Friday, July 30, 2004

Pyramid Schemes
The Wall Street Journal yesterday covered the conflict over the USDA's impending adoption of a revised food recommendation chart. (They might even ditch the pyramid. Perhaps they hope to adopt a more eye-catching model shape, such as the Venus de Milo.)

Like any other government process, it is attracting hordes of lobbyists for the various food industries, all vying to proclaim their product as essential for good health. The Atkins people want a bigger chunk for protein; the Harvard people want more emphasis on whole grains. The white flour folks are suffering, as are the potato farmers. (I'll speak a word for potatoes, if no one else will. They're cheap, they taste good, and if you mash them with butter and milk and serve them with roast beef, as God intended, they won't spike your blood sugar. But no doubt the Potato Caucus will see their place is protected.)

So while the bureaucrats are hearing from the Low-Carb People, the High-Carb People, the Potato People, the Squash People, and the Styrofoam-With-Sugar-and-Artificial-Flavors people, one has to wonder: Just who thought the government could do a better job at this, anyway? Do we really think the final result will be some all-wise pronouncement from on high on the best nutritional actions? (If so, consider the critique of the Harvard People: "wishy-washy, scientifically unfounded advice" that contributes to "overweight, poor health and unnecessary early death.")

The truth is, the government doesn't know more about nutrition than any other particular guru. And why do we need tax dollars to pay for one more voice in the clamor?
Major Offense
I burnt the carrots the other night. It seems that, in the Duchy, this should be tantamount to high treason.

Actually it is merely a symptom of a deeper problem, namely: my lack of a mid-sized saucepan with a lid that fits. Instead I use a very small saucepan and balance a plate over the top, which stops the steam from escaping only to condense it and run it down the edges of the plate and all over the stove, while the pot rapidly boils dry. (Note to self: try putting the plate on right side up instead of upside down, so it doesn't curve down.)

One of these days I'll get a proper set of pans, and work out more storage space in the kitchen, and install a reverse osmosis water system, and solve all the hundred and one other minor difficulties that keep the house from running as smoothly as I would like. And the Ducklings will grow up thinking that is just the way things are and not until they marry will they discover what a long and arduous process setting up housekeeping is.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Cost of Living
Does it really cost that much to have a baby? Of course not. It's sort of like weddings. If your goal is to get married, it's cheap. If your goal is to outdo and impress your friends, it's expensive.

Just look at the things in this article that few, if any, people need:
  • Breast pump, bottles, etc: just take the baby with you. This also saves on babysitter costs.
  • Baby classes: that's crazy. If you want to expose your baby to Mozart, switch on the radio. If you're really concerned about brain development, you can get all the ideas you could want for free from the library and Internet.
  • Picture taking and distributing equipment: OK, we may be a bit derelict in this department. We are going to get a digital camera one of these days, really we are. And we don't have the expense for everything else needed to distribute them because we already have it. So I can't be too critical here.
  • Books at $20 apiece: Thanks to aunts who know how to shop thrift stores, we have a good, low-cost collection. We also have several library cards.
  • New car: huh?
  • First birthday party: Give the kid some paper to crinkle up, cake to smash in his face, and adults acting like lunatics to watch, and he'll be happy.

Babies are the craziest thing to spend a lot of money on, because a) they have no idea you're doing it and couldn't care less as long as they get fed, and b) there is so much perfectly good baby stuff out there for next to nothing, because of all the people out there who are spending thousands of dollars on stuff for their kids--and then they only have two, so it's still in great condition when they're done with it.

Time to hit the garage sales again.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Very Bad Advice
A test-prep company is planning to do formal testing to find out exactly what minor activities (choice of food, clothing worn, etc.) might boost scores a few points on tests like the SAT.

This is all well and good, but the conventional advice on the side contains one very erroneous piece of advice: avoid candy.

Right before I took the bar exam, I was told on good authority that the secret to passing was consuming sufficient chocolate. Though not customarily much of a candy-eater, I procured a bag of chocolate. (I did not steal it. Or, of course, pay for it. Someone had leftover Christmas candy, I think.) I dutifully consumed chocolate at each break. And I passed. Now, how can you argue with that?
And Speaking of Democrats . . .
Reminds me that I saw a picture of Ted Kennedy in his youth a few weeks back. He actually was quite a handsome fellow in those days. Tragic what a lifetime of liberalism will do to someone.
Following the Democratic Convention Closely . . .
Via Dave Barry, of course:

"The convention continues tonight, with the theme being: ''Making America Stronger through the Strength of Strongness.'' The idea here is to convince doubtful voters that the Democrats can be trusted to be tough on terrorism and won't create some kind of feel-good liberal bleeding-heart program like enrolling terrorists in bowling leagues.

