9/11: Forget

9/11 is Christmas for assholes. Instead of Santa Claus, we have Rudy Giuliani, sticking his face on our 9/11 commercials and Coke cans. Instead of Lord Baby Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we have Lord Baby Penis—otherwise known as The War President—who sees the day as a preamble to that one time he got to throw out the first pitch for the Yankees. While we don’t exactly go caroling, we do tend to sing Toby Keith’s ode to sticking things in people’s asses. And we feel so self-righteous about it.

That’s what kills me. Every holiday gets reduced to a cliché, but what that cliché is matters. The Valentine’s cliché is “Buy supper for the reason you’re not dying alone.” The Halloween cliché, depending on your age, is some version of “Ghosts, Candy, Fucking, Watch our kids eat candy, worry about our kids fucking.” The Labor Day cliché is “Shit, we don’t have to work today? Cool.” The Thanksgiving cliché is “The only thing I love more than my family is all this food, booze, and football that allows me to avoid my family.” And Christmas, the king of holidays, has the best cliché: “Be joyous you are alive.”

I’m not strictly Christian, so my Christmas is different than many, but I see it as a celebration of life. In the darkest part of the year, where the world and nature is trying to kill us, we light every light we have and say, “We are alive.” Next Christmas will be different—some family may be dead, some family will be away—but for right now and only right now, we are alive and we are grateful.

The 9/11 cliché is the opposite. It says, “People are jealous because you are American. They will hurt you because you are free and they aren’t. Keep constant watch on them.” Where Christmas brings peace, 9/11 rewards suspicion and fear. Its entire reason for existence is to invoke pain. If you don’t feel that pain, you are told you are disappointing the dead. There is a direct correlation between how acutely we remember this pain and how easily we can be manipulated into horrible, self-destructive actions.

We on the left talk about how President Bush exploited our fear to invade Iraq. Fair enough, but let’s also remember that we were desperate—desperate—to be exploited. Bush didn’t sell us the lie that attacking Iraq would be the solution to 9/11; he sold us the lie that 9/11 has a solution. And that’s the lie we return to every September 11th.

We need to believe we are in control. This is the same bullshit every action movie sells us. “Sure, there is evil in this world and there is squalid depression and fear. But if you punch it in the face really hard…” The best example of this happens when Lois Lane dies and Superman, confronted with the reality of death—a reality he can’t control—flies around the world so fast that he reverses earth’s orbit, making everything go back in time, so he can take another shot at saving the day. Good news for Lois Lane; not so good for the man who just threw up or the woman who gave birth to triplets. But all the audience cares about is that Superman wins. The good guys are in control.

Before 9/11, I thought America was in control. I don’t mean abstractly.  On September 10th, 2001, I was having a beer with my roommate. His sister was in the Peace Corps in Sudan, and he was worried about her facing terrorist attacks. We lived in Washington DC, and he said, “Did you ever think about how we could be attacked at any moment? Seriously, we are Rome in the Roman Empire, a sitting duck.” I laughed in his face and said, “You’re crazy, man. No one’s ever going to attack America. We’re too powerful, and we’d kick their ass.” The next morning, he knocked on my bedroom door and told me America was under attack, and I thought, ‘Sorry I laughed at you, but isn’t this taking it a little far?’ We turned on the TV just in time to watch the second tower fall. Over the next ten minutes, my thoughts slowly evolved from ‘This is the most tasteless, well-executed prank I’ve ever seen’ to ‘Holy shit, this is real.’ As a direct result of this, my roommate went through a period where he was convinced he was psychic and he would try to read people’s minds. That is a far saner reaction to 9/11 than anything our elected officials did.

