Thursday, September 30, 2010

Billy Joel

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Before you click on the site, read.......sound on!    

If you don't do anything else the rest of the day, do yourself a favor now and just watch/listen to this totally awesome video. Read the stuff first so you can tell what's going on..... It's awesome!

This song and its title was the answer to one question of Final Jeopardy -- only one person got it right. Question was (paraphrased): "What 1980's song do history teachers praise for its educational value?"
I never could understand all the references on Billy Joel's song -- fortunately, with this VIDEO, given the pictures, now I can "see" what my "ears" couldn't. Apparently, it's Joel's homage to the 40-years of historical headlines since his birth (1949). WAY TOO COOL -- wish I could have appreciated the depths of this song when it was released. Twenty years later, I'm in awe of what Joel was able to put into music and lyrics lasting only a few minutes.
Whether you are a Billy Joel fan or not, you probably remember his great song, 'We Didn't Start the Fire.' Here it is, set to pictures... Very, very cool. Had to share this one. It's a neat flashback through the past half century. I never did know the words. Turn up the volume, sit back and enjoy a review of 50 years of history in less than 3 minutes! Thanks to Billy Joel and some guy from the University of Chicago with a lot of spare time and Google.
Top left gives you full right lets you pause. Bottom left shows the year. The older you are, the more pictures you will recognize. Anyone over age 65 should remember over 90% of what they see. But it's great at any age.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Greeetings from Outer Space...from Doug Wheelock -


Thought you all might like to read the email and see the neat photo's Doug has taken while in space, very amazing stuff.


