Imagine two politicians: One preaches fear and excessive "security," while the other says terrorism is a negligible risk. They hold, like me, that risk is part of life, and that while some security is necessary, we should mostly just refuse to be terrorized and get on with our lives. Fast-forward 10 years. If I'm right and there have been no more terrorist attacks, the preacher of fear takes credit for keeping us safe. But if a terrorist attack has occurred, my government career is over.
The most-watched show in the history of the National Geographic Channel isn't Wild, Taboo or even the longest-running documentary series on cable tv: Explorer. It's Doomsday Preppers, a show that documents the "lives of otherwise ordinary Americans" as they prepare for the end of the world. [more inside]
An Era in Ideas. "To mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, The Chronicle Review asked a group of influential thinkers to reflect on some of the themes that were raised by those events and to meditate on their meaning, then and now. The result is a portrait of the culture and ideas of a decade born in trauma, but also the beginning of a new century, with all its possibilities and problems." [Via]
Is aviation security mostly for show? An essay by Bruce Schneier.
Death Grip: How Political Psychology Explains Bush's Ghastly Success. Interesting article on the work of psychologists Jeff Greenberg, Sheldon Solomon, and Tom Pyszczynski. [Via Disinformation.]
Terror warnings boost Bush's approval ratings. Cornell sociologist Robb Willard has used a time-series regression analysis to show that a terror alert by the US government predicts an increase in Bush's approval ratings, even on topics unrelated to security. It's often been claimed that the Bush administration manipulates terror alerts for political gain — does this finding make those claims more plausible?
Visit Madison, Indiana. Why? We're not New York City! Sure you can be opportunistic about selling gas masks if you're an internet entrepreneur, but what if you're a small town in Indiana and you want to cash in on fear of terrorism. Why, tout what you don't have, of course. "A safe place to visit...When you visit Madison you will discover that we have no tall buildings to fear, no nuclear power plants, airports or anything anyone would want to blow up."
PATRIOT forever. Toppling one regime to build another, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and a Republican coalition are pushing legislation to make the PATRIOT Act permanent. It's daylight forever.
Watch those Waterway in Florida says the U.S. Coast Guard. Possible terrorist threats include drawing or taking photographs of the shore, being near the shore for a long time, and under no circumstances would any law abiding citizen be doing something as daring and thoroughly terrorist-like as renting a boat.
FindLaw Forum: Could terrorism result in a constitutional dictator? Rather odd that so early into the "game" this sort of speculation by professionals is being considered. Heading for a change in the way we govern or are governed, or just a bump in the road that need not jar us?
I had trouble sleeping Saturday night because of a CNN story suggesting that "increased level of chatter and activity" indicated that "another al Qaeda terrorist operation could be in the works." The "warnings" have been coming ever since: Cheney said Sunday that future attacks were "almost a certainty" and FBI director Robert Mueller stated "we will not be able to stop it", with Ridge and Rumsfeld spinning similar tales today. Is there a new threat? Ridge hasn't changed the nation's security alert from "yellow," and AP reported today that "a top White House aide said last week's criticism prompted a two-pronged political response: Bush accused Democrats of playing politics with the issue as his advisers reminded voters that America is still a target."
Time to stop the war on terrorism says Jonah Goldberg of the National Review.
Skywriting "God is great" scares bejesus out of Palm Beach residents, assuming the message might be the beginning of a terrorist attack. Is this any different than skywriting "Allah is great," and would the pilot have been treated any differently?
Racist America voices its concerns in a new poll: The Gallup Poll not only found that 58 percent of Americans backed more intensive security checks for Arab plane passengers and 49 percent supported special IDs, but also that 35 percent said they trusted Arabs living here less and 32 percent think Arabs living here should be put under special surveillance as were Japanese-Americans following Pearl Harbor.
Tonight is the first night of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and tomorrow the one-week anniversary of the attack. Am I the only one nervous about a knockout punch tomorrow morning?
Carnivore and other forms of snooping approved by congress there has been some references to what this articles deals with but this gives a slightly broader perspectve.
Fear of flying? New security measures are being discussed. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta says, "These terrorist acts are designed to steal the confidence of Americans. We will restore that confidence."