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    The Teardrop

    Yesterday I watched the Oliver Stone film "World Trade Center" starring Nicholas Cage, about two NY Port Authority policemen trapped under the rubble of the WTC . I also recently watched the film "United 93" about the doomed plane that was supposedly meant to crash into the U.S. Capitol on September 11th, 2001, but instead wound up in a Pennsylvania field. I have to admit, when these two films came out, I thought, "It's much too soon", and I was a little perturbed that someone was trying to cash in on our modern day Pearl Harbor. I must admit now, after watching both films, that both were done in good taste, and that each succeeded in the portrayal of American spirit and resolve without going overboard on the nationalism.  I'm also encouraged by our country's shift in perspective since the Obama administration took office, reducing our focus on Iraq and strengthening our efforts in Afghanistan with the ultimate goal of bringing bin Laden to justice, which is what we should have been doing all along. I remember hearing President Bush alluding to the notion that in the great scheme of the War on Terror that it didn't really matter whether we caught bin Laden or not, and I think that was the day that my support for his presidency was irretrievably lost.

    One of our greatest sins as Americans is that we often allow the fire in our belly to become placated by politics and bureaucracy, and by the salve of time that soothes our wounds one day at a time. The first film I produced in my filmmaking class was entitled, "But Will We Fade", and it juxtaposed President Bush's post-9/11 "We Will Not Falter" speech with shots of various flags and signs around my hometown, some displayed proudly but others torn to shreds, faded, or completely missing. Of course, it was my first film so I don't know how effectively it portrays my point, which is to question the fire in our belly nearly eight years later. I hope to post it here on my blog in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I'm enheartened to see presentations like this one that my father forwarded to my, about The Teardrop sculpture on display in New Jersey, in view of the Statue of Liberty and the old WTC site.   




    New Golf Terms

    I was spring-cleaning my email inbox and found this. Time to get the clubs out!


    Some new lingo to use when you're out on the course....

    A 'Rock Hudson' - a putt that looked straight, but wasn't
    A 'Saddam Hussein' - from one bunker into another
    A 'Yasser Arafat' - butt ugly and in the sand
    A 'John Kennedy Jr.' - didn't quite make it over the water
    A 'Rodney King' - over-clubbed
    An 'O.J. Simpson' - got away with one
    A 'Princess Grace' - should have used a driver
    A 'Princess Di' - shouldn't have used the driver
    A 'Condom' - safe, but didn't feel very good
    A 'Brazilian' - shaved the hole
    A 'Rush Limbaugh' - too far right
    A 'Nancy Pelosi' - too far left
    A 'Barbra Streisand' - ugly, but still working
    A 'James Joyce' - a putt that's impossible to read
    A 'Ted Kennedy' - goes in the water and jumps out
    A 'Pee Wee Herman' - too much wrist
    A 'Sonny Bono' - straight into the trees
    A 'Mickey Mantle' - a dead yank.
    A 'Paris Hilton' - a very expensive hole



    To Die For

    In the WTF department, the State of Connecticut held a public hearing on its death penalty the other day, and supposedly the basis of the hearing was to initiate sentiments for abolishing it. The co-chairs of the State Legislative Judiciary Committee, representative Mike Lawlor and State Senator Andrew McDonald, both admitted during the hearing that they were opposed to the death penalty,while Dr. William Petit, whose family was heinously murdered in the infamous Cheshire home invasion of July 2007, had to wait more than six hours before he could speak in favor of the penalty. Lawlor defended his committee's insensitivity by rambling on about "standard procedure" and the lottery system used by the state to pick the order of speakers at hearings, but in light of the circumstances Dr. Petit should have been afforded a lot more courtesy than Joe Schmoe walking in off the street. In her blog, FOX 61's Shelly Sindland quotes the good doctor from the hearing."These three women never hurt a soul,” he said of his wife Jennifer and daughters Hayley and Michaela. "My family got the death penalty and you want to give their murderers life."

