The Side-Takers by Tom Kendall

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The Side-Takers by Tom Kendall

I know there’s an entire type of annoying article that just yells at the culture for using the terminology it commonly uses. And I know that in terms of effectiveness it’s about like bowling with a croissant. But damn it, listen to me for a minute.

As we near another September 11th, I got to thinking about something. Why in the Hell do people call my generation Millennials?

I get the theory. The turn of the Millennium was, in theory, the defining event of our generation. But—why? Because it’s a big round number? Neat. And? So, what?  Does the number do tricks or something?

I think part of what happened is that the romantic ideas of what the 2000s would be like, which were sold to the Baby Boomers en masse, gave the number 2000 an emotional imprint way outsized to its actual significance. When the year 2000 actually came, the number of personal robot servants was zero; the number of flying cars was one, technically, and the FAA refused to let it fly; the number of physics-violating food pills was—and will remain—zero; the number of moon colonies was—and I would like to imagine won’t remain, but who knows—zero. You know what 2000 actually brought in practice? A misinformed scare about some badly-written computer code and a party that took a week to clean up from. As I recall, that was all.

If you are a Baby Boomer and you feel I’m just joining in on the perpetual train of blaming your generation for everything, well, speaking as a “Millennial”, I’ve got apologies for some of you, ’cause I know, it sucks to be typecast. Believe me, I get it. And then again, certain others?—what goes around comes around, that’s all I’m going to say. I’m guessing y’all know exactly who you are, yeah?

Anyway, honestly, I don’t think Gen-X bought into the hype nearly as much, though it seemed from my underage perspective like the average Gen-Xer put more stock in the Millenium bug as a trade-off.

But the point is, that’s all there was to 2000. Reheated nostalgia, half-baked fear and an indelible stain on the couch from your co-worker drinking a bottle of cheap champagne with only supermarket caviar and Ritz crackers to line his stomach. Not to say that it’s not cool to see the turn of the Millennium, but in retrospect it seems like a big gimmick. In case you didn’t notice, nothing else happened.

You know what the actual defining cultural event of our generation was? Hint to Mr. Soetoro, it has nothing to do with his election. Frankly I hope Trump buries his legacy so deep that the poem “Ozymandias” is retroactively dedicated in his honor.

As far as I’m concerned, it was September Eleventh, Two-thousand and one. You know why I think it?

Because the days immediately after were the last time we were all Americans, all in this together. In some ways it was a reality check. Not— as the crazy Libertarians and Radical One-World Leftists say—because 9/11 was the day we reaped the fruits of our imperialist ambitions, but because in the aftermath we reaped fruits of Soviet imperial ambition. It took, as I recall, all of between two weeks and a month, for most of the Left in the country to make a decision— and they chose very wrong. Three generations of ongoing psychological warfare, agitprop and behind-the-scenes work to degrade our culture culminated in that moment, when the American Left decided that between standing by their country and standing by utopian idealism, it was utopian idealism all the way.

At first, that was a nearly undetectable fracture line. But the talking heads on television could call Iraq Bush’s personal vendetta, and they could rewrite history then only a few months old about how much international support we actually had going into Iraq until they were blue in the face. They couldn’t shut up the blogs. Republicans already mistrusted the media and were going to the blogs to be around people who seemed sane. It only intensified. Democrats felt the media had to pull too many punches and went to their blogs to be around people who were properly fired up about their causes. And I was still sort of peripheral to politics at the time, but all I can infer is the talking heads got scared, and they got scared fast. I have to assume that because Dan Rather disgraced himself doing something that only a desperate person would do: pushing a bogus document on George Bush that was, oh, how did he put it?: “fake but accurate”. Newborn new-media got one look at that document and laughed ’til they wet themselves. New media went toe to toe with old media and won. Now Conservatives knew what they had only suspected—media integrity was in the toilet.

Having failed with Al The-Internet-Inventor and John “Rice Ass” Kerry, the old media arrayed for one last huzzah, working American guilt over race like an aging mother working her kids’ guilt over not visiting. They got what they thought they wanted—Jimmy Carter, terms two and three.

But in that time the Right also saw Journ-o-List, “Hide the Decline”, and reporting on the Tea Party so disingenuous that you could only conclude the media was either thick as a post or active enemies (or you could embrace the healing power of “and”). We saw all ZIRP all the time in the midst of the largest expansion of debt in our history with bupkis to show for it, Solyndra, and gas prices “necessarily skyrocket”, which put paid to the belief that Democratic ideas worked even a little bit at getting the economy running. Not only that, we saw Operation Fast and Furious, Benghazi, a truly idiotic Iran “deal” penned largely with a figurehead dictator and having nothing to do with the people actually running the country, “more flexibility” for Putin out of Obama (supported wholeheartedly by the same people who would be seeing Russians under their beds at Hillary’s bequest in 2016), and Chinese expansionism completely unchallenged. By the way, we also saw Angela Merkel decide to turn her country into a giant homeless shelter for the third world, with predictable results. If anyone thought globalists had an iota of a clue how the world worked or were ready to defend the country, the idea started died right there. But probably worst of all, we on the right saw Prism—the program through which major US companies partnered with the government to install backdoors in their systems allowing utterly unwarranted and largely undetectable spying—not to mention the IRS intimidation scandal used to illegally neuter the Tea Party, and the Net Neutrality bill which, in a roundabout way, put who got what internet access under governmental jurisdiction.

All this, but especially the last part, conservatives heard loud and clear—and in 2016, they voted in the election heard ’round the world. And then something amazing happened. Incensed that eight years of bungling, mismanagement, decline, insults, mischaracterizations, slander, lies, theft and voter intimidation had somehow failed to win hearts and minds, the Left decided at last it was time to embrace the inner communist they always had wanted to be, and went full potato. In one decade we went from a Left that insisted vehemently that Republicans were only calling them socialists as negative spin, to one with so many declared socialists it looks like the Berkley faculty lounge. Gone are the days of hiding the tax’n’spend policies behind centrist platitudes. The Left has a very cohesive platform, just not a coherent one—billions in taxes, trillions in spending, government healthcare, government transportation, government income, government spying, racially based reparations, open borders and a brand new Llama named Jimmy for every little girl. I made the last one up. It’s too sane and fiscally feasible. Also it assumes there’s such a gender as “girl”, bigot.

All this against a background of silicon valley oligarchs straight out of a James Bond film, constantly collecting everything on everyone to sell to G*d-knows-who while preaching equality out the other sides of their mouths; censoring in the morning and bleating about tolerance in the afternoon; quietly helping Communist China develop the tools they need for oppression and genocide and knowing the old media won’t even ask them to pinkie swear they won’t use them here. Because really, who the Hell would believe them? After Rather lying about Bush; the media lying about Obama’s economy so hard they had to change the methodology for counting jobs statistics to prop it up, then having Candy Crawley prop up his ass on a debate stage (though given the nightmare Romney has turned into maybe I ought to send her a thank-you card); THEN handing Hillary the debate questions in advance; not to mention lying about the climate, lying about Benghazi, lying about the effects of mass immigration on the 1st world; maybe lying about how Trump was really polling; and definitely lying, all these years, about being socialist, unless they’re trying to sell me on the idea they only just heard about this Marx guy in the last three years but they think he has a point—come on, who the Hell would trust the Left? Why the Hell would we?

Somewhere in this maelstrom, either at its early end or its late end, “Millennials” came of age. It hasn’t been a good era for being a squish, let’s put it that way. Being Left or Right, for many of us, was a point of sufficient vehemence that it defined your whole social world. I am just old enough that I barely have friends from the early part of that period. After about, oh, 2008, I largely didn’t have— or want— a liberal friend. Democrats just couldn’t help but see Republicans as utter monsters. And republicans had to stick to one another and start socializing in secret or out of the way as a matter of basic survival, because of the sheer zealotry of the Left and their willingness to abuse their waning cultural power. I can’t say if we’re the most polarized American generation ever—for a start, I doubt good statistics were done on the subject before the modern and post-modern era— but we’re certainly up there, I think.

How’d we get here? You ask. I often hear it asked. But that’s the hard lesson 9/11 had to teach us, I think. We didn’t “get” here. A friend asked me what I thought would have happened if 9/11 hadn’t. Would we just have gone on? Well, maybe we would have. Maybe nothing would ever have brought the Left’s deceptive reporting and dark aspirations into sharper focus. Maybe we’d have just been eaten by the snake whole, and we’d go the way Germany is going now—and watch that country closely, buddy, I betcha it isn’t done going and it’s not going to be pretty when it is. As it was, that wasn’t how it worked out, because through a twist of fate, Leftists got put to the question of whether they were loyal to America or loyal to socialism. The answer was always going to go only one way—you could tell because every time the question was America’s position or someone else’s they always stood up for the latter—but finally, after 15 years, they’ve come around to actually admitting it. Trump didn’t unmask the Left—he just showed up to give them what they’d asked at such length for two terms of Obama. It was 9/11 that unmasked the Left.

“Did you go crazy, or did you report/ on the day they wounded New York”, as Leonard Cohen put it, and Sarah so often quotes.

So don’t tell me my generation was defined by a big round number that had the lasting cultural impact of a marshmallow peep dropped from knee-height onto a pillow. I mentioned the Millennium Bug to a friend my age the other day and they had to think about what that even had been. But you bet your ass they know what 9/11 was. 9/11 was the day we learned who our countrymen actually were. It shaped our foreign policy and changed the face of who got to make our domestic policy. Without 9/11 it’s possible we’d be too far gone even to think of electing Trump. The snake would be up to our necks and we’d hardly know it.

The event was horrific. It’s impossible not to feel at a gut level that I’d turn it back and stop it all from happening if I could. It shocked the American psyche, we still don’t know if reparably. We lost thousands of irreplaceable young men, among the best our nation had, in the war that followed. I’m not glad it happened. I wish there was another way to test us, and maybe in another world there was.

But what happened also happened. Having a catastrophe befall you and learning nothing, taking nothing at all from it, isn’t one tragedy, it’s two. What we got was a chance to glimpse the truth about our slow cultural erosion. That was almost harder for us to face up to. Sometimes I wonder if we’ll see it through, or if we’ll chicken out halfway and even that terrible sacrifice on a clear September morning in 2001 will be in vain. I really hope not, but I guess we’ll see.

So if you want a pithy term for us, something that quickly defines us, the thing that our lives bent on, don’t call us Millennials. The turning of the millennium only mattered from the cozy confines of the 1990s, looking forward unaware of what was coming. Nobody who actually lived through that time can still honestly believe that’s the most important thing that occurred. But don’t call us 9/11ers either, obviously, or nobody in our generation will ever get to fly on a plane again.

No, call us the Side-Takers. We’re Generation Faction, Gen Polar, the Pick-A-Team Kids . We showed up to a cold civil war that far predated us just in time to pick our friends. 9/11 separated the future Tea Partier and MAGAmerican from future Anti-fa terrorists, because it was the moment we truly became aware that there were two very distinct kinds of Americans and the two did not reconcile easily. It shaped our whole lives, and I suspect that long after we’re all dead, we’ll be remembered— not for organic gluten-free soy infused everything, stupid haircuts, excessive beards, phone addiction or the social media epidemic—but for that.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

In closing, lest we lose sight of the day, today:

Stay safe this 9/11. Pray for the souls of the departed.

And Lord of our fathers, be with us yet, lest we forget, lest we forget.

323 responses to “The Side-Takers by Tom Kendall

  1. Benjamin Tyler Smith

    You know, I never really looked at 9/11 this way before, but you are right. This horrible attack on the country showed us the fault-lines within our own populace that were just under the surface. I saw a headline on Drudge just now that read “USA feels divisive in 9/11 aftermath as memories of unity fade” but I don’t remember that sense of unity lasting more than a few months back in 2001. Maybe a year, at most? It certainly didn’t last all the way to 2019.

    And you’re right on post-2016 politics. I’m still shocked that so many politicians are openly talking about socialism and even communism as if they were grand ideals. And I guess to them, they are. They just usually do a better job of hiding it. We do indeed live in interesting times, and I hope that God continues to have mercy and to shed His Grace on us. Take care, and stay safe, all.

    And never forget 9/11.

  2. I like being the first graduating class of the new Millennium. Sure, it’s as meaningless as a birthday– or a wedding ring. Like “population spike” is any cooler?

