Page One Today / Sept. 1-Sept. 11, 2008
A symbol for hope
9/11 memorial can be finished by 10th anniversary, if Port Authority commits
The two words, "nine eleven," didn't mean a lot before this date in 2001. Now they are words that everyone recognizes as a turning point in our national history.
But as symbolic as 9/11 has become, and as much as our world has changed in seven years, on this date one thing should not be lost: For people whose family and friends died at the World Trade Center, this was simply the worst day of their lives.
The huge number of deaths -- 2,751 -- and the murderous hatred for America in the hearts of the attackers elevates this particular day to one of communal mourning. But the families and friends bear a more difficult burden.
It's for this reason, in part, that the Port Authority must place special emphasis on completing the Sept. 11th memorial and museum. Memorial president Joe Daniels says it can be done within budget if the Port Authority sticks to a 2011 deadline. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has spearheaded fund-raising for the memorial, has called on the Port Authority to set a firm deadline when it delivers a major progress report on Sept. 30. As this page has said before, that 10th-anniversary completion date should be set and met.
Seven years ago...
September 11, 2001: An excerpt from a Newsday editorial:
Atrocity Out of the pain and grief, America must emerge ready to find and punish the terrorists.
Sept. 11, 2001 -- a day which will live in infamy. As they did 60 years ago after the assault on Pearl Harbor, Americans woke up today to the reality that our nation is exquisitely vulnerable to attack.
Out of a sky of crystal blue flew large commercial airliners, full of terrified passengers, under the control of hijackers. At about 9 a.m., one plane flew directly into one of the World Trade Center's twin towers. Minutes later, another plane flew into the other tower -- a purposeful crash witnessed by millions of TV viewers who were watching live news coverage of the first crash. Within the hour, another hijacked plane had smacked into the Pentagon in Washington, starting a furious fire.
Our nation is under attack -- but unlike at Pearl Harbor, we do not yet know our enemy.
(See also: Poynter's Links to the News page, "September 11, 2001 Resources.")
'Big Bang' experiment starts well
By PAUL RINCON
Scientists have hailed a successful switch-on for an enormous experiment which will recreate the conditions a few moments after the Big Bang.
The £5bn machine on the Swiss-French border is designed to smash particles together with cataclysmic force.
Scientists hope it will shed light on fundamental questions in physics.
The beam completed its first circuit of the underground tunnel at just before 0930 BST.
"There it is," project leader Lyn Evans said when the beam completed its lap. There were cheers in the control room when engineers heard of the successful test.
He added later: "We had a very good start-up."
Nothing spared: Hurricane Ike ravages Cuba, Haiti
By ELAINE DEVALLE, RENATO PEREZ AND FRANCES ROBLES
Hurricane Ike, now a category 1 storm, roared toward Cuba's densely populated capital on Tuesday after killing at least four and ravaging homes on the island.
The Florida Keys remained under a tropical storm warning on Tuesday morning, as flooding increased in the Upper Keys.
Also on Tuesday morning, Miami Beach was experiencing strong winds and a strong surf was expected to continue to erode beaches.
Storm surges and overflowing rivers flooded neighborhoods and wind ripped roofs off as Hurricane Ike tore through eastern Cuba Monday, weakened, then spiraled toward Havana and western provinces slammed by Gustav last week.
(See also: "Storm Tools for Journalists." Built and maintained by Al Tompkins of The Poynter Institute)
September 8, 2008: An excerpt from a story in The Wall Street Journal:
U.S. Seizes Mortgage Giants
Government Ousts CEOs of Fannie, Freddie;
Promises Up to $200 Billion in Capital
By JAMES R. HAGERTY, RUTH SIMON and DAMIAN PALETTA
In its most dramatic market intervention in years, the U.S. government seized two of the nation's largest financial companies, taking direct responsibility for firms that provide funding for around three-quarters of new home mortgages.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced plans Sunday to take control of troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and replace the companies' chief executives. The Treasury will acquire $1 billion of preferred shares in each company without providing immediate cash, and has pledged to provide as much as $200 billion to the companies as they cope with heavy losses on mortgage defaults. The Treasury's plan puts the two companies under a conservatorship, giving management control to their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA.
Nominee McCain fires up his party
By DAN NOWICKI
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Sen. John McCain was in an unenviable position Thursday: Accept his party's nomination for president on the heels of acclaimed speeches by running-mate Sarah Palin and opponent Barack Obama.
McCain, who is the first Arizonan to head a major-party ticket since 1964, is not known as a dynamic public speaker, a fact that had some supporters anxious about his prime-time address at the Republican National Convention.
But by the end of his nearly hourlong talk, the anxiety had given way to wild enthusiasm, with supporters frequently interrupting him with shouts of "USA! USA!" and "John McCain! John McCain!"
"Fight with me. Fight for what's right for our country," McCain said in the passionate conclusion to his nationally televised speech, which he used to rally Republicans around his bipartisan crusade to shake up Washington.
