Blog Archives

Today we leave (via Amtrack) for Wisconsin… Changing trains in Chicago.

 

OK. We’re in the middle of packing and getting ready to take off for Milwaukee. I’m getting clothes together and my pills and other medications, my computer and everything else I need to get to Buddy’s wedding. The dogs have been put in a nearby kennel for their “dog vacation,” and I miss them already.

The pain from my broken bones has gotten so much better that I think I will get through this trip okay. We have arranged for wheelchair transport at the railroad stations, one where we change trains in Chicago and the when we get into Milwaukee, so I should be able to get around with luggage.

Let me warn my regular readers at Under The LobsterScope that I may be missing some posts as we travel. The railroad stations already list that they don’t have Wi-Fi and I’m not sure what the situation will be at the hotel.  I will try to get at least one post a day out, preferably with pictures. This should have many interesting scenes worth showing on the blog.

We will be on the road from this evening until Tuesday morning after which will be back in West Virginia and ready to start my regular schedule. I hope everyone has a nice weekend.

 

A Salute to Juan Cole…

In Cole’s blog, Informed Comment, he put out a revealing list this morning on our responses to “terrorists” based on race and ethnicity. I reprint it here:

Juan Cole

Top Ten differences between White Terrorists and Others

1. White terrorists are called “gunmen.” What does that even mean? A person with a gun? Wouldn’t that be, like, everyone in the US? Other terrorists are called, like, “terrorists.”

2. White terrorists are “troubled loners.” Other terrorists are always suspected of being part of a global plot, even when they are obviously troubled loners.

3. Doing a study on the danger of white terrorists at the Department of Homeland Security will get you sidelined by angry white Congressmen. Doing studies on other kinds of terrorists is a guaranteed promotion.

4. The family of a white terrorist is interviewed, weeping as they wonder where he went wrong. The families of other terrorists are almost never interviewed.

5. White terrorists are part of a “fringe.” Other terrorists are apparently mainstream.

6. White terrorists are random events, like tornadoes. Other terrorists are long-running conspiracies.

7. White terrorists are never called “white.” But other terrorists are given ethnic affiliations.

8. Nobody thinks white terrorists are typical of white people. But other terrorists are considered paragons of their societies.

9. White terrorists are alcoholics, addicts or mentally ill. Other terrorists are apparently clean-living and perfectly sane.

10. There is nothing you can do about white terrorists. Gun control won’t stop them. No policy you could make, no government program, could possibly have an impact on them. But hundreds of billions of dollars must be spent on police and on the Department of Defense, and on TSA, which must virtually strip search 60 million people a year, to deal with other terrorists.

There. Doesn’t that make everything clearer?

What I remember on 9/11

Ten years ago, I lived in Marlborough, CT, a small town just south of Hartford, with a population made up mostly of commuters. Most of us worked in Hartford or other nearby towns (I was then working for Computer Sciences Corporation in East Hartford), but some went longer distances.

Marlborough is the kind of town where everyone meets everyone else over coffee on Sunday Mornings at the local bakery, or at the local grocery after work, or at town hall for our frequent, New England style, town meetings… or at our children’s sports events at the grade school basketball court or on our local baseball diamond.

Jim Hobin was one of the people you spoke with at these events.

Jim was one of the mainstays of the Marlborough Youth Athletic League which ran our local Baseball and Basketball programs for kids. In 2001 he was my son Buddy’s Basketball Coach. The previous year he had coached his baseball team.

Nobody worked better with kids than Jim Hobin… and he was always there fore the MYAL… he loved Baseball especially and you’d frequently find him mowing the grass at our small ball field, or  chalking the base lines, or painting the benches. He loved keeping that field ready for the teams.

He was particular known for training the kids and playing EVERY child for an equal amount of time… something that always amazed us, because his teams usually won.

While much of his work was done traveling all over the country for Marsh and McLennen, once or twice a month he had to go the 150 miles or so to New York to the company offices in the World Trade Center. September 11th was one of those days. Jim always left early in the morning to make it to the office on time… it was not like him to be late for anything.