To my Friends and Family on planet Earth…
Welcome aboard the International Space Station!  This spaceship has been my home now for a little more than three months, since we lit up the night sky with our launch on the Soyuz TMA rocket back in June.  I haven't seen a car, plane, bus, or train in those three months, but have traveled more than 40 million miles in this incredible flying machine.  This coming week, I will assume Command of the International Space Station and realize a dream that not long ago would have been impossible for my generation.  Here is our announcement of the Change of Command.  Of course, Alexander ('Sasha') and I will understand if you unable to join us in person…  J 
This is a pivotal moment for NASA and of course the absolute apogee of my professional journey.  Last night, 'Sasha' Skvortsov (our current ISS Commander) and I sat together in the Russian Service Module for nearly three hours talking about this event coming up on Wednesday.  Though purely symbolic at this point, the Change of Command of a truly International Space Station from an active duty Russian Colonel to an active duty U.S. Army Colonel is something only dreamers could have imagined for our generation.  The road to this point has been bumpy and crooked and seemingly impassable at times, but it is a road carved out and paved with the blood, sweat, and tears of patriots and dreamers.  Sasha was in tears last night as he showed me photos of his MiG flying days and remembered friends that he had lost in their own skirmishes in Afghanistan and other places that I never knew about.  He is a patriot through and through and we promised each other to brand this moment into history and pass the torch to our children and grandchildren.  So that all that is left are the stories, and only memories of the struggle.
He was showing me pictures of his MiG-31 fighter days just last night.  Of course, I recognized the MiG from my "Friend or Foe" flash cards that I memorized in days gone by.  It wasn't long ago that I would expect to see the MiG through the crosshairs of gun sight…not while sharing memories with a close friend and dreaming of the wonders to come for our children.  The dreams that we dare to dream…
It's all in a day's work aboard the International Space Station.
We are on Flight Day 95 now and looking forward to our "100-Day" milestone next Saturday, September 25th.  At this point, a little past the halfway point in this 6-month journey, as I take a moment to look back, I realize that it has been a physical, emotional and spiritual awakening.  It doesn't take long to realize that we really don't belong out here; we're just temporary visitors in this hostile and unforgiving environment.  There are so many things that I miss about the Earth.  I drink coffee through a straw and squeeze food from tubes and plastic bags.  And, I haven't had a shower since June 15th…so…you may be glad you won't be able to attend our Change of Command in person.
All in all, it's a magical place and all part of living in space.  Each day is graced with 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets as we orbit the Earth once every 90 minutes.  Each sunrise is uniquely beautiful…
And each sunset stunning beyond words…
My stay here on the Space Station has eclipsed all of my expectations and has truly been the pinnacle of my professional life.  Every day is a blessed gift with a surprise around every corner it seems.  As wonderful as this experience is, I sure miss the Earth.  Living here in space is just incredible, but it doesn't take long to realize how colorless, sterile, and lifeless things are out here.  I miss the sound of rain and thunder…the smell of the leaves and the forest and flowers…the sound of children playing…and the feel of the wind against my face.  
Although I was hoping for minimal drama during my stay here, by now, you may have heard that the tension aboard the Space Station had been ratcheted up a bit, since 'the event' back on Saturday night, July 31st.  I hadn't quite made it to bed yet that night, we were enjoying a relatively calm and quiet weekend getting rested for our spacewalk that was originally scheduled for Thursday, August 5th.  I had just finished running on the treadmill and was in the U.S. Lab shutting down the treadmill power, when the alarms came.  The 'Caution & Warning Panel' (kind of like your car's dashboard 'Check Engine' or 'Maintenance Required' lights) lit up like the 4th of July…the sirens and warning tones went off…and my heart was in my throat.  It was the beginning of a very long night and three weeks of the greatest physical and mental challenge of my life.  I never did get to bed until the next evening.  We scrambled and worked through the night as the Space Station was slowly dying.  We powered down a lot of equipment including the Columbus (European) and Kibo (Japanese) Laboratories.
The Space Station has two cooling loops (Loops A & B) to reject heat to space through radiators out on the truss.  The medium outside is anhydrous ammonia, some pretty nasty stuff, and inside the medium is water.  Simply put, the water coolant lines flow through the Station, picking up heat from anything and everything that is operating on the Space Station, everything from laptop computers to life support systems that maintain pressure, temperature, and the oxygen that we breathe.  That water is moved through the lines by pumps inside that carry the water through the hull of the spaceship to several heat exchangers on the outside of the Station.  In these heat exchangers, the water transfers that heat through conduction to high-pressure liquid ammonia, which is moved through lines by pumps outside on the truss to radiators where the heat is rejected to space.  There are two of these ammonia pumps outside, and at about 11:00pm GMT on July 31st, the Loop A pump seized due to an electrical short and the Space Station began to die.  It's hard to describe how that feels when you're inside, but let's just say that that both loops of my adrenaline pump are working just fine.
The rest of the story is chronicled in history now and is becoming a fading memory.  Three very challenging spacewalks, totaling 22 hours and 49 minutes, of slugging it out with high pressure ammonia lines and stubborn mechanisms.  I thank God every day of my life for delivering us through that time.  I've always ascribed to the adage "if you're not living life on the edge…you're taking up way too much space"…those 22 hours and 49 minutes teetering on the edge turned out to be one of NASA's finest hours, and I feel so fortunate to have been a witness to the power of faith, teamwork, and perseverance, with a dash of good old creative ingenuity, and all covered with God's grace.
Thought I would share a few photos from that experience. Prior to each spacewalk, we go into an oxygen pre-breathe and low-pressure 'campout' in the airlock.  We pressure breathe 100% pure oxygen for 70 minutes, and then depressurize the airlock to a reduced pressure (10.2 psi), oxygen enriched (24%) environment to purge nitrogen from our bodies prior to suiting up.  It is a restful and peaceful night of sleep in the airlock.  A healthy set of nerves is ever-present, but that keeps us at the top of our game.  Here is a shot of Tracy and I getting ready to seal the hatch for our campout:
…just prior to going out the door on EVA 1…
…just outside the airlock…ready to battle the M3 ammonia connector…
…during EVA 2, declaring victory over my 'giant' (the M3 connector)...
…during EVA 3, working on the new pump module…
We were able to get the new Pump Module up and running and bring the Space Station back to life.  It was an incredible adventure, and I look forward to re-telling the tall tales and remembering when…
Our resupplies are brought to the Space Station on an unmanned Russian capsule called 'Progress'.  We were thrilled to welcome Progress 39P aboard the Station just last weekend.  Lots of good stuff inside, including fresh fruit and vegetables.  Sasha handed me my own personal Golden Delicious apple and I felt like he had just given me a chunk of gold.  I'll have to admit, I sort of felt like Tom Hanks in the movie 'Cast Away', with his buddy 'Wilson"…the soccer ball.  Well…I kept that apple for several days…gave him a name…and looked at him in amazement…I didn't really talk to him or anything like that, so I don't want you guys to think I am completely losing it.  No worries...I ate the apple on Wednesday…and it was like a little piece of heaven.
Thought I would share some recent highlights of our mission and some shots out the window.  Here's Progress 39P on final approach…
…we spent most of the month of September amazed by Hurricanes in the Atlantic…Hurricane Danielle…
…Hurricane Earl…
…Hurricane Igor…
…and Hurricane Julia…
I'll sign off with some views of our wonderful world…
…The Pyramids in Giza, beside the fertile Nile River….
…the beautiful Bahamas…
…and a spectacular moonlit aurora over the South Pole…
Thanks again for your patience with my delays in writing.  I did intend to be a bit better about that and pledge to send more frequent updates.
Thank you for all that you are and all that you mean to me…
I miss you and look forward to seeing you soon back on planet Earth.
With much respect and admiration,
Doug Wheelock
Colonel, U.S. Army
Commander, ISS Expedition 25
Twitter:  @Astro_Wheels

