Saturday, September 17, 2011

Happy Birthday U.S. Constitution!

From History Channel's Facebook post...

On this day in 1787, delegates at the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution of the United States of America, which established Americas national government and fundamental laws while guaranteeing certain basic rights for its citizens. Find out more about the historic document here:

Warning: Graphic Photos – Krokodil: Addicts rotting to death and other signs of a democracy in trouble

To me, this story illustrates the dangers of failing democracy. This is what happens when democracy is in severe distress. Is our nation there yet? No, thank God. But you have to wonder how much more mismanagement, by all parties and all sides of the conservative/liberal divide, it will take to get us there. Fortunately, there are some reasons why this drug is showing up in near failing democracies, not here.

I'll start with some article excerpts, though the entire article is worth reading...

Krokodil: The drug that eats junkies - Europe, World - The Independent
The home-made drug that Oleg and Sasha inject is known as krokodil, or "crocodile". It is desomorphine, a synthetic opiate many times more powerful than heroin that is created from a complex chain of mixing and chemical reactions, which the addicts perform from memory several times a day. While heroin costs from £20 to £60 per dose, desomorphine can be "cooked" from codeine-based headache pills that cost £2 per pack, and other household ingredients available cheaply from the markets.
It is a drug for the poor, and its effects are horrific. It was given its reptilian name because its poisonous ingredients quickly turn the skin scaly. Worse follows. Oleg and Sasha have not been using for long, but Oleg has rotting sores on the back of his neck. "If you miss the vein, that's an abscess straight away," says Sasha. Essentially, they are injecting poison directly into their flesh. One of their friends, in a neighbouring apartment block, is further down the line.

"She won't go to hospital, she just keeps injecting. Her flesh is falling off and she can hardly move anymore," says Sasha. Photographs of late-stage krokodil addicts are disturbing in the extreme. Flesh goes grey and peels away to leave bones exposed. People literally rot to death.
President Dmitry Medvedev ... has not ordered the banning of the pills. Last month, a spokesman for the ministry of health said that there were plans to make codeine-based tablets available only on prescription, but that it was impossible to introduce the measure quickly. Opponents claim lobbying by pharmaceutical companies has caused the inaction.
"A year ago we said that we need to introduce prescriptions," says Mr Ivanov. "These tablets don't cost much but the profit margins are high. Some pharmacies make up to 25 per cent of their profits from the sale of these tablets. It's not in the interests of pharmaceutical companies or pharmacies themselves to stop this, so the government needs to use its power to regulate their sale."
In Tver, most krokodil users inject the drug only when they run out of money for heroin. As soon as they earn or steal enough, they go back to heroin. In other more isolated regions of Russia, where heroin is more expensive and people are poorer, the problem is worse. People become full-time krokodil addicts, giving them a life expectancy of less than a year."
'via Blog this'
First of all, this post is about addiction, which always increases when economies fail, and it is about the financial costs of addiction on society. It is also about government regulation and the health care system.

People wonder why addicts don't just quit. People wonder why addicts don't have the will power to quit. Well, I am sure that most of the poor souls involved with late stage krokodil addiction would like to quit, however they are trapped in addiction and cannot. The bio-psycho-social misery of withdrawal is more painful than having their flesh fall off. Most addicts experience this level of decay when it comes to their day to day lives, their families and friends, and their souls, but these addicts can dramatically experience it with their bodies as well.

This story, to me, illustrates something I've always felt, that addicts do have tremendous will power. You'd have to have tremendous will power to take a drug with such devastating effects. For addicts, it is not a lack of will power, it is a lack of power over their addiction. I am sure every one of these people have told themselves, at some point, that this was the last time they would do krokodil, especially when the gangrene started setting in, but then the withdrawals kick in and they do what they must in order to survive, according to the addict part of their brains. They may be losing a leg, but they still feel they need to use in order to keep the rest of themselves running, and that means cooking up another batch. But I do not know if it is really possible for anyone who has not personally had to deal with addiction issues to really understand this.

So, what does this have to do with politics? Well, first there is the question of regulation. Or, in this case, deregulation and possible corruption. The drug is made from codeine which is available over the counter in much of the world outside of the Untied States. A very effective way to reduce the numbers of people using this drug would be to just make it a prescribed medication.

In Oregon, antihistamines made with pseudoephedrine have been limited to prescription sales for a couple years now because of their use in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Sure, since then, Oregon has not become the first meth free state in the union, but it has had some effects. In Russia, where the whole reason why people are turning to krokodil is because they cannot obtain heroin or other opiates, due either to its price or its unavailability, this simple action could really have an effect in reducing the numbers of people taking this drug. Of course, it might also increase the crime rate as more and more opiate addicts turn to crime to gain the funds to obtain their fixes, but at least it would get the "zombie drug" off the street.

So why has Russia not done this? Well, for one thing, an increased crime rate would effect non-addicts more than the walking zombie Krokodil users. Let them suffer for their sins while keeping the crime rates from climbing. And I suppose this might make sense, depending upon your ethics.

However, greed and corruption probably have a lot more to do with it than any concern about crime rates. As stated in the article excerpted above, the profit margins on the codeine pills are high for the pharmaceutical companies and the local pharmacies, so there is no interest on their end in losing money, and in the Russian system these days, even more than ours, money talks.

One of the central roles of government, in my eyes, is to protect its citizens. To me, this means protecting them from the dangers of unregulated capitalism and greed as much as it means protecting them from foreign threats. The pictures below show one danger from unregulated capitalism. Also, it is the government's job to protect as many of its citizens as it can, not just the majority or the ones we like. Not just the ones with the most money. Even the lowest in our society have basic human rights. Letting corporations feed on the lowest in society is not a sign, to me, of a healthy civilization.

Yes, addicts are not seen by most people as people we want to help, but people who have made devastatingly poor choices who just need to be locked up or left to suffer in the misery of their own making. However, once an addiction has taken hold, true addicts have little choice left to them when it comes to drugs and alcohol, and the science these days seems to support the idea that addiction has a strong genetic component, which means that most addicts do not have much of a choice about their addiction in the first place. Of course, if they never picked up anything, then likely they would never become addicts. But is that realistic? This biological component to addiction is why many, or even most, people can party a little too hard in their teens and twenties while still hanging on to their choices in life and becoming productive members of society while others cannot and end up having their lives ruled by drugs and alcohol while being trapped at the bottom levels of modern society, consuming more than they are able to produce.

It would easy to say that we should let the free market run with no restrictions whatsoever, because, especially cases such as this, people are free to make their own choices. But addicts are not really free to make these choices. They are already the victims of their addiction. Do we need to let the be the victims of the greedy, as well? Especially when the cost of such greed is so costly to society as a whole, not just to the addicts?

