Posts from June 8, 2005

Using the innocents

Using the innocents

: We should be ashamed of ourselves. The great tragedy of 9/11 is almost three years gone and still the hole stares at us because we are too political and incompetent to fill it and, worse, we are allowing the innocents and heroes of that day to be used to fulfill political agenda. The latest:

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal carried an op-ed by Debra Burlingame, sister of a pilot of one of the 9/11 jets, that paints an enraging picture of the work behind the so-called International Freedom Center being planned for the site.

I smelled something bad there when The Times — in a review of the plans filled with the writer’s own political agenda — revealed that a picture of Iraqis holding up their purple fingers of freedom — a picture worth well more than a thousand words about freedom and democracy — was taken out of the presentation.

Burlingame says that the center is practically being turned into what Bill Maher has wanted: a Why They Hate Us Pavillion.

The organizers of its principal tenant, the International Freedom Center (IFC), have stated that they intend to take us on “a journey through the history of freedom”–but do not be fooled into thinking that their idea of freedom is the same as that of those Marines. To the IFC’s organizers, it is not only history’s triumphs that illuminate, but also its failures. The public will have come to see 9/11 but will be given a high-tech, multimedia tutorial about man’s inhumanity to man, from Native American genocide to the lynchings and cross-burnings of the Jim Crow South, from the Third Reich’s Final Solution to the Soviet gulags and beyond.

Why? And why here?

On my grave, please do not build a memorial to the mistakes of my neighbors and ancestors. Don’t stand on the grass above me and flagellate. Just let me lie there in peace, please.

Oh, and by the way, when you build this center, will you include the atrocities of the Saudis and Saddam Hussein and the PLO and all the tyrants of the Middle East? Will have you have an exhibit about the women there who do not have the freedom to vote or even drive?

Will you build a special wing for the special sickness that is suicide terrorism — in Israel and in Iraq and at the World Trade Center? Or will you be afraid of offending Muslims?

Well, I’m offended.

The World Trade Center is a place for remembrance of the innocents and victims of that day and for a return to life.

: Burlingame has problems with many of the people behind the center but here is the gem:

Eric Foner, radical-left history professor at Columbia University who, even as the bodies were being pulled out of a smoldering Ground Zero, wrote, “I’m not sure which is more frightening: the horror that engulfed New York City or the apocalyptic rhetoric emanating daily from the White House.” This is the same man who participated in a “teach-in” at Columbia to protest the Iraq war, during which a colleague exhorted students with, “The only true heroes are those who find ways to defeat the U.S. military,” and called for “a million Mogadishus.”

: Michele Malkin is also angry. More blog ire under Burlingame at Technorati.

: Roger Simon has a few suggestions.

: Update: An emailer wants to point out that Foner called the colleague’s Mogodish remark “idiotic.”

The moneyed monarchy

The moneyed monarchy

: So in New Jersey, we now have the rich guy vs. the rich guy running for governor: Sen. Jon Corzine v. Doug Forrester, who has pummeled the state with ads for more than a year. And next door, of course, we have the rich guy mayor. Not that there’s anything wrong with being rich. Not that there’s anything wrong with using your own money to exercise your own free speech (after fighting for the First Amendment against the FCC, readers here made me see that I had to fight for it against the FEC, too; speech is speech). But the system is leading us to a point where the rich guys spending their own bucks will be taking over every office they can afford. There’s something so… so… colonial English about that. Finance reform is not the answer, clearly; it is taking power away from the people and giving it to the powerful. We need to fix that (again) and at least shorten the length of campaigns so there’s less time to spend all that wealth.

: LATER: Dick Meyer, editorial director of, has an interesting take on rich politicians, inspired by The Times’ class-war (class-spat) series (whose premise I don’t entirely buy, being the grandson of folks who lived in a holler myself) and by The Times’ own coverage of how the rich live:

I just want to point out the irony of running an excellent set of pieces about the anthropology and demographics of the hyper-rich in a paper that is dining out on them. It is a kind of limousine liberalism that I believe also afflicts the Democratic Party too often, a conceit that “we are the enlightened rich.”

Bill Clinton didn’t bash the rich a lot, but he could have; Johns Kerry and Edwards did bash the rich a lot, and it flopped. It flopped partly because Americans who are not rich simply do not have a European-style, class base resentment. Americans aspire to being rich. That’s the American way. But the ’04 Democratic rhetoric also flopped because the guys spewing looked like such phonies; they weren’t just rich, they were richer than the Republicans: they were hyper-rich….

The point is not that being rich, or exploiting interest in the rich to sell newspapers, should be disqualifiers for tackling issues of economic justice. The point is to do it with some humility and an ear well-tuned to hypocrisy.

After my own heart(burn)

After my own heart(burn)

: How could I have missed it? A blog devoted to burgers.