I need to point out that today is the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States over 20 years ago.
I think I’ve recounted my experience on 9/11 here before. I think it probably wasn’t much different than most people that didn’t live in an attacked city. Going through all the stages of disbelief. Calling and waking people up. Knowing the world would never be the same. But not realizing it actually wouldn’t change that much.
But we are now 22 years out and a person begins to feel aged because of all the people in his life that weren’t even alive when 9/11 happened. Then I think of all the people that have left my life in those 22 years. Then I think of all the people that have come into my life in those 22 years. Then I think of the people that came into my life and then left my life in those 22 years. Gives a person pause.
Here’s to remembering all those that lost their lives on 9/11 and those that continue to have to fight all the health problems caused by being a first responder on that day.
And in that vein I want to share the speech that the great Jon Stewart gave to a nearly empty Congressional chamber fighting for funding to help with the ever mounting health care bills that those First Responders faced and still face.
I want to thank Mr. Collins and Mr. Nadler for putting this together. But, as I sit here today, I can’t help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process that getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to.
Behind me: a filled room of 9/11 first responders.
And in front of me: a nearly empty Congress.
Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak — to no one.
It’s an embarrassment to the country.
And it is a stain on this institution.
And you should be ashamed of yourselves for those that aren’t here, but you won’t be because accountability doesn’t appear to be something that occurs in this chamber.
We don’t want to be here. Lu [Detective Luis Alvarez] doesn’t want to be here. None of these people want to be here. But they are, and they’re not here for themselves. They’re here to continue fighting for what’s right. Lu’s going to go back for his 69th chemo. The great Ray Pfeiffer would come down here, his body riddled with cancer and pain, where he couldn’t walk; and the disrespect shown to him and to the other lobbyists on this bill is utterly unacceptable.
You know, I used to get…I would be so angry at the latest injustice that’s done to these men and women and, you know, another business card thrown our way as a way of shooing us away like children trick-or-treating, rather than the heroes that they are and will always be.
Ray would say, “Calm down, Johnny. Calm down.” “I got all the cards I need.” And he would tap his pocket…where he kept the prayer cards of 343 firefighters. The official FDNY response time to 911 was five seconds. Five seconds! That’s how long it took for FDNY, for NYPD, for Port Authority, for EMS to respond to an urgent need from the public.
Hundreds died in an instant. Thousands more poured in to continue to fight for their brothers and sisters.
The breathing problems started almost immediately. And they were told they weren’t sick — they were crazy. And then, as the illnesses got worse and things became more apparent, “Well, okay, you’re sick but it’s not from the pile.” And then, when the science became irrefutable, “Okay, it’s the pile — but this is a New York issue.” I don’t know if we “have the money.”
And I’m sorry if I sound angry and undiplomatic, but I’m angry — and you should be too; and they’re all angry as well. And they have every justification to be that way. There is not a person here, there is not an empty chair on that stage that didn’t tweet out, “Never forget” the heroes of 9/11; never forget their bravery; never forget what they did, what they gave to this country.
Well here they are! And where are they? And it would be one thing if their callous indifference and rank hypocrisy were benign. But it’s not. Your indifference cost these men and women their most valuable commodity: time. It’s the one thing they’re running out of.
This should be flipped — this hearing should be flipped: These men and women should be up on that stage and Congress should be down here answering their questions as to why this is so damn hard and takes so damn long; and why, no matter what they get, something’s always pulled back. And they gotta come back.
Mr. Johnson [Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Rep. Georgia], you…made a point earlier and it was one that we have heard over and over again in these halls. And I…couldn’t help but to answer to it, which was — you said, “Look, you know, you guys are obviously heroes and 9/11 was a big deal but, you know, we have a lot of stuff here to do. And, you know, we got to make sure there’s money for a variety of disasters, hurricanes and tornadoes.”
But this wasn’t a hurricane. And this wasn’t a tornado. And by the way, that’s your job, anyway. We can’t fund these programs — you can. Setting aside that no American in this country should face financial ruin because of a…health issue, certainly 9/11 first responders shouldn’t have to decide whether to live or to have a place to live.
And the idea that you can only give them five more years of the VCF [be]cause you’re not quite sure what’s going to happen five years from now — well, I can tell you I’m pretty sure what’s going to happen five years from now: More of these men and women are going to get sick and they are going to die. And I am awfully tired of hearing that it’s a…9/11 New York issue. Al-Qaeda didn’t shout “death to Tribeca.”
They attacked America, and these men and women, and their response to it, is what brought our country back. It’s what gave a reeling nation a solid foundation to stand back upon, to remind us of why this country is great, of why this country is worth fighting for. And you are ignoring them!
And you can end it tomorrow. Why this bill isn’t unanimous consent and a standalone issue is beyond my comprehension. And I have yet to hear a reasonable explanation for why. It’ll get stuck in some transportation bill or some appropriations bill and get sent over to the Senate, where a certain someone from the Senate will use it as a political football to get themselves maybe another new import tax on petroleum — [be]cause that’s what happened to us in 2015.
And we won’t allow it to happen again.
