30 July 2009

With Friends like These

We keep pushing ourselves further in the wrong direction with regard to Honduras. From today's WSJ:

The State Department announced Tuesday that it revoked the diplomatic visas of four Honduran officials because the U.S. doesn’t recognize the interim government of Roberto Micheletti. Hondurans can be forgiven if they recall the bitter Vietnam-era joke that while it can be dangerous to be America’s enemy, it can be fatal to be its friend.
The U.S. didn’t release the names of the banished, but the Honduran daily El Heraldo said they included the Supreme Court judge who signed the arrest warrant of former president Manuel Zelaya, as well as the president of the National Congress. Honduras is now in the fifth week of a constitutional crisis that was provoked when then-president Zelaya violated the Honduran constitution. He was warned by the attorney general but he persisted and, with support from Hondurans of all political parties, he was arrested and deported on June 28.
The Obama administration has yet to provide a reasonable justification for their treatment of the interim government, while said government has made a very clear case for the correctness of its actions.

28 July 2009


You may have heard about the corruption sting in New Jersey that led to the arrest of many public officials.

Ever wonder how the state got so crooked? Here are a few ideas.


The Obama administration continues to mess up Latin America. Is this man responsible?

I continue to follow, with great interest, the situation in Honduras. The interim president, Roberto Micheletti, explains how Honduras's ouster of Zelaya was a VICTORY for the rule of law and democracy.

I hope someone in the White House reads this and can put the right pieces together. Based on their handling of trivial domestic matters, I have to question whether that's likely.

27 July 2009

Joseph turns 4!

We shot this video tonight-

My little guy is 4! He was so excited when I reminded him that it was his birthday. He did this little dance-karate thing.

I am reminded of his birth, which I wrote about here, and which was very hectic. Lacy wrote a really nice message on her blog at the beginning of the month. I hope you'll take a minute to read it.

Joseph is a wonderful kid. He told me that I am his best friend because I "help him do lots of stuff all the time." He is occasionally afraid of getting "squibbled" (some word he made up for getting killed, especially by lightning), but he told me if Lacy or I get squibbled he will have to grow a replacement. He says such interesting things. He is great fun to take places, and I feel very blessed to have him and Millie.

Happy birthday buddy!

26 July 2009

Mi Abuelita

I've mentioned before how I don't usually get too personal on this blog, prefering to use other means for those things. Today and tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow because my son Joseph turns 4 and today because my abuelita, Raquel Sastre, passed away this morning.

My abuelita (I have never called her by any other name) was 94 years old. She came from Cuba in the early 1960s, following her husband who had emigrated shortly before and bringing her two younger children, my mother Gladys and uncle Ari. Her older daughter Elena was already married and would emigrate afterward with her husband Fred. She left behind many possessions, much family, and her homeland, never to return.

The Sastres settled at first in New York City, in the Flushing area of Queens. My grandfather secured employment and over time the family prospered, moving to Miami after a few years. From the time that they arrived my grandparents served as an important support for the relatives and friends that followed their exodus from Cuba. Some stayed in their New York apartment. Others were helped in other ways. My grandfather built a deserved reputation as an honest businessman and good judge of character. My grandmother was his constant and faithful companion and support. Together they raised good children and continued to serve as a focal point for the family up to the present day. They were married for 58 years when my grandfather passed away in 1999.

My relationship with my abuelita really developed after my 2 year spanish-speaking mission. When I returned I was fluent in the language and finally able to converse with her in a mature way. We would talk about politics, Cuban history, and baseball. Baseball was one of her favorite pastimes, and she followed the Marlins closely.

When I married I gained a greater appreciation for my grandmother. She welcomed newcomers to the family with openness and acceptance, and it helped my wife feel like part of the family right away (Abuelita was also happy that Lacy spoke Spanish).

When we had our first child Joseph I was able to see that what had driven Abuelita since the death of her husband was her love for family and her joy at seeing new life come into the world. Children loved her and she loved them and had a fantastic memory for birthdates and sent handwritten letters to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I remember the one she sent to my daughter Millie for her 2nd birthday, where she expressed her love and hope that Millie would know that her great-grandmother loved her.

She loved the United States, despite her sadness at never being able to return home to Cuba. She and my grandfather were unfailing supporters of the Republican party, as are most Cubans of their generation. I owe my interest and love for Cuban history to her, as she was always happy to send me information about Cuba, its people, and its proud culture. She sent clothing and other items to Cuba regularly and without fail, never forgetting that the Cuban people continue to suffer under a brutal and oppressive dicatorship, and never allowing her comfortable life in the United States to cloud that fact. This is also a hallmark of her generation, which never forgot the island that they were forced to leave.

I loved to visit her. I would learn whether I had lost or gained weight and whether she liked how I looked, especially if I had any facial hair (Castro ruined beards for her). This is common in Latin culture, where directness and honesty are common, but also common is love and acceptance.

She and my grandfather loved to share with their family, displaying tremendous generosity. We were able to see the world at a young age and enjoy their company and enthusiasm, as well as grow closer as cousins and family.

