And There Was Much Rejoicing

May 2, 2011

The news is still coming in, the story only half-formed (at best). There’s simply no denying, however, that this is a great day for America. Osama bin Laden is/has stone dead, definitely deceased, bleedin’ demised, passed on, no more, ceased to be, expired, gone to meet his maker, bereft of life, off the twig, kicked the bucket, shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain, joined the choir invisible, feeding the fish. He is an EX-TERRORIST.

One thing this monster is not doing, however, is resting in peace. Hopefully right at this moment his body is providing sustenance for plankton. If it were me, I’d have wrapped his body in bacon, shoved ham hocks in his turban, and fed him to the pigs. But that’s just one New Yorker’s opinion.

The word this morning is the bin Laden was living in a mansion in Pakistan, 35 miles outside of the capital Islamabad. He attempted to use a woman in the compound as a human shield, and was shot in the head by a Navy SEAL. If said Navy SEAL is reading this, the drinks are on me…and there will be a lot of them. He was buried at sea so that his tomb would not become a shrine. Last night crowds descended on the White House, Times Square, Ground Zero and many other places, and there was much rejoicing. There’s apparently no truth to the rumor that Donald Trump is demanding to see the death certificate.

The political slant of The Clampdown is no secret, and I am second to none in my disdain for President Obama, but this is not the time for partisanship. As more details emerge, more praise and criticism of how this was handled will be inevitable. But today is a day to thank President Obama for approving the mission and for being smart enough to make this a “kill” mission instead of a “capture” mission. Would this have happened years ago if we had not spent so much time and resources on Iraq? Maybe, maybe not. Was Obama simply lucky that this happened on his watch? Maybe, maybe not. Today, it’s irrelevant. Today is a day to rally around the flag, rally around the President, and be of good cheer.

The celebrations are understandable, though justice should not be celebrated; it should be expected. Last night a genuine evil was destroyed. While it is certainly true that bin Laden will probably be replaced…this radicalism is a hydra…we take comfort and solace that this particular evil is no more. Osama bin Laden was not a “mad, insane lunatic” as I have seen him referred. He was well aware of what he was doing, planned thoroughly, and ran like a scared rabbit when his actions brought retribution. These are not the hallmarks of insanity, they speak to a man driven by a purpose. The Wild Man of 92nd Street is a mad, insane lunatic. Osama bin Laden was the textbook definition of evil: a coldly calculated purpose driven by the complete absence of good.

Already I have seen someone questioning the propriety of celebrating a “murder.” We did not “murder” bin Laden any more than we “murdered” any enemy general in any time of war. We killed him as a soldier in a war that he started. His death is a time for quiet reflection, and a reaffirmation to destroying the rest of the hydra. There’s also room for a few verses of “Na Na Na Na (Kiss Him Goodbye).”

The Roundup: Michelle Malkin is providing lots of details as they happen, as is Allahpundit over at Hot Air. There is much excellent commentary at, er, Commentary. And the usual quality material on The Corner. I especially like Richard Brookhiser’s succinct comment headlined “A New Yorker Bids Farewell to Bin Laden”: “We’re still here. You’re not. Go figure.”

Obama Misses The Meaning Of The Message

August 16, 2010

Showing the political instincts of a retarded turtle, Barack Obama has once again made an unforced error. He does this sort of thing a lot, whether it’s weighing in on the arrest of a Harvard professor or, as Doug Powers points out, claiming that he and his daughter went for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico when they didn’t. Now, after weeks of claiming that the Ground Zero Mosque was “a local issue,” the siren song of the Philosopher King has proved overwhelming.

At a dinner celebrating the end of Ramadan, Obama came out strongly in favor of building the mosque.

“I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable.”

That seems pretty unequivocal to me. However it seems that after the dinner one of Obama’s handlers whispered the news that building this mosque is wildly unpopular, even in the heart of the city that is only a shade less blue than San Francisco. So then he backtracked, claiming that he had spoken only of the right to build the mosque, and made no comment on the wisdom of doing it.

Got it.

But then the White House issued another statement clarifying their clarification that the first clarification was not a clarification and that the original statement was the statement that the President is sticking with.