(See also: Poynter's Links to the News page,
"Republican & Democratic Convention History (1856-2008).")
By SEAN COCKERHAM
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Gov. Sarah Palin introduced herself to the nation Wednesday night as a small town hockey mom with backbone who cleaned up Alaska and sold Frank Murkowski's jet on eBay.
Palin, speaking to a television audience in the millions at the Republican National Convention, blamed the media for the persistent questions about whether she's qualified to be vice president and jabbed Barack Obama as an out-of-touch elitist.
"I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town," Palin said as the delegates roared. "I was just your average hockey mom, and signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids' public education better."
Palin's speech was the most anticipated of the convention. Few outside of Alaska knew anything about her before John McCain stunned the nation Friday by naming her his running mate.
McCain draws praise in offstage curtain call
By PATRICIA LOPEZ
Even a hurricane, it turned out, couldn't stop the most imposing figure in the Republican Party -- two-term President George W. Bush -- from appearing before delegates in St. Paul via satellite from the White House.
But what was equally clear on Tuesday night is that Bush's star has dimmed from the time he lit a convention afire in Philadelphia in 2000 and ushered in an era of Republican might in Washington.
After canceling his Monday kickoff speech to the convention, Bush was given just eight minutes on Tuesday evening -- and not during live network coverage -- and was bookended by live appearances from his more popular spouse, First Lady Laura Bush.
The night's key spotlight was reserved, instead, for Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., a close friend and confidant of McCain's who eight years ago helped Al Gore head the Democratic ticket.
HAMMERED: Massive Gustav surge hits South Mississippi
By ANITA LEE and MELISSA SCALLAN
GULFPORT -- Hurricane Gustav lashed South Mississippi Monday, but spared Coast residents the Katrina-style pummelling of three years and three days earlier.
Even so, today public officials will begin assessing what could be millions in damages to public piers, harbors and utilities either under construction or recently rebuilt. Many residents also face the task of cleaning out flooded homes again.
"We've gotten hammered," said Long Beach Alderman Allen Holder Jr.
Three years ago...
September 1, 2005: An excerpt from a story in the Sun Herald. (See also: Pulitzer Prize winning stories about Katrina) --
Frustration at slow emergency response grows on Mississippi coast
By SCOTT DODD
Knight Ridder Newspapers
BILOXI -- Overwhelming need gripped the Mississippi Coast two days after Hurricane Katrina dealt the region a devastating blow.
In the hardest-hit areas, where hundreds of people lost their homes, cars and everything they own, parents wandered the streets Wednesday begging for water for their babies, and local officials grew frustrated at the slow response.
"We're not getting any help yet," said Biloxi Fire Department Battalion Chief Joe Boney. "We need water. We need ice. I've been told it's coming, but we've got people in shelters who haven't had a drink since the storm."
18,000 people get out on buses, trains
By SARAH CARR
The largest government-assisted evacuation in New Orleans' history wrapped up smoothly Sunday after about 18,000 people boarded government-provided buses, trains and airplanes over three days to flee Hurricane Gustav.
By noon Sunday, the flow of evacuees coming through the Union Passenger Terminal on Loyola Avenue had slowed to a trickle, with more National Guard soldiers, police and volunteers filling the station than evacuees.
I'm confident "everybody who wanted to leave was able to leave," said Michael Chertoff, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, who visited the terminal as evacuations wrapped up.
Chertoff said early estimates suggest that a high percentage of the city's population evacuated, but he stressed that could not be confirmed until the storm passes. "There may be people hiding in their houses," he said.
Local officials said they hoped most people got out of town and were not holed up in their homes, unwilling or unable to leave.
"It sounds like, it looks like, residents heeded our mayor's warning" to flee New Orleans, said Jerry Sneed, the city's director of homeland security.
The massive effort marked the first time local, state and federal officials carried out a plan conceived after Hurricane Katrina to evacuate tens of thousands of metro area residents who lacked transportation.
Three years ago...
Nightmare in the 9th Ward all too real for one woman
By TRYMAINE D. LEE
Lucrece Phillips' sleepless nights are filled with the images of dead babies and women, and young and old men with tattered T-shirts or graying temples, all of whom she saw floating along the streets of the Lower 9th Ward.
The deaths of many of her neighbors who chose to brave the hurricane from behind the walls of their Painter Street homes shook tears from Phillips' bloodshot eyes Tuesday, as a harrowing tale of death and survival tumbled from her lips.
"The rescuers in the boats that picked us up had to push the bodies back with sticks," Phillips said sobbing. "And there was this little baby. She looked so perfect and so beautiful. I just wanted to scoop her up and breathe life back into her little lungs. She wasn't bloated or anything, just perfect."
A few hours after Phillips, 42, and five members of her family and a friend had been rescued from the attic of her second-story home in the 2700 block of Painter Street, she broke down with a range of emotions. Joy, for surviving the killer floods; pain, for the loss of so many lives; and uncertainty, about the well-being of her family missing in the city's most ravaged quarters.