This video has made the rounds recently, and it’s terrific. I will bring it up once more before November 2nd, but I think it can stand two posts.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Well, there’s no point in the Senators sticking around if the Representatives are leaving, is there?
And they wonder why their approval rating is at an all time low.
I have some advice for these fellows who felt it was more important to campaign than to work.
Don’t come back.
33 days until the flood washes them away.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Ok, I think I like how the blog is set up now. I may make a few minor tweaks, but for now I’m happy with things. Should be a lot faster for you and IE friendly. I hadn’t realized that my old stuff was no longer working with IE. I apologize for that.
I haven’t tried it with Chrome, Safari, or Opera. If I’m bored this weekend I may load them up in a VM, and give it a try.
I applaud James O’Keefe’s work exposing ACORN.
The stuff with Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is less impressive. He screwed up. No doubt about it.
If the stuff we’re hearing about CNN Reporter Abbie Boudreau is true (and I have no reason to think that it isn’t), it’s a despicable act.
Yes, we need to take the fight to them. Conservatives have been beaten hard by the Alinsky followers and we need to respond.
But not this way.
Just when I was thinking I wouldn’t have anything to blog about today.
You adjourned the House.
You adjourned the House without even attempting your one Constitutionally mandated duty, that of passing a budget. Yes, I know it’s not the first time the House failed to pass a budget. Yet it is the first time that you didn’t even try. You didn’t even create a budget bill. What were you doing all year?
You adjourned the House without voting to extend the Bush tax cuts. Unless something unforeseen occurs, the largest tax hike in American history will go into effect on January 1. I’ve checked and it’s going to cost my family about $4,000. My daughters thank you.
You adjourned the House early because so many Democrats are in trouble in their districts. You wanted to give them time to go home and campaign. Campaigning is now more important to you and your Democrat cohorts than actually doing your job.
Thank you, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-08) for reminding me once again, why it’s so important that I get out and vote on November 2nd.
34 days and nights until the great flood.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
35 days and nights until the great flood.
Politico says the Democrats have given up on the House and are urging donors to save the Senate.
In some cases, donors report that they are being urged to fund Senate campaigns at the expense of the House, where Democrats are in danger of losing their majority.
One House Democratic fundraiser said that some Senate operatives are telling big donors and union officials, “The House is lost; you have to save the Senate.”
Nearly every poll lately is trending in the Republicans favor, with the exceptions of California and Washington. Even O’Donnell in Delaware is gaining. We’ll know more next week when Gallup switches from Registered Voters to Likely Voters in their polls. Gallup still says there’s a major enthusiasm gap, which indicates their likely voter models won’t be friendly to Democrats.
My prediction. House: Minimum 50 seat flip. Senate: Minimum 8 seat flip.
I wouldn’t be surprised if both of those numbers are off by 50% or more. Yes, that means I’m talking about 75+ and 12+. The wave is coming and we can see it 35 days out.
In addition to my series on the past and future elections, and my 40 days and 40 nights series, I’m going to start another series here. This one is about Democrats and what they really want. And it will scare you to your very soul. I’m not going to go Glenn Beck on you, and I’m not wearing a tinfoil hat. I’m going to talk about, as Mark Levin calls it, Liberty and Tyranny.
This was in the New York Times today, and may be the most terrifying thing you will see this year. As reported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the federal government wants “to put government-mandated back doors in all communications systems, including all encryption software”. This idea is coming straight from the White House.
The Times said the Obama administration is drafting a law that would impose a new "mandate" that all communications services be "able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages" — including ordering "[d]evelopers of software that enables peer-to-peer communication [to] redesign their service to allow interception".
What does this mean? It means that there will be no cyber-privacy. Not e-mail, not text, not cell phones, not even communication with your bank. Basically, this completely shreds the Fourth Amendment. I’ve mentioned in the past that President Barack Obama (D-USA) is no friend to the Fourth Amendment (and neither was President George W. Bush (R-USA), I know). FISA doesn’t even apply here, because this appears to be something that would work for all communications, foreign and domestic, so this is far worse than anything that Bush did. And here’s the real issue here. I suppose they’ll still have to get some sort of court approval to actually examine the private communication, but they’ll already have the keys. It’s like having a tap on every phone line in the United States and then having to go get permission to turn it on. Or, here’s an even more frightening analogy. Remember The Hunt For Red October? Our feds will have both the missile keys and access to the lock. They’ll just be required to get permission before turning the keys. I’m sure they’ll be perfectly trustworthy and always get permission. And I have some land in Florida I’d like to sell you.
