Tag Archives: NYC

We are changed forever

We know where we were and what we were doing when we got the word 20 years ago today … correct?

On that landmark Tuesday morning I was sitting at my desk at work in Amarillo, Texas. A young man with whom I worked on the editorial page of the Globe-News, came to work, stuck his head in the door and said, “Did you hear the news? A plan flew into the World Trade Center.”

That’s about all Dave Henry knew at the moment. I asked him about the weather. It was sunny and clear in New York, Henry said. My first thought was that a moron had flown the plane into the WTC by mistake.

I turned on the mini-TV I kept in my office. The “Today” show came on and a few minutes later, all hell broke loose as the second plane flew into the other WTC tower. We heard later that morning about the Pentagon and then about the crash in Shanksville, Pa.

Terrorists had hijacked four jetliners intending to do serious harm to this nation. They succeeded perhaps beyond the wildest dreams of the mastermind, Osama bin Laden, who would be delivered justice a decade later by special operations forces sent to kill him by President Obama.

I don’t know what lessons we learned from that horrifying event. I can think of only one constructive lesson, which is that terrorism is a threat that cannot be extinguished. It will lurk in the evil souls of individuals for as long as they exist among us. The lesson will be that we must maintain the highest level of alert. Always and forever.

They paid tribute this morning in our North Texas community to the lives lost and the heroism displayed by firefighters, police officers, first responders and those passengers who fought the terrorists before crashing the plan in Pennsylvania.

They lowered the flag to half-staff at the Princeton Fire Department Station No. 3, the newest such station in our city. The ceremony was brief, but poignant. We learned about a firefighter who died in NYC on 9/11, Anthony Rodriguez, whose sister lives in Princeton and that the fire station we visited this morning was built in his memory.

The ceremony was brief. Our hearts will remain broken for as long as we remember the events of that day and the war that followed for two decades after the attack.

Mostly, though, I choose to salute the brave men and women — such as Anthony Rodriguez — who ran into the flames.


What happened to Rudy?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I have been thinking of the tragedies that have emerged from Donald Trump’s term as president and I come up — so far — with just one tragic story.

It involves Rudy Giuliani, who’s now serving as Trump’s lead lawyer in the futile and feckless fight to overturn the results of the election Trump lost this month to President-elect Biden.

I mean, I have to collect myself a bit just to comprehend what has happened to the man who’s gone from hero to zero in the span of roughly two decades.

There he was, standing with President Bush after the 9/11 attacks on his city and the Pentagon. Giuliani served as NYC mayor. He became “America’s mayor.” Time magazine named him its person of the year in 2001 for the courage he demonstrated in helping his city  clean itself up after the wreckage that the terrorists delivered on that terrible day.

Before that the mayor served as a crime-fighting, mob-busting federal prosecutor.

I watch the videos of him from back in the post-9/11 era and wonder: What in the name of God in heaven happened to this guy?

He has devolved into a shill for Donald Trump. These days he is fomenting crazy and utterly stupid conspiracy theories about phony election fraud allegations. Did you saw him sweating during that presser this week, with hair dye dripping down both sides of his face? My goodness!

Rudy was ridiculous, citing a scene from “My Cousin Vinny” as evidence in a wacky conspiracy theory.

Well, you know all that. You know that America’s mayor has become America’s fool. I don’t know how you might feel about the deterioration of this once-stellar public servant. I will stand by my view that we are witnessing a tragedy in the making.

It saddens me beyond measure.

The big takeaway from this crisis is …

Make no mistake about it, if there is a singularly positive outcome from the coronavirus pandemic, it well might be the enduring gratitude we all should feel toward those who are risking their lives in the front-line fight against this killer disease.

I refer specifically to the world’s medical personnel, the firefighters and police officers.

Doctors, nurses and various medical technicians are falling ill constantly, 24/7, as they treat patients in hospitals all over the world. Many of them die as a result. Many others are fortunate to recover from the disease. What do they do, how do they respond?

They suit up — don their masks, gloves and rubber suits — and head right back into the fight! That’s what they’re doing.

Communities are making noise already in appreciation for what they’re doing on our behalf. In New York City, the epicenter of the crisis, residents are clamoring each night at 7 to honor the men and women who are thrusting themselves into harm’s way; they stand on street corners, on balconies, in front of shuttered businesses and they bang pots and pans.

It’s the very least we can do to offer an expression of profound gratitude to these folks’ unimaginable bravery.

Let us not ever lose sight of what we are witnessing in real time as the world struggles against this pandemic.

It is awe-inspiring.

Give him a break on ‘stop and frisk’

I want to cut Michael Bloomberg some slack on the grief he is getting over a policy he once endorsed but over which he has since expressed regret.