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Intel following IBM's example with chip unlocking fees

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Picture this scenario:  you buy a computer, then find out that your CPU has  functional cache and cores which for some reason you cannot use.  Then Intel  says that for $50, they will give you a program that allows you to use those  extra features: your-cpu-can-already-d/  Yes, the sort of practices IBM engages in with their mainframe computers are  now coming to a desktop near you.  Intel is experimenting with this new  revenue stream for "low end" desktop processors.  It is possible that we will  see a reduction in the price of CPUs, but I would not bet on it.  This is, of course, a free software issue:  the likelihood that the unlocking  software will be libre is nil, since that would defeat the entire point of  this arrangement.  This is also a DMCA issue:  some hacker will probably  figure out how to unlock these CPUs without paying Intel, but it is likely  that it would be illegal to distribute such a hack here in the USA.  This would be a good time to make people aware of this practice, before they  receive Intel's marketing hype about it (Intel's marketing on this is pretty  slick, and they are clearly playing on ignorance -- so the best way to fight  back is to educate people, so they will not be ignorant).  If you are  interested in seeing their marketing hype, check this out:  -- Ben    --  Message sent on: Sun Sep 19 10:01:29 EDT 2010  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Johnny Carson: Dom DeLuise Egg Trick | MilkandCookies
--  I hope you have a nice day....

VJ Day, Honolulu Hawaii, August 14, 1945 on Vimeo
--  I hope you have a nice day....

Never Forget: Bad Wars Aren't Possible Unless Good People Back Them ...a message from Michael Moore

Never Forget: Bad Wars Aren't Possible Unless Good People Back Them

Today's OpenMike blog by Michael Moore

September 15, 2010

I know we've been "free" of the Iraq War for two weeks now and our minds have turned to the new football season and Fashion Week in New York. And how exciting that the new fall TV season is just days away!

But before we get too far away from something we would all just like to forget, will you please allow me to just say something plain and blunt and necessary:

We invaded Iraq because most Americans -- including good liberals like Al Franken, Nicholas Kristof & Bill Keller of the New York Times, David Remnick of the New Yorker, the editors of the Atlantic and the New Republic, Harvey Weinstein, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and John Kerry -- wanted to.

Of course the actual blame for the war goes to Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz because they ordered the "precision" bombing, the invasion, the occupation, and the theft of our national treasury. I have no doubt that history will record that they committed the undisputed Crime of the (young) Century.

But how did they get away with it, considering they'd lost the presidential election by 543,895 votes? They also knew that the majority of the country probably wouldn't back them in such a war (a Newsweek poll in October 2002 showed 61% thought it was "very important" for Bush to get formal approval from the United Nations for war -- but that never happened). So how did they pull it off?

They did it by getting liberal voices to support their war. They did it by creating the look of bipartisanship. And they convinced other countries' leaders like Tony Blair to get on board and make it look like it wasn't just our intelligence agencies cooking the evidence.

