Tag Archives: slate

It is 9/11

9-11I feel like we should be doing something. We, as a country, should be marking this day with… something. It seems like after all the pain and suffering, we should be doing more than simply “going on with our lives.” It seems that a simple remembrance is appropriate for the Oklahoma City bombing, but for 9/11, we need more. Hands Across America, that’s too hokey. Maybe, just maybe, a simple moment of silence. Maybe that’s enough. Then the question becomes how long do we try to remember? Five years? That’s doesn’t seem like enough. 10 years… 20 years… 50 years? Now this seems like way too much.

Oh, this day shouldn’t be about destruction. This day should be about bringing us together. It should be about the thousands who came to New York to help clear the rubble. It should be about the thousands who reached out to the victims families. It should be able listening to the stories of the Americans who simply died for no reason. WE need to be reminded that it could happen again if we are asleep at the wheel, again.

I know I shouldn’t have to point this out, but in the atmosphere in which we live, incredibly partisan, it seems necessary — nobody owns 9/11 with the possible exception of the families of 9/11. This isn’t a Republican or Democratic day. This day does not belong to Independents. This day does not belong to New York or New Jersey or the Pentagon or the military or Pennsylvania. 9/11 was a national tragedy. It belongs to all of us whether we like it or not.

From Slate:

Every year, the custody battle over 9/11 becomes more contentious. The current furor over the proposed construction of an Islamic center a couple of blocks away from the World Trade Center footprint has made this anniversary of the carnage at the towers, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pa., more prickly than usual.

New Yorkers have thought from the beginning that the calamity belongs to them because, well, because they’re egocentrics who think that everything belongs to them. But New Yorkers would also have you believe that the day belongs to them because their city endured the greatest fatalities. (The Jerseyites who died? Fuggedaboutit.)

Those who lost relatives in the attacks tend to think of 9/11 as their personal property because their immediate loss was so great. But that doesn’t mean they see eye to eye about everything 9/11. Some would have liked to see the WTC site sculpted into a “cemetery” or permanent memorial. Others thought their special status should have given them a louder voice in dictating the size, shape, and use of any replacement buildings. Today, September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows sings “Kumbaya” as they encourage alternatives to war and attempt to build universal fellowship. The September 11th Education Trust, which started as a family group, seeks to preserve the day with oral histories and archival materials. Meanwhile, 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America takes a hard line and is currently protesting the building of the Islamic center.

Politicians claimed ownership of 9/11 almost from the get-go to advance their goals. Within five hours of the strike, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld was plotting ways to harness it as an excuse to attack Iraq. The Bush administration and Congress invoked 9/11 as they rushed into law in six weeks an act comprised largely of a police- and surveillance-powers wish list they had been keeping on a shelf, which they dubbed the USA PATRIOT Act. And, of course, the Bush administration repeatedly conjured images of 9/11 over the next 20 months to successfully campaign for the Iraq invasion. (more…)

To Build or Not to Build… We Missed the Question

I continue to be amazed at the fervor that is being generated by a mosque that is being planned two blocks from Ground Zero. I have a few questions for those that are outraged.

  1. How far away from Ground Zero is okay? Five blocks? 10 blocks? 15 blocks? 100 blocks?
  2. Since when have conservatives become so upset over a private company building on their own land?
  3. I thought we were at war with Al Qaeda and not Islam?

Slate has more:

3.  The project is a statement of Islamic conquest. This is Gingrich’s position. “The ground zero mosque is a political statement of radical Islamist triumph,” he tweeted Friday in response to Obama’s speech. Debra Burlingame, the co-founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America, issued a similar statement: “Building a 15-story mosque at Ground Zero is a deliberately provocative act.”

These are flatout lies. The project isn’t a “15-story mosque.” It’s a community center with a library, gym, auditorium, and restaurant. Yes, it will include a mosque. It will also host events to facilitate “multifaith dialogue.” It isn’t at Ground Zero—it’s two blocks away, in what used to be a Burlington Coat Factory.

