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Thursday, October 26, 2006

We Were Never United

The following article first appeared in the Roanoke Times on September 21, 2006

Post-9/11 unity was shattered early
By Jerry Fuhrman

Sept. 10. A significant date in history in a way, the day many of us recognize now as one of innocence, when we were still able to see ourselves living in an insulated cosmos, a Bill Clinton world of make-believe in which those depraved Islamist souls who want us all slaughtered were still skulking in distant and isolated regions of the planet, gangsters -- seemingly -- who deserved only the occasional cruise missile and a word or two of disapprobation from our State Department. Sept. 10. The day before Clinton's fanciful world of illusion came crashing down.

It was on that same date, five years later, that columnist Frank Rich, writing in The New York Times, asked the following important question: "Whatever happened to the America of 9/12?" The first sentence in his thought-provoking article is most telling: "The destruction of post-9/11 unity, both in this nation and in the world, is as much a cause for mourning on the fifth anniversary as the attack itself."

In response to Rich's question, Fox News commentator Fred Barnes said, more out of indignation than thoughtfulness probably, that we, as a nation, have never in fact been united since 9/11, that the left in this country has been in opposition to our every move since that very day.

He has a point. But Barnes is wrong. It's fair to say, as Rich implies, that unity in this country did exist on 9/12/01 and that it was subsequently, rapidly, predictably destroyed. By Frank Rich's pals.

Just as significant as Rich's use of the word "unity" is his decision to tie it to the occasion of our mourning. For a time after 9/11, this nation truly was united -- in grief. Initially it was more shock than grief, followed quickly by an overwhelming sense of national sorrow. There was even a brief period of international bereavement, as expressed in Jean-Marie Colombani's famous Le Monde headline of Sept. 12, 2001, "We Are All Americans."

It is just as significant that Frank Rich is still in mourning five years after the tragic murder of innocents in New York City, Arlington and in a cornfield in Pennsylvania. For most Americans, feelings of grief were replaced with thoughts of revenge. Self-preservation. Our children and grandchildren. Defense of the homeland. Resolve.

We declared war. And we left the Frank Riches of the world in the graveyard.

The signs of disunity became apparent early on. While the fires still burned -- literally. Little more than a week after that fateful day, leftist columnist and New York City resident Katha Pollitt wrote in The Nation, "My daughter ... thinks we should fly an American flag out our window. Definitely not, I say: The flag stands for jingoism and vengeance and war."

A week later, another rabid leftist, Susan Sontag, wrote in The New Yorker, "The disconnect between last Tuesday's monstrous dose of reality and the self-righteous drivel and outright deceptions being peddled by public figures and TV commentators is startling, depressing. The unanimously applauded, self-congratulatory bromides of a Soviet Party Congress seemed contemptible. The unanimity of the sanctimonious, reality-concealing rhetoric spouted by American officials and media commentators in recent days seems, well, unworthy of a mature democracy."

Frank Rich might take note: Susan Sontag, presumably one of his Upper West Side cocktail party pals at the time, had only scorn for America's unity.

Want to know what happened to that unity of 9/12, Frank? Talk to your friends and neighbors.

The rest of us remember that those cries for disunity began before we fired a shot in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks. Before President Bush declared war on Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. Before Saddam Hussein was driven into a rat hole. Before we were able to recover the bodies of our 343 heroic firemen and 2,404 other innocent men, women and children.

At the same time that tens of thousands of America's best and brightest young men and women enlisted in the fight against those who seek the destruction of our way of life, Frank Rich's ilk turned their heads in contempt.

Yes, we are disunited. So be it. We will win this war in spite of their worst efforts.

We Cheer What We Can

Around these parts, we celebrate all our achievements, no matter how small:

One-of-a-kind landfill ready to help McDowell County shine
By Charles Owens, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Welch –– McDowell County officials celebrated the long-awaited completion Tuesday of their new 175-acre landfill, and accepted their first $1 million payment on the project. (link)

You are all cordially invited to come down and see our latest commercial endeavor. Hard hat, steel-toe shoes, and breathing apparatus required, of course.

This Ain't Right

Where's Al Gore when we need him?
Snow hits region early
By Charles Owens, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Bluefield –– An early blast of winter weather was blamed for slick bridges and overpasses across the region Tuesday morning, as area residents awakened to an early morning dusting of snow.