I thought America was in control, but we weren’t. A trillions of dollars defense couldn’t control a lunatic with a boxcutter and absolutely no fear of death. We went to war to restore order. We went to a second war to make sure there was absolutely no doubt of the order. That those wars failed is unquestionable, sad, and almost a little funny (Not as funny as my favorite true life fact of 9/11: The lead headline of the September 11th, 2001 The Washington Times: “Pentagon To Trim Staff By Fifteen Percent”). America acted every bit the cartoon bully that our least imaginative enemies say we are, showed our own weaknesses, and left no doubt about how not in control we were. Of course, you don’t have to have the psychic abilities of my roommate to know we would fail. Wars don’t restore order. At their best, they are akin to sawing off a gangrenous leg—a horror endured to prevent a worse horror. At their worst—well, at their worst, they look a whole lot like what America has done since 9/11.

What do people mean when they say, “Never forget”? I don’t think they mean it as a reminder, as I’ve never met anyone asking, “When did September 11th happen? I’m pretty sure it was September. The ninth maybe?” No, they’re saying, “Remember the pain. Remember feeling scared.” The pain and fear are real, of course, and as much as memory is an honor, they deserve to be remembered. Still, I think there’s something deceitful in this request. They’re asking for a re-set button. “Remember the pain,” is a sly way of saying “Only remember the pain,” or rather “Forget all the terrible things we’ve done in reaction to the pain.”

9/11 scared us like children. We reacted life children, hoping that some action could take away our fear. But we’ve grown since then. Fear is honest, but when we say “Never Forget,” we are retreating to that child-like state—we are elevating our fear into something holy.

Imagine your spouse was killed in a car crash, and as a result you went into a deep depression, became a miserable drunk (If you became a fun drunk because your spouse died in a car crash, that’s a different topic). Imagine you started fights with everyone you saw, got constantly arrested and couldn’t afford to feed your children. Would you want your friends to say “Never forget. Remember the pain. If you aren’t constantly feeling this pain, you’re doing it wrong”? Or would you want them to say, “Everything you’re doing is wrong.  Stop it.”

Our pain is real, but it doesn’t matter. We aren’t in control of that. We are in control of the way we react to it. So if we can’t remember 9/11 correctly, then maybe it would be best to not remember 9/11 at all. Let’s treat 9/11 like The Mexican-American War, like the second person you had sex with, and everything our grandparents told us about gay people—let’s forget it.

Some may read this as an attack on one of the sacred cows of American pride, but they’d be wrong. It is an attack on the entire concept of American pride. I hate American pride. American pride is a disease; Lee Greenwood is just the most visible polyp.

My problem with American pride isn’t America. I love America. Football is better than soccer. Bob Dylan is better than The Beatles. Cold beer is better than warm beer. Diabetes is better than Malaria. Go America! I love America. I hate pride.

Pride is a feeling of superiority that you did nothing to warrant. I hate American pride for the same reason I hate American shame (If you’re an American who has sewn a Canadian flag on their backpack before going abroad, I kindly invite you to put your genitals in a Cuisinart). You should neither feel proud of nor ashamed of anything you did nothing to achieve. I gladly attended Lexington’s gay pride parades this year, but in a sane world, gay pride shouldn’t exist. (As a reaction to so much of this not-so-sane world telling people to be ashamed to be gay, an assertion of pride is very necessary). I’m happy to be American, and I’m content to be an American, and I actually love the July 4th cliché (“This country’s so great I’m going to get drunk and play with gunpowder”) but I am not proud to an American.

9/11 is the epitome of pride. As a result, our grief feels self-righteous. It’s kind of like after the Penn State pedophilia scandal, and everybody tried to out outrage each other: “This is horrible—it really upsets me.” “It upsets you? I have a nephew that age, so it bothers me more.” “You think it bothers you? I have a kid who loves sucking off old men, so it really bothers me.” Meanwhile, we punish people at the university who had nothing to do with it, just so we can say we did something. It pleases the lizard part of our brain that hisses “Action” every time we are upset, and we ignore the mammal part of our brain that comes later, asking “What good did that do?”