Emphasis on this theme will continue through Thursday night, when, to climax the convention, an actual live terrorist will be released onstage, and John Kerry will beat him senseless with a hockey stick, after which John Edwards will sue him."

Monday, July 26, 2004

The Real Difficulty
I have been reading what is probably far too much on the merits of scheduling babies or not. I try to follow a perfect balance. (Translation: I do things the way that suits me.) Abbey is generally quite happy eating every three hours or so, but will go longer at night, and I don't have a problem if some days she decides she needs to eat more often. Some days I need to eat more often, so why shouldn't she?

The main things I would like to establish is going to bed at the same time (however many times we eat thereafter) and getting up at the same time every day, and not being awake between nighttime feedings. We are doing pretty well, except that she seems to prefer sleeping from 7 to 9 p.m., and then waking between 9 and 11. Tonight we are working on staying awake until 9.

Any schedule I might try to implement, however, has a fatal weak point. Me. If I don't wake up at a certain time, she won't either. (Unless, of course, she happens to be hungry.) One cannot schedule a baby more than one is scheduled one's self. So what do the schedule people do about that?
Comments on Comments
I'm trying out a new comment system that allows anyone to post as somebody besides "Anonymous," even if they don't have a blogger account. It's the "Comment" link on the left. The old comment format is on the right. Try them out and see which you prefer.

Unfortunately, I haven't had this all along, and I don't want to lose my former comments. So it looks to me as if I will have to have two comment possibilities from now to the end of time. Is it worth it? Or does anybody know how I can change this short of re-entering all the comments myself?

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Non Sequitur of the Day
The following paragraph appeared in a letter to the editor in our local paper:

"In 1663 a Bible was translated for a Massachusetts Indian tribe and shortly after that the Puritans killed the Indians. Then came the witch trials and years of religious bigotry."

Apparently it's translating the Bible that creates the urge to kill people. Hey, that would cover all the wars in Europe since the Reformation! We would all be better off if the Bible had stayed in Latin.

The rest of the letter makes about as much sense.
A Modest Proposal
This is a lengthy but worthwhile article on the current state of family law. Many good points on the problems with the current no-fault divorce system. Where else in life can the one who breaches a contract still go to court with no prejudice against them and ask for all the benefits from the contract? Why on earth have such a crazy system for the most important agreement in life? (The article proposes one answer: the more divorces there are, the more divorce lawyers and courts and social workers there are.)

No-fault divorce was sold because people shouldn't be "forced" to remain married. But it's no  more fair to force them to get divorced. At least the marriage they voluntarily chose at some point.

The fad for "covenant marriage" laws seems to have passed. But I see no reason why people shouldn't accept a simple, fair proposal with no religious trappings: treat marriage like any other contract. If two parties both want to rescind the contract, they can do so on whatever terms they want. But otherwise, the one who breaches the contract can claim no benefits under it and may be liable for damages.

How would this work in real life? There would basically be three potential divorce scenarios:

1. Both parties want to get divorced. They would draw up their own divorcing contract, negotiate between themselves who gets the kids, the house, etc. The court would then certify and enforce this contract, freely negotiated between the parties.

2. One party breaches the marriage contract in some way other than filing for divorce. (The classic grounds for fault: adultery, abuse, abandonment.) The other party can, if he or she wishes, file for divorce by establishing one of those grounds for fault. If they establish it, they are presumptively entitled to the children, the house, child support, etc., since they were injured by the breach of the marriage contract. (The other party can of course keep their own personal belongings and may have an equity claim to some portion of the marital property, as would be the case under any other contract.)

Some would say that this puts us back to the bad old days of evil, acrimonious divorces where everyone's dirty laundry is aired. Yes, and we're so far from that now. Does the name Jack Ryan ring a bell? Especially when children are involved, all that dirty laundry is going to be aired anyway, even if it has to be soiled for the purpose at hand.

3. One party wants a divorce but the other does not, and no fault is shown. In that case, the party who wants a divorce gets one--but that's all they get. In fact, they may be liable for damages (alimony, child support, etc.), to the extent the other party can prove them.

Now, there's nothing religious about that treatment of marriage and divorce--just simple, straightforward contract law. Who could object? And it would result in a nosedive in the divorce rate, as people discovered it wasn't worth the cost to go off and "find themselves."