    I’m also enough of a geek that I point out ’01 was the new Millennium. 2000 had a lot of graduating classes squander the chance to use mottoes like “last chance for greatness” and “finishing the millennium with class.”

    Of course we’re the 9/11 generation.

    The media won’t use that, though, same way that we were invisible “youth” up until even THEY couldn’t make “people in their 30s” as the “youth” work, at which point they started using Millennial all the time– to mean roughly “stupid kids these days.” (My mom was under the impression that “Millennial” meant “born about the turn of the century.” Mostly does radio news and talks to people.)

    A misinformed scare about some badly-written computer code and a party that took a week to clean up from. As I recall, that was all.

    In fairness, the misinformed scare is why there wasn’t a disaster. Everybody got into it, so all the guys who would usually ignore their computer dudes screaming “the computers will NOT FUNCTION if we don’t fix this” decided it was actually worth fixing. *shrug* I’ll take it!

    Which sort of goes to your point on preferred names– I care that we win. Even if it’s a Flight 93 victory.

    Hope to visit that this weekend– with my kids. Now to finish getting them dressed to go out and BE America.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Y2K was a known problem back in the 80’s among Data Processing people but getting the Corp types to spend money to fix it was the real problem.

      Oh, why didn’t computers store dates as four digits? Simple, one upon a time, storage space for data was expensive so it made sense at the time to use two digit years. Later on, nobody wanted to pay the money to change the year to four digits.

      Oh, the News Media Panic wasn’t “necessary” and as always the News Media made up garbage to create “News”.

      IE Airplanes wouldn’t have fallen from the sky.

      • My aunt made really good money (enough to carry her through retirement) because a bank went ‘oh crap’ and its computers were programmed in… Cobol. All their young programmers gearing up the new system didn’t speak Cobol. And by the time they were advertising for someone who knew Cobol there weren’t a lot of folk left who did.

        • COBOL really wasn’t that hard to learn. But it did take a different way of looking at code to re-write it into object oriented programming.

          • I got in on the very end of card based programming.
            The running joke was: how can you tell the difference between Fortran and Cobol programmers?
            Easy, Fortran guy carries his card deck in his shirt pocket, Cobol girl carries hers in a shoe box.

            • When I was a young airman, one of my first duties was at the end of the duty day to take the boxes of punch cards over to Data Processing for them to run during the night. Only took one time dropping a box and having the cards go everywhere, and then spending 3 hours more putting them all back into order for me to make sure they were very securely fastened before going out the door. And yes, we missed the run time that night. Boss was NOT a happy camper.

              • I thought Hollerith cards had a sorting number field so automatic sorters could put them back in order. Or was that a gadget only the few had?

                • Carrington Dixon

                  Depends. COBOL programs had sequence numbers on the left; FORTRAN on the right. Data cards? We don’t need no stinking sequence numbers.

                • It wasn’t built-into the cards, but something that you could decide to add. Or not. There were only 80 columns, and quite often they needed all the space for data. COBOL and FORTRAN originally had fixed columns, with about 5 reserved for the sorting number – but they also had to reserve another column to continue the line on the next card (and sometimes several cards for COBOL).

                  Second, the sorting number didn’t get there automatically even if space was reserved for it. If a card deck was output from the machine, it was fairly easy to add a counter in memory and instructions to output that to the field in the card, then increment it – but it did have to be programmed. When the cards were produced by typing – and all programs were, and nearly all data began as something typed onto cards – setting up the sorting number was some extra work on a job that was difficult enough to start with.

                  IIRC (this was a _long_ time ago, and it might vary depending on the key punch), you typed codes onto a card to create a template or program for the cards; this would control things like skipping to the start of the next field, copy constant data from the previous card, or read a number from the previous card, increment it, and punch it into the next card. This template card was wrapped around a cylinder and mounted in a chamber inside the keypunch. A sequence number would get a code in the sequence number columns that meant “read the previous card for these columns and add 1” (or 5 or 10, if you wanted to be able to insert cards later – which you _needed_ for software). The main track for the cards through the keypunch included two positions, first punch, and then read – but the sequence numbering wouldn’t work if there wasn’t a previous card to be read. So you had to type a starting number on the first card. If you erred and had to throw out a card, you had to do something to re-start the numbering. If you had to add cards in the middle, it was likely to turn into a mess keeping the numbers in order, even if you incremented by 5 or 10 to leave a few spaces open.

                  And so much of the time, people just figured that they wouldn’t drop the deck and so didn’t need the sequence numbers.

                  Finally, the setup for a card sorter wasn’t easy. In the one I used, the program was entered by pushing pins into a punch board. Unless the “sort by number in columns x-y” program board had been saved, it might be an hour to re-create it. And then, the cards had to go through once for each column for numbers (twice for letters or alphanumeric), and so running it to sort, say, 200 cards was probably more trouble than a hand sort.

            • We tried a program in high school (1970) in COBOL. The quasi-assembler NEAT/3 that NCR used was pretty concise, while the COBOL gave me writer’s cramp (had to have it on paper before going to the keypunch).

              The tech programmer we hired at HP in ’83 wrote COBOL for Southwest Airlines beforehand. He had little trouble getting up to speed on FORTRAN and C.

              The biggest unfixed bug from Y2K that I encountered were some forms dated January 19100. OTOH, there was a fair amount of work to eliminate the more horrible ones.

              • I was fueling SWA and the airports screens for the SWA schedule in NOLA Intnl said 1900, but everything else was fine. Calais Cable (Calais had a telephone company as well in Lafourche and Terrebone Parishes) had their date as 1900 as well. That was about it. Everyone (well those that panicked) freaked over something that really tended to affect older systems that didn’t do anything critical or the date it thought it was had no effect on their operation.

                • I never heard a good explanation for why Y2K was going to ruin everything even if it wasn’t fixed. So the computer thinks its 1900. That might mess up some billing, but it’s not like all the computers are going to think, “Wait! In 1900 I don’t exist, so I should uninvent myself!”

                  • OK, here’s a f’rinstance. First, you seldom have a computer running alone. If it has to talk to another, it can get tricky.

                    Business example (not an example from real life, but something that could crop up)

                    Galactic HQ to Sector Command: “Give me all your records from 12/31/99”
                    ..Sector command: (Add 19 prefix to GHQ)
                    ..SC to Group computers: “Give me all your records from 12/31/1999”
                    ….GC A: (truncates leading 19) “Here’s the data from 12/31/99”
                    ….GC B: (already been fixed) “Here’s the data from 12/31/1999”
                    ….GC C: (Not fixed) “Here’s the data from 12/31/99”
                    ..SC (Adds 19 prefix to GC A) “Here’s all the data”

                    Next day:

                    GHQ “Give me all your records from 1/1/00”
                    ..SC to group computers (adds 19 prefix) “Give me all your records from 1/1/1900”
                    ….GCA: “Here’s the data from 1/1/00”
                    ….GCB “Huh? I don’t have any data from then”
                    ….GCC “Here’s the data from 1/1/100”
                    ..SC: “Galactic HQ, one of our group computers is missing, and I don’t understand another.”

                    Now, picture this in a real time, critical application. Flight control systems should (I think) use time stamps and such for location information. Now, come the new year, what if 10% of the planes go missing? Or, what if all?

                    I think it’s Gresham’s corollary to Murphy’s law (paraphrased): “If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong in the worst possible way.”

                    • **I think it’s Gresham’s corollary to Murphy’s law (paraphrased): “If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong in the worst possible way.”**

                      Forgot to add “at the worst possible time, especially if a computer is involved.”

                  • ok, picture a little embedded computer that logs medication doses on a time and date, and suddenly can’t increment the date and crashes, and someone doesnt get their meds… (note: a LOT of little embedded machines exactly like this were replaced before y2k for this exact reason…)

                  • One not-for-programmers explanation I got was that a heck of a lot of computer work involves “take stuff from yesterday and use it to make stuff for today.”

                    With the Y2K bug? There isn’t data from yesterday. Divide by zero error.

                    • That’s a good explanation of much of the expected trouble. There is also a good deal of computing that requires calculating the difference between two dates, and with two year dates that all blew up on 01/01/00. (It would have blown up in 1900 as well as 2000, except that there were no computers so these calculations were done by hand, hopefully by a human with a little sense.)

                      I’ll also note that long before computers, it became common to save a couple of strokes when hand-writing or typing a date to use only two digit years. When there are things that may run over 100 years, like a human lifespan, that can cause problems in any year, not just magic ones. E.g., it’s 1958 and my birth year is ’53. Am I going to kindergarten or drawing social security? Humans would usually know from the context, or at worst, ask: “Mr. Moss, is Mark your son or your great-grandfather?” Computers have no common-sense or awareness of context that wasn’t programmed in, and limited ability to ask a question.

                      So programmers struggled to find reasonable assumptions, which varied according to the domain. E.g., if it’s a mortgage origination date, it cannot be in the future, and it’s probably safe to assume it’s less than a century old. The same assumptions almost always work for a student’s date of birth – but when a centenarian enrolled at a college, someone was going to have to manually work around the computer’s assumption that she’s too young for college. The census (the very first users of punch cards for data processing) actually does not care if you are 5 or 105, only where (and if) you live. But other calculations work with future dates. So when you are updating records from two-digit to four-digit years, you can’t just write a function that, say, changes all years 00-49 to 20xx and 50-99 to 19xx and use it everywhere. You have to understand what range of dates is likely for each different situation.

                      And of course, sometimes it cannot be done by automation. Regular Social Security only pays off for people over 58 or so, and no one has reached 120 so far, so you can fit birth dates for current recipients into a bracket. But SSI may be paid to preschoolers and to centenarians – it has to handle ages from 0 to nearly 120, so data with 2 year birth dates is going to have to be manually updated from other sources…

                  • it’s not like all the computers are going to think, ‘Wait! In 1900 I don’t exist, so I should uninvent myself!’

                    How many episodes of Star Trek depended on their forcing a logical contradiction on a computer, forcing it to freeze?

                    It is 1900 so I do not yet exist.
                    But I do exist, therefore it cannot be 1900.
                    But it is 1900, so I do not exist.
                    But I do exist, therefore it cannot be 1900.
                    But it is 1900, so I do not exist.
                    But I do exist, therefore it cannot be 1900.
                    But it is 1900, so I do not exist.
                    But I do exist, therefore it cannot be 1900.
                    But it is 1900, so I do not exist.
                    Does not compute. Does not compute. Does not compute. …

                    BAD DATA! BAD! No Cookies for you!

                  • Amsel, Matthew

                    Whole bunches of software wouldn’t run

                • IIRC, the masthead of the Minneapolis Star Tribune read January 1, 1900. They fixed it before the next edition came out.

                  • There was a site where it was 19100. We couldn’t see comments until it was fixed. (Year was “19” plus the count of years from 1900.)

            • This is slander; by the time COBOL Girl achieved a whole shoebox full of punch cards, we Fortran Guys had progressed to paper tape. 😉

              I still use a piece of software that thinks today is 9/11/;9.

              • I have some pink and silver mylar tape from a minicomputer. I’ll drape it over the bookcases at Christmas some years.

                Some of the grad students used the Sasquatch-shoe boxes for new punchcards for really large* Fortran programs. The paranoid ones used the comment field for line numbers, though I think that needed some magic from an IBM electromechanical accounting machine. Very vague memory says the AM could be linked to a slave keypunch.

                (*) As I recall, at the undergrad level, we’d hit 100-150 lines. Some of the grad students were pushing 3000 lines.

            • My late Uncle Edgar (Mother’s elder brother) helped design the computer set up for (then) Cape Canaveral, borrowing time on the Navy’s computers at night. They were run on vacuum tubes. God alone knows what language the used.

              • FORTRAN (v1) was released in 1957, and the ‘pedia says it ran on the IBM 704, a tube machine.

                In 1973, FORTRAN II machines were obsolete, though the EE department at school kept the two we had. (The prime use was for a Navy radiolocation project.) The IBM 360 that TPTB wanted everybody to use ran FORTRAN IV (and considerably more exotic stuff on it.)

      • “IE Airplanes wouldn’t have fallen from the sky.”

        The woman who was then running the FAA celebrated New Years Eve on an airline flight, along with her key staff. An excellent example of leadership.

