Syria: Suicide bombing kills defense minister.American Thinker: 'This one hits close to home for Assad. Syrian defense minister, Daoud Rajha, and Asef Shawkat, the president's brother-in-law who was the deputy chief of staff of the Syrian military, were killed by a suicide bomber yesterday. ...' But AT is skeptical that the bombing represents more than an "inconvenience" to Assad. Long War Journal has more:
A suicide bomber killed the top two defense officials and seriously wounded the interior minister and the chief of the national security office in an attack at a high-level meeting of security officials in Damascus today. The attack was claimed by both the "Brigade of Islam" and the Free Syrian Army.
The suicide bomber, who is said to have been a bodyguard of a senior official in the Assad regime, detonated his explosive vest during a high-level meeting at the National Security building in the Syrian capital. Defense Minister Daoud Rajha and Deputy Defense Minister Assef Shawkat, who is also President Bashir al Assad's brother-in-law, were killed in the blast, according to the state-run Syrian television. ...
Technology / Business: Yahoo names Google's Marissa Mayer as CEO.CNN: 'Marissa Mayer, who was Google's first female engineer and its 20th employee when she joined that company in 1999, has been named CEO of Yahoo....' Go to the story for 11 facts about her, including what she could do 40 of in her first career. Also, she's pregnant.
Since I was 12 I’ve had an unappealing, didactic distrust of people with the extreme will to live. My father’s parents were Holocaust survivors ...
So begins Anna Breslaw's piece "Breaking Bad Karma". It is quite a piece of work. No doubt Anna Breslaw is quite a piece of work; by her own account, her major grievance with her father is his stubborn refusal to give her permission to end his life.
Breslaw takes a richly deserved pounding in the comments. I'll refrain from joining in the piling-on, only because it's being done much more ably by others. Instead I'd like to focus on this one paragraph:
I wondered if anyone had alerted Hitler that in the event that the final solution didn’t pan out, only the handful of Jews who actually fulfilled the stereotype of the Judenscheisse (because every group has a few) would remain to carry on the Jewish race—conniving, indestructible, taking and taking. My grandparents were not excluded from this suspicion. The same year, during a family dinner conversation about Terri Schiavo, my father made the serious request that should he fall into a vegetative state, he would like for us to keep him on life support indefinitely. Today he and I are estranged for a number of other reasons that are all somehow the same reason.
In this writer's mind, there is something fundamentally and inherently suspect in too strong a desire to live. (She says so herself in the very first sentence of the article.) Nothing in the article limits her generalization so some subset of survivors; she clearly states that "only the handful of Jews who actually fulfilled the stereotype of the Judenscheisse" would live, and that her own grandparents "were not excluded from this suspicion". From there, the discussion flows naturally to Terri Schiavo and Breslaw's unreasonable family. (She must be quite a charmer, that one.)
The Courant has the text of Governor Malloy's statement.
My position on the appropriateness of the death penalty in our criminal justice system evolved over a long period of time. As a young man, I was a death penalty supporter. Then I spent years as a prosecutor and pursued dangerous felons in court, including murderers. In the trenches of a criminal courtroom, I learned firsthand that our system of justice is very imperfect. While it’s a good system designed with the highest ideals of our democratic society in mind, like most of human experience, it is subject to the fallibility of those who participate in it. I saw people who were poorly served by their counsel. I saw people wrongly accused or mistakenly identified. I saw discrimination. In bearing witness to those things, I came to believe that doing away with the death penalty was the only way to ensure it would not be unfairly imposed. ...
The Washington Post has a story on the role played by the families of murder victims in the campaign against the death penalty. However,
On the other side of the debate, death penalty supporters had perhaps the state’s most compelling advocate in Dr. William Petit Jr., the only survivor of a 2007 home invasion in which two paroled burglars [Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky] killed his wife and two daughters. Last year, Petit successfully lobbied state senators to hold off on legislation for repeal while one of the two killers was still facing a death penalty trial.
Earlier this week, the Globe and Mail, arguably Canada's newpaper of record, published an article called Canadian MDs consider denying fertility treatments to obese women.
Canadian doctors are considering a policy that would bar obese women from trying to have babies through fertility treatments – provoking debate over whether the fat have the same reproductive rights as the thin.
One obvious issue is, of course, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which according to Wikipedia, affects 5-10% of women of reproductive age. PCOS is associated with fatness and also tends to make women infertile. As is the case with every health concern associated with fatness, many people assume that fatness causes PCOS. Having known several women with PCOS, I think it's pretty clear that the causation runs in the other direction; PCOS causes women to gain weight and makes weight loss extremely difficult. ...
