So far, it seems true that surveillance helicopters are to terrorists as shadows are to groundhogs. In the lobby of the office where I sometimes work, this morning there was a videocamera newly wired to a branch of a yellowing Ficus benjamina as if it were a Christmas tree ornament. It was aimed at the revolving door.

I was reminded, last night, when I reached page 260 of the 9/11 Commission Report, that there have been reports of buildings in New York cased by terrorists before. Surveillance by Yemenis of a federal building in New York was mentioned in the infamous August 6, 2001, Presidential Daily Brief, the one titled “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in U.S.” That’s the one that Bush understood to be “historical,” which he found “heartening” because it mentioned that the FBI was conducting 70 investigations into Al Qaeda, and which he didn’t feel he needed to do anything about. To quote the report: Bush “said that if his advisers had told him there was a cell in the United States, they would have moved to take care of it. That never happened.”

The New York Times reported this weekend that a group of young artists have been designing posters in anticipation of the Republican National Convention. The one I have in mind would feature a cityscape, in the style of 1940s tourism-by-railroad posters and rendered in varying hues of a single color, with this legend:

Welcome to New York!
. . . where it’s always orange
And in smaller type at the bottom, something along these lines: “Perhaps you’d like to address this issue by repairing relations with our allies and reforming the intelligence services?”