Sunday, September 11, 2005

9/11/01 Remembered

This is my favorite piece written in the aftermath of 9/11/01

Leonard Pitts, Jr. - Miami Herald

They pay me to tease the shades of meaning from social and cultural issues, to provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. But in this moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only thing I can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must be addressed to the unknown author of this suffering: You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard. What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed. Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause. Did you want to make us afraid? You just steeled our resolve. Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together.

Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family, a family bent by racial, cultural, political, and class division, but a family nonetheless. We're frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional energy on pop culture minutiae: a singer's revealing dress, a ball team's misfortune, a cartoon mouse. We're wealthy, too, spoiled by the readily availability of trinkets and material goods, and maybe because of that, we walk through life with a certain bit of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally decent, though-peace-loving and compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and to do it. And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving God. Some people, you perhaps, think that any or all of this makes us weak. You're mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals.

Yes, we're in pain now. We are in morning and we are in shock. We're still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working to make ourselves understand that isn't a special effect from some Hollywood blockbuster, isn't the plot development from a Tom Clancy novel. Both in terms of the awful scope of it's ambition and the probable final death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of terrorism in the history of the United States and, indeed, the history of the world. You've bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before. But there's a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught to it's bitter sorrow the last time anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us to such and monumental pain. When aroused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice.

I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as you, I think, do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to tremble with dread of the future. In days to come, there will be recrimination and accusation, fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. There will be heightened security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms. We'll go forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad. But determined, too. Unimaginably determined. You see, there is steel beneath this velvet. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us well. On this day, the family's bickering is put on hold. As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, as Americans we will rise in defense of all we cherish.

Still, I keep wondering what it was you hoped to teach us. It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that's the case, consider the message received. And take this message in exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what we're about. You don't know what you just started. But you're about to learn.

But on this, only the 4th anniversary, since that day I am beginning to have questions about the resolve, commitment, and integrity of many in this country. I haven't forgotten, have you?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Mourning in New Orleans?

New Orleans may very well get wiped off the map tomorrow. If I was a prophet I'd predict it but I'm not and so I won't. All I know is that I read something very similar to this series about a year ago (Read all of it, pretty scary and it was all known in advance) .

Researcher Jay Combe has reached a troubling conclusion. He's told his supervisors at the Army Corps of Engineers that if The Hurricane hits New Orleans, most of the buildings in the city would probably be destroyed. If the water didn't demolish them, the hurricane's horrific winds would. And Combe says that raises a question: How many people would die?
Some researchers say 40,000. Some say 20,000. This Army Corps researcher says those figures are probably too low.
Combe worries, "I think of a terrible disaster. I think of 100,000."
Do you dream sometimes about a hurricane?
"It's strange you should ask that," answers Combe. "I had a dream the other night about flooding, and it's unusual because I don't usually have bad dreams. I can't really remember the dream except that water was coming down a slope. I don't remember much of it, fortunately. I don't want to remember."

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Midas Touch

This post is taken from my comments left on the blog Just One Minute about the new bankruptcy legislation. I also have a comment about this topic on another blog of mine: Bass Pundit Preach.

I thought my comments were good enough to post here, not that anyone would come by this blog except by accident.

Politically i would be best classified as a free trading, pro-business, neo-con, religious right wing conservative intellectual. I can't speak specifically about the merits of this bill cause I don't know much about it.

I do know that I have recently filed for and received a discharge of debts under Chapter 7. While I am not proud of having done so and fully acknowlege pure financial
stupidity and poor decision making on my part in the process, still I don't feel
guilty in the least for having pursued bankruptcy protection because of the
circumstances, my worldview, and intellecual nature. To some it may seem odd but
I really don't "credit" myself as guilty anymore precisely because of my
religious and economic/political beliefs. Walk a mile in my shoes and see where
they lead you.

I want to answer the Leesus question as forthrightly as I

"If people get into debt, why should the creditors get stuck with
the bill?"

Simply because a "creditor" by another name is an investor
who is assuming some risk to pursue profit. Money and people are a volitile
combination and things don't always turn out like we want or expect and that's
life; be thankful for what you have, don't envy or covet and be willing to
forgive those who owe you debts if necessary because if you will not forgive
them it would be better that you should not have gone into business at all.
Getting stuck with the bill and paying it is a righteous thing.

At the end of the day after my bankruptcy I was better off and the credit card
companies and their employees while not "better off" than when they had me on
the hook are still far better off financially than me, are plenty solvant and
are reaping healthy profits. They have better financial sense than me, so more
power to em!

Leesus writes this:
"I am sick of personally financing
other people's "fresh starts." I sold my car once to pay for some idiots "fresh

I have little sympathy. Pay your bills."

If you have no sympathy for the destitute why should the destitute or anyone for that matter have any sympathy for you? The only real sympathy your gonna receive for your attitude is the sympathy of the devil and I'm not saying that to be snippy.

No one likes getting ripped off but between the choice of that or being
heavily saddled by a pile of debt, I know which option I prefer and that from
experience of both? Having your stuff stolen or being betrayed sucks, but having
a conscience and some pride yet knowing that you are a financial screw up and
own less than nothing despite working hard and trying to play by the rules is
far worse.

Some people have a midas touch and in some hands gold turns
to dust. Both thought they were cursed (because they were)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

This is brilliant

No What? is not dead! At least not before this was added.

From the comments of the Belmont Club the remarks of one Buddy Larsen who I suspect is another OGRE. Apparently the really good stuff is a copy of something to that which wasn't linked, maybe from Mark Steyn. Anyway, like Guinness Draft it's Brilliant!

Here's a snip from the host/post's Mark Steyn link (it illumins the OIF critic's fond recollections of those 'stable' 90s; that previous 'tie' game):

"When Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League, warned that the U.S. invasion of Iraq would ''destabilize'' the entire region, he was right. That's why it was such a great idea.

The ''realpolitik'' types spent so long worshipping at the altar of stability they were unable to see it was a cult for psychos. The geopolitical scene is never stable, it's always dynamic. If the Western world decides in 2005 that it can ''contain'' President Sy Kottik of Wackistan indefinitely, that doesn't mean the relationship between the two parties is set in aspic. Wackistan has a higher birth rate than the West, so after 40 years of ''stability'' there are a lot more Wackistanis and a lot fewer Frenchmen. And Wackistan has immense oil reserves, and President Kottik has used the wealth of those oil reserves to fund radical schools and mosques in hitherto moderate parts of the Muslim world. And cheap air travel and the Internet and ATM machines that take every bank card on the planet and the freelancing of nuclear technology mean that Wackistan's problems are no longer confined to Wackistan. For a few hundred bucks, they can be outside the Empire State Building within seven hours. Nothing stands still. ''Stability'' is a fancy term to dignify laziness and complacency as sophistication."

Makes sense to me. And I love the Wackistanis bit.