But most importantly, they made this war (and its public support) happen because Bush & Co. had brilliantly conned the New York Times into running a bunch of phony front-page stories about how Saddam Hussein had all these "weapons of mass destruction." The administration gleefully fed this false information not to Fox News or the Washington Times. They gave it to America's leading liberal newspaper. They must have had a laugh riot each morning when they'd pick up the New York Times and read the nearly word-for-word scenarios and talking points that they had concocted in the Vice President's office.

I blame the New York Times more for this war than Bush. I expected Bush and Cheney to try and get away with what they did. But the Times -- and the rest of the press -- was supposed to STOP them by doing their job: Be a relentless watchdog of government and business -- and then inform the public so we can take action.

Instead, the New York Times gave the Bush administration the cover they needed. They could -- and did -- say, 'Hey, look, even the Times says Saddam has WMD!'

With this groundwork laid, the Bush crowd ended up convincing a whopping 70% of the public to support the war -- a public that had given him less than 48% of its vote in 2000.

Early liberal support for this war was the key ingredient in selling it to a majority of the public. I realize this is something that no one in the media -- nor most of us -- really wants to discuss. Who among us wants to feel the pain of having to remember that liberals, by joining with Bush, made this war happen?

Please, before our collective memory fades, I just want us to be honest with ourselves and present an unsanitized version of how they pulled off this war. I can guarantee you the revisionists will make sure the real truth will not enter the history books.

Children born when the war began started second grade this month.

Kids who were eleven in 2003 are now old enough to join up and get killed in Iraq in a "non-combat capacity."

They'll never understand how we got here if we don't.

So let me state this clearly: This war was aided and abetted by a) liberals who were afraid to stick their necks out and thus remained silent; and b) liberals who actually said they believed Colin Powell's cartoon presentation at the U.N. and then went against their better judgment by publicly offering their support for the invasion of Iraq.

First, there were those 29 (turncoat) Democratic senators who voted for the war. Then there was the embarrassing display of reporters who couldn't wait to be "embedded" and go for a joy ride on a Bradley tank.

But my real despair lies with the people I counted on for strong opposition to this madness -- but who left the rest of us alone, out on a limb, as we tried to stop the war.

In March of 2003, to be a public figure speaking out against the war was considered instant career suicide. Take the Dixie Chicks as Exhibit A. Their lead singer, Natalie Maines, uttered just one sentence of criticism -- and their career was effectively dead and buried at that moment. Bruce Springsteen spoke out in their defense, and a Colorado DJ was fired for refusing to not play their songs. That was about it. Crickets everywhere else.

Then MSNBC fired the only nightly critic of the war -- the television legend, Phil Donahue. No one at the network -- or any network -- spoke up on his behalf. There would never again be a Phil Donahue show. (Little did GE know that, when they soon filled that 8pm hour with a sports guy by the name of Keith Olbermann, they would end up with the war's most brilliant and fiercest critic, night after night after night.) There were a few others -- Bill Maher, Janeane Garofalo, Tim Robbins and Seymour Hersh -- who weren't afraid to speak the truth. But where was everyone else? Where were all those supposed liberal voices in the media?

Instead, this is what we were treated to back in 2003 and 2004:

** Al Franken, who said he "reluctantly" was "a supporter of the war against Saddam." And six months into the war Al was still saying, "There were reasons to go to war against Iraq ... I was very ambivalent about it but I still don't know if it was necessarily wrong (to go to war)."

** Nicholas Kristof, columnist for the New York Times, who attacked me and wrote a column comparing me to the nutty right-wingers who claimed Hillary had Vince Foster killed. He said people like me were "polarizing the political cesspool," and he chastised anyone who dared call Bush's reasons for going to war in Iraq "lies."

** Howell Raines, editor-in-chief of the "liberal" New York Times, who was, according to former Times editor Doug Frantz, "eager to have articles that supported the war-mongering out of Washington ... He discouraged pieces that were at odds with the administration's position on Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction and alleged links of al-Qaeda." The book "Hard News" reported that "according to half a dozen sources within the Times, Raines wanted to prove once and for all that he wasn't editing the paper in a way that betrayed his liberal beliefs..."

