The meeting of two larger-than-life mayors

London mayor Boris Johnson describes meeting New York mayor Michael Bloomberg:

When the mayors met for the first time, Mr. Johnson recalled, Mr. Bloomberg kept talking about trans fats.

“I didn’t know what trans fats were,” Mr. Johnson said, a glint in his eye. “I thought it had something to do with transsexuals, obese transsexuals, or something. Anyway, he made a great deal about that.”

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Just an observation

From the New York Times today:

The BBC and other British news organizations reported Tuesday that the police may be permitted to use rubber bullets for the first time as part of the government’s strengthened response to any resumption of the mayhem. David Lammy, Britain’s intellectual-property minister, also called for a suspension of Blackberry’s encrypted instant message service. Many rioters, exploiting that service, had been able to organize mobs and outmaneuver the police, who were ill-equipped to monitor it. [emphasis mine] “It is unfortunate, but for the very short term, London can’t have a night like the last,” Mr. Lammy said in a Twitter post.

This sounds awfully familiar. It is also, as Andrew Sullivan would likely dub it, Greenwald bait.

It goes without saying that most aspects of the London riots are entirely different than those that have been taking place all over the Middle East this year. Nevertheless, it is sometimes helpful to remind ourselves what exactly separates “us” from “them,” as a preemptive guard against a gradual erosion of civil liberties. We’ve learned that lesson the hard way in the United States since 9/11 — and perhaps more depressingly, many have yet to grasp it.