Archive for the ‘Fausta’s blog’ Category

Mexico: Tunnel like El Chapo

Friday, October 9th, 2015

While his guards played solitaire, El Chapo went at it. Here’s how you too can tunnel like El Chapo! (click on image for full size)

Tunnel like El Chapo – An infographic by the team at Powertool World

El Chapo news today:
Official: Pilot who helped ‘El Chapo’ escape captured

On the one hand, Chapo Guzman’s rumored $100M bounty on Donald Trump is ‘reason for concern’; on the other hand, Online giant Yahoo has fallen hook, line and sinker for a debunked story claiming that Mexican drug lord El Chapo has posted a $100 million reward for leading presidential candidate Donald Trump. Either way, you can Make A Run For It With “El Chapo” Halloween Costume.

And of course, the corridos play on,

The NYT’s modern man & his melon baller UPDATED

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

I won’t link to it since it’s hatebait, because it’s written to be mocked, but linked each time it’s mocked, but if one is to believe the NYT, what makes a man, as Ace puts it,

is simply behaving like a liberal, urban white woman (the actual target demographic of this piece).

I’ve never met the author of the NYT article, but I’ve met Ace, who indeed is modern, and a man, and I agree with his assessment.

The NYT’s modern man owns a melon baller.

Lest your mind wander to impure thoughts, here is a melon baller, which, if you must-have, I’d appreciate you get through this link so I get a small commission.

But I digress.

I’ve also met Lileks, another modern man, who went to town dissecting the NYT’s idea of a modern man, only that Lileks is pitch-perfect,

Does the modern man have a melon baller? What do you think? How else would the cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew he serves be so uniformly shaped?

So has his wife. Maybe when the kids are gone.

The modern man has thought seriously about buying a shoehorn.

But not those plastic ones. Something elegant with a bone handle. There has to be a place in the Village that sells them. That sells only shoehorns. There will be an old man who knows his craft, and the store will be old and cluttered and you know like European? And he will learn something about the art of the shoehorn, and the traditions of the makers, and the old man will be pleased to help him, because most people these days, they don’t care about the old ways.

The modern man lies on the side of the bed closer to the door. If an intruder gets in, he will try to fight him off, so that his wife has a chance to get away.

Stay away Mr. Burglar or you are going to get such a melon balling

Steven Miller, who I haven’t met, corrects the modern man,

The modern man does not use a mellon baller as anything other than a cereal spoon.

So the NYT succeeds at a hatebait, generating lots of posts (mine included), but my favorite so far is John del Signore’s, N+0 Ways To Be A Postmodern Man

The postmodern man and the modern man are both part of the same privileged white man hypocrisy, and never more so as when they compose deliberately insufferable listicles to be published purely for the sake of feeding bite-sized content into a rapidly devolving banner ad shell game.

Take it away, George!

Blogging on LatAm shall resume shortly.

“The Modern Man” Fisked…. By Hand

Coming soon to a hemisphere near you

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

I’m not sure in exactly what form, or exactly when, but in our connected world, there are storm clouds gathering:

1. International Geopolitics Abhors a Vacuum

You don’t have to be a supporter of Putin’s domestic to recognize that he is successfully expanding Russia’s influence and strengthening his country’s global position, while Obama has thoroughly squandered American prestige, abandoned allies, embraced our enemies, and reduced American influence to third-rate status.

2. Putin doesn’t have a strong hand, but it’s strong enough to exploit the weakness that Obama projects

3. Putin wants to humiliate Obama with airstrikes in Syria

But Putin sees a necessity in humiliating the United States. That’s business. And yet, despite Putin’s obviousness, the White House team and its acolytes publicly scratch their heads and other body parts, saying, “We’re not certain what the Russians intend.”

4. In Obama’s world posturing is enough to produce an conclusive result. That may be, but Obama is actively working towards a conclusive result in other areas. I have stated several times that I fully expect Obama to cede Guantanamo to Cuba. You can be sure Putin and the Castros already are planning to gain from that eventuality. Or do you really believe Putin wasn’t listening when John Kerry declared “The era of the Monroe Doctrine is over”?

