Shop 'till you drop that brick in your hand
New York City has figured out how to keep protesters in line during the GOP convention: Give them a button that will allow them to get discounts at restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. I can't say anything to top the New York Times' droll assessment of the idea:
If only the Romanovs had thought of this.
It seems to me that people who already are inclined to protest peacefully don't need any incentives to do so, and those inclined toward violence--like the anarchists who trashed Seattle some years ago during a WTO meeting--aren't going to be dissuaded by the opportunity to get a break on an order of riblets at Applebee's. In fact, I think this program will make them even angrier.
Speaking of politics, John Kerry criticized a MoveOn.org ad that slammed George W. Bush for avoiding combat duty in Vietnam by serving in the Texas Air National Guard, but he refused to criticize retired military leaders who are doing the same thing in public appearances. John McCain said the ad in question is inappropriate and a disservice to members of the National Guard fighting in Iraq. Actually, with all due respect to the senator, that comment is a disservice to today's National Guard men and women, who are asked to do far more than their Vietnam-era counterparts.
In case anyone cares what I think, neither man's war record--or lack thereof--is relevant today. Here's what I wrote about the subject in May in Pulp. (second item)