    • The Y2K bug is an interesting study in “spend the money to avoid the catastrophe and get no credit.” As a programmer from the 80s on, I remember thinking in the 90s that it was overblown, until the Navy in 1998 in their annual Trident Warrior sea trials, decided to set the clocks ahead, and the Sun UNIX computers on their ships wouldn’t boot! That was a wake up call for those of us who thought, “It’s just a COBOL problem. Who cares?” That there was so little disruption was a quiet triumph that led most to conclude it was never a problem.

      • And don’t get me started on how a computer wrestles with the elaborate integer math of the Gregorian Calendar and that there is no year zero in the Christian calendar.

        • It’s not just computers… calendars are *hard*. Yeah, the basics are simple, but the edge cases will drive you insane.

          Take something simple, like the change from Julian to Gregorian calendars. Gregory XIII changed some details of the calendar system and issued an edict; Christendom changed to the new system. Most of it. And some countries, like the Russian Empire, stayed with the old system for a while. Like, oh, more than three hundred years… and that’s not counting the places that changed over officially but not in practice, ones where it took a while for the word to get around, etc. You can’t just say “September 11, 1601”; you have to know *where* it was September 11, and whether it was de jure or de facto.

          You *could* just select an arbitrary date and count forward and back from that in in days. But calendar-makers always want to include the cycles of the moon, and the fact that there’s not an even number of days in a year, and then they want months and weeks, so they start adding corrections, and adjustments, and adjustments to the corrections, and revisions, and then they dump the whole thing for the next greatest idea, which is just as faulty as the ones before…

          The closest we have to a decent calendar is the Julian astronomical calendar (not the other Julian calendar…) but there are a dozen versions of *that*, because “standards are wonderful, we must have more to choose from.” But you’re probably familiar with the basic format of Julian dates, which resolve down to seconds, not days: September 11, 2019. 3:01:16 PM converts to 2458738.12611; “These are the voyages…”

          • Carrington Dixon

            calendars are *hard*.
            Tell me about it. Back when I was chasing Y2K issues, I could a lot of routines that were a little shaky about leap years. Yeah, 2000 was a leap year, but 1900 was not and 2100 won’t be. I fixed the routines I found, but I am sure there are more still lurking out there.

            • Let’s see….from memory, it’s every 4 years is a leap year, unless it’s divisible by 20, unless it’s a century, unless the century is divisible by 20.

              *goes to look*

              Whoops, nope. Rather off.

              It’s every 4 years except for centuries, but the centuries divisible by 4 that still are leap years. Except if it’s a millennium divisible by four, that’s not a leap year.

              • I don’t think your source has it correct. The rule — and as a programmer who’s had to deal with date math pretty often, I’m quite certain of this — is:

                1. If divisible by 4, leap year.
                2. BUT if divisible by 100, not leap year.
                3. BUT if divisible by 400, still a leap year.

                So 2000 is a leap year, but 1900 and 2100 won’t be. The next year ending in two zeroes that will be a leap year will be 2400. There’s no rule about “a millennium divisible by four”.

                • Less a rule, and more that’s where the math goes. At the year 4000, it’ll be off by a day. (minus a bit)

                  • They knew it at the time, but they decided to kick that one down the road.

                    And now, every now again, they put in a leap second. Suspect that will do the trick.

                    • Posted in the wrong spot: Let me do it here….

                      Similar issue, but not the same.

                      Leap seconds are more due to the fact that the earth’s rotation rate isn’t quite 24 hours, 00 minutes, and 00 seconds, and is slowing down, thanks to tidal effects (moon, mostly). Rather than redefine the second, the leap second came into play.

                      I don’t know if there’s an algorithm for adding one or if the international standards people agree on when it’s time to add time to time.

                • Most of the stuff going into it THAT deep then point out that the natural variations in the planet’s rotation will probably build up to be a notable problem waaaaaaay before we get to that point. ^.^

                • Been awhile, but Robin Munn has the math I remember. I was dealing with leap year century and 2 digit Y2K issues my first 4 months of a new job, 1990, (COBOL, of coarse) because annual growth models (timber) for the next 10 years were over due. No. The growth models were NOT correct if the correct century wasn’t assigned. World ending … no. But the PIA of dealing with it might have had something to do with my growling at those who stated that 2 digit years were “good enough”. Nope. You want it reported that way, fine, your neck. But data will be stored 4 digit. Plus any string that includes dates will be stored YYYYMMDD, and start the string (says you it won’t have to ever be a sort that is used, pull the other leg).

                  Almost 4 year since I’ve programmed. I’m starting to forget, at least off the top of my head, some of the nightmares that were obviously my fault because I listened to the primary end user. Bring them up, and I’ll go, uh, no, wait a minute.

                  • Similar issue, but not the same.

                    Leap seconds are more due to the fact that the earth’s rotation rate isn’t quite 24 hours, 00 minutes, and 00 seconds, and is slowing down, thanks to tidal effects (moon, mostly). Rather than redefine the second, the leap second came into play.

                    I don’t know if there’s an algorithm for adding one or if the international standards people agree on when it’s time to add time to time.

                    • the earth’s rotation rate isn’t quite 24 hours, 00 minutes, and 00 seconds, and is slowing down

                      The Earth’s rotation is Slowing Down!!!!! Clearly drastic action is needed before it slows to a stop! The UN MUST form a panel to hold hearings and prescribe degradation of American’s rights appropriate steps to address this crisis!!!!!!

                      At the very least, we must all face West and run in place until the Earth returns to its anointed speed!

                    • Eh, they’ll get the accumulated day in the process.

                  • Before Y2K, if I wrote a date on paper, it was MM/DD/YY. After Y2K, it was MM/DD/YYYY. I *still* do that, even when I try to do the 2 digit version. Datecodes on things I’ve put into service? 4 if it fits, 2 if it’s tiny AA batteries might get 2 digits.

                    (I datecode stuff so I a) know how long X lasts so I can keep it in stock, and b) if this batch has a different use rate than I’m expecting. Handy for newer tech, like CFL and LED bulbs.)

              • I’d have to look myself. You may possibly be thinking of the modification added by the Soviet Union when they finally converted to Gregorian. Apparently their rules yield a calendar more accurate than ours.

          • calendars are *hard*.

            Especially those big stone ones, like that one in Wiltshire, England. But if you want something that really lets you tell the dates for centuries, that’s how you’ve got to go.

          • My favorite example of calendar weirdness could be turned into a nifty science fiction short story of sorts:

            You’re a time traveler, but something went wrong on your latest jump to the past, and you have no idea when or where you are, except that you’re somewhere on Earth, and judging by the clothing people are wearing, it’s sometime in the Renaissance era. You make sure your universal translator is working, and that your clothing looks like theirs, and start walking towards the town you can see. Along the way, you meet a man and ask him, “Excuse me, what day is it today?” He answers, “It’s February 30th.” You sneak a peek at your lie detector, which informs you that he is neither lying nor insane: he is totally sane, and truly believes that it’s February 30th today, so that must be the truth. The question is, what country are you in, and what year is it?

            • Gotta be friggin’ France, the Revolution.

              • Nope. The French Revolution did try to do a calendar with 30-day month and five or six monthless days, but they renamed all the months, so I wouldn’t have considered that “February” 30th anyway. I’m also not thinking of the Russian Revolution, which tried to do a similar 30-day month calendar and didn’t rename the months, so they would officially have had a February 30th (but it didn’t actually catch on, I’m told). This was a country where they were following the conventional calendar, but for $REASONS they needed to have a February 30th one year.

                I’ll wait another hour or two, then post the answer, so that anyone else who wants to give it a try has a chance.

                • P.S. Anyone who doesn’t want to wait for me to post the answer (because in your time zone you have to go to bed) can find out by searching for “February 30th” at DuckDuckGo or Bing (I can’t recommend Google any longer).

            • sweden? based on vague memories of something read once..I think it was later than what I’d call Renaissance, though.

              • Sweden is correct, and the year was 1712 (you’re right, later than the proper Renaissance era, so maybe that was a misleading clue).

                Most countries in Europe were switching to the Gregorian calendar by skipping a whole chunk of days at once, but this was leading to complaints by people that “they took away X number of days of my life!” So Sweden decided to do it more gradually: starting with 1700, they would start skipping leap years that the Julian calendar would have had, which over the course of about forty or forty-four years would gradually line them up with the Gregorian calendar. So in 1700 in Sweden, February 28th was followed by March 1st. But then the Great Northern War started, and Sweden’s entire attention was taking up with fighting the war… and in 1704, they forgot to skip a leap year. Then in 1708, they forgot to skip a leap year again. So now they were just one day behind the Julian calendar, but their project of slowly transitioning to the Gregorian calendar was a day further off-track than when they started… and so they gave up the slow-transition project. And so in 1712, they added an extra leap-year day to February so that on March 1st, 1712, they would be back on the Julian calendar, and their March 1st would match the March 1st of every other country that hadn’t yet transitioned to Gregorian. So in Sweden in 1712, February 29th was followed by February 30th.

                • I was robbed of a day during The Day That Never Was on Kwajalein when it flipped to the other side of the International Date Line. I understand there have been other instances of this, as well.

          • the edge cases
            Heck, just the “30 days hath September…” stuff, along with friggin’ leap years are “edge cases”. Damn popes.

            • Damn popes Caesars.

              FTFY. 🙂

              • Pretty sure it was Pope Gregory.
                The Julian calendar was a caesar.

                • That’s what I meant. Pope Gregory didn’t change anything but the leap year rules. Julius Caesar is responsible for the rest of the calendar, and the fact of having leap years in the first place.

                  • As I recall it, Julius wanted his month to be special, so he took a day from February to make July have 31 days. Augustus thought that was cool, and so August got 31, and February got the shaft.

                    • Yeah, well, nobody like February, anyway. Most think it ought be even shorter.

                    • False. The calendars clearly show it as having 31 days even when it was Sextilis. The truth is that all their months used to be that short, and February was the Days of the Dead. They were afraid the ghosts would be offended if the month was changed — they were easily enough offended as it was.

      • Exactly. My experience had similar overtones, and it’s both laughable and frustrating today to hear noobs sneering “So the clock on everybody’s PC would be wrong. So what?” No, little darlin’s, there were very serious possibilities that were avoided because some very smart and dedicated people did their jobs.

      • Carrington Dixon

        interesting …
        Unless the new date was after 2038, *NIX systems should not have cared. I suspect some user interface program was not ready for four-digit years. Note that the Y2K problem was not a millennium problem but a century. I suspect that we shall see glitches like these when the dates roll from 20xx to 21xx. (Well, I probably won’t, but some of you may.)

        • Some of the “fixes” were to merely move the problem to the 49-50 change instead of the 99-00 change, so there could be some issues in about 30 years.

          • Or sooner and later, if you emulated Microsoft (small and limp) and picked different pivot years for each of the products in your product suite…..

            Another fine product from the hackers at Microsoft!

          • Technically the system I worked on, this year. But I know for a fact that the system has been moved from a mixture of COBOL on Xenix, DOS C dBASE, to SQL interfaced with with GIS systems on UNIX. (Was on the way when division was sold out from under division employees.) Got told by a sub-contractor of one of the entities that ended up with the code and design plans on how the team wrote, from scratch (had never been a computer program of any sort) code for the **** Information System. My response was Blink “uh, wait, what?”

            Even if we’d been able to fully rewrite our design from the old COBOL into C++ and SQL (C code was an intermediate step) and interface into the GIS system, 100% new code, I never would have considered that “from scratch”. Heck. The intermediate step in C with dBASE on both Unix and DOS were 100% new code … still not from scratch. There is a difference between writing code for a system, or program that has never existed (from scratch) VS writing code for a new OS for a system that already exists but whose code can’t transfer to the new OS, or won’t interface into a new feature (SQL and GIS). (I don’t know. Maybe underselling my own prior accomplishments? No.) That system was at LEAST 30 years old by the time I inherited it, and probably older. It had ran on mainframe cards for years back at corporate, before code was taken and written in COBOL to run on local XENIX machine, which is where I inherited it, and became a caretaker. Their lack of acknowledgement of prior code is just wrong.

        • There was also the sub-problem that Y2K was NOT a leap year…. and it took until around 2003 or 2004 to realize that.

      • If you do a good job, nobody ever knows.

    • My husband was a computer tech at Y2K. He got an actual documented case of the Y2K bug—a guy turned off his Winbox before NYE without shutting it down first (remember when you had to do that?) and then clicked the “OK” when presented with “fix corrupted data?”

      It overwrote the hard drive.

      My husband called his coworkers around to stare in awe at the actual Y2K bug.

