Today's Blogs

The Cops Go Underground

Bloggers rail against random searches of New York City subway passengers, discuss the conclusion of Lance Armstrong’s final Tour de France, and buzz about Mel Gibson’s forthcoming Apocalypto.

The cops go underground:The New York City police department has begun randomly searching the bags of subway passengers in the wake of the recent London Tube attacks. “I think it gives potential terrorists something to think about,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told CNN. “I think this is a reasonable step to take.” 

“Welcome, all, to our own Singapore style police state!” salutes hyperbolic Jen Chung at Big Apple clearinghouse Gothamist. Other New Yorkers exhibit less inflected outrage. Random searches are both ineffective and unacceptable, insists Lindsay Beyerstein, who’s guest-blogging at the Washington Monthly. “This is not a serious counter-terrorism effort,” she argues. “This is a public relations move by Mayor Bloomberg and the MTA.”

“Why are we so quick be scared?” wondersaTypical Joe, a New Yorker living in Georgia. “In New York tomorrow, thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, will give up a part of their Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure to try to reduce an already very slim chance they might be victimized.” At Lean Left, Kevin Keith argues that the new policy is more intrusive than similar procedures at airports because most commuters can’t “opt-out” of taking the subway. “This new policy means that the police can unilaterally waive the 4th Amendment for anyone who enters the public transit system, as most New Yorkers do multiple times each day.”

“Neo-Rican” Don Chu of Verde Luz is one of many to highlight the likelihood of racial profiling. “[W]e all know that the searches won’t be ‘random’ as the NYPD says,” he writes. “They’ll be picking out a specific profile, probably something like this - bronze skin, Arab-looking, maybe having a beard.” Conservative La Shawn Barber, however, thinks racial profiling could have prevented both of the recent London incidents. “If only authorities would stop and search Middle Eastern-looking men with backpacks headed for public transit systems, they could prevent most of these suicide bombings,” she writes. “But they’d rather feel me up in the airport than ‘offend’ homicidal Muslim maniacs.”

Read more about the subway searches here.

Go, Lance, Go:Lance Armstrong will finish his final Tour de France Sunday in Paris. With only two stages remaining, the six-time champion leads by nearly 3 minutes.

Cyclist Rich Young thinks that Saturday’s individual time trial “represents the final opportunity for a significant shuffle in the General Classification standings,” but says there’s not much chance the yellow jersey changes hands. “Lance Armstrong’s lead of 2:46 seconds over Ivan Basso is unassailable unless a crash, illness or some other quirky accident weakens Armstrong,” he predicts. Sportswriter Martin Dugard writes that the champ is showing the strain of success. “The story today is simple: Lance Armstrong is praying not to crash. With just three stages left he looks terrible, all drawn and sleep-deprived. … Lance looked haunted as he rode to the line.”

A few are skeptical of the Armstrong legend. “Lance Armstrong, great comeback story, unbelievable dominance in his game. But all the talk that’s been out lately about him being the greatest athlete in America… I don’t know,” hedges banker Bill at Another Blog by Another Geek. “If a lot of track stars, hockey players, those kinds of athletes, had decided to invest their time and energy into cycling instead of the other sports, then Lance wouldn’t be as dominant as he has been. He’s the top player in a sport that doesn’t have a lot of great players.”

Read more about Armstrong’s final Tour.

Apocalypto: Disney has purchased the distribution rights to Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ follow-up Apocalypto,a non-religious action flick set 3,000 years ago.

“Mel Gibson Cashes In His Jesus Money,” writes cinemaphile DonnieDarker at The Movie Booth. “There are at least a dozen religious jokes begging to be told there, but I’m going to attempt restraint. I’m told it’s good for the soul.” L.A. gossip site Defamer wonders what story the vaguely described feature will tell. “Details of the plot are under tight wraps, but it’s believed that it doesn’t involve the Messiah getting his ass kicked for two hours,” they say. “Gibson’s really stepping out of his comfort zone on this one.”

Jim Davila of PaleoJudaica doubts that this announcement refers to Gibson’s long-rumored Maccabbees project. “The only promising event from 3000 years ago I can think of is the conquest of Jerusalem by David, but that’s just a wild guess. It may be from an entirely different part of the world. We’ll see. If he really does this one, I hope it’s filmed in another ancient language.” At FilmChat, critic Peter Chattaway writes that, as a director, Gibson is working his way back through time. “It won’t be long before he makes a film about cavemen.”

Read more about Mel Gibson and more about Apocalypto.

Have a question, comment, or suggestion for Today’s Blogs? E-mail .