Archive for July, 2005

This letter writer in the local rag makes a point that most of us know, few say, and unfortunately, none of us will ever see:

The only hope to end terrorism in Iraq is for Muslim religious leaders around the world to speak out forcefully against terrorism and let would-be terrorists know that their actions are not pleasing to Allah and will not be rewarded. I believe it is a serious obligation for their leaders.

Extremist leaders won’t do this because THEY are the authors of the current policy. We are the infidel, we must die, and the suicide bombers do their dirty work.


Dissenting clerics from this jihadist doctrine seldom die of natural causes.

Update: Right as Usual postulates that unity through nationalism might be an answer, if the people could get past ethnic/tribal differences in favor of the country as a whole, but I can’t see it. I commented that tribal loyalties go back centuries and centuries.  These middle eastern nation states have only been in existence since the end of the Ottoman Empire around 1920. Worse, the countries were carved out virtually arbitrarily with no respect for nationality or ethnicity. It is unlikely that these people would subordinate the centuries old tribal indoctrination, even in the name of peace.


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The Bull Moose is Back

I used to have the Bull Moose Republicans linked, but they disappeared sometime after the 2004 election. I lamented their absence, and I see that they have come back, albeit on a part time basis. I will happily re-add them to my blogroll.

If you don’t know about them, check them out. They stand for a more diverse Republican party. At a time when Republicans are often accused of divisiveness, I’m all for it.


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Three years ago today, after nine months of marriage & four days of contractions, we welcomed our first baby into the world. It was a rough start for his mother. Contractions began in the wee hours of Friday, but after 3 days and 4 visits to the hospital (only to be sent home each time) all we had to show for it was Ann’s exhaustion and distress. Mercifully, they finally gave her something for the pain on Sunday. We were admitted Tuesday, and Luke was born via C-section that evening.

It is difficult to describe the mixture of stress & fear over what his mother was going through and the anticipation of finally meeting this baby. We’d finally see a face, hear a voice, know the sex, and give a name. It is difficult to phrase, but I was surprised at what I was surprised by when Luke was finally delivered. They put up little curtains for C-Sections, ostensibly to prevent the father from fainting, so I heard his voice before I saw him. What a set of lungs. Then, the doctor told us we had a BIG boy. Not just a boy, but a BIG boy.

Excuse me? You’ll seldom find a more petite couple than Phil and Ann. Big? How big?

Moments after birth

He was a gorilla. The only thing missing was Fay Wray in one of those hands. One of the OR people took me by the arm to the table where they work on the newborns. They washed him off, stuck something up his nose, and did other things I can’t recall, but I kept thinking that this is one big strong baby. I was totally unprepared for that. No wonder he wouldn’t come out the regular exit. Nine pounds, one ounce.

Then, unforgettably, I looked to my right and saw them stuffing the giblets back into his mother. So much for the curtain. Yowza. Let me tell you. That is a far cry from that mini skirt she wore when we saw Miss Saigon early on. I had a flash of the Talking Heads and snapped back to the present. We still tease each other about that.

Ann had seen Luke but (I got the frog from my throat and said his name  by now) then she was rushed to post-op and it would be hours before she could finally hold him. I was with him the rest of the time as he was wheeled to the incubator, where they put goop on his eyes, gave him a shot of something, and in general antagonized the hell out of him. It is great that New York Hospital allows fathers to be with the babies as they do all the post birth stuff. I felt like I was backstage at a Pink Floyd Concert. We weren’t alone, and I saw these other new fathers who were a foot taller than I with their kids who were far smaller than mine. Ironic.

In recovery, Ann was shivering, which is a common post-op thing. She wouldn’t get to hold Luke until about 5 hours after the delivery.

First hug

I recall how she buried her face in his hair (which he would soon lose), and then looked up at me and asked "can we have ten more?" On a day of being shocked and amazed, that blew me away. Was she suffering from amnesia? Why would ANYONE want to go through that ordeal again? What a woman. I still recall the feelings of joy and relief.

As cliche as it sounds, these three years have flown by. We have savored every moment. Luke is a very happy little boy, a great big brother to his siblings, and a wonderful grandson. We love being this little boy’s Mom and Dad.

Our family

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I saw that Arod home run, and it was a massive blast. Yanks 8, Sawx 6. Way to start the 2nd half.

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Not a Half Bad Point


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Martin Heidgen, 24, of Valley Stream, had initially been charged with second-degree manslaughter following the July 2 crash on the Meadowbrook Parkway that claimed the lives of 7-year-old Kate Flynn of Long Beach and limousine driver Stanley Rabinowitz, 59, of Farmingdale, said Nassau County District Attorney Denis Dillon.

The little girl was a passenger in the limousine and was traveling home from a family wedding when Heidgen’s pickup truck crashed into their vehicle at around 2 a.m. He was allegedly driving north in the southbound lanes of the parkway and passed several exits and vehicles before crashing head-on into the limousine, prosecutors said.

Heidgen allegedly had a blood alcohol level of 0.28 percent — three and a half times the legal limit — at the time of the crash. Heidgen, who suffered a fractured ankle, moved to Valley Stream from Little Rock, Ark., in 2004 after landing a job at a Wall Street financial company.

He could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the upgraded charges. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday at First District Court and was ordered held without bail. His attorney did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

I have observed that fatherhood makes some things hit me harder. This is one of those things.

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Dincocrat has some excellent commentary questioning the validity of the idea that poverty causes young Muslims to become suicide bombers. Well worth a look in view of the fact that the suspects in the London terrorist attacks of 7/7 weren’t exactly living in a van.
Brief aside: we are aware of the substantial amount of academic and other material, beginning with Durkheim, seeking to link economic condition and suicide. Here is an example from Columbia. It is all utter rubbish. Consider this: mankind lived for hundreds of thousands of years as hunter-gatherers, not more than a few meals from death, and mankind survived and prospered. Or consider this: there were 742,000 suicides in the US from 1977-2001, an average of about 3 out of 1000 people per year. If economic conditions really had anything important to do with societal suicide rates, rather than the mental state of the individual, the overall numbers of suicides would have to be ten times greater or more. Once again the rule is true: when academic studies conflict with common sense, the academic studies are almost always wrong.
Is there an emoticon for applause?

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