Goodness! Thank you very much! I appreciate the replies, and glad to have saved you some money -- and aggravation.
DarkKnight2 mentioned about the victims fund, and that is something I have a little info on, based on the book written by the fund master, and related interviews. Not only were some families forgotten more than others, the military families tended to have a much better attitude than some of the other families. You would think a good attitude is supposed to be rewarded.
I've concluded that the whole victims' fund scenario was nothing but Nixonesque hush money. I see it as a "pennies on the dollar" cost/benefit analysis contrived by the neocons, and their masters in the Secret Team. While the money paid out will certainly help a lot of people, hopefully the children who lost parents above all else, the gesture is not anywhere close to as sincere and caring as it may appear to be to the unsuspecting public.
BTW, Catherine, your post rocked! Nice to see some strong writing on the internet for a change.
Original post date 11 Oct 2005 by Glass Race.
Edited by Glass Race.
___ What is Life Worth? The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11
is Kenneth R. Feinberg's book about his unprecedented experience as the special paymaster who oversaw the indemnifying of the Victim Compensation Fund to the 9/11 families.
The job took 3 years, he did it pro bono, and it was a grinder, psychologically. And priceless as a source of personal wisdom for all the above reasons.
I first heard him during a Fresh Air
interview I happened to catch. It's an excellent interview and can be heard herehttp://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4700911
He was on C-SPAN as well, but I recall getting more from the radio interview posted above.
And a blurb on the bookhttp://www.publicaffairsbooks.com/publicaffairsbooks-cgi-bin/display?book=1586483234
It will be impossible to consider this work fully without getting into some really deep commentary about American society itself. And ultimately ourselves. The radical challenges we've inherited without always realizing it.
___EXCERPT - Different Expectations, Different Values
The following is an excerpt from What is Life Worth?
pp. 56-59Not all town hall meetings were bitter or confrontational. Actually their atmosphere and tone varied dramatically depending on the location. In New York, anger and frustration usually boiled over. Families demanded greater compensation. Sometimes, they attacked me personally. "I spit on you and your children," said the widow of one firefighter, incensed that she was receiving less money because of life insurance offsets.
Many New Yorkers seemed to feel that their justifiable anger over the attacks entitled them to increased payment, as if the money was a form of reparations for the failure of federal government to protect its citizens. This attitude became apparent when I hosted a series of group meetings in the basement of my law firm's Manhattan office building on East 49th Street. We gathered in a large, movie-style auditorium reserved for tenant conferences. One day I would meet with as many as two hundred of New York City firefighters and policemen, the next day with Cantor Fitzgerald spouses, a third day with the families of foreign workers or members of a Hispanic or Korean 9/11 family association.
Informality and casual attire characterized these meetings. I welcomed the guests and explained the program and the limitations imposed on me by the statute. I tried to anticipate the most obvious questions about eligibility and compensation. To encourage a candid exchange of views, I made it clear that these sessions with the families were off the record (no transcript or tape recordings were made of the discussion).
All seemed well until I invited questions from the audience. Then the floodgates opened, releasing a torrent of invective and anger aimed directly at me. It became very personal. "Mr. Feinberg, you have discretion. So exercise it and give us our due," one family member said. Family after family accused me of devaluing the life of a husband or daughter, of failing to recognize the victim's true worth, of engaging in a coldhearted calculation of dollars and cents when I should be focusing on the uniqueness and human qualities of the deceased. "How can you be so insensitive, so detached, so unwilling to understand the human qualities of my dead wife? How can the government be so callous?" one survivor shouted.
It was tough to stay calm when barraged by these attacks. But I realized that a raised voice or an angry rejoinder would only heighten tensions and provoke an even stronger reaction in the room. I also knew that if I buckled under the pressure and promised what I couldn't deliver, I'd create worse problems in the long run. So I pledged to listen to every argument, to respond with understanding and sympathy to every complaint, and to extend the meetings as long as necessary for everyone to be heard.
My willingness to stand up to the criticism from family members reinforcing each other's confrontational attitudes eventually led to a more substantive discussion of the program. It was as if the families, after venting their frustration and anger at me, then acknowledged the necessity of quietly and calmly learning more about the program. The meetings ended with a promise to reconvene the group for further discussion. More than one family member would take me aside before leaving the building to quietly thank me for listening and expressing support. "And I'm sorry, Mr. Feinberg," they'd often add, "for what you had to put up with during the meeting. I know you're only trying to help."
In Virginia, the environment could not have been more different. Dealing with military families almost guaranteed a certain degree of respect and military decorum. I learned that military families develop a certain insularity, especially in times of grief, and circle the wagons to provide each other emotional comfort and support. They seemed to speak with one voice, recognizing that, as military families, they stood with their lost loved ones in harm's way. They rarely asked a personal question pertaining to their own individual circumstances; instead, they focused on issues of general importance to the entire group.
The tone of the Virginia meetings was remarkably civil. "Sir, I have a question," was the common introductory phrase when I met with families in a hotel room less than a mile from the Pentagon. "Thank you" was almost always the response after my answer. There were no invectives, no indictments, no demands; instead a collective hush fell over the gathering. A series of reasonable questions followed concerning the technicalities of the program. How would I treat military housing and travel allowances in calculating awards? Would I take into account the likelihood of the victim receiving a military promotion? How would I treat military pensions and anticipated battle pay? Occasionally I heard the sound of stifled weeping in the crowd.
At the conclusion of one meeting attended by about two hundred people, I was presented a framed certificate of thanks from the Pentagon families. I was touched and expressed my deep appreciation, explaining to the families that their act of kindness was a first in my administration of the fund. I reminded them that we were all in this together. Although I could never stand in their shoes or fully appreciate the measure of their loss, I would do all I could to vindicate their trust in me. They were grateful for the government's largesse and they thanked me warmly for my willingness to visit them and explain the program.
California was different still. . . .