But wait, it gets worse. The Fourth Amendment concern isn’t even the scariest part about this. How bad is this? Let me count the ways.
First, the government will have the keys to all encrypted data, but someone is going to have to generate these keys for them. Whoever that someone is also capable of having the keys. Uh oh.
Second, once you open a “back door”, you create a weak link in your security. Hackers will be able to open these “back doors”. Just give them time. And, God forbid if the keys themselves are actually stored in some hackable location.
Scared yet? I’m just getting started.
Third, let’s say Microsoft writes the encryption software that’s used in sending encrypted data from Windows. I’m not picking on Microsoft, just using them as an example. Now, the Democrats in general, and the Obama administration in particular, are globalists. Every move they make they view from a global government perspective. Microsoft sells Windows in the UK too. If the U.S. forces Microsoft to put these back doors in, the UK is going to want the same thing eventually. And maybe the UK will try to force Microsoft to do it, or maybe the U.S. will require it. Now, we can’t have the same back door for the UK that we have for the U.S. Then they’ll be able to see all our private communications too. So, we’ll have to make another set of keys. Which means another back door. Which means another weak link in the security for hackers to exploit.
But wait, it gets worse.
Fourth, if Microsoft has to create two different encryptions for the UK and the U.S., then they’re likely not compatible. I won’t be able to establish a secure communications link from my home in Indiana with my bank in London. Moreover, Ford Motor Company won’t be able to do it with its Jaguar division in the UK.
Ok, maybe I’m wrong here. Software developers are pretty smart people. They can probably figure out how to handle this encryption with multiple sets of keys and still make it be readable and writeable at both ends. It means rewriting a lot of cryptography textbooks, but I imagine someone creative can come up with a way to do it.
Here’s the thing, though. As I said above, we now have two weak links in our system. And of course it’s worse than that. What do we do when Sweden wants their own keys? Or even Russia? Or China? Eventually we have lots of keys and for every inter-country communication we have two weak links, one at each endpoint. And they’re interdependent weak links, meaning that if some creative hacker can hack the UK keys, and then get to some UK/U.S. communications, not only can they view that, but they can likely then hack the U.S. keys.
At this point our entire infrastructure comes crumbling down. Did you see the movie Sneakers?
WHISTLER: Look at this, boys. Anybody want to shut down the Federal Reserve?
WHISTLER: What else have you got?
CARL: The national power grid.
WHISTLER: Anybody want to black out New England? Carl, what else?
CARL: Air Traffic Control System
WHISTLER: Anybody want to crash a couple of passenger jets?
Perhaps that reference is too old for you. How about Die Hard 4? Allowing these “back doors” makes a “Fire Sale” a very real and workable feat. These back doors turn speculative fiction into terrifying reality.
I’ll wait while you go and change your underwear, because there’s still a bit more.
I keep throwing around the term “hacker”, and you’re probably thinking of it in its 80s and 90s sense. Some pale skinned kid up late at night in his parents basement trolling the internet trying to create some mischief. That’s the wrong image. Hackers are the Rangers and Seals of the 21st century. Cyber-warfare is the next great arms race, and it appears we’re seeing some of the first hints of that right now. Heard of the Stuxnet worm? If not, follow the link. I don’t want to spoil the surprise.
See, it’s not just some teenager that’s going to be hacking into my e-mails between you and your children and sending mail apparently from you. It’s rogue states. You want the President of Iran in your e-mail? Neither do I. Nor do I want him in my bank account. Or Bill Gates’ bank account. Or the Federal Reserve. Or NORAD.
Yeah, NORAD’s a good one. Maybe he could just start launching our nuclear weapons at Russia? I’m thinking of an R.E.M. song now and I don’t feel fine.
I hope I’ve convinced you that the Obama administration must be stopped dead in its tracks here. We have to push back and push back so hard that they’ll get the message never to go down this route again.
Monday, September 27, 2010
My very first post on this blog laid out my frustrations with the GOP, and what they could do to bring me back into the fold. I went back to see how they’re doing. Here were my points from then (abbreviated for space)
- Create something like the Contract with America. Check.
- Go back to your base. Check.
- Keep your pants zipped. Hey, I haven’t heard about a Republican sex scandal in a while. Supposedly the NYT has something coming out about Representative John Boehner (R-OH-08). I’m sure it will be as reliable as what they had on Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in ‘08. Check.
- Be the party of energy independence. Meh. There’s a lot more they can do here. Fail.
- Eliminate Republican earmarks and pork barrel spending. They did this in 2010. Check. Nothing in the Pledge about continuing that, though. Hmmm.
- Be for small government. Check.