      • “Blessed are the pessimists,
        for they have made backups.”
        — On a programmer’s wall circa Y2K.

        • And twice-blessed are the paranoid, who have verified their backups are readable.

          “Backups are nice, but only restores count.”

          • 9-track tapes rarely had problems. Those cartridge things?!? Ugh.

          • Tell me about it. I never got to play with 9-track, but I got burned by most of the cartridge formats over the years. Though the problems were likely as much with the crapulent software as the media themselves… Archive may no longer exist as a company, but they’re on my shit list forever.

            Once hard drive prices came down enough, I just did plain copies to those with whatever tools the OS had, and not only were they faster and more reliable, I didn’t need special software either.

        • If your backup doesn’t have a backup, you aren’t backed up. – something my physics teacher had on the board in high school

    • Have them listen to this.

    • Back in the day, there was a theoretical upper limit to Y2K damage known as the Brokaw effect. The theory was that any technical IT issue that could be explained to Tom Brokaw and reported on the network evening news was also known to IT professionals and fixable without making craters in the landscape.

  3. Well, it was named before 9/11. Strauss and Howe needed a name for the group to discuss in their generational theory. (At that, it’s more accurate than Baby Boomers as they used it, which they started several years before and also cut off several years before the actual boom ended.)

  4. Because the days immediately after were the last time we were all Americans, all in this together.

    And thank God for that. You don’t want to see the event that would make us all stand together for years at a time. It would make 9/11 and Pearl Harbor seem like minor inconveniences, and heavens help whoever is accused of causing it because the earth will not hold any help for them what so ever.

    • Oh, when the Really Big Attack comes, a lot of the Deranged Left will loudly tell us it’s our fault and hysterically protest any move to retaliate. It’s just that when they do they will get slung into jail in job lots, and they won’t get out quickly because their ACLU lawyers will be in the next cell, on contempt of court (actually ‘contempt of Judge’) charges.

      Which won’t be a good thing, overall. But it WILL be emotionally satisfying enough that it won’t get corrected.

      I’m White, Male, and 58. The slide into the actual American Empire won’t bother me much. But it will be the sad end of a great experiment and that will be the fault of the Lefty sonsofbitches who couldn’t pull their head from their rectums.

      • Precisely. This is precisely right.

      • Don’t think they’ll get slung into any jails. More likely, they’ll be shot out of hand as co-belligerents, looters, and enemy sympathizers. Too many people understand the fallacy of leaving enemies behind you to allow them to live. That’s one hard earned lesson a lot of men and women are bringing back from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

        • “Hunted with dogs and beaten to death with their “no blood for oil” signs”” is how I’ve heard this expressed.
          Look, if the dems win in November (beating that margin of fraud is a doozie) the best we can hope for is “One day the veterans had had enough.” AND that’s not the Heinlein I wanted to live in.

        • Oh, I kinda doubt it will go quite that far quite that fast. The Hobby Protesters will get bounced into jail cells, and probably do some kind of prison time. Where it will get nasty is when the Hardcore Deranged Left fails to pick up on the temper of the times, and tries to obstruct operations. Those idiots may be for the drop.

          But the first wave of morons will live to ( one hopes) learn, because people will be busy with important matters.

      • Yep – the fault line was immediately visible, with one faction whinging, “Why do they hate us?”

        The other faction was girding our loins and sharpening our blades, asking, “Why don’t they fear us?”

        If it happens again any time soon, I expect the first action by the second faction will be to shut down the first faction. Just how that gets done depends on what the triggering event is.

        • “Why do they hate us?”
          “Why don’t they fear us?”
          The interesting thing is the answer for both is found by pointing at the first group.

      • What CSPS said…

      • Lamp posts. Or if we run out, windmills.

      • And they will never, ever it admit it was their fault.

    • Let’s not kid ourselves, we were never all Americans together. It’s just that those same vermin who now openly declare that it was all our own fault and we deserved what we got, those scum hid in the shadows for their own self protection. Feelings were running so high with the real Americans that stating any such ideas publicly might very well have gotten them torn limb from limb.
      What really puzzles me is that those folks are still very much with us, and of course our righteous rage has died to a simmer ( save for a Tuesday in early November 2016), but are they really so clueless that they believe all the various socialist carp they now openly espouse will somehow gain them control of the country?

      • Maybe, maybe it is the 18th year of the Great Unmasking.

        • I guess along with that unmasking we needs must credit the Sixties Lefties who denounced the FBI as the boot of a corrupt power structure:

          Former FBI analyst pleads guilty unlawfully accessing emails of anti-Mueller conspiracy theorist
          A former FBI analyst admitted in federal court that he unlawfully accessed the emails of a right-wing conspiracy theorist and shared them with the press and an FBI official.

          Mark Tolson, 60, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one misdemeanor count of accessing without authorization Jack Burkman’s email account, according to the Washington Post. He made the move after Burkman, and fellow conspiracy theorist Jacob Wohl, falsely claimed that former special counsel Robert Mueller committed sexual assault.

          Tolson’s wife, Sarah Gilbert Fox, worked for Burkman from October 2017 to early summer 2018 and had access to the political consultant and lobbyist’s email account. According to prosecutors, when Tolson heard that Burkman, 63, and Wohl were planning the October 2018 press conference, he asked his wife if she still had access to the account, which she did. The two spent 15 to 20 minutes combing through the account, photographing and printing “emails of interest.”

          The couple contacted a reporter with the information and offered to give the journalist the password to Burkman’s email, but the reporter declined.

          On Nov. 1, Tolson reached out to an FBI official requesting a meeting. They met that day, and Tolson gave the official an envelope of the emails, which he believed to be “illegal.” Tolson has since left the FBI and as part of the charge agreed to forfeit two computers and two phones and avoid contact with Burkman, who lives near him in Arlington, Virginia.

          Burkman and Wohl are known for sowing fake news and pushing conspiracy theories, including a failed effort to frame presidential contender Pete Buttigieg for sexual assault. Wohl, 21, was recently arrested on a felony charge out of California.

      • Yes, they believe it. It’s how they see the world. It’s their point of contact. It’s their frame of reference. Seeing something else would break them.

        Roger L. Simon and Neoneocon are good references to understand this. Both were on the Left. Both fully believed what they professed. The difference for them is that they weren’t so blinkered as to not see what was happening after 9/11. And this led to their political reorientations.

        People still on the Left saw the same things, but didn’t come to the same conclusions. Ergo they’re too blinkered to see anything that doesn’t fit their world view.

        Or, alternately, they do know full well. But they’d rather reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.

      • In the SF Bay area, the usual suspects would drag out a couple hundred people to do a leftwing protest. For the first Gulf War, they thought it would be a fun idea to abandon cars to block the Bay Bridge, because the commuters into Frisco *had* to be responsible for offending the No Blood For Oil crew.

        After 9/11 and we went into Afganistan, the usual suspects decided to keep a very low profile. It’s a long way down from that bridge and I’m sure folks would have been happy to send them over the edge.

  5. Well said Tom. I don’t care for the term “Millenial” to describe an entire generation, especially in the denigrating way it’s used by some of us “old farts.” I know too many folks in that generation who gave their lives for this country. You’re absolutely right about the Left, they have gone full Communist and only the stupid believe their lies any more. Bravo, excellent post.

    • Sort of like I don’t care for the Boomer term. I was born in 1960 to parents that were children when WWII ended. I have nothing in common with the “boomers” the media and culture celebrate: the useless self centered pro-NLF anti-American Woodstock hippy scum that pat themselves on the back for causing us to lose a war and condemn millions to death and slavery. “…and the horse they rode in on”. Oh, and thanks for destroying the family structure, condemning millions in this country to live in poverty to make yourselves feel good and righteous. Because your feelings are all that matter.

      I therefore don’t consider myself a boomer based on the idiotic dates assigned to make life easier with less intellectual effort on the part of statisticians and sociologists.

      If I do identify with anyone that came of age in the 60’s it was the kids that went into draft without whining, fought in SE Asia and/or stood guard on the frontiers of civilization, and in too many cases died performing both duties. The survivors came home, worked and raised their families and for the most part left others alone and who participated in politics by voting once a year and indulged in the American right to bitch about the idiots running things, no matter which part. I am honored to share the bar with them at the VFW post.

      Whew, /rant mode off. Apologies, more emotional that usual today for some reason…

      • [rant] We didn’t lose a war, Congress shirked their treaty obligations afterward. [/rant]

        *stumbles* friggin soapbox….

      • The terminology is bollocks. Far better to use defining events, such as 9/11, the Challenger explosion, the Moon Landing, JFK (or RFK or MLK, Jr.) assassination, or the various wars each generation seems faced with — these imprint on generations and affect their perception of the world no matter how they react as individuals. Such events are touchstones and we might best do as Tom suggests and identify every generation by the first such they experience as they achieve awareness beyond “What’s in my nappie?”

        Or we might go by presidency — consequential presidencies, that is. This Generation Reagan but not Generation HW. As we have seen, individual presidents have often had significant effect on the view Americans have of our government: before Nixon it was (sorta-kinda) inconceivable our government would abuse its power (well, its intelligence agencies’ power) in the way we all now take for granted. Perhaps designating that by president would do too much to memorialize bad presidents, so instead call them Generation Watergate, Generation Lewinski, Generation IRS …

        • I supposedly watched the moon landing, but I have no memory of it, alas. I have vague memories of Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz. I have fair memory of Jim Jones’ atrocity, and perhaps better Three Mile Island – matter of proximity and duration of news coverage. The disaster in Bhopal might be the first thing I recall rather well, but it was ‘distant’ though none the less horrific for that. The same can be said of Chernobyl.

          But I recall exactly where I was when I got news of Challenger, and also Sept. 11, 2001. Due to a quirk, I also recall the evening of the 10th. There was a WWII tune that I had on CD that I was copying to tape (car with tape deck [remember those?], no CD player), “Arms, for the Love of America” had the suddenly haunting line: They say over here, we’ve nothing to fear, but let’s get ready just in case.

          • I vaguely remember the fall of Saigon on the news, not because it meant anything to me but because all of the adults around me were talking about it. I would have been about 3 1/2 at the time.

            The first big event that affected me was Mt. St. Helens. We had ash fall on us in ND.

            The Challenger explosion made a small impact on me. But not really any more of one than when Reagan and John Paul II were shot. I remember hearing about the Bhopal tragedy, but it didn’t sink in until a few years later when we had the Westchem Fire and evacuated town to get away from the toxic cloud.

            And then there was Chernobyl in ’86, the fall of the Berlin wall and Tiananmen Square in 1989. Tiananmen Square is the first one to actually scare me. I was coming of age then and was thinking THIS would be the place we ended up going to war rather than the middle east.

          • My earliest memories related to world events was watching a Gemini launch, the Apollo 1 fire and hearing about Khe Sahn every morning on the radio news. I heard about Robert Kennedy being shot on the radio the next morning on the way to Vacation Bible School.

            Being a Space Nerd (go figure!) I gave a presentation to my 4th grade class about the Apollo 13 return plan using models of the Command, Service and Lunar modules I had built myself. A member of my Order of the Arrow lodge was one of the last Marines killed during the evacuation of Saigon. Also being a .mil nerd (again, go figure) I clearly remember the details of the Marquez operation. In High School I argued with the local congress critter against the cancellation of the B-1A by Jimmy Boy. My grandmother was very upset at Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance as my Grandfather had been a staunch union man.

            The events you list came during my college and AF days. I was in Korea when the Challenger went down. As an Intel type Chernobyl was not nearly as significant to me as the Soviets managing to blow up their primary munitions storage facility for their Baltic fleet a few months earlier, given the kinds of things we thought was stored there.

            By 9/11 I was out of the AF, scrambling to set up nation wide truck deliveries of documents that normally went out FedEx air every Tuesday. And being really, really pissed. I wanted to be back in a planning strikes on anyone that even looked like they had a part in it. While everyone else was playing dirges and “candle in the wind”, the song that I played and that best captured my feelings was Pat Benetar’s “Invincible”. (I was not aware of “March Of Cambreadth” at the time or that would have been number one on the playlist.).

        • Such events are touchstones
          I remember watching new classes come into the Academy, and thinking “They were born after [some event].” I continued that up to 9/11. Everything after that seems to fall into one giant lump.

