Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's in the Bill: A Visual Representation of the "American Jobs Act"

Word cloud based on the most used words in the text of Obama's "American Jobs Act":

Wordle can also be seen here.

UPDATE: Oops!  Rob Bluey at Heritage reports Obama never got a Democrat to file his bill, so Rep. Louie Gohmert jumped in to file his own bill with the name "American Jobs Act."  The above word cloud is based on Obama's proposal formerly known as the American Jobs Act.

Monday, September 12, 2011

9/12: I Never Want To Forget

After sharing my memories of the day of 9/11, I wanted to be sure to record what I never want to forget about living the next few months in a post-9/11 world. 

I never want to forget being hesitant to go see the musical "Mamma Mia!" in Boston the following night, how it felt wrong to go out and enjoy yourself.  I never want to forget the cast coming out and talking about their similar hesitation and ending with a rousing rendition of God Bless America.

I never want to forget my dad and I staying home for the first New England Patriots game when the NFL started playing again - it was against the New York Jets and the symbolism of the Patriots vs. the Jets with the potential for a terrorist attack was not lost on us - and feeling sheepish afterwards when everything was ok.

I never want to forget bursting with patriotism and American pride, covering my car with whatever patriotic sticker or American flag I could get my hands on.  I never want to forget driving the lake by my house with Lisa, Amanda, Chris and Ryan, blasting "Proud to be an American" and Whitney Houston's version of the "National Anthem," stopping at any policeman, fireman, or military man we saw to say, "Thank you for serving our country!"

I never want to forget our school holding an assembly in the following days featuring speeches by state Rep. Brad Jones, and others, and worrying that people like my leftist teacher Mr. Ryan might turn it into a lovey-dovey peacefest, so I volunteered to give a speech.  I've already forgotten what my speech said, but I never want to forget that my opening lines were: "Does anyone have any personal connections to the victims of 9/11?  The truth is we all do.  We are all Americans."

I never want to forget how the world changed on that day, how insignificant it felt to be going to high school and college, how I wanted to quit school and do something meaningful like become an army nurse.  I never want to forget taking California schools off my list - if there was another terrorist attack, I didn't want to be cut off from my family for days, I needed to be close enough to drive home in an emergency.

I never want to forget the spirit of unity and patriotism that swept the country and left us with such hope for the future, and the sadness as it faded over the weeks and months and years, seeing fewer and fewer flags, watching the media get less and less patriotic - even talking "quagmire" within days of our assault on Afghanistan.

I never want to forget any of the events and actions I made in the weeks that followed 9/11, as insignificant as they may be they are mine and now they are forever.

Photo: Heartbreakingly Beautiful


Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11: I Never Want To Forget

As I sit here on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the thing I am most afraid of is forgetting.  I don't cry as hard anymore.  The hurt and pain, while still there, doesn't cut quite so deep.  The anger isn't as raw.  What if I forget my thoughts, feelings, and experiences from that day?

My memories of 9/11 aren't particularly important, meaningful, or even interesting, but they are mine, and I never want to forget.  I never want to forget walking to 4th period English during my senior year of high school, passing Emily L. talking excitedly and annimatedly to John B. about a plane hitting a building.  I never want to forget walking by them, not even pausing, assuming she was telling him about some new movie.

I never want to forget our substitute teacher telling us about the attacks after at least one tower had gone down.  I never want to forget that Jen M. and I spent the period online trying to find out what was going on and seeing a photo of one of the towers crashing.  I never want to forget how slow the internet was or how my cell phone had no service because of the millions of people searching for news and calling loved ones.

I never want to forget going to next period with Mr. Darren for social studies and talking about the attacks.  I never want to forget the fearful excitement I felt when we were told there were unaccounted for planes coming up the eastern seaboard, that the State Department had been bombed, the National Mall was on fire, and buildings in Boston were being evacuated over bomb scares.  I never want to forget the fear that one of those planes could be headed this way, that Boston could be next, the irrational fear that a plane could crash on my school.

I never want to forget knowing how historic the day was, using a payphone to get my parents to pick me up at lunch so I could watch tv and see what was going on.  I never want to forget getting home and watching the planes hit the towers, the towers burning, then falling, again and again and again.  I never want to forget hearing that up to 50,000 people worked in those buildings and the death toll could be almost that high.  I never want to forget the hope that survivors would be found.  I never want to forget the family members, holding pictures of their loved ones, going in front of cameras, hoping someone had seem them alive after the towers fell. 

I never want to forget that the whole day felt like a movie, only without a soundtrack, and when I played the Titanic soundtrack, I broke down and cried.  I never want to forget cancelling my trip to look at colleges in DC the following weekend and my dad saying everything would be fine by then - it wasn't, the airports were still shutdown and Reagan was closed for longer.  I never want to forget the eerie quiet outside for days, with the airplanes grounded.

While these are things I am afraid to forget there are some things I will always remember.

I will always remember the firefighters, police and other rescue workers who ran into the buildings to save lives.  I will always remember the 2,996 people who perished on that day and will keep their memories alive.  I will always remember Todd Beamer saying, "Let's roll!" and the passengers of Flight 93 launching the first counterstrike in the new War on Terror.  I will always remember the horror, the heroism, and the hope of that day. (More memories of the days that followed can be read here)


Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11: I Am Overcome

This video made me cry.

I also did not appreciate seeing Obama ads while watching 9/11 tributes. Look at this wording - SO WRONG:

Screen shot from this video.

