Do you find yourself saying ‘Happy Holidays’ to people or perfect strangers because you don’t want to offend or upset them if they don’t celebrate Christmas? I decided a while ago, this was a minor detail that I would not worry about.
For this exact reason: I don’t care if someone says “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah,” “Happy Holidays,” or “Joyous Kwanza,” etc. because I decided that I’d just be thankful that someone had something kind or nice to say to me in the holiday season. It’s something to think about.
If someone says, “Merry Christmas,” but you are not Christian, the polite thing to do is wish that person a “Merry Christmas,” because clearly they do. Returning the message only spreads a kind word to another human.
While traveling for the holiday, I said, “Merry Christmas!” to everyone including the airport shuttle driver, ticket agent, flight attendant, pilot, etc. as an experiment. Every single one of them said it back to me.
Imagine New York City, a melting pot of cultures, religions, etc. without the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center as to not offend anyone in the city.
Thoughts on this?
I’ve spent the past few days trying to put together a fitting tribute on this anniversary of September 11th. After much thought I came to the conclusion that I could only write something from my perspective on that day as mine is the only perspective of which I have first hand knowledge. You’ll find this post below the fold.
In the mean time, if you do nothing else today, take a look at this video…and remember.
It was a normal Tuesday morning on September 11, 2001. For me the day began much like most days did – finding me waging the battle of the bulge on a Nordic Track in the garage of my Los Angeles home. At 0530, I began my workout on that dreaded torture device with Blogfather Hugh’s morning radio show murmurings in the background.
Shortly after 0546 I heard Blogfather Hugh deviate from his normal morning routine as he began to make mention of a “tragedy in New York City”. He mentioned something about the World Trade Center having been evidently struck by a plane. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t pay much attention – it was after all well before sunrise and I wasn’t really awake yet. I finished my workout and wandered into the living room and turned on MSNBC a few minutes before 0600.
My verbal reaction to the image on the screen (something having to do with sanctified natural fertilizer) woke the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro who then came in to find out what the ruckus was about.
She rounded the hallway corner into the living room just seconds after 0603 – the moment in which United Flight 175, piloted by Marwan al-Shehhi, tilted its wings and impacted between floors 77 and 85 of the World Trade Center’s South Tower.
We sat there and watched in stunned silence for what seemed like an eternity. 34 minutes later, as NBC’s Jim Miklashevski reported live at the Pentagon, his entire desk shook as the building absorbed American Airlines Flight 77 as it the westernmost wall.
In the midst of all this I managed to ready myself to head for my office near LAX. As I was heading for the door at just before 0700, the unthinkable happened. There was a loud rumble, audible even to the cameras in the distance, and the South Tower collapsed upon itself like a folding telescope. Lower Manhattan disappeared in a huge cloud of smoke, dust, and pulverized debris.
America was in a state of shock. New York City was in a state of panic. Unbeknownst to all but a few, two minutes earlier the passengers aboard United Flight 93 had decided to take action. Their own plane had been hijacked by the same band of Islamofacist Murdering Thugs responsible for the other hijacked airplanes.
Thirty-seven passengers and five crew members were herded into the aft section of the Boeing 757-200. The intentions of their hijackers soon became clear. Some passengers had made phone calls to friends and loved ones who informed them about the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. They looked at each other. They took a vote. They decided to rush the cockpit and attempt to reclaim the aircraft.
It is said that America’s strength is neither in her military nor in her treasure. America’s strength is in her citizens. Forty-two Americans, most of whom had not known each other prior to that morning, banded together and started to push the drink cart down the aisle to do battle with their captors. The final words anyone heard from these brave souls were those of Todd Beamer:
Are you guys ready? Okay. Let’s roll!
Six minutes later, United Flight 93 crashed nose first at 563 miles per hour into a reclaimed coal mine in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Thus began America’s counterattack in the War on Terror.
Having stopped for breakfast on my way to the office, I saw the North WTC Tower collapse upon itself at 0728. Though nobody knew it, at that moment the attack was over. When all the dust had settled and the smoke had cleared, some 2,996 men, women, and children perished on that Tuesday morning in September.
From the time the American Airlines Flight 11 impacted the North Tower to the time that same tower collapsed down upon itself, a total of 102 minutes elapsed. Those 102 minutes would forever change America. For weeks after that day, Los Angeles radio station KFI ran a haunting one sentence reminder at various intervals during the day. On either side of the voiceover was about five seconds of dead air – just enough to get your attention. Then a voice stated:
It could have just as easily happened here.
Los Angeles is a geographical continent and cultural world away from New York and DC. Distance and culture notwithstanding, LA ground to a halt just like most metro areas. Businesses and schools shut down and parents like me were left wondering just exactly how to explain the events of that morning to our children.