          • That might be because the 9/11 babies turned eighteen today? Which is to say maybe an overachiever made it in this fall, but next year will be the most of the first post 9/11 kids hitting college, and the first fourteen months of them voting. (My eldest was born 10/07/02, so he’s in that cohort of post 9/11 kids who vote in 2020.)

            The first news event I remember is the fall of the Berlin Wall. The second, I think, but I’d have to check dates, is Ruby Ridge. The end of the Soviet Union, Waco and OKC (on my birthday, made a major impression) . . . and my folks wonder why I’m cynical?

            In any event, we kept the news off, and youngest daughter had a good fifth birthday. As she observed the flags were at half-mast, it looks like I have about 364 days to fill her in on what happened thirteen years before she was born.

        • If that is the criteria, I would be the Tiananmen generation. That was my defining event, the thing that awakened my interest in reading the newspaper other than the comics. Of course, I was eight years old at the time, so I suspect not enough of my “generation” were equally as awakened.

  6. Most excellent reading. It made me cry for many reasons. Permission to re-post?

  7. I remember what I was doing on September 11, 2001. When the planes hit the towers, I was in my room reading the Wall Street Journal editorial page. Specifically, an editorial that contained the line: “Politics doesn’t end at the water’s edge; it begins there.” In the days and months afterwards, that line seemed outdated, but as time passed, it became more true than ever. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand, politics is how we decide policy, and foreign policy is a big part of that. On the other, it would be awfully nice if we could hash out our differences internally, then present a united front to the world.

    • ”On the other, it would be awfully nice if we could hash out our differences internally, then present a united front to the world.”

      Oh, to dream.

      • To start, we need to eschew Hashtag Culture and engage face-to-face. It is much easier to dismiss as [Bad Person] an abstract entity online. Interacting as real people in meet-space encourages civility while internet interactions and mass protests do not.

        If Alyssa Milano and Ted Cruz can have a civil debate, we all can
        Is civility dead? Maybe, if you ask some people. But when differing minds escape from the confines of Twitter, you’d be surprised what can happen.

        This week, liberal activist and actress Alyssa Milano and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz proved that civil discourse is still alive and well when they met to discuss gun control, even though the meeting, which began as a challenge on Twitter, did not seem to be off to a particularly auspicious start.

        “We can live-stream the meeting so the American people can hear your bullshit 1st hand,” Milano told the senator from Texas after they began sparring over gun control on Twitter.

        I’d love to come in and meet with you on the gun issue and many other issues that include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, @tedcruz and also, 1 Peter 4:8.

        I’ll be in DC next week. We can live-stream the meeting so the American people can hear your bullshit 1st hand. [URL REDACTED]
        — Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) September 2, 2019

        The meeting itself, however, was surprisingly cordial. …

        [END EXCERPT]

        Looking Things Up So You Don’t Need To Dept.:
        1 Peter 4:8 New International Version (NIV). 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

        But then, all y’all already knowed thet

        • They didn’t have a civil debate. He was civil. She brought in two allies to scream at him and ambush him. Fuck Alyssa Milano.

          • I wonder if he expected that, planned for it, or even set it up that way himself.

            I couldn’t bring myself to watch it at all, but sitting on sofas isn’t a “debate” anyway.

            Also, she looked like a child. She should have picked smaller allies and worn professional “I’m smart” clothing instead of clothes that made her look childish. Do you suppose that *she* might have planned to look helpless so that she could portray him as being mean?

          • Not with YOUR *&^%, Milano is not a female that merits reproduction.

          • Ewwww! To fuck her, I would have to TOUCH her, and there isn’t enough bleach in the WORLD!

            • I thought that’s what a rubber willie was for.

              • I’d have to wear a full hazmat bodysuit, and it just ain’t worth the bother. Let her go on with her inconsequential life, and laugh at her. She’d hate that a lit more than being raped. Being raped would mean she was important to somebody.

                • Oh, to be able to take a time machine back and giver her mom an abortion when Alyssa was in the eighth month, assuring her that, “Your daughter would approve – she would have grown up to be a big proponent of abortion.”

                  If that worked there’s a little list …

          • Not even with my neighbor’s chainsaw.

  8. You feel that the year 2000 was a big let-down? Just think of all the people who thought the Year 1000 would mark the end of the world.

    • If you haven’t read Dave Barry’s “Y1K Disaster” published on January 1, 2000, you really must. It was terrific.

  9. And Lord of our fathers, be with us yet, lest we forget, lest we forget.
    Amen.

  10. Pingback: Eighteen Years On | Transterrestrial Musings

  11. Just going to leave this here. Not that I’m a fan of CNN these days, but this was the channel airing in my office on that day so it’s what I remember watching at the time. Also, being able to watch unedited footage of the day is, I think, important and this is the best footage I can find online. A little grainy, but clear enough.

    • I would very much like to think that this is mandatory viewing in every American high school level history class, but somehow I fear that isn’t what our children are being taught in an education system infested with the liberal progressive socialist agenda.

      • A set if high end chef’s knives are exceedingly sharp and dangerous and require careful use to simply not hurt oneself and are quite capable of matching any good hunting/self-defense knife.

      • I highly doubt that is happening. Given that I had to try 3 different sets of search terms to find this again, and even with the 3rd set “cnn 9 11 unedited footage” it wasn’t anywhere near the top result (42nd returned result for that search), I suspect that people are trying to minimize the visibility of it these days. “Never forget” has become “Don’t care to remember” for some.

        • Well it took all of about half a second after it happened before people started trying to revise The Jumpers out of existence.

        • meh, with the Don’t Be Evil ones, it is more “Don’t want you to remember” and “Try to make everyone forget”.
          Same goes for Zuck’s Fly By Night Data Mining and Personal Information Sales.

        • Of course they don’t want to remember – that’s traumatizing. And if you want to produce Generation Snowflake, you have to make them afraid of everything.
          (Oh, and they would love for the entire generation to actually fit in that cubbyhole, not just be a lazy way of labeling certain age groups.)

    • How Great was the Media to STOP Showing what happened, the people jumping, so it wouldn’t inflame the people and cause them to ATTACK Muslims? THAT was their concern to protect Muslims. And they kept doing it, whenever Muslim Terrorists killed the Media first said that these were EXTREMEIST Fundamentalists and Normal Muslims had NOTHING in common with the terrorists. So don’t Blame Muslims for what Terrorists do.
      That is and was the first thing they talked about because AMERICANS cannot control themselves and are so evil that they will lash out at the innocent the first thing.

      The Media KNOWS BEST, they believed it then and they believe it NOW!!!
      Their LIES and their hiding the truth will come back and BITE them, HARD!

      • Or as Tim Blair quipped at the time (paraphrasing), “Islamic organization decries anti-muslim backlash against tomorrow’s terror attack.”

      • Fuck the media. (I’m sorry. I feel like swearing today.)

        • Rectally, with a saguaro cactus.

          And they have the nerve to complain they’re losing readership. My local Sunday paper’s opinion section this weekend featured a wide array of views on Climate Change, running the full gamut from the Far-Left to the Extremely-Far-Left.

        • Second try on this, so if the original appears WPDE:

          Rectally, with a saguaro cactus.

          And they have the nerve to complain they’re losing readership. My local Sunday paper’s opinion section this weekend featured a wide array of views on Climate Change, running the full gamut from the Far-Left to the Extremely-Far-Left.

        • Two time the reply is refused? WTF, WP?

          It was the saguaro cactus, wasn’t it?

          • No? Then it was the gripe about their nerve?

            And they have the nerve to complain they’re losing readership. My local Sunday paper’s opinion section this weekend featured a wide array of views on Climate Change, running the full gamut from the Far-Left to the Extremely-Far-Left.

          • Was it the suggestion as to where the cactus ought go?

            • Couldn’t have been their nerve:

              And they have the nerve to complain they’re losing readership.

              • Must have been the part about my local paper:

                My local Sunday paper’s opinion section this weekend featured a wide array of views on Climate Change, running the full gamut from the Far-Left to the Extremely-Far-Left.

              • Do they just not like me saying anything about climate change?

                And they have the nerve to complain they’re losing readership. My local Sunday paper’s opinion section this weekend featured a wide array of views [REDACTED], running the full gamut from the Far-Left to the Extremely-Far-Left.

          • Use a Cholla instead.

      • Now be fair: they did harshly criticize George W Bush for letting his State Department whisk Saudi nationals out of the country and back to their homeland right after the attacks.

        It isn’t as if they’re blatant hypocrites!

        The Gaslight Media seems far more concerned about what its audience might do than what those it reports on have done. You always know a corrupt politician is a Democrat because they tell us in the headline when its a Republican, you can tell a thug, rapist, or murderer is a minority because they report it when the perp is white, and of course they would never think of inflaming our presumed hatred by advising us an illegal alien undocumented citizen without process is responsible for a criminal act.

        They even managed to frame Trayvon Martin’s death as a white supremacist assault.

        Isn’t it nice of them to hold the American Public in such high esteem that they’re always concerned about enraging us?

        • Was thinking about that yesterday.

          Is keeping idiot college kids for being lynched because of the country they’re from really that horrific of a thing to do?

          Yeah, I would’ve chosen protective custody or something…but given the utter lack of honor, I really can’t be to mad about even utter jackasses who should be whipped in the street for their lack of manners not being killed because they have a half-uncle, or a cousin that shares one grandfather, who is a terror funder/supporter/encourager.

          • (if the infamous terror prince–the one that the “journalist” who died in Turkey worked for at one point– had been here, THEN I would be upset)

            • Whether Bush’s administration was right or wrong in taking those actions is irrelevant. What is relevant is the people criticizing are not in fundamental disagreement with Bush about the risk to innocent Muslims. Admittedly, they’re upset Bush spirited the potential victims away rather than curtailed the civil rights of everyday Americans …

              They’re like those who criticized Trump both for hiring John Bolton and for firing John Bolton. One cannot help but be struck by the only consistency is the target of their criticism.

      • Yet whenever there is a mass shooting our trusty media has no compunctions about taring every single American gun owner with the same brush as is rightly deserved by an extremely small fringe. Unless the perpetrator is hard left or a minority activist at which point national coverage for their criminal acts is immediately deemed not news.

    • 13:25 is when the 2nd plane hits

  12. “I mentioned the Millennium Bug to a friend my age the other day and they had to think about what that even had been.”

    Which was a very media way to ask the question: Use a term that I (as an IT guy with all nerd friends at the time) never heard. It was always Y2K bug. ALWAYS.

    Reminds me of the term “assault weapon”. No one who knows anything ever uses it. Just a reminder, if anyone needs it here, that words matter, and the words of the question determine the words of the answer.

    • Assault weapons: I have assault screwdrivers, assault screws, assault wrenches, and an assault hammer. I also have a good selection of kitchen knives…

      • I have a Dead On Annihilator demolition tool next to my drivers seat for when I have to drive to ‘Occupied’ Territory. With the attendant pliers, screwdriver, tape measure and the like. I prefer ‘tools’ that require more practice, and less physical effort (not to mention proximity) but needs must when the leftists…errm Devil drives.

      • This is the place this was supposed to be posted:

        A set if high end chef’s knives are exceedingly sharp and dangerous and require careful use to simply not hurt oneself and are quite capable of matching any good hunting/self-defense knife.

        • And that is why there has been at least one dead-serious piece written in the UK advocating for a ban on kitchen knives.

          • i thought that the UK was already implementing such bans in some places.

            Look very closely at the Stallone movie Demolition Man. That is the best case scenario of the type of “perfect society” the left wants to impose.

          • The moderate, “common-sense” position on this merely calls for those knives to have blunt tips, to prevent stabbings.


            Because you don’t need to be peeling garlic in bulk.

            • The next phase, of course, will entail the banning of …


              … semi-automatic assault knives.

              • I’ve always wondered if anyone actually did try mounting a supersonic or ultrasonic transducer to a knife to make a vibroblade… just like an electric carving knife, except shorter stroke and higher reciprocating rate.

                It was once a common item in SF, but then mostly went away.

              • Ooooohhh . . . A fully semi-automatic assault knife! Want one! (Not)

    • Our left seem to attract a great number of lawyers, and lawyers believe in their very souls that words are tools intended for the express purpose of manipulating the thoughts of people.
      Assault weapon is a phrase that was created intentionally to create fear in the minds of people ignorant of the mechanics of firearms. Intentionally vague it allows the media to apply it to any newsworthy shooting tragedy as well as conflating civilian firearms with the heavily restricted military assault rifles.

