a lousy name for a rock band.


Last Modified 2012-10-23 6:04 AM EDT

United 93

[Amazon Link] [4.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

A powerful movie, despite the fact that you go into it knowing pretty much exactly how it's going to end and nearly everything else that happens. The actors range from obscure to semi-obscure, although I was able to spot Gregg Henry (the oily Val Resnick in Mel Gibson's Payback). (And, although I didn't notice her, little Denny Dillon, a Saturday Night Live cast member a quarter-century ago, also appears as a passenger.) The lack of recognizability drives home the point that the heroism on 93 wasn't Willis- or Schwarzenegger-style, but just ordinary folks doing what the entire might of the US government could not: saving (probably) the US Capitol building and (almost certainly) hundreds of lives on the ground.

The general lack of slick special effects also helps generate a you're-really-there atmosphere. The confusion on the ground is painful to watch; so is the complacency in the air, as a warning against cockpit intrusions is received, but inadequately appreciated.

One moving scene near the end shows both terrorists and passengers saying prayers. In less-skilled hands, this could have been a cheap and stupid anti-religious trope suggesting that only happenstance had made one side the bad guys. Instead (for me, anyhow) it just hammered home the differences between murderers and victims.

And, yes, I watched this instead of the ABC docudrama The Path to 9/11; according to Dean Barnett (here and here) this was the correct choice.


Last Modified 2012-10-23 6:00 AM EDT