Lest you find me unduly alarmist, my gut tells me that, once a Russian three star general warns US officials ‘we request your people leave’, all bets are off.


And remember the signing amount of $100 billion Obama administration released to Iran for agreeing to the Nuclear Deal? Russia is getting a big chuck of that money. Tehran is ordering missile equipment as well as satellite and space technology worth $21 billion from Moscow.

During the spring of 2011, two Iranian Hezbollah operatives were conducting terror training on Venezuela’s Margarita Island for persons brought there from other countries in the Latin America.


Another storm cloud, which may or may not be catching Putin’s attention, is the Colombia/FARC agreement. Alvaro Uribe sums it up in one tweet:
I helped elect Santos in 2010 and he brings terrorists to power, buried our policies that elected him, and offers me a guaranteed jail sentence.”

Uribe may prove to be an optimist.

Colombia is Latin America’s third-largest economy. If the FARC is legitimized, all sorts of hell is going to break lose.


In a lighter mode, The Art of Manliness has How to Gird Up Your Loins: An Illustrated Guide

Argentina: The curious incident of Cristina at the UN, UPDATED

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

In Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of Silver Blaze, there’s the the curious incident of the dog in the night-time,

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner had a curious incident of her own at the UN.

The Telegraph asks, Why didn’t Cristina Kirchner mention the Falklands during her UN speech? For the first time in her eight appearances at the General Assembly, the president of Argentina failed to speak about the Falklands. After describing several of Cristina’s speeches (and let’s not forget some have been delusional), The Telegraph concludes,

It was unclear why she omitted the reference this year – especially given that this is her last address as head of state. In October Argentina will hold elections, and she cannot run for a third term.

Maybe the meds worked?

You can read her speech in Spanish here.

Curiouser and curiouser,
Argentine President: In 2010, An Obama Administration Official Asked Me to Provide Iran with Nuclear Fuel; Obama Administration Official Confirms Story. Ace posts,

Mediate notes the oddness of asking Argentina, specifically, to supply Iran with nuke fuel — given the bombing a Jewish center in Argentina in 1994,a case officially unsolved but believed to have been sponsored by Iran.

And perhaps there’s a reason Kirchner is making this accusation now:

Coincidentally [???– or not. Ace], the speech by Argentinian President Kirchner coincides with the release of the anticipated documentary film Los Abandanados, which examines the role of Iran in the 1994 AMIA bombing. The film also highlights the circumstances surrounding the mysterious death of Nisman, who actively devoted his life to uncovering the judicial misconduct following the attack. Nisman was found dead in January at his home in Buenos Aires, hours before he was scheduled to address the Congress of Argentina.

Jason Howerton has now updated; Samore [sic? Kirchner names a Gary Seymour, not Samore*, in her speech. Fausta] confirms he went shopping in Argentina for fuel for Iran’s nukes.

The idea is that we’d give Iran mid-enriched uranium and of course they would enrich it no further than that.

Ace says, “It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable.”

We live in unbelievable times.

Is the Iran story true? Who confirmed it, Seymour or Samore?

Initially I posted a paragraph from Kirchner’s speech in Spanish, but this is bothering me enough I decided to translate it myself:

*Cristina’s speech (emphasis added):

Nosotros sabíamos de estas negociaciones, estábamos esperanzados en que el acuerdo finalmente llegara. Ustedes se preguntarán y cómo sabíamos. Simple, en el año 2010, nos visitó, en Argentina, Gary Seymour, en ese entonces principal asesor de la Casa Blanca, en materia nuclear. Él nos vino a ver con una misión, con un objetivo que la Argentina que había provisto, en el año 1987, durante el primer gobierno democrático y bajo el control de OIEA, la Organización Internacional, en materia de control de armas y regulación nuclear, había provisto el combustible nuclear, del denominado reactor “Teherán”. Gary Seymour, le explicó a nuestro Canciller, Héctor Timerman que estaban en negociaciones precisamente para llegar a un acuerdo y que la República Islámica de Irán no siguiera enriqueciendo uranio, lo hiciera a menor cantidad, pero que Irán decía que necesitaba enriquecer este reactor nuclear de Teherán y esto entorpecía las negociaciones. Nos venía a pedir a nosotros, los argentinos que proveyéramos de combustible nuclear a la República Islámica de Irán. No estaba Rohani todavía, estaba Ahmadinejad, ya había comenzado las negociaciones.

