Looking downtown from the ‘Top of the Rock’ 9/11: Then and now — 18 years later
2001: People run from the collapse of one of the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center, Sept. 11, 2001. (Photo: Suzanne Plunkett/AP) 2019: Eighteen years later, a modern subway hub on Fulton Street connects to the Oculus and World Trade Center, Sept. 3, 2019. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
Each August and September, as summer fades into fall, Yahoo News photographer Gordon Donovan finds himself in a familiar spot — snapping images in the area where the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place.
“I do it because I love the city, the history of the city and how we’re not going to be put down,” explained Donovan, who was born and raised on Staten Island and watched the twin towers being built from across the harbor.
But his photos aren’t random shots of the evolving downtown landscape. He returns to document the exact scenes of many memorable images taken by photojournalists that awful day in 2001.
“It’s fascinating to see how it has changed over the years, because it was just this big pile of rubble the first time I went down there, about a week afterward,” said Donovan, then a graphic artist at CBS News, who was at work on the Upper West Side the morning of the attack.
Today a memorial and museum honor the nearly 3,000 people killed. The area also includes a recently opened transportation hub, and there are other signs of development yet to come.
“Now you can’t even recognize what happened,” Donovan said. “What they’ve done down there is beautiful and just revitalized the whole area after such tragedy and brought it back to life.”
Donovan’s then-and-now project, he said, is a testament to the city’s strength and an opportunity to share the changes with New Yorkers who may have moved away over the past 18 years. He said his project also honors the photojournalists who took the original images on 9/11.
The re-issued tweet with the story link now says, “18 years after nearly 3,000 people were lost, families of those killed in the terror attacks will gather at the 9/11 memorial. There will be a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., then the names of the dead — one by one — will be recited.”
Twitter users were quick to jump on the Times’ announcement that a tweet was deleted, posting the original screenshot. Some framed the incident as proof of a media bias.
In this now-deleted tweet, the New York Times attempts to blame 9/11 on the AIRPLANES that “took aim” and “brought down” the World Trade Center. What lengths they will go to to divert attention from who actually did this! pic.twitter.com/gIpyKLlkYa
– Dinesh D’Souza (@DineshDSouza) September 11, 2019
“Those planes did not fly themselves,” wrote Ian Miles Cheong.
“I can’t believe I haven’t even clocked in yet, and we already have today’s dumb 9/11 tweet, AND it was from the New York Times,” wrote Alex Griswold of the Washington Free Beacon.
The Times did not immediately return a request for comment.
Read original story NY Times Updates Story, Deletes Tweet Saying ‘Airplanes Took Aim’ at Twin Towers on 9/11 At TheWrap
Echoing Trump, speaker at 9/11 ceremony questions Muslim congresswoman’s patriotism
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A speaker at New York City’s Sept. 11 commemoration ceremony on Wednesday assailed U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar, a Muslim member of Congress who has often been the target of false slurs by President Donald Trump and right-wing media outlets.
The speaker’s remarks were an unusual deviation into partisan politics and religious division at the somber annual ceremony held at the lower Manhattan site where Islamist al Qaeda hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Center in 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people.
Called up to read some of the names of the victims, Nicholas Haros, whose mother, Frances Haros, was killed in the attack, falsely suggested Omar was confused about the nature of the attack. Echoing Trump, Haros also questioned the Minnesota congresswoman’s patriotism.
„Madam, objectively speaking we know who and what was done,” Haros said, addressing Omar, who was not present at the ceremony. „There’s no uncertainty about that. Why your confusion? On that day 19 Islamic terrorists, members of al Qaeda, killed over 3,000 people and caused billions of dollars of damage. Is that clear?”
His criticism lasted for nearly a minute and a half, and drew a smattering of applause.
„Got that now?” he continued, saying al-Qaeda had attacked the country’s „Judeo-Christian” values. „Show respect in honoring them. Please: American patriotism and your position demand it.”
Haros is a Roman Catholic from Ocean County, New Jersey, who evangelizes online through a group he founded called Facebook Apostles.
Omar fled her native Somalia as a child before her family found asylum in the United States in the 1990s. She was elected from Minnesota last November as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Right-wing media outlets have vilified her for her outspoken criticism of Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies and of the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians.
Trump has falsely said that Omar loves and supports al Qaeda, questioned her patriotism and told her to „go back” to Somalia. The insults have led to an increase in death threats against Omar, her office has said. Omar has openly condemned al Qaeda and its affiliates, calling their members „terrorists.”
Right-wing media outlets have criticized Omar for remarks she made earlier this year about the increased prejudice and state surveillance faced by Muslims in the United States after the 2001 attacks.
She said the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil-rights group, was created after the attacks „because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
CAIR was founded in the 1990s, and Omar’s office later said she misspoke, meaning that the organization’s reach grew after the attacks.
Shorn of its context, the phrase „some people did something” has been wielded by Omar’s opponents, including Trump, to suggest she diminishes the attack.
