Vicious Circles


For me, the tv show “The Newsroom” was a bit of a mess, but it had its moments. Perhaps the one most shared around the internets was the speech Jeff Daniels give at the beginning of the first episode. It’s a great monologue, but one line jumped to the fore for me. “Because we were informed.” We seem to be a little more than content for political memes to be our policy statements whether they are accurate or not. The events in Paris have demonstrated that. Everybody is posting from the gut, regardless if the gut has shit for brains.

The hysteria gripping most folks facebook news feeds is borderline overwhelming. Everybody is in either “share if you agree” mode or trying to get folks to research a little more before bloviating. I came across some good words to bear in mind:

“I think it really comes down to terminology. Refugees we see fleeing Syria and standing against chain link fences on European borders are NOT automatically eligible for refugee status as defined by American immigration standards. They are refugees in the broadest global sense. That is not all that is required to receive refugee status for entrance to the United States.

Out of the 700,000+ refugees given that status and taken in to the US since 9/11, not one single refugee has been arrested because of or linked to domestic terrorism. Some would say the Boston bombers were refugees because they left their war-torn country to come here. They were asked why they were visiting our country and stated “tourism”. They came here on tourist visas and did not get anywhere near the vetting process that people claiming refugee status get. It was only after those visas expired that they applied for asylum (an even less involved process than refugee status).

The 10,000 (not 100,000) Syrian refugees will be investigated by their port country before being investigated thoroughly by Interpol, DHS, the FBI, and 4 other govt agencies and cross checked with multiple international terrorist databases. The process is the most lengthy, involved, and secure way to get into the US legally and puts applicants under more scrutiny than any other group of foreigners coming to our shores. They will be more thoroughly investigated than any other prospective citizen.

There is a budget for refugees and there always has been. This is not an instance where we just decided to incur extra expenses. No food is being taken out of your mouths. No veteran is being denied shelter because of these refugees. It’s not an either/or scenario. We CAN and SHOULD help both our veterans AND other members of the human race that want the American Dream. Especially the ones fleeing a country which is currently being bombed by three different nation’s air forces, terrorized by Islamic extremists, AND is suffering one of the most brutal civil wars in this century while being ruled by a sadistic dictator.

Stop allowing fear to permeate every aspect of what it means to be a citizen of the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

This was posted by a good dude name Josh Fielder and it does the neat trick of making sense, eloquently shutting down the refugees not vets posters.

If all the governors who are attempting to shut down their borders would stop and realize that they are not the governors of the people who agree with them. With attention spans at what seems like an all time low, fear mongering seems to be all the rage these days with righteous indignation not too far behind. The GOP Presidential campaigns are spouting all things worthy of school yard fights with the President and how certain religions aren’t welcome in the land of the free since “He will close down” mosques, which is wrong on any number of levels including constitution-wise. I mean if we are a christian nation and “give us your tired, your poor, yearning to breathe free” actually means something, we should walk the walk.

I’m all for civil discourse and opposing points of view because done right, that’s how you learn things and maybe become better informed with a greater grasp of what is truly unfolding, while the bad guys get bombed and not in a fun way.

I’m not sure when exactly we got so scared over what we don’t know. 9/11 isn’t the answer because refugee issues going back to World War II weren’t popular notions, despite all the US pomp and circumstance. I guess everybody is entitled to opinions to be sure, but for all those who worried about people getting their information from Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, more folks than ever are picking up their data from memes.

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Even when there are some truth to them.

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It’s a complex issue and I’m just thinking outloud, but it goes beyond a “share if you agree.” Congress just passed a more stringent code for screening, which if nothing is remarkable in that they actually did sometime, so that should be “celebrated.”

In the meantime, things remain vicious and a circle.

 

 

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Snow Blind


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This is getting on my nerves.

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I think anybody who takes to social media of any kind next winter to lament that they didn’t see any storm, where’s my snow or anything or why wasn’t my kids school closed needs to be thrown screaming from a helicopter…into a snowbank

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This thought occurred to me as I drove behind another car on one of our busier roadways around here. Unlike much of the area, bare pavement made up the bulk of the driving and apparently that jamoke decided that high speed and wind was how he was going to clean off his car. It’s a pretty deplorable practice, especially when it means your car is on the receiving end of a steady stream of snowballs.

