Scars

They say “time heals all wounds.” But even as they heal, wounds leave scars.

It was seventeen years ago. That’s a lot of years. A lot of time. For some, however, 9/11 seems like yesterday. Where were you on 9/11? (Most of the following originally appeared in 2016 under the title, Where Were You? A 9/11 Remembrance.)

Flickr
Flickr

Where do we get such men? They leave this ship and they do their job. Then they must find this speck lost somewhere on the sea. When they find it, they have to land on its pitching deck. Where do we get such men?

– RAdm Tarrant, The Bridges at Toko-Ri

September 11, 2001 was like every other Indian Summer day in California, the Golden State. Gallons of sunshine poured out of a flawless azure sky. Temperatures hovered in the nineties. The long, lazy days of summer washed into another school year like breakers on Sunset Beach. In other words, the day was practically perfect. Until two airliners tore into the Twin Towers.

And America has never been the same.

Remember?

Neck-deep in other responsibilities, I hadn’t tuned in to the news all day. “Turn on the TV” my husband said that evening.

“Why?” I asked. “What’s going on?”

“Didn’t you hear?”

“Hear what?”

“About New York.” Blank stare.

“Two planes flew into the Twin Towers this morning.”

“Was anyone hurt?”

I thought he meant two Cessnas with engine trouble. Someone got confused. Strayed off course. An accident.  Minor injuries and a dozen insurance claims. Turning on the TV, it took about five seconds for reality to sink in.

NPS/Public Domain

Amid the shock, confusion and grief of that terrible, tragic day and its immediate aftermath loomed an unnatural quiet.

Southern California skies usually hum with air traffic of all shapes and sizes. Everything from thundering commercial flights to lumbering military cargo planes to the mosquito whine of light aircraft. It was all gone on September 11, 2001, when the FAA ordered all flights grounded. The result? A suffocating silence, terrible in its unnatural eeriness.

Years Later

Years later, this event and those responsible are household words. Oceans of ink have been spilled on the subject of 9/11. Documentaries have been produced. Testimonials shared. Solemn memorials observed.

And we remember.

Many Americans set September 11 aside as a “day of infamy” – and something else. We mourn the lives lost. But we also remember the heroes. And in remembering, we honor the sacrifices of first responders – law enforcement, firefighters, and EMS. Scores of “ordinary” Americans who were anything but. On that Indian Summer day in 2001, we saw countless Americans go above and beyond the call of duty to protect and serve others.

It’s been a few years, but the events of that September morning still reverberate. They aren’t quiet. They touched a chord.  For those who looked, the immediate aftermath of 9/11 showed America at her best: Generous. Selfless. Resourceful. Resilient and resolute. United. Uncowed.

The Bridges at Toko-Ri is set during the Korean War. But RAdm Tarrant’s question lingers: Where do we get such men and women?

We get them from Texas oil rigs. Iowa corn fields. Virginia coal mines. From Wall Street to Lombard Street. From football fields and baseball diamonds to basketball courts and hockey rinks. From blue collars to white. From New England fishing fleets. Florida citrus farms. Illinois’ windy city. From the Bay State to the North Star State to the Evergreen State. And all points in between.

From the courage and commitment of Navy pilots and first responders to the generosity and compassion of ordinary citizens, we “get such men and women” from all across the fruited plain.  Scars remain. So does the spirit of America. We saw it in the aftermath of 9/11. Americans at our best: Generous. Selfless. Resourceful. Resilient and resolute. United. Uncowed.

It’s who we are. Remember?

 

Lyrics:

When the night seems to say
All hope is lost, gone away
But I know, I’m not alone
By the light she stands.

There she waves, faithful friend
Shimmering stars, westward wind
Show the way, carry me
To the place she stands.

Just when you think it might be over
Just when you think the fight is gone
Someone will risk his life to raise her
There she stands.

There she flies, clear blue skies
Reminds us with red of those that died
Washed in white by the brave
In their dream she stands.

When evil calls itself a martyr
When all your hopes come crashing down
Someone will pull her from the rubble
There she stands.

We’ve seen her flying torn and tattered
We’ve seen her stand the test of time
And through it all the fools have fallen
There she stands.

By the dawn’s early light
And through the fight, she stands.

Michael W. Smith is a contemporary Christian singer/songwriter. He’s sold more than 15 million albums, scored twenty-eight No. 1 hits, earned three GRAMMYs and more than 40 Dove Awards.

* Today is Patriot Day. In case you forgot.

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An Open Letter to Kavanaugh Hearing Hecklers

Sens. Durbin, Feinstein, Booker and Leahy take a break during the Kavanaugh confirmation circus.

Dear Kavanaugh Hearing Hecklers:

We see you. We hear you. And we’re laughing at you.

Because you’re hilarious. Because your attempts to smear an eminently qualified jurist and disrupt a Senate committee hearing put you and your agenda on full display as bankrupt, desperate, and in dire need of a nanny.  Because you’ve also provided beaucoup reasons why not to take you or your ideologies seriously.