My translation:

We knew of these negotiations, we hoped that an agreement would finally come about. You may ask, how did we know. Simple, in 2010, we were visited, in Argentina, by Gary Seymour, who at that time was the White House’s main advisor on nuclear issues. He came to see us with a mission, a purpose that Argentina had foreseen, in 1987, during its first democratic government, and under the control of the IAEA, the International Organization on nuclear regulations and weapons control, had provided the nuclear fuel, for the reactor named “Teheran”. Gary Seymour, explained to our Minister of Foreign Relations, Héctor Timerman, that they were negotiating to reach an agreement so that the Islamic Republic of Iran would not continue enriching uranium, that they would [instead] do it in smaller quantities, but that Iran said that they needed to enrich this Tehran nuclear reactor and that hindered the negotiations. He came to ask us, the Argentinians, to provide nuclear fuel to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Rohani wasn’t on yet, it was still Ahmahinejad, who had started the negotiations.

The Blaze‘s translation polished Cristina’s meandering style to a much clearer paragraph, but it changed Seymour to Samore:

In 2010 we were visited in Argentina by Gary Samore, at that time the White House’s top advisor in nuclear issues. He came to see us in Argentina with a mission, with an objective: under the control of IAEA, the international organization in the field of weapons control and nuclear regulation, Argentina had supplied in the year 1987, during the first democratic government, the nuclear fuel for the reactor known as “Teheran”. Gary Samore had explained to our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Héctor Timerman, that negotiations were underway for the Islamic Republic of Iran to cease with its uranium enrichment activities or to do it to a lesser extent but Iran claimed that it needed to enrich this Teheran nuclear reactor and this was hindering negotiations. They came to ask us, Argentines, to provide the Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear fuel. Rohani was not in office yet. It was Ahmadinejad’s administration and negotiations had already started.

My question remains, who confirmed the story, Seymour, or Samore, or who?

Mexico: Murders on the rise at the capital

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Would it be unfair to call Mexico a “functional narcostate”? (amongst all its disfunction, that is)

Rise in Violent Crime Shakes Mexico City. Increase in murders in capital stokes fears that brutal drug gangs have grabbed foothold (emphasis added)

The Federal District, home to some nine million of the 20 million inhabitants in the Mexico City metropolitan area, saw homicides rise 21% to 566 in the first eight months of this year, according to Interior Ministry data released last week, putting the capital’s murder rate at its highest level over the same period since 1998.
. . .
The increase in murders in Mexico City has contributed to a nationwide rise in homicide for the first time since President Enrique Peña Nieto took power in late 2012, months after the rate of killings linked to the country’s murderous drug war began to fall.

During the first eight months of this year, murders rose 5% nationwide. August was the fourth consecutive month in which the murder rate increased.

The rising toll is a big challenge for Mr. Peña Nieto, whose administration had trumpeted the decline in murders over the past two years as proof that the government’s security initiatives, such as improved coordination between crime-fighting agencies like the army and federal police, were working.

Raúl Toledo, a security consultant and former city official, said the rise in Mexico City’s crime rate coincides with estimates by local authorities of a 17% increase in drug consumption in the capital over the past three years.

Latin American countries are prone to deny the existence of drug use among their citizenry. Yet it exists.

And of course they also deny the existence of organized crime.

A Mexico City judge has sentenced three men to 520 years in jail each for their roles in the kidnapping and murder of 13 young people two years ago.

Colombia: The ugly “deal” with the FARC

Monday, September 28th, 2015

First, what’s ugly about it? No referendum. More on that in a moment.

