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09/14/06 09:36 - ID#29593

One last 9/11 thought

I know not everybody is a Keith Olbermann fan, but I like the way the guy writes and he delivered the following on his show on this year's 9/11.


This hole in the ground

Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space. And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.

All the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and -- as I discovered from those "missing posters" seared still into my soul -- two more in the Towers.

And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors.

I belabor this to emphasize that, for me this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.

And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft,"or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante and at worst, an idiot whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.

However, of all the things those of us who were here five years ago could have forecast -- of all the nightmares that unfolded before our eyes, and the others that unfolded only in our minds -- none of us could have predicted this.

Five years later this space is still empty.

Five years later there is no memorial to the dead.

Five years later there is no building rising to show with proud defiance that we would not have our America wrung from us, by cowards and criminals.

Five years later this country's wound is still open.

Five years later this country's mass grave is still unmarked.

Five years later this is still just a background for a photo-op.

It is beyond shameful.

At the dedication of the Gettysburg Memorial -- barely four months after the last soldier staggered from another Pennsylvania field -- Mr. Lincoln said, "we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Lincoln used those words to immortalize their sacrifice.

Today our leaders could use those same words to rationalize their reprehensible inaction. "We cannot dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground." So we won't.

Instead they bicker and buck pass. They thwart private efforts, and jostle to claim credit for initiatives that go nowhere. They spend the money on irrelevant wars, and elaborate self-congratulations, and buying off columnists to write how good a job they're doing instead of doing any job at all.

Five years later, Mr. Bush, we are still fighting the terrorists on these streets. And look carefully, sir, on these 16 empty acres. The terrorists are clearly, still winning.

And, in a crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it.

And there is something worse still than this vast gaping hole in this city, and in the fabric of our nation. There is its symbolism of the promise unfulfilled, the urgent oath, reduced to lazy execution.

The only positive on 9/11 and the days and weeks that so slowly and painfully followed it was the unanimous humanity, here, and throughout the country. The government, the President in particular, was given every possible measure of support.

Those who did not belong to his party -- tabled that.

Those who doubted the mechanics of his election -- ignored that.

Those who wondered of his qualifications -- forgot that.

History teaches us that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away from that government by its critics. It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nation's wounds, but to take political advantage.

Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.

The President -- and those around him -- did that.

They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused, as appeasers, as those who, in the Vice President's words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists."

They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken, a despot who we now learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated al-Qaida as much as we did.

The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had 'something to do' with 9/11 is "lying by implication."

The impolite phrase is "impeachable offense."

Not once in now five years has this President ever offered to assume responsibility for the failures that led to this empty space, and to this, the current, curdled, version of our beloved country.

Still, there is a last snapping flame from a final candle of respect and fairness: even his most virulent critics have never suggested he alone bears the full brunt of the blame for 9/11.

Half the time, in fact, this President has been so gently treated, that he has seemed not even to be the man most responsible for anything in his own administration.

Yet what is happening this very night?

A mini-series, created, influenced -- possibly financed by -- the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis, continues to be televised into our homes.

The documented truths of the last fifteen years are replaced by bald-faced lies; the talking points of the current regime parroted; the whole sorry story blurred, by spin, to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent, and the party in office, seem like the only option.

How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death, after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections? How dare you -- or those around you -- ever "spin" 9/11?

Just as the terrorists have succeeded -- are still succeeding -- as long as there is no memorial and no construction here at Ground Zero.

So, too, have they succeeded, and are still succeeding as long as this government uses 9/11 as a wedge to pit Americans against Americans.

This is an odd point to cite a television program, especially one from March of 1960. But as Disney's continuing sell-out of the truth (and this country) suggests, even television programs can be powerful things.

And long ago, a series called "The Twilight Zone" broadcast a riveting episode entitled "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street."

In brief: a meteor sparks rumors of an invasion by extra-terrestrials disguised as humans. The electricity goes out. A neighbor pleads for calm. Suddenly his car -- and only his car -- starts. Someone suggests he must be the alien. Then another man's lights go on. As charges and suspicion and panic overtake the street, guns are inevitably produced. An "alien" is shot -- but he turns out to be just another neighbor, returning from going for help. The camera pulls back to a near-by hill, where two extra-terrestrials are seen manipulating a small device that can jam electricity. The veteran tells his novice that there's no need to actually attack, that you just turn off a few of the human machines and then, "they pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it's themselves."

