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Oct 30th 2012 1:54AM To use or not to use the knee defender is mechanically irrelevant if you're tall enough. I'm a 6'0 lady and when sitting upright, my knees already press against the back of the seat in front of me, preventing it from reclining fully. I've been on numerous flights where the person in front of me slams their chair repeatedly into my legs, trying to recline it fully. I have passengers turn around and yell at me every time I shift, thus bumping the chair pressed down onto my lap. There's a certain beauty to the idea of a piece of plastic taking the hit, vice my body.
I hate the whole mentality of 'I bought a ticket, so now I can do whatever I want.' It leads to random dudes plopping themselves down into my lap, not caring if they hurt someone else. Ouch. I never recline my chair for that reason, unless the seat behind me is empty.
The only time I've ever resolved this kind of situation to my satisfaction was on a bus in Cairo. No flight attendant, so things can turn into a knock out drag down fight. That was a spectacle.
Oct 20th 2012 7:15AM Just finished George Kennan: An American Life. I agree with the spirit of what you've written, but you left an important part of the story out. Kennan spent his entire career writing lengthy jeremiads of one kind or another. What made the Long Telegraph different is that it was timely, it was read by the right people at the right time, and it was a useful tool for people duking out a policy battle back in DC.
Nothing is more boring than a "Field Trip to the South" cable that lacks a more fundamental and utilitarian goal- we should be writing with a purpose, to inform policy development back home. That, of course, requires a reading appetite among DC consumers longer than a three bullet 'key points'- alas.