Thursday, September 20, 2001

Bush pulled it off if. That was my first reaction anyhow and seemingly the medias only moments after his speech this evening. His Texan accent and slight mispronunciation of "terror" making it sound more like Scarlet's TERRA didnt' quite evoke images of FDR or Churchill, but someone is working him right and there may be some quotes for the history books, at least the newspapers. It's better than "smokin' 'em out of their caves." Perhaps those tears he shed on the pile of rubble in NY opened up a fountain to his wisdom, maybe all his praying is paying off (okay, mean... noticed he didn't quote the bible tonight... that was a plus) ...that's really all. I just wanted to make a note of his apperance tonight. My day wasn't too eventful. I finished up SWANA's version of the mourning ad today. It was very difficult to write, but I think necessary. I wasn't sure at first how I felt about companies noting the tragedy in thier advertisments... I've realized it's necessary. It makes it okay to buy or enjoy frivilous things... or makes us feel like it's okay. It's happened in many other significant times in history. I remember seeing old WWII ads that were printed during christmas time saying in effect, "we don't have anything to sell you this christmas, but we're not sorry we're just doing our part." If you don't recognize such dramatic events it's worse. On Wedensday the 12th I saw in article in the variety section of the Washinton Times not Post... "Mena Suvari and Her Shoe Fetish." I hope some editor got fired.

The only worse ad was the one on moments ago. Billy Graham playing to our fears and telling us to turn to God, well HIS VERSION OF GOD... by showign fire and words stating the loss of life in NY on one palm of a hand while children playing are shown on the other, eventually the hands come together in a prayer... sounds maybe like the ad was to prayer for those stricken, but it was more "Come to Billy to pray because the world is a horrible place." We don't need those images right now. How evil, how inconsiderate... I am pretty certain God wouldn't have liked it. I sometimes think the Insurance ads that do the "our hearts are with you and we're here to help you" is a bit inconsiderate because they are seeking to gain from the tragedy, its some how different... maybe it's just my bias against the "Religious Right" but, We're all scared right now... comfort from that fear is a necessity like food, water and shelter... we don't need to advertise for it. They are handing out bibles left and right on the street. Billy Grahams money would have been better served serving or being donated. Praying on fear (no pun intended)-- is evil not Godly and very different than sending out prayers or condolenses.

Someday I'll be back to talking about dying my hair and what I make for dinner, I promise. I really am not focused on this whole thing, I am just trying to make a record. Maybe by the time the networks run their sitcom "Season Openers."

Wednesday, September 19, 2001

you might have heard this, but I like it and want to keep it for record. Renee from Pillsbury was the first to send it to me...

Seuss Style...

The Binch

By: SaxonDawg
Date: September 13, 2001

Every U down in Uville liked U.S. a lot,
But the Binch, who lived Far East of Uville, did not.
The Binch hated U.S! the whole U.S. way!
Now don't ask me why, for nobody can say,
It could be his turban was screwed on too tight.
Or the sun from the desert had beaten too bright
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

But, Whatever the reason, his heart or his turban,
He stood facing Uville, the part that was urban.
"They're doing their business," he snarled from his perch.
"They're raising their families! They're going to church!
They're leading the world, and their empire is thriving,
I MUST keep the S's and U's from surviving!"

Tomorrow, he knew, all the U's and the S's,
Would put on their pants and their shirts and their dresses,
They'd go to their offices, playgrounds and schools,
And abide by their U and S values and rules.

And then they'd do something he liked least of all,
Every U down in U-ville, the tall and the small,
Would stand all united, each U and each S,
And they'd sing Uville's anthem, "God bless us! God bless!"
All around their Twin Towers of Uville, they'd stand,
and their voices would drown every sound in the land.

"I must stop that singing," Binch said with a smirk,
And he had an idea--an idea that might work!
The Binch stole some U airplanes in U morning hours,
And crashed them right into the Uville Twin Towers.
"They'll wake to disaster!" he snickered, so sour,
"And how can they sing when they can't find a tower?"

The Binch cocked his ear as they woke from their sleeping,
All set to enjoy their U-wailing and weeping,
Instead he heard something that started quite low,
And it built up quite slow, but it started to grow--
And the Binch heard the most unpredictable thing...
And he couldn't believe it--they started to sing!

He stared down at U-ville, not trusting his eyes,
What he saw was a shocking, disgusting surprise!
Every U down in U-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any towers at all!
He HADN'T stopped U-Ville from singing! It sung!
For down deep in the hearts of the old and the young,
Those Twin Towers were standing, called Hope and called Pride,
And you can't smash the towers we hold deep inside.

So they circle the sites where heroes did fall,
With a hand in each hand of the tall and the small,
And U-ville mourns for thier losses while knowing they'll cope,
For they still have inside that U-Pride and S-Hope.

For America means a bit more than tall towers,
It means more than wealth or political powers,
It's more than our enemies ever could guess,
So may God bless America! Bless us! God bless!
I got side tracked last night and never ended up writing about my day. It was a class day. We actually got to go in the Newseum. I loved it. I wouldn't have thought a museum dedicated soley to news would be interesting. It was awesome and when Mom comes to visit I am going to make her go back with me. It tracks the news from writings on cave walls all the way up through September 11, 2001. Yup, they already have a significant amount of space dedicated to the Terrorist attacks. The main exhibit right now is "WAR", probably not the most appropriate thing, but still interesting once I convinced myself I wanted to spend the time looking at it. They had artifacts and information from war correspondants dating back through the civil war and even earlier. Reporting and News gathering seems like such an insignificant part of events, but when you step back for a minute you realize that, "the news is the first draft of history" is not just a quote but a truism.

