New York, New York, It's a Wonderful Town--But a BitProvincial

Loose Canon loves the notion that her fellow red staters are converging today onthe capitol of blueness for the Republican convention only to be greeted byprotests from real reds--just kidding. They're simply ordinary men and women who happen to believe that George Bush is the reincarnation of Adolph Hitler.

LC loves New York and hopes her fellow reds will have a marvelous time. Sure,the city is less congested when middle aged men and women aren't out protestingwith flag-draped simulated coffins. But it's a great town. There's just oneproblem with New York--it's so parochial. New York parochial? As I have notedelsewhere this morning, it really and truly is.

Loose Canon was kidding in her crack about reds--but it's still important torecognize that some of those organizing the protests aren't just ordinaryfolks. I came across an interesting description of Leslie Cagan, one of the organizers of this week's festivities, and a leader of United for Peace andJustice, one of the key organizations protesting the Republican NationalConvention:

"To understand UPJ, consider the pedigree of its chief operative, LeslieCagan. The New York Times has called her 'one of the grandes dames of thecountry's progressive movement,' a woman whose 'organizational skills areprodigious.' Indeed, Cagan has been active in New York City politics. She was afield director for the 1989 campaign of David Dinkins, who was elected mayor.But the Times neglected to mention her long-standing ties to the Communistmovement. In reality, Cagan is a longtime revolutionary activist. She has spentthe past thirty years mobilizing what must be counted as millions of protestersat demonstrations and rallies around the world. They denounce American foreignand military policies--the litany of alleged crimes 'against humanity.'"

Straight Talk about the 9/11 Commission

A terrifically provocative dissenting opinion about the 9/11 commission by Richard Posner, a judge on the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and frequent writer on legal subjects had lots of good stuff.

Here is one good point:

"The tale of how we were surprised by the 9/11 attacks is a product ofhindsight; it could not be otherwise. And with the aid of hindsight it is easyto identify missed opportunities (though fewer than had been suspected) to haveprevented the attacks, and tempting to leap from that observation to theconclusion that the failure to prevent them was the result not of bad luck, theenemy's skill and ingenuity or the difficulty of defending against suicideattacks or protecting an almost infinite array of potential targets, but ofsystemic failures in the nation's intelligence and security apparatus that canbe corrected by changing the apparatus.

"That is the leap the commission makes, and it is not sustained by the report'snarrative. The narrative points to something different, banal and deeplydisturbing: that it is almost impossible to take effective action to preventsomething that hasn't occurred previously. Once the 9/11 attacks did occur,measures were taken that have reduced the likelihood of a recurrence. But beforethe attacks, it was psychologically and politically impossible to take thosemeasures."

Here's a second (though by all mean not the only other one worth yourconsideration):

"The enormous public relations effort that the commission orchestrated to winsupport for the report before it could be digested also invites criticism--though it was effective: in a poll conducted just after publication, 61 percentof the respondents said the commission had done a good job, though probably noneof them had read the report. The participation of the relatives of theterrorists' victims (described in the report as the commission's "partners")lends an unserious note to the project (as does the relentless self-promotion ofseveral of the members). One can feel for the families' loss, but being avictim's relative doesn't qualify a person to advise on how the disaster mighthave been prevented."

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