Yep, that would be “stop and frisk,” a law enforcement policy that Bloomberg favored when he was New York mayor.

He’s now running for president of the United States as a Democrat. He served as NYC mayor as a Republican. Between then and now he declared himself to be an independent.

Whatever, the stop and frisk policy he once endorsed empowered the cops to, um, stop individuals and then search them for, oh, weapons and drugs and other assorted illegal possessions. It was a badly implemented policy, targeting racial minorities and arresting them at rates that far exceeded anything considered reasonable or rational.

Bloomberg has said he’s sorry about the policy. He has owned his mistake. He says he would do things much differently now were he able and has pledged, if elected as president, to lead the charge to end racial injustice in this country.

That is good enough for me.

But not for some Bloomberg critics, who refuse to accept his expressions of regret at face value. They want more, although precisely what they demand is unclear to me.

And, of course, we can look forward — more than likely — to Donald Trump climbing on the bash Bloomberg bandwagon over this policy … never mind that Trump endorsed it, too, but has never said a single word of regret over the manner in which the policy was carried out.

Stop and frisk: let’s hold on

I am still not sure whether Bloomberg is the guy whom Democrats should endorse in the still-developing party presidential primary battle. The issue of stop and frisk, though, is a non-starter.

The man made a mistake. He owns the mistake. He vows to do better. That should be the end of it.

What became of America’s Mayor?

Rudolph Giuliani used to be a revered public figure. He stood tall amid the rubble of Ground Zero in lower Manhattan and rallied a stricken city in the wake of the 9/11 terror attack on the World Trade Center.

Time magazine named him Person of the Year in 2001. It was richly deserved. Giuliani became America’s Mayor.

Then something happened to him. He decided to get involved in national politics. He dressed in drag to spoof something or someone. He ran for the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2008.

Rudy Giuliani has gotten a bit strange. If you saw his shtick at the 2016 Republican National Convention, then you understand my point. If you haven’t seen it, take a look:

His latest gig is as Donald J. Trump’s lawyer, representing the president as he does battle against what he calls the “witch hunt” being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Giuliani has managed to step all over Trump’s denial about hush money being paid to a porn star; he argues now that the president cannot be subpoenaed or indicted by the special counsel, even if Mueller produces evidence that Trump broke the law.

Giuliani has become a shill. He has behaved in a seriously unattractive manner as he defends the president against Mueller’s investigation in whether Trump obstructed justice or “colluded” with Russians who interfered in our 2016 presidential election.

Honestly, I much prefer the former Rudy Giuliani, the man who faced down terrorists while standing in the rubble.

The “new Rudy” is acting like a clown.

Creeped out by this video

This blog usually doesn’t spend too much time and cyberspace critiquing media coverage, but …

I want to make a brief exception.

TV networks have gone a bit too far in covering the fatal helicopter crash into the East River in New York City. Five passengers died when the chopper crashed into the river, tipping over and trapping the occupants in 39-degree water.

So, what did the cable and broadcast networks do? On the very day of the young people’s deaths they broadcast selfie videos shot by one of them, showing them smiling, laughing, carrying on and giving thumbs-up signs as they were lifting off for what was supposed to be a  joy ride over the city.

It wasn’t. I cannot imagine the horror they felt as they struggled to free themselves from the “safety harnesses” that tethered them to their seats.

I’m open to discussion on this, but for my taste, seeing those smiling faces just as they were about to die saddens me greatly. What’s more, I wonder if it is something I really need to see to appreciate the tragic consequence of this hideous event.

Any thoughts here?

What? No indictment in NYC?

I have just watched a video of a New York City police officer subduing Eric Garner.

Garner was arguing with police that he wasn’t doing what they suspected he was doing. He asked the officers to “leave me alone.” One of the officers then clamped a chokehold on Garner, wrestling him to the ground.

Garner said several times, “I can’t breathe!” The officer didn’t heed the plea. Garner lost consciousness and then died.

A grand jury today returned a no indictment ruling against the officer, Daniel Pantaleo.


I have a simple question: What in the name of God’s Planet Earth was the grand jury thinking?

This is just another case of a white police officer killing a black citizen. Now, I’m not going to probe too deeply into the racial component here — white cop, black civilian. But why didn’t the officer let up on the chokehold after Garner told him repeatedly — repeatedly! — that he couldn’t breathe?

The no-bill here has provoked the predicted demonstrations in New York City. It has prompted even more debate over the state of race relations between law enforcement and the African-American community.

This non-indictment has me puzzled and perplexed, having seen the video evidence of what happened that day.

Based on what I saw on that video, the grand jury surely could have come back with something with which to charge the officer.

Those grand jurors and the district attorney’s office have some serious explaining to do.

I’m waiting. The nation is waiting.