A THURSDAY FORUM
on the Stanyan logo to subscribe to the McKuen Mailing List
A Thought for Today
The universe can change or perish, but
the soul lives on.
And still the messages arrive.
All kinds of thoughts about the events of 7/11/01. I’ll let some of the
opinions speak for themselves, including my own to start things off.
HOME GROWN TERRORIST
The not so very Reverend Jerry
Falwell can’t stand being out of the limelight for too long and so he
never is. This publicity hungry bigot, still passing himself off as a
religious leader, will use any excuse to get his name in the paper. His
favorite ploy is to treat current events as a hook to hang his harangues
on. A doctor working at a clinic that performs abortions is murdered and
he calls it “God’s revenge” and a while back when Teletubbies were all the
rage he went out of his way to point out to the world which one of the
children’s little sprites was “Homosexual” (the purple one, of course.)
The press picks up on his remarks and reports them as news and when
sufficient protests arise over his verbal doo-doo he makes a lame apology;
thus getting his name in the paper twice.
Is anyone surprised that this man-of-the-no-cloth rushed to hitch his ugly
bandwagon to this past week’s tragedy? Not really. But, has he gone too
far this time? You decide. Here, verbatim, is an exchange between fatuous
Falwell and would-be American president (his God didn’t help him in the
voting booth) Pat Robertson on the latter’s 700 Club TV show last
JF: What we saw on Tuesday, as terrible as it is,
could be minuscule if, in fact, God continues to lift the curtain and
allow the enemies of America to give us what we deserve.
PR: Jerry, that’s my feeling. I think we’ve just seen the anti-chamber of
terror. We haven’t even begun to see what they can do to the major
JF: The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God
will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies,
we make God mad. I really believe that the abortionists, and the
feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make
that an alternative lifestyle, the A.C.LU., People for the American Way,
all of them who are trying to secularize America, I point the finger in
their face and say, “You helped this happen.”
PR: Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda
at the highest levels of our government.
Sources: The New York Times,
Associated Press, Reuters & The 700 Club.
Who is trying to secularize
America? You be the judge. As a theologian Jerry Falwell is small minded
and irrelevant, as a TV talk show guest he is dopier and more incoherent
than most and as a spokesperson for whatever, he is an embarrassment,
almost too laughable to worry about. Almost. Alas we know all too well
that there is always someone out there who takes this bilge as gospel.
But, does he really expect us to believe that he and his patsy Pat speak
for all Christians?
President George Bush, himself a practicing Christian, was among the first
to denounce Farwell’s latest folly, “He does not share those views, and
believes that those remarks are inappropriate,” said White House spokesman
Ken Lisaius, “The president believes that terrorists are responsible for
A couple of years ago, after decades of Gay bashing, Falwell decided to
make headlines by “building a bridge to the Gay community.” Excuse me,
what was that explosion just now? Oh, only another bridge being dynamited.
This country doesn’t have enough trouble with some of its citizens
torching Mosks and attacking Americans they perceive as “them” not “us”
and so if fall guy Falwell didn’t exist we’d have to invent him. Trouble
is he does exist and he’s an un-American hate-monger, always part of the
problem and not the solution. He should be decried from every pulpit.
Better still, let the press ignore him – that is until he opens his evil,
foul mouth again, AND HE WILL.
As he biliously bloviates Jerry the jerk will never “make God mad.” The
eagle does not swat flies.
AND OUR FLAG WAS STILL THERE
finally lost it when I passed the fire station around the corner from the
office yesterday. I was already upset by the loss of so many valiant
firemen, police people and rescue workers. The neighborhood fire station
(the motto on their banner was "Ladder Company 24, Say No More") had
brought back one of their ladder fire trucks from their rescue activities
at the World Trade Center site --- still covered with debris of the
explosions and the eerie white dust/soot of the disaster area. It looked
like the truck itself had been bombed it was such a wreck.
They raised the ladder high and put an American flag on it ---- and in
front of the truck were the photos of their fellow firemen from their
station lost in the rescue action.
Dozens of bouquets of memorial flowers had been placed by people on the
front of the truck...and messages of condolence and tribute were written
with fingers in the dust on the truck. The surviving firemen of that
company when off duty would stand by their truck all day. It was simply
unbelievably moving...and brought this home more than anything seen from
afar on television. In the end, it's the little human things that move you
and make it all so sadly real. Wade
NO MORE TEARS
Rod, After watching a clip of Dan Rather crying on David Letterman's show
last night, I decided I had no more tears left. So I watched a rerun of
Frasier and laughed out loud. It seemed strange to laugh again – not good,
not bad - just strange. And I thought back to when Kennedy died. How
everybody said we'd never be the same again, our lives were changed
forever. But we got through it somehow and, right or wrong, our lives
didn't really change. Or they changed so slowly that we didn't notice.
I don't know where I'm going with this........ guess I'm just trying to
convince myself that it will get better. Someday. Until then, know that
your words offer the only solace I've found in this doubly sad week. That
you take the time to comfort us, while coping with your own losses, is
appreciated more than you can know. Thank you. Love, Ann
RETHINKING STUDENT VISAS
Folks, In light of the recent events in both New York and Washington, DC,
it seems to me we need to rethink our national policy toward the issuance
of "Student Visas" for foreign nationals to attend both our public
supported and privately operated educational institutions, colleges,
universities, vocational schools and lest we forget, flight training
I think we should remember that for each foreign student attending such
schools that is one less American student who, at the very least is,
deprived of the opportunity. They and our nation consequently loose the
benefit of such an education and training to someone who may not directly
benefit our country and in fact may use such an education to kill us.
