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User Journal

Journal Journal: September 11. Four years on

Tomorrow is another anniversary of September 11th and a particularly meaningful day for me. I lost a number of good friends on that day (though I didn't know it at the time) and witnessed the second plane hitting the South Tower in NYC. I had previously heard the first plane passing over my apartment in Greenwich Village and heard the explosion.

Despite the fact that it was a day off for me, I went in to work. You see, I work at NBC and I knew that it would be very important that I help tell the story of an unprecidented attack on America to the world.

Every year, I find we tend to reopen the wound by rebroadcasting the events of that day. What we don't do is any analysis.

One of the first, and most vital things that a nation has to do is to secure its own borders and establish a common defence of its population. The US failed to do that, despite warnings, on September 11, 2001. If attacked, it is the duty of a nation to respond to the attacker. The US has failed to do that, as Osama bin Ladin is still at large and his terror network is larger than ever, thanks to the training camp we have provided Al Qaida in Iraq.

In the meantime our government has created whole new bureaucracies that have helped to prevent it from providing necessary services. Since FEMA has been subsumed by the Department of Homeland Security, it is no longer capable of responding to emergencies and Coast Guard Admmirals must step in because political appointees cannot figure out how to do their jobs.

And our government is spending money like water on these new bureaucracies as well as the the terrorist training camp that is Iraq. We seem to have learned nothing, save how to impart political spin on misdeeds and misappropriation of taxpayer funds.

I wonder if I will ever see any meaning in my friends' deaths. If the past four years are any indication, it's doubtful.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Politics

Recently there has been a certain amount of discussion about whether or not State legislatures ought to keep municipalities from offering WiFi access using their tax money to do so.

There is some question about what the role of government ought to be and this question has been at the heart of political debate for centuries. US Presidents have refused to sign bills that would use federal funding to build roads. Towns used to only rent or lease lots and were wholly owned by large landowners who used rents to improve the town (building roads, storm sewers, wastewater treatment and so on).

Obviously, what constitutes a good model for community government changes with the times and the perceptions of the people and that is a mark of a good democratic society.

I have mentioned that I am bothered when State or Federal governments restrict what services a locality may offer because it keeps the local people from running affairs as they see fit and as they are willing to pay for in taxes.

Part of the essence of the American Revolution was an insistence that local affairs were best governed by local councils and people closest to the issues. Government from afar, especially government that did not represent or consider local issues was what we were declaring their independence from and I think that, to a certain extent, this principle has been forgotten.

Ought municipalities to provide this service as well as the other services they provide? I don't know. But they should not be prevented from offering any service that the majority of a local community wishes to pay taxes to support.

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