- Stay the course in Iraq. Check.
- Secure the borders. Even McCain seems to finally be on board with this. Check.
- Fight to keep the Bush tax cuts in place. Check.
- Lessen the emphasis on social issues on the national platform. Meh. Maybe a half check here.
- Stand up to the mainstream media. They’re doing better here. Sarah Palin is definitely leading this charge. Check.
- Start calling Democrats to the carpet on the “Culture of Corruption”. The Republican actions here have been timid. Fail.
- Point out the failures of the Democrats in Congress. Mostly a check. Hard to give a full check here. The failures are too numerous to point out in a succinct manner.
- Stop with the “boogeyman” letters and phone calls. Fail. Still getting those.
- Support the FairTax. Meh. Support is increasing, but needs to go farther. At least they’re not on board with a VAT though.
Only 3 fails. And a couple that I’d like to see more progress. Overall, though, perhaps the GOP is finally waking up and listening to the people.
And that’s why they’re doing much better in the polls, not just with me, but with all. The Democrats will realize that in 36 days.
The flood is coming.
37 days until the great flood.
As you by now already know, Stephen Colbert “testified” before the House Judiciary Committee on Immigration on Friday. It’s hard to say who looked more pathetic, Colbert, or the Democrats who called upon him to testify.
It isn’t hard to say that this was a new low water mark in Congressional cluelessness.
I don’t even understand why the Democrats would want to pull a stunt like this. Especially so close to an election. Especially so close to this election. If I were in the Democrat leadership, I’d be trying to get the message out that “We’re the party that understands everyday Americans. We know what you’re going through, and we know how tough it is, and we’re the ones you can trust to get this country moving in the right direction again.”
Having a comedian testify in character sends pretty much the exact opposite message. This could very well cost the Dems 2-3 more points on the Generic Ballot. This is not something they need right now. It was a very dumb mistake, an unforced error as Ed Morrissey likes to say.
I’ll just say it like the cool kids do.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
38 days until the great flood.
“Obama did exactly the opposite of what should have been done,” Taleb said yesterday in Montreal in a speech as part of Canada’s Salon Speakers series. “He surrounded himself with people who exacerbated the problem. You have a person who has cancer and instead of removing the cancer, you give him tranquilizers. When you give tranquilizers to a cancer patient, they feel better but the cancer gets worse.”
Of course, President Barack Obama’s (D-USA) not listening to the likes of Taleb. He prefers to listen to the likes of Nobel Award winning idiot, Paul Krugman, who thinks that the only problem with the stimulus is that we didn’t spend enough!
So, the choice on November 2 is clear. If the stimulus is workin’ for ya, vote for candidates who support it. If, on the other hand, it isn’t, and you’re worried about the long term budget outlook, like the Director of the CBO, vote for someone who wants to Stop The Insanity.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Yesterday, I began a four part series examining recent elections, and what can be learned from them that might help understand the current and future ones. Yesterday’s post was about why the Republicans lost in 2006 and 2008.
Today’s post is about today and the Democrats. The reasons for the Democrats losing are much simpler.
They totally misunderstood the results of the 2006 and 2008 elections.
Ok, it deserves a more in depth explanation, but that’s the real reason.
What Democrats took from their decisive victories in the 2006 and 2008 elections was this:
The people have finally come our way and embraced progressivism (liberalism). This is our chance to turn this country into the place we’ve always dreamed it could be.
In fact, the message that Democrats should have gotten is this:
This is the worst possible time to enact our sweeping changes to America, and try to move the country dramatically towards European socialism. The public elected us because of their fears of expansive and intrusive government. This is our time to tread carefully.
If they had taken that message, James Carville’s 40 more years would not be ending 38 years early. All that stuff you heard in early 2009 about the Republicans being a dead or regional party was close to true. It was slightly an exaggeration, but not by much. The Democrats have only themselves to blame for the resurgence of the Republican party. If they had governed smartly, they’d all be cruising towards re-election right now.
Instead, they gave us failed Keynesian economics, a bloated awful health care bill that they didn’t read, a bloated awful financial reform bill that they didn’t read, and promised us more and more of the same. All of this follows the expansive and intrusive government path that got the Republicans in trouble. The only difference is the Republicans were taking the scenic route down a two lane country road, and the Democrats have us on an 8 lane interstate highway with no speed limit.
In the next post in this series, I plan on looking at the Tea Party, before winding up with a look at the 2012 and 2014 elections.
I’ve decided on giving an election message every day starting at 40 days out. We’re now down to 38 days, and here’s my thoughts for today.