Therefore I would like to propose that each and everyone of us write to
our friends, politicians and business associates and demand an immediate
revocation of all "Student Visas" and the immediate and direct deportation
to the country of origin as stated on the visa application (perish the
thought there could be fraud in the application process let alone the
actual school attended or the real reason for using this entry vehicle to
our country) of all such students from countries who have not
affirmatively and publicly taken substantive steps to turn over all
terrorists and their associates responsible for all acts of terrorism
against our United States in New York, Washington, DC and elsewhere.
It seems to me that it is absolutely ludicrous for our country to provide
the best education available to foreign nationals from countries that are
our enemies, from countries that sit on the fence regarding apprehending
terrorists and from those who do not wish to be involved yet would eagerly
take our benefits.
We can always allow them to reapply and hopefully under circumstances
whereby be have greater integrity in the application process, perhaps
including independently provided certification from their country of
origin that they have no criminal history records nor association with any
groups and/or individuals associated with the destruction of our
If we do this, it will eliminate or at least mitigate a potential further
threat to our national security, particularly at this serious and perhaps
to become much more serious time. It may set off a grassroots movement
among the foreign national's countries of origin to take a more
affirmative, immediate and aggressive posture toward the control of
terrorism. The failure to do so would cost them an American education.
This may seem a somewhat radical proposition but it pales in comparison to
what has happened to our country, not just in New York and Washington, DC
but to our citizens and facilities around the world.
We must force other nations to get off their behinds and take some
aggressive steps. We must also force them in all manner available to each
of us to take responsibility for the actions of those originating from
I think we owe this small part of the equation to the memories of our
countrymen that perished. If our political leaders do not have the resolve
to take such a small step, directed at those who have dragged their feet
at supporting the United States' efforts against terrorism, then shame on
Why should we train those who seek to kill us or suffer the same? That
would be as they say in my business, Felony Stupid.
Please let me know your thoughts and let me know by e-mail copy or other
means whom you have passed this suggestion on to and what the response has
been from our political leaders. If anyone has a variation on the
suggestion or additional steps we could and should take, pass that along
Lets keep in touch and make this happen soon. Those that kill Americans or
suffer the same, forfeit the right to mercy. Strength and Honor! Thanks,
Brent A. Braun
STILL IN SHOCK
Dear Rod After two days of watching these horror on
TV I am still in shock and very sad for the waste of innocent lives, for
what purpose? My heart and prayers go out to all in these beautiful and
strong country of ours. Love Elsa Marie
SOMETIMES A GREAT COMFORT
Rod, I have been feeling particularly low today -- self-pity?
fear? Whatever the cause, I find the slightest thing can sometimes bring
me back to myself.
Outside the back door of the office building I manage is a shrub, I have
heard it called a miniature bamboo (I do need to find out what it really
is as I would like a couple at the house). The leaves are long and soft
and it stays green year-round. It requires no direct sunlight and
seemingly, no water.
Every year prior for the last 10 years a praying mantis has appeared in
this shrub, until today none had come this season. A few moments ago I
stepped outside and low and behold, there was Ms. Micky Mantis. Somehow,
watching her tiny triangular head turn to "look" at me while I was looking
at her, made things okay again, if just for a moment.
We all take comfort in what we can find, I'm glad Micky decided to show
herself today and provide me comfort and I wish a Micky for each of you.
regard to:” Mankind will always suffer from Cain s crime and God s failure
to condemn it." I'm not sure what this means.
We humans in general do not understand God enough, as evidenced by recent
events alluded to, to pass judgment on God's success or failure.
I'm not here to lecture. Just think about this. So many rash words will
remain in the impressionable soil of our subconscious, reeling in shock
these days. We will be unable to sort out fact, fiction, opinion and the
other static. Caution is advised. Journalism can still be yellow. Lla
R., Your "Lady of Words" is pretty well speechless at the moment. What has
happened in this country is an open, raw, festering wound. Yesterday my
sister emailed that her stepson, who serves aboard a nuclear submarine, is
being sent God-knows-where. The nightmare continues . . . But where will
it take us?
I have read and admired your words of solace, wisdom, and practical
suggestion on the Flight Plans this past week. You've comforted and
reassured a lot of people. [Well done, she says softly. :)] I agree that
we must stand behind our president--I just pray President Bush and his
advisers choose wisely . . .
Susan, with a smile.
THE BELLY FOR IT
Friends, The following was sent to me by my friend Tamim Ansary. Tamim is
an Afghani-American writer. He is also one of the most brilliant people I
know in this life. When he writes, I read. When he talks, I listen. Here
is his take on Afghanistan and the whole mess we are in. -Gary T.
Dear Gary and whoever else is on this email thread: I've been hearing a
lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens,
on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent
people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at
war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes
later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do
what must be done."
And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am
from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never
lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will
listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.
I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no
doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in
New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.
But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the
government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics
who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with
a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden,
think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the
Jews in the concentration camps."
It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity.
They were the first victims of the predators. They would exult if someone
would come in there, take out the Taliban and
clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their
Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The
answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A
few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000
disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food. There
are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows
alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were
all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the
Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.
We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age.
Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make
the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done.
Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals?
Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health
care? Too late. Someone already did all that.
New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least
get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat,
only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe
the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too
fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping
bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this
horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the
Taliban--by raping once again the people they've been raping all this
So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true
fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with
ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to
be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as
needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing
pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans
dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way
through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that
folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through
Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would
have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by?
You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and
the West and guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what
he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's
all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the west. It might
seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam
and the West, he's got a billion soldiers.
If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people
with nothing left to lose, that's even better from Bin Laden's point of
view. He's probably wrong, in the end the west would win, whatever that
would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not
just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone
else? Tamim Ansary
See you tomorrow with Pass it Along. Sleep warm.
RM 9/19/2001 Previously
Details of Rod's next
appearance can be obtained by following the link below.
Your Troubles Away" - the music of Jerry Herman