Writing in the new year ….

Posted by: ST on January 11, 2017 at 9:03 pm
Warrior woman

Hi there.

(Belated) Happy New Year!

Haven’t written here at the site for a while but have been stationed instead at American Lens alongside my longtime partner in crime Andrea Dillon (who is one of the co-founders of AL) from the famous Lady Liberty website, and other writers with strong voices in the area.

Am Lens focuses primarily on stories of interest in North Carolina that the “big media” here either don’t cover or otherwise give much attention to. A lot of these stories are important and have national implications, or relate in some way to hot button issues being debated in other states as well (like bathroom privacy/safety, voter ID, school choice, etc.) so please don’t hesitate to bookmark it, like it on Facebook, and follow on Twitter as well.

There’s a lot more coming in the future, especially now that we have a new governor and a brand new session of the state legislature underway.

My primary focus there is on media bias, but I take on other topics as well occasionally – especially as it relates to pop culture issues.

Hope to see you there – and I’m gonna do my best to be here more as well in the new year. Also have some other ideas brewin’. Just have to find time in the day! Busy schedule and all that. ;-)


Charlotte Observer wages total war on HB2 – and their journalistic standards

Posted by: ST on October 20, 2016 at 8:07 pm
The Charlotte Observer

The Charlotte Observer

It’s not exactly a secret that the Charlotte Observer opposes HB2. They’ve run countless “objective” pieces on it since its late March passage as well as numerous haughty editorials decrying the law known nationwide now as the “bathroom bill.” They’ve also denounced its proponents – which include victims of sexual assault and rape – as “bigots” fighting against “imaginary threats/ghosts” who need to get over their “discomfort” at the thought of male genitalia in their locker rooms.

So imagine my non-surprise to see the front page of the Sunday, October 16 edition of the paper. “Permission to hate” screamed out from above the fold, and the photos of people from the LGBTQ community above it – some of them bloodied and bruised – drew you in like magnets. They made for compelling subjects in the piece, especially if you’re someone opposed to HB2 and were looking for a little confirmation bias in your local paper to start your day. The article had actually been published several days earlier in the online edition. Apparently the editors felt it was such a captivating piece of work that it deserved prominent Sunday space – as well as a front page story on their Insight section.

“Permission to hate” was such comprehensive piece that it took up 3 full pages in section A, plus the half page on page one. Their companion piece to it was an online page with links where LGBTQ people from 50 counties in North Carolina told their stories of alleged discrimination and/or intimidation – and the paper is sure there are more where that came from, which is why they encouraged readers to share their own stories, presumably so they can start a database for pre-HB2 and post-HB2 incidents.

I suspect the editors believed most people wouldn’t click on the links contained within the “60 stories from 50 counties” companion piece, and they were probably correct in doing so. It’s a lot to sift through. But I did review several of the links and many of them not only didn’t prove “discrimination and intimidation” but there were several that appeared not to be substantiated nor verifiable.

In other words, they took the person at their word that what they said happened happened. This is not to suggest that everyone they talked to lied – there’s no doubt that harassment and violence occurs against members of the LGBTQ community, as it does others – but you have to factor in the possibility that some could be embellished or may not be true. Fake hate crimes reports are not exactly uncommon anymore. It’s the job of journalists to look beyond what someone tells them to see if their story passes the smell test. In many instances in this piece, that didn’t happen. And – as noted earlier – some of the stories do not fit the narrative, which means the paper (deliberately?) mislead its readers in order to inflate its numbers.

Let’s look at a few county examples.

Transylvania: After HB2, restaurant’s move to unisex bathrooms lost – and gained – customers

There is literally nothing in this story about intimidation or discrimination. It talks about customers who no longer visit the restaurant due to safety and privacy concerns. The end.

Scotland: Print shop wouldn’t do wedding invitations for female couple

The owner of the store, now retired, is a Baptist minister who was exercising his religious rights. He didn’t refuse to serve the couple outright. He refused to provide that particular service, much in the same way an Islamic butcher might refuse to provide pork.

Pamlico: Church chose not to renew Boy Scouts charter after vote to allow gay members

Homosexuality is a sin, according to the Bible. Some churches view the Boy Scouts decision as an endorsement of sin. End of story.

Wilkes: Man says he lobbied for 3 days until county lowered flags after Orlando shooting

Apparently a county’s oversight of lowering their flags after the Orlando shooting is “discrimination.” Okay.

