Posts from May 2002

The weight: They have almost

The weight
: They have almost finished removing 1.6 million tons of debris from the World Trade Center. By the end of the month, the Times reports, it will all be gone. All that will be left will be the hole.

And the memory.

I fear the memory is beginning to fade. I fear it in me.

I went walking to the bookstore the other day; I do that when I need to get out and think. There, I found the book collection of the New York Times’ profiles of the victims of September — Portraits: 9/11/01.

I was shocked at the size of it and the weight of it. The dimensions of the book are big: every page is large and there are more than 500 pages. And this is not even a complete memorial to the victims; it is only the portraits published before February. There are even more to be written, which will be included in the next edition, an even bigger book.

I don’t know why I was so shocked at the size. Somehow, in my mind’s scale, I thought this book would be smaller. I wonder whether this is a symptom of my memory, fading.

Of course, the book is huge. The loss is huge. Thousands of lives gone. Thousands upon thousands of lives scarred.

I bought the book and finally read the portrait of my neighbor who died. It returned me to September.

If you, too, feel your memory fading, if 9.11 starts to look smaller behind you, I urge you to go to the bookstore and pick up the Times’ book, just pick it up.

Feel the weight of the grief.

Stands for F’ing Bloody Idiots
: I haven’t had a fresh reason to be mad at the FBI in, oh, at least a week. But here’s a new reason:

Two months before the suicide hijackings, an FBI agent in Arizona alerted Washington headquarters that several Middle Easterners were training at a U.S. aviation school and recommended contacting other schools nationwide where Arabs might be studying, law enforcement officials said.

The FBI sent the intelligence to its terrorism experts in Washington and New York for analysis and had begun discussing conducting a nationwide canvass of flight schools when the Sept. 11 tragedies occurred, officials told The Associated Press.

: Ditto airport security screeners: idiots. From Cleveland Live:

A screening machine detected explosives in a carry-on bag at a security checkpoint at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on Friday, and authorities closed two concourses for 2 1/2 hours, officials said.

Airport Commissioner Fred Szabo said screeners were unable to find the bag and he could not rule out the possibility that the bag and the person carrying it got on a departing flight before the concourses were closed.


: First the NY Times killed its Nation Challenged post-9.11 section, but they said they’d keep updating the section online. Now, quietly, they’ve stopped updating.

Vanity: So many states are

: So many states are starting to use their license plates as bumper stickers, allowing groups to make political statements there. Virginia will have confederate flags on its tags. Florida has an antiabortion — uh, I mean, prolife — plate (and, I believe, Louisiana — though I can’t find that one). Nevada has a nuclear plate.

This is stupid. There will be no stopping it now: PETA plates, gun plates, clone plates, antiKrugman plates.

And here is the one I want:

Long time no siege
: Arafat is sprung and the Independent says he got no heroe’s welcome-home; he got a shrug, perhaps for the wrong reasons, but it’s nice to see him dissed for any reason:

Yasser Arafat had the air of an ageing thespian stepping out of the wings to savour a curtain call and drink in the warmth of his fans before taking a triumphant bow. But, as he strutted anew on the world stage, the applause was patchy and so were the crowds….

But as the Palestinian leader

Announcing The… Warries!: Dan Hartung

Announcing The… Warries!
: Dan Hartung corrects me on my Webby whine (below), sending me email:

Well, blogs were around for the 1999, 2000, and 2001 Webbys, and didn’t have a category then either. But some of them still won; the “Personal Web Site” category was added for 2000, and the winner was (John ‘Halcyon’ Styn). That year, Slashdot (which fits the broad definition of a group weblog), won as a Community Site. Jim Romenesko’s Media News, often cited as a seminal single-topic weblog, won as a “Media” site. And Stile Project, a prototypical (now a sell-out) E/N site, won under the Weird category. The record in ’01 wasn’t as good — Plastic and LiveJournal being the only blog-related winners…. Bottom line? They’re dominated by Bay-area granola libs…

I guess my real complaint was that this was the year of the — pardon me, but I don’t really mind the title, considering the title of this very blog — Warloggers. And we don’t find them there. No surprise, really, for the reason Dan puts forth.

So what should we do: start our own self-serving awards?

The Warries?

I can already hear somebody complain: Why not the Peacies?

The Anti-Idiotarianies just doesn’t sing.

Categories? News & comment (nominees start with who else?). Foreign reporting & comment (Blair, Johnson…). Just comment (Layne, Welch and just about everybody).

: By the way, don’t believe the nice things Layne said about me. He’s easily bought — for the price of a book or even just a cheap paper.

New York, New York
: You can tell that New York has twice the energy in its air that either California or Europe. The measure? Nick Denton has been posting five times as much in the last week — since he moved to New York — as I’ve seen from him in months. Coincidence?

Promoting fertility
: If you thought you never wanted a kid, you’ll change your mind after watching this. Lileks will cause a population explosion.

Elie’s fatwah
: Elie Wiesel on NPR last night said two wise things (of course).

Asked whether and how Israel could come to peace with the Palestinians, Wiesel said that if Israel could come to peace with Germany, of all nations, it could do this, too.

He also called on Muslim clerics to issue a fatwah against what is happening now.

What a spectacular thought. Rather than relying on calls for Muslim clerics and leaders to merely “condemn” the 9.11 attacks and the suicide bombings in Israel, how much better it is to have them put their words where they matter. This is a religion that believes in following the dictates of their holy writings and of clerical interpretations. A fatwah means something; it has the authority of law.

We hear Muslims on TV saying again and again that the Quoran forbids suicide.

It’s time to mean it. It’s time for them to issue an order, a fatwah against suicide and suicide-murder.

So that is the challenge, that is the test, for Muslim clerics everywhere: Either you are willing to issue a fatwah against suicide and suicide-murder… or you support it. Either you are a person of Allah… or you are not.