Missing your coloring books and nap time much?

(I’m not going to include a video link or anything else chronicling your rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth antics. Your off-the-rails lunacy. Because you don’t rate it. After all, you got paid for your fifteen seconds of fame. Frankly, that’s about $49.99 more than your performance is worth.)

Let us guess, heckleristas. You eat tofu. Drive a Prius. Haven’t figured out that the bearded, bereted Cuban on your T-shirt was a mass murderer. Have never heard of Solzenhitsyn. The old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Think Venezuela is a model economy. That someone else will pay for all your “free” stuff. That the First, Second, Fourth and Tenth Amendments are suggestions. That government gets to pick winners and losers instead of ensuring a level playing field for equal competition. You can’t define “essential principles” with a dictionary. Can’t find a real job so you show up at Senate hearings. You blame it on a bad video. Think you can still “keep your doctor.” (Oh, and Sen. Booker? According to Senate rules, the consequences for releasing committee confidential documents include losing your seat. Please God.)

This crap is your best shot? Really, hecklers? Cuz you’re pathetic. Laughable. And possibly the best comedy act since Abbott and Costello’s Who’s on First?

So thanks, losers. Thanks for showing us how easy it is to out-class Dick Durbin & Co. What ignorance and intolerance really look like. That you and your allies in the Party of Debt, Dependency and Decay haven’t had a new idea since Woodrow Wilson.

Thanks for showing us the utter hypocrisy and bigotry of the Democratic Party. What Christophohia and originalism-obia look like. Ditto bad manners, sore losers, too much tofu and sheer stupidity. Aka in Lefty quarters: “Thursday.”

Thanks for showing the whole world your true colors. How Leftista looney tunes look and sound. Again.

Thank you for giving thinking Americans more reasons to boot your ideological cronies out of office in November.

And thanks for giving Brett Kavanaugh the chance to shine. To show that he knows his stuff backwards and forwards and upside down. That he’s a profile in courage who keeps his cool under pressure. Which is a whole lot more than we can say of you. Because he’s not going to get Borked. Deal with it.

Now. Go pick up your room and take out the trash. By the way, we’re cutting your allowance. And you’re going to need to move out of the basement. So start looking for a real job.

Love,

Mom and Dad

Hoquiam Police Department Brings the Thunder!

So. While everyone’s oohing and aahing over the Seattle Police Department’s lip sync video challenge – which I’m not linking to, thank you very much – the Hoquiam Police Department released its own thunder. Betcha can’t watch standing still:

The main soundtrack is from AC/DC’s Thunderstruck. A community effort, the video includes footage from this month’s National Night Out. My favorite clip features Animal Control Officer Tom Taylor and his doggie. I’m just funny that way.

The video premiered at the 7th Street Theatre in Hoquiam this evening. Creative. Clever. Professional. And Too. Much. Fun.

Hoquiam is the first police department in Grays Harbor – and so far the only – local law enforcement entity to rise to the lip sync challenge. Released via the department’s Facebook page following its theatrical premiere, the Hoquiam video has over 10,000 views and over 1,000 shares as of about 9:00 o’clock tonight.

Make it go viral!

Primary Perspective

As my old boss used to say, “Half of life is just showing up.” Early Primary returns indicate that far too many Republican and Independent voters didn’t get that memo as Republican incumbents and challengers in both the 19th and the 24th legislative districts under-performed on election night.

In the 19th, Republican incumbent Jim Walsh struggled in his first re-election bid. He got 48.43% of the vote on election night to Democrat challenger Erin Fraser‘s 51.57% district-wide. Walsh tightened the race but was still behind in Grays Harbor, 49.2% to 50.8%. Douglas Dwightman also trailed U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer:


Incumbent Brian Blake easily out-distanced Republican challenger Joel McEntire, 60.02% to 21.38%. McEntire spent most of the campaign season deployed to Kuwait.

Early results in the 24th were similarly uninspiring for Republicans challenging Democrat Representatives Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger. Challengers Jodi Wilke and Jim McEntire snagged 38.55%and 40.03% of the vote, respectively. Both Republicans posted better numbers in Grays Harbor. But weak district-wide results are unlikely to draw as much GOP attention or funding as anticipated heading into November.

The Auditor’s race provided a lone bright spot on Tuesday night. Republican challenger Joe MacLean advanced to the General, leading a three-way race with 43.68% of the vote. Whether that’ll stand up in November against Jasmine Dickhoff remains uncertain.

Also in Grays Harbor, only about a third of registered voters bothered to return their ballots. Ballots are still coming in. But these early results are pretty underwhelming.

Meanwhile, what’s up with the “Republican base”? Why did do so many Rs and Is apparently choose to stay home? Will the No Show Trend reverse in November? Can Republicans turn it around?

What say you?

Wyman Link on Email From Hutchison Campaign?

Earlier today I received an email from the Susan Hutchison campaign trumpeting the release of a new campaign ad. Hutchison, an alleged Republican, is running against incumbent Maria Cantwell (D) for U.S. Senate. The Hutchison email says in part:

Header from 02 August 2018 email via info@susan4senate.com.