I saw this post on NewsBusters yesterday, and it mirrors a post that had been running around in my head for about a week. The NewsBusters post is directed specifically at Paul Krugman, but my remarks are for all voters and politicians.
Democrats keep saying that the reason we should vote for them is because the Republicans have no new ideas, and voting for them is just a vote for those “same policies that failed us”.
While I have numerous gripes with the Republicans and their failed policies, let’s look at the record, shall we?
- In January 2007 before the Democrats took over Congress, unemployment was 4.6 percent; now it's 9.6 percent.
- In January 2007 there were 7.1 million unemployed people in America; now there are 14.9 million.
- In January 2007 the median home price was $210,600; today it's $179,300.
- In January 2007 the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 12,500; today it's at 10,840.
- In January 2007 the gross federal debt was $9 trillion; today it's $13.5 trillion.
- The poverty rate in 2006 was 12.3 percent; now it's 14.3 percent
- In the final budget created by a GOP-controlled Congress, the deficit was $160 billion; now it's $1.6 trillion.
Add it all up and: there were half as many people out of work then; houses were worth 17 percent more; stocks were 16 percent higher; the federal debt was 33 percent lower; poverty was 14 percent lower, and; the deficit was 90 percent lower!
So, Dems, are you sure you want to remind me of the past when I’m headed to the voting booth?
Friday, September 24, 2010
This is the first part, in what I think will be a four part series. The series will be about the recent elections and what they portend for the current one and for the future.
There were several obvious reasons why the Republicans lost in 2006, and 2008.
- An unpopular war in Iraq
- Endless hammering by the MSM on how “awful” things were (quick question, if it was “awful” in 2006, what word describes now, MSM?)
- Democrat angst over the 2000, 2002, and 2004 elections, especially the Presidential ones.
- And frankly, the Democrats were better organized.
But there’s another reason, one that Democrats and Republicans of the time both misunderstood, and one that has significant bearing on this election and likely the elections in 2012 and 2014, if not beyond.
Republicans lost their base and conservative independents. But not because they moved too far to the right. Because they moved too far to the left. 2006 gave us the first indication that conservatives had lost faith in the Republican party. The Republican establishment tried to ram “comprehensive immigration reform” down our throats and we screamed in one voice, “NO!” While nothing further of significance would happen for almost three years, it was at this moment that the Tea Party was conceived.
The left likes to demonize George W. Bush (R-USA), but the real reasons they hate him boil down to four things:
- The way he talks. The left thinks that the President should be smarter than you and me and sound like it. Obviously, Bush doesn’t sound like it. Whether or not he actually is, is immaterial.
- The Iraq war. The left hates it. Nevermind that every prominent member of the Democrat establishment supported it when it was begun. Nevermind that an overwhelming majority of Americans supported it when it started. None of that matters. What matters is that it wasn’t over fast enough and clean enough and no “significant stockpiles of WMD’s” were found.
- Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito
- Katrina. Personally, I think local and state government owns more responsibility for the failures here, and those were controlled by Democrats, but there’s no escaping the fact that the federal government screwed up. There’s also no escaping the fact that the MSM completely invented stories about what was going on that made Bush look bad.
So, they hate him for the way he talks, two events, and Supreme Court picks. They like to pretend they hate everything about him, but his politics on the whole were at worst centrist, and often left-of-center. He gave us No Child Left Behind, prescription drugs for Medicare, huge government growth, and tried to give us amnesty for illegal aliens. One of his biggest allies in this was Senator John McCain (R-AZ). The “moderate” wing of the Republican party flexed its muscles from about 2002 to 2008.
In doing so, they lost the small government conservatives and independents. A lot of us didn’t vote in 2006. In 2008, I voted for John McCain for President (holding my nose), and then left the rest of my ballot blank. Like many other conservatives, I had essentially given up on the Republican party.
In the next post, I’ll detail how the Democrats completely misunderstood the 2006 and 2008 elections and show why that has put them in so much trouble in 2010.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Only one problem with the article. This quote here:
The levy received little attention during the 2005 tax reform debate under President George W. Bush because experts warned it raised less revenue than the current system and would force drastic cuts in the size of the federal government.
First, the Fair Tax is designed to be revenue neutral. It won’t force drastic cuts in the size of the federal government. It does make such things easier to implement, and makes increasing the size harder, but these are side effects.
Second, the “experts” that issued these warnings about the Fair Tax did no such thing. They warned about issues with a tax plan that’s similar, yet not identical, to the fair tax. Why does this matter? Because, every issue that they brought up, isn’t an issue with the actual Fair Tax Plan.