Yet if one is justified in fingering anti-abortion activists as contributing to the climate which killed Dr. Tiller, what can be said of those who made the acts in Arkansas intellectually attractive to Abulhakin Muhammad, formerly Carlos Bledsoe? One of the dangers of political speech is that listeners might actually take words seriously. “Don’t tell me words don’t matter”, Barack Obama once said. He was right: they do. For that reason the murders of Tiller and Long won’t just be about a criminal tragedy, as if it were some drug-fueled, mindless crime. They will be about words and their consequences. ...
As earlier mentioned in the comments section, my mother is in the hospital. The doctor says that right now they're just making her comfortable. She's sedated, with painkillers among other things. Lungs collapsed so right now we just want to make sure she has dignity and is not in pain. The doctor says she has a couple days left. I want to thank all her readers for reading this blog, her friends for supporting her who made up "Team Cathy." Through you all, I learned what a true friend was.
Cathy drilled me on my casual assumption that all thinking people were in favor of gay marriage, and when she did that, she didn't only make me think about gay marriage as an issue, but all the other casual assumptions I offhandedly made about what people did and should think. Cathy gave me a zen slap to the head, and it was one of the biggest favors anyone ever did for me.
They say that Good Friday is the ultimate test of faith; but that is wrong. It is Easter Sunday. We have all of us seen paths tracked with tears, but none of us have seen an Empty Tomb. The most heartbreaking thing in life is not to know to sorrow but to see beauty and believe that we will never see anything so beautiful again.
Although I recently quibbled with Cathy (in a post I needn't link here), I've always found joy in her positive and enthusiastic spirit. That magnetism, evident in all of her writing, was tangible and energizing in her living presence. The loss of that presence will leave us all poorer.
Cathy Seipp has lived over five extraordinarily courageous years with lung cancer, and it's 8:10 pm Monday night as I'm writing this, and they took the oxygen mask off three hours ago (because she was suffering so), and she's still hanging on. The doctor apparently thought it would only be "minutes" after he took it off. Apparently, this doctor didn't know Cathy. ...
He goes on to name names of the people killed by Al Qaeda who were either associated with the insurgents or were these "notables". He also outlines other "crimes" by Al Qaeda, including murdering Juburi's emissary (gigantic no-no in the Muslim/Arab culture), murdering men, women and children regardless of their relationship to the insurgency or the "occupiers", and on and on.
Right on Jihad TV.
I think that the last sentence I highlighted, demanding Omar Baghdadi's real name, is a huge slap in the face Arab style. In Arab culture, family and tribe are everything. People marry within their own families and tribes to maintain that connection and protection. Who you are, your ability to lead, your blood lines and their relation to Mohammed can mean the difference between being a respected leader with the right to make religious pronouncements and a goat herder. It is directly related to your name.
In a few circumspect words, Juburi may have implied that Omar Baghdadi is a nameless, fatherless cur.
ITM on Operation Baghdad. 'The buildup of troops in the capital seems to be incremental and increasing by the day giving a steadily growing sense of the seriousness of the operation. Yesterday during my tour with some friends we were stopped to be searched seven times during about only two hours; five times in Karkh and two in Resafa. The search typically includes verifying the vehicle registration papers, looking for guns and munitions or suspicious objects, destination of the passenger/driver and often their identity cards. In general the security personnel are polite in their dealing with people they search and some of them even end the procedure with an apology for the inconvenience. We are getting used to the procedures at checkpoints; keep your hands visible on the wheel, keep your papers close to you, prepare to open the trunk and if it's getting dark then turn the headlights off and turn the reading light on. I hear a lot from people how they want to see checkpoint search each and every vehicle on the street even their own because we know that the more effective checkpoints are the more secure the city would be. ...'
CTB on al-Qaeda propaganda video. 'The propaganda video "Convoy of Martyrs" that was produced by Al-Qaida's "Mujahideen Shura Council" (the precursor to the current "Islamic State of Iraq") in late 2006 has finally been publicly released. The video includes interviews with many foreign jihadists fighting for Al-Qaida in Iraq--mostly of Saudi and Syrian origin. In a recorded plea to his family, one young man from the Arabian Peninsula, Abu Nasser al-Janoobi, admonishes his brother, "I beg you to depart for the land of honor and manhood. Don't just sit there and stay behind, and don't listen to anyone who tries to stop you. Just go and kill the Americans. Just kill them and don't leave any survivors." Another Saudi national, Abul-Abbas al-Jeddawi, shows off an explosives-packed suicide car bomb and explains jubilantly, "At the end [of the wire], you can see the button which I will press on my way to paradise."' Go to the post for a link to the video.
