Instinct: The Man Who Stopped the Twentieth Hijacker
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Publisher’s Weekly Review:
Instinct: The Man Who Stopped the 20th Highjacker
Michael A. Smerconish with Kurt A. Schreyer. Lyons, $19.95 (216p) ISBN 9781599215167
At the center of this dramatic true story is Mohammed al Kahtani, allegedly meant to serve as the 20th 9/11 hijacker, whose denial of entry to the U.S. by an
Orlando customs officer may have provided just the edge that the passengers of United Flight 93 needed to overpower their captors. The questions that surround him, however, are central to the execution of the war on terror: in particular, was Kahtani a “highly trained al-Qaeda operative” or a “low-level mercenary tortured by his interrogators out of frustration or pure malice?” From the political fallout of denying foreign visitors entry to the fine line between profiling and professionalism (says one interrogation expert, “that intuitiveness, that innate ability, that instinct… if you fine tune it, you have a very powerful person”) to the disturbing procedures at Guantanamo Bay, radio talk show host Smerconish (Muzzled: From T-Ball to Terrorism) presents the vivid narrative of United Flight 93 and the issues at hand with the skill of a seasoned reporter. Proceeds from the book support the Flight 93 National Memorial Campaign. (Sept.)
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Michael A. Smerconish—nationally syndicated radio talk show host, columnist, author, and all-around lightning rod of controversy and spirited discussion—is back! In Morning Drive, he displays the same no-nonsense candor he did in his two best-selling books, covering the gamut of his trademark straight talk on hot-button issues on the minds of Americans today, from government spending and taxes to torture and fighting terrorism, from immigration to gay marriage and global warming.
Taking the news headlines of today to set forth an agenda for tomorrow, Smerconish argues that the TV world presents an unrealistic, “liberal or conservative” view of the world. Maybe that explains why the man often labeled “conservative” by the television shows he appears on sees no contradiction in his kind words for Barack Obama. In this new book, Smerconish takes readers to such volatile venues as the set of Real Time with Bill Maher, where he found himself under attack in the “wing nut seat,” and recounts being the first person selected to guest host Don Imus’s TV show after Imus was fired from MSNBC.
Whether tracing his path to punditry, setting forth his views, or applying his “Muzzled Meter” to controversial statements made by everyone from Mel Gibson to Barack Obama, Smerconish voices a slew of strident opinions in Morning Drive—all based on his discussions with those-in-the-know and on personal experience. Such impressions—not least, those Smerconish garnered on his “morning drive” radio talk show based in a swing state (Pennsylvania) during the 2008 presidential campaign—come together in a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how media-driven political perception becomes reality.
Morning Drive is a rollicking, political coming-of-age by one of the rising stars of cable punditry.
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Maureen Faulkner’s husband, Philadelphia police office Danny Faulkner, was shot between the eyes on a cold December night in 1981. Mumia Abu-Jamal was unanimously convicted of the crime by a racially mixed jury based on: the testimony of several eyewitnesses, his ownership of the murder weapon, matching ballistics, and Abu-Jamal’s own confession.
After his conviction, however, a national anti-death penalty movement was started to “Free Mumia;” Mike Farrell, Ed Asner, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jesse Jackson rallied on his behalf, and led the charge. For his part, while on death row, Abu-Jamal published several books, delivered radio commentaries, was a college commencement speaker, found himself named an Honorary Citizen of France, and had his defense coffers enhanced by ticket sales from a sold out (16,000-person) concert featuring Rage Against the Machine.
Here, from Maureen Faulkner and acclaimed talk show host / journalist Michael Smerconish, is the first book to carefully and definitively lay out the case against Abu-Jamal, and those who’ve elevated him to the status of political prisoner. Smerconish, a lawyer, has provided pro bono legal counsel to Faulkner for over a decade and knows both the legal intricacies and personal subtleties of the case like no other person. He’s personally acquainted himself with the more than five thousand pages of trial transcript. “My reading starkly revealed that Abu-Jamal murdered Danny Faulkner in cold blood and that the case tried in Philadelphia in 1982 bore no resemblance to the one being home-cooked by the Abu-Jamal defense team.”
As Abu-Jamal’s lawyers contemplate their final appeal, Faulkner and Smerconish weave a compelling,never-before-told account of one fateful night and the 25-year-long rewriting of history.
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This brazen, furiously funny book is the antidote to today’s poison of political correctness. With humor and chutzpah, attorney, commentator, and popular radio host Michael Smerconish takes on today’s oversensitive culture with a collection of entertaining, outlandish anecdotes about PC gone wild-stories that are hilarious, horrifying, and unbelievably true.
Why are sports leagues handing out trophies to losers? Why are little old grandmas hired to guard 200-pound prisoners? Why are newborn babies and old men with walkers singled out at the airport while likely terrorists are ushered through security with ease?
This book shows through these absurdities that today’s atmosphere of censorship and multiculturalism is paving the way for serious threats to our cultural identity and national security: “It’s one thing for the forces of political correctness to muzzle our day-to-day lives here at home in the US, quite another when that same cancer metastasizes into the war on terror.”
We must eradicate the PC disease. Our sanity-and our very lives-depend on it.
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Radio talk show host Michael Smerconish asks the question: In a post-9/11 world marked by constant threat of terrorism, why do the Department of Transportation and the Transportation Security Administration continue to jeopardize airline security by enforcing outdated screening regulations that cater to political correctness?
The policy in question-disallowing airline security screeners from using profiling to target young Arab males for secondary screening-goes against the basic police investigative strategy of using pertinent information to pinpoint suspects and prevent further terrorist attacks. The issue first came to light during the 9/11 Commission hearings, and Smerconish’s investigation gets to the heart of it. Drawing from U.S. Government documents, testimony from the 9/11 hearings and the June 24, 2004 special Senate hearing, on-the-record conversations with major airline officials and government representatives from the TSA and the Pentagon, personal experience, and various news stories and first-person accounts, Smerconish weaves together a stunning portrait of our flawed and failing airline security structure, and offers a strong solution. Includes audio CD with testimony from the 9/11 Commission hearings, testimony from a special U.S. Senate hearing about airline security, and excerpts from Smerconish’s radio program including conversations with 9/11 Commissioner John Lehman, U.S. Senators Arlen Specter and John McCain, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher, and more.