When the first plane hit the WTC, I was at my East Hartford desk at CSC listening to the news on a local radio station as I worked on my computer. At first it was reported as a small plane accident, then the second plane struck and the whole event was devastatingly clear. My partner came over to my desk to listen to the report… then like all the employees in my division we gathered in the lunchroom and watched the buildings collapse over and over on television.

No work was done that day… we all went home to be with our families.

When I got there my wife told me that Jim Hobin had been at the WTC that morning and no one was able to get hold of him. His wife, Sheila, was especially upset at the lack of contact.

In fact, Jim was one of those whose body was never found or identified.

So, on 9/11, like most people who lived in Marlborough, I don’t think about terrorists, or war, or world politics… I think of Jim Hobin and what he meant to our children and to all of us.

10 years later, nothing has changed.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Osama bin Laden Reactions

The death of Osama bin Laden brought out a flood of editorial cartoons. These are some of the best:

Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

…and, of course, there are loonies who don’t believe it…

– and –

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

…almost invisible if you’re Pakastani…

– and –

Kevin Siers in the Charlotte Observer:

… in your dreams…

– and –

Joel Pett in the Lexington Herald Leader:

…of course for some…like Republicans… nothing is good enough…

– and –

Lee Judge in the Kansas City Star:

… and a salute to the Eagle Team.

“Justice has Been Done” – Obama / Osama Bin laden has been killed.

Osama Bin Laden

I woke up this morning to the news I should have heard last night (I went to bed early) – Osama Bin Laden has been killed in a U.S. strike ordered by Barack Obama and based on US Intelligence. This was actually done on April  29th in an action that was kept in tight secrecy. It is notable that not even the Pakistanis were informed that this was going to happen (in the past, every time they were informed of such an action, Bin Laden curiously escaped just in time to save himself.)

Bin Laden Death Photo

From early reports, Bin Laden was shot in the head by a Navy Seal and, reportedly, he was hiding behind a woman at the time. The attack was made by four helicopters and a small team. No Americans were harmed. The US took custody of Bin Laden’s body after the attack and then followed Islamic law by having him buried at sea so that no tomb could be made on land… since Bin Laden was not a sailor, but the burial at sea was a traditional burial of an enemy.

Pakistan was informed after the action began. Al Qaeda, btw, has now declared war on Pakistan.

This attack plan began in June of 2009 when Obama ordered CIA director Leon Panetta to have as his primary goal locating Bin Laden. The plan was kept in complete secrecy – even from members of Congress – and no information was leaked before its occurence.

My wife’s comment this morning was “This will get Obama reelected.”

More later.

There is a good Forbes article on how the Mosque issue effects worldwide Muslim view of US…

Here are some clips, but I suggest you read the whole thing as this point of view is not being discussed on television:
clipped from www.forbes.com
The furor over the proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero makes me think back to one of the most important lessons I learned from al Qaeda terrorists I interrogated–that they have a warped view of America. To them–and this they get from Osama Bin Laden‘s rhetoric–the U.S. is a country at war with Islam and Muslims, and so they had a duty to fight us.
While I was serving on the frontlines I found that this distorted view of America was common among ordinary Muslims too, and it was only by correcting this image did we encourage locals to help our investigations and turn against al Qaeda. Our efforts were helped by public statements, like from President Bush in the days after 9/11, declaring that America was at war with al Qaeda and not with Islam.
We should have been highlighting that al Qaeda has killed thousands of Muslims and blown up dozens of mosques around the world.
When we eventually did this, we had great successes.
blog it

From Salon this afternoon…

I guess Salon got this from the AP. Not sure how accurate it is… we’ll find out more as we go along.
clipped from www.salon.com
Al-Qaida link in failed plane attack

The White House is reportedly calling the incident an attempted act of terrorism
U.S. officials say a Northwest Airlines passenger from Nigeria said he was acting on behalf of al-Qaida when he tried to blow up a flight Friday as it landed in Detroit.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., identified the suspect as Abdul Mudallad, a Nigerian. King said the flight began in Nigeria and went through Amsterdam en route to Detroit.
One of the U.S. intelligence officials said the explosive device was a mix of powder and liquid. It failed when the passenger tried to detonate it.
The passenger was being questioned Friday evening.
Both of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing.
The motive of the Christmas Day attack was not immediately clear.
blog it