** Bill Keller, at the time a New York Times columnist, who wrote: "We reluctant hawks may disagree among ourselves about the most compelling logic for war -- protecting America, relieving oppressed Iraqis or reforming the Middle East -- but we generally agree that the logic for standing pat does not hold. ... we are hard pressed to see an alternative that is not built on wishful thinking."

(The New York Times is so left-wing that when Raines retired, they replaced him with... Keller.)

** The New Yorker, the magazine for really smart liberals, found its editor-in-chief, David Remnick, supporting the war on its pages: "History will not easily excuse us if, by deciding not to decide, we defer a reckoning with an aggressive totalitarian leader who intends not only to develop weapons of mass destruction but also to use them. ... a return to a hollow pursuit of containment will be the most dangerous option of all." (To cover its ass, the New Yorker had another editor, Rick Hertzberg, write an anti-war editorial as a rebuttal.)

Some of the above have recanted their early support of the war. The Times fired its WMD correspondent and apologized to its readers. Al Franken has been a great Senator. Kristof now writes nice columns (check out last Sunday's).

But the support of the war by these leading liberals and the majority of the Democrats in the Senate made it safe for the Right to let loose a vicious and unchecked tirade of hate and threats on anyone (including myself) who dared to step out of line. It was not uncommon to hear the media describe me as "un-American," "anti-American," "aiding the terrorists," and being a "traitor."

Here are just a couple of examples of what was said about me over the airwaves by two of the nation's leading conservative commentators:

"Let me just tell you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong? I stopped wearing my 'What Would Jesus Do' band, and I've lost all sense of right and wrong now. I used to be able to say, 'Yeah, I'd kill Michael Moore,' and then I'd see the little band: 'What Would Jesus Do?' And then I'd realize, 'Oh, you wouldn't kill Michael Moore. Or at least you wouldn't choke him to death.' And you know, well, I'm not sure." (Glenn Beck)


"Well, I want to kill Michael Moore. Is that all right? All right. And I don't believe in capital punishment. That's just a joke on Moore." (Bill O'Reilly)

(Ironically, O'Reilly made his threat/joke the night after Janet Jackson's breast was bared at the Super Bowl -- which got CBS fined over half a million dollars because, you know, nipples are far more frightening than death threats.)

So that's how I'll personally remember the early war years: living with a real and present danger caused by the hate whipped up by right-wing radio and TV. (I've been advised not to recount certain specific incidents that happened to me, as it would only encourage other crazy people.)

So I dealt with it. And I'm still here. And I know many of you went through your own crap, standing up against the war at school, or work, or at Thanksgiving dinner, taking your own blows for simply saying what was the truth.

But how much easier it would have been for all of us if the liberal establishment had stood with us? We didn't own a daily newspaper, or a magazine with a circulation in the millions. We didn't have our own TV show or network. We weren't invited on shows like "Meet the Press," because they simply could not allow our voice to be heard.

The media watchdog group FAIR reported that in the three weeks after the war started, the CBS Evening News allowed only one anti-war voice on their show -- and that was on one night in one soundbite (and that was four seconds of me in a line from my Oscar speech) -- even though in March of 2003 our anti-war numbers were in the millions (remember the huge demonstrations in hundreds of cities?). We were around 30% of the country according to most polls (that's nearly 100 million Americans!) and yet we had no way to communicate with each other aside from through the Nation and a few websites like and

But that was no way to build a huge mass movement of Middle Americans to oppose the war. Unless you had just lucked out and been handed an Oscar on live television in front of a gazillion people where you had 45 seconds to say something before they cut you off and booed you off the stage (hahahaha), you had no public platform. (Jeez, I sure did get booed a lot that year: simply walking through an airport, or eating dinner in a restaurant, or sitting at a Laker game where they suddenly put me up on the Jumbotron and the place went so angry-crazy that Larry David, who was sitting next to me, felt that maybe for his own safety he should perhaps slide a few seats down or go get us a couple of wieners. Instead, he stuck by my side -- and his skillful ninja moves got us out of there alive after the game.)

I know it's hard to remember, but when this war started, there was no YouTube, no Facebook, no Twitter, no way for you to bypass the media lords so you could have your own friggin' say.

Too bad for the bastards, those days are over.

The next time around, it won't be so easy to shut up a country girl band or try to silence someone while he accepts his little gold statue -- or completely ignore the millions of citizens in the streets.