These costs are borne by society in two main ways, the criminal justice system and the health care system.

With the criminal justice system, we are talking law enforcement officers to wage the war on drugs, pursuing users and dealers, the street cops to protect the citizens from the addicts committing crimes to pay for their fixes, and the high costs of jails and prisons to hold all of these people. Especially, when it comes to incarceration as the solution to society's addiction issues, most studies show that this is an overly expensive and ineffectual solution to the problem of addiction. It is why the War on Drugs has not led to a drug free America in the last twenty or thirty years.

To me, a better solution is focusing more on treatment than incarceration when it comes to addicts who have committed crimes because of their addiction. In the long term, it is cheaper and it is more effective. And when it comes to incarceration as a deterrent? Well, if an addict is willing have their limbs rot off, what do they fear about jails and prisons, other than reduced, though not eliminated, access to drugs and alcohol?

I also believe that health care, in a country with the wealth of ours, should be a right, not a privilege. To me this means having a strong, well funded health care system available to everyone. This would include mental health treatment and treatment for addiction.

In our country, an unfortunately large segment of our society does not seek out treatment for their wounds and illnesses until they have really gotten out of control. In the realm of this story, that would mean getting their abscesses treated before the gangrene sets in and limbs need to start being amputated. Access to health care is probably not the main reason that these wounds have become so severe, of course, though it could be a reason why their addictions have become so severe that they are willing to continue using a drug with such devastating side effects. However, that does not change the fact that many people in our country do not seek treatment for their ills because they are uninsured and cannot afford any sort of health care. This problem is not limited to addicts.

Unfortunately, this increases the cost of health care for everyone, because health care organizations end up having to absorb the costs for these patients, costs which are passed on to everyone, insured and uninsured alike. In this case, a quick doctors visit to have an abscess drained and treated, a few antibiotics offered, is way cheaper than the thousands of dollars it takes to perform surgeries, hospital stays, aftercare treatment, and post-amputation rehabilitation.

This is the argument that I use with the more draconian of the free market health care crowd. They will say, why should we have to pay for these people? I don't want to pay taxes for people who cannot take care of themselves. Well, with the system we have, we pay for them one way or the other. Sure, we could change the system so we flat out deny care to people without insurance or money to pay out of pocket, we could just let them die, but while that is the effect our current system has on occasion, it is not the system we have in place right now. Hospitals cannot refuse to treat patients with life threatening conditions because of the patient's ability to pay. So we all pay. And I doubt that system will change, though if it does, it is not a change for the better, it is not a sign of an improving democracy.

As I said earlier, to me addiction is a health care issue, but most people see it as a crime issue. As a health care issue, we need to regulate corporations so they are not selling poison directly to anyone and we need to provide public health support for both the symptoms and causes of addiction. Treatment and recovery options for the addiction and medical care for the secondary health issues caused by the addiction. We need to help addicts find the cure for their addiction, not to just lock them up. Though, I do know, that many will always need to be taken off the street in order to protect the innocent, we need to have the funds in place and the resources available to help addicts that can be helped, both before and after they enter into the criminal justice system or end up requiring the state to pay for catastrophic and/or long term health care.

Anyway, I feel that the story of these krokodil addicts is the story about victims of a failing democracy. They may not be the most sympathetic of victims, but they are victims never the less. As I said earlier, there are several reasons why this drug is a problem in eastern Europe and not in the United States, and it is because our government is, for now, healthier than theirs, not because we lack the opiate junkies willing to ride their addictions to such lows. In fact, in our country, opiate addiction is creeping deeper into the fabric of our society through prescription drugs.

But while our democracy is not in a level of distress, yet, where such horrors are being allowed to occur right now, these sorts of effects can be expected if we, as voters, do not make good, informed choices about those we elect to serve us in our government.
Very graphic and disturbing photos and videos of "long" term Krokodil addicts after the break:

'Lamestream media' defends Palin - Yahoo! News

Well, there goes that... When she puts her foot in something next time, who's she going to blame? Oh, it will be the "gotcha' press" again, I am sure. People cheer when they like it, boo when they don't. I suppose it is human nature. That goes for calling things that they cannot control "stupid" as well.

'Lamestream media' defends Palin - Yahoo! News: "They kicked her around, victimized her, tried to destroy her. But all of a sudden, the lamestream media is coming to Sarah Palin’s defense.
Faced with a barrage of negative portrayals — a much-hyped investigative book, a Levi Johnston memoir and a new movie — Palin is finding support in the unlikeliest of places."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rick Perry presided over the execution of an innocent man. The media needs to ask him about it.

Rick Perry presided over the execution of an innocent man. The media needs to ask him about it.: "The facts are pretty damning. Cameron Todd Willingham was executed for intentionally starting a fire that killed his three children.1 But all six of the outside experts who have reviewed the evidence of the Dec. 23, 1991 fire that killed the Willingham children have concluded that there is no reason to think arson caused the fire. 2

In other words, Mr. Willingham was executed for a crime that never even occurred.

And yet, in the Republican debates thus far, Rick Perry has gotten a free pass about it."

'via Blog this'

Rational Irrationality: Poverty in America: Four Lost Decades : The New Yorker

Rational Irrationality: Poverty in America: Four Lost Decades : The New Yorker: " I think most people have already cottoned on to the idea that we have been through a “lost decade.” To get the picture, you just have to look at the stock market or your last paycheck.

...what is really, really alarming is this: a typical American male who works full time and still has a job is earning almost exactly the same now as his counterpart was back in 1972, when Richard Nixon was in the White House, O. J. Simpson rushed a thousand yards for the Buffalo Bills, and Don McLean topped the charts with “American Pie.”

5 Things You Need To Know About... The U.S. Postal Service | Need to Know | PBS

The U.S. Postal Service | Need to Know | PBS: "Without immediate assistance from Congress, Donahoe said, the USPS could default on its payment and be out of money by next year, forcing it to shut down all operations.

A bill currently in Congress would extend the payment deadline by three months, but the USPS is in need of rapid and drastic restructuring to remain financially viable in the future. While Congress and the Obama administration continue to hash out those plans, here are five things you need to know:"

'via Blog this'

2012 GOP Campaign Sticker

Found on Facebook...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Galveston’s Social Security alternative seen as a model - Yahoo! News

Galveston’s Social Security alternative seen as a model - Yahoo! News: "In the late 1970s, county employees in Galveston, Tex., made an unusual and risky decision that they thought would help secure their financial future. They took advantage of a federal provision available at the time and opted out of Social Security.

Their decision was born out of a fear that the federal entitlement program, designed to keep elderly and disabled Americans out of poverty, might not be around in the future. After careful study, the county employees chose an alternative that allowed them to open personal savings accounts.