One common criticism that they brought up is that the 23% number was way too low, that it would be more like 40% once exclusions were added for food, etc. But the Fair Tax deliberately does not have these exclusions. That’s what makes it fair. It covers every B2C transaction that occurs in the United States, no matter what the product is, no matter who the ‘B’ is and no matter who the ‘C’ is. There are no exceptions. Period.
It is likely given the enormous growth of government that we’ve witnessed the last 4 years, that the 23% number is, in fact, now too low.
However, if you really want to get out of this recession, and get the economy moving again, giving us internet boom type of growth rates or even larger, then the Fair Tax is the way to go. As I’ve said before.
P.S. I know my page loads slow. The problem appears to be zoomclouds. I’m looking into changing my cloud.
Friday, September 17, 2010
It was Madison who, seeking to calm those who feared an all-powerful central government, wrote, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.” Let me repeat that: “few and defined.” Notwithstanding Madison’s clarity, today Congress considers and routinely passes legislation regulating virtually every conceivable human endeavor and enterprise.
My colleague John Shadegg of Arizona has proposed that every bill include a section that cites the specific constitutional authorization of the proposition. I commend John and think we can even go a step further. When there is a question about a bill’s constitutionality, we should set aside time during debate to focus on that question first. We shouldn’t proceed with legislation until we have resolved its constitutionality.
Cantor gets it. At the risk of repeating myself, this is what the Tea Party is all about. Restoring the Constitution.
Have you read this? Or part two of it? Whenever a White House insider broke ranks to tell us what was “really going on in the Bush White House” it was major news? Every single morning show would be trying to get this person on TV. Failing that it would at least be a significant topic of conversation.
But we have an Obama (D-USA) White House insider saying things like:
He clearly didn’t like the work of being President though, and that attitude was felt by the entire White House staff within weeks after the inauguration. Obama the tireless, hard working candidate became a very tepid personality to us. And the few news stories that did come out against him were the only things he seemed to care about. He absolutely obsesses over Fox News. For being so successful, Barack Obama is incredibly thin-skinned. He takes everything very personally.
I saw first hand the President of the United States yelling at a member of his staff. He was yelling like a spoiled child. And then he pouted for several moments after. I wish I was kidding, or exaggerating, but I am not. The President of the United States threw a temper tantrum.
Obama is not up to the job of being president. He simply doesn’t seem to care about the work involved. You want to know what? Obama is lazy. He really is. And it is getting worse and worse. Would another four years of Obama be the best thing for America? No it would not. What this country needs is a president who is focused on the job more than on themselves. Obama is not that individual.
Sarah Palin understands America more than Barack Obama. Yes, she has a minority of our far left who hates her, and some in our media are part of that group, but overall, she seems to get America. Americans aren’t a complicated people, and neither is Sarah Palin, so that probably works in her favor. But President Obama is just out of touch.
He comes at it from the position of thinking he knows what we need because we don’t have the ability to know for ourselves. And he doesn’t respect any opinion that is different from his own. He just doesn’t care to know any other side to any given issue. I really believe it’s a maturity thing. I think our president needs to grow up. I hate to put it that way, but there it is. President Obama – grow up.
How is this not front page news?
What Liberal Media?
Today is Constitution Day in the United States and given the title of this blog, it’s only fitting that I recognize it. On this day in 1787, the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution. We currently have a Congress and a White House that is intent on destroying our Constitution, but they haven’t completed the process and there’s still hope of restoring it. Here’s a clue, MSM, today is what the Tea Party is all about.
And, to repeat those words that every school child memorizes, but so few understand:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
It’s now time to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. On November 2, it’s up to you to do just that.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
US airspace is clear of aircraft except for military and emergency flights. Only a few transoceanic flights are still landing in Canada.
Where were you?
2,996 souls were lost on that day, including 343 of New York's Bravest and New York's Finest who gave their lives trying to save others.
Oh, where was I during all of this? In a meeting. No one bothered to interrupt the meeting to mention what was happening. After the meeting, I walked out to my car, somehow managing not to talk to a single person. I got in the car and drove home for lunch, without turning on the radio. I got home, made myself a sandwich, sat down at about 12:05 PM, turned on the TV and discovered that the world had changed while I wasn't looking. Rudy Giuliani has said it best, many times (paraphrasing). "We learned on September 11, 2001 that we were at war. The other side had known they were at war for quite some time, but we didn't know it."
There's a very poignant picture on the NY Times website from 9/11/2006, with the caption "The Hole in the City's Heart"
Where were you?
On September 12, we all promised ourselves that we'd never forget the events of that day. Have you kept that promise?