Our pop culture tells us to hold grudges. Luke Skywalker thought his parents were killed, and we wanted him to get revenge. Harry Potter knew his parents were killed, and we needed him to get revenge. Fine, fine, fine. But Harry Potter is kind of a bitch. His parents dying is a huge bummer, but he never knew them. In our world, people’s parents die all the time, and they get over it. That his main concern is still avenging them when he’s seventeen, makes him, I’m sorry, kind of a bitch. Our incessant need for revenge has turned us all into a nation of bitches.

These are trivial examples, but they resonate in important ways. Why do we still talk about World War II like it happened last week? We talk about Germany like they are war-hungry sociopaths, forgetting that they have been the one talking us down from our global bar-fight for half a century. That doesn’t matter because in the infancy of the American empire, we had our heroes and our villains. Germany is our villain, and to acknowledge that that may have changed is to acknowledge that we are no longer infants. More importantly, it dilutes the crimes that we committed during the Cold War (“Would you appease Hitler in Vietnam?”) and it brushes aside the apartheid that happens in Israel every day.

What would have happened if we forgot? If on the morning of 9/11, I turned to my roommate, who had just seen the future, and said, “Huh, that was weird,” and went about my day? What would have happened if all of America did that?

We would have certainly avoided one war and probably avoided two. More Americans than have died on 9/11 would be alive. So essentially, we could have prevented a second 9/11 by ignoring 9/11. That doesn’t even speak to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians who died. Our fear was real—it still is—but is that worth that price in blood? Would we be better off if we ignored 9/11?

No, actually. For one, we wouldn’t be human. One of the highest human functions is empathy, and the fact that we feel such strong empathy fourteen years removed speaks to our ability to love one another. If the sum-total of my thoughts after watching people commit suicide to avoid burning alive is “Shit, we don’t have to work today? Cool”, then I would be so degraded that I would barely be a human.

The problem isn’t that we remember; it’s that we half-remember. We remember our pain, but we don’t remember the pain we caused. We remember our fear, but we don’t remember that we became the bully, inciting fear in others. We remember our pride to be Americans, but not our joy to be Americans.

When we say “Never Forget”, let’s actually never forget. We remember the horror of 9/11 and remember the horror we inflicted because we were scared. Let’s remember that we are no longer the same country that was attacked, and we don’t want to be. Let’s not let anyone scare us into war ever again.

What we talk about when we talk about 9/11 is bullshit. We talk about American flags, shitty country music, the opening pitch of The World Series (Nice form, W, have you considered becoming a pitcher? Or seriously any motherfucking thing in the world other than president?). We can forget that.

Instead, let’s remember September 11th, 2015. What has happened over the last 14 years to shape this country, for good and for ill? What can we do to make the world better on September 11th, 2016? A nation without pride and without shame would not only make for a better world, it would make for a country that would utterly confound Osama Bin Laden and any Bin Ladens to come. That is a better revenge than anything we can punch in the face.

When You Need Money: The Webb/CentrePointe Legal Case 

After sending a ludicrous letter insulting the intelligence of the people of Lexington, the Webbs were back in action on Friday sending another letter [pdf] this one threatening to sue the city over their own inability to build a garage. 

This is meant to either

  • Further alienate the general public


  • Provide a last ditch effort at finding financing for their boondoggle. 

Having trouble raising tens of millions of dollars? Maybe you can sue the taxpayers and make them pay for it. 


And the Webbs are having trouble raising funds for their dumb project. It’s been 7 years since it was announced and so far nothing’s happened and no investors are biting. Their first major “tenant” long ago pulled out, their desperate attempts to sell bonds have been about to start for four months in a row [see RobMorris’ excellent full timeline]. 

At a City Council meeting on Thursday, the Webbs’ partner, Joe Rosenberg, tried to cast the CentrePointe project as a charity case: 

Which is funny given the fact ol’ Joe ran a pawn shop on the block that was long in his family.  

 Where’s this guy when you need him? 