Today, Galveston has become a poster child for critics of the Social Security system who say the decision is proof that there is a better way. Among those critics are at least two Republicans in the 2012 presidential race, which in recent days has centered on whether it is better to fix or to replace Social Security.

For the highest-earning workers in the Gulf Coast county, the personal accounts have yielded nearly double what they might have collected under Social Security. But according to independent studies, the results have been less favorable to those on the lower end of the income spectrum.
In 1999, the Social Security Administration and the General Accounting Office (now the Government Accountability Office) separately examined the program adopted by Galveston and surrounding counties and found that its benefits depended on income and longevity: The lower one’s income and the longer one lived after retirement, the less advantage there was to participating in the program compared with Social Security. Also, Social Security payments increased with inflation, while payments under the Galveston plan did not.

“If you’re single, if you’re well off and you die within 10 years [of retirement], maybe you’ve done better,” said Eric Kingson, a professor of social work at Syracuse University and a vocal critic of the Galveston alternative. “For most people, it’s somewhere between ‘very bad’ and ‘not very good.’ ”"

'via Blog this'

Jon Stewart Compares 'Daily Show' to Fox News: 'We're Both Expressions of Dissatisfaction' | Rolling Stone Movies

Jon Stewart Compares 'Daily Show' to Fox News: 'We're Both Expressions of Dissatisfaction' | Rolling Stone Movies: " Obama has been a disappointment to Stewart. "He ran on this idea that the system and the methodology are corrupt," he says. "It felt like the country was upset enough that he had the momentum needed to re-evaluate how business is done. Instead, when he got elected, he acted as though the system is so entrenched that it has to be managed rather than – I don't want to say decimated, because I'm not an anarchist or a nihilist. But I'm surprised at how much he deferred to the legislative process."

That's not to imply that he thinks Obama has been a complete failure. "He's maintained an even keel and has not said, 'Fuck this, I quit,' and thrown anything at us," Stewart says. "I have yet to see him really curse, which I think is nice. He feels like the only president who begins every press conference with a heavy sigh. I think he was already kind of over us by the time he got into office. And now he's like, 'What the fuck is wrong with these people?'""

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A must read: Combating ignorance, avoiding arrogance - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Okay... I do not share this writer's views on the wars. My views are slightly different and have changed over time. To call myself with pro war or anti war, when it comes to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, is way too simple. My feelings are complex, ambivalent, have changed over time, several times, and would take many pages to explain and discuss. And they are very different than this writer's.

However, when he starts discussing his perceptions of manipulated and willful ignorance, I think he is dead on. In fact, I think his breakdown of these issues makes this a must read article.

Combating ignorance, avoiding arrogance - Opinion - Al Jazeera English"It is always tempting to label political opponents ignorant and bemoan their stupidity: If only they could know what we know and understand as we understand, then certainly they would adopt our politics. I try not to fall into that trap, realising that in a complex world reasonable people can disagree. But if we are to confront the challenges ahead we have to recognise that the contemporary United States is both a technologically advanced society with an educational system that is first-rate on some criteria, yet at the same time is also a profoundly ignorant society.


There is no survey data to chart the scope of, and reasons for, this [willed] ignorance. But in two decades of political work, I have watched countless people use this strategy. There seem to be two routine ways to ensure this not-knowing. One is to avoid exposure to any in-depth information and analysis, even though one has the resources and time to find and evaluate the material - keep your head down and don’t look at what’s happening. We can call this a deliberate diversion from a disturbing world.

The other strategy, employed by those who are too curious to ignore the world around them, is to bemoan the lack of trustworthy news sources, or express confusion over the mutually exclusive accounts of the world that circulate, or note the maddening level of complexity in a globalised world - whatever the reason, there are so many impediments that to actually know anything is impossible. We can call this a feigned frustration with a complex world.

Affluence increases not only the likelihood of political inaction but also of willed ignorance. That is, people who are materially comfortable in a society are not only less likely to take the serious risks that radical politics requires but more likely to avoid knowing things that will force them to ask why they aren’t acting."

'via Blog this'

GOP rivals blast Perry on vaccine order and ties to Merck –

Personally, I think vaccines are good things, but I can see how this one is red meat for the far right. Ain't he encouraging those pre-teen girls to let them boys in their britches?

GOP rivals blast Perry on vaccine order and ties to Merck –"Texas Gov. Rick Perry's 2007 executive order requiring girls to be vaccinated against the sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer is drawing sharp criticism from his Republican presidential rivals and throwing a spotlight on his ties to the pharmaceutical giant that makes the vaccine."

'via Blog this'

Poll shows 'gaping divide' between Democrats and 'switchers' –

Poll shows 'gaping divide' between Democrats and 'switchers' – "About 59% of "switchers," voters who backed Obama in 2008 but voted for a Republican in the midterm elections, say the president's party is more liberal than they are and that their political views align more closely with Republicans. Among the 400 switchers polled, 16% said they would vote for Obama again; 25% said they would back the Republican nominee; and 59% were categorized as "persuadable switchers."

"The problem is that they don't see Obama and Democrats in their (ideological) neighborhood," Jim Kessler, vice president for policy at Third Way"

'via Blog this'

BBC News - Number of Americans in poverty hits record high

BBC News - Number of Americans in poverty hits record high: "The number of Americans living in poverty rose to a record 46.2 million last year, official data has shown.

This is the highest figure since the US Census Bureau started collecting the data in 1959.

In percentage terms, the poverty rate rose to 15.1%, up from 14.3% in 2009.

The US definition of poverty is an annual income of $22,314 (£14,129) or less for a family of four and $11,139 for a single person."

'via Blog this'

FACT CHECK: Social Security prompts debate miscues - Yahoo! News

FACT CHECK: Social Security prompts debate miscues - Yahoo! News: "Rick Perry 1.0 thought Social Security was a "disease" inflicted on the population by the federal government.
Rick Perry 2.0 thinks Social Security deserves to be saved "for generations to come."
That metamorphosis by the Republican presidential hopeful over recent months contributed to some factual stretches Monday night in a GOP debate, both by the Texas governor and his opponents for the nomination."

'via Blog this'

Sunday, September 11, 2011

“A Debt We Can Never Repay” | The White House

“A Debt We Can Never Repay” | The White House: "Speaking directly to their families and loved ones, Vice President Biden noted that while “no memorial – no words, no acts – can fill the void that they left in your hearts,” his prayer is “that 10 years later, their memory is able to bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye.”"

'via Blog this'

The first Daily Show after 9/11

Someone posted this one up on Facebook.  I thought it was another good way to look back on the events of ten years ago today...  TDS:  September 20, 2001.

The Black Page: The 9/11 Live Blog...