The times and events listed here are a very small excerpt of what's available at the Cooperative Research History Commons. The whole thing is well worth a read, if you have the time (it's very long). I’ve left out quite a bit, including the actions at the White House, Pentagon, NORAD, etc. There were many heroic decisions and actions made that day. And some less than heroic ones. Right guesses and wrong guesses; it’s all there at the link above, including enough information to make any “truther” giddy as a school girl.
I’ve expanded this quite a bit this year, because too many of us seem to have forgotten what happened that day, and what it felt like to go through it and the following days. Russia was conducting a military exercise in the North Atlantic and shut it down. Putin called Bush and told him that he knew that the U.S. was raising their military alert status and in response, Russia’s military would stand down, in order to make sure nothing bad happened in a moment of high tension. Putin also told Bush that the world must unite against terrorism and that Russia would stand by the United States.
Where were you?
"Freedom and Fear are at War." - U.S. President George W. Bush
"This is a battle with only one outcome: our victory, not theirs." - UK Prime Minister Tony Blair
Most skyscrapers and tourist attractions in the U.S. are evacuated and closed. The list includes Walt Disney World, Seattle’s Space Needle, Independence Hall, and many others.
There are still nearly 1000 airborne flights in U.S. airspace, and every one of them is a potential weapon.
United Airlines Flight 93 crashes into an empty field just north of the Somerset County Airport, about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, 124 miles or 15 minutes from Washington, D.C.
All four hijacked planes are now down. Thousands of planes are still airborne in U.S. airspace and several of them are suspected of being under the control of hijackers. All of these suspicions later turn out to be false.
Note that the exact timing of this crash is still unclear, and it could have been as early as 10:03. NORAD says 10:03. A seismic study says 10:06.
After the crash, Washington still believe the plane is headed towards them. Vice President Dick Cheney (R-USA) gives the order to shoot it down. And this is why I’m glad I’m not President or Vice President. I am not saying that was the right decision or the wrong one. I am saying that I wouldn’t want to be the one to have to make it.
The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses. It was hit by Flight 175 at 9:03 A.M., 57 minutes earlier.
Sometime in the next hour, astronauts aboard the space station take this picture:
Todd Beamer is still on the phone with Lisa Jefferson. He asks her to recite the Lord’s Prayer with him, and then he recites the 23rd Psalm. He tells her that some of the passengers are going to try to take control of the plane, “We’re going to do something. I know I’m not going to get out of this.”
The group he’s been talking to is apparently not the same as the group containing Tom Burnett, but both groups seem to make their move about now. Todd leaves the phone connected, and Jefferson hears screaming and commotion and Todd’s last words, “Let's Roll.”
This is followed by more screaming. Jefferson stays on the line until it goes dead.
The cockpit voice recorder records the following:
PASSENGER: In the cockpit! In the cockpit!
HIJACKER: Allah o akbar
ANOTHER HIJACKER: Should we finish?
ANOTHER HIJACKER: Not yet!
PASSENGER: Give it to me!
ANOTHER PASSENGER: I’m injured.
MORE PASSENGERS: Roll it up! Lift it up!
Some believe that this means that the passengers did regain control, but too late to save the plane.
Tom Burnett is on the phone with his wife Deena once more. He tells her that he and some of the other passengers are going to try to regain control of the aircraft: “We’re waiting until we’re over a rural area. We’re going to take back the airplane.If they’re going to crash this plane into the ground, we’re going to have to do something.… We can’t wait for the authorities. I don’t know what they could do anyway. It’s up to us. I think we can do it. Don’t worry. I’ll be home for dinner. I may be late, but I’ll be home. We’re going to do something,” and hangs up. These are the last words that Deena will ever hear from her husband.
Ben Sliney, FAA’s National Operations Manager, orders the entire nationwide air traffic system shut down. All flights at US airports are stopped. Around 3,950 flights are still in the air. Sliney makes the decision without consulting FAA head Jane Garvey, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, or other bosses, but they quickly approve his actions. It’s Sliney’s first day on the job.
Also, at about this time, Tom Burnett makes yet another phone call to his wife Deena. By now he knows what has happened with the other flights, and he tells her, “[The hijackers are] talking about crashing this plane into the ground. We have to do something. I’m putting a plan together. There’s a group of us.” Deena is amazed at how calm he sounds.
Meanwhile, Todd Beamer has still been unable to contact his family, but is still on the phone with GTE. He tells Lisa Jefferson the details of what’s going on, and she fills him on the details of what has happened outside his plane.