Franklin: At 68, transgender man nervous for first time to use public bathroom

Transgender man worried he will face discrimination and intimidation. There is nothing in the story about whether he faced it before HB2.

Davidson: Two women say they were accused by an attendant of being in wrong bathroom at I-85 stop


Richmond: Gay couple stopped for ice cream. Owner told them to stop holding hands


Yancey (VIDEO): Snub at store causes man to recall long ago days of being called names, bullied


Johnston: After man maligned District 2 candidate, transgender woman told him – I’m the candidate


Why is it important to note several of the stories on their website are unsubstantiated? Because the Charlotte Observer apparently treats unsubstantiated stories from the LGBTQ community much differently than they do substantiated stories about sexual victimization by predators in women’s facilities like bathrooms and locker rooms.

This Politifact NC “fact check” from April 6th weighed in on the assertions made by HB2 proponents that opening up women’s facilities to anyone increases the chances they’ll be sexually victimized. After searching for instances of women being victimized in America by men pretending to be women, here’s what fact checker Will Doran wrote (bolded emphasis added):

Again, though, none of those crimes occurred in places where biological men would have had any legal claim to be in a women’s room by virtue of being a transgender woman.

The blogs did identify a few examples of alleged criminal activity having taken place under the guise of transgender-friendly bathrooms laws, but we couldn’t find proof of any convictions in those cases.

To break it down: Unsubstantiated stories told by LGBTQ citizens on alleged harassment should be believed without question and treated with the utmost reverence, but actual cases involving men dressed as women to gain access to them in order to do harm don’t count, because as of the writing of their fact check there were no convictions of those cases. Wow. These are the duplicitous standards at the Charlotte Observer. Narratives can be crafted from unverifiable stories but not from confirmed cases – depending on what side of the issue they’re on on any given day.

Also, the legitimacy of the claims in a piece that’s supposed to be “objective” and unbiased shouldn’t be based on the personal opinions of the writer, in this case, Elizabeth Leland – a proponent of LGBTQ equality.

Elizabeth Leland - Charlotte Observer

The paper can’t have it both ways. Either a person’s story should be taken at face value without some investigative digging or it shouldn’t. And if you’re going to count unsubstantiated stories as concrete “evidence” of something, you should count confirmed stories about crimes that have been alleged to have happened – even if there haven’t yet been any convictions. Which will it be, Charlotte Observer?


The media says pulled events are “because of HB2.” Here’s the real truth.

Posted by: ST on October 11, 2016 at 2:40 am

In the aftermath of HB2, it is without fail that each time a sporting event or convention or conference is pulled from North Carolina that the mainstream media report the organizations pulling them are doing so over the so-called “bathroom bill.” It’s a convenient excuse, but the real story involves the activist left and their relentless pursuit of compliance – whether it be forced or voluntary.

Just look at the groups involved in litigating HB2: The Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU, Equality NC, Lambda Legal. Rather than try and find a middle ground on this issue, one where those concerned about the privacy and safety of women and children, and those who desire “equal rights” for the transgender community could get most of what they wanted out of a rework of the bill, they’ve refused numerous attempts at extending the olive branch. Why? Because it’s not about persuading people to believe in their viewpoints. It’s about punishing those who dare to push back against their radical agenda – and their brand of punishment is political, financial, and personal.

Groups like Human Rights Campaign have target lists on their website of public figures known for their opposition to gay marriage and unisex changing facilities. They are described as “exporters of hate” because of their refusal to back down from their positions, and because of that they are to be shamed – they are targeted at their homes, their places of work, and their spouses and families live in fear. Dr. Robert O. Lopez is a classic example of the extreme lengths these fanatical organizations will go to to either force compliance or attempt to personally and professionally destroy the otherwise good names and reputations of many people widely respected in their communities.

Radical leftists have even gone so far as to “out” private citizens who contributed money to campaigns like Prop 8, a California initiative from 2008 which banned gay marriage statewide. As a result, the livelihoods of not just those people, but the businesses they either owned or worked for were threatened and impacted. Because disagreement with the activist left is unacceptable and worthy of scorched earth-style tactics.

Just ask Mozilla co-founder Brendon Eich, who was essentially forced out in 2014 as CEO over his $1,000 contribution made 6 years earlier in support of Prop 8.

