Saturday, August 30, 2003

9/11 - The Port Authority View

The NYT this morning published more accounts from Port Authority personnel recently released along with the transcripts of radio calls. Again, many are moving accounts of heroism in the midst of horror. On the other hand, a few are slighty wacky, including this one from a Port Authority detective who was hit by a ricochet from other officers trying to shoot their way through a glass partition:

"Moments later, I heard the rapping sound of metal on glass. At first, I thought, could it be possible that rescue personnel were trying to get into the area where I was standing. The tapping sound stopped, then a loud explosion occurred. I immediately felt a burning sensation to my left thigh. I yelled out to whoever had shot their gun to decease shooting because they had struck me with the ricochet of their fired weapon."

"Decease shooting" is a delightful phrase, by the way.

Running Scared

The Repugs continue to run scared of a possible Wesley Clark candidacy, as right-wing attacks on the General multiply in number and vehemence. The latest screed by some unnamed chickenhawk neocon draft- dodger in the Moonie-owned rag Washington Times labels - and libels - Clark as a "mercenary."

Mr. Clark is posturing himself above partisan politics, presumably deciding which party he will represent should he actually run for president based on an undisclosed calculus of self-interest. He doesn't seem to grasp that there are clear philosophical differences between Republicans and Democrats, and that choosing sides is a matter of principle, not expediency. Mr. Clark's actions in the presidential arena make him the equivalent of a political mercenary.

This is all very disingenuous. Clark's views are those of a Democrat and he clearly is positioning himself to run as a Democrat. There has never been any suggestion that he would run as a Republican and his stated views are in fact those of a centrist Democrat.

Keep attacking, boys. You know who can take your brainless figurehead down. All the more reason for all Democrats to continue encouraging General Clark to enter the race.

Rocket Boy Comments - Necessary Reading

Homer Hickham (if you haven't read his memoir Rocket Boys you've probably seen the movie based on it, October Sky) has some interesting comments about the CAIB report and the shuttle program over at SpaceRef; in fact this is one of the best, most thoughtful things I've read in a long time about the program. Hickham concludes:

So what should be done? Let's get practical. We can't just shut the thing down instantly. History's got us by the throat. We need the Shuttle to finish the space station and to also keep the Russians and Chinese from dominating space. I for one am not willing to see that occur while we dither. Human spaceflight is important to this country. But I think the Shuttle is as safe as you're going to get it pretty much with what is in place today. Let's fire the managers responsible for Columbia (they are not difficult to identify) so as to warn the next crop they'd best be competent, put the toughest engineers we can find to be in charge of the program, fly the thing eight to ten more times over the next four years to finish the space station and meet our international obligations. Then let's close the program down in a controlled fashion and replace it with proven expendable launchers and a shiny new spaceplane. And, this time, put it on top.

Well said. Read it. And copy your representatives on it too.

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