My sister-in-law is stranded in Ft. Lauderdale, FL (yes, I know...not a terribly bad place to be stranded, all things considered) after her flight lands safely there, but all outbound flights are canceled.
Todd Beamer, aboard Flight 93 manages to reach a GTE operator using one of the Airfone’s on board. Phone services across the U.S. are having overload issues, and GTE is no exception. Miraculously, this call stays connected all the way to the end.
By now, Cleveland Center is tracking Flight 93 as it heads towards its target in Washington, D.C. They know they have a hijacking, and they know what has happened so far, but are unable to do anything other than move other nearby flights out of the way.
American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon. Approximately 125 people on the ground are later determined killed or missing. Many key officials including Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, escape injury due to the plane hitting the wrong side of the massive building. The joint chiefs and secretary of defense offices are above the River Entrance. The National Military Command Center is also on that side of the building. Hitting it would have essentially shut down the Defense Department.
Flight 77 appears to turn away from Washington D.C., causing air traffic control to breathe a sigh of relief. The reason? It’s too high to hit it’s target, and the pilot makes a large circle while descending rapidly.
Dulles air traffic control notices a plane moving very fast (500 mph+) heading eastbound on their radar. This is Flight 77. Over the next several minutes, this plane’s path will be tracked and various nearby facilities will be notified and will engage disaster plans. Some people are evacuated from the Pentagon.
Flight 93 starts behaving erratically and is noticed by Cleveland flight control. In addition, screaming and sounds of struggle in the cockpit are heard by the controller and other pilots in the vicinity.
In the next minute or so, President George W. Bush (R-USA) will make his first public statement on the incident:
BUSH: Today we’ve had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country.
Flight 93 makes it’s last normal communication with air traffic control. A minute from now the hijackers will take control of the cockpit. Meanwhile, Tom Burnett is calling is wife Deena to tell her that his plane has been hijacked. Tom wasn’t supposed to be on this flight, but his business in New York ended early and he was able to take an earlier flight out of town. She’s surprised to get his call from his cell phone, since she knows cell phone use isn’t allowed once in the air.
DEENA: Are you in the air?
TOM: Yes, yes, just listen. Our airplane has been hijacked. It’s United Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco. We are in the air. The hijackers have already knifed a guy. One of them has a gun. They’re telling us there’s a bomb on board. Please call the authorities.
Tom says he will call back and hangs up. Deena doesn’t have time to tell him about the World Trade Center, but she does write down everything he says.
The FAA’s Indianapolis Center finally learns that there are other hijacked aircraft, and now doubts that Flight 77 crashed. They discuss this possibility with the FAA Command Center in Herndon, Virginia.
Also, at about this time, United Airlines Flight 23, bound to Los Angeles from JFK International in New York cancels takeoff. It was scheduled to take off at 8:30, but left the gate late and has been sitting in line. Several Arab passengers become aggressive at this news and refuse to debark the plane. Security is called but before it arrives, the men will have vanished, leaving behind box-cutters, copies of the Koran, and al-Qaeda instruction sheets.
It is reasonable to conclude that Flight 23 was supposed to be the fifth plane to be hijacked. However, the target is unknown.
American Airlines grounds all its flights, ordering all airborne planes to land at nearest available airport. By now, they have discussed the situation with United Airlines and doubt that the second plane to hit the WTC was their missing Flight 77.
Flight 77 enters Washington D.C. airspace, yet flight control does not realize that this mystery plane is the hijacked American Airlines flight.
It’s also at about this time that Indianapolis flight control reports that Flight 77 may have crashed near Ashland, Kentucky. No plane crashed anywhere near here, and this appears to be the result of confused radio chatter. Nevertheless, the end result is that the search for Flight 77 is disrupted.
United Airlines Flight 175 hits the South Tower of the World Trade Center (Tower Two). Seismic records pinpoint the time at six seconds before 9:03 a.m. (rounded to 9:03 a.m.). Millions watch it live on TV.
Also, at around this time, American Airlines, having realized that Flight 77 has also been hijacked, grounds the rest of their flights for the day.
Flight 175 makes a power dive, descending at a rate near 10,000 feet per minute over the next few minutes, having yet another near mid-air collision with flight Midwest Airlines Flight 7.
Flight 175 nearly has another mid-air collision with Delta Flight 2315. The radar blips overlap. Moments later, Flight 175 again nearly hits US Airways Flight 542. Within the next two minutes, it will make its final turn towards New York City.
The last radio contact with American Airlines Flight 77 out of Dulles occurs. Sometime in the next 6 minutes it will become the third hijacked plane.
