Thursday, September 27, 2007

Conspiracy Theorists

On the morning commute today I saw a car with three, large, homemade bumper stickers. They stated that WTC 1,2 & 7 fell on their footprint at terminal velocity which is impossible without explosives . . . then went on to invite the reader to a web site.

The September 11 conspiracy theorists infuriate me because they've latched onto this tragedy not as a way to honor and bring justice to the day's victims but rather to besmirch a president they revile and also to show what a wretched country we all occupy. The motivators behind the latter are mysterious to me, while the former is typical of the left's vitriol -- which never fails to astound in its rage and depth. It's not enough to dislike the president anymore, the opposition must now vilify and accuse him of a monstrous act of murder.

I am also amazed at the lack of coherent logic in the argument that the Bush Administration perpetrated this act. After all, as I'm sure the liberal conspiracy theorist would tell you, Bush is the stupidest president we've ever had. He heads the most incompetent and corrupt administration in the history of this country. Yet, he managed to pull off an amazingly destructive, murderous attack involving 19 Saudi nationals, four hijacked planes and a black-ops demolition team to execute a plan that involved flying three planes into three of the most famous buildings in this country, and crashing the fourth into a field (it was shot down, actually, don't you know that?)and then detonating the charges to ensure that the Twin Towers collapsed. In fact, this plan was so secretive that in the six ensuing years no one involved in the plot has breathed a word of it.

Writing out the theory -- as I imagine it must play because I've not visited the site and will not lend credence to the theory by linking to it or visiting -- makes me afraid to actually share the road with such deluded people. To think that this was a US government hit job defies imagination. To think that this guy probably has a job also mystifies. I wonder what his co-workers must think as they walk by his vehicle in the company lot. I also wonder how he misses the irony of the fact that these stickers grace the back bumper of a BMW, rather than the side of a stolen shopping cart filled with someone's possessions. We live in an amazing country, except for the people who think it's not.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ahmadinejad Review

One of my pet peeves with MSM is its lack of follow-up -- stories are published with a distinct POV and then after the event occurs nothing is ever written again to amend or review the original article in light of following events. While I'm certainly not a reporter, nor a news outlet, I'll follow-up Monday's post about Ahmadinejad 's visit to Columbia University and backtrack a bit on my commentary on Lee Bollinger. I have to hand it Bollinger, he showed some spine by berating Iran's lunatic president. I have no issue with rudeness on this front, and bad form etc. -- as some observers mentioned on Tuesday. That's picayune nonsense.

Bollinger created a tough spot for himself (showing poor judgment with the invitation in the first place). By coming out swinging he showed himself to not be a total intellectual-wimp. He didn't do the diplomatic thing and heap praise on his unworthy speaker. For that, I applaud him. One of the unintended consequences of the event was that Ahmadinejad showed himself to be completely disconnected from reality -- something that should wake up Americans about the nature of our enemies.

How can a supposed world leader stand on a stage, in front of thousands of people, and the world media, and say that his country doesn't have homosexuals? How can we take seriously someone who claims that the Holocaust requires more scientific study to ascertain the veracity of its occurrence? This man is obviously not in touch with rational thought and yet people in certain quarters want us to negotiate with him. What do we think will come of this negotiation? The Iranians will not deal with us in good faith, in fact their definition of good faith probably bears no resemblance to ours so therefore no negotiation is possible.

Bret Stephens had a great piece, Columbia's Conceit, in yesterday's WSJ that said our ideas may be better than those of our enemies, but that won't prevent us from having to defend ourselves from them as they try to kill us. Ahmadinejad's visit proved, as if we needed more proof, what a nutter he is. Based on his performance we need to be prepared to deal with him in a way that may not appeal to rational, Western, liberal, open-minded types. That, however, is reality.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Morningside Heights Low

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is slated to speak today at Columbia University. Many within the student body and Lee Bollinger, the courageous leader of that fine institution, are wrapping themselves in the First Amendment and the "openness" of the American university system to defend their execrable decision to give this maniacal, anti-Semitic hate-monger a pulpit. Will conservative protesters be allowed to contribute their view point to the debate? Because of Columbia's membership in the Ivy League they are now conferring some sort of validity on his views and giving him cover that he does not deserve.

Would Columbia give President Bush a bully-pulpit from which to defend his decisions as the leader of this country? Do I even need to answer that question? The very same people rabidly defending Ahmadinejad's "right" to speak at their institution of higher learning would be the same people laying in front of Bush's motorcade and calling him a fascist murderer for defending this country. If the "logic" on display at Columbia in inviting Ahmadenijad to their campus and then defending his "right" to speak is any indicator of the type of critical reasoning skills being imparted at that school I think I'll stay away from hiring Columbia alumni should our paths ever cross out here in the world. Finally, Ahmadenijad has no rights under our constitution, he's not a citizen of this country. For shame, Columbia, for shame.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Constitution Day

The Constitution of the United States is 220 years old today. Long may it persist!

