Now This Log

Archives: November 2001

Friday, 16 November 2001

In today's WPost:

Details of the new airport security bill -- mostly federalized, which is fine with me. Oh, and people with criminal records will no longer be checking your bags.

Lessons of The Long Recount by E. J. Dionne Jr.
It turns out [Gore] would have been best served by doing the right thing and demanding a full, statewide recount of all 175,000 undervotes and overvotes. The Gore side will assert, correctly, that it faced tough political and legal hurdles in getting a full recount. But that should have been its goal -- for substantive and, we now learn, practical reasons. As the Palm Beach Post, a partner in the recount, wrote: "If Gore had demanded and been granted recounts applying standards many Republicans said they would accept, he would have been president."

The media recount also shows that Bush's lieutenants did him a disservice by obstructing the recounts Gore sought. If Bush had kept his lawyers and demonstrators tightly leashed and simply acceded to Gore's limited requests, the election would have been decided much sooner, much more cleanly -- and in Bush's favor. Although neither side knew it at the time, each did its candidate more harm than good by playing hardball.
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Wednesday, 14 November 2001

More on the crash of flight 587:

For Flight 587, Seconds Between Life and Death [Washington Post]
Briefings and interviews throughout the day indicated that the board has assembled an unusual amount of information for this early in an investigation: Both the voice and data recorders have been recovered. Numerous witnesses -- including two flight crews -- tell a remarkably similar story. All significant parts of the plane have been found and given a preliminary check... Yet the tragedy that took at least 262 lives remained a mystery. Indeed, each new piece of evidence seemed to eliminate another likely scenario. Investigators said a preliminary reading of the plane's cockpit voice recorder offers no evidence that terrorists downed the plane. But at the same time, they said, nothing on the tape would rule out sabotage.

Investigators ... said they remained puzzled that both engines and the airplane's vertical tail fin cracked off for no apparent reason. In particular, several investigators spoke of being baffled that the vertical tail fin may have broken off first.

On Monday, many speculated that engine failure had downed the plane. But investigators have found no evidence of catastrophic failure in the big General Electric Co. engines, NTSB board member George Black said. Nor, Black said, was there any evidence that the engines had sucked in birds -- a theory that was widely repeated early today -- perhaps causing them to stall.
Partial Passenger List and Complete Crew List for American Airlines Flight 587 [Washington Post] permanent link

Top entry on AppleInsider, MacNN's apparently-defunct Mac rumor site:
Thursday, June 21, 2001 : Resuming publication, soon... Stay Tuned.
(This after their last post, which was in April.)

MacOS Rumors and ThinkSecret have at least been updating, whatever their track record. permanent link

Tuesday, 13 November 2001

Observation: When the job market is tough, the service in restaurants improves. permanent link

NY Times: Officials Say Voice Recorder Indicates Crash Was an Accident

MSNBC: Investigators find signs birds may have caused crash of Flight 587 permanent link

What's the one thing better than an exquisite meal?
An exquisite meal with one tiny flaw we can pick at all evening!
-- Frasier

permanent link

This op-ed by David Broder deserves a lot of attention; if not for the plane crash, I would say it should have been on the front page of the Post...

No Time To Haggle [Washington Post]
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, we discovered belatedly that the government had brushed off warnings from three blue-ribbon commissions that this nation was ill-equipped to defend itself against any form of terrorist attack. Now we are about to learn whether similarly clear and authoritative warnings about the possibility of Russian nuclear weapons and materials slipping into the hands of terrorists will be treated with the seriousness they deserve.

...Bush administration budgeteers are trying to save a few million dollars by holding back a successful 10-year-old program to assist Russia in securing its vulnerable nuclear materials and ensuring that penniless Russian nuclear scientists do not join or assist hostile forces. The program was launched in 1991 by Sen. Richard Lugar, the Indiana Republican, and then-Sen. Sam Nunn, the Georgia Democrat...

President Bush ... has spoken of his concern about nuclear weapons or materials falling into terrorist hands. But his budget last winter proposed cutting overall defense nuclear nonproliferation programs by $100 million, with roughly $55 million coming out of the programs focused on Russia. As Nunn told me the other day, there is "a puzzling disconnect between the president's words and his budget recommendations."

[Even!] Former secretary of state James A. Baker III told me, "I can't think of a better use of our funds. It is probably some of the best money we could ever spend."

All this makes it mind-boggling that Congress and the administration are haggling over the [comparatively] minuscule sums involved. ... Spending discipline is important. But if, God forbid, a terrorist ever slips a suitcase nuclear weapon, with stolen Russian materials, into the United States, we will rue the day the government decided this was a good place to economize.
There was a particularly good Post staff editorial today too:

Meet Patriotic Pork [Washington Post]
The [tax break] provision that [Kenneth Kies of PricewaterhouseCoopers] advances would reduce taxes on corporations' overseas investment income. It's hard to see how this measure, which would encourage firms to keep money outside the country, would do anything to stimulate the American economy.

As it fights a war on terrorism, the United States also faces the threat of a global recession that could be the worst in years. Thousands of ordinary workers have already lost their jobs, and many thousands more may do so. The economic stimulus will succeed only if it pumps money into the bits of the economy where it will stimulate demand effectively. That means targeting it at business investment and at less well-off consumers, not tossing cash at random supplicants.

The senators who larded the bill in committee ought to feel ashamed of themselves, but they're not the only ones. It seems to us that lobbyists such as Mr. Kies and clients such as General Electric and IBM also bear some responsibility. Normally in Washington we assume that such corporations will grasp for whatever they can get; it's up to those in Congress to resist their more egregious graspings. But do the chairmen of GE and IBM really want to pursue their narrow self-interest at a time when everyone else is being asked to think of the common good -- at a time of war? Imagine the stir it would cause, and the impact it could have, if just one of them said, "Better spend the money on the troops. We'll be back when the war is over."
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Monday, 12 November 2001

Guiliani is stating that there are two crash sites, one where an engine came down and one where the rest of the plane crashed. Eyewitnesses saw an explosion on the plane's side in the air.

The plane took off at 9:15am and crashed at 9:17am.
There were 246 passengers and 9 crew on board. Bridges into the city have been closed. 44 fire trucks and 200 firefighters have been dispatched.
Facts as reported by CNN right now (9:53am): At 9:15 this morning, American Airlines flight 587 crashed in Queens, New York. It had taken off from JFK airport, traveled 5-10 miles and crashed. Its final destination was the Dominican Republic. Three major New York airports are now closed. It crashed in a commercial district with various street shops in the Rockaways near Beach 129th Street and Newport Avenue. At least four buildings are on fire.

Don't know what to say beyond that.

CNN story

Washington Post story permanent link

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