Bloggers are skeptical about Iran's offer to discuss its nuclear program. They also ponder reports that the United States wants to collect more airline passenger data, and they probe Osama Bin Laden's love life.
Look who's talking: Iran has declared its willingness to engage in "serious talks" with the West over its nuclear program. But with an Aug. 31 deadline for the country to halt enrichment or face U.N. sanctions, most bloggers assume Iran is just buying time.
"The good news is that Iran hasn't finished a bomb yet, or at least enough bombs to start using them," writes Bullwinkle at the conservative Bullwinkle Blog. "The bad news? They will, given enough time, and it looks like time won't be a problem." Christian blogger Steve at Jesus Is Lord reads duplicity in Tehran's response: "In other words, 'our nukes are not quite ready to snuff out Israel, so having learned well from Sadam, we'll just 'negotiate' with the U.N. for another 11 years or until our nukes are ready to snuff out Israel, whichever date come first.' "
At the National Review's The Corner, Mona Charen predicts the United Nations will need bombs to back up its words: "A few months ago, there seemed to virtual unanimity that Iran and North Korea could not be permitted to go nuclear. Today, we hear instead that force should be 'off the table.' Will someone show me an example – any example – in history when diplomacy succeeded without the underlying threat of force?" Self-described "ruthless capitalist" Morgan at The Waterglass doesn't expect much from the Security Council: "It will be up to the United States or Israel if they haven't been beaten into submission by those that would use this issue for political gain."
At least it's not the apocalypse, right? Bloggers heave a sigh of relief as doomsday candidate Aug. 22 seems to have passed without a mushroom cloud in the sky.
Michael J. Totten, guest-blogging for Andrew Sullivan and all giddy to cover Armageddon from Tel Aviv, feels betrayed: "Here I am, ready to liveblog the first use of nuclear weapons in anger since the end of World War II, right outside the blast radius, and Iran's little nutjob-in-chief looks like he might not be into it after all. Maybe he's waiting for the sun to set so the flash over Jerusalem will be bright like he promised."
Daniel Larison, a University of Chicago Ph.D. student, claims at Eunomia that Iran's offer for talks ruins the Armageddon theory: "Anyone notice a small snag in the predictions of doom? If Iran is going to destroy all of us today, that won't leave much to talk about starting tomorrow. … But I would be very disappointed if superstitious hawks did not continue to speculate about the end-times."
Read more about Iran's proposal for nuclear negotiations.
Snoops on a plane: U.S. and European officials want greater access to airline passenger data to help fight terrorism, the New York Times reports, including information from traveler itineraries to credit records to "personal preferences, like a request for a king-size bed in a hotel."
Some bloggers see this as yet another step in the march toward a police state. "So we may be facing a further reduction of privacy and freedom as the result of our reaction to 'plots,' " laments New York-based blogger Thephoenixnyc at Skinny Legs and All. "This has been the real story of the post-9/11 world. The US, Israeli and European powers regularly reacting to Al-Qaeda, Iran, Hamas et. al just as they hope we would." Gun Toting Liberal doesn't trust "greedy, fat, rich politicians" with his credit history: "I can just see it now: 'Hey guys, this one's got a slow pay on an $800.00 credit limit with 23% interest - NAB her!' "
Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters distinguishes between the government wanting to create databases and, in this case, gain access to pre-existing databases. It's worth the minimal invasion of privacy, he argues: "At some point, we will have another attack, another bipartisan commission, and another round of scolding over a failure to 'connect the dots'. If our defenders cannot gain access to the dots, how the hell are they supposed to connect them?"
Read more about the government's airline data-mining.
"Whitsama": Osama Bin Laden had a thing for Whitney Houston, according to the memoirs of Kola Boof, a former Days of Our Lives writer who claims she was once the al-Qaida chief's mistress. He reportedly wanted to have Whitney's husband, Bobby Brown, killed and convert the diva to Islam.
"So Osama bin Laden doesn't hate everything about American culture," quips Aaron Lovell at Atlantic Rift. "He just hates the tolerable parts." Tom at banter blog Balloon Juice feels safer already: "Now we know his weakness—he wants to dance with somebody that loves him. Unfortunately he knows that we know that he has a crush on Whitney so any plan we may have had to send in a CIA trained Whitney lookalike is now shot." Dedalus at group blog Blah3 asks the pressing question: "Would they be called Whitsama?"
Jdid at Toronto-based Doan Mind Me wants to see "Osama vs Bobby live pay per view cage or rather cave match. I'm putting my cash on Bobby."
Read more about Osama's crush.