Somewhere in the middle of El Nino, Western New York lost a bit of its snow mojo. I noticed that since we’ve gotten those two light winters, we’ve been getting our butts kicked. And to top it off, who stole our midwinter thaw. There used to be, usually around january or so, some kind of breather, temps would get up, we would get sunlight you could feel. It gave you a second wind to get to spring. My car has been a stud, but you can hear the ache of operating in such constant cold. I used to grouse about paying for a garage space, but that is fee I’m happy to pony up, helps the car last longer and reduces my carpal tunnel odds from not having to clean off the car for the fun drive to work.

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This just flat out sucks. Instead, no breather, in fact, it’s gotten a little tougher with International Falls-style wind chill that makes you not care a whit if it is Celsius or Fahrenheit, a minus anything pretty much is flat out cold. I mean, it’s great, we don’t mudslides, or much in terms of other earthbound traumas, so I guess this is Mother Nature‘s Way of keeping us honest. I’m not so sure I like it. I mean, we are at the point where the sunshine has been random, infrequent and meaningless. The color of the sky, snow and the street have all been cut from the same grey portion of the pantone chart. To add insult to frozen injury, the storms have frequently been coming at rush hour, which then needs to be called something else. It shouldn’t be so noteworthy from my 20 minute commute to actually take 20 minutes. That shouldn’t come as a pleasant surprise.

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“After school is over…”


Education is the silver bullet. Schools should be palaces. Teachers ought to be making six figures salaries”

That was part of a pretty high minded speech from one of the admittedly high minded characters on the West Wing. It was one of the shows that I admittedly had a problem, never missed it. But that piece of dialogue had a point.  I got myself over and made sure I voted in the school board elections in the City of Buffalo on Tuesday. I don’t pretend to know all the answers by any stretch of the imagination, but the school board has some issues that could spill over into volumes.  With one child still in the system, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for sure. He’s in a good school that is working and his mother and I are grateful for that. But the world is a different place than when our eldest entered the system 20 years ago. I don’t know how many parents remembered the magnet system and it seems to have slipped the minds of a lot of the board folks. I am not philosophically aligned with some of the more public folks screaming for reform, but you got to admit, they have a point. This thing isn’t working. There are teachers doing incredible work against staggering odds and the winds aren’t going to start blowing in their favor anytime soon. That is a tragedy. Because that is where things matter.

Perhaps it is getting looked at “behind the scenes” but there doesn’t seem to be much urgency in fixing what is failing. The rush to transfer has created another problem in the whole “where do you transfer them to?” I mean let’s fix stuff too, not just relocate problems.

Voter turnouts are always low and that’s too bad, because I don’t think folks realize what all that means. If the schools have a lousy reputation, the district run by the keystone kops, the ramifications are huge. If a business is trying to recruit talent, “what are the schools like?” is a question that enters into any discussion. If the answer is “a mess with administrative infighting over every little thing,” getting folks to come to anyplace to work and live is that much tougher.

When the town I grew up in had a bit of a fit about a proposed school tax increase last year, a tax increase that would have been resulted in a rate that is still among the lowest in the region. Cuts funds and something has to give. As usual it was stuff for the kids.  Nobody likes increases but stuff does cost monies. We all want to see those funds spent well. A quality school system is good for the town or city that it covers. Lord knows the abuses that have come to light and will come to light in the months ahead. I have friends teaching in the system and they have to cope with the effects of “No child Left behind,” twisted evaluative systems, kids that come from homes that might not have school as a priority.

So, I don’t know what exactly to make of the Buffalo elections last night, but the winners are correct in that there is a lot of work to do, a lot of words being spoken about how they got to do right for the kids.

Hope they mean it.

 

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Niagara


This is a pretty amazing look over Niagara Falls. As its creator notes in on youtube, only folks to get this look were anybody who went over or Nik Wallenda. Only decent pics I have ever seen from a helicopter were ones my brother took on tourist rides. This chopper couldn’t accommodate passengers.

It is deeply cool

Good job, questpact

Wings for the Stig


I’ve always thought the Buffalo Skyway gets a bit of a bad rap. Sure it’s fugly when you are standing underneath it at Canalside, but that can be fixed. My dad suggests painting all the legs of the structure like the chairs that dot the Canalside area. But there is something bout being on it, it’s not the driving experience, but it is one of those places where “shotgun” really earns its value. Head out of the city, as you hit the spans peak, a passenger gets an amazing view of the water. Coming into town, it looks for a bit like the road will just morph into the buildings. I know, it’s not the elevated section of Chicago or whatever, but a guy can dream.

