The Sunday Times – 9/11: When all that was solid melted into the air
The twin towers were there, then they were gone. Money was there, then it disappeared. Welcome to the age of insecurity

In March 2000 the dotcom bubble — based on delirious stock-market valuations of companies that could never possibly make a penny — burst and precipitated a recession. Then, on September 11, 2001, a date became a name, 9/11, as two planes slammed into the twin towers in New York, a third into the Pentagon and a fourth into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

He missed one. In March, 2000, Survivor premiered. So: Economic collapse. Cultural collapse. Security collapse. The economy rebounded, and then fell apart again. Reality television has started to wither, mostly because they’ve run out of islands, or plausible bachelors. And the security was good, or so we hoped, and now we start to wonder if anyone was doing anything at all:

The Sunday Times – Why was this bomber allowed to fly?

I’d quote it, but meh. They seem remarkably relaxed about the coming security regime. No getting out of seats for the last hour, no more than one carry-on, no access to carry-on for the last hour, nothing in laps for the last hour and now: No electronics at all.

So you had a terrorist. He was on a terrorist watch-list. He went to the toilet. What do our intrepid authorities choose to view as the greater threat to air travel safety? The toilet.

Now you have a terrorist. He was on a terrorist watch-list. He went to the toilet. The threat to air travel safety? A Kindle. (This link has an amusing illustration, as well as details about the potential Kindle threat.)

Here’s another happy topic:

Slate – Saying No to Obama
The U.S. president is popular, but world leaders are finding it easy to defy his wishes. By Shmuel Rosner

Praising and admiring Obama are still common, but raising doubts about him, even scoffing at him, is now becoming fashionable. …

Obama can write—and he can speak—but if he can’t fight, he’ll find it hard to achieve his goals. If he can’t fight, he isn’t scary. And evidently, being popular didn’t help him much. In fact, you might even say that being popular made it more difficult for Obama to succeed. He was too popular for his own good, annoyingly popular, distractingly popular.


The Washington Times – EDITORIAL: Obama the party crasher
Foreign leaders were avoiding the president in Copenhagen

The Obama team tried to schedule a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and was told he was at the airport readying to leave. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva also was unavailable. South African President Jacob Zuma said there was no point meeting without India and Brazil. Then the Chinese pushed the bilateral meeting back to 7 p.m.

“We were told they were at the airport,” a senior administration official said. “We were told delegations were split up. We were told they weren’t going to meet.” So imagine Mr. Obama’s surprise when he arrived for the bilateral powwow and found all four leaders in the room already in deep discussion. “Are you ready for me?” he said with an “uncharacteristic edge” to his voice, according to a CBS News report. …

There was no chair at the table for Mr. Obama so he announced he would sit next to his “friend Lula,” whose staff had to scramble to make room for the president and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. On Monday, Mr. da Silva used his weekly radio program to rebuke the United States for its stance at Copenhagen.

After Mr. Obama arrived, the BASIC group was basically held hostage. They had tried politely to keep Mr. Obama at arms length, but since he showed up, decorum mandated that they find a way to save face.

And finally:

It says a great deal about American power and prestige when international leaders go to so much trouble to avoid meeting with the president of the United States. The American Century is over.

Well, that was fast.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so hasty. The decade has a few days left. We could still turn it around!

Then of course there’s healthcare. Maybe this will have been the last decade of American healthcare?