At Monday’s ceremony, Haros wore a T-shirt saying „SOME PEOPLE DID SOMETHING?” and a baseball cap advertising his group, Facebook Apostles.
Asked for comment, Omar’s office shared her statement from earlier in the day: „September 11th was an attack on all of us,” her statement said. „We will never forget the thousands of Americans who lost their lives in the largest terror attack on U.S. soil.”
(Reporting by Brendan McDermid and Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Frank McGurty and Jonathan Oatis)
Trump officials look to fix California homeless problem, state officials say back off
•SAN FRANCISCO — Trump administration officials confirmed Tuesday they are on the ground in California looking at ways to intervene in the state’s mounting homelessness issue, which President Donald Trump has criticized as “disgusting” and a “disgrace to our country.”
But many elected officials and homelessness experts in the Golden State said any White House assistance would be disingenuous given federal housing cuts have helped exacerbate the problem. Some also accused Trump of using the homelessness issue to win over conservative supporters ahead of the 2020 election.
“We need federal support and resources to build more housing for people living on the streets,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “But simply cracking down on homelessness without providing the housing people need is not a real solution.”
Nathan Click, chief spokesman for California Gov. Gavin Newsom, also in part blamed the president for the state’s poverty woes. “If the president is willing to put serious solutions, with real investment, on the table, California stands ready to talk. He could start by ending his plans to cut food stamps, gut health care for low-income people and scare immigrant families from accessing government services,” he said.
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) was even more blunt.
“Trump needs to back off and focus on his own mess of an administration,” Wiener said. „Rounding up homeless people into federal facilities won’t solve the problem. We need to get people the help they need, including shelter, housing, and other services.”
Trump plans still unclear
Trump officials have not specified what kinds of actions or solutions they would implement in California.
A senior administration official speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations confirmed to USA TODAY that a team of federal officials was on the ground in California assessing local homeless camps. The official said the team was conducting a fact-finding mission to learn more about the crisis.
The news was first reported by The Washington Post, which cited unnamed officials describing a coming crackdown, particularly in cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, which have some of the nation’s largest homeless populations.
The report did not specify what actions officials planned to take, but suggested that camps could be razed with homeless individuals moved into either new facilities or refurbished buildings.
According to last year’s survey by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, some 130,000 Californians were homeless, or nearly a quarter of the national total.
Officials said Los Angeles’ „Skid Row” was a particular priority. The area has seen a growing number of homeless as housing prices there and in most California cities continue to skyrocket. Los Angeles County saw nearly 59,000 homeless residents during a June count, up from approximately 55,000 people in 2017.
Late Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti released a letter written to Trump that outlined a number of things his administration could do to help the homelessness issue in Los Angeles, which with some 79,000 homeless residents, trails only New York City.
Garcetti, who recently led administration officials on a tour of a range of homeless shelters and housing complexes, said that although „this crisis is decades in the making,” solutions could include protecting existing fair-housing laws, rescinding proposed HUD rules to evict mixed-status immigrant families from assisted housing, and supporting measures that would expand the housing safety net for veterans and the poor.
No where in Garcetti’s letter did he address the prospect of L.A. homeless encampments being razed and its population’s moved to federal housing projects.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement Tuesday that „like many Americans, the president has taken notice of the homelessness crisis, particularly in cities and states where the liberal policies of overregulation, excessive taxation and poor public service delivery are combining to dramatically increase poverty and public health risks.”
Deere added that Trump has „directed his team to go further and develop a range of policy options for consideration to deal with this tragedy.”
First reaction: ‘Internment camps’
But critics are far from eager for the president’s help.
Bob Erlenbusch, executive director of the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness, fretted that president was looking to round homeless people up.
„My first reaction is that it felt like internment camps for people experiencing homelessness,” he said. „The president doesn’t seem to have any grasp of the homeless crisis not only in California but around the country.”
Some, however, welcomed the possibility of federal intervention.
When asked about whether razing homeless camps could be seen as a violation homeless peoples’ civil rights, U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) said Democrats across the state might be overreacting.
“Civil rights based on people squatting on land that isn’t theirs, that is a bit of a reach there,” he said.
A meeting held this earlier this year on homelessness in California seemed to presage the administration’s interest in potentially stepping in.
Jonathan Anderson, executive director of the Redding-based Good News Rescue Mission, the only homeless shelter in Shasta County in northern California, said that during a national homelessness conference in April, officials from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development asked to meet with the 30 executive directors of rescue missions from California, Washington and Oregon about possible future partnerships.
The discussions touched on “how could these faith-based nonprofits co-locate and partner and bring the government agencies into sharing the workload that we’re doing. That was very encouraging. No decisions were made. It was just very open dialogue,” he said.
“They did say,” Anderson added, „that no matter what happens, the majority of this is going to be focused around the L.A. region.”
Trump has had a long running feud not only with California’s governor, but also with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco. California has filed roughly 50 lawsuits against the Trump administration in the past two years over matters ranging from immigration to the U.S. Census.
The president has not hesitated to blast the largely liberal state, whose importance in the 2020 election has grown since its primary was moved to March.