My son Corderinho, then a three-year-old bundle of curiosity, was very concerned. You see at that time I traveled often for business and he would accompany the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro when she either dropped me off or picked me up at LAX. When I told Corderinho that some “bad men” had crashed the planes into those big building, he looked at me with the quivering lip unique to three-year-olds and asked:
Daddy, are there bad men on your planes?
No three-year-old should have to ask that question.
A few years ago while visiting New York City, I made a pilgrimage to Ground Zero. As I stood looking out over the 20 acre hole in the ground, I was approached by a Boston PBS station reporter who put a microphone in my face and asked me how I “felt”. My answer surprised the reporter:
I am still angry.
There were no follow up questions and I’m sure the interview got tossed in the corner of the cutting room floor.
I leave you today with a performance by Billy Joel at the Concert for New York City – an event held a few weeks after September 11. He wrote this song some thirty years ago as a science fiction song, but the lyrics are very prescient.
Count me among the handful.
In the most recent weeks, these sobering investigations remind me how disappointed I was when the votes were counted on Election Day. My conscience is clear because I never voted for the guy. However, I do share a society with the 51% of voters who did vote for this useless, manipulative, dishonest creep.
Years ago, I got it. It was a popularity contest. He’s undeniably a charismatic speaker, much like his democratic predecessor, Bill Clinton, and people believed what he had to say. Now I wonder how that 51% feels.
On the down side, it only just started. It’s disheartening to be in this great nation, and hear and see such dishonest revelations from our government, and this is likely just scratching the surface. Alas, it’s Obama’s last term, yet it has only just begun.
Political correctness is running amuck in our current world and in our current administration. The idea that we cannot call something exactly what is for fear of offending others is becoming an ever growing problem. From illegal immigrant to radical Islam, the current administration is becoming the poster child of avoiding the issue in order to save face or not offend. Well, maybe a little offense is a good thing.
President Obama, much to many a Republican and conservative surprise (or not…) avoided connecting the dots between radical Islamists and the heinous act in London that left one British soldier disgustingly murdered in the street. The perpetrators were heard, in their own words, speaking about jihad and radical actions based upon their Islamic beliefs. But, we cannot say that they are radical members of a particular religion so as not to offend those who may practice peacefully. Crazy? A little.
The fact cannot be ignored that we ARE at war with a radical sect of Islam. The Boston Bombers, 9/11 hijackers, the underwear bomber, Fort Hood Shooters, and the most recent London attackers have been radicalized and believe they are on a religious war. In many of their own words, it is clear that they are fighting in the name of religion so why not take their actions as such? Who are we worried about offending with the truth? Maybe if we called it what it is it would make no difference except to show them that we will not bow to their type of beliefs that harm our citizens and our world.
Yes, there are radicals in every group. As a person who is white, I am not offended by the term “white supremacist” as an affront to my racial background. They are a particular group of people that I am aware exist, wish desperately that they did not believe in what they profess, and believe this world would be better without. But, am I offended when the term is used? No, because there is a clear delineation between myself and them: we do not share the same beliefs! The term radical Islamists is not the same as the “n” word. It is not a slur but a statement of fact. Radical Islamists exist, they hate us, and running from the term only confuses the issue and paints a rosy picture on a group that deserves no such thing. Sometimes there is an “us against them”, and the western world needs to recognize that avoiding calling it what it is will not change it.
Do you think that the term Radical Islam is offensive such as a slur would be? Do you think the Obama Administration is right in avoiding the use of the words Radical Islam for fear of offense? Or does it matter at all.
Yes, you read that right. Our first edition of the 2016 rankings are coming soon. Who would you include on both sides of the aisle?
We were up until the wee hours of the morning until the Iowa Caucus was decided back in January, or at least until everyone believed it had been decided. Join us tonight until the election is called. Hopefully it isn’t called one way, then the other, then back the original way again, then subject to a recount followed by a Supreme Court challenge.
The first polls will close on the east coast within the hour. For Mitt Romney to win the Presidency, he must carry Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, and one of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, or Wisconsin with one of the smaller swing states. Otherwise, President Obama will have his second term.
So here we sit, the afternoon before polls open and the answer is still very much in question.
Both candidates are conducting last minute campaign blitzkriegs, seeking to sway the precious few Americans that are planning to vote, but that have not yet made up their mind.
There are grand predictions of landslides for both sides, which look silly. No, more than likely, this is election is going to be more like 2000 or 2004, rather than 2008.