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. ... Done...the seventeenth day of September, in the year of our LORD one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven."

—George Washington and the delegates

Friday, September 14, 2007

Alive Day

Last night I watched Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq on HBO. Hosted and produced by James Gandolfini it was an inspiring, moving, horrifying and ultimately even-handed and unapologetic account of wounded Iraq War Veterans. These soldiers suffered egregious injuries, most as a result of IEDs, and their wounds are horrific. They very bluntly show their stumps, their surgery scars, prosthetic eyes and limbs. While I sometimes wanted to look away I forced myself to watch. These soldiers are fighting in a war that I support and it would have been hypocritical of me to look away.

Like anyone wounded as badly as these people were, the subjects of the show were serious and contemplative. Each is still grappling with their newly defined lives and what their injuries mean for their futures. It was an amazing television experience and Gandolfini was an unobtrusive presence -- asking questions, shaking their hands and hugging the soldiers after the interviews. Many times he was hidden by a cameraman and you rarely saw his face. Their stories were permitted to stand as testimonies to their strength, courage, luck and pluck. I don't think that they were politicized in any way. This lack of politicization, in and of itself, deserves mention in a media landscape where the soldier is a pawn in each side's never ending political chess match.

Many of these soldiers have undergone multiple surgeries -- one, 46 in 16 months -- and the care-level is a testament to the doctors and the medical professionals of this country. Many of these soldiers should, by rights, be dead. The interviewees and all the wounded and fallen soldiers, airmen and sailors deserve our respect, admiration, love and support. They certainly have mine. Everybody, war supporters and non-supporters alike should watch this show. It's important. Also, and finally, make a donation to some of the many charities that support the wounded and their families:

This is a good compendium of charities serving the military and military families. I donate to Fisher House and Operation Homefront each year around Christmas. I'm also going to donate to this organization that I learned about through this program: The Wounded Warrior Project.

God bless the troops -- the ones still in harm's way, and the ones recovering from their injuries.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six Years On

Six years ago today . . .

The Twin Towers, two jets, and the souls trapped on the upper floors vanished in a cloud of dust, death and destruction . . .

A sizable portion of The Pentagon, and the people who worked within were destroyed . . .

Forty people were murdered in a field in Shanksville, PA.

Not a day goes by that I don't think of the events of September 11, 2001. Mrs. Agricola and I were on a roof in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn within moments of AA11 hitting the North Tower. We witnessed UA175 hit the South Tower.

In the aftermath of the collapse ash and paper rained down on our neighborhood and coated the streets and stoops of our neighborhood. How do I forget that? How can I? I don't. I can't. I won't. It strikes me as profane to say that we should forget this event, and let it recede into history -- yet this is absolutely what the NY Times proposed last week . . .

We should never forget what happened in lower Manhattan. The events of that day destroyed thousands of people -- 2,966 to be exact -- and impacted countless others by turning them into widows, widowers and orphans. This day, six years ago today set us on a course that sees our armed forces engaged all over the world fighting an enemy who despises us. The politicos seem to forget that we were essentially minding our business on the morning of September 11, 2001. While some try and say that we asked for it, a sentiment that makes me cringe, I'll not slip into their vile relativism. No one who went to work that day asked for what they got. No country deserves what was delivered on the US on that day.

I fly my flag at half-staff today . I went for a run today to honor the victims (I ran down the Brooklyn Promenade not 20 minutes before the first plane hit the North Tower). I will do these things as long as I can because I will not forget this day as long as I live.

Never forget.
Never retreat.
Never surrender.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Cancelling The Times

I canceled The New York Times this morning. I only took the paper on Sundays, and had suspended it for the summer. After receiving yesterday's edition I realized that I had not missed it at all. For a long time I've had no desire to support the paper's editorial mission -- seeing the physical paper back on my property reminded me to drop it. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't do this earlier, but feel unburdened to have finally pulled the plug.

When the customer service representative asked me why I was canceling I told him that I could no longer overlook the paper's rabid anti-American sentiments, nor its support for defeat in Iraq nor its hatred of the president that has infected every section of the paper. He offered me 16 weeks at 50% off, free online subscription etc. etc.. It was a values call. While the writing and editing of the paper is far tighter, and the basic qualities of its articles superior to any that appear in the local Boston papers, I can no longer provide a monthly stipend to support the publication of information with which I fundamentally disagree and which I think is detrimental to this country.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Rhythm Change

Summer is over -- though we'll still be hitting the road frequently this fall for various outings -- but the summer idyll is over. Child One started back to school yesterday and our morning execution was not up to the change. Things were hectic and excited in a way that we've not experienced since last spring. The fall is upon us and our lives have reverted very quickly to the frenetic pace that we normally maintain 9 out of every 12 months of the year.