Friday, July 14, 2006

The queens of terrorism

The Department of Defense runs a program called TALON (Threat and Local Observation Notice) to monitor terrorist threats agains the US military. It has recently been reported that student organizations involved in protests against the "don't ask don't tell" policy of the military have been under surveillance within this program. Now we can all feel safer in the knowledge that the grave threat posed by groups of gay college students is under control. We no more have to fear that they will show up at military recruiting events and taunt the recruiters about their bad haircuts until they would cry, which is about the most threatening scenario I can think of.

In somewhat related news, an Alabama petting zoo was among a list of critical targets for terrorism maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. Now we know why it was necessary to cut by 40% the counter-terrorism funds for Washington and New York, seeing how many critical targets there are in rural states.

It is, in fact, the state of Indiana that has the most terrorist targets, almost three times as many as California!
“We don’t find it embarrassing,” said the department’s deputy press secretary, Jarrod Agen. “The list [of targets] is a valuable tool.”

Sunday, July 09, 2006

E adesso aridatece la Gioconda

I make it to Rome just in time to see the game. In Frankfurt airport, a group of French that was on my plane from London starts singing the Marseillaise while walking to their connection. Sorry, guys.

On our way to the city center after the game, we stop at a newspaper kiosk on via Nomentana. Around midnight, barely an hour after the end of the game, and with the city completely gridlocked, they are selling the Monday edition of the Corriere dello Sport with a chronicle of the match. If only these miracles of logistics and of getting things done with tight deadlines could happen in areas unrelated to football!

The city is in a complete, beautiful chaos. (I'll post some pictures.) About two hundred thousand people had watched the game at Circo Massimo, which is absolutely unreachable by car. There have been so many fireworks in Piazza del Popolo that there is smoke everywhere. Around 2am, throngs of people walk back along the Muro Torto to wherever they parked their cars, while an endless queue of cars and scooters tries to go in the opposite direction and reach the Lungotevere.

Sportsmanship, unfortunately, is not the strong point of the Roman football fan. The most popular choruses shouted in the street are not very classy. And what about the group of guys running around in tighty whities and with "W la fica" written on their chest?

At one point, from one car they start shouting "Forza Italia" ("go, Italy" which is, by the way, the name that Berlusconi chose for his party). From another car they shout back "don't say 'Forza Italia," say 'Forza Roma'."

(The title of this post, and now give us back the Mona Lisa, is from a sign I saw on tv.)

Update: Roberto Calderoli, formerly a minister in Berlusconi's government, commented:
una squadra che ha schierato lombardi, campani, veneti o calabresi, ha vinto contro una squadra che ha perso, immolando per il risultato la propria identità, schierando negri, islamici, comunisti

"A team composed of Lombardi, Campani, Veneti and Calabresi won against a team that has sacrificed its identity and played with negroes, muslims and communists." Eat your heart out, Pat Robertson, we have much, much crazier guys than you in Italy, and they get appointed to the equivalent of cabinet positions.

Update: From YouTube, a video shot in Rome in Piazza Venezia.