Deliberately provocative? Radical triumph? Hogwash. Go watch Faisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the project, as he outlines the project to a local community board: “It will establish this community as the place where the moderate Muslim voice condemns terrorism and works for new, peaceful, and harmonious relationships with all New Yorkers.” Or listen to Daisy Khan, the imam’s wife and executive director, as she explainsto radio host Brian Lehrer why they’re planning to build the project near Ground Zero:

Imam Faisal has been leading a congregation for the last 27 years in Tribeca, really only 10 blocks from Ground Zero. … We, the members of the Muslim community, want to be part of the rebuilding process. And we feel a special obligation. And it’s also our way of giving back to this great city that has given us so much. So we’re coming at it from the point of view of wanting to contribute to our society and to take that tragedy of 9/11 and turn it into something very peaceful and hopeful for all of us.

4. Any mosque near Ground Zero is offensive. Responding yesterday to Obama’s speech, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said, “[I]t’s unwise … to build a mosque at the site where 3,000 Americans lost their lives as a result of a terrorist attack.”

I’m sorry, Senator: Did you say it’s unwise to build a mosque near the site of a terroristattack?

Others have put the equation more subtly. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., says, “It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero.” Marco Rubio, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Florida, says, “It is divisive and disrespectful to build a mosque next to the site where 3,000 innocent people were murdered at the hands of Islamic extremism.” All these objections rest on the premise that the 9/11 hijackers, by committing mass murder in the name of Islam, made Islam a religion of mass murder. To accept this equation is to give them the power to define the religion of 1 billion people. That—not the rise of pro-American Islamic pluralism—is the conquest the masterminds of 9/11 sought. Don’t let them have it.

5. Ground Zero is sacred. Palin, rebutting Obama, asks why the project’s sponsors are “so set on building a mosque steps from what you have described, in agreement with me, as ‘hallowed ground.’ ” Her question assumes that the presence of a mosque would defile the sanctity of the site. In other words, unlike Obama, she believes in the kind of sanctity that excludes Islam. That’s exactly the kind of sectarian thinking al-Qaida wants to attribute to the United States and cultivate among Muslims.

Is the iPad a dud?

iPadIt sounds like the iPad is much less than I expected. I know that Apple geeks are talking about how great this is but is it really? It looks like it is nothing more than a big iTouch. No phone capabilities. I’m not sure about you but I’m not wild about touch screen keyboards. So, no real typing without buying a keyboard attachment. It has no real memory storage with the largest hard drive being only 64 GB.  Finally, after this big announcement, it ain’t ready to buy yet. You have to wait another 2 months.

From PC World:

The iPad has a lot going for it, but is also a big disappointment in many ways. Almost no product could have lived up to the insane hype leading up to Steve Jobs’s announcement today, but the iPad certainly could have had more groundbreaking features. If Apple really wants to change the world with the iPad and popularize a whole new computing category, they may need to do better. If the iPad had the following features, it would have blown us away.

Multitasking
There’s no multitasking in the OS at all, and not even multiple active web pages in Safari. You can’t listen to Pandora while you surf the Web, or switch back and forth between Facebook at Twitter, or write a document in Pages while talking on a VOIP call.

Adobe Flash
For better or worse, it’s just not the real Web without support for Adobe Flash. We want to watch Hulu on the iPad. It’s sort-of okay on a small phone-sized device, but it’s not okay on a 9.7 inch screen.

Camera / iChat
We don’t expect people to hold up a big slate to take pictures with a back-facing camera, though some augmented reality apps might be neat on the larger screen. What the iPad is really lacking is a front-facing camera and video chat. A device like this would be perfect for such an application. With a front-facing camera, the iPad could be the perfect device for filming and editing personal YouTube videos (you could even see yourself in-frame as you record). (more… )