Yeah, I disappear for two months and then come back and write a political post, which is always a mistake. Oh well. This is half to share good links and half to expound my typically wishy-washy opinion.
First, links. They're better than what I have to say anyway. First, an article by the boss of a sort of second-degree friend on why the mosque actually helps us, national security-wise. The National Security Mosque.
Also: a comment from a National Review Online writer (dissenting from the majority view on NRO) that blocking the mosque would violate all kinds of conservative principles. A Very Long Post on Cordoba House (but read it all).
Salient paragraph from the latter: "Part of supporting limited government is understanding that sometimes, things you don’t like will happen, and the government (especially the federal government) won’t do anything about it. Getting to do what you want comes at the price of other people getting to do what they want—including build mosques where you’d prefer they didn’t." This is basically where I come down. The First Amendment means nothing if it doesn't mean that acts of speech and religious worship that offend or disturb someone aren't protected. You have a constitutional right to freedom of expression; you don't have a constitutional right not to be offended. As a Christian, and especially in my younger days when I participated in a high school Bible study that the school district decided to kick off campus for a year because they thought they had the legal right and/or obligation to do so, and as a descendant of all kinds of religious minorities who weren't always welcomed with open arms but found religious freedom in spite of nativist impulses (I mean Jews and Catholics, and also I'm descended from Quakers who got the heck out of England for similar reasons), I value my religious freedom. It would be hypocritical of me to deny it to anyone else.
This doesn't mean I'm totally comfortable with the idea of a Muslim religious center in that location (I am not proud to say this, but it makes me a bit uneasy), or that other people who live in New York or were more personally affected by 9/11 than I was don't have the right to voice their own grievances - their feelings may not be entirely rational, but they don't have to be rational to be legitimate. I often feel the strain between my desire to accept Muslims fully - and I've taught classes or sections of classes about Islam and had Muslim students and colleagues; I'm in a position that tolerance is important and necessary - and my anger at the violence Muslim extremists have committed. I also acknowledge that if the purpose of Cordoba House is to build bridges, it's a purpose that's clearly not being fulfilled. This is not really fair, since they can't determine how other people will receive them, but there's no way to begin public relations other than with the public's perception of you.
That aside, though, I'm becoming rather appalled at where public perception stands. I was not a big Bush fan and on the whole he probably did more harm than good in terms of winning the hearts and minds of Muslims worldwide, but he did set the tone right after 9/11 of distinguishing a radical fringe of Muslim extremists from the vast majority of American Muslims who are good people and live in harmony with people of other faiths. We've regressed in the last nine years to the point that few people feel even the need to make that distinction, whether in sincerity or as a politically correct veneer (which perhaps it always was for many people). I don't know where this is leading, but probably nowhere good.
These were taken yesterday. Summer begins today. Here in Connecticut it's felt like summer for about a month. Seattle, I'm told, is still having what is typical winter weather. So never mind where the earth's axis is leaning.
These were taken with my new (to me, but used) digital SLR which I just got to replace the one whose fussy autofocus has annoyed me for the past four years. We have a trip coming up and I figured this was as good a time as any to upgrade. More on that soon.
This is about three weeks late. And I never got all the pictures up on Smugmug, due to technical issues, but most of them are there. They're all on Facebook, and most of my blog readers are on Facebook now, so I have been really lazy about posting them, but then I remembered Justin's mom might not even have seen them and there is something wrong with that. So here's one. More here. I am mostly over the relief since we're moving on to the next half dozen stressful things we have to deal with (including now we have to pay off the loans or at least go through the hoops to get Yale to do it for a while), but YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY.
First of all, for those of you who have not seen my new Facebook profile picture: LAW PROM. Very exciting for a girl who didn't go to her senior prom.
We got a babysitter and a hotel room for the night. Apparently the hotel room was the subject of much gossip. To which: 1. Is it what you're thinking? OF COURSE it's what you're thinking. Duh. Like that stops when you have kids. (I was wondering if people really believe this when I discovered how stroller-unfriendly the nearest Victoria's Secret is. I'm pushing a toddler in a stroller; what need would I have to see the lingerie? I've mostly given up on VS for other reasons, to be summed up in two letters and two numbers: 34DD. Contrary to what you'd expect, not a very suitable establishment for the well endowed. Anyway.) 2. Think about it: do we really want to come home from a dance with an OPEN BAR at 2 AM and drive home the babysitter? No, we do not. Thus, we got a hotel room. And it was worth every penny. Justin also got me a corsage, a red rose, chocolate, took off my coat and opened the doors at all the right times, etc. Way better than that senior prom I didn't go to.
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Auletta has been hiding garlic and shallots under her pillow. "Why?" I asked. "Because," she replied. Vampires? I don't know.
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I have begun running, or alternating walking with very slow jogging, according to this plan. I always thought I hated running. I don't know that I like running exactly, but I now draw a distinction between a. running and b. seventh-grade gym teachers taking their class outside one day and telling them to run a mile and then giving bad grades to the wheezy dorks who couldn't do it.
First two: do not say things you do not want to say your kids to say. It is true. The last one? Since I have not ever whined "But MOMMY!" in my child's hearing, she figured that one out for herself.
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Graduation: May 24. 34 days. I know my friend Anne has been counting down the days her husband graduates from law school since he began. I can now count the days until Justin graduates without the use of complex calculations, astrolabes, etc. Also, we are beginning to receive gentle notes from student lenders reminding us that we will have to repay them. Yale actually has a loan repayment program for graduates earning below a certain amount, which will apply to us. The income threshold is the same for married couples, so this gives me incentive not to work, or not too much. Isn't that odd? I thought Yale would be more progressive about this, or maybe they're encouraging the husbands of their female graduates to stay at home with the kids. Yes, I'm sure that's it.
The cherry trees in Wooster Square bloomed this week - Tuesday, to be exact.
I suspect they'll be well past their prime by the time the Cherry Blossom Festival rolls around next weekend, so I went out yesterday to take pictures with Auletta. It was in the mid 70s. My fingers are crossed this warmth wave won't be the last we'll see of summer till July, like last year.
Auletta will be two and a half on Saturday, so pretend I'm still taking pictures on significant baby birthdays the way I used to.
Legal today. Chief Justice Roberts denied a petition for a stay to prevent the law from going into effect. As someone on Volokh commented, "This is just another extremist right wing ruling from the most extreme of right wing...Oh, wait a minute..."
I am feeling S-M-R-T from my law knowledge by osmosis (fifty thousand dollars a year, I might as well learn something too) that I know what it means for Roberts to act as circuit justice for DC, which seems to be confusing some people on twitter (HE'S NOT A CIRCUIT JUDGE YOU IDIOT! well duh). Isn't the judicial system neat? I am looking forward to our little inside angle next year.
Auletta: not really getting the milk-for-Santa routine.
Signing a note for Santa.
Success! The haul:
Somehow we can never get a family Christmas picture where Auletta doesn't look extremely annoyed to be related to us, but here's the best we could do:
Auletta at Swedish Breakfast (see here for further info about the things we eat, or try to avoid eating--what's funny about this is I didn't know that despite the fact neither Justin nor I has found an almond since we got married, I was pregnant with Auletta when I wrote this post):
Whitney looks very dubious about the God Jul pudding, which he shouldn't be, because he found the almond in about two seconds flat.