Revisited – 9:11: A Personal Reflection


 

I wrote this for last year’s 9/11 anniversary and, since it’s been getting so much traffic on my blog recently, I thought I’d bring it back again this year. I can’t think of anything more appropriate anyway. This is in memory of those who perished on 9/11, almost ten years ago to the day. May God bless the families who will relive that day.

In the four years since I started blogging and only really two years blogging on a regular basis, I haven’t really even thought of putting my own words about my memories of 9/11 to paper…Or to screen, in this case.

However, earlier today on the way home, I listened as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was interviewed regarding his memories about what happened back in 2001. When asked about what memory was most etched in his mind from that day, he recounted the painful memories he has of being close enough to the two devastated towers to witness trapped World Trade Center workers leaping from the wreckage and flames to certain death near or over 100 stories to the pavement below. The picture you see above is of one of those desperate souls who perished that day.

On 9/11/2001, I was at work in downtown Indianapolis on the 17th floor of what is known as the “Gold Building”. There are several buildings considerably taller than the Gold Building but it stands out due to its gold-colored windows, causing it to distinguish itself from other buildings in the Indianapolis skyline. Shortly after 8:45 AM, Deb, our office manager hurriedly moved through the office saying something about an airplane striking one of the Twin Towers in New York City. I guess at the time we were certainly a little stunned but it had probably not dawned on anyone just yet that a terrorist attack was under way. We had a small, portable black-and-white television set that Deb had set up in her office as the news played, informing us of what was going on.

Honestly, after hearing about that first plane crashing into the tower, I don’t remember much detail of what we learned over the course of the next hour or two. I do remember hearing about the second plane and realizing that it was now certainly no accident and then we heard a little later on about the plane striking the Pentagon. By this time, there was little work being done as we all tried to keep track of more pressing matters.

Then we heard about another plane possibly heading towards Washington on a similar mission and, shortly thereafter, crashing in Pennsylvania. By this time, I remember feeling pretty numb, the kind of feeling you get hearing about the unexpected passing of a loved one or receiving bad news from the doctor.

Also by this time, emergency responders all across the country were preparing for the possibility of similar attacks occurring in their own localities. We were told that we could go home if we wanted. I didn’t see much point in staying since there weren’t many, if any calls coming in to our support department, so I decided to head home.

After arriving home nearly 45 minutes later, listening to the news on the radio the entire way, I planted myself in front of the TV and watched in stunned silence the news coverage of the events of the day being played on nearly every channel, including many of those that never covered the news. That’s pretty much all I did for the rest of that day. I honestly don’t even remember if I went to work that next day, which would have been a Wednesday. I think I must have but it’s mostly a blur by now.

Listening to Giuliani’s account of what he experienced that day, I wept as I thought of the despair that those people in the towers must have felt that day. I cannot even begin to fathom how hopeless that must’ve felt to be trapped on the floors above the initial devastation. I’ve found it horrifying enough to have had dreams where I was falling and the helplessness I felt from it, to say nothing of actually falling to certain doom. What must the man in the above picture have been thinking in his last few seconds alive, knowing that he would not wake up to see his family the next day? What of those who made last-second phone calls to their spouse or child, knowing that the person on the other end of the call would soon be without their husband, wife, father, or mother? What went through the minds of those responders who rushed fearlessly into the soon-to-collapse towers in the hopes of saving maybe just one more person?

One of the sights I remember from that day as I looked east out the windows of the 17th floor of the Gold Building was that of a rainbow circling the sun. I’d never seen anything like it before and perhaps my mind and/or eyes were just playing tricks on me. I don’t even know if something like that is possible but I took it as a sign that, despite the evil that had occurred that morning, much good would or could come from it. Time really did seem to stand still that day.

May God bless and heal the families of those who lost their loved ones on 9/11/2001.

NEVER FORGET.

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AWOL


You’ve heard that elections have consequences, right? Well, is there some unnamed contaminant in the water in the Midwest that causes some politicians to temporarily (or otherwise) lose their ability to do the work they were elected to do? Is there something in the makeup of a Midwestern elected official that blocks the signals between the neurons in their brain from being able to travel from one cell to the next when they think about maybe showing up for work? These are the questions that plague those of us who actually value showing up for work and doing what we’ve been hired to do.

I can certainly understand being opposed to certain legislation and not wanting to vote on it, even it if it is heavily favored by the vast majority of those voting. However, what I can’t understand is purposely abdicating the responsibility to voice my opinion in the form of a vote when that is what I was elected to do in the first place. This is what rubs people the wrong way about this whole situation, regardless of party affiliation.