The national polls remain virtually tied, but they realistically mean nothing, as Al Gore will tell you after winning the 2000 popular vote, but losing the White House to George W. Bush. The swing states are where this election will be decided. The RCP state polling aggregate lists 11 states as “toss up”, and President Obama has leads in nine of them. The Romney states are North Carolina and Florida, while Obama holds the lead by three points or more in Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Closer are Ohio, Nevada and New Hampshire. Even closer are Colorado and Virginia.
So let’s have some electoral college fun!
I hope everyone in the Northeast U.S. had an uneventful visit from Hurricane Sandy. The Kaiser house lost power for a couple of days, but all is up and running now.
The campaign, after taking a brief pause for the storm, resumes in earnest today, less than a week before the nation goes to the polls. The polls continue to show a close race, with most giving Mitt Romney a slim lead nationally, but Barack Obama seemingly with an edge where it counts, the electoral college.
Do you see a path to the Oval Office for Romney, and if so, what swing states will he capture?
Pollster Scott Rasmussen believe “Wisconsin may be the new Ohio“.
A quiet prayer delivered by Mitt Romney had a significant impact on a Washington insider.
Peggy Noonan writes: “America doesn’t date losers”.
Unable to make any comprehensible argument whatsoever on the economy or actual plans to improve it, Politico reports that Democrats are going all in on abortion. More evidence of this is today’s quarter 3 economic growth report showing a stagnant annualized rate of 2%, in other words a three month growth rate of 0.5% and a Q1-Q3 annualized rate of only 1.77%. This pales in comparison to the President’s projection in 2009 based on his policies. At that time Obama told Americans that his actions would result in GDP growth of 4.6% in 2012.
Even CNN is now questioning whether President Obama has an actual, feasible plan for a second term. Video after the jump.
Races can often be looked at in retrospect at certain dates when things began to change. In 2008, the homestretch according to polling began September 18, 2008 as Barack Obama led John McCain by only 1.9%. Then Obama only pulled away from there. In comparison, on September 18, 2012, Barack Obama led Mitt Romney by 2.8%, eventually reaching a high of 4.1% on September 30. Since then everything has changed. On today’s date in 2008, Obama’s lead had grown to a completely unbeatable 8%. Today, incumbent Obama trails Mitt Romney by 0.7%, who seems to have turned the corner on October 9, leading the RCP average all but three days since. Romney has also led the daily Gallup tracking poll every single day since October 11. Additionally, despite losing 8 points of his advantage among male voters, Romney has completely erased a 16 point deficit among female voters.
In light of the recent debate on foreign policy, the Washington Post reports:
The government expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years.
Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaeda continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight.
“We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us,” a senior administration official said. “It’s a necessary part of what we do. . . . We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America.’ ”
Tonight marks the final Presidential Debate. The live conversation starts here on Political Derby at 9:00 pm ET.
Foreign policy is the theme, which leads to several questions:
- How many times will President Obama tout: “Bin Laden is dead”?
- Will Governor Romney be successful in moving the conversation to the terrorist attack on American soil in Libya?
- Are there any major differences between the candidates, or will they end up agreeing with each other most of the night?
- Will both candidates continue to show a lack of understanding of the benefits of trade by continually pounding China for making American lives better through the production of lower cost goods?
Finally, a contest. Jason Wright will send a signed copy of his newest book, The 13th Day of Christmas to whomever can the most accurately predict which candidate is allowed more speaking time and by how much (to the nearest second). Entries must be posted in the comments prior to 8:55 pm ET. If someone has already posted a prediction and you duplicate it, your entry will be invalid.
With less than three week to go until the election, President Obama and Governor Romney find themselves in a dead heat across national polls. The only major poll where the lead is not within the margin of error is the daily Gallup tracking poll, where Romney is up 6 points (margin of error of +/-3). Regarding this poll, Karl Rove says: “No candidate who has led in mid-October with 50 percent or more in the likely voter poll has ever gone on to lose.” Romney must have as bright an outlook, especially as traditional Republicans are typically more likely to vote. In 2008 there was a significant exception as with historically high Democrat turnout drove Obama’s decisive win. Most analysts do not expect this to be repeated.
The missing California jobless claims not reported last week, leading to the supposedly lowest week during Obama’s presidency, have been reported this week, given the US its highest weekly number of new jobless claims-388,000-in four months.
Governments in the US spent $1.03 trillion on welfare in 2011. This “data excludes spending on Social Security, Medicare, means-tested health care for veterans without service-connected disabilities, and the means-tested veterans pension program” and is divided between $746 billion spent by the federal government and $283 billion spent by state governments.