And on the side, it might dampen the push for same-sex marriage. If marriage really was marriage, would they want it?

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Get 'em while they're hot
An article in the Wall Street Journal today on political memorabilia said the hottest market is in very limited-edition materials:

"Very local buttons, such as Hockly County Texas Democrats for John Kerry, can fetch as much as $150 new mainly because so few are made," dealers say.

Loyal readers of this blog, for a limited time, have the opportunity to purchase a special, limited edition, "Carrot Duchy for Bush" pin for the low price of $100. After all, there's only three of us, and there are probably more Hockly County Texas Democrats than that. So you can hope to double the price when you resell on Ebay!
Turning into a Jewish mother
I have a new ambition for my children. I want one of them to be a scientist. (In fairness to them, I won't be particular as to which one. Of course, I only have one so far.)

I have always had an interest in science, including two first-prize winning exhibits at the State Science Fair in grade school. And I grew up in a family that heavily emphasized the creation/evolution debate. I think we owned every book the Institute for Creation Research and Answers in Genesis ever published. There's even a book on science in my current reading stack.

But I bet anything I might attempt to say on scientific matters would sound to anyone with any scientific training like people who've watched two videos on the topic sound to me when they start discoursing on the Constitution. Those who look down their noses at the scientific knowledge and interest of the evangelical community at large may be arrogant jerks, but they do have a point. There's a great deal of room for improvement.

I don't like just having vague ideas about things . . . I want to know. And if I can't know, I'd like to be related to someone who did.

Thus my real motivation for having children is evidenced. I have too many things that I'm interested in and must make more people and warp their minds so they will go out and do them for me.


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Requiem for Brain Cells

Shortly after noon I turned on the oven to heat lunch. About one I told my sister, "We should go eat--I'm sure the food is hot by now." I went into the kitchen, opened the oven, and remarked, "I'm sure the food would be hot by now if it had been in the oven instead of in the refrigerator." It worked just as well as she was then able to reach her goal of finishing the crib skirt before lunch. (The nursery looks quite charming thanks to her work. Now we just need a sunflowery quilted hanging on the wall over the crib.)

A little bit later I noticed Abbey was soaking through all cloth in the vicinity, and realized I had completely forgotten to change her at her last feeding--two hours earlier.

I tried taking a nap this afternoon to recharge my brain cells. I'm not sure how much it accomplished.

But I probably needed it. Because I am trying to resolve an anomaly in Abbey's schedule. She was quite happily functioning on a three-hour feeding cycle, with the ability to stretch longer during the night. Somehow this longer stretch at night always threw the schedule off enough that this longer stretch would only put us down to one feeding every other night, and on the alternate nights, she would wake up hungry at 3 a.m., giving me just enough time to feed her, get her back to sleep, and drift off to sleep myself before the alarm would go off at 4:30 and I'd have to get up to feed DOB and get him off to work. I found it very difficult to arise under these circumstances.

So my theory was that if I fed Abbey every night about 9 or 9:30, she would sleep until 1 or so, then I could feed her, and she'd sleep to 4:30 and all would be well. So tonight I woke her up at 9 and fed her. As custom for her last evening feeding dictated, I sang her a few songs and put her in bed. Her eyes were wide open. She cried. And kept crying. Intermittently for the next two and a half hours. She's not crying now because I'm feeding her. But what is up with her? Did someone bring her a latte?

And tomorrow, how do I stay awake enough to keep her awake to keep this from repeating?

Monday, July 19, 2004

Top Five
Last night we (my sister is still visiting) got talking about meeting famous people and came to the conclusion it seemed pointless to wait a long time in line merely to shake hands with anyone. Given the opportunity to actually sit down and talk with them, however, we all had plenty of famous people we'd like to meet.
So the challenge is: list the top five living, more-or-less famous people you'd like the opportunity to have a prolonged conversation with (or if the thought of talking to them is too intimidating, to be part of a conversation they were having with someone capable of intelligent dialogue with them).
Here are our lists:
1. Justice Scalia
2. Thomas Sowell
3. J. Budziszewski
4. Paul Johnson
5. Mike Antonnucci
1. William F. Buckley
2. Robert Novak
3. Chief Justice Rehnquist
4. Thomas Sowell
5. Jesse Helms
DOB then made a second list, in no particular order:
Mel Gibson
Margaret Thatcher
President Bush
Curt Schilling
Haley Barbour
Becky didn't finish her living people list, but so far she has:
1. Elisabeth Elliot
2. Ben Rich (The guy in charge of Skunkworks, the stealth plane project)
3. Whoever runs the logistics at the White House
Then we decided to come up with a dead people list, too.
1. G. K. Chesterton
2. C. S. Lewis
3. Winston Churchill
4. Deborah (from Judges)
5. Jane Austen
1. Abraham Lincoln
2. John Adams
3. Senator Robert A Taft
4. John Bunyan
5. David
1. Hudson Taylor
2. Winston Churchill
3. Ernest Shakleton
4. Joseph
5. Jonathan Edwards
Clearly DOB favors politicians, Becky favors people who run things, and I favor writers. Although it seems redundant to want to talk to a writer, since one already has their books.
Anybody want to post their own list?