One of the most interesting displays they have is a large wall dedicated to "Today's news" They have the front page from at least one paper in each state as well as about 10 from different countries. Not surprising that every headline from the states was dedicated to "Bin Laden, WANTED: Dead or Alive." and the dramatic fall in Monday's opening of the stock market. What I didn't expect and was relieved, pleased and shocked to see was that those same headlines filled the pages of ALL of the international front pages. I found it both comforting and un-nerving.

After the Newseum we had another very interesting speaker: Jerry Williams, the Deputy Director of Crisis Management at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He is a students father (her name is Robin Williams... ha-ha.) Robins father works in the Pentagon and worked through Tuesdays bombing in his office that is staffed 24 hours a day. This guy and his co-workers were the ones that were supposed to see this coming. Leno asked John McCain last night if he has a warning light on his desk that should have gone off when the terrorism started. Mr. Williams would have been the one to sound that alarm if there had been one... there isn't, he didn't. Instead he said he sat and watched the World Trade Centers on the Television from his desk and didn't worry as the first bomb warning sounded at the Pentagon because it is a fairly regular occurance. He only believed it when he saw the first news photographs. The Pentagon has 35 acres of office space... he never felt it and the smoke never got to his office until late that afternoon, more importantly his organization should have seen it coming.

Despite the above, Mr. Williams was very honest and not particularly apologetic for the lack of foreseeing the attacks. He confirmed the reports that there are 2 million pieces of information coming into a group of 110 individuals who can process about 10,000 each day. He also said that in hindsight they have now pin-pointed at least two pieces of information that would have alerted his organization and the nation to Tuesdays horrors. He believes that we do need more human intelligence and less computer intelligence. In fact, only weeks before the attacks, the DIA went to congress asking for 4.1 millions dollars in F'02 to hire 70 people specifically for anti-terrorism intelligence. The response was, why? who is going to threaten us. Last week, congress appropriated 5.2 BILLION dollars to combate terrorism in F'02, enough to hire 150 individuals and more than double the organizations size... reactionary? partially, but he says they can use it and it will be helpful. He also said if the legislation that will allow looser restrictions on wire tapping and survilence of suspected terrorists passes, it will be beneficial.

The scary thing, the thing that shut us all up and made all our eyes big was when a girl said, "So what your telling us is that we are over-confident of our nations intelligence capabilities." Mr. Williams response, "What I am telling you is that you are over confident of our nations intelligence capabilities." Straight from the source folks. He said there are things we can't do even if we tried. His boss was looking to track the movements of the afghanistan troops. He said there are 35,000 guys with guns living in huts and driving their pick-ups around and living at home that make up the military in Afghanistan... there is no way to track them. There are things we just can't do... like having that button on John McCain's desk warning him of attack.

Tuesday, September 18, 2001

I think we are all recovering albiet slowly... I heard the first piece of humor over this whole ordeal that cracked me up... it was from james lileks website and journal The Bleat He also writes The Backfence in the Star Tribune... I'll write more in a bit, but heres the piece of humor. You might have to read it out loud... and beware it's not totally PC.

This morning I heard a commentator pronounce “Taliban” as “Tollybon,” and instantly I sang a Harry Belefonte song. Let’s call it it Pray-O, the theme song of the Pakistan delegation to Afghanistan earnestly trying to change their minds:

Come mister Taliban / give us this Bin Laden
US bomb and we want to have home

Sunday, September 16, 2001

I don't really have anything new to write about. I've been busy. That's for sure. I am still heavily involved in the PR side of stuff with SWANA. I have been working all weekend. Well, not all weekend. Michelle, my friend from MN who moved to Annapolis, visited yesterday. We went on a bike ride through the memorial areas of DC and past the white house. I took pictures... don't ask where they are... it's along story. SO-- you won't see the pictures.

I do have a lot of observations... there we a group of artists doing sidewalk chalk of a flag and an eagle on a plaza called "Freedom Plaza" It was amazing. It was incredibly detailed. Near the Freedom Plaza is the road that you can look down the 'backyard' of the white house. We stopped and took a moment to look at the flag half staff and the snipers in black on the roof. From there we went to the Washington Monument. The flags that circle the base looked sad. It was a windy day, but they were still looking sad at half mast. There were lots of police around and you couldn't go up to the monument, but still fairly close. It wasn't very busy either, which was nice. There were people flying kites in the expanse between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial.

The day was gorgeous so by the time we ambled to the reflecting pools we took a break and watched the people pay thier respects to the candles leftover from the prior nights vigil and listened to the kid's saying "AFLAC" at the ducks who live in the pond. After looking at the Licoln memorial and watching a yellow and black lab walk by with flag bandanas and an older guy run by in flag running shorts we followed a couple of bikers with flags stuck in thier backpacks to the FDR memorial.

The FDR memorial is amazing. They need better marketing for it. I don't think people realize it is there and how poignant it is. It's not just a statue, although there is a bronze figure of FDR in his wheel chair sitting next to his dog. It's more of a park that wanders through a series of fountains and pieces of art. The striking part of the memorial is the quotes from FDR speaking of civil rights and liberties as well as overcoming much of the fear that America is facing this week. It was a perfect time to see those words, and a place I will go back to.

After finishing our tour of the memorials Michelle and I went to TARGET. You Minnesotans take Target for granted. There is one on every street corner in Minnesota. Not so in Maryland, DC and Virginia. It takes twenty minutes to get to one and you can't just drive and hope to happen upon one. Michelle and I were so excited as she had to buy all the move in neccessities for her new apartment and I hadn't been to Target since the weekend I moved in. The Target is pretty cool though... it's two stories like the one being built in Minneapolis. There is a separate escalator for your cart... pretty cool.

Today is more work for me and I might get out and wander around. It's beautiful here. I am hoping this weather lasts and think it will for a while. It smells like fall.