Thank God for people like John Feal.
Thank God for people like Ray Pfeiffer.
Thank God for all of these people who will not let it happen.
They responded in five seconds. They did their jobs with courage, grace, tenacity, humility.
Eighteen years later — do yours!
Jon Stewart gave that speech on June 11, 2019. The next day the Never Forget the Heroes Act was passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. On July 12, it passed out of the House of Representative by a vote of 402-12. On July 17, Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul blocked the bill from being voted on in the Senate. Remember that when those douchebags tweet out a “Never Forget” meme today. Because they 100% did forget.
On July 23 the bill did pass the Senate by a vote of 97-2. You can guess who the 2 that voted against it were.
Once passed it funded the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund until 2092. The 9/11 First Responder Luis Alvarez that is referenced in the speech passed away after he testified before Congress and before the bill was passed.
When you see all the Never Forget memes posted today. Remember what and whom it is that you are “never forgetting”.
SHOES! They are gross, smell bad, you can’t get a woman to wear practical ones, but they are often interesting and the right ones can make your legs and butt look fantastic! But, was SHOES a shoe-in for a popular theme? You will have to keep scrolling to find out.
As of 12:01 PM on Monday, September 4, this was the current list of ACTIVE streaks (ignore the numbers in parentheses):
1-Lori Backous – 1 week (2)
2-Susanna Funk – 1 week
3-Amy Peterson – 1 week (2)
4-Scott Degeneffe – 2 weeks
5-Sabas Hernandez – 3 weeks
6-Willy McAlpine – 3 weeks (2)
7-Mary Green – 5 weeks (3)
8-Sara Lockner – 5 weeks
9-Mike Vest – 9 weeks
10-Sheri Fakhouri – 12 weeks (2)
11-Monica Jennings – 13 weeks
12-Logan Kahler – 13 weeks
13-Nathanial Brown – 14 weeks
14-Jesse Howard – 14 weeks
15-Tamara Peterson – 17 weeks
16-Alexis Stensland – 22 weeks (2)
17-Mindi Terrell – 29 weeks (3)
18-Brandon Kahler – 53 weeks
19-Linda Bennett – 58 weeks
20-Sarah Toot – 59 weeks
21-Angie DeWaard – 63 weeks
22-Dawn Krause – 67 weeks
23-Kim Barker – 73 weeks
24-Joe Duff – 74 weeks
25-Teresa Kahler – 85 weeks (3)
26-Carla Stensland – 85 weeks (3)
27-Micky Augustin – 87 weeks
28-Andy Sharp – 88 weeks (2)
29-Bill Wentworth – 89 weeks
30-Cathie Morton – 93 weeks
31-Elizabeth Nordeen – 94 weeks
32-Shannon Bardole-Foley – 96 weeks
33-Kio Dettman – 98 weeks (2)
But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates or streaks. You came to see the submissions and what streaks continued and what streaks flamed out:
Alexis Stensland (Iowa) – 23 weeks
34 participants! A great week!
There were submissions this week taken in the following places:
Here is the current calendar year list for states:
+ New Hampshire
+ New Jersey
+ New York
+ North Carolina
+ North Dakota
+ South Carolina
+ South Dakota
+ Washington D.C.
36 states and 1 district! That is pretty impressive! Over 70% of the way there!
The Outside of the United States map is currently:
+ Alto del Perdon – Spain
+ British Virgin Islands
+ Mexico (General)
+ Isla Mujeres, Mexico
+ Riviera Maya, Mexico
+ Nassau Bahamas
+ Ontario, Canada
+ Vallunareju Norte – Peru
+ Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
+ Puenta de la Reina, Spain
+ St. John pied de port, France
I took my picture about 15 miles from house. So I continue to not extend the map!
The big milestone this week was Vest joining the Double Digit Streak Club. WooHoo!
But it wasn’t all sunshine and roses and smelly shoes. Lori and Amy could not build on last week’s submissions and their “streak” ends at 1.
But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:
SKY! What a great theme for Year 10 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!
But what exactly is a SKY photo? Simply put it is a picture where the SKY is either the main subject of your picture OR plays a major compositional element of the image. It can be a picture of clouds or a sunset or a sunrise or of the moon or something that is in the sky. Like a plane or a bird or a balloon or Superman.
While thinking about possible subjects for your SKY picture, meditate on the following quote and I have no doubt you will come up with a fascinating image!
No one is free, even the birds are chained to the sky.
I look forward to seeing your interpretation!
The picture has to be taken between 12:01 PM today and 11 AM next Monday. This isn’t a curate your photos project. This is a get your butt off the couch (unless you are taking your picture from the couch) and take pictures challenge. There is a limit of 3 submissions per participant. To be considered the photographer, you have to be the one that takes the picture. Don’t be stealing the work of other artists. You can submit pictures for other photographers that took pictures with your camera or phone, but give credit where credit is due.
You can send your images to either firstname.lastname@example.org OR you may text them to my Pixel 5.
That is it. Thems the rules!
That is all I got, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will all be sharing your idea of SKY in this place that stops me from seeing the clouds as much as I should next Monday.