Here’s the Comunicado conjunto # 60 sobre el Acuerdo de creación de una Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz (and the English Summary of the September 23 Government-FARC Communiqué on the Transitional Justice Accord). I could not find the text of the accord itself, but the Communiqué states,

While it is not in the text of the accord, President Juan Manuel Santos said that the sides have agreed to sign a final accord within the next six months.

Steven Taylor is optimistic,

Hopefully the current process will lead to real justice and reconciliation as well as a better state presence in the frontier regions of Colombia.

Mary O’Grady is not as sanguine:
Colombia’s Dubious Deal With Terrorists: Why President Santos won’t let voters decide the fate of his FARC peace agreement.

For starters, the White House pressured for a deal.
Pope Che intervened during last week’s visit to Cuba,

Referring to four years of Colombian government negotiations in Havana with the drug-trafficking terrorist group FARC, Pope Francis said “Please, we do not have the right to allow ourselves yet another failure on this path of peace and reconciliation.” That was pope-speak for “get this done.”

Then there’s the secrecy. As I stated above, as of the writing of this post I could not find the text of the accord itself, only of the Communiqué. O’Grady points out (emphasis added):

FARC atrocities will not land the perpetrators in jail. Instead they will go before one of two special tribunals, which will include judges from other countries. What countries, nobody knows.

Cuba? Venezuela?

If the accused acknowledge their crimes, their most severe penalties will be confinement to the rural areas where they already live, for five to eight years, and some community service. In the case of crimes against humanity this will violate Colombia’s commitments under the Geneva convention.

At the same time, the military, and members of the civilian government and civil society would be on trial alongside the terrorists – would they simply be sentenced to confinement to the areas where they already live, and some community service?

O’Grady continues,

The FARC has said it will not turn over its weapons. It owes reparations to victims and the nation, but how it will pay its debts or to whom nobody knows. FARC leaders will enter politics flush with cash acquired in the cocaine and kidnapping trades.

Last year Mr. Santos announced that he wanted to widen the definition of a political crime to include drug trafficking so that the FARC could claim that they are not gangsters but political actors. This was so he could meet their demand of no jail time.

O’Grady doesn’t mention that the Communiqué describes a number of vague measures, such as “Una ley de amnistía precisará el alcance de la conexidad.” (An amnesty law will specify the extent of the connectedness – what does that mean?), and that some crimes would fall exclusively under the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, the one with judges from unspecified foreign countries.

However, one thing is clear: Santos doesn’t want a referendum, as O’Grady states,

I’ve lost count of how many times Mr. Santos told me personally that Colombians would have a chance to vote on whatever was agreed upon in Havana. He repeated that pledge in interviews and numerous speeches to the nation. Yet on a radio show in August he stated categorically “I have never been on board with a referendum.” Now he calls a referendum “suicide.

Santos wants special commissions in Congress to approve the agreement, and is asking Congress for an enabling law granting him special powers

for 180 days so that he can dictate implementation of the deal.

Former president (who delivered the FARC a Terrible, Horrible, no Good, very Bad Year in 2008) and current senator Alvaro Uribe is opposed to the deal, but he’s not alone: Breakthrough in Farc talks triggers backlash in Colombia.

#AccordOfImpunity Santos and Farc will nominate the Tribunal that Congress will ratify. Terrorism imposes justice. Where are we heading?

Francis and what’s missing

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Before I start, I must clarify a point: For Catholic believers, the Pope is most definitely NOT supposed to be infallible at all times. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, as promulgated by Pope John Paul II, specifically and narrowly defines when and to what the doctrine of infallibility applies.

However, the mistaken belief that a pope’s infallibility applies all the time in all instances can and has been been, and will continue to be, exploited for political purposes – sometimes by the pope themselves.

Add to that a “likable guy” in the office of Pope, and you get full-blitz.

Right now we have two instances:
1. The Pope’s photo-ops with the Castros, When Francis Came to Cuba:

When four dissidents somehow managed to get close to Pope Francis, despite the efforts of church and state to keep all such Cubans away from him, they were quickly attacked by plain-clothed state security agents and whisked away to prison. Has Pope Francis denounced these injustices, which amount to religious persecution? Has he voiced concern over the compliance of his bishops in this persecution? No. Not a word. His silence is deafening.