After the CentrePointe block was torn down, receipt books from that pawn shop were pulled out of the rubble that showed decades of pawned engagement and wedding rings (among other things; that was the saddest), the date they were brought in and what was paid for them and promised for them. I’ve always thought that if you see someone struggling you help them, not kick them. But hey, what do I know about running a pawn shop. 

In the Webbs’ letter on Friday threatening a lawsuit, they claim the recent action of Lexington’s government — which pointed out that contractually the Webbs are obliged to fill in their hole after 60 days of inactivity, which has long passed — caused them to lose a potential tenant and thus they’re litigious/trying to raise investment capital by suing the city. The Herald Leader reports:

Because of the negative publicity the city’s demand letter has generated, one of the tenants for the project has pulled out, the letter said. The tenant was not named in the letter. 

Getty confirmed that Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, which has restaurants in Louisville and Cincinnati, withdrew from the project after CentrePointe received the city’s notice Tuesday. 

Getty said that developers hope if the city withdraws the notice, Ruby will return. 

Calls to Jeff Ruby this week were not returned.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2015/05/01/3830448/centrepointe-developers-threaten.html#storylink=cpy

So that’s apparently the tenant and thus the basis for the lawsuit. 

But… Just one more question… 

Jeff Ruby is not an idiot. He is a shrewd guy, a smart businessman, gregarious and cool enough to hang out with Drake and smoke cigars because, well, life is good. 

After seven years of total incompetence, did it really take a letter from a supposedly impotent city government to make Ruby sit up and think, “These Webb characters have literally no idea what they’re doing, do they?” 

Well, in fact, no. 

The entire basis of the Webbs’ litigious letter is that Ruby pulled out after the city’s actions. 


Ruby’s been tired of the Webbs’ BS for sometime. 

In January, Ruby was “frustrated”:   

By February, he was apathetic:


And on March 12th he’d had enough.

“Not doing it,” he tweeted. “Looking for a different location now. 

A month and nearly a half later, after the city of Lexington sent the Webbs a letter pointing out that no work on the construction and completion had been accomplished in at least 60 days, Ruby seemed to reiterate what he’d already decided: this nonsense isn’t worth the trouble. 


The entire legal case the Webbs are building is built off the back of the idea that the letter from Lexington pointing out that their agreement had been violated somehow magically alerted one of their tenants to the fact that the project was massively delayed (7 years!) and making zero progress toward completion. 

It should surprise no one that the construction of the Webbs’ legal case is as nonexistent as the construction of their imaginary development. 

CentrePointe is a hole in the ground, and so is the Webb legal argument. 

Now, when I asked Jeff Ruby about all this he tried valiantly to make everything nice. He said that after his March 12 tweet, he and the Webbs “patched things up next day.” But when I asked Jeff if he ended the project this past week because of the city’s letter or if he was just tired of being jerked around by the Webbs — who, you’ll recall, have been jerking even their own supporters around for over seven years — the excellent Mr. Ruby didn’t respond.    

 No answer. 

In January he was frustrated, by February he seemed to have given up, and in March he actually did give up. 

This past week Ruby gave up again. But the Webb brothers want you to believe this was a first time thing, a direct result of the city’s contractually obliged actions, rather than a continuation of a serious credibility problem they have with their own investors and partners. It’s an argument that insults the citizens of Lexington, and perhaps more importantly to the Webbs own case, insults the intelligence of Mr. Ruby, their supposed partner. 

If the Webbs would drive their own investors and partners away, why would the city be any different? 

If they think the citizens of Lexington are too stupid to understand what’s going on (or, as the case is, not going on), how dumb do they think their investors are? 

The Webb / CentrePointe letter to Lexington (tl;dr: “The people of Lexington are so freaking stupid!”)