September 11, 2011 - Ten years.  My annual re-post of my live blog from 2001, written as the events unfolded.  Thought about talking about this and that, reviewing the last ten years or looking at how we are different now than we were ten years ago, but really, I think it is better just to leave this as it is.  I call this "The Black Page" because it was white text on a black background on my website ten years ago.

September 11, 2010 - I like to repost this on September 11. I spent the day liveblogging the events as they happened, and it captures a lot of the fear and confusion that gripped the country on that day, the craziness and the rumors and fears... I've never gone through and cleaned it up, so it is full of typos and what not, but it is an interesting document of that day nine years ago that refefined our country and shaped who we are, as Americans, for better or worse, today...

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Friday, December 14, 2001 – It is three months later, but I find myself updating this page again.  I read this quote this morning on a web site.  It is the best words that I have seen yet to describe my feelings on the 11th of September.  I’ll let “Coyote Beautiful” speak for me…

I was very numb, but compulsively checking the net for the latest rumors and reports. I had this need to be the one with the most up-to-date information, the most accurate information. The one who was “right.”  I think because there was so much emotional response going on around me that I needed to stick to stuff that was as non-emotional as possible, and facts are about as non-emotional as they come.  

Thursday, September 13. 2001 - What follows is an account of the events on 9-11-01 as seen by an shocked observer watching his television from a safe place several thousand miles away from the carnage.  I “went live” with this page immediately and it was constantly updated on my site throughout the day. 

Later it was brought to my attention that a number of people came to this page that day to find information about the attack when the major news sites were clogged up and unavailable.

So what follows is very rough, full of clumsy typing, speculation, and barely attributed information- some of which is just plain wrong, but I have decided not to edit this page, to leave this how it is, warts and all, as some sort of document on how I felt and on how I reacted to what happened on that one evil day...

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 - I watched the second plane hit.  Now, 6:41 PDT, an explosion at the pentagon.  This is not good.  Will there be more?  I feel like throwing up again.  I already did once this morning.  And now they are saying it was a plane crashing into the Pentagon as well.  I have a very bad feeling about this.  Very bad, and now they are evacuating the White House, and now they've shut down all air traffic in the U.S....

7:00 AM PDT – Hijacked planes crashing into both of the twin towers.  Another plane crashes into the Pentagon.
One of the twin towers collapsed a few minutes ago. 

I am still in shock.  All air traffic in the U.S. has been halted.  And I only have one cigarette left until 9AM.

Knowing how long it took to evacuate the Trade Center in 1993’s attack, we probably just watched thousands of people die when the tower fell.

Compared to N.Y., the Pentagon doesn’t look too bad.  But it is the Pentagon. 

They are now calling it the most serious attack on the continental U.S. since the War of 1812.

7:20AM - One plane was a 767.  ABC is reporting that the tower still standing is buckling and leaning.

Sent an incoherent e-mail to a friend of mine a few minutes ago babbling about 1941.  Probably an exaggeration.  But when they talk about 50,000 people working in the World Trade Center, and one of the twin towers is now down.  It happened a little before 9 AM EST.  Hopefully they get to work late in N.Y.

ABC: 2 American airlines planes hijacked.  One from Boston, one from Dulles to L.A.

7:25 AM – Car bomb may have exploded in front of State Department. (ABC)

Since the second tower is threatening to fall, they have to evacuate the triage site on the scene.

7:27 PDT – Just watched the north tower collapse.  I’m sick again.  I’m shaking.  1941 doesn’t sound foolish anymore.  We just lost many thousands of lives in the last two hours this morning.  Lower Manhattan is covered with dust and smoke.  When the first building fell, eyewitness were reported talking about people jumping from the building on it way down.  Or just falling.  My hands are shaking to much to type any more right now.

7:36 PDT – Smoking my last cigarette.  Thinking of putting on some coffee.  Drinking tea right now.  NBC is live on the street in N.Y. showing rescue workers trying to get to the rescue workers who were under the second building. 

7:39 - NBC is reporting the crash, via AP, of a crash of a large jet near Pittsburgh, but they are now denying reports of a car bomb at the State Department.

7:43 - NBC is reporting that air cover is flying over Washington.  Their man at the Pentagon saw an F-16.  And there are rumors that there may be another hijacked airliner inbound to the D.C. area.

767 in Pittsburgh is down, AP reports.  Unclear if it is related, but the odds?  The media is using the word war now.  “It seems a terrorist war has been declared against the U.S.”

“Nothing short but a declaration of war against this country,” Tom Brokaw, 7:46pst

7:50 PDT – For a while now, KING 5, our local NBC affiliate has been scrolling a message that the Seattle P.D. is surrounding the local federal buildings and the Space Needle, just in case…

I make coffee now.

This is like a Tom Clancy book, watching the films of  the buildings falling, it’s easy to imagine it’s good CGI in a bad movie.  It wouldn’t feel real if it weren’t for that lump in my gut.   That tells me that this is real.  That tells me that this is going to change our country on some fundamental level forever.  It’s not just the loss of life.  It’s the loss of something more profound.  Maybe they lost this in Oklahoma City a few years back, but for the rest of us, we have remained relatively untouched.  This is something on an entirely, unimaginably different level. 

They keep saying this on TV, and it is true.  This morning marked the end of Fortress America.  We are no longer untouchable.  We have been touched.

If it is over, and that is still left to be seen, where do we go from here?  Who will we be, as a nation, after this?

It is too early to answer those questions.

It is 8:00 am, PDT…  Just a little over two hours since this started.  One of the most remarkable faces of our country, the Manhattan skyline has, been forever changed.  And so has our country.

8:03 am – NBC is reporting that the FAA is confirming that there are “several” planes yet to be accounted for.  Possibly hijacked.

8:11 – KING 5 is reporting that the Bank of America building, the tallest building in Seattle, is currently being evacuated.

On NBC, in New York, Chief William Hall of the Port Authority Police – estimating roughly 10,000 people per tower.   Dug his way out of building 5 of the complex after one of the buildings fell.  (Actually it was the director of the W.T.C. that said that, but both men were together.)

8:17 - 58 and a crew of 11 on the hijacked plane from Boston (?).

Canada has shut its airports down.

FAA is saying that they have “unaccounted” for planes.  But this might just be the two planes already involved band not identified yet.

8:19 – Possible bomb in a high school in Manhattan, right behind the live NBC reporter.

Just interviewed a cop about this, he confirmed that they have a report about the bomb, but not if there really is one or not.

American 11.  American 77.  Confirmed by the airline.

Tim Russert is saying that this morning Congress convened, said a prayer, and returned home.  The buildings have been evacuated, and Hastert is being taken to a safe place, since he is 3rd in the chain of succession.

