Sunday, September 11, 2011

Last Call

Meanwhile, the situation between Egypt and Israel is getting exponentially worse by the day.

An Egyptian policemen shot on the border with Israel last month has died of his injuries, a human rights group said Sunday, bringing to six the number of those killed in an incident that has triggered tensions between the two countries.

Imad Abdel Malak died at dawn Saturday in a Cairo military hospital of his injuries, the Egyptian Association for Human Rights said in a statement.

He was driving the car in which a police officer and four soldiers were killed on August 18 as Israeli troops pursued suspects in a deadly attack that killed eight Israelis.

After the killings Egypt demanded an apology from Israel while huge protests erupted outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo.

Ties between Egypt and Israel, which have been bound by a peace treaty since 1979, have entered a period of turbulence since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak by a popular uprising in February.

Relations worsened this weekend after protesters stormed Israel's embassy in Cairo, prompting an evacuation of staff and the departure of ambassador Yitzhak Levanon.

The Israeli government said Levanon would return to Egypt only after security could be guaranteed.

Israel has pulled its ambassador from Egypt, and the Egyptian government, such as it is, is very unstable and fragile.  The 1979 treaty is looking more and more flimsy each day, and unless the general direction of things change soon, we're looking at another Six-Day War on our hands.

That is if Israel and Turkey aren't trading shots first.

Louisville Bridge Is Falling Down

And so are dozens of other bridges here in Kentucky, but our senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul tell us that here in the super best most awesome country ever, our government has no place and no money to fix a freaking bridge.  So of course the infrastructure we have is falling apart.

The Sherman Minton Bridge, one of three major bridges spanning the Ohio River between Louisville, KY and southern Indiana, was among the Kentucky bridges listed as deficient. And last night, the Sherman Minton Bridge was closed after further deficiencies, including cracks, were found in a load-bearing part of its structure. The Louisville Courier-Journal reports:
The Sherman Minton Bridge was closed late Friday afternoon and will remain shut down indefinitely after officials discovered cracks in the span.

Will Wingfield, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said officials “do not have an estimate” on how long it will take to repair and reopen the bridge, which carries Interstate 64 traffic across the Ohio River.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) ordered the closure of the bridge, as the state of Indiana maintains and operates the bridge. But the 49-year-old bridge serves as a major thoroughfare for Louisville, McConnell’s hometown and Kentucky’s largest city, carrying 50,000 people a day into or out of the city, according to Chuck Wolfe, spokesman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The state of Kentucky assists in maintenance and evaluation of the bridge’s structure. While the Sherman Minton Bridge is closed, much of its regular daily traffic will be re-routed over another bridge that was already slated to be inspected for structural damage Monday.

Ironically that's the same bridge I used just recently on my trip to visit Bon in Missouri a couple months back, and I crossed it twice.  And it's not just the Sherman Minton that's in bad shape, in fact, a full third of the bridges here in Kentucky are considered deficient or obsolete.  Putting Americans to work to repair these bridges in Kentucky and other states seems like a pretty smart idea to me, but our lawmakers are convinced the bridges will magically fix themselves if only we eliminate corporate taxes or something.

It's amazing.  You'd think lawmakers here in Kentucky would be falling down all over themselves to stop these bridges from falling down.

But Bush Kept Us Safe

Remember, when nearly 3,000 of our fellow citizens died ten years ago today, President Bush kept us safe.

Appearing on Your World with Neil Cavuto on Friday afternoon, Luntz expressed his concern about America’s lack of optimism in the last decade. Then, the Fox analysis shared a controversial sentiment by speaking in positive terms about the the previous Administration despite the attack happening on their watch.

“I don’t think this date is a positive,” Luntz said. “Yes, it allows us to look back and say ‘We haven’t been hit.’ Yes, it allows us to appreciate George Bush and Dick Cheney for keeping us safe. But in the end, it reminds us that we are vulnerable, and that hurts our confidence.”

What, you didn't know the Bush 43 presidency started on September 12th, 2001?  That space between January 2001 and September 2001 was some other guy, I can't remember his name, but dammit Bush kept us safeThere weren't any terrorist attacks on his watch.  At least none that I can recall.  And that Obama guy, man he almost let that underpants bomber guy burn his own crotch, what a failure.

Not like Bush.  He kept us safe.