Friday, July 16, 2004

Last night we stopped at a farm and bought fresh sweet corn. I sat on the back steps and shucked it. We had it with chicken pasta salad, coleslaw, and apple waffles. (My visiting sister reminded me of this trick for when one doesn't have the time or right pans to make muffins.) I felt like a kid again, probably too much so as DOB had to remind me that we do in fact have air conditioning and can't just leave doors open at random to increase the feeling of fellowship while shucking corn.
The only thing missing was a picnic table to eat at under the prickle ball tree.

Thursday, July 15, 2004


One of my former law school classmates had an essay of his chosen as a model answer by the New Jersey Bar. It's been nearly three years since I last took a bar exam. It's been almost two years since I thought about bar exams. (DOB took his bar in July 2002.) And yet, somehow, just reading the first few lines brought it all back. "Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought . . . "

Both bar exams stand out vividly amid the mush of memories of 2000 and 2001. I guess traumatic experiences have a way of doing that.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Gotta Dance

The New York Times today covers the efforts of same-sex couples to be allowed into competitive ballroom dancing.

It may seem a bit trivial to make a fuss about the symbol when the substance is so far under attack. But symbols are important, at times of more immediate importance than reality. They provide a lens to understand the reality.

Ballroom dancing, as Henry Tilney pointed out in Northanger Abbey is, and always has been, a symbol of marriage. It is the exclusive union of one man and one woman for a mutual purpose. It beautifully illustrates the complementary nature of marriage: Men lead and women follow, not because men are generally better dancers, but because someone must lead and within the parameters of the dance it makes sense for the man to do so.

Submission in the dance does not lead to the man trampling the woman, but empowering her to do things the man could never do, and she could not do alone. It brings to mind that old line, "Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did--only backwards and in high heels" that beautifully illustrates the strength and grace of the traditional woman's role.

(Can a Baptist speak so warmly about ballroom dancing? But after all, any Baptist objection to it is based on the grounds that it provides such an excellent symbol of marriage that it ought not to be engaged in promiscuously. So the analogy holds.)

Even those promoting same-sex ballroom dancing acknowledge that it's a different art form than opposite-sex ballroom dancing. A man can't move the way a woman does. The leader-follower relationship must be changed. And even the emotional dynamic of the relationship symbolized influences the dance. Two men dancing is not the same thing as a man and a woman dancing. And thus the symbol draws us back to the reality.

I'm reminded of C.S. Lewis using the analogy (and another Jane Austen insight) of a ballroom dance in analyzing why women should not be ordained in the church. He argues that, on the fringes, one can treat men and women as interchangeable--that at a factory or at a ballot-box their sex indeed does not matter. But the closer you get to the center, to the realities at the heart of the universe, the more important the distinction becomes.

Ballroom dancing is the symbol of a symbol. Marriage and the church hierarchies are symbols of the reality. I doubt we will fully grasp the reality symbolized until we look into the face of our Father (not Mother or Parent) in heaven. But it has something to do with otherness. The delight of one person in another like himself could be merely narcisstic. Sex shows us the potential for delight in someone different; indeed, that part of the delight is the very differentness. Equating a same-sex relationship with an opposite-sex relationship hides the reality that God planted within human beings when he made them male and female: that although He is not like us, yet He desires us.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Baby Book Update
OK, this is not supposed to have happened yet. Last night I left Abbey lying on her tummy on the bed while I quickly went in the other room to get ready for bed. She was in a state where she was not pleased with the world, no matter what position she was in, but the tummy is supposed to be more calming. Instead she just cried and flailed her arms and legs.

Then I heard DOB saying, "You can't do that anymore." I came back in and sure enough, she had flipped herself over on her back, perilously close to the edge. She was still crying just as hard.

