Now This Log

Archives: November 2001

Saturday, 3 November 2001

Huh. Be on the lookout, perhaps.

FBI Searches for Ryder Rental Truck Carrying Suspicious Cargo [WHDH Boston]
BOSTON - The FBI is searching for a rented Ryder truck that sped away from security at the Cambridge Galleria Mall after personnel there found drums and gasoline cans duct taped to the floor and walls.

The FBI is asking law enforcement to stop and detail the driver and van of the rental truck. Officials say the possible license plate number is 4789H7.

The incident occurred around 7 p.m. [Friday].
permanent link

Friday, 2 November 2001

Finally we find out what it was Chief of Staff Andrew Card [says he] said to President Bush on camera on the morning of Sept. 11 at the elementary school. I've been curious for a long time:

"The second plane hit the second tower ... America is under attack" [Boston Globe] permanent link

Interview with J.K. Rowling after she saw the first Potter film [BBC]

She's happy with it.

Kenneth Branagh will be Gilderoy Lockhart in Potter 2, not Hugh Grant as expected. I can see that... permanent link

Officials Call Off Antibiotics For Many Who Handle Mail; With No New Anthrax Cases, Crisis Eases in D.C. Region [WPost]
With no new local case of inhalation or skin anthrax in more than a week, and no report of a tainted letter in more than two, the District's health director, Ivan C.A. Walks, suggested that the Washington area was "on the downside" of a crisis that began with the opening of an envelope Oct. 15 on Capitol Hill.

Test results for some facilities are still unknown, however. And just yesterday, the federal Food and Drug Administration announced that anthrax spores had been found in four of its five Montgomery County mailrooms, forcing as many as 120 workers to begin taking antibiotics and prompting all five of the mailrooms to close.

...tests of three additional postal facilities and four D.C. government offices found no trace of anthrax spores. And so far, no contamination has been found at any residence or private business in the city. ... yesterday, [officials] said the only private-sector workers who should be treated are those who work at firms in Zip codes beginning with 200 and at firms that are likely targets of terrorists or use mechanized sorting equipment.
Hope there isn't a second wave.

Supposedly some similar (non-anthrax) letters were received by other media outlets (such as Fox News) prior to 9-11, sent from Indianapolis:


Lots of speculation in that article, though, like the assertion that it could be the work of a pagan or Wiccan group without any supporting facts given for why they're maligning such groups with the accusations.

One could just as easily speculate that it's the work of a radical Christian anti-abortion group since Planned Parenthood has been receiving anthrax threats from the Army of God for years and the first targets of the actual anthrax were Democrats and the 'liberal media'. Maybe the New York Post just felt like tarring someone else. Or there are important facts they're not sharing. permanent link

Wednesday, 31 October 2001

TIME magazine this week has plenty of interesting stuff, especially this preview of the Harry Potter movie by someone who's seen it. Note: it contains spoilers, including what's been left out of the movie [not much at all, as it happens]. All the reviews so far indicate that they did not screw it up. Imagine.

The First Look At Harry [TIME]
[Director Chris Columbus:] "My mantra has been, Kids are reading a 700-page book [...Goblet of Fire]. They can sit through a 2 1/2-hour movie."
permanent link

Tuesday, 30 October 2001

Got a headache? Caffeine will take care of it faster than ibuprofen. On the other hand, ibuprofen keeps it away longer. Solution? Take both, of course.

Caffeine key to curing a headache [New Scientist]
58 per cent of those who took either caffeine or ibuprofen alone reported complete pain relief from a headache -- and the caffeine-takers typically experienced relief about half an hour faster. The caffeine dose was equivalent to that in a large mug of coffee, says Seymour Diamond, who led the study.

However, the combination treatment provided full relief for 71 per cent of patients. The effect was also much longer-lasting, providing on average an extra four hours of pain relief.
Apparently there are multiple journals devoted to this sort of thing; the report is from Current Pain and Headache Reports (vol 5, p 472). permanent link

Monday, 29 October 2001

The movie's not here yet, but people are already seeking out Harry Potter paraphernalia to buy:

Harry Potter merchandise flies off the shelves[AP/Salon]
Hot sales of Harry Potter games, puzzles, trading cards and other items are delighting stores that were looking ahead to a bleak holiday shopping season.

Only about several hundred products are being released, compared with more than a thousand that Warner Bros. does for a typical blockbuster... [Warner Bros.] also decided against Harry Potter promotions in fast-food restaurants.
What gets to me is that only issuing several hundred merchandise items counts as restraint... permanent link

You know a party's wandering off course when even its friends start deriding its actions in public... read David Brooks (and Mark Shields) on the 'stimulus' [snort] package passed by the House:

Online NewsHour : Political Wrap from Shields and Brooks [PBS]
BROOKS: Well, at Christmas time kids write out their wish list for Santa Claus and the House Republicans wrote out their wish list. They sent it up and it's not going to pass.

Some things in the House bill will pass, will go into the Senate bill and will finally get reconciled. There are some good ideas and a lot of horrible ideas.

There's a lot of weirdly anti-free market, anti-conservative ideas. It's not a free market idea to think that you can plan a stimulus package that will perfectly time a boom. It's not a free market idea to think you can, you know, suddenly manipulate the economy to create a recovery. Milton Friedman never believed in that. Yet the Republicans are just hopping on board throwing in all sorts of junk into this thing. It's just what they want. But it's a foolish idea that is losing support. I think it will lose support and will certainly shrink as the Senate and the White House grapple with it.

SHIELDS: ...Take the case of Enron, a Texas energy company very close to President Bush, they gave $1.8 million to Republican candidates and committees. ... Talk about a return on investment. They under the repeal of the alternative minimum tax get $254 million back. ... Jim, I have to tell you alternative minimum tax was signed into law by that notorious liberal leftist Ronald Reagan in 1986.

BROOKS: I had a feeling Mark would bring this up but it's not sporting of you; it's like shooting fish in a barrel, because this is the stupidest provision of the law.

My only theory of why it's in there is every once in a while each party has to put a provision in the law which confirms all the stereotypes of their enemies. That's what this is.
And on why no airport security fixes have been passed in six weeks:
BROOKS: People on both sides of Capitol Hill are debating how many federalized airport security workers can dance on the head of a pin. It's sort of appalling that this has gone on for six, eight weeks.

The argument is over whether these 28,000 security workers we're going to have checking our bags and other things should be part of the federal government or should be supervised by the federal government but privately run, which is what they do in Israel and Europe.

There's valid arguments on both sides. The appalling thing is that they're arguing about this...

SHIELDS: ...It passed the Senate 100-0, Jim, with ... federalization, with liberals like Phil Gramm of Texas and Trent Lott of Mississippi all voting for it.

What's holding it up in the House is a small band of Republicans led by Tom Delay of Texas, Dick Armey of Texas...

BROOKS: ...To be fair the Democrats could also say, okay, your plan is acceptable. They're both acceptable. The Republicans want what Israel does and what Europe does. It's not out of the realm of the possibility. So I think both parties are really responsible for the delay in this.
In this fight between Lott and Delay, I'm with Trent Lott[!], but either way something should get settled ASAP. If something passes the Senate 100-0, the House should find some way to get an answering bill passed; shame on Mr. Delay. permanent link

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