Just ask Target, who in 2011 were the – er – targets of a nasty boycott campaign nationally by the activist left because of a political donation made to a pro-business group that supported a candidate viewed by the LGBT community as “anti-gay.” This in spite of the fact that Target had long held a “gay-friendly” reputation. Target’s donation had been a business decision, not a socially conservative statement, but that didn’t matter. They were going to be made to care and made to pay. And ever since the campaign, Target has done all but fall at the feet of national LGBT groups in order to stay in their good graces.

Fast forward to 2016 and HB2. Any person who believes these same types of bullying tactics weren’t used or threatened against businesses and organizations who had expansion plans or events planned in North Carolina prior to HB2 is deluding themselves. Sure, some would have pulled their sporting event or plans to expand business in the state without the added pressure from activist left wing groups, but I suspect that the NCAA and the ACC in particular probably wouldn’t have pulled tournament and championship games without the pressure put on them by these activist groups and the editorial pages of leading North Carolina papers who support the very types of boycotts that punish innocent people in the name of the “greater good.” North Carolina is a cash cow for certain types of sports, especially basketball.

The ACC, in fact, is headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina. They moved games out of state that had been scheduled to be played in their backyard. You’re telling me they were really on board with more or less shooting themselves in the foot because they felt it “was the right thing to do”? If you really believe that, then it’s time to wake up.

Corporate bullying and threats of economic boycotts have become hallmarks of the activist left in their war on disagreement with their agenda. They don’t care who are what are destroyed in their path to total domination and compliance. Most businesses, most organizations, just want to be left alone, to be allowed to make their own decisions – without fear of retribution – concerning what candidates, policies, and ideas they would like to support. But Human Rights Campaign and their ilk won’t let them.

Which is why you should keep this in mind: When the media reports that “XYZ Corporation” is pulling their annual business conference from North Carolina “because of HB2”, remember that they may have felt like they had no choice. That maybe they didn’t want the negative publicity, didn’t want to put their businesses and the livelihoods of their employees at risk for taking either a neutral or public stance in support of HB2.

Political thuggery is a very dangerous thing, after all, and unfortunately it doesn’t just come from politicians.


Charlotte Observer Admits Charlotte’s Bathroom Provision Was Never Needed

Posted by: ST on September 15, 2016 at 10:01 am

Facts matter.

It’s always highly amusing when the sanctimonious editorial troupe over at the Charlotte Observer slip up and admit the truth about an issue they’ve been demagoguing for months and months. It happened again Wednesday night regarding the HB2 issue.

The state’s HB2 bill is about more than just bathroom access, of course, but bathroom access for “transgender persons” was at the top of the agenda for the activist left for years here in Charlotte prior to the city’s eventual passage of an NDO that included language effectively allowing transgender individuals to use whatever bathroom they wanted to. It also allowed men who did NOT identify as such access to women’s bathrooms, showers, fitting rooms, etc.

Gather ’round the campfire, y’all. Because I’ve got a story to tell ya.

When the City Council first took up this issue in 2015, the Democrat majority couldn’t agree on the particulars – in particular as it related to bathroom access – and the issue was shelved.

Fast forward a few months later to a new mayor (Jennifer Roberts) and a couple of new (Democrat, natch) council members, and in February of 2016, they passed the NDO with the all-important “must-have” bathroom provision. This in spite of the fact that the primary objection to the ordinance from citizens was including that provision. This in spite of the fact that the Governor himself (a former mayor of Charlotte) and a number of state legislators – some in leadership positions – practically begged them to keep the bathroom provision out of the ordinance. Leave it out, they said in so many words, and we won’t take action in response.

The Charlotte City Council did it anyway. And they deliberately made it effective the first week in April, which was 3 weeks before a the state legislature would meet for its next regular session. They knew that the only way the state legislature could stop the bill from going into effect was to call an “expensive” special March session, and the city council knew the media would kick up a fuss if they did. And that’s exactly what happened. The result was HB2.

During all this, the Charlotte Observer – along with their sister paper the Raleigh News and Observer as well as broadcast news outlet WRAL – led the way in pushing for the Charlotte ordinance to pass and relentlessly slammed the state legislature for responding with HB2. They mocked opponents’ legitimate concerns about what opening up women’s restrooms and fitting rooms to men would mean, and in one now-infamous piece, the majority-male editorial team at the CO actually told women and children that it was time to “overcome their discomfort” over male genitalia being in their locker rooms:

The Observer was also a proponent of boycotts and economic sanctions, even though they admitted to being “conflicted” because they knew it would hurt innocent people by way of lost jobs and revenue for the state – not to mention be a blow to NC’s hospitable reputation.