      • “Assault Weapon” is a meaningful term insomuch that it’s use identifies the speaker writer as a. Being totally ignorant about firearms, b. Has a totalitarian political agenda, c. Is pandering to someone with a totalitarian political agenda or d. All of the above.

        The exception being when the term is used to illuminate the fraudulent and delusional mindset of those using it as Uncle Lar did above.

        (Note: “Semi-automatic Assault Rifle” has the same solution set).

        • A semi-automatic assault weapon is one which, almost automatically, compels its handler to assault people. This sentience of inanimate devices is a well-recognized phenomenon, as evidenced by the NY Times acknowledgment this morning that the 9/11 attacks were conducted by sentient aircraft.

    • The Millennium Bug? Didn’t you old guys have shots for that back then?

  13. I was… naive. I remember seeing the news about it and going out to get breakfast and then going in to work. Feeling kind of dazed, but no real comprehension yet of how much it mattered compared to earlier events.

    • Heh, I was/am so cynical it didn’t surprise me at all.
      I got to watch it from an airport.
      I was under a wing fueling a late flight. First plane it was a series of wild rumors, and I ran out to my Gate 4 and hooked up, when suddenly, everyone tossing bags disappeared and the wings went still as no one was boarding. Second plane had hit. Few flights landing later and they closed the airspace. Lots of planes landing (airlines I’d never heard of, trying to find a gate to offload at)
      Bit later SWA said to get the fuel trucks as far from the terminal as possible, and the owner of the company said for us to go home.
      Got out 10 minutes before the feds locked down the airport and moved all the workers to the Hilton. My Supe and the girl I was chasing around (She worked for SWA) didn’t get to leave until 11pm that night.

      • Paul from Canada

        I was in the cockpit on the jumpseat of an overnight courier 727 enroute Vancouver (YVR) when the first plane hit. We landed and went into the office. I had another leg to go, so hooked up with the crew of the regional feeder that was to take me the rest of the way home. The TV was on, so we saw the early coverage.

        Details were sparse at the time, and what we understood from our quick look at the TV was that “someone” had “stolen” the aircraft. We all thought someone had gone crazy and stolen an aircraft off the ramp, like the guy in Seattle earlier this year, and we didn’t have time to hang around for more info since we had a sched to make. We had no idea how serious it actually was.

        We were at top of climb when the airspace closed, but luckily for us, we were far enough along that we were told to continue to our destination.

        I spent the rest of the week sleeping in the office, with not a plane in the sky. The most surreal experience of my life. Being virtually the only person at the airport, and no traffic whatever. Felt like some post apocalyptic world. The only civil IFR flight on my flight trackers was a lonely RCMP plane ferrying government employees and diplomats back and forth between Washington and Ottawa. I later read an account by that pilot, and how he had some weather and icing and asked for deviations and altitude changes, which were always granted immediately. Finally ATC told him “You are the only one out here, no traffic to conflict, so just do what you want and let us know.”.

        I also remember later on, the Canadian Minister of Transport had a news conference announcing that the airspace was re-opening. We immediately started planning flights to ferry our various stranded aircraft back. We immediately got a phonecall from ATC informing us NOT to launch any flights, as they would be intercepted and shot down. Another surreal moment.

        Apparently the minister went off half cocked, and they were going to move the stranded international diversion flights first and gradually open up to the rest of us.

  14. Meh. Marketers gonna mark, amirite? If they cannot slap a facile label on each “generation” they get all pouty and weepy. Thinking of some of the alternate tags they could have hung on you, such as Gen Clinton, and give thanks. Hell, they could have named you for the most popular/influential TV series during of the period you were born called you Generation Friends or Gen Gilmore Girls.

    The Buffy Generation?

    I suppose we could designate generations by which Star Trek series was running … The Original Generation, The Next Generation, Generation Voyager, Generation Discovery …

    At least they don’t try to make you wear some stupid uniform.

  15. I’m one of those that lately have been called “lost” because I was born in 1980, and so am not quite a Gen-Xer or a Millenial. Which is fine, I hate all the labels, and think they’re ridiculous. And part and parcel of identity politics, which tries to lump all people in X group as thinking/behaving the same, only in this case with “y’all are of a similar age.”

    I sometimes wonder if a major contributor to that bizarre, unreal mindset isn’t the artificial way that public schools segregate kids by age? And call that “normal” social interaction…? And then wonder why these kids struggle in communicating/relating to people either significantly older or younger. (Youngest brother was homeschooled from about second grade through eight grade. He is perfectly comfortable with anyone of any age.)

    I was in Brasov, Romania, about to teach a free English class (I was a missionary for my church, the free classes were our means of serving the community since the Romanian government wouldn’t let us work in the orphanages any more for some bizarre reason) when two of the other missionaries came in, looking worried and saying that some of their students (who were the advanced ones, and so also did things like watch news broadcasts in English) had told them something was going on. We cancelled classes and trooped over to the apartment of a fairly wealthy man who was investigating the church, and because he was wealthy also had a television and international channels. (As missionaries, we did not have tvs and did not, as a general rule, go actively looking for news because that wasn’t what we were there to do.)

    We’d known Something was going on worldwide for awhile (I think the initial event was the bombing of the US Embassy in…one of the African countries?), because we’d been told by Church Security to remove our name badges and to only speak Romanian on the streets. (Which was super fun for me, who had been in the country all of three weeks at that point, and while I am good with languages was in no way comfortably fluent yet.) So there had been something going around the international security community to trigger that precaution, and we’d only just gotten permission to put the badges back on when 9/11 happened. And although I don’t recall now what the other events were that had put our church’s security department on high alert, 9/11 felt like the culmination of these, albeit on a scale we couldn’t quite grasp.

    It was…strange. Because I was not in my own country (and would not be again until November of 2002), I missed both the brief unity and the unmasking of the media. (Because I was also not consuming what the journalists were putting out during this time.) I do remember that most Romanians were very kind when they realized we were American (which they generally didn’t, unless they directly asked and we told them. They knew *I* was a foreigner, because of my hair color and facial structure alone–I’m nearly pure Celt–but generally thought I was German or British, and my hopefully-sleight foreign accent was not placeable). The one twerp of a cab driver who decided to go off on how horrible Americans were–he thought my companion was a native Romanian, because she both looked and sounded it, although she was not–we took great delight in embarrassing after he belatedly (probably after noting that my blazing red hair was natural, not dye) asked where we were from.

    But for me…it’s almost unreal, because I was so far away when it happened. Yes, it impacted us hugely, but we were not in America to experience the silence in the skies or the other things. We were…cut off, in a way. We didn’t see the media reports one way or the other, although if I recall right we did see Bush’s speech immediately after. We didn’t read them, either, as mission rules didn’t change. We worried and grieved with that rich man and his wife, because BOTH of their daughters were living in NYC, and they lost contact with them for the better part of a week before they finally learned they were safe (although one was close enough to Ground Zero that I think she was caught in the massive dust cloud).

    We did, in the wake of 9/11 and the anthrax attacks after, get permission to email home from thereon out (to my great relief, because I *hated* hand-writing letters). But…yeah. It was a very strange time.

    • “(I think the initial event was the bombing of the US Embassy in…one of the African countries?)”
      Nairobi Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 1998? One of Al Qaeda’s first major operations outside of the Middle East IIRC.

      • No, there was something else–maybe not a full on bombing–that occurred in August of 2001. Like I said, I don’t recall what it was–or where–because it was only mentioned in passing as a reason why we were to remove our nametags until told otherwise and only speak Romanian out in public. ::shrugs:: Given that it’s been nigh-on 18 years, and the fact that 9/11 overshadowed everything else, and the fact that I’d only been IN the country at that point for three weeks, I’m not surprised I don’t remember what it was.

        • I remember us putting up the barriers and going to FPCON Bravo for a brief time a bit earlier that year, as well. In that case, it was because of something with Iraq and enforcing the no-fly zone, I think. It might have had something to do with Sudan, or Yemen.

      • Those two events created the job that had me working for the State Department in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on 9/11. Wife and I were grocery shopping with another couple from the Embassy when another friend came in and told us what was happening. We went back to their apt and watched it live.

      • The USS Cole was attacked by Al Qaeda in 1987, according to google.

  16. I remember walking by the conference room at work and seeing it on the TV. I watched for about 5 minutes, and then just walked back to my cube shaking my head and saying to myself, “Tom Clancy was right. He just had the details a bit off.”

  17. Seems fitting somehow.

  18. Pingback: Nicholas Haros Jr.: “Today I am here to respond to you exactly who did what to whom…” | The Universal Spectator

  19. Dan Rather disgraced himself doing something that only a desperate person would do

    That onlya desperate person would do? How can we know it hasn’t been done many times before? We know that they frame anti-conservative protests differently from pro-conservative ones. We know they distinguish between “legitimate” protesters (Paid Soros Stooges) and illegitimate ones (Tea-baggers? Angry White Men?). So why not “Fake But Accurate” documents? We all know of hurricane reporters leaning into non-existent wind, why should we believe that is the extent of their chicanery?

    What we cannot know is how many such fakes were inflicted on the American People over the years. Dan Rather wasn’t desperate, he was arrogant — like somebody who has gotten away with that before and is outraged that this time he’s getting called on it. Surely none of us believe Joe McCarthy was the first politician to claim to have evidence that just wasn’t there.

    • Much more truthful that an entitled media elite did much the same as they’d always done only this time got caught. One thing that did change at the turn of this last century was to turn the catch phrase “can’t stop the signal” into a simple truth. That in it’s own way is as profound a development as Gutenburg and his printing press.
      Once again I will describe an image that lives in my backbrain: a trollish gate guard (think Eric Cartman only bigger and even uglier) standing before a heavy iron gate hung from massive stone pillars, solid, secure. But the wall that once extended from each side of those pillars has vanished.

    • Dan Rather’s Bush paper wasn’t the originator of “Fake but accurate”. There was an all but forgotten incident when Dubya was in office. One of the officials in the administration was accused of something (passing info to foreigners, iirc), and one of the major networks aired footage that recreated the claimed circumstances of the information transfer. The network didn’t tell viewers it was a recreation, leaving the impression that it was actual footage, proving the official’s guilt.

      When the network was called out on this, “fake but accurate” was the term they used to defend their actions.

      • wasn’t fake but accurate also used when they talked about lighting the pickup trucks on fire in 20/20?

        • IIRC correctly that was Dateline (same party, different collective), using model rocket engines to ignite spilled gasoline when the staged vehicle crashes didn’t perform as per the pre-scripted story line.

          • dunno if it was engines or igniters, but i thought they were inside the fuel tanks…

            (just like the much-vaunted Consumer Reports revising their road course until the Suzuki turned over…)

          • It was Estes rocket motors taped to the fuel tank. I had a VHS video of the press conference where General Motors presented their findings, including the video the responding firemen too.

            There were several hundred reporters in the auditorium. When the GM guy took questions, one of them asked “don’t you think it could all have just been a mistake?”

            The GM guy said, “No.”

            BTW, none of the people involved in the fraud lost their jobs, and only a few received token censure, apparently for getting caught, not for doing it.

            • We ought also acknowledge the technique perfected by 60 Minutes of recutting interviews so that apparent “softball” questions were re-shot, allowing the reporter to ask the question in a harsh accusatory manner. They got burned when one subject of a “hard-hitting expose” turned out to have kept their own recording of the interview … Oopsie!

              Then there was the time 60 Minutes producer Don Hewitt sat just out of camera shot to feed answers to Bill & Hillary for their appearance to defuse the Gennifer Flowers story.

              Heck, just put “60 Minutes Deceptive Stories” in your search engine and you’ll be swamped … although if you use Google it is likely the top items will not be unfavorable to the show. Just saying …

              Or ABC’s “Food Lion” expose in which it turned out their reporters who had gone undercover were violating the market’s guidelines for meat-handling.

              • I’ve seen a fair number of people who’ve vowed never to talk to the media; if you don’t have the clout to get your own recording of the interview out there, you might as well not have bothered.

                OTOH, as the MSM* keeps digging its credibility hole and alternative media** is filling the gaps, the issue is becoming a bit less dire.

                (*) Facebook and Twitter fit here.
                (**) Gab for Twitter. Not sure MeWe has much penetration just yet.

    • We all know of hurricane reporters leaning into non-existent wind
      And there’s the reporter in the canoe in the ‘flooded’ town:

  20. a brand new Llama named Jimmy for every little girl.

