Daily Archives: September 11, 2010

Gainesville, Florida, Disavows Pastor’s Talk of Burning Koran

Gainesville, after all, is a university town that until a few months ago was best known for producing college football champions, Gatorade and rockers like Tom Petty.

Educated and progressive, with a gay mayor and a City Commission made up entirely of Democrats, Gainesville is a sprawling metropolis of 115,000 people where smoothie shops seem to outnumber gun shops.

Fanatics can come from anywhere, Gainesvillians will tell you, but why did this one have to come from here?

“He doesn’t represent the community,” said Larry Wilcox, 78, reading the newspaper at a local Panera restaurant. “This guy is obviously a publicity hound and a weirdo.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, City Government, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits

…there are effective approaches to learning, at least for those who are motivated. In recent years, cognitive scientists have shown that a few simple techniques can reliably improve what matters most: how much a student learns from studying.

The findings can help anyone, from a fourth grader doing long division to a retiree taking on a new language. But they directly contradict much of the common wisdom about good study habits, and they have not caught on.

For instance, instead of sticking to one study location, simply alternating the room where a person studies improves retention. So does studying distinct but related skills or concepts in one sitting, rather than focusing intensely on a single thing.

“We have known these principles for some time, and it’s intriguing that schools don’t pick them up, or that people don’t learn them by trial and error,” said Robert A. Bjork, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Instead, we walk around with all sorts of unexamined beliefs about what works that are mistaken.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Psychology

Ted Koppel: Nine years after 9/11, let's stop playing into bin Laden's hands

The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, succeeded far beyond anything Osama bin Laden could possibly have envisioned. This is not just because they resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths, nor only because they struck at the heart of American financial and military power. Those outcomes were only the bait; it would remain for the United States to spring the trap.

The goal of any organized terrorist attack is to goad a vastly more powerful enemy into an excessive response. And over the past nine years, the United States has blundered into the 9/11 snare with one overreaction after another. Bin Laden deserves to be the object of our hostility, national anguish and contempt, and he deserves to be taken seriously as a canny tactician. But much of what he has achieved we have done, and continue to do, to ourselves. Bin Laden does not deserve that we, even inadvertently, fulfill so many of his unimagined dreams.

It did not have to be this way. The Bush administration’s initial response was just about right. The calibrated combination of CIA operatives, special forces and air power broke the Taliban in Afghanistan and sent bin Laden and the remnants of al-Qaeda scurrying across the border into Pakistan. The American reaction was quick, powerful and effective — a clear warning to any organization contemplating another terrorist attack against the United States. This is the point at which President George W. Bush should have declared “mission accomplished,” with the caveat that unspecified U.S. agencies and branches of the military would continue the hunt for al-Qaeda’s leader. The world would have understood, and most Americans would probably have been satisfied.

But the insidious thing about terrorism is that there is no such thing as absolute security….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, History, Terrorism

A NY Times Editorial–Sept. 11, 2010: The Right Way to Remember

The most important sight at ground zero now is Michael Arad’s emerging memorial. The shells of two giant pools are 30 feet deep and are set almost exactly in the places where the towers once were.

The huge waterfalls around the sides, the inscribed names of victims and the plaza are promised by the 10th anniversary next year. But two 70-foot tridents that were once at the base of the twin towers were installed last week. The museum will be built around them by 2012. And the first 16 of 416 white swamp oaks were planted on the eight-acre surface.

Surrounding that memorial will be a ring of commercial towers ”” eventually to be filled with workers, commuters, shoppers, tourists, the full cacophony of New York City. The tallest skyscraper is now a third of the way up. The developer Larry Silverstein has one of his skyscrapers taking shape ”” this one by the Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki. The bases of two more are finally beyond the planning stage.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, History, Terrorism

Kendall Harmon: Number 343

On Monday this week, the last of the 343 firefighters who died on September 11th was buried. Because no remains of Michael Ragusa, age 29, of Engine Company 279, were found and identified, his family placed in his coffin a very small vial of his blood, donated years ago to a bone-marrow clinic. At the funeral service Michael’s mother Dee read an excerpt from her son’s diary on the occasion of the death of a colleague. “It is always sad and tragic when a fellow firefighter dies,” Michael Ragusa wrote, “especially when he is young and had everything to live for.” Indeed. And what a sobering reminder of how many died and the awful circumstances in which they perished that it took until this week to bury the last one.