8:27 am – NBC reporting explosions in N.Y., possible car bombs.  The reporter was caught in the dust/smoke cloud during the fall, and had to break a window on an apartment building to get off the street to get air to breathe.

United Airlines is confirming that a 757 went down outside of Pittsburgh.

The Cardinal of the N.Y. Archdiocese is out side one of the hospitals giving last rights.

8:41 - Two flights seem to be out of Boston.

Thousand of Palestinians are celebrating in the West Bank, according to AP, though Arafat has denounced the attack.

Brokaw’s going off about us, as a nation, being changed now.  Hey, bud… I said that nearly an hour ago.  My site scrutinized by NBC?  Yeah, right. 

I do find the name of my site in bad taste right now, though.  I wonder if I should change it.  I named it after the earthquake and after the pictures of the Kingdome rubble, but I don’t know if it is appropriate now.  At least I don’t have a domain name.  If I decide to change it, no big deal.

We told Afghanistan that if there was a large scale attack like this against the U.S. from Bin Laden, we’d hold them responsible, NBC reports.  I missed who the exact gov’t official the quote was from.  I’d get away from populated areas if I were the Taliban.  They may not exist for very much longer.  Earlier ABC and NBC was reporting that Bin Laden was talking a few weeks back about a massive attack in the U.S.

All planes seem to be accounted for now.  The worst should be over. 

They’re giving out all the flight information now on the four planes involved, but I’ll skip the details.  64 on one, don’t know about Pittsburgh, 54 on another.  That’s not counting crews.  Assume over 200 dead just on the planes themselves, though I feel that those numbers will be insignificant compared to the number of dead in the twin towers.  We may have lost more lives there than we have lost in some wars.

8:55 – Chief of Safety for N.Y.C. Fire Department is theorizing that there were explosives on the planes and explosives planted in the building themselves.  Hundreds, probably thousands in the buildings when they fell.  He theorizes that the buildings fell when secondary explosives went off.

Now NBC is showing the West Bank celebrations.  Arafat is sickened by the whole thing.

9:00 am, PDT – I was awake when it started.  I’d just watched a re-run of Rosanne when the 6 am news came on to announce, with live pictures that a plane had collided with one of the Twin Towers.  No one was really thinking terrorists at that point, but it had only happened minutes before.  I switched to ABC, and they were talking about air routes around N.Y.C.  And, since no one saw the “accident,” everyone thought it was just a Cessna, but that hole in the building was pretty big.  As they were talking about a plane that crashed into the Empire State Building after WW2, a plane flew into the shot, and the middle of the second building burst into flames.  I’m sure you’ve seen the tapes, from many and better angles than I did live, by the time you are reading this, but that was so unexpected, so terrifying… And the plane, you knew it wasn’t a Cessna.  It was obviously intended.  Then, 45 minutes later, the NBC guy at the Pentagon, waiting for word, cuts in live to report a very large explosion on the other side of the building, workers and security personnel running to and fro.

I am typing that because, though you know the events, you know what happened…  that is almost how it felt watching it.  This.  Then this… Of course, now that… And so on, the whole time that badger in my belly gnawing with growing strength and intensity, peaking when the first tower fell, leveling off after the Pittsburgh crash, and easing off a bit with the word that all the U.S. airliners in flight seemed to be accounted for.   Now, the numbness is returning.

I had insomnia last night.  Didn’t sleep all night.  Was just going to bed when the news came on.  If I’d turned the TV off 30 second earlier, I’d be asleep right now.  Blissfully ignorant until I woke up this afternoon wondering blurrily for a brief second why there was news on at an odd time until my senses cleared and I realized what had happened.  I’m guessing that is how this morning started for many of you, the radio as you woke up… Or an overheard conversation while waiting for the bus.  A moment of television before leaving for work.

It will be one of those Kennedy moments.  We’ll remember where we were when we heard this one.

9:15 – I just received a response to the e-mail I sent to my friend.  He must have just reached work.  I haven’t spoken to him for a while, and he was babbling on in his reply about someone he’s seeing and a mutual friend’s birthday tonight.  Suddenly he stops.  “Oh shit.  Sorry, I just heard.  Gotta go.“

I just wonder what was going through his mind when he read my e-mail.  I’m blaming a lack of coffee, or he just thought I was being weird.

Here’s what I sent….

Subject: Fun morning...

I threw up after watching the second plane hit, live on TV... Almost lost it
again when the tower fell.  Not to mention the Pentagon.  So this is what
12-7-1941 felt like.

I am guessing he thought I was referring to a hangover.  I wish he was right.

9:18 – NBC is interviewing Norman Schartzkopf and he’s mentioning the Tom Clancy book where a terrorist kamakazied his plane into the Capitol during a joint session of Congress.

KING, scrolling along the bottom of the NBC feed is announcing that the Washington State Capitol is closed.  It just reopened after it almost came down in the quake last February.  I know people are paranoid and tense, but I doubt that Olympia, Washington is a target.  Seattle, though, may have been targeted in the past; at least we had a whole load of high explosives headed here or through here.  Now it sounds like they were just passing through on their was to LAX, but I think wasn’t a bad idea this morning, when we didn’t know how many planes had been hijacked, to shut down the Bank of America building and the Space Needle.  Olympia, however, I’d be more concerned about an aftershock.

9:22 – The Taliban has now officially condemned the attack, reports Katie Couric.  Is it me, or is she just a bit too cute for disaster coverage?

9:25 – Tom Brokaw is reporting that the borders have now been closed.  The government is in bunkers. 

2400 died in Pearl Harbor.  This will probably be worse.

They just showed an amateur video shot about 3 blocks away from the W.T.C. when one of the towers, I am assuming the first, fell.  People telling stories about the dust, it reminds me of, on a much smaller scale mind you, the stories from when Mt. St. Helens went up.  People trying to out run the rubble.  Maybe it’s just videos like that showing the clouds racing down the man made canyons of the streets, the jerky camera running in fear.

Now that I think of it, it reminds me a bit too of when I watched the demolition of the Kingdome.  The dust blanketed downtown, “fogged” it in, made the air dry.  The picture I use for the About link on the homepage is a picture of this dust.  It looks nothing like the pictures I’ve seen from New York, but I was pretty amazed by how much dust there was from the dome…

9:30 – 2 United, 2 American – 50 flights still in the air.  “None appear to be hijacked or in trouble,” NBC.  All within 50 miles of landing  22 international flights still in the air.  They look good too.  Airplane totals – aprox.166 passengers, I think? 

3 out of 4 were bound for L.A., the other S.F.  They are thinking it was so they would be dully loaded with fuel when they crashed.  They also all took off relatively close to their…   end.