I love the BBC tv show, Top Gear, it never gets old for me. It is can’t miss tv for me. It’s been a fixture of the BBC for a long time, local anchor people, and it is the most watched tv show around. The american version, on the History Channel, is still finding its voice, but is still fun, just pales a little bit compared to the mothership. It reminds me when BBC host Jeremy Clarkson said American audiences wouldn’t get Top Gear. I like to think that what he meant was that it was American television executives wouldn’t get Top Gear. So, it ain’t the big show, but it was somehow appropriate that History Channel version came to town to play on a road we take for granted and regularly slag off…the Skyway.

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I borrowed this from WIVB-TV’s website as it is one of the documents of the skyway being cool.

Who would have thought it possible. They made the Skyway a little bit groovy.

How hard could that have been? Here in the land of “reasonably priced cars” for everybody.

Dear Boss,


I’m a little concerned. I’m a long time fan. We’ve been in concert together since 1978 and your shows set the bar pretty damn high. You’re one of my most enduring relationships. I know it must seem weird to look out on your stage and start up a new song like “Jack of all Trades” and see some folks making a beeline for beer or bathrooms. Me? I take care of both before the show as it’s a long way from the $6 I paid at Shea’s Buffalo in 78.

But the complete album shows of late? I know the European audiences are better at being at the show than American ones are. We sometimes get a little too caught up at the idea of being at the event, instead of actually being there. Playing the hits isn’t a bad thing by any measure. The Rolling Stones haven’t done anything else in twenty years easy. I’m not a fan of the complete album play. Born to Run and Darkness are one thing as they are sort of suites to a degree, but the Born in the USA recitations just feel like a good hits medley. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I dislike the record. It’s that you are still saying new things too.

The output over the past decade has been great. While I’m a little tired of Lonesome Day and it’s a little troubling watching parents force some terrified kids to sing “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day, I move past that as Magic album has some great moments, and the “lost arguments” of the Promise have a few moments that might spice things up in concert.

You’re responsible for many of my favorite in-concert moments and I know you are playing to the folks who go, that this is their one night, but you have a great catalog and reaching all through that library continues to create some special shows even this summer. I read some setlists and thought “dayam, to be there” and I’ve read a few others that made me wonder what was in the water.

I cringed a little when the signs were a regular thing as you can program this thing of ours better than we can. I just hope it isn’t a case of being out of ideas or bored, don’t be afraid to play to  some more of the recent stuff . “What to be afraid of, they’re not gonna clap as much?” You said that when making 14 out of 29 songs from the new record in 1980. I still have the bootleg, it was that good. Most recently when I watched Incident on 57 th Street dovetail into Rosalita, just like on the record, I got a chill as you indeed still got it.

Don’t get me wrong. Love Born to Run, Darkness and Born in the USA, all fine albums, but you got others and as recent shows have shown, like in San Siro and Gajin, you have a repetoire that can thrill. I recently became reacquainted with “New York City Serenade” and it currently is a favorite, not leaving the car cd player for very long.

You can still make the audience “earn their keep.”

And we’re still up for the challenge. You once directly told me from the stage that “You da man” for seeing that a tossed harmonica made it to the actual intended recipient. I bragged about that for days. The same four people got a little tired of hearing. My daughter told me she gets picked on for liking “Thunder Road.” I told her, “me, too.”

You add a few dates in the states in the fall, I’ll probably be there, hoping to hear Gypsy Biker right along with Racing in the Street.

In the meantime, thanks (but don’t be jukebox)

Mike

Crosstown Traffic


Ah, construction season, nothing brings out imagined importance in Western New York. We all start driving like cats that can’t remember what room they want to be. I was reminded of this driving into a traffic jam on Elmwood Ave. on the way home. The left lane was getting funneled into the right. I swung into the left and immediately put my signal on to creep to the right lane without being too much of a jerk. There wasn’t much point in proceeding too far in the left as you mostly had signs in front of you. I dared to let a few car lengths open up in the pointless lane and the minivan behind me went apoplectic. I saw a little space in the right lane and gunned my little buzzbox safely into it. Minivan is still having an anuerysm while missing other chances to move over.

Comedic relief further came from a jaguar of all things. The driver didn’t care about all the warnings and just came down the left lane and figured his spot would magically appear because his was a nice car. Not so, my well-financed friend. Your affluence doesn’t excuse you reading all the warnings the rest of us enjoyed. Because I know I’m a bit of jerk, I hung him out to dry. Because he is a bigger jerk, so did the next three cars. This made me laugh for the next two blocks.

