August 02, 2004


Evil Republican operative Tom Ridge outlines the Bush administration's controversial new international relations policy:

"The preferred means of attack would be car or truck bombs," Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said in a briefing with journalists. "That would be a primary means of attack," he said.

Can't say he didn't warn them. Meanwhile, the mood here in NYC is exactly as it was prior to the latest warnings of possible terrorist attacks. Requests that people "carry on as normal" are massively redundant.

Posted by Tim Blair at August 2, 2004 11:43 AM

And every taxi driver in NYC, save for a Sikh or South American here and there, is Middle Eastern or Muslim. In the event of attack, do not hail a cab. Might as well run through the irradiated fall-out and enjoy. My daughter is in Manhattan this month posing for pictures and such, but she is ever brilliant for having just acquired a bicycle. Not a bad idea, Tim. Get a tandem if you're used to a driver. A Harley, whatever.

Good luck, brave sir!

Posted by: it's all about wheels at August 2, 2004 at 12:16 PM

why exclude the sikhs? they've got beards AND turbans. ergo - they MUST be terrorists.

Posted by: John Sane at August 2, 2004 at 12:24 PM

The Sikhs don't play Muslim prayer chants in their cars, which is illegal but who's noticing? John Sane, try being an American woman in a devout Muslim man's car- it's a strange ride in the middle of Manhattan. Someone I know got thrown out of one b/c her boyfriend gave her a quick kiss. How can the ACLU fight for both Flynt AND these uptight fundamentalists? Guess as long as they aren't Christian---

Posted by: wheels at August 2, 2004 at 12:34 PM


Snopes begs to differ.

Posted by: Andjam at August 2, 2004 at 12:43 PM


Could be that I missed something, but the Snopes link is to a page of 9/11/01 rumors. Apparently there were rumors of no taxis that day (they must have been with all the Jews who supposedly weren't there either). Snopes sets us straight on the 'no taxis on 9/11/01' rumor.

However, I don't think wheels meant just on 9/11/01. Unless I'm overlooking something Snopes doesn't say anything, on that page, about playing prayer chants or evicting people from cabs.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at August 2, 2004 at 12:56 PM

Fine, then, Andjam. Come an attack, there won't be any cabs available just because... of circumstances. But if you do find one, remember not to kiss or you're out on your keister. And, I guess the prayer chants are catchier than alternative rock.

Alternative wheels suggestion still holds, unless Tim has access to a copter wild ride

Posted by: wheels at August 2, 2004 at 01:04 PM

Andrea, I think "John Sane" was trying to be self-righteously ironic... re rilly dumb. One or t'other. I mean, he has noticed Arabs and Persians don't wear turbans, right?

Posted by: richard mcenroe at August 2, 2004 at 01:25 PM

you're absolutely right, andrea. wasn't there a terrible incident post 9/11 in which a sikh was attacked in a case of mistaken identity? i am always happy to get in a cab driven by sikh men- they are generally respectful and friendly. many muslim cabbies are, too, but others are terse and chauvinistic, and then they play those damn chants---

Posted by: c at August 2, 2004 at 01:28 PM

"The preferred means of attack would be car or truck bombs," Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said in a briefing with journalists. "That would be a primary means of attack," he said.

Can't say he didn't warn them.

And warn them, and warn them, and warm them yet again, ad nauseum; I've been seeing this in my agency for several years. The question really is, do they (the potential target) take this seriously?

Unfortunately, protection against vehicle bombs is difficult and expensive, especially if you are a high risk target (even low risk targets are not cheap). Not everyone wants to spend the money for countermeasures; if they do, the countermeasures may be ineffective.

The American public really doesn't have a refined security ("survival") sense, the way an Israeli, or a resident of Bagdhad, does. Part of it is due to a lack of experience, and part of it due to being politically correct to the point of stupidity (and racial profiling is only a small part of that). And part of it is because people don't want to surrender to the terrorists.

Unfortunately, I don't see any single solution to this problem. We'll probably have to learn the hard (and sad) people have before in Israel, Iraq, Bali, and other locations.

Excuse the rant -- this is something that I've dealt with before, with blank stares being the general response. Tim's comment is dead on.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 2, 2004 at 01:45 PM

Everybody disses Ridge and his constant alerts, but I think maybe the man is performing a service. I think he's like the Alertserv on your ISP: When you're out and about, remember to give that Odd-Acting Gentleman a second glance, be aware of Your Neighbor's tendency to chant shrilly in Arabic just before running away, and watch out for the Odd Abandoned Package in public places.

