1. Some recent unrelated research turned up the following interesting if unsurprising information: According to the 19th-century black activist W.E.B. Du Bois, the last half of the 19th century and the first 10 years of the 20th saw a massive expansion in ownership of farmland by blacks: 3 million acres in 1875, 8 million in 1890, and 12.8 million in 1910. However, the New Deal commodity price support programs made land prices go up and encouraged better-off white planters to crowd out blacks. The process was further helped by the fact that black farmers' access to guvvamint farm-program goodies was restricted or blocked by the white Southern power establishment, to the benefit of white farmers. Census figures show that black ownership of farmland fell precipitously between 1930 and 1935, and continued to fall for the rest of the century, swelling the numbers of poor blacks migrating to Northern cities and helping build the foundation of today's welfare-dependent black underclass. That's social progress for you.

2. "Let the Eagle Soar," forsooth!

3. I am not kidding about this. Here is what he says:

[Nuking] Mecca seems extreme, of course, but then again few people would die and it would send a signal. Religions have suffered such catastrophic setbacks before. As for the Saudis, my only thought is that if we're going to hold them responsible for terrorism, we had better start doing it now, not after an even more catastrophic attack.

What the heck. Only a few (thousand) people would die. Lowry's idea of a moderate is one who only advocates nuking Teheran and Baghdad. And: "If we have clean enough bombs to assure a pinpoint damage area, Gaza City and Ramallah (on the West Bank) would also be on the list." Don't want to contaminate any Israelis, you see, while we're frying innocent Arab women and children. At last report, Mr. Lowry was still being allowed out on the street by himself.

4. Eight years ago the novelist Tom Clancy came up with an interesting idea for destroying the U.S. Capitol: crash a jumbo jet filled with fuel into it. In his novel Debt of Honor (1994) the United State and Japan get into a war that culminates in a Japanese civilian pilot deliberately flying a 747 into the Capitol building while the president is addressing a joint session of Congress (one can imagine the cheers erupting in the audience if the movie is ever made). Of course, this little literary reminder should not be construed as a reflection on the Authorities or their indignant squeals that there was no way anyone could have predicted that kind of attack before it actually happened. You can't expect them actually to read, after all.

5. Luckily the cultists were ignorant of effective means of distributing the stuff: they spread the liquid on the floors of subway cars. As a result, fewer than 10 people died, although hundreds were injured. If they had sprayed the agent into the air, it could have killed thousands of subway riders.

6. A recent visit to the home of the above-mentioned Sandia Corporation led to the discovery that two large single-engine crop-dusting aircraft — painted black, no less — are being tested at the associated Kirtland Air Force Base, apparently by the U.S. military. What that means I don't know, but it probably isn't good.

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