But here’s the kicker: After an endless amount of editorials and opinion pieces disguised as “objective” reporting over a period of several months where women, men, parents, sexual assault victims were portrayed as bigots and homophobes with no legitimate concerns, and after the NBA pulled the All-Star game out of Charlotte, and the NCAA and ACC pulled several championship games out of North Carolina over HB2, the Observer got around to unwittingly admitting Wednesday night that the bathroom provision of Charlotte’s original ordinance was never needed.

Editorial page editor Taylor Batten started out by talking about how the state is now paying the price for the “imaginary threats/ghosts” that supporters of HB2 – including survivors of rape – worried about. Then, he got around to the inadvertent admission:

He finished his piece by complaining about how Gov. McCrory “didn’t have the spine” to oppose state legislators who “wanted a wedge issue” (even though they specifically asked Charlotte to NOT include the bathroom provision to avoid the state having to respond), and then mentioned again how proponents of common sense bathroom laws were making North Carolina suffer for a “manufactured fear of mythical predators.”

Here’s the funny thing. What Batten said about transgenders using bathrooms before HB2 is in line with what I’ve had members of the transgender community tell me privately: That they had had very few issues over the years before any ordinance was passed using the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity and did not like the fact that the activist left were using them and in the process making it harder for them because now everyone would now be aware of it, sparking concern.

In other words, they didn’t need that “special bathroom protection” in the ordinance. It was unnecessary. “We were getting along just fine without it,” some have told me. And so Batten has admitted. So if they were getting along “fine without it” and using the bathroom of their choice before the ordinance was passed then …

There was no need to include bathroom protections in the first place in the ordinance.

There was no need to “legally” open up women’s bathrooms and showers to MEN. No need to make illegal that crucial trigger that causes front desk clerks at the gym to ask questions and immediately alert security if a man walks into a women’s locker room. Under the “new system” Charlotte put in place, a front desk clerk faced legal consequences for questioning males who walked into women’s facilities, so by the time a woman or child had been victimized by a non-transgender male allowed to go in without question it would have been too late. Damage done.

The “imaginary, mythical ghost” was the supposed “need” pushed by Batten and the Charlotte Observer for “bathroom protections” for transgenders in the first place.

Let’s break it down: If there’s no need for the bathroom provision in the ordinance, there’s no need for Charlotte to include it in their final NDO. If it’s not included in the final NDO, then the state legislature leaves them alone. If the state legislature leaves them alone, then there’s no special session, no HB2. If there’s no HB2, then there are no lawsuits, no calls for economic sanctions by the activist left, no loss of revenue, jobs, concerts, events, business expansion, reputation, etc.

Are we clear now just how badly the City of Charlotte under Mayor Jennifer Roberts’ (D) leadership royally f*cked all of this up now, Charlotte Observer? You can let us know right after you dismount from your high horses.

(Contact information for the Charlotte Observer)

RELATED: The Truth About NC’s HB2 (Storified)


Contact info for the NCAA, the ACC, and NC state legislators

Posted by: ST on September 14, 2016 at 9:03 pm


If you’re fed up over the demagoguery and nonsense surrounding the opposition to North Carolina’s HB2 “bathroom bill”, make sure your voice is heard.

Wanted to create this list so the information would in one place for anyone interested in contacting officials with the NCAA and ACC over their hypocritical, ridiculous decisions to move championship sports games out of our state over HB2.

I’m also including the contact info for NC state legislators for anyone who wants to let their elected leaders know where they stand. In particular. if you have an NC state Democratic representative/senator who wants to repeal HB2, you should ask them what they would tell women who are concerned about the possibility it may be repealed.

Am also adding to this list contact info for Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill, since they’ve also weighed in with statements indicating opposition to HB2. Coach K himself has been particularly disappointing.

Will throw in contact info for the News Observer, Charlotte Observer, and WRAL as well, since they’ve been huge cheerleaders for the activist left’s calls for economic sanctions.



Email: feedback@theacc.org
Phone: 336-854-8787
Fax: 336-854-8797
Twitter: @theACC
Facebook: The ACC



Write: 700 W. Washington Street
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-6222
Phone: 317-917-6222
Fax: 317-917-6888
Twitter: @NCAA
Facebook: The NCAA



Phone: 212-407-8000
Fax: 212-832-3861
Email: Contact Form
Twitter: @NBA
Facebook: The NBA


Duke University

Phone: 919-681-3788
Fax: 919-681-8919
Email: publicaffairs@duke.edu, president@duke.edu
Twitter: @DukeU
Facebook: Duke


UNC Chapel Hill

Phone: 919-962-1365
Fax: 919-962-1647
Email: chancellor@unc.edu, mediarelations@unc.edu
Twitter: @ChancellorFolt
Facebook: UNC Chapel Hill


North Carolina General Assembly

NC House Representatives: Search for contact info here.