Now in the U.S., Francis remains silent on government’s shut down of the Catholic Church’s adoption program in Boston. Likewise, this is puzzling news:

Pope Francis made an unscheduled stop to visit the Little Sisters of the PoorWednesday, a move that Vatican officials said was intended to send a message of support in the nuns’ battle against Obamacare.

Why a quiet message of support? Why not make it out front, direct, as part of the official schedule?

2. An emphasis on global warming/climate change alarmism, which, as Roger Kimball points out,

It’s long been clear that environmentalism is the new religion for leftists. You can never be Green enough, comrade, and the ideology of climate change provides an unending rationale for economic redistribution.

Francis deplored capitalism in his encyclical Laudato Si’ (while saying “we need a conversation which includes everyone,” uninvited Philippe de Larminat for his climate skepticism), asserting

Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods.

By “the distribution of goods” Francis means “transfer of wealth,” one of the tenets of the environmentalist creed.

When speaking to Congress this morning, Francis repeated many of his environmental points from Laudato Si’as expected.

One thing was missing:
While referring to “We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners” – an invitation to welcome more immigrants – he made no mention of the hundreds of thousands of Christians martyred and slaughtered for their faith by Islamists. Of all the omissions, this one is the most disturbing of all.

These omissions bring to my mind the Anglican General Confession, We have left undone those things which we ought to have done;
And we have done those things which we ought not to have done.

I am not a deep thinker, so to end this post I go back to Carlos Eire, who is. He ended his article,

For now, all we Cuban Catholics can do is acknowledge the fact that the first pope, Saint Peter, made many, many mistakes, and that none of his successors have been infallible when it comes to politics. And we can take comfort in praying along with an innumerable throng of Christians who stretch all the way back to first century: Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis

Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

What many of his new political friends mainly seek is to have the pope “moralize” their politics. Indeed.

Update 2:
Ben Shapiro dissects the speech.

Cuba: Francis won’t talk to Congress about embargo

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Today’s headline: Pope Francis Won’t Push for More Cuba Trade Easing in Speech to Congress. He doesn’t plan to raise the question of the U.S. embargo in his Congressional address this week So far, so good, until you read this (emphasis added),

WASHINGTON— Pope Francis doesn’t plan to raise the question of the U.S. embargo against Cuba during his address to Congress this week and said he declined to meet with dissidents during his visit to Cuba as part of a general policy against private meetings during the visit.

Say, again?

As Carlos Eire says, One must admit, this papal circus will go down in history as one of the most significant triumphs of the Castro regime, and as a memorable moment in the annals of American journalism.

Mexico: North Korea wants its rust bucket back

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Remember the Mu Du Bong? It ran aground last year nine miles off Veracruz after stopping in Havana.

Oh! That rustbucket!

Now North Korea wants it back, claiming that it’s “a revolutionary historic site”

because it had been visited by members of regime leader Kim Jong Un’s family.

You can’t make this up if you try.

Nothing in the report shows whether the ship is seaworthy enough for the long trip to North Korea, but you can bet the new crew will do their darnedest:

“If the crew cannot bring home the ship, the relevant officials are sure to be punished.”

Usually that means the summary execution of the men, and most likely the death/life imprisonment of their relatives.

The Mu Du Bong and the Chon Chong Gang have the same commercial agent, Ocean Maritime Management Company.

September 11: In memory of Joe Angelini, Jr.

Friday, September 11th, 2015

This post honors three heroes of September 11, 2001: a father and two sons. Two died, one survived.

May they never be forgotten.

Project 2996

Joseph Angelini Jr., age 38 of Lindenhurst, NY, died heroically on September 11, 2001 in the World Trade Center terrorist attack. He was a New York firefighter with Ladder Co. 4

Joseph Angelini Jr.
A Firefighter Passionate About Family, Gardening

October 22, 2001

Joseph Angelini Jr. may have lived for the New York City Fire Department, but he didn’t hang around when his tour ended.