Band Of America Relies On Customers, Just Like Any Bank

Time runs an excellent article reminding us we are not powerless when it comes to banks and our choices.

According to DailyFinance, online banks are booming in the aftermath of new fees being added by Bank of America and others. PerkStreet Financial, an online-only bank with no-fee checking and debit cards that aren’t only free but offer 2% cash rewards as well, has been blessed with double the usual number of new customer signups this week.

Meanwhile, small banks and credit unions all over the country have launched advertising campaigns highlighting that, unlike some big banks, they don’t charge for things like checking accounts and debit card usage. One bank in Texas has even begun paying customers 15¢ each time they swipe their debit cards.
We vote with our feet.  If our current bank does not meet our needs, we can take our business to another bank.  Bank of America has felt the anger of their customers, and I predict they will roll back the fees if other major banks refuse to jump on board.  I am not a BoA customer, but I'd have canceled my account the day of the announcement.  I walked from Netflix and I ended a twelve-year run with Yahoo when their service went to crap.  Not only do you  get the better service by making balanced and informed choices, but you tell businesses just how much crap you are willing to take.

From Birdy Legs To Baby Bumps

Yahoo Entertainment News recently ran a video showing how Angelina Jolie's weight has become a concern.  I can't tell that she looks any skinnier than before, but they quote several reasons for her weight loss.  Work, chasing six kids, a husband who is one of the hottest (and most pursued) men on the planet.

How about yokels who analyze her weight as a problem?  This video pretends that they are concerned, but the reality is it's just another excuse to dive into their private lives.

On the other side of the coin is Alyson Hannigan.  The How I Met Your Mother star was out wearing a loose-fitting outfit and led to baby bump rumors.  Unlike Angelina, Hannigan is thin but well fed, with flesh and muscle on her frame.  She went a few pounds over her target weight and was put on the spot to defend herself, which she did.

"NO, I'm not pregnant!" Hannigan Tweeted Sunday. "I just ate too much carnival food, that time of the month, hurt my back & couldn't suck my gut in, and need to do cardio!"

Men don't have to answer for their guts, especially when their gain is in the single digits.   Why in the hell should a woman be held accountable for a bit of bloat?  It happens to everyone, but the pressure to be flat and perfect at all times is insane.  It's actually a surprise that more women don't  starve to avoid stares.

I adore Alyson Hannigan, but I wish she had Tweeted: I am allowed to gain five pounds, and if I'm pregnant you will know WHEN I FEEL LIKE TALKING ABOUT IT.

But that's just me.  I will say if anyone (husband included) inquired about my weight gain or loss they would know they crossed the line (that whole fist upside the head thing is a clue).  Celebrity women are no different, in fact their feelings are more sensitive because their looks are part of the job.  Shame on those who expect them to explain their food and body choices, and then go home and snarf down mac and cheese.

Where Were You The Day Our World Changed?

I think it's the most common thing I hear about September 11, 2001.  History is more than just the facts, it is how events shape people, cultures, and even the future.  Where were you when all hell broke loose on that day?

I had called in sick to work, I remember my back was out from having moved some furniture, and work was slow anyway.  My future husband had gone on in to get what little work there was wrapped up and delivered (family printing business).  He called on his way to work and said a plane had hit one of the two towers in New York.  Even though I'm from a piddly little city in the Midwest, I knew those towers.  I flipped on the news right as the second one hit and they knew it wasn't an accident.

I sat and watched the news for eight solid hours.  For the first time in my life, I was afraid that our whole country was under attack.  Such a concept was groundbreaking for a mostly innocent 25-year-old.  War was in other places, it wasn't supposed to be here.  Then I saw the people jumping to avoid burning to death, and my heart broke.  I cannot imagine facing such a choice, or the fear and pain that went along with making jumping off a building look like the best option.  I'm more afraid of heights than I admit, so this remains my own personal terror.  That's what haunts me when I look back to that day.  A close second is knowing your plane is going to crash and yet somehow that's the right thing to do.  What madness that must have been for those people.  And for their loved ones who knew the score.

