Post 9/11 stress syndrome

The nation paused yesterday to reflect on the horrors inflicted a decade ago. The observance was moving, and it was hard not to be touched by it. The day of remembrance seemed to recapture the sense of national unity that came over the country in the days following 9/11.

Yet as the memory of those who perished was honored so movingly, a troubling truth hung overhead, one that no amount of patriotic pride or revisiting of the deep anguish so widely felt could fully wash away: The dysfunction and vitriol that now poison our political world may not just be unfortunate qualities of the post-9/11 era, but the direct products of it. “National crises usually bring out the best in people,” read yesterday’s lead Globe editorial. “For a while, it seemed that global terrorism would do the same.”  But it “hasn’t worked out that way,” the paper averred, reflecting on the discord and lack of sense of common purpose and good will that have come to define all too much of our political sphere.

“After the attacks, there was a great unleashing of anger. Initially this was directed at Osama bin Laden and concurrent with a week and half in which Americans professed to like one another,” wrote Boston native Joe Keohane, now a writer in New York, in yesterday’s Globe magazine. “But because anger at bin Laden required some understanding of geopolitics, which is hard, we in time decided to redirect that anger inward, at one another.”

“We got hooked on what philosopher William Hazlitt has called ‘the pleasure of hating’ and began indulging in ‘ecstatic anger as a mode of political action,’ as writer Peter Wood once put it… Now anger is the only thing we’re capable of feeling in the political arena, and the country has ceased to function.”

Or, as James Carroll captured it in this morning’s Globe:  “Last week’s national introspection suggested two opposite conclusions about American life. At the personal level, the many individual anecdotes and small memoirs of courage and self-sacrifice pointed to a citizenry characterized by goodness, a common nobility….But at the institutional level, the 9/11 anniversary, in combination with the discordant political rhetoric, showed what the stresses of the past decade have wrought.” 

                                                                                                                                                              –MICHAEL JONAS


The nation reflects in a day filled with emotion.

Beat the Press returned from its summer hiatus with the panel discussing the way 9/11 changed the media landscape in a number of areas.

A 10-foot steel beam that was once part of the World Trade Center was added to the 9/11 Memorial in Plymouth at a ceremony yesterday marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks.


A Herald editorial lambasts Gov. Deval Patrick for tucking a provision into a supplemental budget authorizing evergreen clauses in public sector union collective bargaining agreements. The clauses, which were ruled out of bounds by the Supreme Judicial Court in 2010, ensure that an existing contract remains in force until a new one is negotiated.

With state lawmakers set to take up gambling legislation this week, the Globe reports on likely moves by other states in the region to expand their gambling enterprises or join the fray, cutting into the market Massachusetts leaders hope to tap.

Kevin Peterson, leader of a voting-rights coalition, beseeches the state’s African-American governor to protect minority voting rights in the current redistricting process.  Globe columnist Adrian Walker is sympathetic to activists’ cause, but wonders whether some of their arguments have lost potency in an era in which minorities such as Deval Patrick, Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral, Newton Mayor Setti Warren, and others have been voted into office by majority-white electorates.

The Cape Cod Times says the current tbottle return set-up works well.. so why not enact a 5-cent deposit on non-carbonated beverages?


The Eagle-Tribune keeps the heat on Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua with a strange article suggesting the  mayor may have dissed thousands of people participating in a walk for peace and then called for police backup. No arrests were made.

Peabody taps $39,000 from its Community Preservation Fund to rebind, refurbish, reorganize, and digitize city records, the Salem News reports. Click here for  a 2008 CommonWealth story on the surprising things cities and towns are spending preservation funds on.

The North End/Waterfront Residents Association voted to cap the number of liquor licenses at 11, which is the current amount in the neighborhood. The vote is not binding but the Boston Licensing Board regularly seeks input from residents when considering liquor licenses.Via Universal Hub.


An eight hour interview with Jackie Kennedy, conducted in 1964 by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., will be released as an audio recording on Wednesday.

Slate analyzes the reasons behind GOP opposition to President Obama’s economic policies.


Ethics laws are very different in Texas. Politico reports that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has enjoyed lavish perks and travel funded by a group of deep-pocketed supporters.

Here’s hoping this helps: Tim Pawlenty endorses Mitt Romney for president.

Perry vs. Bachmann: Who’s crazier, asks The New Republic.


Nonprofit officials say the payroll tax cuts offered by President Obama in his jobs program can help the industry save on administrative costs but his plans for tax credits for businesses will do little to boost the nonprofit sector who don’t pay taxes.

The New York Times finds that volatile stock market fluctuation is becoming increasingly more common.


The Berkshire Eagle gives MCAS a solid “C.”

A new report from Third Way, a Democratic think tank, indicates middle-class schools across the country pay lower teacher salaries, have larger class sizes, and spend less per pupil than low income or wealthy schools.

Professor X, writing for The Daily Beast, casts doubt on the so-called college premium.

Selectmen in Danvers question the $195,000 salary of the superintendent-director of the North Shore Technical High School in Middleton, the Salem News reports.

At least two members of the Fall River School Committee want to delay any negotiations on a new contract for School Superintendent Meg Mayo-Brown until they see last spring’s MCAS scores, which the state has sent to districts but not released to the public.

What happens when schools put a premium on technology over content.


Paul Levy says it’s time for the hospital accreditation surveys done by the federal Joint Commission to be made public. Levy, the former CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, says his hospital regularly posted its results and says even though federal law prohibits the Joint Commission from releasing the surveys, nothing prevents other hospitals from doing the same as he did.


The town of Fairhaven is considering becoming part of an international sustainability initiative that focuses on climate change and diminishing energy resources.

Farmers in Adams talk about the damage from Irene and their wait for disaster relief funds. President Obama has declared Berkshire and Franklin counties disaster areas.


The Boston Globe launched its long-awaited pay-only website today as the paper maneuvers to capture revenue from the migration of news consumers to the Internet.  CommonWealth takes a look at the newspaper’s plans. Dan Kennedy, writing at Nieman Journalism Lab, looks at the Globe’s adaptable system for delivering digital content to any device from a Kindle to an iPhone or laptop, which bypasses what he called the “Cupertino toll booth” operated by Apple. And the Lab’s Joshua Benton offers his take here. On his own Media Nation blog, Kennedy has links to several sites weighing in on the Globe move.