The early snowfall isn’t unusual for the region, Jeff Stewart, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va., said. (
Two mornings in a row now I've awakened to find snow covering my car. In October.

I'm willing about now to rethink this whole global warming thing ...

Klan Member Wildly Popular In WV

Wild and wonderful. That's apparently what most people over in West Virginia think of their senior senator, a Democrat, who also happens to be a KKK grand klingon:
Poll gives Byrd 60 percent approval rate
By Tom Searls, Charleston (WV) Gazette Staff writer

After months of negative advertising and intense campaigning against him, U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd still has an approval rating over 60 percent in West Virginia, according to one poll. (
Fascinating. Everyone in West Virginia knows that Byrd was once a leader of the now-infamous pack of white racists who burned homes, intimidated voters, and lynched young black men. And the people there support him anyway.

But lynchings aren't of great import. Perhaps if Byrd had been caught sending text messages to congressional pages or called someone macaca, an offensive slur known only to members of an obscure and little-known nomadic tribe in the Saharan desert and, fittingly, to Democrats in this country, he'd be thought of differently ...

We Beg Your Pardon ...

Don't you hate it when this happens?
Bad info blamed for botched porn raid
Bedford County authorities say an Internet provider gave them the wrong address.
By Reed Williams and Mike Allen,The Roanoke Times

Bedford County authorities blamed a communications provider Wednesday for a botched child pornography raid at which Shaquille O'Neal was present, but refused to answer any other questions about an incident that terrified the family of a Pittsylvania County farmer.

Investigators from Bedford and Pittsylvania counties searched the wrong house in Gretna on Sept. 23 because FairPoint Communications Inc. had given them the wrong address, said Maj. Ricky Gardner of the Bedford County Sheriff's Office. (
For the love of God.

Believe Or Believe Not

When it comes to religious fervor, I fall somewhere between Benny Hinn and this guy:

Atheist Evangelist
In His Bully Pulpit, Sam Harris Devoutly Believes That Religion Is the Root of All Evil
By David Segal, Washington Post Staff Writer

New York - There are really just two possibilities for Sam Harris. Either he is right and millions of Christians, Muslims and Jews are wrong. Or Sam Harris is wrong and he is so going to hell.

This seems obvious ... (link)

There is a great deal about this subject that I can honestly say I do not know or understand.

But I've always been fascinated - bemused really - by the fact that atheists don't simply question the existence of God; they know, somehow, that God doesn't exist. It is truly a spiritual belief to them.


When There's No New Filth To Print ...

What? No macaca moment yesterday?

Apparently not. So the Washington Post, in its relentless effort to use its "news" pages to oust Senator George Allen, flings fetid dirt:
An Ascent Shadowed By Questions on Race
By Bill Turque, Washington Post Staff Writer

In February 2004, Sen. George Allen was ... (
A "news" story. How utterly contemptible.

We Have Our Religion. They Have Theirs.

Most scientists believe in the theory of evolution. And, like most people who act on their religious beliefs, scientists vote:
Scientists Endorse Candidate Over Teaching of Evolution
By Cornelia Dean, The New York Times

In an unusual foray into electoral politics, 75 science professors at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland have signed a letter endorsing a candidate for the Ohio Board of Education. (
So why would these learned professors care about the makeup of the school board? Because they don't want a competing theory - that God created the heavens and the earth and all living creatures - to be given its due in the classroom.


We're Missing The 'Boat'

I wrote a column for the Roanoke Times recently extolling the virtues - and windfall tax revenues - of casino gambling in Southwest Virginia (Las Vegas brought in $14 billion last year alone). Others have jumped on the bandwagon ... er, riverboat:
Town Hopes Casino Brings New Gilded Age
By Michael Rubino, The New York Times

French Lick, Ind. — After a six-decade absence, casino gaming makes its return next month to this Southern Indiana valley, once famous for luxury resorts that attracted the nation’s elite.

Workers are putting the finishing touches on the restoration of the French Lick Springs Resort, one of two landmark hotels less than a mile apart that are being revived. There, as part of a wider $382 million project, artisans apply gold leaf to one of the building’s Beaux-Arts domes. (link)
Wow. A third of a billion dollars just for the construction trades. Where are all those union bosses who contribute mightily to Congressman Boucher's re-election campaigns?

Anyway, this is big, and getting bigger. Think of the possibilities ...

