F-16s Pursue Unknown Craft Over DC

“Military officials confirm that two F-16 jets from Andrews Air Force Base were scrambled early yesterday after radar detected an unknown aircraft in area airspace. But they scoff at the idea that the jets were chasing a strange and speedy, blue unidentified flying object.

…At the same time, military officials say they do not know just what the jets were chasing, because whatever it was disappeared. “There are any number of scenarios, but we don’t know what it was,” said Maj. Barry Venable, another spokesman for NORAD.

… Radar detected a low, slow-flying aircraft about 1 a.m. yesterday, according to a military official. Controllers were unable to establish radio communication with the unidentified aircraft, and NORAD was notified. When the F-16s carrying air-to-air missiles were launched from Andrews, the unidentified aircraft’s track faded from the radar, the military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

… (One observer) remains convinced that what he saw was not routine. “It looked like a shooting star with no trailing mist,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”Washington Post

Let’s see, it appeared on radar, so it wasn’t an optical illusion. The civilian’s observation that it looked like a ‘shooting star with no trailing mist’ suggests it may indeed have been a meteor, which disappeared when it vaporized. At least it’s probably not Al Qaeda [although of course if you’re not with us you’re against us].

Fears that Saudi Arabia could fall to al-Qaeda

“Saudi Arabia is

teetering on the brink of collapse, fuelling Foreign Office fears of an extremist takeover of one of the West’s key allies in the war on terror.

Anti-government demonstrations have swept the desert kingdom in the past months in protest at the pro-American stance of the de facto ruler, Prince Abdullah.

At the same time, Whitehall officials are concerned that Abdullah could face a palace coup from elements within the royal family sympathetic to al-Qaeda.

Saudi sources said the Pentagon had recently sponsored a secret conference to look at options if the royal family fell.” Guardian UK

Learning to love Big Brother

Daniel Kurtzman, San Francisco writer and former Washington political correspondent: Bush channels George Orwell: “Here’s a question for constitutional scholars: Can a sitting president be charged with plagiarism?

As President Bush wages his war against terrorism and moves to create a huge homeland security apparatus, he appears to be borrowing heavily, if not ripping off ideas outright, from George Orwell. The work in question is “1984, ” the prophetic novel about a government that controls the masses by spreading propaganda, cracking down on subversive thought and altering history to suit its needs. It was intended to be read as a warning about the evils of totalitarianism — not a how-to manual.” SF Chronicle


William Safire’s take on “Blog” in his On Language column in the Sunday New York Times. Nothing special here, except that it took him so long to notice.

I was disappointed that he hasn’t caught wind of my use of blink, originally suggested to me by my friend Abby shortly after I started FmH. It is probably time for my annual reexplanation for FmH readers who may puzzle over this idiosyncratic usage of mine — which as far as I can tell has only caught on with one other weblogger. Blink: Just as a blog is a weblog, a blink is a web link. Continuing the wordplay, just as “we_blog” (instead of logging), “we_blink” (instead of simply linking).