NC Senate Senators: Search for contact info here.


WRAL – NC Capitol

Phone: 919-821-8555
Fax: 919-821-8541
Email: Contact Form
Twitter: @WRAL, @NCCapitol, @Binker
Facebook: WRAL


Charlotte Observer

Phone: 704-358-5000
Email: tbatten@charlotteobserver.com
Twitter: @tbatten1, @theobserver, @PolitifactNC, @will_doran
Facebook: The Charlotte Observer


Raleigh News and Observer

Phone: 919-829-4500, 800-522-4205
Email: Contact Form
Twitter: @newsobserver
Facebook: News and Observer

(This page will be updated as needed.)


Remembering 9-11 victim Peter Edward Mardikian

Posted by: ST on September 11, 2016 at 12:45 pm

**Reposting.  God bless, and never forget.  -ST**


Tribute In Light

Tribute In Light – World Trade Center

Longtime readers of this blog will recognize this post, as I have published it here every 9-11 since 2006 in honor of Mr. Mardikian, and all victims of the 9-11 terror attacks, as part of DC Roe’s 9-11 remembrance project. I thought this year about doing another post for another victim, but decided it would be too painful, as the memories of what happened that day are still so fresh and raw for many, myself included. I didn’t know anyone in the WTC towers, the Pentagon, or on any of the planes, but I was in NYC on that day – scheduled to fly back home that evening. I remember just like it was yesterday what I was doing and where I was when I found out what was going on, and the shock and numbness that washed over me as it slowly started to sink in that we were under attack. When my friend S and I checked back into the Times Square hotel we had only checked out of about 2 hours earlier, the first thing we did was turn on the TV to get updates. At that time, news channels were showing unedited coverage, & raw eyewitness footage as all news at that point was “breaking,” so we saw what the rest of America was seeing – like people screaming for help from the top floors of the towers, some of them jumping. Also, like many other Americans, we watched on TV as the towers collapsed. And, again, like the rest of America, she and I couldn’t stop crying at the senseless losses of so many innocent lives, as the victim count piled up from NYC, to the Pentagon, to a field in Shanksville, PA.

It’s still hard to believe even today that something as horrifying as 9-11 happened on our soil. But it did, and we must never, ever forget it. Time passes on and life goes on, but for the victims, their families, and for the future of America, we must always remember – and always remain vigilant against the Islamofascists who would like nothing more than to commit many more 9-11s.

For an extensive archive of TV coverage of 9-11 as it happened, click here.

Here, once again, is Peter Edward Mardikian’s story. Note: Some links may no longer work, but they were valid at the time of the original writing.


(Originally posted 9/10/06 7:55 pm)

Peter Edward MardikianImagine you are 29 years old. You’ve been married for six weeks to your college sweetheart, someone whom friends would later say that you wouldn’t have been “complete” without. You’re beginning to realize your personal and professional dreams. The world looks to be your oyster, and you believe that you and your spouse have the rest of your lives to explore it, all the while enjoying the comfort of knowing that you have not only each other, but the enduring love of family and friends surrounding you.

And then imagine those hopes being snatched away from you in the blink of an eye, without warning, without provocation. Imagine the chilling, horrifying realization that you will never see your spouse again, your family, your friends. That you will be leaving this earth much sooner than you ever thought you would be.

Such was the case for Peter Edward Mardikian, one of 2,996 victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on our nation.

As it was for most of us, September 11, 2001 started off as an average day for Mr. Mardikian. Peter worked for a company called “Imagine Software” in Manhattan. That morning Peter was on business, preparing a software exhibit for a trade show in the World Trade Center at Windows on The World, which was a popular restaurant on the top floor of the North Tower. As you can see from the picture, it had a spectacular view of the city. It was a city Peter Mardikian, who grew up in Princeton, NJ, had dreamed of living and working in. Here is what the morning started out like at Windows on the World:

Windows on the World restaurant“Good morning, Ms. Thompson.”