“Gotta get home to the kids,” he’d tell the guys in Manhattan’s Ladder Co. 4 before heading to the 6:33 p.m. train to Lindenhurst.

Angelini’s wife, Donna, has scheduled a memorial service for today to help 7-year-old Jennifer, 5-year-old Jacqueline and 3-year-old Joseph Angelini III to finally understand that he won’t be coming home anymore.

“My son asks everyone he sees in uniform, ‘Did you find my daddy, did you find my daddy?’” Donna Angelini said Friday.

The seven-year department veteran followed in the footsteps of his father, Joseph Angelini Sr., 63, who was the senior member of Brooklyn’s Rescue Co. 1 and also perished in the World Trade Center attacks.

The younger Angelini, 38, was assigned to a house that protects New York’s theater district. Its motto: “Never miss a performance.”

But at home, he was a cook, craftsman and avid gardener who grew pumpkins, zucchini, eggplants and hot peppers and filled the house with the smells of pizza and focaccia.

“He was the air in my lungs, and now that air is taken away from me,” Donna Angelini said. “I keep waiting for him to come off a 24 [hour shift] and come through the door and say, ‘You wouldn’t believe what happened to me today.’”

Angelini also is survived by his mother, Anne, a grandmother, Mary, sister Annmarie Bianco and brother, Michael, all of Lindenhurst; sister Mary Angelini of Washington D.C.; and by seven nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held today at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church in Lindenhurst.
– Elizabeth Moore (Newsday) profile of Joe Jr.

Living Tribute to Joseph Angelini, Jr.

Joe’s father, Joe Sr. also died that day:
The Veteran and His Son

Joseph J. Angelini Sr. and his son, Joseph Jr., were firefighters, and neither survived the twin towers’ collapse. “If he had lived and his son had died, I don’t think he would have survived,” said Alfred Benjamin, a firefighter at Rescue Company 1 in Manhattan who was partnered with Mr. Angelini for the last six months.

The elder Mr. Angelini, 63, was the most veteran firefighter in the city, with 40 years on the job. He was tough and “rode the back step” like everyone else. His 38-year-old son, who worked on Ladder Company 4 on 48th Street, was on the job for seven years.

“If you mentioned retirement to Joey, it was like punching him,” Mr. Benjamin said. Joseph Jr. was proud of his father’s reputation and tried to copy him any way he could, said Joseph Jr.’s wife, Donna.

And they never gave up their tools. “Think about climbing 20 stories with bunker gear, ropes, hooks, halogens and other different types of tools and somebody wants to borrow a tool — no way,” Mr. Benjamin said. “You ask them what they need done and you do it for them. You carried that tool all the way up there, so you’re going to use it. If they thought they were going to need a tool, they should have carried it up. Joey Sr. always said carry your own weight. He always carried his.”

Joseph Jr. applied to the department 11 years ago. He got called seven years ago. “It was the proudest day for my father-in-law. It was a great opportunity,” said Donna Angelini. “His father was a firefighter and he wanted to be one, too.”

Mr. Angelini, who had four children, taught Joseph Jr. carpentry. Often they worked on projects together, including a rocking horse. Joseph Jr., who had three children, had started building a dollhouse for one of his daughters. Unfinished, it is sitting on his workbench.

Joseph Angelini, Sr.

Mychal Judge

A brother, Firefighter Michael Angelini, was there as well, but, in a move that probably saved his life, left when asked to help carry out the body of the Rev. Mychal Judge, the fire department’s chaplain.

From Newsday:

Between Funeral and ‘Pile’

September 21, 2001

Michael’s choice: remain with his mother, Anne, in Lindenhurst and support his family during the wake, today, and the funeral, tomorrow, for his father, New York firefighter Joey Angelini, 63; or, return to The Pile to continue searching for his missing brother, New York firefighter Joey Angelini Jr., 38.