“Nearly half of all the homeless people living in the streets in America happen to live in the state of California,” Trump said during a rally in Ohio last month. “What they are doing to our beautiful California is a disgrace to our country. It’s a shame.”
Newsom ran for governor on a range of liberal platforms, including addressing homelessness, which in Newsom’s hometown of San Francisco has led to needles and feces being strewn along main business and tourist thoroughfares such as Market Street.
The governor has pledged $1 billion from his budget to tackling homelessness, including allocating $650 million to local governments to deal with emergency homelessness aid and shelter, and $265 million for mental health support.
It’s unclear how much authority a federal entity might have in trying to implement anti-homelessness measures in California.
„If you’re not doing anything illegal, authorities can’t just pick you up to tell you where to go,” says Steve Berg, vice president for programs and policy with the National Alliance to End Homelessness in Washington, D.C., a non-profit that works with communities to tackle homelessness.
„Having people at all levels pay attention to this issue is good,” he says. „But only if you’re approaching it in a solution-oriented way.”
Feds can help — with money
David Garcia, policy director at the University of California, Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation, said he was skeptical about the Trump administration’s aims.
„Any strategy that focuses on removing homeless camps and displacing the homeless lacks compassion at best, and at worst exacerbates the challenges,” says Garcia. „Based on this administration’s rhetoric, they don’t seem to be focused on really solving the homelessness crisis.”
Garcia notes that the administration’s increasing pressure on immigrant populations within the U.S. has only added to the growing legions of homeless, as federal assistance continues to dry up and immigrants fear applying for aid.
„If the federal government is interested in helping, that’s great,” says Margot Kushel, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and director of the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, a research center founded by a donation from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne.
„What they can start with is dramatically increasing their financial support for affordable housing,” says Kushel.
Since Trump entered office, the White House budget has proposed slashing funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in each year’s budget. The White House’s 2020 budget proposes slashing the department’s funding by $9.6 billion.
Amid these cutbacks, the Trump administration has expanded grant programs for local agencies working to help individuals experiencing homelessness. The 2020 budget proposed increasing funding for services for people experiencing homelessness by 9% to $2.6 billion.
Despite widespread skepticism over the Trump administration’s potential plans for homeless people in California, some officials acknowledged that the problem may well now be beyond the scope of local and even state officials.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, has been critical of the Trump administration and said he didn’t vote for the president in 2016. But like Trump, the San Diego Mayor also says California politicians have largely failed to address the state’s homelessness crisis. In 2018, the homeless population in San Diego dropped to 8,576 people, down by 600 people from the year before.
“San Diego has taken significant action over the last few years to reduce homelessness, but cities can’t do it alone,” said Faulconer, who has funded shelters and storage facilities for individuals experiencing homelessness and implemented policies to curb tent encampments and people sleeping in their cars. „We welcome additional federal resources to help us move more individuals off the streets and into housing.”
In nearby Palm Springs, City Councilwoman Christy Holstege said the president was likely attacking state lawmakers for political gain as the 2020 election creeps closer.
“He’s using talking points to rally his base,” said Holstege. „That’s what he’s doing here, trying to shame California about our homelessness crisis.”
The number of individuals experiencing homelessness in Palm Springs has skyrocketed in recent years, growing to 196 homeless people earlier this year. On Monday, state lawmakers earmarked $10 million to be used to fund homelessness services and infrastructure in the city.
“My question to the president would be if he’s going to raze camps, then where will those people go,” Holstege said. „The reason there are tent camps is because there isn’t sufficient housing.”
Contributing: Samuel Metz, Palm Springs Desert Sun
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump attacks California homeless crisis, picking new fight with state
President Donald Trump on Wednesday called for the Federal Reserve to engineer interest rates to zero “or less,” in a new appeal for negative yields that he believes would help the U.S. curb its borrowing costs and stimulate growth.
Via Twitter, the president continued his campaign of lashing out at the Fed’s monetary policy. With the world economy sandbagged by the downside risks of the U.S.-China trade war, Trump called the central bank “boneheads” for missing out on “a once in a lifetime opportunity” presented by historically low yields.
The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt. INTEREST COST COULD BE BROUGHT WAY DOWN, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term. We have the great currency, power, and balance sheet…..
The concept of negative rates is attractive in theory, but economists say the effects are far less appealing in reality. While it makes the risk of default virtually nil, negative-yielding global debt —currently estimated at $16 trillion — is bad for savers and erodes bank profitability.
It also underscored the president’s growing fascination with negative rates, a condition where investors have sacrificed yield for safety by paying the bond issuer.“As a highly-leveraged property developer, Trump is thinking about negative rates from the perspective of a borrower,” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics on Wednesday.However, “the Fed’s lukewarm appetite for negative rates is partly because officials know that it could cause outrage among savers and drag the central bank into a political maelstrom,” Ashworth added.As yields on safe-haven government debt collapse globally — largely because of fears over the economy and expected central bank easing — borrowing costs have dropped sharply.