The Fourth Rail: Al-Qaeda targeting Sunni opposition in Anbar. 'Al-Qaeda in Iraq has stepped up its campaign to eliminate the indigenous Sunni opposition in Anbar province. According to an American intelligence official and a military officer, al-Qaeda in Iraq is attempting to destroy all effective Sunni opposition in the province. Over the past week, al-Qaeda has conducted two major suicide attacks in Habbaniyah and Ramadi against two influence members of the Sunni opposition to al-Qaeda in Iraq: Shiekh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, and the imam of a Habbaniyah mosque who spoke out against al-Qaeda. ...' If you've forgotten where Anbar Province is, it's due west from Baghdad; go to the article and you'll see Habbaniyah and Ramadi on that map.
Fumento: Democrats' SOF fixation. I wanna be tough like John Wayne! 'Go to www.navyseals.com and click on "training" and you'll wonder that even 30 percent survive. "Doubling the size is impossible," Bailey told me. "But there's something about special ops that appeals more to Democrats than GOP," he added. "There's almost like there's a craving to be accepted by real men. I don't know any liberal Democrat who doesn't like special ops." Expanding other units will prove more doable because their attrition rates are lower. But few if any Special Operations Forces units could be doubled, much less the overall force. "Doubling SOF is a joke," says Heidt. But the joke may not be funny if SOF is doubled by the one means possible – lowering the bar. ...'
Baldilocks: "I wish I had prayed for her." 'A woman died today, one who had money, fame and good looks. She had everything—and nothing. Here was a woman who seemed to go every which way in her public and private lives to gain “love” but it seemed to elude her nonetheless. ....' Read the rest.
Carmela Bousada, a 67-year-old retired Spanish department store clerk, gave birth to twin boys Dec. 29 in Barcelona. Over the weekend, the single mother admitted to European reporters that she had deceived [Dr. Vicken] Sahakian [of the Pacific Fertility Center] in order to become pregnant.
Cathy Seipp responds:
Yet did any honest reader come across that story this week about the 67-year-old Barcelona woman who just gave birth to twins - by lying about her age to a Los Angeles fertility doctor - and not relexively think: Freak show?
Actually my first, "reflexive" thought was: Wow, good for her. Oh, but wait, I forgot - Cathy Seipp can read minds. I am not being "honest".
Cathy explains what's really bothering her:
Leaving aside all the increased health risks to these older mothers and their babies, the cold, hard reason your life and health insurance premiums rise each year is that the longer you live, the more likely it is that the passage of time means you will, in the near future, sicken and die.
Is that a fact? Gosh, sure wish I'd thought of that. I'll bet that 67-year-old woman never thought of it either. Now how about this for a concept: As we grow older, we often become more acutely aware of our own mortality, and of the need to leave something of ourselves behind to carry on. I would have thought that the right-hand side of the blogosphere, which has been sounding warnings about the falling birthrate in Western countries (interspersed with stern admonitions about the "selfishness" of failing to "be fruitful and multiply") would get this; can't we leave the mom-bashing to the left-wing moonbats?
Now, I wouldn't want to be in the shoes of Dr. Sahakian, or of the clinic's director, Dr. Richard J. Paulson. The clinic's policy of not wanting to be party to a risky pregnancy is, from their standpoint, only prudent. But Bousada passed their health screening, knew the risks, and accepted them of her own free will. And even Paulson opposes a government-imposed age limit:
"As soon as you get into an area of zero tolerance, it's easy to find a case when regulation becomes wrong or harmful," Paulson said in an interview Monday. "To go and try to interfere with someone's reproductive rights is a very touchy area."
A more serious issue is the question of "who will look after the kids?" The LA Times article notes that Bousada is a single mother, and that the clinic's policy is not to treat either single women over 55 or married women when the combined age of the couple is 110. So by my math, Bousada could have avoided the whole mess by marrying a 42-year-old man before going to the clinic. As it is, though,
Bousada said she is looking for a younger man to marry and be the father of her sons.
- which seems sensible enough.
So, what is Cathy Seipp's issue with all of this, exactly?
Sure, older men can still marry younger women and father children. We all know about Tony Randall et al. But why spend tens of thousands of dollars to raise the odds that a child will grow up motherless?
So, it is not simply a parent (i.e. a surviving younger husband) that is essential, but, specifically, a mother. By this reasoning, then, no woman with a terminal or life-threatening disease ought to consider getting pregnant, for fear of bringing into the world a child who will be left motherless. (Presumably a stepmother through the husband's remarriage doesn't count.)
But wait! That's not the real problem either, apparently:
Those aging celebrites like Geena Davis and Angela Bassett you see giving birth in their late ’40s and beyond can afford expensive fertility treatments. If they die before the babies grow up, at least they have enough money to make sure their children will be well provided for.
So according to Seipp, the "motherless child" objection can be offset by a sufficient bank account.
No, the real problem for Cathy Seipp is that she just thinks it's gross. She makes that clear with her initial assessment of the situation - "freak show" - and with her column title: "A new low."