Michael, 33, knew yesterday that his mother and Joey Jr.’s wife, Donna, his two sisters and his nieces and nephews needed him, needed a strong, grown, male Angelini nearby, perhaps as much or more than he needed to be nearer his brother. “It’s hard to figure out what’s the right place to be in,” he said, already having decided to stay with the family. “I want so much to go back there.”

Michael works for the Fire Patrol of New York, which operates under the New York Board of Underwriters, protecting the interests of insurers during and in the aftermath of commercial property fires. Wearing the same firefighting gear, except for the distinctive red helmet that denotes Fire Patrol, he responded to the World Trade Center disaster last Tuesday morning, as did his father, a 40-year FDNY veteran assigned to Rescue 1, and his brother, of Ladder Co. 4 in the Theater District. “We were all in the same area, and none of us knew it,” he said.

In the lobby of one of the stricken towers, a fire supervisor suddenly ordered him out of the building. They passed firefighters who had just encountered the body of department chaplain Father Mychal Judge. Michael helped carry Judge away. “… but then my officer grabbed me and said, ‘Let’s go!’” he said. “We ended up a block or two north on West Murray Street.”

Michael entertained a slender hope that his brother might have finished his tour early and gone home. He suspected otherwise, and he learned later that afternoon that Joey had done what his father would have done and what so many other firefighters did who were supposed to be ending their tours at 9 a.m. They went to work.

Once a jokester and a partygoer, Joey Jr. had undergone personality changes increasingly noticeable to Michael during the past seven years, since he had joined the department and Donna gave birth to the first of their three children, Jennifer. He had worked previously as an electrician with the Transit Authority. “I didn’t want him to leave Transit,” said his mother, “because they were about to make him a foreman. But, for some reason, he switched over to the fire department.”

“Since then,” Michael said, “I saw him taking on more and more of my father’s traits. Before, we used to go out a lot, he and I. He was silly, funny. Now, getting him to go out was like pulling teeth. I tell old stories to guys he worked with, and they’ll look at me like I’m talking about somebody they don’t know. He had become so, like, straight. He just wanted to be with his family. He was showing more and more of that integrity, that seriousness, like my father.

“Three things were important to my father: his family, the church and the department, and I’m not sure in what order. My father was honest to a fault, religious. I remember walking back from the store with him. I was only little. He realized that the counter girl had given him 30 cents too much in change, and we had to walk all the way back. I mean, it was almost ridiculous. Joey was becoming more like that. It was good to watch, but it’s hard to live up to.”

The elder Angelini was in special operations that morning, and Michael hoped he too might have been sent elsewhere, but he really knew better. His father was legendary in the department for loving the work, for loving “to get dirty,” for loving “making a grab [rescuing somebody],” for routinely walking out of a mostly extinguished inferno and lighting a cigarette while younger firefighters lay sprawled around him, exhausted.

Earlier this year, at a Holy Name Society communion breakfast tribute for his 40th anniversary as a firefighter, the short, wiry, gray-haired Angelini resisted efforts by his fellow firefighters to get him to wear more of his medals. “They convinced him to put on maybe a third of them,” Michael said. “Then he said, ‘Stop. I’m tired of pinning these on.’

“He kept them in the back of a drawer, in a box,” Michael said. “He didn’t tell us about half of them. He didn’t talk about what he did. You would be eating dinner across from him and notice that he looked dif- ferent, like, strange, and then you would realize that his face was all red, and his eyebrows were completely gone, and his hairline had receded. He was burned. You would say, ‘What happened to you?’ And he would say, ‘Aw, something flashed over me.’

“At the site, all week, guys were joking about him finding a pocket and eventually walking out. They said to me, ‘He was probably buried in a void, and as soon as he runs out of cigarettes he’s gonna come walking out.’”

Rescue workers found the body of Joey Angelini on Monday. He had been listed as missing since the day after the attack. Joey Jr. still is missing. After tomorrow’s funeral Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lindenhurst, Michael probably will return to the site.
–Ed Lowe (Newsday Columnist)

The Veteran and His Son in Portraits of Grief