Doris Eng’s greeting was particularly sunny, like the day, as Liz Thompson arrived for breakfast atop the tallest building in the city, Ms. Thompson remembers thinking. Perhaps Ms. Eng had matched her mood to the glorious weather, the rich blue September sky that filled every window. Or perhaps it was the company.

Familiar faces occupied many of the tables in Wild Blue, the intimate aerie to Windows that Ms. Eng helped manage, according to two people who ate there that morning. As much as any one place, that single room captured the sweep of humanity who worked and played at the trade center.

Ms. Thompson, executive director of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, was eating with Geoffrey Wharton, an executive with Silverstein Properties, which had just leased the towers. At the next table sat Michael Nestor, the deputy inspector general of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and one of his investigators, Richard Tierney.

At a third table were six stockbrokers, several of whom came every Tuesday. Ms. Eng had a treat for one of them, Emeric Harvey. The night before, one of the restaurant’s managers, Jules Roinnel, gave Ms. Eng two impossibly-hard-to-get tickets to “The Producers.” Mr. Roinnel says he asked Ms. Eng to give them to Mr. Harvey.

Sitting by himself at a window table overlooking the Statue of Liberty was a relative newcomer, Neil D. Levin, the executive director of the Port Authority. He had never joined them for breakfast before. But his secretary requested a table days earlier and now he sat waiting for a banker friend, said Mr. Levin’s wife, Christy Ferer.

Every other minute or so, a waiter, Jan Maciejewski, swept through the room, refilling coffee cups and taking orders, Mr. Nestor recalls. Mr. Maciejewski was one of several restaurant workers on the 107th floor. Most of the 72 Windows employees were on the 106th floor, where Risk Waters Group was holding a conference on information technology.

Already 87 people had arrived, including top executives from Merrill Lynch and UBS Warburg, according to the conference sponsors. Many were enjoying coffee and sliced smoked salmon in the restaurant’s ballroom. Some exhibitors were already tending to their booths, set up in the Horizon Suite just across the hallway.

A picture taken that morning showed two exhibitors, Peter Alderman and William Kelly, salesmen for Bloomberg L.P., chatting with a colleague beside a table filled with a multi-screened computer display. Stuart Lee and Garth Feeney, two vice presidents of Data Synapse, ran displays of their company’s software.

Down in the lobby, 107 floors below, an assistant to Mr. Levin waited for his breakfast guest. But when the guest arrived, he and Mr. Levin’s aide luckily boarded the wrong elevator, Ms. Ferer would learn, and so they had to return to the lobby to wait for another one.

Upstairs, Mr. Levin read his newspaper, Mr. Nestor recalled. He and Mr. Tierney were a little curious to see whom Mr. Levin, their boss, was meeting for breakfast. But Mr. Nestor had a meeting downstairs, so they headed for the elevators, stopping at Mr. Levin’s table to say goodbye. Behind them came Ms. Thompson and Mr. Wharton. Mr. Nestor held the elevator, so they hopped in quickly, Ms. Thompson recalled.

Then the doors closed and the last people ever to leave Windows on the World began their descent. It was 8:44 a.m.

At 8:46 a.m. American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the North Tower, slicing through floors 94 through 98. Those in the direct path of the Boeing 767 aircraft that had been used as a weapon were likely killed instantly. No one in the floors above floor 91 would survive, because they had no way out, and firefighters could not reach them.

According to Peter Mardikian’s wife Corine, he called her at 9:05 a.m. using a landline phone, one that was miraculously still working, on the 106th floor. Here is her recollection of the conversation:

“He said it was very, very smoky,” Ms. Mardikian said, “and he was worried about his breathing. He was talking about going up to the roof. I think he was trying to shelter me. He said he couldn’t talk longer because there were a lot of people standing in line to use the phone.”

His in-laws quoted him as saying this as well to his wife:

“We think a bomb hit here. I’m having a hard time breathing. I probably won’t make it out of here. I just want you to know I love you.”

Here’s what was happening on the top floors of the North Tower at 9:35 that morning:

So urgent was the need for air that people piled four and five high in window after window, their upper bodies hanging out, 1,300 feet above the ground.

They were in an unforgiving place.

Elsewhere, two men, one of them shirtless, stood on the windowsills, leaning their bodies so far outside that they could peer around a big intervening column and see each other, an analysis of photographs and videos reveals.

On the 103rd floor, a man stared straight out a broken window toward the northwest, bracing himself against a window frame with one hand. He wrapped his other arm around a woman, seemingly to keep her from tumbling to the ground.

