Monday, November 19, 2012

Four years....

It has been some time since I posted anything on this blog - four years, give or take a couple of weeks.  I noticed a couple of things as I read my posts again.  First, I cannot spell or spell check myself.  Second, I was a little keyed-up when I wrote some of my posts.  Neither of these things are particularly surprising, but I am laughing a little at myself right now.  I am also wondering why I stopped this in the first place.   Blogging is fun. 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Alfred Vukosa - 9.11.01

The information below was originally posted on 09/11/06 as part of the "Project 2996." I am updating and reposting it in memory of Alfred Vukosa and all the other victims of that dreadful day.

Today I remember Alfred Vukosa. Alfred was the typical American family man. He meet his wife Annette on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Annette's family was Guyanese and Alfred's was Croatian. According to his wife, Alfred learned about Hinduism and blended into her family. Alfred and Annette were close to their families, both of which lived in New York.

Annette and Alfred made their home in Brooklyn, where they raised their two sons, Adam and Austin. According to the people who knew Alfred, he was devoted to his family and loved spending time with them. His sons looked forward to his returning home from work because he would take them on walks. He also enjoyed taking his family on vacation, and traveled to Hawaii, Aruba, Puerto Rico, and Disney World in Florida. Like so many Americans, Alfred was a man with dreams and was striving to reach them. He loved computers and technology and was earning a degree in computer engineering. Often Alfred and his oldest son Austin would do their "homework" together. He was employed at Cantor Fitzgerald, whose offices were on the 103rd floor of Tower One at the World Trade Center, as an Information Technology Specialist.

On September 11, 2001, Alfred went to work as usual and became one of the 2,996 who perished that day. His niece Stacy Lalman said the following of him: "I truly thought that he would get out because he was a very strong man; but I also believed that if he had the opportunity; he would rather try to help someone else's life than his own!" His wife remembered him as a man who, "was always there to please us." She says that "he was a good husband."

Alfred Vukosa was a hard working man who loved his family and was motivated to improve his life and theirs. His family was a melting pot of people from different ends of the earth who blended together in love and support. He was an ordinary American who in so many ways epitomized the American Dream. On this, the 7th anniversary of 9/11, let us remember the way he lived his life. A life that stands in stark contrast to those of the terrorist who sought to destroy American by murdering men and women like Alfred Vukosa.

My sources of information about Alfred Vukosa are here and here.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Welcome Home!

The three American hostages who were freed from the FARC yesterday are now home. They arrived at Lackland Airforce Base in Texas late last night. Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell and Thomas Howes were held for over five years by the FARC. Here are the details.

It's not often that one opens a newspaper or watches the news on TV and smiles. Thank God they are finally free. Welcome home guys and happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

She's Free

My mouth about fell open when I saw the headline on MSNBC. Ingrid Betancourt has finally been rescued by the Colombian government. Here is the story.

The Urbie government deserves to be commended for all it has done not only in driving back the narco-terrorist group FARC but also in for the stability that is coming back to that country. Now if only our glorious Madam Speaker and her fellow party members would remove their ideological blinders and acknowledge this.

Ingrid Betancourt has been held by FARC since February 2002. I cannot begin to imagine the nightmare that she went through, not to mention what her family has gone through. Thank God she's finally free.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Endangered Species

As if one needed further proof that real journalism is an endangered species, the LA Times has printed what has to be the one of the most frivolous stories about a Presidential candidate in the history of the press. Do John McCain's injuries from his years as a POW in Vietnam seriously raise fitness questions in any one's head?

FDR was crippled from polio and successfully lead this country through WWII. While I think his policies ultimately prolonged the Great Depression, he did give real hope to many Americans that there was a light at the end of the tunnel during that dark time. Not Barak Obama hope, real hope.

So far the biggest concerns about McCain in print seem to revolve around his age, temper, a bit of gossip about an affair with a lobbyist, and now physical fitness. The man's schedule on the campaign trail would tax me, and I'm about a third of his age. (Maybe his energy and his reported temper come from the same internal source? Just a thought). I think he's physically up to the challenge in spite of his age and injuries. Is this really the most serious concern about McCain as a potential President? Members of his political part have raised more legitimate concerns.

(Hat tip: Blackfive)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Is Convenience a Right?

I read this and wanted to scream. Convenience is not a right and the current growth in the number of canceled and delayed fights cannot be simply explained by accusing the airlines of not caring about the consumer.

I never flew prior to 9/11, so I expect delays and inconvenience and lost baggage and I still love to fly every chance I get. I've been told I have no idea how different flying used to be, which is true. I don't doubt that it could be so much better, but flying is a privilege and privileges are not rights!

Mostly, I don't like the idea of Congress passing a "bill of rights" for air travelers because it muddies the waters so to speak. A right is something that you have by virtue of your existence as a human being. It cannot be taken away and when infringed upon is an injustice. Things such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are rights.

However, no passenger should have his or her health recklessly endangered by a travel service that they have paid handsomely to use; and sitting on the tarmac for 9 plus hours in the heat with little food or water and poor toilet facilities is a potential health risk. If Congress wants to ensure that delays do not risk someone health more power to them, but for the love of all that's good a sane don't call that legislation a "bill of rights." Safety regulations are just that, regulations.

When we start describing things that are not basic human rights as rights we degrade the value of our real rights and create a lack of moral clarity about what our rights truly are. If we are to preserve our rights for future generations we need to stop calling everything we want a right.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Stranger than Fiction

Just when you think you have read every conceivable type of story in the news you come across something like this. What in the world?