And then, in perhaps his finest piece of writing, Rod Serling sums it up with words of remarkable prescience, given where we find ourselves tonight: "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men.

"For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own -- for the children, and the children yet unborn."

When those who dissent are told time and time again -- as we will be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus -- that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of it, we are somehow un-American...When we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have "forgotten the lessons of 9/11"... look into this empty space behind me and the bi-partisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me:

Who has left this hole in the ground?

We have not forgotten, Mr. President.

You have.

May this country forgive you.


Very well said
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09/12/06 08:29 - 54ºF - ID#29592

Larry Quinn doesn't get it.

I'm a big Sabres fan and for the unitiated the team colors were blue and gold for roughly the first 26 years of their existence. Quinn made the right noises about "returning to tradition" etc. The colors were only part of what made it special. He has the team wearing their original unis for 20 games of the upcoming season. Larry's newly ordered design looks like the team is the screaming toupees. This was taken at center ice yesterday.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, the Buffalo Annoyed Goats!
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09/11/06 09:54 - 60ºF - ID#29591

9/11

It's on my mind a little bit, thanks to the regurgitation of the tv coverage. One of those seminal moments that seems like 2 minutes ago and twenty years ago at the same time. Both my sisters are Manhattan residents and were there at the time. My Dad was rented out to a software firm whose offices were across the street from the Pentagon.
My son was three and looking forward to Blues Clues but for once I was stuck on the Today Show as they brought whoever they could find in an attempt to describe it all.

I remember calling my now ex wife at work and telling her to get to a tv set. At the time, the one tower of the trade center was on fire, but the time she saw it, the tower was falling.

It's a little surreal. As I write this, the President was "campaigning" about the lessons of 9/11. Some of the commentators were already castigating him for the intervening response. Everybody's talking, but nobody listens. Kinda what got us into this mess.

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09/10/06 11:26 - 58ºF - ID#29590

I was supposed to go to church...

but I watched "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" instead. HDNet movies is still promoting an airing of "The Crocodile Hunter." In between work bullshit, I was watching one news broadcast that after it finished the requisite Bucky Phillips coverage ran a piece about Mr. Irwin. The gist of the interview is that he was a little stupid when it came to Marine life. If he would have given the stingray a little more space, he might still have some. All the Steve Zissou types are calling him out. I kind of chalked it up to you spend a lot of time taunting wildlife, eventually wildlife is going to give a little back.

The Bills start today, but I'm more excited for the new season of the Simpsons, been that kind of week.

My former father in law told me of a communications posting in city hall, so I think part of the day will go to prepping some material for that. I spent part of Friday working on a web site that supposedly going live and the other part of the day taking customer payments. I'm trying to be patient with all the changes, but I'm reminded of that old joke about the two crows flying in the same circle. One crow councils to "be patient." The other responds with "I've been patient, but now I want to kill something." Guess which one I am.

My juvenile replacement helped himself to my mail a few times at work. I tried complaining to my former boss that it wasn't the content that bothered me it was the fact he thought he could rip right in and tell me about it afterwards was what found I troubling.

Sucks. I used to love my job, now I can't wait to be done for the day. So, I'm on a cover letter writing binge. Today, an afternoon of videogaming and whatnot with number one son.

Have a good one, ya'all
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09/05/06 10:36 - 64ºF - ID#29589

Only one day into the week

and I'm spent


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Here's to hump day ya'all
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09/04/06 05:15 - 66ºF - ID#29588

Estrip Amuck!

Dropped some stuff off at Amvets today. Before donating, I went in where a 50% off everything sale turned the whole place into a discount lord of the flies, stuff everywhere.

Had to laugh at the dumpster next to the donation area, adorned by 3 estrip stickers. I cruised over to wegmans and a white toyota on Amherst street had 3 more.

Off to get cultured with Clerks II tonight.