Behind the unbroken windows, the desperate had assembled. “About five floors from the top you have about 50 people with their faces pressed against the window trying to breathe,” a police officer in a helicopter reported.

Now it was unmistakable. The office of Cantor Fitzgerald, and just above it, Windows on the World, would become the landmark for this doomed moment. Nearly 900 would die on floors 101 through 107.

In the restaurant, at least 70 people crowded near office windows at the northwest corner of the 106th floor, according to accounts they gave relatives and co-workers. “Everywhere else is smoked out,” Stuart Lee, a Data Synapse vice president, e-mailed his office in Greenwich Village. “Currently an argument going on as whether we should break a window,” Mr. Lee continued a few moments later. “Consensus is no for the time being.”

Soon, though, a dozen people appeared through broken windows along the west face of the restaurant. Mr. Vogt, the general manager of Windows, said he could see them from the ground, silhouetted against the gray smoke that billowed out from his own office and others.

By now, the videotapes show, fires were rampaging through the impact floors, darting across the north face of the tower. Coils of smoke lashed the people braced around the broken windows.

In the northwest conference room on the 104th floor, Andrew Rosenblum and 50 other people temporarily managed to ward off the smoke and heat by plugging vents with jackets. “We smashed the computers into the windows to get some air,” Mr. Rosenblum reported by cellphone to his golf partner, Barry Kornblum.

But there was no hiding.

As people began falling from above the conference room, Mr. Rosenblum broke his preternatural calm, his wife, Jill, recalled. In the midst of speaking to her, he suddenly interjected, without elaboration, “Oh my God.”

Imagine what it would feel like to be Peter Mardikian in that crowd, knowing that each moment may be your last. What would you think? How would you feel? How would you act?

The North Tower collapsed at 10:28 that morning. Collapsing along with it were the lives of everyone in floors 92 and above, including Peter Mardikian.

Destroyed with it were the hopes and dreams of everyone on those floors who were murdered that day in an act of extraordinary cruelty and viciousness perpetrated by Islamofascists in an act of war against America.

Mr. Mardikian’s life was snatched from him in a way that no one should ever have to experience. He will never get to feel sunlight on his face again, nor get a kiss from his wife after he’s come home from a hard day at the office. Any plans they’d made for the future? Gone.

A September 11 Memorial Endowment was established by Ohio State University in 2002 in honor of Peter Mardikian, who was an alumnus – graduating from OSU’s Fisher College of Business in 1995 with a B.A. in marketing and business. It’s also where he met the woman who would be his wife.

The online guestbook for Peter Mardikian has many pages of messages from family, friends, and strangers – their lives all touched by either knowing and loving Peter Mardikian or learning about him after Sept. 11.

At some point in your day, please say a prayer or a kind word for Mr. Mardikian’s family, as well as all other families who lost loved ones that day. They may be gone, but they are most definitely not forgotten.

Thanks to D.C. Roe for coordinating the 9-11 victims tribute. Click here read other tributes to 9-11 victims (some links may no longer work).


Kaepernick Forgot One Thing In His Drive To Become A Black Lives Matter Hero

Posted by: ST on September 3, 2016 at 12:52 pm


Much has been written in the aftermath of San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s highly controversial decision to sit during the national anthem prior to the start of all 2016 pre-season games, mostly notably last week’s 49ers game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium. Most commentary has revolved around Kaepernick’s “right” to speak his mind but, with all due respect, the national conversation is missing the point.

The issue isn’t whether or not Kaep has “the right” to state his opinions. Of course he does. If someone from the government tried to shut him up by force, then, yeah, that person would be threatening the quarterback’s 1st Amendment rights. But no one from the government is trying to make him be quiet. What the issue at hand is is whether or not what did – which many view as disrespecting the American flag – was right to do, and if he chose the appropriate vehicle with which to express himself.

Kaep’s protest – over what he sees as widespread injustice against the black community – is being favorably compared to notable sports figures like boxer Muhammad Ali, and Olympians John Carlos and Tommie Smith, who all engaged in controversial protest practices during their time. But this is 2016, not the 1960s. Back then, the ways to garner national attention were much more limited, so you really had to work hard at standing out. These days you have the Internet, blogs, social media, 24-hour news and sports channels. There are an endless numbers of mediums for you to use in order now to get your point across nationally in ways that build bridges rather than destroying them.