That day, everything was different.  Our world was turned upside down and we were all uncertain what the next few minutes might bring.  Volunteers flooded out to assist, the entire country halted and took care of their own.  We were damaged and terrified, and yet we may never have been that strong as a people since.  The attackers showed their brutality, and we showed our goodness in the face of evil.  Even though we lost a lot of lives, we reminded the world what we are really made of, and though the stereotype of the rude fat American was already well in place, the world did its best to protect and comfort us while we recovered.  Did we ever thank them?  I don't recall if we did, there was so much news overload that a lot of details were lost.

From tragedy comes learning, and I hope that most of us learned a few lessons.  There are no guarantees in life, tell your loved ones that you love them every single day, and keep your eyes open.  We're not exempt from war or loss, nor are we any less likely to be thrown into chaos today.  Our generation experienced its Pearl Harbor, and we were reminded that our liberty and lifestyle comes with a price tag. That day we paid, and big time.

I think the thing I took away from that time is the realization that things can change quickly, and we must be prepared for what life throws at us.  Oh sure, we talk about the country going to hell but most of the time that comes from a (false) assurance that things really are going to be okay, this is just a bump in the road.  Instead of waiting for the government to clean everything up, people were forced to act as individuals, and fancy houses or nice clothes didn't mean a damn thing.  In a blink, in a single moment, everything can change. Our country can be devastated, and the people may not be able to prevent it.  Any one of us can be called to action, much like the heroes on the plane who figured it out and saved lives, or the rescue unites who were going about their normal day before a plane came out of the sky.  It's easy to take shots at government, but the real question that day was what happens when the ball is in your court?  Would you stand up, collapse in fear, or turn the other cheek?  This is what defines our country.  Us.

Daze Of Remembrance

Over at the National Review, Mark Steyn is clearly upset that we haven't declared September 11th to be "National Take A Swing At A Muslim Day" and finds the world's lack of dedicated Islamophobia to be disturbing.

How are America’s allies remembering the real victims of 9/11? “Muslim Canucks Deal with Stereotypes Ten Years After 9/11,” reports CTV in Canada. And it’s a short step from stereotyping to criminalizing. “How the Fear of Being Criminalized Has Forced Muslims into Silence,” reports the Guardian in Britain. In Australia, a Muslim terrorism suspect was so fearful of being criminalized and stereotyped in the post-9/11 epidemic of paranoia that he pulled a Browning pistol out of his pants and hit Sgt. Adam Wolsey of the Sydney constabulary. Fortunately, Judge Leonie Flannery acquitted him of shooting with intent to harm on the grounds that “‘anti-Muslim sentiment’ made him fear for his safety,” as Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported on Friday. That’s such a heartwarming story for this 9/11 anniversary they should add an extra panel to the peace quilt, perhaps showing a terror suspect opening fire on a judge as she’s pronouncing him not guilty and then shrugging off the light shoulder wound as a useful exercise in healing and unity.

It's not stereotyping if you round them all up for a reason, you see.

In Mark Steyn's America, you're supposed to live in mortal fear of anyone who's not a white, evangelical Christian because they'll kill you, your family, your pets, your neighbors, the nice lady at the office who brings donuts every other Friday and then they'll raise from the dead with their weird religious magic and kill you all over again.

The notion that all over America, we treated millions of American Muslims as enemies of the state for the last ten years simply hasn't occurred to Steyn, because if it did happen, it was just prudence or something.

And so we commemorate an act of war as a “tragic event,” and we retreat to equivocation, cultural self-loathing, and utterly fraudulent misrepresentation about the events of the day. In the weeks after 9/11, Americans were enjoined to ask, “Why do they hate us?” A better question is: “Why do they despise us?” And the quickest way to figure out the answer is to visit the Peace Quilt and the Wish Tree, the Crescent of Embrace and the Hole of Bureaucratic Inertia.

So Brave And Valiant Mark Steyn is all ready to take the crusade to the jihadis just around the corner...or would, if you just hated Muslims irrationally enough to get his back and in fact take the lead, so he can continue to fight the good fight by writing angry columns from waaaaaaaaaay back here.  Go on, he'll catch up.   Really though, Steyn's wondering why you haven't done your part to make Muslims so unwelcome in America that they're still here.

The fact that nine years and some change later we got the guy ultimately responsible for the attack is apparently not in the Mark Steyn Tenth Anniversary Of Muslims Are The Enemy Day celebration guide.  Nor is the notion that Bush failed to protect the country on that day, either...but what's a few facts among the pogroms?
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