    Okay, first: they are for all who self-identify as little girls. That means everybody at the NY Times and Washington Post gets one, as well as the on-air staff of CNN and most of MSNBC (where word is that Rachel Madcow and Mika Myfatherwascarter’snationalsecurityadvisor reportedly identify as having testicles.

    Second: those were miniature Llamas. Much easier to feed, exercise, clean (they’re housebroken) and, of course, to hug.

    Third: My Little Ponies were already trademarked and we need all the unicorns to provide farts for our sustainable energy power plants.

  21. I am proud to say that, back before the Blog Wars, I helped with the Dan Rather unmasking, and with getting the jihadi propaganda videos taken off line (this was before JihadTube outsourced their complaint department to… Pakistan. The Pakistanis would never removed pro-jihad propaganda, even when it blatantly violated the company’s own policies.)

  22. We showed up to a cold civil war

    Not so very cold — the Left was already het up over the “stolen” election (you know the one, it was when they were blocked from manufacturing votes — and suppressing legitimately cast military ballots — in Florida.) They were actively undermining George W Bush and the real reason for their fury over the 9/11 attacks was that they had to stop stabbing him in the back for a brief while.

    Remember: the First Rule about world events in the Democrats’ heads is, “How does this help us seize power and delegitimize Republicans?”

  23. “The new millennium started on September 11, 2001.”

    I don’t know if I read that somewhere or thought of it myself (it has been a very long time), but that echoed in my head for some time after the attacks.

  24. Dang, these guys are sharp:

    ‘In solidarity against terrorism’: Hong Kong protesters call off demonstrations on 9/11 anniversary
    Activists in Hong Kong who have been protesting for months, called off demonstrations Wednesday in remembrance of the 9/11 attacks.

    The call to put the pause on the activism was also in response to a Chinese state newspaper, which conflated protesters to the terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, according to Reuters.

    “Anti-government fanatics are planning massive terror attacks, including blowing up gas pipes, in Hong Kong on September 11,” the Hong Kong edition of China Daily said in a Facebook post alongside a photo of the terror attacks at the World Trade Center.

    “In solidarity against terrorism, all forms of protest in Hong Kong will be suspended on Sept. 11, apart from potential singing and chanting,” the demonstrators said in a statement. …

    • Very clear the protestors in Hong Kong like America and see it as a source of inspiration, unlike the Democrats who view the USA as the source of all evil in world history.

      • Yeah, but going public with that admiration is risky. Unfortunately.

        • Any more risky than protesting against Mainland China’s and the Communist Party’s policies and actions in Hong Kong? The Chicom response is purely a matter of how much they believe they can get away with without serious repercussions If a Democrat were in the White House, you would have already have seen them enact Tienanmen Square the Sequel-on Steroids.

          • Beijing has been claiming in the mainland newspapers that the protests are an American plot. Waving US flags plays directly into that. Waving those flags also plays into mainland stereotypes about Hong King residents as people who don’t really believe that they’re Chinese.

            So I’m not sure that going loud and proud Pro-US in Hong Kong is a good idea right now.

            • Given that no matter what they do, the Chicom government is likely to try to murder and/or disappear them (and probably their families too), why NOT go loud and proud Pro-US? It ensures that they have EVERYONE’S attention (including the US), and might–just might–mean that if/when they are murdered and/or disappeared then uncomfortable questions might get asked of the Chicoms.

              Really, what have they got to lose? Frankly, I think they’re brilliant. Certainly they’ve gotten the gov to back down at least on one thing (though I am suspicious of it)–and the protestors are still there.

              • The presence of American flags allows Beijing to present “proof” to mainland citizens that the demonstrations are an American plot, and that Hong Kong wants to go independent. The more mainlanders believe this, the more likely it is that they won’t object if Beijing decides to violently surpress the demonstrations. In fact, it makes it more likely that mainland citizens will agitate for a harder line aganst Hong Kong.

  25. But when you think about it, isn’t America the real villain in all this?

    • For failing to listen to our betters? For thinking we are entitled to lead our own lives as we see fit? For rejecting Conventional Wisdom?

      Those are unforgivable sins against the Powers f This World.

      • You’re dividing the country by not shutting up and doing as you’re told.

      • But I want a llama.

        • I was going to answer “Fuck Llamas” but the left would take that as an order or something.

        • No problem: just send a small cash deposit by clicking on the PayPal button at top. Be sure to label it “Donation”

          Our crack investigative team will immediately commence a background check to make sure you have the capacity to be entrusted with such a valuable creature and, on completion of the investigation, assuming you qualify, will contact you for more money resolving details necessary for completion of the transaction. Applicants who fail to meet the stringent standards for care of so precious a creature will forfeit their deposits. Investigations cost money, don’t you know.

          • Now you’re talking sense!

          • BTW: the new month have slipped into play with little fanfare, all regulars putting down their Llama “Deposits” might want to take the opportunity to refresh their “donations,” I know I did.

  26. I do assign a fair bit of blame to a Millennial Generation. The generation that came of age as the Twentieth Century dawned. The generation that put Woodrow Wilson into office.

    But I put blame on every generation, including my own, that did not fight the rot when it was small and relatively easy to clean up. (And my generation is NOT the “Baby Boomers,” as most here will quite firmly inform you. We came of age during the 70s for God’s sake. Side note – Sarah, there shall be retribution for resurfacing Stayin’ Alive from the deep dark depths of my brain where I had it safely locked away. Just as soon as I think of something suitably nasty. Be warned!)

    Do not despair of your generation, or believe that the situation is unrecoverable. Your cohort is just now coming out of the ignorant phase – which every generation (yes, mine too, talk to any of us) goes through – into the slowly forming awareness that nobody is on their “side” – there are only those who want control, and those who just want to be left alone (and leave you alone). As it was for my generation, you have the fortunate few who never swallowed the swill, not for one moment, but those have always been the rare ones.

    As to the level of division – one of my sisters and my brother in law are on the other “side” from me (only a bit less so, these days, backing off from “raving socialist” level). Unlike at least two times in our history, though, we aren’t shooting at each other.

    • Wasn’t Teddy Roosevelt to blame for Wilson? Wasn’t the 1912 election the one in which TR formed the Bull Moose party to run against his own former VP, and split the vote as a result?

      Note that Republicans (including the first minority on a winning ticket) promptly got back in again when Wilson couldn’t run, and stayed in the White House until Hoover lodt to Roosevelt.

      • There ain’t no way that’s MILLENIAL. Centenarial maybe.

        • Technical flag thrown…

          (People that read steampunk – I’m sure there are several stories out there about the Babbage Difference Engines throwing all of their gears on January 1, 1900 – but was it the Y19C problem, or the Y1.9K problem? That’s going to annoy me, now…)

      • Eh. It’s still the people that voted – not who was running. If Perot hadn’t been in the race in ’92, we might not have had the serial rapist in the White House – but it is still the idiots who voted for him. (Partly my generation, BTW. He did well in the 25-35 demographic. Meh.)

        • The Perot analogy isn’t entirely apt. It’d be as if Reagan (still in control of his faculties) decided to run against Bush in ’92, and the resulting split vote let Clinton get into the White House. Unlike Perot, TR had been a pretty popular president before he created the Bull Moose Party.

          • Also, TR managed to outpoll Taft in the general election, IIRC by around 5 points – the last time a D or R came in third in a general. If the primary system had been in place in more states, TR might have won the Republican nomination in 1912, but most of the states were still on the caucus system.

    • > Stayin’ Alive

      Hey! It was The Chipmunks’ greatest hit!

      Other than the refrain, I was never able to pull any words out of the squeaking…

      • Lol… But that is an insult to the little furry troublemakers.

        The wife still gets irritated when I refer to the later Brothers Gibb as “Il Castrati.”

        • I had a tape of a friend’s LP of Odessa. The early BGs were fairly good.

          • I had to look that one up – it was apparently the peak of their first incarnation (the wife, who actually has the albums, only has those from the early to mid-sixties).

            Oh, and I didn’t realize until I did that that they never were the “Brothers Gibb.” Always the “Bee Gees.” I’ll probably forget that, as they are two separate groups to me…

  27. I find there’s a more specific aspect of this particular generation (myself included) that defines it further. That is, taking a side is now officially and visibly a matter of choice, rather than circumstance… which, if you note leftist policies, is also a no-no overall, “family planning” notwithstanding.

    What I consider characteristic of leftist snowflakes is the abject refusal to admit they had any choice in their perceived plight, any responsibility for their situation. Any fault for their problems. The invariable spiel is: “I’m oppressed because I’m gay/black/female/brown/trans/muslim/atheist (and yes, all at the same time is also possible), and I was born this way, so it’s not my fault, mmkay!”

    And it’s not surprising, really – for decades, pop-culture has bombarded society with “heroes” which tend to be born or easily placed into their roles. Not necessarily royalty in the literal sense, but frequently having innate supernatural abilities, a predetermined sooper-speshul destiny, or otherwise sheer force of happenstance which they use to define their lives. As opposed to making an actual choice, and more importantly, standing up for it.

    So when impressionable youths grow up with heroes like that, they project onto them, getting off on the notion that their lives would be set by circumstance; that they don’t need to make any choices to begin with, let alone take responsibility for them. Each of them ends up conditioned, believing he/she/ze is the special chosen hero, the one who doesn’t need any effort to succeed, any new knowledge to grow. It’s the most comforting thought in the world – having value, without working for it.

    But, inevitably, when they get to a certain age, usually right after college, and start noticing they didn’t get a letter from Hogwarths, didn’t get mutant superpowers in their teens, and the only guy around offering strange pills probably isn’t Morpheus… they break down. To them, it’s like being side characters in their own life story. And, this being the only response they know, they again blame their newfound dissatisfaction to being born in a certain way, and look for villains to justify it further. Without ever realizing they were making the wrong choices all along.

    * * *

    So, as Side-Takers sounds just a bit too cumbersome for my tender tongue, I’d rather call us “Generation Choice”. It’s not just about taking a side. It’s about knowing you’re taking a side. About knowing you’re making a choice. About saying “I believe in this, not in that. I will do this, not that. I will live like this, not like that. Not because it’s the only way, but because it’s my way. And not because I was born like this, but because I choose this. “

    • And it’s not surprising, really – for decades, pop-culture has bombarded society with “heroes” which tend to be born or easily placed into their roles. Not necessarily royalty in the literal sense, but frequently having innate supernatural abilities, a predetermined sooper-speshul destiny, or otherwise sheer force of happenstance which they use to define their lives. As opposed to making an actual choice, and more importantly, standing up for it.

      I’m reminded of a couple of quotes from The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari (B5 Season 5):

      “The dream is prophecy.”
      “Prophecy is a guess that comes true. When it doesn’t, it’s a metaphor. You could put a gun to your head tomorrow and pull the trigger, and then the dream is just a dream, and the prophecy is just a metaphor, and so are you.”

      — Londo and Vir

      “You’re wrong, Mollari. Whether it was me or my world, whether it was a total stranger or your worst enemy, you were a witness! It doesn’t matter if they stopped. It doesn’t matter if they’d listen. You had an obligation to speak out!”

      — G’Kar

    • Unfortunately the word “choice” has been co-opted.

  28. My theory is that the vast majority of Millenials, like the X’ers, Boomers, and those before are pretty much the same. Normal people working jobs, raising kids, and living life. But, “Normal People Living Normal Lives” isn’t much of a headline.
    However, you do have the loud fringe groups, and the media loves reporting on those as if they’re some sort of generational representative.
    So, you got the Triggered Safe Space Cancel Culture with the Millenials; the Slacker Grunge types with X’ers; Hippies for the Boomers; Beatniks, Flappers, and so on.

    • History has shown however that small determined fanatical fringe groups, particularly ones willing to engage in violence, have a way of seizing and taking power over a majority of people; and it requires much ugliness and loss of life before those cabals are forced from power.

      • Yes and no.
        No small and determined group has ever sized power from a well established government. What usually happens is some sort of extreme stress (total war, foreign invasion, or similar) causes the established government to lose the confidence of the people (who are usually starving and suffering under years of privation).
        However, the next government is different enough from the cultural norm to not be readily accepted by the population at large, so it that weak government that is then overthrown by a small and determined group of people.
        The idea that the Bolsheviks were the ones to overthrow the Tsar is propaganda.
        Note also that every tyranny has the consent of a supermajority of the people it oppresses.