    Shortly afterward, the Hartford Courant weighed in on the subject, supporting Lawlor's and McDonald's quest to abolish the death penalty, partly because of legal inefficiency and partly because of evidence of wrongful convictions in other states. The Courant quotes Lawlor, who stated that no convicted killer in Connecticut is going to be executed "unless they want to be executed" because of delays and appeals. In other words, because the state can't get out of its own way in the appellate process, we might as well throw the baby out with the bathwater. This comes from a state, mind you, that clearly shares at least some of the blame for the Cheshire crime with its incompetant management of the parole system that let killers Komisarjevsy and Hayes out in the first place. The Courant also cites recently overturned convictions for wrongly accused death row inmates due to DNA evidence, which is a fair argument. How that argument applies to two men caught red-handed trying to flee the scene of the crime wasn't clear in the editorial.  

    I've never been a big proponent of the death penalty, but I've also never been able to convince myself that I am 100% for abolishing it, either. I know about the argument from the anti-death penalty side that the state should not be justified in taking a life, because it is in a sense playing God when it does.  Also, it's clear that there is no deterrence factor in the punishment, because murders rates have shown little if any effect between states that allow the death penalty and those that don't.  I don't really buy into the "play God" argument, because when we as a nation go to war against another country and kill civilians, we're essentially doing the same thing. Maybe we should just stop trying to be so noble about it and admit that there are some people in this world who, through their actions, demonstrate to a society of goodwill that they have simply lost the right to live within it. I don't believe that everyone on death row necessarily falls into that category, but the two scumbags who killed Dr. Petit's family certainly do.


    Adventures in Snowblowing

    It's March, and in typical fashion Old Man Winter isn't going to go down with giving us a couple of body blows and sucker punches to the head. Today we had a Nor'Easter come up the coast and dump up to a foot of snow on us, just when we were getting used to the idea of grass and light jackets. Naturally I took the day off from work, but only so I could spend it cleaning the driveway and steps, because let's face it, I'm not one of "those guys" who get up at 3:30 in the morning to make sure they get to work on time. Besides, someone has to get the wife off to work. So I'm out there with my clunkety old used snowblower that my brother gave me, and it's working okay, when suddenly I hear a ka-chunk followed by a strange ga-ga-ga-ga vibration. My first instinct is always that something is about to blow up on me, but after a few moments I noticed little bits of the daily paper shooting out onto the snow where my lawn used to be. Never mind that there's a newspaper box at the end of my driveway, the laid-off-brain-surgeon-turned-newspaper-girl figured it would be easier to wrap the paper in a plastic bag and then toss it onto the driveway so that it would promptly be covered with snow and turn itself into a land mine for my snowblower. Luckily, someone told me once not to go sticking my arms into the snowblower, so after disconnecting the spark plug I was able to pull half of the Hartford Courant out of the chute and continue on my merry way. I was going to call the circulation department for a 75 cent reimbursement, or at least to have them add another slide on their Fundamentals of Newspaper Delivery powerpoint training program, but what's the use? Even if you could brainstorm all of the stupid things that people do and try to correct them, there's always someone out there ready to throw you a curve-ball...


    Salary Rules Need Teeth

    Here's a letter I wrote to the Courant this week that is printed in today's CT Opinion page. (I'm providing the link and also pasting the text because the Courant's links are rather short-lived.)


    It's refreshing to finally have a president who is willing to take a stand on corporate greed, as President Barack Obama appears to be doing with his salary cap proposal for executives of bailed-out companies [news story, Feb. 5, "Execs Face $500,000 Salary Limit"]. But I'm skeptical about the effectiveness of such a plan.

    As The Courant reported, the Wall Street chameleons have played this game before and still found a way to line their pockets, because greed will find a way.

    I would prefer to see Obama's plan backed with sharper teeth, such as incarceration and forfeiture of assets for any bailout executive who exceeds the cap, regardless of how his company dresses it up. In other words, treat such action like a crime, because that's exactly what it is.



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