Flight 175 is now reported as being hijacked, and in the next few minutes Mike McCormick, head of the FAA’s New York Center will connect the dots. He sees the coverage on CNN, and knows that Flight 175 is heading in the same direction.
Probably one of the most difficult moments of my life was the 11 minutes from the point I watched that aircraft, when we first lost communications until the point that aircraft hit the World Trade Center. For those 11 minutes, I knew, we knew, what was going to happen, and that was difficult.
Flight 175, believed to have been hijacked sometime in the last 8 minutes, now deviates from it’s assigned flight plan, turning southeast towards New York City, and climbing to 33,500 feet.
American Airlines Flight 11 Hits the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Two minutes later CNN would break off a commercial with live news on this. Carol Lin says, “This just in. You are looking at ... obviously a very disturbing live shot there—that is the World Trade Center, and we have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.” CNN then switches to Sean Murtagh, the network’s vice president of finance, who says in a live telephone interview, “I just witnessed a plane that appeared to be cruising at a slightly lower than normal altitude over New York City. And it appears to have crashed into—I don’t know which tower it is—but it hit directly in the middle of one of the World Trade Center towers. It was a jet, maybe a two-engine jet, maybe a 737 ... a large passenger commercial jet ... It was teetering back and forth, wing-tip to wing-tip, and it looks like it has crashed into—probably, twenty stories from the top of the World Trade Center—maybe the eightieth to eighty-fifth floor. There is smoke billowing out of the World Trade Center.”
Video (requires Windows Media Player)
Flight attendant Amy Sweeney of Flight 11 has been on the phone, describing what’s been going on. She was the second of the attendants on the flight to make a call, and has been on the phone since 8:25 AM. Her phone call ends with the following exchange between her and American flight service manager Michael Woodward.
SWEENEY: Something is wrong. We are in a rapid descent… we are all over the place.
WOODWARD: Look out the window. Can you see where you are? [paraphrase]
SWEENEY: I see the water. I see the buildings. I see buildings.
SWEENEY: Oh my God!
SWEENEY: We are flying low. We are flying very, very low. We are flying way too low.
SWEENEY: Oh my God, we are way too low.
These are Sweeney’s last words.
The flight crew of Flight 175 makes their last transmission to air traffic control. At some point in the next four minutes, the hijackers get their second plane. We know little about the takeover of the cockpit of Flight 11, but the hijacking of Flight 175 was bloody and violent. Both pilots are killed.
At around this time, Flight 11 and Flight 175 nearly have a mid-air collision, 55 miles north of New York City.
Also at this time, United Airlines Flight 93 takes off from Newark International, bound for San Francisco. The flight is 41 minutes late getting off the ground.
So far, nothing has been reported in the media. In four minutes, that will change.
Twelve minutes after losing contact with Flight 11, Boston flight control begins notifying the chain of command that a suspected hijacking is in progress. This includes the FAA’s New England Regional Operations Center, and the FAA Command Center in Herndon, Virginia.
The pilot of Flight 11, apparently trying to signal flight control, has been intermittently turning on the talkback button in the cockpit. Boston Center hears the hijacker for the first time, talking to the passengers:
“We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you’ll be OK. We are returning to the airport.”
The transmission is unclear and there’s confusion about what flight this transmission originated from, and from whom. Boston Center gets to work trying to find out more.
Several things happen at or around this time. Flight 11 veers off course, now heading towards Albany, New York. Flight control decides at this time that the plane has likely been hijacked. In addition, American Airlines Flight 77 takes off at this time from Washington Dulles International Airport. Like Flight 11, and Flight 175, it’s bound for Los Angeles, and like the other two, will never arrive.
At around this time, Daniel Lewin, a passenger aboard Flight 11, and former Israeli Special-Ops member is killed, becoming the first 9/11 fatality.
Flight attendent Betty Ong, onboard Flight 11, calls Vanessa Minter of American Airlines and informs her that the plane has been hijacked. This is the first of independent calls made by flight attendants reporting the hijacking, but officials doubt their validity.
Pilot John Ogonowski of American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston acknowledges the instruction from Boston Center air traffic controller Pete Zalewski to turn 20 degrees to the right. Seconds later he fails to respond to a command to climb to 35,000 feet. This is the last communication from the crew of Flight 11. Within the next 10 minutes or so, the plane’s transponder is turned off, and flight control suspects a possible hijacking in progress.
I’ve been requested to do this again. I’ve added a few more posts this year.
American Airlines Flight 11 takes off from Boston’s Logan Airport, bound for Los Angeles. It’s 14 minutes later than the scheduled 7:45 departure time.
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