Friday, September 09, 2011

10th Anniversary of 9/11: Remembering Flight 11 Passenger Mildred Rose Naiman

For the last several years, I have posted this Project 2,996* September 11th tribute to Mildred Rose Naiman. Gives me chills rereading it now on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  The following is the text from my original 2007 post on the sixth anniversary of 9/11:

My September 11th tribute as part of Project 2,996 is to Mildred Rose Naiman, 81, from Andover, MA, the town next to my hometown. According to WBZ Boston, over 200 people with ties to Massachusetts died on 9-11-01.

"Millie," as she was known to her loved ones, was on her way to California to visit her 2 sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren when she was killed. She was aboard American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to be hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center.

Born on March 24, 1920, Mildred Naiman worked at Western Electric Co. as a tester. In her later years, she lived in a self-proclaimed "bachelorette pad" - her apartment in a retirement community - where she was active in planning and organizing events with her friends.

In a profile published on January 6, 2002, her daughter-in-law, Carol Naiman, told the New York Times, "She had a little bit of a lead foot. She had been stopped for speeding and was totally insulted the officer would give an old woman a ticket."

Although the feisty great-grandmother had had several knee replacement surgeries, cataracts, and other health problems, she still loved to travel. Her son Russ said, "If something was wrong with her, she'd go to the doctor and say, 'Fix me up; I've got a lot of traveling to do.' "

While she needed the help of a wheelchair at the airport, she still managed to visit her family twice a year. The Sunday before her fatal flight, a family member had asked if she was afraid of flying; her granddaughter, Hope, remembers her reply: "No, I've gone everywhere already--to Germany, the Bahamas. I'm not afraid to fly."

Incredibly, on July 24, 2004, the New York Post reported that the medical examiner's office had identified her remains. Many 9-11 victims are still unaccounted for. I hope her family gained some sense of closure with this discovery and was able to finally put her body to rest.

Today, on the sixth anniversary of her death, we celebrate the life of Mildred Rose Naiman.

May she, and the other 2,995 tragically murdered on that day, rest in peace.


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

8+ Defamations and Threats Against Tea Party in Last Month

The epithets and threats thrown out against the Tea Party and Republicans have gotten worse and worse.  I remember back in the day - summer of 2009 - when it seemed the worst we were called was "un-American" by Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, and an "angry mob" by the DNC.  Now, it is somehow acceptable for commentators and elected officials - including the Vice President! - to publicly and triumphantly call the Tea Party "terrorists," "racists," "barbarians," and "sons of bitches."  Here are 8 despicable things said about the Tea Party - only in the last month!

UPDATE: And now there's an online game called Tea Party Zombies Must Die - you get to go through the Americans for Prosperity and Koch Industries offices killing Tea Party Zombies and the Koch Brothers!  INSANE!


Hoffa Threatens GOP At Obama Event: "Take These Son Of Bitches Out"

Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa had some profane, combative words for Republicans while warming up the crowd for President Obama in Detroit, Michigan on Monday. ...

 "President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let's take these son of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong," Hoffa added.


Biden At AFL-CIO Rally: "You Are The Only Folks Keeping The Barbarians From the Gates"


MSNBCer Suggests GOP Rejected Obama's Request for Speech Because of 'Color of His Skin'

"The interesting question is: What is it about this president that has stripped away the veneer of respect that normally accompanies the Office of the President? Why do Republicans think this president is unpresidential and should dare to request this kind of thing? It strikes me that it could be the economic times, it could be that he won so big in 2008 or it could be, let's face it, the color of his skin."


Rep. Carson: Tea party wants to see African Americans ‘hanging on a tree’

“I’m saying right now, under (CBC) Chairman Emanuel Cleaver’s leadership, we have seen change in Congress ... but the tea party is stopping that change,” Carson said at the event, according to the video. “And this is beyond symbolic change. This is the effort that we’re seeing, of Jim Crow.”
“Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see us as second-class citizens,” Carson continued. “Some of them in Congress right now with this tea party movement would love to see you and me — I’m sorry, Tamron — hanging on a tree.”


Beware the tea party, Jesse Jackson, Frederica Wilson and black Democrats say at jobs meeting

The tea party opposing Obama, Jackson said, should be called the "Fort Sumter Tea Party that sought to maintain states' rights and slavery." (Apparently he read this article in Salon.)

"The tea party is a new name on an old game," he said. "Dr. King fought a 'tea party' in Alabama...He had no weapons, but he confronted the tea party."


Maxine Waters: ‘The tea party can go straight to hell’


“I’m not afraid of anybody,” the California congresswoman told constituents in footage that appeared on ABC affiliate KABC in Los Angeles, not backing down from comments made about President Obama earlier in the week. “This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned — the tea party can go straight to hell.”


Sources: Joe Biden likened tea partiers to terrorists

Vice President Joe Biden joined House Democrats in lashing tea party Republicans Monday, accusing them of having “acted like terrorists” in the fight over raising the nation’s debt limit, according to several sources in the room.

Biden was agreeing with a line of argument made by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) at a two-hour, closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting.

“We have negotiated with terrorists,” an angry Doyle said, according to sources in the room. “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.” 

Biden, driven by his Democratic allies’ misgivings about the debt-limit deal, responded: “They have acted like terrorists.”


NYT: Tea Party’s War on America

You know what they say: Never negotiate with terrorists. It only encourages them.

These last few months, much of the country has watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people. Their intransigent demands for deep spending cuts, coupled with their almost gleeful willingness to destroy one of America’s most invaluable assets, its full faith and credit, were incredibly irresponsible. But they didn’t care. Their goal, they believed, was worth blowing up the country for, if that’s what it took.  ...

The level of hatred on public display from the Left is truly sick, especially coming just 8 months after a call from President Obama for civility in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Giffords.Santorum