"[This book] embodies the Buddhist wisdom about change, life, and the
world more than anything written after the events of that day."
Robert Stone

December 2010 Archives

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December 29, 2010


One sure-bet highlight at the Sundance Film Festival next month? The film Rebirth, conceived and created by Jim Whitaker, which took nine years to make.

Over the past decade, Project Rebirth's cameras followed ten people (five appear in the documentary), all of whom were directly affected by the September 11 attacks. During that same period, Whitaker and company also set up stationary cameras around the Ground Zero site, timing them to trigger every five seconds so as to create a time-lapse of growth, healing, and rebirth. The resulting film, which I saw at a New York screening last month at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, is inspiring and transfixing, if a tad long.

Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of the attacks. This documentary marks a new chapter in our visual and emotional understanding of the human toll of the tragedy.

(Also premiering at Sundance, Liz Garbus's documentary Bobby Fischer Against the World, which features my dear friend and oftimes journalistic partner, photographer Harry Benson, who appears prominently in Watching the World Change.)

December 23, 2010


Finally. Christmas Week. Congress, at last, passed the 9/11 health bill, on the eve of the lawmakers' long recess. Good sense, at the eleventh hour, trumped the Grinch Mob.

I guess it's never too late for miracles on Capitol Hill.

December 18, 2010


Comedian and commentator Jon Stewart has thrown down the gauntlet to legislators who are blocking the 9/11 first-responders bill (see my post yesterday, below) that is stuck in the Senate due to myopic politics and sheer intransigence. I recommend reading this offering by Katia McGlynn on Huffingtonpost.com and watching the videos attached. The crux:

“Nearly pulling his hair out at one point, Stewart expressed his annoyance at ‘the party that turned 9/11 into a catchphrase’ now blocking legislation to help its heroes. Adding to his frustration, none of the three major networks have covered the story in over two months. Surprisingly, Stewart realized this was actually a job for Fox News, ‘the nation's leading source of 9/11-based outrage.’ “

December 17, 2010


What’s wrong with this picture?

We are beginning the pullout of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, saying the country will achieve stability once we’ve departed, but the government is still corrupt, the nation fractured, the Taliban laying in wait.

We continue to support Pakistan but elements in the nation's military and security services continue to turn a blind eye to – or actively support -- al-Qaeda factions residing in its tribal areas on the Afghan border.

We are preparing for holiday festivities – including the annual gathering of throngs in New York's Times Square on New Year’s Eve – but the government, as outlined in a New York Times report on “thinking the unthinkable” is finally advising us (many years after the Bush Administration should have begun such a program) how to survive a dirty bomb. (Seek shelter on lower floors, not higher ones, since fallout rises.)

We have money in the national coffer to bailout car companies, banks and brokerage firms, insurance companies, Fannie and Freddie Mac, but not a penny for a comprehensive 9/11 health bill, which was nixed by legislators this week? (Senator Harry Reid has vowed to bring the bill back for a re-vote before the lame-duck session ends.)

We have the highest unemployment rate in a generation and yet many Wall Street firms are having their best year ever in 2010.

‘Tis the season for magical thinking.