Finally, in Cuba some private property ownership is now being allowed, mostly for apartments. There is a significant division in the value of apartments built since 1959 and those built in the 1940s and 1950s. The older apartments have a significantly higher value in the free market as they are typically marketed as ‘capitalist construction’.
Debate two is in the books, and while the result is no where near as convincing as Romney’s drubbing of the President in the first debate, it is clear that Barack Obama had a much better performance this time, while Mitt Romney took a small step or two back. Overall, last night’s debate was a slug fest, with both sides vacillating between attack and defense.
Obama was clearly more focused, energized and prepared for this match, and he managed a few zingers on his opponent. Romney missed out on some chances to hit Obama, especially early on. He did score some points on Benghazi, but committed a bit of a gaffe with his “binders of women” statement. Both battled, sometimes bitterly, over oil production on federal lands, over auto company bailouts, and over Romney’s wealth. Regardless of the topic, it has become very apparent that these two do not like each other, and some of the descriptions characterized the debate as “nauseating” and as the “most rancorous Presidential debate ever.”
Polls are giving Obama a slim victory, and while both candidates swung hard, no significant blows were landed.
Joe “The Gaffe Machine” Biden faces off against Paul “MiniMitt” Romney. The festivities begin at 9:00 pm eastern daylight time. (Yes, we are still on daylight time unlike the rest of the world. Not fun when you’re in international business.)
If you have a television, every major network will be carrying the debate. If you don’t, it will also be broadcast on YouTube.
Tonight is the country’s one and only opportunity to see Joe Biden and Paul Ryan debate head to head. CBS News says not to expect it to have much of an impact the election. However, after Mitt Romney’s dominating performance in front of 70 million viewers has led to Romney leading five of the last seven major polls (tied and down one in the other two), it seems Americans are quite interested in the candidates’ real time responses to their opponent’s positions and accusations.
Of course, we will have a debate open thread up and going here on PoliticalDerby.com beginning about an hour before the fracas begins at 9:00 pm eastern.
Politico has ‘5 things to watch in VP debate‘ which include: ‘Can Biden draw blood?,”Can Ryan defend himself?,’ ‘Good Joe v. Bad Biden’.
The Supreme Court is once again hearing arguments from an American university, this time the University of Texas, regarding why the school believes the color of a person’s skin is a valid criteria to determine admission.
Finally, more evidence continues to show the global financial crisis is nowhere near solved as Standard & Poor’s has downgraded Spain’s debt rating to ‘one level above junk’. Of course, you could probably see this coming as Spain’s external debt to GDP ratio is 243%, similar to Greece at 232%. The US is just over 100% with its $16 trillion-plus debt and surprisingly the UK is over 500%.
It is VP Debate Eve and what a busy one indeed!
The U.S. State Department is spinning a much different tale than the one initially told, that the size and scope of the attack was unlike any seen in Libya, and that the attack did not start with a protest over a video, as the White House has insisted. The official report has now changed, and the House is set to investigate “inappropriate security” levels at the embassy.
Romney’s gains in the polls continue, with a number of battleground states trending in favor of the Republican nominee, and several states once though out of reach are now in play, including Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Jack Welch continues to rip the validity of the recent job numbers.
And finally, The Daily Caller is reporting that President Obama attended the wedding of tomorrow night’s VP debate, and later appointed her husband to head the FCC. Hmmm.
Voters go to the polls in exactly four weeks. If the election were held today, who do you think would win? The last three polls (all this week) show the race at +4 Romney (Pew) and tied in both Gallup and Rasmussen.
Speaking of “Pew”, Andrew Sullivan weighs in with the kind of hysterical doom and gloom aimed at scaring the tar out of liberals. Effective?
Need to cleanse Sullivan from your pallet? I’d recommend the brilliant Thomas Sowell’s latest at RCP.
Finally, for our resident conspiracy theorists (you know who you are), Politico has a top ten list of conspiracies that keep people up at night.
Nearly all commentators that don’t work for the Obama campaign agree that Mitt Romney won the debate and won it handily.
Washington Times: ‘Obama the debater: Making Jimmy Carter look awesome’
Politico: ‘Obama hit with left hook on TV, online‘
USA Today: ‘Romney plays strong offense‘
Washington Post: ‘Romney goes on offense, forcing Obama to defend record‘
The Hill: ‘Romney lands punches against subdued Obama‘
Daily Beast: ‘This was a disaster for the president‘
The first of the debates that really matter are here.
Use the comments section for your immediate reactions to each candidate’s comments.
Within the comments, the Disqus system will automatically refresh, with notification bars that appear while you are in the comments. The bar will say “new comment above” or “new comment below”. Click the bar and it will take you to the new comment so you can remain fully engaged in the discussion.