So now we can hope that one of our wars is over. Too bad we lost. I hate to lose, don't you? But the fact is, we lost the very day we invaded a sovereign nation that posed absolutely no threat to us and had nothing to do with 9/11. We lost lives (over 4,400 of ours, hundreds of thousands of theirs), we lost limbs (a total of 35,000 troops came back with various wounds and disabilities and God knows how many more with mental problems). We lost the money our grandchildren were supposed to live on.

And we lost our soul, who we were, what we stood for as a once-great country -- lost it all. Can we now ask for redemption -- for forgiveness? Can we be... "America" again?

I guess we'll see. The vast majority of the country eventually came around to the Dixie Chicks' position. And we elected an anti-Iraq-war guy by the name of Barack Hussein Obama.

But, please, promise yourselves never to forget how our country went crazy 7 1/2 years ago -- even though, to many people at the time, it seemed completely normal. And I'm here to tell you, no matter how much better it's gotten, no matter how normal you may think things are now, we're still halfway nuts. Just listen to the new batch of "sensible pundits" as they start to beat the drums about what we should do to Iran. One war down, one (or two or three) to go.

C'mon, Mr. President, not one more kid needs to die overseas wearing a uniform with our flag on it. We can't win like this. Let's dig a few thousand wells in Afghanistan, build a few free mosques, leave behind some food and clothing, fix their electrical grid, issue an apology and set up a Facebook page so they can stay in touch with us -- and then let's get the hell out. Your own National Security Advisor and your CIA Director have told you there are less than 100 al-Qaeda fighters in the entire country. 100???

100,000 U.S. troops going after 100 al-Qaeda? Is this a Looney Tunes presentation? "A-ba-dee-a-ba-dee-a-ba-dee -- That's All Folks!" Let's get real. I'm glad one war is "over." But I know how we got there -- and I'm willing now to fight just as hard to stop these other wars if you won't, Mr. Obama.

Your call.


Michael Moore

P.S. Just a thought, Mr. President. Can I ask that you go back and watch this movie I made -- "Fahrenheit 9/11." There might be some answers there. I give you my permission to download it for free by going to this site: Don't tell the studio I said it was ok! They've only made a half a billion $$ on it so far.

P.P.S. To everyone on my list: Thanks to your thousands of generous donations, we've raised over $60,000 for the Muslim community center near Ground Zero. This has made news around the world, that there are Americans who believe in our stated American principles.


The second part of Mike's interview with Wolf Blitzer will air today on CNN's The Situation Room (5-7pm ET).

Also: Bill Maher has asked Mike to be his first guest of his new season this Friday at 10pm ET on HBO.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

If That 'Mosque' ISN'T Built, This Is No Longer America ...a letter from Michael Moore

If That 'Mosque' ISN'T Built, This Is No Longer America

OpenMike 9/11/10
Michael Moore's daily blog

I am opposed to the building of the "mosque" two blocks from Ground Zero.

I want it built on Ground Zero.

Why? Because I believe in an America that protects those who are the victims of hate and prejudice. I believe in an America that says you have the right to worship whatever God you have, wherever you want to worship. And I believe in an America that says to the world that we are a loving and generous people and if a bunch of murderers steal your religion from you and use it as their excuse to kill 3,000 souls, then I want to help you get your religion back. And I want to put it at the spot where it was stolen from you.

There's been so much that's been said about this manufactured controversy, I really don't want to waste any time on this day of remembrance talking about it. But I hate bigotry and I hate liars, and so in case you missed any of the truth that's been lost in this, let me point out a few facts:

1. I love the Burlington Coat Factory. I've gotten some great winter coats there at a very reasonable price. Muslims have been holding their daily prayers there since 2009. No one ever complained about that. This is not going to be a "mosque," it's going to be a community center. It will have the same prayer room in it that's already there. But to even have to assure people that "it's not going to be mosque" is so offensive, I now wish they would just build a 111-story mosque there. That would be better than the lame and disgusting way the developer has left Ground Zero an empty hole until recently. The remains of over 1,100 people still haven't been found. That site is a sacred graveyard, and to be building another monument to commerce on it is a sacrilege. Why wasn't the entire site turned into a memorial peace park? People died there, and many of their remains are still strewn about, all these years later.

