And the winner is…
: Fark.com gets the bloggie. The camera pans my face. I try not to look disappointed. I applaud, tough half-heartedly, not understanding.
Memories of the tragedy
: Another fine story by Jim Dwyer with Kevin Flynn in the New York Times, this one taking interviews by the NY Fire Department with people who were at the World Trade Center and piecing together some frightening scenes and facts. From this, it is now clear that the Fire Department knew from the first minute that they could not fight the fires in the towers. It is less clear when they knew that the buildings would fail — and how catastrophically they would fail. It is also clear that communications had problems that day. None of this is about blame; it is about learning. The Fire Department did a heroic job — and these stories make that all the clearer — but some lives were lost because no one knew just how bad this could get and communications problems prevented some from hearing orders to get out. The essence of it:
“The potential and the reality of a collapse was discussed early on,” Chief Hayden said. “But we were at a level of commitment. We also received numerous distress calls. We realized we had a lot of dying and fire up there.”
When [then Fire Commissioner] Mr. Von Essen, and two of his top deputies, William Feehan and Thomas Fitzpatrick, arrived in the lobby, they discussed the approach.
“I specifically remember telling Commissioner Von Essen that we were not attempting to extinguish this fire,” Chief Hayden said. “We were not trying to put this fire out. We had thousands of people coming down the stairs, and that was our focus.”
Around the time that the second plane hit, a ranking chief, Joseph Callan, had seen enough.
“Approximately 40 minutes after I arrived in the lobby, I made a decision that the building was no longer safe,” Chief Callan said. “And that was based on the conditions in the lobby. Large pieces of plaster falling, all the 20-foot-high glass panels on the exterior of the lobby were breaking. There was obvious movement of the building, and that was the reason I gave the order for all Fire Department units to leave the north tower.”
The communications, though, frustrated the commanders….
The Times also gives us dramatic excerpts from the interviews; this from one of the FDNY chaplains:
I remember a cop running along next to me. I remember this. This is great. We were running along, and a cop is running next to me. He says, “Father, can I go to confession?” I looked and said, “This is an act of war, isn’t it?” He said, “Yeah, I believe so.” I said, “Then I’m giving general absolution.” I gave everyone general absolution, and I kept running.
: In anticipation of the anti-global twerps coming to town with the economic conference, we are seeing cops everywhere on the streets of New York. Even blocks away from the conference center — at Times Square — they line the sidewalks. Some of them are carrying their riot helmets (not a comforting site, actually). The Times reports that they are protecting symbols of American capitalism and, sure enough, on my walk to work, I saw a cop standing in front of every single Starbucks.
: So they stop a man at San Francisco’s airport and find traces of plastic explosives on his shoes — and then they let him put the shoes back on and walk away! Idiots. Dangerous idiots! I’m still not feeling safe, here, even with cops guarding our espresso machines.
Sign o’ the Times: Dot.com ads yield to anti-terrorism ads
: The White House create anti-terrorism/anti-drug commercials for the SuperBowl, says Ad Age.
Does unemployment count as community service
: Famed L.A. party thrower Brian Linse on Bush’s head-scratching call for 4,000 hours of community service from us: “Easy for GW to suggest this since most of his own family has already been ordered to do Community Service by a Judge at one time or another.”
: Saudi Arabia wants us to send them the Saudi terrorists at Gitmo. Ha!
: I missed this story earlier: A report from New Scientist says that the two mysterious and fatal cases of anthrax may have been caused by wind carrying spores from Trenton, N.J. to New York and Connecticut. It says that the wind that day was traveling in exactly that direction. It further says that it can take just one single spore — not the tens of thousands we were told — to cause illness and, ultimately, death.
This does not make me feel good. I live in the very path of that wind from Trenton (whose stupid slogan is “Trenton Makes, The World Takes”). And one spore? I fear we have not heard the end of anthrax terrorism (even though we haven’t heard a damned thing about it lately).
The State (applause) of the (standing ovation) Union
: Artie Lang on Howard Stern’s show yesterday said the State of the Union address drives him nuts. It’s like Arsenio — nothing but applause.
: Sullivan won’t drop is Krugman fetish and so others won’t stop looking at it and Jay Zilber summarizes a piece by Sullivan bete noir Michelangelo Signorile looking at the tobacco-lobyist contributor to Sullivan himself.
: I’m so proud. I read the NY Post today and see that my star student when I taught briefly at NYU’s journalism school is the guy who picks all the disgusting things people have to eat on Fear Factor. And who says journalism school isn’t useful, huh?