I see my grandmother in my mother. I hope there is something of her in me. I hope that I can help my kids understand that this country may be the only place on earth where a man, a woman, and two children could come, with virtually nothing, and create a successful life. I will teach them about their Abuelito and Abuelita, who did just that, and who left us a legacy that is rich with meaning and purpose.

I honor my Abuelita. I will honor her memory by continuing to hold sacred a belief in freedom and a deep and constant love for my family. She lived a life to be proud of, and she is now with her beloved Aristides and I look forward to the day when I can see them both again.

(My cousin Aris and I with Abuelito and Abuelita on a trip in 1991)

20 July 2009

Making the Moon

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo moonlanding.

Today the astronauts serving on the Endeavor did a spacewalk and recognized the day.

Both Popular Mechanics and the New York Times have oral histories of the event from this involved.

18 July 2009

Awesome Video Saturday C (That's 100 in Roman)

I think this movie looks prit-e good (spoken in British):

15 July 2009

14 July 2009

Mas Confirmation

More on today's hearing- a scathing critique from a Georgetown law professor (via Instapundit):

If she was not perjuring herself, she is intellectually unqualified to be
on the Supreme Court. If she was perjuring herself, she is morally


I'm not a lawyer, but I like the law. These are two interesting articles related to the confirmation hearing of Sonia Sotomayor.

This one is from the New York Times and contains some excellent questions that there is little chance Sotomayor will be asked by the Senators at the hearing.

On a related note, law professor Randy Barnett has some advice regarding the kinds of questions that senators SHOULD ask that will provide actual insight into her judicial philosophy.

11 July 2009

Awesome Video Saturday XCIX

These are some pretty funny elevator gags by a crazy Frenchman.

08 July 2009

Obama Subverts Democracy

I'm extremely frustrated with the Obama administration's disregard for the sovereignty of Honduras.

Mary Anastasia O'Grady continues to do a fantastic job of highlighting the very real difference between our diplomatic stand and what it the actual LEGAL FRAMEWORK in Honduras.

Hundreds of emails from Hondurans flooded my in-box last week after I reported on the military's arrest of President Manuel Zelaya, as ordered by the Supreme Court, and his subsequent banishment from the country.
Mr. Zelaya's violations of the rule of law in recent months were numerous. But the tipping point came 10 days ago, when he led a violent mob that stormed a military base to seize and distribute Venezuelan-printed ballots for an illegal referendum.
All but a handful of my letters pleaded for international understanding of the threat to the constitutional democracy that Mr. Zelaya presented. One phrase occurred again and again: "Please pray for us."
This administration needs to change the way they look at the situation or they risk serious damage to whatever reputation we have for supporting the sovereignty of our allies.

05 July 2009

Honduras Heats Up

I never would have expected to devote so much attention to Honduras, but the small nation has become a lightning rod in the debate between the rule of law and the efforts of leftists to push their agenda.

No matter whether the method used to remove Zelaya from power was the most appropriate, he was acting against the spirit and letter of the constitution of the country.

He is attempting to return. I hope the interim government can maintain order without bloodshed, but I expect some of Zelaya's supporters have no qualms about violence.

04 July 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Enjoy this patriotic Muppet salute-

Be safe and blow some pretty stuff up.

Awesome Video Saturday XCVIII

Happy Independence Day!

I like this little video-

If you're in the mood for a fairly recent war movie with a good message, you can watch Saints and Soldiers below.

03 July 2009

SPOTD #156

As you know, tomorrow is Independence Day. I hope that you will be able to take a moment during your celebrations to remember the singular events that have led to the great liberty that we enjoy. It is clear that many in this world are willing to die for that kind of freedom.

Today's Phrase:
We who enjoy freedom should never mistake it for what the regime in Iran claims to provide their citizens. From 19th century cleric Adolf Kolping.

Libertad falsa y tiranĂ­a son gemelos.

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable
Lee-bare-tahd fall-sah ee tee-rah-nee-ah sewn hay-may-lows.

False liberty and tyranny are twins.

The Law
What if there was a country that followed its legally established Constitution, and we condemned them for it?
That is happening in Honduras. We have friends living there and they are fascinated that the coverage outside of the country is getting the story so wrong.
For more info you can read my post on the subject.

I recently watched the documentary Man on Wire. It won the Oscar last year for Feature Documentary, and it was well-deserved. This is an engaging and well-produced film, combining actual archival footage and dramatic reenactments.
It is a fascinating story about a man who dared to do insane things, but there is a beauty in it.

Mighty Bad
Eric Snider has a weekly feature where he reviews bad movies. Last week's edition, a review of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, es muy excelente.

I never knew there was such competition to be professional lego-builders. See what I mean.

5 Things
TV Pitchman Billy Mays passed away last week. Here is a list of some of his greatest hits, from Popular Mechanics.

Link of the Day
The Alligator Gar is one crazy-looking fish, and you can hunt one for just $750!

More from Honduras

Gateway Pundit has some pictures from demonstrations in Honduras. As I mentioned before, there seems to be strong support for the government action that removed former president Zelaya.

01 July 2009

Quick Hits

Just some things on my mind that I don't have time to write about individually-