Wow. If they clarify this any more their heads are likely to pop off.

Obama’s initial refusal to comment on this issue was the correct one. Here I disagree with some of my conservative brethren. The building of the mosque at Ground Zero is a New York issue and while the President (or anyone) is entitled to have an opinion about it, this does remain a local issue. I understand and agree with the idea that Ground Zero was an attack on all of America, not just New York, but the building of the mosque approximately two blocks away is an issue best decided by the New Yorkers who will have to live with it.

However, the President did weigh in on the subject in a prepared set of remarks. It is now incumbent upon him to finish the thought. Saying that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has the right to build the mosque according to the local laws is only half an answer. It is like saying that the Westboro Baptist Church has the right to peaceably assemble without acknowledging what the issues really are.

Nobody that I’m aware of disputes the basic premise that a religious group can build a house of worship based on its adherence to local zoning laws, etc. The fact remains, however, that if Imam Rauf had even the slightest sense of decency he would not be building the mosque at this location. Obama should have remained silent about this issue, but since he chose to wade into these waters he is obligated to tell us his opinion of the propriety of the mosque, not simply adopt his usual above-the-fray professorial tone. The question put before the President has never been “Can this mosque be built?” It has always been “Should this mosque be built?” Refusing to answer at all is one thing, but answering one question when you’ve been asked another is simply political cowardice.

This mosque is an insult aimed directly at the heart of America, proposed by a man who blames the West for inciting Muslim terrorist attacks and who repeatedly refuses to acknowledge the simple truth that Hamas is a terrorist organization. The mosque has received an endorsement from Hamas and from the terrorist sympathizers at CAIR (Council for American-Islamic Relations). Now I know that this is not the first time Barack Obama has found common cause with terrorists, but you’d think that he might not want to be seen on the wrong side of this explosive issue.

There is more to jihad than flying airplanes into buildings and strapping dynamite to your chest. Hand in hand with those who seek to destroy us through violent means are those who seek to impose their will on us through political means. The building of this mosque at Ground Zero is nothing less than a victory dance for Mohammed Atta and his cronies. Barack Obama once called the Islamic call to prayer “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset”. Maybe so, but playing it on the streets of lower Manhattan, having it reverberate at the site of the September 11 Memorial, is a dagger aimed at our hearts. Not all terrorism results in physical injury or death. Some of it is meant simply to send a message.

So tell us, Philosopher King Obama…now that you’ve weighed in on local zoning laws, what do you have to say about the meaning of the message?

Joseph Vincent Vigiano—Project 2,996

September 11, 2009

"Greater love hath no man more than this;
that a man lay down his life for his friends."
—John, 15:13

Detective Joseph Vigiano had 14 years in the NYPD, but it was the odd career path he chose on the job that helps demonstrate who he was.

Joe’s love of service led him to the police department, where he worked in the 75th Precinct in Brooklyn, one of the busiest precincts in the five boroughs of New York. As one of New York’s most highly decorated officers, making Detective was inevitable. After working in Robbery and, briefly, Homicide, he sought a transfer to the Emergency Services Unit. For a detective, especially one as highly regarded as Joe, to join ESU was unusual, since the function of ESU is to provide rescue and SWAT services, not solve crimes. In fact, at the time he transferred, there were no detectives in ESU. So why did he make the move?

The answer is found in the man himself. Transferring to ESU was not a career move; it was a human move. The paths that led to this move came from his family background. Joe’s father was a retired Marine (there are no ex-Marines, after all) and Joe had a profound respect for military service. He viewed the military as the road not traveled, and believed it to be a high and honorable service. His brother John was one of New York’s Bravest, in the New York City Fire Department. Joe was also a volunteer fireman in his own community. ESU provided Joe with the dream job of being able to fuse all of his career loves: the military-like precision of the SWAT team combined with the task of rescuing people in need. He got his transfer and was assigned to Truck 2. For Joe, it was all about helping people, and when the job called he was all business, all the time.