Part of the consequences of being in the minority when you’re in office is that there may not  be much you can do to stop legislation that you do not agree with. If that’s the case, the responsibility of being in the minority is that you either do what you can do, within the realms of the law, to stop the legislation by whatever means are available to you, i.e. by filibusters and other procedural tactics. Instead, these scofflaws from Wisconsin and Indiana just decided to skip town. No votes. No serious debates in their respective legislatures. Just a packed suitcase, a full tank of gas, and a friendly governor in a neighboring state who’s not willing to enforce the law and jettison your illegal rear end back to whence you came.

I know…You’re probably saying to yourself, “You’re an anti-union neocon!” Well, honestly, I’m not a huge supporter of unions. I do think they’re largely unneeded but I also think there are places and situations where they are not only acceptable but probably completely necessary. I’ve been a union member before and, if the appropriate situation presents itself, I may be a union member in the future. Though unlikely, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for me. Regardless, this particular issue really has nothing to do with being pro or anti-union, Republican, Democrat, or whatever the particular stripe. This has to do with one thing…The rule of law and showing up to do what you’ve been called to do. Plain and simple.

Grow Up!


I probably should never write a blog post when I’m in a pissed-off mood but here goes anyway…

The whole Arizona shooting thing and the fallout from pundits, politicians, and posers against who’s supposedly at fault…Here are a few points:

  1. Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and the Tea Party folks are NOT at fault in any way. If you think otherwise, your political ideology has blinded you and you’re incapable of putting more than two brain cells together to come up with a cogent thought. Grow up!
  2. Using a target or crosshairs in a political ad has been going on for decades. There’s nothing wrong with it.
  3. Military or “violent” terminology, in the same way, is completely acceptable. Even Jesus used such language, saying that the violent take the kingdom of heaven by force.
  4. One of the shooter’s friends described him as a liberal and others have described him as apolitical. If you think conservatism had anything to do with it, you’re as ideologically as blind as a bat. Two of his favorite books are “Mein Kampf” and “The Communist Manifesto”. Dude played both sides of the fence as far as I can tell, if he even had a side to begin with.
  5. He didn’t listen to or watch political talk radio or TV. If you think this played a part, go back and re-read the second sentence in point #1.
  6. Nancy Pelosi once again proves herself to be completely clueless. This was not an “accident”.
  7. Newsflash…The shooter WAS COMPLETELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ENTIRE ACT.

This notice brought to you by a supposed domestic terrorist.

Politics of Racial Division Coming to Indianapolis Permanently?


"Reverend" Al Sharpton

That collective groan you may have heard in the Indianapolis area the other day likely emanated from the city’s conservative community and hopefully every other rationally-minded citizen who cares about real racism.

In case you missed it, Reverend Al Sharpton, in town on Wednesday to protest alleged police brutality in the Brandon Johnson case, used the opportunity to announce his plans to open a headquarters for his National Action Network. This is supposedly a shot across the bow of Republican Mayor Greg Ballard, whom Sharpton has critized for his reluctance to meet with a local ministerial group on this issue of police brutality.

Admittedly, race relations in the Indianapolis area between the IMPD and the community aren’t exactly making folks feel all warm and cozy with each other. There have been several high profile incidents in the last year, including the Johnson case and a fake fight staged to bait an unknowing police officer. These and other incidents have apparently cemented the notion by some that an organization like NAN belongs here. I beg to differ.

First, why would something like this even be deemed necessary, considering the existence of groups like the Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis? Shouldn’t they be taking the lead on this instead of relying on a nationally known and controversial figure like Sharpton? Could it be because the Concerned Clergy hasn’t exactly seemed up to the task?

Secondly, NAN’s history of alleged shady financial dealings doesn’t inspire my confidence. There’ve been allegations in the past, in the style of compatriot Jesse Jackson, that Sharpton has engaged in soliciting “donations” from some of the very corporations against which he’s threatened boycotts and protests. NAN has also been investigated for tax payment irregularities, though related charges were dropped in 2008.

Lastly, why do we want the controversy that seemingly flows from Sharpton like cops coming out of a donut shop? In my opinion, the only thing that Sharpton and his National Action Network are really all that good at is generating a little bit of cheap cash for themselves. Actually, now that I think about it, they might not even be all that successful at that, either. If recent news is anywhere near accurate, this situation may take care of itself.

I asked local talk radio host, WXNT‘s own Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, about his take on Sharpton’s organization possibly coming to town and he pretty much summed up what I was thinking. “The good thing about the NAN coming to town is that they will be paying rent.”

Loser Family First to Camp Out for Black Friday


Davenport Central

In a classic preemptive move, the Davenport family of St. Pete, Florida, have outmaneuvered the local populace to become the honorary “First Family of Black Friday”, as presented to them by the manager of the Best Buy store outside of which the ten-member family started camping on Wednesday at 10 a.m. There are currently more than 1000 Best Buy stores in the United States. Shockingly, no one else has yet been dumb enough to put themselves in the running for the prestigious award.

