28 March 2008

Not Exactly

John Yoo has written some daft things and some creepy things, so I shouldn't really be surprised by this dumbfounding display of dunderheadedness.
Mr. Yoo contrasts the (granted asinine) method the Democratic Party has chosen to nominate its candidate for President with the Founding Fathers* disdain for (and rejection of) congressional appointment of the president. In Mr. Yoo's scenario the super-delegates are equitable with the congress and represent an undemocratic, and potentially harmful, method of electing our executive.
Either through ignorance (doubtful), tendentiousness (more than likely) or some other incapacity, Mr. Yoo disregards the fact that the Democrats and their super-delegates are nominating a candidate, not appointing a president. The founders were silent, as far as the constitution is concerned, as to how candidates would be chosen to vie for the office and expressed hostility towards party politics.
The person who wins the most votes in the most states to give a majority of electors will win the office. If the decision to nominate is left solely to the super-delegates and they choose poorly, hopefully the people will not second the choice. The lack of "democracy" in a political party naming its candidate is not a concern at all of the constitution nor was it a thought in the deliberations at the Constitutional Convention. Too many people look to the two main parties as if they are part and parcel of our government system: imposing governmental requirements on the party or hoisting party issues into the government system.
I am reminded of when the New Jersey Supreme Court (undemocratically) put Frank Lautenberg on the ticket for senator after Robert Torricelli self-immolated--he dropped out of the race after the deadline for putting your name on the ballot, thereby, one would think, removing the Democratic Candidate from the race. The court held "it is in the public interest and the general intent† of the election laws to preserve the two-party system." After reading this I scoured the U.S. Constitution and the New Jersey State Constitution for any clause mentioning the establishment of the two-party system that required the Court's protection, finding none.
The parties are an unfortunate outgrowth of our government system, they are our (for better and for worse) our political system. But they are not necessary and they certainly shouldn't be given permanent legal status by a state (or federal) Supreme Court nor be projected to have the authority to sit our next president at the whim of self-selected super-delegates.
But being familiar with the work of Mr. Yoo, if it were the Republicans (who also have super-delegates) in this predicament, his piece would probably focus on the vibrancy of the debate going on and the wisdom of the Founding Fathers on their silence as to the naming of candidates for the office of President.

*It should be noted that the Founders weren't exactly rah rah for democracy. Senators were originally selected by state legislators and the method of electing the president had to be changed almost immediately after Washington left office. The idea that the state legislators must choose their delegates based on the results of the popular election is a myth, the states are free to come up with any method they choose to appoint their electors.
The more I think about politics and our system, I tend to think the founders were right in having the senators selected by the state legislators and not capping the number of terms a president may serve. Indirect appointment of senators would (maybe) restore the original desire for the senate to be more deliberative and perhaps have more people more involved in their state politics.

†Note that the court divines the intent of the legislators to preserve the two-party system. While there is no doubt that the parties will do everything they can to maintain the two-party system, even they wouldn't be fool enough to try to write this nonsense into law. Thankfully they have the judiciary to figure out what they "meant" to do without having to go through the trouble of actually, you know, passing a law saying it.

09 March 2008

Joy to the World!

I am very proud to say that my wife gave birth to our second beautiful daughter, Joy Eileen, on Saturday, 08 March 2008. The baby was delivered at 6:06pm and weighed 8#, 3 oz, and was 20.75" long.
This was the end of a very long, very anxious process my wife and I started about two years ago.

On the morning of the 8th my wife, who was feeling quite miserable, said she thought her water broke and we made our way to the hospital after speaking with her doctor.
We got there about 10:30 and got her hooked up to the monitors. They couldn't determine if her water broke with the nitrazine strip. She went to the bathroom and her contractions stopped. The nurse, who was fantastic, said that was normal, but they still needed to determine that her water broke, which after some time they were able to do.
Since her contractions had stopped and they knew her water had broken, they were going to induce, but before they could give her pitocin to get things going they had to make sure the baby was in the proper position.
We had to wait until the doctor who was in "the pit" finished with a Caesarian Section. It took longer for the mobile ultrasound machine to warm up than it took for this guy to find the baby's head and say "OK," and walk out.
Then my wife had to get an IV put in and she is a pretty difficult "stick." The otherwise fantastic regular nurse couldn't get her and neither could another nurse on the floor so they called in the IV team, which took another 45 minutes or so. All told, the waiting for the doctor and the nurses took more than an hour, which is not a complaint, just an observation. The baby would have come that much sooner.
The pitocin was given around 2:00pm and kicked in quickly. By 3:00pm she was 4 cm dilated and 90% effaced. They actually pulled the pitocin so they could give her the epidural.
After they gave the epidural, which they kicked me out of the room to administer, and re-started the pitocin, things moved swiftly.
My wife's friend who works at the hospital stopped in around 5:00pm to check on her. It's at this point that the pain from the contractions and the pressure on her lower back start to outweigh the epidural. It is also at this point that I have my wife on tape stating that we will have no more children.
Around 5:45 I call the grandparents to let them know that I think the baby will be here around 7:00pm. The in-laws, who have our older daughter, say they are going to make their way down now and not to worry about coming out to see them until after the baby is born.
At right before 6:00pm my wife's doctor comes in in street clothes and tells her everything looks great, he's getting changed and not to push.
He gets in the room at 6:02pm and the show gets started and the wife is handling everything amazingly.
After a few minutes he motions for me to move. I'm thinking I'm in his way and start to move to the far side of the room. He tells me to stop and pulls me next to him and says "put your hands here and pull the baby out."

No kidding.

He tells me not to let the baby slip and helps me put the baby on my wife's stomach. He puts his hand on top of mine, which is on the baby, and looks at me and says, "Isn't that great?"
And it really, really was.

The baby was perfectly healthy; perfectly perfect.

My wife had to push for only four minutes. The picture above was taken at about four or five minutes.
Ryann met her little sister at 6:30pm.

Our daughter is named for my wife's friend who died tragically last year. The family was gracious enough to allow us to use her name in her honor. We conceived around the time her friend took ill and had some problems getting pregnant before then and had some issues during the pregnancy. My wife is convinced that her friend helped this pregnancy stick and got baby Joy and us through the other issues.
Baby Joy was born on the birth-date of her friend's husband and will be baptized on the friend's birth-date.
I don't believe in the hereafter or in the interposition of the dead with the living. But this got even me thinking.

On our way home from the hospital, we stopped at the cemetery to lay flowers on Joy's grave and to thank her.