The Pittsburgh one still seems to be the oddball.  Is it a heroic battle, the crews trying to save the planes, or was it stupid terrorist pilots getting lost.  If they recover the recorders from these flights, they should be… I don’t know.  I’m glad I don’t have to listen to them.  Was there anyone even left alive on the planes when they crashed?  Did the hijackers kill everyone so they could just concentrate on flying, or did they leave them alive, watching…

9:40 – First reports on NBC of dead in the Pentagon.

I am getting sick of hearing about people choosing to jump from 30 floors up instead of burning to death.  I don’t even want to imagine.  Which is a worse death?  Burning or falling?  I can only think that those who jumped watched people burn to death and just said f*** that.  I think about that brokerage that got called way up there after the crash.  I think it was before the second plane hit.  The person picked up the phone, screamed “We’re f***ing dying.”  Then he hung up.  They called again a few moments later and the phone was not answered.  I would guess, at that point, unless they were actually in the part of the building impacted by the plane, that they actually died later when the tower fell.

10:05 AM, PDT – Just got back from a walk.  Took a break.  I have a little bit of tobacco left, but I ran out of rolling papers, so I scraped together some change to get some cheap papers.  You need cigarettes watching this stuff.  Thinking about this stuff.  The talking head on NBC, who was stuck in the streets when one of the towers fell, right now is saying that it looked like the scene in Independence Day when N.Y. was getting wasted by the aliens.  No one has language for this except for the language of fiction and science fiction, and movie effects.

Just heard the phrase, “can’t tell a body part from a living human being.”  Missed the context.  Might be glad of that.

Bush says we “were attacked by a faceless coward today.”  Either he knows it was Bin Laden, or one guy did a really good job of hijacking four planes at once.  I don’t want to speak harshly of our President at a time like this.  Read my Election article for that.

Brokaw and NBC are my guys.  They go from the tape of Bush to Clinton’s old Nat’l Security Advisor, Sandy Berger. 

Over and over again, the words, all morning… “A stunning failure of American intelligence.”

Outside, on my walk, it is just about the most beautiful day you can imagine.  It is already warming up.  I wore my overcoat, and I was sweating by the time I got back to my building.  It’s the type of day meant for playing hooky from school or work and going to the beach or hiking in the mountains.  It really is a gorgeous day developing outside, and beautiful days in Seattle are pretty much unbeatable anywhere. 

10:23 – John McCain is being interviewed by Brokaw now.  He’s not picking around the issue.  It was an act of war in his eyes.  Again, they keep talking about the failure of intelligence about this attack, and McCain points out that it is difficult to infiltrate groups like Bin Laden’s.  My take on all of this is that, even if they knew, what could they do?  Sure, tighten security at the airports, but it’s tight as it is.  Even if they knew the date and the plan (hijack planes, crash them into things), what could they do?  If the terrorists got through the airports and onto the planes, you could shoot down the planes, but that is about it.  Even then, though, which planes?  I am pretty sure that the F.A.A. didn’t know that the planes were hijacked… Though the current talking head says that there are secret buttons that pilots can push to notify the tower that all is not well, so they might have.  Anyway, even if you do know what planes are hijacked, you don’t know where they are going.  Evacuate Manhattan?  Impossible.  If you just evacuate a couple of skyscrapers, there are many more to choose from. 

So you shoot the planes down.  I guess that is better that what did happen, but all in all, it’s not good.  Hundreds dead in the best-case scenario.

“I don’t like to compare it to Pearl Harbor,” Sen. McCain.

Plane total – 266 dead.  Two from Boston, one from Newark, one from Dulles.

I need another smoke.  I need more coffee.  I think I’ll take a nap in a few.  I think it’ll be a bit slow on new information for a bit.  Just talking heads trying to make sense of it all as the clean up begins.

Suddenly I’m thinking back to 1989.  Tom Brokaw doing the nightly news from the collapsed freeway a few days after the World Series quake.  He was, if I remember right about 10 blocks from the rubble.  I remember him talking about the stench of death.  New York… Manhattan stinks this time of the year.  It will not be nice.  It will be very, very bad for you if you work down there.  Probably for the rest of the summer and into fall.  I don’t know, though.  I guess they sifted through the Oklahoma wreckage quicker than that, but that was a smaller building.  And there was only one of them.

10:38 - “It does look like a nuclear winter in lower Manhattan,” Tom Brokaw.

2400 dead, Pearl Harbor.  Schwarzkopf just said, “looking at what happened today, it’s hard to believe that we won’t exceed that number.”

One of the survivors from the W.T.C. just pointed out that today’s date is 9-11.  911.  I didn’t even think of that, though I wrote out the full date at the top of this page and on both my blogs.

10:46 - “Suddenly the social security lock box seems so unimportant, Tom,” Tim Russert.  He goes on to say that the leading theory is that the fourth plane was intended for the Capitol or the White House.  My guess would be the Capitol.  Congress was in session; the president was out of town.  If the bastards had their shit together good enough to pull off four simultaneous hijackings, they would know that the president was out of town. 

Five hours now, about three hours since the North tower fell (the second one to go).

I still haven’t had that cigarette I spoke of a few minutes back.

10:55 – The Art Institute of Seattle is closed for the day.  Honestly, if I were in school, I’d just take the day off.  Hell, if I had a job I might take the day off.  I know in either, I’d be worthless all day.  Talking then not talking, and not getting anything done at all.  I’m just writing this to keep a semblance of sanity, to take all that “OH SHIT” energy and to focus it.  Better than pacing, though I could probably use the exercise.

You know you’ve had your ass handed to you when the best you can come up with is, “At least it wasn’t a weapon of mass destruction.” (Tom Livingston)

11:01 – NBC just reported that Tony Blair has suspended all commercial aviation over Britain

Now this would suck, I just saw that a lot of flight headed for Seattle were diverted to Vancouver B.C., about three hours north of here.  But the borders are closed.  You really can’t go home again, can you?  Well, not today, at least.

11:37 -  KIRO, the local CBS affiliate is reporting that the Navy ships in Everett, WA, are putting out…  I just looked around the ThreeWay Action boards.  A lot of users there are in N.Y.C.  Some of them were close to the WTC.  One poster mentioned that a lot of her friend’s parents worked in there. 

I’m writing this to keep my mind somewhat distracted.  Going over there and reading those stories.  I am glad that I am not there.   I am glad I do not know anyone there.  And, reading those stories, I kind of feel guilty for it.  The person whose friends’ parents worked there, she mentioned the people jumping.  But there were also good stories, stories of reunions.  Another touching thing is that people from all over the country were putting up their info, opening up their homes to fellow posters who might be stranded in their city because of the aviation shut down.  I was happy to see one poster was from Seattle.  After some of the nasty things I said about Seattle a couple days ago on those boards, it’s good to see someone proving me wrong.