Hope everybody enjoyed the weekend.
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Category: mental mcnuggets

09/03/06 10:00 - 59ºF - ID#29587

"Help me, Jesus!! Help me Tom Cruise!"

Alright, who flipped the November switch?? Friggin Ernesto remnants all over the place. I swear the rain had a sense of humor. I was at my parents during the afternoon and early evening yesterday and as I packed my car to come back this way, the rain would lighten from the back door only to intensify as I got to my trunk. Three separate times the tree I planted as a kid made sure a rain drop the size of Rhode Island would precisely where my hair is the thinnest.

I took the young'ns to see Talledega Nights last night. It wasn't one of my better parenting moves. Something about the Regal theaters can be a little artificial. The seats are comfy but the show started late as the theater had to get all their advertising in. I didn't mind too much, but the coming attraction for the Grudge 2 was almost 10 minutes long. I have no need to see the film now since they already showed all the "good parts." I was in the mood for some dumb fun and Will Ferrel certainly delievered. It wasn't the best of choices given that the youngest in my party was 8, but live and learn I guess.

The unitarian church on Elmwood was members do services during the summer time. One of the celebrants today was my ex. So being a good guy, I got the kids up and we went down and participated. It was a grand time. We all repaired to the Towne for breakfast and it was good way to kick off a cold sunday. After a long day in Cable wonderland on Friday, an really early day yesterday coordinating child pick up and drop off and this morning, I look forward to sleeping in tomorrow. Hold my calls.

I had to skip the debaunchery of Timika's birthday hoopla to be Dad. I seem to be on an every other estrip party mojo so next time watchout. This weekend was highlighted by the emptying of my paycheck at Office Depot to make sure everybody had what the needed for Wednesday.

To ensure, I get what I need I've been creating cover letters tonight to start looking outside the cable empire for other rewards.

Say a prayer for that resume over there.......

So, I hear Ice Cream calling, but let me close with Happy Birthday wishes to (e:terry), (e:mike), (e:ladycroft) and (e:nejifer). Congrats to (e:paul) and (e:theecarey) on wrapping up school. New job good wishes for Carey and her mad cow self as well as (e:imk2).

After all that hard work, let's celebrate Labor Day by taking it easy. If you need me leave a message, I'll get back you. In the interrm, head over to throwoutyourtv.com and watch Keith Olbermann tear Donald Rumsfeld a new one. I loved it.
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09/01/06 08:24 - 59ºF - ID#29586

Almost hockey season


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08/31/06 09:52 - 60ºF - ID#29585

Time for a giggle


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08/28/06 10:09 - 66ºF - ID#29584

hmmm

What seemed like a very claustraphobic friday & saturday mellowed quite nicely. I think the PMTbirthday/graduation party was the high/slash turning point.

I have to work for the cable overlords until 7:30 on Fridays which blows. I was late picking up the kids and they all had places they had to be on Saturday so it was almost like a child drive by. Had to race number one son back to his mom's post Tae Kwon Do to race out to the Bills game where I'm moonlighting. The current assignment has me looking over a couple of suites at such an angle that you don't really see what's going on inside the stadium and time starts to get a little murky. I literally lost track of where things stood after the 9000th buffoon asked me where the mens room was ("down the hall, hang a louie").

The stupid game nearly went to overtime (Does anybody give that much of shit in preseason?). Fortunately I got out of Orchard Park and up the 24 Linwood hoopla in fairly short order. It was a great time. The house is beautiful and the company great as usual. Fun to see you all in person again. For the record, Imk, Jenks, and Ladycroft, you were definitely missed. Great time and I'll probably be teasing Carolinian for a few more days yet as I am that much of a jerk.

Got into bed a little after 3 after starting the day at 7. Woke to my cell phone ringing at the entirely acceptable hour of 11. The woman I went out with last week called to go see John and Mary at the Elmwood Festival. Woo-hoo! Score one for this old fart! We had a fine time. She had to work later in the day and I had number one son duty (he needed some guy time), but it was a fine way to spend some time. The festival is starting to look a little trapped in time, but John and Mary were great, even if John looked a little board.

I can almost face the work week.....almost.

Have a good monday folks
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