So here is to the clergy, the ministers, rabbis, imams and others, who have done all these burials and sought to help all these grieving families. And here is to the families who lost loved ones and had to cope with burials in which sometimes they didn’t even have remains of the one who died. And here, too, is to the remarkable ministry of the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, who played every single service for all 343 firefighters who lost their lives. The Society chose not to end any service at which they played with an up-tempo march until the last firefighter was buried.

On Monday, in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn, the Society therefore played “Garry Owen” and “Atholl Highlander,” for the first time since 9/11 as the last firefighter killed on that day was laid in the earth. On the two year anniversary here is to New York, wounded and more sober, but ever hopeful and still marching.

–First published on this blog September 11, 2003

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Terrorism

Remembrance: Chaplain recalls 9/11 attack on Pentagon

Haynes said that, despite all the evil that happened during 9/11, one of the positive things that happened as a result of the attacks was the good it brought out in people.

“It was just an outpouring of love from the American people,” he said. “Everybody was just supportive of one another. I’ve never seen anything quite like that before.”

Haynes said he feels privileged having been at the Pentagon during 9/11, being able to serve those in need of spiritual support. He said that although it was a trying and tiring time, his faith helped him meet the demands.

“I believe that God gives you strength. And I believe in the power of prayer. There was a lot of prayer going on,” he said. “A lot of people just wanted to hear some positive words. I felt like that was my duty. I had to do that. I had to be strong for my fellow comrades and employees in the building. I believe that God prepares us for stuff, and I believe that God had me there for a reason.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

ABC Nightline gets a Tour Inside One World Trade Center

This tour is led by Chris Ward, the Port Authority executive overseeing the construction–watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Terrorism

A Video of the Second Plane Hitting, Taken from Brooklyn

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Terrorism

Gerard Van der Leun–What I Saw: Notes Made on September 11, 2001 from Brooklyn Heights

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Terrorism

A Post-Gazette Editorial–Disunited we stand: Many Americans have let hatred color 9/11

On Sept. 17, 2001, with the Twin Towers a ruin, the Pentagon a wreck and a field in Somerset County, Pa., horribly scarred, President George W. Bush went to the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., to make something very clear: “These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. And it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that.”

Just a few days before, he had stood on the rubble of the World Trade Center with a bullhorn in hand and rightly promised vengeance on those who had attacked us. But at the mosque he delivered a postscript that named both the people who were responsible and the people who were not — the Muslim citizens in our midst. Mr. Bush said, “In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.” President Bush is easily faulted for his prosecution of the war on terror, but he got that right.

Yet on this anniversary, many have forgotten that first wisdom. Too eager to hate and lash out blindly, so many Americans refuse to understand.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Psychology, Religion & Culture

Blog Open Thread: Your Thoughts on the Ninth Anniversary of 9/11

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Terrorism

Sounds and Images and Music: May We Never Forget What Really Happened””Nine Years Ago Today

This video is a long download but an important file to take the time to listen to and watch; I make myself do it every year on this day. There are a few pieces I would have wished to do differently in terms of the choices for specific content, but the actual footage and the music is valuable. Be forewarned that the raw images and sounds of the day are emotionally taxing to try to take in, so one has to be in a prepared state before one begins–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Terrorism

An FT Editorial: Pope Benedict’s historic state visit

The Roman Catholic Church, with about 1.2bn adherents worldwide, remains a uniquely potent spiritual force. Yet this great but flawed institution is now most often discussed in western Europe and North America in terms of its faults.

This pope will suffer by comparison with his superstar predecessor. Whereas John Paul perfectly fitted the demands of the media age, Benedict is an elderly, retiring and scholarly theologian. Both popes rank as astute students of power, but this one evinces little need to win over wavering believers.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Bishop Chane: ”˜We Are an Angry Country’

Opposition to building an Islamic cultural center near the site of the former World Trade Center springs from those “who feel threatened by what they do not understand and by what they have not had time to process,” according to the Rt. Rev. John B. Chane, Bishop of Washington.

“In many ways, our psyche as a nation was attacked,” Chane said during “Park51 Islamic Center Near Ground Zero: Issues in Conflict,” a panel discussion held Sept. 7 at Georgetown University.

“We have never been able to grieve” collectively as a nation, he said. “The current fear should not surprise any of us.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, City Government, Episcopal Church (TEC), Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops