Tag Archive: 9/11

Reauthorize the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act

9/11 Ground Zero rescue workers

Today, more than 100 first responders are walking the halls of Congress to lobby lawmakers to reauthorize and make permanent the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, named for NYPD detective,the first death by respiratory disease attributed to work at Ground Zero. He spent 450 hours there.

Following 9/11, America fairly throbbed with patriotism, nationalism and enough bloodthirsty revenge that allowed George Bush to launch a war on the wrong guy. We’ve recovered our senses since then, but the names of the people lost at the World Trade Center and Pentagon are still recited out loud, as they should be.

But there are other names and we have a chance to do more than remember them; the survivors and those who rushed in, then stayed to do what had to be done.  

September 11, 2001

I wanted to post for you the single most extraordinary piece of reporting I’ve ever read about September 11th. It is the painstaking reconstruction by the staff of the New York Times of the last minutes inside the World Trade Center, from phone calls, voice mail, and emails:

Fighting to Live as the Towers Died, New York Times, May 26, 2002.

For Simon Dedvukaj, all first responders and all lost that day, including 674 of our New Jersey neighbors.

Late-Nite Teevee: 9/11 Museum Dedication

The 9/11 Museum was dedicated today in a softly-lit, well-orchestrated and somber ceremony seven stories underground at what was called “the site” for weeks after, and then as President Bush began to beat the war drums, became known as Ground Zero. As ceremonies go, this one was beautiful and  minimally nationalistic. But even dressed in the grandeur of the dedication, the day itself is remembered as confusing, chaotic, unthinkable and devastating. Anyone living in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut knew who was missing by watching whose house suddenly had cars parked outside at all hours. The rest of us were deeply watching the news, some for the first time in their lives, watching the first responders, their ranks devasted, the steelworkers, the military personnel, the volunteers who rushed in to help. They were magnificent, is the only way to say it.

Here’s video of the dedication. You’ve already heard at the last minute Idina Menzel, scheduled to sing Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” immediately following Christie’s remarks, did not in fact do so. Awkward moment averted. Myself, I lost it right at the start when fresh-scrubbed children sang Leonard Bernstein’s “Somewhere,” none of them alive when it happened, 70 feet underground, sweet honey in the rock.

Skip ahead to 16:58, which is where the ceremony begins. Obama at 26:00. Cuomo at 38:20. Christie at 41:38 (the substitute song “Amazing Grace” following by 9/11 widow and Broadway star LaChanze). Guiliani at 52:38. Pataki 1:00:18. But really, the best stuff is in between.

How does Gov. Christie sleep at night?

New York Times is reporting that the distribution policies for the 9/11 steel given out in New Jersey was changed at the Port Authority last week. It will no longer be handled by Gov. Christie’s political appointees but by the agency’s professional staff, which handles the steel for the 49 other states and the rest of the world. Promoted by Rosi.

As governor, Chris Christie has done a lot of truly awful things to the people of New Jersey in the past 5 years, but even more egregious than promulgating the myth of ‘failing schools’, demonizing teachers and other public employees, leaving Sandy victims sinking without a life boat, calling a Navy Seal an ‘idiot’ telling the press to ‘take a bat out’ on a 78-year old grandmother (who just happens to be the Senate Majority leader), turning his back on the poor, minorities, the middle and working classes, seniors, the LGBT community, commuters, and the homeless, surrounding himself (there are still no dots connecting him) with irresponsible, vindictive, selfish and, dare I say anti-semitic, staff who would put millions of George Washington Bridge commuters at risk for juvenile, political sport, is the report out of the New York Times and picked up by Rachel Maddow Tuesday that he actually gave away pieces of the World Trade Center as political carrots to the top 20 mayors on his  ‘must-get’ endorsements list.

Governor Christie cares so much about winning that he’s willing to trade off pieces of hallowed ground-a burial site-for political favors. It’s like FDR giving away pieces of The USS Arizona.

What did Chris Christie see from his helicopter September 11th? Anything?

From Brent Johnson’s reporting today at Star-Ledger, Christie bridge scandal: Panel looking into whether governor flew in helicopter over Fort Lee:

Colin Reed, a spokesman for Christie’s office, confirmed today that the Republican governor did fly in a helicopter from New York City to Trenton on Sept. 11 of last year – the third day of the closures. But asked whether the aircraft passed over the bridge, Reed declined comment.

Despite full-throated non-denial denials from Gov. Christie, there are lingering questions of What did he know and when did he know it? Wildstein says he knew during, to which Christie responded by moving the goalpost and insisting he didn’t know before. Uh huh.

If all this is from a Wildstein tip, and the reason he says “evidence exists” that Christie knew during, is it enough to suggest that he connected what he saw below him with orders from his own Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly to Wildstein, of “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee”?  We know Christie and Wildstein were together for at least part of September 11, 2013, during the lane closures, because WSJ dug up a picture of them together taken that day after Christie said he hadn’t encountered Wildstein “in a long time”. We know (also via WSJ) that Wildstein stood on the NJ side of the GWB on the first day Sept. 9th, watching the traffic chaos his order to Port Authority employees helped create. Was that the kind of thing an operative does to make sure his job is done as ordered? Did he show it off to Christie? We now know, via Christie’s office, that he choppered from NYC to Trenton on 9/11. Was Wildstein or somebody else up there with him? PA Deputy COS Bill Baroni? PA Chair David Samson? Both were with Christie and Wildstein in NYC.

Colin Reed, Christie’s new mouthpiece now that Michael Drewniak seems to be  in some undisclosed location doesn’t say Christie didn’t fly over the bridge. Or that he doesn’t know. He declines comment. Will that continue to be their answer?  

Bridgegate probe to check Christie copter rides

Update: willlivingston wrote about this, too – and raises an excellent question about a leak and whether this may be Wildstein’s “evidence exists”. Read him.

In a few minutes, at 2pm, the New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation (NJ SCI) will meet in Trenton. Today, the NY Post is reporting that the SCI plans to look at the records of that state police chopper Gov. Christie likes to use, to see if he flew near Fort Lee during the time local lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge were closed.

If that’s true, it’s an amazing coda to an issue that absorbed us two years ago, the way Christie commandeered the state’s  $12.5 million state police helicopter – a 55-foot Homeland Security resource designed for emergencies and to transport critically injured people – for political and family reasons.

So, did Christie take a joy ride to check on his Port Authority minions’ work snarling traffic for the people of North Jersey? Did David Wildstein ride along? After all, right after Christie claimed to barely know who Wildstein is, a photo surfaced (via WSJ) of the two of them yukking it up on September 11th, 2013. During the 5-day lane closures, and on a day when more sensible people realize the busiest bridge in the world might be at a terrorism risk on the 9/11 anniversary. Requiring, you know, more care and safety, and less impeding of first responders, just in case somebody wants to do harm.

Whoever got the idea to check the chopper records for this is absolutely effing brilliant. And it tells me, if the story’s true, that good and intelligent due diligence is going on down there.

Chris Christie Is Right About Rand Paul, Steve Lonegan Wrong

promoted by Rosi

One of the most disgusting things about the Republican response to the attacks we experienced 12 years ago today in Manhattan, Pennsylvania and Washington DC was their willingness to politicize the attacks, and to attack people’s politics by accusing them of consorting with the enemy.

Twelve years later nothing has changed.  While President Obama is trying to find a positive response in the Syrian chemical weapon situation — a situation with few if any positive responses — GOP presidential candidate and “libertarian” leader Rand Paul is willing to say disgusting things like this:

Twelve years after we were attack by al-Qaeda, twelve years after 3,000 Americans were killed by al-Qaeda, President Obama now asks us to be allies with al-Qaeda.

It’s astonishing that a US Senator is willing to accuse the President of the United of allying with the enemy — treason — for being concerned about the use of chemical weapons on 400 children, considering military force but being willing to engage in diplomacy when the opportunity comes up.  There was a time when politics ended at the ocean, but that has gone away in a fit of fear, fanaticism and foolishness.

Steve Lonegan is more of the same, happy to throw bombs into crowds without knowing what damage will happen solely for political self-interest. Rand Paul is scheduled to be here in Clark Friday to rally for Lonegan and raise money for him.

But Chris Christie, who gets little praise here, has generally been unwilling to engage in this kind of idiocy and has slapped Rand Paul around a few times. It would be good to see Christie, as he too runs for President while running for Governor, stand up and decry this kind of disgusting politics.