In New York, the numbers for the protests were all over the map. I haven't done any serious studying but it seemed to me that the numbers thrown out by the media varied based on their tilt: FoxNews grossly underestimated, while NYTimes had a higher number--although still less than reality, I think.
"These protestors are given maximum leeway to have peaceful protests"
This was certainly not true at all in New York.
I don't think people are giving enough credit to how mainstream "Christian wack-jobs", like Pat Robertson, have become. You can't really use the "you're a bad christian" line these days because for a lot of people the new, patriotic religious fundamentalism has completely changed that line of thinking: it is okay to be a christian and a) have a lot of money without thinking about have-nots (forget about the poor rural demographic of fundamentalist christians--say hello to the phenomenally wealthy, and young, conservative christians in places like Orange County, CA
), b) be perfectly alright with military actions and war, c) have absolutely no sense of social justice or the common good (for instance, if everyone got a good education, then we would all be better off). My theory, since nobody asked, is that this demographic is the love child of Jerry Falwell and Ronald Reagan: Fundamentalism meets fiscal conservatism.
If you haven't met these young, hip, rich, conservative, religious types yet, I think you will very soon. Maureen Dowd has...