She's not supposed to be doing this for two or three more months. Maybe it doesn't count because it was an accident.

And now how am I going to park her when I need to run do something?

Monday, July 12, 2004

Menu Mysteries

Why is it that telephone menus always offer you the final option of "For all other inquiries, press '0' or stay on the line and your call will be answered in the order it was received"?

Does pressing '0' somehow nudge you up in the lottery of phone menudom? Or is it just there to satisfy compulsive control freaks who have a need to feel like they are doing something?

Friday, July 09, 2004

What's In a Name?
So now it turns out McCain-Feingold might prohibit car dealerships from advertising before the election. That is, car dealerships founded by a candidate who is running in that election. Ironically, the seat targeted is none other than that of Senator Feingold himself.

Mr. Darrow doesn't even seem to run the dealerships anymore--CEO is his son, of the same name. So isn't it arguable the name doesn't refer to him, but to his son? And if that's not permitted what's next: suppose a candidate happens to have the same name as a notable business, but no actual connection to it--will the business have to take their ads off the air?

At least Feingold's campaign doesn't seem to want to make an issue of it. But the Common Cause fellow still thinks that name recognition is inherently evil. So I have to ask: What about Senator Feingold's name ID? (Which is being spread even by tales of his opponent's legal quandries.) Isn't that an unfair advantage? Perhaps we should require incumbents to change their names every election cycle so that everyone runs on issues alone.
Baby Blues

All right, I concede, DOB was right. If you dress a baby in blue, no matter how gender-neutral the decorations, everyone will think she's a boy. Next time we go out I will have to dredge up something vaguely feminine.

I still think it's wrong. Who says girls don't wear blue? I have a sister who rarely wears any other color. (Of course, at 19, she has other indicators of her gender than color-coding.)

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Technological Advances
Even in pre-parenthood days, I could not help but notice that the primary selling point for any particular brand of disposable diapers was how their latest advances helped keep baby comfy and dry.

Today I received a Pampers ad extolling a new line of products for toilet training with an exciting new feature: they stay wet so that baby will be uncomfortable (and hie him to the potty chair next time).
Online Identities
We have been referring to Abbey by her real live name long enough. Obviously if DOB and I have online identies (actually a whole host of them, but only one each for purposes of this blog), she should, too.

The question is, what? I am inclined toward picking a title that can apply to all future offspring, with the addition of a number. Two ideas that come to mind:

Hobbit (H1, H2, etc.): She's short, cute, and likes to eat six meals a day (and two a night). She also has big feet, but they are not hairy.

Duckling (D1, D2, etc.): It just seems logical to me that the inhabitant of a duchy should be a duckling.

Any thoughts?
NPR Covers the Kerry Campaign

Since Abbey likes classical music, I turned on the radio (she started bobbing her head up and down in time with Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2). But then the news came on with the following report on the Johns first joint campaign stop, today in Cleveland, Ohio.

John E: "The American people are going to reject the negative campaign tactics of the past and embrace hope and opportunity, because this is America!!!"

Reporter: John Kerry then attacked President Bush for high gasoline prices.

John K: "The days are over when we put a single young American in harm's way over foreign oil."

Apparently the irony was wasted on the reporter.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

My weird aunt has posted a beautiful and sad poem on tomatoes (and government). Go read it.
The Fifth of July

DOB's family celebrated Independence Day yesterday. DOB and his brothers staged a brief play which seemed to be about the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's ride, and the Battle of Lexington. It was short on scripted dialogue and long on cardboard box throwing and air gun firing. I got to light the lanterns in the belfry (flashlights behind the refrigerator).

Afterward they experimented and discovered that all six of them could, in fact, fit inside a dryer box.

The reason they had a dryer box is because our old dryer (inherited from DOB's parents and nearly as old as he is) started shooting sparks on Saturday. Providentially, DOB's dad and brother were standing in the utility at the time, working on drains and such. (The drains work great now, btw.) So the house did not burn down, and since it was Saturday DOB could drive right down to the appliance store where we bought the washing machine, held out the manual and said, "Get me the one that matches this." He was out the door with our new dryer in five minutes. And now we have a matched set, even! With the current diaper situation, going even one day without a dryer was not an option.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

The Fourth of July
Traditions are the sauce in which a medley of years blends together into a single dish called the "Fourth of July."

Traditions string every Fourth from infancy to last year into one grand meld of sand and green water, fried chicken and orange bowknot rolls, relatives I don't know and those I do, squealing bottle rockets and Uncle Walt's harmonica that still lingers over the festivities though he's been gone for a decade. I still have my blue checked jumper and red t-shirt that matches the rest of the family.