In a riveting and exclusive interview, Lorie Davenport was quoted as saying “We’re here really early this year because we’ve always been second, third and fourth and down the line. We’re tired of not being first and we figured we’ve put in six years, we want to be first.” Thank heavens that SOMEONE is putting forth the effort to pursue excellence in this day and age where that quality is seriously lacking in our society.

The family even had the foresight to plan ahead for including quality family time, showering, and eating. “So we’re rotating shifts according to work schedules and family time and when they need to shower and eat.” Thank heavens, because there’s nothing worse than being caught in a tent outside of a Best Buy after you’ve ingested a sack of cheeseless sliders from Krystal.

When asked about their plans for the Thanksgiving holiday, one of the Davenport clan was overheard saying that “Thanksgiving is a crap holiday. We’ve instead decided to celebrate by worshiping at the feet of the Consumerism gods.”

Unconfirmed rumors from the Davenport camp indicate the family has been approached with a lucrative endorsement deal from the makers of The Snuggie ®.


Honor, Sanity, Fear, and the Continued Descent of CBS News



Earlier this year, after Glenn Beck held his Restoring Honor rally in Washington D.C. on 8/28, most media outlets estimated the crowd as being one of the largest gatherings in the area’s history. NBC News estimated the event drew 300,000. Others like Joe Scarborough of MSNBC and Sky News reported that the event may have been attended by as many as 500,000. The New York Post’s estimate was 300,000, while ABC News said it attracted more than 100,000. Others like NPR just said that the crowd was too large to estimate but that it was a “massive turnout”.

Jon Stewart / Stephen Colbert

On October 30th, comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held their counter-rally called “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear”. The estimates for this rally also proved it to be a rather large rally. Estimates ranged around 200,000 for the most part, with NPR, the New York Times, and the AP all estimating “tens of thousands” to the 200,000 figure. The AP was quoted as saying Stewart and Colbert “appeared to rival Beck’s rally in attendance.”

The photo at the top shows aerial pictures taken of both rallies, with Beck’s rally on the left and Stewart’s and Colbert’s on the right. The crowd size looks fairly close to me, though it’s possible the Stewart/Colbert rally had a slightly larger attendance. However, the number I really wanted to discuss was the CBS News estimate for both gatherings. For Beck’s rally, CBS lowballed it and claimed an analysis of the aerial photos showed only about 87,000 with a margin of error of 9,000. Out of the major news networks, theirs was by far the lowest estimate. However, their analysis of the photos taken from the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear came out to 215,000.

CBS News has a longstanding liberal bias, in my opinion, so it’s no wonder they lowballed the Beck rally numbers while inflating those for Stewart’s and Colbert’s rally. To be fair, though, I would have to say that the crowd size is close enough to warrant being considered a tie. Not that the two rallies were competing against one another. Well, Stewart’s and Colbert’s was certainly done as a counter-measure regardless of what they say but they still drew an extremely large crowd.

The descent of CBS News began, for me, during the 1988 Presidential campaign between Republican nominee George H.W. Bush and Democrat nominee Michael Dukakis. CBS News anchor Dan Rather attempted to ambush then Vice President Bush in a live interview on the CBS Evening News. Then, of course, Rather tried to subterfuge George W. Bush’s reelection bid in 2004 through the use of fake documents. Fortunately, he failed in both attempts and his career with CBS News came to a fairly abrupt end.

All this is to say, how can CBS News possibly be taken seriously with their crowd estimates from these two rallies, considering their history of bias against Republican or conservative politicians and pundits? Fortunately for all, their descent continues on a near daily basis as their evening newscast is perpetually the lowest or near lowest rated among the evening news broadcasts of the major networks. I’m thinking they should just replace Katie Couric with a talking monkey.

Note: A reader brought to my attention that the original photo at the top of this post may not have been correct, so I’ve replaced it with an updated photo.

You Say You Want a Revolution?


In one of those moments that caused me to emit that Tim Allen grunting noise, Republican congressional candidate Reverend Stephen Broden said the following in a TV interview yesterday.

We have a constitutional remedy. And the Framers say if that don’t work, revolution.

The interviewer, Brad Watson, political reporter for WFAA-TV, asked Broden for further clarification, to which he responded, “If the government is not producing the results or has become destructive to the ends of our liberties, we have a right to get rid of that government and to get rid of it by any means necessary. He added further clarification, saying “The option is on the table. I don’t think that we should remove anything from the table as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms. However, it is not the first option.”

Broden has been denounced by the Dallas County Republican Party and other Republicans.

Pardon the pun, but what has Broden been smoking? I’ve seen interviews with him before and he’s never said anything approaching this level of nuttiness. Of course, since he’s spoken at Tea Party events in the past, it’s likely inevitable that this will be linked to those violent and racist hatemongers (please note extreme sarcasm here…).

Also…”If that don’t work”? Come on, dude. Advocating violence and poor grammar do not go hand in hand.