We can make fun, but it isn't an amusement anymore. We're participants in a war, and we should act like it (while not abandoning our sense of humor --- it distinguishes us from the enemy, after all).

Posted by: Rebecca at August 2, 2004 at 02:45 PM

Nice to haves: auxiliary wheels, running shoes, flashlight, small battery-powered radio, lots of cash, some granola bars, Cipro, single malt, and duck tape and plastic for survivalist chic.

Aussie accent requisite for talking your way onto get-away yachts or Page Six.

Fun to you, Tim. The outback has nothing on Manhattan during the threatened GOP Convention. (The aforementioned are for survival in the event of a Democrat protest strike. Feed the granola to the animals to lead them away---)

Posted by: c at August 2, 2004 at 02:52 PM

Some time before 9/11/01 here in NYC I took a taxi ride, & the driver (this is not a “Muslim driver” story, by the way) & I got to talking about bioterrorism. He told me he knew a fireman who was on some sort of bioterror response team & who was angry because there were so few resources & people devoted to this sort of thing. The driver & I told each other stories of having discussed terrorism with other people & of having been disgusted with the common lack of serious interest in action against it. Nobody really wanted to do anything, to talk about the issues, get a public discussion going, etc. We started talking rather gloomily at some length & finally I said, what are we going to do about it? Nobody listens to people like us & attacks will happen. If you’re not going to move somewhere far away but instead have to stay here to make a living though nobody wants to do a fucking thing about it, what’s the point of driving yourself crazy about it?

Shortly after 9/11/01 I met with some friends & I told them that I’d long been expecting a terrorist attack, though I’d thought it would be chemical or biological. My friends said, you’ve been thinking about it all this time? You never told us. I said, I told you only a few dozen times over the past five years!

Now people listen somewhat—somewhat—better, though Michael Moore wants them not to. Their grasp of the world security implications of the gradually accelerative advance of WMD-adaptable tech still too often pretty much sucks. (I’m still here in NYC & don’t plan to leave).

Posted by: ForNow at August 2, 2004 at 03:06 PM


The five years of warnings you gave your friends is a lifetime! What New Yorkers want is an explicitly detailed and (non-Italian) documented and Senate commission vetted warning of a terrorist strike issued within a 48 hours window. Of course, some will complain that a week's notice would have been better, while others will decry the unnecessary hypervigilantism of any alert more that a day in advance. Most will cry political opportunism, either way.

I love New Yorkers. Too bad their liberal sense of style and politics will not love them back. You and Allah excepted, of course.

Posted by: c at August 2, 2004 at 03:32 PM

Actually, c, I've seen a similar attitude outside of New York. It's not exclusive, I'm sorry to say.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 2, 2004 at 04:08 PM

Um, I think Tim was making a joke. Read it again.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at August 2, 2004 at 05:35 PM

Pixxi Misa,
Do you mean the rebuttal of the mad screemer about the warning from Tom Ridge?

Posted by: gubbaboy at August 2, 2004 at 07:21 PM

oops sorry about the spelling Pixy

Posted by: gubbaboy at August 2, 2004 at 07:23 PM

I got the joke.

By the way, when September 11th happened, I was shocked, but not surprised. I had been waiting for the other shoe to drop for years. I don't know, maybe because Miami has such a large Jewish community and I worked for fourteen years for a company owned by a Jewish family, the idea that terrorists could strike anywhere never left my mind. When everyone else was patting themselves on the back about the fall of Communism and how this meant the End of History and rainbows and unicorns forever more I was thinking, "Um, haven't you forgotten something?"

Posted by: Andrea Harris at August 2, 2004 at 08:47 PM

WATCH OUT TIM WATCH OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There are people who want to hurt you, and they're driving cars. Just get six cans of baked beans and barricade yourself in your hotel room. And don't leave. Ever. Then you'll be safe.

Posted by: Ari at August 2, 2004 at 10:51 PM

Pixy, that may have been intended as a joke, but my experience has been as I stated. Sometimes humor is the truth.....but the truth might not always be humorous.

Either that, or I need a drink.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 3, 2004 at 01:53 AM