Bloggers begin the cost-benefit analysis of airline restrictions in the wake of Thursday's terror alert. They also want Mike Wallace put back into storage after his too-generous take on the Iranian president, and they're thoroughly weirded out by TomKat's list of don'ts for visits with young Suri.
Terminal headache: As American air travel returns to a relative state of calm after Thursday's trans-Atlantic terror alert, passengers continue to grapple with new restrictions and long lines. Bloggers see significant long-term effects on international air travel, and some offer suggestions on how to minimize them.
At Normblog,Norm Geras, British lefty and co-author of the " Euston Manifesto," advocates pared-down puddle jumps: "Here is the proposal: airline passengers to travel lightly clad and without any luggage at all, other than essential documents, medicines etc. It would be very inconvenient, of course. You'd have either to buy what you needed at your destination, or mail it ahead of time, or borrow from friends if you have them there. A new line of business might emerge hiring out stuff to visitors from other countries."
Size matters, too. "[S]etting off a very small explosive aboard an airplane in flight is a good way to kill a couple hundred people, or even more," says Washington, D.C. writer Jeff Harrell of The Shape of Days. "Obvious solution: Make the planes smaller. Airlines have had a very hard time maintaining profitability while cramming a hundred, two hundred, four hundred people into hundred-million-dollar planes. Maybe some brilliant entrepreneur can figure out a way to get more people to their destinations with planes little bigger than a city bus."
Conservative Skip at GraniteGrok sees dire consequences for the new U.K. airline proscriptions: "If a business traveler can no longer bring a laptop safely on his/her trip, what is the overall effect on business travel going to be? I've been on long trips many times - I don't want to waste that time just staring at the in-flight movie (if there is one) and the obligatory airline magazine and Sky Mall in the seat pocket in front of me isn't going to last that long."
And James Joyner Jr., proprietor of Outside the Beltway, observes at wonky tech site TCS Daily: "Barring a decision that slightly increased risk of successful terrorist attacks on passengers is a worthwhile trade-off for markedly increased passenger convenience (which is unlikely for public relations, tort liability, and regulatory reasons) the carriers will have ever-increasing difficulty attracting passengers. … Perhaps there will be a return to the old paradigm where flying is mostly reserved to business, cross-country, and international travelers. Or maybe a technological solution will be found to make security checks fast and effective."
Read more about the foiled plot. In Slate, William Saletan writes that we need to "fight liquid with liquid"; Daniel Benjamin revisits the stymied Bojinka plot of 1994-95; and Fred Kaplan says we can learn a lot from our British cousins.
Wallace and vomit: "He's actually, in a strange way, he's a rather attractive man, very smart, savvy, self-assured, good looking in a strange way." So spoke Mike Wallace of latest interview subject Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The exchange with the Iranian president, which brought the 88-year-old newsman out of retirement, will air on CBS's 60 Minutes Sunday. Bloggers are already wishing for Wallace's prompt return to the golf links.
Monterey John at Another Rovian Conspiracy heard Wallace on conservative Sean Hannity's radio show Thursday, where Wallace's comments sounded as if they were struck by someone "a. senile, b. jet-lagged, c. drunk or d. hopelessly delusional." Writes John: "He was also clearly sympathetic to the argument that Israel (The Zionist Entity) was the problem and that but for Israel, all would be well with the world. You see, Israel was inflicted on the Muslim world in 1947 as cover for European guilt."
And as for Wallace's claim that the Holocaust-denying head of state is a rational anti-Zionist? Oh, please, says Morgan at righty blog The Waterglass: "I am sure Hitler gave some pretty convincing interviews as well. The problem with Wallace's opinion is that Ahmadinejad may claim peaceful intentions, but his actions and early rhetoric are where everyone should focus their attention."
The Saccharinist argues that, judging by the brief clip of the interview CBS has posted, Ahmadinejad easily deflects Wallace's approach to battening out the truth: "Wallace's interviewing style is typical of Western journalists: they become celebrity-autograph-seekers when presented with the chance to interview one of their own leaders, always failing to ask the 'tough questions' or even the 'hardly tough just reasonable questions,' and when it comes to non-Western leaders their questions inevitably involve repeated references to the danger that leader's nation poses to the safety of the American public."
Columnist James Lileks says it's less that the media are full of unhinged lefties as it's a struggle between subjectivity and objectivity. "More likely they subscribe the usual notions common to the class – contempt for the mullahs, brusquely stated to establish their bonafides, followed by a reminder of US meddling, so no one thinks they don't see the Whole Picture. They're all about the Whole Picture. The trouble is that the Whole Picture obscures the particulars of the moment, and those particulars are crucial."
Read more on Wallace's Ahmadinejad tête-à-tête.
Ga ga gag-rule: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have invited their British friends David and Victoria "Posh" Beckham to come meet baby Suri. The odd provisos? No touch, no photos, and no baby talk, all in keeping with Scientology rules for post-natal nurturing.
The blogger behind Hate On!, who "hates the rich, powerful and famous so you don't have to," translates the creepy Scientology-speak: "Yeah, come see our baby, but don't get your cooties on it! And don't talk to it either, we don't want our precious little mutant to pick up any of that London gutter trash you speak. Little Suri's first words might be some of that slang you chav scum talk."
Little Britches at warehouse of the ridiculous call me on it has a few why-not rules of her own: "[T]he Beckhams cannot breathe around the baby, they can't say the word 'onion,' they can't have their hair parted to the left, they must be wearing clothes made of organic cotton, and they must have 3 dollars in quarters on them at all times."
Read more on the Cruises' rule book for the Beckhams.