This doesn’t foster constructive dialogue, either:

Kaepernick tried to explain away the “pig socks” on his Instagram account:

A post shared by colin kaepernick (@kaepernick7) on

If he’s got family and friends who wear the blue uniform to protect and serve, then it was doubly unwise for him to wear those socks. They paint all officers with the same broad brush without distinguishing which ones are the bad ones and which ones are doing their jobs honorably. Lumping in the good officers with abusive ones is extraordinarily dangerous and indirectly inspires cop killers like Micah Johnson to take matters into their own hands. Does Kaep have even the tiniest of clues what he’s doing? It sure doesn’t sound like it.

Look, I’ll be the first to say he shouldn’t be made by his team or anyone else to stand. I also understand you need to make some noise, be unorthodox in order to shake things up sometimes. I just don’t think dissing the American flag and making “cops are pigs” fashion statements are the best ways to go about it. As a former flamethrower who could cut a verbal rug with the best of them, trust me when I say that the old saying about catching more flies with honey than vinegar applies here. More people will talk to you, will be willing to consider your viewpoint if you treat them with respect. In this case, Kaepernick disrespected his country with his ill-advised political stunt. Seattle QB Russell Wilson said it best:

First of all, there’s no perfect answer. I understand and respect the cause because there’s so much going on in America right now — so much hurt, so much pain. And ultimately I understand what he’s doing. For me, I love the flag. I love the National Anthem because it’s an emotional time for me because I’m so grateful I get to play on the football field. And every time I get to put my hand on my heart, it’s truly an honor — you know, the military, for me I think about my family members who have served, and friends — I train down in San Diego all the time, so I’m around the Navy and I see those guys around. And all they do for our country and the people in Afghanistan and all these people fighting. 9/11, for example, coming up — that’s going to be our first game and I think about all the pain from that. So that’s why I stand and put my hand on my heart.

Wilson understands that standing and putting your hand on your heart during the national anthem and showing pride in the American flag is not an endorsement of police brutality and injustice but instead honors and thanks those past and present who have made sacrifices – and in far too many cases, the ultimate sacrifice – for the many freedoms we get to enjoy today. Kaepernick’s issue is with the police, not the military, and not America, really. So he should spend more time in his community, in his city, fighting against the problems he sees, and less time starting fires he’s unable to put out.

Oh, and the next time he wants to preach about the merits of freedom from oppression, he might want to avoid wearing Fidel Castro t-shirts. Just sayin’.



Posted by: ST on July 8, 2016 at 6:18 pm
Warrior woman

Hi there.

Renewed the ST domain today – for another two years.

Normally I renew for one year each year, but the recent horrific and tragic events that have taken place over the last week drove me to make sure the site was around for a while to come, and that what I had written here since 2003, and what my co-blogger Phineas as well as guest bloggers had written, was preserved.

I may not blog here near like I used to be, but I’m still active – I am still a contributor to IJ and am engaged on social media frequently, especially Twitter.

This will always be my home when I want to let unfiltered commentary fly.

I have been disheartened over the last year or so with the direction of GOP, especially now that Trump is the nominee (don’t get me started), and I am so fed up with the Hannity/Ingraham crowd over their actions that led up to Trump becoming the nominee. I have toyed with the possibility of joining the “unaffiliated” ranks at some point in the near future in protest, but for now, I stay.

Right now more than ever, our country desperately needs firm, strong, capable – mature – leadership and we won’t have that no matter which candidate is elected as President in the fall. Our country has made it through some really rough times, and I pray that we will through the next four years as well. It’s going to be an extraordinarily bumpy ride. Make sure to buckle your seat belts.


Quote of the Day: Gov. Jerry Brown explains rationale for min. wage increase

Posted by: ST on April 5, 2016 at 9:25 am
Picard facepalm


California Governor Jerry Brown (D) made a candid admission yesterday in an effort to justify his signing into law a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour:

Economically, minimum wages may not make sense,” the governor said. “But morally and socially and politically they make every sense, because it binds the community together and makes sure that parents can take care of their kids in a much more satisfactory way.”

Reason’s Scott Shackford reacts:

The key word is “politically.” Politics don’t hold communities together. But they can keep entrenched interests in power.


You can watch video of Brown’s remarks here, via MRC.


#HB2: A Case Study In The “Women’s Rights” Evolution Of The #NCPOL Activist Left

Posted by: ST on March 30, 2016 at 7:58 am
Mob rule

Mob rule – because so many good things come from it, right?