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Writer, activist, novelist, sixth generation DC, local historian-storyteller, and 1:1 patient care technician five days a week.

Retelling a retelling of my 9/11 experience in light of recent events

Life Beyond, as it looked in 2001

September 11, 2010

The Call came at 9:00 AM, from my son at his work, just a few blocks away:

“They’ve hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.”

His voice was strangely flat and affectless. I’d never heard him speak this way before.

“Who hit what?”

“I don’t know who. Planes. Passenger planes I think. It’s on TV, but we don’t know what’s going on.”

“We?”

“Yeah. I’m at work. Turn on your TV.”

I did as he said. There was the first tower, the way we…


“Pharmaceutical companies view Covid-19 as a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity.” — Gerald Posner, author of Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America.

I work in the healthcare field. I don’t earn a hell of a lot, but I feel I am probably compensated appropriately for the sort of work I do. I also collect Social Security each month, significantly more than the average American does. Consequently I have Medicare Parts A and B, which costs something (not a hell of a lot, but it has a price), and Medicare Part D, which is an arcane “service” tied into Medicare, but…


On Thursday, May 17, at the theater in the National Archives building in Washington, DC, a preview was held of a documentary film, clips from a work in progress being produced by filmmaker Ilana Trachtman. The name of the documentary (slated for completion and release next year) is taken from a poem by Langston Hughes: There Ain’t No Back on a Merry-go-round. Gathered for the preview were perhaps 200 people, and among them were some of the activists who had protested at Glen Echo Amusement Park, which billed itself as DC’s “Wonderland of Fun.” Glen Echo Park was named for…


We have risen to meet twin crises and victory is in sight on both fronts.

Typhoid Mary’s got nothing on this superspreader.

I waited for the CDC to recommend the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, after the FDA approved it yesterday for use here in the USA. That’s done now, and by next week (a few days away) the first doses will start being delivered, the first people will start getting vaccinated, and the plague will slowly begin to abate. By March we should see case and death counts start to drop. By spring we should be back to where we were this past summer. By summer, if the…


“Don’t shoot!”

As crowds lay siege to the area adjacent to the White House (where Donald J. Trump has been ushered to a bunker according to live reports at the moment), people — good, decent, mostly white people, liberal, well-intentioned white people — tell me, now and then, that “all this violence and looting isn’t about George Floyd.” …


One’s reporter, donning his PPE

It’s been six weeks since my last report from work (here). At that time my hospital had 2–3 positive COVID19 patients and the tension was thick. Since then we seem to have crested, about a week ago, at 67. We’re down to 53 now. We still await the “surge,” but for now, at least, we seem to have flattened the curve. One hopes, anyway, that the light at the end of the tunnel is not a locomotive. …


Personal protective equipment (PPE) we used don and dump countless times per day now must be rationed — and worn daily.

The current novel virus pandemic that is gripping our minds -- and some of our bodies — is only one more soldier in nature’s army of assassins seeking to kill us off as a species. …


The fulcrum is way over there

What’s wrong with this picture?

The political right has taken more than its share of the platform upon which our democratic society rests. The balance has shifted, the winds long ago changed, and figuring in neoliberalism as part of the right, the center has moved way far over to the right. Of course people don’t notice, because the fulcrum is always assumed to be visually in the center, so people cling to the center, to centrism, to centrists. It’s what leads, in this election year, to the issue of “electability,” at least among those of the Democratic persuasion. The…


More than half a million protestors gather on Pennsylvania Ave. in DC, 1969

We need to talk.

Recently, as you no doubt have noticed, the US Senate slipped into the hands of some particularly terrible people, and of course there was that election mishap that gave them the perfect mouthpiece, a man so profoundly stupid, vulgar and hateful that there scarcely words to do him justice. …


We Already Know What He Is. We We Will Now Learn Who We Are.

Laura Ingraham of Fox News appears to return Donald Trump’s Nazi salute.

It has been widely circulated in the media that the upcoming mid-term elections are “a referendum on Donald Trump.” This notion is based on the logic that if the people vote in sufficient numbers to prevent a “Blue Tide” from taking place, that Trump will have won over a plurality, that he will have won, period.

We all — all of us, whether we acknowledge it or not — know that Trump is a very bad president and a very bad man. We know he is…

AJ Calhoun

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