Another thing caught my eye over there.  Some people raving for blood, others not understanding the desire to blow a country back to the stone age over this.  I understand the compassionate view of these people, that such an attack will kill more innocent people and few, or none, of the guilty.  Unfortunately, the only way we can respond to this attack is with overwhelming force.  There is no other response.  A country may not exist after this.  Sending a couple of cruise missiles over to wherever is not an option here.  Not when we could be seeing up to 20,000 dead, God forbid.  We lost between 50 and 60,000 in Vietnam.  That is hopefully a very high end estimate.

11:46 – Donald Rummsfeld, what ever his name is at the Pentagon, actually refused to be evacuated until he helped get some of the wounded out of the building, NBC reports.  Luckily the 757 hit a part of the building that had recently been reinforced, and a part that was actually empty.

Still, (continuing from above) it is too early to be thinking about retribution.  Now is the time to take care of our own.  Those who are hurt, those who have lost someone…

12:10 – The president is in Omaha, where he will convene the National Security council.  He wanted to go to Washington, but they wouldn’t let him.  He still wants to get back there as soon as possible.  They keep speculating that he’s either on or heading for “The Doomsday Plane,” the plane where they send the President in the case of a nuclear attack.  Kind of a super Air Force One.

12:26 -  KOMO, the local ABC affiliate, is saying that the Navy has announced that three vessels from Everett are being deployed around the Puget Sound to help defend the Seattle area.

They just said something that I hadn’t though of but is a damn good idea.  Going out and donating blood.  It probably will be needed.

12:31 – One of the five members of the press who has been allowed to remain with the President today just called into ABC.  She said that none of them have ever seen any President scrambled from place to place like they have today.  He’s now in a bunker.  The journalists get to stay on the surface.  She also said that it was the emptiest they’d ever seen Air Force One.  They are at Offett AFB near Omaha.

12:41 – Peter Jennings is saying the thing about needing blood now.  And they are saying that they are just now mounting teams to try to get into the WTC rubble.  An ABC guy near the Center is saying that there are fighters patrolling the air space over Manhattan.  He compares this to covering a war.  Another ABC guy just went into the rubble with a federal agent.  “It’s the most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen in my life… There are bodies and body parts everywhere.”  Some neighboring buildings have collapsed; others look as if they might soon.

12:47 – Karen Hughes is talking.  C. Rice is at the White House.  SecDef is at the Pentagon.  Of course, Powell is coming home from S. America, but that is old news.  All planes in the air at the time of the attack were directed to land at the nearest airport, and operations are suspended until noon tomorrow.  The Stock Market, of course, is closed. 

A reporter yelled out, “If the Vice-President can stay in Washington, why not the President?”  No response.

12:54 – The Pentagon is still smoking.  The damage to that building, like I said before, looks so insignificant compared to what happened in N.Y., but it is obviously not just a chip off the façade when an airline fuel bomb plows into anything. 

A talking head on ABC is saying that the intelligence community might be afraid that this is not over, that if they let the planes up, there may create the potential for more attacks.

1:09 – ABC is showing amateur video of the rubble.  All that is left of the south tower is a single piece of wall about 50 feet tall. It’s just a chunk of the decorative superstructure.  That is it.  It looks like a scrap of paper sticking up.  You can see no bodies.  The north tower, it looked like there was just a heap of rubble.  Both are all the way down.  There is nothing left.  This film was shot by some kid who just snuck in there a little bit ago with his camera.  Firemen yelled at him not to go in.  He did anyway, and they didn’t follow.

1:19 – KOMO is reporting that a Korean jetliner has been forced down in the Yukon by the Canadian air force.  It’s on the tarmac at the Whitehorse(?) Airport.  230 passengers on board.  En route from Korea to Alaska.  One of those hijacking emergency transponders may have gone off.  Now they are saying it was just running short of fuel.  I am sure that this has nothing to do with terrorists, everything due to all the airports being shut down.  It was escorted in by the Canadian air force, though.

Now they are saying it has been hijacked!?!  I wouldn’t believe it from the local team of amateur daytime anchors.

I am running a bath.  Then I am going to take a nap. 

1:23 – There was a call out from one of the planes.  It was a former federal prosecutor, she’d been a commentator on some of the recent Condit… She was the wife of the Solicitor General of the U.S.  She said that the passengers had all been moved to the back of the plane.  It sounds like it was just a couple minutes before the plane hit the Pentagon.  So, the passengers were still alive at that point.

Rescue teams are just about to enter the Pentagon.  They haven’t yet.  It is still burning.

1:27 – Peter Jennings is saying that there had been a worldwide terrorist alert since 9/7.

Congress is talking about convening tonight.  It would probably be just to say a prayer and then to leave.  Bush is about to take off for Washington.

“This is the first time since D-Day in 1944 that major league baseball has wiped a whole day,” Peter Jennings

This is creepy:  A post, from yesterday mind you, on some yahoo board… 
Re: VVVV to THE MOON!!!!by: strategists2000
09/10/01 06:59 pmMsg: 2254 of 2275
 to the deapest part called the center of the earth by this wekend north east region will be destroyed new providance soon to fall apart

1:37 – On ABC, a survivor from the first tower hit is saying that “his sense is… I know on my floor a lot of people got out.”  8:45 is “a little early” for a lot of the offices.  There’s some damn good news.  “I have a feeling that some of the people helping other people… The people who stayed behind, didn’t make it out of the building.”  That sucks. 

Already, a memorial web site.  Click here.

1:47 – Posted by minou on 3WA, “My friend is from Whitehorse and his family still lives there. He just talked to his father. They've got 3 747s on the ground in Whitehorse, two of them have been unloaded. The other one is currently surrounded by military personnel/vehicles. They've evacuated all the schools and large buildings in Whitehorse. Apparently the plane in question was sending out the "squack" signal meaning it had been hijacked”

Another post:

"The United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked. The United States was at Peace with the world. We have been looking towards the maintenance of world peace. This attack was deliberately planned days or even weeks ago. The attack on our cities has caused damage to civilians and economic centers. Very many American lives have been lost.
The facts, so far, today speak for themselves. The American people have already formed their opinions, and well undertstand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation. The commander in chief has directed our forces in our defense. Always, will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the America people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. We will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but we will make certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us again. We will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God. This was an unprovoked and dastardly attack on the united states."
Franklin D. Roosevelt, December 8, 1941
 1:53 – There is speculation on the 3WA board that the fourth plane was actually shot down.  It could be true.  Who knows at this point?  But what was it doing in PA?  I need to see a map, and all I know is that it was a United jet.   So I think, but am not sure, that it was the Newark plane.  Speculation on my part.
1:58 – ABC is showing an amateur tape of the second hit and the first fall.  He’s pretty much right below the towers.  The plane just flew straight into the side of the building, and disappeared.  You could see a little bit come out the opposite side of the building.  Half way through, the fireball ignites. (Filmed by Evan Fairbanks)

