Monday, September 12, 2011


Yesterday the Soaring Club of Houston couldn’t fly because of Temporary Flight Restrictions having to do with a wildfire to the east of the Field. The last time I remember it being clear, bright weekend weather when we couldn’t fly our sailplanes was the days after 9/11/01, when US aviation was grounded. It’s deja vu with the perspective of ten intervening years.

Sunday’s Houston Chronicle Editorial pages include a column by Kathleen Parker in which she says, ” We stumble at last upon a purpose for columnists – to say that which no one else dares.” This in a column in which she posits that 9/11 caused America to go temporarily insane; that today’s political dysfunction took root in the soil of Ground Zero. Well, in observing the American mindset today, I’ve had to conclude that you can’t understand it without invoking psychopathology, or religion, and in particular, religion and psychopathology intersecting like a Venn diagram of doom.

Earlier this week Thomas Friedman dared too. He said, “. . . rather than use 9/11 to summon us to nation-building at home, Bush used it as an excuse to party — to double down on a radical tax-cutting agenda for the rich that not only did not spur rising living standards for most Americans but has now left us with a huge ball and chain around our ankle. And later, rather than asking each of us to contribute something to the war, he outsourced it to one-half of one-percent of the American people. . . . We used the cold war to reach the moon and spawn new industries. We used 9/11 to create better body scanners and more T.S.A. agents. It will be remembered as one of the greatest lost opportunities of any presidency — ever.” The entire Friedman column is worthwhile reading.

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