The city sent the Webbs a letter, the Webbs sent the city a letter, time is short so let’s get to it:

And here are the pertinent PDF documents, the first of which is also in line below:

And here’s the Webb letter as images with literal pages of supporting evidence and impenetrable legalese which has been translated by B&P’s legal advisory team:

Mason+Miller+-+2015+0429 (dragged) 5

Simpler Webb:

  • What is the definition of “no”? For that matter, what does “toward” or “completion” even mean? What is a “Parking Garage”? Are not two cranes and an occasional dune buggy parked up on this site? Has not Uncle Dudley’s Big Wheel been spotted lying idle on its side in a spring puddle? Is that hole not actually in fact a garage?
  • Does not the time one spends on the morning john contemplating work that could potentially be done at some distant hypothetical point constitute in itself “work”? 

Mason+Miller+-+2015+0429 (dragged) 4

Simpler Webb:

  • Apparently during the winter months it “snows” and is “cold” and then it starts to “rain” all of which confounds construction companies round the world. History clearly shows that all structures ever built were built during times of extended temperate drought. Hopefully during this thing called “summer” it won’t then become “blazing hot” and “unbearably humid.” We do not understand these earthly conditions.
  • As evidence below will demonstrate, and as the dates mentioned above make clear, very occasional maintenance of the CentrePitte constitutes in itself work toward the completion of CentrePointe, for if the hole were not merely and intermittently maintained over years of total inactivity, there would be no “work” done and thus the hole would be filled with dirt and covered with grass which is not “work toward completion” but in fact a hindrance of completion, thus, maintaining the status quo of the hole is by definition work toward completion. It makes sense because it is a circle of reasoning and circles make sense.
  • Furthermore, LFUCG’s letter of a day ago demonstrably and perhaps irreparably damaged the supposed good standing of the Webbs and their failed CentrePointe project in the community and among potential investors who, heretofore, had zero knowledge that this hole even existed nor the fact that it has existed for two years, nor, further, that the entire project has been a failure for nearly eight years, nor further that the Webbs have been failures in their own right for four decades. Had the letter of yesterday not been written, the good people of Lexington and the mysterious dead investors of the world would have continued on in a state of total ignorance as is the common state of the common man, of which the Webbs are not. Prior to sending this letter, there was literally zero knowledge of the project’s failed history — easily accessible google reports and an extensive recent local TV news story notwithstanding. This letter from LFUCG was clearly an act of terror, and now the whole entire world thinks this project is a failure whereas a day before no one ever suspected that the Webbs were liars.

Mason+Miller+-+2015+0429 (dragged) 3

Simpler Webb:

  • Oh! And another thing, that letter from a day ago caused a totally unnamed prime tenant to move out. This unnamed supposed tenant had literally zero knowledge that a project which has sat idle for eight years through a series of bungling mismanagements and dysfunctions by the developer might be in trouble. Then LFUCG went and wrote that letter. The tenant was really, really, really stupid and was prepared to hand over lots of money without doing any due diligence but then they read some letter from some guy in a city government which, as was stated at the outset of this reply, has zero power. Powerless government has no power to destroy this already destroyed project and has now destroyed this already destroyed project which is, as point of fact, why it’s already destroyed… because of this letter from LFUCG.

Mason+Miller+-+2015+0429 (dragged)

Simpler Webb:

  • See! Work! The poorly constructed walls of the hole were falling apart due to total inactivity at the work site and the Webbs own shoddy construction standards. So workers worked to work at nailing a couple two by fours to the poorly constructed wall which clearly, is yet another significant step toward completion of the parking garage. Two by fours! Shoddy construction rectified! Work!

Mason+Miller+-+2015+0429 (dragged) 1

Simpler Webb:

  • Don’t email me.

Mason+Miller+-+2015+0429 (dragged) 2

Simpler Webb:

  • Did we ever pay these guys? We have a terrible track record of not paying our contractors. Does anyone remember if we paid these guys?