George Carlin was right: “Nobody is driving MY speed.” It’s funny where the brain goes. I remember the rush of excitement when my 78 Mustang overtook a Porsche on Main Street, mostly because I had a considerable head start. I suppose it is one of those things keeping me from biking to work. As much as you worry about the people who step off the curb texting (my kids have all be threatened), the real bikers, and the wacky pedestrians (you know the ones, the folks who bolt into the street, assuming the Heisman trophy pose to ensure their safety.) we could all stand to chill.

Our Top Story Tonight


“If only news networks would pursue wastes of taxpayers’ money and political BS like they cover First Lady hair and inaugural lip-synching…”

That is an apt sentiment. Why anybody cares if Beyonce sang live or to her own recording escapes me. Pretty much every grand performance like that is recorded to guard against weather and technical elements.  Enjoy the moment and move on. Yo-Yo Mama “cello-synced” at the last inaugural and nobody said boo. The wonder on Monday was that James Taylor’s guitar cooperated for him. The weather can play havoc. So, in a word, so what. Move along, Network morning shows, there are actual news to cover.

Only interest I have in the football player with the imaginary girlfriend issues is if the Bills take him. They should, they need linebackers.

The discussions, internet memes, and blatherings of self appointed constitutional scholars continues in the various facets of the gun debate.  I was forwarded the following and thought it beared reprinting. It was written by a guy named Josh Fielder and I wish I wrote it. If you are on facebook, follow him. This is good thinking:

“So, here’s my two cents (which will end up being closer to $1.50 I’m sure) and I’m sure I will regret posting this later, due to the “friends” I will lose while exercising my First Amendment, but here goes. Instead of posting a meme with a picture and a falsely attributed quote or a made up statistic, I’ve spent my time researching the gun violence/gun control debate. And I’d like to talk about some of the pervasive themes I’ve seen lately. First off, Hitler did not say “In order to conquer a country, you must first disarm its citizens.” In fact, Hitler made it his position to enable guns to be obtained more easily. http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/disarm.asp  Secondly, the presidents, and I mean ALL of them, and their families, receive death threats on a daily basis. President Obama did not enact the regulations that REQUIRE Secret Service protection for him and his family. If you believe your children are as much of a target as the president’s children, then you have a self inflated idea of your position in this world. http://www.secretservice.gov/protection.shtml .Thirdly, there is NO law or bill being considered that would allow anyone to come marching into your home to take your legally obtained and legally owned firearms. There are possible laws that are being explored that would require more responsibility on the part of the gun owner or person purchasing a gun (i.e. pass a background check even if buying a gun from a gun show dealer). If you buy a car from a dealer it must be registered (a record of the transfer is documented). If you buy a car from a private citizen, it must be registered. If you buy a gun from a dealer, there is a record of that sale and it is registered. So how is it illogical to require the same for private sales of firearms? Fourth, there are not more people being killed with baseball bats than guns. If you disagree with that because you saw a picture stating otherwise on the internet, then I would like to offer you the chance to buy some oceanfront property in Arizona and I’ll throw in the Brooklyn Bridge for free. There is no magical solution for solving the problem of gun violence.