We have some big news today, and since you’re one of my top supporters, I want you to be among the first to know…

We’ve just released a new ad! Click below to WATCH and SHARE our ad on social media. …

Put aside the “since you’re one of my top supporters” gag for a minute. Cuz I’m not. So I hit the handy-dandy “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the email:

Want to change how you receive these emails?You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

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Got an “unsubscribing from Kim Wyman emails” response. It was followed by:

Kim Wyman e-mails

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I’m pretty sure Secretary of State Kim Wyman isn’t running for U.S. Senate. So what’s up with this?

Just to make sure I wasn’t suffering from cerebalus freezius, I clicked the unsubscribe again. And again. With the same results.

But wait. It gets better. If you track and hit the “unsubscribe” link  in the nav bar, you get the following (at least as of about 2:00 p.m. today):

Mail Chimp Error Message

 

Come, Watson, come! The game is afoot.

You’ve stumbled upon a missing page, but the evidence is elementary. We’re on the case.

Isn’t it nice to know that junior highers are working the Hutchison campaign?

Oops! Local Media Errs in Some County Commission Meeting Reportage

I sometimes attend local events or meetings along with members of the local media. Most of these folks are pretty personable and likeable. Some are even fun. But after reading some local press accounts of a meeting or event I attended in person, I sometimes wonder if these peeps were in the same zip code as I was. Dan Hammock’s July 30 recap of Monday’s County Commission meeting is a case in point.

Here’s the link to Hammock’s story: Commissioners Again Shoot Down Attempt to Open Union Negotiations To The Public as it appeared in the electronic version of The Daily World.

I was especially interested in this paragraph:

“The Freedom Foundation, a non-profit “think tank” that supports transparency in union/government negotiations, supported Cormier’s resolution and argued against the notion that opening union negotiations to the public would not stand up to legal challenges and to those who called the resolution a union-busting tool. He said his organization performed a statewide poll and said the results were overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution, to the tune of 90 percent.”

There are at least three errors or distortions in this one paragraph:

First, saying “his organization” performed a statewide poll is misleading. It’s also inaccurate. In truth, the Freedom Foundation commissioned a non-partisan, “independent public opinion poll in October 2017” on the topic. Also, how come Hammock didn’t identify the speaker as Mr. Matt Hayward, Outreach Director for the Freedom Foundation?

It took me about three mouse clicks to find this info. I’m pretty sure your average middle schooler could do likewise.

Additionally, I spent about three minutes reaching out to Mr. Hayward post-meeting. He kindly supplied additional info. on the poll via email later. He even forwarded a copy of the actual Elway Poll. All I had to do was ask. Hello?

Second, Hayward didn’t say poll results were “overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution,” but in favor of increased transparency per negotiations between government agencies and labor unions. See the diff? For more, see: Washingtonians Overwhelmingly Want Transparency.

Third, Hayward didn’t say poll results were “90 percent” in favor of increased transparency, as erroneously reported by Hammock. The figure Hayward actually cited was about “70 percent.” This was obvious to anyone in the meeting who was paying attention.

Here’s a link to the video: July 30 Commissioner’s Meeting. Mr. Hayward’s comments start at about 20:10 and go to about 22:40.

What’re the odds of a retraction/correction? Yeah. That’s what I think, too.

P.S.: This just in from the Grays Harbor Democrats:

Speaking of the county commissioners, you probably heard that a Republican commissioner placed a motion forward to negotiate publicly with county employees. This was his third attempt. With a room packed with labor, it died a third time for lack of a second. Labor was heard!

Too bad your average taxpayer and non-unionistas weren’t. But they were probably at work.

 

Photo credit

Transparency in Collective Bargaining Reso Dies

 

A transparency in collective bargaining resolution bit the dust at today’s afternoon meeting of the Grays Harbor County Commissioners. Brought forward by Commissioner Wes Cormier, the resolution failed for lack of a second at today’s afternoon meeting.

Today’s reso echoed two prior resolutions to conduct “all collective bargaining contract negotiations in a manner that is open to the public” and “provide public notice of all collective bargaining negotiations in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act.”

Commissioner Wes Cormier brought forward similar resolutions in April 2015 and January 2017. Both were shot down when fellow commishes didn’t sign on to the proposals. Here’s some back story:

From April 2015: Collective Bargaining, Warts on a Toad, & Secret Agent Decoder Rings.

From January 2017Running for the Tall Grass on Collective Bargaining.

In a July 28 Facebook post on the topic, Commissioner Raines writes, “I want to be very clear — my position on this topic has NOT changed, I continue to support CLOSED union negotiations.” Here’s the screenshot:

During today’s morning meeting, Commissioner Raines expressed surprise and frustration about the resolution being placed on today’s agenda “with no warning or conversation about it within the last year.”

Continue reading “Transparency in Collective Bargaining Reso Dies”