Thursday, July 15, 2004
Also on our flight were 14 Middle Eastern men between the ages of approximately 20 and 50 years old. What I experienced during that flight has caused me to question whether the United States of America can realistically uphold the civil liberties of every individual, even non-citizens, and protect its citizens from terrorist threats.
Then another man from the group stood up and took something from his carry-on in the overhead bin. It was about a foot long and was rolled in cloth. He headed toward the back of the cabin with the object. Five minutes later, several more of the Middle Eastern men began using the forward lavatory consecutively. In the back, several of the men stood up and used the back lavatory consecutively as well.
For the next hour, the men congregated in groups of two and three at the back of the plane for varying periods of time. Meanwhile, in the first class cabin, just a foot or so from the cockpit door, the man with the dark suit - still wearing sunglasses - was also standing. Not one of the flight crew members suggested that any of these men take their seats.
It is at this point in the story that I perked up. A few months ago, I was on a plane. My attention was drawn to one Middle Eastern, Arab looking young man. He was skinny, on the short side, and had facial hair. He was very protective of one thing in his possession - you guessed it - an oblong object wrapped in cloth. The cloth was very white. This particular passenger tried to get the oblong object into the overhead compartment over our seats. The flight attendants told him that he couldn't do that - spacing issues, I assume. So, they had him place the object in the standing luggage compartment up by the first-class seats. I had, and have, no idea what that object was nor its purpose. But, I can tell you that after reading the story of how these men behaved on that Northwest Airlines plane, I am even more curious about what is in those objects wrapped in white cloth.
Does anyone have any clue or idea?
Here is Annie Jacobsen's personal tale, read the whole thing, Terror in the Skies, Again?
Update: There are many opinions on this disturbing story... Volokh Conspiracy, Dean's World, Michelle Malkin, Ace of Spades, Spoons Experience, Prof Bainbridge, Heretical Ideas, Democrats Give Conservatives Indigestion, Slings and Arrows, and Baseball Crank.
Update II: Abercrombie Chick is looking into it.
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Bill Clinton is the best Republican strategist these days
Yahoo! News - Clinton urges Kerry to avoid 'cultural' issues
Bill Clinton has warned Senator John Kerry, the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee, to counter Republican efforts to turn this year's election into a debate on gay marriage and other "cultural issues" such as gun control and abortion.
Assuming that Bill Clinton wants John Kerry to win, (doubtful), his comments are quite revealing. Democrats always claim that the majority of Americans are on their side when it comes to gay marriage, gun control and abortion. But, if Clinton doesn't want Republicans to focus on these cultural issues, it shows that the Democrats can't win on these important issues.
Assuming that Bill Clinton wants John Kerry to lose, (highly probable), by warning Kerry to stay away from these issues, Clinton is doing his best to highlight Kerry's weaknesses. Kerry can talk a good game when he talks about being fiscally conservative and tries to calm jittery moderates about his stance on Iraq. But, Clinton KNOWS that Kerry is at his most liberal when it comes to the cultural issues facing America today. By highlighting Kerry's weak points, Clinton is reminding Americans why they might be hesitant to vote for the senator from Massachusetts.
In conclusion, Clinton is giving advice to the Republicans. Clinton's thinly veiled message is to remind Republicans that they can eke out a win on the economy and Iraq, but they can make victory over Kerry a certainty by addressing the cultural issues.
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