But there was another side to Joe when he had some down time. Joe was a cut-up. He played practical jokes, and was seen around the offices wearing novelty nose/glasses and doing imitations. The brass was frequently the target, but the jokes were accepted with good grace because they were never intended to hurt, only to make people laugh. The police need humor, especially in places like New York where so much bad can happen so quickly, and Joe was a man who provided many great laughs. Humor serves to remind those in the trenches that there is light and joy in the world. It takes them out of the mean streets and deposits them, however briefly, in a happier place.

For Joe, the happiest place of all was with family. His wife Kathy was also a police officer, and he had three children. Both Joe and his brother John had been Eagle Scouts, and now Joe was volunteering as an assistant Scoutmaster for his children. His youngest, at only 3 months, was still some time away from donning the uniform.

One of the many difficult aspects of being a police officer in a huge metropolis like New York is that the job is harshly intrusive on your personal life. Work schedules change rapidly, weekends have little or no relation to Saturdays and Sundays when the rest of the world is relaxing, and always there is the overtime that keeps you head down in paperwork instead of hanging out with your family at the barbecue. Joe’s way around this was to plan vacations with his children that would be memorable. He knew that the job would keep him busy, and there would be missed class plays and family functions, so the time he spent with his family was time he wanted his kids to remember. One of his favorite vacations was to take the kids to visit some of the old warships that are now tourist destinations, from Old Ironsides in Boston to some of the battleships of more recent vintage. As a former young boy myself, it’s difficult to describe the thrill boys can get from seeing this kind of stuff. Clearly Joe knew that, too, and wanted to give his kids vacations where they would not only be entertained, but also learn about history and maybe gain some of that same respect for our military that ran in the Vigiano family.

On September 11, 2001 Joe was on the job, looking forward to a Scout meeting scheduled for that night. As part of the Emergency Services Unit he went to the Trade Towers to assist in the rescue. There was so much mass confusion in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Were there thousands of people in the Twin Towers, or tens of thousands? So much has been written about the awful toll in life that day that one thing is consistently overlooked: 9/11 was one of, if not the, most successful rescue operations in history. Thousands of people died that awful day. Many thousands more were saved by people like Joe Vigiano and his fireman brother John, who also died that day.

Joe’s death represents the loss of all those people who died that day. He was a man who showed up for work that crisp, clean, late summer morning. He was a policeman, he was a fireman, he was an EMT. He was a brother, a husband, a friend. He was a joker, a prankster, a lover of America’s armed forces, a Scoutmaster. He was a son, he was a father. His loss cannot be calculated. It is now eight years later and his friends and co-workers still miss that man with the great sense of humor, the man who could be counted on to have your back. His wife Kathy misses her husband. His children, John, Joseph, and James, miss their Dad; they always will.

I never met Joe; never knew him. Writing this insufficient tribute has brought him alive for me. From what I understand about the man, duty and responsibility were very high on his list of priorities. It was his duty to go into Tower 1; it was his responsibility to save as many people as he could.

It is our duty, and our responsibility, never to forget him.

There’s a full list of participants for Project 2,996 here. Take some time to go through them and remember.

A Communist 9/11 Truther Advising Obama…What’s Next?

September 3, 2009

Okay, joke’s over. Somebody tell me this has all been an elaborate hoax.

Now Obama has a 9/11 truther in his circle of Czars? Turns out that Van Jones, self-admitted Communist radical, “Green Jobs” Czar, and bane of Glenn Beck’s existence, is a truther. You know the truthers, those nut jobs who think that George Bush organized and orchestrated 9/11. Well at least one of them has put his tin foil hat in the closet to go work for the Obama Administration, according to Gateway Pundit.

I’m not sure how much longer I can take this.

Hot Air has more and declares Obama “parody-proof.”

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has lots more on Van Jones.

Project 2,996 Needs You

September 3, 2009

Project 2,996 is a web initiative designed to remember those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. The idea is that you are assigned a name and on September 11 you write some kind of memorial for that person on your blog. You can sign up for it here: On a day when the current Administration would rather you display your patriotism by shilling for health care reform or a “green” economy, we should instead remember those who lost their lives in that horrific, cold-blooded attack.

As of right now, only 687 names have been assigned. Remember: if we forget the past we are doomed to repeat it. Sign up.

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