2. Guess who has helped the Muslims organize their plans for this community center? The JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER of Manhattan! Their rabbi has been advising them since the beginning. It's been a picture-perfect example of the kind of world we all want to live in. Peter Stuyvessant, New York's "founder," tried to expel the first Jews who arrived in Manhattan. Then the Dutch said, no, that's a bit much. So then Stuyvessant said ok, you can stay, but you cannot build a synagogue anywhere in Manhattan. Do your stupid Friday night thing at home. The first Jewish temple was not allowed to be built until 1730. Then there was a revolution, and the founding fathers said this country has to be secular -- no religious nuts or state religions. George Washington (inaugurated around the corner from Ground Zero) wanted to make a statement about this his very first year in office, and wrote this to American Jews:

"The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy -- a policy worthy of imitation. ...
"It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens ...
"May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants -- while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid."

3. The Imam in charge of this project is the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet. Read about his past here.

4. Around five dozen Muslims died at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Hundreds of members of their families still grieve and suffer. The 19 killers did not care what religion anyone belonged to when they took those lives.

5. I've never read a sadder headline in the New York Times than the one on the front page this past Monday: "American Muslims Ask, Will We Ever Belong?" That should make all of us so ashamed that even a single one of our fellow citizens should ever have to worry about if they "belong" here.

6. There is a McDonald's two blocks from Ground Zero. Trust me, McDonald's has killed far more people than the terrorists.

7. During an economic depression or a time of war, fascists are extremely skilled at whipping up fear and hate and getting the working class to blame "the other" for their troubles. Lincoln's enemies told poor Southern whites that he was "a Catholic." FDR's opponents said he was Jewish and called him "Jewsevelt." One in five Americans now believe Obama is a Muslim and 41% of Republicans don't believe he was born here.

8. Blaming a whole group for the actions of just one of that group is anti-American. Timothy McVeigh was Catholic. Should Oklahoma City prohibit the building of a Catholic Church near the site of the former federal building that McVeigh blew up?

9. Let's face it, all religions have their whackos. Catholics have O'Reilly, Gingrich, Hannity and Clarence Thomas (in fact all five conservatives who dominate the Supreme Court are Catholic). Protestants have Pat Robertson and too many to list here. The Mormons have Glenn Beck. Jews have Crazy Eddie. But we don't judge whole religions on just the actions of their whackos. Unless they're Methodists.

10. If I should ever, God forbid, perish in a terrorist incident, and you or some nutty group uses my death as your justification to attack or discriminate against anyone in my name, I will come back and haunt you worse than Linda Blair marrying Freddy Krueger and moving into your bedroom to spawn Chucky. John Lennon was right when he asked us to imagine a world with "nothing to kill or die for and no religion, too." I heard Deepak Chopra this week say that "God gave humans the truth, and the devil came and he said, 'Let's give it a name and call it religion.' " But John Adams said it best when he wrote a sort of letter to the future (which he called "Posterity"): "Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it." I'm guessing ol' John Adams is up there repenting nonstop right now.

Friends, we all have a responsibility NOW to make sure that Muslim community center gets built. Once again, 70% of the country (the same number that initially supported the Iraq War) is on the wrong side and want the "mosque" moved. Enormous pressure has been put on the Imam to stop his project. We have to turn this thing around. Are we going to let the bullies and thugs win another one? Aren't you fed up by now? When would be a good time to take our country back from the haters?

I say right now. Let's each of us make a statement by donating to the building of this community center! It's a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization and you can donate a dollar or ten dollars (or more) right now through a secure pay pal account by clicking here. I will personally match the first $10,000 raised (forward your PayPal receipt to If each one of you reading this blog/email donated just a couple of dollars, that would give the center over $6 million, more than what Donald Trump has offered to buy the Imam out. C'mon everyone, let's pitch in and help those who are being debased for simply wanting to do something good. We could all make a huge statement of love on this solemn day.

I lost a co-worker on 9/11. I write this today in his memory.

"The man who speaks of the enemy / Is the enemy himself."
                                                                        -- Bertolt Brecht


Some Interesting View Points