By the way, Indiana law requires that gambling casinos be located on water. That's why you see the odd architectural landscaping.

Photo courtesy of A. J. Mast for The New York Times

Consider Him Deterred

For those who still want to argue that the death penalty doesn't have a deterrent effect on crime, consider the case of Danny Rolling. This asshole won't be raping, mutilating, and murdering any more innocent young women:
Killer of 5 Florida Students Is Executed
By Abby Goodnough, The New York Times

Gainesville, Fla., Oct. 25 — The serial killer who gruesomely murdered five college students here in 1990 was put to death on Wednesday by lethal injection, and relatives of his victims said afterward that they could finally feel the beginnings of relief. (
Death will unarguably have a deterrent effect on any perversions he might have contemplated for the future.

Pass The Amendment Now!

Just yesterday the Roanoke Times offered up this (untimely) bit of wisdom:
Vote 'No' on Amendment No. 1

The proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage is not about protecting heterosexual marriage. Unions between a man and a woman are now legal and will remain so no matter what voters decide.

Proponents of the amendment contend that is not good enough because the courts might overturn the law. That outcome is extremely unlikely, and such flights of paranoia do not form the underpinnings of a sound constitution. (
link) [my emphasis]
Is it paranoia? Or are we simply able ro read headlines and understand what a small handful of liberal judges can do to our way of life? In today's news:
New Jersey Court Backs Full Rights for Gay Couples
By David W. Chen, The New York Times

Trenton, Oct. 25 — New Jersey’s highest court ruled on Wednesday that gay couples are entitled to the same legal rights and financial benefits as heterosexual couples, but ordered the Legislature to decide whether their unions must be called marriage or could be known by another name.

In a decision filled with bold and sweeping pronouncements about equality, the New Jersey Supreme Court gave the Democratic-controlled Legislature 180 days to either expand existing laws or come up with new ones to provide gay couples benefits including tuition assistance, survivors’ benefits under workers’ compensation laws, and spousal privilege in criminal trials. (
link) [my emphasis]
I've already seen attempts at spinning this ruling as being somehow a vote against same-sex marriage rights coming from those who have worked to kill Virginia's gay marriage ban amendment.

In fact, this edict is our worst nightmare. Four people - four - in the state of New Jersey, liberal judges all, have decreed that state legislators there must get together and rewrite laws relating to gay unions.

In a different world, legislators would tell the court to mind its own business. But not in this day and age (and certainly not in Democrat New Jersey). Legislators there will shrug their shoulders and decry the fact that they have no choice but to comply.

So, we the people must decide. Now. Either we give up on this whole notion of representative democracy and let a small oligarchy run things, or we set in stone - through a constitutional amendment - the limits beyond which we will not let activist judges go.


Affirmative Action On Display

How else to explain moronic sentences like this (in the form of a caption) that appeared in this morning's New York Times:

A newspaper report that German troops in Afghanistan played with a human skull came as Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said the U.S. did a poor job of explaining its effort to prevent terrorism. (link)*
7th grade English Comp.

* The photo and caption won't be active long. The Times changes out its graphics throughout the day.

James Webb's New Home?

After writing yesterday about the Democrats' predictable paranoia setting in over those infernal electronic voting machines that have already been programmed to bring wins to Republicans across the country, and of the right-wing conspiracy to have Jim Webb's name truncated on certain voting machines in heavily Democratic cities here in Virginia, I receive the following email:


I'm writing from the webb headquarters. We just started a blog telling stories on all of these voter protection issues and covering the most recent electronic ballot rediculousness [sic].

Love for you to link to it...

We're using it not only to get the word out but also to recruit voter protection folks to help on the big day!


Ignoring the fact that my name isn't Hey ...

... and looking past the way the person identifies herself (Virginiaisforvoters?) ...

... and understanding that one can easily connect remotely to a server in New Haven, Connecticut from the jungles of Guatemala, or Richmond, Virginia ...

... and looking beyond the obvious need certain Ivy League schools have for remedial spelling classes ...

... wouldn't it be wise, if you want to convince me (Mr. Hey) that you're one of us, to not have an email address that ends in @yale.edu?

More importantly, how smart can you be when you send an email that fans the flames I've set to me of all people. Did you think you were going to win me over?

So the paranoia has spread to the campus of Yale University - Jim Webb's headquarters. Or perhaps it began there. Who's to say.

In any case, consider yourself linked.