The Magazine

Boss Dingell, Iraq, Penthouse, and more.

Aug 4, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 45
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(2) They understand that Al Jazeera doesn't wish them well. Said Nasir Kamil Al-Chadirchi, a 70-year-old Sunni Arab lawyer from Baghdad and head of the National Democratic party: "I have an appeal for Al Jazeera and other Arab satellite channels. I tell them: enough incitement of the Iraqi people to carry out acts of [word indistinct] [Applause]. We know our citizens more than you do and we love our people more than you do. Thank you." Then Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum, a prominent Shia cleric, chimed in: "We had expected the Arab satellite channels since the first day of the war not to side with the defunct regime. We stood by the Arab nation at all times, but, unfortunately, these satellite channels betrayed us and did not stand by us [Applause]. We have been firewood for their battles [Applause]."

(3) They understand that the Arab League does not wish them well. Said Muwaffaq al-Rubay'i, "We wished that the Arab League had taken a stand towards the crimes of the Saddam regime. The Arab League's stand towards the Iraqi people should demonstrate more sympathy and understanding. The events are clear to all. The Arab League must understand and deal with this step, that is, the formation of the first Iraqi representative authority that enjoys acceptance and credibility. Otherwise, this will lead to uncalled-for isolation, which will not be in the interest of the Iraqi people or the Arab brethren. We want the Arab brothers to understand that the defunct regime is gone for good and that it will never return, and that a new Iraq is being born."

The New York Times's Shoe Confusion

The New York Times devoted a page of its travel section on July 20 to what it described as the Transportation Security Administration's "shoe fetish." This refers to the scrutiny of travelers' shoes at airports ever since shoebomber Richard Reid tried to blow up an airplane with his plastique sneakers.

The Times reporter had lots of complaints: Airport procedures have been "inconsistent." Passengers have "no idea what to expect at the airport." Frequent travelers say that the screening of shoes is "seemingly arbitrary." One traveler points out that "even within the same airport, it's not really consistent." Another complains that screening is "capricious" and "difficult to predict."

In all of this, the reporter and the whiners miss the obvious: If the procedures were consistent, predictable, and passengers knew what to expect, they would be that much more easily evaded and defeated by terrorists. To quote Homer Simpson, "D'oh."

Great Moments in Journalistic Principle

Penthouse magazine may be on the verge of bankruptcy, but "there are some of us who still believe in this magazine," one employee told Newsweek's Seth Mnookin last week. "She asked not to be named because, she said, magazine staffers had been told that speaking publicly could jeopardize their future positions at the magazine. 'Plus, it's not like there's a lot of other jobs out there.'"