McConnell Meets Voters on Courthouse Steps (He didn’t mind doing it but it wasn’t particularly enlightening)

“So this notion that somehow going out and meeting the voters, speaking on the courthouse steps, shaking hands at the factory gate — all of which we do, you understand — is somehow a better way to communicate with our potential supporters astounds me. ‘Cause I can’t recall having had very many detailed discussions of the great issues of the day standing there bleary eyed at 4:30 a.m. working the plant gate. For those of you that haven’t tried it it’s a fascinating experience. I don’t mind doing it, but I don’t think it’s particularly enlightening.”

Mitch McConnell wrapped up his campaigning on Saturday in Scott County where he joined Andy Barr and other Republicans to rally a small crowd of supporters on the courthouse steps as the sun set. A fitting end.

@RepAndyBarr addressing Scott County Rally #KY6 #kysen #kyelect @team_mitch @damon_thayer @RyanQuarlesKy

A photo posted by Aaron Thompson (@kentuckyabt) on

He didn’t mind doing it but despite that setting sun, it wasn’t particularly enlightening:

Pregnancy results from rape or incest? Andy Barr’s message to the lady-voters: Suck It Up!

The National Pro-Life Alliance is out with its 2014 endorsements — releasing them on the weekend before the election for some reason. It’s a pretty sad report since the vast, vast, vast majority of candidates from both parties simply ignored the NPLA questionnaire. But not everyone did.

Andy Barr responded to the “2014 Pro-Life Candidate Survey” and in so doing, re-affirms his belief that survivors of rape and incest should be forced by the heavy hand of the government to carry a pregnancy to term.

Andy Barr’s response also clearly establishes that the extremist Tea Party congressman believes that “emergency contraception” pills which are routinely given, for example, to women who have just been raped should be banned.

Andy Barr also affirms that he will “support and co-sponsor a Life at Conception Act defining that life begins at the moment of conception.”

Andy Barr, a self-proclaimed Constitutional scholar, answers YES to the question:

“Will you support legislation which, under Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, would remove from the federal courts jurisdiction over the question of abortion?”

Yes. That’s right! In Andy Barr’s understanding of America, if the Constitution ain’t breaking their way, the checks and balances of government should no longer exist. Now if only Andy could get that piece of legislation similarly stricken from the jurisdiction of the courts, then the abortion legislation wouldn’t immediately be struck down.

Here are the questions:


(click to enlarge)

Note the Note: “These are the exact questions that were sent to the rival candidates for United States House and Senate in your state. We encourage you to use your power as a voter. Insist your candidates support the above pro-life measures.” 

Here are Andy Barr’s answers:


You’ll note that Hal Rogers did not reply. Neither did Brett Guthrie or Mitch McConnell (again, you can click here to see the whole document). You may also notice that the totally pointless Democrat running against Hal Rogers did respond to the survey — and that, curiously, on Question #10 there is not a YES or a NO but rather an Asterisk.

What does that mean?

Well, here’s questions #10:

“Will you support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning abortion except to save the life of the mother?”

And here’s what an * means:


Got that?

If there’s an * for Question #10, then you support a Constitutional amendment that bans all abortions unless the woman was raped.

But if you answer a straight up YES to #10, as Andy Barr clearly did, then you tell that raped woman to shove it.

Andy Barr doesn’t believe the survivors of rape and incest have suffered enough and he personally wants to shove his Big Government laws down their throats.

Life of the mother? Andy Barr will reluctantly allow an abortion if the mom would die.

Pregnancy results from rape? Andy Barr’s message to the lady-voters: Suck It Up.

None of this is new:


But it’s good to see Andy Barr is just as insane as ever.

For good measure, here’s the “Backgrounder & Explanation” information provided by the National Pro-Life Alliance on their questionnaire:


(click to enlarge)

Good thing the nation’s largest organization of pro-abortion OB/GYNs put their money behind Andy Barr’s candidacy because they felt “medical malpractice reform” was more important than the health and welfare of the women they treat.