Posted on 3WA by JimNtexas –
I don't think we can do any good with conventional military forces. We don't have a country against which to wage war. Bombing a tent in the desert or killing more innocent people in some town will just make us look weak.
We need to take the gloves off and do some real covert action. The people who planned this need to start disappearing. Forget sending the FBI, this is beyond crime. We need to find them and send the CIA in to capture them, extract as much information as possible from them, and then eliminate them.
Any suspect we capture who doesn't want to cooperate should be shown the parts off his next of kin.
Conventional bombing will be a waste of time.
2:06 – KOMO is now announcing that the Korean Air jet was just low on fuel, but that there was a mix-up on the “signals.”  Called that one.  Also reporting the U.S.S. Rodney S. Davis, equipped with anti-aircraft defenses, is perched in Eliot Bay right now.
2:15 – From ABC – This has been mentioned before, but 7 World Trade Center, which contains the Emergency center, a bunker for just this very type of thing, is structurally unsound and may fall.  It is 47 stories tall.  Because of this, there are no crews in the W.T.C. rubble right now.  Much of one of the towers fell on this building.   
There are several hundred firefighters unaccounted for, says Gary Briese Exec Dir Intl Association of Fire Chiefs.  He is in Denver.  “I think it’s going to be both,” he said when asked if this was going to be a rescue or recovery operation.  Crews from all over the country are “already moving towards New York city.
2:21 – Another building has fallen, reports Peter Jennings.  There is another big dust cloud coming up.  They do not know if it was No. 7. 
AP is reporting… or not.  Within the last 5 minutes.  “It went straight down,” George Stephanopolis, 20 blocks away. Getting dust and debris 5 min. later (ABC).  In the live feed, someone is pointing out that you should be able to see No. 7, but it does not appear to be there any more. 
Coming up on nine hours now.  Overall, I am amazed not by what we know, but by how little we know.
“I think it’s reasonable, since they had this much time… that they got everyone out,” unknown official, ABC.
2:39 – It was No. 7.  ABC just showed a tape of it falling.
2:49 – A live picture of the Pentagon, showing a Marine helicopter landing in front of the devastation.  It appears that the fires are out there.  There is what appears to be a chunk of the structure, maybe a couple of bus lengths, collapsed at an angle into itself.
2:56 – Posted by eac on 3WA:
Lawrence Eagleburger just said on CNN - 'we need to kill some of them. even if they aren't the right terrorists, we know a lot of them. and we need to kill them.'
(not a direct quote, but pretty close)
I can't even comprehend that statement.
3:00 PDT – ABC is reporting explosions in the capitol (Kabul) of Afghanistan.  Now they are showing live video of burning.  That’s all you can see, burning in the night.
3:11 – They are live in Kabul on KING (CNN feed), with one of their reporters. He's talking about an ammunition dump. There was just the one explosion, and it was near an ammunition dump. They are saying it probably is internal conflict.  Tracer fire from anti-aircraft batteries was seen in the live video, though.  Nick something or other was reporting from Kabul.
3:17 – There will be a briefing at the Pentagon pretty soon.  If Kabul was an allied air strike… No one is saying yes, no one is saying no…  The briefing should clarify.  SecDef Rummsfeld will be speaking, and they are not sure why he wants to speak.
3:20 – Posted by Joanne on 3WA – “CBC (Canada) foreign correspondent in the Afghan capital (on right now) says it would be an incredible coincidence for it *not* to be related. He says about a dozen bombs have fallen. There's no official response yet, probably mainly because it's 2:30 am there.”
3:24 – “We’ve reached a defining moment.  Thing’s will be different in the future.” Warren Christopher, NBC
3:30 – NBC Nightly News is saying that the Pentagon and the CIA are flatly denying any U.S. involvement in Kabul.
3:32 - Posted by Sidhedevil on 3WA: “Nick Robertson, reporting live on CNN from Kabul, suggests that the attack is most likely from the Northern Alliance (Afghani opponents of the Taliban, whose leader was just attacked in a suicide bombing earlier this week).”
3:39 – Bush has landed at Andrews (NBC).
3:43 – KING is saying Sea-Tac will be closed until at least 9am tomorrow.
3:53 – Posted by Roo on 3WA: “Sometimes it's the small things that stick. I think that, make that I know that, one of the toughest things I've ever done was waking my daughter this morning and having to tell her that our country was under attack. Responding to her that no, I wouldn't kid about something like that.  And then making specific rendezvous plans in case anything happens around here (thankfully, nothing so far).”
3:54 – Marine One is now landing at the White House…  Bush looks like he aged about 10 years today.
4:01 – CNN is supposedly reporting that rebels in Afghanistan have claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack.
Okay.  I’ve been staring at all of this for 10 hours now.  I have to unplug, get cleaned up, and hopefully track down a beer.  I don’t think much more will happen until Bush’s speech tonight anyway.
5:25 – Borders are open again, at least the Blaine crossing is.  I don’t know when this opened up.  All vehicles are being searched, though.
Going to watch the President, and then go to a friend’s birthday party.  What a lousy day for a birthday party.  There will be beer though.  That is good.
It’s funny.  Traffic helicopters are grounded, but with all the DOT cameras, they don’t really even need helicopters to know what is going on anymore.  Those shots are just eye candy.
5:30 – Bush part 3.  Short.  A good pep talk.  “You can shake the foundations of our buildings, but you cannot shake the foundations of our country.”  No new revelations. Another good quote.  “A quiet, unyielding anger…”
5:40 - Hatch is releasing a statement saying that some communiqués were intercepted from Bin Laden about today.  I’ll still take that one with a grain of salt.  There is still some burning at the Pentagon.
I think that is it for me.  We all do what we can.  I am a writer, so I write.  Don’t know if this will ever mean anything to anyone else, but it got me through the last 12 hours.  Now it is time to take comfort with our friends and loved ones, and to pray for those who have lost friends and loved ones today.  My heart reaches out to those who don’t know yet.  To those who are missing people, not knowing what fate be fell them today.  To them, I guess, I can only say be strong, and know that the thoughts of a nation are with you tonight.
Most of us are lucky.  And there is no way that we can understand what you are truly going through tonight.  But that doesn’t mean that we cannot feel.  I am sure that we all do.  And I am certain that people across the nation are ready to go to work to help and to make the best of this situation.  It’s a cliché, but in dark times like these, our nation comes together at it’s best.
Still, a new era began today, and it will be a long time before any of us really feel safe again.