Indeed, it is the Fourth's that weren't spent at Aunt Winnie's that stick out in my mind. The year we were waiting for Sarah to be born (she wasn't born for another week, but one of our cows had a calf that day, which we named Uncle Sam and revised to Aunt Samantha when we got a closer look). The year Dad had to work and we watched my weird aunt's friends come close to lighting Grandpa's field on fire. The year I spent most of the day in a hotel room in North Carolina, wishing DOB was online. (I did go to a quite enjoyable party that evening, where I learned several hilarious equipment-free games and that yellow squash makes a terrible pie.)

Last year was the pinnacle of Fourth of July celebrations. DOB came out on one of his rare visits before the wedding. The day was perfectly warm, dry, and sunny. (Generally in Washington summer weather arrives on the Fifth of July.) A musician was playing celtic harp on the ferry up to Whidbey Island. We rowed around the lagoon and got ourselves marooned on a floating dock until some distant cousins came to the rescue. The food was all as it should be, though we almost missed the homemade chicken and got stuck with the stuff somebody picked up at the deli. In the evening we went down to camp to watch several kids under slight supervision by the camp director and my brother (who are technically too old to be kids) set off fireworks wildly in all directions. We narrowly escaped being struck by an errant explosive--instead it hit the camp director in the seat of the pants, to the delight of all.

But this year all that was very far away. We made it to church with Abbey for the first time (though just for the potluck and afternoon service). I couldn't find anything patriotic that fit and seemed suitable for nursing. (Abbey wore her Fourth of July outfit, though.) The potluck was good, but nobody knows how to make orange bowknot rolls out here. We were too tired (well, Abbey and I were) when we got home to go to the band concert or fireworks display in town. So we went to bed. After Abbey went down we tried singing some patriotic songs and that helped, but it still didn't feel much like the Fourth.

Over the next few years no doubt we'll blend our own sauce of traditions that Abbey will look back on and think, "But if we don't do ________________ it won't feel like the Fourth of July!"

Friday, July 02, 2004

Rising Temperatures
It's being alleged that ads for "Farenheit 9/11" might run afoul of campaign finance law. It is not an absurd interpretation of the law--it shows the absurdity of the law itself. If you can't run ads saying "Bush is evil," you can't run ads saying, "Come watch our movie about Bush being evil." Is this an infringement on free speech? You bet.

Somebody--maybe Gephardt, I forget--commented during the adoption of the campaign finance law that we couldn't have both free speech and fair political campaigns. True indeed. Freedom is never fair. It just so happens under the Constitution of our country that freedom is protected, not some abstract "fairness" standard where every campaign is equally funded and has equally clever ads.

It's possible Moore will get a free ride by being part of the media, which further underscores the problems with this law. Since when did the media have a greater right to free speech than the rest of us? What does one have to do to get in the protected "media" class? And if the government decides who the "press" is, how much freedom of the press do we really have?

Upholding the campaign finance law has to have been one of the stupidest and most dangerous SCOTUS precedents of recent years. There's a reason the First Amendment is First--free political speech is our first line of defense against every other abuse government might deploy. Unfortunately under current First Amendment law, political speech, the bastion of a free nation, is less protected than erotic dancing, whose benefit to society is only slightly less dubious than its relevance to "free speech" at all.

On an only slightly related note, is it just me or is "Farenheit 9/11" a really dumb title? I assume it's a takeoff on "Farenheit 451" (which I haven't read but my sister says it's good), which made sense: the temperature at which paper burns as the title for a book about bookburning. But what kind of temperature is 9/11? .8182 degrees?
Midnight Screaming in Perspective

We received an email this morning from one of the other couples in our birthing class. Their little boy was born a day after Abbey . . . and has been in NICU ever since, due to meconium inhalation and pulmonary problems. They're looking forward to bringing him home this weekend.

I can put up with any amount of screaming to have my baby here with me.

She didn't scream at midnight last night, although she did have quite a fussy session this morning while she was supposed to be blissfully sleeping so we could get DOB off to work.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

The Duke Returneth
DOB has finally found a way to work blogging into his schedule. So go check it out. This has been precipitated by the discovery of Blogger's email posting function, so that he can simply email the text he wants to the site. For some reason this makes him feel that it is easier to post, although I have trouble understanding why, since the email posting function always messes up the formatting and he winds up having to tinker with it via the regular posting format anyway. But whatever works, I guess.