THAT is what we need to solve. http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/baseballbats.asp
We don’t ban cars that are used in DUI related deaths, but we do enact regulations regarding blood alcohol limits, prosecute people who enable a drunk driver to operate a vehicle after serving them, promote a DUI campaign raising awareness and educating drivers on the dangers of driving while intoxicated. All of which has reduced DUI related fatalities by over 40% in a decade. http://www.centurycouncil.org/drunk-driving/drunk-driving-statistics
The media is not hiding other gun related stories because they want to sensationalize the problem, they are simply unable to cover every gun death story because there would be an average of 80 of them each day. So they concentrate (unfortunately) on the massacres which I think we can all agree, happen all too often.
I find the fact that more children are killed in the US by guns than in the entire Middle East region, very disturbing.
I find it disturbing that the NRA blames the rise in violent shootings on video games and then comes out with its own shooting video game (categorized for children as young as 4 years of age) less than a month after Newtown.
I find it disturbing that other countries spend in excess of twice as much as the US on violent video games and have a small fraction of the amount of gun related deaths/injuries.
I find it disturbing that instead of looking for a solution to a problem like Newtown, there are people wasting their time and energy by trying to turn it into a conspiracy theory.
I find it disturbing that guns are the third largest killer of children ages 5-14 in the US.
I find it disturbing that a child in America is 12 times more likely to be killed with a gun than the rest of the “developed” world.
I find it disturbing that there are more guns privately owned in America than the next SEVENTEEN countries combined.
I find it disturbing that all of these statistics are not discussed but fake statistics about a baseball bat death rate are plastered everywhere.
I find it disturbing that some people believe that the ONLY answer to this problem is more guns.
Banning all firearms is NOT the answer, which is exactly why it’s not being proposed. This country has enacted laws that didn’t work before, so they’ve been revised, repealed, reformed, etc. It’s ludicrous to think that as a society, we evolve, but the laws governing us cannot? The NRA states that the assault weapons ban didn’t work the first time. Well, you know what they say, “If at first you don’t succeed, f*%k it.”. If armed guards are the only answer to ending school shootings, then explain the VT shooting. Virginia Tech had an entire police department complete with a SWAT unit. Explain Columbine, which had an armed officer on staff. When discussing an end to gun violence in schools, there should be NOTHING left off of the table.
Ronald Reagan, a huge gun proponent and signor of the Brady Bill, wrote to Congress in 1994 asking them to propose legislation limiting or stopping altogether the manufacture of guns classified as assault weapon. And anyone saying “assault weapon” is a made up term should remember that every word in every language is, in fact, made up. And yes, criminals don’t typically obey laws, but we still have them. Can you use that logic to say there should be none at all? No. Let me be clear, I am NOT anti gun. I have nothing against guns or responsible gun owners. I served proudly in the military, I worked in armed security, I’ve hunted, and enjoy target shooting since I was a kid. And I’m sure most gun enthusiasts are the same way. However, this issue should be discussed logically and rationally, and all I see are comments and pictures that are anything but rational and for the most part, are just viral, inflammatory, unresearched, vitriol. The president enacted 23 executive actions today, of which only 2 have anything to do with limiting the availability of a category of gun or a magazine capacity. The remaining 21 deal with aspects regarding background checks, school safety and mental health system requirements and deficiencies. Will it be a perfect solution? No. Will it help? We’ll see. Is it better than doing nothing? Definitely. If we keep using the statement, “It’s too soon to talk about it.” after each tragedy, pretty soon, we’ll never talk about it.
OK, so maybe it ended up closer to $2.00 instead of 2 cents. So sue me.”

On the money

Mock the Vote


“They say statesmen are politicians who’ve been dead for 20 years. I’d like it if we try to be statesmen right now” – President Jed Bartlett.

Actually Aaron Sorkin wrote it, but it sounded cooler when Martin Sheen‘s voice brought it to life. The quote occured to me during the Presidential wrestlemania, er, second debate. It was riveting tv to be sure, but it was lousy politics and worse discussion. The repeated grousing about time was unbecoming both gentlemen. If you look to that for substance or to make your mind up, it wasn’t to be had.

They obviously aren’t fond of one another. I wasn’t crazy about the Governor interrupting the President or scolding.

It’s a crappy example to set, but so is the foolishness over making hay about the “Binders” comment. Nothing furthers the discussion. Much as been made about the Benghazi discussion where the Governor was factchecked live and proven incorrect. While I admire the President’s buck stops here speech that followed, folks are still getting hung up on things that don’t matter. None of the recent nitpicking on when and what to label it matters and nobody should be making their minds up out of the generalities that made up the bulk of the theater of the absurd.

If you have your guy now, that’s cool. I just wish the candidates would realize that and tell us specifics.  Don’t let media manufactured dreck rule the day.

Talk to us like adults, maybe, we’ll even act the part.

For a moment

Live from New York


I’m borrowing this from crookedtimber.org blog, but I don’t think they will mind. We’re all thinking 9/11 thoughts today and this was a particular eloquent one.  For the original post, visit http://crookedtimber.org/2003/09/11/live-from-new-york/

 

This is the monologue from the Late Show with David Letterman on September 17, 2001, his first night back on the air after September 11th.

 

(cold opening and applause)

Thank you very much.

Welcome to the Late Show. This is our first show on the air since New York and Washington were attacked, and I need to ask your patience and indulgence here because I want to say a few things, and believe me, sadly, I’m not going to be saying anything new, and in the past week others have said what I will be saying here tonight far more eloquently than I’m equipped to do.