  29. Great piece. I remember watching the towers come down and thinking “it’s going to be really difficult to be Muslim in the US for a while.” I was wrong. It was more difficult to be Sikh. However, that sight kindled in me a great anger that has never really eased. I am of the generation that was raised by those who fought WWII. My relatives in Europe died under the twin scourges of the Nazis and the Soviets. I knew people who had survived the labor camps and the concentration camps.

    Seeing people of my age who have forgotten, or even worse, decided those things weren’t important brings me to a cold, cold fury. Over the years it has changed my thinking a great deal. I always knew that Socialism/Communism didn’t work. I knew that as a kid. I know it as an adult. I knew that the social contract only truly works when there is a certain level quality to the playing field. I know that every successful group grows enemies by the fact of that success. I also know that a society that lays down it’s sword and shield down by the riverside will be subjugated by the first group that walks by and picks up those tools.

    This day brings me a memory of great sadness. It also reminds me that governments can fail in their trust. That it is up to us all to love and protect that which we love. My country isn’t always right. There are many people here that do bad things, either through design or mistake. I care about those things. Yet, I love my country the more and I will do what I can to maintain it as a shining beacon of freedom lighting the darkness.

    There are those who scorn the idea of being a nationalist. Who ascribe all the evils of war and terrors that go with it to nationalism. I say to them that love of country is the glue that keeps a people and a nation from sinking into despair and dissolving. We humans are not perfect. We make mistakes. That can not change. Caring for our country people, brothers and sisters all, is what keeps us strong in the face of adversity. Those who would throw that away in the pursuit of some “greater” whole would reduce us to beasts. I, for one, would rather be a man.

  30. Well, damn! This Tom guy needs a regular pulpit to be heard from if he’s got more like this stuffed away somewhere.

  31. Something funny is going on with wordpress. This post wasn’t listed in my wordpress reader. When I checked, it said the site hadn’t been updated since yesterday. Chicanery or snafu, I can’t determine.

    • chicanery, is my guess. Faceborg wouldn’t let me post a rescorla tribute till the third time.

    • Something seems consistently off-kilter with WP of late. I estimate I only receive about eighty percent of posts via email, and about one in twenty I get through the email is naught but a blank post, which I can search by the time-stamp and read in WP.

      WPDE

    • I’m suspecting that WP is getting overloaded. The multiple-minute delays for posts tend to occur most often at high traffic hours (8AM on the Left Coast and evenings are particularly bad), and from the other WP blogs I’ve been at, it happens there, too. OTOH, AtH has the highest comment count, so there’s a higher opportunity for things to go astray.

  32. Is this off-topic? or is it something which is never off-topic here?

    On Eccentricity
    [SNIP]
    There are societal considerations regarding eccentricity. In the third chapter of On Liberty (1859), “Of Individuality, as One of the Elements of Well-Being,” the English philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote that:

    In this age, the mere example of nonconformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric. Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigour, and moral courage which it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.

    “The chief danger of the time,” Mill wrote. He was right. Then, as now.

  33. in retrospect it seems like a big gimmick
    Like every birthday I’ve ever had. Anniversaries I’ve actually earned. OK, maybe birthdays after a certain age I’ve earned, as well. But mostly, it’s just “another day older, another day deeper in debt.”

    utopian idealism all the way
    In defiance of all reality.

    And then something amazing happened.
    I actually think they were doing that before the election. They thought they had finally won it all and could coast to their utopia. The craziness happened because we yanked the rug out from under that. But the lifting of restraints came because they thought they had finally pressed down freedom-fetishists enough they could not take any steps backward for the two they took forward.

    How’d we get here? You ask.
    I’ve mentioned before that I had frequently heard people ask the question “How could they (the Germans) have let it happen?”
    And I point at them and say “You are they.”

    I’d turn it back and stop it all from happening if I could
    I’m not sure I would. Not unless I could wake Americans up to the threat some other way. The wake-up had to happen.
    Of course, I’m not sure it woke us up as it should have. Aside from a few newly baptized USAians, a lot of folks in this country simply pressed forward with their lives and didn’t change anything. Despite what Bush said, that is not victory.

    If I could go back and change anything, it would be to actually put the country officially at war with the various groups at war with us, and their benefactors, and I would have loosed the Four Horsemen to wreak havoc and to hell with the idea of “you broke it, you bought it.” And I would have stood astride the hole in Manhattan like a Colossus and proclaimed “You want some of this? You sowed the wind and will reap more than a whirlwind – you will reap the fire and wind of holocaust until you cry for mercy, then you will glean death and destruction until you are no more. THEN we will have peace.”
    And I felt that way long before I read Kratman’s books.

    Sorry for the smorgasbord comment, but it’s been a long day.

  34. I remember 9/11 because I remember where I was when it happened, and my first thoughts was accident. Then, the second plane hit.

    It was after that became interesting, in a whole “Chinese curse” sort of way.

    Look, I wasn’t ignorant of how mad things were in the Left. I got corrupted early on in Junior High and High School by reading all the books you weren’t supposed to read in Junior High and High School. Our JC newspaper subscribed to “Hetrodoxy,” the tabloid-sized newsletter by David Horowitz. Horowitz had form, he had been there, in the ’60s, in the trenches. Dad had run into him once or twice at points, especially when dealing with the Black Panther Party.

    So…I knew they were out there. But, I thought they were contained, in a way. Stuck in the university where they could be the Lost Boys-never having to grow up. Stuck in places where their bosses would let them be silly, but they still had to show a profit at the end of the day, because they have to show a profit to their shareholders. In the strange and oddball communities, but they had to behave because they needed all the people to come to their events.

    And…the Left went nuts. They took over TV, and there isn’t anything worth watching these days. They took over movies, killing golden gooses and laying them out on display. They took over conventions, and I can’t go to some of the places that I had felt safe once upon a time, because it’s no longer “we’ll disagree but we’ll get along.” It’s “you have to agree with us, all the time, or you’re a horrible, misogynist, GamerGate, straight white male!”

    I’ve had to go deep, really deep, and keep my secrets. When my family makes the same noises as quite a few people that are thinking of me in the same way as giving me a ticket and a shower at Auschwitz, you get worried. A lot.

    I know the war is coming is one that I do not want to fight. But, I know I have to win that war.

  35. A friend called is and told us to turn on the news. As God is my witness, my first stunned thought was ‘this is taking architectural criticism a little far.’ My second was ‘I’ve been expecting this for twenty years’.

    In defense of my first thought, I’ve always considered the WTC to be a phenomenally ugly example of a school of architecture that should be killed with an axe.

    As for my second…well, both of my parents were history teacher. I always thought the proper answer to the Palestinian Question was ‘You turned on your Jewish neighbors and sided with an attempt at genocide. You lost. Bad things happen to people who start wars and lose. Suck it up.’ And by extension, I thought that the West should have landed on the Jihadist factions with cleats, early and often. The UN model of appeasement was bound to have rotten fruit.

    • The only problem with coming down on Jihadist factions post-WW II is that unless you have a friendly media establishment (or you’re a Communist country, but I’m repeating myself), the word “genocide” will be the nicest thing thrown at you.

      Mind you, I would understand if the Israelis one day parked all their bulldozers on the border of the Gaza Strip in a single long line, started their engines, and didn’t stop driving West until the ground pressure of the bulldozers couldn’t allow them to go any further. What happens with the people on the other end of the bulldozers….I care not in the slightest.

  36. “Why in the Hell do people call my generation Millennials?”

    Same reason my generation is called the Baby Boomers. Some asshole in Big Media thought it sounded catchy.

    I’ve been thinking about the year after 9/11, and I remember that time pretty well. The media was initially 100% behind the hated and reviled Chimpy McBushitler who had -stolen- the election from Saint Algore. It was like they all experienced an “Oh SHIT!” moment and realized that They, the people of Big Media, could have died that day. So they called off the meme-war against the Republicans and Bush for three months while they got their breath back.

    But how long was it before we heard that America was to blame for 9-11? If I remember right it was only a couple of days. Remember Rosie O’Donnell informing us that the World Trade Center attack was the first time that steel ever melted in a fire?

    Here we are, 18 years later, and the Left has more or less condensed into “Enemies Of Liberty” faction in the West. They are finally running an election campaign where they say what they are really all about.

    • Incidentally, my personal plan for the World Trade Center Memorial was a statue of Pallas Athena throwing a javelin. She would be big enough that the tip of the spear would be an F-15 Eagle. She would be aiming east and a little south.

      Clearly I am not in step with the leadership these days.

  37. A useful reminder, courtesy of Michael Barone:

    The Trump era is not as extraordinary as Never Trumpers think
    Around Washington, in sundry upscale locales, in large quadrants of the internet, you still encounter lamentations about Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party and prophecies of the party’s approaching doom. Never Trumpers are less thick on the ground among ordinary voters, but they do have an echo in affluent Southern and Southwest suburbs that have switched from Republicans to anti-Trump Democrats. And they’re eager to tell you that nothing like this has ever happened before.

    Well, not so fast. I’ve got a book coming out in October called How America’s Political Parties Change (And How They Don’t), on the history of our 185- and 167-year-old political parties, and I can report that things like this have happened before. One example of many: Franklin D. Roosevelt, undeniably a great president, especially as a war leader, but one whose policies also drove some prominent members of his own party to the opposition and some of whose actions seemed, well, eccentric.

    Like sitting in bed in 1933, and setting a new price of gold, up 21 cents one day because, as Amity Shlaes recalls in The Forgotten Man, “it’s a lucky number, because it’s three times seven.” Sounds sort of like setting tariffs in tweets. Or setting up a ramshackle National Recovery Administration charged with setting prices and wages for 700 industries, a law ruled unconstitutional by a 9-0 Supreme Court.

    Roosevelt supported Democrats’ traditional policy of low tariffs, but left implementation to subordinates suxh as Secretary of State Cordell Hull, which looks something like Trump’s desultory support of Republican tax cuts.

    On other issues, FDR abandoned Democrats’ traditional support for laissez faire economics and its aversion to national uniformity and local options. That earned him bitter opposition from the two preceding Democratic presidential nominees, Al Smith and John W. Davis, much as Trump was opposed by the two George Bushes and John McCain.

    Other conservative-minded Democrats swallowed the New Deal with reservations and stuck around to serve the country constructively in Roosevelt’s administration and Harry Truman’s. Examples include the Texas cotton brokers Jesse Jones, whose Reconstruction Finance Corporation bankrolled defense industries, and Will Clayton, who helped set up the Marshall Plan.

    Roosevelt was not above some really divisive partisan rhetoric. Campaigning for reelection in 1936, he attacked “the old enemies of peace,” rich men who “are unanimous in their hatred for me — and I welcome their hatred.” He went on, in words that made even New Deal historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., wince: “I should like to have it said of my first administration that in it the forces of selfishness and lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second administration that these forces met their master.”

    As Schlesinger understood, there were nasty echoes in those words of what was going on across the Atlantic at the time. But while Roosevelt threatened to pack the Supreme Court, …

    [SNiP]

    My point is that the current ructions in our politics are not out of the ordinary and are less disruptive than many others in the past. Time to get off Twitter and calm down, America.

  38. Excellent discussions here, I when I was younger used one event to separate my life, I used “Desert Storm” because life changed . I also use 9-11-01 as another event when America changed. We have large swath of our population thanks to being indoctrinated believe that America is bad and we deserve everything bad that happens to us because of past sins. If we got invaded, these people would actively help the invaders. These people don’t realize that they are shielded by our laws and system and the invaders have a totally different idea of “due Process” which involves a .32 ACP in the ear. We are fractured like never before, and the article is correct, the democrats went full potato and they can because of the new generations abysmal logic and financial knowledge. They have been conditioned to think in “Fairness” and because of that, they think that communist and socialism is “fair”. They don’t realize what those systems actually to to a people because their college professors who were taught by the hippies of the 1960 have passed down the poison to a new generation.
    We have stepped away from the abyss before, I hope we can do so again.

  39. James Fuerstenberg

    Very good analysis. Well written. I think there was quite a bit of angry partisanship in the past, but the overwhelming influence of media now amplifies the divide.

    • Consider, also, the the intrusion of politics into every-damn-thing also tends to exacerbate political differences. Used to, if somebody refused to bake the cake you requested you’d take your business elsewhere. Now? It is either be the mob or be targeted by the mob.

  40. Knocked it out of the park.