But, if we are going to continue to do shows, I just need to hear myself talk for a couple of minutes, and so that’s what I’m going to do here.

It’s terribly sad here in New York City. We’ve lost five thousand fellow New Yorkers, and you can feel it. You can feel it. You can see it. It’s terribly sad. Terribly, terribly sad. And watching all of this, I wasn’t sure that I should be doing a television show, because for twenty years we’ve been in the city, making fun of everything, making fun of the city, making fun of my hair, making fun of Paul… well…

So, to come to this circumstance that is so desperately sad, I don’t trust my judgment in matters like this, but I’ll tell you the reason that I am doing a show and the reason I am back to work is because of Mayor Giuliani.

Very early on, after the attack, and how strange does it sound to invoke that phrase, “after the attack?”, Mayor Giuliani encouraged us—and here lately implored us—to go back to our lives, go on living, continue trying to make New York City the place that it should be. And because of him, I’m here tonight.

And I just want to say one other thing about Mayor Giuliani: As this began, and if you were like me, and in many respects, God, I hope you’re not. But in this one small measure, if you’re like me, and you’re watching and you’re confused and depressed and irritated and angry and full of grief, and you don’t know how to behave and you’re not sure what to do and you don’t really… because we’ve never been through this before… all you had to do at any moment was watch the Mayor. Watch how this guy behaved. Watch how this guy conducted himself. Watch what this guy did. Listen to what this guy said. Rudolph Giuliani is the personification of courage.

(applause)

And it’s very simple… there is only one requirement for any of us, and that is to be courageous, because courage, as you might know, defines all other human behavior. And I believe, because I’ve done a little of this myself, pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing. He’s an amazing man, and far, far better than we could have hoped for. To run the city in the midst of this obscene chaos and attack, and also demonstrate human dignity… my God… who can do that? That’s a pretty short list.

The twenty years we’ve been here in New York City, we’ve worked closely with police officers and the fire fighters and…

(applause)

…and fortunately, most of us don’t really have to think too much about what these men and women do on a daily basis, and the phrase New York’s finest and New York’s bravest, you know, did it mean anything to us personally, firsthand? Well, maybe, hopefully, but probably not. But boy, it means something now, doesn’t it? They put themselves in harm’s way to protect people like us, and the men and women, the fire fighters and the police department who are lost are going to be missed by this city for a very, very long time. And I, and my hope for myself and everybody else, not only in New York but everywhere, is that we never, ever take these people for granted… absolutely never take them for granted.

(applause)

I just want to go through this, and again, forgive me if this is more for me than it is for people watching, I’m sorry, but uh, I just, I have to go through this, I’m…

The reason we were attacked, the reason these people are dead, these people are missing and dead, and they weren’t doing anything wrong, they were living their lives, they were going to work, they were traveling, they were doing what they normally do. As I understand it (and my understanding of this is vague at best), another smaller group of people stole some airplanes and crashed them into buildings. And we’re told that they were zealots, fueled by religious fervor… religious fervor. And if you live to be a thousand years old, will that make any sense to you? Will that make any Goddamned sense? Whew.

I’ll tell you about a thing that happened last night. There’s a town in Montana by the name of Choteau. It’s about a hundred miles south of the Canadian border. And I know a little something about this town. It’s 1,600 people. 1,600 people. And it’s an ag-business community, which means farming and ranching. And Montana’s been in the middle of a drought for… I don’t know… three years? And if you’ve got no rain, you can’t grow anything. And if you can’t grow anything, you can’t farm, and if you can’t grow anything, you can’t ranch, because the cattle don’t have anything to eat, and that’s the way life is in a small town. 1,600 people.

Last night at the high school auditorium in Choteau, Montana, they had a rally, home of the Bulldogs, by the way… they had a rally for New York City. And not just a rally for New York City, but a rally to raise money… to raise money for New York City. And if that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about the… the spirit of the United States, then I can’t help you. I’m sorry.

(applause)

And I have one more thing to say, and then, thank God, Regis is here, so we have something to make fun of.

If you didn’t believe it before, and it’s easy to understand how you might have been skeptical on this point, if you didn’t believe it before, you can absolutely believe it now… New York City is the greatest city in the world.

(lengthy applause)

We’re going to try and feel our way through this, and we’ll just see how it goes… take it a day at a time. We’re lucky enough tonight to have two fantastic representatives of this town, Dan Rather and Regis Philbin, and we’ll be right back.

(to commercial)